Menu Planning Made Easy

I love to plan my menus out a week ahead of time, and I’ve been asked for menu planning tips so I thought I’d share a few.  Planning makes grocery shopping and figuring out what’s for dinner so much easier!  I’ve employed a variety of tools over the years but have found a decent combination of products and services that keeps me on track.  I thought I’d share a few tips with you – you can use all of these, or just one or two – whatever fits your situation and motivation!

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VariDesk Reviews – Sit to Stand Desk System

Recent issues with my back and a desire to get more exercise in has prompted me to try out a standing desk setup.  My first few days were at a makeshift standing desk that was less than ideal and VERY hard on my wrists.  It consisted of a table and a small bookshelf and lots of cursing.  it worked – but it was uncomfortable.

Standing Desk version 1
Standing Desk version 1

Day 2 and my feet hurt so bad, I wanted to cry.  My thought was – lets build a desk that allows me to stand, or sit, depending up on how I felt at any given moment.  Problem was, I use a nice big Mac desktop – and moving it from lower desk to taller desk would be a huge pain.

Next idea was to get a desk where the top goes up and down, either electrically or via a manual crank.  REsearch revealed a MINIMUM $700 price tag – not including shipping.

Then I saw an ad for VariDesk in my Facebook feed…… intriguing.

Varidesk has a few different setups – but the newest version – the Single Pro – offers a dropped keyboard tray – which the low level option did not have.

$325 was a bit steep, but considering how uncomfortable I’d have been, and the construction project building something would be – I felt it was worth it – so I ordered mine.  Total price including shipping was $370.  I paid for all of it – this is NOT a paid review 🙂

I really like it so far – very easy set up – just plop it on the desk and pile on your computer and keyboard. Its pretty heavy – so if you’re a gal alone trying to get it up 2 flights of stairs – be prepared for some swearing…it wasn’t easy… I guess the “team lift” on the box was there for a reason….

A few “notes”

  1. I use an ergo keyboard and it BARELY fits on the keyboard tray – you can see it hangs off a little. its pretty “locked in” though because the flip down feet on the bottom of the keyboard hook over the back edge of the keyboard tray. This will work fine for me. If it didn’t it would have to go back – I NEED my ergo keyboard. This seems like a bit of a design flaw – most folks concerned with standing vs sitting are pretty ergo conscious and using a straight keyboard is murder on hands and wrists.
  2. If I used a regular mouse I’d be in trouble – not much mousing room as you can see. Luckily I use a trackball and don’t actually need to move the mouse around. I think the keyboard tray could be a tad bigger – which it is on the VariDesk Pro Plus (I got the VariDesk Single Plus)
  3. Feels very sturdy – Was a bit afraid in the standing position it would feel wobbly – but its great so far. PLENTY of room on the top for my iMac 27″ all in one. The weight of my AIO is 30# and the limit for this unit is 35# so that works well.
  4. I will say – I tend to sit more than I think I should – but I’m still working on getting my feet and knees to handle lots of standing – so right now I’d estimate I’m at 50/50 sitting and standing.  If you want to go cold turkey and have no willpower – this might not be great for your conversion 🙂

Going from sitting to standing takes literally 5 seconds, just squeeze the handles under the sides of the top level and lift – very adjustable and actually raises up all the way to my chest area – so would work well for a really tall person – I’m only 5’4″.

 

Standing Desk Review
VariDesk Sit & Stand Desk System Review
VariDesk Single Pro
Written by: Carrie Hill
Date Published: 05/06/2014
Sturdy and easy to install and use. Can go from sitting to standing in seconds. Great for someone who doesnt want to stand 100% of the time, or someone who will need a long time to gradually convert from sittings to 100% standing at their desk.
5 / 5 stars

Cookbook Review: Jamie’s America

A Review of Jamie's America Cookbook by Jamie Oliver

I picked this book up in the Bargain Bin at the local City Market (Kroger) for $8.  It’s no secret that I’m a cooking magazine junkie.  I think I get about 7 different magazines every month.  I’m also highly addicted to Cookbooks.  I have ONE shelf for them, so I buy, cook and donate them pretty regularly.  They would seriously take over my life if I’m not very disciplined in their purchase and life cycle in my house.

I have a few that I keep forever though.  It has to be something epic for me to keep it forever.  I don’t know if Jamie’s America is a “forever” cookbook, but I’m definitely going to keep it around for awhile.

A Review of Jamie's America Cookbook by Jamie Oliver

The stories and photography make this cookbook one that is easily read like a novel, but if we’re getting technical, I read just about any cookbook like a novel……

A Review of Jamie's America Cookbook by Jamie Oliver

Jamie's America Cookbook
Jamie Oliver Travels across the US and shares stories and recipes from folks he meets along the way
Jamie's America - Easy Twists on Great American Classics, And More
Written by: Carrie Hill
Date Published: 03/21/2017
I think this is a great book. Not only are the stories and photographs compelling, the recipes are really great. He shares things from different cultures he comes across, from the Navajo people of Arizona to the melting pot of ethnic food in New York City - there are some great ideas and recipes here. The best part is most of the ingredients aren't very hard to find. I really enjoyed the sections on the Wild West and the Navajo nation - but really this is a cook book that can be read as a novel. I highly recommend checking it out!
5 / 5 stars

Jamie’s America Cookbook

32 oz Plastic Grip Jars for Kitchen Organization

Recently I purchased some clear plastic grip jars to help me get a handle on my pantry.  I was being overrun by half-used boxes and packages of this and that – which end up piled in heaps in the back of my pantry.  In an effort to get more organized, I bought these wonderful items from Uline.com and was I ever happy.

plastic Grip jars for storage

I needed to stack these not only on top of each other, but in front & back – and by putting labels on front and on top, it makes things easy to find and access in the pantry.  When the bucket is emptied, I set it on another shelf to remind me to add it to my list.

Yep – I have crisco – Crisco is amazing for certain things, in moderation – including frying pork chops – I promise!

32oz Clear Plastic Grip Jars from Uline.com
Plastic Grip Jars with Wide Mouths to help organize your pantry. 32oz or 1 quart size
Clear Plastic Grip Jars - 32oz
Written by: Carrie Hill
Date Published: 02/05/2013
Be aware, these arent huge. 32 oz is 1 quart or 1/4 Gallon - so these hold roughly 1/4 of a gallon jug of milk in volume. If you need more space, buy larger jars, they come in sizes up to 1 Gallon. I'm probably going to order some half gallon size, but they come in quantities of 24, and I dont need that many. I'll probably wait until I can go Halfsies with someone, interested? I had great luck with these and they were easy to fill and the labels I used stuck nicely. I highly recommend them to anyone looking for storage containers for their Pantry
5 / 5 stars

Mr. Coffee Single Serve Coffee Maker Review

Mr coffee single serve coffee maker review

Mr coffee single serve coffee maker review

Mr. Coffee Single Serve Brewer Reviews – Inexpensive K-Cup Machine

 

This is my Mr. Coffee Single Serve Coffee Maker Review that works with K-Cups. This is an entry-level K-Cup Brewer.

My experiences with the Mr. Coffee single serve coffee maker & the Mr. Coffee customer service team.
It’s important to note that the reviews on other sites are pretty much spot on. We didn’t pay much attention as we were looking for something cheap to get us some insight into the K-Cup craze. We love the single serve K-Cup idea, the problem is that coffee maker quit making full cups of coffee after about 3 weeks of use. After searching online we descaled the machine, tried ‘burping’ it and other “home remedies” all for naught, we’re still not getting a full cup of coffee. We were quite pleased that a simple contact to Mr. Coffee through Facebook resulted in a new machine being shipped within a week. We received our new machine this week and it’s working perfectly. We’ll see if that continues for more than a few weeks. In all, if you’ve already used a K-Cup system and really liked it, and want a machine for heavy use and the long haul, this machine falls short, we recommend you spend a bit more on a higher-grade single cup brewer.
Mr. Coffee Single Serve Coffee Maker
Date published: 01/17/2013

Cuisinart DLC-10S Pro Classic 7-Cup Food Processor Reviews

I lived for a long time without a food processor.  I chop by hand many times, and didn’t really miss the processor.  I had a Kitchen Aid Mini Chopper that did jobs like nuts and onions, and I was pretty happy.  Then I started paying attention to how much Food Network chefs USE their food processors.  They make dough, crumbs, etc and don’t blink an eye.  I finally broke down and got one, and I love it.

Cuisinart DLC-10S Pro Classic 7-Cup Food Processor
Cuisinart DLC-10S Pro Classic 7-Cup Food Processor

I’m generally a pretty decisive person, I know what I want, and that’s what I buy.  With the processor, I went back and forth trying to decide if I wanted to buy a top of the line model, or something cheap in case I didn’t like it.  I ended up going with a refurbished top of the line model and ordered the Cuisinart DLC-10S Pro Classic 7-Cup Food Processor from Amazon.  I paid $100 for it, and I think it was worth every penny.  Here is my completely uncompensated review of my food processor.  Do you like yours?  Is it worth having one?

My personal experience with my Cuisinart DLC-10S Pro Classic 7-Cup Food Processor and my journey to being a Food Processor cook
This food processor does all I need it to do, and more. I have made pizza and bread dough, salsa, applesauce, coleslaw, veggie slices, tomato sauce, and more. It’s pretty easy to keep clean, although you will have an issue if the liquid in your bowl goes above the top of the center post. Some sort of gasket seal here might work really well.
I’ve never had the machine act like it was working hard and unlike some machines, getting it lined up and ready to mix is pretty easy. The feeder tube has plenty of space and I don’t generally end up with large amounts of “unprocessed” food between the slicing or shredding blade and the lid.
Cuisinart DLC-10S Pro Classic 7-Cup Food Processor
Date published: 11/07/2012
4.5 / 5 stars