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Meal Plan To Save Time and Money

Do you want to save time and money?

Have you ever tried meal planning?

Try these simple steps to get started …

Step 1: Get started with a meal planning calendar

Keep an eye out for new recipes that fit your time frame and your appetite. In the beginning, flexibility may be necessary. Write it down, see what works.
Meal Planner Calendar from Little Housewife

Step 2: Make that shopping list

Keep sales in mind. Working with sales to do your meal planning can save you big time.

Check out your local grocery store online. Many offer online couponing and buying rewards. View ads, clip what you use, and earn rewards in one location!

Shopping for groceries - looking for deals or sales - image from Pixabay.com

Step 3: Prep your food

If your upcoming recipe requires sliced or diced veggies, do the work now and store them for easy access later. Prepping food ahead of time can be your biggest time saver on busy days.
Veggies on cutting board - food preparation - image from Pixabay.com

Step 4: Practice preemptive cooking

Pre­cook components of lunches and dinners for easy access. Store them strategically for on the go meals.

If a recipe can be cooked in advance and frozen, why not? Spending time on prep day by doing some bulk cooking will cut time and energy later. If you have a day of chaos in the cards, it may be the day to pull from your pre­-frozen entree list.

Don’t underestimate the value of doubling batches! Double up now to stock your freezer and use up extra fresh ingredients before they go bad. Double the reason to double batch.

Lunch box - meal prep - image from Pixabay.com

Pave your way to meal planning success with the help of quick recipes

Eat at home tonight : 101 simple busy-family recipes for your slow cooker, sheet pan, Instant Pot®, and more / Tiffany King
Run fast. Cook fast Eat slow : quick-fix recipes for hangry athletes / Shalane Flanagan & Elyse Kopecky
Fit men cook : 100+ meal prep recipes for men and women - always #healthyAF, never boring / Kevin Curry
How to feed yourself : 100 fast, cheap, and reliable recipes for cooking when you don't know what you're doing
The Everygirl's guide to cooking / Maria Menounos with Keven Undergaro
The quick six fix : 100 no-fuss, full flavor recipes, 6 ingredients, 6 minutes prep, 6 minutes clean-up / Stuart O'Keeffe with Kathleen Squires
Michael Symon's 5 in 5 for every season : 150 quick dinners, sides, and holiday dishes / Michael Symon with Douglas Trattner
It's all easy : delicious weekday recipes for the super-busy home cook / Gwyneth Paltrow with Thea Baumann
Or check out these books to save time and money
$10 dinners : delicious meals for a family of four that don't break the bank / Julie Grimes
Supermarket healthy : recipes and know-how for eating well without spending a lot / Melissa d'Arabian with Raquel Pelzel ; photographs by Tina Rupp
Good and cheap : eat well on $4/day / Leanne Brown
Affordable paleo cooking with your Instant Pot : quick + clean meals on a budget / Jennifer Robins
No time to visit the library? Explore our eBook collection
Runner's World Meals On The Run 150 Energy-Packed Recipes in 30 Minutes or Less by Joanna Sayago Golub
Williams-Sonoma School Night Dinner Solutions for Every Day of the Week by Kate McMillan
Mastering Meal Prep - Easy Recipes and Time-Saving Tips to Prepare a Week of Delicious Make-Ahead Meals in just One Hour by Pamela Ellgen
New Slow Cooker Magic - Fix it and forget it cookbook set by Phyllis Good
Rookie Cooking: Every Great Cook Has to Start Somewhere by Jim Edwards
Build-A-Bowl : 77 Satisfying & Nutritious Combos: Whole Grain + Vegetable + Protein + Sauce = Meal by Nicki Sizemore
Vegan Yack Attack on the Go! Plant-Based Recipes For Your Fast-Paced Vegan Lifestyle - Quick & Easy, Portable, Make-Ahead, And More by Jackie Sobon
The Taco Tuesday Cookbook : 52 Tasty Taco Recipes To Make Every Week The Best Ever by Laura Fuentes
Web Resources for Meal Planning

10 Family Meal Planning Tips & Ideas on a Budget – Money Crashers

$200/Month Menu Plan for Our Family of 5 – Thrifty Frugal Mom

Meal / Menu Planners – Money Saving Mom

Weeknight Family Meal Plans – My Recipes

Your Four-Week Dinner Plan – Real Simple


Originally posted by Jessica H. on ToledoLibrary.org/blog/meal-plan-to-save-time-and-money

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Happy Little Trees: A Playlist

I was going to write up a playlist of songs that make me happy and songs that make me sad, but as Dwight said in the Office “I’m just tired. The days are short. I don’t know. Maybe I’m depressed,” so I jettisoned the sad to cheer myself up. Not all of these songs are traditionally happy, but they uplift me just the same.

Below, you’ll find a collection of songs that make me happy, none of which are “Happy” by Pharrell Williams (no offense to him. I really like N.E.R.D. and the Neptunes!)

Songs That Will Put You in a Better Mood

The Monkees - Goin' Down / Daydream Believer
The Best of Bill Withers - Lean on Me
Way to blue : an introduction to Nick Drake
The Sunset Tree by The Mountain Goats
Album cover for Kiss Each Other Clean by Iron and Wine

1. Daydream Believer by The Monkees

I grew up watching The Monkees’ TV show and went to Seligman Brothers records on Sylvania to score some vinyl. I found the single for “Goin’ Down” which had “Daydream Believer” as a B-side. I absolutely loved it. And I still do. Hearing it makes me think of when I was a kid. Still. Every single time.

2. Lovely Day by Bill Withers

Someone who gets way less credit than they deserve. Bill Withers was a factory worker (the photo of the cover of his first album Just As I Am was taken on his lunch break) who just happened to be an incredible song writer. He wrote amazing folk/soul for a while but by 1977’s Menagerie he had moved into a more adult contemporary style. I prefer the earlier stuff, but that’s just me. What Menagerie did have was “Lovely Day,” and wow. It’s so sweet and upbeat! The choruses are incredibly uplifting but I have no idea how he can hold the note on the word “Day” for so long. Just like he kept going with the “I know” part on the earlier “Ain’t No Sunshine.” That’s some real vocal control.

3. Northern Sky by Nick Drake

Ok, so Nick Drake is probably the poster boy for sad fella music. His songs run the gambit from “melancholy” to “hey, where do you keep your razor blades?”. They’re all wonderful songs, they just aren’t terribly uplifting. Except “Northern Sky.” Released on his second album, Bryter Layter, it’s absolutely glorious. Beginning with the line “I never felt magic crazy as this” the song builds and builds until the Hammond organ swells over at around the 2:15 mark. A blaze of sunlight from
someone surrounded by darkness.

4. This Year by The Mountain Goats

Not a happy song, not by a long shot. But for some reason, I find it incredibly uplifting. The tale of a teenager taking a bottle from his stepfather and going to the arcade to play video games with a girl he likes, the song takes a nasty turn when he returns home. Acknowledging how awful his life usually is, the chorus is simply “I am gonna make it through this year if it kills me.” See? Not exactly Chicken Soup For The Soul. But, for some reason, it fills me with joy.

5. Walking Far From Home by Iron And Wine

A song filled with allegorical things that Sam Beam saw when out walking, none of which I understand! The lyrics (which, again, I have no idea what they mean) are wonderful! Lines like “I saw sinners making music, and I’ve dreamt of that sound” or “I saw kindness and an angel, crying “Take me back home.” Seriously, no clue. But I love it just the same. It just seems so hopeful.

Transatlanticism by Death Cab For Cutie
The Very Best of The Lovin' Spoonful
B.O.B. by Outkast
Stay Positive by The Hold Steady
Odessey And Oracle by The Zombies

6. Transatlanticism by Death Cab For Cutie

Sure, the lyrics are some sort of claptrap about oceans being born and moats and boats and whatever, but when Ben Gibbard sings “So come on!” over and over, it lifts my soul so high that the rest of the words doesn’t matter.

7. Do You Believe In Magic by The Lovin’ Spoonful

A great song but, wow, do those chants of “Do you believe like I believe?” make me happy? You know? I just might believe!

8. B.O.B. by Outkast

I’ll admit Outkast slipped by me. As amazing as their first three albums are, I missed it, I don’t know why. So when I first heard “B.O.B.” off of their fourth album Stankonia on a CMJ compilation, my jaw just dropped. The song was so fast. It was basically speed metal with incredibly nimble rhyming over it, then a breakdown with chanting over it, THEN a midtempo part with almost gospel-like vocals. W.O.W.! And it still thrills me, although it’s best if I don’t listen to it when I drive.

9. One For The Cutters by The Hold Steady

Although “Massive Nights” off of Boys And Girls In America is a way more fun and joyful song with its chanted “Whoaaah” vocals, “Cutters,” from the follow up album Stay Positive, is the song that gets me. Neither fun nor joyful, it tells the tale of a college student who gets mixed up with “townies” (The Cutters in the title is a reference to the wonderful film “Breaking Away“). There’s a fight and a stabbing and a trial where “her father’s lawyers do most of the talking” (Craig Finn is probably my favorite lyricist right now), and I sing along at top volume no matter where I’m listening to it. Don’t know why, just do.

10. This Will Be Our Year by The Zombies

British Invasion band The Zombies had already broken up by the time (of the season) their masterpiece Odessey And Oracle had come out. It’s absolutely incredible. Baroque melodies mixed together with majestic vocals in three minute songs. And my favorite is “This Will Be Our Year.” I’ve never been the most optimistic person, but this song makes my soul half full. I play it every New Year’s Eve, which would probably annoy all of the others at whichever party I was at, but it’s so glorious, I have a feeling they don’t mind.

11. Georgy Girl by The Seekers and Windy by The Association

The Seekers and The Association
“Georgy Girl” was the theme song for a movie of the same name. Co-written by Jim Dale (who narrated the Harry Potter books on CD and the TV show Pushing Daisies, and also appeared in the British Carry On movies) and Tom Springfield (Dusty’s brother!), it was performed by Australian band The Seekers, who would soon become The New Seekers and would like to teach the world to sing.

“Windy” was written by Ruth Friedman (who also wrote songs featured in the cult biker movie The Peace Killers). It was performed by American band The Association, a sunshiny pop band with psychedelic aspirations who would have close to a thousand different members throughout their lifetime (exaggerating, kind of). Both of these songs sound somewhat similar and they both make me happy.

Originally posted by Tim P. at ToledoLibrary.org/blog/happy-little-trees-a-playlist.

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