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The other night we had some very fun guests – Matt and Meg.  I made one of our favorite meals: Soft Grilled Chicken Tacos.  Cyndi sent me the recipe a while ago, and it quickly became a keeper.  I frequently rotate them into my meal plan.  The secret is in the homemade shells.  All you do is lightly fry flour tortillas in a little bit of canola oil until slightly crispy on the outside, still soft on the inside.  They are infinitely better than store-bought, and unbelievably easy.  They literally take about a minute per shell.

If you want the recipe, go here.  It’s from Cooking Light, but we kinda eliminate everything that makes in light 😉  The variations I make: I use chicken breast (not thighs), I use Habanero-Lime tortillas (from TJ), we use regular sour cream and cheese, we add all kinds of “fixins” with no regard for calories whatsoever.  And so you see, I cannot claim that my tacos are “light.”  I apologize.

Here are some chips I fried up as well, with hummus.

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“Fixins”: Grilled chicken, guacamole, sour cream, cheddar cheese and salsa.  It’s a pretty fantastic combination.

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And for dessert: broiled pineapple rings with vanilla ice cream.

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The best part was when Matt got ahold of Mike’s ID badge and figured out that it made a super fun toy.  Here you can see he has wrapped it around his head like a bandanna, yet with the picture ID still visible.

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We had a great time hanging out with them.  It had been a while since we’d had them over, and it was good to catch up and hear all that God is doing in their lives.  Meg is one of my best friends, and she is also pregnant and due just a little over a month after me – August 21st.  Can’t wait to raise our kids together!  Even though there is pretty much no chance of either of them being normal, we are very excited for them to grow up together 🙂

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If you missed Part 1, go here

So, for perhaps a year now, Meghan and I have been having a duel over who has the best grocery list.  Meg, consider this an upping of the ante. 😉

And I must give some credit to Lauren Bailes – she was the one who suggested I have a “staples” list.  Meaning, a list of items I buy frequently, if not weekly.  I liked her idea, so I added it!  It is so easy – whichever items I need that week, I just circle or highlight. DONE!

Meal planning for me is a necessity. Otherwise I will wander around the grocery store aimlessly and buy Vanilla Chai Tea, a Pineapple, pita bread and hummus. And that will satisfy me for exactly two days. And it sill satisfy Michael for exactly twelve minutes.
SO, I need a list.
My meal planning tools are: slippers, a good movie, my grocery list template (see below), Sunday paper coupons, scissors, fun pens/highlighters, and my Giant circular. Also a Starbucks if I have any dollars left in my Starbucks fund. Which usually I do not. Which leads me to the awful reminder that this truly is a Could-Have-Had-A-Really-Nice-Car-by-Now-With-All-That-Money-You-Drank Fund.

Anywho, here is my latest template, created in Microsoft Excel:

I simply:
a) determine what I’m going to cook for the week
b) write down the ingredients I need
c) go through the circular and see if either the ingredients I need are on sale, or if there are any good items I can stock up on and save. I write the sale price next to the item.
d) see if I have any coupons I want to use, and if so check off the designated box

It really helps me because I have everything on one page. Underneath the Target list I also have a Produce Junction list. I may change this to “Extras” – any other dishes I’m making that week that aren’t meal-related (i.e. snacks for CG, a dish to bring into work, a pie for Traci Healey, etc.)
The great thing: you can easily customize it for which stores you shop it and which staples you buy. I created this based on my needs, you could simply change it to what suits you best.

So, I hope this helps! It’s just something I’ve found helpful. And I’m sure I’ll be tweaking it again soon 🙂

Also, out of curiosity, do you say “I have to go grocery shopping” or “I have to go food shopping”? I’m conducting an experiment.

Collective Reminiscings

The Smittys

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