The Meal Planning Boot Camp Day 2: The Menu Planning Process

(If your just joining us, welcome to Meal Planning Boot Camp. Each day this week I’ll post a lesson and a homework assignment. Click here to read the complete overview.)

Well Done Recruits!

Great job making it through day 1.

I’m proud of you, but…don’t think I’m going easy on you now. If you haven’t finished yesterday’s homework, go do that before moving on. I want you to have at LEAST a dozen recipes by the end of the week in your Recipe Book. It will help you make the most of PTE.

No use trying and not going all out, right?

Lesson 2: Meal Planning

Today we are going to look at the planning section of Plan To Eat. This is where all the goodness happens. Even though I love how simple it is to enter recipes, it’s the planning part of the site that makes me sing its praises.

Call me a nerd, but I think it’s really fun to be able to drag and drop recipes onto the calendar to plan my week. And when I discovered I could SAVE that week’s meal plan and then just drag and drop an entire weekly menu…I wept softly.

Wait…no I didn’t. Drill Sergeants don’t cry. Alright, forget that. Get to work. Here’s today’s video lesson:

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The Meal Planning Boot Camp Day 1: Your Recipe Book

(If you’re just joining us, welcome to Meal Planning Boot Camp. Each day this week I’ll post a lesson and a homework assignment. Click here to read the complete overview.)

Getting Started

Today is Day 1 of the Meal Planning Boot Camp and it’s going to the be hardest day. You’ll need to work, but if you can survive this, you will be a meal planning ninja in no time.

Yes, I just mixed metaphors. I’m a pretend drill sergeant, I can do that. But for the record, Ninjas do not go to boot camp.

Moving on…

Today is all about entering our recipes into PlanToEat. If you already have your recipes gathered, this will be a pretty straight forward process.

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Join Us For The Meal Planning Boot Camp!


(Here is the main page for the Meal Planning Boot Camp with links to all the lessons.)

Welcome New Recruits

I’ve shared about doing this Meal Planning Bootcamp for a few weeks now on the podcast. I love how excited you all are about it! I thought I’d give you a little overview and a few tips before we get started.

I’m doing this “boot camp” because over the Thanksgiving holiday I shared about the website I use to do my meal planning. It’s called I was blown away by how many of you signed up for it. I want to follow up and make sure you have everything you need to make the most of it.

Hence, boot camp…

What Will You Learn?
This meal planning boot camp is going to be centered around the service. Why? Well, because it’s the only meal planning system that has ever worked for me, so it’s the only method that I could cover with any semblance of authority.

However, the overall method of organizing recipes into weekly menus with a corresponding shopping list will help anyone on any system. And the accountability of going through the bootcamp together might just be the motivation you need to get your meal planning in order.

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

However, I’m not a food blogger or any sort of meal planning expert. I’m just a mom who loathes meal planning, cooks only when forced (It’s like my family expects to eat every single day. What’s up with that?) and wants to simplify the process as much as possible.

This system allows me to meal plan in less than 5 minutes each week. How awesome is that?

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Fitness Motivation for Moms in 2015 with Alisa Keeton – ITA68

Ready for a different perspective on fitness? Alisa Keeton, wife and mom of 2, from joins us today to talk about how fitness is more than just getting fit.

Alisa invites us to bring God into every aspect of our lives, including our approach to fitness. She puts God’s message of healing and redemption at the center. Whether your fitness journey is just starting or you are well on your way, you will be encouraged by Alisa and her heart for God and seeing transformation in others – inside and out.

In This Episode You’ll Hear…

  • How to get motivated and stay motivated on your fitness journey.
  • Invite God. Start small. Accept the grace that God is so readily giving out.
  • What it means to fall forward.
  • The importance of asking God who He wants you to be and where He wants to take you on your fitness journey.

Click the play button in the post or grab your favorite podcast app and join us for a chat!

Tweet to Inspire: “God wants to do the heavy lifting for you, but you have to let Him.” –@alisakeeton on @inspired2action –> Click To Tweet


Meal Planning Bootcamp Next Week

I’ll be hosting my meal planning bootcamp next week January 19-23. If you haven’t yet signed up for Plan to Eat’s free 30 day trial, today is the perfect day. That will give you a little time to play around with it before we get to work next Monday. Stay tuned!

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

Favorite new recipe:
I made these relatively healthy rice krispy treats yesterday and they were a HUGE hit in our house. Best of all, they are super fast, simple and no sugar.

Click here to start your free trial of and get ready for the Meal Planning Bootcamp next week!

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Own Your Life – with Sally Clarkson – ITA67

I’m thrilled to bring you the wisdom and inspiring words of Sally Clarkson today. I treasure any time I get to spend with her and I am so happy she is here to encourage you!

ITA-Sally Clarkson (1)

Today she shares about the themes in her new book that has just been released Own Your Own Life.

In This Episode You’ll Hear…

  • How you will be challenged to a life that is empowering not depleting.
  • How God can use you in the very place you are in right now.
  • What it means to live an excellent life with what God has given you.
  • How love is the foundation of you being influential in your kids’ lives.

Oh, and If you’re going to be in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area next month, I’d love it if you’d join me, Sally and Ruth Schwenk from at Sally’s MomHeart Conference. Click here for all the info.

Update On Meal Planning Bootcamp

I announced that I’d be doing another Meal Planning Bootcamp starting on the 12th, but I decided to postpone it until the 19th. I know many of you are participating in this first session of HelloMornings, which starts on the 12th, and I didn’t want to overwhelm you with too many challenge starts in one week.

So the Meal Planning Bootcamp will start on the 19th. Stay tuned for more info.

And if you don’t already have a account, be sure to go get your free trial so that you’ll be all ready for bootcamp when it starts. During bootcamp, I’ll walk you through all the ins and outs of and the system I use to keep healthy meals on the table for my family.

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

Click the play button in the post or grab your favorite podcast app and join us for a chat!

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Marriage and Money – with Josh Lawson – ITA66

Marriage and money – it doesn’t have to be an argument waiting to happen. Josh Lawson, author of the book ReAlign, is joining me on the podcast today to talk about money personalities and the true purpose of our finances.

Josh created a fantastic free guide for you “10 Questions to Ask Your Spouse to Get on the Same Page About Money” – click here to grab your copy. And be sure to enter the giveaway for Josh’s book at the end of this post!

josh lawson


In This Episode You’ll Hear…

  • About the different money personalities, learn which one you are and how to get on the same page as your spouse.
  • How to make Christmas and the holidays a little less stressful when it comes to finances.
  • The importance of the question: “What is the ultimate purpose of my finances?”

Click the play button in the post or grab your favorite podcast app and join us for a chat!

How To Save At The Grocery Store

True story – I used to go to the grocery store so much that the checkout people invited me to their weddings and baby showers. While I did make lovely friends, I also wasted a LOT of money on random purchases because I had NO idea what I was going to cook for dinner each day.

Enter Now, not only do I know what I’m going to make each night, but I also piggyback meals so that I use leftovers from one meal in the main dish the next night. Roasted chicken becomes chicken quesadillas or chicken soup. Less wasted food, fewer trips to the store and more homecooked goodness.


Get your free 30 day trial at Click Here to Read More...

Grace Laced Motherhood with Ruth Simons – ITA65

We’ve talked about the power of giving grace to our children, but what if we, as moms, walked in ABUNDANT grace too? Today we are chatting with Ruth Simons. She is the “unlikely mama of 6 boys and wife to one patient man.” She is a shoppe owner/artist/writer at GraceLaced and one of most eloquent and inspiring women I follow on Instagram.

Today we are talking about how the cross intersects every moment of our daily lives and how to live a grace-laced life. Grab your headphones, a cup of something warm and yummy and join us for a chat.

In This Episode You’ll Hear…

  • How what we rehearse in our minds all day long affects our mothering
  • It’s not about perfection and having it all together, it’s more about what God has already done for you and how His grace provides exactly what you need in the moment.
  • It’s ok to be real in your motherhood.  Don’t let the “real moments” rob you of the joy of motherhood.

That Time I Failed To Plan…

Crazy week here. I didn’t meal plan this week so I don’t have a bunch of handy dandy recipes for you. Thankfully, my prior meal planning (and Plan To Eat’s handy “Freezer” label) came to the rescue because my freeze had plenty of home cooked goodness that I could pull out at 5 o’ crazy and still have a nice meal on the table for dinner. Winner winner chicken dinner.

Click here to get your free 30 trial and stay tuned for the Meal Planning Bootcamp that I’ll be leading after the holidays. We are going to rock 2015, my friends!

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

Click the play button in the post or grab your favorite podcast app and join us for a chat!

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Motherhood on a Tour Bus – An Interview with Mother and Musician with JJ Heller – ITA64

Ever wonder what other mother’s daily lives look like? Today I’m taking you behind the scenes with one of my very favorite musicians, JJ Heller. She shares what it looks like to be a mom and musician. Motherhood on a tour bus, airplane and rental car. I adore JJ’s sweet heart and amazing talent.


I especially love the story of how JJ and I connected and what my sister in law and the TV show So You Think You Can Dance had to do with it all. It truly is amazing how God weaves stories together…

Grab your headphones and join us for a chat!

It’s Here!!!!

Alright, my friends. My favorite Black Friday Weekend Sale is here. Plan To Eat is offering 50% off their year subscriptions. You’ve heard me tell you how much I honestly love this service. I love how I can meal plan for an entire week in less than 5 minutes AND it automatically makes my shopping list for me.

It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing…

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

You still have time to try their FREE 30 day trial today and then take advantage of their sale later today or tomorrow. The sale ends Monday.

Meal Planning Bootcamp?

For those of you who choose to take advantage of the deal, I plan to hold another Meal Planning Bootcamp (it was a huge success last time) after the holidays. Stay tuned!

Quick Links

  1. JJ’s You Tube Channel
  2. JJ’s “I Dream of You” Album
  3. JJ’s Children’s book
  4. Love the song in the outro? It’s called God Day. It’s by Jen Stanbro and you can get it on iTunes by clicking here and check out Jen’s site by clicking here.


(If you are reading this via email or rss and the videos don’t show up, click here to watch them.)
As I mentioned in the podcast, here are some of the videos from JJ’s concert at our house. This song is called “Your Hands”:

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Your Best Christmas Ever – with Jennifer Dukes Lee – ITA #63

Holiday overwhelm. How do we fight it? Accomplished author turned country girl, Jennifer Lee Dukes shares her thoughts about making this the year of the “pre-approved” Christmas…where we celebrate His approval of us rather than to gain the approval of others.



Today we also talk about how you are one of kind. I show my nerdy side a bit and share an inspiring statistic. Yes, I just said “inspiring statistic” – listen and I think you’ll agree…

In This Episode You’ll Hear…

  • How making a list of ordered priorities with a guiding principle at the top will help you have a simple, meaningful Christmas.
  • When we feel half hearted, not whole hearted we question ourselves and identity, especially at Christmas.
  • Jesus is the only unchanging part of Christmas and that is what we are celebrating.

Tweet to Inspire: “Love others from your approval of Christ, rather than for the approval of others.” – @Dukeslee on @inspired2action –>

Click the play button in the post or grab your favorite podcast app and join us for a chat!

My Favorite Freezer Recipes

The holidays are busy and I don’t always have time to cook before we have to run to the next event. That’s why I’m stocking up our freezer with simple, fast healthy meals that I can always pull out in a pinch.

Here are my favorites:
Chili – super simple and can be used SO many ways.
Salsa Chicken – this one is even easier and more versitile. We use it in burritos, over rice, on nachos. Yum.
Lasagna – an old freezer staple.

I’m so thankful for how simple Plan To Eat makes my batch cooking and meal planning. I just drag, drop, grab my phone and head to the store because PTE automagically makes my shopping list for me. Golden.
Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

Be sure to check them out and grab their FREE 30 day trial.

(Note that their huge Black Friday 50% off sale is coming up, so now is the perfect time to check them out.)

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Announcing The HelloMornings Advent Study Power Pack!


New Things Coming…

There are SO many exciting things in the pipeline. And I’m absolutely thrilled about the ways I’m going to be able to better serve you as moms through the projects in the works right now.

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