Friday, June 7, 2013

GNOWFGLINS Meal Plan Review Part 1!!!

I have been an avid meal planner for about 2 years now. I have found that it really helps me stick to my budget, especially as a real foods family. Earlier this year my two boys got whooping cough and in all the sleepless nights and care taking, I completely stopped meal planning. Suddenly our budget wasn't going far enough and I was beginning to feel I needed to make compromises in our diet quality. After going way over our budget in April, I knew I needed to get back into the swing of meal planning but was feeling very out of practice. I couldn't have been more thrilled when Wardeh from GNOWFGLINS offered 3 months of meal plans for me to review!

This was absolutely a favorite! Creamy Beef w/ Mushrooms over Rice w/ Roasted Cauliflower.
So easy to make and oh so tasty! My 2 yo old had 2 helpings. That seems to be happening a lot with Wardeh's recipes!

Before I get into what I love about her meal plans, let me tell you why I love her blog and plans from a nutritional stand point. I have been learning a lot about traditional food preparations and diet needs according to Weston A Price's research. Basically, this means properly soaking/sprouting/souring grains, beans, nuts and legumes as well as incorporating lots of healthy  animal fats and protein. I have also been learning how to ferment and culture foods to maximize nutrition. If you're already thinking about skipping the rest of this blog post, bear with me! It's not as complicated as you think, and so vital to your health. As I was learning about all of these things I became overwhelmed. I didn't know how to prepare food correctly and had no idea where to start. That is where GNOWFGLINS comes in! All of her recipes are traditionally prepared and not only that, she helps you to learn the how and why of what you are doing. I knew that her meal plans would be just what I needed to provide delicious, traditionally prepared food that didn't take tons of time.

Delicious Strawberries N Cream Oatmeal. No sugar necessary, sweetened with raw honey, this is amazing!
Took me all of 5 minutes to prepare. This is the perfect breakfast for a busy morning!

These are weekly menu plans that come directly to your inbox every friday afternoon. I do once a month shopping so decided to "stock up" on menus for a couple of weeks before beginning. This allowed me to plan my monthly shopping trip around her menus. Here is what each menu comes with:

  • 1 devotional, for personal or family sharing
  • 3 complete dinners
  • 1 breakfast
  • 1 lacto-ferment (a naturally pickled side dish, condiment or other lacto-fermented dish)
  • 1 dessert (using natural sweeteners in small amounts)
  • complete shopping list
  • weekly calendar
  • forum support — ask questions about ingredients or substitutions, and share feedback
  • monthly bonus*

This is just what I needed. I needed to know how to start incorporating traditional food preparations into my daily cooking routine. I loved knowing that I wouldn't need to nutritionally alter anything in any of the dishes. I also really needed some new recipes.... We were all getting bored with our standard rotation. Here are my top 3 favorite things about these menu plans...

This was an amazing Quinoa and Red Onion Salad. This had fresh tomatoes, asparagus and feta... Fabulous!
We ate it for dinner and then lunch the rest of the week. So versatile too!

GROCERY LIST- Each menu comes with a full grocery list letting you know what and how much you will need of every item. Its broken up into sections (meat, grains...) so it is easy to check your own inventory. I also like that each ingredient is labeled to the side so you know exactly which dish you will be using it for. This has cut down my grocery trip planning by nearly an hour!

VERSATILE- None of the ingredients in the recipes I received have been overly expensive or different from what we normally buy. This makes it very versatile for our kitchen and budget. I am not going to any special stores for gourmet items or super expensive cheeses. Not only does this work for our budget and taste buds, but it also makes it easy to tweak if necessary. These recipes are delicious, but very simple and straight forward. A few times I have used a different cut of meat then called for, cow milk in place of non-dairy milk... I have added or taken away certain things depending on our tastes or leftovers I wanted to use up. I follow them pretty closely, but like having that flexibility, knowing it would still be delicious.

FOOD SCHEDULE- Each menu includes a calender for you to plan out your week. Within that calendar it has an AM and PM prep section. You can write what needs to be done each night in prep for the day ahead. As an example, if you are having oatmeal for breakfast, then the night before make a note to start soaking your oats. This takes only a few moments and means better nutrient absorption and digestion in the morning! This has been great for me. I also appreciate that on each recipe it lets you know what needs to be done in advance. For example, it will say start your chicken stock the 1 day ahead, sour your dough overnight, an hour before dinner start cooking your rice... I have really been able to stick with this new way of cooking because this makes it SO easy. Now that it's been just over a month, I only occasionally check to see what needs done ahead of time. I am now in the habit of remembering to start my oats the night before. So great!

Benana Peanut Butter Kefir Smoothie, one of our favorite desserts so far. Perfectly sweet, it really hits the spot.
Bonus: Its packed full of probiotics and protein. I made extra and re-blended for breakfast in the morning.
You are able to download all of the menu plans and recipes so they are easy to reuse. I have started printing the recipes and keeping them in the binder for future meal planning. I have also enjoyed reading the little devotional included in each plan. Its always something thought provoking! Overall, Wardeh's recipes are hands down some of the best! They are truly delicious and offer a wide range of flavors so you and your family do not get bored. My husband and son have both requested repeats, however I haven't repeated any because I keep wanting to try the new menu. None of these foods are "weird" which makes them extremely kid friendly. These foods are normal which makes them budget friendly. You really can't go wrong and I highly recommend you give them a shot!

Make sure you check back the end of June and July for part 2 and part 3 of the meal plan review. I will tell you more about the monthly bonus and our very favorite meals. In July we will be hosting a giveaway from GNOWFGLINS as well!

Written By Happily Domestic Contributor: Brittney Thompson

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Anonymous said...

I have friend who do this and I have eaten the food...yum.
I want to try the beef recipe.

Liz Turner said...

I am in a meal planning rut for sure. I would love some healthy pre-planned menus. I will look into this.

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