Meal Planning Monday ~ Best of Summer


Happy Memorial Day!  Much love and respect to our troops, past and present, and to the families of our fallen soldiers.

I know that the official first day of summer is June 21st, but for me the start of summer is Memorial Day weekend.  Everyone is out manning the grills, mowing the lawns, and opening the swimming pools.  So I thought I would highlight some of the “Best of Summer” Meal Planning posts so you can make sure your summer meals are both easy and tasty.  Here are some of my favorites!


Save Big, But Still Impress, at Your Summer BBQ ~ How to have an awesome BBQ without breaking the bank!
Favorite Picnic Side Dishes ~ Inspiration for your side dishes to accompany your burgers and hot dogs!
Keeping It Cool in the Kitchen ~ Get tips for cooking great summer meals without heating up the kitchen.
Summer Desserts ~ A round up of sweet, cool treats for hot, sticky days!
I am an Ice Cream Evil Genius!  For those of you with an ice cream maker, don’t miss these delicious recipes.
Happy Campers ~ Great recipes for your summer camping trips.
Summer Fun ~ These aren’t recipes to eat, but for fun activities to keep your kids occupied and happy all summer!
What are  your best tips for successful meal planning during the summer months?

Meal Planning Monday ~ Camping with the Kiddos

This week’s blog post is by Leah Kelley.

I love camping! Before my husband and I had kids, we went camping all the time. We would just pack up and go. We would pick a state park and off we went. One of our best camping trips was at Natural Bridge State Park in Kentucky. We did a little hiking then came back to our campsite where it started to lightly rain. Ironically, that was one of the only times we didn’t have a problem starting a fire and keeping it going. We camped next to a stream, and the sound of running water and rain was so peaceful. I think that’s the best night of sleep I’ve ever had on a camping trip.

We’ve held off camping with the kids until now.  Well, actually we did try when my daughters were six months old and three years old but that was a hot mess! I was finally able to talk my husband into camping with the kids this summer – woo hoo!  We’re planning on going next month when he’s on vacation from work and me and kids are super excited. Preparing to camp with kids is completely different then preparing to camp with just your spouse or significant other. There’s so much planning and prepping! Thankfully I love planning and list making.  I thought I’d share with you all a few tips I picked up from my favorite site – Pinterest.

Make a Meal Plan ~ Yes, even though you’re on vacation you will still need a meal plan while camping. It can be as simple or extensive as you wish but my advice is to make it simple when camping with kids.

 Hope for the Best, but Plan for the Worst ~ I don’t mean plan on your kids to get extremely sick but throwing together a first aid kit might save you a bit of sanity if one of them does fall and scrapes a knee or has some tummy troubles.

 Pack Extra Clothes ~ As you know it gets colder at night so make sure you pack them weather appropriate pajamas and extra blankets. You might not need them but better to be prepared then not.

 Make a Checklist ~ I’m addicted to checklists so this one is easy for me. If you’re not a list-maker just type in “Camping Checklist” into Google and print one off.  This is will make sure you remember all those little details like bug spray and sunscreen.

 Stay Close to Home ~ If it’s your first camping trip with kids stay close to home. We’re lucky to have a variety of campgrounds within an hour of our city. Just in case our trip becomes too overwhelming, it’s not a big deal to pack up and head home.

 Bring a Few Toys ~ Keeping your kids occupied is a lot easier with a few of their favorite toys. Bring cars, a few dolls, bikes, or any outside toys.

 Remember to Relax and Have Fun ~ I anticipate my kids not going to bed until late and that’s fine with me. (I will have to remind my husband of this though since he’s a stickler for bed times.) I’m hoping the fresh air, hiking, and running around will wear them out but you never know.  Be sure to check out all the great camping ideas and recipes I’ve been collecting on my “Camping” Pinterest board!

Here’s a recipe I can’t wait to try! My packet will contain vegetarian sausage ;)


Foil Dinners ~ I got the recipe from Simple Bites


  • 8 pre-cooked sausages, cut into thirds.
  • 2 lbs new potatoes, halved and par-boiled
  • 1 small red onion, cut into chunks
  • 6 small sweet peppers, cubed
  • 12 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • fresh herbs, torn, (I used basil and oregano)
  • salt & pepper
  1. Prepare fire by allowing to burn down to coals.
  2. On the picnic table, lay out six squares of heavy-duty aluminum foil, about one foot square, and oil lightly.
  3. In the center of each piece of foil, place four pieces of sausage, a handful of baby potatoes and a few cloves of garlic.
  4. Divide up the onion, peppers, and herbs among the packages. Season with salt and pepper and dot with butter, if available.
  5. Bring opposite corners of foil together and seal. Fold over the seam and seal tightly to make a secure package.
  6. Place on coals (a little flame is fine) and roast, turning occasionally, for about ten minutes. Serve.

Meal Planning Monday ~ The Best of Leah 2012

Only a week and a day until Christmas!  Like Leah and I, you’re probably busy, busy trying to finish up shopping, wrapping, cooking, and baking so you’ll be ready to enjoy your family when the big day arrives.  So I thought I would give Leah and myself a well deserved break from blogging for a bit so we can enjoy the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.  This week, we’re highlighting Leah’s best posts of the year, so be sure you check out any you might have missed.

            Next week, there will be NO Meal Planning Monday.  The last Monday of the month, will be “The Best of Christine 2012.”


Meal Planning Monday ~ Happy Campers


            This week’s post is by Leah Kelley.

          It’s summertime and for many of us, that means camping.  I love to camp!  And I do the “real” camping in a tent – no RV for this outdoor girl!   My husband and I are planning a family camping trip this summer, once it cools down a bit.  It’s been super-hot here in the Cincinnati area and I am not a hot weather person.  One of the best parts of “roughing it” is food cooked over the campfire!  I did some searching on Pinterest and found some unconventional campfire recipes.  Sure, you can cook the traditional hot dogs, hamburgers, and s’mores, but mixing in a little variety will make for some very happy campers.

Campfire Monkey Bread ~ I know what you’re thinking. “Isn’t monkey bread only made at home?”  Nope.  Just check out this recipe; it’s easy and looks delicious!

Foil Packets ~ These are awesome!  You can pretty much put any combination of meat and veggies in foil packets to cook on your campfire.  Here are some great recipe variations:

Breakfast Over a Campfire ~ Yes please!  I love breakfast and I love campfires!  Put the two together and this girl is in love.

Pizza over a Fire~ Crazy, huh?!


Fried Biscuits (Thanks to for the recipe.)

You don’t need an oven for this Southern breakfast favorite.

Serves 4

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes


1 Large can of biscuits
1/2 stick of butter or margarine

1. Add a teaspoon of butter in a pan, moving it around and allowing the butter to coat the bottom of the pan.
2. Slice the biscuits in half and place them in the pan.  Make sure that you don’t overcrowd the pan.
3. Cook over a low fire for about 5 minutes on each side.