How I Meal Plan- Includes Free Printables

I have previously done a post on why I meal plan: Benefits of Meal Planning, but I wanted to dedicate this one to HOW I meal plan. I get so many questions on this, and I always say it is not a one size fits all method, just find what works for you, but seeing as I keep getting asked, I wanted to share my method and the templates I use (made by me).

Inventory

I always take stock of what I have at home. I shop pantry first, and then base my meals around that. I use my inventory printable for this:

Meal Plan

I try my hardest to use up what I have on my inventory list in some way. I jot my meals down (based on my pantry inventory) on my meal plan printable. I like to plan breakfasts, lunches where possible, and evening meals:

Grocery List

Using my meal plan, I write my grocery list on the same sheet. Do not forget to add on any extras such as toiletries and cleaning supplies, snacks etc.

I hope this post has answered some of the many questions about my meal planning method.


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Summer Bucket List Free Printable

When it comes to keeping the kids entertained in the summer, I am all for cheap or free ideas that we can do as a family. I have compiled 30 ideas into one free printable that you can download, print, and check off as you complete each task

Download here: Summer Bucket List

Have a great summer!


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Free Teacher Gift Printable

When it comes to the end of the school year, I always stress over what gift s to get the teachers. I don’t want to get them something they’ll end up with 20 of such as cups or key-rings, and I never buy food gifts if I don’t know someone’s dietary requirements. This year, I thought up a gift t that is small, simple, and practical, but a nice gesture of thanks. I also wanted to offer you the chance to download it for free.

A bookmark printed on card stock or laminated is a cute, little token gift. . You can gift t them as they are or with a journal or book. Just keep it practical, so it is more likely to be appreciated and used.

Download your free printable here:


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Free Father’s Day Printable

Are you struggling to think of a gift for Father’s Day? Or do you need to watch the pennies? No fear, I have a free printable that may help. All you need to do is print it out and put it in a frame. You can use a spare frame you have in the house or shop second hand for a really frugal gift.


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Breakfast Ice Cream

This is the healthy ice cream treat that my kids think is awesome. Ice cream for breakfast is cool in any kid’s book, right? Just remember to tell them the actual ingredients in case they tell their teachers that mum or dad gave them ice cream for breakfast *cringe*.

  • Frozen banana slices (1 banana per person)
  • A handful of oats per person
  • Milk to thin it a little bit.

I just throw everything into the blender and let it do its thing. You can add more or less milk depending on your preferred texture.

Voila! A healthy breakfast that is a definite treat! This would be perfect for birthday breakfasts.


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Big News!

I wanted to inform you all of something exciting that I have been working on for the past few weeks! I’m on Youtube! I have been turning my blog content into Youtube videos and my first went live today! This has been a real labour of love, so if you are over on Youtube, I would appreciate your support!

I plan to post weekly, but I am still fine tuning what will work best.

Thank, guys!


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Freezing Sandwiches

One thing I don’t let go bad is bread. My family do go through a lot of bread, so it never has a chance to get stale. However, if it doesn’t get eaten, or I find bread reduced in the supermarket, I like to ensure it gets used by making up sandwiches and freezing them.

I find that as long as you freeze them in singles, or in a pack with baking parchment between them to allow for easy retrieval, they freeze and defrost well. I take sandwiches out the night before they are needed to defrost overnight in the fridge.

Ideal sandwich fillings to freeze:

  • Cooked meats
  • Grated cheese
  • Tuna
  • PB and J (Jam can make the bread a little soggy, so use sparingly)
  • Chocolate spread

Fillings not to freeze:

  • Boiled eggs (they can become rubbery)
  • Salad greens or tomatoes and cucumbers (they become limp once thawed)
  • Mayonnaise

Make up your sandwiches and ensure they are wrapped tightly in film or foil. Keep them in your freezer for up to 3 months.


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Super Simple Banana Bread

I know that you may be sick of hearing about banana bread because there was a real fad for baking it during the lockdown, but I love making it and I always get asked for my recipe. In true Sensibly Frugal Living style, there is nothing complex or fancy about my recipe.

What you will need:

  • 250g plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp bicarb
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 115g butter
  • 150g brown sugar (you can use any sugar you have)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ripe bananas (mashed)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

  • Mix dry ingredients together
  • In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients together with the banana
  • Combine the wet and dry ingredients, but try not to over stir
  • Pour it into a lined loaf tin
  • Bake for 55-60 mins at 170.

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5 Ways to Curb Impulse Buying

To coincide with my latest IGTV video, I wanted to re-share my post from 2019 on how to curb impulse spending. With shops opening and restrictions easing in the UK, we may feel the urge to splurge, but follow these tips to try and curb the urge.

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Do you really need another pair of shoes? What’s wrong with the appliance you already have at home? These may seem like logical questions to ask yourself before purchasing an item, but impulse buying isn’t about logic. Impulse can be costly. Here are my 5 tips and tricks on how to curb your impulse buying.

Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels.com

  • Ask yourself three questions. 1. Do I need it? 2. Can I buy it cheaper/ second hand? 3. Can this money be better spent elsewhere i.e savings, a holiday, clearing debt? Having this mindset is a great way to avoid buying unnecessarily, and to remind you of your financial goals.
  • Give yourself a 2 week period to think about the item before you buy it. Taking yourself away from the shops, spending a little time weighing up the pros and cons, and then making a rational decision about whether…

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17 Uses for Fresh Mint

As I have mentioned before on this blog, I have many mint plants in my garden, and I harvest them all throughout the summer. I have done a post similar to this one last year, but I have many new ideas to add this year to help you make the most of any leftover mint you have or if you have mint plants in your garden.

You can find my quick IGTV video over on my Instagram account (link at the bottom of the post).

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Mint and Banana Face Mask

Blend together one banana and a handful of mint leaves until they form a paste. Spread it over your skin and leave for 10 minutes before rinsing.

Foot Soak

Fill a tub with warm water and add in some mint leaves that you have rubbed in your hands to break them down a bit. Soak your feet for 15 minutes.

Bug Repellent Mister

Steep 2 handfuls of mint leaves in 500ml of hot water. Allow it to cool and decant it into a spray bottle to use around your windows or on garden furniture.

Minty Ice Cubes

Place a small mint leave into each ice cube mold before filling with water and freezing.

Sunburn Relief Bath

Steep mint leaves and black teabags in a lukewarm bath. Black tea is supposed to aid in drawing out the heat and the mint is cooling.

Mint Tea

Mint tea is as simple as it sounds. Simply steep fresh or dried mint leaves in hot water. Allow to cool slightly before drinking.

Mint and Sugar Body Scrub

Mix granulated sugar and blended mint leaves into a paste with a little olive oil. Use this as an exfoliating scrub in the shower.

Mint Infused Oils and Vinegars

These are a great idea for DIY gifts. Clean out glass jars or bottles, add in about a handful of mint leaves and then fill with either vinegar or olive oil. Leave to infuse for a few weeks.

Mint and Rosemary Facial Tonic

Steep mint and rosemary in boiling water and allow to cool. Strain it out, and then decant into a bottle (preferably with a pump). You can wash your face with the tonic or pump it onto a face cloth to apply to your face.

Mint Hair Rinse

Follow the instructions for the tonic above (leaving out the rosemary if you prefer), but make a larger batch to use as a hair rinse. This can be made in a jug to use after you shampoo your hair.

Mint Dessert Syrup

Mint syrup is great for snow cones or ice cream.

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of mint leaves

Combine all the ingredients in a pan and boil until the sugar dissolves. Once dissolved, simmer for about five minutes on a low heat. Remove from the heat and leave for 30 minutes before straining.

Mint and Lemon Balm Mouthwash

Steep 1 tbsp mint leaves and 1 tbsp lemon balm leaves in 500 ml of hot water. Allow to cool, and then strain and decant into a jar or a cleaned mouthwash bottle.

Dried mint and Rosemary Wardrobe Sachets

I dry my herbs in the microwave on short blasts, but you can do it in the oven or using a dehydrator. Old tights make a great material for wardrobe and drawer sachets. Cut them into sections, tie one end, fill with the dry herbs, then tie the other end.

Mint Tincture

Mint tincture is great for indigestion. Fill a jar 75% with fresh, chopped mint leaves, then pour over vodka until the jar is full. Place in a dark cupboard and shake the jar once a day for five weeks. You can then strain the mixture and bottle it up. Use a dropper to relieve symptoms (just a few drops).

Mint and Basil Pesto

  • 1 cup mint leaves
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts
  • Salt and pepper

Blitz together in a food processor. This is great on pasta or pizzas.

Mint and White Vinegar Cleaner

Place 2 handfuls of fresh mint in a 500ml jar or bottle. Pour white vinegar on top. Screw the lid on tight and let it infuse for about 14 days. To use, decant it into a spray bottle about half full, and fill the rest up with water.


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