Why I Will Be Missing For A Little While

by Kimberlee Stokes Affiliate Link Disclosure B


There are some experiences in life that put everything into perspective.


You know those moments when your entire life flashes before your eyes and you are at a loss? We experienced one of those this weekend when our neighbor knocked on our door to tell us that our 17 year old daughter had been struck by a minivan while riding her bicycle a few blocks from our house.

We rushed down the street to the scene of the accident grateful to find that she was at least alive but lying on the pavement immobile – every parent’s worst nightmare unfolding before our eyes. Thankfully we have incredible neighbors. One kind woman was holding her hand. Another had called 911, others stood around her talking soothingly.

I sat on the ground to hold her head and talk to her and then I saw it – the minivan which had hit her had a huge dent in the front and the windshield was shattered where her body had made impact.

Within a few minutes we were whisked away by ambulance to the emergency room and after a CT scan and X-rays we discovered the extent of the damage: a broken and protruding collar bone and a broken ankle along with abrasions and bruising.


After surgery to fix the collarbone and ankle she is now recovering and after a couple of months of healing she will be as good as new, with the addition of a few pieces of metal holding her together in certain spots.

We are so grateful. Seeing the damage to the bicycle and the minivan so many alternative outcomes run through my mind as I am caring for her: brain damage, spinal cord injury or even death. I am so aware of the fragility of life, the preciousness of each moment we have with our loved ones.

My posts will probably be a little sporadic for the next couple of weeks. I am sure that you understand.


1 Hour Prep = 20 Minute Meals All Week -- The Peaceful Mom -



You might have noticed that I like keeping life simple and one of my favorite ways to simplify is by making meals as stress free as possible. Last week I showed you how I turned 29 pounds of meat into 2 weeks of meals in just 1 hour (read more here). Today I want to show you how I spent 1 hour of preparation on my shopping day that enabled me to make dinner in about 20 minutes the rest of the week. (Plus you can print a grocery list to do the same!)

Here’s what I bought this week including breakfasts and dinners (see our complete $125 Budget Menu here):


Aldi Produce 10-17 -- The Peaceful Mom

 Aldi Produce

Best produce deals this week:

Yellow Onions $.99/3 lb bag

Fuji Apples $2.99/3 lb bag

Grape Tomatoes $1.59/pint

Mushrooms $.99/8 ounces

Pomegranate $.99

Red Seedless Grapes $1.49/lb



Aldi Grocery Items 10-17 -- The Peaceful Mom

Aldi Grocery Items

I was super happy to find ketchup with no high-fructose corn syrup so I purchased two bottles. I also splurged a little on the Banana Granola for my husband and the maple syrup for $3.99.



Aldi Refrigerated and Meat 10-17 -- The Peaceful Mom

 Aldi Refrigerated and Dairy Items

(not pictured: gallon of milk)

We primarily eat meat and vegetables for dinner because my daughter is gluten free for medical reasons. This week I purchased:

7.6  pounds of ground beef

2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts

6 pounds of carne picada (shredded beef)


Weekly Spending Total: $129.41 ($125/week budget for 6)

October Monthly Total: $377.22 ($125/73 avg. per week)




1 Hour Prep Timer 3

The 1 Hour Prep

Dry Beans – Rinse beans and place them in a large pan to soak overnight.

Onions – Slice 3 large onions into long strips. Cover and place in the refrigerator for later. Dice 3 large onions, set aside for ground beef. Dice an additional onion and set it aside for the sausage.

Green Peppers – Wash and slice into strips. Place pepper strips in refrigerator until dinner time.

Carne Picada – Place the carne picada in a glass bowl. In a jar with a tight lid shake together ½ cup balsamic vinaigrette, ½ cup Worcestershire sauce and ½ cup Italian dressing and pour over meat. Set meat in the fridge to marinate until dinner.

Ground Beef (Part 1)- Saute previously diced onions in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add ground beef plus 2 tablespoons salt and cook until meat is browned. Drain meat and set aside to cool. Click here to see freezing instructions or watch my Easy Freezer Cooking Video here.

Sausage – Saute additional diced onion with breakfast sausage. Allow to cool then package in a zipper freezer bag for later.

Ground Beef (Part 2) – Prepare ground beef for the freezer. Click here to see freezing instructions or watch my Easy Freezer Cooking Video here.


Click here to download the 1 Hour Prep – 20 Minute Meals Grocery List with all of the items you need for these dinners.

(Please Note: I have made the grocery list based on the cheapest way to make each meal. If you have less time you can spend more money for convenience items like prepared pasta sauce, canned beans, etc.)


Sauteing Steak and Peppers -- The Peaceful Mom

The Daily Plan

Day #1: Steak and Peppers Over Rice

Start cooking white rice (15 minutes). In a separate pan steam green beans. Meanwhile sauté the carne picada with green peppers and sliced onions.

Serve half of the meat mixture over rice with the green beans on the side. Place remaining half of meat mixture in the refrigerator for Day #3.


Day #2: Ham and Bean Soup 

In the morning rinse the beans and add them to a large stock pot with a ham bone and 1 tablespoon of salt. At dinner time follow directions for Ham and Bean Soup. (I have chicken broth in the pantry and I am skipping the celery). Serve with cheese toast triangles. To make this easier, use canned beans and follow the directions for the soup.

While you are waiting for the soup to cook, sauté the marinated chicken breasts to serve over salad for lunch tomorrow.


Day #3: Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches with Sweet Potato Fries

Wash and slice sweet potatoes then place them on a cookie sheet to make Sweet Potato Fries. While these are baking (about 20 minutes), heat remaining steak and peppers in a skillet. Place meat on top of open buns and top with provolone cheese slices to make Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches.

Once potatoes are done, turn on the broiler and broil sandwiches for about 2 minutes or until cheese is melted and bread is lightly toasted on the edges. Serve with Sweet Potato Fries.


Day #4:  Sausage and Mushroom Pizza 

In the morning place frozen prepared sausage in fridge to thaw. At dinner time wash and slice mushrooms. In a large skillet add 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and saute mushrooms until softened. Add thawed sausage and onion mixture to mushrooms and heat through. Set aside.

Make Easy Pizza Crust. Top crust with sausage and mushroom mixture and top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 – 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is starting to brown. (To make this quicker, purchase a prepared pizza crust.)


Day #5: Beefy Bean Burritos

In the morning place one half package of frozen browned ground beef (approximately 1 1/2  pounds) in the fridge to thaw. At dinner time add thawed ground beef to skillet and follow recipe for Beantastic Taco Meat. Add meat to flour tortillas and add shredded cheddar cheese to make Beefy Bean Burritos. Serve with romaine salad.


Day #6 Pasta with Meat Sauce

In the morning set 1/2 package of frozen prepared ground beef (about 1 1/2 pounds) in the fridge to thaw. At dinner time start water boiling for pasta.

In a separate sauce pan add (2) 28 ounce cans of crushed tomatoes, ground beef and onion mixture, 1/2 tablespoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of basil. Cook over medium heat until heated through. Serve sauce over cooked pasta with a salad on the side. (To make this even easier add meat to a jar of prepared pasta sauce.)


Day #7  Grilled Cheese Sandwiches Plus Leftovers

At dinner time reheat any leftovers and serve with grilled cheese sandwiches and fruit of your choice.


There you have it – just a little bit of preparation on your shopping day and you can enjoy stress free dinners all week!


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