I Am So Tired Of Doing What I Have To Do And Not What I Want To Do….Plus Some Recent Meals

Do you ever find yourself tired of simply doing??? You know, doing all that normal daily stuff…..laundry, meals, yard work, bills, grocery shopping, organizing events, child care, exercise, etc. By golly, there are days I am almost too tired to shower. However, I find myself every day getting up to do the same thing over again way to often lately with no fun thrown in the mix to make all this monotonous stuff not seem so bad. Maybe it’s where we are in life right now, I am not quite sure. Although, I sure hope things slow down and we find some free time to add back a bit of fun here and there.

So let’s see, a lot has happened recently and I am trying to not let all the stress effect my daily life. This is not as easy to do than I wish it was but life goes on. OK, so we have made a huge decision after a major rain event in our area a few weeks ago. We got a ton of estimates and have finally chosen a company to remove our big cottonwood tree from our yard.

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I have mixed emotions about all this. Yes, it’s a messy tree, with sticky horrible pods in the spring time, then the cotton is a mess flying around the entire neighborhood for weeks mid summer, and it continually clogs our downspouts making rain storms a major event almost always…..but after all that, it’s a beautiful shade tree that we(my daycare kids and I) play under every single day. And then of course all those leaves fall……and it is a horrendous job to clean up!!!! So after this last rain storm where I, of course, was home alone with my husband away for work, decided this is it. We are not doing this anymore. It’s too much work, too much hassle, and just too much!!!! It’s coming down and hopefully before all those leaves start to fall from it. The date is set, we are praying for good weather, and I will share some pictures when it’s all said and done…soon.

Speaking of falling leaves, wow has the weather changed here and so fast at that. We went from hot, humid, and miserable to sweatshirt weather over night. Which has me thinking soup, chili, and more comfort foods being added to the menu. We are still doing the 80/20 meal plan only eating meat about twice a week at best and its working out great. Some meals lately have been:

Tuna melts

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Falafel salads with pickled onions…..both I made myself for the first time ever and they turned out spectacular. IMG_1645

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Quinoa sweet potato chili

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Hearty lentil veggie soup

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Many meals lately have been for just one person….me…and not really worth sharing since they sometimes end up being a bowl of cereal! Yes, I do eat cereal and quite often at that when I am solo. By the time my day ends with work and all is said and done, cereal is easy, fast ,and only uses one dish which is a bonus for me. On a good night I may even add some almond milk….haha!

That should do it for now. Enjoy what is left of summer where ever you are, I know that is our plan here.

 

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Weekly Meal Recap: Plant Based Meal Ideas…Plus This Weeks Training Schedule

As promised here is our first documented week of 80% plant based meals. If you missed why this lifestyle change was made you can read about it by clicking here.

Once again this week I was solo from Monday morning on. So some meals were thrown together quickly with very little prep time involved since it was just me.

Saturday: veggie lo mein

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Sunday: farro shrimp with lemon, dill, zucchini, and peas

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Monday: sun dried tomato and spinach casserole with artichokes

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Tuesday: leftover casserole from the night before

Wednesday: braised cauliflower and spinach

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Thursday: leftover braised cauliflower and spinach from the night before

Friday: take out

I am amazed how much easier it is to cook without meat. I never have to worry about trying to remember to take out anything to unthaw and plus not having to cook meat saves so much time in the cooking process. It’s a win win for me in time and health.

And for those of you who are watching my workout schedule for our upcoming hiking trip here is what this week was like.

Monday: rest…..we were up way to early for my husband to catch his flight, so just getting through the day was a workout in itself

Tuesday: morning gym session: 30 minute elliptical and weights

***hills were scheduled also for the evening hours but we had major thunderstorms all night…so we cancelled them

Wednesday:  20 hill laps

Thursday: morning gym session: 30 minutes elliptical and stretching

Friday: rest

Saturday: lawn cutting and chores

Sunday: 3.5 mile hike IMG_8435

All in all a good week. I am keeping up with home life and fitting in workouts the best I can when solo.We have a lot of things being scheduled in our lives right now, so my workouts are the one thing that keep me level headed in all the chaos. This I am thankful for.

 

My New Kitchen Tool

I finally bought it! I have been debating this kitchen tool for over a year now and finally pulled the trigger. It’s nothing fancy, nothing new to the market, and not a fad like the Instapot craze…..it’s a simple toaster oven.

I know, I know, they have been around forever. My husband actually grew up having one in his childhood home his entire life. Although, I did not and never found the need to have one since I always found myself cooking for a family. However, now I will admit….I love it!!! Since becoming empty nesters and often times finding my husband gone for work and only myself to cook for, this is so much faster, easier, and cooler in the summer months.

So far I have made a small casserole for myself and the daycare children for lunchtime.

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I have also made fish,

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chicken and cheese tortilla melts,

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stuffed zucchini boats, IMG_1449

along with sweet potato fries, nachos, black bean burgers, and pizza melts.

I love that it takes minutes to preheat, minutes to cook, and does not heat up my entire kitchen to prepare one/two serving dishes.

Little by little I am learning how to revamp my/our life to be a family of one or two and occasionally three when our son stops back in to eat at home. I am loving trying new veggie packed recipes that I could never get away with in the past. And believe it or not, being empty nesters is working out pretty well for us all. I am happy, dad is happy and spends more quality time with our son than before, and our son seems pretty happy himself being on his own. Now I just have to figure out what to do with all my 9×13 casserole dishes since I don’t see a lot of usage for them anymore.

So tell me all you other empty nest parents out there…..what was the biggest change when your kids moved out on their own? Was it cooking, cleaning, living a childless lifestyle, reconnecting with your spouse, etc?

 

Recent Meals….Still Learning To Cook For Two

I have been so busy that remembering to take a picture at meal time has been forgotten quite often. Although, don’t fret, I have been cooking as usual but gosh have things changed when it comes to cooking and grocery shopping.

Here are a few meals we have enjoyed recently. My husband has always wanted to take a steak, chop it up, and make a hamburger patty out of it to see what the difference is from ground beef. Well, this finally happened and surprisingly it was pretty darn good. I am not a big beef fan so I was hesitant to try it. However, I must admit, I believe we may have it again since it was so good. IMG_1363

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One evening we had sweet chili chicken, couscous salad, and zucchini.

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Another evening was lemon shrimp with capers and spinach over pasta.IMG_6939

And last I want to tell you about this fabulous sauce I picked up on my last trip to Trader Joes. Gyoza dipping sauce has become a new favorite around here. One night I prepared this chicken veggie stirfry and another night I finished the bottle by tossing together a chicken and leek skillet meal that we simply loved. Each took about half the bottle…so two meals out of one jar. Like usual, I wish I would have bought more but you never know when something new comes out if you will like it or not. However, I am already researching how to make my own Gyoza sauce….and it looks pretty darn simple. IMG_1384

Let’s touch on grocery shopping here quickly. In all honesty, I am still adjusting to buying and feeding two people at meal time. I even have found myself able to use a small cart at the store instead of the jumbo grocery carts. IMG_1362

It takes me less time to put groceries away once I arrive home. And I never use all my reusable grocery bags anymore like I once did before. And the bill at checkout time is a shocker…but I am loving it. So little by little I am adjusting to the new way of meal planning and shopping. Now if only they would make hamburger/hotdog/ and bread loaves in half sizes….I would be very thankful!

It’s Melting As Fast As It Fell

This week turned out to be fairly normal considering everything going on around us. Even with all our outdoor surroundings covered with snow yet we still managed to get outside to play and do chores. Melting is happening and quickly I might add with the temps in the mid 50’s this week. Only in Wisconsin can it snow record amounts and then be 50+ to melt it all away….but I am not complaining. Let it melt.

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Anyhow, here is what dinners were for this past week.

Saturday: BLT’s and salad

Sunday: Mexican stuffed sweet peppers (meatless)

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Monday: crock pot ragu over fettuccine with crusty bread

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Tuesday: crock pot pulled pork with basil dill coleslaw and roasted potatoes/green beans

Wednesday: spicy chicken thighs, roasted broccoli, and pasta side dish

Thursday: tortellini spinach salad(meatless) and parmesan flat bread triangles

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Friday: out

That will do it for our week in meals. Have a great weekend.

Back On Track Once Again/ Breaking Records/A Healthier “Us” Anniversary

After two weeks of meal time chaos, I feel like I am finally back on track. Everyone was home and accounted for so I knew exactly how much I needed to prepare each night for dinner this week. This makes this wife/mom happy.

Things that did not make all that happy this week was the fact that we broke records here in Green Bay with our newest snowstorm. It was the biggest snowstorm in over 100 years coming in at a whopping 24.5 inches in 48 hours….I guess winter is not quite done with us yet.

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Anyhow, back to better topic, this week we tried two new recipes and one new product I have been dying to try out on the family. Here, take a look….

Saturday: grilled chicken brats, grilled zucchini, and perogies

Sunday: Lentil veggie soup and chicken pita sandwiches

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Monday: slow cooker burrito bowls(new recipe that is a keeper for sure)

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Tuesday: dynamite stovetop casserole

***This recipe was very tasty and basic. As my boys both commented during dinner, mom why did you think this would be a keeper, you can do so much better than this on your own? Well, now, didn’t that make me feel good…although, I thought the recipe itself was quite good. Yes, basic but still good. And how often do you make a recipe that actually turns out to look just like the picture in the book?

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Wednesday: chili stuffed sweet potatoes

***I loved this so much that I needed to make it again so soon after the first time so my husband could enjoy it this time also. Last time I made it he was traveling for work and missed out.

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Thursday: out….tonight plans got scrapped for some unexpected events that happened which left no time for dinner preparations

Friday: red lentil pasta with ham, zucchini, spinach,and parmesan cheese sauce

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Have you tried red lentil pasta yet? This was our first time and I must say, it won’t be our last for sure. It tastes no different and the texture is very close to regular pasta that it was very acceptable. All of us said this is a good healthier option in pasta dishes….yeah, another win for mom!!!!

Swapping something unhealthy in your diet that you have eaten and enjoyed for years is often hard and will, without a doubt, be different BUT change is hard and sometimes has to happen. Whether for health reasons, allergies, or you are just getting on the healthier eating train, I believe you mentally have to prepare yourself for the reality of what I eat now is slowly killing me and I HAVE to change to better myself. If this mental transformation don’t happen then you will never find something you can live with in place of another product you have eaten for years and is bad for you in some way. I touch on this subject because coming up here in a few days we will hit the 1 year anniversary of eating completely artificial sweetener free in our home. Yes, at the time it was for major medical issues my husband was having. However, now those issues have all cleared up and he is feeling fabulous. We now all find ourselves reading the label and often times putting a product back on the shelf to find a healthier alternative. I guess maybe one has to be miserable enough to want to make a healthier change before it can happen long term…but for us here, only one of us was suffering with issues and instead of signaling him out we all made the change as a family unit and we all could not be happier.

 

 

Anyone Else Waiting For Summer?

You know when all the snow finally melts in your yard, you have made the Spring to do list, you have dusted off the patio furniture and are ready to bring it outdoors, and you are so ready to pack away scarves, hats, gloves, and everything that adds bulk in the winter and then you wake up one morning to another full layer of snow covering everything in sight???? This was me a few mornings ago here in Green Bay! IMG_0877

I was bummed. Yes, I know we have gotten snow before…..many times in April, heck even May, but come on already. I am done with winter. So done. It’s really no joke when we here in the midwest say we have to train to get back into shape for the summer season. Winters are long, boring, we eat comfort food just to stay warm, and then before we know it, we are 10 lbs heavier, our joints hurt, and staying up past 8 p.m. is literally a chore even though the sun is still shining brightly. I keep telling my self it’s coming just hang in there.

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Alrighty, I just had to get that rant off my chest. So this weeks meals turned out to be a disaster…but not on my part. It all began Easter Sunday about dinner time when my husband got the call that he was once again was needed in Tennessee and would be leaving on the 7a.m. flight out of Green Bay. UGGGG, we first thought it was an April fools joke, but unfortunately it was not! So even though I had the menu planned and all the groceries bought for the week, I replanned very quickly, and winged it all week.

Here is what this week was in meals:

Saturday: unwrapped egg roll bowls….they were such a big hit last time I had to make them once again

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Sunday: egg and roasted potato bake with ham along with roasted green beans (Easter)IMG_7009

Monday: here is where the week went down hill…at least in the meal area.

Today we ate pasta salads that I had prepared for both my husband and my son’s lunches for the week.

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Tuesday: I opted to try a jar simmer seasoning I picked up on my last trip down to Trader Joe’s called Masala Simmer Sauce. I prepared this with carrots, chicken, and spinach. It was ok, not great, but coming from a jar it was edible. Would I buy it again? Probably not. IMG_0871

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Wednesday: Out for my monthly dinner with my brother

Thursday: bean burger wraps, chips and salsa

Friday: out

Food prep this week was a bit all over the place. I, like I said above, threw together two different pasta salads for lunches for my boys this week. I also roasted potatoes for a casserole and boiled a dozen eggs for myself  for before my morning workouts.

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I also made up 6 muffin egg sandwiches to toss in the freezer and reheat for fast breakfasts. I love doing this….it so easy and so much less expensive than the store bought premade breakfast sandwiches that have so many other ingredients in them that you really do not know what your truly eating.

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