Meal Recap-New Recipes Are So Much Fun

Goodness, I had a long week. Good but long….yoga Saturday is going to feel so wonderful! On that note, I am keeping it short and sweet today. Here is what we enjoyed for dinner all week…see something yummy you want to try, let me know and I will get you the recipe.

Saturday: veggie enchiladas (new recipe and surprisingly it was a hit)

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Sunday: chicken fajita seasoned brats with veggies over farrow

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Monday: Spanish chicken and cauliflower skillet with crusty bread(another new recipe and another hit…yeh)

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Tuesday: BBQ chicken from my new clean eating cookbook, pita bread, roasted carrots, and kale side salads (one more new recipe….that make 3 for three this week and all a hit)

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Wednesday: general tso’s chicken and broccoli IMG_9967

Thursday: homemade egg biscuit sandwiches with homemade chicken breakfast sausage IMG_0094

Friday: out

Meal Prep:

This week I needed to whip up another batch of homemade fajita seasoning since we can’t find any without artificial sweetener in it in our area.

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Since I knew this week would be a doozie….I made a big batch of homemade pea soup so I get to eat also. There are many times I often find myself so busy caring for the children during the day and taking care of everything else I take care of, that eating is often forgotten. That is until I have the shakes and a headache from not eating and then it dawns on me….did I eat lunch today? And sure enough, this is the perfect time for a big ole cup of hearty pea soup. IMG_0240

I also washed and pre cut any veggies that could be pre cut for the upcoming week of recipes. Then we saw that a snow storm was going to be what we woke up to Monday and Tuesday morning which meant our alarm would go off at 3a.m instead of 4a.m. so a fast breakfast was needed. Carrot muffins are healthy and a good “on the road” breakfast for these types of mornings being both my husband and son travel a good distance to get to work. And of course I made my staple, hard boiled eggs for breakfast.

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There you have it, another week of great meals and a week of meal prep ready to go.

Are you a meal planner or do you wing it and see what happens?

What’s your favorite go to breakfast?

 

 

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Weekly Meal Recap/Upcoming Week Meal Prep

Cooking comes so easily in the winter months compared to that of the summer months. Cooking warms my heart, my insides, and just takes up time that I have plenty of when I can’t go outside. This week I made two new recipes and both were big hits. Take a look at our nightly meal selection and maybe you will be inspired to spend some time in your kitchen

Sunday: grilled lobster and shrimp over pasta with dill lemon butter sauce

Monday: chili

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Tuesday: crockpot chicken and cabbage over bulgar

*** This was a new recipe I tried from my new clean eating cookbook. I did have to change a few ingredients up to make it work for my family but we did really enjoy the finished product.

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Wednesday: out with my brother for our monthly chat/dinner

Thursday: hoisin ground turkey, sweet potatoes, spinach, and cabbage over farrow

Friday: salmon patties with dill yogurt sauce, seasoned rice, and cabbage

***I have been wanting to try making my own for quite some time. Since we went out once already this week and numerous times during the holiday I actually felt Friday would be perfect instead of our typical night out before weekly grocery shopping. They were fabulous…I was quite surprised since I had tried another brand of canned salmon years ago and it was horrible.

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Meal prep: With a big menu next week including three new recipes we are going to try, food prep had to be spot on. I am once again bombarded with burp cloths and baby bottles so there really is not much time to do all this during the week. Here is what I all managed to get done in an hour and a half.

A few granola, fruit, and yogurt cups were made for my husband for breakfast.

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I whipped up a quick salad dressing to use this week. IMG_0027

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Of course I did lots of veggie prep since this is a huge time saver, hard boiled some eggs, made hummus, chicken salad, and dinner for the evening which was veggie enchiladas. IMG_0219

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Which means I am officially ready for the week….let the fun begin.

 

 

 

 

Reader Question Answered: How Do I Manage To Cook Every Night? Meal Prepping-It’s A Time Saver

Over Christmas break I had a few requests from some readers for some specific blog topics. Meal prepping and daily exercise were the two most asked about. Today I am touching on meal prep since, for me, it’s takes very little thought and is priceless.

Many of you are parents and are very busy but still want to prepare healthy meals for your family. I too am a parent but my son is much older now, although, I am a childcare provider and care for very small children 10+ hours per day 5 days a week which is exhausting some days. IMG_8059

However, I still manage to prepare meals nightly for my family which I share with you weekly (like here, and here)  to inspire you all to get in the kitchen and cook. Today I am touching on meal prepping and why it is such a time saver for me.

First, let me give you a bit of insight into my life. Monday- Friday I religiously work on routine….a tight routine. Wake up at 4a.m., pack two lunches and make two breakfasts, eat breakfast with my husband, and leave the house to workout by 4:50a.m. every single morning. Trust me this takes planning. I then return home by 6:15a.m., shower, and begin to prepare for my daycare children to arrive from 6:30a.m. on for breakfast and the day. We have a normal day, they all get picked up at 4:30 or there about and I immediately go into dinner mode and begin preparing dinner for my family. Dinner is served at 5:30 when our son arrives home from work and dinner is then cleaned up and either I do yoga or go back to the gym for a second time with my husband depending on what day it is. We then return home at 7:30p.m, I shower again, and I am usually in bed by 8/8:15p.m.. Yes, routine for me is crucial!!!

OK, with that being said, this is why meal prepping can pay off for everyone. Spending an hour…maybe a bit more can allow you to pre chop any veggies for weekly meals.

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It can allow you to prepare healthier lunches for yourself, children or spouse instead of some processed wrapper covered convenience food, and can allow you a bit of breathing time if your day is thrown into a tailspin and you have to readjust on the fly.

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Now, don’t think that even with this tight routine things still dont go wrong because they do. And sometimes they do often. Especially being a parent…if kids are involved things can go wrong very quickly. However, having options like pre cut veggies and easy to grab healthy options that are ready to go makes it much easier to pick up the pieces of a failed plan and not call the takeout restaurant for delivery. Dinners for us during the week are far from gourmet…but they are healthy and fresh.

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And believe me, having a major food allergy in our home as of the last few months makes calling for takeout almost impossible, so I do know how hard it is to think fast and come up with something instead of takeout.

The easiest way for me to meal prep is to plan a weekly menu and stick to it. Do this on the weekend, then grocery shop, then prep anything you can on Sunday before the beginning of the week. For me, Sunday works best, first thing in the morning so nothing else becomes more important. I usually will also make some go to foods for me for during the week also. Boiled eggs are a favorite….you can grab and go, smash them in seconds and make egg salad or stuff them with hummus and avocado with a drizzle of balsamic glaze and have a healthy fast lunch. I am never without hard boiled eggs in the frig. IMG_0170

Also if you have a sweet tooth make sure you plan for this. Having something sweet but healthy in sight is always better than grabbing that bag of candy and forgetting to stop eating them until you find the bag is empty. I keep a well stocked fruit bowl in sight at all times.

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I also was amazed when our son started his new job a few months ago to hear him ask me how he could make a healthier lunch but not buy expensive processed lunch meat. I suggested cooking up some chicken and making sandwiches or wraps with this instead. So he has been taking my idea and making this ever since starting his job. It easy, filling, and does not need heating up since he does not have this option like his dad does who takes leftovers every day. Plus, he can easily change it up with different meats or add ins.

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Another great help when it comes to spicing life up a bit in the kitchen or adding flavor to dishes is to utilize your freezer. I will blend sundried tomatoes in olive oil and freeze in small containers. When you are ready to use in a dish simply take it out and toss it in. It unthaws in seconds and adds so much flavor.

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You can also do this with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Simply toss the entire can into a food processor and blend until smooth. Spoon tablespoons onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and toss it in the freezer. Wait until its frozen (2 hrs or so) and easily remove them and put them into baggies, containers or wrap each in plastic wrap. Place them back in the freezer and take one out when you need to add a bit of spice and get a deep smokey flavor in any dish. We love this in chili at our house.

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For upcoming weekly meals posts I will also include what I prep for the upcoming week according to the menu I have in place. Some things will be for meals and some things will be for work lunches. Maybe this will help and maybe it will not. Although, I do believe if you all give it a try and a bit of dedication you can really make your life a bit easier and find that making a meal after a long day is not always as hard as it seems. It’s kinda like going to the gym…..getting there is often times the hardest part. Just like starting meal preparation after a long day…once you start you might as well finish.

 

Meal Recap From The Week/Plus Readers Requests

Finally, we are once again back to nightly meals at the dinner table as a family. Holidays are great but the grazing from appetizer to appetizer gets old really quickly for me.

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Here are the meals that got us all back on schedule once again:

Saturday: grilled chicken, homemade stuffing, and corn….grilled food tastes so fabulous when the temps are down right frigid

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Sunday: out for sushi with my husband

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Monday: chili lime seasoned chicken, bulgar, and sauteed veggie bowls IMG_0077

Tuesday: stuffed manicotti and side salads

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Quick Tip: to easily stuff your manicotti noodles, prepare your cheese stuffing and scoop it into a ziplok bag, cut the corner and squeeze the filling into the pasta tube until it hits the other end.

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Wednesday: homemade chicken breakfast sausage(recipe here), egg, and cheese on Annie’s Homegrown biscuits IMG_0094

Thursday: homemade sloppy joes, sweet potato rounds, and homemade coleslaw IMG_0153

Friday: out

Coming up soon here I will be answering some of your requests from over the holiday break. More specifically in regards to meal prepping and how I manage to get dinner on the table every night when I care for small children as a career. To all of you that asked for suggestions, just know that I feel your pain, trust me I do. Being a parent is the hardest job you will ever do….but one of the most rewarding. I will offer some advice on how I manage to cook every night coming up soon.

That will do it for this week. Not bad considering we have been so out of routine. Plus, life is pretty busy here. More on all this as life happens.

Any other reader requests can be left in comment form and I will do my best to answer your questions.

 

Weekly Meal Inspiration

Winter may not be here quite yet on the calendar but it officially arrived here in WI with frigid temperatures and high winds on Tuesday. Mondays high where I live was 61…..and then it was over!!!!! Time to dig out all the winter gear, time for my hair to freeze rock solid when I walk out of the gym a bit sweaty, time for my lips to crack every time I smile, and by looking below at our week of meals, it’s time for soup.

Here is what we enjoyed this:

Saturday: BBQ chicken pizza

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Sunday: no boil lasagna and side salads

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Monday: pork and banana peppers on rolls with provolone cheese, sweet potato rounds and a side of cranberry sauce…I just had to make one more batch before cranberries are scarce once again.

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Tuesday: cowboy caviar filled wonton wrappers and leek soup

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Wednesday: out with my brother

Thursday: crock pot beef, barley, and veggie soup

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Friday: out

This weekend I plan to wrap gifts, continue working on the Christmas menu, and attend yoga class for some me time. Enjoy your weekend and I will be back with one last week of postings before I take a bit of a Christmas break. Can you believe the holiday is so close….where does time go?

Weekly Meal Plan-Experimenting With Food And Feelings

This week for me has been an experiment of how what I eat affects my body. I have not shared much about what I have been struggling with this past month but part of what I am trying to do to deal with it all is eat less inflammatory foods. You know, things like extra sugar, flour, processed food, potatoes, fried food, white rice, etc. And after looking at this weeks meals and seeing if what I have been avoiding this past month is helping my situation, I can assure myself I am on the right track.

First, I did not regulate my meals this week. I simply made what was easy and fast and we even threw in an extra night out(Monday) which is totally unusual for us. And then we did Chinese besides which is one of the worst cuisines to go out for ever.  Add in too many potatoes, too much pasta, and all this left me with all over pain and agony by Wednesday. However, I am happy to know that eating whole grains like farro instead of rice for instance is working for my body. Next week I plan to get back on track even though I fully intended to go off track this week to see what would happen. I also wanted to see how long it would take for my body to get rid of all this inflammatory food after eating it for a week. It was a good experiment and I am happy I did it. Just knowing that what I am doing by putting a bit more effort into what I prepare every week for our health and well being is so worth the pain I suffered through this week. So with that being said I will leave you with a look at what our meal plan was this past week.

Saturday: nachos

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Sunday: chicken and sundried tomato casserole

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Monday: grilled chicken brats, roasted carrots and potatoes

we went out for Chinese instead….because its Monday,because it was a bad day for both my hubby and son, because…..well, just because!

Tuesday: lemon shrimp with capers and spinach over pasta

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Wednesday: meatloaf burgers, corn and mashed potatoes (I had mine on farro since my pain level was enough by this time of the week)

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Thursday: leek, bacon, and eggs skillet (recipe coming soon)

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Friday: out

I am not by any means “cheffy” so to say, but I do pride myself on feeding my body only what it needs and likes. There is not much I eat without knowledge of what it can do for my insides. Food is medicine and for many of us its life, so why not feed our bodies the best we can.

 

 

November=58 degrees…In Wisconsin…..Seriously??? Time To Trade In My Whisk For My Hiking Boots Once Again

As you can probably assume from the title, I am one VERY happy person. When I awoke Thanksgiving morning and saw the forecast prediction for the day after Thanksgiving was going to be in the mid 50’s I immediately put things into high gear. I simply looked across the room at my husband and he knew exactly what I was thinking……..he said calmly, “let’s get it all done today so we can hit the trail tomorrow.” I love how he understands me without me even saying a word.

As you can imagine I had a load of things on the to do list to accomplish with four days off for the holiday. We literally packed all our chores into one day, we got in our annual family hike for Thanksgiving morning, plus I made Thanksgiving dinner that same evening. Oh, I was so tired by evening but so happy to be free of the long list and just had a few things that needed tending to before we hit the long trail on Friday afternoon.

Thanksgiving family hike

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Then Friday arrived and I was excited to get in some warm mileage on a dirt trail once again before the snow arrives full blast. We arrived at our chosen trail head to find just us. I did not mind this at all, I parked our lone vehicle and it awaited our return.

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The temp on my vehicle upon arrival was a balmy 58 degrees. Amazing!!!!

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And a few steps into our hike and I had to chuckle. Clearly, this lone dandelion was not ready to give up quite yet on summer either.

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The trail was wonderful. Leaves crunched beneath our feet,

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signs of deer were everywhere,

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nature could be heard and saw along the way. It was so good for my soul…to just walk, listen, and breathe the air around us.

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The only thing that could have caused me any worry was that we were hiking during the gun deer hunt season here in WI. We did see many different deer stands, thankfully no active hunters during our time on the trail . And yes, in case you are wondering, we did also wear blaze orange for our own protection on this hike.

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With 3.3 miles Thanksgiving day and just over 4 miles Friday, we could all agree that summer is going to missed.

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Hiking, along with numerous other things we were able to pack into four days, left us all with a feeling of happiness. Add that to a fabulous Thanksgiving meal……along with my first ever homemade whipped cream (which turned out wonderful I may add) so my husband could enjoy whipped cream on his pumpkin pie along with everyone else…and I could not have been more thankful for anything else in the  world.

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Now, we all have to return to normal life once again and hopefully be ready for Christmas in a few short weeks. Sadly, I have a feeling I will not be hiking anywhere where that snow is not covering the trail come this time but who knows, maybe just maybe, wishes will come true.