Monday, January 25, 2016

Monday Munchies...

Today's post should just be titled-my losing battle with getting my kids to eat all their fruits and veggies and other mains besides pizza and chicken nuggets. phew. 
I know I've mentioned the struggle of nutritious meals and snacks before, but like everything in life, it's constantly evolving.  My two boys go to school and get a school lunch.  That has changed my life and I dread ever being in a situation where I can't pay for five lunch meals a week.  That leaves me with packing snacks (two, healthy snacks-as requested by the school), and then finally, dinner.  
Initially, I was trying to give them balanced snacks-planning out all their dairy, fruits and vegetables throughout their day.  But, it became apparent that this plan was not going to work. For some reason, my kids decided that at school, they didn't like such items that they normally eat with no problem at home.  Combine this issue with my lack of dinner plans, and we needed an overhaul. 

I am easily stressed, and although I know everything works out, and what needs to get done will get done, it doesn't do much to ease my anxiety.  Plus, as mommies we tend to feel guilty about things our littles don't even think twice about.  Trust me, our kids don't give two sh*ts that they had chicken nuggets and pizza for dinner, in rotation, this week.  Heck, my daughter doesn't even care if she eats pizza for lunch AND dinner!  But I do!!!! 


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I decided that I needed a plan of action.  Step 1 was to clean out my freezer to free up some space.  Step 2 was to come up with a list of acceptable, freezable, dinner options. 
Step 3 was to narrow down the list to a month worth of options.  I decided I would do two meat options and two dairy options, double the necessary proportions that way I was cutting down on my cooking time, but still getting enough meals done.  
Step 4 will happen in the next few weeks when I finally am able to venture out to the store to buy some containers suitable for meal freezing.  Because I imagine using the microwave or the oven, I need appropriate, individualized containers.  I'm opting for freezing individually just for the sake of trying to eliminate as much waste as possible.  If I'm spending my time and money, I'd like for it to not end up in the garbage...now if only my kids would listen to my pleads.  
Step 5 will be to cook, label and store appropriately!  So many times food either goes bad because it's not properly stored, or I end up throwing it out because as much as I think I will remember when I froze it, I just never do.  And because Step 6 is NOT to get food poisoning, I opt for throwing things out rather than risking it!  

As I implement this process, I'll gladly share with you! 

Something else I've decided to do, in addition to having dinner options frozen, is to reduce the snacks I send to school, and keep fresh fruit and veggies around for once they get home.  I have noticed, that is typical of almost all humans, that they will happily graze. If I have fruits and veggies out-they'll eat, whereas before, they were coming back in the lunch box, heated and smashed.  
I ordered this container yesterday, and I already have this one, so I'll have one for fruit and one for vegetables.  
As you can see above, I also added onto my list fruits, vegetables and dips.  Of course, there are way too many options for one small tray, but thankfully because I go to the grocery store at least a couple times a week, I can pick up extra if I need it in addition to my Sunday grocery shopping.  One of our favorite vegetable dips is Tzatziki dip. You can find it in any grocery store, if you don't want to make it youself, and it's the perfect addition to any vegetable!  

Let me know if you have any freezable dinner suggestions, I'd be happy to test them out!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Monday Munchies...

Ugh, I really hope I'm not falling back into my old routine of just blogging on Mondays.  Truth is, we just pulled in from out of town, and it has been one crazy week-I'm settling down after a semi-big cookie order that left me rather exhausted.  


Anyway, this week's Monday Munchies is a classic; I'm so glad I thought of it after a crazy late night swimming lesson, when I came home to think, "oh sh*t, I didn't plan dinner!"  The struggle is real...anyway, because my kids are on a toast kick, we even bought a toaster!  I had plenty of bread in the fridge.  Did you guess what it is?

Grilled Cheese
Butter/Butter Spread
Sliced cheese 
Bread 

Spread butter/butter spread on both outer sides of sandwich I had never had grilled cheese made this way until I was in late elementary school and had it at a friend's house. This is a game changer my friends...I'm sure my mom was just sheltering us (aka saving money by not buttering the bread) but that's what makes this so mouth watering!

Put your sandwich together on a hot griddle and once the bottom side is browned to your liking, flip! Once the second side is browned, it's time to get your grub on! 

I don't have any pictures of my regular, boring but oh-so-tasty sandwich, but how awesome do these twists on the classic look?!? Mouthwatering!


Apple & Gouda Grilled Cheese is perfect for fall and those granny smith apples! Savory and delicious!

basil and mozzarella grilled cheese with words

And of course, who would I be if I didn't post some non-traditional, dessert-like options?!? I actually would love to try this-pound cake?!? What could be bad!!!! Other than the fat and carbs content!


Just check out THIS link-holy moly!

Here's to a week of good eats! I'll be having my grilled cheese Wednesday night, how about you?

Monday, January 11, 2016

Monday Munchies...

Working out wasn't one of my New Year Resolutions, but eating better (aka staying within my targeted macro range) is! So, I played around with spaghetti squash. And for those of you that have been trying to convince all of us that it's just like eating pasta...c'mon, puh-lease.  
But, in an effort to keep my day time carbs down in contrast to my Friday night dinner, I took it for lunch last week.  It wasn't my most favorite meal, but we all know that certain lifestyles take hard work, commitment and dedication.  

Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Vegetables 
1 spaghetti squash
Peppers
Zucchini 
Onion
Cheese 

The beauty of this recipe is that you can put in whatever you want!  Quick and easy vegetables to roast are yellow and green squash, colored peppers, and onions.  I cut them into the size I wanted, sprayed with PAM and sprinkled with garlic and roasted on 425 for about 45 minutes. I turned them every so often until they were roasted to my desire.  

One awesome thing about this recipe is that the prep time is minimal and the majority of the cooking takes place on it's own.  You can either cook the spaghetti squash in the oven or in the microwave. I chose to cook in the microwave because I've never had success cooking squash in the oven for some reason.  All you have to do is pierce the squash several times, and then microwave.  I did the following: microwaved for 6 minutes, rotated, and then cooked again for another 6 minutes.  Of course it depends on how large your squash is.  Next time, I'm going to let it microwave for a little longer, because although it was "boiling" out, I think the final result could have been a little softer.  Let it sit for awhile, because it will be very hot to the touch.  Once it cools, slice it in half, scoop out the seeds, and use forks to start "shredding" the squash-it will come out in noodle-like texture.  


Mix the squash and your veggies and you have a very low calorie (specifically low carb) main.  I would have loved to add some Parmesan-you get a lot of flavor for very little damage!  We were out, so I need to make sure that makes it onto a grocery list sometime soon! 

Let's squash these New Year goals! 


Monday, January 4, 2016

The Obligatory New Year Post

It's my first post of the new year! And I'm only a few days late, holla!  I hope that is a sign of what's to come in the new year!  
I wanted to make this post all about my hopes for this year, for myself personally, and for this blog of mine.  
Of course, we all know that the first lesson in goal setting is to plan.  What better of a way to plan out my oh-so-will-be-fabulous year than with my new Simplified Planner.  I think I've had this thing sitting in a box since, probably September.  I waited until it was actually necessary to open the box and I can't wait to start writing in it! 

2016 DAILY Simplified Planner - Happy Stripe
This planner is currently sold out, but there are still some available in another adorable pattern.  I've gone through a couple planners, and I can say that while I loved creating a personalized Erin Condren planner, there just wasn't enough daily writing space.  Funny enough, what I wrote about the Simplified Planner back in 2012, still holds true today!  Next year I'll be able to update on my experience, but for now, I'm just enjoying her beauty. It's now, that I should just admit that for awhile last year I ended up using a Target planner, which worked out great! I should probably quit these expensive planners, but I'm just not there yet.  The truth is I've always been obsessed with organizing.  When I was younger I went to a carnival and I used my winnings to buy a portfolio like calendar-I was in elementary school.  Therefore, it has been concluded, that I actually need a legitimate planner.  

As I was perusing this blog for resolution posts, I realized I've only done it once.  Humph, what a let down.  BUT, that one time I did do it-I wrote down two very important goals that I can say, have been accomplished this year, hey, better late than never, who cares it's only three years late!  
I wrote about a parenting class I bought.  I can happily say that I take this class with a close friend once a week.  I spoke about it very briefly here, and it has been a blessing in almost all areas of parenting.  Maybe I'll share more about it in future blog posts.  I am also super proud to say that my husband has gotten back into running.  He had some down time in his schedule back in April, and since then realized the importance of exercise.  He always supported my crazy exercise schedule, often times forgoing his own in order for me to get mine in probably because he knew I wouldn't be a good person to be around otherwise, but the point is-we both realized how important supporting each other was.  This is something that has benefits across the board.  It's not easy fitting in all the exercise, and sometimes sacrifices are made-be it a little less time spent exercising, or volunteering to wake up earlier so both people can fit in their exercise, but it's all totally worth it.  

And this year, this year's goals are all about that are attainable, realistic, helpful.  I could put all sorts of lofty goals-but that wouldn't be attainable, realistic, helpful OR fair to my family.  I'm already spread so thin.  
1. Eat more fruit and vegetables. 
That's right!  Mama always said to eat more fruit and vegetables!  My exercise and nutrition has reached a new high point this past year, and I could't be more proud. But, I need to fit in those important nutrients before fitting in the candy! I hope to blog a lot more about my fitness journey this year. 
2. Create a cleaning schedule.
This seems so simple. But, to be honest, I really struggle with deep cleaning.  Day to day tidying is a no brainer because I hate waking up to a mess and a sink full of dishes, but cleaning floors and moving my kitchen appliances, not so much.  I want to create a cleaning schedule that's realistic for me-not what someone else has created.  Of course, I'll share that here!
3. Meal planning. 
I'm a creature of habit and can eat the same thing for breakfast lunch and dinner day in and day out.  And with my husband so often away for dinner time, we've gotten into the habit of eating the typical rotation around here: cereal, pasta, pizza, chicken nuggets. While  I don't have a problem with that, at all, I just want it planned out so my kids don't eat the same thing for dinner several nights in a row.  Now for me, I can eat the same thing for dinner!  I created a meal planning system several months ago, but haven't found the time to really utilize it.  I hope to find a good time each week to meal and grocery plan which will make it or break it.  
4. Up load my technology pictures once a month.
I've always been a picture gal.  My mom printed pictures and what's really cool about what she did is that she didn't only print one picture, she printed enough pictures for there to be family albums, AND personal albums for my brother and me.  I followed in her footsteps, but fell behind back in 2012.  I recently spent the month of December, as it was my goal to complete by the end, uploading all three years' of pictures.  I uploaded almost 10,000 pictures to Costco! Many won't get printed, but because there was never any proper technology organization, tons were saved many different times.  My goal is to upload all pictures into monthly folders, and then erase them from our phones and/or cameras so we don't have to go through this ever again!  Printing pictures, and giving the family and each child an album is very important to me, and it needs to be organized!

For this blog, I have a few goals.  
1. More consistent blog posts.
Some posts will be on a schedule, other posts won't,  The content of this blog will obviously vary based on what is going on in my life. This isn't a fashion blog, or a DIY blog, this is my life blog.  So, if you were guessing that I plan on sharing, you know-my life...you guessed correctly.  
2. I just said this isn't a fashion blog, but, the truth is, I'm like fine wine if I do say so myself-I get better with age.  It's been a long 28 years, but I finally feel like I'm getting a hold of the fashion scene.  I'm not a fashionista by any means, but I'm learning to create fashion-friendly looks, to utilize what I have to create a fashionable outfit, and I look forward to being creative.  Of course, I want to share my amateur fashion with you too!
3. Look up at goal 1-I'm going to share my life, and if it's a good find, or an organization tip, or an epiphany, I want to share it here.  

And for a moment, I'm going to take a look inward.  Self-growth isn't for anyone to necessarily see or acknowledge, but it's something we should all strive to do. After all, no one is perfect.  I have seen self growth in my ability to simply say, "I'm sorry." Admitting mistakes is not easy, at all.  But, it's entirely necessary.  It has really become a great feeling to know that playing defense doesn't have to be the first move, and getting in the last word, being right all the time, isn't something I have to do anymore.  I've also gained self-confidence, even when I feel like I'm lacking, I know how to self-talk and I know my worth.    Not everyone will like me, but I know that I am liked. 
I know that I am loved.
I know that I am appreciated.
I know that I matter. 

#goals2016 #truthbomb #qualityoverquantity 
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