Sunday Meal Prep: January 24, 2016

Hey everyone! I am super excited to bring you this week’s meal prep! This week I am highlighting recipes from Eat Yourself Skinny. Kelly creates wonderful dishes that are not only healthy and filling, but full of flavor too! If you haven’t checked out her blog yet, you definitely should!

You’ve seen recipes from her a few times, particularly the Skinny Chicken Enchiladas that have been making an appearance the past few weeks. That one has quickly become one of Draz’s favorites, so don’t expect to see it going away anytime soon. Each week it’s “What would you like on the menu for next week?” and his response has been “Enchiladas!?” each time!

Now, on to this week’s meal prep!

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Along with our Mason Jar Salads, Sweet Potato Banana Bites, my grapes and cheese and the Skinny Chicken Enchiladas, I made three new recipes this week!

Sausage and Veggie Stir-fry: Her recipe calls for spicy chicken sausage, which I sadly couldn’t find. I did use the Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage of the same brand and it turned out wonderful! Hopefully I can find somewhere that sells the spicy version, because I would love to try it 🙂

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili: Kelly is not exaggerating when she says it is the best turkey chili you will ever taste! If there is another, better recipe out there, I haven’t tried it. Quick to prep, easy, tasty, and healthy?! I think this will be our new stand-by for chili from now on!

Crock Pot Salsa Chicken: I like the versatility of this shredded chicken. So far I’ve used it in a couple wraps with some cheese and it was really good! I want to try it with some taco fillings…I think it will be even better!

That’s it for this week! Expect to see many more recipes from Kelly’s blog in the future. Her recipes are just too tasty!

What are you making this week? Any new recipes? I would love to hear your thoughts, so leave me a comment below!

Sara (1)

Want to get started meal prepping yourself? Check out these posts for my top tips and my staple recipes!

Need some extra inspiration? Check out last week’s meal prep for other recipes and ideas!

Friday Favorites: January 22, 2016

Hey everyone! Welcome to my new (hopefully) weekly series: Friday Favorites! This will be a weekly roundup of my favorite blog posts and articles that I find throughout that week. I hope you like them!

Fitness

7 Tips for Working Out In The Morning by Oddly Lovely

Getting Back Into Fitness by A Girl, Obsessed

Recipes

Gluten-Free Chicken Marsala by The Lean Green Bean

Slow Cooker Honey Soy Chicken by The Recipe Critic

Slow Cooker Cheese Stuffed Turkey Meatballs with Zoodles by Persnickety Plates

Spicy Chipotle Turkey Burritos by Pinch of Yum

Easy Quinoa Pizza Bowls by Gimme Some Oven

Grilled Cheese with Balsamic Onion by Naturally Ella

Slow Cooker Mongolian Chicken by The Recipe Critic

Art & DIY

DIY Brass Handle Marble Tray by I Heart Organizing

Home & Family

52 Dates to do This Year by Friday We’re In Love

Currently by Iowa Girl Eats (this is a really cute idea for a post!)

The Coffee Bar by The Small Things Blog

Friday Eye Candy: Closet Organization by A Thoughtful Place

Life and Blogging

16 Steps to Make This Year the Best Year Ever by A Fresh Start on a Budget

Cheers to Two by Venus Trapped in Mars

What IS the Value of a Blog? by Venus Trapped in Mars

Enjoy! Not many links this week, but I hope to do a bigger link up most Fridays. What do you guys think of this new series? Have you found any really great links this week?

I would love to hear your thoughts, so leave me a comment below!

Sara (1)

Meal Prep 101: My Top Tricks and Tips to Make it Easier and Why I Love Meal Prepping!

With the new year upon us, many of us are motivated to try out new things to improve our lives. For me last year, it was meal prepping! I started out 2015 hopeful…but frustrated. I loved cooking good and healthy (or healthyish) meals for Draz and myself, but too often we would get home from work exhausted and reaching for quick and easy dishes like pasta or pre-made convience foods like frozen pizza. I had tried planning out menus for us, but a lot of times this just ended up with some of the meals made and the rest thrown out after it went bad. This was definitely not the lifestyle I wanted for us.

I had started getting into reading blogs the year before and had seen some of them talk about meal prepping. I knew that this could be an option to help us get on track. I jumped right in…which definitely lead to some mistakes and some exhausting days in the kitchen. But there has been a lot of learning this year! 🙂

Reasons to Meal Prep:

  1. Convenient. Yes, there is a time-investment, both on the day you plan and the day you prep. But that time is much less than cooking each meal fresh when you eat it!
  2. Healthier. If desired, you can make sure that eat food you prep is healthy, or in line with your desired diet. When you already have delicious, healthy food made, it lessens the temptation to go with frozen pizza!
  3. Saves money. You can prepare your grocery list based on your meal prepping menu. This saves so much! Not only does this lessen impulse buys when you are doing your grocery shopping, it also helps prevent those “Oh no, we are out of this ingredient I need for dinner!” trips to the store!
  4. Lowers stress. Ok, this might just be me, but the whole “What’s for dinner?” thing can be stressful. I have enough going on that I don’t want to worry about what I want to eat, how long it takes to cook, etc. And I don’t even have kids! I know there are tons of people out there that are busier than me, meaning that they would benefit even more!
  5. Healthier. Yup, I needed to say this one again! Meal prepping has made such a huge difference on my fitness journey! Quite possibly more than any other individual thing.

Getting Started:

  1. Plan, plan, plan. Set aside some time prior to the day you plan on prepping to make your grocery list and plan out how much food you will need for the week. Also take this time to decide what meals and/or snacks you are prepping. I use Wednesday of each week to lay out my recipes, check what ingredients I currently have, and write my grocery list. I like doing this a few days prior to actual shopping, so if I forgot anything I have a few days to think about it.
  2. Containers. Check how many containers you currently have and will need on average. It is incredibly frustrating to finish cooking and then be scrambling to figure out how to put it away. I actually would love to get some new containers, but my favorites are my mason jars!
  3. Space. Along that same line, make sure you have enough room in your fridge and freezer to put your food away!
  4. Time. Plan for more time than you think you will need. This is especially true for the first couple months that you are prepping. The first few times I prepped I felt like I had spent the whole day in the kitchen and was exhausted! But even then it was well worth it. Now, even with prepping all of our meals and snacks, it only takes 4-6 active hours, and sometimes only 2-3. (Please, please keep in mind I prep a lot of food. You don’t have to spend nearly that long!)

Tips and Tricks:

  1. If you have a bunch of veggies needed for different dishes, cut them all up at the same time! This cuts time getting supplies out repeatedly.
  2. Know how your food is being cooked! I suggest varying cooking methods. Having everything needing to be in the oven or on the stove is difficult. And once I planned for 3 dishes needing a slow cooker! Granted, I have two, but this was still an unexpected difficulty. Now I try to pick a variety of cooking methods each week.
  3. Multi-task! While something is simmering you can be chopping veggies. The same rule goes for just about anything else. That being said, pace yourself. It can be very stressful if you try to do too many dishes at once.
  4. Clean as you go. This is especially true if you are planning a longer prep session. I usually find 2 points while I’m cooking that are good “pause points” that I can use to clean up, load and start the dishwasher, handwash things, etc. This makes things so much easier and less stressful! I will admit, this took me a few months to figure out and a few more to put into regular practice!

 

Just a few of my meal preps over the last year!

Do you meal prep or are you just starting? If you do, what is your favorite thing or part of prepping? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave me a comment below!

Sara (1)

 

Sunday Meal Prep: January 17, 2016

Have you or your significant other loved a dish so much that you just want it week after week? Well…that is the case in our house right now. These Skinny Chicken Enchiladas have recently been on here and probably will be again soon! Draz is just loving them, plus they are so easy to make and individualize for both of us!

Outside of that, I picked out a couple of my own older recipes that caught my eye this week. Our breakfast burritos are back too! Our large stock in the freezer is finally running low, so it was time to make some more. Enjoy!

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I promise these dishes taste better than they look! (I really need to work on my photography) Chicken was the focus of the week, but with such varying flavors. That is one of the things I love about cooking with chicken.

And that’s it for this week! Make sure to check out the recipes below! They are both easy and delicious!

What are you cooking this week? Bringing back any old favorites? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave me a comment below!

Want to get started meal prepping yourself? Check out these posts for my top tips and my staple recipes!

Need some extra inspiration? Check out last week’s meal prep for other recipes and ideas!

Sara (1)

Easy & Yummy Slow Cooker Chicken

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Ingredients:

~2 lb boneless skinless chicken breast

2 (10 oz) cans cream of mushroom soup

1 (2 oz) envelope onion soup mix

1/2 c milk

1 c carrots, chopped

6-7 medium-large potatoes, cut 1″-1.5″ (I use red potatoes)

Put chicken into slow cooker. In a bowl, mix soup, onion mix, and milk; stir. Add into slow cooker. Add cut vegetable’s to the slow cooker and mix. Cook on low for 7-9 hours; mix before serving. Enjoy!

Easy Parmesan Garlic Chicken

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Ingredients:

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 4-6 portions

1/2 c grated parmesan cheese

1 oz Italian salad dressing mix

1/2 tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400. Mix cheese, dressing mix and garlic powder. Moisten chicken with water; coat with cheese mixture. Place in shallow baking dish (non-stick or foil-lined) Bake 20-25 min.

Can serve alone or with spaghetti.

 

 

Sunday Meal Prep – January 10, 2016

Hey everyone! I hope that your first full week of 2016 went great! Our week had some hiccups, but if anything they just reminded me how happy I am that we do meal prep! I spent a couple days on MUCH less sleep than I usually prefer and let’s just say I don’t function well on less sleep. It was really helpful to not have to worry about what we were going to eat!

This week I tried out a new recipe, plus one that is quickly becoming a household favorite! Enjoy!

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These Skinny Chicken Enchiladas are so wonderful! Enough so that I made some extra shredded chicken specifically to freeze for future batches. Draz is requesting this on a regular basis, and one of the things I love about it is that I can use regular white tortillas for his and whole wheat for mine. One dish fit to both of our preferences!

New this week is Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli. I don’t think I can say enough about this one! The meat was a little pricier than what we usually purchase, but it was well worth it! The beef just fell apart and it was a very flavorful dish. I definitely see us making this one again. 🙂

And that’s it for this week! What are you making? Any new dishes? I would love to hear your thoughts and what you are cooking up, so please leave a comment below!

Sara (1)

Want to get started meal prepping yourself? Check out these posts for my top tips and my staple recipes!

Need some extra inspiration? Check out last week’s meal prep for other recipes and ideas!

Sunday Meal Prep – Jan 3, 2016

Welcome to 2016! I think it’s only fitting that my first post for the new year is my favorite weekly staple! Meal prepping really transformed my life last year and it’s not a habit I plan on stopping anytime soon. This week is pretty small, what with the holidays and all.

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Not pictured are my usual Sweet Potato Banana Bites, which were made but somehow didn’t make it into the picture. As for our Cookie Dough Protein Bites, we had a bunch left over (too many holiday sweet eaten instead!), so I decided to finish those up this week instead of making more.

Both of this week’s main dishes are new and from Ali over at Gimme Some Oven. If you haven’t checked out her site yet, you should! She has so many wonderful dishes on there!

The Cashew Curry Chicken was so tasty! I’ve never actually cooked with cashews before, but I love trying out new ingredients and this one was a hit. In her recipe Ali talks about blending the sauce or leaving it as is with some chunks. We left it as is and loved it!

As for this Tortellini Soup….If you haven’t noticed yet, I have a serious love of both soup and pasta! This recipe is delicious and combines my two favorite things! This recipe is wonderful and it will definitely be made again! I did make a few adjustments, based on what we had available. I used:

  • dried oregano instead of fresh basil (sad, I know, but sometimes you have to make due),
  • 1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes and 1/2 can plain crushed tomatoes instead of the 28 oz can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 4 c homemade vegetable stock and 2 c chicken stock. I didn’t thaw the correct amount of vegetable stock beforehand. On the upside, this was the first recipe I used my homemade stock in!
  • red onion instead of white
  • And a little more sausage than the recipe calls for, but not by much

And that’s it for this week! I hope you all are having a wonderful start to 2016! What are you cooking up this week? Any new recipes? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please comment below!

Sara (1)

Want to get started meal prepping yourself? Check out these posts for my top tips and my staple recipes!

Need some extra inspiration? Check out last week’s meal prep for other recipes and ideas!

December In Review, January Goals

So if you saw Tuesday’s post, you may be wondering why I’m posting again about goals. Well, while I talked about my goals for the year yesterday, I still want to make sure I’m keeping myself accountable for my monthly goals.

December Goals:

  1. Continue with BBG, 6 days a week – I did continue with BBG..I did not manage 6 days a week. I got sick partway through the month with a nasty cold, took a week off to recover and have been fighting my way back into a routine ever since. I am going to get back into it though, no matter what! Now that the holidays are over and my schedule should mostly be back to normal, this should be easier to accomplish.
  2. Try again to incorporate active rest days – About 50% successful. I did really enjoy the days where I managed this! But between the week I was sick and our Christmas celebrations, I missed adding yoga in to a few rest days.
  3. Finish 3 DIY projects – I only finished 2, but I’m really happy with how they turned out!
  4. Less TV time, especially while writing! – I did pretty good at this for the most part! I still wrote some while watching TV, but the majority were written at my desk while listening to instrumental music. This is definitely a habit I’m going to keep up!

December Fav Photos (Other than the DIY projects above, which are some of my favs too!)

January Goals

  1. Start establishing a morning routine – Wake up 30 minutes earlier. I know I’ve tried to get up earlier in past months, but I think I was trying to push to get up so much earlier too quickly. I’m instead going to try to wake up 30 minutes earlier each day this month, making sure to use the time productively.
  2. Start at least one art project – By this I’m not referring to the DIY projects I do, but instead one of the art pieces I’ve been wanting to start on.
  3. Active rest days – I’m going to keep working on this one. Hopefully with a much calmer month now that the holidays are past, I can finally manage to add this in to my routine!

That’s it! Are you planning on setting goals for this month, or are you working on your goals for 2016 instead? Or are you doing both, like I am? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Sara (1)

2015 In Review and My Goals for 2016

2015…What a year! I have been thinking over how to sum up 2015 and it’s been difficult to say the least. 2015 has been a year all about change and growth for me, in so many ways. I am so thankful for the support of both my parents and Draz (formerly known as Boyfriend :-P) throughout this year. As with any period of growth, this year was not without it’s frustrations and difficulties and I don’t know what I would have done without them!

My relationship with Draz has been one of the biggest factors in the changes that have occurred. We’ve been together for a little over a year and a half now and it’s through his support, feedback and help that I have found the confidence and motivation to finally do some of the things that I had dreamed about in the past!

One of the major changes of the year: I started this blog! I can’t believe I have been blogging since April! (really May, since April just had my Introduction post) This blog and all of of the people that it has brought into my life have helped motivate me, push me and grow my confidence, along with so many other things.

The other huge change this year: I am finishing this year in the best shape of my life! I have struggled with my weight and fitness for so many years and for the first time in my life I feel comfortable and secure in my own body. No, I’m not where I would like to be yet, but I now believe that I will be and I’m loving the process of getting there! Plus I have found such an amazing community of BBG ladies on this journey and I can’t wait to get to know some of them better!

While these two things are the biggest changes this year, there are so many other smaller ones…many of which I can credit to the confidence I have found through my blogging and fitness journey!

I am happier and more content than I have been in so many years. I have formed a couple new friendships this year, though this is something I still really need to work on….I have a hard time meeting new friends.

I also started making things again, which is something that I have really missed. I’ve even put some of my pieces up in the house! Our home is really starting to come together more and I have been decorating, which I hadn’t done very much of in all the years I have lived here.

All in all, this year has been amazing…So many changes, many of which I would have never dreamed of a couple years ago!

Now we are on to the next difficult part: A few of my favorite photos from this year! This has been really really hard for me to narrow down! Enjoy!

 

If 2015 is any indication, 2016 is going to be an incredible year! Here are my goals for the coming year!

Personal

  1. Keep my workouts at an average of 5-6 days a week.
  2. Take 1 exercise class
  3. Take 1 class for building a new skill, like metalworking, painting, or wire wrapping.
  4. Start and/or complete 1/3 of my Day Zero project

Blog and Business

  1. Average 3 posts a week on the blog
  2. Learn how to use 1 new platform or social media site
  3. Have at least one guest post on the blog
  4. Launch my jewelry business and make first sale

What things from this year are you really excited or pleased about? Any surprises? What about your goals for the upcoming year? I’d love to hear your thoughts and plans!

Sara (1)

Sunday Meal Prep

Hey everyone! I hope you all had a lovely Christmas earlier this week!

I decided to mix things up a bit this week and I’m so glad I did! Enjoy! 🙂

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Draz had a roll of pepperoni that he let me take a few slices off of for my grapes and cheese snacks. It was a really nice ‘treat’ for this week!

On a side note, you will be seeing the Peanut Butter Banana Oat Muffins a little less often from now on. I realized that, between those and the Sweet Potato Banana Bites, I was eating sweets up to 2-3 times a day sometimes. Healthy treats, yes, but still more often than I probably should be. So I’m trying out freezing some of the muffins and having them over a 2 week period!

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Turkey Chili Mac with Jalapenos: Half of this went into the freezer. I love meals that can prep me for busier weeks in the future!

Balsamic Pork Chops: I love these! They are really quick to make and so delicious. I served them with steamed jasmine rice and Balsamic Brown Butter Asparagus.

Skinny Chicken Enchiladas: These are one of Draz’s favorites. One of the things I really like about these is that I can make some for him with white tortillas and a few for me with wheat tortillas.

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That’s it for this week! What are you cooking?

Sara (1)

Want to get started meal prepping yourself? Check out these posts for my top tips and my staple recipes!

Need some extra inspiration? Check out last week’s meal prep for other recipes and ideas!

Sunday Meal Prep

Hey everyone, welcome to this week’s meal prep! This week was pretty light on the prep, time wise.

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Our two main meals for this week are One Pot Garlic Parmesan Pasta and a chicken curry based off of this Red Curry Lentils recipe.

For the curry recipe, I first cut up some boneless, skinless chicken breasts, seasoned them with Penzey’s Tandoori seasoning and sauted them in light olive oil. When the chicken was almost cooked through, I added the onions and then continued on with the recipe as shown. Towards the end, I did add more coconut milk than the recipe called for to make more sauce, since adding the chicken made it more thick. It turned out pretty good, especially for my first attempt!

What are you making this week? Do you like changing up recipes like I did with the curry, or do you stick to the recipe? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Sara (1)

Want to get started meal prepping yourself? Check out these posts for my top tips and my staple recipes!

Need some extra inspiration? Check out last week’s meal prep for other recipes and ideas!