The Importance of Meal Prep: The Week I Skipped…And Why I Won’t Be Doing That Again

Ok, so I didn’t entirely skip meal prep. But compared to what I normally cook every week, I did. If you saw this post, you know I was on vacation from work for most of this week. Well, a staycation. So I figured, why not?! I will be home for most of the week, I will have plenty of time. How about I don’t do meal prepping this week?!

Bad. Idea.

Thankfully, none of the meals I planned went bad or anything. But I did delay cooking the casserole I had planned by 2 days, which did make me a little worried for our ingredients initially.

But mostly, it was the stress and lack of options. When time should I make dinner for? What is Draz taking for lunch today? (He only had 3 days off to my 5)

Some of you might think this is a little crazy. It was only a couple of days, right? It shouldn’t make that big of a difference!

It did. Some of it might just be the routine. We’ve been meal prepping for over a year now and we are used to how that works. This was out of routine, so it was a little disorienting. But some of it was that, for us, it truly is easier to have all the food for the week made in advance.

So, all in all, I don’t think I will be skipping any more meal preps anytime soon! While it may not make that big of a difference to some, it makes a huge difference to us.

But wait! I did say I didn’t entirely skip prepping, didn’t I? Well, that’s true, so here is what I made!

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Mason Jar Salads, Snacks and Treats

 

I don’t want to even imagine how much more stressful things would have been if I had skipped making our salads and snacks along with everything else!ย  At least I thought ahead well enough to know that would be a bad idea, right?

Have you ever skipped a meal prep? Did it make things harder the following week, or was it not too noticeable? Or do you think I’m just crazy? ๐Ÿ˜› I would love to hear your thoughts, 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!

Weekly food prep

Sunday Meal Prep: February 21, 2016

Hey everyone! This week’s meal prep is all about keepin’ things simple ๐Ÿ™‚ I was still not feeling all that great when I was planning for this prep (prep posts are staggered by one week, so this was last week) so I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t going to spend much time in the kitchen. I would say it was a success!

This prep took around 3 – 3.5 hrs of active cooking, so not too bad at all ๐Ÿ™‚

Meal Prep

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Our main meals
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Snacks and treats

 

Two main dishes for this week, other than more Pulled Pork for Draz: Slow Simmered Curried Chicken and Skillet Sausage and Veggies. Both of these turned out delicious!

The Curried Chicken is from the Easy Asian Recipes cookbook. I love this book! (Not an affiliate link)

The Skillet Sausage and Veggies is from the Taste of Home Everyday Slow Cooker & One Dish Recipes 2008 cookbook, another cookbook I really love! (Again, not an affiliate link) However, the recipe below is based on the recipe I used this week. Enjoy!

SausagePepperCabbage

I did also spend a little bit of time this week playing around with styling for food photography. What do you think?

That’s it for this week! What did you prep this week? I would love to hear your thoughts, 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!

Blog link up

Friday Favorites: February 19, 2016

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful week ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m really excited to share these links with you..I found quite a few that look really great! But first: I started my 365 Photography Project! This is my favorite picture from this week (today actually)

The photo prompt for today was “Cover.” Now, you might be wondering why I photographed an old notebook. Well…this notebook is actually one of my most prized possessions. It is a recipe book, handwritten by my mom. It was started in 1993 and has every recipe she cooked that I liked, from then (age 5) to when I moved out right before I turned 17! It’s pretty amazing and I absolutely love it. I actually plan on doing the same thing when I have kids. Just looking at it makes me smile, makes me feel loved.

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Day 4 – “Cover”

And now, on to the awesome links from this week! Enjoy!

Recipes
Cabbage Ginger Noodles from Naturally Ella – I have just recently started cooking with fresh ginger and I love it! I can’t wait to try this!
Lemony Soup with White Beans, Kale and Pasta from A Cup of Jo – This sounds delicious! And I have to agree with her…I love any soup with beans ๐Ÿ™‚
Pineapple Coconut Smoothie from The Iron You – This smoothie makes me wish for summer. I really want to try this one! I have never used pineapple or coconut in my smoothies, so I’m looking forward to trying something new!

Home and Decor
Water Gardens from Robinne Weiss – Their water garden turned out wonderful!
LZM Home: Photo Wall Collages from Le Zoe Musings – I love how they pulled the two collages together! We have a lot of empty walls in our home that I’m currently trying to pull together and would love if ours turned out this nice!
A New Home (And a New Bed) from A Cup of Jo – Can I just say how much I love her style!? While we are not currently looking at getting a new bed, I never thought to order one online. I will have to keep that in mind when we do look at getting a new mattress ๐Ÿ™‚

Art and DIY

Creations, Magnolia & Cotton Wreath from The Painted Apron – I love making wreaths, but I haven’t made one of this style before. I love how she breaks down how she put it together and it looks beautiful!

The Problem Of a Creative Creature from The Richness of a Simple Life – The search for creative outlets in life can be difficult and I love Niki’s take on it!
DIY Diamond Shaped Book Shelves from A Beautiful Mess – I absolutely love this bookcase! I have wanted built-ins pretty much forever, but there is no way that we can put those in here. These though?! These we could do! Would it be overkill to put these in two rooms? Cause I kinda want to ๐Ÿ™‚
Take a Seat: How to Make a Budget-Friendly Bench in Under an Hour from Paper & Stitch – So cute! And I love the idea of using a carpet piece on part of the bench!

Fitness

Top 10 Fitness Bloggers to Follow from Semi-Sweet Tooth – A couple of these I’ve heard of, but most are brand new to me and sound great! I’m looking forward to checking them out more!
Health & Fitness: Splurge & Save from The Fitnessista – Love this list! I pretty much agree with everything on here. ๐Ÿ™‚

Life and Family

You Don’t See My Sad – That Doesn’t Make My Happy Fake from This House Is Our Home – I really love this! I have always been bothered by the idea that someone is being “fake” by only showing the positive or not getting involved in hot topic debates online. I hate getting into those things and I am definitely not going to complain about my less-happy stuff online. Anna does a great job talking about this!

Blogging and Business
A Color Story Filters: Shifting Colors from A Beautiful Mess – I’m still learning a lot about photography and photo editing, so this was a great read!

Have a great weekend!

Sara (1)

Weekly Food Prep

Sunday Meal Prep: February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! I am super excited to share this week’s meal prep with you!

You ever have those weeks where you are trying to plan out your prep and it just isn’t coming to you? That was me planning out this week. But in the end it all fell together! It didn’t take me as long to cook as some weeks, but that definitely doesn’t mean it was lacking in taste!

Enjoy!

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As you can see, we have more Island Pulled Pork for this week. Draz seems to be on a new kick! ๐Ÿ˜› Along with that, we have one old favorite, one that we’ve had once and a new recipe as well!

I am always happy when we add Jambalaya on to the menu. It’s been one of my favorites for over 10 years! The repeat recipe was Slowcooker Beef and Broccoli and I love how this one turned out ๐Ÿ™‚ I do think I used a different cut of beef than last time though. It didn’t fall apart in quite the same way that it did the first time I made it. But that doesn’t really matter, because either way it was really tasty!

This Tortellini Chicken Noodle Soup was delicious! The one thing that I will say is that I wish I would have increased the broth some…It ended up a little thicker than I would prefer for soup. But it was still wonderful and I love the addition of the tortellini!

Not pictured: my grapes and cheese snacks and one batch of our breakfast burritos.

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A little peak behind the scenes…my photography “helper”!

Jambalaya

How was your prep this week? Do you ever have difficulty picking meals when planning out your prep? What do you do if/when you do? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

Also, don’t forget that the Jewelry Giveaway ends on Tuesday! So if you haven’t entered yet, head over and let me know which one you want!

Giveaway

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!

Weekly Food Prep

Sunday Meal Prep: February 7, 2016

(Note: Sorry for the delay. I had some technical difficulties. Hopefully we have gotten them solved.)

Hey everyone! I hope you all are having a wonderful weekend! Things are going pretty well here, except for my body seeming to turn on me ๐Ÿ˜ฆ My back is doing quite a bit better (yay!!) but now I’m fighting a rather nasty sore throat. So since I’m not feeling all that great, today’s post is going to get right to the point.

Enjoy!

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Spicy Chicken in Tomatoesย 

Red Curry Lentilsย 

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork: Island Style

Skinny Chicken Enchiladas

Sunflower and Oat Energy Balls

Sorry for the short (and late) post today! But keep an eye out for a post later this week…I have something exciting for you guys!

Did you do meal prep today? What did you cook? I would love to hear your thoughts, so 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!

 

metal sculpture ames iowa

Friday Favs: February 5, 2016

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful week! Here’s the awesome links I found this week! ๐Ÿ™‚ Enjoy!

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Playing with angles – my favorite picture from this week of a sculpture in downtown Ames, IA

Recipes

Homemade Spicy Ramen with Tofu from Pinch of Yum – This sounds freakin’ delicious! I actually haven’t cooked with tofu yet and this recipe might be changing that.

Spinach Chana Dal from 100 Days of Real Food – So you might have noticed that I have started really getting into cooking Indian food lately…like all the others, this one sounds wonderful! Can’t wait to give it a try!

Teriyaki Grilled Chicken and Veggie Rice Bowls from Cooking Classy – This sounds so tasty! I’ve never made my own teriyaki sauce before and I really love her point about food in bowls just being awesome in general ๐Ÿ™‚

Shrimp Summer Rolls with Peanut Hoisin Dipping Sauce from Skinnytaste – These sound delicious! I’ve never cooked with shrimp…honestly it makes me kinda nervous. But these sound like a great introduction to them!

Slow Cooker Sausage and Peppers {Lightened Up} from Organize Yourself Skinny – Slow cooker and tasty sandwich?! This sounds perfect to me! We are definitely going to make this in the future!

Sriracha Buffalo Cauliflower Bites from Half Baked Harvest – I have heard of of using cauliflower as a substitute for chicken for buffalo “wings” but haven’t really looked up any recipes. Well that is different now! I can’t wait to try these!

Game Day White Chicken Chili from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen – I have plenty of chili recipes, but no good chicken chili ones. This sounds super tasty!

Breakfast Enchiladas with Roasted Poblano Sauce from Pinch of Yum – As I’m sure you’ve noticed, we have a bit of an enchilada obsession over here…And I love any and all breakfast foods! This combination sounds just about perfect for us!

Peanut Butter Flourless Chocolate Cake from Gimme Some Oven – Ahhh…Peanut butter and chocolate. The perfect match. With my birthday coming up, this beautiful cake needs to be made!

Home and Decor

On Starting a Garden from The Small Things Blog – I love reading about new gardeners! You may remember that I did a small gardening experiment last spring/summer. What she is talking about doing for her garden sounds like what I would like to try this year!

Art and DIY

Personalized Gift Wrap from A Thoughtful Place –

Fitness

3 Shoulder & Back Strengthening Exercises I Learned in PT from Working Out and Eating In – Ok, so those of you who have been following me for a while might remember that I have a lot of problems with my back, even ending up in PT myself a few months ago. However, these 3 exercises are ones I didn’t learn in my PT and are definitely ones I am going to try out!

Blogging and Business

How to Make Your Blog Posts Stand Out from A Girl, Obsessed – This article has some great tips, including two that I really want to work on!

Ten Tips for Flay Lay Photography from A Girl, Obsessed – She is just killin’ these articles this week! (As she is most weeks) Photography is something I am really trying to work on and I hope to try out some of the tips in this article.

5 Best Pieces of Advice When Starting a Business from Goodbeads – I love this! As someone who is working towards launching a business soon (more on that to come), she has some great pieces of advice…the first and last ones I will probably have to remind myself on a regular basis!

The Blogger’s Guide to Networking from damask love – As something I have a hard time with and not many opportunities to practice, this is a great read!

Life

10 Things I’ve Learned Since Becoming An Adult from Dizzybrunette3 – With my birthday coming up later this month, this so hits close to home! (Plus, keep an eye out for a post I have planned that is similar to this on my birthday!)

5 Ways to Make Sure You Have a Good Day from Barefoot Blonde – Amber’s post is too cute and I love the idea of the 30 min power clean!

What to do After You Pay Off Debt from Making Sense of Cents – I’m not even close to paying off my debt, but this is a great article on what to do if I ever do!

This is 29 from Racing Bananas – Another post that really hits home with my 29th birthday coming up! I love how they had a pretty low key and relaxing celebration. Plus I’m kinda envious of that dog park!

5 Things I Do to Keep Meal Prep Simple from Organize Yourself Skinny – I love the tips she puts here, many of which I do myself! If you are looking at starting or simplifying your meal prep, this is a great read!

Cooking Date Night from Cupcakes & Cashmere – Draz and I work together, so this article has a particular draw for me. Creating a dedicated “date time” on a regular basis is something we could probably work on and this is a great idea for one type of date night!

I would love to hear what fun articles you found this week, so leave a link to one below! Or from an article from your blog from this week! I would love to hear from you and check out what you think and like!

Sara (1)

 

sunrise over lake

January in Review, February Goals

January Goals

  1. Start establishing a morning routine – Ummm….50/50? I kept making progress with this and then my back injury acting up again plus getting sick, setting me back again
  2. Start at least one art project – Does my jewelry count? I did not start on mosaic like I had hoped to, but I got quite a few pieces of jewelry made! I’m also starting to feel a little more comfortable with my wire wrapping, though I still have a LONG way to go in that department!
  3. Active rest days – 50/50 success. During the time periods I was working out I did manage active rest days, but when I was sick and injured every day kinda became a rest day (outside of physical therapy exercises)
  4. Less TV time, especially while writing! – Again, 50/50 success. I did okay with this at the beginning of the month. Not so much the second half of the month.

January Favoritesย 

You guys have to be getting sick of seeing the same photos over an over…can you tell I was a little focused on my jewelry this month?! I promise that I will be working on my photography in more areas in February, so it will not be the same jewelry again. Also, I am working on some new pieces, so it will be new jewelry too! ๐Ÿ™‚

I really am excited to be able to share these with you though. I’ve been dreaming of being able to make new pieces for months and now I finally can! I would love to hear your thoughts on the jewelry I’ve shared so far. Are there any styles or pieces that you really like or dislike?

February Goals

  1. Keep working at that morning routine – Up no later than 6:30 all days except Saturday (This will start once my back is feeling better…my neck hurts too much to work out for at least a few hours after waking up. Hopefully next week.)
  2. Keep active 6 days a week – Until my back heals up, LISS. After that, it’s back to Kayla Itsines’ BBG for round 2!
  3. Spend at least 30 minutes a day working on either the blog or my art.

How did your goals for the first month of 2016 go? Are you setting goals for February? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

Sara (1)

Friday Favorites: January 29, 2016

This week for Friday Favs I decided to try something a little different than last week! I’ve been wanting to focus more on photography than I have been the last couple months, so I think each week will include my favorite photo from the week ๐Ÿ™‚ย I also realized that a brief description of the posts I’m linking to might be helpful, so that’s going to be present from now on too!

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Recipes

Sunflower and Oat Energy Balls from Slim Sanity – I can’t wait to try these this weekend, they look so tasty!

Creamy Garlic Roasted Red Pepper Pasta from A Pinch of Yum – Admission time…I have yet to try zucchini pasta. I want to, but haven’t gotten a spiralizer yet. That being said, this sounds delicious!

Kung Pao Chicken Meatballs from Iowa Girl Eats – Outside of the fact that I love highlighting bloggers from Iowa, these meatballs look freakin’ amazing! I can’t wait to give these a try!

Home and Decor

Valentines Day Centerpiece from Craftaholics Anonymous – This centerpiece is quick, easy and oh so cute! And it looks like they have a bunch more fun holiday DIY decor too!

Shop the Look: Casey’s Master Bedroom from The DIY Playbook – There are so many cute things in this room! I got some great inspiration for our own remodel too!

Tips for Moving House from DizzyBrunette3 – I’m not moving right now, but these are some great tips! And things to definitely think about if you are planning on moving!

Laundry Room Makeover Reveal from Vintage Revivals – This room! This room is swoon-worthy! I love this laundry room! Ok, for context, my laundry space is in an unfinished basement and not at all pretty. But this room? This room is gorgeous!

2016 Craft Room Tour from Organize Your Stuff Now – I really like this room, but the part I like the most is the shelves of photo props! I’m working on improving my photography skills and I love how all of her things are put together and so pretty!

Create Dining Room Storage with Floating Shelves from hey, let’s make stuff – These shelves are going to get built for our dining room and possibly a corner I’m designing for the kitchen! These are so pretty and I’m sure my dad would help me make them! (Right Dad?!)

Art and DIY

Knitting Projects: My First Accomplishment from 2BlueEyes – I love how honest and excited she is about her first dishcloth! I still haven’t finished my first crocheting experiment, so I’m impressed by the fact that she finished it up as well. Learning a skill like that is hard!

Fitness

The Five Best Podcasts for Running from Just A Colorado Gal – I listen to a lot of podcasts and audiobooks. There were a couple on here I haven’t check out before and the ones I had were some of my favorites! If you are looking for some new ones, check this out!

The Importance of Stretching + 12 Stretches to Help You Cool Down from Organize Yourself Skinny – Stretching is so important in your fitness routine and this is a great article about why!

Blogging and Business

7 things I wish someone had told me about business five years ago from jesscreatives – Some of these are things I have learned and some are still sinking in, but this post definitely resonates with me! As someone who is just now getting ready to start her business, this was a great read!

How to Take Better Photos for Instagramย from DizzyBrunette3

– Ok, so I’m way behind on actually curating my Instagram. The whole “personal brand” for it just makes me feel weird and kinda fake (I know that’s not actually the case). But I really would like my Instagram feed to feel a little more cohesive and this has some great tips to do just that! What do you think of my first attempts?…Both the right photo of Achilles and the photo above of Crystal are edited using tips from this article ๐Ÿ™‚

Life

I Confess…I’m Inspired by Gym & Tonic – I love this! She tells a story about giving someone a wonderful compliment and how that effected them, going on to talk about how important it is to spread kindness. This really hit home for me. One thing I’ve learned over the past few years is just how big of an impact something like that can have. So I try to do something to “spread kindness” every day.

Have you found anything new or interesting this week? I’d love to hear about it, or anything from here you like, so please leave a comment below!

Sara (1)

Currently Creating: What I Made This Month

Hey all! Welcome to a new monthly series “Currently Creating.” I’ve been focusing more on creating my art lately, especially my jewelry! At the end of each month I will show you what I made, including in-progress shots. This month is all jewelry, but next month I plan on having some progress on my next mosaic to show you too! ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope you will enjoy the look into my studio!

I would also like to highlight other artists, so if you have anything you made that you would like me to link to, send me a picture, description and your website and I will include it in a future post!

Have you been making anything new lately? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave me a comment below!

Follow me on Bloglovin’

Sara (1)

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 Morningย 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 Trayย by I Heart Organizing

Home & Family

52 Dates to do This Yearย 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)