Saturday, 26 September 2015

meal prepping made for busy people

Good day!! fall is in the air here and I love it. With fall comes a very busy schedule. With funds being a little snug as well I need to have a plan for meals. Meal planning is one of the most asked questions I get. Really meal planning to me is very personal, not every one likes the same foods and some can cook and some not so much. For me I love to cook, but with our schedules I don't have time to spend hours cooking but I still want a nice meal every night. Its nice to know that when we leave skating that there is a plan at home, it takes away from the impulse to run to a fast food place.

With that being said I have some really quick ideas that even if you are already busy you still can prep for meals.
  1.  Make a quick plan, like set your timer for 10-15 minutes and think of what you would like to have this week. FYI 90% of the time I get to the store and that plan changes, a different meat is on sale or a different veg is being cleared out. I shop deals all the time, nothing is in stone.
  2. Plan your shopping day when you have the time. Don't go to the store when you have 1hr till your next appointment. The best day for me is Saturday. If my husband is home he watches the kids or if not I take them with, there getting older they are a lot of help now. plus they get to learn how to shop. For example last week red and I were looking at getting apple but I asked her what was cheaper buy the 6 lbs bag or get single apples she had to do the math and figure it out, she loves doing that kind of stuff and she also retains it way better. MM likes to count stuff so I get him to count lots of stuff it is always a learning experience.
  3. PUT THE FOOD AWAY! I know this is a big one. shopping is exhausting but if you finish the task you don't have to think about it for a few days at least. I use to sell Tupperware and I have a lot of fridge smarts and I love them.  DONT WASH your vegetables or fruit. I just toss it in the containers and wash as needed.

Ok, on to the prepping now. I love to batch cook. I really didn't have a concrete meal plan this week, I really was just in need of easy meals. I could not decide if I wanted to make taco or lazanga one night so I took a step out of both dishes. I cooked 5 lbs of ground beef with a bit of onions. Now I have 5 dinners almost ready, or ready for the slowcooker. Then I got my favorate meat ball recipe and tossed it together well my beef was cooking. I like to mix pork and beef together. I lined a pan with parchment paper and baked them. Got 2 meals out of them. well the meat balls and hamburger was cooking I cooked a family pack of breakfast sausage in the oven. got 6 breakfasts out of them. well I was waiting for everything to cool I tossed some carrots, onion and broccoli in to a pot and sautéed them for a few mins then added 4cups of vegetable broth let it boil till the vegetables were soft then I mashed them gently. let is cool. I refrigerated it for the next day and made a butter and flour rue and added that and lots of cheddar cheese. mmmm my favorite broccoli soup. You can also freeze the vegetable mash in a ice cube tray and add it to stuff. I used it once for quiche, it worked well.

When everything was cooled I bagged it froze it. Now tacos take no more them 10-15 minutes to get ready. Its amazing how much just cooking the meat makes life a bit easier.

So its not big but it is when you have 30 minutes to get a dancer fed or a little boy who just skated his heart out fed before he has a melt down. Do something today to make meals easier.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

cheap fall decorating

Good morning!!!! Its my favorite season. The trees out my office window are just turning yellow. It makes my heart so happy and peaceful. In the spirit of fall I started decorating for the season. With living in a small house I don't have any extra room for decorations. When I buy décor it has to have multiple ideas. I usually gravitate towards clear mason jars (enter a big old heart). I need a sign that reads " Hi, my name is Tracy and I have a mason jar addiction". When we are out its really hard for me to control it. The older the better.

Ok on to the decorating. My first step is a big one, remove clutter, even the clutter you have gone blind to. This is big!!! I have clutter blindness like 95% of the population. To combat this I clear the whole space and I mean everything, even the pillows. I like to have a laundry basket to collect everything. This is a good time to reevaluate what you have. Maybe the old blanket has seen better days and needs a new home. Step two shop your house, I mean like dig in the china cabinet for a vase or even a sugar bowl. One time I was having friends over for coffee and I could not remember were my creamer jug went, oh it had flowers in it on the bathroom counter. My gravy boat I use maybe 2 times a year also gets lots of use lol but not for gravy. Do you have a little serving platter or a tray, grab that too. Ok so on to the fun stuff. So 95% of my decorating comes from the good old dollar store or Walmart from the year before,( you will always find me in the clearance section). I think every year I may spend $10 a year on decorating. This year funds are supper snug so all these decorations needed to be from last years stock. I love a challenge!!!!

I love my gold canyon candles and warmers. This little tray I got it from the thrift shop for $.50 and sprayed it with sliver paint.  

I just love this large bowl. My mom got it for a gift it was the bottom of a gift basket. Toss in some fake mums and done.

Oh do I just love fake flowers. I love real too but I am so cheap lol

I made this last year and the "S" word came so early so didn't last long.

Had some corn in the pantry. sooo cheap
Some moss i had from my
 spring decorating
 some fake leaves and berries,
 oh and of course a mason jar.

This is a little shelf in our front door. I love this spot. The frame is going on 5 years old. The paper in it just gets changed for the season. I never use papers like that for scrap booking so I save them for decorating. The large hurricane gets a good work out in my décor just tossed some moss and some leaves in it. SO SIMPLE!!!

This is just a garland from the dollar store and some foam pumpkins. 
This tool box I made when my family went across
Canada when I was 15. Also ..... mason jars!!!!!
 So the motto I use when decorating is less is more. I don't want my decorations to make me stressed out or look messy. Removing extra clutter I think is the key to a calming space. So go and fall in love with your home again!!!