Welcome Wagon

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So the holidays happened and the New Year rolled in.  I swore once again I would AVOID the gym for ALL of January, because resolutioners.  Not that I have anything against resolutions, but more because the pressure of another year ending with not enough “shoulds” having been done.  And too many people setting up too many “shoulds” for the future, ending in disappointment when they don’t achieve (unrealistic) goals.  And the craziness that becomes the gym when everybody shows up all at once, en mass.

Okay, so not everyone fails and I’m being a bit of a pessimist.  But deciding to do something just because it’s a new year is not a good enough reason for me to do anything.  Deciding to do something because of an intrinsic motivational factor is. So when I feel inspired to change something, or break a habit everything has to do with ME and not a date on the calendar when the numbers change.  So my new year’s resolution is always to avoid the gym in January.  And please note…I’ve already failed (I think failure happened at week two of the new year, oh well).

My meal plans continue weekly even when I don’t share them here.  And this week is looking exciting!  Some new recipes and CAKE even! (Sorry for all you “I won’t eat cake/sugar/sweets” resolutioners.  This is ah-mazing!  And what’s life without balance?)

  • Vegan Spagetti (Easy pleasy! And also good with some non-vegan parmesan on top!)  See recipe below.
  • Slow Cooker Enchiladas.  I am in need of making use of this ugly slow cooker I own…but finding vegetarian recipes that are healthy and tasty are hard to come by. (Meat seems to be a main ingredient for getting this bad boy to work, much to my disappointment.)  This is a new recipe.  Anyone out there with good veggie slow cooker ideas??
  • Spinach-Potato Tacos.  Also new!  Only instead of following the recipe exactly, I plan on using hard shell corn tacos and wrap them with soft shell tortillas. YUM.
  • The BEST Chocolate cake ever.  With layers of buttercream icing of course. Now of course we’re not having this for dinner.  But we are bringing it along to a dinner party.  And it’s my husband’s birthday Yeah!! So with the best cake ever it instantly becomes the best birthday ever (right?!!)  I will try to take a picture and post later.  But it might just all get eaten before then…

And then the big “thing” I alluded to in my previous post.  I printed a cookbook for my family for Christmas!  So exciting. All my favourites, in one place.  Although I am constantly changing and altering recipes, I can’t claim many as original.  Therefor you won’t be seeing this bad boy out in stores.  But I do endorse all the original recipe chefs because they are amazing.  And without them, I’d be eating mostly porridge.  Seriously.

So also this week I’ll be making the Vegan Spagetti  and my most favourite Masoor Dal with cauliflower yogurt and naan bread. Both in the book.  The Cook Book. My most favourite.

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Vegan Spagetti

Vegan Spagetti

So here is to wishing you all a great start to the new year.  And if you made resolutions, I wish you luck (really I do!)

And in the meantime I’ll be back blogging weekly.  And I’m also on instagram @backyardyogalove following my yoga path daily.

If you like what you see here please “like” it and let me know! (or comment) And if you don’t, then don’t.

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Kitschy Christmas! (It’s baaaack!)

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Welcome back, a year later, to my Christmas craft gift. (Warming SPOILER ALERT!)

This year we focused again on ornaments.  And ornaments, and more ornaments.  Started right after Halloween because once we return to our family’s home for Christmas it won’t be about our gifts for others, it will all be about baking and decorating and Christmas music. (Who am I kidding I’m listening to it right now.  After making up a whole yoga class playlist of carols.  Sorry if you’re reading this and in my yoga class.  I did warn you with the spoiler alert!) And hey, don’t judge I am fully aware it’s a bit early.  Then again, we’re at the 6 week countdown…

I am so excited for Christmas.  This year both kids will “get” it: the presents, Santa, the anticipation.  And still believe in the magic.  Not sure how much longer the magic will last.  But we’ll hang onto it for as long as we can.  And have lots of memory-filled ornaments to hang on our tree, and Grandma’s tree and Oma’s tree, and the neighbour’s tree…you get the picture.

So bring in the cinnamon ornaments!  They are made of mostly cinnamon (insert shocked look here).

IMG_4789The recipe is one cup cinnamon, 1/4 cup applesauce (and mix…although nothing ever looks mixed properly in this recipe) Then slowly add 1/2 cup white craft glue.  Mix again.  And some more.  And nothing’s sticking together so you (or in this case, me) roll your sleeves up and get in there with your hands trying to mush that spice into the glue and applesauce.  Stick together darn it! And all of a sudden, just at the point you are about to throw it all away, it comes together.

IMG_4791Wait one hour, then roll out to 1/4″ thick and cut with cookie cutters (remember to use a straw to cut out the ribbon hole!).

IMG_4792Bake at 200F for one hour turning them halfway through. (I lined my baking sheet with parchment, because glue, ewww).  Oh and if your husband happens to be in the kitchen “helping” – Conveniently arriving to turn them over, remind him they are not cookies, they are ornaments.  They are NOT cookies. Seriously.  Our kitchen conversation went something like this:

“Stop! O-R-N-A-M-E-N-T-S! Not edible!  Seriously don’t put it in your mouth, there’s glue in there!! I’m not joking you can’t eat these ones!” (He always sneaks Christmas baking, or any baking prior to them being ready, or out for guests.) Sigh.  I bet this doesn’t happen in Martha Stewart’s kitchen.  She’s the one who invented these bad boys.  See her recipe site here. The pictures are way better.  And not nearly as realistic as the ones in my kitchen, with a 4 and a 2 year old.  And a hungry, cookie eating husband.  I didn’t take a picture of him.  Was waiting for the “sick” shot.  It never came.  Go figure, the one time he listens…

Then let them cool, and paint them.  And hang them on your tree!

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My life.

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I’ve been spending more time in my life.  And by that I mean offline.  With my kids, in the moment, doing yoga and you know, life things.  It has been great!  (But isn’t everything always portrayed as great online?  Well mostly.)  Rarely do people use it as a “look how much my life sucks” forum. Unless they are using it to process life issues…and then sometimes that’s all you hear about.  But for me, here, it’s about the happy stuff.  Yes, there are life issues in my life.  Or maybe not as many as I feel like there are in comparison to others (first world problems here, first world.)  Generally happy.  Generally good.  And generally grateful for all that I do have.

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So, first things first.  What’s been on my plate recently…  The Mexican taco bowls were a huge hit last week.  So here is the recipe:

Mexican Taco Bowls

Another fabulous meal of late was another type of taco we tried…Cauliflower and Chickpea Tacos.  Looking at the recipe I don’t think I would have ventured out to give these a go, but a close friend raved about them (and she’s never wrong when it comes to recipes) And low and behold, she was right again, keeping her record perfect.

I am still working on the 6 week dairy free diet to post here.  It’s an ongoing process.  I hope to include all recipes – which requires more time than my “live in the moment” current life provides.  But it is in the works!

So this week’s meal plan included favourites (both oldies and newbies):

  • IMG_4363 IMG_4364Cauliflower and Chickpea Tacos (YUM! This will be made again soon! And my pictures don’t do it justice, go to the website via the recipe link and you’ll see it in real life colours.  We are always in such a hungried hurry to eat over here that I’m rushed for snaps before the food does a disappearing act.)
  • Quinoa with Zucchini and Ricotta Bake (Because freezer meals for later…and no picture.  I have no idea why I have no pictures, I make this dish as a staple in our house every few months.  I will take pictures this week when I make it! Yum!)IMG_2341
  • Soba Noodle Salad (In the dishes, prior to putting it all together…Such a beautiful and colourful entree.  Makes tastebuds dance.)IMG_1458
  • Black Bean and Sweet Potato Enchiladas (Also, the freezer meals thing. And the only picture I have of this beautiful dish is the sweet potatoes.  Mostly because once it is out of the oven I can’t wait to dive in, forgetting about pictures.  And slightly because I mis-timed dinner and had two VERY hungry children sitting at the table demanding food as soon as it was removed from the oven…)
  • Vegan Chili (New recipe!!! I still haven’t found a chili I like.  In my head they are all measured up against my chili, pre-vegetarian days.  I’ll let you know how this goes, but this blogger’s recipes are really, really good.  So I am hopeful!)

So you’ve likely noticed my attention this week to freezer meals.  And that’s because my husband is going away soon for a week on business.  My motivation for cooking will likely nose dive during that time, so I’m thinking ahead and giving myself plenty of options for when he is away.  These options may also include pancakes, pizza and ice cream.  I am giving myself full permission to use whatever methods necessary to maintain my sanity during that time.  Oh and also it is my birthday week.  So ice cream, cupcakes and giving in to cravings will be a big part of my plan.  Even if it means giving in to the kids to keep the peace.  Just a little.

Oh and I’ve started instagramming (is that a verb? I limit myself to it once a day so it must be…)  As much as this blog focuses on my meal plans, it focuses on my yoga practice (another huge part of who I am.)  Follow me @backyargyogi

And as always…if you like what I write or post, share it! (Or like it! Or comment to let me know!) And if you don’t, don’t. 🙂

Cheers,

Karen

Nooner

I’ve come to the realization that all I usually post is everything to do with dinner meal planning.   The truth is that most of our lunches are our dinners (leftovers from the night before.)  But what happens when there are no leftovers?  And yes, there are nights dinner is good, there are none.  Or when picnics are planned?  Or when I send my little one to preschool with lunch?

Here are a few of my lunch solutions.

IMG_2142Here is one that is a favourite…open faced sandwiches on full grain/seed bread.  Tomatoes and avocado with a bit of mayo and salt/pepper.  Of course paired with a quick green smoothie of banana, celery, spinach, apple and frozen berries.  This is a favourite of mine because it is filled with vitamins and nutrients, or rather I can fill my kids with vitamins and nutrients.  I’ve also begun adding hemp hearts and chia seeds to our smoothies.  They add iron and omega 3s to the mix.  The vitamin C in the tomatoes helps our bodies to absorb the iron from the hemp seeds and spinach.

The thing about nutrition, or eating nutritiously is: that I am constantly thinking about it.  And by constantly thinking about it and acting on it, I hope that in the end we will be better off.

Another favourite an quick meal go-to is:

IMG_2160Apple sage Field Roast sausages with peas and carrots.  By the time I took this photos the steamed carrots had been eaten (oops!)  You see they are a favourite in this household.  So much so that if I don’t eat mine pronto the kids demand what’s on my plate after finishing theirs.  The sodium level is a little bit high for the kids, so I limit their intake of this type of food, both in frequency and amount at a meal.  Once in a while we serve them on whole wheat sausage buns…but not often.  I realized when my daughter was just four and asked me what a hot dog was, that a replacement for a food that seems a part of childhood needed at least an explanation.  So here it is – our ‘hot dogs’.

For a picnic lunch sandwiches are our go to.

IMG_3027 IMG_3029Note the re-useable sandwich bags!  They are perfect and easy to clean afterwards.  This time we did hummus and tomato sandwiches and utilized leftover avocado pasta sauce (similar to guacamole).  So good!

Tricks for packing sandwiches:  we freeze the bread then make the sandwiches right before leave and place them in the cooler – keeps the sandwich fresh and yet has thawed by the time we eat it.  IMG_3026The other trick with any avocado based sandwich spread: putting a small layer of water overtop.  Yes it looks messy but it keeps the avocado from oxidizing and is easy to pour off and reapply when done.  I will agree with the kids on this one – brown avocado isn’t appetizing.

Next up we pack tons of fresh fruit and usually include a few bags of assorted nuts, soynuts, and seeds (like pumpkin or sunflower).  The kids love the variety and mom loves the nutrition.

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And the other big favourite of mine are soups.  Number one because they taste so amazing!  Number two because the kids also think they taste so amazing (and nutritionally they are!) And Number three because they are cheap! (okay the cheap part only works when you make them yourself.)  There is actually a number four here too…my husband isn’t a big fan of soup, therefor if I can get my soup fix at lunch he can have a dinner he likes.  Oh and Number five I can make it once and it easily feeds us for a week…I could keep counting.  Soup is just that good.  I have both summer recipes (gazpacho anyone?) and winter ones (which also work in the spring and fall, or less than hot summer days.)  My blood tends to run cold, so soup for me is a big hit through the year.  I will someday write a whole blog about all the soups I make.  Lentil, chickpea, veggie mix… but for the most part if I’m not making a soup from a recipe I wing it.  So I’ll need to write down some of my ingredients for you to try one.  A full soup blog post is in order on this one.  You’ll likely see it down the road.

chickpea soup

chickpea soup

lentil soup

lentil soup

white bean and kale soup

white bean and kale soup

And there you have a few of our family favourite lunch solutions when we aren’t eating leftovers!  I hope everyone is out enjoying this long weekend.

Now I am stepping into the sunshine!

The No Dairy Diet

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And by diet I mean temporary lifestyle.  I’m trying this out for the next 6 weeks to give my system a break from certain inflammatory food.  And in the meantime it’s a good vegan experiment too!  I have even found a creamer substitute for my coffee.  It’s still not cream, but makes my coffee loveable and drinkable and still enjoyable.  Which in turn makes me happy.  Yeh for coconut creamer!

So here’s what I’ve been working on this past week:

  • Thai Cashew Quinoa Salad– perfect for the summer weather and filled with energizing protein (who doesn’t LOVE thai?)
  • IMG_2966Jumbo Stuffed Shells and Vegan cesear salad.  This appears to be a take on my tofu and spinach stuffed shells recipe…only it’s not at all and doesn’t contain parmesan like my recipe.  AND it tastes just as amazing.  I don’t even know how that is possible but it just is.  I planned on freezing half, and then we ate. it. all.
  • IMG_2409Thai Coconut Red Curry with added edemame.  Filled to the brim with veggies, and more veggies and THAI! I used red and green bell peppers, a sweet onion, edemame (about 2 cups!) broccoli and brown rice for our dinner.  And of course omitted the chicken, still a veggie girl over here!
  • IMG_2927Green “Pasta” Primavera.  This was a shocker.  Again, so amazing.  With all the new recipes I am testing I keep anticipating failure and yet I always am so pleasantly surprised.  But my poor husband ends up not getting leftovers for work.  These meals are just so great, they are gone by the end of the meal.  IMG_2929With this meal you make a sundried tomato pesto for the primavera; I doubled the recipe for that and froze it so the next time I make the meal my time is saved (and I don’t have to clean the food IMG_2928processor – bonus!) Bought a vegetable julienne tool (and spiral slicer) especially for this, and my many vegetable “pastas” to come!  I can’t wait to give it a go on kohlrabi – so refreshing for the summer.  My kids loved the carrot “pasta”!  The tool I bought was easy to use and ranked high in the ratings.  It also makes making vegetable pasta fast.  Way faster than the manual peeler type (and anything to make my life easier working with whole foods is a GO!)  You can find it on Amazon here if you are interested in expanding your kitchen helpers.
  • Spinach Lentil Bake.  My old go to, with love and comfort baked inside.  And enough leftovers for the sitter, kids and our night out to the baseball game!

Also this past week has been energized by the longest days of sunshine in the year.  Yeah for summer solstice! There just seems to be more energy in the air.  With that I am off to do a run!  Gotta make use of this vamped up energy.  And bonus that it helps me train for another upcoming race.

I love summer!

Run Like A Mother.

So the trip away was amazing!  And mother’s day was even better than anticipated.

First things first…

IMG_7116I ran like a mother!  (No really, that was the name of the race.)  And boy did I ever!  Beat my personal best (well, the times I remember to track myself…often with running stroller in tow).  Not a ton of great pics…but here is one to prove that I medalled!  (Truth: everyone who ran the race medalled, does that make them any less special? Not to me!! Yeh!)

And then the update:

The trip away was unbelievable.  I believe my (at times) cynical husband actually said the words best family vacation ever!  And then gave me a big squeeze and thanked me for the organizational end of things (Truth: he ate good food and didn’t go hungry)

So what to improve on for next year?

The homemade instant oatmeal I made flopped.  Just wasn’t as good as I had hoped.  The dehydrated apples didn’t live up to expectations.  And my daughter wasn’t keen on added raisins to make it better (because the raisins made this oatmeal amazing!) So we paid for one breakfast outside our room ($50 yikes!)  Also, not enough booze.  We did end up getting a west facing patio to our room, so the HOT afternoon sun and kids nap times would have been better with beer.  IMG_2454And the mini fridge wasn’t so mini!  I could’ve had room for the homemade soup after all (and the beer!)  And I remembered wine glasses!  See the pre-poured goodness on the counter?  We got all fancy!

We took a bunch, some, hardly any photos.  So sad.  Even though I rarely post people photos here.  And then it got me to thinking…the only photos we do have are mostly of:

a) blurred children

b) children making faces

c) dad and the kids

d) one candid, nice, kid shot

What about me?  This whole time taking pics, organizing food, swimming with kids in the waves, running up stairs to waterslides (Truth: okay since my kids weren’t actually tall enough for the water slides these involved mostly the 4 steps to the toddler slides) And I think we got in one family photo at the very end.  When I asked some random guy to get our pic (insert husband eye-roll).

I read an article a while back that really made me think that I wanted to BE in these pictures more.  Be present so when my kids look back at family albums I will be a part of their life (in photos anyway.)  I thought this was really important to me.  And then this family vacation happened.  And I realized that instead I want to be IN their lives, not in the photos forcing sometimes faked smiles.  The best photos are the ones I see when I close my eyes.  And the memories come alive.  And I want to be in the memory of my kids.  So when I ask “What was your favourite part of the trip?  They can scan through all the memories of our entire family and remember.

So all in all, Best Mother’s Day Ever!  With many, many more to come!

 

 

A Mini-fridge, Microwave and Masterplan.

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We’ve done lots of family trips away where I’ve planned an entire week of meals off of one master grocery list, down to spices, condiments and often including utensils (missing from the “kitchenette” rentals).  In a Las Vegas timeshare I even had to buy a pot and frying pan to accommodate us eating in.  In Hawaii a delayed oven timer saved me when meal planning conflicted with a hike we wanted to do (and dinner was ready when we returned!)  Eating in on vacations has saved us the hassle of small kid’s constant needs (milk and breakfast 30 seconds after waking…at 5:30am) and my requirement for healthy, balanced, vegetarian meals.  I can only do salad so many times guys.

I’ve realized with travel that many places don’t factor into account the required protein and iron for vegetarians. (I can’t imagine being vegan and trying to navigate!)  Sure we could opt for the “veggie burger” and fries every night.  But we all end up feeling crummy.  Trust me, we’ve done it.

Hence why I plan.

So we’re going on a (SURPRISE!) family trip. (I have yet to mention to the kids.)  And they don’t seem to have noticed my near-constant cooking and kitchen prep the last few days to prepare.

The difficultly this time doesn’t revolve around an oven timer or can opener…this time what I am given to work with is only a mini-fridge and microwave.  And 48 hours of fun in a waterpark!  Which means large appetites.  I tried unsuccessfully with my pinterest reflex to find solutions.  So I created my own.

Mini-fridge and microwave. 48 hours. A family of four.

Bring. It. On.

IMG_2397First things first…the master meal plan of what to bring…and then the shopping trip of what to buy (along with the regular weekly grocery shop, see my grocery belt lineup of food above – YUM!)

Meal One – Dinner

  • IMG_2419 IMG_2420So after arriving, checking in, and going hard at the waterpark for a few hours we will start with Homemade Cauliflower Mac’N’Cheese.  Just needs to be heated up in the microwave safe bowls I’m bringing!  Kids love it, and the extra carbs will be needed for all that swim time! Recipe makes enough for two meals (freezer meal for later in this case!) Packed in a gallon ziplock baggie so we can stuff it in the minifridge in any shape needed 🙂  The kids will also have tetra packs of almond milk.  Mom and Dad’s bevvie of choice: Bota Box wine!  Then back to the pool, slides and splash park before bed!

Meal Two – Breakfast

  • IMG_2437 IMG_2434I’m not a huge fan of the pre-packaged instant oatmeal you can buy.  But my family are huge oatmeal fans.  And I appreciate the convenience of just having to add boiling water.  Solution: Homemade Instant Oatmeal!  No high fructose anything or preservatives. IMG_2435 Only awesomeness. I made an apple cinnamon walnut kind…after finding these dehydrated apple chips.  Even more than loving the pre-made chips (because I don’t have a dehydrator and keeping my oven on for hours while continually checking chips doesn’t thrill me) is the ingredient list.  Organic apples and organic cinnamon!  Along with our oatmeal I’m bringing a variety of fruit (mangos, pears, bananas and apples). Yum!

Morning Snack

  • I caved and bought yogurt tubes.  Yes.  I know. Parent fail 😉  The kids love them and they are e-a-s-y!  And even though they are the organic, hormone free kind they still make me cringe at the level of sugar (9g – that’s 2 teaspoons of processed sugar!)  Oh well, it is vacation.  They will be served alongside apple slices and gulp…another processed item – cheddar bunnies. (Similar to goldfish but sooth my inner-health-food-gal minimally by being organic.)

Meal Three – Lunch

  • IMG_2438I really, REALLY wanted to bring my homemade soup.  I know, crazy right.  Mini-fridge I fear your small size!  So I bought the best darned canned kind I could find.  Amy’s Organic Lentil Soup (in the BPA free can).  This is actually a staple in our pantry for emergency lunches when we have nothing else.  The kids LOVE this soup.  I LOVE this soup. Heck everybody must LOVE this soup, half the time I go to buy it there aren’t any left on the shelf.  And as a side I made jello fruit cups. IMG_2439 My daughter has somehow been lured by marketers before ever having even had jello.  So she will be happy to have her wishes fulfilled for the elusive jello that mommy never buys/makes (except this vacation).  Oh and I stuffed those darned little cups full of as many berries as I could before pouring the sugar/gelatin mixture in!

Afternoon Snack

  • IMG_2378Cheese Strings.  I lie, they aren’t stringy at all.  They are the whole foods brand organic colby cheese in pre-packed singles to look like cheese strings 🙂 hehe sneaky mommy! Fruit squeezes and homemade granola bars.  When planning these snacks I thought I would be allowed to bring them along with us to the water park.  Sadly I learned after prepping everything that isn’t the case.  Had I known, we would have done real fruit and cheese, rather than spend the extra on less-mess and easy-to-pack foods.  The granola bars are Ah-mazing!  Filled with oats, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds, almond butter goodness.  Travel well wrapped in foil.  I don’t feel right about giving out the recipe, as it comes from a fellow blogger’s recipe book (which is also Ah-mazing!  Really, every recipe I’ve tried scores an A-plus in my book, and my kids) Find it here.

Meal Four – Dinner

  • IMG_2424IMG_2422Sweet Potato and Spinach Lentil Curry  and rice (made and bagged separately).  All pre-made in gallon baggies, again stuffed into that small mini-fridge!  Everything can be divided into the microwave safe bowls and heated up! (And enough leftover for another freezer meal for later.) Nice hot meal filled with protein, iron and love to fuel our activity!  And again with the tetra packed almond milk for the kiddos and wine for Mom and Dad.

Meal Five – Breakfast

  • A repeat of the same family favourite instant oatmeal! And more fruit!

Morning Snack

  • whatever is leftover and not already eaten 🙂  I also packed a few extras for night snacks (which we don’t normally do, but this is vacation!) Microwave popcorn, raisins and cherry tomatoes.  So whatever isn’t already gone is game on our last day!

Meal Six – Lunch

  • IMG_2440Egg salad sandwiches and jello fruit cups.  Again the egg salad was pre-made and bagged to fit in the mini-fridge.  We brought the bread and will make the sandwiches right before check out time at 11am.

So all in all it will be a fabulous time!  What a great Mother’s Day gift.  And I’m happy I could give it to myself, because the best thing in the world I could get on mother’s day is family memories.

Happy Mother’s Day!

 

Meal Plan Monday.

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Greek Pizza (on garlic naan bread)

Yup it’s back!  Not that my meal planning ever stopped… and this week it’s better than ever.  Mostly because we are going away on a family trip soon so I get to plan all our food for a 2 night hotel excursion with mini fridge and microwave!  In a future post I will outline how we did it – both to save on money and continue to keep eating healthy! (Well healthier than the burger and fries options most restaurants provide…this is vacation after all and treats are well deserved!)

So here is this week’s menu plan!

  • IMG_2403Peanut Satay Dragon Bowl with quinoa (The pic is of my pre-chopped veggies for this evening. One of my lifesavers in whole-foods eating is prep time ahead of schedule.  Too bad my colourful peppers are hidden underneath.)
  • Greek Pizza (on garlic naan bread)
  • Vegetarian Paella
  • The finished dish

    Vegetarian Paella

    IMG_1425Chickin’ Fingers with Green Bean and Feta Salad (The Chickin’ is the Quorn brand using mycoprotein as the source of protein.  Meat and soy free!)

  • Tacos! (Since I totally missed out on the Cinco de Mayo celebrations I’m making up for it here!)

In amongst all of this planning and prepping I am training for an upcoming mother’s day race.  I use the word training and race VERY loosely.  It’s 5km (3.1miles) and my normal runs are 2 miles so it really isn’t a stretch.  And as for the race aspect, I’m not in it as a competitive sport.

I realized with the extra time to get out with running stroller, or haul the kids to the gym (so I can get on a treadmill) that I do excel in time organization.  And also, that the part of me that wants everything healthy and ‘from scratch’ needs to sometimes take a breather and take a step back.  So I have been organizing easy meals the past few weeks.  And although they are still healthy and balanced, they have some ‘cheats’ to make things go a little more smoothly in my time crunch between naps, ballet class, school, playdates, swimming lessons, running schedules, yoga classes (both teaching and attending), and hubby’s new krav maga martial arts training…

The Future

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I’ve been looking at wills lately.  Creating a will and last testament.  Not that I don’t already have one (do you?)

Living in yet another country it would make things easier to have a will done here than try to have our old will go through probate and be subject to different laws.  Wills are a funny thing.  They bring up so much emotion, and thoughts.  The very act of calling it a will seems odd to me.  I can’t will anything if I am dead.  Can I really even will something if I am alive?

Think about that for a second.  I WILL you to think about it!  Did it work?  Likely not.  Similarly to me willing to win the lotto, or that my child won’t have a tantrum.  So what’s left?

For me the fear.  Just talking about a will brings up all sorts of emotion:

What will happen if my husband dies?  What will I do?

My husband dies.  The house goes into probate.  Extended family lays claim to it (or neighbours…) long court battle.  Fighting ensues.  We are isolated from both family and the neighbours.  Being non-residents we are subject to huge taxes.  I am forced to sell the house.  Oh, and the car (it’s likely not in my name either.) I have no where to live.  I am destitute.  Poor.  Alone.  Except for the kids.  Now I am homeless with kids.  Maybe I’m the one with the cardboard sign at the stoplight throwing myself a pity party hoping for change.  And then the alcohol, because of course I can’t cope.  And the drugs. (Would there be drugs?? I’m not sure…makes for a better story though.) Then foster care for the destitute children. And abuse.  And then my untimely death in an alley somewhere.

hmmmmm.

Big story.  Highly unlikely.  Mostly fear based.  Okay all fear based.  And totally ridiculous.

So I’ll focus on the fact that in the unlikely event of his death (or both our deaths) a will may make things easier on the people left behind tying up our affairs in order.  Just another piece of paper.  And allow the story in my head to disappear in the same time it took to appear.

After watching my grandfather die, and all the intricacies of the estate being dissolved I can see why having a to-do list via a lawyer (aka a will) is a really good thing.  And on the advice of my lawyer we even added a clause for kids when we did our will.  We laughed at it at the time…but now that they exist it was a good thing.  Part of keeping our family safe and healthy.

I’d will you to go out and get one too.  To make your life easier.  But now I realise I can’t.  So I won’t. Or will I? (C’mon laugh with me…)  And seriously, think about the will thing.

 

32. A Stitch in Time

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Simply Living Healthy – 40 tips in 40 days

What is one way you can save money, time and not have to decide what to make for dinner again?  Meal Plan!!

Okay, I know that I love organization.  It gets me all excited and I love the end result.  For those of you who aren’t into organization I’m sure you have your own system that works.   But for me, this saves time: I only grocery shop once a week and everything is outlined so I don’t have to work magic in the kitchen every day trying to figure out what I have in stock and what I can make with it…the magic is already there I just have to show up and follow the plan!

It saves me money: I only grocery shop once a week (see a pattern here?), saves me from impulse buys and it also helps me to organize and use what I do have in the kitchen.  Meal planning ahead of time also allows me to use leftovers from one meal in another…like making a large greek salad and being able to use it in two dinners, or cut up veggies from one dish in a stir fry the following night.

And it saves me from the dreaded “what are we going to have for dinner??”

I spend an hour to an hour and a half Monday mornings planning the meals for the week, and then another hour to hour and a half grocery shopping for our needs.  Then I have very set meals I am prepared for all week.  No decisions or quandaries about what to eat!  And my little kids love it, because they can choose from the list of meals for that week what they want.  (Especially in the beginning of the week when there are up to 7 choices!  My daughter loves this, which in turn helps her to actually want to eat the meal…because it gives her the feeling of choice and control.)

I’ve been missing posting my weekly meal plans on my blog…I’ve made such fabulous meals lately it’s been hard not to share.  But know that when this 40 days of tips is done, I’ll have a bunch of exciting recipes and meal plans to share!  Like the cookies pictured above (ok ok so it’s not a meal…but they are SO good!  And if you are using the recipe link: I substituted peanut butter with almond butter, ground my almonds into meal instead of flour and used coconut oil as the ‘buttery spread’.  Now the cookies are gone, even though we are not a vegan household.)

That today’s tip!  Helps with mental health, financial health, and health in general because you are less likely to resort to ordering in pizza…even if I did just convince you to make cookies.

Happy Friday!

Simply Living Healthy – 40 tips in 40 days