It’s A Date, Our First Night Out In Ages!

*this date was sponsored by Lotus Vietnamese Restaurant. All opinions and wording are our own.

This past weekend my husband, Doug, and I managed to go out for a date. Other than work related night's out, I can not remember the last time the two of us actually went out without the children. In the past we have always relied on family to babysit, but our oldest is perfectly capable to babysit now, so we decided it was time to have an evening together, out of the house, and away from the kiddos!

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Sunday Meal Prep January 29

Sunday Meal Prep January 29

Meal Prep To Match This Week's Meal Plan
I have decided to start a separate weekly Meal Prep post with pics and details, here is the list of what I did. If you want to see my Meal Plan, CLICK HERE. I spend roughly 3 to 4 hours on Sunday prepping food for the week. This makes meals during the week so quick and easy. It is worth it to have everything ready.
  • Boil 6 eggs, cool & store in fridge.
  • Brown ground beef for Big Mac Salad, then store in container in fridge.
  • Mix up homemade Thousand Island Dressing 
  • Mix up and bake Meatballs. Divide into 2 freezer bags for 2 family meals.
  • Make 1 dozen Banana Muffins. Freeze 4. I had a helper making the muffins this week 🙂
  • Cook Chicken in crock pot. For supper with rice, and use bones and remaining chicken for soup, to be made later that evening.
  • Cook and freeze pasta for spaghetti and a box of penne for later use.
  • Make up 4 jars of Overnight Oatmeal.
  • Season and wrap pork tenderloin and freeze. Ready to cook later in the week.
  • Thaw 2 chicken breast in fridge for use in lunches this week.
  • Bake sub buns for lunches.
  • Make and freeze Pizza Dough.
  • Cut up celery and carrots into snack bags
  • Bake biscuits to have with soup and extra for lunches or snacks for the kids.

Timing

  • Boil eggs for 2 minutes, then remove from heat and let sit covered for 10 minutes.
  • While eggs are boiling I browned 1 lb of the ground beef. This takes about 10 minutes.
  • Next, I mixed up Meatballs and got them ready to bake in the oven. This takes about 15 minutes to prepare. Then they bake for 25 minutes. TIP: when cooking meatballs, line baking pan (with sides) with tinfoil and place a cooling wrack over the pan. Place Meatballs on cooling rack so fat drips off as they bake.
  • While meatballs are cooking, the chicken went into the slow cooker for supper.
  • Next, I set up my bread machine to make my dough for the sub buns. Once set up it works for alost 2 hours mixing, raising and kneed in the dough.
  • After that I whipped up a batch of banana muffins, while letting Clayton (4yr old) help with these. 10 minutes prep.
  • After removing meatballs from oven, I placed muffins in to bake for 20-25 minutes.
  • My next task was to cook pasta, I did a box of spaghetti and a box of penne. They took about 20 minutes.
  • Once cooked and drained, I rinse the pasta in cold water and then place in freezer bags with a little olive oil.
  • Muffins are removed from oven and placed on a cooling rack.
  • Now meatballs are cooled enough to divide into one freezer bag and a container in the fridge (they will be used for Spaghetti and Meatballs meal)
  • Veggies for snacks are peeled and chopped before put in snack bags for storing in the fridge.
  • I removed dough from bread machine and formed 4 subs and 3 buns (hamburger size). They bake for 25 minutes.
  • There were a couple red peppers and some grape tomatoes in the fridge that were starting to get old. So I put them in the oven on lower and they take a few hours to roast.
  • I then seasoned and wrapped the pork tenderloin with bacon and put in freezer. Ready to cook later in the week.
  • Took 2 cooked chicken breast out of freezer to thaw for use in lunches this week.
Once the chicken was cooked for supper, I carved it and then made soup with the bones. It is still cooking. I still have biscuits and spaghetti sauce to make.(I will use the roasted peppers and tomatoes in my sauce). I spent about 3 hours to complete all this and clean up. There are a few things now in the freezer for future weeks as well (meatballs, pasta and muffins).

Chicken “Pot Pie” Wreath

Chicken "Pot Pie" Wreath

Here's my take on an easy Chicken Pie!Crescent rolls were on sale a few weeks ago for $0.99 a package. I picked up 4 and here is what I did with 2 packs.

Over the holidays, my mom was visiting and when we have company, I like to serve more planned meals that are easy to throw together. This was one of the meals I made that is quick and super easy....and delicious.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pk Crescent Rolls
  • 2 cups cubed cooked Chicken
  • 1 cup Frozen Peas & Carrots (cooked)
  • 1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
  • Salt & Pepper to taste.

 

- Place crescent roles in circle to for a "sun". Using floured fingers, press the dough flat around the center of the wreath, giving you about 2 inches of solid dough all the way around the ring.

- In bowl, combine remainder of ingredients and stir.

- Scoop spoonfuls around the dough wreath. Create a full circle around the  wreath shape.

- Fold the points of the crescent rolls up over the chicken mound and connect to dough at inside of the ring.

- Bake at 375 degrees for 20-22 minutes.

Makes 4-5 servings

COST BREAKDOWN

  • 2 pk Crescent Rolls ($0.99 each = $1.98)
  • 2 cups cubed cooked Chicken (approx. $2, marked down chicken breast)
  • 1 cup Frozen Peas & Carrots (cooked) ($0.50)
  • 1 can Cream of Chicken Soup ($o.50)

TOTAL COST: $4.98  or $1 - $1.25 per person!!

Hosting A Cookie Exchange

Hosting A Cookie Exchange

cookieexchange

I love baking, and Christmas tends to be my favourite time of year for baking, and being creative. That being said, it also gets very expensive to buy all the supplies to create all these little nuggets of goodness!

Wouldn't you rather be spending the money on having fun with your friends and family? I know I would. So let's chat about a fun way to spend time with those you love and share some goodies to use over the holidays.

Cookie Swaps or Cookie Exchanges have been popular for decades, but honestly, I have only participated in a couple. One through a workplace and one with friends. It is a fabulous way to try new cookies and treats and to grow you recipe list as well.

Here are some tips for hosting a successful cookie swap:

Have a theme

Perhaps you want to host an Ugly Sweater Party, Fancy Dresses, or Slippers & PJs! You can get very creative with a theme and it will take the cookie exchange to another level of fun for the evening.

Pick a type of cookie or treat to exchange

Simply pick a type of cookies/treat to share, such as No Bake Treats, or Sugar Cookies. Trust me, there will be a variety no matter what type of cookie or treat you choose. If you select sugar cookies, gingerbread or shortbread, ask that they be decorated in some way with icing or candies.

Send out an invitation

Send an invitation to your friends and family outlining the evening. Be specific with what you are requesting for # of cookies and what they need to bring. You can create the invites and send via email or traditional mail. You could even create a facebook private group and invite the people you are having.

Ask what people  are bringing (about a week in advance)

You don't need to have the specifics, but knowing the types of cookies or treats that are coming will help you ensure there will be a variety for people to take home.

Ask guests to bring samples of the treats

In addition to the amount of cookies required for the exchange, ask your guests to bring a few samples, or smaller versions of the cookie they brought. Set this number according to # of guests attending. This will allow everyone to have a treat at the party and also try the cookies they will be taking home.

 Notify guests of any food allergies

If anyone attending has a food allergy, be sure to request the treats are free of the food they are allergic to.

Share the Recipes

Ask guests to bring their recipe printed out for other guests to take home. If you are into being uniform, you could ask guests to send you the recipes and then print them out together. You can create a yearly Cookie Exchange Recipe Book! Wouldn't that be fun?

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We all have our favourite cookies and holiday treats, participating in a cookie exchange allows us to have a larger variety on hand over the holidays, without having to do all the baking!

I am headed to a cookie exchange with a friend tomorrow night and will be taking my Red & Green Crinkle Cookies. If you are looking for more inspiration, be sure to check the link below for a huge list of holiday cookie ideas!

Need ideas for what to make?

Check out this amazing list shared with me by other Canadian bloggers.

34holidaycookies

My #80lbJourney – Food, Fuel & A New Perspective

sept15_2016

The 8 week challenge was provided to me in exchange for honest review. All wording and opinions are my own.

This week it is time to take control of the FOOD I put in my body. I always thought I ate okay, except evening snacks. But I started the 8 week challenge with Deborah Hann and Journey to Wellness.  Well, let me tell you, it has been eye opening to say the least.

It is no longer about eating when I am hungry...it is about deliberately refueling my body throughout the day.

I don't even get hungry anymore, because I am giving myself the right food at the right times.

I am only on my 4th day doing this, but I can see such positive changes already!

No headaches, more energy and this morning, I didn't even notice I missed my coffee!

If you are following me on Facebook or Instagram,  you probably saw me post this picture.

August 2016 vs September 2016

The second shot is from Monday this week, its my "Before" pic for the 8 week program. I also did a fitness test and took measurements. I am most excited about how I am already feeling though.

If changing my food and increasing my water intake is making me feel this great so far...7 weeks from now I will be one happy lady, on a continued journey to get healthier each day by making the best choices for my body.

I am so very excited to see what changes will happen between now and the end of the challenge and beyond. Thanks for reading and I look forward to continuing to share this journey with you all.

Watch for recipes, meal planning and meal prep posts coming up as I continue to make positive changes for myself and my family.