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 a circle to form 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

 

Hosting A Cookie Exchange

Hosting A Cookie Exchange

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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.

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

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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.

Organize: Create A Snack Station

Organize: Create A Snack Station

When I go to my pantry and find half empty boxes, where I thought there were full boxes, it makes me so frustrated. When you have children who are independent, they will often leave a mess of empty or unsealed bags in their wake.

By creating a location in a pantry for single serving snacks, it helps to eliminate the frustration of the empty boxes. Create a cupboard or basket in your fridge that is the "Snack Station". Tell household members, including adults, that this is where you find your snacks. Only take from these location unless you ask for something else.

The Snack Station will also help with packing lunches, either making it easier for you to grab or for your children to pack up their lunches.

Set some guidelines for how to use the snack station.

Depending on your children's ages, you may require them to ask before going into the cupboard, or simply allow them a certain number of snacks after school or after supper, on the weekends, etc...
You can go as far as having bins labeled with "Healthy" and "Junk" options.

Consider creating a rule similar to:" you can have 2 healthy snacks and before you pick a junk snack".

Cookies, Chips & Crackers

With cookies, chips and crackers, I purchase in bulk sizes and portion them out in plastic baggies or containers. Then when they grab a snack, I know they are eating a serving and not the whole package.

Carrots, Celery, and other fruit or veggie options

Prep healthy snack ahead as well. If they need to be peeled (orange or clementine) or cut up (Carrots, cauliflower, etc) then have them ready to grab an go. It may surprise you how often a child, or even an adult, will select a healthy snack option if it is ready to eat.

Pudding, Fruit Cups & Yogurt

Remove outside packaging and break apart so individual servings are easy to select quickly.

I find that by taking the time to portion out our snacks, we are more aware of what we are eating and there are no partially empty boxes in my cupboards.

Once portioned in bags or containers,  use a basket our larger container to hold each type of snack. Label the bins with healthy or junk.

With a younger child,  labeling with numbers works best, (1,2&3). Then put the junkier snacks in bin 3.

Do you have a cupboard of half empty boxes? Please share your ideas and tips for organizing your snacks.

Menu Plan Feb 7th

Menu Plan Feb 7th

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As you may have noticed last time I shared, I do not assign a day to a meal when doing my menu plan. I find it easier to select and prep for meals, then decide on the day what we want for supper I simply cross off the meal as we have them. Some weeks I include more choices than others. If we have fresh items to use up I make as many meals with those first, then add what is in the freezer.

I will be posting some recipes on my blog at Everything Unscripted, and will link to them here. I have been trying harder to make everything from scratch lately. It is much easier than I thought, and as I add new weekly staples, I am finding we are enjoying our food more. By prepping food on Sunday's and have most meals ready or half prepped, I can spend less time feeling like I am running around and forgetting things each day!

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It may not look pretty, but it works for me 🙂

If you want to see my Grocery Shopping for this week, CLICK HERE.

Weekly Menu Plan Jan 17th

Weekly Menu Plan Jan 17th

MenuPlan

This week's menu plan came from the items I picked up on sale and the ingredients and meals we already have on hand. Each week I will share my menu plan showing what I had to purchase, and what I had on hand.
Some items purchased will be used in freezer meal preparation, for use on other weeks.

The way I meal plan may be a little different.
I find it hard to stick to a meal plan when I assign days to the meals. Instead, I make a list of meals, and then each day pick what we want to have based on how much time we have and what works with our schedules.

Each week I spend time on Sunday prepping food for the week. Making salads, cooking rice, making up freezer meals, whatever needs to be done for that week's meals.

Here is what my meal plan can look like: This is the list I made when I cleaned out my freezer. There are meals included that are all prepped in my freezer. As we ate them, I crossed off what we ate.

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This is not my menu this week. Please find below the details of my menu and shopping for this week.

Starting with what I have in the fridge, freezer and pantry, I then move on to the sales flyers. Each week I am planning for meals for that week and depending on sales, possibly meals for future weeks. Many of my freezer meals are for slow cookers and makes it very easy to just pop in and serve when done 4 to 8 hours later.

By planning ahead, I can usually prep freezer meals a couple times a month. I prep Breakfast, Lunch and Supper meals for the freezer. (I will link recipes when possible)

So here are this week’s Meal Options:
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As the week goes, I simply pick a meal and cross it off as we have it. I need to fill in a couple blanks here, but usually meat options are available in the freezer.

In addition to these supper meals, I prepare a small Lunch list:
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These are more "reminders" to me. I need to do this so I add a little variety and use up the food we have on hand.
Here is my reminder list for breakfasts:
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Finally I make a list of the prep I need to do on Sunday. I like to do most of my prep the day I shop. If I buy veggies or meat and I just put it in the fridge, there is a better chance I will forget about it or not use it. So, I prep my food as soon as possible. Setting a certain time to do this each week is ideal.
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I hope this helps give an idea of what I do to waste less food and be prepared for the week.

Having a very scattered brain most of the time, I find the weeks I can stick to doing this, I am much more productive and spend less time in the kitchen overall.

Happy shopping, planning and eating 🙂