I have to apologize! I have been completely MIA since the holidays and I am so sorry! Let me explain briefly…
First, like many of my friends I was absolutely swamped from August through December. After December 15, it slowed down. Phew! January is usually slow for most photographers but I had my Valentine and my headshot event planned.
A few weeks into January my knee completely went out. If you have worked with me in the past year, you have heard me complain about my knees popping and also how since I became pregnant, its gotten harder and harder to straighten and unlock. Well, finally it completely went out on me. I was in so much excruciating pain and ended up in the ER because of it. I am told I have a meniscus injury and possible tear. They can’t do anything (not even an MRI) except PT at this point because of my pregnancy. I haven’t been able to work at all… everything I do is extremely painful and it’s really not fun. PT has been going very well and I am hoping I can shoot again soon. The wildflowers are going to be so beautiful with all the rain! Hopefully I can shoot again before I take maternity leave! I’m halfway till my due date! Wh00t!
I have been sending all my inquiries to my sister studio and anyone wanting an on-location shoot I am referring to my photographer at my other studio. I apologize to those of you I had to turn away 🙁
Now enough of my issues, let me tell you about something super awesome.
For months and months my boyfriend and I have been wanting to eat more at home. He’s an amazing cook but he’s also a PhD student and there’s plenty of nights he’s gone until very late. I get very intimidated with recipes with a lot of ingredients. I also can not make anything other than a “one pot dish” because I am really not that skilled to be able to make 3 dishes at a time.
We challenged ourself to cook at home every dinner for the month of January. I don’t believe in new years resolutions… but I do believe in setting goals.
I had over 800 recipes saved to my food board on pinterest. Who doesn’t? I lay in bed pinning food I will never make but looks delicious. I figured now is the chance to start trying some. I also want my kids to grow up having home cooked meals. My child goes out to eat WAY too much and not only is it not healthy, but it’s very expensive doing it frequently.
We started out trying for a week and wanted to see how it went. I found a few of my meals I had pinned and I put them down for each night of the week. I found a few meal planning printables on interest but in reality, the best thing I found was at Tj Maxx and it’s a “this week” pad of paper with every day on it that I now keep taped to the fridge.
I realized something that doesn’t work for me is cooking using recipes on the iPad, my phone or laptop in the kitchen. I get super easily distracted and also I had such a hard time finding the recipe again.
I decided to do the following:
- Print the recipes for the week and slip into a sheet protector and keep in a binder. I only keep recipes I have not only made but would make again.
- Know how when you find a recipe on Facebook and you can’t remember where it was? Don’t bother re-posting to find it later. You’ll never find it again. Facebook has an awesome “save” feature so you can go back later and find all your saved links! I have a TON on Facebook I haven’t even gotten around to making yet!
- I pin all my recipes to two boards. One is a public “food” or “vegan” board so others can enjoy it and I can refer back to it. The other is a secret board of “meals for the week” where I pin meals I am making for the week and then delete them when I am done. This helps me keep track incase I forget to print the recipe I don’t need to go back and find it again. It’s only private so others don’t pin from it and then when I delete it it’s ruined for them.
- I usually sit on Saturday or Sunday and lay out on the weekly planner what I am going to make for the week. I try to leave a day of left overs. We keep running out of room in the fridge and also containers!
- I make my grocery list then and I also shop 1-2x a week. Fresh produce, half & half, meat, etc. for Thursdays through the weekend are best bought on Wednesday. While shopping I mark off items as I go. I also keep the list organized by the meal which I know is dumb… however for me, I like to know what I’m buying for what. Some people who shop at multiple stores will categorize their list by isles which is what I used to do (and it makes the most sense) but I find organizing by meal works best right now. I also have a horrible habit of buying more than I need and I find this keeps me on track to not impulse buy.
- I try to pick the meals which are spicier, has items my kid doesn’t like etc to be made on nights my daughter is at her dads house. I save the items I know she loves for nights she is home with us. I always have something frozen or some tortillas on hand incase I make something thats too spicy for her and she can’t eat it.
So, with that being said…
(have you even made it this far? Bueller?? Bueller?) here are only some of the recipes we have made. There have been a few things like vegan chili my boyfriend has made but he doesn’t have a printed recipe for it 🙂
- Roasted Tomatoes & Goat Cheese Polenta
- Pasta with Spring Greens
- Heathy Fettuccini with cauliflower alfredo (I added peas)
- Spinach, Artichoke & Tomato pizza (I used pre-made trader joes frozen dough)
- Veggie 7 Layer Burritos
- Hash brown Slow Cooker Soup (I skipped the bacon on this, also I used real potatoes cut up and liked it much better than when I used hash browns the 2nd time)
- Black Bean & Spinach enchiladas (Lilly LOVED these)
- Italian Orzo Soup (This was SO good just don’t buy the green chili fire roasted cans of crushed tomatoes… makes it too spicy for me & Lilly)
- Easy Chow Mein with Spiralized Zucchini (really yummy! I would add more veggies or less noodles though)
- Pasta, Bell Peppers, and Asparagus in a Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce (holy YUM)
- Lemon Zucchini Pasta with Roasted Artichokes
- Creamy Mushroom and Kale Quesadillas (I forgot to add the cream cheese in this but it was still very good)
- Clean Eating Portobello Mushrooms and Broccoli Stir Fry (OMG we loved this!)
- Classic Chickpea Vegan Meatloaf (Very good but we had some issues getting it to be really firm. I think its best to cook the day before and then re-heat when you’re ready)
- Vegan Mac & Cheese
- Honey Ginger Tofu & Veggie Stir Fry
- Vegan Crock Pot Lasagna
Meats (many I use fake beef in them):
- Asiago Chicken Pasta with Sun dried Tomatoes & Spinach
- Baked Ravioli (I used fake beef crumbles for this)
- One Pan Veggies & Sausage (I used chicken apple sausage)
- Crockpot creamy mushroom chicken (I used the natural cream of mushroom soup from Trader Joes) and also the natural chicken. I never use what they showed in the picture)
- One Pot Beef Stroganoff (our fav right now… but we use fake beef crumbles)
- One-Pot Creamy Chicken Pot Pie Noodles
Thats all for now! I am going to plan better and create a board of “Things I will make again” so I can update y’all with new recipes!
Please tell me if you have tried any of these! Or do you have some favorites? Please post in the comments so everyone else can enjoy!