Week of 4/9/17

Hello, friends! I’m really excited today because I’m getting ready to do what I do best — overshare way more information than anyone would probably need. That’s just who I am, so I may as well embrace it. 😉
For quite a while now, I’ve wanted to start this ‘series’ of sorts. I’ve been planning it in my head, trying to figure out how I could make it work, but finally just decided to jump on in and figure it out as I go. The overall format of this will likely change slightly week to week, but the gist of it is this: A weekly blog post sharing my meal plan and how I prepped for the week, accompanied by a recap of how the previous week went and what I learned/would change if I did it again.

I think sometimes it’s helpful to see a plan in action, rather than just read the game plan and try to make it work. I hope you find this interesting and maybe pick up a tip or two along the way.

One thing I really enjoy is efficiency. I am constantly looking at the things I do and trying to make it more efficient — especially in the kitchen. Sometimes just the order I do things in makes a huge difference. I’ll point out little things like that along the way.

Since this is my first official post, I don’t have a recap of the previous week to share with you. So instead, I’ll share a recap of just some other things 🙂

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Justin found some new trails for us to take our dogs to, so we went hiking with them and it was a blast! We’ve had a lot of rain lately, so the creek we had to cross was pretty high. Lucy (right) loves water and hopped right in. Ethel (left) is more skiddish and was not having it. She was trying to hop from rock to rock to get across, but got stuck in one spot where the rock was too far away. It took her a little convincing, but she finally stepped in the water, then leaped out as fast as she could. There were several puddles on the trail and Ethel would swerve as far around them as she could to avoid getting wet. Lucy, on the other hand, would swerve and walk directly through them splashing around. It’s fun to me to see how different their personalities are. We love those 2!

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I was gifted a new digital camera recently and I’ve been having a lot of fun playing with it. Justin and I ran around town taking pictures together and it was so. much. fun. I gave him some pointers and he got some great shots! This is just a small sampling of all the pictures we took together. I think we may have found a new shared hobby! 🙂

Yesterday morning, I sat down with my coffee and pulled up the grocery ads looking for deals worth snagging. Pork shoulder was on sale at Sprouts for a really good price, so I planned on getting one. They also had a decent sale on chuck roast, so I went ahead and got one of those too. Hyvee had a sale on their brats, so we decided to do those for our lunch. After seeing what was on sale and what I had in my pantry, I made my meal plan.

The Plan
Breakfast: Me: Yogurt parfait. Him: Granola Wrap.
Lunch: Brats, roasted vegetables & baked beans.

Snack: Celery, peanut butter and dried cranberries.
Dinners: Homemade pizza, BBQ pulled pork w/ vegetables, Tuna salad, Enchilada shredded beef tacos, Eggs & potatoes, Vegetarian burrito bowls

I’ve been working on stocking my freezer with fully cooked meals that just need defrosted and reheated. Freezer 49This is something I did a lot a couple months ago, but for some reason got out of the habit of doing. I’m trying to have at least 2 meals each week that I’m making a lot of with the intention of freezing. This week, I am freezing some BBQ pulled pork and the beef part of the enchilada shredded beef tacos. I got a 7 lb. bone-in pork shoulder and a 5 lb. chuck roast. Personally, I didn’t want to freeze such large pieces of meat before cooking them, so I decided to cook those up first thing. Yesterday, I cooked the pork shoulder in my slow cooker with 2 bottles of BBQ sauce on low for 10 hours. Then I shredded it up and separated it out into 3 meals worth. I froze 2 of them and plan to reheat the 3rd for dinner tonight along with some roasted sweet potatoes and green beans. Tomorrow morning, I’ll put the chuck roast in the slow cooker with some peppers, onions and enchilada sauce. I’ll shred, divide and freeze that one too.

Our breakfasts don’t require any prep work. I was trying to keep it easy on myself and Breakfast 49granola was on sale for a good price, so I decided to purchase it rather than make it. My breakfast is basic — just 3 things mixed together — yogurt, granola and blueberries. I’m thinking I might pick up some bananas to go with it though. With the banana, I’m just over 500 calories for this.
Justin’s breakfast is also really easy and he’ll just make it each morning. It’s a wrap with peanut butter, apple, granola and raisins. Here’s the link for the recipe that he’s making: Justin’s Breakfast

For lunch,Lunch 49 we’re having the brats from Hyvee, roasted vegetables and baked beans. I calculate this at just over 500 calories.
I purchased 14 brats from Hyvee and had them package them in 6 and 8 for me. I immediately froze the package of 6 to cook later this week and cooked up the other 8 today. To cook them, I seared them in a really hot pan, then popped them in a 400F oven until the internal temperature was 165. I roasted the broccoli and carrots in just some olive oil and salt while the brats were cooking. The baked beans are just straight out of a can.

Snack 49

For a snack, I went back to kindergarten. Celery, peanut butter and dried cranberries. (I don’t like raisins.) I’ll cut all of the celery up tonight, to make it easier to grab and go. I purchased the dried cranberries from the bulk bin, which was nice since I didn’t need very many of them. Around 275 calories for this.

I try to stay around or under 500 calories for dinner, but I’m not super strict on it all the time. (Mostly cause pizza.) I try to compensate by frequent dog walks, on foot picture taking adventures and hiking. It’s all about balance!

The dinners this week aren’t anything too crazy.  The tuna I can make before I go to work one day. Eggs & potatoes is pretty standard around here — just scrambled eggs and roasted potatoes. The shredded beef will be served with corn tortillas, black beans, corn and cheese. (I’ll link to the recipe later this week. It’s one I’ve been working on.) The pulled pork I already talked about above. The vegetarian burrito bowls are another of our quick favorites. We typically make them with rice, corn, salsa, black beans, roasted sweet potatoes and sometimes cheese. I can prep all of that stuff in advance for us to quickly reheat or eat cold. (I bought dry black beans and will cook those in my slow cooker tomorrow.) I’m actually planning on having the burrito bowls twice this week, since we enjoy them and they’re fairly cheap to make. Pizza is something I really enjoy making homemade and having been working to perfect, so we have it pretty much weekly. It helps keep us from ordering pizza too. Homemade is cheaper!

And that’s it. Like I said above, it’s nothing too crazy this week. I’m not experimenting with much new or trying to make 10 things from scratch. I find that if I try to do too many things, I get overwhelmed and do none of them. I think the key is knowing what you can expect from yourself and being realistic. Look at your schedule for the week. Lots of busy days/nights? Keep it simple. Slow week with extra free time? Plan some more in depth/fun things, if that’s what you’re into.

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