Monday, June 27, 2016

Monday Made It: BBQ chicken slaw bowl

So last time I linked up here at Monday Made It, I blogged about creating a bullet journal on my normal blog The Idea Backpack. So far I am loving my bullet journal. I love having a more organized approach to my idea journal. Between teaching and working on my PhD, my life is a never-ending to-do-list (which is part of why I struggle finding time to fit in blogging).

I really would like to have something crafty to link up with, but I am currently taking 6 hours of graduate classes in summer session 1. So far it is keeping my month of June pretty busy. I do enjoy seeing what everyone is making to find some inspiration. I am hoping to have more time to create some things in July and August. I will probably be teaching middle school again this year, and I am hoping to use photography as my classroom theme. Not quite sure what that will look like yet, but still looking for some inspiration.

One of my goals this summer is to work out more regularly and eat a little better. This last school year (particularly the Spring semester) was pretty stressful and my workouts and eating routine went out the window for the months of April and May. For the last few weeks, my husband started up again with P90x3.  I haven't done all of the workouts with him because of class, but I have been doing about 4 of the workouts a week with him. My goal is to do 3-4 of the P90x3 workouts with my husband and go to yoga at the studio about 2 times a week. I just have been struggling keeping up with my homework for my two summer session classes and getting in a routine.

For this week's Monday Made It, I have an easy recipe to share with you. For the summer, I am trying to cut way back on grains and sugar. I have been trying out more Paleo recipes. I would like to do a Whole30, but for now I am just trying out more Paleo friendly recipes. However, it is so hot I haven't had much desire to actually cook. That's why this post caught my eye when Nom Nom Paleo originally shared it on Facebook. It was a link to easy salad bases that hold up all week.
From that post, there was a link to the Upside-down BBQ chicken bowl.

I made it tonight. It was really yummy and super easy. I used the broccoli slaw from Trader Joe's and their precooked pulled BBQ chicken. The whole recipe took about 10 minutes to make. I left out the almonds and the kale, but my husband and I both really liked it. Paleo-friendly and minimal effort.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Meal Plans Week of September 13, 2015

My life is so hectic with graduate school and teaching.  It seems like when I am not at work, class, or sleeping, I am doing homework. I have done very little workouts the last three weeks with trying to get in a back to school routine, so I am ready to get back to workouts this week. We have been doing P90x3.  This last week should have been "Victory Week," so we are going to do "Victory Week" this week since we missed a lot of the workouts last week. With my schedule of having to go to class two nights a week, I may have to do workouts either early in the morning, late at night, or sometimes double up other days and forgive myself a workout on days I have class.

We ended up eating out a lot last week because I ran out of steam to cook.  This week I have decided to use my crockpot more in order to avoid some of the fast food. My goal in general is to move back towards more of a Paleo diet, but those recipes can be more time-consuming to make sometimes.  I really like a lot of the Six Sisters Stuff recipes because they are tasty and easy, so for now I am probably going to use a mix of Paleo recipes and Six Sisters recipes as I work on establishing a routine.

My plan for Meals this week

Below is my general plans for meals this week.  Sometimes I will choose to change things around depending on my mood, but this is my general plan.


Last night I made Creamy Ranch Chicken in the crockpot and served it over brown rice.  I also threw zucchini and baby carrots in with it while it cooked in the crockpot.  It came out pretty good and made for an easy Sunday dinner.


Diestel makes a Turkey Chorizo that Kyle and I both really like that I can get at Whole Foods. I like to use it to make quesadillas, frittata, or breakfast tacos.  We usually do some type of breakfast for dinner at least once a week. Monday night I am going to make a frittata with the turkey chorizo, spinach, and bell pepper. I may also sneak in some other veggies.  We will probably have it with some biscuits.


I will use the leftover Turkey chorizo to make quesadillas with some spinach and cheese. I will probably make roasted squash and zucchini to go with it because I have a lot that I purchased from the Farmer's Market on Saturday.


Wednesday night I have class so we will usually do leftovers, wraps, or I will make something in the crockpot. This week I am going to make Crockpot Picadillo.  Picadillo is really tasty on rice, a salad, or in tacos.  Kyle prefers it as a taco.  I like it all three ways. Once again I will probably sneak in some extra veggies in the Picadillo because I have a lot from the Farmer's Market.


I have class again. We will do leftovers.


We will probably finish off leftovers, eat Chick-Fil-A at least once, and I will also make Sweet and Sour Turkey Meatballs in the crockpot.  You can read about the recipe I use from this post.

As you can see I am using my crockpot a lot this week. I am hoping it will help me be more successful with meals this week. How is your eating going with the back to school craziness?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Taking time to Enjoy Food

I have been eating a paleo diet for about three weeks now.  I realized the other day that I have enjoyed food a lot more in the last three weeks than I have in a long time.  That sounds crazy!  I have cut out a lot of things from my diet and been forced to cook a lot more.  How can I enjoy food more when I take out grains, dairy, beans, soy, corn, etc?

I have always had a love/hate relationship with food.  I love to eat, but then nothing sounds good.  I don't want to cook.  I don't want to eat out.  I think a lot of this emotional tension over food is that a lot of foods made me feel blah.  When you eat something and then feel blah, it doesn't sound good the next time you think about eating it.  Over the last few weeks,  I have not felt blah.  Nothing has disagreed with me.  You can enjoy food so much more when you don't have to worry how you will feel after you eat it.

Did I mention I have also had fewer headaches?  Another bonus.

Anyway, I look forward to trying more paleo recipes and see where this new journey takes me. I am learning to enjoy food and learning how to make good decisions when eating out.

What kind of relationship do you have with food?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Whole 30 Week 1

I decided to start Whole 30 on January 3.  Many teachers are actually doing Whole 30 in the month of January.  You can check out what everyone is eating on Instagram with hashtag #teachersofwhole30.

I think the inspiration for many teachers to get started with Whole 30 began with Rachelle at For Blogness Sake.  She has some great posts on Whole 30. You also can go to the official website.

I have been considering trying the Paleo diet for awhile.  I have read quite a few stories like Danielle Walker's story at Against All Grain where the Paleo Diet helped them reverse a lot of the symptoms of their autoimmune disorders.  Autoimmune disorders run in my family.  I already have asthma and thyroid issues, and I also know I am probably high risk for other autoimmune disorders considering my family history.  I also struggle with chronic tension and tension headaches. I already know I feel better when I east dairy free and gluten free.  Well, now I am going to try grain free all together.

I created a Pinterest board to save Paleo Recipes.  You can click HERE if you would like to follow the board. I tried a few of the recipes the first week and really liked all of them.

Dinners from Whole 30 Week 1:

I started off making the sausage and veggie skillet.  It had some kick to it, but it tasted really good.  It was an easy and quick meal that would be a really easy one to throw together. I used a turkey kielbasa when I made it.

I then made a beef stew in the crockpot.  You can't go wrong with something warm that cooks for hours in the crockpot.  It was filling and made good leftovers.

I decided I wanted to try this Asian Chicken Stir Fry recipe.  I also had been wanting to try making cauliflower rice, so I also made this cauliflower fried rice to go with it.  Both tasted good, but it was a bit involved to make both at the same time.  If I made it again, I would probably blend  up the cauliflower ahead of time.  I would probably also just morph it all into one dish to make it easy like a chicken cauliflower fried rice with extra stir fry veggies.

I will have to do another post to share what I have tried this week.  I will say I have enjoyed all of the recipes I have tried.  Who knew you could enjoy food so much without grains, beans, sugar, or dairy?

Saturday, September 27, 2014

A New Bible Study: The Best Yes

I have tried several online bible studies and have enjoyed all of them for different reasons.  This week I started a new bible study with Proverbs 31 ministries.  We are reading The Best Yes by Lisa Terkeurst.

I am excited about this study because it is about putting boundaries in your life and working on what to hold on to and what to let go of.  Boundaries and balance will always be part of my struggle, so I am excited to keep working on it.

She talks about the "disease to please" in the first couple chapters some, which I know is something I have given into. In chapter two, Lisa talks about seeking unbroken companionship with God.  We spend so much of our lives running around trying to please others and cross off to-do-lists that we forget to stop long enough to listen to God. She talks about how we need to look for his direction in our lives before we ask for instructions.  We get so busy that we ignore his prompting throughout the day.  I know I am guilty of this.  My prayer this week is that I seek more companionship with God.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Being Comfortable with the Uncomfortable

I just got back last night from two days at camp with my students.  It was an exhausting, wonderful, and difficult experience all at one time.  It was wonderful to see my students grow and bond from this unifying experience.  They got to do a series of mental and physical challenges like kayaking, ropes courses, rock climbing walls, archery, fishing, and hiking.

It was difficult because mentally and emotionally I had to face some things about myself. I am a planner and a perfectionist.  I like to always be prepared.  Now as a teacher, I think trying to be as prepared as possible is always a good thing.  One of my goals now that I am back from the camp is to sit down and make a chaperone backpack with a more detailed first aid kit and more detailed procedures.  We only had a few incidents to deal with at camp, but overall for the future I would like to be more prepared.

But I was reminded how uncomfortable I am with uncertainty.  I am a planner and an overachiever.  I rarely leave any detail unplanned for.  I put enough pre-thought into things that I also usually handle the unforeseen very well.  I was also the kid who avoided the things I was not good at because it meant being uncomfortable.  I have never handled failure well.

Last night when I got back from camp, I read this post from Mind Full Collective entitled "Embracing the Breaking."  Have you ever read a post that spoke to you on every level?  God has a way of showing his message in every aspect of your life if you take the time to listen.  In the post, Mandy writes "In order to go deeper, sometimes we have to get comfortable in the very uncomfortable places."  I rarely let myself get uncomfortable.  I bury the uncomfortable emotions. I am not comfortable with uncertainty.  This is the root of my trust issues.  I stand on my own.  I do it all myself.  Trusting means allowing for uncertainty.
Source: Pinterest

God has been giving me the same message for months in different ways. I need to get comfortable with the uncomfortable. I need to let go long enough to break.  If I ever want to work through the difficult moments from my past, I have to be broken. If I allow myself to be broken, then God can meet me at that moment.  But being broken requires surrender and trust.  If I am truly honest with myself, I trust myself more than anyone else...even God.  I leave things at the altar, only to run back and pick them up again.  I don't trust enough to leave them there and walk in faith.  At the root of that lack of trust is fear. I am not sure what that fear is, but I learned over the last two days watching my students that we have to face our fears.  We have to be willing to climb the wall or cross that ropes course and trust that the harness will catch us if we slip.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

An Easy Approach to Meal Planning

Well, graduate school starts up again tomorrow and the school year for my students begins on Sep. 2nd.  Back to School is always a crazy and stressful time of year.  My eating and workouts have been less than stellar the last couple weeks.  I just have been running so many errands for work to get my classroom set up, as well as working all day with my summer school kids.

Since tomorrow is a fresh start, it is a great time to get started back up on a regular routine with food and workouts.  Now, I have a love/hate relationship with food.  I love food, and I love to eat.  However, I hate figuring out what to eat.  I tend to get sick of things very quickly.  My husband is simple.  He could eat the same thing every day.

I tend to plan and cook most of our meals. I try to get his input, but he only ever suggests breakfast tacos or chili. So, yeah I never really feel excited about his suggestions.  I threw out the idea of him having to be responsible for dinner a couple nights a week, but he will pick something I won't want.  Then, we are back to where we started.  So, I started thinking about what things would I be content to eat every week.  If I could come up with 2 meal ideas I don't mind eating every week, then it is less for me to plan.

We do usually eat breakfast tacos or some type of eggs at least once a week.  Eggs are so easy, and I have always liked breakfast for dinner.  So I decided one of our easy meals each week will be an egg meal.  I also love pizza.  Dairy doesn't agree with me very well, so if I order pizza it always upsets my stomach.  When I make pizza at home though, it usually does not bother my stomach because I use cheese sparingly.  I also like making pizza because it is easy leftovers to take to work for lunch.

Tips for Easy Meal Planning

1) Choose at least 2 meals you don't mind eating and cooking every week.  If you choose recipes that are very simple to make, this will make your life even easier. Choose something others in your household like to make, and this may even allow you to split up the responsibility.

2) Pick one new recipe each week.  I find by picking one new recipe a week I get to try something new, which satisfies my need for variety, without overwhelming myself.

3) Pick one other recipe that you know off the top of your head that you rotate over the weeks.

4) Make enough to have leftovers so you get some extra dinners or lunches out of it.

5) Try cooking more than one meal at a time.  This means less nights of cooking and cleaning up.  You can just heat things up for leftovers.  I often like to make one recipe on the stove and then another recipe in the oven or the crockpot. 

I usually plan about 4 meals for the week, and then we eat some of them more than once.  I do not like to plan which meals are for which days because this way I can see what I am in the mood for each day. This week we are eating:
  • Breakfast for Dinner: Breakfast Tacos with turkey sausage and veggies of choice
  • Pizza: Homemade pizza with sausage, bell pepper, red onion, and black olives
  • Recipe from the rotation: Picadillo (I like to use Skinny Taste's recipe, but I use tomatoes instead of tomato sauce.  It is good with quinoa, brown rice, as tacos, or on a taco salad.)
Do you follow any food blogs on Facebook?  This is a great way to get ideas for recipes!  Recipes come across your feed, and you don't even have to go searching for them.  This is how I found Skinnytaste's sausage and veggie skillet this week. 

How do you like to meal plan?  Any easy solutions?