I have mentioned before that I use a service called 5 dinners 1 hour. Through that service I’ve not only prepped the dinners with their recipes but other dinners as well. Before covid-19 the prep would also involve sauces stored in the refrigerator and chopping veggies to have ready for cook day. Since I have more time, meat prep is primarily what we do now. We typically buy our meat in bulk partly because we have a big family and use a lot of meat in one meal, and the other is because it typically is more cost effective. I figure out what recipes we will be using for the week or two week period then Ian will prep, in this case, chicken. I get the bags ready and add in the other ingredients.
I have gotten around to doing some organizing. It started with my desk area last week and although I tidied it enough to use the desk… I still have a long way to go on the organizing piece. These are some basic labels that are super easy to make, and if you use chalk you can change them over and over.
Scotch Brand chalkboard tape
White Chalk pens
I measured how big I wanted the labels on he containers and cut out the number of rectangles. Next write whatever you want on the label, my example was “Markers”. Then I cut off the corners and lined the outside. That is literally it.
I have been asked for years for my chili recipe. Until now I have not measured anything and gave approximates for everything… That has changed. And now I actually have a blog post about it.
1 can black beans
1 can garbanzo beans
1 can kidney beans
1 lb ground turkey
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 cans tomatoes sauce
1 green bell pepper
2 TBSP garlic
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 TBSP garlic powder
1 TBSP onion Powder
2 TBSP chili powder
2 TBSP cumin
Garlic salt and pepper to taste
Top with Cheese, sour cream, avocado
Serve with Corn chips, tortilla chips, or corn bread
Brown the ground turkey with a little salt and pepper. While the turkey is cooking, rise all the cans of beans, and chop the green bell pepper and onion. Once the turkey is ready add to the crock-pot along with the rest of the ingredients and seasonings. Cook on low for 8-6 hour or you can cook on high for 4-6 hours. Top with cheese, and sour cream. Serve with tortilla chips, corn chips, or corn bread.
*I use low sodium beans, I do not have fresh onion, and I have 4 cans of diced tomatoes. Hypertension runs in my family, so I try to get low to no sodium when I can. We buy bulk diced tomatoes from Costco. Kirkland brand diced tomatoes have less sodium than the tomato sauce, so I use an immersion blender to make my own tomato sauce. This house rarely eats raw onion… so I put it in the recipe but I rarely use it when I make it.
One major update has been the monthly calendar. I updated that to reflect a weekly calendar.
It has been two and a half weeks since I put our new schedule into place. In this time, we have learned that this is more than just a few more weeks of lock down. The kids will not be returning to traditional school for the remainder of the school year. Originally set to get out of school June 9th, which turned into sometime in June, which turned into the duration of the year.
The schedule has been working great! The kids have clear and concise times that they can look forward to. We have not stuck to it super strictly… dinner and bed time for instance seem to be 30 minutes to an hour off.
Another update has been “my space” cleaned and ready to use. We were quarantine schooling in the dining room but I moved everyone into the play room so that I could utilize my work space and keep the kid mess to one room. Take a look at this before and after!
Our family has made the decision to only eat at home and to utilize the schools free breakfast and lunch options, until the virus starts to die down. Our one exception is Papa Murphy’s on Friday’ for pizza night per our tradition of pizza and movie night. I use the service 5 Dinners in one hour https://5dinners1hour.com/ as well as, some of my own recipes that I have collected over the years. This week I will using a combination of the two.
Monday we had chicken Teriyaki and homemade fried rice with Zucchini. I forgot to take pictures throughout the process, I made sure to get a picture at the beginning and at the end. I did a modified version of the 5 dinners 1 hour recipes for the chicken and the fried rice. Since I did not get pictures of the process here is how I cooked everything.
Defrosted the chicken (I took the chicken out of the freezer on Sunday and placed it in the fridge)
I cooked the chicken first in a skillet
While the chicken was cooking I chopped the zucchini and seasoned with garlic powder, onion powder, garlic salt, sesame seed oil and liquid aminos.
I also made the minute rice while the chicken was cooking
Once the chicken was done, I then cooked the zucchini in the same skillet that I cooked the chicken in.
Once that was cooked I then took the rice and added it to the same skillet I had been using along with some olive oil, sesame oil, and more liquid aminos. I also seasoned the rice with garlic and onion powder. When the rice was about done I parted the rice and made a spot in the center of the skillet and scrambled one egg in the middle. once the egg was cooked fully I mixed it in with the rice.
The plan was to make Honey Mustard chicken with small roasted potatoes. There was a mishap in thawing out the chicken and the small potatoes that I have been holding onto were well past the expiration date and growing things. So we all had loaded baked potatoes from the microwave. I was jonesing for a Chipotle salad and queso. I felt quite depressed since I wasn’t able to get one because of my paranoia right now. So no pictures were taken of these sad potatoes.
The honey mustard chicken was still a little frozen but was thawed enough to cook with. Like the teriyaki chicken, I prepped the chicken well before I thought I would post about it and don’t have exact measurements on the ingredients. I added the approximate recipe below. There was a mix up with our Walmart pick up order and we did not have produce to make a salad to go with this meal. So, yes we had only chicken and potatoes and no veggies.
Honey Mustard Chicken
5 thinly sliced chicken breasts
2 TBSP yellow mustard
2 TBSP stone ground mustard
3 TBSP honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 TBSP olive oil
Garlic and onion powder, garlic salt, and pepper to taste
Everything is added to a freezer bag squished around and placed in the freezer. I try to take the food out the day before we are going to eat.
Oven Roasted Potatoes
4/5 Russet potatoes peeled and diced into 1 inch chunks
1 TBSP Roasted Garlic (The refrigerated kind)
2 drops of Rosemary oil
A little olive oil mixed over the potatoes
Garlic and onion powder, Seasoning salt, and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese to sprinkle over the top
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place potatoes on a baking sheet or baking stone. Add garlic, olive oil, rosemary oil and seasonings to the potatoes and mix. Then cover with foil and bake until the potatoes become softened. Remove foil and continue roasting until they become crispy on the outside. Once they are ready to take out sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
The plan this night was to make homemade barbacoa. The mishap on Wednesday made it so Ian was out shopping for groceries from late afternoon until 1:30 and by 7:30pm the crockpot barbacoa wasn’t ready to eat. So I made hot italian subs. Listen… they. were. so. good. Firehouse who?! They were better than any sub shop I have been to.
Hot Italian Subs
6 Hoagie Rolls
1 1/2 lbs black forest ham
18 pieces dry salami
72 small pepperoni pieces/ 18 large pieces
12 pieces of provolone cheese
1 can sliced olives
2 sliced tomatoes
3 diced peppers
Red Wine vinegar
Open the hoagie rolls and layer the meat first ham, 3 pieces of salami, and pepperoni and top with two pieces of provolone cheese. Place in toaster oven for 3ish minutes until the hoagie is toasted and the cheese is melted. Add mayo to the top hoagie roll piece and add the rest of the ingredients. Top with a dash of red wine vinegar.
Sunday’s are our family day. Pre Covid-19 our weekdays and Saturdays were filled with running around going to all the kids’s activities. Sunday’s have been set aside for the family to have down time to recharge. Post Covid-19 everyday seems to be an opportunity to recharge that is also mixed with anxiety and grief. Keeping all this in mind today, I decided to make a special Sunday brunch. Normally we have a big breakfast on Sunday’s but I wanted to do something a little extra special today.
Spring Break this past week we were supposed to go to Disneyland. Our family tradition is on the last day in the park, we go and get Mickey shaped beignets. My plan was to replicate that classic Mickey shape and that was a fail. Somehow we do not own a mickey shaped cookie cutter. How do we NOT have a Mickey mouse cookie cutter?! Excuse me, while I shop amazon for this very essential kitchen item! Because of that major fail, I still went ahead and made homemade beignets in a classic rectangle or Princess Tiana’s shape.
They turned out amazing. The kids loved them. It is important now, more than ever, to still find things to look forward to. Lazy Sunday’s and tasty beignets, and time with the kids. My hope in this time of uncertainty is that the kids look back at these memories and remember the special things. Yea, we were not able to go to Disneyland but, mom tried to make it as special as she could regardless.
I literally have no excuse of being “too busy” to post. So I figured I would post about what we are currently doing in our house to keep things as normal as possible, when nothing is at all normal. I am a person that thrives on structure and schedule, and it’s no surprise my children are the same way. A schedule for Ian is less necessary. When I think about it, I think he appreciates the fact that I have one available for the kids. At any given moment he can look at the schedule and see where we are all at. He tends to tune all of us out when he works.
I have heard the argument that in these times we need to let the kids just be kids and not worry about a schedule or homeschooling… That is not how we roll in this house. Let me say before I get comments about this, I am in NO WAY saying that this is for everyone, this is just what works for our family. I have been a stay at home mom for the past 13 years. In this uncertain time for everyone, this feels like my moment to shine. I finally get to utilize all those skills I have been honing all this time. Scheduling, teaching the kids, being creative, all things I’ve utilized in one way or the other and now I will rely on these skills more than I ever had to keep the peace in the house.
Basic Tips and/ or Ideas
Before I reveal what we do in our house, here are the tips that I would offer to any family:
Lay ground rules. Work within the family rules you already have in place.
Get your whole house involved. This way everyone feels like they have a say in how the days will look.
Keep things flexible.
But also stick to your principles when necessary.
Give yourself and your family patience and grace.
Just like any habit, give it time and if nothing else stay persistent!
New Routines/ New Normals
The kids are starting their online learning for school this week so it is the perfect time to start a new schedule. This week I revamped the family calendar, as well as, our new daily routine. Our family calendar two weeks ago, when this all started, was literally nothing but dates and a count down to going back to work and school. As this has progressed the finish line seems to be getting pushed further and further back. Everyone in our circle has had time to adjust. I am able to add normal activities to the schedule. Music lessons, gymnastics, and cheer classes are all offered digitally. Things seem more normal now.
This new normal schedule is a modified version of our normal schedule. The faster things are done, the more free time the kids have. Our family culture has always been that way. It may seem like everything is planned minute to minute but I can assure you there is still plenty of free time. This may not work for every family but this is what we do. My hope is that it helps someone in one way or another. Lets all appreciate this time we all have together.
Full Disclosure I started this post back in September… Then I went to the hospital unexpectedly and so my October goals will have a slow start or modified all together.
Your schedule and your spending describe what you really love in life.
I’m a paper planner person. 18 months ago I got a massive planner that was customized and I thought it was the best thing ever… that was until I found out about Happy Planners. Customization in a different way, and I thought I had died and gone to organization heaven! Not only is this planner amazing, but I can be creative and feel like I have my life together.
I bought a medium sized planner along with a budget expansion pack and a TON of cute stickers that I’ve kind of gone crazy with. I’m seriously so in love. My hope is that I will feel inclined to keep to the budget and save money if I can make it “fun” with stickers and filling out all the little boxes they provide for you.
My husband currently works a full time job in the daytime and a part time job in the evening. The main reason has been to pay for our health insurance and to pay for college while he was getting his MA. We have an opportunity to get cheaper health insurance with his full time job meaning he can cut his hours to a normal amount of work and be home with us in the evening. This will also mean that we will be losing between $800-$1000/ month while paying a little for our health insurance. So starting in the month of October I’ll be tracking our spending more closely to see how or if this is something that we can make work. My goal is to put 100% of the part time income in savings.
I schedule pretty much every part of my life and it’s time that the finances get scheduled out as well! Wish me luck!