Impressed Guest…

I was so excited and honored to be able to do a guest post this week on Modern Christian Woman. See the post here.

Stephanie is a great resource for tasty, easy meals and a personal inspiration to me. With 5 kids running around, I’m absolutely amazed at not only how often she posts (I’m still trying to get over 3 posts per week!) but also the sheer number of great recipes she has to share.

Please check out her blog and see all that she has to offer!

This month she is a cook trying to organize. So I figured I might as well be an organizer trying to cook šŸ˜‰

Now, I’m not quite ready to delve into a ton of new recipes all at once. So my plan is to take the old reliables and mix it up with a new dish here and there.

I already have some August projects in the works, so I’ll make September my month for food! Here is what I plan on organizing regarding food:

1) I am going to make some sort of cute board to put the week’s meal plan on. Here is an absolutely adorable one that I found on Pinterest fromĀ Ā  Sarah Potter Photography

This is the menu board that looks the most fun to me and will make me actually want to meal plan I think!

2) I’m going to finish going through all of my cookbooks and picking out the recipes I would actually make. Then I’m going to make one giant recipe book of awesomeness (a phrase I will continuously use until said book of awesomeness is complete) that is filled with recipes that will actually get made. Here is my current shelf of cookbooks:

This, my friends, will NOT be here at the end of September!

3) I am going to try 1 new recipe each week. Between my cookbooks, blog inspiration recipes and Pinterest, I know I will have enough recipes to try a new one each week for years upon years!

So these are my September goals. I never actually laid out my August goals for you, but believe me, they are there. I will hopefully be posting some accomplishments soon!

Happy Cooking and Happy Organizing Everyone!

~Erin

Inspiration Week!

This week, I’m using the inspiration I find in other bloggers to hopefully inspire others!

First up on the docket! Life sprinkles!

This is the blog that belongs to my dearest, sweetest friend Kristi and you can find her blog here.

It is a blog about healthy living and balance, two things I”m not sure that I maintain. Well, balance maybe. But I’m not the healthiest. I don’t love to cook, or even like it that much. I am notorious for eating ridiculous amounts of mac & cheese, frozen waffles and PB&J. And my exercise routine leaves something (a lot) to be desired. However, Kristi is my go to girl for easy healthy recipes and workout motivations. She is also a vet, so she is burdened with my frequent calls and texts that sound something like this:

“All 4 of Molly’s paws are bright red. What do I do?”

“Molly’s face has swollen to the size of a watermelon. What do I do?”

“Molly ate an entire bag of peppermints and Hershey’s kisses. What do I do?”

Notice how all of these ailments pertain to Molly, though we have 2 other dogs. Hmmmm……

Our 3 Girls!

Anyways, the point is that Kristi is super busy but also super motivated and creative with her exercise and nutrition. She recently did a post on the foods that she always has on hand at her house.Ā  Link to it here.

I was inspired to think about the things I like to have on hand at all times. Here’s my partial list:

-Fruit – I agree with Kristi that bananas are a must have. We buy them probably every time we go to the store. They are great for a quick snack, good for the kids (even our 6 month old who just started eating more solid food) and they can be used in a lot ways – on cereal, on pancakes, in shakes, etc. We also always have berries or grapes.Ā  These are great by themselves or in a snack.

-Veggies – Again, I second Kristi in that we ALWAYS have carrots at our house. Good for adults, kids and dogs alike! The other veggie I always like to have is spinach. I love spinach salads, but I also like to use it in pasta or in chicken dishes. I know all you smoothie makers out there will tell me to put it in smoothies. I’m still trying to get on the smoothie train. I love the idea and the variety, I just haven’t fully hopped on board yet.

-Meatballs – seriously, I love meatballs. I used to buy the Trader Joe’s brand, but there are no Trader Joe’s in Colorado (which makes my heart ache more than just a little bit). So now, I buy them at Walmart or the grocery store. Great in pasta, meatball sandwiches or a quick snack.

Sooooo Yummy

-Fajita Seasoning – This might sound a little weird, but this is on my list and I’ve never made fajitas. I use it for everything else though…tacos, burritos, rice. The possibilities are endless. And I actually only use about 1/8 of the little package each time, so that 90 cents goes a long way!

-Oreos – they are my weakness and if I’m craving a giant piece of chocolate cake, 1 or 2 Oreos will satisfy the craving just fine.

-Frozen Veggies – I buy these by the truckload. I am not very good at using fresh veggies in meals (as hard as I try!) but I am able to get a lot of variety form the frozen kind. Of course, I have a stockpile of the tried and true ‘peas and carrots’, but I also get broccoli and cauliflower, snap peas, lima beans and stir fry mixes. It helps keep the boring menu not quite so boring.

-Several kinds of pasta – I LOVE pasta. Now it’s certainly not the healthiest meal option, but if you add a protein source and some veggies, it lessens the blow. I like spaghetti, but I don’t want it all the time. So I get a few different kinds to mix it up. I have to admit I get as excited as my 3 year old does when I announce we’re going to have bow-tie pasta tonight (Farafelle for you pasta connoisseurs)!

I might order this poster to hang in my pantry. Love Pasta!

So how does this possibly apply to being organized? Well, I’ll tell you:

-First, if you know what you like and use a lot, it will make grocery lists and shopping much more efficient.

-Second, if you are stockpiling items you know you will use, you will most likely save money because you will not being throwing away a lot of items that went unused.

-Third, when the inevitable crazy day comes and you have not even started thinking about dinner, it is great to know that you have several quick, easy and reliable options for meals that are always on hand.

So, thank you to Kristi at Life Sprinkles for being my inspiration in so many ways! More inspiration to come later on this week!

~Erin

Things I Love Thursdays – Once A Month Cooking

I’m going to borrow a little here…..

The concept is widely known, but I’ve chosen to use the OnceĀ  a Month cooking from:

http://onceamonthmom.com/

I’m also borrowing from a post I already posted on my other blog:Self Pursuits.

Self Pursuits is a blog I started with my friend Katie and the plan is to pursue a new hobby, activity, etc for one month within a given category. We are on a small hiatus for June because we are busy and exhausted people. But come July, we’ll be back in Pursuit!

Anyways, one month the broad category was food/ cooking so I decided to try ‘Plan Ahead Cooking’. This involved going through my cookbooks, organizing my pantry and Once a Month Cooking! I made about 18 meals in one day. It was the craziest day, but it fed us for weeks and the meals were delicious. You can read the full post on my adventure here:

http://selfpursuits.wordpress.com/2012/04/02/i-must-be-crazy/

So even though it makes your kitchen look like this:

It is totally worth a try!

Why I love OnceĀ  a Month Cooking:

-It gave me loads of food for a whole month and all I had to do was heat everything up.

-I saved a decent amount of money. Not only did I not go heavy food shopping every week, but since I wasn’t going to the store as often, I was foregoing those extra purchases that just kind of come up when you’re at the store. I’m notorious for going off the list at the store, which is something I’m working on….”Don’t I need more paintbrushes? …Oh look at that bathmat! I have to have it! … Maybe I should get 2 gallons of ice cream since I can’t decide.”

-The meals were delicious and unique. I’m also notorious for slapping a piece of chicken or fish and a side f broccoli on the plate next to a piece of bread. No fancy dishes served here friends! So the new flavors and recipes (read Peanut Butter Crock Pot Pork, Chicken Stuffed Shells and Chicken Calzones) were a fun treat for my family!

-My freezer was so organized! It was just full of yummy, unique dinners and all I had to do was grab a bag!

-Not only did I not have to cook for most of the month, but I hardly had to clean the kitchen for a month. We just cleaned the crock pot or pan and the plates we used. No other cooking dishes necessary. Yeah!

For someone who likes to be organized and does NOT like to cook very much, this is the project!

~Erin