Simplify: Freezer Meals

standard January 13, 2017 Leave a response

Welcome to a whole new year of Simplifying! While most of these monthly posts this year will be centered around making life easier with a baby, they are definitely universal enough for everyone! January is a perfect month for cleaning out and restocking the freezer. A lot of us are gearing up for new schedules, big goals, and with the momentum of the new year, we have the energy to prepare ahead for the approaching slow down that usually happens late February. We are ready for Spring, but it may still be cold and snowy. We have lost our energy from the new year’s sheen. And a freezer full of healthy meals will keep us going until the warmth and sunshine comes back. Ready to get started?

Make a plan.

Ready to go all out and make all this month’s meals at once and eat out of the freezer every night? Or do you just want a handful of staples for those extra hectic weeknights? Making a list of meal ideas, recipes, and a schedule for making it all will really help once you get to cooking day. You may be able to do it all at once. Or you may need to break it up. For example, I am working on stocking my freezer for after baby comes, so I have a plan for breakfasts, snacks, lunches, and dinners for at least a month to balance out what friends will bring over. Each week I pull a handful of meals from this list to shop, prep, cook, and store to keep things manageable over the coming weeks.

Don’t try new recipes.

It may be tempting to make all the recipes from a brand new cookbook you just got for Christmas. Or a blog recipe you saw yesterday. But since these meals won’t be eaten right away, you want something you know is good to look forward to. And you want something that you know will hold up to freezing, thawing, and reheating. While adding one or two new recipes can be okay, make sure most of your plan include tried and true family favorites, that everyone can look forward to eating.

Store in manageable portions.

It may seem convenient to freeze entire casserole dishes of food, but if you are wanting to feed just one or two in a hurry, thawing a whole casserole can take a while. And once an item is thawed, you don’t want to refreeze it. Think ahead to how each dish might be enjoyed and store accordingly. For me, this means single serving containers of everything, so I don’t have to worry about the husband wanting something else or needing to feed myself for lunch during the day or wasting the food already in the fridge.

Keep it simple. 

Don’t bite off more than you can chew! Start out small. Make Plan A, then build on it with Plan B, until you get an idea for how long it takes you to shop, prep, cook, and store meals. Some people can multitask easily, cooking up two or three dishes at once. Others, like me, prefer to do one recipe from start to finish before starting on the next one, cleaning as I go. Whatever your method, keep it simple. And don’t stress out about it. This is supposed to be helpful, time-saving, and possibly fun (if you are someone who loves being in the kitchen and the sense of accomplishment of filling your freezer with delicious meals!)

 

Be Present: 2017 Goals

standard January 6, 2017 Leave a response

Happy 2017! This post is coming a week later than usual because, to be honest, I didn’t have goals set by January 1st. And that is OKAY. It took me a solid few weeks to really dig in and articulate what I wanted to focus on this year. As a planner, it is so hard to have most of this year be completely unknown due to Baby Darby’s arrival in March. I don’t know when I’ll get back to running. Or when I’ll be able to figure out a work schedule. I don’t even expect myself to keep up with my goals for most of this Spring and into Summer. And that is hard for me. In order to let myself sit in today, enjoy every moment, and not worry about the schedule or the next step or the to-do list, my word for this year is PRESENT. And each of my goals for the year is also loosely based on this mentality of giving each day what it deserves. These will most likely change as I get to my mid-year check in over the Summer, but I love the freedom in knowing that and it being okay, despite publicly stating these intentions. I love, love, LOVE PowerSheets for helping me to set these goals and to give the space and flexibility for a year of unknowns.

2017 Goals:

  1. Increase self-awareness and knowledge in order to be a strong woman in today’s world. // There is so much I want to learn and do this year, and knowing I also need to give myself rest and a balance of self-care alongside motherhood, this is here to remind me to not neglect myself.
  2. Look UP every day to remember what matters most. // “It has been said that to know the mystery of life we must turn our face toward the sun, for only when we look upward can we begin to understand.”
  3. Give myself grace as I learn to be a mother. // The to-do list can wait.
  4. Cultivate relationships well. // Continue to grow and give to the husband, friends, family, neighbors. We spent the last two years building a community, so that we could have people to surround us as we start this next adventure as parents, and all relationships need to be tended regularly.
  5. Build back up to marathon-ready fitness level. // Ambitious, I know. I am longing for my usual training routine and am excited to get back to feeling myself and teaching my child to be strong and confident.
  6. Build consistency and growth in my business. // The flexibility of working for myself is an incredible privilege right now, and I have a lot of items in the works to grow Celebration Nutrition to be able to continue this career well and allow me to spend time with my family.

January Goals:

  1. Read one book.
  2. Finish baby’s room.
  3. Update Celebration Nutrition website.
  4. Have a date night out.
  5. Make 3 freezer meals each week.
  6. Take 1 day completely off each week.

Who else set goals for 2017? Did you set a word or intention for the year? 

 

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Celebrate! Year In Review

standard December 30, 2016 Leave a response

2016

December and January may very well be my favorite time of the year. Holidays and food and traditions. And best of all, starting fresh. Just like in September when school starts, January is a brand new year, a clean slate ready for new accomplishments and memories and life. As this year ends, it is fun to reflect on all the ways life and people and small moments and big milestones were Celebrated.

December in Review:

  1. Host Girls Night Supper Club (1. Plan for it) // Such a sweet time with a unique group of ladies. Hoping to keep this going on a regular basis through next year.
  2. Relax and enjoy holidays at home (4. Schedule rest) // Our week traveling and visiting was very full and meaningful. Especially as our last Christmas as a family of two.
  3. Complete one food photography lesson per week (7. Capture it) // 50% accomplished! Skipped a couple of weeks while traveling and relaxing, per goal #2, but Mondays when I was home, I finally got started on this project.

Year in Review:

  1. Neat: Plan for it // Cultivate intentional relationships. Celebrate others through time. // By simply writing time for others into my schedule, it happened. And it wasn’t forced or stressed; planning it allowed for more intentionality and joy to occur.
  2. Nutritious: Learn from it // Finish internship strong. Cultivate gratitude for what is being poured into me. // 2016 was the year I finally finished a six-year journey to becoming a Registered Dietitian. The people and experiences I had during my internship were what set me up to be where I am today, and I am so grateful for each of those moments.
  3. Nutritious: Grow it // Plan for RD career. Celebrate life through food. // This year also brought the creation of Celebration Nutrition, where I have the privilege of helping others to celebrate life through food and continue to do so myself through my work.
  4. Neat: Schedule rest. Recharge and focus. Cultivate gratitude for what I’ve been given. // This year, I managed to take not one, but two vacations, a rarity in the past ten years. Numerous weekends of emptied schedules and evenings free also allowed more time for others and for giving myself grace.
  5. Nutritious: Prepare it // Cultivate a healthy mind and body. Celebrate others with my best self. // Knowing we were wanting to start a family soon, this year was also about making sure I fed my brain and my body the most nourishing food I could to be the best I could for my family. Having discipline can be difficult, but finding the balance between indulging and limiting choices allows for more joy all around.
  6. Neat: Push it // Get stronger and faster. Cultivate daily gratitude. // While I did run a strong marathon this year (plus my first ever running award!) and built strength through Pilates and body pump, the best part of this goal was when running became difficult and I had to learn to find the thankfulness for what I was still able to do and to push through the mental blocks and tiredness to keep going each day. Not everyone may be able to run through all of pregnancy, but continuing to move and be active however that looks like is still a joy to be grateful for.
  7. Neat: Capture it // Learn photography. Capture moments. Celebrate what matters. // I may be just now working on this one, but I have done a much better job at capturing moments outside of delicious recipes and meals. People, places, experiences, also need to be celebrated and treasured.
  8. Nutritious: Share it // Build this space. Celebrate simplicity, nutrition, life. // Each month, I have strived to share more than just food, allowing the celebration of daily living to spread through the words shared here. And also spreading the message of simple living, nourishing food, and celebrated joy to a larger audience. Thank you for following along with me this year. 2017 is only going to be sweeter.