Menu Plan and Goals

It’s Sunday evening and I’m shooting for a 9pm bedtime for myself. The kids were in bed by 7:30 and Shaun is working an event (for his third night in a row) for the radio station and wont be back until close to midnight, so I figure it’s a good night to do it. The first half of last week the kids were recovering from being sick and rather grouchy. Thankfully, we finished on a higher note but everyone’s still pretty tired.

Neither Shaun or I work Labor Day, so we are looking forward to a fun family day. I discovered that a children’s museum in a town 45 minutes away is having free admission for the day! I’m sure it will be packed, but we’ve never been and you can’t beat testing a new place out for free. I think the kids will love it!

Menu Plan and Goals @ From this Kitchen Table

Turtle Cheesecake Ice Cream – Super yummy and rich (but the blueberry from a couple weeks ago is still my favorite).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Suppers:

  • Egg Foo Young
  • Popcorn and Ice Cream
  • Grilling for Labor Day
  • Ladies’ Bible Study/Leftovers
  • Crockpot Chicken Tacos x 2
  • Skillet Lasagna (Making double to bring supper to a friend having surgery)

Lunches:

  • Guacamole
  • Veggie Soup
  • Pumpkin Waffles
  • Salads

Breakfasts:

  • Leftover Pumpkin Waffles
  • Oatmeal and Rolled Oats with Granola

Goals: (Affiliate Links)

What have you been reading – anything I should add to my list?

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Menu Plan and Goals

It’s Sunday afternoon and both kids are napping. The house is quiet. Sleep is something that’s been needed around our house this week. There were a couple of long nights, a teething child, runny noses, and feeling under the weather going on the past several days.

Menu Plan and Goals @ From this Kitchen Table

Shaun worked events for the radio station Friday and Saturday afternoon/evening and didn’t get home until almost midnight. The kids and I enjoyed a couple of movie nights, playing at the park, and some cleaning. Hopefully they will feel better soon (though I’m not complaining about my son actually sitting and snuggling with me. That hasn’t happened since he started moving :-) ).

Menu Plan and Goals @ From this Kitchen Table

This is dark chocolate coconut milk ice cream sweetened with maple syrup and honey!

Suppers:

Lunches:

  • Pancakes
  • Leftover Chicken from last week
  • Leftover Mac and Cheese and Bean tostadas for the kids
  • Salads for the adults

Breakfasts;

  • Pancakes from the freezer
  • Smoothies
  • Refrigerator and hot oatmeal

Goals:

  • Finish I Like Giving and start another book. (I finished Running for My Life last week and loved it!)
  • Continue the next Hello Mornings Bible Study
  • Keep going with the the #mindbodymat 3 week pilates challenge. On the last week! Each day’s workout is around 10 minutes. Love that I have no excuses to not get it done.
  • Work on earring and lip balm business stuff – online store, craft shows etc (Yep, that sounds a lot like last week. This week I need to make it happen.)
  • Publish 2 more posts
  • Work through blog assignments
  • Start another organizing project

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Easy Mango Lassi

So good! Easy, Healthy, and Refreshing Mango Lassi. I Love this drink. #mangos #yogurt

It’s no secret that I enjoy Indian food (as evidenced by these recipes: Butter Chicken, Naan, Peas Pilau, Spicy Indian Chicken Sandwich, and Indian Layer Dip).

I also love yogurt and mangos. When you put all three things together, you get a wonderful, easy, and healthy treat: a mango lassi. It’s a light drink I love for breakfast, dessert, or a snack.

I can only think of one time I’ve had a mango lassi and not enjoyed it. That time was at an Indian restaurant for my sister’s rehearsal dinner. I’m sure the drink in and of itself was great, but the fact that it was served in glasses hot from the dishwasher made it something I didn’t want to finish.

This easy mango lassi comes together quickly and is good for you! No refined sugars or added ingredients. My kids enjoy this as much as I do!

So good! Easy, Healthy, and Refreshing Mango Lassi. I Love this drink. #mangos #yogurt

 

Mango Lassi
 

Ingredients
  • 1½ cups plain yogurt
  • 1 cup chopped mango (1 mango)
  • Honey/maple syrup/sugar to taste (1-3 teaspoons)
  • 3 ice cubes, optional
  • ½ cup milk, optional (may want if you use a really thick yogurt)

Instructions
  1. Place yogurt and mango chunks in the blender. When smooth add sweetener to taste.
  2. Add ice cubes and or milk if using. Blend well so completely smooth.
  3. Serve immediately.

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Ways to Rest When You Have No Time

For those days when I'm exhausted but have a million and one things to do and I'm about to lose it. | Great easy ideas on ways to rest when you have no time!

Our bodies aren’t made to do it all. (In fact, last week we talked about The Gift of Rest.) Going continually and doing more than we can will wear on us after a while. Living in exhaustion for too long often leads to weakened immune systems, crankiness, and an unenjoyable life. For a period of time, little or no rest is okay. If it continues long term, something might need to change.

Here are some Ways to Rest When You Have No Time:

Prioritize.

Make a list of everything that’s cluttering up your brain. Go over all of those things that you have to get done. What truly has to be done now and what can be done later? Go beyond that. Now see what you can completely eliminate.

Set a Timer and Work.

If rest is as hard for you as it is me, tell yourself to do as much as you can in 15 or 30 minutes and then be done. I know I’m going to work my hardest for that x amount of time. It takes away that feeling that I’m not doing anything. I can go into rest feeling that something has been accomplished. You can also choose to rest first and set the timer and work second. Either way, you know that you will be productive at some point.

Rest.

Don’t worry about what needs to be done. Don’t let your mind wander to “to-do” lists. Pray, read, enjoy rubbing your child’s back, close your eyes and nap, take a long shower.

Set a Timer and Rest.

If the thought of rest really stresses you out, set a timer. Tell yourself you are going to give your body a break for 10 minutes. The kids have just gone to bed after a difficult day, the house is destroyed, work needs to be done, and you feel overwhelmed. Sometimes 5 or 10 minutes might be all you have or need. A quick shower, cup of tea, chapter of a book, short workout, reading a Psalm or a cat nap might be all I need to get me through the rest of the essentials.

Make Productivity More Enjoyable.

See if you can combine rest and work. Turn on your favorite CD, Spotify playlist, or podcast while you clean. Call your mom or best friend or listen to audio books while you fold laundry or do dishes. When you are cooking, set up a station for your kids and have them help. Make your favorite beverage to sip on during the day. Have a square of dark chocolate from your secret stash when the kids aren’t looking. Combine exercise with pushing the little ones in a double stroller to get you all out of the house for even an hour. Just breaking up your day can make a big difference.

How do you keep from losing it on those long days after a night of no sleep? What are the best ways to find rest when you have no time?

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Menu Plan and Goals

It’s been a busy weekend. Shaun worked almost 14 hour days Thursday and Friday and had to go in for a couple hours on Sunday. Saturday afternoon and evening we had a cookout and swim party with friends visiting from out of town, and Sunday was church and small groups. I’m hoping for a week of rest. A week where the kids sleep through the night would be nice, but I’m not counting on it happening.

My goal when it comes to the house right now is to declutter and then keep on top of it. I was able to organize off sized clothes for both kids and get stuff boxed up and put in the closet and under the beds.

All the ingredients are prepped for two meals this week and refrigerator oatmeal is ready for the breakfasts. It’s nice to have a couple of meal options that you can throw together quickly.

Menu Plan and Goals @ From this Kitchen Table

My ice cream experiment from last week: Blueberry Cheesecake. It was amazing!

Suppers:

Lunches:

Breakfasts:

Goals:

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How to Cut an Avocado

A super easy way to cut an avocado. Fast and gets all of it out! Learned this at a Mexican restaurant and used it ever since!

Have you wondered how to cut an avocado? I learned this method while working at a Mexican restaurant in our town. Before that I just cut different ways attempting to do the best I could. Now, cutting an avocado is something I could do in my sleep and I actually enjoy doing it and want to make guacamole all the time.

You take your ripe avocado and slice it all the way around the pit and twist it apart so it looks like this:

A super easy way to cut an avocado. Fast and gets all of it out! Learned this at a Mexican restaurant and used it ever since!

Next, take your knife and carefully hit the pit with part of the blade closer to the handle. Twist the knife while holding the avocado half in the palm of your other hand and the pit will pop out.

A super easy way to cut an avocado. Fast and gets all of it out! Learned this at a Mexican restaurant and used it ever since!

Now, take the knife and make diagonal cuts down and across.

A super easy way to cut an avocado. Fast and gets all of it out! Learned this at a Mexican restaurant and used it ever since!

Finally, take a spoon and slide it in around the skin and let the avocado pieces fall into a bowl.

A super easy way to cut an avocado. Fast and gets all of it out! Learned this at a Mexican restaurant and used it ever since!

If you want to take the avocado out in a complete half, simply don’t make the diagonal slices and simply use the spoon to carefully remove and then slice on a cutting board in your desired shape.

This method is super easy and makes your homemade guacamole come together in minutes!

What’s your favorite way to cut an avocado?

(Here’s my favorite guacamole recipe!)

Homemade Guacamole - easy and delicious! This recipe came from a Mexican restaurant and is so good.

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The Gift of Rest

I don't have to earn rest or have to have everything on my list checked off to allow myself to recharge! Yes!!! I have such a hard time with this.

Kara Bee Photography

I have a problem. It drives my husband crazy. I can’t stand naps. Well, actually it’s not really that I can’t stand them, it’s that I have a never ending to-do list of things that have to get done continuously running through my head. I don’t have time for naps. Then throw in kids, only half of which regularly nap, and the opportunities for naps are far and few between.

This paragraph jumped out at me when I was reading Start by Jon Acuff,

Rest is a gift, not a reward. It’s not a hobby that lazy people take advantage of; it’s woven into the fabric of our very biology. The body is designed to rest. I don’t have to earn that with my performance. Rest is not a by-product of my success, it’s a  by-product of my humanity. I don’t have to get ahead to enjoy it or need it.

I don’t have to have a check mark next to everything on my list before I’m allowed to sit down and breathe. Sometimes a short pause is what I need to regroup and gain a better perspective on life. That’s not what I want to do though. I want to keep moving and getting things done. Going from one project to the next.

Rest done intentionally and at an appropriate time isn’t waste. John Lubbock says it this way,

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”

I often don’t want to take the time to slow down and enjoy the little moments in life. Snuggling with my 3 year old as she falls asleep is hard for me. As I lie beside her, I think of everything I could be doing. So, let me be honest, it seldom happens. I don’t want to lose those small moments with my kids. This week both kids actually took naps at the same time for the first time in months. After a rough afternoon, I was exhausted. The house was a mess. I had a million things to do. My energy level and motivation was minimal though. I decided to take a moment to lie down and put my arms around my little girl and let our frustrations with each other melt away and rest. 

I came across this quote from Elaine St. James on The Art of Simple Facebook page this week, and it spoke to me.

“There are often many things we feel we should do that, in fact, we don’t really have to do. Getting to the point where we can tell the difference is a major milestone in the simplification process.”

Not everything on my list has to be done now. In fact, not everything on my list has to be done at all. Sometimes I just might need to make the choice to say no to one thing in order to say yes to something else. Even rest.

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Menu Plan and Goals

We were able to spend a few days in Branson with part of my family last week and got to meet my almost 5 month old niece for the first time! It was a lot of fun swimming, shopping, playing and hanging out with everyone. We went to bed late, got up early, and had a toddler who didn’t want to sleep. In spite of lack of sleep, the kids did really well and now that we’ve had a weekend to catch up on naps and putting the house back together we are as back to normal as we can be.

Menu Plan and Goals @ From this Kitchen Table

Playing in the creek!

Menu Plan and Goals @ From this Kitchen Table

Cousin Fun!

I went to my grocery store for the first time in 3 weeks and have restocked the refrigerator with fruits and veggies for the next couple of weeks. Hooray for options and lots of produce again!

On this week’s menu we have a staff party and two days where my husband will be working over 12 hour days. I’m planning leftovers for those nights so Shaun can bring them and reheat for a quick supper before working the event they radio station is putting on at the old drive in theater.

We are throwing around doing a Whole 30 in the next month or two. Have you ever done one before?

Menu Plan and Goals @ From this Kitchen Table

Suppers:

  • Staff Party – Bring Salad and Dessert (I brought Sesame Ginger Salad and Mini Cheesecake Bites)
  • Chicken Chow Mein (also known as the meal my husband cooks, but I always seem to end up doing a lot of prep work for)
  • Chili (using homemade chili beans from the freezer)
  • Homemade Pizza
  • Leftovers x 3

Lunches:

  • Pizza
  • Fajitas
  • Cucumber Tomato Salad for the 3 year old and myself x 5 (we love this stuff)
  • Lettuce Salads for my husband x 5

Breakfasts:

  • Pancakes from the freezer
  • Oatmeal
  • Refrigerator Oatmeal
  • Smoothies (maybe)

Goals:

What’s on your menu? Any goals you are trying to tackle?

Linking up to Menu Plan Monday

Homemade Guacamole

It seems we are on a bit of a Mexican kick around here lately: Salsa, Bean Tostadas, Baked Tostada Shells, and Crockpot Refried Beans.

Homemade Guacamole - easy and delicious! This recipe came from a Mexican restaurant and is so good.

We are missing something really important though. Homemade guacamole. This is one of my favorites. There is no comparison to the packaged stuff and it’s super easy to make. Every once in a while my daughter and I will eat this delicious dip for lunch. It’s good enough to eat with a spoon. I spent 5 years working as a server in a Mexican restaurant and one of the appetizers on our menu was Tableside Guacamole. Everyone loved it. We charged almost $7 for guacamole made from 2 avocados. Mark up much? Even if it’s off season and you pay $1 each for avocados you can make this for almost a third that price.

Red onion is the best in this dish, but when I don’t have one I use whatever I have on hand and it still turns out amazing. The jalapeno adds a gentle kick but since you take the seeds out, it’s not overpowering. Leave it out if you want a more mild flavor.

Homemade Guacamole - easy and delicious! This recipe came from a Mexican restaurant and is so good.

Stay tuned next week for my favorite way to cut an avocado and remove the pit that I learned from my waitressing days.

5.0 from 1 reviews

Guacamole
 

Ingredients
  • 2 Avocados
  • 1-2 tablespoons minced red onion (or yellow or white)
  • ½ jalapeno, deseeded and minced (optional)
  • garlic – 2 small cloves or ¼ teaspoon powder
  • ¼-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon white pepper
  • ½-1 lime
  • ¼ cup diced tomatoes

Instructions
  1. Remove avocado from skin and cube. Add to a bowl.
  2. Add minced onion, jalapeno if using, garlic, ¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper to the bowl.
  3. Use two forks and smash and stir the ingredients until desired consistency.
  4. Squeeze the juice of ½ the lime over the mixture and stir.
  5. Taste and adjust salt and lime if needed.
  6. Gently stir in diced tomatoes.
  7. Enjoy!

 

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Easy Crockpot Refried Beans

I suppose these would actually be called unrefried beans and not be considered authentic as there is nothing fried about them but they have become a staple in our home the last several years.

Easy and yummy refried beans in the crock pot (or on the stove). I love making a huge batch and freezing the leftovers!

 

I make up a pound or two of dried pinto beans at a time and turn them into refried beans. I portion what we won’t use that week into plastic containers and store them in the freezer for us to use the next several weeks. Just set a frozen container of refried beans in the refrigerator overnight to defrost and they will be ready to reheat for a quick meal. Things such as bean tostadas or bean and cheese tortillas make an easy lunch or supper in little time. (Perfect for a day crazier than planned or for one of those meals you forgot to buy an important ingredient for.)

If you don’t have dried beans, you can still use the same seasonings on canned beans. It really doesn’t add on any more hands on time to use the dried beans and you’ll be saving yourself money. I highly recommend you give it a try.

Using fresh onion and garlic (and deseeded jalapeno too if you like a kick) in the cooking of the beans is completely optional. If I’m out, I’ll still make up the beans with no seasonings in the cooking liquid and add extra onion and garlic powder when I’m smashing them up.

Easy and yummy refried beans in the crock pot. I love making a huge batch and freezing the leftovers!

These beans can also be made on the stove instead of the crock pot. You’ll just want to watch the water level and add more if needed. There are concerns of toxins not being removed from the beans when cooked in the crock pot, but I’ve found that on high my pot gets the beans up to a full boil. If yours doesn’t, you can boil them on the stove for 10 minutes and then return to the crock pot to finish cooking.

5.0 from 1 reviews

Easy Crockpot Refried Beans
 

Ingredients
  • 1 pound dried pinto beans
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 deseeded jalapeno
  • 1 T. cumin
  • 2 t. seasoning salt
  • Optional, ½-1 teaspoon garlic and onion powder

Instructions
  1. Rinse and soak the pinto beans overnight.
  2. Drain and rinse beans and place in the crock pot and cover with water.
  3. Add a peeled and quartered onion and peeled and smashed garlic cloves if you are using (and a deseeded jalapeno if you like a little kick).
  4. Cook on low for 5 hours.
  5. Turn to high for the last hour to allow beans to come to a boil for at least 10 minutes and finish cooking.
  6. When beans are tender and falling apart, use a slotted spoon and scoop beans into a bowl. Reserve the cooking liquid.
  7. Add cumin powder and seasoning salt. Add garlic and onion powder if you didn’t use fresh in the cooking process.
  8. Use a potato masher and stir and mash the bean mixture until it is as smooth as you like. Add some of the reserved cooking liquid to make it as soupy as you like. It will thicken up as it sits at room temperature.
  9. Cool and separate into storage containers and freeze what you won’t use the first week.

Notes
You can also cook the beans on the stove top for several hours until tender and falling apart.

 

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