If appliances could talk, our fridges would go on and on about the nasty, stinky collection of produce that keeps us awake at night thinking “I really need to stop throwing away food”.
And it’s true, it’s a universal problem, we all do it.
So, if admitting we have a problem is the first step, how do we move forward?
Come join our conversation on Facebook and share your wisdom!
Be well, friends!
How do you feel about it?
If you feel like meal planning is restrictive…that it will control your freedom like a straitjacket, then you haven’t had exposure to the right kind of meal planning examples in your life.
Meal planning should set you free. You should be able to work with your healthy eating strategies in a way that supports you and your own unique life. Just because your next-door neighbor plans by the month with coloured stickers and organized trackers and carefully categorized coupons doesn’t mean you have to. What works for her can be different then what works for you because you are not the same person.
Just like we all have preferences for weather and spices and shoes and hair styles, your own meal planning identity is based on who you are and what your life looks like.
I’m curious about how you meal plan in your own life- and is it working?
Join the conversation and tell us about it!
If you’re a busy working mom with a strong desire to finally figure out what you need, let’s connect here.
Be well, friends!
Earlier this week I asked a question on Facebook about “stockpiling” groceries- and while the answers were varied, most comments agreed with the concept in principle.
How do you feel about it?
When done right, stockpiling is the difference between overspending and staying on budget. It helps weather the storms of life, both literal and figurative. It gives us a better sleep and more security, knowing that even if there’s another pandemic, we’ll be able to find toilet paper…
All jokes aside, the pandemic and every other sudden world event since- from war to accelerated climate change displays- has highlighted the fragility of our food supply system and has underscored that things will not be going back to the way they were before.
We need to adapt the way we shop and cook for ourselves, because that is what we do as a species- we adapt to our circumstances as needed.
My question for you today: how do you feel about stockpiling?
Our conversation on Facebook asks about stockpiling, and how you feel about it. I’d love to see your reply there- and here!
If you’re ready to have a conversation with me about stockpiling, meal planning, and lifestyle pivots, I’m happy to call you. Just book a date and time here.
Be well, friends.
Earlier this week I asked a question on Facebook about eating out, and do you find yourself eating out more than you want to? I challenged us to keep track of what we do for a month, because if we don’t know where we’ve been, it’s hard to know where we’re going, and it’s more difficult to set an attainable goal because we’re running blind.
Today is a good day to tackle the other “big” spending issue, and that’s groceries. Next to eating out, grocery spending is top of mind for a lot of my clients. It’s like spending hundreds of dollars at the grocery store, but it still seems like there’s nothing to eat. Are you with me?
I know a lot of years ago, before I figured out how to meal plan effectively, this was a very big deal for me. I remember feeling like I was being priced out of grocery shopping, and that sick feeling in my stomach was compounded by the stress of not knowing what I could do about it.
Good news for you- you don’t have to figure it out. I did that so you don’t have to, and the system I’ve put in place works for every client, because it was built to work with you specifically, not a generic “one-size-fits-all” model.
Today’s conversation on Facebook touches on grocery spending…and if you want to spend some time with me, I’m happy to call you. Just book a date and time here.
When my second son was little, he liked the idea of ice cream but it was too cold for him, so he’d always ask if we could warm it up in the microwave.
Well, no. Not really. Because even though he liked milk, he didn’t like melted ice cream.
Planning without intention makes about as much sense as warming up ice cream but expecting it to still be ice cream. Going into each new season brings with it a new set of challenges and ideas. We have a lot of self-talk rattling around in our brains and sometimes it can be hard to filter. But pay attention to what sounds important to you.
Things that have the word “should” and/or “need” in them are usually the wistful ideas behind intent. Such as…
“I should eat out less”
“I need to stop throwing out so much food”
“I should really start a budget”
Identify your intent and be clear on what you want to do. That’s the first step on getting into a new season. Come on over to Facebook and join our discussion there or drop me a line here if you know you’re ready to move beyond intent and into action.
Last week my second son and I went to Jasper, AB for a short vacation. We had a great time- despite an elk taking out my car.
It was definitely more of an adventure than we anticipated, and we realized that you can be the best planner ever and still get surprised. Having our health care cards and our roadside assistance on hand helped ease a stressful situation and keeping car insurance up-to-date and easily accessed was definitely a plus. Planning in the future will include “what if” scenarios so it won’t be so shocking in the moment. We felt lucky to rent the last car available in Jasper! Sometimes you just have to do the best you can, one step at at a time.
We ate at Evil Dave’s (HIGHLY recommend), explored the area, and enjoyed breathing in the fresh mountain air and seeing wildlife (though that elk was a little too close for comfort). We even got to see a baby grizzly- that was a definite highlight!
This week I’m finishing off my freezer audit and keeping track of what we’ve got. I cooked yesterday morning while the house was cool to keep meals on hand and in the fridge for the rest of the week. Hopefully we’ll have no more surprises! For a little while, anyway.
Have you ever been involved in a car accident while traveling? How did it impact your time away from home?
As you may have noticed, I’m all about planning ahead for unexpected food emergencies, whether it’s illness or laziness or “too hot to cook”. That’s a big one, for sure. Our summer season isn’t that long in Alberta but it can be brutal.
Over the years my meal planning has evolved away from “test kitchen” meals and more complicated, distinct dinners every night to easy, loosely planned, eat-how-you-like meals. The fridge is generally full of food, and while I do try to keep track of what I’ve got, sometimes things get lost in the back of the fridge (which is another great reason to do an inventory! Join the July challenge now! Check out the “Discussion” tab for posts and inspiration)
If you’re lucky enough to start with cooked proteins in your freezer, as I am- from planning and cooking ahead throughout the winter and spring- your pre-planning meals will take center stage over the next few weeks. Think meals such as wraps and salads, egg bites, fried rice, stir-fried vegetables with chopped meat, charcuterie plates, fish tacos.
If not, that’s ok. Take advantage of cool cloudy days to cook ahead and consider pre-cooked rotisserie chickens when it’s hot. Check out the weather forecast and see how you can plan to cook ahead. Use your bbq if you’ve got one, and/or your small appliances outside as much as you can.
Lean on summer staples like canned beans and corn on the cob, summer seasonal fresh fruit, cool yogurt and heart-healthy dips like hummus and tzatziki. Make your meals as quick and easy as you can because summer’s a great time to step back and take a break as much as you are able to.
Check out this old post for more hot weather meal ideas, and happy July to you.
The other day I pulled leftovers from the freezer for dinner. I have been freezing single portions for a while for lunches and dinners just in case I didn’t have time to cook- you know, making my own fast food.
Well, the chili was dated February 2021.
My eldest raised his eyebrows and asked, “is it still good?” We let it thaw and warmed it up and it was delicious.
Packed right, frozen meals will last a long time. I didn’t know they’d last almost 18 months, but now I know.
This weekend is the start of our July challenge, setting ourselves up for success over the rest of the year and into 2023. When did you last do a fridge, freezer, and pantry audit? Getting things organized in this way is the foundation to feel less stress and frenzy- to find time AND money (because time and food not wasted IS money)- and energy- because let’s face it, there’s a lot going on in the world in the summer of 2022. Make it easier on yourself and join us for this free challenge in July. Sign up here! I look forward to seeing you, and I’ll send you the coupon code for the resources you need to participate.
Head over to Facebook to sign up!
Week 1: Fridge and Freezer Inventory
It sounds simple, and it is! Like and comment “I’m in” and you’ll get an inventory form to fill out. Use this opportunity to throw out any old/moldy/freezer-burned/expired food you’ll never use.
Take a picture of your fridge and freezer and your completed inventory, post them on the pinned “week 1” post, and comment with your surprise finds and/or takeaways. That’s all it takes to earn 2 entries into the snail-mail swag draw. Don’t forget to share! (See Fine Print rule #4)
Week 2: Pantry Inventory and Meal Ideas
Part 1: Slightly more involved, but only just! Like and comment “I’m in” and you’ll get an inventory form to fill out. Use this opportunity to decide what you will never eat and toss it, if it’s expired, bloated, or rusty, or start a box for the food bank if it’s still good to go. Snap a picture of your completed inventory (and your organized pantry if you’d like!), post them on the pinned “week 2” post, and comment with your surprise finds and/or takeaways. (1 entry)
Part 2: Pick 4 items on your inventory lists and plan 4 dinner ideas around them. Post a picture of your ideas and/or comment. (1 entry)
Week 3: Follow Through
Cook these meals- take a picture, and tell us what you thought about the process (1 entry per meal posted)
Catch the challenge- it's coming up quickly- over on Facebook! I look forward to having you join me in my first ever audit challenge, and I'm excited to be auditing what we have right along with you. July will be the key to a fabulous fall!
No AC? No Problem!
I lived for many years without AC in the top floor of a 4- floor walk-up. At that time I knew very little about cooking and we didn’t cook. Oh, and I was hospitalized one time because I was so hot I couldn’t even keep water down.
After that we ate out, at the mall where it was air conditioned, and didn’t come home until it was dark.
Then we moved into a house. Still not cool in the summer, but at least we had windows with air flow and we made do for several years.
When I was pregnant with my second son, we had AC installed in our house. We had a good cross-breeze but the neighbors smoked, and the smoke got sucked into our house, which made it impossible, as an uncomfortable pregnant lady, to live with the windows closed. I loved having AC. It was marvelous for cooking whatever I wanted, no matter the weather.
Last year, however, we lived through our first summer in a very different home, without a cross breeze on the main floor, no AC, and a “heat dome” that kept my city in Alberta, Canada, stupefyingly hot.
The kids spent the summer in the basement, and I did not cook unless I was cooking outside on the deck with a small appliance. Even then, sometimes, it was too hot.
Here’s what I’ve learned about summer cooking, after experiencing both the bliss of AC and the discomfort of not having it:
-Don’t cook…unless it’s cool, cloudy, and breezy (Like my picture up there) If that’s the case, open up those windows, set up some fans, and cook ahead as much as you can. Make a triple batch of chili, a couple of meatloaves, a pot of soup, some egg bites, roast a pork loin…whatever you can do when it’s cool enough to do so will help you weather the…weather…no matter what it looks like. Just remember to label and date everything and freeze what you can so it’s easy to pull out to eat when you need to.
-Sandwiches and salads are your friends.
-So is the microwave
How have you survived summertime cooking? I’d love to hear! Drop me a line here or hop over to Facebook and join the conversation there. Until next time…(stay tuned for an exciting challenge!)