Over the years, you've watched me stock up my freezer. I've written about why to stock it up, what a different it makes, and preached endlessly on the virtues of a stocked fridge and freezer.
And here's the perfect reason why. On our first night of family vacation, my husband got very sick. He ended up being airlifted back to Edmonton.
Between back and forth from home to hospital, I found myself at first stressing out about what to feed the kids, and how. I didn't want us to live on fast food for the week but I didn't have a lot of time to cook either. However, I remembered I had stocked my freezer for fall before we went on vacation. This made all the difference in the world for us. A need is a need, whether it's a busy autumn or an unexpected illness. We were able to eat healthy food under pressure and as a result weathered the unknowns with grace and wellness.
Over the years I've found that the first thing to get dropped under unexpected curveballs is our meal planning. We eat whatever we can find whenever and wherever we can find it. This has been true for everyone I've asked. Unfortunately, eating like this adds further stress to our complications- less healthy food equals less healthy outcomes. When we are under stress and fighting to bring our lives back to normal, we need that nutritional backbone to support us. If you haven't started stocking your freezer, let me encourage you that now is the time. Make it your intentional priority as you cook. Plan for meals that are easily doubled or broken down into starters- slice meat for sandwiches, soups, and stir frys. Double up on chili or meat sauce. Make an extra meatloaf, and put away your leftover small bits for breakfasts or lunches that can serve you when you need it.
Having eggs and oatmeal ready to eat made my daily dashes out the door so much easier. Having lasagna, chili, and meatloaf to reheat for the kids made dinners doable. When I knew I had an hour at home I hardboiled eggs and roasted sheet pans full of vegetables. You know what you like to eat, so it's ok if my suggestions don't land for you. The important thing is to pick what works for you and make it happen.
All the best, friends,
Over the years I've observed that I have a well-stocked pantry compared to many people, and I'm often surprised by what's NOT in people's pantry's. Let's chat about a well-stocked kitchen over the next few blog posts and see what all the fuss is about!
Keeping a well-stocked pantry can be the difference between whipping something up for a meal and ordering in (or going out). It's not a big deal if you don't think it is, but if you feel guilt, shame, or regret every time you go out when you would rather not, this is one of those things you can do to take control and find some satisfaction and happiness in your kitchen.
Keeping your pantry stocked enables you to run a more efficient and organized kitchen. It makes your meal planning and grocery shopping easier and quicker, and by keeping everything organized and knowing what you have means less time and money is wasted. It's so important, in fact, that I offer pantry audits as one of my services, because it's one of those places in our homes that seems to encourage chaos. I encourage you to do your own pantry audit before you run out to shop for your staples- you may find things in there you forgot you had!
We'll go over fridge and freezer stocking another time, and at the end of it all we'll put together a list of a few ideas of meals you can throw together with what you have.
Some standard pantry staples:
My stocked pantry includes items most people would probably not consider as basics, but we don't let ourselves run out. These items include all of these above plus:
There are overlaps, of course, between fridge and pantry. If we open the salsa, for example, it lives in the fridge. And we keep our ketchup in the fridge too, though I hear it's shelf-stable and refrigeration isn't required.
Here's a recipe using basic pantry ingredients to create baked beans in the slow cooker- a perfect recipe for the weather we are enjoying today in Fort Saskatchewan!
Have a comment? Want to tell me what I missed (or added) that makes my stocked pantry different than yours? Feel free to leave a note for us here or hop over to my Facebook page and start the conversation there.
Have a great week, friends!
It's almost halfway through December, and that means we're almost done 2017. Although there's nothing overly magical about the turning of the page to a new year, we seem universally to want to "start over" with each new year.
So what's holding you back?
Take a few minutes to think about what you want in the new year, and what you can do to make it happen. As nice as it would be to think that the changes we want will magically appear under the tree on Christmas morning, realistically speaking the changes we need to make are made up of the steps we need to take ourselves.
For example, I would love to wake up on Boxing Day and find out that our house is magically uncluttered and clean. Will that happen? Not overnight. But if we consistently make the effort together as a family to make that a goal for the new year- and take steps to ensure it happens- at some point it will happen. Slow and tedious, yes. Worth it in the end? Oh, yes.
Here are some suggestions to help you get a handle on your kitchens going into the new year. Tedious? Maybe. But if you really want to make the changes, you will make the effort.
1. Issue: Don't know what food you have?
I hope some of these suggestions help fuel your new year thoughts and plans! Any questions please feel free to reach out!
Have a good day, friends!
Today I have a guest post from Sherry, owner of Stamped Treasures. I've known Sherry for many years in a friendship that began when we were both new Stampin' Up! demonstators. Sherry has a unique art style that creates functional items with timeless beauty, and today she's writing about the value of planners. She's got a class coming up in a couple of weeks, and I am her guest speaker!
Last week we talked about New Years Resolutions, and now it's time to talk about out how we manage to organize and keep them. Without further ado, here's Sherry!
Planning with paper and pen has been around for years. With the rise in popularity of technology, you'd think it would be a dying craft. You may be surprised to learn that the planner community and the love of paper planners are actually becoming more popular.
Planners can help organize your busy life, plan your meals, record your thoughts, and document and track your goals. Planners can help keep you on task and focused. I find nothing quite as satisfying as making a check mark next to a completed task. At the end of the day seeing that list of checkmarks makes me feel accomplished. It sounds odd, but I find being able to check a task so rewarding that it makes me stay focused on my list of to do’s. For me, that check mark has to be in the form of putting pen to paper, a check box on my phone or computer just doesn’t give me that same sense of accomplishment.
How about you? Are you a list maker? Do you love pretty notebooks, planners or calendars? Maybe you are looking for a creative outlet? Or maybe a way to document things your kids say or do that makes you smile? You’d be surprised at what a planner can do to improve your life and productivity.
If you are curious about types of planners, what all the hype is and/or how you can use a planner to stay organized, as a creative outlet or to record your memories, I'd love for you to join me at my upcoming planner class on Tuesday January 17th at 7pm. Class fee of $15 includes an abundance of information on types, styles and how to use planners, two make and takes and a brief talk from my friend Stacy from The Meals Maven on menu planning.
If you own a planner(s), please bring it along with adhesive (available to purchase in class if needed) and scissors to class.
Yesterday morning our fridge just stopped working. It was unexpected...it might be 3 years old. Luckily, family came to the rescue, and we now have a temporary fridge to use until ours gets repaired.
It was supposed to be a full day of cooking ahead and getting ready for school, with a full day today for baking and finishing up on those other little miscellaneous things to get ready for school. Just like I posted previously, though, we don't always get advance notice about those curveballs. I'll do what I can, and let go of the stress of what I can't.
Baking can wait until some down time next weekend as I've still got to finish off my cooking and household responsibilities...and add "clean out the fridge" to my list so it doesn't go nasty while we wait for repair.
This week I started practicing the discipline of daily gratitude. This was the perfect opportunity to be grateful- I'm grateful for realizing how much we enjoy our fridge, for the fact that my sister in law was getting rid of hers just when we needed to use one, and that my father in law was available to help us get it to our house from hers.
What are you grateful for today? Has life thrown any curveballs at you lately?
Simple but straightforward and easy to track, with just enough ambition to have to make an effort. Resolutions shouldn't be something you can do in your sleep. The point is to grow this year, not maintain.
There's that old song I turn up whenever it's on the radio and the wisdom in one of the lines catches my attention everytime..."every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end".
So it is with each new year.
Did you know that just 8% of people who make New Years Resolutions end up meeting them?
I'll admit that my motif for 2015 kind of sucked. It was a great idea, but not terribly measurable. I don't think I set a resolution at all last year, and I think my year reflected that. Not that it was a bad year overall- I just didn't have a lot of focus.
2017, though, is off to a running start. Not only have I decided some important release dates ahead of time, I've also started working a consistent 3-day work week, thanks to a fabulous share of content care of Cailen Ascher.
Why 3 days?
3 days, because I have a family at home, and I need the focused time with all the distractions in my life. 3 days, because it allows me to have a couple of flex days each week that can be used to focus on household matters or allows me to rearrange work days if I need to. 3 days, because in those 3 days of solid, steady, consistent work I think I will find achievable, measurable gains. I'm really excited to have started my work week in spite of the fact that the kids are still home from school. It's early yet, but going really well. I can see the value.
My biggest challenge?
Discipline. It's so easy to skip like a stone across the water, flitting from this to that and never really making any progress. In fact, that defined a lot of my last year. A nugget of wisdom picked up from Cailen Ascher makes so much sense to me: "If it's not scheduled, it won't happen". I spent the last 3 weeks of 2016 deciding what my goals, deadlines, release dates, appointments and so on would be in 2017. I stumbled across the 3-day work week content share on December 28, and spent last Saturday sorting out what my schedule will look like. I'm excited and I think it's attainable.
What are your challenges?
What do you want from 2017? Make your goals measurable and attainable. It's easy to make a list a mile long but in reality it's hard to maintain that sort of momentum. Over the next week we'll talk about some possible goals relating to food and nutrition. I'll be here to help you start setting down your intentions. There's something about the new year that makes all of us a little more open to possibility.
Happy New Year, friends. You've got this!