Just MOM! · menu · Pampered Chef Awesomeness! · Uncategorized

10 WAYS TO SAVE TIME IN THE KITCHEN— AND YOUR SANITY!

Talking with people, I have learned that many people have the same request. “How do I cook a good meal while a kiddo is around!? And What do I make!!??”
I find there are several different ways to save time in the kitchen, and I’m here to share my ideas!
PLAN AHEAD. Oh, easier said than done, you say? I agree! LOL! But when it comes down to it, it saves me so much stress, that I love it! You can plan after the kids are in bed, or during the day (tip….tell the kiddos you all are going to write in your journals…they get to color and “write” and you get to plan your meals!)

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MAKE ALL COOKED MEAT ON ONE DAY. I find it is easier to cook all my meat on one day for the whole week. Then you’ll have it for many different meals. See my examples below.

  • Example: On Monday, cook all your chicken in my favorite Rockcrok Dutch Oven and Slow Cooker set! Put it on in the morning before you take off for your day with a bit of water or broth. When you get home, or later in the day, take out most of it and place it in the fridge. With the remaining chicken, add some Jamaican Jerk Rub, set it on your stovetop to meld all the flavors together a bit! While that is cooking, toss some rice in your Rice Cooker in the microwave, and before you know it, dinner will be done!
  • Example: On Tuesday, take out a little more of you chicken from the fridge and warm it up in the microwave or stove with about 1-2 Tablespoons of Chipotle Rub. If you saute up some peppers and onions on the stove, or make a quick pico in your Manual Food Processor, you’ll have a fantastic Taco Tuesday!
  • Example: On Wednesday, take out some chicken, warm it up on your stovetop or in the microwave, shred it with your Salad Choppers and add your favorite BBQ sauce. Bamm! Quick, Easy, BBQ chicken sliders!
  • Example: On Thursday, cut up your chicken and add it to a lettuce salad 🙂 Salad is always better with stuff on it!
  • Example: On Friday, add your remaining chicken to the Rockcrok Dutch Oven, along with celery, carrots, onion and chicken broth to make an amazing soup! When it is nearly done, add in your noodles to make it a chicken noodle soup! NUM!!!

PREP FOR MORE THAN ONE DAY. This works for more than just chicken! Are you chopping onion for Taco Tuesday? Chop a bit more for your soup you’ll be making Friday!

PINTEREST…. ENOUGH SAID. Sometimes this is fabulous, and sometimes it’s overwhelming. I get it. When I am on Pinterest, I love it for all the different and amazing recipes that people post. I get lost sometimes with it, though, when I don’t know if it will be good. But my thought is, try it. If the ingredients look like something you’ll eat, then go for it! And if you’re on Pinterest, pin your favorites, but also write them down on paper. If you have a journal, write them in that so you can jot down pros and cons of it, or any changes you made.

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Write down those Pinterest meal ideas!!

ASK YOUR FRIENDS. Your family and friends are your best bet for a great meal. Ask them for ideas. Post on your social media. Call one of them. Text someone. Ask them what’s for dinner this week. It will spark a thought, and get the ball rolling in that amazing brain of yours!

WHEN PLANNING A MEAL….SHOP YOUR PANTRY FIRST. Why spend more money than you have to! Take a look in your pantry and freezer. More often than not, you can play your own version of “Chopped” and make a fabulous meal! Even if you have to go to the store to get a few ingredients, that would be a whole lot better on the bank account than if you had to buy it all!

WRITE DOWN ALL YOUR FAMILY FAVES! You have the best ideas already in your head. Start writing. Make a chart, a list, a calendar, whatever you want, and list all your meals you love to eat. I like to start with either an ingredient (such as chicken) or a cuisine. It is easy to think of all the Mexican foods you love. Come on chips and salsa and of course guacamole!!! Am I right! Guess, what? You can make that at home too!

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Journaling ideas of things to make for dinner is key to staying budget friendly for me!

BABY FOOD? Is your baby ready to eat “real people food”? How about using what you’re making and puree it while you’re finishing your own meal? Or think about what her favorite food is, and make that for your dinner. Carrots? Sure, steam up some carrots in your Microcooker and at the dinner table, smoosh them up!

BABY CRYING? TAKE OUT THE FREEZER MEALS! Oh you don’t have them? Let’s make them now! I know it’ll take a few hours of your time, but it is oh sooooo worth it! When there is a time your baby can be taken care of by another adult or will be sleeping, get some freezer meals in the oven. I literally just did this for my own family, and I’m so happy I did. I did go on Pinterest, found some fabulous ideas, and cooked them up! There are freezer meals that are already partially made in a freezer pan (think disposible from the Dollar Tree!), covered in foil with the directions right on top. Then there are meals that are the dump in the crockpot or baking pan types! Sometimes those are easiest, because you don’t have to precook anything before going in the bag, and you don’t have to do anything except for dumping into a crockpot on the day you need it! Don’t forget to put those recipes somewhere you won’t lose them! I put mine in my bullet journal, and may get to transferring them to actual recipe cards….maybe.

BE OK WITH CEREAL. Hehehe! Sometimes as a mom, dad, grandparent, aunty or babysitter, it’s hard to get a good meal on the table at all times. I get that. I am that mom. Sometimes, cereal is the best choice for the family at that time. Sometimes, it’s cheapest to cook up a bunch of eggs, add a side of toast, and a piece of fruit.

Enjoy your day! I hope I helped save some time and sanity!

Becky

Family · Just MOM!

Kid shows, every single day 

You know what I find interesting? When I turn Netflix on, go to my tab,  hoping to find some amazing new show to get addicted to,  I find Zootopia. The movie all about animals that wear clothes,  have real people jobs,  and solve crimes.  To be honest,  I’m not ashamed to say I kind of like it.  “What do you call a three humped camel? …… pregnant!”

I keep on flipping,  and come to the row.  Top picks for Becky.  I am excited now.  This will be good.  Nope.  What do I see? Bunked.  Fuller house.  Sing.  Again,  not ashamed to say these aren’t that bad.  Bunked is about a group of super rich kids being thrown into a summer camp,  and learning to fit in,  all while crazy things happen. Fuller house is a great “bring me back to the old days” show! I laugh at references of Stephanie saying “How rude!” Even though she’s grown and is a DJ now 🙂  And of course,  Sing.  “Piggy power!” Gets me every time! Or when the mom turns into a hot momma! You’ve  gotta love that! A show where songs from across the genre board are sung,  danced to and completely crushed,  all by animals in costume…. amazing!

Ok,  let’s try regular tv. Pbs. Enough said.

Turn off the tv.  Let’s play a game.  Frozen…. something.  The board pieces flip over,  you move pieces…. we start singing “let it go, let it go,  can’t hold it back any more” in our best Elsa impersonation.  Still kid movie related.

Let’s play Chinese checkers.  No characters.  Perfect.  Turn on the radio to listen to some tunes.  The song comes on,  my girls yell “It’s Jonny! Turn it up!” I was excited they knew who was singing on the radio,  until I realized….. it was the song from Sing…… but sung by the original artist, Elton John!!! Not the character Jonny, the gorilla!

Do any of you out there find that as a mom,  most of the things you read or watch or listen to, are kid things? It must be a rule.  Or maybe common sense.  Play things appropriate for children around children.  Maybe that’s why,  when I asked  my own mom what her favorite 80’s song is,  she says “Raffy”.  When you have little kids during the entire 80’s decade, Raffy it is.  Come on,  “Baby Ballooga in the deep blue sea”,  gets me every time.  Is your momma home?

When asked what my hobbies are…. I sit dumbfounded.  I mean,  I’m a mom and a teacher.  I like to go to the bathroom and not have fingers under the door.  I like to eat breakfast and drink hot coffee for longer than 5 minutes.  Ooh,  and I love coloring a picture with my kids, and not have to share my page with unwanted scribbles and lines.  Ooh, I’ll miss these moments you  say.  I bet I will.  But I still can have my hobbies can’t I?

Well,  to all the mom’s rocking it,  or are really good at faking it,  keep it up! Cuddle up with the kiddos. Watch “Sing” for the 1344th time,  and be sure to use your vibrato when belting out every word!

And remember,  even though you may have your own little square with your name on it when you turn on Netflix….. it will belong to your little people in your life for a while (yes they may have their own square…I don’t know what happens!).  One day you’ll be able you watch reruns of Friends without worrying about the context of the episode.

Share your favorite kid’s show in the comments….. we’ve got to stick together,  so let’s get some new ideas!

Mom on!  — Becky

*** This post includes affiliate links.  Any purchases you make off a link, I will get a small percentage, with nothing added on your end.

July 2017 · Just MOM!

Life with Anxiety and Depression

This is a hard post to write, but I have learned that there is a world out there that shares my same struggles.

One thing that I have figured out, is that I have anxiety and depression.  It was exaggerated and noticed more after I had my first child.  Going to work as a teacher was a struggle.  I was happy with the kids, but my director noticed that the moment I thought no one was looking, I went numb.  I didn’t notice this.  They did.  My director called me into her office and told me all the things she was noticing and told me she was concerned.  I’ll never forget that day.  I’ll never forget the tears that streamed down my face.  I’ll never forget that door that was shut behind me.  I looked at that door, wishing it was open so I could run out.  I knew that if I did, I would not get the help I needed.

Several years later, I thought I was better.  I felt better.  Then I had a miscarriage.  This put me over the edge.  I couldn’t get out of bed.  I didn’t want to get out of bed.  I cried.  A lot.  My mom came over, because my hubby didn’t know what to do.  He had to go to work, but we had a 2 year old.  He didn’t want to leave her “alone”.   My mom got me out of the house a few days later.  I didn’t want to be seen out and about in my town.  I didn’t want people I knew to ask why I wasn’t in school.  I didn’t want to talk about it.  I did agree to drive an hour away to go shopping.  It got my mind off of things and I enjoyed my time with my kiddo and mom.  I went through some therapy, and was put on meds.  I was feeling better.

I continue to take my meds.  I have up’ed them and have a backup med that is for “emergencies only”.  When I feel my chest can’t be “sat on” any more.  When the “burning” on my face, neck, back, and arms gets to much, I take this extra med.  I want to be off of them.  I want to be able to “control it” on my own.   But as my sister has said, if I had diabetes, I wouldn’t turn down my insulin.  Why would I turn down my meds now?  I need these to feel better, and to do better.

There are days, even recently, that I don’t leave the couch.  I feel I’m the worst mom out there.  Days that I hate being a mom.  Where I want to run away.  But I have learned how the meds I’m on can be used to bring me back.  I have learned that some deep breathing, sleep, a goal of what to make for dessert (dinner is too much for me at this point!), can sometimes help with these things.  The sad part of these days, is that I don’t want to be the worst mom ever.  I want to play.  I want to make fun foods for my kiddos.  I want to hang out with my sisters and parents.  I want to clean my house.  But all of those things make me more anxious.  A clean house makes me anxious, because I worry it will be a mess soon again.  A messy house makes me anxious, because I worry about what everyone else will think about me and the mess I live in.  Anxiety gives me the chest pain and pressure, burning sensation down my arms, on my face and back.  Depression keeps me doing nothing, laying on the couch, not wanting to do anything or go anywhere.

“I want to go shopping!”  “no, I don’t, that means I have to get dressed and drive there.”

“I want to do an art project with my kids.”  “No, I don’t, that means I have to get up.”

“I want to clean my house.”  “No, I don’t, that means I have to get up.  And it will be messy again.”

“I want to lose weight, I should start walking.”  “No, I don’t, that means I have to get up and go.”

We need to share our stories.  We need to stick together and support others.

My family is great at wanting to help.  I love them so much.  When I’m not doing good tho, I worry a lot about even what they will think of me.  Why do they want to help me?  The struggle is real.

Walking and talking helps.  But, to get out and walk and talk is hard to do.  Anxious that I’m gaining weight.  Too depressed to get out and work it off.  Ugh.  Who feels my pain?

Is this your life?   Do you know someone like me?

Thanks for reading.  Share this post. Like it.

— Becky

 

PS…if you are in need of a little retail therapy, this is my affiliate link where I get a little payment, but there is nothing added to your total!! 🙂

 

Dairy Free · June 2017 · Just MOM!

Deals, Deals, Deals!!!

Ok Peeps!!! I went shopping for a camping trip we’re taking, along with shopping for my dairy free 4 year old!!  I’m used to paying about $2.50+ for one yogurt she can eat and enjoy, and I found at Walmart the same kind (not too many flavors tho) for $1.58!!!!  Seriously…a dollar cheaper!!  And boy was Miss A sooooooo excited to see I bought 4 of them at one time…..normally I don’t do that due to the price.  No I’m not doing an affiliate post for them, no I’m not getting paid to say this, but I love a good deal, and I thought you’d like one too!  The kind we love is the “SO Delicious” brand of coconut yogurt, in all the flavors!  NUM!  Oh, and the same brand of icecream is also cheaper there!  Go see if your local Walmart has the same prices!

Side note….when you’re shopping at Walmart or Aldi or Sam’s Club or….anywhere really…you need some good bags.  Bags that can hold a lot!  The Everyday Tote Set from Pampered Chef if perfect for this!  They can hold up to 40 pounds, they have clips on them to help hold them to your cart 🙂  How awesome is that!

Oh come on, you had to know I was going to plug Pampered Chef…I love it so much!  And I am a consultant…if you want to purchase one go to my link here and I’ll help you out!

ALDI…..have we chatted about Aldi yet?  I love that place!  Also not paid to say that!  LOL!!  There are many many things there that are dairy free and delicious!!  I just found their cookies are DF!!  They sell DF milk too!  What else do they have?  If you are GF, they have a nice section just for you 🙂  I find that if they are GF, sometimes they are DF too!  Do you find that?  And to make everyone happy, the fruit and veggies are always a great price (way lower than our other local stores) and they taste great!

My exclamation mark is getting a work out today 🙂  When I’m excited, it’s hard not to use it!!!

Have a wonderful day!!

Shop on!

Becky

Need more deals?  Check out my affiliate link at Amazon 🙂

 

Dairy Free · June 2017 · Just MOM!

Going out to eat— Dairy FREE

This is HARD.  Going out to eat is not as easy as it once was.  I have to think….about everything that may be used in the back kitchen.  I have to think about all the options that may be available for my 4 year old who gets a super upset tummy when she eats dairy in any form.

I started with the thought….GO WHOLE FOODS.  No dairy there! Go vegan!  When I start looking for those items it gets easier…..for a minute…then I remember, Miss A doesn’t like all that! UGH!  I’ve created a monster! LOL!  No, actually she’s pretty easy and knows that she needs to avoid dairy, even asking if that has dairy in it herself.

One thing I’m also learning….DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK!!! Most places will accommodate allergies.  We needed spaghetti and toast without any butter or cheese…we got it!  Want to know if there is dairy or gluten in something?  Ask.  If the waitress/waiter doesn’t know, ask them to find out.  Be polite and USUALLY they will work with you!

Another thing I’m watching for is the fried foods.  While camping with my family, I thought having fried fish would be safe for Miss A, but then I looked and they were dipping the fish into milk first.  It’s such a habit, no one thought of it.  It was totally ok that day, because there were so many other choices, no one went hungry.  Now, though, at restaurants, I have that memory playing in my mind….and it makes me think about if the people in the kitchen use milk in their deep frying.  Lesson of the day…..limit the fried.

What would my Miss A like?

  • Apple sauce and fruit sides
  • burger without bun (or ask if the bun has milk)
  • Soup–non creamy of course unless it is a special cream free soup base
  • Lemonade/juices/water
  • tacos – minus cheese

Last week, my girls and I were treated to lunch at “Bridgemans”…. one of my ideas….  I wanted to see if I could do it at a place that mainly sells DAIRY!!! 🙂 LOL!  She had chicken strips and apple sauce.  They did give her bread with butter, because I didn’t know that was included.  I would have asked about that one if I had known.  She was able to get a sundae with her kids meal, obviously not really an option, and the waitress asked if she wanted more apple sauce or some fruit.  Miss A said she was ok and we declined.  It was a nice gesture tho!

Picky Nicky’s in the house?  This gets tricky! (hehe!  I’m rhyming today!)  Again, from earlier, stay non processed, go vegan, get creative!  Many places will let you pick and choose, especially when they know there’s an allergy!  Use it!

Good luck….I’m learning….I’m a mom trying my best to keep my kiddo tummy ache free….    Learn with me.

—Becky

*** Affiliate links are posted on this blog post.  All purchases made by clicking on a link, will provide me with a little extra in the bank with nothing added on your end!  Thanks in advance!***

Just MOM!

Sleep….. necessary?

So look, this week I’ve been tired all day every day.  Last night I couldn’t keep my eyes open and fell asleep on the couch at 5:30, woke up at 7, went to bed at 7:30, woke up at 5:30. Feel great!

 

What a concept! Lol! Who would have thunk it?

Mom’s do need sleep! So ladies….. Go to bed! Curl up and sleep! Try it,  you may like it!