Meal Planning – Week 1

In my mid 20’s I went from being someone who went to the grocery store once a week to someone who went almost daily.  It helped Safeway was literally a 3 minute walk from my apartment.  I didn’t pre-plan meals in anyway shape or form.  On my way home from work I would decide what I wanted to make for dinner and head to the store for the ingredients.

When we purchased our condo, the number of times I went food shopping drastically decreased.  We were no longer within walking distance of a grocery store, which meant I started to go every couple of days on my way home from work.  I slowly started to think about meals in 2-3 day increments.

Enter newborn baby.  I was exhausted, often un-showered (SHHH don’t tell) and barely had time for a bathroom break, let alone cook or go food shopping multiple times a week.  Not to mention the logistics involved in going to the store with a newborn baby in-tow!  Store runs became almost nonexistent and the number of nights we were ordering in steadily inclined.

Let me be honest…cooking is way healthier AND less expensive than ordering in.  Plus, there is the added bonus that I really do LOVE to cook!  Once I went back at work full time and ‘adjusted’ to our new schedule, I started making a conscious effort to cook more often.

I go food shopping once … max twice … a week now.  It has been an interesting transition since I wasn’t giving much forethought to our meals.  With no plan in place, I’ve been working with what we’ve got in the house.  It didn’t take long to realize we were going to live off chicken/rice and pasta/meat sauce if I don’t start planning ahead.

So, a couple of weeks ago I made a decision to start meal planning.  I took out pen and paper and actually wrote down what I was going to make each night for dinner.  I gave myself one ‘order in’ night … I need{ed} to be realistic and not to bite off more than I can chew!

First thing I did was write out a FULL list of our go-to recipes.  Though I would like to get a mix of old and new dinner menus I figured it was probably best to start with what I know we like and go from there.  I decided to make a list of what to cook for dinner throughout the week and determine what we would eat when later.  The one caveat to this is recipes that were more time intensive I planned on conquering over the weekend.

Meal Planning Dinner Recipes - Week 1 | Life's Tidbits

Dinner Choices for Meal Planning Week 1!

  1. Smoky Southwestern Tilapia with Sweet Potatoes and Green Beans
  2. Roasted Chicken with Carrots and Potatoes
  3. Hamburger Casserole
  4. Chicken Fajita Stuffed Peppers (substituted with ground turkey and mozzarella cheese – was totally delish!)
  5. Baked Honey Cajan Shrimp with white rice and steamed green beans
  6. Chicken Pesto Pasta
  7. Order In!

Overall week 1 went really well! It was so nice to have everything on hand and the recipes preselected.  The other great thing about meal planning was there were plenty of leftovers for lunch each day.  Similar to my order in one night I gave myself a couple of days for going out to lunch with coworkers.  This was partially because I like going out to eat and be social, as well as to give myself an out when I needed to change things up.

Do I have any changes and/or goals for week 2 of meal planning?  Well, thank you for asking … because I do plan to make a few changes!  I need to not only meal plan for my husband and me, but for little Jellybean too.  Cook more meals over the weekend to save additional time during the week (make the freezer my friend hahaha).  Also, I would like to challenge myself to use more of what’s already in my pantry and refrigerator.  Doing so will take more planning/research, but I feel it will be useful in expanding my recipe ‘portfolio’ as well as saving a little extra mulla!!

Do you meal plan?  Any tips or tricks you can share?

I would love to hear your EASY and favorite week night recipe!

If you enjoyed this post, please add your tidbit by commenting below.  Don’t forget you can follow us on PinterestInstagramFacebook and Twitter.

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Friday Favs!

Hey there!  Oh my gosh, do you even remember that I blog??  It has been a while … insert a bajillion excuses here.  Oh yeah, ummmm, okay, let me just tell you why.  Work has been insanely busy.  It’s that good kind of busy though.  I’m learning so much and really loving putting that PMP to good use.  Jellybean has been staying up later, which is great because we get more quality time during the week!  The only down side is it shortens then amount of time I have with both my hand and not having to keep one eye on the bambino!  Post bedtime stories are packed with household stuff, relaxing and QT with the hubby.  Finding the energy and motivation to blog has been hard, but I’ve really missed it.

So I’m back … and oh so hopeful you will accept me back into the fold. =)

Lets get to it with my current favorites this Friday!

JellybeanEasterWeekend

I finally got around to ordering prints from January to March of this year … jeez I’m a slacker!  But, seriously, what is better than actual prints?!?!  Any-hoo this picture is from Easter weekend and I just love it.  Jellybean is concentrating on saying hello to the ‘baaa baaa baaa, sheep’.  Our kiddo has ZERO fear and stuck her little hand through the fence in an attempt to touch the ‘baaa baaa baaa’.  Luckily Grammy was closely monitoring the interaction so I could capture the moment.

I’m totally obsessed with this Crispy Cajan Chicken dish.  It’s a home run recipe!!  I’ve modified it a little by brushing on the hot sauce and then searing it on the stove top, followed by baking in the oven.  When I cooked it on the stove top the whole time all the breading fell off – total bummer.  I’ve literally made this meal every week since finding the recipe.

They don’t call these leggings ‘live in’ for nothing! I want to wear the all day everyday.  I’m thinking of buying a second pair in another color.  And speaking of clothes, I wish it was acceptable to wear the same blazer EVERY.SINGLE.DAY to work.  Given how hot is has been in DC as of late this blazer has been clutch.  Throw it over my tank top and head to a meeting … professional and comfy!

This baby sponge is amazing and why didn’t we find it when Jellybean was just an infant.  Bath time sponge equals a decrease in the amount of laundry {no more… or at least less wash clothes}.

Totally loving this fashion blogger.  I’m working on creating a new cohesive wardrobe so I’m really into reading these types of blogs recently.

My sister is ENGAGED!!!  I got her this super cute cup as an engagement gift.  It’s been crazy fun to help her plan a little.  It brings back so many memories from planning my own wedding.  I’ve also been pinning bridal shower and wedding ideas like crazy.  Pinterest … Can’t Stop … Won’t Stop.  LOL.

Finally tried this under eye dark circle corrector.  Everyone sings it’s praises and I do like it, however I have a feeling I’m not applying it quite right.  So I will continue to work on that!

What are your favorites this week??  Happy Friday! I hope you have a fabulous weekend!!

Signiture_Nicole

The Cake Smash That Wasn’t

First Birthday Cake Smash |  Life's Tidbits

First birthday cake smash photos are just the cutest!  Little hands and smiles covered in frosting just melts my heart.   As Jellybean’s birthday approached I got increasingly excited at the idea of her cake smash.  On her birthday my parents entertained Jellybean while I got to baking.  I made the vanilla cake and pink buttercream frosting {from scratch} and anxiously awaited the hubby getting home from work so we could sing to the birthday girl and then watch Jellybean get her cake smash on.

1st Birthday DIY Cake Smash Cake  |  Life's Tidbits

I envisioned how cute Jellybean would look covered in pink frosting.  I hoped I would snap a really cute photo that could be used on her birthday ‘thank you’ cards.  The camera was set out on the table, charged and ready to go!

We took some ‘practice’ shots of Jellybean with her princess birthday hat on while she ate her dinner.

BirthdayGirl1Year

The hubby, my parents and my husband’s parent (via Skype) sang ‘Happy Birthday’ and Jellybean just looked at us with that little furrow brow she has when she’s unsure of what’s happening.  With the cake in front of her I stepped back to snap what one would only assume would be an adorable face and then …

We realized she didn’t like the cake.  No, it wasn’t that she didn’t like the cake, but instead she was afraid … Yup, completely terrified of the cake!  We all started pontificating what might be the matter.  She was tired, wasn’t hungry, and so on.  And while we discussed her face said it all, “someone to make that cake disappear … STAT!

DontLikeCake

Completely baffled, we took the cake away, put her on the floor with the cake and then my baby girl cried.  It’s my cake and I’ll cry if I want to!  It was hard not to laugh at how much she most certainly did NOT like the cake.  For a child who has never shown any signs of fear, is was a strange sight!!!  All I can think when I see this picture is ‘no one puts baby {and a cake} in the corner”. Tee hee hee =)

AfraidofCake

We tried again a few days later at her winter ONEderland birthday party and met with similar results.  A little scrunched up face, followed by some crying and no cake smash.

Cake Smash Fail First Birthday Party | Life's Tidbits

Despite there being no cake smash for Jellybean’s 1st birthday; we did get one hilarious story to tell over and over again.  I’m sure we will embarrass her at some point when we whip out these photos in front of her friends, or better yet a future boyfriend hahahaha {pending Daddy’s approval for her to date, of course}.

Anyone else’s baby not like cake?!

Signiture_Nicole

{Recipe} Chicken & Broccoli Casserole

Sometimes it’s a little tricky finding recipes that are both adult and kid friendly.  Over the past few weeks I’ve been trying to add more food variety to Jellybean’s diet.  Which seems to mean we all need to eat the same thing for dinner at least a few nights a week.  Hamburger casserole and lemon chicken stew have been my go to family dinner recipes over the past few weeks and while they make great lunch we just need some new recipes in the mix.

Enter Pinterest – side note I think there’s a possibility Pinterest will replace Googling at least in some cases – and with a few clicks I found some great chicken and broccoli casserole dishes.  I made a few modifications to this recipe and voila a delicious family friendly dinner!

Chicken & Broccoli Casserole Recipe, Dinner ideas for toddlers | Life's Tidbits

Chicken & Broccoli Casserole Recipe

1 Tbls Coconut Oil (or vege or olive oil)
1 lb Chicken Breasts – cubed/bitesize
2-3 Cups Fresh Broccoli – chopped/bitesize
1 Small Onion Diced
1 tsp poultry seasoning
Salt & Pepper – to taste
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
3 Tbls Mayonnaise
1/4 cup water
1 and 1/2 Cups Shredded White Cheddar Cheese
1 cup raw white rice (cooked)

Cook the rice per the instructions on the box.  I like to substitute the water for chicken broth to add a little extra flavor!

Meanwhile in a large skillet or dutch over add oil, chicken, broccoli, onion, poultry seasoning and salt/pepper.  Cook over medium heat until the chicken is done.

Add in the soup, mayo and water gently mix until well incorporated.  Mix in the rice.  Turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for a few minutes.

Makes about 6 servings.

Toddle Eating Chicken & Broccoli Casserole - Family Dinner Ideas | Life's Tidbits

Toddle Eating Chicken & Broccoli Casserole - Family Dinner Ideas | Life's Tidbits

 

I think Jellybean was a little puzzled as to why I was being such a paparazzi while she ate her dinner!

Chicken & Broccoli Casserole dinner recipe | Life's Tidbits

This recipe is pretty delicious and the whole family approved…yay!  I’m happy to have one new recipe, but I would love to add at least another 3-5 new {easy} dinners into our rotation.

What are your go to family friendly recipes that toddlers love?

Signiture_Nicole

Mini Fashionista – St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patty’s Day is just around the corner! It’s so much fun shopping for holiday themed outfits.  For Valentine’s day, Jellybean and I wore similar outfits.  A fellow mom on the plane {we went on a family vacation to Mexico … much needed vaca!} comment on how cute we looked.  It totally made my day!!  The husband just shook his head, almost to say to the woman ‘please don’t encourage my wife’.  Hahaha.  And while I won’t be dressing up for St. Patrick’s Day … since I will be at work … I still want Jellybean dressed to impress!!  While I was focused on the girl clothes, I couldn’t help but poke around and check out all the cute boy St. Patty’s Day fashion out there.

Here are some of my favorite finds …
StPatricksDayFashion

Headband / Little Sham Rocker / Green Polo  /  Long Sleeve Shamrock Bodysuit  /  Shamrock Glasses / Snoopy #Lucky  /  White Shamrock T-Shirt / Sparkle Shoes / Mickey T-Shirt /  Bow Tie My First St. Patrick’s Day

Unfortunately I won’t be purchasing those adorable sunglasses as I know Jellybean won’t leave them on for even enough time for me to snap a good photo … there’s always next year!

What St. Patty’s Day clothing is your favorite?  Any good fashion finds you care to share?

Happy {Fashionista} Friday!!

Signiture_Nicole

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