Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Easy Meal Planning Ideas

Recently, I have been all about making meals for dinner that I can prep in 30 minutes or less during nap time. Right now, our evenings are a little crazy. T usually naps until 5:30/6, and when he wakes I nurse him, and usually somewhere between 6/6:15, we sit down to dinner. But since he's nursing right before that, I can't stand at the stove and prep in the evening. Such a serious mom problem. But all joking aside, it has taken some trial and error to find what works for us in the evening. I recently shared some of my favorite easy prep meals with two friends, and at the end of my email to them, I said, "This would be a good blog post!"...so here ya go! Hope another busy mama out there finds this helpful.

Most of these are prep ahead meals and a few are super fast meals where I chop and measure things beforehand and throw in a skillet and quickly cook when it's time to eat. Also, a lot of these I've shared on instagram already, but since you can't leave direct links on instagram, I thought this might be helpful for anyone looking to spice up their meal plans.

This is an easy one to prep ahead of time! Also makes a great meal for a new mama! We omit the jalapenos, but that's about the only change I make. These are so yummy!

This was a new recipe I recently found in a copy of my Rachael Ray magazine, but these were a hit. I prepped them ahead of time and did everything but the egg wash and the baking. I popped them in the oven before I fed T, and by the time he was done nursing these were ready for dinner. An easy make ahead meal!

Shaved Brussels are one of my favorite ways to eats Brussels. This recipe from my friend Nina is a keeper. I subbed smoked chicken sausage for the andouille so M would eat it (she does not like spicy). This wasn't one I prepped ahead too much. I did do all of my chopping ahead of time and made the dressing for it, but really it was a quick cook time! Highly recommend this one!

I have my friend Rachel and snapchat (I'm erchla on there!) to thanks for this one! Rachel snapped this one day, and I immediately pulled up my pinterest and added this my recipe board! This was SO good and so super easy. Like the meal above, I didn't prep too much eahd of time other than the chopping. Cook time was super short and was ready fast. All three of us loved this.

An oldie but a goodie, but I love this for an easy week night dinner. I can make it all during nap time in under half an hour, and then pop it in the oven at 5:30, and dinner is ready by 6:30. We usually pair with a salad or roasted asparagus. This past time I made it, M ate two big servings. Might need to start making two!

If you like shrimp, MAKE THIS! You can prep the shrimp ahead of time and leave it in the fridge all day and then cook right before you're ready to eat. Honestly, trimming the green beans was what took the longest for this meal. Such an easy and great dinner!

This is a random one, but this salad is one of my favorites! It's so simple, and there's not much to it, but it makes a great side for any meal. 

Skinnytaste Shrimp Tostadas
This was a new skinnytaste meal for us, but one I'll definitely make again. I made my gaucamole and tostadas earlier in the day (corn tortillas, brush with olive oil and sprinkle on salt and bake at 350 on each side for 4-5 min) and the rest was easy to throw together at dinner time. 

How can you go wrong with something that involves caprese salsa?! I served this over arugula and made J a baked potato to go with his. I prepped everything early in the day, and grilled the steak right before T woke up and ate at 6. While he ate I let the steak sit and finish cooking, so timing wise, it worked out perfectly. I could eat this weekly. Flank steak is favorite at dinner time, and this caprese salsa was just awesome. 

And a few more links...no pictures, but I love these meals because they're all super easy make ahead meals that I just put in the oven before dinner.

Pioneer Woman's Baked Ziti (this will feed your family for days!)

Now you tell me...
What meals do you love that are easy to make ahead of time? Would love some new things to add in to our rotation.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Egg Hunts, Brunch, + Birds of Prey!

This past weekend was a fun one here at home. The weather has been so warm and nice lately, but on Saturday and Sunday the temperatures dropped and it was kind of chilly again. Despite the cold, we still got outside and had some fun.

Friday morning, before the weekend got kicked off, I took both the kids to Discovery Place uptown. We have a membership here, which is so nice because we can go for just a few hours in the morning and not feel like we're missing out or not getting our money's worth. I thought T would fall asleep in the Ergo there, but he stayed awake until we were about five minutes from home. So much for a nap on the go!

For dinner on Friday night, J and I got take out from Futo Buta. We visited here over the summer and loved it, and just recently found out they do take out too, which is much more our speed these days. Made for a fun Friday night date night in. Charlotte friends, if you haven't been yet, you need to try it!

Saturday morning we went to the Carolina Raptor Center up in Huntersville. We had never been here before, but thought it would make for a fun weekend outing. Overall, it was a fun way to spend a few hours, but M lost interest after the first few birds. Her favorite part was comparing her own arms to the wingspans of different birds. 

Saturday afternoon, this one was just as cute as a button. Typical.

...and I went up to the attic and found all of our "baby" toys for him. We had a few out already, but lately he is big into his rattles and toys he can easily hold in his hands, so I knew it was time to bring down some more. 

On Sunday morning, I headed to a brunch at Dogwood for my friend April's baby sprinkle. It was so nice to have a few hours out with some friends celebrating April's sweet baby! Also, the food was fantastic! I got a country ham bowl with homily, a fried egg, country ham, greens, and pickled onions. It was so so good.

After I got home, we got the kids ready for our neighborhood egg hunt. M was really into it and scored a good number of eggs! T on the other hand was pretty overwhelmed by the whole event as you can see on his face next to the bunny.

We capped off Sunday night with a spaghetti dinner, some March Madness watching (all 3 of my brackets are looking terrible right now...), and some House of Cards after the kids were asleep. We're about halfway through the newest season, and I have to admit, it has been full of surprises and better than the previews had me expecting. Anybody else watching?

Friday, March 11, 2016

Five on Friday

Well...this might be the most random group of five favorites I've ever listed on my blog, but all five are definitely worth sharing...join in the blog link up by visiting April's blog!

1. I couldn't tell you the last time I was at the mall, but a few weeks ago T and I were there to get something monogrammed by the embroidery kiosk at out mall. I visited Gap and bought this top on sale, and I think I've worn it two times a week since then. The fit is loose but still flattering and it pairs well with jeans or it'll look great with khaki or white shorts later in the spring. Don't forget to use ebates if you shop online!

2. I've always been a Mindy Kaling fan, and after I read her newest book, Why Not Me, back in January, I decided to try her sitcom, The Mindy Project. It's by no means the best comedy out there, but I love having a short 30 minute show I can put on while I'm folding laundry or diapers (something I feel like I'm doing all the time these days...). Anyone else a fan?

3. Have y'all heard of Kidizen? It's an app where people list their kids used clothes, and the quality and prices are pretty awesome! I've ordered a few things for both of my kids and have been so pleased! It's a free app, so download and browse now!


4. I found this on a recent Trader Joe's trip, and if you like their regular mac & cheese, you have to try this. It's not that spicy. The green chiles just give it a great kick. It is so very good!

5. And finally...just a quick little story about M. We were riding in the car the other day and a song by Carrie Underwood popped up on my itunes. From the backseat, M asks, "Who is this?" So I tell her "This is a girl named Carrie Underwood"...I was expecting M to ask me next about Carrie's hair color and style (because this is her favorite topic of the moment....preschoolers are funny), but no, instead she says, "Hmmm...kinda like Underwear! Carrie Underwear!" And this my friends, is why I have a love/hate relationship with three years old!