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Week In Review: Aug 5th-11th

Happy Saturday!

Lots has been going on in our world – and on the blog – in the past week or so. I thought I’d take a moment to give you a re-cap (in case you missed anything) and share some other new and exciting things.

External Writing Projects

Guyvorce

Remember when I told you I was a featured author on the website Guyvorce.com? Well, I’m excited to announce that I had another article publish this week. Check it out and lemme know what you think! What Parents Need to Know About Cyber BullyingIf you missed the first article to publish there, here it is again: Mental Health Awareness For Your Kids.

Want in on a little secret? I have a couple more articles in the cue for Guyvorce over the next month or so. Stay tuned!

On This Beautiful Day

It’s also been my great pleasure to be a featured author on a newly launched family-oriented website, On This Beautiful Day.

A little slow getting the announcement out (so, technically, it doesn’t fall in this weeks’ review, but we’re gonna roll with it), but my article was published on August 2nd. It’s on a very touchy and sensitive topic. 13 Thoughts on 13 Reasons Why. Give it a read and share your thoughts — either here or over on OTBD.

Simply Writeous Blog Posts

Things are really ramping up around here with the garden and need to preserve the harvest. I hope you find yourselves in that same situation (if you have a garden, of course).

This past week I shared two articles that will help you get those goodies in order for winter-time enjoyment:
It’s All About The Pickle Brine. A Tried & True Recipe
Canning Green Beans Instructions: Start to Finish

In The Garden & At Home

Last weekend I spent time in Nebraska catching up with family.

That moment when you’ve not golfed in over a year & you step up & blaze a 280+ yard drive right down the middle. #onthecoursewithdad #celebratethelittlethings

The  trip was an excellent break from the typical pandemonium, but also means my garden was neglected. I haven’t the slightest clue how many buckets of beans I will harvest this weekend, or how many tomatoes ripened while I was away. I can tell you that I picked a cabbage the size (and probably weight) of my head–maybe bigger! I can also tell you that I have my work cut out for me this weekend just trying to bring some order back to that whole area of my life. Harvesting, canning, weeding….oh my!

Have I mentioned that it’s rained nearly every day here for the last 3-4 weeks? Well, it has. The plants – and weeds – are loving it! The weather as also been cooler. It feels like Fall.

On The Horizon

The wheels are beginning to turn with ideas for fall/winter gardening projects.

One of these days I will have my act together once again and be back in the kitchen working through meal planning and prep.

I’m still chipping away at rounding up gigs and writing articles in the freelance writing world. If you know of anyone who needs to enlist some help with content for their online presence, send ’em my way (Contact).

 

What do you intend to fall in to this weekend? Anything fabulous from last week to share? I’d love to know what y’all are up to! Post a message in the comments section below!

 

Food Prep

Food prep can mean a lot of different things. Preparing meals for the freezer, assembling complete meals to be warmed during the week, or getting a head start on week night cooking by having ingredients prepped and ready to go.

I’m not always short on time during the week but I’m often lacking in energy and motivation at the end of a work day, and something that I generally enjoy <cooking> can feel more like a chore. I work really hard to stay on a budget, which includes the purchase of groceries as well as money spent on entertainment (i.e. eating out), and I also try to eat relatively well.

There are three reasons the wheels fall off an otherwise perfect meal plan for the week:
1) not having the ingredients on hand, requiring another trip to the store (because that is unlikely to happen, I’d rather order a pizza at that point)
2) forgetting to thaw frozen items from the freezer (again with the pizza order)
3) failing to have prep work done on the front end (you guessed it, pizza!)

So, in an effort to keep us on track with both our budget and healthy eating, I spend time planning meals for the week ahead, doing all my grocery shopping in one swoop, and prepping ingredients on the weekend. In the event that these things aren’t possible over the weekend I try to have a number of options I can pull from the freezer and warm in the oven through the week. Failure to do so often means eating out and I don’t know about you, but it’s nearly impossible for me to make the healthy choice when eating out. Add to that, eating out adds up fast!!

This weekend will be no exception and I’ll be busy washing and chopping fruits and veggies after a trip to the store and pulling items from the freezer.

A bit of what is on deck for the upcoming week are a few recipes I’ve shared with you previously:
Roasted Parmesan Asparagus as a side dish to Grilled Chicken:
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Brussels Sprouts with Bacon as a side dish to Pork Chops:
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My favorite smoothie for a quick grab breakfast:
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And, assembly of several of these salads, using this shredded chicken pulled from the freezer, for lunches through the week:
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What other tips do you use to keep yourself on track with both eating well and staying on budget where food is concerned? I’d love to hear your suggestions below in the comments section!

Wishing you a fun and safe weekend!
H

Skillet Lasagna

Sometimes I’m in the mood for lasagna, but I don’t want to spend the time putting a lasagna together…and waiting for it to bake, and waiting for it to ‘set up’ so that it’s not a runny mess. Sometimes I also need a quick week night go-to for dinner.

If you’ve struggled with these same “sometimes…..” scenarios, this is the dish for you:

Skillet Lasagna – all the same deliciousness as the real deal, but faster.

skillet lasagna

Here’s what you need:
1 lb hamburger
½ lb Italian sausage
2 Tbsp minced onion – or if you have a fresh onion on hand, use that, maybe ¼ – ½ cup
1 jar tomato pasta sauce
1 cup water
5 uncooked lasagna noodles, broken into smaller pieces
1-1 ½ cup cottage cheese – or ricotta if that’s your true preference, either are great
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp dried parsley flakes
1 egg
Shredded Italian cheese mix
(check it out, I gave measurements, but please know that I winged it so these may not be exact)

Here’s what you do:
-in a large skillet brown hamburger and Italian sausage with onion
-drain off excess fat, return to pan, add pasta sauce, water and uncooked noodles
-cover and cook 20-25’ish minutes – stir occasionally – until pasta is almost tender
-while your pasta is workin’, combine cottage cheese, parmesan cheese, parsley flakes, and egg in a small bowl
-once the pasta is at that ‘almost tender’ state, spread the cheese mixture over the top, sprinkle on the Italian cheese blend (I used a whole bag, so 2 cups)
-cover and cook another 10’ish minutes. The cheese mixture will be melty and wonderful, the pasta will be cooked through, and this baby is ready to eat immediately

I have to say this is one of my favorite quick weeknight dinners, and this time around it was extra special and out of this world yummy because I used my last jar of homemade (from fresh veggies I grew in my garden) pasta sauce. You can see how that experiment successfully came together in this post. There’s definitely more of that in my future!

Hope your week has been super –

H