When I first started meal planning for my family, I just did a few meals at a time. I think I started several years ago and stopped, then started again, stopped again... you get the idea.
What I learned is that having a meal plan is better than not and while learning to do it can be somewhat challenging, frustrating and time consuming -- AT FIRST -- it is well worth the effort. Not doing it creates more stress on me and on my finances. I spend more and end up with more food wasted when I don't meal plan.
So, over the years I've learned what works for me and what types of meals my family likes and enjoys. It helped me develop my format for meal planning and it has made it so much easier, faster and more budget-friendly too.
So, what is my "magical formula"? Well, I'm going to tell you!
Monday - Pasta Night
Tuesday - Tacos/Mexican
Wednesday - Sandwich Night
Thursday - Meal In A Bowl
Friday -Sheet Pan Supper
Saturday - Leftovers
Sunday - Family Meal
So, what does a weekly meal plan look like for my family? I'm going to share that too!
Monday - Beef Ramen & Broccoli
Tuesday - Beef Taco Skillet
Wednesday - Sloppy Joe's and Chips
Thursday - Egg Roll Bowl
Friday - Cheesesteak Potato Sheet Pan Meal
Saturday - Leftovers
Sunday - Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans
Every meal has veggies on the side or added to the meal itself in some way.
Here is another week's as an example:
Monday - Spaghetti, Garlic Bread, Applesauce and Salad
Tuesday - Spanish Rice & Beans
Wednesday - Grilled Cheese
Thursday - Chicken & Rice Bowls (uses the leftover rice from Tuesday)
Friday - Sheet Pan Pesto Chicken, Potatoes and Green Beans
Saturday - Leftovers
Sunday - Pancakes, Bacon & O.J.
This has simplified my meal planning immensely. I can easily do a month at a time and plan to use our leftovers up as well. Our nightly meals are something we all look forward to and enjoy.
I save them all and can go back to the beginning of the year and use it to help me plan for the current month.
A lot of my meals use a lot of the same ingredients, just in different ways, so that also helps me buy ahead and keep my pantry stocked -- I know I almost always have what I need to make a meal my family likes!
I hope this helps you too!
I have not posted here in quite a while. Life has been a struggle recently and I just felt like I had nothing good, helpful, wise or important to say -- who else can relate?
Anyway, I'm attempting to get back into the habit of regularly writing, blogging and sharing things I find helpful, insightful, useful, tasty, meaningful or exciting! Wish me luck! LOL
As a person, and as a family, we have had to make so many adjustments over the past couple of years and some of them have been hard. I've struggled as a person, as a mom, as a woman and I've seen my kids struggle and feel helpless when it comes to "fixing" it for them, or even just helping them feel better. I hate that as a parent -- that helpless, defeated feeling, ya know?
All I know to do is listen, take it one day at a time, encourage them to talk when they feel comfortable and teach them how to bounce back -- which is something I've done more than a few times in my life.
It's ok to fall, we just have to eventually get back up and keep going. It's all about mindset. And self- care too. It's hard to teach something you weren't taught yourself but I'm learning alongside them and that's ok too.
And that's what I'm doing -- getting back up and moving forward. Practicing better and more consistent self- care, controlling what I can and letting go of what I can't, loving myself and my kids and pursuing what I'm passionate about.
I hope you are doing well, or are on your way to doing well, and if you're not yet --that's ok. I was there too and I'm finding my way out of it now. You can too. You're not alone in spirit.
Hang in there, one day at a time -- sometimes it's one minute or one hour at a time, friend and that's ok too.
Simple Syrups + Infused Sugar & Ice Cubes
You can really elevate your coffee game and achieve that coffee shop “fancy” taste with these next tricks. Creating a simple syrup is an easy way to add a sweet flare to your brew.
Oil-Infused Simple Syrup
Add sugar and water to small saucepan and warm over medium heat. Continue to stir until sugar dissolves. Allow to cool. Add in essential oil one drop at a time until desired taste is reached. Store in a sealed glass container and refrigerate until ready to use. Add 1-2 TBSP to brewed coffee and enjoy!
Add sugar to airtight container and add in essential oil. Stir and allow to sit overnight. Add to coffee or tea as desired.
Cold Brew Oil-Infused Ice Cubes
Add essential oil to cold brew coffee and stir well. Pour into ice cube tray and allow to freeze completely. Add ice to cold brew or milk as desired. Enjoy!
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Are you craving your favorite drink yet? Now tell me - do you like your coffee cold or hot?
There’s just something about a cozy mug of creamy coffee that warms my soul. I know some people enjoy their coffee black, but I love my cream, especially when it’s infused with my favorite oils. This would also work for iced coffee or iced lattes too!
For this recipe I will give you the base and then YOU get to decide what oils to add!
Combine ingredients and store in glass container. Invert before adding to beverage. Suggested Vitality oils to use: Peppermint, Cinnamon Bark, Cardamom, Nutmeg, Clove, Ginger, Thieves.
Fun Fact: This creamer recipe fits in an empty bottle of NingXia Red (about 25 ounces)! So don’t toss those bottles. Recycle them by making your own custom coffee creamers.
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Which Vitality oils would you choose for your creamer?
So there are a few ways you can incorporate Vitality oils into your coffee routine. You can add a drop or toothpick swirl straight to the mug. You can add a drop or two to the coffee grounds before brewing. You can make up a simple syrup or infuse sugar with them. You can even get creative and use them in creamers. So many fun ways to add them! First, let me give you a few “fancy” drink recipes, then we will talk cream and sugar.
While the espresso is brewing, add the essential oil to cold milk. Warm the milk to approximately 150°F using a steam wand; allow the milk to froth slightly. Pour the steamed milk into the espresso. Sprinkle with dried lavender flowers if desired. Enjoy!
Using a small saucepan, heat the milk over medium high heat. Continue to whisk the milk until it starts to bubble, careful not to let it burn. Add the brewed coffee. In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and sugar until no lumps are found. Add the mixture to the saucepan. Whisk the two together until a creamy texture is achieved. Pour into two coffee mugs and add 1-2 drops of Peppermint Vitality to taste. Add whipped cream and a chocolate syrup drizzle if desired. Enjoy!
Rosemary Lavender Latte
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Mmmm, don’t these sound so good! Which one do you want to try first?
Young Living Tea Options
Did you know Young Living has four ready-made tea bags that are already infused with essential oils? Yes! They’re super tasty, too! Let’s take a look…
Have you tried any of these yet? If so, which one is your favorite? If not, which one do you want to try first?
Now for the moment you all have been waiting for - recipes! We will start off with some tea recipes using some of the Vitality oils we just discussed. I’ll be sending some coffee recipes your way soon so stay tuned!
Coconut Thieves Tea
While water is heating, mix coconut cream and essential oil in a mug. Stir in honey or sweetener. Carefully add hot water and drop in tea bag. Allow tea to steep for 3-5 minutes. Stir again and enjoy!
Once heated, add water to mug and drop in tea bag. While tea is steeping, froth milk. Remove the tea bag; add in essential oils and honey. Stir well. Add frothed milk to top and enjoy!
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Do you prefer hot tea or iced tea? Or neither?
Thieves Vitality, Nutmeg Vitality, Cardamom Vitality
Now for the last few oils we will talk about today - Thieves, Nutmeg, and Cardamom. Is anyone chompin’ at the bit - ready to try these oils in some recipes? That’s coming up next!
If you joined Young Living with a Premium Starter Bundle then you’re familiar with this first oil blend - Thieves Vitality. It is an absolute powerhouse! There’s an entire line of products based on this blend of Lemon, Clove, Eucalyptus Radiata, Cinnamon Bark, and Rosemary essential oils. It’s got a sweet and spicy flavor profile and makes a great addition to tea OR coffee. Thanks to the antioxidant properties within, you’re going to get immune system support, digestive support, and general wellness support with this blend.
Now for a personal favorite - Nutmeg Vitality. It has a slightly spicy, pungent flavor and brings such warmth to the dishes or beverages it’s added to. It has many health benefits, including cognitive function support, immune support, adrenal support and powerful antioxidants.
Cardamom Vitality is steam distilled from cardamom seeds and is one of the world’s favorite cooking spices. Although it’s mainly used in a variety of baked goods and savory dishes, it also makes a great addition to a warm drink! This oil supports wellness and a healthy lifestyle, is a powerful antioxidant, and supports a healthy digestive system. It’s certainly a must-have for every kitchen.
There are tons of other Vitality oils available from Young Living. Take a minute after class to check them all out here: https://www.youngliving.com/en_US/products/c/essential-oil-products/dietary-essential-oils.
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What benefits from these oils are you most excited about? There are so many!
Cinnamon Bark Vitality & Ginger Vitality
Now it’s time to talk about some of those spicier options like Cinnamon Bark and Ginger! Remember - essential oils are highly concentrated so start small with a toothpick swirl and go up from there. You can adjust these to your liking!
Cinnamon Bark Vitality has a warm, spicy flavor that can enhance a variety of treats and drinks. You can substitute Cinnamon Bark Vitality in any recipe that calls for ground cinnamon so try a toothpick swirl in your freshly poured coffee OR try a drop or two in the grounds before you brew it! Trust me - you’ll smell that delicious nostalgic scent in an instant. This oil contains the naturally occurring constituent cinnamaldehyde, has antioxidant properties, and can help support a healthy digestive and immune system. It’s also one of the main oils found in the Thieves blend and the Inner Defense supplement so you know it’s powerful.
Ginger Vitality is distilled from the root of the ginger plant and is a great, versatile oil to keep handy in the kitchen. This oil pairs well with Fennel Vitality so try a toothpick swirl of each mixed into some honey and add it to your favorite hot tea - like Peppermint or Chamomile. The benefits of this oil come from its naturally occurring constituents zingiberene and beta-phellandrene. It’s also one of the key ingredients in several of Young Living’s digestion-supporting products: DiGize, Digest & Cleanse, EndoGize, ICP, and Essentialzymes-4. Think gut health! BONUS TIP: I love using this in stir fry's, lo mein and other Asian inspired dishes -- so good!
We are almost to the recipes portion of this class. Drop me a comment if you're still with me!
Lemon Vitality & Lime Vitality
So earlier we talked about Orange essential oil… now let’s talk about some more of the citrus oils Young Living has to offer for consumption - Lemon Vitality and Lime Vitality. Citrus oils are some of the most budget-friendly Young Living has so stock up or give them as gifts. They’re extremely versatile and can be used for a variety of things. It’s also important to note: citrus oils are cold-pressed from the rind so they don’t contain the same acidity level that the inside of the fruit has. In other words, you don’t have to worry about them messing with the enamel on your teeth!
First up - Lemon Vitality. If you joined Young Living with one of the Premium Starter bundles then you already have this gem. It’s got such a bright and dynamic flavor profile and can be added to both savory and sweet dishes. And of course you can add it to your tea or favorite beverage - hot or cold! This oil has antioxidant properties, supports the immune system, provides circulatory support, and contains cleansing properties.
Now let’s chat about Lime Vitality. Just like lime zest would bring some flare to your dish, Lime Vitality adds a punch of citrus and elevates the flavor with a zing! This oil supports the skin as well as the lymphatic system, respiratory system, and immune system. Add a drop to some honey and stir into some hot or cold tea and drink up! It’s delish!
You’ll also want to go check out Citrus Fresh Vitality, Jade Lemon Vitality, Grapefruit Vitality, and Tangerine Vitality. Citrus Fresh is a blend of Orange, Grapefruit, Mandarin, Tangerine, Lemon, and Spearmint essential oils and tastes amazing! Jade Lemon has a bit of a lemon-lime flavor and is a member fav. Grapefruit has a slightly tart flavor but is packed with benefits! Tangerine is one of the sweetest oils available so it’s a surefire way to bring a little liquid sunshine into your life.
Which one of these are you ready to add to some tea?