The Daily Dish~ Meal Prepping 101!

April 17th, 2013 - Daily Dish, How-To, Inspiration

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Does the thought of preparing food for your family during the week overwhelm you, or seem like it is just one more thing that you ‘have to do‘, but barely have time for?!?

I remember feeling this way when I was in nursing school, (and that was when I was only cooking for myself!) It wasn’t long after I got married that I realized that cooking every meal on the spot was not easy, especially if I was going to stay on track with healthy eating.  (Let’s face it… sometimes when you  are overly hungry or busy it’s easy to grab anything in sight, regardless of how healthy it is!) If that sounds familiar in any way, don’t worry… there is a solution!

I have found that the best possible way to live a healthy lifestyle and have healthy and delicious meals all week long is by meal prepping once for the whole week.

There are so many benefits to having one (or two) meal prep days during the week, but some of the best things about it is that it saves me time, money, and stress, all the while allowing me to stay on track with eating healthy.

Sound intriguing?!? Well… Let me show you how it’s done in just a few simple steps!

STEP 1: PLAN & SHOP 

I begin meal planning by making a list of recipes on my “Favorites Board”. (This can be found under the membership section of Dashing Dish.) I create a ‘favorites’ list each week based on what I want to have for breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners.  

From there I write down the ingredient list for each recipe. (I generally divide the ingredient list by 2 if I plan to prepare it for my husband and I and it is a recipe that calls for four servings or more). After writing out my grocery list I double check that I don’t already have something in my fridge or pantry. Then… I’m off to the grocery store!

If this step alone overwhelms you, this is where my meal plans come in! I have done all the work for you! They are broken down into the recipes, shopping lists, and even meal prep ideas for each week, based on the servings you need!

STEP 2: PREPARE THE FOOD

When I get home from the grocery store I generally don’t put any of the groceries away, (unless of course they are frozen and will melt quickly)…I simply take everything out of the grocery bag and set it out on the counter, putting things in organized piles according to each recipe. I then pull up my favorites list and get to cooking! I generally start with the breakfasts and move on from there.

Throughout the week I typically have a protein shake for breakfast, but I find that many of my breakfast recipes are great for mid-morning snacks, and/or if I am in need of a breakfast on-the-go. If I don’t end up eating them I simply freeze them for a time that I am in need of a quick and healthy snack!

This week I made my PB & J Protein Pancakes.

Some hard boiled eggs, (my husband loves these as a breakfast side and snack!)

Strawberry Baked Protein Oatmeal, (recipe to come!)

And for a snack I made my Protein Blueberry Muffins (recipe to come!)

For lunches and dinners I generally prepare big batches of veggies and lean meats to use in my recipes.

I like to cook my veggies in big batches either in a sauté pan or on a big roasting pan. That way they are ready as sides, snacks, or to add to a recipe.  I use this method of cooking in my Zucchini Chip recipe and Parmesan Green Bean recipe, but you can do this with any veggie.

One of my favorite ways to prepare chicken is in the crockpot! I make big batches and use the shredded chicken in my recipes for the week! If I am making Crockpot Shredded Chicken to prepare my recipes, I generally pop some frozen chicken in the crockpot and set it to high heat the morning of my meal prepping day. (That way it is all ready when I am ready to start meal prepping!)

If the recipes call for sautéed chicken or lean ground meat, I will cook it in big batches in my biggest pan! That way I am only prepping chicken and/or lean ground meat once for all the recipes!

STEP 3: PUT EVERYTHING TOGETHER TO MAKE THE RECIPES

For lunches I typically make something really simple such as a couple big salads and wrap sandwiches and put them in Tupperware containers or wrap them in foil individually. (Leftovers from dinner are also a great option!)

For dinners I typically make a few different main dishes and a couple of side dishes. 

This week I made my Three Cheese Stuffed Peppers

My Baked Mac & Cheese

and my BBQ Chicken Sweet Potatoes!

STEP 4: PUT IT ALL AWAY! 

After all the food is prepped and the recipes are made, I put everything in Tupperware containers and place it in the fridge! That way I have something to throw in a cooler if I am heading out for the day or to pop in the microwave and/or oven to heat up and have a delicious dinner on the table in minutes!

This whole process from start to finish takes anywhere from 2-3 hours. I typically pick a block of time on the weekend to get it done. I hope this post helps show you how easy it can be to prepare meals for the week in just one day. If you are still scratching your head, don’t let it discourage you!!! It can take time to learn and get in the swing of things. And if that’s you, a great place to start may be my meal plans…But before you know it, it will become a part of your routine and you may even find yourself loving it!!!

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The Daily Dish ~ Royal Caribbean Cruise!

March 13th, 2013 - Daily Dish

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So this may come as a surprise to most of you, but I just returned from a 5 day cruise this past week! I don’t like to announce when I am leaving for a trip or out of town for obvious reasons, but I had an awesome time and thought I would share some photos and highlights from my trip now that i’m back home!

This cruise was actually a Christmas present from my amazing in-laws to my husband and I, (well, actually to the whole family…My husband and I, his 2 brothers, and my mother in law. My father in law couldn’t come unfortunately  due to work, so my husbands aunt came along instead!) I feel so blessed to have married into such a loving family! They are truly a blessing in my life!

My husband is the middle of three boys, just as I am the middle of three girls! :) They are all really close just as I am with my sisters, which makes it a ton of fun to hang out with them!

We ported the Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas Ship out of Florida…Just when Michigan was having a huge snow storm!

The ship was simply beautiful inside!

We spent the first day exploring the ship and all the different shops, researching the entertainment and dining options, and of course checking out the pool deck! My first stop was the cupcake decorating shop!!! How fun is that!?

The ship had a beautiful fitness area! I didn’t spend much time there, as our excursions were very early (and pretty active), and it was pretty rocky when we were out to sea, making it hard to run on a treadmill, do weights, or much of anything without getting sea sick. Not all cruise ships I’ve been on were this way, but the seas were particularly rough this trip.

The main deck was gorgeous! It had lots to do, and had everything from shopping to a theatre and even a Ben & Jerry’s and Starbucks!

We checked out the events for the week, and I almost convinced my husband to participate in the ‘sexiest man competition’ ;) Although, this was as close as he got to participating! :)

My husband was pretty adventurous this trip, and tried yoga with his brothers! I knew I would of been too sea sick to hold a pose for any period of time, but he did great! I was pretty proud of him! :)

I did manage to walk the track a few times on the top deck really early in the morning. It was so peaceful as I listened to worship music and watched the sunrise! There is nothing more powerful that seeing God’s artwork take place in the sky~ So beautiful!

Eating healthy can be challenging on any vacation, (especially on a cruise)…But healthy options are always around if you go looking for them! I allow myself to enjoy treats and meals I wouldn’t normally try back home when I am on vacation, but I always like to start my day with a healthy breakfast, or else I feel funky the rest of the day! For more tips on eating healthy on vacation check out this post! 

We spent the days either laying out by the pool….

Going on an excursion (we went hiking and kayaking!)

Or visiting a beach!

The weather was beautiful!

And lunch was either authentic Mexican type food or a big salad from the salad bar!

For dinner we had a nice three course sit down meal with the family, and I always ordered something different~ which was fun to try new things!

My favorite dessert on the trip was by far the ice cream sundae bar! I am most certainly an ice cream girl! They even had sugar free peanut butter cookies to go on the side! Yum!

The evenings were spent enjoying the ships many entertainment options! We went ice skating…

Watched shows…

And witnessed some of the most beautiful sunsets!

I hope you enjoyed some of the highlights of the cruise! Thank you Farrell Family for the most amazing trip! Cruises are an awesome way to see the world and travel in my opinion, because you really don’t have to think too much about entertainment, food, or much of anything! You truly do get to enjoy time with family and make awesome memories!

It was a great time, but I sure am glad to be back home and chatting with all of you!!! xo

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Daily Dish ~ A Dish On My Daily Life!

February 8th, 2013 - Daily Dish

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Good Morning Everyone!!! I actually receive a lot of emails about what my daily life is like after taking on Dashing Dish full time, so I thought what better way than to do a Daily Dish on my daily life!

Now, keep in mind, every day is a little bit different…For example, some days I go grocery shopping for DD, some days I spend almost entirely on meal plans, or recipe trials…Or even different ‘projects’ I’m working on for the future of DD! However, in this is what a typical day is like for me!

I always start my day in the Word…There is nothing better to me! It renews my mind, encourages me, and shows me the way to go! I’m telling you, the Word is alive and active…God is SO faithful to point me to scripture that is applicable to what I need for each day! I guess that’s why it is called our “Daily Bread”~ It truly does nourish and satisfy like nothing else! I also love to journal what the Lord spoke to me that day, it’s great when you look back and see His promises fulfilled!

I also love my “Power of a Praying Wife” book! I got it shortly after getting married, and it has some seriously powerful prayers that have honestly been such a blessing to my marriage! The prayers are based on the Word of God, so they are POWERFUL!

I also work out most days of the week …Either doing an exercise video, doing my own workout at the gym, or going to a group class! (I always make sure to take at least one to two days of rest…which is just as important!) I also love to take walks, but Michigan isn’t exactly the ideal ‘outdoor’ workout weather these days! :)

After working out, I get ready and have breakfast, (while watching Andrew Wommack or Joyce Meyer on TV…Again such an encouraging way to start the day!) For breakfast I have to say, there is nothing better than a Dashing Dish Protein Shake in my opinion! I don’t know if I’ll ever get tired of them! :)

(Please note…I DID NOT post ALL of the food I ate in one day…Please do not use this as a guide of how much/little to eat in one day! I just wanted to share a few pics of some of my favorite meals!)

I then get to work on my post for the day! If I know I’m having a super busy day, I try to do this the night before, as it takes about 30-60 minutes to edit everything, figure out the nutritional values, and plug everything in.

Then, once the post for the day is up, I get to work in the kitchen! I either start a recipe from scratch, and type it out as I go, or re-do a recipe that I may have made the day before that isn’t quite perfected yet. I try to do two recipes at a time, but there have been times where I have done 4-5 in one day…and phew..those are busy days to say the least! :)

Because I post around 10-12 membership recipes a month, and 4-8 free a month, I try to develop at least 5-6 recipes a week, or more if I am developing recipes for a company.

And of course I always have my little ‘helpers’ in the kitchen! :)

After getting everything in the oven, I generally take a moment to eat lunch! Lunch is generally something quick and easy, such as soup, a wrap sandwich, or salad with a side such as fruit, veggies, or almonds…Or leftovers!

After lunch, I typically start to set up the recipes I’ve created for that day to be photographed! This is the fun part for me, but also a lot of work, as I generally go through lots of different ‘set ups’ trying to get it just right! (Can you tell this was a Christmas set-up!?) :)

After getting the set-up the way I want it, I generally have my husband come take the pictures, or if he’s really busy, I will take them myself and get his final approval! ;) I have learned a lot when it comes to taking the pictures, but I have to say, he is much quicker at getting the picture ‘just right’ than I am! :) I think it’s the designer in him!

And then to tackle the huge mess I always make! :)

And let’s not even talk about the dishes I go through! :) Let’s just say I generally do 2 full loads a day. I try to listen to worship while doing them to keep my joy flowing through them! ;)

After cleaning I generally sit and have a much needed snack!

I then sit down at my desk next to this amazing man! (He is a freelance graphic designer, so he keeps very busy at his computer all day every day!)

Our desks are side by side…Which helps, as we can discuss future Dashing Dish workings if we have time that day!

The first thing I do when I sit at my desk is answer e-mails for the day, which is honestly one of my greatest joys! I consider it the greatest part of my ministry, and it is such a blessing to be in contact with so many amazing women each day! I generally spend about 1-2 hours a day on emails, then I start to work on health coaching materials, writing them up for each individual. Once that is completed, I start to revise, edit and clean up the recipes I jot down while doing recipe prep.

Some days I also do different things such as conference calls, speaking engagements, or teach classes! I love this part of my ‘job’ as I get to meet so many amazing people, (and hopefully teach them how fun & easy healthy living can be!)

And then before I know it…It’s dinner time! Isn’t it funny how quickly some days go by!?! I generally make one of the dinners off of my site or eat one of the recipes I made that day! {Oh, and in case your wondering what I do with all of those recipes I create…I end up giving a lot of food away to my family and friends! It is a bit much for just my husband and I sometimes!} :)

Because my husband and I work from home, many people may imagine that we spend ‘so’ much time together, but we quickly learned that just because we are home together, it doesn’t mean in any way that we actually spend time with each other…So, we have learned that we need to set a ‘cut off’ time where we make time for each other. We aren’t perfect at this, and at times we have more work than others, but I truly do feel that it is important to keep everything in balance, so we always try to make time to do something together. Sometimes this is attending a small group, doing a devotional together (love and respect has the most amazing couples devotional), or just watch a movie!

Like I said, each day is different, for example I always have daily household chores to keep up with, and some days I work with like minded-ministries, and every Tuesday night I have a girls bible study which is AMAZING…But this is what a typical day/night would look like! Reguardless of the day though, I feel BLESSED and excited to be a part of what God is doing through DD! I look forward to each and every day, and am beyond thankful for the ways that God is using DD to impact women’s lives and set them free!

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Daily Dish~ Happy Holidays!

January 7th, 2013 - Daily Dish

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I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season! I personally made it a point to spend much needed time with family! I thought I’d share some of my favorite moments with all of you!

We kicked off the Christmas season doing one of my favorite things…Making Christmas cookies! We gathered in my mom’s kitchen and made Dashing Dish Skinny Sugar Cookies!

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The Daily Dish ~ Happy Thanksgiving!

November 29th, 2012 - Daily Dish

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I hope everyone had a blessed Thanksgiving holiday! I personally spent a lot of time with my family which is always my favorite thing in the world! We started off the holiday festivities by decorating for Christmas, which began by decorating my mom and dad’s 14 foot tree! :)

Then my sisters, mom and I  got in the kitchen and started preparing the food while the guys watched the football game!

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The Daily Dish ~ I Love Fall!

October 30th, 2012 - Daily Dish

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Hey everyone! I pray you are all doing well and enjoying the fall season so far!

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE the fall! Michigan is just beautiful this time of year, with the trees all shades of reds, yellows, and orange! It is also a very busy time of year for me, as there are so many family birthdays and celebrations! But, it’s certainly a good kind of busy as these… I’m convinced, are the highlights of life! :)

Here we are celebrating my sister’s new fiance’s birthday, (yes she just got engaged…more on that in a minute!) We went to one of our all time favorite places, Mongolian BBQ~ So fun and yummy!

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The Daily Dish~ Moving Time & A BIG Announcement!

August 9th, 2012 - Announcements, Daily Dish

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Hey everyone! I pray everyone is having a blessed week so far! I am finally feeling ‘settled’ in after our big move, so I thought I’d share some of the photos of our rental home, and tell you the crazy story behind this move!

I also want to share an awesome opportunity that God brought my way… So, here we go!

Here is a picture of our one bedroom apartment that we have lived in for the past three years! It was hard to say goodbye, as it was our very first place as a married couple, but I knew it would be so nice to have more space! (It was getting to the point where I was running out of places to ‘hide’ things. I even had food stored in my laundry room!)

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The Daily Dish~ My 27th Birthday!

June 20th, 2012 - Daily Dish

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Good Morning! As some of you may already know, Sunday was my 27th birthday! It was a beautiful day…and truly a celebration of such a wonderful year…So I thought I’d share pictures from the weekend with all of you!

My husband, sister, and I started off the celebrations on Saturday by going to plum market where we found Zevia and Artic Zero! Zevia is a soda sweetened with stevia, and Arctic Zero is an amazing protein packed ice cream that has only 150 calories per pint! Both can only be found at specialty stores, so these really were special birthday treats!

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The Daily Dish~ My Best Friends Wedding!

May 16th, 2012 - Daily Dish

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A few weekends ago was A BIG EVENT~ It was my best friends wedding!!! Ashley has been my best friends literally since I was born…Our mom’s were best friends, and were pregnant together, and therefore when Ashley and I were born, we did everything together as well!

Ashley moved away when we were about 7 years old to Virginia, but we never let the distance pull us apart, and we have remained the best of friends through the years!

Needless to say, I was THRILLED and blessed when I heard she was getting married, and she asked me to stand up on her special day! To make it even more special, my whole family made the trip out to watch my best friend get married! It was such a wonderful and special time to share with a lifelong friend, and to top it all off, her new husband Justin was so very sweet and wonderful, and it was obvious that God put them together!

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The Daily Dish~ Newport Beach California!

April 17th, 2012 - Daily Dish

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I hope everyone is having an amazing week so far! I just returned from sunny Newport Beach California, which was a sister’s trip to celebrate my sister Sarah’s 30th birthday! It was such a blessed time that we had together, and I can truly say that there is no greater friend than a sister!

We stayed at my sisters condo for the week, which is right in the heart of Newport California, and it just so happens to be a temporary ‘home’ for my sister and her husband as they moved out there short-term to help people get established in their business.

This was a view from her place! AMAZING view!!!!

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