Wednesday, March 02, 2011

A couple quick tips

Being a mom is busy, fun, stressful, hectic, exciting, adventurous, (insert adjective here)! I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. When I get home after a long day at work here are a couple of things that I do to keep my life more peaceful.

1. I precook as much as I can. I will buy a 5 or 10 lb chub (I hate that word) of hamburger and put it in the crockpot. Cook it on low on a saturday. Every once in a while take a masher or a big spoon and mash up the meat so that it doesn't cook into a loaf. Also drain the fat every so often. When you are done rinse the meat (yes, under water) and season it however you would like. I usually do salt, pepper, and garlic or I will add some water and put in taco seasoning. Then let the meat cool. Once it is cool scoop it into freezer bags, label them and toss it into the freezer. Now you have meat for spaghetti, tacos, lasagna, soup, shepherd's pie, anything you can imagine that comes with ground beef. Just take the meat out the night before to let it thaw or if you forget go for the microwave.

2. Did you know you can bake BACON? They do this in restaurants all the time. I am making breakfast for dinner tomorrow so my bacon is all cooked and wrapped in the fridge. It is so crisp and so much less time consuming! Place the bacon in strips on a cookie sheet. preheat the oven to 400 and bake for 12-15 min. no need for flipping it over! I drain the grease a couple of times during this process.

3. Don't forget your whole grains! My family has officially made the change to long grain, brown rice. Unfortunately this takes so long to cook! Since I always know in advance what we are eating the next day I like to cook my rice the night before so when I get home, there it is! Or, go a step further and cook a couple of meals worth during the weekend, let it cook, bag it up and put it in the freezer so that you always have prepared rice ready for your meal! (I just did this tonight) I take a bag out of the freezer and then scoop 1/2 cup portions onto my lunch and dinner salads so that I don't miss out on my grains!

4. Make soup once a week. This is almost always a hit in the crockpot, it's extremely frugal plus I never fail to make enough for 2 meals so I freeze half right away and add that soup to my meal plan for the next month.

5. Prepare your lunch the night before. I always prepare my lunch. I have to bring my own lunch to save money and calories. I am much more likely to make a nutritious lunch if I make it at 6 pm rather than 5 am. While I am getting dinner on the table I put together my lunch. Usually I am having salad for dinner or chicken with veggies (while I am trying to lose weight I don't always eat the same dinner as the family). Whatever I am making myself for dinner I take the time to put the same thing or a version of it into my lunch container for the next day.

6. Have your family help you with the chores all week long so you are not overwhelmed on the weekend. I usually do a couple of loads of laundry throughout the week and Jim will either help me fold them or help me put them away. The kids help clean up their rooms every night before bed so it is (almost) never a huge mess.

7. Start making a monthly menu plan!!! I cannot stress enough how important this is!!!! I do not have to frantically think about what I will make for dinner, ever! I have nights planned for frozen pizza, but at least I know that is what we are doing!

8. RELAX!!! Don't put so much pressure on yourself! If the floor isn't mopped every night, heck, even swept no one is going to tattle on you! If the laundry stays on the couch a couple of days...guess what? It's OK. Everything will get done, you are doing a great job!!! :)

What do you do to make your life less hectic???