Unclutter Your Life

How to Simplify Your Morning

The school year is underway and for some the transition has been smooth sailing while for others, they are still trying to figure out the hectic morning routine.  I can barely remember those hectic mornings or getting Belinda out the door and me to work but I’m sure they were anything but smooth.

I know hitting the snooze button was always an option but when I rolled back over to eke out five more minutes of sleep I knew it was going o be a crazy morning.   The rest of the morning would fly by in a blur as I quickly got dressed, fed Belinda (who was not a morning person) and got out the door before being late to work.  Thankfully, I never had to punch a time clock or I would have definitely been in trouble!

Did you know by making a few simple tweaks to your morning routine, you can start every day off on the right foot. Give ’em a try if you’re ready to reclaim your morning sanity and actually feel joyful about the day to come.

1. Map out your morning menu

Skipping breakfast was always an option in our house since neither one of us were big breakfast eaters…. BUT they say it is the most important meal of the day and it is brain food, right?  Most kids and their tiny tummies wake up hungry, and they naturally all want something different to eat. By making note of what you (and your family members) will be eating each morning, it eliminates the chaos which comes with trying to throw something together at the last minute.

2. Steer clear of your cellphone

Electronics PERIOD!  That means your laptop, tablet or any other tools and toys. It’s no secret social media is a giant time-sucker, but tethering yourself to any technology in the morning eats away at minutes you could be spending in more productive ways. Remove it from the equation and you may be surprised at how much time you free up — enough, let’s say, to wash and style your hair before heading to work.

3. Make a checklist

It’s one thing to make mental notes of what you need to accomplish. It’s another thing altogether to have a physical list staring you in the face, practically begging for you to check off its items. The sheer satisfaction you’ll get from making it down the entire column of tasks should be incentive enough to keep your morning cruising down the right track.

4.Prepack your lunch

Meal planning makes life easier.  I just can’t seem to get the hang of planning for dinner.  I don’t know if it is an MS thing or if I just never had the skill.  We always did meals on what we “felt like” eating at the moment.  Lunch was always easy to pre-pack especially when I started on Weight Watchers.  When you wait until the eleventh hour to pack your lunch, you’re leaving a lot to chance — you won’t feel too rushed to grab something, you won’t forget, you’ll pack something relatively healthy… you get the gist. When you front-load your time and forethought into packing your lunch the night before, you can breeze through the morning with the peace of mind something yummy is waiting for you in the fridge.

5. Plan your daily pick-me-ups

If you’re anything like me, you need a little sumthin’ to look forward to in order to get through the day especially if I am spending lots of time in the car.  It doesn’t have to be a huge deal, just something simple to keep me motivated enough to keep pushing — and it’s gotta be a treat that doesn’t take a lot of morning prep time.  Plan it or always having a snack in your purse, it will definitely help.

6. Utilize double-duty products

This doesn’t mean to go out and stock up on mega-bottles of shampoo-plus-conditioner hybrids (I’m not a fan of these). It is more about two-for-one beauty products. Think a tinted moisturizer which also has your a.m. dose of SPF or a “stain” you can use on your lips and cheeks. It may not seem like much, but these double-duty beauty products can shave valuable minutes off your morning routine.  I’m more of the moisturizer, bronzer and some mascara kind of gal…. quick and easy.

7. Consider a capsule wardrobe

You’ve probably heard a hundred times how laying out your wardrobe the night before makes mornings much, much easier. There’s a reason for the repetition — it’s true, and it’s true largely because we all have more clothes than we really know what to do with. Simplifying your closet to create a capsule wardrobe, though, means you’ll spend less time fussing over what to wear. What is a capsule wardrobe you ask? It’s when you cut your options way, way down to some basics that are easy to mix and match. You may think having more clothes to choose from is the way to go, but it actually makes things more complicated — and any time we can make things less complicated, it’s a joyous occasion. For real — you’ll be surprised how much happier you will be through the rest of the day when you don’t start your morning with a closet war.  I’m working on this but I can’t seem to get it down…. just when I do, I find something I really like and I’m off buying some extras.

What is your morning routine like?  Do you have some tips you can add to this list?  Share with us your best tip….

Have a blessed day!

Unclutter Your Life

Take The Stress Out Of Dinner

Another key is having a back-up go-to family fave that you always have the ingredients for. In our house, it is tuna noodle casserole. I always have all of the ingredients on hand. Pretty healthy since I use almond milk and low fat cheese, super quick, go to meal and hubby loves it frozen for more dinners.  Every household needs one – what would it be in your household?

Be sure to plan the side dishes as well. Vegetables should take up half the space on your plate. Choose fresh salads, steamed, stir-fried or roasted veggies. Stock up with frozen veggies for days you are short on the fresh stuff — they are still packed with nutrients. Our favorite alternative to the rice is quinoa.

Make A Solid List

Are you thinking, “I don’t have time to meal plan”.  Believe me, I totally get it. Life is crazy busy. The truth is isn’t  5-10 minutes a week worth it when you are less stressed.  Yes, you will be less stressed!  Work on your list when watching TV, or messing around with your phone. Once the list is done, do your list and plan when you are going to the grocery store.

Keep the recipes in front of you when you are making your shopping list. Check the fridge, freezer or pantry to really make sure you have every item, and enough of every item you’ll need for the week. I have a wipe board on the fridge so that either hubby or I can add things as we run out or open the last one on the shelf.  For the tech savvy, try keeping a running grocery list on your phone or use the ShopShop app.

When it comes to grocery shopping try to limit your trip to one or two stores. I know all the bargain hunters and couponers out there are tossing daggars at me, but for me, it doesn’t make sense to spend time and gas running from store to store for some savings.  Don’t get me wrong, I do compare prices between my usual 2 or 3 places. Remember that your time has value too. You will be surprised how much money you save just by having a solid grocery list (and sticking to it).

Alright, so meal planning may not change your life but it will help you feel more in control of your hectic weeks. An added perk is to actually have an answer when the kids ask you “what’s for dinner!?”

Happy organizing and meal planning!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Tasty Tuesday Recipes

Stuffed Bell Peppers with Quinoa


Can you tell that I LOVE Quinoa???  It is so much healthier than rice.  I was surprised that even my hubby loves it and prefers it over rice.

My grandmother made the BEST stuffed bell peppers.  We all have her recipe but they just never test the same.  So we have been trying out different versions and this one was a hit.

Seriously! Such an easy weeknight dinner the whole family will enjoy!

Ingredients:

4 bell peppers halfed length wise, ribs removed
1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 pound grown turkey or ground beef (I use Morningstar Crumbles)
1 small onion
1 14 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
1 7oz can diced green chili
1 14 oz can black beans drained and rinsed
1 TB taco seasoning
1/2 TB cumin
1/2 TB olive oil
1/2 cup mozzarella shredded cheese
3/4 cup water

Directions:

1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan. Add onion and cook until translucent ( about 3 minutes). Add in meat and cook until browned. Drain any excess grease.
2. Add in black beans, tomatoes, green chilies, water, quinoa, cumin, taco seasoning, salt and pepper if desired. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium/low and simmer for 15 minutes or until quinoa is done.
3. Heat oven to 375. Place peppers in 13 x 9 baking dish. Spoon in filling and top with grated cheese. Cover pan with foil and bake for 40 minutes.
4. Remove from oven and serve with sour cream or salsa (optional).

Enjoy!  Let me know what you think, if you try them.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Courtsey of : I Heart Nap Time

Tasty Tuesday Recipes

Tasty Tuesday – Quinoa Fried Rice

quinoa-veggie-fried-rice-4|

This recipe is courtesy of Damn Delicious.  I love that it is cost-effective and HEALTHY (well, basically).  There is no MSG, has a bunch of protein, vegetables and amazing flavor.   This makes a ton of food, so this is an awesome recipe to make on Sunday for meal prep for the week – great for lunches, a side for dinner or even a nighttime snack.

quinoa-fried-rice-3Ingredients:

3 cups of cooked quinoa

3 eggs cooked

1/2 cup frozen peas

1/2 cup frozen corn

1 white onion, chopped

1 zucchini, chopped

2 green onions, sliced

8 ounces mushrooms, sliced

2 carrots, peeled and grated (or chopped)

1 head of broccoli, chopped into florets

4 tablespoons of soy sauce (There are sodium & gluten free options)

2 tablespoons of olive oil, divided

Sriracha

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over low-medium heat.
  2. Add eggs and fry 2-3 minutes per side until cooked through. Let cool, then dice into small pieces.
  3. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Add garlic and onion and cook until onions have become transparent (4-5 min).
  5. Add mushrooms, broccoli and zucchini. Cook until vegetables are tender, stirring constantly.
  6. Add corn, peas, carrots and quinoa. Cook and stir consistently until heated through (about 2 minutes).
  7. Add soy sauce and stir to combine. Continue cooking and stirring constantly until heated throughout (about 2 minutes).
  8. Stir in green onions and diced eggs.

Serve immediately and drizzle with Sriracha for a spicy kick!  Let me know what you think.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!