It’s time for part two: easy peasy (and mostly healthy) quick lunches. Prepping lunches for ourselves and your kids is tough, but if you have have a plan and stick to it, it’s totally doable. Within these four lunch suggestions, I’ll talk you through the prepping plan as well as the preparing/packing plan and we will all hope to make our emergency lunch pit-stops at McDonalds just a little less frequent.
Roasted Veggies and Grilled Chicken Breast
This is the most frequent lunch option at our house. This lunch is filling but wholesome and Whole 30/Paleo compliant. The key here, is all about prep. On Sunday Night Ben and I make a few big mason jars full of balsamic vinaigrette, avocado lime dressing, and chicken marinade (more on those later). Then we use them to marinade some chicken breast and to toss with some raw veggies for roasting. We roast veggies on high heat (over 400 degrees) and spaced out from one another on a cookie sheet to get crispy brown veggies that are actually delicious. Our top suggestions are broccoli, brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, onions, and carrots. Then we grill up some chicken breasts and divide it all into Tupperware that gets thrown into the lunch bags in the morning. I love this one because I actually look forward to eating it and feel good about my choices.
2. DIY Lunchable
Check out my lunch Pinterest board that I’ve linked below to get a visual for this. We have some baby Tupperware containers and I like to pack them with an assortment of different things: a handful of berries, a few crackers, some slices of cheese, hummus, raw veggies, a couple Oreos, etc. Then I’ll just grab five or so tiny containers that look good and toss them in the bag for a WAY cheaper and WAY more healthy Lunchable-esque lunch.
3. Mason Jar Dump Salad
People there is a SCIENCE to the dump salad. I’m linking to a podcast episode that is just genius on this topic. Here are a few important guidelines. First, this is NOT meant to be consumed straight from the jar. You are going to stuff this puppy so full that it must be dumped out to be fully incorporated. Now pack your jar in this order from bottom to top:
Prepping a few of these a few nights before or as you prep a bigger salad for dinner makes your morning packing process easy breezy. Just grab a mason jar and go.
4. DIY Bistro Box
For this one you’ll need to shell out for a bistro box, but you will never feel so put together in your lunch making life. Here are some combo options for your bistro (think Starbucks copycat) lunch. Also, clink the link below to find a relatively cost effective bistro box option. Just get creative and try for just a touch of fanciness.
In keep with our recent series structure, we’ll be taking a deep dive here on the blog into all things cooking and baking. As a woman in her young twenties, I completely get that the tricky thing about jumping into cooking is figuring out the balance. It’s difficult to commit to cooking and baking as a lifestyle when you have a million places to be and very limited time. SO! This series is going to focus on relatively low effort and low cost ways of making your own food. Here’s the plan, the series is pretty massive, with six weeks of my favorite go-to recipes in six main categories of my eating. Week one will cover easy prep breakfasts that will slide seamlessly into your busy morning routines. In week two, we’ll chat about easy peasy lunches (that are also relatively healthy!). In week three we’ll discuss weekday dinners that are as simple as they are delicious. In week four we are obviously talking about showstopping but manageable desserts and in week five we’ll narrow our focus to healthy choices. Finally, in week six, we are covering my FAVORITE thing to bake and eat: bread (it isn’t as hard as you think).
So without further ado, here are four of my everyday perfect breakfasts to fuel you up and get you out the door. The best part is that once you work a homemade breakfast into your routine, I promise you it will be the thing that gets you out of bed in the morning. Here we go!
1. 5 Minute - 1 Person Oatmeal
Confession: I LOVE McDonald’s oatmeal. Go ahead and judge me. This recipe is even better and can be modified to be sugar free or dairy free by substituting milk/cream for almond/soy/coconut milk. Also feel free to swap out a hunk of brown sugar for pecans or chia seeds, but I’m sticking with my sugar fix.
Well not to jump on the bandwagon but truly, this breakfast fills you up while simultaneously looking perfect for an early morning add to your instagram story. Here’s my go-to:
3. Dutch Baby
This is not my personal recipe but it comes from one of my most trusted sources. I have read the Smitten Kitchen cookbooks cover to cover and this recipe is a showstopper. This Dutch Baby is easy enough for a weekday, but impressive enough for company. I’ve linked up to the recipe below, but i just have to say, when I top this with a little lemon curd, fresh lemon juice, and sifted powdered sugar - Ben could die of happiness.
This is my “kitchen sink” breakfast. Meaning that whatever is in my fridge in tupperware containers is probably going in this omelet. I love to add leftover roasted veggies that I prep at the beginning of the week and eat with everything for every meal.
5. Bonus: Single Lady Pancake
Sometimes you just need a pancake, smothered with syrup and loaded with fruit or chocolate chips or nuts or whatever floats your boat. Here is a recipe from one of my all time favorites, Joy the Baker, for a single lady pancake that is quick enough for a weekday morning but small enough for a one-person breakfast
We are in our second and final week of the blog’s series on what we should be listening to. If you missed last week’s post, just scroll down to read a little about what podcasts you should subscribe and tune in to. This week, we are TALKING ABOUT MUSIC! I’m so excited for this particular topic because music has been such a central and uniting theme in my life. I studied voice in college and spend my weekdays teaching a love and understanding of music to young kids. As I’ve grown up, my taste in music has grown with me, but I will always have a special spot in my heart for old favorites. For me, there is nothing like music to take me back to the exact time, place, and feeling I was experiencing when I loved that album or a certain artist. In this post we are taking the grand tour of my musical loves. I’ve broken my all time favorite songs, albums, and artists into my top five favorite genres to listen to. We’ll be covering country/bluegrass, folk, Christian worship, pop, and soundtrack/instrumental. Obviously I did go to music school so I have a heart for choral, Broadway, and classical as well, but in the interests of not making this post a novel, I’m sticking to just these five (more general) genres. At the end of each section below you will find a link to a Spotify playlist I’ve created around each of these genres. Click over and enjoy! You might just find your new favorite.
1. Country & Bluegrass
When I was in high school, country was basically my whole musical world. Tattoos on This Town was our senior song and I have no shame about that. Luke Bryan’s song, I Don’t Want this Night to End was, and remains to this day, my FAVORITE song. Bluegrass and I go back even longer. When we summered at our family beach house, my Dad played guitar while the entire family sang Down to the River and I’ll Fly Away. There is something about country and bluegrass that sound exactly like home.
Top Three: Luke Bryan, Lady Antebellum, and Punch Brothers
When I got to college I encountered folk music for the first time and am of course now, completely in love. Folk is a pretty sweeping genre and that is represented by the artists in the playlist. Folk can sound techo or almost like bluegrass but across the board you can hear the artistry and the ownership in this genre.
Top Three: JohnnySwim, Civil Wars, and Josh Krajcik
3. Christian Worship
Like all Baptists raised in the early 00’s, I have had my heavy BarlowGirl, Skillet, Casting Crowns, etc. phase. Then, like any kid, I went through a looooong phase when I thought I was too cool for Christian music. This last year has been a slow reversal of my strongly held prejudice against Christian music. I started to believe it was all overly simplistic musically and slightly cheesy in message, but these bands and artists have changed my mind. The key is to listen to the good stuff. I would like to think this playlist is full of a good handful of the very best.
Top Three: BETHEL, Citizens and Saints, and Kristene Dimarco
This playlist is called Kitchen Dancing because that’s when it’s going to get played. I love pop music when my hands are busy cleaning or driving or sorting or when I feel like dancing. Pop for me varies pretty significantly. You’re going to see T-swift and Post Malone and everyone in between. But when I’m really looking for quick or new pop music, I tune in to the radio just as often or hit the Spotify radio version of an artist or song that fits my mood.
Top Three: Paramore, Chance the Rapper, and Ruth B.
I can remember leaning against the windows listening to melodramatic soundtracks as teenager and I think that was the moment I started using instrumental music to help me think and to relax. The sounds on this playlist are perfect for background music during homework, journaling, or chatting with a friend over coffee. I probably have streamed through these songs more than almost any others in my life.
Top Three: Pride and Prejudice soundtrack, Outlander soundtrack, and The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe soundtrack
I’m also including three other playlists that I listen to constantly because they are gold:
In keeping with our theme of series here on the blog, we are kicking off a two part series today on what to listen to. With a huge hunger for lifelong learning and music degree, I like to have something playing through my earbuds as often as possible. In last month’s series we discussed my current audiobook favorites and this week we are chatting about podcasts. Podcasts are probably my biggest obsession/discovery from 2017 and today I’m giving you all my favorites. If you have a favorite that I didn’t mention, be sure to comment and let us all know about it!
1. The Popcast (and the Bible Binge)
Ok, ok, this podcast is getting a rare second feature because people, it’s my favorite. This comedy/pop culture podcast is a DELIGHT. Hosted by Knox and Jamie, I literally laugh out loud and their hilariously accurate observations. Their brand new podcast, the Bible Binge, is just exactly what the world needed to process our bible stories. Also, sign up for the newsletter, it's a joy.
2. The Lazy Genius Podcast
Kendra is teaching us all how to be balanced grown women over here on the Lazy Genius Podcast. Her motto is, “genius about the things that matter, lazy about the things that don’t.” And if that isn’t wisdom for our generation, I don’t know what is. I literally just spend a half hour listening to her talk me through making soup on the fly and I was captivated. It’s everything you ever wanted to really understand, properly explained.
3. Fun Therapy
Whew, ok, so proceed with caution on this one. I mean, you will be changed, I promise, but you will also likely sob. I lost my mind listening to our friend Annie Downs (see below) talk about the reality of being single when you want to be married, and though I don’t relate whatsoever, I had myself a nice long cry on the way to work as I listened to her tell her raw and real story. Mike Foster hosts and if you’re like me, you’ll walk away from every episode having been counseled by association. So good.
4. That Sounds Fun
I’ve said it before and I will say it again and again, Annie is MY GIRL. I love this woman and her precious heart. Listening to her talk about God resonates with me on a soul level so I eat up all her podcast episodes. I’m linking you up to one of my favorites, where you can find Annie interviewing John Mark Comer, another of the world’s coolest people.
5. The Music Room
Such a shameless but completely valid plug for my co-teacher and dear friend Aileen Miracle’s podcast all about elementary music education. The material she covers is the stuff of my daily life and I might (just maybe) be making a guest appearance on the podcast shortly.
6. Super Soul Conversations
Well Oprah won my heart at the Grammy’s and I have loved her every moment since. When I heard that she was putting out a podcast with some of the world’s most influential people about the content and care of the soul. I mean, obviously this is one of my new favorite things. My favorite episode is with Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling about their new movie A Wrinkle in Time.
Next week’s post is going to be all about music. I like a little of everything and feel a lot of diehard love for my favorites so I can’t wait to introduce you. See you next week!
Welcome! I'm a brand new wife, second year music teacher, Jesus follower, and am chronically curious about just about everything. Join me as I kick off this adult life.
"I am the Vine, you are the Branches. If you abide in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."