The two reasons I survived September

This has been the busiest month of my entire parenting life.  With four kids I’m sure you’re not surprised to hear me say that and maybe wondering why I’m so shocked by the busy-ness.   For the last ten years we’ve been able to keep things at a dull roar…until now.

With the addition of the third child being in school all day and picking up a sport my juggling/planning ahead/organizing skills are working overtime!

Do you feel that way too about this month?

Even though it’s been busy, I’ve somehow managed to still get things done and not feel out of control about it. 

Don’t get me wrong, there are days that I want to give up “adulting”.  But my train hasn’t gone completely off the tracks, and the children are all still alive and well – so I think that’s a win 🙂 .

First day of school, yay!

Two things have helped with our train staying on its tracks:

  1. Reading and implementing “Getting Things Done” by David Allen.  A good friend told me about this methodology of getting things out of your head and how to set your life up for productivity and just getting sh*t done!   I won’t go into detail here and now, but let me just say, it’s been life-saving.
  2. Planning meals ahead of time.  Every week I’ve sat down and looked at our calendar, what nights we’ll be home late, what nights we have plans with other people, what nights my husband will be working, etc.  This gives me a roadmap for what to shop for and what foods to cook so we don’t succumb to eating out or crap food.

Many people think that I make these big gourmet meals all the time, but that can’t be further from the truth.  I cook two, maybe three times a week and we eat off the leftovers the rest of the time.  Batch cooking and planning ahead on meals are essential to stay on track with eating.

One of our biggest staples has been baked potato wedges (which I talked about in a previous post).  Having these made and in the fridge to heat up quickly, or eat cold, has been perfect for a quick, but hearty, snack before practice or rehersal.

potato wedges
Here the potato wedges are served with a veggie burger.

So as you go into the next month, consider your planning methods.  Are you looking ahead or is dinner catching you off guard?  (Much like the rooster here from the movie Peter Rabbit — hysterical)

Feels like that sometimes doesn’t it?   Anyway, all this to hopefully encourage you that you’re not alone in this craziness of life and to give you a few tips to stay on track with eating whole foods plant-based.

  • Check your calendar
  • Find recipes for dinner
  • Make a list of what you’re having each night
  • Take a deep breath.
  •  You got this.

What are your go-to meals for busy nights?

— Catherine

A couple recipes we loved this September

…and fed us for 3-4 days!
I didn’t get pictures, I’m sorry!  But trust me, we ate them 🙂

Spinach Lasagna

I made two of these lasagnas last week because I had the ingredients and I didn’t want a half-used box of lasagna noodles in my pantry.  I froze one and then because of how busy the weekend was we ate both!

Adapted from Wellness Forum Health

Use a 9x13in pan – serves nine

  • 9  lasagna noodles – cooked according to package instructions
  • 4 c tomato sauce
  • 1 med  yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-10oz packages frozen spinach, thawed and rained well 
  • 1 12oz package extra firm silken tofu
  • 16oz package extra firm tofu  (or just do 2 packages of extra firm)
  • ¾ c  nutritional yeast, more to taste
  • ½ t black pepper, optional
  • 3T  dried basil or Italian Seasoning, more to taste
  • salt, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 ℉.

Heat skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent, 7-8 minutes, adding 1-2 tablespoons of water to keep from sticking.

While the onions cook, place the tofu into a medium mixing bowl and mash it with a potato masher, or by hand until the mixture resembles ricotta cheese.

Add the sautéed onion mixture and the remaining ingredients and combine well.  Add more salt, nutritional yeast and seasoning to taste. Set aside.

Cover the bottom of the baking dish with one third of the tomato sauce. Place a layer of noodles over the tomato sauce, then spread half the tofu mixture over the noodles.

Spoon half the remaining sauce over the tofu mixture, then top with another layer of noodles.

Top with the remaining tofu mixture, another layer of noodles and the remaining tomato sauce.

Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake covered for 1 hour and 30 min. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Lentils & Rice

I love dinners that are hearty and we can have for lunches too.  Having rice cooked and in the freezer is a life-saver.  Always double or triple the rice you need so you have some for later.  

This warm lentil dish is kind of a soup or kind of a topping for the rice.  Either way it’ll stick to everyones ribs and keep them energized through that soccer game or 2 hour rehearsal.  Plus, it only takes 5 minutes to get it going.

  • 1 red onion, chopped (I threw onion ginger and garlic in my food processor to speed up the process).
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped.  (more if you like garlic)
  • 1T ginger, chopped
  • 2t turmeric
  • 1T cumin
  • 3c red or yellow lentils
  • 16c vegetable broth
  • salt, to taste
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3-4 handfuls of spinach
  • handful of Parsley, optional
  • Juice of a lemon

Heat soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent, 7-8 minutes, adding 1-2 tablespoons of water to keep from sticking.

Then add in minced ginger, a pinch of salt and other spices.  Continue stirring for another minute or so.

Stir in lentils, broth and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil, then cover and turn down to simmer for 35-40 minutes.  Stir occasionally.

Remove the bay leaves.  Then add in spinach and lemon juice stirring until spinach is wilted.

Enjoy with a big salad, over rice or with some warm bread.


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