Finding Time to Try New Recipes

3 Ways to Find Time to Try New Recipes :: maximizingdaysblog.com

Tell me if this is you: Gets excited to find new recipes on Pinterest or in cookbooks, but feel like you make the same thing every week.

*Insert hand raising emoji here*

Me too.

I’m one of those people who actually enjoys cooking.  I really do.  But we are in a stage of life right now – I’m stay-at-home mom to a 3 & 5 year-old – where cooking is done out of necessity and not enjoyment.

But that desire to find new favorites and make them hasn’t gone away, so I’ve had to find ways to try those new recipes.

3 Ways to Find Time to Try New Recipes

Be Realistic

The name of my cooking game right now is speed.  How fast can I go from starting to prepare supper to on the table?

The faster, the better.

And I don’t know if it’s just me, but trying something new takes me for-ev-er.  Whatever the cook time is listed on the recipe, I double it.  I’m a slow cooker.

Give yourself permission to try something new when it’s fun for you and not when you’re feeling obligated or guilty.  Enjoying trying new recipes doesn’t mean recreating the wheel every day and utilizing a new cook book doesn’t mean finishing every recipe in it in a month.

3 Ways to Find Time to Try New Recipes :: maximizingdaysblog.com

For Mother’s Day, my husband got me the Magnolia Table cookbook.  I proceeded to read through it and flag the recipes that I want to try – of which there were about 20.

That will probably take me 2 years.

It may seem like  a long time, but if you do the math, that’s one new recipe a month, and I know that’s ambitious for me.  And it’s October, which means I’m five months behind already.

Simplify the Other Parts of the Meal

Go Big or Go Home doesn’t apply to this situation.

When you do have the time to try something new, put all of your effort into one new recipe at a time, and make the other parts of the meal as simple as possible.

For this meal, I decided to go with bagged salad and my favorite bread from my favorite bakery for the sides.

3 Ways to Find Time to Try New Recipes :: maximizingdaysblog.com

Be Strategic About When Your Cook the New Recipe

Make the new recipe on a day when you have some margin.  Don’t try to squeeze it in when you’re crunched for time and feeling the weight of getting food on the table ASAP.  Pick a weekend or a random day off.

I had one day last week where I was home taking care of my infant nephew, so I could start supper prep a little early.  And we didn’t have to be anywhere that evening.  So if making the meal took longer than the book said it would (which it always does), we wouldn’t be late for anything.

3 Ways to Find Time to Try New Recipes :: maximizingdaysblog.com

These little tricks allowed me to look forward to trying something new.  All day, I was looking forward to making something yummy (hopefully) and having an outlet for this tiny creative part of me.  And  the recipe turned out awesome and has now been added to our list of family meals.  That doesn’t always happen, but you don’t know until you try, right?

What are you ways to find time to do what you enjoy?

3 Ways to Find Time to Try New Recipes :: maximizingdaysblog.com

Perspective

Perspective :: maximizingdaysblog.com

Earlier this week, my husband went into work before the kids woke up.  Which mean that I single-parented.  I’m not good at that. (Shout out to all of you who do this EVERY DAY).

I get so discouraged when I leave the house with stuff undone (i.e. not ready for the evening when we return).  I pulled out of our driveway feeling frustrated about what didn’t get done.  But then it occurred to me to think about what did.  So, I started making a mental list, which became an actual list.

From 5:00AM-8:15AM, I did the following:

  • Snuggled hubby (TMI???)
  • Brushed teeth
  • Made bed
  • Took vitamins
  • Drank glass of lemon water
  • COFFEE
  • Did devotions
  • Prayed
  • Checked Email
  • Created game plan to help a friend declutter
  • Showered
  • Did hair & makeup
  • Packed my lunch
  • Emptied dishwasher
  • Snuggled kiddos
  • Made breakfast
  • Cleaned up 2 spills (salt & raisins)
  • Comforted a child after she fell off of her chair
  • Comforted said child’s sibling because he got his Dad’s empathy and struggles big time to see others hurting
  • Got 2 children dressed – in seasonally appropriate attire
  • Brushed 2 children’s teeth
  • Monitored 2 children’s making of their beds
  • Remembered to pack children’s blankets for nap at day care

This list is not by way of bragging.

It is the tool that I use to give myself perspective.

I left the house focused on the dirty dishes that covered the counter, and underneath those dishes is a pile of crumbs.  Below those counters are floors filled with crumbs.  And next to those counters are pans with scrambled egg remnants that are going to be a bugger to scrub off.

It’s so easy (for me) to focus on what isn’t done.  But there are days when I need to give myself some grace and change my perspective.  I’m learning to have eyes to see what should be celebrated and not just what should be fixed.

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Currently….

Currently :: maximizingdaysblog.com

I Am Currently…..

Wearing

All of the same things that I wore last year.  Boring, I know.

But I shop for the current season at the end of it because that’s when stuff is cheap.  For instance, I bought this sweater in April or May on clearance and it’s been sitting in a drawer with the tags on since then.  I wore it on Sunday for the first time, and loved it.

Reading

Grace Not Perfection by Emily Ley.

I  said last month that I was reading this, but hadn’t actually started it yet.  I’ve since finished it and am now re-reading it.   This time through, I’m soaking it all in and taking the time to think through the practical changes that I can make to hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection.

I got all mushy talking about it here.

Eating

Chicken Pot Pie.

I got this recipe from a friend via The Pioneer Woman.  My friend made it for a group of us and I am proclaimed pot pie dislike-er.  No more.

I made it a few weeks ago on the first “cold”(ish) day and have it on our menu again this week.  You can make the filling ahead of time, substitute a packaged pie crust and add a bagged salad for a delicious meal.

Watching

Ocean’s 8.

The hubby and me have started a new thing where we pick one night each week and designate it “Home Date Night.”  After the kids go to bed, we put away our phones, walk away from to-do lists and spend the two hours before it’s our bed time doing something together.  We take turns planning it and last week was my husband’s turn.

He nailed it.

He got home late, but made up for it with (store-bought) cheesecake, sparkling grape juice (neither of us like wine) & Ocean’s 8.

In our 7 years of marriage, I can count on one hand how many movies we’ve watched, so this was a big deal.  He remembered a conversation from a while ago where I saw a preview for the movie and mentioned that I thought it looked interesting.  He tucked that little nugget away, and cashed it in last week.

We are both big Ocean’s 11 fans.  Ocean’s 12 & 13, not so much.  In our opinion, Ocean’s 8 wasn’t as entertaining as Ocean’s 11, but was better than Ocean’s 12 or 13.

Loving

The new Simplified Line at Office Depot & Target.  I haven’t purchased anything (YET), but I have been looking at all the goods online.

If you like the idea of a Simplified Planner, but don’t want to spend that much money, these more cost-effective options may be just what you’re looking for.  And, ooooh, the accessories…..

Thinking

That it’s time to purchase a giant bag of the really good Halloween candy and stash it in my desk drawer.

Black Bean Avocado Salad

Protein & Veggie Loaded Black Bean Avocado Salad :: maximizingdaysblog.com

A few months ago, my husband and I strongly considered doing Whole 30, but couldn’t commit to the time it would take to prep all of the food every.single.day.  That and #iheartcheese.

We decided, instead, to be intentional about eating mostly vegetables and lean protein and limiting refined sugar and carbs.  Breakfast was easy; Scrambled eggs & berries.  Supper was doable by making meals where carbs could be left out.

But I really struggled with lunch.  By lunch time, no matter how much lean protein I ate at breakfast, I am starving and I want something fast.  And by fast, I mean from empty to full plate in less than 4 minutes.  I’m not exaggerating.

About this time, I found this recipe when Kate at The Small Things Blog posted a link.  I decided to take her suggestion and add some chicken and give it a try.  I made a few adaptations the second time I made it, so feel free to do the same.  Add stuff you like.  Take out stuff you don’t like.

Protein & Veggie Loaded Black Bean Avocado Salad :: maximizingdaysblog.com

I’ve eaten it every day for lunch since then.  A huge bowl of it.  I may add some pita chips, fruit or cheese to the side.  Or not.  It’s that sustaining.

This salad also keeps really well – even the avocado!  I usually make it on Sunday and it’s good all week.

Black Bean Avocado Salad

(Recipe Adapted)

  • 1 seedless cucumber, diced
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 1/4 cups corn
  • 1 orange pepper, diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 package pre-cooked chicken breast strips
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Protein & Veggie Loaded Black Bean Avocado Salad :: maximizingdaysblog.com

Instructions

  1. Place the cucumber, black beans, corn, orange pepper, cherry tomatoes, red onion and chopped cilantro in a bowl.
  2. Squeeze the fresh juice from the lime onto the salad & stir well.
  3. Mix in the chicken & avocado, season with salt and pepper.

Protein & Veggie Loaded Black Bean Avocado Salad :: maximizingdaysblog.com

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Simplified Summer Challenge PRIZE

#simplifiedsummer challenge - A Simplified Life by Emily Ley :: maximizingdaysblog.com

This past summer, a group of people from this community read through Emily Ley’s A Simplified Life together and used the book as a guide to simplifying our lives.  At the end of each chapter, Emily Ley has a ‘Simplicity Challenge’, which are 5 steps that you can do right now (most take less than 5 minutes) that make big strides toward achieving your goal.

I’m giving away all of these goodies to the person who completes the most Simplicity Challenges by Friday, September 28th.

Prizes include:

Grace Not Perfection by Emily Ley

Grocery List Pad by Emily Ley

Y-Weave 5 Piece Basket Set

Kenra Volume 25 Hairspray

Essie Gel Couture Set

Post-It Page Markers

Cable Clips

Go-Go squeeZ Variety Pack

To earn these prizes, comment on each blog post with the number of simplicity challenges you completed from that chapter.  I will track each person’s progress (this is a total honor system thing) and the person with the most challenges completed will get this swag.

I’ll make things easier once you’ve completed challenges, by linking below to each chapter’s blog post.  Log your challenges in each blog post’s comment section, and I’ll add them all up to determine the winner.

Chapter 1 – Simplified Space

Chapter 2 – Simplified Style

Chapter 3 – Simplified Meals

Chapter 4 – Simplified Schedule

Chapter 5 – Simplified Finances

Chapter 6 – Simplified Hospitality

Chapter 7 – Simplified Technology

Chapter 8 – Simplified Self

Chapter 9 – Simplified Motherhood

Chapter 10 – Simplified Faith

Happy Simplifying!!!