Weekend Things

>> Friday, September 19, 2014

I've eaten the same freezer dinner three times this week! Be sure to check back next week for my new favorite pinto bean + corn veggie burger recipe (no food processor required) and burger buns that will knock your socks off. If you just can't wait, check out last year's Bulk Freezer Burger recipe.

For now, a teaser:

If you follow me on Pinterest, you may have seen some of these already. But here's what I'm digging as far as links + things this week!

#1: Homemae Wonuts -- WAFFLE DONUTS (doughnuts?). Basically one of the best combinations ever. Wonder if it'd work with this Chocolate + Zucchini Waffle recipe?

#2: Less is always more. Here are 5 Reasons To Declutter, Purge, and Simplify Your Home. Thanks, Apartment Therapy.

#3: I heart lip balm. When I'm not making my own, my favorites are Rosebud Salve, Burt's Bees in Peppermint, and EOS Balms (because I don't lose them as easily!).

#4: New ideas for our new home: This genius mug wall, these colorful built-in bookshelves, and red french doors. Sigh!

#5: Preppers and non-preppers alike can enjoy these 16 Cool Homesteading DIY Projects. I'm lusting over that gorgeous food storage shelf myself.

#6: I indulged + bought a pair of Birkenstock Boston Clogs for the fall/winter months. I chose Henna for the color, and narrow for width (though I usually wear size 39 regular).

Lately on Writing Chapter Three:
Smart Personal Finance:
Running + Fitness:

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Why I Finally Ditched the Scale

>> Thursday, September 18, 2014

You guys have been telling me for years to stop nitpicking my weight. In theory, I wanted to -- really, I did. I'd go 3-6 months at a time without stepping on a scale. Then, I hop on and get frustrated with the number I saw. It's no wonder I felt this way, especially given my history with an eating disorder. As I look back at posts I've written in the past, I can definitely see where I've defended the many "reasons" why I wanted to keep track of my weight. And some still make sense to me.

Still, it's been over 6 years since I've eliminated or restricted foods as part of my disorder. If I've learned anything from healing, it's that it's a gradual process . . . not a clearcut end. For me, the scale continued to taunt me week after week. Though I wanted nothing to do with being High School Skinny, I'll admit that for a long time I felt great at certain numbers and not-so good at others.

I think about this now especially as I approach the possibility of another pregnancy. I was at a very lean "happy weight" before getting pregnant with Ada. I look back and see how coming off marathon training, eating extremely clean foods on a predictable schedule, and having most of my free time to myself to exercise and otherwise move. It was all totally in my favor.

As a now 30-something, my metabolism has certainly changed -- noticeably, but so has my desire to spend all my free time on my body. I still look (and weigh, at least as of my last physical) pretty much how I did at 6 months postpartum. Over time, the not-getting-back has bothered me less and less. I look back at my quest to return to pre-pregnancy size and cringe. I look and feel totally fine at my current size and shape!

Instead, I like being the Ashley who can easily run 10 miles on a Monday night, not because I'm training for anything, but -- just because. I love being the Ashley who can get equally an amazing endorphin feel from simply walking an hour the next day. The kind of Ashley who can bake a batch of cookies and not count the calories or care if they have some sugar or fat in them. The Ashley who no longer labels food as "good" or "bad" or whatever else. And, yeah. I like being the Ashley who can go about my day without having it influenced by a silly number, whether the scale or size in my jeans.

It took me a REALLY long time to get to this point.

And this isn't to say I don't still have my moments. I have a closet full of clothes that are just a bit too small for me. I'm finally getting rid of them versus holding on hoping I'll someday return to my previous sizes. Lose those last 10 pounds that never stayed off my frame. It does occasionally bug me when I think about how all my healthy living isn't working quite the way it used to. At the same time, it most definitely IS working! I'm capable of so much and continue to smash PRs and keep active.

I just wanted to share because I have reached this new milestone in my healing process, and I'm excited about it. I didn't know if I'd ever get to this point. Yet, here I am!

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6 Sneaky Ways to Fill Your Freezer

>> Wednesday, September 17, 2014

When I wrote all about our vegetarian month of freezer meals last year, I focused on a single bulk cooking weekend as the means to an end. This year, I've taken a much different approach, and it's one that I think you guys might be into. Instead of overwhelming myself with meal after meal after meal to freeze, I've built up our stash slowly over the course of a month (or thereabouts).

Here are some sneaky ways to fill your freezer. I also plan to share some of the recipes I've made this time around, including a new and improved veggie burger, amazing squash-filled waffles, and more. Feel free to share your own tips + tricks in the comments below!

#1: Make Double

Whenever you cook this month, make a double, triple, or bigger batch. Slow cooker soups are excellent for this idea, since a full pot is often enough for at least two meals for two or three people. My favorite Freezer-Friendly Veggie Burgers are another great option, since you can make some for dinner tonight and still have a good stash for next month. Just eat whatever you want immediately and freeze the rest. Portion out into individual sizes whenever possible for the fastest re-heating.

#2: Utilize Leftovers

Make a huge dish of lasagna? Or too much of whatever else? If you didn't eat all your meal tonight, you're in luck. Rather than eating the leftovers for lunch tomorrow, freeze for future consumption and pack a PB+J instead. We often store leftovers in the fridge with good intentions to gobble them up, and they go to waste anyway. If you freeze straight away, there's no risk! Do this for two or three meals each week, and it adds up fast.

#3: Use It Up

If you have time on the weekend, dig deep into your refrigerator to find the ingredients that will soon go bad. Lay them out in front of you and figure out what you can make. Consider whatever you create a bonus meal -- and freeze it up! We often have half blocks of cheese, a couple cups of almond milk, half of an onion or pepper, a limp head of broccoli, super ripe bananas, etc. I most often use our tips to Eliminate Food Waste and some of the recipes on that page. Otherwise, I -- again -- use the slow cooker. Here are some tips for making awesome crockpot meals without recipes.

#4: Think Part vs. Whole

You don't need to make dinner from soup to nuts to take advantage of freezer cooking. Think about the different parts of a meal you can make easily the day of . . . and make the rest for freezing. Pasta cooks up simply with little cleaning required. So, make + freeze just the homemade tomato sauce or perfect pesto to accompany and thaw the night of.

#5: Freeze Ingredients

When we went blueberry picking, I used up a lot of them making jam + brie grilled cheese, muffins, and other goods. I still had a good number left that I rinsed, dried, and froze whole. We've been getting gazillions of tomatillos, so -- along with making tomatillo salsa -- I've washed them well, cut in half, and frozen on a baking sheet before stashing into a container. I also freeze cooked beans (here's how) that we end up using all month long.

#6: Plan Ahead

You can also just choose a list of solid vegetarian make-ahead meals and pick a couple days each week to crack away at them. No need for an intense bulk cooking experience. Just make an extra dinner here and there and watch them pile up. Before you know it, you'll be cooking and cleaning far less and enjoying the fruit of your efforts much more.

Here are some more tips + recipes:

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