Category Archives: Busy living a healthy life

MEAL PREPPING… spend a little time in the kitchen so you can spend more time outside.

Meal Prep

If your following me, you already know my love for cooking. You also know that I’m a busy gal. I’m not willing to give up one because of the other and I don’t have to when I meal prep. You might think that meal prepping is a chore you must do when your following a strict diet but I meal prep to save time; bonus yes we eat much better because of it.  Plus, if you’re intimidated by cooking, I’ll share a ton of sneaky tricks that can help make assembling delicious meals a cinch.

I work 5 days a week so my meal plan is for 5-week night dinners. I like to leave the rest of the week to be spontaneous but I do keep dinner in the back of my mind when I’m shopping. I know the family will be coming over for our “Saturday Night” together and Sunday’s usually include a big lunch so I’ll want to have something on hand. We consider it a splurge to eat out and rarely do. We also travel quite a bit so If I know we won’t be around for the weekend I’ll limit buying perishables so they don’t go to waste.

  • Preparation is the key to success. About mid-week I’ll start thinking about next week’s meals. I will take a quick inventory of what I already have on hand which includes rummaging to the back of the freezer, checking expiration dates and pulling out what looks good. Next I’ll start reading recipes and asking the family what they’ve been craving. I’ll jot down the week’s menu and make a grocery list.
  • While it might not sound like the most exciting Friday night activity, I do a quick 10-minute fridge clean up. I’ll toss leftovers that have passed their prime. Check the expiration date on the milk and take stock of the staples on hand because it might look like we have catchup but the reality is someone put an empty bottle back in the fridge. I’ll pull out fruits and veggies that aren’t going to make it through another week and run them through the juicer then prep them for the freezer. Bonus… Saturday is trash day so I won’t have stinky trash piled up if I wait to do this after the garbage truck drives by.
  • I have this handy dry erase board on the side of the fridge; I’ve used this every week for years. This is where I write down my meal plan. I consider our week’s activities, what nights I’ll be home later than usual, what nights I’ll have a full house ect… This way I know what days I’ll want to choose the crockpot meal and what nights I’ll have time to pre-heat the oven.
  • I like to do my grocery shopping on Saturday. I love grocery shopping so this doesn’t feel like a punishment for me but if you hate the idea of spending your Saturday this way, pick another day. The key is being prepared before you walk through the door. A list is a must, as much as I love being in the grocery store I don’t want to have to come back. This is a once a week event. I live in rural Nevada, it’s a 15-minute drive to the store so it take up a lot of time if I must run back and get something that I’ve forgot.
  • Once I’m home I’ll clean and put away most of my goods. I do this because my kitchen is small and if I leave everything out for the meal prep then I have no room to prep.

Are you exhausted yet? I know this seems like a lot of work already but trust me once you’re done you’ll appreciate all the free time you will have during the week and no guilt because you stopped at a fast food chain on your way home from work.

  • An important part of meal prep is breaking down a recipe. I’ll read through my choices for the week a couple of times paying attention to what I can do ahead of time. Then I will grab 5 large freezer zip top bags and label them with the name of the meal, the date I plan on making it and some basic instructions. (This is perfect if something comes up and you need someone at home to get dinner started for you)

Meats- I like to prep all my meat at once then I can wash up and swap out all my cutting boards, knives and anything else I’ve use to avoid cross contamination. Slice, dice or trim then season or marinade and wrap individually then put it in your previously marked freezer bag.

Veggies- same theory goes here, I like to do it all at once then portion it out, wrap it up and put it in the bag.Slice, dice trim, season and marinade everything atonce

You’d be surprised at the little things that take up time. I will literally portion out pasta and put it in the bag. I will do the same with seasonings, dressings and anything that could derail your meal plan. I can’t count the number of times I’ve reached for the mayo only to find out someone has used the last of it on a midnight sandwich. Portion out everything you need and put it in the bag.

I reserve an entire shelf in the fridge for my meal prep for two reasons. Everything I need is in one place and everyone else knows not to touch it. I will arrange the bags in the order I plan on using them with the last meal going in first at the back of the fridge.

If my meal plan includes a casserole and it usually does; then I’ll make the entire recipe and put it in the casserole dish, cover it and put it in the fridge.

At the end of my work day I stop and pick up my granddaughter at the sitters haul her and her gear into the house where our puppies are very enthusiastically waiting for attention. They need dinner (yeah I prepped their meal also) the baby needs a bottle (her momma made this before she left the house and it’s waiting in fridge) and I need to get dinner going. Meal prep makes this a breeze.

I put the bottle in the warmer, set out the dog bowls and grab the meal kit from the fridge. I can usually have everything in motion before the bottle is ready and then I can enjoy a little snuggle time with her while she eats. Once she’s content with a full belly I can put the finishing touches on dinner. It makes me feel like a super star when I successfully juggle all these tasks within the first hour of coming home and I’m left with plenty of evening to enjoy.ME & NATALIE

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It’s been a very Busy year…

me

We hosted a slew of pre-wedding parties, a wedding and baby shower and before the year ends we will have a new baby in the house. Needless to say it has been a very busy year for our household. No reason to slow down now. I have some really big plans for the blog coming in January including a monthly newsletter where I’ll share some of my favorite recipes and great tips on living an Actively Engaged Life. Make sure we have your e-mail address so you don’t miss out on a thing. 

Just so we end the year with a bang I have a super fun contest starting on December 4th with prizes that will help you get motivated in 2017. Watch for details on our Facebook page

BusyGals WOW Pot Roast

BusyGals WOW Pot Roast

1 boneless beef chuck roast

2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

3/4 tsp kosher salt

2 tsp salt

2 tsp canola oil

2 tbs tomato paste

12 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

1 1/2 cups dry red wine (It’s not an accident this leaves just enough for a glass while your cooking)

2 cups beef stock, you could increase this by 1 1/2 cups and eliminate the wine but trust me the wine make all the difference in the world when it comes to the flavor.

1 tbs AP flour

1 tsp sugar

1 28 oz can chopped tomatoes (I used Italian Style)

2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary (less if you use dried)

4 carrots, cut in two inch pieces

4 fresh thyme sprigs

1 large sweet onion cut into large wedges

1 bay leaf

Preheat oven 300

Sprinkle beef with S&P and drizzle with oil. Rub it in, rub it in.

Heat your dutch oven over med-high heat. Add beef and sear on each side until beautifully browned. Then remove from pan, set aside.

Add tomato paste and garlic to pan; cook 1 1/2 min., stirring frequently. Add red wine to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 6 min or until liquid almost evaporates, stirring frequently. Combine stock and flour in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add stock mixture,, sugar, and tomatoes to pan; bring to a boil. Return beef to pan add rosemary, carrots thyme onions and bay leaf to pan. Bake covered at 300 degrees for 3 hours or until beef is tender when pierce. Remove thyme springs and bay leaf from pan; Place beef, carrots and onions on a platter; cover with foil to keep warm. Bring sauce to a boil over medium-high heat cook 5 minutes or until reduced to about 3 cups. Cut 12 ounces of beef about one-third of roast into large pieces. Shred the remaining beef; reserve shredded beef in separate container for later. Strain leftover sauce in separate container. Serve beef, carrots and onions over pasta or mashed potatoes.

APPLE CIDER KALE SALAD

Servings: 6 Calories: 85 Fat: 4.3

Dressing-
1 Tbs Cider Vinegar
1 Tbs Olive Oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
¼ tsp sugar
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

Mix together and let flavors marinade together.

Dice 1 apple, 1 oz cheese (Cheddar or Colby )
And chopped 1 head of Kale.

Toss all together and drizzle with dressing. Yummy side

Stylish

busysawyergal-com

I love the changing of seasons, the promise of possibilities and swapping out the wardrobe!

“Finally, summer is over. I can start working on my sweater body”

I’m lucky enough to live in a place that welcomes the seasons with not so subtle temperature changes. The brisk morning air had me pulling out the boots this morning and while my mother would gasp at the fact that I’m wearing white after Labor Day I paired it with a grey sweater so I feel comfortable walking the line between a fashion faux pas and “stylish”.

I believe being stylish is wearing clothes that suit your age and body. We all have that one friend that when we see her we think.. hmm she’s got it together. For me it’s Holly. She has incredible fashion sense and I think it’s because she doesn’t pretend to be someone she’s not. She’s not 20, she’s not petite, she’s not single on the prowl.. She is a beautiful woman, with adult children and a powerful, inspiring career and she dresses the part.

One of my favorite shopping sites is Dress Barn. Hate the name, but love the clothes. They always fit my not so perfect body. With sizes 4-24 I can always find just what I was looking for even if I didn’t know I was looking for something.

Do you think about your outfit ahead of time or are you a spur of the moment grab and go kinda dresser? I’m a planner. I usually spend the first few weeks of a new season looking through the pages of InStyle magazine or Vogue sure they are way over the top but I look for patterns, hem length, and of course shoe style to get inspired for the new season. There is always a color that will dominate the pages of these popular magazines so when I’m shopping I’ll be on the look out for pieces in that color that I can incorporate into my wardrobe, making my outfit a bit more stylish and updated.  Then I move on to 512 search Fall Fashion and you will have hours of pinning ahead of you with great new looks that you can mimic. Some of my favorite pinners to follow are Stitch Fix  and Fashion over 40

My sister hates to shop, always has. I don’t understand this at all because shopping is on my top 10 favorite things to do list. But for her she’d rather spend her time doing just about anything else. However her corporate job requires her to look the part. I recommended StitchFix.com for her. It’s a personal shopping service. You set up an account, add sizes and your fashion needs and they will mail you items. Love it, keep it or send it back. Her only complaint about the service is the time it takes to set it up so that she actually gets what she needs. But hey at least it keeps her out of the stores. But her favorite option is calling me and we bring up another of my favorite online shops Cabi

I got hooked on Cabi about 4 years ago. My friend Tiffany held a party at her home where Jana Barr a Cabi stylist helped us shop for the perfect look. For me it was a real struggle to spend the money, I’m a very thrifty shopper, if it’s not on sale I don’t buy it. But the fit … oh the fit was so amazing that I splurged and bought a pair of pants. Over the next 6 months I wore those pants everywhere. They were so versital and came out of the dryer looking perfect every time. When I got my invitation to view the fall line later that year I played with my budget and allowed myself one more piece and that is how it continues today. Now I visit the site and mark all my favorites putting them on my wish list, ya know just in case I win the lottery. I then send a list of must haves to my sister and she calls her Cabi stylist and kicks starts her season with key pieces.

When my youngest daughter started planning her September wedding I knew I wanted to wear a fabulous hat. She was totally against it at first but I used my power of motherly persuasion on her and in the end I won and rocked the perfect hat, at the ceremony, that I found on Amazon . It was quite a stylish look if I do say so myself.

me

I want to look smart. I want to be taken seriously. I want to be comfortable. While fulfilling the last can be done easily with a pair of yoga pants and a comfy t-shirt I will not earn the others this way. So I shop and I shop and sometimes I score big.

The key here is confidence. No mater what you choose to wear, if you do it with confidence you’ll look stylish. Share with me… what is your definition of ‘stylish’

“Style is not a display of wealth, but an expression of imagination” Style Fluency

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Health Fair

Super excited to be hosting a booth at this years local health fair. Health Fair’s are a great opportunity to get a benchmark for where you’re at health wise. If you go every year it’s a quick and easy way to catch risk factors. At my Herbalife booth this year I’ll be sharing great ideas for using Herbalife products to get a strong and healthy body. Can’t wait to help people discover how great they can feel. 1

Répondez, s’il vous plaît, Yes It’s Important

I’m a busy gal, but I hope I’m never so busy that I overlook the common respect that goes with properly responding to an invitation. The etiquette faux pas that really erks me the most is the failure to RSVP. It seems that what was once deemed required has now been dismissed by entire generation. Does an RSVP matter? Yes!Untitled design

Consider it a cry for help from your host… Not every event is so informal that you just need to drop your tailgate and pull out a six pack to be part of the party. A properly planned and successful event takes a little preparation and on the top of the list is knowing how many guest to expect.

There have always been rules of courtesy to follow in civilization. I was taught the rules of etiquette, first by my grandmother, then learned by example from my mother. Among the most important, other than keeping your elbows off the table, is ‘please respond’which should be the easiest to comply with. Yet we often assume this as an option rather than a requirement.

It’s simple really, an invitation requires a reply. Untitled design-1The difficult part is making a commitment to attend. Let’s be honest here… why are you waiting to respond? If you really have a commitment that would prevent you from attending then responding no, should be quick and easy, unfortunately those who are dragging their feet are really just weighing their options. There is no quicker way to insult your host than delaying your reply because your waiting to see if you get a better offer. Your not fooling anyone, believe me your host is already going through the anxiety of ‘what if no one comes.’

As a host you must consider the fact that your  guests might not know what an RSVP is.  Remember, that generation gap. As a host of an event with guest of the millennial age group you might want to rephrase your invitation to something clearer such as ‘your reply is requested’  or ‘please respond’. If you do decide to go the traditional route and use RSVP on your invitation remember this term is derived from the French phrase, répondez, s’il vous plaît, which in English means ‘respond please’ so it would be redundant if you phrased your invite as  “please RSVP”

For a more formal event like a wedding, your host has already gone to great expense and effort to include a pre-addressed and often prepaid envelope for your response because they really want to know if your coming. All you have to do is decide yes or no, and then if it’s yes you might be asked to further your commitment by choosing chicken or fish. Believe me at $25.00 a head this can really add up quickly as a wasted expense for the bride and groom.

If the event is anything less formal an appropriate response can be as simple as connecting to the party website or sending an e-mail, even a text message is consider okay. Anyone who has ever hosted a gathering has experienced the frustration of not knowing who will be attending. An unanswered RSVP leaves a hostess with so many questions.  Should I plan on them or assume their not coming? If I assume their not coming what do I do when they show up? How much food should I prepare? Should I prepare extra in case some of the guests bring others? What about seating? Should I call them? Whether its a barbecues, office parties, weddings—you name it. Your poor host will be riddled with anxiety.

I’m not saying you have to go to every event your invited too, on the contrary I’m a firm believer in the word NO. In fact your not even obligated to explain the reason for not accepting an invite. A simple sorry, I will not be able to attend is perfectly acceptable. There is no need to go into great detail. Write a simple and polite note of regret.   What I’m advocating for is commitment. Make a decision either way and make it official by responding. Untitled design-2

No host want’s to be forced to call and beg for your response and doesn’t that put you in an awkward position as well? However, it is perfectly polite for hosts to call guests to ask if they plan to attend. In fact, as a host you often have no choice but to call if you want an accurate headcount. Responding to the RSVP in a timely manner, a few days after receiving the invitation is best, will make it easier on both you and your host.

What if I say Yes and then can’t go? The struggle is real, I get that. Once you have sent an RSVP for an event, don’t be a no-show. You’ll forever be remembered as that empty seat at the dinner table. However, if something unforeseeable does prevent you from attending, a phone call is a must. This is the time to speak directly with your host and express your regrets for not being able to attend. The earlier the better. Don’t wait until they have already confirmed the headcount with the caterer.  The same goes if you originally responded that you are unable to attend and then suddenly your schedule opens up. You must call and ask if there is still room for you too attend. It is impolite to just show up after saying you couldn’t make it.

Ok, you procrastinated in getting that RSVP completed and now you feel guilty so you delay even longer. Once again this can be quickly resolved by simply picking up the phone and sincerely apologizing for your over-site.  Keep in mind, if you received an ‘invitation’ your host wants you at their event. They have reserved a special place for you. It is an honor to be included and therefore deserves your attention. The reality is that by ignoring your host request you will often succeed in hurting their feeling and causing them frustration.

Any event, from a small dinner party to a large celebration, even something a simple as a product demonstration party requires planning, preparation, financial investment. Your host thought enough about you as a guest to include you in the festivities. This requires your acknowledgment of the invitation and a decision about whether or not you will be able to attend.

It’s all part of living an actively engaged life.

 

 

Ok sometimes you save up your calories for one amazing meal. Well this is it. Made these Pineapple & Pork Tacos and they were a big hit. Had a family friend just happen to stop by during dinner time…  and he loved these. It’s tough to say just how many this recipe can feed because even after we ran out of taco shells we kept eating it. So buy the large package of shells and go ahead and  chop up a whole head of cabbage you never know who will be popping in; especially if everyone knows what’s for dinner.