Top 10 Kitchen tools and utensils

Kitchen tools & utensils and other resources to promote within these recipes:

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Top 10 Tools for Your Kitchen:

1. A Microplane

2.A Grease Splatter Guard

3. 10″ Skillets

4. 12″ Skillets  

5. Cast Iron Skillet

6. Wooden Spoons, Whisks, Spatulas

7. Microwave Safe Covered Dishes

8. Large Stock Pot

9. Vitamix

10. Hand-Grater

11. Spiralizer

12. Salad Dressing Shaker

13. Menu Plans

14. Meal Planning Family Board 

 

 

 

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Meal Planning as Self-Care

Meal Planning as Self-Care

Self care is about taking good care of yourself and treating yourself as kindly as you treat others. Self-care is about making our own well-being a priority.  So why do so many of us put our needs at the bottom of the list, allowing ourselves to be in a constant state...

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Paleo Chocolate Cherry Brownies

Paleo Chocolate Cherry Brownies

Baking Bread at Home Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Sed nec diam ultricies, scelerisque arcu quis, mattis purus. Morbi tellus nibh, sollicitudin a gravida quis, commodo eget eros. Servings 9 Ready In: 45 minutesCalories: 610 Good For:...

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1. Citrus zest is a great way to add bright bursts of flavor to your recipes. Use a microplane or zester to collect as much of the brightly colored outer layer as possible without harvesting the bitter white layer beneath. If you collect more than you can immediately use, freeze or oven dry the zest to add to soups and stews or to make seasoned salts, marinades, and salad dressings later.

2. It is much easier to collect the zest from the whole fruit, so always zest lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruit before you peel, juice, or slice them.

3. If possible, buy organic citrus for zesting because the outer layer of the fruit is most exposed to the harsh chemicals and pesticides used on non-organic crops.

4. As you cook, store leftover edible vegetable scraps in a freezer-safe bag. Use frozen vegetable scraps whenever you make a new batch of vegetable, chicken, or beef stock.

5. When making a frittata, add salt and pepper to the egg as you whisk it. This will ensure the seasoning is evening distributed throughout the recipe vs. just sprinkling it on top at the end.

6. To remove the harsh bite from the red onion, add slices to a bowl of water or white vinegar for approximately 15 minutes. Remove from liquid and pat dry before using.

7. When working with whole black peppercorns, it’s best to start with very small amounts and adjust upwards. The heat from freshly ground whole peppercorns is more intense than store-bought ground pepper.

8. When braising or brining with pickle juice, resist the temptation to add additional salt to your main dish or other side dishes you plan to serve. The juice has a naturally tangy, salty flavor that doesn’t need a lot of enhancement.

9. When blending hot ingredients in a blender, make sure the lid is adequately ventilated to prevent an “explosion” of hot ingredients when you turn it on.

10. Low heat is key to making stovetop frittatas. Fliipping a whole frittata is cumbersome, but if you keep the heat low, it will have time to cook through without overcooking the bottom.

Bonus Tip:

11. When making frittatas in a cast iron skillet, make sure it is well-seasoned. Otherwise, the egg will stick to the bottom and be difficult to get out of the pan.

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Hey there!

I'm Laurie Mallon, ACE-certified personal trainer and certified yoga instructor. I believe in giving women the tools they need to find their own path to wellness, and supporting and empowering them along the way!

 

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100+ Ways to Manage Your Time and Money and Stress Less

You know the saying, ‘Time is Money’?

I know, I know – this is a health and fitness blog – why am I talking about money and time?

Because saving time and money means less stress for you.

Also, even though the two areas (money and/or time management and health) appear somewhat unrelated, they have a LOT in common. Mostly that you’ve developed habits around both and you have autopilot behaviors that may ..or may not …take you where you want to go with either.

However, what I’ve seen is that once you get a handle on one, it’s easier to apply the same principles to the other one.

For example, you probably manage your money and your time the same way you manage your health. You’re either Type A – have a good idea of what you have saved, how much you will earn this week/month/year, know what you’re spending it on, are pretty disciplined about spending, and you’re mindful with your purchasing habits. You’re proactive, putting money away for the future, knowing that sure it would be tons of fun to splurge more often, but you’re thinking long term and know you’ll want to have something to fall back on in the future.

Same with your health. You’re either super aware of what’s going on with your health, you’re pretty diligent about eating vegetables, not loading up on processed food or added sugar. You have the occasional treat but it’s done mindfully, not emotionally. OR you’re more of a ‘live for today’ type, enjoying every delicious opportunity that appears in front of you and giving in to every inclination to comfort eat that comes along.

Also, the fact that you might not be great with money or have a solid knowledge about what’s going on with yours might lead to some low grade, chronic stress, which isn’t great for your health. You might not have full on panic attacks but the constant worry going on in the back of your mind about it is going to have some eventual side effects on your health.

Take a look and see if there are a few things here that might help you save money and stress!

  • Prep and pack Mason jar lunches

  • Batch cook – double the recipe and cook extra to freeze for later

  • Use a Bullet Journal instead of a planner to get more done in less time

  • Organize your refrigerator to prevent spoiling food and wasted money

  • Use an Instant Pot to make your own yogurt

  • Make your own salad dressing instead of buying prepared

  • Use a Vitamix to make your own nut butter

  • Make your own flour

  • Make your own yogurt pouches

  • Use grocery rebate apps like Ibotta and Checkout51 to get cash back on groceries

  • Bulk shop for pantry staples

  • Make your own baking mix for pancakes or quick breads

  • Go Meatless on Mondays (go to www.meatlessmonday.com for ideas!)

  • Try the Grocery Budget Makeover and slash your grocery bill

  • Get a SodaStream and stop buying expensive soda or seltzer

  • Use an Instant Pot to maximize your time cooking dinner

  • Make your own water flavoring

  • Meal plan to save money on last-minute takeout meals

  • Get a filtration system, like a Brita and reusable water bottle and stop buying overpriced bottled water

  • Make your own bread

  • Learn to can vegetables

  • Shop your pantry. Use up the items that have been sitting in there that you may have forgotten about

  • Buy dried beans instead of canned

  • Make your own oatmeal packets

  • Stop paying late fees on credit cards (set a reminder on your phone or sign up for autopay!)

  • Cancel your gym membership and workout at home

  • Refinance your home if your mortgage interest rate is high

  • Use credit cards with membership rewards programs like American Express

  • Organize linen closet with bins for medicines, first aid, baby items, sheets, pillowcases

  • Use vertical storage to get clutter off the floor

  • Create appt reminders so you don’t forget appointments and incur no-show fees

  • Evaluate your car insurance to avoid overpaying

  • Stack your errands to save money on gas and wear and tear on your car

  • Set up a home organization station like this one (from atcharlotteshouse.com) to keep family members organized

  • Outsource time-consuming tasks like lawn care

  • Use a home cleaning schedule to keep your home neat and clean, stop wasting time cleaning rooms that are hardly used or seen

  • Pack your lunch night before and streamline your morning routine (Psst… lunch bags don’t have to be fug! THIS ONE is adorable!)

  • Set up Help Yourself snack bins for your kids

  • Get into the habit of going to bed earlier and get more sleep (want to know how your sleep impacts productivity?)

  • Maximize your gym time by doing more circuit or HIIT-style workouts

  • Use a purse insert to save time and stay organized

  • Pack emergency items, paper towels, trash bags, extra clothes, back up snacks, and water in a Car Box

  • Make your own ice packs (here are five different ways to do it)

  • Purchase refurbished electronics.  Amazon now offers certified refurb items on their Amazon Renewed site. You can get refurbished smartphones, computers, laptops, tablets, home and kitchen appliances, game consoles, office products, and more!)

  • Make your own jewelry cleaner (Here’s how!)

  • Use washable microfiber cloths for cleaning

  • Wake up earlier and be more productive before the day starts (Click here for tips on better sleep)

  • Make your own 2nd day hair spray (xoJane.com has a great recipe here!) cut your shower time in half

  • Make your own disinfectant wipes

  • Shop with the season, buy things during the time of year they usually go on sale

  • Use Amazon Subscribe and Save to save you the time and hassle of shopping for items you use regularly

  • Use flickering LED lights instead of candles. Romance AND safety!

  • Make your own spice mixes instead of buying expensive premade ones (Wellnessmama.com has 14 recipes right here!)

  • Use Rent the Runway for formal dressing occasions – don’t buy outfits you’ll only wear once!

  • Create a capsule wardrobe and stop buying clothes you won’t wear (Don’t know what a capsule wardrobe is or how to create one? Click HERE)

  • Buy brand name preloved clothes on poshmark and thredup

  • Buy higher quality items in classic styles and wear them for several seasons instead of buying cheaper, trendier, disposable clothing every few months

  • Shop around for travel deals using websites like Expedia or Trivago

  • Use the Gas Buddy app to find the cheapest gas in your area

  • Order car parts online (Did you know you can buy replacement side mirrors on Amazon??)

  • Maintain your car to keep it running longer! Make sure to regularly check your air pressure, change your oil, and change your air filters! (Get your air filters on amazon and change them yourself instead of paying the dealership an arm and a leg to do it!)

  • Shop at stores (like Kroger and Costco) that offer points to use as discounts on gas

  • Subscribe to Kindle Unlimited or  Book Bub for deals on ebooks

  • Buy an Entertainment book and find coupons for local attractions

  • Find deals for local events on Groupon

  • Use Redbox to rent movies and video games

  • Cancel cable and stream your entertainment with Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon using a Firestick, Apple TV, or a Playstation console

  • Get active and find a local ‘Get Started in Sports’ program near you

  • Use your local library to check out books instead of buying them at a bookstore or ordering from Amazon

  • While you’re at the library check out movies instead of seeing them in the theater

  • Host a Moms’ Night In instead of going out. Play Bunco, host a book club, or a craft night! Need more ideas? Check here.

  • Buy pre-owned games and game systems at GameStop

  • Take a Staycation – explore your own town or county and find some hidden gems

  • Use reusable snack bags Bumkins Reusable Snack Bag Small 2 Pack, Crocs & Turtle (B2)

  • Make your own play-doh

  • Organize a mom swap

  • Buy a Cricut or Silhouette cutter and make your own party decorations

  • Shop consignment sales for deals on gently used toys and clothes

  • Buy discounted gift cards on Raise.com ahead of time if you know you are shopping at certain stores

  • Buy themed items for next year the day after it happens this year – Halloween costumes, Valentine’s Day cards, Christmas decorations, Thanksgiving place settings

  • Use ebates.com or mrrebates.com and get money back on your online purchases

  • Stop spending too much! Use the Krazy Koupon Lady’s stock up price list!

  • Go on a cash diet – take your credit and debit cards out of your wallet and replace it with cash – you’ll be less tempted to spend money

  • Use Earny to get cash back (it scans your email to find receipts and gets your cash back if it finds a cheaper price elsewhere)

  • Use Snipsnap app to find coupons for in-store and online shopping

  • Look at Groupon Goods

  • Watch Amazon’s Lightning Deals feed to snap up big discounts that are only available for a limited time

  • Schedule “leftover night’ on your weekly meal plan to make sure you use up anything that didn’t get eaten during the week. (Want more help creating a family menu plan? Click here!)

    Pssst… Want my healthy recipes and printable workouts? 

They’re all yours! Get access here:

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or Registered Dietitian. The information presented is purely to share my experience and for entertainment purposes. As always, check with a doctor before making any fitness or nutrition changes. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities or ideas from this site.

Creating a Capsule Wardrobe

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You guys know I’m all about self-care and doing things that make my life easier. Sadly, one of my biggest challenges in life is pulling myself together, clothes-wise. I cannot, to save my life, go clothes shopping and come home with an outfit that fits, is flattering, stylish, or looks nice. I just don’t have this gift.

Unfortunately, because I just can’t even with clothes, my closet is a hot mess. I barely wear 80 percent of the clothes I own because they either don’t fit, need to be hemmed, or just don’t go with anything else I own.

WHY did I buy them in the first place?

They were either on sale (hi, I’m cheap!…errr… frugal!) or it was cute but in a size I wanted to be, not a size that I actually was. so now it hangs in the closet, patiently waiting for me to fit into it. Or I really liked it but it turns out I didn’t already own something to go with it.

Maybe I needed something fast and I hate shopping so much that I grabbed the first thing that resembled what I needed and headed to the register. Or worse, I didn’t even bother going into an actual store and I bought it online. When it arrived at my house, it was not exactly what I wanted and I didn’t hate it enough to return but I didn’t love it enough to wear it, either.

This led to me standing in my closet in my underwear for 20 minutes every day.

When I went back to work full time, I did some quick shopping (the best kind, as far as I’m concerned) and I bought what I thought I needed to build a starter work wardrobe. And you guessed it… I bought stuff that didn’t fit, didn’t look good, or didn’t match anything else I owned. Getting dressed every day was an uber-chore. I started wearing the same handful of outfits over and over out of sheer frustration but I knew pretty soon my coworkers were going to start to notice and maybe get a little worried about me, you know…mentally.

So what I did about it.

I’m delegated. I recognized that this wasn’t something I was good at or had the time and/or energy to learn to do. I did a quick Google search (It may or may not have contained the phrase Find someone to pick out all my clothes) and I was greeted with a few options:

  1. Hire a personal shopper – a lot of department stores have this option. You give a member of their staff an idea of what you’re looking for (clothes for work, a night out, a special occasion, etc) and they pull together a few looks for you to try on. I’ve never done this but I’ll tell you that right off the bat, it involves going to the store so I don’t like it. If you get there and the stuff they’ve pulled just isn’t ‘you’ then you need to wait for them to pull a few more outfits. This defeats the purpose for me because I want to get in and out of the store (if I have to go in at all!) as quickly as possible.

  2. Sign up for StitchFix– This is a monthly service that pairs you with a stylist and they send you a monthly shipment of 5 items based on your Style Profile. Buy what you like, return what you don’t, and the shipping is free both ways. You’re only charged for what you keep.  Know that you have to be very specific in your questionnaire about what you want them to send and what you do not.

    Being that I’m petite with a short torso and a large chest, there are certain items that I just will not wear. As it turns out, I have quite a list of DON’TS, such as, I don’t do horizontal stripes, high neck tops, or fruit-patterned clothing. Wouldn’t you know that I got all of these in one shipment? I realize I’m picky for someone who can’t shop for themselves. It wasn’t a complete bust, they did send me a couple of cute pieces that I kept but sadly, I needed more help than StitchFix could offer.

  3. Cue the Capsule Wardrobe – DING DING DING!
    Susie Faux coined the phrase ‘capsule wardrobe’ in the 70’s. Donna Karan popularized it in the 80’s. Now you can search Pinterest and find a capsule wardrobe for every shape, season, and color scheme. The meaning of the phrase has changed over time, though. Originally it referred a few high quality staple pieces worn season after season, but it now refers to a collection of about 40 clothing items (this number varies) that can be interchanged to create a season’s worth of outfits.

This concept speaks to me.

When I first heard about this concept I thought “Yes! It’s genius! It’s like Garanimals for grown ups!” (ICYMI- Garanimals is a brand of children’s clothes containing pieces that were made to coordinate with each other based on the picture on the tag. Match the picture on the tag and you’ve got an outfit that goes together. I’ve said for years I wanted Garanimals to expand to adult clothes for people, like me, who just don’t have an eye for what goes with what.)

This was the solution I needed.

Thankfully, I found Alison at Get Your Pretty On and she does all the heavy lifting. She designs the capsule wardrobe, provides the shopping list (and there are items at all price points!) and she shows you how to mix and match all the pieces so you always look put together.

She even has different capsules depending on your style (casual vs dressy) and she updates them every season!

You can find out more about this here in the GET YOUR PRETTY ON CAPSULE WARDROBE CHALLENGE page.

Before you start…

Before you create your capsule wardrobe, inventory of what you’ve already got. Go through your closet. Make 3 piles and name them Keep, Donate, and Trash.

·      The Keep pile is for everything that fits and is in good condition, or has some kind of sentimental value.

·      The Donate/Sell pile is for items that are still in good condition but do not fit properly or can’t be paired with anything you own or think you may own in the future. If they’ve got a decent resale value consider selling them on ThredUp. You can use this money to purchase items for your new capsule!

·      The Trash pile is for everything that is not in good condition. You’ve worn the life out of it, literally, and it’s got nothing left to give.

Remember to use Ebates or MrRebates if you plan to do your capsule shopping online! If you aren’t familiar with these two sites, they are online shopping rebate programs. It’s like a built in online discount!

Once you’ve made physical space for your new, awesome wardrobe, get shopping! You can find her staple wardrobe here plus she does seasonal capsules so you always have the option to switch things up!

Pssst… Want my healthy recipes and printable workouts? 

They’re all yours! Get access here:

 Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or Registered Dietitian. The information presented is purely to share my experience and for entertainment purposes. As always, check with a doctor before making any fitness or nutrition changes. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities or ideas from this site.

6 Self-care Mistakes You’re Probably Making Right Now

 

 

Mistake #1You’re not even practicing self-care. Like at all.

You’re taking care of everyone else BUT yourself. Putting everyone else’s needs above your own and leaving yourself for last. Maybe you feel guilty putting yourself first and carving out You-time? I get it, but self-care is CRITICAL to your health. Without self-care, your stress levels can skyrocket and stay there… leaving you susceptible to some nasty chronic health conditions.

Mistake #2You think self-care = a spa day

You’re not taking time for yourself because you think that self-care has to be super time consuming, like an all-day activity that requires getting a sitter, taking a day off of work, or cutting into the weekend family time.

Nope, self-care can be as quick as a five-minute meditation sesh, a quiet cup of coffee after the kids get on the bus, or an impromptu downward dog to clear your head. It can even be a super fast, no-equipment-needed, 10-minute workout!

Mistake #3 You’re doing SOMEONE ELSE’S idea of self-care

Let’s get clear here – self-care means you have to do what recharges YOU. Don’t like my ideas of self-care? Not interested in meditation or a silent coffee break? No worries, figure out what your soul craves or what gives you energy and do that instead! Go for a walk, call a friend and reconnect socially. Remember, the purpose of self-care is what’s good for your SELF.

Related – Want to learn how to incorporate meditation sessions into your day?

Mistake #4 You’re not doing it often enough

Are you waiting until special occasions like Mother’s Day or your birthday to take a break? Maybe you feel like you need to wait until you have permission to bust out the self-care card and go do your own thing. NOPE!

I’m giving you permission right now to take your self-care break whenever you want or need it! Self-care needs to be a regular activity – think monthly, weekly, even daily activities that help you reconnect to yourself.

Mistake #5You think self-care doesn’t include things like planning, organizing, scheduling, and setting boundaries

This is a common one. To clarify – self-care is anything you do that helps YOU take care of YOU.

This includes managing your time so that you’re not left in a rush or a panic to do things last minute, like making to-do lists and packing your lunch the night before. It includes meal planning and making grocery lists. It includes managing your weekly schedule so you’re not stretched too thin, causing you to run out of time and energy. It’s taking care of your home so you’re not stressed about your environment. It’s turning down invitations that require you having to spend an hour at a social event where you’re really uncomfortable. It’s saying NO to things that drain you and don’t provide you with energy.

Self-care time management suggestions:

Mistake #6You don’t think self-care is that important

Without regular de-stressing activities, your cortisol level remains elevated. This chronic stress can contribute to conditions such as adrenal fatigue and lowered immunity, and an inability to manage your health.

Related: Want to know what happens if you don’t get that stress level under control?

Put regular self-care activities in your calendar so you remember to take that time for yourself!

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or Registered Dietitian. The information presented is purely to share my experience and for entertainment purposes. As always, check with a doctor before making any fitness or nutrition changes. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities or ideas from this site. 

 

 

6 self care mistakes

6 self care mistakes