Join the Spring Soup & Salad Challenge!

Spring Soup and Salad Challege (2).png

What better way to make it through the Spring rains than with a hearty bowl of soup?  And when lettuce and vegetables are in season, there’s nothing more satisfying than a fresh plate of salad. I’ll be trying some delicious new recipes along with friends and family participating in my 10-week “Jen’s Test Kitchen” offering. We’ll focus the first  5 weeks on nutritious & delicious soups and weeks 6-10 we’ll turn our attention to fresh, meal-size salads.

You should join us! I’ll be featuring simple, delicious & nutritious recipes from some experienced cooks as well as tried and true recipes that have made my list of favorites. You can follow the Vegetarian track, the Meat Lovers track, or mix and match recipes as desired. A complete list of schedule meals can be found here. 

You don’t have to officially sign up to participate in this challenge, however all those who participate in any capacity over the course of the next ten weeks (trying one recipe or all of the recipes) will be entered into a drawing to win Esther’s Seasonings Variety Pack.

Your participation will be tracked by comments on blog posts. For every comment, your name will be entered into the “hat” (more comments = more chances to win)! I hope you’ll join the Nourishing Foundations community in this endeavor. Happy Spring!

P.S. This is not a belated April Fool’s joke; this was my car window this morning:

Nevertheless, I am determined to hold onto the hope of Spring! Sorry, Winter, you’re fighting a losing battle. Spring will come again!

Half-@ssed New Year’s Resolutions (+ Reviews of Trim Healthy Mama & Plan to Eat)

This is me, being kind to myself – ignoring the clothes that need to be folded and enjoying coffee/computer time while my husband and son are out:

New Year 2018 Take 2

Happy 2018! The New Year kind of snuck up on me this time around. Somewhere between nursing my new baby and surfing FB, I realized I haven’t taken time to make any New Year’s resolutions. I started to feel bad about that, but awoke this morning and realized I’m kind of done with resolutions. I appreciate the fresh start that January 1 offers and all, but I’m so over being disappointed with myself half way through February when I haven’t been as consistent as I had hoped.

​I was talking with my dear friend and Life Coach, Whitney Post, on the phone the other day, recounting the all the moments I was NOT the gentle parent I aspire to be with my son. Adjusting to two kids has been wonderful and incredibly hard, all at the same time. Whit, in her typical profound question-asking fashion, suggested, “How about being gentle to mama (referring to me)?” Ummmm…yeah. What does that look like?

Well, for starters, it means this year I’m not making any New Year’s resolutions except for half-@ssed ones that don’t really count. Yup, that’s right. I’m not expecting anything more of myself.  I do, however,  have a few goals I am going to be intentional about pursuing. They may or may not commence January 1, and that’s ok. Also, I may or may not implement them with 100% fidelity, and that’s ok too. ​​

In the realm of physical nourishment, I will share two goals publicly in hopes that it will offer some form of accountability. I find that speaking (or writing) things out helps me, so here goes:

1. Use Plan to Eat on a more regular basis

plan to eat
I’ve shared about this meal planning program before. Basically, Plan to Eat is a customizable meal planning website that helps you keep track of your recipes, meal plans, and shopping list — all in one place. I have been using it on and off over the past three years. With the ability to drag-and-drop recipes into calendar, a shopping list created based on recipes chosen, and simple input of new recipes it is easy to use and customize to one’s dietary needs. Also, I find several benefits when I use this program on a regular basis:

  • Reduced grocery bill due to the fact that I buy only what we need based on the meal plan I’ve made for the week.
  • Healthier eating for the whole family because I have a plan in place and we are not subject to the whims of taste buds and convenience.
  • I feel less stressed and more on my game

If you want to give Plan to Eat a try, sign up for their 30 day free trial here. Also, I’d love to share all of my recipes with you, so be sure to let me know if you do sign up!

2. Give the Trim Healthy Mama plan a try

Trim Healthy Mama
I often see January as a time to “re-set” my body, especially after all of the allowances I give myself around Thanksgiving and Christmas, when processed sugar is REALLY hard to avoid. In year’s past I have used this season as a time to do the Whole 30GAPSEat to Live and other healthy re-boots. This year, I’m nursing and want to be sure I don’t compromise my milk supply, so it’s going to look a little different. My friend, Emily, introduced me to this plan and some of the recipes – super delicious! In short, it’s basically a carb-cycling dietary plan. More info here if you’re interested in learning more.

So what about you? What kind of New Year’s Resolutions are you coming up with for this year? I’d especially love to hear what is working for you in the realm of food and physical nourishment.

 

A Review of Plan to Eat

 

Please note, this blog post contains affiliate links. If you use these links, I get some extra grocery money (not enough to hire a personal chef). 

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I’ll never forget one of the wedding gifts I received from a co-worker shortly after I was married and settling into my new role as wife/domestic goddess: a meal planning note pad. Though I thanked her profusely for her thoughtful gift, the note pad ended up in the back of one of my kitchen drawers, forgotten and barely used. I rediscovered it at some point and tried using it, but the tedious process of meal planning never really seemed to click for me.

Fast forward a few years later when I was living the dream of part-time stay-at-home mom (ha! – as if there’s such a thing as a part-time mom!) and part-time teacher, feeling the need to be a little more organized about my meal preparation and planning. I spent a long time researching and trying various meal planning programs before I found one that actually worked well for me. When I discovered Plan to Eat, I was thrilled to find a tool that incorporated my need for a shopping list easily generated from my meal plan…

healthy recipes of my choosing (not someone else’s pre-generated ideas of what I should cook):
and an easy, user-friendly, drag-and-drop planner:

I have been using Plan to Eat for about three years now. I’ll be honest, I tend to use this tool more when I am running a pilot meal program for friends  and HAVE to be organized; I find myself slacking a bit when the pressure is off. Though this lack of consistency is less than ideal, it has allowed me to notice a couple of significant changes when I am regularly using Plan to Eat:

1. I am better about saying on budget with groceries because I have everything planned out and am not spending $ based on whims/impulse buys at the grocery store.

2. I am prone to a healthier diet when I take the time to meal plan and think ahead (even if I don’t stick with the plan 100%)

This has been an invaluable tool in both my personal and professional life. If you’re thinking of trying to get a little more strategic in your diet and meal planning efforts, I think you will find this Plan to Eat well worth your time and money. Let me know if you do purchase a membership and I will happily share my recipe library with you (it’s sooo easy to do with another member)!