FIVE THINGS TO DO ON YOUR DAY OFF THAT WILL MAKE YOUR WEEK EASIER

I know myself well enough to assume that after a 10 hour work day, I will not be coming home with enough energy to cook a whole dinner from scratch. Heck, I know myself well enough to assume that I also won’t wake up early enough before said 10 hour work day to make breakfast or pack lunch. If I didn’t take a few hours on my day off to prep for the week ahead, I’m sure I would end up eating ice cream out of the carton while staring mindlessly into the fridge waiting for dinner to magically appear. Spoiler alert: dinner does NOT magically appear, however, the ice cream magically disappears and I go to bed half hungry/half ashamed of myself for taking down that much ice cream. I also feel like planning ahead is a gluten free girl’s best friend (don’t worry Marilyn, I love diamonds too! They’re gluten free!). Planning ahead may save you from making unhealthy choices, especially if you forgot to pack lunch and your coworkers are ordering out, you don’t want salad again do you? Here are the five things I do on my day off that make the rest of my week easier!

1. Cook your grains for the week.
You won’t believe how much time this will save you! Why waste 20 minutes every night when you only have to do it one time for the whole week! The recommended serving size of whole grains is 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa or brown rice. Tailor this to your family and you can cook up a batch to last you all week. Here are a few recipes to make sure you get whole grains in your diet (and why it’s important):
The importance of whole grains in your diet
Buffalo Quinoa Bites
Unstuffed Peppers
Quinoa Pizza Bites

2. Make sure your breakfast is “grab ‘n go”.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but mornings are hectic enough, so if it takes more than five minutes, it’s not happening for me. I bake up easy to freeze, easy to grab breakfast cups on my day off that end up lasting me longer than just the week ahead.
Morning Glory Muffins
Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins
Sweet Potato Black Bean Frittatas

3. Soup!
A big batch of soup is easy to throw together, and while it cooks you can spend time prepping other food, or just relaxing. Soup freezes well and is so comforting in the colder seasons, once summer comes just switch to gazpacho! Split it up into single serving containers and lunch is ready to go!
Bean Soup
Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili

4. Prep your vegetables.
Wash, cut up, and store your produce as recommended and you’ll be surprised with how much time you save durning the week and that you actually use them. Americans throw away nearly $165 billion in food a year, imagine how much less you would waste if you could just reach into your fridge and grab ready to use veggies! Throw some into a stir fry, frittata or salad and dinner is ready in no time.

5. Dust off your slow cooker and plan a day during the week to use it.
If dinner is cooking while you’re at work there’s nothing to worry about when you get home except which wine to drink! I’m not a morning person so I have been known to throw everything together the night before in the ceramic insert and just refrigerate it so it’s ready to go the next morning.

What is your favorite time saving tip in the kitchen?

UNPLUGGING

Settle in folks, I have a feeling this is going to be a long one… Let me start by saying that, when it works, technology is awesome, and I mean in the “The universe is awesome!” way, not the “OMG those shoes are awesome!” way. One of my favorite memories of my Pappaw, a very curious man with a passion for learning new things, is when we would reach a point in conversation where one of us would say “I wonder why that is?”, and he would say “Google it!”. It was the greatest thing in the world to be able to reach into my pocket for my phone and teach the man I had learned so much from something he didn’t know.

That being said…I have a love/hate relationship with technology, especially cell phones. I LOVE that they keep me connected to the people I care about, provide me with information, and find me the nearest Starbucks. I HATE that they take people away from me who are in the same room, make people forget their manners, and allow me to be available 24/7 at times when I wish to be very unavailable. Because of my reasons for hating technology, I have started to fantasize about unplugging. In case you are unfamiliar with the term, unplugging from technology is where you choose to turn off your phones, tablets, computers, etc, and disconnect from the distractions that are keeping you from living in the present. Living in the present, doesn’t that sound lovely?

My husband and I work opposite schedules, we hardly ever get to spend time together, so of course on the rare evening together we treasure every second, deep in conversation, focused on nothing else but each other. HAHAHAHAHA! Yeah right! On the nights that we do have more than five minutes of each other’s time, my husband watches tv while I make dinner, we eat side by side at the kitchen island, I Instagram my food while he checks Twitter, and when we are done we migrate to the couch so he can channel surf while I scroll mindlessly through Pinterest until it’s time to go to bed. A fairy tale life right? Don’t get me wrong, I have an amazing husband and an incredible marriage, but there is another woman and her name is Siri. I can’t say that I blame him, she’s smart, always turned on, and never gains weight; my only saving grace is my cooking. Of course I’m not saying it’s all his fault, I’m just as guilty as he is and I’ll be the first to admit to checking social media constantly. God forbid I miss a picture of someone’s kid, food, dog or selfie. I don’t however use my phone at restaurants out of respect for my fellow diners, my guest, and the staff; it just stays in my purse. Do you know what happens when I don’t check my phone for the length of a meal? The people who called, texted and ‘liked’ waited, and I survived. Now imagine that at home, what if a technology free conversation went uninterrupted and ended up revealing that your husband has always wanted to go on a cruise and that revelation turned into planning one together?! When my husband and I first started dating a bad storm knocked my power out for five days, every night he came over and we spent time getting to know each other, played board games and just enjoyed spending time together. If unplugging is anything like that, count me in! (Minus the no electricity/only eating food you don’t have to cook part.).

Do you set time aside in your life to unplug?

TEN THINGS NOT TO SAY TO SOMEONE WITH A GLUTEN INTOLERANCE

Now I love educating people and answering the occasional curious question, but these are just a handful of things I would avoid saying to someone with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance (followed by the reaction I have in my head when someone actually does say these to me).

1. “Can’t you just pick it out?” Would you say this to someone with a peanut allergy?

2. “Are you still on a diet?”  It’s not a diet, it’s a disorder!

3. “I’m sure you can find something to eat here, they have salads!” Right, I would love to spend $10+ on a salad at a meal that I’m sharing with inconsiderate company, who will probably offer me the bread they bring to the table because they “forgot”.

4. “I would love to cut out gluten, but it’s so expensive to go gluten free!”  I guess if you just have to have those $7.00 cookies…

5. “Ugh, I would die if I couldn’t have gluten.”  Well it’s too bad you can eat it then, isn’t it?

6. “It only has a little flour in it.”  Oh good, I don’t mind “a little” diarrhea then!

7. “My friend has a gluten intolerance, but he still eats it sometimes.”  Well every gluten intolerance is different, and your friend is a horrible example.

8. “Too bad you can’t have this, it’s really yummy.”  Now you’re just being a jerk.

9. “I don’t believe gluten intolerance is real, why are we just now hearing about it?”  I didn’t realize having more knowledge about something automatically makes it fake.

10. “Can you still have potatoes?”  OK, just stop. Go google “gluten” before you embarrass yourself any further.