Clean Up The Clutter

Its January already? Yes, I know it is the second week but that is the thought that went through my mind at the beginning of the year. Is there any one else like that?

I thought so.

Christmas and New Years are filled with fun, family, outings, shopping, and parties. Its crazy busy and all of a sudden January steps in. For most people life slows down just a bit but not for me. January is one of our busiest times of the year. Knowing this, Dean and I had to simplify life. Our menu plan had to be simplified. We didn’t want meals to creep up that we were not prepared for. If we did that our health gets pushed to the side.

With all the busyness we made that area simple for us. Our goal? Simple meals that we've eaten before. Nothing fancy but meals we knew we could count on. Meals our family already enjoyed.

What in the world does that have to do with you?

Well……. Are you busy? Is your plate full driving here and there with the kids? Getting to work? A Social life? Adding in time for the love of your life? Business meetings in the evenings? Saturday sports for the kids?

3 Strategies I Use to Get My Meals On the Table In January​

  1. Plan One week of meals: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” This is going to take some planning and organization. Figure out which nights you will be home to cook dinner and which nights you need a quicker option (a go-to meal or something from the freezer). Then plan what you will make for dinner the nights you are home. Make sure you will have some leftovers for breakfast and lunch. Also make a plan for some breakfast and lunch options that are quick and easy. This will make creating your grocery list very simple. I then repeat my meal plan the next week. 

  2. Grocery Shop: Stock your fridge with lean proteins, eggs, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Fill your pantry with cooking staples such as (coconut oil, almond meal, and a variety of spices).

  3. Establish “Go-To Meals”: Pick 2-3 meals that can be prepared in about 15 minutes on those nights that you get home late and don’t feel like cooking. Our favorite is breakfast for dinner, and the recipe I make most often is Carlson Breakfast Hash. Use Your crock pot as much as possible. One of our favorite meals is Chicken Enchilada Soup.  My last tip/suggestion here is to cook several meals on the weekend and freeze some. 

Our Family Favorite to Make Each Week

Carlson Family Secret Meatball Recipe

Coconut oil

1.5 pounds ground beef (we use a mixture of venison and beef)

½ yellow onion, diced

1 egg, whisked

¼ cup almond flour

1 teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon chili powder

Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat and add onions. Cook until onions are translucent. In a large bowl, add ground beef, onions, egg, almond flour, and seasonings. Mix thoroughly using your hands. Roll into little bite-sized balls and place on a parchment paper lines baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of the meatballs. Serve with the tomato sauce recipe from below.

Secret Tomato Sauce to go with the Secret Meatball Recipe

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped (or 1 tablespoon dried thyme)

½ medium carrot, finely shredded

2 28-ounce cans peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand

Salt

In a saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and light golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the thyme and carrot and cook 5 more minutes, until the carrot is soft. Add the tomatoes and juices from tomato cans and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt. The sauce can be refrigerated for 1 week or frozen for 6 months.

The end result of getting your meal planning done ahead of time?

You can relax knowing your plan is thought out in advance. You have planned your meals and therefore have a shopping list to be prepared for those meals. Your time frees up as you've taken the few minutes to plan and now it is time to execute the plan. You reap a multitude of benefits the whole day long knowing your meals are going to be less stressful, more organized.

To your best health,

Coach Nancy

About the author

Coach Nancy

Nancy Carlson is a Certified Professional Fitness Trainer with the National Exercise and Sports Trainer Association, a Level 1 Youth Conditioning Specialist with the International Youth Conditioning Association, and is a Level 2 Certified Precision Nutrition Master coach. Nancy was recognized in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 as the “Best of the Best” Fitness Trainer in Southern NH by the Hippo Press.

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