October 9, 2013

Life, meal planning, and Italian Sub Soup

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Has anyone else been super stressed lately?  I'm sure if you work in the school system, it may have caught up with you.  I was talking to a few friends at work today and I said I am just waiting for the day to come when I feel "all caught up" and feel like I am getting through the waters instead of just plain drowning in them.  I hate feeling this way.  Whenever I am not at work, all I want to do is think about it...how can I be better at my job?  How can I do more?  Am I even helping students anymore?  I pray every day that I can be more effective and help shape and mold the lives of those sweet kids, but most days I leave work wondering if I did anything good that day, besides sit at my desk and analyze all this data.  Data that I have to keep track of to make sure I am being effective.  Isn't that ironic?

I think the world just seems to be falling apart right now to a lot of us, with the government not getting their act together, and the school systems being told what to do by said shady government and therefore putting tons of expectations on our teachers and admin and other staff (ahem...counselors...) that they don't even understand...it's just a MESS.

My comfort is that I get to come home to my family and spend time with them.  I get to cook and read and do some DIY project or spruce up a part of the house and *sometimes* that makes me feel like I have my life together.  Believe me when I tell you, I totally don't!  

One thing I have been trying this week is sticking to a menu plan for each night, and cooking a scrumptious dinner to enjoy with the family.  I really love to cook.  Do you?  I'm finding that it's a stress reliever lately.  I need lots of stress relievers to tackle life right now!!!  I think I told you before that I  follow this blog and love her idea about planning your meals on Google Cal.  It's changing my life, for real!

I went onto Google Calendar this weekend and planned out our meals for this week.  I actually have been using the recipes that Edie suggested on her blog, and I'll give you the links to those.  Everything I've made as been really yummy!  The only thing I did on my own was the pork meal on Monday, I ended up cooking a roast I had in the freezer already, instead of doing the crock pot chops listed below.  Why buy something when you have some meat already stocked in the freezer?  Seemed silly...anyways...here is a screen shot of my calendar...

Here is a closer shot...

So you put it all in Google Cal and copy/paste the recipe into the details of the calendar.  Then, you go to your IPhone and sync it with Google Cal and look at this...get ready...it IS life changing...

Your meals are listed right there on your ICal...and if you hit that, guess what happens?

The recipe that you copy and pasted on your Google Cal is RIGHT THERE on your FLIPPIN phone. So all you have to do is go into your kitchen with your phone and its ALL.RIGHT.THERE in the palm of your hand.  Not just any old recipe that you pull up from food network, this is a recipe that you've planned for and plotted and shopped for...right there!

Ok, enough of that archaic excitement and in all seriousness, it really has helped me a lot this week.  I shopped very deliberately at the store on Sunday and tried to only bought what I needed for the recipes and then daily things that we need all the time (milk, eggs, ham for sammies, fruit, etc) and I spent $30 less then I usually do.  I actually would have spent even less than that but Dave was with me on that trip and I ALWAYS end up spending $20-$30 extra on things when he is around.  He convinces me we need the Reese's Cups (you know my sugar gets low a lot) and the pickles (come on babe, I can't eat a sandwich without pickles)!!!!!!  LOL.  So yeah, I could have spent less.  I buy a lot of organic and whole food things now, so that automatically jacks up prices but that is worth it to me.

This has also helped me because I am not scrambling around looking for the recipe or wondering if I have the ingredients or stressed out because I don't know how to make it.  With it on my phone, it's easy to shop for, it's easy to glance at the recipe the night before, or the day of before I cook, to get familiar with what I am doing.  It's also helped me cook three new recipes this week that we have really loved.  It helps being organized!  

Ok onto the delicious soup I made tonight.  It's a recipe from Edie's blog, since I was on there a lot learning about this whole cooking-gone-digital thing...It's called Italian Sub Soup.  Yes, you heard me right.  Think of a delicious Italian sub from the deli, but take out the bread and add in the broth.  It was seriously delightful and you need to go to the store right now, RIGHT NOW, and get the ingredients to make it.  I served it with a rustic wheat baguette and butter.  Did I say it was seriously delightful yet?

Here is the link to the recipe for Italian Sub Soup.

My pictures don't do it justice...

You throw a whole lotta Italian type meat in the pot (salami, pepperoni, Canadian bacon, deli ham) and some garlic, peppers, and onion and let it all sing together in olive oil.  I could've eaten it this way.  I swear I am part Italian somewhere inside me.  I LOVE ALL THINGS ITALIAN!  Anyways, caramelize all the meat before adding anything else in.  You won't regret it.  Well, your thighs and butt might, but hey...at least there are very little carbs in this;)  Silver lining?

Sorry, I got distracted.  Anyways, then you add a 28oz can of tomatoes (I used crushed), chicken broth (I used 1/2 chicken and 1/2 veggie) some honey and balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, oregano and red pepper flakes.  

At the very end I threw in some spinach to give it that healthy kick;)  No seriously, her recipe says you should and it's very tasty.

The meat flavors this whole soup.  It was amazing.  We devoured it and although we have leftovers because it makes a lot...I'm sure that by tomorrow night it will all be gone.  It's that good!  

If you cook it, please come back and tell me that you are amazed too.  I love finding recipes that I can use over and over and with fall and winter coming up, soup is a fun thing to add into our meal rotation. I am hitting "repeat" on my Google Cal to make this once a month.  I may be forced to make it earlier then that, we'll see.  

Anyways, head over to Edie's blog because she really is lovely and I enjoy reading over there, and please try this recipe because you haven't lived until you do.  I promise.  

The other recipes that I made this week were also so yummy and good.  Here they are:

Good night!