Plan With Me: September 2018

So this is my BIRTH MONTH!!! I’m playing it super chill this year, since summer was so packed full of events, and I did a lot last year for my birthday. I was planning on some events, but they’ve fallen through, sadly. Next year though. There’s next year, and next year will be a better year (hint: I’ll be worth a US quarter! I know I’m worth so much more than that, but it’s a cute joke!).

For this month, I have more content planned for you guys, and this will be more of a month for relaxing, taking long weekends, and enjoying alone time, and time with those I care about the most. Let’s get to planning, shall we?

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I usually start with my whiteboard, even though I should start with my Artist of Life Workbook review of the previous month. Wiping it clean allows me to have a clean slate of what will be in front of me, so I can just keep the past, well, the past. I set the month up numerically, then go into the review of the previous month, for what I didn’t finish.

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On the whiteboard, I note any plans, and for this month, it’s just my birthday and a live chat that I have in my Artist of Life Mastermind group, as you can see. Sometimes it’s as simple as that, and other times, it’s more complicated like June was.From there, I can easily see what is happening, and what days are where.

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Since it’s an easy glance, I go from there, into either my notebook, like this month, or into a digital note, usually on my phone, to plan out what blog posts I want to do that month. Then from the ideas, I set the date I want them to be posted on.

For this month, since I had things written out on paper, and I wrote down some notes, I took the themes of the blog posts, and put them on a sticky to-do note pad, and on the far side I write the tentative days I wanted to post them on.

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Past this, I don’t have much plans for the month, other than tentative plans of relaxing, and birthday dinner(s), depending if I feel like doing a solo date, and one with my dad, and if my guy and I go out.

I also planned out my meals for the month, since I’m doing a cleaning out of our cupboards this month. It’ll help me with some of the food days, plus clean out the stock we have, and I don’t feel bad for wasting it, or donating it.

I know there’s people who could use the help, and I’ve been there before (ironically, there’s a few canned goods that are left over from my dad’s raid of his pantry, since he’s doing a Keto meets low sodium diet).

I used to take a big monthly wall calendar to meal plan, but I noticed that I would forget what I was meal planning for the week, when I’d be shopping, and wonder why I would need one random ingredient, or something of the like, and dumb me would just not get it.

Now that I’ve gone digital, I can look at the meal plans on the go, and if I can’t recall why I need something, or if I need to tweak something, I can see what needs it, more on the fly. I love being frugal and prepared, and it’s so much easier. Plus, with trying to be more conscious of what I use, and why (really, the Konmari mentality, of if it truly brings me joy, and adds value to my life), I feel better by using what I already have.

What do you do to plan your month? Do you meal plan for the month, or by the week, if at all? I’d love to know your answers, truly!

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(Re) Make it Monday: Jazz Up a Cheap Meal (Rice-a-roni)

This will be my first over time, to doll up basic boxed dinners like Hamburger/Tuna Helper, Rice-a-Roni, and Knorr Pasta/Rice sides.

Today, I’m starting with a Rice-a-Roni dinner. They’re about a buck, and you add meat (chicken, turkey, pork, certain fish), and you have the meal there. But this one, *my* version, adds a twist!

So start with browning your meat.

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Add diced veggies you’d like out of:
Onion
Tomato
Any color bell pepper
Mushrooms

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If you want to make it breakfast-y, add scrambled eggs. Past that, follow the directions on the back of the box of how to cook the rice!

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Some other possible add ins might be:

Salsa
Shredded Cheese
Diced Chiles
Jalapenos
Ro-Tel

How do you make your simple rice-a-roni a little fancy? Which one is your favorite to make? Is there one you can’t stand?

Foodie FriYAY: Crockpot Lasagna (gone slightly wrong)

So earlier this week, I attempted a lasagna roll recipe that would cook in the crock pot. It didn’t go as planned, but I did make instead just a lasagna bake in a crock pot. Here’s the journey.

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This is 100% the last time you’ll see this pot. It went up in flames not too long after this picture. But anyway, boil some water, add some seasoning and oil, break your lasagna in half (both in how much is in the 1 lb box, and in length, like you might do for spaghetti and kids), and cook to the box’s demands.

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While you have your lasagna noodles cooking, chop up any veggies (I KNOW TOMATO IS A FRUIT….DRINK KETCHUP THEN AS A SMOOTHIE THEN. DO IT.) and cook your protein of choice (or not…I’m not in charge of you).

While you’re at it, pour a drink. Because this is where it went ALL WRONG FOR ME, so it may do the same for you. If it goes wrong, you have a drink. If it goes right, you have a drink.

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I don’t like broadcasting failures, so here’s what happened after things went wrong, and I just went f*ck it and changed it into a casserole dish before I burned the whole place down with the pot that caught fire (YES I KNOW HALF OF IT WAS MY FAULT, FOR CATCHING ON FIRE lol, don’t judge me haha).

I took the lasagna noodles, layered it, put riocotta cheese, then my veggies, then my meat, and repeated the process until I ran out of it all. It became like 3 good layers. Oh, add sauce as you wish as well.

After it looks something like this, finish the sauce and add shredded cheese. I took a 3 cheese Italian blend. Make it look like this:

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Then, for about 45 minutes to an hour (depending on how your crock pot handles the high setting, and how crispy you like that top layer of cheese), cook it on high.

Serve like you would regular lasagna, and save the rest (if you have any).

This can serve 2 people for 2-5 meals, depending on hunger levels, and what it’s paired with (salad, dessert, other sides), so take that as you will.

Have you tried a crock pot lasagna dish? How did you like it? Did you do anything different than I did? Share with me, so I can try it as well!

If you have any tips to do the little rolls, TELL ME YOUR WAYS below.

Take Care Tuesday: How I Planned My Summer

I have one heck of a summer planned. I want to share my journey on how it came about, and how I planned (well, my end of) it all. Look below on my monthly outlook, and I’ll share month by month, what I have currently planned. I have some tentative plans, that I want to wrap up by the middle of May or so, that’s really happening during my June trip to CA.

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June is totally my busy AF month. I’m taking a 2 week vacation from work (well, my “day” job. I’ll still have stuff planned for here during that time, plus creating stuff from these 2 weeks, for content). I’m half the envy for June at work, since I’m doing a cross-country trip, let alone for 2 weeks.

Backstory: my grandparents asked me back in the fall, if I wanted to visit Yosemite with them, as I’ve hardly seen the states. They didn’t have any concrete plans outside of doing it when my mom was also off, near the summer. Of course I said yes! Awhile later, some other things fell into place, on both of ours end, and they asked how long I wanted to be out there, so they could plan out the airfare. Grandpa always finds good deals, so I told them I wanted to be out till a Monday, since I’m off Mondays and Tuesdays, and it’d make things easier.

We crafted a 14 day plan, with 2 days of flying, both on Mondays. Since then, I’ve added some stuff, and have others in mind, keeping in mind of what some other family members might want to do, which is my focus for May.

Other than the 2 days of flying, there’s 3 hard days in Yosemite, VidCon (which is always up to the day, what we do), a solo date to Kevin Hart and Disneyland, plus whatever last few things come about.

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I have a Panic! concert that was so impromptu, it’s not even funny. And taking off for it, was so fitting for my wisdom teeth surgery. It’s a very basic month. I’ll also be trying to do something with my step-sister and dad for their birthdays.

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August is also gonna be a chill month, but come September, I’ll have some more stuff coming along.

I have a long awaited concert as well, which I planned before Panic!, which will be fun. That’s really all the plans I have. I’m sure I’ll need more me time to unwind from everything, plus the struggle of working full weeks again, off and on.

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September is my birth month, and even though I’ll be working (probs) on my birthday, I already have 2 things planned.

My dad and I have been doing Renaissance faires off and on for years now, going to the same one up until this year. This year, we’re going to the one on the other state. This year, I’m going to drag babe along again. This will be a first for all of us. My step-mom might even come along, so double date much?

Then, I have plans *hopefully* just for babe and I to do a full moon tour for a wolf reserve, a couple weeks later, for a wolf reserve an exit or two prior to where we will get off for the Renaissance Faire. It’ll be an evening tour/chill session, to hear them all howl at dusk. I’ve been having a calling to visit a reserve for awhile now, and I believe this will be a cure.

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Of course, I have to share with you, the fact that I’m marking how long till each thing happens. This is all the stuff I have planned, and as of this morning, how long it is until they happen. It’s just a free app for countdowns.

I’ll send my mom screenshots like this every so often, as she gets excited for the June trip. I haven’t seen my mom’s side of the family since 2014, and that was only my maternal grandparents and mom.

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Of course, the next most important part is, thanking those who take care of you. My grandparents paid for half of my June trip, easily. I don’t know what they spent on it, but I did spend a pretty penny on my end, and I couldn’t have done what I will do, without them. And that’s just speaking on this trip.

I’m staying with my mom for the other days I’m out there, and not somewhere, so she deserves thanks as well. I have hidden gems in these cards for them, plus wherever I can manage to spoil them during the trip, I will.

I’ll be adding thank you notes, as I finalize the rest of my plans for the summer.

So what are your plans for the summer?

Taco Tuesday: Taco Salad Editon

I was soo¬†feeling tacos, so here we are. Babe’s been struggling with illnesses off and on, as this weather won’t just pick one (winter or spring), so I took to a mild form of taco salad, that I got from my ex’s sister in law. It’s different, but good, and you can add in all the spice you want, while not hearing everyone else eating, complaining “It’s too spicy!!!!!”

What makes it different, you ask? Well, take to these ingredients, and take a guess:

-Ground meat or substitute. I like ground turkey
-taco seasoning
-onion
-tomato
-lettuce or spinach
-shredded cheese or substitute
-Catalina dressing (I like Kraft’s sweet honey one for this)
-sour cream, or substitute
-refried beans
-soft tortillas, or Doritos (spicy nachos, cool ranch, or nacho cheese, all will do)
-anything else you want, like chives, rice, hot sauce, jalapenos, etc

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Start by dicing up some onion, and put in a hot pan with oil. Let it start cooking, and put some taco seasoning in with it, then your meat substance. While the meat is cooking, dice up any more onion you’d like, and all the other veggies. If you’re using tortillas, rip a few tortillas into bite sized pieces. If you have rice, cook that too.

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Once the meat is almost done, add some more taco seasoning. Once it’s done, add refried beans, and if you want cooked rice in there, add the cooked rice here as well. Let the refired beans and rice get warm, and soak in the seasoning.

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From there, grab a big bowl, layer some tortillas or chips (kind of crunching them as you go), some veggies, then the meat mixture, cheese, and dressing. Rinse and repeat.

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At the top, add some sour cream, and if wanted, either put some salsa in now, and mix it all up. Serve, and add any spicy condiments, as desired (or not).

I hope you enjoy this simple and milder take on taco salad. I enjoy it both with chips and tortillas. Which one is your favorite? Try them both, and get back to me!

Foodie Friday: Jack Daniels Burgers

This was a very impromptu for a meal, I don’t know what to even tell you. Well, yes I do. My lemon pepper chicken kind of went down hill fast, and so I went to burgers, since I had the buns, cheese, ground beef and other condiments. So here’s how we landed up with this meal.

This is very simple, and very much up to you, and your (and your family’s) taste, which is half the onion complex (some people can’t stand onions, which is okay).

So, depending on how many mouths you’re feeding, and how hungry they are, plus any sides you’re pairing with this, do either a half pound or quarter pound of meat to person.

Ingredients:
-proportionate ground beef, turkey, chicken, or vegan substitute.
-cheese ratio to how many burgers you’re making (or substitute)
-diced onion
-smoke flavoring
Jack Daniels beef rub
-a tad of worchestchire sauce
-an egg per pound, or pound and a quarter
-a little bit of breadcrumbs
-buns
-condiments like mayo, mustard, ketchup, lettuce/spinach, tomatoes, more onion

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As you can see, I don’t do well on measuring things, when I wing it. That’s where it should be, in a sense. You should learn your (and your family’s) tastes, and know how to follow the guidelines, as well as taking a recipe, and adding your own flare, to what I did with this, and having something go wrong, and going with the flow, what was in my cabinet.

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To make this the easiest thing ever, mix everything together except the cheese and buns, and condiments. Grill, bake, broil, or stovetop cook it to desire. Top your buns with the condiments you want, and cheese, and you’re good to go. Serve with whatever (or don’t!)

What’s your favorite type of burger? Leave a comment below!

Homemade Sushi: Remake it Mondays

So last Tuesday, I finally made sushi again. I’ve been craving it for awhile now, and while my dad and I were in Pittsburgh over Easter weekend, we visited the Strip District. There’s an oriental shop there, and we picked up a good bit. I took home some pickled ginger, nori, and some teas.

For this week’s remake it Monday food, plus with my craving of sushi, I’m bringing you, well, sushi. It’s easier than you think, but it takes a sharp, wet knife, and patience.

Most of the work is in the rolling and cutting of it, so be warned.

To start off, decide what you want in your sushi rolls. Feel free to look up different types of sushi, or just go for whatever sounds good. For meats, it’s always seafood. You can have vegetarian options, with no meat, but with cream cheese and veggies, or vegan options, with veggies.

This time, I did lobster and crab, with veggies. I did two rolls of each. Trust me when I say, that when eaten by themselves, you’ll eat slightly more than what you think you will. But don’t over do it, as the fullness factor WILL hit you.

Ingredients:
-short grain rice (search sushi rice on Amazon)
-veggies like cucumber, avacado, sweet potato, carrots)
-nori (seaweed sheets. this one comes with a bamboo mat)
-seafood, like crab, lobster, salmon, or tuna.
-soy sauce
-wasabi (optional. look here.)
-cream cheese
-pickled ginger (optional. look here.)
-bamboo rolling mat (Amazon FTW)
-clear wrap
-sharp knife (like, sharpen your knife, seriously. then wet it each time you slice)

Starting off the cooking, get your rice going, according to the package. The sooner the better, as you’ll want to have it warm, cool enough to touch, but not room temperature.

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Roughly speaking, as your rice is going (it depends on how much you have to cut, and how much you’re making in terms of sushi rolls), cut up the “guts” of your rolls (veggies, meats).

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Set up your bamboo mats as well, at this time, with a near cut-to-size clear wrap piece, then nori, and it’s waiting for the rice (or if you’ve become comfortable in putting rice down first, then nori, go ahead and wait on the nori).

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Once your rice is done, and “touchable”, layer that on the nori on your bamboo mat (or the rice, then the nori), not covering the whole thing though. Cover the middle third (eyeball the nori into 3’s, and do the middle, very lightly…lighter than you think or would want to…trust me. You’ll have a burrito in no time, if you’re not careful).

Then from there, almost sparingly (yes, you’ll use less than you think, on everything), add in some “guts”. It’s okay not to have everything in there. That’s part of it.

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At this point, you should wet one end of the nori, whichever end you want to roll towards (I usually wet the top, furthest away from me, and roll away from me). Then, roll baby roll. Watch this how-to, BEFORE TRYING, if you’re new.

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From here, throw the clear wrapped rolls into fridge or freezer (depending on how fast you want to eat them), and let cool. You can do roll by roll, or throw them in at the same time. After that, make sure you have a sharp knife and a bowl of water, to wet your knife each time you slice.

Once it’s cool to your desire, cut it into bite sized (or 2-bite sized), making sure to wet the sharp end of the knife each time you cut. One day, it’ll turn out like mine did. And keep in mind, this is a roll in, where it looked better.

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This was my endevour. What is yours? Share your experience or pictures below!