Monday, December 9, 2013

monday menu

I really like planning nutritious, exciting menus for my family. I love searching for tantalizing recipes and organizing them into weeks of delicious meals. I like trying new recipes and remaking old favorites. And I really like how planning our dinners ahead of time saves me time, money, and sanity during the week. However, my life is a little bit like living in a three ring circus on a merry-go-round right now, and menu planning was falling through the cracks. I found myself making more emergency trips to the grocery store and takeout restaurants, stressed at the end of the day because I had no meat thawed, scrambling to create a back-up plan on the go.

Enter emeals. *cue trumpet fanfare*
I was skeptical when I first heard of emeals, but after hearing glowing reports from multiple friends, I decided to give it a try. I've been using it for about a month now, and I'm happy to report that while it's not a perfect solution (I have to do a fair amount of tweaking to make the meal plans work with the produce we get in our Bountiful Basket, and some weeks they go overboard on the cumin love) it has dramatically reduced my stress and our eating out.

We are using the clean eating plan, but there are 13 different plans (plus breakfast, lunch, and dessert add-on plans) to accommodate a wide variety of eating habits. Every week I receive an email containing that week's menu. The recipes are simple, quick, and tasty (even my picky tw0-year-old has been asking for seconds!). I love how the recipes are clearly labeled by category (slow cooker, marinate ahead, super-fast, etc.) to make planning the week even simpler, and they even include a shopping list of the weeks' ingredients! Emeals has a simple, well planned system that is making my life a lot easier. I would heartily recommend their service.

(And just so you know, Groupon is offering a voucher for a 12 month emeals subscription for $29 instead of the usual $58--that's 50% off!)

Disclaimer: If you sign up for emeals using one of the links above, I will receive an extra month of meal plans for free. (YAY! If you do decide to go for it, please use one of my links.) Bountiful Baskets and Groupon have no idea who I am and are giving me nothing for mentioning them; I just think their products are great and want to share with you. And of course, the opinions stated in this post are my own. No one is twisting my arm to say untrue nice things about them.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

knit. drink tea. repeat.

In the beginning of October I had a surgery.
It wasn't really major, but the recovery was still long and painful.
I entertained myself by working on a couple of e-courses,
filling up an art journal, and kitting.

And now, even though I've healed,
the ridiculous cold temperatures lend themselves
to cozy curling on the couch with some yarn and a cup of hot tea,
so I've continued knitting.

These are the projects I've completed in the past few months:

A beautiful, elegant pattern.
(I learned how to make short rows!)
This hat was an instant favorite,
well-worth the price for the pattern.

Sweet Life fingerless gloves
I was using up leftover yarn from the Lucy hat,
so these are shorter than the pattern recommends.
This was a fun pattern;
I enjoyed learning the mock honey comb stitch.

Once again, these are short (and have funky colorblocked thumbs)
because I was using up scraps of yarn.
The mitts are stretchy and comfortable.
I gave them to my Mum for her to wear at work
because her office is quite chilly in the winter.

This is not really a complicated pattern,
but I had the hardest time not messing up my counting.
So much unraveling...

Lizzy Lid
This was really not the yarn to use for this pattern;
neither the lovely stitch patterns nor the striping in the yarn
is showcased in this combination.
Live and learn...

This darling baby hat is very stretchy to grow with baby
and makes the perfect little gift.
I'll definitely be making more of these.

I am always amazed at the variety and quality
of free knitting patterns available.
Thank you, you lovely people
who share your patterns with such generosity!