Time Saving Tuesday (TST) 2

Time Saving Tuesday

As a single mother with three daughters, a house, cats and a job working close to 50 hours a week, the only way I can keep up my wonder woman persona is to find things that save me time. This can be a good thing when it comes to not slipping back into former habits that contributed to hurting my health.  Over the years I’ve come up with lots of tricks that work for me and, thanks to Pinterest and the many websites out there, I see lots of others that I’d like to try one day. Each week I thought I would share either a tip that I use or something that I’ve seen on another site. Perhaps some of these will work for you to help save you time and make things a bit easier. If you’ve got a great time saving tip to share why not post it in the comment section below.

This week’s TST tip is to help save you time and money is to prepare meat ahead of time so it’s ready to be used in a meal.

Why make enough for one meal when you can prep enough for a few at the same time. There are certain things that we tend to use frequently such as ground beef and diced chicken. When I go shopping I will buy a large package of ground beef (3 to 5 pounds at a time), bring it home, put it right into a large pot and brown it. Then, once it’s cooked and allowed to cool down a bit, I divide it into a couple of containers so they can be frozen. When I want to quickly cook a meal I can pull a container out and add it frozen to soup. Or, I can thaw and warm it up to be used for other meals such as tacos.

Chicken can be prepped the same way. I spend a little time dicing up boneless chicken breasts or thighs and portion them into freezer bags or containers. Then they are ready to be pulled out of the freezer to be used in a recipe.

Got a favorite marinade recipe? Why not purchase chicken breasts, steak tips or pork in bulk, portion into freezer bags and top with your favorite marinade. The night before pull out your package and thaw in the refrigerator before using.

Do you like meatloaf? Why go through all the hassle of mixing and making just enough for one meal. Why not prep two or more meals at the same time. Simply double or triple your favorite recipe. Portion out one to use as your meal for the night. Shape the additional loafs, wrap in foil and place in a freezer bag. Don’t forget to mark what’s inside. Next time you need a quick meal pull the frozen meatloaf out and allow to thaw in the refrigerator over night.

3 quick reasons why I prep food ahead of time:

  • It saves you money. Buy in bulk or stock up when your favorite cuts of meat are on sale. You can even do things like make your own stew beef.
  • It saves time. Cutting and browning meat takes a good amount of time. On busy days you’ll be glad this step is already done.
  • It encourages other family members to help with cooking. With some of the work already done it’s easy to get other members of your family to measure, add and stir ingredients if the dicing and chopping is already done for them.

Check out Pinterest for some ideas on creating “dump” chicken recipes. These are recipes that you simply dump into the crockpot. WLSers take not that many have sauces that are high in sugar which could lead to a dumping or RH episode.

Got a favorite tip to save time and money? Why not leave a link in the comment section below.

Pumpkin Maple Refrigerator Oatmeal

pumpkin everything

I think that just about says it all. It’s that time of the year when people’s thoughts turn from the warm, sunny days of summer to thinking about pumpkin and pumpkin spice flavored EVERYTHING! With that in mind decided to turn my regular refrigerator oatmeal recipe into Pumpkin Maple refrigerator oatmeal.

Pumpkin Maple Refrigerator Oatmeal

Pumpkin Spice Refrigerator Oatmeal

Pumpkin Maple Refrigerator Oatmeal
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
You can also replace the pumpkin puree layer with ¼ cup fresh blueberries.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup uncooked old fashioned oats
  • 1⅓ cup almond milk or milk of choice
  • 1 cup low fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar free maple syrup or maple syrup of choice
  • 5 teaspoons dried chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • For each individual serving you will need:
  • ¼ cup pureed pumpkin
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon Splenda or sweetener of choice
Instructions
  1. In a large covered container combine oats, milk, yogurt, chia seeds, maple syrup and cinnamon.
  2. Mix well, cover and place in refrigerator overnight.
  3. To make the layered refrigerator oatmeal mix the pumpkin layer but combining the following for each individual serving: pureed pumpkin, Splenda/sweetener and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon.
  4. Place a layer of oatmeal in the bottom of your bowl, cup or container.
  5. Add the pumpkin mixture and top with additional oatmeal.
  6. Serve chilled.

Tips For Eating Out After WLS

restaurant logos

There comes a time in every post bariatric person’s life when they will eat out at a restaurant, fast food joint or bring home some type of take out meal. Depending upon the type of restaurant and food being served there are lots of things you can do to make this work without running into problems like dumping, RH episodes or just plain old overeating. Over the past 11 years I’ve tried lots of things and this is what I’ve found works for me.

  • Those cards saying you’ve had WLS surgery and should be able to choose a meal from the kids menu…..don’t do it! While the thought of being able to get a smaller meal at a lower price is nice take a good look at what is usually found on the kids menu. Let’s face it….it’s junk. Hot dogs, hamburgers, macaroni and cheese. While we might enjoy these items once in a while why limit yourself to eating them just because it’s a smaller size. Don’t flash a card announcing your surgery. Pass on the kids meals and head straight to the main menu.
  • Appetizers, a bowl of soup or chili can be a complete meal. It’s alright to order one and nothing else. If no other apps are being ordered simply tell the wait staff to bring it with the other meals. They will ask if you’d like an entree meal. My response…..no thanks. I ate a little earlier and I’m not that hungry. Easy enough and there’s no other questions asked.
  • Speaking of appetizers pass on any of those free nibbles that they might offer before the meal arrives. These usually include items such as bread, popcorn or tortillas with salsa. They will just take up space and tend to be higher in carbs (think dumping episode) so they add calories without adding the nutrients you need like protein.
  • Choose something you will enjoy eating more than once because you will have leftovers. While everyone else will most likely finish their meal you get to enjoy yours two or even three times. Yay!  Enjoy your meal with family or friends and then bring the extra home to enjoy again at lunch the next day.
  • Pass on any item that has caused an issue in the past. I love scrambled eggs but they don’t work for me. After a few bites gut death (aka stomach pains) kick in and I’m miserable. Omelets will sometimes work but I won’t know until it’s too late. Trying to eat either one at a restaurant, no matter how good they look or sound, is an invitation to disaster. If a particular food doesn’t work well for you don’t attempt to try it here.
  • Check out the menu online. Knowing what they offer and deciding on what to get before you arrive will help you make better choices.
  • Choose meals that feature protein and pass on the high carb meals featuring mainly pasta or rice. You can also ask your server if you can swap out something like mashed potatoes for a different vegetable or even a bit of salad.

Got a great tip for eating out? Why not share it below in the comment section. Don’t be shy if you haven’t had WLS surgery. These tips can help most people make healthier choices when eating out.

Easy Crock Pot Steak Pot Roast

As I’ve mentioned in my Time Saving Tuesday post, making a meal in the crock pot saves more than time. It also saves money (no expensive take out or convenience foods) and is healthier (you control the salt, fat, calorie, carb, etc content). This Steak Pot Roast is a favorite. While the recipe calls for potatoes and carrots I’ve used various types of squash, frozen vegetable mixes (broccoli, cauliflower, string beans, etc) and just about any type of vegetable you can imagine. Root vegetables can be put into the crock pot with the roast when it first starts cooking. Vegetables that don’t take as long to cook such as broccoli, cauliflower, peas, corn, string beans, etc can be added about 1-2 hours before the roast is done. I’ve even microwaved them until they were cooked and then mixed them in about 30 minutes before serving. The picture below isn’t the best. I had planned to take another picture once it was done but it was almost entirely eaten before I had a chance.

Easy Crock Pot Steak Pot Roast

crock pot roast

Easy Crock Pot Steak Pot Roast
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 servings
 
For the cream of mushroom soup I recommend Campbell's Healthy Request Soup. It's much lower in salt than the regular version
Ingredients
  • 1½ lb boneless beef top round roast/steak or other cut
  • 1 tablespoon dried onion bits
  • ½ teaspoon garlic
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 can (10¾ ounces) cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 lb baby carrots
  • 4 to 5 large potatoes, washed and cut in quarters
  • 1 jar or can of sliced mushroom, drained
Instructions
  1. Spray the crock with non stick cooking spray. Place the roast/steak in the center of the crock.
  2. Sprinkle the roast with the salt, pepper and paprika.
  3. In a small bowl mix the cream of mushroom soup with the dried onion bits, garlic and about ½ a cup of water to thin it out.
  4. Pour the soup mix over the roast.
  5. Arrange the vegetables around the roast.
  6. Add the mushrooms over the vegetables.
  7. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours depending upon the thickness of your roast.
  8. Remove the roast and slice. Remove the vegetables and save the sauce that is in the crock to use as gravy over the roast slices and vegetables.

Time Saving Tuesday (TST)

Time Saving Tuesday

 

As a single mother with three daughters, a house, cats and a job working close to 50 hours a week the only way I can keep up my wonder woman persona is to find things that save me time. This can be a good thing when it comes to not slipping back into former habits that contributed to hurting my health.  Over the years I’ve come up with lots of tricks that work for me and, thanks to Pinterest and the many websites out there, I see lots of others that I’d like to try one day. Each week I thought I would share either a tip that I use or something that I’ve seen on another site. Perhaps some of these will work for you to help save you time and make things a bit easier. If you’ve got a great time saving tip to share why not post it in the comment section below.

Time Saving Tuesday

Crock Pot

One of the biggest time savers, and the thing that has kept me from picking up take out on the way home from work, is the crock pot. I will often put the ingredients into the crock the night before and store it in the refrigerator until the morning. I take it out when I first get up to allow the ceramic crock to warm up a bit, put it into the base, turn it on low and head out the door. This week I’ve already made Easy Steak Pot Roast. The kids will usually shut it off right before I get home and when I walk through the door supper is ready to be served. There is no shortage of recipes online so you could make something in your crock pot every night of the week for years to come. Besides saving time it also saves you money (take out and convenience foods cost so much more) and you get to control the ingredients so meals can be healthier.

Got a favorite time saving tip? Why not share it in the comment section below. It doesn’t have to be food related. Tips that save you stress, anxiety and aggravation help keep you healthy as well.

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