I realize it’s been a while since I’ve posted a dinner rotation. With the holiday season here, I want to be sure I have easy meals to make. But it also needs to be flexible enough that I can ditch a meal.
I’m trying something a little different. I’m going to have each day of the week have a theme but it will be general (except for Friday). Monday a different sauce with pasta and veggies and whatever protein I have on hand. Tuesday tacos with beans, veggies, and protein. And Thursday will be fish days. Friday will be soups/stews in my Instant Pot (slow cook or pressure cook) and leftovers can be used on the weekend. And weekend meals will be sheet pan dinners where everything goes on a pan and in the oven.
I’ll probably make salads and other easy sides when needed. I will have just be sure to have these items on hand for easy meals. That way if we have to skip it’s no big deal.
What I love most about the Instant Pot this time of year is making beans. You don’t have to soak the beans overnight, which is something I always forget to do. Some say you still should but my beans always turn out. I usually make black beans and pinto beans but recently I made this 15-bean and ham soup from A Pinch of Healthy. It turned out great!
Here are some new recipes that inspired me for this rotation:
Sheet Pan Honey and Garlic Shrimp and Broccoli
20 Healthy Sheep Pan Dinner for Busy Weeknights
Instant Pot Italian White Bean Soup
Getting a holiday head start
As an almost-recovered chronic procrastinator, I’ve written before about being behind this time of year. But this year I’m on top of it! I made a list from last year and plan to get everything I need done by mid-December. I WILL enjoy this holiday season.
I’m also trying to focus on what really matters. We’ve adopted a family in need to give gifts to and I’m trying to be thoughtful when it comes to the gifts I’m giving to family and friends. Taking the time to say thank you and connect with people is important. The stress can make us forget that this is a time to pause and be grateful for the many blessings in our lives.
As kids get older it feels impossible to get them gifts. So I’ve decided to make each of them photo books with pictures of activities they enjoy and what I’ve noticed about the people they are becoming. It’s the kind of gift that they’ll like now and also appreciate when they get older.
What creative gifts do you get your older kids?
My two-year meditation anniversary
I looked back and it’s realized it has been two years since I’ve started meditating regularly (after years of starting and stopping). I still skip days but it has become a regular part of my routine now and something I even enjoy. I use the headspace app I discovered two years ago and will even do group meditations.
This is a major accomplishment for me!
The benefits are not about being Zen all the time, but that I am much more aware of my monkey mind. This ability to watch my thoughts helps me from getting caught up in them which can aggravate my anxiety. If I’m feeling overwhelmed, I’ll do a quick three-minute meditation in my car which really helps. Somedays I skip the meditation to do 20-30 minute Vinyasa flow yoga on youtube.
I also hope to check off another anniversary next year. Over two months ago, I joined a boot-camp gym and paid in full for the whole year (they had a great deal!). I like this workout because it includes high-intensity cardio with a lot of strength training.
My goal is to get strong and stay strong. Yes, I’ve always done weight training but that would fall off on busy weeks. Now I’m committed to going three days a week in the wee hours of the morning and I really enjoy it.
My morning routine calls for three things: exercise, finishing the dishes, and meditation. When I do those three things, my day is always better.
All of this really helps at midlife and soon I’ll be posting my midlife workout schedule. My Patrons have already got my Why Behind the Weight and Hormone Guide. Consider joining for as little as $1.00-$2.00 month (less than what it costs to get a coffee at Starbucks).
It’s been 5 years since I wrote The Family Dinner Solution which was really about me getting family dinners in order. I have made tweaks but I feel like it’s time for a full revamp. I’d like to move my recipes from a book to recipe cards and have my kids VERY involved in the process of picking out new meals and snack ideas.
I don’t know about you but it’s so easy for us to get in a rut with food. Sometimes you just need to dedicate time to new ideas and ways of doing things.
So more about this coming up. If you’re interested in doing this too, let me know in the comments.
In the news…
NY Times Opinion: “I Was the Fastest Girl in America, Until I Joined Nike: Mary Cain’s male coaches were convinced she had to get ‘thinner, and thinner, and thinner.’ Then her body started breaking down.”
Today.com: It’s important to girls about the most common bullying among females: relational bullying which is purposely leaving other girls out. This article “Being left out hurts: Moms, stop social engineering” has great ideas on being more inclusive.
Consumer HealthDay: Pressuring kids to diet can backfire and damage long-term health.
Posts related to My Body’s Superpower
What a Middle School Needs Most From Her Mom
Your Daughter Doesn’t Have a Weight Problem. She’s Going Through Puberty.
5 Things That Can Harm a Girl’s Body Image
That’s it for now. I hope the holiday season treats you right!
For more easy recipes and tips on how to serve meals to kids, check out Maryann’s book The Family Dinner Solution: How to Create a Rotation of Dinner Meals Your Family Will Love
Glad to be part of your morning trifecta (Sorry I cannot help with the dishes). Great post!
Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen, MS, RD says
Me too. The dishes are my least favorite : (