Sunday, January 27, 2013

Food Prep - Lunches for the Week

My husband and I have been fooling ourselves.  We thought a majority of our food choices were good ones.  But one night, as we were chowing down on Zaxby's (oh my gosh-cheddar bites!!!), we realized that most of our food choices were awful!  The tip of the iceberg came last week.  My husband told me he had stopped at a gas station for breakfast.  His meal? A Red Bull and a Snickers bar.  "A snickers bar?!?!" I asked incredulously.  "It was an almond one-it had a lot of protein." he replied.

So now I'm determined to lead us into a healthier diet.  One step at a time... And this post is about how we've started doing lunch.

Since we both wake up early to go to work (5 AM) and have to leave ASAP, we don't have much time to pack a lunch in the morning.  The best way to make sure we pack something good is to prepare ahead of time.  This week, we're going to have chicken, broccoli, and black beans with rice for lunch.

I found this website with recipe for making chicken breast ahead of time, and it is awesome!  The only change I made was I add a little bit of chicken broth to the baking dish before adding the spices.

9 chicken breasts into the baking dish.
They can be squished in, but should only be in one layer.
This great baking dish is from IKEA and I love it!

Added chicken broth, but not enough to submerge the chicken completely.  I still wanted to add spices.

Garlic powder, seasoned salt, and pepper.

Ready to go into the oven!  Oven should be pre-heated to 375ยบ.

Cook chicken for 1 hour.


OH, the chicken breast is done!  As mentioned on this website (the one I got the recipe from) let the chicken rest for about 15 minutes before you cut it up.

Once it has rested, begin cutting it up.  This is how I cut it:

After cutting, I followed the recipe and put it back into the pan to stir it with the liquid.

And here is a finished lunch, ready to go into the fridge.  The chicken with steamed broccoli and some yummy black beans with rice.  BB&R recipe below.

Black Beans & Rice recipe (borrowed and modified from this site)

·       1 teaspoonolive oil

·       1 onion,chopped

·       2 clovesminced garlic

·       1 or 2 cups of cooked white rice

·       1 can lowsodium, low fat vegetable broth

·       1 teaspoonground cumin

·       1 can Rotel

·       2 cans blackbeans, drained


  1. In a stockpot over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 4 minutes. Add the rice and stir for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the vegetable broth, bring to a boil, cover and set heat to low.   Cook for 10 minutes.  Add the spices, Rotel, and black beans.  Cook for another 10-15 minutes on low (or until heated through), stirring every minute or so.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Three-Day Weekends

Three-day weekends!  Everyone loves them!  Teachers, especially!
During the week, I feel so tired when I get home that the weekend is usually just my time to relax and sleep in.  However, three-day weekends bring motivation to work around the house.  So this weekend, I painted our master bathroom.
I like to listen to music while I work around the house.  Today's chosen music was music from Walt Disney World (provided by  I prefer to do the trim first before breaking out the roller.  Trimming free-hand is the only way for me because the blue masking tape takes too much time and it never produces the results I want.  Once I got my coffee and my music, I was ready to go!

Paint color: Cathedral Gray by Behr

The original color of the walls can be seen in the upper right of this photo.  It could be compared to a light buttery cream yellow.  It matched the trim exactly and has been this color since we moved in.

Trimming free-hand with a paint brush.  It's like therapy!!!

Once I finished painting, I placed our rotating fan in the bathroom overnight and let it dry.

The next day, I added some fun details.  I found this great owl hook at Hobby Lobby.  I purchased it when it was 50% off.  I bought two but I haven't decided where to put the 2nd one yet. 

I love these arches.  They were original with the home but they pop so much more with the new gray paint.

More beautiful arch-work!

These hanging basket bag thingies (their official name ;) are from IKEA.  They are perfect for the bathroom!

This was a wedding gift from my Aunt Debbie.  It was already up before the paint, but it looks much better with the gray.

Another Hobby Lobby find!  This owl was also 50% off, so it cost about $7.  Amazing!!

I purchased this unique piece from a local Facebook garage sale group.  I had to have it!  I've never seen anything like it.  I like how it kind of looks like a window.

Here's the 2nd hanging basket bag thingie that came in the set from IKEA.  It's a little bit smaller than the other one.

Bamboo is the perfect bathroom plant!  I've had this one since 2004.

Besides painting the bathroom, I also wrapped up a project I've been working on for a few weeks.  Ben bought me this awesome painting for Christmas last year.  It came with a massive frame that's about 8 inches thick.  I love the painting, but was not crazy about the color of the frame.  I primed the frame with white spray paint, then stained it with gray Minwax stain.  Take a look at the before & after:

Tomorrow it's time to go back to work, but coming home each day will be more enjoyable now that these tasks are done.  Three-day weekends are the best!!