Before a workweek starts (this week, Sunday is my Monday), I need to do some work at home. Preparation. Otherwise, laundry completion is haphazard and I impulse buy frozen pizza and candy orange slices on my way home from work. Yes, really. Today was prep day; a day to get everything in order, so that when our week starts, I feel, well, prepared. It takes commitment, but it's worth it to feel ahead-of-schedule at the start of the week. Then, when household tasks fall to the wayside a bit during the week, we don't feel like our whole world is crumbling (cue the drama, I know). This is what I did today so that I feel more balanced tomorrow.
To prepare food:
- Oven-roast chicken breast* for a few meals on the meal plan this week.
- Wash, dry, and chop kale, so it's ready to be sautéed for a quick side dish
- Roast cauliflower for this simple soup
- Modify and recipe test a gluten-free chocolate chip scone recipe
*see recipe for oven-roasted chicken at bottom of page
To prepare our home:
- Wash and dry two loads of laundry
- Iron my scrubs (This is not a usual task for me and it's my absolute least favorite of all the household tasks. But lately, it's a necessary one, since my scrubs come out of the dryer rumpled, even if I remove them promptly from the dryer).
- Wash all the dishes I dirtied preparing food
- Run the dishwasher, empty the dishwasher
To prepare my heart & mind:
Revisit a Bible study I'd put aside for awhile and read through my daily devotionals on my phone.
To satisfy my creativity:
- Continue seaming the side seams on my Anna Vest
- Visit a favorite local coffee shop and pick up a bag of coffee beans roasted in Minneapolis (two of my homes intertwining!)
- Take photos of the bits and pieces of my day for this blog post ;)
Easy oven-roasted chicken breast
This is my no-fail method to quickly prepare tender, flavorful, versatile roasted chicken. You can roast as many chicken breasts as you need to at one time, just complete the simple steps with each breast. Easily diced or shredded for use on salads or in recipes that call for cooked chicken.
- Chicken breast(s), boneless and skinless, as many as you have/need
- olive oil
- salt + pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a rimmed baking sheet, or line it with parchment paper. Brush each chicken breast with a small amount of olive oil on one side, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Flip chicken breast(s) over and repeat with oil and seasoning on other side. Bake in oven for 25 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted at the thickest section of the chicken reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Serve hot. Or, once cool enough to handle, dice or shred chicken for desired use and refrigerate.
I love the cooler months for the feel of them, in every way. I love cold-weather clothing, and candles, and the idea of slower, soothing months, where life doesn't feel so hectic. I love the anticipation of Thanksgiving and Christmas. And I love a good comfort food meal, that you can start in the afternoon, and let it simmer while doing laundry or a pre-dinner tidy of your home. This chili is that food for me. It's not altogether pretty, but you could always add some color by way of green pepper or jalepenos, etc. It's very mix-and-matchable and well-suited to whatever you have in your pantry. For us, that's chickpeas and lentils, since Nicholas isn't a huge fan of pinto/navy beans, etc. These ingredients afford a "traditional" enough chili for me, with a texture he enjoys as well.
Baked PB oatmeal or just "PB oatmeal" as we fondly call it, serves as our breakfast at least 300 mornings of the year. I've mentioned it about one million times on the blog, since I've been making is for us ever since Summer posted the recipe almost exactly five years ago, but I've never actually shared the recipe and how I make it. Over time, I've adjusted a few things and tweaked it to it's current state. I adore recipes like this that I can make again and again. We eat a lot of eggs for any meal of the day, and so it's nice to have an egg-free breakfast option. And I really love the idea of a make-ahead breakfast that will reheat easily and fill us up with both protein and carbs.
Yesterday, I stopped by my friend Jessica's house to see her and her son. I played with her little boy while she chopped veggies for a meal she was bringing to a friend that night. Whereas I prefer to follow a recipe, since I'm nervous that my kitchen experiments won't turn out, Jessica is naturally good at using up all the food in the fridge, coming up with new combinations and just "throwing together" a meal, or following a recipe with modifications, based on what she has on hand.