Wednesday, July 8, 2015

My Planner Round Up

July has begun and now I am thinking about August... If anyone knows me I am a planner junkie. I love the crisp white pages that are waiting for my myriad of rainbow colored pens to paint them into a daily schedule masterpiece. Honestly, a good planner will change your life. Well that is if you use it. With August upon us and the new release of 2016 planners right around the corner I have begun the hunt. Bearing all that in mind, I feel like my life is constantly evolving. In the past 2 years I have gone from a mother of one to a mother of three. I have left a full time job and traded in my business mindset for a stay at home mom frame of mind. Then add on the fact that I am now constantly juggling 4-5 appointments of therapy a week for little Miss Lizzy I would say that my planner needs have acquired some very drastic changes. Now that things have settled back into some what of a normal schedule, that meaning I am not spending every day at a hospital and I am not pregnant, I decided to add one more wrench into my schedule. I'm going back to school! Another issue that my planner will have to tackle this coming fall. So I am now on the hunt for yet another planner to fit that aspect of my life. I am not opposed to multiple planners, I mean I am a notebook hoarder as well after all. But I would love to have everything in one place like I have now. So in my search for something that fit I thought I might give you guys a peek at what has made the final cut....

My current love at the moment is the weekly edition of  Emily Ley's Simplified planner which I think is absolutely adorable and functional. All except the weekly edition is sold out right now but she has made some upgrades since I purchased mine so you have to take a look. Just the right amount of space for appointments and a to do list. Oh, and if you have read my post on menu planning and prep you will know why I adore the space for writing in dinner plans daily! It is moderately priced at $58 which I think is great considering the quality of planner you are getting. This is my second year using her planners. Last year I got the daily version and it had a little more detail each day than I needed. But by all means check out her daily edition if you like an hourly view of the day or I even have been eying her academic edition for this school year. Just don't tell my husband....

Another planner that I have considered in the past and have currently been looking at getting is Erin Condren's Life Planner. They too are moderately priced at $50-$75 based on the options you choose.  These have such a beautiful design and get this, you can customize them! There are two different layouts for your day, horizontal or vertical. I really love the bright colors that just beg you to fill them in. Don't even get me started talking on all the accessories. I'm literally giddy with sticker happiness.

image credits: 

The last planner I wanted to highlight is on Etsy, Posy Paper. They are stationary shop that is now offering planners! Although the nuts and bolts of this planner are pretty straight forward what I really like are the cover designs. They are fresh, modern, and cheerful. Some of them feature some awesome mantras including, "Live, Laugh, Love" and "If you can dream it, you can do it". They do offer cover customization options and they are also the most affordable on my list at $20! This thrifty mama was a little more than excited when I saw that. 

image credits: Posy Paper on Etsy
 So there you have it. Just three of the awesome designer planners on the market. I am so excited to get a new one and start filling it with all kinds of appointments and dates. I think I actually like the planning more than the doing? Happy planner hunting and let me know what some of your favorites are! 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Blackened Chicken Breast with Avocado Cream Sauce

So, about clean eating. If anyone knows me they know I enjoy food, all food and more specifically all the foods that are bad for me. I'd like to think that I could make healthy food taste just like a double cheeseburger dripping in cheese, but I have not mastered that skill. Not even by a long shot. However, now that I am FINALLY getting serious about getting rid of this baby weight I have resigned myself to healthy, clean eating. And seeing as though I love food as much as I do and enjoy cooking I am finding new ways to make the foods that I am supposed to eat into foods I want to eat. This recipe is one of those meals born out the desperation of having to sit through another plate of tasteless "healthy food". So lets get into the recipe....

Blackened Chicken Breast with Avocado Cream Sauce and Roasted Broccoli

For the blackening seasoning
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (you can use more, but I was making this for the kiddos too)
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tsp olive oil

For the avocado cream sauce
3 Tbsp non fat plain Greek yogurt
1/2 avocado
juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 cup cilantro leaves (you can use parsley if you don't like cilantro)
2 Tbsp water
1 garlic clove
1 tsp brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste

1large head of broccoli
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

First you want to mix up the blackening seasoning. Literally just put it all in a bowl and stir. Done.

Preheat your oven to 450 F and cover a sheet tray with parchment paper. This is your friend, especially since we are using such a small amount of oil. Next you want to split your chicken breasts in half. That way you will end up with thinner chicken breasts that take a shorter amount of time to cook and it also tricks my mind into thinking I have more chicken to eat then I really do. I know, the mind games I play.

Then you want cover both sides with all that lovely blackening seasoning. Rub it in good. Take that 2 teaspoons of olive oil and divide it evenly over the top of chicken breasts on the sheet tray. 

Okay now place this tray in the oven for 15-20 minutes depending on the thickness of the chicken. While that's cooking we can tackle the broccoli that will go into the same oven. Cut the broccoli into florets. 

Put those on a sheet tray with the 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Use those fingers and make sure it's all coated. Slide that tray into the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes until the edges are slightly brown. Now onto the sauce. I didn't get any pictures because I was so excited about it that I just forgot. Please forgive me, it is super easy I promise. All you do is dump everything into a food processor or blender and give it a whirl. You may or may not need more water and also it's all about the consistency you like. I wanted a cross between a sauce and dip so 2 Tablespoons worked perfect. Then plate it all up and pack yourself on the back for making something delicious and nutritious. It's definitely not a steak, but it is a far cry from the baked chicken breast and steamed spinach I had been downing as of late. Enjoy!