Figuring out what the heck to pack in lunches, making dinnertime decisions, and stocking up on grab-and-go breakfasts happens to be a top priority in many homes, including my own. See also: packing lunches suck. It's a fact that mealtime prep can be a messy, time-consuming business.
Since I love spending time in the kitchen (and because it’s a great opportunity to let my six-year-old flex his stirring skills), we designate our Sunday afternoons to preparing meals for the week ahead. To avoid wasting food or having mealtime meltdowns, I include him in meal planning so I can be mindful of his preferences. Plus, we make it fun by making it a weekly activity we do together. Once everything is ready, we package and label to make our weekdays easier.
We keep this handy chart on the refrigerator. Feel free to print and use it for your family! It helps my son follow a guideline when packing his lunch, but also gives him the freedom to choose what he really wants to have for his recess snack, his lunchtime meal, and his after school treat.
This is the plan I usually follow each meal-prep Sunday:
For my son, I often make a big batch of oatmeal, banana or chocolate chip pancakes on Sunday and simply pop them in the microwave or toaster to warm for him on weekday mornings. We also like homemade muffins, baked oatmeal bars and overnight oats for quick, yummy breakfasts.
Even though I love to make things from scratch, it’s not always possible and sometimes, I just don’t have time to prepare a hot breakfast for myself. I love to have PC Blueberry Greek Yogurt with Overnight Oats with a spoonful or two of PC Hemp Hearts Raw Shelled Hemp Seeds sprinkled on top. Paired with a coffee on hurried mornings, it’s the perfect easy breakfast (or afternoon snack) to have at my desk.
I make a quinoa and tofu stir-fry every week for myself and then I mix it up with sriracha at lunchtime and freshly squeezed lemon juice at dinner.
My son’s favourite food is pizza, and the PC Piadina Italian-Style Flatbread makes a fantastic mini-pizza crust for quick, DIY dinners, or fun lunches at school during the week. I grate cheese, chop vegetables and meats for him and store in little containers so we can simply throw our meals together when we get home. Plus, by packing the ingredients for him, I can create a homemade version of "Lunchables" with the foods we both love.
We have long and often busy days, so it's always a treat for me to sit with him at our dinner table and hear how his week has gone. We try to recognize Taco Tuesdays, Whacky Wednesdays (breakfast for dinner!), and we almost always have homemade nachos on Friday.
My son and I pack our lunches every night before bed, and with lots of options in the fridge and pantry that we can simply grab and choose from, it’s easy and takes only a few moments. My son likes to choose his own special treats for recess and after school snacks, and we both like to pack homemade cookies or one of these muffins for a delicious and filling snack.
Since I only roll up my sleeves in the kitchen once a week, it's important that the fruits of my labour be as versatile as they are delicious. These muffins make a perfect breakfast, snack, or dessert and can easily be customized to suit your family's tastes. Mine rarely last long enough to see the freezer, but they do freeze beautifully and can be stored individually so you can grab-n-go during busy weekdays.
This recipe includes what is easily the most popular grocery item in my house: PC Organics Steel Cut Oats! We make our own version of “shake and bake” chicken, I mix ‘em with Parmesan cheese and mayo to make crusted haddock or halibut, we mix them into cookies, banana bread, muffins – you name it. The steel cut oats are my fave, but be sure to check out the entire PC Insiders Fall Collection because they have a ton of great, new options that will get you excited about creating your own weekly meal plans and recipes!
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup PC Organics Steel Cut Oats
1 tsp cinnamon
2-3 mashed bananas
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/4 coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs, beaten
Add-In goodies (optional):
1/2c. chocolate chips, shaved coconut, berries, nuts, or any other yummy item you wish to add
1 ripe bananas, thinly sliced and drizzled with coconut oil
1/2 tsp each: cinnamon, sugars to sprinkle on top
Pre-heat oven to 350F. Lightly grease muffin tin or prepare with liners and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine all dry ingredients and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine all wet ingredients until fully mixed.
Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix well to combine (no need for a mixer, a spoon will do). Your batter should be thick, but runny.
Fold in any add-in goodies, if using. Can't decide? Add a few different things, just make sure your add-ins don't exceed 2/3 cup.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins, filling each liner or tin.
Top with sliced banana, drizzled with coconut oil, and sprinkle your cinnamon-sugar mixture, if using.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick is dry when removed. Allow to cool in tin for 10-15 minutes, then remove and devour. Enjoy!
If you’d told me 10 years ago that I would be a single mother with an online dating profile, I would have called bullshit and laughed at you. But here we are.
And, you guys, dating is not what it used to be.
NOT KIDDING: This spring, I was lying in bed re-watching Season 5 of Downton Abbey (SPOILER ALERT: it was the episode where Cousin Rose is asked on a dinner date) and simultaneously received a SnapChat from a guy I had exchanged a few texts with.
He sent me a dick pic.
The contrast between a romantic, demure dinner invitation, and this guy’s scrotum on a 4.7” retina display in 326 ppi was painfully stark, and then I had to bleach my eyes and block his number.
Another one bites the dust.
Dating wasn’t so hard when I was younger. I had free time, and my biggest responsibility fell somewhere between feeding the cat and showing up to work on time, preferably without smelling like booze and bad choices. The dating pool was wide and deep. But now? I’m busy with work and family responsibilities, and the reality is that my dating pool just isn’t what it used to be.
I suspected it might be an interesting mix of weirdos and pervs with the occasional nice guy sprinkled in, but the truth is that NO ONE WARNED ME. Even the nice guys, in some cases, have turned out to be socially inept or, uh, not actually that nice.
First was the very handsome doctor with whom I had chatted about eyeglass styles, baking, and training for long-distance running. He was smart, funny and seemed to have his shit together… until he suddenly started discussing blow jobs and his sexual fetishes. That first date won’t be happening.
Then there was the guy who sent me a message and asked what I do for work. I replied that I work in communications and marketing. His response: “You get paid to talk good?”
I can’t not mention the guy who *used fake photos*, or the one who blew up my inbox telling me how he’d love to treat my son like his own and start a family with me. (Why meet first, am I right?)
And then, of course, there was the guy who didn’t realize “single mom” meant I had a kid, and actually WALKED OUT OF THE COFFEE SHOP when I mentioned my son. Or the one who told me he hated kids. And the one who wanted a baby right.this.second.
It takes all kinds, I guess.
Luckily, I’ve met some pretty cool people and while I can’t (or is it won’t? *wink wink*) say I’m sure if I've met Mr He Might Just Be The One, I can say that I have made some great friends. And if nothing else, I’ve got lots of funny stories and blog fodder to keep me going in the event Mr He Might Just Be The One never comes along.
That’s what the cat, the fuzzy hot water bottle and my vibrator are for, right? Love, warm snuggles, and thrills.
And the online dating profiles? GONE.
Most women I know (including myself) often swap out our heels for cute flats or funky sneakers to give our feet a break. Unfortunately, just because they’re flat doesn’t mean a heel-free shoe is better for your feet - in fact, they can do just as much damage.
We’re all born with a fat pad on the bottom of our feet, but it wears down with the overuse of unsupportive shoes. Luckily, you can save your feet (and keep wearing those cute shoes) by adding a supportive insole, like these guys.
I have really flat feet so I can wear flatter shoes than most but the added cushion and arch support makes even my flattest shoes feel like heaven. Consider bringing insoles with you when buying a new pair of flats (or heels) so you can see how they'll fit once the insole is inside.
Looking for new flats for fall? Try any of these styles on for size!
I like to pair my flats with slightly cropped pants to help me look taller and leaner on the days I skip my favourite heels. A well-made pair of classic flats will take you from season to season and can be easily dressed up or down, while a fun colour, texture or print is one of the easiest ways to snazz up your look with minimal effort!
RELATED: 5 Ways to Look Taller and Leaner Without Wearing Heels