Holy Yoga: what a class looks like

HY what a class looks likeSo, we’ve established that I’m fairly obsessive about things, right?

Right.

One of my biggest fears going into a Holy Yoga class was not knowing what the flow of the class would be.

Really.

Before my first Holy Yoga class, I’d never been any yoga class that wasn’t on my TV. I’m not someone that’s totally comfortable with new experiences.

I like to be prepared.

I know that every teacher is different, but as I plan a six week series to start next Tuesday I thought someone out there might be interested in the class breakdown. These classes are going to be gentle and restorative in purpose, as we root into the Lord to find our rest during the busyness of the holiday season.

And I will add, after taking multiple classes (a day, for nearly a week)  each day at my instructor’s retreat, this is a general idea of how most of the classes ran.

Here’s what an hour-long class will look like…

Welcome: sign in, roll out your mat and get comfortable. I will almost always have you start in mountain pose or simple seated, but child’s and corpse pose are options too.

The start: this is where Holy Yoga differs from other yoga classes. We begin our class with a short devotion and prayer, often in that opening pose. We set our intention for the practice: a verse, a section of verses, readings and thoughts from a book are all possibilities. We’ll return to that intention multiple times throughout class, weaving it through postures.

The working: the more active, almost dance-like part of practice. This is where we flow. Poses might include warriors, down dogs, balance poses. We begin with big movements to warm up the body and move into longer holds in the postures.

And if you don’t know what a pose is, that’s okay. It’s my job as an instructor to give you visual reminders, lots of directives and modification options, and even hand’s on adjustments if you’re okay with it.

After the flow, we slow things down with seated and reclines postures. It’s our cool down time, and when we can really get into some deeper poses.  For this holiday series, I’m planning on shorter working sections and longer cool downs. Those seated and reclined poses can help to release stress while bringing restoration to our bodies in a way that I find especially wonderful. In a regular class, though, that would be flipped with the working part of class.

One thing that we will always focus on throughout the entire class is breathing.

After that slower part, we get to the good stuff. The best stuff. My favorite part of class, and what the entire class has been building to: savasana, final resting pose. It’s that final reclined position on your back, fully relaxed. It’s the purpose of the movement portion of a yoga practice – to tire out both the mind and body so that we can really root into the Lord during that final resting pose. We’ll revisit our intention and it’s when come into a time of guided meditation. That’s not as scary as it sounds, I promise. It’s very simple a time to focus on the intention that we set at the beginning of class and when we open up to what the Lord may have to say to us in this time.

We close in prayer.

I will always try to be available to my students after class. In my experience, a Holy Yoga practice can be an emotional time, but it’s also a time to ask questions about poses. Eventually, my goal is to offer pre or post-class workshops to teach more challenging poses but for this six week series we’ll be focusing on very basic poses.

trim healthy resources

Trim Healthy Resources

I shared last week that I’ve been following the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating and love it.

I also mentioned that there’s a bit of a learning curve.

THM is a plan all about giving your body just one fuel – carb or fat – source at a time to work with in order to keep our bodies from storing it as fat, so the vast majority of meals with be heavier in either fats or carbs. It’s also a low glycemic plan, which helps keep blood sugar level and avoid those crashes that lead to overeating.

And honestly, the book is a rather massive read and can be a bit confusing.

That’s where the internet comes in so handy.

  • Gwen’s Nest: Gwen’s nest has it all. Recipes, tips and articles and a wonderful quick start guide complete with shopping list and an easy on-ramp four-week plan.
  • Raising Arrow’s Veggie Guide: helpful if you’re not sure which vegetables work with which meals. This is getting printed off and taped inside a cupboard in my kitchen.
  • Only Passionate Curiosity’s Book Review: this is the review that convinced me to give it a try, with a very easy to understand breakdown of the basics.
  • Quick Start Chart from Faith’s Trim Healthy Life: another great resource for all sorts of info, but that chart is an easy way to plan a week.
  • Darcie’s Dishes: Weekly THM friendly menu plans, with lots of links to recipes and everything neatly labeled.
  • Sheri Graham’s THM recipes and links. So much information!

Don’t forget to look to social media:

  • Facebook: There are many different Trim Healthy Mama groups that I’m finding incredibly helpful. THM Beginners is great, Trim Healthy Mama Whole Foods Style is wonderful if you prefer to stay away from processed foods and sweeteners like stevia, and there’s also a massive general Trim Healthy Mamas group. Be sure to check the files in each group for recipes, meal plans and other helpful printables.
  • Pinterest: There are so many THM boards (including mine)! You can also find an official Trim Healthy Mamas profile with thousands of recipes organized by meal type.

What resources did I miss? I’d love to add them!

I wish I’d known…scoliosis surgery

Surgery for scoliosis

I thought we were prepared for surgery. We’d packed for the hospital, and then some. We had a team in place that was invaluable. We asked the surgeon every question I could think of. We were in the uncommon position of having actually seen family members (my brother and sister) go through similar surgeries.

And there was still so much I wish I’d known before-hand.

Little facts like your child is practically a newborn after surgery. We had to help her turn and to get comfortable for about two weeks. I helped her shower for at least six weeks, and get dressed too. Bathroom help will be needed.

And that coming off of Percocet is horrible, even when you wean off carefully.

Emotions will run high. For everyone. A lot of grace will be needed, all around.

It was hard to get her eating again after surgery. Favorite foods no longer tasted good and her appetite has been much smaller.

Things can go wrong. Four weeks after surgery number one, we went back because of severe pain and ended up in surgery a few hours later. The girl now has five disturbingly large screws in a bio-hazard bag that were removed from her back because something shifted a bit and they started putting pressure on nerves. She’s lost a little bit of correction because of that, but she’s still a lot straighter than she was before.

Their bodies will change. Most kids lose a significant amount of weight. I was told by our RN’s that about 80% of girls will start their cycle after surgery, regardless of whether or not they’ve gotten it yet or when they had it last.

Because of the movement of their spine, their muscles will hurt and possibly spasm. It’s not just recovering from the surgery, but the radical realignment of a part of the body that affects everything.

While we’re thankful to have had this procedure and know it’s something that will give the girl a better quality of life as she ages, it was a huge trauma to her system and for our family.

menu plan monday: Trim Healthy Mama freezer meals

Monday

We’re coming up on an extra crazy time of year. I’m pretty sure this past weekend was the last until Christmas without an event of some sort. I’m also starting a 6 week Holy Yoga series that focuses on finding our rest in the Lord during seasons of business.

It seemed kind of an appropriate topic for the season.

I wanted to make sure I put this past weekend to good use, so I logged in to Once a Month Meals and planned out a Trim Healthy Mama friendly series of dinners. There is no way I could stick with THM and feed my family healthy, nutrient dense meals during this season without my Once a Month Meals subscription.

Here’s what I prepped:

Lentil and Wild Rice Soup – an E meal – a big hit with both my husband and daughter

Steaks in Herb Sauce – an S dinner that I’ll serve with the green beans and roasted butternut squash I’ll be linking further down

Garlic Herb Crusted Pork Tenderloin – think this is an E dinner since it’s pretty lean pork. Please correct me if I’m wrong!

Paleo Sun-dried Tomato and Spinach Burgers – I can’t to try these! Definitely an S dinner, that I might add a little fresh mozzarella to and put on top of a spinach salad.

White Enchiladas – a seriously delicious S meal, just add a salad. I did this as a casserole, with the low carb tortillas cut into strips and it tasted exactly like a chicken and tortilla casserole I grew up eating. If you’re going to make it that way, I’d recommend upping the sauce a little bit. To make this gluten-free, I’d suggest the brown rice tortillas from Trader Joe’s.

I’m also finding it incredibly helpful to have vegetables prepped for side dishes. They take almost no time to prep, but it saves me so many dishes and so much time when its time to get dinner on the table.

Green Beans with Bacon and Garlic – (S) I don’t even like green beans and I love these! They go great with the steaks.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Balsamic and Rosemary – (S) – another favorite that I’ve made twice now.

Spiced Roasted Cauliflower – (E – I think – I went as low on the coconut oil as I could) – we are huge fans of roasted cauliflower around here

Sautéed Kale with Bacon – (S) using the method in this recipe. This was one of our favorite meals from my last round of OAMM prepping.

Do you use freezer cooking to help you stay on track? I’d love to hear your favorites THM friendly freezer meals!

Shared at Org Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday and the Real Food Roundup with Musings of  a Housewife and Sassy Moms in the City.

swappable-300x250-logoDisclosure: I am an affiliate of Once A Month Meals and will receive a commission if you sign up through my link. I would have not become an affiliate without 100% belief that this service is worth every penny of the fee and more in making wholesome, healthy dinners easy and doable for everyone

i want to be a trim healthy mama

Freedom
It’s no secret that I’ve had issues with food for a long time, and that I’ve been on the search for a way of eating that is sustainable and healthy for me.

I joke that I’ve tried every diet from veganism to paleo, and that’s sadly not too much of an exaggeration.

If it’s too low carb, I’m constantly light-headed and feel deprived after about a month. If its whole grain, my gut rebels. Without animal protein, I have absolutely no energy. And my naturally obsessive personality doesn’t do well with tracking anything.

I was at a place a few weeks ago where I was deciding it was okay to not be my best and to learn to be happy with this body that I’m currently in. There’s something healthy in that, I’ve been told.

But, there’s an issue with that:

I didn’t feel good, physically or emotionally.

I’ve been looking for something reasonable, something sensible, something that doesn’t exclude entire groups of foods for so long.

Something that helps me feel good, but most of all is sustainable as a homeschooling pastor’s wife that teaches Holy Yoga with a husband taking a mor than-full load in seminary, a daughter still recovering from spinal surgery, a schedule that has one free weekend between now and Christmas and lots of events coming up where food choices won’t be the best.

And doesn’t make me crazy…or a perfectionist…or obsess in really unhealthy ways.

I think I’ve found it in the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating.

It’s different from anything else I’ve tried. Sure, things like sugar and refined grains are cut out but there’s so much freedom and variety…and honestly, no one should really be eating white sugar or flour or processed food like items that are full of ingredients no one can pronounce.

But the freedom…that’s the big thing. I’m not counting calories or carbs or looking longingly at every food in my kitchen. There’s no guilt involved and in my 20 years of looking for the best way for me to eat, that is incredible for whom the guilt at many times has led to very unhealthy habits of binges and purging. I’m not thinking about food all the time. I’m not tempted by the Halloween candy that is everywhere. I’m not mindlessly snacking.

Today is day 10. The scale is down. Every time I put on my jeans, I can feel a difference (I tend to live in yoga pants, so that’s every four or five). I have more energy, and my brain actually works (and the fact that I don’t have to be on a super strict diet for that to happen seems miraculous!). My hips are cracking and popping all the time. My emotions are far more level. It’s also been easy to adapt with the Once A Month meals I made a few weeks ago, and I’m planning on doing a fully THM OAMM cooking day this Saturday (I’ll share what I’ve done next Monday).  And I have almost no cravings…and if I do, there are so many options that hit my need for chocolate and stay within the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating.

I’ve gone off plan twice – once for a big Oktoberfest dinner we had at our house and then a pumpkin carving party with friends. Both times, I’ve made decent, but not the best choices and both times, I’ve enjoyed a small dessert. Both times, it’s been no problem to get right back at it with my next meal.  And both times, I haven’t been haunted by the guilt of a bit of indulgence or of putting something in my body that maybe isn’t optimal.

I will confess, the book is a lot of reading. And maybe not the most clear. It’s a low glycemic plan with higher fat/low carb meals and low fat/higher carb meals at its base. There’s a learning curve. But it’s not that bad and the freedom is so totally worth the work. I’ll share some of my favorite resources tomorrow and a very basic breakdown.

Have you tried a THM lifestyle? Have you thought about it?

Contains a few affiliate links.

prepping for your first Holy Yoga class

prepping for your first Holy Yoga class
So, the day of my first Holy Yoga class, I was ready at 2.

Class started at 5.

I might have been a little bit anxious.

I packed and repacked my bag, refilled my water bottle half a dozen times, ran to the bathroom half a dozen times and tried every hairstyle I knew.

It was ridiculous.

And I don’t want you to have to go through the same worry.

What do you really need?

Not that much.

A mat, if you have one. A towel works too. As an instructor, I try to have an extra mat or two for newcomers.

Clothes you can move in. And hopefully don’t slide down too much (you don’t want to be hiking your pants up all the time) and hopefully aren’t see-through in downward dog (the scourge of the yoga community).

Water.  We’re just stretching, you think? Good luck. I sweat more during a yoga practice than I do when I do interval training. I get really thirsty.

A strap, if you have one. Or an old necktie. Or a jump rope. A block is nice, too. Props and helpers aren’t a sign you’re weak. They are invaluable tools that can help anyone get deeper into poses. They can also be that extra inch that gets you into a pose for the first time.

A blanket or towel, if you want. Especially helpful if you have back or knee issues, you can roll it up to place under your hips or knees. Or, if you’re like me, you get cold in the final resting pose and need a little covering.

That’s it.

Truly.

Except for one thing.

And it’s the most important.

You can leave all of the rest of that at home, as long as you bring this:

an open and willing heart and attitude.

A heart that seeks God.

A heart that wants to hear from Him.

Friends, don’t put limits on where and how God can speak to you. It demeans Him. It puts Him in a box. And it sets up a barrier between you and Him.

And be willing to try poses, even if you think there’s no way. Your teacher should give you many different directives and modifications so that your practice can grow.

What do you stress over when trying something new?

what to pack when your child has spinal surgery

 

Scoliosis Surgery

Great title, right?

But it’s what I searched over and over as we prepared for the girl’s surgery and never could find great info on. Again, as I mentioned in my post about how to pack yourself for a stay with your child in the hospital, some helpful information down deep in message boards but nowhere in one coherent place.

Here’s my list:

  • Two extra firm pillows, one king size and one standard, with bright pillow cases (so you don’t leave them there when you finally get to go home). There’s a lot of adjusting and trying to get comfortable after surgery and those little pillows they give you at the hospital can be a pain to deal with, though they are perfect for putting between your child’s knees. Our RN’s loved us for not having to stuff a dozen pillows every time they adjusted her, which was sometimes every half hour.
  • A stuffed animal or small pillow for hugging. While the girl was in surgery, the pastor found a darling stuffed frog for her. By the time we left the hospital eight days later, that poor thing looked like it had been to war. She held onto it when she was being moved and it hurt. It helped keep her hands in position while she was sleeping and it helped keep the IV from bothering her so much. Humphrey the frog seemed to develop its own personality over the times we were there and everyone from this exhausted mama to respiratory therapists and RN’s treated him like part of the family.
  • A light blanket. Hospital blankets suck. Big time. The blanket we brought from home ended up feeling really, really heavy after surgery, but we had a goodie bag that had a lap sized flannel blanket that came from the child life specialists that was perfect. It also looked like it was decades old by the end of our stay.
  • Sugar free gum. Spinal surgery is notoriously bad for shutting down the digestive system, and the first thing the girl was given was sugar-free gum to start waking up her tummy. And as things can sometimes get chaotic in the ICU, it took us a while to find some.
  • Larger PJ’s or clothes and undies. When the girl finally got to take a shower and get dressed (7 days after surgery), we all wanted to throw a party. Seriously. We found larger clothes to be a bit more comfortable and work better with dressings, IV’s and the such. The girl also liked having her robe there if someone came to visit or she was taking one of her physical therapy walks.
  • Slippers with good soles. They’ll give you those awesome no slip socks at the hospital. They don’t slip against the floor, but they sure did slip off of the girl’s feet every chance they got. We did better with a few pairs of really soft socks if her feet were cold and a pair of slippers for walking in.
  • Lotion. All that time in bed seems to just leach the moisture right out of your body. We also ended up giving her a lot of hip and shoulder massages for pain and the lotion came in handy there, too.
  • Dry shampoo. After four days of sponge baths and laying in a bed, her hair was crazy. A little dry shampoo and brushing every day got her through until we could finally wash it on day seven (and then I was worried we’d have to resort to Dawn dish soap to get all of that oil out!). We french braided her hair in two braids before surgery and that seemed to be the best way to wear it until we were able to wash it more regularly.
  • Their smart phone. It was incredibly helpful for her spirits to get texts and video messages from friends. She was also able to play games and keep herself occupied for a few minutes. She wasn’t too excited about many other activities, though she did enjoy having me read a book out loud to her. Reading on her own is something she’s just getting back to, seven weeks after her first surgery and three after her second – it’s just been difficult to focus with the pain meds on board.

Anything else you’d add if you’ve been through a similar surgery?

Next week, one more post: things I’d wish I had known before surgery.

the long haul: tips for staying with your hospitalized kiddo

The Long Haul

The girl recently had a spinal fusion to correct scoliosis that had us in the hospital for seven nights.

And four weeks later, we were back for another surgery to remove a few screws that were pressing on nerves.

That meant three more nights of living and sleeping at the hospital.

Five of those nights were in that bed – y’all, under no circumstances is that a bed. It’s a vinyl chair from the early 70’s that pulls out into something you can sort of sleep on. The ICU at our Shriner’s decided I now hold the record for most nights on it.

I’ve decided I’ve earned my Girl Scout badge on the topic.

And because I had so much trouble finding information for parents staying with hospitalized kiddos, I thought I’d share what I learned.

  • Before the procedure, find out what your options are. We knew the girl would be in the ICU for a few nights. I was allowed to stay with her as long as she wasn’t intubated.  There was also a Ronald McDonald House and Kiwanis House in the area.
    I chose to stay at the hospital.
    I was also able to learn that there were showers at the hospital for parents to use, with towels provided. Toiletries, however, were not.
  • Think multi-use clothing.  Yoga pants, comforatble t’s, layers. I ended up wearing most of my clothes as pajamas. It was just easier and, quite frankly, I didn’t care. And slippers aren’t a bad idea.
    I walked from the ICU to the restroom one night in yoga pants, a tank, socks and no glasses. No one noticed and no one cared.
  • Bring a sleep mask. Even if you’re in a regular room, it’s fairly bright. If you’re in the ICU, it can feel like you’re trying to sleep on the sun. I have and absolutely love this one.
    I wouldn’t recommend ear plugs, though. If your child needs you, you’re going to want to hear them call.
  • Your own blanket and pillow.  Hospital blankets are kind of scratchy. And the pillows are kind of sad. It’s also a bit of home.
    And if you’re sleeping on one of those amazingly 70’s-tastic chairs, put a hospital blanket or two under the sheet. It helps keep from sliding around while you sleep.
    It took me three nights to figure that out.
  • Food related…Find out the cafeteria policies I found out after our stay that if I’d brought in a travel cup with a lid, I could have filled up anytime for free.
    Always get an extra cup of ice and water. I found myself getting really dehydrated.
    Ask about special menus and needs.
    Bring cash for the cafeteria and hoard your quarters for vending machines.
    Keep some snacks in your child’s room if possible. Some days, I couldn’t make it to the cafeteria during the hours it was open and was thankful for the protein bars and fruit I kept stashed in a drawer. Bottled water is also nice, or a water bottle you can refill.
  • Make an effort to become friends with your RN’s. They’re going to be the ones really taking care of your child and the ones to call the doctor if something isn’t right. After our two hospital stays and the rock start RN’s that took care of the girl, I want to buy them all Starbucks. And mansions.
  • Things to keep you occupied. Books, magazines, smart phone, tablet, knitting – it’s all good.
    But the old saying about sleeping when your newborn sleeps? It applies here.
  • Find an advocate. If you have a family member with medical training, take advantage of them. Seriously. The girl was having severe nausea and dry heaving after her first surgery. We thought perhaps it was just the eight hours of anesthesia, but my husband’s aunt – a retired RN – noticed the issues started within two minutes of pushing that button that gave her a dose of dilaudid, a powerful narcotic. She even kept her own chart of it and was able to show the RN on duty, who in turn was immediately get the medicine changed to something she was able to tolerate.
  • Get out of the hospital, if you can. Make a Target run. Walk around the block. Find the hospital patio and sit outside. If a friend or family member offers to sit with your child, give them a quick in-service and head out. You need some time for you.

Next week, I’ll share some things that made the girl’s stay easier and more comfortable, especially for spinal surgeries.

Have you been through an experience like ours? Anything you would add? I’d love to develop a place for parents to come and find this info and more.

menu plan monday: gf/paleo freezer cooking

Monday

I don’t have a meal plan for this week. We’ve got dinner at a friend’s tonight and then the kids and I will be visiting Grandma, Grandpa and the cousins for the whole weekend.

Instead, I’m sharing the gluten-free and paleo friendly menu plan I put together and prepped last week using Once a Month Meals. I wrote last week about how this site and it’s tools have saved my brain in a season that’s a little crazier than normal. That’s not an overstatement at all.

I was able to prep twelve dinners for four (two of each) and several lunches in single servings, plus four side dishes we’ll be able to eat twice. And because I have the Pro Membership, I was able to swap some meals out for ones I know my family will love and still print out the shopping list, prep plan, cooking day plan and everything else customized exactly how I needed it.

Total cost: about $220, but that included some breakfast items and snacks and special requests from the kids.

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Here are the dinners I made:

  • Paleo Crockpot Meatballs – we’ll be serving with gluten free pasta or spaghetti squash and a salad for a dinner that’s less than 15 minutes hands on.
  • Artichoke Chicken Thighs – throw it all in a baking sheet and add an easy veggies. Sweet.
  • Bacon Wrapped Coconut Chicken Nuggets – confession: I left out the coconut. My people will like it better that way.
  • Spiced Chicken, Kale and Roasted Squash – 10 minutes or so hands on. We had this for dinner Friday night and it was amazing. Next time, I’ll double the squash
  • Spicy Beef and Broccoli – I’ll serve this with white rice cooked with bone broth.
  • Pulled Pork Shoulder Roast – I totally botched this recipe and turned it into bbq pulled pork. Just throw the roast in the slow cooker with salt, pepper, garlic, a diced onion and several tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and cook for about 8 hours. We pulled the pork, added a a paleo friendly bbq sauce. Serve it on slider rolls or on top of shredded cabbage to keep it paleo.

Lunches:

  • Chicken and Zucchini Poppers – I made these into mini patties to ensure they cooked all the way through. A minute in the microwave or in a frying pan to reheat and they’re to throw on a salad or in a lettuce wrap. Next time, I’ll add more seasoning – maybe some pepper sauce or vaudovon or chili paste.
  • Curried Coconut Cauliflower Soup – really good, especially make with bone broth, but also something I will play with the spices with when I make it again. And I will make it again!

Side Dishes:

  • Garlic and Bacon Green Beans – because all veggies are better when roasted with bacon. I used frozen organic green beans instead of fresh.
  • Maple Bacon Acorn Squash – this is sooo good. So good. Perfect with a roast.
  • Roasted Butternut Squash with Rosemary and Balsamic – can’t wait to pair this with some steaks
  • Smashed Loaded Red Potatoes – another recipe I sort of flopped because I wasn’t paying attention. I mashed the potoates, added raw shredded cheese, organic cream, scallions, mashed it all together and froze in an 8×8 baking pan. It’s not paleo, but it’s wholefoods and the family is very excited about it.

 

Shared at Org Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday and the Real Food Roundup with Musings of  a Housewife and Sassy Moms in the City.

swappable-300x250-logoDisclosure: I am an affiliate of Once A Month Meals and will receive a commission if you sign up through my link. I would have not become an affiliate without 100% belief that this service is worth every penny of the fee and more in making wholesome, healthy dinners easy and doable for everyone.

 

adventures in once a month cooking

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I mentioned earlier this week that my main plan for food is simple. I’ve been stuck in a rut of too tired, too stressed and too unplanned to get very far with it. I know that turning that around starts with food, but it just hasn’t happened. We’ve had a lot of “whatever you can find” dinners and nachos.

Enter Once A Month Meals.

I’ve been following them since the beginning, but never took the plunge. I know my people don’t like casseroles and I don’t like can of whatever soups,  and that’s what a majority of freezer or once a month meals have been in the past.  And seriously, it’s a pain to make the shopping list and try to coordinate everything.

Once A Month Meals takes care of all of that. They have an incredible selection of different menu plans – paleo, diet, whole foods, traditional, even vegetarian – and the ability to switch meals out for an extra few dollars a month. That few extra dollars is totally worth it. And really, if it saves us from eating out once a month and helps me avoid eating foods I know I shouldn’t, the monthly fee will more than pay for itself.

I was able to print out my shopping list (organized by category), a prep list, cooking day instructions. labels and even a thaw sheet. That part of me that obsessively makes lists just squealed.

Wednesday, I went shopping, came home and started cooking.

That’s exactly what they tell you not to do.

I had only a few items that required baking, so it wasn’t too bad. I left for shopping at 9 am and was done by 5:30 pm. For fourteen dinners, eight sides and six lunch servings each of soup and chicken nuggets, that’s not bad at all. They’re all whole foods based, with no preservatives, no junky oils and no pseudo-foods.

I also didn’t do any prep work. I didn’t even clear off the counter. I just went at it. There were dishes in the sink.

Also not recommended.

Next time will be different.

And there will definitely be a next time. I’ve already got it planned with a couple of slow cooker and soup mini menus to do in the next week or so. Our schedules seem to be growing continually busier, and any help I can get is welcome.

A few thoughts I want to remember for next time:

  • Don’t be afraid to up the spices. I’ve found that quite a few recipes, especially in the paleo realm, are a little under-spiced for our taste.
  • Take the prep day. Next time, I’ll shop and prep one day, and assemble and cook the next.
  • Utilize the pressure cooker. I have one – I don’t know why I didn’t use it.
  • Clean off the counters. And the table. And make sure all of the dishes are done.
  • Print out the labels. I thought it wouldn’t be too much trouble to make notes on the bags with a Sharpie. I was wrong. And my main issue with printing out many of the labels I find online is that they suck my color ink. I love that the Once  A Month Meals are either black and white or gray scale-ish (somebody was really thinking there!)

Do you do any kind of freezer cooking or once a month meals? What are your favorite recipes?