Top 6 Ideas for Easy Preparation of Weeknight Meals (and even packing lunches too!).

My sister and brother-in-law are very busy career folk with 2 dogs, a house under renovations, and a million other things to do, and freeze a lot of meals for quick dinners on busy weeknights.  After a recent conversation, I was inspired to share what I do for quick and easy meals, and how this preparation and routine has helped me maintain a healthy, whole foods diet (for the most part, haha!).

1. Have cooked or thawed protein in the fridge at all times.

I like to buy in bulk and freeze meat, and there is nothing worse then being hungry for dinner and having to defrost something before you can even cook it!  I like to bake 5 or 6 chicken breasts in the oven, with a simple seasoning such as salt and pepper, or some herbs.  This way, they can be doctored up later.  Add a drizzle of oil for extra flavour and juiciness.  Chill in the fridge in a container for later use.  P.S. Cutting cooked and chilled chicken is so much easier and slices SO nice.  Now you can add it to a salad for an entree-style salad, make a quick wrap, or pasta.  You could also cook a whole chicken, bone-in chicken, etc. and do the same thing.  For pork and beef, I prefer to have them thawed and even marinated for a day or two in spices or whatever, or even cut up and put on kabobs for quick grilling.  This works with chicken too.  Or with thawed meat you can cube it or slice it when raw and store in the fridge.  Sometimes cleaning and cutting the meat takes awhile, but this way, it is already done.

 

2. Make a big batch of homemade tomato sauce.

When you have tried this, you will never go back to the canned store bought kind again.  I freeze it in batches and always have one ready in the fridge.  Chicken parm sandwiches, english muffin or pita pizzas, or pastas are made super quick easy.

 

3.  Triple recipes, or just make a TON of something at once.

Put on the radio, and spend some time in the kitchen on the weekend and cook up a favourite dinner.  We love pasta dishes in our house and make huge batches of them.  Mac n’ cheese is really delicious for leftovers, and can easily be healthified.  We will make a pasta that has 4 or 5 chicken breasts in it and a mound of veggies is on the cutting board waiting to go in.  Pasta is good for leftovers and re-heats well too.  If you have a microwave at work (or like cold pasta) you will have lunches for several days, or leftovers to eat anytime.

 

4. Prep all your produce.

Wash, cut, and prepare all the fruits and veggies (including lettuce and greens) in your fridge store in containers (which also makes for easy snacking, I find I am much more likely to grab them if they are ready to go).  For lunches, I even take it a step further and portion them into baggies for small lunch containers for the week.  That way, all the work is done and I plop them into my lunch bag.  And having peppers and mushrooms sliced and washed already, and lettuce clean and dried, cuts dinner prep time way down.  I even sometimes do things 2-ways, for example, I will cut carrots into sticks for snacks and side dishes and also shred some for salad toppings.  Words cannot describe how useful it is to have a fridge full of washed and prepped fruits and veggies.  If I have edamamme, I will cook it and do the same thing (it is good hot or cold, or added to salad or stir fry).  Or I will have a can of beans or chick peas rinsed and ready in a container for salads and topping any dish basically.

 

5. Cook up a batch of rice.  A big one.

With your veggies already prepared and meat thawed, you can stir fry it all together and then serve over rice for such an effortless, yet delicious dinner.  I find rice re-heats well, in my opinion.  Or make a curry, which is really easy, yet really hardy, and serve with rice.  And combine leftover cooked rice with leftover cooked chicken, you get an amazing homemade chicken fried rice.  I even like our homemade, healthier version better then take-out now.  We almost never buy it out anymore.

 

6.  Use the slow cooker for everything.

Casseroles, meat, roasts, sauces, etc.  It does the work all day and you come home to a delicious meal!  For extra fast meals, do something all-in-one, like pork loin with potatoes/onions/carrots, seasoning of choice, and voila.  You could even add a side salad or corn on the cob for something extra.

Now I bet all of this sounds like a ton of work, and just really not do-able at all.  But I don’t have every single example above ready in my fridge.  My rule of thumb is: always have cooked or at least thawed protein available and abundant, and prep all produce.  One week I might have a ton of cooked chicken breast and rice in the fridge, the next week might be more grilling with side salads, and the next week might be making loads of 1 or 2 dishes for leftovers.

I pick a day when I have some time, put on my favourite radio station (oldies or NPR usually) and head into the kitchen on a Sunday afternoon. It’s very relaxing, because there is no time frame, I am not starving, and can putter around.  Or the Artist and I will do it together one night, and catch up, be silly, or have really great talks about life, or all of the above.  Being in the kitchen together is one of our favourite ways to spend time together.  Sometimes we even take it a step further; the Artist will prepare a big dinner with tons of leftovers, and I will prep all the produce for the week, and we will pour drinks, turn up the tunes, eat the dinner by candle light, and make a mini-date out of it.

When these are all prepared, and I even pre-portion for lunches (so I literally grab my lunch from the fridge and plop it in my lunch bag in the morning), I eat a lot healthier and a much more balanced diet.  We are less likely to resort to junk or take-out when we get home tired after a long day because we can make something delicious and homemade in minutes.

The fastest meals, I would say in 15 minutes or less, would be: entree-style salads, tacos (using already cooked meat or beans), quesadillas, wraps, and grilled kabobs.

On the more medium side of things, in about 20 minutes, you could have: grilled meat, stir fry (less time probably if you use cooked meat instead of sautéing), pita or flatbread pizza, or grilled paninis.

And in about 30 minutes, you could make: spaghetti, chicken fried rice, any pasta dish, prepare pizza dough ahead of time by rolling it in desired shape(s) and freezing (you could even cook it for a few minutes to help it hold its shape) for taking pizza at home to the next level, spicy orange chicken with cashew nuts (or any Asian dish that doesn’t involve battering and frying the meat before starting), or larger cuts of meat including larger cuts of bone-in meat either grilled, or oven roasted.

In 30+ minutes: mac n’cheese casserole, sweet and sour chicken (or Asian dishes that include battering and frying meat), Mongolian style stir fry with Sriracha sauce, and of course things in the slow cooker.  These just mostly require time for cooking and don’t need as much attention other then checking or stirring during this time.

And for all of these examples, having prepped produce will come in handy for easy and quick side dishes and salads.  For example; grilled peppers, corn on the cob, steamed broccoli, roasted asparagus, raw veggie platter with hummus, and never ending combinations of salads.  And to keep things as healthy as possible, choose whole wheat options, make your own marinade instead of using a bottled one, and be aware of how much sodium and sugar you use so that you can adjust to fit your needs/wants.

I hope this was helpful 🙂

 

Advertisements

Getting Out of This Funk- Update.

I think it is time to update my get-out-this-funk status.  I have been working hard at my checking off everything on my list, and feeling much better 🙂   No more letting these winter blues bring me down!

– Clean the house, top to bottom. A cluttered and messy living space makes for a restless and overwhelmed mind. And a clean and tidy living space makes for a more calm mind, or so I have found for me. DONE!

– Catch up on laundry. IN PROGRESS! (I never have enough quarters….)

– Schedule a day that works for both the Artist and I to prepare our taxes. MAILING OUR FINAL PAPERS ON MONDAY!

– Apply for an external scholarship. IN PROGRESS!

– Go to the Soulard Farmer’s Market. To stock up on fresh and healthy foods, support local farmers, and get some fresh air and out and about in the community. I like to eat local and organically as often as I can. NOT YET, BUT MAYBE TOMORROW!

– Do some yoga. I enjoy kripalu yoga. I find it is relaxing, stress relieving, and is really beneficial for my body’s needs. NOT YET

– Work with the Artist on fixing up the chairs from Goodwill. DONE! (refer to previous post)

– Stock up on lots of healthy foods to fill my body with nutrients, and to entice me to cook lots of home cooked meals, and healthified baked goods. DONE! (Still some items I would like to get, but still bargain hunting for a good price!)

My favourite salad.

My favourite salad.

Pork and veggie kabobs.

Pork and veggie kabobs.

Home made Mongolian Grill style stirfry.  AMAZING!

Home made Mongolian Grill style stirfry. AMAZING!

Chocolate peanut butter cups, healthified.

Chocolate peanut butter cups, healthified.

The middle is organic, natural, unsalted PB with some vanilla protein powder to help flavour it and thicken it up a bit.  The chocolate is organic unrefined coconut oil, cocoa powder, and honey and pure maple syrup to taste.  The flavours of those don't come through, they just sweeten.

The middle is organic, natural, unsalted PB with some vanilla protein powder to help flavour it and thicken it up a bit. The chocolate is organic unrefined coconut oil, cocoa powder, and honey and pure maple syrup to taste. The flavours of those don’t come through, they just sweeten.

– Switch up my exercise routine to include heavier lifting and more cardio. LIFTING HEAVIER 😀 FOR MY VERY FIRST TIME EVER IN MY LIFE, I GRABBED WEIGHTS ON THE BOTTOM FREE WEIGHT RACK! STILL TRYING TO WORK IN MORE CARDIO.

– Clean out and organize the fridge, freezer, and pantry. DONE!

– Find good homes for clothing and other items that I no longer need, and that are contributing to the clutter. NOT YET

– Do a little thrifting. I could some some non-winter shoes that are more fancy then every day wear. DONE! (refer to previous post, although you can never do enough thrifting lol!)

– Pick up my knitting. WORKING ON SOME LEG WARMERS!

– Finish my current novel. IN PROGRESS!

– Watch some good movies. YES 🙂 Among others, I recently saw Gravity.  It was amazing, but really scary.  Space really freaks me out.  It is like my worst nightmare, being lost in space.  Or bring lost at sea on a rubber dingy, with no land in sight.  The vastness of the ocean also freaks me right out.  I could never go into space, or go scuba diving.  I don’t even like doing for deep sea swims in a lake or something where the bottom is waaaaay down there.  I’m not sure what it is, but it is so scary to me.  Way more scary then horror movies with fictional monsters or villains.

On a happier note, I listened to an interesting story on NPR recently.  The Artist and I were in the car, arriving at home, but ran into the house as fast as we could to turn on the radio to continue listening.  It was about a man who was several months behind in his rent and had to go before a judge, and was facing eviction.  He was given 15 days to come up with the money his owed, and had no idea how he was going to do it.  He entered a rap contest and the grand prize was exactly the amount he owed.  He was struggling to make a living, trying to follow his dreams.  In the end, he and another contestant were tied for the win, and he was able to pay off his rent debt.  Shortly thereafter, having been seen at the contest, his career took off and he was going off on tour.  He said that if this is what it took for him to make it, then it was all worth it.

The moral of story is, don’t give up on your dreams.  Don’t settle for anything less then what you want.  I think the reason why the Artist and I enjoyed this radio talk so much was because we are living this story.  We are struggling, we are broke, but we keep on going.  One step at a time, we are headed in the right direction.  We figure out whatever obstacles are presented to us, and we become that much closer.  Some think we are crazy to “choose” this struggle, that it is really worth it?  The answer is yes.  Without a doubt.  We know what we want, and will stop at nothing.  As the saying goes, “even the longest journey, begins with a single step”.

I know what I want in a home.  I know what I want in a career.  I know what I want in a family.  I am in an amazing marriage.  I am head over heels in love.  I will work hard to achieve my goals.  I will never give up.

Am most importantly, I am happy.  And really, isn’t that all that matters?

 

Time to Get Out of This Funk.

I don’t know if it is the weather, the changing seasons, or what, but I have been in this weird funk for the last couple weeks. I think that this end-of-winter-almost-spring change of seasons where everything is gray, and gloomy, and cold, and everyone is anxious for spring to begin, has taken it’s toll on me.

I haven’t felt like cooking, it seems like such a chore, and I have no desire to do it, when normally I enjoy cooking. And the same goes for baking, both regular and healthified. I don’t particularly enjoy cleaning the house, but normally I am good at keeping up with it, and it isn’t overly time consuming because we have an apartment versus a multiple story house, a small kitchen, and just 1 bathroom. But I have no motivation to do this, nor to do laundry (mostly because I have to go outside and into the basement, and carrying all the stuff down is such a hassle, and my clumsy self frequently trips on the stairs, sometimes resulting in nasty wounds). I haven’t picked up my knitting in a while, or read the current book I have on the go. There are projects that need to be done around the house, like fixing up the chairs we bought at Goodwill for a couple bucks each, cleaning out the pantry, etc., and none of them have amounted to anything more then just a thought. Even just going grocery shopping seems like a chore, even thought I normally I love it…getting all bundled up, going out in the cold, on a gloomy day, just ugh. And this type of mood and the gloomy weather, influences me to want to eat junk food, and resisting is so hard for me, and can be kind of exhausting haha. And I am just really busy with volunteering in the community, and applying to grad school and looking for scholarships, that these gray days can slip by in an instant. And I just have a lot on my plate, which is exhausting to carry around.

I am so sick of this! So I have decided that enough is enough, the weather and everything else does not get to dictate me or influence this kind of lifestyle- I am getting out of this funk, and back to my vibrant self. I figured that setting some goals for what I want to do, how I want to spend my time, and deciding what is important to me and creating a list, would be the best way for me to go about cutting off this extreme, lazy, procrastination. So here is my “beat this gloomy season funk” to-do list.

– Clean the house, top to bottom. A cluttered and messy living space makes for a restless and overwhelmed mind. And a clean and tidy living space makes for a more calm mind, or so I have found for me.

– Catch up on laundry.

– Schedule a day that works for both the Artist and I to prepare our taxes.

– Apply for an external scholarship.

– Go to the Soulard Farmer’s Market. To stock up on fresh and healthy foods, support local farmers, and get some fresh air and out and about in the community. I like to eat local and organically as often as I can.

– Do some yoga. I enjoy kripalu yoga. I find it is relaxing, stress relieving, and is really beneficial for my body’s needs.

– Work with the Artist on fixing up the chairs from Goodwill.

– Stock up on lots of healthy foods to fill my body with nutrients, and to entice me to cook lots of home cooked meals, and healthified bakes gods.

– Switch up my exercise routine to include heavier lifting and more cardio.

– Clean out and organize the fridge, freezer, and pantry.

– Find good homes for clothing and other items that I no longer need, and that are contributing to the clutter.

– Do a little thrifting. I could some some non-winter shoes that are more fancy then every day wear.

– Pick up my knitting.

– Finish my current novel.

– Watch some good movies.
This seems like a simple to-do list, which it sort of is. But by accomplishing all of the things that I have been avoiding and procrastinating with laziness, I will feel productive and proud of myself. It is like a snow ball effect; once I just get started, which is the hardest part, it will all come quickly together.

So after making this list, I feel a lot more organized and motivated to “get back to life”, and make the time for things that are important to me, both in terms of necessary things like cleaning and taxes, but also things I do for myself, like reading and watching movies. Keeping up with one’s hobbies gets more difficult as we get older and busier with life, and I do not want to lose or forget about mine. So making the time for them is important to me.

So far, I can cross a few items on my list.

We got the chairs fixed up, the Artist reupholstered them, and I helped clean them up.  It cost only about $4 per chair to do so 🙂

DSCN2503 DSCN2504 DSCN2506

And we went thifting.  I found these gems, all in like-new condition for a couple bucks a piece.

DSCN2354 DSCN2347 DSCN2346 DSCN2344

We also watched Julie and Julia, and It’s Complicated, having a nice date-night in together, and after we watch a good movie it always sparks really great conversation between us afterwards ❤

I couldn’t end this post without sharing another Artist moment.  He is so funny, and wonderfully weird 😉  I went into the bathroom and took a shower.  When I came out, I saw this:

DSCN2428

In the 10-15 minutes I was in the bathroom showering, the Artist had decided to make some art, busted off a ton of drawings, and was laying on a floor playing catch with himself with a roll of masking tape.  It it kind of like when you leave a room and come back to find your dog having done something silly.

I love him ❤

Moving Food.

Recently, we were talking about food experiences that have moved us.  I am not just talking about super delicious foods, or what our favourite foods are, I am talking about being so moved, there are no words to describe the level of deliciousness going on, that it is life changing.  My life changing food experiences?  Eating at Mission Taco- everything on the menu.  Buttermilk cake donut from World’s Fair Donuts.  Discovering how much I love banana peppers on a wrap or sandwich.  And the sauce the Artist made for our chicken last night, which was his take on a General Tso’s.  The Artist’s food moving experiencing included; a kabob he had on the beach in Spain with this mystery sauce, anything at Mission Taco, and this parmesan cheese from a wine show in Toronto.

Before I move on, I would like to take a moment and talk about why Mission Taco is so amazing.  I have never had a good restaurant experience with Mexican food, other then at Mission Taco.  Other places are so salty I get a stomach ache afterwards, or are so bland I could have made it better myself at home, or are greasy, etc.  And chopping up vegetables and putting them in the same bowl, does not equal pico de gallo- they need to be dressed in something and have some flavour.

At Mission Taco, the menu has so many options, from tacos, to burritos, to tortas, churros, side dishes, starters, and house made salsas.  I have tried a few of the tacos and the flautas, and the Artist has tried most of the tacos.  We have also been recommended by others that the guacamole and side corn is amazing, and the tortas are a must-have.

The flautas are fried, but somehow, they aren’t heavy.  I was a little sceptical about the corn inside, but it compliments the flavours SO well.  The chihuahua cheese also married well with the rest of the ingredients, and the ancho BBQ sauce was utter perfection.  And the flautas were rolled nice and tight, which made for easier eating and they didn’t fall apart.

All of the tacos we have tried all have the same things in common: lots of meat, perfect flavour combinations, light and tasty.  Each taco is topped with different things in order to best serve the protein, rather then top every taco with  cheddar, lettuce, and sour cream.  And I don’t like it when someone puts insane amounts of lettuce on something.  One time, the Artist got a fast food taco, and it was basically a smidgen of ground beef, unseasoned, and copious amounts of lettuce.  Nothing else.  But mission taco uses other flavour profiles like arugula, cabbage, avocado, pickled onions, different salsas and sauces, and instead of overloading the meat with twenty thousand toppings, they select a few that best go together, and create flavour combinations that just blow my mind away.  So.  Good.  The thought that goes into each and every dish, and specially choosing each ingredient so they all add something to the dish, is just amazing.  If you are in St. Louis, check out Mission Taco!!!  I cannot wait to go there again!!!

Then the Artist starts talking about his favourite foods, like burgers, and basically any meat.

Artist: There is nothing better then a freshly caught lobster and big bowl of butter.

Me: (laughing)

Speaking of food…

Artist: I need to eat more.

Me: (is he being sarcastic because he is holding his stomach saying that?) Actually, ya!  I ate normally yesterday and it was still more then you ate.

Artist: Ugh.

Me: And you need a lot more food, you are a bigger person and have tons of muscle that needs to be fed.

Artist: I need to eat more.

Me: I think it is because of who you are.  You are a romantic artist, obsessed with your craft that eating and other daily activities are not priorities.  Or do I need to feed you more?

Artist: Both.

Me: (laughing)

Artist: You know I’m kidding, right?  Yes because I am an artist, and no you don’t have to feed me.  But when you do, I love it.

Me: I will feed you lunch after I do the dishes, it is a pig sty in there.

Artist: (face beaming with excitement)

I think these thoughts he had stemmed from the delicious breakfast I made for him.  We did a hard workout last night, and I was feeling loving and generous so I offered to make him any breakfast he wanted.  It ended up being 3 scrambled eggs, a plain bagel with butter, and coffee- I even freshly ground the beans.  He isn’t a big fan of eggs, but eats them often for their nutritional value and protein, especially after a workout.  But for some reason today, he loved them!  He gobbled them up so fast, making “Mmmmm” noises as he ate.

He is so funny.  He was so grateful for such a nice breakfast, I was showered with gratitude and cuddles ❤  I think if he was any sweeter, he would melt.

He makes me laugh so often, that I have realized how much smiling and laughter can really have a positive effect on even the worst of moods.  He came home from a long day of working, all hot and sweaty from walking in the warm weather, and clearly, the best place to flop down as soon as you walk in the door after a hard day is the floor (right beside the soft, comfy couch) 😀

DSCN2253

And clearly, the best place to paint is in the kitchen, on the floor, in the muddy entry way 😀

DSCN2290

How can I not be so in love with him? ❤

Latest Knitting Project

When I was in high school, I learned how to knit.  I didn’t really do it much, just sort of learned how, and that was that.  When we were living in Toronto, I picked it up again.  But, this time, I did it more often.  I still knit, but it comes in phases.  I will go through a phase where I knit a lot- while watching TV, in bed, etc. and phases where I am busier and don’t make too much progress.  I was trying on winter headbands in Target, and seeing how goofy I looked.  But in the Artist’s words, I looked “good-goofy”.  But to stay on our tight budget, I decided to use the yarn I already had at home to try and make one.  I don’t have any knitting in the round needles, so I had to knit normally and attach the ends.  I chose the stockinette stitch, which is K1-P1 and repeat.  It is not totally free of mistakes, but the Artist’s says that is better, because it is wabi-sabi- the beauty in flaws and imperfections.  I always loved the “shabby-chic” style, and old furniture, and vintage things.  Always.  The best I could articulate it was that I liked things that had a story.  But, as I said in my last post, the Artist is amazing with words, in all aspects you could possibly think of.  His art involves a lot of the concepts of wabi-sabi, and when he first told me about it, it clicked- that is the perspective I take on things.  That is why I love the old, the worn, and the vintage.  I see the beauty in it, where it’s previous owner may not have.  Just one of the many ways, my life has been so enriched by the wisdom, talents, and artworks of my Artist.

Here is my headband 🙂

DSCN1049 DSCN1116

 

I am pleased with my creation.  I think I might make more.  The key is to find good deals on yarn, so you pay significantly less then if buy it in the store.

I l ove knitting with “big” yarn and large needles.  Not for aesthetic appeal, I mean, it looks good and everything, but I use these for visceral reasons.  When I am knitting with big yarn and large needles, it is addicting.  Sometimes I can’t stop.  It just feels good, and satisfying.  Smaller yarn and needles are fine, and I have used them, but I don’t get addicted to my project and it takes forever to complete.

Some nice things the Artist has done for me: picked up all the movies that were being held for me at the library, because he knew I was anxious to watch some of them, made homemade wings and homemade pizza recently because he knows I love his cooking, and talked with me and supported me and calmed me when I got a little overwhelmed about the million dollar question I keep getting asked, “what are you guys going to do after he graduates?”.  I started looking into options, and quickly got overwhelmed.  But, he repeated our mantra.  One person says, “but, no matter what….” and the other person who is upset about whatever, say, “….we always have each other”.  Because really, no matter what happens, we will have each other and that is the most important thing.  We will figure it al out at some point.

Some nice things I have done for the Artist: made him the General Tso’s chicken he had been craving, printed several copies of his assignment because I knew he was running late and feeling rushed, and I agreed to watch a movie of his choice- because the “Artist-movies” as I like to call them, are usually strange, hard to follow, or really absurd and hard to watch, haha.  But I know he is craving something like that, some guilty pleasure time because he has been working so hard.

Doing nice things for each other, makes all the difference in life.  Every day, we are showing each other that we care and are thinking of the other.  That sparks a continuous circle of giving, thoughtfulness, and support.

Happiness, really is, contagious.

Movies, Food, and Love

The Artist and I had 4 glorious nights in a row of evening movie dates and good food at home.  He is really busy for about half the week with class and stuff, and then the weekends are filled with painting and doing other related things, and we also do our errands and shopping, and fitting in something fun together.  Evening 1 consisted of Halloween and Halloween II with candy, chips, and chocolate.  Evening 2 consisted of National Treasure and homemade chicken wings with raw veggies.  Evening 3 consisted of National Treasure 2 and homemade thin crust pizza and a side salad.  And evening 4, consisted of baked chicken and orzo with mediterranean inspired flavours, and a side salad, while watching The Office, an episode we were craving to see.  We snuggled under a big comforter on the couch and only had our side table lamp on- which gives the best soft lighting.  Perfect for together time.

DSCN1059

Homemade dough by the Artist, homemade sauce by me, low fat mozzarella, and oregano sprinkled on top. To keep it healthy, I have a protein shake on the side and some veggies.

DSCN1061

Look at those nice arms 😉

DSCN1064

Homemade dough by the Artist, homemade sauce by my, low fat mozzarella, grilled red peppers, slices of baked chicken breast, basil pesto dollops, and a bit of tiny diced tomatoes. Having a shake and veggies to keep it balanced! Also, we make 1 batch of dough, and the Artist cuts it in half to make these 2 pizzas, each the size of a baking sheet. It is super thin, and hard to stretch, but it works. We liked the thin and crispy crust for these dishes, and it keeps the carbs lower.

DSCN1063

DSCN1052

Homemade chicken wings with a slightly spicy buffalo sauce. The main ingredient in the sauce be Frank’s hot sauce. Not breaded and baked keeps them healthier them if you went to a restaurant, and cooking them so they are nice and crispy and falling off the bone is delicious!

DSCN0902

My currant favourite side salad; arugula and maybe some romaine, mixed veggies, fresh lemon juice, and a bit of an olive oil-herb-vinegar dressing.

DSCN0488

Mediterranean style chicken with orzo.

The Artist and I were in the kitchen together making these meals, which is one of my favourite things to do together.  Seriously.  Cooking together brings out really great quality time together, great conversation, jokes, giggling; the works.  And the Artist is such an amazing cook, and we both love eating delicious food, see how it is just perfect?  We also have great heart-to-hearts when dining in at a fast food place like McDonald’s, and end up sitting there talking for an hour.  Or right before we go to sleep, while laying bed, or while we are getting ready to go somewhere.  The Artist has a really absurd sense of humour, as do I, and a lot of people don’t always get his jokes or antics.

The Artist: (after saying something crazy about having chicken bits all over his hands) See, you get my jokes.

Me: Not only do I get them…

The Artist: (excitedly interrupting) Not only do you get them, you do them too!

Me: (smiling) I know, I love it.  Not only do I get your jokes, I love them.  I yearn for them.  If we haven’t seen or talked to one another all day, especially since we don’t have cell phones, I find myself craving some Artist-style jokes, humour, gestures, and general silliness.

We get one another.  Like crazy.  I have never felt so understood by someone else before.  And it was the Artist who helped me find the words for that, he is amazing with words.  He told me that he has never be able to be himself so much until he met me, that I allow him to be him.  That we bring out the most potential in one another.  And that I bring out the best version of himself.  I had been feeling this way, but couldn’t put it into words.  He nailed it.  As always.  He is so good with words, in every sense.  He is poetic in every aspect of his life.  He can articulate things like you wouldn’t believe.  His vocabulary will blown your mind.  He loves to read poetry and finds it amusing- seeing the humour in words.  He then uses that an ammunition for his own word humour, fuelling his crazy sense of humour.  I use word humour as well, the Artist brings it out in me.  And sometimes I let little things slip when I am out or talking with someone else, forgetting that is the incorrect way of saying something and that it is not just me and the Artist being goofy at home.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I love life.

Happiness is contagious.

 

Workout, Arena Fries, and Gratitude

I went to kickboxing for the first time since the spring.  The drop-in group classes I go to don’t run from mid-May until September. They are on the campus of the Artist’s school, so no one is around to make it worth running the classes I guess.  Wow.  It was intense.  But in a good way (not like that other class I posted about, haha).  Normally, if I was doing weights, I would do it right before this class.  I like to do weights with the Artist, it is just a fun thing to do together- and of course I like seeing him flex his muscles 😉  Occasionally, our schedules don’t match exactly, so I just do the weights after.

Big mistake.

I came home from kickboxing expecting to leave immediately for the gym.  The Artist wasn’t home yet, and it was a little over an hour before he came home and we left.  As you can imagine, waiting that long after intense kickboxing, was not a good idea.  I crashed.  If I used the momentum and went right away I would have been ok, but I didn’t, and was just exhausting.  I thought, “I will just take it easy”.  Ha!  Even taking it easy made me feel like I could throw up.  I have never felt so close to throwing up from exercise….ever.  Actually, I very rarely feel even a hint of it.

So we lace up our shoes and head out.  On the way there, I was thinking about parking…during weekdays meters are free after 6pm, and it was 6:30pm.  However, there are limited spaces for that.  Other parking is for permits only.  We do not have a permit.

Me: Maybe all the meter spaces will be full, and we won’t be able to park, and just have to go home.

Artist: I hope that happens.

*We pull into the campus.

Artist: The spaces must be full, look at this, it is like a zoo in here.

Me: I don’t know, maybe they will all be open, with our luck.

Artist: They can’t be, I hope they’re not.

Me: (laughing)

Sure enough, there were 2 spaces open.  We park, and go in.  First stop- bench press.  By the way, the gym is packed, hot, sticky, and loud at this hour.  Ugh.

Me: (after 1 set) Soooo….home?

Artist: (laughing) Why are we here again?

Me: (laughing) I’m only half serious.

Artist: Lets just go home, and hit the drive-thru on the way.

Me: (laughing)

Artist: I will do one more set, but I may not be able to do 12 reps.

Me: Want me to spot you a little so you can do the full 12?

Artist: No, it’s not worth it.  I just want to do this so I can go home and stuff my face.

Me: (laughing embarrassingly hard, people are staring)

We continue, and move through each exercise.  When we get home we have a protein shake, a shower, some dinner, and watch Arrested Development.

I am deliriously exhausted, so Buster is extra funny.

On the way home from the gym, the Artist was talking about how much he wants arena fries.  For all of you from Creemore and the area, you know exactly what I am talking about.  Fries from the Creemore arena are the best arena fries.  Yes, other arenas have the crispy coated ones which are amazing, but all in all, I have always thought Creemore had the best fries.  The Artist refers to arena fries as fries in the little box with the little wooden fork, with lots of ketchup from the big pump dispenser, and vinegar.  I do not like ketchup, so for me, arena fries are with salt and vinegar, and of course the little box and wooden fork….or the skinny plastic red ones.  There is also poutine.  Creemore arena poutine is one of the best poutines.  I love real cheese curds, but mozzarella is good too.  What I am most picky about is that the gravy is “fake beef gravy”.  Which means from a can or a powder, and not chicken gravy either.  And of course, eaten with the little wooden fork.  Now that I think of it, the Creemore arena has the best canteen ever.  The best chicken fingers, fries, poutine, everything, are there.  I always remember my parents working in there on Saturday mornings when I was skating, and making me a grilled cheese sandwich for breakfast- and paying for it 😉  And making it just the way I like it- white loaf of bread, plain butter, and 2 slices of Kraft singles.  This is very specific, because I try to healthify it and choose cheaper items, such as garlic butter, whole wheat bread, “real” cheese or a blend of cheeses, etc.  These options are all yummy, but sometimes, the mood just calls for the original.

So to any of my Creemore readers, if you have photos of “Creemore Arena Food”, I would love to have them to add to this post 🙂

Now onto nice things we have done for eachother……I am making us dinner tonight, and helped the Artist get all of his errands done today (he hates doing paperwork stuff, making calls, etc…..but really, who actually likes it?).  I went with him, helped him, and rubbed his back afterwards.  The Artist told me how much he loves going through our photos because it makes him happy looking back on our lives, and how much fun we have together.  We truly have had a great life together so far.  When I told him I would make dinner for when he gets home, he said he never expects a dinner to be ready, so don’t worry if I don’t get to it, because I have my own things to do.  And how he always appreciates me.  When I am able, I do as much as I can in terms of cooking, cleaning, etc. especially when the Artist is super busy or has late classes. The fact that I never feel expected to do any of this, and always get showered with gratitude and affection afterwards, makes me not mind it all.  And when I am super busy, in school, working or whatever, the Artist does the cooking and stuff.

So men, the secret to women is not to expect them to cook and clean, especially if they are home all day, because when they feel expected to do these things, it is a whole new ball game.  This is how resentment is born.  And it doesn’t matter whether or not you actually expect these things, if a woman feels expected to do certain things, then verbalize and show her that you don’t.  And being appreciative of dinner, clean clothes, etc. and verbalizing this to them, makes all the difference.  When the Artist takes 2 minutes to cuddle me from behind while I am cleaning up or doing dishes after dinner, whispers loving words and thank you’s in my ear, and we have a little 2 minute snuggle, it is so nice.  Even though I know he appreciates it, hearing it, and him showing me his thankfulness, makes a big difference.  I never feel like I am being taken for granted or expected to fulfil a certain role or duties.  And even though he has a long night ahead of him writing a big assignment due in the morning, taking those 2 minutes to hug me from behind while I am cleaning up and tickle me or kiss me or whatever and thank me, makes a huge difference.

So, ladies, what do you think on this?  I would love to hear comments 🙂

The little things in life.

Happiness is contagious ❤