my secret meal planning weapon

by kacia on 20 May ’15 · 10 comments

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“In the craziness of packing up our home in Pittsburgh and moving to Boston, meals and groceries were often an afterthought.” <– that was how I was originally starting this post, but the reality is that meal planning was an afterthought just in our every day life in general.  It’s definitely not my spiritual gift.  

My Aunt Rebecca gave me a great piece of advice when she learned we were moving, however: “your uncle and I have moved many times over the course of our marriage, and every time we moved to a new city, we made a point to think of habits we wanted to leave behind and new habits we wanted to create.”  Those words of wisdom really lingered with me as I thought about ways I could improve our family’s dynamic through habits left behind and habits created.  

Meal planning.  

Let’s just say it how it is: I’m awful at it.  I’ve tried reading about the “20 crockpot meals in a day” or “45 freezer meals in a weekend.”  When I really get down on myself about it, I’ll have about 30 tabs of Pinterest open to various ideas and recipes — but then I’ll end up on a kick of one specific thing (Moscow mules, for example) and end up down a rabbit hole of things that really have nothing to do with meal planning, even though I started out with the best intentions.  

And then I would read through those crockpot recipes, and they just didn’t sound very good.  Or on Sunday night as I planned meals, I struggled finding a balance between tried-and-true and try-something-new.  The trying something new when it comes to something food is something that terrifies me for a few reasons:

  1. It often means that I’m buying a slew of ingredients for a specific recipe.  Those ingredients add up and may or may not be used again frequently. 
  2. What if it’s awful?  I have a family waiting to eat. 
  3. Forgetting an ingredient — what if I get half way through preparing it only to realize that I forgot to grab one of the most important things?  Shopping with two kids?  Definitely more than a possibility. 

So needless to say, I’ve been terrible and boring in the meal planning and dinner department. 

That all changed when my friend, Audra, introduced me to Blue Apron.  I signed up thinking of it as a bit of a splurge, but after receiving a box for a few weeks, my outlook completely changed.  We now get Blue Apron 2-3 weeks a month.  During the weeks we don’t receive a box, I typically make recipes we received (and loved!) in previous shipments or from their database of recipes.  I’ve never enjoyed cooking so much, and these are a few reasons why:

  1. Blue Apron forces me to meal plan.  A week’s box includes 3 meals, so it means I’m only planning dinners for 3-4 evenings.  I can plan what we will eat around the meals we are eating when I prepare Blue Apron meals. IMG_0350
  2. We get to try so many new recipes, without spending a ton on new ingredients or large quantities.  Living in a tiny apartment, this has been huge for us as well!  I didn’t bring many spices, nor do I have room for very many. 
  3. I feel empowered as a cook — and Harlow loves to help!  I absolutely love the new groove that we’ve started with Blue Apron.  Harlow and I chop and prepare the ingredients while Jones takes his afternoon nap, and then we head to the park or to meet Andy at the station.  Harlow has started being so exploratory in her eating, asking about various ingredients and spices as she asks to “try new foods ’cause it might taste goooood!” <– she sings what she says whenever possible.  And who can name that tune!?    IMG_5486
  4. No commitment.  None. Nada. Never.  I look ahead and see what Blue Apron is cooking up and decide if it’s a good fit for us.  If it’s not, I skip that week.  
  5. Shipping is always free.  Who likes to pay for shipping!?
  6. Harlow loves opening the Knick-Knacks Bags. :) “It’s like a present, mommy!!” Ah to be three again!
  7. Blue Apron takes pride in where they source their farm fresh ingredients.  That makes me proud to feed my family — especially after watching this video from an insert they included in a box a few weeks back:

If you talk to me long enough, you’ll hear me singing the praises of Blue Apron.  I can really say it’s been a game changer for us, and I’m so excited for you guys to try it too!  The first 50 of you will get TWO FREE meals off your first Blue Apron order.  Not sure if Blue Apron delivers to your zipcode?  You can check out the full map of delivery zones here!  And here is some news for you:  Blue Apron is launching in Texas and will soon ship to even more of the country very soon!  So go ahead and sign up!

These fish tacos we made during Cinco De Mayo week — they were so delicious and the guacamole was ridiculous–in the best way possible.  We will definitely be making them again!  

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Want to know what’s on our menu this week?  I’ll be cooking the three meals for the week – Flat Iron Steaks, Turkey Kibbeh, and Rice-Flake Crusted Hake – along with 2 recipes from the Blue Apron recipe database.  (yup! You can get ALL of their recipes online!)  I made the Hearty Chicken Salad last night and it was awesome.  

Struggling with meal planning this week?  

I have two ways to help: go sign up and get TWO free meals!  And then plan this week’s meals using all the recipes at your fingertips.  I promise you won’t be sorry you did!

xo
kaciasignature

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Sponsored by Blue Apron. 

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applique and the ScanNCut || Part 2

by kacia on 18 May ’15 · 0 comments

So Friday we learned how you can incorporate your ScanNCut Machine and appliqué work using BES Embroidery Lettering Software 3.  Today I’m back with a fun little project and some downloads for you!

One thing I love about embroidery and appliqué is coming up with projects to make with and for Harlow.  These fleece rainboot socks were such a blast to make with her — together we sat and watched as the machine did 20 passes to complete the design.  She was my thread gal: passing me the next spool of thread upon each pass completely. 

It only seemed fitting that we make some cute felt envelopes and invitations for her!  Her birthday isn’t for a few months, but these can be used for just about any event.  I wanted to come up with an invitation that was printed via a printer, but “printed” and cut via the ScanNCut

Shall we?

Begin by choosing an appliqué or embroidery design that fits inside a 5″x5″ square.  iBroidery is a fun place to purchase embroidery designs — specifically Disney if you are looking for that!  They also have a handful of appliqué designs.  Doing a quick google search for appliqué downloads will result in plenty to choose from, both free and for purchase.  

Below is the envelope pattern, so you can visualize where the embroidery placement should go.  You can download it as a .PDF, .FCM or .SVG file at the end of this post.  

A few tips on placement:

  1. If you are making the envelope out of felt, print out the PDF of the envelope to place over top of the felt.  Using a fabric pen, mark the inside square or anywhere you want to place the embroidery or appliqué design. 
  2. If you are making the envelope out of paper, draw the outlines using the purple air-soluble pen.  You could either add a drawn design or embroidery right on the paper.  <– something I will be tackling and showing you soon. 
  3. Rotate the envelope design if that helps for placement and cutting. 

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After you’ve appliquéd your design, it’s time to cut out the envelope.  I used a stiff, poly felt.  My cut settings were as follows: 

  • blade depth: 11
  • blade pressure: 7-9
  • speed: 1

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Using the fabric support sheet placed on a standard mat, apply the felt to your mat.

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Background scan your felt and align the pattern with your appliqué design. 

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Now it’s time to have you ScanNCut machine write and cut the invitation.  Download, save, and open the invitation file.  Draw the text (adding any details you’d like) and cut.  

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Using a needle and thread, sew your envelope together. I used a button at the meeting point to close the envelope, as you can see below!

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DOWNLOADS


 

FCM // Envelope // Invitation

SVG // Invitation

PDF // Envelope // Invitation

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Happy Monday!

xo
kaciasignature

This post was done in collaboration with Brother.  All ideas, photos and opinions are my own. 

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