Saturday, November 2, 2013

Harnessing Happiness Menu Post

Friday our district had a professional development day. Not only were the sessions pretty outstanding, but there were also no crabby Halloween hangovers to deal with post trick-or-treating with students. I got lots of wonderful lessons, games, and tricks to fill my teaching toolkit. I also attended a session on self-improvement and harnessing happiness. The session was lead by M.K. Mueller who has relocated to Kansas City. M.K. not only teaches courses at Johnson County Community College, but also has started her own philosophy on self-improvement called 8 to Great. 8 to Great can be used with any age, any person, every day. You can check out the link above for the eight easy steps, more information, and whereabouts to hear M.K. in action. Trust me, it will change your life.

Similar to many programs, M.K. advises you begin with a vision of what you truly want. "Dream it. Believe it. Imagine it until you can feel it," she said. I was beginning to feel a little defeated at this point. Part of my problem lately has been a total lack of focus. I was just telling Justin (a.k.a. the Bear) the other day that I've felt like I've been flailing lately. While I'm keeping it together on the outside, inside I feel like I am crumbling. I've put so much on hold in hopes that we would be able to start our family and I'd just figure things out from there. For the last four years, my focus has been on trying to have kids and only has been met with disappointment, road blocks, and failure. Most of my major life goals I set for myself in my twenties have been met. We got married. We bought a house. We both have our masters' degrees. We have solid jobs. We've been recognized and praised for our accomplishments. We've won awards for throwing ourselves into our careers. This is all wonderful and I am incredibly grateful; but, at the same time it is time to set new goals. Being starting a family is literally up to a fertility specialist and the good Lord, I realized yesterday that I need to set some smaller, more attainable goals for myself. First is to heal, learn, and work my way back into positive emotional health. I've got a plan in place for how to do this. My second goal is to continue working on this blog. This blog brings me so much joy. I love creating, sharing, and problem solving in the kitchen. Cooking is therapy for me. My vision is for you all to enjoy this blog so much that it continues to grow and take off. I want to create an e-book maybe even be discovered somehow. Sure it is lofty, but at least I now have a dream and a vision. No more flailing and I have my knowledge obtained from 8 to Great to help me. The family stuff can happen along the way instead of letting it control me. Life must have a dream and a purpose.

Wow, pretty deep for a Saturday morning huh? How about a menu? Good news, I've got a good one this week. As usual, all meals are healthy, gluten-free, can be prepped ahead, and are super easy. For this week's Sunday Soup I've got a wonderful Creamy Chicken and White Bean Soup on the menu. I plan to take the leftovers with me for a positive, heart warming lunch. For meatless Monday, I have a make ahead Baked Chili and Cheese Wrap recipe for a quick and veggie filled meal. Wednesday we will spice things up with a one bowl wonder. To end the week, I have a recipe inspired by my favorite store in Des Moines, Iowa, Kitchen Collage. Be grateful and fill your positive energy tanks for this week's eats! Here is the rundown:

Sunday 11/3           Creamy Chicken and White Bean Soup with Kale Chips

Monday 11/4          Baked Vegetarian Chili and Cheese Wraps with Tossed Salad

Tuesday 11/5          Leftovers

Wednesday 11/6     Curried Pineapple and Pepper Chicken and Rice

Thursday 11/7         Leftovers

Friday 11/8 or         Steak au Poivre with Sherry Shallot Sauce, Roasted Potatoes, and Green Beans
Saturday 11/9

Here is what you will need:

1 lb. stir-fry cut chicken breast
2-4 of your favorite cuts of steak
1 link soyrizo
1 bag baby carrots
1 bag of your favorite salad blend
1 bunch celery
1 bunch kale
1 bunch cilantro
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
1 red onion
2 yellow or white onions
2 shallots
1 bulb garlic
1 15 oz. can pineapple chunks
1 14.5 oz. can fire roasted tomatoes (salsa style)
1 small can tomato paste
1 15 oz. can chili style beans
1 15 oz. can white beans
1 box reduced sodium gluten-free chicken broth
1 box instant brown rice
1 bag gluten-free tortillas
1 bag frozen green beans
1 bag shredded 2% cheddar cheese
1 quart 2% milk

Pantry items you will need:

Extra virgin olive oil
Your favorite salad dressing
Corn starch
Cayenne pepper
Chili powder
Ground cumin
Curry powder
Salt and pepper

Happy Saturday! Today I am grateful for all of fall's glorious colors, my dreams, and figuring out how to simplify my life. What are you grateful for today?

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