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Written By Aspen S., – Official Contributor of The Crowned Series

The days have gotten shorter and the nights much colder, letting us know that winter is here and she is staying. Having lived in Florida for two years, I think the Florida heat has finally left my veins and I’m ready for winter outfits, snow days, and having to defrost my car twenty minutes before I can go anywhere (which for me means I’ll be late to every function but never mind that!).  Despite my excitement for the winter season, I’ve found the winter weather to be a bit draining on my body. After a long day of work, I want nothing but to curl up on the couch with some hot food and a cup of my favorite honey ginger tea. So, in the midst of Netflix binges, I found myself spending many evenings ordering delivery like I was sponsored by UberEats. Although I certainly had the UberEats appetite, there was hardly a time when I asked myself if I had UberEats money.

So, as I started off the new year, I started planning my budget to save up for the many trips that I am looking forward to take within the next year. It became clear that if I still want to be able to live comfortably I would need to cut out frivolous expenses like $20 for an $8 oatmeal bowl delivery that I can definitely make myself when I want breakfast for dinner.  The new year served as a perfect time to do better but a year-long resolution seemed like too big of a commitment.

I’ve instead decided to move forward with a January resolution to cut back on spending by grocery shopping and cooking for myself. I’ve decided to share my resolution with you all along with a few of my favorite meal prep dishes, especially for those that are exhausted after a long work day. 

  1.    Meal prepping is everything. I know a lot of people do this in order to be more conscious of portion sizes but I have found that it does wonders when it comes to saving time. If I spend an hour or two on a Sunday night then I can be set for the week. I can cook enough food for both lunch and dinners during weeknights, saving me quite a bit of time throughout the week. Now, I have more time for so many other things like the gym, my hair, hanging out with friends, etc.
  2.    Variety is key. One thing that I very quickly am learning about meal prepping is that I can easily get tired of the same things. I need to cook two or three meals to give this initiative some razzle dazzle. The meals don’t have to be complicated but they have to be different enough from each other that it feels like I’m eating something totally different from meal to meal. 
  3.     Supplement with simple meals if need be. I’ve found that if there’s ever a day where I really cannot subscribe to leftovers, I’ve found that having a few meals that I can cook in 15 minutes or less to increase the feeling of variety can really do wonders. I typically bake a potato and load it with broccoli and seasoning or cook a veggie sausage with peppers and onions or sauerkraut. This adds to the variety and helps me curb any delivery hankerings.

Now, enough about how I’m cooking and a little more about what I am cooking in my meal preps. I try to utilize vegetables that are in season. The colder months tend to be forth the growth of some of the more savory and leafy vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, and brussel sprouts. Some of my favorite dishes that make for great meal preps include the following:

  •     Vegetable pot pie
  •     Cauliflower tacos
  •     Chickpea soup
  •     Curry tofu
  •     Vegetable chili
  •     BBQ (veggie) meatballs
  •     Sweet potato bowls
  •     Mushroom ramen

As I’ve mentioned in my previous posts, life is a continuous adventure for me. Halfway through the month of January and things are going well with this meal prep. If this keeps up I’ll set it as a goal for February. I’ve heard that it takes thirty days to create a habit so hopefully by then I’ll truly be on a roll. In the meantime, feel free to share your favorite dishes and recipes for me to try!

Aspen S., Official Contributor of The Crowned Series

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