Food & Drink · Uncategorized

Meal prep: one pan balsamic chicken and veggies.

Earlier this month I shared my meal prep plan and recipe for Turkey Taco Salad and keeping my promise to you, may I present: One Pan Balsamic Chicken and Veggies.

Please, say hello to one of the EASIEST meals ever. This is perfect as a lunch or dinner making it the ideal meal prep recipe also. It’s low on prep time, has few ingredients, and is huge on flavor (while conveniently being super healthy)! There’s a 2-ingredient balsamic glaze which triples as first: a marinade, second: a sauce for cooking, and third: a dipping sauce. This is how I think every meal should be made. Whisk two ingredients together and use that base three times.

Then the veggies are like an empty-out-your-fridge kind of ordeal. Throw them all together on a pan, toss them with some olive oil , a little seasoning, roast them, and they too seep up some of that delicious balsamic glaze.

balsamic chicken 1

Honestly the only tricky thing about this dish is the timing! I wish I could give an exact time, but all ovens are different and the sizes of your chicken tenderloins won’t necessarily be the same size as mine. We’ve made this dish probably 7 times now (new favorite!), and each time the chicken has cooked a little differently.

I’ve had the chicken cook all the way through in 7-10 minutes and another time it took about 14 minutes. With timing the chicken, you’ll want to time the veggies slightly different. The veggies need about 20-25 minutes to get well roasted. At 20-25 minutes cooking time for the veggies, the carrots will still have a slight crunch (we love that) while the broccoli and tomatoes are perfectly roasted! **If you don’t like your tomatoes ultra tender, throw them in after about 5-10 minutes.**

balsamic chicken 3

If you have super small chicken breasts, I’d roast the veggies for 15 minutes, add the chicken and cook for another 7-10 minutes. Larger chicken breasts, roast the veggies for 10 minutes, add the chicken and cook for another 10-14 minutes. Just be prepared to check the chicken a few times (meat thermometer comes in handy here!) so you don’t overcook the chicken. No one likes dry chicken!

Here is what you will need:

6 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup zesty Italian seasoning (I use a fat free version)

1.25 pounds of chicken breasts

2 heads of broccoli

1 cup of baby carrots

1/2 pint of cherry tomatoes

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

3 tablespoons of olive oil

1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder

balsamic chicken 4

Here is what you will need to do:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a large baking sheet with nonstick spray (line with parchment paper if you baking sheet isn’t already nonstick or the balsamic + Italian mixture will stick to it) and set aside.

Whisk together the balsamic vinegar and zesty Italian seasoning.

Trim the chicken breasts of fat and undesired parts.

Place 1/3 cup of the balsamic and Italian mixture in a large resealable bag and add the chicken breasts. Coat and place in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 6 hours

Chop the broccoli into bite sized prices and the carrots in half before placing on the prepared baking sheet along with the cherry tomatoes. Cover with the Italian seasoning, olive oil and garlic (you can add salt and pepper if you’d like) Roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes

Remove the pan and flip the veggies over. Place the chicken breasts in a cleared area in the middle of the veggies. Brush with 1/3 cup of the balsamic and Italian mixture over the chicken

Cook for another 7-15 minutes depending on the size of your chicken. Be careful to monitor your chicken so it doesn’t overcook.

** Serve with the remaining balsamic and Italian mixture. This is great over rice of quinoa

Portion these up into your meal prep containers and away you go! Use the left over sauce by packaging them into these little containers and you can dip away while you eat or apply to the meal.

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XOXO.

B.

 

 

Decor · Real Talk · Uncategorized

Working from home tips for productivity.

For the last few years I have been lucky enough to have the option to work from home here and there. I don’t abuse it but I do take advantage of it. And though the flexibility is freaking’ awesome – and so is not having to commute – working from home has its challenges. Being in your own bubble with beds and chores tempting you all day long, it’s easy to get off task or in home-mode. Especially when I have the cutest little pug boy who just wants to snuggle and be adorable all day long. Since I have really started putting time and effort into decorating our home office space, I’ve done better at making my work from home days more productive – and I’ve really noticed a difference in how much I’ve gotten done.

Working from home tips (that help me get more done)

So if you work from home – and have an office or not – here are a few (hopefully helpful) hacks for improving your “office” days:

Get dressed, comfortably.

I know there are rules (or “studies” or whatever) about putting on real clothes or an actual outfit when working from home, but it’s just not for me. If I don’t have to go anywhere for a few hours, I’m just not going to be in jeans and have my makeup and hair looking good. Instead, I’ll put on my favorite sweats or leggings and a comfy top. The moral is, just change out of your pajamas and feel somewhat pulled together, but you don’t have to be uncomfortable. This gets you ready for the day and in work mode, but still feeling good.

Create a routine and/or daily workflows.

Working from home has tons of perks, but it’s so easy to get off track and spend your day catching up on household chores rather than actually getting career-work done. To help put structure in your day, create a routine for yourself. Decide what time you want to be sitting down checking emails and getting started on your work and stick to it as best as possible. Write a list of to-dos and an allotted amount of time for each task, even use a calendar (I like Google Cal personally but your phone would work also) – all of a sudden your day will be ten times more productive.

Have a dedicated work space.

Having a desk or an office really gets you in the “get stuff done” mindset. Creating a space for working at home can also give you a sense of accountability. If you notice it’s mid-morning and you haven’t made it to your desk or office yet, you know you better get in gear. And even if you don’t have an office, dedicate a special spot to work. Maybe it’s your kitchen island, or a small table you’ve added to the living room to serve as your desk, hack the dinning room table works wonders also. And make it cute – add personal touches that make it inviting and inspiring, even if just a cute computer background or photo! No couches or beds allowed!!

The 2-minute sweeps.

This can be done in any part of your home, but I make it a point to hit my desk at the end of each day. Take 2 minutes (you can find 120 seconds!) and clean up your desk. Take coffee mugs back to the sink, wipe it down, put things away, etc. – set yourself up for an easy, clutter-free morning to follow. You’ll be so much more effective!

Work offsite.

Coffee shops and cafes were invented for a reason, and not just to serve food and drinks. You’ll probably need a change of scenery every now and again so use these opportunities to check out the newest coffee shops around town. Or get outside if you have a task that doesn’t involve a computer (p.s. when will they invent something to make the screen visible outdoors?!).

Learn when to unplug.

One of the downsides of working from home is you never “go home” because…you already are. This can make it suuuuper hard to know when to shut off for the day, close the laptop and stop looking at emails. Being plugged in 24/7 is really hard on a person, so make yourself a schedule where you commit to unplug at a certain time and stick to it – you need to recharge. Phones count too. I need to get better at this, 100%!

Batch errands.

If you work from home, take advantage of a likely more flexible schedule when planning errands and appointments or anything that requires leaving the house. Use a whole afternoon to do these each week so that you’re not coming and going – or getting into different brain zones every day. Same for chores around the house – designate a day for household stuff and forget about it the rest of the week. Fridays would be great to consider for this so you can casually stroll into the weekend.

Network and socialize.

You typically don’t have co-workers when you work from home, at least not in-person, so make it a point to attend networking events for your industry so you don’t forget how to socialize in the professional environment. Not having to deal with office politics or drama is a major plus of working from home, but you don’t want to become a hermit either.

Eat away from your desk.

Eating in front of your desk is extra tempting when you’re at home, but give your day more structure by moving away from your desk for lunch. Eat outside or a different place in your home, but break it up. Try to give yourself space from tech during this time too. If there is someone in your neighborhood or on your street who you know works from home, set up a weekly coffee or lunch date at each other houses, this will help keep your sanity when you haven’t talked to another real life person in a few days!

Do you work from home ever? What works best for you?

get-stuff-done.jpg

Don’t forget to subscribe to LiveLaughLearn.blog to stay up to date and follow on Instagram @LiveLaughLearn.blog

XOXO.

B.

Real Talk · Uncategorized

Things I’m feeling and thinking.

I used to be a lot more willy nilly with my content. I didn’t have an editorial calendar and if I did, I sure didn’t stick to it. I barely did any planning, ever. I just flew by the seat of my pants. I barely knew what I was going to write about the next day much less next Tuesday and Thursday.

But in the past six months or so, I’ve really gotten my act together in an effort to create better (and more thought out) content. It might not look like it, but creating good quality content is H-A-R-D. It takes A LOT of planning and planning to plan (ha!) and sticking to the plan. Get my drift? So it’s a lot more organized and business-y (which I actually love and it’s less stress for me!) rather than the off-the-cusp shop I used to run. But all that to say, my point is that I hardly ever just sit-and-write what’s on my mind anymore. I kinda miss that.

I miss writing without thinking. I miss writing without strategy, or without worrying about an organized structure or article flow. There’s definitely a place for organized, value-add content – don’t get me wrong. But I’m just going to switch things up today for old time’s sake! So instead of writing about how much I love these little ruffle sleeves on the shirt I’m wearing today (which I do!) and the flatform sneaker trend (diggin’ it), I’m going to talk about things on my mind – as if we were literally sitting together, catching up.

A (very) random list of things I’m feeling slash thinking.

And for the first time in a VERY long time, I’m not holding back – not even a little. If you don’t like what I’m saying, that’s fine. If you have something to say, comment below and join the conversation. If you think I’m being ungrateful or ridiculous – leave. I don’t mean to be harsh.

On fashion blogging in general.

The (fashion) blogging world frustrates me. Maybe I can talk more on this later (I need some courage and maybe a glass of wine – ha). I’m scared to say how I really feel. Because I’m not sure I’m allowed to feel this way. But I’ll just say that it’s an interesting industry to try and navigate – especially on your own. The competition is fierce and it’s getting harder and harder to be “unique” when there are 70 million other people doing the same thing, wearing the same clothes. Blah, I don’t know. Maybe I’ll come back to this one day.

On boundaries.

Sometimes it’s hard for me to know where to draw the line when it comes to figuring out what to share. Boundaries are hard enough as a normal (non-blogger) person, so I think it’s even harder when you’re sharing your life with the world. Like, when does sharing my struggles and bad-day-moments become to be too much or unprofessional? Which parts of my life should I keep totally private? When does a struggle or vulnerability become something I can share without being crippled by the feedback (or lack there of). It’s easy to share a struggle when you’ve overcome it, but what about the ones that never go away? The ones that keep coming back and seem to be a constant thorn in your side?

On starting a new business.

I haven’t told you about something that I’ve been working on for a bit. Well I actually haven’t even started “working” on it yet; instead, I’m just doing a bit of research. And talking about it. (I always talk about things a lot before doing something about it.) I’m thinking about starting another business. But I’m scared out of my mind. I’m scared for 389537257 reasons but mostly because – what if it fails? It totally could. And that’s probably also why I’m not ready to tell you. Because what if I change my mind? Ha. Anyway, so that’s been taking up a good bit of my brain space lately…oh, and time.

On putting myself out there.

Sometimes I worry if you think I’m unstable. Not in a crazy person way (no offense), but in an inconsistent kind of way? You might have noticed, but I’m a bit of an extremist. One day I feel like I can (literally – sort of) take over the world. And then the next, I’m having major self-doubt about whether I can actually put together a cute outfit – I kid you not.

I’ve got ups and downs; highs and lows, exciting moments and major discouragement; I’m silly and serious; focused and all-over-the-place; determined and then apathetic – and the list goes on. I know that – to a certain extent – this is normal; we all feel these things and experience both sides of this spectrum. But I still feel like I’m a bit more extreme than most – just a thought. Also, I’m over here trying to figure out how to experience these extremes and be “real” with you, but also professional and maintain my authority and credibility if that makes sense? (Hard to explain.)

But my point is that sometimes I feel like I should only show you certain “parts” of me (in fact, I feel this way a lot). But when I try to do that, I feel confined and like I’m holding my breath or something. So then I show you the real me. And it’s probably like, a lot to handle. I don’t know….is it too much? (HAHA)

On losing my fire.

I’m in a funk. It’s been like 9-ish days and it’s still here. At first I thought it was a 2-day-or-so phase. But no; it’s still here and I don’t think it’s going anywhere – the funky-ness I mean. I question what I’m doing and why and wonder if my blog even has a purpose in the world. I know that sounds dramatic – but that’s because it is…at least to me. I feel like I need to be traveling or that my life isn’t interesting enough. But the truth is, I sorta like a boring life. If I’m being completely honest, I really like it when my life is boring. In fact, I get really excited when we have zero plans on a weekend and stay in the house for hours (or sometimes even days? don’t judge) at a time doesn’t bother me.

Am I being a drama queen? Possibly but this is my space and if I can’t be honest and free here, where can I be?

What’s been going on with you lately? Fill me in. Also, I would love to hear from you about what brings you to my little corner of the internet? What do you want to see more post about? Don’t be shy!

Don’t forget to subscribe to LiveLaughLearn.blog to stay up to date and follow on Instagram @LiveLaughLearn.blog

XOXO.

B.