goals + meal plan for the week of 5/1

Hi there, everyone!¬†Happy Monday! My little windowsill plants are starting to sprout… I am waaaay too excited about these little seedlings!

sprouting plants

Highlights of this past week included going to a very inspiring fair of student environmental projects at Allyson’s high school; going out to dinner in San Francisco with Allyn’s dad and stepmom; and seeing a local production of this very cute and funny play, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change! {Though I told my sweetie of course that title does not ring true to the two of us! Haha.}

love you you're perfect show

We also finished watching a terrific TV series we have been enjoying on DVD {a Christmas gift from Allyn’s brother Colin} called Slings & Arrows… any fans of literature, theater, Shakespeare, or quirky dramedies with interesting characters, I would highly recommend it! Also, in the first season, a young Rachel McAdams stars… she’s perhaps my favorite actress. Love her!

My favorite new recipe I made this past week was a shrimp & veggie pasta dish from a cookbook that Holly gave me, Healthy Cookbook for Two. It turned out great! Light and perfect for the warm weather we’ve been having.

shrimp pea pasta

Tonight, we are heading into San Francisco for a special event at the Museum of Modern Art! I have not been there before and am so excited. Plus, it’s a fun excuse to get a little gussied up. ūüėČ {Very exciting for a writer who spends a lot of time in yoga pants and pj’s!}

Time for goals… please feel free to share your goals and/or meal plans in the comments below!

weekly goals

Here’s how I did on my goals from last¬†week:
– submit¬†Dancing With The Pen II to publisher {…almost there!}
Рschedule Dancing With The Pen II events {made headway on venues!}
–¬†publicity for Summer Writing Camp
–¬†complete Presidio Q&A article
–¬†meet with prospective wedding hair & make-up artists {reached out to some people, but have not nailed anything down yet…}

Here are my goals for this upcoming week:
Рsubmit Dancing With The Pen II to publisher
Рschedule Dancing With The Pen II events
– complete and submit new short story
–¬†complete second Presidio¬†interview
–¬†meet with prospective wedding hair & make-up artists

Here is my meal plan for the week:
Monday: Curried butternut squash, chickpeas & spinach {subbing butternut squash for sweet potatoes}
Tuesday: Leftovers/on our own
Wednesday: Out to dinner
Thursday: Pizza and salad
Friday: Slow-cooker minestrone
Saturday: Taco salad
Sunday: Leftovers!

Questions of the day:

  • What are your goals for this upcoming week?
  • What recipes are you drooling over this week?

MPM-Spring
This post is featured on Menu Plan Monday!

goals + meal plan for the week of 4/24

Hi there, everyone!¬†I know today is Monday, but it has felt like Sunday all day to me… I have a few tutoring clients on Saturday, so Sunday + Monday have become my “weekend” of sorts. Today was filled with typical Sunday-ish tasks: laundry, grocery store, dishes, cleaning the kitchen and bathroom. I also was very excited to go back to my favorite yoga class this morning, after a few weeks away. And I finally planted a little windowsill herb garden I have been wanting to do for a while. We’ve got little pots of basil, rosemary, and garlic chives. They look so hopeful lined up in the sunshine! Last but not least,¬†meal-planning happened today. {One day late, better than nothing!} My trusty crock-pot has been¬†cooking dinner all afternoon. It smells good! After this post goes live, my sweetie and I are going to dig in.

crock pot dinner

I noticed last week that doing this goals + meal plan post really helped me feel motivated and organized throughout the week. When I would feel overwhelmed or unfocused, I would refer back to my goals post and it helped me re-energize. Sometimes I tend to want to do ALL.THE.THINGS at once, so goals posts are helpful because I can only set so many intentions for each week… it’s a reminder for me not to get too far ahead of myself, and to just worry about the piece of the puzzle that is in front of me in the moment.

Highlights of this past week were the Zyzzyva reading on Thursday evening in San Francisco! I have loved and admired this literary magazine for years, so seeing my work published in their pages is a surreal and amazing feeling, and getting to meet the editors and other contributors in person was such a treat. Allyn came with me and made me feel like a superstar, taking pictures of me in front of the building and during my reading. Afterwards we went to Burger Bar for dinner. It was a very lovely, special date night!

zyzzyva reading

Wedding-planning wise, this past week we were on a ROLL and I really hope to continue the momentum… in addition to making huge strides on our registry {something that I am so grateful for, but also find very overwhelming because I feel the need to research every item extensively before we put it on our registry} we also designed and ordered our wedding invitations and thank-you notes, made lots of headway on reception decorations, and decided on a bakery for our dessert. Things are coming together, slowly but surely! Also, on a random side-note: this is the first week where our wedding is truly starting to feel near. I know that time is going to fly and it is going to be here so quickly! I am trying my best to savor every step of the process. ūüôā

Now, you’re all caught up on my life!¬†Time for goals… please feel free to share your goals and/or meal plans in the comments below!

weekly goals

Here’s how I did on my goals from last¬†week:
finish lay-out of Dancing With The Pen II
–¬†publicity for Summer Writing Camp
–¬†send out AWP thank-yous
–¬†complete Presidio Q&A article {the person I’m interviewing had to push back our interview to this week}
–¬†complete registry for bridal shower {this was huge!! AND we got our wedding invitations ordered, too!}

Here are my goals for this upcoming week:
Рsubmit Dancing With The Pen II to publisher
Рschedule Dancing With The Pen II events
–¬†publicity for Summer Writing Camp
–¬†complete Presidio Q&A article
–¬†meet with prospective wedding hair & make-up artists

meal plan week of 4-24-16

Here is my meal plan for the week:
Monday: Crock-pot thai peanut chicken and rice
Tuesday: Leftovers/on our own
Wednesday: Soup and corn muffins
Thursday: Dinner in Fremont with Allyson
Friday: Mustard roasted fish¬†{from what I read in a magazine article, this is one of T.Swift’s favorite recipes!}
Saturday: Shrimp & fresh pea fettucine
Sunday: Leftovers!

Questions of the day:

  • What are your goals for this upcoming week?
  • What recipes are you drooling over this week?

MPM-Spring
This post is featured on Menu Plan Monday!

goals + meal plan for the week of 4/17

Hi there, everyone! Happy Sunday! As I was sipping my tea this morning and checking my email, I started thinking about my goals and plans for the week ahead… and I had the urge to bring back my¬†Sunday goal posts here on the blog! I always find it inspiring when other people share their goals and action plans, especially on a bite-sized, small-step basis. Plus, sharing my goals on here helps keep me accountable — and helps me recognize when perhaps I am setting a goal that is related¬†to my “fantasy self” and not to my real-life actual self. {For example, when a goal keeps showing up week after week and I never seem to find the time or motivation to complete it… a definite sign that maybe it’s actually not that important in my life!}

I’ve noticed these goal posts tend to fall away when I get swamped with outside commitments or extra work projects. But I am going to make a real effort to¬†continue¬†them consistently, even as life promises to get extra busy in the next few months with travel, birthday celebrations, teaching summer camps, and wedding planning! I have found that setting aside¬†15-20 minutes on Sunday to intentionally set goals and map out a meal plan for the week makes me feel more charged and excited going into the week. It keeps me more focused and less stressed. So here goes! Please feel free to share your goals and/or meal plans in the comments below!

weekly goals

Here are my goals for this upcoming week:
– finish lay-out of Dancing With The Pen II
–¬†publicity for Summer Writing Camp
–¬†send out AWP thank-yous
–¬†complete Presidio Q&A article
–¬†complete registry for bridal shower

Here is my meal plan for the week:
Sunday: Dinner at Allyn’s mom’s
Monday: Sausage, potato and veggie bake
Tuesday: Leftovers/on our own
Wednesday: Tortellini & salad
Thursday: Dinner out in the city {I have a reading event for Zyzzyva magazine!}
Friday: Spaghetti squash burrito bowls {substituting acorn squash because it was on sale!}
Saturday: Crock-pot thai peanut chicken and rice

Questions of the day:

  • What are your goals for this upcoming week?
  • What recipes are you drooling over this week?

MPM-Spring
This post is featured on Menu Plan Monday!

goals + recipes for the week of 5/25

Happy Sunday, friends! First off, I want to wish a very happy birthday to my beautiful friend Chidelia! Happy birthday, sweets! I love you!

me and chidelia

I also want to send love and prayers to everyone in the UCSB and Santa Barbara community… I am heartsick and horrified over the tragedy that happened in Isla Vista on Friday night. It hits very close to home to me personally, as Santa Barbara is just up the 101 from my hometown. Both my parents went to college there {that’s where they met} in addition to my cousin Melissa, a number of my friends and many of my high school classmates.

ucsb solidarity

It’s been a quieter weekend than last weekend around here, which has been nice. Yesterday after teaching I came home and caught up episodes of New Girl before hitting the sack early. This morning, Allyn came to church with me and then we had a lovely lunch together at Lettuce, one of my favorite salad/sandwich eateries in Walnut Creek. It is beautiful and H-O-T here today!

Before I move on to goals, a quick shout-out to¬†my blogger friend Sarah @ The Pajama Chef for her wonderful, insightful review of my dad’s book Wooden & Me. Thank you, Sarah!

weekly goals

Here’s how I did on my goals from this past week:
–¬†write ten pages
–¬†send out three query letters/submissions
send acceptances for new young writers project
read up to page 400 in Wolf Hall
–¬†go to two yoga classes
–¬†connect with two friends

And here are my goals for this upcoming week:
–¬†write ten pages
–¬†send out two query letters/submissions
– complete final students evals + certificates
Рfinish reading Wolf Hall
–¬†go to¬†the gym twice
–¬†complete my 27 random acts of kindness for my 27th birthday!

And here are some recipes I’m drooling over this week:
–¬†coconut brownies¬†via Two Peas & Their Pod
–¬†italian tortilla roll-ups¬†via¬†The Pajama Chef
–¬†crockpot freezer meals for the summer¬†via¬†Money-Saving Mom
sugarless homemade granola via Recipes Happen
–¬†rhubarb walnut muffins¬†via¬†It’s Progression
–¬†funfetti cookies or cake {my current birthday front-runner}

bday cake

Questions of the day:

  • What are your goals for this upcoming week?
  • What recipes are you drooling over lately?

MPM-Spring
This post is featured on Menu Plan Monday!

goals & menu plan for the week of 3/17

Happy St. Patty’s Day!

Here’s how I did on my goals last week:

  • revise up to page 180 of my thesis novel
  • blog about Week 10 Act of Kindness Challenge & complete it myself this week
  • finish reading¬†Where’d You Go, Bernadette?¬†by Maria Semple
  • finish grading papers for both classes
  • finish the baby blanket I‚Äôm knitting

And here are my goals for this upcoming week:

  • turn in my thesis manuscript to my committee! {this is a big one!}
  • blog about Week 11 Act of Kindness Challenge & complete it myself this week
  • read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  • finish grading reports for my freshman class
  • start a new knitting project
  • clean out papers in the back room

Finally, here are some recipes I’m looking forward to trying this week:

twice-baked potato soup
quinoa salad with apples, chickpeas + feta
curried carrot soup with cornbread
peanut-butter breakfast cookies
cupcakes with chocolate fudge frosting

What are your goals and meal plans for the week?

orange chicken in the crock pot

I have an easy crock-pot recipe to share with you today! My inspiration came when I saw this bottle at the grocery store …

orange sauce

Zesty orange sauce! As a fan of orange chicken, I was intrigued. Plus the bottle was on sale, which was enough motivation for me to grab it off the shelf and take a chance on a new recipe! While I was there, I also picked up a couple carrots, celery, and a package of frozen asian veggies.

This recipe could not have been easier, and was great over rice. It heated up nice for lunch the next day, too!

crock-pot orange chicken

– 1 package chicken breasts OR 1 package frozen chicken tenders {whichever you prefer}
– veggies of your choice {carrots, celery, onion, broccoli, snow peas all work great!}
– 1 bottle orange sauce
– rice for serving

1. Place the chicken in the crock pot and cover with veggies.

veggies

2. Pour orange sauce over everything.

3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Serve over rice.

There you have it! Another easy and inexpensive crock-pot meal!

What are some of your favorite go-to weeknight recipes?

——————

if you enjoyed this post, you might also like these recipes:
pulled pork in the crock-pot
crock-pot chicken with black beans & corn
crock-pot chicken & veggie stew

2-ingredient pulled pork in the crock pot

I have another recipe to share with you today as part of the crock-pot challenge issued by Julie at Peanut Butter Fingers! This is actually from a recipe I found on Julie’s site. I’m a big fan of bbq pulled pork sandwiches — but it seemed like a dish that took a lot of time and some sort of fancy meat cooker to pull off, so it’s always been something I’ve ordered in restaurants but never attempted to make on my own.

That is, until now! Julie’s recipe made it¬†look so easy I had to try it. I am SO glad I did!

This is now one of my go-to crock-pot recipes! And perhaps my favorite part: it only needs TWO ingredients! {Plus whatever else you want to use to dress it up!}

pulled pork

2-ingredient pulled pork in the crock pot

– 1 pork tenderloin {I used one that was about 4 pounds}
– 1 can of low-sodium beef broth

1. Place the pork tenderloin in the crock pot and cover with the beef broth.

2. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4 hours, until pork is cooked through and juicy. Tear it apart with a knife and fork and transfer to a plate for serving.

And that’s it! Here’s what my pork looked like when I arrived home from school:

pork in crock pot

And it smelled DIVINE! Here’s the result when I turned off the crock pot and transferred the pork to a plate for serving:

pulled pork

Then all I did was plop some pork on a bun, add some Famous Dave’s BBQ Sauce, and I had a delicious homemade dinner to enjoy! The sandwiches paired nice with a light salad and fruit. I’m thinking next time I might add pineapple slices to the top of the pork to make Hawaiian BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches!

bbq pork sandwich

Another reason I love this recipe? There’s plenty of leftovers for lunch tomorrow! Score! ūüôā

What are some of your favorite crock-pot recipes? Have any of you made pulled pork in the crock pot before?

Have a wonderful Wednesday!
-Dallas

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If you liked this post, you might also enjoy:
crock-pot chicken with black beans & corn
easy honey-lime chicken enchiladas
cilantro-honey salmon
favorite mashed potatoes

***This post is featured on Menu-Plan Monday!

MPM-Winter

goals and meal plan for the week of 1/20

What an unbelievable week! I had an absolutely fantastic time soaking up the sunshine, creative energy and literary brillance at the Key West Literary Seminar, and even got to meet my icon Judy Blume!! She could not have been more kind, warm or generous. What an amazing writer AND person! Here’s a picture of my writing workshop with her {you can see me peeking out from the second row; Judy is front and center}:

key west workshop w:judy

Here’s how I did on my goals for the past week:

  • finish the new one-act play I’ve been working on
  • write 10 pages of my YA novel
  • blog about Week 2 Act of Kindness Challenge & complete it myself this week
  • read¬†Best American Short Stories 2012¬†that Mike got me for Christmas {got about halfway through!}
  • grade first assignment for both classes {Professional Email assignment}
  • knit 25 rows of the scarf I’m working on
  • go through stack of old magazines and purge!

And here’s my goals for this upcoming week:

  • write 10 more pages of my YA novel
  • blog about Week 3 Act of Kindness Challenge & complete it myself this week
  • finish reading Best American Short Stories 2012
  • finish grading first assignment for both classes {Professional Email assignment}
  • knit 25 rows of the scarf I’m working on
  • go through stack of old magazines and purge!
  • send thank-you notes to the lovely people I met at the Key West Literary Seminar

Julie at PB Fingers is hosting a blogger crock-pot challenge and I am planning to try out a new crock-pot recipe, as well as some of the following recipes:

chicken tetrazzini
slow-cooker honey-sesame chicken
my california white chicken chili
apple cinnamon steel-cut oatmeal

What are your plans for this week? I’d love to hear your menu plans & goals!

goals & menu plan for the week of 1/6

Hi everyone! Hope you are having a lovely Sunday. It’s been a calm, cozy weekend here in West Lafayette, with lots of green tea, unpacking, and reading on my agenda. {It always floors me how long it seems to take to unpack all my stuff after a trip, especially a month-long trip home when I have two big suitcases crammed full!} Mike and I also watched a couple movies this weekend: the clever romantic comedy Ruby Sparks {I definitely recommend this one!} and the campy horror flick Drag Me to Hell {okay, I didn’t really watch this one — ¬†I’m a wimp when it comes to horror movies! I baked in the kitchen while Mike watched it in the living room. He gave it a 1.5 thumbs up.}

I can’t believe school starts tomorrow! Actually, it officially starts on Tuesday for me — I don’t teach on Mondays this semester — but I will probably still go to campus to get some work done and straighten up my office for the new year. If any of you are starting back to school tomorrow, too, I hope the semester is a great one for you! ūüôā

Here are my goals for the week:

  • finish planning out entire semester of lessons for both courses I’m teaching
  • submit fellowship application at least one week before the deadline
  • debut first Act of Kindness on blog {tomorrow!} and complete it myself this week
  • write out responses and pack for Key West
  • finish Christmas thank-you notes
  • begin new knitting project
  • finish the new one-act play I’ve been working on
  • finish reading Who’s Irish? by Gish Jen {a wonderful short story collection I began reading last semester and then never finished}

I also made a weekly goal check-off sheet to keep track of my progress on bigger yearly goals that it can be difficult to keep a handle on over the course of an entire year. I find that if I am able to check something off my list every day, it makes me feel more motivated and productive, and soon turns that goal into a habit. Feel free to download my goal list for the week and fill it in with your own goals!

I’ll close off with the list of meals I’m planning to make this week:

Have a wonderful week!

*This post is linked up with Menu-Plan Monday at I’m an Organizing Junkie.*

easy honey-lime chicken enchiladas

Tired of turkey leftovers? I was in the mood for Mexican food tonight, and when I saw this recipe for a honey-lime marinade for chicken, I was inspired! I turned it into a crock-pot recipe, added some diced onion and bell pepper, tortillas and cheese and green tomatillo sauce, and made honey-lime chicken enchiladas. They turned out del-i-ci-ous, and SO easy!

I made a small batch since it’s just Mike & me, but you could easily double or even triple this recipe to feed a bigger family. These enchiladas heat up great as leftovers and even freeze well for later meals.

honey-lime chicken enchiladas

– 2 large chicken breasts
– 2 tsp minced garlic
– 1/3 cup honey
– 1/3 cup lime juice
– 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
– 1 small onion, diced
– 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
– 3 wheat tortillas
– 1 cup shredded reduced fat Mexican cheese
– 1 small can green enchilada sauce

1. Place chicken breasts in the bottom of the crock-pot. Add chicken broth, honey, and lime juice, and stir to combine. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

2. Saute onion, garlic and bell pepper in a little olive oil over low heat for 3-5 minutes, until onion becomes translucent. Add ingredients to crock pot mixture and cook for another 1-2 hours.

3. The chicken mixture is done when chicken is fully cooked and most of the liquid has evaporated. If needed, take off the lid and turn heat to high for the final 15-20 minutes of cooking.

4. Turn off crock-pot and use a knife and fork to pull apart/shred the chicken.

5. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare an 8×8 glass baking pan by pouring about 1/3 of the can of enchilada sauce into the pan to coat the bottom.

6. Fill each tortilla with the shredded chicken mixture and a spoonful of enchilada sauce. Roll and lay into the pan. Pour the remainder of the enchilada sauce evenly over the tortillas and top with cheese.

7. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is fully melted and edges of the tortillas are a little crispy.

I served mine with brown rice and broccoli for a filling, healthy and delicious meal!

What are some of your favorite post-Thanksgiving, non-turkey meals? {Actually, this recipe would probably work well with turkey, too, now that I think of it!} ūüôā

Hope you’re having a great week!
-Dallas