Possibly Ending Monday's Mania and a Meal Plan/Recipe Review

I'm forever looking for new 'methods' of working efficiently, gaining inspiration, managing my time, cleaning the house, eating healthier, etc. Over the weekend, while plowing through my feedreader, I found this blog post from Marie MacMillian on how she manages Mondays. She mentioned 'filling her idea basket'. It hit a chord with me. I really loved the notion of pulling together some general pieces and then giving yourself time to process what direction/materials you want each of those pieces to take. I knew today would likely be a little hectic for me and had some time yesterday, so here's what I did.

I grabbed some deep, stackable plastic plates (this was all I had, I may need to get more or find some other containers for this task) and picked out a few focals.

From there, it was a matter of taking a long, hard look at each of the focals and deciding what direction I wanted them to take.

I can see using this process with any number of materials; random art beads that are begging for attention, a neat clasp, a collection of bezels, or whatever. In my case, I have a couple bowls scattered around that craft room that contain focals begging for designs.

How perfect would it be to start out each week with a clean desk like Marie and a stack of ideas already simmering? It would absolutely ease that Monday struggle of "Where do I start?" At least I struggle with it. I think it's the bowls full of stuff that get to me.

I was so excited about this new method that I've already completed one of the designs.

Make sure you read Marie's Monday post so you can get the full gist of what her method is.


And, since it is Monday I did go about my usual procedure of making a meal plan.

Breakfasts: Skinny Banana Blueberry Muffins (leftover), Cereal, Smoothies, Omelets, Hashbrown baskets, Waffles or pancakes (from freezer)

Lunches: (OPTIONS) Sandwiches, Cheese Quesidillas, Cheese pizza w/salad, Tuna noodles, PB&J, Bean burritoes, Soup w/grilled cheese, Leftovers

Taco Soup
BBQ tofu pizza w/salad

As always, I'm linking up with Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Recipe Review

Broccoli Cheese and Potato Soup: This was so, so good. I threw it together for myself while the hubby was out playing a gig. The ingredients just sounded yummy together, and they were! The fact that the recipe is from Skinny Taste is a big plus. I'll definitely make this again.

Crunchy Garlic Chicken: This is a Jamie Oliver recipe that I've made this several times, and it never fails to taste great. I do have some issues with it in the breading of the chicken. Granted, I used a bit more chicken than the recipe calls for, but I tried to compensate by adding more of the ingredients to make the breading. I still didn't have quite enough. I think the butter in the breading mixture causes it to lump up and not spread evenly. I will admit that the butter in the ingredients does make the chicken more juicy, but causes the breading to be more of a paste. I left the butter out of the next batch of breading I made to cover the rest of my chicken, and it was just fine. I may make this again, but with my own substitutions - mainly using Parmesan instead of butter.

Paella with Soy Chirizo and Edamame: Weirdly, I'd never had paella until I made this and then over the weekend some friends made it for a party. (TWO paellas in one week.) Those guys are experienced cooks so I knew their version was closer to the real stuff. While this recipe was indeed tasty, it seemed to be more of a risotto than a paella. We liked it either way and I'll probably make it again.

Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup: WOW! We both really loved this. I cut back on some of the half and half and Parmesan as it sounded WAY too rich with the whole amounts of those. I may cut back even more on the half and half next time too and just add more vegetable broth. If I hadn't made a salad to go with this, we could have easily eaten the whole pot. I will definitely be making this again.

Mushroom Bourguignon: I felt like I had way too many mushrooms when I bought all of them (it was a good thing they were on sale last week!) Once they cooked down, it made much more sense. I never could get the sauce to thicken much at the end, so we ate it while it was still a little liquid-y. That didn't hurt the taste one bit, it was yummy. We had more than enough leftovers so I'll probably half this recipe the next time I make it.

I think I've inundated you with enough this Monday. I do hope you're enjoying the extra sunshine in the evening that comes with Daylight Savings. I know I am!!


  1. I just love that idea! I do have starts of designs laying around in little piles but then my cat decides to have fun. I am going to have to grab some plates because they look to work well,

  2. Great idea to sort things out so you can have more options and see more readily what you have. The necklace you created is awesome love the elephant pendant. Your menus always sound yummy and so do those recipes.

  3. Ooh, kind of like the muffin tin challenge, but with a little more room for materials and inspiration -- I like it!

  4. I think you will love using this design concept, whenever I'm working on a painting or a tablescape, or just about anything, I always start and stop, so I can view it with fresh eyes~sometimes it just tells you what to do if you give it a chance! I can't wait to see more of your creations!

  5. Jenna- I just finished three of the above designs and already started layering up the plates again for more. I do like this concept as I'm letting them simmer some as I finish up the fourth. Actually, I even pulled out some other beads to think on for next week even!! Ha!


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