5 tips to get you through school and a full time job! (or any busy season!)

I know that I have been away for a while, and that is because I had a busy season within my life. I planned a wedding and got married! I moved twice! I got into a graduate school program and earned my degree. All while still teaching 9th grade English full time. 

This blog, formerly known as everydaylicious, has truly helped me turn everyday delicious, but not just from a food standpoint. It helped me to find value outside of work and learn that making life amazing is a daily choice. Now that I have taken a step back, I realize that cooking and recipes are just a piece of the puzzle. I truly wish to bring joy to educators, and busy people alike. Moving forward my blog will be a platform to share lessons learned throughout life in hopes to help others nourish their mind and body to affect their classroom.

For my inaugural blog post, I want to share how I survived such a busy season with my mental health intact. Here are some tips I learned along the way. Hopefully this will help you with any busy season that you’re in.

This busy season culminated in me graduating from The University of Texas with a Masters in Educational Leadrship and Policy

1. Be Kind to yourself!

If you are not your cheerleader, then you very well may be your enemy. This seems like a simple tip, but I chose to put it first because without this, I feel like it doesn’t matter what you do because you will always feel like you are not good enough. I was hit hard with imposter syndrome when I started my school work. It took me a long time to realize that I need to talk myself up! I started putting positive sticky notes all over my house saying things like “You got this!” and “You go Glen Coco!” It worked to remind myself that I am doing my best, and that is enough which leads to more productivity and the push I need to complete tasks.

2. Lean on others!

You are not alone. Speak to your professors, lean on your classmates, lean on your friends and support system. I did my graduate program with a cohort, so it was easy for me to identify those who I can reach out to when I needed clarification or motivation, but even if you do not have a cohort to lean on, I strongly encourage you to find your people or person because they could be the difference between you giving up and finishing strong. Put your pride and competitive nature away, and ask for help!

3. The slow cooker is your best friend!

With a full time job, a new marriage, and a full time course load, finding time to eat is one of the most challenging things to do. I did not want to fall into a cycle where I am getting fast food every day because my wallet and my body could not handle that. I leaned on slow cooker meals to set it and forget it.The food would either be done when I woke up to pack and take to work for lunch, or I would set it in the morning, and come home to a meal just before I had to hop on zoom for a class!

4. Find a system that works for you!

I made the best purchase when I bought my ipad because I knew that I needed somewhere I could store all of my notes and reading materials. I downloaded the “good notes” app which allowed me to electronically take my lecture notes and import my pdf’s from the syllabus where I could highlight and make notes on them just as if they were paper. I also downloaded all of my books on kindle to read on my ipad. This made it convenient. If I had my ipad, I knew I had all of my study materials, and I didnt have to worry about leaving anything anywhere. 

I stress that you should also have a system for your personal care. If you do not make time for things that feed your soul, you will run out of steam before your reach the finish line. Take your mental, emotional, and spiritual health just as seriously as you take the health of your GPA. Schedule it in your calendar, and actually do it. If something comes up, you can move it, but don’t cancel it. Trust me it is worth it.

5. Lastly, Balance is the best option.

Sometimes I would have to say no to things that I really wanted to do. Sometimes I knew that I needed to press a little harder because I had overlapping deadlines, but if I did have to push harder, I would be intentional about my rest. Understand that there are ebbs and flows to your work. You cannot poush 100% all the time at anything and expect to endure with your mental health. Give yourself a plan for how you are going to set boundaries and say no to some stuff when it is difficult.

Thank you!

Remember, you’re amazing just for being you. I hope these ideas help you in your journey and remember, mind, body and then you can worry about the classroom.

Eating Well in a Hurry!

Eating Well in a Hurry!

This is a different kind of post for my blog, but I want to share more content that will be valuable to you and your journey to make Everydaylicious! If you did not know, my day job is teaching! I teach high school English in the Dallas, Tx area. During my career, I have coached basketball and cross country, sponsored multiple clubs, and worked with organizations to develop curriculum on top of all the responsibilities that come with the charge of teaching 120 nineth graders! All things considered; I understand the busy struggle.

Regardless of how busy you are, prioritizing your health is a nonnegotiable. Not only can you not pour from an empty cup, but you also can’t fill a broken one. Even though planning is key, I learned early on that meal prepping every week is not realistic or sustainable for me. If you are like me, spending countless hours every Sunday to cook and pack food for the week was draining; I missed having my Sundays to myself; I got tired of eating the same meal halfway through the week; finally, if I didn’t meal prep, I was screwed and off to the closest fast-food restaurant I went.

For all of these reasons, I decided to find a better way. Here are my quick tips and favorite go-to’s for when I am short on time but want to eat well!

My Favorite Pre-Seasoned Raw Meals

One of the most valuable eating tips I’ve learned is to utilize pre-seasoned meals. They usually don’t take long to cook, and it’s so simple that it’s nothing to throw them in the oven or pop them in a skillet after a long day’s work. It is usually cheaper than ordering food, and it is usually better for you! Here are some of my favorites!

  • Aldi’s Atlantic Salmon with Mediterranean Herbs: This is delicious! I throw the salmon filet’s in the oven or, if I’m really in a hurry, a cast iron skillet. I like to pair it with asparagus or microwavable steamed vegetables. You can also ustilize boil in bag rice and your favorite dressing!
  • Aldi’s Cilantro Lime and Tomato Basil Chicken: These are some of my favorite go to pre-seasoned chicken! You can use them in recipes for a quick protein without the hassle of seasoning and marinading!
  • HEB Meal Simple Meals: I will say that this is Texas specific, but if you are lucky enough to live near an HEB market, their meal simple meals are basically a meal prep you can just pick up! They have oven and microwave options. Most of the meals can be baked or microwaved in the containers they come in, so you can also save time on washing dishes!
  • Trader Joe’s Salads: Okay, so these aren’t “pre-seasoned” But I included it in this section because it serves the same purpose! I love to keep a couple of these salads in the fridge for when I am in a pinch. They come with pre-packaged and pre-portioned salad dressing and toppings.

Pre-Cooked Protein

Another thing I like to buy while grocery shopping is pre-cooked protein. This makes it easy to throw a meal together without much thought or prep! Here are some of my favorites and how I have used them in the past!

  • Good and Gather Grilled Chicken Strips and Shredded Chicken: You can find this brand in Target! You can really use this hack for almost any quick meal that requires chicken. I used it to make a taco bowl by adding canned black beans, green chilies, canned tomatoes, spices and boil in bag rice. It took 10 minutes to make and it was delicious!
  • Rotisserie Chicken: You can find rotisserie chicken in different stores, but my favorite is from Walmart! You can either eat it as is and pair it with a quick side, or you can use it to create quick recipes! The recipes are simple to find on Pinterest or a quick google search!
  • Pre-cooked Frozen Shrimp: This is another one that you can find all over the place! I love this because even though they are frozen, shrimp thaws very quickly if you put them in water! Similar to the chicken, you can eat them by themselves with cocktail sauce, use it on a quick salad, or add them into a recipe!
  • Aldi’s Fully Cooked and Seasoned Turkey Breast: If chicken isn’t your vibe, Aldi also has fully cooked turkey to add to quick recipes and salads!
Aldi’s fully cooked pre-seasoned turkey breast

Better Fast-Food Options

Let’s face it. There will come a time when you are going to eat fast food. In today’s society, it’s inevitable. Here is a list of specific meals that I like to eat. I will also include general tips when eating out, so you don’t need a recovery from your meal!

Specific Meals
  • Chipotle’s Burrito Bowls: This is great because it is fully customizable, and they have multiple options for protein and starches! They even offer cauliflower rice!
  • Panda Express Plate with Super Greens: I love that panda express has a super greens option! I try to avoid the classic orange chicken, even though it is my favorite, and go for black pepper angus steak or mushroom chicken.
  • Starbucks Protein Boxes: These are a little more on the pricier side, but they are my favorite when I am in a pinch or on a road trip. I like the eggs and cheese protein box, but they have a variety of options!
  • 7 eleven’s Salad and Wraps: Again, not a gourmet meal, but it is an understatement to say that these meals have saved my stomach on several occasions. They are awesome when I realized that I forgot to prep lunch. I can stop and grab a salad or a wrap, 2 bananas, some trail mix, and a sparkling water, and I am set!
Eating Out Tips
  • Look for grilled options: Many restaurants have grilled versions of your favorites. It’s a great way to avoid the breading that can cause the “itis” (the sleepiness that occurs after eating a carb heavy meal)
  • Choose veggies when possible: Many restaurants, including fast food, have options where you can choose fruit or vegetables for a side! This is an easy way to make fast food a little less taxing on your body!
  • Bring your own tortillas: This might seem silly, but my dad gave me this idea and I’ve since regarded it to be genius. He would bring his own low carb tortillas to a restaurant and order fajita’s! My favorite is Siete Food Grain Free Tortillas. You can find them at Walmart!
  • Bring your own condiments: There are so so many options for condiments today to fit your food lifestyle. It’s a simple way to customize your fast-food meal to fit your needs! (Even Beyonce brings hot sauce in her bag!)

The Frozen Meal

When all else fails for me, I reach for a frozen meal. However, today’s market has so many options, you can still make choices that fit your food lifestyle and treat your body with love! Here are some of my favorite brands that have a variety of options!

  • Healthy Choice Power Bowls: You can find these in almost any grocery store, and I love them because they come with a wide range of dietary options. Whether you are carb free, meat free, dairy free, or none of the above, you can find a bowl that fits your lifestyle!
  • Evol Frozen Meals: These bowls also come with vegetarian options. They also have gluten free bowls! My all-time favorite is their Fire Grilled Steak Bowl.
  • Amy’s Kitchen Meals: You can find these bowls in Whole Foods. These meals come with plant-based options, and they use organic ingredients. In addition to microwave meals, they also have oven meals in lager portions!

Thank you!

As usual, I would like to express my graditude for your support and time! I hope that this adds value to your life, and don’t forget to make Everydaylicious!