85 Transcript: Quick and Healthy Meals for Busy Families (with Erin Chase)
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J: You're listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, episode number 85.
E: One of my biggest goals and strategies both for myself and what we teach as well is like being one step ahead of your hungry family, right? Like, “What can you be doing to be doing something for the next meal?”
Intro: Welcome to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, stories of vibrant women living happy lives. And now, your host, Jen Riday.
J: Hey, hey, hey! I'm Jen Riday, host of the Vibrant Happy Women podcast and mom of 6, and I help busy moms simplify their lives with easy and efficient systems that help you spend less time on mundane tasks like dishes and laundry and way more time pursuing your passions and living a life of meaning and purpose. You are so much more than the family slave; you were born to be a vibrant happy woman. I support women on their journeys of vibrant happy living in the Vibrant Happy Women Academy, which you can join for just $27 a month. You can learn more at vibranthappywomenacademy.com. Welcome to today's show, I'm so glad you're here. We are in the middle of a little contest. If you leave a review on iTunes or Stitcher, you can be our review of the week; we'll read it on the air. But not only that, by leaving a review, you enter to win 1 of 5 beautiful journals which you can find on our show notes page at jenriday.com/85. Who wouldn't want to win a journal? Last week I spoke with Valorie Burton, all about journaling. We know how important it is for visualizing what we want and making that a reality through the energy of vision journaling. So I would love for you to win one of those journals and I would love for you to leave a review of the vibrant happy woman podcast. Just go to jenriday.com/itunes if you have an iPhone, or if you have an android, just go to jenriday.com/stitcher; s t i t c h e r. It will take you 1 minute. Do it now, I might read yours on the air. And once you leave your review, just shoot me a quick email at firstname.lastname@example.org and say, “Hey, I left a review and I hope I win that journal.” For our review of the week, I'm going to read one from Katie Maura. Thank you, Katie, for leaving this review. She said, “I was looking for a podcast that uplifted women and also gave practical tips for increasing happiness and self-worth. This podcast provides that. Dr. Jen hosts wonderful guests who all have excellent and inspiring stories to share. I also really enjoy her weekly happy bits. This is a great addition to one's podcast list.” Thank you so much, Katie Maura, and you are now officially entered to win one of those journals; so congrats!
Today, I'll be talking with Erin Chase, founder of 5dollardinners.com, and she has some great ideas for quick, easy and healthy meals for busy families. So let's dive in and hear some ideas; maybe you're going to get your dinner plan right now in this podcast episode.
Erin Chase is the founder of 5dollardinners.com, 5dollarmealplan.com, grocerybudgetmakeover.com, and myfreezeasy.com (so cool), and author of ‘The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook Series'. She's on a mission to help busy overwhelmed home chefs learn to spend less money on groceries and get organized in the kitchen. Her courses and membership programs have helped tens of thousands of shoppers save hundreds of thousands of dollars and countless shreds of sanity. She lives with her husband 4 boys and one furry boy in San Antonio, Texas. Welcome to the show, Erin.
E: Hey, Jen, thanks for having me on; excited to be here.
J: Yeah. And let's dive right in with your current favorite quote.
E: So I am currently crushing on this quote and concept of, you know, “What you don't track or measure, you're not going to improve or you're not going to make better,” right?
E: So that would apply anywhere in life and in business. Like an example, for me, would be like, I track my fitness with 2 different apps and it just makes a difference. Like the number, it's… and a part of its my competitive nature too, but like seeing the numbers and seeing them get better, like I feel better. Like, yes, I feel better, but I know I'm doing better because I see the numbers are better, right?
E: Business, same story; like what you're not trucking in your business, you're not improving, right? So that's kind of my current quotew crush, I guess.
J: Yeah. So what apps are those? I know people are going to want to know. What have apps for fitness?
E: So Map My Run is the one that I use for running. We do some trail running and some hiking with the kids sometimes; I use that for kind of all of that. And then I use… I'm a member at Orangetheory, which is a, I think, international fitness program, you go to the… it's like a little gym and you go, and it tracks for you. But then when I'm not at the gym and I have a workout going on, whether it's at my house or I'm out on a run in the park, then I track that one as well. And so I get like… it just tracks it for you. And you can see like I'm tracking my pace and then I'm also tracking like, how many calories, how much… they have this thing called splat points; how many splat points I'm getting. And so it just… I don't know, I just I feel more confident in my own fitness level, both in my physical body, but also in just the numbers and knowing that, “Yes, things are… things are getting better.” And so those are the 2 that I'm using right now.
J: That’s great; that's great. Well, we always love to hear about how women on the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, how guests are overcoming something hard or a low point and choosing to still live happily. So what was a big low point in your life and how have you chosen to be happy despite it?
E: I think probably the lowest point in my life was my parents’ divorce. That's anything that's kind of major like that; there's all different kinds of major life events that… that are on the negative side, right, that impact you. And I remember early on… and this was years ago now, I remember early on that I had to control the thoughts in my head related to things I was thinking about my family, my dad in particular, my mom in particular, and just kind of moving through those natural phases that you go through after an experience like that. And I was an older kid; I was 18. And so… but I remember like, “I get to choose how I'm going to feel and think about this.” Yes, I'm going to feel, you know, these bad emotions that come with that, right, but I get to choose my response; I get to choose if I'm going to spew on someone else, even though… because I'm feeling this way because somebody else hurt me.
E: So it's sort of that choice and thoughts and in your choice and how you're going to respond based on, you know, things that have happened to you in your life. I mean, that was something that happened to me; that was not my fault, right?
E: And so… but choosing to respond in that way. And then I think I'm just sort of like… that helped me get through that in a healthy positive way and just carrying that same kind of concept of like, “I'm going to choose… I'm going to kind of reframe the way I think about this,” whether it's a situation or a challenge at work or a family thing, like, “We're going to… I'm going to choose the positive side of this, even though, yes, I feel these negative things and these… these things are hard, but I'm going to choose the positive.” And I think that just knowing that it's a choice is, you know, important but then, you know, being diligent and disciplined to make that choice on the daily when you don't want to is where it gets really hard, right? That's where the grind happens. But I think that that's just had a real driving… you know, learning that at a young age as a young adult through that divorce experience, and then now having great relationships with everybody in my family, and then just taking that concept and just kind of applying it all around…
E: … I think has been really helpful for myself and just, you know, walking through life with grace, with joy, with contentment, with happiness, and just like it's… you know, and I'll catch myself. Even this morning I was having a hard time with the kids and now I'm catching myself like, “Okay, hang on.” (Laughs) . “Don't react that way, you have a choice here. Yes, this is maddening or frustrating or whatever, but it's not going to help anybody if you overreact or if you yell. Yes, I yell, but like try not to,” right?
J: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
E: That's just… but that's where the grind happens, right? Like that's where that happens. And so just making that choice and like recognizing it and choosing the positive; not discounting all the negative emotions, you still have to feel those things, right?
E: And process through them and work through them, but then like making that choice, I think is really been beneficial to me and to our family now.
J: Mm-hmm. So let's say you're having a bad moment, but beyond just frustration with the kids, you've had something really low happen, is there a trick you have for boosting your mood quickly and getting back to that place you want to be?
E: I think it's about finding that thing that makes you happy, right? And not everything's going to make you happy right away. Like maybe it's going out for a walk, going out for a run, getting in the car and driving down the highway. I remember, going back to my parents’ divorce, that's what I did. I was 18, I had my own car, I got in the car and I drove.
E: Right? Because that was like this safe like happy place, and I wasn't going to, you know, have a bad moment or reaction or experience, right? And so I think you just… and it changes, right? It kind of depends on the trigger and it depends on that negative thing that's happening in your life currently. My current sort of… it's more of a stress processor, I feel like, but is running.
E: Like when I feel super stressed, I'm like, “I’ve got to go right now. I don't care that it's 1000 outside.”
E: I’m in Texas, right, like…
E: “I gotta go right now,” and I think that… and that's… it's a stress thing, but it's just a place where my mind just sort of, I don't know, out goes free.
J: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
E: It sounds a little cliché, but like it just sort of goes free. And that's just a place where… and then I can think things through and, you know, make a decision on how I'm going to respond to this particular thing or I'm just going to let that go, you know? So I think you've got to… and that's different for everybody, right?
E: So I think right now, for me, it's running, but it's been different things in the past.
J: Well, yeah, and when I read your bio, we know you're into food. And so have you ever… what stops you from turning to food when you're feeling stressed; like many of us do and should not? (Laughs)
E: So actually, the real reason there is I love chocolate; that's like my food that I turn to. And I have a sweet tooth, which is dangerous, right?
E: And it's actually been a health-related issue that I've been battling, far younger than I anticipated ever having to deal with in my life, basically arthritis related symptoms.
E: And I have found that sort of the low carb, no sugar, no grains diet makes a big difference. And so I basically come to this place of, “If I don't want to feel really terrible tomorrow, you shouldn't eat that or drink that,” right?
J: Mmm, okay.
E: And so that's been a journey for sure. Actually, it's been about 2 years of a journey, but I think I can confidently say now that I'm at that place where, “Okay, that's going to hurt.” And so I think that… and that might be why like exercise has kind of taken over instead of food, for me. Does that make sense?
J: Oh yeah, it's great.
E: But that's just because I want to feel better, I need to be at my best to serve my family and to serve those, you know, in our online community and in my business, right? And if I'm not at my best, I can't go day-to-day like that, right? And so, I think, sort of over the last… really, it's been the last 6 months have I pretty much transitioned into this full-on like, “Okay, this… I'm going to turn to like something productive instead of eating like 16 dark dove chocolates,” right.
E: Because that’s what I would do. And it's just like… but then, I would physically feel those effects later.
E: But it has been a journey kind of switching that off. And there are days where, you know, I'll crave chocolate and it's like, “Okay, just resist because the sugar…” and then if that usually will lead to, “Oh, I’ll just have this other dessert,” and, “Oh, I'll just eat this.”
E: And then it's just sort of like your day just sort of implodes after you give in, right? And so… but for me, it's more of a physical response thing than, I guess, emotional at this point; I feel like I've kind of switched that over. So…
J: Oh, that’s so good; so good. Well, so now you have me thinking about health. And tell us more about your memberships and programs and everything you've learned on that journey of, you know, eating well, but also doing it on a budget.
E: Sure. So I started $5 Dinners 9 years ago now; a little over 9 years ago. And it's just sharing budget-friendly recipes, and it's all kinds of recipes. We have different categories specific to, you know, elimination diets, whether that's paleo, (unclear) [12:50] paleo, 30 keto, we have all that type of recipe content and categories. And I think that, you know, it's just being mindful, planning well, you know, playing the game at the store well where you're, you know, shopping when things are on sale; especially meat and produce. You know, kind of mixing and matching different ingredients and pulling that together in a way that is, you know, not harmful to your grocery budget, right, but then also not harmful to your body. And I'm in a unique situation. I'm not one to short-order cook at all, but the way that I cook is very sort of compartmentalized. So, you know, I'll make a protein with some sauce and maybe some veggies and then, you know, some sort of a starchy side dish. So I'll eat like the protein and veggies and then I'll serve my kids, you know? I have 4 boys and they need lots of energy and lots of carbs, right?
E: And so it's like the opposite of mine, but I managed to make it work by sort of dividing out meals. And actually cooking that way in general, I feel like it's easy, but it's also very budget-friendly when you kind of compartmentalize you're plate out like that. And so, you know, not all of our recipes are like that, but many of them are, so that… then it works well. Like I can still eat this in sort of a paleo, keto way, but then my kids… and I can have a maybe a little cauliflower rice, and they could have a pile of brown rice; you know, big ole pile. (Laughs)
J: Yeah, yeah.
E: Then I… that would not work well, for me, right?
E: And so I think just over time, I've kind of come to that place of like, “I can still do this on a budget, even though I've changed the way I eat, and I… without, you know, having to cook 3 different meals at every single sitting,” right?
J: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
E: Because I don’t have the time for that or energy. And so I think that sort of this way of sort of breaking down your plate by, you know, meat veggies, starch or carbs and then, you know, shopping the game of like… I don't ever match side dishes with main dishes, it's just like, “Well, what do I have that we got on sale this week from either the freezer, if it's like frozen broccoli, or, you know, zucchini was on sale this week,” right?
E: So it kind of becomes this like, “We're just going to piece together a meal with what I've got.”
E: But it still ends up being fantastic and delicious, right? Like…
E: Does that make sense?
J: Yeah, oh that's great. What about breakfast? What do you guys like to do for breakfast?
E: Breakfast, I've actually taught my older 2 boys to make breakfast for everyone. So it kind of depends…
J: Yeah, woo-hoo!
E: (unclear) [15:14]. Well, here's why I am not a morning person, right? Like, I have my little coffee routine and I eat my banana; that's my breakfast.
E: And they will either scramble eggs or I… they know how to make steel cut oatmeal in the instant pot, which only takes a couple minutes in the morning, so there's time to do it, right? So… or regular just a quick oatmeal on the stovetop, cereal, toast, bagels. It really kind of depends on what we have, what time the kids get up, if they want… if, you know? And I tried to make sure they get a little bit of protein every morning, whether that's mixing in just like, even just ground-up flax or something into oatmeal or bacon, on occasion we'll do that or we'll have some maybe from the night before, I can quickly reheat, eggs, sometimes sausage. Like, I try to make sure they have a little bit of protein.
E: Just because I want their tummies to hold and I want them to kind of, you know, at school, just be up and be alert, right?
E: And I think protein makes a big difference. So, yeah, and then lunches is very actually boring for all of us.
E: My husband works from home. I have an office, but it's kind of like working from home. We usually both we'll just do leftovers or grab something from the fridge, and then the kids ,they usually will pack their own lunch, but it's kind of a combination of maybe like a freezer PBJ and some fruit, maybe a boiled egg, it kind of… each kid is a little bit different, but they do like to eat the same thing. And I asked them all the time, “Do you want to try something else? Do you see something in your friends lunchbox?” and they're always like, “No, we're good,” which is actually kind of nice for planning and making sure we have the right ingredients and stuff. And so we'll mix it up every now and then, but for the most part, they kind of be the same thing. So it's easy and it's predictable, and then budget-wise, it's predictable as well. So…
J: Oh, that's smart. Well, you mentioned freezer PBJ, what's that mean?
E: So when we do buy Uncrustables on occasion, like I'm traveling next week so I'll just get Uncrustables next week, right? But it's basically your own Uncrustable, right? You make…
E: … peanut butter and jelly and then I usually do like whole-wheat bread, but I try to bring the sugar content down. You know, I'm not a purist really by… I don't call myself a purist, I'm not like a 100% organic real food all that, right? We certainly have junk food on occasion.
E: But it's kind of making my own version of that and then getting them into the freezer, so the kids… and then we package them into baggies and put them into the freezer and then they just grab… grab one and put it in their lunchbox so with every whatever else they want to take; so it's real quick and easy in the morning. I like to set us up. One of my biggest goals and strategies both for myself and what we teach as well is like being one step ahead of your hungry family, right? Like, “What can you be doing to be doing something for the next meal?” So like when I'm in the kitchen in the afternoon, it's like I'm making dinner or fixing it or reheating it or putting in the oven, whatever, depending on the meal. And then I'll be thinking about the next day. “Do I need to bake any pumpk… some pumpkin bread for lunch boxes? Do I need to…? Should I cut up this mango now so I don't have to do it in the morning before I've had coffee? Because that's, for me, maybe not a good idea.”
E: You know, I’ll forget or maybe… yeah. No, it's not that bad, but like, you know what I mean? Like, being one step ahead. So then like in the morning, I'm doing… you know, I'm making sure the younger ones get their lunch boxes packed, the older ones packing theirs, I’m watching breakfast being made, I might pour somebody’s cereal, that the younger ones cereal. You know, so it's kind of a… it's very chaotic, but I'm always, always thinking about doing one thing for dinner.
J: Mmm, that’s good.
E: So some days that’s start to slow cooker, some days, it's just pull out a jar spaghetti sauce and put it next to the oven because that then becomes like a visual cue of, “We all come in at 4:30 in the afternoon. We drop all of our stuff,” you know, everybody's had a long day at the office or school, and I walk in the kitchen and I'm like, “Oh, right, we're having spaghetti.”
E: It just…
J: That’s helpful.
E: It's this like really simple thing, and it's like getting into that habit of like doing one thing in the morning to set yourself up for dinner. It could just even be chopping onions, right?
E: If you're going to have something onions, right? Like just one task because what that does is it sort of mentally checks off your list, “Oh, I've figured out what we're having for dinner and I don’t have to worry about that today.”
E: Like it's crazy. I say this a lot, and I feel like sometimes people are rolling their eyes at me, and then they try it and they're like, “Oh my gosh, Erin’s such a genius!”
E: But like doing like 1… doing 1 thing, like even if the recipe is like 6 things, you know, 6 lines long right, you know, first it's pre-heat your oven, then it's chop your onions, and then it's this, and then it's that. So like just doing the chop your onion thing so you're just one step down the process when you get home later to then have to make your meal, it makes the world of difference; I promise. And so that's kind of my goal; I operate in that way like doing something for the next meal or even 2 meals, you know, while I'm in the kitchen, which is usually twice a day, morning and afternoon. So…
J: (Laughs). Well, I'm laughing because I had it written down on the top of my list today, ‘Thaw pork chops’, and I didn't do it. So, I guess, what helps you like keep it in your mind until it's truly a habit? Any tips? I think you just have to write… like write it down. I'm a pencil-paper person and I think, I mean, there's research out there on that as well like write it down; like put it in your phone, tell Alexa, “Alexa, remind me to throw the pork chops at 7:30 in the morning.” And then, Alexa will bing until you tell her stop, right? (Laughs)
E: And so like you have… yeah. So like… it's like a (Alarm sound); it like makes this little sound, right?
J: Okay, okay; I like that.
E: Well, you can do it on your phone, like you have to like… I have… sometimes, I'll do… I’ll put like a notification on my calendar ‘Pull out freezer’ so it'll show up on my phone. I've done it for my husband, seriously.
E: I’ll leave for the office and I just put like a load of wash into the washer and then I'm headed out for the office, right? But he's home and so I will say, “Alexa, at 10:00 AM, remind Steve to move the clothes to the dryer,” or something like that, right?
E: And she totally does it. And then I get notification on my phone from Ale… from the Alexa app, and so then I could be like, “Hey, don't forget,” it reminds me to remind him because he might not even hear Alexa because she is in the other room, but whatever. But you know what I mean? Like, you have to kind of like meet yourself in the moment to remind yourself; so setting up reminders. But then I think like, once you experience that like 2 or 3 days in a row of like, “Oh, I didn't think about dinner all day…”
E: … like that kind of becomes like you have this new motivation like, “This habit is like a good habit. I need this happen in my life,” right?
E: And it's not perfect for me every day, but it… I try really hard to always be doing something for the next meal because it just makes… you know, like I have 4 boys, right? And they eat 4 times a day, 5 maybe if like their home on the weekends and we have like an extra mid-morning snack or something, right?
E: But like it's a lot of feeding people that we do.
J: (Laughs). Right.
E: It's just a lot like, they need to eat every day. And when you're like always like, “Oh, what's next? What's next?” and you’re… I like… like, you're spinning your wheels backwards.
E: That's just not a fun way to be especially around food because we have to every day, right?
E: And so if you can sort of, instead of spinning backwards, like being one step ahead, it's more forward momentum, right?
E: Like just in your life and in your mental and your thoughts and your… just your overall like “Oh, don’t have to worry about dinner today; this is what we're having,” right?
E: It really does make a difference. And so I think if you can do it a couple days in a row and then see… but for your pork chops, go get a bowl of water, put them into water, they'll thaw super quick; just like you thaw turkey in your sink, right
J: Yeah, yeah.
E: It's all super quick in water; there's still time.
J: Okay, I’m good; I’m good.
E: You haven't lost… you haven't lost your pork chop meal yet.
J: Well, let's take a quick break for our sponsor and then we'll come back and talk about some of your favorite things.
(Interview resumes) [:]
J: Welcome back. So let's talk about first your morning routine, Erin. What do you do in your morning routine to rock your day?
E: So my morning routine, you know, I see these a lot, you know, here and there and I’ll read articles. And my morning routine is generally, get the children to school; number one priority, right?
J: I love it!
E: So my morning routine doesn't really happen until after that, right?
E: And so I feel like my morning routines like flipped backwards, I suppose. But I do… I have my coffee every day, I have some vitamins and supplements that I take to help with, you know, this arthritis I mentioned, right? So I do that; I kind of have narrowed down into the morning. But really, my morning routine is getting my kids, either driving them to school myself or we have carpools. So we… every other week is a little bit different. But as far as morning routine when I get to the office, it's… I am not a believer in the ‘eat that frog’ concept. I have a very, very blocked out calendar where I do like an email sweep and a customer support sweep. I don't do our customers support on the regular, but if there's anything that needs my attention, then I do that at all right away. I don't like people waiting for responses; that makes me crazy because I… I would expect that from a company, like, “I need you to respond to me quickly.”
E: So I do all of that morning and afternoon, I have my day blocked between these 2 like sweeps. I think of them as sweeps; I call them morning sweeps and afternoon sweeps. And then I have my… the rest of my day blocked out. And so my morning routine does not involve Facebook; that's later in the day, right?
E: And so it's really going through, doing the morning sweep and then making sure that I have the right big tasks on for my day in the right order, and then I start plowing through everything.
E: So… I mean, if… my morning routine really isn't that much of a morning routine. (Laughs)
J: So… no, that’s cool; I love it.
E: Just because it’s like I'm… I’ve got to get my kids to school and like that's this morning routine like the quiet like meditation that I have, right, would be like the alone time I have in the car getting to the office.
J: Yeah, yeah.
E: Whether that's after I just drop them off to school or on my way from my home to my office, right? I do exercise a couple mornings a week, but that's kind of mixed in; it depends on the day. So exercise is a part my weekly routine, but it's not a part of my, you know, daily morning routine. So…
J: Okay, that's great; it's refreshing. I kind of like that because then there's no pressure to beat yourself up when you haven't accomplished a morning routine, you're just like, “Hey, I did it. I took the kids to school; win! I'm winning!” (Laughs)
E: You're so right because like, I don't have time or energy for that kind of like self-defeating thinking, right? Like, I just don't. And I think just… you know, this is how I operate, right, and that's fine. Like, I don't have to operate the way Dale Partridge tells me that I need to operate, right?
E: Like he has this morning routine. I remember listening to his and I was like, “That is impossible for a mother of 4 kids who is not a morning person.” Like, I'm not a morning person.
E: Like, my time starts at about 8:30 or 9:00 in the morning. So like it would be pointless for me to try a morning routine that… you know what I mean?
E: Like, you can try to tell me to get up at 5:00, it's not going to happen and it's actually, it's part of my arthritis. Like, I literally can't move my hands in the morning. Like, it's just once I get going and get moving, that's why 8:30 or 9:00 is like prime time for me.
E: So, you know, we all have our own little unique quirks and, you know, characteristics and we have to kind of work around those; I've kind of figured out how to work around those, I suppose. (Laughs)
J: Yeah, I like it; guilt free living. And what's your favorite easy meal and kitchen gadget?
E: My favorite easy meal would be spinach lasagna skillet. So you're going to mix up either ground beef or sausage with some either marinara or tomatoes and homemade spices and then you can add some spinach to that, you kind of bring it to bubbling, and then just add some broken lasagna noodles. So you're not like making a layered lasagna because that… it takes forever, (or I think it takes too long) and then you just float them in to the liquid and with the noodles. And then once those cooked, (it only takes about 8 or 10 minutes for that to cook through) you just dollop on top, either like ricotta or cottage cheese, a little Parmesan shredded or grated, you just kind of add the rest of those cheesy flavors for the lasagna.
E: And so you end up getting all the right was on your flavors mixed together but you did it all in a skillet and like start-to-finish 20 minutes.
J: Oh, man, that's so great. And so I know you have 4 different things we mentioned, all your dot coms, which one would we go to to find this or something similar?
E: 5 dollar dinners. Yeah, 5dollardinners.com; the 5 is the actual number. You could spell it out and you'll still get there, but 5dollardinners.com. And then it would be an under our skillet category or you can just search on there, ‘Spinach Lasagna skillet’.
J: Oh, I love it. And, you know, I could tell it's a site I want to check out because your recipe was so easy; that's exactly what I want, 10 minute meals, you know? (Laughs)
E: Yes, yeah. We have a lot of 10 minute meals, we have a lot of 5 ingredient meals. It's just like, I'm a busy working mom with 4 kids who are in all kinds of cra… I was just actually… I'm having lunch with my sister and I was telling her about all the boys’ sports. And she's like, “Where's that and where's that?” and I was like, “Oh my gosh, I am all over town!” like I was just tired telling her about it, right? (Laughs)
E: So I'm running, this is my life too; like I'm in sort of this like kids activities trenches, right?
E: And so I need for myself so I know there's a huge need for these fast easy like low-maintenance dinners…
E: That, pretty much, the novice home chef can pull off.
J: Yes. Ooh, that's so good. And your favorite kitchen gadget?
E: I am currently crushing on this… it's a call to ChopStir, you can get them on Amazon, and it brown ground beef, like you use it to kind of press down. It looks like your cross at the bottom and has a handle and you kind of… it breaks up beef or sausage or ground turkey, ground pork, anything. Anything that's ground meat, it will break it up so you can brown it.
J: Oh yeah.
E: And it just kind of crumbles nicely. But I've been using it also to mix up like meatloaf or meatballs.
E: So it does both really well, and so that's kind of my current like… I know a lot of people do have them, but other people are like, “Wait a minute, what is this thing?”
E: But I think it's marketed for a ground beef and, you know, browning ground beef or sausage or something, but I also have found it to be really useful for like mixing in the eggs and the bread crumbs and… and whatnot for like meatballs or meatloaf. So…
J: Yeah, ChopStir.
E: I’ve kind of been using it kind of dual purpose now, yeah.
J: I actually have one; I feel cool now, you know, I have the same kitchen gadget as you.
E: I love it!
E: I love it.
J: (Laughs). What is your favorite book?
E: Oh my goodness. Okay, so I love the Ken Follett books.
E: It's a series, all of them are like 1000 pages long. He just published the third one in the series. And I just love them because they're written in Europe back in the 15… I think 14, 1500s, maybe 1600s or written way back, but it's across… this is the third book, and across all 3 books, it's characters from the same family, they're not necessarily the same characters, but it's like 2 generations later.
E: It's the story around these different characters. And it just takes you to a different place and I just think that they're just… they're fast reads, even though they're really long, but I just think he is a fantastic writer.
J: Ken Follett.
E: Ken Follett. But it… but I also love personal development books and small business books. I do a lot of that kind of reading as well, looking, just pulling nuggets of, you know, “How can I improve business? How can I improve the way I operate? How can I improve the way I manage our team? How can I improve, you know, myself?” I do read a little bit of, you know, family and parenting type books, but really it's more business related books.
J: Perfect. I'll include links to that and everything else you've talked about on our show notes page at jenriday.com/85. And now, one of my favorite questions, what does it mean for you to be a vibrant happy woman?
E: I think it means being present where I am. So that's being present with my husband or being present with my boys or (unclear) [32:25] depending on the time of day it is, right? And just being present with them then being president in my business and, you know, helping the people that we get to help in our communities. And I think that it's so easy to be… you know, try to be this like multi-tasker and like do all the things, right?
E: But I found that when I can be present in that one moment doing one thing, that I just exude that… that happiness, that grace, that joy, that just sort of we want. And I try to do more than I should be doing, that's when it all kind of dissipates. And so I think that, for me, has been I think the thing that I, you know, work hard at; just being present and that helps me to be, you know, at my best and, you know, then therefore happiest and most content and most joyful in that moment.
J: That's a big one. Well, let's have a challenge from you to our listeners and then we'll say goodbye.
E: Oh goodness, I think my challenge should go back to that, you know, being one step ahead. If you can kind of do that thing… because it just removes one little thing from your mind, right, and it helps you then be more present and where you're at. And so I think it would be, over the next couple days, you know, when you're in the kitchen in the morning, what's one thing you can do for either lunch or dinner depending on when your next meal is at your house, right?
E: What… when you're in the kitchen in the afternoon, what can you do with it for breakfast and lunch the next day? I think that would be my challenge is sort of understanding and feeling how that's different and feeling how like, “Okay, that was easier. Not going to be perfect everyday; progress, right, baby steps, progress.” But I think that… that doing that, just especially the food component, because it's something that we think about, it's something that every day, right? It's something that's almost primal, I think, as women too. Like we… our bodies were created to feed people, right? (Laughs)
E: And so like there's something about it that… you know, and then when… when we get stressed about food and then we have this sort of like primal instinctive thing like when those who are in competition with each other, that's tough to manage, right?
E: And so that's why I feel like getting a step ahead helps just relieve a little bit of that then it will allow you to be more present in the moment that you're in.
J: That's great advice. Well, thank you for being on the show; and, everyone, be sure to check out 5dollardinners.com. And I appreciate it, Erin, thank you so much.
E: Yeah, thanks for having me on. It's been wonderful.
J: I love Erin's advice about being mindful, being really present where you are. And I think that's one of the reasons so many women are unhappy because we're living too much in the past, too much in the future, worrying about this never-ending to-do list that we're never really present. I want to give you the challenge to be present where you are; to love your life right in the moment. Try that out today. Now, do me a favor, if you've received any value at all from my interview with Erin Chase about 5 dollar dinners and everything else we talked about, head over to jenriday.com/itunes and leave a review for the podcast; it helps so much. Not only does it help us, but you'll automatically be entered to win one of those 5 beautiful journals will be giving away in mid November. Again, that's at jenriday.com/itunes. Once you get there, you can click ‘view in iTunes’ and click on ‘ratings and reviews’. If you're confused at all about this, go to jenriday.com/85 where we have complete instructions on how to leave a review. Join me next week when I talk with Jen Granneman all about the secret lives of introverts. Jen is an introvert and she has some great tips. I thought it was amazing. I myself am an introvert; did you even know that? I know this because I am really drained after I'm around people for too long and I get my energy from being alone. Jen talks about that, along with tons of other great tips; and you're going to love that interview next week. Alright, my friends, this has been fun. I will see you again later this week with a happy bit, and until then, go out and be present where you are. Take care.
Outro: Thanks for listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast at www.jenriday.com.