New Year’s is usually when resolutions are made, and around February is when most are broken. It’s amazing how the gym traffic picks up at the first of the year and then come spring, those once determined resolutes slowly start to stagger off. I tend to make my resolutions at the start of the school year. Fall is like a new beginning after the whirlwind of summer break. It’s the return of a schedule or routine after all those lazy days, beach days, and maybe skipping a few bath times for the girls because it’s 10:00 and they are still up running all over like crazy kids! That sticky Popsicle hair will just have to wait until morning. How they seem to get anything stuck in their hair is still a mystery to me. Toothpaste, milk, ice cream, peanut butter- you name it! But then again, I was a kid once and if you recall, I took it upon myself to cut out a chunk of hair that was all caught in some bubble gum that I had placed behind my ear. So maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. I love fall! I always have. I loved school as a kid and my girls do too. Fall equals the excitement and anticipation of a new beginning. It’s the start of a new school year, getting to know a new teacher, reconnecting with old friends, and making new ones.
With the start of fall, I usually have some goals, or resolutions in mind. Now, by December those may be out the window kinda like all those New Year’s gym peeps, but I have good intentions at the beginning of the school year. This year, I want to keep the house more organized. I think we are off to a great start with our daily after school routine of starting right on homework, looking over papers, responding to notes etc. Each girl has a basket in our desk area so any papers that they need to keep can go in there. I also have a basket that’s just for me so really important stuff like important school forms and my blog notebook can safely be stored there when not in use and easily in my reach (well on my tippy toes). Below is a picture of the shelf that we made for our desk area. The bottom row of baskets are for each of our girls. The basket below my camera is my mommy basket. The girls know to leave our baskets alone. You can read more about our home office project here in case you missed that post.
This year, the girls are definitely bringing their lunch to school most of the time, instead of eating school lunch. So I’m trying to do as much prep the night before, with the help of my oldest. After school, the lunch bags are emptied and the little containers are all washed out by hand. Lunch bags are put away in their designated cabinet. After supper, the girls decide what they will be taking to lunch for the next day. If if can be made ahead like a sandwich, salad, or wrap then I make it and try to have it all ready to go in the fridge. If it’s leftovers like a burrito bowl, I will get all the toppings ready like tomatoes, cheese, sour cream using press and seal, snack bags or little containers. So far, they are the envy of the lunch room with their “better than Chipotle” burrito bowls that they took twice this week. So far, this has really made our mornings go a lot smoother. The girls already know what they are taking and can help pack their lunches because the prep work has been done. What kinds of things are you doing to help organize your family this school year? I’d love to hear your ideas!
Another fall resolution of mine this year is to eat more vegetables! I mean the good for you kind, not just an extra helping of buttery mashed potatoes. Now this goal is not just for me, but a goal for our whole family (meat and potatoes loving husband included) 🙂 So this little meal definitely followed through on that veggie goal! We ate our colorful rainbows for sure! I’ll admit, most of the veggies in this dish are not my favorite. I’ve just never been a squash kind of girl and sadly that has affected what my girls have become accustomed to and what they tend to stay away from. I wanted to introduce some new to us veggies and pair them with some really great flavors that can make almost anything taste fantastic. That’s where the balsamic comes into play. I just love it. It’s so versatile. It’s tangy and sweet at the same time. It can marinade, it can be a dressing or a light drizzle of flavor over any dish. A few days into the 21 Day Sugar Detox, I wanted to take swigs of balsamic right out of the bottle to get that sweet fix. I resisted, but I definitely recognized its power in kicking up the flavor, as well as acting as a sweetener. It can take something bland like an eggplant or zucchini and give it a little zing so before you know it, you have just finished an entire plate of good for you veggies. I’ve told you before about my cursed black thumb, but if you are fortunate enough to have an overflowing garden, then this dish is a great way to use up some of those veggies! HELP, I have zucchini coming out of my ears!!!! Eggplants are in season now and are available in most grocery stores. They are just so beautiful! I picked up a few, not knowing exactly what I was going to make with them, but couldn’t resist their beauty! I think this dish puts the eggplant to great use!
Balsamic Steak and Veggies
This is another recipe where there are no measurements. Trust your gut and adjust ingredients and seasonings to your preference.
Salad greens of your choice. I used a little romaine along with a spinach and spring greens mix.
Veggies of your choice. I used Eggplant, Zucchini, Grape Tomatoes, and Red Onion. I think the red onion goes perfectly with the balsamic, BTW. I decided not to use the yellow squash shown in the picture
Cheese – a soft cheese is great. I used goat cheese. You could use Feta or even crumbled Blue Cheese.
I also used some shredded Parmesan cheese.
Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Directions: This dish has a very quick cook time so prep work is important.
Wash and Chop your veggies. I just sliced the zucchini and eggplant into about 1/4 inch or so slices. I kept the eggplant in circular slices, but cut the zucchini down the middle lengthwise to make little half circles. I did not peel either veggie. Slice the grape tomatoes in half.
Slice up your onion. I like long onion slices in this dish. If you are not familiar with how to slice an onion, this site has great onion cutting information. For this recipe, you want to slice the onion from pole to pole or from the root end to the stem end to make the long slices. This is the same cutting method for making onion slices for fajitas. The onions cook and break down more evenly with this cutting technique.
Wash up your greens and have them ready.
Have your cheese out and ready. I like to let the goat cheese soften a bit on the counter and do a little pre cutting so it’s easily crumbled over the dish toward the end.
Season the steak with salt and pepper on both sides.
In a large non stick skillet, coat the pan with olive oil on high heat.
Place the steak in the hot skillet and cook for 3-5 minutes per side, only turning once, until the meat is done to your liking. You may have to turn the heat down just a little or partly cover the skillet with a lid if the oil is really splattering and making a mess. I like a nice medium rare steak so mine are pretty pink inside. Cook yours however you like. You could also grill the steak on your outdoor grill.
Once the steak is done, remove from skillet and set aside to rest.
Add a little more oil to the skillet, but do not wash it out.
Add all your veggies to the skillet.
Season veggies with salt and pepper. Stir to cook the veggies. This will go quickly. Mine only took around 4 minutes until they were softened and had a nice crust on some of them. The onion slices become translucent and that’s when you know the veggies are just about done. At the end of cooking, drizzle a little balsamic vinegar over the veggies and stir to incorporate the flavor throughout the veggies.
Turn off the heat.
Slice up your steak on the bias into strips.
Using tongs, place a good serving of the veggies in the center of the plate, then top with your greens.
Add the strips of steak and then your cheese.
You can drizzle a little more balsamic vinegar over the top and a pinch of salt and pepper to finish it off.
This is definitely an All In One Dish!