Full time work = Better planning needed!

I’ve temporarily returned to full time work, and immediatedly noticed the need for better planning. As much as I love to cook, I don’t like the thought of having to face it every night. And apart from dinner don’t we all need something prepared ahead of time to take for lunch? So on the weekends I try to get ahead of myself a bit. On one such weekend recently I roasted the last of my home-grown pumpkin, along with some bought eggplant. Whilst the oven was hot I baked a loaf of bread. From the garden I picked a big bunch of coriander, some cherry tomatoes, snow peas, bok choy, and zucchini. I found some forgotten-about yellow split peas in the pantry and looked up a recipe to make them into soup.







The pumpkin went into Pumpkin Macaroni Cheese and Spicy Pumpkin Soup.







The eggplant became baba ganoush. I made a pesto with the coriander which we stirred through pasta later in the week for a quick and effortless meal.







The cherry tomatoes, snow peas, bok choy and zucchini were stirred through some couscous. A simple dressing of crushed garlic and lemon juice made this a tasty salad. The yellow split peas made an unremarkable soup. But it was good enough for work lunches, especially when accompanied by home made bread.





Spending just a couple of hours in planning and preparation on the weekend kept us well fed for the week. It felt good to be organised – now I just need to keep it up for the next 6 months!

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  • Beverley Waddell says:

    You’re amazing Jo……those meals look delicious:D Best wishes for returning to full-time work,I hope it’s enjoyable for you and if not, may it pass quickly for you xx

    • Jo says:

      Thank you Bev. The work is great thankfully! I’m just missing all my crafty activities, but there’ll be plenty of time for that in the future. xxx

  • Now that is inspiring not only for people working full time but anyone really. It certainly shows how we can make so much lovely food with a little planning, organising and doing.
    I also couldn’t help but notice just how healthy your homegrown produce looks Jo. I would be so proud of everything.
    I think you will keep it up and I’ll follow along as you go.

  • Deborah says:

    I’ve never had family but have always lived alone so had to cook for myself etc when I worked full-time. My main thing was preparing lunches (I’m coeliac and it’s easier to take lunch to work each day) and remembering to get stuff out of the freezer to defrost for dinner.

    At the moment I’m only working part-time and I love it and it means I plan meals requiring more prep time on my days off and something easier when I’m working. #teamlovinlife

    • Jo says:

      Part-time work is my preferred way of being in the world also Deborah. It’s so good to have a little more space in the schedule.

  • Vanessa says:

    Maintaining the organisation when working full time is what I find hardest – but oh it makes weekdays sooo much easier!
    One thing I like is pre-cooked and portioned rice in the freezer. Just pull it out, add (also portioned) bacon bits, frozen corn & peas, do a quick omelette and a big dinner is done with basically zero prep. AND it gives you easy leftovers for the next day’s lunch. Of course, it’s easy to just throw in any other veggies you like/have on hand/feel like chopping too.
    I also make “dinners” on weekends and freeze them for work lunches. I tend to eat at my desk whenever I’m hungry then walk at lunchtime, but I know that might not work in every work environment.

    • Jo says:

      Good idea Vanessa to have portions in the freezer. Yes staying committed to the forward planning and organisation can be hard, especially when we’d often prefer to be doing something else!

  • Yes meal planning and making ahead of time is such a blessing when working full-time. You are nailing it! This looked delicious . I hope you continue to enjoy your role. Denyse

  • Amazing effort, Jo! Dinners on weeknights are such a challenge for me. The will to prepare something healthy after a long day at work drains me. I’m a huge fan of make ahead meals.

    SSG xxx

  • writeofthemiddle says:

    OMG – when can I come and stay with you! What delicious meals and ideas you came up with. Good luck with the full-time working. I don’t think I could do it anymore. I’d get too tired. Gosh I sound OLD LOL!! #TeamLovinLife

  • kathymarris says:

    I would never have survived working full-time had I not done a lot of meal prep on the weekends. I know heaps of people that do a big cookup on the weekends and then freeze it in portions. Even some people make sandwiches and freeze them for the kid’s school lunches. I must admit I never did this. Your meals look delicious and I love the idea of using fresh produce from your garden. Good luck with the full-time job. #TeamLovinLife

  • I’m with you – leftovers are the BEST for lunch. Not to mention the fact they save you money. I’ve never had the energy really to cook in bulk/on the weekend ready for the week ahead (see the post on my blog today and you’ll know why). I hope you are enjoying your new working adventure!

    • Jo says:

      Taking lunch to work can be a big weekly saving Janet. I don’t want to put in the effort working full time to simply spend the extra I’m earning!

  • Jo says:

    We both work from home these days, so it’s not too bad prep wise. We do, however, always make extra at dinner so we have leftovers for lunch – which are the best – and often do a soup of whatever on the weekend for lunches during the week. Yours look yummy indeed. #TeamLovinLife

  • Those meals look fantastic Jo, and I agree with you planning is everything when working full time and or juggling a busy household. Each week I write up a menu for the evening meals, that fits in with how much time we will have in the evening to cook. This helps with the shopping and ensures that we use all of our fresh ingredients. Sometimes we swap things around to suit how we feel on the day, but knowing that everything is ready to cook removes so much stress at the end of the day.

    • Jo says:

      Jenni that’s a wonderful routine that you have! Doesn’t life flow so much better when a little time is spent in planning. Thanks so much for reading my post and leaving a comment.

  • Angie M says:

    All of these look mouth watering. I’m a terrible cook, but this makes me want to try harder.

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