The BEST Breakfast Burritos

The BEST Breakfast Burritos

I've been holding out on you. I've been making the most delicious, cheap, and easy breakfasts for the past few months but I just haven't gotten around to posting about it :)

 

It all started about a year ago when I decided that I wanted to make breakfasts with eggs for work days. Previously, I had been having overnight oats or my oatmeal bake, and that was good but I feel like it wasn't as filling or as healthy as eggs would be.

 

So I started making scrambled eggs and vegetables before I left for work. That was tasty, but I didn't like having to take the extra time to cook breakfast before work. I like grab and go foods.

 

So next, I attempted breakfast sandwiches. I tried two different recipes: this one (uses deli ham) and this one (I like that it uses baked scrambled eggs; I swapped ham for the bacon though)  and they were both good, but I had issues with the freezing part of the recipe. No matter what I did, the eggs would get super watery and would make the whole sandwich soggy if I froze the sandwiches. That meant I could only make 5 days of sandwiches at a time since I wasn't freezing any. But I really wanted to be able to make something that I could freeze.

 

So I kept poking around on Pinterest and stumbled upon this recipe for Freezer-to-Microwave Breakfast Burritos. I tried it once and fell in LOVE and have been making them non-stop since... maybe January?

 

The recipe makes 16 burritos. I make these for both Mike and I, so that's 8 days worth of burritos for each of us. That means I only need to make a batch every week and a half-ish, which is much better than every week for the breakfast sandwiches. Also, they include vegetables (and I add even more vegetables) so I feel very healthy!

 

I make them a bit different than the original recipe, but it's totally customizable for whatever you want to include! I'll share my version of the recipe below.

 

 

Breakfast Burritos

adapted from New Leaf Wellness

 

Ingredients

  • 1lb ground breakfast sausage
  • 15oz frozen hash brown potatoes
  • 2 bell peppers, diced (any color)
  • 2 handfuls of fresh kale or spinach- torn into small pieces
  • 16 eggs, beaten
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • shredded sharp cheddar cheese (I have no clue how much I use, oops)
  • 16 “burrito size” flour tortillas (8.5-9″ in diameter)
  • Tin foil (for freezing)
  • Gallon sized plastic freezer bags

 

Brown the sausage then remove it from the pan.

 

Next, use the same pan to cook the frozen hash brown potatoes according to the package directions.

 

After the potatoes are cooked, add the diced bell peppers and cook for a few minutes until they soften. Then I add the sausage back in, the beaten eggs, the kale, and the salt and pepper. Stir it all together while the eggs cook.

 

Once everything is cooked, remove the pan from the heat and let everything cool down for 30-60 minutes.

 

Meanwhile, prepare the tin foil. Tear off 16 squares of toil, and then lay out all your tortillas on the tin foil. I have to use my kitchen table and a book shelf for this since we don’t have much counter space in the kitchen :)

 

Once the filling has cooled, divide it between the burritos. Add cheese on top if desired (aka, if you AREN'T Mike :) )

 

Roll up the burritos and cover in foil. (unlike the original recipe, I don't use the waxed paper and it turns out fine for me! Maybe it's not an issue because we eat these quite fast. Perhaps if you're storing them for longer than 1-2 weeks you'd want to do the waxed paper too?)

 

Put the foil-wrapped burritos into 2 gallon size ziploc bags, and keep them in the freezer.

 

Each night when we make our lunches for the next day, we take out a frozen burrito and put it in our lunch box in the fridge. By the time we heat it up in the morning it's mostly thawed. I microwave mine for 1 or 1.5 minutes (depending on how strong the microwave is and how many extra ingredients I put in the burritos that week :) ) then rewrap it in the foil and eat it at my desk at work!

 

 

What are your work breakfasts?? Share your make-ahead recipes!!

What makes people buy books rather than use the library?

What makes people buy books rather than use the library?

I need your help today. I am mulling over a mystery in my head and just CANNOT for the life of me figure it out.

 

I have recently had a few conversations with 20-something women who talk about how many books they own. Like, they actually purchase EVERY book they read. (And in particular, I was talking to people about real, physical books, but this can also apply to Kindle/other purchased eBooks or audiobooks)

 

WHY is this? Why do so many people still buy books?

 

I grew up with a mother who works in the library system, and even before she started working there I have MANY memories of going to the library and excitedly picking out books. I can't even remember a time in my childhood when we bought an actual book*. So I'm enlisting your help because maybe I'm too far in love with the library system to see an outside point of view?

 

* OH, okay, wait, that's a lie. There was a brief period in my teens when I decided I wanted to collect all the Janet Evanovich paperbacks in the Stephanie Plum series- I think I just had a lot of disposable income and thought I "needed" a collection of something? And we definitely bought all the Harry Potter books. Other than those... no book purchases.

 

 

Possible reasons why people still buy books:

 

1. Waiting list for books at the library is too long.

I commiserate with this reason. I do get bummed when I hear about a new book, and then I go to put it on hold and I'm number, like, 3 million on the waiting list. (I am currently waiting for 'The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck'... I think I'm approximately number 50 on the list) I've accepted the fact that whenever there is a popular new book, it's going to be awhile before I read it. Mostly I read books that are a few years older so there's little to no waiting list.

 

 

2. Library doesn't have the desired book.

I have also run into this issue with a few books that I wanted to read. So far, I haven't quite figured out how to solve this problem. I know that you can often request an Inter-Library Loan (ILL) if another library in your area has the book. But I tried that once and they said that no one had the book. So, so far, I'm just skipping any books that aren't at the library.

 

 

3. Checkout period is too short.

Most libraries I have experience with had a 3 week checkout period. I'm a fast reader, so that's usually enough time for me, but I know that's not long enough for some people. But if you're reading books with no waiting list, you can usually renew the book a few more times which will buy you some extra weeks. If there is a waiting list and you can't renew the book, just return it and immediately put it on hold again. Hopefully you'll get it back kinda soon!

 

 

4. Not aware of library features (eBooks, audiobooks, etc)

Maybe people (especially those who don't have a librarian mom) don't know about all the awesome features that libraries nowadays have? All four of the library systems I've belonged to have an app where you can download eBooks and audiobooks for FREE. Do people not know about that stuff?

 

 

5. Want to be able to re-read the book at any time.

I used to think that I needed to own a book if I wanted to be able to re-read it. But then I realized 2 things: 1) I almost never re-read a book, and 2) if I want to re-read a book... I can just check it out again.

 

 

6. Library isn't in a convenient place.

My coworker mentioned that her library is in a weird part of town that she doesn't really like going into. So I guess that's a reason. (although you could maybe just pick a different branch that's in a better area?) I know in the northern VA area, you can sign up for other neighboring counties' library systems even if you don't live in that county because they have a reciprocity thing going on. So maybe look into whether you can start using a library in a different county (one that's close to your work or something?). Or if your library system has eBooks and audiobooks, just use those online services so you never have to go to a library branch! :)

 

 

7. Late fees.

Maybe people are bad at returning books on time, and therefore get charged a lot of late fees, and so they conclude that it's just cheaper to buy books. Uhhhh... NO. Just return your stuff on time, bro! I enabled email reminders from my library so that they email to remind me 3 days before and again 1 day before a book is due. Sure, sometimes it's annoying to have to go to the library to return something but it's still infinitely better than BUYING books.

 

 

 

If you're a book buyer (or a reformed book buyer)... can you share your reasons of why you buy books? I really just want to understand!!

(okay, fine, full disclosure: I want to know this information so that I can convince people to STOP buying books)

Books I've Read Recently

Books I've Read Recently

It's time for another post featuring the books I've read lately!! Take a look at the past book roundup posts I've written: 

 

 

Books I've Read Lately:

 

The Woman in Cabin 10 // Ruth Ware

From Amazon: In this tightly wound, enthralling story reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s works, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong…

Ooooooooh I liked this one! I was on the waitlist for it for EVER, but FINALLY got it and flew through the book. The main character drove me nuts at times but once I got like halfway through then I got used to her, haha. I thought the ending was pretty good- I did not expect it :)

 

One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding // Rebecca Mead

From Amazon: Astutely observed and deftly witty, One Perfect Day masterfully mixes investigative journalism and social commentary to explore the workings of the wedding industry- an industry that claims to be worth $160 billion to the U.S. economy and which has every interest in ensuring that the American wedding becomes ever more lavish and complex. Taking us inside the workings of the wedding industry- including the swelling ranks of professional event planners, department stores with their online registries, the retailers and manufacturers of bridal gowns, and the Walt Disney Company and its Fairy Tale Weddings program. New Yorker writer Rebecca Mead skillfully holds the mirror up to the bride's deepest hopes and fears about her wedding day, revealing that for better or worse, the way we marry is who we are.

I thought this book was hilarious at times, overly cynical at others. I would strongly recommend NOT reading this if you are currently planning a wedding or have already had a "traditional" wedding. It probably won't make you feel happy, haha. But for me, someone who doesn't plan on having a traditional wedding, it reinforced many of the feelings I already had.

 

 

The Overspent American: Why We Want What We Don't Need // Juliet Schor

From Amazon: The Overspent American explores why so many of us feel materially dissatisfied, why we work staggeringly long hours and yet walk around with ever-present mental "wish lists" of things to buy or get, and why Americans save less than virtually anyone in the world. Unlike many experts, Harvard economist Juliet B. Schor does not blame consumers' lack of self-discipline. Nor does she blame advertisers. Instead she analyzes the crisis of the American consumer in a culture where spending has become the ultimate social art.

I liked this book. It didn't really teach me anything new, but was a good reminder of why we always feel the need to buy new things. I liked that there was a lot of research in the book and they presented some numerical findings. (For example, for every additional hour of TV watched, spending goes up by a certain amount of money) It was written in 1999, so is a little bit outdated at times, but the overall ideas are definitely still relevant.

 

 

Unseen // Karin Slaughter

From Amazon: Will Trent is a Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent whose latest case has him posing as Bill Black, a scary ex-con who rides a motorcycle around Macon, Georgia, and trails an air of violence wherever he goes. The cover has worked and he has caught the eye of a wiry little drug dealer who thinks he might be a useful ally. But undercover and cut off from the support of the woman he loves, Sara Linton, Will finds his demons catching up with him.
 
Although she has no idea where Will has gone, or why, Sara herself has come to Macon because of a cop shooting: Her stepson, Jared, has been gunned down in his own home. Sara holds Lena, Jared’s wife, responsible: Lena, a detective, has been a magnet for trouble all her life, and Jared’s shooting is not the first time someone Sara loved got caught in the crossfire. Furious, Sara finds herself involved in the same case that Will is working without even knowing it, and soon danger is swirling around both of them.

Love the Will Trent series! I can't remember which books from the series I've listed in these posts... but I have read all of them up to this book. This one was great, as usual :)

 

 

Blindsighted // Karin Slaughter

From Amazon: A small Georgia town erupts in panic when a young college professor is found brutally mutilated in the local diner. But it's only when town pediatrician and coroner Sara Linton does the autopsy that the full extent of the killer's twisted work becomes clear. Sara's ex-husband, police chief Jeffrey Tolliver, leads the investigation—a trail of terror that grows increasingly macabre when another local woman is found crucified a few days later. But he's got more than a sadistic serial killer on his hands, for the county's sole female detective, Lena Adams—the first victim's sister—want to serve her own justice. But it is Sara who holds the key to finding the killer. A secret from her past could unmask the brilliantly malevolent psychopath .. or mean her death.

The library didn't have the final book in the Will Trent series available, so I started on the Grant County series (many of the same characters- technically, this series comes first so I should have started here). It was amazing, as usual. Also very gory and disgusting, as usual.

 

 

Kisscut // Karin Slaughter

From Amazon: Saturday night dates at the skating rink have long been a tradition in the small southern town of Heartsdale, but when a teenage quarrel explodes into a deadly shoot-out, medical examiner Sara Linton and police chief Jeffrey Tolliver find themselves entangled in a terrible tragedy.

Then a young girl is abducted, and it becomes clear that the first death is linked to an even more brutal crime, one more shocking than anyone could have imagined. Meanwhile, Detective Lena Adams, recovering from a staggering personal loss, finds herself drawn to a young man who might hold the answers. But unless Lena, Sara, and Jeffrey can uncover the dark truth, someone will die again.

Second book in the Grant County series. Also great!

 

Behind Closed Doors // B.A. Paris

From Amazon: Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace. He has looks and wealth; she has charm and elegance. He’s a dedicated attorney who has never lost a case; she is a flawless homemaker, a masterful gardener and cook, and dotes on her disabled younger sister. Though they are still newlyweds, they seem to have it all. You might not want to like them, but you do. You’re hopelessly charmed by the ease and comfort of their home, by the graciousness of the dinner parties they throw. You’d like to get to know Grace better.

But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are inseparable.

Some might call this true love. Others might wonder why Grace never answers the phone. Or why she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. Or why she never seems to take anything with her when she leaves the house, not even a pen. Or why there are such high-security metal shutters on all the downstairs windows.

Some might wonder what’s really going on once the dinner party is over, and the front door has closed.

Ugh, this was creepy and uncomfortable but a very good book- I didn't want to stop reading! I LOVED the ending.

 

What have you read lately- any recommendations for me? Have you read any of these that I listed? :)

 

One Way to Decrease your Grocery Spending

One Way to Decrease your Grocery Spending

I had a realization the other day: I almost never eat snacks*, and I think that's a big part of how I save money on groceries and stay healthy.

 

I've found that just eating 3 normal meals throughout the day fills me up enough so that I don't actually need snacks. Just an observation about my life and maybe a place where you can look at cutting your spending. If you find that you're spending a lot of money on your grocery bill, and you find that a big chunk of it is pre-made/pre-packaged snacks (granola bars, individual sized yogurt, nuts, crackers, etc), pay attention to WHY you're getting those foods and see if you can change your habits to cut down on those.

 

 

For example:

If you always need a snack before you go to your grad school night class, could you try packing a dinner (bring it to work with you to stash in the fridge) and eating that before going to class? Or maybe on those days that you have class, make a bigger than normal lunch and have half at lunch and then half later in the afternoon to keep you full until you get home from class, when you can have a late dinner.

 

If you always need a mid-morning snack, maybe your breakfast isn't big enough. Try making bigger breakfasts that will keep you full for longer. (my current favorite breakfast food for work days is Breakfast Burritos- SO good and they keep me full all morning, esp when we bulk them up with red and green peppers and fried potatoes)

 

This one is my personal downfall: I come home from work and start raiding the cabinets because I'm tired from work and tired from commuting, and also because I want to postpone my workout :) Instead of eating snacks I just need to suck it up and do my workout, which means I can start making dinner sooner, and then I can have a real meal rather than snacks.

 

 

What if I really do NEED a snack?

Some days I notice that I am EXTRA hungry. When this happens, I usually can make do with whatever we have in the house. Things like a bowl of cereal, carrots with peanut butter, toast, or a spoonful of straight peanut butter (we recently discovered natural PB with just peanuts, omg, SO good) are the stuff I snack on if I am really hungry.  It's very rare that I specifically buy snack foods. We do, however, buy ice cream- oh and I always have some form of chocolate to go in my lunch box- it helps the day go by ;)

 

A disclaimer:

Living life like this is a bit harder, I will admit. Some nights I get VERY annoyed trying to wrangle something together for breakfast or lunch for work the next day. But those extra 5 or 10 minutes finding food is ALWAYS worth it. For example, last night I was prepping our breakfasts and lunches and realized that we only had 1 breakfast burrito left. I gave that to Mike (no, I'm not really that selfless- it was one of the burritos without cheese in it so I didn't really want it haha) and then had to decide what to make for my breakfast. I settled on cereal to go- cereal in a tupperware container, milk in a small mason jar. It took me a few minutes to make the cereal, and I probably could have saved time if I had a granola bar or individual sized yogurt that I could just grab and throw in my lunch. But that's ok- I'm willing to spend the extra 3-5 minutes to prep my breakfast in the absence of those items.

 

Another thing that I will admit: sometimes I REEEEALLY want a traditional snack food and then I get irrationally angry that we don't stock anything in the house like that. But then I eat a spoonful of peanut butter with chocolate syrup and mostly get over my anger.

 

 

I was NOT always like this.

I remember I used to buy granola bars, nuts, individual yogurts, crackers, string cheese, etc almost every week. I just assumed that I needed a mid-morning snack to get me through the day until lunch, or I needed an after-work snack. But it turns out, if I just eat better meals, I don't need those snacks!

 

I've basically been forced to discover that I don't require snacks throughout the day :) Mike never really snacks (yes, he's a robot, I am aware) so by living with him I've just gradually shifted my eating habits to align with his. He eats 3 real meals so I might as well eat 3 real meals too. And because of that, I don't get hungry at other times in the day, which means I don't need to buy snacks.

 

 

It's quite insane how many snack foods there are in the grocery store, and how much those can drive up your grocery bill. Start paying attention to how many snack foods you're buying and see if you can cut down on those at all!**

 

 

 

* Key word = ALMOST... except for the times we buy Tostitos Lime chips for taco salads and devour the entire bag in less than 24 hours.. no really, less than 24 hours. EVERY.TIME.

 

** Unless you are my mom, because I enjoy raiding your cabinets to find delicious trader joe's snacks and lime cookies when I come over. Don't cut down your snack supply!!! ;)

 

 

Do you keep snack foods at home? 

 

My Current (FREE) Workout Routine

My Current (FREE) Workout Routine

I used to work part-time at the front desk of Gold's Gym. I LOVED the fancy gym environment; I loved all the equipment, I loved the classes, I loved the fancy locker rooms, I loved the smoothie bar (90% of my meals back then consisted of smoothies I made myself during work... yum).

 

Once I quit that job and no longer had a free membership, I signed up for an actual paying membership, and HATED it. I hate monthly fees for anything, and I hate contracts. I still loved the gym itself, but I hated paying the fee and being locked into a contract.

 

So I cancelled my membership (once the contract was up, ugh) and have been gym-membership-free for 4+ years.

 

I like to think that I am still in pretty good shape, even without having a fancy gym membership, and I want to share my current workout routine with you in case you think it's impossible to be in shape without a gym membership.

 

NOTE: I am a big believer in investing in your health, so if you really do get tons of value and happiness from your monthly gym membership, and can afford it, then by all means keep doing your thing! I frequently debate signing up for a yoga membership somewhere because I really like taking yoga classes, so I'm definitely not opposed to paying for workouts. This is just what's working for me right now!

 

 

1. Walking.

Walking is by far my biggest form of exercise at this point in my life. Walking is SO GOOD FOR YOU. We are lucky* to live in a super walkable, super cutesy area and take walks all the time. It's fairly normal for us to walk 6+ miles on a weekend day just for fun. Before I lived here, I did still take walks, but it wasn't nearly as enjoyable because there wasn't anything exciting to look at. BUT I STILL DID IT. I love walking and listening to audiobooks (downloaded for free from the local library) or podcasts.

 

I try to walk hourly at work (just for a few minutes up and down the hall) and go on a 10-15 minute walk at lunch time. Mike and I also started doing 15ish minute long walks after dinner, because I read in a book that it's really good for you after eating to walk around. I try to keep my phone with me when I walk so I can keep track of my daily walks using the pedometer in my iPhone (I refuse to give in and get a fitbit). I aim for a walking total of 3.5-5 miles a day, or 10,000 steps!

 

*brief side note- I wrote the word "lucky" then immediately knew I shouldn't have used that word. There's no luck in this situation at all; we prioritized living in a walkable, cute area and in order to make that happen, we are spending more money on rent and less money on other activities. Not luck, just prioritization. But I left the word "lucky" in there as a teachable moment to myself :) It kind of reminds me of this post I wrote a loooong time ago about jealousy.

 

 

2. Circuit Workouts.

I used to be obsessed with this workout from Nerd Fitness. Now I've gotten hooked on some of the Fitness Blender HIIT workout videos (for example, this and this) or this video from Jessie James Decker (I loooove her). I try to do these circuit/HIIT workouts 1-2 times a week.

 

 

3. Occasional running.

Truth time: I feel slightly bad when I think about how much I used to run, and how little I run now. Back in 2011/2012, I was doing a ton of half marathons. I liked training for them; it gave me something to focus on, especially when I wasn't so happy with my living situation. (house full of random craigslist roommates - not my happiest time) Running gave me an escape from being home. But then I met Mike, and we moved into our own place, and suddenly I had my own home where I actually LIKED being there! So escaping to go run for hours wasn't necessary anymore. I sometimes get bummed that I'm not running as much, and maybe I'll get back into it one day (Mike keeps threatening to make us start doing long runs on the weekend again), but for now, I like going on occasional ~2 mile walk/runs, 1-2 times a week.

 

 

4. Yoga.

Our previous apartment building offered a free yoga class once a month that I went to. Because of that, I've realized that I really like yoga but I only like it when I'm in a class. I will occasionally do a Yoga with Adriene video now that I don't have the free classes anymore, but it's not quite as awesome as a real class :(

 

 

 

So that's my current FREE workout routine! How about you- what free or paid workouts do you do?