Category Archives: Meal Planning

What’s the Plan?

It’s been a while since I posted anything about what I’ve been eating (or planning to eat) so I figured I’d give you all and update!

It really has been quite the transition from basically being a homemaker to working not only nearly full time, but also an unpredictable and odd schedule. I’ll be honest, it’s sucked. Some nights I get home at 9pm or later. Some days I leave the house at 6am. It’s kind of all over the place and I’ve really struggled to figure out not only what to eat, but how and when to eat. Mix in trying to get back into some sort of fitness routine and well…like I said before, you parents are amazing. Multitaskers to the MAX and I am so impressed.

That said, I’ve been really trying hard to eat at least 4 times a day. Breakfast, a shake, lunch and dinner.

Breakfast has generally been a couple of scrambled eggs with a piece of toast. I’ve experimented with having loaded oatmeal but it just doesn’t hold me like eggs do. Oh, and coffee. I love my coffee. I don’t feel like a zombie without it, but I really just love the smell, taste and the ritual of coffee.

Lunch has been a bit harder since on most days, I start work at 2pm. Often I’ll sip on my smoothie for a couple hours, then go to my lunch around 4pm. Different types of ‘loaded’ salads have been great. Romaine, edamame, almonds and cabbage with carrot-ginger-miso dressing. Spinach with feta, cranberries, almonds and chickpeas with a balsamic or orange vinaigrette. Kale with black beans, tomatoes, baked yams, corn and bbq tofu with a homemade tofu ranch. They are filling and have really worked!

But. I’m getting bored. What do you do for lunch?

Dinners are the hardest thing. I’m so used to cooking at night. I love it. I love the time spent making nutritious food but getting home after 8pm just…doesn’t work. So I’ve had to really be better about meal planning and preparing recipes that my husband can help with so that I don’t turn into a hypoglycemia-monster when I get home at 8:30pm.

SO! Without further rambling – here is the plan for this week:

What’s on your menu? Do you have any favorite fast-and-furious meals that you can toss together in an instant? 

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First Meals of 2014

Well, here we are in 2014 and we have no super futuristic meal replacement pills or Jetson like setups. Hrmpf. We do have Roombas which are  basically efficient cleaning robots, so that’s a start. I guess.

I’ve been eating like crap since I started working the late shift. I just don’t feel like cooking at 9pm. I realize many of you probably work longer hours and later shifts, but this is all new to me and I just haven’t gotten into the groove yet.  So. I vowed to myself that after the holidays, I’d buckle down and meal plan. I’d plan snacks and portable foods for me to take to work.  I’d plan some simple meals that can be whipped together in no time.  I’d plan meals that were healthy and would work with my fitness goals for the year. Less sugar. Less fat. More veg.

Well, today I did just that. I stayed in bed with a hot cup of coffee, several cookbooks and an iPad and went to town.

I’m pretty excited, I won’t lie.  I planned about ten meals to last over the next two weeks, (I leave a couple days for take out or alternate plans) and with what I had in the pantry and what my Dad gave me from his garden stash – I only spent about $130.  Maybe you’re a better budgeter, but for me, this is stellar!

Without further ado, here are a few of the recipes!

Rustic Tomato Rice & Kale Stew Healthy. Happy. Life.  I just made this one tonight and honestly, it’s one of the best soups I’ve ever made. Hearty. Rich. Flavorful.  EASY. You should add this to  your menu plan for next week.

Potato Leek Soup (Vegan)Fettle Vegan.  I’m excited about this one too. My Dad gave me a whole bunch of leeks and potatoes from his harvest this year that need to get eaten up. What better way to showcase them, than a 5 ingredient soup?

BBQ Cauliflower Salad Fork & Beans.  I’m hoping this will be hearty enough for a dinner salad since it has avocado and beans in it.  Maybe a hunk of crusty bread on the side?

Kung Pao TofuFettle Vegan.  I’ve tried a few kung pao recipes before, I’m hoping this one is a winner. I think I’ll add some toasted nuts to it for crunch and serve some broccoli on the side. Yum.

Chinese Tempeh SaladFork & Beans.  I’m SUPER stoked about this. I love tempeh and I love the asian style salads with crunchy chow mein noodles. I’ll probably bake my tortilla strips instead of frying them, but I will give the tempeh a toss in my cast iron for some texture.

Smokin’ Hoppin’ John Serious Eats. I was supposed to make this for New Year’s Day but…fail whale. I was lazy, didn’t feel well and ordered New Year’s Day Pizza instead. It was yummy and I’m sure this recipe will be as well. I might toss in a little kale since I have MASSIVE bags from Whole Foods that I’ll need to use up.

The other meals I’m planning on don’t really have recipes, but just in case you find some inspiration in them I’ve included them.

-Veggie dogs, baked beans and toast
-Sundried tomato basil white bean burgers & salad
-Black bean quinoa bowls with homemade salsa and avocado
-Tempeh reubens & salad
-Chili stuffed baked sweet/regular potatoes & salad

What are you making this month? Are you changing your diet at all this year? 

Happy New Year, friends!

My new BFF – Tahini (NaBloPoMo 5)

My friend Diane reminded me today, as she put one of my favorite recipes into her mealplan, that I am in the middle of a seriously torrid love affair. With tahini.

I’m serious. I LOVE the stuff. I’ve always had it on hand and have used it, but lately I seem to be making everything I can with it. Coleslaw with tahini dressing? ON IT. Warm rice bowls with tahini sauce? YOU BETCHA! Let’s just say I use it a lot. Thing is, it is actually really good for you. Really! Look here!

What IS tahini and what do I do with it? You ask? Well, tahini is just a paste made of ground up sesame seeds. Not all brands are created equal and I don’t really have a favorite. I like the more liquidy ones as they are just easier to deal with but they all have worked for me for most applications.

Here are some of my favorite recipes that involve tahini.

Source: Dinner with Julie

Stir-Fried Chickpeas & Asparagus with Brown Rice and Lemon Tahini Dressing – Oh you guys. This recipe. I can’t tell you how many times I have made this, or shared this and each time it’s a hit. My Mother in Law has shared it with her work, my Mom has taken it to school and to family dinners. Really, it’s a winner. The trick really is cold or refrigerated rice.

I love Dreena Burton‘s Kale Slaw (I know, I know, KALE. Trust me. Use Lacinato/Black/Dino kale and give it a shot.), but I use her Citrus Tahini Dressing instead of the one she uses. I have tried both, but just prefer the tahini one! I’ll be honest though, I’ve never tried a dressing from Dreena that I haven’t liked.  (Just a side note – I LOVE Dreena. Even if you aren’t vegan, check out her recipes. They are wholesome but still delicious and most, if not all are kid friendly as she has three little ones of her own! She also has a series on raising Plant Based Kids which is great too.)

I have been making this Sweet Tahini Dressing quite often too! I love it on regular cole slaw mix and would really love to try this whole salad recipe combination.

Source: Smitten Kitchen

Oh, and I can’t forget these Miso Sweet Potato Broccoli Bowls. Aren’t they gorgeous? The dressing on these is what re-ignited my love affair with tahini. So creamy, rich and stands up to the heavy vegetables and rice.

Do YOU like tahini? Have you ever used it? What is your favorite recipe that uses tahini? 

My First “Official” Weight Watchers Mealplan

I finally signed up for Weight Watchers Online this past weekend. I am cautiously optimistic about the program, while mildly frustrated already, but I’ll give it a shot.  While I get used to the points and what is what, I went hunting for recipes that were already calculated for me. Anything to get past the barrier of keeping track!

I mentioned on Twitter that I had planned out 5 meals* and people wanted me to share, and as promised. Here we are. I am also keeping a Pinterest board here if you’d like to follow what I’ve got my eye on.

Source

Last night I made this Caramelized Onion & Mushroom Lasagna. At 8 points per serving I was SO pleasantly surprised by it.  I read all the reviews first, as I tend to do, and substituted some Worcestershire sauce for the diet cola because…yuck. No thank you. I also made sure to season each step of the way with salt and pepper as some reviewers thought it was bland. I used whole wheat lasagna noodles which brought the points to 7 and found it made 9 easy servings instead of 8 which brought it down to a further 6 points per serving. 

Tonight is this Cauliflower & Cashew Curry from Laaloosh with brown rice and steamed broccoli. I generally make my coconut milk curries with Thai curry pastes so I’m excited to give this a shot.  Even with brown rice it’ll keep the meal under 10 points which I think is pretty good. Leaves me room for chocolate!

Source

I have these Chickpea Burgers & Tomato Salad lined up for sometime this week with a side of Parmesan Green Bean Fries.  I’ll admit I’m far more excited about the green beans than I am about the burgers but I’m going to give them a try until I calculate my normal go-to burger recipes. The burger and salad is only 4 points while the green beans are 2 points per serving. I like things that let me get an extra helping if I’m still hungry.

I just got a burger press recently – Exciting, I know – so I figured this week would be a good chance to try it out with these Quinoa Veggie Burgers in addition to the others. I’m serving this with Skinny Scalloped Potatoes and a green salad. The burgers are 3 points, the potatoes are 4 points per serving, add in the salad and it should be under 10 again. Not too shabby and hopefully satisfying!

Finally, I’ve got an actual Weight Watchers recipe for Noodles with Spicy Peanut Sauce from my Versatile Vegetarian cookbook that I love. I have edited the recipe to use quinoa noodles. If you haven’t tried GoGo Quinoa pasta – do it. SO delicious! It has a similar bite to wheat pasta which is unlike most gluten free options and a bonus of a little extra protein.   Since I edited the recipe and can’t even find a decent substitution online, you’re in luck! A disclaimer however, I have not tried this recipe yet. I’ve edited it in my head and have it on the mealplan for sometime this week. It looks pretty standard though.  I’ll also add some steamed broccoli and baked soy-marinated tofu for protein.

Noodles with Spicy Peanut Sauce (7 points per serving)

6oz Quinoa spaghetti (I think Whole Wheat spaghetti might be less points, unsure)
2T white vinegar
2T smooth peanut butter
2tsp grated ginger
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
4 scallions, thinly sliced

1. Cook the pasta as directed, drain and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk the vinegar, peanut butter, ginger, oils, garlic, soy sauce and pepper flakes with 1 Tablespoon of water. Add the pasta and toss to coat. 

3. Add cucumber and red pepper, toss and sprinkle with scallions.  

Voila! There is my meal plan for the week!  Do you have any great Weight Watchers recipes or healthy recipes you love? What are YOU eating this week?

*This seems to be the appropriate number for me to plan, considering unplanned nights out and leftovers that won’t take over my apartment-sized fridge.