Friday Favorites: August

standard August 25, 2017 Leave a response

I never really thought about meal planning before having a baby. I just did it. I enjoyed it, I got lost in however long it took to find recipes, write down ingredients, shop, prep, cook. Nowadays, I only cook on Hello Fresh nights. Unless its pasta or salad. My time is way too precious now, especially with running a small business. But my freezer stash is almost gone, I’m getting bored with my staple meals, and trying to slowly regain a piece of my old self in this new season.

Meal planning is meant to make our lives easier, not harder. Prepping on the weekend should make weeknights less stressful. Having a game plan should make the weekend planning less of a chore and more of an adventure. So where the heck to we start? I’m going back to the beginning and following these easy tips. And then starting with these fun, flavorful recipes.

Neat:

  1. Favorite Meal Prep Recipes: Summer 2017 // Three easy, repeatable options for busy summer days.
  2. 10 Ways to Make Healthy Eating Easier and More Fun // Eating well should be a lifestyle, not a chore.
  3. The Case for Meal Planning // It is possible to follow your body’s hunger cues and still prep and plan ahead.
  4. 5 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me 5 Years Ago About Meal Planning // It can be quick, manageable, and even fun.
  5. Meal Planning Tips for a Healthy Vegan Diet // Ready, GO!

Nutritious:

  1. Corn and Green Bean Tomatillo Tacos // I cannot think of a better way to end summer.
  2. Cashew Coffee // WHY haven’t I thought of this before???? Amazing!
  3. Thai Quinoa Salad with Sesame Peanut Sauce // All the best things in one bowl.
  4. Hummus Heaped with Tomatoes and Cucumbers // Refreshing and filling.
  5. Autumn Glow Milkshake // Embracing the fall season in these 100 degree days.

 

Be Present: August

standard August 11, 2017 1 response

We’re two weeks into August, and I’m just posting these. But done is better than perfect, right? Last week was full of traveling, immunizations, jet lag, sleep training, and settling back into a new home routine. I really love doing these, because I felt like July was a lost month of baby madness. Work got pushed aside. Routines went out the window. But then sitting down to work on this, I realized the three big things I set aside for July actually got (mostly) done. All the more reason to write it down. You realize there’s progress even when you don’t feel like you’re getting anywhere.

July in Review:

1. Single task everything. Focus on each thing as it comes.

This was actually easy to do, thanks to a baby who insisted on being held and worn for all naps most of the month. I’ve learned to do quite a few things with a baby attached to me, but slowing down and just doing one thing at a time is much easier. And baby snuggles do not last for long.

2. Outline two new work projects.

One project is about 50% worked out, the other 25%. Now that we’re back home, and my sweet child is taking naps on her own again (hallelujah!) more progress is being made on these this month.

3. Get out and explore.

Yes! Being in a new city, without the creature comforts of home every day, kind of forces you to get out and try something new. Even just a naptime walk was usually to a new part of town. And weekends were spent on longer outings, driving around town, checking out new restaurants, wandering through parks. Forcing myself to get out at least once a week made daily life coming back home so much easier.

August Goals:

  1. Clear out clutter.
  2. Start marathon training plan.
  3. Batch cook meals.

Here’s to a productive and fun last month of Summer! 

What goals or bucket list items are you working on before back-to-school and Fall madness begins?

 

Weekly Menu: Semi-Homemade (+ 4 fast 5 ingredient meal ideas!)

standard July 10, 2017 Leave a response

New recipes may not be happening much in my kitchen with a new baby, but I am still always brainstorming new meals, especially ones that are easy to put together. Taking advantage of store bought items can help with the time, ease, and flavor, whether you have a new baby at home or are tired from a long workday.  For me, this means actually getting lunch together and eaten with a clingy baby strapped to my body. It also means few ingredients to buy when making meals while on vacation or travelling. And it also makes meals customizable to multiple picky palates. So don’t think meal planning and prep has to be all from scratch! Semi-homemade can be just as healthy and nutritious.

Here are a few of my go-to semi-homemade meals for those busy nights.

Avocado Kale Salad

Take a bag of sweet kale chopped salad mix (the one with shredded Brussels sprouts, dried cranberries, and pepitas) and toss the salad dressing. Add in some extra fresh chopped kale or spinach for bulk. Slice a small avocado and add to greens along with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and a shake of salt and pepper. Massage kale with hands to rub the avocado in and soften leaves. Leave some avocado chunks for texture in the salad. Add a cup of chickpeas or tofu for protein, and any random produce you want to use up from the fridge (celery, apples, green onions, or broccoli all work great). Divide into two portions and serve.

Veggie Stir Fry

Grab a bag of raw or frozen stir fry veggies. Toss in skillet over high heat until heated through and slightly browned. Add in a protein of choice plus a cup of your favorite stir fry sauce (or make your own with equal parts soy sauce, hoisen sauce, and water plus a drizzle of lime juice, agave nectar, and sriracha for kick).  Serve over rice (I usually keep frozen brown rice on hand for quick meal nights).

Blueberry Steel Cut Oatmeal

Did you know you can buy precooked, frozen, steel cut oats? No more standing over the stove stirring while they cook forever! I’ve seen flavored varieties but you can also get plain oats cooked with water. And when ready to eat, just thaw and heat up.  Add a swirl of almond butter, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a handful of fresh blueberries, and you’ve got a filling and satisfying breakfast in a flash.

Pumped Up Pasta

Clean out the fridge by taking any random veggies you have, steam them, and puree them with a little water or vegetable stock in a blender or food processor. You can also puree some cooked white beans for a protein punch. Add to a jar of spaghetti sauce and heat together on the stove. Serve over your favorite pasta. Hidden veggies for picky eaters is a bonus! All the extra fiber and protein will give staying power and a homemade taste to the standard jarred sauce and spaghetti.

Happy Semi-Homemade Cooking!