Meal Prep: 5/22

This past weekend was on the busy side, so I didn’t have the time for a full meal prep, but I’m pretty proud of how I improvised.

Saturday Mister and I went suit shopping, he wanted a good basic suit that could be worn to a handful of weddings we have coming up. We went to Lord & Taylors, Rothman’s, and Nordstroms.  We eventually took a break for lunch at the Iron Tomato, and went back to Lord & Taylors for the first suit he tried on of the day.  I think he finally has an idea what wedding dress shopping has been like for me!

Sunday, we went to see Cirque du Soleil’s Paramour on Broadway as a belated birthday present for my Mom.  We went to Liebman’s in Riverdale for dinner after, which brought us back to Mom’s house with little energy and less time.  I ran to the grocery store with a specific list, and managed to get my all the meals done in record time.

For this week, I relied on my pantry for breakfast; I’ve said it before, but I always have granola, almond milk, oatmeal, and protein powder on hand as a backup. This was perfect for this week, when I didn’t feel like baking something or eating anymore egg whites really.

Lunch was salad mason jars.  I know that mason jars have been done to death, but these particular size and shape are just so convenient.

020.JPG

I brought in a bag of romaine lettuce and a bag of arugula to be mixed as a base for these toppings.  Each jar has either chickpeas or red kidney beans layered with black olives, diced cucumber, and cherry tomatoes.

These new topper options, and I picked up some new salad dressings (Cesar vinaigrette and raspberry walnut).021.JPG

Every day I can toss together the contents of a jar, over some lettuce, add any of the toppings, and or roasted red pepper and or tuna or salmon. Its like a choose your own adventure salad.

I’ve learned that I can eat the same thing every day, but I can’t eat the same salad every day.  Even if they’re all practically the same, just the tweak of a different dressing, or a different crunchy topping, can make it a different salad for me.

As always, I made sure to grab some snack options as well; having my breakfast and lunches all planned out can still be a recipe for disaster when that 3pm sweet tooth hits if I don’t have a planned snack.

Snack options: sabra hummus single serve with pretzels, sargento balanced breakfs (cheese, nuts, dried fruit), and mini chocolate rice cakes.  I try my best to include options that cover salty, sweet, crunchy, and savory.  That way, no excuses for running out and grabbing a junk food alternative.

Advertisements

Meal Prep:5/15/16

I’m officially in the habit of prepping all of my breakfasts, lunches, and snacks on Sunday for the upcoming week.  In the past I would do it if I had time, or really felt like cooking a particular dish but it wasn’t a true habit.

This past weekend, however, Sunday night came around and Mister and I were tired, busy, and I only had a few hours left before I had to head to bead early in preparation for my 4am wakeup call Monday morning.

Friday after work, I got in to Albany at about 8pm.  Monday afternoon, Mister and I drove to Binghamton to visit with his family.  We drove to Saratoga to meet with our wedding Rabbi on Sunday, then had to drive to pick my car up from being worked on, then finally arrived back to Mister’s apartment in Albany at about 5pm.  I cooked like a crazy lady to get everything squared away (there was a cutting board casualty) and this morning when I piled all my prepped meals into my work fridge I was finally able to relax.

031

For breakfast:

  • Option 1:Full fat pineapple cottage cheese
  • Option 2: Granola and almond milk
  • Option 3: oatmeal (I always have oatmeal and almond butter on hand as an alternative or addition to anything)

For lunch:

  • option 1: salmon (broiled with Trader Joes vidalia onion/bacon vinagrette) over broccoli slaw with green pepper slices and oven roasted portabella mushrooms
  • option 2: baked teriyaki ginger tofu with stir fried vegetables (shredded cabbage, carrots, snow peas, portabella mushrooms) and rice

030.JPG

For Snacks:

  • Hillshire small plates
  • Sargento balanced breaks
  • sugar snap peas
  • Kind bars

 

On any given work day, I’m in and out of my car or running around Manhattan via subway.  I like to have a stash of snacks on hand for between appointments, or when I have to run out last minute but I’m verging on hangry.  Having lunches cooked and ready is great, but when I can’t get back to the office on time to keep my stomach from grumbling, having a Kind bar or a bag of snap peas in my tote can keep me from buying the first Snickers bar I see.

Lunch Break: Wegmans

So I didn’t grow up with Wegmans, and seem to be missing out in the fanatical enthusiasm for the store that most people participate in.  I went once to a location in Syracuse, while in the area for a work conference, and was less than impressed.  It was slightly confusing, seemed expensive, and the aisles were narrow.

While reporting my feedback to Mister after this visit (which was about two years ago), I was told that the particular location wasn’t the best representation of the supermarkets as a whole, and that I wasn’t really shopping for groceries so my opinion shouldn’t be fully formed.

This morning, between work appointments in New Jersey, I happened to notice a Wegmans just across the road and felt it was time to give the store another chance.

Okay, I’ll admit I kind of understand it now.060.JPG

After living in Albany for about ten years, I was totally on the supermarket fanatic bandwagon.  People up there love their supermarkets.  Trader Joes for prepared foods and snacks, Hannaford for meat, ShopRite or Price Chopper for sales.  Everyone has their favorites, their reasons, their experiences.  But we didn’t have a Wegmans, so it became the magical unicorn of folktales (just like Trader Joes was before opening in the area).  Having since relocated to Westchester, I realized that not everyone is into supermarkets in the same way.  Its fascinating that getting excited about where you buy your food is regional in such a way, but maybe that’s because the supermarkets of northern and western NY are just that much better.

Anyway, back on to my visit to Wegmans today.

For $30 I got: 2 bottles of storebrand seltzer, 1 bottle of storebrand pineapple flavored water, 1 prepared lunch from the cafe area, 1 container of mixed berries, 1 family sized bag of Snyders pretzels, 2 lemon squares from the bakery, 2 protein bars, 1 chia/fruit snack pack thing.  I’m pretty happy with the price and quality of what I got, but the true test was lunch.

055.JPG

I packed everything up in the cooler bag I keep in my trunk (doesn’t everyone do this?), drove an hour back to the office, and then microwaved the prepared lunch about 2 hours later (it was refrigerated in the meantime).

058.JPG

$7.00  / 580 calories.

The grilled chicken wasn’t dry (even after the microwave), the kale was super light and not soggy or over cooked, and the grilled veggies had some crunch.  There was so much flavor, and the sauce that was packaged separately was genius; I love that it wasn’t left to get all lumpy or soggy, but instead stored in its own little container.

061.JPG

okay, so maybe I finally get why people like Wegmans.  It was a pretty pleasant experience and their prepared foods are definitely on point.

 

 

Holiday Ham

This past weekend I served my first ham.  I’m training myself to use serve, since I neither cooked nor made the ham.  Its more of a reheating process isn’t it?

055.JPG

I tried my best at my interpretation of an Easter meal, for Mister, mom, sister, neighbor and myself.  056.JPG

There’s something I’ve always loved about making a big deal dinner; a holiday meal, a break from the routine, something you don’t normally eat.  It feels special, and its nice to get people together even if its for no real reason at all.

 

Modified Juice Cleanse, Final Day

Yesterday was the last day of my juice cleanse attempt, but I still have a handful of juices leftover that I’ll spread over the next few days.

The one benefit that I noticed from both this cleanse and my last one, is that I don’t crave junk food anymore.  The past few weeks I was scarfing popcorn, chips, and snacks like it was my job.  Eliminating all processed foods for three days helped me refocus my cravings, even if it was only a placebo effect.

Most of yesterday’s juices were the same as Day 1 and 2, with the addition of Formula #6: Carrot, Apple, Ginger.  This one had a crazy strong ginger finish, but in a way that it felt like it was kicking the cold and germs right out of my system.  Definitely prefer this one to the carrot and apple plain version.

Dinner last night was the same as Day 2, with the addition of some za’atar dressing.  If you haven’t had za’atar, its a savory, middle eastern spice mix.  I picked up an adorable little mason jar of the mix combined with olive oil at the Bronxville farmer’s market a few months ago and always forget to use it.  It adds depth of flavor to basic veggies by adding just a drizzle before eating.

Hopefully this week, and next, I’ll be able to stay on track with more nutritionally dense foods, and stay away from the tortilla chips.  Keeping my eye on the prize, this belly has to be bikini ready for Mister and I’s trip to Puerto Rico next weekend!!

Modified Juice Cleanse, Day 2

Since being prescribed antibiotics for a sinus infection, my original plan for a three day juice cleanse was derailed.  Trying to see the positive in this situation, I refocused my efforts on eating only whole foods, nothing processed, no meat, no dairy, for a minimum of three days, in addition to about half the juices.  I theorize that my body can use all the extra vitamins and nutrition it can get to help me feel better.

In addition to my morning Formula 2, I had the following juices [All juices from Pure Food and Drink in Tuckahoe, NY]:

  • Formula #13: Carrot, Apple
  • Formula #8: Green Apple, Cucumber, Grapefruit, Mint
  • Formula #14: Pomegranate, Orange, Beet

The #13 didn’t do too much for me taste wise, I almost wish it was thicker and I could’ve heated it up as soup.  I’m sure that defeats some of the nutritional benefits of pressed juices.

The #8 felt like a refreshing cocktail, I would definitely grab this in the summer.  Unfortunately, the combination of snowy winter weather and being sick has left my bones feeling cold, so I’m craving more hearty and comforting versus refreshing.

The #14 was terrible at first sip, then it grew on me and I actually finished it pretty quickly.  The beet flavor is very overwhelming, but in a weird way, hit that comfort food feeling I was craving.

I picked up some of these Mary’s Gone Crackers “Super Seed” crackers at Stop&Shop on my way home from work, along with some dinner ingredients.  I only had a few, but the texture is much lighter than I was anticipating and they have a great black pepper/sesame flavor that was perfect after all the juice.  I’m not sure if everyone would qualify these as an unprocessed food, but for me, these are “cleanse approved.”  Especially since I’m pretty much making up the rules as I go along.

I was craving something warm and flavorful for dinner, but wanted to stick to meat and dairy free.

A very ginormous baked potato went in the toaster oven for about an hour or so, while I got started on the veggies.  A container of mixed baby kale and baby spinach, a few sliced baby portobella mushrooms, a yellow pepper, and a shallot were cooked up in a scoop of coconut oil.  I added the kale/spinach a handful at a time, intermittently while the whole thing was cooking to vary the texture; leaving some barely cooked, and some cooked all the way down.

015

The game changer for this meal, slathering the baked sweet potato with roasted red pepper hummus.  I got the idea from Googling vegan, vegetarian, and cleanse related recipes.  Personally, the idea seemed weird but the texture and flavor worked so well that I can’t wait to have it again for dinner tonight.

Juice Cleanse Day 1, Hiccup

Juice  #1 (Formula 2) Kale, cucumber, Lemon Apple, Basil012.JPG

Review: This is so much better than Formula #1, and  so yum.  It doesn’t taste super sweet, or too much like grass.  It feels healthy though, light and refreshing. Great start to the day.

 

Juice #2 (Formula 4) Cucumber, Celery, Lemon, Ginger, Cayenne

002.JPG

Review: NOPE.  This one was a nope.  It was like trying to drink a spicy salad that someone liquified.  Awful.  I love all things ginger (ginger chews, ginger kombucha) and I don’t mind the Cayenne/Lemon drinks, but this whole combination was just awful.  Seriously.  No.

Juice #3 (Formula 3): Apple, Pear, Pineapple, Mint, Wheat grass

Review:007.JPG

Review: I could drink this baby all day.  So much sweeter than Formula #2, but I totally get that its basically all fruit juice so that’s to be expected.

About ten minutes after finishing this one the nausea hit.  And the headache.  I figured this was all part of the mystical detox that people warn you about.  But then the lingering sore throat I’ve had for a few days ramped its vengeance up and attacked full force.  I felt dizzy and all around gross.  I figured I wasn’t going to get much done at work, so I visited my local walk in urgent care just to be on the safe side.

Diagnosis: Sinus infection.  The doctor specifically said, “Eat a ton of food with this medicine or you’ll regret it.” Jerk sinuses.  So I have no idea if my plague made me feel like butt, or the cleanse; what was helping and what was hurting will be a mystery.  But I didn’t want to just throw my positive choices out the window, especially with a beach trip coming up next week.

010.JPG

So I ignored my fourth juice, ate some almonds while waiting at the doctor and then came home and fixed this simple salad up.  I was afraid that eating anything too heavy might be worse than eating nothing at all, so this seemed like a really safe compromise.

Shredded romaine, steamed sweet potato, avocado, pico de gallo.  I did have juice #5 (coconut water, pineapple, lime) with this, and some antibiotics.  Unfortunately, the doctor was right about regretting not eating a lot with the meds so I forced myself to eat a handful of Ritz crackers for dessert.

Today I’ve decided to stick with eating the best I can to help my body heal, and to work on improving my nutritional intake at the same time.  I know I need to focus on eating more whole foods, and limiting processed items, sugar, and snacks.

I started Juice Cleanse Day 2 with half a cup of oats, cooked with cashew butter.  Followed by my meds and a Formula #2 juice.  So far so good.