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.
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)
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
Hillshire small plates
Sargento balanced breaks
sugar snap peas
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.
Yes for real, every Sunday I cook lunches for the week. If you didn’t believe me the past few times I’ve done this post, hopefully by now you’ll see that its a thing.
This past weekend, Mister came down to Westchester to celebrate (observe?) Passover with my family. I brought Almond Cloud Cookies both nights (though my first batch with chocolate chips were better than the second batch without), but also made a really great fruit salad for the second night.
I know that fruit salad is pretty basic, and non recipe worthy; but seriously this was good stuff that was surprisingly eaten up fairly quickly for dessert, even with a counter filled with chocolate.
Muddle together mint, fresh squeezed lemon juice, and honey
rinse and drain: raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries
slice the strawberries; put all berries in bowl
peel and slice kiwis (I used 5)
throw in a handful of stray grapes from your other fruitbowl
toss with the muddled mixture
refrigerate and until you’re ready to go to your aunt’s house, then let it sit on the counter for a few hours until dessert
Mister and I went to Stew Leonard’s in Yonkers to get groceries for our Sunday meal prep. It wasn’t nearly as crowded as we were expecting, and we got through fairly quickly. While I love the experience of Stew Leonards, it can be hard to stock up on canned or packaged goods. We took that into account when figuring out what we wanted to cook for the week.
While there, of course we were both hungry and decided to grab burgers there before heading back to Bedford.
I ogled the baby ducks while we ate our burgers (no bun for me in honor of Passover). Sweet potato fries on the side that I surprisingly loved considering that I usually hate sweet potato fries. They were dense, crunchy wedges of sweet potato that felt like a real food, instead of a weirdly soggy sweet potato french fry that I don’t always love. Mister didn’t love them so much since they weren’t really fry like in taste or appearance I think. While he went for the car, I went for the ice cream.
They were advertising a new soft serve, dairy free Gelato. Made with coconut milk, this “ice cream” had a seriously icy almost sorbet like texture, with a heavy coconut kick. It was okay, but definitely not worth getting again.
Once back at my Dad’s house, I got to work on lunches while Mister got to work helping on an outside construction project.
I did time myself on this meal prep, since I keep hearing from people that they don’t have the time. I did the following in about an hour, with the last portion just waiting for chicken to come out of the oven really.
mix ground beef and marinara sauce (I used Stew Leonards refrigerated/prepared sauce) in a bowl and set aside
lightly sautee veggie noodles in same pan from the beef
Plate beef and veggies in containers
Pull salmon and asparagus, plate in containers
Push oven up to 400
Bake chicken for 15 minutes at 400, then reduce to 350 for 20 minutes per pound. Set a timer on your phone and go outside to enjoy the weather.
2 salmon and aspargus (to be topped with mango salsa after reheated)
3 meat sauce with veggie noodles
1 chicken with asparagus
enough baked chicken to either eat as is, or turn into chicken salad for the week.
leftovers from Passover
Breakfast will be fruit and greek yogurt (the chobani cups were .99 cents at Stew Leonards). Dinner will be figured out as we go along, or we can eat the lunches if they get skipped during the day for say takeout with a coworker or a lunch meeting. Sometimes just figuring out what to make can be the hard part, but Mister and I both agree its so nice to just grab a full meal in its own container from the fridge each day. We feel better about not resorting to frozen meals, takeout, or just sandwiches every day.
This weekend while downstate was getting walloped with snow, I had quietly escaped to Albany on Friday night. I know I didn’t miss the shoveling, or the antsy trapped feeling, but I did feel jealous of cozy snowed in nights that I seem to have completely missed out on this winter thus far.
Mister and I made the most of our No-Snow Days by taking the dogs to the Capitol Hills Golf Course on Saturday. For anyone that lives in the Albany area, this is an amazing place to walk (its kept really clear even when it snows).
This is a great way to get in some exercise, while the dogs run and play with other dogs passing through. Needless to say, they are always exhausted by the time we get home. This time, the cold combined with the long walk meant out two bulldog ladies were tuckered out well into Sunday night.
I texted Mister on Friday to insist he keep me accountable on my eating; I tend to treat weekends like a free for all in terms of treats and snacks. This basically undoes all the great meal planning, calorie counting, and workouts I log during the week. With our trip to Puerto Rico in a few weeks, and a bikini in my not so distant future, I can’t keep inhaling cheesecake at this rate!
So we loaded up on salads, with only the occasional popcorn, fruit, or veggies for snacks.WhereSaturday night, we did treat ourselves to a strip steak dinner (courtesy of a sale at the Fresh Market), with roasted asparagus and a twice baked potato for Mister.
I’ve been making a conscious effort to limit my meat consumption, but felt comfortable with making this my weekend indulgence (instead of a parade of chocolate). For dessert, Mister had requested the do-it-yourself fruit filled sponge cakes from the Fresh Market, so I obliged.
I sliced some strawberries and let them soak in a balsamic, sugar, pepper mixture for about 45 minutes. Then they were placed atop the little cake, topped with whipped cream, more berries, and a tiny bit of powdered sugar.
Yum. I promise I ate egg whites and veggies for just about every other meal. Balance baby.
used veggie pasta shredder thing to make zucchini noodles
On the menu for this week:
egg muffins for breakfast with either Puffin cereal, some berries, or oatmeal.
Lunch/Dinner options: taco salad (ground turkey, romaine, Trader Joes super 8 chop, guacamole, pico de gallo), or zucchini noodles with turkey tomato sauce.
I’ve got a few bags of frozen veggies or burgers in the freezer to mix into the rotation too, just in case. I’m a big fan of Trader Joe’s (frozen) grilled, marinated eggplant and zucchini slices. They’re an easy meal base, or addition to simple sandwich. I also try to always keep some Trader Joe’s frozen, sliced, fire roasted peppers on hand; they are way more flavorful then plain frozen peppers, and are perfect for omelettes, salads, stir fry etc.
I like to keep easy staples on hand in my office kitchen so I don’t always have to worry about what I’m going to have for lunch (or a snack).
Some great basics:
tuna [I prefer the packets so I don’t have to worry about a can opener, and packed in water instead of oil]
almond milk [the shelf stable cartons are great to keep on hand for smoothies, cereal, oatmeal, etc.]
Having a variety of things on hand makes me more likely to have something nutritious while I’m in the office, and less likely to fall back on fast food or a not-as-great choice. I try to bring leftovers in, or meal prep ahead of time, to supplement my stash; since this is a holiday week, I didn’t want to grocery shop or meal prep so I’m heavily relying on what I’ve got on hand.
Today’s lunch wasn’t the most visually appealing option, but it was really good. I’m actually looking forward to having it again tomorrow.
I mixed one tuna packet with half of an over ripe avocado, smashed them together in a bowl. Mix in some seasoning (I keep salt, pepper, salad dressing, salsa, and hot sauce on hand for these situations) and spread on a rice cake. Seriously, this was crunchy, creamy, salty goodness. I mixed it with a cilantro lime dressing that I had in the fridge, and a little bit of salt and pepper.
Side Note: don’t judge me on the rice cake situation, I really don’t consider these diet food! I LOVE rice cakes. They’re crunchy, and the lightly salted ones go with everything. The flavored variety might not have as good nutritional stats but they’re still a really good option. Buttered popcorn, chocolate, caramel, ranch…seriously I would have a hard time giving up rice cakes!!
The less I cook, the less I want to be bothered with big meals or complicated recipes. I know I’ll enjoy it when I throw myself back into it, but for now I’ve fallen off the planning, prepping, preparing bandwagon of enjoying my meals. There’s the new job, staying in someone else’s house, and the new routine; for right now, cooking just isn’t part of it.
The thing that gets me though, is I always got excited about meals I prepared. When someone else is constantly cooking for you, or you eat out more often; food loses some of its appeal in a sense. Lately I crave things like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, toast with a fried egg; things that are easy and basic.
Do you eat more when you cook for yourself? Does cooking make you want to cook more?