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.

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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

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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.

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Some Bowls.

002Bowls of minestrone- veggie soup for lunch.

024.JPGTrader Joe’s whole milk maple brown sugar greek yogurt mixed with two scoops of Aria vanilla protein powder  = a cake batter consistency that I’m really enjoying.

087.JPGAn incredibly awful looking protein mug cake with peanut butter. (mix chocolate protein powder, baking powder, egg whites, cocoa powder, vanilla etc. in a mug.  microwave until cooked.  top with peanut butter and greedily stare at real cake)

 

Next week I’ll probably prep some burrito bowls to be eaten throughout the week. I still haven’t quite figured out what a smoothie bowl is, but they sounds pretty trendy.  For some reason when it gets colder I just want to dig into a big bowl of hot food; it doesn’t have to be nutritious, or particularly tasty.  Just hot and plentiful.

That’s not a great plan when Mister and I have vacation planned in a few weeks, and this belly needs to be seen on the beach.  Yikes.

What’s in your bowl?

 

Weekend Indulgence

As I said a few times now, I’m usually in Albany on the weekends visiting Mister.  This makes every weekend a sort of mini-holiday.  For a while, this wasn’t so great for my wallet or waistline, but over time we’ve refined this vacation attitude to be a subdued indulgence.

We consistently find at least one activity or destination to get us out of the house, and give the weekend some structure.  (Mister and I aren’t great at sitting around in the house, which is part of why I’m in like with him for sure)

On Saturday, we did the Schenectady Wing Walk, which was a lot more fun than I was anticipating to be honest.  I was originally skeptical of the participating restaurants, and didn’t really think much of Schenectady as a destination beyond pastries, Proctors, and Perecca’s.

For anyone unfamiliar with the Wing Walk: for $10 you get a ballot, and one chicken wing at each of the participating restaurants.  There were 18 restaurants, and most gladly obliged in giving more than one wing if you asked politely.  When we started at 12 noon, there were no lines but by around 1:30/2pm, the lines started growing at each stop.  It had a fun, scavenger-hunt type vibe to the affair and I appreciated the opportunity to try some places that have been on my list.  Some were great (Bier Abbey, Cafe Nola, Mexican Radio, Taj Mahal Restaurant), some were really bad (Thai Thai Bistro, Aperitivo, The Grog Shoppe)  I get it, its hard to have hot, crispy, and flavorful wings for a crowd stretched over a few hours; but some were rubbery and without flavor, or in the case of Aperitivo, it was a “pork wing”, which I didn’t even realize until after I had bitten into it (don’t like surprise pork).  Total cost for the event for the two of us, $20.

We did stop at Cafe Italia for coffee and a cannoli, to break up the wing exhaustion, $6.

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Sunday, we had recovered from too many wings and indulged in some Manory’s for brunch.  I love sitting at the counter here, but be warned that your clothes might take on an eau de fryer if you stay for more than a cup of coffee.

I got the Power House Quesadilla (or something intimidatingly named like that, can’t really remember and the menu isn’t online).  Their pancakes always look/sound so insanely good, but remember that waistline people.  I’ve got dresses to fit into.

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When this showed up I almost forgot I had ordered what looked like the “sensible option.”  It was described as 3 egg whites, one yolk, ham, swiss cheese, peppers, onions, mushrooms grilled in a quesadilla.  Oh man.  This was seriously so good.  I ate half before calling it quits and taking the rest home (which I ate for dinner).  For two coffees, and two of the bigger entrees, we spent about $35 at Manorys.  You can easily get breakfast for two for $20 or under if you’re sticking to a budget.

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This tasted great reheated later, which I was actually surprised by.  I put each section in a hot pan, let it crisp for a moment before putting a lid over it to let everything reheat.  Then , when the cheese looked sufficiently melty, I removed the lid and flipped it over for some further crisping.

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Sunday night, I’ve made it a habit to prepare something to last both myself and Mister for the week.  For Mister I made slow cooker stroganoff, for myself I made a bean free, bison and butternut squash chili.  Everything was set and on the stove by 5pm, which was later than I would have liked, but c’est la vie.

This morning, I packed up my cooler tote (great investment) with four quarts of chili, and some other food and snack items, to be kept in the office for the week.  On Friday, the empty containers go back in the tote to be refilled on Sunday.  Routines are great.

Surprising Soup

Woah Panera, woah. Where did this come from?

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Lentil quinoa bowl with chicken.

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So much flavor. And protein. And a perfect balance of textures melded with the broth. It was perfectly hot enough, and a giant bowl that is weighing down my stomach just enough to make my walk to the train a little slower.

There are so many food options in NYC, there are so many appointments and subways to be caught too. So we wanted fast, reliable, sit down. And this was so surprisingly worth it. I’m sure I’ll get loads of flack for this, but my mouth approved.

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Meals for 12.12.14

What do you actually eat everyday? I know we don’t have grandiose Pinterest worth meals every three hours 365 days a year. That’s not real life.

I watch what I eat, most of the time. I track my food in the App, MyFitnessPal; keeping tabs on carbs/fat/protein per day. Some weeks I’m great about planning ahead, others I just barely manage to fill my lunch bag with a haphazard collection of things in an attempt to meet my goals.

Today is one of those days. Sort of.
For breakfast all week we had those baked eggs. But Mister got the last portion packed for his breakfast. So I mixed some strawberry flavored protein powder with Greek yogurt and a splash of almond milk.

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I do some form of exercise daily. Sometimes it’s yoga and running, other days it’s weights at the gym. (Sadly, lately it’s been a lot of at home quick routines to avoid the snow and darkness. )The point is, I like to keep my protein high for building new muscle as part of my weight-loss and health goals. Everyone has different goals. I don’t recommend chugging protein if you’re hanging out on the couch all week.

About 2-3 hours after that mini meal, I’ll have a clementine with my morning coffee.

And just about 3 hours after that I’ll have lunch. Sometimes this is leftovers from dinner. Today is is a multigrain tortilla from Trader Joes filled with one slice of Swiss cheese, 3oz of low sodium turkey, and a handful of baby spinach. (I have a food scale)

My fourth mini meal of the day is half a cup of cottage cheese mixed with cinnamon, vanilla, and raisins.

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Yes I eat seriously unphotogenic meals. I know. But this mixture is so great in this weather, it’s texturally similar to rice pudding and the flavor profile is a nice break from plain dairy.

I brought a banana in case I feel hungry, or decide to run an errand right after work. And yes, I pack a ton of food for work most days. I like feeling prepared and I love being in the habit of five to six mini meals a day.

Dinner is undecided yet. It’s Friday so it might be a splurge in terms of calories and content, but not necessarily.

What do you eat every day, honestly?

Conceptualize

Kale sauteed with garlic and fresh lemon juice.

Artichokes dipped in warm butter.

Spicy, stir fried beef cooked just a little past rare.

There are some flavors, ideas, recipes, bites that just pop into my brain. I can’t shake them. They appear, usually out of nowhere and I start my grocery list. Oddly, most items I’ve never even tried before. I’m sure a specialist somewhere would tell me to quit reading cook books and food blogs and leave my poor subconscious alone.

This week I wanted to bake shredded potatoes into eggs. I’ve never done this. I’m not sure if I’ve ever had this. Its so simple, logical, yet unchartered- for -me territory.

I grabbed a hefty bag of frozen hashbrown potatoes from Trader Joes. These were browned and added to a casserole dish of browned chicken breakfast sausage removed from casing, baby spinach, and eggs beaten with cottage cheese. Baked at about 350 degrees for roughly 30 minutes.

It was great. Will be reheated throughout the week. A hefty breakfast in seconds. Topped with cheese, maybe some sriracha for the groggy mornings.

Do you ever crave something you’ve never eaten? Or suddenly strike inspiration to cook one specific recipe for no reason at all?
I’ve landed on pot roast, artichokes, kale, and a handful of other things; having either never made them, never tasted them (or both) and had a strong desire to cook them specific ways.

Like is a mystery, but cooking makes it fun.