Weekend WrapUp

Happy Monday!

This past weekend I meal prepped again, Mister and I both agreed we liked the convenience of fully prepared and packaged meals versus just a big ol’ container of say chicken and another tupperware of veggies, so we’re going to stick with this format.

I ordered the containers via Amazon, they’re the Fitpacker brand and so far so good.  I’m actually considering investing in some of the sectioned off containers for snacks or easier packing of different meals.  But let me make sure I can keep this good habit up before I go down that path.

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This week I kept it simple, Mister and I each got five containers of the same meal (1 per weekday for lunch or dinner per our schedule)  Mashed sweet potatoes, mini meatloaf, zucchini and summer squash.  Easy. It helps if you lay out the logistics of what you’re trying to do ahead of time.

  • preheat the oven for the meatloaf
  • get the potatoes in water, bring to a boil on a back burner
  • mix up meatloaf, form, put in oven
  • chop up onions/garlic/veggies
  • saute veggies (or you can throw them in the oven)
  • puree/mash potatoes
  • put everything in containers and refrigerate

From start to finish, this was about two hours.  And at least thirty minutes of that was me on the couch watching TV.

For breakfast this weekend, I’m still on my big avocado toast binge.

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Mash the avocado right onto some toast, drizzle with lemon or lime juice, salt and pepper.  There’s something so satisfyingly decadent about this simple recipe.

In the glass is greek yogurt mixed with berries.  With the parfait and the toast for breakfast, I’ve got healthy fats, protein, a little sugar, complex carb, sweet, and savory.  And the hardest part was making the toast.

On Sunday it was the anniversary of Mister asking me to be his wife, so we took a break from food prepping and wedding planning to enjoy some sunshine.  We debated where to go, and just by chance ended up taking our dogs to the same dog park where we met three years ago.

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(Bulldogs aren’t built for endurance)

I wanted to cook up something special for dinner, without incorporating our go to steak and potatoes.  Since it was nice out, Mister wanted to grill, but I had my belly set on pasta.

We picked up some italian sausage for the grill, and then the ingredients for a healthier version of a creamy pasta.

If you’ve never mixed ricotta cheese with pesto; do it now.  Ricotta can be the easiest way to make a creamy pasta dish, without tons of cream/butter/parmesan type foods (especially since both Mister and I have dairy sensitive bellies).

  • boil pasta water
  • slice and saute garlic and baby bella mushrooms, set aside in a bowl
  • trim and saute green beans, add to the bowl
  • add the pasta to the water whenever its boiling, set a timer so you don’t have to pay attention
  • thinly slice and saute yellow or red pepper, add to the bowl
  • when there’s only a few minutes left on the pasta, add chopped up broccoli florets to the pot.
  • drain pasta/broccoli
  • toss the veggies, pasta, ricotta, cheese, pesto all together.

At this point, it looked great but was missing a little pizzaz.  I thought for a minute and realized that ricotta usually needs a little acid to jazz it up; so I grabbed a whole lemon and squeezed it into the dish, along with a hearty dose of salt and pepper.

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I plated up the pasta and veggies in wide pasta bowls, and sliced the sausage on the side.  Mister did a perfect job grilling the sausage to crispy, charred goodness.

 

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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.

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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.

International Chili Day

Nope, I have no idea if it is.  I feel like everything has a day now.  Like October 15th is International Wash Your Hands Day.

I feel like the second it starts to turn from summer to fall, everyone whips out their chili recipes.  Maybe its the cold air, maybe its the football games; but Instagram and Facebook are loaded with pictures of chili pots and saucy bowls.

Of course I made some.

I really liked the bean-less chili I made last time. Chili is great to make when you really don’t feel like doing all that much.  Brown meat, put stuff in a pot.  Leave it alone for a while.  Eat.

This batch was ground beef (I did organic), sweet potato, butternut squash, fire roasted canned tomatoes, chicken stock.

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Reheated at work it was pretty great.  But I’m kind of thinking, does this count as chili?

I knew a family that just cooked ground beef with chili powder and tomato puree; ate it over rice and called it chili.  When I was there, this baffled me.  But now that I’ve gotten pretty hooked on this version, I’m wondering what qualifies something as chili.  Does it have to have beef? What about chicken chili, or veggie chili?  What does it have to have to be considered “chili”?

I don’t really care all that much, more a point of curiosity.  Mine was pretty good, and I’ve got about 4 quarts of it in the fridge, which was the result of about 10 minutes of work.

Sweet Potato and Sausage Soup

I had two sweet potatoes in the pantry and an overwhelming cold.
So I started looking up recipes: soup, sweet potatoes, spicy.

I found a recipe for “Sweet Potato and Sausage Soup” on Epicurious and decided to grab the rest of the ingredients while at the supermarket.

I followed the recipe like a guideline, using two peeled sweet potatoes, half a dozen unpeeled red potatoes, a package of linguica, chicken broth, spinach, onion, garlic.

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I brought it to a boil, then simmer, before popping the whole pot in the fridge while I picked mister up from work and then we ran an errand. Once back home I brought it back up to temp, added the cooked sausage, and a handful of spinach.

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After one or two stirs it was done.

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This stew like soup is perfect; the spicy the sausage, the broth steeped with garlic and onion. I added thyme, parsley, and a bit of ginger on a whim. It was exactly what I wanted.

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Topped with a sprinkle of sea salt, I had three bowls before I remembered self control.