Tag Archives: meal planning

Sunday (the day of rest?) and a New Recipe–Bulgur Chicken Stew

23 Sep

This weekend was jam-packed with to-dos. But luckily, I was able to squeeze in a few of my favorite things to celebrate the first of day of fall, my favorite season!

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

Saturday started bright and early at 6:15am. The girls had important appointments; one at the vet and one at the groomers. I dropped Edie off at the vet for her dental cleaning and check-up, while Eve and I went for a trail run/walk before heading to the grocery store. I thought the leaves would be a little more colorful on our run, but it was still great to be in the crisper air.  After indulging in a homemade pumpkin spice latte, I put on my orange skinny jeans (another ode to fall!) and dragged Nathan into town. We dropped Eve off for her trim, and continued on with our errands.

The aftermath of the girls’ day was mixed.

Eve’s trim was a success

Edie was pretty doped up from the dental cleaning

After enjoying a fun dinner with friends, I called it a pretty early night. Since I was laid up with the flu last weekend, quite a few things were piling up at home.

Since my back has felt better, I decided to risk a two-mile run with the girls. I didn’t go very fast and felt a little pain on the run, but I stretched a good ten minutes when I got home. So far, everything is feeling good.

From 10am until 2:30pm, I was on my feet cooking, baking, and doing laundry. I started out making some Multi-grain Waffles from Tosca Reno‘s The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook 2. Since my husband’s friend spent the night, I made the boys “normal” waffles; my husband is a picky eater and I pick and choose when to make him go outside the box. It’s all about compromise! I put the rest of my multi-grain waffles in the freezer so I can just pop them in the toaster.

I like to make homemade bars and snack bars when I can. Sometimes they cost as much as $2 at the grocery store. I haven’t tallied up how much it costs to make them on your own, but I know it’s certainly cheaper than that! Plus, you get the added benefit of knowing exactly what goes into your food. I found a great recipe from a fellow blogger for homemade Kind bars. The first time I made them, I knew I had to Pin the recipe. They honestly taste so much like Kind bars, I’m not even sure I would be able to tell a difference! You can check out the recipe at The Whole Kitchen. I used pecans (my parents live in New Mexico and send me some since they are grown there), almonds, pepitas, and hemps seeds.

I also made some granola from a Clean Eating Magazine recipe and some Blueberry Oat Protein Muffins from EatCleanDiet.Com. I followed the Blueberry Oat Protein Muffins recipe exactly (except for adding a pinch of cinnamon), using frozen blueberries. I would recommend using fresh blueberries or thaw blueberries the night before and make sure all the liquid is drained out. I chose to defrost my this morning and my muffins were a little too wet, but they still taste wonderful.

Muffins pre-oven

For the granola, I replaced the cranberries with apricots since I have quite a few on hand. That’s what I like about nut bars and granola–you can switch up what kind of nuts and fruits you use depending on what’s in your pantry. I also only baked the granola for 30 minutes; when I did 40 last time, the granola burned. The recipe makes about 12 1/2 cup servings.

Tons of granola!

And now for a new recipe! I like to make stews and soups in the fall/winter. I’m sure I’ve said this before, but it’s a great way to get in some lean protein, lots of veggies, and healthy carbs all in one. Plus, if you can cook it in the slow cooker, even better–saves you time and clean up.

Bulgur Chicken Stew

(After plugging everything into calorieking.com, I estimate the soup yields eight 1 1/2 cup servings at about 300 calories)

1 large sweet onion, diced

3 carrots, diced

2 celery sticks, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 1b chicken breast tenders, diced

1/2 cup black-eyed peas, dried and sorted

1/2 cup whole wheat bulgur

6 medium baby red potatoes, diced

32-40 ounces chicken stock (reduced sodium)

1 tsp each, dried oregano, basil, thyme, parsley, black pepper

1/2 tsp salt

2 bay leaves

1 tbsp olive oil

2 cups baby portabella mushrooms, sliced

1) Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add sweet onion, carrots, celery, and garlic cloves to pan. You could also add the chicken to the pan to brown a little if you like. Heat for a few minutes until onions become translucent.

2) Begin to add all ingredients through the bay leaves to your crock pot. Set on high. Cook for two hours.

3) After two hours, add the baby portabella mushrooms (depending on the size of your pot, it can get pretty tight in there!).

4) Cook for another two hours.

Divide and enjoy!

Stew for the week!

The bulgur becomes soft, making the stew almost creamy. Delicious!

Get set for the week! Plan your meals, portion out healthy snacks and your lunches. If you have your food ready, you’re more likely to pick something healthy. Enjoy your bites!

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Don’t Call it a Comeback

4 Dec

As promised, I’m back from the brink of quitting my blog. Part of the reason I stopped blogging so much was because it was taking me away from some of my other interests, and I really needed to focus on some things at work. And then there was the depression I talked about in the last blog. But in order to keep things on track with my mental and physical health, it’s important that I document my food and activity and hold myself accountable.

Yesterday I did some meal planning and went grocery shopping with the hub. We spent way too much money (I blame the stupid razor blades–those things are so expensive!) but I think it was worth it. It was crazy busy in Bellingham. We are close to the Canadian border so it’s almost like our population doubles on the weekends with people coming from Canada to do their shopping. It’s nice for our economy but it’s really stressful and overwhelming since there’s not really enough room for so many people. One Canadian was literally parked right in front of TJ Maxx with their hazards blinking blocking traffic. Now, when my dad is waiting for my mom and I to come out of a store, he circles. That’s common courtesy and legal. I was really annoyed because I was one of the cars being blocked so I had some choice words (“You are blocking traffic and you NEED to move your car!”) for her when I got out of the car. I wasn’t the only one. Another gal yelled something at her before me and the guy behind me said “Exactly!”

Sunday was certainly more relaxing. I went for a walk/hike with Elisa and our dogs. Edie was acting more crazy than normal, which is hard to believe. She ran around the dog park barking (she rarely barks at other dogs) and ran in large circles as fast as she could. She literally looked possessed. When we got home I started getting things situated for tomorrow and luckily Edie passed out on the couch.

Gym clothes all laid out

 

Vitamins on the counter

 

Hat, Ipod accessories, workout notebook, and inhaler ready to go!

 

I started on my soup for the week. I try to make soups in the fall and winter for lunch and salads during the spring and summer. Both of them are really easy for getting a good amount of veggies into your diet. I also decided to start going vegetarian for lunch as much as I can. I’ve toyed with the idea of going back to it but I’m pretty sure my husband and I wouldn’t have anything in common that we ate. This would make dinners difficult. Also, I’m afraid I won’t get enough protein which was a problem for me in the past when I was vegetarian. I decided that going halfway would be the best of both worlds.

For my lunch, I turned to Mama Pea. I made the Spicy African Peanut Stew and am so excited to try it. I couldn’t find garam masala at Fred Meyer, which made me a little mad since I was right by my favorite spice place, Spice Hut, earlier in the day and I would’ve bought it there. Anywho, I put in a dash of paprika and 1/2 teaspoon of cumin instead. I also made her Lemon Rosemary Roasted Chickpeas. Once again, I did a substitute. I have a bunch of fresh herbs leftover from Thanksgiving so I put in some thyme rather than dried rosemary.

The plans for tomorrow are as follows–

Meals

Breakfast– Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana oatmeal with soy milk

Snack 1– Roasted Chickpeas with two clementines

Lunch–Spicy African Peanut Stew

Snack 2– Fage Greek yogurt with strawberries

Dinner–Skillet Roasted Chicken Breast with Citrus Roasted Potatoes and kale

Workout

–30 minutes of intervals on an elliptical

–30-45 minutes of weight training focusing on back, triceps, and abs (I got a great weight lifting routine from Muscle and Fitness Hers

And of course, a morning game of soccer with the pup. Well, I am off. I’ve slept better since my last post but I’m still taking precautions to make sure I sleep ok. That means no electronics too close to bed time and some chamomile tea. Have a great night!

Back To The Grind

29 Aug

Ugh…Going back to work on a Monday after vacation is never easy. Going back to work on a Monday after vacation is especially not easy if you’re slammed with things to do and you have to be away from home until 9pm. After work tonight I have a meeting with the Friends of the Library Board which I so graciously volunteered to be the treasurer for. I actually enjoying doing it but it’s just not the way I want to ease back into my work week. Tomorrow night will be a late one as well since we are having a shower for a recently married co-worker.

So because of all these plans, I am blogging to you straight from the lunch room at work! This is my delicious lunch.

 

Hugh Jass Salad; chicken, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, cranberries, sunflower seeds, croutons and balsamic dressing

This is one of four recipes I am making this week from Peasandthankyou.com. I didn’t have time to press the tofu last night though so this Hugh Jass Salad has chicken on it. Sorry Mama Pea!

For breakfast I had the Pumpkin Cream Pie Oat Bran (you have to buy the book for that one!). It was really good. I didn’t add any sweetener in it because I wanted to see how it tasted alone. I am definitely going to add some honey tomorrow morning. I just think it would pair really well with the pumpkin flavor, and something about honey always reminds me of fall too (my favorite season!!!).

For snacks today I’m having some Fage with chia seeds, flax meal and blueberries. I already ate my morning snack of Protein Trail Mix cookies, another recipe courtesy of Mama Pea. I really liked the cookies which pleasantly surprised me. I don’t generally like the strong vanilla flavor of the protein powder; I think it’s a little too sweet. But the recipe had just the right amount where it doesn’t overpower the whole cookie. I didn’t have any almonds or pepitas so I used pistachios and walnuts.

Protein Trail Mix Cookie

Dinner tonight will sadly be a Clif Body Builder Bar inhaled during the library meeting. After a long stressful day at work, all I want to do is go home and curl up with the hub and the pup. But duty calls!

Contest Winner and Meal Planning

31 Jul

And the first blog giveaway goes to……Gregg!!! Congrats! I will get that in the mail to you this week. 🙂

This morning I woke up extremely crabby for no apparent reason. Maybe it was after effects from my hunger last night. I was determined to stay a grump for the whole day but my planned was foiled by several things.

1) A walk/hike with Elisa, Benny and Edie resulted in laughs and got the endorphins going.

2) I discovered the most delicious Larabar flavor yet. It honestly tasted like a cookie. I couldn’t tell the difference.

So freaking good! Nom nom nom.

3) This wonderful tool that helps me get dandelions, those spiky things, and pretty much any type of weed out of the yard. I used it after grocery shopping and I seriously went around the whole yard looking for weeds because it was so fun. Yes, I lead an exciting life.

Got this puppy at a garage sale for about $.50

4) When I got home, the Hub defrosted the whole freezer from the problem we had earlier this week. It looked absolutely gorgeous in there. It was even organized. Saturday he mowed the lawn, cleaned the garage and swept it, and unloaded the dishwasher before I got home from work. LOVE THIS MAN!

After our hike I went grocery shopping. The Hub has me on a less than $100 per week for groceries. Totally doable but I tend to go a little crazy with fancy things. I was under budget today by at least about $20-$25. The meals for this week include–

Breakfast

Berry Chocolate Smoothie

Mango Coconut Smoothie

Banana Bread

Lunch

Shrimp and Pea Salad with Basil

Dinner

Pistachio Chicken

Chicken Parmesan

Turkey Burgers with Chipotle Sweet Potato Fries

Thai Lime Chicken

Since the Hub was so domestic this weekend I made him waffles for breakfast (at 1pm!). Benefit–I get waffles too. 🙂 I used the Bob’s Red Mill mix which I really like. It’s multigrain but not so much that the Hub says, “What is this?”

A big cup of Apple Cinnamon Tea on the side please!

Tonight I made pistachio chicken, a recipe from the Abs Diet Cookbook, which I’ve been meaning to make all week. The Hub was trying to predict the odds of me actually making it this afternoon. It turned out really good but the frozen snap peas I bought (which you steam in a bag) did not look very appetizing. I did eat them and about half tasted good and the other half tasted limp and dead.

Before I made dinner I banged out my lunches for the week. The recipe is one I adapted from a Clean Eating Magazine Recipe.

Shrimp and Pea Salad with Basil

(Makes 5 servings; 1 heaping cup)

  • 1 lb cooked shrimp
  • 4 cups cooked basmati brown rice (recipe called for brown but I improvised)
  • 4 cups cooked peas
  • 1 cup roughly chopped basil
  • 4 tsp lemon zest
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  1. Combine cooked shrimp, peas, and rice in large bowl.
  2. Heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in pan on medium heat. Mince garlic and brown in pan, about 2 minutes.
  3. Put garlic in large bowl with shrimp mixture.
  4. Add other 1/2 tablespoon of oil. Slice onion and put into pan on medium high heat. Brown, about 5 minutes. Turn heat to low and caramelize onions, stirring often. Cook for about 40 minutes.
  5. Add onion mixture to bowl and basil.
  6. Add lemon zest to bowl along with lemon juice.
  7. Toss and serve!

It’s so delish! I added the garlic to the recipe and caramelized the onions to impart more flavor. I also doubled up on some of the ingredients to make it last the whole week.

I also tossed a banana bread in the oven to eat with my smoothies this week. I adapted this recipe from the Clean Eating Club.

Clean Eating Banana Bread

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 slightly beaten egg whites
  • 1 c. mashed ripe bananas (3 medium or 2 large)
  • 1/2 c. agave nectar
  • 1/4 c. canola oil
  • A pinch of sea salt (1/16 tsp.)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds

Directions:

  1. Coat an 8x4x2-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. Mash bananas and set aside. In a medium bowl combine whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and sea salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl combine egg whites, banana, agave nectar, vanilla extract, chia seeds, and oil. Once mixed well, add flour mixture all at one time to banana mixture. Stir until moistened. The batter should be lumpy. Spoon mixture into pan.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 to 50 minutes. Test doneness by inserting a wooden toothpick near the center of the bread. The toothpick should come out clean.
  4. Cool in pan on a wire rack for approximately 10 minutes. Remove bread from pan and cool completely on the wire rack.

I was so pleased with the result. The whole wheat pastry flour makes the bread very light and not so heavy as some baked goods can be with regular whole wheat flour. The chia seeds add a little crunch (and keep you fuller longer!) with the added benefit of those Omegas 3s. The original plan was to add walnuts but I think the chia seeds were a great substitute.

The Hub and I topped off dinner with a new ice cream. I’ve seen this for months and always wanted to buy it. It was finally on sale and I didn’t eat as much as I normally do today, so I figured a treat was in order. 🙂 Next week I have to tone down my treats, but with the hormones back to even levels, this shouldn’t be a problem! I lost one pound this week which is great considering how many “treats” I had.

Off to bed! We have four miles on the agenda in the a.m.