Menu Plan – March 29 – April 4

Its another week, another menu plan. After eating about a million girl scout cookies last week, I’m doubling my efforts this week, trying to eat real food and cutting down on snacking over all. But enough about me – on to the recipes!

Menu Plan March 29 – April 4, 2015

Any substitutions or change I plan are noted below

  • Sunday: Roasted Poblano Chiles Stuffed with Cheesy Butternut Squash Quinoa + Pepita Crema
    • reduced the amount of cheese overall
    • used Cabot Sharp Light Cheddar instead of jack cheese
  • Monday: Baked Chickpeas with Pita Chips and Yogurt
    • using whole wheat pitas
    • no pine nuts for topping (those suckers are expensive!)
    • Greek yogurt for the tahini-yogurt sauce because I bought a big thing of it for breakfasts this week (I’ll just thin it out a bit more with water)
  • Tuesday: Fresh Thai Noodle Bowl
    • homemade veggie broth
    • the noodles from a maruchan ramen packet because I have a bunch of those lying around from a mega sale
  • Wednesday: Heather’s Hallelujah Bowl
  • Thursday: Salmon, roasted sweet potato and broccoli
  • Friday: Chickpea Lentil Veggie Burger, fried egg and wilted spinach
    • I have a few veggie burgers leftover in the freezer from a previous batch cooking day, so we’ll use those up. I also have some leftover whole wheat burger buns I had made, so Klaus will probably have his on a bun while I go bun-less.
  • Saturday: Out and about with friends – we’re grabbing a late brunch at Sotto Voce in Park Slope then doing a bit of bar hopping, so we’ll see where we end up

Things We Love This Week – 3/27/15

We’re constantly sharing things with each other throughout the week and thought why not share two things we’re loving each week here on our blog. Below are our inaugural finds!

Brittany:

It wasn’t until I stumbled across Serial that I listened to my first podcast. I know super weird but luckily I was hooked. This week, I discovered another podcast that I need to share with the world – Currently! Hosted by John Trasher and Daryn Carpe, friends who met at work, Currently focuses on life in New York City, pop culture and other happenings. I should mention that I know John, thanks to a little thing called the MTV TJ Search (long story), and he did not put me up to including this on our blog.

Currently

Honestly, I loved hearing their thoughts on issues that every 20-something deals with, especially in New York City. Topics range from how dating or whatever you want to call it is hard in NYC to pop culture events. If you don’t believe me just check it out and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed! You can catch up on all nine episodes on their websites or through iTunes.

Rose:

If you’re interested in the tech or social media spaces at all, you probably have heard about Twitter’s new live streaming app, Periscope (a direct competitor to recent media baby, Meerkat). With this new platform you can follow others (friends, celebrities, news organizations etc.) and get push notifications whenever they are live streaming.

I think Periscope is about to change the face of citizen journalism. The app only launched yesterday and thousands of people heard about the explosion in the East Village seconds after it happened thanks to Periscope; far before it was covered on Twitter or in traditional media.

But beyond current events, the app is already being used a thousand different ways – I watched a woman cook her “famous” chicken biryani, a speaker at a social media summit and my co-worker at an event. I’m really interested to see how the community grows. I hope I stay up on it and it doesn’t turn into another app that just takes up space on my phone (I’m looking at you Vine).

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My New Approach to Health + Menu Plan March 22-28

As I briefly mentioned in my last post, I have always has some body image/weight/sCurried Bulgar Saladelf esteem issues. I can’t tell you exactly where they stemmed from, but they’ve been there pretty much my entire life. So because of all of that, I tend to get overly obsessed with things like calorie counting or Weight Watchers points or cleanses. While all those may work really well for others, and while I always start them with the best of intentions, they ultimately lead me down a less-than-healthy road.

Obsessing over particular points/numbers/calories/rules leads me to binging then over-restriction then guilt and shame. None of those things should be happening. See, I love food! I love eating and cooking and sharing it. But the fact that my brain sometimes takes me down this path that turns something I love into something I’m ashamed of is not good.

RunningSo I’ve decided to take a step back and approach things in a new way. Instead of focusing on losing X pounds by X date or fitting into a smaller size, I’m going to focus on my overall health. I am going to take a step back from calorie counting and focus on just eating real, clean food. I am going to focus on eating when I am hungry (truly hungry and not because I’m bored) and eating until I am full, but not uncomfortably so. I am going to focus on doing work outs I enjoy – yoga, walking, running – and not feeling guilty for not doing the “trendy” ones or being fast. I am going to make time to do things I enjoy like grabbing a latte in the morning or watching movies with Klaus.

Overall, my new approach to health is to focus on what makes me happy and feel good and I think the rest will fall into Latte and Croissantplace.

Each week I menu plan to help keep our shopping expenses down and alleviate any mid-week “Oh man, what am I going to make for dinner?” stress. Previously, I have meticulously calculated the calories (or points) of each meal and added them all up, which made menu planning a chore. With my new approach to health, menu planning has become actually really fun for me and I thought it would be interesting to share with you what my plan is each week. I tend to have the same thing for breakfast every morning (oatmeal with some fruit and nuts or a 2-egg veggie omlette) and leftovers for lunch, I’ll focus on what I’m having for dinner and any other fun snacks for recipes I’ll be making for the week.

Hopefully someone out there finds this helpful or at least interesting to read!

Menu Plan March 22-28, 2015

Apparently I was on a Pinch of Yum kick this week! Any substitutions or change I plan are noted below

  • Sunday: Spicy Sofritas Veggie Bowl  – this was so good!
    • black beans instead of pinto because that is what I had on hand
    • added some frozen corn to balance out the spiciness!
    • used brown rice
  • Monday: Harvest Wild Rice Skillet
    • mix of brown rice and the LITTLE wild rice I have left
    • spinach instead of kale because it was on sale
  • Tuesday: One-Pot Creamy Spinach Lentils
    • homemade veggie broth instead of chicken broth
  • Wednesday: Baked Pollock with Broiled Asparagus and Spiced Quinoa
    • Pollock was on sale this week, so I’ll probably just sprinkle it with some Mrs. Dash and pop it into the oven
  • Thursday: Vegetable Korma over brown rice
    • light coconut milk instead of full-fat
    • sriracha instead of asian chili paste because that is what i have on hand
    • raw cashews instead of roasted and salted because that is what i have on hand
  • Friday: Out for a friend’s birthday (we’ll either have leftovers or leftover Spicy Chickpea Lentil Veggie Burgers from the freezer before we head to George & Jack’s Tap Room)
  • Saturday: Out for a different friend’s birthday (probably getting a delicious grilled cheese at Trophy Bar!!)

Book Review: The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the Train Cover

Credit: Goodreads

A few weeks I finished reading The Girl on the Train and honestly it has really lived up to the hype. If you’ve been living under a rock the past couple of months, everyone is calling Paula Hawkins’ novel the next Gone Girl. I mean it’s been on the bestsellers list for weeks now!

While the story starts off slow and sort of confusing, Hawkins develops the complex character of Rachel Watson as she commutes every morning and focuses on one row of houses during her ride. Every morning, Rachel watches “Jess and Jason” as they live their lives, ironically a few doors down from her former home, until one day things change. From what she sees one morning then doesn’t another morning brings Rachel into an intense investigation and has everyone questioning who she is and what she wants. Due to excessive drinking and unreliable information, Rachel isn’t the model witness to help crack the case in this thriller.

It’s honestly very hard to write this review without giving up too much information. Hawkins’ writing style is very similar to Flynn’s style in Gone Girl  and she tells the story through the eyes of three women, leaving readers to occasionally scratch their heads. I couldn’t put the book down and was hungry for more with each page. I would recommend this book to anyone who has read Gone Girl or Reconstructing Amelia. Goodreads rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Green Smoothie Freezer Packs + Three Ways to Use Them

Eating healthy is really important to me. My weight has gone up and down (well, mostly up) a lot of my life and about a year ago I decided to take control of my health and how I felt about my body. From that moment, it has been a long journey of learning about what healthy eating is, how to exercise and what works best for me. I am definitely still learning, and the entire process has been pretty slow going (I grew up in the midwest on a steady stream of Hamburger Helper and so much cheese) and I’ve definitely taken a few steps backward and forward again, but I think I’m slowly getting the hang of it.

One thing I’ve taken to eating pretty regularly is a green smoothies (aka green monsters) as part of my breakfast. I like starting my day on a healthy note with fruits and vegetables (and sometimes nuts, seeds and other boosters). I feel like I’m setting myself up for success for the rest of the day.

My biggest problem with green smoothies is finding the time in the morning to wash, peel and prep all the fruits and veggies. That is, until I saw the brilliant idea to pre-portion out your smoothie ingredients in baggies in the freezer so you can just pop them in the blender in the morning, blend and go!

Not only does this save time, but money as well. I always buy bananas and frozen fruit when they are on sale and then make a bunch of packs. To help prevent getting bored with the same smoothie every morning, I’ve come up with a few different “recipes” so I can have a different one every morning!

But first, how to make the smoothie packs. I promise, it is very easy.

Simply gather your ingredients and split them up among a few bags. The proportions I use are half a banana, 1/4 cup frozen berries and 1 cup spinach per pack.

Freezer Smoothie Packs

Basic Green Smoothie Freezer Packs

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 10mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

Equipment:

  • 6 freezer bags/baggies/tupperware
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • salad spinner (to wash and dry your greens)

Directions:

  1. In each pack place half a banana, 1/4 cup frozen fruit and 1 cup greens
  2. Push as much air as possible out of the pack (if you’re using baggies the straw trick works great), seal and place in your freezer.

Notes/Tips:

  • Older, spotty brown bananas, like the ones you would use to make banana bread, work great here because they lend a little extra sweetness
  • When I have them, I love adding chia seeds because they thicken the smoothie up a little and have some great health benefits, including regulating blood sugar. I generally add 1 teaspoon per pack.
  • You can add more frozen fruit if you’d like, but I think 1/4 cup, plus 1/2 a banana is the perfect level of sweetness, plus each pack then represents 1 serving of fruit and 1 serving of veggies!

Now, you could simply plop the contents into a blender with a bit of liquid and enjoy your green smoothie goodness, but if you ever get bored of that, you can make smoothies with a huge array of flavors and tastes. I’ve included five of my favorite below as a way to help kick start your imagination!

(PS, yes, two of these pictures are taken outside on my roof in Brooklyn. Unfortunately my apartment only gets natural light from overhead through my skylight, which leads to some odd looking photos.)

Morning Mocha Green Smoothie

 
 

1. Morning Mocha Green Smoothie
Freezer Pack + 1/2 cup milk of your choice + 1/2 cup cold coffee + 1 T cocoa powder + 1 T sweetener of your choice

 
 

Peanut Butter Cookie Green Smoothie

 
 

2. Peanut Butter Cookie Smoothie
Freezer Pack + 1 cup milk of your choice + 1-2 T peanut butter (almond butter is also delicious!) + dash vanilla extract + optional sweetener

 
 

Spiced Green Smoothie

 
 

3. Spiced Green Smoothie
Freezer Pack + 1 cup milk of your choice + 1/4 t ground turmeric + 1/2 t ground cinnamon + 1 T fresh ginger + 1 T honey

 
 

Freezer smoothie packs make it easy to start every day on a healthy foot. Mix it up by blending the pack with different add-ins and flavors so you never get bored!

Let us know if you have any favorite smoothie combinations.

xoxo

Rose