Weekly Menu Plan April 26-May 2

It is that time of week again! I’m finally on the mend from that monster cold and that meant I was feeling up to a day full of food prep. I love prepping food for the week because it helps me stay on track with healthy meals. If all the hard work is taken out of making wholesome, nutritious food, I have no excuse to order in or eat junk food.

On Sunday I went grocery shopping and came home and made Butternut Carrot Whole Wheat Muffins (I used regular eggs, reduced the amount of maple syrup and added raisins and/or sunflower seeds to some of them), freezer breakfast sandwiches for Klaus, I cooked up a mess of chickpeas from dried for meals this week and washed and cleaned fruits and veggies – including grapes, radishes, cucumbers and carrots.

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Klaus and I are both trying really hard to get on and stay on a healthy path. A few hours of week spent in the kitchen definitely helps us do that!

Now, on to the menu plan!

Menu Plan April 16 – May 2

Any substitutions or changes I plan are noted below

  • Sunday: Garlicky Swiss Chard and Chickpeas over Wheat Berries (photo below!)
    • I sliced up a few of the chard stems and cooked them along with the shallots and garlic
  • Monday: Chickpea Schwarma over brown rice, side of roasted zucchini
    • Obviously, I’m serving this with brown rice instead of millet because I can’t find millet at my local stores
    • Topping it with roasted red peppers, feta, homemade tzatziki, parsley and red onion
  • Tuesday: Book club! We usually meet at Thainy
  • Wednesday: Southwestern Kale Power Salad with Sweet Potato, Quinoa and Avocado Sauce
  • Thursday: Seared Cod with Cucumber Relish, side salad
  • Friday: Veggie Frittata (really this is my “use what veggies are left in the fridge before they go bad” meal)
  • Saturday: I’m hoping it is warm enough for roof top bars this weekend, if so – we’ll be eating out! If not, I’ll make something from what is left in the fridge – a fried rice or pasta dish usually.

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Weekly Menu Plan April 19-25

Hello again! I’m on the mend from a terrible cold so I didn’t do much this weekend, including cooking or food prep. Which means this week’s menu plan consists of mostly quick and easy meals. I’m trying to shove in as many fruits and veggies as possible to get me over the tail end of this terrible thing.

Also, as the weather gets warmer, I’m starting to go back to my favorite breakfast of Overnight Oats! I mix it up each week, but The Yummy Life is a great place to check out proportions and get flavor ideas. I love these because I can make them all on Sunday and have an easy, yummy breakfast ready for the entire week!

Menu Plan April 19 – April 25

Any substitutions or change I plan are noted below

30-Minute Meal: Kielbasa and Broccoli with Pasta

Growing up, my mother worked (she still does) and managed to get home cooked meals on the table. (We did occasionally have takeout.) A few weeks ago I decided to give one her recipes a go, since it’s one of my favorites. I’ve seen my mom cook kielbasa a variety of ways but I really enjoy when she mixes it together with broccoli and pasta. While her recipe may not be the healthiest, it’s definitely easy and a great 30-minute meal to make during the week. If you’re looking for a dish to feed yourself over a couple of days or four people, give this one a shot

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

One kielbas

Pack of broccoli steamers

Half box of farfalle pasta

Olive oil

Garlic powder

Teriyaki sauce

Pepper

Instructions:

  1. Set the oven to 350°.
  2. Line a pan with aluminum foil and spray non-sticking cooking spray. Poke holes on both sides of the kielbasa and place into pan.
  3. Cook the kielbasa for 15-20 minutes.
  4. While the kielbasa is cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add half the box of farfalle pasta to the water and cook until done. (You can use another type of past if you’d prefer but I love farfalle.)
  5. After the kielbasa has cooked on one side, flip it over for another 10 minutes.
  6. Cook the package of broccoli steamers in the microwave at the recommended time.
  7. Once everything is done cooking, drain the pasta and coat with a little bit of olive oil in the pan. (This will help prevent the pasta from sticking together.) Add some garlic powder for season.
  8. Cut the kielbasa in to small pieces. Add the kielbasa and broccoli to the pan and mix together with the pasta. Sprinkle some teriyaki sauce and pepper over the food and mix again.

Now your dish is ready to eat! You can always go back and add more garlic powder, teriyaki sauce and pepper as you see fit. I’m horrible at measurements when I cook so I basically eyeball everything and taste along the way.

Kielbasa & Broccoli

Weekly Menu Plan April 12-18

I had a really fantastic weekend. Friday I went to a SALES show and had a few drinks with friends and ended up dancing the night away, which is something I always love and on Saturday my friend hosted a dirty dinner party” that consisted of a lot of wine, “dirty burgers” (bacon, caramelized onions, buttery mushrooms, american cheese and other delicious things) and a donut cake. But Sunday was probably my favorite day, some friends and I played a Mission Escape Game and we got out with more than 7 minutes left and the room only has an 18% completion rate too!

But because of the eventful weekend, I still haven’t been grocery shopping yet! I plan on going tomorrow (hopefully).

Menu Plan April 12 – April 18

Any substitutions or change I plan are noted below

  • Sunday: Dinner out after Mission Escape (we had Mac ‘n Cheese at 169 Bar)
  • Monday: Lemon Garlic Salmon with Roasted Broccoli and half a Sweet Potato
  • Tuesday: The Big Salad
    • Low-Sodium Soy Sauce instead of Tamari
  • Wednesday: Zucchini, Black Bean and Rice Skillet
    • Cooking black beans from dry (its cheaper!)
    • Brown rice instead of instant white (pre cooked in a rice cooker)
  • Thursday: Chili Cheese Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
    • Cooking black beans from dry (I’ll just make a double batch on Wednesday)
    • I’ll likely add in some cayenne or Chipotle Chili Powder to kick up the spice a bit
  • Friday: Leftovers or some egg dish
  • Saturday: We MAY be having a ladies night so I’m holding on deciding this until our plans are set

Menu Plan: April 5-11

Sorry for the late post of this week’s menu plan! I was busy all weekend, which is actually pretty rare for me. I tend to be a homebody, preferring to bum around the house or the neighborhood to parties and such. But I’m so glad I did get out, I had a blast with close friends this weekend celebrating my birthday and Easter. But, that means I drank way too many mimosas and ate way too much chocolate. So, back to healthy this week (again)!!

Menu Plan March 29 – April 4, 2015

Any substitutions or change I plan are noted below

  • Sunday: Easter brunch at a friend’s apartment. I made cheesy hashbrown nests to share
  • Monday: Sweet Potato & Lime Taquitos with a side salad
    • Baking instead of frying the taquitos
  • Tuesday: Dinner at Ethos Meze (Klaus is taking me out for my birthday)
  • Wednesday: Easy Vegan Creamy Pasta with Kale
    • Using roasted cherry tomatoes instead of sun-dried tomatoes (because I don’t love sun-dried tomatoes – I think they’re too sweet)
    • Whole wheat spaghetti noodles because that is what I have on hand
    • No pine nuts (Again – expensive!), I may sub in chopped walnuts
    • I MAY add in some nooch to the cream sauce
  • Thursday: Crispy Tofu Sticks, frozen fries, side salad (these are super good and are my go-to if I’m craving something fried and crispy)
  • Friday: Lemon garlic salmon, side salad, roasted cauliflower
    • I think I’m going to be on my own for dinner because Klaus is going to a show and I’m looking forward to a night in alone, so we’ll see if this is what I make. If we have any leftovers I may just eat those
  • Saturday: My friend Alex is hosting a lunch/potluck that involves sandwiches and a donut coffee cake – so I’m guessing I won’t be too hungry at night. Maybe we’ll pick something up!

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

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!!)

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
  • 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