Tag Archives: Meal Planning

Breakfast on the Go, (Almost) the Same as at Home

10 Mar

By now I don’t think it’s a secret that I love to cook and breakfast is no exception. I eat breakfast every single day. I don’t change it up all that much. I find something I like and stick to it for several months. Kind of like when I was eating breakfast burritos all the time. Lately the standard has been oatmeal and eggs.

Even when in a hurry I don’t skip breakfast nor do I grab anything processed. I am excited to share with you a way to have the same kind of breakfast you would have at home on the go: overnight oatmeal and hard-boiled eggs. (I didn’t say it was going to be glamorous.)

It’s simple you prepare the whole thing the night before in less than 15 minutes and as long as you don’t forget your spoon you can eat it anywhere. I think I’m the last person on the planet to discover this breakfast delicacy. I first read about it on Carrots and Cake or Kath Eats,  I don’t remember which one. After a year of reading about these women preparing this culinary treasure, I decided to give it whirl. All you have to do is soak your oatmeal overnight in a liquid of preference. I’ve been using unsweetened almond milk topped with a sliced banana and walnuts. The oats soak up the liquid and are just as soft as when cooked. Now there are no excuses for not eating breakfast.

Anyone have a another tip for taking a home cooked breakfast on the go?

Raw Delicious Decadent Dessert

25 Feb

I was able to salvage all of the photos from the memory card from the camera I killed earlier this week! I am very excited to share with you an amazing dessert that I made twice last weekend: sliced pink lady apples with slices of raw Gruyère cheese topped with raw honey and chopped pecans.

Raw apple dessert

Raw apple dessert

It’s 100% raw. 100% delicious. 100% decadent. 100% healthy.

It’s very easy to be this fancy. As long as you have some small plates you can easily impress your friends and family at your next dinner party.

Chop up some apples, place cheese slice on top, drizzle with raw (unheated) honey and sprinkle with raw pecans. The sweetness of the honey, the savoriness of the cheese and tartness of the apples create a unique blend of flavors that won’t be forgotten. I’m already thinking of variations of this with pears, brie, slivered almonds and honey.

Do you have a favorite raw dessert? I’d love to try it.

P.S. I’ve been so immersed in sharing delicious healthy food that I forgot to mention that I am doing the Hustle Up the Hancock on Sunday, 95 flights of stairs baby! I did the climb last year in 20:30 and my goal is to finish in 18 minutes. I’ll let you all know how it goes.

Curried chicken chili and clubbing

11 Feb

What do chicken chili and clubbing have in common? Absolutely nothing but I’m going clubbing this weekend and I’ve been enjoying chicken chili all week.

As years go by people’s interests and hobbies change. One of my favorite activities used to be clubbing. Yeah, I used to be a Jersey-Shore-fist-pumping-dance-your-butt-off-til-5am-at-the-club type, I’m not kidding. For some of you who have met me over the last few years or who have been following this blog you may find it hard to believe. In my late teens through mid-20s I was at every club opening and DJ night in Chicago and even traveled Europe visiting the biggest clubs in Berlin, Mykonos, Athens, Madrid, Ibiza, London and Barcelona.

These days I prefer to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night, go to the gym and cook delicious meals at home. My latest invention in the kitchen is Curried Chicken Chili.

Curried chicken chili

Curried chicken chili

Ingredients:
2 free-range chicken breasts, fat trimmed and pounded
1 TBS lemon juice
1 tsp chipotle chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp green curry paste
1.5 TBS coconut oil, divided

1 medium onion diced
1 medium red bell pepper diced

28 oz can of no-salt added diced tomatoes
1 TBS cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp curry powder (this is optional and to your preference, I added sweet curry powder)
15 oz kidney beans

Step 1:
In a shallow dish brush lemon juice over the chicken until covered on both sides. Then sprinkle with chili powder and cumin, covering both sides. Spread green curry paste on the chicken with butter knife. Cover and let stand in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Step 2:
Preheat skillet to medium and add half of the oil. Sautee chicken until cooked through, about three to four minutes on each side. Remove from skillet and let cool. Once cooled dice the chicken into bite sized pieces.

Step 3:
In a medium-sized pot over medium heat sautee onion and red bell pepper until soft, about three minutes. Add diced chicken and mix ingredients.

Vegetables and Chicken

Vegetables and Chicken

Add tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, coriander and curry. Mix all ingredients and bring to a boil. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes.

With Tomatoes

With Tomatoes

Step 4:
Add beans, mix thoroughly, cover and cook for 15 more minutes. You can serve it straight out of the pot or over a bed of quinoa. Enjoy!

Are there any other chili-loving club heads reading my blog? If you’re out there what are your favorite dance tracks?

Eating Away from Home, Part 2

25 Nov Ceviche

This past weekend I went to San Francisco again. If you’re wondering what I’m doing there, I’m taking a course over five weekends. The class is about exploring what I want my contribution to be in the world. Every since I was a little girl I knew I wanted to be known for changing the world somehow and that is what I’m up to when I travel to California. I’ll be going again three more times, so I will have a chance to perfect this system.

The majority of the time while in San Francisco I am going between the hotel room, the lobby and the conference room. It’s very similar to a work conference. I made some changes to what I did last time and overall we had a better experience, but the process could still use some improvements.

Prior to leaving on the trip my roommates and I took the following steps:
• Made sure that there would be a fridge in the hotel room before arrival
• Made a grocery store list
• Made a list of raw recipes that can easily be prepared in a hotel room
• Found a place to get raw milk
• Brought a cutting board from home

We ate breakfast at the hotel on Friday:

Oatmeal with bananas, raisons and peanut butter

Oatmeal with bananas, raisins and peanut butter

For lunch I returned to the bagel shop up the road for that same half bagel. You may be experiencing deja vu if you’ve read the other post, but I promise things will change as you read along.

Turkey, veggies and hummus on a bagel

Turkey, veggies and hummus on a bagel

Later in the evening on Friday we went to Whole Foods to pick up our food for the weekend. Some of the items we picked up:
• Fish (for ceviche)
• Kale
• Spinach
• Celery
• Tomatoes
• Avocados
• Snap peas
• Mushrooms
• Ginger
• Bananas
• Apples
• Dried cherries
• Bread
• Hummus
• Strawberries
• Blueberries
• Peanut Butter
• Jam

Here are some of the highlights of what we ate. One of us brought a hand-held blender and we were able to make smoothies in a pitcher.

Raw honey, raspberries and raw milk smoothie

Raw honey, raspberries and raw milk smoothie

We put so many vegetables and fruits in this ceviche I don’t think I could ever make it the same again. Some of what we put in here are red peppers, celery, raw dried cherries, mango, avocado, macadamia nuts and fish soaked in lemon juice over night.  It was delicious.

Ceviche

Ceviche

I also ate this roast beef sandwich.

Roast beef sandwich

Roast beef sandwich

I almost forgot about this kale salad with snap peas, tomatoes, avocado, lemon juice and Bariani olive oil (which is so amazing that I could dedicate a whole post to this olive oil).

Kale salad

Kale salad

On the last day as a treat I picked up this exquisite almond croissant, you can’t see it but there was almond paste practically oozing from the center.

Almond croissant

Almond croissant

I was able to eat as well as I do at home. It did require some extra effort and I’ll be honest sometimes I wanted to go downstairs to the hotel restaurant and order whatever, but sticking to the original plan had many rewards. I made excellent food choices every day while away from home, it was fun to prepare food in a small hotel room with friends (especially stuff that tastes good) and I had more energy than I’ve ever had while traveling.

There are a few things I could improve upon for next time:
• A more detailed grocery store list (we had too many left overs)
When at home I don’t usually write how much I need of something because I cook for two people and have recipes planned, here I need to be more specific or get a meal plan together.
• Getting in half a day early
• Asking a friend from San Fran to bring us a knife
• Having recipes ready to prepare on site
• Bring Tupperware

Overall this was a great adventure and I can’t wait until January to do it again. Hope that everyone has a great Thanksgiving! I’ll be running a 10k Turkey Trot and then I have two Thanksgivings to attend in the afternoon.

Eating Away from Home

26 Oct

Do you remember when I took that trip to San Francisco last month? For that trip I had done some meal planning to make sure that I could eat well, on a budget and not get enticed by hotel junk food. If you recall, I did some research and found that there was a Whole Foods close to our hotel. I decided to buy groceries and store them in the hotel fridge for the weekend. All went well.

Friday Morning

Oats with fresh fruit and peanut butter

Oats with fresh fruit and peanut butter

We had not yet gone to Whole Foods, but oatmeal is a hotel breakfast I can always count on. I like to eat my oats with fruit and peanut butter. This hotel also had fresh squeezed OJ, it was perfect way to start the day.

Friday Afternoon

Turkey and veggies bagel

Bagel with turkey and veggies

The afternoon rolled around and we opted to wait until later to hit up WF, instead we ate lunch at a cute bagel shop. I ordered a sesame wheat bagel (hollowed out, I don’t like to get full on the bread I prefer to fill my sandwich with veggies) with turkey, cheese,  hummus, sprouts, lettuce, tomatoes and avocado. The sandwich was so filling that I ate half and saved the other half for later.

Finally that evening we made it to Whole Foods. I didn’t have a concrete list. I’ve done enough meal planning and grocery shopping that I was able to get just enough for the weekend. The only detail left to handle was that there was no fridge in our hotel room. If you’re ever in a situation where you want to have a fridge in your hotel room and don’t here’s what you do… call the front desk and ask for one. 🙂 It works.

The rest of the weekend we ate food from our stash and the only time I bought anything at the hotel was the occasional tea and this amazing fruit tart.

Fruit Tart

Fruit Tart

It was delicious.

Overall this system worked out very well. The thing I will do differently next time is have a grocery list prepared ahead of time so that we can get to the store and get our food quickly. There was a bit of unnecessary running around.

I’ll be flying back to San Fran at the end of next month and will be in the same type of situation, staying at the same hotel, taking the same weekend class, with the same friends so I’ll get to test out this system again. For those of you who are committed to eating well and can’t make it to the grocery store, Whole Foods has a shopping and delivery service.

For Those of you who Just Don’t Have the Time

24 Sep

My awesome best friend Katya, posed a question yesterday in response to last week’s Meal Planning post. She asks “…what do you say to people who claim they don’t have time to do all that? What did you have to give up to make time?”

That’s a really great question mostly because I am still learning the answer. I’m not one of those people who is naturally super organized and awesome at scheduling. In fact it wasn’t until a few years ago that I began to make lists and use a calendar. In the past, my approach to scheduling was trying to memorize all of my appointments, parties, events, birthdays, plans, homework, projects, etc. As you can imagine, I was a nightmare to make plans with, I would arrive places 2-3 hours late, I would forget some major activity at least once a week and I was worried about missing appointments all the time (coincidentally, I was broke and unhealthy).

These days I have a full life and a full schedule, however there are certain activities and events that I have given up. I don’t miss them and I have criteria, it’s  purposeful. Obviously, I have a passionate commitment to my health and eating well. Given that commitment, it takes priority over everything. When an event comes up I think about whether it will fulfill on those priorities.

Happy hours, open-bar birthday parties, late nights at clubs are all events I no longer go to, unless it’s for very close friends or family. I don’t drink alcohol, so it’s really not fun for me and neither is waking up tired or talking to drunk people all night (remember I’m the only sober one, so it’s not fun for me).

Meal planning and commitment to health (or any commitment for that matter) is an evolutionary process. You start somewhere and then refine and tune as needed. What works one month may not work the next. I started out with just going to the grocery store and buying things that seemed healthy or my trainer told me were acceptable to eat. For a while all I ate was grilled chicken, potatoes and romaine lettuce salads with tomatoes and cucumbers. Then I got my first Clean Eating Magazine, starting making recipes from that. I then discovered other magazines, I started swapping recipes with coworkers, then started to make up my own, I started reading Healthy Living blogs and each day I learn something new. All of this did not happen over night, I did not wake up one day and plan my meals for the week and know how to do it. I posted about it last week, so that you the reader could take something away from what I have learned.

I have found that the more time I spend planning the less time I spend doing and worrying. If you don’t think you have time to meal plan, here are some of the benefits:
No more worries or thinking

You won’t spend any time thinking about what you will eat on any given day. Just check your list and prepare.
Quick and efficient trip to grocery store

Or you can give your list to someone else to do the shopping for you. I even categorize my list: carbs/grains, proteins/dairy, produce, cans, spices, misc. This saves time at the grocery store too.
Weekend meal prep
You can prep your meals over the weekend and have fresh meals up through the middle of the week if not longer.

Preparing does save time and mental energy. Also, for me, keeping my planning open, flexible and ever-evolving has me stick with it, and believe me I have been at a place where I hated my calendar and planner so much that I threw it away.

So thanks Katya for asking the question, I really enjoyed answering and I ask you (and all the readers) to take a moment and think about how you relate to planning. Is it something you have to do or do you take it on as an enjoyable ever-changing process? Meal planning is no different.

Getting Ready to Travel

20 Sep

Good morning everyone, I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. I’m liking this Monday today. It’s not a common thing for people to like Mondays, but I think Monday gets a bad rep. I feel like every Monday is a fresh start, a brand new work week filled with opportunities, opportunities to be more productive, to step up my game with workouts, to break old habits. Particularly when I get enough sleep on Sunday, this is my experience of Mondays.

For me, the best way to have a great Monday is to plan as much of my week as I can on Sunday. That includes having planned:
• workouts
• sleep
• meals for the week
• having my clothes ready and picked out for the morning
• setting my coffee maker to brew as soon as I wake up
• deciding which train to take (I travel to work on a commuter train with a set schedule).

Later in the week I will be traveling, I’ll be in a situation where I’ll responsible for all my meals, but mostly I’ll be stuck with hotel food options. Not that there is anything wrong with hotel food, I just don’t always make the best choices when eating at hotel restaurants, not to mention that for a person traveling on a budget hotel meals are not exactly the most cost efficient. I eat 4-5 meals per day along with a snack or two in-between and to be eating out that many times is just not going to work for me.

So I’ve been doing some planning, I’m going to find a grocery store near by and buy my own food for the week. I won’t be able to buy anything that requires cooking, and I may be limited to things like sandwiches and salads, but I think I’m on to something. I’ll be sharing my hotel room with a friend who has a special diet who eats exclusively raw. We are going to call the hotel to request that there be an empty refrigerator on account of his special diet. We also know that there is a Whole Foods near the hotel, we’re also going to find out the hours and find a time to buy the food we need from there.

As I commit to eating healthier and eating more raw vegetables and fruits I don’t want to leave my food choices up to chance. I know that if I spend the weekend eating pastas, pizzas, fries and other ‘junk foods’ I will be sluggish and it will be that much harder to get back into my routine when I get back home.

I’ve never tried anything like this before. It’s an experiment! I’m sure I will learn plenty about meal planning and travel that I’ll be able to share when I get back.

If you’ve attempted to meal plan to this extent while traveling and you have some tips for me, please let me know. I’d love to hear from you.

Meal Planning & Breakfast Burrito

17 Sep

Good afternoon, to everyone. I’ve been eating like a queen this week and I owe it to stepping up my meal planning game this week. But before I get into the details of that, here is today’s Breakfast Burrito:

Breakfast Burrito

Breakfast Burrito

From the bottom up:
Whole wheat flaxseed tortilla from Trader Joe’s
Chipotle chili pepper hummus
Raw organic baby spinach
2 farm fresh eggs, sunny side up
toasted flax seeds
Part-skim mozzarella cheese

So about meal planning, every week I make a rough outline of what I’m going to be eating during the week. I decide what will be eaten for breakfast, for lunch and for dinner. I incorporate seasonal ingredients and at least one recipe I have never tried. Once I decide on the menu then I make the shopping list. It’s very simple and usually I leave a couple days open for miscellaneous cooking inspiration. The problem that I’ve had with this method is I end up with extra produce that I sometimes have to throw away. It breaks my heart to see food and money go to waste.

Last weekend I created a menu for my entire week with zero gaps and I used carrots and coconut as a theme. It all worked brilliantly on many different levels:

01 Once I made the list I didn’t have to think about what I was going to eat,
just look at the list and prepare
02 Looking at the list it gave me something to look forward to each day
03 Nothing went to waste this week!
04 I spent less money on the ingredients

Here are a couple highlights from the week, both of these are the new recipes I had never made before (both are from Clean Eating Magazine):

Coconut curry shrimp

Coconut curry shrimp

This one looks awesome and the shrimp tastes amazing. The shrimp are battered and baked in a single egg and a mixture of flaxseed meal and coconut flakes. I wasn’t crazy about the sauce, it called for Stevia, and I really should have known better. I only like sugar and raw honey as sweeteners, should have gone with my gut. I’ll make this one again and modify slightly.

Carrot ginger soup

Carrot ginger soup

This soup is AMAZING! Mostly I followed the recipe, it called for silken tofu, instead I used light coconut milk for creaminess. The only thing I would do differently next time is make more.

Tonight I will be making Spinach, Mushroom and Chicken dinner crepes. I can’t wait to get to the gym and get back home.

Daily Actions, Day 18
• Logging my food intake everyday — done
• Doing my workouts and logging them everyday — done
• Getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night — done
• Ask at least one person per day one of a few questions: –  done
What are your dreams? What do you like about your life? What are you grateful for?

In addition to the daily actions I will take some other miscellaneous actions:
(These won’t get a check mark until I do them later in the month, but I’m keeping them here as a reminder)
• Host a ‘Clean’ dinner party at my home once a month — Hosted 1st party Sunday 8.29
• Get a Sub Max test
• Clean two closets — one closet is clean
• Paint bedroom walls

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