26 New Recipes

I was perusing Instagram this morning while recuperating on the couch and came across a picture from Megan_NerdNest. She talked about how she’s documenting 52 new recipes this year in a book. I’ve now been thinking about this idea for the remainder of my afternoon and decided I wanted to do something similar. I’ll incorporate it into my regular Project Life album but I’m going to challenge myself to document 2 new recipes a month (less pressure for me not having to do it weekly!) This will require a little more planning on my part and cooking these recipes during the weekend so I can photograph them but I am up for the challenge!

I’ve already cooked at at least 3 new recipes so far this year and we’ve determined that 2 of them are coming into a regular rotation. I’m trying really hard to use my cookbooks and not just peruse the internet for recipes, so far it’s been a win! From here on out I’ll be sharing the new recipes and what we thought here on the blog!

 

 

 

Breakfast + Lunch + Snacks

While we’re much more diligent about planning out dinners the rest of our meals tend to be more of a fly by night operation. While I do take these other meals into consideration while planning for the week I could probably be more specific. Perhaps that would eliminate the scratching of the head at 5:30 in the morning…hmmmmm.

I thought I’d share some of the things we turn to more frequently than not for these meals since I always love fresh ideas from somewhere else. I’ve been finding a lot of inspiration on Instagram with the #Whole30 hashtag. We’re not doing Whole 30 specifically but we’ve been adhering to some of the pillars of it. I’ve eliminated almost all dairy and have had very little grains and sugar. The weekends are more relaxed and I do still indulge.

 

Breakfast

Trader Joes has awesome frozen oatmeal or oatmeal/quinoa (the only grain I’ve really been eating!) I like to top with a dollop of peanut butter or Justins Vanilla Almond butter and some berries.

Hard boiled eggs with fruit on the side

Avocado toast if I’m eating bread

Fried eggs with avocado slices and tomatoes

Green Smoothies (my favorite is kale, pineapple and coconut water with a scoop of vanilla protein powder)

Egg Cupcakes! (eggs + veggies baked in muffin tins)

 

Snacks

Nuts! We love nuts from Trader Joes. Lately it’s been cashews and pistachios

Lunchmeat wrapped around bell peppers or with guacamole

Grapefruit (I am ADDICTED!)

Guacamole cups from Costco with veggies to dip

Hard boiled eggs

Apple and peanut or almond butter

 

Lunch

I try to roast 3-4 chicken breasts and vegetables on Sundays and divvy it up for lunches. I’ll usually throw it together for a salad. I’m loving roasted beets, carrots and squash right now.

Tuna salad! I like to make a mediterranean version without mayo.

Roasted sweet potatoes with chicken and veggies on the side

Soup (Another thing I’ve been trying to whip up on the weekends is a pot of some kind of soup. Lately our favorite has been butternut squash. Super simple and delicious!)

If I’m eating grains I’ll make up a big batch of farro or quinoa at the beginning of the week. I’ll then add it to salads.



lunchmediterranean tuna salad + steak with veggies + fruit with muffin cups and avocado + quinoa veggie salad with arugula + sweet potato farro and arugula salad + roasted broccoli and butternut squash.


What do you do for breakfast + lunch + snacks?

Meal Planning

Anyone out there plan their meals for the week/bi weekly/monthly? We do it weekly here and then I spend Friday doing the grocery shopping for the upcoming week. We typically plan Saturday-Friday because that’s what works best for our schedule. Earlier this month I picked up a great meal planner from this great little Etsy shop. What I love most about it is that the pages are perforated and you tear them out weekly but then you can also tear off your shopping list! Win/Win. She doesn’t always have them in her shop but if you follow her on Facebook she lets you know when they’ll be available.

Since moving we have spent a LOT more time in the kitchen. It’s not as easy to say “I don’t feel like cooking tonight let’s just go grab something.” There isn’t much nearby and thing we were used to in Denver (Chipotle. Jimmy Johns. Wich Which.) are either non existent or way far away to make a quick run for dinner. We’ve picked up some great new cookbooks and have had fun trying out 2 new recipes a week. The Skinny Taste cookbook has proven to be a real winner! We’ve loved everything we’ve made so far.

I’ve been trying to double some meals so we have some easy freezer options as well. We’ve run out of all of those so I’ll spend today catching up! Going to make some bolognese to throw in the freezer as well as some more soup! Thought I’d share our meal plan in case anyone needs ideas! Happy Sunday!

Sunday: Pot Roast, Cesar Salad, Sweet Potatoes

Monday: Cubano Stuffed Pork Tenderloin, Green Salad, Roasted Brussels Sprouts (I’ll roast an extra tenderloin as well that’s just got some good seasoning for leftovers)

Tuesday: Mediterranean Turkey Burgers with Greek Salad

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Taco Salads

Friday: Shrimp with Broccoli

Saturday: out!

Brrrrrrr!!!!

Good Morning and hello Monday! We woke up to temps of 27˚ outside this morning! What the what?! I was so not prepared for the bitter chill that temperatures that cold bring into the house. Especially when you don’t turn on the heat (whoops!) Luckily we learned that our house warms up quickly and our heat does indeed work.

After a long and busy weekend all I wanted to do last night was to head out to a bar and grab some dinner and watch football. I wanted nothing to do with the kitchen or dishes. We were both beyond tired though and opted to stay in, throw on jammies and watch more Breaking Bad. We are seriously addicted and almost done with season 3.

We decided on Gyoza Soup, otherwise known as clean out the freezer/fridge soup. It’s so good and so filling. I’m glad I made more than enough for lunch leftovers today! You can tune this soup to your liking and add in pretty much anything that sounds delicious or any vegetables that are about to turn. The first time we made this soup we used fresh spinach which was really yummy!

When the soup was done cooking I set up the perfect picture and snapped away. Then I set my phone aside and quickly dove in only to later realize that my phone didn’t actually take the pictures. My iPhone 5S is giving me a run for my money these days and it’s only 6 months old. Guess I’ll have to make a trip to the Apple Store this week.

Enjoy your Monday!

gyoza soup

1 medium onion {cut in half, then sliced thin}

4 carrots {peeled and sliced into circles}

2 celery stalks, diced

6-8 large mushrooms, sliced

8-10 Trader Joes frozen Gyoza {we used pork this time}

1 container Trader Joes organic chicken broth

2 cups water

1/2 bag Trader Joes frozen Kale

salt

pepper

ginger powder

garlic powder

hoisin sauce

olive oil

sauté onions in olive oil until they are slightly translucent, then add in carrots and celery. cook until veggies begin to soften. add in mushrooms and cook until they begin to brown. season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and ginger powder {we didn’t have fresh ginger or I would have used it and I was too lazy to deal with fresh garlic!}

add in the container of chicken broth and 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. once boiling add in the frozen kale and bring back to a boil. allow the soup to boil for 5-8 minutes depending on the size of the kale pieces. add in gyoza and cook for an additional 2-4 minutes. don’t let the gyoza over cook!

serve immediately! this is delicious when you drizzle in hoisin sauce but just as good without it. we had some leftover rotisserie chicken so I shredded it and placed a little bit in each of our bowls. I ladled the soup on top and when we sat down to eat everything was nice and hot. this soup was super filling, we each only had one bowl!

have some fun with this recipe and add in vegetables to your liking. Trader Joes has other gyoza as well, there’s a vegetarian version and a chicken one too.

Beef + Butternut Squash Stew

This week’s meal plan had not one but two new recipes! While all of our cookbooks are still in storage in Denver {insert loud sobs!} I somehow managed to bring along a binder of recipes from magazines that I’ve cut out over the years. We’ve been working with that and checking out books from the library to fill in our meal plans. Last night’s dinner was a Beef Tagine with Butternut Squash served with couscous. I added more spices than the original recipe called for and I think I’d even bump it up a notch again next time.

This recipe came from a Cooking Light magazine in the January/February 2011 issue. I bought beef stew meat from Whole Foods because it was on sale. I think because of the cut of meat I used this was not a 40 minute recipe, which worked out well for me. I also believe this could be a great dish cooked low and slow in the crock pot or even in the oven on a rainy Sunday afternoon. I’ll be experimenting with this because we both thought that the flavors were so awesome and because the boy, ahem the husband requested lots of butternut squash in the future!

I’ll apologize in advance that there isn’t a single photo of this dish. It was dark + gloomy + rainy and I never took a single picture. {Must be better about that!!} The photo below is from the Cooking Light website.

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Beef Tangine with Butternut Squash

adapted from Cooking Light


2 1/2 teaspoons paprika

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 1/2 pounds beef cut into 1 inch cubes

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 small onions, cut into thin wedges

4 garlic cloves chopped

1 cup chicken broth

1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained

3 cups (1 inch) cubed and peeled butternut squash (about 1 pound)

Combine the first six ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well. Add the beef, toss to coat. Heat the olive oil over medium high heat (I used my large Le Cruset pot, it was the perfect size.) Add onions and let them begin to brown. Add in beef, stir occasionally until browned. Add in garlic, stirring to ensure it doesn’t burn but make sure it gets cooked! Stir in broth and deglaze the pan, scrape up all those yummy brown bits!! Add in tomatoes and bring everything to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes, then add squash. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer 15 minutes or until squash is tender. Serve over couscous.

{The cooking ingredients are what the original recipe suggested. My beef and my squash weren’t ready at this point. I allowed them to simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. I believe it’s because of the cut of beef I used but nonetheless it was a delicious dish!}

treats, treats and more treats!

Did you know it’s National Dessert Day? Thank goodness for social media or else how would we keep track of all these fabulous “holidays” 🙂 I’m currently trying to decide what to make later today but here are a few goodies that sound irresistible!

** These little chocolate salted shortbread bites sound so yummy!

http://www.doughmesstic.net/2011/12/22/dark-chocolate-and-salted-caramel-topped-shortbread/

** Caramel + apples + cheesecake? Has to be a winner in my book!

http://goboldwithbutter.com/?p=1790

** I’m not a brownie lover (gasp! I know!) but blondies speak to me. These sound so so good. They might be the winner today as I bet I have all the ingredients!

http://www.shutterbean.com/2012/chocolate-chunk-blondies/

** These are by far the BEST chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever made. Probably because it uses brown butter. Make these. Make these now! Also I can’t WAIT to get my hands on her new cookbook! The cake on the cover? Swoon.

http://joythebaker.com/2014/05/the-best-brown-butter-chocolate-chip-cookies/

** Then this cake. I mean seriously?! How gorgeous is it? This is one of my new blog finds and it’s quickly becoming one of my favorites!

http://mynameisyeh.com/mynameisyeh/2014/9/funfetti-cake

 

Are you making anything for National Dessert Day?!

Testing Testing

Sunday dinners are one of my favorite family rituals. We cook dinner at my inlaws house every week. It’s time spent together in the kitchen, talking, catching up and goofing off, always ending with a yummy home cooked meal.

Lately I’ve taken to using Sunday afternoons to prep food for the week. A good relaxing way to start the week and it’s helpful to have a good base for healthy eating. It makes packing lunches so much easier, not to mention throwing dinners together. Meal planning is one of my favorite things to do.

Tonight we took our weekly Sunday trip to the grocery store. We had a meal plan in our heads and when we got to the store we found that the selection of fish was subpar for the fish tacos we were going to make. Quick change of plans and we decided to throw salmon and flank steak on the grill. I also figured it would be a good test run for my upcoming #whole30!

The flank steak got tenderized and a quick marinade of lime juice, ginger and soy sauce. (Need to figure out a replacement for the soy sauce to make it whole 30 approved.) The salmon got a dusting of lemon pepper. We also tossed some asparagus with salt, pepper and olive oil. Thrown on the grill as well, 75% of our meal was done, you have to love quick and easy meals! The salsa that we made would be so good over many different proteins, I’m thinking next time shrimp!

No pictures today, we were so hungry we dove right in!

Mango Jicama Salsa
1/4 red onion, diced
1/2 jicama, diced
1 mango, diced
1 jalapeño, reseeded and minced
1/2 bell pepper, diced
1/2 English cucumber, diced
1 avocado, diced
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.

Dressing:
Juice of 3 limes
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
1/4 cup Olive oil or avocado oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Whisk all ingredients together. Pour over salsa. Serve immediately.

The Right Time Is Now (Well April 1st)

I adore Instagram. There are so many amazing people on there and it’s such a friendly and inspiring community. Recently I’ve seen a Whole 30 being mentioned a lot and it intrigued me. I’ve heard of it before, skimmed the book before but apparently I wasn’t ready to commit at that time. This past week I picked up my very own copy of the book  It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. I read the entire thing in 3 days and decided it was past time to reset my body.

I’m uncomfortable in my own skin these days. I’ve been eating like crap for some reason and that’s so not me. I drank soda THREE times this week and I haven’t done that in months. Why did I do it? I have no idea. It wasn’t even good but I kept drinking it until my cup was empty. I also ate fast food one night this week and that pushed me over the edge. It’s like I’m trying to torment my body and punish it. I rarely eat fast food, I love eating fruits and vegetables. I think that my body is screaming at me that it wants help and my brain has finally caught up to the idea. So now I have a plan. Beginning April 1 I will start my Whole 30 journey. I’ve found two new friends on Instagram who are going to start then as well and we’re going to form a little support group which I believe will be incredibly helpful and keep me accountable even more.

This isn’t going to be easy. I love sugar. I also highly enjoy coffee with cream, milk with cereal and cheese and crackers. I’m fairly certain my body does not. So by doing this little reset I’m hoping that my body will take some time to heal and allow me the chance to see what really makes it unhappy. And let’s be honest, I’m also hoping to loose some weight and feel better about myself.

I spent 45 minutes wandering around Whole Foods yesterday and I think the mindset is on it’s way. I picked up items and then debated if they would be a good choice and ultimately they were not. I left with 2 cartons of low sodium organic chicken broth (approved) 2 cans of crushed tomatoes (approved) 1 container of fresh chopped soup veggies (zucchini, green beans, onions, carrots and celery are approved, potatoes are not) 1 can of cannelini beans (not approved) and some fresh pears. I’d say overall that was a good start to resetting my brain!

If you’ve done this before and have tips, please share! If you want to join in that’s great! The more the merrier, go grab a copy of the book and see what it’s all about. I’ll be sharing my journey here, and trying to share pictures and recipes as well. Come back April 1 and join the journey!

 

Pizza!

Coming home after a long vacation I am always ready to get back into the kitchen. Don’t get me wrong, I’m most definitely a fan of going out to eat but these days I’m much happier in the kitchen. Send me to a super special restaurant and I’m good, or the Cherry Cricket because their burgers are amazing. Otherwise I just wind up disappointed because I could have made something equally delicious at home.

We cooked all weekend and continued the trend tonight. Three new recipes this weekend plus a tried and true recipe tonight. I’m one happy girl!

I love making pizza at home. Once we started making it at home there’s really no turning back, unless we’re talking deep dish Chicago style. I’ll leave that to the pros. Enter the rushed recipe from Deb’s Smitten Kitchen cookbook and you can have homemade pizza dough ready to go in 35 minutes.

Tonight we decided to make bbq chicken pizza and it was so yummy! It will certainly be making the rounds into our meal plan more frequently. The boy, ahem the husband cooked up the chicken with some secret bbq rub and then we topped the dough with bbq sauce, red onion, Italian shredded cheese mix and the chicken. Popped into the oven and baked for 13 minutes. Seriously delicious pizza people, and it’s ready to go in under an hour.

Enjoy your week!

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Green Goodness

This year my body seems to be surviving without coffee…I know, I know how is that even possible? I can’t exactly tell you but I can say that smoothies have to play some part in it. I can go days without caffeine and not get a headache {yes!!} and I feel so much better when I start my day with a smoothie. Usually it’s a whole bunch of spinach assorted fruits (I tend to lean towards frozen pineapple, peaches and mango) but anything is delicious.

Fast forward to last weekends incredible trip to San Francisco. We had just finished brunch at Foreign Cinema (meh) and were walking towards Tartine Bakery for croissants when we stumbled across Sidewalk Juice. There was a crowd of people out front of it which is what caught our attention so we stopped and read the gigantic menu for a good five minutes. After deciding that we should split one since we’d just brunched and were on our way to get more to eat I told the boy, ahem, the husband that he could pick whatever he wanted. His choice? The Kale Colada Smoothie {fresh organic kale, coconut juice, pineapple, coconut shreds, pineapple sorbet and ice.} I was intrigued by the kale and the coconut…I am a huge kale fan but was yet to incorporate it into a smoothie and coconut has never been my thing. This smoothie though? This smoothie changed my mind. I seriously dreamed of it all week until I could find the time to head to Whole Foods to get lacinto kale. The result was a sweet yet slightly tart smoothie with a hint of coconut that was so refreshing.

I’ve made it twice now at home and I am hooked. I drank a 22 oz life factory water bottle full for breakfast and didn’t need to eat until late afternoon. I am also in love with the life factory water bottles because they are glass, hold the perfect amount of smoothie and keep them cold. Want to make your own? Check out my recipe for my take on the awesome sidewalk juice drink we savored in between insane amounts of food while walking the streets of San Francisco!

kale colada ingredients1

 

 

2 cups frozen pineapple

a healthy handful or two of lacinato kale

3 tablespoons of sorbet (I couldn’t find plane pineapple but the one that I bought is amazing)

8 oz coconut juice (NOT coconut water!)

a handful of coconut flakes (the first time I made this I made it without the flakes and it was still delicious)

 

Blend pineapple, sorbet, juice and coconut flakes together until smooth. Add in kale and continue to blend. Adjust ingredients to your liking, less liquid if you like a thicker smoothie, more if you like a juice like one. If you use fresh pineapple be sure to add a handful of ice cubes so your smoothie is cold.

 

kale colada

 

I’m excited to build off of this recipe, I’m thinking mango would be a delicious addition as would peach. Have any delicious smoothie recipes to share? I’m always looking for new ones. If you need ideas you can check out my pinterest board or go look at the Sidewalk Juice website for ideas, they have a ton of smoothies listed.

Have a great weekend!