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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Getting Ready for Easter

This is actually the pre-Easter menu that I drafted and then forgot to publish!   So, this week was really about me not buying a bag of Reece's peanut butter eggs and eating them all up! 

Weekend Before:   This week in addition to cooking for us we are delivering food as part of a meal train to a boy from Oliver's preschool who lost his mother.  I like to pull out my (Alton Brown) trusty lentil soup recipe for these occasions.   Its easy and pretty much fool proof.  So, I made enough for us and them.  I also repeated the lemon-raspberry muffins from last week because they were so good and I could send half to the family.   I also cut up my celery and carrots and made my stock (for the lentil soup and tomato soup).

Monday
Lentil Soup
Halo
Muffin

Dinner:  Lentil Soup and Salad

Tuesday
PB&J (more dolphins)
Banana
Celery/Carrots

Dinner:  Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

Wednesday
Tomato Soup (yes, that was me unsuccessfully trying to sneak in a leftover the next day!)
Celery/Carrots
Applesauce

Dinner:   Leftover soups!

Thursday
PB& HONEY   (totally mixing it up don't you think)
Celery/Carrots and Hummus
Apple

Dinner:  You guessed it -- leftover soup -- again.

Friday
Tomato Soup
Pretzles & Hummus
Apple

Dinner:  "Healthy"  Mac & Cheese and green beans





No cooking post easter!

So, the week following Easter turned out to be a bit of a free for all week.  There were plenty of leftovers of salmon, asparagus, and bread to be had by all.   Not to mention an extra bottle or two of wine!    Lunches were mostly PB&J and boiled eggs much to Oliver's delight.   When we weren't eating leftovers, -- we were eating out and leftovers from that.   Not a good week last week.  Hopefully this the next one will be better!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Leftover Week

So, last week, we are on a "clean out the freezer/refrigerator" mission.   One of the things I have been trying to do is freeze some extra stuff as we go along from previous meals to make lunch and dinner planning easier.  Except that I haven't actually used any of them.  So, the goal this week was to get through some of the stuff.   I've noted the items that were defrosted.

Weekend Before:   Nothing except buy fruit. Oliver chose Halos -- again.  You could make muffins.

Monday
Broccoli Bites (defrosted)
2 Halos
Pretzels

Dinner:  Whole Wheat Pasta w/ Olive Oil and Garlic with squash and zucchini (the squash and zucchini were defrosted from when I made veggie lasagna about 5 weeks ago!)

Tuesday
Hummus (not leftover, but we had two individual servings left in the refrigerator that expire next week!)
Pretzels
Halos
String Cheese

Dinner:  Chili -- using the last of those black beans from last week!  Added some frozen corn and bell peppers.

Wednesday
Veggie Nuggets (defrosted)
Honey Mustard
Tofu
Muffin

Dinner:   Free for all night!

Thursday -- repeating Tuesday here
PB&J --cut in the shape of dolphins - as I stumbled upon cute sandwich cutter at the 99c store!
Halos
Muffin

Dinner:  Pea Soup (defrosted)

Friday
Veggie Nuggets
BBQ sauce
Muffin

Dinner: Shrimp and Green Bean Stir Fry w/ brown rice

About the Recipes:
The recipe this week is from the 100 Days of Real Food Blog.  I tried her Lemon Rasberry Muffins.  I made a few alterations.  I used honey instead of maple syrup, I used mixed berries instead of raspberries and added about a tablespoon of lemon juice (I would probably add a little more even)  It took a solid 25 minute to cook.   I used silicone baking cups in my regular metal pan.  These were tasty -- but a little bit crumbly.  But, a keeper nonetheless.  Oliver went crazy for them!

I had forgotten how great these veggie nuggets were.  A big hit when I made them the first time and again now.     A great alternative to chicken for us!   I used whole wheat flour and panko bread crumbs when I made these.

Wednesday night's Pea Soup came to us straight from our freezer and Ina Garten.  The flavor is great in my vegetarian version.   I would, however, add all my peas at once next time and use more liquid than the recipe called for.   It's just a little too thick.  Hence, half of it making it into our freezer!

Friday's dinner was a new recipe for us.  We had about a pound of frozen shrimp left and a ton of frozen green beans.   So I was super happy to stumble across this.  I actually replaced the chicken stock with water rather than make a batch of vegetable stock for 1/4 cup.   This was not great in execution -- but green bean/shrimp combo was surprisingly good and a keeper with a different sauce.  Oliver requested soy sauce on it - and happily ate it up when we obliged.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Not a menu -- Steps/Half Marathons & More

So, as per usual I am frantically trying to control my eating and find time to exercise.  It is quite simply no easy task.   I've committed to my 10,000 steps a day and with the help of the fitbit am still going quite strong.  Even if it sometimes means pacing around my house to get those last few steps in before it buzzes.   The most I've gotten in a single day was about 16,000.    My next goal is to hit 20,000 some day soon!  

In the meantime I signed up for another half marathon.  It's not until November, so I have plenty of time to stall.   But, I sat down over the weekend to put together a training schedule.  Of course, first things first, I have to actually start running again, -- which is going to be difficult to say the least!   Being I have so much time until the half, I decided to take it easy and start with just 30 minutes of run/walking (3 min running/1 minute walking) this week.   I'm also committed to getting to my spin class every single Saturday and hopefully one on Wednesday too!   To help me make sure I don't overindulge with the extra exercise (why yes, I would like a 500 calorie piece of pizza being I just burned 100 on my jog -- check out this article for more on this and other sabotaging behaviors!)   I am also back to using My Fitness Pal to track my food.

I've also been searching for some inspiration.  I know, I know, you would think that say, a Marvel Avengers Half Marathon in and of itself would be inspiration, -- or at least maybe Black Widow's figure (which I would need implants to achieve), but alas, no.    I've already read Born to Run and Eat and Run and watched every running documentary available on Netflix and Amazon Prime. So, I think my next book is going to be Ultra Marathon Man.   I mean me running 13 miles is pretty much the same as him running 50+ right?  

Finally, I am planning to try to think like an athlete!   This article is full of some awesome tips. I printed it out to re-read.   Although, the truth is I currently do not think that way.  I think more like this.

So until I complete my journey from the latter to the former, the following accurately depicts the conversation in my head that happens before every single run!
What goes through my head...


Skipped Two Weeks -- But here is week 3

Ok, so I had two really bad weeks.   We completely fell off the planning wagon.  Oliver ate tofu w/soy sauce at least three and possibly four days for lunch last week.  The other day was PB&J.   Dinners were equally bad.  I did manage to make a pot of lentils that we ate, but we also ate out 4 times last week.  So, last week we were really  trying to get back on the wagon.  
 
Then last week, Oliver got sick.   So I didn't actually send what was on the menu for Tuesday and Wednesday, because he didn't go to school.  But, I included what I had planned below incase you're interested -- I just can't comment on how well the may have gone over.  Then when Oliver did go back he asked for a heart shaped PB&J on Thursday -- how could I refuse that request!
Weekend Before:  Shopping, Crockpot Black Beans, Salsa.   I stocked up on some of Oliver's staples last week -- and am continuing to use them in his lunches this week.   
 
Monday:  
Thai Noodles w/tofu and veggies (this is the 100 days of real food recipe w/tofu added)
Two Mandarin Oranges
 
Dinner:  Black Bean Burritos 
 
Tuesday: 
Black Beans in Thermos w/ a little cheese.
Greek Yogurt w/honey
Mandarin Orange
 
Dinner:   Black Beans & Rice w/  Salsa (I was going to make jerk shrimp to go with this, and just got too tired!)
 
Wednesday: 
Tofu & Rice w/soy sauce
Banana
Trail Mix
 
Dinner:  Veggie Pizza
 
Thursday: 
PB&J Heart
Mandarin Oranges
Trail Mix
 
Dinner:  Southwestern Quinoa (quinoa, black beans, corn, cilantro) served w/ salsa
 
Friday:
Black Bean & Cheese Burrito
Mandarin Orange
Trail Mix
 
Dinner:   Salmon w/ mango salsa, black beans and rice.
 
-- No recipes to share this week, but here are my tips: 

Crockpot black beans:  1 pound beans, about 6 cups water, I cooked mine with about a half a cup of onion, a garlic clove (I mince mine) and a bay leaf.  Then salt when done.  It took a solid 8 hours in my crockpot.     It made a LOT.   We've used them all week, and I think I may have to freeze some. 
 
Salsa:  I've said before I started with the pioneer woman recipe and now have completely changed it.  This week I had tomatoes that were going to go bad so I roasted them and the jalapeno.   I still used one can of organic tomatoes too, onion and cilantro.  I have no idea how much of each because I pretty much just to it to taste.  Turned out great!   
 
Trail Mix:  So, my trail mix isn't fancy at all and Oliver doesn't always eat all the nuts, but I wasn't up for making muffins this week, so I took Almonds, Dried Cranberries and Dried Bananas and mixed them up.  
 
Number of Items in school lunches:  Someone asked me why I only send three different items.  This is based on Oliver.   Sometimes, I feel like three is too many!   The more choices he has the less he actually eats.  So, I like to limit it to three items.  I also don't send diary every day because he drinks plenty of milk/eats plenty of cheese at home, so he doesn't need it for an overall balanced diet.   This weeks menu was short on vegetables.   That's mostly because I forgot to buy any that he will actually eat and I wasn't feeling creative enough to whip up something to hide the ones he won't.  So, I'll be looking to correct that next week.   

Another menu

Week 2.   

This week we ate out on Wednesday, so it's missing a dinner.   Everything this week was super simple! 
 
Weekend Before:  This weekend I did nothing.    We had a lot left over from the week before, and I was super swamped at work this week.  BUT, we did make Broccoli Bites for Dinner on Saturday night and I took four of them and froze two, and saved two in the refridgerator.   I also still had granola bars and hummus and pita from last week.   You could make your pasta sauce over the weekend if you wanted to, I didn't do mine until Tuesday night.   Mine is never the same twice, but I cook carrots, spinich or kale, sometimes butternut squash, and blend it into my tomato sauce (I use my hand held emulsifier but you could use a blender or food processor).  This week we had some fresh tomatoes I needed to use that I mixed with a can of organic tomato sauce.  If it is too acidic you can add a touch of honey.  I usually just add garlic, salt, basil and oregeno to taste.   The sauce lasts about a week in the fridge, -- so it may make it onto next week's menu too. 

Monday:  
Broccoli Bites 
Applesauce
Granola Bar
 
Dinner:  Black Bean Burritos (black beans left over from last Friday's dinner). 
 
Tuesday:  
Hummus
Carrots
Pretzles
Apple
 
Dinner:  Pasta Bake w/ kid friendly Pasta Sauce.  (Just cook pasta add sauce, sprinkle with mozzarella (I use shredded low fat) and bake for 10 minutes at 350).

Wednesday:  
Pita Pizza (just half a pita with leftover sauce and cheese melted in the oven -- although Oliver has requested pepperoni)
applesauce
granola bar

Dinner:  Out (I needed margaritas!)
 
Thursday:  
Leftover Pasta Bake
applesauce
almonds/cranberries
 
Dinner:  Veggie Quesadillas

Friday: 
Peanut Butter and Jelly Wrap (PB&J on a whole wheat tortilla - Oliver likes it).
Mozzarella Stick
Apple
 
Dinner:   Shrimp "bisque"

 
-- you don't have to use half and half, you can use whipping cream or even milk.  I've never tried a non-dairy alternative but I'm sure that would work too.
 
--I used panko bread crumbs instead of Italian.