Monthly Archives: September 2015

Quick and easy vegetable soup.

Souper Sundays! 2015 Fall Soup Plan

It takes all kinds of vegetables…If you know it, sing along!

I used to LOVE that show! Now that we’ve taken a walk down memory lane, let’s talk soup. Last week, right on cue, the weather started to change here in Frederick. Chilly nights, and now even some chilly days, put me in the mood for soup. If you do any type of meal planning or want to start, adding a soup to your weekly rotation during the Fall and Winter can be a life saver. Soups usually aren’t very time or labor intensive (I know some would say chopping is laborious, but I disagree – I find it therapeutic), can be a good reducer of food waste, a great way to get more vegetables into your diet, and can be stretched across many meals or even frozen for those weeks when you really don’t have time.

In the past my soup making as been sporadic. Back in 2011 one of my favorite magazines ran a great article on soup recipes and included 13 hearty soups. My first thought was “that’s a soup for each week of Fall, and if I freeze some of each recipe, that could easily get me through most of the Winter.” Unfortunately I don’t still have that article, but I can easily come up with a different soup each week for the next 3 months.

The realization that I have put back on about 35 pounds, along with full-time work and full-time school has me attacking my meal planning like its my job and I’m going to start posting the weekly plan again on Mondays. It will include 1 soup and I’ll share the recipe on Sundays. If you are a soup maker or want to get started with meal planning, will you join me for Souper Sundays? I’m always up for sharing tips and on the lookout for new recipes. Continue reading

Menu Monday (week of 9/19/2015)

Happy Monday! I can really say that these days. On Monday’s I only work 4 hours at the day job then I get to go play in the kitchen! Okay, not really play – it is culinary school but still much more fun than sitting behind a computer. With juggling full-time work and a full-time school schedule, the need to meal plan and meal prep is crucial. I’ve fallen way off the healthy living wagon lately. Way.off. Like, I can’t even see the wagon from the fast-food drive thru kinda off. But I know the good habits I want to get back to and I’m on the way.

Having real food already prepared and portioned is one of those good habits for me. I knocked out a meal plan on Friday and got grocery shopping done by Saturday. Sunday was all about meal prep and studying. So glad knife skills count as studying now! Here’s what is on tap for this week:

Vitamix Green Smoothie Freezer Pack

Green Smoothie freezer packs.

Meal 1: Green smoothies. I am absolutely NOT a fan of creamy smoothies. I’m strictly a fruit, veg and water type of girl. I mostly share these smoothies with a picky eater my husband who has discerning tastes and food allergies, so I keep them pretty simple. I do had a few tablespoons of hemp seeds to up the nutrition. I’m a fan of the ladies who run Simple Green Smoothies. They do a 30-day Green Smoothie Challenge several times a year which is a great source of recipes. I’m currently trying to rotate my greens from only spinach to a kale, chard, spinach mix. We will see how that goes. I have absolutely the world’s smallest freezer. But I do have mad Tetris skills so I got 6 packs made and in the there.

Meal 2: Zucchini Bread Oatmeal, Raspberry/Coconut Oatmeal or Tofu Quiche. Two of the recipes are from Oh She Glows. If you don’t know the joys of Angela Liddon’s plant-based recipes, get over to her site (or buy her new book) pronto. Good, solid recipes (which we know can be hard to come by on the internet. Pinterest I’m looking at you.) A “kitchen sink” Frittata will be made for Craig to use up whatever veggies are on hand.

Oats in mason jars

Dry oatmeal ingredients ready to grab and go.

Lunch: Leftovers rule lunchtime. As there are only two of us, and most recipes make at least 4 servings, lunches are always leftovers from dinner.

Meal 4:  Garden salad with smoked tofu and balsamic vinaigrette, or Southwestern Chopped Salad with Cilantro Dressing.  My number one suggestion for anyone wanting to get more vegetables into their diet is to eat at least one salad a day. Make sure to include some lean protein and watch the fat, and you are set.

Dinner: As I’m trying to get back to better habits, I’ve forgone any “eat-out days this week.

 

Sweet potatoes oven

Potatoes ready for oven roasting.

I had to purchase almost everything needed for the menu this week, including some pantry staples. I purchased 3lb of organic ground turkey in order to make enough burgers to stock the freezer, and purchased grass-fed, organic strip steaks. With these, the grocery bill this week came in right under $100.

What’s your plan for this week?

Back-to-School Healthy Tips

It’s that time again – back-to-school! Whether you are a parent or caregiver sending kids back to class this Fall, now is the time to restock the kitchen pantry with healthy meal and after school snack options to support your children’s growing bodies.

This back-to-school season, I am happy to help educate you about the importance of brainy breakfasts, nutrient-dense lunch and dinners and healthy after school snacks. Below are a few tips, and remember, you can always adopt these for yourself if you’re like me and are the student this year!

BE LUNCH SMART:
1. Pack the night before.
Include your child in making lunches the night before, giving them time to prepare, and help them make healthy choices.

2. Choose foods your kids LOVE.
The foods you pack will not provide your child with nutrition if they are tossed out or uneaten. Find healthy foods that your kids love and pack them in their lunch!

3. Quick-pack snacks.
Instead of buying the 100-calorie bags of cookies and chips, make your own quick packs and keep them in the fridge for the kids to choose from. Use zippered snack bags to help with portion control. Here are some suggestions:

  • Veggie Sticks: carrots, celery, cucumber and jicama (pack it with a small packet of peanut butter to go or hummus for dipping)
  • Raw Nuts: almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds
  • Trail Mix: dried fruit (raisins, banana chips, dried cranberries, dates) and mixed nuts
  • Frozen Yogurt: freeze yogurt tubes or premixed fruit yogurt
  • Homemade “Lunchables”: pre-bag non-processed cheese slices, whole grain crackers and nitrate-free lunch meat
  • Fresh Fruit: grapes, berries, and clementine oranges

4. Keep it cold.
Use an insulated lunch box. Brown bags don’t keep food cold enough and food can spoil.

Want to know more? Feel free to download this Savvy School Lunch guide for a quick lunchbox lesson. Click HERE for the guide…>>

Looking for healthy after school snack recipes? Here are a few new ones to try!  Click HERE for a handy recipe download…>>

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