A Fresh Start…

…isn’t that what a New Year feels like? Welcome to 2015! My last post was back in June…what can I say? 2014 was a busy year!

calendar roll

Heeelllloooo New Year!!

January always feels like a new beginning. At the stroke of midnight, the New Year seems to spark motivation in everyone. A time to make resolutions to start or stop doing whatever it is that you are or aren’t doing now. Why we need a reset every year is a mystery that I have not yet figured out.

So what vice(s) are you giving up this year? Mine are bacon cheeseburgers and Guiness. Just kidding…I would never give either of those things up. For real. Life’s too short to order a salad. I’ve accepted the fact that I love beer and I love food, and I’m never gonna be a fitness model. And I’m totally okay with that. I just have to do better on the non-beer and cheeseburger days so that I don’t end up on some reality TV show.

Sweet, sweet nectar...

Sweet, sweet nectar…

When I started this blog it was about trying as many of my Pinterest recipe pins as I could. While Pinterest is still my main source of recipe inspiration, my focus has shifted to more monthly meal planning and finding recipes that can be prepped ahead and frozen. The monthly meal plan allows me to do a big (see: expensive) shop once a month and then I just have to pick up fresh produce after week 2. I spend one weekend a month shopping, chopping and cooking to fill my fridge and freezer so that most dinners are as simple as reheat and eat.

Prep Game, Master Level.

Prep Game, Master Level

Life is busy. I work all day, see a trainer two nights a week, play soccer in the winter and ball in the summer, and am generally a fairly lazy person the rest of the time. I love my PVR, so sue me. Who wants to spend hours making dinner every night after working all day? Certainly not me. As I said, lazy.

This blogging thing is new to me. I like the writing part, the rest is a little fuzzy. My “vision” would be to share monthly meal plans, updates on how the recipes turned out, shopping lists, etc. What do you think? I’ve said that if I won the lottery, I would start a business building meal plans and doing the shopping and prep for folks that are too busy to do it themselves. Seriously, I live for this shit. But is that something you’d want to read about?

Bear with me, change is coming. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest…if nothing else, I have lots of yummy (and some not so yummy) recipe links to share.

Cheers,

Red

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Holding Steady…

Hey Friends,

We are in week 3 of January, kick off month to a healthier me.  That’s the plan anyway.  So far I have hired a personal trainer and joined a kickboxing class, which is like SO fun.  I’ve never really punched anything and it is such good therapy!  And a kick ass workout.  And the whole diet thing?  I would give myself a 7/10.  Sometimes, when the sun is shining in January and you’ve just endured a month of freezing cold and snow…you just gotta have a cheeseburger and a beer.  Am I right?

Here’s a recap of last week’s menu…

Monday – Bison MeatloafGrilled Zucchini with Lemon Salt and Cheesy Cauliflower Gratin

Tuesday – Red Thai Curry Butternut Squash

Wednesday – Korean Flank SteakSpicy Sichuan Style Green Beans and Veggie Load Fried Quinoa

Thursday – Turkey & Zucchini Meatballs

And here’s how it actually went down…

Monday I had a 24 hour flu.  Like kick your ass, keep you in the bathroom all night kinda flu.  Good times.  But I did manage to get my ass off the couch in the afternoon and make Red Thai Curry Butternut Squash Soup.

Mmm Soup

Mmm Soup

Topped of with a dollop of greek yogurt, fresh parsley and pumpkin seeds, it was pretty good.  I had already roasted the squash on Sunday afternoon so it was a super easy meal for a Monday.

Sunday Prep for Easy Weekday Meals

Sunday Prep for Easy Weekday Meals

It had a bit of an odd flavour, but I’m not sure if it’s because I used frozen onions (I chop a whole bunch and then freeze them in individual portions for easy use) or it if was because I may have burnt the squash a little bit.  So it wasn’t a 100% success, but it was pretty good.  The soup had an especially silky and delicious texture thanks to this bad boy…

Best. Blender. Ever.

Best. Blender. Ever.

Behold, the Blendtec.  A friend of mine bought me this for my 30th birthday.  I won’t lie, secretly at first I was like “A blender? Weird.”  But I did not understand the awesomeness that was the Blendtec.  Check out this Will It Blend? video to see what I mean.  No BD, that’s just an iPad being pulverized into powder.  This thing makes amazingly smooth smoothies, milkshakes, soups and veggie juices.  To be honest, I like my juicer better for making juices, but it works.  The Blendtec easily blends from totally frozen and has all kinds of pre-programmed items like the aforementioned soups and smoothies, as well as milkshakes, sauces, nut butters etc.  It’s a huge hit and I love you JC for buying it for me.  (PS – I am not being paid to sing Blendtec’s praises.  It’s just awesome and I like to share info on what I’m using in my kitchen.)

Anyway, back to the food…

Tuesday I made the Korean Flank Steak with steamed basmati rice and green beans.  The sauce was delicious but I’m finding that I don’t like working with flank steak.  I find it really hard to cook, because it’s either totally rare in the middle or overcooked and like leather when you try to eat it.  Frustrating.  So I have one piece left (I buy one at Costco and cut it in half) and then I’m not sure that I will use it again.

Wednesday the man had the same flu that I had on Monday, so I was cooking for one.  I pan fried salmon with some lemon and steak spice and made a quick spinach salad.  Read: salad = lettuce.  This time I even got fancy and added roasted pumpkin seeds.  It’s not much, but it’s an easy serving of vegetables.  I also whipped some greek yogurt with sriracha to make a spicy dip for the salmon.

Salmon & Spinach "Salad"

Salmon & Spinach “Salad”

Thursday we had Turkey & Zucchini Meatballs served over roasted spaghetti squash tossed with parmesan and S&P.  I made these meatballs a few weeks ago and had them in the freezer ready to go.  Defrost, reheat…wallah!  Dinner made easy.  They were delish.  I cooked the squash whole for the first time and found that the middle was harder to scoop out than when you cut it in half before you cook it.  On the plus side, it was definitely much easier to cut in half after it was cooked!  Safety first.  Not like cutting myself is an unlikely scenario, right?

Balls. Turkey balls.

Balls. Turkey balls.

So, this week is another busy week.  It’s actually been a busy first few weeks of 2014.  But it’s a good busy and it’s kind of fun. Anyone else feeling like that?  I kick box during my lunch break on Mondays and Fridays, see my new trainer Tuesday and Thursday nights and play soccer on Wednesdays.  Phew!  So we are trying to keep things healthy, quick and easy. (That’s what she said.)  Sunday I prepped bags of veggies and dip and made hard boiled eggs in my food steamer (awesome method, by the way) for easy lunch items.  I also cut up and marinated pork for dinner on Tuesday.

Last night was taco night.  But bison tacos, in lettuce wraps.

Bison Taco Lettuce Wraps

Bison Taco Lettuce Wraps

And tonight was buffalo chicken wraps and kale chips.  I had a bit of cheddar, greek yogurt ranch (I stir up a bit of the ranch dip powder with non-fat plain greek yogurt), spinach, and avocado.  I know the wrap looks huge, but I actually ripped off most of the excess once the photo was done.

Buffalo Chicken Wrap & Kale Chips

Buffalo Chicken Wrap & Kale Chips

I’ve been breaking up and cleaning the kale on Sunday and storing it in a ziploc with a papertowel.  As long as I make sure to spin it really dry, it seems to keep better and makes it super easy to throw a hand full into a smoothie or salad,  or roast up a quick tray of kale chips.

*My kale chip recipe isn’t really a recipe.  I just mist them lightly with oil, toss with salt and pepper and bake for 10 minutes at 300 degrees.  Flip and roast another 5-10 minutes and enjoy!  Watch them the last few minutes, they burn easily and are kinda bitter if you do.  You can customize these in so many ways…parmesan cheese, sriracha, hot sauce, chili powder, garlic powder…whatever you have, whatever you feel like.  They are SO good, and perfect guilt free snacking.

The lineup for the rest of the week is…

Tuesday – Hoisin Pork with Rice Noodles – this was my original pinspiration.  I’m not sure what I’m going to do with this yet, but I have pork tenderloin cut up and marinating in stir fry sauce and hoisin so we’ll make something work.

Wednesday – Garlic Shrimp Spaghetti

Thursday – Cauliflower Steaks with Spinach Gratin

What is everyone else eating?  Are you sticking to those New Years revolutions?  I’d love to hear what your resolution was and how you stay motivated.

Chow for Now,

Red

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