Weekend Update

Hi Friends!

How was everyone’s weekend? I had an amazing BBQ steak dinner (not cooked by me, I can’t grill steak) with some girls from work. The lady that hosted even bought a bottle of the special steak sauce from Japanese Village. Have you been there? It’s a teppanyaki restaurant…you know, where they cook in front of you and throw the knives and your dinner in the air? It’s fun…and Holy F, the steak sauce is life changing.

Sunday I cooked up some delicious freezer fillers for one of my besties. My freezer is full and I had a hankering to do some prep. I know, I know, what’s wrong with me?

LIKE TO COOK

I live for this shit. For real. Finding recipes, planning meals, building grocery lists, aaaand the best part…GROCERY SHOPPING!! Seriously, I love it. I’ve looked into signing up for Spud (Sustainable Produce Urban Delivery), but I think I would miss grocery shopping. Has anyone out there tried Spud? I might have to give it a whirl cuz sometimes, despite my love for the grocery store…

Meme

I shopped Saturday morning and cooked for a couple of hours in the afternoon, then worked for another 6 hours or so on Sunday. But really, it could have all been done in a day. You just have to be prepared and efficient with your time. My number one tip would be to do all of your veggie prep at once. I actually go through all of the recipes first, and list out what needs to be cut up for each meal (ie. Carrots: 1 cup diced, 1 cup sliced, extra for veggie bags). I find this to be a huge time saver, rather than cleaning a pepper and dicing it for one meal and then coming to my next recipe and realizing that I need another diced pepper. I also cut up extra carrots, celery, peppers etc. and throw them in ziplocs for lunches. Need peeled and diced butternut squash for veggie burgers? Prep 2 and you have a side dish ready to go during the week. It’s all about using my time wisely so I can be as lazy as possible during the week. #truth

So, what did I make you ask. Well…

  • Blueberry & Banana Baked Oatmeal – these little oatmeals are so cute. And also, so delicious. The base recipe is from Oh She Glows Portable Baked Oatmeal and they are super customizable. Apples and cinnamon would be good, strawberry-banana…I added blueberries to the batter, and put sliced banana at the bottom of each jar for a yummy surprise. Throw it in the microwave and enjoy with a splash of cream or a scoop of vanilla or coconut greek yogurt. YUM.
#MasonJarsAreTheNewTupperware

#MasonJarsAreTheNewTupperware

Sidenote – I have recently fallen in love with mason jars. You can bake in them, freeze them, they’re dishwasher and microwave safe, aaand they’re like a buck a piece so if one breaks, or you forget one in the fridge and it becomes a science project, pitch it. It’s a buck.

  • Spicy Butternut Squash & Black Bean Burgers – these are SO good. I’m totally into veggie burgers lately. They’re a great freezer staple for a delicious, hearty meal that is quick & easy. #thatswhatshesaid. I didn’t bother saving the squash seeds…seriously, who has time for that? Not this kid. I just threw in a handful of pumpkin seeds. I cook my burgers in the oven, on a cast iron griddle, at about 400°F for 10-15 minutes per side. We typically eat them sans bun, with a scoop of greek yogurt on top and kale chips on the side. If you want more spice, stir some sriracha or adobo sauce (from those canned chipotle peppers) into the yogurt. Ooh and guac would be delicious too! (Mental Note – add avocado to the grocery list).
Yum!

Yum!

  • Indian Cauliflower & Lentil Soup – This soup is from the Oh She Glows cookbook, by Angela Liddon. I tried it last weekend at the Elan Performance Ignite2015 Retreat and had to make it again. My friend Rebecca (*see below for Rebecca’s Turkey Lentil Muffins from the Nourish cookbook) hosted this amaaazing weekend and my Man sent me on the retreat as a Christmas gift. We did pilates, snowshoed, soaked in the hot tub (and then made snow angels), ate some delicious vegetarian fare, and created vision boards. It was such a fun and inspiring weekend. Anyway, to the food…we had this soup for lunch one day and it is SO good. The sweetness of the potato, the spice of the curry and turmeric, and you pretty much can’t go wrong with cauliflower in my books. Make this! I don’t have a picture of the finished product, but trust me, it’s beautiful and delicious, just like everything else in this amazing cookbook.

*COOKING LESSON: If you are going to be doubling a recipe (as I did with this soup), always ensure that your pot is going to be big enough. Otherwise this happens…

IMG_2478

Whoops!

…and you end up wasting an hour of precious cooking time cleaning soup off of (and out of) your stovetop. Fun Times.

  • Nourish Turkey Lentil Muffins – these are sooo tasty and another huge hit from the Nourish cookbook. Nourish is all about clean eating. The recipes are full of real food, with wholesome and accessible ingredients, and the photos in the book are beautiful. A couple of our other favourites are the Wild Spaghetti and the Lean Mean Black Bean Burgers. These turkey muffins are packed with veggie goodness and the pumpkin seeds and cranberries add sweetness and crunch. Check out a few more of Rebecca’s delicious clean-eating Nourish recipes here.
Make These Now!

Make These Now!

  • Spinach, Mushroom & Goat Cheese Mini Quinoa Cups – these are inspired by the Mini Ham and Cheese Quinoa Cups from Iowa Girl Eats. I swapped out the ham and zucchini for sautéed mushrooms and spinach, and the cheddar for crumbled goat cheese. I love these because they are another super easy, super customizable and (most importantly) delicious freezer staple. Don’t like spinach and mushrooms? Try ham/broccoli/cheddar, or turkey/ham/swiss, or chicken/black bean/jalapeno havarti…you basically have an unlimited number of combinations. Here’s a ‘Before’ pic…I failed to capture an ‘After’…
Mini Cups of Delicious

Mini Cups of Delicious

So there you go, 5 meals in a day. What are you guys eating this week?

Until next time, check out the links and test some of these awesome recipes yourselves. They are worth it, I promise.

Cheers,

Red

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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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Spring Recap

Hello Internet Friends,

Obviously I dropped the ball the last few months.  Like dropped it a long way down.  It’s been a busy spring so I have been trying to do some major big batch cooking…sometimes just for myself, and sometimes for a mommy friend of mine that has no time to prep and cook on the weekends. I actually love it. If I could somehow turn food prep & shopping into a home business, I would totally quit my job and do it.  Maybe when I win the Lotto Max…

Food Prep Saves Lives

Food Prep Saves Lives

There are a few winner recipes that I have come across that I’ve been making in large batches to have on hand for quick weekday meals …

Turkey, Zucchini & Quinoa Meatballs – these are delicious!  I have made these twice now and they are a freezer staple.  My friend Jo also tested them on her 1 yr & 5 year olds and they were a hit.  We eat ’em in lettuce wraps with marinara & mozzarella, but you could have it on spaghetti squash or pasta instead.  Obviously you could omit the cheese, but why would you do that? I mean, Really.

Make These Now!

Make These Now!

Spinach & Feta Burgers – I actually turned these into meatballs but they were delicious just the same.  Roasted garlic and feta…need I say more?  Make these too.

Who Doesn't Love a Turkey Meatball?

Who Doesn’t Love A Turkey Meatball?

Black Bean & Quinoa Veggie Burgers – I have talked about these before.  Just make them.

Chipotle Delicious Black Bean & Quinoa Burgers

Mini Ham & Cheese Quinoa Cups – I don’t have a picture, but these are super customizable and can be tossed in the microwave for a quick lunch (served w/salad or veggies & greek yogurt ranch) or a snack.  Besides the ham/zucchini/cheese in the Pinterest link, which were delish by the way, we have also done spinach/mushroom/feta and ham/broccoli/cheddar and they were delicious too.  Still on the idea list to try are chicken/black beans/salsa, sun dried tomato/artichoke/mozza, pepperoni pizza…Really, the options are endless.  If you don’t want mini (or don’t have a mini muffin tin) there are instructions on making full sized muffins in the comments on the link.

Here are some other delicious recipes that we’ve tried over the last few months…

Crockpot Chicken Chili Tostada Stacks – Holy F.  This is possibly the best thing I’ve tried on Pinterest so far.  Make this immediately.  Spicy, sweet, creamy, crunchy, cheesy…and any other word-“y” descriptor you can come up with.

This picture doesn't do it justice, but this was f-ing amazing.

This picture doesn’t do it justice, but this was f-ing amazing.

Chili – I don’t follow a recipe…just brown some meat and throw it in the slow cooker. Add some veggies and spices, throw in some beans and tomatoes…slowcook for about 6 hours.  Dinner.  Done.

Spicy Delicious Chili

Spicy Delicious Chili

Chipotle Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Chipotle Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Chipotle Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Pesto Shrimp & Grilled Vegetable Salad – I was always scared to make pesto, but this is a new go-to for me.  Basil is cheap in the summer (or you could pick up a fresh plant for under $10), and a huge batch of the pesto in the freezer comes in handy for quick easy meals.  Toss with chicken & pasta, shrimp & spaghetti squash or this easy salad.  On prep day, toss shrimp & pesto in a ziploc, throw your favourite summer veggies (peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, red onion etc.) in a second bag with some oil and spices and you are good to go.  You can also serve with some quinoa & pesto vinaigrette (pesto + lemon juice + oil) for extra bulk & protein. There are lots of ways to cook this…bbq, grill pan, a cast iron pan…or the most amazing purchase ever?  A cast iron grill pan!  I bought one last year for camping but started using it in the oven over the winter.  It is awesome for getting that smoky grilled flavour that you’re craving when it’s December and grilling season is still 4-6 months away.  Boom.

Pesto Shrimp & Grilled Vegetable Salad

Pesto Shrimp & Grilled Vegetable Salad

Black Bean & Bison Burgers – these are from my fantastic kickboxing instructor & friend, Rebecca.  She has designed an awesome clean eating program & wrote a beautiful cookbook, called Nourish.  You can check out a few of her featured recipes over here.  Trust me, just buy the book.  It’s all real, easy to prepare and (most importantly) delicious food. PS – these were also done on the cast iron grill pan. Buy one. You won’t regret it.

Lean & Mean Black Bean & Bison Burgers

Lean & Mean Black Bean & Bison Burger

So far we have not had many fails.  Only a couple that I can think of actually…

Creamy Cauliflower Sauce – My friend Steph at work sent me this recipe and looooves it.  For me?  It was a total Fail.  I think this would be better with roasted garlic…a possible 2nd attempt could be in the future, but I obviously did something wrong because it just tasted like raw garlic and ended up in the trash.

Broccoli & Kale Soup from Nourish – this one should have been delicious, but we omitted the green onion (because not everyone likes onion for some reason) and it was seriously lacking in flavour.  It looked cool tho…

Green Soup!

Green Soup!

I’m sure there’s lots of other things that we have tried, but I figured a big photo dump was due.  I will be back with some monthly food planning tips shortly.

Cheers,
Red

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