Weekly Meal Recap/Upcoming Week Meal Prep

Cooking comes so easily in the winter months compared to that of the summer months. Cooking warms my heart, my insides, and just takes up time that I have plenty of when I can’t go outside. This week I made two new recipes and both were big hits. Take a look at our nightly meal selection and maybe you will be inspired to spend some time in your kitchen

Sunday: grilled lobster and shrimp over pasta with dill lemon butter sauce

Monday: chili

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Tuesday: crockpot chicken and cabbage over bulgar

*** This was a new recipe I tried from my new clean eating cookbook. I did have to change a few ingredients up to make it work for my family but we did really enjoy the finished product.

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Wednesday: out with my brother for our monthly chat/dinner

Thursday: hoisin ground turkey, sweet potatoes, spinach, and cabbage over farrow

Friday: salmon patties with dill yogurt sauce, seasoned rice, and cabbage

***I have been wanting to try making my own for quite some time. Since we went out once already this week and numerous times during the holiday I actually felt Friday would be perfect instead of our typical night out before weekly grocery shopping. They were fabulous…I was quite surprised since I had tried another brand of canned salmon years ago and it was horrible.

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Meal prep: With a big menu next week including three new recipes we are going to try, food prep had to be spot on. I am once again bombarded with burp cloths and baby bottles so there really is not much time to do all this during the week. Here is what I all managed to get done in an hour and a half.

A few granola, fruit, and yogurt cups were made for my husband for breakfast.

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I whipped up a quick salad dressing to use this week. IMG_0027

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Of course I did lots of veggie prep since this is a huge time saver, hard boiled some eggs, made hummus, chicken salad, and dinner for the evening which was veggie enchiladas. IMG_0219

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Which means I am officially ready for the week….let the fun begin.

 

 

 

 

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Quinoa Sweet Potato Chili

I have been trying to find time to make my own meatless chili for some time now but knowing that neither my son or husband would eat this for a meal was always a deal breaker. However, it’s not necessarily the fact that it has no meat in it that makes it a deal breaker. Neither of them really like chili…my son is not a bean fan and my husband just plainly don’t like chili. So one afternoon I finally decided to just make a small batch and eat it one evening for dinner myself and for lunches the rest of the week. This actually turned out wonderfully and I really enjoyed this meal.

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Here is what I did. (Keep in mind I needed to keep it quite mild to be able to share it with the daycare children also.So feel free to add more spice if you wish)

Quinoa Sweet Potato Chili

2 TBSP olive oil

1 15 oz can black bean-drained

1 can of Campbell’s tomato soup

1/2 cup quinoa

2 small sweet potato-peeled and diced

2 celery stalks-diced

1/4 medium onion-diced

1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes

2 tsp chicken/veg bouillon

2 garlic cloves-finely chopped

2 15 oz cans of water(use your bean can for measurement)

2 TBSP chili powder

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 tsp cumin

salt to taste

 

Begin by adding your olive oil to the pot and saute your onion, celery, and potatoes for about 10 minutes.

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Next, add your tomato soup, diced tomatoes, garlic, spices, bouillon, and water. Mix this together, bring it to a boil, and then simmer this for another 10 minutes.

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Next, add your quinoa. Mix it together, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes approx or until your quinoa is tender.

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At this point, add your drained and rinsed black beans. Take it off the heat and leave it sit for 5-10 minutes before serving. The chili will thicken up and make a tasty hearty meal. I served mine with tortilla scoops. Other tasty additions would be shredded cheese, sour cream, plain greek yogurt or avocado.

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Enjoy.

 

Happy New Year…..First, Let’s Catch Up On The Last Two Weeks

I feel it’s important to catch up on the events of these past two weeks. With me being self employed, I had kids here and there through most of the past few weeks. And now, with the new year upon us, everyone is back to normal schedule, my husband is back to normal schedule, and I am looking forward to getting our routine back.

As most of us have done, we had family and friends to celebrate with but we keep things pretty low key here and that is how I like it. We hosted two gatherings, opened gifts, and had a very nice time chatting and catching up with family. From homemade gifts to fabulous food, we all enjoyed the holidays and the time we spent together.

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In between parties, I lived in my pj’s and just enjoyed the down time I had.

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That is not to say I did not exercise though. I am not going to lie and say it thrills me to death to see all the new people at my gym working on new years resolutions because in all honesty it’s a bit frustrating. However, I know from past years a small few will hang on past a few weeks and it’s just something I have to live with until it thins out a bit. That being said, I do hope all the newbies find health happiness and keep up the good work. It’s a hard step to take and once your past the front door why not keep going. It only gets better from there.

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Let’s see…..in case your wondering my outdoor life has been pretty scarce for quite some time already. We have plenty of snow in my opinion…..ok, maybe in my opinion we have too much snow already. And the worse part is I know there is still so much left to come. So outdoor adventure for me is simply not happening anytime soon.

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During our few weeks off, we did celebrate something other than Christmas and New Years….our son had his 23rd birthday. Yes, he was almost a Christmas baby but I kept my legs crossed for this not to happen…..and thankfully he was born 8 hours later. So every year he gets a few gifts wrapped in birthday paper to make sure his birthday is never forgotten.

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Meals lately have been all over the place. I have always said and still believe that Christmas should be called the “cream cheese holiday” since we consume so much of this food during this holiday. So after all the holiday get togethers were over, I made a big batch of chili and it was a perfect way to get back on a daily meal schedule.

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Plus, I have a new addition in my kitchen and I was dying to give it a try. I have been working on some new recipes to share in the new year while I enjoy cooking with my new dutch oven.

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Speaking of meals…..I am trying something new after my workouts. The past year I have been having issues with charlie horses in my leg after workouts. It’s only one leg and it’s the leg that caused me such issues after surgery on my abdomen….I know, who would have thought…anyhow, someone told me to try coconut water after a workout. Well, I did and this drink is not good! However, I really wanted to see if it would help so then someone told me to try making it into a smoothie which I did and now it tastes a whole lot better. Since I do not have a fancy blender and don’t wish to buy one, I simply purchased a Blender Bottle and have been experimenting with different mixtures. Happily, I can report, I have seen great improvement in my leg pains after workouts and have been enjoying the smoothies I have been coming up with.

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That pretty much sums up the past few weeks. I am looking forward to January and hope it brings some fun along with a bit of adventure in the new year.

Week Recap In Pictures

I told you this week was going to be a hectic one and I was absolutely right….here is a quick recap in pictures.

fast dinner of sauteed chicken brats with sweet onions and peppers with homemade fajita seasoning

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nap time pick me up of coconut chai tea and almond milk…..yummmm

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another fast dinner of turkey burger mixed with Trader Joes Cowboy Caviar over rice

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stress food….everyone has those days……RIGHT?

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dinner out with my brother….pulled pork nachos….super yummmmm!!!!

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STILL waiting for my favorite nearby trail to reopen….its been under maintenance for weeks already

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shorter days are coming and my “sunshine vitamin” was on sale so I picked it up….I need to be prepared for those long months of winter…..uggggg!

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weeknight trail walk with a friend

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homemade chili dinner….an easy make ahead and reheat dinner for crazy busy nights

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all this plus 55 hrs of work with my little munchkins

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Which brings us to today….finally Friday. I must say, with training for our upcoming vacation, tending to daily life, working, and throwing in a few appointments four nights this weeks, I am proud of us. We held it together, only missed one evening of exercise, and still found time to enjoy ourselves throughout the week.

 

 

It’s Time To Prepare Some Freezer Meals

Every once in awhile I take a weekend morning and prepare some of our favorite freezer meals. This weekend seemed like the perfect time do do just that after waking up Saturday morning to another few inches of snow covering everything.

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I knew we would not be hiking, kayaking or doing anything outside so why not fill the freezer with fast, easy to grab and go meals for when we are having fun in the outdoors and don’t feel like cooking.

I started out browning the meat to prepare crock pot chili. I knew it would be simmering away for a few hours and could be finished up later on in the day, so this was the first thing to start.

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Later that afternoon, I prepared some spaghetti and layered it all in glass containers to freeze.

While I was tending to the spices for chili my husband had a pile of veggies to get cleaned, cut and ready for a huge batch of soup. I love soup and so do all my daycare children. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, I could eat soup every day.

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After that was put together and simmering, I began preparing a couple loaves of zucchini bread. These are perfect for a fast breakfast since we both get up at the butt crack of dawn every morning for work. They also freeze very nicely and are super quick to grab and throw into the pile of camping food for an easy, fast breakfast for those last minute pack up and go camping trips. (Hint hint…..we plan to do a lot more of these this summer) IMG_3779

My final dish was lasagna. This is my absolute favorite recipe for lasagna. It’s fast, easy, healthier than most, and needs to be prepared hours before which means later on all you need to do is preheat your oven and bake. No mess later in the day when your tired and exhausted from a full day of fun…..or work. We actually ate this for dinner and then I froze the rest for later in single serving portions.

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After all this it was time to head to the gym. Which again, I am happy to say, I made it both Saturday and Sunday.

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As for the rest of this week, I am simply hoping for nicer weather. I really miss walking in the morning and not being able to play outside with the kids. Apparently, it’s suppose to be 60 degrees by the weekend……I’ll believe it when I see it.

 

What is your favorite freezer meal?

 

 

 

Chili John’s Chili (only healthier)

Chili John’s chili is a very well known place in the Green Bay area and also the nearby surrounding communities. It has been around for as long as I can remember.

I recall my mom being so excited when I finally got my driver’s license because then she could send me to Chili John’s and get her chili in the middle of winter.

I used to love this chili, but always found the orange grease floating on top to be not the most appealing thing to consume. I know what your all thinking, “that is what makes Chili John’s chili so good.” Well maybe so, although, I was determined to find a solution and continue to be able to eat this chili without causing my arteries to harden.

My boys have asked for this healthier version every deer hunting season after they spend all day sitting in the woods freezing waiting for that big buck. I have also froze this recipe for a quick meal when life is just to busy.

It is so very easy, and does not call for many ingredients at all. Of course, you could make this with all ground turkey or all ground beef, but I have found it’s best with half of each.

Chili John’s Chili (only healthier)

1 lb. ground beef

1 lb. ground turkey

1 small onion finely diced

1 tsp. garlic salt

1 tsp. cumin

1 Tbsp. flour

1/2 tsp. black pepper

2 Tbsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

2 cups water

1 can of chili beans of your choice (optional)

Brown your ground beef and turkey, then drain any excess fat. Spray your crock pot with non-stick cooking spray and add all the browned meat, beans, onion and all the spices.

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Cook covered on low for 5-6 hours. Serve over spaghetti.

**** I prepare this recipe often and store it in Ziploc Versa Glass dishes and freeze for the perfect grab and go meal when you need something fast.

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ENJOY!