This week is inspired by some random recipe searching I did on the iPad while nursing and holding a baby that just loves to sleep in my arms. Thank goodness for Evernote (if you have not used this app it is great! It helps me take notes and pictures and it's SaaS so I can access it on my computer or any mobile device - thank you technology). This week is also inspired by quick meals that are also comforting favorites for Ben and I. Happy Eating!
Dinners: Saturday - Smoked salmon nicoise salad
Sunday - Quick Indian fried rice
Monday - Tacos
Tuesday - Daisy's yellow rice with grilled jerk chicken
Wednesday - Pad Thai and laab
Thursday - Thai chicken noodle salad
Friday - Homemade chicken fingers with sweet potato fries
Morning green drink
This week it's about making enough dinner for leftovers and sandwiches. Busy weekend so minimal prep and cooking done ahead of time. Just shop and cook the night of!
Some notes - I will be posting about the smoked salmon nicoise salad, but bottom line on that is I am so lucky my husband can smoke things - it turned out SO good! Also, stay tuned for the Indian fried rice. I have never done this, but I have a hunch that I can make it work. So if it's a success - we will all be so excited!
I feel compelled to share that my meal planning went array this week. It's Wednesday and I am looking in the fridge at leftovers and thinking, "wait, there was supposed to be at least one more unique meal to prepare".
And there was - meatloaf and grilled chicken. But guess what - somehow I either didn't defrost meatloaf fixings or didn't buy them on Friday (duh, where was that on my list!!) and I know what happened to the chicken. The demands of an infant got the chicken (translation = I defrosted it. Intended to prep it on Sunday when we do all of our cooking but didn't get to it. Intended to get to it Monday. Didn't. Go to take care of it Tuesday - snap! I wasted a good chicken. It was bad.)
So I must share not only my super organizational side, but also the episodes where the plan just didn't work. That way I can learn and share with the world.
Next, I was thinking ok - now what. Thank goodness for brilliant ideas like breakfast for dinner. That is what we are having this evening. A combination of freezer and pantry items with fresh staples. Eggs, bacon (pork and turkey), mixed side salad, and cream of buckwheat (GF - and almost like cream of wheat). Quick, easy and with things we had in the house. Evening saved!
Sausage is expensive to buy and while I definitely like the convenience and the unique flavors some brands have come out with - I prefer this as a staple in our house instead.
1. I know what is in it
2. No weird ingredients
3. It's chicken (I don't do much pork)
4. Pretty darn cost effective
1 lb chicken (or pork, beef too, but I would change up the spice mixture)
1 - 1.5 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp fennel seed
(feel free to add or subtract any of the spices here)
Pour everything in a bowl.
Take off your rings or put on gloves - and get friendly with your meat mixture. Don't over blend but mix in the spices thoroughly.
I love using this in my pasta toss (quick healthy rice pasta cooked with chard and then mixed with this sausage, my own pesto and some jarred artichokes and olives and capers - easy and delish!)
You can also buy several pounds of ground meat, mix and freeze the extra so it's just ready for you next time.
Pretty easy and definitely a great freezer meal. I was inspired by this recipe here, but seeing as I cannot have tomatoes, it had to be modified. Plus, we didn't agree that the beef should go in after the onions - you won't brown meat that way! (you will steam it)
So here is the LL version:
2 tbls good quality olive oil
2 lbs chuck roast, trimmed and diced into cubes
1 1/2 yellow onion, sliced
1 tsp paprika (if you are really sensitive to nightshades, omit this)
2 tsp dried oregano
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced (or smash if you are feeling lazy :) )
1/2 jar of pitted green olives sliced
8 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
Warm the oil in your best dutch oven like pot over medium heat.
Brown the pieces of beef in batches. Set aside.
Cook the onions and garlic until soft and just getting caramelized. Season with spices.
Add the beef and broth and let simmer for an hour or two.
At this point you can let it cool and then freeze it. What I recommend is eating it with rice that has been soaked and then cooked. You can do this with the soup as you freeze it but then the rice soaks up the goodness. Just preference, but I would just make it when you defrost the soup.
Yes, it looks strange but it doesn't taste strange and it's so good for you!
Basically you take a blender and put this into it:
A bit of water
1 tsp or less of spirulina ( I use Hawaiian)
Flax, sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds
Blend and enjoy. This is a great combo because spirulina does take an acquired taste, but with grapefruit you don't taste it. Spirulina is great as a natural energy booster. Try it next time instead of a cup of coffee and see what happens!
Inspired by a shake drink recipe in "raw food real world" (great raw recipe book by the way) I came up with this. Great way to start your morning and with all the vitamin A in carrot juice it's perfect for a nursing momma! I add flax and sunflower seeds to mine so I am starting the morning with the right fats too.
1 cup almond milk
3/4 cup carrot juice
1 tsp ginger
1/2 cup ice
1 tablespoon flax seeds
1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
Smallest dash of cinnamon
Slightly new system we have going. If you were an avid follower before you will notice that I am not just noting dinners, and there is now a specific section for both freezer contributions and boosters/snacks and lunches.
Here is how the timing of Natasha's system works:
Thursday - brainstorm meals and needs for the upcoming week. I will be posting ideas on how I go about picking meals to make. I also make the grocery list based on the meals and needs of the week.
Friday/Saturday (whatever day ends up working) - Hit the grocery store for non farmer's market items. Stick to the list!
Saturday - hit the local farmer's market and buy up the vegetables and other goodies needed.
"Veg" to me means whatever I can find at the Farmer's Market, and then whatever is on sale, looks good and is local and organic/sustainably farmed at the grocery store. So there is no list to take to the market. I will have an idea of what I want (like Asian bowls means mushrooms would be good and I always buy kale or chard to add a pile of greens to dinner).
Section types in Natasha's meal plans:
"Freezer Contribution" - The story is we got a large standing freezer for the garage to hold staples like our homemade stock, whole lambs and things we buy in bulk (or specialty gluten free items). It has turned out to be an absolute lifesaver with an infant to have meals prepared and just ready to defrost in our freezer (I made about a month's worth of food before she was born). It's like a triple yay factor - we made it so we know what went into it; it's gluten and dairy free; and it's ready when you are too tired or have a baby that just doesn't want to be put down so you can chop or cook (like mine!). So every week or two we make a few things that can be frozen and eaten later, just to make sure we have ready made food on hand. Freezing does take some of the nutritional edge off, but when you are juggling a lot of things and have a new baby - it's about balance and managing as best as you can.
*I need to add that finally buying a Foodsaver vacuum packer was a great combination to make this system work too.
"Booster/Snack" section is my way of making sure I also buy things at the store to keep blood sugar regulated throughout the day and add 'booster' foods to my diet. Booster foods are things that are super power houses for nutrition, but you really don't need to eat much. Like spirulina, spices, seeds, and nuts.
"Lunches" are both leftovers and things I specifically plan. Sometimes a dinner is so good, there are no leftovers. Or, you just want something else!
Here is why I made these changes and what benefits we have found:
1. I am home, with a baby. If you have done this - you know - sometimes you don't get to eat if you don't have it just ready. If you have not done this before, pretend you have a job that goes 24 hours a day and cries at you and you have a serious emotional and hormonal reaction if you don't respond to that job :)
2. Ben and I have become really good at identifying when a reaction to one of our food sensitivities hits. And it was happening often because most restaurants are not good at managing cross contamination. Particularly for me, finding out that nightshade family foods were bothering me (peppers, tomato, potato, eggplant) on top of dairy and gluten - try finding a place you can eat off the menu with all those. It's possible, but limited. Very limited. So it's easier to get crafty and make the good stuff we love at home on our own.
3. I feel like I know where my budget goes on food. I love budgets - it's a sick thing, but I do. And having this game of how much we spend each week and how we manage the eating each day is just super fun for this geek.
Oh, I might change this again as I continue to write about it, but I will always explain it!
Here I am. I didn't go anywhere - and I have not stopped my healthy ways - I just have not been writing about it since - oh dear - 2010!
Not only have I been continuing my Field of Greens ways - but they have gotten better. And now, I am a Momma (to beautiful almost 3 month old Leena) and blogging helps me stay on track. With my new responsibilities and maternity leave coming to an end in the next month and a half I wanted to get into a pattern to keep our house eating clean and healthy and hopefully inspire others to do the same. So far, together Ben and I have been pretty successful at managing everything and eating healthy, flavorful food that meets our dietary restrictions (but as usual - does not taste like it!).