Meal Planning

Are you a planner or a go with the flow kind of person.  I am more of a go with the flow type of person except when it comes to cooking.  We try to plan out our meals each week so that we can keep our food budget low.  We don’t eat many if at all any processed foods so it takes time to plan everything out so that I am not in the kitchen all day.  M wouldn’t let me be in the kitchen anyways.  We have tried a few ways of planning but a great one I found to get started is called the No Plan Menu Plan.  It is pretty healthy, set up easily to follow, and includes over 20 weeks of meals.  They are bit too animal protein and dairy based for me but you can very easily make some changes to the recipes to make them work for you and your family.

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This week I tried my own hand at planning in this same style and so far we are 2 for 2 in delicious meals.  Saturday we had crunchy orange cauliflower over rice and today we had red beans and rice.  Both were vegan and delicious and what I needed.  Last week I said I had to get back on the plan that is best for me and look at that one step in the right direction.  High five me!!!

Now this week it’s all about getting back into the work out phase.  I am not sure what program to go with right now.  I have so many that I love.  I could do Piyo again, 21 Day Fix, T25, Les Mills Combat… really the list goes on and on.  Maybe I should just go with the flow and go with what makes sense that day.  I dunno.  My intuition is saying Piyo and I have yet to finish that program from start to finish so maybe I should start that one over.  Hmmm, thoughts anyone?  Well here’s to staying on the path of being the best, healthiest me I can be!

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Slacker Extraordinaire

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Oh my goodness guys, I am on the bad blogger train and I need to jump off of it.  I had every intention of blogging at least once a week but as we can all see that hasn’t happened, lol.  I wish I had some excellent excuse on why, but in reality I just was a slacker.  I don’t know if you are like me but once winter hits I just get so unmotivated to do anything! Maybe it’s the cold, the dark, the lack of vitamin D but I find everything hard to do.  It doesn’t help that I have been a bad eater lately.  I know what things make me feel good and what make me feel bad and I have not been listening to my body like I should.

Sometimes in life you have to go away from the popular opinion.  You have to stand up for yourself, your body, your life without the support of others.  I am lucky that I have people in my life that are completely supportive but that doesn’t mean that sometimes things get hard.  I know that animal protein, dairy, and gluten are pretty much on the no fly list for me yet there are times I find myself consuming at least one of the three.  I am not perfect.  I have never claimed to be and can find myself struggling even though I know what steps I need to take.

It’s time to be a grow up (even though I am in my 30’s) and stand up for myself and my health.  I do not want my son to learn that slacking off is the way to go.  That being healthy means only doing it in January.  I can’t let stupid excuses like “oh, it’s winter”… or “oh, it’s the holidays” allow me to treat myself badly.  I know that a plant based diet without gluten is the best for me and darn it I deserve to feel my best!  Time to get back on the health wagon, making delicious food that will make me feel amazing.  And while I am at it, it’s time to get back to working out consistently!  I am not going to wait until January…the slacking stops now!

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Polenta

So polenta is a staple that I like to have on hand because it’s hardy, you can do a lot to it, and the cornmeal is very cheap to buy.  Last night I wanted to make something easy and hardy as it is only in the 20’s and snowy here in Minnesota.  I decided on polenta topped with jarred spaghetti sauce and sauteed veggies (we had mushrooms, onion, red pepper, garlic, zucchini, and edamame) and for the hubby chicken sausage.  I got the whole meal together in probably 15-20 min and everyone including my 9 mo old liked it.

Here’s a trick I found online (no I can’t take credit for this one, darnit!) to make polenta SUPER easy (even though it’s pretty easy no matter what).  It uses your rice cooker!  <– this is becoming the best appliance EVER.  Put 1 cup of your cornmeal in your rice cooker with 3 cups water or broth and turn on.  Once it turns to warm let it sit for another 5 min to help absorb any extra water.  This makes the fluffiest polenta I have ever had.  I am never making it on the stove again!

I love meals that are quick, use ingredients you have on hand, are inexpensive, and most importantly healthy!  I am on a mission to prove that healthy does not mean expensive or take a long time to do.  Here’s the proof of one meal that met all the criteria!  So, do you like polenta or grits?  Do you use your rice cooker for anything not that’s not rice?

Buffalo Turkey Meatballs

Buffalo Turkey Meatballs

If you have been reading this blog or know me at all you know I eat mostly vegan.  I would say about 90% of the time I am a plant-based eater.  My husband on the other hand is not.  I often make him meat-based dinners.  I came up with this one last night and even had some.  I have to say it was pretty darn delicious and easy to make too.  These would be great for potlucks or to toss in the freezer and heat up when needed.  Here’s what you will need:

BUFFALO TURKEY MEATBALLS
Makes approx 24 meatballs

1 lbs Ground Turkey
1/2 cup Flax Meal
1/3 cup Hot Sauce of your choice
1/4 chopped white onion
1/8 cup crumbled Blue Cheese (optional)
1 T garlic granuals
Pinch salt
1 t cracked pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place everything in a bowl and gently mix to combine.
I used a cookie scoop here but you could just use a spoon and roll in your hands and place on a greased shallow pan.  (I used unbleached parchment instead)
Bake for 20-25 min or until done

Enjoy!

 

Recipe: Orange Chia Seed Pancakes

I love pancakes for a few reasons the top one being they are super easy to make.  I love to make a large batch and put the extra in the freezer for the rest of the week.  They are also easy to make your own.  Changing flavors is fun like throwing in blueberries, chocolate chips, or strawberries.  For me I have been working on trying to make a yummy vegan gluten-free pancake and found a great resource at momables.com.  I’ve adapted her recipe a bit to make these pancakes and I warn you they are very yummy so sticking with only two, three okay four of them is tough.

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Orange Chia Seed Pancakes
Gluten Free, Vegan

Makes approx 15 3.5″ pancakes

1 1/4 Cup AP Gluten Free Flour
1 T Chia Seeds
2 T Brown Rice Syrup
2t Baking Powder
2t Ground Cinnamon
1t Vanilla Extract
1/4t Salt
1/4 Cup Applesauce or Oil
1/2 Cup Orange Juice
1/2 Cup Non-Dairy Milk (I used vanilla flax)

1. Mix everything together in a bowl (you could do it the right way with liquids in one and dry in another but I say just go for it, less dishes too)

2. Cook on a griddle or pan on med. high heat

3. Enjoy

Super easy, super yummy, and super cheap!  What do you like to top your pancakes with?