Tag Archives: meal plan

On The Menu for the New Year! Jan 2nd

Happy New Year! Anyone who’s been reading me for the last few years (and really, it continues to astonish me how many of you have hung in there through my total silence the last year or so…thank you) knows that January 2nd is the time for me to do the annual “sugar fast,” to break the crazy sugar addiction I acquire through the holidays.

I realized years ago that it was futile for me to keep off sweets for the holiday season. That’s not to say I go crazy–I keep portions reasonable;  but, my body gets addicted to sugar fairly fast, and my metabolism just can’t handle processing what it could when I was, say, 25. So, I eat the sweets in reasonable amounts, with a plan to stop eating them altogether again on Jan. 2nd. It works well for me. I cut out all processed sugars (yes, I still eat fruit, though I keep it to lower-sugar, higher-fiber fruits like blueberries and apples, rather than bananas), processed starches like pasta, exchange “white” starches like white rice for brown rice or high-protein grains like kamut and spelt and white potatoes for sweet (and keep even those things in very limited quantities), and drink no alcohol. Since I generally eat lots of vegetables and healthy fats anyway, that’s not a problem. I do have to concentrate on lean proteins, since I will  tend to binge on veggies and forget the proteins (yes, I know some veggies have proteins, as do beans, but I work out enough I need a good bit of protein and I tend to try to cut down on the beans since they’re so starchy). So, lots of snacks like boiled eggs and tuna with avocado.

This isn’t a New Year’s Resolution for me. It’s mostly just a return to pre-holiday lifestyle with a bit more discipline than I exercise the rest of the year (hey, I like wine, what can I say?). This year has, seemingly, been particularly heavy on the sweets, and I’ve found myself really looking forward to the next couple of weeks without them.

On the Menu:

DINNERS

Friday: Chickpea and chorizo soup. No noodles here. Lots of veggies, along with chickpeas and some spicy chorizo for flavor.

Saturday: Chicken Parmesan meatloaf with roasted broccoli and cauliflower puree. A great, lean meatloaf that includes carrots and zucchini, paired with veggies. The cauliflower puree is a really great substitute for mashed potatoes, and gives that warm, comfort food feeling.

Sunday & Monday: Leftovers. the point of making larger meals like those above is so I don’t have to cook every day. I’m busy, but want to eat healthfully, and leftovers are a great answer to that!

Tuesday: Anda Masala over whole grain. Eggs are a great source of protein, and this spicy dish is a favorite, It’s generally served over rice but I’ll be doing it over a grain (what grain is TBD based on what the grocery store is carrying this week–it seems to change regularly).

Wednesday: Salmon with steamed broccoli and whole grain pilaf. Salmon is one of my favorite foods, but it generally re-heats terribly; so, we only eat it on nights when we don’t need the leftovers.

Thursday: Eggplant Rotolo and side salad. This is a delicious, pasta-free variant on lasagna roll-ups. I have a few secrets to keeping it a great whole-food without using much in the way of ricotta, so it’s also not a gut-bomb of fat.

SNACKS AND LUNCHES

Baked egg in avocado half, almonds, raw veggies and hummus, hard boiled (farm fresh) eggs, homemade kale chips, fruit, almond butter, edamame.

Are you doing anything this month to return to (or start) healthy eating?

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On the Menu, Feb 10-13

An abbreviated menu plan this week, due to some Life Stuff that means we won’t be cooking at home.

Sunday: Tortilla soup with heirloom corn meal muffins. We made a roasted chicken on Friday, and the carcass has been in the slow cooker overnight for stock to use in making the soup (we’ll also use the remaining meat from the bird). It’s a great way to stretch the meat budget. I picked up some local, non-GMO, heirloom corn meal the other day, and will be using it to make honey cornbread! I’ll be using this recipe, with some modifications: raw milk instead of soy milk, sucanat instead of sugar, and no dried coconut.

Monday: Venison Mushroom Stroganoff over spaghetti squash. My nephew brought us a bunch of venison from his successful hunting this year, and I have local, dried shitake mushrooms from earlier in the year, too. I’ll combine these with a few meaty portobello caps, for a really hearty dish. Instead of noodles, I serve it over spaghetti squash. Not only is it tasty, but it’s far healthier than pasta.

Tuesday: Japanese Vegetarian Curry. This is a new recipe, so I’ll let you know how it goes!

Wednesday: Salmon patties with sauteed zucchini & squash, with roasted Brussel Sprouts and salad. We love salmon patties, and I wanted to try out this new recipe (sans the cilantro, since Thadd has a sensitivity to it). I always try recipes on us before adding them to my database for clients.  Salmon patties are a great way to include wild-caught salmon, which has he right balance of great Omega Fatty Acids, into a diet on a budget. It’s also loaded with calcium, as most salmon is canned with the bones, which I leave in when making patties (no, you won’t notice the bones, because they break down in cooking).

What are you eating this week?


Recipe Index, Sugar Addiction, and “On the Menu”

I’ve had a lot of requests for something I should have been doing all along: an easy-to-access index of the recipes I post here You can find the permanent link at the top of the blog, labeled “Recipes.” Doing it as I went would have been much, much easier than what I ended up doing, which was searching my blog for all the recipes I’ve ever posted. I think I got most of them, but there are probably a few strays that I missed. Hopefully, I’ll find them and get them on there, too.

This week, I am testing out some new client-friendly recipes and I’m still on the “no sugar” thing. It’s much easier this week than it was last, and I can definitely feel a difference in my energy. Also, I’ve lost almost all  the weight that the crazy holiday sweets put on! One of my friends, who’s doing the fast with me, said she lost 8 lbs last week, which has been a great motivator for me to continue on faithfully (and not cover my croissant with Nutella yesterday morning!).

For those of you reading this thinking “What “no-sugar thing?” or “But, I thought you ate so healthy all the time,” let me explain. I don’t tend to eat a lot of sugar (a very occasional cookie or something, usually for a special event of some sort), for many reasons. One of those reasons is I get horribly addicted to it very, very quickly and another is there’s a rich history of diabetes (especially late adult-onset diabetes) in my family that has nothing to do with weight. During the holidays,  though, this is incredibly difficult to maintain because 1) I have friends who are amazing bakers, 2) when I get invited to parties by people who know I am a chef, they completely freak out that their food isn’t good if I don’t eat at least some of pretty much everything, and 3) Thadd bakes all kinds of lovely stuff and a girl only has so much willpower.

So, a few years ago, I quite deluding myself that I wasn’t going to eat the sweets over the holidays. I don’t gorge on sweets, but I do eat them. They put weight on my middle pretty much immediately (by-by hip flexors!), which is a great motivator to help me keep it relatively in-check; but, by the New Year, I am addicted to sugar. Knowing this is going to happen, I just prepare for it, and go into a 2-week phase where I work my tail off at the gym (even more so than usual) to help me curve cravings, and I don’t eat any processed sugars at all.

The first few days are awful, but it works. I am not craving sweets anymore, but I’ll be very careful for at least another week that no processed sugar sneaks into the diet via pasta sauce, etc. We generally make most of our food from scratch, but even canned goods, like beans, can have added sugar, so vigilance it is!

And, that brings us to our weekly menu:

ON THE MENU

Monday: Eggplant Rotel. Cottage & ricotta cheese, with spinach, mushroom, and herbs, wrapped in broiled eggplant slices (grilling the slices is even better, but it’s cold, and I don’t have time to start the grill), topped with homemade marinara.

Tuesday: Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf, with Brussel Sprouts. It’s Thadd’s night to cook, and he wanted to try making a recipe he’d never done before. Lean ground chicken with lots of spices, farm fresh eggs, and fresh bread crumbs, topped with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. I have no idea how he’s going to cook the sprouts, but I’d guess roasted.

Wednesday:  Turkey White Bean Chili. I have a go-to version of this that I use for clients, but I want to test out a new version that includes seared chilis and crispy brown onions.

Thursday: Barbacoa Pulled Beef over Spicy Baked Sweet Potatoes, with veggie. This slow-cooked beef has a bit of a kick, and I’ll serve it over sweet potatoes that have been baked once, split open and sliced (on the skin) into wedges, topped with my own seasoning mix, and broiled to make crunchy. The vegetable will be decided later in the week.

Friday: Leftovers, as always.

Saturday& Sunday: Unusually, we’re deciding on these later in the week because he has travel plans for his Vet school stuff.


On the Menu: Dec 3-9th

It’s snowing on my blog! It is not, however, snowing here in VA. Monday was 70 degrees, today it’s supposed to hit 72.

So, what are we eating this week?

On the Menu

Monday: Beef fajitas. I had some leftover flank steak in the freezer,which is perfect for this.

Tuesday: 3 Bean & Beef Chocolate Curry chili. Yes, I know “real” chili doesn’t have beans, but I’ve never claimed that I only cook “authentic food.” And, we like beans. You can’t really taste the chocolate in this, it just adds a great depth that is really enhanced by the small amount of curry.  This will make great leftover for lunches, because chili gets nothing but better as it rests.

Wednesday:  Pot roast, with potatoes, carrots, and a side salad. My clients are getting a pot roast, as well, and since my spice mix recipe makes enough for two pot roasts, I’ll save a step here.

Thursday:  Catfish over spaghetti squash. Thadd’s night to cook! He’s only cooking once this week, so he has time to study for his finals next week.

Friday: leftovers.

Saturday: Doro Wat stew in the slow cooker. Once in a while, we go all out and do a full Ethiopian feast; but, it’s a lot of work. So, this is a great recipe to tide us overs with the intense, deep flavors of the cuisine but without the time commitment. We’ll serve it with homemade injera.

What are you eating this week?


On the Menu: Nov. 12th-16th

This image has nothing to do with this post, I just really want Moroccan Lentil Soup but don’t have time to whip up a batch. Maybe next week…

Monday: Roasted Goat over millet, with baked acorn squash. We have a local goat farmer from whom we buy much of our goat cheese, and he also (unsurprisingly) sells goat meat. I’ve never tried cooking goat meat before, so I looked up a crock pot recipe that seemed simple and straight-forward. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday:  Beef and pinto burritos. Thadd wanted something that gives a lot of leftovers.

Wednesday:  Cannelini Baked Pasta. I know, it’s shocking to see pasta on our menu. We rarely eat it, especially as a planned meal. Why is it on here now? Honestly, because we were tired of thinking. Neither of us have any time the first three days of this week to do much cooking, and we need to keep an eye on our budget.

Thursday:  Catfish with vegetables and quinoa.

Friday: Leftovers.


On the Menu: Oct. 28-Nov. 2

Dinners

Sunday: Coconut braised chickpeas with kale over sweet potatoes. We love this dish. The flavors are complex and rich, and it’s become a favorite comfort food for those weeks when we’re vegetarian.

Monday: Chana Masala (vegetarian chickpea curry). Another chickpea dish, because I have a plethora of them made up at the moment.  The flavor profile is very different from Sunday’s dish, so we don’t mind eating chickpeas two days in a row.

Tuesday: Black bean & sweet potato burritos. A staple for vegetarian weeks, this dish is fairly quick and easy. We generally make a huge batch, because the burritos freeze so well.

Wednesday: Halloween. We’ll be passing out candy with some friends, and so eating there.

Thursday: Tandoori chicken curry sausage, with curried vegetables.  A quick dinner, because this is a really long night for us both.

Friday: Leftovers. Cleaning out the refrigerator!


On the Menu: Oct 21-27

Yep, I’ve been gone again. Fortunately, nothing tragic. We had more problems with our internet, caused by a storm that messed up a line (it took them weeks to figure out what the problem was, but they finally did so last week). I’ve started a variety of classes for my continuing education credits. My broken thumb has finally (mostly) healed. And, I am back in the saddle of blogging again.

So, what are we eating this week?

ON THE MENU

Sunday: Black bean & sweet potato burritos. We had tenants here last week, and they like to cook! They’d made some beans and had leftovers, so we decided we’d make these vegetarian and dairy-free favorites together.

Monday: Beef Stroganoff over spaghetti squash. Grass-fed, local beef makes great stroganoff. I was lucky enough to even have locally-grown mushrooms (and, of course, our herd-share cream). Instead of pasta, we like to use spaghetti squash as “noodles.” It’s much healthier for you, and the flavor are great together.

Tuesday: Red lentil & Vegetable Soup. Thadd whipped up a great, hearty red lentil soup with carrots, potatoes, and spices in chicken stock.  On that note, I was talking about lentils the other day, and a friend mentioned that she didn’t care for lentils. She’d only had green lentils, and hadn’t realized that there were different types. To help with this, I”m going to do a primer on the different types of lentils soon!

Wednesday: Vegetarian Lasagna. This is one of my most-requested recipes. Mushrooms, eggplant, spinach, my own cheese & spice mixture, homemade red sauce, and noodles make a huge casserole that gives Thadd a ton of lunch leftovers. It freezes beautifully, so we cut it into portions, freeze the squares individually on a cookie sheet, then vacuum pack them. Easy, great lunches.

Thursday: Roasted chicken thighs with turnips and slaw. Thadd’s popping this into the oven, as I have to work late. Local turnips are in season! If you think you don’t like turnips, try them roasted with olive oil, some black sea salt, and long pepper. You might change your mind.

Friday: Leftovers.

Saturday: Black bean & banana empanadas. We love these, but keep not making them. This week, we’re making a triple batch so we can freeze a bunch for lunches!

Do you have a meal plan? Share it with us!