Category Archives: Food

Mid-week meal + workout plan

Better late than never?  Holidays (Easter) followed by other holidays (Marathon Monday a.k.a. Patriots Day) make for a delightful disruption to our routine, but a disruption nevertheless.  

We celebrated a really happy Easter at the Cape with our family and returned to the city Monday night with a little bit of chocolate… and a lot of delicious leftovers.   I like when my meals both plan and (sort of) make themselves.

meal workout plan for week of 4/18

Meal plan for the week of 4/17

  • Leftover roasted sweet potato salad (vegan): this is great in a quesadilla with some cheese and black beans
  • Salad + leftover wild rice with peas and pistachios
  • Baked stuffed sweet potatoes + salad
  • Taco night or burrito bowls
  • Spinach + artichoke quinoa bake

Workout plan for the week of 4/17

  • Sunday: Easter tabata + Run (done)
  • Monday: MB home workout (done)
  • Tuesday: MB home workout + Daily Burn barre (done)
  • Wednesday: MB class + this stretching routine (done)
  • Thursday: MB self-assessment + lots of stretching/foam rolling
  • Friday: MB class + Run
  • Saturday: Run

This is the final week of the Mama Beasts spring challenge (hence all the MB business above).  It’s been so fun to work with our team and to push myself a bit harder than usual.  A new session of classes starts on Monday — you can find all the details here!  I’m also so glad I re-started the Couch 2 5k program (using the app).  I’ve been able to switch things up for most runs, completing some solo and some with the double stroller (i.e. 50 lbs. of children + 37 lbs. of stroller) and on varied terrain (track, Harborwalk in Southie, hills on the Cape).  It’s really nice to be back in the running-ish groove.

For those who have asked, I have the Baby Jogger Summit X3 Double (the 2016 model, which is what I have, is currently on sale on Amazon) and really like it.  I had a single BOB before Nick was born and liked that too, but find the Summit to be a bit more solid and comfortable for the kids.

Alright, time to dive into those leftovers.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s on your menu this week?

Meal + workout plan for the week of 2/21

Because why start a week on Sunday or Monday… when you can start it on Tuesday? I’m including my workout plan along with this week’s meal plan to make up for my lateness.  Or whatever.

meal plan for the week of 2/21

Temps are supposed to reach 50 degrees in the city today and 70 this weekend.  It’s February, mind you (but don’t worry, guys, global warming is totally a sham…).  I’ve got the back door open, and a nice, big, summery salad on the table.  Is it me, or is it easier to eat well (and like, be a better human in general) when the weather’s nice?

Meal plan for the week of 2/20… or 2/21

Breakfasts:

  • Savory overnight oats (here are a few ideas from The Kitchn) – I’m thinking pesto and shaved parmesan with black pepper
  • Cottage cheese + fruit
  • Cheerios or crispy brown rice cereal + milk (because I am nearly 35, going on 4) 

Lunches:

  • Salads, wraps, leftovers

Dinners:

  • Gnocchi with homemade sauce (tomatoes, onions, garlic, basil + spinach)
  • Beans + rice with veggies; quesadillas (corn tortillas)
  • Baked sweet potatoes with black beans + salsa
  • Flatbreads + salad
  • Slow cooker vegan lentil chili from The Kitchn
  • Grilled cheese + tomato soup

You can find more meal ideas (and basically see what I am craving at 3 AM while feeding baby Nick…) on this Pinterest board.

As for workouts, I decided to try something new last week (or maybe it was the week before?) after my plans had been derailed by a broken washing machine, a carsick toddler, two snowstorms and a visit from the washing machine repair person.  I think I may have only made it to Mama Beasts class twice (pssst: new session starts on 2/27, Boston area moms…) in the span of two weeks.  It was 2.5 times if you count making it half way there before the aforementioned bout of carsickness… A for effort, C- for basically everything else.  The sidewalks were too icy for a run/stroll, and I was feeling both cooped up and cranky, so I knew I needed a backup plan for days and weeks like this.

I’d heard great things about Daily Burn (referral link) and decided to sign up for their free 30 day trial after seeing their Instagram ad for the 8 millionth time.  I was completely hooked after my first workout.  The programming is great (they recommend a program for you, but you can jump around and try various workouts with different trainers) and totally do-able in a small condo with small children crawling, running, and jumping across your mat.  I’m following the Cardio Sculpt program which is a great mix of cardio, strength and flexibility/mobility.  

I went full-on nerd and printed out a blank calendar to schedule in my workouts for the next month or so, and think Daily Burn will be a great compliment to both Mama Beast classes and my running plans (I registered for a few upcoming races and listed them on the Fitness On Tap tab).  I’ve also pinned a bunch of free, at home workouts as further backup — feel free to check those out.

Workouts for the week of 2/20

  • Monday: Mama Beasts + Cardio Sculpt
  • Tuesday: Rest 
  • Wednesday: Mama Beasts + Kickin’ It (totally channel my inner Billy Blanks for this one)
  • Thursday: BHT
  • Friday: Mama Beasts +/or Cardio Sculpt
  • Saturday: Run 3 miles + Supreme Stretch
  • Sunday: Kickin’ It

What feels better than having a plan (and maybe a sheet of gold stickers) at the ready? A 70 degree day in February?

Also On Tap for Today:

What are your favorite at home workouts? Or summery meals appropriate for eating in winter?

 

Meal plan for the week of 2/6

I’m typing this up while half-watching the game, and currently craving pistachios + Skittles.  Neither factor into this week’s meal plan… but advertising, man.  It’ll get you.

MEAL PLAN FOR THE WEEK OF 2/6

meal plan for the week of 1/16

Breakfast:

  • Cottage cheese + fruit 
  • Erewhon crispy rice cereal with skim milk
  • Baked oatmeal (I liked this recipe for baked oatmeal cups from The Kitchn)
  • Fresh juice or smoothie (Current favorite combination: Cranberries, pineapple, grapefruit, lemon, kale, orange + kale with a splash of almond milk)

Lunch:

  • Salads, wraps + leftovers

Dinners:

  • Spinach pie
  • 3 bean soup with salad (working on a recipe for this soup… will share if it turns out non-poison decent)
  • Spicy chickpea taco salad
  • Greek lentil salad (going to try this recipe from Delish Knowledge— looks so good) with pita bread
  • Sweet potato, black bean + spinach quesadillas (an old staple)
  • Caprese quinoa bake (…or vegetarian sushi)

Can you bake Skittles?  And chopped pistachios over arugula… a very good idea, right?

Also On Tap for Today:

What was your favorite food-centric ad during the game?

 

Big Game breakfast: sweet potato + black bean hash

The “big game” is almost upon us (it’s up for debate, but most people are not allowed to use the official term in media… this peasant, yours truly, almost always plays it safe).  When it comes to football, I am basically Zoolander in a coal miner’s bar, whispering “Who’s winning the match?”  It would also not be unlike me to self-diagnose with the black lung… pop.

I used to watch the game specifically for the commercials, but then State Farm gave my soul the black lung with that series of ads about preventable accidents, delivered by the ghosts of dead children.  Or whatever that was.  All I know is, I had a newborn in my arms and didn’t breath for at least three whole minutes.

Sometimes I watch for the halftime show.  I wish Left Shark was the star every year.  But I have high hopes for Gaga.

This year, though, I am fairly invested in the actual game. The Patriots are my hometown team (as in, they play in my hometown) and the Falcon’s Matt Ryan played quarterback at BC (and went to school too, obvi)… while I was playing quarterback of breaking the microfiche machine in the art library on the other side of campus.

Now that you have all that wind up (including a Zoolander reference and a bit about a depressing insurance commercial), let’s talk about the most important part of football Sunday.  The food.  

You likely have your drinks, dips, snacks and sweets lined up.  But have you considered breakfast?  I’ve got an easy + delicious way to kick off (get it… like… sports…) the day.

Big Game breakfast: sweet potato + black bean hash with green apples

Serves 2, gluten-free + vegan

big game breakfast sweet potato black bean hash

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sweet potatoes, cubed + roasted
  • 1/2 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup diced red pepper
  • 1/2 cup black beans, rinsed + drained 
  • 1 organic green apple, cored and diced (leave peel on)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • optional: cilantro greens, shredded cabbage, or arugula

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat, add diced onion and saute until soft
  2. Stir in peppers and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes before adding black beans, sweet potatoes, salt + pepper
  3. Remove from heat and stir in diced green apple
  4. Adjust seasoning if needed and top with greens, if you wish (my recipes aim to be polite…)

If you find yourself with leftovers, I have a feeling this hash would be a real winner on a plate of nachos.  Now that would be a touchdown.  Stop me.  Please.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s on your football-watching menu?

Meal plan for the week of 1/16

It’s Martin Luther King Jr. day here in the US and I’m grateful to be spending the holiday with family, easing into what will likely be a challenging week (what, with the Inauguration and all).  I was reading through old posts inspired by Dr. King (including this one about my visit to Memphis, the Civil Rights Museum + the Lorraine Motel) this morning and couldn’t help feel both lifted and distressed.  

Dr. King’s words (and the example he set through his actions) about service to one another, unselfish leadership, peaceful vigilance, and creative resistance have (for better or worse) such application today.  Whether or not you have the day off, I hope you have a few minutes for quiet contemplation about the days ahead, and the person you can be for others.  Oh, and I highly recommend blasting James Taylor’s Shed a Little Light and Patty Griffin’s Up to the Mountain.  Grace and I spent a solid half hour dancing in the kitchen, singing along.

Is it weird to go from that to talking about this week’s meal plan?  Probably.  Sorry.  I’m having trouble coming up with a graceful segue.   Here’s a salad.

meal plan for the week of 1/16

MEAL PLAN FOR THE WEEK of 1/16

I’m on such an arugula kick lately.  We stopped by the Orleans Winter Farmers’ Market Saturday morning and picked up several bunches.  I love that peppery flavor. 

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Re-reading Dr. King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail
  • Heading back to the city
  • Getting in a quick MB workout courtesy of my challenge partner 😉

What are you looking forward to whipping up this week?

Meal plan for the week of 1/8

After a relaxing, snowed-in weekend at the Cape, we are back in the city + I’m pretending to be ready to take on the week.  

meal plan week of 1/8

Salad is from, um, my fridge… wooden pineapple is from Homegoods.

The laundry’s done, the gas tank is full, workouts are scheduled + I even blocked out some time for painting this week.  I apparently only imagined I did the dishes and I have lost all motivation to unpack… but hey.  Can’t win ’em all.

I found last week’s meal plan was really helpful in my efforts to not eat Cheez-It-type-things for dinner.  It motivated me to try a few new recipes and revisit some old favorites. So here I am, avoiding the dishes and cooking up this week’s meal plan.

MEAL PLAN FOR THE WEEK of 1/8

  • Salads and veggie wraps for lunch
  • Lemon potato chowder from The Kitchn (I’ll vegetarian-ify it with vegetable broth, obvi) 
  • Quinoa caprese salad (or quinoa caprese bake… TBD)
  • Spinach, sweet potato and black bean quesadillas on Ezekial tortillas
  • Some sort of lentil soup (can’t stop, won’t stop with the piping hot lentil soups… until, like, at least April)
  • Make-ahead snacks + breakfasts: chai protein bites, garlic + dill kale chips, baked oatmeal 

I know some people prefer to plan meals for specific days (and maybe one day I will be that organized slash maybe one day my children will keep a reliable routine lasting longer than three days), but for now a more flexible approach seems to work well.  

I like being able to look at a fairly limited list (as opposed to searching through an entire cookbook, or the entire internet, or my entire memory of anything I’ve ever made or eaten), assessing what I have time and energy for, and making whichever option makes the most sense. This generally indecisive lady is all about limited (yet delicious) choices.

Plus… taking the guesswork out of what to make each night leaves me with just enough extra time to, you know, come up with an excuse to not do the dishes.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • 5 ways to keep your fridge clean + organized from The Kitchn
  • Celebrating a belated Christmas with my family, now that we’ve all survived the stomach bug that tried to take down the entire city of Boston
  • Ice skating in my driveway (but not on purpose)

What are your favorite sources for new recipes or meal planning tips?

What to eat when it’s freezing.

The Polar Vortex is baaaa-aaack.  So I made it some chili (vegetarian, obvi).  In my opinion, it’s what to eat when it’s freezing.

what to eat when its freezing

You can find my original recipe (a term I use lightly, mostly because it’s just like… sauté onions and garlic, add beans, add tomatoes, add whatever spices you have on hand, simmer, eat) here: vegetarian chili for lazy people.  

I topped today’s piping hot bowl with a handful of tortilla chips, some Fire Roasted Corn + Black Bean Salsa from Nola’s Fresh Foods.  Nola’s is made minutes from our place in Southie and is a 2015 Martha Stewart American Made award winner.  After receiving a complimentary sample a few weeks ago (delivered to my doorstep, no less), their salsa keeps ending up in our shopping cart.

As for the lime wedge and the useless miniature wooden spoon… they’re mostly there because chili looks like, you know… chili.  And I wanted to distract you from this.  Did it work?

But seriously.  Make yourself a bowl.

Also On Tap for Today:

How are you showing the Polar Vortex who’s boss?  Or like… what’s for dinner tonight?

 

Vegan snacking with Lightlife + The Boston Veg Food Festival

You know my favorite meal is snack time.  No secret there.  I love a good snack plate.  Grace says, “Me too.”

VEGAN SNACKING WITH LIGHTLIFE

vegan snack

 

I recently had the chance to try Lightlife‘s new vegan Smart Jerky, the perfect addition to our afternoon snack plates, along with a few of the following:

Each serving of Smart Jerky contains 9 grams of protein and is 100% plant-based, Non-GMO Project Verified, and Certified Vegan.  It’s also really good. It’s low in calories (90 per serving) and shelf stable, so I could see this being a great on-the-go snack for fall adventures.  Which reminds me… I really want to take a walk (a hike?) in the Blue Hills while the trees are still looking so spectacular.  And we’ve yet to go apple picking.  Jeez.

lightlife smart jerky

Smart Jerky is available in two flavors (original and teriyaki) and can be purchased in the Boston area at Stop and Shop.  It will be available nationally in 2017.

 

THE BOSTON VEG FOOD FESTIVAL

Lightlife is one of the sponsors of this weekend’s 21st Annual Boston Veg Food Festival at the Reggie Lewis Center.  The event is free and open to the public and features food sampling, 120 exhibitors, cooking demonstrations, noted speakers, opportunities to learn about protecting animals and the environment, children’s activities, and shopping.

I’ve attended this event several times in the past and learned a great deal about new products and local vendors who cater to vegetarians… as well as how to live a bit healthier, a bit greener and a bit kinder.  I recommend bringing a shopping bag (or two) with you and planning to spend a few hours checking out each booth and exhibit.  It can get crowded, given the popularity of this event.  (We vegetarians and vegans are very fun people to be around, after all.)

You can park for free at the Reggie Lewis Center or take the T to Roxbury Crossing station (orange line), which is right across the street.

The Boston Veg Food Festival

  • Saturday, October 22nd 11 AM – 6 PM
  • Sunday, October 23rd 10 AM – 4 PM
  • Reggie Lewis Athletic Center, 1350 Tremont Street in Boston

vegan snacking

Alright… snack time!

This post was sponsored by Lightlife.  All opinions are my own.  Obvi.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your favorite on-the-go snack?

Sweet potato toast with a kick.

When it comes to trends (and cool things, in general), I’m rarely on time.  I think sweet potato toast reached its peak coolness this summer, so it’s fitting I just popped my first batch out of the toaster in mid-October.  We’ll get to that in a second.  Let’s relish in my uncoolness a bit longer.

sweet potato toast

I was the last to read the first Harry Potter book and never got around to reading the others.  I did, however, watch all of the movies while icing my knees after marathon training runs.  I’m still not really clear on how things end.  Like, did Harry turn into a baby snake under a bench at a train station?  I realize this entire paragraph will horrify many of you.  I just can’t get with imaginary stuff.

Sun In: No.  The Titanic:  Never saw it.  Snapchat:  Still mostly a mystery to me.  Crop tops: I think everyone’s okay with me skipping that phase (a sales girl at Nordstrom did recommend I try one on a few months ago… I blessed her with all the power my postpartum body could muster).  

In some cases (see Sun In and Titanic), I wear my uncoolness like a badge of (midriff covering) honor.  But in other cases, I’m disappointed I didn’t catch on sooner.  Such is the case with the aforementioned sweet potato toast.  It’s really delicious.  And easy.  And gluten free. And all you need is a sweet potato.  And a toaster.  Ok, and a knife.

SWEET POTATO TOAST WITH A KICK

sweet potato toast

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • A toaster (I guess that’s less ingredient and more equipment, but whatev)

Suggested toppings:

  • 1/2 ripe avocado, mashed
  • Shredded cheese
  • Black beans
  • Plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • Pico de gallo 
  • Hot sauce

Directions:

  1. Wash sweet potato and slice lengthwise evenly (each slice should be approximately 1/4 inch wide)
  2. Arrange sweet potato slices in your toaster so that they don’t overlap; toast on the highest setting until slightly browned (this took about 10 minutes for me)
  3. Add toppings as you wish + enjoy

I finished my sweet potato toasts off with a bit of Poor Devil Pepper Co.’s Cajun Widow lacto fermented hot sauce, recently sent to me by my friends at Small Batch Daily.  This stuff is the real deal (read: hot) and added the perfect cajun kick.  It’s also organic, raw, probiotic and decidedly cool.  For once, I feel sort of ahead of the curve.  Maybe?

sweet potato toast

If you’re looking for similarly cool food items, I definitely recommend checking out Small Batch Daily’s shoppable Instagram feed (@smallbatchdaily). They release new small batch finds each Monday and Wednesday.  You can learn more by visiting their website.

Okay.  But seriously.  What happens to Harry?

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s the coolest thing you’ve done lately?

Grocery haul + food prep + meal plan

Grocery haul + food prep + meal plan…. but no Netflix.   There’s no time for that.  I’ve got snacks to eat.

grocery haul food prep meal plan

I hit up Target and Whole Foods by myself on Sunday.  I had a list, and miraculously, that list wasn’t covered in crayon scribbles.  It didn’t end up folded into a “turtle shape” (Grace seems to have taken up toddler origami), nor left hidden among the bananas.  As much as I love grocery shopping with the kids (it really is fun), going solo is a bit more… efficient.  

Here’s what I picked up:

GROCERY HAUL

Target

  • Mini bagels
  • Goldfish crackers
  • Happy Baby pouches for Nick
  • Gingerbread Larabars
  • And boring non-food stuff… like safety swabs and toothbrushes

Whole Foods Market

  • Produce: 3 Honey Crisp apples (the biggest apples I have ever seen), 3 Gala apples, 4 pears, 3 lemons, 6 bananas, 2 avocados, 3 tomatoes, 2 navel oranges, 2 sweet potatoes, 1 red onion, spring mix with herbs, kale (the lazy person kind that comes pre-trimmed), 1 European cucumber, carrots, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, heirloom cherry tomatoes, chopped pineapple (see again: lazy), butternut squash, basil, cilantro, salsa fresca
  • Dairy: 1/2 gallon Crescent Ridge skim milk, Stonyfield Organic kids smoothies, extra sharp cheddar (shredded), string cheese, plain Greek yogurt, fresh mozzarella
  • Grocery: Annie’s Mac + Bees (G’s favorite), tortillas, lemonade, couscous, fresh squeezed apple juice, kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans

FOOD PREP

This week I split up food prep between Sunday afternoon and mid-day Wednesday.  In total, it probably took 2 hours.  If you don’t include doing dishes.  And, like, sampling.

meal prep smoothies

Life changing tip: Put your chia in a small shaker/spice jar. Then wait for the angels to sing.

  • Kale + strawberry smoothies (with banana, pineapple and chia seeds) pre-blended and frozen in muffin tins (in the future, I’d use muffin liners — these suckers did not want to come out)
  • Chopped veggies: cucumber, carrots

meal prep sweet potatoes squash

  • Roasted sweet potatoes
  • Caprese salad

meal prep iced tea

  • Pitcher of iced tea (David’s Tea organic Peppermint Amour — I sometimes get real fancy and add a splash of lemonade and/or pomegranate juice) – this is how I avoid going to Dunks for ice tea… and driving away with a donut
  • Cook quinoa

meal prep kale chips

MEAL PLAN + WEEKLY MENU IDEAS

Nick (the grown-up one) usually makes his own dinners during the week, while I tend to eat with the kids.  At 5 PM.  Like really young senior citizens.  Grace is getting more and more adventurous, and usually eats at least some of what I would be making for myself (she doesn’t eat meat either). Baby Nick will eat anything he can get his hands on– animal, vegetable, various pieces of furniture– which is fun… and also a little terrifying.

meal planning fall salad

  • Baked sweet potatoes with black beans, onions, cilantro + sharp cheddar
  • Kale and roasted sweet potato quesadillas with black beans and salsa fresca
  • Green salad with apples, walnuts, dried cranberries and crumbled bleu cheese
  • Vegetarian chili for lazy people (these are the themes of my life: laziness and good food)
  • Quinoa with basil pesto and tomatoes

And now it’s Netflix time.  

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your grocery shopping/food prep/meal planning style?  And what’s your go-to weeknight dinner?