Before I start, I want to let everyone know that on Monday, Octoberber 23, I’m going to start a Whole30 month so I can get a fresh start before the holidays.
I had planned on doing a long blog about gluten free eating and all kinds of great info. But who am I kidding, every time I sat down to write, the little one needed me more than my computer did. So the gluten free post will come at a later time. I’ve actually started it and will add to it as I can and then publish it with some more recipes.
Just know this: All of my recipes are gluten free, either by design or because they are naturally made that way. I eat gluten free because it helps my stomach issues. I don’t know if I’m celiac or I have an intolerance or sensitivity to gluten. All I know is that it works for me and I figured it out by process of elimination after a long, long bout of stomach problems about 7 years ago.
I don’t promote being gluten free as a ‘diet’ per se, but for me it’s a lifestyle that works. Figure out what works for you and adapt accordingly.
So speaking of adapting… life with a four month old is HARD! And to add to my crazy life, I started back at the gym last week. My goal is to go at least 3 days a week and anything more is a bonus. I’m going after work, which is a huge change for me since I prefer to get my day started an energized with a workout. But, we must adapt and go with what life throws at us.
With the addition of the gym last week, I really had to focus on meal prepping for breakfast, lunches and have an idea of my dinner menu for the week. If I at least know what I’m cooking for dinner, I can shop for it, plan it in my head and be ready to get to business when I get home, so I’m not stuck with the whole, ‘What do we feel like for dinner?’ for 30 minutes.
Before I go to the grocery store(s), I write out my menu for the week, and then think about what I will feel like for lunch this week.
And just because I assign each meal to a day, doesn’t mean we stick with it… we at least know what the week brings.
So last week was salads with grilled chicken for lunch, nothing too terribly exciting. I bought the already grilled chicken because it was on sale. So half that battle was done for me and all I had left was some slicing, dicing and assembly to do for salads. In addition to salads, I portioned out carrots and celery to go with my peanut butter I keep in my drawer at work for my afternoon protein snack. I also put together some fresh fruit cups with strawberries, blueberries and cantaloupe. Viola! Lunches done!
Next, I prepped some breakfasts since I knew I would be working out in the afternoons, I needed to start my day with some substance to prepare me for burning calories later in the day.
First, I made my 2 ingredient pancakes, except, I used 4 ingredients this time to up the nutritional value.
2 Ingredient Pancake Recipe (*I used 4 ingredients this time…feel free to use whatever add-ins you see fit)
2 mashed bananas
2 shakes of the cinnamon shaker (I just put what I think will taste good, you do the same!)
¼ cup of ground flax seed (you could always add chia or hemp seeds in the initial batter too)
Mix all of the ingredients until it is all combined well. It’s ok if it’s a little lumpy from the bananas.
Use a non-stick pan and I melt about 1tbsp of coconut oil over medium heat (you can use other oil if you want, I just like coconut oil). Drop in 2 tbsp of the batter. Cook them over medium/low heat. You don’t want them to cook fast because the outside will burn and you will think they are ready to flip, but they aren’t. Cook them slowly and they will bubble like regular pancakes and that is when you flip them CAREFULLY!
The recipe will make about 8 pancakes, which was enough for 2 days for me. But if you want to increase the recipe to stock up your week, always stick with the 1:1 ratio of bananas to eggs. I just happened to have 2 ripe bananas that needed to be used. You can freeze them, but I would advise if you are going to freeze them, put wax paper between each one because they will just stick together in a big clump.
Add-in ideas after the initial flip:
Regardless of what you put in them, they are easy to make, healthy, and will fill you up!
Next up: Potato Veggie Hash
I had some red potatoes that needed to be used, so I diced about 5 medium red potatoes into approximately ¼” cubes. I had half a yellow onion from another recipe in the fridge that I diced and some already cut up and frozen red, green, yellow and orange bell peppers (about 1/2 cup).
I sautéed the veggies until they were done and my done-ness is a crispy-ish outside on the potato. Once cooked and cooled, I separated them into 3 more containers for the other three days of breakfasts for my week. I would need some sort of protein to add to them later.
Here is where you can pre-cook some ground turkey or regular sausage, turkey bacon or regular bacon or other type of meat and have it ready to toss in with your potatoes on the morning of your choosing.
I, however, decided that I would just add 2 eggs to my potatoes each morning, throw it in the microwave for about 1 ½ minutes and that would cook my eggs and heat my veggies all at once. No extra mess to clean up.
So that was last week..
Now for this week, which I was way more excited about mostly because I planned it so my dinners would actually become my lunches. So here was my dinner plan for this week, oh and I came up with a new breakfast muffin!!! Keep reading for that recipe.
Before I got dinners started, I needed some side/snack items for work also. So I did my usual fruit cups. This week was pineapple, blueberries and strawberries all nicely packed in 1 cup servings.
Next up was a Quinoa salad that would be chock full of protein for my late afternoon snacks before the gym.
Quinoa Protein Snack
Cook one serving of quinoa according to your packages instructions. If it says rinse it, rinse it!
While the quinoa is cooking and cooling, finely dice 1/4 of a red onion.
Rinse and drain one can of chick peas (garbanzo beans).
Cut a handful of grape tomatoes (I cut them in quarters) you can add more, but a handful is usually about right.
Once the quinoa is completely cooled, mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl.
Add about a tsp of salt and pepper.
Add the juice of one lime and a small container or feta cheese if you like.
Mix it thoroughly and taste it at this point. If you need more lime, salt or pepper, now is the time to add it.
This recipe made enough for 5, 1 cup servings.
My plan is to add avocado to the salad each day for some extra flavors/good fat, however, it’s Wednesday and I haven’t remembered to bring my avocado yet! Ooops!
While the quinoa cooled and everything was ready for the salad, I decided to dice up an entire 3lb bag of sweet potatoes and roast them. Well, they cooked down A LOT for some reason and I had a cookie sheet of roasted sweet potatoes, but I just wasn’t ‘feeling’ it for them for breakfast this week.
Here I sat with sweet potatoes roasted with cinnamon and a drizzle of maple syrup, time to get creative!
I looked over to my fruit basket and there sat two lonely bananas that were holding on to their last bits of yellow. AH HA, muffins!
This is where I really winged it and made this recipe up on the fly. Here is what I came up with:
Sweet Potato Banana Muffins
I mashed together 2 very ripe bananas and my cookie sheet of sweet potatoes (which I would say was about 1 cup of sweet potatoes). I did a rough mash, so the muffins would be a little lumpy on purpose.
1 ½ cup of quick cook oats
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
Combine everything and spoon into muffin tins about ¾ full.
Cook at 350 for about 17 minutes. Just keep your eye on them and when you stick a toothpick in to test the muffin, it should come out dry. This recipe made 12 muffins.
Let them cool and store in an airtight container. Eat them warm or cold, but these are a GREAT pre-workout snack.
Time for dinner prep, which was SOOOOOOO easy!!
Dinners this week were to be, quick and easy and low-maintenance. First up to prep was the taco meat for the taco casserole. I cooked ground turkey, onions and a packet of taco seasoning. Once cooked, store in an airtight container until Taco Casserole day.
Taco Casserole day comes and here you go… Assembly only and then cook.
You will need:
your pre-cooked meat
1 can of black beans
Spread a small amount of salsa of your choice on the bottom of a 9×9 casserole dish so the first shell doesn’t stick.
Then layer, one soft taco shell (I used the soft, gluten free shells this time. you can always use corn or regular flour shells.
Next, add the meat, 1/3 of the can of black beans, salsa (as much or as little as you want) and then shredded cheese.
Repeat those steps 2 more times and finish with cheese.
Bake at 375 for about 25-30 minutes to heat everything through and melt the cheese.
The next super easy prep was my pizza chicken roll-ups (or the fancy name of them is Chicken Rollatini)
For the prep, you will need:
Thin sliced chicken breasts (I bought a 4-pack)
any type of Italian meat (salami, pepperoni, prosciutto, ham, etc)
Italian shredded cheese
If your chicken isn’t thin enough to be able to roll, put it between two pieces of wax paper and using a meat mallet or a rolling pin, try to make it approximately 1/4″ thick.
After you bang the chicken, sprinkle them with Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Add your meat and then add a small amount of cheese (approx. 2 tbsp.)
Roll the chicken up like you would a sweet roll and place it in a glass dish, seam side down. Sprinkle the tops of the chicken with more salt, pepper, garlic powder and Italian seasoning.
Cover with plastic wrap until you are ready to cook. You can always freeze this dish and have it ready for a later date.
On Chicken Roll-up day, you will need:
Noodles of your choice (I used penne this time)
1 can fire roasted tomatoes
more cheese (freshly grated parmesan works best
Heat your oven to 400 and cook the chicken for 30 minutes or until the juices run clear.
During the last 10 minutes, add the can of fire roasted tomatoes on top of the chicken and sprinkle some more of the Italian cheese on top. Make sure the cheese melts.
While the chicken is cooking, make the pasta. When the pasta is done, add about 1-2 tbsp. of butter and salt and pepper.
Top the pasta with the chicken, tomatoes and their juice and sprinkle with fresh parmesan.
So that’s all the prepping I did for the last two weeks. I promise not to bombard you next time with two weeks worth of prepping. Maybe this will get you started for a great next week ahead.
And although there is Pork butt on my menu board, I plan on doing it in the slow cooker on Friday. I just haven’t decided on the flavors yet. I’m contemplating the Dr. Pepper method, which I have never done or a tried and true BBQ recipe. I will have to get back to you on that.
Also…I plan of putting the recipes in their own tab eventually. Until then, bare with me and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!!
The baby weight struggle is real! Before baby, I worked out almost daily up until four days before the little man was born. Working out now has definitely been a challenge. It’s a challenge that I’m not dealing with very well. I know, I know, it took 9 months to gain it, 9 months to lose it…blah, blah, blah. I have 18 pounds left and it’s driving me crazy!
That said, I track everything I eat and less calories, does not equal weight loss. For me, I try to hit 1500-1600 calories a day, protein making up about 40-50% of my day, 30-40% fat and 10-20% carbs. I’m gluten free, don’t drink soda and definitely don’t eat those pre-packaged, processed meals. I use the MyFitnessPal app to track everything, add me as a friend if you are on there. My username is Kellyt888.
Some days I make it, some days I don’t, but hey, that’s life and I am doing what I can with the time I’ve got. All I know is that I have to eat every three to four hours to make my body burn it. This week, I’ve actually noticed I have been eating more frequently, like on the three hour side, rather than four and I’m seeing some results. Small ones, but hey, something is better than nothing.
So last week, I focused on lunches and meal prep. Since I have had the baby and am now back at work, my breakfast routine had to change too. I have gone from snack/water/workout/protein shake to wake up, feed the little man, shower, feed myself then leave for the day. I needed to come up with some breakfast ideas that I could prep and wouldn’t bore me midway through the week and would be easy to eat.
This week, I bought a four pack of sweet potatoes. For some reason, it was cheaper to buy them this way. Oh, and as a side note, I also found out that North Carolina is the leading producer of sweet potatoes in the United States (if you don’t believe me, here’s the link 🙂 http://www.ncsweetpotatoes.com/sweet-potato-industry/ ).
Anyhoo, sweet potatoes are full of vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin B6 and they are full of fiber. They are filling and can be eaten in a variety of ways. This week, I felt like a good use for my sweet potatoes would be to roast them, which is super easy.
I diced all four potatoes into small approximately ¼” cubes.
Next, I drizzled them with a small amount of olive oil, sprinkled them with chili powder and then cinnamon. That may sound weird, but stick with me on this one. To sweeten them up a bit, I drizzled them with Organic maple syrup.
I laid them flat on a large cookie sheet and baked them at 425 for about 30 minutes.
While the potatoes were roasting, I prepped lunches. This week consists of sandwiches for the hubby (per his request) and will be made the night before. And I will have salads for me. I prepped the salads in containers, leaving the protein out.
I also made fruit cups with cantaloupe, strawberries, blueberries and grapes in 1.25 cup containers.
I had leftover taco meat, which I separated into two ½ cup servings to top my salad on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday and Thursday, I will top my salads with pre-cooked chicken that I bought on sale. I portioned out carrots and celery in Ziploc bags and boiled some eggs for my mid-morning snacks. I keep peanut butter in my desk drawer to go with the celery.
Once the potatoes were done I let them fully cool and then I separated them into ½ cup servings and placed them in the fridge. Now, what kind of protein can I put on my pre-cooked sweet potatoes that won’t take forever in the mornings? If I had time, I would just cook up two eggs and throw them on top, but who are we kidding, I need something quick if I’m gonna get the little man to daycare by 7:30.
I found that the Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage, by Al Fresco will do the trick! One link is 160 calories, 7g of fat, 14g of protein and 10g of carbohydrates. The great thing about these are that they are pre-cooked! So, before I stick the sweet potato in the microwave, I cut up a sausage and throw it in with the sweet potato and then heat them together for about 1 minute and 30 seconds.
Simple as that right? Right!!
Here’s a sample of my morning routine in a nutshell:
5:30 a.m. – wake up, be as quiet as possible so Jake stays asleep and hop in the shower.
5:40 a.m. – sneak around quietly getting dressed and ready for work (today is a ponytail day, so no real hair fixing is being done)
6:00 a.m. – get my lunch ready, which literally takes all of 5 minutes or less since everything is ready to pull from the fridge and place in my lunch bag
6:05 a.m. – get my coffee started and heat up my breakfast
6:10 a.m. – sit down, watch some news, eat and enjoy the last couple minutes of silence before waking up the little man
6:20 -7:00 a.m. – wake up Jake, feed, burp, feed some more, change his diaper and clothes, and make sure I didn’t forget anything in his daycare bag.
7:05 a.m. – load up the little guy in the car and off to start our day!
It definitely has taken some getting used to, ya know, getting another little human used to a routine, but repetition has helped and I think we are all learning everyday from each other.
If it takes me 9 months to lose these last 18 pounds, then so be it. Some days are harder than others. Some days I don’t get to work out. Some days we may even miss a real dinner. But everyday is a blessing and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
*And yes, I know there are only 4 lunches for this week. Friday we are leaving to go camping. We will all be home together and can figure out lunch when it gets here 🙂
So, my goal all along with this page has been just this. Things I can put “on paper” and share my ideas, thoughts, tips and creative juices – whenever they may flow.
As a new mom, I’ve learned that every second of every day is precious and I need to use that time very wisely. I’ve always been one to maintain a balanced diet and try to stick to a plan each week but with a 3 month old and going back to work, it’s a whole new ball game.
I’ve been back to work for four weeks now and those days of making my lunch nightly for the next day went by the wayside and I had to figure out this whole mom thing. Those few hours after work, fly by and who wants to worry about lunch when you have this little guy to play with every night. Who could pass this up?
Many of you asked for my plan that I shared on Facebook yesterday, so I figured I’d add it here. I’ve had this page on the backburner for a couple of years now. This seems like the perfect opportunity to start it up and make something of it. Who knows if anything will come of it, but if I can share it with a few friends and help people, then it’s worked. If not, no harm done and I can have the ideas for myself to build from and use again.
So here it is… blog #1 of Deelish Life. Life should be full of happiness, smiles and memories, kind of like when you have that favorite dish or meal, something to make you remember just how Deelish it was.
I hope you enjoy and would love some feedback on any ideas for future posts!
5 Days of Chicken Bowls
5 pack of chicken breasts
Cut each breast in half (in thickness so it will cook quicker) – I was cooking for 2, so I needed 5 meals each
On each breast, I used a rub, no marinades so the flavors wouldn’t spread when cooking
Burrito Bowl Chicken – I sprinkled taco seasoning on each breast, front and back
Asian Chicken – Chinese 5 spice rub on each breast
Caribbean Chicken – Jerk Rub on each
Zesty Citrus Rub – I look for unique rubs and I found this one at food lion in the Mexican spice aisle. It has a hint of lime and it really Deelish!
Garlic Salt & Pepper Chicken
Salt & Pepper
Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray and Place the breasts on the pan. I cooked them at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes. They will get juicy, but the flavors don’t really spread. Just make sure the juices run clear from the chicken so you will know they are done.
While the chicken is cooking, now is the time to prep the rice and other sides for the bowls. I used the boil in a bag rice and a yellow rice, to mix things up a bit. Both of which are super easy and you’re only getting two pots dirty.
Next make the pineapple salsa for the Caribbean Chicken bowl.
1 can of diced pineapple – drain the juice
¼ red onion diced very small
1 tbs of fresh cilantro – chopped
Mix them all together and set aside
Next cook the stir fry veggies for the Asian bowl. I used fresh stir fry veggies from the produce section. Add low sodium soy, teriyaki and about a ½ tbs sesame oil.
Once the chicken is done, let it cool enough to work with and dice and then it’s time to assemble!
Taco Seasoned chicken diced
½ cup of brown rice
½ cup frozen corn
½ cup black beans
Top with salsa
The day of, you can add fresh avocado
Asian Chicken bowl
5 Spiced Chicken diced
½ cup brown rice
½ the veggie mixture and it’s sauce
Caribbean Jerk Chicken bowl
Caribbean Jerk Chicken diced
½ cup of the yellow rice
Garlic Salt & Pepper Chicken Bowl
Garlic, Salt & Pepper Chicken diced
½ Cup yellow rice
Grilled Chicken Salad
Salt & Pepper chicken diced
All of your favorite salad ingredients
I made an olive oil, lemon juice, salt & pepper dressing to keep it low cal/low fat
In addition to the bowls, I portion out snacks to mix and match for my lunch bag.
Carrots and celery for snacks in Ziplocs and throw them in the veggie drawer in the fridge.
Fruit bowls (Strawberries, blueberries, melons, etc) in Tupperware also and have other fresh fruit to add to my lunch bag like apples and bananas.
Almonds get portioned in ¼ cup snack bags and put in the pantry.
Each morning, all I have to do is grab, pack and go! Good luck and let me know if you need any other ideas or help!
Hopefully, I can do this morning consistently and share with everyone.