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!!