MEAL PLAN June 22-28

I’m recapping what we ate every week as a food diary and to give you all meal ideas (healthy and not!). Previous weeks and other meal planning resources can be found here.

FRIDAY June 22: We ate at Alamo Drafthouse during Jurassic World. Movie was not great, but the food surprisingly was! I haven’t ever been too impressed with the food at the Drafthouse, but I loved my meal. I had a small Colorado salad with avocado, cotija, radishes, tomatoes, and a very delicious vinaigrette. And my brother-in-law and I split tater tot nachos (Triceratots!). Both were genuinely good. Would order again.

SATURDAY June 23: We visited Grant’s family for his GRANDMA’S WEDDING! We all had a delicious fried chicken dinner, and I brought a meal for G. Seared lemon-pepper chicken breasts, garlic butter rice (with our fave vegan butter), green beans, and my current favorite lemon cupcakes. I made this all on Friday before work, and it reheated well.

SUNDAY June 24: After the drive back home, I could barely be bothered with dinner, but we needed some food in the fridge! I made the rice again, chopped up the remaining chicken, sauteed chickpeas with onion, and frozen broccoli. Not going to win any culinary awards, but it was very tasty.

MONDAY June 25: The BEST dinner we’ve had in a while. I made this INCREDIBLE and EASY marinade from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe in the morning before work. In the evening, I grilled the chicken thighs, made black beans, sriracha cole slaw (whisk mayo, rice vinegar, and sriracha to taste), and white rice. WOW. Seriously so delicious and easy.

TUESDAY June 26: Our favorite sushi with my sister and brother-in-law and our second cousin and his wife before KESHA and Macklemore. A perfect evening.

WEDNESDAY June 27: An exhaustion sandwich on the couch after work: sandwich thin, mayo, deli turkey, pickles, and salt & pepper kettle chips. Amazing. Then I slept on the couch for an hour while G watched TV next to me. Very cozy.

THURSDAY June 28: G is going on a float trip over the weekend, and GUESS WHAT, he needed food to bring with him. I made a hash with sweet potatoes, broccoli, chicken sausage, chickpeas, and onions for his breakfasts and turkey sloppy joes (very loosely followed this recipe) for dinner. He’ll have sandwiches, crackers, hummus, and apples on the float.

For the hash, I roasted the sweet potatoes and broccoli on the same sheet pan with olive oil, salt, and pepper at 425 for 25 mins. I sauteed an onion, 1 can of chickpeas, and one package of chopped chicken breakfast sausage (from Aldi!), and mixed it all together at the end. He’ll reheat it in a cast iron and add hot sauce.

Float food!

For dinner, we had another iteration of the vegan Mexican spaghetti from last week. I left out the cashew cream, added corn, and made a cilantro sauce to drizzle. I think it’s almost perfect!

AND, bonus meal: soft-scrambled eggs over sprouted toast with the leftover cilantro sauce.

What’s the best thing you ate this week? 

MEAL PLAN June 15-21

I’m recapping what we ate every week as a food diary and to give you all meal ideas (healthy and not!). Previous weeks and other meal planning resources can be found here.

FRIDAY June 15: I spent the night at my sister’s and she made us the BEST homemade pizza and salads. We ate while watching Queer Eye and crying 😍

SATURDAY June 16: After spending the day with my sister Becca and her fiancé (including some dope turkey burgers with grilled pineapple by B), Grant and I went to a friend’s birthday party. He ate leftovers of the lunch my sister made (thanks, sis!!!!), and I had delicious BBQ. My favorite trick for enjoying BBQ without overdoing it: fill you plate with ¼ meat, ½ salad or other veggies, and whatever yummy, decadent side in the other ¼. I chose amazing jalapeño cornbread by my friend Karah. (I also had a jello shot like it was college or something.)

I. Love. Summer!

SUNDAY June 17: We enjoyed one of our very favorite dinners: buffalo chickpeas with vegan ranch, shredded romaine, broccoli, and sweet potatoes. I grilled the sweet potato planks, which honestly took FOREVER, and I probably won’t do it again. For the chickpeas, I sauteed an onion in coconut oil, added the chickpeas and let them brown, and then added buffalo sauce to taste with a little more coconut oil. Salt and pepper, too!

MONDAY June 18: I’m working on a new recipe for you guys! I vegan-ized this recipe for Mexican Spaghetti, and it was SO good. I used brown lentils instead of the meat, and I made a cashew cream to replace the cheese. It needs a little work, but totally hit the spot. We also had salad with leftover ranch, and it was a GREAT combo.

TUESDAY June 19: I had a happy hour dinner with my friend Liz. We shared queso, guac, and PERFECT Asian chicken sliders at The Oliver.

WEDNESDAY June 20: My favorite dinner of the week: cubed, roasted tofu (425 for 25 mins, tossing in the middle) with a riff on the sauce from this recipe, served with stir-fried shredded cabbage and onion, white rice, and green beans.

THURSDAY June 21: Leftovers in bed with a side of honey wheat pretzels because Thursdays are haaaaaaaaaard.

LUNCHES: All week, I’ve been eating lettuce wraps with deli turkey and spicy hummus. SO good, crunchy, and satisfying. G eats leftovers.

BREAKFASTS: This week has been SMOOTHIE WEEK for me. Five days, five green smoothies. My favorite was 1 frozen banana, ⅓ c frozen mango, ⅓ c frozen kale, 1 tbsp coconut oil, 2 scoops collagen peptides, 1 tbsp ground flax, handful ice cubes, and a splash of water. Remember — if a smoothie doesn’t have PROTEIN, FAT, and FIBER, you’ll process any nutrients way too quickly for your body to absorb them. If you want the benefits of a green smoothie, you better make sure that it includes fat like coconut oil or nut butter, fiber like chia or flax, and protein.

HAPPY WEEKEND! Hope that you’re doing something fun and that you’re eating well.

MEAL PLAN: June 8-14

I’m recapping what we ate every week as a food diary and to give you all meal ideas (healthy and not!). Previous weeks and other meal planning resources can be found here.

FRIDAY, June 8: Grant’s friends came over to help him with some seriously neglected areas of our yard, and I made dinner. On the menu: pulled chicken, vegan mac and cheese, and my favorite cole slaw. Simple, easy, and very yummy.

For the chicken: bake two big chicken breasts and two packages of chicken thighs at 375 until done (20-30 mins for the breasts and 30-40 mins for the thighs). Let cool slightly before shredding. This white meat:dark meat ratio is perfect for flavor and juicyness. I seasoned the chicken with this amazing blend, but anything will do!

The cole slaw: whisk together equal parts mayo and yellow mustard, and thin it out with a couple splashes of apple cider vinegar. Toss with bagged cole slaw and salt and pepper.

SATURDAY, June 9: G’s birthday party. The full menu is here, where I talk about how to host a party without losing your mind.

SUNDAY, June 10: a quick dinner post-pool and pre-Westworld. This brown lentil daal was super quick (I don’t have a pressure cooker, so I used the stovetop. It was just as fast… This is where I confess that I don’t really get the Instant Pot craze.), and it went perfectly with leftover rice. I meant to make the onion and tomato salad for the top, but I honestly forgot about it.

Here’s a reminder that not every meal needs to be super-amazing. Simple and fast can taste just as good.

MONDAY, June 11: Grant’s birthday! He asked for grilled shrimp and pineapple, so I expanded on that idea.

Grilled shrimp seasoned with salt, pepper, and paprika. Grilled pineapple and red onions. Brown basmati rice. Simply dress shredded cabbage. Cilantro vinaigrette. SO good, and served with champagne made it even better.

TUESDAY, June 12: I ate sushi and saw Hereditary (SO GOOD OMG GO SEE IT NOW AND THEN TEXT ME!!!). Grant had leftovers.

WEDNESDAY, June 13: My household famous hummus pasta with frozen broccoli.

Hummus pasta: boil 2 c pasta of choice in heavily salted water. Save about a cup of pasta water, and drain. Saute onion, garlic, and halved cherry tomatoes until tender and SUPER fragrant. Add about ½ container of hummus (I love the Aldi brand in significantly spicy; Grant prefers roasted red pepper) and stir. Add splashes of pasta water and stir until it’s really creamy. Add pasta and more splashes of pasta water, stirring constantly. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and top with red pepper flakes.

THURSDAY, June 14: G and I had a date at a new local brewery, so dinner needed to be fast. I simmered black beans, onion, and rotel on the stove, reheated leftover rice, and added the leftover cilantro vinaigrette to the leftover cabbage. Presto, rice and bean bowls in like 15 mins.

Secret to a quick dinner when you walk into the kitchen without a plan: chop and saute an onion. Pretty much regardless what you decide to make, sauteing an onion will be the first step.

HAPPY WEEKEND!!!! xoxo

MEAL PLAN June 1-7

Hi everyone! I hope you had a lovely week full of healthy food (in moderation, of course). Here’s a recap of what we ate.

Friday + Saturday

I was in St. Joe for a solo writer’s retreat (full post on that experience coming soon), and I didn’t want to cook one BIT! I ate sandwiches (sandwich thin, deli turkey, mayo, pickles, salt and pepper kettle chips (yes, ON the sandwich)), fruit, and eggs with tomatoes and spinach (veggies that didn’t need to be chopped 🙏). It was AWESOME. I have no idea what G really ate while I was gone, and that’s fine. I needed a break from the dinnertime responsibility, and I came back REFRESHED.

Sunday

When I got home from my retreat, I decided that I wasn’t going to go grocery shopping. We had a full pantry and saving money is always a good idea (it’s one of my 2018 intentions, after all).

We had burrito bowls with white rice, frozen corn, sauteed bell peppers and onions, and seasoned ground turkey (turkey from the deep freeze). My father-in-law and brother-in-law ended up eating with us while they helped G fix his car, so this was perfect, quick and delicious.

Monday

We had the MOST BEIGE AND UGLY dinner. I unearthed frozen cauliflower, and I sauteed that with paprika and garlic until it was defrosted and a little brown (hit it with enough salt, and it is really delicious). We had frozen chicken apple sausages from Aldi, and I sauteed them with onions until everything was browned. We ate them on buns with BBQ sauce (G) and yellow mustard (me).

In the interest of having leftovers for G’s upcoming lunches, I also made a pot of basmati rice. Lunches: sausage, frozen green beans, cauliflower, rice. Simple, filling, CHEAP AF.

Tuesday

I was the MOST SAD on Tuesday when the news of Kate Spade’s death broke. I wrote about it in detail on my Instagram, but in summary: it breaks my heart that someone who brought me such joy could be hurting so deeply.

My sweet husband knew that I was struggling, so he surprised me with wine, peanut M&Ms, and La Croix (he really knows me, huh?). We enjoyed that wine (and some more we found in the fridge 😜) with my ultimate comfort food: mac and cheese! I made this recipe minus the pumpkin and roasted garlic and added garlic powder instead. It was creamy and delicious, and splashes of pasta water added the body the pumpkin usually does to the sauce. We also had sauteed chickpeas and frozen green beans. Truly comforting and all from the pantry.

It’s true that I don’t advocate for emotional eating, but sometimes food can be the hug that you need at the end of a long day. As long as it’s occasional, I think it’s just part of being human.

Wednesday

I had dinner at a girlfriend’s house, and she made the easiest and most delicious dinner: ground chicken lettuce wraps with frozen egg rolls and gyoza from Trader Joe’s. 👍 Thanks, Taylor!

Thursday

Leftovers! While I prep for dinner guests Friday after work. Come back next week to hear what I fed Grant’s buddies who came over to help him with yard work. ♥

MEAL PLAN May 26-31, 2018

I’ve gotten lots of requests to share our weekly meal plans, so HERE YOU GO! I’m going to share what I planned on us eating for the week, what we actually ate, and any lessons I learned in that week of FOOD.

My meal planning basics are HERE. If you’re not planning your meals for the week, you absolutely should be. It’s a great way to save a ton of money (especially if you shop for that meal plan at Aldi!) and eat with intention (you know, not buying a random sandwich at 1:45 PM since you didn’t think about lunch).

I know how it is, at least for me! I get home late after sitting in traffic for an hour and being awake for 14 hours, and it’s super easy to grab Chinese food from Hy-Vee. And sometimes I totally do that! But if I’ve planned a delicious meal and all of the ingredients are waiting for me, I’m way more likely to make dinner.

In our two-person household, I usually make four meals each week, and we have leftovers or sandwiches on the other nights. This feels like the perfect middle-ground for me: we eat plenty of delicious, homemade meals, but I also get several nights off from cooking.

I never plan anything for Friday. I know that I will be WAY too tired come Friday evening to make a meal, so I just plan to not do it. An exception: if we have company! Last Friday, our friends came over for dinner after work, and it was a great way to kick off the long weekend. 💜

MEAL PLAN May 26-31, 2018

Breakfasts and lunches:

Unless we have something special going on, these are almost always the same. I have a green smoothie (recipe in the highlights here), eggs with vegetables, or toast and nut butter. G will have toast or cereal. For lunches, G eats leftovers, and I eat a combination of leftovers, salads, and deli meat roll-ups.

DINNER PLAN:

Friday:

grilled, marinated chicken thighs, summer succotash, basmati rice, cilantro vinaigrette, salad, lemon cake and raspberry sorbet for dessert

I knew that hosting on a Friday meant that I needed to prep some food in advance and pick easy dishes. I chose the chicken, succotash, and vinaigrette from my current fave cookbook, What’s Gaby Cooking, and I chose the rice because it was easy.

Steps I took to prep ahead of time: trimmed and marinated the chicken, chopped the veggies (bell pepper, red onion, cherry tomatoes) for the succotash, made the vinaigrette, made the salad (romaine, green onions, yellow bell pepper)

Things I made after work: Mixed and dressed the succotash, made the lemon cake (obviously could have made that ahead of time, but I didn’t), grilled the chicken, made the rice in my rice cooker, made salad dressing

It was perfect, summery, EASY, and felt relaxed. It also didn’t all need to be piping hot, which is perfect for greeting guests and enjoying a cocktail or two while the meat rests. (My friend made awesome sangria with La Croix in it, so the fruit got carbonated. It was amazing.)

Saturday:

WEDDING RECEPTION, so no cooking

Sunday:

grilled Italian chicken sausages, grilled bell peppers, romesco sauce, buns, balsamic pasta salad, lemon-dressed green beans, fruit, and vegan chocolate chip cookies for dessert

Another meal with company! I really wanted to make the romesco sauce from What’s Gaby Cooking (basically roasted red pepper pesto), so I planned a meal around that. We layered Italian sausages, grilled peppers, and the romesco sauce on buns, and it was SO delicious.

Prep steps: made romesco, made pasta salad (boiled orecchiette, sliced cherry tomatoes, made balsamic vinaigrette, folded together with salt and pepper), made green beans (marinated diced red onion and minced garlic in lemon juice, lemon zest, and olive oil, then tossed with two pounds of defrosted frozen green beans), made cookies

In the half-hour or so before our friends arrived, I grilled the peppers, let the sides come to room temp, and grilled the sausages after they showed up (with champagne AND flowers 🎆).

Monday:

leftovers

Tuesday: I planned to make this sesame chicken fried rice from Iowa Girl Eats. I ended up making an invented cabbage and chickpea stir fry. It was delicious and super-quick.

Made jasmine rice. Sauteed two cans chickpeas with green onions and ginger, and removed from pan when browned. Added a bag of coleslaw cabbage, sauteed until wilted. Added frozen peas. Added the chickpeas back in, and stirred in sauce: equal parts mirin and soy sauce, splashes of maple syrup and sesame oil, and a big dash of white pepper. Serve stir fry on top of rice.

Very ugly and really satisfying.

Wednesday:

leftovers

Thursday:

book club night, leftovers or a sandwich for G

OK, that’s it! Let me know how I could make this more helpful. If you’d like to see more of a food journal, let me know. xoxo!