Weekly Meal Planning

It’s been a little while since I did a post on what I eat in a typical week! How exciting!
I talk about this all the time-about how incredibly boring I am with food. I eat the same thing every day for a week and then I switch it up a little from week to week. If something is working and I’m enjoying it I keep eating it. Or sometimes I’m ready for a change.
Meal planning is incredibly important for sticking to a healthy diet though! I usually start planning my meals out on Thursday or Friday so I can figure out what I need to get from the grocery store on the weekend and then make all my food on Sunday.
I personally find a lot of comfort knowing what I have planned for all my meals and I really look forward to all my meals which is also important.

Here we go!

This week for breakfast I have been obsessed with green juice! I got my parents hooked on green juice too. They bought a juicer and earlier this week I got a text from my mom that said she didn’t want to eat anything but green juice! Yes! It really is strangely addicting! But oh so healthy!

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I also had a slice of Ezekiel bread with peanut butter and coffee with unsweetened almond milk for breakfast. I do add a few drops of liquid stevia to my coffee.

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For a morning snack I brought almonds and clementines. Sometimes I ate the snack in the morning, sometimes with lunch, sometimes not at all depending on what I had going on.

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One day after a morning jog I happened to have a batch of these on hand so this was my morning snack. So good.

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Lunch has been this burger topped with ketchup, avocado, red onion and sprouts. Amazing! I eat it either on one of those skinny 100 buns (which isn’t very filling and I end up eating 3 buns) or on a sprouted whole grain bun (I used Alvarado Street Bakery buns).

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Afternoon snack is a big bowl of edamame. Thank you costco! I microwave in a glass bowl though and not the plastic bags they come in. I can’t bring myself to microwave food in plastic.

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I’m very consistent with dinner and I love this salad. I switch it up from time to time but I always feel best when I have a big spinach salad for dinner.

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I’ve been really good about cutting back on chips and chocolate consumption so instead I’ve been having pistachios!

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Except there was this one night where I had tea and leftover chocolate chips.

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And then there was this other night after a hard workout that my husband and I killed this bag of chips. They are so good.

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That’s my husbands arm!
Oh and we’ve been snacking on kale chips like crazy too. Must. make. more. kale chips!

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And then there was this other night this week where I got my hands on chocolate covered potato chips and really went to town. Combining my love for potato chips and chocolate? It’s so good I don’t even feel bad that it was probably a zillion grams of sugar.

And on that note, I’m going to start a cleanse on April 1, haha! I think it’s time. It’s been about a year since I did my cleanse and I’m feeling it. I’m going to have to cut out sugar and alcohol so I think I’m going to spend the next few nights drinking wine and eating chocolate covered potato chips. 🙂 Totally kidding. I’m out of chocolate covered potato chips 🙂
Have a great weekend!
Laura

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Restaurant Style Veggie Burgers

I’m back!
Adjusting to life without Lilly has been hard…and weird. I still expect to see her when I get home and when I get up in the morning. The house is quiet. SO quiet! I knew she was a heavy breather but I didn’t realize she was that noisy!

When all this happened I was 100% never wanting another dog EVER. Ever. Ever. But then I had the bright idea to go online dog shopping and let me tell you that was a huge mistake!
Because as soon as I see a picture like this, it’s game over for me.

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Seriously right? That is ridiculously cute. I know it’s not the right time for a new dog though. We have summer trips planned and puppies are a ton of work and blah blah blah. Whatever, my heart wants a new puppy so bad it’s crazy. Probably I should stop looking at pictures of dogs on the internet and just try living without a dog for 10 minutes.

Has it been 10 minutes yet…?

Ok let’s change the subject and talk about food instead!

Let’s talk about these veggie burgers I made over the weekend! They are a simplified version of these burgers I posted a while back.

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They are really easy to make and really tasty to eat! They remind me of the type of veggie burger you get in a super fancy vegan restaurant. Except these will cost about $5 to make 11 burgers. I believe the combination of ketchup, red onion, avocado, bun and veggie burger is a magical thing. Oh and add sprouts to that list. Sprouts are a must.

I whipped these up in 14 minutes flat. They do have to go in the fridge for 30 minutes before they bake so I think the smartest way to go about making these would be to make the dough early in the day, stick it in the fridge and forget about it until dinner time. These did great on the grill and that’s my recommended method. Broiling them in the oven works just as well but be sure to use an old, junky cookie sheet you don’t care about because the broiler will warp a pan like crazy.

Restaurant Style Veggie Burgers
Makes 11 burgers

2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cloves minced garlic
1 yellow onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
6 tablespoons ground flax seed
2 cups cooked brown rice (or quinoa or a mixture of the 2)
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
Sea salt to taste

In a large frying pan sauté the onion, pepper and garlic in the olive oil over medium high heat for about 5 minutes.

While the veggies cook, get a very large mixing bowl out. In the mixing bowl, combine the flax seed, chili powder, cumin, nutritional yeast and salt.

I used a food processor for the next part but if you don’t have one you can just use a fork or your hands. The goal is basically to get the beans mushed up. Not puréed, just to the point where there are some whole beans and some smashed beans.

In a food processor, combine the rice and one can of beans. Pulse a few times to smash the beans a little, then transfer to the large mixing bowl full of spices. Then, take the remaining can of beans and the sautéed vegetables and pulse them together a few times in the food processor, again just to smash the beans a tad. Not puréed. Transfer to the mixing bowl.

Stir everything together in the mixing bowl. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer. This part is key because the flax seed will absorb moisture and give the dough a good texture.

After 30 minutes, form the dough into burger sized patties and grill, flipping once. They can also be broiled. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray and place them on the baking sheet. Set the oven to broil. Broil for 5-8 minutes or until burgers start to brown a little. Do not use parchment paper as it will catch on fire when the oven is on broil. I learned that the hard way.

Alright, that’s all for now! I have a couple more recipes I need to post so I better hop to it!

Laura

Endless Kale, Sunshine and Scritches

Sad news today. We lost our sweet little Lilly this week.

One thing I never wrote about was Lilly’s poor health, specifically her life-long struggle with allergies. Probably because it isn’t a very uplifting topic!

When Lilly was just 3 years old she developed allergies so severe she nearly died. I was not ready to let her go after only 3 years though so I had some really expensive allergy testing done on her. It turned out she was allergic to everything! I was surprised she wasn’t allergic to dog hair because she was allergic to everything else! Grass, dust, potatoes, dairy, wool, beef, you name it, she was allergic to it. Because of those allergies she had to be kept on a steady stream of steroids and I had to give her allergy shots every month. I definitely don’t regret keeping her alive for the past 7 years. Those steroids and allergy shots allowed her to live a happy, although at times, very itchy life.

Her doctor always told me those steroids would eventually wear out her kidneys and liver so I’ve always known this day would come. It came on suddenly which was nice I suppose and we all knew it was time.

Lilly of course, would want me to focus more on the fact that she was fabulous and lived a fabulous life! And that is true. She had the biggest personality and lived a great life!

Her favorite things where sunbathing:

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Eating Kale

lilly kale

Sleeping:

Lilly sleeping

And getting loves from me. Although she doesn’t look like she’s really enjoying my affection in this photo 🙂

lilly and me

We had a toast to Lilly in honor of her fabulous life and for her 10 years of friendship. We have no doubt that she is now in a place where she can sunbathe, nap, eat endless amounts of kale and get scritched any time she wants.

Here is a video of a typical Saturday night in our house. We are going to miss that little dog!

PS-sorry for the depressing post today! I’ll have good stuff posted next week 🙂

Veggie Lentil Soup

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Oh that is a feeling I am very familiar with! And in my experience, when I want to “wake up skinny” I find soup is the best food for the job. Especially this soup. It’s packed with healthy vegetables which intimidated me a little the first time I made this soup years ago when I was a vegetable-phobe. The lentils provide protein and fiber which make this soup hearty and filling. And of course delicious. If you have a food processor this soup comes together in about 15 minutes and then it just simmers for 45 minutes. But if you are hand chopping all the veggies it could take a while.

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I got this recipe out of one of my favorite cookbooks, Appetite for Reduction, but tweaked it a little as you are free to do as well.

Last weekend Lilly had to get all of her vaccinations, including rabies. The next day she wasn’t feeling well. Nothing is more pitiful that a pug that doesn’t feel well. Notice the treat next to her head. Too sick to eat she said 😦

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But fear not, the next day she was totally fine again. Here she is laying on the rug in the kitchen. She was begging for something but then got tired and started to fall asleep.

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Here is that Veggie Lentil Soup recipe!

Veggie Lentil Soup
makes 5-6 servings

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced small
3 cloves minced garlic
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
several pinches of freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 ribs celery, diced small
1/2 pound carrots, diced small
1/2 pound zucchini, diced small
1 cup dried lentils (I used red lentils)
1 can black beans
6 cups vegetable broth
8 ounce can tomato sauce

Preheat a large soup pot over medium heat. Sauté the onion in the oil for about 5 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and spices and sauté for another minute.
Add the celery, carrots, zucchini, lentils and vegetable broth and stir. cover the pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes or until the lentils and veggies are tender.
Add the tomato sauce and black beans and stir again.

Have a great Wednesday!
Laura

Kale Chip Redemption

Last week I impulse bought a tub of pre-packaged kale chips from the grocery store. They were $5 which is way more than I would normally spend on a small snack but I wanted to try some legitimately good kale chips after my failed attempt. My kale chips were seriously so bad I haven’t wanted to even try kale chips since then.

BUT, as I mentioned I bought some from the store and they were INCREDIBLE. The label stated the container held 2.5 servings. I scoffed at that because obviously it was only one serving. Which I ate all at once. Mmmmm. So good. They were dehydrated rather than baked. But oh, the stomach ache I got afterward. I guess it really was 2.5 servings.

I vowed to never eat an entire batch of kale chips by myself in one sitting ever again.

But then last night I made kale chips and ate the entire batch for dinner.

Like mother like daughter 🙂 This little stinker was sneaking kale stems out of the garbage every time I turned my back.

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I am the worst with anything that tastes good. If I don’t have control around a kale chip, imagine me around a potato chip. Or chips and salsa. That’s the worst for me. I will absolutely eat chips and salsa until I hate myself.

So anyway, back to this story. I made kale chips myself and they turned out great!!!!!! I can’t take any of the credit. I got the recipe from the Vega website and felt brave so I tried it. These are the changes/notes I have:
1. After tearing the bits of kale up I used a paper towel to try to get as much water off as possible. I think one of the reasons my last kale chips didn’t turn out was because they were too wet.
2. A little dab of oil will do ya’. The pieces that had too much oil were soggy.
3. The recipe says to bake for 40 minutes but mine were done after 20 minutes, so keep a close eye on them.
4. I used a combination of nutritional yeast, paprika, onion powder and pepper on my chips and they were divine.
5. The amount of oil & seasoning is totally dependent on how big your bunch of kale is. My bunch of kale was enormous. It filled 2 large baking sheets. I didn’t measure anything. Just poured oil and seasonings and it turned out great.

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Truth be told, I only ate half the batch (which is still a lot). I had my parents over and forced them to eat the rest because I couldn’t be left alone with the kale. Then I forced them to drink my green juice and they loved it!

Speaking of Vega, there is a new Thrive Cookbook out! I haven’t ordered it yet. I went to their website though and started pinning recipes like crazy. If all the recipes in the new book are as good as the ones online I will definitely get it.

That’s all for now! I strongly recommend picking up a bunch of kale on the way home tonight and making these chips! Have a great week 🙂
Laura

Green Juice Recipe

I have spoken many times about my food phobias. That used to include most vegetables. And up until about a week ago I would have told you NO WAY could I drink green juice. Nope. Not happening. Sure I’ll put kale in a smoothie, but I’ll be sure to put some banana and blueberry in there to cover up the kale taste and color.

Now I have a juicer and even still I’ve limited my juicing to red or orange juices. I’ve been drinking beet juice (which is surprisingly good) but I still couldn’t wrap my head around a green juice. I mean, I don’t like eating raw celery let alone drinking it.

I’ve always wanted to be the kind of person who would drink green juice but I just couldn’t get there. I’ve heard about the health benefits and I’ve listened to people go on and on about how great green juice makes them feel.

Well, last week I went out to lunch with a friend and she ordered a green juice. Good for her. She’s a dietitian. Dietitians can handle that gnarly kind of thing. It was kale, ginger, celery and who knows what else. But then she made me take a drink because it was “so good” and I “had to try it”. Well I didn’t want to look like a wuss so I tried it. And you know what? It actually was good!

This is pretty much how my first guacamole experience went. First terror, then, oh that’s actually really good!

Of course the next logical step was to make my own green juice and inflict that same terror on my husband! Except he doesn’t have food phobias so he was all for trying it.

The recipe I found was off Kris Carr’s website. Her book, Crazy, Sexy Cancer is great. I remember reading it and thinking, I just can’t drink a green drink though!

Here are two ways I’ve been making green juice. Most recipes don’t give specific amounts so I guess it just depends on how brave you are feeling and how much you want to drink!

Green Juice Option 1
2 stalks celery
1/2 – 1/3 of a cucumber
3 large leaves of lacinato kale
1 large handful of parsley
1/2-1 lemon
chunk of ginger
1 green apple
(If too strong, dilute with fresh OJ)

Green Juice Option 2
2 stalks celery
1/2 – 1/3 of a cucumber
3 large leaves of lacinato kale
1 large handful of parsley
1/2-1 lemon
mix with fresh OJ to taste

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Here’s the thing about green juice: it really does make you feel great! I know, I never believed people when they made those claims either! But it’s true! My husband is actually the one who brought it up. About 10 minutes after his first green juice he noticed he felt more alert and energized. I felt like I could see better and I felt very vibrant. And I couldn’t believe it either, but it tastes GOOD. Somehow the flavors all come together. It’s not sweet, but it’s definitely not pond scum (which it what I imagined).

So there you go!

Do you think Lilly needs a shot of green juice?

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Enjoy the rest of the week!
Laura

Vegetable Intervention

Spring is just 2 weeks away now! Lilly is totally feeling it.

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You know who else is feeling it? EVERYONE! Everywhere I turn people are talking about cleanses. It’s exciting how whole-food cleanses are really getting popular! And because I want to be popular I put a link up to the cleanse I do a couple times a year. I haven’t done it in quite a while but after reading my post it made me want to! It sounds like I was feeling pretty stellar when I wrote it.

I’m seeing a lot of 7 day, 21 day and 30 day cleanses right now and various cleanses with support groups. I think it’s great. Sometimes we need a group supporting us to get through a tough cleanse. But if you don’t want to spend any money you don’t have to! The cleanse I posted is free so enlist a few friends and give it a try!

We have a running joke in our house that I eat so many vegetables we are just waiting for me to turn green. Last night I told my husband I needed to go to the grocery store because I was out of spinach and he gave me a look of genuine concern. Like, what did you do with the giant tub of spinach that was there earlier today? I had used it up making this spinach dip. But he didn’t know that so his expression was priceless.

This is the lunch I’m eating right now. Curried spinach and tofu wrap. (See recipe below)

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And over the weekend we were drinking green drinks!

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I’ll post that recipe tomorrow. Such a tease, I know!

My husband and I have gotten totally addicted to Game of Thrones. We’ve been binge watching it for the last 3 weeks and just finished season 3 a couple days ago. We are sad now because we don’t have HBO which means we will have to wait a year before we can watch season 4. In the meantime we will probably start binge watching Breaking Bad. I really didn’t think I would like Game of Thrones because I’m not into medieval shows or beheading but I totally got in to it! Now I walk around calling Lilly “your grace” and “my lady”. Ugh, get a life Laura, hahaha!

Alright, here’s a recipe for that Curried Spinach and Tofu wrap. It’s so easy and delicious!!

Curried Spinach and Tofu Wrap

Ezekiel tortillas
Spinach
Cooked Tofu
Curried Spinach Dip

Slather a hearty helping of spinach dip on the tortilla. Add tofu and heat through. Top with spinach, wrap and enjoy!

I made a batch of everything and brought it all to work with me for the week so I have my lunch for the week DONE! That’s my favorite 🙂
Have a great week!
Laura