Speed Meal Prepping

It’s All In The Planning

My Sunday’s are lovely, but usually pretty much all the same. I lap swim at 8 when the pool opens, and of course stay to socialize a bit, then go home to shower and meet my husband at our favorite deli, where everyone knows us, for breakfast. I then do my grocery shopping, and come home to meal prep and write this blog. I love this routine, but sometimes things come up and interrupt the routine. An old friend was in town and it was important that I go meet her for coffee this morning.

I planned ahead. Yesterday, I made all of my meal prep decisions, and did a portion of my grocery shopping. Early this morning, I had a light breakfast of cottage cheese & blueberries so I wouldn’t starve, then ran to Trader Joe’s to finish my grocery shopping for the week. I then met my friend, had a great visit, then met my husband at that deli for brunch. About an hour and a half after arriving home, all of my meal prep is finished, and the blog is being written. I will make it to the pool late this afternoon, enjoy my time there, then come home to wind down the weekend, and get ready for the coming week.

This week is still going to be hot in So Cal, so for lunch I decided on my favorite gazpacho recipe, which I have published before here (0 pts). It’s so good, it bears repeating. Any vegetable based soup, hot or cold is a great way to power down lots of veggies at once, plus it is cleansing and hydrating. To go with the gazpacho, I went with one of the seasonal Trader Joe’s frozen specialties, Riced Cauliflower & Butternut Squash Risotto (70 cal/ 2 pts for a 1 cup serving) and a TJ’s favorite, their Sweet Italian Style Italian Sausages (110 cal/ 3 pts for 1 link). Both can be made using the handy microwave.

My gazpacho. I know you see the olive oil there with the ingredients, but there are only 2 tablespoons in the entire recipe, so I’m calling it a 0 point dish.

When you peruse gazpacho recipes on the interwebs you see many that include bread in the ingredients. Years ago, I discovered this bread free recipe in Cooking Light magazine, then found it online. Here is the link to the original recipe: https://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/gazpacho-lemon-garlic-shrimp. On this go round, I just roughly chopped up all of the fresh vegetables (I did not bother with the measurements as listed in the recipe), and blended them in 2 batches, while dividing up the oil, vinegar, garlic, and seasoning, as well. Also, I squeeze the juice of the entire lemon into the recipe. That and the sherry vinegar really balance the acidity of the dish.

To go with my gazpacho are an easy meal put together at Trader Joe’s, Riced Cauliflower & Butternut Squash (cooked in the microwave) with Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage, which are precooked

Breakfast this week is veggie egg white fritatta squares (0 pts) on Everything Bagel Thins (3pts). I put defrosted, drained frozen chopped spinach in my square Pyrex pan with chopped red onions, and cut up roasted red bell pepper from the jar. I added in a little ground flaxseed and chia seeds for their health benefits, and seasoned with salt and pepper. I poured in 1/1/2 cups of liquid egg whites (equals about 8 eggs), then baked at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Every oven is different. Check to make sure the eggs are set before you remove them from the oven. I allowed them to cool, cut into squares, and stored in the refrigerator. So fast and easy.

Egg white veggie fritatta squares

It was fun changing it up today! Meal prep for the week is complete and stored in the refrigerator. I’m off to the pool now!

Thank you for taking time to read my blog today. I hope there is something here that inspires you. Your comments, critiques, questions, and recipe suggestions are always welcome.

Make it a great week, and take care of YOU!

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Celebrating the Fruits of Summer

I got so excited at the grocery store this week to see the stone fruits!
Summer is definitely in the air

Summer is my favorite season. It may be partly because my birthday comes in mid-July, and I always look forward to celebrating another year. This one will be #65. I am very proud of the person I have become, as I truly have gotten better and stronger with age. I am definitely a classic late bloomer. The other reason summer is my favorite season is the fruit we get to enjoy. Stone fruits, watermelon, strawberries, cherries, to name a few. YUM!

Don’t avoid fruit because of the sugar content. The fiber in fruit minimizes the effect they have on blood sugar levels. In addition, fruit contains antioxidants, raises your potassium levels, fight disease and inflammation, and helps to control blood sugar. If carbs are a concern for you, low sugar fruits include raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, watermelon, and grapefruit.

Fruit is a nutritious way to satisfy your sweet tooth. In my WW workshop we always talk about non scale goals. I need a little something sweet after dinner. Summer is the perfect time for me to achieve my goal of eating fruit instead of processed products made with sugar substitutes. Or at least to make my desserts fruit forward. I do enjoy baking, so you may see a banana bread or peach & berry crisp sometime soon….

Ready to eat. Here is what is in my fridge right now

For some reason, I got a hankering this week for a fresh broccoli salad. Probably something I saw while perusing Pinterest. I read many recipes for “light” broccoli salads. Mine is a compilation of the best 2 I found online. Here are the links to those 2 recipes:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/lighter-and-brighter-this-broccoli-salad-delivers-on-flavor/2019/06/13/076c74d0-8b8f-11e9-adf3-f70f78c156e8_story.html?utm_term=.d860d7ce619c

https://www.slenderkitchen.com/recipe/skinny-broccoli-salad

Here is what I did – I don’t like raw broccoli, so I blanched 6 oz of fresh florets in boiling salted water for about 4 minutes, then placed them in an ice bath to stop the cooking. This keeps them crisp, and bright green. I combined them with about a cup of diced red onion, about a cup of halved red grapes, 1/4 cup of slivered toasted almonds, and 3 rashers of turkey bacon, diced. The dressing is made of 1/4 cup each of plain non-fat Greek yogurt and light sour cream. For sweetness I chose a squeeze of honey. Maybe a quarter of a teaspoon. I did not measure it, but I did taste it, and it was plenty for me. If you want it sweeter, by all means use more. And again, remember, I used a combination of ingredients I already had in the house, and ingredients I love. That’s why I posted the links to the other 2 recipes, so you can do what makes you happy.

My broccoli salad ingredients (not shown are the diced red onions I added)
Fresh, Creamy Broccoli Salad

I roasted the rest of my broccoli florets with rainbow baby carrots for my veggie snack bag this week. Those will be great dipped in hummus. I roasted the veggies at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. I did not turn them mid way, but you may want to.

Roasted broccoli and rainbow baby carrots veggie snack bag

And I have a plan for some of my watermelon – not gonna lie. I did not come up with this on my own. Last week at my local Trader Joe’s that had a table set up with slices of fresh watermelon sprinkled with their Chili Lime Seasoning Blend. I had tried that blend before on veggies with lime, but never on fruit. Man, it was good! I recommend you give it a try.

Even though I’m still working from home, I did a little breakfast prep this week. I needed to use up my carton of liquid egg whites. I made an egg white veggie fritatta with spinach, roasted red peppers, and red onions. I plan to make them into little sandwiches using my left over cooked turkey bacon on 100 calorie multi grain English muffins or Ole Whole Wheat Tortilla Wraps. I combined 2 cups egg whites with the veggies (I just seasoned them with fresh ground black pepper, since I knew I’d be eating this with the turkey bacon, which has plenty of salt). I baked this in a small square pan that I sprayed with a little canola oil spray for 20 minutes at 375 degrees.

Easy breakfast prep: Egg white veggie fritatta
Use on a sandwich, as is, or roll in an Ole Tortilla wrap
I’m going to pair this with my left over cooked turkey bacon

Wishing you all a great week! Please join the conversation, and send me your comments, critiques, and tips.

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What Level are You At?

Hunger – Fullness Scale

I hope you all had a wonderful and meaningful holiday last week, whether you celebrated Passover or Easter. And now it’s time for us all to regroup and get back on track.

Mindful eating is a THING. I have learned in my journey that it is not a good idea to go to the market hungry, or to an event hungry. Not that hungry anyway. What is THAT hungry, though? How do you discern that for yourself? There is another THING called Intuitive Eating. Books have been written about this, but I am going to try to put it in a nutshell here for you, so that you can start feeling your hunger and fullness levels, and become mindful of how much you should eat at any given moment, or meal time.

Here is the scale that I have learned to use. The challenge is to learn to stay in the neutral zones between levels 5 and 7.

0 – I’m about to faint. Painfully hungry.

1 – I’m so hungry I could eat my thigh.

2 – I feel my blood sugar dropping. Need to eat!

3 – I’m kinda feeling hungry. I think I’ll have an apple, and see how I feel.

4 – I’m fine (while looking at the clock to see when I can have lunch).

5 – Comfortable. Neutral.

6 – Getting full.

7 – Comfortably satisfied. Stop eating Now.

8 – A little bit too full, a few too many bites.

9 – Uncomfortably full, feeling bloated.

10 – Stuffed. I’m never eating again!

Before I begin this week’s meal prep, I want to go back and tell you what I contributed to my family’s Seder. I went on Pinterest for inspiration. Of course I was searching for a vegetable based side dish with very little matzo meal. I was very successful and found lots of good recipes. Here is the link to the Holiday Recipe board I have started:
https://www.pinterest.com/marshaleeg/holiday-recipes/

I sent the board to my sister in law so she could choose the dish she wanted me to make. She picked the Spinach Vegetable Kugel, which was the one I wanted to make anyway :). It was all veggies with just 1/4 cup matzo meal in the whole recipe. Here is the link to the original recipe:
https://www.kidneybuzz.com/daily-impact-meal/2015/8/17/spinach-vegetable-kugel Well, with all due respect to KidneyBuzz.com, the recipe was very poorly written with regard to the ingredient list. It called for fresh spinach 1 oz. (1 OUNCE??)
2 onions chopped (I used 1 large yellow onion), 1 stalk celery chopped, 1 red pepper chopped, 3 grated carrots, 1 cup chopped mushrooms, 1 tbsp. olive oil, 2 eggs, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp. pepper, 1/2 tsp. dried basil, and 1/4 cup matzo meal (which can be subbed with bread crumbs or panko when not using the recipe for Passover). Because I always make a recipe as written the first time I use it, I followed the recipe almost to a T. It didn’t take me long to realize that I really did need more spinach. I ended up using 10 ounces of baby spinach in all, and my kugel looked nothing like the one in the picture. It did, however taste great. When I make it again, I will use less carrot, more celery, more mushrooms, and more dried basil.

Spinach Vegetable Kugel. Mine is the one on the top of the photo. The one below is from Kidneybuzz.com. Doesn’t even look like the same recipe, but it is.

My meal plan for lunch this week is a Mexican style chicken salad, starting with seasoned shredded chicken. Since we had plans with friends for Sunday brunch, I did my grocery shopping yesterday. After my swim and shower this morning, I popped my chicken in the slow cooker with a little vegetable broth (you can use any broth, that is what I had open in my frig), a can of Rotel tomatoes, and a little bit of jalepeno peppers that were also sitting in the frig. It was great to get this cooking before we left for our date. I’ll be pairing the chicken with a salad mixture made with Trader Joe’s Southwestern Salad Kit, and Broccoli Slaw. I’ll use Bolthouse Ranch for my dressing this week, which is 45 calories for a 2 tblsp serving and delicious. If I want a little more volume in my lunch I’ll take along a cup of Trader Joe’s Latin Style Black Bean Soup, 70 calories for a 1 cup serving.

Mexican Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken Ingredients


Final Product – shredded chicken and a bonus – a seasoned tomato broth to be used in a recipe to be named later


My Salad Mix Ins

I was able to knock out my egg white fritatta before we left as well! That’s how fast and easy this recipe is. I used the Trader Joe’s bagged Power Greens I had left over from last week. I added a little of the broccoli slaw, and some roasted red bell pepper from the jar. I seasoned it with salt & pepper, and added my shredded flax seed, and chia seeds, as always (about 1 tsp each for the entire recipe). I did spray the pan with Canola Oil spray before I started. I baked it in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. I call this The Green Egg White Fritatta. I also have a couple of jars of overnight oats that I made last week, to change off.

Green Fritatta Ingredients
My Green Egg White Fritatta, the finished product

That’s all for now! Please join the conversation. Your comments, critiques, and questions are welcome.

Make it a great week!