Memorial Day Fly Over, then Meal Prep

Happy Memorial Day, all! We were fortunate enough today to experience a special fly over of an 18-plane formation of historic war planes over So Cal this afternoon. What an awesome experience, and a humbling reminder that this is a day to honor those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom, and to honor the military that is out there today protecting our freedom, our democracy.

Weekly meal prep is back for me. At least for the moment. We are heading into a heat wave this week, so I stuck with an easy, no cook salad for lunches. I found this White Bean, Tuna & Roasted Pepper Salad in the June 2020 issue of Prevention Magazine. Unfortunately I could not access the link to the recipe online, but here is the list of ingredients, and what I used:

Serves 4

15 oz can of cannellini beans, rinsed – I used garbanzo beans

1/4 small red onion chopped

6 tbsp Classic Vinaigrette *see below*

3 hearts of romaine torn into pieces (12 oz; about 6 cups) – I used 1 5 oz bag of romaine and mixed it with a bag of broccoli slaw

2 jarred roasted red peppers, drained, and cut into pieces

1/2 cup marinated artichoke hearts, drained and quartered (I used a little less, and chopped them up)

1/2 cup pitted mixed olives (I used about 1/4 cup of pitted kalamata olives, that I cut in half)

5 oz canned tuna packed in olive oil, drained and flaked – I used a 14.75 oz can of wild caught salmon packed in water

No Cook Garbanzo Bean and Salmon Salad, ready to pack up for the office.
The lettuce and broccoli slaw is bagged separately, the salmon is in it’s own container, and the beans and veggies are combined in another container. All I have to do in the morning is layer one serving of this into my special salad container, and put the vinaigrette in it’s own 2 oz serving container. I am going to have Trader Joe’s 3 Seed Beet Crackers on the side.

*Classic Vinaigrette:

To a jar add 1/3 cup red wine vinegar, 1 shallot finely chopped, 1 tbsp Dijon mustard, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, and 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper. Cover and shake to combine. Add 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (I used 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup water). Cover and shake until emulsified. The dressing will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.

And I did a breakfast prep today too! I follow a U Tube channel called Flav City, hosted by Chef Bobby Parrish. He is a wealth of knowledge, and a heck of a cook. I saw this and had to try it. It’s a copy cat recipe of Starbucks bacon and Gruyere egg bites. I did modify it Baby Boomer Mermaid style, and I am extremely proud to say that I pulled it off. I had a taste of my finished product and these are delicious. Here is the link to the Flav City recipe and video. Chef gives a lot of great culinary tips in a short amount of time. The video is worth the watch: https://www.flavcity.com/keto-breakfast-egg-bites/#viewrecipe

I followed the technical directions and the measurements of the original recipe, but altered the ingredients to fit my needs. I used 1 cup of egg whites, fat free cottage cheese, 4 slices of light Jarlsberg cheese, diced, I added jarred roasted red peppers to get a little veggie in there, and Canadian bacon in place of regular bacon.

Thank you for stopping by today. I hope you have enjoyed the holiday weekend, and that you are feeling good. The world is starting to reopen. In a new way, but it is coming along, I am happy to say. Take care of yourselves.

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Smelling the Roses Again

Palisades Park – The Rose Garden

The city is slowly coming back to life. Santa Monica finally reopened their parks and beaches (for swimming and exercise only). My favorite is Palisades Park, which spans the cliffs just above the ocean. There is the most lovely rose garden there. I missed this little piece of paradise. I am gradually starting to feel whole again.

Last week I started going back to the office to begin prep for the economy reopening. My groceries served me well. I had good, healthy lunches each day. It is indeed all about the groceries. That said, I did want to meal plan for this coming week in the office, so I went to my well stocked freezer. There I found Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi (4 pts/ 140 cal per 1 cup serving), their Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Dip (2 pts/ 45 cal per 2 tbsp serving), frozen spinach, and frozen broccoli florets. The light bulb in my Baby Boomer Mermaid head went off, and I decided to combine all of this deliciousness into one veggie forward dish for myself. I will pair this with Trader Joe’s Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage (3 points/ 110 calories per 1 sausage serving). This gives me 4 servings, so all things considered, it will be healthy, filling, and really satisfying for the week.

Cauliflower Gnocchi with Creamy Spinach Artichoke dip, spinach, and broccoli

Last weekend, after I published the blog, I got the baking bug. I had a can of pureed pumpkin in the house, along with all of the other ingredients needed, so I made this muffin recipe from Drizzle Me Skinny. No alterations. They came out amazing: https://drizzlemeskinny.com/pumpkin-spice-cream-cheese-muffins/. I highly recommend you give this a try. 2 pts/ 88 cal per muffin. Almost everything I make is inspired by recipes I find on the interwebs, either from Instagram, Pinterest, FB, the WW website, or just by randomly searching.

Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Muffins

More scenes from Palisades Park, Santa Monica, Saturday, May 16

Just a reminder that I am still selling hospital grade disposable masks. Masks will be a part of our “new normal” for the foreseeable future. Please contact me privately if you are interested in purchasing some for your home and/ or office: marshaleeg@verizon.net.

Thank you for joining me this week! Stay safe. Be well. Take care of yourselves.

Feel free to send me comments, critiques, questions, or meal prep ideas 🙂

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It’s About the Groceries

For me, staying home has become more about the groceries than the meal prep. I don’t want to feel obligated to one or 2 choices for the week during this time, so I have filled my freezer, pantry, and refrigerator with clean, healthy, and mostly “safe” food options…. There has definitely been a little splurging on comfort foods and sweets over the course of the last 6 weeks of quarantine, though. Not gonna lie.

Today I made a broccoli slaw. Super easy with Bolthouse Farms Yogurt Coleslaw Dressing (50 cal for 2 tbsp/ 2 pts). I added a little celery, red onion, and celery seed to bump up the flavors. I put about 1/4 cup of dressing in the entire dish, which will be 3 – 4 servings. Slaw needs to marinate a little, so it’s in the refrigerator getting delicious.

Broccoli Slaw dressed with Bolthouse Farms Coleslaw Dressing
From a couple of weeks ago – Macaroni Salad made with chickpea elbows, roasted red peppers out of the jar, celery, red onions, and a little sweet pickle relish. It is dressed with about 1/4 cup of light mayo, and seasoned with salt & pepper. This prep was inspired by this WW 4 pt recipe – https://www.weightwatchers.com/us/recipe/classic-macaroni-salad-1/5626a5f74236657004995d9c

My hearty breakfast was scrambled eggs with caramelized onions and nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast is a solid resource of protein and fiber. Besides the health benefits, it has a cheesy flavor, so mimics that in eggs without the fat, calories, and points of cheese. It is 20 calories a tablespoon (0 pts). Here is a cooking note on scrambled eggs (learned from The Barefoot Contessa, and who doesn’t love her ?) – cook them on low, slowly. You will get a fluffier more uncious finished product. I topped the egg mixture with my favorite jarred salsa, and wrapped it up on an Ole Extreme Whole Wheat Tortilla (50 cal/ 1pt).

Hearty breakfast – scrambled eggs and onions flavored with nutritional yeast, topped with salsa, wrapped in a tortilla 🙂
The tea is my mock chai latte made with Spiced Chai Tea from Trader Joe’s and unsweetened vanilla almond milk.
Yesterday’s lunch – Trader Joe’s shrimp burger topped with creamy srircha sauce and a salad made of baby lettuce, broccoli slaw, and grape tomatoes, dressed with Trader Joe’s Green Goddess dressing (from the refrigerator section). Calling this 4 points total.
The tea is my home brewed ginger/ tumeric iced tea (also Trader Joe’s)

So it is all about the groceries right now. Here are a few tips to make grocery shopping a little easier during these challenging times:

*Make a list (best if you can do it in the order of the aisles in the store)

*Read the labels (and/ or keep your WW scanner handy) to be sure you are making healthy choices

*Buy seasonal produce and proteins on sale to help adhere to your budget

Just a reminder, I am selling hospital grade disposable masks. Find the details on the previous blog from last week (scroll down). Masks are an essential part of the “new normal” as business start to reopen.

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Thanks so much for stopping by. Please send me any comments, critiques, or questions. I would love to hear from you. Stay safe. Be well.

Navigating the New Normal

Virtual WW meetings. Visiting with friends by phone while walking in different parts of town. Reaching out to more people by phone rather than text at any time of day. Visiting with neighbors out front while keeping 6′ apart. Dealing with necessary changes financially, like talking to banks about deferring payments on credit cards, cars, and mortgages. Filing for unemployment. Streaming TV shows, and watching movies in the living room. Not going to work. Not working at all. These are all things that are new to me. I’m not going to lie. I am having a tough time of it, as I am sure you all are. We are all in the same nightmare, and I hope and pray that you are staying home and safe like we are because the sooner this horrible virus irradiates itself, or a vaccine is discovered, we can all go back to work and back to our lives. Can’t be soon enough for me!

Today’s meal prep is an easy turkey taco mixture; a “dump” recipe if you will. This was inspired by my niece, the lovely Eden, who happens to be one of the best people I know (not biased, it’s the truth). She told me a while back that turkey taco meat is her go to, and she is right. Once it’s made, it is so versatile. It becomes a taco salad, can be wrapped, or can be eaten as a chili. Nothing better than having options.

All I did was brown 1 lb of ground turkey with low sodium taco seasoning, and a little chopped red onion. I added to that 1 can of tri color beans (black beans, pinto beans, and kidney beans), and 1 can of diced tomatoes with green chilies. I added 2 cubes of frozen minced garlic, then let it simmer for about 40 minutes. And that was it! I used regular ground turkey, which is 5 points for 3 oz on the WW Blue Plan, or 170 calories for 4 oz. You can use ground turkey breast for 0 points/ 120 calories. The rest of the ingredients in this dish are 0 points :).

Easy Turkey Taco prep

One of the things I love doing is trying new veggies and fruits when I find them. Earlier this week, I escaped to the legendary Santa Monica Wednesday Farmer’s Market. Don’t worry, I was careful. I wrapped a scarf around my nose and mouth to act as a mask. Plus the market was practicing safe social distancing, as I knew they would be. I found a fairy squash. It is so pretty! When I talked to the farmer about it, she suggested I just roast it whole for an hour at 350. I ended up with a beautiful orange mash. It is a little sweet, as promised, like a butternut squash. I can use it now to bake with, in a risotto, in a soup, or stirred into my morning yogurt bowl, as I would pumpkin. I am excited to experiment with it this week. Here is a little more info about this rare winter squash variety: https://www.specialtyproduce.com/produce/Fairy_Squash_6685.php

New Find – Fairy Squash

I found a new fruit this week too – an Ataulfo mango. It’s really just a mini mango grown in Mexico. It was super sweet and delicious over my morning yogurt bowl, which I topped with toasted walnuts.

New fruit find – mini mangos

These days when the grocery store shelves are a little more sparse, is a good time to make new discoveries. Don’t be afraid to try new things, especially in produce.

Take care of yourselves, my friends. Make sure you move every day. I have been walking, but plan to incorporate virtual workouts in the house this coming week. Silver Sneakers has been hosting live Facebook workouts. I am going to try one tomorrow morning. Plus there are many available on your streaming channels, and online. I want to try a dance one this week too.

Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay home.

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The New Normal

Challenging Times

Stressed Season 1 GIF by Friends - Find & Share on GIPHY
This has been me the last few days

This morning we had our first virtual WW meeting, and just prior to that, one of my technically capable tribe members set up a group phone call so we could all touch base personally. Normally, we all catch up a little before our Saturday 7:30 am meeting, then have breakfast together. It’s been a meaningful ritual for all of us. Today was certainly new and different, but it was just as meaningful for us to all be together, albeit on a phone call. And the meeting was GREAT. Kudos to WW for getting these virtual meetings set up. Connecting with our coach, studio team, and seeing everyone was incredibly settling and inspiring for me.

I tested a new recipe for breakfast this morning, and want to share it with you. It is Cottage Cheese Protein Pancakes from Livestrong.com: https://www.livestrong.com/recipes/cottage-cheese-protein-pancakes-5/. I posted it on Pinterest a few weeks ago, and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it, so I made it today. I followed the recipe as written, except I used fat free cottage cheese 1) because it was one of the few cartons of cottage cheese left on the shelf, and 2) it was on sale. Not sure it would have made much difference in the taste of the final dish if I would have used the 2% cottage cheese. My final product did not turn out pretty, but it did taste good. I garnished it with fresh blueberries, and added about a teaspoon of real maple syrup to the plate. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and highly recommend you give it a try.

Cottage Cheese Protein Pancakes

While home, with extra time on my hands I have been doing more interwebs exploration. I came across Flav City on Instagram, and really like his point of view. If you are looking for fun, healthy, and new takes on recipes, and to be entertained, check out this guy Bobby Parrish. https://www.flavcity.com/ and also on UTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/flavcity.

Take care, my friends.

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