My First Attempt at Food Prep

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So I’ve never been much of a good planner lately. M and I always talk about planning our meals ahead of time and making solid grocery lists and sticking to them when we shop, but we fail at that…unfortunately. At least we try!

But for some reason Sunday afternoon I got a wild hair to do a little food prep for the week.  I didn’t have a solid plan as to what we were going to have all week long, but I figured just doing a little bit would help. So here’s what I came up with:

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You’ll see that I washed and cut up celery to have on hand either for snacks or to cook with later.

I made M some chicken salad so he can just grab it for his lunches either at work or when he’s at home (fat free mayo, diced celery, dill relish), and put them in two separate grab-and-go containers.

I tried a new cookie recipe for when I get hit with my sweet tooth (blueberry oatmeal cookies), but I’ve already decided the recipe needs work (a little dry).

I also tried a protein muffin recipe so I can grab one for a mid-morning snack for work. I changed the recipe from the pumpkin cinnamon roll protein muffins I found on Pinterest, so I’ll let you know how they taste and post the recipe.

I also pre-made Italian turkey meatballs for a meatball casserole I’m going to finish up for dinner tonight (this way I can just add the zucchini and spaghetti sauce and pop it in the oven.

Finally I pulled out some  beef veggie soup from the freezer that M’s mom had made for us. I’ve been taking some for my lunches at work along with a sandwich.

Hopefully next time I can do a little more for prep to help with meal selection. At dinner we usually make more than two servings so M can take the leftovers to work for his “lunch.” That’s been a big help.

One thing about it, I did feel accomplished writing out this list of what all I’ve finished this afternoon.

Thanks to Lindsay for the constant inspiration. Check out her weekly posts on for food prep every Sunday for her ideas and other blogger’s food prep ideas.

Your turn: Do you do weekly food prep? If so, share your tips!

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Recipe: Oatmeal Raisin Banana Cookies

Do you ever just get this hankerin’ to do something? Lately, I’ve been itchin’ to bake. I love baking. But, the problem is I love eating what I bake, which then leads to overeating and then me feeling gluttonous and bad about myself…. You get the picture. So I’ve been on the hunt for healthy cookie recipes that can satisfy my baking urge and that sweet craving, without too much sweetness (no sugar added!).

Thanks to Pinterest I found a couple new recipes, and I had the opportunity to try them for some friends when they invited us over for dinner Sunday night. I’ll share the second recipe in a separate post later this week.

This first recipe was just a photo with the ingredients, no link to a site or anything. So I looked at the ingredients and just went with it for what I had. Since I wanted to make two different recipes that called for bananas, and I only had 3 bananas left, I divided them in half, but here’s the whole recipe:

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Oatmeal Raisin Banana Cookies

3 mashed (ripe) bananas
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 cups oats
1/2 cup raisons (I might try dried cranberries next time for something different)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon (though I added a few shakes more to the batter)

  1. Preheat oven to 350. 
  2. Mash the bananas to a puree, then add the applesauce, oats, vanilla and cinnamon. When the batter is all combined, add your raisons.
  3. Place spoonfuls of the batter onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
  4. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the pan for about 5 minutes.

The original recipe also called for 1/4 cup of almond milk. While I had set aside some skim milk (no almond milk in the house), I forgot to use it. The batter was pretty wet without the milk, so I don’t know how that would change the texture/flavor of the cookies. Next time I might try them with the milk, but I didn’t notice anything missing–they’re still pretty darn good! I might add some more spices to the recipe next time, too (like nutmeg or all spice).

Give these a try and let me know what you think!

Yummy Eats — New Recipes I’ve Tried Lately

Recently I’ve been trying some new recipes for M and I to try that are healthy and delicious. It’s been fun!

Friday morning I tried Tina’s French Toast Scramble. At first I was skeptical about the taste…I mean, egg whites and a banana? But, no…really, this was so yummy! I used 2 egg whites, a banana, honey, cinnamon, a dash of nutmeg, and then a scoop of peanut butter in a mug as I ate this with a glass of nonfat milk. I didn’t expect it to hold me over, but I was surprised that I wasn’t hungry until it was time for my mid-morning snack of an apple. This is definitely now in my breakfast rotation!

Saturday our friends made a Guinea peanut sauce with butternut squash recipe from Allrecipe.com. It was pretty yummy, but needed just a little more kick to it. Perhaps a little more pepper? More garlic? Not sure, but that might be a task for the future… (A great recipe for my vegetarian friends!)

Monday I told you about M’s healthy banana cookies… I’m excited to try some more healthy cookie recipes now.

Sunday I tried Anne’s chunky turkey vegetable soup. I had been wanting to give this a try, and we had veggies to use up in the fridge. This was one of the most delicious vegetable soup recipes I’ve ever had, and it was so easy! I diced up a green bell pepper, 2 (or 3, I can’t remember) celery stalks and a couple big handfuls of baby carrots and combined those with a can of diced tomatoes (low sodium), browned ground turkey, and brown rice. It was very hearty and full of flavor (check out her post with the list of spices). (I didn’t have any kale, but I have thought about adding some spinach to this recipe some other time.) We decided next time I need to double the recipe for leftovers, and that this was definitely a keeper in the dinner rotation.

This chunky turkey vegetarian soup is so colorful, which means it's nutritious on top of delicious!

This chunky turkey vegetarian soup is so colorful, which means it’s nutritious on top of delicious!

So there you have it, just a handful of the new recipes I encourage you to try. One of my goals is to try some new things with cooking, and so far we’re on a good roll!

Do you have any new recipes to share?

Getting in Those Food Groups

When it comes to healthy eating, it’s really important to keep in mind getting all of the nutrients from the food groups to feel full and satisfied.

Today’s Elf4Health Challenge was to eat at least three different food groups in every meal. It was actually a pretty simple challenge, but it still makes you think about what you’re planning to eat for every meal.

Here was my meal wrap-up:

Breakfast — scrambled eggs (one whole egg, one egg white) with salsa, whole wheat toast with peanut butter, and a glass of cold nonfat milk. (And an apple for my mid-morning snack.)

Lunch — sliced turkey sandwich with lowfat cheese on two slices of whole wheat bread, leftover carrots and potatoes from last night’s meal, and leftover fruit salad.

Dinner — taco salad with lean beef, lettuce, lowfat cheese, salsa, a small dollop of plain Greek yogurt in a baked whole wheat tortilla and mandarin oranges on the side.

Food Groups

It’s a great thing to try to remember! Get those meals in!

Holiday Cookies

It’s Christmas Eve, which means a day of preparations for the big day–Christmas Day. For some it’s another day spent with family or travelling, but for me and my family it means cleaning, last-minute wrapping (or shopping in Matt’s case), and baking.

I love to bake. I used to bake a lot when I lived at home, but ever since I’ve grown up and moved out on my own, I’ve cut back a lot. I’ve done so because I’m of the thought that if I bake it, I must eat it. And now that I’m trying to eat better, and somehow get my fiance to eat better, I just try not to tempt either of us. But on the holidays? You can’t run from temptation fast enough.

So has been my life with food. I will be the first to admit that I have absolutely no willpower when it comes to food. It’s not like I grew up with my parents spoon-feeding me sugar, but when you grow up on a farm where you come in late after the chores are done, you eat late. Now, living on my own, I try to have dinner made and eaten around 7:30. I also try to eat 4-5 meals a day–breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, dinner (some times a snack before I workout after work). I try my best to have round meals with protein, veggies, fruits, and whole grain carbs.

This summer I started tracking everything that I ate with the MyFitnessPal app on my phone. It is a great tool for anyone who is trying to obtain any fitness goal. I’ve even turned on a few friends and family into using it. It opened my eyes into knowing exactly what calories I was putting in me, as well as what I was burning out. You don’t have to have a smart phone, you can go on the website and use it as well.

Eating well will always be a struggle for me. I’ll have periods of healthy eating, then I binge. Yes, I’m a binge eater. I believe it’s because of my lack of will power. I’ve read where nutritionists say it’s best to not deprive yourself of your favorite things because that’s where you get yourself into trouble. So I try to allow just a little bit of treats every now and then. But some times I just can’t help myself. And the more I start running, the more ravenous I seem to be. Any tips on healthy eating (on a budget) are always appreciated. When I try some recipes that pass my fiance’s picky palate, and are healthy, I plan to share them with you.

Merry Christmas!