Sunday, August 28, 2011

Meal plans and the week ahead

We've got yet another busy week ahead of us.  I really don't think things will slow down anytime soon... it's seriously looking like we'll be pretty busy until like... March.  :)  I really can't believe that next weekend is Labor Day weekend.  I'm so not ready for summer to be over!!  I do love fall, but I love summer just a tad bit more!  :)  So anyway, today I think we're going to go to church in Grand Blanc and then we'll hit the farmers' market afterwards.  Monday, I am going to the final night of free Zumba on the beach with a couple of my friends.  Tuesday morning, Kevin leaves for Virginia and Tennessee for work.  I have to go to parent orientation for Carson's preschool on Tuesday night.  Wednesday I'm getting my hair done and picking up the chickens.  Kevin comes home really late on Thursday night.  Friday is my flex day. I’m not sure what we’re going to do yet.  We may be hanging out with our friends Kati and Tony.  And Saturday we are going to Michigan’s Adventure with my SIL, BIL, niece, and nephew.  At least as long as we don't get hit with any leftover rain from Irene.  I really hope we don't because we're really looking forward to a fun day! 

We'll see what else we end up doing this week.  I need to start prepping some things for our trip to Tennessee in a month.  We have so much going on between now and then, I am going to have to try to squeeze in some things here and there and stick them in the freezer till the trip.  I mostly want to prep and freeze lots of things to have in the car on the way there and back.  Things like larabars, granola bars, crispy nuts, trail mix, beef jerky, etc.  Hopefully I can get one batch of larabars done this week and maybe do some crispy cashews.  I know I'll be doing some food preservation, too.  I've got a lot of tomatoes from the garden, so I'm planning to can chopped tomatoes this afternoon.  I want to do a batch of pasta sauce this week, too.  And of course, I'll be dealing with the chickens on Wednesday night.  I'll be picking up 8 whole birds, which I'll butcher up and freeze into meal size portions of the different cuts.  We'll see what else I can get done. 
Here’s what the exercise looked like last week. Sunday – 10min elliptical, 10min boxing the heavy bag. Monday – 2mi walk, 1hr zumba.  Tuesday - 2mi walk, 10min elliptical.  Wednesday - 2mi walk.  Thursday - ~4mi walking, lap swim.  Friday - ~5mi walking, lap swim.  Saturday - ~3mi walking. 

Lunches and Snacks:
  • S – grilled pork chops with pesto; tomato cucumber salad; corn on the cob; peaches
  • M – grilled bbq chicken; corn on the cob; zucchini and green beans sauteed in olive oil
  • Tu – leftovers or scrambled eggs with veggies; fruit
  • W – sliced cheese; raw cucumbers and carrots with ranch dip; crispy nuts; peaches
  • Th – hot dogs; gf zucchini fries; peaches
  • F – sloppy joe stuffed peppers; corn on the cob; fresh fruit
  • Sa – on the road

Monday, August 22, 2011

Grain-Free Dutch Baby Pancakes

I have made dutch baby pancakes many times. They're a quick, easy, and tasty breakfast. I haven't made them since we've been avoiding grains, though. So when I saw a recipe for grain-free dutch baby pancakes on Nourishing Days, I knew we had to try them. So I made them yesterday morning for breakfast with some scrambled eggs and bacon. They were a hit! We couldn't tell they were not made with wheat flour at all. They tasted just like the ones I've made in the past. This is definitely going to be a regular breakfast for us. I served them with sliced banana and nectarine. Kevin and Carson also had some maple syrup on theirs. And I did modify the recipe slightly, with the addition of vanilla.

Grain-Free Dutch Baby Pancakes

3 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons almond meal
2 tablespoons arrowroot flour
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon + extra for serving generous pinch of nutmeg pinch of sea salt
3 tablespoons butter or ghee
fruit/honey/maple syrup/yogurt for serving

Place a 12" cast-iron skillet or 9x13" glass baking dish in your oven and preheat to 475 degrees.

In a medium-sized bowl whisk the eggs. Whisk in milk and then flours, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sea salt until completely combined.

Once the oven is preheated, very carefully remove the skillet or baking dish from the oven and immediately place butter in skillet. Rotate skillet and allow butter to melt all over and coat skillet. It will sizzle, the pan is so hot.

As soon as butter is melted pour in batter, making sure it is evenly distributed. Place the pan back in preheated oven. Bake for 10 minutes or until the pancake is puffed up in the middle and golden brown all the way around.  (Note that the puffiness will deflate quickly once you remove the pan from the oven and let the pancakes cool... at least mine did.  I took this picture a couple minutes after I had pulled it out of the oven and it had already mostly deflated.)

Meanwhile, chop fruit (banana, apple, pear, peaches, nectarines, blueberries, etc) into bite-sized pieces.

Cut the pancake into slices and serve topped with fruit, maple syrup, honey, and/or some plain whole milk yogurt.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Meal plans and the week ahead

This week is another busy one.  Today, we're going to church in Grand Blanc.  Then we are headed out to my aunt's house on the lake for our cousin Haleigh's birthday party.  Hopefully I'll hear today about picking up some fresh chickens this week.  I ordered 8 whole birds and plan to butcher them up to freeze in meal-size portions of the different cuts (breasts, thighs, legs, etc.).  So we'll see when I can pick them up.  Monday I am going to another free Zumba class on the beach with some friends.  Tuesday, I will hopefully be picking up the chickens and Kevin is probably going biking.  Wednesday I'll be packing... at least at this point.  Thursday morning, we're leaving for a few days in Lafayette, Indiana.  At least that is the plan now.  Kevin will go either way - he has to go for work.  Carson and I will tag along as long as my job doesn't get too crazy and my boss doesn't change his mind about letting me take a couple days off. Assuming we go to Lafayette, we'll come home on Saturday night. 

I'm going to try something new by posting whatever exercise I was able to do in the week prior. We'll see if I keep up with the posts, or not. I'm sure there will be weeks I forget about posting it, or just don't have the time to include it (I'm often pressed for time with these posts). But maybe it'll be good and make me feel more accountable. Every week will be different, based on time available after work and what I actually feel like doing. But we'll see how it goes. Last week's exercise looked like this: Sunday - 1hr hatha yoga. Monday - 2 mi walk, 1hr zumba. Tuesday - 2mi walk, kettlebell video.  Wednesday - 1 mi walk, kettlebell video.  Thursday - ~1 1/2 hrs of walking around Grand Blanc for Back the the Bricks. Friday - 20min fat-burning yoga, swimming, 10min elliptical. Saturday - 10min elliptical, 1hr hatha yoga.

  • Grain-free dutch baby pancakes; bacon
  • Fried eggs; bacon
  • Yogurt with fresh peaches
  • Smoothies
Lunches and Snacks:
  • Leftovers
  • Cucumber slices with ranch dip
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Peach fruit leather
  • Crispy nuts
  • S: bbq beef sandwiches (from leftover roast); roasted veggies; side salads; fresh pears
  • M: modified BALTs (bacon-tomato-avocado lettuce wraps); cucumber slices; green beans sauteed in olive oil and garlic; fresh fruit
  • T: grilled brat patties (local, pastured, organic); grain-free zucchini fries; cucumber slices; fresh fruit
  • W: misc. leftovers and garden items to clean out the refrigerator
  • Th - Sat: in Lafayette

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sausage Zucchini Bake

I am still getting quite a few zucchini from our garden, so I've been trying to use it up in tasty ways.  I saw a recipe for sausage zucchini bake on Kitchen Stewardship and thought I'd try it.  I made a few modifications based on things I had on hand, so click on the link above for the original recipe. 

This was really good!  We all really enjoyed it a lot.  I think this is a new favorite way to use up zucchini.  The leftovers were great, too... and for those of you that know me, you know I don't usually care for leftovers... so for me to say they were good is a pretty big thing.  :) 

This is a really affordable recipe.  Even moreso if you have a garden.  The zucchini, tomato, and onion all came from my garden.  The pasta sauce was homemade.  The pork sausage was local, organic, pastured.  I did use up some conventional shredded cheese that I had in the freezer for this, but I'll use local, raw cheese in the future. 

Another great thing about this dish is that it can be prepped ahead.  I prepped everything ahead 24 hours in advance - cooked the sausage/onions, sliced the zucchini and tomato.  So it was super fast to assemble and pop in the oven for dinner.  We've been more pressed for time than normal lately, with my working longer hours at work, so having something easy to prep and get cooking is essential for us these days. 

Something else to note, I only made a 9x9 pan of this, yet I still used the quantities listed below.  It filled my casserole dish to the top, but it was delicious! 

Sausage Zucchini Bake

1 pound sausage
1 chopped onion
1-2 large zucchini
1 jar pasta sauce, preferably homemade
1-2 tomatoes, sliced
2 cups shredded cheese

Slice you zucchini into 1/2" thick slices.  Don't worry about peeling it.  Sprinkle the zucchini with salt and let drain. 

Meanwhile, brown sausage. Saute onion in with the meat. 

Pour a little pasta sauce in a 9×13 glass baking dish. Layer zucchini on top.

Mix the remaining spaghetti sauce in a large bowl with the sauteed meat.  Pour over top of the zucchini.

Layer sliced tomatoes on top, then sprinkle with cheese.  (Look at that yummy tomato... fresh from the garden... I love this time of year!)

Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for 15-30 minutes longer, until the cheese is browned and the sides are bubbling.

This post is linked to:
Grain Free Real Food Carnival @ Real Food Forager

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Meal plans and the week ahead

We have another busy week ahead of us. Today we are going to church in Swartz Creek. Not sure what else we'll do today. We may go hiking if the weather is nice this afternoon. Monday I'm going to a free Zumba class at the beach in Linden. Tuesday afternoon I go back to the dentist to get my crown put on. I'll be glad to get the temporary one off. And hopefully this is the end of it and I won't end up needing a root canal in the near future.  I think Kevin is going biking with some buddies on Tuesday night.  Wednesday I am going to PF Changs for dinner with a bunch of people from work to send off my old boss. She's moving to Virginia and we're all going to miss her so much! Thursday I am going to Sault Ste. Marie for work. Thursday night is also the Back to the Bricks cruise down Saginaw that we're hoping to go check out. Friday is my flex day. I'm not sure what our plans will look like yet. Its possible we'll end up in Grand Rapids to visit some out of state family. Or we might meet up with my cousin and her son to go to the Genesee County Fair.  But I probably should really stay home and can some tomatoes since we are getting a good amount of ripe tomatoes. I'd like to do a batch of chopped tomatoes and a batch of salsa. Saturday morning, we'd like to get up and go for a family bike ride. I might can a batch of pasta sauce, too... we'll see if I get enough tomatoes this week yet. Otherwise, I'm not sure what we're doing on Saturday.

Here's what I'm thinking for meals...

  • Fried eggs; bacon
  • Smoothies
  • Hard boiled eggs; fresh fruit
  • Yogurt with crispy nuts and fruit
Lunches and snacks:
  • Leftovers
  • Roasted beet and feta salad
  • Frijole mole dip with cucumbers and carrots
  • Apple slices with almond butter
  • Crispy nuts
  • Fresh fruit and veggies
  • Peach fruit leather
  • S - grilled bbq chicken; grilled zucchini; fresh tomatoes; grilled peaches
  • M - grilled steak; grilled baked potatoes; green beans
  • T - zucchini nachos; corn on the cob; fresh fruit
  • W - leftovers
  • Th - eggplant/zucchini parmesan; green beans; corn on the cob
  • F - crockpot beef roast with carrots, kohlrabi, and corn on the cob
  • Sa - tbd... we'll see what we end up doing.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Zucchini Boats

We've been fortunate to have another bumper crop of zucchini again this year. Although, is there ever a year where everyone doesn't have a bumper crop of zucchini? :) It seems like its the veggie plant that just keeps on giving. Good thing we like zucchini! I generally use a lot of zucchini to bake with this time of year, but since we are trying to eat mostly paleo or primal, I'm not doing much dessert baking with it. We've been using most of it in our dinners - either as the main dish or a side dish. Something we've made a few times this year and have made many times over in years past (but I've never posted them) - are zucchini boats.

I don't ever follow a recipe, per se. I just throw together a bunch of random items that I have on hand and stuff it into the zucchini boats. There are lots of ideas out there for different concoctions and we've made our own versions of most of them... cheeseburger zucchini boats, italian meatball zucchini boats, taco zucchini boats, pizza zucchini boats, greek zucchini boats, etc. You can stuff them with just about anything. The night that this particular picture was taken (sorry I didn't get a picture after they were cooked!), I just through together some ground beef, diced tomatoes, diced onion, and diced bell pepper. Then I sprinkled on a little raw colby cheese about half way through cooking. It was a great tasting, healthy, and very quick weeknight dinner.

The idea for any zucchini boat is the same. I like to use medium sized zucchinis. You'll want to scoop out the seeds, just so you have a small hollow area to stuff. I've even mixed the seeds/flesh into my stuffing mixture before so I'm not wasting anything. Then throw together whatever sounds good to you for stuffing the zucchini. Stuff the zucchini boats. Place them in a casserole dish or on a baking sheet and bake for 30-45 minutes at 375, until done. Super easy!

Here are some ideas that I have made and we have liked:

  • ground beef, ketchup, mustard, relish, cheese (cheeseburger)
  • meatballs, pasta sauce, mozzarella cheese (italian meatball)
  • ground beef, diced onion, diced bell pepper, minced garlic, pasta sauce, mozzarella and parmesan cheese
  • ground beef, taco seasoning, salsa - then serve with sour cream, avocado/guacomole (taco)
  • ground lamb, feta, diced onions, diced olives (greek)
  • ground beef/sausage, mushrooms, banana peppers, pepperoni, pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese (pizza)
  • ground beef, sausage, shredded cabbage, diced onion, diced tomatoes, ketchup

This post is linked to:
Traditional Tuesdays @ Delicious Obsessions
Weekend Gourmet Blog Carnival @ Hartke is Online
Monday Mania @ The Healthy Home Economist
Simple Lives Thursday @ GNOWFGLINS

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Meal plans and the week ahead

We've been having a really fun weekend with a swimming playdate on Friday and a day trip to Holland yesterday. So I guess its probably time to work today and get some things done in the yard. Although we may still make some time to play and go water skiing at my aunt's.  We'll see what the day brings, but we do want to make the most of the water since it's supposed to cool off this week.  I'm not ready for the cool off - I love the heat (as long as I can also escape to the a/c when needed).  Its too soon to be cooling down already.  We want more beach time, at least one more trip to the splash pad, more water ski time, more pool time!  Guess we'll have to start putting the solar cover on the pool.  And hopefully it'll heat up again next week. 

We've got lots of fun things planned this week. Monday, I'm going to a yoga class in Swartz Creek with a friend. Tuesday, I am going to the local WAPF chapter meeting.  We're hearing about gut health this week, so it should be a good one again.  Then we are going to the ski show with my BIL, SIL, niece, and nephews on Tuesday evening. Wednesday we are taking advantage of the cooler weather and going hiking. Kevin is helping his brother with some stuff.  Thursday Kevin is going mountain biking with some buddies and Carson and I are possibly meeting some friends at a local park for some play time. we are taking a family hike.  Friday I have to pick up the milk and CSA order after work. Saturday we are headed down to Belle Isle for the day with some friends. So it'll be a busy, but super fun week!

I have no idea what I am going to do this week as far as extras. I know I'll freeze beans, sweet corn, and zucchini. But I haven't thought much past that. We're getting some tomatoes, plus lots of zucchini, so maybe I'll make some zucchini salsa. We'll see if I end up with some time later this week.

  • Fried eggs with bacon
  • Yogurt with fruit and crispy nuts
  • Smoothies
  • Frittata muffins
  • Hard boiled eggs
Lunches and Snacks:
  • Leftovers
  • Salads with leftover meat/veggies
  • Cucumber-tomato-onion italian salad
  • Fruit
  • Crispy nuts
  • Fruit rolls
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Sliced cheese
  • Pickles
  • S: grilled steaks; corn on the cob; zucchini and beans sauteed in olive oil and garlic
  • M: grilled sweet italian sausages (local); corn on the cob; green beans; fresh fruit
  • T: Jimmy Johns Unwiches at the ski show
  • W: zucchini noodles with pasta sauce; roasted veggies
  • Th: grilled bbq chicken; sausage zucchini bake; corn on the cob; green beans; caprese salad
  • F: salads with leftover bbq chicken, veggies, and crispy nuts; ratatouille; fresh fruit
  • Sa: in Detroit, maybe in Greektown?