Category Archives: Healthy

Weekly Eating – Jan 25 – Feb 7

 

Hey y’all! Welcome to the series Weekly Eating.

Here is where I’ll talk about the week’s meal plan versus reality, what we ate for the week, and how we did budget-wise. I hope it gives readers a behind-the-scenes look into our life through the lens of food, and it’s also a way to keep us on track with meal planning and grocery budgeting.

Feel free to share your wins and lessons in the comments below!

 

 

Well, sorry about not posting for a week, there’s kind of a bit going on right now… We bought a(nother) house!

The Triangle real estate market is completely out of control right now, houses are on the market for literally a few hours and already contingent. So when the totally perfect gem came along, we had to act fast. I’ll tell that story some other time, but for now just know the next few months are gonna be HECTIC, so, apologies in advance if I slow down and/or disappear for a little while.

Anyways, 2 weekends ago was chill, just grocery shopping and chores around the house. Kiddo had a bit of a hard day with fussing, and also four outfit changes… at least we know he is well hydrated! And then on Sunday, I went for a long hike with my bestie. It is so very good to get outdoors into nature, get some nice workout time in, and spend time just talking about life with people you love.

Sunday night, sister-in-law’s boyfriend was in town so they came over for a few hours to play games and hang out. He works with patients, so he got his vaccine, second one in a few days. This is so so exciting to me, as someone who loves people, to know there’s a light at the end of this year long, lonely tunnel.

And I made a penne bake that was amaaaaazing and actually pretty healthy! The “meat” sauce was tempeh, mushrooms, and onion, but I did cover it in cheese. What can you do with two Italian loving men, ya know?

The following weekend was so great for my soul, because I got a lot of friend time. I went to Costco with some friends to mooch off their membership! We are doing a card churn with Citi to get bonus miles and need to hit a minimum spend. But, to my dismay, I found out in the checkout line that they no longer take American Express, only Visa! Tragic.

I still saved on things we would have bought anyways, but it was a bummer. Bestie also works in healthcare and has both vaccines now, so she was able to come over and play with the baby! It was the first time a non-family person was in the house in… like a year. Which is insane.

And finally, we had a distanced outdoor bonfire with another set of friends who had a baby boy just a few months after us. So it was cool to get to see how big he had gotten, and compare notes. Oh and then we bought a house.

So, anyways, here are 2 weeks worth of meals in review! (Also side note blog is not allowing photos to upload right now… sorry you can’t peek at all the deliciousness, but I’ll figure it out)

Monday:

Breakfast – banana bread with honey butter, then a ham egg and cheese breakfast bagel

Lunch – giant salad, 1 taco and a southwest salad

Snack – roasted chickpeas, and apple/peanut butter

Dinner – creamy mushroom & potato soup, and a homemade burger & fries with grilled mushrooms/onions and bleu cheese, yum!

Tuesday:

Breakfast – breakfast skillet bowl with potatoes, peppers, onions, mushrooms, and tofu sausage, and peanut butter toast + banana

Lunch – grain bowl with barley, roasted veggies, tofu, and hummus, and roasted veggies salad

Snack – popcorn and nuts

Dinner – leftover pasta bake and garlic bread, and chickpea curry with rice

Wednesday:

Breakfast – peaches & cream oatmeal, and peanut butter toast with fresh blueberries and raspberries

Lunch – giant bagged southwest salad and blueberries, and leftover burger/fries plus steamed broccoli & carrots

Snack – tea & shortbread cookies, and popcorn

Dinner – tofu & chickpea tikka masala, and salmon with roasted root veggies

Thursday:

Breakfast – potato and egg burrito

Today was NC’s first snow, and kiddo’s first snow ever! He was mostly not impressed haha

Snack – shortbread, a clementine, and tea

Lunch – giant salad

Dinner – leftovers

I also got my first Produce Box in a while, they had some great deals on root veggies so now I’ve got beets, sweet potato, carrots, kale, and more.

Friday:

Breakfast – peanut butter toast and a banana, and a green smoothie

Lunch – giant salad with strawberry vinaigrette, and a giant salad with salmon, roasted veggies, and edamame

Snack – kind bar, and apples and crackers

Dinner – burrito bowl with turkey, rice, roasted veggies, salsa, guac, and mushroom soup

The Weekend

Whooo boy, so basically all free time is now thinking about moving, and preparing for moving. I need to find a mountain of boxes, cause we have been burning ours in bonfires (oops) since we had no plans to move so soon. We will have about a 3 week overlap, and hope to have our current house rented out by April 1, wish us luck!

Also having another bonfire with different friends. It’s so great to finally be seeing people again regularly. And so many updates. Marriages, houses, babies, adopting dogs… good to know life is still going on out there. Oh, and the Super Bowl. But it starts at 6:30, we are not about that late night life, so I’ll just find out on the news on Monday who won. #Iwasagrandmabeforebecomingamom

Food Total: $162 + 206

Yikes… and this is without adding the amount spent on wine and formula… A bottle for baby, a bottle for mommy! lol Plus the Costco stockup trip where I got berries, spinach, salad, a pillow sized bag of broccoli, assorted spices, chicken, salmon, and pork chops, and so much more.

Kiddo eats real food, I still feed him 3-4 times per day, and he takes 2-3 bottles as well. We were lucky enough to have a friend gift us several boxes of formula their kid just went cold turkey and stopped drinking, but now that supply is gone. I also lucked out that there was a brand that must be discontinuing soon because it was on clearance, and was a ‘breastfeeding supplement’ anyways, so we are going to try that one and see how he likes it.

There were also just a lot of staples on sale that I took advantage of to restock some supplies. We got canned beans, tomatoes, corn, pasta, sauce, tortillas, granola, oatmeal, bagels, granola bars… along with lots of produce markdowns like $3 off bagged salad mixes and pints of mushrooms for 0.29! Of course now that we are moving in like a month I am kind of regretting the full pantry…

 

Lessons Learned

Opportunity truly is where patience meets action. We have been talking about what we want in our long term house forever, basically since we first moved here almost 5 years ago. We have been stalking the market all along, with alerts set for certain criteria.

A few tempting ones had come along over the years, but none that checked basically every single box like this one. So, when it’s right it’s right! And we gotta just go for it so we don’t miss our chance.

 

 

 

How about you guys? Did you have a learning week or an awesome week of wins?

Weekly Eating – Jan 17, MLK week

 

Hey y’all! Welcome to the series Weekly Eating.

Here is where I’ll talk about the week’s meal plan versus reality, what we ate for the week, and how we did budget-wise. I hope it gives readers a behind-the-scenes look into our life through the lens of food, and it’s also a way to keep us on track with meal planning and grocery budgeting.

Feel free to share your wins and lessons in the comments below!

 

 

Over the weekend I made a big batch of falafel patties with chickpeas, fresh turmeric root, flax, and barley. These are a great thing to have for quick sandwiches and wraps. I also made a big batch of roasted chickpeas for snacking, and buffalo cauliflower. And of course a batch of carrot cake muffins!

Oh, and I got the boy hooked on the “tortilla hack” now, he is really good at it! Basically you cut halfway across a tortilla. Put fillings on each quarter, and use cheese or a dip on one end to “seal” it. Fold a quarter up, then over, then over again to create a triangle with all the fillings inside, and fry on both sides until warm and crispy.

Monday:

Breakfast – carrot cake muffins

Lunch – leftover falafel in a wrap with veggies and cashew cream

Snack – roasted chickpeas

Dinner – baked potato with chili and guac and tofu sour cream

Tuesday:

Breakfast – carrot cake muffins & a matcha latte

Lunch – leftover falafel in a wrap with veggies and cashew cream

Snack – choc chip Clif bar

Dinner – oyster mushroom risotto

Snack – popcorn of course, since it was national popcorn day!

Wednesday:

Kiddo had to have a procedure reeeeeeal early, so today was expected to be a sleepy day. I had breakfast sandwiches ready to go so we would have something at least and not have to order food there or on the way.

Breakfast – ham and egg bagels

Lunch – we ended up ordering from a local Italian place. Neither of us had energy to cook and we like to support local. We got the biggest Hawaiian pizza they had, and a veggie calzone for me.

Dinner – while we were ordering anyways we just got both lunch and dinner, so philly sandwiches from the same place

Thursday:

Breakfast – carrot cake muffins

Snack – smoothie with frozen berries, flaxseed, and turmeric

Lunch – beans and rice with salsa

Dinner – leftover veggie calzone

Friday:

Breakfast – a vegan skillet with potatoes, peppers, onions, and these amazing sausage tofu crumbles! It tastes like the real deal.

Lunch – leftover risotto and a salad

Snack – roasted chickpeas

Dinner – haluski, which is noodles and cabbage. It is a Slovak dish, that my family has made and loved for generations. Kiddo was a big fan!

The Weekend

This weekend will be chill, just hanging out at home. A hike on Sunday, and maybe some game time with the sister in law.

Food Total: $79.68

This weekend I journeyed to Li Ming’s global market, my very favorite asian grocery store in the area. Asian diets are extremely healthy, even with the excess of white rice and sodium, because of their focus on fresh veggies, lots of greens, and soy. Which in turn means little or no meats, dairy, and extremely processed junk.

Asian markets are the best place for tons of fresh produce, much of which you cannot find, or if present is very expensive in other supermarkets. For example, I got beets that were almost as big as my head for $2 each, but at Harris Teeter I’d pay $5 for three that together didn’t even weigh as much as one of these monsters.

Staples $22.02 Fruit/Veg $44.11
Chili fermented hot sauce 2.99 turmeric root 4.61
can jackfruit 3 5.37 cabbage 2.17
relax tea 3.99 mushrooms 3.5
silken tofu 2 3.38 cauliflower 2.49
huge pack firm tofu 6.29 napa cabbage 3.38
oysters 2 7.41
bok choi 1.81
edamame 1.99
mini oysters 4
garlic 5 1.99
beets (GIANT) 2 3.59
red onion 1 1.27
purple yam 2.39
sweet potato 2 2.2
zucchini 2 1.31

 

Lessons Learned

It definitely pays to shop around. And it is definitely worth checking out ethnic markets. You never know what delicacies they may have, that are dirt cheap in their home country but way overpriced at your local superstore. Speaking of, it might be about time for a trip to the Indian spice store I love… I’m nearly out of sesame seeds and ginger paste.

 

 

 

How about you guys? Did you have a learning week or an awesome week of wins?

Weekly Eating – Jan 10, 2021

 

Hey y’all! Welcome to the series Weekly Eating.

Here is where I’ll talk about the week’s meal plan versus reality, what we ate for the week, and how we did budget-wise. I hope it gives readers a behind-the-scenes look into our life through the lens of food, and it’s also a way to keep us on track with meal planning and grocery budgeting.

Feel free to share your wins and lessons in the comments below!

 

Well, seems like everyone saying “2020 will be over and 2021 will be so great!” made 2021 go, “hold my beer!”

Wed. January 6th, armed Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building, apparently to stop the affirmation of Biden as the next President. It’s on Wikipedia already, so there you go. We are living through some pretty historic times. And it seems we’re not done yet.

I don’t have any answers. I’m just getting through one day at a time just like all of you guys. Still processing, still coping, still trying to hold onto hope. All I can say is, keep doing what you need to do to keep you and your loved ones as safe and sane as possible.

Anywhoooo… let’s talk about food!

I had a long stint of not feeling very inspired to cook, I’m sure caused by many factors. Hormones post-partum are no joke people, but that’s a long a$s story for another day. Now I’m finally feeling a little more hopeful, a little more myself, which means a lot more obsessed with food and cooking.

I re-read How Not To Die again, which always reminds me of the million little things I can be doing/eating to be in even better health. My favorite point is ‘eating is a zero sum game’ meaning every thing you put in your mouth, you are choosing not to eat any other of the million things out there. So make the majority of choices good ones.

Oh, we are also on a good workout kick so far! The boy has decided this is the year to focus really hard on optimizing overall health. That means mental and physical, in every way. We are cutting down on caffeine, basically cold turkey stopped alcohol, and doing a veganish couple weeks. Plus workouts every other day. This is always a goal of mine but boy is it a hundred million times easier with a partner on board!

 

Monday:

Breakfast – I made a big batch of hummus over the weekend, and had a crazy idea to put it on toast. So I had toast with hummus and pickled onions, and avocado toast with some strawberries. Pretty great actually. Savory for breakfast works.

Lunch – leftovers from the weekend

Dinner – was planning to make a white bean pasta, but the boy requested the fanciest of dinners… boxed mac n cheese. I can’t say no to that! At least we both had a salad with it.

Snack – yeah, so then I had ice cream. With pecans and caramel sauce, cause go big or go home.

Tuesday:

Breakfast – avocado toast, like a good milennial, with hummus too (basically combined both yesterday’s into one)

Lunch – leftover mac n cheese, a veggie dog, leftover mashed potatoes and green beans

Snack – a peanut Clif bar

Dinner – a fanTAStic curry! I basically simmered 2 diced sweet potatoes, half a head of cauliflower, 1 can chickpeas, 1 can diced tomatoes, and 1 diced onion with turmeric, 1 tbsp garlic paste, and ginger for about an hour. Then I added some cayenne and 1/4 cup of coconut concentrate, and served over rice.

2 walks and 2 HIIT sessions! Boy were my glutes mad about all the squats health people love to do so much.

Wednesday:

Breakfast – super fail… y’all I’m gonna throw myself under the bus here, I tried to make a delicious egg scramble with mushrooms, peppers, and potato… but I saw a can of diced potatoes in the pantry. Figured I should use it. Didn’t check the date.

Guys. It expired in 2017 💀  So… um… that tasted weird, and we threw it out. I had peanut butter toast.

Lunch – leftover curry yum yum

Snack – an apple & orange

Dinner –a bomb Mexi casserole that I posted about on Instagram. Basically bake quinoa and a boatload of beans and veggies, then top with salsa, guac, and vegan queso and sour cream. Mmmmmm

Did a short 15 minute walking video. Leslie is my girl, but Get Fit With Rick is my new favorite to mix it up.

Thursday:

Breakfast – berry oatmeal! I microwaved a handful of mixed berries, some oats, and almond milk. Added some flaxseed and cinnamon, and YUM

Lunch – leftover curry

Dinner – terikayi tempeh stir fry. I used this recipe for the sauce and wow, do not use a full cup of soy sauce! It was salty, even for me, which is saying a lot, and wayyyy too wet.

Snack – I was good in the morning and had homemade hummus with bell peppers, but then in the afternoon the sweet tooth attacked, and I may have allegedly eaten some frozen cookie dough… and also some leftover mac n cheese… hey, I’m still breastfeeding!

More HIIT, because we are gluttons for punishment.

Friday:

Breakfast – everything bagel with cashew cream cheese and cherry butter, yum yum!

Lunch – more leftovers and a salad

Snack – hummus with chips and peppers

Dinner – vegan chili over baked potatoes, with tofu sour cream and avocado! this was super quick and easy in the instant pot.

The Weekend

This is a long weekend thanks to Martin Luther King day on Monday. I didn’t realize until halfway through the week that it was a holiday, so that was a nice little surprise. We will spend the weekend relaxing and catching up on chores.

We are lucky to have an auntie nearby who LOVES kids and is willing to watch the little guy. So he is going to go hang out there while we get stuff done. I’m going to do a big batch cooking day, plus lots of laundry, organizing, finishing the bathroom remodel, and probably taking down Christmas decor (sad face).

Food Total: $88

Did a Harris Teeter run last weekend to re-stock produce and pick up a bunch of necessities for Veganuary like tofu and tempeh. I got some salad, frozen berries, whole grain bread, and lots of flour for my homemade bread and rolls since I was OUT after the holidays. Plus some deli meat in case of emergency for the boy.

Lessons Learned

We are definitely creatures of habit and convenience. In order to make healthy eating as easy as possible, I need to have food ready to go. If it requires much more than put bowl in microwave and heat, there is not a big chance it will happen. Good thing my cooking mojo is back! It definitely makes more and more sense why people eat so much takeout and pre-prepared foods though. Especially with kids, good grief.

 

 

How about you guys? Did you have a learning week or an awesome week of wins?

Making your own baby food: Is it worth it?

 

I’ve spent thirty-some years thinking about feeding myself, almost a decade thinking about feeding one growing boy (hubs), and now am starting a journey of thinking about feeding another small human! It is super fun for me, but I recognize not everyone thinks so.

There are so many decisions to be made when feeding baby, the first of which is breastfeeding, formula feeding, or a combination. There is no wrong answer here, fed is best! Not everyone can breastfeed, and not everyone wants to. These are all valid reasons. We ended up doing a combo, with mostly breastfeeding and supplementation with formula, and it worked for us.

Of course, the next step is solids!

And this changes everything. Not to get too graphic, but the daily presents in the diaper change drastically. It can also change baby’s sleeping patterns, and if you are breastfeeding it tips off another round of emotional and hormonal readjustment for mom.

But boy is it fun!

Now baby can eat at the table or high chair, just like you. Well, sort of. Baby needs to start slow before they gnaw on their first ribeye or caesar salad. They start out with very well cooked and finely mashed or pureed foods. Typically, rice cereal or oatmeal.

“How do you know if your child is ready for foods other than breast milk or infant formula? You can look for these signs that your child is developmentally ready:

  • Your child can sit with little or no support.
  • Your child has good head control.
  • Your child opens his or her mouth and leans forward when food is offered.” (CDC.gov)

But the good news is, that doesn’t have to be baby’s first food, or only food. Babies can eat almost everything we can! It just needs to be the proper texture based on their age and ability. Sometime between 4 months and 6 months of age, you can start down the food-splatter-lined road of solids.

*Disclaimer: I AM NOT A DOCTOR. Please talk to your pediatrician about what, how, and when to feed your baby.*

The first thing you feed your baby can be pretty much anything, as long as it is well cooked, and pureed. If you want to also strain it, to remove any chunks, you can do so. We did not, I think we went with cooked brown rice that was put through a blender. But we quickly moved on to sweet potatoes, black beans, broccoli, and more.

Basically, whatever I was cooking for dinner or for the week, I kept a little extra aside and cooked it a little longer. For example, steamed sweet potatoes, I’d let an extra one boil just a bit longer, or remove our broccoli when still a little crisp but leave a few florets to steam. Then I’d toss the extra-soft stuff in the food processor, or use my immersion blender if it was cooked in the instant pot/crockpot.

I had gotten some used silicone ice cube molds which turned out to be perfect for the occasion, but any ice cube tray would do. You could even use old egg cartons if you’re feeling ridiculously thrifty!

I started doing this around 2 months of age, and then put the food cubes into labelled baggies in the freezer. That way, by the time he was about 4 1/2 months, we had quite a variety of foods in stock. And I just continue to do this, adding to my stash here and there as I find sales or notice a particular food type/color is running low.

I try to make sure he gets at least 1 green veggie (zucchini and broccoli are favorites), at least 1 orange veggie like carrots or pumpkin, at least 1 protein (beef, chicken, beans), and some rice cereal for the iron. He usually gets some kind of fruit for dessert, banana, pears, applesauce, blueberries…

As he was first trying new foods, I gave him one cube, once a day, for 3 days in a row. This is to make sure if he has a reaction, we know what it is he is allergic to. Once foods were given with no reaction, then I could start mixing them.

His appetite also started picking up, where by month 5 he ate 2-3 cubes twice a day, and by 6 months at least 3 cubes 3 x a day, usually more like 4 plus a little bit of whatever I was eating.

Sweet potatoes and squashes are a steal year round, but around the holidays they go even lower, so he has had sweet potatoes or pumpkin almost every day. We were given a big bag of pureed pumpkin by a neighbor, so that huge volume will last a long time and was free for us!

Bag of frozen berries, 8.99 for 10 cups. 1/2 cup made 12 cubes, so each cube = 0.037 or roughly 4 cents. And berries are among the more expensive things he eats. Broccoli is usually on sale 0.99/lb, and one pound of florets makes 20 or so cubes, so about 5 cents. But I can also use frozen broccoli, which is even cheaper per pound and has the same amount of nutrients.

And now that he has tried many foods with no problems, I can mix them together as well. For example, I mixed a cup of frozen cherries, a can of sliced beets, and spinach together into a sweet, bright red puree. He LOVES it! And gets a crazy amount of nutrition from one ounce of food.

Let’s say homemade baby food ranges from 0.01 – 0.10 per cube, with an average of 4 cents.

Month 4 = 1 cube per day x 30 days = $1.20
Month 5 = 5 cubes per day x 30 days = $6.00
Month 6 = 10 cubes per day x 30 days = $12.00

So, three months worth of baby food for only $19.20! That’s not a bad deal at all.

Now, this is as far as we’ve gotten, but I assume his appetite will only increase. However, he can now eat finger foods, and more chunky textures. So I will no longer need to puree and freeze things, merely set his portion of dinner aside before adding any salt or sugar (spices are totally fine).

Let’s assume he adds just about ten bucks per month to our usual grocery budget, at least for a year or two. By then all babies are eating regular food (hopefully) and no longer needing the jarred variety. And I’m sure the food costs are just exponential from there, if his love of bouncing is any indicator of how active he will be!

In contrast, the baby food at the grocery store near me has a range of prices, based on brand, volume, and whether or not it is organic. But the lowest priced baby jar I saw was 0.99 for about an ounce.

So let’s say baby eats one per day Month 4, two per day Month 5, and 3-4 per day Month 6, plus the occasional puff, squeeze pouch, or cheerios. Those add another $5 per week.

Month 4 = 0.99 x 30 =$29.70
Month 5 = 0.99 x2 x 30 = $59.40
Month 6 = 0.99 x 3 x 30 + (5×4) = $109.10

In just three months you have spent $198.20 on baby food! 

Not to mention the dozens of glass and plastic pouches, containers, squeezes, lids, labels etc.

By making our own baby food, we saved approximately $179 in the first three months of solids!

Now, don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with store bought. I am not out to shame anyone. There is a huge convenience factor here. When you need to feed baby on the go, you need a container. And sometimes you just don’t want to cook. Or you want baby to try something new. These are all fine reasons to go for the gerber.

We have some pouches and containers at the ready in the pantry, because sometimes baby wants food NOW and he cannot possibly wait the 33 seconds for the cubes to be heated up. Or I want to add juuuust a little something more, so a splash of pear sauce will round out the meal. Or I just want to keep him quiet for a second with store brand cheerios. THAT IS OKAY TOO.

But, it is not just about the money.

I also care deeply about what we put into our bodies and how it impacts lifelong health. A large part of why I wanted to make my own baby’s food is that I try to also make all the adult’s food too, and make it the healthiest possible option.

Baby food is something I would trust more than adult food in general, as we usually care more for infant health (sad but true). And most baby foods are carefully regulated to not contain many of the dyes, pesticides, chemicals, etc that can be found in “regular” processed foods like sauces, pizzas, bread, cereal, and more.

But even on one-ingredient baby foods, I find myself wondering how it was processed, was there high heat and pressure? Did they deplete nutrients? Where did the carrots come from originally?

When I make it myself I no longer have to wonder.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has an interactive timeline on reported feeding habits of babies in their first year. Unfortunately it reports some discouraging trends, like a drop off around 7-9 months in fruits and vegetable consumption as non-nutritive finger foods are introduced (puffs, rice snacks, crackers, etc) and an increase in TV watching/ mobile device exposure.

“The recent Institute of Medicine Report Early Childhood Obesity Prevention Policies highlights what pediatricians know and have been struggling to address. The obesity epidemic is reaching our nation’s youngest children.

  • Almost 10 percent of infants and toddlers have high weights for length.
  • Slightly over 20 percent of children aged 2 to 5 are overweight or obese.
  • Approximately one in five children is already carrying excess weight as he or she enters kindergarten.
  • Children who are obese at age six have been found to have a greater than 50% chance of being obese as adults, regardless of parental obesity status.
Additional literature suggests that the acceleration of the obesity problem occurs in the first years of life as lifelong dietary intake patterns, eating habits, sleep routines, and food preferences are established.”

So, whether you feed baby homemade foods or not, you should try to err on the side of variety. Make sure your baby (and you!) has a wide variety of colors throughout the day and the week. Every food has a different palette of vitamins and minerals, and you need balance over time to make sure you get them all.

Aim for 4-5 different fruits and vegetables every day, and as many as you can handle! No upper limit. And try to fit some movement into your day, whether that is doing “baby-ups” to work your arms and entertain baby, sit ups to play peek a boo, or a relaxing walk with the stroller or baby carrier. You will both feel great!

 

 

Salade Niçoise with Quail Eggs

 

This cold salad lends itself perfectly to meal prepping, or a quick weeknight dinner. Pulled together in under 20 minutes, you can have this light, fresh, tasty salad anytime.

With the hearty ingredients and a little babying of the fresh greens, these salads can also hold for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.

Naturally Whole30 compliant, paleo, low-carb, Mediterranean.

Prep once, enjoy twice.

And, the best part, you only need 1 pot! Boil all the ingredients, staggering the start time, to be ready all at once.

This recipe makes 2 giant salads. Feel free to double to be covered for lunches all week long!

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 small redskin potatoes
  • 1 large tomato
  • 2 packs or tins of tuna
  • 6 quail eggs, or 2 regular eggs
  • 1 cup fresh green beans
  • Optional: 1/2 cup olives
  • 4 cups salad greens (lettuce, romaine, spinach, mixed)
  • Dressings of choice

meal prep: nicoise salad

Step 1: Dice your potatoes into 1/2 – 1 inch chunks. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Step 2: Cut the ends off your green beans (you can also use canned, drained green beans).

meal prep: nicoise salad

Step 3: Boil potatoes for ~5 minutes. Then add the fresh green beans and boil another 3 minutes.

Step 4: Add the quail eggs, and boil a final 3 minutes. IF using chicken eggs, add at the same time as the green beans. Drain all.

meal prep: nicoise salad

Step 5: Fill 2 large salad containers with 2 cups of whatever greens you like. Cut the tomato into eights, put half into each salad container. Add half the potato and green beans and olives and eggs.

meal prep: nicoise salad

Step 6: Keep the tuna and the dressing separate until the day you serve the salads.

To keep the greens from getting slimy, add a paper towel or cotton towel to the bottom of the container to absorb excess moisture.

meal prep: nicoise salad

Enjoy within 4-5 days!

 

Vegetarian: Omit the tuna; add chickpeas or white beans if desired
Vegan: Omit tuna and eggs. Add chickpeas, and/or tofu
No red potatoes: Use whatever kind you have; or use roasted or boiled pumpkin, squash, or sweet potato
No olives: For salty flavor add capers, anchovies, or feta. For fat add avocado, olive oil heavy dressing, or cheese

 

Price Breakdown: $4.73 – $2.95

For the cost per salad, there is of course a range based on the ingredients you choose. For the “Highest Quality” I checked out the prices of individual ingredients from the Produce Box, which is all local NC produce, and similar to what you would find at a farmer’s market. For the “Lowest Price” I checked current ads for Harris Teeter and ALDI to see what the lowest price on items is. You choose the range that makes sense for you.

Highest Quality Lowest Price
1 lb green beans: need 1/5 $0.50 $0.20
1 lb red potatoes: need 1/2 $0.98 $0.67
tomato 3: need 1 $0.75 $0.50
lettuce: about 2/3 $3.00 $1.99
tuna pouches: need 2 $3.00 $2.00
olives: 1/6 the jar $0.39 $0.39
eggs: (free) 2 from store $0.83 $0.15
Cost for 2 salads $9.45 $5.89

This is a powerful example of how cooking for yourself at home saves you money over time. A similar salad out at a cafe or restaurant would cost you $12 – $20. By making it at home, even with the highest quality ingredients, you save $7 each time.

 

Weekly Eating – 3/25/19

Hey y’all! Welcome to the series Weekly Eating.

Here is where I’ll talk about the week’s meal plan versus reality, what we ate for the week, and how we did budget-wise. I hope it gives readers a behind-the-scenes look into our life through the lens of food, and it’s also a way to keep us on track with meal planning and grocery budgeting.

Feel free to share your wins and lessons in the comments below!

 

Over the weekend we made a lot of progress on the coop. The chicks are getting so big I don’t know if I can even call them chicks for much longer. They are also very bouncy and like to run around the box and jump and fly up into the screen covering it, so they need to get out, and soon!

quail around the water bowl

I also went to the Tanger outlets for the first time with a friend, and we had a ball trying on clothes for a few hours on a gorgeous sunny day. I even caved and got 3 new things from Old Navy. I couldn’t tell you the last time I bought a new piece of clothing. But all three things were pieces I felt great in and that I love and know I will wear over and over until they wear out.

Tanger Outlet NC

And we went to a local Hispanic market that I’ve been meaning to get to for forever. We picked up several different flavors/spice levels of salsa along with some hot sauces, jalapenos to replenish our stock of pickled jalapenos, chorizo, some chicken, and some avocados.

haul from the hispanic store

Monday:

Breakfast – Mango strawberry smoothie

strawberry mango smoothie

Lunch – Buddha bowl with roasted cauliflower, quinoa, black beans, cherry tomatoes, and avocado. And someone brought a peach pie to work to share so you better believe I had some of that!

buddha bowl and pie

Dinner – White bean and rice soup with green beans and spinach, with homemade veggie stock and homemade bread

white bean and rice soup

Tuesday:

Breakfast – Homemade bread with 3 quail eggs, 1 slice organic white cheddar cheese and 1 slice smoked turkey

open face breakfast sandwich

Snack – guac & chips

Lunch – leftover roast brisket with roasted root veggies

leftover lunch and guac

Dinner –leftover colcannon and corned beef; also I am so loving that we can eat dinner out on the porch now! It is still light & warm out.

leftovers on the porch

Wednesday:

Breakfast – accidentally skipped it bc I overslept…

Lunch – leftover soup and bread

leftover soup for lunch

Snack – apple and celery with peanut butter and raisins, and some gummy bears

snacks

Dinner – breaded roasted chicken quarters, and some radish top pesto and roasted cauliflower

chicken and pesto

Thursday:

Breakfast – gorgeous purple berry smoothie

gorgeous purple berry smoothie

Lunch – leftover chicken drumstick, cauli, and whole wheat penne pesto with cherry tomatoes

chicken and pesto

Dinner – chana saag over brown rice – chickpea, tomato, and spinach stew with masala spices

chana saag and rice

Friday:

Breakfast – everything bagel with turkey, quail eggs, and organic white cheddar cheese

everything bagel breakfast sammie

Lunch – last leftover beef and root veggies

leftovers and hummus

Snack – everything hummus, with sliced cucumber, radish & carrots. And cookies later, because the sugar demon is strong.

choc chip cookie

Dinner – Crazy combo of chorizo, sweet potato, onion, and apples. That’s it. Was quite weird, different, but really good.

sweet and spicy hash

The Weekend

GUYS IT’S SPRING. It finally feels like it at last. The sun in shining and we are in the upper 60s and 70s and I am freaking thrilled. The flowers are all blooming, the trees are blossoming, and my yard is regularly visited by robins and cardinals and blue jays. I love it.

spring daffodils

Also, WE FINISHED THE COOP!

new quail coop!

Yeah, pretty flippin excited about it. Took a ton of work and ingenuity but by golly, we got it done. Hubs was KEY, I could never have finished this all by my lonesome. I needed his advice, level head, and boy mode strength to get through it. Not the prettiest coop that ever existed, but it is functional.

new quail coop!

And the babies are no longer babies, we kicked them out of the house! They were starting to get too big and feisty for their box, it was just a matter of time until they figured out how to pop up and rip the screen lid off. Plus, they started to stink.

new quail coop!

They seem a little bewildered, but very happy in their new home. And boy, are they spoiled! This coop is HUGE, it’s like a quail mansion. Hopefully, the first egg is just around the corner…

Food Total: $67.22 + 33.05 = $99.27

Weekly Produce Box = a build your own, so I got to choose all my favorites. I got Brussels sprouts, broccoli, green beans, red potatoes and yellow potatoes, beets, tomatoes, lettuce, and a stock up box of 8 pounds of NC sweet potatoes.

the produce box sweet potato stock up

 

Lessons Learned

It’s good to have standby recipes that you know you can cook well, and quickly, and easily. But it is good to experiment too. That’s how I find crazy new combos, that the boy approves of. I got kudos for the creative chorizo meal, not as a thing we could eat daily, but once it a while it is nice to have something totally out of the norm.

And I’m sure y’all are super tired of me crowing about quail, but seriously. They bring me so much joy. If you’ve ever considered raising your own animals for food, for eggs, milk, or meat, just do it! You won’t be sorry.

 

 

 

How about you guys? Did you have a learning week or an awesome week of wins?

Weekly Eating – 3/11/19 thru 3/22/19

Hey y’all! Welcome to the series Weekly Eating.

Here is where I’ll talk about the week’s meal plan versus reality, what we ate for the week, and how we did budget-wise. I hope it gives readers a behind-the-scenes look into our life through the lens of food, and it’s also a way to keep us on track with meal planning and grocery budgeting.

Feel free to share your wins and lessons in the comments below!

 

Whoops, missed a week there! Sorry guys. We’ve got a lot and not a lot going on at the same time.

The coop is making steady progress. We got 4 pallets for free, plus some dumpster-diving got me a half sheet of plywood. For about $40 I bought a roll of hardware wire and chicken wire, and all we need is nails, staples, and time.

quail coop in progress

The frame is built and the floor is braced and wired, we just need a run for some hinges and a way to keep the door shut. Then the final pieces are putting on the door and roof, and the babies have somewhere to move to when they are no longer babies (which is like, in 2 weeks!)

coop with wire flooring

They have grown so much bigger, and have upgraded to a larger feeder. They are also on a mix of chick and regular flock food, and I use a bigger mason jar for their waterer. They’ve begun to start jumping and bouncing, and trying out their wings. And we had our first escapee when I opened the screen to feed them the other day!

two week old quail

And we (i.e. just the boy) have started adding back in food groups to see if any spark reactions. We had cut out everything but meat, fruit, vegetables, and nuts & seeds. He added back in grains first, and had oatmeal, my homemade bread, and pasta all in one day. No problem.

homemade bread

Then dairy, so I stocked up on kefir, milk, butter, and plain Greek yogurt. Made a huge pan of the tastiest mac n cheese you ever saw. Again, no problems. He did say that he missed dairy way less than he thought he would, so that’s nice. Corn is back, without issue. I think soy is the only thing left, and we don’t use much added sugar products anyhow so I don’t mind permanently dropping those. He will go back to adding honey to tea, for instance.

amazing mac n cheese

Gardening

The seedlings I started have not come up yet. I am concerned that this week of 30-s overnight will kill them… it gets quite hot inside during the day, but not if there is no sunshine. Come on, actual spring! I need warmth so my fig can finally go in the ground.

greenhouse with fig tree

On the bright side, I found some surprises in the garden. I had planted some brassicas and root veggies last fall, but they are super slow growing due to next to no sunlight… and they overwintered quite nicely, such that I may actually get to harvest some kale, cabbage, carrots, and/or radishes soon!

daikon radish

And, this is the first year I have annual flowers coming up. I bought three packs of bulbs on clearance last fall, and planted them even thought it was a bit late in the season. I figured, why not. And now, all these lovely irises and hyacinths and tulips are coming up! It makes me very very happy.

purple flowers

Food Swap

March’s Food Swap was awesome, it was at Hi Wire Brewery in Durham. I had never been, so I was pleasantly surprised with how huge it was, all the indoor lawn games, crazy wall art, and delicious beers on tap. It was Spring Break for UNC and Duke, so it was blessedly empty of students. AND on Mondays they sell a LITER of their own beer for $7!

I made pickled quail eggs the week prior in expectation, one batch turmeric and one batch beet pickled. It was like Easter come early with the fun egg colors. I also took a few jars of my candied orange peels.

turmeric and beet pickled quail eggs

I ended up going home with a half dozen chicken and a half dozen goose eggs, some jam, garlic pickles, homemade yogurt, Irish Car Bomb cupcakes, enzymatic orange cleaner, beef jerky, and preserved lemons! Quite a bounty.

March 2019 Food Swap

Breakfasts:

Egg sandwiches – since I got oodles of eggs and also my quail keep giving me at least 2 a day, we eat more eggs now than ever before. And what better way than on homemade bread?

sausage egg sandwich

Cinnamon sugar toast – speaking of homemade bread, if you’ve never had cinnamon sugar toast on hot out the oven bread, you need to get you some right away! It’s magical.

cinnamon sugar toast

Breakfast burritos – you can see why grains were the first thing the boy wanted to add back. It brings things like toast, pasta, and wraps

breakfast tacos

Snacks:

Apple with almond butter & raisins –this has definitely become my top favorite snack. It is great for the morning, when it’s ten and I will die if I have to wait one more hour for food, or afternoon when it’s 2 or 3 pm and I need a lil something to tide me over until dinner. Peanut butter works too, but I prefer almond.

sliced apple with almond butter and raisins

Nut bars – I’m glad a friend with a Costco membership let us go with them once and buy a ginormous box of these bars. I have one in every bag, car, coat, and purse, and it has saved me more than once.

Kirkland nut bar

Gummy bears – another Costco purchase. I know these are in no way healthy for me. And we also didn’t realize until we got home and opened it that they are not a huge bag of gummies, but a billion individually wrapped packages of like 5. I was crushed. Wasteful and full of HFCS… no use crying over spilt milk, they’re already bought and opened so now we gotta eat them all.

gummy bears

Lunches:

Greek salad – Been trying to get more salads into my daily diet, and to make it more interesting I opened a jar of kalamata olives, and combined with grape tomatoes and cucumber from my Produce Boxes, made a couple delicious Greek salads.

Greek salad

Stuffed potatoes – I had some cheese sauce left from the mac n cheese, so we did a baked potato and sweet potato bar. Mmmmm.

stuffed sweet potato

Lentil soup – lentil soup is super quick, easy, and good for you. It’s a perfect “kitchen sink” meal, because you can toss in whatever veggies or herbs need to be used up soon. This one had celery, carrots, leftover mashed potato, onion, and kale.

lentil soup

Dinners:

Pesto pasta – pesto is one of my all time favorite ways to get anyone to eat greens, and use up any leafies or herbs that are wilty. Things I’ve successfully mixed into pesto: basil, parsley, cilantro, kale, spinach, collard greens.

pesto pasta with shrimp and sausage

Colcannon – we went all-in on the Irish for St. Patty’s Day. We are not Irish by heritage but you know I love me a good food holiday. I made a corned beef brisket and some colcannon, which is basically mashed potatoes with cabbage in it. I’ve heard you can also use kale. It’s a great way to sneak in veggies.

corned beef and colcannon

Taco bowl – since it’s starting to warm up and finally feel like spring some days, we’ve been eating outside on the weekends. Once rice was allowed back, and tortillas, you better believe burritos are back in full force too. And I keep adding in salads.

burrito bowl and salad

Lentil sloppy joes/janes – one of my alltime favorite vegan meals, these are so easy to prepare and crazy healthy for you. I told my grandma I ate mine with pickles and sauerkraut and evidently that is insane? What do you put on a sloppy joe?

lentil sloppy joes

AYCE Sushi – got a bunch of friends who love sushi as much as I go together and went out to RocknRolls sushi! It’s a conveyor belt style all you can eat place, for $12. I love it so much. We put down 73 plates worth of sushi and sashimi.

towers of plates

Food Total: $206.68

Weekly Produce Box = the Harvest Box 2 weeks in a row. Winter strawberries grown in high tunnels, green beans, blueberries, lettuce, cucumber, zucchini, grape tomatoes, corn, onion, sweet potatoes, and purple cauliflower!

the produce box harvest box the produce box harvest box

I’ve started baking bread again, and we’ve gone through about three loaves in a week 1/2! So when flour was on sale for under a buck, I was not about to let that pass me by. I stocked up on some sugar free sausages and a few roasts, plus some organic cheeses and dairy for adding those back. Most of the produce we got from the boxes.

4.92 lb brisket colby & cheddar brick cheese 3lb flour x3 3lb mandarins
pork sausage patties Greek yogurt dipper chips
Bananas 2 bunch
85/15 ground turkey Fairlife milk & choc milk flax wraps
Simply orange juice
2lb peeled shrimp Plain kefir canned tomatoes
Canned diced pineapple 2
lunch meat Kerrygold org slice cheese
grapeseed oil for mayo
Angus sirloin 3lb Org raisins
2lb brown rice
Dry chickpeas x4 lb
Flour 5lb x2
Sugar 4lb

 

Lessons Learned

Cooking from scratch is always the best. The boy could have bread back because I made it, and without added sugar. I tried to find bread at the store that didn’t have honey, or sugar, or high fructose corn syrup, and it was impossible. But also, convenience foods have a place in life. Sometimes when you’re super busy or just not in the mood to cook, it’s really nice to have something you can just pull out and microwave or otherwise not think too hard.

That’s why I try to make my own “fast food”. I batch cook a huge portion of black beans, or pinto beans, or rice, and have it in the fridge or freezer ready to go. Then you just pull out a tortilla or bowl and pile things in and you have ready to go food! And especially with the boy, he will eat whatever is the absolute fastest and easiest. So the easier I make healthy eating (cutting up fruits and veggies ahead of time, portioning out healthy meals into individual containers) the more likely we will eat healthy.

 

 

 

How about you guys? Did you have a learning week or an awesome week of wins?

Weekly Eating -3/4/19

Hey y’all! Welcome to the series Weekly Eating.

Here is where I’ll talk about the week’s meal plan versus reality, what we ate for the week, and how we did budget-wise. I hope it gives readers a behind-the-scenes look into our life through the lens of food, and it’s also a way to keep us on track with meal planning and grocery budgeting.

Feel free to share your wins and lessons in the comments below!

 

Happy Spring Forward! Yes indeed it is time to change the clocks yet again, if you haven’t yet. I won’t get on my soap box about the pointlessness of Daylight Savings in today’s day and age… I don’t make the rules, I just follow them.

Well, we didn’t get to build the coop yet, but the greenhouse did get put together last weekend. So I’m pretty excited about it. Now I just need to actually start some seeds and get them inside.

build your own greenhouse

And I led a really fun Durham Food Tour, everyone was talkative and just there for a good time. The food was great as always, and now our last stop started giving us wine! We were all ok with that.

Durham food tour

Then I candied a bunch of orange peels and pickled several dozen quail eggs for next week’s coming food swap, and moved the eggs from the turner to the hatcher level of the incubator! CHICK TIME.

candied orange peels turmeric pickles quail eggs

Monday:

Breakfast – hashbrown and eggs cooked together into a patty with lunch meat and avocado between; actually pretty darn delicious

hashbrown sandwich

Lunch – leftover food from the Food Tour, an apple, and tea

leftover Neomonde

Dinner – mishmash of leftovers

Tuesday:

Breakfast – breakfast scramble with potato, peppers, zucchini, and onion, then poured scrambled eggs on top and mixed it all up.

breakfast scramble

Snack – a baklava leftover from the food tour

Lunch – leftover colcannon, I made a huge batch over the weekend

leftover colcannon

Snack – apple with almond butter and raisins

Dinner – sweet potato and squash noodles with meat sauce and ribs

sweet potato noodles pasta

ANNNNNDDDD I came home to 3 little chickies already hatched!

cotournix quail chick hatched

I set up the brooder in the spare room, and stared at them in amazement until bedtime.

Wednesday:

At least 2 more are a-hatching this morning!

Breakfast – apple with almond butter and raisins. I’m starting to crave this particular combo daily

apple with almond butter and raisins

Lunch – leftover ribs & veggie spaghetti, hummus with raw veg

leftover and hummus

Snack – a monster cookie from work

Dinner – boiled potato, celery, carrot, and onion until soft and then blended it until smooth. Added some cashew cream, nutritional yeast, and chimmichurri from a previous steak dinner, and threw in some cooked ground turkey. Kind of a kitchen sink soup, it was tasty.

veggie and meat soup

SEVEN MORE CHICKS! Up to 10 Total out of 14 eggs now. Literally popped some popcorn and sat and stared at them all night again. #FreeEntertainment #FrugalHobbies

watching quail TV

Thursday:

Breakfast – apple with almond butter and raisins

apple sliced with almond butter and raisins

Lunch – veggie stir fry and a krispy kreme donut at work

veggie stir fry with a donut

Dinner – pork chops with a massive veggie stir fry & cauliflower rice

pork chops and veggie stir fry

Snack –  made a Whole30 compliant sort-of apple crisp with my instapot applesauce, almonds, coconut, and spices. Don’t even @ me about SWYPO because I already think the whole thing is bunk.

whole30 apple crisp

Friday:

One of the remaining 4 eggs is hatching!!! I’m glad I didn’t give up, and let them go one more day.

Breakfast – apple with almond butter and raisins, surprise! When I find a thing I like, I tend to play it on repeat. Saves time and money.

apple sliced with almond butter and raisins

Lunch – egg salad with flax crackers, hummus and veggies

egg salad with flax crackers and hummus

Snack – someone brought Panera pastries and I had a cranberry one

Dinner – sheet pan ginger salmon with broccoli, and potato and yellow squash fries

sheet pan salmon

The Weekend

Okay for real this time, we will build the coop. Quail grow fast, and these lil guys will be not so little and ready to move outside in 4-5 weeks, so I want to be ready.

baby quail

Can you EVEN with this face?? He’s SNUGGLING MY FINGER WITH HIS TEENY BABY WINGS. My heart is a puddle on the floor.

Food Total: $29.58 + 68.32

Weekly Produce Box = the Keto Box, since it was the best value for the most Whole30 compliant items. We got white sweet potatoes (some of which I’ll try to sprout and grow!), yellow squash, kale, lettuce, spinach, cucumber, broccoli, and cherry tomatoes. All the plastic packaging will be returned for them to reuse!

the produce box

And at the store I stocked up on more eggs, a few different types of meats that were on sale, some spiralized veggies to try out (no I do not have a spiralizer yet, and yes I will get one maybe someday).

Meats $28.60 Dairy $5.00 Staples $2.28 Fruit/Veg $31.10
3lb ground turkey 9.97 2 dozen eggs cage free 5 whole wheat pasta x4 2.28 carrots 2lb 0.99
chicken sausages 5 spinach 9oz 2.99
London broil steak 6.36 clementines 3lb 2.99
org chicken breast 2 3.28 spiral veg squash/zucchini 7
pork chops 2 3.99 spiral veg fresh sw pot zucchini 7.98
russet potato 8lb 2.79
celery 2.79
parsley 1.59
The Produce Box 3/4/19 29.58 iceberg 0.99
blackberries 0.99

 

Lessons Learned

Y’all, raising quail is a delight! I had thought I would like it, but now that they are here, I could not be happier. The adults are everything I dreamed and more, and hatching my own is a g#$ d*&$ miracle.

Seriously. I am meant to be a farmer, I believe it with my whole heart. Taking care of critters and plants makes me so unbelievably happy, and to make an omelet or sandwich from eggs I collected myself that morning? Total bliss.

 

 

 

How about you guys? Did you have a learning week or an awesome week of wins?

Weekly Eating – 2/25/19

Hey y’all! Welcome to the series Weekly Eating.

Here is where I’ll talk about the week’s meal plan versus reality, what we ate for the week, and how we did budget-wise. I hope it gives readers a behind-the-scenes look into our life through the lens of food, and it’s also a way to keep us on track with meal planning and grocery budgeting.

Feel free to share your wins and lessons in the comments below!

 

So, last weekend was a delight. Friday night I went to Legends in Raleigh for my first drag show in a long time. It was very entertaining, with a huge crowd and many talented ‘ladies’. There were some people there promo-ing a new drink, and we got free really soft tshirts. It was a suuuper late night though.

Legends drag show

Therefore I was glad that our brunch with Steve wasn’t too early. We went to True Flavors diner in Durham. The wait was insane, I guess I underestimated how serious a thing brunch is in the South. We walked around and checked out the plaza while we waited, and picked up a few yeasts to try in our next winemaking adventure.

Tru Flavors brunch skillet

And the food was worth the wait. Everyone swooned over theirs, regardless of whether it was chicken and waffles or a skillet meal. There were also plenty of leftovers, so the portion sizes were quite generous. And the coffee milkshake is far more filling than you may give it credit for.

ALSO of note, the boy sprung it on me Saturday night that he wanted to do an elimination diet. We had discussed it before, to try to see if any of his ongoing allergies is food related. So we are doing a Whole30, sort of.

whole30 condiments

The goal is not so much to just make it through 30 days without sugar and grains (sidenote, WTF cutting out whole grains and legumes, two of the healthiest food groups on the planet?!?) but to eat as few typical allergen producing foods as possible for 3 weeks, then to slowly reintroduce one at a time.

Grains, dairy, alcohol, soy, corn, legumes, and sugar are gone.

Meats, all vegetables, any fruit, nuts, seeds, are totally fine.

I spent all of Sunday grocery shopping and meal prepping and creating Whole30 compliant condiments (ketchup, mayo, Ranch, Italian, cashew cream) and snacks.

whole30 snacks

And to kick it off, our first dinner was filet mignon with garlic rosemary potatoes and asparagus. Not feeling deprived yet!

Monday:

Breakfast – fruit smoothie

fruit smoothie

Snack – apricot almond energy balls

Lunch – was a crazzzzzzy day and I ended up stuck away from my desk so I didn’t have my lunch on me. But the cafeteria surprisingly provided. A plain baked potato w hot sauce, relish, salt & pepper, and a side salad with plain vinegar s+p.

potato and salad

Dinner – pumpkin chili: literally just thawed some pumpkin puree from the fall, mixed with a can of whole tomatoes I smushed up and 1lb ground turkey. Added some chili powder and dash of garlic salt, and it was really tasty. I had mine over another plain baked potato.

pumpkin chili over baked potato

Snack – whole apple sliced thin with 2 tbsp almond butter drizzled over it and raisins on top. This is an AMAZING snack FYI.

apple sliced with almond butter and raisins

The boy demolished 90% of a 3lb bag of clementines. By himself.

bag of clementines

Tuesday:

Noticing at this point that I am constantly hungry. Like, my stomach can be stretch-out-full and I’m still hungry.

Breakfast – scrambled quail eggs with potatoes, radishes, peppers, onions, cabbage, yellow squash, and spinach

egg scramble

Lunch – leftover brunch; duck with eggs and roasted veggies and potatoes

leftover brunch

Snack – dried apricots and pistachios

apricots and pistachios

Dinner – Lemon pepper salmon with mashed potatoes and green beans almondine. Can you tell the difference in portions between myself and the boy haha

salmon potatoes and green beans

Wednesday:

Breakfast – fruit smoothie

smoothie in fridge

Snack – apple

Lunch – 3 oz leftover salmon mixed with Whole30 mayo, avocado, and cucumber in lettuce wraps; roasted cauliflower; grapes, almonds

whole30 lunch spread

Snack – energy balls

Dinner – Slow cooker beef roast with rainbow carrots and potatoes.

slow cooker roast beef

The boy decided to make ghetto gyros (get-yos is what he’s calling them) and I put my beef over a huge salad with romaine, avocado, cucumber, cabbage, carrots, and raisins with Whole30 Ranch.

slow cooker roast beef

Feel pretty full. For about 30 minutes. Then starving again.

Snack – pineapple cubes

pineapple and all the whole30 books

Also got a stack of ALL the Whole30 books from a friend who has done it 3 times. Gonna binge read all week now.

Thursday:

Wake up starving.
Breakfast – Giant 5 egg omelet with peppers, onions, and mushrooms that I split w the boy and black coffee

half an omelet

Lunch – leftover pot roast and carrots/potatoes, pineapple

roast and pineapple

Snack – matcha energy ball, clementine, pistachios

matcha energy ball

Dinner – Chicken breasts and baked potato/sweet potato with avocado, cashew cream, salsa, frozen mixed vegetables, homemade purple sauerkraut

huge plate of food

Read almost all of “It Starts With Food” already. NOT convinced at all on their reasoning or ‘science’ for omitting grains/legumes and there are no citations… Same for their pseudoscience claims about soy and phytoestrogens.

Friday:

Woke up with terrible allergies, itchy nose/face, congestion. Pretty sure it’s just spring time and not the diet, though it does claim to help decrease inflammation

Breakfast – egg and lunchmeat sandwich with potato “toast” = slice potatoes thinly, then cook in toaster by popping them down 4-5 times until cooked

breakfast sandwich with potato toast

Lunch – Enormous salad of romaine, spinch, purple cabbage, rainbow carrots, cucumber, avocado, walnuts, and dried apricots with plain vinegar

giant salad and apple

Had to put my fork down and come back to it a few times, because I got nauseated at the thought of another bite of lettuce or cucumber…

Snack – Sliced apple with 2 tbsp almond butter and raisins, a banana, dried green beans

Dinner – ground turkey fajitas; mine was over a salad while the boys was wrapped in steamed cabbage leaves

fajita salad

The Weekend

Big plans this weekend! I’ve got a new greenhouse to assemble, a brooder to prep for this coming week’s chicks (hopefully!) and a new coop to build. Pleeeeeeease let the weather cooperate.

Food Total: $32.13 + $67.83

Weekly Produce Box = Eat the Uglies again, plus a blemished apple stock up box. This is the biggest head of cabbage I’ve ever seen! And I’m gonna make some Instant Pot applesauce for next week snacks.

Produce Blemish Box

We also took a trip to ALDI to stock up on some things to get us through Week 1 of Whole30. I will be eating a million percent more meat than usual, since they took away my grains and legumes, and am a little nervous about it, but willing to give it a try.

I made a meal plan using plenty of produce and frozen items we had at home, with a few additions for the boy’s convenience. He has very busy workdays which means very little time for food, and I’d prefer he eat lunchmeat rolls or drumsticks than skip lunch.

Meats $16.21 Dairy $3.18 Staples $17.22 Fruit/Veg $29.89
chicken drumsticks 3.34 dozen eggs x2 3.18 tomato paste 3 1.17 riced cauliflower 1.89
salmon 1lb 6.39 fresh hot salsa 4.89 steam cali mix veg 0.99
roast beef lunchmeat 3.99 garlic 3 heads 0.79 romaine 3 1.99
turkey lunchmeat 2.49 grapeseed oil 3.99 hashbrowns 1.65
100% juice x2 6.38 3pk bolored peppers 1.99
green grapes 1.5lb 2.69
Mandarins 3lb 2.69
Gala apples 3lb 1.69
avocados 15 10.47
baby bellas 0.99
radishes 0.59
bananas 2 bunches 2.26

Lessons Learned

Whole30 is an AMAZING idea if your diet is shit right now.

If you are eating the “SAD” (Standard American Diet) containing oodles of refined grains and sugars, and minimal produce, you should probably do a Whole30. It will make your health better. Anything that causes you to drop sugar, junk food, and eat more produce will.

However.

For someone who already has a great relationship with and respect for food, especially where it comes from and how high quality it is, eats a wide variety of vegetables and fruits and nuts and seeds, and also knows the actual scientific evidence of the effect of high levels of animal product consumption on human health?

Not so great.

So, I don’t think I will complete this Whole30 journey after all.

I have no suspicions about food allergies, and I have no underlying psychological issues with my relationship with any food or food group, save popcorn. And I may legitimately follow through on 30 days without that.

Also for health reasons I’m going to stay on the no sugar and no alcohol bandwagon. No dairy is easy too, since I use it minimally in my usual life. I will keep cooking Whole30 for the boy, since he is doing this for the elimination and figure-out-allergies reason.

 

 

 

How about you guys? Did you have a learning week or an awesome week of wins?

Weekly Eating – 2/18/19

 

 

Hey y’all! Welcome to the series Weekly Eating.

Here is where I’ll talk about the week’s meal plan versus reality, what we ate for the week, and how we did budget-wise. I hope it gives readers a behind-the-scenes look into our life through the lens of food, and it’s also a way to keep us on track with meal planning and grocery budgeting.

Feel free to share your wins and lessons in the comments below!

 

 

Over the weekend I had many adventures, mostly food related of course. I pickled some carrots, cauliflower, and beets. They turned out pretty great. I had a food tour on Saturday that was super fun, everyone was very talkative and there for a good time.

Durham Food Tour

I finally got my egg incubator! That meant that I got to put 14 of my quail eggs in for their 18 day journey. I am impatiently waiting and checking the temp and moisture levels daily. We should have baby chicks by the first week of March and I cannot wait!

quail egg incubator

And Erin from ReachingForFI was in town! We went to AYCE sushi on Sunday, and made an impressive tower of empty plates. She was the most perfect house guest and is welcome back any time.

AYCE Sushi wall of plates

Monday:

Breakfast – cinnamon raisin bagel with almond butter and an apple

bagel with apple and almond butter

Lunch – leftovers from tour

Dinner – I made what was meant to be a sausage and kale soup, but then I decided to let it thicken a bit and eat it over rice. Fabulous decision! Even the boy loved it.

sausage and kale stew over rice

Tuesday:

Breakfast – tropical smoothie and a nut kolachi

tropical smoothie in blender

Lunch – leftover homemade Ethiopian dal, kale, and beet hummus with grape tomatoes and a black bean brownie

leftovers lunch

Snack – apple

Dinner – made a killer mac n cheese, then added some leftover cooked sausage, spinach, and pinto beans

mac n cheese with beans, spinach, and sausage

I also meal prepped a pork roast with beans in the insta pot and a big tray of roasted veggies

Wednesday:

Breakfast – smoothie

Lunch – leftover sausage kale soup and roasted veg

sausage and kale stew over rice

Dinner – had dinner at a friends house, with sausage made on his farm, green beans, rosemary potatoes, and pickled goodies made by yours truly (beet pickled veg and pickled watermelon rind)

pork sausage with veggies and pickles

He’s also a woodworker, and gave me piece of a barrel stave that was smoked and then used for whiskey followed by beer. I added it to my soy sauce, and it has darkened considerably already! I can’t wait to see what the difference in flavor is like.

homemade soy sauce color

Thursday:

Breakfast – spiced pear and raisin oatmeal

spiced pear and raisin oatmeal

Lunch – the last leftover enchilada from last week with avocado, rice, tomatoes, and spicy salsa

leftovers lunch

Snack – leftover from Valentine’s day cookie & chocolate covered strawberry. And then a nut bar on the drive home.

valentines day treats

Dinner – tortellini with sauce (that smelled suspiciously like salsa…)

tortellini

Snack – big ol bowl of popcorn. Clearly I was a bottomless pit for some reason this day…

popcorn

Friday:

Breakfast – burrito of 4 quail eggs scrambled with salsa and spinach

quail egg burrito

Lunch – rice & beans with roasted veggies

leftovers lunch

Snack – bits of PB&J and an apple

snacks

Dinner – leftovers

Food Total: $53.23

Harris Teeter + Weekly Produce Box = Eat the Uglies

Produce Box: Uglies

I am so in love with the movement to eat “ugly produce” that is gaining traction around the US and the world in general. Grocery stores usually have pretty strict standards on produce they will accept, like the size, shape, and color. Anything that has the slightest bruise, dent, nick, or blemish or doesn’t fit these requirements just gets rejected, and thrown out.

So this produce is wasted, sent to landfills, or left in the field to rot. The farmers lose out on money, and it does the world at large a lot of harm, just because we want our apple to look “perfect”.

Guess what folks?

Nature ain’t perfect.

Sometimes carrots have 2 legs, or taters are alien shaped, or apples get gnawed on a little bit. Produce grows from literal dirt, and poo is probably involved somewhere (hopefully, it’s the most perfect fertilizer). It’s still perfectly edible and healthy. Just give it a rinse before you eat or cook it.

The Weekend

I will be avoiding the online hullabaloo over the recently published Alt-FI Manifesto. This blog is not a place for politicking or arguing; it is a place to talk about food and money and health. The end.

I will say I am happy to see those who are willing to have a respectful dialogue regardless of beliefs, and saddened by those who seem to delight in attacking and generalizing.

I will also be attending my first NC Drag Show!

Not my first ever, but first since… oh, over a decade for sure. So I am nervous and excited to see how it goes! It will surely be full of fun and music and glitter.

Then Sunday we have brunch plans with our recent CA transplant Steve & his wife! They came to Durham from San Fran, and I am going to do my darndest to show all the ways the Triangle is far superior! Friendly people, great weather (maybe a losing battle here), and phenomenal cost of living (for now…).

One last announcement…

The boy has decided we are doing a Whole 30

Starting now.

🤪

 

 

 

 

How about you guys? Did you have a learning week or an awesome week of wins?