menu plan monday: Trim Healthy Mama freezer meals

Monday

We’re coming up on an extra crazy time of year. I’m pretty sure this past weekend was the last until Christmas without an event of some sort. I’m also starting a 6 week Holy Yoga series that focuses on finding our rest in the Lord during seasons of business.

It seemed kind of an appropriate topic for the season.

I wanted to make sure I put this past weekend to good use, so I logged in to Once a Month Meals and planned out a Trim Healthy Mama friendly series of dinners. There is no way I could stick with THM and feed my family healthy, nutrient dense meals during this season without my Once a Month Meals subscription.

Here’s what I prepped:

Lentil and Wild Rice Soup – an E meal – a big hit with both my husband and daughter

Steaks in Herb Sauce – an S dinner that I’ll serve with the green beans and roasted butternut squash I’ll be linking further down

Garlic Herb Crusted Pork Tenderloin – think this is an E dinner since it’s pretty lean pork. Please correct me if I’m wrong!

Paleo Sun-dried Tomato and Spinach Burgers – I can’t to try these! Definitely an S dinner, that I might add a little fresh mozzarella to and put on top of a spinach salad.

White Enchiladas – a seriously delicious S meal, just add a salad. I did this as a casserole, with the low carb tortillas cut into strips and it tasted exactly like a chicken and tortilla casserole I grew up eating. If you’re going to make it that way, I’d recommend upping the sauce a little bit. To make this gluten-free, I’d suggest the brown rice tortillas from Trader Joe’s.

I’m also finding it incredibly helpful to have vegetables prepped for side dishes. They take almost no time to prep, but it saves me so many dishes and so much time when its time to get dinner on the table.

Green Beans with Bacon and Garlic – (S) I don’t even like green beans and I love these! They go great with the steaks.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Balsamic and Rosemary – (S) – another favorite that I’ve made twice now.

Spiced Roasted Cauliflower – (E – I think – I went as low on the coconut oil as I could) – we are huge fans of roasted cauliflower around here

Sautéed Kale with Bacon – (S) using the method in this recipe. This was one of our favorite meals from my last round of OAMM prepping.

Do you use freezer cooking to help you stay on track? I’d love to hear your favorites THM friendly freezer meals!

Shared at Org Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday and the Real Food Roundup with Musings of  a Housewife and Sassy Moms in the City.

swappable-300x250-logoDisclosure: I am an affiliate of Once A Month Meals and will receive a commission if you sign up through my link. I would have not become an affiliate without 100% belief that this service is worth every penny of the fee and more in making wholesome, healthy dinners easy and doable for everyone

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menu plan monday: gf/paleo freezer cooking

Monday

I don’t have a meal plan for this week. We’ve got dinner at a friend’s tonight and then the kids and I will be visiting Grandma, Grandpa and the cousins for the whole weekend.

Instead, I’m sharing the gluten-free and paleo friendly menu plan I put together and prepped last week using Once a Month Meals. I wrote last week about how this site and it’s tools have saved my brain in a season that’s a little crazier than normal. That’s not an overstatement at all.

I was able to prep twelve dinners for four (two of each) and several lunches in single servings, plus four side dishes we’ll be able to eat twice. And because I have the Pro Membership, I was able to swap some meals out for ones I know my family will love and still print out the shopping list, prep plan, cooking day plan and everything else customized exactly how I needed it.

Total cost: about $220, but that included some breakfast items and snacks and special requests from the kids.

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Here are the dinners I made:

  • Paleo Crockpot Meatballs – we’ll be serving with gluten free pasta or spaghetti squash and a salad for a dinner that’s less than 15 minutes hands on.
  • Artichoke Chicken Thighs – throw it all in a baking sheet and add an easy veggies. Sweet.
  • Bacon Wrapped Coconut Chicken Nuggets – confession: I left out the coconut. My people will like it better that way.
  • Spiced Chicken, Kale and Roasted Squash – 10 minutes or so hands on. We had this for dinner Friday night and it was amazing. Next time, I’ll double the squash
  • Spicy Beef and Broccoli – I’ll serve this with white rice cooked with bone broth.
  • Pulled Pork Shoulder Roast – I totally botched this recipe and turned it into bbq pulled pork. Just throw the roast in the slow cooker with salt, pepper, garlic, a diced onion and several tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and cook for about 8 hours. We pulled the pork, added a a paleo friendly bbq sauce. Serve it on slider rolls or on top of shredded cabbage to keep it paleo.

Lunches:

  • Chicken and Zucchini Poppers – I made these into mini patties to ensure they cooked all the way through. A minute in the microwave or in a frying pan to reheat and they’re to throw on a salad or in a lettuce wrap. Next time, I’ll add more seasoning – maybe some pepper sauce or vaudovon or chili paste.
  • Curried Coconut Cauliflower Soup – really good, especially make with bone broth, but also something I will play with the spices with when I make it again. And I will make it again!

Side Dishes:

  • Garlic and Bacon Green Beans – because all veggies are better when roasted with bacon. I used frozen organic green beans instead of fresh.
  • Maple Bacon Acorn Squash – this is sooo good. So good. Perfect with a roast.
  • Roasted Butternut Squash with Rosemary and Balsamic – can’t wait to pair this with some steaks
  • Smashed Loaded Red Potatoes – another recipe I sort of flopped because I wasn’t paying attention. I mashed the potoates, added raw shredded cheese, organic cream, scallions, mashed it all together and froze in an 8×8 baking pan. It’s not paleo, but it’s wholefoods and the family is very excited about it.

 

Shared at Org Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday and the Real Food Roundup with Musings of  a Housewife and Sassy Moms in the City.

swappable-300x250-logoDisclosure: I am an affiliate of Once A Month Meals and will receive a commission if you sign up through my link. I would have not become an affiliate without 100% belief that this service is worth every penny of the fee and more in making wholesome, healthy dinners easy and doable for everyone.

 

menu plan monday: 10.06.14

 

 

clean eating mpm

Oh my goodness, friends. It’s been a “only the grace of God has gotten me through few months”  – compounded by a second, emergency surgery for the girl when a doctor’s appointment last week showed that some of the screws from her fusion had shifted a bit and were pressing into her nerves.

But we are home and she is recovering beautifully and we are slowly attempting to find new schedules and routines.

Saturday, I’m making six gallons of chili for a chili cookoff booth our church is doing on Sunday.

And I am so incredibly grateful to have some sort of meal plan heading into this week. My mantra is simple, simple, simple.

Monday
Crockpot Chicken
Mashed Potatoes
whatever veggie I can pull out of the fridge

Tuesday
New York Steaks
Broccoli
Rice Pilaf (with homemade bone broth and minus the pasta)

Wednesday
Pulled Pork – on sammies for the family and on a bed of shredded cabbage for me
Salad

Thursday
BBQ Chicken (our local butcher shop makes their own marinades with great ingredients and packages – it’s a great deal for my budget and my time!)
Baked Potatoes
Salad

Friday
Chicken Tacos (on a salad for me)
Guacamole
Carrot Sticks

Saturday
Minestrone – but I’m looking for a great recipe – any suggestions?
Grilled cheese on Udi’s Bread
I’m planning on doing Soup and Sandwich Saturdays through the fall and winter

Sunday
leftovers

How do I meal plan? Like this!
Shared at Org Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday.

It’s a Get To!

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To say it’s been a while would be to a bit of an understatement.

Okay, a huge understatement.

It’s been busy. So busy. I’ve been scattered. But God has been good.

So good.

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I’m now a fully certified Holy Yoga instructor. I still get the giggles when I say that. I have had some thoughts percolating since I got home from retreat a month ago that I’ll share soon. I’m not teaching yet, but soon. I’ve been resting in the many truths the Lord spoke into my heart during my nine weeks of immersion and week of retreat.

It has changed everything.

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I’m also on round 2 of the 21 Day Fix.

Guys, I seriously love this program. It’s like they built a program just for me. The portion control I can never seem to really get down on any other way of eating is easy with the Fix. The 30 minute workouts that challenge me but are varied enough to not bore me after a two weeks. Also important – it’s real food based and easy to adapt to gluten free. I think I may have finally found that sustainable plan I’ve spent so long searching for.

Actually, I love it so much I’m considering drinking the Kool Aid and becoming a Beachbody coach so I can help others discover this program.

I know! That’s just plain crazy.

Best of all?

This is finally all truly a get to.

I get to choose healthy foods. I get to strengthen my body and seek a more healthy way of life every day. I get to grow my relationship with the Lord as I move my body in worship.

It’s a get to.

And it’s an awesome place to be.

21 day sugar detox: halfway

21 DSD

I spent about an hour yesterday typing up a lovely post about the 21 Day Sugar Detox and my experiences so far on it.

And then WordPress ate not only the post, but all of the saved drafts.

Let’s try it again.

I knew – after a Thanksgiving weekend that left me looking like I was in my third trimester of pregnancy and my failed attempt at “clean eating”. I did do a mini Whole30 in November, but it wasn’t enough.

I remembered the 21 Day Sugar Detox ebook I’ve had sitting on my computer for probably a year and a half now.

I pulled it up, read it through and decided to go for it.

I’m so glad I did.

I’ve done three Whole30’s. It’s an incredible program that serves it’s purpose so very well. If you’re looking for something to really shake you up and help you figure out food sensitivies, it’s absolutely 100% the way to go.

But here’s why I’m really liking the 21 DSD so far:

  • There are different levels.
    A newbie to eating well? Level 1 is the least restrictive and a good starting point. Already solid with your nutrition but need a jump start or detox? Level 3. Somewhere in between? Level 2. And you can easily repeat the 21 days, moving up a level each time or as you’re ready.
    And that all makes it much less intimidating than many of the paleo/anti-inflammatory ways of eating.
  • It’s a little less restrictive. 
    Sort of.
    At level 3, there’s no grains, no sugar, no dairy and no fruits other than green apples or green tipped bananas. That’s tough, but unlike the Whole30, I can bake or cook anything I want within the parameters of the challenge.
    For me, that’s a big deal.
    We had a big holiday gathering this past weekend and I was able to enjoy macaroons sweetened with green apples. It felt like a treat and that I wasn’t miss out. That’s important.
    21 DSD 2
    And while my meals are generally pretty simple, I can make 21 DSD pancakes if I want them.
    Usually around this time on a Whole30, I’m bored with food in general. On the 21 DSD, that hasn’t been the case at all.
  • It’s less guilt and more grace.
    I slipped up a little last weekend. I had some whole cream in my coffee and sushi at a family luncheon.
    Both times, my body let me know rather quickly that it had been a bad idea.
    But I didn’t feel like I had to start over or that I had ruined everything. I just moved on and was happy to see that beyond the immediate stomach issues, I had no crazy carb cravings like I normally would.
  • It’s enjoyable.
    Again, I know the Whole30 has a specific purpose and it serves it well.
    But it sort of turns into an exercise in self-flagellation for me. By day 10, I’m counting down to the end in spite of good I feel and my life has become food focused. By day 15, I’m planning what my first non-Whole30 meal will be. By day 25, it’s a contest of wills with myself and all I can think about is what I’m going to eat next and how long until I can eat what I want.
    And I struggle immensely afterward to turn the way I know I need to eat into something sustainable.
    Right now…this…it’s sustainable. I’m not dreading food, but I’m also not consumed by it. Emotionally, it’s a much better place to be. Because it allows for more freedom in the kitchen (though I do miss fruit and would probably find it more difficult in summer when peaches and apricots abound), I can already see how it will be more sustainable in the long run.

How do I know this 21 Day Sugar Detox is doing what it’s supposed to? I’ve made three big batches of sugar cookies in the past few days for different events, and I haven’t been tempted in the least. That’s impressive.

And – for me – unheard of!

My 21 days ends just before Christmas. I’m going to give myself a little extra grace as we travel and celebrate time with family, but I’m planning to start another one on January second (there’s also going to be a big group through the official Facebook page starting on the sixth…I think).  I’d like to lose about 10 more pounds from where I am now and I think the rest of this one plus another round will get me there.

After that, there are a few modifications I’ll make for the long term. More fruit variety will be the first thing I do (though I don’t miss it nearly as much as I thought I would), and a bit of unrefined sugars like raw honey, pure maple syrup and palm sugar for baking.

Want to join me in January? There’s a new 21 Day Sugar Detox book in print, along with a companion cookbook. I haven’t gotten my hands on either yet, but they’re on my Christmas list and I know anything by Diane Sanfilippo is top notch.

Paleo Basics: Where to Begin

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I get asked quite a bit where to begin with paleo.

It can be hard to figure out where to start sometimes.

There’s so much information out there, a ton of books, so many different blogs and articles, and a lot of controversy. I also believe paleo to be a highly personalized form of eating, and that can take a little work to figure out.

I try to keep it to the basics.

Paleo Diet Infograph.
source unknown

The yes foods:
Good protein. Lots of vegetable. Some fruits. The right fats, and a fair amount of them. A little bit of nuts. And for me, health boosting ancestral probiotic foods like kombucha and sauerkraut.

The no foods:
Little to no dairy (and whole fat and at least organic on what I do eat. No funky oils (vegetable oils). No legumes. No grains. No refined sugar.

The best places to go for general information and recipes?

There are a lot of places out there, but for the two years that I’ve followed a paleo diet, these have consistently been the best and most trust-worth. Most of those authors have books available also and they’re all solid.

If you’re just starting out, I cannot recommend doing a Whole30 highly enough, and be sure to include the reintroduction phase the first time. A completed Whole30 gives you a perfect platform to begin to experiment from and learn what your personal version of paleo is.

When you’re starting out, it’s important to stay consistent. It takes at least two weeks to clear the gluten from your body if you’ve been eating it. And even though paleo doesn’t have to be low carb, it’s most likely going to be lower than pretty much any style of diet you’ve been eating except for maybe Atkins or South Beach. There’s a transition that your body goes through from being a carb burner to a fat burner, and it can lead to some headaches, exhaustion and crankiness that you just have to get through.

After that don’t hold yourself to a standard of perfection (unless you’re doing that Whole30). You’re going to mess up and burn yourself out. It’s okay, as long as you learn from it and move on. I shoot for the 80/20% paradigm – if I’m solid 80% of the time, I can do some paleo baked goods or other “treat” foods 20% of the time.

One more tip when you’re making the change to paleo: plan it out. Plan your meals, plan your snacks, plan your groceries and plan to have something on hand like coconut butter if you’re having cravings.  There’s a reason they say failure to plan is the same as planning to fail! I’ve written a lot about planning in the past, and here are a few of my favorites. They’re mostly written about the Whole30, but they work for just about any dietary changes:

And if you’re looking for recipes or meal plans:

Any questions? Any other resources you think are great for beginners?

menu plan monday: 11.18.13

MPM LogoHow is it already Monday already?

I seriously need it to slow down just a little bit.

I’m still eating Whole30 style, though I did blow it last week. I’m okay with it – I’ve done three perfect ones and I’ve approached this one as more of a reset. And it’s working that way. After having sushi on a date with my son, I didn’t crave more sweet or refined foods. That’s a huge success.

This week’s menu plan is a mish-mash of things that haven’t gotten eaten over the past few weeks. We’re heading to Grandma and Grandpa’s house next Monday for Thanksgiving, so it’s eat up what’s in the freezer and fridge week.

And while I’m eating mostly Whole30, my family isn’t. I substitute sweet potatoes for white and just skip anything like rice or gluten-free pasta.

  • Monday
    Slow Cooker Chicken Fajitas (layer onions, bell pepper and chicken breasts in the slow cooker with this seasoning from the Southwest fajita steak for 4 to 6 hours)
    Corn tortillas
    Salad
    Guacamole
  • Tuesday
    Pork Chops (fried up in coconut oil with salt, pepper and garlic)
    Mashed Potatoes (mashed sweet potatoes for me)
    Broccoli
  • Wednesday
    Slammin’ Chicken
    Pilaf
    Whatever veg needs to be cooked
  • Thursday
    Grilled Flat Iron Steaks
    Baked Potatoes (or sweet potatoes)
  • Friday
    Roast Chicken (seriously, the bomb. And the bones make the best stock ever)
    Roast Root Vegetables (carrots, parsnips, red potatoes
  • Saturday
    Brinner – Paleo Swedish Pancakes maybe? (and no, they’re not Whole30, but I’m starting to work on what regular life eating needs to be)
    Bacon (no sugar, no junk)
  • Sunday
    Leftovers/Fend for yourselves!

Shared at Org Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday and Musings of a Housewife’s Gluten Free Weekly Meal Plan.

Need ideas for dinner? They’ve got them!

Cran Apple Oatmeal Muffins

Cran Apple Oatmeal Muffins Pin

On Saturday, I baked.

Four different kinds of muffins, a butternut squash, those chicken meatballs, some applesauce and PB2 granola. It only took a few hours, but I was able to fill the freezer up with nourishing, gluten-free treats and snacks  for the family.

Most of the muffin recipes I use are ones that I know pretty well or come from blogs that are consistently good. These cran apple oatmeal muffins started out as something completely different a few months ago from a blog I wasn’t familiar with. They sort of didn’t work for me, but I liked the general idea and made notes to come back to.

I’m so glad I finally did.

In this season of everything pumpkin, they’re a nice taste of fall without more orange stuff. I used my silicon muffin pan, oiled well with coconut oil and they slid right out with beautiful crusts, but I’m assuming they’d also work well with paper liners (let me know if you try them that way).

Cran Apple Oatmeal Muffins 1

Cran Apple Oatmeal Muffins
makes 12 large muffins

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 c butter or coconut oil
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 1/2 c orange juice
  • 1/2 c coconut flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/4 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t sea salt
  • 2-3 t cinnamon (your preference – we like a lot)
  • 1/2 t ginger
  • 2 small apples or 1 large, diced
  • 3/4 c dried cranberries
  • 1/2 c chopped walnuts (optional)
  • coconut oil (for the muffin pan)

Preheat oven to 350 and oil muffin pan cups well with melted coconut oil.

Combine all wet ingredients in a large bowl – eggs, butter or coconut oil, vanilla and orange juice.

In a smaller bowl, mix together the coconut flour, oats, baking soda and spices.

Add dry ingredient to wet in small batches and stir until fully combined.

Mix in the apples and cranberries and optional walnuts.

Scoop equally into 12 muffin cups.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Take tray from the oven and allow to rest in the tray for a few minutes, then remove the muffins to a cooling rack.

Freeze well.

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menu plan monday: 11.11.13

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On to week two of this Whole24.

I have to say, it’s going really, really well. I had some insane fatigue days 3 to 5, but that’s starting to lift. The bloating in my stomach has gone down quite a bit, I’m sleeping better and that weird little rash I get on my face when I eat things I shouldn’t has pretty much disappeared.

And The Boy is still valiantly working on eating fully gluten free. He had one or two small slip-ups, but nothing major. I’m hoping to get a post up later this week with some pictures, but even after only a week his eczema is looking so much better.

I spent Saturday morning filling the freezer with gluten-free and paleo muffins, and finally was able to get my chicken mango meatball recipe where I wanted it (and I’ll post it tomorrow). While I can’t enjoy the muffins (4 kinds, including a gluten-free cran apple oatmeal muffin that is coming soon), it makes it a heck of a lot easier to have some treats and snacks on hand.

This week’s dinner plan:

  • Monday
    7 Bone Roast (minus the wine)
    Baked Potatoes
    Broccoli
  • Tuesday
    Well Fed Chocolate Chili (double batch for leftovers and some to freeze)
    Sweet Potatoes
    Salad
  • Wednesday
    Just the boy and I, so we’re going out.
    Not sure how that’s going to work with the Whole30
  • Thursday
    Slow Cooker Chicken Fajitas (this method, but with the seasonings from this recipe in my freezer marinating post)
    Corn Tortillas or Salad
    Guacamole
    Carrot Stickes
  • Friday
    Pork Stir Fry (with a coconut aminos, ginger and garlic sauce and whatever veggies need to be cooked)
    White Rice
  • Saturday
    Grilled Steaks
    Roasted Sweet Potatoes
    Kale and Citrus Salad (will share once I get the measurements figured out)
  • Sunday
    Leftovers

Shared at Org Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday and Musings of a Housewife’s Gluten Free Weekly Meal Plan.

Need ideas for dinner? They’ve got them!

Slammin’ Chicken

Slamming Chicken Pin

This little recipe is the result of my late afternoon yoga class, my love of the slow cooker and The Pastor’s love of the grill and dislike of chicken cooked in the slow cooker.

The Girl called it Slammin’, and the name stuck.

I have yoga class twice a week from 4:30 to 5:30, and I’m trying to utilize the slow cooker or pressure cooker on this evenings so we don’t end up eating dinner at 7…

…because there’s one person in our house who wants to know if I’m sick if I’m not in the kitchen by 5 and dinner isn’t on the table by 5:30.

And has done so since he was quite small.

We like our schedules around here!

You can really only do so many roasts and I’m not big on pork, so I’ve been needing to work on more slow cooker chicken recipes. I’ve been making this whole chicken in the slow cooker for years and it’s still a family favorite, but it’s definitely time for something new in the rotation.

Grilling them at the end adds 10 to 15 minutes of hands-on time. It’s not necessary – they’re totally cooked when you pull them out of the slow cooker, but it adds some nice texture and takes away a bit of the…shall we say sliminess of chicken cooked in the slow cooker. You could also throw them under the broiler for a few minutes under a watchful eye.

It’s an awesome technique that I’m going to play around with more – I’ve got plans for a paleo-teriyaki-ish leg and some others percolating that I’ll share once I get them just right.

Slammin’ Chicken
Serves 4

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt (to keep it Whole30 compliant, stick with Mrs. Dash or similar)
  • 1 1/2  teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 12 or so  fresh chicken legs
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Optional: halved red potatoes

Slammin Chicken 1

Combine the olive oil, garlic powder, seasoned salt, basil and black pepper in a large bowl or zipper bag.

Add the chicken legs, toss until well coated and place in the slow cooker on top of optional potatoes.

Add chicken broth, cover and turn the slow cooker on.

Cook for 4 to 6 hours on low.

Remove chicken legs from slow cooker and place on a hot grill for 10 to 15 minutes, turning often until good color develops.
They might fall apart a bit – it’s okay. If you have an upper grate on the grill, put them up there, close the lid and let them roast a few  minutes if that happens.

The cooking liquid can be reduced to make a pan sauce for those optional red potatoes. Remove the liquid from the slow cooker to a saucepan and simmer until it reduces by about half – which just happens to take about as long as throwing the chicken legs on the grill.

Leftovers reheat really well, or are great cold if you’re into that sort of thing. It’s also a great recipe to make for company since there’s so little hands on time!

Slammin Chicken 2

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