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Weekly Menu

(Courtesy of Org. Junkie)

Weekly Menu for the week of 2/1-2/7 – Now that the days are getting longer and it’s time to come out of hibernation, I want to eat more protein, fewer carbs, and slightly less fat.  My goal is to gently make that change by eating more protein at lunch and dinner, and instead of using granola with my yogurt & fruit, I will use nuts & seeds.  In exchange for the added nuts, I will reduce my almond butter consumption and use a little bit less olive oil in my cooking. I will also add whey protein shakes here and there.

  • Monday
    • Lunch & snacks – Leftover 10-minute broccoli dish, orange, hard-boiled egg, sliced apple & almond butter
    • Dinner – Butternut squash risotto, crumbled turkey burger patties on fresh spinach, broccoli
  • Tuesday
    • Lunch – Salmon salad w/ carrots & Wasa crackers, orange, yogurt w/ apples and nuts, hard-boiled egg
    • Dinner – Butternut squash risotto, broiled steak, broccoli (note to self: soak beans overnight)
  • Wednesday
    • Lunch – Leftover salmon salad w/ carrots & Wasa crackers, low fat cheese stick, banana, orange
    • Dinner – Large pot of mixed bean soup
  • Thursday
    • Lunch – Leftover bean soup, yogurt with apples & nuts, carrots, hard-boiled egg
    • Dinner – Leftover bean soup
  • Friday
    • Lunch – Standing Friday lunch with friends
    • Dinner – Leftover bean soup
  • Saturday
    • Dinner – Veggie scrambled egg sandwich
  • Sunday
    • Dinner – Super Bowl Sunday – pizza with friends
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Weekly Menu

(Courtesy of Org. Junkie)

Here’s our weekly menu from the past week (1/18-1/24) and what we really had in red:

  • Monday
    • Lunch & snacks – Tuna sandwich with mustard and fresh spinach on wheat, small orange, carrots w/ almond butter, one low fat cheese stick
    • Dinner – We are having guests over and they are bringing dinner.
  • Tuesday
    • Lunch – Tuna sandwich with mustard and fresh spinach on wheat, veggies, orange, yogurt w/ apples and granola, nuts (Crab & shrimp melt with fruit salad courtesy of work, carrots & almond butter, orange, banana, granola bar)
    • Dinner – Large pot of ribollita
  • Wednesday
    • Lunch – Leftover ribollita, strawberry greek yogurt, low fat cheese stick, carrots, banana
    • Dinner – Leftover ribollita
  • Thursday
  • Friday
    • Lunch – Standing Friday lunch with friends
    • Dinner – Leftover butternut squash dish (Lean turkey chili w/ leftover sour cream)
  • Saturday
    • Dinner – Leftover butternut squash dish or odds & ends (Game night! Homemade pizza w/ pepperoni & veggies, chocolate chip cookies from scratch)
  • Sunday
    • Dinner – Leftover chili

Weekly Menu for the week of 1/25-1/31

  • Monday
    • Lunch & snacks – Salmon salad w/ mutli-grain Wasa crackers, orange, zucchini spears, one low fat cheese stick, diced apple & yogurt w/ granola
    • Dinner – Farro and Roasted Butternut Squash (Again!  I have leftover squash and cheese and another onion, and finally found farro!  It was delicious the first time so I have no problem doing this again.)
  • Tuesday
    • Lunch – Leftover salmon salad, veggies, orange, yogurt w/ apples and granola
    • Dinner – Leftover butternut squash dish
  • Wednesday
  • Thursday
    • Lunch – Some sort of sandwich, yogurt with apples & granola, zucchini spears, orange
    • Dinner – Leftover broccoli dish
  • Friday
    • Lunch – Standing Friday lunch with friends
    • Dinner – Poached eggs, multi-grain pancakes, and fruit
  • Saturday
    • Dinner – Odds and ends
  • Sunday
    • Dinner – Super Bowl Sunday – pizza with friends (reminder to self: soak beans overnight for eight bean soup on Monday)

Lovely Saturday

I’ve had a lovely Saturday so far. 🙂  I slept in a bit and then went downstairs and used my new French press to make two cups of seriously aromatic coffee, sipped while I checked my email, caught up on blogs, ran a load of laundry and dishes, and planned my day.  I made my usual breakfast topped with natural apple butter and Barney Butter almond butter.  From there it was into jeans and a sweatshirt (this is a college town), a whirr of the toothbrush, and out to the farmer’s market.

Because it was chilly and damp outside there weren’t many vendors set up at the market.  However, I did buy six beautiful naval oranges and a couple of heads of fresh broccoli.  Next, I drove to a local health foods store where I finally found farro!  I also bought a pound of French lentils, 1/2 lb. of fresh spinach, and some regular and decaf coarsely ground (did it myself!) fair trade organic coffee.  Then I stopped into a gourmet cooking shop to replace my old spatula with a pretty aqua spoonula and added an inexpensive bamboo spoon to my order for use with my French press (after pouring water over your coffee, you are supposed to gently stir with a plastic or wooden spoon to avoid breaking the glass).

After that it was off to the second health foods store for a red onion, a pound of  walnuts, and a pound of organic arborio rice.  I have a bunch of leftover butternut squash from Thursday night so I’ll either make the same dish again or perhaps a lighter version of this butternut risotto.  Each store was only a couple of miles away from the last but due to my lazy, indulgent browsing the whole trip took about two hours.

By the time I got home I was hungry again and feeling a little low on energy despite having had a banana while I was out.  I had four wholesome cookies and one of the juicy oranges I’d bought earlier.  I still didn’t feel as if I had enough energy for a good, strong run so instead I decided to break out my yoga mat, which I’ve been meaning to do for months!, and flow my way through a YouTube yoga class with Sarah:

It was just what I needed.  In fact, I encouraged D to join me for round two so I ended up doing it twice.  I feel relaxed and more thoughtful now.

I’m off to grab another snack, take a shower, and make cookies for game night.  M&M are bringing dough made from scratch for homemade pizzas and the rest of us are bringing toppings (mine is spinach and possibly some mushrooms 😀 ), drinks, and dessert (cookies!).  Have a relaxing Saturday night!

Ribollita

Wow! Another smash hit from 101 Cookbooks, at least for me.  D liked it; I thought it was terrific.  This recipe was easy but took a while (mostly simmering) so set aside an hour and a half or so to do this one, at least the first time.  It’s worth it, though.  It is so delicious and comforting on a chilly winter day.  I can’t wait to see how this tastes “reboiled.”

I’m going to post Heidi’s version of the recipe along with her picture.  It is much more appetizing than mine.  I love watching how the various (sometimes unexpected) ingredients in her recipes play off of each other and come together to form a truly delicious dish.

P.S. I’ve added it to the Recipes tab.

Ribollita

I had a number of beans in my freezer and used a few of them here. Yes, you can even see some flageolets in there. But when starting from scratch, I usually opt for cannellini. On the bread front, I used a loaf of two-day-old whole wheat bread, but have at times opted for ciabatta. Canned beans can be used here, the equivalent is roughly two 15-ounce cans. Look for cavolo nero – a craggy evergreen-hued kale that might also be labeled lacinato or Tuscan kale.

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
4 celery stalks, chopped
3 medium cloves garlic, chopped
2 medium carrots or equiv. winter squash, chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 14-ounce / 400 ml can crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 pound / 16 ounces / 450g cavolo nero (lacinato kale, Tuscan kale), stems trimmed off and leaves well chopped

4 cups / 22 oz / 620g cooked white beans
1/2 pound / 8 oz / 225g crustless loaf of bread
1 1/2+ teaspoons fine grain sea salt
zest of one lemon
lots of well-chopped oily black olives

In your largest thick-bottomed pot over medium heat combine the olive oil, celery, garlic, carrot, and red onion. Cook for 10 -15 minutes sweating the vegetables, but avoid any browning. Stir in the tomatoes and red pepper flakes, and simmer for another 10 minutes or so, long enough for the tomatoes to thicken up a bit. Stir in the cavolo nero, 3 cups of the beans, and 8 cups / 2 liters water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the greens are tender, about 15 minutes.

In the meantime, mash or puree the remaining beans with a generous splash of water – until smooth. Tear the bread into bite-sized chunks. Stir both the beans and bread into the soup. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the bread breaks down and the soup thickens, 20 – 30 minutes. Stir in the salt, taste and add more if needed. Stir in the lemon zest.

Serve immediately, or cool and refrigerate overnight. Serve reheated, or “ribollita” meaning reboiled, the next day ladled into bowls. Finish each serving with a drizzle of olive oil and some chopped olives.

Makes a large pot of soup – enough for 10 servings.

Weekly Menu

(Courtesy of Org. Junkie)

Confession:  For the first time in my life, I am really enjoying having a weekly menu plan.  It has not only made my life easier during the week and saved me from almost-daily dinner waffling with D (“What should we have for dinner?”  “I don’t know, whatever you want.” “I dunno, what do you want?”  “I don’t know.” “Aghhh, I hate this!”), but it has also saved me money and trips to the grocery store.  The small block of time on Sundays spent planning our meals for the week provides much more payback than flying by the seat of my pants.

Because I’ve had leftovers for lunch and “planned” how we would use the produce and refrigerated foods in our house, there has been less food wasted.  I’ve also spent less money on food this month than normal, yet I feel as if we are eating better than ever.  Once again, allowing myself the flexibility to swap meals among different days has been key.

Here’s our weekly menu from the past week (1/11-1/17) and what we really had in red:

Week of 1/11-1/17

  • Monday
    • Lunch & snacks – Already packed: tuna sandwich with mustard and fresh spinach on wheat, small orange, carrots w/ almond butter, one low fat cheese stick, banana
    • Dinner – Pounded walnut strozzapreti
  • Tuesday
    • Lunch – Leftover strozzapreti with veggies, orange, banana, low fat cheese stick
    • Dinner – Mushroom casserole
  • Wednesday
    • Lunch – Leftover mushroom casserole, strawberry greek yogurt, low fat cheese stick, carrots, banana (hamburger with cheddar, lettuce, tomato, mustard, fries courtesy of work; yogurt/apples/granola for snack)
    • Dinner – Veggie lasagna
  • Thursday
    • Lunch – Salmon salad, yogurt with apples & granola, zucchini spears (leftover mushroom casserole with yogurt/apples/granola and veggies)
    • Dinner – Girls’ Night for me; leftover veggie lasagna for D
  • Friday
    • Lunch – Standing Friday lunch with friends (no Friday lunch this week so I had leftover veggie lasagna, raw veggies, a low fat cheese stick, apples/yogurt/granola, and a banana spread throughout the day)
    • Dinner – Easy mushroom sauce on whole grain pasta with veggies on the side (breakfast for dinner – hash browns cooked in olive oil, veggie scrambled eggs w/ a sprinkle of cheese, and donut holes with guests as a treat 🙂 )
  • Saturday
    • Dinner – Breakfast for dinner (whole grain pancakes, hash browns cooked in olive oil, scrambled eggs w/ cheese and veggies) (leftover veggie lasagna & veggie scrambled egg sandwiches on sandwich thins)
  • Sunday
    • Dinner – Lean turkey burgers with thick slices of fresh mozzarella, spinach, mustard, and any leftover mushrooms

Weekly Menu for the week of 1/18-1/24

  • Monday
    • Lunch & snacks – Tuna sandwich with mustard and fresh spinach on wheat, small orange, carrots w/ almond butter, one low fat cheese stick
    • Dinner – We are having guests over and they are bringing dinner.
  • Tuesday
    • Lunch – Tuna sandwich with mustard and fresh spinach on wheat, veggies, orange, yogurt w/ apples and granola, nuts
    • Dinner – Large pot of ribollita
  • Wednesday
    • Lunch – Leftover ribollita, strawberry greek yogurt, low fat cheese stick, carrots, banana
    • Dinner – Leftover ribollita
  • Thursday
  • Friday
    • Lunch – Standing Friday lunch with friends
    • Dinner – Leftover butternut squash dish
  • Saturday
    • Dinner – Leftover butternut squash dish or odds & ends
  • Sunday

Pounded Walnut Strozzapreti

Per my weekly menu, the meal of the evening was Heidi’s Pounded Walnut Strozzapreti.  I hadn’t made it before but I’ve made several other recipes from 101 Cookbooks with great success – they have all been easy and absolutely delicious (btw, the link’s in my blog roll) – so I had faith that this one would also turn out well.

I was not disappointed.  It was pretty simple and really. good.  To the point where D and I each had two bowls and then he had a little more.  And I almost thought I’d have to resort to fisticuffs to leave enough for my lunch tomorrow.

A couple of things:  I couldn’t find farro pasta at the store so I went with another textured whole grain pasta.  Instead of roasting the walnuts in the oven, I used the Kath method of microwaving them for 1.5 minutes.  Instead of marjoram I used oregano.  And both the parsley and oregano were dried.  Yikes! As my coworker would say, I’ve yet again completely butchered a recipe with my own modifications but it’s what I had so I went with it.  And, yet, somehow, it was still delicious, so much so that five minutes in D said, “Add this one to your rotation.” and I said, “Mmmm, oh definitely.”  The fact that it uses whole grain pasta, walnuts, and olive oil also makes it pretty nutritious.

I take no credit for anything below this sentence.  Enjoy!

Pounded Walnut Strozzapreti

Use a short pasta here, I happened to have a farro strozzapreti, which was great, the sauce got caught up in its little curls. In the book Mona uses a ruffled edge farro pizzichi.

3/4 cup / 3.5 oz / 100g walnuts
1 clove garlic, peeled, germ removed if garlic sprouted
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

2/3 cup / 5oz / 150ml extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons marjoram, chopped
3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1/2 cup / 1 oz / 30 g pecorino Romano, grated
salt & pepper
1 pound / 16 oz / 460g short farro pasta

Start by heating a large pot of water, it will take a while for it to come to a boil.

In the meantime, toast the walnuts in a 350F / 175C degree oven until they are golden, 8-10 minutes. While still warm, wrap them in a clean dish towel and rub off the skins.

Place the garlic and salt in a mortar and pestle, and pound to a fine paste. Add the walnuts to the mortar and pestle and pound into a paste. Alternately, you can do this in a food processor.

Transfer the nut mixture to a bowl. Stir in the olive oil, then add most of the herbs. Stir in the pecorino, taste, and adjust the seasoning.

Salt the pasta water generously, and cook the pasta al dente. Drain and reserve a big cup of the pasta water. Toss the walnut pesto with the pasta, and thin out the sauce with the reserved water. Serve topped with a sprinkling of the remaining herbs.

Serves 6.

This recipe was adapted from Coco: 10 World-Leading Masters Choose 100 Contemporary Chefs by Editors of Phaidon Press. Published by Phaidon Press (November 16, 2009).

Pounded Walnut Strozzapreti

Use a short pasta here, I happened to have a farro strozzapreti, which was great, the sauce got caught up in its little curls. In the book Mona uses a ruffled edge farro pizzichi.

3/4 cup / 3.5 oz / 100g walnuts
1 clove garlic, peeled, germ removed if garlic sprouted
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

2/3 cup / 5oz / 150ml extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons marjoram, chopped
3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1/2 cup / 1 oz / 30 g pecorino Romano, grated
salt & pepper
1 pound / 16 oz / 460g short farro pasta

Start by heating a large pot of water, it will take a while for it to come to a boil.

In the meantime, toast the walnuts in a 350F / 175C degree oven until they are golden, 8-10 minutes. While still warm, wrap them in a clean dish towel and rub off the skins.

Place the garlic and salt in a mortar and pestle, and pound to a fine paste. Add the walnuts to the mortar and pestle and pound into a paste. Alternately, you can do this in a food processor.

Transfer the nut mixture to a bowl. Stir in the olive oil, then add most of the herbs. Stir in the pecorino, taste, and adjust the seasoning.

Salt the pasta water generously, and cook the pasta al dente. Drain and reserve a big cup of the pasta water. Toss the walnut pesto with the pasta, and thin out the sauce with the reserved water. Serve topped with a sprinkling of the remaining herbs.

Serves 6.

This recipe was adapted from Coco: 10 World-Leading Masters Choose 100 Contemporary Chefs by Editors of Phaidon Press. Published by Phaidon Press (November 16, 2009).

A Healthy Lifestyle Should Be

A healthy lifestyle should be:

  • fun
  • an enjoyable challenge
  • yet also realistic and reachable
  • a catalyst for growth
  • a journey
  • fulfilling
  • available to everyone
  • joyous and without judgement
  • delicious
  • maintainable
  • guided but not restricted
  • desired

A healthy lifestyle should not be:

  • gruelling
  • embarrassing
  • high-stress/high-pressure
  • a sole source of self-worth
  • an item to check off the list
  • an elite, hardcore club
  • boring
  • an excuse to look down on others
  • difficult
  • forced
  • bland
  • limited

Have fun with it. 🙂  Happy health!