Multitasking Monday

One week into the new year…can you believe it?  Where does the week go?  Seems like just yesterday, I was hosting a fry party and now I’m running around my house making food for the week, searching for my lost marriage licenses, and listening to some new podcasts.  I am multitasking like crazy, trying to make the most of this Monday after a fun and busy weekend!

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Saturday morning, the BOY and I were back at the gym after the last two holiday weekends, training together with free weights and dumbbells.  We left with some serious sore arms and made our weekly trip to the Target before running a few other errands.  I refueled with a ginormo latte!

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We spent the afternoon cleaning our garage to fit in a car and then napping before getting dressed up for sushi date night.

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Sunday morning was another early wake up.  I drove into the city to meet my mom and some friends for a yoga class. 

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I forgot my phone so here is a recycled picture from the same studio.  Ironically, it was take exactly 1 year ago and the day looked quite similar : )

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After yoga, I met some of my old coworkers for a fun brunch, catching up over coffee and omelets.  Then, I was back home to scoop up the BOY for dinner with his parents.  On the way, we stopped by my parents house quickly to say goodbye to my dad who leaves for Florida today and have a quick pre dinner glass of wine with my mom’s new wine glasses.  When I woke up this morning, it occurred to me that I did not get close to what I wanted to get done this weekend…hence the busy day today. 

Cooper’s view on Mondays…ha ha!

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It was tough for all of us to get up and moving today!  And then it took me extra time to get myself pulled together and out the door.  My first stop was the gym for an intense training session.  My biceps were still sore from Saturday and the resisted burpees were brutal, but it was a GREAT workout.  Afterwards,  I hung around for a yoga class.

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I don’t typically double up on workouts, but I have been wanting to take the Monday morning teacher’s class for awhile.  With a busy week ahead, today was the perfect day to get there.  The class was tough, not just because I was tired, but absolutely incredible and inspiring.  I left the yoga studio feeling invigorated for the week ahead and at peace with the week behind.  I ran a few more errands, including the grocery store where I stocked up on fresh produce and meat for this week’s meal plan.

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I made lunch and then began the serious multitasking with laundry, meal planning, and initial packing piles.  And continued to look for our marriage licenses which now appear to be totally gone.  Ugh!  In the kitchen, I put tomorrow’s dinner in the crockpot and began pealing carrots.

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For lunch this week, I decided to try Candice Kumai’s cleansing soup.  I love starting the year with a warm and hearty clean soup!

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The soup was fairly easy to make until the end.  My food processor isn’t big enough to hold everything, so I did it in batches.  However, they turned out inconsistent, so I ended up taking my immersion blender to the entire bowl in the end.

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Which made a HUGE mess, but worked like a charm.

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I spent the rest of the afternoon working away on a variety of things including making a batch of Fig and Date Energy Balls and trying on my bathing suits before going back to the kitchen to make dinner.

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Since my crockpot was in use, I washed my Dutch Oven for it’s next job.  For the second week in a row, Cooper kept me company while he begged for his dinner.

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I accomplished a whole bunch of stuff today, so as always on Monday nights, I happily collapsed onto my couch for a bit of down time before bed.  After packing up tomorrow’s lunch, of course.

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Do you multitask?  I do it ALL the time…even right now : )

Meal Planning 1/11/15

Monday: Turkey Meatballs (recipe to come)

Tuesday: Slow Cooker Island Pulled Chicken

Wednesday: Feta and Spinach Chicken Burgers and Broccoli

Thursday: Pork and Veggies

 

Cleansing Carrot Ginger Soup

From Candice Kumai

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1  yellow onion, finely diced

2  pounds organic carrots (2 bags) scrubbed, peeled, rough chopped

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 bay leaf, dried

2-3 tablespoons ginger, freshly grated

6-8 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock (*depending on desired consistency)

1⁄2 teaspoon nutmeg

1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt, to taste

Directions

In a large stockpot, over medium heat, add the olive oil and sauté the onions just until soft and fragrant, approximately 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add carrots, garlic, bay leaf, ginger and sauté for an- other 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add in the stock and turn the heat up to medium (a mild simmer). Cook carrots and onion until soft, approximately 20 additional minutes. Remove the bay leaf, discard.

Carefully add the soup to a food processor or blender (an immersion/handheld blender works, as well). Pulse until well combined and a pureed soup forms. Season nutmeg and sea salt. Ladle into soup bowls and serve hot. If desired add a bit of extra ginger, or orange zest to top off soup.

*For a thick soup opt for 6 cups of stock; for a thinner soup go for 8 cups.

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Sickness Needs Soup

It’s no secret that I love soups and chilis and this blog is full of recipes for them.  I eat soup year round but like to make it almost every week in the winter time.  This December has been odd (50 degrees and rain), and my soup/chili make has been a little less frequent.  However, when I came down with a full on sinus infection this weekend, I knew I needed some soup.

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And I knew I wanted to make it in my brand new Dutch oven!!!

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It had to be a flavorful one since my taste is a bit off from congestion.  I found a recipe chock full of veggies and nutrients on the Goop website, so I had to give it a try.

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I knew right away that the BOY was not going to eat it, which gave me freedom to add in whatever I wanted!

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My big substitute was taking out the farro and throwing in some chicken sausage that I had in the fridge.

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I had soup made before lunch time with more than enough for the week ahead.

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The BOY made plans to come home a little earlier, so I had dinner (and dessert) made and picked up the new Mission Impossible movie at the Redbox for us.  We ate an early dinner and then settled in for a quiet night with plans to get back into our normal routine tomorrow.

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What do you make when you are sick?

 

Winter Minestrone Soup

Slightly Adapted from GOOP

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium red onion, finely-diced

1 large carrot, peeled and diced

2 celery stalks, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 precooked chicken sausages, diced

2 teaspoons rosemary, finely-chopped (I used dried)

1 teaspoon thyme, finely-chopped (I used dried)

2 tablespoons tomato paste

4 cups chicken stock

2 cups water

2 cups packed chopped kale

1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 large zucchini, diced

salt and pepper

 

Directions

1. Heat olive oil in a pot of dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, garlic and a large pinch of salt and sauté 5 minutes.

2. Add sausage, rosemary, thyme, tomato paste, and another generous pinch of salt and cook 2 more minutes.

3. Add chicken stock and water, bring the mixture up to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

4. Add kale, beans, and another pinch of salt and return to a boil.

5. Reduce heat and simmer another 10 minutes.

6. Add diced zucchini, turn off the heat, and let zucchini cook in the warm broth for 1 minute.

7. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed.

8. Serve hot garnished with crushed red chili flakes and pesto, if desired.

The Return of MM

Not Marvelous Monday (although today was pretty awesome)…but, Meatless Monday!

I woke up early yesterday morning and got my meals all planned out for the week.  With the chill in the air, I was ready for some autumn recipes!

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My meals have been lacking in the greens and veggies this past week, so I stocked up!

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This morning, I headed to the gym for a workout.  My trainer actually got a promotion so I started with a new trainer today.  It was a good workout, but I could definitely tell that I am not fully recovered from last week’s illness.  Even more reason to be eating lots of vitamins and veggies!

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After my workout, I swung by Whole Foods to pick up a probiotic (Good Belly is my favorite and I am hoping that it will get my stomach back under control).  My store just opened a smoothie bar and I happily sucked down a Caribbean Green post-workout drink on my way back home.

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While the BOY clicked away on his computer, I got started on fall soup.   It was exciting to pull out my soup pot again!

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This recipe is chock full of veggies, beans, and lentils complete with kale and cabbage.

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Perfect to keep you warm on those chilly fall days!

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Unfortunately, this pictures doesn’t do the soup justice because we rushed out of the house this afternoon to head downtown to meet with a photographer for our wedding.  I am confident that his photos will be much better looking than mine : )

Combined with this Autumn Chopped Salad, it’s going to be an exciting week of fall eats!

What is your favorite soup recipe?

What do you eat for Meatless Monday?

 

Meal Planning 10/05/14

Sunday: Buffalo Turkey Chili

Monday: Out to Eat

Tuesday: Sweet Potato Bar (with chicken and broccoli)

Wednesday: BBQ Pork and Veggies

Thursday: Leftovers

 

Lentil, Bean, and Kale Soup (aka Autumn Soup)

Slightly adapted from Glow Kitchen

Ingredients

1 bunch kale leaves

1 can (15-1/2 ounces) black eyed peas, rinsed

¼ cup red lentils

¼ cup green lentils

1 medium onion, diced

3 small carrots, diced

1/2 cabbage, chopped

2 garlic cloves, whole (or chopped)

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

28 ounces canned crushed tomato

3 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 -3 cups water (or veggie stock)

Directions

Sauté the diced onions, carrots, cabbage, and red pepper with garlic cloves in olive oil until they start becoming soft. Chop kale leaves and add them to the pan. Sauté another 5 minutes. The kale leaves will lose their volume. Next add tomato paste, mashing it with a spatula to disperse throughout. Once evenly combined, add the crushed tomatoes, lentils, and beans. Season with salt, pepper, oregano, basil, cumin, red pepper flakes, and soy sauce.

Add water/veggie stock so that there is a 2-inch difference between the top of the water and the top of the mixture. Bring to a boil.  Then lower to a simmer cooking for 50-60 minutes until carrot and kale leafs are soft enough to eat.

Serve warm with crusty bread or freeze for later.

Crockpot Winter Minestrone with Kale

Hello Friends!

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It’s 8:30pm and my eyelids are starting to feel heavy, but I’ve got about 5 half written posts (including my bucket list) that I’d love to share with you this week.  Like mostly everyone else, I’m attempting to start the year off healthy.

 

It’s been hard to nail down an exercise schedule these past few weeks (with holidays and record breaking freezing temperatures and all), but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a plan in my head.

 

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Last Monday, was supposed to be my first training session with a personal trainer.  I’ve had it on the calendar for a month, and I was really looking forward to it.  Between sickness and weather, we cancelled, which I think was the right decision.  I couldn’t figure out how I would exercise on Monday and then head back into the frozen tundra my car to drive home without getting chills.  We finally got started today, which will be great as I have been slacking on the strength training.  Our first meeting involved some tests (body fat) and measures (yuck!) along with talking about my goals.  Which are…to tone up, fit into my jeans comfortably, and feel comfortable and in a bathing suit.  She complemented me on my legs and says that we’ll attack my arms and core each week.  Yup, that sounds about right!

 

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Also on the agenda for last Monday that got cancelled and rescheduled for today was the BOY and my first day of tennis lessons at the park district.  The timing of this worked out well since the BOY was still sick and our cars questionable.  I really had no idea what to expect. I think I took one tennis lesson around age 7, and my skills are lacking to say the least.  The best part was that everyone else in the class had to move to another day, so the adult beginner class consists of ME and the BOY only!  Our pro is really nice and we had a lot of fun tonight.  The BOY was sweating, and we are hoping to find another day that we can practice before our next lesson.

 

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On tomorrow’s agenda…running at the track.  After a week of mostly inactivity, it feels good to get back into my groove.  And my meal planning groove.  I had a busy day today, so I was actually at the grocery store at 9am.  Let me tell you…the place is empty at that hour.  Then came home and quickly put minestrone in the crockpot before running off to my training session.

 

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This day went on forever, so it wasn’t until 5:40 when I walked in the door to change for tennis that I asked the BOY to turn the crockpot down to ‘warm’ and walked back out the door at 5:46 without even looking at my soup.  Note: the house smelled like Italian food when I walked in, which was delicious!

 

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What I learned about this long day of crockpot cooking is that 10 hours is way too long for small noodles (like shells) to be in your crockpot.  That being said, my soup is not lacking at all and I reflected this change in the recipe written below.  This soup is jam packed with hearty veggies and healthy superfoods.  I can’t wait to dig in for lunch tomorrow!

 

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Meal Planning 1/13/14

Monday: Tilapia with Pear and Avocado Salad

 

Tuesday: Pork Tenderloin with Green Beans

 

Wednesday: Chipotle Turkey Meatloaf

 

Thursday: Leftovers

 

Friday: TBD but probably eating out?!

 

 

How have you been exercising this winter?

 

 

Winter Minestrone with Kale

Adapted from Crave

 

Ingredients

Good olive oil

3 chicken sausages, sliced (I used a tomato basil flavor)

1 chopped yellow onions

2 cups (1/2-inch) diced carrots (3 carrots)

2 cups (1/2-inch) diced celery (3 stalks)

2 1/2 cups (1/2-inch) diced peeled butternut squash

2 tablespoons minced garlic (4 cloves)

2 teaspoons chopped thyme

26 ounces canned chopped tomatoes

4 cups chicken stock

2 cups cooked whole wheat small pasta

8 to 10 ounces fresh kale

2 tablespoons store-bought pesto

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

 

Directions

To cook the pasta, put 1 cup of pasta into a large pot of boiling salted water. Cook according to the directions on the package, drain, and set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy pot. Add the chicken sausage and cook over medium-low heat for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Place the sausage, onions, carrots, celery, squash, garlic, and thyme in a slow cooker, sprayed with cooking spray.  Add the tomatoes, 4 cups of the chicken stock and salt and pepper to taste.  Stir well.

Cook on low for 8-10 hours.  2 hours before the end, add in cooked pasta.  30 minutes before serving, add the kale ad pesto and toss with 2 big spoons (like tossing a salad). Cook just until the leaves are wilted.  Serve with parmesan cheese or more pesto.

Posole and Posts

Finally joining Pinterest this year opened up an entire world of recipes and bloggers for me.

 

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How fun is that?!

 

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The crockpot recipes alone could keep me busy for half of 2014 : )

 

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I found this recipe on my Pinterest page and adapted it slightly, subbing in chicken for pork and simplifying a few other steps.

 

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With a busy New Years week ahead, I thought this would be the perfect recipe for lunch this week.  A healthy and satisfying way to start 2014.

 

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The smell attracted the BOY’s attention and Cooper went sniffing around looking for chicken.

 

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This soup is really hearty and satisfying, full of flavor and good stuff…hopefully like the year ahead!

 

For the last day of the year, I thought it would be fun to share what I learned from WordPress this afternoon.

My top 5 most popular posts in 2013 are…

 

1. No Bake Quinoa Energy Balls March 2012

2.  What Do You Do with an open Cake Mix?  April 2012

3.  Fun with Cake Mixes March 2012

4.  32-Bean & 8-Vegetable Soup March 2012

5.  Easy and Clean Chicken Curry October 2011

 

The most common search terms were…

What to do with leftover cake mix

Quinoa energy balls

Paleo pumpkin muffins

Salad dressing mixing bottle

 

The majority of my referrals came from…

Pinterest and Bloglovin

 

Thank you to everyone who continues to follow my blog, stop by, and comment.  You make each year more and more fun!

Happy 2014!

 

 

Chicken Posole Crockpot Stew

Adapted from Foodie Crush

 

Ingredients

2-3 pounds of boneless, skinless, chicken breasts

1 onion, sliced

½ whole head of garlic or 2 tsp chopped garlic

16 ounces chicken stock

1 lime, juiced plus rind

1 large jalapenos, seeded and sliced

3 bay leaves

1 tablespoon oregano

1 10-ounce can Rotel tomatoes with green chiles

2 carrots, chopped

1 15-ounce can hominy

 

Directions

Layer half of sliced onion on the bottom of your crock pot. Place chicken on top of onions. Add half head of garlic (no need to remove paper wrap) or 2 tsp chopped garlic, the rest of the onion slices, chicken stock, bay leaves, jalapenos, lime juice, lime rinds, oregano, carrots, hominy, and Rotel tomatoes. Cover and set to low and cook for 6-8 hours or until meat is tender and pulls apart easily.

Remove meat from the crockpot and set aside to cool enough to handle and shred chicken. Remove lime rinds and bay leaves and discard.  Remove garlic (if using whole head), discard paper casings and chop finely and add garlic back to the crockpot with the shredded chicken.  Cover and cook for an additional half hour or until warmed through and carrots are fork tender.

Serve with avocado or tortilla strips.

Soup for Sick Days

Although yesterday I was feeling much better, storms rolled in last night wreaking their usual havoc on my sinuses. Ahhh!  Bummer!  My scheduled 8 mile run was out of the question, and Cooper and I became semi-permanent fixtures on my couch with hot tea and multiple old episodes of So You Think You Can Dance.  Some of us napped…

 

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While others tried to blog : )

 

On days like today…only soup will do!  As I debated whether or not I was going to make the drive to the grocery store, I started thinking about all of my favorite soup recipes.  This blog is FULL of them!

 

Chicken Tortilla Soup

 

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CSA Soup

 

Curried Butternut Red Lentil Soup

 

Mushroom Barley Soup

 

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Crockpot Chickpea, Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Stew

 

Healthy New Year Soup

 

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Crockpot Vegetarian Chili

 

Jen’s Jumbo

 

African Peanut Stew

 

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Decisions…Decisions….

 

What is your favorite rainy sick day soup recipe???

 

I’m certainly glad I took advantage of sleeping Cooper because it wasn’t long before he was back up to his wild ways!

 

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Comfort Stew

After a rainy week and a mostly gray weekend, I felt like some soup was in order.

 

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Monday was a busy day in the kitchen…possibly more so since I was gone the week before and was looking forward to planning meals this week.  For week day lunches, I decided on Curried Lentil, Squash, and Apple Stew from Chloe’s Kitchen.

 

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It was quite an arm workout to cut the squash.

 

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I wasn’t much in the mood to take photos along the way, but I had to share the finished product!

 

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Almost on cue as I added the curry, the BOY appeared.  I had to laugh at his predictability!  I poured a bowl to take to work and saved the rest for later in the week.

 

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Dinners this week are going to be simple.  We have plenty of leftovers to get us though the week!

 

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This morning I am still trying to wrap my brain around yesterday’s tragedy.  What is there to say when I have so many questions?  Although I am building my skills as a ‘writer’, I can’t think of the words that will convey my grief and disbelief while capturing the significance of what happened.  In my opinion, runners (and triathletes) are the friendliest and most welcoming group of people.  They are supportive and empathetic…I can’t imagine anyone choosing to target such a group.  And maybe it’s because I know the elated feeling that you are supposed to have when you cross the finish line after running 26.2 miles that I feel even more sad for the runners, volunteers and spectators who will never look at the sport the same.

 

I know that this stew won’t bring with it real comfort, but there is no doubt in my mind that the blogging community (many of whom are runners) will ban together like it always does to offer support, encouragement, and love to those in Boston and beyond…and that is comforting to know!

 

 

 

Curried Lentil, Squash and Apple Stew

From Chloe’s Kitchen

Makes 6 Servigs

 

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 cup dried lentils
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups peeled butternut squash (1/2-inch cubes)
1 large unpeeled apple, diced
5 ounces baby spinach

 

Directions

In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat, and sauté onion and carrot until almost soft. Add garlic, ginger, curry and salt, and let cook a few more minutes until fragrant.

Stir in lentils, broth and tomato paste. Bring to boil, cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Add squash and apple, cover and simmer for another 25 minutes (because my squash cubes were so big, this was 50 minutes for me), or until vegetables and lentils are tender. Remove lid and stir in spinach until wilted. Add salt to taste and serve.