Cooking is an act of love.
My mama used to tell me this all the time. She cooked every night and I carried this desire with me into my marriage… then kids came. It’s not that my desire changed. The task of cooking and preparing a meal just became more difficult. I eventually had a heart-to-heart with myself and decided I had to come up with a game plan to cook meals for my husband and family.
This happened in two steps:
1 menu planning & meal prep
Let’s be honest – getting to the grocery store, prepping the food, and then cooking the meal is half the battle. Clean up is the worst part! With one-pot meals, the cleanup is a breeze, and this really speaks to my heart. Not only do I get to serve my family by way of cooking them dinner, but I also get to spend all that “would-be clean up time” with them! Win-win in for the mama books!
I used a skillet to cook this dish. You just need a pot or pan deep enough to hold the liquids that will eventually be absorbed by the quinoa. I’ve also made this recipe in a Dutch oven – my go-to for all things one-pot.
To get the rest of the recipe click HERE
I love juicing! I started juicing after visiting with a friend who made an delicious juice for me and I have nothing but amazing things to say about it! I bought our juicer during my mom’s battle with cancer and started seeing the health benefits immediately. During the last few weeks my mom was alive I pretty much lived off of juice alone. It was the only thing I could keep down at the time and I was happy knowing I was at least getting some good nutrients.
I’ve tried 3 different kinds of juicers and am completely pleased with the one we bought. You can find the link by clicking here. My mother-in-law bought a slow juicer so I experienced that method of juicer from her and I’ll tell you the difference. The slow juicer had a difference consistency than our juicer did and my husband in particular was not having it. If you are one to like pulp you might not mind it so much, just remember that orange pulp and kale pulp are different and kale pulp is not for me! Some people argue that slow juicers give more nutrients and all I have to say to that is whatever floats your boat. No matter the difference, you are receiving SO very many nutritional benefits by juicing tons of yummy greens that if it’s easier for you to consume less pulp and more free juice I say a regular juicer is for you! But hey! To each his own!
Over the last past couple of years I’ve narrowed down my favorite juices and I’ll list some simple and yummy recipes below! I’m going to list them in single serving amounts but when I make juice I typically make enough for 3-4 glasses. I’ll post one big recipe (my go-to) at the very bottom. Cheers and happy juicing!
*Keep in mind: You can make some delicious fruit juices just remember the more fruit you add the more sugar you are consuming. Sometimes this makes for the perfect treat, but adding more greens than fruits makes for some delicious and extremely healthy juices. It’s all about balance!
1 small green apple, cored
2 small green apples, cored
1/3 pineapple, peeled and cored
½ lemon, without the rind
Dance to the Beet
1 medium green apple, cored
2 small beets, cleaned thoroughly
(Beets are tricky to juice, I strain my juice before serving to make sure its pulp free!)
2 large leaves of romaine lettuce
1 medium green apple, cored
1 large bunch (about 7-8) rainbow chard
5 small green apples, cored
*When storing fresh juice, store in glass jars (I used Mason jars) and fill to the tiptop so NO air is left in the jar. Seal with a lid and refrigerate up to a few days.
Nothing bothers me more than wasting food. It’s like throwing money right in the trash and 9 times out of 10, the next time I go grocery shopping, I’m rebuying that wasted food!
The other night I really wasn’t prepared for dinner and thought I’d end up making a meal I had in the freezer plus a salad but I realized I had some squash and a potato on their last leg and needed to make them that night. As much as I love veggies, Ryan is not going to appreciate a meal consisting of just a bunch of different vegetables and frankly, I probably wouldn’t like the meal these items were heading for either.
So after combining a few recipes I’ve seen I came up with the perfect dish to use up all my veggies at once. It was super easy and really could have added a ton of different vegetables if I had others I wanted to use. Very versatile recipe as far as ingredient go!
1-2 zucchini (I used two small and has a couple pieces unused)
*tomato would be a yummy addition to this dish if your family likes tomato or any other round vegetable you need to use up.
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
2. Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Saute in a skillet with olive oil until softened.
3. While the onion and garlic sauté, thinly slice all the vegetables into equally as thick rounds.
4. Prepare an 8×8 baking dish (I used coconut oil spray). Spread the onion mixture evenly over the bottom of the dish. Place the rounds in alternating order until the dish is full.
5. Sprinkle salt and pepper and thyme. Add shredded cheese as desired.
6. Cover the dish with foil and bake for about 30 minutes or until potatoes are about done. Uncover and bake an additional 5-10 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown.
*This recipe is also great reheated the next day! Depending on how fresh our veggies are will determine how long the dish will keep.
** After thought: If I was going to the store to deliberately make this recipe I would try to find vegetables a little closer in size as our potatoes took longer to cook.
We have a couple staple food item in the fridge at all times. I find we eat healthiest if we have quick meals already prepared. I’d much rather grab something fresh and homemade than eat out if we are in a hurry. Usually Sundays and Wednesdays are my days to make sure all our staples are freshly stocked. Sometimes I’ll use them as a side for dinner if I didn’t have time to prepare a full meal, other times I’ll add them to Ryan’s lunch or eat them myself of course!
I found a set of stacked bowls in 4 sizes from Costco last year and absolutely love them. They always contain the same things in our fridge. My brother and sister in law bought us another set we asked for for Christmas so I use one at all times and have the other either in our trailer or use it for leftovers, etc. I always have one full of quinoa. I love quinoa and it’s great because it can be eaten cold or warmed up.
Another key thing we have is the salad below. I love this salad because it’s so simple to prepare and is super filling. It affectionately has been named the garbage salad because I can basically add any extra veggies from the week’s dinners inside it if they need to be used up! I’m always munching on it and there is nothing bad about it! I sometimes add feta in but even still this salad is super healthy and delicious. It’s also husband approved!
Disclaimer: I make this salad in a large quantity because I want it to last us a few days. If you want less, just adjust the recipe, as you desire. This salad doesn’t last long in our house, but it will keep for at least 4 days in a container depending on the freshness of the veggies being used.
1 large can garbanzo beans
1. Chop all your veggies into about equal sizes and toss in a salad bowl. Add beans and feta.
2. Add a splash of red wine vinegar and olive oil so veggies look slightly coated. You want enough to taste but you don’t want the salad to look too wet or have any liquid sitting at the bottom of the bowl. The salad won’t keep as well.
3. Sprinkle with oregano to taste. Add a pinch of salt.
* I also like to add olives, artichoke hearts, or tomatoes if I need to use it up from another recipe or if I’m just being a little fancy! This salad tasted amazing with quinoa for a little added substance.
Lunchtime is always tough for me because of my work schedule. Thankfully, or hopefully, this will all be changing as I’m leaving my job in a couple weeks, but for now it sticks. Since I start work at 4am, breakfast usually consists of a protein shake or a scoop of homemade granola and my ever-present coffee. I don’t eat at work as I try to work straight through my shift and leave. When I get home I feel lost between craving a proper breakfast and making plans for dinner. Lunch is lost. This being said, I am trying really hard to change this habit!
I have always love salads but I tend to get bored of them after a while. When I think of salad I think lettuce with some goodies on top and dressing… which is soo wrong! I now choose to think of salads as anything that I’m tossing together in a bowl to munch on.. Sort of.
1 bell pepper (I prefer orange or yellow)
When I cook my quinoa I use chicken broth or veggie broth as a substitute for water. In my opinion it gives a little more flavor and I prefer the texture better. It is such an easy food to cook and I typically make a big batch once or twice a week depending on that week’s menu. It keeps really well in the refrigerator, although in my house we eat it within a couple days. It’s definitely a family favorite and this little wifey isn’t complaining because it’s healthy to!
If you’ve never had Ponzu sauce I highly recommend you try it! It has great flavor and adds great flavor to any dish! If you don’t have it at home, I also like a splash of teriyaki or soy sauce plus the juice of half a lemon or add some garlic to rice vinegar and use that combo. Just be cautious with soy sauces because they aren’t quite as light and forgiving as the Ponzu.
I will add a couple other family favorites using quinoa this week. I have a ton to use up as my goal is to make dinner everyday throughout the weekend. No going out for us this week!