Here we are again, another week of meal prep! Seriously, these last few weeks have been so great as far as lunches go. I’ve been on top of my ish! Which is great because being on top of it makes me want to stay on top of it. So here is another yummy, yummy lunch that I made for the week. It’s super easy and the ingredients are super cost effective – saving you time and money! Luckily for me, the items were also on sale at my local grocery store so that’s always a plus too. I actually made this particular lunch set on a Monday morning before work – that’s how easy it is!
For this recipe, as with most of my recipes I share here, all items can be substituted if you don’t care for specific ingredients. Furthermore, all of these items could also be subbed for fresh ingredients as well, I just did cans this time around because they were easier and on sale. This meal is great because it has the protein you need but is still super tasty and keeps me full until dinner. Pair this bowl with some tortilla chips and you have a real winner!
Vegan Fiesta Bowls
White or brown rice (I didn’t have brown rice on hand or I would have used that. You could also use quinoa)
1 can sweet corn, drained
1 can whole black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can rotel, drained
Guacamole (I like using premade guac because it doesn’t brown as fast)
Add rice, corn, beans, rotel and guacamole to your container. Top rice with cilantro and cover all ingredients with fresh squeezed lime juice and salt and pepper. When ready to eat, you can either eat cold or microwave. I like to take the guac out before microwaving and then add back in. Stir everything together and enjoy. It’s that easy!
The last 3 weeks I’ve been trying to eat as healthy as possible. Well, actually, I’ve been eating healthy during the week and sort of cheating on the weekend – haha. Anyway, this hummus wrap is something that I made for lunches last week and was able to spend a small amount of money to have healthy delicious lunches for the entire week. All of the ingredients cost me a total of around $15. This makes saving money so much easier versus eating out everyday and it gave me a lunch I could actually look forward to. I purchased all of the ingredients and was able to prep the vegetables. Prepping consisted of simply slicing the tomatoes and cucumbers and placing them in containers. The wraps and avocado and spinach I brought with me to work so I could make the wraps at lunch. This was better for me because I didn’t want the wraps to get soggy throughout the week.
This wrap is easily one of my favorite lunches and is so easy to make. You can substitute any of the veggies if you’re not a fan of cucumbers or tomatoes, and the hummus could also be plain if you don’t prefer the red pepper type. I also brought the avocados to work with me along with a knife so that I could cut those open as I went throughout the week. This kept the avocado from going brown. Simply stack the ingredients on top of each other and wrap the tortilla around it (or eat like a taco in my case, because I put way too many ingredients into my wrap). I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did last week!
Vegan Hummus Wrap
Gluten free tortillas
Red Pepper hummus
Simply layer the ingredients in the order shown in the image above. Wrap as best as possible and enjoy!
Making meals or smoothies ahead of time (also known as meal prepping) has quickly become one of my favorite weekend rituals. Having a stock of items that are prepped and ready to either eat or quick to prepare makes it so much easier for me to eat healthy. It eliminates so much time spent planning, thinking and preparing that I don’t think I’ll ever go back to not having at least an item or two in my arsenal that is ready to eat. These vegan smoothie packs are a great lunch meal replacement. I made 4 packs on a Sunday to blend throughout the week. I’d take a pack out of the freezer in the morning, blend it all together, put into an insulated cup and place it back in my freezer at work until it was time for lunch. These would also be great for breakfast or for a snack.
This particular combination was made with items I had on hand that I didn’t want to go bad, but you could literally do this with any items you like to have in your smoothies. I think this combo ended up being great because it has protein (spinach), loads of antioxidants (berries) and potassium (bananas). It also tastes great! Of course if you don’t want to freeze your items you could also use them raw, just be sure to add a cup or two of ice so your smoothie gets cold. You could also add protein powder or chia seeds for some extra protein. Simply place all ingredients in a freezer zip bag and place in the freezer. I had them in the freezer for the week and the items kept well. When you’re ready to blend, add about 10 oz of almond milk (or your favorite dairy free substitute). I hope you enjoy!
Vegan Smoothie Freezer Packs
1 large handful of spinach
1 cup of blueberries
1 cup of strawberries, sliced
1 banana, broken into halves
Place in the freezer for future consumption. When ready to eat, break items up as best as possible and place into the blender with about 10 oz of almond milk. Blend for about 3-4 minutes or until items are smooth.
Meal prepping is a great way to save money but it’s also helpful in sticking to healthy eating goals. Personally, I am far more likely to stay eating healthy if I have food that is already prepared making it easier to make good decisions. One of my favorite ways to meal prep for lunches at work are salads in mason jars. I had seen posts on Pinterest for them here and there and eventually thought I would try my hand at my own mixtures. They are quick and easy to make, and last much longer than a salad put into a plastic container. The larger mason jars also make it so that you have a good sized portion so that you don’t get hungry or tempted to snack later in the day.
This particular salad recipe is one of my new favorites, but you can make any sort of combination you want with salads in a jar. The main trick is to make sure that all of your wettest items are stacked towards the bottom. This keeps the items that you want to stay fresh from getting soggy. In each case, you always want to have your dressing at the bottom of the jar. This keeps it from getting mixed up with other ingredients like your fresh greens. The items you place on top of the dressing should be more solid resilient vegetables that can stand up to a little bit of moisture. For example, this salad has raw broccoli stacked on top of the dressing,and then blueberries on top of that. I did not want to mix the beets with the dressing since the liquids of each would mix together. The way it’s layered here gave the broccoli and berries a tasty dressing without making them soft or soggy. Greens always get placed at the top of the jar, or furthest away from the wettest ingredients, to keep them fresh. I hope you enjoy this salad recipe. Let me know in the comments below if you have any mixtures that you like to put into jars for the week!
Blueberry Broccoli Salad in a Jar
Arrange the ingredients in this order per jar. If you’d like to swap any items feel free, just remember the stacking rule!
1-2 Tbsp of dressing per jar
1 handful of raw broccoli florets, chopped
1 handful of fresh blueberries
Approx. 1/2 cup of canned shoe string beets (I used one can across 3 jars)
Approx. 1/2 cup garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained (again, 1 can across 3 jars)
1 large handful of fresh baby spinach (stuffed into the top of the jar)
Keep in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Dump jar into a bowl or plate and enjoy!
Groats. According to Wikipedia, groats are the hulled kernels of various cereal grains, such as oat, wheat, rye, and barley.
Groats are whole grains that include the cereal germ and fiber-rich bran portion of the grain, as well as the endosperm.
Groats are an excellent source of fiber as well as potassium iron and zinc which all help fuel a healthy diet and prevent disease such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular issues. They are also very filling which makes them a great addition to any meal if you’re trying to watch your caloric intake.
My mom introduced me to groats one day with a bowl full of something cinnamon raisin scented. I took a bite and was impressed with the crunchy but chewy texture and the simplicity of the recipe. My mom said that all she did was soak the oats in water overnight and then added raisins and cinnamon. Instantly, I thought of my usual overnight breakfast oats using regular Quaker brand oats, and I wanted to find a way to use these oat groats instead. I liked that the texture was different from the usual sort of mushy overnight oats. But I also liked that I didn’t need to add yogurt, milk or sweeteners to make a delicious easy breakfast or early lunch. My mom sent me home with a care package that day that included a bag of oat groats, a jar of homemade almond milk as well as some other items, and I knew almost right away how I wanted to try out this new recipe.
I love fruit with oats. It’s pretty much a must for me, especially if I’m not adding and sweeteners. Dried fruit is even better in my opinion because it lends another interesting texture to the mix. For this recipe, I wanted to stick to items I already had at home, so I ended up using dried cranberries instead of raisins. I also used my mom’s homemade almond milk instead of water to hopefully lend a hand in softening the oats while also providing more nutrients than with just plain water. Lastly, I added a sprinkle of cinnamon to the top which I think paired well with the cranberries and gave the oats a little bit of kick in flavor. Overall, the recipe was super easy to concoct and was super filling and delicious as lunch the next day. The next time I try it out, I think I will try soaking the oats a bit longer than just overnight to see if it softens the groats even more. I was satisfied and full after eating it though and so I thought I’d share my recipe here. I hope you enjoy!
Soaked Oat Groat Cereal
1/2 cup raw oat groats
1/2 cup almond milk (or milk of your choice)
A handful of dried cranberries (or dried fruit of choice, in small pieces)
A dash of cinnamon
Place all ingredients in a small jar and shake until well combined. Place in the refrigerator to soak at least overnight or longer. That’s it, enjoy!
Sunny California hasn’t been so sunny the last couple of days, at least in my part of California. Pouring rain and whipping winds are starting to make it feel like I’ll be stuck inside for the unforeseeable future. To make things even better (insert sarcasm here), this weather is supposed to continue through this week and into next weekend. Goodbye, Sun. See you never. But in all seriousness, the one great thing about all this gloom? All of the things I can accomplish at home. Today’s challenge: meal prep for the week and make more bread (because we’ve pretty much demolished almost the entire loaf from last night, oops). So I settle in, batten down the hatches and preheat the oven as I try and ignore the whistling wind sounds coming through my overhead vent. My first meal prep task of the day is breakfast.
I feel like breakfast has become a bit taboo as of late with the trend of intermediate fasting. Basically what that is is a fast that lasts 12-16 hours every day and a window for eating that is the length of the remaining hours (web search for more info). People have had great success with this method from what I’ve seen, of course still based on at least a semi-proper diet and some exercise. I tried out this fasting thing for about a month. I stopped eating at 7pm and didn’t eat again until at least 12pm every day, and while I did seem to notice slight results, I really, really missed the ability to have breakfast. I’m not necessarily a “breakfast is the best meal” kind of person but I enjoy the occasional morning meal every now and then. And having something small to eat during the week sometimes seems to perk up my brain and energy levels while at work (not sure if this is an actual thing, but hey). So I say, eat breakfast when you want, don’t when you don’t want, at least that’s what I do. And when I do eat breakfast, I like it to be something small, tasty and filling and preferably something that won’t break the bank (meaning no drive thru or coffee shop breakfasts). These egg muffins fit that bill perfectly.
Egg muffins are perfect for a weekly breakfast snack. They are easy and quick to make and only require a few ingredients or less if you prefer (seriously, you could make these with just eggs if you like your snacks plain). I like to keep the ingredients fairly simple for these but I imagine you could also probably go a little crazy if you wanted to. I make eight muffins at a time, for my husband and I – that’s two muffins per day for four days. Four fit perfectly in a square flat container and each of us gets one to take to work for the week. The final day of the week we usually sub in something like oatmeal or a breakfast shake (or donuts). I love how easy they are and think having a little mini frittata muffin for breakfast is pretty special. I mean, more special than a prepackaged instant oatmeal for instance. Just pop in the microwave for 30-45 seconds and enjoy!
Do you eat breakfast? What are your favorite breakfast meal prep recipes? And, what would you add to your own egg muffin?
Easy Egg Muffins
These are the filling ingredients I use for mine, but you can really put whatever you want in there!
12 red grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup green onion, sliced
8 large eggs
Grease 8 cups on a muffin pan, if needed (my pan is nonstick so I skip this part). Preheat oven to 350F.
Beat eggs in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
Using a 1/4 cup, spoon eggs evenly into 8 prepared muffin cups.
For each muffin cup add 3 halves of tomatoes and a finger pinch full of green onion (use more or less to suit your taste).
Bake for 25 minutes or until cooked through (use the toothpick out clean trick).
These will puff up quite a bit during baking, don’t worry! They will settle once you pull them out of the oven. Remove from oven and let rest.
Once cool enough, remove from tin and place in desired container. Refrigerate.
Today is officially day 3 of working on my New Year’s resolutions. So far, the main challenges have been resolution #1 (keeping up with my blog) and resolution #2 (two week detox). I should also mention that I didn’t make a dedicated description blog for resolution #5 because I felt it was pretty self explanatory (working out, better physical care). I am proud to say that it is day 3, and I have not had any alcohol, cigarettes, or sweets, and I’ve walked every day except the first (because hello New Year’s Eve regrets). So far it hasn’t been too tough other than band practice on the second day. Band practice is the evening where the band gets together, plays and writes music, and drinks beer (and some of us smoke). I think this night was especially difficult because smoking for me is such a habit based addiction. I don’t feel that I crave it physically in my body so much as I just feel like I’m supposed to be doing it because I’ve done it in this time and place so many times before… a bad habit. Not drinking isn’t as difficult for me, plus I know if I were to slip up and have a drink I’d just want a cigarette even more – thank you alcohol for keeping me honest. Anywho, it’s going pretty good so far, and I think I am already seeing some of the benefits.
Taking walks has been so nice! I really love being outside with my dogs, even if it does feel freezing cold outside. Today we visited a local coffee shop that has amazing breakfast burritos. We got coffee and sat with our burritos in the park. It’s so nice to be able to enjoy the clean, fresh air without wanting a cigarette. I think another benefit I’m feeling already is my sleep. I feel as if I’ve slept far more soundly than usual and feel like it’s easier to initially fall asleep as well. I don’t know if this is an actual side effect of detoxing from nicotine, but I’ll take what I can get. Today was supposed to be the most difficult day for cravings. I read online in several places that once you’ve quit for 72 hours that the nicotine is 100% out of your system. I find it incredible that the changes can happen this fast. Again, I don’t feel like I’ve really had too many physical cravings, and being at home (I took the week off work) I think makes the habit part of it easier to ignore since I don’t typically smoke much when I’m at home anyhow.
Being on vacation at home has been nice. It’s given me time to really reflect as well as research and keep up on some of my resolutions. I still have 3 days left in which I plan to meal plan, prep and shop for the coming week. I think what I want to do is a rice, hummus, vegetable bowl that I used to meal prep for lunches, and maybe some egg muffins for breakfast. I’ll post the recipes for them later one once I’m able to get some decent photos. I’m also looking forward to trying out some new bread recipes. I either want to make my own bread bowls for soup or some sandwich bread to cut down on grocery costs (the bread we buy now is over $5 a loaf). So far in the New Year, it’s been a lot of take out and fast food – which is fine to me right now since I haven’t been grocery shopping and since I haven’t been getting any of it delivered (ha, go me!). My favorite eat-out meal so far has been the new Beyond Famous Star burger from Carl’s JR. Seriously, if you’re a vegetarian, go try this thing, it’s bomb.
Well, I think that’s all for now. This has been my first accountability check for 2019 and so far so good.
Do you have any favorite bread or meal prep recipes you’d like to share? How are your New Year’s resolutions going?