Meal Planning

When the new year starts, many people make resolutions to eat healthier or exercise more. I wanted to share some of my healthy eating tactics. I don’t follow the method of counting calories and prefer to focus on creating healthy home cooked meals that focus on local organic produce. I like to plan 4-5 meals for the week so we have flexibility with leftovers or going out to eat on the weekend. We normally make dinners that have four portions so we have leftovers to for lunch at work the next morning. By planning our meals in advance we can avoid multiple trips to the grocery store, save money by taking advantage of sales, and avoid the pitfalls of being tired or stressed midweek and just buying or making something that’s unhealthy or processed.

I start shopping for the week by going to the farmer’s market on Saturday mornings. If I have any meals in mind for the coming week I buy the meat/produce that I need. If I don’t have anything planned, I walk around and buy what looks good to me. 715In this shopping trip I purchased boston butt (pork shoulder), two pounds of ground meat, broccoli rabe, scallions, swiss chard, and kale. All of this cost $40 (the meat is the most expensive).

From there I look at the grocery store ad and finalize our meals for the week.

We made a delicious dish on Sunday night: broiled steak with stir fried noodles. It’s a recipe from Cook Smarts that is a subscription based weekly recipe service so I can’t share the recipe but it was amazing! I recommend signing up for the service, it really helps with meal planning and keeps you from getting in a food rut!005Monday night we made a recipe for a sriracha pulled pork. I wasn’t a fan of the recipe and the dish turned out okay but not outstanding like I had been hoping. We also made broccoli rabe as our vegetable.009On Tuesday night the husband had the great idea to repurpose the pulled pork into tacos. Genius!012On Wednesday night we had to eat dinner at my in-laws so we didn’t cook. On Thursday we made slow cooker Mexican meatballs served over rice. Recipe is from Cook Smarts.  020Friday night was our meatless meal of the week. We made vegetable enchiladas that re-purposed the meatball slow cooker sauce as the enchilada sauce. 001This meal was really good for a meatless meal. The husband isn’t always excited to eat a meatless meal but he liked this dish so much he ate it for lunch the next day and kept asking for bites of mine so I know it was a winner! Will definitely make this again.

For a healthy breakfast I either have cereal (Cheerios or Kashi are my favorites) or oatmeal. I make a smoothie or have a piece of fruit for a mid-morning snack. 010With a little bit of planning on the weekends you can create a week’s worth of healthy and delicious meals that work with your nightly schedule!

Christmas in Florida

Due to my parents moving to Florida, we spent our first Christmas in Florida this year. It was quite a change from snowy NY Christmases of past to be at the beach! Margaret was less than impressed with the long drive down.334This was my first time seeing the house since they moved and it is so nice. They upgraded from 1 1/2 bathrooms to 3 full bathrooms which is so convenient when everyone is down there. Here are  few pictures of the house, the main living is on the second floor. The downstairs has a one bedroom suite and a three car garage. I forgot to bring my fancy camera and just took pictures the entire time with my phone.339 338 337The first morning we were there I met up with Megan, a fellow triathlete I met on a Facebook group, who gave me a running tour of downtown New Smyrna Beach and showed me a great four mile running loop.343 342We took Margaret to the beach for the first time and she LOVED it. I was worried she might be scared of the waves but she is a total beach dog! Although she drank too much salt water and ended up getting the squirts for awhile :( The location of their house is awesome. The part of the island where they live is only three small blocks wide and they live in the middle. You walk one short block in either direction and you either reach the beach or the river. You can see the ocean from their back porch. It’s perfect!347We made lots of yummy desserts.406 379On Christmas Day I woke up before sunrise and slipped out of bed to go down to the beach to watch the sunrise. It was so peaceful and serene. I couldn’t believe I was outside on Christmas day in pants and a t-shirt on the beach!385393397After eating breakfast and opening gifts we headed back to the beach! Instead of walking to the beach we drove up the beach to Dog Beach which allows dogs without the risk of a fine. We got there at low tide and had fun playing in the tide pools.364419 420 418 416 413 414 372 378My best friend, Shirley, who lives in Atlanta was in the area for Christmas so she was able to bring her daughter, Avery, with her to visit one afternoon. I’m so glad I got to see them!354 351I wasn’t sure how I would like Christmas in such a warm climate, it definitely didn’t feel like Christmas, but we really enjoyed ourselves. My mom had the house decorated for Christmas inside so it felt like Christmas inside. It was really nice to walk around in shorts and short sleeved shirts the entire time while in 70+ degree weather. My parents are so happy living there, I’m really happy for them. It’s also about two hours closer to drive there than it was to drive to NY. It’s still a long day of driving but not as bad. I’m looking forward to the next time we can go down! I know Margaret is anxiously awaiting the next time she can go to the beach!