CSA Pickup and Meal Prep 1/27/17

It’s another beautiful week and my last basket of January. I’m so excited for next month because the seasonal produce will be shifting to include asparagus! Not that this month wasn’t great, but who doesn’t love asparagus?

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This week we got cauliflower, 2lbs of apples, spinach, cilantro, 1lb broccoli, tomatoes on the vine, three jalapeños, three limes, 3 avocados, 1lb of Brussels sprouts and a butternut squash.

I’m calling this week’s bag the “salsa pack” because it included almost everything my husband uses to make his favorite green-but-not-green salsa. He gets the tomatoes, jalapeños, cilantro, and lime plus one of the jumbo onions from last week. The trick to his salsa is so much cilantro that it looks more green than red and blending it until super smooth.

What are my plans for the rest? Glad you asked! That cauliflower gets to be a cauli mash side dish, the broccoli is going in crispy orange beef, the butternut will be both noodles and a butternut Lasagna for the toddlers, the Brussels will get roasted and served as a side, the avocados go in my lunch and possible with some tacos if they make it that far and last but not least the spinach and some of the apples go in my salad.

Here’s what prep looked like this weekend:

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I’ve got Spanish rice and sliced grapes for the toddlers in the bottom left. Diced mangos, sliced Brussels sprouts, cauliflower mash and butternut noodles for dinners in the bottom middle. Along the right side is a chicken teriyaki bowl (sauce separate) for the Husband. In the middle are my jar salads, chorizo egg muffins, and plain egg muffins as well as the orange sauce for dinner later in the week. Top is a huge butternut Lasagna for the toddlers (and probably the husband) to devour this week.

Heres a close up of my salad. This week I’ve got an orange vinaigrette, apples, tomatoes, bacon, chicken and spinach and I’ll be topping the whole thing with half an avocado.

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Meal prep makes me so happy! I would do it all the time if I could…

 

Workwear Week of 1/23/17

I survived a full workweek… sort of. Friday I wasn’t in the classroom because of an all-day meeting at the district office. What I’m realizing as I get back into the swing of things is that my kids got really lazy. Some of them actually did NOTHING for the sub and have dug themselves some pretty deep holes. My teaching philosophy centers around learning as a continuous process and so I run my classroom through formative assessments. This allows students to recover their grades so long as they learn the material. I could get into this deeper, but this post is about what I wore so let’s get to the fun stuff!

Monday … the day where bright color is needed the most. To battle the Mondays I opted for some hot pink ankle pants from Old Navy and then to battle the hot pink ankle pants I tried to stick to black and white. I’m not sure I like how the white cardigan looks with the blouse (too late now right?) so I’m going to have to play around with other potential combinations.

Tuesday I went all black with my favorite plum cardigan and a bright green chunky necklace from StitchFix. Keeping it simple and comfy.

Wednesday I had a lot of fun with my favorite ModCloth blouse! Since my sweater was red I opted for a bright red lip stain too which was a ton of fun since I almost always stick to a natural neutral pink color. Can I just bring up the fact that this skirt was a mis-take? Our weather dropped 15 degrees overnight and my car was completely icy. Bad day to have my legs exposed- whoops!

After the blustery windy cold weather of Wednesday I knew I needed to finish the week with cozy sweaters so Thursday I paired my favorite nursing purchase from Motherhood Maternity with a plum tank (repeat on that color), blank ankle pants, my favorite two-tiered necklace from StitchFix and gold flats because you can’t wear your black flats every day amiright? I need to look into expanding my footwear options…

Casual Friday! PLUS I had an all day district meeting so was out of my classroom learning about the expansion and direction our computer programming /STEM program will be going. I’ve been teaching Java at my school for the past five years and built the AP Computer Science A track up from nearly nothing. Now it looks like we’ve got some big changes in our future as we make computer programming a fully fleshed four-year career path for our students and add the complete software development picture plus real world internship opportunities for our high school students. Now if only I could get more than 15 kids to sign up… Anyway I opted for another sweater (very old, probably from Target) a warm coat my husband bought me for Christmas a few years back (also from Target) black riding boots and jeans. P.S. these are actually maternity jeans (zipper-less with side panels) and I’m a little bummed I can’t wear them any more because after an hour or two of movement they started to sag in weird places without my huge preggo belly holding them up.

That’s about it for this week in old-lady-teacher-fashion land!

CSA Pickup and Meal Prep Week of 1/20/17

This is my first basket pickup since returning to work and it was significantly more difficult to fit in. Pickup is Friday night and thanks to my meal prep from the previous weekend dinner was just a reheat from frozen in the oven (Burger Balls and Fries). But then my oven failed and dinner took longer than expected like 90 minutes instead of 20 since we had to fiddle and wiggle with the stupid wire boxes… That’s a story for another post. The point is, my CSA pickup is so close to my home that I’ve always packed up the boys and walked. It’s a routine I love so much that I wasn’t going to let a wonky oven and late dinner steal from me! It didn’t. I made the end of the window with 10 minutes to spare and was rewarded with another beautiful basket of produce.

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I made a couple adjustments with this basket and added on a few items as well. We got purple potatoes, butternut squash, yams, orange bell peppers, garlic, romaine, spinach, green onion, Brussels sprouts, mini sweet peppers, and pears.

We also ran to our local grocer and picked up cauliflower to replenish our frozen cauli rice stash, cabbage for slaw, and fruit (cuties, grapes, apples, bananas) for snacking. I wanted to try something new this week so Meal Prep was super intensive. Plus at this point our oven was 100% dead and I had to travel to borrow someone else’s oven. Such a mess!

regardless, I pulled through and managed to make 3 dozen eggs worth of adult sized and mini sized spinach-ham-egg muffins for myself, my husband and my toddler. I skipped breakfast TWICE my first week back at work and knew I didn’t want to do it again. I always come home in a binge-y mood if I don’t eat enough during the day. We also riced and froze three heads of cauliflower, shredded the cabbage, and spiralized the zucchini. I made a pound of mini chicken teriyaki meatballs and white rice for the toddler’s lunches, plus Thai meatballs and chicken basil meatballs for dinners this week. I halved and roasted our Brussels sprouts (before the oven died) and washed and sliced all the grapes.

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My salads this week were quick and easy. 8 diced ALL the orange bell peppers and layered them with ranch, avocado, and rotisserie chicken that I drenched in Frank’a Redhot. Thanks to the bell peppers my jars were so full I had to bag the lettuce separately for the first time ever.

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And for the first time my husband asked me to pack him lunches instead of just leftovers… except he HATES salad. I had to get creative and we decided that a “noodle” jar (like the noodle bowls we’ve been having for dinner) would work well. So I whipped up a Teriyaki sauce, grilled some chicken, grated some carrots and topped it with a generous handful of zucchini noodles and two scoops of white rice. We’ll see if they’re successful…

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What did you prep this week? Next time I’d like to time my meal prepping so I can work on efficiency and time value.

What We Ate 2

This post took me forever to complete. Most of these dinners split across two weeks because of family birthday dinners, weekly family dinner with my mother-in-law, and back to work madness delaying me finding the time to write it all up. I’m pretty sure I already have Week 3 ready to go… whoops!

1. Cracklin’ Chicken is a favorite in our house and I always go back to it again and again. Nothing beats that extra crispy skin with the super juicy chicken underneath. We paired this protein with her garlic mashed cauliflower, buttery smashed sweet potatoes, and a zucchini gratin from ibreatheimhungry

2. (Not pictured) Maple salmon and smoked salmon are the husband’s two favorite salmon preparations (he only tolerates my other attempts). This salmon recipe from lexiscleankitchen was super simple and delicious although I left out the coconut sugar because that’s not something I have in my pantry. Served it with more garlic mashed potatoes and lemon butter green beans.

3. Whole30/Paleo Sloppy Joe’s. This is probably my all-time favorite comfort food. It hits all my sweet spots of salty and still sweet (from sweet potatoes underneath) with tomato-y notes and a savory goodness that makes me want to lick the bowl. Jaysbakingmecrazy has the best recipes and I turn to that website time and time again when I’m looking for something that warms my heart. I served on top of spiralized butternut squash noodles (from my meal prep) and roasted sweet potatoes.

4. Salmon Cake Eggs Benedict. This was an on-the-fly breakfast but I wanted to include it with What We Ate since we ate it! I mixed up my very first homemade hollandaise from StupidEasyPaleo, poached my very first eggs, and stacked it all on top of wilted spinach and salmon patties (recipe from empowered sustenance) using my leftover salmon and leftover sweet potatoes.

5. Very delicious but boring leftover dinner with the green beans and sloppy joe’s warmed up in the microwave…

6. Thai chicken stir fry from Kalyn’s Kitchen served on top of roasted cauliflower rice with sesame spiralized butternut squash noodles and a big heap of Mel Joulwan’s sunshine sauce. My son is obsessed with those noodles + that sauce and could probably eat 2-3 cups worth if it didn’t run out. Anything that gets him enjoying vegetables is a win in my book!

7. Over the weekend I marinated Juli Bauer’s Cuban Pork and will probably make a few meals of it. This night was pork tacos topped with pico, avocado, cilantro lime slaw, pickled red onions, and fresh avocado and served with a side of salty fried plantains. Definitely going to be a repeat dinner in the future!

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Workwear Week of 1/16/17

This week marked my first day back from an 8-week maternity leave. I was fortunate enough to 1) come back on a 4-day school week and 2) to fit into my pre-second-pregnancy clothes thanks to maintaining my healthy pregnancy eating habits even after delivery. That means I was able to bring down my work-clothes tub and have my pick of the litter! Plus I got to add my newest StitchFix goodies into my rotation (see my StitchFix review here). Without further ado, here’s what I wore and how my first days back as an Algebra teacher went:

Tuesday I wanted bright colors to brighten my mood as I said goodbye to my babies for the first time in 2 months. My toddler wasn’t even awake when I left so no goodbye kisses for mommy. This mustard cardigan and corral necklace (yay I can wear jewelry again!) did the trick. Not sure if I’m allowed to mix those two colors but I did and it made me happy. Coming into work I knew where we were in the calendar scope/sequence but had no idea what I’d be teaching or what materials I’d be using since normally the curriculum is something I create. I survived on adrenaline, anxiety and “you look so good!” compliments without breaking down and missing my babies too too much.

Wednesday I debuted my blouse from the latest StitchFix box and I LOVED it. The sleeves are a great length and the blouse doesn’t pull wide open at the buttons. Plus it was super convenient to have the buttons because they allowed me to nurse my newborn without having to undress and redress before work.

Thursday was cold and rainy so I went with all black and white, but added a pop of color through dark lipstick and made my unwashed hair work by putting it in a side braid.

Casual Fridays means us teachers get to wear jeans. Since the temp is actually below 50 I thought today was the perfect day for my new striped StitchFix sweater with blue jeans and my black riding style boots. I also paired this with my grandma necklace which was a keepsake my mother made for us when she passed away 10 years ago. The hormones had me feeling sentimental and emotional and having her memory with me gave me the strength to go to work.

I really do love being back to work, having a good reason to style myself, and even taking my storage room selfies before I pump. I’m already looking forward to what I’ll wear next week. See you then!

Snacks

I recently saw a sponsored post on my Facebook account toting oatmeal cookies as a “perfect” afterschool snack and it really irritated me… enough to write a blog post… possibly more than it should have.

IMG_2359.PNGI love cookies. I bake cookies. I share cookies with my toddler. But to me, cookies are a treat. Not something we eat every day. Certainly not something we eat every day after school and definitely not something I categorize as a “snack”. So, to rebut this post I thought I would share some of the things I snack on and my toddler snacks on as well…

  1. Curried Cashews
  2. Banana Almond Butter Muffins
  3. Carrot Pineapple Muffins
  4. Pickles
  5. Olives
  6. Cheese
  7. Yogurt Bites
  8. Cauliflower Tater Tots
  9. Snap Pea crisps
  10. Popcorn
  11. Blueberries
  12. Strawberries
  13. Apples
  14. Cuties
  15. Almond/Rice Crackers
  16. Butternut Squash Noodles
  17. Mini Meatballs
  18. Grape Tomatoes
  19. Applesauce Pouches
  20. Cheddar-Pecan Crisps

So there! Can advertisers and money-makers please stop advertising “snacks” to children that really shouldn’t be snacks at all? Let’s save yummy oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies for occasional treats rather than daily routines.

CSA Pick Up and Meal Prep Week of 1/13/17

My CSA is the best. Each Friday afternoon they post what’s in the bag for the week as well as the prices of add-on items. I get until Sunday to place my order and make any substitutions that I need (for example we don’t eat mushrooms and usually swap white potatoes for sweet potatoes instead). I also tend to add on some of our favorites that we eat every week if they aren’t included (like zucchini, green onion, or cauliflower) but for the most part I let what’s in the bag determine what we eat that week so my family gets a good variety. This week couldn’t have been better suited for us! I only subbed out the carrots because we still had some left from a 5lb bag in our fridge:

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This week’s bag included a cheddar cauliflower, celery, romaine, 1lb each of Brussels sprouts and green beans, apples, one orange, onions, a bag of spinach and yams.

That means this week we will be whole roasting cauliflower to serve with ribs, the apples, celery and romaine will go in my salads with the leftover celery heading to my mom and leftover apples for snacking green beans will be going in orange chicken bowls, Brussels will be halved and roasted to caramel-y goodness as a side, the orange will be turned into a mojo marinade, and the yams will be smashed and baked as a delicious starchy side of serve as substitute buns for burger balls. Yum!

Meal prep was a lot of fun this week and probably the most productive I’ve ever been. I made myself a planner in word and had it printed at UPS. As you can see my son was also very helpful…

The meal prep included cauliflower tots for the toddler, white sweet potato fries blanched frozen and ready to bake, sliced Brussels and green beans, salmon patties for snack, burger balls frozen and ready for dinner, five jars of chicken salad salad, and a chipotle lime mayo for everything.

Hope your three day weekend was awesome too!

StitchFix 1/12/17

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I’m a regular StitchFix user and have been since June of 2015. I’ve received 6 boxes (I’m on their quarterly schedule) and have found one item I liked every time- I even kept an entire box on my third fix! I’m right on the high-end of their sizes and have been fortunate enough that my taller frame fits well with their XL sizes. I’ve also had the opportunity to sample their maternity box with my last fix and it came with some much-needed pieces to help boost my self-love and self-confidence. For StitchFix I’ve selected my style as Casual, Classic, and Preppy and I’m almost always sent pieces with bold colors and simple patterns. Once I go back to work I’ll start posting my teacher-style and you’ll get to see a lot of my old StitchFix finds in the mix because I wear them regularly.

If you’re interested in StitchFix using my referral here gets me a $25 credit to my account. Don’t worry though, I’m a clothes-delivered-straight-to-me addict now and I will continue to get fixes because I love how special I feel when the box arrives and I get to do a mini at-home fashion show for my hubby.

Here’s what came in my fix this time: (P.S. I love the personalized note they send; it really makes me feel connected to my stylist!)

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First Up: Renee C Aubree Striped Elbow Patch Pullover (Kept)

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The second I put on this sweater my husband started nodding emphatically. He loves it, leftover baby pouch and all and it felt great so I had a feeling I would love it too. We have a system with “fashion shows” where I don’t look at what I put on until he expresses his opinion so that his opinion isn’t swayed by my initial reaction that I can’t hide with my horrible poker face. The length of the sleeves makes this sweater super cozy and even though it hugs it’s also a heavy enough fabric that I don’t feel overexposed. I’m not sure I love the elbow patches, but I can’t really see them when I wear it anyway… so keep!

Next: Skies are Blue Wels Puffer Vest (Returned)

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I desperately wanted to like this vest because it’d be perfect for my night walks in the not really that cold but cold enough to layer weather we’ve been having. Unfortunately, it just didn’t look right on me no matter how hard I tried. I’ll have to search my local Target/Ross/Nordstrom Rack and see if I can find a similar that works better… Sigh

41Hawthorn Dawney Scallop Trim Blouse (Returned)

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I love navy blue and I even have a navy blue blouse like this one except with a boat neck and lace sleeves. I didn’t love the amount of exposed armpit which I’m trying awkwardly to cover with my arm placement here and because I have a top already so similar this one just wasn’t worth hanging on to.

41Hawthorn Colibri Solid Tab Sleeve Blouse (Kept)

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I’m a sucker for this style. I like portofino shirts, I like tab-sleeve, I like button front henley looks. A lot of times the fit on these is weird for me because of my hips, waist, or bust (hey nursing boobs!) but the relaxed fit on this one and breezy material makes me feel comfortable. Plus I love a bright bold color any time. Can’t wait to debut this one back to work next week.

Not Pictured: Liverpool Harper Bootcut Pant (Returned)

This was a nice pair of work pants and it was technically my size, but I didn’t like the snug fit as I’m still post-pregnancy body right now and I tend to pick up my work pants at JC Penney on sale for $20-30 a piece. I guess I’m just not ready to commit to a new pair of pants especially if the fit isn’t perfect.

All in all this was another winning box with pieces that matched what I like and (except for the pants) fit my body the way I like. I’m excited to venture into the world of vests now that my mind has been opened to the idea. Thanks StitchFix!

What We Ate 1

Bora Bora Fireballs with Roasted Cauliflower Rice, Tropical Slaw and Sunshine Sauce

These coconut rolled pork meatballs were delicious albeit time consuming (maybe make ahead and freeze?) And the best part? My 22 month old devoured them. He had a full serving himself! The sunshine sauce made with sunflower butter (not almond butter) is the absolute best and I made a double batch so I could keep some in the fridge for dipping purposes. My husband liked the tropical slaw (and he hates salads, salad dressings, vinegar and slaw) so this recipe is a keeper for sure. I wasn’t a fan of the coconut in the salad but that could be because I used the same shredded coconut instead of the recommended coconut flakes. We also both agreed the dressing could use more sesame oil and the slaw could use more almonds.

Coconut Shrimp with Coconut Ginger Cauliflower Rice and Tropical Slaw

By far my favorite new dish this week. My oven temperature gauges broke so I ended up frying these shrimp in coconut oil on the stovetop and that was just fine. The tropical slaw held up great overnight, but because of the broken oven issue I switched the cauliflower rice to a stovetop rice cooked in coconut milk instead. Unfortunately, my husband was not a fan of this rice as much as the roasted rice.

3. Crockpot BBQ Ribs (from Juli Bauer’s cookbook) with Cauliflower Mash

… and coleslaw and asparagus fries. I got a little ambitious with the sides this night because I had a serious overload of cabbage (two whole heads for two people? yikes) and we had a bunch of asparagus stalks that were going to go bad. Unfortunately these ribs did not turn out like I had hoped. My guess is it’s all about finding the right BBQ sauce so we will keep trying! LOVE ribs.

4. Oven Baked Chicken Wings with Fries (No Picture)

On Thursday we had a bunch of family over (read: 12 people) to enjoy waaaaay too many chicken wings and so I couldn’t snap a picture. We used Frank’s Red Hot (all awesome ingredients) as well as a Cajun Hot (Franks + Cajun seasoning I mixed up) and a Thai Chili Sweet Sauce that I made using honey, vinegar, chilies, and ginger.

5. Ground Beef Taco Salad Bowls

What’s there to say about this one? Simple and delicious. You really can dump just about anything in one of these so that’s exactly what I did. My husband had his with corn tortillas and he was not impressed. We are big into marinated street tacos so I think the ground beef just didn’t stack up to what we normally enjoy.

6. Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Chicken with Zoodles

This was rich-salty-savory-creamy deliciousness on a plate. I wanted to lick the sauce up with my fingers. We are team white rice, team corn tortillas, and team dairy on occasion in our house and I splurged for some organic heavy cream from pasture-raised cows that I used in this recipe and plan to use for a cheesy zucchini gratin next week. I love my cheese and probably won’t ever make a permanent split.

7. Crockpot Sesame Chicken with Rice and Broccoli

We wrapped up the weekend with a tried-and-true recipe that we’ve made a few times before. What I love is that it only takes about 15 minutes to prep and fry and then you get to leave it for 3 hours! I adjusted the recipe slightly to use only honey and no coconut sugar and I also add broccoli in the last 30 minutes to cook in the sauce. I want to adapt this recipe for orange chicken, mongolian beef, and my husband’s favorite takeout dish called “Twins Pork” (pork, bacon, broccoli, carrots, sliced jalapenos in a sticky-sweet secret sauce)

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CSA Pick Up And Meal Prep 1/7/17

My csa is back! Yay yay yay! I buy most of my food conventional, but I love picking up my basket of fresh, local, organic produce each week. Someday, I will be able to afford cage-free/pastured/grass-fed/organic everything but for now I will celebrate what I can do instead of focusing on what I can’t. Here’s what came in my bag, with a few add-ons for a total of $33.75

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What would you make with all this beautiful produce? I’ve got big plans for this!

The romaine went straight into Taco salads with some fat leaves reserved for lettuce wraps and some chopped and stored for the next week of lunches. Somehow I’m swimming in broccoli so I blanched and froze this batch for easy sides with some of our future dinners. The butternut neck will become noodles and the butt (it’s a big butt) will be roasted for lunch salad and shredded for breakfast/snack fritters. The spinach will go in egg scrambles and lunch salads, the zucchini will be diced for egg scrambles, sliced for a cheesey gratin, and zoodled for that sun dried tomato pasta on my first week of meals. Sweet potatoes will be stuffed with sloppy joes, sliced into fries and chips, and diced for breakfast hash. The Brussels will be halved and roasted for my lunch salads and half will be saved to sauté with bacon and cabbage for dinner.

In addition to this I made a store run for beets (on sale right now in my area), bananas, cuties, Parmesan cheese, and some thick organic heavy cream.

This haul led to my weekly meal prep

In this cookup I’ve got some 4-ingredient banana muffins (experimental small batch), curried cashews, and butternut fritters (also experimental with almond flour; these did not bind very well but tasted great so I will need to keep trying and adjusting) that I froze uncooked and cooked to see which reheats better.

This week my lunch salad will be roasted veggies on romaine, spinach, and beet greens with a maple balsamic dressing.

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