Fall Soup Party

 

Fall is the time of year, here in New England, that we thrive. But we also start to get ready for our winter hibernation. My girlfriends and I started a tradition a few years ago during the cold winter months. We get together and each make a new soup. Its really just an excuse to all get together and spend the day relaxing.

One year we did it on Valentines Day so we decorated Galentines themed and make vision boards out of mason jars. Last year we did our soup party as my housewarming for my new at the time apartment. This year we opted for a fall theme. We sat around on a Sunday, ate all day and watched football.

Since our trip to Banff last year, I have been trying to find a spicy curry ramen as similar to Block Kitchen + Bar as possible. Sunday I made the Defined Dish’s Thai Red Curry Chicken Zoodle Soup but since we have some vegetarians in the group, I took our all the meat. I also used vermicelli instead of zoodles because…. Well #carbs.

For beverages I saw Lauren McBride made a Caramel Apple Cider Sangria last weekend for a Halloween party and decided I needed to try it. YUM. I am not a white wine or vodka girl… or even apple cider, but the three together are amazing.

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice

Chrissy Teigen’s Thai Carrot and Coconut Soup

Cheddar Beer Soup

Zuppa Toscana

Meal Planning When Living Alone

Living alone and meal planning can be a little tricky. I try to do my big grocery shopping day for the week on Sundays. I take into account what are the staples that I am running out of, and what do I have in my fridge that I need to have cooked early in the week. I also try to plan out all my meals, including snacks, for Monday through Friday. I have found that if I don’t have healthy snacks on hand, that’s when I go for the chips, brownies and cookies.

I like to eat healthy and fresh. I use a lot of fresh vegetables and meats when I cook but, to make sure I am not being wasteful with my fresh ingredients, it can be pretty easy to cook large portions just to use the veggies, or whatever, up. Nevertheless, no one wants to eat the same thing over and over again. I’ve become pretty good at making a plan for the week that makes different meals, reusing the same veggies, meats, and carbs.

This week I grabbed two small heads of broccoli, a squash, a pound of russet potatoes (which was way too much) and a small container of baby bella mushrooms. I had ground turkey in the freezer and picked up a package of six thinly sliced chicken breast. I grabbed a half a pound of salmon from the fish guy and pretty much had all of my meals covered for the week.

For breakfast and snacks I try to keep them pretty whole 30 approved, that way I don’t feel so bad if I have pasta for dinner or throw some cheese on my fajita.

For breakfast I always, always have eggs in the fridge. If I have the day off I will make a veggie filled scramble and throw in some goat cheese to cheat a little. Otherwise, hardboiled eggs are a great breakfast or snack to keep me full. For snacks, berries have been my go to these past few weeks. They’re so easy to have on hand and throw in over night oats, yogurt or just as a quick pick me up midday.  Apples with almond or peanut butter are always a quick and easy snack I can have at work or at home or of course my favorites: a LaraBar or a RXBar.

For lunch and dinner I made a meal plan below. The main ingredients for each meal come from the groceries I picked up on Sunday.

I hope this helps for you ladies or gents who live alone. You really don’t have to eat the same meal you made on Monday all week long. Try to be creative!

Weeknight Chopped Salad

Happy Friday morning! I am three weeks out of my January Whole30 reset and I may have fallen off the wagon a little more than I would have liked to. After January was over I went straight onto vacation and I never knew how much southern comfort food Florida had. When I say one morning, I had the largest biscuits and gravy meal I had ever seen, I’m not lying.

But now that I am back, home for a little more than a week, I decided to make sure this week was off to a good start. I made one of my favorite go-to’s and it’s perfect for meal prep earlier in the week. This huge chopped salad is a whole head of lettuce, a can of garbanzo beans, grape tomatoes halved, diced cucumbers, a can of olives halved topped with a little bit of feta. (A girl can’t be away from her cheese for too long.)

Making this salad on a Sunday or Monday allows me to have a quick lunch of dinner whenever I need it throughout the week and to change it up throughout the week, I change the protein I put on top. One day I had grilled sirloin, and one night I had scallops. Grilled shrimp and chicken are always easy to have ready to cook and throw on top also. And of course, to keep it as Whole30 friendly as possible, and because it’s one of the best store bought dressing I’ve ever had: Primal Kitchen’s Dreamy Italian dressing. I mean…. worth every penny.

 

How an Eating Schedule is Helping me Succeed with Whole30

Happy hump day friends! It’s that time of year again. Resolutions, new goals, diets. For the past few years I have been doing Whole30 every January. In 2018 I didn’t do such a great job (I think I only lasted two weeks) and I didn’t even try to do it again in September like I normally do. Well now I am 15 days in (I always do it January 2-31) and I am feeling great.

Okay, well maybe great isn’t exactly the right terminology, but it is definitely doing its job. This weekend I cheated a little bit on my weekend trip to Philadelphia and man did I feel the pain of that cheese steak. I mean you can’t go to Philly and not try a cheese steak but damn, definitely not worth it.

What I like about Whole30 is that it isn’t a normal diet. It’s not here to make you loose weight. You are eating clean so you get rid of your bad eating habits and feel better. So, when I had my greasy steak and cheese, my body freaked out and didn’t know what to do anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in a cheat day, but maybe I should have had half of the sandwich instead of the whole thing.

This time around I have created a pretty good eating schedule which has helped a lot.           

   7am – Breakfast
2 cups of black coffee, hard boiled egg or Whole30 frittata
11am – Snack
Larabar or RXBar for a snack to hold me over for a few hours
    2pm – Lunch
rolled lunch meat and veggie sticks, protein and roasted root veggies, salad with protein
  6:30pm – Dinner
spaghetti squash with shrimp, Asian stir fry with cauliflower rice, protein and veggies

This week I meal prepped hard of Sunday. I made a Whole30 meatloaf to head up for lunches or dinners throughout the week, a veggie frittata to have for breakfasts and The Defined Dish’s Whole30 Tom Yum soup. The amount of ingredients intimidated me a little. I am a pretty decent cook but I like to stick to 5 ingredients or less, but wow! It was so easy! I would definitely recommend it.

In the evenings, I usually end up snacking on something, but for the past two weeks I’ve been sticking to hot water with lemon, decaffeinated tea, avocado and tomatoes with TJ’s Everything But the Bagel seasoning, or dried mango or plantain chips from Trader Joe’s.

15 more days!

Simple Six Ingredient Fall Dinner

The end of the year is crazy for me at work. Lots of long hours and events, and I generally don’t feel like cooking big dinners once I get home. Because of my big Trader Joe’s haul a few weeks ago, I am fully stocked up on the fall flavors TJ’s have to offer. Last week I cooked up a simple six ingredient meal that had me wanting more. I discovered this Gilbert’s Bourbon Apple chicken sausage, added some gemelli pasta, and Trader Joe’s Autumnal Harvest pasta sauce and there you had it.

2 Gilbert’s Bourbon Apple chicken sausages
½ shallot, chopped
½ lb Barilla Gemelli
1 cup Trader Joe’s Autumnal Harvest pasta sauce
¼ cup half & half
½ bag spinach

  1. Boil pasta to the directions on the box.
  2. Sauté shallots in oil and add chicken sausage on medium high until browned.
  3. Once browned add pasta sauce and half &half. Lower heat to medium low and allow to simmer 5 minutes.
  4. Add spinach and fold into sauce. Allow to wilt down.
  5. Drain pasta and add to sauce. Fold together and serve.