Tutorial: Meal Prep with Protein Bowls!

We don’t eat a lot of meat. Partially because our fridge/freezer is still broken, and it’s getting really expensive. So we’ve been eating more non-meat proteins lately.

This tutorial is more like a choose your own adventure. Depending on your dietary restrictions, food likes and dislikes, and what you have in your pantry and refrigerator will greatly influence how your protein bowls turn out.

The base of your bowl is going to be a grain. We used red and white quinoa, but you can use brown rice, bulgur, Right Rice (which isn’t actually rice), you could use high protein pasta like the kind made with lentils, or if you don’t like any of those you could just use regular pasta, noodles, or white rice. It won’t be as high in protein. We prepared 8-ish cups of quinoa cooked per package directions with vegetable broth.

Your next step is to prep your vegetables. The vegetables will take up the bulk of this dish. Because we get a variety of veggies each week with our Yasukochi Farms CSA box, it was easy to select our veggies. We used onions, carrots, celery, peppers (bell peppers), zucchini, mushrooms, and bok choy. We added cherry tomatoes uncooked directly to the bowls while packing. 

Cut your veggies into bite-size pieces (you want to end up with about 8-10 cups of veggies, and sauté them in about a tablespoon of oil (I love avocado oil, but it’s up to you).

Because you will be re-heating these veggies before serving, cook them until they are al dente, or still slightly crisp. Otherwise, they can get mushy.

I started with the onions, cooking them until translucent, then adding the mushrooms, and cooking the moisture out. After that, add the remaining veggies and cook for 5-10 minutes.

While your veggies are cooking, in a separate pan you’re going to heat 2 tablespoons of oil, your choice. This is where we’re going to cook our protein and sauce. We cooked salmon. The salmon was cut into bite-size pieces and then lightly sautéed in oil until it was about 3/4 of the way cooked.

Then we added a jar of Private Selection tikka masala curry sauce (it’s available at Kroger brand stores). I’m usually not a big fan of premade sauces, but in the case of Indian food, the sauces are so much more financially savvy. I believe the sauce was three dollars or less for the jar, and it tastes delicious. Like restaurant quality mild tikka masala sauce. If you wanna add heat, you can add some chili oil or red pepper flakes. But I don’t recommend doing it while you’re cooking, because it will just infuse it with so much heat.

We cooked the sauce with the salmon pieces for about 10 minutes added bok choy and allow that to cook down for another five minutes.

And now the assembly!

We set out eight of the Rubbermaid storage containers (these are the ones that we use).

 

 

Each container contains:

  • one cup of cooked red and white quinoa
  • one and a half cups of vegetables
  • 2 6-oz ladles full of salmon and sauce

Once the containers had cooled to room temperature lids were put on, and they were stored in the refrigerator. When it is time to eat, we will then to the lids and reheat them in the microwave for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.

Here are some other options if Salmon Tikka Masala isn’t your bag:

Meat/non-meats (you need 1- 1 1/2 lbs of meat/non-meats for this recipe)

  • ground beef/chicken/turkey
  • lamb chops
  • boneless chicken breasts/boneless thighs
  • beef (cut of your choice)
  • veggie crumbles/other faux meat
  • pollack/tilapia/fish of your choice

Sauce- All of these sauces are pre-made. Feel free to use your own recipe for your favorite sauce.

Kevin’s Sauces has a wide variety of sauces that would be GREAT!

Talk Back: I’d love to hear about your protein bowls- What combination of sauce and veggies would you use?

 

Exclusive Avocados from Mexico- Recipes, Savings and More!

Growing up in California, everyone knew someone who grew avocados. Creamy, rich, delicious… Avocados are one of my favorite toppings for toast, salads, omelets, enchiladas.

Avocados from Mexico wants everyone to enjoy this amazing veggie! More than just a yummy ingredient in guacamole, check out these important ‘Cado facts:

 

  • Avocados From Mexico contain good fats and nearly 20 vitamins and minerals making them part of a balanced lifestyle.
  • When you eat a meal with avocado, the fruit acts as a nutrient booster to help your body absorb the fat-soluble nutrients found in the other foods.
  • Avocados are a good source of fiber, which slows down digestion helping to leave you satisfied.
  • Fresh avocados are a heart-healthy fruit. They provide naturally good fats, are low in saturated fat, and are cholesterol, sugar and sodium free.
  • Eating dietary fat helps the body absorb vitamins A, D, E and K. Avocados contain mainly naturally good fats with 5g of monounsaturated fats per serving (1/3 of a medium avocado).

Now that you know all of that, aren’t you longing for creamy avocados from Mexico? Join new Avocados from Mexico – The Avosauce newsletter and get your customized scoop on avocado recipes, health tips and much more.

Looking for a few tasty Avocado Recipes?

Cross Country Cafe: Pumpkin Pie Hot Cocoa Recipe!

Yesterday, Cross Country Cafe shared a simply fabu fall recipe! And I know how many of you dig on the fall pumpkin spice drinks.

This is the best pumpkin pie hot cocoa with two ingredients and a Keurig® brewer! You can too with these simple directions.

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Brew your hot cocoa K-Cup® pod in a large mug using the lowest water setting on your brewer.
  2. Now, brew your Pumpkin Spice K-Cup® pod directly into the same mug. Again, the lowest water setting is optimal.
  3. Top with tons of whipped cream and mini marshmallows, and if you are feeling extra festive, a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.

If this isn’t your jam, Cross Country Cafe has an entire page dedicated to fun, easy recipes here. 

Apply to be a Chatterbox™ for Alden’s Organic

California Peeps- Check out this amazing opportunity!

Alden’s Organic is America’s Favorite Organic Ice Cream and here’s your chance to try it free, plus share great offers with friends and family, too.

Alden’s Organic sources their organic milk and cream from family-owned farms and is certified Organic, Non-GMO, and contains no artificial sweeteners, flavors or high fructose corn syrup. So you’ll enjoy true to flavor taste of favorites like Vanilla Bean and Chocolate Chocolate Chip where only authentic flavors shine through. And with more than 50 organic treats to choose from, Alden’s Organic makes something for everyone right from its home in Eugene, Oregon. Find Alden’s Organic at your local Ralphs store.

If you’re selected as a Chatterbox, you’ll get a great Chat Pack:

  • 1 Free coupon to purchase Alden’s Organic from your local store
  • 3 $1 off discount coupons for Alden’s Organic to share with friends and family
  • 3 Alden’s Organic stickers
  • 3 Alden’s Organic shareable recipe postcards

Apply now!

10/19/2021 Weekly Meal Plan & Life Update

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgWe are starting week FOUR with no full-size fridge and no freezer. Still living that #coolerlife.

We are still waiting for our fridge to get fixed. They’ll be out with the parts on 10/30/2021. So that means 6 weeks without a fridge and freezer. Never buy anything from Sears or American Freight (formerly Sears Outlet). Seriously, this has been a nightmare.

The CSA Box came yesterday and I did some light meal prep. I’ll post pics on Insta later today with info about our fun meal prep for lunches this week.

Veggies and fruit are delivered by Yasukochi Family Farms CSA. For $25, it’s a great deal. I don’t have to pick anything, go to the store, or carry it upstairs. I can’t go to the store and get the same amount we get weekly for $25. Seriously. It’s a deal.

And I’ve been getting a lot of really great freebies from Social Nature lately too. It’s fun to try new foods.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for a kitchen inventory printable, I have made my own and you can find them for sale here on my Etsy Store.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids. They are also into fruit and bagels for breakfast. The Ancient Grain bagels from Einstein Bros. are the current family favorite. I pick them up on Mondays when a dozen is only $7. I slice them and freeze them to keep them from going bad too quickly.

Lunch: I have a plastic tote in the cupboard full of self-serve snacks. I buy treats and snacks in bulk and fill up snack-sized zip-top bags. I’m back to packing lunches again. However, school lunches are free this year, but so far, there is nothing on the menu that appeals to the kids.

Dinner: Until this fridge debacle is over, I won’t be doing any meal prep beyond the stuff in the CSA box. We’re trying to eat up as much of the produce as possible. We’re eating a lot of salads early week, and more hardy stuff (roasted potatoes and baked apples with grilled cheese and soup) towards the end of the week, with our usual Friday night takeout. I want a new fridge- I miss bacon!

  • Monday: Mac n cheese, strawberries
  • Tuesday: Roasted veggies, salad (avocado ranch)
  • Wednesday: Roasted chicken, baked potatoes, veggies
  • Thursday: Chicken noodle soup, biscuits
  • Friday: take out
  • Saturday: leftovers
  • Sunday: breakfast for dinner (pancakes, eggs, fruit salad)

Please stay safe you guys!

October 2021: New Healthy Freebies From Social Nature!

 If you are into Organic/Natural/Healthy products, then Social Nature is up your alley. Sign up and apply to sample products that you are interested in. I get probably 1-2 products to sample each month. And most of the time it’s full-size products, not just a tiny sample.

Social Nature has rounded up products that are available to try at a local grocery store or mass merchandiser near you.  Apply to Try the products that interest you to see if you’re a match here.

Here are some of the new sampling opportunities:

  • Wedderspoon Immunity Gummies
  • Veggiecraft Farms Veggie Pasta
  • Ocean’s Halo Seaweed Snacks
  • Partake Gluten Free Vegan Cookies
  • Notco Plant-Based Milk Alternative
  • Khadi Beauty Natural Ayurvedic Hair Oil – Rose Repair

And one of the things I love about Social Nature is that they don’t leave our friends with food allergies out.

There are sampling offers for Gluten-free, nut-free, meat-free foods frequently.

Canadian Friends- You are in luck, there are sampling opportunities for you too! So if you love trying new products, check out Social Nature!

Family Recipe: Frito Surprise!

It’s not a surprise. And I can’t believe I’ve never posted this recipe before. My grandma invented it one summer, driving across the country in a Winnebago full of kids, my grandfather cruising the highways and byways of America.

It’s similar to Frito Pie, but it’s a little beefier. Ya know, when you have seven growing kids, you gotta add a bit more.

My friend Kara asked for the recipe yesterday, and I thought I’d share it.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef (you could use ground turkey, but honestly this recipe is not anywhere near healthy)
  • One can of Hormel chili with beans (It has to have beans)
  • One bag Fritos
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • one canned sliced black olives, rinsed and drained
  • Two tomatoes diced
  • One avocado, pitted and sliced
  • sour cream
  • salsa

Directions

I like cooking Fritos Surprise in an electric skillet, but you can cook it on the stovetop in a regular skillet.

  1. Crumble and fry the ground meat (drain as needed).
  2. Add the chili and cook until heated through.
  3. Top with Fritos and cheese.
  4. Cook on low until cheese is melted.
  5. Remove from heat.
  6. Add tomatoes, olives, and avocados.
  7. Dish out portions and top with sour cream and salsa as desired.

It serves about 6-9, depending on how much you eat. And it’s really good. In true grandma fashion, serve it with fruit salad and bread and butter.

Saving Money with the Target App!

This post isn’t what you are thinking it is. The Target App is great, don’t get me wrong. There are coupons and discounts available, and you can shop through the app for store pick up, or curbside pickup.

But one of my favorite parts of the Target app is that you can scan barcodes to see if Target carries the item, and how much it costs. I use this feature to my advantage a lot. I love shopping at 99 Cents Only, but recently they have started carrying tons of items that are way more than 99 cents.

To see if these offerings are actually a good deal, I use the scan barcode feature of the Target App to see how much the items are at Target- That gives me a good idea if it’s a good deal or not. The app will also tell me if there are coupons or discounts within the Target app to make the cost at Target even lower.

Recently, on a visit to 99 Cents only, I found a couple items that I was interested buying, but I wasn’t sure if they were a good value or not. I pulled out my phone, opened the Target App, and scanned.

In each of the cases above in the pictures, the items at 99 Cents Only are a good deal. I also use this app at Grocery Outlet, Dollar Tree, and Sprouts. Why Sprouts? Sometimes their prices can be a little high. Since I use my Target Red Card, I get an additional 5% off every purchase.

If you’re not a Target shopper, check out my post here with more savings tips shopping at the Bullseye!

10/11/2021 Weekly Meal Plan & Life Update

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgWe are starting week three with no full-size fridge and no freezer. Still living that #coolerlife.  We did buy a mini-fridge last week, so we are able to keep some fresh food in the house. Milk and creamer and drinks live in the cooler in the kitchen. I’m hoping the warranty company makes up their mind this week and we can get our new fridge. Life without condiments is rough, y’all.

We’ve been eating a lot of shelf-stable stuff (beans and rice, crockpot chili), and I’ve been hitting the store solo to pick up salad kits, and bananas, and apples. Last week we ended up having the share a lot of our CSA box as I wouldn’t store some of the items in the cooler without freezing/damaging the more delicate items.

The CSA box will be here today while I’m at work. I’ll do the prep work this afternoon/evening.

Veggies and fruit are delivered by Yasukochi Family Farms CSA. For $25, it’s a great deal. I don’t have to pick anything, go to the store, or carry it upstairs. I can’t go to the store and get the same amount we get weekly for $25. Seriously. It’s a deal.

I’m super stoked that I’ll be getting flowers this week too as my add-on. Look over at my Instagram and Facebook for pics later today.

And I’ve been getting a lot of really great freebies from Social Nature lately too. It’s fun to try new foods.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for a kitchen inventory printable, I have made my own and you can find them for sale here on my Etsy Store.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids. They are also into fruit and bagels for breakfast. The Ancient Grain bagels from Einstein Bros. are the current family favorite. I pick them up on Mondays when a dozen is only $7. I slice them and freeze them to keep them from going bad too quickly.

Lunch: I have a plastic tote in the cupboard full of self-serve snacks. I buy treats and snacks in bulk and fill up snack-sized zip-top bags. I’m back to packing lunches again. However, school lunches are free this year, but so far, there is nothing on the menu that appeals to the kids.

Dinner: Until this fridge debacle is over, I won’t be doing any meal prep beyond the stuff in the CSA box. We’re trying to eat up as much of the produce as possible. We’re eating a lot of salads early week, and more hardy stuff (roasted potatoes and baked apples with grilled cheese and soup) towards the end of the week, with our usual Friday night takeout. I want a new fridge- I miss bacon!

  • Sunday: We had bowls from El Pollo Loco, and the kids had leftover pizza.
  • Monday: Roasted Veggies, Salad, Quesadillas- Produce is delivered today and I roast up a pan of veg as soon as I can!
  • Tuesday: unknown
  • Wednesday: unknown
  • Thursday:  unknown
  • Friday:  Takeout Night
  • Saturday: Leftovers (if we have any)

Please stay safe you guys!

Book It is back!

Book It is back for the 2021-2022 School year!

Book It is still alive and well! Enrollment is now open for the 2021-22 BOOK IT! Program year. Parents can now enroll their homeschool children!

It’s quick and easy. teachers can enroll their individual classes, parents can enroll homeschooled or distance learning kiddos.

My kids love Book It (just like their mama did!). It’s a great way to encourage reading and share a tasty, nostalgic memory.

Make Tracking even easier for your kiddos too- download and print tracking calendars for each kid!