During the weeks of Thanksgiving to New Year’s I really let go of my eating well and working out kick, but with the turning of the calendar I am happily back on board. Meal prep has been a huge part of that. It is so much easier to make food in bulk, throw it in containers and then just pull it out of the fridge or freezer when it’s time to eat. I have meal prepped breakfasts, lunches and dinners and plan on doing a lot more of it! Here are a few of my favorite recipes.
BREAKFAST: Although not a meal prep, I tried out a protein pancake recipe I was hesitant about but ended up loving. It’s simple: 2 eggs, 2 scoops protein powder, 1 teaspoon baking powder and 6 tablespoons water or milk. I halved the recipe for two perfect sized pancakes for one person. I used Tone It Up’s vanilla protein powder and ate those just with syrup or mixed in blueberries another day. I also used Tone It Up’s chocolate protein powder and added strawberries on top or mixed in some butterscotch chips. For breakfast meal prep, I made two dozen of these baked oatmeal cups. I again halved the recipes to end up with about four of each kind I wanted to try. Then I threw in some labeled freezer bags and was all set! In the morning, I pull out a bag, unwrap, microwave quick and I have an easy, delicious breakfast. Big fan of these.
LUNCH: With snow and temperatures falling I used up some items into a big pot of chicken noodle soup. I used egg noodles and threw in some carrots, celery and kale. I used a basic recipe I found, but I was not a big fan of it. Not enough flavor. I’ve made chicken noodle soup before and it’s been better, so I will not use the recipe I followed for this batch. Definitely need to find one of the older recipes I used before or create my own next time. Nevertheless, it made a lot, and I separated into containers and grabbed each morning as I left for work. An easy and comforting lunch. When I didn’t do a big meal prep for lunch, I would try to put together my lunch boxes on Sunday for two days and Wednesday for the next two days (since I’m just working Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday right now). Again, preparing ahead makes it so much easier in the mornings!
DINNER: One of my favorite new recipes was this one for honey sesame chicken bowls! I had been craving Chinese food, but had never tried making it before. I did these with basmati rice and carrots. They were amazing and super easy! I did make more sauce each night when I pulled one of these out for dinner since they dried up a bit. But it did not take long at all to heat a little bit more sauce on the stove, so still a quick, simple, healthy and delicious meal.
I also made some venison meatballs with mozzarella cheese in the middle. My dad and I ate these as open-faced meatball subs. I love meatballs because you can make a ton then freeze to grab to throw on any pasta or heat up for a sub any other time. I always choose venison when I can since we have a freezer full and it’s better than beef.
I feel as if I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t share at least one fabulous Half Baked Harvest recipe that I’ve tried lately. This time, it is her Folded Buffalo Chicken Wraps. Wow. I tried these out on a football Sunday and have made them a few times since. Again, they are super easy but super yummy. I modified her recipe by mixing Boss Sauce or Country Sweet with the chicken and yogurt. I then did shredded lettuce and green onions. Naturally as a Western New Yorker, I went with blue cheese instead of ranch, then rounded it out with cheddar cheese. I thought this would be a recipe that she claims is really easy but would end up a messy disaster, but she was right. They folded up nicely and were one of the best “football foods” I think I’ve ever made. Definitely a new favorite.
I’m always looking for new healthy meal prep ideas, so please share any of your favorites in the comments below! Or if you try any of the above, let me know how they turned out. Most can be modified to suit different tastes and needs - I’d love to hear what you made!
Since film awards shows are coming up (albeit a little later than usual), I have started my yearly trek to watch as many as the nominated films and documentaries as possible. Even though nominations aren’t out yet, it’s clear what some of the frontrunners will be so I can still get started. A few weeks ago I watched the Pixar animated film “Soul”. I loved this movie so much! Pixar usually does no wrong, and this one did not disappoint. The film was a great reminder to appreciate the little, everyday things in life. It also told how you don’t always have some predestined “higher purpose” in life that you constantly are trying to obtain. While striving to be the best of the best and this sought after achievement, you can very easily miss many wonderful things that surround you day by day. It certainly was a great reminder to me to sit back and take in the beauty around me, whether it be a lightly falling snowfall, a red sky at sunrise, Lola sprinting in the new snow, bright red cardinals eating at the bird feeder.... There really is a lot to take in and appreciate.
Also in the past two weeks I completed an EdX online educational series called “Women Have Always Worked” from Columbia University. It was a four-class series that I started back in the spring. I also finished a Harvard EdX course called Women Making History: Ten Objects, Many Stories. I found all five classes fascinating and learned a lot. It made me look in to taking some actual women’s history or gender study classes to work on another degree… but that’s a ways down the road.
Coincidentally it was a great time to learn about the struggle of women over American history and the fight for equality. When I read all the presidential biographies, women were rarely mentioned, and rarely in positions of power and influence. I realize now it was certainly a male-dominated, white-washed version of US history that I received. These classes opened up a whole different side and an entire new way of thinking. These classes also came at a great time in current history as we have elected our first female vice president to office. All very fitting.
I was itching to get out and about so I took a trip to the “city” on another Saturday. My first stop was the Susan B. Anthony House and Museum. It is crazy to me that this amazing woman and so much history is right in Rochester yet I never knew of it or learned much about it before. So, on a snowy Saturday, I trekked over and received a one-on-one tour. The tour guide was great and it was really cool to have a personalized conversation since it was just the two of us. I highly recommend checking out the museum if in the Rochester area. There were great artifacts from the suffragist movement. It was amazing to know Ida B. Wells, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Frederick Douglass and others spent time and put their brains together with Anthony in that house. Goosebumps!
The main visitor center was Susan’s sister’s house while the other was Susan’s. The museum is nestled in a quaint, quiet neighborhood. There is a park right down the block with a statue of Anthony, clearly telling a man how things should be! And I loved that someone also made sure she was warm on the snowy day and gave her a scarf.
After the Susan B. Anthony trip, I grabbed some Chik fil A and Starbucks, perused through Home Goods and a large antique center and then went home. It was really a great day to just get out of the house and get up and around while still staying safe during the pandemic. It fulfilled some little pleasures in my life, too, just as “Soul’s” Joe and 22 taught me to.
"To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe." --Anatole France