In 11th grade, my honors English teacher wrote a note on my report card:
Talks too much, dreams too much.
I think she meant daydreams. If she did, she was right on both counts. It’s still true. I’ll talk your ear off and I constantly dream of more and better projects, collaborations and adventures. That’s what creatives do.
By the way, I maintained a 4.0 during high school, so the talking and daydreaming didn’t hinder my academic performance. Parents, be aware.
Lately, I’ve been doing some large scale dreaming and planning (because dreams without real plans are more like wishes, when they need to be more like goals). It does take courage, don’t you think? You know, to do what you really want to do in life.
Think about that for a minute. What do you really want your life to look like?
It’s a scary question to answer because so many times the answer doesn’t mirror our current situation. I think what holds some people back is they feel if they admit that – that their current life isn’t what they really want – they admit failure. I disagree.
We are where we are for a reason. If we consider the “why”, most often the answer has a lot to do with our past actions. In other words, I believe we control the direction of our life. A large part of shaping the path is acting on our dreams, working fearlessly and fiercely to achieve our goals. That takes courage.
Now, all this dreaming, goal setting and action takes time! It always feels time is in short supply, and I end up every Friday wishing there was just one more work day in the week. Then, end up working through most of the weekend, especially lately. So, when we’re all so busy, how do we tackle the simplest tasks, like feeding the family healthy GF food all week?
THIS WEEK WITH GIGI 9 June 2017
This is not sponsored content, just some me to you chit chat. Join the convo in the comments below.
Sometimes, it’s not easy getting food on the table. I know you know that, but with my current 16-hour workdays going on seven days a week, I thought it a good time to talk about this food/meal planning/too busy to cook situation.
I want to show you a typical meal prep at my house. This prep was done last Sunday morning. It took a little longer than usual because I kept stopping to take these pictures for you, but still, it only took a couple hours tops. Note: I didn’t prep any meat/fish/poultry. Ma Petite and I are waffling between vegetarian/pescatarian lately, so there’s only one meat eater in the house right now. It’s easy enough to make a small portion when needed during the week, or, as one may be prone to do, stop by Whole Foods and grab a meat portion from the hot bar. (When I do prep meat, I usually roast something in the oven like chicken, and put something in the slow cooker like pork roast.)
The prep or food might seem rather ordinary, but trust me, the meals I make with these base ingredients are anything but boring! The key is how you use what you prep ahead.
I didn’t have anything specific in mind in terms of meals. I’ve been using my method for so long, I know what I need, how much I will need and the ingredients that will give me maximum flexibility when it comes to making meals. Base ingredients change a bit each week to keep boredom at bay.
Also, I think meal prep is about more than just what you make. It is also about efficiency and how you prep. There are obviously no rules for doing this, but I do follow a sort of method. Hopefully, this helps some of you. If it’s something you’re interested in seeing more, let me know in the comments and I’ll share future prep days with you!
Like I said, I like to prep on Sunday morning. I get up at 5AM all week, so on the weekend, I sleep in until 5:30AM. After I feed the fur kids and get coffee going, I start by baking something for Dreamy’s breakfast. I usually bake two things – a quick bread and muffins, for example. He will have some on Sunday morning, then I cool the rest and wrap in portions for him to take to work for breakfast during the week. Two different baked goods helps keep boredom at bay. Extras are frozen.
This week, I started with a banana bread topped with toasted coconut. I added salted maple glaze. Dreamy has an insatiable sweet tooth and isn’t really concerned with his sugar intake. (I know, horror of horrors, but he’s a grown up, so he is in charge of himself. I do not micromanage diets.)
Next up, fruit. Those strawberries above were washed and hulled, then dried. I store them whole in a container in the fridge. They are for snacking, dipping in raw chocolate for a quick, healthy dessert or slicing and adding to breakfast (topping oatmeal, eating with protein bar, etc.). This morning I had a few sliced on my brownie batter oatmeal (proof).
Next, I put some eggs on to boil. Hard boiled eggs are a must on my prep list because:
- They make a great, portable healthy protein snack
- I use them to make quick deviled eggs
- You can make egg salad in minutes for a lunch sandwich
- They are delicious sliced on a large green salad.
I’m a hard-core fan of Vital Farms pasture raised eggs.
At the same time the eggs go on, I put on a double batch of rice. This is Jasmine rice and yes, I buy certified gluten-free rice because I feel this is important for someone with celiac disease.
Best way to store rice:
- Cook, then scoop it into muffin pans. A standard muffin cup is approximately 1/2 cup, which is a portion of rice.
- Set the pans aside, let the rice cool completely at room temp.
- Put the pans in the freezer.
- Once frozen, remove the portions, pop them in a freezer container and store them in the freezer until you need rice.
This way, portions are ready when needed. I usually save some of the cooked rice and refrigerate it for a meal in the next day or two.
This week, that was all the stove top prep. I preheated the oven while I prepped broccoli, tomatoes and lemon for roasting. These were seasoned and roasted while I washed Brussels sprouts.
I love these little guys! I’ll eat them any way you prepare them, but everyone in my family doesn’t share my enthusiasm, so I have to prep a certain way so the others will eat them.
Once I wash the sprouts and trim the root end, I put them in my food processor and pulse until they look like this:
It’s a very rough chop/shred. Then, they go on a sheet pan and roast in the oven until they look something like this:
I know, it’s not impressive looking, but trust me, this is the way to serve Brussels sprouts if your family doesn’t like them. The leaves get crisp and delicious when you roast them. Just watch them carefully and stir during roasting so they don’t burn.
Those are stored in the fridge and I add them to dishes during the week. (Or sometimes, I end up eating them all because it’s one of my favorite snacks.)
How to use shredded roasted Brussels sprouts:
- Top a salad.
- Stir into some of the cooked rice with other veggies.
- Add to other shredded veggies for fritters.
- Add to your omelette or frittata.
We love potatoes at my house. It’s a great carb to eat and there’s no need to fear white or sweet potatoes. There’s a special starch in potatoes that can actually help you lose your belly fat. (I should write about that for you.) Not that I think you have belly fat, but if you did and you wanted to lose it, there are ways. ;-)
Anyway, I found some small new potatoes that looked so fresh, I couldn’t resist. Those are on the left with rosemary from the herb garden. Sweet potatoes roast in about the same amount of time, so might as well make this hot oven do double duty.
Tossing some thick slices of vidalia onion (I know, I seriously won’t stop about the vidalia onions) on top adds some nice flavor, plus I can use those onions in just about any dish I make all week.
How to use roasted onions:
- Top a burger (veggie or meat).
- Chop and add to stir fry.
- Add to fried rice.
- Enhance a salad.
And finally, I spiral some zucchini because lately, it’s been what Ma Petite and I enjoy for lunch. If you saw my Thursday lunch on Instagram, you know I made a basil crema to top it off and it was amazing! (Recipe for that coming soon; it’s for a project I’m developing.)
Speaking of Instagram
It’s public again now, so if you emailed me or messaged me stressed out and wondering why it was private and you couldn’t see it, it’s fair game again. We had to do some back-end tidying up. I think over 1000 past posts were archived and 8000 followers were purged. Welcome to the world of social media marketing.
Which leads to some exciting travels ahead! I was invited to attend BlogHer 17 coming up later this month in Orlando. I’m busy as heck prepping for that, which I talk about here. Orlando has to be one of our favorite destinations, and while we planned on no travel during the summer so we can finish some house renovations, here we are heading off for some work and even a little Disney fun.
Then, I’ll be off to Asheville, NC, to film some new Ingles Table videos. These are going to be some of the best yet – Almost no-cook meals in under 30 minutes AND unique, healthy portable lunches. I’m gearing this for back-to-school time when getting back into a more structured routine makes it a little more challenging to get dinner done and lunches ready to send to school. I’ll keep you posted on when those are up. Meantime, check out the other videos I’ve made here.
I did not read a single word in any of my three books all week. Did I mention 16-hour work days?? I did read a ton of research articles, a lot of political news and about a dozen essays on aging and ageism in America. Are you reading any interesting books this summer? I’m making time to read this weekend.
We logged our 40+ miles again this week, but I’m taking today off from walking because my body says “yoga, please”. Always aim to give the body what it wants. That’s the not-so-secret secret to getting the body you want. And just like getting the life you want takes courage, so does achieving your fitness goals.
It’s normal and OK to fear doing something different, like starting at the gym or trying to start running. But remember, anyone who has ever done anything was new to it at one point. ;-)
Determination + Courage = Dreams Come True
Let’s do it!
(PS – I had a ton of new products I tried this week to tell you about, but this is so long, I’m saving them for next week! xo)
Now, what’s new with you? Comments, below.