My Meal Prep

It’s Saturday! Which means it’s my food prep day! I’ve only done this for two weeks now.  The first week was amazing, and I spoke briefly about how life changing it was here.  This week was a bit different as I’ve been sick so I haven’t been eating very well at all, however, the amount of time I saved each night was still just as helpful! I thought today that I would walk you through last weeks food prep and comment a bit about what was good and what I could improve on based on how my week went.

So let’s dive in.

I usually sit down on Thursday and brainstorm what types of foods I’ll make for the next week.  My general rules are: it has to be relatively quick to prepare and it needs to be healthy and nutritious.  I do try to have some variety and the trickiest part is preparing food for my son because he can be super picky while at the dayhome, in the end I pack him generally the same breakfast and snacks each day that I know he really loves and I pack a variety of lunches which are always hit and miss.  To be honest, usually my husbands food wins over mine when it comes to what Ezekiel will eat.  After preparing a list of what I’ll make I then create a shopping list.  I do my Superstore run on Friday evening after work for any dairy or packaged food (cereals, crackers mostly) and my Market run on Saturday morning with Ezekiel for all my produce.

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This is the size of my kitchen, not overly large and everything is pretty accessible and close.  I do try to clean as I go so it’s not so overwhelming at the end of my prep time.  Last week I set my timer to see how long it would take and it was about 2 hours and 15 minutes.

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For anything that needs to be heated I use glass containers, for anything else I’m ok with using plastic.  It’s a bit tricky strategizing what food will go in what container, by the end I have almost run out of containers.
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It really helps to be organized with your containers, I never have to search for lids or containers which speeds up the process considerably.

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Last week I used maple syrup.  I put the entire container of yogurt in a bowl and mixed in about 2.5 Tbsp maple syrup.

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I measured out the yogurt into individual portions – 6 for me and 5 for Ezekiel.  For Ezekiel I added some blueberries.
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This was my loot from the market last week.  It was an incredible deal and I couldn’t resist it.  I ended up making a bunch of fruit salad and then freezing the rest.  I should have frozen the majority of it.  The problem was that the fruit was ripe on the verge of overripe so when I made the salad it ended up going bad by Wednesday.

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I watch Netflix as I do this to keep me company. IMG_9034
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The biggest problem was that I added the fruit salad to my yogurt which means I wasted far too much food.  Lesson learned.  The frozen fruit has been really great for smoothies each morning, Ezekiel and I have been loving them.
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One of Ezekiel’s favourite snacks is cheese and crackers.
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I also send cereal each day.  This is my favourite brand for Ezekiel, it’s got great ingredients and is far more nutritious than regular cheerios.

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Cut up veggies has been amazing for lunches and to snack on at home.   Even Ezekiel loves snacking on veggies.  I pack a big container (on the right) and then I can eat as much as I want, I just keep bringing the same container each day and I bring a dip as well.  I have wasted far less veggies doing this because I don’t get lazy and they are ready to eat so no more prep needed!
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Boiled eggs are easy and fast to grab and go, and super healthy!
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This is how I prepared the fruit to freeze, then when they were completely frozen I put them into ziplock bags.  When you do it this way they won’t stick together in the bags.

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That’s it! 2 hours of work that saved me at least 1 hour each night! I don’t think I’ll ever go back.

Do you have any meal prep tips? I’m always looking for easier more efficient ways to do things.

Monday’s in the Garden

I thought I’d start a Monday series to track my garden progress.  I actually can’t believe how much difference just 7 days makes when it comes to plant growth! Today I’ll start from the beginning and get us all caught up.

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In mid-April my parents came for a visit and my dad was wonderful enough to do several little (or big..) projects.  A couple of those were to build me a third garden to house my tomato plants as well as build me a new open compost system!

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May 23 I plant my tomatoes into the garden.  If you want to read about their growth from seed go here.

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This year I’ve really expanded my horizons beyond vegetable gardening.  I’m now dabbling into flowers! I’ll admit I’ve spent a lot of money because I just can’t resist!  I was gifted this beautiful Columbine by a sweet friend of mine who I work with, I will cherish it forever! I put it in my front yard which needs a lot of work and the Columbine was a great step in the right direction.  I also have two hanging baskets and two planters (I’ll do a separate post on them because they are homemade and wonderful!) in the front and two hanging baskets in the back.  I bought a couple Dahlia plants to put in the garden – I’m really hoping I can attract enough bees to do the fertilizing that will need to be done.

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This is the seed stash I started with this year.  I planned out the gardens trying to be strategic in placing plants which like each other close together.

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I planted all my seeds as well as my peppers on June 3.

I started my peppers from seed at the same time as my tomatoes and kept them inside for a little bit longer than the tomatoes since they are a bit less hardy.   I was nervous that the growing season wouldn’t be long enough to get good fruit so I planted three of the plants into a pot placed beside the garden that I can bring indoors if need be, and one plant in the garden.  It’s more of an experiment than anything this year – I have no knowledge whatsoever in growing peppers.

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Things were already starting to look great on June 8.

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I bought some shims from Home Depot and made these cute little garden markers.  They really add to the overall look of the garden.

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June 13 I noticed my first pepper! I was ecstatic!  I also noticed the tomatoes blooming and everything else growing wonderfully.

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This was June 18.

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June 24

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I kept seeing buckets of potatoes on Pinterest so I thought I would try it out this year.  They are really thriving in the bucket, I’m hopefully that I’ll have a huge amount of potatoes at the end of the year.

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I had my first harvest on June 27 of baby kale and spinach.  I prefer them to be smaller plants when I’m using them in smoothies and salads.

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This was June 28, the growth is really noticeable!

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Notice the tomato plants which are quickly growing into a forest! I had to anchor them to the side of the garden to get them to stand up straight.  I’m definitely brainstorming new ways to stake the tomatoes next year. IMG_8777 IMG_8779

July 3! When I first compared the June 27 to the July 3 picture I was flabbergasted! My tomatoes really started to take off.  The rest of the garden is also growing so well!  I also used some tomato plant food on this day.  Take a look at those potatoes too!

Well that’s the garden beginning until now.  I’m really looking forward to these weekly posts and to be able to document the progress! So far it’s leaps and bounds ahead of last years garden!

What’s Up

Here’s what’s been up this week:

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Drinking lots of homemade pumpkin spice lattes and going on a coffee buying fast.

Landline

Getting a landline and cancelling my data phone plan to save money.

Reclaimed Canada

Visiting super a super cool warehouse full of vintage finds and reclaimed barnwood.

Sleepless Nights

Making guest beds at 2 am so I can cuddle my sweet son as he fights his first cold.

Yoga

Taking 30 minutes each day to learn yoga and focus on me.

New Shoes

Celebrating amazing sales and discovering a new favorite shoe brand that is comfy and fit my enormous feet.

Salted Caramel Latte

Creating a salted caramel syrup for yummy lattes.

Healthy Eating

Focusing on eating well.

Here’s to another week of enjoying the moments and finding simplicity.

Gluten and Refined Sugar Free Banana Bread

Gluten Free Banana Bread

I’m slowly obtaining recipes to freeze to make my transition back to work smooth, stress free, and organized.  I’m fairly certain this is an ideal I have and that it’s actually going to be very difficult, but anything I can do to make it a little less difficult I’m going to try out.  I had a large ziploc bag full of frozen bananas, and quite a few strays in the freezer to use up so I figured it was a perfect time to test out some Banana Bread recipes, I tried two and settled on this one as the winner. Overall we got 5 loaves of banana bread out of my stash!  I had a really yummy recipe that I always made for Carlos but it’s laden with oil and sugar and I’m really trying to cut back on the sugar intake in this house.  Not to mention I’m on a mission to limit Ezekiel to no refined sugar at all (there’s another ideal).  So my mission for this recipe was to make a bread that would please my husband (I’ll eat healthy anything but he’s a little harder to convince) and that I would be able to give to Ezekiel without compromising my ideal.  Enter this gluten free banana bread.  The recipe is adapted from one I found on The Minimalist Baker.

Gluten Free Banana Bread

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1.5 cups mashed banana (about 3 bananas)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 3 Tbsp plain Greek yogurt **
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 3.5 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup milk of choice
  • 1 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1 1/4 cup gluten free flour blend (you may need to add xantham gum depending on which blend you use.)
  • 1 1/4 cup oats

** I made one loaf with coconut oil and the rest with yogurt, the loaves with yogurt were A LOT heavier than with the oil but still really good.  If you don’t mind oil you could substitute this for 3 tbsp melted coconut oil.

Here’s what you do:

Gluten Free Banana Bread

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease a loaf pan, or line it with parchment paper.
  3. Dump all ingredients into a bowl and mix.
  4. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, when it’s done it will be firm in the center, be golden brown and have cracks on the top.
  5. Let cool completely before cutting so that it holds it’s form.

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Let me know if you make this and how it turned out!