Posted: December 25th, 2014 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Books | Tags: Bento, cookbooks, Lunch, lunches | No Comments »
When I’m building my lunches, often I’ll turn to a few lunch cookbooks on my shelf to help me think up new ideas other than the usual leftovers. Here are some of my favorite family friendly lunch cookbooks:
The Best Homemade Kids’ Lunches on the Planet: Make Lunches Your Kids Will Love with More Than 200 Deliciously Nutritious Meal Ideas – by Laura Fuentes
Laura Fuentes is the founder of MOMables.com, a lunch meal planning website that helps parents make fresh school lunches their kids will love. Her meal plans do the brainstorming and strategy for you, so that you can focus on all the other details that matter in the morning! After starting her successful business, she wrote this cookbook, building on all the ideas that she had gleaned from putting out a healthy weekly meal plan to her subscribers, and being a mom of 3 kids herself!
Weelicious Lunches: Think Outside the Lunch Box with More Than 160 Happier Meals – by Catherine McCord
We love Catherine McCord’s bright and happy recipe website Weelicious – featuring healthy recipes for the family. She covers food for babies, toddlers, school lunches, and family meals, and her colorful and flavorful style is front and center in her Weelicious Lunches cookbook!
The Just Bento Cookbook: Everyday Lunches To Go – by Maki Itoh was one of the original food bloggers, focusing on Japanese cooking and bentos – the fun, well designed Japanese lunch box. Her cookbook is a great extension of the breadth of bento ideas on her blog, and is useful for building a great lunch for both kids and adults.
Vegan Lunch Box Around the World: 125 Easy, International Lunches Kids and Grown-Ups Will Love! – by Jennifer McCann
We’re not vegan in this house, but I’m always looking for healthy vegetable forward meals, and this book is a great option if you’d like to add a few more vegetables to your lunches.
Do you have any favorite cookbooks for healthy lunch ideas?
Posted: January 28th, 2012 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Meal Planning | Tags: a farm girl dabbles, black beans, cook this now, eat live run, lasagna soup, mashed potato, pork tenderloin, posole, turkey burgers | 1 Comment »
For the past two weeks, I’ve been working full-time in a new office, so my meals have been shaken up slightly. (Also why I’m posting this at the end of two weeks, rather than the beginning). I’ve made it a goal to eat in at least four nights a week, and the key to my success has been batch cooking on the weekend.
Each Sunday, I hard boiled 10 eggs (two for each weekday), boiled a pot of Rancho Gordo beans, and prepped two of our weeknight dinners. I made a large salad for my weekly lunches, and took leftovers several days of the week for lunch.
Some of the highlights:
Black Bean Soup with Pork Tenderloin: I used a can of Goya black bean soup, and mixed it with a batch of freshly cooked black beans that I had made. To accompany, a pork tenderloin, crusted in cumin, salt and chile powder, and oven roasted.
Turkey BBQ Burgers with Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Broccoli: The ratio of these burgers was off – I prefer using lamb for these. I simply pour some bbq sauce into the meat, add an egg, and form into patties. They bake in the oven into meatloaf-like burgers.
Lasagna Soup: Adapted from this recipe at A Farm Girl Dabbles, from a recipe from Kowalksi’s markets. I scaled it down to two people, and blew the budget on this relatively inexpensive dish using Calabro ricotta, Maplebrook mozzarella, and some aged parmigiano. Excellent.
Coconut-Chile Braised Chicken Thighs: Adapted from Melissa Clark’s recipe for shortribs in her new cookbook ‘Cook This Now‘. This was one of the recipes I cooked on a Sunday night, and served several days later. It only made the flavors better!
Chicken Posole Stew: Inspired by Jenna’s Chicken Tortilla Soup over at Eat Live Run. Used cooked black beans from the batch cooking. Another recipe made on Sunday night. Made for great lunches as well.
Mashed Potatoes with Bolognese, Ricotta, and Parmigiano: I wasn’t quite going for health food when I made this bowl – mashed potatoes, topped with some grass fed ground beef cooked in a rustic tomato sauce. Add a spoonful of ricotta and a grating of parmigiano – the ultimate comfort!
What is on your dinner table this week?
Posted: January 9th, 2012 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Meal Planning | Tags: bbq, chili, meal plan, refried beans, shrimp, steak, turkey | No Comments »
Last week’s meal plan was a good one – the Turkey chili verde, Jamie’s Asian Noodle Salad and the Lemony Chicken Gyros (which I served with some marinated carrots) were winners! Sunday we skipped the teriyaki, and instead had an easy chicken tikka masala (Trader Joe’s) from the freezer with pinto beans and naan. We ate home cooked dinners six out of the seven days this week, which was good for both the waist and the wallet!
This week we are going to be a little bit busy, so dinners are going to have to be easy and quick most days. (Also, our favorite spicy italian chicken sausage are on sale this week at Whole foods, so we are going to stock up, and they might end up on the menu again this week.)
Monday: Jaden’s Coconut Shrimp with black pepper pasta. Mango Sorbet.
Tuesday: Grass-fed sirloin steaks, topped with home made guacamole, and served with roasted broccoli with garlic oil.
Wednesday: Refried beans with pepperjack cheese and tomatillo salsa from the Homesick Texan Cookbook. (It was so good that I’m making another batch). Topped with a fried egg and avocado. Warm tortillas.
Thursday: Takeout night!
Friday: Work Dinner
Saturday: Turkey Chili with more of the leftover tomatillo salsa. Special dessert from Russo’s. (Either a fruit tart or a cannoli).
Sunday: BBQ pulled chicken (likely from Trader Joe’s), with pinto beans, and roasted broccoli. Sorbet for dessert.
Posted: January 2nd, 2012 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Meal Planning | Tags: meal planning, menu planning | No Comments »
Spiffing up my meal planning was one of my top Kitchen Resolutions this year. I do a fair bit of meal planning already, but I’m always looking to improve! Sharing my meal plan is another good excuse to actually get them done by Monday!
January is a great time for soups and stews, so two are featured this week. I’m also trying to keep things light and fresh to make up for holiday overkill, but this isn’t diet food! For this week:
Monday: Turkey and vegetable chili (no recipe!) with tomatillo salsa (from the Homesick Texan Cookbook), topped with pepper jack and yogurt. Side of spinach, either under the chili, or steamed with some garlic.
Tuesday: Jamie Oliver’s Fresh Asian Noodle Salad with cucumbers, carrots, and five spice turkey.
Wednesday: Nigel Slater’s Main Course Soup for a Winter’s Day from Appetite. With beans, carrots, celery, leeks, garlic, parsley, butter, and a ham hock. (Or parmesan rind if I decide to do veg.)
Thursday: Lemony Chicken Gyros with Tzatziki and Feta from Can You Stay For Dinner with cucumber and tomato salad.
Friday: Turkey sausage, mashed potato, and roasted brussels sprouts.
Saturday: Take-out. (Most likely Japanese, possibly pizza.)
Sunday: Chicken teriyaki stir fry with ginger-sesame broccoli. (Although, possibly something lighter as we are brunching around noon.)
What are you cooking this week?
Posted: December 20th, 2011 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Exercise | Tags: Exercise, fitbit, health, walking | 2 Comments »
I focus mostly on healthy food on this blog, but I’d be remiss not to mention this incredible health tool which I use every day: the Fitbit.
I’ve been using a Fitbit every day for almost two years now (I was an early adopter), and I absolutely love it. It would be a perfect gift for anyone looking to boost their healthy habits, or a gift for yourself!
The Fitbit is a nifty (and cute) little tool to help you achieve a higher level of movement during the day. It’s a gentle reminder to get up, walk around a little bit, and keep active. Why is this important? The average American walks less than 3000 steps a day. 5000 steps are generally recommended for baseline fitness, and 10000 if you are trying to lose weight. I don’t walk 10000 steps every day, but the Fitbit certainly helps me get in some extra steps.
What does the Fitbit do?
1. Primarily it is an incredibly useful pedometer. It measures your steps, the number of stairs you climb, how far you walk in a day, how many calories you burn, and your general activity level throughout the day. You can press a little button on your Fitbit to toggle through the different data during the day while it is clipped discreetly to your pants.
2. It also measures your sleep! You can slide it in a soft wrist band, and it has an accelerometer to measure your movements and sleep patterns. It’s unobtrusive – I rarely notice that it is there.
3. It uploads wirelessly to your computer, and turns your personal data into beautiful (and readable) graphs and charts. (Free!)
Here are a couple of snapshots of my charts below:
The activity monitor tells you all of the important data in one spot. (Don’t feel bad, I don’t typically get in this many steps during the day…)
You can then see how you performed throughout the day: this graph tells you how active you were at different time periods. The chart breaks down the activity levels into a really clear picture of who much time you spent in different active zones.
Finally, you can monitor your sleep patterns. This was an evening where I a) went to bed pretty early, b) fell asleep faster than ever, and c) got in an ungodly amount of sleep. It was delightful!
When clients or friends are looking to improve their health, I never advocate drastic diets or fitness regimens – one of the best ways to get healthier is to make small changes and add more of the good stuff to your life. For me, walking is the best way to keep healthy and fit, and the Fitbit is an invaluable tool to help me do this. I highly recommend it.
If you have any other questions, please ask in the comments, and I’ll do my best to answer them!
$99 (or $94 at the time of this post)