Weekly Menu

As I have shared in the past, the thing that is most helpful to me for a successful week is meal prep. I like to make my lunches ahead, I keep smoothie packs ready to go from the freezer to the blender with no work, and I try my best to plan my menu for the week. For me, that often starts with a look at the calendar so I know how many meals for how many people I need each week.

This week, I need meals for two for most days, but we have a couple of dinners out for work or with friends. I usually head to my Pinterest boards for inspiration. It helps if I can find recipes that work together with overlapping ingredients to minimize waste and maximize time. I found some inspiration using some things I had on hand and rounded things out with lots of fresh veggies and protein. Many of the recipes have ingredients that I cooked on the grill; that means a healthy means of cooking, that allows me to prep once and cook lots at the same time and, bonus, it doesn’t heat up my kitchen in the summer! It is even better when my partner in crime is home to help do the grilling while I prep and assemble. Today, I was on my own and was proud I managed the grill myself!

In order to prepare for today, I shopped yesterday to spread out the work. That also gives me the chance to do things as I go. I started the day making my snacks of Peanut Butter Protein Balls, which are my favorite emergency snack. I fit the prep in between my morning coffee and smoothie then let them chill during my morning yoga. After cleaning and laundry, I started on my marinades, getting the chicken in the fridge to absorb the favor before prepping my veggies for grilling as well as my mise en place for lunches. I also pull out containers for my lunches so I am ready to throw the final product in easily.

Today, I tried something new, making farro in my Instant Pot. Farro is a wonderful grain full of protein and a lovely chew that holds up well in prepared dishes for the week. The downside is that it can take a long time when you use the whole farro. The Instant Pot solves that beautifully; instead of an hour, I had it done in 20 minutes while I prepped my veggies. I will go through the process later in the week as well as my riffs on the recipes below. Keep an eye out!

While I find inspiration from lots of places, I rarely follow a recipe exactly. Since I try to find some overlap between recipes, I also change up techniques to make my life easier. For example, I made Chicken Tinga over salads for lunches this week. I love that because I keep the salads separate to stay fresh and just pour the soupy chicken on top, which gives me a dressing without a lot of extra calories. Normally, I poach the chicken to shred for this dish, but since I was already grilling, I just marinated the chicken in some salsa, and threw it on the grill before shredding and finishing in my sauce. I also grilled my honey lemon chicken and will heat it later in the week in the sauce. That same honey lemon marinade is what I used for the grilled chicken for the Farro Salad. Remember that recipes are a guideline, but you can make changes to suit your needs! Here is my menu and inspiration for the week:

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Weekly Menu:

Breakfast

Green Smoothie Packs

Cold Brew Coffee

Lunch

Chicken Tinga over Arugula and Spinach Salad

Dinner

Honey Lemon Chicken with Green Beans

Grilled Veggie and Chicken Farro Salad with Grilled Lemon Vinaigrette

Roasted Tomato and Sausage Summer Pasta

Snack

Peanut Butter Protein Balls

What are you cooking this week?

Kelly

Happy (Hour) Friday!

Hooray! We made it through another week. If you are looking for a twist on a classic to kick off your weekend, try a Montemojito! I stumbled upon this on a cocktail menu and it sounded so good, I had to try it at home. We were turned on to Amaro at our favorite pizza place in town. It is so fun to see how each one is unique with a blend of herbs creating harmonious floral and bitter notes. It is the perfect way to end a meal. When I saw this as the substitute for rum in a Mojito, I just knew it would be the perfect thing.

The Amaro used here is a favorite of mine: Amaro Montenegro. If you love a good story, te history of Montenegro is a good one…over 130 years ago, a noble citizen of Bologna, Stanislao Cobianchi, left home in search of adventure. He found his adventure by tasting his way through the Balkans and returning home to open a distillery. He decided to dedicate his perfected spirit to the second Queen of Italy, Princess Elena of Montenegro in celebration of her marriage to Victor Emmanuel III, the current sovereign of the time. It is now the #1 Amaro in Italy. Cheers!

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Montemojito

1 Part Fresh Lime Juice

2 Parts Montenegro (or your favorite Amaro)

1 t Sugar

4 Mint Leaves

Club Soda (I used Lime LaCroix)

Crushed Ice

Add lime juice, sugar and mint leaves to the bottom of a tall glass. Muddle ingredients together to combine well and release the oil in the mint leaves. Top with crushed ice and add Amaro, fill with club soda. Garnish with lime and mint. Enjoy!

Kelly

**All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this post. All products mentioned are things I love and use in my own kitchen.

Cold Brew Made Easy

Over the last few years, it seems every coffee shop has come up with their version of cold brew coffee. No wonder since it is smooth and tastes much better than watering down hot coffee over ice. It never gets cold enough and is never strong enough for me! A bonus of cold brew is that it is a great and easy way to get myself out the door on weekday mornings with as little hassle as possible. This is the perfect addition to my routine, because I can start it the night before, let it steep overnight in the fridge, pour over ice in the morning and be on my way. If you have a French Press, you are ready to go!

Kelly

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Cold Brew Made Easy

1/3 C Coffee Beans (depends on the size of your press and preference for strength of coffee)

Water

Ice

Grind your beans to a coarse grind. This is important to keep the coffee from getting muddy. Add ground coffee to your French Press. Fill about 3/4 of the way with water. Top with the lid, but do not push the plunger down. Put in the fridge 3 hours to overnight. After steeping, push down the plunger, pour over ice and enjoy!

Sweet Summer Treat

On a hot summer day, there is nothing quite like a cold sweet popsicle. There are so many versions, but I love this lightened up version of a mint chip ice cream bar made with greek yogurt. I am still perfecting things a bit, but this was a solid first try. I like the dark chocolate shell hardened with coconut oil and the lightness of the mint. I may try adding some fresh mint in the next version (maybe steeped in the milk). I don’t love adding food coloring where it isn’t needed, but you could make them a fun green color if you wanted. 🙂 One things that is interesting about these, is that the greek yogurt makes them substantial enough to be filling. I used a Zoku mold, just their traditional version that goes into the freezer to set up. Enjoy a little piece of summer!

Kelly

 

Mint Chip Greek Yogurt Pops

Makes 6 – 8 Pops

1 1/2 cups vanilla Greek yogurt

1 cup whole milk

1- 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar (to taste depending on your yogurt)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ teaspoon mint extract

1 cup chocolate chunks

1 cup chopped dark chocolate

2 tablespoons coconut oil

Directions

1. Mix the yogurt with the milk, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, mint extract to combine. Stir in the chocolate chunks. I did this in a large measuring cup for easy pouring.

2. Divide the mixture among the molds, filling each mold to about ¼ inch from the top. Insert ice-pop sticks and freeze until solid, at least 3 hours or overnight.

3. Heat the dark chocolate and coconut oil in a heat-safe bowl in the microwave in 30-second increments, stirring in between, until the mixture is smooth and melted. If you have something taller and narrower that would fit the pops, I think that might be the easiest way to get a smooth coating.

4. Unmold the pops. Working quickly, dip each one into the melted chocolate. Store the pops in the freezer for up to two weeks. I used an airtight container and wax paper.

5. ENJOY!

 

**All opinions are my own and I was not compensated to promote any products mentioned. These are just things I love to use in my kitchen!

Dairy Free Biscuits and Gravy

Dairy Free Biscuits & Gravy

Lounging around on Sunday morning watching Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, seeing Guy sampling the most amazing, intricate breakfasts, meanwhile having baking soda and eggs in my fridge was a struggle. I racked my brain and realized I had almond milk, baking supplies and some deer sausage in my deep freeze meaning I could make sausage gravy and biscuits, without cow!

I found this recipe from Sunshine Recipes and couldn’t wait to try it! I took a few liberties with the recipe, like adding sausage to my gravy and changing the oil amount so I will post my adapted recipe below and you can find the original at the link above.

Being allergic to dairy, this is a dish I have never made, and have never really enjoyed. I was thrilled that I was not only able to make this, but that it tasted as good as when my mother-in-law makes it and I get my one little spoonful!

Dairy Free Biscuits & Gravy

Ingredients

BISCUIT INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup plain almond milk, unsweetened
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 4 Tbsp organic refined coconut oil

 GRAVY INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Tbsp organic refined coconut oil
  • 4 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2 cups plain almond milk, unsweetened
  • pepper to taste
  • salt to taste
  • 1lb Venison Sausage

Instructions

Biscuit Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. In a small bowl whisk together the almond milk and lemon juice, set aside for 5-10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the coconut oil, gently mixing with a spoon after each tablespoon. The flour should resemble sand when all the oil is mixed properly.
  3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Slowly pour in the almond milk mixture while stirring with a spoon until just combined. The dough will be sticky.
  4. Lightly flour a flat surface, and turn the dough onto the flour. Dust some flour on top of the dough and turn the dough GENTLY onto itself 5-6 times, no kneading required. Form into a 1-inch thick disk. Cut the biscuits out of the dough using a glass or biscuit cutter (there should be 6-8 biscuits). Place the biscuits on a prepared baking sheet, just touching at the edges.
  5. Make a divot in the center of each biscuit, and brush tops with melted coconut oil. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden. Serve with white gravy, or jelly and enjoy!

Gravy Directions

  1. In a saucepan over low/medium heat, melt the coconut oil. When melted, whisk in the flour. Slowly pour in the almond milk, whisking as you do so. Allow the mixture to bubble and whisk until desired thickness. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. In a separate saucepan cook sausage until browned. Stir into gravy and serve with biscuits.

Makeup Must-Haves-Color Paint Shadow

Welcome to our new series, makeup must-haves! I will be highlighting different makeup finds that will be a must have for your vanity. These reviews are not paid, but are my honest to goodness favorite products to use in my routine and on any makeup clients.

This week’s product is a new release of an old favorite of mine that was discontinued several years ago. This is Make Up For Ever’s Aqua XL Color Paint Shadow ($25), an update to Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Cream that was originally created for Cirque Du Soleil’s ‘O’. The downfall of the old Aqua Cream was its delivery in a cream shadow pot which had a tendency to dry out over time. The new Aqua XL Color Paint Shadow is in a tube, protecting the product from outside air and keeping the product from drying.

Color Paint Shadow comes in a wild 20 shades including 12 matte, 4 shimmer and 4 satin. The colors range from an everyday ‘Iridescent Warm Beige’ to the bold ‘Matte Red’.

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I purchased the ‘I-50 Iridescent Warm Beige’ and ‘L-54 – Lustrous Taupe’ to take with me to Lake Powell, UT in late June. I was beyond ecstatic to see this back on the shelf at Sephora because I know how well it worked. Our trip to Lake Powell was very fun, but VERY hot. Our highest high was 117Âş so keeping moisturizer on your face was tough, let alone trying to keep eyeshadow on, but the Color Paint Shadow did the trick! 

I placed the ‘I-50’ on my lid to my brow bone and also as a highlighter on my cheeks and the ‘L-54’ in my crease. The shadow amazingly stayed on not only through the extreme heat, but through swimming, snorkeling, jet skiing, and hot (because it was unavoidable) yoga. While I’m not the prissiest girl when I’m camping on a houseboat, it is nice to have something on your eyes in our ten days on the water.

The best thing about this product, when I get back to my normal routine, I use it as my eyeshadow primer and it really does have a 24 hour waterproof wear! I’m thrilled to see this product back and better than ever!

What’s In My Lunch Box?

If I had to pick one thing that makes the most impact for me to have  successful week is meal prep. I usually spend Saturday shopping and Sunday cooking. I try my best to look at my week and make things as easy as possible. I know that if I have healthy meals and snacks ready that I don’t have to think about, I am much more likely to stick to my nutrition goals. It doesn’t bother me too much to eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch every day. My days at work are busy enough that if I get breakfast and lunch in on time, I am doing really good. I do get a bit bored eating the same thing for dinner when I have more time to sit and enjoy what is in front of me. All of this food costs me about $6.00. It always makes me feel good that I am feeding myself real, healthy food and saving money at the same time. If I tried to go out for these things every day, I would spend more than $20 per day, that is a difference of $70 per week! More on my weeknight dinners later…For today: here is what is in my lunch box this week:

 

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  1. Coffee Mug – My Kleen Kanteen keeps my coffee warm for hours if I get busy and forget about it. This saves me money and time (when I remember to make it before I head out the door).
  2. Smoothie – My green smoothies get made the night before and put into a Blender Bottle. The less I have to do in the morning, the more likely I am to get to the gym before work!
  3. Lunch – Made and packed on Sunday. I try to measure everything so I end up with the right amount of food. When I do this for two, I measure the right amounts for each of us. This week is shredded chicken with a little sugar free BBQ sauce, roasted sweet potatoes with chili powder and green beans.
  4. Snacks – Strawberries & Peanut Butter Protein Balls.
  5. My Cute Owl Lunch Box! It really is the little things sometimes. This one has served me well for over five years. I am on the hunt for a new one, but haven’t found the right thing yet.

Now I am ready to run out the door prepared for success to start the week! What are the strategies you use for success? Have a wonderful week!

Kelly