Thursday, June 8, 2017

Fast Dinners that were family hits- Mongolian Beef and Broccoli, Chicken Fried Rice, Thai Chicken Stir-Fry

 The end of the school year is upon us! While I have been criticized for being excited because it apparently takes away from my enthusiasm in the classroom I beg to differ. Wouldn't you be excited to spend the summer with your own child instead of 160 of other people's children every day? The same people that criticize me and my profession will be the ones celebrating when they send their kids back to me in the Fall... just saying. Oh you don't want to spend all day with them but you want me to? Awesome. :) In all seriousness I do love my job or else I wouldn't do it- especially with the pay/benefit cuts I have taken, pension issues, increasing class sizes and demands on me, etc.- it is just time to re-group and re-charge, focus on my family, take a break and come back ready to go again. Charlie and I started celebrating early by eating all the cookies in the house.... :) 

My food prep on Sundays is coming to an end with the school year and it has become incredible simple. Wondering how to start or how I do it? I make a list with Matt either Saturday night or Sunday morning- what are the 3-4-ish things we making for dinners/lunches? What needs replacing in the pantry? Etc. I grocery shop early on Sunday, 7-8am, because there are no crowds and we are awake anyway. 

The actual prepping takes 1-3 hours depending on what's being made- and that's not all hands on time. Matt usually mans the grill and will cook all of the meat, I throw things in the crockpot, get things in the oven and set timers. Charlie can easily help with this process, even though it makes things slower. Then lunches go in portions and containers as stuff is ready, dinners get put tupperware to be heated later and we are done!

Carrot Cake Muffins- this week's sweet treat

Staples made every week- roasted sweet potatoes for lunch and breakfast, rice, grilled chicken (8+ breasts)

Dinners this week I decided to make at night and they were hits with Matt and Charlie. She pretty much likes anything with soy sauce and rice so that's a great place to start for us. 

Chicken Fried Rice

Lots of options here- the quickest thing is to not cut more than you have to- so chicken prepped for cooking on your prep day and omitting everything else or using dried/powdered spices. Charlie loves peas and corn so we add a lot of that- if your family doesn't, then omit them... this is also fantastic with pineapple tid-bits if you have those in the pantry! 

- 2 Tbsp Oil (I recommend Sesame or Avocado)
- 3 Cups Cooked Rice, using day-old+, cold rice is best
- 2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut in 1/2" pieces
- 1/2 Sweet Onion, minced (Charlie HATES onion so we leave it out)
- 1/2-1 Cup Frozen Peas
- 2 Carrots, peeled and small dice
- 1/2-1 Cup Frozen Corn
- 2 Eggs
- 1/4 Cup Coconut Aminos (or Soy Sauce)
- 1/2 tsp Fresh Grated Ginger (optional)
- 1 Garlic Clove, minced (optional)
- Siracha (optional)
- 2 Green Onions (optional)

1. In a wok or large skillet, heat 1 Tablespoon of oil. Add the chicken and cook through. Remove from the pan. 
2. Add the remaining oil, onion (if using) and carrot. Saute until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir frequently. Make a "well" and add the eggs. Once the eggs are cooked, stir everything together, add the chicken back, the soy sauce, peas and corn (and anything else you are adding). Toss. 
When everything is combined and heated through, turn off the heat and enjoy. :)  

Mongolian Beef and Broccoli 

-2 teaspoons + 2 tablespoons oil (sesame or olive)
- 1 teaspoon Fresh Ginger, grated
- 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1/2 cup Coconut Aminos (or soy sauce low sodium is best)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1.5 lb flank steak (or skirt steak)
- 1/3 cup Arrowroot Powder (or cornstarch)
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 2 Cups Broccoli Crowns
- 2 Carrots, peeled with a vegetable peeler* optional                     
- 1 Small Onion, thinly sliced* optional 

1. Slice the flank steak into 1/4" slices, against the grain, and toss with arrowroot (or cornstarch). Gently shake off any excess.
2. Place 1 tablespoon at a time of oil in a pan or wok and heat over medium-high heat. Cook the beef in small batches for about 2 minutes until browned (It doesn't need to cook all of the way through, it will cook completely when combined with the sauce). Remove the steak from the pan.                      

3. Heat remaining oil over medium low. Add ginger and garlic and stir just until fragrant (about 1 minute). Add the vegetables and turn the heat back up to medium high. Cook 3-5. Add soy sauce, water and brown sugar and bring to a boil. Let boil 3-5 minutes or until slightly thickened.
4. Add the beef back and toss to combine with the sauce and heat over medium until hot and bubbly. Remove from heat and stir in green onions. Serve over rice. 

Thai Chicken Stir-Fry 

Not the prettiest, but it sure was tasty! This was the only one Charlie was not a fan of, too spicy and she hates noodles... but Matt and I liked it! 

- 1 Package Pad-Thai Noodles (usually 12-14oz)
- 1/4 Cup Coconut Aminos (or soy sauce)
- 1/4 Cup Water
- 2 Tbsp Honey
- 3 tsp Red Curry Paste
- 1 Tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar (or Apple Cider or White)
- 1 tsp Fresh, Grated Ginger
- 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 1 Small, Sweet Onion Finely Diced
- 12-oz Button Mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 2 Carrots, chopped in a small dice
- 2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
- Siracha* optional
- Green Onion* optional 

1. Cook the noodle according to their directions. Whisk the coconut aminos, vinegar, water, ginger, and honey together. Set aside. 
2. In a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat, add a drizzle of oil and cook the onion, garlic and carrots until they start to soften, 3-4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook another 2 minutes until they soften. 
3. Add the chicken and cook through. Add the noodles and sauce, toss to combine. Turn off the heat and add the green onions and a drizzle of siracha- enjoy! 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Baking Breakfast- Coconut Banana Muffins and Baked Protein Donuts

My typical breakfast is sweet potatoes I roasted on the weekend with one egg and two egg whites and broccoli... or a whole-grain English muffin with the eggs and broccoli. Both take less than 5 minutes to make and I am on my way.

On the weekends we like to mix it up, we make pancakes, sausage, waffles... and now I bought some donut pans to experiment with and Charlie and I worked on a new muffin recipe since we have so many rotten bananas. Yay!!! As I have discovered, any muffin recipe works in a donut pan, you just need to change the baking time. I bought my donut pans on Amazon for a total of $13 they are the Wilton 2105-1620 6 Cavity Nonstick Donut Pans (2 pack)- while usually I am not a fan of buying things for just one purpose, like donuts only, for the price and the fact that they don't take up that much room in the cupboard, I think these are awesome. 

Baked Protein Donuts- 

The first time I made these I used "A Big Man's World" recipe for Flourless Cinnamon Bun Breakfast Donuts- while they were good, I thought they were fairly dry and just not amazing. 

The second try I used a recipe I got from my friend Taylor and adjusted it to make 12 donuts, added some protein, and guestimated how to make her "frosting." These are awesome!

Kodiak Cake Protein Donuts

(makes 12 donuts)


- 3 Cups Kodiak Protein Cake Mix
- 3/4 Cup Milk
- 1/2 Cup Water
- 1 Egg
- 1 Egg White
- 1/4 Cup Sugar (or sweetener of your choice)
- 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract


- 1 Scoop Chocolate Whey Protein Powder
- 1/2 Cup Chocolate Chips, melted
- Water or Milk to thin out
- Sprinkles, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

1. Mix all of the donut ingredients together in a medium bowl. Using a spoon, or just fixing the donuts in the pan after you pour the batter, evenly fill 12, greased, donut molds. Tap the pan on the counter when you are done to get rid of any air bubbles. Bake for 7-9 minutes until they spring back when you lightly touch them. Let them cool completely before frosting.

2. Frosting- work fast! Lesson learned my first time! I melted my chocolate with a bit of milk in the microwave, stirring until smooth. Pour into the protein powder... thin out with more milk or water (if needed) until a thick, smooth, frosting is formed. Dip each donut in the frosting and let it dry on a cooling rack. The frosting will harden as it cools. 

Including frosting:
Nutrition Facts
Servings 12.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 187
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 5 g7 %
Saturated Fat 2 g10 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 32 mg11 %
Sodium 233 mg10 %
Potassium 55 mg2 %
Total Carbohydrate 26 g9 %
Dietary Fiber 3 g13 %
Sugars 12 g
Protein 11 g22 %
Vitamin A1 %
Vitamin C0 %
Calcium5 %
Iron5 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Coconut Banana Muffins

(Makes 12 Muffins)

One of the great things about muffins is that Charlie can help me... and she loves them... and now breakfast or snack is done for the next few days as long as I can keep Matt away from them.

- 1 1/4 Cup All-purpose Flour
- 1 tsp Baking Powder (aluminum free)
- pinch of salt
- 2 Rotten Bananas, mashed
- 1/2 Cup Melted Coconut Oil
- 2/3 Cup Coconut Sugar (or regular)
- 1 Egg
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 1 1/2 Cups Shredded, Unsweetened Coconut, divided

Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees

1. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the banana, coconut oil, sugar, egg and vanilla, whisk again until smooth. Fold in 1 cup of the coconut. 
2. Using a non-stick muffin pan (I LOVE my Sur la Table ones) or grease a muffin pan... divide the batter evenly. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup of coconut. Bake for 20-23 minutes until the top spring back when you lightly touch it, or a toothpick inserted comes out clean. 
Let them cool slightly before enjoying :) 

Nutrition Facts
Servings 12.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 296
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 19 g30 %
Saturated Fat 16 g81 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 16 mg5 %
Sodium 28 mg1 %
Potassium 81 mg2 %
Total Carbohydrate 29 g10 %
Dietary Fiber 5 g20 %
Sugars 15 g
Protein 3 g6 %
Vitamin A1 %
Vitamin C3 %
Calcium0 %
Iron3 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Progesterone Injections... what WebMd didn't tell me

Most people are aware I have been doing progesterone injections once a week... I will be doing them from weeks 15 to 25 to *hopefully* make this pregnancy more successful than my last. After week 25 the baby has a much better chance of survival if something happens, and the doctors, Matt, and I will face whatever happens then and not worry about it for now. I will preface all of this by saying that doing these are completely my choice. Basically two things cause what happened in the Fall when my water broke prematurely... infection and an incompetent cervix. Progesterone keeps the cervix from opening and although what happened during that pregnancy was caused by an infection, I do not want to look back if something happens again and wish I would have done something different.

Like most people I know when a doctor suggests something, one of the first things you do is google it. I spent a decent amount of time scouring the internet looking for side effects, statistics on effectiveness, etc. It wasn't until I was experiencing some of my own side effects, and posting a photo on Instagram that I had a bunch of women share their experiences and gave me the symptoms I wish I would have been warned about online! So here it is, my summary of progesterone shots that WedMd didn't tell me. My doctor wrote me a prescription, not covered by insurance, and my options were to go to the doctor weekly to have a nurse give them to me, or since my sister is a nurse, she could give them to me... which honestly is easier and more convenient!

1) The serum, I will call it, is thicker than thick. It has a viscosity of like molasses. That being said it takes some pressure to do the injection. The needles the pharmacy gave me to use were massive... my suggestion would be to ask your Dr. for smaller needles so you don't have to use the ones they give you.
2) The injection will leave a huge knot. Similar to a tetanus or flu shot. Rubbing it right afterwards will help, I was told to ice by some people and not to by others because that just makes it slower. I don't know how to help you here because it seems like it'll exist no matter what.
3) The injection site will burn a few hours later. I do mine around 5pm... and when I lay down to go to sleep 4-5 hours later, if I lay on that side, I feel a burning from the injection site up my back. Not pleasant. It usually it only that first night, but when you are limited to sleeping on your sides and one of the sides feels like that, sleeping is difficult.
4) Itchy!! About a week after the shot, the injection site becomes really, really itchy. And will form a rash if you itch it too much. So on Tuesdays I have one itchy side and one painful side. Not cool.
5) Constipation... I am not sure if this is due to the pregnancy or the shots but my goodness is this not fun. I drink a lot of water, take my vitamins, eat all the fiber and vegetables, exercise and I still feel like a bloated blob that can't poop. Irritating. 
6) Backne. Again... not sure if this is the hormones or the pregnancy... but my back, only my back, not my face, is completely broken out. I am trying every wash and scrub out there and it is still embarrassingly bad. At first I was wearing tops at the gym to hide it, but at this point I am done being ashamed of anything that has to do with this pregnancy so oh well. I never had this in middle school so I guess it's my time!  
7) These are common... so many people I know have either used the progesterone gel or the injections at some point in their pregnancy, if not the whole thing. If the end goal is a healthy baby, then the itchy, burning, inconvenience of a shot is definitely worth  it. :)

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Zoodles and Noodles Galore!

I impressed Matt with my skills making dinner in a flash this week. From start to finish, including getting out and prepping ingredients, two of these recipes took me less than 30 minutes. Meals that can be made in the time it takes a child to be occupied that long- like watch a show (I know, I'm a bad mommy lol)... that's a win! The other was done in a slow cooker which also is easy since beyond putting stuff in it and turning it on, it all you have to do. Get it going, do all the things, come back, dinner. Boom.

I also had leftover noodles and zucchini from the prep so I made spaghetti for dinner. Every time I make spaghetti I make my sauce from scratch, and I also make zucchini noodles. It adds a veggie to the dish and cuts back on the amount of pasta I am eating. I cook the noodles and add the zoodles to the noodles while they are in their boiling water in the last few minutes, drain everything together and you're all set! 

Chicken Zoodle and Noodle Alfredo

I made this with chicken I had grilled and had leftover from my meal prep. It was seasoned with garlic salt and pepper and was perfect and easy in this since all I had to do was grab it out of the fridge.

Serves 4 Normal People or 2-3 Big Eaters

- 2 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and diced
- 3 Tbsp Kerrygold Butter, divided
- 2 Medium Zucchini, spiralized
- 1/2 lb Dried Spaghetti (I used a gluten free brand)
- 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 2 Tbsp All-purpose Flour
- 1 3/4 Cups Milk (I used 2% and a splash more to thin it out at the end)
- 1/2 tsp Dried Thyme
- 1/2 tsp Dried Oregano
- 1/4 Cup+ Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
- Lots of Freshly ground pepper and salt

1. Get the water boiling and cook the pasta until al dente according to the directions on the box. While that is happening, melt 1 Tbsp of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the zucchini and saute 3 minutes. Toss the cooked zoodles in the pot with the drained pasta and set aside.

2. Heat the remaining 2 Tbsp of butter in the zoodle skillet along with the garlic. Cook 2 minutes. Add the 2 Tbsp Flour, cook 1 min whisking until the flour and butter make almost a "paste"
3. Add the thyme and oregano. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Heat until boiling, whisking constantly, until the sauce thickens. Add the sauce to the pasta/zoodles and toss. Add the chicken, salt and pepper to taste and toss once again. Top with more cheese and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts
Servings 4.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 405
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 14 g21 %
Saturated Fat 8 g39 %
Monounsaturated Fat 1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 58 mg19 %
Sodium 254 mg11 %
Potassium 407 mg12 %
Total Carbohydrate 51 g17 %
Dietary Fiber 6 g24 %
Sugars 8 g
Protein 22 g43 %
Vitamin A15 %
Vitamin C17 %
Calcium21 %
Iron13 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken

Super fast to put together... I cooked some broccoli to eat with mine!

- 2-3 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts (you are looking for 2+ lbs), cut into 1" pieces
- 1/2 Cup Coconut Aminos (or low sodium soy sauce)
- 1/4 Cup Ketchup (or tomato paste and balsamic in equal amounts for Paleo)
- 1/4 Cup Rice Vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
- 2 Tbsp Raw Honey
- 5 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 2 Tbsp Grated Ginger
- Pinch Red Pepper Flakes
- 5 Green Onions, sliced, divided
- 1 1/2 Cups Raw Cashews
- Fresh Pepper

1. Whisk the coconut aminos, ketchup, vinegar, honey, ginger, garlic, red pepper and half the onion. 
2. Place the chicken in the slow cooker, top with the sauce and toss to coat. Cook on low 2-3 hours (any more will dry out the chicken) Stir in the cashews and cook another 30 minutes. Top with remaining green onions and enjoy! 

Nutrition Facts
Servings 4.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 396
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 19 g29 %
Saturated Fat 3 g16 %
Monounsaturated Fat 11 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 27 mg9 %
Sodium 2314 mg96 %
Potassium 168 mg5 %
Total Carbohydrate 33 g11 %
Dietary Fiber 2 g7 %
Sugars 21 g
Protein 21 g43 %
Vitamin A1 %
Vitamin C1 %
Calcium16 %
Iron43 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Beef and Broccoli Noodle Stir-Fry

(Serves 4 big eaters or 6 normal eaters)
Inspired by one of my former students and the food blog Damn Delicious's Beef and Broccoli Ramen Stir Fry. This was even better the next day!
-12-oz Udon Noodles
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1.5-2lbs Flank Steak, thinly sliced across the grain
- 1 Bell Pepper, sliced in thin strips
- 2 Carrots, peeled and diced
- 1/2lb Fresh Snow Peas, cut in half
- 1-2 Heads Broccoli, cut into florets
- 3 Green Onions, sliced
- 3/4 Cup Coconut Aminos, or soy sauce
- 3/4 Cup Beef Broth
- 1/4 Cup Raw Honey
- 1/4 Cup Rice Wine Vinegar
- 3 Tbsp Brown Sugar
- 4 Garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tbsp Sesame Oil
- 1 Tbsp Grated Fresh Ginger
- 1 Tbsp Arrowroot Powder (or corn starch)
- 1+ tsp Siracha depending on your heat preference

*I always start by having my veggies cut and ready, waiting, in a large bowl. Then move to the meat so I can use just one cutting board*
1. Boil water and cook the noodles according to package directions. While they are cooking, whisk in a bowl the coconut aminos, beef broth, honey, vinegar, sugar, garlic, ginger, arrowroot, sesame oil, siracha, and 1/2 cup water. Set aside. 

2. Heat a large wok or skillet over medium high heat. Add the steak and cook until browned- 3-5 minutes. Add the veggies, cook another 3-5 minutes until tender, but not mushy. 

Add the noodles and sauce. Toss. Cook until sauce thickens. Garnish with sesame seeds if you have them. :) 
Nutrition Facts
Servings 5.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 568
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 19 g29 %
Saturated Fat 6 g32 %
Monounsaturated Fat 3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 107 mg36 %
Sodium 1298 mg54 %
Potassium 309 mg9 %
Total Carbohydrate 57 g19 %
Dietary Fiber 4 g14 %
Sugars 31 g
Protein 39 g78 %
Vitamin A87 %
Vitamin C89 %
Calcium26 %
Iron61 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.