meals, june 1-6

After a VERY long weekend of indulgences (cupcakes, brown butter rice krispy treats, orange cake), it’s time to get back on track.

Yesterday, I had: a string cheese; two boiled eggs; cherries; SmartPop cheddar (1c); and some water. We did bunless Bubba burgers (+cheese) on the grill tonight with lettuce, tomato, pickles & Primal’s thousand island dressing, plus grilled corn on the cob and raw vegetables/salads. They really hit the spot.

Today, I had plain Greek yogurt with 1t honey, strawberries, and almonds for breakfast and for lunch, boiled eggs, string cheese, honey wheat pretzels, and a nectarine. We are making shrimp scampi with EVOO, red pepper flakes, garlic (lots and lots of garlic), chickpea pasta, artichokes, spinach, tomatoes, and grated parmesan for dinner.

For the weekend, we will do egg & cheese English muffin sandwiches for breakfast; followed by grilling a whole chicken Saturday and serving with grilled potatoes, beets, and salad and then on Sunday, grilled chicken and Bolocco-inspired buffalo chicken bowls for dinners. These are a big hit — rice (Banza chickpea rice), chicken, Noble’s buffalo sauce, celery, carrots, lettuce, and tomato. My husband and the kids like bleu cheese dressing on theirs; I typically opt out of it.

I wanted to keep meals simple next week, so I’m planning turkey sandwiches for weekday lunches alongside salads; chickpea pasta with tomatoes, spinach, red wine vinegar, and parmesan or homemade fish sticks, Annie’s mac & cheese, and raw vegetables for dinners. Nothing really exciting. We may head to Chipotle one night to mix things up a little but stay on the simple path.

We have a birthday party coming up and with the end of the school year to-do, this is just easier to maintain. I plan on using this planning idea through the summer — lots of vegetables to have salads, bowls, and pasta and a few packages of meat to grill when desired seems like the best way to go about things.

meals, may 17-24

Because 3 and I planned our first adventure, I’d already figured on burgers for Friday but I’m thinking I’d prefer a lighter fare, so I’m switching things up a bit.

I have been feeling a bit defeated that my weight isn’t going down at the pace I was planning. I’ll have periods where I’ll drop and then plateau and it’s frustrating. My body is definitely changing composition (thanks, yoga) and I’m fitting into clothing differently (and clothing that previously was too tight to wear), which is great but that number is just not moving. I know that I should be grateful for the endurance I’m building (and I am) and that my running pace is decreasing — I am definitely seeing all types of non-scale victories but that doesn’t help me not dwell on the number.

I’ve been reading that people who are healthiest tend to eat the same things over and over. I have been doing this, largely, but I think I’m consuming far more meat products that I’d prefer. I used to not eat meat at all and now it’s center stage in all three meals, basically.

This week, we are going to mix things up a bit: open-faced breakfast sandwiches and refried bean tacos for lunches during the week and then grilled meat and salads for dinner. I am hoping this brings more of the balance I’m looking for and won’t require so much day-to-day cooking on my part. I have been getting A LOT of chicken kebab salads from a local place (it’s a nice .75miles r/t walk) and I like that they serve pita with their salads, so I think I’ll grab some of those for us to have with ours to really round everything out if we want to add a little more substance. I also think I’m going to roast some baby potatoes as an alternate carb option.

My husband and I are going away next weekend for a few days, so it’ll be nice to see how this works and if it’s worth our while when we get back from our long weekend trip.


meals, may 10-16

Last weekend didn’t quite go according to plan. I missed yoga on Saturday and Sunday due to a sore throat and ear ache (thanks, rain) but I’m felling better now and I’m looking forward to the weekend ahead: Mother’s Day brunch & surprises; back on track with yoga and working out. Monday is my last class of the semester (and the upcoming year, thanks to a sabbatical), so once my final grades are submitted, 3 and I are heading out on our first adventure of break!

I started using Instacart last week for groceries to save some time/money. I can get groceries from multiple stores without running around. We are trying out the Express membership for two weeks and then will decide if $99/year makes sense. The fact that they can deliver from BJ’s makes me think it will be worth our while, but we’ll see.

We are going to keep our at-home meals simple and quick (and mostly healthy).

Friday — BBQ chicken legs, potatoes, and a spinach salad.

Saturday — What a busy day we have planned: 3 has soccer and from there, I’m heading to yoga. We are going out to dinner to celebrate Mother’s Day early with 11/13 since they will spend Sunday with their mom. Breakfast will be quick — cereal.

Sunday — Happy Mother’s Day! We are having brunch in Boston after yoga at one of my favorite places — blueberry gin may be calling me name. For dinner, we are going to stick with something easy — buffalo SHRIMP skewers on the grill and beets.

Monday — It’s my last day of class and 13 is having a tooth extraction, so I wanted something easy, nutritious, and soft: Unstuffed cabbage and mashed potatoes.

Tuesday — Taco Tuesday and we’re switching it up this week with taco mac: quinoa pasta, ground turkey, black beans, peppers, shredded cheddar, and Greek yogurt.

Wednesday — It’s just my husband, 11 & 13, and I know that H is in the throws of the busy season at work (meaning, he will likely have more work to do after he picks the kids up from school). I want to make things easy, so I figured on a crockpot meal that I can put in before I head out on 3’s and my adventure. I figured on meatballs and lentil pasta. I know that it’s pasta two days in a row but it’s easy and there are zero people in my house who complain about eating pasta; a salad kit can round this out nicely.

Thursday — Leftovers / sausage stir-fry.

I went really easy/lazy this week to help my husband get out the door quickly and grabbed some pre-made breakfast sandwiches. It’ll be easy to pair them with an applesauce or some fruit and call it a day before school. My husband will take his usual lineup of Greek yogurt, string cheese, boiled eggs, Kind bar, and a banana. Lunches are equally as simple: slow cook chicken breasts and shred over salad kits. My husband has work meetings all week, so he’ll be eating there and this will make things as simple as possible for him once 3 and I are on our trip.

meals, may 3-9

Well, it’s May now! I have two weeks of classes to go and the day after my last class, I’m taking my toddler on our first summer adventure. My husband and the older two will meet us for a fun post-school swim before heading home and back to school/work the next day. I’m so excited!

I was exhausted this past week. I missed my beloved Tuesday night yoga class and Wednesday’s run/weight training. I just had no energy to give. I’m hoping to get back to normal this coming week. Over the weekend, my husband and son are doing a 5K walk together (likely in the rain). I’m going to meet them after yoga for brunch at a place in Boston we’ve never tried. If we’re being truthful here, I’m dying a slow death waiting for the rainy season to end and am really just trying to stay as positive as possible.

Friday, we are going to take it easy and make a casual meal with steak frites with chimichurri and serve it with a tomato-mozzarella salad. Simple and delicious.

Saturday, we are going to be home and I’m looking forward to making something healthy and different. We will start our morning with yoga/soccer and then follow it up with stuffed acorn squash from True Roots (P11) for brunch. For dinner, we are going to stick with goat cheese stuffed jalapeños (True Roots, P150), buffalo shrimp, and something else that is yet to be determined (but possibly buffalo chicken/spinach artichoke dip).

Sunday, we are meeting for brunch after the 5K & yoga. I know that we are going to indulge (hello, pancakes or crab meat hash!), so I wanted to keep dinner easy and healthy: Tumeric-glazed mahi mahi (True Roots, P67) and a healthy side of beets.

Monday is Monday. I have two classes left and this class starts our presentations. I am going to make Chrissy Teigan’s sesame chicken noodles recipe (Cravings, P89) to eat in my car before class. 

Tuesday is always tough to plan because I have yoga and I’d like to get in two yoga classes. This means that I’ll probably try to eat a substantial lunch and take a small snack to have between classes and a smoothie for the way home. I’m not sure that this is sustainable but I’d like to try it. I came up with chicken sausage, spinach, and potatoes. I’ll take crackers as a snack to have between classes and a smoothie for the car-ride home.

Wednesday, finally! Family dinner night! Buffalo chicken salads — I know this is no surprise. This week, we are going to try to remake SweetGreen’s buffalo chicken salads: pickled celery & carrots, blackened chicken thighs, tomatoes, lettuce, hot sauce, and caesar dressing.

Thursday is typically our date night but we won’t really have any this month due to travels of our sitter and then us, so we will make something date-night worthy at home: 3 requested Chrissy Teigan’s Cacio e Pepe (Cravings, P79). I use chickpea pasta, shredded parmesan and will probably add more arugula to the mix. This recipe is a big hit in my house.

Breakfasts during the week will be easy: Eggs & fruit. (If you’ve not noticed, we eat eggs with great frequency.) Lunches for all will be chicken sausage, potatoes, and spinach.

Here’s to a great week of eating ahead!

meals, april 26-may 2

April has flown by! We’ve done a fair bit of entertaining with houseguests and Easter and I just can’t really believe that May is just around the corner. We are trying to get back into the swing of eating better and relying less on takeout. We definitely go through phases where we don’t feel like cooking and then order food and with guests in town, we definitely weren’t making the best food choices. For example, my mom brought these pizzas you can only get in western PA: I put American cheese on my sauce pizza and I broke out into a rash after eating it — this did not slow me down, as I ate the entire thing. Myself. I have one left in the freezer that I’m trying to have my brother take.

This week, we did a lot of vegetables and salad. Since I somehow deleted the post for this, I’ll give a quick run-down:

Monday — True Roots roasted chicken with roasted carrots & potatoes. I ate this like a savage after class. This is one of my favorite recipes from TR and it’s so simple.

Tuesday — We used leftover chicken from Monday to make chicken salads and topped them with Primal’s Mild Buffalo sauce, Alexia fries, tomatoes, pickled jalapeños, and boiled eggs leftover from Easter.

Wednesday — Sauerkraut and turkey kielbasa in the slow cooker, plus mashed potatoes to round it all out.

Thursday — Date night.

For lunches, my husband threw together quinoa, frozen peppers, and sausages in the rice cooker. I sautéed 365 spinach-chicken sausage and had them for lunches with tomato salads; I also had tuna with Simple Mills rosemary crackers as another lunch/snack option.

This week, we are going to keep with the simple cooking ideas. I wouldn’t mind getting into the habit of doing something a little special on Saturdays for dinner since we are all together and have the time to make something a little more elaborate. This week, I figured I’d go with a Tex-Mex theme and am really looking forward to what I have planned.

Weekend breakfasts will be simple: Saturday and Sunday, I am doing yoga so we are going to hold off on big breakfasts. We have acai bowls from TJ’s that will account for one day and I am going to make chocolate chia pudding for the other.

We are also going to do some large-batch cooking/grilling so that we aren’t having to spend a lot of time making dinners nightly. For the weekend, we are going to grill three pounds of chicken thighs. We are going to use them for Friday & Saturday dinners and lunches on Saturday & Sunday. I’ll do the same on Monday before class with three pounds of ground beef.

Friday — Skewers with BBQ chicken thighs, red pepper chunks, and pineapple plus foil-packet-potatoes.

Saturday — Chicken fajitas with frozen peppers, pickled jalapeños, tomatoes, and avocado; Siete queso, salsa, and guac.

Sunday — Buffalo chicken salads with the remaining chicken thighs, tomatoes, pickled jalapeños, boiled eggs, fries, and carrots.

Monday — 11 has a field trip and I have class, so planning something easy is key: Slow-cooker Taco Soup (from Pinterest). I’ll grab sour cream to go with this and some tortilla chips.

Tuesday —  Taco Tuesday with ground beef, frozen peppers, crunchy shells & Spanish rice

Wednesday — Asian meatballs (basically, dumplings without the wonton) served with stir-fried bok choy and Chinese potatoes.

Thursday — Leftover taco soup while my husband and I are out for date night.

Lunches during the week — chicken sausage, spinach, and tomato salads for me; my husband will do sauce, peppers, and sausage with rice. The kids will have sandwiches or kielbasa, peppers, and rice.

Breakfasts for the week are egg cups with prosciutto.

charcuterie boards

I have enjoyed using my many cookbooks to put together meals when we have guests visiting. Our most recent purchase was a book titled: Boards & Platters:


I took inspiration from a couple of the boards in here and created my own spread. My family REALLY liked the tahini-coconut dip for vegetables and we will be making this regularly as the summer rolls in because vegetable trays are that much easier to have on hand than salads are to make.

We had a great spread with sourdough bread and fresh Italian; a fruit tray with raspberries, blackberries, and dragonfruit plus some sugared & baked pink grapefruit for a special treat. To that, we added a tray of genoa, napoli, and soppressata salamis as well as a nice mortadella (our local grocery didn’t have pistachio mortadella though that is my preference). Additional accompaniments to this were goat cheese, drunken goat cheese, raclette, and manchego cheeses plus orange marmalade, organic cacao chocolate spread, and grass-fed butter. Then, came olives and spicy gardinia to bridge the gap between the meats/cheeses and the vegetable tray which has Easter radishes, purple/yellow/orange carrots, a yellow bell pepper, snap beans, grape tomatoes, broccoli, and cauliflower (along with the tahini dip mentioned above).

This spread was fresh, filling, and delicious and was a big hit (as were the mimosas served with it).


What are your favorite spreads for entertaining?

meals, april 12-18

We are excited to have visitors at the house — even though things will be busy with the upcoming marathon, I still like to plan and entertain guests.

With their visit, we are making things super simple on Thursday — rotisserie chicken, broccoli fries, and leftover vegetables/salad from the week.

Friday, we are going to make buffalo chicken salads with fries.

Saturday, we will do a lovely brunch and keep it simple with Art Smith’s Steel-Cut Oats with Greek Yogurt & Blueberries (Healthy Comfort, P15) but will substitute Icelandic yogurt.  For dinner, my husband and I are going out, so I figured on leftover rotisserie chicken and rice bowls, chipotle style, with lettuce, tomatoes, jalapeños, cilantro-lime dressing, and guacamole.

Sunday, will start with a light breakfast before church (Art Smith’s oatmeal/yogurt). We are going to host a post-church/yoga brunch with a platters from our new cookbook: Platters and Boards by Shelly Westerhausen & Wyatt Worcel (P52 & 73). For dinner, we are going to do marinated chicken on the grill and potatoes, served with leftover vegetables from brunch, beets and chimichurri. We will also make cupcakes to decorate to inspire my husband to run a great marathon!

Monday, we will do sprouted bagels for breakfast, fruit, and tomato salad (for me); we will go out for dinner or order delivery after the marathon.

Tuesday, my parents are staying an extra day so that my husband can take a yoga class with me. We will probably grab dinner afterwards or something else on Boylston Street. My parents and the kids will have chicken sausage & pasta with leftover vegetables or beets.

Wednesday, we are going to make things easy shredded beef with carrots, mashed potatoes, and leftover vegetables/beets/salads.

Thursday, date night. The kids will have leftovers.

For weekday breakfasts, the kids will have chia pudding, cereal, or eggs; for lunches, we have stuff to make pizzas and turkey sandwiches/grilled cheese. I’ll likely make smoothies and the kids will have fruit and vegetables and cheese sticks to round these lunches out.


meals, april 5-11

Happy meal planning! I planned out two weeks (loosely) so that I could get what I need from Whole Foods (meats/specialty items) and Peapod the rest for the following week. Hopefully, this makes things easier on us.

Friday, my husband is going to make corned beef, cabbage, and mashed potatoes to enjoy post-yoga. I can’t wait! We will be able to use the leftover corned beef for hash over the weekend.

We are planning a trip to the Children’s Museum on Saturday morning (after our hash) and hoping to meet my brother for a late lunch afterwards. If we are looking for something to pick at, we will make a charcuterie board to enjoy. It’s such an easy snack to assemble.

Sunday, I’ll take my 9AM class that I enjoy and we will do a brunch afterwards with pancakes and fruit — we haven’t made pancakes in a long time, so I’m really looking forward to this. We haven’t done pancakes in a while and this seems like a nice way to come down from the busy weekend. For dinner, we are going to keep it simple — and grill some chicken, throw some sprouted brown rice in the rice cooker, lettuce, tomato, and jalapeños. I also bought Primal’s Cilantro-Lime dressing to add to this!

Monday is a class day, so I’ll take leftovers from Sunday and call it a day. I’m sure my husband will put something together; I know we have a frozen pizza as an option.

Tuesday night is yoga and I like to run to Dig Inn afterwards — it is our special treat and I’m a big fan of their beets, their citrus salad, and roasted chicken breast with pesto on the side. This is the ultimate late-dinner food for me! (My husband has me get him the strangest combo: wild rice, sweet potatoes, mac&cheese, and meatballs.)

Wednesday night, my husband has a marathon pot-luck hosted by his running club, so I’ll be on my own to get dinner on the table. We will probably do something simple barbacoa bowls with a crockpot roast.

Thursday night is typically date night but my parents are coming up for the marathon; they’ll get in late, so we will knock out any leftovers and call it a day. If we don’t have leftovers, we can always order something.

I am going to try to get more smoothies in this week and keep balance with a play on the sandwich — instead of bread, I want to use two thick tomato slices and stuff it full of turkey, guac, and mustard.

meal planning & groceries

I continue to wrack my brain over how to save any money with groceries. As it stands, we spend about $250-$300/week. Granted, that feeds five people all meals and snacks, with the exception of date night or the occasional carry out Sunday. We don’t eat out much as a family; in fact, my husband and I were just recently trying to recall the last time the five of us all went to breakfast together. (It’s been over a year.) I also try to buy high quality foods — I am big on grass fed and free range meats/eggs, hormone free dairy, and organic produce for at least the dirty dozen. I make fruit snacks and breakfast for the kids most days though we do the quick (store bought) cereal/granola bars as well.

Ultimately, it would be nice to grab a few things at Whole Foods and then a few things at our local Stop & Shop, with a quick trip to Trader Joe’s for the rest but that’s just not feasible. TJ’s is 35 minutes north of us and I just can’t imagine driving up there weekly or even monthly to grab a handful of items. I order most of our non-perishables through Thrive Market online and notice that there is a definite savings on some of our favorites (Siete grain free tortilla chips, Simple Mills crackers, chickpea pasta, tuna, salad dressings, nuts (if there’s not TJ’s trip on the horizon), and their dark chocolates to name a few).

In addition to the cost of food is the inconvenience of going to the store. Last Friday, my husband took three kids to Whole Foods where he spent about 90 minutes of all of their lives. I know I could have been in/out in under 45 but it was either yoga or WF, and obviously there’s no competition there. On the weekends 13/11 are with their mom, it’s easiest for me to head out on my own because there are fewer distractions and things to tend to, but otherwise, there are no real solutions we’ve been able to come up with.

I have proposed that I try to go back to planning for two weeks out or at least buy enough meat for two weeks at WF. I can get decent produce at S&S delivered through Peapod, which will eliminate any impulse buys and will give me my time back. (Note, I do not prefer this as I really like to pick out my own produce BUT I recognize that we have to sacrifice something to get that time back.)

We will see how this plan works through April and hopefully, we will start to feel a little less weight on our shoulders.


meals, march 29-april 1

We now are a home with a teenager, as 12 is 13.

It’s wild, man.

We are doing a celebratory dinner over the weekend to celebrate the teenage years. Because we will be out celebrating, my typical yoga schedule is going to need tweaked some, which means our meal schedule will need that as well.

Saturday and Sunday for breakfast, we will do parfaits. We did them last weekend for brunch and I want to make sure we use all of the granola before it gets stale. These parfaits will be simple: Icelandic plain yogurt, honey, granola, and berries. It’s a decent breakfast — high in calories and rather filling.

For the week, the kids are going to take egg sandwiches; they’re quick, easy, and filling and I can send them with a fruit and vegetable smoothie to round things out nutritionally.

Weekday lunches will be in the slow cooker. We have two freezer meals left and they’ll both be used this week. Easy. I will probably do salads and smoothies to have before class/yoga.

Dinners will vary, as usual.

Friday — I’ll be at yoga and will probably stop at Dig Inn afterwards; I’ll also swing by Georgetown Cupcake and grab a special treat for Saturday. My husband and the kids will keep it simple with a sheet pan beef fajitas with peppers, Spanish rice, and salads.

Saturday — Chrissy Teigan’s scalloped potatoes and beets on the side.

Sunday — We’ve been trying to keep Sundays simple; takeout or easy meals so that we have some down time and feel like we can actually rest some over the weekend. This Sunday is no different — I will make a pasta salad in the morning for dinner and we will load it with vegetables to make sure it’s filling enough.

Monday — Sheet sausage, potatoes, and peppers with a big salad.

Tuesday — I’ll be at yoga: Tuna mac and salads it is!

Wednesday — Cheeseburgers on the grill with sliced tomatoes, pickles, and thousand island dressing; plus fries and raw vegetables on the side.

Thursday — Date night! The kids will have frozen pizza and salads/raw vegetables.