Confessions of a food blogger!
(or likely just confessions of Lauren)
Week 54 Free Meal Plan
I do not think I have EVER been this organized since starting the blog! I actually have a meal plan out and ready to go less than 12 hours after taking my last bite of dinner day 4! The kitchen is clean and the dishwasher is empty!!!! I know none of you probably care about this, but it feels so amazing to be organized! I am juggling about 100 different things on my plate right now, so I enjoy the small victories like getting the blog out in record time! Okay anyways enough of my blabbering… but seriously sometimes I feel like I am the only one in the world who is completely disorganized. I will pop over to a friends house last minute with no warning and the place is spotless! HOW??? This is the truth for so many of my friends with multiple children and pets! I have one child with no pets and our house looks like the aftermath of a level 5 tornado!
On top of all of my friends having spotless houses, they always tell me what a disaster their houses are and they desperately need to clean them. This makes me feel better, thinking that I am not the only one in the world who cannot stay on top of the day-to-day chores. Then I pop by expecting to see dishes everywhere and toys hanging from the ceiling fan… no their version of the house is a disaster is that they have not scrubbed the floors on their hands and knees in over a week! I actually do not remember when I last cleaned my floors. But if I am being honest, I average about 2-3 times …. per year! Yes I know I am disgusting! My poor orderly German husband! I know it is love!
This confession may surprise many of you. Each week I share pictures of beautiful plates of food, meticulously arranged. I may be fooling you into thinking that my entire household is like that. I cannot believe I am showing you this, but if I were to step away from neatly plated dish you would see the truth:
I had just finished shooting this gorgeous photos:
Two steps back reveals the chaos
I know I titled this confessions of a food blogger, but it is likely just confessions of Lauren! I am sure other food bloggers would see this and gasp in shock and horror to my working conditions! I hope I have not ruined some of the magic for you. I am sending out a plea, is there anybody else out there like me?!!!! Or is this something I should seek professional help for?
Anyways I know you are all here for a meal plan so I will get on to it! I really enjoyed the plan this week and I hope I can provide you with some inspiration heading into next week! Enjoy!
Meal plan 54
Calories 1594, Protein 65 g, Carbohydrates 222 g, Fat 56 g
Dietary lows (any nutrients under 50% of DRI): Omega 3 0.34g, Vitamin B12 1.07 mcg, Vitamin D 34 IU
Green Smoothie Pancakes
(632 kcal for 3 pancakes, 1 kiwi, 1 cup raspberries, 1 tbsp maple syrup)
Thoughts: This recipe was okay for flavour, nothing life changing, but what I loved about these pancakes is how filling they were. I took three pancakes and could not finish them. These wonderfully green flapjacks are so nutrient dense you are left completely satisfied and not counting down the time to your next meal! If you do not want to think about food every 5 minutes at lunch until your lunch break then definitely start your day with this breakfast! Flavour: 3.5/5 Satiety 5/5
Original Recipe: The Lean Green Bean
- 1 cup spinach
- 3/4 cup vanilla greek yogurt
- 2 eggs
- 3 tbsp hemp seeds
- 1/4 cup all natural peanut butter
- 2 kiwis, peeled
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- Warm oven to 200 degrees F.
- In a blender combine spinach, yogurt, eggs, hemp seeds, peanut butter, kiwis, maple syrup, and vanilla extract.
- To spinach mixture add cinnamon, baking powder, and flour. Blend until just combined.
- Warm a frying pan over medium-low heat. Add batter to warm pan 1/4 cup at a time.
- Cook pancake for 1-2 minutes and then flip. Cook the opposite side for an additional 1-2 minutes.
- Remove from pan, place on an oven-safe dish and put in the oven to keep warm.
- When all the batter has been used up serve pancakes with a drizzle of peanut butter or maple syrup and fruit.
Note: I found these pancakes did not necessarily cook like a traditional pancake. If you are waiting for the bubbles to show up on the top of the pancake to know when to flip you will probably do what I did and burn a batch of pancakes. The batter is so dense it does not bubble the same. Instead rely on time.
Asian Pasta Salad
(147 kcal per serving, made 2 servings)
Thoughts: With my pursuit to discover fast convenient healthy food this quick and simple recipe was created. Frozen veggies are awesome! They are a great way to add to nutrients to any meal with out lots of prep work. I really enjoyed this dish. It took 10 minutes to prep and was really yummy. 5/5
- 1/2 box (115g) Cowichan spelt lumache (or any whole grain pasta)
- 1 400g bag asian blend frozen vegetables (I used green giant)
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp ponzu
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- Prepare pasta according to directions.
- In a small bowl mix together all the ingredients for the sauce: soy sauce, ponzu, rice vinegar, honey and sesame seeds.
- Warm a frying pan over medium heat. Add cooked pasta, frozen veggies and sauce.
- Mix until sauce evenly coats pasta and veggies. Cook for 6-8 minutes until veggies are cooked. Serve immediately.
Jalapeño Popper Black Bean Burgers
(668 kcal for 1 burger, 1 whole grain bun, 1 tbsp mayo, 30g cheddar cheese, tomato and spinach)
Thoughts: I love a good veggie burger! However, this was not good! It was a hot mess actually. Only one of the three burgers held together somewhat, and the flavour was lacking. I had high hopes for this recipe, but I was left feeling disappointed. After my first burger fell apart I coated the next ones in a Panko crust, which seemed to help hold them together better. This was alright, but I did not enjoy it enough to make again. 2.5/5
Original Recipe: Eats Well With Others
Ingredients (I halted the original recipe and I did not add cilantro)
- 2 jalapeños, halved and seeded (I used poblano, grocery store was out of jalapeños)
- 1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed well
- 1 large egg
- 2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/8 tsp salt
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 shallot minced
- 2 oz cream cheese softened
- Topping options: cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado etc!
- Roast jalapeños and bell pepper by placing them on your gas oven burner until skin turns black. Remove skin it should come off easily. If you do not have a gas stove top click here and refer to step 1 in the instructions.
- Place 1 1/4 cups black beans in a large bowl and mash until smooth, set aside.
- In a small bowl whisk together egg, cumin, salt and cayenne.
- Stir egg mixture with remaining beans, Panko, bell pepper, and shallots. Mix in with the mashed beans.
- In another small bowl combine roasted jalapeños with cream cheese.
- To assemble, form bean mixture into 3 patties. Divide cream cheese mixture evenly among the patties. Stuff the cream cheese in each patty so that the black been mixture completely surrounds the filling.
- Heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. When oil begins to shimmer add patties and cook until both sides are brown; about 4-5 minutes per side.
- Assemble burger with toppings and enjoy!
Calories 1647, Protein 78 g, Carbohydrates 228 g, Fat 53 g
Dietary lows (any nutrient under 50% of DRI): Vitamin D 200.54
Black bean burger burrito & simple fruit smoothie
(832 kcal for burrito and smoothie)
Thoughts: The burgers from last night did not hold together very well so to make a burger with the leftovers was not really an option. I decided to use the left overs in a breakfast burrito and it was fantastic! Even Charley downed these burritos. I would definitely have this dish again, but I am not sure I would repeat the black bean burger recipe. I will have to try a different black bean burger recipe so I can make these burritos again. 5/5
When I run low on fresh fruit I rely on frozen fruit and veggies. It is a great way to obtain some of your DRI values. I made just a simple smoothie nothing fancy, but it was really yummy and I know Charley will always down a smoothie! 5/5
Burrito (my portion)
- 1 whole grain tortilla (I used a sundried tomato tortilla because that was all I had, but whole grain is your healthier choice)
- 1/2 black bean burger from dinner on day 1
- 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1 egg, hardboiled or scrambled
- 1/4 cup salsa
Smoothie (made 2 servings, I had 1 serving)
- 2 cups coconut milk beverage
- 2 frozen bananas
- 1 1/2 cups frozen fruit mix (mango, peaches, strawberries)
- Mash black bean burger in the centre of the tortilla. Place in Microwave and warm for 25 seconds.
- Top with cheese, cooked egg, and salsa.
- Fold all the the ingredients into your tortilla and serve.
1. Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.
Flax & Chia Cheddar Green Onion Donuts
(184 kcal per donut, made 6 donuts)
Thoughts: Ummm….YES!!! When I saw the original recipe from The Kitchy Kitchen I thought the addition of the nutmeg would be disgusting, but it worked so perfectly with the other flavours! The only reason I played around with the original recipe was because I wanted to increase the nutrient density. Flax seeds and chia seeds are high in Omega 3 fatty acids. I hate working with all-purpose flour, there is no nutritional value to it, but when it comes to baking I get nervous playing around with it. Instead of changing the flour I chose to add the flax and chia. The flavour of the flax seeds works perfectly with the nutmeg! I will definitely eat…I mean make these again! (best warm right out of the oven!!!) 5/5
Adapted from: The Kitchy Kitchen
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tbsp white sugar
- 3 tbsp flax seeds
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 3 tbsp water
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup green onion, sliced
- 2 tbsp butter/margarine, melted
- 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Warm oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a small bowl combine chia seeds with water and set aside.
- Grease a donut pan and distribute 1/4 cup cheese evenly between each donut tin. Set aside.
- In a large measuring cup or medium bowl combine together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, sugar, and flax seeds. Place to the side.
- In a small bowl whisk together milk, lemon juice, chia seed mixture, and green onion. Whisk in melted butter/margarine.
- Combine the wet and dry ingredients until they are just mixed together. DO NOT OVER MIX!!! Over mixing will leave you with a very dense donut.
- Scoop donut batter evenly into donut pan.
- Place in oven and cook 12-15 minutes. It is okay if they are not golden brown.
- Claire from the Kitchy Kitchen recommends that you switch your oven to broil after the donuts have cooked, flip the donuts over onto a baking sheet so that the cheese is facing up, and broil your donuts for 1-2 minutes. You want to broil just until the cheese is golden brown and bubbling. Do not walk away they can burn quickly! Anyways I did follow this recommended step and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you listen to her! It provides the best crunch to the donut! So wonderful!
Crispy Orange Beef
(631 kcal with 1 cup rice and 1 cup mixed vegetables – peas, corn & edamame. Recipe made 4 servings of beef)
Thoughts: While the picture looks beautiful none of us were fans of this dish. Jordan and I both found that the citrus was overpowering. I had high hopes for this dish because it looked delicious, but we were let down. I did have to make some substitutions because I thought I had some groceries that I did not! Ugh I hate it when that happens. The original recipe may be fantastic and my substitutions probably just destroyed the original dish. I encourage you to give the original recipe a try for yourself.
Calories 1418, Carbohydrates 179 g, Protein 52 g, Fat 59 g
Dietary lows (anything under 50% of DRI): Omega 6 3.26 g, Vitamin B3 5.85 mg, Vitamin C 18.40 mg (I am surprised this is so far off, I need to double check this one), Vitamin D 175 IU, Vitamin E 6.79 IU, potassium 1233 mg
Thoughts: Meh…… not one of my best creations! It was pretty to photograph, but that was about it. It had a bit of a gummy texture, I was distracted and over cooked the amaranth. I probably won’t make this little experiment again. 2.5/5
Ingredients (I had half of this portion)
- 1/2 cup amaranth
- 1 1/2 cups coconut milk beverage
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tbsp flax seeds
- 1 tbsp shredded coconut
- Put amaranth and coconut milk beverage into a pot and bring to a boil.
- Once at a boil reduce heat to a simmer and cover for 15-20 minutes, until the liquid has absorbed.
- While amaranth is cooking place blueberries with water in a small pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Once blueberries are heated through, approximately 3-5 minutes, mix cornstarch with 1 tbsp cold water.
- Pour cornstarch in with blueberries and bring to a boil for 1-2 minutes, just until the sauce has thickened.
- Pour blueberries over amaranth. Serve with additional milk if you desire.
Spicy egg salad
Thoughts: This is one of those meals that I was so sad when it was done! I loved these donuts from the day before and thought it would work well as a sandwich. I was so right!!! I could eat this every single day for lunch! The sriracha was also a fantastic addition to the classic egg salad! I will definitely make this again 10/5
- 1 flax & chia cheddar onion donut (from lunch the day before)
- 1 egg, hardboiled & chopped
- 1/2 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1/4 tsp sriracha
- 1/4 cup spinach
- In a small bowl mix together egg, mayonnaise and sriracha.
- To assemble the sandwich layer spinach on one half of the donut, top with egg salad mix, followed by the second half of the donut. Enjoy!
Quinoa Spaghetti Carbonara
(770 kcal I had 1 serving along with 1 cup mixed veggies: peas, corn & edamame. Makes 3 servings)
Thoughts: This was yummy. How could it not be with bacon and cheese as the main ingredients?!!! I would probably make this again, it was quick and tasty. I just need to work on my technique, my sauce was a bit clumpy. I also used the quinoa spaghetti that I have used in the past. 5/5
Original Recipe: Damn Delicious
- 1 box Quinoa Spaghetti
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- 4 slices bacon, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp parsley, chopped (I used 1 tsp dried)
- Prepare pasta according to directions. Reserve pasta water.
- In a small bowl combine together eggs and parmesan.
- Warm a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook bacon until brown and crispy. Drain excess fat into a heat-proof bowl.
- Add 2 tbsp bacon grease back into pan with bacon along with minced garlic. Cook until garlic is fragrant and golden about 1-2 minutes. Reduce heat to low.
- Move quickly: stir in pasta and egg mixture, gently toss to combine.
- Add reserved pasta water one tbsp at a time until you reach your preferred consistency.
- Serve immediately and garnish with parsley.
Calories 1203, Protein 36 g, Carbohydrates 202 g, Fat 40 g
Dietary Lows (any nutrient under 50% of DRI): Omega 6 0.45 g, Vitamin B1 0.43 mg, B3 4.94 mg, B5 1.78 mg, folate 106 mcg, Vitamin D 62 IU, Vitamin E 5.43 IU, zinc 2.96 mg
Note: this is one of the frustrations with the current nutrition labeling on prepared foods, they provide only a small glimpse of what you are actually eating. They lack lots of important information. These dietary shortages are not reliable.
Blueberry pie smoothie
(277 kcal per serving. Made 2 servings)
Thoughts: This was so good and super filling! I would definitely have this again. 5/5
- 1/2 cup oats
- 1 cup blueberries frozen
- 1 cup coconut milk beverage
- 1 cup coconut water
- 1 tbsp flaxseed
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup ice
- 1 frozen banana
Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
Thoughts: I was so full from the smoothie I really had no desire for a large lunch. I kept it simple crackers, cheese, and an apple! Have you ever had applewood smoked cheddar cheese?!!! My friend Amy got me hooked on it several years ago. It is amazing!!! If cheese is your downfall, the nice thing with applewood smoked cheddar is the flavour is so rich and wonderful that a small portion goes a long way to satisfy a craving. 5/5
Gyoza & Bok Choy
(380 kcal for 9 gyoza, sauce, and 2 cups bok choy)
Thoughts: After a week of elaborate meal planning, promising myself that I would begin to slow down I decided to go with a more convenient dinner for the evening. Overall these pre-cooked gyoza from Costco are on the healthier side for convenience food. Obviously cooking from scratch is always the healthiest, but that is not reality for many of us. The main problem with everything that is prepared, no matter how healthy a product attempts to be, they are always high in sodium! This is no exception. But overall a healthier convenient choice and super yummy! 5/5
- 1 package Sum-m ginger sesame chicken gyoza
- 8-10 baby shanghai Bok Choy, washed well
- 1/2 tbsp grapeseed oil
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 cup water
- Prepare gyoza according to packaged directions.
- Warm a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and seasoning to pan. Add bok Choy and stir. Add water and cover pan until water has evaporated, about 2-3 minutes. You want bok choy al dente.
- 1/4 cup dried apricots
- 10 g dark chocolate
- 4 small carrots