Meal Planning Mondays: Green Smoothie in a Jar

A few months ago, I posted an idea for storing green smoothie ingredients ahead of time in baggies in the freezer for the week. I loved the concept of having almost all smoothie ingredients portioned out in the freezer. I didn’t love using baggies.

As much as I intended to reuse the baggies, when it came time to make a smoothie little pieces of ingredients would get left behind in the bag. Since I wasn’t refilling the bag right then, I didn’t want to save the baggies for reuse later. So I almost always ended up throwing them away.

I hate to waste baggies, especially for something like this that I’m doing everyday. They are not good for the environment and I like to be independent of using disposable things like plastic grocery bags and baggies when possible.

Green Smoothie Ingredient Storage

I had gotten some canning jars to can lemon juice from the lemons growing on our lemon tree in the backyard, and got the idea to try the pint-sized canning jars for storing green smoothie ingredients. I tried one at first, and it worked like a charm! continue…

Meal Planning: Breakfast Protein Smoothies

My favorite smoothie is my peanut butter banana smoothie and its yummy variations (my latest favorite will be posted tomorrow!).

My fiancé likes to drink protein smoothies for breakfast on days he goes to work. I don’t think it is necessarily for the taste. This is more of a utilitarian smoothie. I tried to do protein smoothies a while back when he got into them, but I couldn’t add enough peanut butter or bananas to mask the taste of the protein powder. We even tried to make a green smoothie with protein powder and almond milk once – I would warn you to not try this! You might be scarred for life!

The protein smoothie isn’t all that bad, and we have tried to add other ingredients to make it more palatable. I share this smoothie recipe not because I am particularly excited about this specific drink (can you tell?) but because I am so excited about the system I came up with for preparing the smoothies ahead of time so I could easily make them in the mornings without having to pull out 10 different things from the cabinet.

I came up with this idea after my idea of preparing green smoothie ingredients ahead of time and storing them in baggies in the freezer. As you will see, the ingredients for this particular smoothie are mostly dry, allowing them to be stored in an airtight container in the cabinet, simplifying the smoothie making process.

One day I was making a protein smoothie and figured I would try to see if the dry ingredients would fit into one of the cute little spice jars we are using for our labeled spice collection. They did! continue…

Green Smoothies: Simplified

Green smoothies are awesome. That’s a fact. They actually don’t even take all that much time to prepare, but sometimes in the morning pulling ten different items out of the fridge, freezer, and pantry isn’t the most appealing thing to do. Not to mention that time may not allow for such things.

I got the idea to pre-prep green smoothie ingredients in baggies and store them in the freezer in passing from another blog (I can’t remember who now!) several years ago. A few weeks ago, I finally decided to try it out.

I started with just two. I wanted to make sure that all the ingredients froze okay. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it worked! Even the avocado froze beautifully (while perfectly retaining its green hue).

A few weekends ago I decided to go for it and prepared five baggies of green smoothie ingredients for the week. I would have done ten, but I ran out of baggies. continue…

Weekly Meal Planning Progress & Cauliflower Taco Shells

Last week my healthy weekly meal plan came crashing down on Wednesday evening. Overcome by work-related tasks, I succumbed to the ease of ordering quesadilla explosion salads at Chili’s after a long afternoon of task-mastering at the Starbucks conveniently located in the same plaza as Chili’s.

After that, I lost my low-carb cooking momentum, and proceeded to order in pizza on Thursday, Chinese on Friday, and calzones on Saturday. Ugh.

What Didn’t Work

I recognize that I had a choice. I was the one who chose to order in when I could have chosen to make the zucchini lasagna, shrimp cauliflower stir fry, or almond flour pizza. However, I believe that the short term consequences to my physical health aside, I made the right choice for my mental sanity. So that’s something. continue…

How to Use Evernote to Plan Weekly Meals & A Healthier Bread Recipe

It’s Sunday. The day of planning meals for the rest of the week. I know some people do Meal Planning Mondays. I have tried that in the past, but by Monday night the last thing I want to do is spend hours cooking. So Sundays it is.

Using Evernote to Plan Meals

A few weeks ago I got back into working on a menu plan in Evernote that works for me. This has been a work in progress for over a year. My goal is to have meals thought out a season (three months) at a time. Right now, I am working on getting down one week at a time.

We are always experimenting with making everyday meals that we like into their healthier (which usually means lower carb) versions. Cauliflower is the low carb secret weapon. I love mashed cauliflower, and last week made a shrimp cauliflower fried rice that was really good. Couldn’t even taste the cauliflower.

My goal is to have about 10 healthy recipes that we like and are relatively easy to make to rotate throughout a month. While I am still figuring out what those recipes are, I have decided to think and plan smaller until I have a better grip on what I am doing.

My fiancé, Michael, and I have a shared Evernote notebook called “Culinary – Food” that contains tons of recipes and a note entitled “Menu”. Click here for a sample of the menu I have created in Evernote for the current week. Below I describe in more detail my rationale for organizing my weekly menu this way by column.

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Blogust Schedule at a Glance

Since I have committed myself to 30 more consecutive days of posting, I figured today would be a good time to plan out my posts for the month. I have been wanting to do this ever since I started blogging but never got a grip on the organization of my thoughts more than a few days in advance.

Themed Days

I have always liked the idea of posting based on specific themes on certain days of the week. This is how I came up with the idea for Meditation Mondays. Here is the general idea for my posting schedule during Blogust: continue…

What’s in Your Green Smoothie?

I remember attending a seminar with “The Juice Man” as a kid with my family at the request of my mom. My mom has been into juicing ever since. We always had some kind of juicer around. I wanted to be into juicing growing up, but it always seemed like too much work to sustain on a daily basis.

The nice thing about green smoothies is that there isn’t some gross pile of pulp to cleanup afterwards like there is with juicing. It is a much more streamlined process to throw the ingredients in the blender and just rinse out a small cup afterwards.

Green Smoothies have really seemed to catch on over the past year or so. They make a great replacement meal for breakfast or lunch, or a treat in addition to usual meals. If you have never tried one, the idea of drinking blended spinach might seem less than yummy. I know I wasn’t convinced until I tried one. You will just have to give it a go to determine how it is for yourself, but I wouldn’t want you to miss out on the jolt of awesomeness that follows a good green smoothie.

Green Smoothie Basics

green smoothie ingredientsSeveral people have asked me what I put in my green smoothie. I pretty much have been making the same thing every time for the past few months, as follows: continue…

Monthly Review: September

At the beginning of September, I posted about my fall seasonal review. The seasonal review is a time to reflect on how the previous season went with respect to personal goals, and to then look forward to plans for the upcoming season.

Getting into the habit of having a weekly review was one of my New Year’s resolutions this year. I tried to get into the routine of a weekly review during the first part of this year, but for a variety of reasons it just didn’t seem to work out. Instead, I came up with the idea of thinking of my life in seasons, hence the seasonal review.

Today I am in the mood to do a monthly review and check in with my fall season plans that I made in the beginning of September. I know I haven’t done everything I said I would from the beginning of the fall, but I do feel like I have developed some good habits, which I attribute to the fall seasonal review. continue…

Organizing Recipes & Planning Meals

“One good decision can lead to another.” – Nutri-Grain commercial

One of my dreams for quite some time has been to have a completely organized system of recipes and meal plans. Several years ago, I made an attempt at a paper version of my own paper-based recipe organizing system, in which I typed up my recipes into a template and printed them out, punched them with my circa puncher from Levenger, and inserted them into a kind of circa notebook rollodex that I had also purchased from Levenger.

I finally had to admit that this system was not practical for me personally. Either I was not as passionate about creating a paper version of all the recipes I liked as I thought I would be or it was unmanageable – probably a little bit of both. continue…