Sunday, July 31, 2016

Natural Pain Killer


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Tips & Tricks for Sunday Meal Prep

Since it’s Monday and the start of a new week, I thought it was the perfect time to share my top tips and tricks for Sunday meal prep. I hope you find them beneficial to your next prep day! A huge thank you to Blue Apron for sponsoring this post! 

As you guys probably remember, I’m ALL about Sunday meal prep as a way to ensure that our family eats healthy at home. I’ve found that spending an hour or two on the weekend preparing food makes it so much easier to throw together quick meals during the week. And if nutritious food is prepped and ready to go, we don’t have an excuse to order take-out or eat cereal for dinner (not that there’s anything wrong with that every once in awhile).

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Sunday Meal Prep might seem like a lot of work and a bit daunting, but it’s totally worth the effort since it helps our family eat better in the long run. For instance, when I’m starving and faced with what to eat, knowing that I have a number of nutritious options in my fridge helps me stick to my healthy eating habits. I promise, once you devote a few Sundays (or Saturdays or whatever day works best for you) to food prep, it just gets easier and easier. In fact, I think you’d be surprised by how quickly things come together. Plus, it sets you up for a healthy week ahead and you can’t beat that!

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Last week, I had the opportunity to work with Blue Apron once again, so I wanted to share my top tips for Sunday meal prep. With the help of Blue Apron, cooking for the week was even easier and faster since all of the farm-fresh ingredients were delivered right to our front door in exactly the right proportions. I didn’t need to look in our cabinets for specific ingredients or take the time to measure out each and every one of them. I also didn’t need to take an extra trip to the grocery store, which was a serious time-saver in itself. There also wasn’t any waste from unused ingredients, so I didn’t waste money either. (FYI: Blue Apron offers a recycling program! Learn more here. Blue Apron is also working to develop a sustainable food system. Check out their mission page here.) Basically, with Blue Apron, you order your meals online and they’re shipped for free right to your doorstep. Everything is delivered in a refrigerated box so ingredients stay fresh even if you’re not at home when your package arrives.

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Blue Apron offer two types of plans:

  • The 2-Person Plan will set you up with one delivery a week, each with three inventive meals for two. Each week, the culinary team creates six new recipes for this plan, and you will be sent a curated menu of three recipes based on your dietary preferences.
  • The Family Plan is perfect for feeding a family of four. With this plan you can opt to receive one or two deliveries per week, each delivery consisting of two meals to be served family-style.

meal prep with blue apron

Each menu is between 500-800 calories per person and all meals can be prepared in 40 minutes or less. Blue Apron now ships to most of the country and there’s no commitment– you can skip or cancel the service at any time. We especially love that Blue Apron is adding new recipes all the time, so we always have something new and exciting to try in the kitchen!

blue apron salmon

If you’re curious about Blue Apron and want to give it a try, here’s some incentive! ***The first 25 readers will get THREE free meals on their first Blue Apron order! Just click here!***

Meal Prep Tips & Tricks

Have a game plan – Having a game plan for your prep day is key, so you can focus your efforts and move right through your cooking. My plan usually looks something like this: Select 3-4 core recipes to make for dinner, brainstorm lunch ideas (i.e. dinner leftovers, quickie meals), make breakfasts for stress-free mornings, and prep one sweet snack to eat throughout the week (hey, I love my treats).

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Find your core recipes – Ah, yes. Finding your core, go-to recipes is key. They’re ones that are tasty, versatile, always come out well, and can be thrown together quickly and effortlessly. Basically, they’re the foundation of our food prep day. For example, some of our favorite core recipes are Breakfast Potatoes, Crockpot Steel Cut Oatmeal, Crockpot Barbecue Chicken (chicken breast + barbecue sauce), Hashbrown Breakfast Bake, The Easiest Chicken Fajitas You’ll Ever Make, Grilled Chicken Brushcetta, and Peanut Butter Protein Balls. We make these recipes again and again, week after week. I don’t make them ALL every week, and I’ll often throw in a new recipe or two, but they’re for sure the foundation of our meal plan.

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Double (or triple) the recipe – You’re already doing the prep work, so why not double or triple the recipe for later. It’ll save you time in the long run! Plus, you can “re-purpose” leftovers for “new” meals throughout the week or freeze them for future use.

Read the recipe in its entirety – Ok, this might be a duh tip for some people, but, if you’re like me, I typically hop right into making a recipe without reading all of its steps. Most of the time, it’s not a huge deal, but, on occasion, I run into prep issues, like soaking chia seeds overnight, which throws off my Sunday meal prep. Whomp whomp. Additionally, reading the recipe from start to finish helps me plan how to prep it, which bring me to…

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Prep recipes as much as possible – Especially when it comes to dinner, I prep as much of the meal as possible—sometimes to the point of making the entire recipe, but not cooking it or “assembling” it. For instance, we had taco salads last week. I chopped up the lettuce and sautéed a bunch of peppers and onions and stored them in separate containers in the fridge. On taco salad night, I cooked up the ground beef, added some taco seasoning, the peppers and onions (at the end just to warm them) and dinner was done in no time! Similarly, if I know two recipes call for rice, for example, I will make a double batch, so I don’t have to cook more later on in the week.

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Cook the meal – Depending on the recipe, sometimes I prepare the entire meal on Sunday to eat throughout the week. For instance, this Grilled Chicken Bruschetta keeps really well, so I often make a big batch on Sundays to throw on top of a salad or into a wrap.

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Determine which foods take the longest to prepare – To ensure that I get the most out of my food prep time, I think about which foods require the most time to prepare and get going on them first. For instance: Roasting potatoes or other veggies, crockpot recipes, baking, or soaking beans. I prep these things first and then spend the rest of my time doing less time-consuming things, like chopping veggies, washing fruit, etc. Plus, I like getting the “tough” stuff out of the way first!

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Question of the Day

Are you a Sunday Meal Prep person?

What’s your favorite tip?



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High Low High 11 + Giveaway Winners

Hi, guys!

It’s Sunday afternoon. Qman is still napping, and I’m waiting for Mal to come home after being away since Friday morning. Quinn, Murphy, and I had a nice weekend together, but, once again, it was a mix of highs and lows for us. With that in mind, a High Low High post seemed like the perfect way to recap. If you’re unfamiliar with this blog post series, I recap the high and low points of the weekend. Ok, here we go!

HIGH: Celebrating “Donut Friday” with a treat from The Coffee Shack.

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Qman and I shared a honey dip donut. Mmm! 🙂

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LOW: Breaking out in a rash all over my body. *sigh* I assume it’s from the antibiotics that I was taking for my knee. When I was a kid, I had a reaction (rash) to penicillin, so I’ve avoided it since then. I told this to the doctor at Urgency Care, so she prescribed a different antibiotic, but I guess I’m allergic to that one too. Ugh. I really wish my body would get it together. (FYI: I contacted the on-call doctor at MGH, and she told me to take some Benadryl.)

HIGH: Having a FUN afternoon with Quinn at Jungle Jakes! It was our first time there, and Qman had an absolute blast! We’ll definitely be back!

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LOW: Murphy acting all freaked out as soon as we went to bed on Friday night. He didn’t bark, but he was whining to go downstairs. I brought him down and then he ran around the house like he was looking for something. I double-checked all of the doors and made sure they were locked, but I still felt uneasy and didn’t sleep well. I wonder what he heard??

HIGH: Getting Marylou’s iced coffee! We still live close to a location, but it’s not a drive-thru or on the way to anything, so I hardly go anymore. I was really pumped to have my beloved White Chocolate Chip after so many months without!

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LOW: Sitting in SO MUCH TRAFFIC on the way to my sister’s house on Saturday morning. Blahhhhhhh. I have no patience when it comes to traffic.

HIGH: Hanging out with my sister, brother-in-law, and Quinn’s cousins!

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And, of course, Murphy and Batman too!

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Quinn loved Matthew’s toy drill and pretty much used it the entire time we were there!

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LOW: Coming home to a laundry detergent mess. Whomp whomp. Mal did laundry before he left on his trip and apparently forgot to close the detergent bottle all the way.

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HIGH: Taking the jogging stroller out for a run! I’ve barely worked out lately, so it felt really great to break a sweat! I did 30 minutes of 200 meter sprints with my “coach” yelling “more, more!” from the stroller after each one. So much for rest intervals! 🙂

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During my run, I also got to test out my new Ravenna 7, which are super supportive and really comfy. I want to run in them a few more times before I give you guys a full review, but my first experience was definitely a great one! (FYI: The Ravenna 6 is on sale right now for just $70!)

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LOW: Taking Benadryl before bed, but then waking up on Sunday morning with a rash that was 10 times worse. Awesome.

HIGH: Having a play date with friends at the South Shore Children’s Museum!

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Captain Quinn had an awesome time!

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HIGH: Stopping by the Minute Clinic at CVS/pharmacy and getting an appointment right away. And Quinn was really well-behaved during it! #momwin

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LOW: The NP on staff not being able to do much for me. She said my rash definitely looked like a drug allergy reaction, but because I didn’t have a fever and it wasn’t bothering me all that much (it’s only a little itchy), she said to just stick to Benadryl and wait it out. Ugh. It looks disgusting.

HIGH: Making a delicious, super simple treat with Cheerios + Vanilla Cake Batter Coconut Butter. It’s just 1 cup of Cheerios mixed with 1 melted tablespoon of coconut butter, 1 tsp honey, and 1 tsp of mini chocolate chips. Then, just pop it in the fridge until the coconut butter is firm. A 1/2 cup serving is only 125 calories and the macros are pretty good too (P: 2 C: 16 F: 7). I ate like 500 batches this weekend! 🙂

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Bhakti Sparking Tea Giveaway

Thanks to everyone who entered the Bhakti Sparkling Tea giveaway! Here’s your winner:

Kim

These look so yummy! The tart cherry for sure!

Congrats, Kim! Please email me at tina@carrotsncake.com with your full name and mailing address to claim your prize!

Health Warrior/Falmouth Road Race Giveaway

Thanks to everyone who entered the Health Warrior giveaway to win a prize pack + bib to the Falmouth Road Race! Here is your winner:

Karen

I love anything coconut, so I’d go with the coconut chia bar. I’m training for a half in October, so this race would be a great compliment to that. And who can resist the Cape in the summer??

Congrats, Karen! Please email me at tina@carrotsncake.com with your full name and mailing address to claim your prize!

Question of the Day

Your turn! Share your high low high from the weekend!



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Weekend Link Love – Edition 411

Weekend Link LoveWhy everyone could benefit from a health coach (plus, my personal experience with one). Learn more at primalhealthcoach.com.

Research of the Week

Eating produce could make you happier (a dose response relationship).

How prenatal and postnatal factors affect a baby’s microbiome, and what it implies about long-term development (PDF).

A 90 minute walk in the woods brightens your mood and kills self-rumination.

White rice privilege: rice used to be a whole lot more diverse.

Now that’s philanthrophy: astrocytes donate their mitochondria to neurons after strokes.

Ad-libitum low-carb diets are more effective and easier to stick to than calorie-restricted diets.

Boogers are back.

When battling colon cancer, taking fish oil or eating fatty fish may help.

Badgers fear humans more than any other predator.

Adding dietary glutamate (fish sauce, soy sauce, aged cheese) to specific foods can train people to like those foods.

Low-level aerobic activity (brisk walking, in this example) better than chronic cardio (vigorous jogging, in this example) for pre-diabetics.

Is there a thrifty gene after all? Perhaps in Samoans.

New Primal Blueprint Podcasts

pb-podcast-banner-128

Episode 128: Cassie Parks: Host Elle Russ chats with Cassie Parks about the law of attraction, the benefits of positive energy, the pitfalls of telling too many stories about yourself, the uselessness of worrying, and much much more.

Each week, select Mark’s Daily Apple blog posts are prepared as Primal Blueprint Podcasts. Need to catch up on reading, but don’t have the time? Prefer to listen to articles while on the go? Check out the new blog post podcasts below, and subscribe to the Primal Blueprint Podcast here so you never miss an episode.

Interesting Blog Posts

The growing (and totally avoidable) myopia epidemic.

Mating with your cousin has definite downsides, but could it protect against autism?

Primal Play.

Media, Schmedia

Chimps are ignorant about others’ ignorance.

British teen planning scramble beats the odds, discovers all dozen eggs have double yolks.

Everything Else

The fight against obesity starts before birth.

Bug producers are forming lobbyist groups to hasten edible insect acceptance.

CRISPR humans are coming (in China).

Who’s up for cockroach milk?

AI gets its own literary magazine.

The US is awash in rancid extra virgin olive oil because, well, most Americans prefer the taste.

Nature is beautiful, but it’s trying to kill you.

Avid cyclist Chris Froome cut carbs and increased protein to lose body fat and increase his power-to-weight ratio. Oh, and also to win his third Tour de France in four years.

Recipe Corner

Time Capsule

One year ago (Jul 31 – Aug 6)

Comment of the Week

cotw
Battle of the productivity tools. I nominate PowerPoint, Ben and Nocona.

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