Sunday Food Prep

Happy Monday! I am in the middle of enjoying my lovely day off, thanks to the President’s Day holiday! (To those of you working today, you have my sympathies.)

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With the snow day on Thursday we almost had a five day weekend, which would have been awesome – but I’m definitely thankful for a three day weekend instead of the regular two! And given that this is the last major holiday until Memorial Day – ugh – I tried to make the most of my time!

Kevin had to work on Valentine’s Day (we celebrated on Thursday instead), but I did make homemade pizza and took in it to work to surprise him for dinner. Unfortunately for me he worked again on Saturday, and so  I used my evening alone to catch up on some homework for my Perspectives class. I had fallen hopelessly behind (definitely not used to being in college anymore – was there this much reading involved when I was an undergrad??), so it was nice to have some uninterrupted time to really dig in to God’s word.

homework

I attended church on Sunday morning, came home, and immediately got started on my weekly food prep. You may remember from my Whole30 recaps that I’ve been spending a few hours on Saturday or Sunday prepping food for the week ahead so that Kevin and I always have quick and easy meals to grab and go. Because Kevin’s job isn’t conducive to a sit-down meal I like to pack him foods that are easy to carry – hard boiled eggs are great, sliced chicken breast, meatballs, and chopped fruit or veggies. I also like to keep some snacks on hand like bars (I like Kit’s Organic bars by Clif – the berry almond and cashew flavors are whole30 approved!) and beef jerky packs (try PrimalPacs – also Whole30 approved!)

Here’s what I had on hand when all was said and done (about four hours of work):

sunday food prep

You’ll notice most of my stuff is protein – I prefer to cook my vegetable sides the same day I’m going to eat them, so when I do my food prep I stick to protein, sauces or condiments, and vegetables that still taste great as leftovers – hence the gigantic bowl of cauliflower fried rice. Here’s what I made:

Curried meatballs: I combined ground beef, diced onions, garlic salt, curry powder, cumin, salt and pepper and baked in a 375 oven for about 25 minutes.

Cajun hamburger patties: Kevin loves taking hamburger patties to work, so I seasoned a bunch with my favorite cajun spice blend and cooked them on the stove. Normally we’d grill them, but the three feet of snow piled up between us and our grill on the patio sort of deterred me.

Hard boiled eggs: I use hb eggs to make the easiest breakfast ever, to have sprinkled with salt and pepper as a snack, or to whip up a quick egg salad if I have homemade mayonnaise on hand.

Baked Chicken Breasts: Again, these would normally be grilled if it weren’t for all the snow. I started brining my chicken breasts based on this recipe from Melissa Joulwan and then I play around with whatever seasonings I feel like using. This time I seasoned half the chicken with a moroccan seasoning blend, and left the other half plain. Brining the chicken takes a while, but trust me, it is so worth it. The chicken comes out deliciously moist and flavorful and pretty much tastes good with anything.

Cilantro Pesto: Recipe for this delicious condiment coming soon! I originally bought cilantro to try to make cilantro-lime cauliflower rice and made fried rice instead, leaving me with an overabundance of cilantro instead. But worry not! I scoured my pantry and decided to make pesto instead! (Hint: it’s the perfect condiment for the plain baked chicken breasts I just mentioned.)

Cauliflower Fried Rice: This has been one of my favorite side dishes lately, I think because it’s so versatile and I eat it with everything. Plus, a head of cauliflower is $3.49 at the store and makes approximately three hundred servings, so it’s a total win.

Chopped peppers: I should have done this with onions as well – Kevin and I use diced peppers and onions in just about everything, so dicing them up in advance saves so much time when you’re actually getting ready to cook.

So there you have it! I finished all my food prep just in time to wolf down some dinner, grab my books, and head off to class – it certainly made for a busy Sunday!

Kevin and I started our Monday off with something we haven’t done in a long time – coffee on our patio!

winter coffee

The temperature outside this morning hovered at about 26 degrees, but with the sun shining brightly we decided to brave it and it felt SO good to be outside! Plus having coffee on our balcony/porch/patio in the morning is a huge part of Kevin and my relationship and with the polar vortex hitting the East Coast it’s been months since we’ve gotten to do it, so it was an extra special indulgence!

All in all it was a great weekend – here’s hoping the rest of the week is just a nice!

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Weekend Recap

Happy Monday! How was everyone’s weekend? Aside from some nasty thunderstorms off and on, mine was really nice!

First off, it was the first “free” weekend I’ve had in a while. May was a busy month – I went to Boston for the Grub Street Writers Conference, then I went back to PA for Mother’s Day Weekend, then I spent the next weekend helping my sister and brother-in-law move into their new apartment, and then I went back to PA for Memorial Day Weekend. To say that I was looking forward to having a weekend to myself would be putting it mildly!

Friday night was pretty low-key – I made an easy dinner of leftovers and had a movie skype date with The Man. Every now and then we’ll get on Skype, pick a movie on Netflix, and watch it together. While I’d much rather watch a movie with him in person, this is better than nothing! I was feeling like a classic, so we went with Top Gun. I keep forgetting how YOUNG Tom Cruise is in that movie!

Saturday started off with a morning run:

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It’s a good thing I went running early in the morning. I haven’t been running outside in a few weeks (I’ve had to use the treadmills at work instead), and I am not used to the hot weather we’ve been having! It was 0700 and already over 70 degrees! Still, I kept it on the slower side and made it through three miles. Unfortunately, this is what I looked like when I got home:

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Yes, that is my nasty looking leg, all scratched up to high heaven. While my super cute running shorts were perfect for running in 50 degree weather in Boston…they were not too effective against the 70+ degree weather with one billion percent humidity in Virginia. As it turns out, I need the compression on my legs. I know you’re not supposed to scratch when your legs start to burn/itch/hurt, but I couldn’t help it. At one point I actually had to stop and make sure I wasn’t being bitten by something – it was that bad.

After I stretched, showered, and ate breakfast, it was off to the local farmers market!

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How much do I love that it’s strawberry season? There is nothing better than a sun-warmed strawberry, picked directly from the plant and popped into your mouth. I spent several summers growing up working at a produce farm, so I’ve picked my fair share of strawberries. Best. Summers. Ever.

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Because it’s still early in the season, there wasn’t an extensive amount of produce  available, but I still came home with a pretty decent pile of goods:

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Red leaf lettuce, fresh basil, sugar snap peas, strawberries, and patty pan squash. I have absolutely no idea what to do with patty pan squash, so that will be interesting! I also picked up a package of chorizo at one of the local meat stands.

Once my produce was put away, I got back in my car and hit the road towards Hiddencroft Vineyards in Northern Virginia, where I was meeting my sister and brother-in-law for a wine tasting and picnic. And talk about Hidden! I had to drive over two miles on a one lane dirt road just to get back to the winery. At one point I thought I had a flat tire, my car was shaking so bad. But, I arrived in one piece:

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It really was a beautiful place. I wish I would have taken more pictures, but it was close to 100 degrees on Saturday…all of my energy was focused on trying not to melt. I was impressed with most of their wines – I tend to be a dry wine kind of gal, and I prefer heavy dry reds, like Cabernet Sauvignon. Lately though, with the weather being what it is, I’ve found myself leaning towards the dry, crisp Chardonnays for the summer months. Hiddencroft had a very nice dry Traminette, as well as a dry Vidal Blanc. As for reds – they really nailed them. The Chambourcin had just the right amount of pepper, while the Dutchman’s Creek Blend was a smooth, balanced red. They also had a great Tannat, barrel aged for 42 months and very dry. I loved it, but it was too much for summer. We settled on a bottle of the Vidal Blanc to enjoy with our picnic.

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My sister got this great wine picnic basket from her in-laws, and it was perfect for our lunch – pastrami slices, fresh strawberries and grapes, french baguette with goat cheese and cranberry chutney, chopped veggies, and some black and green olives. I wish I had taken pictures, but again, it was too hot and I forgot. Blogger fail!

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After the winery, I went back to my sister’s apartment (after an unplanned stop at Walmart) and spent the afternoon alternately reading and napping. Bliss. We ordered greek food for dinner and finished off the night watching I, Robot. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen that movie – and it was better than I had remembered!

I spent the night on their couch, and Sunday morning we all woke up and went to their church together, where we heard a great message on how we should act as Christians. This has been a recurring theme in my devotions lately, which tells me I should sit up and pay attention. One thing that struck me from the message was how our words and our actions as Christians have to back each other up. We can’t just do “good deeds” without witnessing, and we can’t walk around preaching to people if we don’t act like a Christian should.

I drove back to my own apartment after church, where I spent the afternoon working on recipes and cleaning my place. All in all, it was a relaxing weekend, which is just what I needed! It was a perfect way to begin the month of June…

…and speaking of, how it is June already? What happened to May?

How did you spend your weekend?