Guess what? It’s almost March. Holy. Crap. Can we all stop and rejoice at the fact that SPRING IS ALMOST HERE?! After several “inclement weather” days with temperatures below 30 degrees, ice, and overall unpleasant, parka-worthy conditions, this Arizona-born girl is ready for warmer days. I love the fact that I wore sandals and no jacket to work today.
Last weekend, SEVERAL people decided to take a huge step and tackle weekly meal prep. I can’t even express how much that excited me. (PROUD OF YOU GIRLS — Christina C., Vani, and Kirsty — WAY TO GO!) I’ve found that for me, cooking breakfasts and lunches over the weekend saves me so much time throughout the week. Spending 2-3 hours on Saturday or Sunday to get everything lined out and ready to go is THE BEST way to keep me on track with my eating habits. On top of that, it saves an impressive amount of time, stress, and money throughout the rest of the week. If you’re not doing it, you should plan to give it a shot this weekend. (Check out my post on simple lunch hacks if you’re a beginner trying to learn the meal prep ropes.)
On the subject of prep — I know one of the biggest obstacles that keeps people from doing weekend meal prep is the fact that it’s really damn intimidating. It can be HARD to figure out where to start. Being a huge advocate of weekend meal prep (I’ve got it down to a science), I’ve been thinking about leading a mini meal prep workshop for people in the Austin area on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. I don’t have any of the logistics figured out yet, but I want to throw it out there to see if it’s even a good idea before worrying about details. Would any of you Austinites be in? Considering I don’t have an unlimited amount of groceries and I’d want to get stuff for everyone to cook in advance, it wouldn’t be free of charge, but I’d do my best to keep the price low. (I’m more interested in teaching people how to cook healthily than I am in making a profit. Just my two cents.) Chime in if you’d be interested!
My 3 Favorite Kitchen Hacks
Building on my lunch hack post, I want to share my top 3 favorite kitchen hacks that I use on a daily basis. These are simple things that you can try out on your own without much thought or investment. All you might need are some extra measuring spoons, applesauce, a mason jar, and bacon.
- Keep a measuring cup/spoon in things that you tend to over-pour, over-scoop, or just over-eat in general. I leave a tablespoon in my nut butters, shredded cheese bags, Stevia, or anywhere else it’s handy to do so. Why? I’m totally that girl who grabs the biggest spoon from the drawer, scoops it into the PB (or cookie butter) jar, loads as much on top as possible, and says it’s “one tablespoon” regardless of the true quantity. Not good. (That’s called lying to yourself.) I don’t trust my guestimations any more, mainly because they’re always totally inaccurate. Extra measuring spoons are cheap, so grab a few extra next time you’re at the store and throw them in a bag/jar at home. This will remind you to measure what you use, and you won’t have to dig it out of the drawer when you need it!
- Substitute unsweetened applesauce for vegetable oil in baked goods. This is an old trick, but it shouldn’t be forgotten. Works like a charm and lightens up the fat content/calories of any mug cake, brownie recipe, or other sweet dish. (I used it last night when I made my double chocolate fudge mugcake right before bed. YUM.) This is one of my favorite health-conscious substitutions.
- Save bacon grease and use it instead of nonstick cooking spray. Yeah, it might sound crazy/gross/meat-overload, but I love bacon. Any time we cook it for breakfast, we pour the excess fat out of the pan and into a mason jar that gets stored in a cabinet. I use it in place of non-stick spray when I make pretty much anything (eggs, sauteed vegetables, Brussels, etc.). You don’t need much; just enough to coat the pan. There are some weird ingredients in most cooking sprays (including PAM), so I stay away from those as much as possible. Plus, cooking with bacon grease means insta-bacon aroma in your kitchen.
Stuffed French Toast on Ezekiel Bread
I had a hard time deciding between five different recipes that I wanted to post this week. It was torture. I took to FB and posted a status to see what others thought, and we wound up with a tie between this recipe and a Fiesta Ranch Turkey Burrito. French Toast comes first because it was the first one to show up in the comments. Burrito comes later this week (or next)!
Two weekends ago, I had a minor morning crisis. I woke up and realized that we were out of egg whites, bacon, and pretty much everything else in the kitchen. (My worst nightmare.) I am NOT OKAY with boring breakfasts on the weekends, but all I had was half of a loaf of Ezekiel bread, Nutella, a couple of eggs, and cream cheese. What’s a girl to do?
Clean Stuffed French Toast. Duh. I didn’t expect this to be as easy as it was (pleasant surprise). This recipe is easier to clean up than waffles or pancakes AND took less time.
I think I might have a new favorite breakfast. I know, I know, it’s National Pancake Month… Sorry, pancakes. You’ve been replaced.
Cook time: 15min
- 4 slices Ezekiel bread
- 1 tbsp natural creamy peanut butter
- 1.5oz Neufchatel Cheese (or low-fat cream cheese)
- 1/4c plain non-fat Greek yogurt
- 1/4 package sugar-free, fat-free Jello pudding mix (I used vanilla)
- 1tbsp granulated Stevia
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4c unsweetened almond milk
- 1 tbsp Nutella
- 1/4c maple syrup
- Mix peanut butter, Nefuchatel, yogurt, pudding mix, and Stevia in a small bowl until well combined. (I microwaved my PB and cheese for about 15 seconds to soften them up)
- Spread mixture evenly on each of the bread slices and make two little sandwiches out of them
- In a shallow dish, mix the egg, cinnamon, and almond milk together
- Place your sandwiches in the egg/milk mixture and coat both sides well
- Transfer to a greased skillet (yes, I used bacon grease) heated to medium and brown both sides of your sandwich. This will take about 1-2 minutes per side, depending on how powerful your stove is
- Top with Nutella and syrup. B-e-a-utiful.