I just completed my 21 days of Ultimate Portion Fix (UPF) partnered with the 21DF Extreme workouts, and I’m hooked! I feel so much better and healthier. I haven’t been perfect in terms of sticking to the eating plan, but I have cleaned up my eating significantly and cut way back on processed food. I’m so glad to be back in the swing of Beach Body programs again, and back in my fit life.
Here are my results from the first 21 days:
Starting Point, 5 weeks Postpartum:
Waist: 34.7″, Hips: 36.5″
Mid-point, 6.5 weeks Postpartum:
Waist: 32.5″, Hips: 34.5″
“End” Point, 8 weeks Postpartum:
Waist 32″, Hips: 34.5″
Weight: Lost 3lbs (but feel much more toned, added muscle)
I’m happy with the inches lost around my midsection, but more so I’m happy with how I feel – I feel healthier, stronger and determined to continue!
Now, I’m planning to continue with the Ultimate Portion Fix eating plan but move on to other workouts, I’m not sure which workout program I’ll tackle next, but this week I’m going to just do a variety from different trainers all on Beachbody on Demand. Monday I did the ‘Obsessed with Fix’ and it was an awesome workout, Tuesday I did T25 Cardio and it was killer!
Now, back to the meal plan. I really wanted to streamline this week, since I only have a couple weeks before I have to go back to work! I will have very little time to plan, prep and cook meals at that point – so I’m getting back into that mode. Rather than picking recipes to make, I just went for staples.
Here’s the food I bought for each of the container categories this week, and this will feed myself, my husband and our 2 yo for the week (and technically my baby girl too since she is nursing).
Tonnino Tuna – yes this tuna is expensive, and yes it is worth it! I stock up whenever I find it on sale
Purple Container (Fruits)
Lemon and Lime
Green Container (Veggies) – this list is the longest because we’ll eat more veggies than anything else!
Tomato Sauce (not pictured)
Blue and Orange Containers and Teaspoons (Healthy Fats)
Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
Olive Oil (to make healthy salad dressings) – can also be used as teaspoon for cooking
Fresh Ground Peanut Butter
Butter (not pictured)
Yellow Container (Healthy Carbs)
16 Grain Bread
Whole Wheat English Muffins
I am the only one in my house who eats wheat bread, my husband and son go for white bread and pasta. So I freeze at least half of the bread and english muffins when I get home from the store – they freeze really well and this way I don’t waste any!
My prep plan of attack –
Chopped a bunch of veggies (radish, cucumber, celery, carrots, pepper, sliced red onion)
Prepped Broccoli Salads
Prepared Orange Chicken marinade (see recipe below) on Saturday.
Roasted beets, sweet potato and spaghetti squash
Since I’m still on maternity leave, I didn’t actually grill the chicken thighs until Monday, but you could easily cook these Sunday along with the ground turkey to be able to throw dinner together quickly Monday and Tuesday!
This week I used jarred tomato sauce (ok if you buy a brand with no sugar added and basically veggie only ingredients) but Fixate has a great recipe for Quick Marinara that you could make to be 100% clean.
For the whole chicken, I suggest cooking it Wednesday (as I did). You can make this in a slow cooker, instant pot, or roast in the over depending on what works best for you (and how much time you have available) so there’s not a big reason to cook days ahead.
Here’s this week’s meal plan (and container counts) with a few recipes and tips below!
Reach out via comments if you want to learn more about Ultimate Portion Fix or to start your fitness journey today!
Some of the week’s highlights so far:
Orange Chicken Thighs
This recipe is from Little Broken Blog, and super easy to make. The only change I made was to substitute Coconut Aminos for the Soy Sauce to get that same umami taste without any soy. It happened to rain the day I made this, so I broke out my handy indoor grill (great for food prepping in New England given the unfriendly weather!)
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
3 radish, diced
pickles or cornichons (optional) diced
1 jar tuna with 1 tsp packed oil
1 tsp mustard
salt and pepper
After collecting 1 tsp of the oil, drain the tuna and place in a large bowl. Add reserved oil, mustard, veggies and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Serve on wrap, wheat bread or top on a garden salad!
How to Cook Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti Squash is so easy to prepare and holds up well for 3-5 days if stored in an airtight container, making it perfect for meal prep! I have found this to be the easiest way to prepare:
Preheat oven to 400
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil
Cut the squash in half the long way. Be careful when slicing because it can be hard to get through!
Clean out the seeds and stringy substance
Place the squash on baking sheet flesh side up
spray lightly with EVOO and season with salt and pepper
Cook 35-50 minutes depending on the size of the squash (squash should be soft but not fold in on itself when grabbed).
Allow to cool enough to handle
Using a fork, scrape/shred the inside of the squash creating ‘noodles’
Divide into 4 containers to portion out
Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 5 days
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And just like that we’re in the second week! Getting my nutrition and fitness on track has a funny way of becoming addictive, but in a good way. Once I’ve built up a nice streak of working out every day I tend to feed off that, and do whatever I can to make sure I get that workout in! However, I need to be fair to myself, and be patient with myself. I missed a workout at the end of Week 1 (Saturday). We had family over that day, family that was in town and hadn’t met our little bean yet, and between getting the house into a ‘presentable’ state, making a dessert (I made a healthy-ish strawberry shortcake, see below) and just generally enjoying some time with the family – the workout didn’t happen. Oh well, right? But I was bummed! Luckily I have a great Beachbody coach who reminded me just how much I’m doing! She centered me, reminded me I just had a baby barely over a month ago, and that I was actually doing more than I knew with all the healthy eating and workouts all week before Saturday. After hearing her perspective and getting her support, I reset, I should take it easy on myself. So take this as a reminder to do the same for yourself!
You are doing amazing, you are doing more than you know, and the important thing is to just keep going!
My eating plan for Week 2 took advantage of some of the ingredients bought for Week 1, and will use up my last 2 freezer meals I made before the baby arrived. Doing that prep was such a good investment and I am so thankful I put in the time, I’ve been enjoying them for 6 weeks! I also wanted to use up some frozen shrimp I had leftover from Easter.
You might notice I’m doing the same meal plan 3 days in a row this time around (vs. 2 days last week) – this is just another way to simplify, and makes my prep easier!
Let me take a minute to talk about the fixate Broccoli Salad, I had it twice last week and three times this week, so you might think I’m sick of it – but no! This salad is so delicious I think I could eat it every day! Its also easy to prep, and I made a batch of the dressing last week that I’m still using this week. Its just broccoli, red onion, celery, dates, almonds and turkey bacon – so good!
This week I’ve added spinach to my Banana Protein Smoothies, it doesn’t change the taste but does add a great Green Container to my snack – win!
So far today the little lady hasn’t wanted to sleep much, so I haven’t gotten to do my workout yet (Yoga Fix Extreme Real Time today!). So instead I’m doing some Mommy and Baby workout moves, I can still get some form of a workout in even while keeping her close. Important to remember to support her head and keep your balance, but there are a lot of great moves to work your body that you can still do while holding your baby.
1-Arm Bicep Curls
1-Arm Tricep Dips
I recommend one minute per exercise (for exercises on each side I recommend 1 minute per side).
Another meal that worked out really well was the roasted shrimp and zucchini – its so quick and easy to make, healthy and tasty! One sliced zucchini, 6 shrimp, a little EVOO and seasonings. Cook at 400 for 15-20mins and enjoy!
A new find I have to share is this Lemon Ginger Seltzer from Trader Joe’s. I like the Lemon-Ginger combo for infused water because there are tons of health benefits (immune system boost, good for skin, etc) and a sparkling version is even better.
Snuck in with all this healthy eating was a treat, of course! The weather has been so nice, Ice Cream season has returned! There is nothing better than a kid’s pure joy and enjoyment of ice cream, don’t you think?
1/2 Honey (or Pure Maple Syrup)
1/2 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
1/2 Cup Melted Coconut Oil
1/2 Cup coconut flour
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1/4 Teaspoon baking soda
1.5lbs strawberries, quartered
3 Tablespoon Sugar in the Raw (or plain sugar)
Whip Cream or Cool Whip
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Mix Strawberries and sugar in a bowl and refrigerate to allow juices to develop, at least 30 minutes
To make shortcake, mix wet ingredients until smooth
Add in dry ingredients and mix until combined
Pour into greased 8 X 11 baking dish.
Bake for 35 minutes or until golden
Remove from Oven and allow to cool completely – store at room temperature
When ready to serve, slice cake into six pieces, then cut each in half horizontally.
Layer dish with cake, strawberries, cake, strawberries and top with Whipped Cream!
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As mentioned in my last post Ultimate Portion Fix! I am planning to start this program this coming Monday. One of the most important things when it comes to eating clean is preparation, and that is especially true for a Portion Fix (container based) program.
I know I am much more likely to stick to the healthy eating 100% if the food is prepped and ready to go. If too much work is required at the end of a hard day (and with an infant, aren’t they all challenging in some way?) then I am waaaay more likely to choose fast food, or make a quick grilled cheese or something that doesn’t contain a vegetable. So my main focus this week is to make a plan, and prep for that plan – that will help me be successful next week.
Due to the fact that I am breastfeeding, I fall under calorie Bracket C (1800-2199 calories) in the Ultimate Portion Fix Program. Now let me say when you are eating clean without any processed food, 1800 calories goes a long way! Here is my meal plan for next week.
My first thought when I finished laying this out was Holy Moly that’s a lot of food! This is a good thing, since I’ll also be incorporating daily workouts for the first time in quite some time (modified as appropriate). However my second thought was – wait this is going to require a LOT of prep! A few notes on that – first, I have 4 of the items already done and frozen from my Freezer Meal Prep I did in late February. Without these completed, I would not attempt this meal plan, because it would just be too much. Second, there are ways to simplify if you don’t find yourself with meals already prepped (and I will utilize these in coming weeks).
Instead of targeting too many complete meals/recipes (like Taco Bake or Balsamic Chicken Salad) just go for basics – cook a bunch of chicken with just olive oil and seasonings and add this to salads, wraps, pasta or with veggies on the side all week long per your containers.
Just roast a huge batch of veggies on Sunday and use them all week to pair with chicken or other protein.
Make a big batch of quinoa and/or brown rice on Sunday and have it on hand to pair with veggies and chicken.
In this way, instead of worrying about creating specific recipes you are stocking your fridge with healthy bulk items (easy to prepare) and then you can throw together a meal easily day of.
I would still 100% advise you to create your meal plan ahead of time though so that you can be sure you’ve cooked enough staples to get you through and to eat all your containers!
It’s also very common for people to eat the same thing for all 5 weekdays. I myself will probably do this once I return to work. This also cuts way down on the complexity.
Once I’ve determined my meal plan, I list out my ingredients (this list pictured above doesn’t include any ingredients for the freezer meals that are already done) and then I make a plan of attack for prepping. Normally, I would do all the prep in one day, typically Sunday – but with two kids under 3 I’m going to try to spread it out since I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get a 3hr block of time to dedicate to prepping.
With all this planning for next week, I didn’t make a meal plan for this week. I had a bunch of leftover Easter food we’ve been eating, I also used my Chicken Teriyaki freezer meal paired with brown rice and asparagus for dinner Tuesday and Wednesday, and I’ve just been keeping it simple. Today for lunch I whipped up a healthy broccoli slaw salad – it took less than 5 mins and was delicious!
1/2 bag Broccoli Slaw Mix
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup sliced cucumber
1 stalk celery, sliced
1/4 cup walnuts
4 Tbs Primal Kitchen Greek Vinaigrette (or similar)
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice (optional)
In a small bowl mix the tomatoes, cucumber, celery, walnuts, dressing and lemon juice.
In a serving/storage bowl place the broccoli slaw and pour the tomato mixture over the slaw.
Stir to coat
The other prep I’m doing this week is physically. I won’t be fully cleared for exercise until next week, but I have been doing the post-natal workout on beachbody on demand (which is especially designed to start easing postpartum women into workouts) and have been making a special effort to get a full 1mile+ walk in each day. This will help me hit the ground running next week!
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Trying to keep it simple this week so that I’ll have time (and energy) for Easter prep later in the week! So I’m only making 3 meals (+ a freezer meal already made) to fuel the whole week. Throw in a couple easy breakfasts and lunches here and there and happy healthy family achieved!
Sometimes I forget how much I love cereal. Its not always the healthiest option, so I don’t rely on it too often, but it does hit the spot sometimes! Any cereal makes a more complete meal with fruit and nuts added – I had Kashi 7 Grain cereal (which I love) and added strawberries with slivered almonds.
Let me just say it – this meal was a home run. I loved it, but my toddler wouldn’t try it – too bad because I think he would have loved it too, but no dice.
Slice eggplant into 1/4 inch rounds. Lay out in a single layer on a paper towel lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Let sit 1 hour to release moisture.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
Set up 3 shallow dishes for dredging. In the first dish, stir together flour, salt and pepper. In the second dish, whisk eggs. In the third dish, stir together panko bread crumbs, Italian bread crumbs, and garlic powder.
Working one at a time, dredge eggplant slices in flour mixture, dip in egg mixture, and then coat in bread crumb mixture. Place onto the prepared baking sheet in an even layer. Sprinkle on a light coating of parmesan cheese.
Roast in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, flipping eggplant slices halfway through.
Spread 2 tablespoons of marinara into the bottom of a lightly greased 9×13 dish. Layer half of the eggplant slices onto the bottom. Top with half of the remaining marinara, and then layer on all mozzarella to desired cheesiness. Sprinkle on half of the basil and half of the parmesan cheese.
Place remaining eggplant slices on top and cover with remaining marinara, basil, and parmesan cheese (a little extra mozz is a good too).
Bake, uncovered, in the 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until cheese is melted and the top is bubbling and lightly browned.
As I’m starting to get back into a fitness mindset, I’ve reintroduced protein powder into my diet (I had cut it out during pregnancy to be extra careful). I tried Orgain Peanut Butter because I’m comfortable with the ingredients, and I’m happy to report that it’s delicious! This will be my new go-to smoothie recipe for Spring and summer, its like a milkshake or frappucino! I included oats to keep my lactation needs in mind.
4 oz Espresso (or coffee)
3/4 cup Almond Milk
1 banana (frozen)
1 scoop Peanut Butter Protein Powder (I like Orgain brand)
1/4 cup old fashioned oats
Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth
Serve and enjoy!
When I was at the grocery store I saw the Sonoma Chicken Salad in the prepared food case (at Whole Foods) and couldn’t resist. Having some prepared chicken salad just makes meal time easier. If you can’t get this near you though, Whole Foods has posted the recipe. I highly recommend it. I had mine on some whole wheat English muffin with a can of sparkling water.
Since I had this chicken salad for lunch, I saved the Eggplant Parmesan leftovers for dinner and moved Apricot Chicken to Wednesday.
Apricot Chicken and Rice
Make the rice first (this can also be made ahead of time). I used basamati rice, added slivered almonds and a few diced dried apricots to the rice.
Heat oil in an oven safe 12″ saute pan over medium high heat.
Salt and pepper chicken breasts and add to saute pan.
Cook for five minutes or until golden brown.
While chicken cooks, stir preserves, soy sauce and garlic together in a glass measuring cup and microwave for one minute, stirring a couple times during microwave time.
Move oven rack to just below broiler and turn broiler on.
Flip chicken and pour glaze over.
Broil for two minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
I had so many leftovers of this Apricot chicken that we basically ate it the rest of the week. I once again pushed out the Turkey Sloppy Joes (froze the turkey), so I had a nice break from cooking until Easter.
Happy Easter! This was my first time hosting since the birth of my daughter, and even though its a small group – 5 adults and a toddler – I still wanted to choose items that would be manageable without sacrificing taste or quality.
Here’s what I planned:
In the end, I didn’t make the asparagus. Between morning Easter basket time with my son, church, and nursing my daughter, it was a little too much. While I would have preferred to have a green vegetable as part of the dinner, we really didn’t need it and were very happy with the meal as it was, I’m glad I kept it stress-free. I’ll eat the asparagus this week instead.
What could be easier than these two options I picked? Very little. Comte is a French cheese that we get around the holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter). Its delicious and my toddler asks for it by name – its a little more special than just throwing some cheddar out there. The shrimp is a relatively healthy option and we won’t get too full before the meal by snacking on these.
Cocktails and Wine
I worked hard to build up enough breastmilk so that I could enjoy a glass of Prosecco, it was so delicious! Once Springtime starts, Rose is my wine of choice – but its got to be a good one – bad Rose is especially bad. We had a bottle of Cossinelle Gamay that my family enjoyed, but I went for the Prosecco this time.
I did not join in for a Whiskey Sour, but if you can enjoy an cocktail, I recommend starting guests off with one than switching to wine (or beer). My husband makes a mean whiskey sour, per the below.
Shake first 3 ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker. Strain into cocktail glass, add cherry and enjoy!
The good thing about my menu was that each item is pretty easy to put together. The negative was that there was very little that could be prepped ahead of time, meaning everything needed to be done on Easter itself. (The bread and cake were made ahead, on Saturday).
Baked Ham with Orange Mustard Glaze
I found this recipe on Food Network and loved it. I like that they offer various glaze options. I chose the Orange and Mustard and it was a big hit. This recipe is definitely my new go to for ham. I also served the ham with fresh pineapple slices – a great combo!
Honey Glazed Carrots
The carrots were also very successful – a little different because they incorporate lemon to cut the honey a bit. I also wanted to be sure I could cook everything except the ham on the stovetop, since I do not have a double oven and a 10lb ham takes up the full oven! This recipe also came from Food Network, was easy and tasty. I used full size carrots instead of baby (I did 3 carrots per person), cut in half before preparing. I also didn’t bother with the parsley (once again when juggling two kids under three I don’t take on too much!) and you won’t miss it.
You might notice that every holiday meal at my house includes mashed potatoes. Maybe its my Irish background or maybe its because they are so delicious, we’ll never know, but they never disappoint!
My method – Peel Russet Potatoes (2 medium per person) but keep whole. Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water, salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a rolling boil and cook until potatoes are fully cooked, drain. Heat whole milk (roughly 1 tablespoon per potato) in separate pot on low until warm (using cold milk can lead to a gummy consistency). Return potatoes to pot or large bowl, add in butter (roughly 1 tablespoon per potato) and mash potatoes using electrical mixer or by hand. Slowly add warm milk until desired consistency is reached!
Bread and Dessert
I debated whether to go sweet or savory for the bread with dinner. In the end I went for the cinnamon bread because it pairs so well with the salty ham. This is one of my mom’s recipes, and its another staple in our family for many different holidays or get-togethers. She lists the walnuts as optional – but I always go for the walnuts.
This carrot cake recipe comes from Flour Bakery. If you live in the Boston area (or are planning to visit) Flour is a must-visit place. Everything they make is amazing, and I highly recommend the cookbook as well.
That’s it! My advice is to keep it easy and enjoy the day, I know we did. For leftovers we love sandwiches of course, but ham is great in quiches and soups too!
The plan for this week includes some lactation boosting foods, some family crowd pleasers, and some very quick and easy ideas because we need to be realistic. This is my meal plan – a target, not a requirement. Sometimes I stray from the plan, and there’s certainly no reason to feel pressure to follow it. When you’re a mom you really only get ‘pockets’ of time around the kids schedule and needs. It may be 10 or 15mins here and there, and I use that to chop veggies or cook rice, or get other prep done. When I was making the chickpea tomato salad for example (which is literally such an easy dish that it takes less than 10 minutes to assemble) I was interrupted twice. I just stopped what I was doing, fed my babe, and then came back to it.
I will once again enjoy the work I put in before the baby came by taking advantage of a few of my freezer items – the Cinnamon Apple Oat Bake, Smoothie packs, and Fennel Orange Chicken.
I realized later that I missed some ingredients on this list! I had to send my husband to the store on his way home from work to pick up my Baked Ziti ingredients (see recipe below).
Apple Cinnamon Oat Bake (freezer meal)
From my postpartum freezer meal prep, I had forgotten how much this recipe made! I definitely don’t need all of this in one week, so I thawed it out just slightly enough to be able to divide it in half, and refroze the rest. It’s about 10 servings total. (That missing corner down below was from the day I made it, a cook has to taste her work 😉
Chickpea, Pesto, Tomato Mozz Salad
This is delicious and so stinking easy, I’ll be revisiting it often.
INGREDIENTS (makes 2 servings)
1/2 pint chopped cherry tomatoes
1/4 of an English Cucumber, sliced into thick rounds and then quartered
1/2 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 Tbl pesto (this time I used jarred, but my husband makes an amazing pesto – I’ll include that recipe next time….)
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella (this would be amazing with fresh mozzarella, but I was keeping it simple and reducing the number of items on my shopping list this week)
Salt and black pepper to taste
Assemble all ingredients in a bowl, mix and enjoy !
What to do with the other half can of chickpeas? I roasted them – makes a really good snack and very easy. Heat oven to 350 degrees, cover chickpeas in a generous amount of olive oil, lightly salt and roast until crispy, about 20 mins. You’ll definitely want to blot with paper towel to get some of the oil off after roasting.
Vegetable Stir-Fry w/Soy free Teriyaki Sauce
Have you noticed how soy seems to be an ingredient in EVERYTHING? Even things where its pretty unexpected. In general, I’m trying to avoid too much soy, so I went searching for a good stir-fry sauce without it, and found a Paleo Teriyaki. You can of course use bottled teriyaki or another sauce to keep it simple if you prefer. If you are making the sauce, my advice is to make it ahead of time (in one of those mom pockets of time).
Soy Free Teriyaki Sauce
½ cup coconut aminos
¼ cup fresh orange juice or water
3 tbsp honey
2 tsp fresh grated ginger
3 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
1/8 tsp chili flakes
2 tsp tapioca flour (optional- if you want your sauce to be thicker, I did not use)
Mix the coconut aminos, orange juice, honey, ginger, garlic and chili flakes in a small saucepan and heat it over medium heat. If you are using tapioca flour, mix it with 2 tablespoon of cold water and add the mixture into the sauce and cook until thicken. If not using tapioca, just simmer the sauce until thickened.
INGREDIENTS (serves 2)
One bell pepper, roughly chopped
One white onion, diced
handful Mushrooms, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbl olive oil
1 green onion (optional) sliced
3/4 cup brown rice (dry)
First cook the rice, this can also be done early (even the day or 2 before). I cooked a double batch (1.5 cups dry) so that I would have some ready for my pesto rice salad later in the week. I used my rice cooker per manufacturer’s instructions.
Heat a large non-stick skillet or wok, over high heat.
Add the olive oil, onions, garlic, sprinkle with salt, and cook covered for about 15, or until onions are caramelized, stirring occasionally.
After onions are caramelized, remove them and place in a small bowl; set aside.
Add the mushrooms, peppers, celery and teriyaki sauce and simmer uncovered for 3 to 5 minutes, or until slightly reduced.
Add the onions back to the skillet and cook for about 1 minute
Put 3/4 cups of rice into each (2) bowls and divide the vegetable & sauce mixture amongst them
Sprinkle green onion on top (sesame seeds would also be good to add)
For Breakfast I just heated up another piece of the Apple Cinnamon Oat Bake and made a decaf cappuccino.
I actually didn’t end up making the Pesto Rice salad today because I still have some leftover Beef Chili from the weekend, and didn’t want to waste it. So I’ll push the Brown Rice Salad to Wednesday.
Since I didn’t have to make breakfast or lunch (and baby girl has been sleeping a lot today) I decided to make the PB & Jam cookies. I actually wasn’t sure if I would end up making these this week or not (I planned to, but wasn’t sure if I would be able to make it happen) as they are more effort for a ‘snack’ than I might have available, but it worked out. They are a great postpartum snack because they include some of our lactation boosting superfoods (oats and flax) and they are filling and tasty.
PB & Jam Cookies
I got the recipe from Sweet Peas and Saffron, who is a meal-prepping goddess, and I didn’t make any modifications.
INGREDIENTS (yields 6 cookies, I kept 3 for this week and froze 3)
2 tablespoons coconut oil melted
2/3 cup natural peanut butter
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup ground flax
6 tablespoons jam of choice (I used no sugar added Smuckers Fruit & Honey, and yes those are my son’s matchbox cars in the background)
Heat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Melt coconut oil in a large bowl. Stir in the peanut butter, eggs, vanilla and honey until smooth.
Add the rolled oats, flour, baking powder and ground flax. Mix until completely combined.
Scoop out 1/4 cup portions and shape them on the baking sheet into a round cookie with an indent in the middle.
Spoon in 1 tablespoon of jam in the center of each cookie.
Bake for 13-15 minutes, until edge around the bottoms start to brown.
Cool completely before storing away for 3-4 days in a sealed container.
For this week, I’m doing cucumber ginger infused water since I needed those ingredients for other dishes as well. I took 1/4 of an English cucumber, chopped and 2″ of ginger, peeled and chopped. I will refill the water in the jug over the next 2 days as needed, then dump the cucumber/ginger and make a fresh batch on the third day.
Baked Ziti w/ Chicken
1/2lb ziti pasta
1lb Ricotta Cheese
1/2cup grated Parmesan Cheese
3 cups shredded Mozzarella Cheese
3 cups pasta sauce – I recommend a hearty sauce with garlic for this dish
3 cups shredded chicken (I recommend a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken to keep this simple)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook ziti in boiling, salted water until al dente (firm).
Drain pasta and place in a large bowl
In a medium sized bowl combine the Ricotta and half (1.5cups) Mozzarella
Add cheese mixture to ziti and mix
Grease a 9×13″ pan (or separate into two smaller pans to freeze half for another meal – this is what I did)
Cover bottom of dish with half of the sauce
Spoon the ziti mixture over the sauce
Add chicken evenly through the dish
Cover with remaining sauce
Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and the remaining mozzarella cheese
Bake for 20 to 30 mins
Remove from oven and let stand for 10mins for easier serving
OK – yesterday my little one slept really well, and was on a regular schedule eating every 2-3hrs and sleeping in between – it was great, but it didn’t continue through the night. Last night she wanted to feed pretty constantly from 1AM to 5AM, and was very unhappy anytime I’d put her down. So lets just say I’m exhausted today, and I foresee miss fussy pants will continue today as well (so far at least).
So I didn’t make an omelette this morning, but just warmed up some more Apple Cinnamon Oat Bake, and my coffee today is half and half (half caffeinated, half decaf) because mama needs a pick-me-up. Luckily my toddler was happy to have some Oat Bake as well, and I was able to gobble up my breakfast in 5 minutes flat.
Sometimes, the little one just want to be held, so let yourself get nothing done and just be with the newborn. I know how quickly this period flies by and I want to make sure I spend that special time with my baby and give myself a break if everything else (except for my son, of course) falls by the wayside.
I did manage to make my lunch, even though it took a couple tries to get through it. I was able to feel some sense of accomplishment for eating a healthy lunch!
Brown Rice Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette
I found this recipe at From the Larder, to keep it simple I left out the fresh parsley and dill (I added the almonds after I had snapped the pic).
INGREDIENTS (for two servings):
175 g brown rice
2 celery stalks diced
1 yellow pepper diced
½ red onion finely chopped
½ cucumber de-seeded, diced
150 g cherry tomatoes halved
40 g flaked almonds toasted
2 large handfuls parsley finely chopped
1 medium handful dill finely chopped
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
juice of ½ small lemon
4 tablespoons pesto (any kind, homemade or shop bought – whatever you have in your fridge)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
Cook the brown rice according to the packet instructions then leave to cool (or hopefully you have some leftover cooked rice from Monday)
Meanwhile mix all the salad ingredients together in a large bowl and add to the rice once cool.
To make the vinaigrette, whisk the Dijon and lemon along with some salt and pepper in a small bowl until thickened.
Whisk in the pesto then drizzle in the olive oil whisking all the time until the dressing has come together.
Pour over the rice salad, mixing in well.
Store the salad in the fridge until needed.
Today little miss and I ventured out into the world for the first time (other than her doctor’s appointments). We went to the coffee shop where I shamelessly enjoyed a delicious donut and iced coffee (decaf) and then the grocery store. I didn’t attempt a full shopping, just fruit, veggies and essentials. I plan to order the rest via delivery from Whole Foods, which is such an awesome service – definitely take advantage of grocery delivery if your local store offers it! I do find that I don’t receive the best produce when I go with the delivery option though, which is why we made our little trip. It was great to be out and about, and she basically slept the whole time (cars tend to have that effect) so I’m declaring it a victory!
Tuna Tomato Melt
This is a great little lunch. Low carb but filling, and looks pretty too! I got the idea from Skinnytaste but just made my typical tuna salad that I like (I don’t use mayo) and I’ve included my recipe below – and snuck in some Cape Cod chips.
INGREDIENTS (for 2 servings)
Tuna filets in olive oil – I love this brand, high quality and they also have flavors like w/oregano or w/jalapeño (which would work great for tuna salad). Its even more expensive in the store so I like to buy via Amazon for a better price! I use all the tuna and about 1 tablespoon of the oil in the jar to mix into the tuna salad
1 tsp Mustard (I use the olive oil from the tuna and mustard as the ‘sauce’ of my tuna instead of mayo)
1 celery stalk, diced
1 small carrot, diced
salt and pepper to taste
2 large tomatoes
2 slices cheddar cheese
Mixd the first 5 ingredients together in a small bowl.
Set oven to Broil and arrange rack 1 note down from top
Slice the top of each tomato and clear out some of the seeds.
Fill each tomato shell with half of the tuna salad
Cover each tomato with 1 slice of cheese
Broil tomato sandwiches for ~2 minutes until cheese is fully melted
I moved my freezer meal – Chicken with Orange and Fennel – to today, just wanted to take advantage of work that was already done 🙂 The important thing to remember for the freezer meals is to thaw overnight or very early in the morning before you plan to cook it. This one, (recipe in my post on freezer meal prep) cooked on low for 6 hours and was really tasty – something a little different with chicken is always welcomed.
I still had a little Apple Cinnamon Oat Bake left, so I finished it off for breakfast. I made it a little special with strawberries, blueberries and whip cream – my toddler had some berries in whip cream too!
My mother-in-law is visiting from out of state (to meet her new granddaughter!) so we were a little off plan today – we went out for pizza for lunch! So I’m going to push the turkey sloppy joes to next week, we have to be flexible!
Brunch! I am happy to report we successfully went out to brunch with both kids and it wasn’t a disaster. This may never happen again….
French toast with blueberry compote, bacon, coffee, chicken and waffles for my husband – delicious!
She’s in there – I promise! This nursing/carseat/stroller cover is a lifesaver – I use it to cover her up in public, it shields her from some of the noise and light in a restaurant for example (which helps keep her calm and sleepy) but I also use it on her stroller to completely shield her from the sun (just be careful it doesn’t get too hot in there) and then its also a nursing cover/scarf – score!
Chicken Wild Rice Soup – Instant Pot
You may have noticed I like gadgets – kitchen gadgets. This has been especially true since becoming a mother – where before I may have been able to perfectly cook rice on the stovetop every time, now I prefer the dump it and leave it approach. As my toddler likes to say, “I too busy”. The rice cooker is definitely one of my most used items, it is great for meal prep because you can make a batch of rice or quinoa on Sunday for healthy meals throughout the week!
For rice or noodle based soups, I always cook the rice/pasta separately. If I’m making a big batch of soup (and plan on enjoying the leftovers) I definitely don’t want leftover rice in there – it ‘drinks’ up all the broth and gets totally mushy. I find it works better to cook it separately, then just add a little into each individual bowl when its time to serve it – then the next day I do the same and can enjoy the leftovers longer. This recipe is inspired by The Kitchen Magpie, but I made a handful of changes.
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
6 cups chicken stock
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 white onion diced
3 carrots peeled and diced
3 stalks celery diced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 bay leaves
3/4 cup wild rice, dry
This recipe only calls for two chicken breast, and the package comes with three, so I saved one that I’ll bake tomorrow and use for salads/lunches next week.
Cook wild rice in rice cooker or other method
While rice is cooking, add all ingredients except rice into the instant pot
Press the Soup button and cook for 45 minutes
When ready, remove the chicken breasts onto a plate and shred them. Mix back into the soup.
To serve add ~1/5th of the rice to each bowl and spoon in soup.
Store leftover rice separately from leftover soup
Tomorrow (Sunday) I’ll mostly eat leftovers – my remaining PB & Jam cookie, soup, etc and start prepping for next week. Here’s my next postpartum meal plan:
In my last blog post on the first week post-partum, I introduced a meal plan (shown below). This isn’t necessarily low-calorie (depending on your calorie needs and your serving sizes) since I am exclusively breast-feeding and need to keep calories up to ensure supply, but it is a healthy, balanced meal plan. Based on Myfitness pal logging (love that app) I was consuming between 1400-1700 calories each day. A given as part of the meal plan is water. Hydration is SO important for breast-feeding mamas, and as part of a healthy lifestyle in general. I was getting in around 80oz a day.
After I laid out my plan and completed my shopping, we received a wonderful surprise, my mother delivered a huge pot of Beef Bourguignon, complete with mashed potatoes and buttery carrots! This is one of my mother’s specialties (a Julia Child recipe I will supply below) and one of our absolute favorites, so my meal-plan had to modify a little to accommodate, which I was happy to do! I dropped the freezer meal, that’s easy to save for next week.
Cover 3/4 cup raw cashews in water and soak overnight (or 8 hrs)
Drain and rinse the soaked cashews, then add them to a high-powered blender
Add the remaining ingredients, in the order listed, to the blender:
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons coconut flour
3 tablespoons coconut oil
3 tablespoons Sugar (or leave out for savory waffles)
1 teaspoon vanilla (or leave out for savory waffles)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Start by blending on low speed, then increase the speed to medium-high, then back down to low.
Blend until completely smooth.
Pour into your waffle maker, and cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions. (Everyone told me I’d never use my waffle maker when I registered for it before getting married, but I use it all the time – waffle junkie!)
Add cooled waffles to freezer bag – to reheat, just pop in toaster oven (or actual oven) until warm and crispy!
A simple garden salad and whole wheat english muffin grilled cheese for lunch, with a side of red grapes.
1 (14-ounce) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups baby spinach
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
In a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium high heat, combine fettuccine, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, onion, garlic, basil, thyme, red pepper flakes and 4 1/2 cups water; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until pasta is cooked through and liquid has reduced, about 12-15 minutes.
Stir in spinach, Parmesan and butter until the spinach has wilted, about 2-3 minutes.
Completed as part of Freezer Meal Prep (be sure to thaw in the fridge overnight to be able to blend in the AM) or as detailed below.
Add 1 banana, 1/2 cup frozen strawberries, 1/4 cup old fashioned oats, 1 tbsp peanut butter, and 1 cup almond milk to blender.
Sprinkle in flax seeds.
Asian Style Chicken Salad
I can’t really explain why this is call ‘Asian-style’ as there aren’t too many ingredients that I would normally associate with an asian dish. However it is really tasty and a perfect lunch. The chicken and dressing should be prepped ahead and then its a quick and easy assembly each time you’re ready to eat it. This dressing recipe makes a large batch, so you can expect to have some leftover.
2 heads iceberg lettuce (or mix in some darker greens for added nutrition, but the iceberg has a nice crunch)
4 chicken breasts – par boil slowly
1/4 cup poppy seeds
1-3/4 cups slivered almonds
3 scallions – finely chopped
Chow mein noodles
12 tsp red wine vinegar
1-1/2 cup salad oil
3/4 tsp pepper
3 tsp salt
6 tsp sugar
Dressing should be refrigerated overnight before serving.
When I got married, my mother had assembled some of her best recipes, some of my childhood favorites, and some Holiday recipes into a book – I use it often, and Beef Bourguignon is included there – of course! Given that I am breastfeeding, and you might be too, the first thing you might notice is that there’s a fair amount of booze in this recipe! Yes there is, but it cooks for a long enough time that all the alcohol burns off, so it is nursing friendly. I wouldn’t neccessarily recommend making this yourself if you have a newborn though, it may be a little too involved. File it away for later or see if you can get someone to make it for you, hehe! All the other recipes I have been choosing are super quick and simple, because I don’t want to take on too much – the babe is the main priority…
Spinach and Cheese Omelette
Mix together 1 cup of chopped spinach, 1/4cup shredded cheddar cheese, and two eggs in a same bowl, season with salt and pepper. (This is 1 serving)
Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat until hot, spray with EVOO and pour in egg mixture.
Gently tilt pan and push cooked portions from the edges until the full omelette is cooked. Serve immediately.
Lemon Garlic Salmon
This time I cooked in a foil packet on my inside grill, but you can bake the salmon as well and it will be delicious.
1 pound wild salmon fillet
2 tablespoons olive oil (or avocado oil)
1 tablespoon Herbs de Provence, dill, or Italian Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
zest of 1 lemon
1 large lemon sliced into rounds
Preheat your grill to medium-high
Place the salmon on one large sheet of foil
Mix the lemon zest with oil in a small bowl
Drizzle fish with oil mixture and coat the flesh of the salmon in oil. Sprinkle with seasoning of choice and sea salt.
Place lemon slices on top of the salmon fillet and wrap in foil to create a foil packet.
Place foil packet on the grill and cover the grill. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until salmon is cooked through (or reaches desired done-ness). Cook times will vary depending on the thickness of the salmon.
No new recipes for today!
I took the pack of chicken and separated into 2 large breasts to use for Caprese chicken, along with some chicken strips to use for the garden salad. I just simply bake the chicken strips with olive oil, Italian seasoning, and a little salt and pepper for about 20 minutes.
Cut Spaghetti Squash in half length-wise. Spray insides with EVOO and sprinkle with salt/pepper
Bake squash cut side down on a cookie sheet (covered with aluminum foil) for about 20 minutes or until outside shell is soft.
While squash is baking, heat a large skillet with olive oil and season chicken with salt and pepper.
Cook chicken over medium heat until golden and cooked through, about 6-8 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
Lower heat to medium low and add the two teaspoons of olive oil to the pan. Add onion and stir for a few minutes or until they begin soften.
Add garlic and stir for 1 minute or until fragrant.
Add tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and let simmer until soft, about 4-5 minutes.
Stir in a tablespoon of basil. Return chicken to skillet and nestle in tomatoes. Top evenly with mozzarella and cover with lid to melt cheese.
Remove spaghetti squash from oven and use a fork to scrap out ‘spaghetti’ into bowl.
Spoon tomatoes, chicken and sauce over spaghetti squash and garnish with remaining basil.
Delicious and Healthy!
Saturday & Sunday
Instant Pot Beanless Beef Chili
This meal is great because it is so quick and easy – from start to finish 30 mins. I didn’t end up adding the bell pepper to mine as I was short on time, and reduced some of the quantities (beef, tomatoes w/chilies) as I was only cooking for 2 adults, but otherwise I followed this recipe from Confessions of a Fit Foodie as written. I will definitely make this one again – really good. If you are breastfeeding, you may also want to reduce the heat level do be sure it will agree with the baby 🙂
1½ pounds ground beef
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 1/2 cups carrots,peeled and diced
1 cup of bell peppers, diced
2 cups of zucchini, cut into half moons
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 15-ounce can tomato puree or tomato sauce
2 small cans of tomatoes with green chilies
Set your Instant Pot to Saute and brown beef until beef is thoroughly cooked, adding garlic for the last minute. Drain excess fat, set aside.
Add oil, onions, celery, carrots, peppers, and seasonings to the Pot and saute until onions are translucent. Add zucchini, cooked beef, tomatoes, and sauce to the pot and stir.
Cover IP and be sure valve is set to sealing. Set to manual and cook for 20 minutes. After cook time, switch to venting for quick release.
Next Week’s Meal Plan
Here’s my plan for next week! Planning to be healthy and keeping it simple!