Ultimate Portion Fix is in full swing! It feels great to be working out again. Today is day 4, so far I’ve been able to get the workout in each day, even though sometimes I have to stop a couple times to feed or soothe my baby girl. I also had to significantly modify yesterdays workout (21 Day Fix Pilates Extreme Real Time). Any moves targeting legs I completed as is, but any targeting core I just substituted in one of the Diastasis Recti exercises, to be safe.
The eating plan has been going fairly well. On Day 1 my Brother-in-law (professional chef) made homemade fried chicken, so I broke my meal plan on the first day, but it was worth it! Day 2 I was perfect to make up for it 🙂 In general it is a lot of food – and I’ve found some great new recipes even in the first week. Fixate has a bunch of good options for vegetables/salads. Two favorites this week (so far) are the Fixate antipasto salad and the roasted cabbage with Cotija cheese.
I was able to complete the bulk of the food prep Saturday/Sunday before the week started which is essential. I’ve been fitting in the other steps here and there where I can. Its been a super rainy week here, which gets a little depressing when you can’t get out of the house with the baby, so I’m glad I’ve had the Beachbody workouts to get me moving a bit and get those endorphins going!
It’s not always easy to fit all that prep in, or get anything done in a day it seems! I’ve taken to ‘baby wearing’ lately. Its one guaranteed way to calm my little one down, as she loves to be close to me. There’s not too much I can get down while wearing her, but prep is ok (I’m just slow and can’t bend over!)
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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.
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: