Monday: Sweet Potato Coconut Curry– This is a perfect, quick, vegan meal. I plan to use white potatoes instead of sweet, because I already have some…and I’ve been reminded by my husband that, “We eat sweet potatoes a lot.” Which in his language means, “Stop fixing sweet potatoes.”

Tuesday: Shrimp and Avocado Salad with Miso Dressing– Don’t have shrimp, and don’t want to buy any? That’s ok. This will be great with any kind of protein (including beans to make this vegetarian).

Wednesday: Leftovers- It’s that time again. Clean out the fridge and freezer! You can try and play this off by putting each meal in a separate serving dish, and call it a buffet. I don’t know how that would make anything better, but at least you have the night off!

Thursday: BBQ and Coleslaw- You can make any kind of bbq you and your family enjoy. I’m going to go the jackfruit route, but use the recipe for this BBQ sauce. Jackfruit has a meaty texture and the look of pulled pork. I ordered a large bag from Vegan Essentials. Much easier than tracking down a store that carries fresh jackfruit, and then attempting to break it down myself.

As for coleslaw, I really don’t use a recipe. I buy pre-shredded coleslaw, and add some green onion. Then, I mix a good dollop (or more, depending on how many I’m trying to feed) of mayo (classic, homemade, or vegan) with about 1 TBSP lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, a squirt of mustard, salt, pepper, and a few drops of liquid stevia (sounds strange, but you really need a tiny bit of sweetness to balance out the fat and acid).

Friday: Spicy Ramen with Tofu– I’m going to begin by cutting the miso paste recipe in half. You only use half for this recipe anyway, and what happens if you’re not in love with it, and then you’re stuck with a buttload? I’m also going to use shiritaki noodles instead of ramen. If you don’t have either, linguini or spaghetti will also work here. If you/yours aren’t pumped about tofu- don’t use it! Try out a different protein.

Saturday: Pizza- Pizza is needed for normalcy and happiness in life. It’s also my husband’s lifeblood, and he can’t go more than a few days without a hit.

Sunday: It’s the Super Bowl, so let’s face it…there will be snacks. But, you can make a healthy dinner to fill up on before kickoff, so you’re not starving.

Monday: Spring Rolls: Fast, easy, and healthy. Chop up a whole mess of vegetables (and use what’s leftover for the rest of the week), wrap the veggies in rice paper, dip in peanut sauce. Add any protein you like, or skip it.

Tuesday: Avocado Salmon Rice Bowls:  This is a very simple recipe, and the link is no longer working! So, rub salmon filets with salt, pepper, lime juice, and a little honey (really, any seasonings that you like). Bake at 400° for 20 minutes. Make some rice, and  while you’re at it, make extra rice or quinoa for the week. Smash up some avocados with some cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper…and toss a little of everything into a bowl.

Wednesday: Anything-Goes Kale Salad: There’s a plan here! Using leftovers from Monday and Tuesday, you have dinner for Wednesday!

Thursday: Whole 30 Mango Chicken with Coconut Cauliflower “Rice”: Sounds good to me. I  keep frozen organic mango on hand, so I plan to thaw some and puree it, as opposed to buying mango or orange juice (which we won’t drink). To save time, buy pre-riced cauliflower. It’s everywhere now.

Friday:Gluten free Butternut Squash Falafel Salad Bowls : Bear with me on this one….I’m using this more as an idea, than a recipe. There are a lot of steps and a lot of elements to this..and I plan to skip most of them.

1) Not making the falafels. Instead, I’m using pre-made organic veggie tots      that I got from Costco.  Veggie burgers would also work here.

2) Not frying the shallots. Stomach can’t handle them, and it’s just another step.

3) Using the grain that I made earlier in the week.

Boom. That just saved at least an hour.

Saturday: Crock Pot Fajitas: Again, an idea. Use any kind of protein you like, or sub portobello mushrooms for the meat.

Sunday: Chicken Shawarma : This chicken rub is so delicious. Try and get the chicken (or tofu or jackfruit) marinating as early as you can in the day. If you’re not into pitas, serve atop any grain, cauliflower rice, or make into a big a$$ salad.

Happy short week!

Monday: Look around and put something together. This is how people have been fixing dinner since day one! No one wants to venture out on a cold day off. I know you have food in your house, and there’s an easy formula for putting it all together to make a whole, nutritious meal: Vegetables+Carb+Protein= Meal. So many possibilities. I have rice, quinoa, and gluten free pasta (made from brown rice) on hand. You could also use potatoes, or cauliflower “rice” as your base. I also have a bunch of roasted vegetables that I made this weekend, as well as some frozen shrimp. Those things will all be lovingly tossed together, and served to a husband, who will probably sneer at it’s lack of beef and potatoes.

Tuesday: Indian Chicken Coconut Korma: I’m 99% sure this would be successful in a crock pot. You could even put chicken and some broth in the crock pot, cook that and use it all week, and add the cooked chicken to the end of this recipe. If you serve this with rice or naan, you’ll take away it’s Paleo-ness. That’s fine with me, but, I’ll choose one or the other to keep this lower carb.

Wednesday: Mustard Roasted Potatoes and Apples with lean protein of your choice: This is an easy one-pan meal. If you plan to serve this with fish or chicken, you could add the protein to the pan when you add the apples (you may need to cut the chicken into smaller pieces to ensure everything is cooked at the same time).

Thursday: Vegan Bowls with Parsley Cashew Pesto: The pesto is the only part of the recipe that “needs” to be followed. So, make the pesto, and serve with a healthy grain and whatever vegetables you have on-hand. Tofu or meat can easily be added to increase your protein.

Friday: Butternut Squash Chicken Skillet: This recipe is Paleo and Whole 30…so, it has the potential to be a little bland. To ensure that this is flavorful, try marinating the chicken in the spices and letting that stay in the fridge all day (you could even take all of the ingredients, put in a bag, and let it all marinate all day). This could be made on the stovetop if you don’t have a cast iron skillet. If you don’t have one- get one! You can buy them from Amazon (very inexpensive, and so easy to take care of).

Saturday: Polenta Stacks with Squash and Cashew Cream with a protein, if you’d like: Don’t be discouraged when you look at this recipe. Personally, I will use the brand of polenta that I already have in my cabinet. You can also purchase pre-made polenta (in tubes), and that will cut off a lot of time. This does take a little planning, though. The polenta will need to set up, so make it earlier in the day. To save time and money, I’m going to skip the delicata squash, and use the organic frozen butternut squash I already have.

Sunday: Freebie!

Happy Monday! This week’s recipes are pretty quick and easy. There are a lot of vegetables involved, so nothing to feel bad about here. Just be sure you’re buying the highest quality ingredients you can afford. As a reminder, here is 2016’s  Dirty Dozen list (not sure when the 2017 list comes out). This list is more extensive, with the top 50, and lists the produce with the most to least pesticide residue (testing data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration). In a nutshell: Organic avocados= not necessary. Organic Strawberries= Absolute must!

Monday: Spicy Brazilian Bowls– I make this all the time. My husband requests it weekly. I make this with “plain” brown rice and one can of beans. The stars of this dish are the plantains. If you haven’t tried them yet…come on. I suppose you could try potatoes instead. But then you’d be missing out on the subtle sweetness and mind-boggling inexpensiveness of the plantains.

Tuesday: Avocado Cream Penne with Herbs–  Pasta in a pot+sauce ingredients in a blender= dinner in 15 minutes. Probably not going to serve this with the tomatoes on top….a side salad sounds better to me.

Wednesday: Whole 30 Sloppy Joe Bowls– Pretty self explanatory. To save time, just soak the dates in water and don’t bother boiling them (another pot). You can also make this vegan by subbing the beef for vegetarian crumbles (typically contain wheat), textured soy protein, or crumbled tofu. Also, you can bake the potatoes, or cook the whole potatoes in a crock pot or instant pot for those who are microwave weary.

Thursday: Chopped Thai Salad with Coconut Curry Dressing– Light and easy salad (if you buy pre-shredded cabbage and bagged, pre-washed kale). Add shrimp or chicken to make this a full meal.

Friday: Baked Coconut Chicken Tenders with Mango Mustard sauce–  This recipe makes a lot! There’s a widget for reducing the amount of servings at the top of the recipe. Be sure you’re using unsweetened coconut.  For the sauce, you can use frozen mango (thaw in the fridge). It’s so much easier than waiting for mangoes to ripen, and then cutting yourself.

Saturday: Freebie!

Sunday: Brinner- Honestly, I’m never awake and aware enough to make a proper breakfast. Don’t allow yourself to become a short order cook for this one! Pick a few dishes (scrambled or fried eggs, bacon or sausage, pancakes or waffles), and everyone else can deal! Also, make sure this meal is balanced. You don’t need to make pancakes, biscuits, and toast. One carb heavy item is enough. Add some vegetables to your eggs, and pick a meat that is free of sugar and nitrates. I’m liking Pederson’s No Sugar Hickory Smoked Bacon. I was nervous the first time I made it, but it actually does have the sweet and salty taste that you want from bacon. AND, it’s paleo and Whole 30 approved. Stalk your grocery, and stock up when this goes on sale!

That month off was much needed. Now I’m back, focused, and ready to help you plan healthy and delicious meals. January can be daunting for many….resolutions can cloud your judgement as to what is feasible to attain and maintain. Suggestion: Start small and be specific. What are you actually seeking? Instead of saying, “I’ll eat healthier,” try: Vegetables with every meal/No packaged foods 5 days a week/ I won’t drink my calories/8 glasses of water a day. Instead of, “I’ll get fit,” try: I will do 30 minutes of exercise 3 days a week/I will walk 20 miles a week/ I will try a new fitness class twice a month.

Write down your goals. They don’t have to be on a banner or plastered on Facebook, but keep them somewhere  you can see them…mainly because, let’s face it, memories do not get better with age. I bought the 2017 Blogilates Fit Planner and I love it. The price is right, it’s beautiful, it’s very user friendly, and it runs January-January….I hate planners that start in June; it’s wrong.

Sometimes an accountability coach can be helpful. This is someone you tell your goals to, and then they can help hound you to keep you focused! Ok, maybe not hound you, but they can help remind your of your goals and why you set them. Need one? Hit me up, and we can talk about ways to improve your health indefinitely.

Monday: Clean out the Fridge Veggie Bowl-  It’s nice to have a no-recipe recipe. All you need to do is grab some vegetables…any and all will do. I plan to roast mine (tossed with a little olive oil, pure maple syrup, mustard, salt, and pepper) and serve on top of brown rice. I might throw in a dollop of hummus for a little protein, too. If you don’t roast your vegetables, I suggest drizzling (definitely not dousing) this dish with a healthy fat (olive oil, coconut oil, or ghee). The fat helps your body absorb the vitamins and minerals from the vegetables. ***If you’re feeling up to it, make extra rice or quinoa today, and you can use it for almost every other meal this week!***

Tuesday: Taco Tuesday! Another no-recipe recipe…I’m not quite sure why tacos have gotten a reputation for being unhealthy….maybe the excess dairy, processed shells/tortillas, and fatty meat? Ok, don’t use those things! I’m going to be lazy and make taco bowls because I have shredded chicken that I made on Sunday, and the vat of rice I made Monday. If you want actual tacos, I suggest using corn tortillas (These are finicky! Buy 100% corn, and make sure that they’re HOT or they will break on you….re-heating may be needed). Or, if you really feel ambitious, make these Paleo Tortillas. I make these all the time. Otto’s brand really does make a difference. These tortillas are easy to make, pliable, and remind me of the flour tortillas of my past.

Wednesday: Kung Pao Cauliflower–  Vegan; follow directions for gluten free. I’ll admit: I’ve never made a cauliflower replacement recipe like this…but, the picture looks too good to not try!

Thursday: Peanut Tofu Buddha Bowl: Vegan and gluten free, but shrimp or chicken could easily be added to, or replace the tofu. Make sure your peanut butter only contains peanuts!

Friday: Beer Battered Fish and Chips with Mushy Peas: Gluten free; paleo if you skip the peas. Healthiest food ever? No. Healthier than ordering at a restaurant? Yes. For the fries, cut your potatoes and soak them…you can even begin soaking them Thursday, if you feel like it. Then, dry them thoroughly before you lightly spray them with olive oil and roast them at 425°F for 40-45 min, turning halfway through. As for the mushy peas…I’ll cook the same way, but skip the cream and use ghee instead of butter.

Saturday: Vegan Winter Vegetable Pasta with Pumpkin Seed Pesto– Use gluten free pasta, if needed.

Sunday: Paleo Chicken Tikka Masala– This recipe has a lot of spice ingredients- don’t let that scare you- you have measuring spoons. I use breasts instead of thighs, fyi, a few scoops of cashew butter can replace the cashew cream, and I don’t bother blotting off the marinade…more mess. Serve this with cauliflower rice, rice, and/or naan. Definitely worth the work.