Brace yourselves….there may be a blizzard (?) I’m sure there are people freaking out and clearing the shelves. So, let’s keep this shopping list short.

Monday: Kale and Potato Curry– Use this recipe as a base, but add diced potatoes (you can roast separately, or toss in the pan early) to bulk up the recipe. Serve with rice, quinoa, or riced cauliflower.

Tuesday: Whole 30 Taco Salad– I’m inclined to skip the dressing recipe for this. I typically rely on the salsa and avocados I use to “dress” this salad. This will save time and prevent you from buying random ingredients.

Wednesday: Chicken &/or Chickpea salad- No real recipe for this…I like to cook chicken that I plan to shred in the crockpot. Today, I plan to make curry chicken salad. So, I’ll add mayo (or plain yogurt, or a combo of both) to the cooled chicken; along with green onions, curry powder, raisins, and chopped almonds. This can easily be made vegetarian by using chickpeas instead of chicken. Serve as sandwiches, or on top of lettuce/spinach.

Thursday: Salad Bar

Friday: Vegan Gyros– Feel free to use shredded chicken instead of jackfruit. You can also save yourself some time by purchasing pre-made tzatziki. This recipe calls for sumac…you can substitute lemon pepper. I plan to serve this with oven roasted fries.

Saturday: *Freebie*

Sunday: Vegan Butternut Squash Lasagne with Cashew Cheese and Kale Pesto– This recipe will come together very quickly…if you have a blender or food processor for the pesto and cheese. Also, I plan to use pre-cut butternut squash, which will change the overall look of the “lasagne.” Oh well. We’ll have this as a side dish along with roasted salmon.

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Monday: Moroccan “Meatballs”– This is a vegan recipe, but you can easily use lean ground beef or lamb instead of chickpeas.

Tuesday: Sheet Pan Shrimp Boil– You can lighten this up by reducing the amount of butter used….1/4 cup is a bit much for this recipe (in my opinion). Remember, the sausage will release some fat when it cooks. I suggest spraying lightly with olive oil, and then tasting after everything is cooked. Each person you serve can add some butter/ghee to their own dish if they’d like.

Wednesday: Paleo Butternut Apple Chicken Salad w/ Creamy Maple Dressing– Very straightforward. If you have a favorite dressing/dressing recipe- use that. ***You can make extra chicken today, and use for tomorrow (if you want tomorrow’s recipe to be carnivorous).***

Thursday: Jackfruit Chickpea Coconut Stir Fry–  This recipe has a few spices that you can substitute. For the initial spice mix, I plan to skip the peppercorns (and simply use ground pepper). This way, I don’t have to dirty something else by grinding one spice. No mustard seeds? Replace with ground mustard. No cumin seeds? Replace with ground cumin. No asafetida? Add more garlic. No jackfruit? Use shredded chicken or tofu.

Friday: Slow Cooker Honey Chipotle Chicken Tacos-Easy recipe, that can be multiplied and frozen for the future. Be sure to check your can of chipotles if you’re gluten free…some brands contain wheat to thicken the sauce.

Saturday: Honey Mustard Salmon– Don’t like salmon? Try this glaze recipe on chicken or pork loin.

Sunday: Super Vegan Bowls– You can use this recipe as a base to clean out your fridge for the week. Use whatever vegetables/protein you have leftover from the week.

Incredibly quick and easy is my goal this week. And I’m pretty confident that the meals this week won’t break the bank at the grocery. We’ll be using (what I consider) to be mostly staples.

Monday: Crispy Potato Curry: I like this recipe because it’s your veggie and carb all in one! I think I may add some more vegetables (like carrots and peppers) to the roast, just to add some more nutrition. If you like naan, because you’re a human with a soul, try this Paleo Naan recipe. Or, buy some! Costco has a pack of a million individual sized naan pieces (not gluten free) that can be frozen. I found them in the “ethnic” refrigerated section…by the kimchi, seaweed salad, and pork buns.

Tuesday: Whole 30 Sloppy Joe’s with…spaghetti squash/buns/sweet potatoes/white potatoes/rice/quinoa/cauliflower rice. That’s a ton of options. If you have a favorite recipe, by all means use it…but “Whole 30” ensures that there’s no added sugar from condiments, or general ick from a can. This recipe is very fast, and can easily be doubled or tripled if you want to make it in bulk and freeze for another day. ***If you plan to freeze, portion it out before freezing, so you don’t have to thaw the remainder and re-freeze.***

Wednesday: Mexican Pizzas- This used to be my Taco Bell jam! This, a Supreme Chalupa, and Dr. Pepper. Because when you’re 16, you can treat your body like a landfill, because the future is never going to come for you. Anyway…there’s no recipe for this one. I just plan to use corn tortillas (that I’ll lightly pan fry), layered with black beans, and taco filling. I pulled some taco seasoned chicken (for the male), and some taco seasoned jackfruit (for me) out of the freezer. Then I’ll top with “cheese” before putting in the oven to melt, and serve with guacamole.

Thursday: Avocado curry rice noodles with shrimp: My only issue with this recipe, is that I find the serving size to be incredibly unrealistic. I think I can get 4 servings out of this…6 would leave me needing to make another meal an hour later. Use whatever kind of noodles you have/like. You could also substitute the shrimp for chicken, tofu, or just add a lot of vegetables and make this a vegan dish.

Friday: Protein grilled on pineapple skin: Sounds weird, I know.  I’m going to use cod for this, because I have some. This would be great with another white fish, salmon, or chicken. I’m just trying this because I love pineapple, I always cut my own, and I’m hoping that there’s a use for all the waste. I’m going to serve this with Pineapple Fried Cauliflower Rice, and I will most likely not make this with all of the bacon and eggs that the recipe calls for. I just don’t require that much protein.

Saturday: 15 Minute Spicy Shrimp with Pesto Noodles: I don’t think I’ll make this with shrimp. I haven’t determined what I’ll use instead, but…something. Helpful, I know. If you have a favorite pesto recipe, by all means. You can also use store-bought, which will really save time. The sauce would taste great on quinoa too, if you don’t want pasta twice in one week, or if you don’t want to use zucchini noodles, per the recipe.

Sunday: Funday- free day! Try a new recipe, go out, eat PB&J’s…

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!

What an exciting day! Normally Monday is not the coolest of the days, but I’m going to Target AND grocery shopping, and for me that is the epitome of fun. It doesn’t take much these days. The reason I love grocery shopping, is that I love to eat. I get to go buy all of my fuel for the week. I love seeing my produce drawers jammed packed at the beginning of the week, and then by Sunday evening there’s just a rogue lemon and a few carrots left. I am 100% onboard with paying more for quality produce and ingredients now, because I feel that it will prevent me from having to eat a handful of pills every day.

Also, VOTE tomorrow if you haven’t already! Why? Because you’re an adult, it’s your right, and you get a free sticker. Remember, if you’re not thrilled by any of you choices, you can always write me in. I’m fair, but firm. And if you don’t like any of these choices for meals this week, scroll the archives.

Monday: No Fry Vegan Vegetable Manchurian– Take note: the first ingredient is 2 cups finely chopped vegetables, and then a bunch of veggies are listed as examples. You don’t need the 2 cups plus the listed examples…make sense? I don’t have the special pan this recipe uses, so I’ll make balls and put them on a pan and bake flipping halfway through…I’m thinking 425° for 15-20, to get them nice and crispy. I plan to serve this atop of spaghetti squash to keep this low carb.

Tuesday: Smashed Plantain Pulled Pork Sliders– Paleo- I hope you remembered to save your leftover pork from Sunday! If not, this is not going to be the 10 minute meal I intended. If you can’t find plantains, I bet this would work with potatoes…you’d had to slice them pretty thick for the same effect…maybe 1/2 inch? Also, the fry time will probably be different; probably 1-2 additional minutes per side.

Wednesday: Low Carb “Sweet Potato” Casserole with Your Choice of Protein- To save a lot of time, use 2 cans of butternut squash puree and a bag of pre-riced cauliflower. I don’t think I’ll use the full 2 cups of pecans this recipe calls for….it’s just too much for my liking. Also, I suggest not adding all of the sweetener called for in the topping…maybe just use half, taste, and re-attack.

Thursday: Moroccan Spiced Sweet Potato and Carrots with Your Choice of Protein-  This is one of my favorite recipes. I always skip the end of the recipe with the olives, parsley, and lemon juice. Just my preference. I think this will pair very well with white fish or scallops as your protein choice.

Friday: Bibimbap– My absolute favorite Korean food. This link is for the bibimbap sauce…scroll about halfway down the page and you’ll see it. Essentially, this meal is rice topped with sautéed vegetables, meat, and a fried egg. You can make yours vegan by only using vegetables and skipping the fried egg; vegetarian by skipping the meat; or cater to omnivores with vegetables, meat, and the fried egg. As a base you can use rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice. And you’re probably going to want to double the sauce recipe, because it’s just so good. ***Be sure to check the ingredients on your Korean chili paste, as many have wheat in them. I was able to find a gluten free brand on Amazon.

Saturday: Honey Chipotle Portobello Burgers with Mustard Slaw– This one is pretty self explanatory. You could use the marinade/rub and add it to ground beef if you’re so inclined.

Sunday: White Chicken Chili– Gluten and dairy free. I plan to use chicken breasts, but besides that, this seems like a pretty sound recipe! If you eat dairy, feel free to use heavy cream or whole milk in place of the coconut milk.

Happy last full week of October! Fall is kind of here now (?) Hopefully you’ll find that this week’s recipes are still filling, but not too heavy.

Monday: Sweet Potato Egg Boats– Simple, complete, and delicious. You can leave out the bacon for a vegetarian option. This recipe serves 2, but is very easily multiplied. This would also taste great with white potatoes instead of sweet. Double the avocado cream portion, and save the rest for tomorrow’s dinner. Make a side salad to go along with this…you can never have too many vegetables (that aren’t saturated in oil, butter, &/or bottled salad dressing).

Tuesday: Mexican Style Cauliflower Rice– Gluten free and vegan. Save yourself time and buy pre-riced cauliflower. To bulk this up and add more protein, you can add ground beef, chicken, or textured soy protein to this.

Wednesday: We all have them. They lurk in the freezer and fridge. Coated in frost. Mysterious. Leftovers. It’s time. Thaw them out. Save yourself a night of cooking. There may be something you like in container #2.

Thursday: Paleo Plantain Beef Pie– Paleo (gluten, grain, and dairy free). Are you on the plantain wagon with me yet? You really should be. I love plantains because of their nutritional value, and the fact that you can cook with them at all stages of their ripeness (seriously, from green to completely black). And you can buy 5 pounds of them at Costco for $3.

Friday: Salmon, greens, and honey squash- No recipe needed here. I was able to find organic honey squash, which is delicious. It looks like a tiny butternut squash, but it’s sweeter.  Roast the squash (whole); cut open and scoop out the insides; add some sage, ghee, and salt and go at it. If salmon doesn’t look good this week, try this with roasted chicken or pork.

Saturday: Fajitas- Again: No recipe needed. Protein+vegetables+guacamole+extras you may like= fajitas. You can toss everything onto a bed of lettuce for a lower carb option, or really treat yourself and enjoy with warm tortillas.

Sunday: Creamy Potato Cauliflower Soup– Vegan and gluten free. In order to appease my husband, I’m calling this, “Loaded Baked Potato Soup.” He doesn’t need to know that there is cauliflower and no dairy involved. Although, I’ll probably add cheese to his to really seal the deal. A sprinkle of bacon to meet his dietary need of meat multiple times a day, and I’m winning at life.

Pour one out for our homie, Summer.

Metaphorical goodbye, Summer. Labor Day is quite possibly the cruelest of holidays for school-aged people. It’s a day off, but you know what comes after it. For someone who *horn toot* did well in school, I really hated it. School caused so much stress and anxiety for me. I gave myself a freaking ulcer when I was 15! Is there anything worse than learning math and science? I know how that sounds, but my brain can not handle those subjects. According to Lady Gaga, I was born that way. Anyway…if I could go back in time and teach myself some stress relieving tactics and some ways to deal with anxiety, perhaps the thought of Pre-Cal wouldn’t induce black outs and heart palpitations. If you find yourself stressed, or perhaps your children are struggling to make the back to school transition, try some of these easy stress relievers. While some may sound cheesy, shut up.

  1. Take a walk (alone or with the fam) to remove yourself from the situation and get some fresh air.
  2. Get in the kitchen. Make something you normally wouldn’t. Treat yourself.
  3. Do something you enjoy. Watch a favorite show or movie, read for a bit, have a cocktail, exercise…
  4. Deep breathing. This can actually work, and will lower your blood pressure. Close your eyes, and breathe in and out slowly for a few minutes.
  5. Talk/write out the issue. Chances are you may be blowing things up a bit. If you get to the root of your problem, your solution might become more clear.
  6. Be creative. Whether you dabble in a DIY project; writing; or playing an instrument, getting the creative juices flowing can be very therapeutic.
  7. Be present. How many times have you freaked thinking about all of the things that you have to do tomorrow, in a week, in a month? Take everything a step at a time. Make a list. It really helps.
  8. Ask for help. If you’re overwhelmed because you’ve spread yourself too thin, ask family and friends for help. That’s the beauty of people who love you….you’re not putting them out. But, just don’t get crazy with the favors.

As a person who lives a normal life and who graduated high school 16 years ago, I can honestly say that I have never used the FOIL method; had to solve for X; used a microscope to see an Endoplasmic Reticulum (I just always liked those words, so that’s all I remember from Bio); or balanced a chemical equation. So. Take that, ridiculous standards.

Monday: Burger Bar- Happy Labor Day! Bust out that grill.

Tuesday: Roasted Cauliflower Tacos– Vegan and gluten free. I plan to marinate the cauliflower in the milk mixture to really let the flavors get in there. You could also use the marinade mixture for shrimp or chicken.

Wednesday: Coconut Milk Chicken with Jalapeño Mango Chutney– Gluten free. You could use store-bought chutney, but it will more than likely be loaded with HFCS and other sugars. Just make it. I plan to use frozen mango, because that’s what I have on hand. I’ll just let it thaw first. Serve this chicken with rice or quinoa and a vegetable side.

Thursday: Brazilian Bowls– Vegetarian and gluten free…can be vegan if you use a dairy free “sour cream.” I love this recipe. I always serve this over plain rice instead of the rice the recipe provides.

***Soak 1cup of cashews for tomorrow’s dinner!***

Friday: Magic Mushroom Sauce and pasta- Vegan and gluten free. This sauce will come together so quickly. Serve over pasta for a creamy, satisfying meal.

Saturday: Moroccan Carrot and Chickpea Salad and your choice of protein- Gluten free; salad can be made vegan if you use non dairy, “feta.” If you use jarred chickpeas and pre-shredded carrots, this will take 5 minutes to make. Don’t like/have pistachios? Use cashews, almonds, or pumpkin seeds. This salad will taste great paired with a white fish seasoned with Ral el Hanout.

Sunday: Crabby Snacks and Homemades- From now until the end of football season, this is what you’ll see as the meal de jour for Sundays. Crabby Snacks and Homemades comes from Silver Linings Playbook, which is one of my favorite movies. The main character’s mom makes this every game day. To me, this is going to be comfort food. This is an opportunity to bust out the seasonal/family recipes, get in the kitchen as a family, and enjoy the last of the weekend.