Happy Halloween! I like Halloween. Probably because candy is delicious. I was always the kid who would come home and dive right in, running out of candy approximately 3 days later. My brother would organize his, have a piece, forget about it, and still have some up until Easter. I can not condone behavior like that. Anyway, instead of dressing up and partying this year, I’m going to the dentist. I’m actually really excited; I love the dentist. And I made sure to buy candy to hand out that while name brand, does nothing for me, as to not be tempted by it.

Monday: Vegan Butternut Squash Mac N Cheese– This meal will come together quickly, so you can get homework done, costumes on, and get out of the door by twilight. To save even more time, use a can of butternut squash puree instead of making your own. For gluten free, be sure to use gluten free pasta, and replace the flour with cornstarch. I skip the breadcrumb topping all together, because I don’t like the crunch on mac n cheese.

Tuesday: Chopped Enchilada Skillet– Gluten free, can easily be made vegetarian by doubling the beans, can be dairy free if you use dairy free cheese (Trader Joe’s Almond Milk shredded cheese is really good…and my husband thought he was eating cow mucus- I mean ‘milk’ cheese). Now, I’m actually a grandma, so I make my own enchilada sauce, because store bought tends to have some ingredients that I stay away from. Here’s the recipe I use…it makes a LOT, so I freeze what I don’t use.

  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 2 cups broth (any will do….use bone broth for added protein)
  • 10 ounces tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon fresh or dried chives (or leave this out…you’ll more than likely have onions in whatever meal you’ll be using this for)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • No need to cook this…just stir/blend it and think, “Does Martha effing Stewart even make her own enchilada sauce?!”

Wednesday: Kale Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Potatoes- I could eat this every day. This is complete to me, but serve with roasted chicken (I’ve been buying a rotisserie chicken every week for my husband) or white fish for added protein. You can easily double this recipe, and have a quick lunch all ready. Here’s the link to the sauce this is served with: Out of This World Tahini Herb Sauce.

Thursday: Autumn Cobb Salad with Smoky Pumpkin Dressing: How can you not want to eat this? So, I am lazy, and I buy raw, pre-cut butternut squash from the grocery. This saves time and so many fingers. Obviously no seeds come with this, so I just use pre-roasted pumpkin seeds. But, walnuts or pecans would go really well with this, too. This is another instance where that rotisserie chicken is a perfect time saver.

Friday: Roasted Smoked Eggplant Curry–  Vegan and gluten free. I plan to serve with cauliflower rice, so I can also have naan. I try to keep my carbs to one option at each meal. Pre-riced cauliflower rice is your best friend. Trader Joe’s sells is in the refrigerated section, and I toss it in the freezer until I’m ready to use it.

Saturday: Apricot Dijon Roast Chicken– I mean, look at that picture. This meal is beautiful. Although….I think I’m going to use a salmon fillet instead of a whole chicken. Also, I don’t know if I can find fresh apricots at this time of year, so, I think you could chop some dried ones instead. Or (and I promise I don’t get paid by Trader Joe’s), but they sell frozen apricots that are delicious and make me happy as all hell. Serve with a rice or quinoa dish to round this out.

Sunday: Crispy Carnitas– A favorite recipe of ours. It’s foolproof. Don’t skip the last step where you fry the cooked meat to crisp it up. It’s worth cleaning another dish. Aaaaand, save your leftovers, because we’re going to use them next week. It’s Sunday: Treat Yourself. Bust out the tortillas.

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I did it again. This past weekend was a 3 hour dinner and a food festival, so…I fell off that sugar and dairy wagon. But, I’m vowing to have 0 fun for weeks, months, years…not really…just as long as it takes for my stomach to not twist and turn no matter what I eat. So, this week it’s all broth and kale. Ok, too extreme. How about these options instead?

Monday: Chickpea Vindaloo– Vegan and Gluten free. Don’t be discouraged when you look at the paste ingredients- just improvise. I don’t have cardamom pods, whole cloves, or cumin seeds, so I’ll use the ground versions. I don’t have mustard seeds, so I’ll leave it out.  Fenugreek? Skip. These swaps also allow for another day of not having to grocery shop.

Tuesday: Crab Risotto– I plan to dumb this down immensely. I have never made risotto that I thought was worth the time and effort. So, I will probably use whatever rice is in the cabinet, toast it with oil and the spices called for, then add the wine and stock (1/2 the amount called for)- not crab stock, because I don’t have any. Who am I? Ina Garten? This recipe will be good with shrimp if you don’t want to deal with crab. Although, you can find lots of good quality, canned claw meat at any grocery and Costco.

Wednesday: Tortilla Soup with Jalapeño Cashew Queso– Gluten free and vegan, but feel free to use cheese and add shredded chicken. To save time, skip making your own tortilla strips, and just use some chips.

Thursday: Salad Night. So many options here. Empty the fridge, lay it all out on the counter, and have at it.

Friday: Garlic Shrimp Spaghetti Squash– This is an easy recipe, perfect for people who don’t want to cook on a Friday…AKA the Earth’s population. Serve with leftover salad or another vegetable. This recipe is very low-cal, so fill up! ***Buy your spaghetti squash from places that sell by the squash, and not by the pound. I know for sure that Trader Joe’s sells their’s this way. ***

Saturday: Grilled Lemon Chicken Flatbread Wraps with Spicy Garlic Sauce– Don’t have a grill? Cube the chicken and bake it at 425 for 10-15 min (depending on the cube size). It won’t have the same char-y grilled look, but will still be delicious.You can even coat the chicken in the spices and toss it in the crock pot. Or, for a vegetarian option substitute the chicken for tempeh or Gardein. Careful! Gardein contains wheat, and some brands of tempeh do too. If you’re steering clear of bread, serve this with quinoa or another grain/seed that you like.

Sunday: Crock Pot African Peanut Stew– Gluten and dairy free….can be Paleo if you eat something entirely different. I’ll admit, I haven’t tried this recipe before, but it sounds really good to me. So, I’m forcing it on you! Just be sure that you use peanut butter without added sugar, or this will taste way too sweet. For a grain free side, try plantains instead of rice.

 

 

You can make that…just sayin’.

howtogreencleaners

Do you like saving money? Do you like not using chemicals? Cool. Me too. I mean, I also like spending money, and I do use  chemicals…but small changes and baby steps are what we’re aiming for. Here are a few swaps you can make to help make your cleaning routine a little greener.

  • Instead of buying liquid fabric softener, use EPSOM SALT. Trust me. It gets clothes just as soft. I air dry many of my clothes, and they’re nice and soft; not crispy. You can add essential oils to the epsom salt if you like your clothes to smell good…I do. I use lavender, lemon, and tea tree.
  • Instead of buying carpet powder, use BAKING SODA. Baking soda is great a sucking up odors. You can add essential oils to the baking soda as well, for a fresh scent. This may sound strange, but I like to mix nutmeg and cinnamon (the actual spices, not the essential oils) into the baking soda before I sprinkle it on the carpet. Smells like Christmas.
  • Instead of buying Febreeze, make your own. All you need is a spray bottle, water, and…essential oils. For every cup of water, add in 80-120 drops of essential oils (based on how strong you want the smell to be).
  • Instead of buying kitchen cleaner, use VINEGAR. Buy a big container of white vinegar, and add lemon, lime, and orange peels. Let it set. Eventually, it won’t smell at all like vinegar. Add some to a spray bottle (Keep the rest in the original bottle and keep adding those peels! And you can even pour more vinegar in to keep the cycle going). You’ll have the cleaning power of the vinegar and the citrus.

Easy. Quick. Cost effective. And no mention of chemicals you can’t pronounce, that do things you don’t want to hear about.