Ho Ho Ho GOD the holidays can not be right around the corner. (If this sounds familiar it is a little, from the newsletter, but keep reading ). It’s just not possible. Well beautiful, they sure are and lest we forget it the holiday themed commercials are already blasting away at us. The stores are already jammed packed with Christmas decor. Little angels and snowmen, reindeer, bells, lights, trees ahhhhhh. Don’t get me wrong I love the holidays. I am a total sell out for Christmas, but can we do Thanksgiving first?
Where am I going with this you ask? Nowhere really I just needed to vent. Well, I do expand on this in my latest newsletter – did you open it? Did you read it? hmmmmm.
But with the holidays barreling down on us it is a good time to talk about food! We are about to indulge in lots of it. The average American gains 3-5 pounds over the holiday season. It then takes the rest of the year to get it back off. So not fair. So this year while you can still indulge, maybe we can be a little more mindful of what we eat and how much. A great way to do this is to meal plan! I know, just the words “meal plan” are boring. They bring a huge “Ugggg I so don’t have time for that”. I totally get it and I agree. There is no really exciting way to do this BUT it is an amazing way to organize your week, your time, your resources and stay on track for the wellness guru inside of you to shine through. It allows you to try new foods. It allows you to get in the kitchen and pour through all those dust covered cookbooks (I am working on a post about my fav cookbooks stayed tuned there are some really good ones). It allows you to mindfully prepare great, nourishing food for you and your family. It minimizes trips to the food store. AND with the holiday’s peaking around the corner it allows you to eat well most of the time while still indulging here and there.
Try meal planning now through the holidays and I really think you will find it makes life easier and spicier. You will be more likely to stay on the wellness wagon and when you do fall off Thanksgiving day and Christmas day, it will be easier to get back on after the last of the Wassail has sailed.
Everything in moderation right? You should enjoy the holidays as they are an incredibly special time of year. Where everyone is just little nicer, a little more forgiving. But don’t use it as an excuse to go off the rails and ditch all your hard work in getting yourself to the wellness warrior that you are. And if you haven’t embarked yet on this journey, this is a great time to start! Before the egg nog and figgy pudding come calling.
Use this meal planning as a tool to help you wherever you are on your journey. Make it part of your routine and you will reap some delicious and healthy benefits.
So how does one go about this “meal planning” thing? Easy. I have started it for you. Here is a downloadable Mermaid Meal Plan sheet. Complete with space for meal ideas, shopping list and some helpful tips. I have even gone one step further, yes I have, I am giving you a meal plan for your first week, HERE! I gave you five meals but in reality you could make just 3-4 of them and eat leftovers the other days. Also the recipes for the falafels (yum), naan pizza (for a gluten free version try cauliflower crust), and shrimp pesto pasta (use a different pasta if you don’t like this one) are in the edibles section of my blog. The three bean chili is super delish! I am just finishing up a batch. See the end of this post for some of the recipes not already posted. Start by pulling out your cookbooks, recipe box, use my recipes (cookbook in the works). This is actually quite fun. Find recipes you have wanted to try. If they are not particular good for you but you really want to make it, see what you can do to “clean” it up. Use EVOO instead of vegetable oil. Use applesauce instead of vegetable oil in your baking. Use egg substitutes if you don’t eat eggs, don’t include the processed prepackaged foods it calls for rather use a plant based, whole food alternative, instead of refined sugar try maple syrup, coconut sugar, honey, for heavy cream or condensed milk use coconut cream…
Once you have your recipes make a list of what you will need from the store. For everyday basics and nonperishables I highly recommend you get it delivered to your house. Have you tried Thrive Market? Sunorganics? Your local Farmer’s Co-op? PeaPod?
Once you get all your goodies together, don that oh so cool and totally back in chic apron and get busy. MAKE EXTRA! Can you say leftovers? These are your friend, my friend. I have some homemade chicken soup patiently waiting in my freezer for when some blasted cold virus starts working its way through my house. Leftovers are great for lunches, for dinner another night when you know you won’t have time to cook.
Prep!!! Make, chop, blend, ahead of time whatever you can so there is less to do the day of your actual cooking.
Finally and perhaps most importantly – eat mindfully! You went to this trouble of making good, nourishing food, take the time to enjoy it. Turn off devices, except maybe some music, gather together, eat, chew, savor and dare I say have conversations with your kids and significant other – egads I know crazy talk but so worth it.
As the holidays approach a little organization and mindfulness will go really far in preserving your wellness warrior status, whilst still enjoying and indulging a bit in the revelry.
Let me know you make out this season.
Peace and Love to all 🌲🥂
Black Rice– Cook 1 cup black rice in two cups water until done- usually about 20-25 minutes. Add 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil, a handful of fresh cilantro or 1 tablespoon dried or 1-2 cubes of Dorot’s frozen cilantro. Add some sea salt and fresh ground pepper, stir and that’s it!
Spinach- buy fresh spinach or frozen chopped. Heat 1 tablespoon EVOO and 1 clove minced garlic in pan on medium high heat until garlic softens. Add all the spinach (it will cook way down) and sea salt and pepper. Cook until tender.
Sweet Potato Fries -Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut up 3-4 medium sweet potatoes into 1 inch thick slices. Toss with EVOO, 2 gloves minced garlic, 1 teaspoon turmeric and sea salt and pepper. Lay out in single layer on parchment paper or greased cookie sheet and bake 30-40 minutes or until tender. Turn part way through. *I turn on broiler and move sheet up to top rack for a couple of minutes to crispen (is that even word)? you likely won’t have leftover of these.
Three Bean Chili –A slow cooker recipe, lots of leftovers. In a medium or large dutch oven pot or slow cooker heat 2 tablespoons EVOO. Place 1/2 chopped yellow onion and 2 gloves minced garlic in pot and cook on medium high heat 3 minutes or until onion fragrant. Add 2 medium cubed potatoes (these are optional but if you use I suggest partially cooking these first), 1-2 sliced carrots, 1 diced zucchini, 1 can rinsed red kidney beans, 1 can rinsed black beans and 1 can rinsed chickpeas or northern beans, 1 package sliced bella shrooms or a package crumbled tempeh (if you haven’t tried its really good and adds a great texture to the dish), 1 medium can crushed tomatoes about 15 ounces, 2 cups vegetable stock or water, 1-2 tablespoon cumin, 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup, 1-2 tablespoon chili powder 1 teaspoon turmeric 1/2 teaspoon sage powder. Mix all together and let simmer a few hours until all is tender.
A final thank you to Kate, graphic artist extraordinaire, for the sweet Mermaid Meal Plan and Shopping List! You da best.