Sunday, June 19, 2011

Blossom Real Food Challenge - Alicia's Meal Plan Week 3

I hope you found the Week 2 Meal Plan helpful, and were able to see how we cut corners in our house to put Real Food on the table every night. We cook 3-4 nights a week, but pack in nutrient dense foods that are easily re-heated on the other nights. I love cooking, but cooking a big meal every night is just too daunting for most of us who have other things to do!

This week you will see lots of leafy green veggies in the mix, as the Farmer's Markets are brimming with these nutrient-packed wonders! Check out my article in the StayFitAnywhere newsletter about the benefits of incorporating more greens into your diet. And if you still need some more ideas on what to do with all that green goodness, check out this blog post from Whole Foods Markets.

Here is our dinner meal plan for Week 3 of the Blossom Real Food Challenge:

Wednesday: Cooking for 1 - Roasted Veggies (Eggplant, Red pepper, Zucchini, Asparagus in olive oil and fresh oregano) with a little goat's Feta. Served over Sauteed Kale.

Thursday: Cooking for 1 - Smoked Salmon Spinach Scramble - scrambled biodynamic free range eggs from the farmer's market with natural wood smoked wild salmon and spinach mixed in.

Friday: Quick & Tasty Mexican Mush - Onion, Yellow pepper, zucchini and a TON of collard greens sauteed together. Mix in 1 can of Amy's Organic Refried pinto Beans. Garnish with a few slices of avocado and some really hot Mama Nelly's (find her at the Farmer's Market) salsa. This is a 10 minute recipe that looks like gross mush, but is delicious and nutritious!

Saturday: BBQ at a friend's house - we are bringing a MASSIVE summer salad with farm fresh arugala, mustard greens, boston lettuce, beet greens, red target beets, kohlrabi, cucumber, strawberries and pumpkin seeds.

Sunday: Father's Day... Wild Card... Hubbs get's to pick whatever he wants for dinner. My bet - he wants Fish & Chips! If so, we will be having "mushy peas" (split peas), sweet corn and some broccoli with it.

Monday: Lentil Curry (staple in our house!) with farm fresh peppers, spring onions, collard greens, garlic scapes and beet greens (using Masala Spice Mix). With quick cooking quinoa. There will be enough for leftovers which I will have for lunch in the week!

Tuesday: Organic Turkey Breast (from this farm), smothered in Golda's Artichoke Pesto (both available at the Vancouver Farmers Markets), with baby broccoli and kale.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Blossom Real Food Challenge - Alicia's Meal Plan, Week 2

Here is our dinner meal plan for the week. We aim to cook 4-5 nights per week, and have leftovers 2-3 times. Everything must be simple, quick, delicious and nutrient dense. I do not anticipate any of these meals taking more than 30 minutes to prepare. This may surprise you, that a nutritionist does not spend hours in the kitchen....and I would love to...but we are a busy young family too! I don't spend my day making my own yogurt, or saurkraut, perfecting the latest raw, vegan recipe...I spend it playing with and caring for my 8 month old. Some moms are able to do both...not me. I work a few nights a week, and that is just enough for now! So we prepare our own food, and eat well, but time is absolutely a priority. I hope hearing this, and seeing my meal plan will help you to see that we are just regular people - so you can eat Real Food just like us!

Wednesday: "Taco" night (black beans, organic grass-fed beef, peppers, onions and lots of greens cooked up in the Simply Organic brand taco mix. Served over brown rice. Garnish with salsa & avocado. (leftovers for lunch the next day).

Thursday: Lentil Curry with eggplant and kale. We don't use a recipe - we just wing it. See my post on Masala Mix! But you can find great lentil curry recipes here. If you don't have all of the spices on hand, sub them out for a masala mix or curry powder to save money and time. It will still work.

Friday: Leftover lentil curry

Saturday: Wild Sole panfried in olive oil, sea salt, pepper and dried herbs. Asparagus and a greens salad.

Sunday: Salmon with Pumpkin Maple Crust (this is a new favourite!), kale and green beans

Monday: Leftover salmon, greens salad with walnuts, strawberries and goat's cheese.

Tuesday: Quick veggie omlette.

Blossom Real Food Challenge Week 2 - Alicia's Food Log

Day 1, Week 2

Breakfast: Terra Breads Aritisan Granola, Organic, full fat yogurt, organic strawberries

Snack: an Apple

Lunch: Smoked Salmon with capers and a squeeze of lemon on FitFigure Multigrain cakes with avocado and spinach.

Dinner: My go-to "Taco" Night. I make black beans, grass-fed organic ground beef, peppers, onions, swiss card and collard greens all cooked up with a Simply Organic brand taco seasoning. Then I serve this over brown rice or millet (tonight wound up being brown rice), and we garnish with salsa and avocados. Mexican flavour, lots of greens, high quality meat and whole grains... way better then the ld El Paso version of taco night!

Snack: A couple of organic strawberries (I am eating tons of strawberries right now, but these California ones really aren't that nice. I can't wait for BC strawberries to be in season!!! mmmmm!)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A day in the life...of a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (week 1)

Day 1 of the Blossom Real Food Challenge!!!

I promised to share my personal food diary with you this month, so here we are... Day 1.

Breakfast: Very quick Vega smoothie between teething screeches from the kiddo!

1 cup of frozen mixed blueberries, blackberries and raspberries; 1/2 cup full fat organic yogurt; 2 scoops of Vega Whole Food Smoothie Infusion (mix of sprouted flax, hemp, and a whole lotta amazing greens....technically a processed product, but made from high quality whole foods); and about 1 cup of water. I put it all in the magic bullet, and viola...a quick breakfast that ticks all of the boxes.

Snack: a small handful of walnuts, 4 organic strawberries

Dinner: Salmon with Pumpkin Maple Crust; steamed asparagus and swiss chard sauteed with a little olive oil and salt & pepper. LOVED this recipe. Super quick, and delicious!

Drinks: 5-6 glasses of water.

Activity: Hike with a friend, carried the 22lb napping bambino on my back.

Day 2

Breakfast: Met a long, lost friend from North Carolina for breakfast at Giovanni's in the Fairmont Pacific Rim. YUM! Had "Breakfast Bruchetta", which was two perfectly poached eggs, cherry tomatoes and fresh basil atop an artisan foccacia bread. DELICIOUS. I was planning (and am still planning) to avoid bread and other processed grains and flours for the month, but when you are out and about, you have to do your best. And I certainly did considering the cases of gorgeous baked goods that line the cafe.

Check out this site to learn more about why eggs are a superfood in their own right - providing much needed choline. Eggs can also promote weight loss, and despite the misleading propaganda in the 90s, eggs are actually good for heart health! And look here for an explanation of free range vs free run vs organic vs 'normal'. I recommend free range, organic eggs if you are shopping at a supermarket. At the Farmer's Market we go for eggs from chickens which are free range and have lots of time to pasture - they are more nutritious because they eat a more natural diet. The orange yolk = lots of great nutrients. The yellow yolk...not so much.

Lunch: Mixed greens salad with radishes, cucumber, avocado and 2 slices of smoked salmon.

We get our greens at the Farmer's Market at this time of year, and they are fresh and flavourful! We are so excited that the West End market opens this weekend! Are you getting enough greens? Check out my article in the May edition of the StayFitAnywhere newsletter to learn more about seasonal greens, why you need to add more to your diet, where you can find them, and what to do with them!

Dinner: Channa Masala ala Alicia. I whipped up my go-to chickpea curry recipe for a couple of girlfriends who came over this evening, and it went over really well!

I use diced onions, fried in extra virgin coconut oil until translucent. Then I add about 1/4-1/2 a packet of the Indian Fusion brand Channa Masala spice packet (nothing but delicious Indian spices, no preservatives or additives). Next goes in whatever veggies I have on hand - tonight it was red peppers, a few mushrooms, and kale. Its nice with a few tomatoes too, although I didn't have any tonight. Next add in the chickpeas (canned for convenience, dried if you have time to pre-soak overnight). Let it simmer about 10 minutes.

Tonight I served this with quinoa, which is a favourite since it cooks up in 15 minutes. This recipe is also nice with boiled new potatoes, or cauliflower.

The Indian Fusion spice packets are available at Save on Foods, in the ethnic food aisle.

Day 3 - Real Food on the Road

Today we took a family road trip to the US to look at some properties. This meant packing up the bambino and enough diapers and food to last him a full day in the car. It also meant packing up enough food to last us in the car because we new options for real food would be limited...although we didn't realize quite how limited! Turns out the area where we were touring has a Bob's Burgers and Brew & a Tony's Pizzeria. That's it! Good thing we went prepared!

Breakfast: Grabbed a couple of Egg Cups from the fridge, which I made a few days ago for days ago for a quick and easy breakfast. Check out my article in the April edition of the StayFitAnywhere newsletter for more make-ahead breakfast ideas!

Snack: an apple

Lunch: We packed up some simple things and had a picnic by the lake while the baby slept. Smoked Salmon (look at the ingredients, and make sure its wild salmon with natural wood smoke, no added sugars, preservatives or synthetic smoking agents); avocado smeared on some rice cake type things, topped with capers and a squeeze of a lemon. The rice cakes were Multigrain Cakes by Fit Figure. They are pretty handy, and they are whole grain rice, wheat, rye, corn, and spelt. We also had a Farro, asparagus, sundried tomato and feta salad which we picked up at Whole Foods from the prepared food counter on our way out of town (we only stopped because of course the baby had to be changed just 5 minutes into the journey!).

Snack: an apricot (not really in season yet, not so yummy)

Dinner: Leftover Channa Masala. Leftovers are my hero.

Day 4 - Real Food on the Town

My best friend from college came to visit for the weekend with her new boyfriend. The sun wwas shining, and it was opening day at the West End Vancouver Farmer's Market. A great day, all in all!

Breakfast: Plain, full-fat yogurt with Terra Breads brand granola and cut up strawberries. This is the only granola I buy - its made from whole grains, nuts and fruit and is only sweetened with honey. Check out the ingredients on your granola, I bet sugar, cane juice or brown rice syrup is one of the first ingredients...not a health food!

Lunch: We actually managed to get a seat at The Mill on the seawall on the sunniest and warmest day of the year. Amazing! The food...not so amazing. I had "Drunken prawns" which were basically farmed bog-standard prawns in a garlic butter sauce (which didnt really taste of either), and a house green salad. The salad was totally lame - just lettuce, shredded carrot and a couple of tomato slices. Still, nothing processed...

"Snack": Iced decaf coffee with milk (yes, I drink coffee! but I also have a baby who basically never sleeps, so since I am breastfeeding, I go with can't risk these things!)

Dinner: Since it was a sunny day, we had a BBQ with our friends. On the menu was bison sausages which we bought at the Vancouver Farmer's Market with horseraddish mustard on an organic baguette from A Bread Affair (also purchased at the market, but widely available). The sausages were great because they were bison, pork, allspice and salt...only. Supermarket sausages are loaded with nitrates, preservatives, addditives and colouring, not to mention they are made from less then healthy animals, raised in poor conditions.
We had this with a gorgeous salad with mixed greens, purchased from several different vendors at the market, avocado, cucumber, tomato and pumpkin seeds with a homemade olive oil, red wine vinegar and mustard dressing.

Day 5 - Being the Tour Guide

Breakfast: Took friends to Deep Cove to enjoy the view and the sunshine. Although we planned a hike, they saw the kayaks and wanted to jump into a boat when we got there. But first, no trip to Deep Cove is complete without a visit to Honey's! I resisted all temptation to get a hot, fresh donut, although my friends had to have them - their one shot at the world famous fried dough. Instead, I had two eggs, poached; brown bread with butter and some homefries. At least nothing was too processed, although the bread didn't seem like it was very high quality.

Snack: half a banana, the baby ate the other half!

Lunch: Leftover bison sausage & big leftover salad

Dinner: Its not easy taking a baby to a restaurant, and we really don't do it frequently enough that he copes all that well. So, with our friends in town, who probably would have liked going out, we compromised and ordered in. Vedas, a nearby Indian restaurant makes amazing curries, so we ordered a wide variety and shared them all. We had an eggplant curry, a halibut curry, and a lentil and spinach dahl. The disappointing thing was that we got white rice (NOT real food...). But still, it was delicious, and most of it was real, hand made food prepared with traditional recipes, and I didnt have to cook for 4 while getting the baby off to bed.

So...all in all, not the healthiest of days, but as you know, its hard when you are eating out of the house to get high quality ingredients. All you can do is try to make positive choices wherever you are, enjoy the splurges, and get back to eating well at the next meal.

Day 6 - Sunshine with the Mamas

Another gorgeous day in Vancouver! I enjoyed a long walk in the sun on the seawall with some mama friends and their babies (one is still 'cooking' too!). We spent basically the whole day walking and talking, and we stopped for lunch at a place I had never been, the Bakehouse in West Vancouver.

Breakfast: Terra Breads Artisan Granola with Strawberries (all out of yogurt!)

Snack: an apple

Lunch: Roasted veggie panini, made with in house roasted artichokes, tomatoes, zuchini and eggplant, paired with a small amount of feta, on an in house made foccacia bread.

"Snack": A decaf misto

Dinner: Two eggs scrambled with spinach. A bowl of strawberries. (this was a very quick, make-shift dinner which I pulled together while getting ready for work!)

Snack: a decaf misto; a banana

Day 7

Breakfast: Terra Breads Artisan Granola with Strawberries (still all out of yogurt!)

Lunch: Happy Planet Brazillian Black Bean Soup - I keep a couple of bags of the Happy Planet soups on hand for lunches on days (like most days lately) where I don't have much time to make something for myself. Their soups are great because they are made from all natural, organic, whole foods and spices. You can feel good about it, and its convenient. Its not cheap though (although cheaper then going out for lunch!

Snack: An apple

Dinner: 15 minute Roasted Veggies with Feta - I chopped up bell peppers, asparagus, a handful; of cherry tomatoes and a few artichoke hearts, put them in a baking pan and tossed with a couple gluggs of extra virgin olive oil, and some fresh ground pepper. Put it in the oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, and viola! I served this up with some feta mixed in. Ideally I would have had this with a whole grain - like wheat berries, but I was only whipping something up for one last night, so I didn't bother. I just had 3 slices of smoked salmon with it and called it a night. As it was all vegetables, I ate quite a bit of them before feeling full, but hey - nothing wrong with eating a lot of veggies!

Reflections on Week 1 of the Blossom Real Food Challenge

Well, considering this challenge was my idea...I went into it rather unprepared! I am going to be totally honest, I didn't plan my meals this week (something I tell clients is a must), and it shows. There was quite a lot of scrambling for something quick, and as a result it wasn't the best of weeks. Sure, everything I ate was real food, and I enjoyed most meals, but it wasn't a normal week for me. Having company visit and working 3 nights this week also contributed. But hey - that is what life is like...right?! So we do our best, learn from our reflections, and strive to do better.

In week 2 I hope to share a meal plan with you along with some recipes so that you have some ideas that you can put to work in your kitchen.

How did you do this week?