Talking Leafy Greens on Earth Day

You didn’t see a ton of [green] salads from me through the winter (though there were several created), but now that spring is here I’m all up in the leafy greens.  In the warmer weather, having the lighter option for meals is so appealing, and still allows for great variations, all while still abiding by the protein, carb, fat rule for meal pairings.

Here are some of my favorite salads from the last few weeks:

salad
romaine, walnuts, apples, avocado, blueberries
fuel sweat grow: salad
add chicken for the protein
romaine, avocado, red peppers,
romaine, avocado, red + yellow peppers, carrots, steak. topped with sunflower seeds
chopped salad:
chopped salad: romaine, avocado, sugar snap peas, walnuts, tomato [flank steak on the side]

Before I get into the food prep portion of this post, I think it’s more important to say that these salads are all amazing and delicious in their own right.  As I posted the pictures I started to crave salad in a serious way, which serves me right for writing this while I’m hungry – and also really speaks to the power of these salad combos to create positive taste bud memory.  Truly anything can go into a salad if you balance it with the other ingredients so they compliment each other, and is a great option when you’ve got a ton of leftovers or random orphan ingredients around your kitchen and no real apparent ‘meal’ components.

The hardest part of  meals creation isn’t actually putting them together – that’s the fun part. The hardest part of staying on plan and eating healthy is being prepared for each meal before you’re hungry and ready to eat anything in front of you.  While I’ve talked a bunch about pre-chopping vegetables and grilling extra meat every time the grill is on, there is also a ton of opportunity and advantage to pre-planning, making and packing salads.

When I make salad for a meal I always over plan so that there are plenty of leftovers, but complimentary to my love for ball jar organization, I really love salad jars for quick and easy planning and packing.  Dressing & any wet or chopped items on the bottom, lettuce and dry greens on the top to protect them from getting soggy.

salad jar

(source)

So, in honor of earth day, have a salad.  Love the earth.  Love your body and eat the food that was grown for it.  It will thank you, more than you can imagine.

Sunday Groceries + Organization

By far the hardest thing about eating clean (and staying fueled) is being organized and keeping lots of balanced meals ready to eat.  Whether we’re talking full blown meals, at home or on the go, or just the snacks that are vitally necessary to keep you going until the next meal, it takes some forward thinking and preparation.

The day before we began the challenge (and every sunday thereafter) the fridge got cleaned out and organized. Since week one required a far more extensive weeding out of ‘garbage food,’ it was a fairly big undertaking.

fridge garbage

Most of that food was way past it’s prime, so it shouldn’t have been so shocking when it filled up two huge bags.

Once we had gotten the fridge contents down to the essentials, the next steps were to re-fill the fridge with essential groceries, and organize the other pantry items that had been driving me insane in crinkly bags and complete disregard for my preferred symmetrical organization. So, after I went to Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, this is what went down:

1. vegetable & snack food prep: with so many meals requiring cooking, it’s nice to have some the main add-ins chopped and ready to go.  Typically this includes squash (zucchini + yellow) mushrooms, grilling vegetables, and any strawberries or fruit that needs to be chopped or washed in advance. Hard boiled eggs are also a very easy snack to prepare and have on the go.

squash preparedness

hard boiled eggs

2. fridge re-stock + reorganization: (disregard the beer + brown rice pasta, they were discarded shortly after this photo was taken, and have been mourned heavily ever since).

fridge reorg

Since Dar’s weakness is snack items, she pre-packaged some snack combos of blueberries, blackberries, and either almonds or walnuts to take with her (usually with an avocado as well).

IMG_4911

3. organization: I can’t even begin to tell you hot therapeutic this was, but it may have changed my life.  I’m an enormous fan of Ball + Mason jars, and  basically hoard them as craft organizers and decorative accents, so the idea of converting them into ingredient receptacles nearly brought me to tears.  Joyous. tears.

The idea is simple – take everything that was in a bag or unnecessary packaging (that wasn’t thrown in the trash for being too delicious), and transfer it into a jar.  Label the bottom side of the lid with it’s contents (and a cooking time if it applied) and organize accordingly.

ground flax seed jar

jars

Needless to say, I had a fair few things to store.  From different typed of ground flours (of the gluten + grain free variety), to brown rice pastas and all sorts of nuts and seeds.  Everything got a home, and order was restored to the kitchen.  Plus, if you ask me, it add’s a little warmth and character to the kitchen when it’s visible and orderly.

kitchen organization

jar organization

Even though we haven’t been eating any grains or pastas lately, they still look awesome in the display, and are nicely tucked away on the bottom shelf, and not in the fridge or pantry, so they’re not staring me in the face when I try to plan big meals.

The Sunday prep tradition is one that makes the whole week possible, and even today on Easter was a vital component to the day.  In fact, in the spirit of the holiday I went well beyond the normal prep work to make extensive pre-planned meals in anticipation of a pretty busy week.  Those updates will be waiting until tomorrow though since this bunny is all tuckered out.

Hope you all had happy and delicious holidays, or just quiet Sunday afternoons! Let us know if there were any must-try foods that you had, healthy or not, and we’ll do our best to re-create them as clean as possible.