MAKE LIFE EASIER BY COOKING KEY FOODS IN ADVANCE
At the start of every week — typically on Sunday, when I've got the time — I cook and prep a few staples that set me up for a week of easy meal prep. Specifically, I ...
- make a huge pot of quinoa
- 2 to 1 ratio of water to quinoa, cook on stove for 14-18 minutes
- bake a few sweet potatoes
- stab with knife (so they don't explode), wrap in foil
- cook in oven @ 400° for 45-65 mins, depends on size
- should be slightly soft, fairly easy to poke through with a knife
- rinse and jar a few cans of black beans & chickpeas
- pour from can into colander and rinse, then put into a mason jar and or similar container for refrigerator storage
- de-stem & ribbon some dinosaur kale
- aka remove the stem and cut the kale width-wise into ribbons
- de-stem and freeze some curly kale and/or freeze spinach
- this is for smoothies; go with spinach if you don't have a Vitamix or Ninja blender
- freeze some overly ripe bananas
- again, for smoothies
From there, it's typically just a mix and match of this stuff stored in the 'frig plus what I've got on hand. Sometimes dinner will be a bit more involved, but if Marla and I are too tired or are pressed for time, we'll whip up something from this mix of already prepped foods.
I'm all about the breakfast bowl. I'll typically have some variation of one of the three bowls below every morning.
Quinoa + Fruit + Almond Butter + Nuts/Seeds
HOW TO DO IT: I put some cooked quinoa in a bowl and just toss in some fruit — typically berries; strawberries, raspberries & blueberries — along with almond butter and what I like to call “Super Sprinkles”.
Super Sprinkles are my mix of nuts and seeds along with coconut flakes. (After weeks of individually pouring coconut flakes, chia seeds, hemp seeds, ground flaxseed, chopped walnuts, and cacao nibs into my quinoa, I finally just mixed them all together in a massive mason jar. Marla started calling the mix, my “super sprinkles”… I’m obsessed with this mix, and now even travel with it like a total weirdo.)
NORMAL DAY: Usually, I’ll have just a small amount of quinoa and focus more on the fruit, almond butter, and Super Sprinkles. If I’m not that hungry, I might just have the almond butter and the Super Sprinkles or just the fruit and the Sprinks.
HUNGRY/PRE.POST BIG WORKOUT: When I’m particularly hungry or have a big workout lined up, I’ll take down a fairly large bowl of this and will even add some coconut butter.
If you find the mix to be too dry or not sweet enough, try adding a touch of coconut yogurt or some honey.
My Super Sprinkles in all their glory...
Sweet Potato + Avocado + Sprouts + Sriracha
HOW TO DO IT: This is basically a hash that we're making here.
- Take a baked sweet potato from the ‘frig
- Cut it into cubes
- Cook on the stove at medium heat for a minute or two in a bit of coconut oil
When using oil of any type, don't go overboard. For this, and other dishes where something is being sauted in a pan, I'll use a drop of coconut oil the size of a dime; just enough to slightly coat the pan.
Note that coconut oil is better than olive oil for sauteing since it handles high heat better. Olive oil starts oxidize and release free radicals (which counteract antioxidants and cause inflammation) at high temps, so best to use cold or under low heat.
If I don’t have a baked sweet potato already...
- Cube a raw sweet potato (1/2-1 inch cubes)
- Cook in a pan on the stove at low/medium heat with coconut oil
- Cover the pan with a lid to help speed things up
- Move the sweet potato cubes around every 5-10 minutes
- Should be ready in 15-20 minutes, remove lid for last 5 minutes
If I have the time and am feeling super adventurous... I’ll shred the sweet potato with a metal cheese grader. Just the shredding takes about 10 minutes, so it’s a bit of a pain. Great to do if cooking for others since it’s delicious and looks pretty. Once shredded, I’ll again cook on the stove (uncovered) with a bit of coconut oil. Typically takes about 10-15 minutes on medium heat. This is what's pictured above.
WHAT TO ADD: Once the spuds are done, just slice up or cube some avo, add sprouts, and season with sriracha + salt & pepper.
NORMAL DAY: Usually I'll eat about a half of a large sweet potato and a half of an avocado.
HUNGRY/PRE.POST BIG WORKOUT: I'll do half or even a full sweet potato plus half an avocado. I'll add quinoa too if really hungry.
Green Smoothie Bowl: Curly Kale + Pineapple + Banana + Strawberry + Spirulina
Let me first say that these green bowls are pretty life-changing. I introduced my dad and brother-in-law to them a couple years ago and they now both start nearly every day with one. The energy that comes from downing these first thing in the AM is akin to a stiff cup of coffee. You can literally feel the energy buzzing through your system after eating.
You can have as a bowl or simply a drink. (Both my dad and bro-in-law are drink guys.) I kind of like having as a bowl since it's a bit more satisfying. That said, it's hard to beat the convenience of just drinking down a full day's worth of greens in one glass.
HOW TO DO IT: All you need to do here is add de-stemmed* curly kale + frozen fruit (4-8 pineapple chunks, 1/2-1 banana, 3-4 strawberries) + a little bit of water (half cup or so) + a spoon full of spirulina. If you've got a Vitamix or Ninja blender, the curly kale is great. If you're working with a standard blender, use spinach instead of curly kale. It's a lot easier for the blender to handle.
*If going with curly kale, make sure you tear the leaves of the kale off from the stem, aka de-stem. The stems are bitter and make for a pretty rough tasting smoothie. Best to go without them in the mix.
- Add 2 handfuls of de-stemmed kale to blender + 1/2 cup of water and blend using the plastic plunger as necessary
- Stop and add sprulina, then blend again
- Stop and add the frozen fruit, then blend again using plunger as necessary
- Admire the greenness of this magical concoction
I get a better consistency like this. I'll add ice at the end sometimes too if I want the mix to be a bit more frozen/ easier to eat with a spoon.
NORMAL DAY: I'll keep the ratio of fruit to kale somewhat light. The goal is to have just enough fruit in the mix to balance the taste of the kale. Over time, you'll likely be able to enjoy the mix with less and less fruit.
HUNGRY/PRE.POST- BIG WORKOUT: I'll toss some raw oats on top along with some fruit and honey.
When I'm not eating leftovers from the night before, I'm eating some sort of grain bowl/salad concoction. Here's my formula for creating...
Grain Bowl = Grain + Greens + Legumes + Veggies + Dressing
- Grains - Quinoa, Brown Rice
- Greens - Kale, Arugula
- Legumes - Black Beans, Chickpeas, Black Lentils
- Veggies - Avocado, Tomatoes, Sprouts, Sweet Potato, Olives, Peas
- Dressing - Extra Virgin Olive Oil/Apple Cider Vinegar, Sundried Tomato Puree, Tahini Turmeric Salad Dressing
- EVOO/AVC is awesome for softening up both kale and arugula. We'll mix a tablespoon of each and dress the greens with it to taste. It's also great with a slight splash of lemon juice and/or a touch of honey.
- The Sundried Tomato Puree is something I use primarily with the black lentils. I just mix it into the lentils. I put these in the Vitamix (food processor works too)...
- 12-15 Sundried tomatoes
- 1 Tablespoon EVOO
- 1 Tablespoon Tamari
- 1 Tablespoon Ginger, diced
- Add Sriracha to taste
- Tahini Turmeric is a dressing that I buy from Erewhon. I'm working on the recipe... soon to come.
- Other - Hummus, Pico de Gallo, Guacamole, Green Belly Hot Sauce, Sriracha
- Green Belly is freaking awesome. It's a blend of cilantro, ACV, olive oil and habanero peppers. Marla discovered it at the Boulder Farmer's Market and we ended up buying a case. I still order it online and have it shipped to LA. It's that good.
A Few Of Our Favorites...
QUINOA + ARUGULA + BLACK BEANS + SWEET POTATO + SPROUTS + GREEN BELLY (+ SALT & PEPPER; ALWAYS...)
QUINOA + DINO KALE + BLACK BEANS + AVOCADO + TAHINI TURMERIC DRESSING
BROWN RICE + BLACK BEANS + TOMATOES + PICO + GUAC + SPROUTS + GREEN BELLY
BLACK LENTILS + SUNDRIED TOMATO PUREE + AVOCADO + SPROUTS
QUINOA + ARUGULA + CHICKPEAS + TOMATOES + AVOCADO + OLIVES + EEVO & ACV + HUMMUS
QUINOA + ARUGULA + PEAS + AVOCADO + EEVO & ACV
[Picture soon to come]
I'm still working on building this out, but here are a few of our favorite dinner recipes from the food blogosphere... The tasty dishes here should tie you over while I work on adding a few of my own bomb dinner eats.
QUICK & EASY
Sweet Potato Avocado Tacos - Love & Lemons
Spaghetti Squash Pasta with Vegan Pesto - Minimalist Baker
- If really pressed for time, I'll sub Rao's for the vegan pesto.
Big Ass Greek Kale Salad (Just Nix the Feta) - Sprouted Kitchen
Loaded Sweet Potato (Just Use Plain Coconut Yogurt) - Refinery 29
- This is also great with Engine 2 Firehouse Chili as the filling, which makes prep wildly easy.
Soba Noodles & Broccolini - A House In The Hills
LABOR OF LOVE
Veggie Burger & Sweet Potato Fries - Sprouted Kitchen via Epicurious
- We'll make 2x the recipe for this and freeze a bunch of the burgers. They reheat well, especially when you let them thaw in the 'frig 12-24 hours before putting in the oven to reheat.
Lentil "Meat" Balls + Cauliflower Mash - Faring Well
- The lentil "meat" balls keep well in the 'frig. I'll reheat in the (dare I say...) microwave for 20-30 seconds along with some leftover sauce or Rao's. In fact, we'll typically use Rao's instead of making the sauce, though I'm sure the sauce is great. One less thing to think about.
Eggplant Lasagna Roll Ups - Minimalist Baker
Zucchini Pasta with Vegan Pesto - A House In The Hills
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