I almost didn’t publish a weekly menu this week, as it’s a holiday week and I know most of you are just concentrating on what to make for Thanksgiving and are probably in vacation mode, but I’m a creature of habit, so I’m just going to post one anyway for those of you that are interested. I mean Thanksgiving is on Thursday and we still have to cook Sunday through Wednesday, right? BTW, if you’re eyeballing that above cranberry sauce, I have the recipe on my blog. It’s super easy to whip up and tastes so much better than the canned variety. It also makes a great hostess gift. We like to put the cranberry sauce into little glass jars, tie them with a cute bow and give them away throughout the holiday season. Oh, for those of you that are interested in trying to eat a bit healthier, I have a recipe for chia pudding embedded in this post, so you’re not only getting a weekly menu, but a recipe as well. Bonus! Oh, and I’m also sharing with you some of the healthier things I’ve been trying to eat for lunch as well, so welcome to the world of Jackie and her attempts at trying to eat healthier throughout the day.
So remember last week when I challenged myself to give up caffeine for a week and to try warm lemon water with cayenne in the morning? Well, I totally failed on the no caffeine part day one. I did reduce my caffeine intake to 1/2 a cup for a few days, but by the end of the week I was back to my usual cup and a half, and I decided that it’s not such a bad habit and that I’m done trying to give it up. I’m a creature of habit, and one habit that makes me happy is my warm cup of black coffee and my morning bowl of steel cut oats or quinoa flakes.
I did enjoy the lemon water for the first 5 mornings, but it kind of got to me on day 6 and I was gagging on it as I was trying to gulp it down. I think it was just too much to try and fit in on my busier mornings and I wasn’t enjoying it. I will try and keep it up on the mornings when I have more time to sit and sip it because of all of the great health benefits. I’m done warming up the water though, as it just became too much of a chore in the morning. I’m just going to just fill up a glass of water the night before so it can come to room temperature, and then just squeeze in some lemon juice in the morning. I have to say that I felt great on the days I drank the lemon water, so it will stay a part of my routine, but it won’t be an everyday thing.
I’ve been trying to eat healthier snacks and lunches during the day and I’ve become addicted to these quinoa bars. I love eating a bar as a post workout snack paired with some coconut water, and I’ve been pairing them with a green smoothie or juice for a quick breakfast or on-the-go lunch. I will be sure to post the recipe soon. My daughter’s friend is addicted to these, and Eli even likes them, so they’re sort of kid friendly.
I took the leftover quinoa from these bars and topped them with a fried egg and enjoyed a simple but tasty lunch. I mixed in some kale from my lacinato kale salad on day 2 with the quinoa and it was tasty as well. I love quinoa because it really pairs with just about anything.
I also tried some chia pudding this week and surprisingly I liked it, but it’s not something I can have for breakfast as it’s too cold, and it’s too sweet for lunch, so I’m thinking it will be a great thing to have for a post workout of afternoon snack. I like my snacks people! I took the below ingredients and whizzed them in the blender, as I don’t like the consistency of chia seeds.
Chia seed pudding:
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 to 1 tablespoon raw honey or maple syrup
Combine the above ingredients into a glass jar or bowl, and mix well until combined and the mixture begins to thicken. You can also whiz the ingredients into a blender and then pour into a bowl. Store covered in the refrigerator for at least an hour or overnight.
Top it with some fresh fruit or nuts. I didn’t have any fresh fruit in the house except bananas, so I topped it with some sliced banana and some peanut butter. I think I would like it better next time with some fresh fruit and toasted walnuts. The pudding will keep fresh for 5 days if stored in the refrigerator. BTW, I know this is not the most attractive picture I’ve ever taken, (the peanut butter glob is pretty unappetizing) but it’s the only picture I have of the chia pudding.
I also made up another batch of this acorn squash and quinoa this week, and I’ve been enjoying the leftover quinoa for lunch this weekend. So basically this has been a week full of quinoa and chia seeds. I guess I’m just trying to get my body in tip-top shape for the big Thanksgiving feast on Thursday!
Before I post this week’s menu, I had to share this picture of Eli and his buddy and his little brother. These boys are obsessed with making money. They rake people’s lawns, they offer to put up holiday decorations, and yesterday they baked cookies and then went through the neighborhood with this cute little basket selling the cookies. I mean, who wouldn’t buy a cookie or two from these cuties! They came to our house about 4 times though, and of course I bought a cookie or two each time. I love that they’re inspired to earn their own money and they really do work hard!
Here’s another picture that I took earlier in the week of Eli and his buddy raking leaves in the front yard. I always tell Eli that he is going to be rich someday because he truly is an entrepreneur and works hard for the money!
Sunday night dinner: Chicken parmesan and kid friendly caesar salad. Zoe has her big fall dance recital this afternoon and I want to have something yummy (yummy is always key) that I can make ahead this morning and pop in the oven when we get home. We’ve been craving traditional crispy and breaded chicken parmesan, so I’m going to make some up this morning and just re-heat it when we get home. I’m also going to make the croutons and salad dressing ahead of time as well, and then just toss the salad together while the chicken heats up. Easy, delicious and total Sunday night comfort food!
Monday night dinner: Pasta with lemon, kale and toasted walnuts. We have quickly come to love this pantry staple one bowl pasta. I also love having the leftovers for lunch throughout the week.
Tuesday night dinner: Leftover night! We’re taking the leftover chicken parmesan and making chicken parmesan subs. I’m going to make up a fresh batch of the caesar salad with the leftover dressing that I made up on Sunday.
Wednesday night dinner: Paul McCartney’s refried bean tacos and lacinato kale salad. I’m making up an easy meatless meal tonight as I’m prepping a lot of Thanksgiving stuff today and tomorrow we’re going to be feasting on tons of food, so simple is always better.
Thursday: Happy Thanksgiving everyone! We’re going to be celebrating Thanksgiving at my friend Carey’s house and there will be a house load of people, so we’re all chipping in and bringing down some side dishes and desserts.
John’s making up his mom’s cranberry orange sauce. This sauce is super easy to whip up and tastes 100 times better than the canned variety.
I’m going to be making up a batch of regular popovers as well as my sea salt and rosemary popovers. I will be making these up ahead of time and then re-heating them at Carey’s house. It’s not the best way to enjoy them, as popovers are best when they’re fresh out of the oven, but the ovens will be occupied, so this is the next best way.
My friend Yvonne is bringing down my kale, cranberry, apple and toasted almond salad.
I’m going to be bringing down my kale and brussels sprouts salad. So yes, kale salads are definitely going to be part of the Thanksgiving menu. If Marin mama is coming to your house, she brings kale!
For dessert I’m not making the traditional pumpkin or apple pie. I’m making our favorite chocolate coconut pie. We had this last year for Thanksgiving and it has now become our Thanksgiving pie. Why not start new traditions right? My kids prefer this pie over apple and pumpkin.
My friend Yvonne is bringing down my pumpkin sheet cake with cream cheese frosting.
Friday night dinner: TGIF! It’s my night off and since we won’t be having any Thanksgiving leftovers were going to grab a quick bite out and then go to see the movie Thor! I can’t wait! Zoe and I just saw Hunger games last night and it was awesome! There were some parts I had to turn away from, but it was a great movie to see on the big screen and it was a jam-packed theatre which made it even more fun!
Ok, I hope you all have a fabulous and safe Thanksgiving!