Sunday, April 8, 2018

Weekly Eats: Mon Apr 2 to Sun Apr 8

A weekly roundup: eats, workouts, watches, and reads.  Trader Joe's haul and foolproof chicken shredding edition.
Nothing like a Sunday morning April snowstorm with more snow to come this week...sigh.  Let's talk about food!

Weekday Breakfasts
The last of the Easter mini quiches

 Avocado Toast

Breakfast Burrito

Cereal bar, string cheese, and fruit

Weekend Breakfasts
Avocado Toast (bacon was in short supply, stepdog got the other half of my piece)

Non-avocado toast

Weekday Lunches
M, W, H: Thai Sweet Potato Noodle Bowls

T, F: Spinach artichoke pasta 

Weekend Lunches
Veggie Burritos

Weeknight Dinners
Monday (family meal): the kids had leftover Easter ham and noodles, hubs and I had baked ziti.

Tuesday (a very rushed family meal): leftover Easter ham and mac n'cheese.

(Side note about Easter leftovers: we missed the mark.  We didn't think to send ham home with anyone else, so we had gallons of it on our hands.  All of the potato casserole got eaten at brunch, so we had nothing to eat it with.  Better planning next year).

Wednesday (date night): I knew that I would be getting home late, so I didn't make any pretense that I was going to cook.  Chipotle to the rescue!

Thursday (fend for yourself night): Veggie Burrito

Friday (family meal): Trader Joe's Orange Chicken with broccoli and Costco egg rolls on the side.  As you recall, we have the issue that the adults and stepson #1 love this meal but stepson #2 isn't a fan.  We solved this problem by making chicken nuggets for stepson #2 which was a better fit for him and gave the rest of us a few extra bites of the yum.

Weekend Dinners
Saturday (date night): the kids had a sleepover at the neighbors, so hubs and I headed down to our neighborhood Italian spot.  He had Veal Parmesan and I chowed on Shrimp Alfredo.  We cleaned our plates.

Sunday (family meal): hamburgers with fries and coleslaw.

Meal Prep
Not much!  We have a good supply of freezer meals to tide us over for next week.   But we needed just one tiny thing to fill in the gaps and I've had BBQ on my mind recently.  The internet told me that the crockpot was the way to go so I whipped up a half batch of pulled BBQ chicken

This is only the second time I've used a crockpot.  The only reason that we have one is that my husband's first wife didn't take it with her when she left.  Here's why we don't use it:
  • Most recipes that I've looked at have a 4-8 hour cooking time.  My normal workday keeps me out of the house for 10 hours.
  • We've both had bad crockpot meals in our past and my only previous attempt at crockpot cooking was god-awful.
With that said, the chicken was pretty yummy, so we'll see how it reheats during the week.  Next time I'll try poaching the chicken on the stove and see if the crockpot adds anything to the equation.

The only method I knew to shred chicken was using two forks.  It's a pretty unrewarding task, so I checked the internet to see how the cool kids do it, and it turns out that they use a hand mixer.  Whoa!  10 seconds later I had perfectly shredded chicken.  Thank you internet!

Trader Joe's Haul Deets
The pantry was critically low on our TJ go-tos, so it was a no holds barred haul of staples, treats, and new stuff to try.
  • Staples
    • Bay Blend Coffee
    • Frozen chicken breasts
    • Frozen spinach
    • Jasmine rice
    • Unsalted butter
    • Strawberry kefir (my go-to post workout snack)
    • Ezekiel bread
    • This Fig Walks into a Bar cereal bars (current obsession of the stepsons)
    • Garlic
    • Limes 
    • Cumin
  • Treats
    •  For the family: S'mashing S'mores.  These were a hit and will be repurchased.
    • For myself;-): Birthday Cake white chocolate bar (had this before, it's a fav) and Crunchy Cinnamon Squares milk chocolate (new to me and the verdict is yum!)
  • New stuff
    • Green Dragon Hot Sauce.  I've been obsessed with green hot sauce recently and this is is not only the best I've tried so far but also the cheapest.  Double win.
    • Green salsa and hatch chili salsa: related to my green sauce obsession.  
    • Dried figs and fig & walnut bites.  I wanted these for quick snacks in the afternoon or if I ever need a quick shot of energy before a workout. 
    • Pesto
    • Frozen beef and broccoli stir fry

Workouts: I've shuffled them around a bit to include a hill workout, so here's what the workout life looks like nowadays.  On weekdays, I get up at 5:50 and finish my workouts by 7, weekend workouts are after coffee and breakfast.  In addition, I'll usually walk for a bit at lunch and I do sets of 10 pushups/10 crunches/10 squats throughout the day.

Monday: weights while sipping coffee.  1 mile treadmill run afterwards at max speed (current PR 9:58).

Tuesday: four mile treadmill run.  In theory this is supposed to be my easy run, but in reality it's anything but.  I'm always low on energy for this one.

Wednesday: off

Thursday: treadmill speed work.  Currently one mile warmup (11:20 pace), then six sets of 90 seconds at 7.0 followed by 2 minutes at 4.0, cool down run afterwards to get to an even four miles.  As much as Tuesday runs suck, Thursday speed work is awesome.  I'm always surprised that I can do it and I feel awesome afterwards.  My goal is to get to 2 minutes at 7.0 (I think it will take at least four more weeks) and then when that gets "easy", bump up the intervals to 1 minute at 7.5.

Friday: weights with coffee.  1 mile treadmill run afterwards at max speed

Saturday: five mile treadmill run after breakfast and coffee.  This is my favorite workout of the week.  Current PR 52:48.

Sunday: hills!  Today was my 2nd time doing this workout.  I wasn't ready to go to an 8% incline, so I ran minutes 8 & 9 at 4%.  Afterwards I kept running to get to an even two miles. 

As soon as the weather gets warm enough (which might be next weekend, fingers crossed!), I'll ditch the treadmill in favor of running outside.  For me, running outside is a thousand times easier than running on the treadmill, so I can start adding more miles.  This is the first year that I've maintained my running fitness over the winter, so I'm very excited to see what happens when I take it outdoors.

Watching (from the treadmill): A Place to Call Home

Watching (from the couch): Brooklyn 99 and Ash vs Evil Dead on date night, Patriot Games with the hubs on Saturday for our kid free night.  I spurgled on the DVD for the new restoration of King of Jazz.

Reading: finished The Good House.  Major thumbs up.

Your Turn
  • Favorite thing to cook in the crockpot?  
  • Latest awesome cooking tip?
  • What are you cooking this week?
  • Any good reads I should know about?

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