Weekday Madness & The 5 Night Dinner Rescue

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If the idea of resuming the Fall Schedule makes you squeamish and a bit short of breath, you are not in this rat race alone, my friend! If you juggle kids and family activities, have a job (part-time, full-time, any-time), and are also a full-time chef, maid, laundress, and gardner, you are plenty aware of how a busy schedule can swallow your, hoping-you-remembered-your-pants, little buns right up!

I’m here to help.

A Full Week of Amazing (& Easy) Weekday Dinners

When I am meal planning for clients, I always keep in mind their financial wiggle room as well as their kitchen capability level. No joke. I’m not going to go ahead and throw a 3-part meal menu, with those extra sneaky recipes built-in there (like homemade tomato sauce and pesto), at them on a night they are exhausted from a crazy day and hardly have the brains left to follow a traffic sign, come on now! I like to make it easy for people to whip up really tasty and satisfying meals without ripping their hair out and calling me names. Right?!

So, let’s make this easy.

Here are 5 main meals that most tired humans can make with little complaining and roughly 30minutes on the clock (no, this isn’t a cooking show, but I’ll brain storm on that one  ). The one important step here that you cannot overlook is the shopping. Either split your shop into 2 quick trips or do a thorough shop on the Sunday beforehand and make sure your fridge is not a disaster zone. Got it?

The 5 Night Weekday Dinner Rescue

Day 1

http://www.cindyspratt.com/roasted-yam-cashew-buddha-bowls-with-coconut-cashew-sauce/

Simplicity & deliciousness. You may serve this bowl up however you like: sub in rice, use roasted squash, steam some green beans, or add tofu. However you choose, this fantastical sauce will make it all work!

Day 2

https://pinchofyum.com/anything-you-have-coconut-curry-soup

I am a super soup lover and not only do I love Pinch of Yum, but I love the idea of versatility with this soup: use up some leftover veggies, add some coconut milk and spices, and voila! Yum dinner done!

Day 3

https://ohsheglows.com/2018/06/29/one-pot-quinoa-and-black-bean-wraps/

Most families like a wrap style dinner that they can hold in their hands and this one’s super easy, packed with veggies, protein powered quinoa & black beans, and extra delish with some homemade guacamole!

Day 4

http://www.cindyspratt.com/comforting-lentil-stew/

This simple, one-pot stew, is SOOOO satisfying to the soul. It is both hearty and gentle, and fulfilling to the body’s need to be nourished and nurtured. Make this on a rainy day, a day you feel the need to ground out, or on a day you crave some comfort. Tis simply delish!

Day 5

Super Simple Vegan Burrito Bowl (20 Minute Recipe!)

Most people are pretty happy with a Mexican themed weeknight dish, particularly when you can choose your own toppings, throw it in a bowl, and mix it all up into a tasty sensation!

Here’s to a great start to the school year, the back-to-work-grind, or to any which way you spend your Fall days!
Eat well. Be well. Feel awesome 

Tired Of Your Own Cooking?

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If you look down at what’s happening in your grocery cart, are the same items appearing in there week after week? Do you have the same 5 or 6 meals on repeat, thinking it’s probably time to switch it up but falling back, time again, into your chicken & potato comfort zone?

Listen up, You: the time has come to can the boring-old-same-same and sub in some new and exciting menu items. Expand your repertoire, excite your taste buds, and whip your health into shape too!

It happens to us all. We lose steam, get stuck in a rut, or we find our selves far too busy with all of life’s other challenges to pull off nightly miracles in the kitchen.

I get it.
However.
For every excuse, there is a counter argument.
I’ve composed a few rebuttals for you (for perspective, dear excuse-makers):

Excuses, excuses…

  • I Am Too Busy/Don’t Have Enough Time: Busy is a choice; how we spend our time is a choice. If feeding yourself and your family well is a priority, you will make time for it. It’s that simple.

  • I Am A Terrible Cook: We may not all be Jamie’s Olivers in the kitchen and that’s alright, we all have our strengths. If you can read, however, then you are able to follow a recipe and that’s all you need to be able to do. Leave the rest to sweet Jamie 

  • I’ve Lost Inspiration: This happens, sure, but inspiration is everywhere, so go looking. Pull up some beauty pics on Pinterest, nudge a girlfriend for her latest recipe successes or hey, have a look around on all the fabulous websites out there (wink, wink start here)!

  • My Family Won’t Eat It: You actually don’t know this for sure until you try. Get your family on board: ask them to help you find some new meals that they could be excited to try. If your kids are old enough, ask them to find their own recipe and give them 1 night a week to cook – you might be amazed at how much they enjoy it!

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How To Re-Vamp Your Weekly Same-Same

  • Try Vegan: The majority of the absorbable powerhouse nutrients are living amongst the vegan menu. Introducing more vegan menu items into your everyday routine has no down side. Vegan eating generally consists of a high quantity of fresh vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, and whole grains, with yet another advantage of leaving the body feeling satiated, not weighed down or sluggish. Want more vegan inspiration?

  • Use Squash: You have forgotten about squash, haven’t you? Well it’s time to bring back these babies with new flare. Squashes are nutrient superheroes: high in Vitamins A & C, beta-carotene, potassium, fibre, magnesium & iron. Squash can replenish your energy stores easily, providing loads of low-glycemic carbohydrates without the heavy burden of extra calories. Try my latest squash recipe!

  • Make Soup: Soup nights are my favourite! Nourishing & calming to the digestive system, soups are an ideal way to get loads of vegetables into your family without too much fuss. Another upside: generally, a pot of soup will provide 2-3 meals and leftovers usually taste better!

  • Use New Vegetables: Try beginning the planning of a dinner with a new vegetable that you haven’t used in a while. Find something in season, like beets for instance, and create your meal around it: vegan borscht, roasted beet salad, or chilled beet soup (ever tried chocolate beet cake? no, no not for dinner!).

  • Eat The Rainbow: Eating all colours of the rainbow regularly ensures you are getting the entire variety of nutrients within the colour spectrum. For instance, reds provide potent phytochemicals to protect against cancer and reduce risk of diabetes, oranges & yellows provide your carotenoids which protect your skin, improve immune function and support eye health, greens are potent antioxidants and aid in detoxification, and blues & purples protect longevity and boost memory with their high concentrations of resveratrol.

Some Weeknight Meals You’ll Love

  • Creamy Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Soup: Vegan, delicious, and filling enough to serve at dinnertime, this soup is a hit every time.

  • Butternut Squash Black Bean Enchiladas: When was the last time you had Mexican night at your house? These are crazy good and fairly simple too.

  • Buddha Bowl: A mix of beautifully coloured veggies, some cooked beans or squash, a grain, some leafy greens, and a tantalizing sauce, and you have yourself a Buddha Bowl!

  • Cauliflower Curry: A big bowl of warming curry is soothing to the senses and warming right down to the soul. Veggie based curries are a lovely way to incorporate all the goodness of the curry spices, loads of veggie nutrient-density, and are easier to digest without the meat.

  • Wild Mushroom Lentil Burgers with Cashew Garlic Sauce: If it’s been a while since you whipped up some veggie burgers, give these beauties a try! Veggie burgers are a bit of effort, but they always make enough to freeze half for another quick and easy dinner.

Now put away those pesky excuses and get busy in the kitchen!

And don’t forget to let me know what you make and how much you LOVED it!

5 Awesome (& Easy) Weekday Meals

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I usually stay away from this style of Blog just simply because there are plenty of other blogs out there posting about “fast and easy weekday meals”.  However, I’ve been finding myself in the throws of some weekday kitchen blahs and thought that it may be the same for a lot of other people out there working the grind, trying to keep our chins up until the summer hits.  Also, the way I make weekday meals tends to be a teensy bit different than your average dinner maker: often vegan, dairy/gluten-free, heavy on the veg, and with nutritional quality as top priority, AND I’ve got an online collection that would impress the boots off of just about anyone.  So I thought that by dropping you some links to a few of my favs, you might find yourself getting a little excited and jazzed about rolling up your sleeves, slipping away from your standard fall-back meals, and digging deep to find some enthusiasm about the last legs of the Monday to Friday schedule.

So here you are: do what works best for you and use these recipes just as ideas, try just one, pass them along, modify them, or make them all in a week like the superstar that you are!!

Day 1

This is a curry noodle bowl that’s really easy to pull off and, providing you’ve got the sauce ingredients handy, you can add whatever you like – although I do recommend sticking with the broccoli, because it just works. Note: I am starting with this one because I really really truly love it the most!




Day 2

There are soooo many Macaroni and “Cheeze” recipes out there, it’s tough to know which one to go with. Here is one of my family’s favourites, the flavour is just so bang on, it’s rich and creamy, and totally delish!

The BEST Vegan Mac n’ Cheese




Day 3

You may already have a “go-to” veggie burger recipe and that’s awesome, but maybe you’re ready for a little something different? I have many veggie burger recipes that I rotate, depending on what I have on hand, the time of year, and my mood. Here’s one that’s just a little different than most, super tasty, and easy to modify in order to make it gluten-free – I sub in brown rice flour and oats for the breadcrumbs, but you can use whatever you have.

Day 4

If you aren’t already familiar with the “macro-bowl”, allow me to enlighten you: a mish mash bowl of fresh and cooked veggies, a grain, a protein, and a delicious sauce. Voila! Here’s one that I like to play with, especially after I’ve been to the market and have a fridge full of fresh greens, garden carrots, cucumber, or whatever else has caught my eye. Marinating the cabbage is a lovely sour addition to this super-health-charged bowl. I use short grain brown rice that has been soaked and rinsed to ease digestion and improve nutrient absorption and sometimes omit the beans and either maximize the veggies or add in some chicken. Enjoy.

Day 5

Here’s a little twist on our beloved rice wraps/spring rolls/thai pockets (I just made that up, but I’m liking it) or whatever you like to call them. Again, these little beauties are super easy to make with whatever you’ve got: replace the quinoa with rice or rice noodles or omit, add some chicken, prawns, or tofu, and chop up a heap of colourful veggies and wrap away. I highly recommend using some fresh herbs in your creation, they throw these wraps right into the wow department.

Hopefully you find here something that catches your eye, makes your mouth salivate, and your tummy ask you to switch it up! Have fun, make these recipes your own, and feed your little soul!

Please let me know if you try something and love it (or hate it), I’d love to know what you think!

Feeling Stuck On Breakfast Inspiration?

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Breakfast can be a tough one for many bleary-eyed, sleepy headed, non-morning people. Often half awake, fumbling to exit dreamland, the morning strugglers feel assaulted by the all-consuming morning routine.  Between waking up the littles, rushing to find clothing, pack lunches, wash, brush, and warm up the car, putting effort into a balanced and delicious breakfast has just lost its priority.

In this busy life, it is incredibly easy to rely on boxed breakfast or grab’n go baked goods to get us through the early morning scramble. But its far from ideal. We are doing the body a great disservice by starting our day on overly processed, refined-sugar sweetened, nutritionally deficient, non-food stuffs.  The morning’s intake is crucial in setting up our metabolic system for the day.  By starting our day with the wrong stuff, we set ourselves up for mood swings, poor focus, crashing energy, and bad food-choice making for the rest of the day.

What are our bodies really asking for in the morning?

What The Body Needs At Breakfast Time

  • Fuel: If we think of nutrient intake as fuel, then our tanks are running on empty in the morning. The body is looking to fuel up and re-stock its nutrient and energy supplies. By tanking up on coffee, sugar, and processed ingredients, we are setting ourselves up for quick energy spikes, followed by drastic blood sugar crashes. It’s like filling up with rocket fuel and, simultaneously, putting a hole in your tank. If we fuel-up with good-quality, nutrient-dense foods, our tank will drive us longer and steadier throughout the rest of the day.

  • A Break In The Fast: Hence the name breakfast, our body has been resting all night long (8-10hrs let’s say) and has been taking a break from digestion. During the night, the body relaxes into its parasympathetic nervous system, slowly breaking down the leftover foodstuffs from the day and restoring and repairing at a cellular level. To break the fast with stimulants and sugar is shocking to the system and will thrust us into our sympathetic nervous system, inducing stress. Introducing whole foods in the morning, eating slowly and intuitively, allows us to stay in the parasympathetic NS, remain calm, and increase capacity for proper nutrient assimilation and absorption.

  • Hydration: Your body is 60% water. It is needed for every bodily system, imperative for proper immune, kidney, liver, and bowel function. Overnight, the body has gone many hours without water and is slightly dehydrated by morning. Drinking water (room temperature with lemon is best) first thing, will replenish fluids used up and lost throughout the night, rejuvenate organs, revitalize cells, and prevent dehydration throughout the day.

Revamping the Breakfast Routine

  • Plan Ahead: I know, I say this a lot, but it’s of absolute, utmost importance. If you do not have a breakfast plan, breakfast will be whatever you can grab the fastest (path of least resistance, right sleepy head?) Start with a week’s worth of breakfast ideas, a shopping list, and do a little prep the night before.

  • Think Outside the Box: Ditch the boxed cereals! There is absolutely zero nutritional benefit to boxed cereals, they are laden with sugars, overly processed and hard to digest grains, and are full of old and rancid oils. Not only does your body deserve better, but boxed cereals are likely to contribute to the development of many degenerative diseases, obesity, ADHD, and nervous system disorders.

  • Collect Some New Digs: Get out there and ask some friends for recipes, search the net, try my suggestions below, buy a new recipe book, or simply get back to basics. It’s only as difficult as you make it and change comes easier with a little motivation.

My Favourite Regular Breakfasts

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  1. Eggs + Avocado + Kimchi: This is numero uno for a BIG reason…it’s my absolute favourite! Quick & easy, high in protein and good quality fats, and made even better with gut-loving, probiotic-rich, fermented super powers. I will usually use a rice cake or a piece of spelt bread and top this baby with sprouts. Yum!

  2. Almond Butter Banana Oatmeal: This recipe is bomb proof, thanks to Angela Liddon from Oh She Glows. I use Almond instead of Peanut butter because I don’t trust the oil stability and mould potential in peanut butter, but you could use any nut or seed butter of your liking. Find the recipe here.

  3. Homemade Granola & Chia Pudding: Making your own granola is super easy and, depending on how many granola munchers you have living with you, a recipe’s worth can last up to a month. There are plenty of lovely granola recipes online, though make sure to pick one with whole foods, minimal sugar, and store it in a large glass jar. Make some overnight chia pudding the night before, add a little fruit, and you are set! Find my Simple Chia Pudding recipe here.

  4. Overnight Oats: This one is great for SO many reasons! First of all, you make it the night before and it takes about 5 minutes. Second, it can be whipped up with a variety of ingredients most of us have on hand and can easily be modified depending on what’s in your fridge. And lastly, it’s just really delicious! Here’s a good basic recipe you can modify to your liking.

  5. The Go-To Smoothie: Most days, I get up before the sun and get in a workout before my family is out of bed. I find the quickest and most effective way to recover from my workout, get ready for the day, and nourish my cells, is a crammed-full-of-awesome-stuff-and-whatever-else-you-have smoothie. Check out My Go-To Smoothie recipe below.

  6. Breakfast Bars: These are the ultimate breakfast rescue for the guy or gal that rolls out of bed and is out the door minutes later. Make a batch on the weekend and you’re armed for the whole week. Try my Banana Oat Bars.

My Go-To Smoothie Recipe
½ banana
½ cup frozen blueberries
2 Tbsp tahini or 1 scoop protein powder
1 scoop greens powder
1 probiotic capsule
1 cup coconut water/almond milk/water
1 tsp maca powder
1 tsp ashwaghanda root powder
½ tsp spirulina
Blend until smooth.

Ever heard of a smoothie bowl? Pour your smoothie into a bowl, sprinkle it with a little love, call it a smoothie bowl!!

Now get to it and Make Breakfast Awesome!!