Meal Prep Is The New Way Of Life

Well I have to say that I am on a mission and that is to be lean. How lean? Lean enough to where I can get rid of those crazy love handles.  I have come to the conclusion that I may never have six pack abs and I am ok with that. What I want is to be healthy by any means I see fit.

I never thought that this blog would be mainly a fitness blog. When I started to blog a  few years ago, I never thought that a few years later I would be writing about fitness and living a healthy lifestyle. I just find it amazing how life’s twist and turns lead to a better you. On that twisted road I found how to meal prep.

When I was approached with the idea of making my entire meals for the week in one day, I thought it was crazy. I mean how are you suppose to do that? Is it expensive? How much time was it going to take? Will the food spoil? These were just a few of the many questions that were going through my head.

Like anything I do in my life, I researched the hell out of it. What kind of meals to make, the best meals to make, the easiest meals to make were all burning questions that I needed answered. I found this great little website call Youtube, where people like me were making videos on how to meal prep. After hours of watching these people cook I decided to give it a try.

#1 I had to decide what meals I was going to make.
I decided go with this meal below as my alternate meal. I have another one listed below. 

For breakfast, I got a great egg white muffin recipe from one of my crossfit friends. Here is a recipe that is almost just like it.

I love to snack and I love something sweet after good healthy dinner. It takes everything I have not to go on a massive Oreo bendeR, SO I found a recipe for some amazing protein energy bites that are out of this world. Click here to get that.

#2 Grocery Shopping

I am cheap when it comes to buying groceries  I mean look at the name of this blog. It’s called The Thrifty Running Dad for a reason!  I have had a lot of people tell me that eating healthy is expensive, which is why so many people don’t do it. Are they right? NO! 

Healthy food is way easier to get then the other kind. The trick is to know where to look. I am a huge fan of Harris Teeter. My local Harris Teeter knows me by name when I walk in with my blue coupon binder on my shoulder. They know that this guy means business and he is about to rob them blind. Even my fellow ear crossfit peeps know I will skip a WOD if that mean saving big. It’s a skill and a rush at the same time. Couponing is better then sex. True story. Anyways, I recently discovered a new store to save big on some expensive items and that is Aldi. Where has this store been all my life? Surfing my most recent trip I manage to walk out with a buggie full of stuff and I only spent $40. Here are some things I found:

1. Ground turkey -$3.29 a pack ($5.99 at Harris Teeter)

2. Chia seeds- $3.99 a pack

3. Flaxseed- $2.49

4. Almond butter- $4.99

5. Coconut oil- $4.99

If you ever shopped anywhere else but Aldi you know these are the most expensive health foods out there. 

So all and all I managed to score two weeks of meal prep food for $100, which is exactly what my budget for food every two weeks! 

#3 Get the right equipment  

It’s hard to meal prep when you don’t have everything you need. For example, containers to put the food in ūüėä. So I found these great containers on Amazon for around $10. You get seven complete with a lid and they are on Prime so you get the two shipping. Well worth the price. Check them out here.

Now I was ready to start cooking. This past week made turkey burgers, brown rice and broccoli. Here is how it went. 

TURKEY BURGERS

2 packs of ground turkey

1 cup of diced jalape√Īos (Save time and buy the jar)

4 tablespoons of minced garlic

Salt and pepper to taste. 

I measure my patties with a 1/3 measuring cup and then I push down to make a 90 gram patty. When I did this I got 12 patties out of the two packs of ground turkey. Melt 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a pan on medium heat. Once hot place your burgers on the pan and cook each side for about 3:30 minutes. This recipe was given to me by my two good friends Kristy and Brian Helms. Best burgers you will ever have! 

BROWN RICE

2 cups of brown rice

3 1/2 cup of water

1 tablespoon of coconut oil

Put rice in the pot along with the water and coconut oil and cover and bring to a boil. Once at a boil, stir the rice and cover and let it cook until all the water has been cooked out. I usually add an additional 3 to 4 cups cause I like my rice extra soft. I usually measure about 100 grams of rice per meal which is a little under 1 cup. 

BROCCOLI 

2 or 3 broccoli crowns

Cut the florets off the crowns and throw them in a pot of water. Cover and cook until the broccoli is tender. Drain water and place back in pot. Add a tablespoon of coconut oil and let it melt. Once melted toss broccoli around. 



There you have it. Meal prep is easy. After prepping my breakfast and lunches and snacks. I can say that it only took me about two hours to complete it. Well worth it to not have to fiddle around in the mornings to find something to eat. 

Let me know if you try any of the recipes and how they turned out for. I love hearing feedback from others and if you have any tips for me please leave the, in the comments section below. 

Thanksgiving Blues

I have to say that every year around this time I get a little depressed. Don’t get me wrong, Christmas is great but there is just something about how the amazing holiday day known as Thanksgiving. Now that my turkey is all gone, stuffing is almost and there are no more pies I am a little sad. 

As usual, I made a great meal and managed to nearly burn the house down while trying to make a cheesecake. The cheesecake was great but the house smelled like smoke for a day and a half. I got so many compliments on my turkey this year. Even people who said they did not eat turkey. That is always a great takeaway from thanksgiving. That’s the kind of magic I am talking about. 

My sister in law and I tagged teamed it again. Both making out signature dishes. The only difference was this year she hosted it. It ended up being a blessing cause I was not stuck with the clean up. We gathered around and ate and watched the Carolina Panthers crush the Dallas Cowboys and claim their 11-0 victory. 

The next day I spent getting Christmas decorations down from the attic and heading down to our local Christmas tree lot. It always makes me sick to my stomach at how fast we hurry to Christmas. It’s like thanksgiving does not matter at all.  

 

Now that my tree is up, gifts are bought and I am rocking my almost two month old to sleep I can say that this holiday season I am going to make it my mission to concentrate on being thankful rather then selfish. 

  

(#10) Turkey Disaster To Turkey Prefection

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The last piece of pie has been ate, the leftovers have been wrapped, and my brain is still in a turkey hangover. Yes everyone, Thanksgiving has now passed and I have to say it went off without an issue. Ok so I just lied to you. Here is the story.

Tuesday night I had to brine my turkey I made the brine and put the turkey in the brine bag and it looked like this-

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Then I went to put the brine in the roasting pan and the bag busted and brine got all over my kitchen. So I spent two hours mopping brine off the floor. It was not the best night ever.

So that was my disaster for Thanksgiving. I then got up at 6:00 AM and finished preparing my turkey and started to cook it. Three hours later it looked like this-

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Let me tell you that was the best turkey ever!!! I have to say I was worried but my first turkey was awesome.

I then started cooking all the other dishes and even had to have a few glasses of wine AKA holiday medicine. As you can see we had quite a spread.

The whole lunch went great. The food was amazing and everyone had a great time. I really enjoyed my first Thanksgiving hosting. Will I do it again? Oh hell yes!!!

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#10- Make Thanksgiving all by myself – Completed on 11/28/2013

 

Time To Brine That Turkey!

brine

 

So its finally the week of Thanksgiving and I am so excited. I am also a little overwhelmed. I still have so much to be done before I can sit back and give thanks. I spent most of yesterday washing anything I could fit in my washing machine. Nothing says that you love the holidays more than clean bed sheets in my opinion.

Tomorrow begins my holiday break from work (Thats what I am calling it) and I will be cleaning my house top to bottom while my wife works. I have about 20 people set to come to this dinner so I need to make sure everything is cleaned and sanitized.

The house is not the only thing I am focusing my energy on. I never knew how much preparation¬†goes into a making a turkey and have a new-found respect for all the people who make them around this time. I have to say that this task is far from over in my house. Sunday I took the turkey out of my freezer and put it in the refrigerator to thaw. That does not sound too hard does it. Now tonight I am supposed to¬†make my brine and let my bird marinate for 24 hours. One thing I am nervous about is the fact that I have no idea how much my turkey weighs. It’s not on the package so I have to find a scale tonight.

Like I said before, I am going to try brining my turkey tonight. I have no idea how this is going to turn out and I am super scared. One of my biggest fears is that I either overcook or undercook this bird. Anyways, here is my brine recipe that I will be using and the link to the site that has a little more detail instructions.

My Turkey Brine

Ingredients
  • 12 cups water, divided
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sage
  • 2 tablespoons thyme
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 4 cups ice
Instructions
  1. Bring 4 cups of water to a simmering boil. Add salt and sugar. Stir until the sugar has completely dissolved. Turn off the heat. Stir in 8 cups cold water, apple cider vinegar, sage, thyme, rosemary, pepper, and ice. The brine is ready to be used.
  2. Remove giblets and neck from the cavity. Rinse the outside and inside of a thawed turkey. Using paper towels, pat the turkey dry. Complete submerge the turkey in a large soup pot bigger than the bird and cover with a lid. Allow the turkey to marinate for 12 hours for a small turkey (8-10 lbs) and up to a full day for a bigger bird. Rinse turkey and pat dry before adding additional seasoning, butter, or oil in preparation for roasting.
 Notes
*It’s important to reiterate not to use a self basting, pre-seasoned, or kosher turkey. Otherwise the turkey will be too salty.

Reasons My Thanksgiving Dinner Could Go Wrong

We are one week away from Thanksgiving! WOOT! WOOT! I am getting excited and a little scared. This time next week I will be slaving over a hot stove and tearing my hair out trying to put on an awesome meal. I hope you enjoyed the video above cause that song is now in my head and I will be singing all day next week.

This will be the first time I ever cooked Thanksgiving ever. I am so nervous that I am going to mess it up. I sat in my thinking chair which is in the living, while K-Dub was bouncing along with Mickey Mouse and “The Hotdog Dance” gang, thinking about every possible scenario¬†that could go wrong next Thursday.

My biggest fear is that my turkey comes out either undercooked or dry. I have never made a turkey before and all week I have sat at my computer at work and googled “How to make a turkey”. Lets face it. The turkey is the nucleus¬†of the meal and if that is not good, people just turned their nose up at the rest of your meal. It’s a Thanksgiving fact.

Another fear of mine is that my relatives get into a fight. I could just something being said or someone foaming from the mouth thinking they are funny and then someone taking it the wrong way. The next thing you know you are cleaning blood out of the carpet and the police are putting Uncle Willey in the back of a police car. Maybe I am being a little dramatic or its the wine that I drank while writing¬†this but family arguments are always a holiday tradition in my family. Oh, and I don’t have an Uncle Willey.

One of my fears is the possibility¬†of having too much sauce. By sauce, I mean wine. The last thing I need to happen is for everyone to find me in the coat closet pretending I am camping. This actually happened but not on Thanksgiving and I was also trying to make smores¬†out of people’s shoes. I know that its weird. I better pace myself.

So here is to a hope to be awesome Thanksgiving. With only a week left to prepare, lets see if I can keep the disasters down to a minimum. Good luck to you all too!

Gearing Up For Turkey Day!

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We are a little over a week away from Thanksgiving, which to me, is the Super Bowl of family gatherings. I love this holiday and now I am even more excited to finally knock number 10 off my list. To finally cook a Thanksgiving dinner and host it at my new house is a very big deal for me. Its my chance to show off my cooking skills to my family and friends. They all know I can cook but this is the time to really shine.

This past weekend I spent some time cleaning the house. BrittWhitFun¬†and I swept the kitchen, vacuumed¬†the floors, and picked up¬†all of K-Dub’s¬†toys. I still have a lot of cleaning to do but already plan on spending the day before cleaning the rest of the house.¬†I also got the table already¬†decorated for next Thursdays feast. It’s complete with Karsyn’s decorated pumpkin from her most recent trip to the pumpkin patch.

I also spent some time on Sunday organizing my shopping list. I finally have my menu set for Thanksgiving. The only thing I am worried most about is that I have never cooked a turkey before. I heard that you have to stick you hand in the dead bird’s butt and pull out all of it’s organs. I am not sure how I feel about that. I will have to let you know how it turns out.

So as you can tell, I am more than a little excited about next weeks lunch. This is a first of hopefully many Thanksgivings at my home. I hope everything goes well and no surprises derail my Martha Stewartesk meal.

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Is It Christmas Time Already? Really?

Can I at least finish my Halloween candy first? I am never one to complain but I think that Christmas seems to be popping around way to earlier that usual this year. It seems as soon as the clock turned to midnight on Halloween night, the Christmas commercials already started. I looked at my TV and secretly wished that the Christmas themed “Target Dog” would pee on the newly lit Christmas tree. I guess that was too much to wish about. Then ABC Family has this dumb thing called countdown to the 25 days of Christmas, which really means that they are going to play the same dumb movies on the countdown that they play when it is actually Christmas time. The only difference is that I am sure one of those weekends will be Harry Potter Weekend!

After Halloween I had ¬†some crazy cold starting and sent my wife to Target to get me some medicine. When arrived she told me that not only was she being pushed and shoved by the Black Turkey people( Black Turkey is the day after Halloween. It’s when¬†all the Halloween candy is 50% off. It’s the Black Friday for fat people.), but she also got stuck behind people buying the newly put up ornaments and wrapping paper holders. Has it already begun?

I am setting at work today and I start to get really sleepy(Let me remind you I have a cold.) so I decide to head to the Starbucks downstairs only to find that they already have their Christmas flavors and signature “red cups” out. Where is my Pumpkin Spice Latte? Where did you go? What the hell is a Gingerbread Latte?

After almost having a nervous breakdown in the middle of Starbucks, I retreated back to my desk empty-handed to get ready for a meeting. I step into my meeting room only to be greeted by the sound of holiday music? Really? Then the conductor of the meeting starts talking about what her kids want for Christmas. She then proceeds to pull out a Toys-R-Us toy book to show what her snot noise kids have circled. Really?

So I ask again, Can I cut my damn turkey first before I even begin to start thinking about Christmas? I love the holiday don’t get me wrong but with the way Christmas has been shoved down my throat the past few days, I just rather wait and put up the tree, try a gingerbread latte, rock out to Jingle Bell Rock, the day after Thanksgiving so I can enjoy the holidays like they are intended to be enjoyed. One at a time!