Sunday Food Prep

I went to Costco yesterday.

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I love Costco. I wasn’t sure how much a household of two would benefit from buying in bulk, but it turns out buying large quantities of the stuff you use all the time is great. This is especially true if you take the time to plan for the week ahead and freeze what you know you can’t use fast enough. That’s what I did today.

I began the day by starting this Chicken Wild Rice Soup in the crockpot. Eight hours later, it looked like this.

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It was a lot prettier before I removed a bunch to put in smaller containers for lunches.

This soup is one of the best soups I’ve ever made, probably because there’s a whole stick of butter in it. I tend to like recipes involving whole sticks of butter. I rarely cook things this rich, but occasionally I think the extra calories are worth the flavor you get.

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I dedicate that photo to my college roommate Michelle, who could never stand people drinking soup out of mugs. Don’t worry, Michelle, I used a spoon.

While the soup was crocking away I washed and blanched the majority of the asparagus, green beans, and kale/swiss chard/spinach blend. (Even I can’t eat 1.5 pounds of leaves in a week.)

Blanching is new to me, but when I googled “how do I freeze green beans?” the consensus seemed to be blanching them first is how you make sure the color and nutrients are locked in. So blanch I did.

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Post blanching. So many green beans. And there were more that I put directly in the fridge.

The idea behind blanching is you cook the veggies at a very high temp (boiling water) for a few minutes, then immediately immerse the veggies in very cold water (I used ice water) so the cooking process comes to an abrupt halt. Then you dry them and freeze them for cooking another time.

I’d resisted blanching in the past because it seemed like a real pain in the ass, but it’s not so bad if you’re doing a lot of veggies. I came up with a little assembly line.

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I froze the kale/swiss chard/spinach mix in ice cube trays. The main reason I did this was to use them in smoothies, but I may also try to cook them. I don’t see why they’d cook any differently than frozen blocks of spinach.

While I was working with the kale I had the green beans in the freezer on a rack (I did the asparagus first–not pictured).

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They weren’t totally frozen, but I’m hoping they were frozen enough to prevent the green beans from melding together in their bags. I used a straw to suck out extra air. Cheap vacuum sealer!

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Then I gathered all the bags together before putting them in larger freezer bags in the freezer.

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Finally, I made salads with what was left of the kale mix.

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Between the soup and salads, plus Greek yogurt, blackberries, and apples I already had, my lunches (and by lunch I mean extended eating from 10am-4pm) are set for the week.

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10 responses to “Sunday Food Prep

  1. Wow, so organized! And the salads look delicious.

  2. That soup looks will good right now!

  3. I need to get better about food prep on Sunday. I’ll make two days’ worth of yogurt parfaits at a time(the almonds get a bit slimy if you use them later than 2 days), but I’m not good about chopping up veggies and getting meals ready. I got home early from work on Wednesday on account of the snow and set about roasting some veggies, cutting some others, and getting some lentils cooked. It felt so good to have all of that food ready to go! I’ll have to check out blanching in the future!

    How’s the leg doing?

    • It is really satisfying to prepare so much good for you stuff at once. It is time consuming, so I’m not always able to do it, but I feel really productive when I can.
      I think the leg is good. I’ve been walking on the treadmill a lot and my leg is responding well, which makes me happy. I’m trying to decide if I want to keep my fast walking routine for a while longer, or if I want to start that return to running program. I may walk more before trying running since feeling pain when running is so disappointing. Or I may try the return to running thing once per week, walking the rest of the time I workout. How’s your return to running going?

      • Return to running at a slight standstill right now. My foot has been acting up a bit, but I’m taking it in stride. Got my new orthotics this week and took them for a test run. Foot a bit sore today, but I need to stay on top of stretching, massaging, and icing (not always great about it). I’m stuck at stage 8, but am surprisingly okay with it. Maybe because I know I’ll get there eventually and there’s no rush? Also, it’s been snowing non-stop and when it isn’t snowing it’s freezing, so I’m not exactly feeling the itch to run outside right now, so that helps.

        How far are you walking currently? About how fast? Are you using a treadmill exclusively or are you able to walk off the treadmill? I think if you’re up to about 2 miles and at a decent pace (4-4.5 mph), you could definitely try week 1. I know you almost don’t want to jinx it. You know what’s best for your body. You’ll figure it out. 🙂

        Oh, my husband came upon a couple of articles about the link between carbonation and calcium leaching from the bones. He realized he was drinking a lot of seltzer during his half marathon training and is wondering if there is a link with that and his stress fracture (not necessarily causing it, but not helping it, either). Just food (or drink) for thought. 🙂

        Hang in there!

      • The week before last I did walks of 30, 45, and 60 minutes in length on the treadmill. I mostly hung around 3.7 pace; on one of the walks I was feeling an uncomfortable pressure when I tried to go faster. But then on another walk I got in the 4-4.3 range for part and felt fine. I haven’t tried walking off the treadmill; I like the treadmill because I can read while doing it. I covered 3.36 miles in my long walk, which made me happy. Like you, I’m surprisingly ok with the slow progress, especially because of the weather, like you said. Parts of me just miss getting really sweaty from running. But as I was saying to a friend the other night, running is just so high impact, maybe this is my body’s way of saying I need the break now. The calcium leaching thing is interesting. I don’t drink a lot of carbonated stuff but sometimes I wonder if I get enough calcium and if that contributed to my stress fracture.

      • That’s good that you’re really listening to your body, hanging at a pace where you are comfortable and not pushing it. I think we’re so used to always pushing ourselves physically, that we naturally do it with an injury, testing the waters a bit too much. It sounds like you’ve gotten to a good, intuitive place, knowing what your body can and can’t do right now. That’s the best path to recovery and a lesson it took me too long to learn. You’ll get there.

        Have you tried tracking your calcium intake? You may also want to think about vitamin D. I am chronically deficient unless I supplement (thanks mostly to living so far north and the fact that I usually stay out of the sun due to a family history of melanoma). I’m currently taking 10,000 IU of D3 for six weeks, then having my blood retested. I had been doing 2,000 IU for the past 6 months (in addition to a multi) with very little change. And I get plenty of dietary Vitamin D. Just crazy!

      • I used to use the myfitnesspal app to track everything but found it to be too much work when I made recipes. But now I also take a multivitamin. I’m hoping that takes care of all my vitamin needs. Your vitamin d situation does sound crazy! I am trying to be more intuitive with exercise and so far that method is making me less stressed out.

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