My Favorite Lunch

Veggie Stuffed Pita

I’m not a salad lover. But I LOVE this Veggie Stuffed Pita with hummus.

Hummus is the deal breaker for me, it is not as fulfilling without it. I also make this as a wrap with either tortillas or lavash bread. I’ll eat it everyday for weeks then not touch it for months. I use whatever veggies I have available. In this wrap I used spinach, red bell peppers, carrots, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes and hummus.

These guys can easily be wrapped up for a lunch on the go, although I wouldn’t recommend eating them while driving. I have a hard time eating them while sitting still without making a mess. ūüôā They would be perfect for a picnic or brown bag lunch, especially paired with a piece of fruit and maybe even a Party Worthy Parfait.

What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?

BBQ Chickpea Salad

20120815-125141.jpgI am not a salad eater. Of course salads at places like Paradise Bakery taste AMAZING but they are also loaded with fats, dairy and meat that I avoid. When I order them without all of that they are just okay. I’ve been trying to eat salads a little for frequently so I came up with the idea for a salad with BBQ Chickpeas.

This salad was tasty! It was missing something, a little spice. I think it would have been great with some hot peppers added. I also wish I had a different salad dressing for this. I tried a few sweet dressings that I had but the taste just wasn’t right. Maybe just a bit more barbecue sauce would have done the trick.

BBQ Chickpea Salad

Ingredients

  • Cooked Chickpeas (I used 1 cup)
  • BBQ Sauce (I used a few Tbsp’s)
  • Leafy greens
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • other salad veggies like cucumbers or mushrooms would be good too

Do

  1. In a small pan heat drained chickpeas until warm.  
  2. Pour in BBQ Sauce onto chickpeas and stir regularly, reduce temperature to low.
  3. Assemble salad with your favorite veggies.
  4. Place warm BBQ Chickpeas on salad and enjoy.

Serve

This is a great entre salad but it could also be served as a side salad. The chickpeas make it more substantial and the sweet and tangy sauce make it interesting. I only made about a cup of BBQ chickpeas and it wasnt’ enough because my daughter and husband like them too. This salad could be taken on the go very easily as the chickpeas don’t really need to be warm.

If you like the idea of BBQ Chickpeas try them on potatoes or smash them and make a BBQ sandwich. My boys love BBQ chickpeas, they are slightly messy but still an easy finger food.

Do you have a favorite healthy (and easy) salad dressing? If so please share!

 

 

 

Meal Plan Monday: Fueled For Fun

I finally made it to the store this weekend. The last few weeks we have been so busy we would just run in for banana’s, almond milk, and what ever else we needed for survival. This week my kitchen is stocked with anything a girl could ask for.

Last night I made a Mexican Quinoa Dish that was so amazing my husband and I ate a huge serving bowl full. Since it was full of healthy, yummy goodness neither of us had that overeating bloaty feeling. YAY for eating plants!

While grocery shopping I had one of those experiences that only really happen a few times a year. I’m pushing my cart through the store and smell a glorious medley of apricots, nectarines, and peaches. I stopped my cart and backed it up, then filled bags with yummy summer time fruit. If you shop at Sprout’s I was the crazy lady smelling the pineapples too! This happens to me in the fall when apples catch my attention too.

Meal Plan

Breakfast this week will be bagels (I found them on clearance), oatmeal, Breakfast Quinoa, my husband likes Baked Sweet Potatoes with a little cinnamon, toast, and fruit.

Lunches will be leftovers (more quinoa), nut butter sandwiches, GF pasta with veggies, leftover pancakes (from Father’s Day), and anything else inspiration stirs up.

Snacks will be fruit since I have apricots, nectarines, apples, bananas, pineapples, cantaloupe, honey dew, oranges, blueberries and a couple of peaches. I’m sure I’ll have peanut or almond butter on the apples and bananas. I found some organic soy yogurt on clearance that my husband and boys will have. Hummus and veggies are sure to make an appearance as well. A few months ago I would set hummus and carrots on the counter and munch every time I would walk by. I came to realize my hummus addiction was out of control so I have cut back substantially. ūüôā

Dinner will come in the form of “Build You Own” nights. I’ll have grains, beans, veggies, and sauces at the ready and we can pick what we want. So for Monday we may choose Baked Potato topped with spicy lentils and a side or broccoli. Tuesday we may have a wrap with quinoa, beans, salsa, diced tomatoes and jalapenos. The “Build Your Own” foods will be:

  • Quinoa
  • Brown Rice
  • Millet
  • Black Beans
  • Pinto Beans
  • Lentils
  • Baked Potatoes
  • New Potatoes
  • Bell Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Jalapenos
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Portobello Mushrooms (these will probably be grilled)
  • Avocado

I’m experimenting with this style to see if I can save time and cut down on a little waste. My husband usually takes leftovers for lunch so this may help us be better prepared to that too.

What are you eating this week? Are there any grilled veggies in your future? Are you in love with summer fruit like I am?

Meal Plan Monday: How I Plan

I sit here a fully admit I don’t know what we are eating this week. At the end of the week half of our household will be going on a trip to see family. I did not buy much at the grocery store because I did not want to leave a bunch of food that would go bad.

I thought that this would be a good opportunity to walk you through how I Meal Plan. First I take all of the food we have into consideration:

  • Carrots*
  • Potatoes*
  • A little Spinach
  • Sprouted grain bread
  • Oatmeal*
  • Cooked quinoa**
  • Cooked pinto beans**
  • Several vats of hummus
  • 7 cups of cooked chickpeas**
  • Fresh (but going downhill) Strawberries**
  • Several Gluten Free Cereals*

At the store I picked up:

  • Almond Milk
  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Broccoli**
  • Freeze-dried Veggies I wanted to try (Bleck…not a fan!)*

Item with * will be fine when I return from traveling and do not need to be used immediately. Items with ** can be frozen and used another time. I have a well stocked pantry and freezer so I have other options available. When my fridge is empty I plan meals based on what produce is the best value while also balancing nutrition and taste.

The Meal Plan

Breakfast will be oatmeal, Breakfast Quinoa, cereal and smoothies.

Lunches will be leftovers, Nachos made with Pinto Beans, PB&J or AB&J, Not So Tuna Salad sandwiches or wraps, and my favorite Spinach, carrot and hummus Wrap.

Snacks will be hummus with fresh veggies, smoothies, chickpeas, and fruit with nut butter.  

Dinner will not be completely planned because I want to focus on using up everything the will not last while I travel. A few of the things that we may eat are:

  • Bean Burrtios
  • Quinoa Tacos
  • Veggie Soup with Chickpeas
  • Steamed Spinach with Chickpeas (I had this yesterday and it was tasty)
  • Nachos
  • Baked Potatoes
  • Potato and Broccoli Soup
Each evening I’ll decide what needs to be eaten and focus on that food type. Some things can be combined like the beans and quinoa to make nachos, or everything thrown together for soup. Most of these things are already cooked so I’ll just have to throw it together and warm it up, or throw it in a pot to simmer.¬†
 
I also try to eat several different colors of food throughout the day. If I feel like we are missing out on something I’ll make a smoothie because I can throw in spinach, blueberries, pineapple, mango, cherries, or strawberries and feel like we are covering all of or bases. We typically eat a lot of whole grains and carrots so we are rarely missing out on those.¬†
Do you Meal Plan? It saves me money and frustration each week, give it a try.

Meal Plan Monday: Scavenger Hunt

Our schedules are returning to normal this week, our big kids are back at their mom’s house and (at least for now) we are healthy. I find myself paying extra attention to every little cough or sneeze, hoping it is nothing.¬†

Each week when I prepare our Meal Plan I take several factor into consideration; a few of them include:

  • What food we have on hand
  • What food is seasonal/better value
  • Our schedule
  • Likes/dislikes
  • Nutrition/variety

This week I’m also continuing my experiment on my 1 year old. It is not as ominous as it sound. He seems to have some allergies/sensitivities¬†to several foods and it shows on his skin. He has reactions to rice, peanuts, and probably dairy although that has been removed from my diet since he was 9 month and he has never eaten it. My experiment is to see if gluten is also causing a problem.¬†

My normal grocery trip felt much more like a¬†scavenger¬†hunt, and not a fun one! Since I’m new to the whole gluten-free arena I wanted to find a few convenience foods that would be¬†appropriate¬†for a 15 month old. So I’m searching for vegan, rice-free, peanut free and gluten-free. I did not find much. If you have any idea’s for me please share!

 

On to the Meal Plan

Breakfast this week will be Breakfast Quinoa, buckwheat pancakes, cereal and smoothies. I’m hoping to get more ideas, preferably things my 1 year can feed himself.¬†

Lunches will be leftovers, wraps, baked potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, and veggie soup.

Snacks will be strawberries, hummus (we have a ton the big kids didn’t touch last week) with veggies and maybe¬†tortilla¬†chips, nachos, fruit with almond butter and smoothies.

Dinner

Monday: Baked Potatoes topped with steamed broccoli and spinach. I like to steam red bell pepper with the spinach for a unique flavor.

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday: Couscous with sauteed veggies (in a veggie broth). 

Thursday: A new Chickpea dish, I’m trying to decide between a few from Happy Herbivore.

Friday: Hopefully this will be a date night so I’ll just make something easy for the boys.

I’m attempting to have an easy week regarding meal prep. I’ll also be juicing for my husband. Everything I cooked last week was nutritious but we ate out a few too many times so this weeks focus will be on simplicity and nutrition.¬†

I always have good intentions when I make the Meal Plan but I rarely follow it. Life happens and plans change. Sometimes there are just too many leftovers to warrant cooking another meal. Other times I forget to prep/soak something (like Chickpeas). I often use snack time to make sure we are getting plenty of fruit and veggie variety. 

I will likely experiment with making some of my favorite baked goods gluten-free as well. 

Do you have any suggestions for me regarding vegan, gluten-free, rice-free, and peanut free food for a 1 year old? Thankfully he is a really good eater and loves veggies. He devoured my quinoa this¬†morning. ¬†The only veggie he doesn’t like (so far) is cucumber and I don’t like it either.¬†

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