THIS WEEK'S MENU

Meal planning and prep takes some work, but I've found it to be so beneficial for us. It saves us time during the week and makes breakfast and lunch in particular a breeze! Plus, it helps us to stay on track with our organic, whole food diet. I typically spend Sunday afternoon's in the kitchen, but I find it to be therapeutic and also a simple way that I can love my husband and ensure that he's taken care of during the week. 

Today, I'm working on the following: 

CRUSTLESS QUICHE

This is a go-to for us. It's easy to whip up and you can get creative with what you add to it. Here's our favorite recipe:

12 Eggs
5-6 Turkey Sausage Links
1/2 Cup Sundried Tomatoes
3-4 Cloves Garlic
1 Box Baby Spinach
1 TBS Grapeseed Oil
Salt + Pepper to Taste

Whisk the eggs together in a mixing bowl. In a medium-sized pan, add the grapeseed oil and garlic (either minced or chopped) on medium heat. Slice up the sausage and sundried tomatoes and add to the pan. Sauté together and add the spinach. Let it cook until it's wilted down. Add this mixture to the whisked eggs and mix together. Pour into a pie dish and bake at 375 for about 30-40 minutes. Once it's cooked, I usually slice into 6 pieces so we both have breakfast for 3 days. 

We typically do overnight oats or eggs w/ fruit once the quiche is gone. 

VEGAN APPLE CRISP

image via Well Plated

image via Well Plated

We have apples in our fridge that need to be eaten so I'm going to make a batch of our favorite apple crisp to use them up before they go bad. We love it for breakfast or as a small dessert in the evenings. 

You can find the recipe here

SLOW COOKER BASIL CHICKEN AND COCONUT CURRY 

Image via 12 Tomatoes

Image via 12 Tomatoes

I randomly found this recipe on Facebook one day and decided to give it a try. We loved it! I've modified it slightly by omitting the jalepeños and corn starch and add carrots or other veggies to up the nutrients instead. I also use uncooked chicken to save time and it works just as well! I typically will put this together right before bed and let it cook on low for 8 hours. Ricky adds the ginger when he gets up in the morning for work so the timing is perfect. We eat it over rice or quinoa and pack into containers that we can easily grab for lunch. 

You can find the recipe here

ONE PAN SAUSAGE AND VEGGIES

Image via Chelsea's Messy Apron

Image via Chelsea's Messy Apron

After being in the kitchen for most of the afternoon, our Sunday dinners are typically pretty simple. Tonight, I'm opting for this one pan option. Easy to throw together and easy to clean up! We use Applegate brand sausages most of the time and I always keep frozen veggies on hand to throw together a quick, but nutritious meal. I use recipes as inspiration or as a guideline, I rarely follow them 100%.

*Sausages can be tricky when it comes to eating clean. I suggest buying organic when possible, but if that's not an option, make sure the ingredients are simple and avoid additives such as nitrates. The same goes for the breakfast sausages above.

You can find the recipe here

 

Dishes I'll make throughout the week: 

CHICKEN FAJITAS WITH COLLARD WRAPS

Image via TasteSpotting 

Image via TasteSpotting 

We have some leftover chicken so I'm going to throw together some chicken fajitas tomorrow night. This only takes a few minutes to prepare. Simply slice up bell pepper and onion, sauté with garlic and a little bit of oil. Slice up the chicken and add it to the mix then add fajita seasoning (we blend our own) with a little water and let it simmer. Wrap with collard greens and top with avocado, cilantro, or a little bit of salsa. You can have them with a side of rice and beans or eat them by themselves. So delicious!

SLOW COOKER MINESTRONE SOUP

Image via Little Spice Jar

Image via Little Spice Jar

Soups are typically hearty and filling and also great for the budget. I'll throw this in the crockpot mid-week to get us through the last couple days of lunches. Whatever is left over, I will freeze to have on hand for another time! I always have to modify recipes to make it work for our dietary restrictions, but I've decided to try something new this week and use this recipe as a guide. 

SPAGHETTI SQUASH WITH MARINARA

Image via Chef Julie Yoon

Image via Chef Julie Yoon

We love spaghetti squash. It's a great way to cut down on the grains and is one of our favorite ways to enjoy pasta! We're going to keep it simple this week and top our spaghetti squash with organic marinara sauce with ground turkey.

 

CACAO VS COCOA

I’m not sure where you’re reading from, but it’s a little chilly in New York City today. When it’s on the cooler side, one of my favorite ways to curb my sweet cravings in the afternoon is to make a cup of hot chocolate. Awhile back, I was perusing the aisles of Whole Foods and was overwhelmed by all the hot cocoa mixes and cacao powder options. Then, I saw raw cacao in the supplement section and was really intrigued as to how it could provide all the health benefits it was boasting on the side of the package. Let’s face it.. I don’t get all of those benefits from eating a chocolate bar! 

I wasn’t 100% sure what differentiated the two so I decided to do some research and I’m so glad I did. Turns out, cacao is packed full of health benefits compared to its processed counterpart. 

According to Equal Exchange, "Cacao" is the bean that comes from the cacao tree, which is known by the scientific name of Theobroma cacao. Cacao pods - large football-shaped fruits - grow off the trunk and limbs of the cacao tree, and cacao beans are found inside the pods. The beans are harvested, fermented and dried. They are then cleaned and roasted, after which point the products are often referred to as "cocoa." In other words, "cocoa" is what the bean is called after it has been processed.

Simply put, cocoa is the processed version of cacao. Unfortunately, the process of roasting the beans leaves cocoa with very little health benefits. Cacao (powder or nibs) is the raw bean and is totally unprocessed. It’s chocked full of antioxidants and is also a fantastic source of many nutrients such as fiber, magnesium, essential fatty acids, iron, copper, zinc, sulfur, and calcium. 

So how do you use raw cacao? It’s very bitter unlike cocoa powder which usually contains added sugar so I suggest sweetening it with a little honey or maple syrup, especially if you’re using it as a chocolate substitute. I throw it in smoothies, baked goods, acai bowls, and more. 

cacao_revivelifestyleblog

Here’s the hot chocolate recipe I’m drinking right now: 

1 Cup Organic Almond Milk
2 Tbsp Raw Organic Cacao Powder*
2 Tbsp Organic Honey

Heat almond milk in a small saucepan on low-medium heat. Stir in cacao and honey, whisking until it’s smooth. Bring to a slight boil then pour into your favorite mug and enjoy! 

For a more in depth look at the health benefits associated with raw cacao, read this article by Sarah Wilson of I Quit Sugar. 

*Always make sure your cacao is fair trade certified