meal prep for early mornings

When you wake up to work at 5am (not every day, luckily), it’s pertinent to be organized. I’m a girl who has to eat almost right away in the morning and I try never to miss breakfast because it’s my favorite meal of the day, but also, it’s good for you.

There are few things in the world I enjoy more than a warm, filling breakfast in the morning, but sometimes, you need to prepare a meal on the go.

I pulled out this old bento box and made it work. I need enough food to fuel me through the morning and then a workout.

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On one side, I snagged two zucchini egg-muffins, a cheesestick, and berries.

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The other included one pumpkin muffin, yogurt, almonds, and grapes.

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All filling and satisfying.

While working, it’s important that I have enough food, that it’s healthy food, but also that the food is transportable and fine to eat in-between moments of work and free-time.

Caitlin in the Kitchen

I thought I was doing well by writing up a consistent “lately” post for the blog, but actually, no one reads it that day. I suppose I’m not overwhelmingly interesting and anything interesting that does happen to me is summed up in my weekend recap posts or whatever, so yeah, I’ll stop those.

People do like food posts. So here you are. Monday-Thursday breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.

Breakfast

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Lunch

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Dinner

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food, a collection

Thanks to my inconsistency, I have a weird assortment of food pictures on my phone at any given time. Sometimes I don’t take one because the meal doesn’t look particularly flattering or camera-ready, but usually it’s because I dive in and forget.

I’ve still got quite a few to share:

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Peanut Butter Baked Oatmeal

I’m a warm breakfast kind-of gal. In the mornings, I can’t wrap my head around a bowl of yogurt or cold cereal and would much prefer tucking into a warm bowl of oats or plate of eggs and toast. The other options, like smoothies, are great for snacks and quick options, but if I have my way, I always start with a hot breakfast, even in summer.

Oatmeal is such a great option. It’s healthy, filling, and provides a variety of ways in which to eat. Often, I find myself tossing everything into a bowl and microwaving on week days because it’s faster, but there’s nothing compared to stovetop oatmeal. Except, this baked oatmeal recipe that is SO good.

It takes just less than an hour to make from prep time to clean up, so it’s better to make a day or two ahead, but it’s worth it in the end.

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Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees and get to mixing:

  • 1 mashed ripened banana
  • 1 cup oats
  • dash of cinnamon
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup milk of choice
  • drop of vanilla
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter of choice
  • handful of berries

Stir everything together in one bowl, coat the pan of choice in cooking spray, pour in the mixture, and put in the oven for about 45 minutes.

I made this on Sunday afternoon and couldn’t wait to dive into it on Monday morning! Thankfully, it made two servings, so I was just as happy on Tuesday!

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It’s sweet and moist enough with the banana and peanut butter, so you can eat as is, or enjoy with another dollop of peanut butter, some jelly, or even some crushed nuts and syrup.

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No better way to start a day than a workout and a warm bowl of oats!

weekend report

Greetings, Monday! I’m one tired girl, but it’s all thanks to a great weekend.

Things got started the right way after work on Friday with a margarita and some chips and salsa with some friends. After, I watched some Netflix and happily slumbered my way into Saturday morning.

I had a hankering for some bacon, so I delayed breakfast in favor of grocery shopping and it actually helped beat the crowd! Breakfast was all the more delicious. After some hydration, I headed to the gym and knocked out a killer workout that involved strength training and a HIIT-inspired run. I was a sweaty, but happy mess.

I got a lot of chores done, including meal prepping for Monday, which always feels satisfying.

That night, I headed to Hollywood Forever Cemetery to take in a viewing of The Wizard of Oz. With some wine, cheese and crackers, popcorn, and friends, it was a great night. And a beautiful one to sit under the stars.

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I actually thought this picture was a lot nicer when I snapped it, but I guess it gets the point across…

On Sunday, I was up bright and early for a day at Disneyland to celebrate my cousin’s birthday. There’s nothing quite like Disney that makes you both walk and eat a ton.

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It was a great day, into the night, but I was a tired girl by the end of it.

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meal prep round 2

Meal prep makes the week so much easier, not to mention healthier. Many times I’ll go vegetarian for my pre-made lunches, since I eat a lot of chicken for dinners, but this week, I was feeling like the classic chicken stir-fry, made a little differently.

This took me a total of 45 minutes, including prepping and cleaning.

Step one was to chop up my veggies of choice. I wanted to taste the rainbow, so I opted for red bell pepper, summer squash, carrots, green beans, and broccoli. I guess I really like my green veggies. Once chopped, I threw them on a pan and sprinkled everything with cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and olive oil.

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Next was time to focus on the chicken. I bought boneless chicken thighs because they were on sale, but any kind of boneless chicken will do. I sprinkled them with the same spices above and tossed them onto a hot pot of olive oil.

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I never know how long to cook chicken for and I’m paranoid, but here they are almost finished.

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As the veggies roasted and chicken cooked, I also threw on a large pot of brown rice. Once the chicken was done to my liking, I sliced it up and threw it on top of a bed of rice and veggies for four days of lunches.

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Daily, I add a drizzle of BBQ sauce for a bit more flavor. I also serve it to myself (ha!) with a handful of almonds for my essential fat intake.

 

So easy, fast, and tasty!

weekend, workout, and waffles

And here we are again at Monday…no complaints because I had a fine weekend for myself.

On Friday, I’d been battling a headache, so I went to the gym after work to try and work it off. When in doubt, I usually can fight things off with a solid workout, and I was right! There’s nothing quite like a hard-hitting strength workout followed up by a sweaty run to get you into the Friday vibes. The rest of Friday included a casual evening of good food, tv watching, and SLEEP. I cannot emphasize my love for going to sleep on a Friday night knowing there is nothing pressing on Saturday. GLORIOUS.

The difference between my Friday night dinner:

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Is in the side dish:

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Both were delicious and celebratory as Saturday was National Waffle Day.

On Saturday, I nailed a shoulder, ab/adductor, glute, and core workout before hitting the spin bike for a HIIT ride. I walked to and from the gym to fit in some extra rays (I’m hoping my east-coasters will find me TAN when I go home for a wedding next month – if you comment on it then, you get a cookie because then I know you’re reading my blog). Next, I headed to an LA staple, the Getty Museum in the Hollywood Hills (I think). My friend and I took the architecture tour which was interesting. Art is not my thing exactly, but I have more maturity than I did in the third grade (sort-of) and was able to appreciate it more. Would still rather be seeing a Broadway show to fill my culture quota, but I’m afraid that the closest this girl gets to “cultured” is pop.

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That view though!

My friend and I ate dinner at a cheesy Italian restaurant before driving back. We passed a man dressed in full Jester costume, with make-up, hanging out under the freeway, and it was spooky. Yay for expressing yourself? So long as there’s no nefarious deeds being done.

This is what I enjoyed while watching my show, curled up on the couch.

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Yup, that is fact. It has a slightly different texture than regular ice cream, but it’s still delicious. For the record, I did not eat it all in one sitting, although, I totally could have.

I enjoyed sleeping in again on Sunday before I woke up for some pancakes. I’m obsessed with my small pan because it makes the perfect omelette, as evidenced in the two above pictures. After I digested, it was time for a run.

I wish I snapped a picture because I ran along the bike path (it’s allowed, I checked), which is by a river. It eventually leads to the ocean, but I wasn’t up for that yet. It’s quick-ish on a bike, but a bit far for a run (for me) to and fro. I also got in some at-home yoga, which felt like a nice stretch and extended my sweat time for a bit.

For fuel, I gobbled down a pb&j, showered, then headed out to treat myself to a massage. It was just what I needed. At work, I am constantly on my feet and running around, and I add some grueling, yet satisfying workouts six days a week, so my body needed some love. For whatever reason, I carry my stress (which to be fair, isn’t a lot, but it exists) in my top left shoulder. When I was at a job I was stressing over a few years ago, I had to ask the masseuse to stop as he prodded my knots, but these ones were easy-peasy.

The stress-relief lasted until I tried to find a parking spot at Trader Joes, but fortunately, it didn’t take too long and I quickly grabbed my things and got home.

It was time for whatever I was making in this bad-boy (lunches for the week and Sunday night’s dinner).

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Chicken chili, served this evening with a handful of tortilla chips.

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Chock full of veggies – collard greens, red bell peppers, zucchini, and corn – beans – black and red – and chicken! SO good and SO easy. I had shopped the night before for a few items I needed so that I could toss everything together in the morning. Meal prep = simple and healthy with a crockpot.

The rest of the evening was productive with laundry and writing. I’ve given myself a homework assignment that I’ll fill you in on later in the week. Don’t fret, it’s the good kind.

Happy Monday!