MEET CHEF MEGAN

Megan was raised in the country on a small farm where her family nurtured the growth of their gardens and livestock through biodynamic methods. Biodynamics integrates science and nature through thoughtful adaptation of landscape and climate. From raising bees to pollinate plants to raising sheep to fertilize the soil, the biodynamic method aims to utilize our natural surroundings to create sustainable farming methods. This holistic approach to farming has transcended all facets of Megan’s life and motivated her passion to obtain her Masters in Nursing so she could help others achieve optimal holistic health as well.

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Megan leads a gluten free lifestyle and believes moderation is key to everything. If you are looking for thoughtfully obtained meat and produce, searching for delicious gluten free recipes, or simply wanting to modify your lifestyle to obtain better health and balance, then Megan is your girl.

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Here are 3 of her go-to recipes:

RED CURRY WITH THAI TURKEY MEATBALLS

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I recommend cooking your noodles in the stock which adds extra flavor AND saves us from using two separate pots!

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HEALTHY BIBIMBAP WITH FRIED TOFU

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SPRING ROLL BOWLS

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Meet Chef Valerie

Hi SimpleEats readers, I’m Valerie! I love everything health and wellness and eating a whole food, plant-based diet. I really enjoy yoga, cooking for my family and eating healthy. I also love reading about the “Alkaline Diet” and our digestive system and how it plays a major role in our health. The alkaline diet is basically a science- backed diet saying that our bodies are naturally alkaline and we make them acidic by eating dairy, meat and sugar and drinking coffee. And basically science proves that disease can’t live in an alkaline environment so when we can keep them that way by eating a whole food plant based diet, we won’t get sick.

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I’m also in love with my 2 French Bulldogs, Dennis (6) and Greg (2) - look at these faces!

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I love SimpleEatsMKE. I met Krysta at Trader Joe’s, where I also work, and one day, we just started chatting. I told her how I love to cook and was planning on making this big dinner with appetizers for my mother’s birthday and she gave me her card and told me to contact her if I was interested in cooking. I’m so happy I did and want to do more with food and wellness in the future.

I’m sharing the following 3 recipes because they’re my go-to’s (vegan versions of course). My husband Ryan is not vegan so sometimes I cater to him and add a little cheese.

GREEK SALAD

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PAN FRIED LEMON RICOTTA RAVIOLI

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VEGAN SMOOTHIE BOWL

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Meet Chef Kate

Hi! I'm Kate! In a nutshell, I'm an upbeat individual with a passion for food, plants and people. I’m extraordinarily fascinated by the human body - specifically, how what we eat impacts our experience in the world. I have a biology degree from St. Norbert College and am halfway through the dietetics program at Mount Mary University. As a future registered dietitian, I have a great appreciation for this job at Simple Eats MKE since we're providing you with healthy meals made from scratch!

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I truly believe food has the ability to heal, and I love seeing an increased interest in holistic healing as a compliment to modern medicine. "Wellness" is much more than what we consume or how often we workout. As of now, I plan to specialize in Integrative and Functional Nutrition so that I can help people restore balance physically, mentally and emotionally through progressive dietary and lifestyle changes. I recently started documenting what I'm learning in school (and through my own research) on a blog. Visit my page - https://nutrientnut.com - to see what's new! :)

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When I'm not studying, I like to remain active and am constantly seeking opportunities to learn. As a naturally curious person, I've dabbled in many hobbies and have a plethora of interests. I'm also a podcast junkie and dog mom to the sweetest mini-goldendoodle named Pepper. Ultimately, my favorite hobby and stress-reliever is cooking! I am lactose-intolerant and primarily eat plant-based meals so the majority of my experimenting in the kitchen is with various protein sources and dairy alternatives.

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Interestingly, I met Krysta through a school assignment. She was kind enough to let me interview her for my management class and we immediately connected. I was enthralled with her business and started working for Simple Eats MKE within a month of that meeting. Since then, I've enjoyed watching the business adapt and grow, and cannot wait to see what's next for Simple Eats MKE! I've loved every part of this journey and I’m thankful for the opportunity to virtually meet you! Hopefully I can serve you through a future nutrition counseling session or by helping to prepare nutrient-dense meals for you and your family!

Here are a few recipes that I highly recommend you try! From my happy & healthy home to yours!

EVERYTHING HUMMUS

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All my friends know they can count on me to bring hummus and fresh veggies to any gathering! I love to make the hummus seasonal and vary my herbs to match the occasion :) For example, in late summer I'll use roasted beets or peas to alter the color and add a fun flavor boost!

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ALMOND CRUNCH SALAD

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As I mentioned above, I enjoy experimenting with protein sources, and this salad provides protein in multiple forms. Between the crunchy almonds, smooth edamame and warm glazed tempeh, it has the perfect combo of taste and texture. Plus, you can tell just from the bright colors, it's an extremely nutrient-dense meal. WIN-WIN in my book!

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WILD SALMON PATTIES

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Although I don't eat a lot of meat, salmon is loaded with healthy fats including essential omega-3 fatty acids. The Mediterranean diet has consistently proved to be beneficial for our cardiovascular system, waist, and cognitive function, so many of my meals are inspired by this type of cuisine. Fish is common in Mediterranean meals, so this is my family-approved version that will benefit the entire body. The patties pair well with roasted veggies or steamed greens! I also wanted to point out that traditional mayo does not contain dairy, but some brands will add cream so I always triple-check!

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Meet Chef Dana

Hi all! I’m (Chef) Dana! You may know me as the former Chef de Cuisine at The Chef’s Table in Walker’s Point. If you do, you know that I have a deep curiosity about food and the guts to try out new flavor combinations. I shine in creating dishes and menus that pull from the roots of multiple culinary traditions and cuisines and by applying different ingredients, flavors, and techniques to come up with something new and unique. 

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Although I have a serious resume – working for award-winning chefs in Minneapolis and New York City, leading a culinary team at a fine dining restaurant in Guatemala, graduating from The Institute of Culinary Education in New York City – I’m a very laid back person who tries to find comedy and joy in everything.  The experience of working in another country and language really allowed me to develop my culinary voice. I believe in the exploration of food, and I find immense joy in the fact that there are indeed new ideas and ways to express my passion through the universal language of “yum”.

I came to work with Simple Eats Mke because Krysta offered me a glimpse into what a career outside of the traditional restaurant might look like. My goal is to carve out a career that puts at its heart, my passion for culinary exploration. I am excited to connect with clients who share a love of interesting and elevated food in order to create curated menus and culinary experiences for your next meal or event. There’s so much more to a meal than its ingredients, for those whose “love language” is food, let’s start a conversation and see where it takes us!

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I’d love to share with you a few dishes that highlight some of my favorite things to make:

Ice cream is such a fun medium for trying new flavors – everyone loves ice cream so it’s okay to get funky. Nothing says I love you more than personalized decadence (you should’ve seen my dad’s face when I scooped up his favorite candy bar in the form of almond joy ice cream for his birthday)! I developed this Sweet Corn Ice Cream with Strawberry Tomato Jam recipe because I had a lot of corn cobs in my freezer (I hate to waste) and a bunch of tomatoes and strawberries that were on their last days.

SWEET CORN ICE CREAM WITH STRAWBERRY TOMATO JAM

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If you’ve ever spent more than an hour with me, you know I have an “addiption” (a hereditary addiction to dip). I try to find healthy vehicles for dips and sauces that highlight seasonal ingredients and add a playful take on the standards (you need to try my version of the Christensen family “Crack dip” for your next event!). Okay, back to healthy. This recipe for Black Bean Cakes with Avocado Chimichurri is an excellent way to celebrate “Meatless Mondays” (if you swing that way) and utilize the bounty of seasonal herbs.

BLACK BEAN CAKES WITH AVOCADO CHIMICHURRI

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If you’ve ever been weary of combining hot food with cold food, you’re not alone. People think a meal needs to be one or the other, but the play between temperatures and textures is an interesting and fun way to explore flavors – especially as the weather (finally!) is warming up. My recipe for Air Fried Cod with Grapefruit Salad and Roasted Spring Vegetables is a great place to start.

COD W/ GRAPEFRUIT & ROASTED SPRING VEGGIES

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ACTION SHOT!

Thank you for taking the time to get to know me and check out a very small sample of my culinary viewpoint. I hope you will try these recipes and play with them to make them your own. Further, I’d love to work with you to find ways to help you share your love for food while leaving the work to me! 

Rhubarb

Rhubarb is a hearty plant that thrives in Wisconsin's climate, and it's officially in season!

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This colorful, nutrient-dense vegetable is often overlooked and definitely underrated. The red-hued stalks are full of vitamins and minerals, and naturally low in calories. Rhubarb is a good source of potassium, with about 147 mg per stalk or 351 mg per cup. Not bad considering 1 cup of banana is 537 mg. Potassium is an essential part of our diet and plays a role in the cardiovascular system, maintaining muscle function and proper fluid balance. 

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Additionally, Rhubarb provides a substantial amount of vitamin C, an antioxidant which supports tissue repair, plus it has vitamin K for healthy bones. Rhubarb also contains minerals such as calcium and magnesium.

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Lastly, as you might have guessed based on its texture and celery-like stalk, Rhubarb is loaded with fiber which is excellent for digestion. Fiber is the key to satiety and gut health!

If you're lucky enough to have Rhubarb growing in your back yard or come across it at the farmers market, here are a couple different ways to incorporate it into your next meal and bonus - cocktails too!

CHIPOTLE RHUBARB BBQ SAUCE

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STRAWBERRY RHUBARB OAT BARS

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Just remember to only eat the beautiful stalk sections and toss the leaves (or compost them - but do not consume!). Most importantly, get creative and have fun with the distinct tart flavor!

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Square pan was dirty, I was over it, I used bread pan and made into a crumble instead.

ALWAYS IMPROVISE IN THE KITCHEN!

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with vanilla bean, froyo, fresh thyme and coconut

THE RIZZO

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STRAWBERRY RHUBARB MARGARITA

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Check out my amazing team! I’m just finishing up the Meet the Team page which will be up on the site soon! Have a great Memorial Day weekend!

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Special shout out to Kate (3rd from left), our dietetics student, for all the fun rhubarb facts. Where does a rhubarb go to get a cocktail? A SALAD BAR!

Spring Cleanse

Since this is the year of “more”, I’m happy to report I’ve already been on 2 trips and heading on my 3rd next week. I love traveling, getting out of my routine and seeing new places. It’s always been a wish of mine to see the Cherry Blossoms in DC. I was lucky enough to able to head East a few weeks ago and they did not disappoint. The weather was beautiful and it looked like cotton candy everywhere.

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It was so fun to explore a new city and one of the best reasons is to see what other restaurants are up to and to try the local foodie favorites. Georgetown was darling and I see they love their acai bowls. Plus we made a pit stop in Philadelphia to the famous Reading Market where I got to try a Philly Cheesesteak. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I mean, it was a good sandwich but I truly don’t crave that kind of food and am happy that I actually prefer the healthy stuff. I’d much rather eat vegetables and things that are good for my body and don’t make me feel like a sluggish monster. It was then that I decided it was time to do another cleanse soon. I started my year off on the right foot, now I was going to start my spring off on the right foot, taking care of my body. It’s always a good idea to reset your digestive system. Since I’m heading to Arizona next week, I thought it was perfect timing to recharge my body.

The whole gang is heading to sunny Arizona next week to enjoy the sun, Sedona, some of my favorite friends and to reunite Ruby and her bestie. After doing a cleanse, you definitely feel lighter but It’s not about losing weight. It’s about taking care of your body and paying attention to what you put into it. It’s a reaffirmation for clean eating as a lifestyle and it just makes me appreciate my body even more.

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Starting today until Sat 4/20, you will be able to order the 3-day cleanse for delivery or pickup on APRIL 22ND for the great sale price of $200. (Make sure to add delivery to your cart if you prefer. Pick up will be at 370 Manor Ct in Brookfield on Monday after 4:30)

ORDER 3-DAY CLEANSE HERE!!

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SPRING JUICE CLEANSE OPTIONS:

The cleanse will include 3 days of teas, soups, salads and juices including:

Seasonal Allergy: Get your body packed with high doses of vitamin C to boost your immune system and reduce allergy inflammation.

Mental Health: 1 in 5 people are affected by mental health conditions, plant-based diets help. Take the cleanse as an opportunity to open yourself to possible positive results, reconnect with those you care about, things you love to do and make new goals of mentally positive steps you can take whether being to add something to your routine or removing something toxic.

Kidney Health: Reduce bloating and prevent fatigue by aiding your body in processing nutrients into energy. Correct bladder problems due to toxin build up, prevent kidney stones due to foods fat buildup in the kidneys and protect skin from breakouts.

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Green apple keeps sugar levels lower while retaining the quercetin that reduces allergy inflammation

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Mint acts as a menthol to help decongest.

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Cleanse is high in antioxidants and vitamin c to fight the free radicals in your system

Broccoli is super high in antioxidants

Asparagus is a natural diuretic and helps flush toxins.

If you did the cleanse back in January with me, I’d love to hear what you thought, how you felt and if you’re ready to do it again. Leave comments for me below :)

ORDER THE CLEANSE HERE

This old house

This old house...not so old but dated like an old sweater.

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So we moved from our perfect home in Bayview to a home owned by the banks and the IRS. It was filled with furniture and garbage (also rat poo)...yay! I brought my husband and parents through this place and it looked exactly like the “before” pictures, dirty kitchen and all. They were like “no way are we buying this house!!” But I had a vision and saw the layout as a perfect place to raise our family in the ‘burbs. Good schools, safe neighborhood, and a large lot. I convinced everyone to get onboard and we did it. It took 6 months to renovate, so luckily we stayed in our current home until the work was finished. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it. Anyone considering the same should dive right in and take on the challenge. It was one of the most rewarding things we've done thus far. Picking every finish and creating a space that works for our family was terrible and amazing at the same time. Here are the before and after pictures along with some great tips for designing your own space…Krysta’s Design Tips 101

KITCHEN

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1. Start with a neutral color palette on the walls... I generally choose gray/white but beige/white works too. This isn’t a forever thing but until you have the right furniture/curtains/rugs/wall decor, you should start with a blank canvas to work on. 

KITCHEN NOOK

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(and throw pillows, of course)

2. Pick something to collect and display. I collect plates and hang them in my kitchen. It’s something small I can look for when I’m traveling or receive as a gift. They are easy to display and switch up if I have more love for one than the other. You can do this with anything (I used to collect owls :) 

DINING ROOM

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3. Mix cheap and pricier pieces for an eclectic feel. Never buy a complete furniture set off the store floor. It may look nice but it won’t have personality. Purchase pieces that bring a smile to your face. Things you love will work together even if you think they won’t. 

FAMILY ROOM

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Artwork, plants and throw pillows

(plus Easter decorations)

4. Lighting, plants, and candles are everything to a space. They bring life, smell, and feeling to any space. 

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more plants, cool lamps and PILLOWS!

more plants, cool lamps and PILLOWS!

5. Choose 2 accent colors to pair with your neutrals...mine are orange and navy. You aren’t limited to only 2 but it’s a great place to start. You can change them up seasonally if you get bored. Target/Ikea/TJ Maxx are all wonderful places to find accent pieces and throw pillows (my best friends:). 

MASTER BEDROOM

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6. Have a special spot for family pictures and keep them together in a few areas not all over the entire home. Best to have some more artistic pieces, mirrors, nature, and different textures mixed in. Gallery walls with a nice blend of all of these items are lovely when done well. 

LAUNDRY ROOM

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7. Have fun with it and don’t be afraid of change. We’ve been in our new home for almost a year now and we still change things up from time to time. Nothing has to be forever. I’m slowly starting to add color to my walls. I may even wallpaper my powder room. 

POWDER ROOM

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I love design and helping people with their spaces. My side hobby is moving stuff around at my friends’ houses. In fact, I’ll be out in NYC next week helping a friend with her new home. It really does bring me so much joy. Happy decorating!!

(ps. I’ll put all the photos in the gallery because there are some more I couldn’t fit here - Rex and Ruby’s bedroom, our finished basement, etc.)

CHORIZO AND CHIA

We took our first family vacation to California and I've been playing catch up since I got home. Does anyone else feel like taking a vacation is the most exhausting thing you can do? I mean it takes so much time to plan before you leave and then to catch up once you've returned. Truth...I am a freak about planning and cleaning so maybe it’s just a "Krysta" problem. I try to own my problems and my parties...like when I just need a break and decide to have too much wine by myself and dance/sing alone, that’s a "Krysta" party. I really only have parties and problems...not much in between ;)

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Anywho, I bought 3 self help books this week because I have been having trouble sleeping and getting out of my head at night. I am like sooo tired, so I lay down early only to get a weird burst of energy and about 900 new things on my mind. It's awesome...NOT!

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I did, however, decide that I wanted to share some awesome new vegan recipes with my readers, so here you go. 

The greatest thing about these recipes...they work together beautifully for meal prep. They are inexpensive and made out of items that most of us have on hand..no grocery trip required.

I eat the vegan chorizo in tortillas, buddha bowls, with a spoon, on a chip, in my car,...etc. Now you can make this vegan chorizo and use it in the chili mac recipe or you can just make the chili mac recipe with the soy chorizo from Trader Joe’s...It's amazing, either way.

VEGAN CHORIZO

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VEGAN CHILI MAC

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VEGAN BURRITOS

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Ever had chia seed pudding?? It’s so easy and delicious, it’s unreal. Who doesn't have a bag of chia seeds they bought with great intensions and never used...nobody.

 A LITTLE ABOUT CHIA SEEDS

·    Chia seeds have been around a long time and are finally making it into the mainstream. They are no longer just seen in health food stores and are easily accessible. I see them at Target and all my local grocery stores. They are mostly found dark colored, but you can find white chia seeds online.

·     In the world of vegan food, chia seeds act as a binder to replace eggs and also as a thickener, like for this pudding. When not making chia pudding, you can sprinkle them on smoothies, oatmeal, & salads. 

·     Chia seeds are small, but nutritious, and should be included in your heart healthy habits! For each 1 ounce serving of chia seeds, you’ll get 138 calories, 9 grams of fat, 10 grams of fiber (amazing!), 4.7 grams of protein (not too shabby). All that fiber will help aid in digestion and elimination.

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This vanilla chia pudding is about the easiest thing on the planet to make and tastes fantastic with mixed seasonal fruits! Perfect for breakfast, snack, dessert or a light lunch!

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I just ate a big bowl of roasted vegetables covered in ranch dressing and Frank’s Red Hot. Now I’m sleepy...hoping I sleep like a baby tonight! Happy cooking:) 

Clean out your pantry

We are getting packed up for our first family trip and when I say family, I mean the whole darn crew. My parents and mother-in-law are coming, too. We are off to visit even more family and friends in California. What we thought would be a sunny and warm trip is turning into a forecast of rain and crisp ocean air. I am still super excited but I just have trouble packing for such a variety of temperatures and humans.

The one thing I do think I am good at is clearing out my fridge and not wasting any food. I knew I didn't want to grocery shop or get take-out before going on an expensive vacation. I get overly happy about cleaning out my fridge and creating new recipes based on what I have to use up - like right now. 

Here's what I came up with this time...

I had a bundle of overripe bananas and some opened granola that was going stale. So I made banana mini-muffins with chocolate chips and granola. We froze half and ate the rest this week for breakfast.

I had a bag of sweet potatoes and a bunch of random vegetables to use up. I made POTACHOS!! What? Yes, sweet potato nachos with black beans and tons of old opened cheeses that needed to get used up. They were fabulous. We added scrambled eggs to them the next morning and rolled them into vegetable burritos. Best idea ever...and they freeze well, too. Just wrap them in foil and throw in a ziplock for another time. 

Anything else that needed to get used up went into a vegetable stock. All my extra herbs, vegetables and citrus, I put in the instant pot. I added a special spice blend and let her rip. Literally 30 minutes later, I have an empty fridge, a full freezer for my return home, and a feeling of pure happiness. We are taking the kids to Disneyland rain or shine (ponchos from the Dollar Store already packed :) I will check in when we get back to let you know how it went. I hope you try these '“clear out your fridge” ideas. 

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BANANA BREAD

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POTACHOS

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VEGETABLE STOCK

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I FEEL GOOD FROM MY HEAD TO-MA-TOES

It’s the middle of the Polar Vortex Arctic Freeze Extreme Brutally Cold Winter here in Wisconsin and I’ve been craving vegetables like it’s my job. Especially tomatoes and I have been on the hunt for the best canned ones out there. I always shop local and @Outpostnaturalfoods in Bayview is my favorite. They are a co-op that sells the freshest #organic produce and promotes locally sourced food. I like to shop there weekly for inspiring ingredients to create healthy and delicious recipes. This week I’m doing all tomato-based recipes and my go to brand is @MuirGlen. For one, the label is totally retro and chic and the flavor is as fresh as a warm summer day.

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To grow the best tasting tomato, they believe it must be grown organically. Their farmers in the Sacramento Valley of California work together with local pollinators (aka bees!) to keep a healthy ecosystem to produce the best tomatoes possible.

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However, not every tomato is good enough for their cans, which is why they created a composting facility for any tomato waste. Muir Glen focuses on working in harmony with their environment because it’s what makes their tomatoes taste better and the planet a happier place. My main focus in 2019 is to have zero food waste. And these recipes use multiple ingredients in a variety of ways to highlight the freshness of the tomato but also to ensure no food waste. 

DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE RACE BETWEEN THE LETTUCE AND THE TOMATO???

THE LETTUCE WAS A HEAD AND THE TOMATO HAD TO KETCHUP.

 GROCERY LIST

Moroccan Grain Bowl

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Eggplant Rolls and Tomato Sauce

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Black Tea and Saffron Tomato Jam Crostini

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Head to the Outpost because these tomatoes are on sale right now!

From now until 2/12, the 28oz Canned Tomatoes are 2/$4

No more takeout

The Journal Sentinel wrote about our family and my business this week and i couldn’t be more thankful! Shout out to my wonderful clients who are letting me do what I love and special thanks to whoever recommended me to them in the first place. It’s been so fun! Here’s a link to my article from a couple days ago.

My friend’s mom cut it out of the actual newspaper

My friend’s mom cut it out of the actual newspaper

So if you came here looking for a meal plan, I promise we will have recipes next week. This week has been nuts, with a snow day, everyone at my house is sick, we’re all off schedule, I just finished a lunch event at the farm, I have a huge event tomorrow and it’s a polar vortex. I see you, I know I’m behind, but sh*t is busy!

I hope what you got out of the article and my website is #1 I hate food waste. And #2 I like to sneak in veggies where I can. I always put butternut squash in my macaroni and cheese. I put so many diced veggies in my lasagna. I add cauliflower to mashed potatoes all the time. And here’s the best one, I add zucchini to my brownies and baked goods. You don’t even taste it!

With meal prepping, you can spend Sunday making your meals for the week and plan on freezing a couple. Things come up during the week, you’re invited to dinner or you eat at late at the office so you don’t want your meals to go to waste. I suggest eating your fish dish first and your meat dish later since it lasts longer. Vegetarian dishes are great to freeze and anything with a sauce or gravy freezes well too. As long as they have something to sit in, a ball of sauce, it comes back good when you let it thaw. And you can always throw in extra veggies anywhere. If you can’t figure out what, then definitely keep them for stock. Save all your vegetable ends and scraps. Just plop them into a Ziploc and throw them in the freezer and I will tell you how to make stock next week. It’s so easy, just water and flavor. You don’t need to buy the stuff from the store that sits in a box and may have extra ingredients you can’t pronounce.

If you’re new to the site, take a look at some old recipes. I love eating Mediterranean and have a great meal plan from last June. I loved Asian Week too. Check them out and let me know what you think.

Today I was out at the farm for our special Friday lunch series that goes until the end of March.

It’s lunch plus coffee, tea or wine for $30. It’s cozy. It’s yummy. It’s nutritious AND it’s home-cooked especially for you. Get tickets here for the next one in two weeks! TICKETS

See you next week for homemade stock!