How Sun Basket & Postmates Saved Weeknights

Commuting, daycare pick up, dinner and bedtime for a squirmy toddler was making it hard to feed ourselves before 9 p.m. on weeknights. So we did what every parent quickly learns to do – bring in reinforcements!

After trying Blue Apron and Sun Basket this spring, I ended up going with Sun Basket because they focus on regionally sourced, seasonal ingredients and have a Paleo option.

It worked out well for several months; Emmett would go to bed and I would unwind in the kitchen. It was a win-win to fuel my joy of cooking and our desire to eat healthy, while preserving some of the energy that goes into finding recipes and getting groceries accordingly.

The only challenge was that as Emmett’s bedtime crept later this summer, we found it harder to get dinner on the “table” (aka our couch, in front of Netflix or HBO’s latest) and get ourselves to bed at a reasonable hour – a necessity when your toddler wakes up anywhere between 5:30-6:30 a.m.

It was David’s idea to start ordering Postmates deliveries using some healthy dishes he stumbled upon during the workweek in our neighborhood. Enter Tri-tip with broccoli, Greek souvlaki, and other meat & veggie combos from local restaurants.

Now, we’re typically able to conjure one home-cooked meal per week (our go-to taco salad or burritos). The other nights, we lean heavily on Postmates to keep our sanity, make the most of our evenings with Emmett, and get a little couch-time after he goes to bed.

I’ve temporarily paused Sunbasket because the three recipes per week option was a little too much for us to handle. But, I hear they’re coming out with a two recipe plan, which I can get on board with!

What do you do to make it through the week?

P.S. If you want to try Postmates, use code 44MG to get free delivery. And here’s my 3 free meal discount on Sun Basket: http://sunbasket.com/3free/Amy57124.

 

 

How Pregnant Foodies Can Still Have Fun at Restaurants

My blogging took the back burner during my pregnancy and first 6 months of motherhood, so I will be playing a lot of catch up in the next few posts…

I never wanted my pregnancy to prevent us from enjoying one of our favorite activities: going out for dinner. But I quickly learned that most menus don’t cater to pregnant women (especially farm-to-fork). 

Here are some tips and tricks for ordering at restaurants while preggo:

  • Ask for a mocktail, even if it’s not on the menu; most bartenders will happily create something special, and seasonally inspired, for you

  
 

  • If they carry soft cheeses, ask if they’re pasteurized because in many cases they are (Humboldt Fog is one of my favorites for this reason!)

 

  • If you see a dish that’s normally served raw or rare, ask if they can cook it thoroughly or leave it out (like scrambled eggs instead of runny) 

 

  • At the deli, ask if they can heat up the sandwich (this was one of my biggest cravings, along with fruit) 

  • At the end of a meal when everyone else is a couple of wine glasses deep, treat yourself to dessert 😉 


Soon enough you will toggle between barely having time to get a full meal in and ordering takeout after baby’s bedtime, so enjoy the extra leisurely meals and pampering. Bon appetit!

It Takes a Village to Make Dinner

I finally caved. For some silly reason, I’ve been resisting food delivery services like Blue Apron or Sun Basket. But taking care of a baby and working full time makes trying to get healthy dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes really taxing on my already tapped out brain. 

Hearing friends who had tried it and loved it convinced me to give it a try. Once I surrendered, I finally realized that someone else’s recipe with the ingredients ready to go was not something to be ashamed of. (I think maybe I thought it was like cheating or not being original enough to come up with my own recipe. But the reality was, I was already using Pinterest for recipe ideas.)

As I prepared my first Blue Apron recipe, I quickly learned that the meditative experience of cutting and mixing ingredients is still very much intact. I felt relaxed knowing that the recipe was full proof — I used to love experimenting, but ain’t no one got time for that during the week. 

 

Sun Basket offers a Paleo option and our first delivery arrived with Niman Ranch steaks and seasonal organic produce. Convenient, yet farm fresh.

The bottom line is that we should seek out help wherever we can. Friends, family, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram… Whatever it takes to get something easy and healthy on the table.

Enchilada Chili

Tortillas got you down? No matter the reason, here’s a way to enjoy the flavors of enchiladas without them.

Untitled

I used my favorite Sunday night enchilada recipe with a couple of guest stars to add texture in this layered version. 

 To make the enchilada sauce, combine the following ingredients in a medium saucepan and simmer for 30 minutes:

  • 1 large can diced tomatoes
  • 1 regular can tomato sauce
  • 1 can of tomato soup (V8 works too)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 tsp each of salt, sugar (palm sugar works well) and chili powder
  • Optional: 1/2 cup onions

Meanwhile, prepare the meat filling by browning it and then stirring in the ingredients:

  • 1 pound of ground turkey

Ground Turkey Shepherds Pie in the Crock Pot

Ever since I made my first corned beef and cabbage in the crock pot 10+ years ago, I’ve been hooked on slow cooked St. Patty’s fare.

With limited staples on hand, I decided to try my hand at this Shepherds pie recipe using ground turkey, baby Yukon Gold potatoes, carrots and broccoli. It turned out well! Luck of the Irish perhaps?

Untitled

First, prepare mashed potatoes using your preferred technique and scoop into a bowl so you can use the same pot for the meat to cut back on dishes. 

Brown ground turkey and 2 cloves of garlic, and then add the following:

  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 generous handfuls of sliced baby carrots (or 2 regular chopped carrots)
  • 1 cup frozen broccoli (or peas)
  • 1 cup broth (I used chicken)
  • 1/4 cup wine (I used white)
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Generous sprinkling dried thyme

Stir and simmer until liquid is almost fully absorbed. Add to a greased crock pot in an even layer and then spread the mashed potatoes over the top. Season with salt and pepper.

After cooking on low for about 3-4 hours, grate cheddar cheese over the top. Slainte!

Almond Flour Waffles

In my quest to eat less processed or refined foods, and more nutrient-rich foods in their original forms (or close to it), I’ve stumbled my way through some baking disasters. Fortunately, this morning I made my first successful batch of almond flour waffles.

Untitled

Thanks to The Daily Dietribe for testing out the right ratios of flour to starch – a key make-or-break factor in baking with nut flours and root starches. I found that adding one egg was necessary to keep the waffles from splitting in half when opening the waffle iron.

Almond Flour Waffles (Adapted from The Daily Dietribe)

1 – 1/4 cups almond flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp coconut palm sugar

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup almond milk

1 egg

Mix dry ingredients separately from wet ingredients. Combine and whisk in egg. Make sure your waffle iron is greased. You may need to play around with settings and open the iron slowly to make sure waffle is thoroughly cooked.

Broth-Braised Crock Pot Pork and Noodles

New year, new kitchen quandaries! Rather than freezing four separate containers of homemade crab stock, I used it to make a healthy Ramen/Pho-like pulled pork and soba noodles dish. We even had leftover pulled pork at the end of it.

Untitled

Pulled Pork: place all ingredients in a crock pot on low for 6 hours.

3 cups broth or stock
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sake
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pork tenderloin

Noodles: once pork is ready, cook noodles of choice separately in their own pot using additional broth. Add kale or other greens once noodles are near al dente.

Serve pork on top of noodles and add condiments of choice. David had his with a little Sriracha sauce.

Short Ribs that Forgive

Forgot to pull out the crock pot? Even without a grill, these ribs won’t rub you the wrong way. In fact, the rub is what makes these speedy, BBQ-like short ribs meat-and-potatoes-guy approved.

The technique and an expanded ingredient list comes from Better Homes & Gardens, but I took many shortcuts for the sake of getting dinner ready in less than two hours, which is the minimum for most short rib recipes. Who has time for wood chips? Here’s my Cliff Notes version:

In a bowl, combine 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon ground pepper and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Place short ribs (optional but recommended: trim fat first) in a casserole dish and rub with the mixture.

Bake covered in foil at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours, then brown on both sides on a grill pan before serving.

Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Grill Me: Calling for Meat Recipes

My meat-cooking skills are in a rut. We’ve endured endless pork tenderloins, ground turkey tacos and crockpot experiments. It’s time for a change!

With the arrival of a new grill in the coming weeks, I’ll finally be able to try out BBQ tips and tricks. But in the meantime, I need help! Please share your favorite meats, cuts and recipes. I’ll test out and blog the best of ’em!

Ribs @ Tank House

Goat Milk Yogurt Caprese Salad

Love a good caprese, but mozzarella got you down? Simply layer goat milk yogurt in between each slice of tomato for a creamy (but not overpowering) substitute. Finish with olive oil, fresh basil and salt & pepper to taste.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: