Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Sunday Meal Prep & More Alberta Farmers

A couple weekends ago, I took a little workshop on Sunday meal prepping. I found it helpful and I want to share a few of the ideas here with you too, to help you feed yourself and your families throughout the week.

Sunday morning sit down with a nice coffee and take a look at how your week is shaping up. What events do you have to work around, how many people are you feeding (sometimes this can change) and what do you have currently in your fridge and pantry? It's great to be able to use up as much as you can and waste as little as possible. I think we all are pretty guilty about food wastage here, and I could all try to do better at minimizing waste. For me, this is another reason why I prefer to shop every other day. If plans change (which they always seem to), I am not stuck with a lot of food I need to eat or throw away.

Once you have thought about what your week looks like and what you have available, start writing out your menu. I actually decided a while ago that while it's awesome to experiment with the hundreds of cookbooks I have, that it's actually a lot easier to just have some staple meals and recipes (i.e. the Go-To Dinner's) and then save the 'experimentation' for a weekend or some other day you know you will have more time. For some people, cooking is a great way to 'wind down' from the day, but mostly, I think these people don't have kids ;) For the general population, cooking for the family is a pain in the ass after a long day and having a staple menu is actually quite comforting. Here is my staple weekly menu: (it varies, but this is the backbone)!

Monday: Rice Buddha Bowl or Stirfry (a great way to use up vegetables in your fridge)

Tuesday: Pasta or Soup (I LOVE the soup's at Primal Soup Company at Market on Macleod)

Wednesday: Meat-free Chili or Vegetable Slow Cooker Stew

Thursday: Salmon (we get ours from North Sea Fish Market at Willowpark Village - it's delicious and my daughter's favourite foods!)

Friday: ALWAYS a homemade PITA PIZZA (MY favourite)

Saturday: Open meal - either eating out, leftovers, or trying out that new recipe!

Sunday: Roast Chicken (Sunworks Farm or another good poultry supplier) with lots of roast vegetables

When doing your Sunday meal prep, here are some ideas regarding what might be helpful to prepare:

-one protein (you can throw this onto a salad for a quick lunch, add to your pasta, etc).
-one starch (cook up some quinoa or some pasta for rushed evenings i.e. children's activity nights)
-dressing (homemade dressing is SOOOOO much better for you than store bought and it takes no time at all to make it. If you want a quick and easy recipe, send me a message)
-veggie dip (homemade again) & cut up veggies (when your kids are "hangry" and can't wait the 20 minutes until dinner is served)
-one breakfast item (for those crazy mornings trying to get out the door WITH your sanity. Could be baked eggs, smoothie bags, or even oatmeal that's flash frozen!)
-prep a slow cooker meal or two
-maybe even some snack items like some homemade granola bars.

I hope these suggestions have helped. For me personally, I never really thought about pre-cooking some protein for quick access throughout the week, but it really is a great idea. If you guys have any other great ideas you'd like to share, please let me know.

Finally, I want to mention that I have a few more resources for those of you wanting to buy and eat more healthy and ethically raised meats. The following information was provided to me by a fellow student in my nutrition class, and I would like to also pass this onto you:

Below you will find the farmers that I have used over the last three years, I cannot say enough good things about all of them. Trying to run a small farm is a complete labor of love for high quality products and the desire to feed people nutrient dense food, I would know I tried it.

First of all buying in bulk where meat is concerned is definitely the way to go…. It can make buying grass fed/finished beef comparable in price to buying individual cuts of grain fed factory farmed beef. I would however say always try a couple of individual cuts first to make sure you and your family like it before committing to a bulk order. Not all grass fed beef is created equal. Many factors influence the taste such as, type of cow, age, butcher, if the farmer cell grazes or has a rotational grazing plan.

I was getting tired of whole roasting chickens so I bought a deboning knife and had Laura Bird give me a quick tutorial on how to cut up my own chickens. It is very easy and quick once you get the hang of it, and an affordable way to have pastured soy free chicken breasts in your freezer.

Cooking pastured meat of any kind requires slightly different instructions than factory raised animals. Lower and slower are some general rules.

For Grass fed/finished Beef, (pastured kune kune pork coming in the next year):
Kelly Worthington 4037015506

Pastured organically raised poultry and eggs (soy free, very difficult to find)
5$/lb for whole roasting chicken, 5$/dozen for eggs
She does offer chicken pieces, prices vary
Laura and Dan Bird
True Bird Chicken

Pastured grass fed lamb, pastured chicken and berkshire pork
Tiny Springs Farm
Amy Smulders

For vegetables (seasonally) and started plants for your own garden and flower beds grown organically, Ron and Laura’s place is set up in the spring like any green house you go buy your plants etc. In the summer months you go to his farm and its set up sort of like a u pick, he only picks everything when you are there, you help pick. I paid 1$/pound for all my vegetables this way. When peas, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc are ready Ron picked all mine for me and charged a little extra for his time.
Green Thumb Greenhouse
Ron Schneider

I also found a FANTASTIC website called "Eat Wild - Canada" which has a lot more information on farmers in Alberta with good practices.

Please check these resources out and please also visit another previous blog post about some more farmers doing it right. Let's support our local farmers!

Tips for Managing Stress & Anxiety (plus a smoothie recipe!)

Read my latest blog post on You Ate: And my smoothie recipe!