3 fall recipes to kickoff football (aka meal prep) season

PALEO | WHOLE30 | DAIRY-FREE

Have you heard that September is the new January?

“New year, new you” definitely comes at the right time in January: when we’re three months into a cookie and flavored latte-induced coma, and probably haven’t shaved our legs (or beards) in the same amount of time.

But the truth is, most of us could also use a kick in the rear at another time: post-summer, after a few months of beer gardens and late night pizza and ice cream. In the same way that trees let go of their leaves in this season, fall gives us the opportunity to drop some things, like the habits we’ve picked up in the thick of summer, to make room for a new season of life.

my fall goals

This September has been a wonderful time of renewal for me, since the end of my summer was more migraines and frustration than mimosas and festivals. I’m feeling much better now, but I’m definitely ready for these leaves to fall. Although I know I don’t need a new season to start over, it feels very natural to have the weather change in parallel with my changing habits. Here’s what I’m focusing on:

  • Regaining focus at work
  • Working out with a focus on wellness
  • Being a good dog aunt (little friend is staying with us a while) 🙂
  • Making time to do the thing I love: cook healthy food!

In these last few months, how I feel has become infinitely more important — so I’ve stopped feeling the need to punish myself if I eat a cookie, or push myself past my limits in the gym, or stay up late finishing some piece of work because I feel like I have to — and it’s been very liberating.

I’m working hard because I enjoy it, not because I feel like I have to. I’m not wasting time on things that don’t spark joy, and I’m making time for things that do. So far, so good. ❤

My strategies are supported by this article from Greatist, called 25 Science-Backed Ways to Feel Happier. Check it out if you’re looking for some inspiration to kickstart a season of wellness. ❤

anyway, back to football

I’m so excited that football season has started. The game is fun to watch (especially on Red Zone when it’s only the exciting stuff), but I love football for a different reason: Because it gives everyone a reason to stay in, cook things that take a while, and spend time together.

This Sunday was truly magical: I made a list of all the ingredients I had in my pantry and fridge, made a list of a few recipes I wanted to try/make, and spent the day in the kitchen just doing my thang. My boys (human and dog) spent the day flipping between all the games, cheering and yelling and booing and relaxing. I’m always happiest on Sundays, especially during football season. ❤

Although “football food” isn’t usually synonymous with healthy eating, these recipes beg to differ. With a little love and a lot of chopping, these whole food ingredients turn into some seriously comforting comfort food. You won’t even miss your nachos. Use these recipes to kick off fall the right way.

Happy Septembering!

the recipes

This week’s meal prep included old favorites and some new recipes. Excluding the macarons, total prep time for this meal prep session was probably 1.5 hours. It resulted in 10 grab-and-go breakfasts and about 12 lunches/dinners for the upcoming weeks. If you’re going to pick up one healthy habit this season, I’d highly recommend meal prepping. Meal prepping means you always have healthy meals ready to go, so you don’t get stuck in a I-guess-we-should-just-order-pizza situation.

Here was my meal prep agenda:

  • Pumpkin breakfast cookies (below)
  • Well Fed chili (below)
  • Thai coconut carrot and sweet potato curry soup (below)
  • Bone broth in the crockpot (see my recipe here!)
  • Cookies and creme macarons (tehehe)

These recipes are WINNERS, so I’m excited to share them. The macarons were also winners, but I can’t just give that recipe away. 😉

pumpkin breakfast cookies

PALEO + OATS | DAIRY-FREE | CLEAN

pumpkin-breakfast-cookies-h2

Recipe and photo by Leelalicious.

THESE. These, to me, are the taste of fall. They’re the grab-and-go, breakfast version of Thanksgiving in your mouth. They’re cookies that you eat for breakfast and they’re made with super clean, superfood-y ingredients like flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, oats, cranberries, and coconut oil. I don’t think I have to convince you anymore.

OH! And all you need is one bowl and a cookie sheet to make them. Do yourself a favor, and make these on Sunday night. You’ll have at least a week of healthy, fall-themed, grab-and-go breakfasts. These freeze well too! Make a few batches, eat healthy breakfasts all season long. I usually eat two with some tea for a filling, nutritious breakfast.

Find the recipe here.

well fed chili

PALEO | WHOLE30 | DAIRY-FREE

chocolate-chili-thumb-e1335558869328

Recipe and photo by Mel Joulwan of Well Fed.

This is a paleo chili recipe that beat all the “normal” bean-y chilis almost unanimously at our company’s chili cookoff last year. It uses ground beef, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, onions, garlic, and spices to create a flavor bomb that is good on literally anything (or just by itself). The secret ingredient is cocoa powder. Gasp! I use raw cacao powder to give it an added punch of antioxidants.

Make a huge batch (or two) of this recipe and freeze some of it for later. Don’t skimp on the simmering step — I like to let it go for 3+ hours. We had this for dinner last night with my crispy potatoes and a simple salad and it was simple, hearty, and delicious.

thai coconut carrot and sweet potato curry soup

PALEO | WHOLE30 | DAIRY-FREE | VEGETARIAN

thai-spiced-carrot-soup-6

Recipe inspired by Savory Nothings; photo by Savory Nothings. 

This soup is loosely based on a recipe I found for coconut curry carrot soup, which just sounded delicious. I added sweet potatoes and subbed curry powder for curry paste, because that’s what I had on hand. It turned out ahhmaaazing. It’s sweet, coconut-y, and has a nice kick from the spices. It’s an excellent, filling lunch with crushed roasted peanuts (or cashews for paleo), a squeeze of lime juice, and some fresh cilantro. An immersion blender is the best tool to get a lovely pureed consistency, but you can also use a regular blender — just blend your soup in batches, and keep your hand on the lid.

Here’s my version of the recipe:

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 tbsp. curry powder
  • 4 cups of chicken broth (vegetable for vegetarian)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • juice of 1 lime
  • cilantro and crushed peanuts/cashews, for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Start by prepping all your veggies according to the ingredients list: dice your onion, and peel and chop your carrots and sweet potatoes.
  2. In a large pot over medium-high heat, melt your coconut oil, then add your onions. Cook until translucent, about 4-6 minutes.
  3. Add the carrots, sweet potatoes, curry powder, and broth to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  4. Simmer for about 20 minutes, until vegetables are soft.
  5. When the vegetables are nice and soft, use an immersion blender or regular blender to blend them to a smooth puree. Add the coconut milk and continue to simmer for another 15 or so minutes.
  6. Ta da! You’re done.

meal prep tips

You can easily make all three of these recipes (cookies, chili, soup) in a single prep session, as long as you have two large pots (if not, make the soup first, since it’s quick, then make the chili and simmer it as long as you can).

If you have two large pots: Prep all your veggies for the soup and the chili, then cook the recipes in parallel: The recipes start the same way (coconut oil and onions), so heat your oil in each pot and cook your onions, then follow just follow each respective recipe. While the chili is simmering, make your breakfast cookies. Super duper easy.

Don’t forget to clean as you go! It makes life easier. Also, I’d recommend having the recipes pulled up side by side in two different windows on your laptop, so your keyboard doesn’t end up all covered in food from switching between tabs (speaking from experience). 🙂

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