My Fave Fast Grain Sides

Meeehhhh back to work today for me! Anyone else? I’ve been enjoying sleeping in way too much, so the early morning hit me hard today. Overall, today was super busy, so it was hubby who was in charge of eats.

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One of the reasons we eat these bread/toast/bagel and egg combos is because hubby is really comfortable making them. And they taste good. And hubby really likes them. Not to mention they’re simple, fast, and affordable. :)

I had leftover pot roast for lunch today – the same one I packed last night. Turns out I packed too large a container because I only ate half of the container. I’m saving the other half for tomorrow. :)

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After work today, I went to Zuuuuumba! Class tonight was kickin! I guess there were a lot of people there working on fitness for their resolutions. I hope they had a good time and keep coming back. I think Zumba is a great workout that is easy to stick with because it’s just so fun! Anywho, I led Let Me Think About It and co-led: Alright and Lose Control.

And I even brought a special guest to class tonight! The wonderful Kelly of Foodie Fresh joined me for class tonight. I love it when my friends come to class to dance with me! I wish more could join in. I wish you could join in! How fun would a GIANT class of TCL Readers be??? :)

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I didn’t get home from class till after 9, so hubby was in charge. He said he was going to go to the grocery store, but decided to just scrounge around the pantry and freezer for food instead. Here’s what he made: TJ’s frozen halibut, Amy’s bean and cheese bites, and corn. I asked him where the vegetable side was (because I like to include a vegetable with every lunch and dinner as much as possible) and he said “the corn!” I reminded him corn is a starch, not a veggie. hehe. But you have to give him props for putting dinner together since I was getting home so late. :)

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For dessert, I had my very last coconut macaroon. *sad face* Guess I’ll have to make more! And if you want to taste this sweet, chewy ball of deliciousness, you can too! Check out my recipe for Irresistible Coconut Macaroons here.

My Fave Fast Grain Sides

Eat In Monthers and home-chefs who like quick dinners will love this section. Here are my favorite fast cooking grains and grain-based sides.

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60 seconds to whole grains – I love these pre-cooked rice packages for when I need food in a hurry. I prefer to cook my rice in my rice cooker, but that can take 30-40 minutes and sometimes I don’t want to wait that long for food. Many grocery stores have these pre-cooked rice packages, but I think Trader Joe’s has the cheapest and best selection. I prefer to get the ones that aren’t flavored so I can control the salt levels, etc. I also like to choose the ones that have ingredient lists that only have “rice” on them. :)

Most of these rice sides can be cooked in the packaging, but since I’m weird about heating food up in plastic, I usually remove it to a dish at home before microwaving it.

I love brown rice for a simple side.

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3-4 minute noodles – Next up – Udon and Soba noodles. Udon are wheat noodles while Soba are buckwheat. Depending on what brand you get, they’ll have various levels of whole grains (or none), but I still think they’re better than plain pasta. Not only that, but they cook up in 3-4 minutes. I like making quick noodle stir fries with these noodles, tofu/shrimp/chicken and LOTS of veggies with soy sauce and/or chicken broth. Mmm. In fact, my 3, 2, 1 Vegetarian Noodles are made with this side. You could also use them for a cold noodle salad side dish or put them in a brothy, Asian-style noodle soup.

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5 minutes – Whole wheat cous cous is not only fast, but it takes very little effort to prepare. You basically just add it to boiling water or broth and let it sit for 5 minutes. Fluff, add spices and other flavoring. Done. Love that. You could use this in place of rice as a simple side.

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15 minutes – Ok, so quinoa is a big jump in cook time, but I think meals that can be made in under 20 to 30 minutes are generally considered “fast.” Plus, I really like quinoa. They make a great substitution for rice or pasta as a side dish. Quinoa isn’t technically a grain, but it’s very similar. Quinoa also is a complete protein. I love quinoa for breakfast or as a replacement to rice or pasta as a side dish. Try my quinoa breakfast bowl or a fried egg over herbed quinoa for breakfast to freshen up your breakfast routine.

Eat In Month Quick Meal Ideas

Check out these 30 minutes or less recipes I found in the Discussion boards on my Facebook page:

Do you have a 30 minute or less recipe you’d like to share? Please post it on the 30 minute or less Discussion board here.

Here are some of my fave 30 minute or less recipes from TCL:

What are your favorite quick-cooking grain and grain-based sides?

Sew Crafty + 2011 Resolutions

Hey friends!

I hope (if you’re playing) your Eat in Month is getting off to a great start! For us 9-to-5-ers, we have packed lunches to look forward to this week. Bah! lol But I’m sure we’ll come up with some yummy eats. I’m having leftovers of this…

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But more on that in a minute.

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We had breakfast hubby style – a rye bagel with a fried egg.

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Shortly after breakfast, I got started on dinner. I made my mom’s slow cooker pot roast – a family favorite for years now. I subbed celery for the potatoes.

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Out of curiosity, I wanted to see if I could get dinner prepped in under 10 minutes. So, I put 10 minutes on the microwave timer and took off! I had all my ingredients in the fridge or pantry, so no cheating here. I managed to get the pot roast in the slow cooker, cleaned, chopped and added the veggies, and opened and added the soups with 1 minute and 25 seconds to spare. Not too shabby!

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Dinner ready in less than 10 minutes. I’ll take it!

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Hot tea – mixed berry zinger.

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Lunch was fab and so simple.

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I had roasted tofu, bok choy and brown rice. I made the rice for lunch knowing I’d be able to have it with dinner, too. Gotta love efficiency.

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More tea after lunch – this time Yogi Tea in Calming.

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Yogi tea quote of the day – “The universe is the stage on which you dance, guided by your heart.” Gotta love a good dance-related quote. :)

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A Bailey photo – since I know you guys love it.

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Since dinner was already done, I used my newly found free time to get crafty with a sewing project.

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I made a camera strap cover for Caitlin as a thank you for running my first 5k with me. Ok, not just for running with me, but for going above and beyond! She stayed at my pace, helped distract me with fun chit chat, and even tracked my stats on her Garmin. She rocks, right? :)

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I also threw in a couple coconut macaroons.

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Doesn’t she look fabulous with her new DSLR camera strap cover!?

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After dropping off Caitlin’s gift, it was time to dig into dinner. Gosh, this meal never gets old! I love how tender the meat gets and the flavor is so nice.

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Dough balls and macaroons for dessert. Mmm.

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Possibly the best part about pot roast – leftovers. I already have lunch packed for tomorrow!

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I put the pot roast and veggies on the bottom of my tupperware and the rice on top. Usually my rice gets soggy from the sauce, but I’m hoping this will help it stay drier.

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I took a minute before blogging to turn my Christmas tree lights on again and play with some bokeh photos.

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Yay bokeh!

Eat in Month

Pantry Tips – Ok Eat In Monthers – I’m sure you’re hitting up the grocery stores and stocking up for the month. Please be sure to check out my tips for creating the perfect Eat In Month pantry (click).

Recipe Ideas – Let’s collaborate on recipe ideas guys! I’ve started some discussions on my Facebook page where we can share recipe ideas and post questions and answers for how we’re doing each week. Please be sure to check out the Discussion tab of my Facebook page for some great ideas and inspiration. There are different threads for different types of recipes. :)

Not doing the challenge but have some recipes you think the challenge participants will like? Please go ahead and add links to your recipes in the Discussions on my Facebook page. Pimp your blogs people! I’m serious!

Running into any challenges or complicated situations and want some advice? Please post your questions (or answers to others’ questions) on this Discussion thread for the first week or Eat in Month (click).

Resolutions 2011

Establish Date Night – Once a Month

Plan and Host a Zumbathon for Charity

Pitch Idea for Invention or Create Prototype

Add Printable Versions of Recipes to Blog

Create a Budget

Use Budget

Spend Less Time on Computer / Establish Computer Schedule

Start doing photos for local restaurants

Enter a photography contest

Volunteer at least once a month

Go to church at least once a month

Execute ideas instead of just dreaming them

Execute ideas faster

Speaking of executing ideas, record those vlogs you’ve been meaning to do. Heck, maybe do 1 vlog per month?

Take cooking classes.

Do one new challenge a month. (I have big ideas for this friends…BIG! Challenges are being drafted and will be published before the start of each month.)

2011…BRING IT!

PS Check out my latest recipe – Irresistible Coconut Macaroons!

What’s your favorite resolution you made for 2011?

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