6 steps to prep for a healthy week

6 steps to prep for a healthy week / loveandlemons.com

Here’s a little guide to how I like to plan for meals throughout the week. I don’t do a bunch of heavy weekend batch cooking, but I DO like to prep just a few basics that can be worked into versatile meals throughout the week. If I spend just a little time, I find that I can set myself up for a healthy week ahead.

And because chopping vegetables in silence is no fun, I’m partnering with Audible to share a few of my favorite foodie “reads” that I like to listen to while I work. I love how easy their app is to use – check it out for yourself and download a free book as part of their free 1-month trial offer.

6 steps to prep for a healthy week / loveandlemons.com

This plan changes by season, but this is what my basic summertime prep looks like. Store everything in air-tight containers in the fridge:

1. Clean & massage a big bunch of kale. I like to eat kale salads for lunch, but I hate to stop in the middle of my work day to make one. Having the kale prepped ahead of time makes these salads easy to throw together.

Wash and dry a big bunch of kale. Remove the leaves by holding the stem with one hand and stripping the leaf with your other hand. Place the kale in a large bowl with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and a good squeeze of lemon. Use your hands to massage the leaves together until they’re soft and wilted. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. (Tip: save the kale stems for pesto or soup – I also like to chop them and feed them to my dogs).

6 steps to prep for a healthy week / loveandlemons.com

2. Pre-chop some seasonal produce. This changes by season (for example, in the fall, I’ll pre-roast sweet potatoes), but current selection is corn, cherry tomatoes, chopped cucumbers, red peppers and scallions. These veggies are great on my lunch salad (especially with avocado, chopped peaches and hemp seeds). Work them into dinners by tossing them with pasta or serving next to grilled fish with generous scoops of a good sauce…which brings me to item #3:

3. Make a good sauce. Put it on everything all week: your salads, sandwiches, grain bowls, etc. Toss with pasta or scoop onto whatever you’re grilling. This one is a creamy (vegan) basil jalapeño sauce made with hemp seeds. (Scroll down for the recipe!).

6 steps to prep for a healthy week / loveandlemons.com 3. Pre-cook a grain. I like to have cooked quinoa on hand for grain bowls. If you have extra at the end of the week make these cookies.

6 steps to prep for a healthy week / loveandlemons.com

4. Make a soup that’ll last the week. I love soup-prep because soups always taste better on the second day and they keep well all week. This time I went with a tomato-watermelon gazpacho because it’s so refreshing on hot summer days. I also strategically used many of the ingredients that I chopped up there in item #2 and I cut up extra watermelon to have on hand for mid-day snacks.

6 steps to prep for a healthy week / loveandlemons.com

5. Listen to a great book while you work! Currently, I’m listening to Michael Pollen’s Cooked (which is sort of ironic because this particular prep-session is entirely raw, but I digress). His previous book, In Defense of Food, was one of the reads that inspired my love for eating real, unprocessed, whole foods. His quote: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” has really stuck with me. I love listening to these books while cooking because they remind me why I love what I do so much.

6 steps to prep for a healthy week / loveandlemons.com

These are some other foodie books that I love:
Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
The Third Plate by Dan Barber
32 yolks by Eric Ripert
Stir by Jessica Fechtor

If you have favorites, please recommend them to me in the comments! And don’t forget to download your first audio book for free as part of Audible’s 30 day trial offer. 

Pre-order The Love & Lemons Cookbook!

The Love & Lemons Cookbook

It’s so surreal to be sitting here writing this post. When we first started talking about this book (nearly 2 years ago!), the year 2016 felt like a lifetime away. It’s no joke, the process of publishing a book is LONG! But here we are – 120 recipes, roughly 300 photos and 1 broken dishwasher later – and it’s now available for preorder and will be out March 29th!

So what’s the book about? Simple, beautiful cooking with fresh seasonal ingredients. The recipe chapters are organized by vegetable so that your cooking inspiration can start where mine does – the farmer’s market, your CSA box, or sometimes even the contents of your fridge. The recipes are easy to make, and almost all of them use ingredients you’ll have on hand.

How do I know what you’ll have on hand? At the beginning of the book, I have a handy guide to keeping your pantry stocked, and most of the recipes in the book can be made with those ingredients. There’s also a section called “What to make with what you have” that offers creative tips for those times when your pantry isn’t entirely stocked. This is the way I cook every day and the book has a nice well-designed way of describing it.

I also have some mix-and-match sections at the end of the book for things like salsas, guacamole, pestos… because who wants just one option when you can have 4! And of course, the book is all vegetarian with many, many vegan and gluten-free options.

I hope most of all that this book not only gives you delicious recipes (Eggplant & Mushroom “Meatballs,” Veggie Ceviche, and Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins are some of my favorites!), but also gives you some inspiration to play around in your own kitchen.

Preorder it now! 
Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Books-a-Million / Google Play
iBooks / IndieBound / KindleKobo / Nook

In Canada: Amazon / Indigo

In Europe: Book Depository / Amazon Germany / BOL Holland / Amazon IT
Books.ch Switzerland / Amazon UK / Amazon France / Amazon Spain

In Asia: Kinokuniya Singapore

Here’s a little sneak peek!

   The Love & Lemons Cookbook

And a special shout out to my favorite collaborators: Jenn Elliot Blake for your gorgeous prop styling, and Trina Bentley (Make & Matter) who brought the Love & Lemons vision to life through beautiful typography and design.

Top 10 Recipes of 2015

Spaghetti Squash with Chickpeas & Kale / gluten free, vegan-option

Happy new year! I hope you’re all having a lovely holiday weekend.

I have some exciting things planned for 2016 (like our book! more on that soon). But first, I thought it would be fun to share what all of your favorite recipes were over the past year. These 10 recipes topped the analytics, but also ranked high in “I made this and loved it!” comments that were either made here on the blog, in social media, or told to me in person. And always – let me know if there’s anything you would especially like to see in 2016!

#1: Spaghetti Squash with Kale & Chickpeas (pictured above)
Even though spaghetti squash is decidedly not spaghetti, this is a delicious go-to winter recipe, especially if you’re trying to eat a little lighter in the new year.

Butternut Squash Kale & Quinoa Stew / vegan, gluten free

#2: Butternut Squash, Kale & Quinoa Stew
A one-pot hearty dinner for a cold night – even better for lunch the next day.

Seared Tofu Banh Mi Sandwiches / vegan

#3: Seared Tofu Banh Mi’s
And here I was thinking you didn’t like tofu but this made it to #3! Do you want more tofu recipes?

Sweet Potato Avocado Tacos / vegan-option

#4: Sweet Potato Avocado Tacos
All my favorite things – wrapped in a tortilla.

Kale & Brussels Sprout Salad with Avocado Tahini Sauce / vegan, gluten free

#5: Kale Salad with Avocado Tahini Sauce
Dark leafy greens + a creamy tangy dressing. A perfect way to start 2016.

Creamy Vegan Corn Chowder

#6: Creamy Vegan Corn Chowder
A hearty & spicy stew, made of sweet corn & thickened with potatoes. No one will know this one’s vegan.

Jalapeño Cauliflower Shells & Cheese

#7: Jalapeño Cauliflower Shells & Cheese
This one started as an instagram and soon became an insta-favorite.

Spicy Mango Avocado Rice Bowl / vegan & gluten free

#8: Spicy Mango Avocado Rice Bowl
A light and bright bowl with black forbidden rice – I could go for this one for lunch right now…. mmm.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies with Coconut Oil

#9: Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies with Coconut Oil
A sweet little treat – although I also really love these cookies too.

Curried Avocado Chickpea Salad Sliders / vegan-option

#10: Curried Avocado Chickpea Salad Sliders
Is it picnic weather yet?

Sweet Potato Recipes

Sweet Potato Recipes / loveandlemons.com

What’s your favorite fall vegetable? If you’re not saying “sweet potatoes!” with an exclamation, then, well, you might want to switch over to another post.

My favorite has to be the almighty and ever-so-versatile sweet potato. I love the way my kitchen smells when I roast them and I love how they’re easier to cut (without injury) than most squashes. For some sweet inspiration, here are some of our favorite recipes:

Pictured above: Sweet Potato & Brussels Sprout Skillet

Sweet Potato Tahini Crostini / Curried Sweet Potato Soup

Sweet Potato Recipes / loveandlemons.com

Sweet Potato Avocado Tacos / Sweet Potato Pomegranate Salad

Sweet Potato Quinoa Quesadillas

…and a bunch more in the Sweet Potato section of our recipe index (click!)

Sweet Quinoa Quesadillas / loveandlemons.com

Favorite Summer Salads

Summer Salads / loveandlemons.com

If I had to pick only one season and one category of food to blog about until the end of time, it would be this one. I’m pretty obsessed with salads all year round, but I just can’t get enough when tomatoes, peaches and zucchini are all at their best. It’s hard to go wrong with a salad by tossing peak-season summer veggies into a bowl with a simple, tasty dressing (that’s how many of these salads came to be). If you’d like some inspiration, though, here are some of my all time faves:

pictured from left to right, top to bottom:

Heirloom Caprese with Mint Pesto / Peach Salad with Mint & Pistachios

Heirloom Tomato Avocado & Chickpea Salad

Fete Harissa Fattoush Salad / Sweet Pepper Panzanella

Zucchini & Grilled Corn Salad / Spicy Watermelon & Avocado Salad