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 this 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. 

Avocado Steamed Buns

avocado steamed buns / @loveandlemons

This was a little holiday break project… while others were most likely baking cookies, Jack and I were trying our hand at steamed buns. I actually had no intention of posting this, it was just something we wanted to try (we were prepared for the possibility of failure). Then it occurred to me – I should post this as a work in progress. After all of the kneading, waiting, punching, waiting, rolling, waiting & finally steaming… they came out pretty good, but they were a little dense and didn’t puff up quite enough. They were still tasty (and we ate them all), but we definitely have to try again.

So this is my call for help – we would LOVE some tips & tricks… possibly a link to your favorite tried and true recipe? The dough seemed stiff, so I think this one may have had too much flour? I’m not sure if we kneaded it too much or not enough? We followed this recipe to the T… help? (I’ll be sure to report back with an update!) Update – we have figured it out! Stay tuned for a future post with our final recipe.

avocado steamed buns / @loveandlemons avocado steamed buns / @loveandlemons

And now about what went right – the filling. It’s simple (because good lord the steamed buns took long enough!). I have an obsession with avocado + yuzu kosho. Yuzu kosho is a fermented Japanese chile paste… it’s very pungent so a little goes a long way. Of course, if you don’t feel like searching it out, a dab of wasabi and/or a squeeze of spicy mayo would also be delicious. Along with the avocado, I lightly marinated some shredded cabbage and finished these little guys with some spicy sriracha.