Eat Well Spend Less: Food Resolutions (Recipe: Baked Brown Rice Pilaf)

We’re a little over three weeks into the new year which is long enough to put your food resolutions to the test – if you made any. In this January edition of our Eat Well, Spend Less series, we’re taking a look at those goals and how we’re measuring up.

I recently shared my intentional food goals for 2012 (and loved reading yours in the comments!), and the one that I have to address daily is eating well for baby.

Diet in the third trimester is requires a bit more thought than usual for one obvious reason: I’m always hungry. Snacking takes on a whole new meaning, shifting from a casual appeasing of the munches to a full on survival tactic.

Thanks to an ever-growing uterus pressing on my stomach, I can’t comfortably eat a regular sized meal. Often my plate holds the same amount of food as my preschooler – and I’m feeling stuffed after the meal; hence, I eat small meals, but more frequently.

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Introduction to October Unprocessed and My Menu Plan

A few weeks ago, bits and pieces about a project called #Unprocessed filtered through my Twitter stream – my main source for all things hot and newsworthy – and seeing that they were mainly initiated by @eatingrules, or Andrew Wilder, I just had to follow up and see what the buzz was about.

I was glad I did. I came across Andrew’s challenge to his readers – to go a whole month without eating processed foods – and I was instantly motivated to take part. After signing my name to the pledge, I started clicking around some of the posts from October Unprocessed 2010 (yes, this is an annual event) and was fascinated by the guest posts, testimonials and stories that arose from the challenge.

I knew I had to share the #Unprocessed challenge with my readers. After all, I can’t have all the fun in October by myself now, can I?

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DIY: Stir-fry Vegetable Freezer Packages

With late summer produce so plentiful and affordable at the markets, it makes sense to stock up while the “going” is good. A recent chat with my mother about preserving garden vegetables turned me on to this idea for freezing blanched (lightly cooked) stir-fry vegetables in meal-sized portions.

The concept is simple – prepare and cook vegetables separately, then combine them and package in resealable freezer bags for use all winter long. (We covered this last summer when we preserved broccoli for the freezer.) While the texture of the reconstituted-from-frozen vegetables is missing the firm, toothsome quality of fresh, they still retain their flavor and color, and are by no means mushy.

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Eat Well, Spend Less: Back to School Breakfast (Recipe: Baked Oatmeal)

My lazy summer mornings are about to come to an end. Oh, how I have enjoyed not having to hustle my kindergartner out the door with a lunch and a school bag during these summer months.

I’ve been pregnant for the entire summer and mornings have not been my forte. The kids come and jump on me and we snuggle and read in bed until their tummies start rumbling. Yes, summer has been sweet.

However, as I slowly move out of the first trimester (can I get a high five?!) I feel my strength returning, just in time for fall, school, and those action-packed school-day mornings.

Energetic or not, pregnant or not, I need to have a morning plan. In this post I’ll show you my strategy for providing nourishing breakfasts this fall and throughout the winter. It’s simple, organized, and cost effective, perfect for the next installment of our Eat Well, Spend Less series.

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More Warm Weather Batch Cooking

I‘ll bet that you didn’t expect to see homemade salad dressing as the top photo for a post about batch cooking, did you?

The term ‘batch cooking’ refers to dishes that are made in double or quadruple batches, and frozen for convenience. It usually refers to vats of chili, seas of lasagna, and spaghetti sauce by the gallon.

Here’s the thing. For me, batch cooking (and baking) applies to all aspects of feeding the family, not just hearty, ‘wintery’ main dishes. Summer is a busy time and I’m sure you don’t want to hang out forever in the kitchen any more than I do. Right? We want to get in there, be immensely productive, and then hit the beach with girlfriends. Or in my slightly less glamorous case, the plastic kiddie pool on the back lawn.

Batch cooking in summer allows you to get a leg up on dinner. These suggestions are not necessarily entire meals unto themselves, but all provide the base of wholesome -and delicious- summer fare. Last summer I introduced my warm weather batch cooking theory and covered ideas such as pizza dough, homemade pesto, and even a do-ahead dessert. Be sure to revisit that post for more inspiration!

Now we’ve just wrapped a series on frozen treats, but as everyone knows, man cannot live on popsicles and ice cream alone (although some of us would sure like to try), so here are few ideas for more substantial fare.

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