I’ve discovered a secret to a stress free week…Meatless Mondays and Meal Planning! With that, meatless Mondays are here to stay! Choosing meat-free meals on Monday is a great way to look and feel better, it kind of goes along with that new week, new beginning theory.

Flexitarian Kid

I am definitely not a vegetarian (after all, I haven’t met lamb chops I didn’t devour), but certainly a flexetarian…yup, technically, a faux vegetarian. In the faux foodie home, we eat significantly more whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, chocolate and occasionally meat. Meat is usually our side dish! If it was up to Kiki, chocolate/Nutella would be our main dish, but who can blame her!!

Roasted cauliflower, chickpeas and quinoa with mustard dressing

The main gist of the fauxfoodie flexitarian diet is exactly what it sounds like: It’s flexible. And in keeping with the flexible theme, there are various approaches: beginner, advanced, and expert. We are definitely the beginner flexitarians…about two vegetarian meals (dinners)  a week. Since Kiki is still in development stage, I am very conscious of what I feed her, focusing on eating “calorie-poor but nutrient-rich”, meaning bulking up our meals with fiber-rich veggies and plenty of other protein sources like quinoa, white beans, lentils, and chickpeas. It’s definitely not an all-or-nothing approach.  Instead, like many things in life, moderation is key. A little bit of veggies, a little bit of meat, a little bit of sweets!Kiki and Trader Joe's Pembroke Pines

This week’s dinner plan is here and it’s a good one! It’s filled with hearty, delicious, flavorful, vegetarian dinners, and great for meal prepping on Sunday (and having lunches for the next few days!) And if you decide not to spend meal prepping on Sundays, these recipes are fast enough to get on the table nightly and they are not salads!

weekly menu

Sunday: Stir fried veggie rice

Monday: Gwyneth Paltrow’s Roasted cauliflower, chickpeas, quinoa with mustard dressing

Tuesday: Dinner with Mr. S

Wednesday: Peanut noodles with orange and red peppers

Thursday: Black bean burgers with tomato, corn and avocado salsa

Friday: Mr. S’s bday celebration starts

Saturday: Mr. S’s bday celebration continues…

Here are ten easy and quick ways to go enjoy flexitarian diet without feeling restricted and if you want to learn more about flexing your diet, I would highly recommend reading this book…it was truly an eye opener how easy it is to switch meat to a side dish and veggies to a main course!

  1. Grill a veggie burger and enjoy it with all the classic toppings such as ketchup, mustard and pickles.
  2. Enjoy hummus as a dip for veggies or as a sandwich spread in place of mayonnaise to add flavor with fewer calories and less fat.
  3. Toss canned white beans (rinsed and drained) into your favorite pasta dishes for extra protein and fiber.
  4. Make a fast and flavorful burrito with canned low-fat refried beans, lettuce, tomato and guacamole.
  5. Top a whole grain pizza crust with pine nuts and veggies such as spinach and onions instead of heavy cheese and meat toppings.
  6. Heat canned vegetarian chili and pour on a baked potato for a healthy meal in a hurry.
  7. Make a speedy stir-fry by adding frozen veggies, frozen pre-cooked brown rice, frozen edemame or tofu and teriyaki sauce to a hot wok or pan.
  8. For a quick brown bag lunch, mix Italian salad dressing with canned lentils (rinsed and drained), shredded carrots, chopped cucumber, sliced red bell pepper and stuff into a whole grain pita.
  9. Stash an emergency snack in your purse or desk drawer for times when hunger hits.
  10. Mix together canned black beans with jarred salsa for a satisfying tortilla chip dip.

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 As always, if you have meal plan feedback, please send me an email at fauxfoodiegirl@gmail.com! I’d absolutely love to hear from you! Wishing you a great week!

Someone once told me “say yes to opportunities and adventures!” so I said YES to a weekend away. Kiki’s one Christmas wish was her very own suitcase and she’s being “dying to go on a trip” so on Friday night when I told her to pack up her suitcase, her first question was “where are we flying to”…which led me to explaining to her that travel doesn’t always include an airplane and that concept was not quite clear to her until we got in the car and drove for 4 hours to Key West. let’s just say she prefers flying 🙂

We went to the Keys to support my friend J run her “Nth” marathon…this woman is a super human and a wonderful example to both me and Kiki. Her determination, strong will and hard work are absolutely superb and it was such an honor to be there at the finish line to cheer her on! Makes me want to get back to running races again and it was a great lesson for Kiki of determination and how important it is to finish whatever you start. I am not sure that Kiki got all of that, but she was quite interested in the medal and that left quite an impression on her that she wants to run one day to get the medal.

The weekend was everything I asked for and more; we enjoyed an abundance of food, laid-back charm, and beautiful scenery.  The four hour car ride with Kiki was quite smooth…we talked, we sang and decided that both of our favorite color is now ocean turquoise blue!

Key West with Kids 5

Key West with Kids 7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The views on our way down were quite spectacular! I have to admit I was nervous how she will take the ride, and packed a lot of car appropriate entertainment [coloring book, her writing agenda where she practices her sight words, iPad, small toys and snacks], but she barely needed any of them. Once we got to the island we did tons of walking [close to 20 miles], ate delicious foods, indulged in ice cream, sunsets and sunrises!

Key West with Kids 4

Key West Sunset

The island is absolute magic of pastel-hued, conch-style homes, a complete feast to the eyes. It’s an easily walkable quaint city, not really kids friendly [read: open containers, bars galore and bustling night life] but it’s easy to get around it all, and still enjoy it with a kid. And to be honest, I am not the one to shield her from life, and she is still oblivious to so much of it and I kind of just went with the flow. We did all the touristy stuff…the Duval Street, The Hemingway House, the Southernmost point buoy, Mallory Square, KW Lighthouse and Cemetery, and my favorite; endless walks on side streets, chasing roosters, and playing treasure maps with Kiki. Walking the island was somewhat challenging to Kiki…she whined a lot, and when I say a lot, I really mean A LOT…so to get her mind off of walking, J got her a map of the island and she pretended to be our tour guide!  Needless to say on our way back, Kiki slept most of the ride and I took in all the breathtaking views of the sunset and reflected on loss and love.  We are both missing our sous-chef. We talk about Brinkley all the time, and it’s so hard not having her with us. So much emptiness…

Key West with Kids

Though it was a quick weekend gateway, we returned home refreshed and eager to lace up our sneakers and get running! The first run was a hard one, but to get my mind off of the actual running, I started planning our weekly menu and until I figured out each day, I wasn’t going to stop. Somehow I finished with 3 miles under my belt…[we shall not mention the time it took me to finish those 3 miles, but I finished it]. There is absolutely no theme to this weeks menu, but rather just trying to eat the foods we already have in the fridge and the pantry since I have not made it to the grocery store….Usually my best menus are created on my runs or in a shower…

weekly menu

Monday: Chicken soup for the soul

Tuesday: Mama’s night out

Wednesday: One Pan Healthy Chicken and Veggies

 Thursday: Sausage, Shaved Brussel Sprouts and Parmesan Pasta

Friday: Turkey Sloppy Joe Nachos

Saturday: Homemade pizza party

Hope your weekend was a glorious one too and you enjoyed the extra day off…what will you be eating this week? Please share with me, I need some ideas….

@lifewithflavors

LET'S BE INSTA-FRIENDS