Sunday Food Prep Inspiration 83

Hi Friends!

Yes, I realize today is Saturday, not Sunday…but I’ve got a Recipe Redux post that needs to go up tomorrow, so we’re talking food prep today instead! Here’s a look at what I prepped last week:

IMG 7517 Sunday Food Prep Inspiration 83

  • A double batch of my Pumpkin Pie Balls
  • HB eggs
  • Quinoa to make breakfast bars
  • Black beans for the friday and freezer
  • Veggies
  • Crockpot pulled pork with apples and red peppers
  • Crispy Baked fish

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And here’s what some of you have been up to!

Faith at The Conscientious Eater -

This is my first time EVER food prepping, but since I moved to NYC I’m thinking it’s going to happen weekly. In the photo there’s a huge bag of roasted veggies to eat with hummus (below) as either a wrap or salad with tahini. In the middle is Cilantro Lemon Quinoa Salad with Avocado. Up top is Lentil Curry to eat with Brown Rice and a jug of Homemade Almond Milk. At the bottom is Pesto Pasta with Tomatoes and Mushrooms.

foodprep Sunday Food Prep Inspiration 83

 

Nora at A Clean Bake

This weekend was so busy that I didn’t have time to prep as much as I usually would, but I made just enough to get us through most of the week! Here’s what I made:
  • Steamed spaghetti squash to pair with turkey meatballs and marinara sauce I have in the freezer
  • Chicken sausages to eat for lunch with salads or leftover squash
  • Beer bread
  • Chicken breast that is marinating in olive oil, salt, pepper and chili powder for dinners
  • Paleo egg white, spinach and red pepper quiche, which is great for any meal
  • A huge pot of Chilean conger eel (whitefish) stew with extra veggies – great for the cold, damp days that are predicted this week!
  • Pre-washed baby spinach for salad, baby carrots and snap peas to pair with hummus for snacks
Plus we’ll eat out one night because it’s just that kind of week!
Sunday Food Prep 9 14 2014 Sunday Food Prep Inspiration 83
 Jess at Fairweather Runner -
Clockwise, starting on the left:
  • Casserole version of Balanced Bites’ buffalo chicken egg muffins
  • Steamed carrots
  • Grilled steak kabobs
  • Roasted hot Italian sausage, red potatoes, sweet onion, and green bell pepper with herbs
  • Steamed leeks
I like to have a few vegetable side dishes to mix and match with the heavier meat-based dishes throughout the week.
food prep fairweather runner Sunday Food Prep Inspiration 83
Athena at Fitness & Feta -
Last week’s prep included:

IMG 70861 Sunday Food Prep Inspiration 83

Jodie at Source One Nutrition

This week I grilled chicken breast and spiced it up by making some curry, some BBQ and some with a peanut sauce.Threw three turkey burgers on the grill too.  I also baked some chicken tenders in the oven with artichoke and sun dried tomatoes. In addition, I made a nice one pot meal comprised of rice, Italian sausage, a little broccoli and red and green peppers. For vegetables, I roasted broccoli and yellow squash, carrots, as well as prepared some lima beans and corn. Finally, I baked some sweet potato muffins and have some fruit cut up in the fridge for easy access.

My husband and I will use a lot of this for lunches throughout the week and I really like to throw a quick dinner together out of some of these items as well. Having the proteins and even some vegetables pre-cooked allows me to have a meal ready in no time.

Sunday Food Prep 1 Sunday Food Prep Inspiration 83

Are you food prepping this weekend? Send me your pic! I’m out of submissions!

Here’s what I need from you:

Email me the following:
1. Your Name
2. Your Blog URL (if you have one)
3. A photo of your food prep
4. A short description of what’s in the photo. Tell me what you prepped and how you’re going to use it during the week!

Every Sunday, I’ll post a roundup of the photos I received that week so that you guys can see what others are preparing and hopefully get some inspiration and ideas! I’ll keep this series going for as long as I receive photos, so send one every week if you want to!

Send to: theleangreenbean <at> gmail <dot> com

Tweet and Instagram your pics as well to inspire others!! Use the hashtag #sundayfoodprep . Remember that in order for a pic to be included in the post, you have to email it to me! If you have more than one pic, please make them into a collage before sending!

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Want more inspiration and tips? Read these:

Top 10 Foods for Sunday Food Prep
How to Prep Food on the Weekend

Weekend Prep for Easy Weekday Meals
How to Eat Healthy in College
How to Eat Healthy During the Week

And check out the Food Prep Tab for links to all the previous Sunday food prep posts!

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Let’s chat: Are you prepping food today? Whatcha makin’?

Enjoy!
–Lindsay–

A Day In The Life

Hi Friends!

I’ve been meaning to do one of these posts for a while now, as I’ve gotten several requests, but I always seem to forget to take pictures. Plus, every day is different for me so it’s hard to capture exactly what it is that I do all day in just one post. But this week I got my act together and snapped a few pics and figured I’d do my best to give you a glimpse into my day.

dayinthelife A Day In The Life

Here we go:

12:00am – bed (usually I’m falling asleep anywhere from 11pm – midnight.

2:ooam & 3:30am – up to pee – blame the baby

5am A Day In The Life

5:15- Up to feed the animals and let the dogs out. I also have a bad habit of checking my email at this time, which I know I shouldn’t do.  Hubby is a sound sleeper and can sleep through the animals getting restless and wanting to be fed. I’m a light sleeper and it’s easier for me to just get up and feed them then fight them on it. Usually I don’t have much trouble falling back to sleep, but it’s not unusual for me to be up for 30-45 minutes feeding them, answering emails and tweets, etc. If I have a super busy day ahead with appointments, etc, I often just get up and start working at this point and try to squeeze in a nap in the afternoon because I’m much more productive in the morning. However, if it’s a fairly normal week, I”ll go back to bed.

7am A Day In The Life

7:05- Alarm goes off and I get up and eat breakfast.

7am2 A Day In The Life

7:15- Walk to the “office” – ie 10 steps from the kitchen.

8am A Day In The Life

7:15 – 8:15 – Read and respond to emails, read blogs, schedule social media posts for my blog and to share the posts of others. This is a never-ending task and I do it pretty much all day long, but I try to get a relatively big chunk out of the way in the morning so when I check in throughout the day it doesn’t take as much time.

9am A Day In The Life

8:15- 9:15 – Daily tasks for Regan. I work 15 hours a week for Regan as a Nutrition Communications Coordinator. This involves A LOT of different things-  social media work, projects for clients,  recipe development and photography, organizing sponsored campaigns for the Healthy Aperture blogger network and Recipe Redux, writing blog posts and roundups etc. There are some things I do every day and then I tackle other projects as they come. I’ll be taking 6 weeks off from this part of my job when baby comes so I’ve been working to train the girl who will be filling in for me. It wasn’t until I had to put together a procedure manual a few weeks ago that I realized what a wide variety of things I do!

10am A Day In The Life

9:15-10:30 – Moderate images for Healthy Aperture. I spend time doing this every day. This is usually interspersed with social media responses and scheduling, answering email, etc.

10am2 A Day In The Life

10:30 – Snack time. I’ll eat a muffin, throw the ball for Tucker a few times, stretch my legs, put medicine in Abner’s ears, empty the dishwasher, etc.

11am A Day In The Life

11:00 – 11:45 – I made a rare, mid-week trip to the grocery store to get some things I needed for a few upcoming blog posts. Usually I try to get everything I need when we shop on the weekends, unless it’s for a freelance project where I need everything on a separate receipt, in which case I will go during the week because it’s easier to keep things separate. After running to the store I came home and started working on a few recipes. If I didn’t have to run to the store, this time would likely be filled with projects for Regan, freelance work, etc.

IMG 6271 A Day In The Life

{recycled photo but typical lunch spread for us}

11:45 – 12:45  – Lunch and finalizing the stuff I was cooking. If I’m not cooking a recipe, I usually take about a 30 minute lunch. Hubby comes home and we eat and do the crossword puzzle together.

IMG 7525 e1411047841662 A Day In The Life

12:45 – 1:15 – Photograph one of the recipes I was working on.

1pm A Day In The Life

1:15- 3:30 – More general work time. Freelance projects, Regan projects and I work on getting posts written, photographed and scheduled for my own blog , answer more emails, blog comments and social media stuff and organize/plan ahead etc with my editorial calendar. I also do some work for Holley when she needs me so this time could be filled with projects for her- like this social media presentation I helped her put together this week.

3pm A Day In The Life

3:30- Feed the animals, head out with the dogs for our daily walk and grab an afternoon snack.

IMG 7544 A Day In The Life

4:15- 5:45 – Several days a week this is when I head to Crossfit. I go to a class that runs from 4:30-5:30 and try to make it 3-4 days a week. If it’s a rest day, I usually take a nap (baby makes me tired!)

IMG 6105 e1411048524694 A Day In The Life

6:00 – 8:00 – Post-crossfit snack, shower, spend time with hubby, play with the dogs, read for fun, more emails and social media stuff.

IMG 7595 A Day In The Life

8:00 – 8:30 – Dinner.

IMG 6765 A Day In The Life

8:30 – 11 – what I try to do- watch TV/lounge around/play on Pinterest etc…what sometimes ends up happening: I work more- whether it’s blogging, answering emails, doing some recipe development. I’ve gotten much better about sticking to “work hours” than I was when I first started working from home, but sometimes stuff still spills over into evening hours, especially lately since we’ve had a lot of doctor’s appointments, etc to fit in during the day.

10pm A Day In The Life

Hubby and I also take the boys on a walk together. Tucker knows it’s time when he sees us start putting on our socks. Making the “wanna go for a walk” announcement is a big entertaining production every night.

IMG 7554 A Day In The Life

11:00 – 12:00 – read in bed and go to sleep.

Repeat.

So there you have it! A glimpse into my day to day life currently. I’ll have to do another one of these once baby gets here icon smile A Day In The Life

Enjoy!
–Lindsay–

SEO 201: How to Optimize Images, Alt Tags + Page Speed

Hi Friends!

You may recall a few months ago when my friend Danielle stopped by to share some of her SEO knowledge with you guys. Many of you found it helpful, so she’s back for round 2! Read on to learn more!

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Hi LGB readers! I’m thrilled to be back today with more tips on SEO and blogging. If you missed part one, I recommend checking that out first- SEO 101: How to Increase Organic Search Traffic for Blog Posts.

All caught up? Let’s dig in to part two.

SEO 201 SEO 201: How to Optimize Images, Alt Tags + Page Speed

You’ve installed an SEO plugin and fill out your title tags religiously. You spend time coming up with a catchy title and include at least one image with each post.

Now what?

alt text example SEO 201: How to Optimize Images, Alt Tags + Page Speed
Alt tags
Even if you made a pretty title image, Google can’t read the text. So if you want it to show up in search, you have to help the search engines by filling in the alternative text. I like to do this as soon as I upload the photo so I don’t forget. If you want to go back and fill in alt tags for old photos, you can either click on the photo in each post, or go to your media gallery.

Don’t stuff this area with keywords! Either use your post title or a relevant phrase or sentence.

If you use a share button for Pinterest, the alt text is often what will show up in the description for the pin, so this is another great reason to be filling it in!

Photo Name
This is an often overlooked area of optimization. Just like you want to optimize the URL for your blog post, you want to optimize the name of your photo, which turns into a URL of its own once it’s hosted on your blog. The name should be short, simple and related to your post.

Title + Description
What you fill in here will show up when you hover over the image or while the image is loading.

Caption
You only need to fill this out if you want a description to show up under your photo in your blog post.

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Compressing Photos

Images are one of the biggest culprits for slow page load time, which affects everything from reader retention and engagement to SEO rankings.

Here are three ways you can shrink your images and optimize them for the web:

Plugin options
Install the WP Smush.It plugin to optimize your images. This plugin will optimize each new photo you add behind the scenes, and you can also run all existing photos through the plugin in your media library.

smush it plugin SEO 201: How to Optimize Images, Alt Tags + Page Speed

Manual Options
Save your images as PNG files and upload to http://www.tinypng.com. Then download and upload to your blog. If you’re creating your image with Picmonkey, like many bloggers these days, you’ll see the formatting option when you hit “save.”

tinypng SEO 201: How to Optimize Images, Alt Tags + Page Speed

Save for Web
If you’re using photo editing software like Photoshop, you can choose the “save for web” option.

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Page Load Time

According to Kissmetrics.com, “40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.”

Test your load time with GT Metrix.
GT Metrix also gives you a detailed report of what you can do to improve your speed. I recommend having a developer take a look and help you make the changes. Some of them can be technical and require understanding code.

WordPress can install the WP-Cache 3 plugin.
“W3 Total Cache improves the user experience of your site by increasing server performance, reducing the download times and providing transparent content delivery network (CDN) integration.”

Here are 26 other tools to improve your site’s speed.

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What are your biggest struggles around SEO for your blog? Let me know in the comments so I can help further!

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Huge thanks to Danielle for stopping by today! Be sure to check out her blog for more helpful posts and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Enjoy!
–Lindsay–

Homemade Raisin Newtons

This post is sponsored by California Raisins. I was compensated for my time and received free samples of the California Raisins used in this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Hi Friends!

I am SUPER excited to share today’s recipe with you guys!

As part of the Healthy Aperture Blogger Network, I was selected to have the opportunity to work on a campaign with California Raisins! We were asked to develop a recipe using raisins and as a life-long fan of this little fruit, I knew I wouldn’t have any trouble coming up with something delicious. Plus, you all said you wanted to see more snack recipes. So….I decided to tackle a homemade version of one of my favorite childhood snacks!

homemade raisin newtons  Homemade Raisin Newtons

First, a few fun facts about California Raisins:

  • They’re are an all-natural, dried-by-the-sun fruit you can feel good about sending with your kids as they head back to school, as an after-school snack, or to beat that 3pm craving. The ingredient list says it all: Raisins.
  • They come by their sweetness naturally and the nutrition label rocks: Zero fat, no cholesterol and no added sugar. Plus, raisins offer 9% of your daily fiber and potassium, and 6% of your daily iron. (per quarter cup serving)
  • They are a great value! According to the USDA, raisins are the most economical dried fruit.  

And now, the recipe! If I’m being honest, this recipe is a little tedious. You need to plan ahead to make sure you have time for the dough to chill and rolling/shaping the actual cookies takes a bit of time…but I think the end result is worth it! I actually had to make two batches of these because when I went to write up this post, I could barely decipher my own chicken scratch so I thought I should re-test to make sure I got it right for you guys icon smile Homemade Raisin Newtons

raisin newton 3 Homemade Raisin Newtons

Anyways, the second batch was a success as well. I actually increased the amount of raisins from 1 cup to 1.5 cups so that I could get a little more filling in each one and I liked it better that way.

So here’s what you do:

Homemade Raisin Newtons
 
Cook time

Total time

 

A homemade version of a favorite childhood snack!
Author:
Serves: 16-18

Ingredients
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • ¼ cup nut butter
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1½ cups California Raisins
  • 1½ cups hot water

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. In a large bowl, combine the butter, nut butter, honey, vanilla and egg and mix well.
  3. Stir in the cinnamon, baking soda and flour and stir until combined.
  4. Freeze for 45 minutes or refrigerate for 2 hours until dough is well chilled.
  5. Put California Raisins in a small bowl and cover with hot water.
  6. Let sit for 20 minutes, drain water and transfer to a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth and set aside.
  7. Divide dough in half, leaving one half to chill while you work with the other half.
  8. On a piece of parchment paper, roll into a long rectangle, approximately 5 inches wide, using additional flour as necessary to prevent sticking to the rolling pin.
  9. Trim the edges so you have a neat rectangle.
  10. Spoon half the raisin paste down the middle of the rectangle.
  11. Lift one side of the parchment paper and fold dough in towards the middle, using your fingers to gently peel the edge of the dough off the paper.
  12. Repeat with the other side.
  13. Transfer dough log to the fridge to chill while you repeat these steps with the other half of the dough.
  14. Cut into newton-sized pieces (I got about 8 per log).
  15. Flip onto baking sheet so the seam is face down and peel off parchment paper off the top. Separate newtons slightly to bake.
  16. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
  17. Let cool completely.
  18. Bake

 

I know the directions sound a bit complicated. Hopefully these pictures will help:

raisin newton Homemade Raisin Newtons

If you have a lot of extra scraps after trimming, let them chill for a bit then re-roll and make a few extra!

raisin newton 4 Homemade Raisin Newtons

I stored these in a ziploc bag. They stay nice and soft but they’re also kinda moist so after a few days I just left the bag open so they wouldn’t get moldy.

raisin newton 6 Homemade Raisin Newtons

 

PS…I made these a few weeks ago and when I shared them on Instagram you guys went CRAZY! Here’s to hoping you enjoy them!


 

Enjoy!
–Lindsay–

White Plum Giveaway

This post is sponsored by White Plum. I was compensated for my time and sent items to review free of charge. All thoughts and opinions are 100% honest and my own.

Hi Friends!

I’ve got a special treat for you today! We’re taking a little break from food and fitness today and talking FASHION! As you may have guessed, I haven’t been buying too many new clothes lately as I’m trying to wait until baby arrives. However, Fall is my favorite time to go shopping, and it’s been hard to resist! So, when the lovely folks at White Plum reached out to see if I would be interested in reviewing some of their items, I immediately hopped on their website. I was thrilled to find a huge selection of clothing, shoes and accessories that I loved. Even better, there were tons of options that I knew would be able to accommodate the bump!

logo White Plum Giveaway
White Plum is a family-owned company started by a busy mom who was looking for a way to make great products available at a great price to people who were just as busy as she was, but still wanted to be fashionable and fun! I love their motto: “We believe the best deal for you is the best deal for us.”

Honestly, I had a hard time narrowing down the items I wanted. I have no doubt you’ll have the same trouble after you check out their site, so to help with that, they’re offering all of you 20% your entire order if you use the code “LEANGREENBEAN” between now and September 26, 2014! As for what I picked? After much deliberation, here’s what I chose:

tshirt White Plum Giveaway

V-neck Boyfriend Tee

This shirt is the best. I love a good v neck and this one is loose enough that I could wear it comfortably at 35 weeks pregnant. But it’s stylishly loose, not boxy, so I know I’ll be able to wear it after baby is born as well!

green sweater White Plum Giveaway

Shasta Open Cardigan

Fall is the time for sweaters and they have tons of options that are open and loose enough that I could wear them while pregnant, but will also be just as stylish and comfortable when I’m back to regular clothes. I love the color of this one- works great with black pants or jeans!

leggings White Plum Giveaway

Diamond Tricolor Leggings

Guys, they have SO MANY LEGGINGS! I love leggings and there are so many fun patterns to choose from. The best part? They’re one size fits most…so they were comfortable when I put them on at 35 weeks pregnant and they’ll be comfortable during my journey back to my pre-pregnancy size! And they’re so soft. SO SOFT. I have a feeling these will be getting a lot of wear this winter!

boots White Plum Giveaway

Portland Booties

I love boots! However, most of mine are tall and I’ve been searching for a pair of ankle boots for a while now. I was thrilled to find these cute little guys. Unfortunately, my swollen pregnant feet are saying “no thank you” to them right now…but once baby comes, they’ll be great to throw on with leggings when I need to run errands! I got the brown ones but also love the gray!

two necklaces White Plum Giveaway

Chevron Charm Necklace
Into The West Necklace

Because a girl can never have too much jewelry right?! Bonus- the chevron charm kinda looks like the state of Ohio! I love the long length of the chevron necklace. It’s great to throw on with tank tops or t shirts and I wore the Into The West necklace with a maxi dress when hubby and I went out to dinner the other night!

white plum White Plum Giveaway

So, in case you haven’t picked up on it yet, I absolutely loved all the items in my White Plum order. I already have several other items on my wish list, including a few more sweaters and some dresses that were a bit more form fitting and will be better for after baby arrives.

But enough about me. Let’s move on to the best part of this post!

White Plum is offering a $100 store credit to one of my lucky readers!

And don’t forget – from 9/16 – 9/26, you can use the code “LEANGREENBEAN” to get 20% off your order!

Pretty awesome, right? Enter the rafflecopter giveaway below for your chance to win! Open worldwide!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

–Lindsay–