NON TOXIC & ORGANIC MEAL PREP on a budget!

I’m a huge advocate of weekly food prep. I am a mom, and literally never have time to make myself food when my kids are awake. Which is always😂 In addition, i love to meal Prep for my kids and my husband as well so we are all eating healthy as consistently as possible. I firmly believe that setting myself, and my family, up for successful eating for the week plays a major part in our health and happiness!

Food prep is probably the most under-rated, under-utilized healthy living tool. Making it a habit to spend even just one hour on the weekend to prep food can make a huge difference in your food choices during the upcoming week. BUT one thing people don’t know is, even when you buy and cook organic, if you store your food incorrectly it is being contaminated!

Plastic has its role in modern society. It’s an essential part of our life- for example: cars, computers, mobile phones, children’s toys – and practically most everything we use on a day-to-day basis. But there’s one place where plastic has worn out its welcome – and that’s as a container for the food we eat and the water we drink.

The bottom line is that plastic is made from toxic materials. It’s a known fact that these toxins can leach into whatever they come into contact with. And it’s a known fact that when the compounds that make up plastic are ingested, they damage your body on a cellular level and cause health problems.

For example, almost all plastics contain toxic chemicals that have a negative effect on immunity and hormone regulation, both of which directly affect fertility. Specifically, BPA has been found to make it more difficult for women to conceive and to cause increased risk of miscarriages. New research is also showing that toxins found in plastic can cause birth defects and developmental problems in children.

Like I said earlier, plastics are a nearly unavoidable part of our everyday lives. But there is a big difference between the plastic on your computer and the plastic that may come into contact with your lunch. You don’t eat your computer.

SOLUTION: USE GLASS. Prep Naturals is a meal prep company that uses GLASS containers to help you cook healthy food, and store it in a healthy way! And I have been lucky enough to provide you with a discount code in order to make your transition a bit less stressful! Code AMANDA15 to use on their site, www.prepnaturals.com !

But anywho, Buying organic, good quality food can be expensive but when meal prepping like this, it is a sure fire way to have good quality, real food meals for a bargain! I GOTCHU!!

5 DAYS OF ORGANIC GROUND BEEF & BBQ CHICKEN MEALS! (Trader Joe’s) Makes 10 containers total!

What you’ll need:

  • 3 large sized ORGANIC chicken breasts
  • 3 packages of ORGANIC ground beef
  • 1 bag of Organic Brown Rice OR 1 box microwaveable frozen brown rice
  • 3 bags organic broccoli florets (depending on how much broccoli you like!)
  • 1 bottle organic sriracha BBQ sauce (or any other organic sauce without canola oil that you like!
  • HOW TO!
    1. Preheat your oven to 350°F
      Get 10 GLASS Prep Naturals containers ready on the counter.
      Place your chicken breasts into a oven safe dish, pouring about half the BBQ sauce bottle over the chicken. Brush the sauce so it fully covers the chicken!
      Get a NON TOXIC non stick cookie sheet, and place all of your broccoli florets on the sheet! Lightly spray with avocado oil or olive oil. Season with pink Himalayan sea salt and organic garlic powder.
      Place the chicken (top rack) and the broccoli (middle or bottom rack) in the oven to cook. 20-30 mins.
      Cook your ground beef in a large skillet! Season with garlic powder, pink salt, cumin, southwest seasoning, and any other seasonings you enjoy! (I use Simply organic seasonings for everything!)
      Cook your brown rice accordingly.
      Once your beef is done, drain any excess fat, and scoop it into your Prep Naturals Containers! (I usually do about 3/4 cup of protein per container)
      Add roasted broccoli to all containers (About 1/2 cup)
      Slice chicken and add chicken to the other half of the containers.
      Add brown rice (About 1/2 cup) to each container.
      LET THE FOOD COOL COMPLETELY BEFORE PUTTING LIDS ON AND PLACING IN FRIDGE! Or if you have the Prep Naturals containers, flip the steam hole open to prevent any soggy food!
      ENJOY over the course of the week 🙂

    i

    REAL INGREDIENT PAD THAI

    Another yummy and savory dish comin’ at ya by me, Amanda aka @amandaaanicole_ !!

    I love peanut butter but I don’t have a huge sweet tooth(I know, I’m crazy!) so I find other ways to incorporate it into my dishes! I am a huge fan of pad Thai, however most dishes come with processed noodles or are made with GMO Ingredients that, if consumed in excess over time, will harm your body. So I have created a REAL INGREDIENT alternative recipe, made with simple pantry staples that will blow your mind! Hope you enjoy!!!

    SAUCE INGREDIENTS:

    1/3 cup organic chicken or vegetable stock (water works just fine too!)

    2 tablespoons Organic Tamari (or soy sauce)

    3 tablespoons brown sugar

    3 tablespoons of Wild Friends classic creamy peanut butter

    1 tablespoon organic lime juice

    1 tablespoon organic coconut vinegar (you can also use white vinegar)

    1 tablespoon Sriracha

    1 tablespoon Garlic chili sauce (depending on your spice tolerance…if you don’t like spicy use half the amount of sriracha and garlic chili sauce)

    1 teaspoon minced ginger or 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger

    1 teaspoon minced garlic

    PAD THAI INGREDIENTS:

    4 ounces of organic spinach fettuccini noodles

    1 teaspoon sesame oil

    2 organic eggs, beaten

    1 lb. chicken breast, cubed

    1/2 cup bean sprouts (optional)

    TO GARNISH (optional):

    Chopped cilantro

    Chopped peanuts (this takes it to a new level!)

    Lime wedges

    Sriracha

    Directions:
    1. Whisk together sauce ingredients and set aside to “fester”
    2. Cook noodles, then drain water and set aside.
    3. Preheat a skillet over medium heat and add sesame oil. Add chicken breast and cook until browned and cooked through.
    4. Push the chicken over to one side of the skillet and pour the beaten eggs into the skillet and scramble the egg in the skillet.
    5. Add the noodles to the skillet and then pour the sauce over the noodles. Cook on low for 5 mins, stirring frequently!
    6. Serve, and top with desired toppings and adjust spice level with more Sriracha!

    Thai Hummus !!

    Thai Hummus! What’s that you say?

    Well- my nut butter obsessed self wanted to have an EASY and DELISH party dip I can make on my own! So instead of the tahini found in your usual hummus recipe, this recipe calls for peanut butter!

    Plus let’s face it. A nut butter hummus was bound to happen eventually. Sounds super weird, I know! But trust me!

    What you need:

    • 1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
    • 2 tablespoons Wild Friends peanut butter
    • 2 tablespoons Sriracha
    • 1/4 teaspoon organic ground ginger
    • 3 teaspoons minced garlic
    • 1/2 tablespoon honey
    • 1 tablespoon organic olive oil
    • 4 tablespoons cold water
    • 1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan sea salt
    • A few shakes of pepper
    • 1 handful non salted chopped peanuts
    • 1/4 cup chopped green opinion
    • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

    HOW:

    1. Add garbanzo beans, Wild Friends peanut butter, Sriracha, ginger, garlic, honey, and salt and pepper into your food processor.
    2. Process until it’s chunky smooth
    3. Add in 1/4 cup of chopped peanuts
    4. Drizzle in olive oil and ice water, and blend until smooth!
    5. Add in cilantro and chopped onion and mix with a spoon.
    6. When ready to serve, dress it with more peanuts, cilantro, green onion, and a drizzle of olive oil!
    7. Serve with veggies and/or chips!
    8. USE CODE AMANDA20 for 20% off wild friends products at Wild Friends’ Website

    I love oat milk, a latte!

    Hello!

    I am here to share a little recipe with you all!

    You’ve all heard of, and no doubt have used all sorts of non-dairy milk, but did you know that you can make your own milk from oats?!

    Oat Milk is a great option for people who avoid dairy but are also allergic to nuts. It is also a great gluten-free option as long as you buy certified gluten-free rolled oats. And the best part about this milk, is that it’s quick and so easy to do!!

    Oat milk and breastfeeding:

    Many mothers struggle with increasing breast milk supply. Throughout pregnancy, the body is preparing to produce nature’s ultimate baby food. An adequate diet that includes a variety of healthy foods is crucial and directly linked to how much breast milk you can produce. If your diet lacks nutrition, your body will tap on its own reserves, not only leaving you feeling fatigued, weak and drained, but also will not produce at its fullest.

    Whether you’re breastfeeding or not, when made with fresh milk and nutritious oats, oat milk is one of the few natural beverages that fulfills the nutritious food criteria. But if you are- it enhances breast milk production due to the all of the vitamins and minerals that oats contain!

    What you will need:

    • oats

    • water

    • dates, salt, vanilla

    • a sieve, cheesecloth, or nut milk bag

    • a blender

    Instructions

    1. Add 1 cup oats to a large bowl with water. Leave to soak for 15 minutes.

    2. Strain the oats, discarding the liquid (you can use a sieve or a colander with small holes). Then rinse the oats very well a number of times under running water. (DON’T SKIP THIS)

    3. Put the rinsed oats into a blender with 1 teaspoon of vanilla, a pinch of salt and 2 medjool dates.

    5. Cover with around 3 cups of purified water and blend until it’s as smooth a you can get it (1-3 minutes).  Check the thickness and add more water if you feel like it’s too thick, and amounts to your desired consistency. (Hint: if you want to use it as coffee creamer keep it thicker!)

    6. Strain 2 or 3 times through a sieve, or once through a nut milk bag.

    7. Pour into a lidded container and store in the fridge! Will last 3-4 days.

    OAT MILK LATTE RECIPE:

    I love me a nice cold iced coffee! And being a mother of 2 babies under the age of 2, Y’ALL KNOW I NEED IT! I am not a huge coffee drinker, because I don’t care too much for the bitterness that coffee comes with. However, I came up with a power punch of a cup that I can’t go a day without!!

    I use:

    • 8-12 oz of ORGANIC coffee or cold brew

    • 2 scoops of collagen peptides

    • 4-6 oz of oat milk (+ or – depending on your taste preference)

    • Optional: packet of your preferred sweetener and/or creamer

    Instructions

    All you do is add all ingredients to a blender, blend it up, and serve hot or over ice! Another option, if you don’t feel like whipping out a blender over a cup of coffee, use a protein shaker cup! Add all contents to the shaker and shake it up for about 20 seconds and it’ll create a nice froth! Hint: if you enjoy it hot, add a couple shakes of cinnamon on top!

    Hope you all enjoy!!

    Xoxo,

    Amanda

    My Second Trimester 

    A couple of weeks ago, I posted about what my first trimester of pregnancy was like. Those times back when I was trying my hardest to keep it a secret, but spending the majority of my days hugging the toilet… So today, I thought I’d continue along and share the details of my second trimester! 

    The second trimester was a freakin DREAM compared to my first trimester. First of all, my fears of miscarriage started to fade. It was extremely comforting to know that the risk of miscarriage drops to 10 percent (or less) in the second trimester. I became far more upbeat and positive as a result of this knowledge!  

     

     

    Sometime around week 14 or 15, the morning sickness started to let up. This had a HUGE impact on my happiness. Don’t get me wrong- I was really grateful to experience the nausea, as it reassured me that things were most likely going well. However, being sick most hours out of the day for months on end while pretending I wasn’t pregnant was tough, and I became a little down and out because of it. Second trimester was so much easier, though, and as a result, so was functioning as a human being!

     

    I definitely wouldn’t say I became the stereotypical pregnant lady in terms of eating, but my appetite returned. And while I didn’t have too many cravings, fruits and vegetables were definitely my thing! 

     

     

    Shortly after the beginning of my second trimester, I started to feel the baby move! At first, it just kind of felt like a little fluttering movement, but around week 17/18 I started to feel more significant kicks. Guys, it’s such a surreal experience, and it makes everything so much more… real!

     

    I had a bit thicker and faster growing hair! It was a very welcomed change. I’d struggled with fine, thin hair for years, but my hair started growing during the second trimester, and it became noticeably thicker! Of course, it all falls out after the baby comes, but I’ve definitely been enjoying it. 😉

    I’ve always been a belly-sleeper, but by the second trimester, you’re really supposed to transition to your side. Sleeping on your stomach becomes nearly impossible, as the bump doesn’t allow for it. This transition was SO hard for me! I ended up propping myself against a ton of pillows to help, so sleeping got a little easier… until week 26… where my 3rd trimester insomnia kicked in early!

     

    I was taken out of work at week 22 of my pregnancy. My UC flare up was getting worse and my doctors wanted me resting to give my body every advantage to healing, especially while I’m trying to grow a human! I spent most of my time at home, snuggling my toddler, getting some things done I had been putting off, and just mentally preparing for this new babe to come!

     

    During the back half of the second trimester, specifically after I was placed on house arrest by my doctors, I really started to “nest.” So basically, I started to freak out over the fact that construction on the nursery hadn’t started and I basically spent Arlyn’s nap times cleaning every nook and cranny of my house every day. As for the nursery, I continued to freak out until… last week, when construction started! Woohoo!

     

    As far as workouts go, I’ll just say I haven’t done diddly SQUAT. No pun intended. Partially because I am supposed to be resting, and partially because the second half of my second trimester has been SO TIRING. I am not sure if it’s because I haven’t been sleeping, if it’s because I have a toddler to keep after, or if it is due to the blood loss/iron deficiency from my flare up. I am thinking it’s a combination of everything. My energy is just NOT THERE. And that’s okay. It gives me something to look forward to after baby comes!

     

    Despite my knowledge of every pregnancy is different… I spent way too much time comparing my experiences to those of my first pregnancy, my family, friends and internet acquaintances, until I finally realized about halfway through that one size doesn’t fit all. Everyone is different, and therefore experience different “symptoms.”



    Least favorite things about the second trimester? 

    Contractions (started at week 27 this time around), seemingly sciatica pains, pregnancy-induced insomnia, and the huge Ulcerative Colitis flare up.

    Favorite things about the second trimester?

    I loved the small spurt of energy I gained for a hole there (or felt like I gained compared to the first trimester) and not falling asleep on the couch at 9pm every night.

    Also, starting to feel my baby kick, which was amazing! Whenever I felt something I would get so excited and call my husband over to put his hand on my belly… and then nothing would happen. It took a couple weeks for my baby’s kicks to be consistent enough for my husband to feel them. Although it can get uncomfortable toward the end, it is such a cool sensation to feel him moving around in there. Even though I could feel the movements internally, I would pretty much always have one hand on my belly. Feeling him kick is really the best thing ever and probably my favorite thing about being pregnant! 🙂

     

     

    Tips for the second trimester?
    This is the time of the pregnancy that you are going to feel the most normal. Plan the baby’s room, put together the bed, decide when you will take off work and for how long – all those things that require a sane brain. The Second Trimester is the sanest you’ll be for a while. After that- it’s insane in the membrane for a long, long time. People call it pregnancy brain, but that’s just a nice way of saying “You are a complete and total basket case”. 🙂

    The First Trimester

    The first trimester of pregnancy is such an interesting time – there’s so much going on all at once. The excitement of creating a new life. The secret that you can’t wait to tell your friends and family. The anticipation of how much your life will change in 9 months time. There’s so much fun – the positive pregnancy test, the first ultrasound and seeing your baby’s heartbeat, sharing the news with loved ones. It’s undeniably an exciting time!  

     

    However this time around, the first trimester was not fun and was really hard for me. I was not expecting it because my pregnancy with Arlyn felt like it was a BREEZE during the first two trimesters, but this one was rough because I was sick all the time! The nausea…the exhaustion…the indigestion…the lack of motivation to do ANYTHING. I lost weight in my first trimester because I couldn’t really eat anything. I couldn’t work out at all so I am sure some of that weight was muscle loss. I basically just wanted bread or tortillas for about a month between weeks 7-13. Then, the physical discomforts quickly turned into emotional ones… 

    I hadn’t even considered the fact I would feel so badly this time around. I didn’t know it would take me away from my daughter and husband at all. It wasn’t Arlyn’s fault that her mommy was sick, had zero energy, and not always fun to be around. I felt like I was failing her. I had trouble playing with her for long periods of time and had even started crying a time or two while she was playing babies and wanting to crawl all over me. I don’t think she quite understood but I saw confusion in her eyes. Here she is, my sweet baby girl, trying to cuddle me and play but all I could think about was how uncomfortable it was for me to be sitting on the floor with her. It often felt that being at work was easier than keeping after a toddler – and work isn’t easy. In due time- I found myself able to power through it. I knew it wasn’t forever and that it would pass, and only helped to stay positive. 

     

    Blame exhaustion, hormones, mom guilt, whatever, but it gets really hard to balance your own comfort and your family’s needs. It also can be very confusing to be both excited to be pregnant and feel miserable being pregnant at the same time. I obviously wouldn’t trade being pregnant for anything and yet, there are times I’ve wanted to throw up my hands and surrender…or run away from my own body.

    I remember also breaking down in tears because all I wanted was to want chicken, turkey burgers, steaks, hummus and veggies. Hell, EVEN A CHEESEBURGER! It’s like I knew I liked all those foods, I knew how delicious it all tasted, but the thought of it made me sick to my stomach. Like, throw up sick. It’s kind of hard to explain, but if you’ve been pregnant before you likely know exactly what I’m talking about! 

    Remedies? Well in my opinion, the foods you crave, or the foods your body feels it can “tolerate” just may be what our bodies need at that particular time. I believe in mindful eating. So if my body thinks the only thing that sounds good is a bean and cheese burrito, then I’ll take that as maybe my body needs extra fiber, fats, energy to continue growing a baby, and maybe even to gain some weight! Maybe it’s to soak up the hormones that make us want to vomit every other minute. Feed your body what it can tolerate during this time in your pregnancy, and don’t think too much of it. Trust me- it typically goes away after the first trimester! But remember, that bean and cheese burrito doesn’t necessarily have to be from Del Taco- you can get the same types of foods made with REAL ingredients that are healthier alternatives! 

    Back to being sick: the way I would explain it to my husband, Chris,  or anyone else is that I felt like I constantly had a hangover but I never got to enjoy the fun part the night before…. ya know what I mean!? That would be the best way I can describe my first trimester: one long hangover. I kept questioning myself, “what did I get myself into?”  At times my “hangover” felt like the worst thing ever and all I wanted to do was lay in bed all day and night until it passed, but every now and then I would forget all about the pain, the nausea, the constipation, and the exhaustion. 

     Those times were during our visits to our Doctor when we would get to see our little baby!! That baby, our baby, makes everything worth it. I remember our first ultrasound appointment around 7 weeks. I was so nervous because I know that sometimes doctors don’t see the baby and see just an empty sac. I remember holding my breath, terrified that i wouldn’t see a baby or hear a heartbeat. But then I saw this little nugget appear on the screen with a fluttering heartbeat. I immediately teared up in relief and disbelief! It was incredible! This is what makes feeling miserable SO WORTH IT!

     


     

    That being said, I will be honest- I always feel such a sense of relief when we see the baby at those appointments, and as soon as I leave the doctors office, a little panic sets back in. All i wanted to do is see the baby again and if you’re wondering, that is exactly what being a parent is like. Constantly worrying about your child/children. Or at least that’s what it feels like it’s been for me. 

     


     

    Why the worry? Well, I am human… but I am also a high risk pregnancy, due to the fact I have Ulcerative Colitis. Women with a disease like mine have higher rates of complications during pregnancy, so I go see a perinatal specialist who keeps a special eye on the development of baby and I, as well as an OBGYN who also keeps a solid eye. Most women with UC go on to have successful deliveries, and healthy babies- which I have had before! So I wasn’t AS worried this time around, but the paranoia is still there. I am currently on bed rest/house arrest to ease my body into remission and stop the flares. I have been having a flare up for over half of my pregnancy, bleeding and all. I am hoping this extra rest and not working will keep my body strong to fight it down!  

    Benefit to high risk? I get to see the baby 2 times a month! Average is about 3-4 ultrasounds per pregnancy. I’ve seen baby 10 times and we aren’t even in the third trimester yet! Since we see such experienced doctors so often, we found out in the first trimester that baby was a BOY, at 12w5d!

     


     
    So I guess my point in this blog entry is to share more of my journey, and share that pregnancy has been a lot harder so far this time around than I thought it would be. There have been many tears. MANY. Tears of joy and tears from pain and tears from I have no idea what! But when something extraordinary happens in your life, it seems fitting that the road to get there wouldn’t be an easy one, right? 

    So I hope you all continue to share this journey with me. Share in the good( our tiny miracle), the bad (sickness) and the ugly (the constipation). Yep – I went there! 

     
    XOXO,

    Amanda 

     

    How We Found Out!

    This is definitely long overdue! As I am currently approaching my 3rd trimester… but I wanted to share a little bit about my pregnancy thus far! My husband and I decided earlier this year, that we would stop “not trying” to get pregnant. We thought we would wait to add to the clan, but we thought “why the hell not!?” We wanted our babies close in age, we just bought a house, and my husband had begun his new career earlier in the year, making it financially viable to begin this next chapter.  So we stopped preventing!

    Two weeks later I was so nervous to take a pregnancy test. My sister in law had texted me 3 days before, a picture of her positive pregnancy test and I felt discouraged because I didn’t think it would happen for us so quickly. But BOY was I wrong! My period app told me to take a test- but it was 3 days earlier than my “missed period” date. I thought “well that’s dumb” but of course I was curious so I did it. I peed on a stick! 

     I looked at the test- one of the ones where the line appears- and saw no second line. I threw it in the trash and thought “maybe next month!” About an hour later I went back in the trash and grabbed it and looked and I saw the FAINTEST SECOND LINE. I thought I was seeing things. I sent a picture to my best friend asking her if I was paranoid or if she saw it. I think she thought I was NUTS! I decided to take another brand of another “appearing line” test. I peed on it and that cross came up!!! I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was doing all this with a 10 month old crawling at my feet and watching. So I packed her up in the car, ran to CVS, and we got that DIGITAL test. Took them both, and we got 2 more positives!

     

     

    I had yet to share the news with my husband because he was at work and had a meeting with a client after. But I was way too excited. He knew I took a test but I had only said it was “inconclusive” so he wasn’t thinking I was pregnant.

     

     

    I sent him a text that asked if he would come home before his client to say hi to us! I told him the baby threw something in the toilet and she clogged it… but I had actually placed all the pregnancy tests on the toilet seat. He walked in and saw the tests, and for a moment I was nervous because he didn’t say anything. He jumped out from behind the door and said “you took them!? Oh my god!!!!!!!” And tackled me in kisses. He was so excited, tears and all! 

      
     
    We went to the doctor to confirm the tests- I was paranoid- as always. And we got a “definitely positive” with a cute little portrait of our soon to be babe, with a due date of November 11, 2017! 

     

     
    Due to my Ulcerative Colitis, I am considered a high risk pregnancy. The inflammation can often cause pre-term labor, low birth weight, and some other complications, so the doctors keep a keen eye on baby an I. But there is a positive to that! We get to see the baby grow on ultrasound 2 times a month- as opposed to the typical 3 ultrasounds per pregnancy! We found out at 12 1/2 weeks we were going to be expecting a BOY! Let’s just say- my husband is more than ecstatic to be leveling the playing field! 💙

    First Trimester Update will be up soon!

    Stay tuned & subscribe!

    XOXO,

    Amanda