Speed It Up!

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That has been the theme of my week.

Thankfully I am almost caught up on all my orders and will be able to get the rest out by tomorrow. It is going to be crazy not being in the bakery for 2 entire weeks! I feel like I am leaving my baby or something.

I have been packing and doing laundry all week, little by little!

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For us over-packers, we can’t just pack in an hour, it has to be done over the course of several days! :mrgreen: Eric on the other hand, packs in 10 minutes the night before. lol.

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Yes I bring loose leaf green tea with me. Priorities, right?

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PS- Lululemon bags make great beach bags! :)

My workouts have sorta fallen to the wayside this week. I have been working long days and I just have been too worn out to fit much in. That is ok with me though. Life happens, right? I am planning some awesome workouts while in Florida so I know I will be nice and rested. :) I do hope to get in a run or two before I leave on Saturday though!

I did however, make room for some healthy food of course! This brings me to my Health Tip of the day…

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Health Tip #3: Play around with quick and easy recipes

One of my favourite things to do is to take a fairly complicated recipe and turn it into something very simple. The time I have to cook each day is typically less than 30 minutes for all three of my meals combined, so they need to be FAST. I don’t think that having a busy lifestyle means that I need to forgo healthy meals! Because Eric doesn’t get home until late (often 8pm!!), I am in charge of the dinners. It would be nice to have an extra pair of hands, but that has just made me more conscious of having quick things to throw together.

Once I started experimenting with recipes, I realized that I could cook things up fairly quickly if I was willing to adjust the recipe to fit my needs! My advice is to play around with recipes and have fun! Just because a recipe is 10 steps long, doesn’t mean it needs to stay that way.

I thought I would show you an example of how I do this in action!

*does kung-fu move*

I came across this wonderful looking recipe by Smitten Kitchen. After reading the recipe, I realized that not only did I not have all the ingredients, but I didn’t have the time required to make the recipe.

What’s a girl to do?!

How about change it up!

And that is just what I did…

I took a recipe that was multiple steps long and I turned it into one step. To my delight, it still came out fabulous tasting too.

Speed It Up Spinach and Chickpeas

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Adapted from the ever-so-fabulous Smitten Kitchen’s Spinach and Chickpeas.

Ingredients:

  • Two cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4-5 cups spinach, washed (or more but I needed my spinach for my GM’s!)
  • 2 slices of bread (I used Ezekiel), toasted and cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (optional, I didn’t have any)
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional, I didn’t have any)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (I used regular)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Lemon juice, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons chia flour (optional, this was my addition to thicken up the sauce)

Directions: Throw all ingredients except toast into a big skillet and heat until spinach wilts. Once spinach is wilted and everything is hot, toast the bread and cut into chunks. Stir into mixture and serve immediately. Takes about 10-15 minutes from start to finish! BOOM! :) I guess that it serves about 4. You could easily cut this recipe in half too.

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Chia Flour…I think this is just ground up chia seeds!

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Make sure you put the toast in only just before serving so it doesn’t get all mushy.

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The toast MADE this meal! Amazing. I never would have thought to be toast in a dish like this! What a lovely idea.

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Yes that is another beautiful day outside in the background that I don’t have time to enjoy! I will make up for it in Florida though, don’t you worry. Apparently, I am bringing the warm weather with me as it is supposed to be in the 70’s-80’s during our stay.

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This was quite possibly the easiest and most fabulous dish I have made in a long time. I’m sure it didn’t taste as good as SK’s version, but it was still kick-butt!

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Like I said, the toast was key.

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By the way some of you are asking if I am going to be blogging while away, and the answer is Hell yesssssssssssss. :) It is going to be FUN.

Work calls me.

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{ 63 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica @ How Sweet March 18, 2010

Can’t believe you are packing already!! I am going to fitbloggin’ tomorrow and haven’t even started yet. ;)

I saw this on smitten the other day and it just sounded sooo delicious. Love the ezekial in there!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 18, 2010

im going for 2 WEEKS tho, that is a lot to pack! lol

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Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday March 18, 2010

I always start packing early too , mainly out of excitement.

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Jenny March 18, 2010

such a great idea to adjust recipes when you don’t have the time or ingredients- and you still get to make something healthy!

thanks for bringing us warmer weather:)))) we appreciate it!

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Kelly March 18, 2010

I definitely agree with you about quick quick meals! People who make elaborate meals on week nights amaze me. By the time I get home I want food NOW. I often take out ingredients or speed up a meal too. This dish you cooked looks amazing, I also would never have thought of the toast!

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Ricki March 18, 2010

Okay, admission time: I pack just like you do! And the HH packs like Eric! Maybe you two are our (younger, cuter) doppelgangers. ;)

This is a great adaptation to the recipe–I love recipes that simplify more complex ones! I saw the SK version and thought it was a bit of work. But yours, I can make tonight! :D

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Jenelle March 18, 2010

I hear you on the time thing. It’s always so hard to strike a balance! This recipe looks amazing and quick, which is perfect for me.

I hope you have a lovely trip!

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Jenn @ Livewellfit March 18, 2010

2 weeks is a LONG time, isn’t it? I think the beauty is you are going somewhere warm = less clothing! :)

Quick meals has been my life saver! I used to panic and stress when I would think about cooking healthy meals. I didn’t view cooking as something that I could experiment with to make easy, enjoyable and TASTY!

Nowadays, our meals take less than 20 minutes start to finish and I rarely follow a full recipe which allows us to cater the meal to what we are in the mood for, what our body is asking for and how much time we have! It’s so nice. And now cooking has finally turned into something enjoyable for me.

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Jenny March 18, 2010

I love adjusting recipes to fit my needs (quick mostly!) Thanks for this modification- I will have to try it!

Have a super great trip!!
Jenny

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Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg March 18, 2010

Ooooh, look at all the fun colors you have packed!!! You are going to have such a fun trip!

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Ameena March 18, 2010

I overpack too and start a few days beforehand. I revise and revise and then my final product still isn’t what I want it to be! I need to hire a person to pack for me. :)

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Mama Pea March 18, 2010

I’m so excited for your trip and to see your gorgeous face on other people’s blogs too :)

Pea Daddy is the same way about packing as Eric. As a planner, cough* anal retentive control freak *cough, it drives me CRAZY.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 18, 2010

haha it drives me crazy too. I keep asking him…aren’t you going to start PACKING? lol. He’s like ‘nope…’ I swear he does it just to make me squirm! haha

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Lauren @ Eater not a runner March 18, 2010

Yumm that looks so good! Have a great trip!!

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Cynthia (It All Changes) March 18, 2010

I’m with you on cooking. If it’s not quick and I can’t sub things in it’s not the recipe for me. Recipes are merely a guide for me and I deviate from them constantly.

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SoVeryFabulous March 18, 2010

Spinach and chick peas sounds delish! I’m always pretty tired when I get home from work and don’t usually want to spend too much time in the kitchen cooking dinner. This sounds so quick and easy, what a great idea!

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Claire March 18, 2010

I start packing a few days before no matter how long I’m going away for.I just like making sure I have what I need:-)cc

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Jessica March 18, 2010

What sencha green tea do you purchase? I was trying to read the name of the company in your picture.

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Noelle March 18, 2010

HAHA My husband waits till the last minute too! It actually makes me extremely nervous, :) Looks like and sounds like you are going to have a GREAT time!

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Life Lite March 18, 2010

I make a big list including everything down to my cell phone charger every time we go anywhere. Even if it’s just a quick weekend trip home to Asheville (2 hours away). I think this might be slightly ridiculous but I don’t forget things!

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Sebrina March 18, 2010

this looks awesome I am totally making this for lunch today!

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La March 18, 2010

I;m an overpacker who waits til the last minute! I don’t know how to not do either.

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Jessica @ The Process of Healing March 18, 2010

What a great tip!!! And the recipe (both versions) sounds fabulous!
I’m an over-packer too.. I start packing a week beforehand AND I have to have lists so I don’t forget anything.

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Stina March 18, 2010

Ang – you make me giggle. I am not only an overpacker – but also, like you – I take a week to pack. . complete with a detailed list that I can not stray from :)

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Allie (Live Laugh Eat) March 18, 2010

Since I’m still in college (STILL), I have to make my meals lickety split…especially when I have to blog about it too haha. If I didn’t blog I could make some exquisite meals–but that’s not the point :)

I feel like cooking faster means more time to enjoy the food. Weee!

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Audrey March 18, 2010

I love how easy this is! Definitely going to be something I try. I bet it would be awesome with the smoked paprika, too!

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Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman March 18, 2010

I’m the same as you: I don’t have the time to spend making an elaborate dinner. If I did that, I’d be eating at 9 (or 10 if I went to the gym) every night. This meal looks so great! Good luck on the rest of the packing. It really is so much harder for women I think!

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Laura Georgina March 18, 2010

Must try those chickpeas…. except for the fresh spinach, it looks like a great pantry meal (I bet you could even sub some frozen for fresh and, though not as amazing, it would still be ok).

I’m the same way about packing and because I’m an overpacker, I start about a week before I leave, then take half out–and then, as I’m leaving, I add that half back in, and then some! Which means I always pack the wrong stuff, which means I have to rethink my packing strategy.

I wish I was that Lulemon bag going to Florida with you! It’s going to be a blast.

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melissa March 18, 2010

that looks DIVINE!

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Susan March 18, 2010

Spinach/chickpea dish looks great. I’m enjoying the ideas on your blog. By the way, I reference your blog on my blog this week, in my salute to food bloggers!

http://lifeinbalancesortof.wordpress.com/2010/03/14/i-heart-food-bloggers/

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Christine (The Raw Project) March 18, 2010

Great post, I enjoy dissecting complicated, multi-recipe raw dishes and just using one of the sauces as a dressing, and trying with an easier side, have to be realistic on weeknights.

Love the spinach chickpea dish.

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Ashley March 18, 2010

Try it with white kidney beans sometime. Way tastier then the chickpeas.

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Edan March 18, 2010

I love Smitten! You’d probably love her Curried Lentils with Sweet Potatoes. It’s delicious, vegan, super healthy and filling.
We’re flying out of Toronto this Saturday, too! Maybe I’ll see you! Or did you say you were leaving from Hamilton Airport? I can’t remember.

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the hungry artist March 18, 2010

That dish looks great! Toast — who woulda thought? I guess it is like healthy croutons! :)

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Mikki March 18, 2010

Love Smitten Kitchen! Have a great trip

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Jennifer March 18, 2010

I too saved this recipe from Smitten Kitchen the other as it looked so yummy!

Think I am going to try your version first though ;-)

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Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble) March 18, 2010

My boyf does not start packing until the VERY last minute. I try to do mine way ahead, like you! Oh, and I always pack my own tea & snacks =D

I LOVE quick & easy (but healthy!) meals- especially after 4+ hours in the kitchen during the day. (I am sure you sympathize with baking all day!!) This recipe looks great, I think I’ll have to try it!

xo
K

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Cassie @ A Very Busy Mind March 18, 2010

OMG I never follow recipes, and it’s certainly not because I’m a good cook – I’m just trying to make things more simple! It cracks me up when people say I’m good at cooking – I honestly have no idea how to cook!

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Angharad March 18, 2010

Wooot! How exciting that you are heading off into the sun! I am rubbish at packing beforehand. I just got back from two weeks in England and definitely only packed the night before I left..eek.

I saw that spinach and chickpea recipe on smitten kitchen today too and was also eyeing it up! So simple but so good looking!

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Ana March 18, 2010

I first make lists then I start to pack, it is definitely a process! And my husband is just like your, he packs in 10 minutes on the day before (if not the same day if it is a later flight…).
Love your bowl and spoon where you ate the chickpeas, so pretty! And the recipe sounds delicious, will try soon, who doesn’t love quick and delicious food?
Ana

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Staceyhttp://stacey-healthylife.blogspot.com/ March 18, 2010

Yummy chickpeas and spinach. Have a great vacation.

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Rebecca @ How the Cookie's Crumble March 18, 2010

I travel so much for work, I’ve got packing down to a science! The chickpeas and spinach look delicious! I’ll have to give them a try! Happy travels!

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Lily @ Lily's Health Pad March 18, 2010

I hope you have a great trip! I can’t wait to read about it. :-)

Blogging is always fun, but it would be a lot more fun if I didn’t have to work every day too!

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