Guys, I'm pretty excited to start the weekly edition of the Garcia Meal Prep: Recipes, How-To's and other exhilarating information! Meal Prep is something fairly new in our home in that we have never been consistent with it. This is the third week that we have taken a day at the beginning of the week and really set ourselves up for success with picking healthy food choices. It does take a chunk of time but it is so worth it once the hustle and bustle of the week starts. We currently prep enough for me to have 3 lunches (I typically work 3-4 12 hour shifts per week), 4 lunches for Michael and breakfast and snacks for the whole week.
I know some people also meal prep dinners, and for that I totally commend them because that is on another level! For us, we have been using the meal subscription Plated for the last year and it has been perfect for us. We do 4 dinners a week and it takes all the guess work out of "What do you want to have for dinner tonight?". We both work long shifts and I work crazy hours so it has been such a game changer to grab a recipe off the fridge and know that all of the fresh, local and mostly organic ingredients are ready to be cooked into a delicious meal.
Ok, so lets get started! Please let me know if there is other information that you want to know as far as our food goes, but I'll try and include some details each week! Also I will go back and list the recipes for last week on another blog post because I know several people were interested :)
Inspired by Strawberry Paleo Oatmeal
(Per 1 serving)
1 small to medium organic banana
2 organic, pastured eggs (We LOVE Vital Farms)
1/4 cup coconut or almond milk
pinch of cinnamon
splash of vanilla
pinch of pink Himalayan salt
1 tsp maca powder (this can be omitted but is really great for hormone regulation)
Mash the banana, then add the remaining ingredients. Put skillet over medium heat and cook just like you would scrambled eggs. Make sure to use a spatula to scrape the bottom so your oatmeal doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. If you are eating this right away, keep cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated however if you are batch cooking to reheat later, leave a little bit of the liquid so it doesn't dry up.
After your oatmeal is cooked, top it with whatever sounds good! My favorites are coconut butter, almond butter, cinnamon, hemp hearts, blueberries or strawberries. Top is with whatever you like to top oatmeal with! The oatmeal is naturally sweet with the banana, so I don't add any additional sweetener but feel free to play with it!
Paleo Coconut Chicken Tenders
OMG. These are so good! I have requested Michael make us these every week :) We followed the recipe above exactly other than we used the whole egg to bread the tenders, which allowed us to use less eggs. We used 3 packs of organic chicken tenders which made about 20 tenders and tripled the original recipe due to the amount of chicken we were cooking. Our only modification was a little extra salt and this seasoning because we are addicted to it.
Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice
Inspired by Avocado Cilantro Lime Rice
(Per 3 servings)
1 bag of riced cauliflower (you can also buy a head of cauliflower and rice it in a high powered blender like a VitaMix or food processor)
1 tbsp grass fed butter
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
1/4 c. freshly squeezed lime juice
Melt butter in a pan over medium heat. Add in cauliflower and sauté until soft but not mushy. Add remaining ingredients and stir together.
Side note: cauliflower smells horrible while it's cooking. Push through. It's worth it!
The recipe calls for avocado to be mashed into the rice but since we were meal prepping, I decided that I will take 1/2 an avocado to slice over the rice before I eat it.
I'm sure that mashed avocado in the rice would be amazing if you are serving this right away.
A lot of places are selling the bagged cauliflower in the fresh produce section now-hooray! We found this one at Kroger-not organic but that's ok :) Trader Joe's has a really yummy one that I love and is so inexpensive.
Sauteed Butternut Squash Zoodles
This is the brand that I buy my "noodles" from. We have found them at Whole Foods or Central Market.
Easy, peasy. Melt butter in pan. Sauté zoodles. Season with salt and pepper. Done!
Spicy Rice Noodles
This is the recipe Michael made to go along with his chicken tenders. He used gluten free rice noodles and omitted the kimchi, egg, and cucumber. His pack of rice noodles was about 12 oz so we doubled the sauce recipe. Super yummy and spicy.
This is one great part about our meal prep, everyone can get exactly what they like! You don't want to make giant batches of anything (we never make more than 4 meals of any given dish) so that you don't get tired of what you make. So try new things! Michael wanted something different with his tenders than I did and that is totally ok.
Matcha Chia Pudding
The only modifications that I used with this recipe is that I omitted the cashews and added 2 tbsp of maple syrup instead of 1. It was a little bitter with only 1 tbsp in my opinion. You could also use honey.
Also make sure you use high quality matcha powder or it will really throw the taste off. A good matcha is going to have a beautiful bright green color and smell really fresh and herbal. I really like the matcha from Republic of Tea, which you can buy in the bulk bins at Central Market.
Also if the color of matcha totally freaks you out or you just can't jump on the bandwagon yet, this pudding can definitely be made without it. There are also tons of plain Chia Seed Pudding recipes out there that have turned out really yummy, like this one.
Justin's Almond Butter Packs
These are SO good by themselves or with a banana or apple. We love how portable they are for a quick protein and fat boost on the go.
These bars are seriously my new love language. And they are local out of Austin which just makes them all that better. #supportlocalbusiness They are SO good, especially the nut and seed ones. The fruity ones are a little too chewy in my opinion, but see what you think! The Hazelnut-Coffee-Maca one literally tastes like a Heath Bar! We have found them at Whole Foods and Central Market so far.
I'm so all about that snack life. We also have organic applesauce cups, organic blueberries and watermelon. Michael loves these little single serve mozzarella balls we have found at Target and Whole Foods to go with cherry tomatoes. Dairy doesn't agree with me very well but I will sometimes grab a Goat Cheese Brie wheel at Whole Foods and cut it into small chunks for several little snacks. I could write a whole post on what kind of snacks we buy, so let me know if you are interested in that kind of thing!
Alright, that wraps up our first meal prep edition! Please let me know if you have any questions and what you thought about this blog post :) Hit the kitchen and set yourself up for an amazing week!
I want this place to be one of authenticity. A place where it's ok to struggle, where it's ok to not be so ok. An available haven of joy, encouragement, gratitude and love. These words I write because that is my heart but also this week has been one of those weeks. You know those weeks where you feel like you have given 110% of yourself, but it all seems for lack? The weeks when the transitions come and they just weren't supposed to be this hard but they are? And you are empty and disappointed and once the tears start, they don't stop?
If that's relatable to you at all, then take heart because you are not alone. I was there this week and at the end of myself. The Enemy finds so much pleasure in those times, when he can remind you how God promised good things but He isn't coming through for you. And sometimes you believe that because it seems so true. When life is hard and things aren't going how you expected, and you are wondering if you heard that still, small voice in your heart accurately. Because if you let the Holy Spirit guide you in a certain way, but then it's an uphill battle and nothing seems the way it was supposed to, does that discredit the direction you were pointed?
Remember the moments of clarity.
God opens doors for a reason and He has never failed me before. Why would I believe that He would fail me now? I get so wrapped up in expectations that I lose sight of the bigger picture when the smaller things aren't going my way. In the muck and mire, I am so quick to believe that I am unworthy. That the things I previously held in confidence must be thrown out the window, because I see no evidence of them now. My pride rears its ugly head because I want to be the best, and darn it, that just isn't reality right now.
Transitions are hard.
I thrive in knowing I'm in control. Its a facade of course, but one that makes me feel secure in my own shoes. During times of transition, just throw all of that out the window. I started a new job this week at an incredible hospital. It's a season of learning and professional growth and an opportunity that is once in a lifetime. But I haven't allowed myself to see any of that. I've focused on the things that have ripped this relational, confident, joyful girl into shreds.
Search Me, O God, and Know My Heart
This is where gratitude is my anthem, and has to be what I come back to. Because this week was nothing in comparison to what others have going on in their lives. But to me, it was the end all. And when I showed up empty, the people in my life took over. They prayed for me when I couldn't do it on my own. They spoke truth into my life and didn't let me remain in the pits of discouragement. And when I came back to the surface, I could see that God had met me right where I was at. He was there all along, waiting for me to reach out to Him. He showed Himself in His people that He has surrounding me. He showed Himself when I asked for a change of heart, and He gladly offered just that.
Circumstances will not steal my joy, because that is one of eternal hope. It's in these moments that I learn lessons that couldn't be found elsewhere. It offers perspective into not only Truth but the areas where my heart needs work.
You are not alone in your struggle. Fight those lies with the armor of God. And if you don't have the fight left in you, then ask those around you to fight instead. This is community, this is family, this is friendship. Beautiful gifts given from a Father who pours out His love onto us. Let that love get in every crevice, because it is there where you will find peace that surpasses all understanding.
"Oh Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all of my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it. Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to Heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost part of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me and your right hand shall hold me." Psalm 139:1-10
This has always been one of my favorite Scriptures. Read it. Read it again. This is the armor I refer to. It makes us secure as Believers, He has us. Did you hear that? Don't miss it. No matter what you are walking through, you aren't alone. Don't believe the lies that are so easy to grasp onto.
Remember what you heard in clarity. <3
Image Cred :www.haikudeck.com/psalm-139-1-6-part-one-education-presentation-brDDWyio3o
A wise friend once told me, "You can be excellent at everything you do in life, but not all at the same time." This has stuck with me in a profound way because I am a perfectionist. I mean, you honestly might not see that looking into my life, but it's true. I'm a hot mess, and I think those closest to me would not disagree:
What I'm saying is that I'm kind of a tornado at times. And it drives me bonkers because I desire to have this Type A, everything in order lifestyle. But I just can't swing it. I've spent a lot of my life trying to fight this natural instinct for chaos. I masked it pretty darn well for a while. And then nursing school hit and you know, it's just been whirlwind since then.
The thing about being a hot mess is that it's kind of adorable to those around you. Maybe it's just my experience, but I have a ridiculous amount of people that love the heck out of me despite the crazy. Like, "Of course Steph would forget to pack shoes, she is just hilariously all over the place!". But would it be that hard for me to just get it together?
The problem with simultaneously being a hot mess and a perfectionist is this self shame game we play. Women are so good at this and I'm guilty. I swing on this pendulum of wanting to be myself but wanting to be this superwoman version more. I'm disappointed when I haven't been the wife to my husband that I could have been or I realize it's been weeks since I last talked on the phone with my family. I cringe when I think about how much time I wasted on Pinterest when there are a million things I could have been doing to organize my life. And darn it, how long has it been since I've really talked with the Lord? I let the lies of the Enemy creep in: "You aren't good enough. You won't ever be good enough. These good things in your life are temporary because you can't manage it all. Don't even think about adding kids into this mess."
But no. Just NO. I know this isn't the way I want to live my life. Enough with this desire for control. It's time to accept myself, for who I am. Mess and all.
I'm preaching to ME, because those are lies. I am worthy. I am daughter of the most High King. He called me to Himself when I was in filthy rags and He won't leave me to do this life on my own.
"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest in me." 2 Corinthians 12:9
His grace is sufficient in my mess. I'm free to be because he has unlocked those chains of perfection in my life. He is MY perfection. I still have a long way to go in this life, and I won't stop striving to become the best version of myself. God has promised He won't stop working on this wrecking ball until I look more and more like His son (Hallelujah!). My desire to be a loving wife, an awesome big sister, a compassionate nurse and a faithful friend: those are all GREAT things! But do you know what else is great? Owning up to the fact that I fail at all of those.
"You can be excellent at everything you do in life, but not all at the same time."
There are times in life that certain things are at the forefront. I hear that having kiddos is one of the best examples of this. I have incredible friends that have modeled this well. Motherhood is sacrifice, and to prioritize your children often means other things go to the back burner for a season. Marriage is another relationship that requires time and energy for the good of the covenant. These are sweet gifts that take precious care and attention.
I have learned that when I work a ton of overtime, I'm just not a very nice person to be around. But in my professional life, I rocked it!. When I exercise every day and meal prep like a boss, I usually end up putting something else on the back burner.
Time management is a beautiful thing, and not to be taken lightly. In that regard, it's a work in progress. But more importantly, I'm learning to be ok with myself in the midst of the mess. I'm not perfect and the more years that go by, I'm ok with that.
Be gracious with yourself. The words you speak into your soul have power. Make sure they are full of truth, okay?
5.25.2014 The Day of Mike & Steph
My sweet husband. Can you believe that it has been two years since we were at the front of that church, looking over a picturesque waterfall in the background? That must have been a scene from a movie because it was the most perfect day. Tucked into the woods, we stood hand in hand in the Wilderness Chapel as we recited the vows we wrote to one another. I will always remember my dad telling me to slow down as we were walking down the aisle; I was running towards my husband, I love that. We were surrounded by our closest friends and family, in a venue that echoed nature and the Spirit of God. Remember how we timed the song I walked in to? At the absolute perfect harmony, those strong wooden doors opened, the angels sang and I saw my handsome groom waiting for me. Swoon. Afterwards, we left for our wedding night and honey, the fireworks! Not *that kind, but the real deal, July Fourth fireworks ;) That was the best surprise and neither of us had planned it. As we stood over our private balcony, I in my wedding dress and you in your suit, you held me as we watched our own personal firework show over the lake. It was the Disney-ist moment we have ever had and I will always cherish it.
That sweet wedding day of ours was only a breath of our two years together in marriage. It is easy to see how far that we have come and a little hilarious to think of how unprepared we were for this journey. The joy of that is no amount of prayer or studying can outsmart the transitions God uses to make us look more like Himself. We have learned how to work together as a team, and how to serve one another in ways that make us each feel loved. In wisdom, we have off limit subjects including loading the dishwasher and storage of electronic devices :) It's not an easy process, that of molding two separate people into one body under Christ. But my love, it has been so worth it. I'm proud of us for never going to bed angry, resolving our conflicts quickly and cherishing the sweet times we have had together.
We really have done a lot in our 730 days together, starting out with a honeymoon to Bora Bora. We got certified to Scuba Dive there, in the most idyllic location on the planet. Take me back there sometime, deal? We have been to the snowy mountains, the sandy beach. and just about every where in between. Some of my favorite moments have been going on our Dallas Farmers Market date, eating dinner in a peach orchard with some of our favorite friends, afternoons hiding away at a movie while everyone else is at work and lazy Sundays making breakfast in our pajamas. I can't wait for all of the other adventures that are ahead of us.
Michael, you are an incredible blessing to me. I feel like the luckiest woman in the world to be your wife. You have invested so much into me in the last few years, you make me feel beautiful every day. I can't count the amount of times that you have made me dinner (ahem, like every night), drawn me a hot bubble bath when I have had a rough day, and have just held me when I don't have the words to say about what is in my heart. You have a huge heart, integrity that is undeniable and a strength that I treasure. You are so unlike me, yet you compliment me in so many ways. God is awesome like that, pairing two different people and allowing them to walk through life together.
I know in a few years, we will be looking back on this letter realizing that we still had so much to learn about each other and about marriage. We are going to be shaped and transformed together and I'm so happy to be on this journey with you.
Happy Second Anniversary, Mi Amor. I love you!
Hey! I'm Stephanie. I'm super excited you are here with me! I'm a lover of all things Jesus, health, family and friendship. Stick around for some wonderful ramblings about life, love & the pursuit of JOY <3