What’s For Dinner? Meal Planning Like a Pro

There is no denying that home-cooked meals are important to being mindful about what we eat. Yes eating out is fun on occasion, but it is expensive, taxing on the waistline and often uses lower quality ingredients than what I hope you would buy for your home. However the endless question of what’s for dinner plagues everyone, even me (hard to believe I know…it’s like the cobbler who doesn’t have any shoes). In this post I am going to take you through the steps on how to execute meal planning for much of the week and help ease some stress, yeeeee-haw!

Here is a sneak peek into how we execute personal chef services for our clients. These are the procedures that we use to set up families for 4+ days worth of food. We do this everyday and it works, we promise. If you want to drastically improve your health and reduce your stress level- we are going to show you the steps to kick some culinary a#s and eat well while doing it!

the steps on how to plan and prep your meals for much of the week and help ease some stress, yeeeee-haw!Plan Ahead- Choose a day of the week that gives you a good block of uninterrupted time- this will vary depending on your kitchen prowess and if you have assistance either prepping or cleaning (approx 3-5 hours). Give yourself one shot to see how it goes; you will know better how to plan for the week to follow.

Decide How Many Days/Meals You Need – this depends how much variety you need and if you are going out in the evening at all. Are you looking for Monday –Thursday dinners only? Or perhaps you want to throw some lunch in there as well? Maybe your will be out for dinner on Wednesday but home during the weekend. Our rule of thumb at The Naked Bite is that prepared food lasts about 4 days (you can squeak out 5 with soups and stew-type dishes) but there are many items that freeze beautifully. Make them on Sunday and then Thursday thaw overnight in the fridge, reheat, make a salad and viola…dinner in 20! See tips below for some freezer friendly ideas (FF).

Double Down- most all of us appreciate leftovers, so plan for them! The key to cooking once and eating several times is to prepare a dish but make enough portions to eat two+ full meals, this can go for side dishes and salads as well (dress salad only as needed). Dinner on Monday could be lunch/dinner on Tuesday or Wednesday. See some options below for examples.

Example #1- Lunch & Dinner 4 days
(8 recipes- servings varied on number of people feeding) (more…)

Are You in the DARK?

On March 16th- after months of debate- the “Deny Americans the Right to Know” (DARK) Act failed to pass in the U.S. Senate. This bill is essentially intended to keep GMO labeling off of American products and keep our consumers in the Dark about what is in their food.

This bill would have prevented the genetically engineered food labeling laws in Vermont, Connecticut, Maine and Alaska – and crushed the movement for mandatory GMO labeling in the United States. This means that millions and millions of Americans are waking up to what is happening in our food system and taking a stand. There is an exorbitant amount of money being spent to keep us in the DARK, this is a huge victory and a giant leap toward progress. With dozens of other countries banning the use of GMO’s we are quite behind, but there is hope for us yet!

GMOWe can’t be sure what happened next. Hopefully the Senate will do the right thing and pass the legislation to ensure federally mandated GMO labeling. But it’s also very possible that some Monsanto-friendly “compromise” legislation will be introduced.

What can you do? Educate yourself and vote. Not only on this specific case but you are actually voting every time you shop. We spend more money on food than almost any other item (besides our homes), imagine how many dollars that puts in the hands of the “good” vs “bad” food companies. The cleaner we buy, the more clean food will be available, thus lowering the cost, improving our planet and our overall health. A fantastic website called The Food Revolution is an incredible resource where you can read a very in-depth article about the DARK Act as well as endless information about all things “clean food”.

Raw Energy Bars

These raw energy bars are so simple and a great sustaining snack as well as a healthier and less expensive option to the popular store-bought version. Double the batch and keep in your freezer for months. They also store well at room temperature and are great for travel!

Raw Energy Bars

1 cup nuts such as walnuts, pecans or almonds or a mixture
1/3 cup chia seeds
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup pistachios or pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup dried cranberries, raisins or dried cherries
1 heaping packed cup pitted medjool dates
1/3 cup sweet cacao nibs
1-2 Tablespoons filtered water, if needed (more…)

Gooey Fudgy Chocolate Hazelnut Brownies

When my husband Anthony makes a food request, I will always oblige. This is rare and he is my favorite person to cook for. I asked him what dessert he wanted for Valentine’s Day and his request was brownies. Now, I’m not sure if you have ever made a classic brownie but they are full of an inappropriate amount of butter and sugar and will basically make your teeth fall out :). So this left me to the task of a new and improved brownie, but still healthy-ish. So I set out to make an version that would sweep him off his feet.

This one takes the cake (or the brownie as it were) and suffices to say it just might have been breakfast this morning. This delicious ooey, gooey treat also happens to be totally plant-based, gluten and refined sugar free…but I’m not telling!

Gooey Fudgy Chocolate Hazelnut Brownies

1-15oz can black beans, rinsed well
2 large flax eggs*
6 Tablespoons brown rice syrup or maple syrup**
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup hazelnut flour***
1/2 cup cocoa powder (raw is highest in nutrients)
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2-3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Makes 10-12 decadent squares (more…)

Vanilla Cashew Milk

This Vanilla Cashew Milk recipe is a revelation for me. Some of you know of my “milk conundrum”. That is, my long time battle with what kind of milk to take in my coffee. I used to use fat free organic dairy milk. If you don’t know what that was a bad choice read this post.

I switched to store bought organic almond milk. I follow the rule of not using anything with ingredients that I cannot pronounce…almond milk was my only exception. Why not make my own my own you ask? Because it’s grainy and separates in my coffee and I refuse to be annoyed before 7am. So then I went to grass-fed whole milk. This didn’t quite sit right either, as I try to lessen my environmental impact and eat vegan much of the time.

I went back and fourth for a long time. Then the “ahhhhh ha” moment came. Cashew milk was the answer! Creamy, rich, vegan, easy to make, no straining and it doesn’t separate in my coffee…victory! You can make it plain for universal applications or put vanilla or other fun stuff in it.

Creamy Vanilla Cashew Milk

1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in water to cover for at least 4 hours
1-1/2 cups filtered water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder* or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (more…)