HAPPY FRIDAY! The weekend is once again almost upon us, and I’m pretty effing excited.
I’ve got big (well, insofar as my grandma-status goes) plans for this evening: I’ve got a phone gabbing session scheduled with a family friend in Colorado as soon as I leave work, and then I’m gettin’ my hair did this evening. I’m going to a place near our new apartment, and it got great reviews on Yelp…so here’s hoping they handle my tresses well!
As for the Great Crock Pot Experiment and Operation: Time Management, overall I feel like this week was a win.
On the time management front, I felt much more on top of my schedule — and even though I often needed to push my morning workouts into the evening, it wasn’t hard to do. Dinner was ready as soon as I got home, which meant that working out didn’t feel all that daunting (there’s something about working out after chopping veggies and cooking that feels waaaaaay more onerous than just working out and then eating dinner).
I also really appreciated being able to rely on frozen/pre-chopped veggies, which made my life a lot easier. I saved a ton of time and effort by just opening up a bag of veggies (as opposed to rinsing, peeling, chopping veggies, and then washing knives and cutting boards), and I seriously enjoyed that.
As for the Great Crock Pot Experiment, the results were a mixed bag. Our verdicts on the recipes were thus:
Enchiliada Casserole: Meh. Kind of dry yet mushy, and pretty seriously lacking in flavor. I might try this one again with significant modifications, but I’m not sure.
Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic: We weren’t a fan. Brandon wound up ordering pizza instead.
Beef Carnitas: A good one! We approve!
Mediterranean Chicken: This was a monstrosity. It was straight-up deplorable, y’all — which, considering that I make this on the stove all the effing time, is a fairly spectacular fall from grace for this dish. I choked down my serving because I felt bad wasting so much food, but Brandon couldn’t get past the second bite.
The fact that the Crock Pot recipes were 1 out of 4 is, um, really demoralizing!
It looks like I have a steep learning curve to climb before I really get the hang of cooking things other than hearty winter soups and stews. (I bust out the Crock Pot all the time in the winter, and I have no problems with chili/tortilla soup/insert fall or winter food here — but apparently other entrees are a different matter.)
But learn I shall! In the words of the crazy restaurant owners whose Facebook meltdown went viral, I WILL PREVAIL! I WILL TRIUMPH!
In the interest of continuing to find ways to cut back on cooking time, I checked out some cookbooks from the library for a bit of culinary inspiration. I won’t be able to go Crock Pot-crazy every week, but if we can find good recipes that I can prep on the weekend, then that’ll definitely help. In the library mix:
I looooove Ina Garten, and I’ve heard good things about Ellie Krieger — so, I’m excited to try these out!
I have to admit that I especially love all things Barefoot Contessa. She seems so down-to-earth, kind, and creative, so she seems like the sort of relatable woman I’d want to be friends with. Did you know that she used to be a budget analyst at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission before embarking on a massive career change? How cool is that?!
On a separate note, I’ve been trying to increase my protein intake as part of TNROLFW. To that end, I decided to try out three different kinds of protein bars this week, just to experiment and broaden my protein-y horizons.
I scoured the offerings at Whole Foods, and I eventually decided on these three: Luna Protein in Mint Chocolate Chip flavor, a Perfect Fit Protein Cookie, and the Quest Bars I keep hearing about.
The Luna Protein Bar was uh-maaaaay-zing. I’ve desperately missed Luna bars in the 5 years that I’ve been gluten-free, and I was beyond excited when I saw that they had a GF line of products. I haven’t tried the other flavors, but the Mint Chocolate Chip was delicious! It tasted just how I remember Thin Mints tasting, and I wolfed it down.
The Perfect Fit Protein Cookie was ok. I think I was expecting a legit cookie, which probably raised my hopes and set the bar a bit too high. I suspect that if it was just a straight-forward protein bar, my expectations would’ve been lower and I would’ve been pleasantly surprised by how cookie-like it was — but since it’s marketed as a cookie, my brain had a hard time reconciling this information with my taste buds. I kept thinking “Aw man, this cookie tastes like a protein bar! Oh, wait…”
The Quest Bar was surprisingly delicious! I tried the Coconut Cashew flavor, and I was really impressed. When I opened it up and saw that it looks alarmingly blob-like, my first thought was “Really? This is what everybody raves about? This looks heinous!” I then veeeeeeery skeptically tried a teeny bite…only to be wowed by the sweet and salty taste. It’s effin’ good, y’all! I also wolfed this one down, which is really saying something.
Anyways, I’m off to do this morning’s workout (kickboxing + more lifting) — but I hope everyone has an awesome morning! TGIF, people. 🙂
Have you ever tried Luna Protein or Quest Bars?
If so, what flavors do you like?
What are your favorite cookbooks?
Do you have big weekend plans? (I’m dyyyyyyyying to see the new Star Trek movie – SO EXCITED!)