I hope your new year is off to a great start. It’s crazy how quickly the holidays go by, isn’t it?
In the past week or so, I’ve come across a LOT of articles and social media posts on the topics of resolutions and self-improvement. And while I’ve never really been one to embrace the whole “new year, new me” mentality (more thoughts on this in an upcoming post), I do believe that the new year is a great time to reflect on the past and set some goals and intentions for the future.
One of my intentions for 2018 is to be a little more REAL on the blog. I’ve mentioned before that one of my primary reasons for starting this blog in the first place was to share my passion for food and nutrition and (hopefully) provide some inspiration and guidance to others who are looking to adopt a “healthier” lifestyle (whatever that word means to them). But, over time, this space has turned into more of a food blog than anything else. And while I love creating and photographing recipes, there is so much more to me (and to this blog) than meticulously curated food photos.
I want this space to be a place where I can chat nutrition. Or not chat about nutrition if that’s not what I’m feeling that day. I want to be able to talk to you about life. And things I’m loving. And tell you about the amazing meal I had the other day without feeling like I can’t share that information with you because the lighting in the photo wasn’t quite right.
I want to be a little more candid. A little more vulnerable. A little more open. A little less of a perfectionist.
Sooo today I’m trying something new. I’m kicking off 2018 with the debut of my first ever edition of Weekly Bytes – aka a recap of some of my eats over the past week. No step-by-step recipes. No carefully staged food photos. Just real eats by a real person.
As a dietitian, I’ve found that people are often very curious about what goes into my mouth on a day-to-day basis (**spoiler alert: it’s not all kale salads and green smoothies… although those do make an appearance every so often). And as a food blogger, I’ve found that people are often under the assumption that all I eat is perfectly plated gourmet meals (**spoiler alert: it’s not). So, my hope is that this new weekly series will challenge some of these misperceptions that we have of what it means to eat “healthy” and give you a glimpse into what really goes down “behind the scenes” when I’m not cooking up new recipes and/or styling my food.
But, before I go any farther, I want to make one thing VERY clear. This is not – I repeat NOT – intended to be a meal plan… nor is it a comprehensive documentation of everything single thing I ate throughout the week. This is also, by no means, me telling you what to eat (or what not to eat). No two bodies are exactly the same, so what works for me may not work for you. I trust that you will not read too far into these posts, but rather take them with a grain of salt and use them as inspiration when it comes time to plan some meals. Alright, glad we got that out of the way.
Looking back, my meals this week were actually quite a bit different than “usual” (quotations are necessary because the reality is there really is no such thing as “usual” meals for me), but they were tasty nonetheless! We started the week with a pretty sparse fridge after spending the holidays in NY and finished the week with a fridge full of leftover ham. My sister and brother-in-law were in town for a few days and my brother-in-law was gracious enough to cook up a 9 pound ham for NYE. Ham is not typically one of my favorite meats, but this one was cooked perfectly and I’ve had fun challenging myself to think of creative ways to use up all the leftovers.
Alright.. enough chit-chat, let’s get to the food!
As I mentioned, my sister, Kim, and brother-in-law, Kyle, were in town visiting for a few days last week, so we obviously had to hit up the North Market for some Sunday brunch (this is a non-negotiable pit stop when you visit Columbus, OH – just an FYI).
I’ve been wanting to try out The Little Eater pretty much ever since it opened, so I decided to forgo my beloved Belgian waffles in favor of a Spaghetti Squash Frittata and Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuit with Whipped Honey Butter. I could not have been happier with my decision – the biscuit in particular was out of this world (then again, I’ve always been a sucker for biscuits). But, in typical Kara fashion, I couldn’t finish my meal without a little something sweet, so I stole a few bites of Kyle’s ginormous Lemon Blueberry Donut. Now that’s what I call a win-win!
Early in the week, my brother-in-law cooked up some delicious omelets with leftover ham, onions, peppers, and cheddar cheese and I’ve basically been craving the same exact breakfast every morning since. Rather than whip up a fresh omelet every morning (that sounded like too much work.. and too many dishes), I decided make a batch of Egg Muffins. I used this recipe as a guide, but replaced the veggies listed with sautéed onions, peppers, broccoli, and ham. SO good and so easy! I kept a few in the refrigerator to enjoy the rest of the week with toast and froze the rest for when I’m in need of a quick/easy breakfast (all you have to do is pop them in the microwave and breakfast is served!)
The beginning of the week involved more meals out than usual, but no complaints here! We decided that having visitors in town was the perfect excuse to finally make our way to the infamous Schmidt’s Sausage Haus, so we headed to their German Village location for a late lunch on New Years day. While the sausages were good, it was the appetizers that really stole the show (in my opinion at least). If you ever find yourself at Schmidts, please promise me you’ll order the Pretzel Nuggets and Sauerkraut-Bratwurst Balls… you won’t be disappointed!
The remainder of lunches and dinners this week have pretty much been a hodge-podge of leftovers and/or whatever I can find in the fridge. Soup has been on repeat because, truthfully it’s just too damn cold for anything else. I made this Cauliflower Chowder (but stirred in about 1.5 cups of diced ham), and it turned out SO good. Kyle and I have basically been fighting over who gets to finish up the last of the batch (I won).
I also tried my hand at making Split Pea Soup for the first time ever, per the recommendation of my sister and brother-in-law. I used this slow cooker recipe and it was so ridiculously easy (and not to mention cheap!) And, I must say, once you get over the look of it (seriously, is there anything more visually unappealing than Split Pea Soup??) it was pretty darn tasty. Plus, it used up just about every last bit of meat off the ham bone – yay for minimal food waste!
In between bowls of soup, I’ve also pieced together a few salads and sandwiches (featuring ham, of course) as well as a few random snack plates filled with ham, cheese, crackers, veggies, and homemade French Onion Dip (yet another recipe that my brother-in-law cooked up while he was here!). Oh, and this Quinoa “Fried Rice” (one of my go-to “lazy girl” meals) topped with General Tso’s Cauliflower. So much yum.
I haven’t been in an overly snacky mood lately (who am I??), so I actually don’t have a whole lot to share on this front. However, I’ve found myself grabbing handfuls of homemade Chex Mix (or “Nuts & Bolts” as my family likes to call it) whenever I feel the need for a little salty treat… or whenever I walk by the container in my kitchen. My mom has been making this stuff every Christmas for as long as I can remember and it is hands-down one of the best parts of the holidays. She sent us back to Columbus with a tub full of the good stuff and I’m going to be so sad when it’s all gone (which, by the looks of this photo, is any day now).
Desserts have consisted mostly of leftover Christmas cookies (another Mama Gee specialty and one of the other highlights of the holiday season) with a little ice cream sprinkled in here and there for good measure. Kim and Kyle didn’t ask for much during their stay, but their one request was that we take them to our favorite local ice cream shop (clearly a love of ice cream runs in the family). After a few unsuccessful attempts at visiting Jeni’s (the holiday hours were not in our favor), we ended up picking up a few pints at Kroger to take home and enjoy in the warmth of our apartment.
We went with Brambleberry Crisp and Salted Caramel to share. Both were delish (is there even such a thing as bad Jeni’s ice cream??), but the Brambleberry Crisp will forever have my heart!
This week has been filled with tea, coffee and all the warm bevvies I can get my hands on! Plus, this new-to-me kombucha flavor I picked up on a quick run to Whole Foods. I’m a sucker for beverages with herbs… they always make me feel so fancy.
Annnnd plenty of adult beverages. Say it with me… Coffee. Vanilla. Cream. Ale. YUM! Best enjoyed with a side of board games.
Alright folks, that’s a wrap! Thanks for joining along for my first (and hopefully not last) Weekly Bytes post. Whatdyathink? Would you like to see more of these “real life” type posts? Let me know in the comments below (or feel free to let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to see on here!)