Lighter Ideas for Holiday Sides!

As much as I like a traditional holiday dinner, I also love to mix things up with new flavors and presentations.  I find that new twists on old staples makes the dinner not only more interesting, but also leaves me feeling a little lighter (and not so weighed down by all of the heavy starches).  Try one of these new dishes into your repertoire this year and let me know what you think!

Additionally, our team wishes to let you know that we are here for you during the holidays!  Envisioning a holiday party without all of the stress?  An intimate dinner for you and your friends?  How about preparing some of your holiday meal ahead of time, so all you have to do is reheat and enjoy?  We can help!  Of course, we are also available for our usual chef services as well, as it’s important to eat well during all of the busy holiday bustle.

Lastly, I recently met a wonderful couple who are breaking boundaries in fitness.  Tony Montgomery and Kaylie Klitzing own Strength Union, a weightlifting gym on Pershing St in SE Portland.  They are passionate about fitness and about health.  Not only do they train serious competitors in weightlifting but also help novice lifters meet their goals as well.  They are offering a Bodybuilding Education Camp on Dec 1st, and Ready, Set, Eat! is happy to partner with them in serving their clients.  If you are curious about how weightlifting can help you get back on track with your fitness goals, check out their website or contact them directly: https://www.strengthunion.com/contact/

If you are interested in learning more about the Bodybuilding Education Camp on December 1st, click here for more information: https://www.strengthunion.com/bodybuilding-education-camp/

Wishing you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving holiday!

~The Chefs of Ready, Set, Eat! Inc.

A Healthier Halloween??

I know that the very mention of “healthy” and “Halloween” together has some people rolling their eyes.  And please don’t misunderstand me… I am not anti-sugar.  However, in a country where many of our foods have so much added sugar, why don’t we think outside the box to offer some more healthful options to our kids?

With Halloween fast approaching, here is a quick list of more healthful ideas that could easily be given out to the ghouls and goblins that knock on your door.

Edible Options

  1. Granola Bars – be sure to look on the label, as some brands have as much sugar as a traditional candy bar.
  2. Fruit Gummies – these also range in nutrition. If possible, seek out those made with real fruit and that pack a good serving of Vitamin C.
  3. String Cheese – packed with protein, a wrapped cheese stick will easily keep until the kids get home. And with a bag full of candy, sometimes something savory is just want they want as a snack!
  4. Nuts and/or Dried Fruits – Individual bags of trail mix, mixed nuts or dried fruit are great healthful offerings. If it doesn’t appeal for Halloween night, then they make great additions to their lunches for the following week.
  5. Cereal Bars – also read the labels on these. Some of these have a nutritional profile like a candy bar as well, but others can be quite healthful, especially those higher in fiber.
  6. Coconut Chips – Sweet and toasty, these come flavored in all sorts of varieties. Gives kids good fiber and a tasty treat too.

Non-Edible Options

  1. Stickers – Hit your local Dollar Store for great options. Pre-filled boxes of stickers are a great option, especially for smaller children.
  2. Sticky Cobwebs – who doesn’t like the sticky spider/cobwebs/ghoulish hands that travel down walls?
  3. Small puzzles or games – Obviously keeping price in mind, these could be a great option for houses that get fewer children.
  4. Spider Rings – It’s Halloween after all!
  5. Halloween Pencils – Great for use at school in the days afterwards.

And a suggestion: Before heading out, make sure their bellies are filled with a healthful, scary Halloween dinner.  Get more ideas here: https://readyseteat.net/2017/10/06/spooky-halloween-treats-for-kids-big-and-small/ and below!

Halloween Snack Dinnerhttps://foxeslovelemons.com/halloween-snack-dinner/

Thanks to the website Fox Loves Lemons!  This is an awesome showing of how creative you can get with healthful ingredients and a little time.  Sauces can be made ahead and the rest of the prep is pretty straightforward. Boooooo!

If you find the very thought of getting a healthful dinner on the table a daunting task, let us help!  We currently have 4 chefs on staff to help individuals and families all over the greater Portland area.

We wish you a scary, fun and exciting Halloween!

~The Chefs of Ready, Set, Eat! Inc.

Welcome, New Chefs… And Busy Schedules Commence!

Welcome back to the Sous News! Like everyone else, our summer has been busy and wonderful, but now it’s time to get back into regular routines. This month’s newsletter is full of tips to provide healthful snacks and food options for you and your family when you are craving routine.

Before that, I wanted to welcome our two new chefs to the Ready, Set, Eat! Inc. team. Chef Tina Landfried and Chef Stephanie Archuleta will be helping both new and established clients meet their goals of having healthful meals, personally made. I welcome them both and am excited about their addition to our team. Their experience is plentiful and will help shape Ready, Set, Eat for the next 15 years! You can find out more about them on our Chef’s Bio page.

So, when a busier schedule starts (be it from kids back in school, sports or activities, a new job, etc.), what is the first things we sacrifice? Sleep… exercise… healthful eating? I am guilty of all of those on occasion! More than anything, it’s important to recommit ourselves daily to maintain healthy habits. And if we have strategies to help enable us to make healthy choices, we will be more successful in maintaining those habits.

So what are some strategies to incorporate more healthful eating, for us and our family?

MAKE AHEAD HEALTHY

If you are a grain eater, make larger batches of whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, barley, wheat berries) and refrigerate them for the week, or freeze for longer term storage. They can be used as a base for your side dishes with very little effort (add sauteed veggies and sauce if desired, use as a base for a stir-fry, or add to broth with protein and veggies for a satisfying soup). If we are pressed for time, then shorter cooking, less complex grains are often utilized. Having these whole grains already prepared will give you a step up when it comes to dinner preparation or healthful lunches. Plus it encourages all of us to try new options as well!

Of course, this strategy can be done with chicken breasts, thighs, pork or other protein sources as well. Prep them once, and use all week long.

HEALTHFUL SNACKS

Speaking of healthy, taking the time on Sunday to prepare bags of cut veggies for the week or fruits (tossed in a little lemon juice if needed to prevent browning), helps both kids and adults choose healthful lunch and snack options. Prepare a batch of hummus, which takes little to no time with a blender and a few ingredients, then portion into smaller containers for the week. Assemble our no bake energy bars/balls and have them portioned into small containers for grab and go snacks. If you are a smoothie fan, freeze individual (or family size) portions of ingredients in containers. When ready to enjoy, add to the blender, add your liquid of choice (and protein powder of choice if you wish), blend and enjoy. Or, try our frittata muffins, which can be made with what is on hand… small portions of veggies, cheese, protein, even grains. Bake a try at a time, then cool, wrap and freeze. A quick breakfast or healthful snack isn’t far away.

BATCH COOKING

We all know this one… If you are preparing chili, or enchiladas, or lasagna, or other easily freezable meals, prepare double the portion from the start. Leftovers can be frozen and pulled out on a night when you don’t have time to prep. Some are daunted by the idea of spending their entire Sunday preparing meals for the week. But even a double batch of a meal one time a week can help alleviate stress later that same week… a welcome option on those hurried nights.

ASK FOR HELP

This is what we are here for! We provide our clients with not only healthful meal options but ways to help them balance the time they have. Like these ideas but still cannot find the time to plan and prepare them? We can do it for you! Let us help plan a menu full of healthful, delicious options that you can merely pull from the refrigerator or freezer, reheat and enjoy.

Please remember that we also tailor our menus for clients with particular dietary needs, those facing medical issues or working with a particular dietary regimen.

Please reach out to us if we can help!

Bon Appetit!

Chef Shana and the Ready, Set, Eat! Team

Holiday Dishes for Everyone

The holiday season has arrived and it is a wonderful time to cozy up by a fire, sip on a hot beverage and celebrate traditions and delicious food around the dinner table with family and friends.  Many of us have our tried and true stand by recipes we come back to year after year for Thanksgiving or Christmas, but maybe this year you’re looking to try something new!?

With so many of us experiencing dietary restrictions these days we are here to provide you some holiday recipes that can accommodate diets of many types (vegetarians, vegans, gluten-free) without compromising any of the traditional flavors you know and love. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do and wish you a very Happy and Delicious Thanksgiving!

Contact us today to find out how we can provide you with personalized, nutritious meals for you and your family.

Bon Appetit!

Chef Shana and the Ready, Set, Eat! Team

“Meatless Mondays”: Integrate New Ingredients Into Your Diet!

While the concept of selecting particular meals of the week to be “meatless” began during wartime, the term Meatless Mondays was coined in 2003, encouraging Americans to start their week off in a healthful direction. However, not all meatless meals are “healthy.” Although delicious, fettuccine alfredo is meatless, yet loaded with fat and cholesterol from the heavy pasta sauce. There are ways to embrace the concept of a Meatless Monday without adding lots of fat and extra calories to your meal.

Take this opportunity to cook with ingredients you may not have used before, or eat styles of food you haven’t previously embraced. Ingredients like Kale or other leafy greens, beans, lentils, polenta, and mushrooms give these vegetarian dishes a heartiness that feels both comforting and healthy. If you like eating soy-based foods, incorporating tofu is a great source of protein and is delicious when added to a bold-flavor dish. Try one of these recipes next Monday for a fun change of pace, and a healthful additional to your usual repertoire!

Additionally, Brian and I are excited to help our clients with almost any event you might have coming up. In-home cooking class or demo? Small party catering? In-home dinner party? Larger scale meal prep before a special event? We can provide any of these services to our clients, in addition to our usual personal chef services. Just ask… we are here to help!

As always, I welcome your feedback… how you liked the recipes listed here, what recipes you’d like to see for future newsletters, or things you are curious about. Connect with us online too!

Bon Appetit!

Chef Shana
Ready, Set, Eat!