It is the beginning of December, which means we are in the thick of The Holiday Season. My house is adorned with pretty lights, Santas and snowmen. Bing & Brenda Lee are spinning on the reg.
While this time of year can be magical, it's easy to get caught up in the holiday hustle and bustle and forget about all else. Healthy habits you've honed throughout the course of the year can fall by the wayside.
When things get busy and schedules get wonky, I rely more heavily on easy-to-prepare food and batch cooking. I go into more specifics in my Fueled+Fit program (next program begins January 9th), but today I'll give you a peek into my fridge and cupboard. (Remember when I did this last year?) Hopefully you'll get some ideas to simply your food routine and always have healthy options on the ready.
This is what my fridge looks like after a day of batch cooking. These photos aren't the most glamorous - I didn't stage or clean anything (as if). But you get the point.
3 different kinds of fermented veggies (Micro Mama's Cinnamon Girl, Thirty Acre Farm Gingered Carrots, Farmhouse Culture Garlic Dill Kraut).
During the holidays, we tend to eat foods that we don't normally eat - richer foods, more sweets, more booze - and more of them. It's important to keep feeding the good buggies in our gut during this time. I eat at least a serving of fermented veggies every day.
(In the way back there you can also see two kombucha scobies.)
Eggs & a bowl of hard boiled eggs
Eggs are an easy, quick-cooking protein source. I try to always keep a bowl of hard boiled eggs to grab for snacks on the go, quick breakfasts, or to slice over a salad for lunch. Buy eggs from pasture-raised chickens (this is not the same as "free range" or "vegetarian fed"). I usually get eggs from a nearby farm, but will sometimes pick up Pete & Gerry's at the grocery store.
Jar of my magic Green Sauce
Hattie loves to dip chicken and cukes in this sauce. I use it as a salad dressing.
Huge pot of chili
I always have some kind of soup or stew in the fridge. I made this one with a pound of ground pastured turkey, a pound of ground grass fed beef, lots and lots of veggies and spices + bone broth. When I cook in bulk like this, we have dinner for 2 nights, plus I have lunch sorted for several afternoons. I love to use Sundays to cook up a big chili or stew.
Always. I'll often keep back up jars in the freezer, too. I'll roast a chicken on the weekend - we usually eat the thighs, wings and some meat for dinner that night. Then I pick over the rest and reserve the breast meat for a soup, curry or chicken salad. The carcass gets tossed into a slow cooker (or Instant Pot!) for a chicken broth. I also use beef bones from the farm to make beef bone broth.
I love to have it on hand for an easy and nourishing soup base, or to cook up veggies throughout the week. Bone broth provides minerals, amino acids and other gut-healing nutrients that make it a perfect food for this time of year: it's great for colds and flus, as well as when your stomach is on the fritz from over-indulgence.
Grass fed yogurt
I don't do dairy, so this is for Hattie and Scott. I typically purchase local yogurt (as evidenced by the 3 million Brookford Farm yogurt jars I have). But if I can't get it, Organic Valley Grassmilk will do in a pinch. It is made from 100% grass fed cows. I always buy full-fat and plain. Such an easy breakfast to throw together in a pinch for Hattie: yogurt, canned pumpkin, cinnamon, raisins or dates. It's her favorite.
Homemade coconut milk yogurt
I made this for the first time this week in the Instant Pot. It was easy to make, it's very thick, but I think I overdid it on the probiotics (I used capsules instead of a yogurt starter). I'll write more about this later as I tinker around.
I try to always have some real food muffins on hand. Makes for a great toddler snack, but Scott and I eat them, too. Anytime we travel, these come with us. It's an easy way to get in some real food + protein, fat, carbs and veggies. They're easy to prepare and they cook in about 30 minutes.
Overnight oats and/or chia pudding
For Scott. He leaves super early and exercises before work, so this is part of the breakfast he takes. I prepare it the night before. I often make him green smoothies, but less so this time of year.
Pro tip: if you're making breakfast the night before (which is a very good habit to get into, especially if you find yourself rushing out the door in the mornings), do it while you're making dinner. While all the food is out, whip up breakfast, too. That way it doesn't feel like an extra project at night.
I usually make it with some combo of the following: oats, chia seeds, grass fed yogurt, coconut milk, canned pumpkin, nuts, dried fruit, spices. Although I must have been kinda over it the night I prepared this because it's just oats, water and yogurt. HA.
This is something I would throw into the cooler if traveling - they keep for a couple of days in a tightly sealed mason jar.
A lot of bottled chaga tea.
This is great for the immune system, so I make it in big batches this time of year. It's yummy warmed up with some coconut milk and spices, sort of like a chai latte. We also sip it cold with a bit of honey (this is Hattie's favorite - she calls it her "juice"!).
I always have some type of snack balls in the fridge, especially when we're gonna travel or be busy.
Leftover chicken (see above)
Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Cooked Beets, other Roasted Veggies
To toss into a lunch salad, cut up for Hattie, or to use as a side for dinner.
I'm not going to show you everything on the door, because it's mostly condiments and way-too-expensive craft beer (not mine), and that's kind of boring. But here you can see more chaga tea, plus lots of bottled elderberry syrup. This time of year - with traveling, late nights, and many visitors - it's easy to pick up whatever bugs are going around. So I try to keep our immune systems doing their jobs with daily doses of this stuff (plus, lots of fresh hair, whole foods, bone broth and rest).
I use this in place of soy sauce. It's a little bit sweet, so I actually prefer the taste of Bragg's Liquid Aminos, but if you avoid soy for any reason, coconut aminos are the way to go!
I use this to make bone broth (add a splash to the pot - it helps pull nutrients out of the bones), salad dressings, and will sometimes take a shot of it to get my digestion going (can help to stimulate stomach acid and other gastric juices).
Not pictured: drawers
Lots and lots of produce.
Easy to grab fruits, like apples.
Lot of greens since greens are usually sorely missing in most holiday party fare. I cook them (garlicky greens cooked in a bit of bone broth and finished with good quality olive oil is my fave), throw them in salad and smoothies. I always, always pack greens with us when we travel.
Grass fed cheese
Easy nutrient-dense snack for the kiddo when we're moving & shaking.
Normal breakfast fare is gluten-filled carbage that I know will leave us feeling subpar (even my husband, who is not gluten-intolerant, feels better when he stays away from this sort of stuff). When you're indulging in holiday food and drink, the best way to "reboot" yourself is with a protein-filled healthful breakfast. These sausages are easy to travel with, and if you pair them with some veggies (greens!) and/or leftover root veggies, you'll have energy to carry on with the rest of your holiday endeavors!
Lots and lots of tea: I often buy bulk tea blends at the Mustard Seed in Nottingham, NH.
In the small jars: matcha tea powder, maca powder, spirulina, chaga mushrooms, chaga powder, coconut butter.
All the canned seafood
A few years ago, I would have turned my nose up at all this. But now I'm in the "don't knock it 'til you try it" camp. Canned salmon and sardines provide such easily-transportable nutrition, that it's silly not to eat them. I always throw a few cans of salmon (wild caught, bone-in, skin-on) in our bag when we travel. This Salmon Salad makes a simple and nutrient-dense lunch that we all love. Sardines are another traveler's best friend.
If I have any combination of the following: salmon or sardines, an avocado, some olives, Romaine lettuce, plantain chips*, I'm good to go!!
*I have a few bags of these on hand, but they're not in these photos. Plantain chips offer up quick carbohydrates, fat and calories. They're great travel food. I love to have them on hand for myself and kiddo. And paired with guac? I can't even... I buy this brand because they are made with sustainable and responsible palm oil instead of industrial seed oils (like canola oil, soybean oil, etc.). Seed oils are on my no-fly list. Not happening. Nope. They simple do not enter my house (I'm like Aaron Rodgers in that State Farm commercial...NOT HERE, NOT EVER!). So be sure to check the ol' ingredient list when buying your chips!
Canned clams & fish broth
I use the Bar Harbor brand - they are hand harvested, and their stock is made with very simple ingredients. This is to throw together a quick clam or seafood chowder on nights that I just don't have the energy to think about what to make for dinner. I chop up veggies, then use pureed cauliflower to thicken the base of the soup. Lots of ghee and certain spices make it dyn-O-mite!
Nori sheets for a quick roll up snack or lunch
Organic white basmati rice
A fast-cooking last minute starch. I rarely eat grains anymore, but I will eat white rice once in awhile. My husband and Hattie love it. I often use it to bulk up Scott's dinner since he is SUPER active and needs way more calories - and carbs - than I do. Since white rice provides little nutrition outside of a dense carbohydrate source, I cook it in bone broth to up the nutritive value. When cooking grains, I also toss in a sheet of kombu seaweed (pictured) to enhance nutrition.
Canned tomatoes in BPA-free can
I like Muir Glen brand. I keep canned tomatoes on hand to toss into ground beef/turkey/chili for extra flavor, make chili, add to veggies with coconut milk (pictured) for a curry, or to make a very last minute sauce (if you've been following me on Instagram for awhile, you know that last-minute meat sauce over spaghetti squash is my go-to dinner this time of year...we eat it a couple times a week).
Some condiments: toasted sesame oil (be sure to check ingredient list - some sesame oils are cut with less expensive, lower-quality refined oils), red wine vinegar, coconut oil, coconut milk for cooking.
Larabars: they come with us everywhere
Dried coconut for making all the things
The second I run out, I freak out. I like a little bit each night. My day just doesn't feel complete without it. It has to be DARK - 80% or higher. Anything else just isn't worth my time. Love this kind.
I buy the Xochitl brand because they're made with sustainable palm oil instead of other refined oils (see my thoughts on this above). If you can get your hands on Jackson's Honest Tortilla chips, I highly recommend those!!
Nuts/seeds + Dried fruit like dates, raisins, figs, apricots, etc.: Easy travel and snack food!
Bulk spices: I keep them in jars by the stove, so this is my back stock.
Jameson: This might be the year that I share my homemade Bailey's recipe with y'all....
Chlorine-free baking cups
I always use these to make my muffins because it makes clean up that much easier. And it's nice to have them in a little "container" when we travel or eat on the go.
So! That makes for what I have in my fridge/cupboard on any given week during this time of year. I hope it helps you, and I hope you enjoy the holidays! xo