5 Tips for the Gal Who Doesn’t Know WTF She’s Doing in the Kitchen

My little sister recently moved into her own place and started her first big girl job (ohh, it brings ya back, doesn’t it?) and she recently asked me about some recipe ideas and tips for cooking at home. So, naturally, my first inclination was to go off on a tangent preparing a whole word doc for her on my fave #BusyGirl tricks for cooking at home, complete with tips, staple items and such, and I thought – why not put this into a blog post? I know I’m not the only one who struggles with cooking for one – and cooking good, healthy meals on a budget, too.

Here are a few tips I’ve found that work for me!

1.Try batch cooking.

Hear me out – some meals are just better cooked fresh. (Soggy salad? No thanks.) But others, think a big pasta dish for example, make for awesome leftovers. Plus, you can make a big batch of something for fairly cheap and it’ll prob feed you for at least a few days. I recently made this amazing Turkey Black Bean Quinoa Bake and literally had lunch and dinner for five days. Just heat up and voila!

2.Always have your staple items on hand. 

Almond butter, oats, black beans, chickpeas, chia seeds & Amy’s organic soups are a few that come to mind when I think of some of the staple items I’ve always got on hand. Your staple items are anything you cook with frequently that will last a really long time, that way you can always have these things in your pantry and whip something up if you’re lacking in groceries. These Black Bean Burgers I made for Danny & I recently were sooo good, and I already had my cans of black beans so I only had to buy like three ingredients.

3.Freeze your produce.

Every week, I grab a bushel (bundle? handful? IDK) of bananas, chop them up into fours and place in a big gallon-sized freezer bag for smoothies that week. Little tip: If you’re not adding nanas to your smoothie, that’s probably why the texture is icy and weird – do it. Living alone, my produce goes bad pretty quickly so I’ll also freeze my spinach or kale for smoothies, and even tried raspberries a couple of weeks back and used the frozen raspberries for mimosas – I mean, it was pretty perfect.

4.Pinterest is your BFF.

As you can see, there’s a theme in this post of a lot of my recipe inspo coming from Pinterest. If you’re in a rut, get to pinning – you’ll feel like a culinary creative genius in no time, promise.

5.When in doubt, it’s okay to go pre-made.

I usually try to stay away from the pre-made aisle of the grocery store, but I will say I’ve gotten some pretty good bake-at-home chicken dishes or salads from the Publix deli when I’m in a real crunch. Other than that, one of my big tips is to buy a rotisserie chicken, cut it up and put it in a tupperware for the week to be used on top of salads, served with veggies or in a wrap.

Happy cooking!

Girl Boss Guide ft. Mallory Hope Schwartz of HopefullyPlated

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Beauty, brains & bubbly personality — That’s the best way to describe Mallory Hope Schwartz, founder of HopefullyPlated, a concierge nutritional planning service here in Atlanta, GA. As a fitness and food enthusiast, Mallory Hope married her passions together and created HopefullyPlated to make buying, preparing and eating healthy more accessible to her clients. I sat down with her to learn a little more — from her background to her favorite indulgent meal to how she maintains a positive body image. Read on for the full interview:

Yes Girl: Start off by telling me a little bit about your background and how you came up with the idea for HopefullyPlated.

Mallory Hope: I’m originally from Richmond, VA and growing up, we had a mixture of Southern culture and Jewish tradition. I always loved being in the kitchen so around the age of 9, I found a big passion for food, cooking and making everyone feel welcome. We started our weeks with family dinners and that’s something that really stuck with me. When I went to college in South Carolina, I felt most welcome by enjoying dinner with friends. After school, I moved to Los Angeles and on Sunday nights, I would host family dinners for my friends. That’s when the day-to-day passion of food really came into play. I was also teaching barre and spin in LA, and food and fitness truly go hand in hand. I took an intense 90-day food challenge and started asking myself: “How does food really affect our bodies?” From there, this idea of HopefullyPlated just started to brew. I tried a lot of different jobs on for size, but was always more passionate about fitness and food than any other career I had, so I always kind of felt like something was missing. When my dad had to undergo ankle fusion surgery, I moved home to help out and told my parents, “If I’m moving home, we’re eating how I would eat.” As a result, my family was healthy, my dad lost weight – I just truly saw what I could give. When my time at another job ended, I gave myself a one-day pity party and two days later, I purchased the domain!

YG: Walk me through how HopefullyPlated works.

MH: All of my meal plans are inspired by gluten-free options, limited sugar and no dairy. I want my clients to be inspired by having a healthy fridge. When starting out with a client, I’ll sit down with them and have a consultation where we’ll go over a special questionnaire I’ve created. I’ll have them walk me through their day and what it looks like – when they’re most hungry, what their weakness is, what their favorite foods are, etc. From there, I’ll move forward with the planning, grocery shopping, prepping, cooking and delivering! We also have a great new client discount and referral benefits.

YG: You’re also passionate about fitness, teaching specifically. Tell me more about how that passion came to be and your philosophy on working out. 

MH: I have always loved group fitness, but wasn’t ready to be brick-and-mortar and open my own fitness studio, so I wanted to go somewhere I believed in. Pink Barre is a great brand that supports my own goals and values so I knew it was a great fit for me. Right now I’m teaching 7-12 classes per week, taking my own yoga classes 3-5 times per week and then I’ll usually try and get in one swim or one strength training session a week. I’ve always diversified my workouts because that’s what works for me! I think each woman’s workouts are her own, and you’ve just got to find what works for you.

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Cooking insights from Mallory: “I use four different types of onions in my veggie pans, because they all have different flavors.”

YG: Going off on your own and creating your own business can be scary – Tell me a little about that experience and how it’s been for you.

MH: Coming from a very strong family, you always had to find your own moment to shine. I came from working in events and marketing where you give a lot to someone else’s brand. After a few years, it can get exhausting because you also want to market yourself and who you are… so I said “This is my chance” and if I didn’t take it now, I would’ve always wondered “what if?” Sure I’ve had failures, but at this point in my life, it just feels like the right time.

YG: What has been your biggest challenge in this venture?

MH: Getting rooted in the right city, with the right roommate, with the right comfort level and people around me, has really been my biggest challenge to this point. I had the mindset that all of the right pieces would come together and if they didn’t, then it wasn’t meant to be. Once that all came together, I haven’t looked back.

YG: What advice do you have for other female entrepreneurs?

MH: Don’t close any doors. I’ve met four people just today! You never know what can happen. Sometimes I’m talking and sometimes I’m just there to listen and soak it all in. You also can’t be too hard on yourself.

YG: What does a typical day look like for you?

MH: *Laughs* Nothing is typical – and I’m okay with that! I’m an early bird, so on one day I may wake up at 5am to go to yoga, teach a double at Pink Barre, go to the market by 9 and be home by 11 to grab a snack. I’m fluid in my day, but also determined. I don’t beat myself up if things don’t get done, because I know tomorrow’s just another day. In a typical week, one day will be a market day where I go pick up all of the groceries I’ll need for that week. I get all my food from the Dekalb Farmers Market – for me, it is the most locally-supported shop. I started going there on the weekends (their busiest time) when I first moved to Atlanta and I even loved it then. It is my zen! If my clients have specific dietary needs or preferences, I can navigate through the market with those in mind, so it provides customization for my clients. Normally, the following day is all prep – cutting, shredding and whatever else needs to get done for the following cooking day. Just to give you a sense of what that looks like, I’m typically roasting 5-10 plates of veggies on a cooking day so it gets pretty crazy! The next day or two are delivery days where I’ll drop off all meals to my clients. After that, I spend some time with recipe creation. I pull a lot of my inspiration from seasonal trends, the weather and food bloggers. I also take a couple days to really just build up my content and take a refresh, whether it’s blog posts, photos or (very necessarily) cleaning up my kitchen!

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Mallory’s philosophy on not finishing your meal: “It’s weird when you meet someone that doesn’t take home a goodie bag!”

YG: What’s your all-time favorite indulgent meal? 

MH: Oreo brownie sundae, all the way. I also have a weakness for French fries.

YG: How many times a week do you let yourself indulge?

MH: Usually if I’m baking cookies, I’ll eat a couple myself and give the rest away. I haven’t found a great Oreo brownie sundae to replicate my old favorite yet, otherwise I’d probably have it every day! I’ve found that I’m good with sampling the foods I love and I really don’t need to overly splurge.

YG: What are your favorite healthy food joints in Atlanta for when you’re not cooking?

MH: I do feel guilty when I eat out because I can pretty much cook everything at home – besides sushi! I’ll never feel guilty with sushi – Doraku and Genki are some of my favorites. Healthier options are usually anything non-American. Le Fat is probably one of my favorite options – Guy Wong is one of my mentors and he has definitely become a close friend of mine. He’s so warm and welcoming and always giving me positive feedback. Try their Clay Pot Chicken, “Shaking Beef” or Shrimp Spring Rolls. Chai Pani in Decatur packs a lot of veggies and spices. I’m also a sucker for Yeah Burger. Sean’s Harvest Market probably has my favorite smoothies in Atlanta. I have gotten healthier options at The Porter, too – they have such a cool menu! They’re one of my top restaurants in Atlanta.

YG: What would you say a normal day of eating looks like for you?

MH: I like to eat by using all of my senses – and this is how I plan for my clients, too. I really look at what colors are on my plate, what textures are there – “does it crunch?” and overall presentation of a meal. I think most people’s days are better suited when they start with a lot of protein. I’m a big egg person for breakfast and will usually add a 5 oz. piece of chicken or steak and some spinach or avocado. Snacks are usually fruit, homemade trail mix or a rice cake and peanut butter. My lunches are as colorful as possible – today’s lunch was leftover gluten-free chicken parmesan with sautéed zucchini and shallots. Dinner depends on how I need to refuel my body – usually something like quinoa or half a sweet potato with some more protein like steak, chicken or lamb. My lamb meatballs are like, the best thing ever. If I’m craving something sweet, I’ll put all-natural vanilla ice cream into a teacup so I get my fix while controlling my portions. As a little side tip, I like eating everything in bowls because it helps control my portion size.

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The baker in her says: “I literally buy four dozen eggs a week in fear that I may run out!”

YG: What’s your top tip for staying healthy and fit? 

MH: Have a plan – with wiggle room, of course. I typically know what meals I plan to eat, what barre classes I’m going to teach and how I’m going to work out that day. If I know I’m leaving for a noon flight, I know I need to squeeze in a 6am workout. I also pack snacks for the day when I leave my house. I wig out if I’m going to be somewhere without snacks!

YG: Let’s talk about body image. You seem to radiate positivity and self-love… Teach us your ways!

MH: I definitely grew up a little shorter and a little chubbier – but full of personality! As I slowly grew into my body, I could say “I trust in who I am.” Every single girl has insecurities – supermodels, girls on TV… we all are our own worst enemies and social media has made it even worse. Self-love comes from something deeper because we allow a lot of outside influences to play into how we feel about ourselves. So I gave myself a rule a few years ago: I will talk about my insecurities while I’m home getting ready, but the second I leave my door, I’m not allowed to talk about them any more. That burger I ate yesterday is not still hangin’ on me or that pimple – well I covered it up the best I could! Sometimes you’ve just gotta be your own cheerleader. Not every day is gonna be great, but how else are we gonna get through if we don’t love ourselves?

Want to learn more about how HopefullyPlated can help make a healthy lifestyle easier for you? Head over to www.hopefullyplated.com or email Mallory Hope at hopefullyplated@gmail.com.

 

 

A Healthier Pizza Recipe for Your Cozy Date Night In

I’m a big advocate of Pizza Sundays… yes, it’s a thing. I love cozying up with a glass of wine and a cheesy slice (or three) to make the weekend last just a little longer before the sheer terror of Monday sets in. But, let’s be honest, this can be a fattening habit – so I took matters into my own hands.

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Y’all know I am not a food blogger by any means, hence the horrible photography (sorry guys, I’m learning) but I don’t try to be – I just want to share any and everything that may help make your life a little easier (or more delicious) – which brings me to this healthier arugula and prosciutto pizza “recipe”*

*Side note: I don’t really follow recipes. This is more like a “throw all these ingredients on a flatbread and roll with it” type thing but who has time for an elaborate meal, anyways?

This meal was actually amazing. And so, so easy to make. We paired ours with freshly made Moscow Mules for a perfect lil’ at-home date night.

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[Serves 2]

Ingredients:

  • 2 pieces of whole grain naan
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 6 tbsp. pesto (you can make your own or use a store-bought version)
  • 6 slices of prosciutto
  • 2c. arugula
  • 1/2 lemon
  • Sea salt (to taste)
  • Mozzarella cheese (to your liking)

How to make it:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Drizzle each piece of naan with 1 tbsp. of olive oil
  3. Top each with 3 tbsp. of pesto (or more if you’re a big pesto person!)
  4. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
  5. Cook for 5 minutes, then take out.
  6. Tear 3 slices of prosciutto for each piece of naan and place the pieces on top of the cheese.
  7. Add more mozzarella to cover the prosciutto.
  8. Cook for another 5 minutes, or until browned to your liking.
  9. While the pizzas are cooking, mix 2 cups of arugula with a pinch of sea salt and the juice from half a lemon.
  10. Take out of the oven, slice into fours and top with arugula.

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Enjoy! xx