How to Meal Prep + Basic Breakfast Recipe

Meal Prep by Clo

Part #3

The process of meal prep is simple, but being organised throughout goes a long way. I don’t think I’ve ever stepped into the kitchen on Meal Prep Day without a plan. Today I’m going to walk you through my personal step by step process on how I do my meal prep from start to finish. Make sure to read right until the end because I have also included my favourite go-to breakfast recipe (pictured above) which I make and eat nearly every single day (with a slight change depending on the weather – in Winter I make a cooked version).

Know that this step by step process is purely a guide for you of what I do, your meal prep is still your journey to work within your own lifestyle, your way. I can’t wait to share my process with you..

Step 1

Research and plan..

  • First you need to grab a notepad/notebook and pen and work out what it is that you want to meal prep. Work out whether you are making breakfast, lunch, snacks or all of the above.
  • Now you need to work out what it is exactly that you want to make. I have 3 favourite places I go to for recipe inspiration, 1 website and 2 books. The website is www.movenourishbelieve.com and the 2 books are ‘Nourish’ by Lorna Jane Clarkson and ‘Living the Healthy Life’ by Jessica Sepel (pictured below). You don’t always need to follow a recipe, but a little inspiration is always a good place to start to get ideas before you begin, even if it’s only to get the base for a recipe, a topping idea or a flavour combination, it will ignite your recipe creativity.

  • Write down what you are making for what meal, and once you have this you can if you want to go into more detail about what you will need for each recipe. I don’t do this anymore, but you may need to go to the shops to grab something you don’t have. There’s nothing worse than getting excited about making something and beginning only to realise, you need to get something else to actually make it.

Step 2

Get ready..

  • The next step I personally do is get everything out in front of me that I need, from the equipment (mixing bowl etc.) to the ingredients. I also grab out all of the containers I will be using to put my meals into. This helps when you finish making something so you can put it straight into the containers. Staying organised throughout the process is key.
  • When you are ready to start creating it’s always good to work out if you need to preheat the oven, line trays, wash/soak ingredients at the very beginning. This helps streamline the process so when you are ready to put for example, muffins into the oven, you can because your tray is ready and the oven is preheated and ready to go too.
  • Make room in your fridge and freezer for your prepared meals. This is another great step to do before you actually begin so that once everything is prepared you can put it away easily. I have a dedicated spot in the freezer for mine and make a conscious effort to keep it empty throughout the week ready to fill up again so I’m not playing Tetris come time.

Step 3

Begin..

  • I always take a step back at the start and work out from what I’m making what takes the longest so I know where to start. Such as, if I need rice for my meal I will put the rice cooker on straight away, or if I want soaked oats, I will put them together and straight into the fridge.
  • If I am making a veggie based meal I will cut up everything first, as vegetables all cook at different times (nobody likes overcooked broccoli, am I right?). For example, I would cook my root vegetables first such as carrot and sweet potato, and once they are caramelised I would throw in the greens about a couple of minutes towards finishing cooking. Which is why having them all cut up at the beginning really helps, because you can have everything set aside and cook accordingly.
  • As you are cooking, clean as you go. I know this is sometimes easier said than done if you are feeling a little overwhelmed with all the things you have going on, but trust me when I say it makes the entire process so much nicer and enjoyable when at the end all you have to do is wipe down the kitchen bench and pack away your meals. If you have a dishwasher pack it as you go, if you only have a sink like me, run a hot one once you start cooking so you can wash up as you go (you can thank me later with this one).

Step 4

Assemble..

  • So you’ve finished cooking and now it’s time to finish putting everything into your containers. I recommend letting your meals cool before putting them into the fridge or freezer. Though with for example baked goods, I let them cool on the baking tray or baking stand before putting them into their desired container.
  • Once cooled, I put 1-2 days into the fridge and the rest into the freezer (unless you’ve made salads of course). This helps seal the freshness. Then each night once I get home from work and unpack my empty containers from that day, I then grab my pre-made meals from the freezer and transfer them to the fridge, and do this each night until the end of the week.
  • If you have any snacks that don’t need refrigeration I would put these straight into your lunch bag ready to go the night before, such as nuts, muffins or fruit. The less you have to think about before your morning coffee, the better.

Step 5

ENJOY!

  • There is seriously no better feeling than sitting down to food that you’ve made.
  • At the end of the week it’s good to reflect on your meal prep so you can alter it and make it better, think about if you made enough, and if you have leftovers perhaps you made too much. I have been meal prepping for years now, but still I’m always finding room for improvement and depending on my lifestyle, what I eat is always changing. I also eat with the season, I’m a big believer in eating cooler foods in Summer and warming foods in Winter.
  • Be proud of yourself.

BASIC BREAKFAST RECIPE

Clo’s Overnight Oats

You will need.. small container + measuring cups + measuring spoons

Ingredients

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup almond milk

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp honey (or sweetener of choice)

1 tbsp coconut flakes

1/4 cup blueberries

1/4 cup strawberries, halved

Method

Put the oats into a small container and pour the milk over the top (I use a small glass container).

Refrigerate this overnight (or if you are meal prepping in the morning you can refrigerate this first up and then finish it off in the evening). Tip: What you want when you soak oats is for the oats to soak up all of the liquid, but still be creamy and moist. If you find it is too dry for you, you can always add a little more milk either at the beginning before you refrigerate it or mix some through after before you top it.

Sprinkle on ground cinnamon, add honey and coconut flakes.

Top with blueberries and strawberries.

Serves 1

Time approx. 5 minutes (not including soaking time)

Note: If you require a more substantial breakfast you can easily double the oats and milk to make the same recipe.

If you make this I would absolutely love to know what you think in the comments below, and if you take a photo please share it on Instagram and tag @sparkleondarling so I can see. I cannot wait for you to try this.

This weeks task

This week I want you to find some inspiration for what you will make. Search the internet or head to your local book store or library. There are so many ideas out there on what you can make for meal prep! Keep in mind when doing so how long something will keep for and if it is easy to store and take on your daily commute (soups are great, but you have to make sure you have a specific air-tight container for travelling – take it from my personal experience on soup going everywhere..). I’m forever writing ideas down, favouriting recipes and sticky noting’ my cookbooks.

I hope after reading this blog post you are feeling truly ready (and hopefully bursting with love) to begin your meal prep journey. If you have any questions about any of the above please leave them in the comments below. Make sure to subscribe to SPARKLE on darling back on the home page to ensure you don’t miss the next blog post from the ‘Meal Prep by Clo’ series.

All my love,

My Pantry and Fridge Staples + Where I Shop

Meal Prep by Clo

Part #2

I absolutely love seeing behind the scenes of other bloggers and vloggers, I love seeing around their homes, but especially love seeing what’s in their pantry and fridge (I have a thing for kitchens..). So I’ve decided to be that blogger for you today and let you in on the details of my go-to staples in my personal pantry and fridge. For those who are new to my blog, I am a long time vegetarian (15 years), with the exception of seafood every now and again, so ‘meat’ is not part of my personal staples.

Ready to get behind the scenes with me in my kitchen? Shopping list at the ready..

Shop Code: A – Aldi, WW – Woolworths, S – The Source Bulk Foods, H – health food shop, F – fruit shop, M – markets, O – online

My pantry staples..

Dry ingredients – grains, flours, powders, nuts, seeds

  • rolled oats (A/S)
  • brown rice (A/WW)
  • gluten free pasta (rice pasta, buckwheat pasta, mixture of both – I found lentil pasta once and it was amazing) (WW/S/H)
  • natural almond meal (S)
  • LSA (A/S)
  • pysillium husk (S)
  • coconut flour (S/H)
  • cacao powder (S)
  • baking powder (WW)
  • curry powder (WW)
  • natural almonds (A/S)
  • walnuts (S)
  • chia seeds (S)
  • sesame seeds (S)
  • poppy seeds (WW)
  • seed mix (pepitas, sunflower seeds etc.) (S)
  • coconut flakes (S)
  • shredded coconut (S)

Spices

  • pink rock salt (A)
  • black pepper (A)
  • ground cinnamon (A)
  • ground nutmeg (WW)
  • ground cardamom (WW)
  • ground turmeric (WW)
  • herb spice mix (A/WW/O)
  • cayenne pepper (WW)
  • chilli flakes (WW)
  • vegetable stock (WW)

Oils

  • olive oil (A)
  • coconut oil (A)
  • coconut butter (A)

Sauces

  • passata (A/WW)
  • tamari (WW)

Condiments

  • peanut butter (100% peanuts – I love almond butter too) (A/S)
  • unhulled tahini (WW/S)
  • honey (A)
  • pure maple syrup (A/WW)

Tinned

  • tinned diced tomatoes (A/WW)
  • tinned legumes (red kidney beans + 5 bean mix are my favourite) (A/WW)

Other

  • vanilla essence (WW)
  • ACV (apple cider vinegar) (A)
  • dandelion root tea (WW)
  • matcha powder (O)
  • vegan/plant based protein powder (O)

My fridge (freezer) staples..

  • almond milk (WW)
  • organic natural yoghurt (A/WW)
  • free range eggs (I try to buy organic too when I can) (A)
  • variety of veggies (eat the rainbow and with the season!) – eg. sweet potato, carrot, zucchini, capsicum, red onion, mushrooms, tomatoes, cucumber (A/WW/F/M)
  • variety of fruit – eg. bananas and apples (A/WW/F/M)
  • frozen blueberries and frozen raspberries (A/WW)

Where I shop and what I buy from them specifically..

I’ve coded the above lists to correspond with the shops below in case you are further interested in the exact products I get. Please note though that if I’ve noted more than one place it’s because I do mix it up where I shop depending on what’s on special and where I’m able to get to on my day off. I’m not yet that girl who gets to the farmers markets every weekend (though that’s the dream right).

Aldi (A)

This is where I buy most of my basics above, because it is really affordable (I find Aldi makes a huge impact on my budget) and they have a really good organic range now which I absolutely love.

This is where I buy my coconut oil, Aldi’s own Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil.

Aldi had a special part in their catalogue recently where they brought in coconut butter so I grabbed some, Aldi’s own Organic Coconut Butter. I really hope they make it a regular product on their shelves.

Woolworths (WW)

I’m a Woolies girl at heart (thanks Mum..). On the odd occasion I will go to Coles as that’s what is close to me at work in the city, but otherwise Woolies is my go to bigger supermarket.

This is where I buy my almond milk (I don’t drink cows milk). I have 2 absolute favourite almond milk’s that I get from Woolworths, Pure Harvest Activated Almond Milk – Unsweetened Original and Australia’s Own Organic Almond Milk – Unsweetened.

I also buy my tamari from Woolworths, tamari is a healthier alternative to regular soy sauce. I like Pure Harvest Organic Tamari – Traditional Soy Sauce.

The Source Bulk Foods (S)

This is where I stock up on all my pantry staples for all of my creations and recipes. You can take all of your own jars and containers to your local The Source Bulk Foods and fill them up which saves packaging, saves you money and the products are most definitely better, and of course something really important to me, you are supporting a family owned business.

Health Food Shop (H)

Sometimes I shop at a health food shop called Go Vita and also at Biome.

Fruit Shop (F)

Sometimes if I’m near a fruit shop I will stock up on basic veggies and fruit.

Market (M)

Sometimes I go to the markets before a supermarket to get basic veggies and fruit.

This weeks task

It’s time to give your pantry and fridge a makeover, doing what you can with what you have. This weekend I did my little pantry. Here’s some behind the scenes of the process and the finished product just for you..

I hope after reading this blog post you are feeling excited about your little kitchen makeover and your pantry and fridge staples. If you have any questions about any of the above please leave them in the comments below. Make sure to subscribe to SPARKLE on darling back on the home page to ensure you don’t miss the next blog post from the ‘Meal Prep by Clo’ series.

All my love,

Meal Prep #101

Meal Prep by Clo

Part #1

What is Meal Prep?

According to Wikipedia, the definition of meal prep is.. ‘Meal preparation, sometimes called “meal prep”, is the process of planning and preparing meals’, now I have to be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever called it by its full name, aka meal preparation, or googled what it is before I started writing this blog post for that matter. My personal definition of meal prep(aration) is.. ‘the practice of making nourishing food in advance to make your life easier‘. With that said there is so much more to why I love meal prep and why I think it is such an important weekly practice to embrace.

Why I love it

I first discovered meal prep a long time ago when I moved to Brisbane on my own at age 19, landed my first full time job in the big city and soon after realised that buying lunch everyday was not only taking all of my hard earned money from me, but it also wasn’t making me feel very good. When I first started meal prepping I didn’t have a lot, I think I only owned a couple of containers and borrowed a mixing bowl, but still I managed to put together snacks and meals to take with me daily in my little lunch bag. Yes, I’m absolutely that adult who carries around a cute lunch bag with PRIDE. Meal prepping makes me feel organised for my week ahead and leaves me feeling proud of myself for putting in the effort that essentially betters my week and in the long run, my life. I’m pretty fond of it huh? You betcha.

The benefits

The benefits of meal prep are endless, but here are my top 10 reasons why I think it is one of the most beneficial practices to add to your weekly rhythm too..

  1. Saves you a lot of MONEY.
  2. Saves you TIME in the long run (no more wasting your lunch break waiting in line).
  3. You KNOW exactly what is in your food.
  4. LESS FOOD WASTE because you can use up leftovers easily.
  5. The food you make will more than likely be HEALTHIER than anything you would buy.
  6. You can TAILOR every meal to your dietary needs.
  7. YOUR BODY from the inside out WILL THANK YOU over and over again.
  8. Encourages your CREATIVITY in the kitchen.
  9. Encourages you to try NEW foods.
  10. Makes you feel like a total organised #GIRLBOSS (or #BOYBOSS).

Meal Prep essentials

To meal prep you will need a few basic pieces of ‘equipment’ to make it easier. I personally find that having specific pieces in my kitchen for my meal prep allows it to be a more relaxed process come time. I don’t have to look for a bowl, spoon or containers with matching lids because I have set aside all of my equipment ready to go for meal prep day.

These are my meal prep essentials..

  • Glass mixing bowl (plastic is fine, but I love my glass one – pictured above)
  • Wooden spoon (pictured above)
  • Spatula (not the kind you flip eggs with, the baking kind – pictured above)
  • Digital scales (again if you don’t have digital that’s fine, but they are pretty affordable these days and make creating recipes SO much easier, especially when baking when you need exact quantities down to the gram – pictured above)
  • Set of measuring cups (mine have 1/4 cup, 1/2 cup, 3/4 cup + 1 cup)
  • Set of measuring spoons (mine have 1/4 tsp, 1/2 tsp, 1 tsp, 1/2 tbsp + 1 tbsp – pictured above)
  • Quality set of containers specifically for meal prep (I use all kinds as I’ve been doing this for so many years now – I do though favourite my Tupperware for heating up in and my glass containers for my cold meals such as salads)

Extras I have (but not essential depending on your meal prep/lifestyle)..

  • Glass jar/s (I use these for drinks, smoothies or to store snacks in – pictured above)
  • Lunch bag (ok I think this is kind of essential, but it really depends on your personal lifestyle)
  • Cold packs to go in lunch bag
  • Refillable drink bottle
  • Reusable coffee/travel cup
  • Shopping list
  • Market basket/reusable shopping bags

This weeks task

Once you’ve got your head around the art of meal prepping and you have your cupboard full of your essentials, all you need to do now before you officially begin is establish your personal why, why adding this practice into your week will benefit you. I want you to write this down, stick it on the fridge or somewhere in the kitchen. This little piece of ‘why’ cake will be your weekly motivation.

I hope after reading this blog post you are feeling inspired and motivated to begin your meal prep journey with me. Make sure to subscribe to SPARKLE on darling back on the home page to ensure you don’t miss the next blog post from the ‘Meal Prep by Clo’ series.

All my love,

Meal Prep by Clo + What’s to Come

Photo by Kelly Adams Photography

I’ve been pretty excited of late to start putting together some blog posts for SPARKLE on darling dedicated to all things ‘meal prep’, after a lot of positive feedback from my community on Instagram (@chloeawilson) to do so. So I thought I would give you the run down first on what you can expect over the next few blog posts. I had so much fun putting together my Christmas series, and once again I received a lot of positive feedback, that I think running ‘series’ blog posts might just be a regular thing here on my blog, and I don’t believe that I need a special occasion to do so.

Welcome to the very first post of ‘Meal Prep by Clo’ series.

Meal prep (or meal prepping) is something I am very passionate about. I am a virgo, I have a highly organised personality and I love to cook, so meal prep to me is everything.

I have been cooking for myself and ‘meal prepping’ for a long time, I think I worked it out to be nearly 9 years (since I moved to Brisbane by myself at age 19). My lifestyle though has changed a lot throughout these 9 years and along with it my pantry, my cooking style and what I like to eat. I’m pretty proud of where I’m at now when it comes to being organised and how well I can cook, so I think I’m definitely ready to share it out loud (or at least, in writing – for now).

Shall we get into what’s to come for all of this meal prepping I keep talking about? Read on and I hope you become as motivated as I am to be in the kitchen..

On the blog

Meal Prep #101..

There will be a dedicated blog post to introduce you to meal prep, why I love it along with the benefits, and what you will need to have before you begin (or what you can add to your collection). This may sound silly to some, but honestly for how long I’ve been doing it, I really do feel like I have a world of knowledge to share with you, and I cannot wait to condense it all down simply for you to implement into your life too.

My Pantry and Fridge Staples + Where I Shop..

There will be a list-filled blog post all about the ingredients/food I like to have on hand (get your shopping list ready! I would love to create a downloadable/printable PDF for you – see how I go..) and of course where I get it all from for those that are interested. I plan to do some behind the scenes in this one as well, eg. photo’s of the actual products I buy and photo’s inside my pantry/fridge. Disclaimer: I am not in any way sponsored by anyone or an ambassador for anyone at this point in my blogging ‘career’, so when I say ‘THIS IS MY FAVOURITE MILK’, I promise you, I really do drink it every, single, day (P.S. I probably should mention now that I have 2 favourite milks – I’m cheeky like that).

How to Meal Prep + Basic Recipes..

There will be a blog post all about the how to’s, the tips and tricks and my personal step by step process to make it happen. I will also include a few basic recipes that I make on a regular basis, this will include simple step by step method’s such as how I cook rice, roast veggies etc. I’m going to make these recipes as friendly as possible for those with dietary requirements and for those who (like me for most of this year) don’t have a food processor or the like to bring it together. My recipes on SPARKLE on darling will always be achievable and easy to make for anyone wanting a healthier (super yummy) alternative.

Instagram @sparkleondarling

Competitions..

I will be running some little competitions over on the SPARKLE on darling community Instagram @sparkleondarling. So make sure to head on over and follow there so you don’t miss out on some sparkly gifts for you and your meal prep journey.

Updates..

For any new blog posts I publish I also post on Instagram once it has gone live, so I would love your support there too. Every follow here or on the community Instagram @sparkleondarling makes me, a real person behind the screen, do a little happy dance because it means that SPARKLE on darling is growing a community and I want you to be a part of that with me too.

Last but not least, a big heartfelt THANK YOU to all my readers and followers out there who have given me their support and feedback regarding me doing meal prep blog posts. I have taken everything on board, literally written all of your suggestions down, in order to create this series. This is all for you.

Are you ready to get your Meal Prep on? Don’t worry, I’m right here meal prepping away alongside you. If you have any questions throughout this series, please don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments below, I’m here to help. Make sure to subscribe to SPARKLE on darling back on the home page to ensure you don’t miss the next post from the ‘Meal Prep by Clo’ series.

All my love,