Jess Ann Kirby reads her favorites cookbooks for healthy recipes to try this January

#JAKWellness12 Week 3: What’s Cookin

Happy Monday and Martin Luther King Jr. Day for my stateside friends. It was so awesome to read all of your goals and comments from last week’s post, it gave me more ideas for my own goals for the year. Before we get into our new challenge, I want to share my progress from last week. In short, it went pretty well, I think I can do better this week. I had a really stiff/sore neck from our terrible pillows (finally got new ones after reviewing all of your suggestions on Instagram) and I am already feeling better. Exercise was making it worse in the beginning but switching our pillows was a game changer (I got the Coop Home Shredded Foam Pillow and took some of the stuffing out). Here’s what I did for my 30 minutes everyday.

Monday: Barre Class
Tuesday: Stretching/Yoga 30 Minutes
Wednesday: Stretching/Yoga 30 Minutes
Thursday: Barre Class
Friday: Dog Walk & Stretch
Saturday: Stretching & Morning Bike Ride
Sunday: Closet/Bedroom Organize Clean-out (does this count, haha, according to most of you who saw me ask this on Instagram, it does)

Confession, I didn’t really try anything new (also part of last week’s challenge), lame, I know, but I am signing up for a yoga class this week at a studio near me that I’ve never been to so better late than never. I plan on continuing my 30 minutes everyday (minimum) with one day for rest. Honestly most days I didn’t want to exercise but it felt really good afterwards and I was always so happy I did. I’m excited to hear how all of you did last week, make sure to let me know in the comments. As a reminder I will be doing a giveaway  at the end of every month and a big one at the end of the year. Your name will be entered for every Monday that you comment with your progress!

Jess Ann Kirby makes a resolution to cook more at home and incorporate healthy recipes into her diet

This Week’s Challenge: Try 3 new healthy recipes

One of my goals for this year is to cook at home more and eat out less. Since we bought our house we’ve gotten better, but we still need improvement. I think one of our biggest problems is that we don’t meal plan. So when one of us goes to the grocery store (we can’t grocery shop together because I take forever and it drives Craig nuts, and he goes too fast and it drives me nuts, haha!) we inevitably get things without thinking about how they’ll work in meals. Which leads to us ordering or going out, and wasting food. We got really into collecting cookbooks this fall (prompted by Good Clean Food, a cookbook I received as a gift over the summer). We both love to flip through and pick out recipes, the trick is to actually make them. Up until fairly recently, Craig did most of the cooking in our house. We just sort of fell into that routine and I, of course, didn’t mind. I just accepted that I “wasn’t a good cook.” The thing is the more you cook the better you get, and the easier it becomes. Honestly now I enjoy it, and dare I say, look forward to it, especially when I’m trying a new recipe. And that leads me to this week’s challenge. Try making at least 3 new healthy recipes this week. It can be anything from a full dinner to a smoothie.

Suggestions:

-Plan your grocery list ahead of time if you can. Find some recipes you want to try and write down what you need so you’ll stick to it.
-Make something you can eat all week. I love these vegan breakfast cookies (you can substitute chocolate for nuts, dried cherries, etc).
-Smoothies are one of my favorite things to have in the morning or as a snack during the day. This smoothie guide from Remi is so good to get you started.
-Make your own almond milk! Only 5 ingredients.

 

Jess Ann Kirby bakes vegan breakfast cookies for a healthy snack
I rounded up some of my favorite cookbooks below, and here’s a few other things I use regularly when cooking.

Instant Pot. Craig got this as a gift for Christmas and I LOVE it. I’ve only made a few things so far but I just got Martha Stewart’s Slow Cooker Cookbook so I plan on trying at least one recipe a week.

Ninja Blender. I really didn’t want to spend the money on a Vitamix so I read tons of reviews and this one had the best. I love this thing and use it everyday.

-All Clad cookware. I finally got nice cookware this fall and it makes cooking such a pleasant experience. It really does make a huge difference. The set I have is on sale right now too.

Some of my favorite cookbooks

44 Comments

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  1. Sam says:

    I literally did this yesterday! I opened up my store flyer to see what fresh fruit/veggies were on sale, opened up Thug Kitchen and foodgawker.com to look for new healthy recipes and planned my meals/lunches for the week. Every meal is currently written on my calendar!
    My boyfriend and I have a pizza problem, if we didn’t feel like cooking we’d just order pizza (it’s literally my favorite food because you can put almost any veggie on top of it). It’s been a struggle since we both have such busy schedules but now we only eat out once or twice a week (usually breakfast before baby swim class – breakfast food is another weakness of mine).

  2. Emily says:

    I am loving these weekly updates! I’ll really enjoyed doing an Aaptiv treadmill + strength workout every day this week. 🙂
    Also, The First Mess cookbook and good clean food are two of my absolute favorites! The First Mess warm mushroom and white bean salad is incredible!
    xo,
    Em
    http://www.organicallyemily.com

  3. Jackie says:

    I’m two weeks late to this challenge but I’m jumping all in on week three! Had a great week exercising, 30 min workouts every AM before work and got in two really great gym workouts over the weekend!
    My husband does all the grocery shopping..thankfully, I hate it but I did a TON of meal prep, so I’m ready for the week 🙂

  4. Mallory says:

    The hubby and I have an Instant Pot and use it a lot. Just last night we made pork carnitas in it. They were yummy and then watched another episode of “The Crown,” season 2. So far, we have made about a dozen or so different recipes using it and have liked each one.

    Stay warm:-))

  5. Katherine says:

    30 minutes daily wasn’t feasible for me. So I did an hour, 3 days last week. It felt great! And I cross country skied for the first time.

  6. Carla says:

    I managed to workout only 2 out of the 5 I had planned. For food I this year I plan on eating more fruits and veggies, drink more water and lower my sugar intake.
    Xx Carla

  7. Rachel says:

    Happy Monday!
    My week was great. Went to the gym three times and did yoga tone with Adrienne twice along with my daily dog walks. I also found a new trail this weekend and took my dog for a longer walk.
    I added a green smoothie a few days for extra veggies, no caffeine two days and also had a burger and sweet potato fries one day all about balance, right?
    Still need some work on being more present. Work is busy this time of year so that helps during the week, but I still spent too much time on social media and my phone yesterday.

  8. Nancy says:

    Thanks so much for helping me stay accountable for my goals! I’m really trying to stick with this challenge every week. I normally do a 30 minute video workout in the morning, and it was nice to switch it up this week with some new challenges. I did a mix of HIIT workouts and yoga, which I haven’t done in years! It felt really nice. I also did a particularly intense HIIT workout that had me dying afterwards, but I’m super glad I did it. All in all, I worked out 4 of the 6 days last week, and I’m committed to doing better for this upcoming week. Every day, or bust!

    This recipe challenge will be difficult for me, because I really hate to cook! But I like the idea of trying some new smoothie recipes and I am already planning out my grocery list for the week, so I don’t get lazy and just order out. (I’m very guilty of that, too)
    Thanks again for creating this wellness challenge!

  9. Meg says:

    I’m excited for this week’s challenge. My partner and I got some (more) heathly cookbooks for Christmas, and have been dipping into them each week. I love trying new recipes. And I honestly love healthy food. My stomach/digestive system are pretty picky, and I feel bad when I eat bad, so health food is kinda my fave.

    I’m also finding that, even if some nights I’d rather dial it in with veggie pizza or Tasty Bites, I feel happier after making something with my hands.

    The exercise last week…kinda happened. Lol. I got that “can’t breathe at all, dead-tired” bug that’s going around, so I couldn’t really work out until Friday. But I worked out an hour each on Friday (60 min elliptical), Saturday (60 min elliptical), and Sunday (35 min yoga, 25 min kettlebell) to make up for it. The Sunday yoga was an online yoga class with a teacher I haven’t taken classes from, in the spirit of trying something new (not a replacement for my faves, but not bad). Feeling better, back in the saddle now, and dedicated to keeping the exercise up this week!

    Thanks again for offering the wellness challenge!!

  10. Emma says:

    Happy Monday!

    I wasn’t able to make it to the gym everyday this week (because work and some unexpected apt issues- yay waiting for the super to show). I did manage to reach my step goal everyday and squeezed in a new to me workout class Saturday that I’m still sore from. Overall 4 out of 7 days, pushing myself to get that up to 6 this week! It’s finally not freezing here in NYC so I’m aiming to squeeze in a couple of runs if I can’t make it to the gym for a class.

    I just did this Friday! Finally got my act together and planned out a couple of different meals for the next 2 weeks. Going to try to keep myself accountable and not just order in if I’m too tired to cook.

    Have a great week!

  11. Katy says:

    Most of my days were walking our pup, but I did get in a couple runs and a day at pilates! Did all my meal planning and grocery shopping yesterday too! We got the One Pan, Two Plates cookbook for our wedding and have a few new recipes to try this week – along with tried and true ones I can make from memory. It’s been great for week nights after work to throw meat and veggies in a pan (most recipes are 30ish minutes of hands on time) and not have too many other things to clean!

  12. Melissa says:

    I did great with workouts last week, and my eating was really good except for the chocolate chip cookie habit I developed (damn hormones!) Back on track this week!

    I love meal planning — I use pinterest to pin recipes and then evernote to do a meal plan with links to recipes I want to make and grocery list. I made the turkey bolognese you linked to on Friday for dinner last night and it was SO good.

  13. Taylor W says:

    I started last week off strong, worked out for at least 30 minutes Mon-Thurs and tried a new class (Kickboxing!) on Tuesday. Unfortunately, I was feeling a little crappy on Friday, so I gave myself a pass for the day, which turned into a pass for the entire weekend…. not my best effort. Going to really try to make up for it this week, though – I’ve already planned out an activity for each day to make sure to get myself back on track.

    Excited about this week’s challenge – this is something I try to do regularly anyway, but have been really neglecting since the holidays.

  14. Bethany says:

    Confession: I only went once. Aunt Flo came to visit and kicked my a** last week. Plus one day last week I had the most incredibly nasty headache that was only relieved by mints. Then I was in Austin, TX all weekend but I’m going to count all the walking we did as exercise! 😛

    So not so good, but my husband goes back to classes after work tomorrow so I’ll have more time in the evenings to go. Trying to find recipes I enjoy, so hoping I’ll do better this week!

  15. Jherell says:

    I love how your challenges align with what I’ve already been trying to do! Last week’s challenge pushed me to (finally) sign up for my first spin class. I’m going to keep the ball rolling and sign up for another new-to-me class this week (along with trying out 3 new healthy recipes)!

  16. Kristene says:

    I love how the challenges are keeping me accountable! I did treadmill HIIT workouts + hill workouts for 45-60 minutes five days last week and tried an Otangetheory class on Saturday for my something new. I’m excited for this week’s challenge; my boyfriend and I have gotten better about eating out/ordering in, but there’s still a lot of room for improvement.

  17. Sara says:

    Monday-Sunday
    Everyday is the same for me as I am in rehab for a torn MCL and sprained ACL. I am an avid Nordic skier that now is confined to a knee immobilizer. My 30 minutes is filled with physival therapy excercises. I do own a Peloton bike that has saved my life emotionally. My new thing is peddling through the scenic modules on the bike instead of riding full force in a class. I injured myself on New Year’s Day so 2018 has been a challenge so far but I am headed back to modified yoga this week. Excited for that.

  18. Beth says:

    I’m loving the Monday challenges! And reading everyone’s comments ? fab stuff!!!!

    I’m pretty good at the exercise bit because I’m a running BORE! I run the dog most days and avidly ran almost daily for over a decade. However this year I’m pledging to run everyday of January for a mental health charity and admittedly it’s challenged me! Running regardless even when I haven’t felt like it – for example Sunday morning the day after running a very fast 10k cross-Country thanks to & led by my son who happens to run county cross-country races and a keeps ‘casual’ 6min mile pace over boulders of mud!( That and also about a million glasses of Rioja over Saturday night dinner) but I still got out and ran a cool 4miles Sunday morning! I’m on day 15 and still going strong, we ran (Dog and I at 5am this morning! – determined) I haven’t tried anything new however, although I’m changing up my routes and as I run with my dog finding cross country routes with longer distances so he can be off lead and not in a Canicross harness.

    Love the food challenge – I’m pretty lucky and married to a chef! However I’m usually the weekday cook for the family, I totally agree that planning/meal planning before you shop is the key! I’m trying to make our family eat vegan a day or two a week, easy for me who has been a vegan, not so much for my chef husband who is like ‘where is the meat? ironically I was a vegan when we met and he makes the best veggie/vegan food! – this said I’m currently testing out vegan dishes that the kids don’t spit out! And fills up a carnivore craving husband! Xb

  19. Katie G says:

    I loved your recent post about how it really does feel different this year with the resolutions…granted its only 15 days later….but the level of detail I have broken my goals down into – copying your format of what I want to hit each quarter, and than creating google documents and spreadsheets for my other professional and personal goals, just motivates me to do something to hit them each day.
    I hit the goal of at least 30 minutes of physical activity last week, and went to a new yoga studio. I love moving, it gets me out of my head for a while.
    I am psyched to see a challenge about cooking, I am already someone who cooks almost everyday, I even cook for some of my nutrition clients at their homes. I love it because it gives me time to unwind from the day, and at the end of it you have this little masterpiece that you created, can eat, and share with the ones you love. An interesting side note, believe it or not I have found that one of the best ways to help people with eating disorders or disordered eating is to get them in the kitchen and cooking!
    Love from Philly,
    Katie

  20. Christina says:

    Last week, I got thirty minutes in each day by walking outside and on the treadmill and then finally tried a new to me yoga fusion class this Saturday, which was much needed. I have a brand new recipe for vegetarian chili in the crockpot now and made a coconut kale smoothie this aftermoon (the beauty of a three day weekend!)

    A few years back, I bought the cookbook, Clean Slate, which is curated by the Martha Stewart team! It’s really helpful for a jump on really great clean recipes. Also, I’ve heard Dinner in an Instant, Melissa Clark’s Instant Pot cookbook, is famtastic!

  21. Cornelia says:

    Hello Jess,i love your Blog so much….and you are so beautiful.can i ask you where the fruit bowl is from,looks so nice!

  22. Bree says:

    For my new things I meditated every day and yesterday started BBG. I also started Whole 30 last week so did allllll the cooking and meal planning/prep which I’m considering a new thing since my typical M.O. is to just avoid the grocery store at all costs and order takeout (so bad, I know).

    Pretty much all the recipes I’m doing right now are new so I feel like I’ve got this week’s challenge on lock. We’ve been in the same pattern as you and Craig forever, my boyfriend did most of the cooking and when it was my turn I usually just ordered takeout or made something super simple and boring. So far during Whole 30 it’s been fun to be really intentional about our grocery shopping and meal planning so we’re eating new and different things that don’t necessarily require a ton of work.

    xo, Bree
    http://bree-west.com

  23. Amanda G says:

    I have a pretty boring workout schedule (yoga every morning M-F), but your challenge this week pushed me to sign up for a weight class at a local gym and I loved it! I legit couldn’t straighten my left arm for three days because of all the pull-ups we did!

    I am loving your challenge this week! I got the Skinnytaste cook book for christmas and have yet to try a recipe. I am going to go browse the book and plan three recipes right now.

    Have a great week!

  24. Serene says:

    Thank you for sharing some cookbook recommendations! I am feeling in a “food rut” lately and want to try new recipes, so this week’s challenge is perfect!
    I also tried to do last week’s challenge as well. I remembered your 30 min challenge a few days that I may normally have not gotten any exercise. But I think I got at least 30 mins each day! I went to 2 barre classes (at a new studio) and went for long walks/ stretched the other days.
    xo,
    Serene

  25. I did at home workouts (body weight stuff I did during my Gymnastics days) six days this week. I was pretty sick at the beginning of the week so those first few days were just stretching. I am hoping to try those cookies you mentioned this week for my breakfasts. I sent my fiancé to the store today (I had work and he had off for MLK) and he got some great stuff for healthy recipes. I am looking to also sign up for the gym this week after being inspired by you to try a new class.

  26. Jesse says:

    Yay! I love this week’s challenge! I did pretty good on last week because I even been incorporating Yoga with Adrienne into my routine. I am now planning out my meals for the week and the 3 new recipes I’m trying are a Sundried tomato pasta, a Goat cheese and beet salad, and a Sriracha maple tofu bowl. Im trying really hard to eat at home at least 80% of the week. It’s hard with work and school but the meal planning helps!

  27. Gina C says:

    I’m pretty good about working out throughout the week. Makes me feel better and clears my head. I work out 4 times a week for an hour and the workouts are intense so I take rest days in between. I have noticed that I’m not very flexible even when stretching before and after workouts. I have started stretching with yoga bands and would like to take beginner yoga classes.

  28. Garkie Zhu says:

    I followed the Yoga with Adrienne series on YT and did that everyday along with HIIT 3x a week that either focused on arm/Core, all over body, leg work out. I got sick Thursday and was hesitant to keep up with the excercises so I just did the yoga which was perfect.

  29. mackey says:

    Monday: Yoga
    Tuesday: Run barefoot on the beach! It’s my favorite!
    Wednesday: Run barefoot on the beach!
    Thursday: Hike for about an hour
    Friday: Ran a million errands does that count? I got my step number.
    Saturday: Epic hike 4 miles ( 2 miles vertical)
    Sunday: 30 min run
    I’m excited to try out some recipes!

  30. Ishani says:

    Hi Jess! I’m loving having this weekly check in 🙂 last week I found I did surprisingly well? Only missed 2 days!

    One of my goals for the year is to train and run a half marathon by the end of the year and so on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday I went for a 30 minute run. I found that having set a time goal instead of a specific distance as I’m starting out was so much easier and less daunting than trying to tell myself to run some set amount of miles.

    On Tuesday and Thursday (because my body was definitely confused by the running) I found my muscles in need of some good stretching and did a couple Yoga With Adriene YouTube videos and foam rolled my muscles. I can’t recommend her videos enough, they are great for anyone at any level of yoga if you just need some guided flow and can’t get out to a studio.

    I didn’t really try anything new either, but I’ve decided to set aside part of my next paycheck to sign up for pilates classes so looking forward to trying that!

    I got the Cherry Bombe cookbook for Christmas so I’m excited to flip through it and find some healthy recipes for this week.

    Hope you all had a wonderful week, can’t wait to read how everyone else’s week went!

  31. Kayla says:

    Last weeks challenge I’d say was successful for me. I didn’t get to reading your blog post until late Monday night and I was already at work (RN-work nights). I’ve found it so difficult now that I am working night shifts to be motivated to workout, but following this wellness challenge has really helped.
    Monday-Work was crazy busy so I consider running around for 12 hours sufficient exercise.
    Tuesday- Youtube Yoga with Adriene for 30 minutes before work-this was new for me & honestly my new favorite thing!
    Wednesday-Again I worked and was so tired from the previous nights of work I opted again to say working 12 hours on my feet was sufficient for this day.
    Thursday- I went to the gym and ran for 30 minutes on the treadmill followed by 30 minutes of arm exercises.
    Friday-30 minutes of cardio at the gym followed by a seriously intense 40 minute leg/butt workout.
    Saturday- 30 minutes of cardio at the gym followed by 20 minutes of back lifting.
    Sunday-Yoga with Adriene again!

    I am loving the YouTube Yoga with Adriene- especially the days I work I can throw it on in the evenings before I go to work & it’s the perfect way to help wake up.

    I am also going to try to continue into this week. Monday I found another great workout video on YouTube that I did at home- Kayla Itsines BBG- Week 1 Day 1. Let me tell you- this 30 minute workout is no joke. I was dying at the end of it!

    I have a friend coming from MI to visit me here in Boston this weekend so that might make the working out/eating healthy a challenge. Hopefully dancing at the bar and singing at the top of our lungs at the Chase Rice concert makes up for some exercise 🙂

    Have a wonderful week all!

  32. Amanda says:

    I was rather proud of myself—I did the 30 min of
    exercise everyday last week. Felt really great. This week is easy. I have a healthy smoothie every morning with my breakfast. I also grew up organic—no processed food in our house! I am a vegetarian so I eat tons of veggies and quinoa. Thanks for the cookbook ideas, I can always use new inspiration.

  33. Heather says:

    My goal was to go to the gym last week 2-3 times. I went twice, which is great but I wish I had done that 3rd workout. My excuse was that I was going to a concert Sunday night and would be dancing for hours anyways! I haven’t worked out yet this week and I’ll only really have a chance to one day so I want to eat as healthy as possible.

    I’m in the exact same position with trying to cook more. It’s so hard to not just buy lunch at work but I was pretty good last week. Made a lot of food on Sunday so my goal is to bring lunch the rest of the week.

  34. Natalia says:

    Worked out at the gym 4x last week, and did 2 long walks with my pup on the non-gym days. Didn’t make it to yoga last week so I really want to try and get there this week. Cooking has never been too much of a struggle for me, as usual I meal prepped Sunday so we should be good for the week. It’s usually the snacking that gets me! Going to try to focus on whole food snacks (fruit, veg, real protein) instead of convenience snacks (bars, etc.).

  35. Morgan Rose says:

    This week my husband and I have started going on pre-bedtime walks. We plug our phones in for the night before we leave and then go out for 20- 30 min. When we come back we hop straight into bed and it is the NICEST. No phones or tv after the walk, only books and snuggles. I also had my second swim lesson and will be heading to the gym for a HIIT workout with some colleagues this week! Can’t wait to try some new recipes! My mom got this cookbook called run fast eat slow for Christmas and I had to get it, the recipes are great and anything that might make me a slightly faster runner is always welcome ;). Though I’m lucky, my husband is an AMAZING and also motivated cook so I get pretty delicious meals on the reg and we almost never eat out during the week.

  36. Morgan says:

    Last week I was great Tuesday – Saturday (an hour long workout each day), but didn’t make it to a class on Monday or Sunday. I’ve realized the challenge for me is staying active on a day I don’t have a class to go to. My apartment complex’s gym is so close to my apartment; there’s really no excuse not to go even walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes while reading or watching a show. Anything to get moving!

    Like a couple other people, I am also doing Whole30 this month. So there has been lots of meal prep and lots of new recipes! Looking forward to testing out a couple new ones this week, too.

  37. Erin says:

    Started BBG last week! They are doing a 20 week challenge starting yesterday and I plan to (attempt to) make it the whole way through. I did a workout everyday except Sunday which was my rest day. I know it’s crazy, but I already feel a million times better, even just after just one week of workouts. YASS!

    As far as trying new things, this one is always tricky for me for some reason. I think i’m a creature of habit and just don’t like to step out of my shell ha. I did commit to trying to actually use the breathing app on my Apple Watch. Definitely helps to take a break and do some deep breathing in the middle of the work day. Going to have to brainstorm something new to do this week!!

    Already started on this weeks challenge before I even read it. Got a new recipe . Haven’t tried it yet, but it’s on the menu for lunch today and can’t wait!!

    YAY WELLNESS CHALLENGES!!

  38. Laurie says:

    I loved the 30min daily challenge! One of my own challenges is to get in a workout/yoga/walk 4-5 days a week and this really helped get the ball rolling. I even did a quick BBG workout Saturday night while dinner was cooking. I also signed up for yoga with my boyfriend at a new studio! Re: the next challenge, I can so relate about grocery shopping with your SO. I always want to look at options and compare ingredients/nutrition and he’s like “just pick one!” Meal planning ahead and making a grocery list was a game changer for this errand. Now we both love food shopping together.

  39. Corrie says:

    I’m loving this week’s challenge. I just bought the ‘Healthyish’ cookbook from Anthro and I can’t wait to dive in. Last week’s exercise went terribly – but I’m back on the bandwagon this week! Yoga/running. Oh, and I’m taking ice-skating lessons…does that count?!

  40. Andrea says:

    Wowza. My new recipe will definitely be those vegan cookies. Looking forward to trying that one. Yum!

  41. Virginia says:

    I got all my workouts in :). I hiked, did hot yoga, hit the gym and danced! I did the 90 min hot yoga class which wasn’t new to me and I loved it. This week I’m cooking with jack fruit and baking something new, not sure what yet. And I love making my own cashew milk so I’ll do that to go with whatever I bake.

  42. Bitsy says:

    It warmed up a bit this week so I made a conscious effort to walk to the next subway station which is about a 15 minute walk. I had stopped doing this but once I started, I now feel like I can’t stop! I also started doing a little stretch routine before bed, which also had fell wayward. Two exercise classes last week too and I was feeling it. Didn’t hit the 30 minutes every day but I am happy with the conscious efforts I made to move more and am sticking with it this week…thats what counts. Nothing new here either!

    Looking forward to making those breakfast cookies! They sound so good.

  43. Remi says:

    Jess!! Thank you sweet love for including me in your blog post and I”m so glad I found your blog!! <33 xoxo