Joanna Anastasia


Lunch hack that really works

lunch hack

Let’s talk packing lunches, meal planning and feeding a family today. To be honest, I really never imagined that being a mother is basically a constant struggle of feeding the kids ( with healthy and balanced diet) of  packing these dreaded a lunches that they’ll eat and not wasting the fresh produce.

See, here’s the typical pattern- every week I’d buy lots of veggies, thinking that this week I’ll finally cook better. Every week I’d struggle with lunches for my kids and my hubby, and then every week I’d end up throwing away some of those forgotten veggies I bought in the first place.

But I’m happy to let you know that with the seasons change I finally found my solution!

Meal planning that involves at least one or two batch cooked soups a week! Since soups are a great way to eat more veggies ( and sometimes hide them too), they conserve well, and they make for a perfect, healthy and satisfying lunch option!

This post was brought to you by Rubbermaid, all opinions remain my own. lunch hack

lunch hack

Now, I must admit that I used to be scared of packing a soup for lunch- mostly because of the fear of it leaking. But since I got to try the new Rubbermaid Brilliance Food Storage Containers I’m more than confident that nothing will leak! Plus they are both microwave and dishwasher safe! Not to mention that they are BPA-free, and built with an airtight leak-proof seal and secure latches.

Also, thanks to the crystal-clear lids and bases it’s easy to see what’s inside while storing in the fridge, and they are big enough to put a whole batch of soup for a week inside. They are also stain- and odor-resistant, and they have built-in vents allowing the steam to escape – tand that means I can microwave my soup without removing the lid!

lunch hack

lunch hack

So if you’d like to start cooking more soups too, here’s a recipe for my super filling Green Monster soup – aka Creamy Quinoa And Leek  soup ( that conveniently hides veggies inside so kids won’t whine). It’s comforting, and feeling and super healthy- perfect for lunch!

lunch hack

Green Monster soup – aka Creamy Quinoa And Leek  soup

  • 1 liter chicken broth
  • 2 large leeks
  • 1 large potato
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 cup cooked brown quinoa
  • 1 cup green peas
  • 1/4 cup cooking cream

Cut shallots leek and potato into small pieces. Cook with shallots on a spoon of olive oil until it becomes translucent and fragrant. Add salt 7 pepper and chicken broth. Add potato in small cubes and cook until everything is soft. Add quinoa and then using a hand mixer blend it all together. Add green peas and cream, cook 2 more minutes and let it cool. You can store it in the fridge for up to 5 days!

lunch hack

I hope that my hack will help you as it did help me!

This post was brought to you by Rubbermaid, all opinions remain my own. 








Roasted pepper and peanut squash soup

This roasted pepper and peanut squash soup is so easy to make, so healthy and so full of flavor! It's my new family favorite! #soup #healthy

I think that making soups is one of the best things about cooking in the fall. And squash soups are my absolute favorite! Honestly, this roasted pepper and peanut squash soup is my new busy week time saver!

Today I tried a new squash, the Delicata squash, called also the peanut squash. It’s sweeter then other squashes, and paired with roasted red peppers tastes amazing! And this is such a great recipe for one of those busy evenings! Because while the peppers are roasting, I cut the squash, and while the soup is simmering, I have time to take care of other things, like read to my daughters!

And while I like my soups hot and spicy, my kids prefer them just warm enough and mild. So with this soup I leave all the fixings on the table, so everyone can spice it as they wish! My kids pick a bit of cumin seeds and a bit of crumbled feta, while I add lots and lots of cumin, some grounded ginger and lot’s of Sriracha souse! And my hubby loves adding some fresh cilantro and bit of cream.

What you’ll need:

– 3 red bell peppers

– 1 carrot

– 1 medium peanut squash

– 1 litter of organic chicken broth

– olive oil


– cumin seeds

– Sriracha souse

– fresh cilantro

– cream

– crumbled feta

Cut the bell peppers in big slices, the carrot in a couple of pieces,add a drop of olive oil and let it roast on 400F for around 20-25 minutes. Meanwhile cut your squash in cubes. Put it in the pot with chicken broth, and cook until soft. Add roasted peppers and carrot, and mix it all together with a hand mixer. Let it simmer all together for a couple of minutes before serving.

roasted pepper and peanut squash soup

You can either add spices in a pot, or let everyone choose how they want it, sweet or spicy. here are my best tried and tested ways of adding more taste:

1. Add some cream and garlic croutons.

2. Add cumin seeds, cilantro and Sriracha.

3. Add some crumbled feta.

Or simply enjoy it as it is, sweet and comforting!

roasted pepper and peanut squash soup

Make sure to make a double batch and freeze half, as I’m sure you’ll love finding this roasted pepper and peanut squash soup, ready to serve on one of these busy weeknight evenings!

Easy home made borsch

This is the best home-made borsch I ever had, and so easy to make!

I’m a huge soup lover, and this easy home made borsch is definitely one of my favourites. This borsch is so full of flavour and texture, it’s so hearty, filling and healthy, that no wonder it’s my new family’s favourite soup !

I used to think that making borsch is a very complex and long proses, so I would have it only when my mom would make one. But recently I decided that as a mom with two kids, it’s time for me to pass on my family’s food traditions and to start making borsch for my daughters.

So after two trials, I finally came up with this fool-proof version of a traditional borsch! I use balsamic vinegar which is a very non traditional ingredient, but it adds a perfect note of sour and sweet, so I think it’s even better then the traditional use of vinegar or lemon!

Easy home made borsch

What you’ll need:

1 liter chicken broth ( or vegetation broth)
5 cooked medium beets
2 medium carrots
3 medium potatoes
1 medium turnip

2 garlic cloves
Salt & pepper
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Cut all the veggies in small cubes. Cook chicken broth with carrots, potatoes and a turnip. When the veggies are soft, add cooked beets cut in cubes. Add crushed garlic, salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar: but start by adding one garlic clove and one table-spoon of balsamic vinegar, taste it, and see if you need more. Dinner it together on a small heat for a while. Borsch is always best on a next day when all the tastes mix up together really well.

Easy home made borsch

You can serve it with a spoon of sour cream or a bit of dill, or both. Enjoy!

Thin crust pizza hack

Delicious home-made thin crust pizza, that's cheap, easy and delicious! #pizza

I’m a huge pizza lover, and what I’m really in to is a real Italian style thin crust pizza! But as such, I’m usually disappointed with take out. And the frozen pizza? Well, I would lie if I’d say I never buy it, but we all know it’s not the real deal, not to mention that they’re full of sugar salt and other unhealthy ingredients. There are also nice restaurants making real Italian style pizza.. But with two young kids and living on a budget, I don’t go that much to restaurants anymore. And no, I haven’t yet mastered the art of making my own dough.

And yet, I enjoy the Italian style thin crust pizza at home every week now, and it’s cheaper than takeout!

And it’s really a such a simple idea, that I feel almost embarrassed to dedicate a whole blog post to it, but in case you never tried it, here it is: pita bread. Let it soak in. And now imagine: thin crust, perfect home-made pizza.

It’s really just as good. And you can probably even buy a whole grain one.
Mad it makes the fastest homemade pizzas ever!

Thin crust pizza hack

Here are my two family favourites:

Mushroom & pepperoni :

Good quality pepperoni ( or salami!)
Cheddar cheese
Tomato sauce
Pita bread

Goat cheese & sun-dried tomatoes :

Goat cheese
sun-dried tomatoes
Tomato sauce
Pita bread
Fresh arugula

Simply spread the tomato sauce on pita bread, add cheese and all the toppings (except for arugula). Broil for around 10 minutes. Serve with a side salad or a simple soup. So simple!

Thin crust pizza hack

It may be my favourite mom hack ever, and I hope that you’ll try it and let me know if you liked it too!

Gruyere and broccoli soup

Gruyere and broccoli soup: simply amazing! #soup

I cook soups almost daily, since it’s the easiest way for me to serve vegetables during the cold moths. Usually my soups are really very healthy, but from time to time I crave simply a hot bowl of yumminess. And this gruyere and broccoli soup is just that: comforting and delicious, perfect for a busy weekday evening that’ll surly pick your mood up!

It’s a family favourite too, and a great way to convince some of those picky eaters to eat broccoli! Also, if you’d like to make it a bit healthier, you could cut on half of the cheese, and replace the cream with coconut milk: I tried it, and it’s really delicious!

What you’ll need:

1 litre of vegetarian bullion
1 cup broccoli
Shredded carrots
1 onion

2/3 cup gruyere ( can be Parmesan or cheddar)
1/2 cup cream 1/2 milk ( or 1 cup coconut milk)

Pinch of nutmeg

On a medium heat cook the onions until semi-transparent. Add vegetable bullion, broccoli cut in pieces, and cook for around 10 minutes. Then add carrots, and cook another 5 minutes. Add milk and cream (or coconut milk), and after around 3 minutes the shredded cheese of your choice (though I really encourage you to try it with the gruyere cheese: it’s amazing!), mix well until the cheese has melted. Add nutmeg, and serve!

Gruyere and broccoli soup , simply delicious !

Enjoy your hot bowl of cheesy comfort with some bread, pita or crackers!

Black quinoa and sweet potato creamy soup

This black quinoa and sweet potato creamy soup is a perfect dinner for a cold day, and by far the best healthy soup I ever had!

Believe me or not, but this black quinoa and sweet potato creamy soup is one of my best cooking creations ever! And can you imagine, that a year ago I didn’t even know what quinoa is? Well, I can’t believe it, because I love this little grain so much right now! It’s perfect to for adding some crunch, texture and protein to your vegetarian dishes, and it’s so easy to cook too.

I combined a comforting sweet potato pottage with black quinoa, chickpeas, spices and coconut milk for extra creaminess. Do you hear how yummy it is? And my four-year old asked me for seconds twice!

Sweet potato soup

What you’ll need :

1 liter of vegetarian broth or a chicken broth
3 really big sweet potatoes
1 big carrot

1 teaspoon of freshly grounded cumin seeds
Salt & pepper
1/4 teaspoon grounded chilli (optional)

1 cup of cooked black quinoa
1 cup of chickpeas ( can be from a can)
1 can of coconut milk

Fresh cilantro

Cut sweet potatoes and carrots in cubes, and cook in the broth. When veggies will be soft, add spices, and using a hand mixer mix them in to a pottage. Add quinoa, coconut milk and chickpeas. Let it simmer on a low heat.

Sweet potato soup

Serve your quinoa and sweet potato creamy soup with loads of fresh cilantro, and enjoy!

Black quinoa and sweet potato creamy soup

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