Tag Archives: vegan

Quick + Easy Meal Plan for One on a Budget (Vegan)

If you didn’t already know, my sister Katie wrote a musical! I know, right?! *Badass alert* She recently found out that Full the Musical was accepted to The New York City International Fringe Festival this August. So, on top of her full time job she’s also running around like a mad woman doing all the million and one things that need to happen to get a production ready for the bright lights of the big city. (Including, but not limited to; rehearsing, costuming, hustling, and coordinating travel from FL->NYC.) I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

full the musical

She mentioned to me that in the midst of all that madness she felt it was still important to throw down on some food prepared in her own kitchen. And I totally agree. Healthy fuel and a happy wallet are key components to this season of her life. But the perfect meal plan needed to be easy and non-brain-draining. (As well as reserve a few meals for eating out. Ya gotta be realistic, people!)

I told Katie, “Leave it to me, sistah!” You see, I LOVE creating meal plans. It feels like putting together a really satisfying puzzle. In case you have a similarly hectic week coming up, I thought I’d share what I put together for her.

And if you don’t? Thank your lucky stars. Cook elaborate meals. Revel in your free time. And then dig in your pockets to help out this amazing show. (Please and thanks!) 

Shopping List –

Oats

2 containers of coconut (or any non-dairy) yogurt

Almond milk

Bananas

Fruit of choice that is on sale/in season

1 onion

1 potato

1 sweet potato

1 (14 oz) can of coconut milk

1 loaf of bakery bread (freeze whatever you won’t be using this week)

Earth Balance

Red lentils

Basmati rice

Garlic

Avocados

Peanut butter

Hummus

Pita Chips (and/or crunchy dipping veg like bell peppers or baby carrots)

Tofu

A couple of on sale/in season veggie choices for sauteeing (think: peppers, zucchini, etc)

1 frozen meal option (think: pizza, Indian food, gnocchi, etc)

1 dessert option (like Joe Joe’s from Trader Joe’s!!!)

(Note: I didn’t include spices or cooking oil on this list so check the recipes to make sure you have all items on hand.)

Meal Plan –

Monday

Breakfast –

Overnight oats (prepare 4 jars on Sunday night. In each jar goes ½ cup of oats, ½ cup of almond milk, and ½ of one yogurt container + whatever extras you want to add – cinnamon, cocoa powder, mashed banana, nuts. In the morning you can top with fruit and a spoonful of nut butter, if you like.)

Lunch –

Out.

Dinner –

Sweet Potato Curry Soup

(Saute chopped onions in a little cooking spray in a large pot over high heat. Add a pinch of salt. Once onions are translucent, add chopped potato, chopped sweet potato, 1 Tbsp curry powder, 1 cup water, and 1 can coconut milk. • Bring mixture to a boil, turn down heat to low, and simmer for about 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender. • Blend or mash mixture to desired consistency.)

Serve with a slice of toasted bakery bread with lots of Earth Balance!

Tuesday

Breakfast –

Overnight oats

Lunch –

Leftover sweet potato curry soup with another slice of bread and a serving of fruit.

vegan meal plan 2

Dinner –

Lentils and Rice

(Ingredients:

1 ½ cups red lentils, 7 cups water, 4 garlic cloves, 1 tsp cumin, ½ tsp cinnamon, 2 cups basmati rice , 1 tsp salt + avocado on top per serving

Recipe:

Add lentils, water, garlic and spices to a pot over medium high heat. Cook for 25 minutes, until lentils are soft. Add rice and salt. • Return to a boil, turn heat to low, and simmer for about 20 minutes. • Top with avocado!)

Wednesday

Breakfast –

Overnight oats

Lunch –

Leftover Lentils and Rice w/ a serving of fruit.

Dinner –

Out.

Thursday

Breakfast –

Overnight oats

vegan meal plan 1.0

Lunch –

Peanut butter and banana sandwich with pita chips and fruit.

Dinner –

Leftover Lentils and Rice

vegan meal plan 3

Friday

Breakfast –

Avocado toast

avotoast

Lunch –

Out.

Dinner –

Brekky for dinner: Tofu scramble, toast w/ nut butter, and fruit salad (your fruit selection for the week and banana…drizzle with honey if you like!)

Saturday

Breakfast –

Pancakes

(Ingredients:

1 cup rolled oats, 1 ripe banana, 2/3 cup non-dairy milk, + peanut butter for topping

Recipe:

Blend together oats, banana and water. • Add batter to a skillet preheated to medium high heat. • Cook as you would normal pancakes, flipping when bubbles start to form on the side. • Top with peanut butter!)

Lunch –

Out.

Dinner –

Saute vegetables and tofu in a pan with soy sauce. Serve with rice and sriracha.

Sunday

Breakfast –

Pancakes

Lunch –

Leftover stir-fry.

Dinner –

Frozen meal.

SNACKS FOR THE WEEK:

Pita chips and crunchy veggie of choice with hummus.

DESSERTS FOR THE WEEK:

Dessert option and banana soft serve.

And there you have it! What do you think? Would this meal plan work for you? Do you have any tips + tricks for eating well when you’re balls deep in busy? Ya girl is all ears. 

P.S. No but for real, you should DONATE to Katie’s show. Those set pieces aren’t gonna haul THEMSELVES to The Fringe Festival. Thank you!

P.P.S. Love meal plans? Here’s another one that’s super budget friendly and here are 7 easy steps for beginner meal planners!

Recipe: Hearty Roasted Vegetable Soup

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With the days turning to darkness at such a rapid rate, I’ve been gravitating towards cozy meals. You know the type. Colorful, warming dishes that pack a hearty punch. A dinner gobbled up out of a single bowl clutched to your chest as you curl up in front of your latest Netflix programming.

I love the flavor of roasted veggies in the winter-time. (I also love how they smell while they’re roasting in the oven. Yum!) But I’ve never thought to throw a whole batch of the lil buggers in a soup pot! *light bulb* So, I roasted up some of my favorite vegetables and while they did their thing in the oven, I got to work on the rest of the soup. To up the “heartiness” factor I included a whole bunch of beans. And tied everything together with a tomato-based broth.

The result was a delicious, comforting soup. The vegetables were the perfect consistency swimming around in a slightly spicy, tomato-y bowl. So, I definitely recommend you give this one a try. It was very inexpensive, easy to make, and made enough to eat AND freeze. Here’s how it’s done…

What you’ll need: 

For the roasted veggies…

– 2 bell peppers

– 2 small or 1 large onion

– 2 sweet potatoes

– a handful of baby carrots (or cut up your own, I just always have baby carrots in the fridge)

– minced garlic

– olive oil

– paprika

– chili powder

– salt and pepper

For the rest of the soup…

– 2 cans of diced tomatoes (I used one spicy can and one regular can)

– 1 vegetable stock cube

– black eyed peas

– kidney beans

– butter beans

– 1 Tbsp brown sugar

– mustard

– Worcestershire sauce

and how it all comes together: 

– Pre-heat your oven to 390 degrees F (or whatever temperature you find works best to roast veg in your particular oven).

– Peel the sweet potatoes, chop them into large chunks, and spread them out on your baking tray or roasting dish.

– Add in your carrots.

– Cut up your bell peppers into strips and add them to the tray. Do the same with your onions. (Note: The size of your vegetables may seem large for a soup but they’re all gonna break down a bit once they’ve been added to the pot.)

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– Add minced garlic to taste.

– Drizzle olive oil over everything and sprinkle on salt, pepper, paprika, and chili powder.

– Toss everything up with your hands.

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– Put the whole kit and kaboodle in the oven for about 30 minutes.

– While these are roasting you can turn to the base of the soup.

– Start by making your vegetable stock according to the directions on the package. (Usually mixing the cube with 2 cups of boiling water.)

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– While you’re waiting for your water to boil for the vegetable stock, grab a large soup pot and add your cans of tomatoes and beans. For the beans you can use whatever type you like. I put a can of blackeyed peas, kidney beans, and butter beans in a strainer. After mixing and rinsing them, I scooped out about 3 cups into the pot. The rest of the bean mixture I put in a Tupperware to store for a later meal.

– Bring your tomatoes and beans to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer. Then add in 1 Tbsp of brown sugar, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, a squeeze of mustard, and salt and pepper. Give it a good stir.

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– Your vegetable stock should now be ready so pour that in too! Let everything simmer away until your timer goes off for those delicious roasted veggies.

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– Once the veggies look good and roasted, pop them out of the oven…

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– …and put them in the soup pot!

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– Give everything a generous stir, then pop the lid on and let everything hang out together for at least 5 minutes but longer if you want those sweet potatoes to get falling-apart decadent!

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– I left mine on the lowest stove-top setting for about 30 minutes. I no doubt would have gotten impatient and served it up sooner but Chet was stuck in traffic. If you have the time, cook it longer! It turned out perfect and the vegetables were divine.

– Serve it up in a big bowl and go for it! We had ours with some multi-grain bread (perfect for dunking) but cornbread or biscuits would also be yummy. Enjoy!

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What do you make for dinner on dark December nights? Do you like cozy, comfort food? Would you give this recipe a try? I want to eat it again and again!!! 

How to throw a HIMYM finale party.

If there is one thing my sister and I can agree upon it is the importance of television (aka welevision). When she mentioned her plans to go all out for the series finale of “How I Met Your Mother” I asked if she would share her menu plan with us over on the blog! If you’re gonna tune in on Monday, why not make it an event? You see, in my family, we’re all about some themed food. World Cupcakes representing soccer teams during the World Cup, Island/Dharma Initiative dinner for the series finale of Lost, Fifty Nifty United Pizzas–I think by now Katie is an expert. : ) Enjoy! 

Kids, in the Spring of 2014, one of my favorite television shows gave it’s final toast .

TV LOOKOUT

This show was incredibly special to me. True, it was a comedy on the surface, complete with running gags, a laugh track, and Bob Saget, but at its core it was a heartwarming story of friendship, connection, and the universe taking care of us. It taught me a lot of lessons about the age I was entering at the time – the unchartered territory of my twenty somethings – and before I knew it, I was connecting with the characters on a level I wasn’t prepared for.  Because of this, for its final episode, I would throw a party.  It really was the only way.

Now kids, I had to make sure that the menu matched the spirit of the show.  I had to find the perfect thing to capture the essence of McLaren’s pub – to the cookbook shelf!!

maclarens

Drinks:

The Minnesota Tidal Wave/The Robin Scherbatsky (coconut rum, peach schnapps, vanilla vodka, strawberry creme liqueur, cranberry juice, sugar,maraschino cherries.)

The Pineapple Incident (Parrot Bay Pineapple Rum, pineapple juice, grenadine, garnished with a cherry)

Beer, beer, and more beer

Nibbles:

Oven Baked Onion Rings 

Nachos

–          Served with queso (vegan or dairy), salsa, and sour cream (vegan or dairy).

Potato Skins

Wings (vegetarian or carnivore)

–          Served with ranch, celery, and carrots

Treats:

Wedding Cake Cupcakes 

Sumbitch Cookies 

Kids, as I was planning this shindig, making these treats, and binge watching a few episodes for nostalgia’s sake, I couldn’t help but think about all of the things this show has shown me throughout its nine seasons.  Here’s a few lessons I would like to pass on to you…

–          Perfect isn’t always perfect.   Sometimes it’s just not meant to be.  And that’s ok.

–          Nothing good happens after 2am.  Just…go to bed.

–          Don’t settle for someone who accepts your quirks, be with someone who loves them.

–          Your friends are your family.

–          When you’re sad, stop being sad and start being awesome instead.

–          New York really is the greatest city on earth.

–          Sometimes you just have to let the universe take over.  Everything happens for a reason.

–          Don’t postpone joy.

–          Don’t ever think something or someone will last forever.  They won’t.

And most importantly:

–          Life is hard, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be legen…wait for it I hope you’re not lactose intolerant because the next word is…DARY.

Kids, there will come a time where you find something in popular culture that speaks to you.  Since you’re my hypothetical future children, there is no doubt in my mind that you will love television, so if you find a show that you watch obsessively, don’t be embarrassed.  Share it with your friends, have discussions about topics it brings up, make connections with people who also enjoy it, and hell…suit up and THROW A PARTY!

Thanks, Katie!!! Any HIMYM fans out there? What series finales have been especially epic for you? Lost was a pretty big one for me and I can remember crying during the finale of Home Improvement, lol. Tune in for the hour long finale of How I Met Your Mother next Monday at 8 pm (7 central) on CBS. 

Gwyneth’s food is good.

gwyneth

Strangely, the star everyone loves to hate, I just love to love. Now I recognize that most of what comes out of her mouth is ridiculous and sure that’s annoying and would be a little obnoxious if the food she was talking about wasn’t so damn good. Gwyneth is a big believer of the Elimination Diet which is basically just a clean, no processed foods, whole-food approach. Her website Goop (dumb name) and her cookbooks focus a lot on finding ways to make food restrictions more tasty. And guess what? She succeeds…because she’s bougie enough to not give a crap about pumping a bunch of money into making brownies without sugar taste legit or the precise spice chemistry to make stir-fry with basically nothing appetizing in it at alllll taste like take-out. Gwyneth is passionate about food in the same way all of y’all are who post your meals on Instagram, the only difference is she is rich and famous so instead of throwing a filter on lunch she hires people to help create, blog about and write a cookbook for it. Cut a bitch some slack.

Now these assertions do not come without experience. I have done the cleanse she writes about on Goop twice (I feel obnoxious just typing that but I was curious!) and renewed It’s All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great three times before returning it to the library. Honestly, I think the absurdity of Gwyneth’s recipe-prose and the absolute un-relatability of her recommendations increased the appeal for me. Give me a dash of celebrity humor with a bangin’ smoothie recipe any day. Entice me to try cooking something so insane that I have to text someone about it when it turns out delicious–and I’m yours for life. Obviously I’m not going to take daily saunas or catch wild game hens but I do love fresh, whole, clean ingredients. I’m not really worried about cleansing my internal organs of toxins but it WAS kind of cool to feel miserable for a couple of days and then start feeling more energetic followed by amazing, followed by I could eat like this forever!!!, followed by haha jk no I can’t but I might do that again someday. “It’s All Good” has vegan and paleo recipes and even a whole section of recipes geared towards children (aka me). While there are also quite a few recipes that just didn’t look cost effective or seemed too time intensive for my purposes; all the easier, cheaper recipes I made were awesome.

Basically, I just think everything Gwyneth says is hilarious and I hope she’s not being serious when she says things but I also know she is. You shouldn’t write off her recipes just because she’s unnecessarily verbose about mundane ingredients–you should think of this as her version of pulling out her iPhone to snap an insta. If you’re eating clean, vegan or paleo give her cookbook a go. It’s not gonna hurt anything to check that shit out from the library. It’s not like you’re paying for a ticket to one of her movies. Because that…I couldn’t endorse.

“We have great dinner parties at which everyone sits around talking about politics, history, art and literature—all this peppered with really funny jokes. But back in America, I was at a party and a girl looked at me and said, ‘Oh, my God! Are those Juicy jeans that you’re wearing?’ and I thought, I can’t stay here. I have to get back to Europe.” <—lol whuuuut? Me too, girl, me too.

(photo from the cookbook mentioned above and via here. 3 recipes from the book are also available via this link. : )