Weekly Menu: Plant-Based Staples

standard February 19, 2018 Leave a response

As much as I love making a variety of recipes each week, featuring fresh produce and expanding my cooking skills and flavor combinations, sometimes you also need some staple recipes. The ones you make when you’re about to leave for vacation and cleaning out the fridge. Or you’ve just come BACK from a trip and haven’t made it to the store yet. Or maybe you just don’t feel like shopping today or someone is sick and you just need to get creative with what you have.

Enter pantry staples.

Yes, it is possible to make nutritious, satisfying, and balanced meals from what you have in your pantry. Bonus if you have some fresh or frozen produce leftover to toss in, but not required! We’re on a clean out the fridge kick this week, so my meal plan reflects a large percentage of pantry staples. Here are some ideas for easy quick meals you can make from your pantry:

  • Oatmeal or overnight oats // rolled oats + chia seeds + peanut butter + cinnamon + frozen berries + water (or plant-based milk).
  • Beans and rice // brown rice + kidney beans + diced tomatoes + cumin + turmeric + paprika
  • Spanish chickpeas & quinoa // chickpeas + quinoa + diced tomatoes + vegetable stock + paprika + chili powder + oregano
  • Veggie stir fry // frozen broccoli + edamame + brown rice + soy sauce (mix with some peanut butter to make a peanut sauce variation!)
  • Berries & greens smoothie // water (or plant-based milk) + frozen banana + frozen berries + frozen spinach + nut butter + hemp seeds
  • Mexican beans & quinoa // quinoa + black beans + salsa + cumin + chili powder

The main thing to consider when staring into your pantry wondering how to make a meal is choosing a protein (beans, quinoa, edamame, peanut butter, hemp seeds) + a carbohydrate (rice, oats, quinoa, fruit). Add a fat for satiety (nuts, seeds, olive oil) and spices for flavor. Any chance you can toss in a vegetable, go for it. The great thing about frozen veggies is they heat up quickly and can be tossed into almost anything.

I happen to have a ton of quinoa, arborio rice (because, risotto addiction), frozen greens and asparagus, beans, pasta, and canned tomatoes to use up. So with only a handful of fresh produce to grab, we’ve got a week of fast, pantry based meals to enjoy this week.

Meal Plan 2/19/18

Making meals in a pinch does not have to be complicated or fancy. Grab a few staples out of your pantry and see what inspiration comes your way!

Interested in how I stock my pantry to make sure I can always make quick, nutritious meals at any moment? Grab my free plant-based pantry list here and always be prepared on those busy weeknights!

Weekly Menu: Seasonal February Favorites

standard February 5, 2018 Leave a response

Happy February!

This week, I thought it would be great to start sharing how I incorporate seasonal produce into our weekly menus. We used to get a CSA box every other week that made it easy to keep fresh, local, seasonal produce in the house. Since we stopped receiving our box, I focused on staple produce and meal delivery. But now that my daughter is eating solid foods, and I’m more conscious of the variety of foods we eat and expose her to, I’ve started buying based on what is in season and incorporating it into our meal planning process.

So what’s in season in February?

Winter produce still reigns, with lots of root vegetables, leafy greens, citrus, and potatoes. But the signs of Spring are also starting to show up, including asparagus, radishes, leeks, and even berries in some parts of the country.

My goal each week is to pick out 3-4 specific vegetables and at least 1 fruit to incorporate into each day. This week we’re working with asparagus, broccoli, butternut squash, and grapefruit. I also make sure we have a few favorite meals as well, to balance out any new flavors and textures. This is mainly for my daughter, but I’ve found it helps to give more variety for the adults as well.

Weekly Menu 2/5/18

Keeping things simple, this week’s menu is full of prep ahead foods for fast weeknight meals and easy leftover lunches.

Have a delicious and JOY-filled week!

Interested in more recipe ideas for this week? Grab my Winter Recipe Bundle here.

 

Weekly Menu: Ditch the Diet for Good

standard January 29, 2018 Leave a response

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New year, new weekly menus!

I’ve switched up how I’ve done these over the years. From sharing breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas, to eating out while traveling to cooking through my CSA boxes. We no longer get a CSA box (which I dearly miss but also gives me the chance to cook less without worrying about things going to waste, which works for my current stage of life), and since I quit tracking all my meals for the week, meal planning hasn’t really been planning. It’s mostly me looking at my week and writing down dinners in my planner. Breakfast and lunch are made up of a staple weekly rotation. It’s pretty boring. But I’m also in a stage where I’m ready to get more creative again. So this space is going to keep me accountable, give you guys some meal planning inspiration, and keep things easy and simple!

This month’s focus has been all about giving up the diet mentality. Not just in terms of restricting calories or cutting out food groups. But also changing our mindset about food. Yes, we should be getting a variety of fruits and vegetables, moderate amounts of healthy fats, and adequate complex carbs and lean proteins. But by listening to our body’s signals, we will naturally begin to fuel it with what it needs, leading to a balance of these food groups without having to track each serving.

Let’s say we really like bagels for breakfast (and I’m all about the bagels these days!). Once lunch rolls around, we’re not in the mood for another starchy, carb-rich meal. So we go for a salad, with a sprinkling of fats, carbs, and protein to keep us full. And then when dinnertime arrives, we opt for a quick stir fry or bowl of chili. By letting our body’s signals guide us, we naturally revert into a balanced way of eating. No calorie counting. No macro tracking. Just real, good, nutritious food we actually WANT to eat.

Instead of writing out breakfast, lunches, and dinners, I’m sharing a list of recipes that I’m shopping for, meal prepping, and making this week. Use it as inspiration, copy a few recipes, or feel free to use the entire plan for yourself each week. My goal is to have a list of meals that involves minimal groceries, 30 minutes or less from prep to table, and that I can do a little weekend prep in advance to save time.

Weekly Menu 1/29/18

  • Veggie fajitas with black beans and guacamole
  • Avocado pasta with roasted tomatoes
  • Peanut butter stir fry with quinoa and tofu
  • Veggie burritos with leftover fajitas, beans, and rice
  • Blueberry pancakes with strawberry chia jam and tofu scramble

*Note: Some of these recipes are from the brand new cookbook, The Veginner’s Cookbook: The Ultimate Starter Guide for New Vegans and the Veg-Curious by Bianca Haun and Sascha Naderer (the couple behind Elephantastic Vegan). I was gifted a copy to review, so expect a recap, a recipe, and maybe even a giveaway, coming soon!

Weekly Menu