A lot of the times I enjoy cooking off the top of my head, without restrictions and limitations of what I’d “planned” to eat that day. Some weeks I feel like having a plan in place helps me to cruise through the week earlier and avoid that “what’s for dinner?” slump. This week is definitely one of those weeks. I underestimated what we would eat last week at the market, which didn’t help- I had to top off midway through the week at the grocery store (see evidence below) which entailed a few twist ties/plastic produce tags and stickers. Also, having less prepared and ready to go in the fridge meant that I forgot my lunch one day and had to buy it out- which I don’t mind doing every once in a while, but it was pricey, and honestly I prefer my own home cooking? I guess my palate has just gotten a lot simpler over the years and heavy oil use, salt, and seasoning just doesn’t taste as good to me anymore.
Reflecting on this week led me to creating a loose meal plan for this upcoming week. I’ll be making a few items on the weekend too as pantry supplements. We are still working toward our goal of cutting down on recycling, especially spurred on by reading that in an adjacent county, 290 tons of recycling were dumped into a landfill, and that problem is nationwide as China is refusing our recycling. Therefore, vegan mayo, mustard, and jam are on my list of things I’ve been DIY-ing, they don’t take long at all and the ingredients are better than store bought.
strawberry chia jam: we buy 3 baskets of strawberries at the market, half (any bruised, less ripe, otherwise undesirable fruit) go to jam and half go to fresh eating (I store in a mason jar in the fridge, unwashed and uncut). This recipe is low sugar and has the added benefit of chia seeds. The kids like it on their porridge or nut butter sammies.
almond milk: my mom gave me a bunch of local almonds this week that were gifted to her by a farmer (grower? hmm). So I’m making a double batch of almond milk- half for milk and half for yogurt. (1 cup almonds soaked overnight, drained and blended with 4 cups fresh water, a medjool date and a pinch of salt).
almond milk yogurt: I haven’t tried this before but I’m excited to try as an alternative to my coconut yogurt. It uses agar agar (seaweed) powder to thicken and I’ve found it in bulk. I’ll let you know how it turns out and post the recipe
cashew ricotta: good for spreading on sammies, a dollop on bowls, or on pizza/pasta. Similar to this recipe but I sub a tablespoon of the water for EVOO for improved flavor, and I leave out the onion powder.
sunday: tofu bánh mì + roasted or steamed broccoli. We get great local tofu in bulk here. You can find my recipe here. I work Sunday afternoons/nights and don’t get home till late so my husband and the kids usually indulge their gluten appetites this night haha.
image via happy healthy kitchen (linked above)
tuesday: gf pasta + salad. We have baby artichokes at our market, so I’m trying out this recipe (subbing the cashew ricotta for the mascarpone) and I’ll be simplifying the steps a lot. If I enjoy it, I will post the simplified/veganized recipe. I’ll pick up some bitter greens like arugula and toss them with a touch of lemon juice, olive oil and vegan parm. Another easy favorite is tomato sauce simmered with lentils, roasted red onions and quartered mushrooms. Spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles are great GF options, too.
thursday: Joel and I both work late, so we just scrounge leftovers this night. I’ll probably make extra burgers the night before and have them on a salad.
friday: This is the day before the market, so it’s usually slim pickings- I find making a clean-out-the-fridge stir fry, soup, or salad is the best bet here and makes sure that I have a nice empty fridge to put new food into tomorrow. In my experience, when I still have old food in the fridge and then put new food in with it, that’s where food waste can happen for us. Also, I take everything out of the fridge and wipe it and the shelves down this night in preparation for new food, keeps things nice and fresh in the fridge and allows me to have a mental picture of what I need to buy at the store the next day. More often than not, I do soup- either a red lentil soup or a seasonal minestrone, maybe bolstered with canned tomatoes and freezer stock.
saturday: more often than not, we have neighbor kids over at our house saturday and what works well is PIZZA. You can make the dough up to a week in advance, let it sit in the fridge and it just gets better. Then all you have to do is pile on the toppings et voila, pizza. I like sautéed mushrooms + when it comes out of the oven, dollops of cashew ricotta or this blender mozzarella sauce and a shower of arugula. I make a socca (chickpea flour) base for myself and a gluten base for the kids.
staples we buy every week: organic rolled oats, chia, hemp, flax, walnuts, rice, potatoes, carrots, celery, onion/garlic, bread for kids, avocados, enough local fruit to snack on through the week, lemons, a hand of bananas, a bulk dried bean, a bulk dried grain, local olive oil (I usually buy once a month), parsley/cilantro, plenty of local greens and lots of fresh veg (whatever’s good at the market). Almonds and/or coconut for milk and yogurt. A salty snack for lunches like olives or pistachios. A sweet snack like dried mango, chocolate covered almonds, dates, or dark chocolate. Always on hand: miso, nutritional yeast, home canned tomatoes, mustard, tahini, tamari, vinegar, chili flakes, hot sauce, kraut and kimchi, sesame oil, kombu seaweed (for cooking beans and grains), sesame seeds, and nut butter.
also, as promised, here’s a few things I cooked this week:
lemony red lentil soup (linked above) with curly kale. I had it with a scoop of local brown rice, the kids and Joel had local baguette.
quinoa bowls with massaged kale (used leftover dressing from this post), steamed beets, avocado, garlic quinoa, and tofu cooked with coconut aminos and garlic.
this is a terrible photo, sorry but sometimes it’s hard to get a good pic when it’s getting dark. Anyways, this was gf noodles with peanut sauce and sautéed cabbage, carrots and bok choy + cilantro, green onion, toasted cashews.
this was gf Banza chickpea flour pasta (has a plastic window on the box unfortunately, my grandma bought this by accident and didn’t like it lol), cooked and drained and then stirred vigorously right in the pot with a little of the cooking water, nutritional yeast, crushed garlic, white miso, lemon juice + zest and a bit of olive oil. Alongside, broccoli tossed with a bit of olive oil, roasted with salt, pepper, and chili flakes. The kids obsess over it this way cause the leaves get crispy like a chip.
I also made brownies, chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, mayo, a simple fennel/celery/tangerine salad, and a big pot of minestrone which I didn’t photograph.
Enjoy your weekend xx