a week of fall cooking

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I don’t know about you, but we are so happy to be welcoming back fall.  The crisp mornings, the gorgeous oranges and reds, a whole new season of foods.  I thought it would be nice to share a seasonal, vegan week full of nourishing foods.  Seasonal foods are amazing because they align perfectly with what your body needs at this time- grounding and nourishing foods in fall, deep greens and denser fare in winter, detoxing light foods in spring, hydrating and cooling foods in summer.  Also they are cheaper, fresher, and more environmentally friendly when they’re local and not shipped from halfway around the world.

Just coming into season here in Northern California, we have: apples, pears, pomegranates, beets, cauliflower, winter squash of all types, carrots, dates, almonds, grapes, mushrooms and more.  The best way to find what’s seasonal to your area is to visit your nearest farmer’s market.

Here’s what I’m hoping to cook up this week (with links to recipe where applicable):

  1. Red lentil soup with spinach and lemon (recipe)  + a flexible fall salad
  2. Falafel feast: herby falafels + green tahini sauce + pomegranate cabbage slaw and pita or tabbouleh to round it out.
  3. PIZZA with butternut puree as a sauce.  YES PLZ. Here’s the recipe.  Serve with a nice kale or arugula salad.
  4. Dhal- is there anything more comforting than this?  There’s so many versions out there and I need to write down my own, but this is a good recipe to start except I like to add onion, and fresh shredded coconut on top.  Serve with a saffron rice (i like to add orange zest and sub the pine nuts for pistachios) and simple salad or sauteed greens.
  5. Mushroom dumpling stew.  This post includes the recipe and its an absolute obsession in our house, I’ve made it so many times (even a few times in summer!!!!) plus theres two other great recipes for easy vegan dinners in that post.  It’s so so easy, comforting and meaty (even though I leave out the faux meat).  I’ve swapped out the all purpose flour with GF all purpose with success before too.  Also, you should definitely follow Rhian (@wifelife) if you don’t already for vegan and cruelty free makeup and recipes.
  6. Pumpkin Turmeric Granola : I never made this before, but it looks so good and I love Amy Chaplin’s recipes.  It will be nice to keep around for a quick school morning breakfast for the kids with some fruit and almond milk.
  7. Beet hummus: I make Ottolenghi’s hummus recipe (my all time favorite) and then add in some roasted or steamed peeled beet (maybe 1/2 a large or 1 whole small) plus extra lemon.  So good to dollop on salads, grain bowls, dip veggies in and more.  Plus it has a gorgeous electric pink color (or neon yellow if you use yellow beets!).
  8. Simple roasted veggies.  I’ve been loving the combo of delicata squash (no need to peel!  So nice), red bell pepper, beets, cauliflower or carrots.  Toss it with olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary and roast at 400 for 30-45 minutes.  I make a nice big batch and keep the leftovers in the fridge for easy lunchbox crafting.

I hope some of these ideas have inspired you to try something new this week at the market or in your kitchen!  Have a lovely week and tag me on instagram @mamaeatsplants with your favorite fall foods 🙂

Weekly grocery haul

update March 2018:  now we shop at the farmers market and our local coop exclusively- we canceled our Costco membership.  Budget is still the same though.

I often hear people say that they couldn’t afford to go vegan.  Personally, I find that a whole food, high carb and low fat style vegan diet is a lot cheaper than when our family ate meat and dairy, or high fat vegan.  The staples we rely on are some of the most affordable- bananas, potatoes, rice, beans, oatmeal, and frozen fruit.  I budget for my family of 2 adults+2 small kids $150/week for groceries. To make this work, I employ a combination of Costco (i try to limit these purchases because of all the plastic packaging), bulk bins at my local co-op, and the farmer’s market/produce stands.  This is what I bought this week: (first pic is from the farmer’s market, second from my Co-op and Costco combined).  Mostly everything is organic, but sometimes I buy conventional if the organic option comes from far away or doesn’t look fresh.  In this case, the almond milk, chocolate bar, and oranges are not organic.

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1/2 gallon of almond milk $2.99

bulk tamari (i refill an old 20 oz kombucha glass) $4.31 lasts quite a while

1 bunch kale $2.39

2x bunches celery $1.98

1 big cluster of shallots $1.69

gardein frozen “chicken” scallopini (the kids love these and i buy them maybe once every few months as a treat- not the best choice but you have to live a little ;))

90% chocolate bar (Lindt) $2.89 for treats- SO dark and bitter but very silky

10 Fuji apples $6

large hand of bananas $2.69

2 GIANT heads of romaine $4.78

large block of local tofu, from bulk section (put in my own le parfait jar) $3.11

black beans from bulk section (in my quart mason jar) $3.85 for black bean brownies!!

dried cranberries in bulk (quart mason jar) $4.79 for salads

chickpea miso paste $6.39 (lasts forever)

bulk bin chocolate chips in a pint mason jar $6.10 (expensive! but i prefer to forgo packaging whenever possible-kinder for the earth) for black bean brownies

4 gallons bulk reverse osmosis water in our giant glass jugs $1.17

6 large sweet potatoes

1 head red cabbage

25 lb local navel oranges $8.99- a super deal!  Not organic but super fresh and not sprayed with pesticides as per farmer.

4 lemons $1

6 limes $1

big bag of broccoli crowns $2.99

2 bunches asparagus

11 avocados $11

2 bunches green onions

1 kabocha squash- i love this steamed and drizzled with tamari, green onions and sesame seeds.  add rice and tofu for a complete meal.

GIANT bag of yukon gold potatoes- potatoes are life in this house, lol.  they get us through the winter.  roasted, in soups, oven fries, potato salads with vinaigrette, etc.

1 lb mixed greens

1.5 lb cremini mushrooms

2 large (Costco) bags frozen fruit: mango, and a tropical blend of mango, papaya,strawberry,pineapple

15 tomatoes

large bag of dried apricots, large bag of dried prunes- the kids love these as an after dinner treat and I have recently become inexplicably obsessed with prunes?

I lost one of the detailed receipts so I can’t list exact prices for everything , but I came in at approximately $160.  This is $10 over my budget for the week BUT some of these things (dried fruit, miso, tamari,choc chips,black beans) will last past the week and I came in quite under budget last week, so it evens out.

Some meals I’ll be making this week?

-celery, mushroom, cashew, tofu stir fry, seasoned with tamari and garlic+brown rice: one of our FAVE combos.  Super flavorful, filling, fast, and balanced.

-our “house salad”- mixed greens, green onions, kidney beans, dried cranberries, whatever chopped up veggies you have in the fridge+ a maple syrup/balsamic vinegar/dijon mustard dressing (3-2-1 dressing)

-quinoa, black rice, lentil, shredded kale salad- seasoned with shallots, herbs, and a bright mustard-vinegar dressing.  Probably will toss in some roasted asparagus or broccoli too.

-“house salad” + greek style lemon oregano baked potatoes- i use this recipe

-black bean brownies: seriously so good and i can let my kids have them for snacks because they are loaded with fiber, protein, and iron

-OJ+frozen fruit smoothies: such a easy and delicious combo.  loving OJ+ froz mango+ vanilla right now

-avocado sushi, duh

-forks over knives PIZZA with chickpea flour crust- recipe here

I’ll probably make other things too, but I don’t like to plan every meal.  I’d rather leave space for some creativity and intuition.

Hope this helps and please leave me a comment if you have a question or if there’s a specific topic you’d like me to post about!