Yesterday, I had a coffee date with my fabulous friend and as we were talking, I was describing her what we do and how we are shifting our lives, she asked a great question: how much time does it take for you guys to meal plan for a week? It didn’t take me long as I pictured Saturday morning and that it took my hubby to flip through our new cook book pages and write it all down max 15 minutes (it probably would take me 5 :)). I have to mention, we only plan for the nights when he is home as I usually come up with something extremely simple for myself when he is on shift. So, this week, he is home 5 days out of 7 and he was home Saturday so we came up with 6 dinners. We don’t usually put a lot planning into breakfasts and lunches: we just make sure we buy enough staples to put together something in the morning, prep lunch (if I feel like it) and I need to make sure that we have all we need for our son. Breakfasts are easy: it is usually a protein shake (vegan protein powder, coconut milk & frozen berries (chocolate flavor with frozen cherries are just to die for) or oatmeal with toppings (either overnight oats or granola type). Breakfasts have to be quick for me as during the week I am trying to juggle getting ready for work and getting my toddler ready for the day. I play cartoons for him on the iPod while making myself coffee & a shake. Cut up berries get his little hands occupied :). Lunches: if I don’t have leftovers for lunch, I make myself a simple salad. Sometimes I know that my team at work will be ordering lunch so I don’t bring anything or if I know I will have time to get out of the office during the day, I will make a choice either bring lunch or buy something yummy somewhere. My husband does pretty much the same. We are not very picky.
This was a very long intro… Back to dinners for this week. We shop at Costco (for things that we eat a lot) and Fred Meyers (for small items that are on the recipes and baby food). Although, I think we will start going to Natural Pantry (equal to Whole Foods) more as it is all good stuff there. Little man goes with us everywhere – it is very entertaining for him 🙂 All the recipes were taken from the Forks over Knives book.
Saturday: Portobello mushroom tacos (those were divine although I am not sure about those tortillas – I might have to try something different next time; other veggies are for salsa – I didn’t follow the recipe and just came up with yummy salsa from what I had in the fridge)
Monday (skipping Sunday – hubby was working so I just made myself a simple green salad with leftover mushroom): Kimchi Noodle Salad – we are big fans of Asian foods and kimchi is super good for you (make sure to check the ingredients when choosing a jar at the store -I usually try to go to the Asian Market to buy authentic foods :)we also were having hard time finding brown rice noodles – maybe it’s equal to brown rice spaghetti? … let me know.
Tuesday: Eggplant Rollatini. This sounds complicated but should be pretty easy to make. Tons of carrots we buy in Costco for juicing and after this soy sauce is gone, I will buy low-sodium.
Wednesday: Stuffed peppers with quinoa (that was not in cookbook – that was my husband’s wish as we had bell peppers that needed to be used)
Thursday: Squash pasta with tomato sauce (we were feeling ambitious and thought about making our own sauce but then figured that we will be both working all day – so never mind… organic store bought sauce it is :). I might add veggies or tofu to it as we go along.
Friday: skipping – hubby is working – I will come up with something – usually I just open the fridge and see what can be thrown together on a skillet (it is still cold outside so I am craving warm food) or maybe it will be “a Korean sushi take out kinda evening” 🙂
Saturday: rice & veggies. We like our spices and I might add tofu to jazz it up. Remember, you have to be creative and not just rely on the recipes. We substituted some things from the recipes to what we have in the fridge. I absolutely hate when food goes bad so meal plan around what you have already: it will be budget and Earth friendly.
I hope this helps a little bit. So far, my biggest advice probably – do not overcomplicate things: you know what you like, you know what your family likes, be creative, use spices and have fun with it.
PS Oh yes, I forgot: there was also a plan for a treat – dried pineapples from Costco – ingredients: only pineapples! I couldn’t believe my eyes 🙂 and beet Russian salad for me (upgraded healthy version).