Holy crow. It’s the last day of September. I don’t even know where the summer went.
I’ve had a lot of changes going on over here and as I settle into (another) new normal, I’m starting to slowly get into a routine again.
Very slowly. Like, turtle pace slowly.
Since I head into the city twice a week now, meal prepping is becoming crucial. I leave so early and arrive home so late that what I’ve realized is, ‘If I don’t have something ready, I’m definitely not making anything!’ Who wants to cook at 8 o’clock at night??
Well hello! I haven’t done a proper meal prep post in FOREVER! I just started having to go into work again, though, so it’s back to the meal prep routine!
As a recap, I include meal prepping on my eco-friendly blog because I think done correctly, it can help save money and help prevent food waste. This isn’t fool-proof and is definitely something I’m still working on as someone who cooks for one but I’ve seen an overall reduction in my food waste and it’s definitely cheaper then eating out!
One of my favorite features on this blog just doesn’t get the love it should. I am excited that people are getting vaccinated, though, and that small businesses are able to open again. It breaks my heart that giant corporations made billions during the pandemic while small businesses gasped to survive. Time magazine predicted that Jeff Bezos is making so much money, that he is expected to be the first trillionaire, ever, by 2026 and that is just…not necessary. Why does one person/company need all that wealth and power?
So, moving forward, I’m going to make a real effort to promote 1 small business a week. I’m based in CT so my reach is small but if you have a small business you would like featured, please let me know and I will do my best to check it out and promote it.
The weather here in New England has no idea what it’s doing and it’s leaving me in a huge food funk. Anyone else? Here is what I managed to assemble for this week’s meal prep. Breakfast and lunch are both very budget-friendly if you are looking for some cheaper meal options. All of them are delicious, though!
Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal: Sometimes I think, “I’ve had too many oats. I need something different”, so I bake them. And without fail, I always think stove top is better. This recipe is delicious! but, personally, I just prefer stove top or overnight oats. What is your oat preference?
Carrot Cake Baked Oats from Tone It Up
1 cup of oats
1/2 cup grated carrots
2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
3 TBSP maple syrup
2 TBSP pecans
dash of cinnamond
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Blend all ingredients except pecans and pour into an oven-safe container. Mix in pecans.
Bake for 35 minutes or until fully cooked.
Sweet potato and kale “breakfast” hash, eggs and avocado toast: Because God forbid, I don’t have an egg meal, I chose to have my eggs for lunch instead of breakfast. I recently purchased The Whole Food Dairy’s Basic Cookbook and the dessert cookbook, The Whole Treat. I haven’t had a chance to try any of the recipes from the Treats cookbook but so far, all the recipes from The Basics cookbook are winners. The PB&J Skillet cookie? OMG- I won’t share with you the embarrassingly short amount of time that cookie stayed in my fridge. Let’s just say, though, that it should have lasted me a week and it very much did not. I really like that the recipes aren’t fancy and there are a lot of substitution options if you are missing an ingredients (that’s encouraged! Kezia, the author, is team “Use What You Have”). This recipe worked well for meal prepping. I chose to serve the hash with fried eggs, which I made fresh each lunch, but if you are meal prepping this, you can pair it with hard boiled eggs or leave the egg out and just have it with the avocado toast. If you aren’t eating the egg with it, I’d probably scramble up some tofu or add some beans so you have a protein source.
Also, yes those are Halloween Pyrex bowls that I use year round because 1. you can get them discounted at Target the day after Halloween if you are lucky and your store still has some in stock and 2. They make me happy 🙂 #sorrynotsorry
Rainbow Thai Salad: This salad is the perfect meal prep salad because if you keep it in a well sealed container, it could last you 1.5 -2 weeks. I should know- I stretched mine for 2 weeks! I used this recipe as a bit of a template and didn’t follow it too closely. I added a bell peppers and traded the green onions for a sprinkle of red onion, which I already had in my fridge. When you meal prep, always make sure you keep your dressing on the side.
For week 2, I had two more servings left so I halved it and added some quinoa to each of the 4 bowls. Changing it up stretched it for another week and gave it a little bit of a different texture. Feel free to change up the dressing for a bigger taste difference.
Snack- I still had some of the Mocha Bliss Balls left over from last week so I kept snacking on those. Check out last week’s blog for that recipe.
Welcome to Spring, everyone! It seems like even here in New England the weather is starting to warm up. Of course, by saying that, I have officially jinxed us and it will now snow on Mother’s Day but I’ll enjoy these days while I can!
I feel like it isn’t warm enough to start rolling out the regular salads but it isn’t cold enough for soup every lunch either so I settled on something in between.
If you aren’t familiar with my meal prep posts, I usually make about 4 servings of my meals on Sunday or Monday. I try not to make too much more than that or I start getting sick of it. Then, on Thursday evening or Friday afternoon, I’ll do a feature over on my Instragram called What’s In Your Fridge Friday were I go through what’s left in my fridge and use up whatever is left to get me through the weekend and clean out my fridge before grocery shopping. It helps me minimize food waste, something I’m always struggling with as a solo cook, and also prevents me from buying things I already have, which helps with budgeting. It’s a win-win! Be sure to follow me over on Instragram at trees_and_honeybees if you aren’t already. Now, onto the food!
Breakfast- Scrambled eggs with some sort of carb and hummus: I’m always eating some version of eggs + carb + avocado for breakfast. Eggs are my one, non-vegan food that I just can’t quit. I’m very lucky to get mine locally- sometimes from a friend of the family (Hi Liz!), other times from my co-op, which stocks eggs from members of the co-op.
This week, I scrambled eggs with onion, spinach and mushrooms and topped it with avocado and tomato (and a little ketchup, not pictured because that doesn’t photograph well!) and had bread or english muffin with hummus on the side.
You can scramble up the eggs and veggies ahead of time and just pop them in the microwave each morning. I kept the avocado and tomato on the side so they wouldn’t be heated.
Lunch- Edamame and Barley Bowl: This recipe was tweaked a little bit from a recipe which I can’t find anymore on line so I’m going to include it below. All measurements are rough estimates. For instance, the recipe I wrote down has 1/2 cup of kale and 1/2 cup of sweet potato but I think I probably did closer to 1 cup of each as it didn’t look like it was making enough. The recipe is simple but it tasted so good. I love roasted edamame. Swap the edamame out for whatever protein you want. Tofu would work well.
Edamame and Barley Bowl
2/3 cup of cooked barley
1/2 cup kale
2 tsp coconut oil
2 TBSP soy sauce
1/2 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1/2 cup roasted edamame
1/2 cup baked sweet potato
In a pan over medium heat, sauté cooked barley and chopped kale with coconut oil, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger for about 5 minutes, or until the kale has wilted.
Add the barley mixture to a bowl. Top with roasted edamame and sweet potato.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds and red chili flakes, if so desired
Dinner- Lentil Tacos: I used the filling from this Pin on Pinterest and served it on corn tortillas with hummus, avocado and quick pickled red onion and it was delicious! Tacos are always a win for me. I could pretty much eat them every day. If you have leftover quick pickles, they taste awesome on avocado toast.
Snack- Mocha Bliss Balls: I made the Mocha Bliss Balls from Alexandra Andersson over at Fivesechealth. Sometimes when I’m in a food funk, I watch vegan What I Eat In a Day videos to get inspired. I could never do that because my meals would be the same for 4-5 straight days but they are good for ideas! The recipe is at the 3:45 mark if you want to skip ahead. I would advise drizzling a little chocolate over these to add a little oomph. I had just run out so I ate them plain.
What do you make when you are in a food funk? Or what do you do to de-funk?
It’s a weird meal prep week this week. I didn’t get a chance to post my meals from last week so I’ve included them here. Knowing St. Patrick’s Day was on a Wednesday, I kept with an irish theme all week and definitely had breakfast for dinner most nights.
For my groceries, the only items I purchased in packaging were the sage, which I couldn’t find fresh without plastic, and the ice cream. I almost never buy ice cream but I knew we were making homemade boozy shamrock shakes for St. Patty’s day and I wanted a dairy-free option.
I don’t think I would necessarily recommend this meal plan on a regular basis but all the components were good and worth sharing. Maybe you’ll be inspired to meal prep one or two of the recipes for next week with some less irish-themed meals 🙂
Breakfast- Irish Steel Cut Oats: If you follow these meal preps regularly, you know I’m a big oats person. I love rolled oats and eat them fairly regularly but I can’t say I often eat steel cut oats. They take longer to make and, honestly, sometimes I just forget they exist! Normally, when I do make them, I go the savory oats route and serve them with eggs and garlicky kale. So good! This time around, I made them with banana as the sweetener and topped them with more banana, peanut butter and hemp seeds. I always forget how good the texture is with these oats. The great thing is, you can also make a big batch of them in your slow cooker and have them throughout the week, changing up the toppings to keep things interesting. I halved this recipe so it was too small for my slow cooker but cooking them on the stove for about 25 minutes worked out just as well.
Lunch- Potato and Leek Soup with Shiitake “Bacon”: This shiitake “bacon” was SO freaking good. I’m pretty sure half of it got eaten straight off the baking sheet and from the container while the soup was reheating. Mine didn’t get crispy. I think it was because I put them in the oven partially frozen (by accident. My fridge got too cold) so even though I cooked it for 5 minutes longer than the recipe suggested, they weren’t crisp. Honestly, though, I didn’t mind! I can’t wait to make these again and add them to a sandwich.
As for the soup, it was good. I would advise peeling your potatoes. I used really small yukon gold potatoes and kept the skin on and even though I cleaned them really well, I didn’t love the taste they gave the soup. I served mine with nutritional yeast and the shiitake “Bacon” and a hunk of the below irish soda bread and it was quite good!
Sourdough Irish Soda Bread: If you have a sourdough starter, you know the struggle of finding uses for discard. So when I wanted to make soda bread, I certainly wasn’t going to neglect my poor starter. Any excuse to use it is a win in my book. Thank Gosh for Jenni at the Gingered Whisk. I genuinely didn’t think a sourdough irish soda bread existed but there it is!
Honestly, I’ve been pretty much surviving the year on sourdough and haven’t had Irish soda bread since, maybe, St. Patrick’s Day 2019? so I can’t speak on the authenticity of the texture. I can tell you it was good, though! It was super soft and not too crumbly. It came together quickly with no wait time for rising and very minimal kneeding. It was very low maintenced after all the sourdough I have been making. In fact, I definitely made it again this week. I was able to toast it easily. There was almost no sourdough taste in mine but that could have just been due to my starter. To keep this dairy-free, I did swap out the buttermilk for vegan buttermilk, made with almond milk and lemon juice, and earth balance for the butter.
The recipe suggests flavoring the loaf with caraway seed or orange and currants but I just kept mine plain so it was more versatile.
Dinner- Irish Baked Beans: When I was thinking about St. Patrick’s Day, I knew I didn’t want to do the standard Guinness stew or shepherd’s pie or bangers in mash. I’ve done those before and though they were fine, I knew I didn’t want to eat them for a week. Instead, I wanted to do an Irish Fry Up! Diving into the internet for research, though, left me with more questions than answers. There wasn’t really one definition of an Irish fry-up. It depends on where you go. So, I left out the meat parts and made the parts that I could eat! Cue the homemade baked beans. These are definitely not the Boston Baked Beans I’m used to. No molasses and far more tomatoes. They tasted great but as someone who isn’t a huge chunky tomato fan, I’d leave out the chopped tomatoes at the end next time.
If I’m being honest, I’ve eaten them mostly on toasted Irish soda bread with a side of fried-eggs for dinner and it was delicious! For my fry-up, I also added some sautéed mushrooms. I could have breakfast for every meal and be ok with that.
One of the horrible habits I picked up when I moved out on my own was storing food in the fridge without any covering. Stretch-tight/clingwrap was just an extra expense that I never deemed necessary when I was living on my own in Boston. I also never had a ton of room in my apartments for a lot of storage containers and most of what I had was used for meal prepping. And since I meal prepped, I knew that avocado in the fridge would be eaten for breakfast for the next 4 days so is it really necessary to wrap it up? Or, if I couldn’t find a lid for a storage container, eh. It’ll be eaten in a day or so anyways. No big deal.
My mom, who I have been sharing a fridge with since around the beginning of COVID, would disagree!
If you follow my on Instagram, you’ll know that a few weeks back, I tried to do a quick review of my favorite low waste, clean beauty products that I use for winter skin.
The “quick” round up did not go well. Instragram kept freezing and skipping on me and it took a lot longer than I planned and didn’t get to include nearly as much information as I wanted. SO, I’m including it here as well. These are my top 5 favorite product for dry skin:
Oneka Unscented Lotion: I love this product for a number of reason: it has clean ingredients, it’s unscented, it’s non-greasy and I can buy it in bulk at Cleenland in Boston. I keep mine in a repurposed body lotion bottle. For those not in Boston, you can purchase it here as well. Because it’s non-greasy, I like to use this after a morning shower or as a hand lotion if my hands start getting really dry from too much hand washing. #thankscovid
Oneka is also a Certified B-Corporation, which I want to point out because March is B-Corp month! B-Corps, in short, are for-profit companies that “are using business as a force of good”, according to the B-corp website. These are companies that meet a high standard of transparency, accountability and are trying to make a positive change environmentally and socially. In other words, they don’t put profit over people or the environment. B-Corp is a global, independent certification and companies have to qualify to get their stamp of approval. If you are looking to support companies that are making a positive impact, companies that are Certified B-Corp are a great place to start!
Homemade sugar scrub: This product is great because you can make it with what you already have in your home. This particular one is the vanilla pumpkin spice. It has sugar, coconut oil, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla- no essential oils or anything strange. Pinterest is made up of about 80% sugar scrubs recipes so there is definitely something there for everyone, depending on what you have in your house. Keep it simple and #shopyourpantry!
Ethique Butter Bars: The packaging on these butter bars is great. They come in recyclable or compostable paper boxes. I tried the travel-size ones in Sweet Orange and Coconut Lime. I find them a little greasier than the Oneka Lotion so I tend to save these for at night. They are hydrating and still smell great. One of my favorite routine is doing a workout on Sunday night, taking a hot shower and using my homemade body scrub, moisturizing with Ethique and putting on comfy leggings. The next morning, I wake up with super soft skin and can start my week feeling really good. These also travel really well so one less liquid you have to worry about packing.
Sorry the pictures for these aren’t great. All the products on here are well loved and used! The mini butter bars are actually heart shaped when they arrive.
Ethique is also a B-Corp, cruely free/vegan and donate 20% of their profits to charity!
Beautycounter Lotus Glow Cleansing Balm: This is my absolute favorite beauty product right now. I swear, every time I use it, my face looks better. Because this is a balm and not a soap, you take a small amount and massage it on dry skin. Take a warm, damp face cloth and wipe off product. The balm removes make up and dirt and leaves your skin feeling so, so soft but also clean! It’s made up of tons of hydrating oils like jojoba, avocado and apricot, along with other hydrating ingredients like shea butter. You can also put it on and leave it on overnight as a hydrating mask but the balm is so thick I worry it would clog my pores so I haven’t tried that out yet. I use this strictly as a cleanser in the evening.
As for packaging, the balm is in a glass jar. The jar and lid are both recyclable. The jar comes in a box, which is paper and recyclable. Beautycounter is supposed to be rolling out refills this year for their products so I’m keeping my eyes and ears open for that and will let you know when those are released.
Ironically, I was very reluctant to try the Lotus Balm. My beautycounter consultant at the time had to recommend this to me three times before I finally tried it. I had previously tried Lush’s Ultrabland Cleansing balm which is similar to this- massage balm into skin, wipe off with damp face cloth- and I hated it. It left my skin feeling greasy and dirty and I was so hesitant to spend money on another balm. But I love the Beautycounter one! And Beautycounter offers a 60 day return policy if you are hesitant to try it. I actually like their products so much I signed up to be a consultant this year so let me know if you have any questions!
And, you guessed it!! Beautycounter is also a B-Corp. Their ingredients are clean, ethically sourced and they are very big advocates for clean beauty. In the 8 years they have been around, they have helped pass 9 pieces of legislation involving clean beauty.
Lush Let The Good Times Roll exfoliant: This has been a favorite product for years! I may have hated their cleansing balm but Lush does have a lot of other winning products and this is definitely one I continue to buy. The exfoliant is maize flour (aka no microplastics here!) and it has corn oil which leaves your skin so smooth. It also smells like vanilla/popcorn/cinnamon/caramel depending on who’s smelling it but all those are wins in my book.
The packaging is Lush’s black pot which are made from 100% recycled plastic and which you can return to the store and they will clean and reuse. If you bring back 5 black pots to one of their stores, you get one of their fresh ingredients face masks for free. Those are delightful! Especially since they also come in a black pot so you are well on your way to getting 5 more to bring in. I love companies that take responsibility for their packaging.
Beautycounter Resurfacing Peel: If you aren’t feeling the Lush exfoliant (it smells delightful but I know not everyone loves sweet smells or they prefer an acid peel), the overnight resurfacing peel may be more up your alley. I use this twice a week, Monday and Friday (you know I love a routine!), and it helps remove dull skin and shrinks pores without leaving my skin feeling tight or dry. Plus, it does all the work while you sleep which is my type of beauty product. This is probably one of the top 3 products on Beautycounter. I got a mini sample size and it has lasted me months!
Packaging is a paper, recyclable box and a glass, recyclable jar.
Beautycounter Tetrapeptide Supreme Cream: This is the only product on my list which I wouldn’t recommend for all skin types, which is why it’s in the Bonus Section. The Supreme Cream is from BC’s Countertime line which is super hydrating and helps with fine lines. I use this at night after the Cleansing Balm.
This is anti-aging but they’ve gotten rid of the retinol which can make skin irritated and sensitive to the sun and replaced it with bakuchiol and swiss alpine rose, both plant-based.
Packaging is a paper, recyclable box and a glass, recyclable jar.
Bee Balm / Booda Butter : I use these two chapsticks interchangably. They are both made with minimal clean ingredients and both are in paper packaging with no plastic. Bee Balm, I think, is made in the Boston area but I can’t find a website to confirm that. I bought mine at Cleenland. Booda Butter was purchased at the Williamantic Co-Op.
Breakfast: This is my ride-or-die breakfast when I can’t eat oatmeal or smoothies anymore – Sourdough bread of some sort (I used sourdough rolls this week though you could also substitute an english muffin, bagel or slice of sourdough. The link is the same youtube video I’ve shared about 100x. Sorry about that!) with miso hummus and everything but the bagel seasoning (I’m a big miso fan but not a big tahini fan so this recipe was a win for me); 2 fried eggs (substitute hard boiled if you need to make them ahead of time) with just the tiniest bit of Tessamae dairy free dressing drizzled on top; and an orange. Sorry no picture! I had it four days in a row and I was certain I took pictures but alas, here we are! I’ve shared VERY similar pics in the past, though,
I don’t know why I love this meal so much. I guess it just hits that savory and sweet combo.
Lunch: Butternut Squash, Chickpea and Lentil Moroccan Stew with basmati rice. When you’re vegan, it’s always difficult to find new and exciting recipes to try. I was skeptical of this dish having had chickpea stew a number of times. The spices, namely the cinnamon and turmeric, are so yummy and warm, though! I paired this with some basmati rice. Full disclosure though, it makes more than 4 servings! Pairing it with rice I got closer to 7. I would imagine without rice it would be between 5-6. It’s really hearty! Also, I swapped out the butternut squash for sweet potatoes because that’s what I could find package free in my grocery store.
Dinner: Work Week Lunch’s Salmon Teriyaki Poke Bowl (except I substituted tofu for salmon). So, I don’t have a recipe to share with you for this because Talia, the owner of WWL, released several top recipes last year as a one week special. I saved them and have been slowly trying them throughout the year. To replicate this without her recipe (though I highly suggest you follow her on IG for Meal Prep inspiration and other free recipes), I would marinate your tofu in your favorite bottled teriyaki sauce (she makes her from scratch and it’s Yummy!) for about 20 minutes. Sautee your marinated tofu in a pan. To assemble your bowl, use noodles/grains as your base (I used a combo of bow ties and mini shells #usewhatyouhave). Toss with a little of the teriyaki sauce. On top of the noodles, add your fav poke bowl ingredients + your sautéed tofu. For my toppings I chose- cucumbers, carrots, quick pickled red onion, mango and roasted edamame. You could also add avocado, red peppers, wanton strips, greens, etc. Basically, anything you want! To keep it a little healthier, I always make sure I have more vegetables and protein than pasta, though. That’s just my preference.
Snacks: Double Chocolate Banana Bread. This bread was so good! I warmed it and then added a little peanut butter. SO good. For the chocolate chips, I swapped them for 1/2 cup of chopped up Tony’s Chocolate Bar. Tony’s had a promo to bring awareness to slavery in chocolate and was selling their version of well known chocolate bars like Kit Kats or Twix. I bought both because I like Tony’s and I like Kit Kats and Twix but the Tony’s version was almost inedible! I was so disappointed. The ‘caramel’ wasn’t caramel at all but bits of toffee mixed in. It was also way, way to sweet. And I almost NEVER say that. Because I couldn’t eat the bars straight, I chopped up some of the “twix” bar and added it to the bread instead of chocolate chip. It was much more edible when baked into banana bread!! Just a good hack if you have some extra chocolate laying around after easter or any holiday!
**Honorable Mention** I usually meal prep enough to get me through Friday or Saturday and then try to use what I have to get through the weekend. I have to give a shout out to this #usewhatyouhave recipe because it turned out really well and it’s a good Friday Night meal.
sourdough discard pizza dough and “use what you have” veggies: This recipe was 100% based of what I needed to get rid of in my fridge. I had some fresh sourdough discard and veggies that needed to be used! It ended up coming out really tasty, despite the fact that it had sugar snap peas on it. Who knew??!
For the crust, I used the Sourdough Discard Pizza Dough recipe from Zero Waste Chef. The recipe can be chilled in the freezer or frozen. As it makes 2 crusts, I used one and froze the other. If you are cracking open some pizza sauce for this recipe and don’t want it to go bad, you could pop that in the freezer too so your crust and sauce are ready the next time you have vegetables going bad. The crusts are on the smaller side, or I’m just really bad at stretching pizza dough. I got 4 large slices out of the crust. If you are meal prepping, you could make the pizza ahead of time and pair it with a side salad throughout the week.
This particular pizza athad BBQ sauce (I’m not a tomato sauce fan), roasted mushrooms, caramelized onions, red peppers, snap peas (I know, weird but it’s what I had!), a tiny bit of vegan cheese I had kicking around and nutritional yeast. It was surprisingly really good!
St. Patrick’s Day is next weekend. Are you guys planning anything special?