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!
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.
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?
Happy Thursday! How are we feeling about the meal prep posts being on Thursday? I think I’m liking it! I did a poll on my Instagram (@trees_and_honeybees, if you aren’t following me yet) asking people which day they preferred meal prep posts and the majority said it didn’t matter because the search for recipes when they go to meal prep. So, as much as I love the alliteration of Meal Prep Monday, I think we are going to continue to try out Thursdays for a little bit.
I’m still trying to be a little more conscious of what I have in my pantry and fridge when I go grocery shopping so this weeks meal prep was based on the fact that I had a fresh batch of sourdough rolls, some dry pasta and some edamame chilling in my freezer.
Breakfast: homemade sourdough rolls with avocado (or hummus), fried eggs and fruit. I rotated between apples and sumo oranges. I’ve loving sourdough rolls lately. I only have one proofing basket and my go-to bread recipe makes two loaves so I just use the second half of the recipe for rolls instead of bread. This week, I did a mix of all purpose, whole wheat and spelt flours. The only thing from breakfast that comes in packaging is the eggs and I buy that at my co-op so they are local and in repurposed egg cartons.
Lunch: Last week’s curry was so yummy! But, I’m back on the soup train this week. Soup is just so cheap, quick and easy! I noticed I’ve been eating a lot of chickpeas lately so I opted for a cannellini soup this week. This soup really is super cheap, easy and quick. For some reason, I thought it had carrots so I used two that were starting to look a little sad in my fridge. I also used kale instead of spinach for the same reason as I used the carrots. Soups are great for using up veggies on their last leg. Soup is so easy to make low waste as a lot of the ingredients can be bought fresh with no packaging or in aluminum cans.
Dinner: Since lunch felt a little lacking in fresh vegetables, I opted to load up on them for dinner. I did a really simple cold pasta salad with edamame, sugar snap peas, carrots, mushrooms and red peppers with pasta and a sesame ginger dressing. I cooked the edamame and mushrooms just because I prefer the taste of those two cooked but everything else was left raw. I roasted the edamame at 375 for 20 minutes. You could tweak this recipe with whatever vegetables and dressing you have on hand. I had been planning on serving this with a peanut sauce but I couldn’t find Teddie’s peanut butter while grocery shopping so switched to a sesame ginger dressing we already had at the house. Except for that 1 lone serving that has the very last bit of Tessamae’s Buffalo Dairy-Free Ranch. Nothing in the salad has any seasoning so any dressing you like should work. Use what you have! I was able to buy all the vegetables and pasta without packaging.
Snacks: This weeks dessert comes courtesy of The Whole Food Diary- Sourdough Discard Chocolate Cake. My favorite part of this recipe is that it has minimum ingredients and chances are, you already have all of them (if you make sourdough). I didn’t have to buy anything for this recipe which is my favorite kind of recipe! I don’t have ramekins so I opted for a large muffin pan (it may even be called Texas Muffin pan?) and made 4 servings (I definitely ate one before taking the photo!). Mine didn’t come out gooey as Kezia mentions in her recipe but I suspect the change in pans and the increase in servings caused that. The texture was definitely some sort of bread / cake hybrid but it was still very moist and tasty. It’s not very sweet so I like it as a little mid-day chocolate fix. You can increase the sweetness by adding your chocolate of choice, Kezia recommends 2 TBSP of chocolate chips. I had some peanut chips kicking around so I sprinkled a little on the top of the cakes. I should have mixed them in better but they are still delicious. I store these in the fridge. If you do this, you may need to reheat them for about 15 seconds in the microwave before eating.
Additional snack options- I have recently discovered the joys of vegan yogurt in glass packaging. I’ve never been a yogurt fan but the Culina yogurt and the Oui by Yoplait versions are both so good! I prefer the Culina yogurt, though it isn’t cheap so I try to stretch it out by getting two servings from each container. I load it up with nut butter, fruit and granola and get a pretty tasty snack out of it! My fav combo this week is Culina Bourbon vanilla yogurt, apple, peanut butter and a little bit of chocolate peanut butter granola. SO good.
I’ve been toying with the idea of moving my meal prep posts to the end of the week when people are starting to make grocery lists and plan their meals for the following weeks. I go back and forth on whether Monday or Thursday is better. I like the alliteration of Meal Prep Monday but Thursday might just work better for people’s schedules. Do you have a preference?
Happy Monday, once again, friends! This is sort of an anti-meal prep Meal Prep post.
I decided this week that I had way too much stuff in my pantry and the last thing I needed to do was go grocery shopping! So I decided this week would be a leftovers/ shop your pantry week. My shelf is a mess and I need to work through some of what I have and I’m not always great at doing that. So, #usewhatyouhave is this week’s theme!
So, first up, for breakfast I made smoothie packets. I didn’t have enough ingredients to do the same smoothie each day, like I normally do. Instead, I pulled out the frozen fruit and vegetables I had in my freezer and made a bunch of different flavors.
Monday: Strawberry Banana
Tuesday: Cherry Almond
Wednesday: My go-to Chocolate Mint
Thursday: Pineapple Matcha
None of these followed a recipe. I tried to do my best to stick to the base recipe I have for my Chocolate Mint which is: 1 c. cauliflower, 1/2 c. zucchini/summer squash, 1/2 c. greens, 2 TBSP flaxseed, 1 scoop protein powder, 1 c. non-dairy milk, then I’d add in fruit and extras based on what I had. That didn’t last long though. I think I only had cauliflower and greens for 2 smoothies each so I mixed them up to give a variety of nutrition per day. I’ll post what is in each smoothie on my IG story for those interested. My IG is trees_and_honeybees.
Today, in the spirit of trying to get rid of items that aren’t staples, I swirled some Granola Butter into my smoothie instead of peanut butter. I’m not a huge Granola Butter fan- it’s REALLY oily- but it worked well in my smoothie and froze really nicely when I mixed it in the smoothie so it was sort of like having a fudge swirl in my breakfast. Kind of? Ice cream for breakfast? When it’s all fruits and veggies, why not??
For lunch, I wanted to use these homemade pitas I made last week for a breakfast sandwich. I had a bunch left over so I’m doing sandwiches all week for lunch. Today and tomorrow, I am doing a salmon “BLT” (pictured above). I had 1 salmon fillet frozen in my freezer and I paired that with a tomato, the last of the lettuce in my fridge, some vegan bacon, avocado AND a little dairy-free ranch- all things I had in my fridge.
I only have enough of everything to make 2 Salmon BLTs so I also cooked up some dried chickpeas and will make some smashed chickpea sandwiches. TBD on the recipe for that because I’m not 100% sure. That’s what happens when you shop your fridge.
FYI- I ALWAYS keep my fresh breads in the fridge or freezer. When you make fresh bread for only one person, there is no way you can go through it before it goes bad.
For dinner, tonight I am having some leftover soba noodles. I paired the noodles with some frozen edamame, corn and leftover carrots and some ginger sesame dressing.
The rest of the week, I have some frozen homemade sweet potato gnocchis I think I’ll be eating.
Of course, meal prep would not be complete without something sweet. I have a few Tony’s chocolonely bar kicking around that I can certainly snack on. If you are looking for ethical chocolate for Valentines Day, Tony’s is on a mission to make the chocolate industry slave-free and free from child-labor, which is all too common in the majority of chocolate. Check out their mission page for more information and if you are looking for some really food chocolate, I like the dark chocolate, the salted almond and the pecan coconut flavors! (the caramel is more like a toffee, just an FYI)
I also made Oat Flour Brownies from The Whole Food Diary. I love that they make a smaller batch because sometimes I just don’t want 16 brownies laying around! Kezia, who is the brilliant mind behind The Whole Food Diary, is also one of my Beautycounter mentors, which is very exciting for me because I love her recipes and her blog. I didn’t have any eggs so I substituted a flaxseed egg. These brownies came out VERY chocolatey because I maybe decided to throw some cut up chocolate bar in there and it melted into the brownies and made them very ooey-gooey. Whoops! I popped them in the freezer to help solidify them a little more and I’m sure that they will be delightful anyway! You can’t go wrong with chocolate.
What is on your menu this week?
As this week is very unconventional, definitely follow me on IG to see what I’m eating when everything isn’t planned out and I’m trying to work through leftovers. Don’t be surprised if you see popcorn one night for dinner.
Happy Monday, everyone! Winter has really settled in up here in New England and it has gotten COLD! Or maybe it just feels colder now that the holidays and the inauguration are behind us. There isn’t really anything else to look forward to except Spring!