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??
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.
How many people miss going out to eat besides me? I miss going to a cafe on Saturday, getting an oat milk latte in my to-go mug, and being productive. I miss trying new restaurants. I miss meeting people for lunch. I basically just miss pre-COVID life!
Even though it’s harder to do some of those things, I am trying hard to support some of my favorite small restaurants when I can. I am eating out less but when I do eat out, I’m thinking small.
Last year, before COVID shut everything down, I had planned to highlight small businesses that were practicing low-waste, sustainable and/or eco-friendly practices. As vaccines start rolling out and the world *fingers crossed* is getting closer to opening up, I wanted to return to this series in hopes of encouraging you to try small businesses near you and to shop small when you can.
This week, I’m featuring Heirloom Cafe in Danielson, Connecticut. Moving away from Boston and all their vegan/vegetarian eateries definitely had me worried but Heirloom has been my go to place when I want to treat myself.
Heirloom is a cafe with a small menu that includes an excellent selection of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free dishes. Currently, they offer sandwiches, salads/bowls and smoothies. They also have a decent variety of homemade gluten-free and vegan treats like cupcakes, oatmeal cream pies and samoa bars. They have paired down their menu a bit during COVID times, eliminating coffee/cafe options and breakfasts, but their menu still contains some favorites and offers a selection. They also have specials each week which are always amazing. Valentines week they offered a vegan, gluten free cheesecake with fresh strawberry puree swirled in it and it was so yummy!
In addition to serving a wide range of foods that I can actually eat (anyone with a dietary restriction know the feeling of only having one thing to eat on a menu), Heirloom also does it’s best to source organic ingredients (between 85-90% of their ingredients are organic) and to source local ingredients. They have tofu from Middletown, CT, maple syrup and honey from Woodstock, CT, cheese from Vermont and more.
So far, I have tried their vegan breakfast sandwich, the Miso Roasted Beet and Kale bowl (which I may try and replicate as one of my meal preps one of these days), the Buddha bowl, the curry mock chicken wrap, as well as a few sweet treats like the samoa bar, the oatmeal cream pie and a cupcake. The curry mock chicken, which is found on both the wrap and the Buddha Bowl, is one of my favorite things on the menu. All the desserts have been delicious, though the oatmeal cream pie is VERY sweet so heads up if you aren’t a big sweets eater. Everything has been really fresh and loaded with flavor. The bread on the vegan sandwich was out of this world. No matter what you order, I don’t think you can go wrong.
When I ate here pre-COVID, I always received real plates and utensils and they filled my reusable coffee mug. Currently, they offer curbside pickup where you order everything on line and it is brought to your car. They serve the food with no additional plastic utensils, in a plastic, recyclable container and a recyclable, brown paper bag. Obviously, these options are less sustainable but, to me, continuing to support a small vegan restaurant that does their part to support local produce and local companies is very important to me. I’ll create a little trash in this moment to keep this restaurant going, knowing I’m doing my best to reduce waste in other areas.
What are some small businesses that you know about who are showing love for the planet. Leave suggestions here for me to checkout.