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??
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.
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.
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!
I was pretty excited with this week’s grocery haul. Finding dairy-free yogurt in non-plastic containers at a conventional grocery store like Big Y is a huge win! I was also able to find all my produce plastic-free which was another huge win. I was pretty impressed!
I can’t believe Christmas is next week! To help avoid the Buddy the Elf food plan of candy, candy canes and syrup (and cookies, lets be honest!), I’m really making a point to meal prep this week. Having at least some meals on hand with vegetables and fruits will hopefully help balance out all those Christmas treats!