Wow – I’m on a two-week streak and back for the What I Ate Wednesday blog-party once again! I figured I’d do something a little bit different this time and share not just one day, but a whole MONTH of meals!!! In January, I started planning out my meals for the week and preparing most meals in advance on Sundays for the week ahead. Although I never thought it would, this habit has definitely stuck.
How I Meal Plan:
For a typical week, I make large batches of one recipe for breakfasts and one recipe for lunches, which I then pack for work all week. If I have the time, I also like to try out one new “snack” recipe a week. For dinners, I usually plan out 2 recipes each week, and make enough of each recipe for one or two nights of leftovers per meal. This takes care of 4-5 nights of the week. I don’t plan for all 7 nights so that we have some wiggle room for late nights at the office or impromptu nights with friends. We also have a fully stocked pantry and freezer so we can always whip up something to eat if we actually wind up being home all 7 nights.
Recently, I started doing my meal-planning for 2 or even 3 weeks at a time. This way, I just need to sit down once or twice each month to browse through recipes (this month I browsed through my Mama Pea and Happy Herbivore cookbooks, along with the spreadsheet I keep of recipe ideas). This planning ahead also makes it so that we can do one massive shopping trip to Whole Foods Market to get the harder to find ingredients. We then supplement this shopping trip with quick weekly trips to a nearby store for fresh produce and anything we’ve run out of.
The WIAW Theme:
This month’s What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW) Theme is “Summer Staples“, which aims to feature the essence of summer in foods and recipes. While I didn’t know the theme at the time I did my meal-planning last month, I think my meals are spot on with this theme: lots of light, simple meals with an abundance of fruit and plenty of salads!
Also, while this post contains all of the meals I planned for the entire month of July, please note that this does not reflect every single thing that I ate. There were many snacks, restaurant meals, and impromptu meals at home that aren’t mentioned here, but I hope this give you all a good picture of how I plan, and hopefully some recipe ideas!
WEEK 1: 7/2 – 7/8
White Bean – Almond – Oat Parfaits with Berries (recipe) – YUM! – This was a new creation of mine & I loved it so much it has an entire post dedicated to it. I jazzed it up with Strawberries, Blueberries, and Coconut for a Red, White, & Blue Fourth of July Breakfast.
Carrot, Raisin & Lentil Bowls with Pineapple-Curry sauce – Eh. – This recipe was another invention of mine, but as beautiful as it looks, the recipe needs quite a bit of tweaking before I’m willing to go public with it
Happy Herbivore’s Mexican Chowder & Bayou Cornbread – Eh. – This turned out just ‘okay’. The Cornbread came out very dry, and the chowder had a lot of nutritional yeast in it, which is a flavor I’m still getting used to.
Peas, Carrots, & Tempeh with Miso-Almond Sauce (recipe) – YUM! – I loved this recipe and enjoyed the flavors of the Miso-Almond sauce. The sauce was supposed to be drizzled on top of the veggies, tempeh & quinoa – but we tossed the whole thing together instead. This recipe also came together really quickly. Mike did the cooking for this one and he had it ready & waiting for me when I got home from work!
I made both of the recipes below for a picnic lunch for 2 on the 4th of July, with leftovers to snack on throughout the week
Happy Herbivore’s Southwestern Macaroni Salad – YUM! – I really loved how simple & delicious this was. The inclusion of Chipotle Powder in the recipe made this pasta salad stand out from any other with a little bit of heat and a delicious smoky flavor.
Flexitarian Diet’s Artichoke & Tomato Panzanella Salad – YUM! – This is an old favorite of mine & Mike’s and I’m so sad we didn’t get a photo of this. Tomatoes, Canned Artichokes, and White Beans are tossed together with a light dressing and some Toasted Bread Cubes, which soak up all the yummy flavors.
WEEK 2: 7/9 – 7/15
Adzuki Bean – Peanut – Cocoa Parfaits with Berries & Bananas – YUM! – This was a variation on my White Bean – Almond – Oat Parfaits from Week 1, except that I subbed in Red Beans and Peanut Butter, and added Cocoa powder. I really enjoyed having chocolate to start my mornings! I layered the Bananas between parfait layers, which kept them from turning brown, and topped each bowl with frozen berries, which defrosted in the fridge overnight.
Happy Herbivore Eggless Salad Sandwiches (recipe) – YUM! – I talk about this recipe entirely too much, so I’ll be brief here, since I clearly adore this recipe. Just a tip: A couple of readers tried it and mentioned they found the curry powder in the salad to be overpowering (thanks so much for the feedback!). If you aren’t a huge fan of curry powder like I am, consider reducing it or leaving it out entirely.
Mama Pea’s Thai Veggie Burgers & Thai Crunch Salad – YUM! – Mike and I spent a fun Saturday afternoon in the kitchen together making this delicious meal. We thought the burgers were pretty good (especially when topped with a ‘special sauce’ we made of bbq sauce & vegenaise), but the salad & dressing were what REALLY stood out. This salad could easily stand in for any restaurant’s thai salad and I will definitely be making it again very soon!
Burrito Night – Eh. – Despite being loaded with so many of my favorite toppings (sauteed veggies, pintos, Nacho Momma’s Voodoo Queso, salsa, and guac), I just didn’t love this burrito. In hindsight, I’m not really a burrito person though. Even at Chipotle, I always order a rice bowl instead
Mama Pea’s Yogi Guacamole – YUM! – This guac recipe from Mama Pea uses Chickpeas to “stretch” the recipe – by not only reducing the fat & calories, but also keeping the guac greener longer! I packed guac in my lunch each day for an afternoon snack and it stayed green for most of the week. The only thing I’ll do differently next time is to toss in some diced tomato, onion, & bell pepper at the end for a chunkier guac.
WEEK 3: 7/16 – 7/22
Mama Pea’s Mini Tofu Fritattas + Fruit Salad – YUM! – My attempt at Mama Pea’s Mini Tofu Fritattas did not come out pretty at all (a strange beige-y color from tofu + soy sauce), but they sure were delicious! I’m not sure what I enjoyed more, those, or the beautiful fruit salad I had along side of it with Canteloupe, Strawberries, Nectarines, & Navel Oranges.
Bean-y Tahini Tabbouleh – YUM! – This was my favorite lunch of the month, and completely impromptu. I had planned to try Oh She Glow’s Lentil Goddess Bowls, but after my attempt at Lentil Salad earlier in the month, I wanted a break from Lentils. Instead, I whipped up a huge batch of Tabbouleh. I used Bob’s Red Mill’s recipe as a rough guideline, though I added extra veggies, subbed Tahini for Oil, and added a can of White Beans to bulk it up.
BLT Salad – YUM! – After loving the smoky flavor of the Southwestern Macaroni Salad and the toast in the Panzanella Salad, I decided to combine the two in a (tempeh) Bacon – Lettuce – and – Tomato Salad. I blended a batch of Happy Herbivore’s Fat Free Vegan Mayo with some Chipotle Powder and tossed it with pasta, lettuce, tomato, red bell pepper, avocado, Light Life’s Fakin’ Bacon, and Toast. It definitely hit the spot!
Tomato & Roasted Eggplant Stew with Chickpeas (recipe) – YUM! – This was really more of a fall dish, and the oven really heated up the kitchen as I roasted the eggplants, bell peppers and garlic. This recipe was worth it though. Ironically, I had bookmarked this recipe when I stumbled upon it online, without realizing that I owned the cookbook itself – Veganomicon – one of my all-time favorites. The cookbook suggests serving this over Polenta, which I’m sure would be absolutely incredible. Instead, I made a loaf of Irish Brown Bread with a whole-grain mix I had picked up in Dublin.
Apple Spice Hummus (recipe) – YUM! – Edible Perspective’s Apple Spice Hummus + Graham Crackers = The Perfect Fruity & Filling Afternoon Snack! As the recipe suggests, instead of using store-bought apple sauce, I simply tossed a diced apple in the food processor before adding the remaining ingredients. I subbed Peanut Butter for the Cashew Butter and left out the oil and it still turned out well.
WEEK 4: 7/23 – 7/29
Banana Split Overnight Oats – Eh. – I had limited time for meal-prep this week, since I had spent the weekend in New York City, so I planned ahead by leaving a grocery shopping list with Mike with ingredients for some super quick recipes. For breakfast, what could be simpler than Overnight Oats? I mixed the oats with Almond Milk, Flax Meal, Bananas, Frozen Strawberries & Pineapple, Vegan Chocolate Chips, and Peanuts for a play on a Banana Split. Somehow this meal seemed like it was missing something. I think next time I’ll mash the bananas before adding them to the oats, to thicken the texture and ensure there is sweetness in each bite.
BBQ Chickpea Salad – YUM! – I got this super easy salad recipe from Happy Herbivore’s weekly meal plans, though I added some microwaved sweet potatoes to the mix. After months of seeing it on other blogs, this was my first time trying Barbecue Sauce as a Salad Dressing. I totally loved it, though the watered-down-hummus-as-salad-dressing trick that I also learned from the blogosphere is still my favorite unconventional dressing.
Lentil Taco Salads (recipe) – YUM! – I was so impressed by how easy & delicious the PPK’s Lentil Taco Filling was, that I decided to make it again. This time, Mike did the cooking and we enjoyed it outside of the taco shells. We had it as a salad along with bell peppers, tomatoes, and avocado.
Mama Pea’s Tempeh Bacon Reubens – YUM! – This sandwich was simply AMAZING. And it was so easy, a recipe is hardly necessary, though it did help guide me through the assemblage process. I sandwiched Fakin’ Bacon and some of Frank’s Caraway Kraut along with a dressing of Ketchup,Vegenaise, Diced Pickles, and Hot Sauce between slices of ‘buttered’ Whole Wheat Bread. Then I heated it up just like I used to make Grilled Cheese. The recipe also calls for Vegan Cheeze, but my sandwich had loads of flavor without the need for any.
Honeydew & Cucumber Salad with Lime & Mint – YUM! – Inspired by Whole Living magazine’s Melon, Mint & Cucumber Smoothie, I made a fruit salad with the same ingredients. I’m still curious to try it as a smoothie, but the salad version was so easy to pack up & bring to work for a mid-morning snack, and so refreshing too!
I’d love to hear from you!
Do you meal-plan?
What are some of your favorite summer meals?