Vegan Menu Planning Monday

This week I’m going to work on cleaning out some freezer food. It’s great that I’m finally putting things up for a busy week, because this is the busy week I’ve been saving for!

We’re still on the eating plan and going to the gym 5 times a week and we’re starting to see a difference in how our clothes fit. Woo hoo!

Breakfast of the week: Kashi Go Lean Crunch (alternated with oatmeal)with unsweetened vanilla almond milk with banana, apple, or blueberries

Sweet of the week: slow cooker Mexican chocolate black bean brownies

Lunch Soup of the week: various soups that are hanging out in the freezer – this is the week to make a dent in them!

** Salads with each meal **

Monday: veggie loaf with mashed cauliflower with mushroom gravy and steamed veggies

Tuesday: slow cooker experiment

Wednesday: slow cooker polenta with tofu ricotta, white beans, and marinara sauce

Thursday: mexican burger topped with guacamole with green chili parsnips and spanish rice

Friday: dinner out – PF Chang’s?

Saturday: Black bean sweet potato chili

Sunday: slow cooker polenta with tofu ricotta, white beans, and marinara sauce

Fat Smash Vegan Menu Planning Monday

Last week went well with our food plan and Thursday we get to add brown rice pasta and soy cheese. Woo hoo!! We both have lost weight and have been exercising several times a week. So far so good.

Breakfast of the week: Oatmeal with unsweetened vanilla almond milk with banana, apple, or blueberries

Sweet of the week: slow cooker sweet potatoes with cinnamon

Lunch Soup of the week: slow cooker white bean tempeh chili with butternut squash

** Salads with each meal **

Monday: slow cooker sweet and sour tofu (made with smoked tofu) over brown rice

Tuesday: slow cooker Indian dahl and okra – maybe eggplant too with brown rice

Wednesday: slow cooker eggplant  lasagna with salad

Thursday:  mexican burger topped with guacamole with green chili parsnips and spanish rice or mexi spagetti squash

Friday: vegan brown rice pasta mac and cheese with steamed veggies

Saturday: Asian tofu lettuce wraps with stir fried veggies

Sunday: slow cooker polenta with tofu ricotta, white beans, and marinara sauce

Vegan Fat Smash Phase 1 Menu Planning Monday

Geeky spouse and I signed up for a 3 month program at the Y to finally get some of this extra weight off. It’s a great program with tons of extra classes for beginners and a food plan. The food plan is the Fat Smash Diet. While I put no faith in diets, this seems to be a program where you eat gluten-free vegan for phase 1. No pasta, avocados, white potatoes, sugar, caffeine, or wine. Phase one is 9 days, so it should be pretty easy.

The sugar will be the hardest part for me, but you get all the fruit you want. So I have splurged and gone off my buying local seasonal produce to keep my sweet fix. I have cantaloupe, honeydew, pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, and grapes. That should keep me busy enough to actually become less dependent on sugar. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Breakfast of the week: Oatmeal with unsweetened vanilla almond milk with banana, apple, or blueberries

Sweet of the week: slow cooker fruit (Similar to the drunken apples but without all the sugar and alcohol)

Lunch Soup of the week: slow cooker meatless tortilla soup

** Salads with each meal **

Monday: black bean burger lettuce wrap tacos topped with shredded carrots and salsa, served with Spanish brown rice

Tuesday: smoked tofu over assorted veggies – made in slow cooker (recipe to follow on healthy slow cooking)

Wednesday: veggie fried rice with tofu and pineapple

Thursday: spaghetti squash with tempeh ‘meat balls’ and marinara sauce

Friday: veggie chili taco salad

Saturday: Asian tofu lettuce wraps with stir fried veggies

Sunday: homemade veggie burger over brown rice and asst veggies

Veggie Menu Planning Monday

I have started a new veggie slow cooker blog that’s called Healthy Slow Cooking. I will be redoing all my slow cooker recipes from here and will be adding tons of new ones as well.  Check it out if you get a chance.

Why all the seitan this week? Well, I made a big recipe of it from Post Punk Kitchen. I’m freezing some for later, but want to test it out in a few things. I used veggie broth instead of the soy sauce to cut down on the salt. I’ll let you know later if that was a good move or not. Never heard of it? It’s made from the gluten in wheat to produce a more “meaty” textured protein substitute. Check out more info here at Gourmet Sleuth or

Breakfast of the week: Kashi Heart to Heart cereal instead with unsweetened vanilla almond milk with banana or dried apricots

Sweet of the week: New to me banana bread – looks like an amazing recipe

Lunch Soup of the week: Slow Cooker Apple and Split Pea Soup (from the new blog)

Monday: Seitan Stroganoff with steamed broccoli

Tuesday: Garden-Fresh Stir-Fry with Seitan from

Wednesday: Guacamole enchiladas with refried beans

Thursday: Celery Root and Caramelized Pear Soup and a big salad with roasted sweet potato, beets,  goat cheese and pecans – possibly homemade bread

Friday: BBQ riblets with mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli, carrots, and green beans

Saturday: Slow cooker veggie pot pie – will be a variation of something like this (will post recipe after I’ve made it and it is safe for others!)

Sunday: Seitan Stir Fry with Spicy Noodles or a veggie pasta dish of some kind

Daylight Savings Veggie Menu Planning Monday

Yesterday I was the most productive I may have ever been. Got my weeklies cooked and 2 entrees! I think I love daylight savings time, at least in the fall when we get that ‘extra’ hour.

I’m obviously obsessed with orange veggies – especially pumpkin. Yum!

Muffin of the week: Fat Free Pumpkin Raisin Biscuits

Sweet of the week: Pumpkin Black Bottom Cupcakes

Lunch Soup of the week: Sweet Potato Chickpea Gumbo with Brown Rice


Monday: Vegetable Pot Pie

Tuesday: Slow cooker Polenta with marinara sauce

Wednesday: Wine-Braised Lentils with Garlic Sautéed Spinach

Thursday: Make up jewelry class – bring gumbo for dinner

Friday: Veggie burgers and Fries with broccoli slaw

Saturday: Veggie Chili with Cornbread

Sunday: Use leftovers in a soup or a pot pie

Happy Halloween Menu Planning Monday

I love Halloween! It’s my favorite holiday. I always have a fancy Gothic dinner party – you can read more about this year’s here.  On the dinnerware blog there’s also tons about decorating and drink ideas for Halloween.

Muffin of the week: Pumpkin Muffins

Cookie of the week: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Lunch Soup of the week: Cauliflower Tomato Soup made with leftovers from this recipe

Monday: Leftover veggie loaf coffins and spook-tacular potatoes from my Halloween dinner party

Tuesday: Wine-Braised Lentils with Garlic Sautéed Spinach

Wednesday: Dinner out with Faith and Christy

Thursday: Sweet Potato, Okra, and Chickpea Gumbo and cornbread

Friday: Jack-o-lantern quesidillas – filled with mashed potato mixed with Trader Joe’s edamame succotash and salsa

Saturday: Butternut Squash Sage Pasties, spinach salad with roasted beets

Sunday: Pizza with salad

I Love Fall Veggie Menu Monday

I love fall. I have the windows open to the fresh air, and have major cravings for swiss chard, kale, apples, soups and pumpkin in everything!

This is my second week of making a batch of muffins for my morning sweet fix. I’ve been sneaking in flax and oat bran for good measure.

I also decided I need a cookie fix and I had leftover canned pumpkin – the soft pumpkin pecan cookies are crazy good – very cakelike with a decadent brown sugar glaze.

To counteract the cookies I have a super healthy soup for lunch. The red kale is so pretty and it was a great way to use some of the last of the basil from my garden.

Muffin of the week: Low fat Apple Walnut Muffins

Cookie of the week: Soft Pumpkin Pecan Iced Cookies

Lunch Soup of the week: Red Kale and White Bean Soup

Monday: Leftover Pasta with pumpkin mushroom sauce (I will post recipe later). It’s a combo of these recipes and my own touch: and

Tuesday: Tofu stir-fry with bok choy, and other greens in a soy ginger sauce with green beans in black bean sauce and steamed dumplings

Wednesday: Chickenl-ess Parmigiano with vegan Cesar salad and garlic bread

Thursday: Slow cooker Lentil Chard Soup or Curried lentil with greens soup

Friday: Homemade biscuits and veggie sausage gravy

Saturday: Gumbo of some kind – maybe z’Herbes

Sunday: Clean out the fridge veggie soup made in the slow cooker and fresh bread recipe from sparkpeople

Tail Between My Legs Veggie Menu Monday


Sorry for disappearing. Let’s just say too much money was spent and there was an eating out frenzy that’s made my budget look like the dog chewed it.

So here I go with the basics – menu planning. Over and over again it proves itself to be invaluable!

Fall is the perfect time to pull out the slow cooker if you haven’t used it in awhile. Take a look at a few of my favorites, and see if there are any you want to add to your menu plan this week.

I also recommend spinach salads for the week. Buying a large container of pre-washed baby spinach is a great investment. Not only does it keep longer than baby lettuce, when it’s at the end you can saute it, add to pasta sauces and even sneak some on sandwiches to add extra fiber and vitamins.

Monday: Minestrone and spinach salad (recipe near the bottom of linked post)

Tuesday: Refried Bean Tacos in blue corn shells with chorizo Spanish couscous over a romaine salad

Wednesday: Cauliflower curry potato curry with dahl over basmati brown rice and naan

Thursday: Grilled Pizza and salad

Friday: Pepper steak with steamed brown rice and wonton soup

Saturday: Chickenl-ess Parmigiano with vegan Cesar salad and garlic bread

Sunday: Clean out the fridge veggie soup made in the slow cooker and fresh bread recipe from sparkpeople

Getting Healthier Vegan Menu Monday

I survived my second 6am spinning class! Of course my behind is pretty sore and my quads (and legs) are still wiggly, but it’s worth it to meet my goals. I’m trying to take off a few pounds and get in shape. It can be a slow process, but I’m really working on keeping a positive attitude and eating fresh, healthy food really helps.

I got a csa style box of veggies from Tiny Farm  Saturday at the Durham Farmer’s Market and have tons of fresh heirloom tomatoes and green beans. I bought some cucumbers, lettuce, and tons of assorted berries to round out my week.

I made gazpacho and a chilled yellow beet soup as well for lunches. Salads topped with strawberries, blueberries, apples, nuts and herbs from the garden will be a welcome addition to lunches and dinners.  I may need to add in a cold bean or grain salad as well to round it my day out.

Monday: Tofu with green beans and carrots in black bean sauce over steamed brown rice

Tuesday: Taco salads with veggie chili, guacamole, heirloom tomatoes, cucumber, onion, and almond cheese - topped with homemade pico de gallo

Wednesday: Fried brown rice with tons of veggies, portabella mushroom prepared pepper steak style

Thursday: Tunisian Sweet Potato Stew from fat free vegan made in the slow cooker served over whole wheat couscous

Friday: Veggie burgers on the grill with a side salad topped with fresh fruit and balsamic dressing

Saturday: Grilled polenta with veggies covered with a heirloom tomato pesto sauce with a Caesar salad and grilled corn on the cob

Sunday: Sloppy Lentils and steamed veggies -or- tacos with refried beans and guacamole

Pesto Anyone?

basilI have 3 kinds of basil this year Italian, lemon, and Thai all growing in my garden. Some are in the veggie bed and I have others in containers. If you have no space you can even grow some inside on a sunny window sill.

If you don’t have a garden you should be able to get locally grown basil at your farmers market, or local natural foods store at this time of the year. You can get fresh herbs in the winter, but they are expensive and they don’t taste as good to me.

Pesto is fragrant mixture of herbs and nuts ground into a thick paste with olive oil. And there are dozens of variations.

Traditional Basil Pesto

  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 – 1/2  cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (optional – add salt to taste if you are leaving out or use a vegan substitute)

Put basil, garlic, ¼ cup olive oil, nuts, and cheese if using into a food processor. Process the pesto using the pulse setting, so you can still have a few small chunks of nuts for texture. Add more oil if the mixture is too thick. Taste and add more garlic, salt, or cheese until you love what you have and can’t wait to eat it.

What to do with it?

  • Toss with pasta and top with fresh ground pepper
  • Spread on a pizza crust instead of red sauce
  • Put in mashed potatoes
  • Add into a soup (minestrone is great for this)
  • Mix into your scrambled tofu in the morning
  • Blend with silken tofu for a perfect dairy free dip

Ok, so I’ve sold you on trying to make pesto, but you don’t have any pine nuts? Or maybe your basil didn’t do so good this year. Now it’s time to get creative. First off you can substitute any nuts for the pine nuts. I used almonds in mine. Why not try pistachios or walnuts?

Use the recipe above for general proportions, but realize you will have to taste as you go even more since some herbs have a stronger taste than others. You’ll begin to notice how the oils of the bruised herbs smell mingled with the smell of the nut you chose.  And then you’ll know if you need to add more of another ingredient.

  • A few combinations to try:
  • Arugula (Rocket) and Pistachio
  • Oregano and Walnut
  • Sage with Pine nuts and a little lemon juice
  • Mint and Almond
  • Rosemary and hazelnut
  • Tarragon and no nuts at all

If you need more ideas take a look at this post on the gardenWeb herb forum.

Save your new creation for a winter surprise! Oil an ice cube tray and put your freshly made pesto into the slots. Once the cubes are frozen, remove them from the try and place into a freezer bag. Now in January they’ll be waiting to go into your steaming pot of minestrone!


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