Menu Planning Monday: Spooky Good Meals

Angelo at Pumpkin Patch3

Autumn has finally arrived here in North Florida, and I couldn’t be happier! The temps have dropped enough so that we can don a light sweater and actually enjoy the outdoors once again.

While most of us were just inconvenienced and uncomfortable by the blistering hot summer, it had a more serious impact on our poor farmers.  Between record heat, tropical storms and a major hurricane, they had their work cut out for them! All the more reason to buy local. 

So, this week I’ll be focusing on local veggies from Front Porch Pickings , dusting off some old favorite recipes as well as new ones I’ve been dying to try.  Assuming that the crisp fall air and cool breeze will hang around for a bit (pretty please, Mother Nature!), I’ll be cooking up warm & comfy meals, perfect for a cozy night in front of the fire or, at the very least, a pumpkin-scented candle!

My order includes: mini cukes, black garlic, ginger, collard greens, mustard greens, okra, white acre peas, purple sweet potatoes, radishes & roselle. Several of these ingredients are new-to-me so I’m really excited to get cookin’!

Without further ado, here’s my menu plan for the next week or two, depending upon how many ghosts or goblins join us for dinner!

Happy Halloween!

Michele~

Note: I follow a WFPBNO (whole food, plant-based, no oil) diet most of the time, deviating a bit here & there when dining out or when I just want a little treat.  When the recipe calls for oil, I substitute vegetable broth or plain water when appropriate. If the exact recipe I’m using isn’t published online, I will post a similar recipe.

P.S. For other great menu planning bloggers, please visit Organizing Junkie!

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Monday Menu Planning: Goodbye, July!

Angelo beach

I seriously can’t believe that today is the last day of July! Where has the summer gone? We’ve enjoyed our beach & pool time, but it’s been so ridiculously hot, I’m actually glad there are a few rainy days on the forecast that will hopefully cool things down a tiny bit and give us an excuse to stay inside. (Of course, my adorable grandson doesn’t agree; he can’t get enough of the outdoors!)

With that in mind, I’m planning a couple of rainy day comfort food meals this week, featuring a few of my favorite bloggers.

I’m also cleaning up my “diet” a bit since the past couple of weekly weigh-ins have been disappointing. Groan..

Here’s to a fresh new week and a whole new month! Have a great day!

Note: I follow a WFPBNO (whole food, plant-based, no oil) diet most of the time, deviating a bit here & there when dining out or when I just want a little treat.  When the recipe calls for oil, I substitute vegetable broth or plain water when appropriate. If the exact recipe I’m using isn’t published online, I will post a similar recipe.

P.S. For other great menu planning bloggers, please visit Organizing Junkie!

 

 

Monday Menu Planning: Working the Plan

The past week was a whirlwind of activity and I didn’t make the time to do a menu plan last Monday. We had some out-of-town guests, including my handsome brother!

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We had a wonderful visit, and it was well worth the extra calories consumed while dining out, but I’m feeling bloated & fluffy and craving some semblance of normalcy.  This week things should be calmer (from my mouth to you-know-who’s-ears) so I’m putting my plan into place.

Plan

 

This week’s menu will be based around items that I have on hand as well as the fresh goodies included in my produce delivery service.

What’s on your menu for the week? How do you stay on plan when life “happens” and outside forces threaten to derail you?

Note: I follow a WFPBNO (whole food, plant-based, no oil) diet most of the time, deviating a bit here & there when dining out or when I just want a little treat.  When the recipe calls for oil, I substitute vegetable broth or plain water when appropriate. If the exact recipe I’m using isn’t published online, I will post a similar recipe.

P.S. For other great menu planning bloggers, please visit Organizing Junkie!

Have a great day!

 

 

 

The Daily Dish: Asian Rice Salad

It’s been so darned hot here in Florida, the last thing I want to do is spend hours in the kitchen. I’m constantly looking for fast, filling food that doesn’t require a whole lotta cooking. After taking a peek in the fridge to see what I had on hand (ok, I might have done more than peek – that refrigerator sure feels good!), I then searched for recipes using leftover rice and some fresh veggies that were languishing in the produce drawer. To my delight, I discovered this recipe for Asian Rice Salad, and was inspired to create my own vegan, oil-free version.

Asian Rice Salad

 


Asian Rice Salad

——– ———— ——————————–

Dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons orange marmalade
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha red chili sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic — minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger root
  • 15 ounces garbanzo beans, canned, rinsed & drained
  • 11 ounces mandarin oranges in water, drained
  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup edamame, shelled
  • 3 cups cooked white rice
  • 1 red or orange bell pepper — chopped
  • 3 scallions — sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro — chopped, optional
  • salt and pepper — to taste
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds — for garnish
  • 1 head green leaf lettuce — for serving

In a bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients & set aside.

Toss together rice, veggies & cilantro if using.

Gently stir in dressing, serve plated on a bed of lettuce. Top with a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds and a drizzle of Sriracha for more heat.

———————————————————————————

Makes 6 Servings; Nutrition per Serving as calculated by Mastercook: 351 Calories; 4g Fat (9.7% calories from fat); 14g Protein; 67g Carbohydrate; 11g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 365mg Sodium. Exchanges: 3 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 1 1/2 Vegetable; 1/2 Fruit; 1/2 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.

8 Weight Watchers SmartPoints as calculated on the recipe builder.

NOTES : This recipe is quite versatile; you could add sliced almonds or avocado, sub mango for the oranges, peas for edamame, or even top with chow mein noodles for more crunch!

 

Have a wonderful day!

Note: I follow a WFPBNO (whole food, plant-based, no oil) diet most of the time, allowing for a bit of oil here & there when dining out or when I just want a little treat. At the moment I am also using Weight Watchers to help me reach goal weight.

The Daily Dish: Chili-Stuffed Squash Boats

Chili-Stuffed Squash Boats

My local produce delivery provided us with some lovely spaghetti squash this past week and I was anxious to use them.

I didn’t really feel like a traditional pasta-ish dish, though, so did some searching and came up with a unique idea that I really enjoyed!

Inspired by Making Thyme for Health, I used my own family favorite chili which I just happened to have portioned out in my freezer.

The recipe is so easy, hope you enjoy it as much as I did!



Chili-Stuffed Squash Boats

  • 2 cans kidney beans, rinsed & drained
  • 2 cans canned diced tomatoes (fire-roasted or Ro*Tel are great!)
  • 1 packet chili seasoning mix
  • 1 onion — diced
  • 12 ounces frozen veggie crumbles (I like the Boca brand)
  • 3 spaghetti squash — cooked

Dump all chili ingredients in slow cooker, cook on low all day, adding a bit of water if mixture seems too thick.*

Feel free to add other veggies such as corn, bell peppers, mushrooms, etc. This recipe is infallible, freezes perfectly and can easily be doubled for large crowds or hungry teenagers.

While your chili is cooking, prepare the “boats.” Grab your spaghetti squash and a large, sharp knife.  I like to microwave the whole squash for a minute or so to make it softer and easier to cut, then slice in half lengthwise & scrape out the seeds and dark yellow stringy parts. Place upside-down on a parchment-lined cookie sheet or glass baking pan filled with a tiny bit of water to prevent sticking. Bake in 375°F oven for 30 minutes or so, until the flesh is soft and the “spaghetti” comes out easily with a fork. In this case, you want to leave that flesh in there, just mix it around a little bit.

Spoon your chili into the “boat,” sprinkle on your favorite fixings and enjoy!

*Alternatively, cook the chili on the stovetop for about an hour.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Serves 6. Per Serving  as calculated by Master Cook (excluding toppings): 104 Calories; 1g Fat (4.8% calories from fat); 6g Protein; 20g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 443mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable.
4 Weight Watchers SmartPoints as calculated on WW’s Recipe Builder

 
Have a wonderful day!

Note: I follow a WFPBNO (whole food, plant-based, no oil) diet most of the time, allowing for a bit of oil here & there when dining out or when I just want a little treat.

Monday Menu Planning: Catching Up

apples with clock

It’s been a long time since my last post, and there’s a lot to catch up on! For now, a quick summary:

Dad has been moved to Assisted Living which is a much better situation for him. He has a lot of activities, had made new friends, and is really benefiting from the structure & routine.

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I re-joined Weight Watchers and have lost 15 pounds so far! I, too, am doing well with the added structure that the program provides. Being a vegan Weight Watcher is a challenge, I admit, but am figuring it out as I go along.

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We have a new family member, a tiny kitten who literally showed up on our front doorstep.

Welcome, Lilo!  9C017943-DC30-46B4-BE6C-A65700A7C8BC_zpsna1y2tsq

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have a little more free time now so am working on a new schedule/routine for myself which will include blogging. I’ve missed writing, and think it’s an important part of my weight loss journey, not to mention the mental/emotional benefits.

Without further ado, here’s this week’s meal plan which include both lunches and dinners.

Note: I follow a WFPBNO (whole food, plant-based, no oil) diet most of the time, deviating a bit here & there when dining out or when I just want a little treat.  When the recipe calls for oil, I substitute vegetable broth or plain water when appropriate. If the exact recipe I’m using isn’t published online, I will post a similar recipe.

P.S. For other great menu planning bloggers, please visit Organizing Junkie!

Have a great day!

 

Happy New Year

Goodbye, 2016, and good riddance! Overall, you were a pretty rotten year. To recap,  in January we became aware of some health issues with my dad, symptoms that his girlfriend couldn’t deal with on her own. In early March, we moved him 350 miles from home, up here with us, and started the rounds of doctors and tests which, in mid-April, lead to the diagnosis: Alzheimer’s Disease/Lewy Body Dementia. 

(In the midst of this, one very BIG, very BRIGHT spot..we welcomed my first grandchild into the world. The amazing, adorable Angelo graced us with his presence in April, and he has kept me laughing & smiling through the darkest parts of this year. What a blessing he already is, what a joy!)

So, we sold Dad’s truck and beautiful 5th wheel trailer and with that went his dream of traveling the country, enjoying his retirement after 42 years with the same company. It was devastating. We were able to move him into his own small home, maintaining some independence,  but he requires some supervision so we hired caregivers to be with him about 75% of the time.

At some point that’s not going to be enough and I will have to make the Big Decision. For now, I’m just treading water, trying not to drown under the worry and overwhelming responsibility that comes with being the only child of an ailing, aging parent. It requires more patience, strength and grace than I possess on any given day.  I’ve discovered skills I never knew I had and dusted off some I never thought I’d need again.  Managing finances, caregivers & general day to day life, doctor visits (and one scary hospital stay), has become  the focus of my life. It has become a full-time job, because even when he’s being cared for by paid professionals, I’m still on call. 24/7, 7 days a week. My phone is far from my side. No vacations, no holidays, no days off where I can just put Dad’s illness on the back burner and focus on ME. It’s sad and stressful and all-consuming. Yet, I keep going. I keep swimming, as Dory advises, hoping that I make it look easier, that I appear more graceful than I actually am. Because it’s not his fault. And I’m not complaining, truly I’m not. It’s just freaking hard, that’s all.

With all of this going on, I moved Dad to the front burner and put everything else in the back. My hobbies, my goals, my health..my weight loss. My fitness. All of it got put on hold. I tried to keep up with my daily walks, but either I was too busy or I was simply too tired or stressed. It was easier to self-medicate with food instead of exercise. I allowed some more junk to seep back into my diet, especially while cooking for Dad who is definitely not vegan but was willing to try some faux meat products, just nothing too “green” or anything that looked like “weeds.” So, more veggie burgers, hot dogs & fries & less kale ended up on my plate for a while. My Fitbit continued to plug along, logging the couple thousand steps that were part of my daily routine. Now & then I managed a long beach walk, and my body & soul thanked me for it but I couldn’t manage to sustain that habit. As a result, my clothes got tighter. The  numbers on the scale started going in the wrong direction. And before I knew it, 10 of the 20 lost pounds had crept back on.

 

Sad & sobering and oh-so-disappointing. But, here I am. It’s a new year, can’t do anything about what happened in 2016. What now? Do I keep heading in that direction, just treading water and surviving? Nah, let’s not. A better idea would be to get myself together, force myself (and others) to put myself first, or at least somewhere near the top. How to do that? Well, I think we have a working system in place, that Dad’s needs are being met..for now.  There will always be adjustments, issues that come up that will need addressing, but I can’t sit around waiting for what might happen. I need to keep living my life the best I can. I have a father to care for, but I also have a partner, children and a grandchild who want and need me around! In order to do that, I’ve gotta take care of myself. I’ve got to do what keeps me healthy & happy because if I’m not around, who’s gonna take care of Dad?

So, I am already working on the new plan. It involves some elements from the past, what worked before, with a few new habits thrown in. I’m excited and hopeful and determined to lose what I gained in weight, and gained what I lost in fitness & mental health.

For the readers who are still with me, thanks for hanging in there. I hope to see more of you in 2017.

Michele~

Monday Menu Planning: Clean Slate

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It’s been so long since I’ve posted and I’m not going to bore you all with the reasons for my absence. I’ll just say this: It was a long, stressful Spring & Summer and I am very much looking forward to Autumn! I hope that the change of season brings some personal changes along with it.

Though I no longer have little ones at home, I still revel in the back-to-school feeling and welcome the added structure this time of year brings. I find myself cleaning, organizing, and recommitting to projects and personal goals. First on my list: resuming my weekly mean plan. Taking the time to plan out my menu sets the tone and sets me up for a successful week.

P137 Clean Slate

This week I’ll be focusing on the late-summer veggies in season but also easing my way into more Fall-ish meals. Perhaps Mother Nature will bless us with an early Autumn, who knows?!

What’s cookin’ at your house?

Note: I follow a WFPBNO (whole food, plant-based, no oil) diet most of the time, deviating a bit here & there when dining out or when I just want a little treat.  When the recipe calls for oil, I substitute vegetable broth or plain water when appropriate. If the exact recipe I’m using isn’t published online, I will post a similar recipe.

P.S. For other great menu planning bloggers, please visit Organizing Junkie!

Have a great day!

 

Monday Menu Planning: On the Road Again

It’s been a busy couple of weeks and the remainder of the month is equally hectic. We’ve been traveling for Chip’s work, back & forth across the state, staying there half the week. It’s fun because we’re in a city right near my kids, but the schedule is also a little stressful on someone who likes routine and organization. (That would be me!)

On the way home last Thursday, we stopped by a popular roadside produce market. Oh, my! The veggies were so fresh and gorgeous, I was in heaven! I ended up with 3 bags of yummy-ness for only $15. You can’t beat that, and you can’t get more local than this!

 

 

I bought a giant “bouquet” of that gorgeous kale, am planning my meals around it this week. In the meantime, it’s been threatening to take over my refrigerator!

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Without further ado, here’s this week’s menu plan, including one breakfast and a couple of lunches.

What’s cookin’ at your house this week?

Note: I follow a WFPBNO (whole food, plant-based, no oil) diet most of the time, deviating a bit here & there when dining out or when I just want a little treat.  When the recipe calls for oil, I substitute vegetable broth or plain water when appropriate. If the exact recipe I’m using isn’t published online, I will post a similar recipe.

P.S. For other great menu planning bloggers, please visit Organizing Junkie!

Have a great day!

 

 

Monday Menu Planning: Fresh Start February

fresh-start

Over at The Vegan Weigh Facebook group, we’ve begun a Fresh Start February challenge to help us recover from the holidays and refocus on our health & fitness goals. Some of us gained a few pounds, others maintained or even lost weight but want a little support and camaraderie as they move forward into the new year.

I personally gained about 4.5 pounds due to holiday indulgences and lack of exercise. I had a little accident in late December which banged up my foot and prevented me from walking regularly, but that’s all healed up now and I’m ready to get moving again! I’ll also be meal planning & prepping on a regular basis, have a bunch of new recipes I’m excited to try.  If you’d like to join our group, please leave a comment here or email me directly (link in my profile). We’d love to have new members!

Before I chat about the coming week’s menu, here are a few highlights from last week’s meal plan.

We’ll be on the road for a few days so my menu plan reflects that. I’m choosing several tote-able, reheatable dishes that won’t take up much space in the motorhome. There’s a lovely mix of flavors and cultures in this week’s recipes, can’t wait to start cooking!

What’s cookin’ at your house this week?

Note: I follow a WFPBNO (whole food, plant-based, no oil) diet most of the time, deviating a bit here & there when dining out or when I just want a little treat.  When the recipe calls for oil, I substitute vegetable broth or plain water when appropriate. If the exact recipe I’m using isn’t published online, I will post a similar recipe.

P.S. For other great menu planning bloggers, please visit Organizing Junkie!