Monday Menu Planning: Halloween!

IMG_2080

Lindsey & Colin at Trader Joe’s

Wow, is it Monday again already?! Like I said, this year is flying by! I can’t believe Halloween is just a few days away. It’s one of our favorite holidays, we tend to go all out on the decorating and celebrating. Of course, now that the kids are all grown and gone, the holidays are a little bit different, but we still join in the festivities in our own way. We’ll be dressing up and attending a couple of events this week, should be a spooky good time!

Did anyone join my in my freezer/pantry challenge? How did it go? I had a great week, used up a bunch of items and made some lovely meals. Here are the highlights.

Lobster Rolls

Vegan “Lobster” Rolls

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and “Meat”balls

IMG_2489

Open-Faced Tofu Scramble Sandwich

IMG_2516

Pumpkin. Sausage & Mushroom Pasta

As you can see, I made a few unplanned recipes but still used mostly items I had on hand. A couple of last week’s dishes weren’t photo-worthy, and I never got around to making a couple others. It’s okay to change our minds and allow for some spontaneity and creativity in our meal plans; the point is not to waste food and/or be caught with nothing to eat when dinner time rolls around!

I’ll be continuing with my freezer/pantry challenge this week. Though the cupboards are definitely more bare, I still have a few items to use up. I’m excited about this week’s plan as it contains several Autumn-ish recipes as well as some that are just the colors of Halloween!

What’s on your menu plan this week?

Note: I follow a WFPBNO (whole food, plant-based, no oil) diet 90% of the time, allowing for a bit of oil 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.

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

Advertisements

Monday Menu Planning: Autumn Pantry Challenge!

IMG_2460

I don’t know about you guys, but this year is really flying by for me! I can’t believe it’s mid-October, seems like just yesterday that I was sitting on the beach soaking up the summer sunshine! Now, even in Florida, it’s windy and the leaves are falling off our northern trees. They look so funny, little naked branches in between the green palms!

Along with cravings for warm comfort food, Autumn also brings a tightening of the budget around here. I’m looking at the calendar and counting down ’til Christmas (9 weeks, 4 days), starting to think about the expense that goes along with all of that Yuletide joy! I’m sure many of you are feeling the pinch as well, maybe still recovering from back-to-school expenses and/or saving for holiday travel. With that in mind, I’m going to be cooking more from my pantry and freezer over the next few weeks, relying on what I have on hand and supplementing with whatever fresh produce is available and on sale. I know that most folks do this sort of challenge in the summer, but I’m suggesting a Fall version. Not only will we put aside a little money, but we’ll be making room for those inevitable holiday goodies!

IMG_2459

I have two pantries, the everyday one shown above along with another in my laundry room. I also have a large stand-up freezer in the garage in addition to the refrigerator version. All of these are chock-full of odds & ends – veggies, beans, grains & canned tomatoes. It’s time to bring all of these ingredients together for some yummy meals!

This week is a hodgepodge of recipes, a little of this & that. We have some traditional southern fare mixed in with international dishes, a little culinary trip around the world! I hope that by the end of the week my pantry and freezer will be as empty as my wallet is full!

How about you? What’s cookin’ at your house this week? Would you like to take the pantry challenge with me?

Note: I follow a WFPBNO (whole food, plant-based, no oil) diet 90% of the time, allowing for a bit of oil 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. At the moment I am also following the Maximum Weight Loss Diet by John McDougall, M.D.

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

The Daily Dish: Rainy Day Chili

2013 Asheville NC

Asheville, North Carolina ~ October 2013

It doesn’t have to be rainy to enjoy this dish, it just seems that I crave chili when it’s dreary outside, or when I’m feeling a bit under the weather and want something warm & familiar. It’s so nice to curl up on the couch with a favorite tv show, book or movie, and a big bowl of cozy comfort food! Or maybe you want to grab a cup and gobble it up while enjoying the gorgeous autumn weather.

Rainy Day Chili

I’ve been making this “recipe” for many years now, and despite it’s simplicity it always gets rave reviews.  I basically toss a couple cans of drained, rinsed beans (kidney, chili, black bean, whatever you like) and a couple cans of diced tomatoes (Ro*tel brand if you want a little extra kick) into my Crock-pot along with a chopped onion and a packet of chili seasoning. If I’m cooking for non-vegans who prefer a meatier chili, I’ll add some veggie crumbles. Turn on low to cook all day, or high for a few hours, or if you’re in a big hurry you can cook it on the stovetop for an hour or so. Like lots of veggies? Chop up some green peppers, mushrooms, etc. and toss them in. Corn? Sure, add a can or bag of frozen. Want to make your own chili seasoning? Even better! This recipe really is infallible! I usually top with a dollop of vegan sour cream and soy cheese, maybe some scallions if I have them.  Chip is a big fan of oyster crackers so he often adds those as well.

To round out the meal, I will either serve over brown rice or just with some bread or cornbread on the side, as you can see in this pic from my old blog.

Rainy Day Chili2

What about you? Do you have some favorite recipes that you turn to when you’re craving comfort food?

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.  When the recipe calls for oil, I substitute vegetable broth or plain water when appropriate. At the moment I am also following the Maximum Weight Loss Diet by John McDougall, M.D.

Menu Planning Monday: Soup’s On!

Soupson2

The temperature is blessedly cool today, at least by Florida standards, and it’s supposed to stay mild throughout the week. So, you know what that meals: more soups & stews! I’m also making a couple of “man-friendly” meals using a little bit of faux meat because though Chip never complains, I know he gets tired of beans day after day. I’ll make adjustments to my portions to keep them MWL-compliant or I’ll allow myself a “cheat meal.”

What’s the weather like in your neck of the woods? Are you filling up on tummy-warming soups as well?

Have a wonderful day!

P.S. For more menu plans, please visit The Organizing Junkie!

The Daily Dish: Autumn

Happy Autumn to those of us in the Northern Hemisphere!  Some of you are already experiencing the gorgeous Fall weather and beautiful turning of the leaves, maybe there’s a little chill in the air?  Here in Florida the changes are much more subtle and they don’t happen for a few more weeks.  That doesn’t stop us from indulging in everything the season has to offer, though!  All sorts of squash start filling the shelves and we jump on the pumpkin-spice craze despite the 80+ degree weather outside.

Autumn Trader Joe's

There was an ever-so-slight temperature change the other day, just a little breeze that gave us hope for cooler days ahead.  I took advantage of it and cooked up this Golden Glow-Stuffed Squash from Robin Robertson’s Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker.  I used a Carnival Squash, stuffed with a combination of rice, carrots, onions & peppers and a medley of spices.  (The recipe isn’t published online but this is such a wonderful cookbook, you’ll want to buy it for yourself!)

squash

Golden-Glow Stuffed Squash

Cook’s Note: The only change I made was subbing vegetable broth for the olive oil.

Nutritional info (provided by Mastercook) per serving:  356 Calories; 3g Fat (6.3% calories from fat); 8g Protein; 76g Carbohydrate; 8g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 57mg Sodium.

The Verdict: Delicious!  I loved how easy this recipe was, hardest part was actually cutting the squash in half. (Tip: microwave to soften first.)  Slow cooker recipes are my favorite, I use mine all year around.

I hope you enjoy this dish as much as we did.

Well, I’m off to Trader Joe’s with my girls, hoping they have as big a display of Autumn loveliness as they did last year.

Have a wonderful day!