Hey friends, I was hoping to have this post written a little sooner this weekend but things didn’t go as planned, sorry. Better late than never though, right?
As I mentioned last week we were going to get started on meal planning and prep; and as planned – we gave it a shot. I would say we did pretty good, not great – but definitely not terrible.
Part of the reason meal planning is so tough for us, (well me actually) is because food excites me so much. Sounds weird right? But the thing is that even when I put a menu together – I find it really hard to stick to because when I’m grocery shopping and I see something that looks especially fresh or beautiful, my mind immediately starts wandering and creating ideas for new recipes. Then I get excited about the new recipes and feel compelled to buy those items even thought they aren’t on my list. The problem with that is that then I have extra food, too many recipes to make and things end up getting wasted. I mean there’s worse problems, but still.
So despite my issue with always buying too much and wanting to make way too many things, the meal planning went darn pretty good.
Here’s the menu I planned for the week:
Overnight oats with sweet potato – (oats, oat milk, mashed sweet potato, cinnamon, pumpkin seeds, hemp hearts and full fat greek yogurt)
Tropical chia pudding – (chia, coconut milk, mango, pineapple, lime juice)
Roasted red pepper hummus – (red peppers, tahini, chickpeas, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper)
Carrot hummus – (carrot, chickpeas, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper)
Chickpea and sweet potato salad (chickpeas, sweet potato, almonds, dried apricots, mint, extra virgin olive oil, honey, cumin, white wine vinegar and blood orange juice)
Rainbow carrot salad (click for recipe)
Beet and pear salad (click for recipe)
Veggie wrap – (beets, carrots, green apple, arugula, hummus, full fat greek yogurt, micro greens, parsley, and avocado)
Warm veggie bowl with miso vinaigrette – (sweet potato, spinach, carrot, red pepper, eggplant, red onion, cilantro, mushrooms, white miso paste, sesame oil, and rice wine vinegar)
Fish tacos with red pepper and pineapple salsa – (wild salmon, tortillas, red pepper, pineapple, cilantro, red onion, and apple cider vinegar)
Mediterranean chicken bowl with sumac yogurt – (spinach, red pepper, cucumber, red onion, chicken, olives, hummus, full fat greek yogurt, radish, lemon and sumac)
Asian style noodle bowl – (red pepper, carrot, cucumber, mango, tomato, cilantro, mint, noodles, peanuts, rice wine vinegar, fish sauce, dried chili, sesame oil, lime juice)
Veggie stuffed peppers – (rice, black beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, cilantro, cheese)
As you can see…I didn’t quite listen to my own advice on the number of meals for the week; even from the get go I had too many ideas. And, as I’m sure you’ve guessed we didn’t end up getting through all these meals. This week really turned out to be a bit of a learning experience for me on the whole meal planning thing – but I’m super grateful for that because it will allow us to get better and better as we go along.
So I will give you the grocery list for the menu above and then I’ll let you know which recipes we ended up following through on and what we did with all the leftover food – because there was a bunch.
- 2 sweet potatoes
- 2 limes
- 1 mango
- 1 pineapple
- 1 head of garlic
- 4 lemons
- 6 red peppers
- 2 lb. carrot
- 1 bunch of mint
- 2 blood oranges
- 1 bunch of parsley
- 2 lb. beets
- 1 container of arugula
- 1 container of microgreens
- 1 green apple
- 2 avocado
- 1 eggplant
- 1 container of spinach
- 1 bunch of cilantro
- cremini mushrooms
- 1 red onion
- wild salmon
- 2 cucumbers
- 1 bunch of radish
- 1 container of grape tomatoes
- 1 whole chicken
- kalamata olives
STAPLES (things we already had in our kitchen, see my last post for suggestions)
- oats (I use Rogers brand, they have a number of mixed grain products that I love for my overnight oats)
- white chia seeds
- pumpkin seeds
- hemp hearts
- vermicelli noodles
- coconut milk
- oat milk
- full fat greek yogurt
- extra virgin olive oil
- dried apricots
- white wine vinegar
- white miso paste
- rice wine vinegar
- sesame oil
- apple cider vinegar
- sumac spice
- fish sauce
- dried chili
- basmati rice
- aged cheddar cheese
- black beans
- feta cheese
As you can see….there’s a lot going on. A lot of ingredients…….and probably too many for most meal planning endeavours. I went a little crazy, and as I mentioned we didn’t get through everything.
So here’s what we did end up making:
Overnight oats with sweet potato
Roasted red pepper hummus
Chickpea and sweet potato salad
Warm veggie bowl with miso vinaigrette
Fish tacos with red pepper and pineapple salsa
Mediterranean chicken bowl with sumac yogurt
Instead of making the chia pudding, we decided to make a giant batch of overnight oats and eat those for the week. We also had celery juice, and beet, apple and ginger juice. For snacks we had crackers and vegetables with the hummus all week – and that works fine in our house because Clint and Luna LOVE hummus and it’s growing on me. We made a double portion of the warm veggie bowl for dinner one night and had it for lunch the next day. Then we did the Mediterranean chicken bowl one night (we roast a whole chicken) and had it for lunch the next day, + used the extra chicken for chicken sandwiches, and a chicken salad for 2 other lunches. We had fish tacos one night and had the leftover salsa for snacks. And then we made a giant batch of both the chickpea salad and the carrot salad (both do well in the fridge for a few days). We had the carrot salad for snacks, lunch and dinner and the chickpea salad for breakfast and snacks.
So, although we made some pretty big deletions off the menu – we still had more than enough food and variety for the week.
Now you’re probably wondering what we did with all the extra food – because there was a lot; (mostly fruit and vegetables). We made smoothies out of some of the fruit and cut up a bunch for Luna for snacks. Then we made juices out of a mix of the rest of the fruit and vegetables. And lucky for us – besides the fruit and veggies most of the other items are staple pantry items that we always have on hand, that don’t spoil easily.
For a first try at it – it wasn’t bad. I definitely went overboard on the menu planning and grocery shopping, but I was determined to make sure there was no waste and we succeeded by turning the extras into snacks, smoothies and juice. Plus, there were a few other things we managed to do really well too. We reused a number of ingredients in several recipes which really helped manage waste, we made breakfast ahead of time so all we had to do was eat it, and we repurposed leftovers into healthy, delicious and simple lunches. Clint and I also meal prepped together one night which made it less daunting, a little more fun and allowed us a couple of hours uninterrupted to hang out with one another.
We’re going to carry over a few of the items from last weeks menu to this week and I have dumbed things down this week, so you know, progress.
I will post again next week and hopefully you’ll stick around for more in our meal planning journey.
Till the next post,