Meal Planning 2.24.18

Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

After eating out a lot more than normal and I’m sure eating way too much oil, I wanted to get back to eating HCLF no oil this week so I planned some basics that would fit the bill. I was doing well with weight loss on this lifestyle so it’s best to just jump back in after veering off while out of town (and ordering Thai coming back in town.) I wanted recipes that I knew could be done without oil, and I mixed some new things with some tried and true meals.

This morning I had leftover potatoes I made at the beach for breakfast one morning, so I put them in the toaster oven for a few minutes and they were just as good! I diced a bag of small multicolored potatoes and sprinkled them with rosemary, Italian seasoning, and pepper. I baked them on a nonstick baking sheet on 400* for 30-40 minutes until crispy and served with ketchup and berries. You can sprinkle them with salt after they come out of the oven, but if you do it before it kind of dissipates.

Here are the meals I’m planning on cooking this week if you need some HCLF meal planning ideas.

Maple Mustard Buddha Bowls– I’ve been craving roasted Brussel sprouts since we haven’t had them in a while, so I decided to make a buddha bowl out of it. I’m roasting Brussel sprouts, mushrooms, onions, chickpeas, sweet potatoes, and kale and making a maple syrup and Dijon mustard dressing to drizzle on top.

Pita Pizzas– Josh LOVED these the first time I made them, and when I asked him what he would want this week these (and sushi) were his suggestions. I’m going to go ahead and roast extra mushrooms, onions, kale, and a diced eggplant with the vegetables for buddha bowls, so that the veggies are done and just top a pita with sauce and the veggies for an easy dinner.

Eggplant Rollatini– I’m planning on stuffing thin sliced eggplant with my tofu ricotta, and baking with oil free marinara with a side of pasta and asparagus.

Lentils and Rice- I’m going to make lentils and rice in the rice cooker and throw in whatever extra veggies/spices I have on hand. I’ll serve with a side salad.

Veggie Sushi– This is becoming a fast favorite/ weekly dinner in our house. It’s healthy, easy and delicious.

Refried Bean and Veggie Tacos– I’ve made these before and they were so good! Corn tortillas spread with refried beans, stuffed with roasted veggies, folded, and toasted in a pan for a yummy taco night!

I hope these ideas help you with meal planning this week! Meal planning is weirdly one of my favorite things to do now and I always have a hard time narrowing down the choices. We’re going to Bahamas in a month so I want to make sure my eating stays on track. There’s always next week for all of the other things I wanted to make!

A Vegan at the Beach


We had a relaxing week at the beach filled with reading, tanning/burning, taking Louis on walks, getting a couples massage, eating in and out, and watching sunset from the top deck. The beach is so relaxing to me and I love escaping life to come down here and just watch the ocean with my morning tea. No morning dolphin watch this time though because the waves were huge! We’re about to leave to come home, but I’m so thankful we have a place to come when we need a reset and need to relax because no where is more relaxing to me than the beach.

We went out to eat typically once a day for lunch or dinner, and while taking Louis on a walk through Seaside I found one vegan place (Raw and Juicy) and bought a local brewed kombucha that was tasty. There’s also a bakery less than a mile away that had gluten-free and vegan options so we went there for a muffin one morning and we were pleasantly surprised.

WARNING: RANT STARTING– I was anxious to eat out this much in a week because 1. I was worried about finding vegan options and 2. that I wouldn’t be following HCLF no oil because restaurants put oil on everything. I was willing to handle that once a day because I was so excited for the experience of eating out and getting a break from cooking 6 nights a week. The first meal we had for lunch when we got here was at a restaurant close by and I had ahi tuna with a cabbage asian type salad.

When transitioning to vegan, we said we would still eat fish sometimes because we liked it the best, thought it was the best of the worst for us, and it made going out to eat easier because there was still options we could order without making it difficult. We ate a lot of fish in the first few months, and then I stopped really cooking it at home. If we went out to sushi or if we went out I would order it because it was available and I liked it. Then one day the taste of the fish on my sushi didn’t give me the same joy, it made me gag. I think my taste was changing to the point that any fleshy texture wasn’t doing it for me anymore so I haven’t been eating fish lately. I didn’t feel great about eating that tuna for lunch, and then I came home to read while laying out and read about fish in Starch Solution. Fish are being taken from the ocean faster than they can reproduce and we’re about to have a shortage on sea life. I’ve always been a big fan of the ocean, and don’t really want to do anything to mess it up if I don’t have to. I read that fish is filled with the contaminants that pollute the ocean like chemicals and plastic, and mercury is something you don’t want inside your body. Fish still has a significant amount of cholesterol so if you’re trying to get your cholesterol down without taking medication, fish won’t help. Also, the things they feed farm-raised fish are pretty nasty. The more I researched, the less I felt like I needed to eat fish. Do I like it? Yes. Do I need it to survive? No. Was it going to make me healthy? No. Josh still wants to eat it, and he can order it when we go out, he just knows that I don’t really want to partake in it now.

The rest of the week when we went out, I tried to find vegan options on the menu and it was challenging. I had to ask the waitress’s if they could make things vegan and they always had to go ask their chef then come back to me then ask their chef and come back to me. It was a hassle, and it was mildly embarrassing. There was butter in the bread, there was butter on the mushrooms and onions, there was chicken stock in the pasta salad, there was butter in the rice…etc. Pretty much butter in everything. For one dinner, edamame was the only vegan option on the menu, so I asked if they could make a veggie roll and they did, so that’s what I had for dinner. I got a vegetable sandwich for lunch on an Italian herb roll (only one without butter) without mushrooms and onions and it was great. For dinner last night we went out and I was going to get a Spanish rice bowl with veggies, easy enough right? No, butter in all of the rice options… they said I could have a salad or a bowl of veggies. Oh, just what I wanted with a margarita! We went back and forth until I asked if they could use the roasted veggies and make tacos with the corn tortillas on the menu. We finally came up with a solution, but it’s a process. I apologized for the inconvenience, and she said “oh no problem, we get asked all the time!” If they do, why isn’t there one vegan option on the menu? I felt frustrated because why aren’t there any options anywhere I go, and embarrassed because I feel like my Uncle Kirk trying to special order and cause a scene. It wasn’t enjoyable, and I’d rather just cook at home so I can avoid that situation. Could I have just said I’m fine with the butter in things? I could have, Josh is okay about dealing with that but I don’t want to. I don’t want to eat things that I normally don’t eat. I don’t want to eat dairy if I don’t eat dairy. I don’t want to pick meat out of baked beans to make it easier for someone else if it’s against what I eat.

I’ve been vegan for 8 months and the more research I do, the better I feel about my decision. The research I find pushes me to try harder and pushes me to do better than I currently am doing. The joy I’m getting now isn’t from a big steak or pizza, it’s from knowing that I’m doing everything I can do to put food in my body that will benefit instead of hurt me. That I’m not hurting any animals in the process, because once you see that process it’s heartbreaking and I really enjoy what I’m eating. Also, that I’m doing what I can to help the environment. I shouldn’t have to see people roll their eyes at me, tell me I’m crazy or I’ve gone too far, or react like I’m doing something negative to them. I’m only doing what I think is the best thing, it’s not like I’m joining a gang and getting neck tattoos. If they don’t want to hear what I’ve learned, then they don’t have to ask. Most people don’t want to hear that what they’re eating isn’t healthy or it’s hurting something else so they can keep eating what they want, so they don’t want me telling them when I’m only trying to help. If people want information from me about being vegan and it’s benefits, then I hope I can be a role model and example. If they want to make fun of me for it, then go ahead, look like an uneducated idiot. I’m over people judging me for something that I’ve become passionate about, and I enjoy.  It did make me more anxious to eat out on our upcoming vacations, but I guess I’ll just have to be the annoying one trying to find something at restaurants now, and I have to be okay with that. END RANT

Other than those feelings coming up that I’m glad I can get off my chest, it was a great trip. I’m glad I packed food and came prepared because it did help to be able to have choices to eat at home. Now Josh is telling me we have to start packing up and heading out, so unfortunately we have to go home. I could get used to blogging with this view though! Hope everyone is having a good week!IMG_0651.jpgIMG_0693.jpgIMG_0690.jpgIMG_0673.jpgIMG_0641.jpg

Cheesy Vegan Broccoli Brown Rice Bake

This recipe was kept pretty true to itself, with the only change of adding more rice because I had leftover and instead of miso I took their suggestion and added soy sauce and rice vinegar instead. This was a great cozy night in meal and was definitely a better vegan cheese sauce than I’ve had before. It gave the rice a creamy texture and came together easily. Josh didn’t love the breadcrumbs on top, but I thought it gave it a mac n cheese like texture. This felt like a delicious casserole, but made plant based so no need to feel guilty about going back for more. I froze the rest so we could have it another time. The recipe I used is below if you want to try!


Beach Meal Planning for HCLF

Sprouted Toast with PB2 and Berries

Sprouted Toast with PB2 and Berries

Vacation time! It’s the first vacation in our amazing year of vacations that we have planned and we’re going down to the beach near Seaside, FL. We’re so ready for a week of sun and relaxation in one of our favorite places. We love going down in the winter when it’s not so crowded and you can take leisurely walks on the beach, grab tea and shop around town, get into any restaurant, and bike ride. HOORAY! The one thing making me anxious about all of these trips now is food. Being vegan, it’s going to be more challenging to eat out so I downloaded the Happy Cow app that helps find vegan restaurants wherever you are. I’m hoping that helps us traveling this year, but luckily on this trip we’ll be able to cook in which will help save money and the fat/salt used in restaurants.

Today I hit the 5 pound mark, so that’s how much I’ve lost in the 4 weeks I’ve been high carb low fat. It’s slow going, but that’s the most sustainable kind of weight loss so I’m happy about it! Also, I haven’t felt deprived for one day so it doesn’t feel like a chore. If you lose a pound a week, that’s still 52 pounds a year! I’m trying to meal plan on vacation so that it doesn’t hinder progress, because I know it’s easy to be on vacation and just let loose and give up your goals because food and drinks are better on vacation. I still want to be able to go out for some meals, but bring things with us to have on hand. Here’s what I have planned so far-

I’m going to bring some staples down and then buy our fresh produce while we’re there.

Breakfasts– I’m going to pack some rice cakes, shredded potatoes, sprouted bread, and then get fruit and jam down there. That way we can make hash browns, toast, rice cakes with jam, and fruit for breakfasts and then figure out if there’s any restaurants that have options to go out. Don’t think the Donut Hole is going to be an option now.

Lunches- I’m going to pack lavash and hummus to make veggie sandwiches, and we can buy sauce and veggies to make lavash pizzas. We’ll also have leftovers, and I already know there’s a vegan food truck if we want to grab something in town and sushi is always an easy option.

Dinners- We love going out for dinner on our beach vacations, because it’s so relaxing to go watch sunset with a drink and then have a great dinner. There’s so many delicious restaurants in the area and we have our favorites we like to go to each time. We’re planning to go out two nights and stay in two nights, and we could always go on the beach to watch sunset before our dinners in. It’s about the experience, right? I’m going to precook rice to pack and a can of beans so that we can make burrito bowls one night, and then a package of brown rice noodles, a bag of frozen stir fry veggies, and make teriyaki sauce to make noodle bowls another night. These are easy, few ingredient recipes that fit in our diet and are easy to plan and pack. When we go out, I’ll be looking for vegan options and ask to go light on the oil.

Snacks– Unfortunately we’re missing the farmer’s market, so we’ll have to get our produce elsewhere. I’m planning on bringing some pretzels and hummus, rice crackers, and corn tortillas to turn into chips and salsa for snacks and always have fruit on hand. I always have dates on hand for a sweet.

Let me know if you have found any great vegan options in that area!

Baked Teriyaki Vegetable Spring Rolls

Baked Teriyaki Vegetable Spring Rolls

Baked Teriyaki Vegetable Spring Rolls

I wanted to make something special that I’ve never made before for our Valentine’s dinner at home last night. Instead of the usual cabbage and carrots inside a fried wrapper, I wanted to bake them. Since they were baked, I wanted to add the flavor on the inside with a sauteed vegetable and teriyaki sauce mixture. I had leftover tofu from the night before so I decided to sear those in soy sauce and use them as a filling as well. I had a really hard time finding vegan spring roll wrappers, and so these actually had egg in the wrapper. I checked Kroger, Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods with no success. Whole Foods associates pointed me to the Nasoya brand in their vegan refrigerated section, and then I had to let them know they included egg. He said vegans go there all the time for those and no one has ever caught that, so guess they need to move them now! They were still crunchy on the outside, and had a flavorful interior. I served them with a side salad and it was a filling, yet light meal. You can add whatever you want inside, and guess I need to look online for vegan wrappers, suggestions?

Hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s Day and celebrated the ones you love! I had a great day with my kids at school, and then a relaxing night in with Josh.

Baked Teriyaki Vegetable Spring Rolls

12 “egg” roll wrappers

1 large zucchini, julienned

10 oz button mushrooms, diced

4 oz tofu, skinny strips

1 small yellow onion, halved and sliced

pepper to taste

Teriyaki Sauce

1/4 cup low sodium soy

1/4 cup coconut aminos

2 tbsp pure maple syrup

1 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp minced ginger

1 tbsp cornstarch

  1. Preheat oven to 400* and saute vegetables until tender.
  2. Add teriyaki to vegetables and cook down until thickened then cool.
  3. Cut tofu in strips then saute on each side in a little bit of soy to gain texture.
  4. Lay each wrapper on a diagonal then add one piece of tofu horizontally in the middle of the wrapper and add 1-2 tbsp of vegetable filling. Fold the bottom triangle over the filling, then wet the remaining corners and sides. Fold corners in and then roll up to seal.
  5. Lay on a silpat baking mat and bake for 15 minutes until golden brown.
  6. Let cool a few minutes before serving and serve with a side of soy for dipping.

Veggie and Tofu Fried Rice

Veggie and Tofu Fried Rice

Veggie and Tofu Fried Rice

After watching them add a pound of butter while making fried rice last weekend at hibachi, I wanted to find a healthy oil-free option that was still full of flavor. I cooked brown basmati rice in the rice cooker with miso broth which added a lot of asian flavor without tons of added calories. I sauteed a bag of frozen asian stir fry vegetables with 2/3 block of extra firm tofu (crumbled), and chopped kale. The crumbled tofu acts as the scrambled egg in the fried rice and gives it the same texture as egg. Using a nonstick wok worked really well because I could saute all of the veggies and tofu without having to use oil, and added minced garlic and ginger for flavor. I topped it off with low sodium soy sauce and it was exactly what I had in mind.

Veggie and Tofu Fried Rice

2/3 block of extra firm organic tofu, crumbled

2 cups brown basmati rice, dry

2 1/2 cups Miso Broth (TJ’s)

2 1/2 cups water

1 bag of frozen Stir Fry Vegetables (TJ’s)

4 handfuls kale, finely chopped

1 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp minced ginger

2 scallions, finely sliced

1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce

1/2 tsp pepper

  1. Cook brown rice with miso broth and water, then open lid to let cool.
  2. In a large wok, sauté bag of vegetables with 2/3 block of crumbled tofu, and finely chopped kale over medium heat.
  3. Add garlic, ginger, scallions, and pepper and then add the rice to the veggies.
  4. Top with soy sauce and combine.

HCH Lentil Loaf and Baked Fries

Lentil Loaf

Lentil Loaf

Tonight I made High Carb Hannah’s lentil loaf instead of the lentil sloppy joe’s that I had planned, because I watched her video on how she made it yesterday and it looked so good I changed my mind! The good thing is, I already had all of the ingredients because they’re so similar. Instead of making the creamy mashed potatoes that she made with it, I made some crispy oven baked fries.

Meatloaf is one of my mom’s specialties so we had it a lot growing up, so this is nice to have something familiar and plant based vegan. Mom, do you want leftovers for a meatloaf sandwich tomorrow? (She likes the leftovers more than the night of.) This hit the spot and was a very comforting meal. I’m including High Carb Hannah’s recipes at the bottom of the page, because I edited mine a little bit. I think next time I’d make them in a muffin tin so that they have more of the crunchy exterior and would ensure the inside is cooked enough for a better texture inside. This is how I made it-

HCH Lentil Loaf

1 cup green lentils, dry

1/2 cup split red lentils, dry

1 yellow onion, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 carrot, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp italian seasoning

1/2 tsp onion powder

3 cups water

1 tsp Vegetarian Better Than Bouillon Beef

1 tsp fennel seed

1 tsp 21 Seasoning Salute (TJ’s)

1/4 cup organic ketchup

flax eggs, 3 tbsp ground flax mixed with 6 tbsp water and sit 10 minutes

1 1/2 cup quick oats, ground in a food processor until fine

salt and pepper to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 350* and mix flax egg to let sit.
  2. In a large pot add peppers, onions, and carrots and saute for a few minutes until fragrant.
  3. Add lentils, bouillon, and water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until liquid has been absorbed, about 30 minutes.
  4. In a food processor or blender, grind oats into oat flour and set aside.
  5. Once water is absorbed and lentils are tender, remove mixture from heat and add the spices, flax egg, and combine. Slowly start stirring in the oat flour until you get a “meatloaf” like consistency.
  6. Transfer mixture to a nonstick loaf pan (or I used parchment paper) and cook uncovered for 45 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and spread an even layer of ketchup on top of the loaf, and then return to the oven to cook an additional 15 minutes to form a glaze.
  8. Let it rest before serving so that it has time to meld together before slicing, this is SUPER IMPORTANT! I’d wait 20-30 minutes before serving because we were too hungry and sliced after 5 and it was slightly mushy, but after a few more minutes the texture firmed up and was better. IMG_0534.jpg

Crispy Baked Fries

4 russet potatoes, cleaned and sliced into fries

cold water

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp paprika


  1. Preheat oven to 400* and place potato slices in a bowl of cold water so that some of the starch will be removed (about 30 minutes.)
  2. Sprinkle spices on the potatoes and then spread them on a rack on a baking sheet to ensure crispiness.
  3. Bake for 35-45 minutes until they are crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside.
  4. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce!






Original Recipe Here-