Meal Planning 3.19.18


This was my weekly grocery haul that I got this morning from Trader Joe’s. Guess how much?? (answer at the bottom) If you don’t go to Trader Joe’s, you’re probably spending too much! Their produce is fresh and they mostly have organic of everything and it’s so much cheaper than the big chains in our area. I go once a week and get everything we need for the week, but of course I always forget one or two things and have to go somewhere during the week. I made my list and that helps me stay on track and not buy things we don’t need. I’m going to try really hard to eat the best I can (no oil or alcohol) until we go to Bahamas in a few weeks and see if that helps so I stocked up. Here’s what I’m planning on cooking this week-

Sunday- leftover black bean burgers and baked fries

Tempeh Gyros- Since Josh is Greek, he loves a good gyro! Since lamb isn’t an option, I found these tempeh gyros on Pinterest that look amazing! Marinated tempeh sliced thin and baked, stuffed in a warm pita with all the veggies and homemade vegan tzitziki sauce and a side of no-oil greek potatoes.

Lentil and Rice Soup- I’m making a soup with lentils, kale, carrots, and rice and a ciabatta roll on the side.

Vegan Caesar salad– I found a Caesar salad recipe on my Dr. McDougall app and I’m going to top the salad with crispy chickpeas and tomatoes and ciabatta roll on the side.

Tofu and Veggie Noodle Bowl- I couldn’t find asian rice noodles at TJ’s so I just got the brown rice spaghetti and I’ll mix it with crispy tofu, eggplant, bok choy, mushrooms, and zucchini with my oil free teriyaki sauce.

Stuffed Baked Potatoes- I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for a while but the cheese sauce is so hit or miss that I keep saying I’ll wait so here it goes! I’m going to top a russet baked potato with roasted broccoli and a vegan oil free cheese sauce for a simple and HCLF dinner creation.

For lunch today I felt like whipping up some veggie sushi with leftover veggies and we’ll also have that for lunch tomorrow as well.


Answer- $79… I know! 

Have an amazing week! Spring is coming!

Simple Fiesta Black Bean Burgers

SImple Fiesta Black Bean Burgers

Simple Fiesta Black Bean Burgers

I really like good veggie burgers that also have a good texture and don’t come out mushy, and I also love a simple quick weeknight dinner idea. This is both! I found this recipe on and they came together so quickly and turned out great. I ended up adding more oats into my burgers because the consistency seemed too thin in the food processor, so just eyeball it and see if you need to add more. I also didn’t measure the liquid ingredients…so maybe that had something to do with it! The fridge also helps make the mixture thicker and come together before you form the patties. Since the burgers had a Mexican feel with the spices and corn, I served atop a salad with a scoop of guacamole and some salsa as the dressing. I also roasted some sweet potato fries with rosemary, salt and pepper. They were really filling and I split mine for two meals. It makes 6 burgers so these are a really cheap way to feed a crowd.

Simple Fiesta Black Bean Burgers

serves 6 ~160 cals per burger

1 3/4- 2 cups rolled oats

1 15 oz can low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed

3/4 cup of salsa

1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce

1 1/4 tsp chili powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 cup roasted corn kernels, frozen from TJ’s

You can add cayenne if you want a kick!

  1. Preheat oven to 375*.
  2. Place oats into food processor and pulse until a flour like consistency and then add the beans, salsa, spices and pulse until combined and semi-smooth. You may need to push down with a spatula every now and then.
  3. Place mixture in the fridge for 15-20 minutes and then add in the corn and mix to combine.
  4. Form 6 patties and lay on a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 25-35 minutes until the outside gets crispy and they are firm.
  6. Serve on a salad, on a bun, or in a wrap!

Original recipe-

This is what leftovers looked like tonight- burger on sprouted grain toasted with ketchup and mustard, homemade oil and salt free chips with nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and smoked paprika, and a side salad.

Mexican Brown Rice Taco Salad

Mexican Brown Rice Taco Salad

Mexican Brown Rice Taco Salad

I’ve posted recipes very similar to this before, but this was an easy way to have a bowl full of deliciousness in not a lot of time. I also made Mexican rice for the first time in my rice cooker and it made it that more yummy! It’s an easy way to add another layer of flavor to your bowl. Instead of the rice being the base of my bowl, I added all of the toppings on a bed of spring mix to make it more of a salad bowl and it’s a delicious way to get your greens in. I usually heat my beans in a sauce pan, but this time I was feeling so lazy I just heated them in a bowl in the microwave with some onion and garlic powder and they were fine. I really recommend the ready made guacamole from Trader Joe’s! It’s delicious and easy to grab. You can add whatever to your taco salad so it’s versatile.

Mexican Brown Rice Taco Salad

Mexican Rice

1 1/2 cups brown rice

1/2 cup salsa

2 1/2 cups water

1 tsp cumin, chili powder, garlic powder

1/2 tsp salt

Salad ingredients-

bag of spring mix

chopped cucumber

diced tomato

Can of organic black beans, drained and heated

Avocado’s Number One Guacamole (TJ’s)


chopped onion

  1. Put all of the rice ingredients into the rice cooker and press brown rice.
  2. When cooked, heat the beans and then assemble taco salad.
  3. I use salsa as my dressing and it’s great!


Spaghetti and Chickpea Balls

Spaghetti and Chickpea Balls

Spaghetti and Chickpea Balls

If you haven’t actually made any of the recipes from my blog yet, now is the time to start! You know you’ve done it right when your husband giggles like a schoolgirl after his first bite and requests this as a weekly meal! I found this recipe on Pinterest and then adjusted it for what I wanted.  You can make it as is with the link below, or follow my recipe, but this was by far the best recipe I’ve made for plant-based “meat”balls. When I tried to make them out of lentils they were mushy and fell apart, but these held together beautifully and had a great texture. They were crispy on the outside, and soft in the inside and the flavor was spot on. When rolling them, it reminded me of the chicken meatballs I used to make all of the time because the texture is similar when raw but you don’t have the nasty raw meat hands. Also, why make chicken or turkey meatballs when you can have a healthy plant based version that you know is good for you? People usually consider spaghetti and meatballs a guilty pleasure food, but with this recipe it can be as often as you want. It’s the seasonings that actually make meatballs flavorful, not the meat. No one wants to eat plain turkey balls because they’d be so bland, but chickpeas have a neutral flavor that you can add all of the same seasonings too and they taste amazing. This probably ranks in the top 5 plant based recipes I’ve tried, plus they were really easy to make and didn’t have oil or salt!

Spaghetti and Chickpea Balls

6 servings

2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2/3 cup rolled oats

2.5 tbsp ground flax seed + 5 tbsp water

1 tsp onion powder, onion powder, basil, and 21 Seasoning Salute

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 shallot, diced

1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce

1-2 jars of Rao’s Marinara Sauce (or your favorite sauce)

1 lb Brown Rice Penne Pasta (TJ’s)

nutritional yeast for topping

I know I’ve talked about Rao’s a lot on here, but honestly it’s the BEST marinara sauce I’ve ever had, including restaurant sauces. It’s on the pricier side, so when it goes on sale I buy several jars. It can be found at any big name brand grocery store. Here’s what it looks like! It does have oil in it, so I use it only sometimes.

  1. Preheat oven to 450* and combine the flax seed and water and set aside to create a flax “egg”.
  2. Add chickpeas, oats, spices, shallot, and Worcestershire in your food processor and pulse until flaky.
  3. Once flax egg is gelled, add it in with the chickpea mixture and then put processor on high until combined. It will be thick and smooth. If too sticky to roll, add more oat flour.
  4. I used a small ice cream scooper to make all the same size, and then rolled them to make them round. It made 24 chickpea balls and then add them to a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 25-30 min and flip them halfway through, until crispy on the outside.
  6. While cooling, boil pasta, and warm marinara in a large saucepan.
  7. Add chickpea balls to warm marinara and gently stir to combine.
  8. Top pasta with mixture and sprinkle with nutritional yeast.
Spaghetti and Chickpea Balls

Spaghetti and Chickpea Balls

The finished product! The serving size is 4 chickballs for about 130 calories. Hooray!

Original Recipe-

To increase my iron levels, I’m going to try and incorporate more dark leafy greens, beans, tofu, and Vitamin C into my diet so my after school snack today was baked kale topped with garlic powder and nutritional yeast.

Weekend Goodies

We had a really busy weekend so I threw together things that were easy and quick to put together. On Saturday night we got together with 20ish family members and they had BBQ so I wanted to bring something that was similar, but easy to make. Luckily I had a can of Trader Joe’s organic baked beans in my pantry so it was perfect! I paired that with brown basmati rice and roasted brussel sprouts and carrots.

Baked Bean Bowl

Baked Bean Bowl

Baked Bean Bowls

1 can organic baked beans (TJ’s)

2 cups brown basmati rice, dry

1 tbsp vegetarian Better than Boullion chicken flavor

1 bag brussel sprouts, cleaned and halved

2 cups baby carrots, halved long ways

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

salt and pepper to taste

  1. Put rice, water, and bouillon into your rice cooker and cook. This gives the rice a really savory, delicious flavor.
  2. Preheat oven to 400* and put brussel sprouts and carrots on a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with seasonings and bake 30ish minutes until golden brown and tender.
  3. In a small sauce pan heat up baked beans.
  4. Scoop rice into a bowl, top with  roasted veggies, and warmed beans.

For appetizer I made a huge batch of oil free hummus and it was a hit! I got several comments about how good it was and it only takes a few minutes to make and SO much cheaper than grocery store hummus. You jazz it up with some spices on top and it looks pretty and feeds an army. I made 3 cans of chickpeas, but I’ll make the recipe for 2 because you might not be trying to make it for the year.

Garlic Oil Free Hummus

Garlic Oil Free Hummus

Garlic Oil Free Hummus

2 cans garbanzo beans, reserve liquid from half of 1 can, drain the rest

1/2 can aquafaba (chickpea liquid)

1.5 tbsp tahini

2 heaping tbsp minced garlic

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp salt

juice of one lemon

  1. Combine all ingredients into your food processor and put on high until smooth. It should have a thick consistency.
  2. Sprinkle with cumin, smoked paprika, and Everything but the Bagel Seasoning (TJ’s). (optional) You can top it with any spices you like!
  3. You can store in the fridge up to a week.

Last night I made a crispy kale and roasted veggies thin crust pizza, and we might have eaten the whole thing…but it was healthy so it’s fine right? I bought a pack of two sprouted whole grain pizza crusts at Trader Joe’s and topped them with oil free marinara, roasted mushrooms and onions, cherry tomatoes, kale, and cashew parmesan. The crust got really crisp as well as the kale so it combined some of my favorites, kale chips and pizza!

Crispy Kale and Veggie Thin Crust Pizza

Crispy Kale and Veggie Thin Crust Pizza

Crispy Kale and Veggie Thin Crust Pizza

1 sprouted whole grain pizza crust

1/2- 2/3 cup Organic Marinara Sauce (TJ’s) fat free

10 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced

1/2 yellow onion, sliced

3 handfuls chopped kale

handful of cherry tomatoes, halved

few tbsp of cashew parmesan

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp garlic powder

salt and pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 375* and add mushrooms and onions to a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Roast for 20-30 minutes. After removing veggies, turn up oven to 450*.
  3. Spread marinara on one pizza crust and top with roasted mushrooms, onion, kale, and tomatoes.
  4. Sprinkle cashew parmesan on top and bake until crispy. Watch kale because it cooks so quickly.

Meal planning 3.10.18

This peanut butter banana sprouted grain toast was a great way to start my Saturday! I use powdered peanut butter because it’s about half of the fat and it still tastes good. This breakfast keeps you full and I’m ready to go wedding dress shopping with my cousin today and then have a fun night getting together with about 20 family members and visit with my sister and her family who is in town. Hooray!

I meal planned some quick dinners for the week this morning and I was surprised that I can create 4 meals with 10 ingredients because my pantry is already stocked. Money saver! My birthday is Wednesday so I already know we’re going out to dinner to celebrate on Wednesday and Friday. 🎉 This is what I came up with for the other days.

Sprouted Crust Veggie Pizza– I found sprouted grain pizza crust at TJ’s yesterday which is exciting! I’m going to roast eggplant, onion, mushrooms, and kale for an oil free pizza.

Black Bean Burrito bowls– We haven’t had these in a few weeks so I’m craving them. I’m topping rice with black beans, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, salsa and guacamole.

Chickpea balls and Pasta– I found an oil free recipe to make “meatballs” out of chickpeas. They look really simple and easy to make so I’ll bake those and them combine with brown rice pasta and marinara.

Black Bean burgers and sweet potato fries– Well I never made these last week so I’m planning on making them this week. The good thing is none of the ingredients are refrigerated so they can wait.

I hope everyone has a fantastic week!

Chickpea, Potato, and Kale Soup

It’s been a crazy week so I haven’t had time to blog or even really take pictures! Tuesday I made a chickpea, potato, and kale soup and forgot to take a picture, Wednesday I made an edamame and vegetable rice noodle bowl that I forgot to take a picture of but it’s something I’ve probably posted about before, and last night we had soup for leftovers after a hectic day. Not my best cooking week! This soup was really easy, but was flavorful and full of nutrients so it’s something you feel good about eating multiple times. It also just got better the longer it was in the fridge. I loved the addition of potatoes instead of pasta like I normally do because the potatoes don’t blow up and absorb all of the liquid. Today’s reality was leftover soup while I graded through lunch, so best picture I got of it!

Chickpea, Potato, and Kale Soup

1/2 large yellow onion, diced

1/2 cup carrots, diced

1/2 cup celery, diced

1 tbsp garlic, minced

1 tbsp Vegetarian Better than Boullion chicken flavor

4 cups vegetable broth, low sodium

1 tsp rosemary

1 bay leaf

juice of one lemon

1-2 cups water

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1.5 large russet potatoes, diced

4 cups chopped kale

pepper to taste or red pepper flakes for spice

  1. Saute onion, carrots, and celery in a large sauce pan over medium heat until semi-soft and then add garlic for the last few minutes.
  2. Add veggie broth, water, bouillon, rosemary, and bay leaf.
  3. Add potatoes and bring to a boil. Once boiling, return to a simmer for about 10-15 minutes until potatoes are soft.
  4. Add chickpeas and kale and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes until chickpeas are softened and kale has wilted.
  5. Squeeze in lemon juice and sprinkle with pepper.

For the edamame noodle bowl, I just sauteed broccoli, baby bella mushrooms, bok choy, and onion in a large wok. Then I added in the frozen edamame, cooked rice noodles, and my oil free teriyaki sauce and combined it all together. YUM!