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!

Meal Planning 3.4.18

Cinnamon Date Oatmeal

Cinnamon Date Oatmeal

Weekend breakfasts are the best breakfasts! This morning I made a cinnamon date oatmeal and I actually ate the whole thing! First time ever (when it wasn’t from a packet.) I used natural sweeteners to make it taste like the sweet oatmeal that I do like (tolerate) without adding a bunch of sugar and topped with a drizzle of maple syrup.

Cinnamon Date Oatmeal

Serves 2

1 c rolled oats

2 c water

1 banana, mashed

2 dates, chopped

1 tbsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp salt


1/3 cup blueberries

1/3 cup raspberries

2 tbsp maple syrup

  1. In a small saucepan, combine all of the ingredients over medium high heat. Once it comes to a boil, reduce to a simmer until it’s the thickness you’re wanting.
  2. Add berries and drizzle with maple syrup.

Now I’ll tell you what I’m planning to make this week! There seems to be an endless supply of plant based recipes that I want to try out, so it’s always something new every week. I downloaded the McDougall app on my phone filled with Starch Solution recipes at my fingertips, I’ve looked at, and looked through Stella the Light’s ebook. So far, the easiest way to find recipes for me is on Pinterest. I also bought some extra things to make quick easy dinners if I decide to after appointments and meetings this week.

Black bean burgers– recipe with minimal ingredients. There’s pretty much only oats, corn, beans, and spices to make a simple burger on pita bread with a side of sweet potato fries.

Chickpea, kale, and potato soup– I’m going to make a soup with a mirepoix base, veggie stock, vegetarian chicken flavor bouillon, potatoes, chickpeas, and kale. I’ll make enough to have leftovers after a school event this week.

Edamame Noodle Bowl– Rice noodles, edamame, bok choy, mushrooms, broccoli, and my oil free teriyaki is going to make a yummy noodle bowl!

Even faster options…

Baked Beans, Rice, and Brussel sprouts– I was excited to find oil free baked beans at Trader Joe’s so I can eat them on a bed of rice and side of roasted Brussel sprouts.

Spaghetti Pomodoro– This week while watching The Chew, Michael made a quick marinara that looked delicious. I just am going to omit the butter, oil, and parm, and I’m in the clear. I got whole wheat spaghetti and a can of San Marzano tomatoes and I’m set, and I always have veggies to make a quick side salad!


These are the refried bean, onion, mushroom, and red bell pepper tacos I made last week. IMG_0748.jpg

Easy and filling snack idea- Honey crisp apple, PB2, and pretzel crisps.

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

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!

Meal Planning 2.3.18


This is my view this morning while meal planning for the week. Read more of The Starch Solution, Louis on my lap watching Animal Planet, and a fire in the fire place because it’s COLD! As Josh said last night “it’s been a good week” for dinners in our house, so now I feel the need to keep topping myself and keep proving that low fat, plant based meals can be satisfying and delicious as well as healthy. You’ve seen pretty much everything I eat and I’m down a few pounds since I started eating high carb low fat two weeks ago, so I’m excited to try all the recipes that fit in this lifestyle. We’re going to be traveling a lot this year as it turns out so I want to be looking and feeling my best.

HCLF Breakfast ideas-

Oatmeal– quick oats with water, 1 tbsp maple syrup, and berries

Hash browns– shredded potatoes and veggies topped with organic ketchup and side of berries


What I’ve been having school mornings- Brown rice cakes topped with a little raspberry jelly and a sprinkle of Everything but the Bagel seasoning, sometimes I do a mix of rice cakes and one piece of sprouted whole grain toast. Haven’t gotten tired of it yet!

Lunch- I usually have leftovers or make a lavash sandwich with no oil hummus and spinach, tomato, and cucumber with a side of fruit. You could also have potatoes with veggies, rice or pasta with veggies. Half starch, half veggies.

Snacks– FRUIT! pita and no oil hummus, dates and tea, banana with powdered peanut butter, air popped popcorn with dill pickle juice and spices

Since doing this, I haven’t been craving sweets which is really odd for me. I used to have a piece of dark chocolate most nights. If I am in the mood for sweets, I grab a date or two with my tea and it satisfies the craving. Since I fill up on dinner, I’m usually not hungry for anything after that.

HCLF Dinners this week-

Super Bowl Sunday-  Bean Chili topped Potato Skins, I got this idea from The Chew this week. They scooped out potatoes and broiled the skins to make them the crispy “chips” for the bottom layer and then topped them with nacho toppings, but I thought it would be delicious topped with chili. I might even try to make a vegan cheese sauce.

General Tso’s Chickpeas– I’m going to use the oil free teriyaki sauce recipe from last week and mix it with crispy chickpeas and roasted broccoli on brown rice.

Lentil Shepard’s Pie- I’m going to use the insides of the potatoes from the potato skins to make mashed potatoes and make a lentil, veggie mixture to go under them.

Baked Ziti- Baked Ziti used to be my specialty in high school, I made it for all of my friends for every gathering. This is going to be a little different than my ground beef and Ragu classic. I’m going to use tofu to make a “ricotta” with spinach and mushrooms then mix it with ziti and marinara then bake until you get those perfect crunchy noodles on top.

Sushi- We might be having my family over to try some veggie sushi, and we’re trying to think of some other veggie combinations that would be good. Ideas? The avocado, cucumber, carrot, scallion, and spring mix is a keeper, but want something else too.

Bean Burgers and Fries- kidney beans, oats, and spices make these some simple, low fat burgers with a side of roasted potato fries.

Hope this helps you come up with some ideas! I hope it’s another “good dinner” week in our house!

Meal Planning HCLF 1.29.18

Asian Almond Salad

Thai Almond Salad

So far, the HCLF lifestyle has been a success! I’m down two pounds since I started about a week and a half ago so I’m going to continue eating this way. It doesn’t feel like a diet because apparently this is the way your body wants to eat. You eat whole, plant based food without oils or processed foods and you get to eat until your full and you don’t feel deprived.

Josh and I watched the movie Food Choices on Netflix yesterday and it was GREAT! I really recommend it to anyone who already is vegan, wanting to make the transition, or if you know someone who is vegan and have a lot of questions about it. A guy travels around talking to the best nutritional scientists, doctors, and regular people who’s lives have been changed from eating this way. He answers common questions like: Where do you get protein? Aren’t carbs bad? Is this suitable for children? Is this really helping the environment? Do you need fish for omega 3’s? Organic vs not organic? Does it help depression? Obesity? Are you really getting everything you need? It was one of the best docs we’ve seen to cover all of these topics and I really urge everyone to watch it and just be educated and informed about the food you’re eating because it really does make a big difference!

I’ve also started reading the book The Starch Solution by Dr. McDougall and it’s really interesting. Here’s what’s on our HCLF plant based meal plan for the week, I hope it helps you decide what to make.

(Above)- Thai Almond Salad- This was a High Carb Hannah recipe that I actually made last week and didn’t post about because it wasn’t a big hit. Josh said it “just tasted like plain lettuce” so I’m trying to figure out what to add to give it some more flavor. Work in progress! If you want to try it, it’s on her Youtube channel.

Portobello Fajita Tostadas– Corn tortillas toasted, sliced portobellos, onions, and peppers roasted in the oven, topped with your usual taco toppings.

Lentil and Veggie Pasta- I’m mixing some red lentils into my pasta sauce, and cooking them with eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, and spinach to make a healthy and satisfying sauce to top whole wheat pasta with.

Crispy Tofu and Veggie Rice Noodles– I’m doing my normal crispy asian tofu mixed with frozen asian veggies from TJ’s and brown rice noodles. I’m still working on what to make for my oil free asian stir fry sauce. Ideas?

Lentils, Mushrooms, and Brown Rice– This is one of my friend’s classics and it’s so tasty and easy! Throw it all in a rice cooker and it’s done. Recipe to come!

Pita or Lavash Pizzas– Haven’t decided which one I want to use yet, but either are yummy! Topped with marinara, roasted veggies, and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast since we’re trying to stay away from the vegan cheese.

Have a great week! Hope these spark some ideas for your meal planning this week!