Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Meal Planning: Week 2

Look at me: back at work for less than a month and I've already fallen off the regular-blogging wagon. Obviously I'm no good at multi-tasking, so you can see why I need at least a semi-structured meal plan!

Our second week of meal-planning began with the best of intentions. We would go to the market, get whatever produce looked good and was cheap, and then plan a week's worth of meals. But on Sunday morning we woke to find Tika in a bit of discomfort and sporting a huge belly. The night before, I left the dog food bag open, and she helped herself. So we skipped the market, instead staying home to keep an eye on her (also, it was hot).

So I thought about what we had on hand, and started flicking through some cookbooks, but I only got through two before I had so many ideas. Week 2's meal plan became our Week of Urban Vegan. Her cookbooks tend to be my faves anyways, so I wasn't surprised to find a big list of possibilities. Here is the plan that I wrote, based on some input (and some resistance) from Andy:
  • Esther's Baked Falafel (Celebrate Vegan p.107), or Chickpea Chilli Burgers (Urban Vegan, p.48) - early in the week, so Andy could have leftovers on his lunch-time sandwiches
  • Black Bean and Bulgur Tacos (UV, p.83) - on Tuesday or Wednesday, so the lettuce was still fresh.
  • Pumpkin risotto with sage and sundried tomatoes (UV, p.152)
  • Spicy Seitan 'Wings' (Celebrate, p.165)
  • Spaghetti alle Melanzane (UV, p.91)
  • Pumpkin-Daal Soup (UV, p.54)
There were others I could have chosen, but there are only so many days in a week! At this point, Andy got a little nervous that my meal-planning would become inflexible, so we agreed that this was just a guide - a list of recipes that we could use if we didn't know what to make, but if we felt inspired to do something else that was cool too.

Here is how it turned out.

On Sunday, while soaking beans for the week, I decided to turn some overripe bananas into muffins. I used the recipe for Blueberry-Banana Bread (UV, p.24) as a guide, but changed it up heaps, so I will post the new recipe another time. These were high in protein, and super yummy, the perfect morning tea snack for a week without fruit (on account of not going to the markets).

Sunday night's dinner was a mash-up of the two chickpea patty recipes. I couldn't decide, and then I did, but then I changed my mind. So the flavouring is falafel, but I added oats as per the burger recipe to bulk the patties up. They were a little dry, so not very well suited to BBQing, but they were delicious with BBQ potatoes, beetroot and corn.

Monday night we had eggplant pasta, basically following the recipe for "alle Melanzane" but adding a jar of pesto (because our freezer is so full of it!), and using penne pasta.

Up until now, our meals for Week 2 looked strikingly similar to Week 1, with a few minor variations. Andy would have preferred to keep this up, but Tuesday is where I took a more serious detour. Instead of our normal tomatoey Mexican meals, I made Dynise's Black Bean and Bulgur filling, with the addition of some corn, which we ate burrito-style. I thought they were delicious, and a great change. Andy likes what he likes, and thought these were just okay.

On Wednesday, we got a break from the sticky, hot weather - instead, it was 25 degrees and we got 200mm of rain. I felt like something warm and snuggly, so flicked through the two cookbooks and decided to make an afternoon snack of Milk Pudding (Halvaye Shir), a Persian sweet (Celebrate, p.10). Except I didn't follow the recipe well - I used different spices, vanilla instead of rosewater, and walnuts instead of pistachios. It was very yummy, anyways.

Then for dinner, we went off-plan in favour of something hearty and warm - Mesir Wat with Chappatis.

Thursday was still a little on the cool side, so rather than BBQ-ising Dynise's seitan wing recipe, we followed the original recipe and baked them in the oven. I think of them as nuggets, more so than wings, but whatever you call them they are fantastic (with oven-baked potatoes).

On Friday, we fell into old habits (not necessarily bad habits...) and threw some gnocchi and jarred tomato sauce together and called it dinner. It did the job, got us through the week, and made a dent in the big pile of gnocchi taking up space in our freezer. So Week 2 was a little similar to Week 1, a little creative, and still flexible. A success, even if not a resounding one!

8 comments:

veganopoulous said...

Just wait til you've tried meal planning a month in advance! :) Everything sounds really good, especially the Persian dessert!

Mattheworbit said...

Those seitan wing/nugget things are incredibly delicious, and so easy to make. I hope you made the spicy harissa mayo, too - heaven! Love Dynise.

Kari said...

I'm impressed! Our meal planning never really goes that well, either because I get tired / bored / deviate off, or we don't do it, or I forget to buy a core ingredient, or...something. You are inspiring me to try again though. I love the look of much of this, including that dessert, and smiled at your different reactions to the variation of the black bean dish. It's a bit like that in this house too ;)

Kari said...

I'm impressed! Our meal planning never really goes that well, either because I get tired / bored / deviate off, or we don't do it, or I forget to buy a core ingredient, or...something. You are inspiring me to try again though. I love the look of much of this, including that dessert, and smiled at your different reactions to the variation of the black bean dish. It's a bit like that in this house too ;)

Joey said...

I don't know, it all looks pretty good from where I'm sitting - the black bean dish and the seitan wings are calling to me from here. Meal planning FTW! And i've got some bananas that I'm waiting for to go black so I can use up into banana bread - great minds and all that!

The Persian pudding looks really interesting too - what else went in it?

Joey said...

I don't know, it all looks pretty good from where I'm sitting - the black bean dish and the seitan wings are calling to me from here. Meal planning FTW! And i've got some bananas that I'm waiting for to go black so I can use up into banana bread - great minds and all that!

The Persian pudding looks really interesting too - what else went in it?

Theresa said...

@Joey - The milk pudding is pretty basic, actually: butter, flour, milk and sugar, flavoured (in my version) with vanilla, cloves and walnuts. Dynise's recipe calls for rosewater or orange-flower water (but Andy thinks these taste like soap), and for cardamom and pistachios. It was light, and not so sweet, and really nice afternoon chilly-day snack.

urban vegan said...

I am honored to have infiltrated your kitchen to such a large degree last week ;)