Veganizing Breakfast

Hello everyone,

I hope you had a great week and are ready for the weekend!  I know I am–I had a stressful week as my student teacher decided to quit after only a few weeks in.  The resignation came out of nowhere, so I really had to scramble to make sure I was prepped to teach all of my classes each day.  I was upset at first, but now I’m glad to have complete control of my class back as I don’t want someone who isn’t passionate about teaching running my classroom.

I decided to make ahead some breakfasts for the week as I knew my life was going to be crazier than usual. I honestly have a really tough time with breakfast and don’t eat it half of the time.  I get to work around 6:30 or 6:45 a.m., and I’m usually very busy from then on.  I will drink a lot of coffee, but sometimes I can’t make myself eat breakfast even if I bring it.  I also try not to ever eat in front of my students, so if I don’t have time to eat before they arrive, I just forget about it.

I know it’s really important for me to eat breakfast if I want to be on top of my game, so I’m going to try my best to be organized enough to make that happen.

Something I used to do to “treat” myself in the morning was stop by Starbucks once a week and get a fancy specialty latte and their spinach feta wrap.  But I was starting my day with a lot of sugar and sodium (not to mention $10+), so now that I don’t do that, I definitely feel better.

This week I decided to use some steel-cut oats I had forever (and just now expired) to make mason jar oatmeals.  I wanted to customize them each day in order to entice me into eating them since I get bored so easily.  I have a microwave in my classroom, so these were easy to heat up each day.  I came up with so many combinations with items I already had in my pantry and need to use up.  I did (left to right): apple pie (oats, almond milk, cinnamon applesauce, and fresh apples), raisin oatmeal cookie (oats, almond milk, cinnamon agave syrup, raisins, and toasted almonds), peanut butter chocolate banana (oats, almond milk, banana, cacao powder, peanut butter powder, and peanuts), cashew coconut banana (oats, almond milk, banana, cashews, unsweetened almond flakes), and berry delight (oats, almond milk, blueberries, blackberries, and toasted almonds).

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Each one tasted great, but my favorites were the oatmeal cookie and cashew coconut banana.  Since I am almost out of steel-cut oats, I think I will try it with regular oatmeal next week.

And even though I meal prepped pretty well this week, I needed something different tonight, so I made some mashed potato waffles.  I have been craving potatoes lately, so I steamed some russets in my Instant Pot and mashed with sauteed onions and garlic.  I then put in some almond milk, Earth Balance, and Daiya cream cheese and seasoned with a ton of smoked paprika, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. IMG_20180125_183533518.jpg The result was even better than I imagined!It was honestly one of the best things I’ve ever eaten!  I made enough for a few waffles, so I am really looking forward to eating them as leftovers!



Saving $$$+Vegan Meal Prep

Hello all, I hope you’ve had a great week and are ready to begin a new one!  I am super excited as we had the first real snowstorm of the year last night.  It usually snows quite a bit here, and the lack of snow this year has been concerning, especially for the ski resorts.  I plan on making the most of the beautiful snow by taking my dogs for a romp in the park.

I am going to talk a bit about saving money at the grocery store as a vegan and meal prepping to make the most out of it.  People always ask me “Isn’t going vegan SO expensive??”  It definitely could be, and I can understand that mindset.  Some vegan recipes, especially staples, are daunting because they require so many ingredients most people don’t already have in their pantries.  But there are definitely ways to eat vegan on the cheap.

I think one of the best way to affordably vegan meal prep for the week is to make something really basic and build on it depending on what you like, your grocery budget, and the amount of time you can spend meal prepping.  This week my grocery budget was pretty tight and I didn’t have much time, so I decided to make some pasta for all of my lunches.  Pasta is cheap, but I had a digital coupon for some bowtie pasta, making it even cheaper.  I sauteed some spinach and mushrooms I found on clearance and mixed theIMG_20180121_112037014.jpgm with a jar of marinara (for which I also had a coupon) and topped with some nutritional yeast.  Making five vegan lunches added up to around $6, which is pretty good.  I know some people get sick of pasta, but I really like all of the variations you can make.

I usually don’t meal prep dinners unless I know it will be a busy week, and this week is going to be hectic in the p.m.  Another cheap vegan option that almost everybody likes is stir-fry.  Frozen stir fry vegetables w/noodles were 10 for $1 at the store, and I sauteed them with some tofu marinated in Siracha and soy sauce and made some rice to go along with.  Making four stir-fry meals cost me around $5 or even less as I have a HUGE bag of Jasmine rice I’ve been using for ages.IMG_20180121_134511374 Frozen vegetables are usually on sale or generally really cheap, and I find it’s good to buy a bunch and then store them in the freezer for easy meal prep ingredients.

I think Asian (both east and west) and Mexican/Central American foods really lend themselves to being vegan and affordable.  Beans (especially when you buy them dry) and rice are always cheap as are ingredients for a curry.  You can add or subtract ingredients based on what you have and can afford, and most of them are very nutritional.

When people say going vegan is so expensive, I think they don’t realize most people in the world, especially those living in poverty, eat simple meals without animal products.  Eating a ton of animal protein is such a western thing, and it is definitely ruining our health.  I hope once people figure out how easy it is to go vegan on a strict budget, they will try to make more vegan meals.

If I have more time to meal prep next week, I hope to try some tips on eating vegan and saving money from Sweet Potato Soul!