Vegan Meal Prep Part II

Happy Monday, everyone–I hope you had a great weekend!

I was able to relax most of the weekend, which was great, but I also had some extra meal prep time on Sunday, so I decided to go all out and make some vegan recipes I’d been eyeing.

One strategy I’ve been using in order to stay within my weekly grocery budget is to only buy food that’s on sale (except for produce and essentials, of course).  This week, my favorite grocery store had coupons for tofu, mushrooms, and pasta, so I decided to make some mushroom stroganoff courtesy of From My Bowl, slow cooker tofu tikka masala courtesy of Yup…it’s Vegan!, and since I had about a cup of red lentils left and had a craving for tacos, some lentil taco meat from Delish Knowledge.

The mushroom stroganoff was SUPER easy, and my taste test confirmed it is delicious.  IMG_20180128_094619618.jpgInstead of cashew butter, I added Daiya cream cheese as that’s what I had.  I think one of the best things about this recipe is how cheap it is, and it’s one of those things most people will enjoy despite its simplicity.  I absolutely love comfort food, so I am excited to have this to eat all week.

I absolutely love cooking and eating Indian food, so I was excited to find the tofu tikka masala recipe.  It is super delicious, but it requires a bit more prep work.  IMG_20180128_113533307.jpgI don’t mind that at all as I love cooking, but it might be difficult to make if you are in a pinch for time.  This also requires a few more ingredients, so it might not be the best recipe if you are trying to keep things simple and cheap.  I had a lot of the ingredients on hand already, so this was easy and cheap for me.  I also love using my slow cooker when I can since it’s become 2nd to my Instant Pot.

The lentil taco meat was also a hit, although I will probably add less cumin next time.  I love cumin, but I find I need to err on the side of less is more when using it.  I used it to whip up some amazing tacos tonight.  IMG_20180128_180537646.jpgI didn’t have hard taco shells on hand, and that’s what I was really craving, so I made my own using some corn tortillas.  They came out looking kind of funny, but they were delicious.  I topped them with some Daiya mozzarella shreds, guac, vegan sour cream, lettuce, tomato, and lime.  I forgot we were out of salsa, so that was a bummer, but they were still amazing and just what I wanted!

I am really glad I took the time to meal prep this week.  Although I’ve been vegan almost a month, I think it really helps to be organized and prepared.  It’s also good to find vegan versions of the meals I’m craving so I don’t go astray.  I am also finding it really easy to go vegan throughout the day if I pack enough vegan snacks and don’t feel tempted to grab something that isn’t vegan.  I think now I have vegan basics down, I can focus more on being creative with my recipes. IMG_20180128_103959797.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

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First Week as a Vegan

Well, I finished up my first week as a vegan.  It definitely wasn’t as difficult as I thought it’d be, but there were a few challenges.

Some of the things I found easy was making the transition from mostly vegetarian to vegan as I am used to eating non-animal proteins like beans, lentils, and tofu.  My freezer is already full of veggie burgers/paties and Gardein chicken tenders as that’s what I’d normally eat.  Honestly, making meals was not a challenge at all except for the fact I was more conscious of not using dairy cheese/sour cream/butter.  Although I already use lentils in many recipes, I decided to try this Korean lentil recipe, and it was delicious and provided four filling meals.

IMG_20180103_122243922Another thing that was great was trying out new recipes.  I LOVE mac’n’cheese but never make or order it because of how greasy and fatty it is.  It usually sits in my stomach like a ton of bricks.  I decided to make this recipe, and it was AMAZING!  I would highly recommend it.  I honestly enjoyed it just as much as regular mac’n’cheese.  I know it’s not completely healthy, but it has more nutritional value than traditional mac’n’cheese and is cruelty free.IMG_20180104_170953722

 

OK, now here come the issues.  The first problem was trying to find products that are good replacements for some of my dairy favorites.  I LOVE cream cheese on bagels, but the So Delicious brand I bought at my supermarket is not very appetizing to me.  I hope to make my own cashew cream cheese in the future (also to cut down on purchasing products packaged in plastic) as I think it’ll probably taste much better without all the additives and preservatives.

Another thing that I found difficult (and will probably be the hardest part about going vegan) is ordering at restaurants.  We usually don’t eat out much because we love to cook and save money, but my husband really wanted Chipotle on Friday night, so I got a sofritas bowl with rice, beans, fajita vegetables, corn salsa and guac.  Usually I’d get an addition of sour cream and cheese, but I definitely didn’t feel like I was missing much without them.

On Saturday morning I had to take my husband to the ER because he pulled some muscles in his back the day before, and after we hit up the pharmacy, we decided to get breakfast across the street at Egg and I.  We never go here, but after being at the hospital and waiting for prescriptions for a few hours, we decided to try it out.  I was disappointed to find there wasn’t much on the menu I could eat.  I would normally order some kind of vegetarian egg breakfast or pancakes.  I asked about several options that looked appetizing (oat pancakes with berries and steel-cut oatmeal), and both had dairy.  I settled on a fruit bowl, side of greens, and a plain English muffin.  It was filling and tasty, so I was satisfied. IMG_20180106_094053384

There are some really good restaurants in town that offer a great vegan selection, so I am looking forward to frequenting them.  Until I am on the Front Range where there are more vegan options, I will be experimenting in my kitchen making my favorites.  I plan on trying out a mushroom french dip and pulled jackfruit sandwiches next!