Meal Prep Monday

Remember my ‘vegan on a budget’ posts from last year and earlier this year? I was planning on bringing them back once school started back up in the fall but it’s been…3 months since school started and I haven’t done one of those posts yet. Oops. Anyways, it’s a little late to do them again now since I only have 4 more weeks left, including finals! Crazy talk.

I’ve still been keeping up with my grocery budgeting and meal prepping, though, and I wanted to showcase a little of that, especially because I did a LOT of it this weekend. I managed to spend under $70 total for the week at 3 different grocery stores, which is way better than I was doing last semester, and I’ve been loving my long weekends (I only have classes Monday through Thursday, so 3 days weekends every week for this girl…enjoying them while they last!) because they give me plenty of time to go shopping and get my food prep done for the week. Taking an almost full course load means that I don’t have a ton of time during the week to do this, so it’s a blessing to have 3 days to catch up on stuff, including prepping my meals.

Anyways, here’s what I’ve been up to in the kitchen lately!

Groceries

Sprouts and Natural Grocers mini-haul.

Sprouts and Natural Grocers mini-haul.

I wasn’t planning on going to Sprouts this weekend, but when my friend said she needed to swing by there for a few things, I decided to tag along. I ended up getting some cheap organic Pink Lady apples (my favorite kind), Ataulfo mangoes (also my favorite) and Medjool dates. All for under $10. Afterwards I stopped at Natural Grocers, mostly because they’re the only store in my area that carries black bean pasta, which is a new high-protein staple for me. Unfortunately, they were all out but I still ended up buying a few things I needed wanted, like my favorite Hail Merry miracle tart, xylitol-sweetened gum, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seed butter–for under $15.

Whole Foods produce...

Whole Foods produce…

...and pantry staples.

…and pantry staples.

Whole Foods is a given, but luckily it hasn’t been a budget breaker lately. I’ve been able to spend under $50 there consistently if I also shop at another store, and I only spend around $60 if that’s the only place I shop for the week. I can’t complain! This week I bought two more expensive items (the stevia-sweetened chocolate chips and Skinnycrisps) but the chocolate chips were on sale and the Skinnycrisps I hadn’t had in months and I wanted to bring them home to have over Thanksgiving break. I was planning on buying Tessemae’s BBQ sauce (sweetened only with dates!) so I could make this ‘pulled’ BBQ cauliflower but they were all out so I just had to nix that recipe for this week. As usual, I got a ton of produce (bananas, pomegranates and persimmons on sale, romaine hearts, lime, cilantro, Hannah yams) and some other things I needed for recipes like organic peanuts from the bulk section (on sale!), raisins and yeast. And of course, a few Larabars for quick snacks during the week. This was all just under $45, score!

Meals

Some of these things I made before I did my grocery shopping, so I was kinda using up some things and getting creative. I ran out of nut butter on Wednesday I think so that was fun trying to find other fat sources in my pantry. It was nice to finally restock and have more fruit and snack-y stuff again.

Raw protein bowl for breakfast on Saturday. Garden of Life RAW Marley coffee protein powder+coconut flour+almond milk base, topped with homemade raw coconut 'bacon', pomegranate seeds and a little chia ginger rawnola.

Raw protein bowl for breakfast on Saturday. Garden of Life RAW Marley coffee protein powder+coconut flour+almond milk base, topped with homemade raw coconut ‘bacon’, pomegranate seeds and a little chia ginger rawnola.

I already plowed through one of the Garden of Life protein powder tubs my dad bought me late last month and I’m onto the second. I definitely recommend this brand, especially their new coffee flavor (it’s only available at Whole Foods right now, though)–decent consistency, especially mixed with coconut flour, and great stats for a raw protein powder.

Lettuce wraps...for breakfast?

Lettuce wraps…for breakfast?

This was another recent breakfast, when I ran out of bananas so I couldn’t have my usual banana ‘softserve’, which is what I have like 90% of the time. Instead, I took some romaine hearts and filled them with dates, raisins and the last of my PB. The date/lettuce combo is seriously killer! I know it sounds weird, but it’s really good. I also had some Garden of Life protein powder mixed with almond milk on the side.

Salad with romaine, leftover black bean spaghetti, pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds and sauerkraut.

Salad with romaine, leftover black bean spaghetti, pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds and sauerkraut.

Random black bean and kelp noodle bowl with cauliflower, sauerkraut and homemade pumpkin curry sauce.

Random black bean and kelp noodle bowl with cauliflower, sauerkraut and homemade pumpkin curry sauce.

Before my grocery trips this weekend, my lunches were getting pretty random. I was basically throwing together some leftovers, like the black bean noodles and pumpkin curry sauce, with some add-ins like pomegranate seeds and sauerkraut. These lunches were actually really tasty and filling–I just love the sweet and salty combos!

Oh She Glows' Thai veggie burger on top of spinach, topped with sunflower seed butter+aminos, peanuts, cilantro and mango. Side of roasted cauliflower.

Oh She Glows’ Thai sweet potato veggie burger on top of spinach, topped with sunflower seed butter+coconut aminos, peanuts, cilantro and mango. Side of roasted cauliflower.

Finally a more put-together meal! This was my take on Angela’s Thai-style veggie burger. I made a few changes to it though–I nixed the oats in favor of almond flour to make it grain free, I didn’t really measure anything, I only added in the spices/veggies that I had on hand like curry powder and cilantro and I topped mine with a sunflower seed butter sauce. These were pretty crumbly, but the flavor was spot-on and definitely the best homemade veggie burger I’ve ever had! I’m looking forward to leftovers all week..

Pomegranate seeds are well worth the work and the mess.

Pomegranate seeds are well worth the work and the mess.

Sometimes simple desserts are the best. Like these stevia-sweetened chocolate fruit & nut clusters.

Sometimes simple desserts are the best. Like these stevia-sweetened chocolate fruit & nut clusters.

As for the rest of meal prep, I cut up and stored the 2 organic pomegranates I scored at Whole Foods for just $2.50 (they were on sale 4 for $5)–always messy work but I’m obsessed with pomegranates so it’s all good–made another batch of homemade sweet potato fries out of one of the Hannah yams I bought, made some more PB&J bites and some healthy ‘rice krispies’ (cacao brown rice cereal made with coconut sugar+sunflower seed butter+1 tbsp maple syrup+1 scoop protein powder+some almond milk made into bars) to use up some brown rice cereal I had and I also made the chocolate-covered fruit and nut clusters above. It’s so simple it doesn’t even really need a recipe, and I have no idea where I came up with it, but it’s basically raw mixed nuts (mine were from Whole Foods) and raisins topped with the Lily’s stevia-sweetened dark chocolate chips and set in the freezer to harden. I used the stevia chocolate so these would be sugar free, but feel free to use whatever dark chocolate you have on hand. These are really good, and they’d be the perfect simple holiday dessert, maybe made more festive with dried cranberries instead of raisins and peppermint-flavored dark chocolate?

Do you like to do meal prep on the weekends? What are some of your recent favorite food finds?

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WIAW: What I Ate (Monday)

I haven’t done a legit WIAW in awhile, you know, like posting all my eats from one specific day. Really, it’s just more fun to highlight some of my favorite meals from the past week instead of doing it all from one day, plus I always forget to take enough photos! But I thought I’d try to do a real WIAW this week since I actually remembered to take pictures.

Breakfast: peanut butter banana smoothie-in-a-bowl made with So Delicious unsweetened Almond Plus almond milk, peanut flour, xanthan gum, Truvia, mini banana and topped with peanut butter Puffins.

I’ve been experimenting with almond milks lately. So far, I’ve tried Pacific Naturals u/s vanilla, Almond Breeze u/s vanilla & chocolate, Silk u/s plain and So Delicious Almond Plus u/s plain. I’ve liked all of them, Almond Breeze and Silk are the creamiest and have the most calcium, not to mention I prefer the vanilla to plain, so I think I’ll be sticking to those to those two brands. The So Delicious one is good if you want  a little extra protein (5 grams versus 1 gram per cup in most almond milks) but I wish they would come out with an unsweetened vanilla.

Lunch: curried sweet potato pinto burger, carrots, ginger peanut sauce, fresh pineapple.

Being home has meant cooking for myself (for reals!) pretty much every day. For me, this isn’t a bad thing at all. Basically, because the rest of my family are omnis, I have to make my own dinner which has inspired me to get creative. Somewhat. I remade these awesome veggie burgers from spring break and they’ve been making an appearance at both lunch and dinner lately. The problem with cooking for one is you end up with a lot of leftovers…which maybe isn’t a bad thing at all!

Monday’s outfit: navy cardigan (American Eagle), dark grey lace tank (Hollister), navy/dark grey abstract floral skirt (Hollister), bangles (American Eagle).

The weather has been so effing bipolar here! Since I’ve been home, the weekends have pretty much sucked (temps. in the 60s at best, lots of clouds and wind, maybe some rain) and the weekdays are hit and miss. Monday was pretty warm, but cloudy for most of the day so I missed out on tanning. Boo 😦 Tuesday was super-warm, but I spent some of the day inside for my first day of my internship. What I did spend outside was extremely hot, even early in the morning. I’m just hoping this weekend is better because I want to do a lot of stuff outside.

Snackplate: freeze-dried fruit, raisins, square of dark chocolate with almonds and sea salt, stuffed date, kettle corn, blue and sweet potato Late July chips, peanut flour paste. Side of (half a can of) cream soda Zevia.

Snackplates are officially never going away…at least I hope not! The above assortment has been my go-to combo lately and I’m not getting sick of it. I’m just running out of almost everything on it! Time to make a trip to Whole Foods 😀

Dinner: Hugh Jass sweet potato topped with black beans/guac/nooch on one side, peanut flour paste on the other, side of mini sweet peppers and ginger jalapeno sauce.

The picture doesn’t do it justice, but this was one monstrous sweet potato! I enjoyed every last bite of it though, and of course had to please both my savory side (with the Mexican-inspired toppings) and my sweet side (with the peanut flour paste). The mini peppers are my new favorite veggie for summer, especially dipped in this spicy sauce. I can’t say enough good stuff about the Ginger People line of sauces. I love both kinds that I’ve tried and now I wanna try them all, well at least the ones without eggs or dairy in them!

Nighttime snack: PB Puffins in u/s almond milk, frozen grapes, peanut flour paste and almond peanut cashew butter.

See why I almost never post my meals from the same day? It’s because I repeat the same things throughout the day often. Like peanut flour, which I had 4 times on Monday, and Puffins which I had twice. I sometimes get really hung up on one thing and I eat it every single day or multiple times per day til I’m sick of it for awhile. I hope that never happens with my beloved Puffins and peanut flour…

Do you tend to eat the same things every day or multiple times per day? What’s your favorite thing to cook for just yourself?