Last weekend I started planning my meals for Week 1 with enthusiasm and good intentions. I’ve found what works best for me is to do as much prepping and cooking as possible on my days off so I have meals on hand to grab and go throughout the week. This typically means 1-2 different dinner options and the same lunch daily (in winter months usually a cup of soup and a side salad as you can tell from my soupy January posts); within a week there may not be a lot of variety but from one to the next I make sure to alter the flavor profiles enough to keep it interesting. I’ve previously posted my go-to online resources for recipes and inspiration that may be helpful if you’re just starting out in the whole food plant based world, you can find it here.
Some weeks get busy and there’s no time for a flushed out plan, but I try to keep enough staples on hand to throw together a choose your grain, choose your bean, choose your veg and add spices kind of meal. When all else fails there are vegan pancakes, which should not be limited to breakfasts.
Back to Week 1 of the E2Challenge. The plan was inspired by the meal plans included with the Firefighter e-book, which contained recipes for Black Bean Extravaganza and Mac Not Cheese.
I decided to make a black beans and rice dish for lunches by using some of the E2 Black Bean Extravaganza recipe and some of the Happy Herbivore Cookbook fajitas recipe. I sautéed peppers and onions in water about 5-10 minutes, adding water as necessary to keep from sticking to the pan then adding the fajita spice mixture from the Happy Herbivore Cookbook recipe, plus black beans and corn. To pack for lunches, I topped brown rice (cooked with some lime zest and juice and a bit of cilantro) with the black bean fajita mixture. In a separate container I had fresh tomato, scallion, cilantro, pickled jalapeño and avocado to add after heating.
Since I had been happily cooking my way through Isa Does It before the E2 Challenge began I decided to take inspiration from the E2 meal plan but make Isa Does It Roasted Red Pepper Mac & Cheese. I posted the full review of this awesomeness the other day.
I made Scrambled Chickpeas (again, every week) with baked cajun home fries (all packed and ready to take into the office) for part of the week and intended to make a batch of Chef AJs Steel Cut Oats (recipe p 26 of manual) in the Instant Pot for later in the week.
This worked great for the first two days. I also had snacks of fruit with nut butter and veggies with homemade hummus (I like No Meat Athlete Buffalo Hummus – made without the oil).
Day 3 – Wednesday
An ice storm had come overnight and I woke to no power and no way to reheat my leftovers. Breakfast was still pretty good, a banana with nut butter in an Ezekiel tortilla.
Lunch, no problem – a Caesar salad with homemade Briny Caesar Dressing (sans oil). By dinner I was in need of something hot and still had no power. The closest option was Wegmans resulting in a dinner from their Asian hot bar selection; while vegan I’m certain it had oil.
Day 4 – Thursday
Still no power, house around 47 degrees inside. Lunch was a veggie burger from the work cafeteria – I have no idea what the ingredients were but I did skip the chips/fries sides for what its worth. I stopped to Wegmans on the way home for dinner again but made a wiser (albeit cold) choice, brown rice avocado roll.
Day 5 – Friday
Still no power, house now 44 degrees. Since the street lights were working at this point I went the extra few miles to Whole Foods for lunch. I was surprised they did not have more oil free options in their salad bar but managed to get my favorite superfood salad and an edamame corn salad, neither of which listed oil in the ingredients. I picked up some other things expecting it was time to wave the white flag and go stay with family but once I got home and was packing the car to leave the lights came on! I’ve never been so excited to cook dinner, pistachio crusted eggplant served with whole wheat pasta. I’ll write more about this recipe, including my modifications in my next post.
I’m already planning Week 2, back at it!