The Hearty Vegetarian

More Than Tofu


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Day 5 – Friday

Day 5 of Buzzfeed’s No-Added-Sugar Meal Plan!

Breakfast – Breakfast Bowl with Quinoa, Avocado & Tomato
Prep time: I prepared this the night before, took me less than 5 minutes to put together, but make sure you make your soft boiled egg ahead of time – I used my handy egg cooker cuz I’m lazy.

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I worked out today! 🎉

And I loved this breakfast! It made a great post-workout meal. I would make this again for sure!

What I would change: Nothing!

Lunch – Power Salad
Prep time: I prepped this the night before, it probably took around 5 minutes to assemble.

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This was okay. Honestly, after working out this morning the last thing I wanted was a salad and veggies haha. I was like c’mon, I deserve some carbs right now! But the sweet potatoes were good, and I still love the balsamic reduction.

What I would change: The raw spinach was meh. Maybe I would have liked cooked spinach better? With some lemon?

Dinner – Whole Wheat Pasta with Lemon Kale Chicken Tofu
Prep time: This took about 15-20 minutes

I was disappointed in this one! And I was so excited to have pasta night…

My tofu was good, I fried it up and it got a nice golden crust.

But the kale was chewy and still kale-like (I’m sorry, I guess if it’s not in a smoothie or crispy on a pizza I am not a fan of kale). And the whole wheat pasta was thick and didn’t seem to hold onto the flavors of the dish very well. In the end, it just seemed like a dull meal… 😦

What I would change: Maybe using spinach instead of kale and a different pasta. Maybe if the noodles weren’t spaghetti noodles they wouldn’t taste so thick and bleh? Some low fat ricotta or parmesan would have been good on this as well for added flavor.

Snacks – Just green grapes today!

My Fitness Pal

That quinoa has a lot of calories! Maybe the white quinoa has less? I will have to look into that next time I buy some. If I hadn’t worked out today (I earned 460 calories from boot camp), I would have gone over my calorie goal!

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Day 4 – Thursday

Day 4 of Buzzfeed’s No-Added-Sugar Meal Plan!

Breakfast – Fried Egg Breakfast Tacos
Prep time: 10 minutes

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Messy! But delicious. I mean tacos for breakfast is pretty great any day.

I am digging the pico de gallo – but man be sure to brush your teeth after eating it! You get some fierce breath.

What I would change: I think scrambled eggs would have been good and less messy.

Lunch – Veggie Pita with Greek Yogurt Tzatziki
Prep time: I prepped my lunch the night before to bring to work with me – I microwaved the pita for about 20 seconds to soften it up.

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Another repeat meal. But, I was still happy at lunchtime because I knew how good it is! I did notice my pita wasn’t as soft as it was on Tuesday, it was kind of on the chewy side… Still not a bad meal but maybe could have just done without the pita.

What I would change: Might be nice to make this meal into a salad so that it’s slightly different. Or if I weren’t at work I would have toasted the pita bread which might have made it taste better.

Snacks – Once again I had leftovers from lunch so I snacked on that as well as some more grapes. Also had some of Trader Joe’s Organic 100% Melon juice – it’s wonderful!

Dinner – Protein-Packed Banh Mi Bowl
Prep time: Around 10 minutes.

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This was pretty much the same as Monday’s dinner. I think the only difference is this recipe had shaved carrot and cucumber included. It was still good, I used a little less rice remembering how filling it is.

What I would change: Would have been nice to change it up a little more, but I do get that with a meal plan you’ve gotta have some repeats. And this one wasn’t bad.

Meal Prep – Quinoa was the only thing to prep today! I didn’t realize all the recipes called for white quinoa, so when shopping I chose the tri-colored quinoa. I don’t eat much quinoa, so I just chose what looked best. This was quick and easy to make on the stove top!
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My Fitness Pal

Once again I’m surprised that the whole wheat pita bread is 220 calories. And that the falafel made me go over my suggested amount of fat for the day!

Otherwise I stayed under my calorie goal and did not go to bed hungry, so that’s a win.

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Day 3 – Wednesday

Day 3 of Buzzfeed’s No-Added-Sugar Meal Plan!

Breakfast – Creamy Peanut Butter Toast with Banana
Prep time: About 5 minutes

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Very good! I’ve made something similar for breakfast before. Usually I drizzle honey on top instead of peanuts, however I found that I didn’t really miss the added sugar!

I used the other half of yesterday’s banana (hm yesterday’s banana – band name?😂), which started to brown slightly but was still good.

I thought this meal was going to remind me too much of Monday’s breakfast toast but really the flavors were so different that it didn’t.

What I would change: Nothing!

Lunch – Frittata with Spinach Salad
Prep time: I prepped my lunch the night before to bring to work with me – but I did microwave the frittata at work for 1 minute.

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Repeat meal – womp womp…

I did add some walnuts and edamame this time to add something to my salad- these were good additions. Otherwise I can’t say much else new here. The frittata did still taste good, and it was still an enjoyable lunch. I just wasn’t as excited about it since I had it Monday too.

What I would change: I understand repeating the frittata but it would have been nice to at least swap the salad for something different.

Snacks – I snacked on green grapes and walnuts today! And I had a glass of red wine while cooking so I added that to my snacks column.

Dinner – Sweet Potato Veggie Tacos with Lime Crema
Prep time: Since I had to prep the sweet potatoes, pico de gallo and lime crema today before assembling my tacos, it took about 45-60 minutes. The tacos themselves only took about 5 minutes.

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Taco night! Who doesn’t love a good taco? These did not disappoint. I was also amazed by how great the lime crema was! I love sour cream but this was a great, healthier substitute that I would make again! It also helped me forget that there was no cheese on my taco, where’s my mantra…. *it doesn’t need cheese*

What I would change: Prep took a long time, but luckily I had the time to do it. If this were a busier night, I would have wanted to do the prep the day before.

Meal Prep – Today I had to prep the sweet potatoes, pico de gallo, and the lime crema.

I started with the sweet potatoes since those took the longest. I used white sweet potatoes, since I was going off the list when shopping I didn’t realize they had used yellow ones. However, I think I prefer the white ones – they tend to be less sweet and better for savory dishes IMO.

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Sweet Potatoes

I wouldn’t have thought to add diced garlic to sweet potatoes – these smell amazing as they bake! I also am hoping that two large sweet potatoes is enough – the recipe called for 6 small ones but I bought large ones instead. Seems like I’ll have plenty for the 3 meals these will be used for.

While the sweet potatoes were baking, I started in on the pico de gallo. I had some beautiful heirloom tomatoes from the farmers market ready for this – they were just starting to look on the softer side so I was glad that it was time to use them. I chopped them up into small chunks and then diced up some red onion.

I am sensitive to super acidic foods, like raw onion. So my favorite thing to do is soak diced red onion in chilled water for about 10-15 minutes. This takes some of the bite out of it. So I let the onion soak while I finished the rest.

I pulled out what was left of my jalapeño, like two-thirds was left. I cut about half of that off, de-seeded it and diced it up. Then I put it all together with diced garlic, lime juice, olive oil and some salt. I poured my red onion into my mesh strainer and patted it dry with a paper towel before adding it.

It looked bright, bold, and beautiful!

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Pico De Gallo

Last was the lime crema! This was super easy – just stir together greek yogurt, lime zest, salt, and lime juice. I tried it and it kind of reminded me of a creamy key lime pie yogurt and I wondered how it would taste frozen like a popsicle! (might have to try that sometime)

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Lime Crema

My Fitness Pal

I had almost 500 calories leftover! I thought I was going to snack more because we had some friends over in the evening for a birthday, so I purposely had two tacos instead of 3 to save some room. But I stayed strong and declined (once again!) my one true love: pizza. Luckily I went to bed before they pulled out the ice cream cake…. that would have been hard to decline!

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Day 2 – Tuesday

Day 2 of Buzzfeed’s No-Added-Sugar Meal Plan!

Breakfast – Almond Milk Oatmeal with Peanut Butter, Banana, and Strawberries
Prep time: About 15 minutes

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So as you can see, my oatmeal did not turn out. I realized that the oats I own are quick 1 minute oats and the recipe called for old fashioned oats. On top of that, I found myself running late for work as I tried to cook this up.

I ended up with oatmeal soup that I had to put into a tupperware container and bring to work. It did still taste good, but I was bummed that I hadn’t noticed I had the wrong type of oats! I also wished that this recipe was for overnight oats instead – it would have been great with the same ingredients and ready to go in the morning with no prep required.

What I would change: Maybe if I used less almond milk the quick oats would have cooked better? Having old fashioned oats would also have helped. I would change this recipe to overnight oats instead, so much easier when you’re on the go!

Lunch – Roasted Veggie Pita with Greek Yogurt Tzatziki
Prep time: I prepped my lunch the night before to bring to work with me – I microwaved the pita for about 20 seconds to soften it up.

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YUM! I was most looking forward to this lunch and it did not disappoint!

I heated up my pita bread and scooped in as much of the veggies and chickpeas that I could and then topped it off with my tzatziki. Easy peasy. A little messy. But wonderful!

I had tried the whole wheat pita bread before and hated it so when purchasing I considered getting the white pita instead – but decided to stay true to the meal plan. Warmed up, the pita wasn’t as dense tasting and that tzatziki helped too.

What I would change: I definitely would have preferred a white pita… but really it was still very good with the whole wheat one, and healthier. So nothing really!

Snacks – I ended up with a lot of extra veggies, chickpeas and tzatziki! And I had packed my container of veggies – carrot slices, cucumber and purple cabbage. I used the leftovers as dip for my veggies! Turned out to be a great snack!

 

Dinner – Thai-style Turkey over Rice

I did not make this meal, so I cannot comment on it.

I often have a weekly family dinner to attend and this week it was Tuesday night. But I was invited to a fantastic Italian place, known for it’s pizza – and did not order pizza. I had a tasty stew instead (and I admit, a bit of bread too).

I was planning to substitute my tofu for the turkey in this dish. Or, I’m sure some falafel would have been a good sub as well. Looks good, except it looks a lot like two of the other dinner rice dishes so I don’t really mind missing it.

Meal Prep

No meal prep today, except I packed my lunch for tomorrow. It was easy to pack since it is a repeat of the frittata/salad lunch!

My Fitness Pal Log

Here is the log for just breakfast & lunch. Wow, Lunch was more calories than I thought!

I won’t show my dinner log – but with fewer calories leftover and eating out I did not make my calorie goal.

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Day 1 – Monday

Day 1 of Buzzfeed’s No-Added-Sugar Meal Plan!

If you haven’t seen it yet – check out my Shopping & Meal Prep for this meal plan too!

Breakfast – Toast with Greek Yogurt, Strawberries and Balsamic reduction
Prep time: About 5 minutes

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I was surprised by how much I liked breakfast today! Putting the greek yogurt on warm toast made it taste like a creamy goat cheese. And wow that balsamic reduction goes so well with the fresh strawberries I picked up! My loaf of bread is on the small side so I had two smaller slices of bread rather than 1 large slice.

What I would change: Nothing!

Lunch – Vegetable Frittata with Spinach Salad
Prep time: I prepped my lunch the night before to bring to work with me – but I did microwave the frittata at work for 1 minute.

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When I opened my lunch my first thought was – ugh, why didn’t I throw some cheese on that frittata?! Because well life = cheese and there is actually no cheese included in any of this weeks meals! Okay, I was also pretty hungry so I let that thought go quickly.

While the frittata is kind of on the rubbery side, it is actually very flavorful. The veggies are great, especially the eggplant, yum!

New mantra, I need to keep reminding myself: *It doesn’t need cheese*

I snuck a few strawberries in for my salad, they go great with the spinach and balsamic. I think a few walnuts or almonds would have been a nice addition too. I mixed a little olive oil, salt and pepper with my balsamic reduction to use as salad dressing. Salad was good, I am loving that balsamic reduction! It’s something I definitely plan to make again after this week.

What I would change: Maybe add some nuts to the salad or more fruit.

Snacks – I forgot my bag of grapes at home!! Sad! I did however pack some veggies to munch on. I should have packed more snacks because I was starving by dinnertime!

DinnerCilantro-Lime Meatballs(Falafel) with Peanut Sauce
Prep time: About 25/30 minutes

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Okay, I admit it – I wasn’t looking forward to this meal. I didn’t seem very appealing at first, and I was worried that perhaps using falafel in place of meatballs would through everything off.

I was going to buy meatless meatballs for this meal. But when shopping, I found that they had added sugar (omg it’s true, sugar is everywhere)! So I found these Trader Joe’s frozen falafel balls instead.

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I popped the falafel in the oven for about 15 minutes. I let the edamame soak in warm water (I should have thought to taken it out of the freezer in the morning to thaw, but warm water did the trick). And I scooped out a cup of my pre-cooked brown rice.

Once my rice was warmed up I started piling on the edamame, falafel, and peanut sauce. I put some peanuts in a plastic baggie and hit them with a heavy bottle of olive oil a few times to chop them up. Sprinkled those on, and feeling brave… I actually added in a few slices of fresh jalapeño!

This meal was a surprise! The Falafel was very tasty, and didn’t overpower the other elements of the dish. The peanut sauce cut any thickness from the rice and falafel and made the dish taste creamy and savory. And the jalapeño gave a nice flavor, I probably could have even added in a little more. I was starving at the time – but I really enjoyed it! It was very filling too, I couldn’t finish it in the end.

What I would change: I could of had less rice in my bowl and could have added more edamame.

Meal Prep

I realized that I needed to make the chickpeas for tomorrow’s lunch so while my falafel was baking I worked on that. Since I wasn’t using cilantro it was just the chickpeas, olive oil, salt, and minced jalapeño. Once those were done I packed up my lunch for tomorrow.

My Fitness Pal Log

I still had calories leftover for a snack or two which is nice. Looks like I should find some more protein or iron rich snacks, since that is something I could have used more of today.

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Buzzfeed’s No-Added-Sugar Meal Plan – Meal Prep

After the shopping was done, it was time to start meal prepping!

I used to live dangerously and keep my laptop perched in the kitchen while cooking something I needed the recipe for. Lately I have found that handwriting the instructions in my own words is not only safer, but it helps me to look at everything I need to do and prioritize.

This helped a ton with meal prepping! I wrote out a bunch of directions and then put stars next to what needed to be done first.

For other recipes I wrote what day I would actually be eating that food – for example I need to prep and bake some sweet potatoes, but I won’t be using them until day 3. I would much rather wait a day or two to prep those so that they stay fresh and so that my initial prep day isn’t as long.

I also realized as I was prepping that I should be saving my scraps to make my own vegetable broth! So I stored scraps in a baggie and stuck it in the fridge when I was done. I plan to add to this bag throughout the week as I cook more.

On Sunday, I put together these things (in about this order):

– sheet pan vegetables
– brown rice
– peanut sauce
– tzatziki sauce
– balsamic reduction
– frittata

All recipes can be found here (from Buzzfeed’s post). I’ll just comment on how the prep went for me.

Sheet Pan Vegetables

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First I cut up the eggplant. Event though the instructions didn’t say to, I like to sweat out my eggplant before cooking it. I cut it into cubes, put it in a strainer over a bowl and tossed the eggplant with salt. I let this sit as I prepped the rest of the vegetables.

Next, I diced up the garlic and put it in a small bowl with the olive oil. I let this sit so that the oil could soak up the garlic while I finished up.

Then I cut up the zucchini and the onion and then started assembling everything on the sheet pan. I made sure to put the eggplant in paper towels to squeeze out any liquid.

After I popped that all in the oven, I prepped the tomatoes using the suggested microwave tip – you cut an X into each tomato, put them all in a bowl in the microwave and cook them for one minute to loosen the skin. One minute didn’t seem to do it so I tried one more. I ended up cooking them for 3 minutes. I’m sure it depends on your microwave, I’d just keep doing a minute at a time until the skin looks loose.

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Tomatoes before they went in the microwave

I let those cool while I started the rice and then went back to peel the skin off and dice them so that they were ready to add after the veggies were in for 40 minutes. Then you cook the veggies for 25 more minutes and take them out to cool.

Brown Rice

This was pretty simple, I made it on the stove. I made sure to get this started early since I knew it would take a while to sit and cook. I usually don’t add olive oil when making rice, it did seem to give the rice a nice flavor – almost like adding butter.

Peanut Sauce

My peanut butter was pretty oily so the sauce started off kind of thin. But I added a little more peanut butter and whisked it together for a bit and then it started to look more like a sauce. I can tell this is going to be tasty!

Tzatziki Sauce

The hardest part here was the cucumber. And really it was just realizing how much water there would be after grating it! I had to run to the sink and use a few extra paper towels when I was squeezing the water out.

I snuck a taste when everything was mixed together – it’s so good! I think I will make this sauce again in the future.

Balsamic Reduction

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This was super easy, just don’t walk away from the pot for too long as it starts to bubble quickly! I found a nice squeeze bottle to store this in which will be great for drizzling it on meals.

Vegetable Frittata

Even though my veggies were still warm from the oven, I still cooked them for a few minutes in my cast iron skillet like instructed. This made them a little crispy before I put the eggs in. The frittata came out of the oven looking like a rubbery mountain but settled down a little once it cooled. I was afraid it would leave a mess in my pan but came out easily.

It seems as though there will be extra frittata since I will only need 4 slices for the week and I cut mine into 8 nice sized pieces. Maybe I should have used a smaller pan for thicker pieces? I’ll put the extra slices aside for snacking or for my boyfriend to eat.

Last thoughts

I wish I had taken a photo at the end of everything I prepped, but I was so tired!

Yes, I was exhausted. And yes, I used most of my tupperware. But it felt nice once I was done and cleaned up to relax and know that I didn’t have to worry about planning my meals this week!

Now what would I sit and worry about all week if not food?? 🤔

 


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Buzzfeed’s No-Added-Sugar Meal Plan – Shopping

After unsuccessfully trying to plan out my meals each week I finally decided I should try one that’s already planned for me.

This week I’m trying this Buzzfeed meal plan!

I will try to document my thoughts and any tips I discover along the way.

I’m making a few changes:

– I substituted the meat for vegetarian alternatives (falafel balls instead of meatballs, tofu instead of turkey or chicken)
– No cilantro (I don’t like it)
– I’m buying less jalapeños (I will cook it up in the recipes that call for it but don’t think I can eat it raw like they suggest in some of the meals)
– I didn’t purchase green onion or breadcrumbs because they were part of the meatball recipe

Sunday was my shop and prep day. And yes it was a long day.
First I made my own version of their shopping list, leaving off items I already had and swapping the meat for vegetarian options. Instead of buying everything at Trader Joe’s like the article did I went to a few different places.

I already had a few things at home or from my mother’s amazing garden: 2 zucchini, 1 eggplant, peanut butter (make sure no sugar is added! I love Laura Scudder’s – just simple ingredients and found in most stores), can of black beans, tofu, almond milk, old fashioned oats, garlic, red pepper flakes, olive oil, salt & pepper.

Local farmer’s market – You can’t beat locally grown produce! Plus I go near closing time when you can find some great deals.

I spent about 7$ here and just got a few things:

  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1 beautiful kale bunch (seriously I thought about putting it in a vase when I got home)
  • 4 heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 pack of strawberries

In addition I grabbed two small heads of purple cabbage, something to snack on with hummus or some kind of tasty dip!

Trader Joes – Of course I got the majority of my food here. TJ’s is one of my favorite stores, it’s often hard to beat their price and quality.

I spent $29.40 on the meal plan here:

  • bag of  carrots
  • bag of lemons (cheaper to buy the bag, plus I figured I could cut some and put them in my water bottle this week as well)
  • 1 eggplant (only bought one because I already received one from my mother’s garden)
  • bag of spinach
  • bag of roasted 50% less salt peanuts
  • bag of frozen, shelled edamame
  • bag of tri-colored quinoa (I wasn’t sure which kind to get and that one looked good, turns out the recipes specify white quinoa if you wanted to stick to that, I’ll let you now how this one tastes later!)
  • 1 pack small corn tortillas
  • 1 pack whole wheat pita bread
  • 1 pack whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1 can garbanzo beans (same thing as chickpeas)
  • 1 bag frozen falafel
  • 1 16oz container of 0% fat plain greek yogurt
  • 2 bananas
  • eggs

Smart & Final – A good place to get staple items and sometimes produce (the selection can be hit or miss sometimes).

I spent $7.56 on the meal plan here:

  • 1 bag of brown rice
  • 5 roma tomatoes
  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1 small piece of ginger
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 red onion

I also got some delicious green grapes here to keep around for snacking.

Sprouts – Yes, I am that crazy person who will go to multiple grocery stores to find better deals. Sometimes. Especially when all 3 grocery stores are in the same shopping center… I was disappointed in the lime and avocado selection at Smart & Final so I popped in here for those items.

I spent $4 on the meal plan here:

  • 4 limes
  • 2 Avocados (these were $1.50 each – best deal I could find 🙄)

They were having a great sale on walnuts so I grabbed those as well to have as a snack this week!

My total spent on this meal plan was $47.96 (I subtracted any items purchased that aren’t part of the meal plan). Really a great deal for 21 meals! Again, I did already have some of the items which lowered my cost.

Up next – time for the dreaded food prep!

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My Haul (not including eggs and some items I already had)