A “maybe I will or maybe I won’t” vegan, gluten-free Menu Plan Monday

I’ve had it marked off on my calendar for weeks. From November 28th through December 4th runs a big blue line reading “Personal Retreat?” It has been a really, really busy few months. Since March I’ve been enjoying a level of activity and socializing I hadn’t experienced since getting sick over five years ago. But even though I’ve been having a great time, now I’m in an energy deficit, so I thought it might be nice to take a week off from plans and activities and just hunker down at home.

A variety of vacuum-packed meals from Gobble Green

A few weeks ago I signed up through Groupon to get a heavily-discounted delivery of a week’s worth of vegan, gluten-free meals from a company called Gobble Green. They’re down in my giant second freezer now – seven days worth of breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and snacks. One of the things I spend the most energy on each week is planning, shopping, and cooking for meals, so I thought I might take advantage of having this week of prepared food to treat myself to a real break. But here’s the thing… I really like seeing my friends. I don’t have enough time as it is to see everyone I’d like to as often as I’d like. And I’m going on an actual weeklong silent meditation retreat later in December. So now that the time has come I’m finding myself reluctant to stick to this personal retreat plan.

Mostly what I want to catch up on (besides rest, which is the most important thing, obviously) is my darn Project Life. It’s a very cool photo-a-day project that I began back in January and was doing really well on. But then I started to get behind this summer and now I haven’t made it past June! My printer broke, so I couldn’t keep up with printing photos, I got behind on the “journaling” (which is writing a little card to go with each photo) because it takes a good amount of time, and at a certain point I started forgetting or actively putting off taking my photo each day. But I really want to see this project through. I do have photos for a lot of the days between June and now (significantly more than I would have if I hadn’t been doing this project), so I just need a good chunk of time to organize the photos on my computer, have them printed at Walgreen’s, and then write up the sixty million journal cards to go with each picture. This is the kind of project I never finish, so I really want to show myself I can do it. And that means getting caught up before the end of 2010.

All this is a really long way of saying I’m going to make a menu plan for this week. I do have a CSA box coming on Wednesday, for one thing. If I decide to keep running around like a wind-up toy this week, I’ll have the menu to follow. If I decide to do the personal retreat thing, I can just nosh on veggies and stuff from my box but mostly live on my Gobble Green meals and use the menu the following week. Either way I’m a winner, right?

Cranberry sauce cobbler to use up Thanksgiving leftovers

This week’s Gluten Free Menu Swap is hosted by our lovely organizer Cheryl of Gluten-Free Goodness with the theme of sweet potatoes. I have sweet potatoes left from my last box and another two pounds coming in this week’s box, so it is definitely a sweet potato menu this week! I have sweet potatoes on the menu almost every day! Good thing I love them, eh?

For a giant round-up of menu plans from all over the web, check out the Menu Plan Monday compendium over at OrgJunkie!

Monday
Kohlrabi, sweet potato, and celeriac rosti, veganized
Green salad with apple, radish, and carrots

Tuesday (defrost soup!)
Roasted root veggies with carrots, sweet potato, beets, white potato, onion, and garlic
Lentil soup (from the freezer)

Wednesday
Sunrise noodles with gingered greens and tofu, with baby bok choy and chard

Thursday
Sweet potato, pea, and spinach curry
Quinoa

Friday
Pumpkin polenta with avocado salsa
Green salad with pumpkin seeds and pears

Saturday (defrost 3 C. broth!)
Acorn squash, sweet potato and apple soup
GF biscuits

Sunday
Leftovers

Desserts
What Do I Do With My Leftover Cranberry Sauce? Cobbler
Cranberry sorbet

A busy girl’s vegan, gluten-free Menu Plan Monday

The last few months have been so busy! I almost never get my menu plan written and posted on Sunday nights anymore, and I’m lucky if I actually make even three or four of my planned meals. I am having a ton of fun, though, so no complaints! This week I’m going to try to focus on really simple food that I can make in the squeezed-time between social events! Of course it’s me we’re talking about… so wish me luck with that whole “really simple” thing!

Falafel with GF pita, baba ganoush, and turnip pickles, from last week's menu plan

This week’s Gluten Free Menu Swap is hosted by Heather of Celiac Family with the theme of potatoes. I try not to eat too many white potatoes, but they are a marvelous treat! I have some pretty fingerling potatoes that came in my box and I’m planning to make vegan Nicoise salad with them this week. I absolutely love potatoes in Nicoise dressing (minus the anchovies, of course)! I’ll also try to pick up a few more potatoes and a cauliflower at the farmer’s market on Wednesday so I can make yummy and super-easy Tofu Aloo Gobi from Vegan Express. Other simple potato favorites are wasabi mashed potatoes and of course putting leftover french fries into decadent breakfast tacos (the recipe link isn’t vegan, but I make them now with vegan cream cheese and no scrambled egg. No less delicious!).

For a huge selection of menu plans, check out the Menu Plan Monday compendium over at OrgJunkie, the lovely lady who keeps this whole menu-plan ball rolling, all over the web!

Nicoise Salad (on this week's menu)

Monday
Nicoise salad with green beans, tomato, and fingerling potatoes

Tuesday
Pasta with caramelized fennel and zucchini

Wednesday
Tofu aloo gobi
Brown basmati rice

Thursday
Edamame and Smoked Tofu Succotash
Quinoa

Friday
Polenta (cooked in rice cooker)
Steamed broccoli
Olive tapenade

Saturday
Kale with kale sauce
Creamy chickpea curry
Quinoa

Sunday
Sloppy sushi with brown sushi rice, shitake mushrooms, avocado, and cucumber

Shopping list: 3 zucchini, 2 large potatoes, 1 head cauliflower, smoked tofu, frozen edamame, 2 ears corn, 3 large tomatoes, red onion, scallions, broccoli, kale, cucumber

Cooking with friends on a vegan, gluten-free Menu Plan Monday

The past couple of months have been wonderfully full of cooking with friends. Having a menu plan is so helpful – I can invite someone over for dinner and say, “Take a look at this week’s menu plan and pick the meal that sounds best to you,” which totally takes care of the “what shall we have for dinner?” conundrum. This also gives the added bonus that, because I’ve planned for these meals in advance (usually to take advantage of what comes in my CSA box), I always have the ingredients on hand for what we want to make.

Some friends are just learning to cook, some are quite competent, others are masters. I am attempting to teach one of my friends to cook starting almost from scratch (which is harder than it seems – my curriculum so far has been pretty haphazard; more on all of that later). Several others are happy to make whatever I set them to as long as I give them explicit instructions. Still others would rather do the washing up while I cook. It all makes me happy! I adore sharing cooking and eating with the people I love. Last night after an epic game of Arkham Horror my fellow investigators and I proceeded onwards to an epic sushi-rolling extravaganza. As we sat sipping our gin and tonics and eating our unlimited supply of vegan sushi I looked around the table and thought to myself, “It absolutely, truly doesn’t get any better than this!”

This week’s Gluten Free Menu Swap is hosted by Heather of Celiac Family with the theme of Beans. I eat refried beans almost every day in my vegan breakfast quesadilla, so I don’t tend to crave them in my dinner planning. I am planning to make one of my favorite easy, delicious go-to recipes, Tangy Red Lentils, and lentils are definitely in the “bean” category, for me at least. A while ago I hosted a blog event gathering up people’s very favorite, tested and true bean and legume recipes (in an attempt to get over my phobia of cooking with beans), and I encourage you to take a peek at the great recipe collection that resulted, organized by type of bean and legume.

Thai yellow curry with potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, zucchini, tomatoes, and peas

For a huge and comprehensive collection of Menu Plan Monday posts from all over the web, check out the MPM compendium over at OrgJunkie!

Sunday
Sloppy-style sushi (many rolls cut into pieces) made with cucumber, avocado, shitake mushroom, kanpyo, ume (sour plum paste) and vegan cream cheese

Monday
Tempeh reubens on GF bread (Vegan with a Vengeance)
Homemade sauerkraut
Sweet potato fries with vegan aioli

Tuesday (start marinating tofu for next day)
Pear salad with toasted or candied walnuts and Sheese-brand blue “cheese” on red leaf lettuce with this dressing or this dressing (make without poppy seeds?) or this dressing
Bruschetta on GF toast made with heirloom tomatoes

Wednesday (marinate tofu overnight!)
Tommy’s tofu tikka masala
Roasted broccoli with lemon zest and pine nuts
Brown basmati rice

Thursday (defrost frozen peas)
Yellow curry with potatoes, carrots, cabbage, zucchini, onion, tomatoes, basil, and peas with Bhutanese red rice

Friday
Leftovers

Saturday
Tangy red lentils
Kale with kale sauce
Quinoa

Shopping list: Kale, zucchini, 1 tomato?, Thai basil

Sweet potato fries!

I (heart) courgettes on a vegan, gluten-free Menu Plan Monday

Unbelievably, I haven’t gotten sick of zucchini and summer squash yet this summer. I think I’ve eaten more than usual, but I’ve managed to keep the recipes rolling. Peter Berley’s Fresh Food Fast has been especially helpful for this as many of the seasonal summer recipes call for squash. But I’m kind of nearing the end of my creativity with summer squash, so I am leveraging my position as organizer of this week’s Gluten Free Menu Swap to try to get all my fellow GF bloggers to feed me their favorite recipes.

Pan-Seared Summer Squash with Garlic and Mint

For those who are unfamiliar, the Gluten Free Menu Swap is a wonderful weekly event organized by Cheryl of Gluten Free Goodness. Gluten-free bloggers from all over the net (and the world!) get together to share our menu plans and our inspiration for the week.

This week I have a ton of tomatoes left from my box, four cucumbers (!) and of course a good amount of summer squash as well. I also have a bunch of lettuce I really, really should use up! The rest is kind of up to me as it is a farmer’s market week, rather than a CSA box week. Other considerations are a ton of plans (I hope I even have time to cook!) and a houseguest coming later in the week. I don’t know his tastes (we haven’t seen each other in almost ten years!) so I’ll likely end up switching things around.

Salad rolls with kitchari and tomato relish

For summer squash this week, I’ve got my new favorite summer recipe, Pan-seared summer squash with garlic and mint, plus an eggplant stew with zucchini and chick peas, and Korean noodles with zucchini and kale. I’m eager to see what other squash delights are on the menu this week in the gluten-free blogging world!

And of course don’t forget to check out OrgJunkie for a ginormous round-up of Menu Plan Mondays from all over the world!

Monday
Kitchari (red lentil and quinoa mixture) with tomato-basil relish (I’ll try to post the recipes later this week)
Cucumber salad made with lemon cucumbers and red onion (Fresh Food Fast, 89)

Tuesday
Chana masala (Vegan Express, 99)
Pan-seared summer squash with garlic and mint
Salad of chopped tomato, basil, and cucumber with Annie’s Goddess dressing

Wednesday
Spicy summer bean and chickpea salad with harissa vinaigrette (FFF, 125)
Fresh corn polenta with sauteed cherry tomatoes (FFF, 126)

Thursday
Middle Eastern eggplant, zucchini, and chickpea stew (manazilet badhinjan)
Tomato salad with marinated shallots
Gluten-free pita bread (this is totally overambitious, but I made hot pockets last week, so it could happen…)

Friday
Pasta with spicy vodka sauce, cherry tomatoes, and seasonal veggies
Green salad with citrus dressing

Saturday
leftovers

Sunday
Jap Chae (shiritaki noodles with carrot, zucchini, and kale)
Brown rice
Kim chee

Shopping list: 1 large/2 med ears of corn, 3 pint cherry tomatoes, 1/2 lb green beans, 1/2 lb wax beans, small red onion, med eggplant, 2 med zucchini, other veggies for pasta (whatever looks good), 1 bunch kale

As for my fellow GF menu planners? What tantalizing treats will they be concocting for themselves and their loved ones this week?

Renee of Beyond Rice and Tofu and I wish we were neighbors because we always want to gobble up what the other has planned! This week Renee solves the “what do I do with too many summer squashes” dilemma by just foregoing them entirely, and turning her attention instead to a weeklong feast of spicy tofu, red beans and rice, and two different cucumber salads that sound like summer personified! Renee is headed out of town this week – Bon Voyage!

Wendy at Celiacs in the House gives us some gorgeous farmer’s market eye candy and has frozen a brilliant assortment of summer bounty to keep her going through the winter (jealous! I totally want to do that but I never manage to…). She gets zucchini into a yummy quinoa salad and makes it into ribbons to accompany homemade gnocchi! Pasta salad and kale pizzas also have me salivating and planning a little “neighborly visit” in her direction. Wendy is also headed out of town – Bon Voyage to you as well!

Heather of Celiac Family makes a decadent-sounding chocolate chip zucchini bread (wow!) and likes her zucchini cooked simply, grilled or sauteed. Sounds good to me! Heather takes a trip around the world this week with chicken enchiladas, beef and broccoli stir fry, and a new recipe for lamb chops with garlic mashed potatoes. She also has sweet potato fries planned, which are one of my very favorite foods. I haven’t had them in ages – looks like Tuesday I’ll be popping by Heather’s house just to see how her week is going (and snag a few fries…).

An impeccably seasonal vegan, gluten-free menu plan Monday

This week and last I’ve been trying out menus from the cookbook Fresh Food Fast by Peter Berley. (Review to come!) The cookbook is organized into four chapters of seasonal menus, and each menu has two different dishes meant to complement each other. I’ve flipped through seasonally-organized cookbooks before, and even cooked from a few, but this cookbook is truly impeccably seasonal. at least as far as the summer menus are concerned. When I take my produce list to the farmer’s market, every single item on there is available. Even when I think something won’t be there (“Oh, I haven’t seen yellow wax beans. Maybe none of the farmers at my market are growing them.”), I have inevitably found someone selling it. It’s pretty amazing!

On the other hand, I did get kind of sick of corn, tomatoes, and zucchini at some point last week. But hey, it’s what is actually in season. Fancy that! I know I’ve mentioned this before, but this market is really making me feel connected to the seasonality of my food. Getting to taste twelve different kinds of peaches, nectarines, and plums every week and pick out which ones are tastiest right then is like my idea of heaven. This week it was Arctic Jay nectarines and some kind of nectaplum (!!) that I can’t recall the name of.

This week’s Gluten Free Menu Swap is hosted by Heather of Celiac Family with the theme of tomatoes. Speaking of seasonal… This is a perfect theme for me this week as my box preview tells me I’ll be getting a pound of heirloom tomatoes, a pound of slicing tomatoes, and a basket of cherry tomatoes. So I’ll be excited to see what my fellow GF swappers are doing with their tomatoes this week! My plans are pretty simple – three different tomato salads, one of them topping a pizza! – but I’ll also hopefully try something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time – Roasted Tomatoes! I’ve always been both intrigued and intimidated, but the glut of tomatoes I’ll be getting this week has inspired me to just go for it. A few other delicious things I’ve done with tomatoes in the past are a Cook’s Illustrated Fresh Tomato Soup with Basil, Summer Bounty Gratin with tomatoes, zucchini, potatoes, and basil (best way to use up summertime CSA boxes!), and my favorite Raw Kale Salad with Avocado and Cherry Tomatoes (ooh, that’s what I should use my cherry tomatoes for!).

As always, there’s a big ol’ roundup of menu plans today over at OrgJunkie, so be sure to check that out as well!

Monday
Pizza with kalamata olives, vegan mozarella, and chopped salad (FFF, 130)
Assorted summer squashes pan-seared with garlic and mint (FFF, 131)
Impressionist cauliflower

Tuesday (cook 1 C. brown long-grain rice ahead of time)
Golden tofu triangles with rich peanut sauce (Vegan Express, 46)
Steamed broccoli
Nasi goreng (Indonesian fried rice) with homemade kecap manis

Wednesday
Szechuan-style tofu with eggplant (Vegan Express, 56)
Fatiguer’s-style gai lan
Quinoa

Thursday
Roasted cauliflower and zucchini
Green salad with citrus vinaigrette
Baked sweet potato

Friday
Leftovers
Tomato salad with marinated shallots

Saturday
Chana masala (Vegan Express, 99)
Curried cashew quinoa (Vegan Express, 93)
Salad of chopped tomato and cucumber with Annie’s Goddess dressing

Sunday
Leftovers
Roasted tomatoes

Just the facts for a vegan, gluten-free Menu Plan Wednesday

Sigh. I love posting my menu plan on Mondays, when I can play with all my friends and swap comments and be part of the GF Menu Swap and the OrgJunkie Menu Plan Monday compilation. But lately Monday has been exactly the wrong day to plan. I’m also less likely to make a menu plan for the week when I’m too busy to select and edit photos to accompany a post. But I need to plan my menus. Meal planning keeps me on track, saves me money, and means there is always delicious, healthy food in the house.

So no photos, no fun stories, no theme ingredient, no links to round-ups. Just a Wednesday menu plan to take advantage of the Wednesday farmer’s market by my house.

Wednesday (defrost tempeh)
Chilled tomato soup with shallots, cucumbers, and corn (Fresh Food Fast, 100)
Warm green beans and new potatoes with grilled onions (FFF, 102) and lemon-pepper tempeh croutons

Thursday
Pizza with kalamata olives, vegan mozarella, and chopped salad (FFF, 130)
Pan-seared summer squash with garlic and mint (FFF, 131)

Friday
Szechuan-style tofu with eggplant (Vegan Express, 56)
Fatiguer’s-style gai lan
Quinoa

Saturday
Chana masala (Vegan Express, 99)
Curried cashew quinoa (Vegan Express, 93)
Salad of chopped tomato and cucumber with Annie’s Goddess dressing

Sunday (cook 1 C. brown long-grain rice ahead of time)
Golden tofu triangles with rich peanut sauce (Vegan Express, 46)
Steamed broccoli
Nasi goreng (Indonesian fried rice) with homemade kecap manis

Monday
Tortilla casserole with pinto beans and spinach (Vegan Express, 105)
Green salad with citrus vinaigrette
Baked sweet potato

Tuesday
Leftovers

Shopping list: 1.5 lbs tomatoes + 2 med tomato, 1 cucumber + 4 Kirby cucumbers, 1 lb green beans, 1.5 lb new potatoes, 1 ripe avocado, 1 lb summer squash, 1 jalapeno, broccoli (or suitable substitute), 2 long Japanese eggplants, 1 tub tofu, bok choy, gai lan, corn tortillas, vegan cheese, 1 sweet potato

Farmer’s market inspiration for a vegan, gluten-free Menu Plan Monday

Every other week, when I don’t get my CSA box, I try to make it down to the marvelous farmer’s market by my house. This week I actually remembered to bring cash with me and stocked up on all kinds of delightful goodies. I am usually very strict with myself about not buying prepared food at the farmer’s market (it is usually way outside my budget) but there is one stand, Sinbad’s, that sells the most incredible Middle Eastern food. Their baba ganoush – already one of my favorite foods – is divine, full of smoky chunks of eggplant in a smooth, perfectly seasoned base.

Mujadara, chopped salad, falafel, and Sinbad's baba ganoush

The market had plenty of eye candy this week – gorgeous squash blossoms, mountain-grown blueberries, incredible peaches and nectarines from Kashiwase Farm. Kashiwase had out a huge display that let you taste twelve different kinds of peaches and nectarines. The Honeygold nectarines (I think that’s what they’re called – definitely “honey” in the name) taste like honey, but like the honey that the gods drink on Mt. Olympus.

This was the first time I’d been to the market on an overcast day – the whole place looked different without the usual awnings, and my favorite table of Asian greens at the end of the market was alive with motion, all the leafy veggies flapping in the strong wind. I bought eggplants – several sizes and kinds, so happy to see them in the market at last. Strawberries, peaches, and nectarines. Chinese broccoli, a gorgeous head of cauliflower, a huge bunch of fat stubby carrots, and some pickling cucumbers for my long-delayed Russian meal.

I am barely scraping this menu together this week, so sadly I fail on the Gluten-Free Menu Swap ingredient-of-the-week. This week it is almonds and almond flour, chosen and hosted by Cheryl of Gluten Free Goodness, all around great cook and organizer of our GF menu swap. If I weren’t rushing about I would be all over this theme as I love cooking and baking with almond flour, but sadly I’ll just have to be satisfied with hungrily checking out what everyone else is doing.

And, as always, you can find a world of menu plans over at the giant MPM compendium at OrgJunkie!

Monday
Mujadara (lentils and rice with caramelized onions)
Homemade falafel
Chopped salad (tomato, cuke, red onion, sugar snap peas)
Baba ganoush

Tuesday
Vinegret (Russian beet and potato salad with dill)
Kasha with home-fermented cabbage and carrots
Pickling cucumbers

Wednesday
Soft polenta layered with steamed Chinese broccoli, kidney beans, and mushroom tomato sauce

Thursday
Udi’s GF pizza crust with garlicky beet greens, broiled eggplant, and tomato
Butter lettuce salad with citrus vinaigrette

Friday
Three sisters stew with leeks (Fresh Food Fast p105)
Arepas (Fresh Food Fast p105)

Saturday
Hot pockets with eggplant caponata filling (using Flying Apron pocket recipe)
Hot pockets with Indian sweet potato and cauliflower curry filling

Sunday
Zucchini and black bean quesadillas with chipotle salsa (FFF 85)
Chilled cucumber and mint soup (FFF 87)

Desserts
Vegan plum clafouti
Roasted peaches with labneh made from soy yogrut (FFF 138)

For $22 at the farmer’s market I got:
Huge bunch of carrots
Medium globe eggplant
pint strawberries
4 pickling cukes
3 nectarines
2 peaches
head cauliflower
bunch chinese broccoli
4 large japanese eggplants