Our Vegan Life

Food, Family, and Fun

Archive for the month “September, 2013”

But, we’ve never had this before: Our new adventure with meal plans and new recipes

We in the Abbott household have recently been tinkering with our meals during the week.  Over the last several years we have more or less just said “Hey, let’s have pizza this week or spaghetti and tacos” and some weeks we would go to the store with a good list of what we want to eat and other weeks we would go to the store with only a minimal plan and just decide what to get as we would go aisle to aisle.  What we found is that we would spend more money when doing this because we would buy food we did not have plans for.  So, we have decided to meal plan from week to week and plan ahead so that when we go to the store we get only what we need for our meal plan.  It has worked very well.  But, we find ourselves in a rut because we have just been eating the same things week after week after week.  We also have significantly reduced our eating out per month, so if we are going to eat at home a lot more and we are tired of the same ole recipes, how can we expand our vegan horizons?

Shannon came across a meal plan from Happy Herbivore that can be purchased for either weekly or monthly.  We decided that we would take a week and follow their plan (We intend to do a full review of the plan on the blog once we have completed our second full week).  For only $5 we received 7 days worth of vegan recipes and we were even provided with the grocery list so we could get only exactly what we needed for the next 7 days.  Not only did this make things incredibly easy for us, but we saved money this way too.  We decided to purchase 2 weeks worth of meals from Happy Herbivore, but we also decided to follow the 7 Day McDougall plan in the book The Starch Solution by John and Mary McDougall.  Chad had been reading this excellent book and at the end there is a 7 day meal plan.  We are still in the midst of this tinkering process in terms of our meal plans and trying to be more versatile in our approach to making vegan meals for our family, but we love the new recipes.

What we have discovered in the course of this time of experimentation is two things: 1) Our kids love to say “But, we don’t like it!” and our response is “But, you haven’t even tried it yet.” Their response is, “But, we’ve never had this before.”  Yes, kids, and adults for that matter, we are all often a little hesitant with anything new, especially when it comes to our diet.  Chad in particular had never really given pancakes or french toast a try as a cook and so he was able to cook these this week.  We even caught him saying, “But, I’ve never cooked these before.”  2)  Overall, the foods we have tried have been very rich and delicious.  So, while trying new things we have never had before is a bit risky, especially with children, it has been paying off and all of us have thoroughly been enjoying the meals.

Keep an eye open for our reviews of the Happy Herbivore and McDougall meal plans in the next several weeks…We’ll even be sharing some of our favorite recipes from the meal plans. In the meantime, go and try a new recipe and enjoy the process! We’ve shared one below to get you started!


Bean and Corn Enchiladas (from The Starch Solution)

  • 5  c Enchilada Sauce
  • 4 c cooked pinto beans (smashed or whole – we left ours whole)
  • 1 c chopped scallions
  • 1 1/2 c fresh or frozen and thawed corn kernels
  • 1 can (2.25 oz) sliced ripe olives, drained (optional – we omitted these, because our children don’t like olives)
  • 1-2 Tbsp chopped green chiles
  • 10 whole wheat tortillas or about 16 corn tortillas
  • Salsa and Tofu Sour Cream (or Tofutti Sour Cream), for serving

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spread 1 1/2 c of enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 13″ x 9″ or 3-qt baking dish.

In a large bowl, mix together the beans, scallions, corn, olives, and green chiles. Lay a tortilla on a flat surface and spread a thick line of the bean mixture down the center. Roll up the tortilla and place it seam-side down in the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, snuggling them close together in the pan. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce evenly over the rolled tortillas.

Cover the dish with aluminum foil, crimping the edges over the rim of the dish. Bake for 45 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving hot.

Serve with salsa and tofu sour cream.


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