Menu for the Week: Pumpkin Muffins, Chickpea Salad and Sesame Tofu

Hello there! I hope you all are well. I’ve been in kind of a cooking rut the past few weeks, but the cooler temperatures are inspiring me to get back into the kitchen. Thank you for being patient with me.

I don’t have any food pics just yet, but I thought to get started I’d post my menu for this week with the hope that maybe it will help you plan yours. One day, when I win the lottery and don’t have to work, I’ll actually be able to put together full menus and grocery lists like I intended with this blog, but, for now, this will have to do.

Anyway, here are my planned meals for the next week and I plan on taking pics of each to post on here soon:

Breakfast:

Pumpkin Bran Muffins — from “Vegan Brunch
Oatmeal and toast w/ pecans and maple syrup
Yogurt w/ Maple Almond Granola — from “Vegan Soul Kitchen

Lunch:

Chickpea salad sandwiches w/ tortilla chips — my own recipe, which I’ll post soon
Split Pea and Apple Soup w/ cheese and crackers — from “The Vegan Slow Cooker

Dinner:

Sesame-Crusted Tofu  w/ Lemongrass-Orange Reduction, served w/ brown rice, edamame and gyoza — from October Vegetarian Times
Chickpea Tomato Soup w/ grilled cheese and pickles — from “Vegan Yum Yum” (She’s back, by the way!!)
Tempeh Helper w/ salad — from “Appetite for Reduction

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Pantry Playlist: David Bowie — Starman

Well, I’m finally starting to feel a bit better, though my sense of smell is still a bit off. At my worst, I couldn’t even smell apple cider vinegar that was held up to my nose. It was very weird.

Anyway,  in an effort to get back into the swing of things, I thought I’d post a video that always helps to get me in the mood for cooking.

I hope you all are doing well. I will have some new posts, including a new meal plan, up soon.

Split Pea and Lentil Soup

So this might not be the prettiest dish, but it sure was tasty. The recipe can be found in “The Vegan Slow Cooker,” and it’s another dinner item I have featured in my latest meal plan. Split peas and lentils combine in a wonderful broth. Baby spinach is added at the end for added texture and flavor. The only thing I would change is the amount of salt. I used Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base, which is pretty salty on its own, so you really don’t need to season it with more salt, at least in my opinion. Still, it was so nice to come home to this wonderfully hearty and nutritious soup on a rainy spring day. A side of homemade cornbread goes great with it.

Classic Broccoli Quiche


I just realized that my food has been taking on the shape of pie lately. Weird. Anyway, this delicious dish is one of the lunch items I have included in my latest meal plan, which is in “beta” right now. The recipe comes from “Vegan Brunch.” It’s one that I’ve been wanting to make for a while, but was inspired to do so after reading a post on Luminous Vegans’ site. I opted to make my own pie crust, but I wouldn’t blame you one bit for buying a store-bought crust. The final result is so, so good and really does taste very similar to its egg-based counterpart. I served mine with a kale and apple salad with a lemon and olive oil dressing.

Want to know a trick for tenderizing raw kale? Give it a massage. First remove the woody stem, then tear the leaves apart with your hands. Submerge the kale in water to give it a rinse. Finally, massage the kale by giving handfuls of it a squeeze. Dark spots will appear on the leaves, which means the fibrous veins are breaking down and the leaves are becoming more tender. Cool, huh?

Blackberry East Coast Coffee Cake

This is one of the breakfast items I have included in my latest meal plan. It comes from “Vegan Brunch,” and the recipe is featured on the site, which you can find here. I’ve actually made it before, but this time around, I added a cup of frozen blackberries (use these to replace the raspberry jam in the recipe on the site) that I had left over from the Sweet, Sour, and Spicy Blackberry Limeade recipe my husband made last week from “Vegan Soul Kitchen.” The coffee cake was so moist and delicious, and the blackberries added a nice little bite from their tartness. A cup of coffee and/or a glass of almond milk, and you’re set.

Meal Plan Experiment

For those of you who have been patient enough to follow this blog since its inception, you know my goal has been to create budget-friendly meal plans. As you all know, working full time has a way of interfering with the fun stuff, so it kind of got put on the back burner. I also have been kind of paralyzed with too many details of how, exactly, I wanted to present a meal plan to serve you all.

Well, I woke up this morning and decided to create one based on my recent grocery trip and to just put it out there, warts and all. It’s not perfect, but it’ll give me something to work with for future posts. And I really hope that you all will offer me feedback in terms of what works and what doesn’t. I fully anticipate that the format will change several times in the weeks and months ahead, but I want to get it right. Eventually, I’d love to have a printable and downloadable version so that you can easily bring it with you to the store. (Who knows, maybe one day I’ll have my own app!)

Please keep in mind that I am not a nutritionist; I am just a regular person who is trying to do her best to adhere to a vegan diet in a fairly healthy and budget-friendly way. And if I can help a few readers do the same, then I’ll be a very happy camper.

A few notes: You’ll notice that my meal plan is expected to cover 6 to 7 days. I make my meals with the expectation that we will have leftovers to eat off of for a few days. Also, my meal plans will always be for two people, so you’ll have to adjust according to your household. And, obviously, your total will be different from mine based on where you live, where you buy your food and what you have on hand, but I’m including it to give you a rough estimate. Finally, you’ll notice a list of items that I already have on hand. I cannot stress the importance of keeping your pantry stocked. This will save you money in the long run because I like to create lists based on items that I already have in the pantry/fridge.

So, without further ado, here is my very first meal plan:

Budget: $70
Money spent:
$79.29
Time:
6-7 days

Menu

Breakfast
bagels and cream cheese
cereal
Blackberry East Coast Coffee Cake (from “Vegan Brunch”)

Lunch
Classic Broccoli Quiche ( from “Vegan Brunch”) with kale salad
soup and crackers

Dinner
Tofu, mushroom, carrot and edamame stir-fry and gyoza
Italian sausages with sautéed onions and peppers over polenta
Split Pea and Lentil Soup (from “The Vegan Slow Cooker”) and cornbread

Snacks
popcorn
almonds
apples and peanut butter
yogurt and granola
carrots, cucumber and hummus

List
Silk vanilla soy yogurt (large container)
almond milk
Tofutti cream cheese
(2 packages) extra-firm tofu
(1 package) Field Roast Italian Sausage
(1 bunch) kale
sprouted cinnamon-raisin bagels
(2) broccoli crowns
(3) Fuji apples
2lb bag of carrots
baby spinach
almonds
(4) prepackaged soups
wheat crackers
(1 lb) popcorn
(1/2 lb) granola
(1 lb) split peas
(1) yellow onion
(1) bulb garlic
Dijon mustard
(2) red bell peppers
(1 package) frozen vegetable gyoza
raisin bran cereal
shelled edamame
(1 package) sliced white mushrooms
(1) cucumber

Items already on-hand:
frozen blackberries
all-purpose flour
sugar
apple-cider vinegar
vanilla extract
cinnamon
nutmeg
canola oil
baking powder
sea salt
pepper
olive oil
green lentils
chicken-flavored bouillon
bay leaves
tarragon
thyme
turmeric
marjoram
rosemary
(2) yellow onions
tahini
(2) lemons
(1 can) chickpeas
raw cashews
Earth Balance
cornmeal
Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
Sriracha

Books used:
“Vegan Brunch”
“The Vegan Slow Cooker”

Welcome To The Peaceful Pantry

Welcome to The Peaceful Pantry. My goal for this blog is to show just how easy it is to make delicious, budget-friendly vegan food. Whether you’re a full-fledged vegan, a vegetarian, or just someone interested in adding a few vegan meals to your diet, you’re welcome here. This is not a place for judgment, or for having heated discussions. It’s a place for people who enjoy good food that also happens to be vegan.

For the time being, I’ll be posting pictures and recipes much like I have been doing on my other blog, Happy Introvert. But once I get a few kinks worked out, my plan is to take the guesswork and intimidation out of vegan meal planning by posting a weekly meal plan and a grocery list that you can follow and adapt to your lifestyle. Throughout the week, I’ll write about, and post pictures of, each meal as I make it along with you. I also plan on including pages that offer guidance for keeping your pantry stocked with vegan staples, as well as helpful resources for finding recipes.

Since becoming a vegan nearly three years ago, I have discovered my passion for cooking and for writing about food. I hope this blog will offer you some inspiration for creating delicious vegan meals at home.