November’s meal plan

“Creamiest Vegan Broccoli Soup”

November was the first time in our marriage that I actually had an organized meal plan and man, did it make life easier! Here are the meals I liked enough to keep for the future, followed by what I did to organize all the meals and lists: <Andy said, “This chili could win awards.” <…with this cashew cheese topping (I added a little bit of homemade red sauce as well.) <these are seriously the best! be sure to add in chocolate chips! p.s. I used regular brown sugar and regular cinnamon. <this is one of the recipes I’ve been using to perfect vegan pancakes. Using 1/4-1/2 cup oatmeal flour with white or whole wheat flour for the rest makes it amazing. I’m still on the hunt, though…not quite settled on this yet. <using a mixture of at least 1 c. white or whole wheat flour makes this much better and more cookie like. be sure to eat with ice cream! <This is the potato soup I made last night that I talked about on Facebook. It is my new favorite soup. I doubled it last night I love it so much. It is super easy to make, too, just takes some time to chop up all the veggies. p.s. I like to add nutritional yeast to make it even “cheesier” and healthier!

Ziplist has made my life so much easier. I create a new list each month. There is a recipe tab where you can copy and paste a recipe’s URL address and you can then add in all those ingredients into your grocery list. If you have homemade recipes or recipes from a cookbook you can click “create a recipe” for that as well. When a recipe becomes your favorite, keep it in your recipe box and add it to future grocery lists! The only frustrations I have is if you have a lot of recipes that call for onions or garlic (like most do) then you will end up with lots of line items for that, instead of just one all added up together (unless there is a secret way to simplify this I haven’t discovered). However, you can edit your list and add it all up and simplify it yourself within the list. Another thing is occasionally something ends up in the wrong category (it is arranged by “produce,” “drinks,” “frozen,” etc.).

Once I know I have all the recipes I want to use for the month, (I email myself recipes all through the month with stuff I want to try so it easily all stays together until I enter it in ziplist) I grab a calendar of sorts and start putting down meals I want to make on different days. I have never done this before, (I always wanted to eat what I was in the mood for) but it is now the one thing I would recommend doing if you really want to be organized. Now I love it! I always know what day I will cook, what it will be, and it saves money on produce! The days I have designated to cook are M/T/F/weekend, other than that there is usually enough leftovers for our small family for now. Once I have my meals mapped out, I disregard the “produce” category in my ziplist shopping list and only write down the produce for the meals I am making for the week. So, I do one big grocery trip at the beginning of the month, and I usually go to the grocery store on the weekends to pick up produce for the coming week. Why did it take me 3 1/2 years to finally figure this out?!

*I buy cashew pieces (pieces are SO much cheaper and work just as well for me) and nutritional yeast (which can both be expensive, but it evens out for me because I don’t buy any dairy) in bulk which appears to be much more affordable if you have that option, as most things in bulk are. I store my nutritional yeast (great way to get your B-12!) in a glass jar on the counter and my cashew pieces in a glass jar in the fridge. I always soak my cashew pieces before using them to aid in digestion.

*I now highly recommend getting a coffee grinder for things like flax seeds (buy whole flax seeds and store in the fridge as flax meal does not stay good long!). It made the oatmeal cookie recipe such a breeze.

*I did not receive anything from Ziplist. I found the website searching for meal planning help and just like to spread the word about things that are helpful for me so it might help someone else that may be struggling with meal planning like I was.