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Meal Plan Monday: July 6, 2015

Meal Plan Monday: Plant-Based, Vegan Meal Plan with mostly gluten-free options

After last weeks short week and holiday weekend this week will like feel a lot longer. We didn’t do much prep on the weekend but we are starting the week with a fridge full of fresh produce and a fresh bot of cooked brown rice. Jim will cook beans tomorrow in the Instant Pot and we will be ready for the week.

I expect to work a lot of hours this week and will rely on different combinations of our basics. This usually involved brown rice, black beans, chopped lettuce, tomatoes, peppers and other veggies. We will need to cook some potatoes but those make a great breakfast, lunch or snack. I also ordered more Bob’s Red Mill’s Gluten-Free Steel Cut Oats from Amazon that will arrive on Tuesday.

In addition to the items mentioned above we also have carrots, celery, cucumbers, cauliflower and a lot of fruit including: apples, pears, peaches, nectarines, kiwi, mangoes, grapes, blueberries and plums. I’m sure there is more but this is what comes to mind.

Instead of sharing a Plant-Based Meal Plan with a lot of separate meals I’ll tell you how we will stick to these basic ingredients to build several meals.

Meal Plan Monday




  • Bean and Rice Bowl
  • Taco Salad
  • Bean Burritos
  • Veggie Burritos/Tacos

We will round out all of our meals and snacks with fruits or veggies (or both).

The great thing about a simple menu like this is that it is easy. You don’t have to buy a lot of foods that will go to waste because a lot of simple ingredients that we always have on hand. If these ingredients seem odd to you check out our Basic Pantry List.

I’ve cut down our choices but our family loves these meals. You should hear our kids beg for black beans for lunch. For years, our 6 year old would not eat black beans, or should I say, only eat them begrudgingly. He has come a long way and over the last month has proclaimed that they are his favorite. He has always like pinto beans but two people in our household have an intolerance to them so we have switched to black beans.

On that note, if any of you know of a super deal on black beans let me know. We go through a lot of them.

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Healthy 4th of July Meal Ideas

Healthy 4th of july meal ideas

The 4th of July is getting so close. If you have plans for potlucks or get together’s people are probably already asking what you will be bringing. If you are eating with an omni group there will be some pressure to bring food they will like too.

Don’t worry I’ve got a ton of ideas that will make everyone happy!

Healthy 4th of July Meal Ideas

Portobello Burger and Potato Salad

Chances are there will be a grill nearby. Why not grill up some Portobello Burgers or Avocado Grillers?

Vegan BBQ Sandwich...You'll never guess the secret ingredient!


If you need to make your meal ahead of time Vegan BBQ Sandwiches made from spaghetti squash keeps warm in a Crock Pot for a low maintenance meal.

Healthy side dishes are an easy substitute and less likely to be noticed as “different” by your friends.

Sweet and Tangy Gluten-Free Pasta Salad is picnic perfect

Try this oil-free pasta salad, you can make it gluten-free as well. They most typical side dish might be Potato Salad so make sure you bring this healthy version. You can also substitute healthier ingredients to make baked beans and corn on the cob healthier.

gluten free vegan brownies


Don’t forget dessert! I usually make Brownies because I can make them a day ahead but sometimes I’ll make an Apple or Strawberry Rhubarb Pie on the fly with Wholly Wholesome Pie Crust (they have a gluten-free version) or Sunbutter Cookies because they are safe for peanut allergies.

Strawberry Lemonade

Don’t forget the drinks! There will probably be lots of soda but skip it for fresh Strawberry Lemonade instead.

Do you have plans for the weekend? What will you be eating? You can scroll through the Recipe Page for more healthy 4th of July Meal Ideas!


Meal Plan Monday: June 29, 2015

Plant-Based Meal Plan with Quick and Easy Meals

Last week I shared a Meal Plan filled with meals that I cooked all in one afternoon using a Once a Week Cooking strategy. You can see the step-by-step run down and adapt it to your needs.

This week I’m going with something simpler and choosing meals than can be made quickly. We will have our basics like black beans and brown rice already cooked. The less time I have to spend cooking the more time I can spend on the fun stuff like swimming and having dance parties with my kids.

Some people wonder if we really get our kids to eat this way. Yes! Our kids eat very healthy. My husband is home with the boys regularly posts what they are eating on my Instagram. They get treats and unhealthy food occasionally but it isn’t everyday. We have come a long way. When we first adopted a plant-based diet my youngest was just starting to eat solid foods and my other son way addicted to fast food. It was a slow, purposeful change to healthy living but it is possible, it just takes time.

Plant-Based Meal Plan


Summer Berry Quinoa, we have strawberries, blueberries and blackberries

Breakfast Rice, I’ve been eating with strawberries, hemp seeds and milk.

Blueberry Oatmeal

Blueberry Muffins


Veggie Sandwich

Veggie Burritos with beans, rice, lettuce, tomatoes, salsa and guacamole

Taco Salad

Leftover Soup and Salad


Enchilada Soup I’m addicted to this right now so it will probably be on the meal plan every week for a while. I’ve been cooking it on the weekend for easy week day meals.

Veggie Pad Thai

Veggie Fajitas with Black Beans and Mexican Rice

One-Pot Pizza Pasta

Having a Meal Plan helps me to not stress about what we are having for dinner. It also gives me a chance to prep food for other days when I have time.

Have you made your meal plan for the week yet? Let’s get started. Don’t do anything else until you jot down (or leave in the comments) 3 meals you plan to make this week. Three meals isn’t a huge commitment but it will get you started.

Don’t forget to check out last weeks Once a Week Cooking post for more time saving ideas.

Once a Week Cooking

Once a Week Cooking for vegan, plant-based, gluten-free foodies

Sometimes it’s nice to go a whole week without cooking. Sure, some people do that all the time, they just eat take out or fast food. I’m talking about a whole week eating homemade, plant-based food without having to cook it everyday. It’s possible if you do Once a Week Cooking.

I’ve shared this before, in fact it’s regularly one of my top pins.

Once a Week Cooking

If you want to try Once a Week Cooking I recommend that you plan meals that will reheat well, serve you for more than one meal and give yourself several hours to get the cooking done.

I’ve selected several recipes that meet this criteria, they are on this week’s meal plan.

You can adapt this to suit your time and dietary constraints.

What to Cook

Plan to start with the items that will take the longest too cook or that you need for other meals. If you are cooking beans you will probably want to start with those. If you are using canned or already have beans cooked you can move on. I already had beans and rice cooked when I started, we usually have beans and rice cooked at all times.

I also use multiple cooking options, for instance I cook beans in my Instant Pot, the casserole in my Crock Pot, most other things on my stove and the lasagna in my oven. The sweet potatoes can be made in the Instant Pot, Crock Pot or the oven.

Steps to Getting it All Done

1. Cook beans and rice. Either ahead or start here.

2. Get the Crock Pot going with the casserole.

3. Start cooking the lentils, quinoa and Mexican Rice on the stove.

4. Start preparing ingredients for the Lasagna. (The lasagna takes a long time so you can save time by eliminating this).

5. Wash and bake sweet potatoes.

6. Chop veggies and make the soup. (Beans and rice must be cooked in order to make the soup.)

7. Prepare additional veggies for salad.


You can simplify this with a few modifications. This was more than enough food for us this week.

1. Cook fewer foods.

Instead cooking black beans and lentils just cook one and use it in place of both. Instead of cooking plain brown rice, Mexican Rice and quinoa choose one, but make sure you cook enough for all of your meals.

2. Have Foods Prepped.

You may be wondering, isn’t’ the purpose of once a week cooking to only cook once? Yes, however some foods like beans and grains take a while to cook. If you do this ahead of time you can knock an hour or more off of your cooking time.

3. Skip Difficult Recipes.

The lasagna recipe I made isn’t really difficult but it is a multi-step recipe that takes a lot of time. Replace it with a pasta dish instead and you’ll save a lot of time.

Do you batch cook or do once a week cooking? I’m considering creating a short batch cooking eCourse if there is enough interest.

Need Help With Your Photos?

I know I can use all of the help I can get!

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When I heard about this new bundle I was so excited because I’m ready to take my food pictures to the next level.

I’d also like to learn to take good pictures of my kids. I have few decent pictures of them but this bundle will give me the tools to capture great photos for my blog and for my family.

The Ultimate Digital Photography Bundle (Beginner’s Edition) contains a curated collection of ebooks and video training guides to help you become a better photographer. I’m sticking with this beginner’s version but there are more advanced versions available.

For months I’ve been eyeing Tasty Food Photography from Pinch of Yum! You can buy it on their site for $29. You can also buy Eat Pretty Things from Eat Your Beets for $29. Or you can get the bundle that includes both plus so much more for $37!

All the resources have been provided by professional, world-renowned photographers who are experts in teaching others – even complete beginners. You won’t need to switch up to a more expensive camera to make full use of the bundle (even if you just use your iPhone for photographs)! You can learn everything in little chunks – whenever you have a spare moment.

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There’s even better news! They’re also throwing in a FREE copy of FX Photo Studio Pro software from MacPhun (which provides stunning filters and photography effects) worth $29.99!

Click here to buy The Ultimate Digital Photography Bundle (Beginner’s Edition) for just $37.

I have a lot of blogger friends that take the most amazing photos. I make amazing food but I know this bundle will help my photos look as delicious as they taste.

If you are beyond the beginner edition you can also check out the Intermediate Edition or the Advanced/Pro Edition.

This page contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase I make a percentage at no extra cost to you. 

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