Farmers Market Shepherd’s Pie

This post is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona.

Have you noticed how most of our holidays are food focused? And, it’s not just holidays, during big moments, both good and bad, we gather around food. I still remember sharing meals with my family as a child.

Our older children who are now adults reminisce about their favorite childhood meals. The meals we share with our kids will have a lasting impact on them. I believe creating healthy meals and enjoying them together will make your family stronger, both physically and relationally.

If you are looking for a meal that will bring a family together, look no further than this Farmers Market Shepherd’s Pie. It’s perfect for helpers!

Farmers Market Shepherd's Pie

I bought these beautiful veggies on a recent trip to the farmers market as part of Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Nourishing Arizona campaign. If you want your family to get interested in eating more veggies, a trip to the farmers market is a great start!

I love that this whole meal (except maybe the lentils and spices) are grown locally! My son is slightly obsessed with wanting to become a gardener to grow all our food. We aren’t anywhere close to that but he does a great job of helping pick out fresh produce.

Farmers Market Shepherd's Pie

If your kids want to help and are old enough to use a knife, cutting veggies is an easy way for them to help. If not, they can wait until it’s time to mash the sweet potatoes. Even toddlers can help with the measuring after you do the cutting.

You can cook some parts of this Shepherd’s Pie in the Instant Pot. I cooked the potatoes in the Instant Pot while the other ingredients cooked on the stove. If you don’t have an electric pressure cooker, you can bake or boil your potatoes. If baking, just wash your potatoes first, no need to peel them because you’ll be able to scoop the potato out of the skins. If boiling, peel and cut into manageable pieces.

Farmers Market Shepherd's Pie

Farmers Market Shepherd’s Pie

This recipe is perfect for potlucks, especially if you don’t know if there will be healthy options.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh green beans, ends trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 cups sliced carrots
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 4 cloves garlic, divided
  • 1 cup onion, diced and divided
  • 4 large sweet potatoes or yams
  • ¼ cup soy milk or other non-dairy milk
  • 1 cup dry lentils + 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tablespoons gluten-free baking mix (you may substitute flour if you aren’t gluten-free)
  • 1 ½ cups soy milk

Cooking the Veggies

Put 1 cup of water into a large skillet. Add your cut green beans, sliced carrots, sliced celery, half the garlic and half the onion. Cover with the lid.

Cook the veggies for 10-15 minutes until they are tender-crisp or to your desired crispness.

Pour the veggies into a colander and let the extra liquid drip off until time to assemble. Use the skillet to make the sauce.

Cooking the Lentils

While the veggies are cooking, start cooking your lentils in a medium saucepan.

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, then add 1 cup of dry lentils and the remaining garlic and onion. You may season them with salt, pepper and other spices.

The lentils will need to cook for about 15 minutes. Most or all of the water will be absorbed. If not, carefully drain it off.

Cooking the Sweet Potatoes

I like cooking potatoes in the Instant Pot because it’s fast and easy. If you have an Instant Pot, wash the potatoes and place them on the wire rack with one cup of water below. Then cook them on manual for 15 minutes with natural pressure release.

Once done and cooled enough to handle, remove the potatoes from the pot, carefully remove the skin, then mash them with ¼ cup of soy milk and a sprinkle of salt.

Cooking the Sauce

The sauce requires constant attention, don’t start it until you can focus on it. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, garlic powder, onion powder to a bowl. Then add 2 Tablespoons of nutritional yeast and gluten-free baking mix (or flour if you aren’t gluten-free) and mix them together.

Dump that mixture into your skillet. Add 1 ½ cups soy milk and whisk all together. When the mixture starts to clump, alternate using a silicone spatula to smooth it out and scrape the bottom of the skillet, and a whisk to stir it up. You’ll need to keep stirring and scraping until the sauce is thick.

Assembling the Shepherd’s Pie

In a pie pan or 9×9 casserole dish, pour your cooked lentils. I like to take a fork and press them into the bottom to help them stick together a little.

Then, pour in the veggies that have been draining in the colander. Spread them around so they evenly cover the lentil layer.

Pour the sauce over the veggie layer. Give the casserole dish a little shake so that the sauce settles around the veggies.

Carefully scoop out one spoonful of mashed sweet potatoes at a time and plop it on top of the sauce layer. Repeat this until the whole casserole is covered in mashed sweet potatoes. Then you can use a spoon to smooth out the sweet potato layer.

Pop this in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes while everyone gets washed up for dinner.

Farmers Market Shepherd's Pie


You can adapt this recipe and make it using your favorite veggies too! Take a look at this infographic from Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Nourishing Arizona campaign for more tips on picking fresh produce.

How to Pick Produce

 

Creating healthy meals with your family will make a big impact in their future. Eating healthy meals creates a culture where being healthy is a priority. Using real, whole foods and teaching your kids to prepare them will set them up for healthy eating later in life.

It may not be possible to eat every meal together but making it a part of your family’s routine is worth the effort. Years from now, your kids will tell stories about family traditions and the foods they remember eating, let’s make those good memories!

Cyber Monday Deals

I’m not much of a shopper if it means going to busy stores. You can count me in when it comes to online shopping! I found a bunch of great Cyber Monday deals on Amazon! This post will contain affiliate links. That means if you buy something after clicking on a link I share, I’ll make a small commission on it. Thank you!

All of these deals were available at the time I wrote this post. Some may have expired later in the day so hurry if you see something you love! I missed out on a few deals that were already 100% filled.

Instant Pot!

The Instant Pot 6-quart DUO Plus is a 9 in 1 electric pressure cooker! I don’t have this exact model (this one is fancier than mine) but if you’ve been wanting an Instant Pot you need to grab this one today! Save money and grab this one as a Christmas gift for $74.95!

Instant Pot Accessories

I also grabbed this Silicone Lid to use on with my Instant Pot! I’ve been thinking about getting another inner pot so that when one of full of soup in the fridge, I could have another pot to use. Check out other accessories that are on sale today!

High Speed Blender

I love my Blendtec blender! It’s never let me down! Today it’s $189.95.

If you’ve been holding out for a Vitamix today you can get one for only $298.95! 

Silicone Baking Mats

Silicone Baking Mats are a must for oil-free cooking! This is a great deal!

There are also great deals on pots, pans, knives, juicers and so much more!

Healthy Eating at Home

This post is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona.

One of the big benefits of living in a warm place like Arizona is that the weather is beautiful! Even though the temperatures are slowly dropping, our winter weather is lovely and allows us to spend most of the fall and winter outside, usually without a coat.

Eating Healthy at Home starts with great ingredients.

Another benefit of this glorious weather is the longer growing season. Local farmers and gardeners don’t follow the same planting season as other areas of the country. Here, many crops are still going strong.

On a recent visit to a local farmers market I got to see this first hand. If you are struggling to eat healthy, a farmers market is just the inspiration you need.

Uptown Farmers Market Phoenix AZ

Family Trip to the Farmers Market

Farmers markets are a great place to bring your family. I think kids will have a new appreciation for fresh produce when they see it at a farmers market. Some vendors even have fruit for sampling. Who can resist that? They can also answer your questions about how the food was grown and new ways to prepare it.

The Uptown Market in Phoenix is a family-friendly place with an abundance of fresh veggies and fruit. You could easily do your weekly meal planning based on local finds.

Farmers Market Veggies

I filled my bag with potatoes, onions, celery, carrots, beans and much more. I bought the best sweet potatoes I’ve ever had! If I had planned better, I would have brought a hand cart so I could buy more!

We had family visiting us from out of state and I wanted to show them how great healthy food could taste. They were impressed with the vivid colors and flavors!

Fresh Heirloom tomatoes from the farmers market

Eating at Home

Instead of eating out several nights a week, start a new tradition of fixing healthy meals together using fresh ingredients. If you have a local farmers market, make that part of the tradition too!

In most cases, food you make at home will be healthier than food you purchase at a restaurant. Spend a little time shopping for fresh ingredients that you will enjoy all week. My farmers market veggies seemed to last longer than veggies I buy at the store. I’m sure there was less transport and storage time.

Fresh veggies from the farmers market

Even though it seems easier to go out to eat some nights, I feel like it actually takes longer. Between driving to a restaurant, waiting for our dinner and then eating, I could have cooked a meal, enjoyed it and cleaned up in the same amount of time.

Cultivating a Love of Healthy Eating

On days I let my kids help; it does take longer to prepare dinner. I’m not really a patient mom when it comes to cooking with my kids, but I know it’s important. The time I spend teaching my kids to prep, cook and enjoy healthy foods is an investment in their future. Cultivating this love is easier to do when your kids are small.

My eight year old takes pride in helping make dinner. A couple of times a month we have a baked potato night. He will wash the potatoes and put them in our electric pressure cooker. He is so proud that he can cook dinner for the family.

Fresh veggies from the farmers market

The next time I visit a farmers market, I plan to give each of my kids their own bag and a few dollars to make their own purchases. Everything I bought was surprisingly affordable, sometimes much cheaper than my grocery store.

When kids have a say in what they buy, they will be more likely to actually eat it. Go ahead and encourage your kids to choose their favorite veggies, have them pick one more new thing to try. Maybe they’ll discover they love zucchini or heirloom tomatoes.

Learn to eat healthier my choosing fresh veggies.

Sugar Swap

Make sure to take in all the farmers market has to offer. The Uptown Market recently had a really fun event sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona’s Nourishing Arizona initiative. People could bring in candy (it was right after Halloween) or other sugary treats and exchange them for five Homegrown Healthy Bucks at a Sugar Swap! The candy wrappers were used to create art and the Homegrown Healthy Bucks could be used to purchase fresh produce.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona at the Uptown Market in Phoenix.

Does your family visit farmers markets? How do you encourage eating healthy at home?

November 13, 2017 Plant-Based Meal Plan

It’s been a while since I shared a new plant-based meal plan but today’s will be worth the wait. It will be full of our plant-based favorites and easy recipes that are perfect for busy days.

I’ve been trying to find a balance between making some foods ahead and relying on super simple meals. I love using real, fresh ingredients but I always have a backup plan when the days get away from me. For us, that looks like frozen gluten-free waffles when I don’t have time to make oatmeal, a box of gluten-free pasta I can toss with frozen veggies or sauce when I don’t have time to prepare fresh veggies.

I always love using fresh veggies though. I recently updated an old recipe using all fresh farmers market veggies and it tasted so good! Even the leftovers were better!

Try this Plant-Based Meal Plan full of easy and delicious meals!

This page has affiliate links.

Plant-Based Meal Plan

Monday

Instant Pot Apple Oatmeal

Bean Burritos

Chickpea Noodle Soup

Tuesday

Pumpkin Spice Granola with dried cranberries

Baked Sweet Potatoes

Instant Pot Minestrone Soup (see stove top version here)

Wednesday

Oatmeal or frozen waffles with fruit

Leftover soup

Shepherd’s Pie (new recipe coming soon)

Thursday

Baked Sweet Potatoes (I actually make these in the Instant Pot)

Leftover Shepherd’s Pie

Instant Pot Mexican Casserole (See non-IP here)

Friday

Vegan yogurt and Pumpkin Spice Granola

Mexican Casserole Burritos

Plant-Based Nachos


I like using my Instant Pot as much as possible. It allows me to walk away from the kitchen and come back to a fully cooked meal. If you’ve been wondering about getting an Instant Pot, feel free to reach out and I’ll try to answer all your questions! Until then, check out the 10 reasons I bought an Instant Pot!

If you have family asking what you want for Christmas or your birthday, tell them an Instant Pot!

Before we get to Christmas don’t forget Thanksgiving! My weekly Plant-Based Tips email went out last Saturday with tips for Thanksgiving! If you need more help, be sure to grab my Holiday Meal Plan and Cookbook from Amazon or as a PDF.

Eat Within Your Means Meal Plan

Eating healthy and on a budget takes effort; it won’t happen by accident. I try to stick to basic ingredients and use them in different ways to make our budget stretch further.

I met another blogger who shared my passion for creating budget-friendly recipes the whole family would enjoy. Beth from Eat Within Your Means also knows a thing or two about meal planning. When she unveiled her new Plant-Based Comfort Food Meal Plan, I asked if I could share it with you! She said YES!

Eat Within Your Means Meal Plan

This page contains affiliate links.

This meal plan is My Plant-Based Family APPROVED! 

The Plant-Based Comfort Food Meal Plan is perfect for this time of year! It features five comforting meals that your family will love! Yes, even the pickiest in your family!

What’s in the Meal Plan?

Your meal plan has:

  • Vegetable Bolognese with Protein-Packed Marinara Sauce
  • Easy Vegan Taquitos with Guacamole
  • Veggie Meatloaf Cups with Protein-Packed Mashed Potatoes
  • Vegan Mac & Cheese
  • Pizza Night with salad

Easy Ingredients and Instructions

Part of what makes this meal plan so easy is that the shopping list is organized for easy shopping. Or in our case, easy online ordering; we order a lot of our groceries online then go pick them up.

I love that Beth uses regular ingredients in this meal plan. She also lays out exactly what to do!

You get step-by-step instructions to prep and cook five dinners. The prep work takes place on a prep day so the meals come together quickly each night. If you can follow a recipe and follow directions you can do this! 

Beth went a step further and gives you two options for the meal plan. The first option gives you everything you need to follow this meal plan in a printer-friendly PDF and mobile-friendly format.

The second option also gives you video for a few dollars more! 

I don’t know about you but I’m most excited about the Taquitos!

A few last notes

This meal plan is designed for a family of four (two adults and two children). Beth estimates it will cost an average of $12 per meal but that will depend on what you already have and prices in your area.

You will need a food processor to make the meals in this meal plan. I’ve had this one for over 5 years and love it!

If you try Beth’s Plant-Based Comfort Food Meal Plan, let me know! I think it’s perfect for families who are new to plant-based eating or who just want a little more guidance while they try new recipes. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Get your Plant-Based Comfort Foods Meal Plan as a PDF and mobile-friendly format HERE!

Or get the PDF, mobile-friendly format and video HERE!

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