Ultimate Oatmeal Guide

Breakfast maybe the most important meal of the day but it’s also the most chaotic. Please tell me I’m not the only one who struggles to eat healthy in the midst of a busy morning.

We have some quick and easy breakfast items like frozen waffles and cereal but we don’t feel as satisfied after eating them. Maybe because they are processed foods and not whole foods. I want a hot, filling breakfast.

My go to breakfast is Oatmeal.

Everything you need to know about oatmeal

You may be thinking, “oatmeal takes too long” or “it’s too complicated.” I want to share my tricks for easy, delicious oatmeal that everyone in your house will love. [Read more…]

Broccoli and Mushroom Stir Fry

stir fry broccoli and mushroom After a long day I really don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. That is one of the reasons I’m such a fan of Batch Cooking. Sometimes I need a quick and easy meal. Stir fry’s are such an easy option. Since I don’t cook with oil some may argue that this isn’t a true stir fry. The extra fat found in oil isn’t really needed if you use a little water in its place. (You can view this post to see how I use water for fried rice.)

We almost always have cooked  brown rice in the fridge. We use it in so many recipes it is a staple in our diet. When I don’t have rice cooked, I can make it quickly in my Instant Pot. This stir fry can be made with whatever veggies you have on hand but half my household loves mushrooms so this dish was for them.

stir fry broccoli and mushroom

Broccoli and Mushroom Stir Fry


  • 1 crown broccoli, chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 8 oz mushrooms sliced
  • 1/2 an onion, diced
  • 4 cups cooked brown rice
  • Bragg Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce or Tamari)

As with many of my recipes, you can add more ingredients or remove items you don’t like without a huge problem with the recipe. For example, if you aren’t a big fan of mushrooms use less or use bell peppers in their place.


  1. In a hot skillet or wok add diced onions and sliced carrots, cover with a lid. Check on them regularly and stir. When they begin to stick pour a few tablespoons of water in the skillet and stir again.
  2. Once the carrots are starting to soften, dump in the mushrooms. These will need to cook for several minutes. Once they have exuded their juices and look shiny, pour the broccoli in and cover once again.
  3. Check veggies every few minutes and stir. If they begin to stick to the pan add more water again.
  4. Once all of the veggies are cooked to a tender/crisp consistency dump in your cooked rice and stir. You can use less than 4 cups if desired.  You can also heat the rice separately if desired.
  5. Pour Bragg Liquid Aminos over the rice and veggies. I’d start with a little and add more to taste. We probably use a couple of tablespoons but it is a high sodium food so limit it if necessary.

This meal comes together in less than 20 minutes. If you have to cook the rice allow yourself sufficient time. This is a really easy meal to make and packs perfectly in a lunch box (I only recommend it for adult or older kids lunches).

If you like this, check out my other great Asian inspired meals, Veggie Pad Thai and my easy Oil-Free (un)Fried Rice.

Don’t forget to enter the EasyLunchBoxes Giveaway!

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Easy Summer Meals in 20 Minutes or Less

20 Easy Summer Plant-Based Meals that are ready in 20 minutes or less

I don’t know about you but I lose interest in cooking when the temperatures are over 90 degrees. I want to cool off, not stand over the stove! In fact, I rarely use my oven between May and October because it heats up my house so much. Occasionally, I use the oven in the morning if I really need to bake. Who want’s to bake when you can buy So Delicious Ice Cream?

Today I’m sharing some of my favorite summer meals that are ready in 20 minutes or less. Many don’t require any cooking at all.

20 Easy Summer Meals

1. Toast with SunButter and Fruit (yes this is an acceptable meal in the summer)

2. Veggie Sandwiches

3. Microwave Baked Potatoes (don’t hate on the microwave, use the Crock Pot if you like but it’s too hot for the oven here)

4. Pancakes, try GF Jules recipe for gluten-free or Happy Herbivore’s for wheat

5. Taco Salad using canned beans

6. Nachos using my Unfried Beans or Unfried Black Beans, these are life changing!

7. Tostadas

8. Pasta Salad, make sure to chop the veggies while the pasta is cooking

9. Veggie and Hummus, yes this can be a meal

10. (Vegan) Yogurt Parfait, yes this can be a meal too. It’s hot people!

11. Smoothies

12. Vegan Pad Thai

13. Quesadillas, using canned beans

14. ChickPea Salad, there is a sweet and savory versions, on sandwiches

15. Quinoa Veggie Bowl

16. Faux Tuna Salad Sandwiches

17. Sun Butter and Jelly Sandwich with fruit on the side

18. Quinoa Tacos or Lentil Tacos (both cook in about 20 minutes)

19.Veggie Wrap or Veggie Stuffed Pitas

20. Black Bean Mango Salad


Not if you have a Crock Pot or Instant Pot you can get a lot of cooking done without actually spending time in the kitchen. Try these recipes!

21. Mexican Casserole Crock Pot version or Instant Pot version

22. Cheesy Broccoli and Rice Casserole in the Crock Pot

23. Potato Kale Soup both versions listed

24. Oatmeal (we love it for dinner) using Jill’s 3 minute approach

25. Your favorite Soups or Chili

There you have it, 20 Easy Summer Meals that are ready in 20 minutes or less plus 5 bonus recipes for the Crock Pot or the Instant Pot!

Now I want to hear your favorite recipes for summer!

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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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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.

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