Plant-Based Valentine’s Day Meal Ideas

Are you making a special plant-based Valentine’s Day meal?

I got an email from a reader who wanted to know what I suggested for a special Valentine’s Day meal. Her husband asked if she could make a plant-based meal, even though he isn’t plant-based. Sounds like a sweetheart!

Veggie Pad Thai

I used to suggest big fancy meals but these days I’m all about keeping it simple. My recommendation was Veggie Pad Thai! I know, it’s not a traditional choice but it’s easy to make, cooks quickly, and is easy to adapt based on what you like.

My husband loves the Veggie Pad Thai. I do a mix of both of our favorite veggies and give him more of the mushrooms while I take more of the peppers. He likes to drizzle Sriracha on top.

Just because it’s Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean you need to put yourself out to make a meal. Spending less time in the kitchen so you can spend more time with your family seems like a win to me.

I know that some of you are over the top kind of people. I don’t mean that in a bad way. I mean that you love creating big elaborate meals for your family. That is awesome! Go for it!

If Pad Thai isn’t your thing, I’ve got a few other recipes for you. You can check out my post from 5 years ago (yes, I’ve been blogging that long) when my kids were little!

Chickpea Nuggets are vegan, gluten-free, and a fun kid food. They are easy to make and delicious.

More Plant-Based Valentine’s Day Ideas

If I had plenty of time and energy, I’d plan a kid friendly meal of Chickpea Nuggets, Mashed Potatoes, Brown Gravy and veggies. I’d probably have a veggie tray or big salad too.

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Something you may not have heard yet, my Chickpea Nugget recipe is included in Ocean Robbins new book, The 31 Day Food Revolution! I’m so excited to read this book. You should check it out if you are looking for new reading material.

Plant-Based Dessert

Of course, we can’t forget about dessert. If there was any time to have desserts it’s random mid-week holidays, err, I mean Valentine’s Day. HA HA, just kidding. You don’t have to convince me to have dessert.

Banana Muffins with Chocolate Plant-Based Valentine's day

You can tell from my dessert page that I love chocolate. My husband never really liked chocolate but he has come around a bit. He still won’t eat a lot but he enjoys it in small amounts. With that in mind, big desserts are out, but smaller desserts like chocolate covered strawberries made with Enjoy Life Foods chocolate are totally in.

Another option we love is making my Banana Bread into muffins and putting chocolate chips (or chunks) in half of them.

What is your idea of a perfect plant-based Valentine’s Day meal? Do you like simple, elaborate, family friendly or romantic?

Instant Pot Breakfast Rice

Oatmeal is our typical quick and easy breakfast but when I’m in the mood for something a little different I choose Breakfast Rice.

Instant Pot Breakfast Rice

I like my Breakfast Rice with the same type of flavors as my oatmeal, apples, cinnamon, chia seed and a bit of maple syrup.

Short grain brown rice is my favorite tasting rice. It’s got a slightly nutty flavor and stays bulkier than quick cooking rice. I feel like it’s more filling but you could switch it up and try your favorite type of rice, you will need to adjust the cooking time though.

Since short grain brown rice takes longer to cook than many other types of rice, I like to cook it in my Instant Pot. The best thing about the Instant Pot is being able to get everything started and walk away until its done. No need to stand and watch or stir throughout the cooking time. Just set it and come back when its ready.

Instant Pot Breakfast Rice

This recipe does double duty though because I cook the rice plain, then add the other ingredients after the rice is cooked. I’ve made it the other way and cooked it all together but this way, I can have a batch of cooked brown rice for later, if I double the recipe. Also, when you add the apples and raisins before cooking, they get too soft for my preference. I like my apples and raisins uncooked.

Instant Pot Breakfast Rice

This Breakfast Rice also tastes excellent the next day. I heat it up quickly in the microwave but you could reheat it in on the stove or in the Instant Pot. The only thing I do when I reheat it is add more liquid, usually rice milk but any plant-based milk would work. The rice will absorb any extra liquid when you store it.

Instant Pot Breakfast Rice

My boys love their Breakfast Rice swimming in rice milk. They always add a lot of extra milk to their oatmeal too.

There are many other options besides apples and raisins. Dried cranberries, blueberries, ginger, nutmeg, pears, pretty much anything you can imagine.

Instant Pot Breakfast Rice

Ingredients

  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups rice milk
  • 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 1/4 cup raisins or other dried fruit
  • maple syrup to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. chia seeds, optional

Do

  1. Pour brown rice and water into your Instant Pot. Press manual and adjust time to 22 minutes.
  2. Once done, allow your pot to come to (NPR) natural pressure release for 10 minutes. Then release any remaining pressure.
  3. If you doubled your recipe to have brown rice for dinner, take it out and set aside now. If not, skip this step.
  4. Pour in your milk, cinnamon, diced apples, and raisins. Stir together.
  5. Top with maple syrup to taste and chia seeds.

Serve

This breakfast is perfect for people who want a warm, hearty breakfast that will keep them full all morning. If you have more time you can try the Stove Top Version of Breakfast Rice! It’s even creamier!

Instant Pot Breakfast Rice

Have you tried Breakfast Rice? What do you think? Share your favorite additions to this dish!

Family Update

It’s been over a year since I’ve been actively blogging or creating recipes. As you may know, my son was diagnosed with leukemia in February 2018 after months of unexplained medical issues that no one could diagnose.

Steven the Brave

Steven the Brave Dec 2018 after getting home from 11 day hospital stay.

Leukemia is not caused by lifestyle choices. It was not caused by anything we did and nothing could have been done to prevent it. There are different types of leukemia and the type our son has, has a 90% survival rate with traditional treatment.

Steven the Brave

Steven back in the hospital. This was after a week in the ICU. He spent another two weeks in the hospital on this visit.

Steven the Brave with Nurse Kate

Steven would help his nurses draw labs.

Cancer Treatment

Over the last year, he has handled his treatment really well. There have been ups and downs, with many complications. We’ve lost track of how many hospital stays he has had, almost always for over a week, sometimes almost a month.

He is in remission but has 3 years of chemo to go. Since leukemia is a blood cancer, treatment lasts for years. He takes daily oral chemo and monthly IV chemo.

Chemo is brutal. He still deals with nausea, fatigue, neuropathy, dizziness and pain. More than that, it takes a toll on the whole family. It’s the hardest thing we’ve ever faced and it’s not over.

We tried to keep everyone up to date at Steven the Brave’s Facebook page.

Steven the Brave with pup

Steven loved visiting with Therapy Dogs at the hospital. It was always a highlight.

New Normal

We are slowly trying to find a semblance of “normal” life. It’s a new normal, nothing like the life we lived before but we choose to move forward.

Our son is allowed to go back to school and is no longer confined to our home, doctors offices and the hospital. He can walk again! No need for a wheelchair or a walker. Our work schedules have mostly gone back to normal.

My hope is that I can pick up where I left off blogging; creating new recipes and helpful tips that new and established plant-based eaters will love. I had also been working on several projects that I hope to finish up soon.

Steven the Brave

What are your Plant-Based Needs

As I get started again, I really want to hear from you! What can I do to help you be more successful with plant-based eating? Do you need quick recipes, family-friendly recipes, meal plans, snacks, or something else entirely? 

 

My Son Has Cancer

I was hoping to write this post after getting a good report next week but I feel like I can’t wait.

If you’ve been here for a while you may know that last summer my son started having pain in his feet. During fall, the pain got worse until he couldn’t stand or walk. Even after a hospital stay we didn’t know what caused it.

Last month we learned that he has leukemia. He was handling treatment well until this weekend. We had to rush him to the ER and he is still in ICU.

As you can imagine this is really hard. We are exhausted and spend every moment trying to take care of our son. We’ve had a lot of people reach out and help and we are forever grateful.

I don’t know when I’ll return to creating recipes. My weekly newsletter is on a bit of a break too. You are welcome to follow along on our journey on my sons Facebook page. I’ll get a website up soon so I can update there.

If you want to help you can pray! We need it! A friend set up a fundraising page too if you’d like to help with the finances. We’ve missed weeks of work and will appreciate anything you feel led to do.

Favorite Instant Pot Recipes

You know I love my Instant Pot! I do more cooking in my Instant Pot than my stove and oven combined. It’s such an easy way to cook because it’s mostly hands off. You get it going then walk away.

My Favorite Instant Pot Recipes and they are all plant-based!

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I bought my Instant Pot 3 years ago when I went back to work full time after being a stay at home mom and blogger. I knew that our life was about to get crazy and I would not be able to prep foods throughout the day or simmer a pot of beans all afternoon.

I bought the 6 quart 7 in 1 Instant Pot because it was the only one (at the time) that made yogurt. Now there are a bunch of choices when it comes to choosing an Instant Pot but I’ll cover that a different day.

My Favorite Instant Pot Recipes

I like to cook single ingredients foods a lot, beans, rice, potatoes, are my top three. We have a lot of other favorites too!

Enjoy restaurant style refried beans without sacrificing your health. These oil-free, plant-based refried beans are made in the Instant Pot.

Refried Beans

I’ve been making what I like to call unfried beans for years. Since no one knew what unfried beans were, I call my Instant Pot version Oil-Free Refried Beans. These are perfect on nachos, bean burritos or with your favorite taco recipe. I like Instant Pot Lentil Tacos.

Instant Pot Minestrone Soup may just be the perfect plant-based soup! Veggies, beans, broth and pasta create a hearty and healthy soup!

Minestrone Soup

Minestrone Soup is my favorite soup but it’s also labor intensive. All that chopping! Well, being able to  toss it all in my Instant Pot makes up for it. We love this soup and this version has some short cuts to make it easier. I think you’ll love this Instant Pot Minestrone Soup as much as I do!

Instant Pot Mexican Casserole

Mexican Casserole

I’ve made this recipe for years! First in my oven, then I created a stove top version, then a Crock Pot version. Finally my Instant Pot Mexican Casserole was born. This easy recipe allows you to use uncooked rice and beans. Pay attention to the tips in the recipe, old beans can give you trouble. If you use something other than black beans you’ll need to adjust the cooking time.

Instant Pot Chickpea and Rice Soup

Chickpea and Rice Soup

Even though this recipe provides stove top directions also, the Instant Pot Chickpea and Rice Soup is my favorite version! This recipe gives a nod back to the chicken and rice soup my husband used to love but cleans it up for a plant-based version.

Instant Pot Oatmeal

Steel Cut Oats

Yes, you can cook delicious steel cut oats while you get ready in the morning. Make this easy Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats recipe then add your favoirite toppings. Mine are cinnamon and diced apples but fresh berries are amazing too.  You can also try my Banana Nut version.

Try this Busy Night Pasta recipe! It's simple and fast! Make a pasta dinner tonight in the Instant Pot!

Pasta

Yes, I’ve successfully made pasta in the Instant Pot. It’s a bit trickier and I haven’t had success with gluten-free pasta, only wheat pasta. Short, sturdy noodle shapes are important for getting great pasta, I like spirals, riggitoni, or penne as favorites. Check out my recipe for Instant Pot Pasta.

Do you have a recipe you’d like to see made in the Instant Pot? Let me know and I’ll work on converting it. I’ve got more great Instant Pot recipes and I plan to add more favorite Instant Pot recipes soon!

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