The Meal Planning Monster Returns

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As you may know, I’m not normally a meal planner.

I like to cook by the seat of my pants and just make what speaks to me on that day. I’m the same way with my blog posts too. I rarely know what I’m blogging about until I sit down to write and I don’t often plan specific posts ahead of time. I usually just sit down and type! It feels more natural to me when I don’t force something.

…and that’s the same way I like to cook, but sometimes I need to plan meals to get out of a cooking slump. Now that I am on the road to recovery with this flu, I decided to plan out my meals this week and bid my cooking slump farewell!

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Step 1: Plan The Meals:

The meals I chose:

  • Enchiladas with Cilantro cream sauce & salad
  • Creamy Sweet Potato Bake and biscuits
  • Veggie Burgers with Moroccan spiced root vegetable fries
  • Tahini Lemon Rice and beans
  • WILD CARD (this can be leftovers, a meal out, or spontaneous recipe)

 

Don’t be fooled by this simple looking list- it actually took me over an hour to figure out what I wanted to make for the week. Also, I don’t like to specify what day I’m making each recipe! I will decide the night before most likely. :) I think the thing I love about planned dinner recipes is that you automatically have a lunch ready for you the next day!

Step 2: Make List and Grocery Shop:

After I picked out my meals for the week, I checked what ingredients I had in stock and then I went grocery shopping for the rest.

Step 3: Prep veggies and Grains

After meal planning and grocery shopping, I did prep work by slicing veggies (cucumbers, carrots, peppers) cooking grains and beans (chickpeas and brown rice), and made a fresh batch of Spring Fever Lemon Dill Hummus.

This whole process took up half the day, but I’m hoping that it will pay off with time savings throughout the week.

Keeping my May veggie goals in mind, breakfast today was a yummy Green Monster blended with 1 cup frozen kale, 1.25 cups soy milk, 1 large frozen banana, pinch or two of cinnamon, Vega Choc-o-lot protein powder, and Amazing Grass wheatgrass powder.

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I topped it with almond butter, cacao nibs, and 1/2 an Endure Glo Bar. It was delish…but gave me goosebumps!

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[Can you tell it is a gloomy and rainy day by the low lighting of this photo?]

Lunch today will probably be similar to yesterday’s lunch…

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I had cucumbers and carrots with Spring Fever Lemon Dill Hummus, along with sprouted grain open-faced, toasted sandwiches topped with tomato paste, avocado, and pepper. I love this voluminous lunch as it takes a long time to eat.

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Stay tuned for a great week of dinner recipes!

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{ 116 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa Fine May 2, 2011

That lunch looks divine! I love the idea of making open-faced sandwiches with tomato paste and avocado.

I’m on a vegetable kick too, which will be so much easier when our gardens are going, don’t you think?

Happy Monday!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 2, 2011

Yes, unless I kill everything I grow, which is a huge possibility. ;)

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Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing May 2, 2011

It takes such discipline to plan out meals, and to do the prep work work involved as well! Go you :) I find that it’s usually not so much the time investment that makes me hesitant as much as it is that I feel my creativity is limited by it. As you said, I like to just go with what I am feeling that day. But, ultimately I can still tweak a meal and play with it; it’s just the base ingredients that stay the same (and make my life and schedule easier) ;)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 2, 2011

yes I agree! Im sure my ‘plan’ will change up a bit here and there…but no big deal, right?

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Sara May 2, 2011

You got cherries this time of year?!?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 2, 2011

haha I wish! That pic was taken last summer.

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cathy May 2, 2011

it IS dreary in southern ontario, today!
glad you’re feeling inspired to plan out your recipes and meals again!
“I usually just sit down and type! It feels more natural to me when I don’t force something. ” exactly! my favourite posts are the ones where i don’t try too hard…neat that you have found that, too!

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Carrie (Moves 'N Munchies) May 2, 2011

ooo this week’s meals look BEYOND good!! lucky you- i wish I were staying with you so I could eat all the leftovers :D

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Ashley May 2, 2011

Oh my! Yesterday’s lunch is adorable! Love the meal planning. I can never stick to that, but wish I would! You have me craving a smoothie bowl now..yumm

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Marina May 2, 2011

I don’t really like meal planning because it doesn’t take in account my food cravings on a specific day, but I think this week’s meal plan will help me save maybe some money, and time. Busy student life is hard when you depend on your cooking :))

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 2, 2011

I do think it saves money too…good point!

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Jen May 2, 2011

Hi Angela,

I had my first Green Monster this weekend and LOVED it. Do you normally make these with raw spinach or steamed? Raw gives me a stomach ache most of the time (and did this weekend)…is kale easier on the stomach? Any tips would be appreciated. Hope you’re feeling better!

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Tawney (Eat Hike Sleep Repeat) May 2, 2011

I get the same thing from raw spinach. I find kale too overpowering in the monster. I sub in chlorella instead.

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Jen May 2, 2011

Thanks so much! I just bought some kale which I’ll try, but will use chlorella if I don’t like it :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 2, 2011

I make it with both raw spinach and raw kale. I used to steam my spinach (for better iron absorption) but I have stopped doing it simply to save time. Im not sure about either being hard on the stomach…I know that kale can ‘get things moving’ quite fast, more so than spinach.
I find the taste of frozen kale much less bitter than fresh as well.

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Lauren at Keep It Sweet May 2, 2011

I wish I was eating dinner at your house this week!

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Jackie @ Baking Charms May 2, 2011

Mmm your meal choices sound delicious! I like the idea of planning them out but not having a definite day assigned to each one. Less intimidating that way!

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kristy @ kristyruns.com May 2, 2011

Yesterday’s lunch looks delicious! And a green monster for breakfast is always a great way to start the day! :)

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Michelle | GOLD-HEARTED GIRL May 2, 2011

You have some fancy meals to look forward to this week! So creative and all very different tastes.

http://goldhearted.etsy.com

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Estela @ Weekly Bite May 2, 2011

I need to be better about my meal planning! It really helps :) Plus I spend less money :)

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Mercedes @ Cultivating Consciousness May 2, 2011

Oh my gosh, that salad. I know what I’m having for lunch. And the cherries! Yum! Can’t wait for all your recipes this week!

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Ashley May 2, 2011

Rainy days are my favorite! For some reason, I notice that too many sunny days seem to make me a bit depressed. Very strange, I know! But I love your meal planning idea– I’m at my parents home, getting ready to go back to my place tomorrow– and I’ve been gone for two weeks, so meal planning is going to be essential! Thanks for your advice!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 2, 2011

well you definitely wouldnt be depressed in this neck of the woods! haha

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Ashley May 2, 2011

Haha! I grew up in Southern Nevada, outside Las Vegas– so I loveeee rain:) I can’t stand the heat!

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Faith @ lovelyascharged May 2, 2011

I always have such a hard time meal planning! It’s something I’d like to get better at, as it’s easier to go grocery shopping (and stay in budget!) if I have a goal and a plan for what I want to make, but sometimes I just don’t know that far in advance what my tummy is going to want!

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Julie @ Shining From Within May 2, 2011

Your meals sound delish! Im looking forward to them (as if i’ll be the one eating them lol)!

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Holly @ The Runny Egg May 2, 2011

I love how that open faced sandwich looks! Tomato paste + avocado sounds delicious!

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Lauren May 2, 2011

Menu looks awesome! I love menu planning but I’ve never actually done prep work along with the planning, I bet it really does save time!

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chloe @ 321delish May 2, 2011

CHERRY SEASON MAKES ME SO HAPPY!

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Shanna, Like Banana May 2, 2011

I plan out 2-3 days of meals a week and the rest I just do ad hoc meals with what’s around the pantry/fridge. It helps me for sure. My hubby is willing to be more spontaneous, but that usually means less healthy foods.

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SAM May 2, 2011

What kind of makeup do you buy? I need a better brand!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 2, 2011

Right now im using Everyday Minerals http://www.everydayminerals.com/
Im not in love with it because my skin tends to be dry and it flakes on my skin. It is just ‘ok’ for my skin type.

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Samantha @ Health, Happiness & Skinny Jeans May 2, 2011

I really should start planning out my meals more. I usually end up with too much of something and not enough (or none) of something else when I go to cook. I like anything that makes healthy eating easier so I think a plan is a great first step.

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat May 2, 2011

I can’t wait to hear about the root veggie fries! Unlike you, I LOVE meal planning (yes, weird I know!!) This week involves 2 fish dishes, and a lot of rice in various forms because I cleaned out my cupboards this weekend and I think I may have more rice than a small Chinese grocery store!!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 2, 2011

lol u are cute

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Farrah May 2, 2011

I planned my menus as well!

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Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman May 2, 2011

That salad looks delicious. I need to get better about meal planning. For the first time in a long while I have an idea of what I want to make this week.

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kate@ahealthypassion May 2, 2011

Some weeks im a meal planner others I just wing it… I usually go by whats on sale at the store and then adapt or come up with recipes to make, a well stocked pantry is the key. That smoothie looks delish as does your lunch with all those veggies hopefully you can kick your flu to the curb!

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Andrea B. @ Vegvacious May 2, 2011

I always try to meal plan, but I often find that by Wednesday I’m completely off track. I usually give in to my cravings and find myself at the grocery store 2 or 3 times per week to pick up some random item….that’s probably why my pantry is exploding with food all the time!

Your lunch looks so amazing. I look avocado on sandwiches!

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Nikita May 2, 2011

I love meal planning! I feel like like it definitely saves me a lot of money and streamlines my cooking when I have a plan. I like to buy groceries for 5 or 6 nights worth of meals, but then I often change at least one or two to reflect my mood or what was good at the grocery store. I use it more as something to fall back on than something I MUST stick to.
Oh and I usually buy way more produce than I need for my recipes. My desire not to let things go to waste will help encourage me to eat my veggies!

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Amanda May 2, 2011

Do you find that the chopped veggies stay fresh until Friday? I’d love to prep foods for lunch salads, but I feel like the veggies get kind of mushy by Friday… Do you have a special way to store them?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 2, 2011

I store them in Pyrex glass dishes filled with water. I find that keeps them fresh a bit longer. I dont store cukes in water though b/c I’d worry they would get mushy.

I’m not sure how long they last, but I would guess 4-5 days? Here’s hoping!

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Amanda May 2, 2011

In water! That is something I never thought of! I’ll be trying this asap. Thanks!

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Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope May 2, 2011

Completely agree! Sometimes you need a little motivation to get back into making creative meals. Sounds like a fabulous week ahead! :)

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Emily May 2, 2011

Mmmm that’s my kind of lunch. The avocado toast looks delishhh!

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Sonia May 2, 2011

It’s kind of freaky how, right now, I am planning out my meals for the week and they are eerily similar (though not too much) to your plan. I looked in my fridge yesterday trying to figure out what to make for the week. Cilantro, rice, lemons (just got a bagful from my MILs tree), tahini, beans and root veggies for fries all made the list. Lol. I can’t wait to see your recipes. :)

And I ask the same question as Amanda. How do you store chopped veggies so they don’t go bad by the end of the week? Freeze them??

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 2, 2011

See above I just replied to her Q :)

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Lenna May 2, 2011

Planning meals sucks sometimes, but it is a great way how to get your eating habits a bit more organized and eat better to nourish your body. Since I started meal planning, I feel much better (and maybe look a bit better too:). All photos in the post look divine, you are a skillful photographer:)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 2, 2011

Thank you!

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Dawn @ Blonde on a Mission May 2, 2011

That’s the number one thing I love about healthy eating. You can have a giant meal of vegetables with some grains on the side, and you feel full after eating far less calories than any restaurant meal. I have a big appetite, and healthy eating allows me to satisfy that on minimal calories! That lemon dill hummus looks amazing – I’m going to make that this week!

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Moni'sMeals May 2, 2011

what a great plan for meals. You have a system, it seems! I normally have been like you, no planning but I can see how sometimes in all our lives we must! I do however ALWAYS have my kitchen stocked and stocked, then I can’t go wrong. :)

All your meals sound amazing! Your breakfast—kale green monster oh wow! only you and your readers(me) would think that looks INCREDIBLE!! hehe. Have a great day!

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Amber K May 2, 2011

I’m always confused when people don’t meal plan, lol it’s such a habit for me! Otherwise, how do you go grocery shopping? What I buy totally depends on what I’ve planned to eat! I tend to get in food ruts, but buying new things forces me to try new meals!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 2, 2011

that is funny…my normal grocery shopping goes like this, ‘hmm this looks good maybe I’ll buy two’

I do make lists…but only for the usual suspects and occasional recipes I have in mind.

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Amber K May 2, 2011

I have entirely too much OCDness to do that! But you come up with all of these AMAZING things, I just might have to learn this “wing it” skill. :)

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Cait @ Beyond Bananas May 2, 2011

I always plan my meals and make a list.. but chopping veggies at the beginning of the week is something I did not think of! That would be a HUGE time saver in the middle of the week. I REALLY like this idea!

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Ari@ThE DiVa DiSh May 2, 2011

I hope you feel better!! :)YOu are still eating delicious food even though your under the weather! Your amazing :)

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jenna May 2, 2011

i think you are the only person i’ve ever seen eat toast with tomato paste…youre taste buds are usually spot on so I have a feeling I should give this a try!

do you and eric ever eat out? just curious what kinds of restaurants you all go to when you do go out.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 2, 2011

We don’t go out to eat often because there aren’t any restaurants in our town, and the ones nearby are mostly chains. :( I do have a fav Italian restaurant though.

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