Tuesday, July 22, 2014

{Video} Trader Joe's Vegetarian Haul + 2 Weeks of Dinner Meal Plans with Recipe Links

Back when I lived in Santa Barbara, one of my first "real" jobs was an Office Manager for Culligan Water... and yes, saying "hey, Culligan Man" still makes me smile.  Not only were the owners cool to work for, but they really believed in taking care of their employees.  Great pay, flowers for special occasions, and handing me their credit card and sending me off to Trader Joe's each week to buy food for the office.  I'd come back with boxes loaded up with soups, crackers and cookies, granola bars and other snacks... and the employees were happy.  And it was good.

And then I moved to the South, and guess what?  Trader Joe's stores started popping up here too... and it was very good.

These past few months I've been making the transition to healthier, organic foods.  And these last few weeks I've even started to eliminate meat, thanks to the fact that most of my food allergies have cleared up, and I'm now able to eat things that I haven't been able to for over 20 years... like carrots, and broccoli, and apples.

I've missed them so much, they're like dessert to me!

And while some might think this lifestyle might be very expensive, I've found that even with buying mostly organic foods, my grocery bills have gone down significantly.  First, due to knowing how to coupon at stores like and Earth Fare (click each for couponing tips).  And also, taking advantage of the great prices at Trader Joe's... no coupons needed.

So, if you're thinking of adding some Meatless Mondays into your menu.  Or, if you're wanting to give a plant-based diet a try, here are two weeks of menus to help get you started with new flavors, textures, and recipe ideas.

And make sure and watch the quick video above, to see exactly what I got, and how I plan on putting together all my meals.

Week 1 Dinners:

Monday- with a Green Salad
Tuesday- Purple Spring Rolls with a Honey Tahini Dipping Sauce (recipe on blog soon)
Wednesday- Potato Broccoli Chimichurri Salad (Boil a package of baby new potatoes and when cool, cut in half.  Combine with some cooked broccoli and this Chimichurri sauce.  Chill before serving.)
Thursday- with Homemade Bread (bread from )
Friday- Spicy Mango and Hearts of Palms Fajitas (inspired by , with the addition of hearts of palms)
Sunday- leftovers

Week 2 Dinners:

Monday- over Brown Basmati Rice
Tuesday- Zucchini Soup with Homemade Bread (From Food & Wine Magazine July 2014 issue)
Wednesday- and a Green Salad
Friday- Ground "beef" Nachos (using Beyond Meat "beef" crumbles, beans, blue corn chips, cheese, etc.)
Saturday- Leek and White Bean Cassoulet with a Green Salad (recipe from the cookbook)
Sunday- leftovers

Breakfast ideas:

I'm pretty simple when it comes to breakfast, and I pretty much have one of these options every day.

- Oatmeal with 1 tsp. each chia seeds and raw manuka honey
- Fried egg on 1 slice Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Bread
- 2 Scrambled eggs with fresh spinach and a bit of feta cheese
- Kashi Go Lean Crunch Cereal with Rice Dream Rice Milk

* I also eat a piece of fruit 30 minutes before my meal, which might be 1/2 a grapefruit or berries.

Lunch ideas:

Since I'm just cooking for two, we often have leftovers... which make the perfect lunch!  And for the days that I want something with mostly veggies, I'll often have a Greek Salad, Grilled Caesar Salad, or my favorite Zucchini and Potato Stir Fry.

Zucchini Potato Stir Fry

Cut one zucchini into thick matchsticks and 1/4 of a vidalia onion into slices.  Saute in a bit of olive oil until crisp-tender.  In the meantime, cut up 3 baby potatoes in medium size chunks and microwave for 2 minutes, or until soft.  Add the potatoes into the zucchini and season with salt, pepper and any other seasoning as desired (I like the Lemon Pepper from Trader Joes).  Pour into a bowl and top with goat cheese or feta cheese.

*Note: I am not a nutritionist, and these are merely suggestions based on my own menu and preferences.  Also, I am not working with Trader Joe's in any way.  I simply enjoy shopping there and think they have fantastic prices for organic/healthy foods.

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