Meal Plan Mondays : Balsamic-Roasted Butternut Squash

Now that the holidays have come and gone, this week’s meals are a little more frugal and a little less festive.

And that’s okay.

As we explain to Guppy, there is a time for everything : a time for eating Christmas cookies and chocolates, and a time for soup and lighter fare.  Coming down from the holiday excitement is always a little melancholy for me, but Friday’s pizza nights means there is always a party to look forward to, right?

Monday : Spinach Quiche and roasted-garlic and white bean soup (from the freezer – I’d forgotten about it  – total score!)

Tuesday : Potato and butternut Soup and baking powder biscuits

Wednesday : Seitan with Quince, Apple and Onion, Rutabega-Fennel Clapshot (test recipes for The Urban Vegan’s forthcoming cookbook!)

Thursday : left-overs

Friday : Pizza Night!

Here’s a peek at two test recipes we enjoyed last week from The Urban Vegan :

Pumpkin-Maple Muffins – enough said.


Spicy Lentils – I’m such a fan of lentils served just about any way, but this picante recipe was a real winner.  I served it up with some balsamic roasted butternut squash, because I can.

And so can you!  This isn’t a test recipe, but it is one of our favourite way to eat butternut squash – try it!

Balsamic-Roasted Butternut Squash

+/- 5 cups cubed butternut squash

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp dried thyme

salt and pepper to taste

Heat your oven to 200°c/400°f and toss the cubed squash with the olive oil and vinegar.  Using your fingers, crumble the dried thyme over the squash, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then toss to coat.

Spread the cubed squash in a shallow baking dish or on a baking sheet in one layer and bake for about 45 minutes or until melty-tender.  Sprinkle with some salt if necessary before serving.

Do you have a favourite frugal (ie : cheap) recipe you love to serve?  Please feel free to share with the kids at home!  And don’t forget, if you’re looking for meal plan inspiration you can visit the MPM archives.


Vegan Meal Plan Monday & Cupcake Wednesday

I’m finding that I schedule too much food in my meal plans, so I’ve decided to make a little more room for left-overs.  This is a good thing, really, because I love left-overs! They mean that something is already delicious and tasty and waiting for me to eat it.

Monday : Left-over Eggplant Parmigiana, a test recipe for  Celine & Joni that I ended up finally making last night. So yummy. We’ll also be enjoying some roasted butternut squash.

Tuesday : Lemon Herb Coconut Tofu with Udon from 500 Vegan Recipes.

Wednesday : Left-overs.

Thursday : Baked Asparagus with Mushroom sauce (tester), served with a big green salad and veggie patties.

Friday : TBA. Saturday will be Guppy’s big birthday party she’ll be co-hosting with her friend. We’re expecting some 25 kids (because you can’t leave out little brothers and sisters) so I’ll be spending much of the afternoon preparing goodies for the fun. I’m not sure what’s going to happen dinner-wise yet, perhaps take-out?

Cupcake Wednesday mentioned last week was fun and here’s what I baked :

Buttery Vanilla cupcakes with speculoos icing.  The buttery flavour comes from the coconut milk I used, and the icing is just speculoos spread melted to liquid, and then the cupcakes are dipped a few times to get a nice, shiny coating. The speculoos spread is a relatively new find, but because it has a lot of oil in it it’s not something I buy very often. I would like to make my own, but I can’t find vegan speculoos cookies in my area.

Speculoos spread + baguette = yummy snack.

When Aparna mentioned she’d make some cupcakes on Twitter not so long ago, I found myself craving some, too. We decided to make cupcakes together on Cupcake Wednesday, just for fun.  It worked out just great as I had Guppy and her friends for lunch that day, and wanted to make them something fun for dessert.

So why speculoos icing? Simply put, buttercream frostings, or frostings in general don’t go over very big here in France.  Even most children find it too sweet/rich.  I would be happy to leave my cupcakes naked, but Guppy just loves sprinkles, and icing is the “glue”, right?  This was just perfect because it wasn’t too sweet, just a nice, think icing lending just the right amout of “hey, look at me, I’m frosting” without being too much. The kids just loved them!

Aparna also made some delicious looking cuppers and you should go take a look! I love that Twitter allowed us to “hang out” together making cupcakes, despite the thousands of kilometers that seperate us.

The Fishbowl’s Vegan Menu Plan…

(This photo has nothing to do with anything. I just hate blogging without pictures, so here’s a terrible photo of the delicious chesnut crème I devoured last week.)

I’ve never been much for weekly meal planning. Even less for sharing said meal plan with the entire world. Until now…

Food shopping for me has always been more about what was available, what looked fresh and what my budget would allow. Blessed with a dynamic outdoor market 3 times per week allows me to keep fresh vegetables and fruits on hand, and usually provides the inspiration for the week’s meals.

Another deciding factor is whether I’m recipe testing for anyone. Thanks to Ricki, Kittee, Celine and Joni, I often don’t have to spend much time creating new and different meals : they do the work for me. Thanks, ladies.

I don’t know why, but I didn’t really understand the utility of sharing a weekly meal plan with the public at large. I’m always a bit afraid of commitment, and always wonder if people really follow through with their plans. What if you change your mind? Or better yet, what if your sweetheart surprises you with vegan sushi (hint, hint Monsieur Fish!)?

This week, however, is different.

Here is what I think we’ll be eating. This might change. I’m not signing a contract or anything. It’s just that I’ve come to realize the utility of sharing my meal plan. So often when people decide to go vegan they think it means re-inventing the wheel. The most common question all vegan are asked is “What do you eat?”, as if the idea of taking animal products from your diet meant the end of delicious meals. By publishing what we’ll be eating chez nous*, I may help someone plan some healthy vegan goodness chez eux*.

Monday : Coconut Red Bean Quinoa from Swell, the lovely little food zine from A-K, aka Swell Vegan. Additions : onion and peas, and maybe some greens.

Tuesday : Cholent from Veganomicon. I’ve never had it or made it, and I feel like I’m missing out on something.

Wednesday : It’s Saint Patrick’s Day! Because I love any and all holidays we’ll be celebrating with Irish Soda Bread from The Joy of Vegan Baking and Colcannon from 500 Vegan Recipes. Yum!

Thursday : Hopefully leftovers.

Friday : Lentil Tart with Tahini Crust served with Ginger & Sesame infused Carrot & Cucumber Salad, both from 500 Vegan Recipes.

Saturday : Homemade vegan pizzas! I’m thinking White Pizzas from 500 Vegan Recipes, but will probably get all punk rock and add sautéed eggplant, pine nuts and who knows what else.

Sunday : Brunch will be the Fluffy, Fruited Pancakes from Sweet Freedom. Love them. I’m thinking a mushroom quiche for dinner, but that may change. Some sort of savory tart I think. EDITED TO ADD: Afternoon goûter or snack brought to me by Kittee – woot!

Ta – da! There you go, the Fish Family’s eats for this week.  Until next time, bon appétit everyone!

(I was inspired this week by Libby of The Allergic Kid and Krys of Two Vegan Boys – thanks ladies!)

*our place, their place