Organizing Your Weekly Plant-Based Meal Plan

Good afternoon friends!

It’s been a minute since I’ve done a food related post here 😱 I’ve been a little caught up in the busyness of school, work, and deciding if I should run the Chicago Marathon or not over the last few weeks. The good news is, I decided to still run the race despite a few weeks of less than ideal training! Those of you who follow me on Instagram already know this!😜 You can’t run you first marathon if you don’t start the race!😉

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During these busy days of marathon training, school, and beyond, it is so important to eat healthy and often. When I get busy or stressed, I tend to under eat, which is the opposite of a lot of people and not ideal for running some serious miles.😩 What has been key for me overcoming this over the last few weeks is planning my meals (especially lunch) ahead of time. It also helps to have most amazing husband, who makes me cashew butter and jam sandwiches on especially busy mornings to bring to school. I’m lucky, what can I say?!😍

Anyway, imagine my excitement when Meghan Harris of White Rabbit Garage Storage, reached out to me to write a guest post here about meal planning. I thought that it was perfect timing, as I am personally working on being better about meal planning!

So, without first ado, here is the first ever guest post on Black Bean Queen! 🙂

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Eating a plant-based diet is not only healthier for you but also makes you feel better and have more energy throughout the day. However, organizing and creating a meal plan to follow can be tedious and daunting. Without a solid plan in place, it is easy to fall back into old habits and to slip up more often than you’d like. Below are 3 tips to help you organize your weekly meal plan and a sample plant-based meal plan for you to try.

Look Through Your Pantry

Go through your pantry, freezer, and refrigerator to get a solid idea of what foods you have to cook with already. Starting with foods you have previously purchased allows you to not only save money, but also time when shopping. You’ll also waste less food.

Going through your pantry will give you a sense for what foods you typically eat and help you remember which ones you didn’t like when you tried them. You will also be able to free up more space and organize the shelves, so you can look through your food storage easier in the future. If you have any food that you don’t like, and it hasn’t yet expired, donate it to your local food pantry.

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Find a Place to Keep Recipes

If you prefer written recipes you will want to find a place in your kitchen that won’t get ruined by spilled oil and is easily within reach. Consider finding recipe organizers at Target or on Amazon.

If you prefer online recipes keep a file on your computer or phone to organize different websites, you have found with recipes. You can use a word doc, detailed Pinterest board, or Google files to do so. Make sure this is accessible from several devices in case one is misplaced or broken.

Choose Meals with Familiar Ingredients

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 Meal planning will help you feel less stressed during the week, so you can avoid spending money on unnecessary food purchases. However, if you are shopping for items you primarily are unfamiliar with you won’t use them either.

If you shop for black beans often, you know when they are a good deal and when you should use a different kind of bean. If you use quinoa often, you know exactly how long to cook it for before it becomes soggy. As you become more comfortable with meal planning, add in 1 or 2 new ingredients each week.

As you work on your weekly meal plan, remember that it’s okay to be flexible and that some meals may go awry. You can always pick yourself up and try again the next day!

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BONUS: Here is a simple work week meal plan for you to try!

Day Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Monday Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Basic Tofu Stir Fry Cauliflower Fried Rice
Tuesday Vegan Waffles with Blueberry Sauce Creamy One Pot Pasta Pasta Bean Casserole
Wednesday Peanut butter and dark chocolate oatmeal Squacos Greek Goddess Bowl
Thursday Apple Buckwheat Pancakes with Coconut Caramel Apples Tomato and White Bean Salad

 

Black Bean and Quinoa Taco Bowls
Friday Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Vegan Macaroni and Cheese Hummus Pizza with Veggies

This post was written by Meghan Harris at White Rabbit Garage Storage. She enjoys hiking, playing card games, and spending time with her family.

What other tips do you have to organize your weekly meal plan?

 

Half Marathon Training Week #2 (12 weeks until the race!): Monday August 21st- Sunday August 27th.

Good evening! I hope all of you had a fantastic weekend full of fun, exercise, food, and time to relax! 🙂 My weekend was pretty low key, but it was just what I needed.

The week of training didn’t not go quite as expected, but I will just roll with it. My mileage was pretty low, but it’s better for me to ease into training with my history of injury. Plus, until these last two weeks I was not running much. My goal is to run 20 miles per week next week and continue to bring down my running pace. Slow, but steady wins the race for this previously injured girl! I have some time goals for my half marathon (1:30), but when all is said and done I just want to toe the line healthy. 🙂 So, now let’s recap this last week of training with some random pictures and thoughts from the week for good measure. 😛

Monday August 21st: REST DAY. My coworkers and I watched solar eclipse in the middle of the work day, so that was cool. It was definitely weird wearing solar eclipse glasses over my regular glasses, but I had to protect my eyes! See below for a cool picture my dad took of the eclipse. I didn’t try to take any pictures because we didn’t get the best views of the eclipse in the city.

Tuesday August 22nd: REST DAY

Wednesday August 23rd: 3 miles at 7:35 pace after work. Felt strong, despite the lack of sleep early in the week. I got an amazing view of the sunset on this run too. 🌞

 

After the run, my amazing husband made us chickpea stir fry and it was delicious. It’s one of our staples during the work week, so maybe I will share the recipe here one of these days.

Thursday August 24th: REST DAY

Friday August 25th: 3 miles at 7:52 pace after work. I felt really sluggish on this run. The lack of sleep during the work week probably caught up to me. I definately need to prioritize sleep as my training ramps up. Im not doing the greatest with this, as it’s already past midnight as I write this post. 😛

 

Saturday August 26th: Hips of death circuit” for hip/glute/ core strength. This is a circuit my husband does with his high school cross country/track athletes. I’d share it here, but it’s hard to explain all the moves in writing. It’s a lot of body weight moves, so it’s nice when I don’t feel like going to the gym or have access to a gym. Each week I aim to do AT LEAST one day of glute/hip/core strength due to my injury history.

I also enjoyed this delicious bowl of berry, cinnamon, and raw hemp seed oatmeal prior to my workout.

Sunday August 27th: Solid 5 mile run at 7:34 pace with my husband. He was definitely thrilled to take the photo of me running below. 😂 After the run, I did some stretching, but I need to be much better about stretching this week.

 I hope you all have a good night! Also, if any of you are on Instagram I just got an one for this blog! My handle is @blackbeanqueen. Follow me if you want you midweek training updates or to see random food pictures! 😜

How was your weekend? What are your exercise and running goals for next week?

Simple Sunday #3: Baked dark chocolate and peanut butter oatmeal

Hello friends! I know it’s waaaaaaaay past breakfast/brunch, but I wanted to share a tasty recipe I made this morning anyway.  You won’t believe it’s vegan!! Yes, I know it’s already past five o’clock…That’s what happens when it’s Daylight’s Savings and you lose an hour… You’ll want to make it tomorrow, though. Guaranteed. Or perhaps for dinner tonight. Breakfast for dinner is NOM! Plus this recipe makes enough for leftovers later in the week! 🙂

So I found this recipe where I find many of my ideas…Pinterest. As usual, I was wasting time there a few days ago and I came across a baked oatmeal recipe that seemed easy enough. The recipe had me at chocolate and sold me at peanut butter, so of course I pinned it! 😛 We all know that you actually only make a fraction of the things you pin… BUT, then, this morning my boyfriend suggested we make something new for breakfast. I agreed, but since I was feeling lazy due to “losing” an hour of sleep, I wanted to make something easy and low maintenance.  I knew that this was the morning to try baked oatmeal. My boyfriend and I both loved it. 🙂

Here’s the link to the original recipe that I found on Pinterest : http://laurenkellynutrition.com/peanut-butter-chocolate-chip-baked-oatmeal/. The only changes/modifications I made to the recipe was omitting the mashed banana and salt. So the above website gets all the credit for this amazing recipe, I just wanted to share anyway! : )

As long as you use non-dairy chocolate chips and milk this recipe is vegan! I used Ghirardelli, but as a note only the semi-sweet chips are vegan. The dark chocolate ones are not.

Baked dark chocolate and peanut butter oatmeal

Yield: 6 servings

Nutritional analysis: See below

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Ingredients

2 cups organic oatmeal

1/2 cup natural peanut butter

1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1/4 cup ground flax seeds

1/4 cup organic maple syrup

1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (can use semi-sweet or any other kind too)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

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1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a glass baking dish.

2. Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. It may be easier to add the dark chocolate chips last since peanut butter can be tough to stir.

3. Put the mixture into the greased baking dish.

4. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.

5. Let the baked oatmeal cool for a few minutes and then cut into 6 slices.

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6. Enjoy the chocolatey peanut butter goodness for breakfast (or anytime of day)!! 🙂 I highly recommend pairing the oatmeal with a large, cold glass of almond milk and/or a cup o’ joe! Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days.

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Also, here’s the nutritional analysis of the recipe for those interested. I used MyFitnessPal. It’s 321 calories/serving:

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Question of the day: What is your favorite way to eat oatmeal? Before today my favorite was just regular oatmeal, made in the microwave, topped with berries and/or peanut butter, but now I think I’m a baked oatmeal fan!

Thursday Treats: vegetarian/vegan pancakes

To be honest today’s treat started out as an experiment. I had a serious craving for pancakes this morning, but my boyfriend and I were completely out of eggs so I was curious if it would be possible to make delicious pancakes without them. The answer is 100% YES! As a vegetarian who still eats eggs, I normally make pancakes with eggs, but now I’m thinking that this eggless pancake recipe will be my new go to recipe. They are that good (in my opinion)! 😉 As an added bonus, they cook faster than pancakes made with eggs! If you use maple syrup instead of honey as the sweetener these can even be made vegan!

This recipe is from The Teen’s Vegetarian Cookbook by  Judy Krizmanic on pages 16-18. The only change I made was using 1 cup of all purpose flour instead of a half cup wheat flour and a half cup white and then I used light vanilla almond milk instead of soy or dairy milk. I also made two of the six pancakes with dark chocolate chips as a little treat for my boyfriend and I.

For pancake toppings I personally like high protein toppings such as vanilla Greek yogurt and mixed berries or peanut butter, while my boyfriend prefers the classic maple syrup. The pancakes taste good with any of those toppings!

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vegetarian/vegan pancakes

yield: 6-8 pancakes (serves 2-3 people)

ingredients:

1 cup  all purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

dash of cinnamon (optional)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup light vanilla almond milk (or soy or dairy milk)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons honey (or maple syrup or another liquid sweetener)

steps

1. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl.

2. Combine the almond milk, vegetable oil, and honey in a separate bowl.

3. Mix the dry ingredients and almond milk mixture together just until combined.

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4. Grease a non stick skillet with cooking spray or a little vegetable oil and put the stove on medium heat.

5. Pour the pancake batter onto the skillet into circles about 4 or 5 inches in diameter. Put dark chocolate chips in the batter during this step if desired.  (I cooked two pancakes at a time since we have a pretty small skillet).

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6. Cook for about one-two minutes on one side or until bubbles start to form. Then flip the pancakes with a spatula and cook for another minute or two on the other side. The pancakes are cooked when they turn golden brown. This should take four-five minutes total.

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7. Once fully cooked serve the pancakes and top with your favorite toppings. We made 6 large pancakes with this recipe.

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running update

A few hours after breakfast I went on a wonderful solo run along the beach. Today was my furthest run to date post IT Band injury. It was just shy of 4 miles. It’s so good to be back to injury free running, but I’m definitely going to keep up with my IT band rehabilitation exercises and yoga in the coming months to prevent a relapse. I felt a little sore from yesterday’s run for some reason, but I still ran a decent pace even without my boyfriend to push me. 😛

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I’m hoping to try out a five miler this weekend and slowly start to increase my pace during my runs again in the coming weeks. Maybe I can start thinking about signing up for a late fall race now! Have a wonderful day everyone! 🙂

Today’s question: What is your favorite pancake topping?

Motivational Monday & What’s for breakfast: Oatmeal edition

Good morning, everyone! This morning I woke up tired, but luckily I am enjoying a delicious cup of coffee as I write this post.

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Thankfully, I have already consumed more than half my cup of coffee, so it counts! Smile with tongue out I’m tired because we had some bad weather here last night and my mom actually woke the whole house up around 2 am due to a tornado warning. We hung out in the basement for a while, but luckily everything was fine and no tornado touched down here. Unfortunately, I did not fall back asleep until after 3 am. I won’t let being a little sleepy get in the way of a good and (hopefully productive) summer day, though.  Here’s some motivation for starting your day off right:

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What’s for Breakfast?! Oatmeal Edition.

Now, let’s chat about one of my favorite meals of the day- breakfast! A healthy and filling breakfast is important to help you wake up, start your day right, and fuel you through the day whether you are at work, school, or somewhere else. A good breakfast will keep you going strong until lunch. I don’t know about you, but a bowl of cold cereal never fills me up and often leaves me hungry an hour or two later. Oatmeal, on the other hand, usually does the trick! You have a lot of options with oatmeal, but please, please stop buying that instant stuff! Not only does the instant stuff have a lot of sugar and sometimes mystery ingredients, it can get expensive over time, especially if you eat two or more packets at once. To make your own, you just need a canister of old fashioned oats and some toppings/ingredients you probably already have around your home. Personally, I almost always have sunflower seeds and raisins on hand so I can add them to my oatmeal for extra iron, a nutrient many of us fall short on, especially women and vegetarians such as myself. Today, I’m here to show you that Oatmeal doesn’t have to be gross or boring. I’m going to share some of my favorite toppings for oatmeal that are yummy, mostly healthy and definitely filling! Smile

For each type of oatmeal I typically start out with 1/2 cup of old fashioned oats (makes 1 cup of oatmeal cooked), but feel free to make more or less depending on your appetite. Cook with milk, almond milk, or soy milk instead of water for added calcium!

I’ll start with the oatmeal I am enjoying this morning, apple cinnamon oatmeal! Smile

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Apple cinnamon oatmeal: Halfway through cooking add one chopped apple to the oatmeal. Continue cooking. Top with cinnamon, raisins, sunflower seeds, dried fruit, or other nuts. Add honey or a tablespoon of brown sugar for extra sweetness if desired.

Dark chocolate oatmeal: After cooking add one tablespoon of dark chocolate cocoa powder and a handful of dark chocolate chips. Top with nuts, seeds, fresh fruit, or dried fruit is desired.

Peanut butter banana oatmeal: Add one tablespoon of natural creamy or crunchy peanut butter to the cooked oatmeal. Add one chopped banana. Top with cinnamon and a tablespoon of granola or grapenuts, and honey for extra sweetness if desired.

Peanut butter and dark chocolate oatmeal: Add one tablespoon of natural peanut butter to the cooked oatmeal. Mix in one tablespoon one dark chocolate chips. Top with raisins or dried fruit if desired.

Peanut butter and berry oatmeal: Add one tablespoon of natural creamy or crunchy peanut butter to the cooked oatmeal. Top with fresh or frozen strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries. Top with a tablespoon or two of granola for added crunch if desired.

Brown sugar cinnamon oatmeal: Add one tablespoon of light brown sugar and a dash of cinnamon to the cooked oatmeal. Top with raisins, sunflower seeds, or other nuts if desired.

Nutella oatmeal: Okay, okay this is not a very healthy option…BUT it is a good occasional treat! Add one tablespoon of nutella to the cooked oatmeal. Top with dried or fresh fruit if desired.

Nutella and peanut butter oatmeal: Like the previous option this also is not a very healthy choice- high in calories, fat, and sugar, BUT it wouldn’t hurt to eat every once in a while. Everything in moderation, right? Winking smile Add one half-one whole tablespoon each of nutella and natural peanut butter to the cooked oatmeal.

Have a great day everyone and I hope I inspired some of you to eat oatmeal today. Smile  What is your favorite way to eat oatmeal? I’d love more suggestions for oatmeal toppings, so feel free to share your suggestions in the comments section below!

Motivational Monday & What’s for breakfast: Oatmeal edition

Good morning, everyone! This morning I woke up tired, but luckily I am enjoying a delicious cup of coffee as I write this post.

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Thankfully, I have already consumed more than half my cup of coffee, so it counts! Smile with tongue out I’m tired because we had some bad weather here last night and my mom actually woke the whole house up around 2 am due to a tornado warning. We hung out in the basement for a while, but luckily everything was fine and no tornado touched down here. Unfortunately, I did not fall back asleep until after 3 am. I won’t let being a little sleepy get in the way of a good and (hopefully productive) summer day, though.  Here’s some motivation for starting your day off right:

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What’s for Breakfast?! Oatmeal Edition.

Now, let’s chat about one of my favorite meals of the day- breakfast! A healthy and filling breakfast is important to help you wake up, start your day right, and fuel you through the day whether you are at work, school, or somewhere else. A good breakfast will keep you going strong until lunch. I don’t know about you, but a bowl of cold cereal never fills me up and often leaves me hungry an hour or two later. Oatmeal, on the other hand, usually does the trick! You have a lot of options with oatmeal, but please, please stop buying that instant stuff! Not only does the instant stuff have a lot of sugar and sometimes mystery ingredients, it can get expensive over time, especially if you eat two or more packets at once. To make your own, you just need a canister of old fashioned oats and some toppings/ingredients you probably already have around your home. Personally, I almost always have sunflower seeds and raisins on hand so I can add them to my oatmeal for extra iron, a nutrient many of us fall short on, especially women and vegetarians such as myself. Today, I’m here to show you that Oatmeal doesn’t have to be gross or boring. I’m going to share some of my favorite toppings for oatmeal that are yummy, mostly healthy and definitely filling! Smile

For each type of oatmeal I typically start out with 1/2 cup of old fashioned oats (makes 1 cup of oatmeal cooked), but feel free to make more or less depending on your appetite. Cook with milk, almond milk, or soy milk instead of water for added calcium!

I’ll start with the oatmeal I am enjoying this morning, apple cinnamon oatmeal! Smile

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Apple cinnamon oatmeal: Halfway through cooking add one chopped apple to the oatmeal. Continue cooking. Top with cinnamon, raisins, sunflower seeds, dried fruit, or other nuts. Add honey or a tablespoon of brown sugar for extra sweetness if desired.

Dark chocolate oatmeal: After cooking add one tablespoon of dark chocolate cocoa powder and a handful of dark chocolate chips. Top with nuts, seeds, fresh fruit, or dried fruit is desired.

Peanut butter banana oatmeal: Add one tablespoon of natural creamy or crunchy peanut butter to the cooked oatmeal. Add one chopped banana. Top with cinnamon and a tablespoon of granola or grapenuts, and honey for extra sweetness if desired.

Peanut butter and dark chocolate oatmeal: Add one tablespoon of natural peanut butter to the cooked oatmeal. Mix in one tablespoon of regular or vegan dark chocolate chips. Top with raisins or dried fruit if desired.

Peanut butter and berry oatmeal: Add one tablespoon of natural creamy or crunchy peanut butter to the cooked oatmeal. Top with fresh or frozen strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries. Top with a tablespoon or two of granola for added crunch if desired.

Brown sugar cinnamon oatmeal: Add one tablespoon of light brown sugar and a dash of cinnamon to the cooked oatmeal. Top with raisins, sunflower seeds, or other nuts if desired.

Nutella oatmeal: Okay, okay this is not a very healthy option…BUT it is a good occasional treat! Add one tablespoon of nutella to the cooked oatmeal. Top with dried or fresh fruit if desired.

Nutella and peanut butter oatmeal: Like the previous option this also is not a very healthy choice- high in calories, fat, and sugar, BUT it wouldn’t hurt to eat every once in a while. Everything in moderation, right? Winking smile Add one half-one whole tablespoon each of nutella and natural peanut butter to the cooked oatmeal.

Have a great day everyone and I hope I inspired some of you to eat oatmeal today. Smile  What is your favorite way to eat oatmeal? I’d love more suggestions for oatmeal toppings, so feel free to share your suggestions in the comments section below!