I am Dawn Anderson...

And this is what I have to say.

Category: Food and Drink (page 2 of 9)

Menu Monday (week of 2/18/13)

Hey y’all! It’s been a minute since I posted last. I’m still working on getting into a regular blogging habit again so bare with me. My GI/IBS issues have recently flared again as well as symptoms of CFS so lately it’s been taking everything I have just to get off the sofa and get through most days. I’m making due and trying to change my rest habits to accommodate.

Even though I haven’t been able to fully follow my meal plans for the past few weeks, I’ve still been getting them done. I’m glad to say that I’m on the road to making it a habit. I do like having a plan in place and using it as a road map for the week. I’m still using my handy paper planner but here are my dinner plans with some links:

    • Sunday: dinner at Parents #1
    • Monday: mustard glaze salmon, string beans with onions, toast
    • Tuesday: stuffed shells, salad
    • Wednesday: leftovers (late gym day so no cooking for me)
    • Thursday: sietan cheese-steaks, oven fries, roasted brussels sprouts
    • Friday: collard greens, sweet potato mash, Chili maple glazed tempeh (mac & cheese and BBQ chicken for the hubs)
    • Saturday: Engagement tofu (turkey cutlets), asparagus, mashed cauliflower (baguette)

Can you tell I went to an awesome class on how to fix vegetarian proteins last week? I did! It was taught by the very witty Lauren of veg:ology fame. I’m going gung-ho with trying out the recipes! What’s on your meal plan for the week?

Better habits for the new year

Can you believe its almost 1/2 way through the month already?! It’s true what they say – time does fly by!

Like most, I’m trying to start off 2013 with some better habits. Really just getting back to habits I had adopted in 2011-2012: meal planning and tracking & regular exercise. My hope is for these things to translate into me loosing the last 11 lbs of my initial weight loss goal.

This is the first week that I’ve done a complete meal plan. I actually got it done by Sunday morning, got about 90% of the shopping done AND prepped food! The refrigerator is packed, but the week is looking good! (other than the fact that I left my nicely packed cooler at home this morning! Heading home at lunch to retrieve it. The joys of working semi-close to home)

My goal is to just get a plan done for the rest of January, then in February really start taking a close look at the nutrition of that plan. Baby steps to change, right?!

Meal Plan

Meal Plan









And for all you other list junkies out there, all of my scribbles including the grocery list on the back:

Grocery list

Grocery list











If you have any desire to plan either on a monthly or weekly basis feel free to utilize either of these calendars:


I’m working hard to do a minimum of 3 hours of cardio and 3 strength training sessions per week. I think I’ve found a schedule that works for me:

Monday – cardio kickboxing class; 1 hour strength
Wednesday – 1 hour strength; spinning class
Saturday – 1 hour strength; 1 hour cardio (elliptical or walking/running)

I’m still debating on the Saturday morning workout (vs. Friday evening) but I’m going to try and stick to it. Mainly as a ploy to get the hubs to get to the gym on the weekend! 😉

Do you do a monthly or weekly meal plan? Does it help you stick to your nutrition or weight management goals?

Meal plan (week of 11/11/12)

It seems odd to say “happy” Veteran’s Day. There are not enough words to express my thanks to all Veteran’s, retired & active duty military for what you have done and continue to do. Thank you!

I was able to cobble together a meal plan for this week. I’m back to an evening workout schedule at the gym this week, so I needed ‘make ahead’ or quick items. I’m past the honeymoon phase with my plant-based diet and its becoming a bit of a challenge to eat a variety of items that aren’t processed. I won’t say I’m in a rut, but I’m heading that way fast. If you post your own meal plans or know of some good sites that do, please share links in the comments. I need some ideas!


      : teriyaki chicken/tofu, brown rice, steamed broccoli

Monday: spaghetti, marinara, roasted asparagus, garlic bread

Tuesday: chicken noodle soup/pumpkin chili, grilled cheese/Daiya sammies

Wednesday: OYO (on your own)

Thursday: pasta with Field Roast sausage & mixed greens

Friday: salmon/veggie burgers, string beans, roasted potatoes

Saturday: pizza, salad

It takes all kinds of vegetables …

If you know it, sing along!

I used to LOVE that show! Now that we’ve taken a walk down memory lane, let’s talk soup. About 2 weeks ago the weather started to change here in Richmond. Chilly nights, and now even some chilly days, put me in the mood for soup. If you do any type of meal planning or want to start, adding a soup to your weekly rotation during the Fall and Winter can be a life saver. Soups usually aren’t very time or labor intensive (I know some would say chopping is laborious, but I disagree – I find it therapeutic), can be a good reducer of food waste (no need to waste those veggies – throw ’em in a pot with some liquid!), and can be stretched across many meals or even frozen for those weeks when you really don’t have time.

In the past my soup making as been sporadic. Last year one of my favorite magazines, Mary Jane’s Farm, ran a great article on soup recipes and included 13 hearty soups. My thought was that’s a soup for each week of Fall, and if I freeze some of each recipe, that could easily get me through most of the Winter. Unfortunately I don’t still have that article, but I can easily come up with a different plant-based soup each week for the next 3 months. Plus I hope soup-making will help me waste less food.

My new vegan-ish diet has me attacking my meal planning like its my job and I’m going to start posting the weekly plan again on Sundays. It will include 1 soup and I’ll share the recipe later in the week. If you are a soup maker or want to get started with meal planning, will you join me? I’m always up for sharing tips and on the lookout for new recipes!

Fall soup week 1 – Vegetable soup
This basic tomato-based soup can use fresh or frozen vegetables and the spice can be adjusted to your liking.


Vegetable soup

Yield 6 serving, approximately 1 1/2 cups each

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup diced onion
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 cup green beans
1 cup diced potato (1-2 medium potatoes)
1 cup corn
3/4 cup peas
11.5 oz original V8 juice
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (no salt added)
1 cup water
14 oz broth (I’m working through a case of Pacific Low-Sodium Chicken broth)
salt & pepper to taste*
Creole seasoning to taste*

*Note: I season soups as I layer in ingredients. I measured out 1/2 teaspoon of salt to start, used 1/2 of it to season my vegetables as they cooked then used the remainder to taste at the end. We are watching our sodium intake. Additionally, I found out the hard way that creole seasoning is VERY SPICY once it cooks. I used way too much (1 tablespoon) and had to actually pour off some of the soup liquor and replace it with plain water and broth. Lesson learned: go lightly with the creole seasoning while cooking. You can always add more at the end.

Directions: Add oil to soup/stock pot and head over medium heat. Add onion and carrot and cook until onion is translucent. Add celery and cook until vegetables are tender. Add in green beans, potato, corn, peas, V8 juice, diced tomatoes, water and broth. Stir well to combine. Increase heat to medium-high and bring soup to a boil. Add salt, pepper and creole seasoning to taste. Cover, reduce heat to whatever temperature keeps soup at a simmer (mine was medium-low). Simmer for 30 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Spice mixes DIY style: Taco Seasoning

Now that I’m cooking more again I’m finding myself in need of some spice combinations on a pretty regular basis. Way back when I was first stocking my newlywed kitchen I had the good sense to heed the advice of several older women in my life and invest in some Tupperware. The real deal stuff. The stuff that lasts for GENERATIONS (I know I’m not the only one who has at least one piece of their mother’s Tupperware). It was an investment, but after 12 years I still have every piece and they all are in great condition. One thing I purchased that I never used that much were a set of small spice holders. They hold about 1 ounce’ish and are coming in very handy as I rock my own spice mixes. So far I have a garlic powder blend and Pumpkin Pie spice. I’m made salt-free Taco Seasoning tonight and planning on doing a Creole Seasoning mix later this week. No need for those seasoning packets from the store anymore!

Salt-free Taco Seasoning (adapted from allrecipes.com)

Yields approximately 3 Tablespoons

3/4 Tablespoon chili powder
1/4 Tablespoon ground ancho chili pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (can use 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
NOTE: if you want a more “authentic” seasoning packet replacement feel free to add 1 teaspoon salt to this mix.

Add all ingredients to a small mixing bowl. Mix well. Store in an air tight container for up to 1 year.

Do you keep a well stocked spice cabinet? Are you a user of pre-made spice mixes or do you make your own?

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