Weekly Vegan Menu Planning #3 –

I started my planning process earlier this time around, so there is no scramble to make a plan and also it gave a little time to go along and comment on the week as things happened.

How did we do with last week’s plan?

I think it’s worth analyzing how last weeks meal plan worked out as I create this new one. I probably had too many ambitious dishes on the roster for last week, especially when we also had too much stuff on the go with non-food life related things. That will change over the next few weeks, but easier options would be a better idea. We loved the overnight oats/make ahead breakfast options and I loved having prepared jarred lunches to grab for after our son’s early afternoon nap.

We have added a wildcard to our week in the form of a CSA. We have some idea of what we’re getting earlier in the week, but the resulting meals after delivery might be more impromptu or side dishes.

I did follow through with bagels this morning and they were absolutely excellent, but I think I’m going to aim to do them 1-2 a month rather than every week. Though I’ve considered the overlap between challah making and other baking – so we’ll play that by ear.

The other nice thing about having a plan or just planning some of our meals ahead is that cooking in the evening or early in the morning controls our temperature a little bit – especially as our summer heats up a bit more for the season.

Without further ado, this is what we’re planning on making this week;

Breakfast

Monday – Basil Asparagus Fritatta
Apricot ginger overnight zucchini oats
Wildberry Overnight Zucchini Oats
Tofu Scramble and Hashbrowns
Savoury mung bean congee

Lunch

Make ahead

  • Lemon ginger jar
    • Lemon Ginger Dressing (olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, Dijon mustard, Soy), Millet, lentils, celery root, Edamame, kale, Corn, Carrots, Sweet Bell Peppers, Seeds, Unsalted dry roasted sunflower seed, Green Onions
  • Moroccan Tagine jar
    • Chickpeas, lemon ginger dressing, millet, sweet potato, celery root, carrots,  various greens, rehydrated apricots and raisins, parsley
  • Deconstructed falafel jar
    • chopped up tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion
    • pickled turnips
    • chickpeas
    • lemon lentil salad
    • sesame seeds
    • a tahini parsley dressing on the side
  • Burrito Jar

Dinner

Monday or Tuesday.
Lentil Loaf – some lentil loaf recipes can be really fussy and full of steps and work – Im hoping to find one that is straightforward and easy to put together. This one might just be that recipe. But only time will tell if it’s delicious too. With a side of mashed potatoes and a mixed vegetable salad. Make lots of lentils for other dishes throughout the week. Leftover loaf could make a great quick lunch later in the week as well.

Tofu Cacchitori with Rigatoni pasta

Lentil Loaf Leftovers or Zucchini Pad Thai

Thursday

Great Chefs Cook Vegan – Gabriel Kreuther PG 122

  • Yukon Gold Potato “Linguini” and Fresh Sprouts Salad with a Sorrel-Arugula Emulsion
  • Warm Watermelon Salad with Tomatoes, Crushed Pistachios, and aged Balsamic Vinegar
  • Seasonal Vegetable Medley with Sautéed Tofu and Horseradish Broth
  • Chilled White and Yellow Peach Soup, Poached with Beer and Lemon Verbena

Friday
Crunchy Cucumber salad, challah, matzo ball soup, seitan brisket, leftover lemon lentil parsley salad from lunches

Snacks

Red Pepper Hummus and Pita Bread and/or sweetpeas
Zaa’tar baked olive oil pita and tomato
Fresh fruit
Whatever we find at the farmers market

Other – Pie

I’m planning to make a strawberry rhubarb pie this week. This crust from smitten kitchen looks lovely, but despite her proclamations of the superiority of butter, I will still (obviously) be using Earth Balance.

Weekly Vegan Menu Planning #2

I should start thinking about the weeks ahead during the week before, but we get to Sunday and I remember it’s time to put our grocery order in. Grocery order? Well – our local grocer has an online option so someone else picks our groceries for us and we load it into our car.

We just pick them up. This still usually involves a quick run through for items we might have forgotten or to pick up some beer or cider, but generally, it keeps our time there as short as possible. Our little one does not like shopping carts, so one of us ends up carrying him around or occasionally letting him roam the less breakable aisles for a while, which adds to our desire to get in and get out sooner rather than later.

The following are recipes we’re planning on making in the coming week, starting on Monday for 2 hungry adults and 1 not-so-picky toddler. Some lunches are for my husband to take to work, but if we can prepare  a few lunches ahead of time all of us will win.

To be honest, many of these aren’t all reasonable or simple meals, but many or parts of them can be prepared in advance.

I’m starting the weekend feeling more enthusiastic about savoury items but I like having a few different options in mind. I find having an idea of what we’re going to have during the week, makes it a lot easier to make things, and saves me a lot of time searching for the one thing

Breakfasts

Lunches (3 on the go)

  • Monday – (Make ahead) – Orzo Salad in a jar with beans and tofu cubes – (minty dressing for me, a dill olive oil dressing for J) – celery, red peppers, orzo pasta, kale/radicchio or whatever greens come in our CSA this week, green onions, olives, walnuts, dill.) Dressings: 3 tsp mustard, 6tbsp white vinegar, 9 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper. Separate, 1 tsp of mint in mine, 1 tsp of dill in his.
  • Tuesday: Black bean mixed vegetable mushroom stir-fry with rice noodles. (ended up making a potato linguine to go with this instead of rice noodles)
  • Wednesday: (Make ahead) Oh She Glows  – Orange Maple Miso Noodle Bowl. Ended up doing something different – with a sesame maple dressing.
  • Baked beans (canned or this recipe from Serious Eats), rigatoni pasta, and baked peanut tofu fingers.
  • (Make ahead) Bryant Terry’s – Jamaican Veggie Patties from Afro Vegan pg.  (the plan is to use the recipe for the crust, but make my own lentil TVP filling based more on this recipe from Serious Eats)

Dinner

Snacks

Banana bread muffins
Hummus
Snackworthy Cereal Bars out of DIY Vegan p90

Tiny Human House, Tiny Houses, She Sheds

Somehow I’ve gotten a bit obsessed with the idea of a She Sheds. Or just, having a tiny shed in the garden to escape and read or craft or write in. It’s part of a large effort to simplify things in the house, and make the house as safe as possible for our little one, but also, just symbolic of my need to have something that is mine. All mine.

If you’ve never heard of a She Shed, it’s often just a repurposed shed or garden potting house, which can be designated for whatever a She wants – often crafting, reading, socializing, or whatever. Think of it as a tree or play house for adults.

After going down a pinterest rabbit hole last night, I am now at least partially convinced I could build one for myself. But I think I’ll try and be reasonable, and roll that back a bit to reality. There is also a local company (and one of several) that makes shed build kits and even installs them if folks are so inclined.

I have my eye on one of the barn shed kits from ShedInADay, but we’ll see what will happen. The last time I built anything was with Habitat for Humanity about 10 years ago. (dang)

No matter what, it’s a lot of fun to think about and imagine.

 

One Year of Mama

My baby is one year old.

While obviously, this is a significant milestone for him – I’m trying to find a balance between telling my story, and not telling his. The often forgotten part of birthday’s are parents – and I know I never gave my parents much thought when I was growing up and it was my birthday. It was just me. Now I feel like I should have at least gotten my mom a card…

I’m very sentimental – moments in time are meaningful to me, and I cling to a memory and repeat it in my mind over and over again (occasionally to my detriment). How do you mark one of the most life altering moments? How do you celebrate something/someone so tangible and intangible?

With cake of course.

Post Cake Smash play

We didn’t plan a big theme, or a party. I had considered it, but then realized the party would have just been for me (and to be honest, 95% of the time I don’t care for parties either) and would have been overwhelming for my little one. A few people (family) came over anyway, and as expected, it was a little overwhelming for the little one. So I felt good about not organizing “a thing” this year.

The three of us went and played in a nearby park for a little while until it was time to go home and nap.

One of my presents (to myself) for the Beeboo’s birthday was this cute happy crabby onesie from Beb and Ooo. (also, was excited to grab something from them because of our kiddo’s nickname!) I picked it up at the Baby Show from Modern Rascals.

Illustrated dark red large and small crabs on a golden yellow onesie. The collar is lined with a similar colour.
Here is a close up of the Beb and Ooo Happy Crabs onesie. It makes me so happy!

What has changed for me in a year?

Time

I realized just how much time I used to have. Time to myself. Time to watch tv. Time to do absolutely nothing. I’ve become more efficient with my time – while still completely wasting it somedays. I’ve come to accept that there is value in “wasting” time – the first few months while the Beeboo napped I cleaned and did useful things.

Now I’m chilling out for a few hours while he sleeps, and then I will do all the things while he’s awake. I think there is a lot of value in him seeing me do things that need doing in the house, because it’s less of a magical process, and more of a process with actions involved.

Body

My body is not what I remember pre baby. Even while pregnant, things were quite different. It’s hard some days. I feel pain where I didn’t feel pain before, but slowly I can feel myself moving and feeling a bit better again so there is light at the end of this tunnel.

I’m trying to stay away from the negativity of others, and accept that healthy comes at every size. One of my favourite discoveries has been the Healthy Habits Happy Mom‘s community on Facebook. It’s a friendly encouraging place that supports self care, positive self-esteem, and listening to your body.

I’m planning on finally signing up for their postnatal work out series now that my pelvis feels more aligned.

Love

I have a greater appreciation for my partner. I appreciated him before, I think, but now I really see how incredible he is. He is encouraging, supportive, and a great father, and a great husband. I value the time we get to spend one-on-one all the more now.

Friends

I’ve lost friends. This one is tough. People I used to be friends with for years, have disappeared. Some because of me, some because of them. Maybe we will find our way back to some kind of friendship again, or not.

On the bright side, I’ve found new friends and found new community. This one is huge. The friendships I’ve made this year have been significant. I’ve gotten closer to acquaintances I used to know, and have met a lot of really lovely people (usually people that are parents) and while we don’t have everything in common, we do have a few things that matter.

Finding myself

I’m acutely aware of needing something that differentiates me as an individual, as well as a mother. Since I’m in the process of shutting down a business that acted as part of my identity for the last few years, I’m entering a space where I feel adrift without an alternate anchor.

I feel more confident for the future. I feel like a capable parent and like I can handle what comes next (I might regret saying this in a few months/weeks/days/hours, but right now it’s totally true.)

Ultimately, I’m trying to make sure that I’m enjoying the present, but also looking forward to the future. We have a lot of fun everyday, lots of laughs, and lots of books. I’m excited to share the things I love with the ones I love, and I’m looking forward to the years ahead.

A week of dinners – sunday meal planning

I’ve been working on getting more organized in terms of making dinner. If I work that day, or we have a bunch of playdates, we are more likely to order in or get take out. Sometimes my partner cooks, but I usually have to come up with the idea or find a recipe that works with what we have in the house. Sometimes that seems like more effort than just opening the fridge, and making something up.

That said, one of my goals for the next few months is to start prepping more food in advance on the weekend. Thus far, during previous weeks, I haven’t been successful in planning or preparing or even thinking about the weeks meals before they happen, but this week might be a little different (or it might be more of the same.)

I had found a bunch of recipes I wanted to try this week, and planned my grocery shopping accordingly.

My planning is slightly complicated by an end of the week Purim feast, but preplanning might also help with that.

Here is our menu for the week starting with today: (maybe…)

Sunday (done!)

Monday

  • Glory Bowl (the nice thing about this is that the ingredients are also perfect for lunch for some of the other days of the week for me and the small human)
    • On Sunday I cooked up enough rice for this and future meals (like the tacos and gumbo)

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday (it’s Purim, so it’s time for a feast, and we’re considering inviting my partners family, some of which follow a ketogenic diet))

The day our son was born.

I wanted to start where our tiny human house began. The day our son was born. I wrote this originally on Apr 18, 2016 @ 12:24, but have edited it a tiny bit, and added a few more details along the way.

Throughout my pregnancy, I had been planning for a home birth. Home is where I feel safe and comfortable, so I thought it would be a great place to have our baby – and I was low risk and had a very easy pregnancy, so I was an ideal candidate for a home birth too. (Foreshadowing: let’s just say this didn’t happen.)

I had so many books, I read all the stories I could find (good and bad), I watched videos, and we even got a birth pool. I wasn’t afraid, I was greatly looking forward to the challenge and the experience of a professional midwife attended birth at home. I pictured what it might look like, we took prenatal classes to work on pain management and the stages of labour. JC learned more about how to be a supportive partner during labour. I knew he’d be great.

And then my “due date” came and went. I wasn’t in a rush though, I felt patient. I believed in the process. I was certain my body would get things going when our little bundle was ready to come into the world. I went to my chiropractor, I got massages, I walked as much as possible, I danced, I ate spicy food, I started using a manual breast pump – I ticked off as many natural induction methods I could in hopes of encouraging labour (wink wink.) Nothing. No sign of anything really.

40 weeks rolled around – I went to my midwife appointment and everything was looking good, but we scheduled three follow up ultrasounds to check on how the soon-baby was doing. First one was on the following Saturday, and I walked over to the hospital that afternoon.

The hospital has a really terrible ultrasound policy, so that is always stressful and you don’t get to have those cute “watch the baby on the monitor” moments that some people seem to do. And you don’t to have anyone come in with you. The tech that day wouldn’t let my partner in with me, even though I was nervous and crying.

And of course, they have you between a rock and a hard place, because you want to make sure everything is okay, and you don’t have any alternatives and they have all the power. So I was led into the room alone, nervous and upset without a support person with me (the technicians call) while I waited to find out if I was going to be sent upstairs to labour and delivery for an induction (which I definitely did not want – but was mentally prepared for in case our babe was in distress or danger.)

The ultrasound tech eventually let JC into the room with me and told us that the amniotic fluid was low (also known as oligohydramnios) and in the surprise of the day – that the baby was also breech, which in this case meant he was presenting butt first. I was afraid of the low amniotic fluid result, because the midwives had already told me it would be the primary reason I’d be scheduled for an induction that day – depending on the severity of it.

But the breech information changed the equation entirely, and I knew what direction we were heading. And I cried again, knowing that it was time to shift my perspective – because everything was about to change pretty dramatically.

Unfortunately, the art and technique of vaginal breech delivery has been mostly lost, and very few local hospitals on staff have OB’s that are comfortable or trained to attend or assist with such a birth (Mount Sinai is one of the hospitals in the city that is working to bring it back, but it’s a slow process to give people more opportunities for training.)

We called our midwife, Anne. She – who was conveniently attending another birth at the same hospital – took a look at what was going on and came and talked to us. We were taken into a room and they attached a fetal heart rate monitor and a contraction monitor to my belly to see how the kid was doing. They took my blood (repeatedly) and blood pressure. Other than extremely low blood pressure (me) and a variable, although mostly elevated, heart rate (the babe) both of us seemed reasonably okay.

Anne let us know that the amniotic fluid was significantly low – beyond the point where we could try a few things to see if it would help. Below the 5th percentile she said. She also shared in our surprise at the breech presentation. We wondered if it was a recent flip or something that had been happening long term – either way it was a total surprise, and because of the pairing of significantly low amniotic fluid and breech presentation – I wasn’t even a good candidate for an external cephalic version (which is where they attempt to adjust the baby’s position externally to head first, to encourage a vaginal delivery.)

Since I was keen on learning about birth related things (from before I was even thinking about being pregnant), I had been reading a lot of midwifery textbooks, and about various situations related to birth – including the less than ideal stuff. I knew what she would recommend, and I knew my options were limited for delivery. I went from planning a home birth to a necessary cesarean section.

Despite feeling a bit heartbroken about the unexpected change of plans, at some point in the room JC realized that TODAY WOULD BE THE DAY we’d be meeting our little human, and we shared a good happy cry over it. After 41 weeks growing inside of me, we were looking forward to meeting whoever they were on the outside.

I was scheduled for a C-Section in a few hours, it was a weekend, so we were waiting on an anesthesiologist. Time has a weird way of both flying and crawling while waiting for surgery, JC and I joked in the monitoring room, and then I cried, and then we chatted, and then I cried some more. I didn’t feel nervous about surgery, but I did feel a blend of sadness, excitement, and anticipation.

My surgeon came in and talked to me about the procedure, I asked her a few questions about my options, and felt like I was in good and friendly hands.

We ended up waiting in the hospital about 6 hours all together – from the ultrasound, to monitoring, to getting the surgical staff together, a nursing shift change, the anesthesiologists schedule, and having to wait for my breakfast to digest all drew it out. Who knew some veggie dogs at 11am would be a big deal?

When it was time for surgery, I waddled down the hall in Labour and Delivery with my midwife, and went into the OR. There was a small metal table in the middle of the room, I hoisted myself on top of it, and then it was time to wait for the flurry of activity to begin. Anne was with me the whole time.

I watched a surgical tech prepare the equipment, count the cloths and sponges out loud, unwrap all the tools the surgeon would need for their work on me, it was all very slow and methodical. The process, the repetition, the routine. Everyone had their task. Mine was to sit there and wait.

Eventually, the anesthesiologist came in, introduced himself, and started preparing me for a spinal block. He sterilized the area in my back, and I had to lean forward while he injected lidocaine to numb everything (which hurts a little and felt really uncomfortable) followed by a one time spinal injection that quickly numbed my legs and lower body, which felt really gross, but not painful. I was glad to have my midwife’s hands to hold on to to keep me steady and grounded during this procedure.

Anne had a solid calming presence, she had done this before, and she would do it again. She occasionally gave me a bit of extra context for what was going on. The anesthesiologist (or at least this one) runs the show in the OR during the surgery – despite not actually doing it – so she made sure to ask him about skin-to-skin contact after the birth and he said of course.

JC was sitting outside all dressed in a surgical gown, cap and booties, waiting for his chance to join me. He sat outside watching as much of the action he could see, each time sneaking a peak when the door opened a crack for a new team member, or a hand washing. He had to wait until things were well underway to join, probably to keep his clumsy self (he wrote that part himself) out of harm’s way.

JC Cap and Gown

A nurse and my midwife helped me lay down on the metal table as the anesthetic had already started to take effect and I quickly lost most sensation on the lower half of my body. The weird thing about this anesthetic is that while I didn’t feel pain or pokes – I could still feel pressure and movement during the surgery. So I could feel them pull our baby out of my body, it just didn’t hurt.

At some point after they had set everything up, JC joined me in the OR, all gowned up, also ready to meet our new little human. So much energy in the room. So much going on.

And all of a sudden, our baby was presented to me and placed on my chest and it was such an indescribably incredible and surreal moment. There was no one else in the room, but this wonderful screaming crying squishy soft creature, that we had created together our of love and I had built inside of me for the last 9+ months. We’d asked that no one announce the sex of the baby, but pronouns got in the way of that (JC says the OB said “You have a brand new baby b-mmm” – but I didn’t hear that part.) My midwife spilled the beans with a “he.” He was finally here. My son. Our son. Phew.

I wasn’t sure if I would feel a bond with him immediately, because I know that doesn’t always happen, but the moment he was there I knew my heart would never ever be the same again. After what seemed like not enough time and so much time with my babe crying and squirming on my chest, as I tried to touch him, despite an IV in one arm, a blood pressure monitor on the other, and anaesthetic related shakes.

I kept pulling my arm over to touch him between rounds on the BP cuff, getting a few moments in before it pulsed again. I just never wanted to let him go again.

They asked me if I would be okay if JC left me for a bit and went with our babe to go to the warming bin and weigh station to get checked out, and that he would then be taken to recovery for some skin-to-skin time with JC while they closed me up post surgery. Eventually they wheeled me into recovery where JC was snuggling with our newest family member. Tiny new human against his furry chest.

The anaesthetic dissipated quickly from my legs and I just wanted to get up and get out, but I still was tethered to the bed with a catheter until the afternoon of the next day. I was released from the hospital within 24hrs of surgery, with the explicit instruction that I should try and take it easy and stay off the stairs as much as possible.

I was so happy to have my son, but in the days after I kept running through all the what ifs, and what could I have dones. What could I have done better? What should I have done better? I dealt with a lot of feelings of failure and shame – I wondered why my body had failed me. And those feelings wouldn’t stop for a while because there was more unanticipated challenges to come, but I’ll save that for another post.

I felt an odd sense of mourning for an experience I don’t think I’ll have the opportunity to have again. This isn’t to say I’m not grateful for my beautiful healthy baby, it just wasn’t what I would have chosen if I had alternatives. Despite that, I know it was the right choice for the circumstances. I also appreciate the effort my midwife took to make the experience as positive and gentle as possible on me.

We had an incredible team of nurses, doctors, midwives, and I appreciate their skill and support in getting our little one into the world. I feel like I experienced nearly everyone at their best. I have a permanent reminder on my body that sometimes things don’t work out quite how you expect, but that it can be okay and it can be beautiful anyway.

And best of all:

jordan and meshell and simon

Here is our family  🙂