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Posts Tagged ‘gluten free menu swap’

Hello, hello!

It’s been a while since I have posted but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been meal planning – or eating! But my meal plans have been pretty lame and more off the cuff than usual. We returned from vacation last night to an empty frig and thus today I was inspired to get together a better meal plan.

This week’s Gluten Free Menu Swap is hosted by Cheryl at Gluten Free Goodness and her chosen theme is sugar-free delights in honor of the upcoming  sugar-laden holiday(s)! Be sure to stop over at Cheryl’s later this week when everyone has posted their meal plans for a lot of inspiration.

As I was writing up my plan this afternoon, I thought that perhaps some of you would like to know more about how I menu plan for the week.

Generally my husband and I eat the same mix of breakfasts and lunches throughout the week, so I don’t really ‘plan’ those, per se. But as I start writing up my grocery list, I check the frig and freezer for the ingredients and foods we eat. Here is what is typical for us both on the average work-day.

Renee’s Breakfast:

Fage Greek Yogurt with berries, honey and Udi’s Gluten Free Vanilla Granola – Greek yogurt is high in protein and we both need that here at our house, and since I can’t do scrambled eggs…

Chai as my mid-morning snack on work-days, made with non-fat milk and Oregon Chai Slightly Sweet Chai Tea Latte concentrate

Renee’s Lunch:

Cheese and a couple of gluten free crackers (Crunchmaster, Nut Thins, etc)

Instant Miso Soup on the days when I need a little something else or just need warming up at the too-cold office

Carrots, sugar snap peas, cherry tomatoes

Fruit of some sort (whatever is on sale)

Apple with peanut butter as a late afternoon snack

Hubby’s Breakfast:

(He is not gluten free!) English muffin with egg and cheese, or vegetarian sausage patty (none of it is gluten free) OR a smoothie with yogurt, milk, fruit and protein powder

Hubby’s Lunch:

(He is not gluten free!) Peanut butter and jelly sandwich, Cheez-It’s, carrots, apple and a granola bar for a morning or afternoon snack

We are a reduce, reuse, recycle family, so we save a lot of scrap paper. In particular, I save those extra envelopes that come in bills or what have you and put them in the kitchen junk drawer. I use these envelopes mainly for my grocery lists. When we used to eat a lot more items that were processed, I would also place the coupons for the week inside the envelope so I had them at my fingertips. But as we have evolved away from fewer and fewer processed foods, we have found that there are not too many coupons for fruits and vegetables and other whole foods! This use of the envelopes is one of the habits I have learned from my own mom over the years, although my own system has evolved too.

One key to keeping a well-stocked frig and pantry is to keep a running grocery list. So I keep one of these envelopes clipped to the frig and when I run out of something, I just write it down. That way I don’t go to the cabinet expecting something to be there in the middle of cooking and find I have run out. This is the start then of next week’s list.

So, I do a quick scan of the cabinets and frig for the breakfast and lunch items above. Then I take a general look in the frig and pantry to see what in there needs to be eaten up. Half a head of broccoli or some green onions or some such ingredient. I write these items on the bottom right of my envelope to keep in mind. I hate to waste food, and even with our own laying hens, I don’t like to “waste” certain scraps on them!

Then I grab my latest issues of Cooking Light and Sunset magazines, and some favored cookbooks, and come up with a couple of ideas. As I come up with ideas, I use the back of the envelope to write the ideas down ( see below). I typically don’t attach days with meals, although sometimes I will depending on what the week holds for us. Or I may just write the days down and then meals next to them while not necessarily planning for them to match up, as I’m just looking at quantity of meals. I do plan for leftovers since there are only two of us in the household. And I write down the cookbook and page number if it is in a magazine or cookbook. If it is in my recipe binder or box, then I will flag it with a post-it or pull the card out and hang it on the frig.

(Click to make it larger.) Meals listed on the back of the envelope. Yes, a horrible job of whiting out our address...sorry about that!

As I add the meals to the back of the envelope, I am adding grocery items to the other side of the envelope. I typically hit up three grocery stores in my weekly trip – Costco, Trader Joe’s and Smith’s (traditional grocery store). So I do separate out my list slightly. As you can see below, I have the main list for Trader Joe’s and Smith’s on the left side while the Costco stuff is at the top right. Then about mid-way down on the right is the Whole Foods list – I do not go there very often, maybe twice a month. This week it says shaving soap and R pizza crust (meaning a GF crust for me). Typically I would place the list of items languishing in my frig at the bottom right also but since we have been on vacation there wasn’t much of anything in my frig to make note of today.

Typical Grocery List

You can also see on the right side, about the middle, my ‘check’ list. These are the items I need to check my pantry or frig for, but don’t want to check for while I am coming up with the plan. Once I am done planning, I get up and rummage through the freezer and cabinets once more to see if I have these items and can cross them off or if I need to add them to the main shopping list.

Then I am set to go! I typically try to do my shopping once a week, on Tuesdays. I do NOT like going to the grocery store on the weekends nor do I like going to the store multiple times during the week. I take this list with me and I mark off the items as I put them in my cart. If I don’t mark them off, I always forget something! Some people (my mom!) are even so organized that they know where things are in the grocery store and so write their list out so that the items are in (approximate) order in which she travels through the store. I’ve tried, but just can’t do that.

Then the list comes back home and gets hung up on the side of the frig with the meals showing, so that I can see what the options are for the week.

One more tip – if you use reusable grocery bags, be sure to put them right back in your car after you empty your groceries. That way they are there when you need them. It may take a while to program your head to remember to bring them into the store, but in time you will remember. I hate plastic grocery sacks!

So that’s how I do it. What are your tips for meal planning and grocery shopping?

After typing all that I was ready to hit publish. Ha! But I still need to add my meal plan! And a couple of other meal planning thoughts for you…I try to keep our tofu consumption to once a week, although there is none below in this week’s plan.

As well, I typically only plan to make 4-5 meals a week, counting on leftovers as well as potential changes in our plans.  And I still try to make sure there is at least one meal that is a  ‘pantry/freezer’ meal, meaning that if we don’t get around to making it this week, a bunch of produce isn’t going to go bad. This allows for flexibility if something comes up or we end up with more leftovers than we expected, etc. This week we have more meals planned than is typical as I will be having a medical procedure later this week that will keep us at home. So here’s the plan:

Bean Tacos and Spanish Rice

New Mexico Pinto Bean Soup with Salad and/or leftover Rice – this soup recipe is great, it’s from Lorna Sass’s Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure. I will use some of my Anasazi beans instead of pinto for this as they cook very similarly.

Quinoa Salad with Artichokes and Parsley – a new-to-us recipe from this month’s Cooking Light magazine. I will add a can of chickpeas or eat with veggie burgers for protein.

Spicy Ginger Noodles

Pizza and Salad – non-GF, vegetarian for my husband, gluten free and meaty for me

Yellow Chickpea Curry with Rice

Spaghetti and Salad

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This week’s theme for the Gluten Free Menu Swap is “quick and easy” over at Gluten Free Goodness. We’ve been doing quite a bit of quick and easy lately too.

This week’s plan:

Anasazi Beans with Poblanos, fresh-baked crusty boule and salad

Tex-Mex Lasagna and salad – this is a go-to recipe for us, we vary it a bit and make more than the recipe calls for so that we can eat on it for a couple of days. Plus I have a lot of discounted Tinkyada lasagna noodles that need to be eaten up.

Ma Po Tofu with rice and steamed broccoli – we will omit the meat in the Ma Po.

Chickpea Italiano Stew over rice with salad – this recipe is from Lorna Sass’s Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure cookbook

Chickpea Curry or the last two Green Chile and Cheese Tamales

I would also like to make some Irish Soda Bread this week, either from my go-to recipe from a Bette Hagman cookbook that I have been making for years, or one of these new ones from Amy or Karina.

Be sure to head over to Gluten Free Goodness later this week to see everyone’s inspirational posts. You can also check out OrgJunkie for hundreds more meal plans, literally, although you will need to adapt them to fit your families needs and taste buds.

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This week’s post is going to be short and sweet. I am still paying close attention to the little leftover things in the frig and pantry. Like this week, a couple of sweet potatoes and part of a bag of regular yellow potatoes. They’re outta here!

This week’s  Gluten Free Menu Swap is hosted by Michelle at Gluten Free Smiles. The theme is garlic. I don’t have anything exceptionally garlicky this week but it is in almost every dish I make. I also grow my own garlic which is super easy, it’s all about timing and watering. I have three different varieties growing this year. (Yes, you grow garlic over the winter and harvest in June/July.)

Be sure to head over to Gluten Free Smiles later this week to catch all of the menus once they’re posted. And you can try OrgJunkie too, if you’re looking for more inspiration.

Without further ado:

Spaghetti and Salad - the basic I’m getting home late meal

Cauliflower Potato Curry with basmati rice – in the pressure cooker from a Lorna Sass cookbook

Corn and Sweet Potato Chowder from Vegetarian Planet

Quinoa Taco Salad

Breakfast Risotto – for breakfast though, not dinner, great for when you have house guests

How do you make sure you don’t have anything growing legs in the pantry?


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This week’s Gluten Free Menu Swap is being hosted by Gluten Free Goodness with a theme of “Food as Love”. Quite fitting, don’t you think? You did remember Valentine’s Day, right?

Well, around here this theme fits. We don’t give gifts or make a big deal out of certain dates or holidays. We just appreciate each other every day and show it in those little ways that couples do. That said, in honor of the holiday, we will be having my husband’s favorite meal – PIZZA! – along with a chocolate dessert for us both – we both love chocolate. In fact this evening I jokingly asked him what he got me for Valentine’s Day and he told me that we were playing by the “Japanese rules” this year. This means that the women buy all the MEN in their lives chocolate. Uh-huh. We’ll see about that…

Last week we didn’t get to everything because we had so many leftovers from the tacos and we ended up going out one night. So this week is a lot of repeats from last week.

Pizza! and Salad

Pasta with Red Lentils and Ginger – from Vegetarian Planet – we have a huge jar of red lentils in the pantry

Enchiladas and Salad – new recipe coming soon!

Green Chile Cheese Tamales – from the freezer, it’s the last of them – boo. Guess it’s time to make more…

Maybe a soup in the pressure cooker with some of the dried beans loafing around in the pantry. Probably from Lorna Sass’s cookbook, Great Vegetarian Cooking under Pressure.

What are you cooking this week?

For more great ideas, be sure to go over to Gluten Free Goodness later in the week to see what everyone else has posted. Or check out OrgJunkie (not necessarily GF or Veg).

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Last week I managed to get sick with something, not really sure what, but boy was I pooped and yucky. Comfort food was definitely in order. And coming home from work early to snooze and sit on the couch all evening wrapped up in a blanket.

And so it was fortuitous, that just last week I happened upon some new-to-me gluten free canned soups at Whole Foods. Gluten Free Cafe soups from Health Valley. I was so grateful that I had picked up a couple of cans. It was wonderful to have some canned chicken noodle soup to eat while feeling sick. (I am not the vegetarian in the family, remember?) My husband was grateful as well, he just (lovingly) dumped it in a bowl for me and heated it up! They also have a cream of mushroom soup and a veggie noodle.

I liked the chicken noodle soup. To my sickly taste buds, it tasted good. There were plenty of noodles,veggies and broth and a few chunks of chicken. The chicken was a little bit hard but it all still tasted good to me. Have any of you tasted it yet? Did you like it? I have yet to try the veggie noodle and cream of mushroom.

I often enjoy tea when I am sick too and luckily the Celestial Seasonings seasonal teas are out! Be sure to read the boxes as only a couple of them are gluten free. My two favorites are Candy Cane Lane and Nutcracker Sweet. I will be buying more this week and stocking up because they will be gone after the holidays! Here is a snack I had this weekend with some treats from Katz Gluten Free. (A full review of Katz products will be coming soon, once I can make my way through all their goodies!)

Despite feeling crappy most of the week, I did cook some and I owe you some recipes and reviews!

This week’s Gluten Free Menu Swap is being hosted by Wend at Celiacs in the House and the theme is mushrooms. (Her mushroom hater is gone for the week.) I am not a huge fan of mushrooms but my husband is, so I will include them periodically.

As for this week, this is what I am up to:

Stir-fried Tofu ad Vegetables with Miso Sauce and rice – new-to-us recipe from Fat Free Vegan with mushrooms – she has great tofu recipes!

Matar Paneer and rice – a favorite!

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup from Stephanie over at A Year of Slow-Cooking. I’ll probably make a salad or corn muffins to go along side.

And then I am going to try my hand at Pupusas. Many folks have made them and so I am taking my inspiration from here, here and here. And I will make Diane’s Spicy Slaw. I can’t wait! They will most likely be filled with black bean something-or-other.

I also have to make something for my husband’s holiday potluck at work and so I will be making Glutenfreeda’s Wild Rice Stuffing with Hazelnuts and Cranberries. This has become our go-to dressing for Thanksgiving and the holidays. It also travels well, heating up in a crockpot easily. I took it to my office Thanksgiving potluck a few weeks ago.

As for dessert, I have been eying Elana’s Vegan Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream…and I just might have to make some holiday cookies or candies too!

Have a great week!

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Well, we’re back from our annual Thanksgiving cross-country trek…

Somewhere near Weatherford, Texas, only hours into our 22 hour journey.

The two pups (yellow and chocolate), curled up for the long drive.

So, we have an empty fridge, which means a clean slate. And I have a couple of new cookbooks! I recently tested a wonderfully delicious recipe for Michael over at Herbivoracious and I won two cookbooks for doing so! (I will share more with you once his book is ready to come out.) I ended up choosing A Fistful of Lentils and The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook. I have also been reading my way, albeit slowly, through Gluten Free Girl and the Chef. And I am still cooking my way through a Vegetarian Planet. So much inspiration!

I wrote up my meal plan this evening without even checking to see what this week’s theme was for the Gluten Free Menu Swap, but it is sweet potatoes. Check out the other menu’s over at Gluten Free Goodness, who is hosting this week. I didn’t have any sweet potatoes on my menu, but I noticed this a little bit ago from Book of Yum and it sounds delicious! I just might have to add it…

For this week, plus a little more…

Chickpeas in Tomato, Ginger and Garlic Sauce with Basmati rice – one of our family favorites that I haven’t made in a long time. From a well-worn cookbook, Indian Vegetarian Cooking from an American Kitchen.

Tomato Lentil Soup from Vegetarian Planet by Didi Emmons, new to us.

Pasta Alfredo with chickpeas, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, etc. and salad – this is a make it up as I go along deal. I am craving Alfredo sauce. I might put some chicken or shrimp in mine.

Black Rice with Chickpeas, Bok Choy and Tamari Sauce from Gluten Free Girl and The Chef’s new cookbook. This will be the first recipe I have tried from their cookbook (which isn’t very vegetarian friendly unfortunately).

Thai Coconut Soup from Vegetarian Planet by Didi Emmons with salad or leftover rice.

And maybe, Book of Yum’s Mexican Vegan Sweet Potato Black Bean Hash.

I have also been eyeing these Salt and Vinegar Chickpeas. I love salt and vinegar potato chips and I love chickpeas, so this sounds right up my alley!

What are you cooking up this week?

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Hello! I hope you all had a great Halloween. We don’t get any trick-or-treaters out where we live, although this guy has been known to show up on our front door step. ..


But I don’t think he’s looking for candy…

Maybe one of these?

Ha! No worries, they are secure in their home. The girls got quite the Halloween treat yesterday after I roasted three pie pumpkins.

I didn’t make any treats (or tricks) for us this week but I do have something planned for later this week as part of Adopt a Gluten Free Blogger. I adopted Jenn of The Whole Kitchen. Go on over and check out her site and be sure to read about her transition to the gluten free lifestyle eight years ago. Amazing and inspiring! Plus she’s a wonderful cook. And I’ll be posting soon about some of her creations.

This week’s Gluten Free Menu Swap is being hosted by Celiacs in the House and the theme is peppers. I don’t have any pepper-centric recipes on the menu this week except for some green chile added to a couple of things, but we have had two batches of stuffed poblanos over the past few weeks. The first batch was quinoa stuffed and the second was cheese, corn and pecan stuffed. Both were delicious but need another trial session before they’re ready for prime time.

This week will be a bit calmer for us, no travel or evening meetings, as far as I know. So I should be able to do some cooking this week!

This week, we are planning…

Santa Fe Pumpkin Chowder with Pumpkin Corn Muffins

Green Chile and Cheese Tamales with fresh roasted salsas and Spanish Rice – Contains peppers – New Mexican green chiles!)

Veggie Burgers (or salmon burger for me) with Quinoa Tabbouleh - and as David Lebovitz says, tabbouleh is meant to be an herb salad, more herbs and vegetables than bulgur, or in this case, quinoa. (I had just read his post as I was making my meal plan and the green herbs and lemon juice sound wonderful right now!)

Sesame Noodles with Broccoli and Roasted Tofu

Anasazi Bean something… does anyone have any good recipes? I have never made them before but we grew some this year and I bought a big bag at the farmer’s market.

So that’s it for this week. I also will be making a sweet or two from The Whole Kitchen…so stay tuned!

Be sure to check out the other plans at Celiacs in the House and OrgJunkie.


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This week I am hosting the Gluten Free Menu Swap. I hope you’ll join us! Please check back later in the week too, to see what other folks have planned.

Each week there is a theme for the Gluten Free Menu Swap, but you can always participate, regardless of whether you follow the theme. Since my cucumbers are beginning to come on, I figured that I needed to hear some new ideas on what to do with cucumbers and so this week’s theme is Cucumbers! I looked around myself for some new ideas for cucumbers. I found a couple of recipes which are bookmarked for later – Bavarian Potato-Cucumber Salad, Cucumber Soup and Spicy Cucumber Noodle Salad with Edamame. And I also have a couple of cucumber recipes already posted here – Spicy Ginger Noodles and Spicy Tofu with Vegetables and Cucumber Salad.

As part of my typical meal planning process, I went looking in the garden, refrigerator, freezer and pantry to see what needs to be eaten. I found some homemade pizza sauce in the freezer. And in the refrigerator I found some fresh green beans, parsley, cilantro, a red bell pepper, a few green onions, lots of cucumbers and the end of our snow peas.

Of course, today I also went to the Farmer’s Market and picked up a couple of things. First off, fresh sweet corn! Woo-hoo! The first of the season for me. And the same gentlemen had fresh, in-the-shell, black-eyed peas. I also spied some fingerling potatoes and I grabbed a bunch of beets to try. And I have quite a bit of basil that needs to be harvested and processed into something, probably pesto, which I will then freeze.

I recently harvested my garlic for the summer, but today I bought a couple more heads of another variety with the intent of planting one of the head’s in the fall. (Yes, in case you didn’t know it, garlic is planted in the fall and harvested in early or mid-summer.) This year’s harvest was of Red Rezan, a hard-necked variety from Russia. We bought it last summer from Boxcar Farm at the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market. I am saving a couple heads of it for planting in the fall and the rest is stored in the pantry for the year. Today I bought a variety called Inchelium Red.

Below is this year’s harvest. Not bad! They were a little small, but it is garlic!

My in-laws are coming into town later this week and we aren’t quite sure what we will decide to do while they are here, so I am keeping it flexible. I do know my Texas-raised mother-in-law will appreciate the fresh black-eyed peas I found so I will wait until she is here to make them. Plus she can help me shell them! (Hi Martha!) I am sure we will be doing the last-minute clean-up before they get here too, so I need some quick and easy dinners so as to allow us to get all that stuff done this week.

So, for this week, here’s the plan:

Fresh Corn on the Cob, Green Beans and Fingerling Potatoes and Cucumber Salad – I am like my mother in that I could make an entire meal of corn-on-the cob but I figure I should probably eat something else with it!

English Muffin Pizzas with Salad (with cucumber) – I will use the Food For Life Gluten Free English Muffins and the thawed, homemade pizza sauce I found in the freezer. Maybe some pesto.

Italian Rice Salad - we didn’t get to this last week.

Honeyed Beet Quinoa Summer Salad or Balsamic Dressed Roasted Beets on Salad Greens - our first trial of beets, we’ll see which one sounds good.

Fresh Black Eyed Peas and Tomatoes – when I saw these at the farmer’s market today, I already knew what I would do with them, thanks to Amy at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free! Of course, we won’t be making it with the bacon, but I might sub in some of the Trader Joe’s soy chorizo instead or some smoked paprika or Liquid Smoke. And if it isn’t too hot, I might turn on the oven and make some cornbread with Talon de Gato Blue Corn Cornmeal.

Grilling – probably some tofu steaks, maybe some salmon or chicken for me and our guests, vegetables, maybe some pineapple again. Corn on the cob? We’ll see.

That’s it for me, and so for the other swappers:

Wendy at Celiacs in the House is rolling in fresh produce this week, from her own garden and the farmer’s market. I love the picture showing how to contain out-of-control squash! She too has plenty of cucumbers and they have been eating them in tzatziki on Greek turkey burgers. Maybe I need to make some Greek turkey burgers and tzatziki for my guests this week! Hmmm… She also discovered a cucumber and black-eyed pea recipe that I could use for my fresh peas. I think we were on the same wavelength this week with the cukes and black-eyed peas…

Over at I Love Nectarines, it’s Susan’s birthday and she has some yummy plans. She says she is taking it easy this week with some simpler recipes, mostly salads and leftovers, but she’s going to try making an angel food cake and a sour cream coffee cake to celebrate! We’ll be waiting to hear how it goes, Susan! The tiramisu from last year looks wonderful! I personally haven’t made an angel food cake in quite a few years, although I did make a sponge cake recently that was quite tasty and did involve whipping many egg whites. Not many cucumbers on her menu this week except in the salads, but she did suggest trying stir-fried cucumbers – and I just might!

Heather at Celiac Family is serving up Kalyn’s Tomato, Cucumber and Avocado Salad this week, among many other yummy items. She also has another cucumber suggestion – in spring rolls, which are a fun alternative to sandwich bread, especially as a cool summer treat. They are also having some fun this week with popcorn (and other stuff) for a light dinner one night! Sounds good to me!

That’s it for this week, but again, please check back later as I will be adding links to other Gluten Free Menus as they become available!

And be sure to check out the home of the Gluten Free Menu Swap for more information and let Cheryl know if you would like to host in the future.

This menu is also cross-posted over at Org Junkie and the hundreds of other menu plans. Check it out!

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