Monday, October 19, 2009

New Week, New Job, New Food!

There are a few things I haven't really mentioned on here. First, I quit my job. Second, I got a new one. I know a lot of you were with me for my student teaching earlier this year, and I was really stressed out. I started a job with a very large school district here, and it just wasn't working for me. I think I cried every day except Fridays and Saturdays. So I quit.

Today I am starting a new job at a vet's office. I am really looking forward to it. The best part is that I don't have to do hours of planning at home, so I had plenty of time to get everything ready for this week regarding food. Of course, food is the first thing that pops into my mind when I have any kind of free time.

Sundays now, are spent planning meals, food shopping and cooking. All through the week when I find something I want to make, I put it on the "Dinner Ideas" list, and then add the ingredients to the list. By Sunday, I maybe have one meal to add, and we are ready to go. After hitting Trader Joe's (we are addicted to their granola, aka crack in a box) and Wegmans, I headed back for a nice afternoon of cooking my little heart out.

First up is a batch of seitan, same as I made last week. I had dinner plans, but I really wanted to bake something. I poured through my many cookbooks and ended up on the computer going through Sweet Freedom. I love this cookbook, but I've only made a few things because many of the recipes include things that I should have on hand...but don't. Like agave. I ran out a few months ago and didn't buy it again. There is a lot of agave. Anyway, I settled on a delicious Raisin Tea Bread. Named not because it is to be eaten with tea (which was what I thought), but because there is actually tea as part of the liquid in it. Sweetened lightly with maple syrup and made with whole grain spelt, this baked up beautifully, with a nice crunch to the exterior, but a light and moist interior.

I used Chai Tea, which was intensified by the warm spices added to the bread.

After that, we watched a movie and I have to say that our recent movie rentals have been dismal. One of them we didn't even finish, and the other two...if I had my way, we wouldn't have. Nick said, that's what you get when you get your movies from a vending machine (Redbox), but I really think we just chose poorly.

Dinner was Breakfast. Or the other way around. I wanted to try Bianca's Breakfast Casserole, and I knew I would never actually get around to making it for breakfast. Her recipe calls for the use of any cheesy sauce recipe, and I doubled this recipe, from Fat Free Vegan's Eggplant Parmesan, which was one of the first posts I made on here, actually.

It came out delicious; yummy pieces of soaked bread, chunks of scrambled tofu, and bites of smoky sausage. I used Yves breakfast sausage, and I added garlic and onion to the scramble. Next time I think I will add some greenery to it, maybe mix in some peppers, or spinach.

Of course, it was only natural to follow this up with something else breakfast-y, the Tea Bread! With some vegan cream cheese slathered on, this was the perfect end to my day of food.

How do you go about planning your meals for the week? Do you just play it by ear with what's in the fridge? Go shopping every other day? Plan everything in advance and hope it all works out?

Hope everyone has a fantastic week! I hope to see you back here fairly often since, as my job doesn't start until 11, I will have plenty of blogging time!


  1. Congrats on the new job, Gina!! What an exciting change! I hope you have an awesome first day at work! :-)

    I am so jealous that you have a Wegmans nearby, we went to a couple of their stores a few years ago when we were working in PA and NY, and their organic and vegetarian selection was excellent!

    We tend to plan about five meals before we go grocery shopping, and then we just wing it for a couple of days with whatever is left in the fridge.

    Thank you for your sweet comment! Witchita and her kitty say HI! :-)

  2. Congrats on your new job-sounds wonderful! And what great eats you have made. That casserole looks perfect for any meal.

    I'm so glad you enjoyed the tea bread from the cookbook! Yes, about 50% of the recipes use agave. However, in most cases you can sub maple syrup or even sucanat + some maple syrup--just check the conversions in Chapter 2 (or you can email me any time if you have questions!) :)

  3. Congrats on new job. The bread looks amazing. Love homemade bread!
    Debra @ Vegan Family Style

  4. OOoh! So much yumminess! I am intrigued by that raisin tea bread, I imagine it is just delicious. And that casserole? YES PLEASE!

  5. wow a job that makes you cry all the time is no good. glad you could find a new job. i kind of plan out my meals for the week when i go to the farmers market on saturday and see what i want to get, while being flexible knowing that some meals i have planned might not get eaten until the week after if we end up too busy, and knowing i might have to pick up a few ingredients during the week if we end up getting to cook dinner together more than expected.

  6. Hey Gina... I just wanted to suggest that you substitute teach to keep your head in the game. Teachers from my high school leave positions open when they are out for maternity leave and other various reasons, and a qualified sub is the first place they look to fill that job. I teach H.S. English and I love love love it. When you find the right district, it's the most dynamic and rewarding job out there. I am glad you found other work for now, but teachig is amazing, so don't let yourself get too far away from it. And have you tried Singapore yet or what?!? :)

  7. I'm glad you have a new job you will enjoy.

    Your bread and casserole look very delicious!

    I shop for groceries mainly on the weekend and then usually supplement once during the week. I have a couple of meals in mind, then just get creative with what's on hand the rest of the week.

  8. congrats on finding a new job that you like!! i hope it works out well!!
    that bread looks so good!

  9. Congrats on the new job.

    We don't plan our meals, which some people say is bad for budgeting, etc. Instead, we go to the markets and load up on whatever veggies are cheap, and then make a point to use them up before the next shopping day. Sometimes we think ahead after buying the veggies and make tentative plans for meals throughout the week. At the supermarket we don't buy much that is perishable, just things like tofu, pasta and grains, and tinned tomatoes that we use all the time.

  10. Wow, that raisin bread and the casserole look delicious.

    I always try to plan my meals for the week, but that usually only last for 2 or 3 days. After that, I just improvise with whatever is left in the fridge :)

  11. That raisin tea bread has my name all over it! Gimme!

  12. Congratulations, I'm so happy to hear you have a new job! Hope you enjoy it as much as possible, and it proves to be a rewarding experience. :)

    PS, that bread? Amazing. I can't believe I missed that recipe! I'll have to go look it up...

  13. Congratulations on the new job!!

    Yum! That tea bread looks awesome! And I love the breakfast casserole too (woe is me, I wish I could eat tofu!!)

    We don't plan our meals at all. I tried that but everyone always changes their minds and I end up throwing out loads of food, so we decide on the morning and I go to the shops for what we need to go along with the pantry staples. I end up spending way too much on food and impulse buys though! Shopping for 3 very different diets in the one house is a nightmare too!

  14. our week nights get so busy sometimes, i almost never plan meals until the day of.

    that breakfast casserole looks great - i've meaning to make it.

    good luck with your new job!

  15. OH MY GOODNESS, you are not only vegan strong... you are vegan sweet (like a banana!). Thank you so much for the help. Your totally getting a dedication and a special surprise soon.

  16. WOW, Gina, good for you!!! So awesome~keep inspiring us!

  17. Thanks for your bloggie comment support!

    Congrats on quitting and starting a new job...milestones! Yay!