Meal Plan Recap + Grocery List (June)

Meal Plan Recap + Grocery List (June)

Happy Sunday! As promised, here’s a recap of this week’s 3-day meal plan! If you’re tuning in for the first time this week, here’s what’s happening: A few months ago I did a 5-day plan where I started with one set of ingredients that worked into 5 consecutive meals. A lot of you wrote me to say that it was helpful, so using that same inspiration – meals that share similar ingredients but do not all taste the same – I came up with this week’s plan:

Here are the main ingredients:

Mangoes: because they’re so juicy and refreshing for summer.

Cucumber: again – refreshing.

Green Cabbage: because I always need multiple uses for a head of cabbage

Black Beans: because I don’t often finish a whole can at once.

Avocados: because everyone loves avocado!

Rice: Since we got back from our trip to Japan, I’ve been on a rice kick. And when I make a big batch, I have extra.

Other: Limes, tamari, pickled ginger, sriracha, avocado mayo – for overall flavor boosting. I generally have these things on hand at all times.

And here are the recipes! (click here for the Grocery List).

Meal Plan Recap + Grocery List (June)

1. Mango & Black Bean Ginger Rice Bowls

I’ve been on this sweet-savory-crispy bowl kick lately – it’s packed with SO many refreshing veggies, making this a perfect meal for summer. The sauce – a tamari-lime vinaigrette is light but full of punchy flavor. Also – these bowls are quite large and some readers have commented that it made enough for lunch the next day.

Meal Plan Recap + Grocery List (June)

2. Mango Cucumber Nori Wraps

This is veggie sushi for people like me who don’t want to spend time rolling maki. I’ve been a fan of this avocado-cucumber-mango combination ever since I made it for this sushi recipe. I love the juicy texture of the mango next to the crisp cucumber. It’s delicious wrapped with seasoned rice and yummy spicy mayo. For this recipe, I used up the rest of my rice and the 1/2 leftover cucumber from recipe #1. If you’ve never used nori at home – now’s your chance! Sea vegetables are so good for you and it’s an easy pantry staple to keep on hand. (Tip: if you can’t find nori, make lettuce wraps).

Meal Plan Recap + Grocery List (June)

3. Spicy Mango, Black Bean & Avocado Tacos

If you’re like me, your meal cravings rotate in this circular pattern: 1. salad/bowl-type-meal 2.  sushi 3. tacos… and repeat. So naturally, recipe #3 here is to take everything leftover – that chunk of leftover green cabbage from recipe #1, leftover black beans, the last mango, the remaining 1/2 avocado, and the yummy spicy mayo that was leftover from recipe #2. This recipe was the quickest to put together but – yum yum yum.

So that’s it! CLICK HERE for the Printable PDF Grocery List.

Let me know if you find this kind of post useful and if you’d like to see more of these!

Sweet Corn Recipes

IMG_2016_06_08_07965

The other day, I professed my love of midwest sweet corn and as a result, I got a ton requests for more ways to use corn while it’s in peak season. To be honest, when corn is at its best like it is right now, not much has to be done to it… I usually just grill it with a little olive oil and a few pinches of salt or toss the raw kernels into salads. But here are some of my favorite corn recipes that go a bit further and are so perfect if you’re up to your ears in corn this summer!

You can click on the photos themselves to take you to the full recipe:

Grilled Corn, Cucumber, Peach & Avocado Salad

Grilled Corn, Cucumber, Peach & Avocado Salad
This is one of my all-time favorite recipes – it’s basically an explosion of everything that’s in season right now (peaches, peppers, cucumber, basil, etc), and drizzled with creamy cilantro dressing. If you make one recipe before summer is over – make it this one 🙂

Creamy Vegan Corn Chowder

Creamy Vegan Corn Chowder
Another reader favorite – this chowder is thick, satisfying, and perfect for cooler summer nights. It contains 4 ears of sweet corn, potato for thickness, smoked paprika for, well, smokiness. It’s finished with a bit of coconut milk in lieu of cream.

Tostadas with Smoky Sweet Corn Hummus

Tostadas with Smoky Sweet Corn Hummus
This recipe uses a trifecta of corn – there’s creamy corn hummus, slathered on crispy corn tortillas, with more corn (and other things – avocado, jalapeno) piled on top.

Vegan Cobb Salad with Coconut "Bacon"

Vegan Cobb Salad with Coconut Bacon
This star of this recipe is the crispy, smoky coconut “bacon,” but corn, tofu, avocado, zucchini, tomatoes, etc), make it a satisfying full-meal salad.

Chili Lime Grilled Corn on the Cob

Chili Lime Grilled Corn on the Cob
THIS SAUCE on corn, omg, it’s so so good. The leftover sauce here is used on the Corn Cucumber & Peach salad at the top of this post.

Taco Bowls with Cucumber Jalapeño Ranch

Taco Bowls with Cucumber Jalapeño Ranch
One of my favorite recent recipes – spiced quinoa, corn, crispy tortillas, and a “ranch” dressing that’s made with almonds – a wonderful light, yet filling, summer dinner.

Summer Squash Vegetable Pizza

Summer Squash Vegetable Pizza
Another example of how I love to throw corn on everything! This summer squash vegetable pizza is loaded with, well, a garden full of corn and other vegetables.

Mexican Street Corn Salad

Mexican Street Corn Salad
This is an off-the-cob version of Elotes – this salad is creamy, smoky, and spicy. It’s an older recipe, but one I go back to often.

Tell me – what do you love to make with corn?

Cool Summer Recipes for Hot Days

Watermelon Gazpacho

Last week, we spent a few short days in NYC during that hot hot heat wave. We did a bunch of walking, a bunch of sweating, and whenever we’d sit down to a meal I’d find myself ordering anything on the menu that was cold and refreshing. I had a wonderful watermelon gazpacho at ABC Kitchen… some pretty salads, and more salads. I came back craving some cool favorites that I thought I’d share here. Click directly on the photos to go to each recipe!

First up – this Watermelon Gazpacho, blended with tomatoes, cucumbers, basil and a pop of red wine vinegar. This is probably the most refreshing recipe on the blog – be sure to put it on your list before summer is over!

Watermelon Gazpacho Corn, Cucumber, Peach & Avocado Salad

This Corn, Cucumber, Peach, and Avocado Salad is one of my all-time favorites. It has a great crunch from the grilled corn and a nice pop of sweetness from the peaches and the basil. A creamy chile-lime dressing takes it to the next level.

Watermelon Poke Bowls

When I think of foods that are hydrating, watermelon and cucumbers are at the top of the list. This faux Watermelon “Poke” Bowl was inspired by a bowl from Poke Poke, one of our favorite lunch spots in Austin. The watermelon is dressed with a tangy tamari-lime dressing, and topped with a sprinkle of furikake (a mix of nori, sesame seeds and sea salt). I know – this concoction sounds a little weird, but it really works 🙂

Watermelon St. Germain Cocktails

I’m obviously on a watermelon kick and I just love these St. Germain Watermelon Cocktails. They’re made of pureed watermelon (but you can also buy cold pressed watermelon juice), lemon juice, vodka, and St. Germain. A simple combo that’s so refreshing.

Tomato Basil Artichoke Picnic Sandwich

Before the summer is over, go on a picnic and bring these Tomato Basil Artichoke Picnic Sandwiches. They’re slathered with a delicious basil edamame spread and they travel well!

Peach & Plum Caprese Salad

A quick no-cook appetizer – this Peach & Plum Caprese Salad is a sweet spin on a classic.

Chocolate Avocado Almond Pudding Pops

For a sweet afternoon snack – these vegan creamy Chocolate Avocado Almond Pudding Pops are a healthier version than the pudding pops I used to eat as a kid. I promise the avocado taste is undetectable (and Jack agrees!)

Summer Squash Vegetable Pizza

When you have every summer vegetable under the sun – throw it on a pizza!

Cucumber Mango Miso Noodle Bowls

More summer means more cucumbers! These Cucumber Mango Miso Noodle Bowls are great for a light dinner and perfect for lunch the next day.

Raspberry Lemon Chia "Cheesecake"

Last but not least – a no-bake freezer dessert. This Raspberry Lemon Chia “Cheesecake” is a cool dairy-free treat!

9 Recipes To Make Before Summer Ends

Pattypan Panzanllla

As a self-declared “summer person” August is always a little bittersweet for me. Five minutes ago it was May, and all of a sudden back-to-school supplies are on store shelves. Which shouldn’t matter to me – it’s been years since I’ve been in school – but the thought of notebooks and number two pencils still sends a little chill up my spine. No matter how old I am, I’ll never be quite ready to let the summer go.

Today’s recipes use all of my favorite late summer produce – zucchini, summer squashes, peppers, corn, eggplant, and (the one I’ll be most sad to see go): peaches. These are some of our all-time favorites and I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Patty Pan Panzanella: (pictured above) A hearty veggie-filled salad using sauteed summer squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, day-old bread and tons of herbs.

Summer Squash Vegetable Pizza:

Summer Squash Vegetable Pizza: When it comes to pizza, I usually think less is more – but when you’ve got tons of zucchini and you’re up to your ears in corn – pile it all on. This one is messy to eat, but it’s a fun way to eat SO many summer vegetables.

Summer Squash Orecchette:

Summer Squash Orecchette: More zucchini, I know, but don’t you have tons of it? This simple pasta with rosemary and lemon is a light, yet satisfying. We like to make this one on Sundays with a glass of rose, but it’s easy enough to pull off any night of the week.

Peach Salad with Mint and Pistachios:

Peach Salad with Mint and Pistachios: This salad is one of my absolute favorites – peaches and mint are not only a winning combo, but they’re so delicious over a f zucchini noodles with a dollop of savory spiced coriander yogurt.

Peach & Plum Crumble

Peach & Plum Crumble: One of my summer goals is always to consume as many peaches as possible. This crumble recipe will work with any in-season fruit, but it’s my absolute favorite with peaches.

Grilled Eggplant Pesto Sandwiches

Grilled Eggplant Pesto Sandwiches: I always get asked “what do I do with eggplant,” and my first reply is always “grill it!” If you’re afraid of working with eggplant, give this one a try.

Eggplant and Roasted Tomato Farro Salad

Eggplant and Roasted Tomato Farro Salad: When we came home from Rome last summer, this was the first meal that I recreated, inspired by a terrific salad I had at Roscioli’s. I love the concentrated super sweet flavor of slow roasted tomatoes – they’re so good with meaty eggplant, chewy farro and peppery arugula. Make a big batch and keep this salad around all week. Its a great picnic lunch.

IMG_2015_06_26_05317-2

Tostadas with Smoky Sweet Corn Hummus: A corn trifecta – smoky sweet corn hummus on top of corn tortillas, topped with grilled corn (and avocado and tomatillo salsa).

IMG_2016_06_08_08000-3

Corn, Cucumber, Peach & Avocado Salad: Last but not least, my favorite salad that I created so far this summer – the name kind of says it all – it’s full of all my favorite fruits and vegetables, tossed with a creamy chile-lime dressing. It’s summer in a bowl.

6 steps to prep for a healthy week

6 steps to prep for a healthy week / loveandlemons.com

Here’s a little guide to how I like to plan for meals throughout the week. I don’t do a bunch of heavy weekend batch cooking, but I DO like to prep just a few basics that can be worked into versatile meals throughout the week. If I spend just a little time, I find that I can set myself up for a healthy week ahead.

And because chopping vegetables in silence is no fun, I’m partnering with Audible to share a few of my favorite foodie “reads” that I like to listen to while I work. I love how easy their app is to use – check it out for yourself and download a free book as part of their free 1-month trial offer.

6 steps to prep for a healthy week / loveandlemons.com

This plan changes by season, but this is what my basic summertime prep looks like. Store everything in air-tight containers in the fridge:

1. Clean & massage a big bunch of kale. I like to eat kale salads for lunch, but I hate to stop in the middle of my work day to make one. Having the kale prepped ahead of time makes these salads easy to throw together.

Wash and dry a big bunch of kale. Remove the leaves by holding the stem with one hand and stripping the leaf with your other hand. Place the kale in a large bowl with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and a good squeeze of lemon. Use your hands to massage the leaves together until they’re soft and wilted. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. (Tip: save the kale stems for pesto or soup – I also like to chop them and feed them to my dogs).

6 steps to prep for a healthy week / loveandlemons.com

2. Pre-chop some seasonal produce. This changes by season (for example, in the fall, I’ll pre-roast sweet potatoes), but current selection is corn, cherry tomatoes, chopped cucumbers, red peppers and scallions. These veggies are great on my lunch salad (especially with avocado, chopped peaches and hemp seeds). Work them into dinners by tossing them with pasta or serving next to grilled fish with generous scoops of a good sauce…which brings me to item #3:

3. Make a good sauce. Put it on everything all week: your salads, sandwiches, grain bowls, etc. Toss with pasta or scoop onto whatever you’re grilling. This one is a creamy (vegan) basil jalapeño sauce made with hemp seeds. (Scroll down for the recipe!).

6 steps to prep for a healthy week / loveandlemons.com 3. Pre-cook a grain. I like to have cooked quinoa on hand for grain bowls. If you have extra at the end of the week make these cookies.

6 steps to prep for a healthy week / loveandlemons.com

4. Make a soup that’ll last the week. I love soup-prep because soups always taste better on the second day and they keep well all week. This time I went with this Watermelon Gazpacho because it’s so refreshing on hot summer days. I also strategically used many of the ingredients that I chopped up there in item #2 and I cut up extra watermelon to have on hand for mid-day snacks.

6 steps to prep for a healthy week / loveandlemons.com

5. Listen to a great book while you work! Currently, I’m listening to Michael Pollen’s Cooked (which is sort of ironic because this particular prep-session is entirely raw, but I digress). His previous book, In Defense of Food, was one of the reads that inspired my love for eating real, unprocessed, whole foods. His quote: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” has really stuck with me. I love listening to these books while cooking because they remind me why I love what I do so much.

6 steps to prep for a healthy week / loveandlemons.com

These are some other foodie books that I love:
Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
The Third Plate by Dan Barber
32 yolks by Eric Ripert
Stir by Jessica Fechtor

If you have favorites, please recommend them to me in the comments! And don’t forget to download your first audio book for free as part of Audible’s 30 day trial offer.