Lent arrived this week with an ice storm. Friends of ours let us sleep in their den so that we could attend Forgiveness Vespers and not have to brave the icy roads back to our house. The children loved this little adventure and would love for it to become an annual tradition. However I will advise that Forgiveness Vespers prostrations followed by an air mattresses will not be my preferred combination when the roads are safely passable. The best part of the stay was joining together with friends for the first morning prayers of the Lenten season, especially when another of the stranded is a practiced Reader.
Now onto Lenten meals. Last year I was given the advice to plan a week’s worth of meals that I know my family will eat and then repeat until Pascha. It was sound and simple advice, and great for those new to fasting meals or less adventurous palates.
I took a slightly different approach. I’m part of a produce co-op in my area and every week I get different fruits and vegetables. That means the same-thing-every-week-plan won’t exactly work for me. So once I’ve got my produce, I make a plan on how to use it in the next week. I’ve got categories that I use each week. I try keep the oily ones for the weekends and the others for the weekdays. Then I always make enough for lunch the next day so I don’t have to cook any more than is necessary during the week.
These categories aren’t set in stone, but they do help me keep from making soup every night.
Hummus night (A different flavor every week)
Beans and Rice (or other grains)
So here are two different week’s meal plans using my categories. Remember the items in bold are the new produce from my weekly basket, the others are ones left in the fridge from prior weeks. Other ingredients needed to round out the meals I purchase at the grocery store and may not list below.
I use the fruit mostly for snacks for the kids. The last few weeks have been heavy in apples and citrus. This week we got some pears, but I’ve been having to purchase extra pears to tide over the boys who are allergic to the apples and oranges.
Week of March 2
Pasta – Asparagus with a garlic olive oil sauce and cannellini beans
Soup – onions, carrots, celery, fresh turmeric (from that Asian pack several weeks ago) – Curried Lentil Soup (no lemongrass this time)
Salad – Cucumber, jicama, lettuce, carrots, celery – with cranberry beans
Stirfry – Broccoli, onion, and carrot – Broccoli Cashew Stirfry
Wraps – Avocado, lettuce, cilantro – Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burritos
Hummus – Cucumber, jicama, carrots, and celery with crisp toasted rice tortillas
Beans and Rice – onion, celery, carrots – Red Beans and Rice
Week of March 9
This week is one that will break the category “rules” a bit. I am splitting a case of Brussels sprouts with my mom, and I got a St. Patrick’s Day Produce pack in addition to my weekly basket. Toss in John’s birthday on Friday and it’s a week ripe for deviation from the pattern. I think we’ll skip hummus night this week.
I also believe that our contribution to this week’s Sunday potluck will be a batch of mixed root vegetables roasted with Brussels sprouts and onions.
Pasta – Brussels Sprouts – Olive oil garlic sauce with penne
Salad – Celery, jicama, carrots – with red beans
Soup – Cauliflower, potatoes, onion – Cauliflower Curry
Stirfry – Brussels sprouts, onion, and carrots with pecans
Wraps/sandwiches – Asian pears with cashews – Vegan Spring rolls
Beans and Rice – Black beans with roasted acorn squash (I’ve still had two acorn squashes on the counter from several weeks ago)
John’s birthday dinner (Thanks for the idea, Elizabeth!) – Cabbage, potato, onions, mushrooms – Vegan Pirogi “Pizza”
This still leaves me with several unused items from the basket. I’ve got asparagus, which I will likely freeze for another day or serve up with John’s birthday dinner for a little something extra. Then there is spaghetti squash. It’ll keep until next week, so no worries.