Warm Meals & Winter Groceries
Winter, for me, is the season of warmth. Of trying to get warm. Of home, rest, family, and reading. Of staying cozy on the couch and watching Derry Girls, or The Good Place (for the third time). It also means warm food, warm comfort food that hits the spot on a cold evening to be exact.
In these winter months it is super normal to crave more food, and more carbs, just like it is normal to crave more sleep and to stay inside more than in the other seasons. But because of this, I find that it is easy to get sucked into the repetition of cheesy pasta and heavy meals. I don’t feel great when all I eat is potatoes and bread (lol) and yet, I still crave those cozy winter bowls of carbs, and then feel lousy when I partake.
These carb-cravings and desire to fill up over the cold months is not my favourite feeling. But one thing to remember is to embrace each season for what it is. Delicious, fresh veggies will come soon enough, and then salads and fruits will get their time to shine. But for now, I want to enjoy the winter meals for what they are and embrace the ingredients of the season!
This winter I have worked hard to meal prep my lunches and make sure I am filling my bowl with colour & nutrients. As someone who eats a plant-based diet, and has since I was born, I have a few recipes up my sleeve that may be a little different than your standard winter meals. So I thought I would share!
What’s On My Grocery List….
- Broccoli | Kale | Spinach | Avocados (when I feel fancy)
- Yams | Mushrooms | Garlic
- Canned Chickpeas | Canned Lentils | Veggie Burgers (I LOVE the MorningStar Farms Chipotle Black Bean Burgers)
- Quinoa | Brown Rice | Tortilla Shells | Pasta
- Eggs | Cheese | Oat Milk
- Tomato Sauce | Nutritional Yeast | Yeshi Dressing
- Frozen Fruit | Bananas (for smoothies)
- Oats | Dark chocolate chips (for a healthy breakfast cookie!)
I do grocery shopping once per week (at least, I try to!) and the shops in rotation include Save-On-Foods (right by our house!), Costco for some of the staple items such as rice, veggie burgers, and quinoa, and The Root Cellar for veggies!
My Go-To Meal Prep Hack
For meal prep, I have a simple formula that I follow to have delicious, veggie-filled bowls to bring for lunch each day. I make a big pot of a grain for the base (quinoa or brown rice) and I roast two large pans of vegetable (anything from yams to brussel sprouts to broccoli). After both of these elements of the meal are done, I put all the veggies in a big tupperware, and all the grains into another tupperware, and pop them in the fridge.
Some people prefer to make a separate, small tupperwares for each day, but I like being able to decide what I want for lunch each day by preparing it in the morning. This way, I get to decide what “topping” I would like that day (either avocado, hummus, goat cheese, or nutritional yeast) and whether I would like it wrapped up in a tortilla or just in a bowl. I often make something similar to this for dinner, but with a bed of braised kale instead of a grain, and a veggie burger & Yeshi dressing added on top.
Meal Idea: Three-Coloured Noodles
This is a meal that I grew up on. It is what I call a “healthy” comfort food and it is definitely in my regular meal-rotation through the winter. My mom has made it ever since I can remember, and the name comes from the fact that she always used to make it with Tricolour Rotini, and although it can be made with any pasta, the name stuck.
You will need… pasta (as much as you would like) cooked, and then drained into a pot or bowl | nutritional yeast | kale | garlic, finely sliced | olive oil for frying | soy sauce.
Heat up the olive oil in a frying pan and roughly chop the kale. Add first the finely sliced garlic, then the kale, into the pan. Fry until the garlic is a buttery brown and the kale is deliciously seared. Add both of these into the pot of cooked pasta. Add small dashes of soy sauce and 3-4 tablespoons of nutritional yeast into the pot as you stir all the ingredients together. Continue adding these two ingredients until the whole pot is creamy and “cheesy”. Enjoy!
Meal Idea: Lentil & Kale Wrap
Another delicious recipe that is healthy, filling, and warms me up in these cold months. I have already posted this recipe on a past blog post, you can find it here.
Meal Idea: Loaded Quesadilla
I am a HUGE Quesadilla fan, but sometimes the just cheese & spinach combo doesn’t hit the spot. I have been adding leftover roasted yams, broccoli, and veggie burger to my quesadillas and YUM! This is a great strategy when you want to use only one tortilla shell, just fold it in half and enjoy more veggies and less tortilla!
Meal Idea: Breakfast Cookie
Cookies for breakfast?? Sign me up!! This handy recipe is perfect for if you have a sweet tooth that you are trying to curb, or if you are looking for a healthy way to eat oatmeal on the go!
You will need…. two bananas | 3 cups of oats (approximately) | your desired amount of chocolate chips | 1/2 cup nut butter of your choice | parchment paper for baking | cinnamon (optional).
First, preheat your oven to 375 and line a cooking sheet with parchment paper. Mash up your two bananas and stir in the nut butter. Once the mixture is smooth, stir in chocolate chips. Begin to stir in oats until the mixture is firm enough to pick up with your hands and shape into a ball. Lay out cookies on the cookie sheet and pop in the oven for 20 minutes. If they are still soft (I find this may happen if the bananas are very ripe), keep them in the oven until the top is slightly firm to the touch.
As much as I am looking forward to fresh veggies and fruits, this time of year really makes me value the importance of food, and especially sharing food. With thanksgiving and Christmas, the idea of gathering around a table with those you love is top of mind, and it brings a whole new meaning to eating. This is just a small reminder that food brings us together and is an excellent way to show love. Whether that is donating to a food bank, inviting family for dinner, or sharing a cup of coffee with a friend. Last week I cooked a chicken breast for Josh so when he arrived home there was a pasta dinner ready for him, and he was so grateful (and surprised, I don’t eat chicken so he usually makes his own!) and it warmed my heart. The other night he surprised me by bringing home my favourite cookies, there are so many ways to use food to express love.