Monday, March 14, 2011

My Own Private Lenten Miracles

So it turns out that menu planning is my new best friend. My old method was to have a lot of our tried and true staples on hand, but with Lent it just doesn't work out. I don't have enough tried and true vegan dinners that I even know where to begin with keeping staples on hand for that. So every week I'm sitting down and writing out the weekly dinner menu, and the added benefit is that I save money every week at the store. I have a feeling this has less to do with making my list based on menu planning and more to do with not being able to eat my usual impulse purchases (most contain dairy and/or eggs, as they are generally baked goods or milk chocolate), but let's go with menu planning! It's a financial miracle!

I'm feeling more confident than I thought I would about Lenten dinner preparation. Vegan dinners are really not so hard, it turns out, if you're comfortable with a wide variety of international flavors and can find the time to chop a lot of vegetables. We eat out once a week, and I'm pretty sure it would be fine with all of us to grab some misir watt at Duo each week, though we'll likely branch out to Blue Koi a couple of times because: Ants on a Tree with tofu, yes PLEASE. (Locals who have been to Blue Koi are nodding, and the rest of you are confused. Sorry to the rest of you--both for confusing you and because you don't have Blue Koi.) So it's working. And I feel good. Even without coffee*. Another miracle!

The one thing that seems to be missing from the Lenten fast for me is a spiritual aspect, which is kind of the point. I don't feel like it's doing much other than teaching me to cook in a new way. But maybe that's part of the point? That I am stretched a bit by learning to feed my family in this way? I'm hoping that's enough. I'm guessing that it is.

*I do allow myself one coffee with dairy per week, at Starbucks on Saturdays when I take Zinashi and my young charge. I don't do non-organic soy for reasons both environmental and personal**, and I figure it's better just to order as usual and not make a big deal out of it. I had my one cup on Saturday, and it was nice. It would have been nicer if I could have sipped it while chatting with a friend instead of in the company of three-year-olds, but I'll take what I can get.

**If you've watched Food, Inc., you know this already, but Monsanto controls 90% of US soybean production. Monsanto has done horrible things to the environment, has manipulated governments to do their bidding, and has destroyed farmers who dared to come up against them. I come from a family of farmers; that's where it gets personal. I no longer consume domestic, non-organic soy products, including M&M's and most other candies. That's how strongly I feel about this issue.

1 comment:

holly said...

for awesome vegan recipes, check out Isa Chandra Moskowitz's books. our vegan wedding cupcakes were from her book: Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, which is my fave vegan cookbook ever, and my fave cupcake cookbook ever. i also have her Vegan with a Vengance, and Veganomicon. oh, also, a great cooking blog is 101cookbooks. beautiful pictures, healthy veggie cooking. i would love to see some of your weekly meal plans!