Happy Herbivore Blog

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day With Our Irish & Green-Themed Meal Plan!

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: MealPlan

Happy (early) St. Patrick's Day!

To celebrate the holiday, this week's meal plan features traditional Irish recipes with a plant-based twist!

Lucky new additions include Irish Lager Stew (NEW!), Potato & Leek Soup (NEW!), and Veggie Shepherd's Pie (NEW!) as well as delicious green dishes like Smoky Split-Pea Soup and Spinach & Olive Tofu Scramble.

Irish Lager Stew

Individual Highlights

  • Green Apple Oatmeal
  • Potato & Leek Soup (NEW!)
  • Creamy Winter Kale & Quinoa Salad
  • Irish Lager Stew (NEW!)
  • Applejack Smoothie
  • Quick Pesto Pasta
  • Veggie Shepherd's Pie (NEW!)
  • Spinach & Olive Tofu Scramble
  • Smoky Split-Pea Soup
  • Kenyan-Style Kale

Get this meal plan now.

Veggie Shepherd's Pie

Family Highlights

  • Green Goddess Muffins (NEW!)
  • Yellow & Green Dal Bowl
  • Roasted Broccoli Hummus (NEW!)
  • Sweet & Crunchy Quinoa Salad
  • Veggie Shepherd's Pie (NEW!)
  • Irish Lager Stew (NEW!)
  • Chickpea Greens & Curry Soup
  • BBQ Wraps
  • Potato & Leek Soup (NEW!)
  • Sweet Potato Breakfast Roll-Up

Get this meal plan now.

Potato & Leek Soup

Testimonials

"I'm loving the meal plans! It's my second week and I'm losing weight!And most of all it is a time saver!" - Penny R

"I just started purchasing the meal plans & about to complete my first week! I am hands down in LOVE with them. I actually find myself excited to see what's on the menu for the day even though I'm the one doing all the cooking. I have a feeling Wednesdays will be my new day to look forward to...forget the weekends! Also, I'm thoroughly enjoying preparing the meals...it's therapeutic in a way & it's fun cooking with new ingredients." - Rachel R

Teaching Tuesday: Potatoes & Sweet Potatoes (And Creative Ways To Eat Them!)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Cooking101

In celebration of St. Patrick's Day, this week's Teaching Tuesday is all about potatoes! (I didn't want sweet potatoes to feel left out, so they're included too!)

I will never understand why people forsake the potato. No, a potato isn't "fattening" — it's a vegetable! The "problem" is the company Mr. Potato sometimes hangs around with. It's not the potato in the french fry that's fattening, it's the oil the potato was fried in and is dripping with. It's not the baked potato that's unhealthy, it's the bacon, cheese and sour cream plopped on top of it.

Fun Facts

-There are about 5000 varieties of potatoes worldwide.

-The potato was first domesticated in what is now modern day Peru between 8000 and 5000 BC.

-Sweet potatoes are root vegetables. Regular potatoes are tubers or underground stems.

-Sweet potatoes come in a variety of colors including white, orange and purple.

Nutrition:

Somehow potatoes got a reputation for having zero nutrition — when they're actually overloaded with nutrients! In fact, potatoes have more potassium than a banana!

As for the sweet potato, they're also rich in vitamins and nutrients, including beta carotene, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and fiber.

(Source)

Ways to Eat a Potato or Sweet Potato

When it comes to eating a potato and/or sweet potato, the possibilities are endless. You can eat it at any time of the day (the Sweet Potato Sundae is a popular breakfast on the meal plans!), and with a few toppings, you can have an easy and quick meal.

If you're looking for new ways to spice up your spud, here are a few ideas:

Fries: Have you tried the baked fries in HHA (p. 70)? You can also take your cooked potatoes, slice them up, and put them under the broiler for a few minutes. Try adding different spices like curry, chili and cajun seasoning. I also like adding nutmeg, cinnamon or garam masala to sweet potato fries!

Chips: If you're looking for an easy snack, Sweet Potato Chips (HHLL, p. 205) are where it's at. All you need is a single sweet potato!

Chili-Stuffed Potatoes: This is a popular easy weeknight dish on our meal plans. Load up a baked potato or baked sweet potato with a vegetarian chili or leftover bean-based soup. When football season returns, try making the Game Day Loaded Potato (HHLL, p. 196).

Na-cho Potato: My favorite way to eat a potato, with salsa and HH Queso (HHA, p. 198 or HHLL, p. 212) and Fresh Pico (HHA, p. 202).

Potato Pizza: My friend Natala turned me on to potato pizzas! It really scratches that pizza itch! Top your baked potato with all your favorite plant-based toppings like marinara sauce, mushrooms, spinach, fresh basil, sliced black olives, and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast or vegan parm or the pizza cheese sauce in HHC (p. 242). Bake for 10 minutes at 400F.

Deviled "Eggs": These are guaranteed to be a hit at any gathering!

Sweet Potato Ice Cream: Yes, believe it or not, the sweet potato can be made into a dessert. See the recipe in HHLL (p. 236)!

What's your favorite way to eat a potato/sweet potato?

Minimalist Monday: What Paper Docs to Keep & Shred (How to Purge Financial Clutter & Manage Household Records)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Minimalist

Now that tax season is upon us, I thought I'd share a snippet from my first minimalist book, Minimalist Monday: Declutter Your Way to a Zen Home. (You can order it in all electronic forms (PDF, Kindle, Nook, etc) here.)

Admittedly, weeding through stacks of papers isn't what I would call a good time, but it's so worth it! (It shouldn't take more than an hour or so, either).

Tip from the book: Make it a weeknight event with your favorite bottle of wine, or movie. AND DO IT NOW WHILE IT IS STILL COLD OUTSIDE.

In Zen Home, I detail my own struggle and journey with keeping paper records.

Spoiler alert: I have been on both sides of the spectrum: retaining nothing to the point where doing so hurt me, as well as being a total record keeping hypochondriac in law school. I came back to reality just in time to get married, and then Scott's papers merged with mine. (Double the trouble, but not double the fun!).

Even as a "minimalist" I knew we had too much and that I could recycle/purge most of it, yet I skipped this project for any other project I could think of. I mean, who wants to spend their free time organizing a file cabinet? Especially since there is such a small environmental reward. It wasn't like cleaning my closet, or de-cluttering the living room, or even removing stuff from my kitchen counters. All those things had shimmering, beautiful results... but my file cabinet would look the same. At least on the outside. Who would even notice my efforts!? Ugh, why bother!?

So I did nothing. For years. I just kept adding to the mound all the while justifying it under the saying, "Better safe than sorry, right?"

Our breaking point finally came about a year ago during a move. There wasn't enough room in the car for all our files. Our new home was also more than 8 hours away, so a second trip was out of the question.

Scott tried dumping the contents from the boxes into a trash bag, but it still didn't fit.

We started scanning through for items we could “purge.” Pay stubs from a decade ago seemed like a good start!

We pulled out just enough to get the (still oversized) bag in the car and called it a win -- until the trash bag started making me crazy. Every time I opened my closet there it was, staring at me. At least tucked away in the old boxes I could pretend it was organized. Now it was just a big lump of chaos.

My resolve? I tried to organize it a little by putting it into smaller boxes and bags (see below). That didn't help ease my anxiety, though, and before long I was looking for a bigger box. The truth was I needed to purge NOT "organize."

Finally, a day came where I needed a saved paper. Two hours and a nasty paper cut later, I realized I was wasting far more time going on a paper safari every few months than I'd “lose” if I just organized it once and for all (and maybe purged some more while I was at it).

We purged *and* we went ultra minimalist — paperless.

Of the documents that “remained” after the big purge, they were all scanned then shredded, with a few hard copy exceptions.

(If you're worried about losing your digital files, you can pay for cloud backup services. (We previously used Carbonite for personal and business, now we use CrashPlan)).

If you don't want to do all the scanning yourself (and I don't blame you), there are several document scanning services like NeatScan that will do it for you (and the fees are reasonable).

I've also seen deals on Groupon for scanning services. In fact, I had all of our family photos scanned (some 3,000 of them) through a Groupon deal.

Of course, you don't have to scan! Not all minimalists are virtual :)

If you don't scan, however, you probably want to photocopy your receipts. Most of the receipts these days fade in a few weeks and become utterly useless.

For details on what receipts to keep (and how long to keep them) as well as my super easy system for receipt keeping and maintence, she the paper records chapter in Zen Home. Note: I have paper and virtual management systems.

Generally: Keep receipts for products that come with a warranty (as long as the warranty is valid), and any receipt that is needed for tax purposes (retain it for three years, even if the warranty has expired) and big ticket items (for insurance purposes).

I recommend writing the warranty expiration date and tax expiration date at the top of the receipt for easy navigation.

All other receipts, including ATM receipts, can be purged after 30 days with some exceptions:

Paycheck Stubs — Keep for one year (shred after you have filed your taxes and compared your W2s).

Utility Bills — Keep for one year unless you're using them as a deduction (3 yrs).

Cancelled Checks/Bank Statements — Keep for one year unless needed for tax purposes (3 yrs).

Credit Card Statements — Keep until satisfied/paid off (or min. 1 year), unless needed for tax purposes (3 yrs).

Quarterly Statements — Hold all quarterly statements for investments and mortgages (or other) until you receive your annual statement. If you sell your investment, hold on to the statement for three years after the sale.

IRS/Tax Returns — The IRS can audit you for no reason for up to three years after you file a tax return. Thus, you want to keep all your tax papers for three years. If you omit 25% of your gross income, the IRS has 6 years. If you fail to file a tax return, there is no limit. The IRS can come knocking 25 years from now. (Keep W2 forums until you start drawing Social Security).

For all other documents and their mandatory "shelf life" check out the paper records chapter in Zen Home.

One last minimalist step: Go paperless with billing and statements. If you need a bill for tax purposes, you can download it. Typically, you can access financial statements online for several years. Or you can make a note to download them each month, or once a year for all 12 months (what I do).

Automatic payments are also a great way to avoid paper piles! Some institutions will offer a lower rate for automated payments, too! I love getting minimalist with my bills and interest. Get yourself off junk mail lists, too. Resources in Zen Home.