Menu Planning

Shopping List

Merry Christmas!  Happy New Year!  All of those things.  We took the holidays to just REST.  It was so good.  I missed you.

So, I’ve been working hard to get life back on track.  Cooking, cleaning, planning, drinking coffee.  All the things you do when it’s cold and rainy (and almost snowy — which, by the way, unlike last year I am actually excited for).  So here is what I am making for dinner this week. Seven simple, healthy, and delicious vegetarian dinners that I can’t wait to try.

All our shopping is done.  I spent about $100 for all our groceries for the week.  I can’t wait to dig into these amazing recipes. Have a great week!



This soup is vegan and gluten free while also remaining creamy and satisfying.  The yellow hue is from turmeric, an all-purpose body pick-me-up.  I love the sweetness of fennel and cant wait to devour this soup.


chickpea salad

I love chickpea salad.  But this one is curried and uses avocado instead of mayo. And BASIL!  Heck yes.  Gluten free folks, use your favorite GF bread or serve over a bed of your favorite greens with some veggies.



Give me all the Indian food.  Whole mushrooms and a little fenugreek.  If you can’t find fenugreek, just use a tablespoon of curry powder.  It’s a common ingredient.  Gluten free and vegan.



This recipe look beautiful, but I can’t wait to try this pistachio based dressing.  OMG.  And roasted chickpeas.  Gluten free and vegan.  Want something hardier?  Toss in your favorite grain like farro.

POTATO SOUP  Alexandra Cooks

potato soup

Simple and creamy with some almost caramelized sweet onions.  Vegans, use unsweetened cashew or almond milk.  Gluten free folks.  Rather than making the roux, warm the milk and add a slurry of corn starch and water (2 Tbsp starch to 1 Tbsp water).  When the milk is pretty warm but not boiling, stir in the slurry.  Allow to come back up to temperature.  Then add to potato mixture.



A spin on a classic greek dish.  Packed with beans and veggies.  Vegans, try topping with some grated daiya cheese or experiment with some vegan yogurt and parm.  Already gluten free.  (P.S. an aubergine is an eggplant)



Anything hearty and healthy is a win in my book.  Gluten free.  Vegans, use cashew cream in place of the half & half or just skip it.


There you go.  A full week of meal ideas from some pretty stellar blogs.  Happy eating!


Menu Planning

Mini Shopping List

Ok, I’ll admit it.  I bit off more than I can chew with the Saturday Shopping List posts I’ve been doing the past few weeks.  I put a lot of intentionality and attention to detail into each list, which is good, but time and energy are key factors needed to keep such a boat a float.  So, I have decided to do a weekly “mini” shopping list (well, not a list really.  Just a bunch of recipes you should make for the week) with a more detailed list once a month.  I have received some wonderful feedback from some of you about these lists.  First, I am immeasurably grateful for you taking the time to share your thoughts.  So helpful and encouraging. Second, I’m glad to know that this has become a really helpful resource for people (which is also very motivating to me).

I will still be updating my Saturday Shopping List board on Pinterest each week.  If you almost always use Pinterest when cooking like I do, this is an easy way to get all your weeks recipes in one place.

I have found some amazing recipes that I think will get you motivated to get into the kitchen a little more.  Without further ado, I give you my “mini” list.



This salad is really delicious.  I used baby spinach.  Vegans, skip the feta.


November 2015, Thanksgiving

I recently made this recipe but added roasted butternut squash (OMG!) and tossed it with some arugula and fresh basil.  Vegans, skip the parm.  Use coconut oil for the butter.



Haven’t made this yet.  Making it on Thursday.  Can’t wait.  It has roasted carrots, baked lentil falafel, roasted cauliflower, pistachios and a bunch of healthy goods.



Use the other half of your butternut squash to make these sexy babies.  Gluten free folks, just be normal and use corn tortillas.  Vegans, skip the yogurt.



This is salad is delicious.  But… it’s even better is you roast the potatoes and add some goat cheese.  Just throwing that out there.



Apples and leeks and sqaush?  Oh my!  You really can’t go wrong with that combination.  I can hear my body thanking me now.  Gluten free folk, skip the crouts.



I picked this recipe for Jazz.  He is my midwest comfort food loving vegetarian husband.






Menu Planning

Saturday Shopping List // FALL (now with vegan + GF options)

Friends.  I have decided to add a new feature to this Saturday Shopping List series.  Many of the recipes I pick out are gluten free, vegan, or both but not all of them.  So, to cater to those of you who take it a step further, I am adding vegan and gluten free alterations to all recipes as a note under each recipe for every post.  This will also be reflected in the shopping list.  I hope this can make this experience a little more inclusive.

I have been angry about fall, but this week the romance of autumn has swept me up.  Although I’m not excited about the cold, the warm days with crisp mornings and amazing light pouring through a kaleidoscope of changing leaves is just plain hard not to love.  So here you have a weeks worth of dinners, all singing autumn’s praises.  I hope this makes your weeks a little more warm and comforting.

Keep me updated on how your week is going or what recipes you enjoy by tagging your photos on Instagram with #keepingwillow.  Leave me a comment below telling me what you didn’t like, how much your groceries cost or what your kids really liked.

You can download your shopping list below.  Many of the things on the list you will already have.  Just check off the the things you need.  There is space below each category to add any other things you need to buy for the week.

You can find all of the recipes for this week in one place by following my “Saturday Shopping List” board on Pinterest here.

Total cost (for all groceries I bought including other food): $95

Shopping List (download)

M E N U //

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Another delicious looking recipe by Minimalist Baker.  We love pad thai and can’t wait to try this comforting variation.  (Use tamari for soy sauce if you are gluten free.  Already vegan) RECIPE

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I love how I know all recipes from My New Roots are crazy healthy.  Full of color and fresh vegetables, this salad gives all the comfort you need for a cool fall day as well as the vitamins to deal with less sunshine. (use gluten free bread for croutons if GF.  Use coconut oil for ghee if vegan) RECIPE

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Check out this clean and fresh blog, Brooklyn Supper.  I don’t usually love wild rice but this recipe looks so divine.  (already GF. Sub coconut oil for butter and vegan creamer or cashew cream for half & half if vegan) RECIPE

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There is something magical about the combination of sweet potatoes, black beans and avocados.  And the green rice Cookie + Kate came up with looks yummy! (already vegan & gluten free!- unless you throw some feta on top) RECIPE

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A beautifully fragrant and comforting lentil dish by Naturally Ella.  If you don’t have a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, you can always buy the ground versions of the spices and just toast lightly in a pan.  Serve with your favorite grain — I put on the shopping list rice or quinoa. (already vegan & GF!) RECIPE

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This recipe by Green Kitchen Stories looks crazy beautiful.  Like, maybe you’ll want to invite friends over on Thursday night. If you can’t find romesco broccoli you can also use cauliflower or regular broccoli as a substitute. (already vegan & gluten free!) RECIPE

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You will find a lot of these pureed soups on here because they are serious the easiest and fastest meals to make.  And to top it off this one by Feasting at Home is rich & aromatic.  (substitute coconut sugar or maple syrup for brown sugar if vegan & already GF!) RECIPE


Happy Saturday folks!!!



Menu Planning

Saturday Shopping List

You guys it’s fall.  I might be 95% in protest of it, but there is 5% of me that is very excited.  I mean warm fall days, apple cider, pumpkin doughnuts, chai, cinnamon and nutmeg aromas pretty much everywhere… it’s kind of great.  It would be much better if it meant that winter was not close at hand.  And while normally, I am all “Winter is coming!” and “embrace the cold” this year I am not.  This year I wish I lived in Arizona.  But right now, pumpkin and squash and everything nice.

This week is Thanksgiving up here in Canada so there are lots of pumpkin and squash inspired recipes.  Maybe not traditional Thanksgiving fare, even for a vegetarian, but absolutely fall inspired.

This week’s recipes are:
and with exception of the gnocchi, Healthy (I told you I like to throw one in there as a treat).

Let me know how your week is going or what recipes you really like by tagging your photos on Instagram with #keepingwillow.  Leave me a comment below telling me what you didn’t like, how much your groceries cost or what your kids really liked.

You can download your shopping list below.  Obviously, some of the things on the list you will already have.  Just check off the the things you need.  There is space below each category to add any other things you need to buy for the week.

You can find all of the recipes for this week in one place by following my “Saturday Shopping List” board on Pinterest here.

Total cost (for all groceries I bought including other food): $95

Shopping List (download)

M E N U //

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I am so in love with Naturally Ella right now.  These tostadas look divine.  I can’t wait to devour them.  RECIPE

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This dish would also make a stellar Sunday brunch.  A stunning display for entertaining friends by Lyndsey Eden. RECIPE

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This salad from To Her Core is divine.  I like to throw some diced tempeh in with the chick peas to add some more protein to the mix.  RECIPE

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Pinch of Yum always puts out amazing recipes, and I can’t wait to try this stir fry recipe.  Since asparagus is out of season, try substituting broccoli or eggplant. RECIPE

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I love corn chowder but this thai inspired version by Half Baked Harvest looks irresistible. Ignore the shrimp and try substituting thin slices or cauliflower. RECIPE

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Pumpkin Chili?  Ok.  This fall inspired lentil chili by Nourish Atelier has the flavor or a curry but can stand on it’s own without rice.  So rich and creamy.  The instructions are a little hard to follow, so forgive me for that. RECIPE

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Last but not least by any means whatsoever, this gnocchi with a rich arugula walnut pest.  Thank you Pinch of Yum and heck yes! RECIPE


Happy Saturday friends, and for you Canadians, Happy Thanksgiving!!!



Moroccan Vegetable Tagine

I’m not really a fan of crock pot meals. I’m kind of a snob about it. I don’t know, maybe it just reminisces too much with the casserole trend of the 90’s.  And/or, let’s be honest here, I find that although the crock pot is very convenient, the flavor of something slow cooked in the crock pot compared to the slow cooking of the oven or stove, simply does not compare.

All that being said, I am posting a recipe for the crock pot. Yes, I am a hypocrite. You see, I have this recipe for a Moroccan vegetable tagine that I love. I want to eat it all the time but it takes 3 hours to slowly simmer into a mouth watering, flavor rich stew. Raise your hand if you have 3 hours to spend on dinner in the middle of the week.  So I made it in a crock pot. And while, yes, it’s not as amazing as the traditional version, I came up with a couple tricks to make it almost as good.

It’s sneaky, I know, but sautéing the onions and eggplant with spices before putting them in the crock pot, and then cooking the whole stew for 30 minutes to reduce the liquid after it’s cooked all day gives it that, “I haven’t left the kitchen all day” flavor.

A tagine is a traditional north African stew, mainly Moroccan, that is cooked in beautiful cone shaped earthen wear.  Beef, lamb, chicken or vegetables are slowly stewed all day long over slow burning coals.  Here is a photo I borrowed from the interwebs.

This dish is crazy healthy, loaded with flavor, and uses September fresh veggies. It’s great with both fluffy couscous or quinoa. This tomatoey, cinnamon scented stew, topped with some fresh herbs, ripe olives and toasted almonds has some crazy wow factor for entertaining but takes so little time you’ll want to eat it on your busiest day of the week.

If you make this recipe, let me know what you think!  Leave a comment.  If you post a picture on Instagram, make sure to use the hashtag #keepingwillow so I can see it!  I always love your pictures.

Love as always



Moroccan Vegetable Tagine [crock pot edition]
serves 4-6

1 large sweet yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ras el hanout or recipe here
1 tsp paprika
1 small eggplant, diced
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
1 acorn or small butternut squash, skinned a diced into half inch cubes
1 can or 1 3/4 cups cooked chickpeas
1 quart vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup packed chopped cilantro
Kalamata or Manzanilla olives

1. In a large cast iron skillet or sauté pan, on medium high heat, sauté the eggplant in half the olive oil until edges are slightly brown and eggplant is just starting to soften. Add eggplant to crock pot.
2.  In the same pan, soften the sliced onions in the remaining olive oil. Give them a good seasoning of salt. When the onions are nice and soft, add the spices and sauté one minute to give them a good toast.
3. Place onions, squash, tomatoes, chick peas and then enough stock to barely come to the top of all the veggies. Season generously with salt and pepper, stir and set on low for 5-6 hours. You can also do all the prep the night before, put the crock pot in the fridge and plug it in the morning.
4. Half an hour before you’re ready to serve, put the stew into a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil and add the raisins. Turn it down a little bit so it’s still kind of boiling but not vigorously. Allow to boil for 30 minutes. Taste for seasoning.
5. While the stew is reducing, toast the almonds in a sauté pan on medium heat until just barely golden. Keep an eye on these, they can burn easily.
6. Serve with couscous or quinoa. Garnish with cilantro, olives and toasted almonds.  There is plenty to share or save for lunch the next day.