Friday, February 20, 2015

Lenten Eating: Meatless Meals and Penitential Shopping.

This Lent, I am trying to do two things with our eating. First, I am only shopping at Aldi, which is ... not my favorite. I love the Market District, with its huge selection of international foods, gourmet chocolate, and massive produce section. (And people who bag your groceries for you.) What I don't get at Aldi, I will try to buy locally--bread from the baker's, coffee from the local roaster, fresh fish from Wholey's. And my beloved Market District will be a last resort for things I can't get elsewhere.

I meant to go to a local market this afternoon but found that I'd forgotten my shopping list, so rather than getting all the kids out of the car into severely cold weather with certain knowledge I'd forget half the things I needed ...I got some fresh challah at the bakery (and a free slice of cinnamon bread for Michael!), and then some whole bean coffee from a local chain in the same plaza. The coffee I remembered, because my coffee jar looked like this.

And that was yesterday. I don't think it's a coincidence I took a long nap today while the kids slept ... something I never do!

I'm also trying to cook mostly meatless meals this Lent. Right now my plans are to cook with meat on Sundays, and perhaps one other day during the week.

I'm going to try not to rely too heavily on dairy, partly because Keith is sensitive to it, but when I typed out the meals we've had this week they all included cheese or cream in some form.

Here's what we've eaten so far:

Ash Wednesday: homemade tomato soup and grilled cheese on sourdough

Thursday: risotto with peas and mushrooms

Friday: carrot, apple, and ginger soup with salad and fresh challah :)

Some old standbys I anticipate using (some of which are also listed in this post):

Sweet potato and black bean tacos (this recipe makes a lot and everyone here loves it)


Meatless pizza (I know! Dairy! But there's also this which is completely amazing)

Enchilada pie

Fried rice

And some new recipes I'm looking forward to trying:

Squash, lentils, and goat cheese

French onion soup

Clam chowder

Soups from this cookbook


  1. The plan to shop exclusively at Aldi is a really good Lenten resolution.. One I should consider perhaps. My husband said he was taking out shopping list there yesterday and I said, "but you can't get this and this and this..." I'll need to think about this one.
    I think I'm going to try out that carrot apple ginger soup. It sounds fabulous!
    (thank goodness you restocked your coffee!)

    1. The soup was amazing!

      I was surprised that Aldi didn't have tortillas, but there were only a few things other than that that I wanted that they didn't have. (Polenta and fresh salmon, that I remember.) Ours at least even has goat cheese!

  2. you are brave to fast from meat during Lent with your little ones! I know many Orthodox mothers who do not do this! those recipes sound lovely! be sure to keep your strength up - fasting for mother with young kids can be very draining - I have no kids but when I don't have meat during Lent I can see a difference in my energy levels!

    glad you got a few things you needed! I hate it when I forget my grocery list, happened many times!

    1. Thank you! Energy levels are a concern especially since we are sleep training the babies right now!

      One of my resolutions for myself has been to not eat second helpings at meals, and to snack when I'm hungry as long as it's *good* food, and that has actually been helping with energy levels! I tend to eat too much sugary stuff during naptime. And to eat too many things like pancakes for breakfast ... which fill you up without giving you much energy.

  3. It is SO hard not to rely a ton on dairy and/or pasta when you're mostly not eating meat - I'm working on expanding our repertoire of meatless dishes this year, because it really does get ridiculous how much dairy we eat... The problem is pickiness abounds in our house, so there's not that much that everybody's actually willing to eat!

  4. Wow, giving up Market District--what a great idea! I would have such a hard time with that, too.

  5. Here are some recipes that Michael and I tried when we went 5-day vegetarian for a while. Some are full meals, some are side dishes, and there is some dairy, but... worth a shot for something different. Allrecipes is your friend and you don't need a membership for it.

    There's also a really tasty butternut squash soup you could dry. But.. dairy. Michael found a way to make it without cream, but then it becomes... grainy in the little bits kinda way, but still good. I could find that for you, if you'd like.

    1. Thank you! This is great! I got a big bag of frozen tilapia (I think? Maybe it was another kind of white fish) so those recipes will come in especially handy. And I love butternut squash, particularly in soup. I am not avoiding dairy entirely; I just have a tendency to rely heavily on recipes that have a lot of cheese or sour cream. I've definitely been adding dashes of cream to our soups ... :)

  6. Good luck shopping at Aldi's! I used to hate that store 15 years ago when I lived near one. Glad I don't now. Market District sounds exactly interesting, it would be hard to give it up!