VeganMoFo is a thing. It stands for Vegan Month of Food and it’s a movement that has happened every October since 2007.
The official VeganMoFo is pretty cool. Each week brings a new meal challenge such as “show us your best cheesy dish” or “show us how you re-purpose food”. Some day I may actually follow the rules and take them up on their challenges but for my first year I created my own.
I challenged myself to plan dinner every night and to not eat out for the entire month. Anyone who knows me knows I hate to plan and I love to eat out and. But I made the commitment and chronicled it on Instagram.
Each Saturday morning I sat down with my meals written on 3×5 cards. Each card had the name of the meal and all the ingredients needed to make it. This made meal planning much easier and one trip to Wegmans a week instead of having to run out for forgotten items made this a crucial step in sticking with my goal.
There were nights when I was so tired that I didn’t want to cook but I did. In fact, I created some of my best meals during October. Everything from Pumpkin Baked Ziti with Caramelized Onions and Sage Crumb Topping from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s cookbook Veganomicon to Broccoli and Cheese Soup from Oh She Glows. On one occasion got the night off when Dr. D. made his amazing homemade pizza and some recipes I made like Lemony Wheat Berries and Brussels Sprouts were so simple they felt like having the night off.
So what did I learn from this challenge?
- I learned that meal planning isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It felt great knowing what we were going to have for dinner every night and not having to run out for forgotten ingredients.
- I learned that I can muster enough energy at the end of the day to make some pretty complex recipes.
- I learned it’s actually possible to come up with 31 different dinners.
- I learned that we can save money not only by not eating out but by careful meal planning. We spent less each week at the grocery store.
- I learned that I can easily create a meal when my planning wasn’t as good as I thought. A perfect example is found below:
Fettuccine with Smoky Alfredo Sauce and Sweet Peas
- 1 cup frozen sweet peas
- 1 tsp. cornstarch
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the fettuccine according to package directions. Strain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.
Process the milk, cream cheese, almonds, nutritional yeast, lemon zest, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a blender until smooth.
Heat the oil and garlic in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the garlic just starts to sizzle, about 1 minute. Add the milk mixture. Whisk the cornstarch into the reserved pasta water and add to saucepan along with the frozen peas. Bring to a simmer and cook until thick an creamy, about 8 minutes.
Top fettuccine with the sauce and more fresh ground pepper and enjoy!
Sometimes it’s good to challenge yourself but tomorrow night we’re eating out!