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Menu Plan – Week of August 1

I love this time of year, when all the blood, sweat and tears that go into a beginners’ garden start to pay off…or at least give you the glimmer of hope that yes, you can in fact grow your own fruits and vegetables!

Of all the countless punctures (blackberries are thorny suckers!), many days smelling like a cross between a stinky locker room and a fish cannery (courtesy of the Liquid Fish Emulsion Organic Fertilizer my master gardener father-in-law encouraged me to use…talk about a powerful anti-husband pheromone!) and drowning myself in tears when curly top disease and wilt recently struck 12 of my 16 tomato plants:

I still LOVE gardening!

I love digging my hands in the dirt and playing with worms (now if only my boys’ will man up and play with me!).

Watching my 3 bins of compost decompose is utterly fascinating to me.

When your body has been beaten down and broken from a lifetime of processed foods (like mine has)…nurturing seedlings in a garden by making sure they have the proper nutrients to grow and thrive has had powerful imagery for me.  You neglect and feed it poorly, it will surely wither and die.  Care for it and feed it well and watch it thrive.  I think one of the reasons I am so drawn to gardening is because it is such an apt metaphor for taking care of ourselves.  I have been able to see our plants bear more fruit each year as we have done the hard work amending our super sandy desert soil.  I can see the plants physically respond when I miss a watering day, only to watch them perk up overnight when they get what they need.  For so long I felt like a plant in poor soil getting inadequate water; now that I am taking care of myself and have dramatically improved my diet, I can see and feel the results.  Maybe that’s why I talk to the plants when I water them…I can relate! 😀

What do you think that is in the bottom right corner?  My husband has the bad habit of throwing away the little name tag thingies (he says he does it so I will be surprised…uh-huh).  A butternut squash perhaps?

Printable Menu Plan

Meatless Monday:  Mediterranean Pasta with Artichokes, Olives and Tomatoes (I will use zucchini and squash “pasta” and omit the Parmesan cheese altogether), Salad

Tuesday:  Curried Grilled Chicken Breast with Pistachio-Green Olive Stuffing and Quinoa Tabbouleh

Wednesday: Cube Steak with Lime Mojo and Mexican Quinoa (I will use olive oil instead of corn oil and Kitchen Basics chicken stock, which is corn-free)

Thursday: Zucchini and Sausage Skillet (I will make my own Italian sausage using ground pork), Jamie Oliver’s Mothership Tomato Salad (no cheese)

Friday: Honey Glazed Chicken, Sweet Potato and Peach Skewers (I will use coconut oil instead of the canola), Salad

Saturday:  Roast Salmon with Bacon and Leeks (I will do this on my grill), Grilled Okra with Smoked Paprika-Shallot Dip (I will use coconut oil instead of the canola and replace the sour cream with soy-free Veganaise)

Sunday: Artichoke Quinoa Risotto with Shrimp and Meyer Lemon Pesto (I will omit the butter and Parmesan cheese altogether and since Meyer lemons are not in season, I will take my friend Kim’s advice from Cook IT Allergy Free and use a combination of regular lemons and mandarin oranges)


  1. Yeah for gardening (although I'm passing on that this year). I'm happy to let my CSA farmers do it for me. =) I'm always amazed when people can come up with a whole week's worth of recipes before the week even begins. Very impressive! I'm trying Friday's honey-glazed chicken, sweet potato and peach skewers. I have fresh peaches from my CSA share and that mix sounds amazing. Thanks for the inspiration. Sorry about the curly top and wilt issues, but the rest of your veggies look amazing. Good for you!

    • Thanks Melissa, it's definitely a learning year for me but I guess that's part of the fun, LOL! Doesn't the honey-glazed chicken with sweet potatoes and peaches look divine? It made me think of all those peaches I brought home from Seattle last year…boy, were those good!


  2. Such lovely photos, Heidi, but sorry about the garden losses. How wonderful that you are staying positive (and you should be with all that goodness left!) and using your garden as a reminder on how to take better care of yourself! I'm really glad you shared that with us. This could have been a self-care through gardening post for our self-care retreat event, but I think the deadline has passed. Bummer. Anyway, thank you, dear, for sharing your garden and your menu plan with us!



  3. I love your pictures! it's so much fun to find those little baby veggies appear where they weren't before…and then they grow and grow! Can you tell I love that part of gardening? I'm not so good at it these days because we have too many trees, and I can't do much of that bending and digging work, but I still love it. Such incredible flavors come from freshly picked veggies, not to mention all those lessons you mentioned from seeing really quick results in the plants. Keep up with the pictures and progress!

    Your menu plan looks good enough to copy and paste into my week's planner…altho' I'll admit, the first couple I opened the links to were the Mothership Tomatoes and the Grilled Okra, neither of which my husband will eat! He'd like the Glazed Chicken and Roast Salmon, though, and probably the Zucchini and Sausage Skillet. Not having food allergies, and like his food mostly traditional, he enjoys the basic stuff and lets me have most of the fancy sauces and stuff.

  4. Elizabeth says


    For some reason I am having trouble getting a hold of you, 🙂 I tried emailing and Twitter, but I am probably doing something wrong. You gotta love technology. I wanted to ask you some questions about your trip to HealthNow. Do you have time to answer a few questions? Can I send you an email? Thank You!

  5. Where are you getting soy free veganaise?!? Thanks!

  6. Hi Dana,

    I buy the soy-free veganaise at my local co-op for $5.99 for a 16/oz. jar but I just found it on the Follow Your Heart website (for a much better size and price!), $8.49 for a 32 oz. jar (less shipping):….

  7. Michelle Olejar says

    Heidi…I feel your pain! I lost half my crop to wilt as well 🙁 Next year I will be getting the wilt resistant varieties. BTW…make sure you do not plant tomato plants or night shades in that same spot for 2-4 years or they do will be victims. My orange tomatoes are doing well (crossing my fingers) and hoping for a nice crop for some low acid tomato sauce. Too bad on my plans for salsa~ although the jalapenos are doing just fine! I will have to meet up with someone that has tomatoes and no peppers, lol. We will get this gardening thing right~ after all we handle ALL the other dietary restrictions, a little thing like growing plants shouldn't keep us down (I HOPE). Your pictures look beautiful and I dream of that big of a garden!

  8. Jessica M. says

    Thanks for your lovely meal plan and garden pics! I just found your blog and I'm so excited to see such an emphasis on eliminating corn! My 3 year old son has a corn allergy (among many, many others) and it has been such a challenge to find foods that are safe. I'm actually curious about your reason for replacing canola oil with coconut oil. Is there a reason to avoid canola? Advantages to using coconut oil? Also, does coconut oil impart any flavor to foods? I've never actually used it in my cooking before. Thanks again for your awesome blog!