|For Orthodox Christians, like those of many other Faiths, |
Religion and Menu are inseparably intertwined.
Here are a few links that might be helpful for celebrating this day:
My Vegan Vasilopita Recipe
About St. Basil & the Vasilopita Tradition
Another Vegan Vasilopita Recipe
Vegan Vasilopita for the Bread Machine
And, some thoughts on planning your menu for the coming year:
A few years ago, I heard a great story of a woman who planned her family's menu for an entire year.
I was inspired! The woman's diet was diametrically opposed to mine, but her idea was great : ) I decided to give it a try, and for the last three years, I have done yearly menu planning to some degree or another. I enjoy it, and it takes a lot of stress out of everyday menu planning - and it can be quite a money saver if done correctly. Usually I spend a few days early in the year with menu planning as my hobby - taking up my spare moments.
For Orthodox Christians, meat is permitted on some days and other days are "Fasting days" when veganism is encouraged. While I am vegetarian myself, I have more than just myself to think of when planning a menu. So, I create a menu with shaded days that let me know which type of menu is needed each day.
I've learned a few things along the way:
1. Flexibility is good! A word document lets you cut and paste planned menus from the day you scheduled them - to the day you actually eat them. (Or, in my case, I print the plan, then hand-write the actuality). Truth is, life intervenes - maybe you go out to dinner spontaneously, or friends invite you over, or you suddenly want a fancier meal than you had planned because guests are coming. This method allows for a plan, and also for real life.
2. Most people rotate through the same 9 to 12 menu plans over and over. I couldn't do that (and Omnivores think WE have a lack of variety?!) - but it is true that menus are good for more than just one time. BTW - I've seen this "9 to 12" statistic about meal planning quoted all over the place, but I've never seen a source for the research - for all I know it could be an urban legend. BUT, when I read online menu plans from other people, they do seem to be very repetitive - which makes the figure believable.
3. In light of #2, Plans are re-usable. But, you may not want to eat the same thing in July that looked good in January - so a repeating winter month or summer month or Lenten menu can be a good method.
4. How to be
5. Menu planning lends itself to a great bulk-cooking method. Look at the next week or two's menu, and stock the freezer with those meals. Then, it doesn't really matter which night you eat which meal - they're all planned, and they're all ready to go. If that's your method, you might plan each week's menu to mesh with a bulk cooking plan. For instance, when I do this method, I plan two Slow Cooker meals (since I have two Slow Cookers), two meals prepared in my two stock pots, two prepared in skillets, and one quick fix meal. That way, on bulk cooking day, I can fill all my cooking pots and prepare 6 meals at once - then just have one night that week that I haven't cooked for and I can plan to get a quick meal onto the table.
6. Planning ahead can save money - no more stocking the vegetable crisper with a bunch of produce that becomes a science project - you just buy what you actually have planned to eat. Likewise, you can plan Eggplant dishes for Eggplant Season if you wish. And, with cut-and-paste, if you find a nice deal on eggplant unexpectedly, you can just move that menu to this week!
7. Planning is more efficient - you can cook all the legumes & grains for the week at once, or prepare all the seasonings or sauces and be ready to go on busy nights - since you already know what you're having the next few nights.
8. Planning ahead prevents ruts. Have you ever had a week of enchiladas, then tacos, then burritos . . . ? Or a week where every menu had hummus in it? No more. You can see at a glance that there's one Chinese meal this week (not five) or one meal that features Blackeye peas or one meal that is some-kind-of-beans over rice, or one meal of soup. This way you can vary textures, types of food, ethnic varieties, etc, so that you have more variety.
9. Meal planning saves time & frustration. You're likely to spend a lot less time running to the store for one necessary ingredient, or discovering that all your menu ideas for today would have required starting the slow cooker 3 hours ago.
10. Do what works for you right now (which may be different from last year!) In addition to yearly meal planning, I also have a one-month plan that can be repeated, and several one-week menus that can be rotated through one after another (each with a bulk cooking plan for that week). So, yes, you CAN do this without necessarily doing a 365-day plan. I haven't even decided which style of planning to use for the coming year yet!
So - if you want to give it a try, the new year is the perfect time to start a new menu planning routine!
You can make your own calendar on this website. If you want to design your own meal planning calendar, or plan for additional months, it's a great site.
Be sure you type in your family's birthdays, namedays and anniversaries when scheduling : )
For specifics for each day from the Greek Orthodox Church, go to this site.
This is being shared on Feeding Big