Weakly Meal Plan

And that is no typo. Despite my best intentions (it being the new school year and everyone being so Gung Ho about all new and resumed ventures… I have run into a stumbling block, and for once it is not one of my own devising. My dear refrigerator has decided that this second week of school is a good time to crap out. It’s not completely fatal, but I am, unfortunately, not equipped to handle the problem. This puts a significant cramp in my meal plan planning. While I doubt the plan I’m about to offer is the most appealing you’ve ever seen, those of you with adequate domestic experience will doubtless recognize it as “one of those weeks.” Here’s hoping all of your appliances are sturdy and easy to fix.

Monday: Leftovers (to prevent waste while fridge is not cold), cut veggies

Tuesday: Potato Squashers, Sunflower Cheese, green salad

Wednesday: Pakistani Lentil Kima

Thursday: Slow and Simple Tortillas, Rice and Beans

Friday: Homemade pizza

Saturday: Dinner with friends

Sunday: Homemade pasta with pesto

Lunchbox Treats: Nut Butter Bliss Balls

Adult Lunches: Salad until the greens run out or the fridge gets fixed

  

Fast Healthy Breakfasts to Start the School or Work Day

It is so lovely to wake up without an alarm, eat when hungry and at the pace desired.  Ahhhh.  It happened a lot for my son this summer (who had his first summer job and so not everyday), some for Mr. Bigg Sis, and even a little for me.

Despite the beauty of the changing leaves and crisp air and fresh apples, it is a sad fact of Autumn that the opportunities for this type of morning generally are less frequent.  However, as a former teacher, as a mother, and as a human who wakes up hungry, I can attest to the fact that a healthy breakfast sustains better performance in, and appreciation of work and school.  But who has time to make a healthy breakfast?  I thought you might enjoy a list of the fast but healthy breakfast ideas we have shared over the last several years….. and there were quite a few!  This list does not include our many pancake recipes as they do take more time.  I do recommend however that if you make pancakes or french toast on the weekend, make a lot and freeze the leftovers on a tray or plate.  When frozen, remove from plate and place in a plastic bag in the freezer for a supply of fast breakfast during the week!

However, these all are fast, or can be put together the night before and, of course are made from wholesome, healthy ingredients that will keep you and your family members running on full steam until lunch!  Enjoy and please share any fast breakfast tips that you use :-)

Breakfast Ice Cream or Creamy Smoothies For All

Quick Sweet Potato Brekkie & Open Summer Sammie Brekkie  IMG_0097

 

 

 

 

Barley for Breakfast – 3 varieties

Quinoa & Oats breakfast / Quinoa & Buckwheat Groats breakfast

Crockpot Oatmeal

Veggies & Oats

Sweet Potato, Apple, Oat Nuclear Incident  1108130629-001

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet Potato & Rice

Pumpkin Apple Oats in the Crockpot

IMG_9142

 Chocolate Crockpot Oats

 

 

 

 

Buckwheat Breakfast Bowl

Head out the door with something hearty in your belly that does not lead to a sugar crash, headache, fatigue or hunger pangs in a few short hours.  And enjoy all of the benefits of the end of summer and the beginning of a cool, crisp autumn!

Weekly Meal Plan Returns!

That time has come. The end of the summer and beginning of school. The peak of the season for so much fresh produce; the beginning of cool evenings. Fall is coming, but it’s really not quite here yet. Perfect. My twin third graders return to school with new backpacks full of new supplies, new lunch boxes, and no small amount of hope. In honor of their rapidly increasing maturity, which sometimes shows itself in less than pleasant ways, I am doing an experiment. Today as we ate Sunday lunch I polled the table and gave each member the opportunity to suggest a meal for the upcoming week. Sure way to get some buy in at meal time, right? Right?! I’ll let you know how that goes. In the meantime, I’ll share with you our plan for the upcoming week.

Monday: Yellow Split Pea and Green Onion Lettuce Wraps from my latest cook book acquisition, Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook, baked tofu, pickled carrots and green beans (my pick and it seems to me the best one for the hot day we’re going to have tomorrow)

Tuesday: Zucchini “Crab” Cakes, Grilled Corn, Tomato and Nectarine Salad

Wednesday: Chickpea and Cashew Tikka Masala (Little Man’s choice, and yes, that makes me really happy),sautéed green beans, green salad

Thursday: Lentil Casserole (Ms. Picky Pants’ choice – on Thursday because it’s not going to be as hot that day), steamed broccoli, green salad

Friday: homemade pizza, cut veggies

Saturday:  Baked Falafel from Angela Liddon’s The Oh She Glows Cookbook: Over 100 Vegan Recipes to Glow from the Inside Out cookbook, which I can’t recommend enthusiastically enough), falafel fixings and chopped veggies

Sunday: homemade pasta with raw spinach and fresh pesto, green salad

Lunchbox Treats: Summer’s End Zucchini Bread (because I still have about 25 pounds of zucchini sitting on the counter, even after the “crab” cakes

Adult Lunches: kale and romaine salads with miso dressing (because it’s been a long and unruly summer – we’ll be having a lot of salads for a little while to slim down for winter… wait… I think we’re doing it wrong)

May all your nights be cool and clear and all of your first days be joyful! Eat well, be well friends.

Meatless Sandwich – Hear Me Roar

4GSKuPPZVqQRwVbEmMFkE0Mo0yNTlbVkXOzQrIa7I5M=w1112-h625-no-001I am sandwich, hear me roar

Meat, cheese and bread that’s what I’m for……

Well….. that doesn’t HAVE to be the case.  Who needs meat to make a sandwich?

There is of course the classic pb&j, but for the more savory seekers, or for the adult who wants to pretend he/she doesn’t really like pb&j, there are many alternatives.

Recently we moved into a new house that is a bit closer to Little Sis – like 640 miles closer (Yay!!).  So close in fact that we can plan outings, choose one of the 4 parents to hang with kids (Thank you Mr. Little Sis) and go see our fabulously talented niece in a play.  It was my job to bring dinner for myself, Mr. Bigg Sis and Little Sis to eat in the car as the outing involved traveling at dinner time.

New house, new frig, not all of the ingredients present that would allow me to fall back on something like hummus, so I threw together some chicken salad type ingredients with white beans and cashews instead.  The roosters in the neighborhood are still crowing and eating up the bugs in our yard. Good deal, huh?

This spread was a hit with the theater adventurers and was great the next day on a plate with greens.  Slathered on ezekiel bread was much easier for the car and it held together very well so that we did not embarrass our niece with beans spots.

Never Bean There Sandwich Spread (enough for 4 sandwiches)

1 can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup raw cashews
Juice from 1 lemon
1 Tbsp dijon
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 – 1/2 cup diced celery (I use 1/2 cause I like it crunchy)
salt and pepper to taste

Place the cashews, lemon juice and dijon in a high power blender or try a food processor.  You can soak raw cashews for 4 – 6 hours to make them blend into a creamier substance but I did not and it was fine.

Do not worry about making the mixture completely smooth, you just want the final result to hang together and not fall into your lap.  If you double the recipe the blending of the cashews is also a bit easier.   And leftovers are ALWAYS a good idea.

Mash the beans a bit in a bowl and then add in the blender mash, celery and spices.  Mix.

Slather on bread with a little of your favorite spread – or naked!  Tomatoes are also an excellent addition.

Ny25OwbSj-4PDLHuo0XAiXf5kCyZNNmqB7HRI2qM5xM=w1112-h625-no-001Now that we’ve moved, you get to see pix taken on a new counter top… and there will be much more frequent posts.  Sorry for the absence!  Finishing school and moving have been rather consuming :-)

Dtw4ki_FqVlYbgYTOe4pbL3p9X-fQwB-Pugv2BN5dZk=w1112-h625-no-0018BNPGKlvxgwJdScd8wHX6SdCGFifIBdml7uga9F__9s=w1112-h625-no-001

What kind of meatless sandwiches are your favorite?

Weekly (well mostly) Meal Plan 7/13-7/19

So, yeah, you might have noticed I haven’t done this for a while. Sorry about that. I mean it – I’m really sorry. We have been in the best kind of whirlwind with school ending, quite a bit of traveling, home renovations, big positive decisions, and friends having babies. See what I mean? Okay, without details it probably doesn’t sound like a lot, but I can assure you that you wanted no part of any meal plan I might have been able to offer these past few weeks.

And now we are home. I have beaten back the weeds (and the cucumbers which were choking the tomatoes) in the garden. I have reclaimed the patio from the weeds and moss (um hello, what is with all the freaking rain?!) and mowed the lawn several times. I’ve done the loads of laundry that result from travel and chaos. I’ve gotten the kids working on the summer math program their school (insert curse words anywhere in the preceding phrase for accuracy) recommended over the summer to prevent summer learning loss. I’ve earned the dog’s forgiveness for his first kennel experience and I’ve admitted that it’s possible that I’ve endured yet another hormone shift that makes my metabolism something less than the wonder that it used to be. As you can see, much of my business has been internal and a little crazy. It’s okay to think it. I’m aware. But I’m home. And I’m finding my compass. And all is well, and in fact better for having visited amazing seashores, distant relatives, friends who are chosen family, and discovered that my kids are actually funny and interesting people. Funny and interesting people who still need to eat, so in order to cease this unrequested and unwarranted vomitous revelation, I shall get on with planning the week of the return to normalcy.

Monday: Lentil Casserole, sauteed zucchini, green salad, zucchini bread for dessert

Tuesday: Zucchini “Crab” Cakes, Grilled Corn, Sauteed Green Beans

Wednesday: Power Tabbouleh; Lentils, Potatoes, and Tomatoes; Green Salad

Thursday: Dinner at Beans in the Belfry before singing a little

Friday: Homemade pizza, cut veggies

Saturday: Zucchini boats with quinoa and vegan sausage (I’ll let you know and yes, we have a LOT of zucchini this year)

Sunday: Homemade pasta, pesto, green salad

Lunchbox Treats: HAHAHAHAHA! Okay, I will be toting some zucchini bread bits around.

Adult Lunches: These now include the children and I’m realizing my planning is entirely inadequate in this arena. More on this topic later, maybe… we’ll see.

I sincerely hope you’ve been having as much fund as I have and have perhaps been faced with exactly the number of life altering decisions that you are comfortable with. Eat well, be well friends.

Homemade weed killer

I used to spray Round-up on a myriad of undesirables…. poison ivy, ailanthus trees (known in some optimistic places as ‘tree of heaven’ and some realistic ones as ‘stink tree’), and dandelions.  Round Up was touted as safe for the environment and gardens.  Well, apparently that was hooey (to be optimistic) or lies covering up a cancerous agent, and since then Monsanto has been hauled up in the court of public opinion and found wanting in oh so many ways, ethics being the main deficit.

So when Super-Step Mom was looking for a better way to kill weeds in the gravel driveway, we did a little asking around, a little searching and settled on an easy formula that has indeed done the trick!  I can not find the original recipe that I followed (sorry whoever you were) but there are MANY versions of this out there.  Here is one that is close: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/158400111867245686/

Here is what I used:

Natural and Cheap Herbicide

1 gallon of white vinegar
1 cup of salt
1 Tbsp of liquid dish soap

Combine all ingredients in a bucket and stir until the salt is dissolved and the soap is dispersed and not clumpy.  Pour into your favorite sprayer – I like this one because I look like the tough chick from ‘Alien’

G8oGPqxQhi0dVw3q2M9AEhTCMFa92Lfa5PUkl6-1-Ig=w333-h592-noWell, maybe a little……

Spray only on plants you want to kill!!  This is not a good middle of your garden bed spray because apparently it will be awhile before anything grows back.  We used it to keep the gravel driveway mostly gravel ;-)

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It works best when the sun is shining on the plant and although the website said it could take a couple of days, it took hours for the plants in the sun to reach the sorry looking state you see above.  How wonderful to find yet another way to decrease the nastier chemicals in the world, save money and get the job done!!!

For some other kinder, gentler gardening mixtures check out our post ‘Gentle Garden Arsenal

Eat well, be well & garden well!

Squash Browns (sounds like Hash Browns)

I saw this term somewhere recently and thought, “Hmmmm.”  Now there’s a good idea.  Substituting squash for potato and cutting down on the grease sounds great.  But how to do that and still have some crispiness?  And how to do that without standing over a hot stove in the middle of the summer?  And can I actually make this for breakfast?

I think I have a good answer for 2 of those dilemma and even though I’m not a fan of gastronomic or musical meatloaf, ‘2 out of 3 ain’t bad’.  In fact it’s actually good if it get’s more veggies on the table with less effort.

As far as not standing over a hot stove goes, there is nothing like roasting.  It still gets hot near that oven, but I am not standing there!  I chop, drizzle or coat with oil and spices, put it in the oven and move on to some other task, even if it is sitting down with some PMS tea….. all by myself….. wonder why no one is sitting with me?

As far as the crispiness goes…. my son recently found a bag of packaged croutons in the pantry.  Ooooh – like crack to someone who doesn’t get white bread.  I mean, really they are almost like Dorito’s – crispy with flavor powder sprinkled on top.  He keeps asking to have salads, so there is a definite silver lining to that cloud, but the idea of croutons jumped out as a crispy addition to squash browns and they can be made the same way as roasted vegetables, using your bread and spices of choice:  Chop, drizzle or coat with oil and spice, pop in the oven and walk away…. although not for as long!!

As for the making it for breakfast, well it depends on how much time you have, but as this recipe happens at high heat, it doesn’t really take that long.

So, I give you my version of Squash Browns

1 sweet onion (I used a rather large onion because I love onion – your choice!)
2 medium tender yellow squash
2 slices of Ezekiel bread or other whole grain, hearty bread
garlic salt and/or garlic pepper and/or seasonings you’d like to try
1 – 2 Tbsp high heat oil like avocado

Pre-heat oven to 450
Chop onions, yellow squash and bread into squares
20150630_173027 Now, I tossed them all together and ended up removing the bread during roasting because bread browns much more quickly than squash and onions, so…..
Toss your onions and squash with 2/3 of the oil and spices
Place on tray and place in the oven for about 15 – 20 minutes.  Roasting time depends on how big you cut your chunks and your taste in tenderness and browning.

While the squash and onions are roasting, toss the bread cubes with oil and spices, then go drink your tea :-)
When your squash and onions are getting close to tender and brown, add the bread cubes and stir it all together.
Continue roasting to taste, but it’s really good if you stir once and let the bread cubes get crispy on several sides.

20150630_180104

 

It will take another 5 – 10 minutes to brown the bread.

Eat it up, nice and hot, maybe things aren’t as bad as you thought
– Garrison Keillor’s rhubarb pie song from A Prairie Home Companion radio show.

It’s not rhubarb pie, but I thought these were awesome.  One of the squash I used was a little tough on the outside and this does not translate so well into the roasting process (unless you peel it and I am an anti-peeler), so I highly recommend using tender young summer squash for this.  I did my experimenting with this recipe in the evening, so we did not have it as part of a healthy breakfast, but!  It certainly could be….. in fact today is Friday, so there are 2 mornings where I’ll have a little more time, maybe we’ll try them out on Sweetie Dad and Super-Step-Mom.  It’s a great way to start,                                or end,the day.20150630_180427Veggies, veggies, veggies, veggies, veggies, veggies, veggies.  Eat well and be well friends!

Blueberry Sauce for my French Toast

However you make your french toast….. and there are vegan ways to make it!  You still generally have to pour some sugar on it in some form….. or you think you do.  I think I do.  I know I’d like to.  But I try to limit the amount of maple syrup that I pour, and the amount of honey that my son pours over the french toast.  Or pancakes.  Or hot cereal, OR whatever you might like to pour sweet gooey stuff on.

Well, this blueberry sauce idea is indeed sweet but it dilutes the maple syrup and adds some vitamins, anti-oxidants, and fiber.  Now this terrific treat might sound like something you could only do on weekends, but there’s no cooking involved and it was just a flick of the blender switch, so this is worth doing any morning, for hot cereal, leftover pancakes or french toast.

I placed 1 cup of blueberries in the blender and added 2 Tablespoons of maple syrup.

20150628_082230-001 That may still sound like a lot of maple syrup but this makes enough for from 4 – 6 people and so that means the maple syrup content is really only 1/3 – 1/2 a tablespoon per person.  Not to mention the additional nutrition of the whole blueberries.  Well, they WERE whole blueberries when I put them in.  I must confess that this concoction goes quickly from the lovely purple you see to the left to a sort of brown-ish with dark flecks of blueberry skin in it.  It also congeals a bit, so it must be poured slowly or you will get a huge glop of it on your french toast, or pancakes or hot cereal or face.

Now if you are a more measured person like Mr. Bigg Sis, OR are the second one to pour, as was Mr. Bigg Sis, then your french toast will look like this with the blueberry sauce on it…

20150628_083213-001

But, I think the sloppy version picture looks much more tasty :-)

blueberry stuff-001  Well, use your imagination on the tasty looking part.  It really was good. If you prefer a thinner consistency you could add a little water or nut milk, but the thickness was still wet and completely satisfied the need for moisture and sweetness.

The leftovers do separate a bit, but a stir and a mash and it was ready for another go.  If you want more ideas for less sweet, but still yummy toppers for pancakes and french toast, check these out.

A raw, vegan birthday carrot cake for Little Sis

So sorry to have been away for so long!  We have moved out of our home in TN, put almost all of our belongings in storage, moved in with Sweetie Dad and Super Step-Mom and I have started the last semester of my schooling, so it’s been a little tough to post.  However, all of this allowed us to be together right around Little Sis’ birthday, so I made her a cake.  Vegan for Little Sis and GF for Mr. Bigg Sis and something a little different than the fabulous cakes she has made for my last 3 birthdays.  Yeah, I’m a little behind, but luckily Little Sis is not a bean counter and loves me despite my sloth in regards to her birthday.  So to the internet I went…..

I found a raw vegan carrot cake that sounded delicious and different, but I must say that ‘raw’ makes for an interesting ‘cake.’  Super Step-Mom watched with interest as I patted the ‘batter’ into a spring form pan and said, “Will that rise?”  To which I said, “No.”  She then asked the question of questions: “Then, how is it a cake?”  Well…. it’s round and tastes good and has icing on it.  And Little Sis will like it.  She was good with that answer and we all enjoyed this.  For more info on eating raw, I highly recommend that site where I found this cake recipe: This Rawsome Vegan Life.

I changed this up only a little, and we enjoyed it.  It was one of those things that feels good to eat on top of tasting good, and it was really not hard – although Little Sis deserves any amount of effort!!  In addition, it kept very well, so she got to have a little slice for several days.  Nice.

We hope to get back on track with posting, and certainly hope that you are all well and will feel good about eating this cake!!

Raw Carrot Cake w/ Cashew Cream Frosting

Cashew frosting:
2 cups cashews, preferably soaked for a couple hours
1-2 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons liquid coconut oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
Water, as needed

raw carrot cake lemons-001Oh I knew you were coming so I didn’t bake a cake……
I smashed a cake?……
I created a cake!

Oh I knew you were coming so I created a cake
Wack-a do a wack-a d0 a wack-a do.

Wack a do indeed!

raw carrot cake cashews-001

Cake:
2 large carrots, peeled
1 1/2 cups oat flour or buckwheat flour (I used oat flour)
1 cup dates
1 cup dried pineapple (or more dates – I used a mixture of dried fruit: pineapple, cherries and mango)
1/2 cup dried coconut (I used the sweetened kind as it was all I had)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (I forgot this, wasn’t a problem)

To make the frosting: blend all ingredients in your high speed blender until smooth, adding as little water as possible. Taste it – mmm. Put in a bowl and set aside.

To make the cake: cut the carrots into small chunks. Then throw all the ingredients (including the carrots) in your food processor and pulse until it’s all in really small pieces and sticks together.

Assembly: Press half the cake mix into the bottom of an adjustable spring-form pan, mine was about 6 inches. Then spread on about 1/3 of the frosting. Put it in the freezer until the layer of frosting is hard. Then press on the rest of the cake mix. I let it set in the fridge overnight, then frosted the whole thing, but you can do it right away if you want. Take it out of the pan and use the remaining frosting, cover with whatever garnishes you like. Enjoy!

raw carrot cake whole-001You should check out the author’s site for her pictures, which are really lovely… but either way, eat the cake!

Happy Birthday Little Sis!

Weekly Meal Plan 6/8-6/14

Strawberries, strawberries everywhere!! My own patch has been super productive this year and WOW are they sweet and delicious and red all the way through. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, try some homegrown or farmers market berries. Many of those available in the store have been bred to last a long time, but have lost some of their essential strawberry-ness. I am a strawberry freak and will happily even eat the bland cousins of my own garden strawberries when they are at their lowest price in early summer. I watch all my little strawberries closely (I mean the ones I’m not eating or putting in food) and when they get dusky (a little too dark, just pre-rot), I freeze them for use in smoothies. More on making the most of strawberries here.

So this week, since I’m inundated with strawberries, I thought it might be fun to experiment a little. Some savory strawberry dishes sound like just the ticket. Add to that a warm week and the annoying continuation of the cabinet renovation project and some cool dishes sound like a good way to go.

Monday: Strawberry Pistachio Quinoa with Lemon Oregano Vinaigrette, grilled corn, sautéed green beans

Tuesday: Strawberry Tomato and Fennel Gazpacho, Mixed Grain Bread, Smoky Baba Ghanoush, green salad

Wednesday: Vegan French Toast with Balsamic or Rosemaried Strawberries (working on the details there but thinking something like this)

Thursday: Asian Varia-Bowls (good for hot weather), chopped veggies, pickled carrots

Friday: Homemade Pizza, cut veggies

Saturday: Cucumber Soup with Herbed Cucumber Relish, Mixed Grain Bread,

Sunday: Homemade Kale Pasta with Basil Pesto, Massaged Kale Salad

Lunchbox Treats: Yeah, we have 8 school days left. I’m not baking right now. Sue me.

Adult Lunches: We will be meditating in the remaining quiet for lunch (and eating leftovers)

 

I hope it is a little less sultry and steamy where you are, and that your strawberries are plump and plentiful. Eat well, be well friends.