Meal Planning – Week 2

Some Boy reviews from last week – since I’m thinking it might be helpful to have a boy opinion on these things:

“This is the best soup you have ever made” that was the ringing endorsement from the Boy as were enjoying Loaded Potato Soup from last week for the 3rd time.  The Boy does leftovers, but that he’s been willing to do this soup leftover time after time after time = note worthy. So if you haven’t made the Loaded Potato Soup from last week – I highly recommend it.

This week I made the controversial Warm Quinoa Salad from week 1 last Sunday night – it was super yummy and the Boy after his unwillingness to make it started this conversation:
Boy – Oh yeah, this one’s not bad.  I like the corn
Me – I know.  That’s what you said the last time.
Boy – How can you expect me to remember these things
Me – I don’t.  I remember for you.
Boy – Oh. I didn’t believe you.
Me – I know. I told you that too.

Onwards and upwards.

I didn’t actually get to Week 2’s meal list until Tuesday last week, since the leftovers (made and in grocery state) lasted us into the beginning of the week.  Sweet – making those groceries go further is always a good thing. When we ended up eating out Wednesday (date with mom) Thursday (multiple appointments for everyone + puppy school = sushi night) and Friday (date in Alliston with the fam), Saturday the Boy was reunited with friends and hockey and I was left on my own – week 2 quickly turned into week 3. I’m still trying to balance having enough ideas in mind and the fact that we’re on,y 2 people so maybe 6 recipes in mind is too many. Learning.

ANYWAY, Tuesday I made Raw Zucchini Pasta with Thai Peanut Sauce – I was really hesitant of the Boy’s review on this one.  I’ve had something similar so I wasn’t too worried about it and pretty intrigued (obvioulsy that’s why it made it on the list) but telling the Boy to think of raw Zucchini as pasta… I wasn’t sure how that would go.  I pre-made the sauce when I was home at lunch (the perks of working close to home) and after an evening skate we came home to a quick and easy dinner.  I added finely grated carrots and beets to the mix. Yum-o.

Raw Zucchini Pasta with Thai Sauce

I don’t know why the Boy was skeptical – Beets make it Pretty in Pink!

The Boy was as predicted very sketched out by the presentation – but he did admit that it was really tasty, not only that but that we could have it again. I’ll take that as “singing it’s praises”.

This week we had hamburgers, (technically not on the list, but we didn’t have chicken so – it all works out in the end) and the soup from Oh She Glows was a big hit with me, and the ably liked that he could put tortilla chips in it (since he’s not a big fan of beans – this too is practically singing it’s praises). Wednesday I made the Portabello and Red Pepper Mac and cheese but instead of the Yum Universe cheese sauce (which Sista found a bit bland) I turned to Oh She Glows again for her Vegan Alfredo sauce which is super yummy. Last night the sauce from the Raw Zucchini Pasta made another dinner for both of us plus a lunch. Love it when a little goes a long way!

I haven’t made the falafels yet, but given that they’re made with 2 cans of chickpeas – I’m thinking these will go pretty far and we’ll have some quick and dirty freezer falafels going forward. Score.

The Recipes:

Week 2:

Snacks – Morning Glory Muffins – Spilling the Beans.  In an effort to eat less wheat I made these with Gluten Free All Purpose Flour – straight up. They were still good, but they stuck to the paper like crazy and didn’t really rise.

We still had Peanut Butter Bars and Cheesy Hummus in the fridge, so I froze the muffins to make them last longer. Grab one in the morning and you’re good to go by first recess!

Lunches – Quinoa and Lentils Mandarin Salad – Quinoa 365

Big Salad with Falafels – Plant Powered Kitchen
Raw Zucchini Pasta with Thai Peanut Sauce – The Healthy Ginger
Black bean, Red Quinoa and Sweet Potato Soup – Oh She Glows
Portabello and Red Pepper Mac and Cheeze – Yum Universe + Oh She Glows Cheeze Sauce
Whole Chicken, Protein Mashed Potatoes and Veggies

Meal Planning -Week 1

True to my word I started meal planning this week.  The Pinterest inspiration that I saw involved colour coded cue cards in 10 different colours for 10 weeks of meal plans.  There was a grocery list attached to the top, so in theory one would just have to grab a stack head out to the grocery store and one would be set for the week.  This would work swimmingly if one was, a. Martha Stewart or b. Crazy OCD like the Boy, or c. actually devoted an weekend to planning 10 weeks of meals, printing them on colour coded cue cards, printed out the corresponding grocery lists and then displayed them beautifully for their esthetic beauty and to be showy about how ridiculously organized one was.
 
I am none of these things.
 
So I thought I’d start small, one week at a time.  I have done this before, but the lovely Pinterest post did highlight one small detail for me – save the lists.  Brilliant.
 
Week One was done on the fly while the Boy was in the shower 10 minutes pre-grocery shopping.
 
I grabbed everything from some of (mostly one of) my favourite veggie blogs – ran through what we had already in the fridge (nothing) and in the pantry (surprisingly a lot) and off we went. The only item we’re short – I didn’t buy enough Basil which will require a grocery stop tonight. No biggie.
 
It’s Friday and so far we have been pretty good. The Boy nixed the warm quinoa salad, claiming not to like it even though he’s had it before and definitely did like it. Instead he made pasta and red sauce, a la Boy. But at least he was funny about it…

The Boy Cooks

For those that may be following along, I give you Week 1.

Week 1:
 
Lunches Soup – Carrot Ginger and Apple – Oh She Glows

Snacks:
Cheesy Hummus – Oh She Glows
5 minute No Bake Peanut Butter Bars – Fannetastic Food  – I make these with Sunflower butter so that the Boy can take them to school – I also added mini chocolate chips so that the Boy will consider them a treat, and not some “crunchy good for you thing I’m trying to pass off as a granola bar”
 
 
Dinner:
Sundried Tomato Pesto Pasta – Oh She Glows – yummy, quick and easy.
Warm Quinoa Salad – Oh She Glows
Steak, Sweet Potatoes and Veggies – a la Boy
Loaded Baked Potato Soup – Peas and Thank You –  I made this last night and after taking another look at the ingredients – 1 cup of cheese into the pot, plus more on top? That is loaded. I don’t think so Mama Pea.  I skipped the 1 cup mixin’ and just added someme shredded on top. I’ll be sure to report back.
Lentil Loaf – Oh She Glows –  I make these in mini-loaf pans, then we can have 1 each for dinner and the other 8 go in the freezer for lunches (mostly mine – the Boy generally takes leftovers from dinner the night before) – but since we didn’t make it through all the recipes this week, I’ll probably push them over to next week.

and thrown in at the last minute –
Pasta and Red Sauce with left over steak chunks and veggies – a la Boy

Happy Anniversary

Just taking a small break from our painting marathon to officially wish the Boy a happy anniversary. Nope, it’s not our wedding, or the day we met, our first kiss, or engagement.

The Boy has been clean and sober of McDonalds for 13 months today. That means the Boy didn’t eat that nasty stuff once in 2012, and in my books that means he’s officially kicked the habit – which deserves both mention and celebration.

We are officially a McD’s free household. AWESOME.

Congratulations buddy!

Next up – Taco Bell?!

Do you have any bad food habits that you’ve kicked? The Boy went cold turkey – does that work for you?

Chilled Chocolate Chai

Oh Angela.  I love your blog.  I love your recipes that all look so delicious and make me wish I lived with a vegetarian or at least a bean lover. And I love that you too have given me a little unintended help with my end of our Family Challenge with the perfect timing of your Chilled Chocolate Chai recipe.
I made this on the weekend and am LOVING it.  At first I had to get used to having my chai fix cold, and less creamy and less sweet.  But now that I’m at work and have a little cup waiting for me in the fridge for my 2:30 slump.  I’m all over it. It’s WAY cheaper, I’m going to say 60 cents vs. $4.80 and while it’s a different, less sweet taste – it’s still yummy, so I’ll take it.
Head on over to Oh She Glows for the recipe – and then head on over to your local Superstore for some PC Chocolate Chai goodness.
I’ve now made it with Unsweetened Almond Milk and Vanilla Almond milk – just sayin’ whatever you’ve got in your fridge will do since they are both totally delicious.
Enjoy!

Family Challenge

The Boy has been clean and sober for 7 months. No, he doesn’t have a secret problem with alcohol that I just forgot to mention or chose not to include in my or his online persona.  He is was a McDonald’s addict. Seven months McD’s free.

Congratulations Boy!!!

He’s still eating fast food, but McDonald’s was too big a part of his diet.  There’s one at the end of our street and it was a little too convenient for him to swing by on his way home from school when he was snacky.  It made me vomit everyday. He’s had other fast food since, but not McDonalds and therefore significantly less.
ANYWAY, I was listening to Here’s the Thing an NPR podcast hosted by Alec Baldwin and he was interviewing Dr. Robert Lustig this week about the poison that is fructose.  He has a lovely 89 minute lecture on it that is very sciencey or there’s the podcast that is 50 minutes and far more accessible (although the long version is also very interesting).  A large part of both talks is about how Coke is basically pure evil for your body.

Here’s the sciencey long version if you’re interested.

Here are my two favourite quotes from the long version:
On why fructose in fruit is okay, (I might be paraphrasing a little) “God is super smart and packaged the poison inside the antidote” Fibre is your friend and helps your body digest the fructose in a healthy way.
And on navigating what’s good for you, (no paraphrasing here) “If it doesn’t make you fart, it makes you fat.”
Love it.
I’ve already been thinking about my sugar intake and trying to do something about it – Sista directed me to Sarah Wilson’s e-book a few weeks ago which got me started thinking about it.  Do you ever find that information presents itself through your podcast at the perfect time.  I decided we needed a family challenge.
I would give up Starbucks Chai Tea Latte with Soy Extra Hot No Water No Foam. And the Boy would give up Coke.
I presented the idea to the Boy.  His first question – forever? I decided no. Since I’m not about giving up the things you like – we’ve got to live a little right? Plus I love me some Chai Tea Latte and I know I couldn’t give it up entirely forever. So I decided the summer.  It’s hot – why do I need an extra hot drink?
The Boy said he would think about it.
I started marking x’s on the calendar for me while he thought about it.
The next day I we had this conversation:
So I guess Taco Bell it is. Although between you and me we’re going to revisit this conversation once the fridge is free and clear of pop.  I’m voting for not having it in the house at all.
We’re tracking through the honesty policy and giving ourselves little Xs on our calendar.  The goal? Don’t break the chain.  (Another little podcast gem that I came across – apparently this is a trick that Jerry Seinfeld uses to make sure he writes everyday – don’t break the chain)
The last time I cut out sugar from my life it made significant changes in my body shape, my energy levels and the palatability of sweet stuff for a long time afterward.  But alas, sugar is SO yummy – so it didn’t stick.  I’m cool with that. But I’d like to take a little break from just this one Grande indulgence.
Have you done a sugar detox? Are you a Coke-fiend like the Boy? Or a Chai Tea Latte fiend like me?

Food for May

The Boy and I… well mostly I tried something a little new this month.  We… well I wrote down what we had for dinner on the calendar.

It looked a little something like this

I tried this to help me with meal planning.  The Boy and I cook almost every night – Thursdays are usually a take out night, anyone else hate cooking on Thursday? But we spend a WHOLE lot less and have a LOT less waste if we go to the grocery store with a plan.

1 full month in I can honestly say – it’s kind of helping. My hope is it will continue to help more the longer we keep it up.

Down to business:

This month I finally made Peas and Thank You’s Chewy Energy Bar from the Peas and Thank You Cookbook.  One word. Yum.  I also made them school snack safe by making them with Sunflower Butter instead of nut butter so the Boy can pack them for school without brushing up on his EpiPen skills. Win-win. Sunflower butter for anyone out there also feeling the nut-free schools bummer, sunflower butter tastes pretty close to peanut butter but since it’s seed and not a nut – it’s good to go.

I also made the Asparagus Soup (don’t overcook the asparagus), Fajita Quesadillas and Quinoa and Cranberry Salad all from Vegan Cooking for Carnivores.  The Boy added chicken to the salad but other than that he was happy with all the results.  If you’re looking for a new cookbook – check that one out.  It’s also available in an e-book!

A little side note I always freeze some of the leftover soup in mason jars which gives me an easy lunch when leftovers are either meat or sparse.

Looking at the calendar it’s funny the majority of our meals are just out of my little head.  For the most part we keep it pretty simple. Stir-fry. Pasta with veggies. And we’ve cooking a whole chicken at the beginning of the week.  It gives the Boy chicken for the whole week and only has us actually cooking meat once a week.

I did make a few things that I can actually share and better yet – both were delicious!

Artichoke Feta Garlic Bread it was our contribution to our sibling dinner.  Pretty Yummy!

And last night I made this Quinoa Broccoli Casserole – The Boy said “It was pretty good considering all the things that I don’t like in it”  I thought it tasted like Broccoli and Cheesey goodness from my youth.  But better.  Filling. And yummy.  I made a half recipe since that’s all the quinoa I had, but it made the perfect amount for two dinners and two lunches.

I told the Boy it must have been good enough if he’s taking it for lunch!

Have you heard that June is Salad Month? I don’t know that I’ll be committing to a 30 day salad challenge full out, but I am looking forward to seeing what Angela at Oh She Glows comes up with to inspire me all month!

Follow along with #saladaday

April Recipe Recap

Can you believe that April is over? This is crazy to me.  What’s even crazier is that it’s still snowy and crap outside.  Hello spring?! Where the FRIG are you?!?!

Well, if we can’t have spring at least we can have muffins. How those are a trade off I’m not sure.  But I made some yummy ones this month so I’m going with it.

Raspberry Oat Bran Muffins – Peas and Thank You: A couple of weekends ago I woke up feeling domestic.  I got out of bed, did the dishes from the night before and made these muffins all before the Boy got up.  I woke him up to let him know how I had spent my morning and his response “Wow, you’re such a great wife.”

It’s true.  I am.

Anyway, that was Sunday and by Monday I was informed that while the Boy and I eat very well – apparently he is not getting enough fiber. This will not do.  My response? Make more muffins.

Morning Glory Muffins – Spilling the Beans These I just made this week.  And they are quite possibly the most filling and awesome muffins ever.  Packed into each deliciously moist bite, red lentils, sweet potato, apple, raisins, coconut and I even snuck in some extra bran in there – just to make sure things keep moving! 🙂 I cut the buttermilk and used Almond Milk instead. It made 18, I made them on Tuesday night. We have 6 left. They’re really good.  AND they were a really great pre-yoga snack this week. SOLD!  The Boy likes them too although he did mock my excitement by saying “You’re right they’re so good we shouldn’t eat anything else EVER!” 😐 In truth he can be as snarky he’s eating more than nothing for breakfast this way, so I’ll take it.

I already mentioned the Corn Chowder – from Cooking for Carnivores.  Some other recipes I’m looking forward to from there include Buckwheat Waffles, and Fajita Quesadillas. I’ll be sure to report in May.

I made my own brilliant recipe with pasta, and sauteed portabello mushrooms, red onions, sun dried tomatoes, grape tomatoes, spinach, a little red wine, a little balsamic and a little fresh basil. Topped with crumbled goat cheese – quick and DELICIOUS! A perfect combination.

I rediscovered the felafels that are in our freezer from Peas and Thank You cookbook.  I wasn’t a big fan of them as felafels (a bit dry) which is probably why they’ve been in the freezer for 6 months.  But as crumbly goodness on top of salad – yummy.

Last but CERTAINLY not least, Peanut Butter and Jam Nanimo Bars. OMG Angela from Oh She Glows.  I love her. These were SO amazing.  They are miraculously still in our freezer since they have nuts so the Boy can’t take them to school for snack.  I offered to use sunflower butter instead of peanut butter but since I had already made the crumb that has 1/4c of almonds in them – he wouldn’t take them.  So I didn’t bother altering the rest.  Stupid nut rules at school! So frustrating!!

Oh well, leaves more for me!

Like the pictures? Can you tell I’m practicing taking the camera off Auto?! 🙂

Learning takes time.

Who ordered this?

It’s snowing right now. As I type this I am looking out the window at possibly bigger flakes of chunky wet snow than we had all winter. It looks cold. And grey. And wet. And it’s cold in my bones. I knew when it was 30C in March that it was too good to be true.  The Boy and I even discussed it – the possibility for snow to come. Turns out it really doesn’t matter that I told myself to expect it.  I’m still bitter.  It’s the end of April. I’ve started walking to work.  I’m done with winter.

So I made soup. Corn Chowder – specifically. And it was delish.  Even the Boy agreed. From Vegan Cooking for Carnivores, with a little added Meaghan tweaking. I don’t know what Old Bay Seasoning is, but I know what spices are on my fridge – so I added some of those.

Chowder is just the thing on a snowy evening in April. The heart can’t take much more of this – but soup helps.

Onion, celery, garlic, a bit of flour. Stir. Add veggie broth. Spices – I used some Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Thyme, Cayenne, Bay Leaf, Red Pepper flakes, salt and Pepper.  Corn, simmer, puree half.  Add Potatoes, simmer, eat.

Mmmm…. Chowda’

A little touch of Irish

Can you believe that March is almost over? This is crazy to me. Crazy.

This month the Boy and I did typically well for making delicious meals, but not as good at trying new recipes.

Some tried and true favourites I rediscovered this month:

Perfect Veggie Burgers

Cherry Chocolate Chunk Dough Balls

I’ve also discovered Hemp Hearts and Chia Seeds – both are slowly but surely changing my life. Well, that may be a bit extreme but I am looking forward to trying chia gel in my next baking undertaking.

Here’s what I tried that was new:

Pineapple Fried Rice – One word. Yum.

Butternut Squash Ravioli – kind of, we used the wonton wrapper trick from the Green Pea Pesto Ravioli of February

Hummingbird Cupcakes – as inspired by my new love – Pinterest! (FYI – if you’re looking for a breakfast cupcake this is it!)

Pineapple and cream cheese? Sounds like breakfast of champions to me!

And the one I’m sharing – I’ve gotta say, I wish I had had my stroke of creative genius BEFORE St. Patrick’s Day not after.

Bailey’s Chocolate Cupcakes.

I used Martha Stewart’s Devil’s Food Cupcakes and then topped it with Martha’s Bailey’s Buttercream, which can be found in the GLORIOUS cupcake book, but is simply her Basic Buttercream recipe with 3 Tbsp of Bailey’s Irish Cream. Delicious.

Where I lost my creativity was in the colour.  Sure I made them green as per the Boy’s recommendation. It was St. Patrick’s Day after all.  But after enjoying a delish Green Monster the other day I thought – hey I should have greened up the icing with spinach or maybe avocado… hmmm so curious if it would have worked. But alas, food colouring.

Luckily they were still super delicious and I highly recommend them!

 

 

Lentils and Quinoa and Oranges – OH MY!

Did you think I forgot? My vow to share a recipe each month?  Never.

I was just waiting to see what the winner was of February.  And what I learned? I make a lot of new things each month when I take the time to actually remember what I’ve made.
There were Chocolate Cherry Dough Balls, and Martha Stewart Cupcakes.  Strawberry meringue buttercream and Oatmeal cookies.  The Boy and I made our own Green Pea Pesto Ravioli and I made a quinoa with chickpeas and feta cheese. And while all of these things tasted delicious (though the Strawberry buttercream was not without its challenges – note do not mix warm with cold, you will get curdled buttercream and it will still taste good but it will not look good), one recipe took the cake.  In fact, I’ve made it three times this month.

Lentils Quinoa and Orange Salad.


YUM.

Adapted from the cookbook Quinoa 365 I ditched the called for can of mandarin oranges and used a delicious in season, Florida navel orange instead. And I have a hard time believing the mandarin orange segments and sickly sweet syrup come anywhere close to being as delicious.

This salad is SO easy to make. Lasts all week in the fridge for lunch.  Is super filling and yummy and is gluten-free and allergen free which makes it Naturopath friendly. How can you get better than that?


Give it a try before the deliciousness of winter oranges go the way of the do-do bird (isn’t that such a disappointing day when you get your first dry orange of the spring?  No? Just me?)  Either way, you won’t be disappointed.

Adapted from Quinoa 365 Mandarin Almond Salad

1 3/4 c  water

1/2 c brown lentils

1/2 c quinoa

1/4 c canola oil (you could make it extra Naturopath friendly by splitting Canola and Flax oil)

4 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp fresh lime juice

3 Tbsp orange juice (I juiced half an orange)

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 c almonds roughly chopped

1/2 c dried cranberries

3 Tbsp minced fresh parsley

1 (and a half if you use fresh orange juice) Orange(s) – chunked.

Cook the lentils – boil and then simmer (20 minutes) add quinoa (boil again) and cook until cooked.

Combine oil, vinegar, lime juice, orange juice and salt in a jar – shake it up.

Combine the rest of the mixin’s, mix in the quinoa and lentils and toss with dressing.

DONE.  Super filling and DELICIOUS!

Who said you couldn’t have fresh delicious salads in the depths of winter?

Crazies that’s who.