Tag Archives: VFC

Menu plan, Saturday to Friday

Standard

Saturday: Peanut noodles with tofu, broccoli, cauliflower and carrots, salad, some kind of fruit

Sunday: West African Peanut Stew (I know, two nights of peanutty stuff in a row, but it was hard enough to pick all of these recipes now that I am out of the habit; I am not redoing this), amaranth or brown rice, apples

Monday: Curry Coconut Shrimp (I am going to add some carrots, and probably use Thai red curry paste instead of the curry powder), Thai Vegetables, brown rice, mango

Tuesday: no plan; I may go to a friend’s house for dinner and then working out, or I may just eat leftovers–kids at their dad’s

Wednesday: Salmon noodle casserole (Yay! I will be the hero mom!), broccoli, some kind of fruit again

Thursday: Pasta with capers, tuna and tomatoes, salad, some kind of fruit again

Friday: pizza, carrot sticks, fruit

On Saturday we are headed for Troutlodge, where we will be fed, so no need for plans for then.

I am trying to start serving a fruit with dinner each night again, because I know those kids aren’t getting enough fruits and vegetables every day. It is harder to plan that, though, and I am thinking I may need to just get some fruit canned in juice for a backup.

Dinner, fast!

Standard

I haven’t been around much now that it is summer, but I haven’t forgotten my blog entirely. It’s just that summer is so much less structured, all my habits change. My children spend a lot of time with their dad (6 weeks, in 2 week chunks), and I am not home much during that time. It just gets so lonely here when they are gone. Why, yes, I do know that I am pathetic, why do you ask? ;-) The kids came back this weekend, though, so I have been cooking again. I am trying to cook up what I have in the house, both to use up stuff I don’t have room for in my storage-challenged new kitchen, and to save some money, so cooking is a bit of an adventure these days.

I came home from work today with no idea what to make for dinner, so I hit the cookbooks. Now, I love my Vegan With a Vengeance book, but at 6:30 this evening, every recipe I looked at needed an hour’s marinating, or 30 minutes on the stove followed by an hour in the oven, or 3 labor intensive components that had to be baked for 45 minutes after they were assembled. So, they obviously weren’t happening.

Next I turned to The Vegetarian Family Cookbook, by Nava Atlas. I’ve mentioned this cookbook before, but it’s been awhile since I looked at it, and I had forgotten just how wonderful it is. I quickly found a delicious recipe that I mostly had the ingredients to make, and I was able to throw together a good nutritious dinner while I chatted with a friend for about 20 minutes. The boy ate well, and the girl didn’t complain too much, which is a victory with her. Of course, I threatened her with dire punishments if she said anything bad about the food—she is always doing that, and then the boy has to say he doesn’t like it, just like his big sister. But, if I can get her to keep her opinions to herself, he almost always really likes what I make. I have to say, if you like good food that is not difficult to make and that appeals to a wide array of people, you need to buy this book.

Stewed Tofu with Corn and Tomatoes

1 pound firm tofu
2 Tbsp light olive oil
1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes (the original recipe called for fresh tomatoes, but I didn’t have any)
3 cups cooked corn (I did one can, drained, because that is what I had)
4 scallions, sliced
1 tsp paprika
Freshly gound pepper, to taste
Minced fresh parsley or cilantro for topping, optional (I used cilantro, yummy!)

Slice the tofu and press between paper towels or clean kitchen towels, then dice the slices into small cubes. Heat the oil in a wide-bottomed skillet until just hot, and gently fry the tofu, stirring, until the pieces are mostly golden. I added the scallions, giving everything a quick stir at this point, then added the tomatoes, corn and paprika, stirred everything together and ground some pepper on top, stirred again, and let it all simmer gently for about five minutes. Of course, you could add salt at this point, but I never cook with salt, so I didn’t. I ladled the stew into bowls and topped my portion with chopped cilantro and more freshly ground pepper, but neither of the kids wanted any cilantro. Very good and easy, we will definitely be having this again!

A Recipe and Some Lunches

Standard

Coconut Curried Vegetable Stew

2 onions, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbsp veg oil
4 medium potatoes, chopped
4 medium carrots, chopped
½ head of cauliflower, chopped
2 cups frozen cut green beans, thawed
1-2 tsps fresh ginger, to taste
2-3 tsps good quality curry powder, to taste
½ tsp turmeric
1 15 ounce can light coconut milk
1 cup frozen peas, thawed

Saute the onions and garlic in the oil until golden. Add the potatoes and carrots, plus two cups of water. I needed to add just a bit more to come close to the top of the veggies, about half a cup. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer, cover and cook until veggies are half-cooked, about 10-15 minutes. Add the cauliflower, green beans, ginger, curry powder and turmeric. I did not have any cauliflower, so I used frozen broccoli, which was very good. Continue simmering, covered, until vegetables are very tender, about 10-15 minutes more. Mash some of the potatoes against the edge of the pot to thicken the stew, and add the coconut milk. The cookbook recommended letting the stew stand for an hour to meld flavors, but I didn’t have time for that. It also recommended salting at this point, but I don’t cook with salt, so I skipped it. Add the peas and heat thoroughly, then serve.

Oh my goodness, this was so yummy! The kids were not as impressed, but I think they’ll come around, given repeated exposure. And they will get repeated exposure, because I just loved this.

Lunches

I ordered two Laptop Lunchboxes last week after seeing them used so well on the Vegan Lunch Box. Originally I had only planned to order one for the girl, but the boy wanted one, too, so I went ahead and got two. They arrived today.

The girl was so excited that she decided she wanted to take her lunch even though tomorrow is chicken nugget day in the school cafeteria. I have to admit, I am pretty excited about her lunch—it’s really healthy, and for her, it’s got a lot of variety. I took a whole wheat tortilla and spread it with Tofutti cream cheese (I know, that isn’t the greatest, but I am so happy it is non-dairy, I am overlooking the fact that it isn’t perfect) and rolled it up and sliced it. On the side, she has mango sauce, dried apricots, sugar snap peas and sunflower seeds. It’s not anywhere near gourmet, but it is healthy and she’ll eat it.

Of course, since I was making the girl lunch, and he had a new lunch box, too, the boy wanted me to make a lunch for him as well. I tried to talk him out of it, since his daycare provides lunch, but he was adamant. So, he is having a whole wheat tortilla with cream cheese, too, plus some sugar snap peas, sunflower seeds, and a medley of dried fruits (apricots, raspberry-flavored cranberries, cherry raisins, and papaya). I should be glad he is eating veg, too, but instead I am overwhelmed with the thought of making three lunches every night. Bad mommy. I guess I will adjust, though.

West African Peanut Stew

Standard

Oh my goodness, was this a yummy recipe! I ate too much, because it was too good to stop.

1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil (I think; I just swirled some in the bottom of the pot)
1 red onion, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, diced (I used a lot more)
2 cups shredded cabbage
2 medium large sweet potatoes, diced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 tsp grated fresh ginger (or more, if you like it a little spicier–I used more)
3 cups water
1 10 oz. bag frozen okra
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (again, more if you like it hotter)

Saute the onion and garlic in the oil until golden; add cabbage, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, ginger, and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer until the cabbage and potatoes are staring to soften, about 15 minutes. Add the okra (my Trader Joe’s didn’t have okra, so I used green beans instead), and then add the peanut butter a small amount at a time. Stir to melt the peanut butter before adding more. Add the cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes and then cover and cook until all of the veggies are tender, about 10 minutes. If needed, add water to keep it moist, but you don’t want to let it get thin like soup.

I served over plain red cargo rice, and I had an apple on the side. It was so delicious and nutritious! You know, I cook a lot, and I can usually tell when I read a recipe if it will be good or not, but I am always surprised when new recipes turn out well. This, even though the vast majority of the time, new recipes turn out well for me; I know my abilities in the kitchen pretty accurately. This time, I had fairly high hopes, but they were still surpassed. This is one of the best new recipes I have tried in a while. I will have to make a blander version for the kids some time–I think they will like the idea of peanut butter in their stew.