Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Curried pasta salad with tuna

My husband hates cold salads-- the kind with pasta or potatoes.

Today for lunch I needed a meal for me.

So I prepared 10 ounces of multigrain penne.

In my skillet, I poured 2 tablespoons cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, 2/3 cup frozen peas, 2/3 cup black beans, 2 teaspoons curry powder, 2 teaspoons parsley, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 2 tablespoons flax seed and 3 tablespoons sunflower seeds. Heat and mix thoroughly.

Now if you want to keep it vegan, mix two tablespoons vegan mayonnaise and the noodles. Then add the hot "sauce." I also added a can of tuna.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Packaged stir fry

Someone had gifted us a bag of Green Giant create-a-meal sweet and sour stir fry. I'm not one for such mixes as stir fry is easy enough to make without everything assembled in one bag.

But tonight, I was ill-prepared for dinner.

Now the directions say to make pork or chicken to put in this... But I didn't. I drizzled some canola oil into the Le Creuset skillet, added the vegetables into the skillet while the rice was in the steamer.

I added some leftover sesame broccoli from the other night and some sesame seeds and I sliced one boca chikn patty for some extra protein.

It was better than I expected.

Salads for survival

I've been slicing Boca Chik*n patties and putting them in "emergency" salads when I find myself starving for no reason. I hate using so many processed meat analog products, but even with lots of cashews or almonds, I find I'm needing something with some unidentifiable heft to satiate me. I'm going to experiment with avocado bagel sandwiches to see if that helps...

A favorite Mommy breakfast

This has become one of my favorite instant breakfasts: one morningstar breakfast patty on a slice of Archer Farm Apple Fritter bread with a BIG mug of Tazo herbal tea. My favorite tea is Tazo Rest, but I think it's been discontinued. On this particular day, I replaced it with Tazo Passion. Very fruity.

Cheese-free nacho lunch

Today’s Lunch

Child had a choice for lunch. Buy the school’s PB&J or pack. If she packed, the choices would be: leftover spaghetti, beans and tortilla chips or salad.

She picked beans and tortilla chips. Or basically cheese-less nachos. I heated a small portion of the taco meat I froze last month and some black beans. I put them in the thermal bowl. Side dish of Wegman’s mango salsa. Tortilla chips.

I gave her an apple/peach Adam and Eve fruitables juice box and a banana.

Lunch packed.


We invited friends who are transitioning to veganism to Easter dinner at my mother-in-law's, which of course focuses on a huge ham. Because my daughter has been dairy-free for medical reasons, my mother-in-law already made many traditional foods without the even more traditional butter.

I made a vegan sesame drizzle for the cooked broccoli, my honeyed corn dish that would be vegan if it didn't have local raw honey, and gluten-free falafel.

My mother-in-law made all her own Easter chocolate, a cheese pie and a blueberry pie (the crust was vegan but I bet the crumbs had butter in them. I didn't think to ask). Oh, and a molasses cake and a coffee cake. My sister-in-law made some weird cake with chocolate and tea biscuits.

My mother-in-law made dandelion greens with hot bacon dressing (dandelions from my brother-in-law's yard), mashed potatoes, gravy, harvard beets, carrots (plain), cranberry relish, fruit bread, eggs, ham, candied sweet potatoes and an olive/pickle tray.

 My falafel and tahini sauce are improving with every attempt. My going-vegan friends took the leftovers home, so that was a compliment. I based the recipe on a previous attempt and my friend Allison's falafel, details of both can be found here:
Vegan Gluten-Free Falafel

In my food processor, my daughter and I mixed:
  • 30 ounces [canned] chick peas, drained
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon stoneground yellow corn meal
  • juice of one small lemon
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
* now normally I include 4 tablespoons chopped chives from my garden, but I'm out and this year's crop is not ready for harvest. So I skipped it.

* I also included about 1/3 cup leftover three seed hummus (see recipe here: Three Seed Hummus) just to use it up, not to add anything

The feast
Now to cook it, I made golfballs instead of patties this time. They were very wet, a little looser and stickier than play dough but not as wet and sticky as a wet batch of bread dough. They held together better than my previous version. I baked for 15 minutes at 350 and then rolled them over and baked 15 minutes more. You can heat some oil and fry them lightly after they've baked if you want that fried, crispy outside. I didn't. I fear they'd fall apart on me.

For dressing, I used a variation of Allison's tahini-miso sauce. I don't have miso. But here's her sauce:
Baked Falafel with Tahini Miso Sauce.

Here's mine, which I do in the blender because I'm too lazy to wash the food processor after the falafel.
  • about 1.5 tablespoons cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • about 2 teaspoons minced garlic (or was it one?)
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • about 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • juice of one small lemon
  • 1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 cup water
Now for my broccoli drizzle, I did a variation of this experiment: Sesame Buttery Sauce
I whisked in a small bowl about a tablespoon each of
  • sesame oil
  • walnut oil
  • olive oil (?) 
  • water
And I very carefully drizzled a drop here and there over the cooked broccoli while stirring and then sprinkled with roasted sesame seeds.

And finally, the corn:

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Shopping at Target

I finished cashiering at 9 p.m. last night and did a stroll through the store to buy some goodies for Easter dinner. Plus, I noticed some good mark-downs on produce since the store will be closed today. (it took me way too long to realize why people were buying so many eggs and so much vinegar.)

Shopping at Target is like getting groceries at a casino. I've come to expect some random error somewhere in my order.

Speaking of which, here's my damages:
Subtotal: $61.02, minus $6.11 for my team member discount; and $2.75 for my red card discount for a total of $52.70

- impulse: Ruffles Molten Hot Wings, $3.59
They had these in the break room and I loved them
- Market Pantry berry 100% juice boxes, $2.64
- Dole classic romaine bagged salad, $2 (normally $2.49 and this mark down wasn't on the shelf tag or I would have purchased 2)

- a head of cauliflower, $1.79, again shelf tag read $2.49
- 2 Newman's Own dressings, one sesame ginger and one raspberry walnut, for my dairy free diva, $3.19 each
- Archer's Farm apple fritter bread, $3.79 (for peanut butter and raw honey sandwiches)
- New England blueberry cobbler coffee, $5.99
- Tazo Rest tea, $3.29 (we have not had this tea for a month, and there was one box last night. I've checked other Targets and other stores and no one has it. I asked my friends in 'Market' and they said we don't have any more)
- bananas, 7 at 10 cents each and they're green so I don't know why they were marked down)
- two packs of frozen yellow and white corn, Market Pantry, 97 cents each
- bird's eye steam in bag broccoli, reduced to $1.02
- bird's eye steam in bag mixed vegetables, $1.02
- 12 packs of cherry coke zero, coke, and fresca, $2 each
- unsalted butter, one pound, 2 boxes at $1.70 each (has to go in the freezer for now)
- boca chik*n, spicy chik*n, and crumbles, they were supposed to be $1.99 each but one rang up as the full price of $3.99
- Clif bars, 7 bars, $5
- Oreo Berry burst, $2
- Adam & Eve fruitable apple peach juice boxes, $2.50

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Broccoli with sesame butter sauce

A vegan buttery treat, I hope:

- one steam-in-bag bag of broccoli florets
- about three tablespoons cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
- about two tablespoons organic earth balance margarine
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil

Make sauce, mix into broccoli. Toast sesame seeds and add.

Vegan Treats/Extravagance

Truffleberry "cheese" tart

It has been a difficult week to say the least. The car has broken, the other cat (we put one to sleep last month) needs to go to the vet, I got my summer tuition bill...

My reaction to financial stress is to go out to dinner, which doesn't help the problem but it sure makes my belly feel better. I've eaten out three times this week and now today I took my daughter to Vegan Treats, since she can actually eat the goodies there.

I'm lecturing myself right now about the waste of money. I normally spend between $250 and $300 on groceries and that's what I've spent in April on dining. March was worse, and I blamed it on the conference I attended.

Regardless of the excuses, it has to stop. Because it looks like I'll be taking $1,000 out of savings to make ends meet this month. But, whenever I get a chance to upload the photos of the desserts we ate, I think you'll understand why I did it.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What to do?

I have been plagued with hunger again lately. Part of this is because I haven't eaten enough at meal times before I get hungry... So in that case it's my own fault.

Yesterday, I had apple fritter toast followed by my homemade nut-heavy granola. Recognizing this as carb-heavy, I had the last two eggs from the farm... and was starving an hour later. My daughter suggested a trip to Wawa, and my husband suggested red meat...

I didn't have any better ideas.

With guilt in my heart, I ordered myself a roast beef sandwich with cheddar on an everything bagel with lettuce, tomato, pepper, oregano, and creamy horseradish sauce and a big old side of potato chips. I was satiated and didn't eat for the rest of the day. But I hate the prospect of resorting to nitrate-laden, processed lunch meat. What specifically satiated me? The heavy caloric content? The massive amounts of protein? The fat?

Hmmm... maybe I'll make some huge veggie sandwich with avocado and sprouts and see if that has a similar effect. There must be healthier ways to feed my body... without resorting to piles of soy analog sandwich products or processed meat.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Back on track?

Yesterday I had one of my meltdowns. Between my health (anemia-related issues still kick myass from time to time), the final weeks of school and working too many hours, I was overextended.

And as my psychologist once told me, being overextended makes me crazy.

So I called out sick.

Between the exhaustion, the multiple open wounds on my hands from a fall I took on Saturday, minor babysitter issues AND spilling stuff all over my last clean pair of khakis, I was done. And I was in bed by 7:30 and slept until 7.

Part of my problem stemmed from not eating proper dinners because I had worked 4 nights in a row and of those four nights, the last three I ate dinner on a fifteen minute break. That gets compounded by shifts that start at 3 or 4, meaning even if I eat a good meal before I leave home, it's not enough.
Last night, I let child pick a restaurant and we went out to dinner to celebrate her report card. She selected a franchise based on her desire for chocolate pudding until I pointed out the dairy issue. She selected a kid and ice cream oriented franchise instead, saying she'd forego the ice cream if we gave her a tofutti cutie at home.

Considering the quality of our meal, I should have talked her out of that too. She ordered processed chicken on sticks that was supposed to come with salad, carrot sticks and celery sticks. It came with lettuce. I'll save my other complaints...

This morning I read the label for the apple fritter bread and as I suspected, it has milk. It has more salt than milk, but it does have milk.

Finally, in an act of desperation, I made my famous homemade granola that the child is munching on right now.

The dry ingredients measures about seven cups, with the dressing consisting of 3.5 tablespoons raw local honey, 1/2 cup blackstrap molasses, and 1/2 cup canola oil.

The dry ingredients were about:
- 3.5 cups oats
- 1/2 cup unsalted raw almonds
-1/4 cup dark cocoa dusted almonds
- 1/2 cup unsalted cashews
- 1 cup dried fruit and peanuts from a commercial trail mix
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons tiny chopped candied ginger
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground cinnamon
- 1 box sour peach flavored golden raisins
- 1 cup golden raisins, dried blueberries and dried strawberries

Mix and bake at 300 for 45 minutes in a thin layer on a cookie sheet, turning every 10-15 minutes.

A variation of the Imus Ranch cookbook recipe

Monday, April 18, 2011

Breakfast with Almond Butter

Last night when I left work I bought a watermelon, almond butter and a loaf of Archer Farms apple fritter breakfast bread. Does that sound like a stellar breakfast or what? I have to read the label of the bread and see if it's vegan.

(*it's not. Small amount of milk. More salt than milk, but milk nonetheless.)

Monday lunch

It's Monday and another hectic one...

It's the wee one's only day at school this week, a snow make-up day where they show them movies (so why make it up??). She wanted to pack. I can't blame her. Lunch choices right now stink.

  • Berry Berry Fruitable juice box by Adam and Eve
  • half a sandwich from the Target café: ham and swiss with the swiss peeled off, a layer of Nayonnaise soy mayo (vegan), and added some lettuce
  • some veggie pirate booty (also vegan)
  • a small piece of dark chocolate
  • fruit snacks, that must have come from her girl scout leader because I have no idea how they got into the house
That's the closet thing I've ever packed to the "standard American diet" lunch.

Venison stew

I made venison stew last night for my family to eat while I was at work. I didn't intend it as stew, but it happened that way.

As usual, I didn't have enough time or ingredients to follow a recipe so I did an internet search for venison loin and experimented from there.

Everyone seems to suggest soaking venison in salt water/vinegar to lessen the game taste. They recommend a few hours and even better overnight. I gave it an hour, so who knows if it even did anything but... My brine solution was salt, pepper, one cup water, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar and almost a cup of white vinegar. And my "country herb" blend.

After I got the loin pieces out of the marinade/brine, I dredged them in flour and cooked them on medium high in canola oil in my Le Creuset skillet. Meanwhile, in the crockpot, I poured a can of Progresso French onion soup (which has BUTTER in it, but more MSG than butter... So, is that a little butter or a lot of MSG? Either way, scary. I hope to never come in contact with this soup again.) And a cup of water. Which later we added another 12 ounces of water at least...

I cooked the meat about five minutes on each side and then I poured a cup of water over it and allowed that to boil most of the way off. I poured the meat and all the drippings into the crockpot. My husband added chopped potatoes. We cooked on high about four hours then reduced to low for another three to four. (I'm not sure when they ate dinner.)

About 20 minutes before they ate, they added frozen carrots.

They loved it and devoured it as stew.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Three seed hummus

Initial taste of this pre-chill is yummy!

In the food processor:
- 16 ounces chick peas
- juice of one small lemon
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin cold pressed olive oil
- 2 teaspoons tahini
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 teaspoon parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon dill Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon cashew butter
- 1 pinch cumin
- 2 teaspoons roasted sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon unsalted sunflower seeds
- 2 teaspoons flax seed

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Afternoon Tea

My mother didn't cook when I was growing up and I usually ate my dinner early so I don't remember my afterschool hours having food rituals. But my daughter often pulls up a stool to our dishwasher, which serves as a kitchen island when not in use, and does her homework while I cook.

Today I made her a cup of celestial seasonings Sugar Plum Spice tea with a big spoonful of local raw honey and a hearty piece of the banana walnut cake (dairy free) I made yesterday.

And she was cute. I hope she remembers our kitchen with fondness.

Creamy potato casserole

I'm not even sure about this one.

I started with this as my base:

I used a diced smoked pork chop instead of ham and halved the meat, adding close to 2 cups broccoli.
I substituted soy milk for milk and made a "brown" gravy with the last batch of chives from last years garden, a 1/2 teaspoon of garlic and about 1/4 teaspoon of dry mustard instead of the leek mixture.
I forgot the paprika.
I didn't notice the butter and layered my gravy into the casserole instead of butter.
My casserole dish was overstuffed.
And my gravy was lumpy.

Time will tell.

It was very very yummy. Phew! I was sweating that one.

Today's Zaatar Lunch

Yesterday's packed school lunch was a huge hit. Every scrap except for three spirals of pasta.

Today mimics yesterday's lunch. One of our new juice boxes, some cashews, some frozen blueberries and a slice of zaatar foccaccia.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dairy Free Banana Bread

I needed something to accompany my sweet potato soup and somehow I thought of banana bread. I adapted this recipe from the Betty Crocker 40th anniversary cookbook.

- 1 cup sugar (mine was more like a 1/2 cup, I ran out)
- 1/2 cup margarine (I used 1/4 cup of Earth Balance)
- 2 eggs (mine are fresh off the farm)
- 4 medium ripe bananas, mashed
- 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- that raisin syrup I had in the back of the freezer for ages

Place oven rack in lowest position. Grease bottom of small cake pan with walnut oil. Preheat oven to 350. Mix margarine and sugar. Add eggs and stir. Add bananas, milk and vanilla. Mix. Stir in remaining ingredients except nuts. Stir.

Put 3/4 of batter in pan and spread evenly. Add raisin syrup and half the nuts. Add the remaining nuts to the remaining batter and top the "cake." bake an hour? Or will it go quicker? Because it's shallower than a loaf.

I cooked it about 40 minutes. It is the best banana bread/cake I ever made!!!

Sweet Potato Coconut Soup

Me. My blender. No ideas for dinner.


32 ounces kitchen basics no salt added vegetable stock
A big can of sweet potatoes with most of the syrup drained
A can of Trader Joe's organic coconut milk
A tablespoon of cinnamon
2 tablespoons organic maple syrup
And a large teaspoon of nutmeg

I overblended to a thin liquid and put in the crockpot.

My husband had two bowls. I thought it tasted like something they'd serve in a fancy restaurant with sliced almonds and a dollop of some sort of cream in the center... Daughter, who loves soup and eats just about anything, HATED it. My heart is broken.

Pasta and blueberry lunch

Devoured. Every scrap.
I love preparing leftovers for my kid's lunch. She loves the insulated bowl and the "hot food" from home. This month the school's normal two choices of hot lunch is reduced to one so it's lots of pizza, hot dogs and processed chicken products. The dairy factor knocks out many of them, and the alternate lunch is PB&J which she likes about once a week. She likes when the school serves tacos with lettuce and tomato, or chicken ranch wraps, or chicken salad, or even their garden salad (probably the days when a normal kid says "yuck.")

So, today I filled a bottle with some apple juice, a bowl with some frozen blueberries, and the thermal bowl with whole wheat rotini with broccoli and Morningstar breakfast patties (sausage) sautéed in olive oil, which Daddy prepared for me Sunday night.

Fruitable Juice Boxes

My daughter has had a problem with her thermos leaking. It's a two part problem: 1. she doesn't put the lid on tight enough and 2. she doesn't drink the juice at lunch time.

I had $6 in my checkbook this weekend when I used my debit card to buy an $8 bottle of medicine for her over the weekend so needless to say the budget is tight and my husband will be hanging on to that car registration renewal for another day or two to keep our checks from bouncing.

But school lunch at her school is extra nasty this month... and she wants to pack three days this week. So, I need to fix this thermos problem. I've already tried reducing the amount I put inside and she still "doesn't have enough time" to drink it.

Today I used a small water bottle. And I found $3 in my wallet so we went to Giant for juice boxes. Juicy Juice boxes were on sale 5/$10, so the cheapskate in me wanted those. But I noticed that the Adam and Eve juice boxes were 2/$5. I discovered a "fruitables," like a V8 Splash. They had three flavors, one was berry.

At 50 cents more a pack, that's 6 cents a juice box and child gets 10% of her vitamin A and 10% of her vitamin E. I wonder, is it worth it? They're only 66% juice versus 100 which leads me to ask, what's the other 34%? So I read the ingredients:

Adam and Eve Fruitables
  • Apple Juice concentrate
  • sweet potato
  • butternut squash
  • strawberry, raspberry and some other juice concentrate I can't read under the wrinkle in the plastic
  • filtered water
  • vegetable something (darn crinkled plastic)
  • added vitamins
Once again, nutrition via processed foods. But if you're going to pick a juice box... 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Backyard picnic!

Today's weather was refreshingly warm and happily sunny. With my fresh baked zaatar foccaccia (that the sunflower seeds fall off of, when will I learn to knead these items into the dough), it felt right to wash off my little café table and ask hubby to grab a bagged salad and a bottle of Vouvray on the way home.

What else says summer-ish than cold French wine, Dole Asian Crunch salad ($12.71 for the wine and $3.99 for the salad) with homemade bread dipped in cold pressed extra virgin olive oil?

The whole meal would have been vegan if it weren't for the egg yolk-- I'm not sure if it was in the ginger sesame dressing or the Asian-style noodles.


I got to dig around in my compost heap today... An activity I find oddly relaxing and rewarding. There's nothing quite like setting in with a shovel and slowly burying that half-rotten food until you have a big pile of black soil, some ticked off worms scurrying for cover and a hole for the next batch of food goodies.

I have a fenced off area under my back deck where I keep the compost. As long as I keep it properly rotated and buried, it does not smell.

Today I found some grapes, oranges, apple cores, watermelon rinds and stems from last year's pumpkins. Tea bags, egg shells, but no big hunks of food. That proves tome that our diet is mostly unprocessed foods, because they all turn into dirt again easily.

I even toss in the tortoise poop when I have to clean it up, which usually includes some tissues and newspaper.

Though every once in a while, I toss in a donut just to watch it's decomposition. We all need a hobby.

Zaatar foccaccia

Ever since my bout with anemia last summer, making bread has become a chore. Because of this, gradually I have made less and less bread. But, today, with zaatar spices in hand, I wanted to make bread again.

Among my first summer entries, you can find a garden herb pesto/fresh tomato foccaccia that is a family favorite. I adapted this from a recipe from VegList, a veg*n email loop I belonged to in the dark ages before Yahoo groups.

Today, I have transformed that basic foccaccia into a zaatar and sunflower seed variation.

About 1 teaspoon yeast
1.5 cups warm water
Mix and let rest 15 minutes.

1 pinch fresh ground salt
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup unbleached white flour
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rye flour

Stir with a wooden spoon.

Add another cup white flour and a little wheat flour.
Add a handful of flax seeds
Add a handful of roasted sesame seeds


Coat with olive oil and let rise abot 1.5 hours until doubled.
Lightly oil and flour a big cookie sheet.
Press out the bread.
Brush with oil. Coat with liberal zaatar and sunfloer seeds.

Let rise another 45 minutes. Bake at 425 for 25 minutes.

Vegan Daddy Broccoli Pasta

Last night, Daddy cooked dinner for the wee one while Mommy worked. He opted for pasta, because his brain ends up on spastic meltdown when he tries to cook without dairy.

Apparently, he made a wheat rotini dish with strips of vegetarian Boca Chik*n patties cut into strips and fresh broccoli with a sauce of cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil and a touch of organic Earth Balance margarine.

Child loved it.

He made me a variation with Morningstar breakfast patties cut into chunks.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


Daddy went to Giant on the hunt for Just Born jelly beans. No luck! Since child can't have the doritos Daddy bought last night (he wasn't thinking) I suggested he buy her some chips or snack from the natural food aisle.

He got me my favorite licorice, Twizzler's pull n peel, cherry.

He bought child "baked fries" which are flavored with cheese and buttermilk (oops-- he couldn't find the allergen warning) but two other options too: nature's promise vegetable chips and Pirate Booty veggie!

Does this make 4 grocery stops in 2 days?

This month is rough since we just paid the car insurance. We had $5 left to make it a week until we both get paid. We're running out of food, so I finally admitted my loses and transferred $125 from savings to checking.

Prior to yesterday, I spent about $16 on groceries so far this month. I spent $100 in the last 24 hours.

Last month, I spent $280 but $60 of that was after making the commitment to remove dairy from child's diet.

In the interest of full disclosure, I spent almost $370 eating out last month. Much of that was due to a conference. I will try to reverse that trend this month.

This afternoon, I spent $24.37 at Aldi. I bought:
- 10 pounds of russett potatoes, $3.49
- 3 containers of frozen white grape raspberry 100% juice frozen concentrate, 1.24 each
- 64 ounces of plain soymilk, $2.39
- English muffins, 99 cents
- whole grain pasta, one package penne and one rotini 89 cents
- sugar, $3.09
- frozen blueberries, $2.99
- 2 cans condensed vegetable soup in beef broth (gravy for a shepherd's pie)
- great northern beans, uncooked, $1.98
- Graham crackers, $1.19
- 3 cans whole potatoes, 59 cents each

Husband Hamburgers

Because husband got unexpectedly called into work, I didn't have a chance to eat properly. This led to a mild mommy meltdown. Husband saved the day with burgers from the ground beef I bought earlier. While he cooked them, child and i went to Aldi and, among other things, got English muffins for buns. I thought the texture would be delightful and it was.... Airy and crispy.

We dressed them with spring mix and ketchup for the little one and Archer Farm's buffalo blue cheese dip for the grown-ups.

Husband sprinkled some of my country herb blend on each one.


Last night, I asked my husband to buy a few things from Target and Wegmans. We had a coupon for ocean spray juice and another for Silk almond milk from Target. And I wanted some of those sour infused raisins from Target. They add sugar to them, so they're really not that healthy. But they fill my jelly bean craving so... That's a fine trade.

Husband bought two boxes of Morningstar breakfast patties, Market Pantry cranberry-pomegranate juice, ocean spray blueberry juice, two packages of the golden infused raisins, two cartons of vanilla almond milk and a quart of half and half... The total came to $19-something so it should have been $17-something with the coupons but the cashier missed the one coupon. But we still had a $5 gift card from an earlier promotion and my discount so I guess that works out okay.

At Wegmans, he spent $11 and bought vegan mayonnaise for the child, organic spring mix for the tortoise, broccoli and a bag of Doritos.

Now today we were heading to Kline Farm to buy eggs, meat and local honey (another attempt for alleviating the daughter's ear problems). We stopped at Forks Mediterrannean Deli because we were hungry. We spent about $13 for four portions of zaatar bread, roasted sunflower seeds and a bag of the zaatar spice. Yes, I hope to make my own zaatar bread.

Finally, we made it to the farm. We spent $38.50 and bought:
- 3 lbs ground beef
- 1 lb beef cubes
- 1 pound chipped steak
- a fairly big jar of local raw honey
- apple butter by a local artisan
- one dozen brown eggs

Friday, April 8, 2011

Expanding Salad

Since I work at Target café, I have a familiarity with our salads. I adore our California salads, which are made with romaine, blue cheese, walnuts, dried cherries, and poppyseed dressing. I think a vegetarian version of this salad would be awesome since the walnuts provide plenty of protein.

The directions for making salad instruct us to use "the black scoop" for cherries, walnuts and cheese, but we don't have a black scoop. When I asked what the measurement of the black scoop was, I was told to use my judgment.

One of my colleagues stuffs the salads so full that you can't eat them without emptying half the salad into another container.

Occasionally, I buy one of her salads and augment it with a bag of fresh spinach to make a meal for the four of us.

 The last time I did this, I spent $3.63 for the salad ($3.99 minus 10% team member discount and 5% red card discount) plus I spent $1.50 (pre discount) for the spinach, since it was on clearance. That's $5 for dinner.


Another no grocery, no dairy packed lunch

My daughter wanted to pack lunch again and not only have I still not gone to the store (trying to survive until payday which is an unrealistic endeavor) but we had tacos for dinner and had no leftovers. Sigh.

What's a mom to do?

Assess breakfast. Child ate heap of watermelon her grandparents brought, Graham crackers and unsalted cashews.

So... Lunch.

How does this sound?
- a thermos of plain soymilk
- a spoon
- cornflakes with dried blueberries from Forks Meditterranean  Deli
- green and red grapes
- the remaining mandarin oranges from yesterday
- sesame brittle from Forks Meditterranean Deli

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Almost vegan honeyed corn

Today I went to my state Senator's office re: school and gaining political experience and I noticed a "Taste of pennsylvania" cookbook published for free by the Pennsylvania Dept of Agriculture. I grabbed one.

In it, I discovered a recipe for microwaved honey corn from the Pennsylvania Beekeepers Association. I decided to de-dairy it and try it as a baked item.

The original recipe calls for:
- 20 ounces frozen corn
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 3/4 cup milk

Mix in covered casserole dish and microwave 8-10 minutes.

My version:
- 16 ounces frozen corn
- 2 tablespoons organic Earth Balance margarine
- pinch fresh ground salt
- 2 tablespoons honey (and next time I hope to replenish my supply of local honey since spring allergy season is here)
- 3/4 cup soy milk

I'm baking mine in the oven thinking the slow heat will let the corn absorb more flavor)

Vegan packed lunch for school

The falafel last night was very good, though chunky since I was too lazy to get out the food processor. I will be trying that again.

Daughter wants to pack today and my typical leftovers approach won't work since pizza and falafel needs to be hot to please the little one's palette.

So, today's lunch involves raiding the freezer. I gave her one dairy slight slide-- a commercially produced rice krispie treat that I no longer have the package/ingredients. Yesterday I poured some apple juice into ice cube trays so her juice could stay cold without getting diluted. The main sandwich is a Morningstar breakfast pattie (sausage) on a homemade multigrain biscuit. And a side of canned mandarin oranges.

Our meals lately have not contained many green vegetables, but every time I buy some they disappear instantly and we're badly in need of a trip to the grocery store. Considering how empty the cupboards are, I think our meals look good.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Vegan gluten-free falafel

I have a good friend who's gluten intolerant and in the past I had an employee who also had gluten issues. For some reason, this came to mind when I saw this vegan recipe on another friend's blog:


With my daughter's dairy-free stint, and with a bad history of making falafel (despite a love of it) I decided to try it, and make it gluten free.


Not sure.

I strayed from the recipe so this is what I think I mixed up:
- 30 ounces chick peas imported from Lebanon
- 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon cornmeal
- probably 4 tablespoons chopped chives frozen from last year's garden
- 2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon parsley
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon roared sesame seeds
- 2 teaspoons cold pressed extra virgin olive oil

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Vegan pizza

I always use too much sauce, so I had to add more "cheese"
Our foray into dairy-free has been good, with daughter bringing her thermos of juice to school diligently. We've eaten Meditterannean food, beans, and homemade baked goods, and spaghetti... But tonight we're adapting our pan pizza.

Daughter prefers it thin crusted so I did my best to press the very sticky homemade dough into the cast iron skillet. The dough was unbleached white flour, whole wheat flour, cornmeal, stoneground rye, sesame seeds and flax.

We grated some carrots for in the sauce. Layered carrots, then sauce, then veggie slices cheddar flavor and finally black olives. Liberal sprinkles of Italian seasoning and garlic salt.

Husband picked the "cheese" because he remembered this brand and flavor being most tolerable during our vegan days. Our vegan experiment was more than a decade ago, so I hope they've made strides with fake cheese.