Stuff It! Peppers That Is.

Peppers are great little colorful bowls to put some healthy fare.  It’s a great way to use up ingredients in your fridge or reinvent some left-overs.  Any grains will do as well as sauteed veggies, meats, tofu, etc.  The good thing about these is they can be made easily for everyone’s tastes and dietary restrictions.  Last night I sauteed some ground turkey with fresh thyme and garlic.  Then cooked some black forbidden rice.  I combined the rice and turkey and added some spinach chiffanade and filled the half sliced pepper.  I topped it off with a bit of parmesean cheese and put it in the oven to bake for about 35 minutes.   These are quick and easy and pretty too.  They went with tomato soup and a crusty french baguette.

(As for those dietary restrictions you may notice something from the photo.  Two are without cheese – my husband is cutting back.  Two have just the rice mixture without turkey – for my daughter.  But it was easy to please everyone.)

 

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Another Evening in the Kitchen….I Can’t Stop Myself

Some evenings I just get too overambitious.  Today I just don’t have a clear focus and instead of having a meal plan, I keep cooking and cooking.  Hopefully something will come together.  I’m having trouble settling back into the mealtime routine after being on holiday and now getting the kids homework and activities in before dinner.  These are some photos of my kitchen right now at 6:24 p.m.

I just finished making maringues for my daughter’s kindergarten class.  However I’m already second guessing them and may make something else.  That’s more like 10 pm tonight.

I realized I thawed out pork chops for dinner this morning and actually had a plan for them.  However I remembered my husband saying he didn’t want to eat meat.  Call it a resolution.  Anyways I called to get clarification.  Sure enough when he said meat he didn’t just mean red meat but pork too.  OK.  But I can’t waste food.  So I’ve cooked that.  Even if we don’t eat it tonight, at least I can now freeze it.  Tip:  I could not have put it back in the freezer without cooking it.  Since it came from the freezer already.  However after cooking it can then be warpped and frozen.

Now I’m creating a vegetable stir fry.

And for another protein for those not eating pork, I’ve made some marinated tofu.

So now the plan is a stir fry over rice noodles.  You can pick pork or tofu with your veggies.  That will have to work.  Did I mention I did all this is about 45 minutes?  My family comes home from my son’s Tae Kwon Do in about 10 minutes…

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Day 5 – Hunger Challenge

son's breakfast - note: the last piece of toast

I feel bored writing about our mornings, there’s so much of the same.  Oatmeal with almond milk and half a banana for me.  My daughter shared some oatmeal and a few slices of apple and grapes.  She put up a little fuss at breakfast.  My son got up earlier and ate the last piece of toast (along with yogurt, aple and a bowl of cereal).  I imagine this would be a regular problem in a large family, but it doesn’t happen much with only two kids.  Even the bread heel wasn’t an option as I used it for my tuna melt the other night, knowing no one else would want it.  We usually put the ends in the freezer to have on hand when we feed ducks at the park.

son's lunch, again
daughter's lunch
my lunch

While I was making my son’s lunch – he just keeps requesting the same turkey wrap, carrots, pretzels and grapes –  I decided to make a few hard boiled eggs.  My daughter loves making egg salad face sandwiches and I thought she’d like that for lunch with me.  I even went to the store and used up close to the last of my money (bread, carrots, flatbread, avocado, tofu, chicken, tortillas).   But no, she didn’t want that.  I enjoyed my sandwich – with no face.  She said “Why didn’t you make a face?”  I said “Because if you don’t have one there’e no one for my face to talk with.”  She had sunflowerbutter and fruit spread wrap, carrots and grapes.  There was one addition.  Cucumber slices.  The garden mom gave it to us at school pick up.  Score!

 

The afterschool snack was not exciting as we had 15 minutes to unpack bags, eat something, fill water bottles and change for soccer practice (both kids).  They had a Clif Z bar, as did their coach dad.  They hadn’t had one in a while and I keep them on hand for hiking or an emergency snack at a sports game/practice.  So this seemed like a treat.  My son remembered he didn’t eat his pretzels at lunch, so he packed them up for after soccer.  He’s now being resourceful and planning against hunger.

 

So I was glad I was able to buy more things today.  It wasn’t much, but staples we ran out of and a few things to get us through dinners.  I went to Trader Joes’ again, eventhough I usually buy meat, fish, chicken at Whole Foods.  It’s too too expensive for the challenge for these items.  I did still buy organic.  I also was happy to see the product demo for a taste of blueberry pancake with syrup.  I could’ve eaten 10 more samples, but I stopped at one.

dad's dinner
daughter's dinner - no meat, no sauce

Tonight was a stir fry.  A stir fry is great because you can add anything.  It’s also a good way to use all your veggies.  It seemed a treat to have two proteins – tofu (1/2 package) and chicken (2 small breasts, less than 3/4 lb total).  (My diet is lacking protein this week)  It also didn’t contain any left-overs or make-overs from previous meals.  My daughter not eating meat of course.  My son wanting chicken and my husband and I having both.  I had “bought” rice from my pantry, which wasn’t great planning.  There was only a little left of brown and the same of jasmine.  So I made a mix to get 1 cup and cooked it together.  This is one drawback to having too many choices – partial bags, but maybe not enough.  This meal was easy…First I heated some oil in the wok.  I rinsed and pushed out the water from the tofu and cut into chunks, then added it to the wok.  I removed the tofu and stir fried the chicken pieces.   I removed the chicken then for veggies I woked up some broccoli, carrots, and kale in some vegetable broth.  Everyone could add the veggies to the rice with their tofu and/or chicken.  I had bought a premade thai curry sauce for flavor, that we buy anyway.  It’s great for quick mid week stir fry, without having to measure and use lots of ingredients (which I don’t have access to this week).

edanamme

I also boiled some frozen organic edaname.  Half of which my daughter ate before dinner.  It’s hard this week to offer enough veggies for them to snack on before dinner, and be able to use them for the main meal.  It was good and we were full.  I even packed up the left-overs – a single serving, just barely big enough for my lunch tomorrow.  Something to look forward to…

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It’s Father’s Day…Go Grill the Crap Out of Something

I saw the message above on a greeting card and think it’s very funny.  I don’t believe it’s an accident that Father’s Day is at the begining of summer and dad’s are ready to cook and eat outside.  I guess it’s like getting back to nature and feeling like you’re living off the land and providing food for the tribe.  Or maybe it’s just to get out of the house and away from the kitchen where most of the usual action (good and bad) happens.

Whether your dad is a BBQ guy or not, celebrate everything he does (or did) for you and your family.  I sure miss mine.  I’ll make sure my husband feels appreciated and loved by our kids and even let him watch some golf (before he grills our dinner).

Happy Father’s Day Dad’s, Grandad’s, and Husband’s!

Speaking of grilling, I received a copy of the new Cookouts Veggie Style, 225 Backyard Favorites – Full of Flavor, Free of Meat., by Jolinda Hackett.  This has some great inspiration for using the grill without the meat.  Note this is a vegetarian cookbook and not vegan (although there are many recipes) as there are many dishes with cheese (grilled Haloumi – yum).  Putting on a steak is always good and easy, but what if you want to grill something lighter?  Or you have a few vegetarians for dinner guest?  Or your daughter doesn’t want to eat meat today? (yes, that’s speaking personally).   We discovered putting tofu slices on the grill with our steak suits her just fine (and the rest of the family too sometimes).  See recipe below.

Review

Pros – Lots of great sounding recipes, with simple instructions for a variety of tastes and flavors.  A few mouthwatering photos.  Good grill basic intro.

Cons – Serving sizes and yields seems very large on some recipes (4 people eat an entire head of cabbage for slaw? 1/2 cup of butter for 4 ears of corn!).

 

Easy Herb-Marinated Tofu

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 package, firm or extra firm tofu, sliced

salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together juice, oil and garlic until emulsified, then add in basil and rosemary.  Marinate tofu for at least 20 minutes or up to overnight – the longer the better.

Remove the tofu from the marinade and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Place on a well greased grill over medium heat for 5 – 6 minutes on each side.

(Make etxra for left overs.  Grilled tofu is great for salads, sandwiches and pasta dishes)

 

tofu in marinade
Tofu on grill - oops I forgot to slice first

 

 

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