Week 4: Chronicles from Jan 29, 2012

This week counts as halfway through our experiment. The conversations about “how” the experiment is doing have gotten interesting, most notably in large part that we probably won’t be going back to our old ways. Everything outside of the current allowance may be let back in to a small degree, but only small. We’ll probably not go out for steak (I say that now so easily) or drink milk since homemade almond milk is amazing, but we’ll have fondue for fun or cheese and crackers because we love them.
This week will look somewhat like last week, but that’s because we’re getting a weekend away for the first time in five years so we’ll be cheating at least on Friday and Saturday in terms of preparing food. We’ll try to stick to the plan, but we can’t be held accountable for everything when celebrating, right?

Sunday:
Taco salad: Crock-pot black beans with onions, rice, shredded carrots, yellow bell pepper, avocado, lettuce, salsa, and ranch all on a tortilla. Sometimes I feel like we’re not sacrificing ANYTHING since our food is so good.
Monday:
Stir-fry – yes, my go to stir-fry since we had a GIANT head of bok choy (I’ve never seen anything to rival it in my life); I think stir-fry is my clean-out-the-fridge meal more than anything else.
Bok Choy, carrots, celery, onion, green pepper, baby corn, cabbage, bok choy, tofu, cashews on brown rice.
What I really need, I’m learning, is my own small food processor. I have an attachment to my immersion blender which is okay, but I’m using it everyday to make sauces and dips and it’s starting to show some wear.
Tuesday:
Dr. Praeger’s veggie burgers (which I didn’t really love this time, and I think I’m quite over them, though everyone else seemed to enjoy them)
Asian coleslaw (see below) We always love this, but I never remember quite what goes in, so I’m documenting it.
Boiled baby red potatoes with salt, pepper & earth balance buttery spread (still concerns me to use a butter-like product that is patented)
Steamed asparagus dipped in a veganaise/lemon/hot sauce dip
Vegan chocolate chip cake after the kids went to bed and Matt was in meetings – lucky me! And just FYI, I use about 1/2-3/4 t. baking soda to adjust for altitude, and have to bake mine for 45-50 minutes. Yay for mountains, right?
Wednesday:
Mexican Chowder adapted from “Everyday Happy Herbivore”
I admit, I was a skeptic when I saw the recipe for several reasons. I am a nutritional yeast novice (the idea is still weird to me, but as a good source of vitamin B12 – absent in a vegan diet – and cheesiness, it’s welcome). And miso in a Mexican soup? But it was pretty good. It tasted a lot like taco soup or a sort of creamy tortilla soup and both kids ate it without complaining of the flavor. My son hates soup as a rule, but once he got over the “soup” aspect of it (an hour and a half later), he ate it like a champ. I’m sure the chocolate chip cake had nothing to do with it.
Tortillas for mom & dad, quesadillas for the kids
Thursday:
Sgetti night – I know, it’s spaghetti, but it gets pronounced so many ways in our house, and I don’t even use spaghetti. I use linguine. Just whole wheat pasta, sauce (canned, I know), two onions, a red pepper and a pound of mushrooms sauteed, with a bit of nutritional yeast for “cheese”. It was fine, not great, but fine.
Bread, steamed broccoli, salad
Friday:
GETAWAY night – O’Falafel. Yes, again. It’s that good.
Saturday:
GETAWAY night TWO! Tarahumara in Midway. Now, a quick comment on this. I tend to think that the veggie thing for a restaurant should be easy. There should be a few choices, and they shouldn’t be awful. Here’s the scoop on this place – few choices, if any. Horchata even had sweetened condensed milk in it. The Corn Chowder was actually really good, the cream sauce on top (not vegan), made the dish, but Matt still enjoyed it without. The veggie fajitas were terrible. They tasted like half the vegetables had been pickled and that’s not very good, especially with fajitas. Just throw some lovely vegetables on the grill and serve with tortillas, rice and beans, right? Seems like it should be easy, but somehow it was bad. BUT, they did have a lovely salsa bar, I mean 20-30 different kinds of salsas and toppings good. If we were to go back, we’d get a soup and a couple of baked potatoes for $2 each and top them with the best salsas – and we liked different ones so there would be variety for sure.

Asian style coleslaw:
Dressing:
rice vinegar, to taste (I know that’s annoying, but I have no idea how much I used; enough to make a dressing base)
oil (probably optional)
2 inch nub of ginger, peeled and chopped
1 garlic clove
crushed red pepper
salt & black pepper
Agave nectar
1/2 – 1 t.wasabi powder
Salad:
1 smallish head cabbage
1-2 c. shredded carrots (we got some ENORMOUS carrots from Bountiful Baskets this week, so I used 1/2 of a carrot)
2 stalks celery, sliced thin
3 scallions, white and green parts, sliced thin
1 apple, diced small (make sure it has some flavor – I used a pink lady and it was delightful)
In a small food processor or blender, combine all sauce ingredients and blend. Taste and adjust seasonings as you like. I found that even after I made my dressing, I still added a bit of this or that until I was happy to the salad after dressing it.
Combine all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Pour dressing over the top and mix, stir, toss, whatever. Then, as you can imagine, you’ll probably adjust your seasonings again. Enjoy.

Mexican Chowder
Adapted from “Everyday Happy Herbivore
Serves: 2 adults, 2 small kids & a quart jar leftover

1 large or 2 smaller onions diced/chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 tomato, chopped
2 t. chili powder
1/2 – 1 t. cumin
1/2 – 1 t. paprika
1 t. dried oregano (it’s winter or I’d recommend fresh)
1 1/2 c. almond milk
6 T. nutritional yeast
3 T. (or so) ketchup (I just cleaned out the last of a jar, so however much that was)
1 T. (or so) brown rice miso (I just took out a dollop)
2 c. frozen corn
2 c. black beans
Juice of 1 lime
salt & pepper
Diced avocado, for garnish
Chopped cilantro, for garnish
Lime wedges, for garnish

In a dutch oven or large pot, saute onions, celery, and peppers in either a thin film of water or oil (or combo, like I did). Continue cooking vegetables until onions start to soften. In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, combine almond milk, nutritional yeast and ketchup. Add garlic to vegetables. Stir in chili powder, cumin, paprika & oregano, cooking briefly to bloom spices. Add the almond milk mixture, stir to combine. Add the miso, corn, and black beans to the pot, simmering until the table is set and the rest of dinner is ready. Season with salt and pepper. Just before serving, stir in lime juice. At the table, pass avocado, cilantro and lime wedges for garnish. Serve with tortillas or corn chips.

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2 thoughts on “Week 4: Chronicles from Jan 29, 2012

  1. Believe it or not, I love your chronicles I appreciate your recipes and thoughts. I know life will change drastically this spring, and you won’t have nearly as much time, but I appreciate hearing how things are going, and knowing your recipes will be right at hand when I want to try them. The biggest problem we have here (besides that I’m the least veggie-phobic) is that I can’t cook with garlic if I’m cooking for the whole family because of what’s essentially a garlic allergy (weird, I know). So many things taste wonderful with the garlic, and I generally have to leave it out. But I’ll make hummus just for me so I can enjoy it regularly.

  2. Pingback: Week 9: Chronicles from March 4, 2012 « Good Clean Food

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