Tag Archives: vegetarian

Dinner, fast!

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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!

CORN

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I throw away too many vegetables. I tend to buy a lot of vegetables, because I love them, and I love how I feel when I get plenty of veggies in my diet. But as the week progresses, I find myself grabbing whatever is easiest, which is often not my veggies. Tonight, I decided that I needed to do something to reverse the trend. Thus, Clean Out the Refrigerator Night. This is actually a recipe I like to make often, but it is an adaptable recipe, depending on what I have to use up.

Veggies and Couscous

5-6 cups of veggies, whatever you have (tonight I used mushrooms, red and yellow bell peppers, a leek, broccoli and cauliflower, 1 yellow tomato and 1 red tomato)
16 ounce container Imagine Organic Creamy broccoli soup
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh basil

I sautéed the mushrooms, bell peppers and the leek in a bit of water until they started to soften, then added the broccoli and cauliflower, put a lid on the skillet, and let that all steam for a bit. When the broccoli and cauliflower started to soften, I added the soup, chopped the tomatoes, and ground some pepper on top. The lid went back on top, and I let it simmer for about 5 minutes. Then I picked some fresh basil from the pot in my window and stirred that in.

I served over tri-color couscous, and we had steamed carrots and mandarin oranges on the side. I feel so healthy!

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Reading No Impact Man has really made me aware of how much stuff we throw away. It doesn’t help that we are working on massively decluttering the apartment. We recycle, but I really would like to do more reusing.

However, it takes so much time to reuse! We have been doing pretty good with bringing our lunches, and the Laptop Lunchboxes are so much better than the sandwich baggies I used to send with the girl that she would throw away every day. But, washing those extra dishes every night takes so much more time. And, if I can whine just a bit more, my kitchen sink is just that much too short, so that my back hurts when I stand there to do dishes, stooping just a bit. I don’t even notice I am doing it until my back starts to hurt.

I really don’t mind the extra dishes that much, though. It’s the thought of how many more dishes and how much more prep work I would have if we reused more that really gets to me. So, I feel a bit guilty as I put the empty glass mango sauce jar in the trash, but not guilty enough to seriously think about making my own mango or apple sauce at home in my own reusable jars. Do you know how long that takes?!?!?

Maybe someday I’ll get there, but for now, I am just going to focus on the benefits of not using sandwich baggies. And I will go put my paper bags from Trader Joe’s by the door so I don’t forget to take them with me tomorrow to the store. Baby steps before running, right?