Under the Maple Canopy

Singing Union Songs Since 2009

What’s for Dinner – Soulful, Bowl-fulls


I was pretty skeptical as to whether or not my weekly menus would be well received by the kids.  I am happy to report that with the exception of a couple of meals that have received lukewarm response, they have been willing participants.  Thankfully, it’s been a cinch to stick with which is more than I can say for most externally provided meal plans or planning structures.  Score one for mom!

I swapped out one recipe last week – I used the focaccia recipe from King Arthur Flour instead of the one from Peter Reinhart.  I realize this is the second time I’ve done this and am wondering (ever so slightly) if perhaps it’s a sign.  Either way, the recipe from KAF is lovely and is the perfect last minute sort of complement to any meal.

While I was making my grocery list this week, I noticed something peculiar about the menu – most of the meals that I chose are served in a bowl.  Looking back on the last few days I guess I’m not quite so surprised – the chapter in Tamar Adler’s “An Everlasting Meal:  Cooking with Economy and Grace” called How to Make Peace was particularly inspirational and it called for…you guessed it, bowls.  I love my melamine plates for their unbreakable selves adorned with cheery patterns, but I love my deep, red melamine bowls even more.  I think they’ll be the perfect canvas on which to paint the colors of our meals.

This week was also about practicing “leaping ahead” as Tamar Adler puts it.  I don’t think I’d be able to shop for more than a week at a time without getting a second refrigerator and I suspect that the cashiers at the grocery store all look a little uneasily at me when I show up with my cart full of veggies.  I figure it’s good PLU exercise.  I recaptured some space in the refrigerator by pre-blanching my kale and collards as I talked about last week.  I also took all of the kale and collard stems that I’ve been saving up and turned them into Adler’s pesto from the same chapter (tasty!).  This was also the second week that I fielded Q&A in the produce department.  There must be something about me that says, “Don’t worry lost voyagers in the veggie section, I know vegetables!”


Popcorn and smoothies are a perennial favorite around my house.  You’ll most often find it served in the summer when the weather is hot and appetites are dulled by the need to keep doing.  I used to be a bit embarrassed to admit serving such a thing to my family because it felt like I was cheating somehow.  Since then I’ve read a few of Michael Perry‘s books as well as Soulemama’s blog and discovered that I am in grand company.  For Sunday’s meal I’m going to serve popcorn with a little cheese powder on it plus a riff off of Soulemama’s summer smoothie recipe from her “The Rhythm of Family.”  More or less anyway.  I never could follow a recipe as it was written.

The creamy potato soup comes from the same book as the smoothies.  The bread will be this week’s standard recipe, the soft sandwich loaf from Peter Reinhart’s “Artisan Bread Everyday” or possibly, depending upon things like energy and time, I might get around to making the first loaf from my Craftsy class.

Pizza is a repeat from last week because I don’t think the kids or the husband will ever tire of it.

The onion soup is from “An Everlasting Meal:  Cooking with Economy and Grace” in a chapter called How to Find Fortune.  The salad is our standby lettuce with chunky bits of whatever vegetables strike my fancy when I’m grocery shopping.  Everyone has their favorite dressing which means I have three different kinds in the fridge and everyone loves a little bacon, cheddar cheese, and cranberries to top it all off.

Rice and ground corn are both pacifists and peace.  They fill bellies and cracks in our meals, and they fill the cultural divisions in our appetites, which really, in the end are the same….If you have great meals of them, and they don’t cost much and haven’t taken much time to make, then, I think, you will be at peace. – Tamar Adler

Rice bowls are my slightly different take on a previous week’s bibimbap recipe, but largely in response to the How to Make Peace chapter in Tamar Adler’s book.  The husband took a keen interest in that chapter when I read it to him the other day and has since let his desire be known.  “What about rice bowls?”  “Did you consider putting a rice bowl on the menu?”  I’m going to go with a few strips of meat, some sesame kale from “Feeding the Whole Family,” red pepper strips left raw for their crunch, some bean sprouts, and a scrambled egg for each person.

Pork roast is going to be a crockpot affair because everyone is off work and school so we’re going to take advantage of that by going to the Children’s Museum.  This way dinner will be ready when everyone gets home.  I’m going to serve Cynthia Lair’s Emerald City Salad on the side which I’ll make in advance and serve at room temperature.

The last meal of the week will stretch whatever pork is left from the day before by nestling it atop a warm and creamy bowl of polenta.  I’m going to add in some garlicky kale because I think the nice deep green will be a perfect foil to an otherwise beige-y meal.  Well, that and you can never have too many greens.

Which brings us to the end of week four’s menu.  What about you, dear reader.  What’s on your plate?


5 thoughts on “What’s for Dinner – Soulful, Bowl-fulls

  1. We have been doing menu plans for a while – its great way to get everyone involved and keep to a budget. Right now for the next six weeks we are focusing on nutrient rich foods like kale :-). Here’s our meal plan for myself, husband and 5 year old. My husband and son are the same about pizza 🙂

  2. we live in the middle of nowhere and I do keep a small freezer and extra refrigerator. we buy local meat once a year and I plan my meals
    around the meats. l freeze some veggies and keep a good supply of staples. meal planning is a must since a trip for groceries takes me at least 3 hours.

    • Meal planning is definitely a must in your situation! :0) I’m thankful that we live so close to the store because while it take quite awhile with three kids in tow, travel time is short. If I had to add travel time to it, I think I’d go less often and by myself.

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