Under the Maple Canopy

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What’s for Dinner – You’re not doing that vegetarian thing again, are you?

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The other week, while looking over my shoulder, the husband asked me rather pointedly (and maybe a little worried), “We’re not going vegetarian again, are we?” I pointed out to him all of the places where there was some sort of animal product on the menu – some lunch meat here, sausage with the waffles there, and ground beef in the chili.

On the other hand, I pointed out the balancing act I’m faced with. There’s a certain amount of money each week for groceries. The more I spend on meat ($4.89/lb for feedlot ground beef; $9 for conventional chicken breasts, $11 for a conventional roasting chicken), the less money I have available for vegetables. The less I spend on meat, the fuller the fridge. And seriously? Can I get a fridge just for the vegetables? I’m running out of room over here.

Did I mention that I think we need to eat more vegetables?

Well…actually it’s more like I think I need to eat more vegetables and since they eat what I eat, you get the picture. I’ve spent far too many years with a vegetable deficit because our little food budget just didn’t have a whole lot room for much else. If I have to eat another weekly rotation of macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, chili cheap-eat-a-thon, I think I’m going to lose it.

We can afford to eat better than we used to, so I’m choosing to ride that train until the very end of the line

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Today’s dinner is a carry over from last week due to a little shuffling around of the menu. Black eyed peas with arame, sweet squash muffins, and braised greens are all from Cynthia Lair’s “Feeding the Whole Family: Recipes for Babies, Young Children, and Their Parents.”

YMCA Monday needs a quick and easy sort of thing so that our evening runs smoothly which leads to an old favorite of mine – apple, miso, and nut butter sandwiches from “Feeding the Whole Family: Recipes for Babies, Young Children, and Their Parents.” I’ve seldom followed the recipe as it’s written often subbing a different kind of jelly for the apple butter and using peanut butter instead of almond butter. I’ve almost exclusively used South River Miso’s chickpea miso in the past (and you should definitely check out this video on South River Miso), but I’ll be using a standard yellow soybean miso this time around. I’m also using a spiced apple butter and a natural peanut butter on top of homemade bread. A small handful of chips (a treat around here) and some veggie strips will round out this spin on the classic PB&J.

Pineapple rice salad and cream of baby carrot soup are a blast from the past. Way back when I had one child, Nava Atlas’ “The Vegetarian Family Cookbook” was my go-to cookbook and her pineapple rice salad was a huge favorite. The recipe calls for baked tofu, but I’ll be making my own with sprouted tofu and a suggestion from Snackish that I read somewhere online the other day. As an extra bonus I’ll be using the juice from the canned pineapple to make it. How cool is that?

Szechwan tempeh is from “Feeding the Whole Family: Recipes for Babies, Young Children, and Their Parents” (Cookus Interruptus video over here). I’ll be serving it with simple quinoa, braised collards, and a side salad to up the veggie quotient. Have I ever mentioned just how much I love tempeh?

Waffles? But of course! Smitten Kitchen’s buttermilk waffle recipe (minus the whole egg white whisking/folding thing), scrambled eggs, and sausage from Applegate Farms. Last time we had waffles I skipped the scrambled eggs. This time around I may very well do the same thing.

Thai steak salad will be served over soba noodles with some peanut sauce on the side courtesy of Cynthia Lair’s “Feeding the Whole Family: Recipes for Babies, Young Children, and Their Parents.”

Savory bean burgers are from “The Vegetarian Family Cookbook” as are the skillet potatoes. This time I have resolved to think ahead and actually make the homemade pita bread (or naan). Well, maybe. The salad will be our usual lettuce, cabbage, fennel, cucumber, green pepper, green onion, carrot thing with a few radishes and broccoli florets just to mix things up a little.

What about you, dear reader? What’s on your plate?

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8 thoughts on “What’s for Dinner – You’re not doing that vegetarian thing again, are you?

  1. Sounds like a great week of food to me! My mouth is watering just reading the list!

  2. Menu looks great to me! I’d eat it even if it were vegetarian.

  3. We don’t eat meat every night for the same reason. I am a huge soup fan because you can use tons of vegetable and little meat. I wish we all liked a variety of beans more–we like them in stuff (like meat) but not as stand alones. Your menu looks wonderful.

    • Oh, soup is definitely a huge nutrition stretcher (and recycler, especially if you make your own stock)! My kids aren’t always huge fans soup. This week’s cream of baby carrot went over like a lead balloon, though I found it quite tasty. I like the black eye peas we had this week, but I have to admit a bowl of beans can be a bit of a stretch. I’ve found most dishes where beans are the main focus to be a bit on the bland side. My favorite way of having beans is still the bean burger. I find it’s much more palatable to my pickier customers.

      Thanks for your kind words – it’s always nice to hear. It can be a bit soul crushing when the only feedback you get from a menu is from the children around the table who think you’ve probably gone off your rocker.

  4. My husband doesn’t like cream soups so most of our soups tend to be chunky to a greater or lesser degree. My favorite carrot soup is something from Martha. It has harissa in it so it’s spicy, but you can control the heat. I just roughly puree it so it is chunky. Here is a link to the recipe: http://www.marthastewart.com/345354/spicy-carrot-soup. Also a spicy cauliflower soup from Saveur: http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Karfiolleves-Paprika-Spiced-Cauliflower-Soup. The hot paprika is pretty hot. Of course, if your family don’t like spices then these won’t be of any use!

    • Thanks for the recipes! The carrot soup we had wasn’t a cream soup in the usual sense as there was no cream or roux to thicken it. It was a bit plain, though, which is something I should worry less about. I’ve decided that if the kids aren’t going to eat it anyway, I should enjoy it never-the-less.