What I Ate Wednesday

Hello!
And welcome to another edition of What I Ate Wednesday.  This time it is actually on a Wednesday!  Who would’ve ever guessed it!

So this is actually what I ate yesterday…

**WARNING** I did a really bad job of remembering to take pictures.  These are all kind of as the bowl was down to the last few drops and then I yelled “wait” and got my phone.  Also my camera was down and I had to use a horrible horrible phone so the photo quality leaves much to be desired.  My apologies.

Breakfast

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Breakfast was mashed sweet potatoes.  I was really in the mood for something savory.  The only thing is that they take a long time in the oven – about 40 minutes.  So I think I’ll have to start prepping them the night before.  When they were done, I slipped them right out of there skin, added salt, pepper, garlic, and thyme.  YUM!

p.s. This was a big bowl full and them some but yeah, I was so excited by the time they were done, I just dug right in.

Lunch

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For lunch, I had leftovers of my favorite meal ever!  My kids love it too! A big bowl of potatoes, broccoli, and cauliflower.  I put the potatoes, broccoli, and cauliflower in the oven to roast.  The broccoli and cauliflower all went in a glass roasting pan. And the potatoes went on a cookie sheet with a tiny drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.  When it’s done, I just put the potato pieces in the bottom of a bowl and dump broccoli and cauliflower on top.  It is so so good.  I could eat this every meal every day.  Seriously.

Dinner

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Dinner was pasta with as many vegetables as I could think of.  I had about half of a head of broccoli left and slightly less cauliflower.  So that all went in the oven for about 30-40 minutes along with some brussel sprouts which also take about 30 minutes.  Then I sauteed peppers, onions, and mushrooms.  Threw it all together with pasta and the last of my stir fry sauce mixed with the beginning of my hoisin sauce.  With the hoisin sauce, it was a slightly different flavor then we are used to, but the kids really loved it!  And we all had enormous bowls of it.

So everything we ate was in a bowl.  That’s so weird and random.  For some reason, I didn’t even realize it until I started writing this post.  Ha!  But it was all soooooooooo good!

Also, I don’t snack too much because I have a fairly sedentary job so I don’t need a lot more than this.  Sometimes I just eat lunch as I work and it takes the afternoon so I might as well have been snacking.

What cheap, healthy, vegan meals have you eaten recently?

3 Super cheap, Super easy, Super super Vegan Meal

So every once in a while, we get to the point when the groceries seem to run out (what happened to all that planning) and money is tight or it’s the day before I get paid or whatever the case may be, but we can’t just go out and grab food (lazy?).  But there’s always ways to still make a good meal.

Here are 3 of my go to meals – all are cheap and most just use things that are left over or kept in the pantry.  They have also all been kid test and approved.

Meal #1: PB&J
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A pb&j has been a go-to meal for all mothers and lunch box packers since the beginning of time.  But seriously, they are just so good, so cheap, and so full of protein.  They are also quite filling.  Grab some fruit or left over veggies and voila! Everyone is happy.

Meal #2: A Veggie Wrap

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Spinach, carrots, cucumber, and tomatoes always seem to be hot commodities in my house.  They are so versatile and so so yummy.  I try to keep tortillas around as lentil tacos are a favorite at our house.  So when we are out of ideas, we throw all of those suckers (and an avocado if I’m really lucky) onto a tortilla with some salad dressing.  I love the Soy Ginger dressing from Trader Joe’s.  It adds a lovely flavor.  Roll those puppies up and chow down.

Meal #3: Rice Bowl

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I always have brown rice or quinoa on hand.  Brown rice takes a while to cook so if I plan on using it, I make big batches ahead of time.  That way I can just heat it up and go.  Also frozen vegetables are great to keep in your freezer for when you start to get low on the fresh ones.  Heat up some frozen veggies, rice, and any other leftover veggies you have on hand.  On this particular day, the spinach was getting to the end of its useful life and I had some half-peppers (capsicums) left over so it all went in the bowl.  Then we pour some Teriyaki sauce over it, but any sauce you have on hand from salsa to barbeque sauce would all be good.  It just depends on your taste!

Portobello Steaks

I love portobello mushrooms!  And these portobello steaks are simply amazing.  Now that the weather is changing I have been craving a bit of a different type of meal – something with a autumnal feel.  We were never steak eaters so it’s not like we were craving steak and needed a substitute.  In fact, if you are an ex-meat eater I’m not sure you would approve of my use of the term “steak.”  Regardless, this is an easy and delicious meal that even the kids enjoy!

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Ingredients

Portobellos (the kids and I are good with about 1 per person, but you may want 2)
Teriyaki Sauce
Sweet onion, chopped
Pan & Stove

Procedure (Are we performing surgery?  Why am I blanking on the word I want?!?)

  • Remove the stems and wipe off the portobellos.
  • Place them in a tray with the teriyaki sauce and onion to marinate.  Use enough teriyaki sauce to coat them. (I have done this when I run home on my lunch break to marinate them, but they are good even if you can only marinate for like 20 minutes when you get home, have hungry, cranky kids, and are desperate to get dinner on the table.  Go ahead, begin marinating and work on the rest of your meal.  They’ll still be delish.)
  • Heat up your pan on HIGH heat on the stove.  When it gets hot, place the portobellos on the pan and poor the rest of the sauce and onions over top.  Cover.
  • Cook on high, covered, for 5 minutes, flip, re-cover, and cook for another 5 minutes.

    That’s it!  Serve it with the sauce and onions on top to look steak-y.

*Leftover Tip – If you have leftovers, I find that the marinade permeates the mushrooms a LOT and becomes slightly overpowering.  This can still make for good leftovers, but plan to chop them up and use them in a stir fry or other dish such as this.  They add great flavor to it.

Zoodles! (And how to roast cherry tomatoes)

So I know I haven’t been around much lately.  It’s been a rough three weeks.  I went on vacation with the kids which was soooooooo nice (I’ll have to upload some pictures) but for the week before we left, I was stressing because I had so much work to get done before I just up and leave my job for a week.  Then vacation was great, but, of course, I forgot to bring a computer.  I left it on the charger because I wanted it to be working when we left – ha!  Then the week since I’ve been home, I’ve been stressed trying to catch up on work stuff and for some reason, I was BEYOND tired.  I was dropping in bed at night and then being yanked out by my 10 year-old in the morning.  I don’t usually do either of those things.  I love cleaning, blogging, and being productive at night and I love waking up early to run or do yoga before the kids wake up.  Anyways, I’m feeling better now, and have some blog posts written down with pen and paper from when we were gone (including a Liebster award acceptance and an FAQ).   But I’ve had the pictures from this post just ready and waiting so I figured I better hurry.

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I recently got a spiralizer.  I cannot even begin to tell you how much I love it!  We make curly sweet potato fries all the time because they are just so much fun, but my favorite and I think the kids’ favorite too is a big ol’ bowl of good, old fashioned zoodles.

Ingredients

  • 2 zucchini and 2 yellow squash
  • Whole Foods vegan marinara sauce
  • Roasted cherry tomatoes  (**we tell you how I do this below, but I usually have them ready ahead of time)
  • SPIRALIZER (I’ve heard people say they use a vegetable peeler in place of a spiralizer, but I have not tried)

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

Insert the zucchini into the spiralizer and turn.  It works best if you apply some pressure, but not too much.  The kids love to help turn the crank and watch the curly-qs come out.  wpid-wp-1437703293561.jpeg

Catch the “noodles” on a cookie sheet because we put them in the oven and sweat them out a bit.  Then watch the kids fight over who gets to eat the core of the zucchini/squash that comes through.wpid-wp-1437703494080.jpeg wpid-wp-1437703406874.jpeg

Place the cookie sheet with all of the zoodles in the oven for 20 minutes on 200.

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Top with the marinara sauce and roasted tomatoes.

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And enjoy!  (Don’t forget to marvel at how awesome it is to see kids shoveling veggies into their adorable little faces!)

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Now for the Roasted Tomatoes:

My kids don’t like to eat tomatoes.  I’ve finally gotten my daughter to the point that she will eat them thinly sliced on a sandwich/wrap/or even taco.  I don’t know why so many people don’t like tomatoes.  I find them cool and refreshing.  Anyways, I discovered that my kids will eat them roasted, plus they are so good in so many recipes this way.  So I get a bunch of cherry tomatoes, save some for wraps and roast the rest to be used throughout the week.

Ingredients:

Cherry tomatoes
Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Half or even quarter the tomatoes if they are bigger.  Place them on a cookie sheet and drizzle a bit of olive oil on them.

Put them in the oven for about 15 minutes on 400.  They are so delish when they are done!

Kids Shorts Refashion – Tie Dye!

My daughter was given a pair of white shorts this summer.  It was a really nice gesture, but unfortunately at camp, the kids sit in dirt a LOT.  So the white shorts did not stay white for long.  Obviously they couldn’t be given away – no one wants someone’s dirty clothes! So we decided that instead of being wasteful and tossing them, we would do a refashion!  Squeeee!  I love refashions!  And I also love trying to be mindful of the environment.

Buying new shorts means more factories churning out more clothes.
Throwing away the old ones means more junk sitting in landfills – okay somehow we could recycle them I’m sure and will when the time comes,
Plus I can’t help think about the people working in the factories or should I say sweatshops because it is really REALLY hard to guarantee that any clothing company doesn’t use sweatshops – even they don’t know it much of the time

So instead of tossing them, we tie dyed them!

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The Preparation

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Dying

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Big man tie dyed one of his white shirts and in this picture is working on a community service project we are doing – more to come on that

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Back view

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Front view (Sorry I didn’t realize it was blurry)

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She gets compliments on her shorts all the time!

What tips and tricks do you have to extend the life of your or your children’s clothes?

Mango Coconut Pudding

I love making this for desert.  It is such a lovely summer pudding and entirely plant based.  The kids like to add a little agave or coconut sugar to make it sweeter, but I like it just as is.

Ingredients:

1 Thai coconut (the white ones that look more cylindrical than spherical)
2 mangos
1 kiwi (optional)
agave/coconut sugar/sweetener (optional)

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coconut, mangoes, kiwi (not pictured), agave (not pictured)

How to:

Open your coconut.  I hack at mine with a giant knife.  But I also have turned the tip of my finger into a pretty gruesome Pez Dispencer in the past.  I saw a post about the cocojack on LovingKaia so check that out.  I might spring for one one day.

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It’s a juicy one!

Drink the juice.  Or your kids will drink it all!

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Scoop the meat out of the coconut, cut your mangoes.  Put them all in a blender and blend until a smooth consistency.

You can stop right here, adding the sweetener if you find it tart, and enjoy.  Otherwise, take a taste, decide whether you want the sweetener and move along to the next step.🙂

I like to cut up a kiwi and use it as a topping.  Or mix it throughout because my son really loves digging for treasure in his pirate grog…or errrr something like that.

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Mango Coconut Pudding with Kiwi – I love it just as is, but the kids like to add a little agave🙂

Hope you like it!

Vegan Lentil Tacos

I originally had another recipe planned to share with you today, but I made these just last night and my kids voted them the best tacos they’ve ever had.  And I loved them so much, I’m so excited about them. I just had to share!

My kids looooooove tacos.  They have always been a favorite in our house.  When I went vegetarian (again) my daughter was afraid that it would mean losing taco night.  But being vegetarian or vegan doesn’t have to mean losing out on your favorite foods.  It just means getting creative with it.

Veggie tacos can be made with:
Trader Joe’s Beefless Ground Beef
Rice
Lentils
Potatoes or sweet potatoes (never done this myself, but I’ve seen it done)
Tofu crumbles (also never done this myself, but as a young child, my mother substituted tofu for beef during my veggie stints)

I have used rice with taco seasoning a lot lately because I put myself on a super tight budget and rice is just amazing for that.  But I am so happy that I tried lentils and will continue to do so because not only are they protein packed but my kids voted them the best veggie tacos they’ve ever had.

So here’s what we used.

Ingredients
(Keep in mind this was for 1 adult woman and 2 kids, 10 and 5 – you may need to double the receipt for your family)
1 cup red split lentils
2 cups vegetable broth (could be substituted with water in a pinch)
1 pack taco seasoning
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (optional)
vegan whole wheat tortillas
Toppings:
tomatoes
onions
spinach
Daiya mozzarella (our favorite vegan cheese, but totally optional)

Heat a pan on medium-high.  Add the olive oil when it is hot.  Pour the lentils in the olive oil for one minute, then add vegetable broth.  Bring to a boil, then turn the stove down to low, cover the pan, and allow to simmer for 8-10 minutes.  You can check a couple for desired texture.  If you leave it for too long, it will turn to mush.  Turn the stove off, add the taco seasonings and stir.  Let sit while prepare everything else.wpid-wp-1437657374985.jpeg

Assemble the rest of the ingredients.  I like to just warm the tortillas on a plate in the microwave for 15 seconds, chop up the tomatoes and onions into a salsa type of mixture, and throw the spinach, lentils, and Daiya into bowls.  We don’t often have Daiya.  It is slightly more expensive then I’m usually willing to spend, but the mozzarella is our favorite when we  do decide to splurge and add a little fun to our tacos.

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I give everyone a plate with a tortilla to start and let them assemble their own.  The kids just love to make them with lentils, spinach, and Daiya.  I like it all.  Then just roll your wraps and enjoy!

Yum Yum!

How do you like to vegan-ize your tacos?