Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Veggie Tray Soup

After the holidays a lot of families tend to have left over veggies from a veggie tray. What better way to use them up than a veggie soup?

With carrots, cherry/grape tomatoes, broccoli and peppers, a great soup base can be made. Our dinner consisted of:

1.5 cups baby carrots
2 cups peppers
1/2 onion (added not in the tray)
3/4 box of pre-made soup Imagine Organic Soup, Creamy Harvest Corn,
(you can skip this but ours had to be used up)
Sour cream dip (this was made with Simply Organic Organic Dip Mixes Spinach Dip Mix Certified Organic but that's just what was in our dip!
4 potatoes
1 cup of dayish old rice
1 cup of dayish  old lentils

Also added:
Ground black pepper
1 cup water (to cover the veggies)
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp salt

Placed in the crock pot for 5 or so hours... and dinner was done!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Coconut and Cabbage - A savory sweet meal

One of the first "Indian" dishes I learned was a variation of this recipe. I went to a 3 night Indian cooking class (Maharashtra actually!) before I met my to-be inlaws.

High quality cooking oil of your choice
Black Mustard Seeds
Chili powder (if you like spicy, you can also just slice a fresh chili of your choice)
(1/2 cup, or more to taste)
Coconut milk (optional, I used 1/3 can)
1/2 head of green cabbage, shredded

In a pan, add oil
When oil is hot, add in mustard seed, allow to crackle
Put a "dash" of hing, stir
Add in onion, stir and cook until translucent.
Add in chili, stir
Add in shredded coconut and fry 1-2 minutes on medium
Add in coconut milk if you are using it
Add in tomato (you can use canned if you want, but drain), stir well, sprinkle turmeric.
Add in shredded green cabbage, stir. Cook until soft. Add salt to taste.

Served with Potato Shrimp Coconut Curry

Coconut potato curry - GOA - Comfort Food

Today's meal was definitely a comfort meal!
The beginnings of a great meal
Start with the following:
Oil of your choice, I used coconut
Ginger Garlic paste (or just ground ginger and ground garlic)
Tomato (not pictured)
Can of coconut milk
Molasses (teaspoon or so)
Potatoes (love soft fingerling potatoes)
Shrimp (if you choose, you can also use tofu, paneer or chicken)
Onion (I used a half, diced)
Chili powder (if you use Spicy Ginger Garlic Paste, chili powder isn't required)

(Optional first step, recommended if you are using chicken or tofu, marinate "meat" in a teaspoon to a tablespoon or ginger garlic paste and chili powder)
In a wok, add in your oil and quickly add in a tablespoon (or more) of ginger garlic paste.
Add in sliced onions, and stir to prevent sticking. Cook until translucent.
Add in molasses, mix well
Add in your potatoes and stir well.
Add in your spices and tomato, stir well
Add in coconut milk, stir and add in meat.
Cover and lower heat to medium /high. bring to a boil to cook meat. If using shrimp, do not over cook.
Add in turmeric and salt to taste.

 Served with shredded coconut cabbage, also Indian style. My 1 year old gobbled this meal up!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Upcycling! Gourd and lentil soup becomes sambar

Tuesday is my wonderful husband's night to cook. His only constraint was that I required him to use up the eggplant from this past weekend's Bountiful Basket offering. Knowing we had leftover lentils, he used the soup that I had made Sunday, added additional water, the cut eggplant, some spices and wallah (pun intended for those with an Indian leaning), dinner was served (with idli). Plus, I was able to quickly use cookie cutters and make our daughter's lunch for tomorrow!

Idli was from a packet - be sure to watch because some do contain hydrogenated oils!

Trackback to Butternut Squash and lentil soup
Really all my hsuband did was add the vegetables (you can add your favorites, carrots, drumsticks (the plant, not from an animal), zucchini, etc do well) and packaged "sambar" spice! Allow to boil and ensure the vegetables are cooked and there you have a quick and healthy meal, upcycled from Sunday! YAY for leftovers NOT ending up in the trash.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Butternut squash and lentil soup

As part of our Bountiful Basket, we received 2 butter nut squash. While I love butternut squash, I tend to not cook them because I have to plan in advance. Thus, the plan to make this soup! :)

1-2 butternut squash
2 cups rinsed moong lentil (split pea will also do)
1 cup carrots
1/2 white onion sliced
Other vegetables or apples to your liking
Spices to taste, I used:
Bay leaf
Chili Pepper

Slice your squash and bake it open face on a foil lined pan at 425 for 30-40 minutes
While that is baking, pressure cook your lentils and vegetables. Alternatively, you can steam your lentils and vegetables.
If pressure cooking, two whistles will be fine. I tend to place my spices in with the items, but leave the garlic and bay leaf for frying to release it differently.

Once the squash is baked, scoop out the seeds and place in your compost (or trash). Then scoop out the flesh and place into a bowl. You can sprinkle with black pepper and or cinnamon if you like. If you are adding baked apples into your soup, that is yummy with cinnamon and clove!

From there, using a medium "soup" pot, add 1 tbsp oil of your choice, and add in your garlic, followed by other spices if you didn't pressure cook them. Once you smell the aroma, add in your bay leaf if you have one.

Next, add in your steamed/pressure cooked vegetables and lentils.

From there, add in 1-2 cups water and bring slowly to a boil. As it boils, add in the flesh of your squash (and applies, if applicable). Stir well and continue to stir so that there is a nice consistency.

If it is too thick for your liking, add more water, and continue to stir. When the lentils and squash are well mixed and you cannot tell which is which by texture, your lentils are ready to eat!

Served for my Three Year old (with "crab" salad)

Your Family’s Meal Schedule using Bountiful Baskets

I find that when I plan meals in advance, I spend less and my family eats better. This week’s organic bountiful basket, provided my family with everything from a medium eggplant to kiwis to leafy green veggies like kale and lettuce. In all, for $25 contribution, we received:
 6 organic oranges
1 medium organic eggplant
4 organic avocados
6 organic kiwis
1 bag of organic apples
4 organic green bell peppers
2 organic butternut squash
1 bag organic cherry tomatoes
2 zucchini
1 bunch organic kale
2 heads of lettuce
1 small box organic blue berries
(In addition we contributed for 2 boxes of pomegranates as well as the gingerbread cookies and gingerbread house kit, both free of hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup)
For this week’s meal planning, and to prevent waste, we’ve determined to use the above as follows:
Saturday – apples for eating as snacks
Sunday brunch -bell pepper in a potato/onion fry that went with some locally farmed eggs and avacado
Sunday dinner – butternut squash with tomato, dal and carrot as a soup, with a mix of lump “fake” crab meat, celery, green pepper, cherry tomatoes and avacado
 on a bed of lettuce
Monday lunch – cauliflower macaroni and cheese noodles with orange slices (left over butternut squash soup)
Monday dinner – (au pair cooks) zucchini caserole
Tuesday lunch – zucchini and tuna sandwiches and kiwi fruit
Tuesday dinner – (husband cooks) eggplant and chickpea Indian style
Wednesday lunch – 3 year old goes to school, so this is packed based on her preferences
Wednesday dinner – Shrimp biryani using bell peppers and a side salad using lettuce, tomato and onion
Thursday – lunch – 3 year old goes to school, so this will be packed based on her preference
Thursday dinner (au pair cooks) – pasta with “greens” mixed into store-bought sauce
Friday lunch – boxed “faux” sloppy joes and fruit based on what’s remaining
Friday dinner – kale chips and left over day!

If all goes well, I shouldn't have to shop for anything except possibly milk this week, which I pick up from a Milk Angel via!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Pesticides in your food - Clean your plate

For those who may not have their own organic backyard garden - plentiful enough to allow the family to be self sufficient food-wise (um, that would be all of us!), it is important to be aware of the impact of pesticides on our food sources.

What are pesticides?
 Generally, pesticides are the poisonous items used to kill. They are often marketed as insecticides, herbicides, or other. Some may or may not be also toxic to humans as well. According to, A pesticide is a poisonous chemical or mixture of chemicals that is produced or manufactured for preventing, repelling, or killing any pest. 


Why should I care?
It is important to be aware of the chemical and potentially neurological effects on the body. Some are enzyme disruptors (which affects our neurological system, among other things), miscarriages, low IQ in children when pregnant women are exposed, carcinogens, or endocrine disruptors.  There is also a lot of research linking Lou Gehrig's Disease (ALS) with pesticides.

What can I do?
Know the source of your food and whether or not pesticides were used. If they were, then don't buy it. If you don't know the source, don't buy it. Buying ORGANIC food can also be helpful. In the US, certified organic means that any pesticides used are naturally derived and not synthetic. It doesn't mean pesticide free.

For more information on pesticides and the alternatives to Monsanto-ville life (there are other companies, but Monsanto is a big one!), visit the Pesticide Action Network.

For information on what is likely on your conventionally grown food, check this out.