Bean and Zucchini Cutlets

We had these Cutlets for dinner last night and they were amazing!  They earned a 4 thumbs up!  Since we had six of them leftover from last night we decided to have them again tonight.  I wanted to have something different with them so the ladies and I talked about it on the way to school this morning.  Em suggested some couscous and Lil asked if we could make some sort of sauce and she suggested honey mustard.

I poked around online today to try and find a clean honey mustard sauce and I was kinda shocked that there was mayo in most standard sauces.  I have never really looked into it and well I just never thought it would have mayo in it.  I mean it’s called “Honey Mustard” sauce.  So I found this great Health Honey Mustard Dressing from My Whole Food Life.  I love this site for great vegan desserts and just yummy stuff.  While we did not make this dressing vegan {we used organic whole milk greek yogurt from Trader Joes} she gives a substitute to make it vegan.  While we were driving home from school the ladies asked if they could help with dinner and of course I said YES!  Who does’t like having some help.  I assigned Em to the couscous and Lil to the honey mustard.  They both measured all the ingredients and  made the items with just a little help.

measuring the ingredients

measuring the ingredients

mixing the honey mustard

mixing the honey mustard

stirring the couscous

stirring the couscous

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am so proud of the ladies for their willingness to help.  They really enjoyed themselves and I hope they continue this.  I mean one of their favorite TV shows in the fall was Master Chef Junior.

 

 

 

 

Here is the finished product.  It was another 4 thumbs up meal 🙂

Bean and Zucchini Cutlets with Couscous and Honey Mustard Sauce (with some pickles on the side)

Bean and Zucchini Cutlets with Couscous and Honey Mustard Sauce (with some pickles on the side)

 

 

 

Meal Planning April 3, 2016

It’s meal planning Sunday over here.  Even thought we have been a bit out of sync with food, meal planning has still continued over here.  This week I was excited because we are back to trying new things.  I am  hoping that my renewed spirit doesn’t come back to bite me.  I have all new items on the menu this week.  So we are trying the following things:

Sunday: Bean and Zucchini Cutlets with seasoned peas

Monday: Leftover Cutlets

Tuesday: Lemony-Garlic White Bean Salad with Arugula Pumpkin Pesto

Wednesday: 7 Ingredient Pineapple Stir “Fried” Rice

Thursday: Sweet Potato Fritters with Citrus Cream and Salad

So we made the Bean and Zucchini Cutlets {from VeganSandra}.  The ladies helped with the patty making.  In my experience {with my ladies at least} when they help in the kitchen or with making the meal they are more likely to eat or at least try it.  We were originally supposed to have sweet potato fried with our cutlets.  I say originally because that was the plan and they even made it into the oven.  While we were cooking the cutlets, Em was still helping, we kept checking them and they were just not cooking.  When they began to cook, they didn’t cook, but started to burn.  I did everything that “best sweet potato” recipe said to do {sweet potato fries are my nemesis.  I have tried to make them on several occasions and I have failed each time.}  While this was frustrating to me, it turned into a great lesson.  We are dealing with frustration and not getting things right the first time in my house right now and how do deal with it.  So while I wanted to yell and scream we tried to “fix” the problem.  We tried to salvage what we could and finish cooking them in the oil from the cutlets while the others were still in the oven.  I would love to say that was the magical fix, but it was not.  So we then had to come up with another plan for our side.  We settled on the peas in which Em added her love to them.   I hope that this little lesson {in burnt sweet potato fries} will help with some frustration that they ladies are dealing with and how to try and fix the problem

I am so happy to say that the Cutlets earned a four thumbs up tonight and that is a win in my book {even with the burnt sweet potato fries.}

Until next time,

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“Potato Soup” is What’s for Dinner

One of the first websites I started following when we started on our journey was 100 Days of Real Food. I loved finding out something new about an ingredient or a product and then going over to the 100 days site to see what information they might have on it. Or if they have “unjunked” a recipe that I wanted to try to make from scratch.  When they came out with a cookbook late last year I was so excited, especially to hear that it contained a lot of recipes that were not on the website. One of our favorite recipes from that cookbook is the Slow Cooker Potato Soup.  It is not only an incredibly easy meal to make, but the flavors from the simple ingredients are really out of this world.

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“Tex-Mex Taco Pasta” is What’s for Dinner

Do you ever have one of those days where you are heading home from work, go to pick your kids up from school, and BAM a wicked headache hits??? Well I had one of those days today.  As I am driving home from the girls school all I am thinking about what we are having for dinner and how I really do not feel like cooking.  What I really want to do is lie down and make everything stop. What happened next was pretty amazing, my daughter said “mommy can I help you cook dinner tonight?”.  This was what I needed to hear, so my sous chef grabbed a chair and took direction like a champ.

Tex-Mex Taco Pasta

 

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Meal Planning January 25, 2015

We are back to weekly meal planning over here.  You know sometimes life takes over and you just have to go with it. I am really excited about our meals this week. All but one are new to us and seem like they will be quick and easy to do at night. I didn’t get to go grocery shopping until later in the afternoon, so I knew that I had to make the most of my time. I went to Trader Joe’s for the majority of the items and then to Publix to pick up a few things.  This weeks total for groceries was just under $100.  I was pretty excited about that.

So here is the menu board for the week:

Menu Board January 25 2015

 

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“Brinner” Is What’s for Dinner

So last Thursday was supposed to be “Brinner for Dinner”.  As is with everything, life (and work) got in the way of dinner.  So we just had leftovers.  I was determined to make up for it this week. Even though we did not have an official meal plan for the week, I knew we were going to have Brinner.  So Brinner is breakfast for dinner.  The girls love it.  The funny thing is that I remember having breakfast for dinner growing up and I HATED it.  It was my least favorite dinner that we had.  I think part of the reason was that I didn’t like eggs when I was younger.  It had to do with my braces.  Eating eggs always tasted like I was eating metal and so it was something that I never wanted to eat (even after the braces came off).  I outgrew it and I love eggs now.

So for this Brinner I was craving pancakes.  I love good, fluffy pancakes.  But more often than not the good fluffy pancakes that you can either buy in the store or eat out are loaded with white flour, some form of processed oil, added sugar and who knows what else.  I have tried many pancake recipes over the past few years and I could never get that “traditional” pancake taste or texture.  That is until I tried the Whole-Wheat Banana Pancakes from 100 Days of Real Food.  These my friends are life changing.  I love that the only sugar comes from the banana and the honey (2 tbs if you double the recipe and I recommend doing that).  The other amazing thing is that you don’t even need syrup with these pancakes.  The are moist (from the banana) and light.

Whole-Wheat Banana Pancakes

When I make these I always double the batch so that I can freeze some for “one of those times that you don’t feel like cooking”.  I ended up with thirty pancakes when I was done. We had seventeen left and I was able to freeze those.  To freeze them I let them cool, and the stack with parchment paper in between and put into a freezer bag.

One new item that I was able to use for this was my new Misto.  In the past I just brushed the oil on the griddle, but I missed the old days when I would just spray and go. These gives me the best of both worlds, the ability to use my preferred oil and the ability to spray without using harsh chemicals.  It’s a win-win.

Until next time,

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“Naan Pizza” is What’s for Dinner

Friday is pizza and movie night at our house. It’s a nice way to wind the work/school week down and get ready for the weekend. Sometime we order pizza out from a local restaurant whose claim is “a slice has big has your head” and it is true, they are massive slices of pizza. Other times we make it at home.  I have used store-bought dough, and it was okay.  I’ve tried {unsuccessfully on numerous time} to make cauliflower crust, I’ve done mini bagels, but short of making my own dough, nothing has really stuck with us. One day I came across some Naan Bread at the store and they had sauce and other “pizza-like” ingredients near it and I decided to try it.  Well it was quite the hit so we try to have it at least twice a month. The ladies are pretty standard in what they want on theirs week in and week out…Cheese. Mike and I like to mix it up with whatever we might have leftover from the week.  Since I still had some of the chicken teriyaki from the other night, we decided to try that along with some peppers I had cut for snacking.

Chicken and Pepper Naan Pizza

teriyaki chicken and pepper

Cheese

Cheese

What I love most about making them with Naan bread, is that it only takes about 10-15 minutes to bake it and that is just to get the ingredients hot and the cheese melted.  The bread itself does not get overly crunchy, but still stays a little soft.  Another perk is that the ladies love it, and you can’t ask much more than that.

Until next time,

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“Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken” is What’s for Dinner

Whenever possible I try to do a slow cooker meal on Wednesday’s since we have soccer practice.  While doing my meal planning over the weekend I came across this recipe and I have to be honest it was the white rice that drew me to this.  I love white sticky rice. I know that it nutritionally dense and does not do a whole lot for you, but man is it good.  Back to the recipe, it was really quick and easy to put together on Wednesday morning before work.  I made one substitution to the original recipe, I substituted the soy sauce for Coconut Aminos.  I try to avoid soy products in our diet and I love that there is an alternate.  Coconut aminos are soy free, have less sodium than traditional soy sauce, are gluten-free, dairy-free and the particular brand that I use is non-GMO.  It was the first time that I had used it in a teriyaki recipe {I used it in stir fry a lot}, and it was really good.  I don’t personally feel like it leaves a coconut flavor to the sauce.

So since it was the white rice that drew me to this particular meal, I felt like we had to have some to go with it.  If you have a Trader Joe’s in your area, they have some great organic frozen rice, both brown and jasmine white, in small pouches that are microwaveable and come three to a box.  They are the perfect amount of rice {we split one bag between the four of us. My girls are not big on rice}. Much to my dismay, my Trader Joe’s was out of white rice {the horror} so we had to have brown rice with our dinner.

This was SO SO SO yummy!  It received 4 thumbs up and will be included into the dinner rotation.

Until next time,

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“Silly sandwiches” is What’s for Dinner

Tonight’s dinner is a family favorite.  It was about six months ago that I was trying to come up with something good and easy for dinner on one of those weeks where I hadn’t really gone grocery shopping and there was no real plan. {yes, those do happen occasionally}  I looked around and I had bread and banana and peanut butter so I said to my girls “who wants a grilled peanut butter and banana sandwich” and one of them said that is silly and such the “silly sandwich” was born.

Tonight’s choices were either peanut butter and banana or apple and cheese.  The girls had grilled peanut butter and banana and Mike and I had grilled apple and cheese.  I have recently been introduced to Alpine Valley Bread.  I love that there are few ingredients, almost all organic and non-GMO.  The other thing I love is that the sugar content is pretty low for bread.  The Multi Grain Omega 3 was the base for our sandwiches.  I used Kirklands Organic Peanut Butter (peanuts and salt, you can’t get much better than that) and an organic banana for the girls.  {I have found that Trader Joes has the best price around for organic bananas, .29 per banana} For our sandwiches I thinly sliced an organic gala apple {bag from Whole Foods from the January 4th shopping trip} and some havarti cheese from Trader Joes.  I used some coconut oil on the bread as the grilling agent.  I am not opposed to butter, in fact I love Kerry Gold Butter, but on this sweeter type of sandwich the coconut oil works better.  I also sprinkled some cinnamon on the bread.  I had some avocado and cherry tomatoes sitting around so I sliced those up for a nice little side with some salt and pepper.

This meal received, a not surprising at all, 4 thumbs up.  The interesting thing about this meal is that one of my girls WILL NOT eat a grilled cheese sandwich if her life depended on it, but loves grilled “silly sandwiches”.  Go figure.  So the moral of the story is, put something “silly” on a sandwich and grill it for those picky eaters.

Until next time,

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“Velvety Macaroni” is What’s for Dinner

When I was making the meal plan for the week, Lily said that she wanted to have Macaroni and Cheese and I was happy to oblige.  I mean who does not like macaroni and cheese?  Since we started our real food journey I have found that boxed macaroni and cheese (the stuff that I and everyone I know grew up on) is bad.  Not just a little bad, but why are artificial colors and food dyes needed?  I will occasionally buy the Annie’s Organic Mac and Cheese for pinch, but there is something really satisfying about making food from scratch {at least it is to me}.  Mike found the recipe I made tonight on Forks Over Knives.  I was intrigued about the use of butternut squash as the base for the cheese sauce.

When I was doing my weekly shopping, my Whole Foods did not have whole butternut squashes, but they did have some that where already cut up. I try to buy organic produce as much as possible, but since butternut squash is not on the dirty dozen list, I was okay with buying it even though it was not organic.  Now, for cost reasons buying the whole vegetable and cutting yourself is going to be more cost efficient that purchasing pre-cut items.

Since the butternut squash was already cut, I had to adapt the recipe to work with that ingredient.  So I placed the cubes in a ziplock bag (you could also use a bowl) and added some salt, pepper, garlic powder and olive oil.  Coated the squash and then baked for 30 minutes.  I love that the recipe used brown rice pasta (which I had some on hand).  It is a great alternative to regular pasta.  I don’t know about your family, but mine is not keen on the whole-wheat pasta, so this is a great option.  I purchase my brown rice pasta at Trader Joes.

Since I roasted the butternut squash, I skipped step in the recipe that calls for streaming it with garlic.  Instead while my pasta was cooking I added the steam basket to the top and steamed the broccoli.  {great time saver}  Making the “cheese” sauce was very easy, I added the roasted butternut squash, almond milk, nutritional yeast, salt and garlic powder to a sauce pan, plugged my immersion blender in and that’s when I remembered that it no longer worked.  Hello Amazon 🙂 So I put the mixture into the blender and it worked just as well.

I was very pleased with how the meal turned out and it was given 3 and 1/2 thumbs tonight.  That’s pretty good for 5-year-old critics in my book.  It will definitely be going into the dinner rotation.

Until next time,

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