Sep 29, 2010

thai glass noodles

Asian Night

Tonight we had Thai Glass Noodles from Buddha's Table, a vegan Thai cookbook. This was very easy and quick - just what I need on a weeknight. It was a one pot meal, also a bonus. I stir-fried the tofu and set it aside, then I stir-fried the veggies - onions, garlic, ginger, mushrooms and carrots - and added back the tofu, added the drained glass noodles (which are bean threads), peas and baby corn. It called for a sauce of vegetable stir-fry sauce, vegetable broth and arrowroot to thicken. 

It was very tasty and refreshing. Thai is very versatile and the family enjoys it - although not everyone enjoys the same vegetables! It seems they sort of swap vegetables at the table - my peas for your carrots, etc. Of course, without my knowledge. As far as they know.

Cost Breakdown:
tofu: $2
noodles: $2
onion, carrot, mushrooms, peas: $2
 garlic, ginger: $.50
tamari, stir-fry sauce, arrowroot: $.50
rice: $.50
Total to feed a family of 5:

Sep 28, 2010

mexican snickerdoodles - gluten free

Not only did I bake cookies that were gluten, nut, dairy and egg free, but I also made them without bean flour! I would love to take the credit, but Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Moskowitz and Romero beat me to it. They use a combo of coconut flour, white rice flour, millet flour, cornstarch and flax meal to sub for the gluten.

I love it! No bean flour.

I made the Mexican Snickerdoodles out of the book and while they say to sub the GF flour on a one to one ratio, I found that the batter needed a little more. Next time I will try refrigerating the batter for a bit since coconut flour absorbs liquid very well and giving it some time might help.

The cayenne pepper in the batter was a little too much for the kids, though, so if you are planning on making them with kids in mind, skip the cayenne. I had made two batches for my group, in case the pepper was too spicy.

The kids loved them and I had no complaints. I'm loving this book :)

Cost Breakdown:
coconut, rice flour, millet flour: $2
cornstarch: $.50
maple syrup, cocoa powder: $1.50
sugar, oil, baking soda: $1.50
Total to make 24 cookies:

Sep 27, 2010

mom's morning casserole


Here is another one from Vegan Brunch by Isa Moskowitz. This is a casserole with a layer of potatoes, a layer of tofu, a layer of tempeh with red peppers, and a layer of Daiya cheeze.

It was very good, but the family was not fond of the tempeh layer. Unfortunately, they found the tempeh too bitter and nutty. In fact, asking me, I would say it was a bit 'fishy,' and no, it was not spoiled. Unless I braise my tempeh in a flavorful liquid or sauce, it seems to come out with this unusual flavor.

Next time. Next time.

Cost Breakdown:
potatoes: $3
tempeh: $2
tofu: $2
pepper, onion, garlic, herb, spices: $2
Daiya: $2
Total to feed a family of 5:

Sep 26, 2010

milanos cookies

I baked these Milanos cookies for the Lit Group this week. This is a recipe out of Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Isa Moskowitz and Romero.

What is fabulous about this book - besides all of the delectable recipes - is that the authors make it clear that not only are eggs not needed in cookie recipes, but neither is the boxed egg-replacer. What a fabulous revelation! No more whipping the egg-replacer! I am free of that extra, annoying step, not to mention the cost involved :)

Starch is the binder or ground flax seeds. In these cookies, it was just cornstarch! I baked 40 cookies - there was not a single one left after the book club - except for the ones I hid for David, who, btw, thought they were very authentic, these having been his favorite cookies.

Have I mentioned how easy they were to make? I don't think I have made an easier cookie, with less ingredients involved, than these 3 batches. A true pleasure and a heartfelt gratitude to those two geniuses. I can't wait to make something else - and neither can the kids.

Cost Breakdown:
flour, cornstarch, baking powder: $1.50
vanilla, almond milk, orange zest: $.50
chocolate: $1.50
Total to make 18 cookies (1 batch):

Sep 25, 2010

italian casserole

This meal somehow got moved from its intended night to the next day. Funny how things like this can happen at my home...

This casserole is mostly like a layered potato dish, but without milk or cheese (nondairy, of course). Instead it has fresh tomatoes, olives and an herb paste - garlic, basil, parsley and oregano - topped with fresh bread crumbs.

I have to say that fresh bread crumbs are the way to go - just take a few pieces of bread and grind them in a food processor or blender. It tastes so much better than dried crumbs.

As for the casserole, it was a refreshing dish, with the fresh tomatoes and herbs, but the kids weren't that into it.

It didn't have the big, bold flavors that I expected, but I was still pleased. A bountiful bowl of fresh crisp salad was just the perfect accompaniment to the creamy potatoes.

Cost Breakdown:
potatoes: $2
tomatoes: $2
olives, garlic: $1
herbs: $2
bread: $.25
Total to feed a family of five:

Sep 24, 2010

pasta pomodoro

It was Mikel's turn to cook today. While he did not make anything off of the Cooking List, he did make Pasta Pomodoro. Pomodoro means tomato. Yes, my son, the one who does not make friends easily with tomatoes, wanted to make this dish. It is about the only thing on the menu at Olive Garden that is vegan, and having had it before, he wanted to recreate it.

And just because he is such a fan of pesto, he made a Duo of Pasta for lunch.

The Pomodoro uses tomatoes from our garden, Hungarian Hearts to be exact, and the pesto uses basil from our kitchen garden. Both contain plenty of garlic to boot and both were delicious. Both are actually very simple to make - the Pomodoro has basil, garlic and tomatoes, the pesto, basil, garlic and nuts.

He used Lo Mein noodles for the pasta since they cook in three minutes and I was out of angel hair.

Cost Breakdown:
noodles: $2
tomatoes: $3
basil: $3
garlic: $1
Total to feed a family of four:

Sep 23, 2010

north indian

Indian Night

As soon as my kids got wind that I was making Indian (again) they asked: are you going to make the same things again?

Are you kidding me??

There is a whole country of food to make!

But, it does seem, at least to kids before they tasted it, that indeed, Mom did make the same things again: legumes, potatoes and rice. It was only after they tasted it that the light bulb went off - this is totally different than last week's Indian.

It was either my cooking skills or South Indian's penchant for sour, because they enjoyed the tonight's North Indian more. 

Tonight I made a split red lentil (masoor dal) Dal with spinach and tomatoes, Chana Masala, chickpeas with gravy - one of the only vegan items on an Indian restaurant menu, and Alu Matar, a potato and peas dish. 

The Alu Matar recipe I got out of Flavors Of India by Shanta Nimbark Sacharoff. I met this lady in San Francisco where she has an Indian shop. Her cookbook is excellent and the recipes are easy. This is the book I have used before and while it does not have all the recipes that one can drool over in a restaurant, it is a great place to start. If you are looking for a good, simple Indian cookbook, look no further.

The chickpeas in the dish above need to be cooked fresh since the cooking broth is important in the preparation. Believe me, I've tried making Chana Masala on more than a few occasions since it is Cat's favorite dish, with little success until tonight.

Cost Breakdown:
onion, garlic: $1
spices, herbs: $1
tomatoes, peppers: $3.50
potatoes: $1.50
peas, lentil, chickpea: $3
spinach: $1
rice: $.50
Total to feed a family of 6:

Sep 22, 2010

strawberry dip

Dear daughter Kate loves strawberries and she chose to make a dip for some fall fruit.

The dip is really simple, with strawberry preserve, yogurt and Better Than Cream Cheese. Her biggest challenge was cutting the fruit - it kept rolling on her.

We received beautiful pears and apples in our box this past week, so the timing on her dip was great.

Nothing much to cook with this one, but it is on their list of things to make, the Lunch and Snack List.

Cost Breakdown:
apples, pears: $3
dip: $1
Total to make snacks for 3 kids:

Sep 20, 2010


Dolmas are stuffed grape leaves. It seems humans have stuffed anything they have been able to lay their hands on, from peppers to leaves to unfortunate animal parts. On this blog, we stuff the plant kingdom only and today the grape leaf was up for graps.

I stuffed the leaves with rice, parsley, pine nuts and seasonings. Wow! This was nothing like I had ever had in a restaurant or from a store. And interestingly, it was not difficult or that time-consuming to make.

Interestred? Here is the How To Breakdown...

I have been wanting to make Videos, but the time and effort they take is a little more than I have to spend right now. Maybe in the future. As for now, I am preparing a
Picture-Blog of dishes which I think are confusing or complicated to make. Let me know how these are working. Please. You won't totally hurt my feelings.

Cost Breakdown:
leaves: $4
rice: $1
lemon, olive oil: $1
pine nuts: $1
parsley, scallions: $2
Total to make 40 dolmas:

Learn to make Dolmas on my new blog!

Sep 19, 2010

grilled vegetable lasagna

Summer is ebbing and my garden is ripening. Cat has been asking for lasagna again, so I granted her wish, although maybe not her vision.

I made this lasagna using grilled vegetables with a grilled eggplant-tomato sauce. I grilled whatever I could for this dish: eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, fennel, onions, carrots and garlic. The sauce I made with the eggplants and the tomatoes I grilled and added the other grilled veggies, chopped, into the lasagna.

I made a tofu-ricotta-style filling with fresh basil, grilled garlic, tofu and olive oil. I added the Daiya and Follow your Heart cheezes to satisfy my daughter, but had I made it for just myself I would have skipped it. The irony is that she didn't like it - too many vegetables. The other two scarfed it, though!

This was really good and so satisfying. The summer vegetables were so welcome, knowing that summer is leaving and fall vegetables are arriving in my CSA. Sort of a grand exit, if you will.

Cost Breakdown:
eggplant, pepper, tomato: $9
onion, garlic, carrot, fennel: $3
Daiya and Follow Your Heart: $8
basil, tofu, olive oil: $4
pasta: $2
Total to make 10 servings:

flannel cakes


Flannel Cakes. Hmm. Are they a pancake or a crepe or what? Has more than nine-tenth of the population never heard of these? I haven't. Until I came across a recipe for it and then I went in search. It was difficult for me to find information about this elusive cake; most people just liken them to pancakes, but in fact, as far as I know those facts, Flannel Cakes are lighter, fluffier and thinner than than traditional pancakes. They are supposed to be less dense than their counter-part and therefore less filling.

Now to find a recipe...most call for at least 4 eggs. Now normally I wouldn't even bat an eyelash - just skip 'em! No need for eggs in pancakes. But this made me think. If the cake is to be lighter, sort of halfway between a pancake and a crepe, than I couldn't just ignore the them. I had to replace them with something more than flour.

There is a recipe for Flannel Cakes in Flavors of the Southwest by Robert Oser, but it seemed too dense. BUT, he did use whole wheat bread soaked in milk as an ingredient. It was obvious to me that this would work, at least partly, so I used it for part of the recipe. The rest is flax seed meal and whole wheat flour.

The kids really loved it! It is important to cook these on low heat so they develop a nice crunch and cook all the way through without burning on the outside.

I served them with apples and maple syrup, to stay in the Auterr season.

Cost Breakdown:
whole wheat flour: $1
bread: $.50
almond milk: $1
flax: $.50
maple syrup: $.75
apples: $1
Total to feed 3 hungry kids:

Sep 18, 2010

mama's bean soup

I made this soup with 'Picnic' in mind. Since I have taken this soup in a thermos before, I know this would have been great. As it was, the hike was cancelled, but the soup was still made.

This is one of my mom's legacies. She used to make this for us all of the time, and luckily, this was one dish I actually paid attention to while she was making it. Have I mentioned that I resisted cooking until my youngest daughter was born, or more precisely, until we became vegan? Sad, but true. Now I have to dig really deep into the recesses of my memories to recall how most of my favorite recipes were made by my parents.

Traditionally this soup has sausage in it, but I don't miss it - not even a substitute - because the soup holds up so well on its own. It has subtle hints of garlic, which is brought by the roux, which also makes this kidney bean soup so creamy. This is where dry beans are a bonus since you flavor the beans with carrots, onions, and celery during their cooking.  A swirl of a  nondairy sour cream completes this hearty, warming soup.

As Ellen says, it is the season of Autter (not quite Summer or Autumn, but a blend of the two), and this soup is just right for it.

Cost Breakdown:
beans: $2
carrots, onion, celery: $2
garlic, Earth Balance, flour: $1
spices, herbs, paprika: $.50
sour 'cream': $1
Total to feed a family of 6:

Sep 17, 2010

garlicky ribz

We made a few recipes out of American Vegan Kitchen by Tamasin Noyes. I love garlic and this sounded great.

She has a recipe for the seitan in the very same book. While I totally love all of Tami's recipes, I do not care for steamed seitan. When we first went vegan, the first thing I disliked about seitan was the 'seitan' flavor. Even packaged seitan has that flavor, which is one reason that I make my own. The seitan achieves that aftertaste because it is cooked at too high heat - steaming is hotter than boiling water, which is one no-no with cooking seitan. Do not boil! Whenever I cook my seitan on the stove top I constantly monitor the temperature with a thermometer to make sure it never climbs above 212 degrees. Of course, I am now too lazy for such vigilance, so now I bake it in the oven, low and slow. There is no aftertaste and the flavors are great. The textures vary according to the type of seitan being made.

With that said, the ribz were a hit and the kids loved it. The BBQ Sauce was fabulous - tangy, sweet and garlicky.

To accompany it, I made her Macaroni and Cheese with Greens. The sauce isn't as thick as I expected it to be, but the flavors were delicious. Even the kids liked this, with the fresh greens in it.

My hubby was given a few beautiful yellow squashes by a coworker, and I had visions of Luby's cheesy squash dish dancing before my eyes. Waaay before we went veg, we were regular costumers of Luby's, a cafeteria type restaurant, and one of our favorite dishes was this cheesy squash recipe. See? There are more than a variety of reasons why becoming vegan is a great idea!

To make this vision a reality, I cooked my half-moon-cut squash until they developed some color, sprinkled a few tablespoons of flour on it, cooked the flour for a few minutes and made a sauce with almond milk, nutritional yeast, thyme and fresh pepper. This made a nice thick sauce, that was reminiscent of cheesiness. I was not concerned with overcooked squash in this dish - it sort of begs for it because of the creaminess of the sauce.

A little about the cost: We grew the tomatoes and peppers and the squash was given to us, but I priced it as I would have had I purchased them at Whole Foods.

Great dinner!

Cost Breakdown:
seitan: $2
tomatoes, sugar, flour: $4
spices, herbs: $1
pasta, spinach: $4
squash, red pepper, onion, garlic: $4
Total to feed a family of 7:

banana bread

Catriona made banana bread today! NO EGGS REQUIRED, people. Bananas are naturally binding, so eggs are superfluous, no matter how you spin it.

These were delicious, not too sweet and not too banana-y. Man, we have a lot of different taste buds to satisfy in this house! 

These were spot on and now Cat knows how to make a darn fine banana bread. Kate wants to add chocolate chips to them when she makes them and I think Mikel wants to make them into muffins. They both sound great and I am looking forward to what these kids will come up.

Cost Breakdown:
banana: $.75
whole wheat flour: $.50
maple syrup, sugar: $.50
baking powder, almond milk: $1
Total for 8 servings:

Sep 15, 2010

cheezy nuggets and potatoes

Mikel cooked today.

He baked Cheezy Soy Nuggets and Potatoes with Parma!, a vegan parm-sub that is made with walnuts (high in Omega-3 fatty acids) and nutritional yeast (high in B12). This is one of the recipes the kids are cooking for their 'Domestic Arts' class, and although it isn't chock full o' vegetables, it is baked not fried and uses wholesome ingredients. Except for the Daiya, which Mikel chose to add.

No surprise, all the kids loved it and there was not a single potato or crumb from the nuggets left.

The TVP is chiken cutlets that have been reconstituted in Bryanna's chicken-style broth (see recipe page) and allowed to sit in the broth for a few hours. This is very important in order to reconstitute the cutlets properly. Then they were dredged in a fresh bread crumb and Parma! mixture and baked.

Cost Breakdown:
cutlets: $4
potatoes: $3
Parma! and Daiya: $3
bread, parsley: $1
Total to feed a family of 4:

south indian

Indian Night

There is a wonderful Indian restaurant near by us, and although we love to go and get fabulous Indian meals, they are not all vegan, as most Indian places aren't, and it costs $$ to eat out. With this in mind, I have decided to make Indian night and learn how to make Indian food. Eventually well enough that my family will be full of appreciation, I hope.

Indian food has been commonly, and more conveniently, divided into South Indian and North Indian, although each division itself has divisions of its own, as well as other varieties I am sure I am not even aware of. For the sake of simplicity, I will cover the more broad South and North cuisines.

The differences of the foods can be traced to the inhabitants. South India is mostly Hindu, therefore more inclined to stick to vegetarian foods, whereas the North was ruled by several Muslim kingdoms over the times, therefore there is more non-vegetarian in the cuisine. 

South Indians tend to like their foods sour, hence the use of tamarind, tomato and yogurt. They also cook with coconut oil not their counterpart's use of ghee, clarified butter. They use coconut to thicken their foods. This is where rasam, sambhar, dosa, idli and pickles are popular. Rice is a staple here as well.

North Indians cook with a lot of dairy, paneer, ghee and cream. Wheat is a staple food, hence the roti and naan and other common breads that are popular here. Cashews and poppy seeds are the thickening agents here. This is where koftas (meatballs), kebabs, tandoori and pakoras are home.

Naturally, there is no firm line between the cuisines, and there are as many variations of this simple list as there are Indian recipes, but this is a basic outline. Lots more information is compiled here.    

For my first forage, I headed to South India and made Potato Song (potatoes in tamarind sauce), Dal (lentils), Masala Beans (a dry green bean dish with lots of chillies) and a rice dish. 

Cost Breakdown:
dal: $3
potato: $2
green beans: $3
rice: $1
spices, herbs: $2
coconut, cashew, oil: $2
   Total to feed a family of 10:

Sep 14, 2010

baked corn dogs

We had a package of veggie dogs just itching to morph into Corn Dogs. It is almost impossible to find corn dogs that are egg free, so we have to make our own. We used to make the corn dogs by deep frying them, but that was a long time ago.

Now we bake them in a Twinkie pan. I bet the Twinkie people never thought their pans would be used for such good work!

The idea for this originates, for me at least, with Jennifer McCann of Vegan Lunch Box fame, so my kids send out warm appreciation to her. My son's only gripe is that I haven't actually made a vegan Twinkie in said pan. I keep promising it'll happen one day...

Cost Breakdown:
dogs: $3
corn meal, whole wheat flour: $1
maple syrup, oil, almond milk:  $2
Total to make 8 corn dogs:

Sep 13, 2010

chinese broccoli and seitan

Asian Night

Last week was difficult, regarding meals. I did not plan my menu for the week, so we wound up having sandwiches, cereal and even the dreaded 'take out.' As the saying goes: 'if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.'
No arguments here!

Luckily, we have planned this week's meals and hopefully, even with it being back-to-school, we should be successful.

Tonight's meal was another one from Bryanna's Chinese Cookbook, and again, it was quite a success. I made it with my Firm Seitan, posted on the Seitan Page, and it was fantastic. Everyone loved it, but I think, even more importantly, they were all glad that mom cooked again.

I had my Lit Club today, so the meal needed to be fast and filling. Both were accomplished with this recipe because I had prepared the seitan last night, which is easy to do while you are doing other things.

Cost Breakdown:
broccoli: $3
seitan: $1.50
onion, garlic, ginger: $.75
brown bean sauce: $.50
rice: $.50
Total to feed a family of 5:

Sep 9, 2010

creamy spinach and artichoke dip

Our homeschool group had our Not-Back-To-School potluck picnic today. I brought my Spinach and Artichoke Dip and it was a hit! One mom even called it "her dessert." It's great to have pleased a nice bunch of moms with something as easy as this.

I will be posting the recipe soon, so hang on. This has spinach, artichokes, Better Than Cream Cheese, veganaise, lemon, and roasted garlic. I've been making this for potlucks for years, always bringing home an empty dish.

A little about the cost.
I had to buy the artichokes from a Safeway store because Whole Foods was not open yet, and I paid $4 for a bottle of artichokes that I pay $2 for at Whole Foods. If you are fortunate enough to live near one and are not shopping there for the 'specialy' items, Whole Foods is a bargain. Their strict buying practices are a bonus as they do not sell anything of questionable ingredients; in fact, it was as a Whole Foods clerk was pulling  Willow brand margarine off the shelves that I learned the hazards of hydrogenated vegetable oil. Whole Foods does not deserve their 'whole paycheck' nickname if you shop for wholesome, great groceries.

Cost Breakdown:
spinach: $2
artichoke: $4
panko: $1
lemon: $.50
bread/cracker: $3
garlic, olive oil: :$.75
veganaise, Better than Cream Cheese: $3
Total to feed 15 people apps:

Sep 7, 2010

chinese stir-fry cabbage with soy dumplings

Tuesday is Asian Day

It is so troubling that it is Tuesday already and I still do not have my menu ready for the week! Holidays tend to throw me off - David is home and things just move at a different pace. So tonight I grabbed my trusty Chinese cookbook, Bryanna Clark Grogan's Chinese Cookbook, and opened the book at a page.

That was it. I had the ingredients, or close enough to them, and away we went. Dinner was ready in an hour, eventhough the 'pork' balls needed to be made from scratch.

I changed things up just a little by stir-frying the cabbage before I added the 'chicken' broth (see recipe page). I simply adore the flavor of stir-fryed cabbage and I wasn't going to merely just simmer them.

Everyone loved the meal and I loved that I could make it fast.

School has started in earnest here and it is always a challenge to get everyone back in rhythm. This is also Literature Group week and I have to prepare for that as well.

Back to work!

Cost Breakdown:
cabbage: $3
tofu, TVP: $2
onion, carrot, tamari, sherry: $1.50
rice: $1
Toal to feed a family of 5:

Sep 6, 2010

thai noodle salad

I made a lite lunch pasta salad. I grilled a bunch of vegetables and cooked up some pasta. 

I am trying to make different dressings that do not need oil, so for the Thai influence I blended the meat of a young coconut with some fresh lime juice, and added a diced chili pepper. 

It all came together very nicely. It was fresh and still crisp tender. The only change I would make is the eggplant. While it is delicious fresh off the grill, the eggplant doesn't have quite the flavor after it sits for a bit. 

Cost Breakdown:
corn, green beans: $1
eggplant: $1
zucchini: $1
onion: $.50
peppers: $1
tomato: $1
pasta: $2
young coconut, sunflower seeds: $2
lime: $.25
Total to feed a family of 5:

Sep 4, 2010

achiote rubbed zucchini tacos

Rick Bayless says that achiote-seed-marinated pork is very popular in a certain region of Mexico - forgot exactly where. He makes a taco with pork marinated in ground achiote seeds and garlic. It sounded good to me - except for the pig, of course, so I decided that zucchini would be the ideal sub. Why? Because my CSA says so!

I put about a bulb of peeled garlic, 1 T of ground achiote seeds (a.k.a. annatto), 1 t of ground allspice, 1 t ground pepper, 2 t Mexican oregano, 1 t salt, and 3 T of cider vinegar, in the food processor and ground everything together. I marinated my zucchini slices in the mixture for an hour and grilled them until tender. 

I made a great roasted corn sauce (again because my CSA says so - I have about 10 ears of corn), by roasting them in a cast-iron skillet and blending them with 2 dried yellow peppers and some lime and orange juice (just a little orange), adding a bit of water as needed.

The picture is of the zucchini in corn tortillas, but both David and I found the corn to be overkill and had another taco in flour tortillas and this is what we recommend. This was great in the flour tortilla with a little hot sauce!

Wonderful summer flavors! 

Cost Breakdown:
corn: $1.50
zucchini: $2
tortillas: $2
lime, orange, onion (pickled): $1.50
spices, herbs: $1
rice: $1
Total to feed a family of 5:

breakfast focaccia


Yum! Yum!
I love that this whole wheat focaccia has turned out delicious for a second time and it only takes two hours to make, including the rise. Focaccia tends to call for at least a half cup of olive oil, but I am cutting down and was able to make this still taste great with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil.

I topped the focaccia with my Breakfast Scramble of tofu, onions, garlic, nutritional yeast and added roasted peppers (still have lots!) and fresh herbs from my kitchen garden. I encourage everyone in the coming season to plant one - I have basil, rosemary, sage, parsley, oregano, lavender and thyme growing right outside of my back door. I tried growing in pots, but I do not have quite the success with it because I would need to feed the pot regularly - I tend to forget doing that and the plants stay small and compact. 

This brunch was great and it called for hardly any work from me.  

Cost Breakdown:
flour: $1.50
herbs: $0
tofu: $2
nutritional yeast, onion, garlic: $1
pepper: $1
Total to feed a family of 6:

Sep 2, 2010

stuffed poblano

It is summer and peppers are abundant! A few weeks ago I watched a Guy Fieri show where he was roasted peppers in the oven. I usually roast them on the stove over the open flame, but tonight I chose to do it Guy's way. Bad idea. I remember he mentioning that you have to be careful not to overcook them since the flesh of the pepper will sort of 'disapear.' Well, I overcooked them! I had to toss the peppers and start again.

Roasting them on the stove makes you keep an eye on them and they are ready fast and don't overcook, just char properly because you must stay by their side and consistently turn them.

I stuffed these poblanos with sauteed pinto beans and kale with sofrito. The sofrito I made a few weeks ago from the Viva Vegan! cookbook and it was still in the fridge.

I made a sauce for the peppers using aji amarillos - dried yellow peppers- carrots, onions, herbs, and to thicken it, cashew milk. I added roasted pumpkin seeds for crunch.

Cost Breakdown:
peppers: $5
kale: $3
pinto: $2
carrot, onion, garlic, herbs: $1.50
pumpkin seeds, cashew: $1.50
rice: $1
Total to feed a family of 5:

pasta puttanesca

We had Italian tonight.

I made Pasta Puttanesca alla Vegan. Literally it means 'pasta of the streetwalker,' to be kind. It is traditionally a salty and tangy dish of olives, tomatoes, anchovy, olive oil and garlic.

I replaced the anchovy with miso (an idea from Bryanna Clark Grogan) and skipped on the olive oil - I am reducing my family's processed fat intake - olive oil included. That does not mean that olives are off the cutting board since olives are a whole food.

I used to be conservative with the processed fat in our diet, moving it completely out of our kitchen, but since I started the blog, I've noticed it has crept back in. I am not opposed to whole fat - nuts, seeds, avocado, coconut - but the processed stuff we can do without.

The pasta is a brown rice spaghetti. This is such a simple, quick and flavorful dish.
 I love it and wish my family received it a little better.

Cost Breakdown:
tomato: $3
pasta: $3
olive, miso, capers: $3
bread: $3
Total to feed a family of 5: