Thursday, January 12, 2012

Artichokes, White Beans, Tempeh, Kale, and Figs

Dinner last night felt like such a cheat. When Rob and I first started dating over 17 years ago, I was in my early 20's and had lived on my own for five years, but I didn't own any real knives and most of my "cooking" was really opening a box or picking up the phone. Rob was in his early 30's and while no chef, he had a great set of knives if you know what I mean. He used to tease me that I hadn't cooked a meal if it didn't involve cutting up an onion. Josie had ballet yesterday and we had a leisurely time shopping for clip-on earrings at a couple of the vintage stores downtown for her BFF Teagan who is turning four soon, we also checked at Jane Addams bookstore for a book for Teag, but nothing struck Josie as being the perfect book, then we bought some bread at Pekara for dipping in the soup. But, the bread was warm when be bought it and well, Dema asked for some when we arrived home and eventually all the bread was gone by the time I started supper. I decided to shelve the soup idea. I've been trying to be better about planning meals ahead of time, but goes against my nature.
What I ended up making was Linguine with Artichoke and White Bean Alfredo (I used whole wheat gobetti instead of linguine) from Quick-Fix Vegan. I opened up a can of white beans and a can of artichokes and with a few other ingredients blended it together in the Vitamix and it was sauce (I skipped the optional soy creamer and it was plenty creamy). It totally felt like old times since it was so easy. I did make some Tempeh Sausage Crumbles to zest the dish up a bit (I also added a bit of cholula, but it didn't need anything with the crumbles) and Rob made some garlicky kale to complete the meal. We had fresh pears and apples for dessert.
Now this is all normal stuff for us to eat, but it is good to know that most of what we ate in this meal has some extra benefits beyond great taste.

With dinner being so quick and simple, I had to make something else. Breakfast has become an interesting time around here since Parker started public school. We were cooking a hot breakfast for him, but the younger kids don't get up that early or if they are up they aren't ready to eat yet. Often Rob is the one to get up with Parker while I snuggle with the little ones (I know my life is tough). Rob would make steal cut oats or grits, enough for all of us, but it was usually cold or lumpy by the time Dema and Josie were ready to eat. So we started using instant oatmeal. This is typically something we eat only when we camp or if we are staying in a hotel, but I bought three types of organic instant oatmeal on sale through our buying club. This way we can just heat up some water and everyone can eat when they like, but most of the time the younger ones opt for something else for breakfast. I'm trying to find more things I can make the night before so send ideas please! We made the Banana Flapjacks from Vegan Brunch one evening and they were perfect warmed up the next day for Parker's breakfast. Last night I baked East Coast Coffee Cake from Vegan Brunch. I've made this many times, but usually with berries. Parker has berries in his oatmeal most days so I went with the fig option. It was so hearty (I also added walnuts to the topping and used white whole wheat flour instead of all purpose) and perfect for the first day of real winter weather (our first real snow of the season!). Parker also had some oatmeal with ground flax seeds (I was up with him this morning and I always add flax) raspberries and soy milk so he was able to walk to school in the snow with a warm full belly. The little ones, especially Josie since she is my fig lover, were more than excited about the snow and the coffee cake when they finally got going.

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