Monday, January 30, 2012

Our B Game

Several dinners lately that were good, but not awesome. They were all just a bit off. Parker gave them a "B".* When I make them again, I'd probably change a couple things to get the grade up.
Caldo Verde with Crumbled Tempeh from Appetite for Reduction
This one grew on me so maybe it is one of those soups that is better the next day. I used sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes and the red chard Josie talked me into buying (she loved to beg for chard at the co-op even after I've filled our cart with kale and collards, this is good because she is teaching Rob and me to like chard more). Josie ate all her chard first then didn't want to eat the rest of the soup, but she liked the leftovers so maybe she was being stubborn.

Mac and Cheezeburger Bake and Energy Bites from Quick-Fix Vegan and version of my Cherry Chocolate Nut Green Smoothie
The only changes I would make for the Mac and Cheezeburger Bake were things I did outside of the recipe anyway. I used quinoa pasta which didn't work so well in a bake because the pasta got pretty crunchy unless it was completely covered in sauce. Whole wheat pasta next time. I loved the carrots, peas, corn, and green beans I added, but the Daiya cheese was completely not necessary so I'd omit it (the Daiya was my addition just because we had a bit to use up). I change up the Energy Bites every time so these have cashews, apricots, walnuts, sunflower seeds, tahini, and blackstrap molasses. Energy Bites are always a hit with the kids and they will gobble up as many as I make. The smoothie actually didn't have greens in it this time, just frozen cherries, cocoa, walnuts, flax seeds, rolled oats, soy milk, and an peeled orange beet. Delicious and nutritious.
Here is Dr. Greger's recipe for a healthy milkshake that is similar.

 Cajun Beanballs and Spaghetti from Appetite for Reduction
Creamy Mushroom Fettuccine from Appetite for Reduction
I made both of these dishes on the same night so we could each have our pick of tomato sauce or mushroom sauce and just made a big batch of whole wheat spaghetti. The kids were pretty disappointed with the Beanballs. We prefer the Tempeh Sausage Crumbles. I might play with the beanballs to make them more flavorful. The tomato sauce was just okay. I prefer the one I usually make, but this isn't the recipe's fault. I think it was actually the tomatoes I used. I bought a case of Eden's tomatoes in the amber jars, but everything I made with them tasted a little off. The packaging is new so maybe I'll wait for the kicks to get worked out. The tomatoes were also much darker than normal too. We all preferred the mushroom sauce, but even that was just okay. I added red pepper flakes to mine and enjoyed it much more. Overall we have really enjoyed Appetite for Reduction, just a few recipes we probably won't make often. We can't always bring our A game.

*I have to mention that I despise grades and this is one of the many reasons I homeschool. Parker has taken a liking to grades now that he's in public school which makes me want to bring him home, but I totally understand. I was a grade hound in school and had to have the best grade and everything was about the A+ or the test scores. I would rather Parker not make the same mistakes and learn for the sake of learning and not just do what needs to be done to get the A. Love of learning is something ever child has naturally and I don't want him to lose that love and just go for grades. Grades and learning are not the same thing. He came home with several awards from school and while I understand why they do awards, it makes me cringe.
A bonus picture of Josie's new haircut. Actually, it is her first haircut ever. Rob cut all of our hair (I have banges now and our friend Chandra was sweet enough to come fix them a bit). I love being able to see her eyes now!

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