De Ma Cuisine

Thursday

27

August 2015

0

COMMENTS

How to Make Delicious Packable Lunches

Written by , Posted in How To, Lunch, Thoughts

Lunches-2

Oh lunch. The oft neglected middle meal. How often do we eat in a hurry at our desks, eat a squished vending machine sandwich, or forget to eat altogether? Admittedly, I don’t forget to eat all that often. I’m usually thinking about the next meal while I’m eating the current one. It’s just the way I operate. But, if I have nothing planned or prepared, I will eat chips and salsa, or cold leftovers standing at the kitchen island… anything to ward off the hunger pangs.

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I try to have our meals planned a week ahead of time. Not just dinners, but breakfasts and lunches too. Helps my days to run much smoother when things are planned ahead of time. Food is defrosted when I need it, groceries are added to the list, and there’s food to take to work or eat at home for lunch.

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Whether I’m making a lunch for Tim to take to work, or something to be eaten at home, I like to include something filling – a main of sorts, along with some raw fruits and veggies. Today’s lunch was Taco Salad, using some of what we have on hand: lettuce, tomato, cucumber, black beans (spiced up with some chili powder and salt), shredded cheese, corn chips, Greek yogurt, and salsa. To go along with that was some cut up cantaloupe and watermelon, and a whole plum.

Here are some other ideas for lunches that can be packed and enjoyed no matter what you’ve got going on at lunchtime.

Hot Lunches for the Work Week

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Monday 

Rice and Bean Burritos or leftover Beef and Bean Enchiladas with Greek yogurt and salsa

Carrot sticks

Fruit – whole or in chunks as a salad (stone fruit, apple, pear, persimmon, pomegranate, melon, figs)

Tuesday 

Spicy Summer Squash and Tomato Soup

BLT

Fruit – whole or in chunks as a salad

or Chicken Noodle Soup

Roasted Veggie Sandwich (leftover roasted veggies, like eggplant, summer squash, onions, peppers – with mustard or mayo – or both, on a baguette, with fresh tomatoes and olives)

Fruit – whole or in chunks as a salad

or Kohlrabi Stew

Ham and Cheese Sandwich

Fruit – whole or in chunks as a salad

Wednesday 

Succotash

Tuna Melt (bring the prepared tuna in a separate container, top bread with tuna and cheese, place on a pan in the toaster oven and cook until hot and melty)

Vegan Fruit Crisp

Thursday 

Fish Wellingtons

Creamy Cucumber and Tomato Salad

Fruit – whole or in chunks as a salad

Friday 

Mediterranean Veggies and Rice

Salted Chocolate and Roasted Fig Pudding

Cold Lunches for the Work Week

MassagedKaleTunaSalad-6

Monday 

Artichoke Heart Dip with raw veggies for dipping (carrots, celery, radishes, artichoke leaves, snap peas, green beans, fava beans, bell peppers, fennel, mushrooms)

Chunks of bread or crackers with cheese

Nuts and seeds

Hard boiled eggs

Fruit – whole or in chunks as a salad

Tuesday 

Eggplant and Summer Squash Tacos

Melon and Feta Salad

Wednesday 

Bean and Veggie Mélange atop rice/quinoa/bulgur wheat, leftover crispy or baked potatoes (cold or reheated), or toasted bread (rub a bit of raw garlic on it, add a sprinkle of salt, and a drizzle of olive oil before you top with the mélange)

Whole Wheat Parsnip Cookies

Thursday

Massaged Kale and Tuna Salad

Apricot and Black Pepper Galette

Friday 

Taco Salad (use leftover Bean and Veggie Mélange to top lettuce, add some cheese, corn chips, chopped tomatoes, Greek yogurt, and salsa)

Vegan Fruit Crisp

These lunches don’t have to be limited to the grownups. Summer is drawing to a close, so school lunches will need to be packed. The kiddos might enjoy a break from PB&J (although let’s be honest, I still love a good PB&J sandwich for any meal). Depending on the level of pickiness, you may want to tweak them a bit. I don’t know if the little ones will enjoy a Massaged Kale and Tuna Salad… although they may surprise you. 😉 You can take the general idea and make it your own. Maybe even come up with a fun saying for each day, so they’ll look forward to their lunch (like Taco Tuesday – come up with a four week rotation for different types of tacos). You could let them help pack their lunches too. They might take pride in being able to help put it together the night before, making them look forward to eating it at noon.

However, wherever, and whenever you enjoy your lunch…

Happy Eating!

Monday

24

August 2015

0

COMMENTS

Grocery Shopping

Written by , Posted in How To, Thoughts

GroceryShopping-1

I love to plan. Making lists is fun, checking things off a to do list is satisfying, and figuring out my grocery list is rewarding. Last year I worked on a series about menu planning. There are three parts: the reason, the menu, and the staples to have on hand. Now it’s time to tackle the grocery list.

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I like to have my grocery list written out in the order that I will find things in the store. I find that I miss less when I do it that way. Plus I save time in the store, as I’m not running from one side to the other, or standing in each aisle scanning the list to see if I need anything. I think I get it from my mom. I seem to remember her lists were always written out this way.

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When we were first married, our budget didn’t allow for much in the grocery department. Not a lot has changed since then, so I still plan our menu and grocery trips the same way that I always have.

As I’m planning our menu I will make a list of the things that we have on hand. You know, rice, pasta, beans, veggies etc. I will combine those with what’s coming in the weekly Abundant Harvest Organics box. As the days get filled up with things to eat, I will see what’s missing from our pantry, and add it to the grocery list. As the list fills up, I will keep an eye on the week’s grocery budget. We usually have some staples (like milk, cheese, and eggs) that take priority. They’re the things that I can’t make or grow myself. After that, I’ll take things off or add them based on what’s left in the budget. Some weeks are smaller than others, and I get to be creative with what we eat.

Grocery-Lists

Like I mentioned earlier, I like to organize my list based on the layout of the store I will be shopping at. Some stores are organized a little more by category than others, so I’ve got two list options for you.

You can use these lists (just download and save the photos), or you can download one of the many grocery list apps onto your smartphone. I don’t have one to recommend, sorry, I’m a pencil and paper kinda gal. I know, it’s old fashioned, but I prefer it.

GroceryShopping-2

I find that keeping the grocery budget balanced with the overall budget is the key for keeping from overspending. And the key to keeping the grocery list in check is to plan the menu ahead of time. This is my idea of a fun way to spend an hour or two… for real!

Happy Eating!

Hand lettering on the grocery list done by Tim Oberg.

Monday

24

August 2015

0

COMMENTS

Cantaloupe Smoothie

Written by , Posted in Breakfast, Brunch, Dairy-Free, Drinks, Fruit, Gluten Free, Kid-Friendly, Lunch, Quick and Easy, Snacks, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

CantaloupeSmoothie-5

There’s nothing like a chilled melon on a hot summer day. Seriously. Nothing. Give me all of the watermelons, honeydews, and cantaloupes and I’m a happy gal. I can’t grow them for anything, so thankfully they know what they’re doing at JND Farms.

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I’ve mentioned before that I prefer melon just plain. Super cold, cut into chunks or sliced, that’s my favorite. But, as I’ve also admitted, I’m loving these new ways to eat them too. Melon and Feta Salad? Yep! Watermelon Gazpacho? Absolutely! And now, a smoothie.

For this smoothie I added some frozen peaches and bananas. Fresh would be great too. I just had some in the freezer to use up. Whatever type of fruit, I’d suggest using as ripe as you can find ’em. Super sweet and juicy. Best way to go. If you wanted to switch things up you could also add some greens (like kale, spinach, or chard), berries, other types of stone fruit, pears, apples, or honeydew melon. Use what you have on hand.

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I used cow’s milk, because it’s what we drink. But any kind of milk will do. Coconut, soy, almond, hemp… use what you prefer. Same goes for the yogurt. Any kind will work. Or, to keep it vegan, try some silken tofu.

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Then grab your favorite blender and blend away. I like my smoothies super smooooooth, so I blended long enough that the guy working at the house next door looked over to see what the noise was (during the break he took from whatever noisy machine he was using 😉 ). I also overfilled the blender just a tad. I got a little cantaloupe happy. If I hadn’t had my hand on the lid we may have had cantaloupe colored walls. Whoops. The good thing about making so much is that I made enough for four, so tomorrow’s breakfast is already done.

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Smoothies are a perfect breakfast, full of protein and nutrients. But, they’re also a great snack, or an accompaniment to a meal. I’m thinking that a Dandy Sandi paired with a smoothie sounds yummy. Maybe the extra servings will become lunch.

Happy Eating!

Cantaloupe Smoothie

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 4

Cantaloupe Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 3 C cantaloupe, cut into chunks
  • 1 frozen banana, cut into chunks
  • 1 C frozen peaches (or fresh), cut into chunks
  • 1 C plain yogurt or silken tofu
  • 1 C milk (any kind)
  • pinch ginger
  • pinch salt
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • Could also add: greens (kale, spinach, chard), berries, stone fruit, pears, apples, honeydew melon

Instructions

  1. Put all ingredients in a blender and blend well.
http://www.de-ma-cuisine.com/cantaloupe-smoothie/

Thursday

20

August 2015

0

COMMENTS

Tofu and Eggplant Lettuce Wraps

Written by , Posted in Appetizers, Dairy-Free, Dinner, Gluten Free, Herbs, Lunch, Main Dishes, One Dish Dinners, Quick and Easy, Sides, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

TofuEggplantLettuceWraps-5

Lettuce is one of those oft neglected veggies. I fall into the trap of thinking that lettuce is meant for sandwiches and salads alone. Never mind the fact that I’ve made it into Caesar Soup, which is at the other end of the spectrum for sure. You know, I think that soup would taste great with a sandwich. Double whammy on the lettuce.

But, if we can get away from tradition, here’s another way to use lettuce. As a wrap. Ok, I know, it’s been done before. In fact, one of our favorite Asian restaurants has the most amazing lettuce wraps. I hadn’t ever tried a lettuce wrap until we tasted them. They were a bit of the inspiration for this recipe. However, the main inspiration was that I need to be more creative with lettuce.

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We normally have red leaf lettuce on hand. It’s a bit more delicate, so I thought that it might be best to double up on the layers. In the end, doubling up was fine, but they were messy no matter what (and I think they’d be messy no matter the variety of lettuce used). So, fair warning: be ready to eat with your hands, and have a big napkin ready to catch falling food and wipe sticky fingers. 😉

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Here’s where things get so simple. This is a quick and easy meal. Perfect for a working lunch break on a busy day, as an appetizer before dinner, as a mid-day snack… Whenever you eat them, they’re a cinch.

I used eggplant, tofu, hot pepper, and onion. But, you could also add: mushrooms, bell pepper, summer squash, and julienned carrots. They’d be fabulous! I wanted to include some fresh herbs, so I used Thai basil and mint. The mint can be added to suit your tastes and what you have on hand. I have some in my garden, which is just outside the door, so I didn’t want to miss out on the freshness that mint adds to a dish.

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I cooked everything in some coconut oil, because coconut lends well to Asian flavors. The chiles added a hint of heat, the tofu got a bit crispy, and the veggies softened and browned just a bit.

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Each wrap was topped with some diced cucumbers for a bit of cool crunch, then I added a splash of rice vinegar and a few flakes of sea salt. I find that a variety of textures is important in wraps, so the cucumber met that need. And the salt and vinegar both help to bring out the flavors of the other ingredients.

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I decided to go vegan today and didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything. But, if you wanted to add meat, some beef, chicken, or pork would be great. However you decide to cook it up, it might pair nicely with a Sweet and Spicy Lemongrass Stir Fry… maybe for dinner tonight?!

Happy Eating!

Tofu and Eggplant Lettuce Wraps

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 9 minutes

Total Time: 24 minutes

Yield: 2

Serving Size: 2 lettuce wraps

Tofu and Eggplant Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients

  • 1 small to medium eggplant, peeled and chopped
  • salt
  • 2 T coconut oil (or olive or canola)
  • 1 C tofu, excess water squeezed out, chopped
  • 1 chile pepper, ribs and seeds removed, diced
  • 1/2 C onion or shallot, chopped
  • could also add: mushrooms, bell pepper, summer squash, and julienned carrots
  • to taste salt
  • big pinch ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 1 1/2 T soy sauce or liquid aminos
  • 1 T mint, chopped
  • 1 T Thai basil, chopped
  • 1-2 lettuce leaves per serving (1 if sturdy, 2 if more flimsy)
  • 1/2 C cucumber, diced, for serving
  • rice vinegar, for serving
  • pinch salt, for serving

Instructions

  1. Peel and slice eggplant and sprinkle with salt. Set aside for 15 to 30 minutes to draw out some of the moisture. Rinse and pat dry. Chop as directed.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium or medium-high heat. Add oil. When oil is hot, add eggplant, tofu, chile, onion/shallot, and salt. Cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring often. Add ginger, garlic, and soy sauce/liquid aminos and cook for 1 minute more. Remove from heat and toss with herbs. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  3. Take 1-2 lettuce leaves (layering 2 if desired) and lay them flat. Spoon tofu mixture in the center. Top with cucumber, a splash of vinegar, and a pinch of salt. Roll up and serve immediately.
http://www.de-ma-cuisine.com/tofu-and-eggplant-lettuce-wraps/

Monday

17

August 2015

0

COMMENTS

Bread Pudding with Seasonal Fruit

Written by , Posted in Baking, Bread, Breakfast, Brunch, Dairy-Free, Dessert, Eggs, Fruit, Gluten Free, Lunch, Main Dishes, Nuts, Vegetarian

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Today I’ve come up with a treat for the sweet tooth that’s both dessert and main dish. It’s a variation on a bread pudding, but we ate it for lunch.

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It’s sweet, but not too, thanks to the maple syrup. It’s filling enough to be the star, thanks to the eggs and bread. It’s a great way to get some fruit into a dish, thanks to whatever fruit is in season. We’ve got figs and peaches on hand, so that’s what I used.

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During the spring and summer the figs and peaches could be swapped out for blueberries, strawberries, or plums. In the cooler months, pears, apples, and persimmons would be perfect. Perfect for any time of the year. If you don’t have fresh fruit, frozen works (just drain it a bit first). You could even add some jam. I used softer figs and frozen peaches, that way they kinda became one with the eggy-bread mixture.

I was thinking that this would be yummy if it was chocolatey. You could add cocoa powder to the egg mixture (hello chocolate and cinnamon!). You could add chocolate chips too. I think figs or berries would be fabulous with chocolate.

Whatever bread you have on hand will be great. Gluten-free, whole wheat, croissants, baguettes… I like to use stale bread, but mostly because I feel bad using fresh bread for something like this.

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I filled two 6″ ramekins to make two main dish sized portions. But, you could use smaller ramekins or one larger dish. Adjust the baking time accordingly.

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To serve, I topped with some Greek yogurt and chopped almonds. You could also add some fresh fruit, walnuts, pecans, cream or crème fraîche, or if you’ve got an extra sweet sweet tooth, a drizzle of maple syrup.

Happy Eating!

Bread Pudding with Seasonal Fruit

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 2-4

Bread Pudding with Seasonal Fruit

Ingredients

  • 1 t coconut oil (or canola)
  • 2 C stale bread (any kind), torn in small(ish) pieces
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 T white vinegar
  • 1 C whole milk (any kind)
  • 1/4 t cinnamon
  • pinch ginger
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 C maple syrup
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 C fairly ripe seasonal fruit (berries, figs, stone fruit, apples, persimmons, pears), most chopped, a few sliced for topping
  • toppings (optional): chopped nuts, fresh fruit, plain yogurt, crème fraîche, maple syrup, cream

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
  2. Pour vinegar into a measuring cup. Add milk to the 1 C line. Stir and let stand for about 5 minutes (it will thicken slightly and become buttermilk).
  3. Grease two 6" ramekins with coconut oil. Add bread and fruit. Toss.
  4. Whisk together eggs through vanilla. Pour over bread and fruit. Top with sliced fruit. Place ramekins on a baking sheet. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until eggs are mostly set and have come to at least 160F. Remove from the oven and let them stand on a cooling rack for 10-20 minutes.
  5. Top with desired toppings.
http://www.de-ma-cuisine.com/bread-pudding-with-seasonal-fruit/