Friday, September 28, 2012

KALE...who knew?

I never thought I would like greens so much.  My parents always made turnip green, but they cooked them and I really don't care for cooked greens...even steamed.  Turns out I like them raw pretty well.  Especially Kale.

I love kale.  I really enjoy it with lemon vinaigrette.  Here I have it with onions, feta and toasted almonds...

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Fresh 20, week 2

So, last week, I followed The Fresh 20 vegetarian meal plan.  I was pleasantly surprised that their meals did not have an abundance of cheese.  For this week, I decided to try a combination of the classic (meat (but organic) and gluten free meal plan.  First up, Chicken Tortilla Soup:


Man, organic chicken is expensive.  However, this was one I was able to make up before hand, and then just serve for dinner. 

Audible:  Added a roll.

Day 2:  Turkey meatballs - Not pictured. 

It is really too bad I didn't take a picture.  I think this was one of the best meals.  I made up the meatballs before hand.  It also called for a nice gravy.  I served it with roasted brussell sprouts and mashed potatoes.

Audible:  I baked the meatballs instead of saute.  They would have fallen apart!

Day 3:  The one vegetarian meal.  Tosadas.  I know, what is a tostada?  It is like a taco on a really big tortilla chip.  You lay out all the options:


And then top at will:


The kids are always excited about something like this, but end up putting a few beans and cheese on it.  Eh.  I might do this again. 

Audible:  I added spanish quinoa.

Day 4:  Steamed tilapia over winter greens and tomato couscous


I did two things to trick my kids into eating this meal.  One, I can't stand steamed greens.  I had every intention of making the recipe as written and then when it came down to it...I just couldn't.  YUCK.  So, I had a kale-off.  I made kale the way I like (kale chips) and then kale the way my husband likes (saute).  Both kids were actually really excited about trying both and giving their opinion.  The result?  "I like Mommy's.  No, Daddy's!"  Ok, then it came out that they didn't like either, but they did try it.  The other thing is that I told my kids that this fish was "meat" and I might even said it was "chicken"  Oops.  James ate the whole thing and Andy was eating it, when I let the cat out that it was actually fish.  They thought it was funny and kept eating, but I am not sure if they would eat it again.

Fairly large audible:  Not only did I switch the greens,but instead of steaming the fish, I coated it in cornmeal and oven fried.  Glad I did.

Result of this week.  I learned two things:  My family did not really eat the meat meals much better than the vegetarian ones and these recipes are super super bland.  Have they not heard of cilantro?  All in all, I can see myself buying a meal plan from this company, but I want to check out some other options first.  Also, my CSA was on a break, but they are back, so I have all these peppers to deal with again...

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Fresh 20 - Week 1

So, like I said.  All of a sudden, meal plans started sounding like a great idea.  However, I have all these "rules" about food and how would I know which meal plan would be best.  Turns out, most meal plans, although fairly inexpensive, really wanted me to to make a commitment, and I wasn't ready to do that.  Finally, I found on The Fresh 20 a couple of sample plans and I am going to report on the vegetarian (not vegan) one.  I was able to get a shopping list and was in and out of the grocery store in 30 minutes.  I spent $100 which included normal weekly needs like milk, etc.  Here was my menu for the week:

Day 1 - Lemon Thyme Potato Pancakes, Brussel Sprouts, Apple Sauce, Greek Yogurt.


This was a lot of food, but it did come together pretty quickly.  Per the instructions, I made the mashed potatoes ahead of time, and went ahead and did the apple sauce as well.  Mark and I liked it pretty well, James did ok, Andy picked per usual. 

Audible:  Roasted the Brussel Sprouts, added cinnamon and a bit of honey to the apple sauce, I had some flavored greek yogurt so I used that instead.  Turns out my kids hate greek yogurt...

Day 2 - Braised Parsnips with Golden Raisen Walnut Couscous.


So, here is one of the good things about this meal plan:  You try foods you normally would not make!  I have never made parsnips and I usually don't use walnuts.  However, this was a meal where you realize, oh, this is why I don't use these foods...nobody likes them!  I knew that they were parsnips, but I guess everyone else though they were potaotes and were horrified when they ate one.  They are pretty spicy.  The walnuts were ok., but eh.  No one really liked this.

Audible:  I followed the directions on the recipe for the couscous and should have followed the one on the package.

Day 3 - Mushroom Pasta with Side Salad.


I was really looking forward to this because not only does it use mushrooms, it also made a creamy white bean sauce to coat the pasta.  Just sounded cool.  Not so much.  With the mushrooms, it wasn't so bad, but alone, it just taste bland...and beany.  I thought it was ok.  Mark did not like it.  James and Andy had plain pasta.

Audible:  I used cremini's instead of portabellos.

Day 4 - Vegetarian Chili and Fuji Apples


This one was nice because I made the whole thing the night before.  I also made cornbread muffins as a bonus.  It was definitely a vegetarian chili in the fact that it had lots of veggies in it!  Pretty good.  Mark and I liked it, the kids picked at it.

Audible:  Doubled all spices and I still felt it was a little bland.

Day 5 - Portobello Pizza Blanco


This recipe used a portobello mushroom in place of the crust of a pizza.  Then you made a spinach/white bean puree and put it on top, then ricotta mixed with oregano, then tomatoes.  I liked it, but Mark did not.  I made the kids regular pizza.

Audible:  I added basil and garlic to my puree AFTER dinner.  I ate it on crackers.  Wish I had done that before.

All in all, I was happy with this week.  There were definitely more misses than hits, and I felt most of the meals were pretty bland.  But it was an opportunity to try some new things and it did take some stress off.  I hope to do this again this week with another free plan.