Monday, May 17, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

It is our last week of school! Yeah! We are all really looking forward to summer vacation. The last week of school is usually very hectic for us and so in our menu you will see some convenience items. At this point, I feel the need to keep it simple and just get through this week. You will also see a few things we didn't get to last week.
Breakfast Ideas:
Maple Banana Loaf (from freezer)
toast w/almond butter and jelly
creamy oatmeal
zucchini spelt muffins
egg burritos
yogurt banana splits

We normally serve green drink with our breakfasts.

Lunch Ideas:
almond butter and jelly/tuna sandwiches
pasta and meatballs
ABC pasta soup
Goddess Garbanzos in a WW pita pocket (similar to chicken salad w/garbanzos)
chicken strips
mac and cheese w/peas

We usually serve raw fruit and veggies with lunch.

Dinner Ideas:
Orange Sesame Tofu w/brown rice
burgers (beef and portabella), corn on the cob, roasted potatoes
vegan risotto
lentil and barley soup in crockpot
pizza night

We usually have fresh bread/rolls and salad with dinner.
Have a wonderful week!
PS - Check out www.orgjunkie.come for more menu ideas!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Raw Vegan Truffles - Super Easy

Recently I went to a seminar presented by folks from Hallelujah Acres. It was wonderful. I strongly encourage you to check out their site. Basically, they teach about healing and maintaining your body using a diet of 80% raw foods and 20% cooked. They shared a lot of recipes. One of my favorite is this one for raw vegan truffles. They require only a few ingredients, are super easy, and healthy. They will surely satisfy your sweet tooth. My whole family loves them!

1 cup organic raisins
1 cup raw pecans (I have also used other nuts and they came out wonderful!)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
unsweetened coconut

Place all ingredients in your food processor with the S blade. Let it blend until the mixture forms a ball. It will take a little bit. Then pull out about small amount (about the size of a tablespoon) and roll into a ball.

(see how greasy my hands are from the oils in the nuts!)

Then roll each ball into unsweetened coconut.

You can eat them just like that and they are wonderful, but we think they taste even better if you put them in the freezer. They don't really freeze solid. Oh so yummy this way. They are usually gone very quickly in our house.

We actually added some vegan chocolate chips to the processor last time and that was really yummy, but they do eliminate the raw factor. I was thinking you could also roll them in raw chocolate powder.

I hope you'll give these a try! Let me know!


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

As you may know, I haven't done a weekly menu plan in a while. It has been very hard to manage without a plan and I must admit, our meals have been a bit boring. Now that school is winding down, I am hoping to get back to sharing our menu each week. I have been given the green light to try a week of all vegan dinners. I am going to serve meat at lunch only. We'll see how it goes. This is great for me because it enables me to try some different recipes. If they turn out, I'll be sharing them over the week.

Here is what I have planned for this week:
Breakfast Ideas:
-granola w/almond milk
-Maple Banana Loaf
-toast w/almond butter
-creamy oatmeal
-Blueberry Carob Pancakes
-Apple Hemp Muffins

We normally serve green drink with our breakfasts.

Lunch Ideas:
-taco salad
-almond butter and jelly sandwiches
-chick pea and pasta soup
-Goddess Garbanzos in a WW pita pocket (similar to chicken salad w/garbanzos)
-beef and barley soup in crockpot

We usually serve raw fruit and veggies with lunch. (On meat days, I'll be enjoying salads)

Dinner Ideas:
-Chili Pasta Bake
-Brown Rice ‘n’ Beans “Jumble-aya”
-Mac and Cheeze
-Orange Sesame Tofu w/brown rice
-Roasted Tomato-Fennel Pasta w/pine nuts and capers
-vegan risotto

We usually have fresh bread/rolls and salad with dinner.

Kale chips
Celery w/dressing
Apple slices w/almond butter
guacamole w/chips
Have a great week!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Banana Cream Pancakes (vegan)

Hey there!

I know I have been gone a while, but the end of the school year is a bit brutal for me. As things begin to close out, I am hoping to blog a lot more. I have really been encouraged by those of you that noticed my absence and have asked when I will return to the blogsphere. I really didn't think anyone would notice. So thank you for your kind words.

I am not coming back in full force yet, but I promised a sweet friend this recipe for her daughter's birthday! So here you have it....Banana Cream Pancakes.

This recipe comes from one of my favorite vegan cookbook authors that I have mentioned many times, Dreena Burton. It is in her most recent book, Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan. This is a really wonderful book with many, many great recipes. I highly recommend it!

Banana Cream Pancakes
1 1/3 spelt flour ( I order mine in bulk, but you could get it from the bins at Whole Foods)
1 tbs + 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg (I used cinnamon)
1/8 tsp salt
1 can light coconut milk
1 cup banana (1 large)
1 tsp vanilla

In a large bowl mix together all your dry ingredients. Then I place all the wet ingredients in the Vitamix and blend until smooth and creamy. It is much faster than doing it all by hand. I am sure any blender would work here. Then I just pour the wet into the dry and mix until well combined.

Oil your griddle/pan and cook then pancakes as you normally would. When I make pancakes I use the Pampered Chef scoops to get them to be all uniform in size. It is also less messy.

As you can see below I added a few vegan chocolate chips to each one. I don't add many because we use pure maple syrup on pancakes and that is just too much sugar for me! But if you notice there is no sugar in the recipe at all, which I LOVE!

Here are some pictures. I know they are not that great. Need to really work on that over the summer, but none the less, here are some that I took over the weekend.

I hope you enjoy!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I am really struggling to post consistently as we get closer to the end of the school year. With field trips and planning for next year I have no time to squeeze blogging in. The menu plan is easy to get to simply because I have to do that for my sanity each week. So bare with me as school comes to a close. Over the summer I am hoping to blog a lot and change the blog up a little. Happy Monday!
Breakfast Ideas:
granola (free from EarthFare) w/almond milk
Maple Banana Loaf
eggs and toast
Whole Wheat Blender pancakes
Baked French Toast
Zucchini Spelt Muffins

We normally serve green drink with our breakfasts.

Lunch Ideas:
hummus and brie (FREE from EarthFare) w/assorted veggies, fruit, and crackers
taco salad
leftovers x2
almond butter and jelly sandwiches
chick pea and pasta soup

We usually serve raw fruit and veggies with lunch.

Dinner Ideas:
Rigatoni Puttanesca w/Veggie Meatballs
Steak Burgers w/roasted potatoes and roasted bell pepper salad, Tollhouse Pie (friends over)
Chicken Pot Pie w/roasted broccoli
Chili Chicken and Vegetable Soup
Spinach Rice Casserole
Spaghetti w/vegan Pesto (insanely delish)
Beef Ribs in BBQ Sauce (crockpot), mashed potatoes

We usually have fresh bread/rolls and salad with dinner.
For more menu plans visit

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Skillet Shrimp Fajtas

EarthFare has been having some amazing deals recently. If you join their Health Journey, you can get coupons for lots of free items. The coupon usually says that you have to purchase one item, which is not a problem as we always need something from the store. We have gotten FREE granola, pound of coffee, brie, fresh mozzarella, pizza dough, and TWO pounds of shrimp.

I normally don't buy shrimp because it is too expensive. So I was very excited to see this sweet deal since my husband LOVES shrimp.

Here is our most recent package of free shrimp. $12.99 worth of shrimp for FREE!!

I guess I am on a Rachael Ray kick lately because I decided to use the shrimp to make a recipe in my recent issue of her magazine, Skillet Shrimp Fajitas. It was quite easy and Chuck loved it!

Skillet Shrimp Fajitas
1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion sliced
1 can 14.5 oz. diced tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic chopped
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 lb of shrimp (peeled, deveined, and tails removed)

1. Heat 2 tbs olive oil over medium high heat; add the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook until browned. (I added some red pepper here as well)

2. Add the can of tomatoes and increase heat. Cook until the tomato juice evaporates. Remove from skillet.

3. Add the remaining olive oil (2 tbs), the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook for about one minute. Add the shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Cook until pink, about 3-5 minutes. Add chopped cilantro here if you like.

We served the fajita mixture on Trader Joe's Whole Wheat tortillas with brown rice, avocados, sour cream, cheese, and hot sauce. It was really a hit with my husband!


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

It is almost St. Patrick's Day. Even though I am not Irish (my husband is) I love St. Patrick's Day. I always try to make it a special day for the boys.

Here is our menu for the special day:

Here is our menu for the rest of the week.

Breakfast Ideas:
Cinnamon Rolls
applesauce bread
eggs, sausage, and toast
Raspberry Cornmeal Pancakes (Eat, Drink, and be Vegan)
Challah French Toast

We normally serve green drink with our breakfasts.

Lunch Ideas:
hummus and guacamole w/assorted veggies and crackers
almond butter, banana and honey sandwiches
Mellow Lentil “Sniffle” Soup (Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan)
pasta and marinara
egg salad sandwiches

We usually serve raw fruit and veggies with lunch.

Dinner Ideas:

Manhattan Cod Chowder (I didn’t get to it last week!)
Slow –Cooked Tex-Mex Chicken and Beans and rice
Sloppy Joes w/roasted potatoes
Cuban Chicken Legs w/roasted broccoli
Spaghetti w/Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
White Bean and Barley Risotto, w/ roasted tomatoes

We usually have fresh bread/rolls and salad with dinner.

Hope you have a wonderful week! For more menu ideas check out


Spaghetti with Zucchini and Garlic

I love zucchini, but unfortunately, my boys do not. I have found that the only way I can get them to eat it is in a muffin, sweet bread or in this dish, Spaghetti with Zucchini and Garlic. We all LOVE this dish. It is very simple and has minimal ingredients. It is from Rachel Ray's cookbook, 30 Minute Meals 2. It is one of her older cookbooks, but there are a lot of good recipes in it. This is a favorite.


1 pound spaghetti, cooked al dente
2 small to medium zucchini
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves of garlic chopped
salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Saute your garlic in the olive oil. I throw in some red pepper flakes.

Add shredded zucchini and season with salt and pepper. Saute 7-10 minutes.

Add your hot, drained cooked past to the zucchini and toss. Add a couple handfuls of grated cheese. Use the rest of the cheese to individual plates.

I know this is simple, but the flavors are wonderful and it is very quick, easy, inexpensive, and healthy. I hope you give it a try!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Happy Monday! We had a wonderful weekend away on a homeschool trip to Pamplin Park. It was a wonderful weekend filled great friends and family. Now that we are home, I am trying to get caught up on my domestic responsibilities including laundry and of course, menu planning!

So here you have our plan for the week!

Breakfast Ideas:
avocado pudding w/granola (vegan)
cereal x2
eggs and toast
Carob Blueberry Waffles (vegan)
Spelt Zucchini muffins (vegan)

We normally serve green drink with our breakfasts. Check out some ideas for that here, or here.

Lunch Ideas:
chick pea and pasta soup
PB & J or tuna sandwiches
baked potatoes w/the fixin’s
pasta w/marinara
leftovers x2

We usually serve raw fruit and veggies with lunch.

Dinner Ideas:
shrimp/veggie fajitas
rice and beans
beef stew (crock pot)
veggie shepherd’s pie
tortilla crusted asparagus pie
spaghetti w/ spicy turkey meat sauce
Manhattan Cod Chowder

We usually have fresh bread/rolls and salad with dinner.

Snack ideas:
guacamole w/cukes and homemade tortilla chips
ants on a log (celery w/pb and raisins)
fresh fruit
granola bars

We finally got our camera back, so I am hoping to share some recipes with you this week. I am trying quite a few new ideas.

Have a wonderful week! For more menu ideas check out


Monday, March 1, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Sorry I am a little late today! We got produce from our coop around noon and I wanted to see what we got before I made a plan.

We are going out of town, so it is not a full seven day menu!

Breakfast Ideas:
Banana Blueberry “ice cream” w/granola (the boys loved this!)
crustless crab quiche
cereal x2
Banilla yogurt w/granola
eggs and toast

We normally serve green drink with our breakfasts.

Lunch Ideas:
ham/turkey sandwiches
bean and cheese burritos
cauliflower soup
leftovers x2

We usually serve raw fruit and veggies with lunch.

Dinner Ideas:
rice and beans w/buffalo wings
Cuban Chicken Drumsticks
beef stew
shrimp w/garlic and oil served over spaghetti
tex mix chicken chili (crockpot)

We usually have fresh bread/rolls and salad with dinner.

Snack ideas:
tamari roasted chick peas
ants on a log (celery w/pb and raisins)
veggies and dip
fresh fruit
granola bars
guacamole and chips

I am hoping to have my camera back this week from the repair shop, so I can share some more recipes and pictures with you.

For more menu ideas, check out


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Avocado Pudding

I LOVE avocados!! I love them in any form, unfortunately, my boys don't. The only way they like them is in guacamole. So I try to sneak then in whenever I can. One way to do that is by making a dessert out of them. Yes, you heard it right, a dessert! They are so creamy that when they are blended with the right ingredients, you hardly notice them!

This morning I served the boys yogurt with granola and frozen raspberries. Since I am not eating yogurt. (I actually don't like yogurt!), I made something called "Live Chocolate Mousse". A recipe that was featured in this months Vegetarian Times magazine. I topped it with walnuts, frozen raspberries, and granola. It was soooo good! Give it a try, you won't be dissappointed!

Live Chocolate Mousse
Vegetarian Times

3 avocados

1/4 c. plus 3 tbs. agave nectar

1/4 cup plus 2 tbs cocoa powder

3 tbs almond butter

1 tsp lemon juice

pinch of cinnamon

Puree all ingredients in food processor 3 to 4 minutes or until smooth and creamy, scraping down sides as necessary.

I have made other versions of this type of dessert, but I like this one best because it doesn't have any sugar.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tropical Fruit Salad

Produce this week was plentiful and we got lots of pineapple, kiwi, oranges, and mangoes. So I decided to make an old favorite, a favorite that brings me to summertime, a place I need to be right now. Tired of this crazy weather! You? If so, give this a try, it will lift your spirits and seriously boost your vitamin C!

Tropical Fruit Salad
adapted from Vegetarian Times

Mix together the following for the fruit salad:
  • 1 medium pineapple, cored and cubed
  • 2 medium mangoes, cubed
  • 2 oranges, segmented or sliced
  • 3 kiwi, sliced

Combine these indgredients for the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 3 tbs sugar
  • 2 tbs orange juice
  • 2 tsp. lime zest (my boys don't care for it, so I leave it out)

Toss the salad with the dressing. Put it in the fridge for about 20 for the flavors to blend.



(My camera is getting fixed, so I apologize that I don't have a picture of the salad that I made.)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Breakfast Ideas:

Lunch Ideas:

  • sandwiches - turkey, ham or roast beef (Thanks again, Aunt Peg!)

  • PB, banana, and honey sandwiches

  • bean and cheese burritos (homemade)

  • stromboli

  • ABC Veggie Soup

  • leftovers x2

We usually serve raw fruit and veggies with lunch.

Dinner Ideas:

We usually have fresh bread/rolls and salad with dinner.

Snack ideas:

  • tamari roasted chick peas

  • tropical fruit salad

  • jam print cookies (vegan)

  • veggies and dip

  • fresh fruit
  • frozen chocolate covered banana pops
  • chocolate mousse (w/avocados)

For more great menu ideas, check out

Have a blessed week!


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Menu Plan Monday (on Tuesday)!

Last week, I mentioned that I would be trying a few new recipes. There are two that are worth mentioning, because they were excellent. The first one is Roasted Tomato Soup . It is excellent. Very creamy and filling. Perfect for a cold night. The second one was Ginger Fried Rice. Be sure to check this out. I know it looks like an odd combination, the fried egg with the rice, and I wasn't sure that my boys would eat it. But everyone LOVED it! Especially my husband, he had at least two helpings.

I also mentioned last week that I was eating some cheese. After a week of eating cheese, I understand why I gave it up in the first place. I just felt YUCK! I was very tired and my stomach was upset. Incidentally, a close friend of my emailed and asked if I'd be interested in doing a raw food cleanse. She is doing it for 30-60 days. After my flop with the Eat to Live plan at the beginning of the year, I was skeptical. But because of my week of cheese eating, I decided to give it a shot. I added some additions, so it isn't 100% raw. I am allowing myself some decaf green tea and lentil soup and rice pasta once a week, otherwise everything else is raw. We'll see....

Therefore, this week will consist mostly of food that I have prepared on freezer days for the boys. Nothing too exciting this week.

Breakfast ideas:
1. cereal x2
2. Eggs and toast
3. waffles
4. creamy strawberry oatmeal
5. whole wheat pancakes
6. toast
Most days we'll have a green smoothie. If not, we'll serve the boys fruit.

Lunch ideas:
1. chick pea and pasta soup
2. leftovers
3. chicken and cheese quesadillas
4. PB & J sandwiches
5. Chili Chicken and Vegetable Soup
6. Deep Dark Chocolate Biscotti & hot chocolate
We serve fruit and veggies with lunch each day. Choices for this week include: grapefruits, clementines, applesauce, carrots, corn, and salad.
Dinner ideas:
1. Ziti Casserole
2. Hamburgers, mashed potatoes, and peas
3. Enchilada Casserole, roasted cauliflower & 16 roasted cloves of garlic
4. Rice and Beans, with honey glazed carrots
5. chili w/cilantro rice
6. homemade pizza
We will be having salad and bread or rolls with most dinners.
Snack ideas:
-cheese and crackers
-veggies w/dip
-carrot cupcakes w/cream cheese frosting

Hope you have a great week.

For more menu ideas, check out

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Healthy Smoothie - Day 5

Sorry I missed yesterday! I had a lot to do with our homeschool coop's Valentine Party!

Here is a Valentine Smoothie for you!

1 1/2 100% cranberry juice
2 c. strawberries (fresh or frozen)
2 bananas (fresh or frozen)
1 c. ice

Blend until smooth. I would use at least one frozen fruit. If you are using two, omit ice. We added a head of Romaine to ours yesterday!

Enjoy and Happy Valentine's Day!


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Healthy Smoothie - Day 4

No, my camera isn't fixed. My husband sent it in today. These pictures are from a couple of weeks back. I tried to make a veggie drink for my boys. I wish I could tell you it came out delicious. I had visions of it coming out just like V-8, which I love, but it didn't. It was actually pretty nasty...

It looks like it should be good, right?!

Why am I sharing it you ask? Because I am hoping it will prompt you to send me your ideas for veggie drinks that are delish!
Come on, send 'em! I will try all the ones you send. Help me on my quest for a veggie drink!
Thanks, J

Free Stuff I got this week!

The ladies over at Money Saving Mom and $30 Weekly Grocery Challenge do an excellent job of alerting their readers on ways to get freebies, in addition to printable coupons and coupon match ups. If left to my own devices I would find nothing. I just don't have the time to search. So I browse these blogs and am able to great great deals all the time. I highly recommend checking them out!

That being said, I have gotten some awesome stuff in the mail this week that I wanted to share with you.

The first thing I recieved was

As many of you know, my husband is a diabetic and so we are always in search of sweeteners for his coffee that are not artificial and are not sugar. Sweet Leaf recently sent me a FULL size box of sweetener in the mail! I think it was because I became a fan of them on Facebook, but I can't remember exactly. Either way, we are enjoying the sample and it came right as we were finishing up our last box of Truvia.

Then for becoming a fan on Facebook, I recieved a coupon for a free package of

Needless to say, when my boys saw these in the pantry they almost passed out. As I have mentioned before I don't normally buy cookies. I tend to make my own, as they are cheaper and healthier, but I am certainly not going to pass up something free. It will be wonderful to have these on hand if the boys have friends over after school.

Lastly, and most importantly, I received a box from Pssst...General Mills. I often forget the things I sign up for and so when this came I had no idea what was in it. Well the boys did a jig when I opened it.

They have noticed Chocolate Cheerios in the store and have been asking for them. This is not something I'd buy without a coupon and since I didn't have one, I said no. At Harris Teeter it is $3.99 a box. Besides, chocolate and cereal is not a combination I usually go for on a regular basis. So you can imagine the excitement! It is almost gone. I mixed it with regular Cheerios to try to bring down the sugar content a little.

I got this for signing up here. They will randomly send to free items to review. Check it out!

In addition to the free box of cereal, they sent me 10 coupons for $1.25 off one box of Chocolate Cheerios. I'd like to pass these along to you! If you are interested, please leave a comment with your email address and I'll be in touch. Or if you have my email, just email me directly.
These would be a wonderful coupon to have when Harris Teeter has another Super Doubles sale.
Be sure to check out Money Saving Mom and $30 Weekly Grocery Challenge in order to find deals like this for yourself!


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Healthy Smoothie - Day 3

I love kale. It is inexpensive and sooo good for you. It is readily available locally grown. Here is a great recipe using kale.

2 oranges or 2 c. orange juice
1 1/2 c. apple juice
1 cup kale
2 bananas
1 cup ice

Blend for about 1 1/2 minutes until smoothie!



Our camera is still broken, so I'm sorry I don't have a picture!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Lunch time... ABC Veggie Soup!

We love soup in our house. When my oldest boys were little I used to buy Campbell's soup for them for lunch. They would split a can. Those days are long over! I would need to buy a can for each of them now.

Clearly that is not economical. Additionally, as I began to pay closer attention to ingredients, I realized it wasn't the healthiest option for my boys.

I learned that I could make a much more economical and delicious vegetable soup very easily and so that has been a lunch option for our family for the past five years.

I usually have most of the items on hand. Broth and beans are always in the freezer. I just take them out the morning I plan on making it.

It takes me about 5 minutes to throw this soup together. Just a tiny bit longer than opening a can! I put it together while the boys are transitioning to another subject and let it cook while I am teaching.

ABC Vegetable Soup

2 c. vegetable or chicken broth 1 1/2 c. water
1 c. tomato sauce
1/2 c. ABC Pasta (or any small pasta)
1 1/2 c. frozen veggies
1 can or 1 1/2 chick peas
parm cheese

1.Combine broth, water, and sauce and bring to a boil.

2. Add pasta, veggies and chick peas.

3. Cook until pasta is tender.

4. Top with cheese and serve!

You can use any pasta, but my boys especially like the ABC pasta. You can find a large ABC pasta at Trader Joe's. The smaller one is harder to find. We like to play a game with it, taking turns naming things from different categories with a letter from our spoon. It is fun!


Healthy Smoothies - Day 2

This is almost my favorite smoothie that we do! Unfortunately, while making it I dropped the camera and seem to have broken it. Ugh...

Yield: 4 cups

1 cup green grapes
1 (130 g) orange, peeled
1/2 Bartlett pear
1 (120 g) banana, fresh or frozen
1 cup spinach
1/2 cup water
2 cups ice cubes

Directions Place all ingredients into container and secure the lid. Blend on HIGH for 1 ½ minutes.

I double this recipe!

Hope you like it!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Healthy Smoothies - Day 1

As I mentioned in my last post, I am going to be posting a different smoothie recipe each day. Normally I just throw in anything I have, but several people have asked for a recipe, so I thought I'd give it a try.

Here is what I came up with today:

-3 bananas
-1 mango
1 orange
1/2 of a zucchini
2 tbs flax seed
1 cup red grapes
1 cup water
2 cups ice

Blend it all up. I let it run for a solid minute.

This is how much it made. If your family is not as large as ours, you can adjust the recipe accordingly. Our family drank it all!
Hope you give it a try. You won't be able to taste the zucchini, I promise!
Blessings, Jen

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

We got a tremendous amount of produce this week. I am very excited to create some dinners loaded with veggies. I have a few new recipes that I am going to be trying!

Breakfast ideas:
1. Banana Berry Coconut Muffins
2. cereal
3. Zucchini Muffins
4. Eggs and bagels
5. French Toast Sticks
6. Banana Bundles

We also have a green smoothie every other day with our breakfast. On the days we don’t we serve the boys fruit.

Lunch ideas:
1. quesadillas
2. PB, banana, and honey sandwiches
3. fruit kabobs
4. Vegetable Soup
5. leftovers
6. chili topped baked potatoes

We try to serve veggies and fruit with each lunch. Choices with week include peppers, cucumbers, and carrots. I am going to try making Ranch dressing with this recipe. Fruit choices will be kiwi, banana, apples, pears, and oranges.

Dinner ideas:
1. Roasted Tomato Soup , roasted cauliflower w/garlic, garlic basil muffins
2. Garlicky Spaghetti with Beans and Greens
3. Mexican Chicken Lasagna, cilantro rice, zucchini w/garlic and oil
4. Gingered Fried Rice , roasted broccoli
5. Chunky Mushroom Ragu w/penne
6. Burgers, homemade fries
7. Garlic Soup

We will be having salad and bread or rolls with most dinners.

Snack ideas:
-cheese, pepperoni, and crackers
-granola bars
-pretzels w/mustard
-avocado chocolate pudding

This week, I am going to share a new smoothie recipe each day, so be sure to check back.
Check out more menu plans at
Blessings, Jennifer

Monday, February 1, 2010

Sauce, an all day affair!

Lots of people have asked me for a recipe for sauce. I don't really follow the same recipe everytime, so I was hoping that I might be able to share how I do it with pictures.

First, I coat the bottom of a large pot with olive oil and saute some onion. I also throw in some red pepper flakes. (Per can of crushed tomato, I tend to use one small onion and 4 garlic cloves.)

While that is softening, I chop up the garlic. I don't add the garlic until the onion is almost done to avoid burning it. So when it is almost done I throw the garlic in.

When the garlic has softened a bit, I add some red wine. I basically add enough to cover the onions and garlic. It doesn't have to be an expensive one. I like to use the Trader Joe's $2.99 bottle! I just would not use cooking wine, it has too much sugar in it.
I promise that your sauce will not taste like wine. If it did, my dear husband would not like it. He hates wine in his food. I just think it deepens the flavor of the sauce.
Once the wine is in, I turn the heat up, so the red wine can reduce.
(If you are making this in the crockpot, I would not add the wine, because it will not reduce and you will get a winey flavor, trust me, that has happened to me.On a side note, though I do a lot in the crockpot, I do not like to make sauce in it.)

When the red wine is almost gone I add the crushed tomatoes. My favorite crushed tomatoes to use are Tuttorosso. They don't sell them at all grocery stores down here. One place I can always find them is B.J.'s. They usually also have the best price.

Once the wine has reduced, I turn down the heat and begin adding the tomatoes. It will be pretty thick, so what I do is fill each can I use with some water and swish it around a little until I get most of the tomato cleaned off the inside of the can.
You could use broth here if you are not going to be cooking your sauce all day. It will make it more flavorful.
After all the tomatoes are in, I start added some dried spices, either an Italian Seasoning Blend or some basil and oregano. I do not measure these. I also add my salt and pepper here. My mom adds some sugar at this point. We don't, not sure why, just don't. It is supposed to make your sauce less acidic.
Mix everything together and let it heat through. While this is happening, start your meatballs.

While the sauce is beginning to heat through, I begin making my meatballs.

I really like to use Meatball Mix for the meatballs. That is what our family likes best. It is a combination of beef, pork and veal. B.J.'s sells it already mixed. If you don't care for the those meats, you can easily just use beef or turkey.

Per lb of meat, I add:
-one egg
-1 palmful parm cheese
-2 handfulls breadcrumbs
-a splash of worcheshire sauce
-1-2 garlic cloves minced
-salt and pepper

In the past I have tried adding milk, but we didn't seem to notice a difference in the meatballs, so I don't do it anymore. Here is what it looks like before I mix it.

Once I mix it, I use my middle cookie scoop (2 tbs.) to make uniform meatballs. I'll scoop them all on the board and them shape them after that.
Once they are all shaped, I put them in the sauce raw. Yes, raw! They will cook through in the sauce all day.
At this point you can also add any combination of meats. I have used sausage, pepperoni and pork. My boys tend to really enjoy it with just meatballs so that is how I do it most times. I will admit that when I was a meat eater, I LOVED pepperoni in it!!

Place them in gently and mix gently so they do not break.

After the meatballs are in, I just let the sauce simmer on low all day. I make sure that stir it every now and then. As the sauce cooks, it will thicken and get darker. I usually start mine in the morning and leave it on until dinner time. The longer, the better. The smell in the house is wonderful!

I wish I have more details for you. If you have questions, feel free to comment or email me!

Let me know if you try it!

Blessings, Jen

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Back here, I mentioned that we were going to try to be dairy free over the winter to help with skin issues. Our son that has eczema has not has as much trouble this year, so we are going to be adding in some dairy back into their diets, as evidenced by some of the freezer cooking here and from this menu below.

Also, I just wanted to let you know that the meals that I list here are meals for the whole family. If the meal that I have selected is not vegan I will make something else for myself. I don’t list those things here. I tend to do it on the fly.

Breakfast ideas:
1. banana chocolate chip muffins
2. cereal
3. creamy blueberry oatmeal
4. eggs and toast x 2
5. waffles
6. whole wheat blender pancakes

We also have a green smoothie every other day with our breakfast. On the days we don’t we serve the boys fruit.

Lunch ideas:
1. quesadillas
2. PB, banana, and honey sandwiches
3. Corn Dog Muffins (made dairy free w/soy buttermilk)
4. Sandwich Sushi
5. mac/cheese
6. chick pea and pasta soup
7. pastina w/chicken broth

We try to serve veggies and fruit with each lunch. Choices with week include red peppers, cucumbers, carrots, celery, and salad. Fruit choices will be pineapple, banana, apples, and oranges.

Dinner ideas:
1. Pasta Fagioli
2. Buffalo Chicken Pasta
3. Spicy Black Beans and Rice w/Mango Salsa (crockpot)
4. Bean and Barley Soup (crockpot) I am going to use beans from my freezer and quick cooking barley as substitutions in this recipe.
5. Baked Ziti (Fellowship at Small Group)
6. Black Bean Tostadas with Corn Relish
7. Taco Cups

We will be having salad and bread or rolls with most dinners.

Snack ideas:
-cheese and crackers
-Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Popcorn
-vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
-Cranberry Orange Bread
-veggies w/dip
-guacamole and chips

For more great menu ideas, check out

Have a great week!


Freezer Day 3 - French Toast Sticks

I finished up my freezer cooking with these French Toast Sticks. Everyone enjoyed them and they freeze well.

I do not have a formal recipe, I just wing it. Here goes!

I sliced up a couple loaves of the whole wheat bread I made a couple of days ago into thick slices. I mixed up some egg, soymilk, cinnamon, and vanilla. Then I coated each and put them in a greased stone as you see below.

Then I baked them at 350 for 30 minutes, flipping them halfway through.
These are great for little hands, they just love the dipping.

This was my husband's breakfast. The smoothie you see is made from the following:
- 2 1/2 bananas
-1 orange
-1 apple
-a small handful of frozen raspberries
-a large handful of frozen cranberries
-1 mango

Instead of the French Toast I had a smoothie along with this.

-vegan -Vanilla Coconut Yogurt
-mango (on bottom)
-vegan choc chips
-frozen raspberries

Super Delish!
Have a great one!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Freezer Day #2 - Not for the faint hearted!

This was a little harder than I expected. The transition from my usual plan of cooking just baked goods to more dinners and sides was a little tough. The hardest part was the dishes. I had to run the dishwasher 3 times! Not sure how ladies do it for the whole month! My hats off to you!

I am happy though...I think this is really going to help me out during the week, especially the nights when we have small group and basketball.

I was able to get everything done on my list except for the French Toast Sticks, which I am going to make tomorrow morning for breakfast and then freeze. Plus, I added a few things and tried some new recipes. Overall, a great experience!

Here is what I got done (links for recipes are here):

-1 batch of whole wheat bagels (We samples some for lunch and they were yummy!)

-whole wheat waffles x2

-Layered Chicken Enchilada Casserole (I think the boys are going to like this!)

-Pasta Casserole

-1 lb taco meat

-1 lb browned ground beef

-6 hamburgers

- meatballs (half went in the freezer, half went into the sauce)

-mashed potatoes x3 (I tasted this and I think I like my own recipe better, we'll see what the boys think)

-vegan cranberry orange bread x2 (This was delish! I substitued ww pastry flour, omitted the zest, and used cornstarch for the egg replacer. I highly recommend this recipe!)

-1 1/2 dozen vegan Banana Blueberry Coconut Muffins (I used all ww pastry flour and frozen blueberries. YUM!)

-1 1/2 dozen vegan Garlic Basil muffins (I haven't tried them yet, but Chuck liked them! We are having with dinner tonight. Getting a thumbs down from the boys. Won't make these again!)

Here is Cal, fresh in from sledding enjoying some raspberry tea and sampling the baked goods!

I also made a big pot of sauce that is not pictured. We'll be having it for dinner and leftover sauce will go in the freezer. I will be blogging on how I made the sauce this week.

How did your baking day go?
Blessings, Jen