crock-pot

Omni meal plans

I’ve been keeping up with weekly meal planning for almost a year now – with random weeks off due to travel/holidays/etc..  But for the most part, it’s been a very successful technique in keeping our food budget in check. 

I thought it would be way more expensive once we started including meat, but it hasn’t been too significant of a difference because the marginal increase in animal protein is balanced by the fact that we all eat the same thing (thus, a decrease in overall ingredients).  One meal as opposed to three.  At least for dinner.  I pack Kyle’s lunches and they do contain wheat and dairy and (until we run out entirely) nuts, since he’s not nursing and out of the house when he eats them, it’s no big deal.  Otherwise, we are a communal diet family. 

I slipped up a bit this week because I had some mad tempeh cravings, but otherwise here are the allergy friendly dinners we shared.

IMG_2052 IMG_2053

Salmon burgers over a huge salad with TJ’s Caesar dressing.

I called and left a message with Trident Seafoods about their facilities and they called me back and were so helpful!  They are all peanut and tree nut free, and one of their two facilities is sesame and free and the other is not but they still clean it thoroughly between the use of sesame products.  The customer service rep showed me where to look up the ID number of the product (on the bottom of the package) to determine which facility it was made at.  We happened to get a package from the sesame free facility!  And since the package is already labeled as gluten free, we are in the clear.  Win! 

IMG_2117 

Kale, quinoa and tempeh Caesar salad.

IMG_2114 

I can’t get enough Caesar dressing lately.  TJ’s makes a non-dairy version that’s pretty great.  Unfortunately, it’s not vegan, but at least P was spared one allergen (the tempeh is soy, of course).  From now on I’ll probably nix the tempeh or use chicken instead, but since we are on a budget, I didn’t want to let the tempeh that’s been in our fridge for the past month go to waste.  I’ve been eyeing it for far too long and I finally caved.

IMG_2116 

It was so good, but not worth the poor eczema flare P had as a result.  I had thought eating it at dinner and waiting 12 hours overnight wouldn’t be too bad, but I think it takes longer to clear out of my system.  At least in that amount.  🙁

IMG_2144

Home-made Chipotle bowl.

IMG_2137 IMG_2141

For the rice, I mixed corn, cilantro, and lime juice into brown rice.  For the chicken, I cooked two breasts in the crock pot covered in salsa for 8 hours on low.  It shredded in 5 seconds and made for minimal hands on work.  Kyle demanded a repeat of this meal immediately, so I suspect it will be a regular.

IMG_2142

It was seriously easy so that’s fine by me.  I served the chicken and rice with romaine and avocado.

IMG_2169 

I’ve made this broccoli salad previously (both times adding quinoa).  Just as good this time (I had two more huge servings and the leftovers for lunch the next day).

IMG_2183 

I actually made us two separate meals this night because we didn’t have very much GF pasta after P ate dinner (his appetite keeps surprising me!).  So Kyle had wheat pasta with this pesto (frozen from our summer produce) and I had the (above) mish mash.

Since you probably can’t tell, it’s TJ’s pasta with kale and roasted veggies topped in an avocado/nutritional yeast sauce.  Despite appearances, it was delicious.

IMG_2225 

Kyle’s dad was in town on Friday night (Valentine’s Day) so our romantic dinner was re-scheduled for Sunday.  I made a stew with veggies, kale, rice, and sausage.

IMG_2226 IMG_2227

Saturday was P’s first birthday party, so we treated ourselves to sushi that night.  No pics because I devoured it superfast.  Avocado inari is my fave.

And here are a few more meals that I photographed from the previous week but never shared…

IMG_2072

Pasta with marinara and home-made lentil “meatballs”.  I made extra pasta for Kyle’s lunch the next day, as well as extra GF pasta for me & P.

IMG_2073 IMG_1882

He loves pasta with olive oil or chicken broth.  Frankly I can get him to eat anything with chicken broth.  It’s how I shoved brown rice and squash down his throat just yesterday.

IMG_2079

This was a Sonoma “chickn” salad made from Beyond Meat chicken-free strips.  I love their products so much.  They are getting “beefy crumbles” soon which should be interesting.

IMG_2074 IMG_2077 

I basically tweaked the Whole Foods version of the Sonoma salad that first introduced me to Beyond Meat’s product – mayo, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, celery, salt & pepper.

IMG_2080

Served atop a salad (or on a sandwich the next day).

IMG_2081 

In addition to Caesar I’m really into mayo these days.  It’s all about the condiments, baby.

IMG_1986 

Rosemary and lemon chicken and red potatoes with mixed veggies.  We all ate this one, no alterations needed.

IMG_1850

Spoon Fork Bacon’s shaved brussel salad with quinoa instead of pretzel bread and bacon instead of pancetta.  So good we made it again for P’s birthday party.

IMG_2046 

Brown rice, broccoli, and organic chicken sausage.  I wasn’t too keen on the sausage, to be honest.  The flavor was fine, but the texture weirded me out. 

So there you have it – an assortment meals for our omni family.

Week ‘o eats

The whole shebang of last week in one post.  Here goes.

Breakfast on Monday was the last of this savory bread and fried eggs.

IMG_7847 

Breakfast on Tuesday was out – I had a savory crepe with hash browns at Crepeville.

IMG_7899 IMG_7901

Because Crepeville’s portions are awesomely massive I had leftovers for breakfast on Wednesday.  Which I paired with two fried eggs.

IMG_7933

Thursday I made steel cut oats in the rice cooker (the crock pot was already occupied) for our whole family.  I topped mine with a bunch of non-nut things (aka seeds galore) – including chia, hemp, and pumpkin, plus sunflower seed butter.

IMG_7938 

I had the same thing Friday too.  With even more sunbutter.

IMG_7948 

Saturday was a leisurely morning with Kyle home.  So, Waffles!

IMG_7949

On Sunday eggs were back on the menu!  We finally got groceries – we were down to the last of the fridge bits and pieces – but now I have to wait a while for all 8 avocados to ripen.  Fortunately we still had 1/2 of an avo left, which I split with P for breakfast.  Mine was on GF toast, his was plain.  

On to lunches!

Monday I made an egg & avo mash, which I heaped over spinach and carrots.

IMG_7853 IMG_7854

And partnered with glutino pretzels.  Costco had these!  I did a happy dance when I saw them and then tried not to get too excited since they’ll likely be discontinued by the next time I go (as is the case with all the good GF things I fall in love with).

IMG_7887 IMG_7888 IMG_7889 IMG_7890

On Tuesday I made an old school hippie bowl – seitan, quinoa, butternut squash, spinach, carrots, and avocado topped in Bragg’s aminos.  Classic Elise meal. 

I bought lots of this brand of seitan when I was in LA because it’s my fave.  I miss all of the Healthy Times products.  I wonder if they ship?  Hmmm…

IMG_7913

Wednesday’s lunch was on the smaller side because I ruined my appetite on (failed but delicious) biscuits.  I paired them with avo/egg mash and baby carrots.

I had the exact same thing on both Thursday and Saturday so I didn’t bother to take a pic.

IMG_7941 

Friday was another seitan salad.  Same ingreds as the previous bowl.  And then again on Sunday.

My lunches are so snooze.  I love em, but they aren’t interesting because I like what I like and so I just eat it again and again. 

And now for the main meals.

Monday night featured spaghetti squash! 

IMG_7882 IMG_7883

How did I wait ‘til half way through January before getting my faux noodle face on!?!  I love you I love you I love you.  Kyle had regular noodles because he doesn’t share in the fiber love affair.

IMG_7894 

On Tuesday I made use of the crock-pot.  I was aiming for a stew but I guess I didn’t add enough liquid with the rice because it ended up more like a risotto.  No problem in my book, it still tasted awesome.

IMG_7929

Wednesday was all about the quiche magic.

photo 

On Thursday I made baked potatoes with the works.  I’ve posted about it before here.  This time I ditched the faux cheese and used plain goat’s milk kefir.

IMG_7946

And Friday’s dinner was leftover quiche.  The rest of it.  Yep, I ate it all by myself in two servings. 

Saturday night we had leftover stew.  And Sunday we got our weekly sushi fix.  🙂

IMG_7897 

Drinks, snacks and desserts go largely undocumented.  I don’t know why since they’re the best part of the day.  😉

I switched to coconut milk (from the can) to see if it helped with patty-cakes’ allergies.  I made the above with one can of coconut milk (this brand has nothing but coconut and water and it’s organic and BPA free…and $$).  I then added another can’s worth of water to dilute it a bit (read: make it last longer).  It’s tasty!  So far so good. 

I drink at least a dozen cups of decaf or tea over the course of the day, so, ya know.  Better for the little man. 

IMG_7930 IMG_7130 IMG_7443 IMG_7944

Here are a list of my fave snacks: kettle corn, chocolate, chocolate, popcorn, corn nuts, banana chips, chocolate…ummm, did I mention chocolate??  It’s hard to think of non-nut snacks.  I need to get more creative.  I do have nuts in my desserts though because I know it will be several hours before I nurse P, which is enough time for the allergens to clear out of my breast milk.

Meal planning win.  Onto the next week!

BBQ jackfruit

I’d never even heard of jackfruit until I moved to Los Angeles.  Apparently it’s a pretty popular vegan replacement for meat in dishes that would otherwise use shredded chicken or pulled pork.  Something about the stringy consistency.

What the heck is jackfruit anyway?

IMG_2070

It’s a fruit, native to Southeast Asia, with starchy fibrous flesh.  The flavor (of the ripe fruit) is said to be comparable to a combination of apple, pineapple and banana – naturally sweet with subtle flavoring.

“It can be used to make a variety of dishes, including custards, cakes, halo-halo…

The seeds from ripe fruits are edible, are said to have a milky, sweet taste, and may be boiled, baked or roasted. When roasted the flavor of the seeds is comparable to chestnuts…”

But this canned stuff isn’t the same at all.  What you need for making jackfruit “meat” is unripe young jackfruit.

“It is especially sought after by vegetarians who substitute this for meat…

The skin of unripe jackfruit must be peeled first, then the remaining whole jackfruit can be chopped into edible portions and cooked before serving. Young jackfruit has a mild flavor and distinctive meat-like texture and is compared to poultry. Meatless sandwiches have been suggested and are popular with both vegetarian and nonvegetarian populations.”

IMG_2072

I’ve looked for canned young jackfruit in conventional grocery stores, but never found it.  You have to go to international markets that have more specialty/traditional items.

It’s kinda ironic that I never did this in LA, where Asian and Latino markets are plentiful.  What can I say?  I was a lazy typical Santa Monican who didn’t want to deal with the traffic and hassle of leaving the West Side.

Here in Davis, there’s an Asian market right in the middle of downtown (Kim’s Asian Market).  I walked past it while doing errands and decided to pop in and see what they had.  And what do you know!?  Jackfruit!  [Along with 935 other things I can’t wait to try]

IMG_2083

How weird does this stuff look?

It’s kinda like a pineapple in that it has a core that’s different in texture/consistency than the outside portion.

IMG_2080

It comes soaking in a salty brine.

IMG_2071

Brainstorming time.  What to make, what to make…

How about vegan pulled pork?  I know that’s what is often made with jackfruit.

What’s odd about my decision to try to make this dish now is that (a) I’ve never had real pulled pork in my life and (b) I’m no longer vegan.

Timing isn’t everything (and I still love vegan food).  Also, I had just gotten this Stubb’s BBQ sauce.

IMG_2030

Kyle is obsessedddddddd with Stubb’s.  Like, totally over the moon in love with their BBQ sauce.

And after trying it, I totally know why.

Sweet Heat is the perfect name for this flavor.  It’s just that.  Slightly sweet with a touch of heat.  I can’t wait to try it with tofu, tempeh and roasted chickpeas.  I know they will all be amazingly flavorful.

IMG_2152

Crock-pot BBQ jackfruit [vegan, gluten free]

Ingredients:

  • 1 (20 oz) can young jackfruit
  • 3/4 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1/2 cup water

Directions:

Drain and rinse the jackfruit from the can a few times to remove the salty flavor.

Add it into the slow cooker along with the BBQ sauce and water so that the jackfruit it submerged in BBQ sauce-y goodness.

Cook for 6 hours on low.

Use a fork and pull the strands apart from the core of the fruit so it creates a shredded consistency.

Serve atop toasted buns.  Avocado recommended.

IMG_2084 IMG_2085 IMG_2086 IMG_2087 IMG_2152

I made it a day in advance so it had all night in the fridge to absorb extra flavor.  It was definitely tasty but to be honest, jackfruit is pretty meh in my book.  It doesn’t have any flavor so the entire dish relies on the BBQ sauce.  Pick a good one!  I’m at a loss in attempting to describe it, because there’s not much to describe.  The texture was similar to really soft heart of palm.  And it may as well have been heart of palm!  All I tasted was Stubb’s delicious BBQ sauce smothered on stuff.  Not bad I guess.  But not meat like that’s for sure.  And not anything I’d go out of my way to find in the future.  Maybe I had too high of hopes though.  Maybe I could fry it on the stove top with spices and make jackfruit tacos and it would be more exciting.  Anyone else a fan of jackfruit?

Update!  Kyle basically had the opposite reaction as I did to this dish so I felt compelled to edit my review…  

IMG_2675

As you can see, he wasn’t joking around in his sandwich construction.  He thought it had excellent flavor and texture and was pretty impressed that the “meat” was made from a canned fruit.  But then again, he’s the Stubbs lover, so his taste buds may be biased.

To each his own…give it a shot?!

Separately vegetarian

In the beginning of our relationship (8!!! years ago), Kyle and I ate different meals 99% of the time. 

Then he went vegetarian a year ago and we started eating the same things.  It was pretty cool to plan dinners and grocery shop for us both in the same way.  We still eat this way…until this past week…

In an effort to clean out the fridge, I’ve been making a ton of not very FODMAP friendly meals for him.  Meanwhile I’ve been on a total salad bender.

IMG_9222

They all have the same theme.  NUTS!  Lots of nuts!

I look forward to these massive beasts so much so that I’ve almost made one for breakfast.  But I didn’t.

Now you get a mini montage to prove my salad devotion.

IMG_9244 IMG_9245 IMG_9285 IMG_9315 IMG_9328 IMG_9325 IMG_9318 IMG_9327 IMG_9330

Yep.  Obsessed with salads topped in nuts.  Each has had different proteins to go in it – from seitan, to [frozen] gardein chik’n breasts, to hard boiled eggs, to tofu, to tempeh. 

Kyle’s dad took us to lunch at Greens Up! on Montana (that’s the one with tofu on top).  And Alene brought us take out from Veggie Grill (that’s the kale salad with tempeh).

Our produce is basically doneso.  Kyle likes big salads, too, but not as much as I do.  So here’s a quick sampling of what I’ve been making him instead.

IMG_9329

Rice & Bean Casserole [I cooked the dried beans and rice together in the rice cooker, used a boxed squash soup, added spices and cheddar cheese to the whole thing and then baked it for 30 minutes at 350 degrees]

IMG_9305 

Crock-pot lasagna

IMG_9263

Breakfast Quiche Muffins

IMG_9243 

Curry chickpeas with brown rice [I sautéed 1/2 onion, 1 can of chickpeas, 1/2 head of cabbage in oil and Patak’s curry paste]

Neither of us really mind the fact that we eat different things, but it’s a bit more work, that’s for sure.  I’m definitely looking forward to restocking a new kitchen and fridge after we move and making meals that we can both share and enjoy together again. 🙂

What to do with broccoli stalks

Old post alert! This was written a few weeks ago, but somehow got lost & forgotten in the wordpress queue. Still figured I’d share…

IMG_8493

Scraps!

Red lentils, broccoli stalk, carrots, celery, butternut squash soup (and unpictured TVP).

Doesn’t look like much huh. Unless you have a crock pot and a bunch of spices.

IMG_8520

Oh really swan!?!??

Once again this is proof that crock pots love lentils and everything (even crappy messed up bread) tastes good when you make it in the slow cooker.

IMG_8517

Too bad crock pots don’t photograph nearly as well.

I made this for Kyle because I was going to be out of the house during dinner time (I was getting a massage). I had mini meals before and after, but this lentil soup was all for Kyle.

Kyle looooooves lentil soup. He will order it any time he sees it on the menu. My lentil loaf and lentil soups are some of his favorite meals. So I knew he’d like this one, even though it was put together with random odds and ends.

IMG_8522

I don’t have a recipe because I didn’t think anyone would want to re-create this. It’s pretty much the things I listed above cooked in a combo of water and butternut squash soup with a few glugs of olive oil and lots of TJ’s 21 seasoning salute.

IMG_8523

Thanks to the lentils and TVP, it was protein packed, but there wasn’t much in the way of carbohydrates, so I told him to have some bread with butter on the side. It was that or make some brown rice, but I was lazy.

IMG_8514

Promise me from now on you’ll stop throwing away broccoli stalks and use them in soup instead.