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Posted on 2007.05.07 at 09:04
Well, It's been a while.

I quickly discovered last semester that if I was going to be a full time graduate student and still work twenty hours a week that I wasn't going to have time for other things. My social life vanished - as did lunch photos and meal planning. Eating well also became an increasing challenge, especially towards the end of the semester. One thing I still need to learn is how to eat healthy when I have no time... at the end of the semester the temptation of convenience, high-fat and low-nutritional value foods was overpowering.

But now my semester is over, and I'm taking a break from studying this summer - to recover. I'm looking forward to a lot, and one of the things high on my list is being able to eat well again, and to eat what I choose to eat, rather than what's available. Our CSA is also starting again soon, and the vegetables in the grocery store are looking better and better.

So, cheers to summer food!

This week I've been craving soups, with crusty bread and soft cheeses on the side. So, my meals this week are revolving around soups and stews...

Sunday May 6: Tofu and courgettes in madras sauce, with steamed mini bok choi seasoned with lemon and salt.

Monday May 7: French Onion Soup (made in the slow cooker) with gruyere and bread; side green salad

Tuesday May 8: Acorn Squash (made in the slow cooker) with raisins and cinnamon, green veggie

Wednesday May 9: Chick-pea enchiladas, green vegetable or salad

Thursday May 10: Mock Lamb Curry, basmati rice, green vegetable

Friday May 11: Gazpacho, Oka cheese, toast

Saturday May 12: Spiced sweet potato, grilled courgettes


Tofu Casserole

Posted on 2007.02.15 at 10:39
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Casseroles are easy and fun, and so I'm trying different ones out to see how they work. This one was supposed to be a vegetarian version of tuna casserole.

Tofu Casserole

It included:

Tofu Casserole from The Vegetarian Family Cookbook
Green salad mix with balsamic and olive oil in the dip container
Sliced mushrooms and carrot sticks with peppercorn ranch in the dip container

The casserole was ok. It was a bit ... bland. The sauce is essentially just a light cream made with milk thickened with flour. Other ingredients are sliced mushrooms, sliced celery, tofu, rosemary, and some cheddar and bread crumbs on the top. I think I could maybe dress it up a bit by including WAY more veggies, and browning the tofu first in spices. Hmmm....

In other news, I've started vermicomposting! I generate a lot of veggie scraps, and I hope to start growing herbs on my windowsill this spring. In a few years I hope to grow vegetables in containers on my sunny balcony, but I'm starting small. Vermicomposting will be good for my plants and fits in well with my eating phillosophy of minimizing consumption and waste. I found a good vermicomposting tutotial with text, pictures, and sound here. I purchased my bin ready made from a greenhouse project at a local university. It was very inexpensive ... just $20 for the bin and $15 for 1/2 a pound of worms to get me started. More info about where to buy these bins and the worm swap is here (scroll down to the R4 composting section), and some pics of my new bin at home are back here under the cutCollapse )

Sorry to anyone who also reads my personal journal and who sees these worm pics twice!

What on earth did I eat before I figured out that I LOVE boiled eggs, with salt and pepper?

Boiled eggs, Pita bread and hummus, veggies & fruit

It included:

Two boiled eggs, with salt and pepper in an envelope of wax paper to dip them in
Pita triangles and celery sticks (I brought hummus, too, but it's in a different container)
Cubed papaya

Other than the fact that the papaya was old and a bit soft, this lunch was absolutely delicious. Yum!!!


Meal Planning February 9-18, 2007

Posted on 2007.02.10 at 10:59
Mood: hungry
Last week there was no meal planning posted because I was trying to "eat from my freezer". I also had friends over last Saturday, and the all brought food, meaning that I spent much of the week eating leftovers.

Meal planning for the upcoming week is made easier by the fact that Thurs-Sunday I will be attending a conference, so eating out.

Friday February 9: Curried crockpot Dahl, from the freezer, with veggies

Saturday February 10: Vegan Shepherd's Pie, recipe from Vegan on a Shoestring (which I had forgotten about, and just discovered at the back of a cupboard where it had been since we moved last May - oops!)

Sunday February 11: Eat at a friend's house

Monday February 12: Quinoa and Mushroom Stiry Fry from Vegan on a Shoestring

Tuesday February 13: Vegetarian "Tuna" Casserole from the The Vegetarian Family Cookbook (another Christmas gift-card purchase), with broccoli

Wednesday February 14: Veggie Burger, with side-salad

Thursday February 15 - Saturday February 17: conference (eat out)

Sunday February 18: Tex-mex veggie chili from the freezer, with tortilla chips and side-salad


Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, Green Beans, Grapes

Posted on 2007.02.10 at 10:52
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I originally made this spaghetti sauce as a vegetarian sun-dried tomato sauce, and had frozen some leftovers. However, in part of my efforts to eat beef (I need the iron) I cooked some lean ground and added to my frozen leftovers to make the sauce. It was yummy.

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, Green Beans, Grapes

It included:

Sun-dried tomato spaghetti sauce with beef
Tri-colour spaghetti noodles
Green beans, lightly steamed
Seedless Grapes

I'm sure this isn't exactly a low-calorie lunch, but I left off the extra cheese, which has to help. Also, the size of the Laptop Lunchbox really helps you limit portions. This was plenty of spaghetti and meat sauce to satisfy me, but taking traditional Tupperware I would have brought more of the higher-calorie spaghetti and sauce, and fewer or no veggies.


Spanakopita, Veggies, Grapes

Posted on 2007.02.07 at 15:41
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Last Saturday I had friends over to play games. Everyone brought some wine and some snacks. One friend brought these ready-made spanikopita things, and while I normally would not have bought them I decided to try them for for lunch. I'm "eating from my freezer" this week, and so these added a bit of variety.

Spanakopita, grapes, veggies

It included:

Four mini spanakopitas (stuffed with spinach and cheese), baked
Celery sticks and sliced mushrooms with peppercorn ranch dressing

I gotta say, this lunch was very, very tasty, and not too bad calorie-wise. I put the spanakopitas in the oven before my shower, and they were ready to transport just as I was leaving for work. I was afraid to look too closely at the ingredient list, but for an occasional treat I think these were easy and tasty.


Roasted Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, and Kale

Posted on 2007.02.06 at 15:11
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Nothing ever tastes as good as roasted chicken!

Baked chicken, kale, mashed potaoes

It included:

A chicken breast, oven roasted on a bed of onions (there are a ton of baked onions underneath the chicken in my lunch box)
Kale, lightly steamed (with lemon juice in the dip container to pour over)
Mashed potatoes

This lunch was yummy! I've been eating kale a lot more lately, since they have it in stock at the local organic market near my home and there seems to be a shortage of edible leafy things in the markets right now. However I've noticed - how can I put this - that the colouring is apparently having an effect on me. Oh, what the hell: my pee turns this bright, bright yellow, nearly green, after I eat a huge bunch of steamed kale. How bizarre is that?


Meatballs, quinoa, carrot sticks

Posted on 2007.02.05 at 14:38
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In the switch to cooking for one instead of two (my partner is away on a contract) I have been making waaaaaaay too much food, and freezing leftovers. The freezer was becoming ridiculously full, so last week I started eating from the freezer in order to recycle and make room.

Meatballs, quinoa, carrots, soymilk

It included:

meatballs and sauce
carrot sticks with peppercorn ranch dressing
vanilla soy milk

These are the same meatballs I made on January 25. They were just as delicious in this lunch as on the day they were made. Neat, huh?


Borscht and veggies

Posted on 2007.02.04 at 12:33
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I tried making borscht for the first time last week. It turned out ok, but not wonderful. I think I need to try other recipes.

Borscht, eggs, fruit and veggies

It included:

Borscht in thermos (which stayed warm until 4:00 pm, when I finally had time to eat it!)
Red pepper and celery sticks (with peppercorn ranch dressing in the dip container)
Two boiled eggs with salt and pepper in wax paper

I am amazed at how much I have begun to LOVE hard-boiled eggs with salt and pepper. Yummy!


Thai Butternut Squash

Posted on 2007.02.02 at 10:22
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I made this last weekend, and it was my lunch on Monday. I'm a bit behind!

Coconut Squash

It included:
Thai Butternut Squash with Tofu, Coconut Milk, & Toasted Almonds
Basmati rice
green beans, steamed
President's choice mini-cheesecakes

When I started the squash dish in a big pot, the coconut milk with the spices really smelled divine. The recipe called for simmering it for about 20 min. I ended up doing it for a bit longer, and the squash just sort of disentegrated into mush. This resulted in a complete loss of the coconunt flavour and crunchiness of the almonds. It all just tasted the same. I think I will try to adapt the recipe for the sauce, which was really like a yellow curry, for another meal, but I doubt that I will prepare this version again. It was edible, but not really worth the effort for the way it turned out.

But the mini cheese-cakes were divine!!!


Maple Baked Beans

Posted on 2007.01.28 at 12:46
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My father eats beans at least twice a week. From a can. When I was a child he would occasionally take me fishing, and he would open a can of beans and eat them cold. Or maybe, if he was feeling fancy, he would crack the lid and heat them over an open fire.

I never really liked those beans. However, when I receved my copy of Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker last week (a Christmas gift from a gift card) one of the recipes that jumped out at me was Maple Baked Beans. The key ingredient is maple syrup - an entire 1/2 cup of it.

Maple Baked Beans

It included:

Maple baked beans
Mashed potatoes
Cubed papaya and strawberries
Red pepper and cucumber

The beans turned out delicious. I mean, DELICIOUS. They were rich and sweet and yummy. Perhaps it's the bitterly cold winter weather, but for whatever reason these beans hit the spot!


Meatballs & Sauce

Posted on 2007.01.25 at 10:12
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Meatballs were one of the first meals that I leaned to cook on my own. My sisters and I would often make supper for my family, since my parents finished work at 5 but we finished school at 3. My older sisters did this first, and me later. Dishes based on ground beef were popular, since it wasn't that expensive and everyone in the family liked it - even my crotchety father, who abhorred anything green.


This was a recipe that came from my mom's handwritten recipe book - she probably got it from a friend, but the origin is now lost in time. Traditionally we made the sauce with ketchup, but I began to use canned crushed tomatoes some time ago and I found it improved the sauce a lot. This time I used cubed tomatoes, since that was all that was available at the local grocer, and while it was still good the crushed tomatoes were much better.

I made this dish because I've been feeling extra-tired lately, and I suspect my iron is low. I still need to find good vegetarian sources of iron... hmmm....


Mac & Cheese with Kale

Posted on 2007.01.24 at 09:10
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I love kale. I really, really do.

Macaroni & Cheese, Kale

It included:

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese (recipe is here in the comments if anyone wants it)
Kale, lightly steamed, with lemon juice in the dip container to sprinkle over
Strawberries & papaya
chocolate soy milk in the drink container.

The combination of mac & cheese with a dark leafy green is just amazing! This lunch was so good... and it's a good thing, since I made so much mac & cheese that I will probably be eating it for the rest of the week!

This is the same crockpot dahl that I had on January 13. I thawed it Sunday night.

Curried crockpot dahl, strawberrie & papaya, cheese & crackers

It icnluded:

Curried crockpot Dahl (in the thermos)
Cheese & Crackers

I gotta say, this lunch may not look that exciting, but it was delicious. The fruit was an amazing contrast between the spicy dahl. I've also been missing good fruit lately. Of course, since my partner is away I'll be eating strawberries and papaya all week, but that's ok.

ETA: yes, the dahl stayed hot in the thermos until I ate. I preheated with boiled water for about 10 min at around 8:15 am, then added the dahl and went to class. I finally ate at around 1, and it was still pleasantly warm. Those thermoses rock!


Meal Planning: Jan 20-28, 2007

Posted on 2007.01.21 at 16:20
I've already deviated from this, but here it is, none the less:

Saturday January 20th: Thai Butternut Squash with Tofu, Coconut Milk, & Toasted Almonds

Sunday January 21st: Dinner at a friend's house

Monday January 22nd: Slow-cooker borscht and sandwich

Tuesday January 23rd: Meatballs and sauce with rice and salad

Wednesday January 24: eat out

Thursday January 25: Macaroni & cheese with broccoli

Friday January 26: Maple baked beans, roasted potatoes, green veggie

Saturday January 27: Peanut vegetable orange chicken, rice, & green veggie


Teriyaki Sesame Tofu

Posted on 2007.01.21 at 15:35
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This is a pretty easy recipe, and heated up well!

Teriyaki Sesame Tofu

It included:

Tofu, marinated in teriyaki sauce, then sauteed and served with toasted sesame seeds
Zucchini, lightly brushed with olive oil (with minced garlic) and browned under the broiler
Vanilla yogurt with frozen berries

I've decided that I don't like edamame. I find them oily and unpalatable. I think I will continue to enjoy soy as milk and tofu, but I'll be skipping the edamame from now on!


Tex-Mex Vegetarian Chili

Posted on 2007.01.20 at 14:17
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This recipe is from World Vegetarian, and has become a staple. I also now have a bunch of it stored in my freezer. AWESOME.

Tex Mex Veggie Chili

It included:

Tex mex vegetarian chili
grated sharp cheddar to go on top of the chili
organic corn chips
dried apricots with almonds
chocolate soy milk


Bean Salad, Yogurt, & Veggies

Posted on 2007.01.18 at 10:06
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I ate this same lunch, pretty much, Monday and Tuesday of this week. Bean salad is just so incredibly easy to make when you use canned beans, and is also tasty and good for you.

Bean Salad, yogurt, veggies

It included:

Bean salad, made from canned jumbo beans, onion, and parsley, with olive oil and white wine vinegrette
Vanilla yogurt with frozen berries
Carrot sticks and yellow pepper with blue cheese dressing

I also kept on the side a miso soup packet and a fruit cup. These went into my office desk as "emergency foods". I haven't used them yet, but there they are, just in case!


Meal Planning Jan 14-20, 2007

Posted on 2007.01.16 at 19:57
So, I've discovered that meal planning for an entire week means that I actually eat for about 1.5, since I inevitably eat out once or twice with friends. So, I'm gonna learn my lesson and buy one less meal.

Sunday January 14: Eat out with friends (we had Szechwan and it was AMAZING)

Monday January 15: Italian sausage and steamed kale with lemon

Tuesday January 16: Beef burger, garlic & butter brussel sprouts

Wednesday January 17: Tex-Mex vegetarian chili, with corn chips (maybe with polenta or cornbread if I feel energetic)

Thursday January 18: Teriyaki & sesame tofu and grilled zucchini

Friday January 19: Zaru Soba and edamame

Saturday January 20: Probably eat out

I've been dreaming about burgers and steak lately, which probably means that my iron is low. So I'm going to make sure to eat beef at least once a week for now, as well as spinach, kale, and other dark leafy greens. I need to look into what else is rich in iron as well ...


Crockpot Dahl & Muffins

Posted on 2007.01.13 at 13:48
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Ok, I thought Dahl had to be made with lentils. I made this dish from this recipe, and it calls itself Dahl, although I'm not convinced. Either way, it was easy to make and came out very tasty, although I think I will use red or yellow peppers next time. Green peppers have such a strong flavour ...

Crockpot Dahl & Muffins

It included:

Curried Crockpot Dahl: 190 Calories
Cucumber wedges with blue cheese dressing: 90 Calories
Two pumpkin muffins: 500 Calories
Vanilla soy milk: 125 Calories
TOTAL: 905 Calories

I made the muffins way back on October 23 2006, and froze a bunch unbaked in their paper cups. It's great to just take a few out of the freezer and bake them up in the morning. I popped these in the oven before I stepped into my shower, and by the time I was washed and dressed I was ready to have one for breakfast and to pack these ones for the lunch hour.

905 Calories is excellent, since this meal was my lunch + afternoon snack, too!

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