Monday, April 5, 2010

Meatless Monday

How many times have I meal planned the same 5-6 meals each week (or maybe eaten from 12 standards for a month)? It is tough to break out of habit and pattern especially when you are busy. One thing we find helps with this is to try shopping at some different places. Shopping somewhere different forces you to go look harder at the shelves, try new brands, and hopefully inspires you to try something new. This week's inspiration came from just that, a trip to another store.
My husband is part Chinese and as I have said in the past - the passionate cook in our family. Last week he made a monthly trip to a large Asian market in our area to pick up rice and few other family food staples. We always get more for less on our Asian items direct from an Asian food market rather than the standard American grocery store chain - And...every time he goes he tries something new. The produce and vegetables there are different. The noodles and pastries inspire new dishes that aren't your typical pasta dinner.

So this week he picked up black beans with a determination to make a black bean stir fry from scratch (not using a jar of black bean sauce). Onions, garlic, large dark brown mushrooms, tofu and a combination of a few recipes he found online sizzled in a wok and we had an excellent dinner.

But, I have to confess here that our meatless meal this week will be Deonne's red lentils from last week (I can't wait to try them) and we put a little chicken in this dish - but with plenty of black beans leftover this will be a meatless favorite in the future soon (yea, one of those 12 I suppose for a while). One note, my husband used the black beans whole and the fermented flavor was a little strong for our older child (nearly 4) who was eating with us - apparently if you mash and mix the beans before using you can cut down on this a bit... or if you are like me and don't have a clue how to make black bean sauce from scratch, just pick up a jar of black bean sauce for your first attempt.

If you want to try to make it yourself there here is the recipie he used:


  1. I think D could make a living doing meal services. I'm salivating (sans chicken for me). Whenever I go to Fu Bonn or Uwajimaya I have to work really hard not to come home with a lot of wonderful ingredients that I don't know what to do with and end up going stale...... Maybe D could just give us tutorials or a primer.

    I bought a good cook book I'm enjoying, and I'd say about 80% of the recipes are suitable for working parents who need simple, relatively fast meals. Every recipe has a version for the baby. Also she has good information on nutrition and starts out appropriate sections teaching basic preparations. IT's called Feeding the Whole Family, and it's all whole food recipes.

  2. Colleen when you find one you love be sure to share it with us. D has always had a passion for finding his roots in food and we could very easily have left out the chicken on this one and certainly will next time around. Next up might have to be something like the Russian food market :)

  3. Have you watched food lover movies like Eat Drink Man Woman, and Babette's Feast?

    So right now I'm planning meals mostly out of Feeding the Whole Family, which I bought. I'm glad to have it for later when we start feeding baby, and I think it expands Cole's palate without challenging it too much. The other book I got some kid-friendly healthy recipes from, from the library, is called Superfoods something by Annabel something. I like hers because she's got small tidbits on nutritional values of foods right beside the recipes, such as including high vit. C content foods (like red bell peppers, which apparently have 3x the vit. C of oranges) to increase iron absorption. Her book is divided by ages. She has sample menu plans, as does Feeding the Whole Family. But I like yours best because of the grocery list! FtWF has a good menu plan for making kids lunches.

    I have to rein myself in when it comes to cookbooks, I really love them, but have yet to find the "perfect" one. How about you?

  4. I have two resources that might be helpful/inspiring (and I'm not sure if I've posted them before, so apologies if I have):
    The Asian Vegan Kitchen by Hema Parekh -- great recipes totally from scratch (for example, she tells you how to make your own chili paste, instead of going out and buying a jar of it). The author is a Jain and has never eaten meat in her life, nor has her family, so the recipes are truly authentically meatless and delicious.

    The other resource is the Vegan Dad blog ( These recipes are consistently kickass -- plus, he's feeding four kids, so he always makes them kid-friendly or reports on what element made the dish not-kid friendly (usually spices). He's also very into baking, and at one time had a small-scale bread operation, baking loaves of bread for his neighbors, something D might get into.

    I think it's great that you're lowering your meat consumption. There are whole cultures that are meatless and that have thrived. Veggies are the ultimate low-calorie, high nutrient-dense food.

  5. Jeannie - vegan dad is awsome - the pictures were great and some of the recipies look amazing! Thanks for the resource (which you will notice is now linked on the side :))