Monday, August 30, 2010

Meatless Monday

Today is Monday... and I have to admit to haven fallen off the meatless wagon this week. Not because I don't care about the reasons for supporting the ideas but because other people have been cooking me meals and life has just been too crazy to even begin to think beyond being so thankful for the many friends and family members who have been helping me out lately. It has been just me and my girls a lot recently as my husband has been caring for family members and while we have done some things with our local meat and overabundance of zucchini from the garden - meal planning has been a bit lacking. I've done some previous posts on meal planning and I have to say that falling off this wagon is the worst one of all. Really planning to use both what is in my garden, along with what is near our home is the key to really enjoying rich good nutritious food and I can attest that you body misses it when you don't.

Admittedly, I am not the cook my husband is so the next few weeks will be a challenge. This is one of the very reasons eating better (meatless or not) is harder if you don't know how to cook whole foods. So I'll be looking towards some more meal planning as things gradually get back to normal or some sense of it. I'm still on the hunt for a great garden burger (home made - if anyone has a good recipe). I had some most amazing tomato soup from the Portland Soup Company cart in downtown Portland today and it really got me "warmed up" for making soup. Fall is near (but hopefully not too near) and there is much to try.

One last note. I have been following the Meatless Monday Campaign each week and spotted some cool news about a neighbor of ours to the north - King County has passed a recognition supporting Meatless Monday - I would love to see Portland do the same and really get folks here interested in what's meatless on the menu. Oh, and though I said I wasn't really looking for a portobello mushroom garden burger - this one with quinoa and zucchini might be on my list to try (after all - I still have at least 4 more giant zucchini and the beast still grows).

Monday, August 16, 2010

Meatless Monday

Just me and the girls and 95+ degree weather. I will NOT be turning on the oven for any reason today plus my fridge is very full (they say a full fridge helps it be more efficient you know). So I'm thinking it has to be leftover day… probably more like week!

I made some fantastic Bob's Red Mill pancakes that will likely end up as a breakfast for dinner meal (humm… might have to dig for some baby potatoes to add to that meal). I even have some left over oatmeal that just might become this fun distraction craft - Oatmeal Clay from Then there is the left over rice and broccoli that should most definitely become fried rice to eat with some udon noodles and tofu (also left over). There is left over mac and cheese as well – and here is my tip on the mac and cheese: use wheel pasta. I have never seen a pasta hold the cheesy goodness as good as these pastas do, and the kids love them. Of course, there is also about 10 zucchini in my fridge and a box of peaches - not sure the two go together but we must think of something yummy to do with each (oh… peaches and oatmeal have to make something yummy).

What is your favorite leftover or made from left over meal?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Big Changes Coming....

So some of you already know this but there are some big changes happening at home that are making it harder for me to blog here. The main thing happening in a few weeks is that daddy is going back to work. This was not the way we planned it when we started out on this journey to live on less so that he could stay home. But there are some things in life you don't let go buy without trying them - and we'll, lets just say this economy can change on you in a second... So family security was our choice for the moment and off we go, shifting our journey around.

Does the blog still fit? I'm not sure about this one... We are still a family trying to live with less, on less (as most of you know daycare costs really only put you at about a break even)... we are still trying to maintain meatless meals, local and organic food choices, and healthy happy children with less impact on our "place". That will not change! I'm a bit sad and torn and I'm not sure exactly what I will do here on these e-pages. I really have no clue how many people read this and what you would want to see. I didn't really start the blog to make money or start a business... I guess if anyone ready this has an opinion feel free to share it.

Having a parent at home has been an amazing blessing. He is a super dad and the precious family time we had because of him staying home is in my mind the biggest loss. It was a very tough decision. Even still, there are so many things that we gained as a family from having him at home that I will keep - even as he goes back to work. Money spent on things that give us more family time and experiences together will be money well spent and things we learned to live without will NOT be coming back in the house. I'm happy for the things we learned, I'm anxious about the future, I'm thankful for the opportunity to have financial security - after that I'm just not sure.

For those of you that have taken the time to read and share - maybe one of you wants to start adding ideas here??? Maybe I will keep up with Meatless meals??? Not sure yet what I will even have time for or what hasn't already been done to death out there. Thanks so much though for reading my thoughts and observations. I just feels so good to be heard.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Meatless Monday in the Media

Check out today's NPR Interview with Meatless Monday Founder Sid Lerner. I thought it hit to the point of why we take the challenge here at home to eat meatless more often. Though it isn't always Monday, we try to conscious consumers of everything we eat....meat included. I don't believe this needs to be "hip" or be about diets or extremes. I think the idea of involving great foodies will only help the movement because who wouldn't love some great recipe ideas of places to eat out that serve up wholesome foods - no matter what the day - no matter what the ingredients.

I encourage you to read it and listen in (it's only 8 mins). I also encourage you to visit Meatlesss Monday and take the challenge.

PS - love one of the comments on the NPR article by a parent who calls it "Milkshake Mondays" and ends their family meatless day with a yogurt smoothie or milkshake!

Friday, August 6, 2010

I want it NOW!

As a mom, I’m battling the “I want it now” syndrome with my kids (especially my 4 year old) but also with myself, and it has left me thinking about how to change this attitude in an instantaneous world.

Let’s just take this example: Last night, after a terrific dinner, my older daughter turns to me and announces she is done and would I set up that craft right now. When I explain the rest of us have to finish dinner first she is immediately upset. I am literally minutes away from being done but she is struggling to wait.

Ok, I have to stop here. I am well aware that this is very typical behavior for a 4 year old and probably isn’t going to change any time soon. But I had to ask myself what is there to model the correct behavior in her life? Seriously, what will she ever have to wait for in this crazy world?

And most important when it comes to modeling good behavior, am I living up? I can access instant answers at my fingertips right from my phone. I find myself waiting impatiently for the microwave to heat my food. I find myself frustrated when I don’t get an email reply within a few hours (heck, sometimes even minutes). I watch recorded TV and videos right when I want them and I want it NOW! Yep, I really struggle with this too so I guess the buck stops here.

Looking around for positive behavior, I do think that car trips are one place where I might have at least made inroads (a bit of car humor). We have a mere 10 min drive to and from school each day and it can be painful even if it is short. So to pass the time we sometimes talk about our day, but we often make up silly songs, or she teaches me a song she learned at school, or we rhyme with things we see outside the car or even joke that one of us can make the light turn green just by saying go (and try to time it just right). Games like eye spy and repeating games where you have to add to a list and remember the previous items for a sort of word memory are also helpful. In other words, I turn to distraction.

Yet even this approach has me thinking about the term “hover parent” the parent who is always trying to fix and solve their child’s problem rather than let them work it out on their own (and a topic for another post or posts I’m sure). I’d like to think offering up suggestions on ways to pass the time or even offering her the opportunity to ask me for ideas is ok… still, I recognize that she will have a much more difficult time learning this very important life lesson than I did as a kid.

How do you model and teach patience in your kids… please help me!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Whole food made convenient

I am a huge fan of Bob's Red Mill products and as they are based here just about 15 mins from my house I really love the huge variety of their items I can get my hands on. A few weeks ago my husband was searching for pancake mix that didn't start with bleached white flower as one of the first ingredients but that our daughter would still love (and make pancakes making super easy on the weekends, and yes, I love that he was checking ingredients). Yesterday I happened upon the great selection at Fred Myer and viola - Bob's pancake and waffle mix has a great ingredients list and will make my blue berry pancakes yummy, convenient, and healthier.

Speaking of whole food that is convenient, check out this piece I had saved from a while back from Mark Bittman's blog:

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Meal Planning - done for you

This came in a wellness program email from work:

A service that will allow you to download weekly meal plans for your family complete with grocery list and recipes for several meals a day. They keep each weeks grocery list to about $75-$80 and for a family of about 4 that is a pretty good deal. They also tailor the meal plan to specific stores (Krugers, Walmart, etc.) or meal needs (gluten free, vegetarian, or even low-fact or weight watchers point system).

Smart and what a great way to make a little extra money and help people save money and shop wisely. The only thing I disliked about the samples was the use of a lot of processed food items. But cooking healthy at home and not wasting money or food is a great start for some of us out there who are very busy so I really give them credit for a wonderful concept.

Monday, August 2, 2010

MM - Tofu Benedict

Ok, the steps in this look insane for an actually Sunday brunch at my house... but I LOVE benedict anything so if anyone knows of a good PDX restaurant that is kid friendly and serves something like this I would go in a heart beat.

So, obviously I'm so pressed for time these days that I have resorted to calling Meatless Monday MM and I haven't even added my own ideas in a while (nothing wrong with a little recycling right?). There has been much travel for work in my last few weeks and other things going on that have kept me from blogging. I'll hopefully be back on this week with more updates.