I’m Over It
August 20, 2008, 11:33 pm
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Today I officially recovered from the “salmon scare” of last week and decided to make the salmon burgers that I had intended to make at that time.  D.Jones has been talking about how much he loved salmon patties when he was a kid, and so….I braved it.

They turned out better than I had imagined!

I know lots of folks make salmon burgers, but these were deeeelish!  Even Cooper devoured his, which is saying a lot!  So here’s how I made ’em…  I’ll call them:

D.jones Salmon Burgers

2 cans pink salmon (deboned and skinned, obviously!)  🙂

3/4 cup Panko

2 heaping teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 T. fresh lemon juice

1/4 c. finely diced red onion

1 whole egg, plus 2 egg whites

You know the rest o’ the drill.  Mix it all up. (yes mom….I even used my hands like you used to say works best).  Form into 4 patties.  I cooked mine on medium high in a non-stick pan with olive oil until nicely browned.  Fantastic!  I don’t know if it was the panko instead of regular breadcrumbs, or the fresh squeezed lemon juice or what, but they were really, really good.

The rest of the meal is a mixture of Minnesotan rices (wild rice plus some others) hand harvested by Native Americans.  Very good, but slightly time consuming to make (slightly over an hour), and some fresh peas.  Coops ate more in one sitting than we’ve ever seen him eat and dug into his salmon with both hands…literally.  He finished his plate with 1/2 of a sliced banana for dessert making this the healthiest meal he has consumed, we think since birth!  Score!


August 19, 2008, 11:20 pm
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our dinner tonight was easy-peasy and even better….Cooper loved it!

I have no picture today because, well…I fried the battery on my camera taking videos of Cooper playing air guitar.  Oh well.  No picture was really necessary for this meal.  It was simple, fast, easy, healthy, and well…like I already said…Cooper loved it.

So here’s what we had…

I made a homemade ramen noodle soup by dumping an entire box of vegetable broth into a large pot, adding about 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, about 2 tablespoons of brown rice mellow Miso, 2 packages of just the noodles from ramen noodle packages (I buy Koyo so they are organic, vegetarian noodles, not fried…ie: healthier), and 1/2 of a block of extra firm tofu that i crisped by cutting it into slices, spraying it with Pam olive oil and baking it at about 400 degrees for oh, half an hour.  I flipped them halfway through, and at the end, they weren’t quite as crisp as I wanted, so I turned the broiler on for a few minutes.  Watch them closely though.  Once it was crispy and slightly brown, I cut it into cubes and threw it in the soup.  After bringing all the ingredients to a boil, I tore up one sheet of toasted nori and tossed that in, and reduced the heat to low.

I let that simmer while I cooked up some frozen vegetarian potstickers.   Super easy.  The directions are on the package, of course, so just follow the directions.  You really just simmer them in a little oil and some water until the water evaporates, then brown them and serve ’em up.

There was more than enough soup leftover for D.Jones to take to work tomorrow, but the potstickers were history.  The only thing Coops didn’t like were the mandarin oranges that I put on his plate.  Who doesn’t like mandarin oranges!?

So I guess it’s been a little over a week for the non-meat-eating Jones family and it’s been easy-as-pie.  If anyone is interested in perhaps trying a one day per week meatless Monday (as suggested by Johns Hopkins) or any other day, for that matter, check out their website for some great information and some healthy eating ideas…

Meatless Monday

Farmers Market Finds & A Fast Fix Dinner
August 15, 2008, 7:45 pm
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Cooper and I went to the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market yesterday.  I knew it would be a “limited” market since the big, police directing traffic hoopla is only on weekends.  It was very limited.  But we did find this beauty…

The sweetest, most wonderful Black Diamond watermelon ever from a lovely farmer from Wisconsin.  Mmmmm….

I sliced it up to have with our Easy Cheesy Enchiladas.  Seriously…it was the easiest enchilada recipe ever, and turned out pretty good.  Doug loved them.  I thought they were pretty okay.  But that was night 4 of fairly easy, pretty good non-meat entrees.

Tonight’s dinner (if I don’t talk Doug into taking us out) is going to be homemade Ramen soup with tofu, and some vegetarian potstickers.  I’ll keep ya posted~

Today’s Focus: Quinoa
August 13, 2008, 11:28 pm
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I do a lot of cooking with what we consider some of the more nutritional grains.  Most often couscous, but also barley, and tons of brown rice.    We’ve been intending for a long time to incorporate more quinoa and we love it when we eat it out…mostly in cold salad-type dishes at some of our favorite vegetarian restaurants.

i found a recipe the other day that includes quinoa, broccoli (one of D.Jones favorite foods) and cashews, a favorite to us both!

Here’s the original recipe I used for dinner.  I doctored it slightly by adding baked tofu that I had marinated for a short time in organic soy sauce, and I really only did that to turn this “side dish” into our “main dish”.  It is DELISH!  If you want to give it a spin, I highly recommend this one.

If you are curious about quinoa, here is what wiki says about it…

Quinoa was of great nutritional importance in pre-Columbian Andean civilizations, being secondary only to the potato, and followed in third place by maize. In contemporary times this crop has come to be highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (12%–18%), making it a healthy choice for vegetarians and vegans. Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine), quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete protein source.[5] It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten free and considered easy to digest. Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered as a possible crop in NASA’s Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration manned spaceflights

Clearly it’s chock full of good stuff…and yummy too!

Here’s how our din turned out tonight…

D.Jones provided rave reviews as well.  Because of a time crunch tonight, he ate downstairs while playing with Buddha.  He ran upstairs to tell me “seriously…this is awesome!  I tore through it!”  For those of you who know him…that’s saying a lot.  He’s picky.  Very picky.  This one’s a score!

First Not-so-success
August 12, 2008, 1:58 am
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Tonight the Jones menu included salmon patties and a Brown Rice Al Fresco salad.  The salad took forever to make, but I did it during Cooper’s afternoon nap, so that worked out pretty well.  Had I waited to start dinner until around 4:30 as usual, we still wouldn’t have eaten…and it’s now 9 pm. 

The recipe for the salad I got off of Whole Foods Markets vegetarian recipe page.  it turned out pretty well and is chock full o’ veggies.  It’s basically diced up carrot, celery, onion, cucumber, radishes, fresh basil, fresh italian parsley and cooked long grain brown rice.  The dressing is a tangy blend of lemon juice, dijon mustard, sea salt, and honey.  It’s good…but not my favorite.  If it were awesome, I’d post the recipe.  it’s not awesome…just okay.

But now on to the horror of horrors.  D.jones bought the can of salmon that I was to use for the salmon burgers.  Last time, it was a small, squat can similar to the can that contains tuna, but this can was big like a soup can.  When I opened it up, I found out why.  Inside was seemingly an entire, disgusting salmon.  All I saw was what looked like vertebrae and then some skin.  Deeeeeeesgusting!  Go ahead, laugh.  My own mom did when I just told her about it.

My gag reflex went full bore as I leaned over the sink.  I dumped the fishy nastiness into a bowl and left it in the sink, and quickly changed plans to include frozen chik’n burgers instead.  You know…faux chicken.  It was the best I could do….

When D.Jones got home from work, he asked what was up and I relayed my story of the vile fish, which was still in the sink, waiting for him.  I couldn’t bear to even look at it to dump it down the disposal.   Gross with a capital G.

Consider me now salmon-free as well.  Ick.

First Success
August 11, 2008, 12:21 am
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Okay, I already wrote that I had a “meal plan” for this, my first week returning to a true meatless way of life, but the truth is, I didn’t really think Cooper would go for some of it.  I do have some packets of single serving Annie’s mac & cheese on hand for just such occasions, and tonight, I thought, would be one of them. I was wrong!  Kind of.

Tonight I made Vegetable Tofu Miso Soup served with fresh dinner rolls from Rustica Bakery around the corner, loaded up with homemade honey butter.    

 Yum!  D.Jones declared during dinner…..”this just tastes healthy!”  The soup was really just carrots, celery, red pepper, and corn in a broth made from water and mellow brown rice miso.  I added nori and some tofu sauteed in sesame oil to make it a little heartier.  Cooper loves soup, but I wasn’t sure he’d go for the mix of textures.  Turns out, he loved it!  I served his with small “Cooper-sized” asiago breadsticks, which he can’t get enough of, and the only real thing he rejected was the nori.  I kinda knew that would happen from our prior trips to sushi bars so it really was my fault when he spit it out all over the table.  We were able to salvage his soup, though, by removing the nori, and he ate the rest of it, tofu and all.  Yay!  One success down!

Keeping Track
August 10, 2008, 7:05 pm
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Although D.Jones and I have been members of various local co-ops in the Twin Cities, I’ve never been as diligent about shopping at them as Doug would like.  I used them mostly for specific items that would be unavailable elsewhere, like Japanese food items like nori, fresh miso, etc., but never used them for our regular weekly grocery shopping.  I’ve always told D.Jones that it would be just too expensive.

Today we decided we’d actually see how much more expensive….so having a good idea what I typically spend on groceries, off we went to the Wedge to do our shopping.  Today I shopped “smart”, though, and actually created a menu plan for the week, and a shopping list that we didn’t stray from…well, we strayed a little, but only for necessities I forgot to add to the list.

Our total…$187.42.  However, that included Doug’s $40 vitamins and my $10 vitamins.  Since that’s not a weekly expenditure, that brings our total down to what I usually spend at one of the “warehouse” food stores.  We’ll have to see how the week’s menus play out and how we manage the groceries we bought, but I’m thinking it’s not going to end up being that much more…especially since I usually shop without a list, which, embarrassingly enough, results in way too much food being thrown out because it doesn’t get used or it goes bad.

I’m trying out all new recipes this week, and I’ll let you know how it goes.  I may even snap a pic or two.  Don’t expect that it’ll be the quality of the beautiful pictures on Vegan yum yum, but there will be pictures, nonetheless.

Some items on this week’s menu:

Tofu Ramen Noodle Soup w/pepper strips

Oval Office Vegetarian Enchiladas

Salmon Burgers with Brown Rice al Fresco salad

and Zesty Quinoa with Broccoli and Cashews

Oh, and if you’re wondering why salmon cakes are on our menu, I should mention that we’re not vegetarians and I’ve been trying not to use that actual title…we’re simply not eating meat and we really limit our use of fish…but with the health benefits to us and Cooper from fish oils and omega 3s we decided to incorporate small amounts of fish.  So there ya have it….