I hope everyone had a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving. I enjoyed seeing my family - and the weather was beautiful and fairly warm, but we're happy to be back home. I will talk a little more in depth about our Thanksgiving (and will include recipes!) at the end of this post.
Brett is loaded down with homework this weekend - the professors didn't give any leniency for the holidays and so, due to our being out of town, he has close to a week's worth of homework to get done by Monday. Needless to say, I want to make sure he is well fed and as comfortable as possible - I've been there, and it is no fun, especially when there are important term papers in the mix. I will likely go to graduate school in a few years, but have really enjoyed not having to do homework all the time, Brett still being in school reminds me why I decided to take a few years off and work full-time before going back.
Anywho, The Root Cellar made it easy for me to plan some tasty meals. We were there earlier in the week to get produce for our Thanksgiving meal and noticed a lot of really good looking options for when we came back to get stuff for our weekly meals, so I already had some ideas in mind.
We didn't get anything from our garden this week. The outdoor container plants are really struggling, and the pepper plants started indoors just aren't big enough to produce yet. The greens are moving along, some better than others. I will discuss this more in the monthly garden update - I should be able to get that up by Tuesday.
Here is this week's haul from The Root Cellar. This ran us $48.
Starting from the bottom right: spinach, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, 2 Herbal Oats granola bars, 5 ripe serranos, small yellow potatoes, leeks (!!!!!), an orange bell pepper, a green bell pepper, 2 pears, a container of firm tofu* (not local), a jar of dairy-free pasta sauce made in St. Louis, 4 tomatoes, fair trade organic chocolate chips (dairy-free and not local), and a spaghetti squash.
* I have mentioned on this blog a few times that I dislike tofu. Both Brett and I do. And we have tried to like it more than we do, but there are things about it that neither of us can get past. But there are at least two things we like tofu in: one is tofu sour cream (only in moderation and not very often), and the other are our Tofu and Potato Burritos. It has been a really long time since we've had the burritos, so I decided to get a block since we had everything else on hand that we needed.
Here is this week's loot from Uprise Bakery:
Of course, a loaf of ciabatta, and this week we also picked up a granola bar.
I have the rest of the cookie posts scheduled to go up later in the week. This week's menu is compromised of many favorites including, of course, the Tofu and Potato Burritos, Smashed Yam, Black Bean, and Spinach Quesadillas, and Leek and Potato Soup (for soup and bread night).
We will be trying spaghetti squash served with the local pasta sauce pictured above, and I have something up my sleeve to use some of the peach jam in. So there won't not be as many non-sweets food posts this week because things fell into place for us to enjoy some of our old favorites!
My Nanny, an excellent canner and cook, sent us home with a nice treat that I plan on putting to use this week:
A jar of peach jam! The peaches came from my mom and aunt's yards, and they are even from within our 200 mile foodshed!
Onto our veg*n Thanksgiving. I am sorry to report that I didn't get many pictures - in fact, only one picture of the food I made for Thanksgiving (the other picture is from the trial run of the soup I made for the dinner). Things were really hectic in the kitchen and my initial prep schedule didn't pan out because my mom - I love her but she is such a clean freak I could scream sometimes - tried to renege on my being able to cook in her kitchen (because I could make a mess, what is a kitchen for anyway?!), I was finally able to convince her that I could make the soup and bread at her house without making too much of a mess, and that I would finish at my Nanny's house the next day.
The menu ended up being as follows:
Butternut Squash and Apple Soup with Uprise Bakery Ciabatta (of course)
Black Bean, Brown Rice, and Local Veggie Stuffed Portobellos
Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Shiitake Mushroom Gravy
I spent a lot of time trying to come up with something at least quasi-traditional, that I thought my family would actually eat. Sadly, I was wrong on those counts, well except perhaps the traditional part. After many hours in the kitchen, a lot of thought and planning, the only things my family ate were the ciabatta from Uprise Bakery, the Pumpkin-Walnut Bread, and I think someone beyond Brett and I had a stuffed mushroom. It all turned out really well, I just don't think I will put in as much effort or make as much food next time.
I also hadn't prepared myself for the disappointment that I wouldn't be eating the other food prepared. Comments like, "It's just chicken broth" and "You can have just a taste can't you?" I don't blame them for not understanding and I don't expect them to accommodate, I mean, my great grandma is 86 years old, but I've been a vegetarian for awhile, they all knew this. They didn't prod or harass me about it too much, but I could tell it was more of an issue than I thought it was going to be.
Anyways, Brett told me he really enjoyed the stuffed mushrooms, and he and I ate a huge bowl of the mashed potatoes and gravy later on while watching a football game. I ended up leaving all the pumpkin bread with my grandparents and mom.
On to the recipes, don't let my family’s aversion to vegetarian food or anything non-traditional deter you from trying these recipes, they really were good.
The mashed potatoes we made were based on our Garlicky Mashed Potatoes recipe, we used red potatoes instead of russet (reds are so much better), hempmilk instead of soy, and I added a little dried basil and oregano to the mixture (the potatoes and garlic were local and the hempmilk was purchased from a local store). The shiitake mushroom gravy was essentially Veganomicon's Mushroom Gravy with shiitakes subbed in and maybe a few other modifications, but to be honest, I made it on the fly, so I can't really remember (I do know that I used local shiitakes, garlic, and onions).
The local booty legend (aka revealing my sources):
no asterisk = grocery store
+ = local produce from The Root Cellar
++ = The Peace Nook (will denote whether product is local or just from the Nook)
* = farmer's market
** = CSA
*** = Container or Community Garden
**** = the non-profit buying club, Blue Planet or Purcell Mountain Farms
Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed (5-6 cups) ***
2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped (I used local Gala apples) +
1 carrot, peeled and sliced into thick rounds +
1 yellow onion, chopped +
1 tbsp Earth Balance
5 cups water
1 veggie bouillon cube
1-2 tbsp maple syrup
Melt Earth Balance in a large soup pot. Add the carrot and onion and cook for about 10 minutes. Add the squash, apples, water, and bouillon.
Simmer for 40-45 minutes or until veggies very soft. Let cool for a few minutes.
Blend in a food processor until very smooth, add a little more water if needed to get desired consistency. Add maple syrup and spices to taste.
Serve with warm crusty bread.
Black Bean, Brown Rice and Local Veggie Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
Makes 12 stuffed mushrooms
12 medium portobello mushrooms, stems removed and cleaned
1/2 cup black beans, cooked ****
1/2 cup brown rice, cooked ****
1 carrot, peeled and chopped +
1 green bell pepper, seeded and minced +
4 cloves of garlic, minced +
1/2 yellow onion, minced +
1-2 tbsp safflower oil
Preheat oven to 350.
Heat oil in a small skillet. Add the carrot, bell pepper, garlic, and onion. Cook for about 10 minutes or until veggies are soft and starting to caramelize a little bit.
Combine veggies with black beans, brown rice, and seasonings to taste.
Spray a baking sheet with oil.
Stuff a tablespoon or so of the filling in to each prepared mushroom.
Roast for about 30 minutes.
Whole Grain Spelt Pumpkin-Walnut Bread
Recipe adapted from here.
1 1/2 cups whole grain spelt flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup organic raw sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup pumpkin puree +
1/2 cup safflower oil
2 eggs (or replacer) ++ (local)
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped +
Preheat oven to 350.
Spray a bread pan with oil.
Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Combine pumpkin puree, oil, eggs, water, and spices in a small bowl.
Slowly combine the wet and dry ingredients in the large bowl.
Stir in the walnuts.
Spread batter into a prepared bread pan and bake for 60 minutes or until a knife or toothpick in the center comes out clean.
The Pumpkin-Walnut bread is really, really good. We didn't get to bring any home with us, so I am going to be making a loaf this weekend, sans walnuts (Brett doesn't like nuts), so Brett and I can enjoy some of it.
Well, I'm off to enjoy a relaxing night of reading, soup making, and perhaps some cookie baking. Those Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies were really good and didn't last long around here. I also thought that reading a textbook might not seem as bad if you had a yummy cookie to go along with it.
'Til next time.