Saturday, February 12, 2011

Week one in a (protein-rich) nut shell: Part Three

After breaking my 2-day vegan streak I was excited to get back on track. But before I regale the blogosphere (blogosphere...such a bloggy word) with details of the remainder of the maiden vegan week, I need to get back to this meal plan thing for a minute.

If I had realized before how helpful a meal plan was, I think I would have significantly cut down on the amount of processed food I've filtered through my system over the years. Maybe I was just entertained with the novelty of this experience, but it was actually sorta kinda exciting to get home and know what the plan was for dinner on any given night AND rest assured that we had the ingredients to make it happen. I totally see why people are so into this. It makes life easier. Who'da thunk predictability can be a good thing?

Anyways, on to day four.

Thursday 1.0: Ginger Pasta with Zucchini *but I used asparagus because I left the zucchini off the shopping list...oops* (p. 238 ) / Gingered Green Beans with Hijiki *minus the hijiki* (p. 258) / Creamy Sweet Kabocha Squash Soup (p. 253)

Pasta never fails to satisfy.

This dish had great flavour. The ginger made it a bit zingy and the tofu added really nice texture. I was a bit disappointed that I overlooked the zucchini during our epic grocery buy, but the asparagus proved itself a really decent substitute. I never used to be a fan of whole wheat pasta, and now I can't imagine why that was.

The ginger-fest continued with the gingered green beans.

I left out the hijiki even though it was supposed to be a major part of the dish because the green beans were not on the meal plan for the week. I just happened to notice them in the book when I started making the pasta and thought they would compliment the meal nicely. Spontaneity! It worked out well, and the ginger in both dishes was not overwhelming and made my hands smell pretty awesome (if your idea of awesome is hands that smell like ginger). I suppose I should put hijiki on the grocery list for a future Whole Foods trip so I can appreciate the dish as it is meant to be appreciated.

And the easiest part of the meal to prepare...

Alicia absolutely loves kabocha squash, and this was my first time cooking with it. The soup was so incredibly easy to make...just boil the squash in water and mush everything up and you have soup. Stupid simple. I ended up putting it in the blender to make it super smooth. The soup had a slightly bitter taste that I wasn't the biggest fan of, but Rob really enjoyed it, and when he took it to work for lunch the next day someone suggested that he sprinkle some nutmeg over it. I resolved to definitely try that the next time I made this soup, but with butternut squash, which I assume would be sweeter.

Overall, a stellar, satisfying meal for Thursday night.

Friday 1.0: Whole Foods Buffet

Having done more cooking during this week than I would normally do over a few months, Rob and I decided to let the good people at Whole Foods cook dinner for us on Friday night. We've always been fans of the Whole Foods buffet, but we were especially grateful to see how many vegan options they had now that we were looking for them.

This meal was amazing, and looked super colourful and pretty too. Rob really enjoyed the vegan nacho cheese (9:00 on the bowl, which I actually thought was pretty gross), and I fell in love with the Thai red curry squash (1:00 on the plate). OMG this was AMAZING...sweet and soft and warm and coconutty and absolutely PERFECT, so I am now on the hunt for the most incredible Thai red curry squash recipe ever.

It was really inspiring nearing the end of our first vegan week to reaffirm how many vegan options we had available to us. Unfortunately, I realized afterwards that the spinach orzo I so thoroughly enjoyed had feta cheese in the dressing. Oops. Other than that I think we did pretty darn good. Pretty darn good indeed.

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