The Ultimate Challenge

For the month of December I’m trying a new kind of challenge. I’m going to see how I can stretch out my dollars while providing my family with healthful meals. With the holidays up coming this could be the ultimate challenge.

Who’s with me? I’m going to be posting a meal planner for this week. I know it’s Tuesday already, but you can use it for any week. Or mix and match meals that suit your family’s needs.  I will be posting a lot of recipes you can find online, but a few you may only be able to get from a book.  And of course, a menu plan wouldn’t be complete without a Juice Bar 😉

Be warned, I do love baking and cooking whole foods, as well as some processed foods, because I’m a busy mom of two, and I work a few jobs as well. So, if I can do this…. so can you!!

Who’s with me?

Cheers Luv ya’s!

 

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Oven baked fries

When you have some left over baked potatoes, why not make them into fries? That is exactly what Laura did in her new book Vegan-Ease. I didn’t have left over baked potatoes, but I did make some ahead of time, just for this dish. I didn’t think fries could get crispy without using oil, but I was WRONG!! Love the spice blend she uses. These would go great with a veggie burger.

Baked, unseasoned.

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Seasoned, waiting to go into oven

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Baked, just waiting for ketchup….. so very good!!

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What spices do you like on your fries?

Quickie Friday- Quick Tip

I love to make fun food for the kids (and the kids at heart) and what is a fun way to eat cucumbers? Rippled of course. Eat them plain, will hold more dip because of the grooves if that’s the way you roll.

This gadget


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is really cheap. I bought it at Canadian Tire for under 5.00 about 4 years ago? I don’t know when I bought it- but it’s paid for itself. It’s the only tool I use when it comes to cutting cucumber. It’s sharper than a butter knife, but it’s not all that much sharper. I’ve used it to make rippled scalloped potatoes, cut carrots and celery as well. It makes food FUN!!

This is what rippled cucumber looks like

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Another quickie tip- keep veggies in a mason jar to keep them crisp longer.

If your kids come home asking for rippled cucumber – you now know exactly what they are talking about. You’re welcome 😄

What’s your fun tip when it comes to preparing veggies that your picky children love?

The Easy Vegan Cookbook

Lets talk about The easy vegan cookbook, by Kathy Hester. I have loved every recipe I have tried in this book so far. I’ve made more dishes than I’m about to post today (due to lack of pictures) and I will be updating as I cook along from this book. I will give a link back to any dish that Kathy has on her site, but if it’s not on her site- you must buy or borrow the book. I promise you that every SINGLE recipe in the book are 100% suitable for week night meals and for those who hate a long winded ingredient list AND every single  ingredient can be found in any grocery store, there’s not a single name you need to look up to figure out WTH is  that? I mean unless you don’t know what tempeh is- and even then, you can sub in chickpeas or tofu depending on the recipe and still get a keeper recipe.

Be sure to check out her site, she has lots of drool worthy recipes. And if you don’t know anything about Kathy- she’s the queen of slow cooking- (this book is mainly stove top cooking) Here’s her blog Healthy Slow Cooking

The book contains 9 chapters which includes:

Make ahead staples

Soups save the day

Simple Stews

Pushover Pastas

manageable Mains

Speedy stir fry’s

Easy sandwich fillings and spreads

Straight- forward sides

and of course Desserts and drinks

Spiced Applesauce Cake

The hardest part of this recipe is the waiting for it to bake. But this is a dessert that can be baked and ready on your table for after dinner, without any effort. I didn’t have any applesauce so I made my own using the Instant Pot (if you don’t have one, you really need to get one, but enough about that)

Due to the ease of this recipe, you only need ONE set of measuring cups and spoons (not including a glass measuring cup) I have two sets of measuring spoons because some recipes are just like that- and I don’t like washing dishes until I’m finished the recipe.

This cake is so easy to make and so tasty I made 2 on Monday, it’s kid approved. I’m sure this would freeze well if you wanted to make a double batch- that way you can just pull it out of your freezer before bed and have a nice homemade treat for breakfast. Add some ice cream if that is the way you feel like rolling. (which reminds me, I should freeze some banana’s to make my own ice cream)

I apologize for nothing by posting this picture you are about to drool over 😉 btw the recipe can be found on pg 188

applesauce spice cake
applesauce spice cake

Broccoli with Spicy Garlic Sauce

I know, I had you at garlic sauce, didn’t I? This is by far my favorite recipe in the book. It’s quicker than take out. tastes better- and if you happen to have left overs-  it tastes just as fresh as when you just made it. This dish is cooked within 15 mins- your Lipton noodles or Kraft dinner stuff takes just as long (basically) only this dish is HEALTHY for you. I made rice in the instant pot (took 3 mins). I like this over brown rice noodles as well. You can just eat the broccoli without adding a starch to it. It doesn’t matter- the sauce in this dish is the BEST!!! Hate broccoli? You won’t after trying this, and if you are insisting that you can not will not make this dish because you think the only place for trees is outside- fine, suit yourself, more for me- but seriously switch it out with a veggie do you love.

Next time, I’m going to add more veggies to this. I used cauliflower as well because I had some prepped already and didn’t have enough broccoli for my liking. You could use frozen veggies if you want to but using fresh taster better (trust me in the winter when produce is so expensive I mainly buy frozen)

And one final word on this dish- I’ve taken it to a potluck, and got rave reviews. Now you know that it’s just not me saying it amazing 🙂 recipe can be found on page 132.

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Szechuan Eggplant

Ok, ok, ok, I know what I just said in the last post BUT OMG!!!!! Just when I didn’t think anything could come close to the spicy garlic sauce, along came this gem of a recipe. To be fair, the recipes are very close to one another- but there’s one ingredient that just makes this recipe sing. (Yes recipes can sing, or maybe it’s my tastebuds- either way- I heard singing, and felt completely satisfied. I used zucchini as my eggplant turned brown on me…. is that normal? I haven’t had eggplant in YEARS and I only bought it to try out this recipe before I went ahead and changed the veggies up.

Anyways, she says 4 servings, but I bet you will eat it all….. again- serve with rice, noodles or just a spoon 🙂

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That is all I have right now. Stayed tuned as I will have more to add. After giving a quick flip through it- I can see at least 5 other recipes I’ve made and they are all keepers. Oh, and fyi The Easy Vegan Cookbook, Make healthy home cooking practically effortless includes oil free, soy free and gluten free options.

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