Thursday, March 19, 2009

Up for a Vegan Challenge?

We enjoy use of the word "flexitarian" in the Ward family. That is, we eat everything. Sometimes meat dishes, other time vegetarian. Jonathan was raised quasi-vegetarian so we still incorporate many of those eating habits, but not based in any one ideology. So why are we intrigued at the idea of trying out vegan-ism?

Energy. Who wouldn't want more of it? We currently have a few significant energy-zappers we're dealing with--namely Amalia and Brinnly but also job stress, lack of sunshine, and pregnancy. The right balance of healthful eating/good sleep/exercise does wonders, but is there more to be had? We just read this article in Newsweek touting the effects of a vegan diet and it basically restates the same things we've heard from other vegans.

We have NO desire to be anything other than flexitarians long-term. Dishes like fillet Mignon or brie with fruit are just too good to pass up. And I'm not convinced of the health benefits. More importantly, I want to be able to be a good guest and host and eat whatever is served without unnecessary restrictions.

So here's our idea. Jonathan and I are going to try veganism for a week sometime soon--provided my midwife approves, of course. I'll make vegan entrees that the girls can supplement with milk and/or meat if needed. (We're not ready to "try" anything out on them yet either). To prepare, I'll read up on some vegan cookbooks and try out a few recipies ahead of time.

Any suggestions? Warnings? Look for updates from us soon

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Italian night with a side of baby names

Based on last night's dinner, Amalia has a new front-runner for our baby's name: Lasagna. Or possibly Sprinkles Lasagna Ward. (That's Sprinkles from Blue's Clues--not from any sugary treats she desires to have). Brinnly would have joined in the conversation if she wasn't making the most of the messy dish. All over every part of her and her chair, table, tray, etc. She was completely obvious to the spinach and cabbage slipped in there. The cabbage (straight from the bag of shredded coleslaw) was surprisingly easy to disguise.

But seriously, is there any better comfort food than lasagna on a much-too-cold March evening? Is that and Sloppy Joes every husband's favorites?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Good eatin'

Sunday's dinner-- Artichoke Chicken pasta with salad-- this was my post-14-mile meal, so I just wanted to drop my jaw and shovel in the carbohydrates. And it was gooood.

Monday's dinner-- BBQ tofu (made my own sugar-free sauce) sandwiches, homemade french fries, grape, and salad with yellow bell peppers and carrots. Even Mike went back for another bbq sandwich.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

French Toast Casserole

My mom made this French toast casserole for Christmas morning, and it was scrumptrulescent. We had our's with fresh strawberries and blueberries and Mornigstar Farms sausage patties (they tasted a little more like meat than the bacon variety).

French Toast Casserole

4 TBSP (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted (we used Smart Balance sprea)
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 loaf brioche or challah, sliced (about 1 1/2 lbs) (we just used 12 slices of regular multi-grain)
8 large eggs, lightly beaten (we used Egg Beaters)
1 cup whole milk
1 TBSP pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Confectioners' sugar, for accompaniment
Sorghum, cane, or maple syrup, for accompaniment (In doing without sugar, it was plenty sweet without any syrup)

Combine melted butter and brown sugar in baking dish. Arrange bread slices in the dish. Whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, connamon, giner and salt in bowl. Pour over the bread, letting it soak in. Top with pecans. Cover with plastic wrap abd refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 12 hours.
Preheat oven to 350°. Let the chilled casserole stand at room tempurature for 20 minutes.
Bake until browned and set, 30 to 45 minutes. Remove to a rack to cool slightly. Sift over confectioners' sugar. Serve hot or warm with sorghum, cane or maple syrup.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

I got a bad tempeh!

We decided that eating soy beans with soy beans would be a nice full-circle moment. Behold...

Hot sauce-glazed tempeh (from Veganomicon), edamame, sweet potatoes and pineapple.

Friday's dinner-- Parmesan fish, long grain brown rice (why can I not find short grain anywhere?), sweet corn and salad.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Goat Cheese and Roasted Corn Quesadillas

Have you ever had a recipe that sounds really basic until you actually try all of the ingredients together and then it's really impressive? That's how this one from the March issue of Cooking Light one is. Browning the corn caramelizes the sugars and really adds depth. Even Jonathan raved about it and corn is nowhere near his list of favorite foods. We'll be using this often when we need a light dinner.

1 cup fresh corn kernels (I used frozen)
2/3 cup (5 oz) goat cheese, softened
8 corn tortillas
salsa verde

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add corn; saute 2 minutes or until browned. Place corn n small bowl. Add goat cheese to corn; stir until well blended. Divide corn mixture and spread evenly among 4 tortillas. Drizzle each with 1 1/2 tsp salsa, top with remaining tortillas.

Heat pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Place 2 quesadillas in pan; cook 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until golden. Remove from pan, and keep warm. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Cut into wedges and serve with a side of black beans and plain yogurt.

Monday, March 2, 2009


For Lent, I decided to give up sugar, which means I've had to get my fix elsewhere. My new (refined) sugarless loves are apples with natural peanut butter and fruit smoothies (complements of Mike, who makes one of these chock-full of fruit dreams just about every night). Yesterday (Sunday), I was allowed to splurge, but I didn't really want to, after how good I was feeling physically due to the lack of the refined staple. I made some honeyed walnut bread and have the second loaf in the bread machine now.

Saturday's dinner-- simulated Boston Market (love this place), only healthier. Rice macaroni from Trader Joe's, French beans, plain ol' mashed potatoes and a rotisserie from Sam's ($4.97-- thing was huge!), grapes

Sunday's dinner-- pesto pizza with lowfat cheese, onion, chicken sausage and spinach, salad with red bell peppers, carrots, cucs and field greens, strawberries and blueberries.