Daylight Savings Veggie Menu Planning Monday

Yesterday I was the most productive I may have ever been. Got my weeklies cooked and 2 entrees! I think I love daylight savings time, at least in the fall when we get that ‘extra’ hour.

I’m obviously obsessed with orange veggies – especially pumpkin. Yum!

Muffin of the week: Fat Free Pumpkin Raisin Biscuits

Sweet of the week: Pumpkin Black Bottom Cupcakes

Lunch Soup of the week: Sweet Potato Chickpea Gumbo with Brown Rice


Monday: Vegetable Pot Pie

Tuesday: Slow cooker Polenta with marinara sauce

Wednesday: Wine-Braised Lentils with Garlic Sautéed Spinach

Thursday: Make up jewelry class – bring gumbo for dinner

Friday: Veggie burgers and Fries with broccoli slaw

Saturday: Veggie Chili with Cornbread

Sunday: Use leftovers in a soup or a pot pie


I Love Fall Veggie Menu Monday

I love fall. I have the windows open to the fresh air, and have major cravings for swiss chard, kale, apples, soups and pumpkin in everything!

This is my second week of making a batch of muffins for my morning sweet fix. I’ve been sneaking in flax and oat bran for good measure.

I also decided I need a cookie fix and I had leftover canned pumpkin – the soft pumpkin pecan cookies are crazy good – very cakelike with a decadent brown sugar glaze.

To counteract the cookies I have a super healthy soup for lunch. The red kale is so pretty and it was a great way to use some of the last of the basil from my garden.

Muffin of the week: Low fat Apple Walnut Muffins

Cookie of the week: Soft Pumpkin Pecan Iced Cookies

Lunch Soup of the week: Red Kale and White Bean Soup

Monday: Leftover Pasta with pumpkin mushroom sauce (I will post recipe later). It’s a combo of these recipes and my own touch: and

Tuesday: Tofu stir-fry with bok choy, and other greens in a soy ginger sauce with green beans in black bean sauce and steamed dumplings

Wednesday: Chickenl-ess Parmigiano with vegan Cesar salad and garlic bread

Thursday: Slow cooker Lentil Chard Soup or Curried lentil with greens soup

Friday: Homemade biscuits and veggie sausage gravy

Saturday: Gumbo of some kind – maybe z’Herbes

Sunday: Clean out the fridge veggie soup made in the slow cooker and fresh bread recipe from sparkpeople

Pesto Anyone?

basilI have 3 kinds of basil this year Italian, lemon, and Thai all growing in my garden. Some are in the veggie bed and I have others in containers. If you have no space you can even grow some inside on a sunny window sill.

If you don’t have a garden you should be able to get locally grown basil at your farmers market, or local natural foods store at this time of the year. You can get fresh herbs in the winter, but they are expensive and they don’t taste as good to me.

Pesto is fragrant mixture of herbs and nuts ground into a thick paste with olive oil. And there are dozens of variations.

Traditional Basil Pesto

  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 – 1/2  cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (optional – add salt to taste if you are leaving out or use a vegan substitute)

Put basil, garlic, ¼ cup olive oil, nuts, and cheese if using into a food processor. Process the pesto using the pulse setting, so you can still have a few small chunks of nuts for texture. Add more oil if the mixture is too thick. Taste and add more garlic, salt, or cheese until you love what you have and can’t wait to eat it.

What to do with it?

  • Toss with pasta and top with fresh ground pepper
  • Spread on a pizza crust instead of red sauce
  • Put in mashed potatoes
  • Add into a soup (minestrone is great for this)
  • Mix into your scrambled tofu in the morning
  • Blend with silken tofu for a perfect dairy free dip

Ok, so I’ve sold you on trying to make pesto, but you don’t have any pine nuts? Or maybe your basil didn’t do so good this year. Now it’s time to get creative. First off you can substitute any nuts for the pine nuts. I used almonds in mine. Why not try pistachios or walnuts?

Use the recipe above for general proportions, but realize you will have to taste as you go even more since some herbs have a stronger taste than others. You’ll begin to notice how the oils of the bruised herbs smell mingled with the smell of the nut you chose.  And then you’ll know if you need to add more of another ingredient.

  • A few combinations to try:
  • Arugula (Rocket) and Pistachio
  • Oregano and Walnut
  • Sage with Pine nuts and a little lemon juice
  • Mint and Almond
  • Rosemary and hazelnut
  • Tarragon and no nuts at all

If you need more ideas take a look at this post on the gardenWeb herb forum.

Save your new creation for a winter surprise! Oil an ice cube tray and put your freshly made pesto into the slots. Once the cubes are frozen, remove them from the try and place into a freezer bag. Now in January they’ll be waiting to go into your steaming pot of minestrone!

Vegan Chickenless and Rice Soup

I’ve over extended myself this week, so we’ve been eating out a lot. So to make up for it, I have been eating soup for lunch everyday. So here’s another soup recipe.

This can be made in the slow cooker, but I did it stove top and it took less than 1 hour from start to finish. To make in the slow cooker, throw everything in the pot and cook for 8 – 10 hours. Adjust seasonings and add more water if needed before serving.

Vegan Chicken-less and Rice Soup

  • 1 Tbl olive oil
  • 1 15 oz. can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups brown rice – pre-cooked (I used leftover rice I had)
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 Tbl Better than Bouillon – chickenless flavor
  • 1/2 tsp. liquid smoke
  • a few dashes of Tabasco (garlic flavor if possible)
  • 1 tsp herbs de Provence
  • 1 Tbl Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • pepper to taste
  • at least 6 cups filtered water – add more to get the soup as ‘soupy’ as you want

In a large pot heat olive oil over medium heat and add onion when hot. Saute until onion is translucent, then add garlic and bell pepper and saute for a few minutes.

Add water and dissolve bouillon paste, then add all seasonings, rice, and drained beans. Add more water if you need to, and adjust seasonings to taste.

Because of the bouillon you shouldn’t need to add any additional salt. If you use no broth or a low sodium you may need to add some salt.

Vegan Slow Cooker Picky Eater’s Soup

You know the drill, and I’m sure you’ve all heard the protests of “what’s that in my food?!” Picky little ones often grow up to be picky adults. And while I’m kid-less, I still hear about texture issues and fight the good veggie fight all the time. This one worked really good, she even asked to have it again.

This soup has green peppers, chickpeas, and butternut squash, but pureed it looks like plain old tomato soup – only with tons more flavor and nutrition. My picky eater loved it, but she didn’t see it before it was pureed. I would suggest not letting your picky eater see it either. Sometimes it’s better if they just don’t know.

Slow Cooker Picky Eater’s Soup

  • 2 cups butternut squash, can be precooked, frozen, or raw (peeled and seeded of course)
  • 1 14 oz can chickpeas
  • 1 14 oz can organic crushed tomatoes (diced or stewed works fine too)
  • 1 cups bell pepper strips
  • 1 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbl. Better than Bouillon
  • 5 cups filtered water (or use veg broth and leave out the bouillon)
  • 1 Tbl. port wine (optional)
  • 1/2 cup sauteed mushrooms (optional – use any little bits of leftover veggies you have)
  • 1 tsp. marjoram
  • 1 Tbl. Trader Joe’s Pasta Seasoning Blend (it’s a mix of Onion, Garlic, Basil, Lemon Peel, Paprika, Fennel, Oregano, Black Pepper, Ginger, Thyme and Lemon Oil)
    or Italian seasoning blend

Throw everything in the slow cooker and cook on low 6 – 10 hours.  Puree with an immersion blender or in a food processor before serving. You may need to add more filtered water to get it to the consistency that you like. Serve with oyster crackers.

I keep little baggies of leftover veggies in the freezer. This soup is perfect to add those to, or the little bits in the fridge that aren’t enough for a proper side dish. Yummy and frugal – my dream has come true!

Slow Cooker Thursday

It’s slow cooker Thursday!
See other great recipes at Diary of a SAHM

Easy Vegan Vegetable Soup

I can feel another soup kick coming on. In fact, I ate 2 large bowls of this one just last night. Who knew that something so low calorie could make me so full, and taste this good?

Easy Vegan Vegetable Soup – about 10 servings

  • 1 Tbl. olive oil (or broth for sauteing)
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 1 parsnip, diced
  • 2 – 3 cups cabbage, diced (I used 1/2 small head)
  • 14 oz can Muir Glenn fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 heaping Tbl Better than Bouillon, vegetable flavor
  • 6 -8 cups filtered water
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
  • dash or 2 of garlic Tabasco
  • 1 tsp. marjoram
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 2 tsp. Cajun spices
  • black pepper to taste

Heat oil in soup pot, add onions and sautee until transparent over medium heat. Add garlic, bell pepper, carrot, and parsnip and saute a minute more.

Add water, bouillon, tomatoes, cabbage and then add all the seasonings. Cook over low heat until the cabbage and parsnip are tender, at least 30 minutes.

You could also make this in a slow cooker by throwing everything in and cooking for 8 – 10 hours. Adjust spices before serving, slow cooking always seems to need a seasoning boost at the end.

BBQ Tofu Veggie Pizza


I’m not much of a super bowl person. In fact I can’t think of any sports that I want to sit down and watch. Don’t be mad though, I’m fine with the rest of the world hanging at super bowl parties while I’m shopping, or dining in peace and quiet.

I’ve recommitted myself to eating healthy and losing some weight, so pizza out isn’t on my plan, but making it at home is. A thin whole wheat crust from Whole Foods, low fat cheese (if any), and tons of veggies makes a pizza that is actually good for you.

BBQ Tofu Veggie Pizza

  • 1 Whole Wheat pre-cooked pizza crust
  • 1/2 recipe slow cooker bbq tofu (recipe below)
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced
  • 1/3 cup pineapple, chopped
  • 1 cup bell peppers, sliced
  • 1/4 bbq sauce
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar (sub soy cheese or leave off)

Preheat oven to 350. Spread bbq sauce on crust and pile on the veggies, tofu and top with a sprinkling of cheese if you’d like. Cook on oven rack until cheese is melted. Veggies will still be a little crunchy and full of vitamins.

Slow Cooker BBQ Tofu

Press the tofu to get it firmer. To do this slice into fourths and wrap it in a towel (paper or dish towel) and sit a heavy pan on it for 15 – 20 minutes to press out the water. Unwrap and dice tofu. Put 1 cup of bbq sauce (I used Whole Foods citrus chipolte bbq sauce.) in slow cooker and mix in tofu. Cook on low 4 – 8 hours.

Use  on pizza, in subs, or add to chili for extra protein.