Archive for January, 2015

Semi-Whole Food “Beef” Stew

Posted: January 26, 2015 in Uncategorized

Semi-Whole Food Recipes are kind of more like mash ups. These are ideas to be played with They are relatively hard to screw up and can be somewhat flexible based on what you have on hand.

Suggested Ingredients:

1 yellow onion, diced

1-2 ribs celery chopped

2 Tbsp olive oil (or broth)

Tbsp or two of dried or fresh herbs, depending on your taste (I like either thyme or herbs de provence, rosemary fresh from the garden is usually my pref.)

4 garlic cloves, minced or grated

Box or two of sliced button mushrooms

2 boxes vegan mushroom gravy *


2 packets vegetarian gravy mix prepared with hot water to packet instructions

Several cups water prepared with instant vegan boullion


Several cups mushroom broth or veggie stock

2 Tbsp cornstarch, tapioca starch or arrowroot whisked into 1/2 cup water (to whisk into stew at the end)

3-4 cups baby carrots or frozen carrots

3-4 russett potatoes cut into rough 1 inch chunks (to peel or not to peel, you decide)

1lb or so of sliced and browned vegan sausage

2 cups frozen peas

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley for serving


Brown the mushrooms a big giant pot. Cook onions until translucent, add herbs and garlic and cook for about thirty seconds. Add optional cup of wine or continue on to add broths and vegan mushroom gravy. Add carrots and cover. Cook until carrots are tender. Test for flavor adding more salt and pepper if necessary. Optional ingredients can be added here as well if extra depth is needed (vegan worcestershire sauce, garlic powder as needed).

Add browned sausage and frozen peas at the last minute. Serve with fresh parsley and fresh whole wheat rolls.

* whenever I see this product on sale I STOCK UP. I have also bought the whole Gardein Roast kit and saved the gravy packet in the freezer instead of using it with the roast. It’s such a fantastic semi-whole food ingredient for rich, omnivore pleasing beefless stew. This recipe is the best way to really stretch out the use of this ‘bang for your buck’ ingredient.

Recipe Confession:


I like to put Downtown Abbey on in the background and drink really strong Morning Thunder tea while I make this. Although I’m pretty sure Mrs. Patmore would disapprove of my antics.


This week’s downloadable/printable Beet Sheet includes Meal Plan, Shopping List and Pantry Check List:

The Beet Sheet No. 1

Full Weekly Dinner Plan with notes a links to recipes is below. But first, why Beet Sheets?

The Beet Sheet started during a week where… let’s just say some stuff went down and I had about $50 in unused gift cards to spend on both gas and food for the five of us. This was a huge downshift from the usual unencumbered glee with which I used to flit down the aisles of Whole Foods.

I was not shopping with a plan and certainly not with any good common sense.

It was time for food shopping detox and healthy dose of reality. Now I’m making weekly Beet Sheets- run downs of my dinner game plan for the week and strict shopping lists. I do the Beet Sheet only after I have done a pretty thorough fridge/pantry inventory. Then I have some fun scoping out recipes in cookbooks I bought (but never cracked the cover), blogs and pinboards. The sheet gets posted in my kitchen on our crazy giant bulletin board and then I get started on Ye Olde List. We all know the phrase measure twice, cut once

Shop carefully, shop once. Stick to your list mercilessly!

Why Beets? Because they’re vegetables and they’re my favorite ☙☙☙

The Beet Sheet No. 1 MenuThe Beet Sheet No. 1 Shopping ListThe Beet Sheet Pantry Check Download Printable PDF

Here’s this week’s Beet Sheet Recipe Rundown:

Sunday: Beefless “Stew” and Cracked Pumpkin Topknot Rolls (double batch)

Sunday make ahead-

  • Burger Rolls double batch (for stew sopping and Saturday burgers) Cracked Wheat Pumpkin Topknot Rolls
  • Make Pizza Dough (can make double batch for two weeks worth if so inclined) I use the dough recipe from The Sexy Vegan by Brian Patton here’s another basic recipe: Basic Dough
  • Chop vegetables and make beans for Veggie Loaf (link under Monday)
    • 1 whole onion, diced
    • 2 whole garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 whole carrot, minced
    • 2 whole celery ribs, minced
    • 1 cup mushrooms, coarsely chopped
    • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • Make cashew gruyere for snacking and to mix into Mashed Potatoes:

Vegan Cashew Gruyere from Miyoko Schinner’s Artisan Vegan Cheeses- you can steal sauerkraut juice in place of rejuvelac. Consider making your own rejuvelac to store for vegan cheese making, it’s pretty easy Rejuvelac “How-to

  • Sweat onions, peppers and assemble Kobocha Squash Chili including squash, beyond meat and seasoning (don’t cook yet). Store as is

Monday: Veggie Loaf, Mashed Potatoes with Cashew Gruyere, Roast Beets, Steamed Broccoli Loaf: Hippie Loaf

Gruyere: Vegan Cashew Gruyere (also found in Miyoki Schinner’s Artisan Vegan Cheeses)

Beets: peel, cut into 1.5 inch chunks, toss with balsamic, a little salt and roast at 400º F for 35 min.

Potatoes: peel, chunk and boil approx. 1 potato per person; when tender drain and mash with  v. gruyere

Tuesday: Taco Tuesday! (with THE best sour cream)

Taco Meat: Lentil Walnut Taco Meat (n.b. I used one taco seasoning packet per batch instead of seasoning in recipe and made two batches to make sure I had enough for 5)

Sour Cream: Best Vegan Sour Cream

Salsa: 1 container BPA free diced tomatoes (can sub fresh of course!), diced onion, salsa seasoning packet, chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Additional topping: shredded lettuce and your preference of extras (gauc, hot sauce, radishes, whatev)

Wednesday: Kabocha Squash Chili

Thursday: Stew Part II

Friday: Pizza Night

Break out the dough! Top with your favorite jarred tomato sauce, some extra garlic powder, oregano and make The Sexy Vegan’s amazing “Notzarella Sauce”

If you don’t have his book (yet) try this one:recorder3

Vegan Pizza Cashew Cheese Sauce- Dear Andrea

Pour the prepared cheese sauce into a squirt bottle, piping bag or gallon ziploc with one corner snipped off then drizzle over the tomato sauce later. Pretty, pretty. Finish with the rest of your chosen toppings. Wasn’t that easy and fun? I think so 😉

Saturday: Burger Night

Gardein or any favorite right price veggie burgers, lots of yummy fresh toppings, steamed fresh carrots or choice of frozen veggie, roasted sweet or russet potato oven fries.

Oven fries: Cut 1 to 1.5 potatoes per person into wedges. Soak wedges for 30 min- 1 hr in cold filtered water seasoned with sea or kosher salt and garlic powder. Drain, toss with a spritz of oil, more garlic powder. Sprinkle smoked paprika. Spread sparsely on 1-2 cookie sheets and bake at 425º F until brown and slightly puffy.

Cracked Wheat Pumpkin Topknots: Cracked Wheat Pumpkin Topknot Rolls

About Pizza Night and Burger Night:

As you noticed by now the beginning of the week is, well, plenty labor intensive. By the time Thursday, Friday and Saturday roll around you’ll need some time to breath, regroup, hit the gym, hit the recipe books and supermarket.

Pizza and burger nights are both mini-breaks and crowd pleasers. They can also easily be converted into another leftover night if you end up with way too much food in the fridge! For burger night I like varying the roll week to week, double batching it and using them on soup night. Cheap, cheap, cheap. It’s fun to mix up pizza toppings week to week, too. See what’s in season or on sale. Caramelized onions and homemade coconut bacon is so easy, economical and feels like the fanciest schmanciest pizza ever!

Happy Eating, happy cooking! And while you’re busy showing your kitchen who’s boss- enjoy some Christylez Bacon:

Picky Eaters

Posted: January 26, 2015 in Picky Eaters

My picky eater [audible cleansing exhale]- where do I start?

First I’m going to that my little one goes beyond normal kid picky. I’m going to link to a ref below that will give a little backstory on what constitutes an extremely picky eater. Please feel free to comment with your tips and struggles. Just know, that I’m coming from the belief that some kids are just regular kid finicky and some have serious taste sensitivities to overcome and I feel the science can back this up. Of course there are many degrees in between the two and the extreme “I’ll put any ol’ thing in my little boca” (I have two of those in addition to my finicky one… crazy world, crazy life).

That said, I know I have catered to little one too much in the past. About the same time I began the Beet Sheet, I decided to cut off any and all ‘alternative meals’, shall we say? But while many many folks are absolutely sure that the “Take it or leave it” approach is 100% foolproof… um, yeah. Not working so much for this one. I know some people will not believe me. I know some will say that I have not really tried. Okay. Feel free to scroll past the rest of the post and leave a comment below telling me I’m fulla bologna. Scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll.

For anyone else who has a true picky eater you know it’s all about small victories. Gradually getting them to try or even just smell (at first) new flavors and textures is really key in getting them to broaden their food horizons. So I’m going to post some picky eater tidbits here and there. I’d love for you to share any tidbits you have as well.

Sicky Eater Tidbit:

It’s a weird Non-Snow Day here. We’re supposed to get a the tale end of a blizzard, or not, or it will rain. Or we’ll all be stuck on the highway. One of our local weather people got into a caddy twitter fight with some teens. I kind of think he must have been drinking a little bit. As I said, weird day. I was already planning on staying home with Mr. Super Tastebuds because he has a real yucky cold, then second little one woke up with a fever. Long story short, we’re all at home together, them trying their best to make everything in the house sticky, me trying to think of things Super T will actually swallow to make him feel better.

Sickey Eater Tidbit, Level Easy (with advance level up opt.)

Lemon Cup

I am an inventor, I invent things! Sorry, I am still a little drunk with power. Usually it’s just stupid made up names for undesirable food items that really, are not fooling anybody. Although I will say “Dinosaur Smoothie” tanked for months and months, possibly even a whole year before it was finally successful. Don’t give up! Super T really enjoyed the Lemon Cup invention. He inexplicably like raw lemons, grating them, smelling them and sucking out the juice out of them. No small part of this is willful rebellion, but I figure I canse this to my advantage. The first lemon cup was simply a slightly juiced half lemon filled with agave nectar. I decided to experiment with grating into an agave/lemon juice mixture

1. a little turmeric (I happened to have a small root hiding out in my freezer, but you could use ground if you have it) and a little fresh ginger:


20150126_134413 20150126_134731

I told Super T the turmeric was orange sprinkles, but it was a no go. I actually think the grated idea was a good way to go and would recommend you try it. The turmeric smell was very faint compared to if it had been ground. I will definitely try this again another day. I gave it to little brother and made him a plain one. He did however smell and lick raw ginger root. I’m calling it a tiny win for Team Mom (tiny, teeny tiny).

Sicky Eater Tidbit, Level Advanced

Soup. Soup is really the mainstay of my Beet Sheet plans. You can make a giant pot on Sunday, or whatever day you have off. Make, two! Stretch out your ingredients and stretch out your meal prep. It’s awesome. Enter Mr Super T aka Mr I will not eat soup ever, ever, ever. It is not macaroni. It’s not pizza, It’s not a sandwich. I will not eat it.

I’ll admit I’m secretly envious of parents and caregivers who can use soup as a selling point in and of itself. The nephews love soup. I’ve even tried some positive peer soup pressure since Super T would love to be just like his older cool cousins. Still no success.

Here’s an example of the kind of soup that’s great for Sicky Eaters but they would probably never want to try:

Shroomy Hot and Sour Soup from “Isa Does It” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz


Ain’t it purdy? I think so, but I’m not five. Plus I was always a little weird, let’s be honest.

Sicky eater tactic 1:

Super T loved having a hot cup of mint tea this morning. In the same mug later on, I made some plain brown miso broth with a tiny, tiny bit of Better than Bouillon mushroom base and a splash of soy sauce.

Nope… considered it, smelled it and denied.

Sicky eater tactic 2:

Same cup a little later, this time white miso. Super T went back for the double smell and play with the spoon but eventually rejected.

I have squandered the last of my white miso, noooooo!!!


If this happens to you, just remember- relax, take a deep breath. Try again next time. I am still convinced tea and mild miso will be my way in with soup. I will definitely be on the look out for a good price on white miso on next week’s shopping trip. Try, try, try again.

Do you have a secret “in” with soup? Share your tidbits!

Picky Eater Recs and Refs:

Nut and Seed Butters

Posted: January 26, 2015 in The Pantry Sheet

We go through an inordinate amount of nut and seed butters.

A. It’s a great way to get in some awesome protein and nutrients to little bodies

B. It’s the only breakfast my husband ever wants (makes life easy, actually considering he’s the only non-vegan in the house)

C. The boys go to a “nut-free” school and seed butter n jelly sandwiches are like, one of two things my son will eat for lunch… can you tell who he takes after? Aherm

So I’ve experimented with a wide variety of plant butter procurement rituals.

Up until recently, none of these rituals inspired that moment where you say to yourself “Self, this is the right way. This is the easy way. Let’s always do it this way, every single time.” [See- exhibit 1. beats head against wall waiting scraping down sides of food processor while blending quantity of almonds purchased for roughly the equal value of almond butter/ exhibit dos. runs up emergency organic store grocery run bill with $8.00 jar that will possibly be mostly smeared on something inedible by 2 yr old/ exhibit 3 hits sale on non-organic Sunbutter at Target which is sort of okay]


We’ve kind of been scraping the bottom of a 5 lb tub of Seed Butter that we didn’t mix very well when we bought it. This has been getting us by as we cobble together some plant butter sustenance from paycheck to paycheck recently.

Last paycheck I just said, “You know what, fuh0get it. Let’s just blow a chunk on two 5 lb tubs.” It will last forever. It’s easy to monitor unauthorized toddler butter play and I know the product is organic and tasty. So there you have it. For now, this is easy, it’s the best way, let’s always do this:

I ordered a 5 lb tub of organic Vanilla Almond Butter (their Cinnamon Vanilla is my favorite but it only comes in 8 or 15 oz) and a 5 lb tub of Pepita Sunseed Butter from 

You’ll see, it is a chunk of change. But trust me, if you go through butters like we do save yourself the un-worth it DIY headache and numerous uneconomical trips to the store.