Sunday, February 6, 2011

Simple Supper Saturday and Intentional Leftovers

Saturday is always my favorite day of the week. Like usual we slept in until our bodies thought it was time to wake up. I love getting extra sleep on Saturday.

For breakfast we had oatmeal with mixed wild berries, cinnamon, powdered ginger, freshly ground flaxseed, sliced banana and walnuts. Like usual my oatmeal was made with water and to Dan’s I added stevia.

After breakfast we started talking about what I would make for the meal with my parents. This becomes more difficult each week. Since my parents are omnivores and eat processed food their diet is very different from ours. I could easily make unhealthy vegan food and they would love that but I don’t want to feed that to Dan and me. In the end I went with very simple food.

We started the meal with a simple lunch salad of red wine marinated thinly sliced cucumber, thinly sliced red onion, grape tomatoes, artichokes, hearts of palm, yellow bell pepper, seasoned with zatar and sumac over mesclun greens. Since my father loves marinated veggies he enjoyed this and I didn’t even need to add oil to his. ;-)

The lunch entrée was a quick dish of quinoa topped with mixed veggies, southern Italian tomato sauce with golden raisins added and topped with sliced almonds. I was in a Sicilian mood and this is what I made. By adding raisins to the sauce it took the sauce in a Sicilian direction.

After the meal with my parents we decided to run to the health food store in Towson (The Health Concern) to pick up a few things. I wanted to get herbs to add to my tea collection since I have started making different tea blends on the fly.

Here is a small sample of the bulk herbs they carry at the store. I picked up: lemon balm, licorice root, dandelion root, calendula, astragalus, bilberry, and echinacea. Dan got some sencha and gunpowder green tea to add to his office tea collection. I will be writing a tea post soon and will outline the benefits of the ingredients I picked up on Saturday.

They also have a nice bulk food area at the health food store. The prices on the bulk food are excellent in general particularly the organic beans.

However the item that stood out to me as a super bargain were the organic raw cashew pieces at $4.99 per pound. The organic raw whole cashews were $7.99 here and $8.99 at Whole Foods today. If you have a local health food store and use raw cashews for a cream substitute you should see if your store carries raw cashew pieces. This is the best price I have seen on these. As soon as I am low I will be buying my cashews here from now on.

I also bought organic kamut and millet to add to my grain stash. My pantry is like a little grocery store. I need to share that with you sometime. I probably have 30+ pounds of beans on hand at all time and another 20+ pounds of whole grains. Dan teases me that if “the shit goes down” we will have food for months. He may have a point, LOL. I guess I need to find a local chapter of “food hoarders anonymous”. ;-)

Next we headed to Whole Foods because we were out of kale and I prefer organic which is why we shop here. Can you imagine running out of kale? Dan was seriously missing his green smoothie option for breakfast meaning we needed to rectify the kale shortage by purchasing four bunches. ;-) We should have enough kale to last us the week now.

A few other items jumped into the cart like 4 pounds of tofu, unsulfured organic Turkish apricots and macadamia nuts (for nut cheese).

I stopped at the prepared food area to see what they had interesting. I noticed these lentil veggie burgers. However at $7.99 a pound I will be making a version of my own instead. Since I know Sheila and Troy like these I am going to use the ingredients as a starting off point for the next batch of veggie burgers I make. The ingredients are simple enough that I should be able to come up with something similar.

Once we got home I wasn’t really in the mood to cook. Dinner ended up being leftover soup Mexican flavored soup topped with quinoa, cilantro and raw pumpkin seeds. Are you starting to notice how much I rely on my intentional leftovers? We would not be able to eat only home cooked food without the intentional leftovers.

We had an orange and Brazil nuts (for the selenium) for our evening snack.

Like usual Dan had strawberry banana soft serve for dessert.

Intentional Leftovers:

I wanted to cover this again for those of you that are new to the blog. My definition of intentional leftovers is that I cook once and we eat two or three times. Whenever I cook I intentionally make enough food for multiple meals.

Examples of this are that I always cook a pound of beans even if I only need two cups, or I make a gallon of tomato sauce though I need 4 cups, or that I cook a cup and half of brown rice when we only need a half cup for a meal. By doing things like this I can cook once but we eat more than once. I do the same thing when I make veggie burgers or seitan for the freezer. Additionally when I make soup I always make 6 or 8 servings so we have more for later.

If I didn’t cook extra food it would be difficult to avoid packaged and processed food. While I like to cook I also don’t want to spend hours every day in the kitchen. By making intentional leftovers I give myself some time out of the kitchen but we still eat homemade food.

Also I try to make food that can be used in many different ways so that while the food is leftover it isn’t the same every time we consume it. I assume most of you have noticed how I change things by adding different condiments, fresh herbs, nuts, or grains to dishes. That is one of the secrets to making leftovers work. I hope that helps you to understand how and why I cook what I do.

I do this so we can avoid eating processed food. Food that has been treated with chemicals and preservatives is not something I want my family consuming. I am convinced that chemically treated food is at the very least not as nutritious as fresh or frozen whole food and at worst is harmful. That is the reason you don’t see any commercial products like commercial faux dairy or meat analogs on my blog.

Happy Thoughts:

I just love the weekend and have many happy things to share today. Here are my happy thoughts:

• Dan spent most of the weekend with me, only taking a little time to work in his office from home. We had a good weekend together doing a whole lot of nothing special other than spending time together.

• We both enjoyed watching “The Future of Food” on Saturday. If you haven’t seen it I recommend it. We watched it on Netflix streaming. It is all about genetic engineering of food. If you don’t currently try to buy organic you will after seeing this.

• My cute little Binky boy woke me up this morning by crawling up on my back and gently licking my ear. He can be such a little angel when he wants to be. We are very lucky to have such sweet little babies in our family.

• Our weather this weekend was nicer than it has been. With temperatures back to our normal mid 40’s the snow is starting to melt which is nice.

• The scale has been friendly to me this weekend. The mystery pounds disappeared and took an additional 1.5 pounds with them. *happy dance* LOL, I know I get too happy about these things.

• I did something absolutely shocking on Saturday. I went to the health food store and Whole Foods without makeup. I know this may not sound like a big deal to most of you but I used to wear makeup to the gym so for me this is huge. If you haven’t tried it you should it felt very liberating in a weird way. ;-)

Signing out:

Time for me to wind down before turning in. I hope you had a great weekend. Talk to you again tomorrow.


  1. Very nice, yummy dishes! I notice a jar labeled Gymnema. Is that Gymnema Sylvestre? If so, that's a great medicine for controlling diabetes, just in case you didn't know.

    Peace :)

  2. What.... no makeup!! Did anyone faint and die at the sight of your unmade-up face! Hahaha... I'm just too lazy to wear makeup all the time. Love your "intentional" food philosophy... great blog!

  3. I haven't bought frozen vegetables (except peas) in a long time -- do you have a favorite brand? And do you also use frozen artichokes and hearts of palm?

    My "mystery pounds" also came off quickly, so they were probably caused by the high sodium content of the restaurant food. I too was doing a happy dance!

    Thanks for posting the ingredients on those veggie burgers; I'm going to try something like that next time for a change. My husband now takes "burger" sandwiches to lunch every day. I buy all my bread fresh from a wonderful nearby store and he adds mustard, pickles and homemade hummus.

    Do you have any favorite yoga DVDs? We'd like to do more yoga at home.

  4. Chandra,

    Thank you SO much for sharing that. I had no idea but I will look it up now. I love learning new things. :-)


  5. Lee-Anne,

    No one fainted, including me, LOL. Although ..... in the back of my brain I was expecting to scare children. ;-)

    I used to cook different things every day and that was exhausting. If it weren't for intentional leftovers I don't know that we would be able to keep processed food out of our diet.

    thanks for stopping by :-)

  6. Laura,

    Costco sells a bag of organic mixed frozen veggies that I buy. The brand has changed at least once but currently our store is carrying "Watts Brothers Farms". I also buy organic frozen green beans in big bags from Costco that I also use with the same tomato sauce.

    I buy frozen artichokes from Wegman's (one of our local grocery stores). The hearts of palm are canned because I haven't found frozen. That is also why you don't see me eat hearts of palm often, they are an occasional treat.

    *happy dance* Congratulations on the mystery pounds going away. Restaurant food does that to me too it isn't just you. ;-)

    The veggie burgers sounded good but when I saw the price (and the oil) I knew I had to make them myself too. I am planning to make some this week and will post the recipe so you have a starting point.

    I have a few yoga DVD's at home and a yoga Wii game. However none of them are my favorite other than the yoga and meditation DVD which is not what I think you are looking for since it is mostly meditation. I will ask LJ for suggestions since she teaches yoga.

    talk to you later,

  7. If I ever have to go to Towson again for my job, I know what store I will be going to. :o) I've never seen so many bulk bins. I would go crazy in that place.
    Wow, you have a big collection of hebs and such. I would go crazy with all that too. :o)
    Your food looks delish as always!

  8. I love it when you find great deals at the local store. Sometimes I feel like I'm paying a premium to shop local. Sometimes it's worth it, sometimes it's not.

    I eat lots of leftovers, especially for lunch, but sometimes I find that they overcook when reheated. I guess beans and grains and sauces don't have that problem, but do you ever encounter that with vegetables?

    Way to go on the no-makeup outing. I'm more comfortable with makeup on, but I do both lately.

  9. This was the third time I attempted to read your blog, finally I got it accomplished. I loved the health food store.
    I rarely wear make up, so I scare small children
    I always have intentional leftovers. I think it is a god idea, that way you are never out of idea's. I think that Kaiti is wearing thin with ETL eventhough she is losing weight. I am having a hard time feeding her things she will eat and she told me tonight she hates cold food in the winter. I need assistance. E-mail me please with some hot food items. Did you get that call you were waiting for?

  10. The food looks good, as usual. And the shopping pics made me feel like I went shopping with you. Sorry I haven't been around for a while. I have had a lot going on. I'm glad you are still updating regularly. I do enjoy reading your blog. :) God bless!

  11. That soup looks delicious. What brand of golden raisins do you buy because I haven't been able to find any without something added to them.

    I've tried to get better at intentional leftovers. But either my husband wakes up in the middle of the night and eats them - or if I freeze them, I forget to unthaw in time.

    That is such a good deal on cashews!


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