On our plates

Scott and I (and Mackenzie, by association) are mostly eating beans, lentils, veggies, fruits, nuts, and whole grains these days.

Full Disclosure: And I eat dark chocolate covered soynuts on occasion because they fill an emotional need are delicious. And Scott selectively eats a bit of high-quality cheese or ice cream to preserve his sanity. And there was the time our friends made some homemade tapioca pudding, unwittingly tapping into one of the true comfort foods of my childhood. But other than that… we do pretty well.

In the last year, 90% of our calories have come from the healthy foods I mentioned, but in the past few months we’ve moved that up to 95%. There is so much fresh produce that it’s really easy and yummy this time of year to improve your diet.

One of these days, I’ll sit down and write the “why” and the “how” of how we eat this way. But for today, here’s a look at what we’re chowing down on this summer:

Summer Eats

– The ratatouille I’ve mentioned before. (Recipe here.) We pick the yellow squash fresh from our garden and barter for zucchini from our neighbor’s garden. Tender and wayyyy better than it sounds. Eggplant used to gross me out, too.

Veggie sandwiches. No photo, because I devour them too fast. We buy Mediterranean hummus, White Bean and Basil spread, or Tuscan White Bean spread from Trader Joe’s and spread it thickly on Great Harvest’s High 5 fiber bread, a whole wheat pita, or a multigrain wrap. When we’re really feeling like a splurge, we get Whole Foods’ Lavash Wraps.

Then, we pile it high with sliced local cucumber, sprouts, sliced red bell pepper, fresh tomatoes (if you’re Scott and like fresh tomatoes. If you’re me, leave these out), avocado chunks, and fresh baby spinach.

These are incredibly satisfying. The key is to get a flavorful spread and then the whole thing ties together really well.

Homemade Muesli. Ok so this goes in a bowl, not on a plate. We’ll let that slide, however, because it’s drop-dead yummy. Except without the dead part because it’s really good for ya. I saved the details for the bottom of the post, so scroll down if you’re curious. 😉

Pita Pizzas. We get Trader Joe’s whole wheat pita pockets and rather than cut them open, we spread homemade tomato sauce or peanut sauce on top. They get topped with cut up broccoli, fresh baby spinach, caramelized onion, sliced green bell pepper, whatever we have. For the peanut sauce, it has a bit of a Thai vibe so we do sliced green onion, julienne carrots, and broccoli bits for good measure. Finally, we top with a little (Anne) or a generous amount (Scott) of Mozzarella and broil them in the oven.

I like to use little chunks from a round, rather than shredding it, because then you get some cheeseless bites and the ones with cheese are a nice treat. I know, strange, huh? 🙂

We use sauce recipes from this page, and although I’ve made my own whole wheat crust, and bought Trader Joe’s $1 whole wheat crust dough, the pita pizzas are much faster and pretty tasty.

– Lots more recipes from Veganomicon. Again, don’t let the title scare ya. We don’t eat anything fake or gross. Just recipes that are flavorful, filling and happen to be without meat or dairy. Our favorite recent discoveries? Pineapple Cashew Quinoa Stirfry and Tomato and Brown Rice and Navy Bean Soup with Roasted Garlic (Mackenzie loves this ground up).

The best dish with zucchini ever. Even if you don’t like zucchini, there is a strong possibility you will die of happy when you try this: Zucchini Carpaccio.

We keep making it again and again. We took it to a party and it was a hit. It looks impressive, it’s healthy (ok so a little cheese on top and some olive oil, but it gets the veggies down with raw nuts to boot), and nobody that’s tried it has done anything but rave about it. If you have a mandolin, it comes together really easily. (I got ours for around $5 on clearance at Meijer’s.)

You can skip the zucchini blossoms on top, because they are a pain to find in the store if you don’t have your own zucchini plant. We add ’em because our zucchini plants have many blossoms yet have yielded only 1 lone zucchini, so we need to put them to good use. 🙂

Muesli Details

We’re fairly new to this, but here’s how we’ve made it so far:

I ordered the 6 grain rolled cereal from Honeyville and split the 50 lb bag with a friend.

I also ordered Bob’s Red Mill Date Crumbles through Amazon. I didn’t know I liked dates, but these babies are worth every penny. They don’t taste “datey”, they just add a sweetness to the Muesli that is unbeatable. I like ’em so much I got Amazon subscription so I save 15% and they just ship me more date crumbles twice a year.

We keep a variety of nuts on hand that I buy raw from Costco (pecans, walnuts, almonds).

I also picked up some unsweetened, shredded coconut from Amish country.

From there, the possibilities are endless. Add cinnamon, dried fruit like raisins or apples, fresh fruit like cut up bananas, nectarines or blueberries. Or don’t. Just toss whatever you’d like to eat that morning in a bowl and cover it with (in our case) unsweetened soymilk. Let that soak for as long as you can and then eat and enjoy. I wait 30 minutes some mornings because I get distracted with Mackenzie. The beauty is, this stuff just gets better as it soaks. The grains get soft and the dates sweeten the milk. Mmmm.

I know what you’re thinking, and as far as cost goes, it’s a win-win for us. The grains themselves are cheaper than you’d pay for cold cereal for sure. We pay ~$1/lb including shipping and get two kinds of wheat, barley, rye, oats, and sunflower seeds in there. Then all the added stuff does add cost, but it’s all healthy and delicious and you can vary as your budget allows. If you buy cold cereal from the store, you invariably pay more than $1/lb and it usually comes with ingredients you’re not happy with, and only one or two kinds of grain in it. If you want to jazz it up with fresh fruit, that’ll cost extra anyway.

About beanland

Scott is a family practice doctor and Anne is a full-time mother and teacher to three beautiful girls and one boy.
This entry was posted in Healthy Eating. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to On our plates

  1. Lonica says:

    Yummy! Those pictures of Mackenzie are way too cute!


  2. Liz says:

    Wow, it’s like we have ESP, woman.

    I’m just trying to finish up a blog post entitled “our favorite food products.” Knew about the Trader Joe’s Bean spreads, but hadn’t heard about the “date crumbles” from BRM. Love that store. 🙂

    It’s so fun to share culinary successes with each other! Keep ’em coming. 🙂


  3. RB says:

    I just ate half a bag of doritos. I was feeling kinda sick before I read your post about how you haven’t done that in about half a decade. Stupid guilt…


  4. Awesome….This *might* get me to try eggplant.


  5. beanland says:

    Ack! I actually wrote “sit down and right” instead of “sit down and write”. Fixed. The world can keep on spinning now. 🙂


  6. Pingback: The Best Gadgets for Healthy Cooking | Adventures in Beanland

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