Meal Plan Monday & Tester Yummies

Before I get to this week’s plan, here are a few of the great eats I’ve been testing for The Urban Vegan :

Delicious cinnamon-date scones

Kheer (Indian Rice Pudding)

And to round things out, some Chana Dal served on homemade paratas.  I obviously can’t give you the tester recipe for the Chana Dal, but you can see the recipe for the paratas here in French, or wait until tomorrow for the English version.

Did you see who was sneaking into my Kheer photo shoot?

I was taking the shot and wondered what had fallen onto the table…baby lady birds! Or lady bugs, or cute bugs that announce spring!  Happy.

Monday : Easy-Peasy Pasta – watch for this very kid-friendly recipe on Thursday.

Tuesday : Balsamic Baked Beans (an U.V. tester recipe) and sweet potato fries.

Wednesday : French Fry Soup.  This is going to be an experiment, and I promise to share the results if it turns out!

Thursday : Spaghetti and bean balls.  I usually use the wonderful recipe for bean balls in VCON, but I’m out of gluten flour.  It’s all gone, kids, and apparently I cannot get any unless I order it via the net…and I’m not going to do that.  Have any of you made the recipe without the gluten to hold it together?  Do you have other bean ball recipes you like that don’t call for gluten flour?  Do tell!

Friday : Pizza Night!  Wee! If I’m feeling frisky I may even make a dessert pizza Friday.  Maybe.  Can’t be getting to crazy now, can we?


Do you blog your weekly meal plans?  Let me know, I’d love to link to your plan to share the planning mojo with everyone.  And don’t forget, if you’re looking for meal plan inspiration you can visit the MPM archives.

Qui veut des paratas? : Les Vendredis Francophones

Que-sont les paratas?  Similaire à des tortillas mexicaines, ces petites galettes indiennes s’invitent au repas facilement comme elles se préparent en un clin d’oeil et sont très facile à réaliser;  il vous faut 35 minutes en tout : 15 minutes de repos, environ 15 minutes pour la préparation et cinq minutes de cuission.  C’est du vrai “fast food”!

Lors de ma première visite à Londres j’ai pu enfin déguster de la vraie cuisine indienne.  Encore lycéenne, j’étais logée par une famille d’accueil fort sympathique qui ne se contentait pas de m’emmener au vulgaire resto du coin.  Pour mon repas initiatique c’était confection de repas en famille avec des petits plats maison mijotés avec amour.  Pauli, cuisinière accomplie, m’a montré comment confectionner  les paratas, et c’était la première fois que je faisais à manger – ou en tout cas aider – dans la cuisine.  Ce fut une soirée inoubliable, et je pense à eux à chaque fois que je fais  des paratas.

Ne soyez pas intimidés par les explications – vous verrez, c’est facile!  Suivez le guide…

nos paratas qu’on aime tant!

Pour 8 paratas

300 g de farine complète

1/2 c. à café grains de lin (facultatif)

1/2 c. à café lin de tournesol (facultatif)

2 pincées de sel fin

200 ml lait soja

8 c. à café de beurre végétal (St. Hubert Bio)

1) Dans un grand saladier, mélangez la farine avec le sel à l’aide d’une cuillère en bois.

2) Ajoutez petit à petit le lait, jusqu’à l’obtention d’une pâte souple et homogène.  Malaxer juste un peu : si votre pâte est trop humide, ajoutez un peu de farine, si à l’inverse elle est trop sèche ajoutez juste un peu de lait, une cuillère à café ou plus si nécessaire.

3) Laissez la pâte reposer 15 minutes.

4) Partagez la pâte en 8 boules.

5) Etalez les boules au rouleau pour former 6 galettes d’environ 15 cm de diamètre.

6) Déposez sur chaque galette 1 c. à café de beurre et étalez.

7) Roulez les galettes sur elles-mêmes afin d’obtenir 8 cigares.

8) Maintenant nous allons faire des escargots!

9) Etalez chaque escargot pour former une nouvelle galette.

10) Maintenant cuisez vos galettes dans une petite poêle anti-adhésive préalablement graissée avec un peu de beurre.

11) Ces galettes sont meilleures servies chaudes, directement de la poêle, donc servez-les sans attendre!

*ben ouais, il fait nuit à l’heure du dîner…désolée pour les photos jaunes!

Meal Plan Mondays : Balsamic-Roasted Butternut Squash

Now that the holidays have come and gone, this week’s meals are a little more frugal and a little less festive.

And that’s okay.

As we explain to Guppy, there is a time for everything : a time for eating Christmas cookies and chocolates, and a time for soup and lighter fare.  Coming down from the holiday excitement is always a little melancholy for me, but Friday’s pizza nights means there is always a party to look forward to, right?

Monday : Spinach Quiche and roasted-garlic and white bean soup (from the freezer – I’d forgotten about it  – total score!)

Tuesday : Potato and butternut Soup and baking powder biscuits

Wednesday : Seitan with Quince, Apple and Onion, Rutabega-Fennel Clapshot (test recipes for The Urban Vegan’s forthcoming cookbook!)

Thursday : left-overs

Friday : Pizza Night!

Here’s a peek at two test recipes we enjoyed last week from The Urban Vegan :

Pumpkin-Maple Muffins – enough said.


Spicy Lentils – I’m such a fan of lentils served just about any way, but this picante recipe was a real winner.  I served it up with some balsamic roasted butternut squash, because I can.

And so can you!  This isn’t a test recipe, but it is one of our favourite way to eat butternut squash – try it!

Balsamic-Roasted Butternut Squash

+/- 5 cups cubed butternut squash

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp dried thyme

salt and pepper to taste

Heat your oven to 200°c/400°f and toss the cubed squash with the olive oil and vinegar.  Using your fingers, crumble the dried thyme over the squash, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then toss to coat.

Spread the cubed squash in a shallow baking dish or on a baking sheet in one layer and bake for about 45 minutes or until melty-tender.  Sprinkle with some salt if necessary before serving.

Do you have a favourite frugal (ie : cheap) recipe you love to serve?  Please feel free to share with the kids at home!  And don’t forget, if you’re looking for meal plan inspiration you can visit the MPM archives.


Meal Plan Mondays : Tester Yummies

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend, because even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, it was still the weekend, right?  We had a lovely time, and we even got snow on Christmas Eve morning!  Guppy woke to a few centimetres of snow, just like in holiday stories, and she was elated.  The snow of course didn’t last, but it couldn’t have come on a better day.

The recipe testing continues for The Urban Vegan’s upcoming cookbook, and I must say that everything I’ve tested so far has received 4 stars.

chickpeas with tomatoes, eggplant and kale

tuscan bean dip

classic chocolate chippers

polenta-kale cutlets  with pan-seared tofu with basil balsamic glaze

Here’s this weeks vittles, the foods with a* are tester recipes.

Monday : Minimal Pastina Soup with Spinach* (lunch), Insanely Thick and Comforting Squash Soup* (dinner), served with baking powder biscuits.

Tuesday : Pumpkin-Maple Muffins* (breakfast), Spicy Lentils* served with mixed rice (dinner).

Wednesday : Tajine salé de seitan à la courge (savory seitan and squash tajine). I’ll be posting this recipe later in the week, too!

Thursday : Quiche – I think spinach, but I’m not sure.  We’ve been craving quiche, so I’m all about keeping the troops happy.

Friday : Pizza night, I hope.  If I get my wish, we’ll be hanging out here for New Year’s Eve…time will tell!

Are you making anything special this week?  Lighter meals seem to be de rigeur with all this celebrating, don’t you think?

Mashed Potato Christmas Trees

Personally, I love playing with my food, don’t you?

Take mashed potatoes, steamed green beans, chickpeas and mushroom gravy and have some fun!

Mama Fish’s Tree

Papa Fish’s Tree

Guppy’s Tree

The pictures with the mushroom gravy were just too reminiscent of mud slides and natural catastrophes devastating forests, so I’m censuring those.

This is one of our favourite ways to eat mashed potatoes around the holiday season.  To be honest, the humble spud doesn’t make it to our dinner table too often, finding itself relegated to “special requests” by Guppy.  Other choice veggies/decorations are of course cherry tomatoes, peas, olives, corn, diced red or green pepper, red onion, etc.  Steamed broccoli makes lovely surrounding shrubbery, and there have been steamed cauliflower clouds in the skies as well.  Hot sauce (for the big kids) or ketchup could be used for garlands, too. I set out the “ornaments” in little bowls and everyone decorates their own.

Very fun stuff, kids.  Tasty, too.

Meal Plan Monday : Half a plan…

I have more holiday spirit than you can shake a candy cane at, but one of the tiny frustrations about the season is not always being in control of what we’re eating.  The Fish Family will be spending a few days with family at the end of the week, and that means not planning the meals, at least not in their entirety.  I will be contributing to the meals, though, and hopefully will be able to get some pictures if it’s not to dark!

In other news, I’m excited to tell you I’ll be doing some recipe testing for Urban Vegan who has a new cookbook in the works.  The next few days will feature some of her recipes, and they sound delicious.

Here’s what I’ve got planned for the next few days :

Monday : Lemon Poppyseed Muffins (special holiday breakfast), Tuscan Bean Dip with veggies and green salad (lunch), Chickpeas with tomato, eggplant & spinach (dinner).  All three of these are tester recipes for Urban Vegan.

Tuesday : Polenta-Spinach Cutlets with Basil Aioli served with green beans (lunch), Old Bay Cakes served with mashed potatoes and green salad (also test recipes).

Wednesday : I’m not sure if we’ll be here or not yet, so today will probably be about eating left-overs to empty the fridge!

My muffins lean to the left, just like me!

Because I’m posting this after breakfast, I can share a photo of these delicious muffins from Urban Vegan forthcoming book.  The sun doesn’t rise until after 8:30am now, so the light isn’t wonderful, but the muffins were. I knew I needed to snap a picture of one before they disappeared!  Beautiful crumb, bright, lemony taste, perfect for a leisurely holiday breakfast.

Not sure what to make for dinner?  Take a peek at the sample menus on the Meal Plan Mondays page for some inspiration.

Meal Plan Monday : The wings that weren’t, and the cookies that were.

I made these beautiful cookies last week :

In the name of science and not wanting to make a flop of the cookies I’m planning on making for gift-giving, of course. These lovelies are the pignoli cookies from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.  I’ve had Italian pignoli cookies before, but it’s been ages, and I wanted to give them a try.  I’m a big fan of the pine nut – it’s a fatty little bugger, but jam-packed with iron.  I usually add a tablespoon to top pizzas or salads, so Guppy was a bit leery seeing it in a sucré posture, but was won over instantly.  Monsieur-half-French-half-Italian-Fish, however, was not so inclined.  So much for his Italian roots.

As you can guess from my title, the seitan wings didn’t happen last week, and I was rather put out about it.  The beauty of the meal plan is in its non-contractual nature: I’m not going to get in trouble if I don’t stick to it. They’ve been re-slated for this week, however, because I’m not giving up!  Next week I’ll be very pleased to bring you a review of where many of these tasty recipes came from.

Monday : Caramelized Tofu, Brown rice with pineapple and green onions

Tuesday : 2 potato Shepherd’s Pie, green salad

Wednesday : Sushi Rice Balls, Japanese Pancakes and Teriyaki Mushrooms

Thursday :Seitan Buffalo Wings with Super Slaw (hoping!)

Friday : Pizza night!

If you haven’t already, please stop by my friend Ricki’s blog and leave a comment on this post.  She’ll be giving a donation to Second Harvest for every comment left.  What a great way to bring a little food and cheer to those in need this holiday season (oh, and you could also win some Simply Bar yummies, but that’s just a perk).