Cooking Up Some St. Louie Eats Treats with Oma
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Oma & Poppy Pay a Visit
Eight busy days spent slacking in St. Louis with the Grands.
Well, I wasn't exactly slacking.
I was on the go from 7:00 am until 11:00 pm.
The Lab Rat & I were in St. Louis lending a helping hand to our DIL, while Son #1 was hard at work in a small Mayan village in Mexico for 10 days.
Bonus for us: 24/7 time with our just-turned-three-year-old grandson, and our eight-month old granddaughter.
Eight days without a minute of watching TV, reading the New York Times, catching up on my fave web sites, working on my computer, or listening to NPR. Well, almost no electronic device time.
What I discovered? I didn't miss it at all! I liked being disconnected from my computer. It's impossible to divide my attention between what's on the screen--and my grandkids. The news, the emails, the headlines would still be there (and they were) when I got home--but, grandkids grow up way too fast, and I didn't want to miss a minute of them.
Where did the time go?
Walks to the park and playground, swinging on swings, sliding down slides, snuggles, going on a treasure hunt, playing trucks, a trip to the pool, reading pirate books, plenty of diaper changes, trips to the grocery store, lots of time to talk to my DIL, laundry, bath times, bed times, dressing kids, drying tears, coaxing & cajoling a newbie three-year old, and feeding a baby & a toddler multiple meals & snacks every day.
Whew! It takes a lot of time.
I also had an unexpected opportunity to share my Centenarian Strategies presentation to many of the staff at the St. Louis Jewish Community Federation. Such an enthusiastic group--with lots of excellent, thoughtful questions. I really enjoyed sharing what I've learned with them, and I look forward to returning on a future visit to St. Louis.
The trip was delightful--and special--because of its ordinariness. It's tough living so far away from the Grands! I miss all the everyday ordinary stuff.
Can't wait until July when we all go to the beach for an extended family reunion!
A Week of St. Louie Eats
What a treat to have three plant-based cooks in the house. My DIL, the Lab Rat, & me. None of us wanted to spend too much time in the kitchen, so we kept it simple and aimed for kid-friendly. Well, good luck with that "kid-friendly" part. That was definitely a crap shoot. You just never know. And it changes from day-to-day.
Sometimes we picked a winner, sometimes not. No one is more food-fickle than a newbie-three-year-old. Getting them to taste a new brand of peanut butter, a different English muffin, or a new kind of hummus, can be a challenge, to put it mildly.
TIP from the Lab Rat: Just tell them that all the baseball, soccer, basketball players, and even the golfers, eat what you're about to feed them. That's why they're such superstars. At least it worked with the new brand of peanut butter & English muffins. Sometimes the Lab Rat is a genius!
My DIL's Go-To Plant-Based Cookbooks
- Quick-Fix Vegan. Healthy, Homestyle Meals in 30 Minutes or Less. Most everything's a winner. It's easy. No problem eliminating the oil in the recipes.
- Peas and Thank You. Simple Meatless Meals the Whole Family Will Love. Easy, kid-friendly. Author, Sarah Matheny, does use oil & tahini, but her recipes are adaptable to no-added-oil.
- Appetite for Reduction. 125 Fast & Filling Low-Fat Vegan Recipes.
The Lab Rat made dinner on Day #1. This recipe is fast, easy, kid and grown-up friendly. Yay! The "food critic" gobbled it up.
Peas and Thank You Jambalaya with Field Roast Italian Sausage (Click here for the recipe)
My DIL chose this recipe from Peas and Thank You. Another easy-to-put-together recipe that she adapted by eliminating the oil and baking the falafel on parchment paper. She did use the small amount of tahini in the recipe. Cook's choice. She also used fresh dill, instead of dried, in her Tzatziki Sauce and she left out the Veganaise. The sauce is fabulous & we used the leftovers as a delicious salad dressing, a dip for baby carrots & on top of the Spicy Tempeh Tacos. The "little food critic" in the house refused to even taste the falafel--at least this time. More for us grown-ups.
Peas & Thank You No-Fry Falafel with Tzatziki Sauce (click here for the recipe)
Chipotle Lime Tempeh Tacos
Another DIL creation and the "food critic" in the house LOVED these. We suspect the taco shells might have had something to do with that. But, who cares?
*Cook's Notes: You can also use sprouted grain tortillas, or softened corn tortillas instead of fried shells--or try softening corn tortillas in the microwave & then baking them draped over the slats in the oven rack. No-fry taco shells!
These tacos are spicy, so decrease the chipotle if you like your tacos less spicy. Grating the tempeh is a genius idea for tacos!
Three Year-Old Approved Spicy Lime Tempeh Tacos from Peas & Thank You (Click here for the recipe)
"Tu-No" - A Mock Tuna Salad You'll Want to Have on Hand in the Fridge
My turn to cook--& I wanted something yummy for lunch. We didn't even bother offering this sophisticated salad to our resident "food critic". Didn't want to waste even a spoonful. I love Cathy Fisher's (Straight-Up Food) version of vegan mayonnaise--and I think it will work well on all kinds of pasta or slaw dishes.
Cook's Notes: I omitted the onion. Fresh dill would be a great herb option, as a switch from basil. Perhaps, capers or dill seed, too? I used 2 teaspoons of kelp granules (not 1)--available at Whole Foods or health food stores. I used Sea Seasonings Organic Kelp Granules from Maine and I added a touch of salt to my Tu-No. Loved the avocado with the Tu-No Salad.
You can easily cut the recipe in half.
Straight-Up Food Tu-No Salad (click here for the recipe)
Curried Cauliflower Soup with Roasted "Cauliflower Rice"
The DIL adapted this OMG-sophisticated soup from Quick-Fix Vegan. This was better than anything I've ever had in a restaurant! She roasted the cauliflower "rice" without a drop of oil, on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. I can see making a bigger batch of the "rice" to sprinkle on salads--like croutons. It's fabulous--sprinkled lightly with freshly ground pepper & salt as it roasts. This recipe uses my version of "no-fat" coconut milk, which is made with 1 1/2 cups of soy milk (not low-fat) and 1 1/2 teaspoons of coconut extract. Enjoy. Not so fast--but, so worth it!
Quick-Fix Vegan's "Enlightened" Curried Cauliflower with Roasted Cauliflower "Rice" (Click here for the recipe)
In-a-Flash Quick-Fix Tomato Tortilla Soup
My DIL suggested I make this for dinner on one of the days she went to work. All the ingredients were already in the house--and she knew it was quick & easy. What we were aiming for. I ditched the oil, fiddled with the spices a bit, & added half of a jalapeno & some lime. The recipe uses a cup of salsa, which is an easy way to kick up the flavor!
Quick-Fix Vegan's "Enlightened" Tomato Tortilla Soup (Click here for the recipe)
The Girls Just Gotta Have Their Chocolate Banana Chia Pudding
My DIL & I both LOVE OUR CHOCOLATE! We made this quick-fix recipe twice. It's that good! We enjoyed it for breakfast. As a snack. And for dessert. Even Little Miss Bean (the 8 month-old) gobbled it up.
Chocolate Banana "Espresso" Chia Pudding (Click here for the recipe)
More Chocolate Girl Treats - Chocolate Espresso Hummus
The DIL whipped this up in a flash. And we ate it up just as fast. We're both suckers for healthy chocolate treats--and cannelini beans, dates & cocoa will do the job for any chocoholic! The DIL makes her chocolate hummus without the stevia--and just adds an extra date. This makes the best post-work-out snack, too.
Chocolate Hummus (Click here for the recipe)
Easy Oatmeal Blueberry Breakfast Bars
Neither the Lab Rat, nor the "food critic" were interested in trying these delicious bars. Who knows why? But, my grandson certainly enjoyed making them--and when he grows up he wants to be "a cooker"! The DIL & I LOVED these bars--and the flavor improves overnight--so hold-off eating them until morning. It's such an easy take-along breakfast that includes oatmeal, blueberries, chia, banana, a little maple syrup, & flax. That's it.
Cook's Notes: This isn't very sweet, which is just fine with me & it makes an easy portable breakfast. I topped mine with walnuts, because I LOVE walnuts!. If you want it sweeter, consider adding some stevia, or more maple syrup.
I Like It Green's Baked Blueberry Oat Breakfast Bars (Click here for the recipe)
Easy Banana Bread Oatmeal
I wanted steel-cut oats for breakfast one morning, and the pantry was fresh out of any dried fruit. Hmm. What to do? Bingo! I chopped up 4-5 juicy pitted Medjool dates, smashed up a very ripe banana, & mixed them in a pot with 1 cup of steel-cut oats, some raisins, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and 3 cups of enriched soymilk. I like to make my oatmeal with enriched soymilk, instead of water, because I want the extra protein, the calcium, & all the other vitamins & minerals it comes with.
We all LOVED this oatmeal--which makes enough for 4. Honestly, it tastes just like banana bread. You could even eat it for a snack or for dessert.
I even whipped up a second batch of this later in the week.
The Healthy Librarian's Banana Bread Oatmeal Click Here for the Recipe
More St. Louie Eats!
Want gluten-free crust? Daiya vegan cheese? "No-Meat" sausage? Then Pi Pizza is the place to go!
As a treat, the Lab Rat & I decided to go "deluxe"--adding the Daiya Cheese. Honestly, I'm not a Daiya fan. Next time I'd "hold the cheese". It's not needed.
PI Totally Vegan Deluxe Pizza (Daiya cheese, MATCH "Italian Sausage", peppers & onions)
Chocolate Chia Walnut Bars (Click here for the recipe) A Hit with the House!
HGK's Kale Mushroom Enchiladas with Poblano Cream (Click here for the recipe)
Cook's Notes: This recipe is a WINNER! Both my son & DIL said, "This is the best dish you have ever made!" And they really like my cooking. Both my sister & sister-in-law texted me with, "OMG! This is amazing!" after they made it. I've already made it three times and, trust me, it will satisfy any die-hard omnivore's tastes. TIP: You'll need more salsa verde than the recipe calls for! Buy 2-16 ounce jars (not 8 ounce jars)! I used all the corn tortillas in the package.
St. Louis' Raw Vegan Restaurant - Pura'Vegan
The Lat Rat & I LOVED this restaurant! And I definitely plan to go back. It's fresh, unique, so delicious, & the presentation is spectacular, don't you think? The owner follows Dr. Joel Fuhrman's diet plan, and although I didn't ask her, I'm guessing there wasn't any oil added to these dishes. Nuts, avocados, seeds, yes! We also scarfed down a delicious, albeit pricey, Banana Maca Cappucino "Milk" Shake. Oh, baby, was that good!
Pura'Vegan's Loaded Tacos on House-Made Corn Tortillas with Pico de Gallo
Pura'Vegan Raw Food Cafe
Pura'Vegan's Sweet Potato Pasta with Lots of Vegetables
Pura'Vegan's Enchilada's with Sunflower "Beans". Nacho "Cheese" & Veggies
Pura'Vegan's Nut-Free Burger with Kale Chips
Another St. Louis Restaurant with Plant-Based Options - Local Harvest
Molly's Pinto Bean Veggie Burger
Ahoy There Matey!
Going on a Birthday Treasure Hunt - X Marks the Spot
Digging for the Buried Treasure
Yay! I Found the Buried Treasure, Mommy!
Hiking in St. Louis with Mexico-Traveling Son #1
Little Miss Bean Just Sittin' Pretty