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The week in suppers: March (no) break (downs)

cabbage stir-fry

**Monday’s menu** Angel hair noodles in Japanese broth. Stir-fried tofu with carrots and cabbage.
**Reminiscent of** Mr. Noodle, on which I survived during my university years. Reminsicent in a good way. I really really really liked this meal. It used up the leftover miso soup from the night before. And it used up the tofu from the bottom of the soup. And it used up a really aged-looking cabbage.
**Secret** Chinese five-spice sprinkled into individual bowls, as desired, at the table.

**Tuesday’s menu** Black beans. Baked rice. Tortillas. Yogurt and feta cheese. Green salad with grated apples and carrots.

**Wednesday’s menu** Gallo pinto (beans and rice fried together). Roasted root veggies.
**Kevin-in-charge** I had a reading and left early. The root veggies took far longer than Kevin had anticipated, so we ate them when I got home later that evening (the kids missed out).

**Thursday’s menu** Baked potatoes. Butter, sour cream, grated cheese, chopped green onions. Stir-fried napa cabbage and carrots with ginger.
**Secret** Stir-fry the napa for no longer than three minutes. Remove from heat, toss with tamari sauce mixed with red Thai curry paste, and serve immediately. Keeps the crunch.

**Friday’s menu** Hamburger curry with tomatoes, peas, and turnips. Steamed rice. Leftover black beans.
**Last-minute** Was working on a story and threw this together as the kids were walking through the door from skating. Luckily we had one package of local, organic burger in the freezer to work with. Sometimes meat just seems to equal convenience.


**Weeekend kitchen accomplishments** Eight loaves of bread (!!). Batch of yogurt (semi-successful; it’s been awhile so maybe I’ve lost my touch). Cupcakes (with Fooey and AppleApple).

**Cooking without kids** Nachos. Antijitos. Leftover black beans. Sour cream, salsa. Avocado and egg salad.
**Because** Kids were too busy jumping on the trampoline with the sprinkler rigged up underneath. Yes, it was a hot day for winter. And the last of their holiday. We made it!

The week in suppers: starring The Carrot

nacho party 2
nacho party; sorry, people, I had to crop us out; we did not look good

**Monday’s menu** Take-out Chinese. For family day. I made steamed rice too.
**Carrot count** Zero.

**Tuesday’s menu** Split pea soup with bacon. And carrots. Bread and cheese.
**Carrot count** Four or five. Not nearly enough.

**Wednesday’s menu** Black beans. Baked rice. Tortillas. Cabbage salad with grated carrots. Roasted carrots with thyme. Toppings for beans and rice.
**Carrot count** Lots! They took forever to peel, but they all got eaten.
**We love company** Invited two of my brothers to join us. That was fun.

**Thursday’s menu** Carrot/parsnip soup (recipe from a friend). Fried kale (should have added grated carrot; forgot). Baguette. Cheese.
**Carrot count** Two pounds. Success!
**We love company** Albus invited a friend to supper. When I said what was on the menu, he said, “It sounds like something my mom would cook!” Knowing his mom, that is a lovely compliment.
**Dear Parsnip** So much peeling! So skinny! You are not a vegetable I can fall in love with. Maybe we could be friends, but …

**Friday’s menu** Crockpot black bean chili with hamburger. And carrots.
**Carrot count** A few. Starting to feel less panicked about using up carrots — we’ve made a good dent.
**Leftovers** This used up three separate containers of leftovers, two of rice (from Monday and Wednesday) and one of black beans. Plus it was quick, easy, and tasted fabulous.
**We love company** Kevin’s mother arrived to join us for Book Launch Weekend. She complimented the chili. The chef was pleased.

**Saturday’s menu** Sweet potato coconut soup. Fancy cheeses. Baguette.
**Carrot count** Zero.
**We love company** Kevin’s mother was with us. My publicist and editor had a bite too, when they stopped in from Toronto just before we all went to the book launch.
**Good reviews** “This is the best supper ever!” “Can I try the stinky cheese?” “I LOVE stinky cheese!” “More stinky cheese!” (The only problem with this: I LOVE stinky cheese too. And it’s expensive!)


**Weekend kitchen accomplishments** Four loaves of way-too-rustic-looking bread. Too much whole wheat flour, proportionally.

**No cooking-with-kids this week.

**However** We did have a Nacho Party on Sunday afternoon to use up the massive bag of tortilla chips I’d ordered for the launch. Apparently 5 kg is a helluva a lot of tortilla chips. But I might order that much again, just to have an excuse for another party.
**Recipe for a Nacho Party** Essential ingredients: One giant bag of tortilla chips. Cheese to grate and melt on top. Sour cream or crema. Salsa. Excellent but optional additions: Freshly cooked black beans. Pickled jalapeno peppers (mmmmmm). Cilantro, green onions. (Any more suggestions to add?)

The week in suppers: vegetarian fail

peeling potatoes

**Monday’s menu** All-you-can-eat sushi. Birthday cake.
**Mama’s day off** All-you-can-eat sushi has become something of a family birthday tradition, and Kevin was happy to choose this for his birthday supper. Plus our friend Nath made him a Guinness cake. This saved me from sweating the impossible on a day spent waiting at dr’s appointments and running errands.

**Tuesday’s menu** Turkey soup (crockpot). Quinoa. Roasted beets.
**Leftover inspiration** We have a lot of turkey meat leftover from the crockpot turkey last Friday. Truth is, I don’t much like turkey. Or meat. This soup was okay. People liked it. Just not me.
**Deep purple** A friend texted me to ask what greens would go with quinoa, beets, goat cheese and walnuts. After I stopped drooling I suggested spinach or arugula. And then I got the bag of beets out the cold cellar and roasted them on the spot–because I was already making quinoa (weird coincidence). So I ate a bowl of quinoa with sliced roasted beets and goat cheese and a dressing of vinegar and tamari sauce. Should have committed and made a real salad out of it. But it saved me from eating turkey.

**Wednesday’s menu** Harira (lentil soup, crockpot). Leftover quinoa. Roasted beet salad.
**Family togetherness** We actually got to eat this supper together, sitting at the table. Everyone liked the harira and quinoa except for CJ, who ate plain quinoa with yogurt. I dressed the sliced beets with a grainy mustard vinegrette and everyone tried it. A few even liked it and asked for seconds and thirds. “It tastes pickled,” said one child. (Pickled is a good thing at our house.)

**Thursday’s menu** Mashed potatoes. Creamed turkey. Peas. Cabbage/rutabaga slaw.
**Plus a picnic for Soccer Girl** AppleApple had early goalie practice, squeezed in directly after all four kids had a dentist appointment, so I made her a pita pizza to go. The rest of us enjoyed the meal. It felt very old-fashioned. I’m personally thankful to report that this used up the last of the leftover turkey meat.

**Friday’s menu** Mashed potato casserole. Hummus and pita.
**AKA “Leftover Surprise”** Last night’s leavings made the perfect Leftover Surprise. I mixed together the mashed potatoes, the smattering of creamed turkey, the peas, added some milk, salt and pepper, spread everything into a buttered casserole, topped with grated cheese, and baked for 20 minutes at 400. Just add ketchup. Everyone loved it.


**Weekend cooking accomplishments** Four loaves of bread. (That’s all??? Uh oh. Zero treats. Sorry, kids.)

Feb12 128
**Cooking with kids** Albus’s turn. Sushi, maki, sashimi. With real sushi-grade raw salmon. Miso soup. (That’s a look of concentration on his face, not displeasure. He worked really hard on this meal.)

The week in suppers: rush, rush, rush

Jan12 604
Cooking with kids: Fooey’s turn

**Monday’s menu: Falafels, pitas, hummus, and tabbouleh.
**Woot for Dad: All freshly made by Kevin (with the exception of the pitas). I was in Toronto, so he said he’d take care of supper. And he did.
**Must remember: Very popular meal. I added hot sauce to my stuffed pita.

**Tuesday’s menu: Chili in the crockpot. Leftover rice and lentils. Leftover tabbouleh salad.
**Because: Brief turnaround time between swim lessons and soccer.
**Must remember: People are getting tired of Mom’s chili. Sorry, people.

**Wednesday’s menu: Pasta with pesto. Pan-fried shrimp. Turkey broth noodle soup. Cabbage salad.
**Happily: Used frozen pesto made last summer, but only had enough pasta to make half the portion I usually do for our family. Therefore, added the noodle soup to the mix. Used turkey broth frozen from Christmas, added some leftover pesto for flavour. Threw this meal together in under half an hour.

**Thursday’s menu: Leek and potato soup. Roasted squash. Cornbread. Leftover cabbage salad.
**Tuber time: I have 50 pounds of potatoes in the cold cellar, so we brainstormed uses, such as this potato soup. It really could hardly be better. CJ devoured it. So did Albus. So did I! But we also thought up: oven fries and mashed potatoes. There must be more of a variety, right? Send suggestions.

**Friday’s menu: Baked potato bar at church.
**Because: Community-building. And I don’t have to cook or do dishes.
**Also: Speaking of other uses for the potato.


**Weekend kitchen accomplishments: Four loaves of bread. Four loaves of banana bread (baked at 7:30pm on Saturday night, just before heading out poetry book club; they were still in the oven when I left, so Kev had to finish the task.)

**Cooking with kids: Sunday supper. Fooey’s turn. Indian theme.
**Menu: Saag paneer. Tandoori shrimp. Homemade samosas. Basmati rice. Raita. Cabbage salad. Take-out naan bread and pakoras. Tropical fruit salad and banana bread for dessert.


**One last thing: A friend I’ve made through this blog (a poet and writer and mother who lives on the other side of this country) asked whether I’d mind if she posted her own spin-off of The Week in Suppers. Of course I said yes! Check out her first installment. I was interested to see what her fall-back meals were. And I want the recipe for her lentil loaf!

**One more one last thing: My TNQ giveaway open until Friday!

The week in suppers

cookie square
**Monday’s menu: Curried squash soup (crockpot). Cornbread. Cabbage salad.
**Ho-hum: Should have stuck with my sweet potato coconut recipe, because this new version was less pleasing. Not bad, just not fab.
**Happy crunching: A few of us must have been craving a mid-winter veggie crunch, because the cabbage salad was very popular. Chopped cabbage with grated rutabaga and carrot in a lemon dressing.

**Tuesday’s menu: Red mexican beans. Baked rice. Tortillas. Cheese. Leftover cabbage salad.
**Super-flash turnaround: The food was prepped and waiting for us when we raced through the door at approximately 5:15. We ate tortillas stuffed with rice, beans and cheese in about ten minutes flat between swim lessons and soccer. It wasn’t pretty. Everyone required a second supper when we all returned home around 8pm.

**Wednesday’s menu: Rice pilaf (crockpot). Leftover cabbage salad.
**Epic meltdown: The mixing of leftover rice into cooked lentils in order to create the finished pilaf sent our youngest into full-on suppertime revolt. His revolutionary chant went something like this: “Not mixed together! PLAIN! Not mixed together! PLAIN!” He had to be removed from the table temporarily, until the revolt was quelled, though he never did try the pilaf, which was generally accepted by everyone else as satisfactory vegetarian fare.

Thursday’s menu: Chili. Steamed brown rice. Leftover squash soup. Kale chips.
**Hello leftovers: Chili made of leftover beans, plus corn and roasted red pepppers from the freezer. One child preferred the squash soup.
**Rice fail: Should have baked it in the oven. Used the stovetop so the oven would be free for the kale chips, and the brown rice took much longer than anticipated. And was the consistency of porridge. Ugh.
**Mini-recipe: Kale chips. I used Smitten Kitten’s recipe as inspiration (kale chip recipes practically infect the internet, all with different baking times, oven temps, and methods; allow me to add to the epidemic). Method: Rip kale leaves into chip-size portions (minus the thick stems). Wash and dry in a salad spinner (just because it’s easy). Toss in a big bowl with 1-2 tbsp olive oil and salt to taste (1 tsp is way too much!). I added 1 tsp of red wine vinegar to make salt-and-vinegar kale chips. Spread on a baking sheet and bake at 300 for 20 minutes or until crispy. You’re looking for a crispy almost translucent chip that reminded my kids of seaweed (which they love). This is far and away the best use for kale I’ve yet to discover, though it did taste best fresh out of the oven–delicious and salty and melting on the tongue. Liked by two out of four children and two out of two adults.

**Friday’s menu: Pizza night at church. I made a sour cherry/plum crisp to share.
**Because Mama doesn’t love pizza: My bedtime snack was a feast of pita bread, hummus with hot sauce, carrots, and pickled dilly beans. And a glass of white wine. Then I fell asleep while watching a movie with Kevin. Sigh. Friday night.


**Weekend kitchen accomplishments: Four litres of yogurt. Chocolate sunflower cookie squares. (Opening photo–and hey it looks like a real food blog photo, doesn’t it?!).

The week in suppers: a new year

**Monday’s menu: Mac and cheese baked with ham. Leftover Chinese takeout.
**Because: Kevin was in charge today. Mac and cheese with ham was a meal specifically requested for a holiday treat.
**What I ate: Warmed up soup and leftover tofu and broccoli over rice. I don’t like mac and cheese. See, we accomodate many preferences at our table.

**Tuesday’s menu: Baked potatoes. Green bean hash.
**Bonus: We actually had sour cream as a topping for the potatoes (we usually use yogurt) because we’d gotten sour cream to go with chips and dip on New Year’s. Turns out only me and AppleApple like sour cream. Lucky us.
**The side: The green beans were ho-hum. But it’s my fault for buying green beans out of season. They were tough. This is the problem with local eating: one gets spoiled by the real deal, and the imported stuff does not pass muster. So it’s back to beets and cabbage.

**Wednesday’s menu: Kids at at grandma’s house. Parents ate at a movie theatre.
**Why? The occasion was a sleepover at grandma’s, which the parents celebrated by going to a yoga class together (seriously), and then out to a movie (The Descendents; not cheery). We got panini sandwiches and ate them in the theatre. A pretty good date.
**Next time: Choose a more light-hearted film.

**Thursday’s menu: Risotto. Roasted squash.
**Uh-oh factor: I used nearly 3 cups of raw rice to make what looked like a massive cast-iron pan of utterly delicious risotto (with onions, garlic, turkey stock, wine, butter, grated parmesan, salt and pepper). Our eldest was at another sleepover. Our youngest thought it was yucky. Our second-youngest ate soup instead. The rest of us ate the entire pan of risotto. Vanished. Scary. Next time I’ll have to use four cups of raw rice.
**Happy daughter: This meal was AppleApple’s request for a special holiday meal. I don’t make it unless I’m blessed with extra time. It’s stand-and-stir cooking. But oh so insanely good. Thank you, Italy.

**Friday’s menu: Sweet and sour chicken in the crockpot. (Actually leftover turkey). Steamed rice. Cabbage salad with tamari dressing.
**Finally: A Side! AppleApple and I could not stop eating it. Guess we were starved for the crunch of cabbage.
**The end: That’s the last of the leftover turkey. I’ve got a few parts frozen to make stock, but we shall soon be back to all-veggie meals once again. Perhaps with the exception of “cooking with kids” when we will allow the kids to cook with meat if they so chose.


**Weekend cooking accomplishments: Eight loaves of bread (double batch), plus homemade pizza on Saturday. Good enough.

**Cooking with kids (Sunday night): Albus’s turn. (pictured above)
**On the menu: Garlic bread. Meat lasagne. Cababage salad with cooked dressing. Plus sparkling cider to drink.
**Reviews: Excellent.

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