Saturday, May 8, 2010

Vegetarian Comfort Food--And I didn't Care if the Kids didn't Like It.

cToday I had to go to the grocery store since I didn't really shop last week. It was a wide open Saturday, which is rare, so I figured I should do it right--that is, plan a menu and make an actual list.
I began like this:

The farthest pile was a few old coupons. I find there aren't many for the foods we buy, but Hannaford has a great free magazine called FRESH and also one in the Organic section that had great coupons and recipes. The middle pile is a huge stack of recipes I'd gathered for the past year, printed offline or torn from magazines. I separated out the desserts at least, though I always intend to organize them into an actual binder or something. Then a pile of cookbooks, the tofu one I got for 50 cents at the library booksale! Underneath it was an old favorite I hadn't cooked from in awhile, from Claire's restaurant in New Haven.

I had gotten the cookbook years ago, and my sister borrowed it when she was cooking at a former boyfriend's house. Former is the operative word there, for when they broke up, the cookbook was gone. I was so bummed! Fast forward a good 10 years or so, and she ends up living in New Haven and working there, and gets me a new copy signed by Claire herself! Cool, huh?

I made a list of a few meals to make from this one this week. From time to time I like to do that, cook from one source. We also went to the first Farmer's Market of the year, which was a welcome sight. I find myself so uninspired during the winter when I don't have fresh farm veggies to plan from.

We picked up some great kale and a gorgeous head of lettuce from the Mighty Food Farm that we have a share in (can't wait to pick up the first of the season next week!), wonderful Country French bread from Avonlea bakery (Kira also got a muffin), a locally made soy-based candle in a heavenly lilac scent, and yarn! My other passion (though much newer at knitting than cooking)! It was spun at the Green Mountain Spinnery in Putney and hand-dyed in the Berkshires. I should have gotten a tag or something to know the name!
I'm never very happy with the produce at our local Hannaford, but as a company they support so many of the things I believe in--healthy food for families and locally grown and produced items. They have a new program supporting the Keep Local Farms initiative, and a new Close to Home program and magazine that I was pleased to see discussing sustainable seafood.

Okay, so enough of all that, on to the Comfort Food!   I made Claire's Vegetable Patties, mashed red potatoes, and Hain's brown gravy.  I didn't make any "alternate" options tonight. Will's response was "good luck with that."  The recipe is easy, but requires lots of prep.

It's filled with great veggies which I chopped in the mini food chopper: red pepper, carrot, celery, onion, mushroom, spinach. Then mixed with bread crumbs, brown rice, egg. So wholesome!
Hain Pure Foods Vegetarian Brown Gravy Mix, .7-Ounce Packets (Pack of 24)Of course neither kid liked it, but Kira had been eating farmer's market bread all day and other goodies from the grocery store so I didn't sweat it. Will and I loved it!  I do miss meals like roast chicken with gravy, so having something smothered in gravy every now and then feels good. You've got to try the Hain's brown gravy. It's vegetarian, and you'd never believe it!


  1. Wow..looks and sounds great! I love gravy but always feel like it is so unhealthy I try to only eat it for the traditional thanksgiving...wonder if I'll have the time and energy to cook with more thought once the kids are older...I miss the luxury of cooking for myself and whoever is invited to join me vs. making 2+ kids happy and a husband and doing it on a time frame between nursing and keeping the girls off each other. Not to mention I lean towards no meat and Patrick thinks of sausage as a great veggie,lol! Love that you are blogging this..looking forward to reading and relating! :o) Marci

  2. Thanks for the comment, Marci! I remember those days well, it was really tough to find time to cook. Use one of the days when Patrick is home to supervise the kids and make something that you can freeze in portions--like spaghetti sauce, soups, or even these veggie patties. I was also remembering how my kids lived on frozen chicken nuggets for awhile, but they eventually came to like better food. Be patient, they'll get there! In the meantime, I feel like having good food for them to at least see their parents eating will get them headed in the right direction in the future.


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