Friday, February 14, 2020

Monbento Square #26 (Single Tier)

Green beans (from frozen), a Wegmans Don't Be Chicken cutlet, and herb stuffing.

I used Pepperidge Farm classic herb seasoned stuffing mix and followed the directions for the stove top preparation, using Earth Balance for the butter. It was so good. This is like the ultimate comfort food for me. I didn't get stuffing over the holidays but I bought a package to keep around for a time when the mood struck. Though I think gravy would also have been nice, and I often want to have macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes with my stuffing (I am clearly a carb person), I felt really satisfied with this.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Recipe: Farro and Blueberry Salad (ECO Lunchbox Three-in-One #89)

Farro and blueberry salad, roasted red pepper hummus, and dippers (green bell pepper strips, grape tomatoes, carrot sticks, and cucumber half moons).

A ridiculously long time ago, I set a goal to try making a farro salad. Farro finally went on sale I picked some up, and yet I still hung on to the package for a few weeks trying to figure out what I would do with it. Then blueberries went on sale andI found a non-vegan recipe that inspired my vegan one. I am so happy to give you this recipe! It's a mildly sweet and nutty salad that is packed with nutrition, color, and flavor.

Farro and Blueberry Salad
Serves: About 3

1 cup pearled farro
2 cups veggie broth, preferably chicken-style (I made mine with Better than Bouillon No Chicken)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/4 cup shelled and chopped pistachios
1/2 apple, cored and diced
2 tablespoons parsley (dried, fresh, frozen or a combination--use what you have)
The green part of one scallion, sliced thinly

Follow your package directions to cook the farro in the broth--for me, that meant simmering for about 25 minutes on low, then leaving to sit, covered, for another five minutes. The farro should be tender and the liquid should be absorbed. Allow to cool a bit. You can do this step ahead of time if you don't want to make the salad right away and refrigerate the farro until ready to use.

In a small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, syrup, salt, and pepper.

Place farro, berries, nuts, apple, parsley, and scallion in a large bowl. Pour dressing over the top. Stir gently until well mixed.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Lunchopolis #84

Fruit salad; some ginger tiffin squares sent to me by some friends in England; pinwheels of roasted red pepper hummus and matchsticks of carrot and cucumber on a tortilla; and the end of my package of seaweed-wrapped rice crackers.

This is more of me benefiting from catering leftovers. In this case someone else was having a meeting and had fruit salad to give away, which I gladly took.

I never knew of even the concept of a tiffin square until my friends sent them to me. Apparently, the Birtish call it "fridge cake," because you don't bake it, but it's a bit like a fudge made from cookies (which have presumably been baked). I don't usually like raisins (which are a key ingredient in most tiffins, I have learned), but they were good in this. I may, at some point, attempt making tiffins myself.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Lunchopolis #83

A hummus and veggie wrap, olives, grape tomatoes, rice crackers wrapped in seaweed, and Honeycrisp apple slices.

This was homemade roasted red pepper hummus--I had some roasted red peppers I'd taken home from an event at work that had been catered, and a half a can of chickpeas being lonely, so it seemed like the thing to do--spread on a tortilla and then topped with lettuce and matchsticks of carrot and cucumber.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Monbento Square #25 (Single Tier)

My first-ever vegan lasagna and garlic toast.

Susan at Kittens Gone Lentil made vegan lasagna a while ago, and after I read her post about it I couldn't get it out of my mind. I used to make lasagna every so often, and I loved ricotta, but even though I knew of the concept of vegan lasagna I figured it was just one of those things I was never going to get to eat again. (I'm not sure why or how this belief became so firmly entrenched.)

Susan had made her own ricotta. Even though I knew of a source of vegan ricotta, it had terrible online reviews, and I figured, like the infamous Vegan Toona in a can (I can't believe they still make that stuff--who eats it?), it was best left on the shelf at the store. But if Susan made ricotta, could I not also make ricotta?

So I found a recipe for vegan ricotta at From My Bowl and took the plunge. Even on its own, the ricotta was amazing, so it was a good start. All the no-boil noodles available to me had eggs in them, so I boiled regular old noodles. I made a "meat" mixture with onions, peppers, and Wegmans' Don't Be Piggy sausage crumbles. And then I assembled my lasagna (noodles, ricotta, Violife mozzarella, "meat," jarred pasta sauce, repeat three times; top with a last layer of noodles, sauce, mozzarella, and a bit of Violife Parmesan), baked it, and proceeded to eat the best lasagna I've ever made in my life. The leftovers made a great lunch.

I suppose after nearly four years I am still, somehow, sometimes, transitioning to veganism. Even though it may seem odd, I'm going to go ahead and tag this post accordingly. I definitely leveled up my vegan skills here. And what is silly about it is that I could have made this lasagna ages ago. I was just intimidated by the idea. Live and learn.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Lunchopolis #82

A chickpea salad sandwich with lettuce and tomato on toast, cucumber slices, kettle-cooked potato chips, and blueberries.

I was really craving chickpea salad. I used my own recipe, which really deserves a better blog of its own one of these days (looking back on that, the photos just seem so sad). Toasting the bread and putting the lettuce between the bread and the tomatoes, plus adding a thin protective layer of Vegenaise, kept this sandwich from going soggy before lunch.

Blueberries were on sale, which was odd this time of year but I'll take it.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Pack-a-Snack #108

Black sesame brown rice snacks and some Korean barbecue-flavored cracker-coated peanuts.

H-Mart was such a fun place to find snacks! I wish it were closer to me so I could go more often (although maybe not; I spent entirely too much there on all the shiny things). The cracker-coated peanuts are so ingenious. I wish they'd caught on better in America or they'd be easier for me to find. I can sometimes get some nice sweet-spicy ones at 7-Eleven, though.