Monday, March 23, 2009

Potatoes, Potatoes, Potatoes.

One of the reasons this blog is named after potatoes is that they are extremely versatile, very nutritious, and they fill up hungry tummies quite nicely! One of my favorite ways to make a dollar (and a meal) stretch is to buy a 10# bag of Russet potatoes for $2.97 and try this during the course of a week:

Dinner #1 - Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Veggies, and Garlic Bread

I peel, chop and boil a 10 pound bag of russet potatoes. This will make enough potatoes for 3 different meals. You can add as many whole garlic cloves as you want - I use about 7-10. Then I use a hand beater to whip them up nice and creamy, using only soy milk, salt and pepper. No one ever complains there is no butter in them, they can't even tell!

We will also have corn on the cob, steamed broccoli, peas, asparagus, salad or whatever I have on hand as the "sides." Then I will make the kids some garlic bread and my hubby and I will have warmed bread. Viola! A dinner that makes everyone happy - and full.

Dinner # 2 Spud Tacos
My kids LOVE these! They usually have 2 - 4 each. I use a bit of oil to brown theirs, but I just use a tiny shot of spray oil for my hubby and I. Serve with rice and beans or salad & veggies. I got this idea from a favorite restaurant of mine called Mother's Kitchen.

Dinner #3 Homemade Gnoucci
I already posted recently about these. Again, another crowd pleaser!

One food. Three different ways. But there are a million more ways to eat a potato. What's your favorite way?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Grandma's Peasant Soup

Yesterday I was coming home from an activity with my four kids in the car. It was dinnertime already, and they were hungry. To top it off, I had no idea what I was going to make. We were approaching the familiar intersection near our home and my daughter called out, "Taco Bell! I'm staaaarving!" The thought crossed my mind.

Everyone fed for twelve dollars.
I could get a cheeseless bean burrito.
No preparation.
No dishes.

Car veers left...and....

"NO!" "You can whip up something." Insert devil on shoulder: "But I'm tired and I think I feel a cold coming on and..." "You can do it! Most people in the world don't have fast food!"

My concious won. And within 20 minutes I had a healthy, cheap, meal on the table that ALL the MEV's (meat-eating vegans) loved. It was nothing gourmet, nothing earth-shattering, just something I learned from my Italian Grandmother (who is now 91).

Grandma was born in 1917 and was 12 years old when the Depression hit. She remembers that she NEVER complained what was for dinner. They were lucky to have food at all. And when things got a little better, she remembers her father eating an apple every night before he went to bed. That was their "treat." So it is with fond memories, I share this recipe with you. Not to "WOW" you with my culinary skills - but to remind us all that we can make something out of almost nothing - and with the state of the economy, I think we can all be schooled a bit by Grandma about surviving hard times.

Grandma's Peasant Soup
Whether your poor on cash, or time, this soup will warm your soul and fill up hungry tummys.


  • 6 cups vegetable broth, or 6 cups water plus 6 teaspoons vegetable bouillon
  • 2 heads broccolli, or other veggie: spinach, zucchini, other squash
  • 2 cups cooked pasta (we like shells) or rice


I'll be honest, I completely guessed on the measurements for this soup. The truth is there IS no recipe. You use what you have on hand. Whether it's broccoli or yellow squash, brown rice or pasta shells. The idea is, a brothy soup with pasta or rice, and veggies.

Cook your pasta as indicated on package, or use leftover pasta or rice. Bring the vegetable broth to a boil. Once boiling, add the vegetable and cook for about 2 minutes. (If using spinach, just turn off the heat once you put it in.) Ladle soup over bowls of rice or pasta. For the kids, I cut up the broccoli into smaller pieces once in the bowl.

Garnish with soy parmesan, or if your at my house - the MEV's (mostly eating vegans or meat eating vegans ie. my kids and husband) use the real deal. Serve with crusty bread or toast.

Printable Version

Friday, March 6, 2009

Veggie California Rolls

I have been on a major California Roll kick lately. So I thought I would share how I do it, since the more I mention it, the more I find people love them, but never thought to make their own. They are very easy and inexpensive to make - you'll never pay for them again! Plus...brown rice & raw veggies?? It couldn't get any healthier. But some how your brain thinks it's way more special. And it is!

Veggie California Rolls

Before you begin, gather these items:

* short grain brown or white rice, hot cooked, or leftover
* seasoned rice vinegar
* Bamboo mat (you can purchase one at a regular grocery store - in the Asian section)
* Nori (Japanese seaweed, sold in same place as above)
* Assorted veggies (I like carrots, cucumber, spicy sprouts and sometimes avocado)
* small dish of water to dip fingers in
* soy sauce and wasabi (a green spicy paste used in Japanese cooking)
* sesame seeds (optional)
* pickled ginger (optional)

Cut up your veggies into thin strips. I used carrots, cucumbers, Daikon sprouts (which have a radish-like spiciness to them), and avocado. Make sure to scoop out the cucumber seeds before you slice. You can peel the cukes or leave unpeeled.

Lay your mat out on a flat surface or cutting board. Place 1 sheet of Nori on your mat shiny side down. (This is just so the pretty part is on the outside)

Heat up your rice by placing in micro, covered, so it gets hot and steamy.

Put 1 cup of rice per roll you want to make, in a big plastic bowl. Use 1 tablespoon rice vinegar per cup of rice. Stir rice with wooden or plastic spoon while it cools. This will get the starches going and create a very sticky rice - which you want in this case.

Spoon 1 cup of rice onto Nori and spread out, leaving an inch or so at the top so it can seal. Dip your fingers in the water to prevent them from sticking to rice. Press firmly making a nice thin rice patty on top of the Nori.

Place vegetables at the end closest to you. You will get to know how much you prefer - including more or less rice. The more fillings, the bigger the roll.

Dab the end of the roll (the part you left without rice) with some of the water from the dish (this will seal the roll together.) Without rolling the mat UP with the roll, use the mat to help you roll it tightly. For a video explanation, check out youtube!

Slice into 1" segments with a sharp knife. (I don't own a sharp knife -ahem- so I use a serrated bread knife)

Serve with pickled ginger, soy sauce, and wasabi. You can add some wasabi to the soy sauce for a spicier dipping sauce.

I could eat these every day! They store great in the fridge and are a quick healthy pick-me-up snack for a famished Mommy after school. Or a gourmet meal served with miso soup and terriyaki veggie bowls. Rock and Roll!


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