Well, we weren't really intending to have a starchy week, but we wanted to reduce our grocery bill and thought potatoes, sweet potatoes, tofu, and beans were cheap, nutritious, and filling foods. We made some good meals and some were just ok; ultimately we realize that a balanced diet is the key.
What are starchy sources other than potatoes, beans, and bread?
- tortillas, pitas
- winter squashes
- wholegrain breakfast cereals
- lentils, peas
- couscous, bulgur wheat, cornmeal
Many people think starch is bad and causes weight gain. Starchy foods actually contain little fat and are rich in complex carbohydrates. Starch provides energy and nutrients such as calcium, iron, and B vitamins.
We first had baked potatoes topped with lots of sauteed onions. Easy, filling, and tasty! Served with collard greens, though we weren't as thrilled with them - we prefer spinach or swiss chard.
We also enjoyed a tofu stir fry served with short grain brown rice. We seem to always enjoy a stir fry every week - this one had snap peas, yellow squash, onion, red bell pepper, and mushrooms with the sauce adapted from the Thai Tofu Saute, but with ground ginger instead of curry powder!
More potatoes - sweet potatoes! We were hoping this would be good, because we love sweet potatoes (and well, anything orange), but these weren't good this week. So starchy and thick and we were stuffed with just a few bites. Next time stick to organic sweet potatoes - those always turn out great, juicy and sweet, and not so starchy. After this meal, we were getting tired of starch...
But oh, the next meal was 10 times better- cornbread and black bean soup!!
We've been dying for cornbread - moist, soft, slightly sweet cornbread - and that's what we got! We followed Crystal's recipe, and used spelt and kamut flours and honey instead of maple syrup. Did you know that kamut flour is highly nutritious (It has up to 20-40% more protein than wheat, up to 65 percent more amino acids, contains more healthy fatty acids, and is rich in magnesium, zinc, and vitamin E - reference)and more tolerated by those who are allergic to wheat? It has a subtle, nutty, and buttery flavor. For our cornmeal, we used medium ground, so it was slightly gritty and crumbly but in a good way. Sometime we'll try it with fine ground cornmeal for an even more melt-in-your-mouth experience.The black bean soup is now THE black bean soup we'll use. We've been wanting to replicate Panera Bread's Black Bean Soup because that soup is our favorite (also excellent with their whole grain baguette!)and we don't get to go to Panera Bread very often. After many trials and errors over the years, we finally found the right combination of flavors.
Black Bean Soup
1/2 c. onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3-1/2 c. green bell peppers, diced
3 15-ounce cans of black beans, rinsed
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 tsp or more chili powder
1/2 tsp paprika
3/4 tsp or more cayenne
3/4 tsp or more cumin
Sauté the onions, garlic, and bell pepper in a 1/4 cup of broth in a nonstick saucepan. Once the onions have become translucent, place in a large stockpot. Add the beans, broth, and spices. Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Taste-test the soup after 20 minutes and remove from heat once the beans are cooked to your liking.
Speaking of using Crystal's recipes, we also followed her Pumpkin Pecan Pie. Overall, it was a great backbone for a vegan pumpkin pie without any evaporated milk or eggs or egg substitutes. We ended up using an oat pecan crust, but it didn't wow us. We love pumpkin pie with graham cracker crust, so we'll have to use that next time. We actually liked this without the crust, just as Crystal made hers. Also, we tried these Nature's Path Ginger Spice Cookies this week, and they were really good with this!
This week we also made homemade grahams and used the recipe from King Arthur's Whole Grain Cookbook. We used kamut and wheat flours and cut down on the sugar. They ended up being a little too thick and crispy and not as sweet, but a great snack that we enjoyed having on hand while at school.
Some products we've tried this week include:
Back to Nature Cherry Pecan Chewy Trail Mix Bars - these were ok - too sweet and the cherry flavor didn't seem natural tasting. Also small and expensive.
Soy Dream Green Tea Ice Cream- very rich - only needed a small serving. Won't get again; we'll stick to So Delicious soy ice cream.
R.W. Knudsen Blueberry Nectar Juice- soo good! Used in banana yogurt smoothies and it was like we had fresh blueberries!
Ryvita Dark Rye Whole Grain Crispbread- great crunch and good with avocado, tomatoes, or mushrooms. Would be good with bean dip.
Roasted Unsalted Almonds - we've been having these like every-other day, and these are so addicting. We may begin eating them everyday... they are one of the top foods to eat!
Anyways, what began as a starchy week (potatoes mainly), ended up as a balanced week full of different starches like crackers, breads, and beans. We had one non-starch meal, and it was so fresh, tasty, but very very filling just the same - a huge salad full of honeycrisp apples, cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, and avocado.
One last thought:
We are always striving to improve our ways, and this week we want to focus on motivation and optimism- "think positive and you will be positive". Think, “I am prosperous and healthy”, “God provides for me every day in every way” , and “Today is a GOOD day!” (Maria Palma)