vivid greens

yummy vegetarian meals on the fly

Meal Planning for the New Year January 6, 2011

Filed under: Meal Planning,Meals,Uncategorized — Vivid Greens @ 2:58 am

I’m trying to get back into the habit of meal planning, and so here is my forecast for the week ahead.  It’s getting to the point where the vegetables are taking over the fridge and I need cook, eat, or freeze them!

  • Thursday: Dinner Out
  • Friday: Lemony Brussels Sprouts and Chickpea Pasta
  • Saturday: Butternut Rice w/Blackened Tofu & Greens
  • Sunday: Ginger Carrot Soup
  • Monday: Cabbage Fettuccine w/Goat Cheese
  • Tuesday: Leftover Carrot Soup
  • Wednesday: Sweet Potato and Goat Cheese Frittata

On a side note, I’ve frozen a dozen crepes and now I’m unsure to go about using them.  Any tips?  Should I just put them in the fridge in the morning to defrost and stuff them with goodies after work?  I’m accepting all ideas.


CSA Week One December 3, 2010

Filed under: CSA,Meal Planning,Meals — Vivid Greens @ 1:25 am

Hello CSA.  What’s that you say?  You are beautiful and fabulous and this week you were cheaper than the grocery store?  Tell me more!

That’s right!  Dan and I have joined the local winter CSA (community supported agriculture group) with the quirky little caveat that I pay for the CSA up front and then reimburse myself out of our joint account for the ‘actual’ grocery store cost of the items we receive.  I’ll admit when Dan gave me the above offer I was intrigued.  The CSA always feel like a large financial commitment and (while I know it’s a ton of food) I was never sure how it played out financially.  I know that the produce might ebb as the winter deepens, but tonight our weekly CSA was cheaper than buying the same items at our grocery store.

Here is the low down on what we brought home.

  • 1/2 gallon of whole milk
  • a dozen eggs
  • 1 large bunch of kale
  • 1 bunch bok choy
  • 1 head of bib lettuce
  • 2 pounds of broccoli
  • 5 sweet potatoes
  • 12 turnips

And here is the cost from our local grocery store:  $30.78

What did our weekly portion of the CSA cost?  $25.  And $2 of that will be refunded when we return our milk bottle.  Now, I realize that the benefits of local produce is worth a lot, and I’m prepared to pay more for it, but it is awfully nice to see math that supports the idea of supporting local farmers.

Of course, all of this means that Dan and I need to really eat our greens this next week.  If you have any ideas or suggestions for recipes incorporating these vegetables, please don’t hesitate to share.

Just look at these bright vivid greens!



Plan: Third week of Novemeber November 15, 2010

Filed under: Meal Planning,Meals — Vivid Greens @ 3:17 am

Oh my, I just looked at the calendar and the holidays are almost here!  This week I’ll be kicking off my holiday cooking by making one of my very favorite dishes for the Thanksgiving potluck at work.  Since it is my very favorite I’m going to try making two and then freezing one.  The dish is made up of polenta, squash, beans, tomatoes and corn.  Does anyone know if I should I bake it then freeze it, or assemble it and freeze it to be baked at a later date?  Does anyone have experience with this?

The rest of the week is going to go fast with other activities so I’ve tried to keep my meals simple.  Thursday night we have tickets to see A Christmas Story and hope to eat dinner at the new Hillbilly Tea downtown.  And Friday I’m off on another wee road trip!

Here is the grand plan for the week ahead.


  • Coffee & Bagel
  • Sweet Potato & Cabbage Soup
  • Beans & Greens Quesadilla


  • Coffee & Bagel
  • Sushi (out)
  • Lentils and Kale


  • Coffee & Peanut Butter Toast
  • Lentils and Kale
  • Three Sisters Casserole (2x)


  • Coffee & Museli
  • Thanksgiving Potluck
  • Hillbilly Tea (out)


  • Coffee & Egg Sandwiches
  • Lentils and Kale
  • Road Trip! (out)

Second Week of November in Review November 13, 2010

Filed under: Meal Planning,Meals — Vivid Greens @ 12:20 am

Of the 15 meals that I planned I made 11.  Which gives me a 73% success rate!  Not bad I say.  Not bad at all.


  • Coffee & peanut butter toast
  • Avocado and apple salad
  • Vinegar tempeh and kale


  • Coffee & cereal
  • Tempeh and kale
  • Egg foo yung omelet


  • Coffee & oatmeal
  • Lunch out with Rachel
  • Sesame tofu with kale


  • Coffee & peanut butter toast
  • Sesame tofu with kale (I did eat leftovers though!)
  • Sweet potato & cabbage soup


  • Coffee & egg sandwiches
  • Miscellaneous leftovers
  • Sweet potato & cabbage soup

I would have had a higher success rate, but Dan treated me to dinner tonight at my very favorite restaurant here in Louisville. That’s right, we went to the Zen Garden – swoon.  Which is wonderful in so many ways.

I am particularly delighted that going there tonight reminded me of one of my very favorite Louisville traditions.  On Wednesday, November 24th the Zen Garden and the Zen Garden Tea House will host their Thanksgiving Celebration – where they provide a free Thanksgiving dinner to everyone and then give 100% of all customer donations to local charities.  It is an amazing experience.

Go, eat, donate!


Indonesian Sweet Potato and Cabbage Soup November 12, 2010

Filed under: Dinners,Meal Planning,Meals,Recipes — Vivid Greens @ 2:05 am

Wow.  This was a fun recipe to make and turned out both tasty and spicy.  It made a ton of soup so I will be putting two portions in the fridge for lunches and freezing the rest for some future dinner.  So far, I’ve been very pleased with my meals out of the cookbook Simple Suppers by the Moosewood Collective.

This soup is a great way to add more cabbage into your diet.  Ever since I read The 10 Things You Need to Eat by Anahad O’Connor and Dave Lieberman I’ve been trying to find new cabbage recipes.  Anahad is a New York Times health and science journalist and the studies that are discussed in this book are properly documented in case you would like to read more about any particular topic.  There are some unexpected super stars in the book: beets, avocados, lentils and cabbage.  My aunt Jeanne recommended this book to me, and I am delighted to recommend it to you.


  • 1 Tablespoon grated ginger
  • 2 Garlic cloves
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (I went with the latter)
  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped cabbage
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped sweet potatoes
  • 1 quart veggie broth
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes (I used a can of diced)
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • optional: Sprouts, cilantro, scallions, mint (I added lime juice)
  • add salt to taste

What you need to do is put a little oil in the pan (I used olive oil) heat that up then add the ginger, garlic and the cayenne for just a minute or so – don’t let it get too hot.  Now add the onions and a little salt.  Make sure that they don’t get too hot or burn, I had to add a little water to keep mine at a safe temperature. Cover and let cook for about 5 minutes or so.

Use that time to start chopping up the cabbage and the potatoes.  I didn’t measure either the produce, I used the two potatoes that I had and half of the cabbage.  Add the cabbage and the potatoes to the pot with 3 1/2 cups of liquid.  I used 2 cups of veggie broth and then added 1 and half cups of water because I can be a bit cheap with the prepared vegetable stock.

It was a complete shock to me that the soup would look so much like a salad at this point.  I know that greens cook down and I sure hoped that cabbage would do me the favor of cooperating, but I was a little concerned.

Luckily, it did cook down nicely in about 15 minutes.  Next you need to stir together the peanut butter with the other 1/2 cup of liquid.  Add that plus the tomatoes and the soy sauce to the pot and simmer another 5 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.  Then ladle out your soup into bowls add any ‘extras’ from the list above and enjoy!

There are are a few things that I will do differently next time.  First off, I chopped the above potatoes pretty coarsely, which made the soup need to cook for longer.  It actually stretched the estimated 40 minutes to prepare this soup to closer to a full hour.  I also think I was a little over exuberant with the cayenne pepper, I recommend starting with less and adding more towards the end if it tastes bland.  Finally, I used a 3 quart pot and it was just barely big enough for this recipe.  Next time, I’ll use my 5 quart soup pot.

And there will definitely be a next time!



Excuses, excuses November 10, 2010

Filed under: Meal Planning — Vivid Greens @ 11:30 pm

I really do have several good excuses as to why I’m eating a PBJ right now instead of the sesame tofu with kale dish that I had planned to prepare…

  1. Lunch with Rachel turned out to be of the super-fabulous variety at the Mayan Cafe today, I am still buzzing from it’s splendor.  We had two orders of their amazing lima beans and even got the recipe from the waitress!  I promise to write about it here in the very near future.
  2. Due to the above lunch, I’m not actually that hungry.
  3. My dishwasher is on strike.  Not the machine, the Dan.  He promises to be back and functioning again later tonight.
  4. The above dishwasher has asked me to take some photographs tonight of his current science experiment for a newspaper article that will be featured in the courier-journal on the 16th, so I need to head over to the laboratory with my camera right about now.
  5. I hadn’t realized it, but all three of the dishes I’ve prepared this week have featured soy sauce and when I saw that the sesame tofu also stars the salty brown sauce, I knew that it was time for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  If I had an avocado, I would have made the tasty sauerkraut and avocado sandwich that I wrote about a few weeks ago.

Since you’ve all seen a PBJ before, I think I’ll share a picture of my new frames with you instead.  Aren’t they a pretty purple color?  I’m still getting used to them, I feel like all I can see is the perimeter of the frames.  That goes away, right?




Favorite Tempeh with Kale and Grits November 9, 2010

Filed under: Favorite Meals,Meal Planning,Meals — Vivid Greens @ 1:01 am

This is one of my tried and true recipes that has evolved over time.  It has been many a friend and loved one’s introduction to the wonderful world of tempeh.  I make it this way often enough that Dan actually thought that tempeh tasted like the simple marinade that is featured below.

Have you ever tried tempeh?  If you haven’t, please give some serious consideration to trying this recipe.  In my opinion it is insane that tofu is the star of the veggie protein family.  Tempeh is a half fermented soybean cake that is full of protein,  fiber and vitamins!  Even better, it’s not nearly as processed as tofu.  How did tofu ever become more popular than this hearty bean cake?  I think that it has something to do with the ‘fermented’ part…  Regardless, be brave!  Try tempeh and I think that you’ll like it.  Keep in mind that you might need to shop at your a local health food store or a whole foods to find it.

There aren’t a whole lot of ingredients involved in this recipe either.  You can mix up what vegetables and what grains you cook it with too.  I recommend also trying it with broccoli instead of kale and rice instead of grits.  I went with grits today based solely on the fact that it felt cold and dark when I got home (dang daylight savings time!) and I wanted something more comforting for my evening meal.

  • 2 Tablespoons Cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Water
  • 1 Package Tempeh
  • Bunch of kale
  • 1 Clove Garlic (pressed or minced)
  • 1/2 Cup Grits
  • Butter/Olive oil
  • salt as needed

All you need to do put the vinegar, soy sauce and water in a bowl with the tempeh to marinate.  I usually cut the tempeh into slices shortwise and then half those to get bite size chunks.  Let that soak for a bit while you start the grits.

For grits we use a 4:1 ratio of water to grain.  That means bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add a little butter, then add the grits and stir well.

Next clean the kale and tear it in to smaller pieces.  I usually remove the thickest part of the spine and figure the rest just adds fiber.  Once the kale is ready I put some oil into the skillet and add the tempeh to the hot oil, I cook each side of the tempeh for about 5 minutes or until nicely browned.  Keep stirring the grits every couple minutes as you work.

Once the tempeh is done scoot it off to one side and add the wet kale to the skillet with the garlic.  If the pan seems dry, sprinkle a little water over the kale.  Cook the kale until it turns bright green and softens.  Now turn the heat off.  Grab your plate and add the grits first, then the kale and finally top it off with the tempeh.

This meal makes enough for two people or for one with leftovers for lunch the next day.


Plan: Second week of November November 8, 2010

Filed under: Meal Planning,Meals — Vivid Greens @ 1:45 am

This week I’m going to be leaning heavily on the cookbook Simple Suppers by the Moosewood Collective. I hope that the recipes are as quick and simple as promised. I have a bunch of fresh greens and  some sweet potatoes that I’d like to use up, so I searched my cookbooks for cabbage, bok choy, kale and sweet potatoes.

My official plan for the week is as follows.


  • Coffee & peanut butter toast
  • Avocado and apple salad
  • Vinegar tempeh and kale


  • Coffee & cereal
  • Tempeh and kale
  • Egg foo yung omelet


  • Coffee & oatmeal
  • Lunch out with Rachel
  • Sesame tofu with kale


  • Coffee & peanut butter toast
  • Sesame tofu with kale
  • Sweet potato & cabbage soup


  • Coffee & egg sandwiches
  • Miscellaneous leftovers
  • Sweet potato & cabbage soup

Wish me luck!


Vegan Chili Mac November 7, 2010

Filed under: Favorite Meals,Meal Planning,Meals — Vivid Greens @ 12:18 am

So, maybe you remember the brief meal plan that I posted on Tuesday night that was to carry me through to Friday evening?  I actually did pretty well this go around.  Wednesday and Thursday went as expected – and then Friday hit.

My morning was different than usual, in that Dan needed the car to go to Indiana at 5 am, so I needed to catch the 8:35 bus off Bardstown Road.  I slept in a little bit too long and then discovered we were out of coffee, and all the sudden a stop at the local coffee shop was absolutely essential.  So, that blew the peanut butter toast plan.  I did take the cheesy grits and veggie sausages to work with me for lunch, but a quick glance at my planner proved that I had a previously planned lunch date with a friend. Lucky me! Then I missed my proper bus home and ended up walking a mile to catch the next best bus to go home.  Basically, my cheesy grits and veggie sausages had quite the Friday adventure with me.

I was able to redeem myself by sticking to this lovely little recipe in the evening.  It is one of Dan’s favorites and a creation totally of my own making with a mere 8 ingredients.

Well, there are two ‘optional’ seasonings, so 10 ingredients – tops!

  • Onion
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Red Pepper
  • dash of cinnamon
  • pasta (as much as you need)
  • salt & olive oil

    All you need to do is chop up the onion and throw it in the pot with some olive oil.  Let that soften up a bit while you start the pasta water. Now add the spices in with the onions and let them sink in a bit, finally add the drained beans and the tomatoes (with the tomato juice).

    By now the pasta water should be boiling, add a little salt to the water and then add your pasta.  When the pasta is just soft enough drain out the water.  The chili should be thickening and ready to eat.  Put a good amount of pasta in the bottom of your bowl, cover with the chili and enjoy!

    The optional ingredients are liquid smoke and hot sauce.  The first gives it a nice smokey flavor and the second adds just a touch more heat.  I only add a wee bit of each (literally about a drop of the liquid smoke is all you need) but then I serve Dan his chili and hand him the bottle of hot sauce so he can go to town.

    What is great about this meal is that it is so EASY.  And it’s what I consider a pantry dish, since all these ingredients are things that we keep around.

    I will add that I used whole stewed tomatoes this time and Dan strongly recommends that we use the diced tomatoes next time.  He felt that the tomato chunks were far too big.

    All in all, I did what I planned for 7 out of the 9 meals.

    That’s a 78% success rate!


    Plan: First week of November November 3, 2010

    Filed under: Meal Planning,Meals — Vivid Greens @ 2:37 am

    So far this month, we’ve been flying blind without a meal plan at my house.  It’s resulted in a frozen lunch, a potluck, some sushi, and a bowl of cereal for dinner.  Given that data, I think that I probably need to get back on track.  Here’s the plan for the next 3 days.


    • Breakfast: Yogurt and homemade granola
    • Lunch: Frozen Amy’s Thai stir fry
    • Dinner: Chickpeas and rice at Kelly’s house


    • Breakfast: Kashi Go Lean Cereal
    • Lunch: Arugula, pear and avocado salad
    • Dinner: Crepes, cheesy grits and veggie sausage


    • Breakfast: Toast and peanut butter
    • Lunch: Leftover grits, veggie sausage and arugula
    • Dinner: Vegan Chili Mac

    Any other ideas or suggestions for the week ahead?  I’m open to changes!  I may make that Cherry Clafoutis for breakfast on Saturday.

    I know it’s a dessert, but it sure sounds good…