market haul + cooking plans this week

grocery haul

Hi friends!  Happy Monday morning, hope you are all well.  We had a a gorgeous weekend, it was beautiful and sunny with a breeze here and we were outside the whole time.  Saturday we went to a Whole Earth Festival and spent the day with friends there, enjoying sushi and vegan pizza and music and conversations, while the kids played with the tons of other kids there, magically getting along, painting each others faces and arms and legs and getting sticky with popsicle drips.  It is a zero waste event, the vendors all have either reusable or paper plates to give everything out in, with stations to take your real silverware and plates back to for washing and reuse by volunteers.  Biking and walking there is encouraged, and all the food is either vegan or vegetarian.  From their website, “Whole Earth Festival began in 1969 as a small art class project (“Art Happening”) on the UC Davis Quad. The students used art to teach visitors about the realms of activism, wellness, and environmental sustainability in an interactive and creative way. Following the United Nations’ recognition of Earth Day in 1970, the event was renamed to “Whole Earth Festival” and has since evolved into an enormous, free, student-run event, attracting over 30,000 visitors annually on Mother’s Day weekend.”

On our way home, we biked through downtown and ended up stopping to listen to a band that happened to be playing in the plaza.  We ran across the street and got Chipotle and thoroughly enjoyed it while listening to the music and enjoying the way the hot pink orange sunset tinged the sky.  We came home with hearts full….

On Sunday, it was Carmela’s piano recital and she was so nervous but she did so well, playing Blue Moon and Edelweiss.  This girl is getting so big, only 9 years earthside but truly so much deeper than those years.

Carmela

Anyways, Saturday we made a quick market run before the festival and picked up goodies for the week ahead.  The sunlight is creeping longer and longer each night, and with the advance of summer comes new fruits, cherries and blueberries and I even saw the first of the peaches, nectarines and apricots (although I never buy them this early because the taste doesn’t compare to the sun drenched later varieties).  I have been waiting all year for blueberries to come back, and when I finally saw them again I died on the spot.  SO GOOD.  Waiting for things to come back into season makes them taste like heaven….

So, here’s what I plan to cook this week:

dolmas + greek salad + baked gigante beans: I noticed the grape vines on a path near our house have a new flush of tender green leaves, so it’s the perfect time to make dolmas.  I forage the leaves every year around this time and we feast!  They’re not hard to make at all and if you make a lot, you can keep them in the fridge for quick lunches through the week, too.  We love having them with an easy greek salad (pepper, artichokes, olives, tomato, cucumber, red wine vinaigrette with lots of fresh oregano + I might make the tofu feta this time).

Dolmas Greek vegan

potato salad:  I saved the steps of making this in my story highlights on Instagram, hoping to make it again this week to photograph and write up the recipe for the blog.  Basically just a very strong red wine-olive oil-shallot-mustard vinaigrette tossed with hot steamed sliced potatoes and left to marinate, then stirred through with fresh chopped herbs and whatever other veggies you like.  Good with chickpeas added too.

plantain and black bean rellenos:  making THIS recipe again because it was that good.  Cabbage and green onions and carrots for a little slaw on the side with sesame seeds and jalapeño and lime juice.

Plantain rellenos

lentil salad:  I will use the leftover tofu feta (linked above) to sub out the goat cheese in THIS recipe, and will add in the golden beets and their greens that I picked up.

lentil salad

photo via seriouseats

That’s all I have planned…with the cauliflower I may go with a curry or dahl or just steam and add to the potato salad.

I also got spinach and strawberries so I may make THIS spinach strawberry salad with the leftover feta.

Have a beautiful day, I am grateful for you xx

grocery haul + cooking plans for it

farmers market zero waste vegan

Hi friends!  Today we headed to the farmers market and stocked up on fresh spring produce.  Usually we go Saturday, but since yesterday we were out all day, we missed our market.  So, we went to the next town over to get our fix.  If I miss the market, I’m kind of lost for that week, so I make it a priority.  It’s fun going to different farmers markets every once in a while, they each have a different energy and of course different vendors and products.  My favorite vendor at this market (Sacramento, under the freeway at X street on Sunday mornings) is Riverdog Farms.  They have beautiful produce: vibrant purple daikon radish, deep green crinkly bloomsdale spinach, tiny buttery golden potatoes, and hard to find rutabagas and turnips.

zero waste vegan farmers market cart

This week has been busy, so I didn’t get a chance to plan meals out really, but here’s what I bought (whatever looked good to me) + what I’m thinking of making with it this week.  (see what I made last week here).

morel Mushrooms vegan zero waste

fresh morel mushrooms:  I found these tiny treasures at the citrus guy’s stand.  He told me that they got busy one year and had to put off tilling in between the citrus trees.  When he finally got around to it, he had a beautiful surprise waiting for him: morels had popped up all through the trees.  I’ve actually never had these before so I’m really excited as I love all types of mushrooms, but especially wild ones which are so flavorful.  I’m planning to sauté them simply and serve with fresh pasta (trying out this gluten free chickpea flour-flax pasta!), asparagus, and a side of brothy garlic sage cannelini beans.

beets:  I got both golden and chioggia (hot pink and striped heirloom italian variety) beets this week for a fun and bright change.  They’re both a little more mild than regular red beets, so maybe try them out if you think you don’t like beets.  I’m thinking of making this beet carrot slaw with tahini dressing.  I’ll probably roast the rest and slice for sandwiches and bowls, maybe throw a slice or two to blend in with the hummus.  This beet pastrami was delicious.  Check out this post all about beets too!

asparagus:  I bought 2 bunches this week, will roast with green/spring onions and lemon wedges, drizzle of oil, s+p for a simple side!  The lemon gets sweet and delicious while roasted.  Let it cool a bit and then squeeze over the veggies.  I bake at about 400 till the asparagus is tender.  This recipe with almond orange pan sauce is really yum too.

Zero waste produce storing

spring onions: to bake with the asparagus as described above.

green cabbage:  cut into wedges, blanched and then roasted, humble green cabbage transforms into something magical, sweet, tender and caramelized.  The first recipe on this link (but ignore the pork meatball part, just look at the simple directions for the cabbage).

easter egg radishes:  these beauties will be eaten plain and raw, with hummus (a weekly staple for us).  They’re super good and indulgent with a smear of Miyoko’s butter and flaky Maldon salt too.

Easter egg radish

spinach:  Sauté simply for a side.  I like to sauté chopped onions and garlic till translucent in a little olive oil, then add the spinach and, to flavor- either nutmeg or, add the end, toasted sesame seeds.  I may make this spinach/strawberry salad instead though- I haven’t gotten around to making it yet and I have a batch of tofu feta in the fridge.

spinach farmers market California vegan zero waste

carrots:  making this french carrot salad again.  It’s sooo good.  I add chopped shallots and a little dijon mustard to the dressing.  Add some french lentils to make it a perfect lunch with some avocado.

carrot salad vegan french David Leibovitz

strawberries:  for breakfast or snack with coconut yogurt, or for the strawberry spinach salad.

tangerines:  for lunches, snacks, these guys are so convenient to take on the go too.  My kids eat them like candy.  The peels are great to save to infuse white vinegar for cleaning (the citrus makes it smell great and cut grease well).

fresh garlic:  for everything!  I use garlic liberally.  The fresh stuff is so yummy.

Garlic fresh spring farmers market Davis Sacramento

baby artichokes:  I prepped these already (like this tutorial shows) and thinking about doing a spring paella with them, something like this one.

lettuce:  I got 5 heads of lettuce because I was craving salad!  I love Ellen Fisher’s almond butter-balsamic dressing.

hydroponic Lettuce mason jar

watercress:  this soup with chickpeas looks fantastic.  I will sub coco yogurt for the Greek yogurt.

for sweets:  I plan to make these salted chocolate tahini bliss balls, and every week I make a batch of these gf choc chip cookies (sweetened with banana!) and put them in a cloth bag in the freezer.  Through the week, my daughter grabs a few out for her school lunch/snacks, works so well!

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday and have a lovely week xx

 

spring produce + what i plan to cook with it this week

farmers market haul spring plastic free

Another week has flown by and my fridge is fully stocked with spring goodies- local, mostly organic and seasonal, from the market and co-op yesterday.  (click here to read about my zero waste shopping routine).  In the past, I used to be kind of bored with spring food- all the flavors seemed mild to me- but I’m really enjoying everything fully this year.  The gentle breezes, the mild afternoons and crisp mornings, technicolor blooms everywhere you look, the intensely sweet fragrance of blooms from my citrus trees heavy in the air.   I’m appreciating this fleeting moment and all the food that comes with it, since soon it will be scorching hot summer- slow and deliciously lazy days, watermelon juice running down sticky chins and hands, the crunch of salty sea hair, shoulder tops a burnished bronze.

Farmers market Davis healthy eating

This year was the first year that I started buying almost exclusively local produce.  No buying plastic wrapped cherry tomatoes and cucumbers and blueberries from Trader Joe’s and Costsco in the dead of winter this year.  I used to go to the farmer’s market for incidentals, just a few items, whatever struck my fancy, and then purchase cheaper items trucked/flown in from Mexico, Costa Rica, and more for out of season produce- packed in plastic most of the time.  Not to mention the social cost- this video about pineapples really opened my eyes.  Frozen, plastic bagged fruit was a staple in our house.  Honestly I never thought I could quit it, or that I would even want to.  But I did, instead focusing on fruit that was available- pears, pomegranates, apples, citrus, plumping up local dried raisins for our oatmeal, and preserves from the summer.  This is what my grandparents always did, and it felt so good this year, eating this way.  Now eating out of season foods seems unnatural and unappealing to me.  Local produce is much more fresh than anything I could buy in a store, with produce from the farmers market often picked less than 24 hours before, which translates to more nutrients and better taste.

Zero waste farmers market

I feel like with all the affordable, local, and seasonal bounty at my fingertips in California, it’s almost my duty to shop and eat this way, since many people don’t share this privilege.  It’s kind of like having access to fresh clean tap water but still buying bottled water while people in our own country (Flint, MI comes to mind) and beyond don’t have access to clean drinking water at.  What’s available, realistic, and  sustainable for you may differ.  I’m just sharing my experience and hopefully inspiring you to adopt a more seasonal, local diet if you can.  This is what I bought and what I’m planning to cook this week with it all.  (click here to read about plastic free fridge storage for produce)

local seasonal spring produce meals vegan

At the farmers market:

tangerines: going out of season and I’m enjoying the last of them, on the kids morning chia oats, chia pudding, and as a snack in the afternoon (especially good with some dark chocolate- I love the lily’s stevia sweetened sea salt one).

pink lady apples: chopped into oats with cinnamon, walnuts, and brown sugar; as a snack with almond butter, apple pie spice, and dates.

strawberries: for oats, chia jam, with rawnola, cacao nibs, and cashew milk.

asparagus: for a chickpea flour fritatta, something like this base recipe (such a great creamy, custardy protein rich sub for egg based fritattas).

Frittata vegan asparagus chickpea flour

leeks:  the leeks vinaigrette last week was SO good, I had to make it again, and I will add cooked french green lentils this time for a texturally interesting protein boost.

beets:  chopped, steamed, and tossed with french lentils, parsely leaves, thyme, mustard vinaigrette, and tofu feta.

beet Radish linen bag vegan

kale:  chickpea caesar again.  It was that good.  Update: we took it to the farmers market concert in the park Wednesday for a picnic dinner and it was perfect.  Pictured below, with hummus and veggies.

vegan kale caesar

broccoli and spring onions: roasted and tossed with pasta, in a sandwich, tucked into a tortilla with some refritos …options are endless here.

fava beans: I’m thinking a sort of spring polenta like this one with millet.

fava Beans spring vegan local zero waste

mushrooms:  shiitakes and a portabello for this mushroom “stoup”– a standby in our house, I use gf all purpose blend instead of the regular flour and it works well.

mushroom Stew dumplings soup river cottage vegan

collards: for collard wrap lunches; I tuck in whatever leftovers I have, or hummus + roasted sweet potato + avocado and herbs is always a good combo.

carrots:  for snacking and this french grated carrot salad.

carrot salad vegan french David Leibovitz

radishes: for pickling and eating with hummus.

potatoes: for the mushroom stoup and also to slice thinly, boil, and toss with leftovers or veggies, chickpeas + vinaigrette for Carmela’s lunch.

avocados: self explanatory.

red leaf lettuce: for sandwiches.

cucumbers: I literally squealed when I saw these tiny Persian beauties back at the market.  They are the ultimate crunch and are perfect size for lunches, or i love to make this smashed cucumber salad with ginger and red onion.

zero Waste cucumber

sourdough baguette:  I slice this into sandwich appropriate pieces and then freeze in a cloth bag for the week.  We pull out and bake or broil as needed.

kids vegan shopping zero waste

At the store I bought:

coconut milk for more coconut yogurt

hand of bananas for Carmela’s lunchbox cookies (one of the only non local produce items I still buy, but a way smaller amount than we used to- I used to buy a whole case every month)

coconut shreds: for the cookies and the aforementioned rawnola.

sesame seeds: we were out, I pan toast these and put them on everything.

olive oil: we were out, I’ve been using it for salads and soups and such.

black pepper: cost me less than $1 to refill.

red chili flakes

celery:  I love celery for snacking and soups, (this one in particular, which makes use of all the leaves, too) and sometimes I can’t get it at the market.

carrots: double carrots?  We go through a lot.  I went to the store the day before the market and wanted them.  They’re still local.  see above for the carrot salad.

chickpea flour:  for the fritatta.

Vegan zero waste groceries

We still had a lot of beans/lentils/oats/rice from last week in the pantry, so I didn’t need to buy much this week.  I’ll update throughout the week with photos of what I make.  I’ll also make some basics, like a big pot of chickpeas for hummus and chickpea salad sandwiches.

Click here to see more spring meals that I cooked last week.  Thanks for reading, lots of love and enjoy the little bit left of the weekend!

 

seasonal meal: spring quinoa salad + asparagus and peas

spring Quinoa fennel salad

Last night we made this delicious meal with almost all local, seasonal produce.  Spring here in in full swing and that means lots of fresh flavors- asparagus, artichokes, spinach, radishes, citrus, strawberries and peas to name a few.  I picked a bunch of shelling peas from the garden and decided to add in the rest of my asparagus to them for a simple side to highlight their sweet flavor.  With the quinoa, peas, nuts, and tofu feta this dinner is already pretty protein rich, but adding a bean like cannellini or chickpea to the grain salad would make it even more filling.  If you think you’ll have leftovers, I recommend tossing the greens in each persons individual bowl, as the lettuce will get soggy in the fridge.  We only had a bit left of each dish and this morning I boiled some sliced potatoes and tossed the bot of quinoa salad and the bit of aspragus/peas together with the potatoes and a bit of olive oil for Carmelas school lunch.  It worked great and made use of the leftovers easily.

I cooked this and documented all the steps on Instagram stories, and I saved it to my highlights so you can refer back to it if you want to see more details.

Meals like this that highlight the season are my favorite type!  Plenty of flavors, colors, and textures, and packed with all different veg.  If you make it I’d love to see!  Tag me @mamaeatsplants so I can see your creation and variations!  Lots of love and happy spring xx

spring asparagus peas

citrus quinoa salad with mint

1/2 cup any nuts, I used a mix of hazelnuts, almonds, pecans, and walnuts

1 cup quinoa, I used red but you can use any type or sub another grain

1 large lemon, zested and then juiced

salt to taste, I used about 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt to start

fresh cracked pepper to taste, I used about 1 teaspoon roughy cracked

1 medium shallot, chopped

1 teaspoon sweetener, optional- agave, honey, sugar, whatever you like is fine

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 medium-large fennel bulb

1 large radish

1 grapefruit

1 cara cara orange

few handfuls of greens, I used a mix of spinach and baby lettuce leaves from my garden, but any smaller tender greens/leaves would be good.

1 large handful mint leaves, roughly torn

pickled radish, optional- pickled anything like onion or beet would be good here too

tofu feta, optional

preheat the oven:  set it to 400 and spread out nuts on a baking sheet.

cook the quinoa: bring a pot of salted water to a boil (like you would for pasta), when it boils add the quinoa, stir, and set a timer for 9 minutes.  Check for done-ness and then drain through a fine mesh strainer.  Rinse with cool water and let sit in the sink to drain further.

make the pickled radishes:  thinly slice a whole bunch of radishes, reserving 1 radish to use raw for crunch for the salad.  Place sliced radishes in a jar.  In a small saucepan, heat up 1 cup of apple cider vinegar and 1/2 cup of water.

toast the nuts:  when your oven is up to heat, put in the nuts.  Toast till fragrant, about 8 minutes for me, but check often as all ovens are different and nuts burn easily.  Once cool, give them a quick rough chop.

build the dressing:  in the bottom of a large bowl, add the lemon juice and zest, salt, shallot, and sweetener, if using.  Whisk to combine and then stream in the olive oil while whisking.

add in the components and combine:  add the cooked, drained quinoa to the bowl, then thinly slice in the fennel and radish on a mandolin.  Cut the grapefruit and orange into suprêmes and add to the bowl (reserve a few of the suprêmes for topping if you want it to look pretty/pop since the quinoa covers everything).  Toss the greens in gently, ensuring everything is coated.

toppings:  Add the mint leaves and sprinkle the chopped nuts on.  Arrange any reserved citrus on top, and add some of the pickled radishes, if using.  Add the tofu feta, too, if using.  Sprinkle with a bit of flaky salt like Maldon and serve!  We had it with this simple pea and asparagus dish lightly flavored with thyme and lemon:

simple peas and asparagus

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1.5 inch pieces

2 cups peas (I used fresh but frozen would work too)

2 large cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thinly

a few sprigs of thyme, I used lemon thyme but regular would be good too, woody stems removed

1/3 cup water

salt and pepper to taste

squeeze of lemon to finish (optional)

In a pan with a lid, add all the ingredients except for the lemon.  Put the lid on and turn up the heat to medium high.  Let cook for about 5 minutes, remove the lid and check for done-ness.  Continue to cook, if needed, until it’s to your liking, adding a splash more water as needed.  Finish with a final sprinkle of salt and squeeze of lemon.