Menu for the Week

January 8, 2013

Just about everything you read says that the key to eating well is to prepare in advance–that way, there is less temptation to eat something you shouldn’t. I did my best to embrace that on Sunday, making up a bunch of things for the week. Trying to find recipes with less calorie impact, I turned to Appetite for Reduction, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. I have several of her other cookbooks, and I am a big fan. I’ve had this one for awhile, but had yet to make anything out of it. So this was my chance!

My husband had been asking for soup, so that was my first task. Canned soup is way too expensive, and we are trying to reduce our grocery budget. I like the idea of making soup, but I just don’t do it that often. I’m not really sure why, because I always find it much less complicated and time consuming than I think it is going to be. Anyway, the first soup recipe listed is Lotsa Veggies Lentil Soup, and I had just about everything on the list, so that is what I went with. I did use regular green lentils instead of the French ones, but, as the notes promise, it still tasted good. Everyone in the family gave it a thumbs up. The recipe says it serves six, but those are huge portions. I was able to get eight-nine out of it when I divided it into containers. And for those who are curious and use Weight Watchers, according to my calculations, at six servings, it is 4 points per bowl. At eight servings, it is 3 points.

Lotsa Veggies Lentil Soup

Lotsa Veggies Lentil Soup

Baked tofu is a staple in our house. My daughter takes it with her lunch; I eat it in salad or a sandwich; it is an easy add-in to rice or pasta. I routinely make up two pounds a week. I have a perfectly good recipe, but I thought I’d see what this cookbook has, since it is particularly slanted to dieting. The Basic Baked Tofu uses broth instead of oil as the base, and, having all the ingredients on hand, I decided to try it. Now every baked tofu recipe I have ever made calls for one block of tofu, but there is always a ton of marinade left over, so I always increase the tofu to two blocks so it doesn’t go to waste. This recipe made so much marinade that I poured half of it into a container to use next week–so I will get four batches instead of the recipe’s one–isn’t that thrifty! It didn’t come out as crunchy as it did with an oil-based marinade, but it is good. My daughter took some for lunch yesterday–without being told anything new was going on. She did realize it was different, but she said it was very good. I find it a bit bland–next time I will add some Dijon mustard or maybe some horseradish to add some kick. And it did come in at 2 WW points instead of the 3 for the usual recipe I use. Every point counts, right?

Baked Tofu

Baked Tofu

To round off my preparations for the week, I made a big batch of brown rice. A rice cooker is a lifesaver. I was skeptical for the longest time, but eventually I decided to see what all the fuss was about, and it really does make life so much easier. I have since upgraded to one with a timer, so I can set it in the morning, or whenever, and the rice is ready when I want it to be. Both of the cookers I have bought were made by Zojirushi. They are a great company, and their products are tanks. I swear by their bread machines as well.

After all that healthy stuff, I could make one thing that didn’t exactly qualify, right? After all, my daughter needs snacks for school. Have I mentioned that I can rationalize just about anything? Since my husband is also trying to eat better, I wanted a sweet that wouldn’t tempt him, and that means peanut butter–he won’t touch a baked item containing it with a ten-foot pole. Unfortunately, I can happily sit down with a jar and a spoon and eat my way into a stupor. So this would be a test of willpower! Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, by Ms. Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, had a recipe for Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies. I would have made them with regular flour if I could–to remove the temptation for myself as well–but I didn’t have any, so they would be gluten-free and calling to me from the fridge. Even with making them small and getting 32 out of the recipe, they still come in at 3 points each. That’s where saving the point on the tofu helps!

photo (2)

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

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Kim Harrison

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