Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Eat your beans!

June 26, 2013

I found one of my new favorite lunches today. I had leftover salad in the fridge that I wanted to use. It had spinach, lettuce, red onion, mushroom, cucumber, and radishes. I added in pea shoots, arugula, avocado, sunflower seeds, quinoa, red pepper, poblano pepper, zucchini, and black beans processed with salsa. The black beans and avocado were so creamy that I barely needed any ranch. It was delicious and I can't wait to have more tomorrow! My daughter had salad, quinoa, and a big pile of a bean mix: chickpeas, black, and pink. My son had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

I received a box in the mail today. A dear friend of mine got me a three month subscription to NatureBox. I got 5 different snacks in today's box. We sampled the peanut butter nom nom's (cookies) and they were surprisingly good. I couldn't believe such a healthy snack could taste so good. I can't wait to try the rest of them out!

After spending the day cleaning, I needed a quick dinner before Karate. I made some angel hair pasta and added in a jar of my home canned spaghetti sauce and about a cup of small white beans. I steamed some broccoli. I also made another batch of salad. Yum. I was wondering how everyone would like the beans in spaghetti (never did that before). My daughter had seconds (no doubt, she's the bean lover). My son had one bite left and asked "is there beans in this"? Ha. Evidently he was preoccupied with talking while he ate.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Loaded nachos & grocery savings

June 25, 2013

My hubby had a late work day today. He made an early lunch before he headed in and there was a few bites left for me to try. He cooked up some onion, red/green pepper, and mushrooms. He added in provolone and cheddar cheese and put it in a tortilla. Oh yum. The garlic and wine seasoning (from The Melting Pot) is just so delicious. Our bottle is almost out so it looks like it is time to hit up the restaurant again! Those few bites were so good that I wanted to recreate it for my lunch. I cooked up onion, green/red pepper, poblano pepper, and mushrooms in a little local white wine. I stirred in mexican cheese. I spread some black bean and salsa (processed) in my tortilla and topped it with the veggie mix along with some arugula. Yum. Yum.

My pre-challenge grocery shopping average was $175. My cupboards have been building up again (I can't stop buying dry beans, pasta, and rice) and I still had some fruit/veggies but I couldn't put off shopping any longer. I had to go today. I ran out of mountain dew (gasp!), paper plates (which is a no go in my house), along with other stuff we use on a regular basis. I wanted to keep the food portion of my bill down today and have us use up some of what we have at home already. Today I spent $45.29 on toiletries/cleaners. Yikes. I told you we were running out of stuff! I spent $66.45 on food. I could have had that $13 lower but I had four dollar off coupons that would expire before I shop again (on freezer "non" chicken items) so I figured I would grab them today and stick them in the freezer. I spent $2.99 on impulse items. I saw cranberry orange oatmeal cookies from the bakery. Yeah, there was no walking past those cookies! I spent $7.26 on gossip magazines. After adding in their surcharge and taking out my coupons, I spent $120.53 out of pocket. This is a savings of $54.47. My pre-challenge weekly average at restaurants was $80. This week we ate at Buffalo Wild Wings (with a coupon) and ordered a pizza. We spent $56.71 which is a savings of $23.29. The kids are out of school for the summer so I can't count their school lunch savings. Boo. Our weekly savings is $77.76. This brings our grand total savings to $3,955.71 in 251 days!

My daughter had a pizza party for her final Girl Scout meeting tonight. My son wanted to just have cereal, strawberries, and a yogurt smoothie for dinner. Perfect. It gets my hubby and I off the hook for dinner. I decided to make some nachos for us. I wanted to add some veggies to the nachos so that I could pretend we were eating a somewhat healthy meal. Ha. I sauteed some red onion, fresh garlic, red/green/poblano peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms with garlic wine seasoning in local white wine. I let the mixture cool while I picked up my daughter. I layered tortilla chips, the veggie mixture, cilantro, black beans, avocado, and black olives. My hubby put crunchy jalapenos (salad toppers) on his side. I topped it with some mexican and cheddar cheese. It went under the broiler until the cheese was melted. After it came out of the oven, we added sour cream. Pull up to the couch with a couple of beers and our nachos. Ahhhh. My kind of night. How did the veggies work on nachos? Oh. My. Gosh! I LOVED them. You would think that zucchini wouldn't belong. However, it was delicious. My hubby said they were really good. He would like a little taco flavor in them next time. Easy enough. I'll add some taco seasoning to the veggies as they cook. Yum. A definite do again. And again.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Chocolate Chip Blondies

June 22, 23, & 24, 2013

We've been really busy so I had to combine some posts. On Saturday, we had to run some errands and pick up supplies to start building a treehouse! The kids are so excited. We decided to go to Buffalo Wild Wings while we were out seeing as I had a coupon. We came home and started building. And building. And building. We took a quick break for dinner (ordered pizza) and built some more. We had a veggie pizza with onion, mushrooms, peppers, olives, and broccoli. We never had broccoli on a pizza before. It was different but added a good crunch.

On Sunday, we had to go get more supplies. This was after my hubby started working on the treehouse at 7:30 a.m. I think my hubby is enjoying this just as much as the kids. Ha. We ate a lunch of leftovers: pasta, taco pasta salad, beans, veggie lettuce/spinach salad. That's right. We spent the day building again! See who's enjoying it more! We decided to stay outside and cook over a camp fire. We had pudgy pies (think grilled cheese but with pizza). We filled our pudgy pies with spinach, black olives, onion, mushrooms, broccoli, green/red pepper, provolone, and mozzarella cheese. We had dessert pudgy pies with raspberry pie filling. Yum!

My hubby had this morning off so he got right to work on the treehouse. I tilled the garden and replanted the beans/peas. We came in for a lunch of portobello burgers. He grilled up some onion, yellow pepper, and poblano peppers. I topped my burger with american cheese. I made a side salad of lettuce, spinach, pea shoots, arugula, radishes, and japanese cucumber all from the farmer's market. I also added in red onion and sunflower seeds. Portobello burgers are awesome. They are so juicy and flavorful.

My hubby had to work this evening so it was just me and the kiddos for dinner. We settled on baking some of Gardein brand (fake) chicken tenders. I steamed some asparagus from the farmer's market. I wanted to try cranberry orzo that I had found at a health food store. We tested it plain, with parmesan cheese, and with the tomato garlic dipping sauce that we found at the food & wine festival. We decided on the dipping sauce. The pasta was strange. I love the quinoa craisin pilaf I make so I thought that the cranberry orzo would be good. It just didn't really work for us. So we moved on to dessert.

Remember the cookie dough hummus I make? My kids can't get enough of that stuff. I got the recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie. I decided to check out her website tonight and try something new. I thought the Chocolate Chip Blondies sounded good. 1 1/2 cups chickpeas, 3/4 tsp baking powder, 1/8 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp salt, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 2 tsp vanilla, 1/4 cup quick oats, 1/4 cup peanut butter, and 1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used chopped chocolate bars). Blend all ingredients (except chocolate) in a food processor until smooth. Stir in chips. Spread in a greased 8x8 pan and bake for 30 minutes at 350. Katie mentions that they may look underdone when you pull them out of the oven but they will firm up as they cool. I debated using less sugar but didn't want to mess with the recipe seeing as this was the first time I made it.

The kids and I each ate a blondie. My son asked for another one. As I got up to get it for him, he asked "you are letting us have another one? Why, were we being nice"? Ha. I told him they were pretty healthy (eh, minus the sugar). That led to my daughter and I having another one. I found a jar of carmel sauce in the fridge and drizzled some on. Then my son had another. Oh god. Half the pan is gone. Ha!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Farmer's market finds & Pot luck

June 21, 2013

We had fun making our lunch today. Ok, so maybe I had fun. :) I was excited to try out some new items that I found at the farmer's market this morning. I have never tried pea shoots or arugula before. We made wraps (my daughter had a salad) with leftover black bean salsa mixture, leftover grilled tofu, and leftover white beans (I had made a big batch yesterday to freeze). We also grilled up some red onion, green/yellow/red peppers, poblano and jalapeno peppers, and baby bella mushrooms. We added in some avocado, japanese cucumber, fresh spinach, pea shoots, and arugula. Yum!

Pea shoots are so fun. They are like little salad greens but taste like a pea pod. I'm glad I bought two containers today because we ate just about an entire container already! Arugula was really good too. I've heard it described as peppery. I don't know if I would call it peppery but it does have a nice "seasoned" taste to it making it much more flavorful than just lettuce.

We have a potluck to go to for my hubby's work tonight. We made a batch of deviled eggs with avocado, mustard, homemade relish, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. I wanted to make another dish to share. I settled on taco pasta salad. I took the recipe I came up with a few weeks ago that we had for dinner. Instead of having it topped with cheese and baked, I stirred some cheese into it and we will have it as a cold salad. I sauteed red and yellow onions. I stirred in some garlic, red/green/yellow peppers, corn (frozen from farmer's market), half a can of pink beans (mashed), and about a cup of black beans. I took a quart of my homemade salsa and put it through the food processor so it would be more of a sauce consistency. I added it to the bean mixture. I stirred that into some small veggie pasta shells along with a couple handfuls of mexican cheese and some freshly chopped cilantro.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

When a vegetarian feeds a meat eater...

June 20, 2013

What a good food day! The kids were home for lunch today. I asked if they wanted to try the new macaroni & cheese that I had found for them. They both agreed and then headed outside for a picnic. If you are looking for a healthier option for mac & cheese, let me point you to "Back to Nature" brand. We tried their organic shells & cheddar. It was really good. Both kids asked for seconds. Also, I made it with vegan butter and just a splash of almond milk and it still tasted good. I'd say that's a winner. For myself, I decided to make a wrap out of some leftovers. I used processed black bean and salsa mixture, grilled tofu, and grilled zucchini/squash, peppers. I also added in some spinach, avocado, and cilantro. Yum! I wasn't sure if the tofu would be ok as leftovers but it was fine.

A few weeks ago, my daughter had a friend over and she stayed for dinner. I was so nervous to cook a vegetarian meal for a meat eater. There was no need to be nervous because she LOVED the bean burgers I made. Yay! Today her mom even asked me for the recipe. The girls wanted another play date so she came over for dinner again tonight. Hmmmm. Will I be able to pull it off and have her enjoy another night of vegetarian fare?

Today is also a special day for us. It marks 8 weeks of being vegetarian. I wanted a feast! We decided to make meatballs, cauliflower steaks, salad, and Italian bread with dips. Once again, we used the meatball recipe from 2 cups chickpeas, 2 eggs, onion, parsley, 1/4 cup quick cooking oatmeal, 1/4 cup bread crumbs (we used panko), 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp salt, and 3 tbsp worcestershire sauce. Combine all ingredients and mash until the chickpeas are no longer whole. Roll meatballs and bake at 350 for 25 minutes. My hubby sliced the cauliflower into "steaks" and brushed them with olive oil and garlic wine seasoning. The cauliflower needed to bake at 425 for 25 minutes so we compromised and set the oven at 395 (because 400 would be just too much. ha). My hubby made a sauce for the meatballs and cauliflower out of sauteed onions and mushrooms, marsala wine, vegetable broth, garlic, thyme, and thickened it with a little corn starch. For our salad, I chopped up spinach & radishes (from farmer's market), carrots, mushrooms, red onion, and sunflower seeds. The bread we served with the processed black bean and salsa and some of the tomato garlic dipping sauce that we got from the food & wine festival. We washed it all down with some berry gelato.

How did my daughter's friend like dinner? She couldn't decide if she liked the bean burgers or the meatballs better! Yay! She even went back for seconds of the meatballs and cauliflower. The kids weren't too thrilled with the sauce. I think there was just too much  mushrooms for them. I loved it though. My hubby said dinner was good. Today was a win!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Grilled tofu; grocery savings

June 19, 2013

Today was the last day the kids will have lunch at school. My daughter packed a banana granola nut peanut butter sandwich and an apple. My son packed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and some grapes. I had the leftover soybean pasta and spaghetti sauce.

Today was grocery shopping day. My pre-challenge weekly average at the commissary was $175. Today I spent $10.33 on toiletries and cleaners. I spent $94.13 on food. I spent $6.10 on impulse items. I got the kids an organic macaroni and cheese. I figured that they probably miss macaroni but I couldn't bring myself to buy the Kraft box. While the organic one still has some ingredients I would rather do without, it is better than the alternative. I also saw a new item that I thought my hubby would like (ok love). Crispy jalapenos. It was in with the salad toppers but you could also put it on a burger, etc. I also got a box of popcorn chips. I guess I was feeling snacky at the store! I spent $10.16 on gossip magazines. After adding in their surcharge and taking out my coupons, I spent $124.03 out of pocket. This is a savings of $50.97. My pre-challenge weekly restaurant average was $80. This week we ate at a local pizza place, Moe's, and a local cafe when we went to the food & wine festival. We spent $79.03. This is a savings of only 97 cents. Oh well. It was Father's Day week. The kids packed lunches  and saved $16. This brings our weekly savings to $67.94. This brings our grand total to $3877.95 in 245 days!

I was feeling brave tonight. How brave? Brave enough to try to make tofu again. I've learned to like the tofu at Moe's. Granted, it is hidden amongst a ton of delicious taco toppings but I like it none the less. I found a recipe similar to what Moe's uses for a marinade. 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/3 cup red wine vinegar, 2 tsp dijon mustard, 1 Tbsp honey, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp coriander (I skipped this but added in some chopped cilantro instead), 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp cayenne (I didn't add quite that much), 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. First, I took the extra firm tofu and drained and rinsed it. Then I set out a dinner plate. I put two paper towels on the plate then set the tofu on it. I topped it with more paper towels and another plate. I set two cans of beans and a small can of paste on top of the plate to press the tofu. You can use whatever you have that is roughly 2 pounds (a book, can goods, etc). Every 15 minutes or so I would change out the paper towels. I think it pressed for about an hour. Meanwhile, I chopped green/yellow pepper, red onion, mushrooms, zucchini, yellow squash, and potatoes. I added a little olive oil and garlic wine seasoning to the veggies. The tofu may stick to the grill so make sure you spray it (or oil it). I decided to just brush some marinade on the tofu when it was grilling. I didn't want it to get to soggy so I didn't let it sit in the marinade as I would meat. About 6 minutes per side and we were all set. I also made up a batch of my black bean dip. Well, I don't know if I should call it dip. I also use it as a wrap condiment. All it has is 2 cups of black beans and a few large spoonfuls of homemade salsa. I served that with some Italian bread and a handful of pea pods.

How did the tofu turn out? I preferred it with a bite of veggies. On its own, the tofu still had a squishy texture. However, if it was combined with some of the other grilled veggies, then I actually liked it! I'm looking forward to using the leftovers tomorrow and that says a lot! I think next time I would use less olive oil and red wine vinegar in the marinade that way the spices stand out more. I asked my hubby what his input is on dinner. "Delicious". I asked, "really, even the tofu"? He felt the same as I did that it needed to be put with the veggies though. Wow. Score! I forgot to ask the kids what they thought of dinner (they are in bed now) but they both finished their meal so I guess there's no complaints!

Oh yeah. I almost forgot about our new milk today. My son asked for cow's milk but I told him that there are a few other kinds we can try before we discuss cow's milk. I bought soy milk and rice milk today. My daughter liked the soy. She said the rice was ok. My son said the rice was ok. Ugh. I really don't want to go back to regular dairy. I'll have to see if there are any other options that he may like better.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Portobello burger

June 18, 2013

The kids both packed their lunches today. My daughter brought a peanut butter sandwich. She was excited because I found a new kind of peanut butter. Banana granola nut (peanut butter). She also brought some applesauce. My son had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and some grapes. I had some leftover risotto. I volunteered at school for awhile today. They had pizza, subs, and salad for the volunteers so I grabbed a salad.

Another night of new recipes. We are on a roll. My hubby and I decided to try a portobello mushroom burger. He lit up the charcoal and set to grilling. He topped them with some grilled zucchini, yellow squash, red/yellow/green pepper, jalapeno, and red onion. I had american cheese and he had provolone. I also topped my burger with spinach, avocado, ketchup, and mustard. The kids didn't want a mushroom burger so I tried something else new for them. I had a package of soybean pasta that was calling their name. Well, my daughter asked for it so I guess she was calling its name. Ha. I served it with a jar of homemade spaghetti sauce. We also had some grilled asparagus and the rest of the strawberries.

How did our new food turn out? First, the burgers. Let me say wow. I was surprised how much I liked it. My hubby said he loved them and we have to make them more often. Ha. Deal. One thing I have missed since we started making different veggie/bean burgers is the juiciness of a beef burger. Portobello mushrooms definitely bring the juice! The pasta was surprisingly good too. It has a different texture than regular pasta of course. It is almost a cross between spaghetti and ramen noodles. The surprise was that it didn't have a bean flavor. At all. Awesome!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Pineapple and portobello tacos & smoked corn

June 17, 2013

My daughter packed leftover black beans, a tortilla, and applesauce for lunch. My son's class had a cookout. My hubby and I packed leftovers (risotto, strawberry salad, strawberry chardonnay cheese, and leftover grilled veggie wrap) and ate at the park.

We decided to try two new recipes for dinner. My hubby wanted to try smoking corn on the cob. He removed the silk (kept the husk) and then soaked them for awhile. Then I rubbed them with olive oil and seasoned with garlic wine seasoning. He smoked them for about an hour. I wanted to try a recipe that I saw on 86 lemons (who tried it from the vegan chick pea). Pineapple and portobello tacos with roasted chickpeas. 1 cup of chickpeas are tossed with 1 tsp olive oil, 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, 2 tsp thyme (I used ground so I only did a few shakes), 2 garlic cloves, and a dash of cayenne pepper. Roast them on a baking sheet with parchment paper at 400 for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, sautee red onion and portobello mushrooms (about half a pack). We added in some white wine. We also used our favorite garlic and wine seasoning. After the mushrooms began to cook, stir in 1 1/2 cups pineapple. We used fresh and there really is no comparison (stay away from the can!). Top your tortillas with avocado, cilantro, lettuce (we used farmer's market fresh), and tomato.

Wow. I'm surprised how well the pineapple works in a wrap. Delicious. Then I tried the corn. I wanted to go back to the wrap but there was no going back until the corn was gone! My hubby said dinner was definitely a "make again".

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A day of wine and risotto.

June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day! After a quick breakfast (pancakes and cereal), we headed out to a wine and food festival. We decided to eat lunch at a little local restaurant before heading in to the festival. Man, am I glad we happened to pick that place to eat. My hubby ordered a black bean burger. It was very good. I ordered a veggie burger (brown rice, oats, soy, and egg). It was delicious. I think it was the best veggie burger I've had at a restaurant. My daughter ordered a bacon and peanut butter sandwich. What? 1) weird combo 2) meat? She really liked it and said she wants to make them at home. My son just had some cereal. The owner even gave my hubby a free coffee cup to take home in honor of Father's Day. So nice! On to the festival!

We sampled so many wines. Yum. We found lots of local food products. We bought strawberry chardonnay cheddar cheese, peanut butter fudge sauce, tomato garlic dipping oil, burgandy wine seasoning, a bottle of beer that my hubby has to brew himself, habanero mustard, peach salsa, veggie chips, and no bake pina colada cheesecake mix.

This afternoon we mentioned risotto. Oh risotto. How I love you. My hubby decided to make us some mushroom risotto tonight. Oh hubby. How I love you. Ha! I asked what he wanted to have with it. We opted for a side salad. I used lettuce, spinach, japanese cucumber, green onion, and radishes all from the farmer's market. I also added in red onion, pea pods, mushrooms, and sunflower seeds. We still needed something else. Have you ever heard of a loco moco? We used to get it in Hawaii all the time when we lived there. Basically, it is rice, topped with a hamburger patty, topped with an egg covered in gravy. Well, we thought we would try our risotto topped with a fried egg. It actually worked well!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Leftover wraps

June 14 & 15, 2013

We went to the farmer's market yesterday and found some goodies. We came home to make lunch and I wanted to incorporate some of our new finds. We made three bean (black, chick pea, and small white) burgers on the grill. I got out the spinach, lettuce, and strawberries that we bought and put together a salad. I added in feta cheese (normally we do mozzarella with this salad), cashews, and strawberry poppyseed dressing.

I had a free pizza coupon for my birthday so we headed out for dinner. We got a few sides (mozzarella sticks and salads) and we were all set.

My daughter had her gymnastics recital today. We had to be in town early so we grabbed some lunch before her show. We went to Moe's. I had a taco and man did I stuff it full! Tofu, black beans, grilled onions/peppers/mushrooms, cheese, guacamole, sour cream, pico de gallo, and cilantro. My daughter had a tofu black bean burrito. My son had a cheese quesadilla. My hubby had a black bean, onion/pepper/mushroom, sour cream, cilantro, queso, and guacamole burrito.

After spending all day at the recital (we went to our daughter's and then to our friend's daughter's later on), I thought we were gonna cave in and go out for dinner. Score one for us we came home to cook instead. My hubby grilled up red/white/purple potatoes, onions, green/yellow/red peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, and yellow squash. We made wraps and added in cilantro, sour cream, cheese, avocado, and black beans (whole and some processed with salsa). My daughter started making her wrap and she added in some leftover corn and orzo pasta and then even grabbed some spinach pasta. Ha. She said we should call them the leftover wraps. I followed her lead and threw in some leftover cauliflower in my wrap. I've come to the conclusion that you can hide anything in wraps. I didn't even taste the cauliflower in there.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Oh crepe!

June 12 & 13, 2013

Yesterday was a busy day for us. My son had an all day out of town field trip to a zoo. He packed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I asked him to find some fruit to bring. He opened the fridge and said "I want spinach". What?! Ha. How awesome. He packed some farmer's market fresh spinach and some grapes. My daughter packed some soup and strawberries. I just had some leftover spinach pasta before I went grocery shopping.

My pre-challenge weekly average was $175. I spent $15.72 on toiletries and cleaners. I spent $92.13 on food. I spent $7.26 on impulse items. I found two new flavored almonds to try. One for me (raspberry) and one for my hubby (habanero bbq). I also got a pack of vegetarian bacon. My daughter had been asking for it and I hadn't noticed it at the store before. I spent $10.53 on gossip magazines. After adding in their surcharge and taking out my coupons, I spent $128.39 out of pocket. This is a savings of $46.61. Our pre-challenge weekly restaurant average was $80. This week we went to Subway and Buffalo Wild Wings. We spent $45.03 which is a savings of $34.97. The kids packed enough lunches to save $14. It will certainly be an adjustment when they get out of school for the summer and I won't get to "claim" their lunch savings. This brings our savings for the week to $95.58! Not bad for going to restaurants twice! Our grand total savings is $3,810.01 in 238 days!!

I had a friend mention to me today that she is going to try to use up what she has in the cupboards and try to save some money. I highly suggest giving this little challenge a try. When we started this challenge in October, I really didn't think I would last a month. Ok, I didn't think I would last a week. I thought it was going to be really hard and we would feel deprived of our favorite snacks, etc. It is an adjustment. However, it can't be all that bad if we stuck with it for 238 days, right?! It's all about finding a balance. Maybe I should change the title of my blog. I really don't feel like this is a challenge anymore. It is more of a lifestyle change and I feel fully confident we will stick with it for the long haul.

Ok, on to last night's dinner. My hubby got home after being away for 9 days! Yay! We decided to do a fun dinner (and keep it simple because we had to hurry up and get to Karate) and made our new favorite dip: salsa corn queso. We started out with black beans and homemade salsa in the food processor. That was spread on a layer of cream cheese (half a block). I had leftover green/red/yellow peppers, onion, and mushrooms that had been cooked for tacos. I put those in the food processor and then spread it on top of the beans. I added corn (from farmer's market). Topped it with cilantro and mexican and cheddar cheese. We baked it at 400 for a few minutes and then stuck it under the broiler. Yum! We used broccoli, carrots, green/red/yellow peppers, and pea pods as veggie dippers. We also had some tortilla chips.

The kiddos packed peanut butter (and jelly) sandwiches today. My son also brought apple sauce and my daughter brought strawberries. I went to the dentist for a filling today so feeling sorry for myself I decided that I needed some comfort food for lunch. Ha. Comfort food for me of course involves pasta of some sort. My friend had posted about her lunch yesterday and it looked amazing (think orzo, tomatoes, broccoli, cheese). I decided to do my take on that today. I cooked some orzo. While that was cooking, I sauteed up some farmer's market spinach with red onion (in white wine of course) and seasoned it with garlic wine seasoning. I looked in the fridge and saw some leftover cauliflower and corn. Oh! I also had leftover processed black beans with homemade salsa. Hmmmm. What else? I found some cilantro and half an avocado. Almost done...Cheese. I had feta. Perfect! I started out with some black beans, topped it with orzo, added some of the leftover veggies (warmed up), and topped it with the cilantro, avocado, and feta. A little sprinkle of salt and it was set. Oh. My. Gosh. Yum!! This could be changed up with what ever pasta you like. Any veggies you like. Any cheese you like. Options are limitless. Oh yes, I will be making this again. Maybe tomorrow?!

My daughter asked for pancakes for dinner. Breakfast it is. My son had french toast. They both had a side of strawberries. And by side, I mean there is only about 4 berries left in the box! I was undecided between a veggie omelet or crepes. I love crepes (because it's like you are eating dessert) but they are a lot of work. Hubby to the rescue. He made us all our favorites. He made a filling out of sour cream, cream cheese, and powdered sugar. He made a fruit sauce out of strawberries, lemon juice, sugar, and water. I ate until I couldn't eat anymore. There is a little bit of the filling and sauce leftover. Mmmmmm. Can't wait to have more breakfast!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tempeh tacos

June 11, 2013

It's my birthday! One of my favorite birthday wishes today was when my husband's cousin wished me a "flavorful" day. :) I'm such a foodie.

My kids both packed peanut butter sandwiches, fruit, and yogurt smoothies. I was surprised at lunch. Two of my friends stopped over bearing lunch! Vegetarian calzone, chocolate chip cookies, and cookies and creme cake. Yes please!

I couldn't decide what to make for dinner. My daughter said that today is national taco day. Tacos it is. I had a package of tempeh that I have been meaning to try. Oh boy, here we go...

I started out by cooking red onion, green/red/yellow peppers, garlic, and portobello mushrooms. I seasoned them with cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, and chili powder (and of course some local white wine). I set them to the side. I added a dash of olive oil to the pan and crumbled in half of the tempeh. I seasoned it with the same seasonings. I chopped up lettuce and spinach (both from farmer's market), avocado, tomato, and cilantro. We also worked on some of the leftover fruit (strawberries and pineapple) seeing as tomorrow is shopping day. I put a few extra pieces of tempeh on my plate so you could get a better look at what it looks like. What did we think of the tempeh? Half way through dinner my son said "I like the meat ok". Simultaneously, he reached for the tempeh pieces that were on my plate! What a thief! I realized that I forgot to add the pepper/mushroom mix to my taco. Of course I realized this after I had finished it. So I helped myself to a pile of veggies on the side. After I ate, I brought my plate to the kitchen and asked if they needed anything. My daughter asked to finish off the rest of the tempeh. Wow. I would say dinner was a success! It actually had a nice chewy texture to it. The flavor? It was almost nutty. I read that you can fry it in slices too. I'm excited to try it again in another dish. Ok, now it's almost time for cake. Yep. I had a very flavorful day.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Spinach fettucini

June 9 & 10, 2013

Yesterday we had plans to go to the zoo with a friend. My daughter and I had leftover shepherd's pie and my son had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch. After the zoo, we decided to all go out to eat together. We went to Buffalo Wild Wings. My daughter and I had black bean burgers and my son had macaroni and cheese.

Today my daughter packed a sandwich for lunch. She decided to try our new jar of sunbutter (peanut butter equivalent of sunflower seeds). She also packed some leftover salad and strawberries. My son ordered school lunch. I didn't know what I felt like eating so I settled on a quesadilla of almond butter and bananas. It was ok but it wasn't what I wanted. I hate those days.

I decided to make a batch of the cookie dough hummus for the kids to snack on after school. Oh who am I kidding? It was for me too! That stuff is addicting. We haven't had it for awhile so you should have seen the kids faces when they got home. "You NEVER make hummus"! Ha. Ok, guess I better make it more often. I changed it up a bit today. The recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie calls for 1 can of chick peas (1 1/2 cups), 1/8 plus 1/16 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp baking soda, 2 tsp vanilla, up to 1/4 cup milk (I used almond milk), and 2/3 cup brown sugar. Ugh. That is way too much sugar. I only use 1/3 cup and it is still plenty sweet. I used half honey and half brown sugar to equal 1/3 cup. The last ingredient is 1/4 cup of your choice of nut butter. I have only made it with peanut butter before but today I tried half the batch with sunbutter and half with almond butter. Oh yeah, and don't forget to stir in some chocolate pieces too! I served it with apple slices and cinnamon graham crackers. Is it me, or does it kind of look like a smiley face?! There really wasn't much of a taste difference between them. Although, my daughter and I both liked the sunbutter one better. The kids (and I) ate the entire batch! So much for leftovers for later. Ha.

My daughter asked for spaghetti and chickpea "meat" balls for dinner. I didn't feel like putting much effort into dinner after doing a bunch of yard work. We compromised. I had a bag of spinach fettucini to try. I was going to open a jar of homemade spaghetti sauce but then saw that I had half a jar of home canned tomatoes in the fridge. Hmmmm. I decided to do a light fresh sauce instead. I sauteed onion and garlic in a little vegan butter then added in the tomatoes, a tiny splash of olive oil, a fresh basil leaf, oregano, salt, and pepper. I steamed cauliflower for an easy side. When the pasta was almost done cooking, I figured I would make "chicken" scallopini tonight too. Super easy. Just heat a little oil and brown for about 3 minutes per side. I topped our pasta with freshly grated parmesan cheese. The kids were surprised the pasta was made out of spinach. You couldn't even taste it. The scallopini was similar to the chicken tenders we had made before (Gardein brand). Not too bad for fake out meat.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Sweet potato shepherd's pie

June 8, 2013

This morning was pretty remarkable. I actually cooked breakfast! My daughter asked for pancakes which was perfect because I had a new package to try. Normally we buy just regular pancake mix. Geez, it has 22 ingredients (plus those that make up 2 of the 22). Seriously? I wanted to try an organic buckwheat mix (hoping it would be similar to the amazing pancakes we had at a vegetarian cafe). How many ingredients were in this package? 5 ingredients (not including those that made up 1 of the 5). I added in 2/3 cup of the mix, 1 egg, 2 tsp oil (I used smart balance for the first time), 2 tsp local honey, 3/4 cup almond milk, and some cinnamon. They were delicious. Not quite like the cafe's but they had a ton of flavor. I served them with some of my father in law's homemade maple syrup. Yum!

I took the kids out and we hit up some rummage sales. We stopped for a quick Subway lunch before continuing on to our errands. I got home and tackled some yard projects. By the time I came into the house, I was exhausted. Ugh. Dinner. I wanted something fast. Then it hit me. Genius. Pure genius. I had leftover homemade veggie quinoa soup. I had leftover mashed sweet potatoes. Do you know where I'm going yet? I scooped out some of the soup (trying to leave behind most of the broth) and put it into a small glass casserole pan. I topped it with some sweet potatoes. Next, mexican and cheddar cheese joined the party. I popped it in the oven (350) until bubbly and then under the broiler to brown up the cheese. Voila! Sweet potato shepherd's pie! It was awesome! My daughter went back for seconds (there was only about a half a serving in there). Then she said "ah man, I wish there was more". I told her that I could make more for lunch tomorrow. Her reply, "Yay"!

We were in the mood for milkshakes tonight. I had about 1/3 pint of dairy free coconut ice cream (made out of coconut milk). I put that along with a splash of almond milk and a chunk of fresh pineapple into the food processor. The next batch I used 1/3 pint of raspberry fudge greek frozen yogurt, 1/2 pack of raspberries, and almond milk. For some reason, this one needed more almond milk. They were both delicious!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Soup & Roll ups

June 7, 2013

We are six weeks into our vegetarian journey. So far so good. Although there are still days where I feel like I have no clue on what to cook, which happened to be today. I stared in the fridge. I looked in the freezer. I rummaged through the cupboards. Then it hit me. Pizza. I had made a pizza-dilla (quesadilla) awhile back and decided to do it again today. I sauteed up some onion, mushrooms, green/yellow/red pepper, spinach, and garlic in olive oil and then a little local white wine. I seasoned it with adobo. I spread homemade pizza sauce (Gasp! It was my last jar!) on a tortilla. I loaded it up with my toppings along with some black olives and mozzarella cheese. I spread just a little sauce on another tortilla and put them together. I placed the pizza-dilla in a pan and just heated until the tortilla browned and the cheese melted. Yum! The kids only had half a day of school so they made sandwiches when they got home. We ran out to a garage sale and scored on some books. We got 120 like new books for $21.

Once again, at dinner I felt like I had no idea what to make for us. Sometimes it is hard to come up with a main dish made out of beans. Then the 'aha' moment. Beans just need to be involved. They don't need to be the main ingredient. I asked if the kids wanted veggie soup. My daughter said yes but my son said he wanted finger food. Hmmmm. I settled on doing soup (small bowls) along with sandwiches. But not any sandwiches. Oh no. We needed fun sandwiches. First, let's do soup....

I started out with two cans of vegetable broth. I added a little chopped onion, two chopped carrots, one celery stalk, one diced potato, and 1/2 cup quinoa. I added one bay leaf, a few shakes of oregano, salt, and pepper. After simmering for around 12-15 minutes, I added in one cup of white beans, a pint of home canned green beans, a bag of corn (frozen from farmer's market; about four ears of corn in it), a big handful of peas, 1/2 a quart of home canned tomatoes, and a handful of chopped spinach (fresh from farmer's market). For the fun sandwiches, I grabbed cucumber, carrot, celery, green onion, and spinach. I sliced the veggies very thin (just tore the spinach). I still had some leftover black beans that were processed with homemade salsa. I spread the black beans on a tortilla. Over the bottom 1/3 of the tortilla, I placed the veggies going across. I topped them with some fresh cilantro. Roll the tortilla up tightly and slice like little sushi rolls.

Dinner was a hit! My daughter said it was the best soup ever. She had seconds (as did I). My son loved the roll ups. He asked me to make more so we all had a second round of those. They had no suggestions on how to improve the soup for next time. My son said to add red onion in the roll ups. Mmmmm. That I can do. Why did I doubt myself?! I totally know what I'm doing!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Muffin competition

June 6, 2013

The kids both had dentist appointments during school today. I still had them pack their lunches because I would be picking them up during their lunch breaks. My daughter had leftover pasta, string cheese, and fruit. My son had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and fruit.

There was a small container of leftover black beans that were processed with homemade salsa. I decided to make a wrap and put that on it. I sauteed up some onion, mushrooms, red/yellow/green peppers, garlic, zucchini, and yellow squash. I normally have raw spinach but today decided to throw it in the saute as well. I seasoned it with the garlic wine seasoning and used some local white wine. As I was building my wrap, I decided to go a little healthier today than normal. I only added avocado and cilantro versus piling on cheese and sour cream too. And guess what? It was still delicious!

I wanted to do a little baking today for two reasons. 1) My son asked for muffins recently. 2) I have multiple muffin ingredients that need to get used up soon. I started off with grabbing some sweet potatoes. I diced them and boiled them then put them through the food processor until I had a nice smooth mash. While they cooled, I got to work figuring out what recipe to use. I had made sweet potato bread several months ago and we all loved it. I found the recipe and decided to try to make a few changes to it so that it would be healthier (not as much sugar and no oil). I hardly ever make up recipes for baking because I'm always worried it won't turn out. For some reason, today I decided to dig in.

Original recipe called for 3/4 cup white sugar and 3/4 cup brown sugar. Man. That is a LOT of sugar. It also called for 1/2 cup oil. I decided to try 1/4 cup of each sugar and instead of oil to use 4 ounces of applesauce (one of the single serve packs). After they were mixed, I added in two eggs. The dry ingredients were mixed separately: 1 3/4 cup flour, 1 tsp soda, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg. Alternately add some of the dry ingredients and then add some water (1/3 cup water total). After it is all mixed, stir in 1 cup mashed sweet potatoes. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. I added a handful of craisins to half of the batch. Fingers crossed.... Not quite right. The muffins were really dense and didn't fluff up like normal. At this point, I was knee deep in competition with these muffins and I was not about to let them win. Round two. I decided to add in an extra tablespoon of each sugar. I also added in 1/4 cup of vegetable oil. I figured that maybe they needed some fat in them. I added 1/2 cup sweet potatoes and 1/2 cup mashed banana. I kept the rest of the ingredients the same (minus craisins because I had used the end of the bag). Ahhh. Much better. I wouldn't call these perfection just yet but they are well on their way. My daughter liked the banana sweet potato muffins. She said they could use more cinnamon though (I agree). My son liked the sweet potato muffins better. Really? I was surprised because of their texture. Although the sweet potato flavor really is delicious. I have quite a bit of the sweet potato mash leftover. Looks like round three will wait for another day...

After all the muffin making and dish washing, I really didn't feel like cooking dinner. We had to eat quickly in order to make it to a meeting at their school. I thought about just going out and grabbing Subway on the way to the meeting. Ugh. I don't want to give in. I'll end up being crabby later for spending the money. I found a partial bag of ravioli in the freezer. I heated up a jar of our homemade spaghetti sauce. I settled on a side salad of spinach, romaine lettuce, mushrooms, red onion, cucumber, and sunflower seeds. I found a small container leftover from my lunch of the sauteed vegetables so I threw those on the salad too. Why have I never done that before? Yum!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Beefless tips; grocery savings

June 5, 2013

The kiddos both packed sandwiches, apples, and yogurt smoothies for lunch. I had some of the leftover sweet potato macaroni and cheese.

My pre-challenge weekly average at the commissary was $175. Today I spent $21.71 on cleaners and toiletries. I still had quite a bit of fruit and veggies at home along with some freezer items so I only spent $69.46 on food. I had one impulse item for $2.99. I saw vegan butter and curiosity got the best of me. I spent $5.80 on gossip magazines. After adding in their surcharge and taking out my coupons, I spent $103.66 out of pocket which is a savings of $71.34. The pre-challenge weekly average for restaurants was $80 and this week we spent $54.25 by going out to Moe's and the vegetarian cafe. This is a savings of $25.75. The kids packed lunches and saved $12. This brings our weekly savings to $109.09! Yes! It's been awhile since I hit over $100 mark. This brings our grand total of savings to $3,714.43 in 231 days!

I wanted to make a snack for the kids for when they got home. I processed 2 cups of white beans, about 1 1/4 cups of lemon cake mix, and enough almond milk to thin it out. Ugh. It still isn't as smooth as when my friend made them. I'll have to try another bean again! It was still yummy though and we had it with apples.

I was beat after grocery shopping and doing yard work so I wanted a fast dinner. I steamed some asparagus and cooked up mini bow noodles. I grabbed a bag of Gardein brand beefless tips. Hmmmm. This should be interesting. I browned the "beef" in olive oil then moved them to the outside of the pan. I added in some of the new vegan butter, onion, and mushrooms. After a few minutes, I added local red wine. Next, I added in a can of cream of mushroom soup and a couple big spoons of sour cream. I topped it off with some fresh green onions. It actually wasn't too bad! The texture was surprisingly similar to beef tips. My daughter said it was good. My son said the "meat" was ok but he really liked the sauce. The meat had a strong flavor for him. He said we could have it cooked a different way next time. I don't think it is something I would eat all the time, but once in awhile I think we'll be using some nonbeef! Ha!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Sweet potato macaroni & cheese

June 4, 2013

My daughter packed some of the leftover potato/cauliflower salad for lunch. I figured that it is actually a complete meal by itself (beans as the sauce (protein), potato (starch), and cauliflower (veggie) but I had her throw in some fruit too. She also packed a yogurt smoothie. My son decided to buy school lunch today. I had the leftover veggie burger. It was even delicious as leftovers. It sealed the deal for me that it is our new fav burger because I totally scarfed it down in no time!

I have been meaning to try a new recipe that my daughter had picked out a few weeks ago but I never got to. Tonight was the night. It is a recipe from but of course I altered it to what I had on hand as usual. Carmelized sweet potato, garlic, and rosemary macaroni and cheese. Sounds good, right?!

The first step was to boil 10 garlic cloves then mash them. I skipped that step. I sliced one large sweet potato into 1/4 inch slices and then boiled them for five minutes. Then I sauteed them in a little olive oil for a few minutes until they got a little carmelized. I thought some colored mini shells sounded like fun for our pasta choice. Colored as in made of veggies. Yay! Next, I had to make the cheese sauce. 4 tablespoons of butter. Really? I settled on using about 1 1/2-2 tablespoons. The recipe also called for 4 tablespoons of flour but I used about 1 1/2 so the butter/flour ratio would be ok. Melt the butter, stir in the flour, and cook for a few minutes. I added in a tablespoon of garlic. The recipe called for 3 cups of half and half but I only had two. It'll work. I slowly added in the half and half, salt, and pepper. I brought it to a boil and then simmered for a minute. The recipe called for 2 cups of an Italian blend of cheese (mozzarella, parmesan, and smoked provolone). I used sharp white cheddar instead. The recipe also called for 3/4 cup of asiago. I used mild (regular) cheddar. Part of the cheese was to be set aside and mixed with bread crumbs and olive oil. My daughter isn't big on "casserole" types of macaroni and cheese so I didn't want to bake this or use the topping so I just added all the cheese into the sauce to melt. I didn't have fresh rosemary anymore so I skipped it. I stirred in the sweet potatoes and pasta and we were all set. I went on the back porch to chop off some green onion tops. My daughter followed and grabbed herself a basil leaf. My son followed and grabbed some cilantro. Ha. We all had "fancy" toppings.

We all really liked the sweet potato macaroni. I think they would like it even more if the cheese sauce was a little runnier (more like Kraft consistency) so next time I may eliminate the flour or just use a tiny amount. Overall, it was a win though.

Monday, June 3, 2013

New favorite burger

June 3, 2013

We started our day by trying almond butter for the first time. Wow. It is awesome. Why have we always eaten peanut butter? If everyone knew how delicious and flavorful almond butter is, then peanut butter would be taking a back seat. Do yourself a favor and buy a jar! My daughter packed an almond butter sandwich, an apple, and juice. My son packed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, an apple, and yogurt. I had some leftover black bean pasta with roasted red pepper sauce. My hubby had leftover fajitas, fruit, and yogurt.

I decided to make a new recipe for potato salad. Actually, potato cauliflower salad. I followed the recipe on Melomeals. I boiled diced potatoes (two large baking potatoes) for two minutes then added cauliflower (about 1/3 of a large head) and boiled for an additional two minutes. I added about 1/2 cup red pepper, 1/2 cup celery, 3 tablespoons of red onion, some dill/black pepper, and paprika to taste. The mayo is actually beans! In the food processor, I combined a tablespoon of garlic, one can of cannellini beans (drained and rinsed), 5 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (next time I would probably add less), 1 teaspoon salt, 4 tablespoons mustard, 1 tablespoon of champagne dill mustard (recipe called for dijon), 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 2 teaspoons sugar, and then slowly added 1/8 cup olive oil (recipe called for 1/4 cup).

We wanted to try a new recipe for burgers to go with it. We followed "Morgan's Veggie Patties" on the Food Network. We sauteed 3 tablespoons onion (we used white because I already had some chopped but recipe called for red), a handful of black olives , 2 tablespoons of red peppers, 1/2 of a jalapeno, and 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic in olive oil. Let it cool. In the food processor, I combined 1/2 cup black beans, 1/2 cup chickpeas, 1/2 cup white beans, 3/4 cup quick oats, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 tablespoon parsley, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon celery salt, 1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning (recipe called for sage but I didn't have any), 2 tablespoons bread crumbs (we used panko), and an egg. The recipe also called for artichokes but I didn't have any. Mix in the veggies. My hubby fried them up and then topped them with sautéed mushrooms that were simmered in local red wine, avocado, spinach, tomato, ketchup, mustard, and cilantro.

My hubby, daughter, and I all really liked the potato/cauliflower salad. My son isn't big on potato salad period so his vote doesn't count. Ha. I can't believe the beans actually work as a dressing. How fun! The burgers turned out great. This is our new favorite burger recipe!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Black Bean Pasta

June 1 & 2, 2013

Yesterday we went to Moe's for lunch. My son had a cheese quesadilla. My hubby had nachos with beans, onions, peppers, mushrooms, jalapenos, and queso. My daughter had a burrito with tofu, black beans, rice, sour cream, cilantro, black olives, cheese, and lettuce. I tried a stack called the wrong doug. I had tofu (gasp!), black beans, cilantro, mushrooms, onions, peppers, pico de gallo, sour cream, cheese, and guacamole. It is stuffed between two corn shells then wrapped in a grilled tortilla. It was awesome but super filling. I was stuffed after only eating half!

We had friends over for dinner. We made tacos. Local ground beef for them and black beans for us. We topped our tacos with romaine lettuce, tomatoes, onion, black olives, cheese, sour cream, grilled onions/peppers/portobello mushrooms, and avocado. I wanted to make some type of appetizer. Even though we had it twice in the past few days, I knew just what would go perfect with tacos....the salsa corn queso dip. Yes! It was delicious. I set out some pineapple, pears, grapes, and strawberries and we were all set. For dessert, our friends had brought over a tray of assorted cheesecake. Yum.

We woke up today and my hubby asked me if I wanted to do a day trip. I did what any rational person would do. Scream yes and start searching menus to see where we would eat lunch! I found a little cafe that is all vegan. We were all pretty excited to try it. I had a portobello mushroom garlic flavored seitan, spinach, tomato, alfalfa sprouts, mozzarella cheese, avocado and roasted garlic mayo sandwich served on toasted rye bread. It was good. I think I would enjoy seitan more if it had been cut thinner and I would rather a different cheese. My son had pancakes. They were the best pancakes ever. I had the kids ask what was in them but I only got a half hearted reply. I may need to do some research! My daughter had buckwheat soba noodles, marinated tofu and mushrooms atop a bed of leafy greens topped with sesame seeds served with a sesame ginger dressing. Her salad was really good. My hubby had thinly sliced seitan, sauerkraut, 1,000 island dressing, and vegan cheese on toasted rye. Ah, yes. Thinly sliced seitan is the way to go. We heard their milkshakes were great so we decided to share one. We had the peanut butter oreo shake. Oh my gosh. It was amazing. It was so smooth and the flavors were awesome. I made a comment that if only they had a raspberry one that we could share another. My daughter pointed out my mistake: pineapple raspberry. Uh oh! We went back in for another round. It. Was. Heaven. I will definitely need to try to duplicate that!

We hit up a natural foods store. I found such cool stuff. My favorite find was pasta made out of black beans. Imagine eating spaghetti (my fav) but with the added bonus of 25 grams of protein. Wohoo! I also bought dry black beans, brown rice, peanut butter and honey (travel pack for my daughter), vegetarian teriyaki jerky (my daughter's choice again), acai energy drink (for hubby), and cranberry orzo.

I wanted to try out the black bean pasta for dinner. I also had a new recipe to try for roasted pepper sauce. After reading through the recipe, I realized that I would want to make a few changes to it. I sauteed two tablespoons of garlic, two fresh basil leaves, and about 3/4 jar of roasted red peppers. I put it through the food processor then added it back to the pan. I stirred in 2 cups of half and half, 1/4 cup of asiago, 1/2 cup of parmesan, and 1/4 cup of mozzarella. The only reason that I used parmesan is that I used up the end of the asiago. I use any good block of cheese interchangeably so just use what kind you like. Seasoned the sauce with salt and pepper and it was set. I steamed some broccolini as our side. If you have never had broccolini, you are missing out. It tastes almost like a cross between asparagus and broccoli. I LOVE it but have a hard time finding it at stores. How did we like the pasta? My daughter took a couple bites and said "this spaghetti is awesome"! My son said he liked it but would rather the sauce a little thinner. Ok. My hubby said it was delicious. I loved it. You could tell it was different than a store bought pasta. Although, fresh pasta also tastes different than store bought. Take a look at the ingredient list on a box of white pasta. I bet you will find multiple ingredients that you don't know what they are. This pasta had two ingredients: black beans and water. Score. I need to find this pasta closer to home! We finished off our dinner with some of the leftover cheesecake that our friends left behind. We topped it with caramel sauce from Pampered Chef. Yum!