Got a jump on Monday and packed school lunch as I begin to make dinner. We had a little flurry of snow in Toronto today so a warming meal is on the menu for school: I will warm up some of this delicious and protein packed red lentil and tomato soup in a thermos for my girls in the morning and pop it into their lunch bags w some fruit and a cardamom and cinnamon roll I made earlier. The perfect way to start off the week (in my mind, pretty sure my kids would prefer a long weekend 😜).
Afew months ago I came across a recipe for vegan matzo balls and I made a mental note to give the recipe a try before next Passover. Yesterday I picked up a copy of the Zahav cookbook and there was a recipe for black garlic matzo ball soup and figured it was time to break out that matzo ball recipe. Instead of using eggs and schmaltz in the matzo balls, you make up a thin paste with tofu, vegetable stock and a bit of olive oil. This is mixed w the matzo meal and I added some grated carrot, green onion and lemon thyme. Cooked according to the directions and they turned out pretty well. They are definitely not the real deal – these were denser than their meaty cousins – but perfectly tasty and (nearly) everyone loved them. I modified the broth recipe to make it meatless and will pack the kids a thermos full of warm soup for their schoollunch tomorrow which is sure to delight them. Packed some vegetables, fruit and a few little cookies for a treat for the 50th day of school! More than 1/4 of the way through the year!
Soup is on the menu on this cool and rainy day. Since my kids were little they have loved split pea soup – and especially the soup at united bakers – a Toronto institution that serves a delicious array of kosher-style food. I did my best to recreate it here and will pack a thermos full of it in the morning along w a container of pomegranate salsa (recipe from @lucquesla) to brighten it up. Packed a couple of fennel scented crackers and a bit of colourful fruit – a purple passion fruit and some enormous green grapes.
A full day of heavy rain is in the forecast for Toronto tomorrow so a warm bottle of soup is on menu for school. I made a pot of vegan curried butternut squash and pear soup for our dinner and will warm it up in the morning for the girls. Butternut squash soups are so delicious and so easy to make delicious. I sautéed some carrots, onions and celery in some olive oil and once the onions started to take on some colour, added some curry powder and cooked it until it was fragrant. I added a couple of litres of vegetable stock, a diced squash and half a dozen very ripe pears that I had roughly chopped. This simmered away for about 45 minutes until the squash was tender. I pulled out my immersion blender and pureed the soup until it was smooth. I gave it a quick taste, it needed some acidity so gave it a big squeeze of lime and it was ready for dinner. A perfect fall soup!
Back to lunch – I packed some little spinach, roasted corn (froze a bunch of it at the end of the summer) and egg frittatas for some protein. These are so fast and easy to make – just beat up some eggs (I used 3) and add some veggies (I used about 1 cup of vegetables in total, the spinach was previously frozen and I gave it a good squeeze to remove excess water). Pour the mixture into well greased (I cannot emphasize this enough!! I spent ages trying to clean off the baked on egg from my muffin pan) mini muffin cups – 1 got 6 muffin cups worth – and bake in a 400F oven for 10 mins or until the eggs are set. They will puff up and then sink down as they cool. Easy, economical and kid-friendly. I added some colourful fruit and was pleasantly surprised to discover that the dragonfruit was bright pink and not white!
It has been grey and drizzly all day which left me with only one option – make soup! I made up a quick pot of red lentil and fire-roasted tomato soup (I buy the tomatoes in a can already roasted) and decided to pack it for the kids for lunch because the forecast doesn’t look promising. I added a lovely slice of roasted tomato focaccia, some colourful vegetables and fruit and 5 smarties that I brought back from the UK last spring.
Making lunch is a bit of a balancing act between my two girls’ preferences. Yesterday’s dumplings were my little daughter’s favourite lunch (she doesn’t look at all like me, but our mutual love of dumplings reassures me that she is my child ;)) and the lunch packed here is definitely on my big daughter’s top ten list. My big daughter likes dumplings, but the little one LOVES dumplings. When she was in nursery school, I used to pick her up for lunch and if she didn’t want to come home for lunch (she really likes to be at home) she asked to go to our favourite dumpling place in Chinatown. By the age of 4, she could navigate the menu and famously took my mother there for lunch and took care of ordering. To this day, she will eat dumplings daily – given the opportunity – and when I do make dumplings for lunches, I always have to make extras for her to eat on the spot.
Back to today, I packed a container of soba w carrots, white turnip and baby beet greens. Will whip up some miso soup in the morning to accompany the noodles (but they have confessed to drinking the soup at their desks, pretending it is water. My children are such rebels) There are some edamame for protein, beautiful roasted baby beets, orange and pomegranate and a few organic candies for a treat. A lovely fall lunch box, packed w freshly harvest veg that just arrived on my doorstep.
Fall arrived today! Yesterday it was sunny in Toronto and today it has rained all day, it is much cooler and the leaves on the trees have started to change colour. The good news is that this sweater weather ushers in soup weather. I love to make soup in the fall and winter because it warms you up from the inside and practically speaking, is a great use of the odds and ends that end up in the fridge. My mother is a particularly spectacular soup maker and is famous for making “clean out the fridge” soup that is consistently delicious and nourishing. We have made pots of soup side by side, with identical ingredients (unless she hides things in her apron), and hers are always so much better! Clearly a magical touch.
I made a pot of vegan chickpea, butternut squash and kale soup in a smoky broth that should warm the girls up tomorrow at lunch time. I packed them some crispy veggies to toss into their soup for texture and a few rosemary focaccia breadsticks that I made from some multigrain (w oats, millet and other good stuff) dough that I picked up at the supermarket. Finally, I added a little apple and a wedge of pomegranate that came in our #csa box this week to round out this meal for a chilly day.
Winter is absolutely, undoubtedly here and here to stay for many months. The drive home from school was slow as people got their first taste of winter driving. I love hot soups on a cold days so decided to make a big pot of miso soup and a bunch of add ins for dinner and figured I would pack the same thing for lunch.
I made up some soba noodles, steamed broccoli and bok choi, sautéed some mushrooms – these three were all from my amazing CSA share from the previous week – and sliced some carrots, peppers and tofu up. Because of the slow driving conditions, the kids ate early while my husband hung around the office until traffic looked like it was picking up. They set up a picnic in front of the fireplace and put together bowls of soup and ate away delighted for this rare meal on the floor!
For lunch, I put some soba, bok choi, mushrooms, carrots and tofu into the round container that came with their lunch boxes. In the morning I filled up their insulated bottles with some hot miso soup that they could pour over the contents of their containers to warm them up and have a warming meal. I also packed them some chompers – delicious seaweed snacks that we cannot get enough of – some edamame and rice crackers, an orange and a bunch of candied sunflower seeds. Yum!
FIT TIP OF THE DAY – 1 minute wall squat (lean against the wall like you’re sitting in a chair, knees in line w heels. Breathe). Questions about the FIT TIP? Give Barb a shout – firstname.lastname@example.org
Winter is on the horizon and between the shorter days and the chilly mornings and afternoons, I am increasingly drawn towards comforting foods and contemplating hibernation until spring. Since actual hibernation is probably not an option, I have started to make soup a few nights a week. It is a great way to use the produce from our CSA share and usually – but not always – an easy way to get the girls to eat some veggies.
I have a big jar of dried wild mushrooms that I picked up at Costco a that I knew would be put to use as soon as the weather started to cool down. Dried mushrooms add lots of flavour and body to a soup and are a go to when I am making vegan soups since I am not using beef or chicken stocks which naturally add depth. Between the dried mushrooms and some fresh shitake mushrooms from our box, I decided to whip up a pot of mushroom and farro soup. It is hearty, warming and would do double duty feeding us for both dinner and lunch the next day. For lunch, the kids had a thermos each of soup, a sandwich of smoked tofu on some whole wheat sourdough bread and some pomegranate airls. They each had a fruit jelly for dessert. I cannot think of anything better to eat before heading out to play on a chilly day!
FIT TIP OF THE DAY – 10 Roll-ups (lie on floor on your back, swing legs forward and back and try to fully stand up without using your hands. You need to really swing legs towards head to gain momentum). Questions/comments/concerns about the FIT TIP? Barb is happy to help – email@example.com
Snow – very light flurries, not the stuff that will stick around for weeks and weeks – is forecast and there is a chill in the air. Unless it is very cold or very icy, the kids will head outdoors to play three times a day. A hot bowl of soup is the perfect way to warm up their little bodies before heading out so that they have lots of energy to swing on the monkey bars and to keep warm.
I had my winter tires put on my car today which ended up taking up the entire afternoon and while I got some work done at the coffee place down the street, it didn’t leave me with much time to get organized for dinner. There is a terrific Lebanese supermarket near the tire place that I ran into before getting my girls from school. I picked up a jar of their lentil soup, some dips, stuffed vine leaves and some warm fresh pita for dinner and school lunches. I cannot send the dips to school since they all have tahini in them, but they were a tasty after school snack and nice condiment for dinner.
For lunch, I packed the kids bottles of hot soup. I am a big fan of the s’well insulated bottles – they keep hot stuff very hot and cold stuff nice and cold. This makes them perfect for both smoothies and soup depending up on the day. I have learned from experience, that hot food doesn’t cool off at all, so that when I heat up soup, it has to be to a temperature that is comfortable for consumption. The kids use the big dipper container that came with their lunch boxes to eat the soup and so I usually put whatever garnishes the soup in there. In this case, I tossed in a wedge of lemon and some mint. Along with the soup, I packed some vine leaves stuffed with rice (and more lemon), some little wedges of socca that was leftover from the night before and a container of garlic sauce to dip it in. Finally, they have a selection of wonderful and exotic fruit – rambutan and goldenberries – from our Chinatown outing earlier in the week. A few little chocolate wafers rounds out this cold day lunch!