Friday Tips: Getting your Greens

Vegan Goodness:

Today we ate:

  • Breakfast: Green smoothies for Mom and LP, followed by oatmeal for everyone.
  • Lunch: Leftover lentils for LP and leftover rice and refried beans for Mom and Dad
  • LP had some cheerios for his playgroup snack, and then he and mom shared some crackers later in the afternoon.
  • Dinner: Tofu scramble and roasted fingerling potatos
  • Mom and Dad had some chocolate chip shortbread cookies for dessert

Money Matters:
Today we spent the following:

  • $30.53.00 for gas

Friday Tips for Living Vegan and Living Cheap – with kids!:

Getting your Greens

If you had asked me about which greens I ate five years ago (when I was really starting to actually go vegan, not just vegetarian with a side of cheese) I would have said “Ummmm . . . I eat salads sometimes?”  After much appreciated greens-education from the Vegetarian Food for Thought podcast I now count kale, chard and collards among some of my favorite foods!  For those of you looking to get eat healthier, you can’t beat these green leafies.  Here are some of my favorite ways to slip these delicious veggies into almost every meal:

Smoothies: As you might have already noticed, we almost always start the day with a smoothie.  My personal favorite is my green smoothie, but you could even throw a few leaves of kale into a blueberry or strawberry smoothie.  If you are just starting with greens in your smoothie, try about a 1/2 cup of frozen leaves, and then add more as you get used to the taste.  Or, just go straight to the good stuff with this delicious green smoothie recipe!

Soups: I recently made a lentil soup that called for lentils (obviously) onions, carrots and celery.  Of course, I added in some beet greens!  I put greens in almost every soup I make, except for some of my blended soups (like carrot ginger – I just love the orange color).  It’s easy to add greens – just chop up a bunch of collards, kale or other hearty green and add it in for the last 10-15 minutes of time that the soup cooks.  No need to add extra stock or adjust anything – the greens just make a tasty and healthy addition.

Pasta: We make pasta a lot and we can always add some greens to round out this carb-centric dinner.  I just add chopped greens to the pasta water for the last 5-10 minutes of cooking or so.  Then I drain the pasta (and the greens) put it back in the pot, add the sauce, heat it all back up and dinner is ready to go!

On the side: Of course, sometimes we just have some greens on the side, which is especially nice for those creamy soups I love.  My favorite way to prepare kale is simply to saute some garlic in olive oil for a bit, and then add a freshly washed head of kale (chopped up of course).  Then I cover the pan, let it steam a bit (about 7-10 minutes) and the stir it and serve it.  A quick and easy side dish!

I will admit that cutting and washing greens can be a bit of a drag on a weeknight when dinner has to come together quickly.  My solution to that has been to cut, wash and bag greens (mostly kale and collards) on Sunday and then store them in the fridge.  This is not a recommended thing to do by experts who point out that you lose some of the nutrients this way.  However, I learned, pretty quickly, that I lost all the nutrients in greens that I bought but didn’t eat!  So, if prepping earlier helps you get your greens, go for it!  And then enjoy all these fantastic ways to eat yummy kale, collards, chard, beet greens, bok choy . . . you get the idea.

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