A White Flag Thanksgiving

turtleWell Thanksgiving was a bust this year. Asher started morning preschool two weeks ago, and by the end of his first week he had a raging fever which quickly spread throughout the house and resurged in some new capacity every few days until we were all forced to raise the white flag and give up on seeing the outside world for six days. Both boys developed inner ear infections and were miserable, and Robby and I stayed up every night comforting, cradling, medicine dosing, and crying ourselves into sleep-deprived naps on the floor next to the crib. Our Thanksgiving dinner consisted on white bread and whiskey with baby monitors and Advil on hand, and we were feeling mighty sorry for ourselves.

berriesWhile being home with sick little ones especially on a long holiday weekend really blows, it was also kind of the best and I have a lot to be grateful for this year. In just this one week, our soon-to-be-one-year-old Everett is now crawling, eating, and blubbering like a real toddler. He hates the sight of baby food, and he only wants to play with legos, crawl through tunnels, and haphazardly shovel an entire banana into his mouth. What happened?! Are we just too busy to notice the small changes that happen every day? Or did he really just wake up and decide to literally develop overnight? As a family, we were able to heal and grow together this past week, and my husband and I were reminded that we can pull through the worst of days relying only on each other. What a concept and test of marriage!

kale chickpea Last night was the first night all four of us slept well and happy, and in celebration I finally cooked a meal! This kale chickpea red pepper stew is so delicious and nutritious, and is best served on top of a bed of quinoa. The entire cost to serve 4 people is around $5.

KALE CHICKPEA RED PEPPERS

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup of vegetable broth
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 bunch kale, roughly torn from stems
1 red pepper, julienned

In large pan, heat olive oil on medium heat. Stir in kale and cook for 5-6 minutes. This fry will give the kale a little bit of a roasted taste. Then add vegetable broth, red peppers and chickpeas and cook another 7 – 8 minutes. Serve over quinoa, pasta, or cous cous for a delicious side dish or main entree. You can also top with red pepper flakes or parmesan for a bit of Italian flavor.

Pho, Pho and Away!

tentOn Friday, Asher woke up with a high fever and a cold sore on his mouth so naturally we built a camping tent in our living room. That’s him in the background playing on his toy laptop and moaning, while Everett wonders what’s going on. Today, he finally ate his comfort food of crappy Kraft mac and cheese, which inspired me to share my most favorite sick day soup – Vegan Pho!

I am very proud to say this is actually my husband’s recipe and is one of my all-time favorite foods. The broth is full of sweet and spicy exotic spices, and the udon noodles mixed with the crunch of fresh herbs make this a soul satisfying dish. And because this recipe requires whomever in your household is least likely to burn themselves to roast the ginger over a fire, your house will have the added perk of smelling like sweet delicious roasted ginger!

VEGAN PHO
1/2 bag of udon noodles
6 quarts of vegetable broth OR 6 quarts of water with 2-3 bullion cubes
1 bunch scallions
8 cloves of garlic
3” ginger root in skin
6 whole star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
2 whole bay leaves
1 container extra firm tofu
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
1 Tablespoon soy sauce

Toppings
1/2 head of napa cabbage, roughly chopped
1/2 head of purple cabbage, roughly chopped
1 cup roughly chopped peanuts
1 container of bean sprouts
1 bunch of Thai basil, whole leaves
1 bunch of cilantro, whole leaves
1/2 jalapeno sliced into circles, seeds removed
1 lime sliced into quarters
Sriracha sauce

Bring a medium pot filled with water to a boil. Add udon noodles and cook for 15 minutes. Drain noodles and run under cold water for 2 minutes, then toss with sesame oil to prevent sticking. Cook tofu according to my previous post Roasted Tofu Special Treat. Using stainless steel tongs, roast the whole ginger over your stove’s open flame about 5-7 minutes then set aside. In a large pot, bring vegetable broth to a boil then add whole ginger, scallions, garlic, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, star anise, and soy sauce. Boil on medium heat for 20-25 minutes. Remove all solids from the broth so it is a clear, light brown color. In serving bowls, combine two parts broth to one part noodles. Arrange toppings side by side on a large serving plate and allow guests to add desired amounts fresh to their pho. Heaven! Serves 4 -6.