OK, but seriously, I need to update the graphic….
Anyway, I think winter is kind of an easy time to not waste food. For one thing, anything perishable seems especially precious right now. Summer, when the gardens and markets are (sometimes literally) overflowing, I still dislike waste, but it seems a little less urgent than now, when produce means so much more effort on someone’s part. Either it’s transported a long way, or it’s been saved in cold storage, or it’s been grown in a greenhouse and nurtured along. So I really feel motivated to make the most of it.
For another thing, I just eat less fragile stuff in the winter. The only berries in the house are safely frozen from last summer. When I buy greens, they’re very sturdy — it’s all kale, no spinach or chard, right now. Lots of sweet potatoes, squash, apples, things that can basically sit around for months if I don’t get around to them. Plus pantry staples: dried beans and grains are core parts of my winter diet, as are canned tomatoes.
Dental floss, $2.95
Dijon mustard, $3.29
1 lb walnuts, $8.99
Cream cheese (x2), $4.00
Yogurt (x2), $6.00
Total with tax, $40.12
Cara cara oranges, $2.07
Total with tax, $6.90
Grand total, $47.02
What I Ate
Unexpectedly, I traveled for a funeral this week, but I knew about that before I shopped, so I bought less than I might have. The usual steel-cut oats/raisins/nuts/yogurt/blueberries for breakfast, and I decided to eat peanut butter sandwiches for the two work lunches I had to deal with before I left for the funeral. Snacks: apples and Cara Cara oranges (since the latter were on sale, and they’re delicious) along with chocolates someone gave me for my birthday last week. Finally, I hacked together this recipe out of several I found online. It was kind of inspired by rice-stuffed grape leaves, but I wanted more protein, and I wanted to know if cabbage leaves would work instead (more nutritious, less expensive.) It worked out pretty well. I also tried a few with some spare swiss chard leaves I had around and that was even better, so next time I’d just do that, probably.
Vegan Cabbage or Chard Rolls With Rice and Lentils
Cook some lentils — ideally a kind that holds its shape pretty well. Maybe 1 cup dry.
Dice or grate 2 medium onions. Heat a generous amount of olive oil in a pot and saute some pine nuts until brown (just about a minute) then add the onions and saute for five minutes or so until they soften. Add 1 cup rice along with cinnamon, dried dill, salt, and a handful of raisins or currants. Saute for a minute, stirring until the rice is coated in oil, then add 1.5 cups of water. Cook over low heat with the lid on until the water is all absorbed. The rice will still be a little underdone.
Stir the lentils in, along with a handful each of chopped fresh mint and Italian parsley. Optionally stir in a handful of toasted walnuts or almonds. Check the seasoning.
Optionally, cut some tofu into long flat strips. I also threw some diced ginger into the rice mix, and I liked it, but others might not.
In a dutch oven, heat some water to a low boil. Drop in whole cabbage or swiss chard leaves just for a few seconds (10-30) until they wilt a bit. You need them to be flexible/soft enough to roll. Pull them out with tongs and drop them in a bowl of ice water to stop them from cooking further.
Make rolls: lay out a leaf and put some rice filling in it, lay out a tofu strip on the rice, then roll up into a tight package and put in the dutch oven, seam side down. Pack the rolls (layers are fine) until you’re done. Drizzle a tablespoon or two of olive oil over the pot, along with the juice of one lemon and a pinch of salt. Then add about a cup of water to the pot. Bring to a low boil, then turn it way down and put the lid on the pot. Let it cook for 15-30 minutes until the water is all absorbed/evaporated.
You can serve with a variety of condiments. I just used salted yogurt but if you leave the tofu out a quick tomato sauce would probably work really well. Something garlicky 🙂