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Sunday, February 19, 2017

An Elf is Worth a Thousand Words

Y’ALL! Last week’s post saw our second largest response EVER!! We couldn’t believe our little Elfin Eyes! We were BEYOND thrilled! Lexi Senter’s Story generated quite a bit of response and dialogue as well, so we are happy to get her story out there! Examples of people’s journeys are always inspirational and Lexi’s was certainly no exception.
We also wanted to share with you how we have semi-organized our meals.  For most of you, this is probably something you do quite a bit…plan your week ahead so you know what you are going to serve and prepare in advance. Sure does eliminate the dreaded "What’s for dinner?” The flip side is that it reduces spontaneity…but bein’ The Elf and all, we reserve the right to throw in a new dish on occasion. Given that we prepare vegetables and dishes such as brown rice and lentils, vegan pimento cheese, keep potatoes on hand to bake, and other assorted items to have for lunch, our week of organized meals refers solely to the evening meal. Down here in the Deep South, we call it dinner whereas most folks refer to it as supper. Here’s how the week flowed for entrées:
Sunday — Taco Night. We try to come up with different taco fillings but have a few favorites such as shredded chicken and/or seitan, Gardein Fishless Filets that are baked and shredded, riced cauliflower and lentils, portobellos that are grilled or sautéed and chopped or sliced thinly. You get the picture. We would show you a picture from Sunday night’s Taco Night but, honestly, unless we’ve tried a new recipe out and can show you how it came together, it’s really a repeat of what you’ve seen before.
Monday — Vegetable Night with Vegan Cornsticks. LOOKEE HERE! We had some pretty good stuffs Monday night. Golden Beets that we steamed first to cut down on the cookin’ time and sautéed
then finished off with a maple syrup glaze.
Also some great Kale that we washed thoroughly,

mixed with some Rainbow Swiss Chard and piled up in a deep pan to sauté.
We chopped up the pretty stalks, steamed them and threw them in the mix as well.
Then we added some great mushrooms, some dark, rich balsamic vinegar and let this cook down. Yes, we did add oil but just about a tablespoon of coconut oil.
And finally, our cornsticks because what is a vegetable dinner without cornbread of some kind? Big Solid loves crunchy stuff, so we typically make cornsticks. Actually, this is an older photo as we forgot to take a picture as they came out. We were THAT hungry!
Tuesday — Baked Potato With Selected Toppings Night. Our toppings Tuesday night included sautéed plant-based chicken shreds, steamed broccoli, shredded Daiya cheese. By the time you pile all of that on a nice sized potato, you’ve got a great meal. No picture here either, as you have seen this before. We WILL share one this week though.
Wednesday — Our FFVK Recipe Night!!  Our FFVK recipe for this week was Sicilian Market Pasta.
We have prepared it before but thought we’d give it another go. Since Big Solid has given himself permission to eat pasta, we are always eager to prepare it. This is a delicious recipe because it has some of our favorite flavors PLUS PASTA! So, here we go…now be a bit prepared for a mini-fail along the way that sorta worked itself out. We got our ‘mise en place’ early in the day so we would be SURE to have everything. And sure enough!! We hadn’t read through the ingredients thoroughly and missed two items; we were able to run quickly through the grocery and pick them up (the orange and the basil). So here you have MOST of the ingredients…left to right along the way. Halved cherry tomatoes, orange zest, basil, oregano, chickpeas, red pepper flakes, Kalamata olives, garlic, and…the pasta (Japanese noodles, the beginning of the mini-fail).
We sautéed the garlic (we used the minced garlic rather than chopped), removed it. We then added the chopped red onion along with the zest, oregano and red pepper flakes. We had a cup of the pasta water at the ready and added that along with the chickpeas.

Next we added the basil and Kalamata olives to the chickpeas.
Those cooked a bit
and finally added the tomatoes.
Really pretty, don’t cha think? We also had some portabello caps that needed to be cooked, so we sautéed them to top the pasta. NOW…remember we said that our pasta was some Japanese noodles. We had an overabundance of them and decided to use them instead of regular pasta. We remembered that they cook VERY VERY quickly, so only left then in the boiling water for 1 minute before putting in a colander to drain. That was our mistake and one we won’t make again. When the instructions called for the pasta to be added to the lovely concoction of chickpeas, olives, basil and tomatoes, the pasta had welded itself into the dome like formation of the colander and came to the skillet as a big ole solidified lump o' pasta. We broke it up as best we could but there was FAR too much pasta/noodle stuffs. We wound up taking large hunks of it out and slowly breaking up the rest. Once that was done, we plated it with the portabello slices. The flavor was outstanding!
Lesson learned was to NOT cook these noodles at all and just throw them into the chickpea mixture to cook in it. THAT would have worked beautifully! Even with the mini-fail, we thoroughly enjoyed the recipe!!
Thursday — Taco Salad Night! When we prepared the filling for Sunday Night Tacos, we doubled the amount to have enough on hand later in the week for Taco Salad. The filling was a combination of Gardein Meatless Crumbles and finely minced plant-based chicken (remember The Gentle Chef’s recipe that we make weekly). Sure enough, we LOVED it! We topped our salad with a bit of guacamole, a couple of tablespoons of Cowboy Caviar we made and DOVE in….TWICE!

Friday and Saturday Nights are nights we dine out. Typically, Friday night is Fusion night. Fusion is a local Thai/Japanese restaurant that has great vegan options for some Thai dishes as well as vegan sushi. Saturday is anybody's guess, though we have favorite haunts that serve good vegan options...Anjou being one of them.

Which brings us back to Sunday and we start all over. You know, this way of eating is quite yummy to us and we are content to 'theme' each night and do variations on that theme. Do y’all remember the EARLY days of TEEVEE and the Mickey Mouse Club every afternoon!  Each day of the week had a specific theme. Well, we feel that we are in a similar universe; we remember that Wednesday was “Anything Can Happen Day”. We feel that’s appropriate since that’s the day we usually try out a new recipe!! More about that later...
We went to the local Farmer’s Market Saturday in search of early vegetables. We also had on our 'TO DO' list to go by Whole Paycheck/Foods and pick up some fresh turmeric root for our arthritis tonic.
There’s not a huge selection right now as it’s still early BUT LO AND BEHOLD!! Lookee at what we found at the Farmer’s Market!! Homegrown turmeric!!
And at a cost FAR below what is being charged at Whole Foods. So, if you are local and want to find nice fresh home-grown PESTICIDE FREE turmeric, here’s the booth to look for!
We wanted to let you know that we are going on hiatus from our FatFree Vegan Kitchen “Expert and The Elf” project after next week's recipe.
We will be searching out recipes from some of the dozen vegan cookbooks we have and giving Susan a break from us. She has been such a marvelous support for this little blog and we have certainly benefitted from her sharing with her thousands of readers. We would LOVE as many of you as wish to continue to follow The Elf in the Kitchen as we strive to bring plant-based eating ideas to folks who might otherwise not be inclined to do so…thinking it too hard, too complex, too expensive and too challenging. So THANK YOU SUSAN VOISIN and FAT FREE VEGAN KITCHEN
for your enduring support and understanding of our 'Cluster Elfs' from time to time. Heck, we may even try to create a recipe from time to time and see how that goes on "Anything Can Happen Wednesday" in the Kinky Elfery Kitchen!
We'd like to thank Vickie Graves Gilbert for taking the pictures of the fresh turmeric and the Farmer's Market booth for us! We were already on the interstate before we realized we should have done that! If you've never seen her artwork,  you've missed a real treat!
So, as always…remember to Look for the GOOD, be an EXAMPLE of the GOOD, and ACT for the GOOD as HARD as you can, in as MANY WAYS as you can, EVERY DAY that you can. In other words, “DO EPIC”!

Your Elf

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