May. 8th, 2009

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Had an interesting encounter with one of my daughter's classmates the other day. This little girl came up to me when I stopped in the kids' classroom and said to me confidentially about my daughter, "Did you KNOW she almost never brings anything healthy in her lunch?"

Pushy kid. (Okay, she's adorable, but she's very Strong In Personality.)  Who does she think makes the lunch?

My daughter's lunch, most days, consists of some variation on the following: homemade plain lowfat yogurt with honey or maple syrup and a little cinnamon drizzled on top (or, okay, chocolate syrup sometimes), a little tupperware thing with cheese curds and whole grain crackers, and another little thing with, for example, a mixture of cereal and raisins.  Yes, it's all sort of "snacky" food, but it's GOOD snacky food, and it covers a wide variety of different food groups.  I'd vary it more if I could get her to eat a greater variety, but this is usually what she'll eat. 

(Our school, by the way, does "trash free" lunches, where we are to send food in reusable containers wherever possible.  It's been surprisingly easy, and in fact was the beginning of my mission to cut down our garbage production footprint.)

Is a salami sandwich on Wonder bread, or whatever variation thereon one tried, really a "better" lunch than this?

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A couple of weeks ago I made a huge mess of pasta sauce.

A lot of my green efforts come from an increasing p.o.'d-ness at how many pasta sauce jars and yogurt containers and applesauce jars I find myself throwing into the recycling bin.  It's a a lot of refuse.  Makes me mad.

So I saved a few jars from purchased pasta sauce, and I made sauce in the crockpot.  A whole lot.  Again, the basic easy ridiculous recipe involves a lot of non-measuring and throwing of handfuls of stuff into the pot.  Something like this:

Vegetarian Crockpot Pasta Sauce:
  • Fill the crock about 2/3 full of various raw veggies: mushrooms (not more than half a pound unless you brown them first), cut up bell peppers, chopped onion, zucchini, whatever else you can think of.
  • Add maybe 3-4 (or more, if you're me) spoonfuls of crushed garlic from a jar, or the real stuff if you're up for it, in with the veggies.
  • Ditto a few teaspoonsful of Italian dried (or 3 times as much of fresh) herbs and spices.
  • Pour 4 big cans of diced tomatoes with juice into the pot.  Add 1 can of tomato paste.  Stir if you want to, or don't bother.
  • Cook on low all day.  Give it a good stir when you get home from work.
  • About half an hour before serving, start some pasta to go under it, toss in a couple of glubs of cheap red wine, 1-2 tsp. salt, and more Italian herbs.
  • If you live with kids who won't eat recognizable veggies, attack it (gently!) with an immersion blender to obliterate/disguise the veggie pieces.  (And as careful as you're being, don't wear your white tank top while you do it, because if you're wearing a white tank top you're guaranteed to splatter.  Murphy's law.)
Got a total of 4-5 jars of pasta sauce this way, with very little work and not much cost either.  And it's pretty darn healthy.

Think that's what we're having for dinner tonight...


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December 2012

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