The last time I kept a diary, I was in grade 8. I quickly learned that no matter where I hid the thing, inquisitive little sisters were sure to find it. Today, I write a rather different weekly journal, one I am happy to share with anyone who cares: I keep a weekly menu. This normally includes five dinners - one that gives us a good variety of proteins and grains. I then load everything up on veggies. If a special breakfast is needed for the weekend, I jot that down, too. Lastly, I make a list of baked goods, sweet or savoury, also breads, which will be made to get us through the week healthfully. Writing down the book with the recipe and the page number makes things even easier. If I am using printouts, I put them all in one easy to find spot.
At times when I don't use my journal, we spend more on groceries and eat more junk. It's a lose-lose situation overall. So I make a point of taking a half hour each week to plan ahead. There's never a scramble when dinner time comes around, I know exactly what's in my fridge and I can even prepare for the next day, if chick peas need soaking or meat needs thawing.
When I am feeling less creative or I'm too busy to look through cookbooks, I flip back in the journal to weeks gone by for dinner ideas, remembering favourites and passing on flops.
A new family favourite was born today, one I changed to my liking by replacing some original components with chick peas for a complete all-in-one vegetarian dinner.
Chick pea and Vegetable Fajitas
1 large red bell pepper, sliced into 1/4 inch strips
1 small onion, peeled, halved and sliced into 1/4 inch strips
1 cup cooked chick peas
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp canola oil
1/2 tsp fresh lime juice
6 - 8 8-inch whole wheat with flax tortillas
2 ripe Hass avocados
1/4 cup very finely chopped red onion (optional)
1/4 cup very finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 lime, juiced
Hot pepper sauce
salt and black pepper
Use a fork to mash the avocados, leaving it a bit chunky. Stir in the onion and cilantro.
Add lime juice and hot sauce to taste. Season with salt and pepper.
If the guacamole has to sit for a few hours, keep the avocado pits and push them right into the guacamole, this will keep it from oxidizing and turning brown. Put in an air tight container and store in the fridge.
To make the fajitas:
Combine red pepper, onion, chick peas, cumin, chili powder, sea salt, black pepper, and garlic in a bowl. Drizzle with the canola oil, toss to combine.
Heat a saute pan to medium high. Add the vegetables and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 - 7 minutes. Remove pan from heat, sprinkle lime juice over vegetables and stir to combine.
Spread some guacamole on each tortilla. Top with vegetables and chick peas, top with a little sour cream or my favourite, Balkan yogurt. Optional: shredded jack cheese, salsa, additional fresh cilantro.
Fold or roll up and enjoy.
Here's how I served it to the kids, since they love chick peas more than anything:
(By the way, the kids very happily, very messily, ate everything on their plates.)