Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Lunch Lady: A Lunch for Elizabeth

Note: Before Vegan Mofo began I put out a call to friends asking if anyone wanted me to design a special vegan lunch just for them. I was planning to do one post like this per week, but I ended up with so many requests I'm going to attempt to do two per week. Stay tuned for vegan lunches designed for students, teachers, writers, travellers, small business owners and more!

This is Elizabeth (with grandaughter, Cameron). Elizabeth has known me since I was nine years old because she is my friend Kat's mom. I don't see her very often since she lives way out in BC, but we get together whenever we're in the same city and get caught up. Elizabeth is a busy university professor and she defined her lunch needs as follows:
My needs are that it be portable, energy providing, and give me some badly needed veg servings. I would even tote a green shake, etc. I like tofu, btw. If it is something I could prepare in bulk so I could take it several times for lunch, even better. I like all vegetables. I usually eat at my desk.

Lunch Item 1: Green Smoothie

Elizabeth did the work for me for the first item by suggesting it herself. What I'm bringing to the table is a kitchen hack. Did you know that most blender bases will screw into a standard mason jar? It's true, look!

blender + jar!

You can throw all your smoothie ingredients in a jar, attach the blender base, put it in place, and blend away. This makes for super easy portable smoothie preparation. No liquid to transfer to another container, no blender to wash. Just screw a lid on your jar and go. Glass keeps things colder than plastic does and is much nicer to drink out of. If you need a recipe for a green smoothie, my basic one for a spinach-berry smoothie is here. Mason jars also have the added benefit of not leaking if you throw them in your purse. (Unless you don't put the lid on properly, then it's a trip to Slime City. )

Lunch Item 2: Kale Salad

I posted this recipe a little while ago and it has stood the test of time. Kale salads are great because you can dress them and leave them in the fridge and the greens don't wilt like boring old lettuce would. Kale is also a real over-achiever in the vegetable department, so it's a good choice for lunchers who want to reap the benefits of increased vegetable consumption.

kale salad

There's also no need to heat this up, so it can be eaten quickly as a pre or post-lunch snack. I also chose this because Elizabeth wanted foods to give her energy and I know that raw food, especially raw greens, always boosts my energy.

Lunch Item 3: Roasted Vegetables with Tofu

(I'm assuming that Elizabeth has the means to heat up some of her lunch, since this is food that is not very good when eaten cold) This is an dish that can be prepared in bulk on the weekend and brought along for lunch through the week. The ingredients are in season right now and it's great with any variation of root vegetables and herbs. It can be served with some brown rice and some kind of healthy gravy-type sauce (I like this super healthy recipe) but I also enjoy it all on its own. The squash and apples keep the end product from being too dry. A little bit of this goes a long way as far as keeping me full for a while after lunch. My basic recipe is here.

autumn vegetables for roasting

Plus, it will make your house smell all wonderful on Sunday when you're making it.

Lunch Item 4: Dark Chocolate

As I said before, I always feel like a bit of a treat after lunch. A few squares of dark chocolate is always welcome and it doesn't weigh you down like sugary baked goods would. My favourite right now is the Cocoa Camino raspberry dark chocolate bar. Yum.

That's all for this one! More lunch talk tomorrow.



skylark said...

Just want to say I'm a big fan of this lunchtime series and I that I'm off to go try putting a mason jar on my blender... INGENIOUS!

Allysia said...

The lunchtime series is a great idea, and the mason jar thing definitely blew my mind. I'm also a big fan of a small treat after lunch - not like a haul of cupcakes, but something small, just a taste.

Jennifer (It Ain't Meat, Babe) said...

Thanks folks! I was worried that these longer posts go unread, so it's nice to hear that people like them. :)

T said...

I never thought of throwing tofu in with my roasted veggies before, that's pretty brilliant. Also that blender hack is SO RAD!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic ideas and they all sound yummy!


jessy said...

i love everything about this post. thanks so much, Jennifer! :)

Kittee Bee Berns said...

I am seriously amazed by your hack. so once everything is blended up, you just turn the whole whizbang upside down??



Jennifer (It Ain't Meat, Babe) said...

Kittee, yep! That's it. Just turn it upside down, unscrew it, and then put your lid on and go. said...

I love this idea & the kale salad looks delicious.

Leslie R. said...

Wonderful! And I am super jazzed about the jar/blender trick. I can't wait to go home and try it!!

Tea and Sympatico said...

What a brilliant idea of designing lunches and I like the inclusion of chocolate :)

Erin said...

I really like the idea of a lunch series. My lunches are usually dinner leftovers, and I have to get creative sometimes to tote them to work. The blender/mason jar trick is insane, I have to try that with my blender!

the [sugar] apothecary said...

Hooray for roasted vegetable season! Excellent suggestion, especially with the added tofu.

Tt in nyc said...

I make a huge batch of marinated kale salad tht last 3-4 days, gets better tasting each day, lemon juice is key, chopped apples, shredded carrots, edamame, and whtever else ive got to use up and massage with bit of oil- loving my walnut oil now- and its super nutritious and filling!

Sarah said...

Note to anyone trying the mason jar blender thing: look at your blender first before you do this!

After reading this, I went and tried it. The mason jar screwed on perfectly and everything was blending up nicely...until I went to remove the bottom. It turns out that my blender blends in the same direction that it tightens. My blender carafe is normally fine with this, but apparently this is not so good with mason jars. I have been trying for an hour to remove this mason jar and it has been threaded on so tight I am not sure it will ever come off.

I've everything under the sun (including my warehouse working boyfriend...serious muscle!) and it will not budge. I love the idea, but I guess it just does not work with my blender.