Happy last day of Vegan Mofo errvrybody!
I survived another mofo (barely) and even though I’m a little relived it’s over, I’m also kind of sad *single tear*. There’s such a great sense of community with Vegan Mofo, I’ve stumbled across and commented on so many blogs I’d never heard of before and I’ve had a nice few new folks drop by around these parts to say hey. I always knew we were a crafty bunch but it still amazes me how much creativity there is within the vegan community, if anyone ever said that vegan cooking was boring, I’d smack them in the head and point them to the internet. It’s kind of ridiculous how many new blogs I’ve added to my reader, on top of all my regular reads, it appears that I’m going to spend the next year just catching up! If you’re new to my little corner of the internet, thanks for stopping by! I hope you stick around because as it turns out, I kind of like here and don’t plan on leaving. Plus, think of the brunches I have to catch up on!
So that you have all the Brown Bag Lunch ideas I’ve been babbling on about all month in one convenient location, I decided to do a little round-up. On top of that I also condensed all the lunch lady tips I could think of into one handy spot. If you happen to have any you’d like to add, just let me know and I’ll throw them in! Oh, and I couldn’t end the month without squeezing in one last recipe…so skip to the bottom to check it out!
Brown Baggin’ It Recipe Round-Up!
Lunch Lady Tips
- Prep things at the beginning of the week, or on a free day. Cook a big batch of grains, lentils, beans, soup and just store in the fridge until needed.
- Prep your veggies. Cut up a bunch of vegetables and store them in water in the fridge for a quick snack or for adding to lunches.
- Make large batches of burritos/wraps, and freeze them for a quick grab and go meal.
- Invest in a small cooler bag and an icepack to keep your food fresh.
- Pack lunches the night before to save on morning stress.
- Use pre-made items to save on time – hummus, bagged salad, pre-cut veggies & fruit, marinated tempeh or tofu, etc.
- Find creative ways to use up your leftovers, curry wraps, roasted veggies in salads, cook extra proteins for salads and sandwiches.
- Make things more interesting with mixing up flavor combos – herbed/chipotle/pesto/siracha mayo, interesting spreads or hummus, spicy mustards, etc.
- Store dressings, sauces, tomatoes and anything that produces a lot of moisture seperately to prevent a soggy lunch.
- Pack your lunch with care so that nothing gets smooshed or damaged.
- Invest in some good quality reusable containers, a thermos or a bento box. I have these glass containers.
- Use lunch as a chance to be creative and introduce new flavors and foods into your diet. Bringing the same bland food everyday will be a turn off and make you want to eat out instead.
- When making sandwiches, keep it interesting buy switching up the bread, sourdough, ciabatta, olive, multigrain, rye, spelt, etc.
- If you using a metal thermos, to keep soup warm longer, fill your thermos with boiling water, let sit for a few minutes, pour out and refill with hot soup.
- Pack some interesting and fun snacks with your lunch, try different fruits, snack bars, crackers to mix things up.
- Bring some extra crackers, tortillas, croutons or nuts to sprinkle on a salad for extra crunch.
- Instead of buying a bunch of little snacks to bring with you, buy a big bag and portion out in little plastic bags for a quick snack.
When it comes to quick go-to meals, sloppy joes are pretty much the perfect food. Quick, cheap and most of the ingredients are most likely already lounging around in your kitchen (lazy bums, get a job already!). I’ve tried my fair share of various vegan sloppy joes, tvp, seitan, ground round, you name it, but I keep coming back to lentils, there’s just something about those weird little ufos I can’t get enough of, plus they’re a hell of a lot quicker to cook then beans. Now I know there’s already a crapton of sloppy joe recipes out there in internet land, so I thought I’d jazz mine up with a spicy kick…does anyone else immediately think of someone doing jazz hands when you hear the word jazz? No? Just me? Ok, moving on…. I don’t know what it is about buffalo sauce, but I feel like I’ve been putting the damn stuff on everything lately, to the point where I feel like that little old lady in all the commercials; so since I’m putting it in everything anyway, why not throw some in some sloppy joes? I’m pretty sure there’s nothing that sauce can’t do, it just makes everything better! Not only do you get the standard sweet and smokey sloppy joe flavor but you also get a spicy, tangy smack of flavour.
I know the standard way to chow down on these is to pile it high in a bun but I decided to go the alternative route and pack a steamed sweet potato full, plus it’s a tasty way to make it gluten-free without having to hunt down buns. I loooove sweet potatoes, so for me this is the optimal way to scarf it down, but if they’re not your thing (I can’t believe I just wrote that), a baked potato works just as well. To bring these for lunch, I just jabbed a potato with a fork, microwaved it until it became soft, let it cool slightly, placed it in a container, cut it open and smothered it in sloppy joe filling. Done and done. If you go with the bun, just make sure you pack it separate from the filling so that it doesn’t go all soggy and weird. I topped mine with some chopped pickles, which if you’re a dill pickle fan, is awesome!
Well that’s it for me friends, hope you enjoyed the Brown Baggin’ It posts and got some new ideas, cause I sure had fun eating everything 😉 My mind is already brimming with Fall recipes AND thanksgiving is right around the corner, so I’ll be back soon to share some more recipes with ya all…I’m thinking pie is in order…mmmmm, pie.
BUFFALO SLOPPY JOES
Buffalo sauce adds a delicious spicy kick to this lentil-based version of an American classic. Pile the filling into a toasted bun or roasted potato for a hearty healthy lunch or dinner!
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup dried puy lentils
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped or grated
- 1/2 a red pepper, diced
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup Franks Red Hot sauce
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup water mixed with 1 teaspoon no-beef or mushroom stock
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 6 burger rolls, split and toasted, baked potato or baked sweet potato
- In a large saucepan, add the lentils and cover with water, bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the bay leaf and turn down to simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the lentils are just tender. Remove from heat and drain.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil. Add the onion and sauté until the onions are translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the lentils, carrot and red pepper, season with oregano, thyme, salt and pepper, cook for 2 minutes then add the remaining ingredients. Stirring occasionally, simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until thickened.
- Pile sloppy buffalo filling into sliced baked potatoes, sweet potatoes or toasted buns and top with chopped pickles if desired.