There's no gimmick here.
You really can teach your family to love their veggies. That the best foods don't come with a special prize inside. That health doesn't come in a package or have a nutrition label.
Sarah Matheny, creator of the popular blog and the New York Times bestselling book Peas and Thank You, returns with even more mouthwatering recipes that are guaranteed to please the whole family.
More Peas, Thank You deliciously pairs vegetarian recipes and stories from a mainstream family eating a not-so-mainstream diet. "Mama Pea" has lightened up family favorites like cinnamon rolls, tacos, lasagna and brownies, using fresh, nutritious ingredients. From hearty breakfasts to easy snacks and tempting desserts, there's something here for everyone to love.
So pull up a chair at the Peas' table and visit that place where delicious food and family fun intertwine. There's always room for more.
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About the Author
Read an Excerpt
We are not your normal family. And yet we are.
Sure, I cook dinner at 9:00 a.m. so I can photograph it in the best possible light and show it to thousands of people on the internet each day. With a law degree, I'm probably way overqualified for this position. And I'm definitely still paying back those school loans.
But I'm also a stay-at-home mom who wants to feed my family healthy and nutritious meals. Who wants my girls to grow up knowing that vegetables don't really come from cans and healthy snacks don't come in hundred-calorie packs. Who wants to gather my brood around the dinner table each night and serve them up a nourishing meal that isn't that much different from the comforting home-cooked meals that my mom made for me when I was growing up. Only she didn't care about the lighting. And she didn't rush through the dishes because The Bachelor was about to start.
Another obvious differencemy girls, Gigi and Lulu, would rather munch on tofu than chicken nuggets. What can I say? I make some killer tofu. But they fight over Barbies, they plead with me to wear tutus to soccer practice and they never met a Disney princess-emblazoned item of clothing, school supply or beach towel they didn't like.
Sure my husband, Pea Daddy, doesn't eat brats and throw back brew-skis during the big game.
But he likes a "manly" meal as much as the next guy, and he'll take down doughnuts with his coffee and sports page on a Sunday morning like it's nobody's business.
Through our blog, for the past three years I've made my family everybody's business. And really, that's the point. Because I see the value in showing the world what a "normal" family we are, tearing down that mind-set that health nuts are just plain nuts.
But what does this mean for you? I don't want you to make drastic overnight changes to fit a label. Nor do I want you necessarily to swear off meat. But even if you try one or two of these plant-based recipes in this book each week, you can raise the standard by which you feed your family and yourself.
Throughout this book, you'll find these icons at the end of each recipe to help you decipher how best to use these recipes in your everyday cooking.
Freezable These recipes can be prepared ahead of time and frozen for quick and easy meals.
Veg Value Based on a series on the blog, these recipes have a low cost per serving and can be made with readily available ingredients that won't break the bank.
Packable Don't get stuck in the PB and J rut. These recipes are perfect for both kids' and grown-ups' lunch boxes!
Pealightful Though each recipe includes a detailed nutritional analysis, I've taken the guesswork out by highlighting those recipes that are lower in calories, fat and sugar. They're pealightful!
Wannabe Recipea From another popular blog series, these recipes are molded after your very favorites. Say hello to your new, healthier recipeas!
My goal with this book was to put together recipes for delicious, comforting, "just so happens to be meat-free" dishes that help us savor every day. It's my absolute joy to share them with you.
Meet the Peas
Mama Pea Recipe inventor, storyteller, hair updoer, laundry folder and never-put-awayer. She has retired her flatiron (gasp!), has cut back on the coffee and, just when you didn't think it possible, has dedicated even more of her life to watching young singles find love on prime-time television. Eternal, lasts-forever love.
Pea Daddy Patient, tolerant and loving husband to Mama Pea and father to Gigi and Lulu. A snob about his root beer, he smuggles his own into the movies rather than drinking what's on tap. But he's always willing to share his drink with an excited little girl, no matter how much kettle corn is stuffed in her mouth. Oh, and he's an ace at laundry ' putting awaying. Total keeper.
Gigi Seven-year-old jump-roping, spinach-scarfing, highly dramatic monologue-giving second grader. She is the happiest kid you'll ever meet and has the participation awards to prove it. You'll never find her without a book or without a smile. A very toothless smile.
Lulu Blond-haired, blue-eyed five-year-old who has a nose for mischief. She's obsessed with puppies, hijacking her mommy's blog, pickles and the naughtiest boy in her Sunday school class. But if you ask her to sum it all up, she'll look you straight in the eye and say, "Cheese is my life." Of course it is.
Pea Kitty Proof positive that just because you don't eat animals doesn't mean you have to love them. The fuel for the anti-Pea Kitty sentiment is less about the constant hair balls and shredded couch corners and more about the inexplicable lunging attacks at a passerby's ankles. A passerby named Mama Pea. Those knee-high boots aren't just for fashion, kids.
In the peas' pantry
Here's a peek into the Pea Family cupboards and fridge.
These are the basic ingredients that I reach for on an (almost) daily basis and that are used throughout the book.
Baking Staples Keep on hand essentials like whole wheat pastry flour, unbleached organic flour, gluten-free all-purpose flour and xanthan gum (if gluten is an issue), organic sugar, stevia, brown sugar, vanilla and other extracts, instant yeast, baking powder and baking soda.
Canned Beans: Garbanzo beans, pinto beans, black beans and black-eyed peas are must-haves. Sure, you can cook dried beans to save money, but it's nice to have your favorites on hand for quick meals.
Canned Tomatoes: Muir Glen Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes are my absolute favorite and add a depth of flavor to so many soups and casseroles.
Chia Seeds: These tiny dark seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds are a great addition to baked goods, smoothies or puddings. You can find them in your local or chain natural foods stores or online.
Chocolate Chips: If you're dairy free, be sure to check the label, but you'll find that many brands, especially the good ones, are dairy free.
Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is a fine alternative to margarine or butter in baked goods. It has a very faint coconut flavor that goes virtually unnoticed, and it is rich in fatty acids.
Coconut Milk: Look for unsweetened varieties at your health food store or in the ethnic food aisle of your grocery store. We enjoy the richness of full-fat brands, like Thai Kitchen, but Trader Joe's also sells a very reasonably priced reduced-fat version.
Grains: Whole grains, such as brown rice, quinoa, millet and oats, are must-haves.
Lentils: The brown and red varieties are both nice to have on hand for soups and casseroles.
Natural Peanut Butter: Skip the big-name brands, which can be full of hydrogenated oils and sugar. Grind your own at the health food store or simply buy ready-made natural brands.
Nutritional Yeast: A nutritional supplement/condiment made from a deactivated yeast, "nooch" has a nutty, salty, cheesy flavor. It is high in vitamin B12 and protein and is most definitely an acquired taste. You can find it in the spice section of your natural foods store, or look for it in the bulk section and buy it for less and in a smaller quantity.
Oat Flour: Just like it sounds, this is a flour made from ground oats. You can easily make your own by grinding old-fashioned oats in your blender or food processor.
Spices: If nothing else, always have a supply of freshly ground cinnamon, chili powder, curry powder, cumin, garlic powder, ginger, nutmeg, onion powder, salt and pepper.
Whole Wheat Pastry Flour: This flour has a lower gluten content and the light consistency of traditional all-purpose flour but still has the bran and germ of whole wheat flour, and thus all the nutritional benefits, as well. Cooking with this flour results in lighter and fluffier pancakes, muffins and cookies than those made with regular whole wheat flour.
Xanthan Gum: A food thickening agent and stabilizer, xanthan gum is great in smoothies and provides structure to gluten-free baked goods. Look for it at natural foods stores.
In the Fridge and Freezer
Condiments: Line your refrigerator door with all-fruit preserves, organic ketchup (conventionally grown tomatoes are heavily sprayed with pesticides, and many brands contain high-fructose corn syrup), natural barbecue sauce, mustard, reduced sodium soy sauce or tamari (which is gluten free) and vegan mayonnaise (see page xxii).
Flaxseeds: Flaxseeds must be ground before consuming, and so you may prefer to buy flax meal or ground flaxseeds. To save money and to keep the flaxseeds fresh longer, you can easily grind your own. Store flaxseeds in the refrigerator to prevent rancidity. For egg-free baking, substitute one tablespoon of ground flaxseeds dissolved in three tablespoons of water for one egg.
Liquid Smoke: Look for this in the condiment aisle at your supermarket. It imparts a smoky, almost "bacony" flavor, but without the bacon.
Nondairy Cheeses: The cream of the crop in terms of flavor and texture is Daiya, a brand made without soy or casein (milk protein). Daiya can be found at most Whole Foods Markets and some major supermarkets and is available in cheddar, mozzarella and pepper jack varieties.
Nondairy Milk: Among the many varieties of nondairy milk available are soy, almond, coconut, rice, oat and hemp. When selecting nondairy milk, pay attention to both the flavor (vanilla doesn't work well in savory recipes) and whether or not the milk is sweetened or unsweetened (some sweetened brands are packed with sugar).
Organic Dairy Products: Organic dairy products are made from milk produced by cows that are 1) fed organic grain; 2) raised in low stress, healthier environments; and 3) not routinely given growth hormones and antibiotics. By choosing organic dairy, you will not just be giving your family a higher quality product, you will be supporting an industry dedicated to preserving the environment and improving the quality of life for farm animals. Organic dairy is becoming cheaper and more commonplace every day, and greater consumer demand for organic dairy products will drive prices down even further. Many supermarkets carry their own lines of organic dairy products, and of course, you can find these products at natural foods stores, as well.
Produce: Always keep on hand organic apples, broccoli, organic celery, carrots, cilantro, frozen bananas, frozen organic blueberries, frozen corn, frozen peas, frozen organic strawberries, garlic, lemons, limes and leafy greens, including organic romaine and organic spinach.
The Dirty Dozen The Environmental Working Group has named these fruits and vegetables as most likely to have high pesticide residue if grown conventionally. Whenever possible, select organic when you purchase the Dirty Dozen.
· Apples · Strawberries · Lettuce · Celery · Nectarines · Cucumbers · Sweet bell peppers · Grapes · Blueberries · Peaches · Spinach · Potatoes
Fruits and vegetables that are peeled before eating, such as bananas and oranges, are perfectly safe even if they are sprayed with pesticides.
Firm and Extra-Firm Tofu: These varieties come packaged in water and are found in the refrigerated section of your grocery store. When you order tofu at a restaurant, this is most likely the kind of tofu you'll get. If you drain and press this tofu to remove as much moisture as possible and then marinate it, you can grill it,
How to press tofu
To press firm or extra-firm tofu, you can buy a tofu press or you can use items found in your kitchen. Open the package, drain the tofu and then slice it into cubes or slabs. If you do not have a tofu press, line a breadboard with a clean tea towel or dishrag. Place the tofu on top of the towel or rag, and then place another clean towel or dishrag on top of the tofu, followed by another breadboard. Stack numerous heavy objects (pans, books, children ) on top of the breadboard, and let the tofu sit for anywhere from twenty minutes to two hours (the longer you press it, the firmer it will become). Prepare the pressed tofu as desired. Bake it and saute it, just like meat. It has a dense, chewy texture, and personally, we love it.
Silken and Soft Tofu: This tofu has the moisture left in the soybean curd and isn't pressed at all. It has a silky texture and can be used in smoothies, puddings and other desserts. It can also be used as a binding agent in cooking or baking. Some brands are shelf stable and don't have to be refrigerated so check the label.
Vegan Cream Cheese: This nondairy spread works well on bagels and toast, and in frostings, baked goods and savory recipes. Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese is readily available in most natural foods stores.
Vegan Margarine: This nondairy margarine is used as a spread and in cooking. The most popular and readily available brand is Earth Balance.
Vegan Mayonnaise: This egg-free, dairy-free spread is used on sandwiches and in dips and salad dressings. The most popular and readily available brand is Vegenaise.
Vegan Worcestershire Sauce: While traditional Worcestershire sauce contains anchovies, vegan varieties are fish free. Annie's Naturals Organic Worcestershire Sauce is a popular brand.
I see food choices as being intensely personal. The motivation behind what we eat or don't eat can be based on a myriad of health issues or personal ethics. We should respect each individual's right to make those choices for him- or herself.
That having been said, I wanted to provide some across-the-board substitutions for ingredients that are commonly avoided for those readers who wish to use these recipes and modify them so that they are in line with their own choices. No judgmentjust options.
Sugar: For those individuals watching their sugar intake, you may substitute stevia for at least a portion of the sugar used in the desserts and sweets recipes. You can also purchase stevia baking blends, such as those made by NuNaturals, which make a pretty seamless substitution across the board. If you would prefer to use agave or maple syrup instead of sugar, for each cup of white or brown sugar called for in the recipe, use 2/3 cup of agave or maple syrup and reduce the other liquids in the recipe by !4 to V3 cup.
Dairy Products: For those individuals who consume dairy products, you can use those products in place of the nondairy products mentioned in the recipes. I encourage you to find organic and local dairy sources, for the reasons discussed previously. Please note that with some recipes, you will get a slightly different texture if you use butter in place of vegan margarine or coconut oil. This is especially true with cookies made with butter, which will spread more easily upon baking, as well as with other baked goods.
Gluten: For gluten-free readers, you can successfully substitute all-purpose gluten-free flour in most of the recipes. I recommend adding 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum to help with leavening. Some gluten-free flours to consider using as well are brown rice flour and oat flour made from gluten-free oats.
What People are Saying About This
The recipes in More Peas, Thank You have my mouth watering. Sarah's passion for life, family and food ring true on every single page of this beautiful book." Jenna Weber, author and blogger of EatLiveRun.com