Double Last Night’s Dinner 05.23.11

I have not been very good at keeping up on my Last Night’s Dinner post. Every since Rowan came I kinda lost motivation to cook new meals each week and fell in to the habit of cooking the usual things over and over. Well things are changing! I miss cooking and well I miss being able to share healthy vegetarian meals here on jenloveskev.

Eating healthy is sort of a passion for me. Do I eat healthy all the time? No, but I really think it is important and food really is so freakin’ delicious when it uses fresh vegetables/fruit and herbs. Beats some greasy fast food any day. I had mentioned before that we were going to also be raising Rowan vegetarian and I got some comments about how people thought that it wasn’t a good idea. That’s ok everyone has there own opinion but it really is just as healthy for them when you feed the right foods. I am not a vegetarian that supplements meat for carbs.

We chose to do this because 1. how food is raised now a days for the most part is disgusting (please support local farms!) and if I chose not to eat it why would I give that to my daughter 2. I hope thru this we teach her how to be a healthy and mindful eater. It really is so important to me that, that is something she learns.

So, from here on out I will try my best to post a new weekly Last Nights Dinner post again but now it will also include a Last Night’s Dinner post for Rowan too. We have been making all her own baby food and I hope I can inspire you to try it out yourself and branch out from those generic sweet potato processed jars.

1st up…
Pan Fried Polenta with fresh Tomato-Bean Salsa

MMMMMmmm. This was my first time cooking with polenta and really it couldn’t be easier. I think it will make it’s self into a lot of up coming recipes.

2.5 cups chopped plum tomatoes
1 cup white beans, rinsed and drained (you can also cook your own navy beans if you want)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp Olive oil
1 package prepared polenta, sliced to 1/4-1/2 thick rounds
1/4 cup Parm cheese

1. Stir together tomatoes, beans, basil and salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature for about 15 mins. Blends all the flavors!
2. In a skillet add 1Tbsp of oil and heat on medium high heat. Place half the rounds of polenta in pan and cook 4 mins each side or until golden brown. Remove. Add 1 more Tbsp of oil and cook remaining rounds of polenta.
3. Arrange cooked polenta on plate and spoon tomato salsa generously over top. Sprinkle with cheese and extra chopped basil.
4. Eat. Eat. Eat.
5. I added a nice simple salad to my plate as well.

Next up…
Navy Beans & Beets
There is nothing more that I love then the smell of beets cooking! haha. Is that weird? I kinda wanted to eat every spoonful I was giving Rowan. You could really add a choice of different spices but I went for a little cinnamon. This little chart is really helpful if you aren’t sure.
1/2 cup dried navy beans
4 Small beets with stems trimmed to 1in. Washed well

1. Put beans in a pot. Cover with warm water. Leave to soak, covered over night.
2. Drain and rinse beans. Return to pot and add 2.5 cups of water. Bring to a boil and boil for 10 mins. Skim any scum that comes up. Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 1.5 hours.
4. Once cooked. Let cool then add to a food processor and blend. Set aside
3. Meanwhile, bring a medium pan of water to a boil and add beets. Make sure they are covered completey by water. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook covered fro 45 mins, or until the skins comes off easily.
4. Drain and let cool until you are able to handle them.
5. Remove and disgard skins. Chop and add to a blender or food processor.
6. Once blended add the puree of beans and a touch of cinnamon.
7. Blend together and serve.
8. This made 4 meals for us. I used one serving right away for dinner and then I froze the other 3 for later this week.

Beets are delicious but dangerous. haha. Just look…
Just a tip: They shouldn’t wear their favorite white outfit when feeding.

  1. Good for you for raising Rowan vegetarian! When the time comes, I’ll do the same. Most people who don’t agree with this are those that don’t understand just how nourishing and healthy a vegetarian diet can be with all whole foods.

  2. Oh my goodness dinner looks AMAZING and I can’t wait to try it!! Although it probably wasn’t fun to clean, Rowan looks adorable with the navy beans all over her face! And as for people saying things about the way you’re raising her, I was raised a vegetarian, and I ended up just fine. I don’t understand why people are so ignorant to different eating habits…

  3. I love polenta! Thanks for sharing this recipe. As someone who has a lot of food sensitivities and allergies I’ve been trying to find a lot of vegetarian and vegan recipes so that my diet can be more balance. I can’t wait to see your dinners on this blog more regularly!

  4. I think people confuse vegetarian (getting protein from plant sources) and just not eating meat. I think with a thoughtful Mama like you, Rowan will have a wonderful and varied diet! I only wish I could get my husband to eat more like this.

  5. I think it’s great to raise your child with a healthy eating lifestlye! I am sure you are well versed in how to supplement properly, unlike some others who try to raise their children vegan or vegetarian. My normally-very-smart cousin and her husband chose to raise their daughter vegan, but ended up with a child with failure-to-thrive because of lack of nutrients. Rowan certainly looks healthy and happy though!!

  6. Hi Jen, I sooooooo love that you are doing this! Ever since I had my son (6mo. ago) I’ve been wanting to change my eating habits because eventually he will be eating what he sees mommy and daddy eating and I want him to eat and consume things that are healthy! Thank you for your posts on baby food, I’m always on the look out for them.=)

  7. So excited you are posting baby food recipes. My daughter just turned 6 months and I plan to continue to make all her food so I’ve been looking for ideas.

  8. Yum! These both look amazing! And, it seems Rowan loves the beets! I totally relate to It being so hard to find time or energy to cook as a new mama. I love it just as much, and miss it so.

    Can’t wait to start making food for my baby Eleanor. We have a ton of peas growing right now in our garden just for her.

  9. Polenta looks AMAZING!!! I get comments all the time saying, “you need to eat meat!” or “I hope you give that baby some meat.” I politely say – she’ll be fine, I wouldn’t do anything to knowingly harm her! I look forward to more veggie healthy food posts. It’s one of the many reasons why I love your blog!

  10. Oh my, what a adorable baby! One of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen! รขโ„ขยฅ And by the way… I would like to eat these beets too, haha! ๐Ÿ˜€ Greetings!

  11. Jessica •

    So excited to try this recipe! I’ve been trying to eat more vegetarian meals lately, and reserving meat for only a few meals each week. I made the African red bean and sweet potato stew you posted a few weeks back for my boyfriend last week and we both LOVED it!

  12. Rowan’s meal looks delicious!

  13. yay! i love strong willed vegetarians (while i’m vegetarian usually i just shut up and change the subject when people argue with me) and i fully plan on maintaining my meat free kitchen. that dinner looks wonderful and i can’t wait to see more posts in the future!

  14. That dinner looks wonderful! And it actually looks like something that I could make in my tiny college apartment kitchen.

    On another note I love what you said about raising your daughter vegetarian. Everyone always seems to have an opinion about vegetarians. I have been one for 4 and a half years and everyone is always telling me that I must not be getting enough protein or vitamins. I always find it offensive when people tell me how I should eat when they aren’t actually informed on how vegetarians eat.

  15. i am all for raising kiddos vegetarian! my parents are vegetarians and although i now eat meat, i think it instilled a vegetable-based focus for how i cook now. oh, and i heart beets.

  16. holy cow!! I was feeling pretty good about the purees I made for my kids when they were little – but now… sheesh this one is impressive! Hats off to you hun, I never would have thought of that combo/recipe but it sounds delish!

  17. Mmm so yummy! and I would totally eat all those beets and take it from a child! (I eat all my nephew’s home made baby food mmm)

    Miss Neira

  18. julie •

    We didn’t intend to raise our daughters (ages 2 & 3) as vegetarians, but like most toddlers, they just don’t like meat. It’s been a great reason for us to experiment in the kitchen & try some new recipes. (Who knew that having kids could actually force us to eat healthier?)

  19. That is the prettiest darn baby food I ever did see!

  20. Maria •

    I am 24 and was raised vegetarian. I couldn’t be happier about it. I have much healthier eating habits than my friends. I think it was a wonderful choice to raise your daughter vegetarian.

  21. Terri •

    Just found your blog and LOVE it! I am a mommy of 9 wonderful children and wife to the greatest man (for me) on the planet – we are living in Germany right now. We move back to the states in a couple of months (insert sad whimper!) I am not currently a vegetarian but am really interested in this way of life. We live on a farm in Alabama and my son is very interested in starting a CSA next year – am excited to browse through your blog and find some wonderful vegetarian dishes – if you have any books/cookbooks you recommend would be interested to know – thanks!

  22. I think it’s great that you are raising Rowan vegetarian! I’m a vegetarian too and I really want to raise my kid (when I have one) vegetarian.
    Kev is not a vegetarian right? What are his thoughts about this?

  23. kathy •

    I’m not a vegetarian, but am trying to incorporate more veggies into my diet (and my family’s). Rowan looks like she’s getting plenty of nourishment. Polenta is a great staple and the flavored ones are really good too. I’ll have to try this dish!

  24. Tomato & bean salsa sounds great! I love polenta! It’s great to crisp it up and add it to creamy tomato soup too!!

  25. that looks so delicious! i am not a vegetarian, but i just recently found out that i have celiac. i’m trying to find more interesting and gluten free dishes to make for myself and that my family would also enjoy eating. i think this one would go over quite well ๐Ÿ™‚ thanks so much for sharing!

  26. Thank you for posting this. I’m a vegetarian and decided that I was also going to raise my daughter as a vegetarian (because I also agree about how disgusting factory farming is). People give me a hard time about it but we ended up picking her pediatrician mostly because he fully supported our vegetarian stance and noted that he had several children at his practice who were vegetarians.

    I don’t understand omnivore’s misinformation around protein and how they think a vegetarian diet somehow lacks nutrition. I like to point out that I’ve run a marathon on this diet. I’m not lacking in nutrition (especially protein!).

  27. Thanks for this recipe Jen, it looks amazing! I have been wanting to eat polenta for a long time and tried it from scratch some time ago and did not get the desired texture. I guess this way you are suggesting to make it is fool proof since already ready to use!

    I love beets to so so much and totally understand Rowan’s enthusiasm! I’m sure when you are a parent people find all kinds of things to critic you about, but I’m also sure you guys are doing an awesome job! Rowan sure looks like one happy and healthy little girl.

    Have a nice Wednesday!


  28. Jen, this looks amazing! Tasty, light, and quick! I seriously want to make this for supper tonight. Yum.

    Also, I fully plan on raising any of my future babies vegetarian until they are old enough to decide for themselves. Of course you are making sure Rowan is healthy and getting all of her nutrition requirements – she is one happy girl! I think it’s great she gets to be vegetarian from birth if she chooses. I am actually kind of jealous… ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. I love your Last Night’s Dinner posts – they all look so delicious and healthy, I really need to try out some of your recipes. I was vegan for 4 years, vegetarian for 6 years and now occasionally eat meat and fish if it was sustainably and humanely raised or wild caught, and preferably local. Like everyone here is saying, as a vegetarian, you hear a lot of ignorant comments and criticism. Add to that the way people seem to think it’s their place to tell others how to raise their children, and raising your child vegetarian becomes a lightning rod. You are so polite in your response! I would be tempted to inform them of the health benefits of vegetarianism and the horrors of factory farming, but I think unless the person is receptive and really wants to know, it is probably better to take your approach of simply agreeing to disagree. Rowan is lucky to be learning healthy eating habits right from the start. Keep it up. I would have never thought to mix beans with beets but it sounds great!

  30. Jessica •

    This sounds great! I recently got some Himalayan pink salt and organic peppercorns from Sustainable Sourcing and I’ll have to try them out in this recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  31. Just made this for dinner – it was quick and easy and delicious! thanks for sharing!

  32. Great idea about beets. I’ve cooked beets with carrots for my boy today and he seemed to enjoy it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. Just made the puree for my girl! It’s beautiful! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Hi, I'm Jen!

Welcome to my personal lifestyle blog. It features topics such as motherhood, family life, fashion, cooking, and all sorts of adventures. I hope you enjoy what you find!

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