The week in suppers: Robbie Burns

I did not make this haggis, but it was good

**Monday's menu** Veggie Vindaloo (crockpot). Baked basmati rice. Leftover cabbage salad.
**Recipe-worthy** Veggie Vindaloo: Saute two chopped onions and four cloves of chopped garlic in 1-2 tbsp of oil. Add and saute 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or less, to taste), 1/2 tsp turmeric, and 1-2 tsp salt (start with 1 tsp and add more later). Scrape into the slow cooker. Meantime, peel and dice six potatoes (more or less) and two large carrots. Add to slow cooker, along with 1 tbsp fresh minced ginger root, 1 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tsp dry mustard, and some chopped red pepper (frozen is fine). Add 3/4 cup red lentils. Add 8-10 cups of water (this is approximate; I check the slow cooker during the day and top up the liquid as needed), and stir the pot. I also added some leftover tabbouleh, and if you wanted you could add chopped tomato and parsley and a handful of bulgar to the mix. Totally optional. Cook on low all day, checking in to stir occcasionally. About an hour before serving, toss in 1-2 cups frozen peas. Just before serving, stir in the juice of a freshly squeezed lemon (note: several tablespoons of cider vinegar is a good local substitute). Taste for seasonings (salt, pepper). Serve over rice.
**Why we liked this** The lentils blended in and acted as thickener. It tasted delicious. Any veggie could sub into this mix.

**Tuesday's menu** Mexican red beans. Leftover rice. Leftover cabbage salad.
**Sorry, everybody** This was a request. But it was very ho-hum with the leftover rice. Somehow I'd managed to undercook the beans ever so slightly too. It was a rushed meal anyway, as we landed home from swimming and darted out again for soccer, with less than 30 minutes for turnaround time.

**Wednesday's menu** Coconut sweet potato soup made with squash, too (crockpot). Wilted tatsoi salad. Bread and cheese and hummus.
**Good food** I didn't follow the recipe for the tatsoi salad precisely, but it was a good use of the tatsoi, which apparently can be harvested from under the snow; that explains why I can still source it locally.
**Colourful** There was something so satisfying about eating this rich orange soup and the deep green tatsoi. Winter needs more colour. Two out of four children adored the soup. Zero out of four children tried the tatsoi. Such is life in the bread and cheese lane. Dinner conversation was brilliant and we had no conflict.

**Thursday's menu** Red sauce with hamburger (!). Noodles. Broiled tofu.
**Aren't we vegetarian?** Yes and clearly no. I bought one package of organic local hamburger. Everyone seemed tired and draggy this week. Extra iron?
**Secret veggies** I slipped a package of frozen grated zucchini into the red sauce (which made with my canned tomatoes). Zero complaints.

**Friday's menu** Turkey in the crockpot. Roasted beets, potatoes, carrots, and garlic.
**Total vegetarian fail** I ordered the turkey on a whim from Bailey's. What can I say? I can say nothing.
**Recipes by Facebook** I have very little experience cooking meat in a crockpot, let alone an entire (small) turkey, so I asked Facebook for advice. And Facebook replied. I stuffed the turkey with carrots, onion, garlic, and poured a bottle of Guinness over top along with some cranberry juice. I added some Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, dried thyme and rosemary. Then I couldn't get the lid to fit. I had approximately two minutes to prep the turkey before I needed to get out the door with the kids. So I covered the crockpot with aluminum foil to keep the steam in, balanced the lid on top, and left. And then I was gone for about five hours -- about three hours longer than I'd planned on being out of the house. I was kind of freaking out about the precarious state in which I'd left the turkey. But all's well that ends well. The alumimum foil worked.


**Weekend cooking accomplishments** Eight loaves of bread (OMG we are eating so much bread! I can hardly keep up. I am baking two batches back to back some weekends). One batch of Really Good Granola. Double chocoloate cookie squares. And one giant pot of cockaleekie soup, made in honour of Robbie Burns day. Our family had our own tiny Burns dinner before Saturday night's scotch party. (Secret ingredient in cockaleekie soup -- do you know? Prunes.)

**Cooking with kids** Starring CJ. Who couldn't think of anything he wanted to make except for pizza. So Kevin made pizza (I made the dough).

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