An Alphaghetti Taste-alike

In my search for lunch ideas that a 7 year old would be happy to have in their lunch I have come up with this version of the infamous Heinz Alphaghetti that kids love so much. These ingredients are all items which I usually have on hand. Bonus! I will get right to it.

You will need:

  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • clove of garlic (or garlic powder)
  • oregano
  • cilantro
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • pasta
Go that extra step and use organic and fresh whole ingredients if you wish, but I am just pleased to have an alternative with less sodium, additives and without the can.
In a pot blend together all ingredients except the cheese.
Boil the broth, tomato sauce, garlic, coriander, oregano, and cheese. Simmer over medium heat to cook the garlic and thicken a bit. If your kids like their sauce thicker either use cornstarch blended with broth or water and add it to the sauce or adjust the amount of cheese. I find when you cook the pasta in the sauce it brings the starches out anyway. The cheese thickens and adds tasty creamy texture so you can always play around with how much you add.
If you are eating it right away add the pasta and cook for about 7 minutes. otherwise you can portion the sauce out in glass containers and freeze it or keep it in the fridge for the next few days.
I found because the pasta will keep absorbing the sauce even after it is cooked it works best for me if I just cook enough for that days lunch portion and add it before it goes in the soup flask.

Veggie Bowl

I have never been a big fan of salads. I am talking about the idea of what a salad was growing up. The lettuce and tomato, bits of cucumber with croutons, bacon bits and maybe some dressing. Actually dressing seemed to be the very idea of a salad. I always would get a second look from the staff when I asked for “no dressing”, on the occasion that I did have one in a restaurant. I think the lettuce was my big turn off though. leafy pieces of romaine or head lettuce really don’t do that much for me.

I started eating sprouts occasionally about 5 or 6 years ago. I went to a vegetarian convention and one of the vendors was selling sprout kits. I bought one and have been in love with sprouts ever since! for a while it was hard to keep a consistent routine of sprouting my mung beans. I would go in spurts – have a few good weeks here and there when I could keep the batches going. And with every new spurt I would groan and vow to maintain this new routine. Last year I took a workshop from a local sprouter and afterwords subscribed to their CASE program. I get a weekly micro-green and sprout supply. My idea was to also make my own but to have it fill those big gaps and always have them around as a staple.

So my love of salads grew.

Having all sorts of salad ingredients ready to go in a bowl is key. I usually try to have chickpeas ready in the cupboard or in the fridge. Lately I have been making my own which is so much tastier and economical too. I have used navy beans too.

Here’s a list of ingredients that can be tossed in. It’s really depends on what I happen to have in the fridge ready to go.

  • Grape tomatoes
  • Green peppers
  • Chickpeas
  • Quinoa
  • Lemon
  • Sprouts and/or micro-greens

The trick is not to be stingy with your sprouts. There is a tendency to think of it as a garnish. A flavor to be added to enhance a dish.


Finally – A Good Chickpea Salad!

  • Chickpeas
  • Quinoa
  • Green pepper
  • Onion
  • Curry
  • Olive oil
  • Cayenne
  • Lemon juice
  • Salmon or chicken
  • Grated carrot

A couple of years ago we went to the ROM and for lunch I had chickpea salad from one of their eating areas. It was so good that it has never left my mind and once in a while I try to mimic it from my memory of flavors. This is the closest I have come and so today I am haaaapy!


Macaroni and Cheese (Instant Pot)

3 cups uncooked macaroni

3 cups water

1/2 cup milk

Olive oil or butter


Grated cheese

  1. Put pasta, water, salt.
  2. Cook 4 minutes and quick release.
  3. Stir cheese and milk in and stir until melted.

Too quick and easy!

FOOD, Recipes

Mom Made Freezies


For a while I have been wanting to make my own freezies. I make popsicles once in a while and this summer plan to do it more often. It is pretty quick and easy with the Magic Bullet because you can make small batches. This was the first time I made the freezies though and they turned out pretty good! I started simple with orange juice, peaches and Greek yogurt. I poured a bunch and added some blackberries to the blend before filling the remainder of the pouches. I used store bought juice but I bet freshly squeezed would taste so much better – next time!!

Mygirl liked the ones without the blackberries better which kind of surprised me a bit because she loves blackberries and will almost east a whole pint by herself if no one is paying attention.

Because you can reclose them the Zipzciles are kind of neat. You can easily refreeze one which is melting too fast on a hot-hot day or slow-eater day…I might order some regular long thin candy bags though because even though you can reuse the Zipzicles it is a bit of a pain to wash and dry them out. I might just use them to make water ice sticks ( instead of cubes).


Pot Roast – pressure cooker

Last night I tried something new with the instant pot. I had a nice roast beef that I wanted to make for supper. Originally, I was intending to put in in the oven but wondered if I could use the pressure cooker…after all a slow cooker works (or so I have heard but never actually do because I am not all that great at planning ahead – my meals are usually pulled together 1 to 2 hours before eating.) I used my trusty phone to type “Roast beef instant pot” and sure enough a list of sites came up. After reading a few I decided on a plan and pressed the sauté button on the Pot.

This is for sure one that will be another regular in my instant pot go-to box!
Use the Sauté feature to brown the outside. It does quite a nice job of browning. I am one of those people who have sometimes left out the browning step because of laziness. Slightly irritated by the obligation of having to do this extra step and dirtying and extra pot have argued with myself to sacrifice the caramelized flavor this step adds. While browning, I began chopping the veggies. This time I chose onions and carrots. I skipped the potatoes in lieu of rice. For my liquid, I added 2 cups of mushroom broth. Sometimes I like a wide variety of veggies but keeping it simple sometimes works best. Robin peeled the carrots which made me incredibly happy inside. That is another story which I will write about later. I sprinkled salt on top of the roast and put in the onions around to sides to sauté in the juices. I added the carrots and this is where I’d add any other spices but for super simple night I just added the liquid – mushroom broth. I put the lid on and checked the vent was sealed. I read a recipe that had 30 minutes and another had 70 so I went for the middle and manual timed in 45 min.

To serve I scooped out the roast and veggies and a cup of broth to cool and add cornstarch to. I added this back into the pot and pressed Sauté to bring the broth to a boil while it thickened.

Everything was so tender! The flavor was intense even with so much broth.

Things I will try next time are 1 cup of broth and 30 min. The carrots were a bit overdone although not mushy. I prefer them a little bit more firm but not crunchy. Other than that, it was deliciously delicious!!!!