Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Greek Scrambled Tofu

For those of you who may follow me and my food journey. I am slowly but surely on my way to becoming vegan. This will not happen over-night and I am OK with that. I can see that in doing so I will be alienating myself even more in the social world. I will be deemed/judged as some sort of freak. It bothers me and only to the point that I look at those who sit in judgement and trust me when I tell you, they would do good by losing some of the things offered in the meat world.

It bothers me when someone who is visibly out of shape and has thee audacity to criticize me food options. Really? Give me a break. Put as I have grown older and hopefully wiser, I do not sit in judgement, or at least I do not verbalize it, I just let them know the benefits I have experienced in losing meat and now dairy from my diet. My actions speak for themselves.

I also love listening to people say they could not let go of meat. And I gently remind them that there is a difference between not being able to let go of meat and not wanting to let go of meat...BIG difference.

I have been a vegetarian now for a year and a half, save for a set back or two. And my brother-in-law just now says he found out about it. Helloooo, you were at my house on Thanksgiving. No meat on my plate then. DUH to him. With all this said, I have been experimenting with tofu. I want to like it. Aren't all vegetarians supposed to like this stuff. Thee easiest way I saw, was to use it as a scrambled egg replacer. My first attempt at trying a new recipe was a near failure. But when thrown from the horse I just get right back on and keep on going.

So, a new recipe has crossed my path. And I enjoyed this one so much that I taught it at our local health food store and it was a big hit. I will definitely be making this one again and now trying other tofu scrambler recipes in the future. Thank you to How It all Vegan for this lovely ethnic flavored tofu breakfast dish.

1 pkg. firm tofu, crumbled (squeeze as much water out as you possibly can)
1-2 T Braggs or soy sauce/tamari
turmeric (to taste)
pepper (to taste)
dried oregano (to taste)
splash of olive oil
6-8 Greek olives, chopped (remove pits if necessary)
handful of sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup spinach, chopped
In a large saucepan, add the tofu, Braggs, turmeric, pepper, and oregano to a splash of oil and saute on medium-high heat for 10-12 minutes, until moisture has evaporated. Add the olives, sundried tomatoes, and spinach. Cover and cook for 2-4 minutes, until spinach is tender. Makes 2-4 servings.

I am in love. This is winning me over to the tofu side and I am not looking back.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Perfect Pancake

You can all thank How it all Vegan for this recipe. Yes, it is a basic simple recipe, but there are times where we stray away from the simplicity of things and make them grander than they have to be. Well not in this case. We all know we love pancakes. I, in fact, could eat them every day. And trust me when I tell you it doe snot have to be for breakfast. There has been plenty a night that my daughter and I have had breakfast for dinner. And vice versa in this house. But most people cannot fathom left-over spaghetti for breakfast.

I went looking for a tofu scramble recipe and stumbled upon a new pancake recipe. It looked too runny, but I stuck to the recipe and let me tell you, this was one of those pancake recipes that you could make, photograph and send off to a magazine for a front cover spot. This, bar none, was thee most perfect pancake. So sit back, and try this, you will not regret it.

2 cups flour (we used unbleached white, but will use our own fresh ground, next time)
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
2 cups soy milk (we used 1 c soy & 1 cup rice milk)
2 T oil (we used olive)
sliced fruit (optional)
In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder together. Add the milk and oil and mix together carefully until "just mixed" (if you mix too vigorously, the pancakes won't get fluffy). Portion out about 3/4 to 1 cup of batter onto a hot non-stick pan or lightly oiled frying pan and cover with a lid. Let sit on medium heat until the centre starts to bubble and becomes sturdy. Flip pancake over and cook other side until golden brown. Repeat process until all the batter is gone. Makes 2 or more servings. Garnish with fresh fruit and maple syrup.

This will be in my morning line up for sure. Make it one of yours.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

It Still Amazes Me

We had Thanksgiving at our home this year, as always. We have learned to split the holidays. I always take Thanksgiving and my mother-in-law takes Christmas eve. My brother-in-law and his wife have yet to take a holiday. but it would be difficult for us to go there for a few reasons. They have 4 cats and do not keep up on the tidiness of their living area. And the fact that my husband and son are allergic to them is an extra added kicker.

But we had a nice dinner all the same. This was definitely not my best year. It was not my recipes, they were great. It just did not flow smoothly like it usually does. For one I cooked a ham and a turkey...for thee omnivores in our family. I will not do that again. I make enough dishes that no one would walk away hungry. that is, if they decide to fore go their assumptions as to what vegetarians eat and just give our food a try.

I waited to see how long it would take for someone...anyone to make any type of comment about our eating style. It took til the end of the meal this time. Not bad. My brother-in-law, who is thee epitome of the SAD (standard American diet) made a comment on my daughters plate and what she was eating when I tried to coax his son to try a bit of everything on his plate, even the ham. He went about to make mention that my daughters plate lacked the meat portion. Then he moved on quickly to a story about a friend of his who's child recently went vegan and now the cost of their grocery bill has gone up $200. That may be a viable answer for a months worth of groceries. But what I tried to explain to my brother-in-law (who of course knows everything about everything) is that it is this child's choice. He pointed out that he thought it was a fad. And that may very well be the case. But aren't some habits and or lifestyles start out as fads and then catch on. So what knock what this child is attempting to do.

That was when I diplomatically as possible explained to my brother-in-law (who is morbidly obese), that yes it is a bit more expensive to eat healthy, but I will be better off then the rest of you, making a blanket statement in reference to those who did not eat healthy. I referred to my in-laws, who carry around a small suitcase of pills, as well as my parents. they are now paying for an unhealthy lifestyle. Pay now, or pay later is my motto.

I won't be dragging my butt because of some illness that could have been prevented due to the choices I could have made in my eating habits. I have made those choices now and do not regret them. I did ask both my brother-in-law and his wife, what they would do if their son came to them at an early age and wanted to give up meat? And the wife said she would support her son but would let him know he could always come back to the meat eating world. Huh?! What does that even mean? Are we the dark side? Is it so difficult to imagine life outside the meat-eating box? I guess for some it is, but not for us.

And as this holiday passed, I was talking to my daughter about giving up more animal by-products, such as cheese, dairy and eggs, even thought we use them sparingly now. And her response was, "People already think we are freaks, and it is already difficult to go anywhere other than home to eat, what would it be like if we went vegan?"

So, she thinks about it, but is afraid of the backlash and what people will say. Pah I say. It is now my new project to find us ways to lose more dairy and eggs as well. I am bound and determined to show her that becoming vegan is do-able and that we are already considered freaks, what's one more step in that direction?

So watch as I discover how to incorporate veganism into our lives and not come off as weird...yeah right.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Creamy Italian Dressing

I am still trying to find dressing alternatives to those I used to buy in the grocery store. It is a taxing process. Because, not all recipes please everyone in the house. That's not to say they are not good dressings. It's just that they do not tickle everyone's taste buds. With that said, I have found a new recipe for a new dressing. Now, since I did not have another recipe lined up for the soft tofu, I was brave and doubled the recipe from the get go. But be forewarned, it is garlicky. But no in a bad way garlicky. Does that make sense?

I got this from How It All Vegan. She has some wonderful dressing recipes and with simple ingredients. So make this and trust me there will be no vampires at your house this Halloween.

1/2 lb. soft or medium tofu (we used soft)
1/2 cup flax or olive oil (we used olive)
3T vinegar (we used apple cider vinegar)
1t salt
1/8 t pepper
4 cloves garlic (pressed )
2T sweet pickle relish
1/4 t dried oregano
1/8 t red pepper flakes
In a blender or food processor, blend together the tofu, oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper until smooth and creamy. Fold in the garlic, relish, oregano and red pepper flakes. Excellent as a chip dip in addition to a salad dressing.

Thee only small flaw I see with this but nothing that would make me stop making and or eat this dish was a tad bit of graininess from the tofu. But I think I may try to remedy that by using silken tofu next time. But for the record, this one is will worth its weight in gold.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Now I Get It

I am now in the working mother category. Part time is all but let me tell you it still takes allot away from my day. I usually rise between 5:30AM and 6:00 and begin or finish dishes and or laundry. Walk the dog and myself, make breakfast, then get ready for work and am out the door by 9AM depending on which store I will be working. Some times I drop off AVON book to customers who are on the route I take to work, again depending on which store I am working.

Thee other day I came home from a good but long day which is totally on my feet and walked in and did not sit down until after dinner. The children had started everything I had asked of the, so all I had to do was finish what they had started, and still I never stopped. I made bread, which my daughter had set up for me. I rotated thee oregano, did dishes and began dinner.

By the time I got to my sofa to watch a bit of TV, I was whipped. And I told my husband, I don't see how real working mothers do it. And my children do not have piano lessons, soccer practice, church functions or much of anything like that for me to get them to. For those parents my heart goes out to you. For we struggle with getting everyone together for dinner as it is, let alone with activities to get to.

When do people have time to just be families. Do people even sit down together at the dinner table anymore? We do and love every minute of it. But it was my husband who pointed out that now he/I see why people get hooked on fast food. Whether it be the rotisserie chicken at the supermarket or the pizza delivery boy, or the burger drive-thru. It becomes the convenience.

There are nights we do not sit down to a home cooked dinner until nearly 8PM, and that is with children home to prep me for the meal. I can only imagine how a mother of three little ones has to do it and moreso if she is a single mom or the wife of a dead beat dad who thinks it is his only duty to bring home the paycheck (do not even get me started on that subject).

So now I am a bit more sympathetic, but still feel there is always room for improvement. We all can take small steps to better how we eat. Yes, it takes a lot more effort. And yes you may have to take an entire day and bulk cook, but at least that is a start. And how did the ant eat thee elephant? One bite at a time.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Baked Spaghetti

I was at my girlfriends house thee other day cutting back all her oregano to help her out. For it was taking over her garden. Again here is where bartering comes into play. She is without a car three days a week, for her daughter takes it to college. And guess who is off those three days? ME!

Now, we got to talking and I was completely out of oregano and she was up to her neck in it, soooo, in walks the lady who needs oregano to a lady who needs a ride to get her glasses. So you see where I am going with this? That was Tuesday, and I am still dehydrating oregano as I type this new recipe.

When I was at said friends house, I went into her frig for some tea, it is still a scorcher here in Florida. I happened upon a plate of something...took it out and showed it to my friend. She then told me it was baked spaghetti and didn't I remember her telling me about it? No. She went straight away and got the book it came from and made me a copy right then and there. Wam bam thank you ma'am.

Needless to say that recipe was made the next night. Her sauce had meat in it, but we left out the dead cow and it was still delicious. So here it is. And this may be a new way for us to have spaghetti.

2 cups canned diced tomatoes
2 cups tomato sauce
1 cup water
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 chopped fresh parsley
1&1/2 t Italian seasoning
1&1/2 t The Lady's House Seasoning
1&1/2 The Lady's Seasoned Salt
1&1/2 t sugar
2 small bay leaves
1&1/2 lbs. ground beef
8 ounces uncooked angel hair pasta (we used 16 ounces and fettuccine, use the angel hair)
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
Anything pertaining to the sauce we kind of winged it and did with what we had in the house, and the same goes for the cheese. What we had in the house went into the dish and there were no left overs.

Cover the bottom of a 13x9x2 inch pan with your sauce. Add a layer of pasta, then half of the cheese; repeat the layers, ending with the sauce. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Top with remaining cheese, return to the oven and continue to cook until the cheese is melted and bubbly (just a few minutes). Cut into squares before serving.

Thee only thing I would change is that I would cover the dish with foil for half the baking time, and for one reason only. The pasta that sticks out of the sauce will get super crunchy, so not fun to bite into when you are expecting a soft dish. But other than that, this dish is a Super-Keeper!

And this is a Paula Deen dish if you did not figure it out already!!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Raw Cauliflower Cous Cous Salad

Let me start out by saying that most of the raw dishes I make are not all that time consuming. But this one did take a little more time that usual. But fear not, for it was/is , well worth the effort.

If I may make a suggestion, unless you have the time on your hands, is to wash all your herbs ahead of time and maybe make this salad the day after. Again, your choice. I had four different herbs to wash and cut. So, if not for my daughter, we would have eaten at midnight.

I had this recipe sent to my Email box, looked at it and wanted to make it. But I deleted it, thought I had saved it somewhere, but did not. Thank the stars above for thee Internet. I kept searching for the title and found it after about three hits. And this lovely young woman had it on her blog, who I happen to subscribe to on YouTube. And she goes by the name of Meghan Telpner from Making Love In The Kitchen

If you have not visited her on her blog, or anywhere else, then get off your hiney and go see what she has to offer. She is such a breath of fresh air that you will want to keep on visiting her again and again. But now on to the recipe you have all been waiting for.

1 head of cauliflower
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 bunch parsley, chopped
1 bunch mint, chopped
1/4 cup basil, chopped
2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered and seeded (we had to use regular tomatoes, but the cherry tomatoes would have been nicer)
1 red bell pepper, chopped(We used green)
1/2 cup black olives, seeded and sliced(Had none)
salt and pepper to taste
Process cauliflower in food processor with ‘s’ blade to achieve cous cous like consistency (can also chop finely by hand).
Place in bowl and add lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Mix in herbs, tomatoes, pepper and olives.
Stir well and serve chilled.
This is great to enjoy on a bed of greens.

This dish will definitely be on our table a whole lot more. It was a lot of food, so plenty for left overs. It definitely looks like cous cous. But when my husband came home and saw the bowl on the table, he thought it was Tabouleh salad. But this dish was so good, that I fell in love. All thee herbs are very powerful and yet none of them take over the dish. The simplicity of the salad is scary. You would think it would have too much of an over-powering taste, but it is nothing like that. This is just one of those things that you just have to make and see for your self how good a dish it really is. And trust me, you will not be disappointed one little bit.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

No-Knead Ciabatta Bread

Nope, I am not lying, this is really a bread where you do not have to knead it one darn bit. But, what you do have to do is be able to calculate the rising time. Have your fingers ready.

The rise time to this recipe is 18 hours. Yep, I did not make a typo, this is for real. It will rise for 18 hours, then rise another 2 once you get it placed on the cooking sheet. I could sit here and type thee ingredients, but I am going to give you the link to the YouTube video and see for yourself. Make this bread, you will not regret it, and what a fantastic tasting artisan style bread. Hooray for bread!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cherry Tomato Marinara With Zucchini Noodles

Such a long title for such a simple easy dish. This is more raw food and oh so simple and quick to make. I found this in a Delicious Living Magazine. For cool and light for a summers dinner here in Florida.

2 pints cherry tomatoes
2t dried oregano
1t dried rosemary
2T lemon juice
2/3 cup olive oil
1 t salt
2 zucchini, cut into very thin strips (we used our cheese grater and made them into long thin strips)
Place all ingredients except zucchini in blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. (Makes 3 cups.) Place zucchini noodles in a serving bowl; pour marinara over and toss gently.

I did put the tomato marinara into a small mesh strainer so I cold strain off some of the liquid. That worked out perfectly, for if not, it would have been way too liquidy. So strain at least half of the liquid off or it will definitely be to runny.

This dish was perfect and I will most definitely make this one again FOR SURE!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Scrambled Eggless Eggs

I have been toying with the idea of heading in the direction of veganism. And thus far I am not doing so bad. And we may have another push in that direction, thanks to my husband. We think he 'may' be lactose intolerant. But we won't know for sure until he eliminates it form his diet for the next few days, gets himself better then adds dairy and see what happens.

But I have been trying to lose eggs for a while now, and not doing all that bad I might add. But it was breakfast that had stumped me. Many a morning here, we would have home fries and eggs. And now that I sit here and think about it, I always added something to the scrambled eggs, because I had been forced to eat eggs as a child and had some seriously bad experiences connected to eggs. So for me to lose eggs in my diet was not a far reach for me. Good riddance I say. Hello tofu scramble.

With the help from Sarah Kramer, How It All Vegan. Yeah, it's her again, but look, I haven't use done of her recipes in a while, so it is her turn again. This was a wonderful comfort dish for me. The textures was nearly 100% dead on. the spices form this recipe were good, but now I have a base to experiment with. Variety is the spice of life. Don't be shy, for I will definitely be making this one again.

1/2 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
splash of olive oil
1 pkg medium tofu(we used firm) crumbled
1/2 t turmeric
1/8 t cumin
2T Braggs (we used tamari)
In a large saucepan, add the onions and garlic to a splash of olive oil and saute on medium-high heat until onions are translucent. Add tofu, turmeric, cumin, and Braggs and mix together. Saute on high heat for 5-10 minutes until tofu is slightly seared on one side. Stir and simmer on medium heat for 5-10 minutes until moisture has evaporated. Makes 2 or more servings. We got 3-4 servings. This one is a keeper!!

Peanut Butter Cookies

What can bring us back to our childhood quicker than anything? The smell of homemade cookies. And I'm not talking about those that you can get in the refrigerated section. Those are not real cookies. If you can't pronounce all thee ingredients, it ain't real food...end of discussion.

With that said, I found a lovely recipe that I just had to make. I made so many different dishes today and two of them being brand new. I will post the other new dishes later on, so get ready. I saw these cookies a while back, but just never got around to making them. Well today was that day. I had a little difficulty with the batter, but finally got it right. None of the cookies burned, but my oven time was off from thee original recipe. So I will post an approximate time and let your oven tell you what is best. Try them, eat them, enjoy them.

1&1/2 cups coconut oil (or 3/4 cup coconut oil and 3/4 cup pureed white beans)
2&2/3 cups honey
3 cups natural peanut butter
6 cups unbleached flour
2 t baking soda
1 t salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In large bowl, beat oil (beans), honey, and peanut butter. In another medium bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt then add to the oil mixture.

Scoop spoonfuls (I used a tablespoon measure) and drop onto baking sheet and press flat with a fork. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Be careful not to let them get too brown or they will be crunchy.

I took nearly all of Tammie's post and copied it here. But go visit Simple, Healthy, Tasty and see what else you can find there.

Wheat Berry Salad

I thought I had posted this one, but I cannot seem to find it. This recipe I found just by searching thee Internet and did not bookmark where I found it. As I have said before I try to give credit where credit is due, but this is one of those times that I completely goofed. With that said, I would like to post this salad for all those who do use whole grains, but think you can only grind them in to flour. Oh no no no, my little darlings. What we have here is another way to use those lovely little jewels. We made this salad only once and classified it as a tweaker, but alas we have not tweaked it since that day. This could be the push I need to retry this salad.

It is not a raw salad, but definitely a whole food salad and that my dear friends is second best. Why buy pre-packaged salads when it only takes a few moments to chop up a green, toss it in a bowl and add your own homemade dressing. Brilliant I say (insert evil scientist laugh here). I am one for using ingredients that are not all freaky and whacky, so this salad fits into that category. Try this one, and let me know what you think.

1 cup hard winter wheat berries (wheat kernels/grain)
Kosher salt (we used sea salt)
1 cup finely diced red onion (this adds such great color, that we now make sure red onion is on every produce list)
6T good olive oil, divided
2T balsamic vinegar
3 scallions, minced, white and green parts
1/2 red bell pepper, small diced
1 carrot, small diced
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
Place the wheat berries and 3 cups of boiling water in a sauce pan and cook, uncovered over low heat for approximately 45 minutes, or until the wheat berries are soft. Drain.

Saute the red onion in 2 T olive oil over medium-low heat until translucent, approximately 5 minutes. Turn off heat and add the remaining 4 T of olive oil and the balsamic vinegar.

In a large bowl, combine the warm wheat berries, sauteed onions, scallions, red bell pepper, carrot, 1/2 t salt and the pepper. Allow the salad to sit for at least 30 minutes (very important!) for the wheat berries to absorb the sauce. Season to taste and serve at room temperature.

I have always loved room temperature salads over chilled ones. I personalty think it is better for the digestive tract, but that is my opinion. Try this and see what you think.

I Love My Grains

I just got me delivery of grains. And for me it is like Christmas morning. This order I got an entire bucket of soft white and split a bucket of garbanzo beans and a bucket of brown rice with Denise Punger . She got other items that I will definitely be putting on my next order. The one thing that caught my eye was the unsweetened coconut flakes. I know what I purchase In the store is loaded with sugar and I needed coconut, due to the fact that we were 100% out of it and the fact that we go through so much of it due to our homemade granola. So when I saw Denise's package of unsweetened coconut, I was very tempted to, yes, steal it.

And when I go to pick up our grains I get to see what others order and then my wheels begin to turn. The group we go through is Bread Beckers and all you have to do is find the group that is local to you and contact them, find out their schedule and you are in business. I like this group because it has quarterly deliveries and that is a good thing. But there is another group to go through that does not have deliveries as often and their order is usually on a semi rig. I know they need at least a 10,000 pound order before they can schedule a delivery and trust me that is not that difficult to get done. I had no idea there were that many of us out there...healthy folks I mean, who knew. I believe the company that hosts the big delivery is Montana Flour and Grains .

I will find out more information about Montana so you folks can look into hooking up to get in on a bigger order. I helped host one of their deliveries and it was thee most fun I had had in a long time. When that semi pulled up to the street where the delivery was taking place I felt like a school girl on her first day of school. I would love to be a part of that once again.

Buying bulk is definitely the way to go. I buy bulk whenever possible. Whether it be via a co-op or in the local health food store, bulk is cheaper and better for thee environment. Less packaging and less shopping miles, for if I have it I don't run out to get it on a whim.

So check out these places and I will give updates on Montana to make sure I put in the correct link.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Raw Baba Ganoush

I am always in transition with my eating lifestyle. Notice how I did not say diet. Why do I no longer use that word? Well. for the only reason I can think of, no one should ever have to diet. If you eat whole foods and lose all your processed foods then you will never have to diet. It's when people adopt the SAD diet that things go awry.

I found this lovely blog dealing with raw food and she said something in a past post. She claims, as do I, that we do not count calories, fat grams, carbs or points. We in this family eat anything our heart desires and that includes sweets. Please remember, that we use whole grains for our cookies/pastries and such and raw sugar and or agave as our sweetener. So for us it is very different. I believe that the minute you begin to deprive yourself of the things you love in the food world, that is when you will fall off the a manner of speaking. No need for that here.

My husband and I also exercise regularly. He is more of a gym type of guy, I am more of a do it home type of gal. I walk, bike ride, do free weights and mild stretching here at home. Do I exercise every day? No, but I try my darnedest. I also walk the dog when I do get to walk. It does our bodies good.

So, on to this post. We are trying to add more raw food to our diets, but it can be quite pricey. But again, I try to add at least one new recipe whether it be raw or cooked to our menu every single week. And so far we are not doing so bad. People always ask us what we eat since there is no meat there to fill that spot on our dinner plate. And I tell them that are are tons of things to fill the void and fill the void we do.

I stumbled on to this raw baba ganoush quite by accident. The blog I frequent, but was not necessarily searching for a specific dish. But out of nowhere, this recipe caught my eye. I made it and it turned out great. But be warned, the raw garlic can be a bit overpowering if you are not use to it. But other than that, I say go for it and enjoy the joys of being raw.

2-3 Cloves of garlic
1/2 C Cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
1 Large Eggplant, diced frozen and thawed
Juice from 1/2 lemon
2 T Olive Oil
Pinch of Salt
Advanced preparation: Peel, dice and freeze the eggplant. Thaw before you prepare the eggplant. Soak cashews.
Start food processor and drop garlic, clove by clove into the spinning blade. It will fine dice it and throw it on the wall of the processor. Add the cashews and process until smooth. Add diced eggplant, lemon juice, olive oil and pinch of salt. Process until smooth. Enjoy with your choice of flat breads.

Here is a great recipe Rawmazing

Friday, September 11, 2009

Homemade Rice Milk

We are slowly but surely losing dairy products and processed foods in our home. The processed foods have been about 95% gone from our home for a while. But there are some products we still purchase, only due to the fact that we do not have recipes for them. I have one more to scratch off my list. Rice Milk.

Since entering the working world again, I have fallen behind on many things I use to do on a daily basis, like reading blogs. But when I do get a moment, I try to see what all you folks are cooking and see if they would fit into our diet and or lifestyle. Well this recipe came along at the right time. Heather, over at McDougalling with Chile & Friends posted this ever so simple recipe for rice milk. A whim recipe here is determined mostly by the fact of whether or not I have all thee ingredients. So, I set out to make this recipe and it came out fantastic.

I am going to post it here, but go take a look at Chile's blog, she has some really great recipes there. I recently tried one of her dressing recipes and it was great as well...another processed food I no longer purchase.

-Cook 1/2 cup of brown rice per package directions (typically 1 cup water and a dash of salt).
-Allow rice to cool.
-Fill blender with 4 cups of water, then add rice.
-Blend until water turns white and mixture is smooth (a minute or two).
-Pour into jars and refrigerate.
-Shake before using.
I did filter the pulp and I used it the next morning as a warmed/hot cereal. It was delicious. I added a touch of raw sugar along with some cinnamon and raisins and all was well at our breakfast table.

I think next time I will make more, save the pulp again and make either rice pudding or throw it in a soup. You can freeze the pulp as well and keep on freezing until you reach thee amount you need for said recipe. Make this recipe and use the milk. To this day I am not a milk drinker, but this will definitely go into many recipes we make. Enjoy, and thank you Heather!!!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

"Anything Goes" Fruit-Filled Muffins

Well, I am gliding into my new working schedule. I am learning to semi-bulk cook on my days off. And I am dabbling into menu planning. But thus far, the menu planning only goes so far on the days that I work. I take stock of what we have in the frig and then write out a little paper with what we can make for dinner. Most of the time my daughter is prepping or even making dinner, but on rare occasions I can come home and make things myself. It is definitely a joint effort. Now on to this recipe.

When my daughter gets bored, she has a tendency to cook. And for us that is a good thing, for must of the time it is a sweet treat. This one she got from How it all Vegan. And to date, Sarah Kramer has not disappointed us yet. And this keeps the record going. This is definitely a fruit filled muffin. We used frozen fruit and they were very delicious. Try them, you of course will not regret it.

2 cups flour (we used unbleached all-purpose)
1/2 t salt
3t baking powder
1/2 cup sweetener
egg replacer (to equal 2 eggs)(We used cornstarch)
1/4 cup oil
3/4 cup sour soy milk (we used almond milk)(added 1 t vinegar to sour the milk)
1&1/2 cups** "Anything Goes" fresh or frozen fruit(your choice)
**Apple, raisin
banana, chocolate chip
raspberry, blackberry
strawberry, apricot
ginger, apple, apricot
pear, apple
***The batter is going to be veryt thick, but that is what you want.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add the sweetener, egg replacer, oil, sour milk, and fruit. Stir together until "just mixed." Scoop into lightly oiled muffin tins and bake for 35-45 minutes (use fork to see if done).

This were to die for, OK, we didn't die, but there were slap-up delicious. Try them eat them and make them again.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Rye Bread

For those who do not eat carbs, I will keep you in my thoughts. But for those who do, please read on.

My husband loves rye/pumpernickel bread. And some women find it difficult to find and make a good rye/pumpernickel bread. that is how I feel about sour dough bread. That is my next flavor to attempt. One bread at a time.

Ingredients: Makes 2 loaves
2 packages active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups of warm water (just barely warm to the touch)
2/3 cup molasses
5 cups bread flour (We used unbleached white flour and for me at least, the bread was too fluffy. I was looking for a heartier bread. But the taste value was grand all the same)
2 cups rye flour
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 Tbsp caraway seeds (optional)

1 Dissolve the yeast in the warm water with the molasses. Put yeast mixture into a large metal bowl.

2 Add caraway seeds, salt, vegetable oil, cocoa powder, 2 cups of rye flour and then 2 cups of baking flour, mixing into the yeast mixture after each addition with a wooden spoon
3 Add more bread flour, a cup at a time, until the dough is not so sticky and it is too hard to mix it with the wooden spoon. At that point, spread a half cupful of flour onto a large, clean, flat surface and put the dough onto the surface.

4 Knead the dough by pressing down with the heel of your hand, stretching it, turning the dough a quarter-turn, pulling the dough back toward you and then pressing and stretching again. Knead additional bread flour into the dough until it reaches the right consistency. Knead for 5-7 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic.

5 Spread some vegetable oil around a large bowl and place the dough in it, turning it so it gets coated in the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp cloth. Let rise at room temperature until it has doubled in size, about an hour and a half.

6 Gently press down on the dough so some of its air is released.

7 Knead the dough a few turns and then divide it by cutting it in half with a sharp knife.

8 Shape each half into loaf. Place dough loafs into either oiled bread loaf pans, or onto a flat baking sheet or peel that has been sprinkled with corn meal, depending if you want to cook the loaves in pans or directly on a baking stone. Cover with plastic or a damp cloth.

This, bar none, was thee best bread my family has ever tasted. Be it alone or as a sandwich bread. There is nothing more satisfying that a good rustic bread. And that is where my heart lies...making old style breads. Those that do not fit in a loaf pan. Hand shaped and baked to perfection. (Pardon me while I get a rag to wipe the drool away).

I hope you try this bread and enjoy it a smuch as we did.

Here is the original recipe at George's Place

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Paula Deen's Potato Salad

This was refreshing if you are tired of the tried and true as well as heavy mayonnaise potato salad. Not to take away from mayo, for I could swim in it, use it as a body lotion and just eat it right out of the jar. With the said, you should try this lighter version form Paula Deen. We found this on Food Network and will make it again for sure.

12 cups cubed red potatoes
1 cup chopped green bell pepper (about 1 medium)
1/2 cup minced red onion
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Cook potatoes, covered in boiling water, 10 minutes, or until tender; drain well and cool.
In a large bowl, combine potatoes, bell pepper and onion.
In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients. Pour over potato mixture, tossing gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate.

We even at this while it was warm and it was still delicious. Paula Deen rocks. And yes she is loaded with fat, and meat, but every once and a while she comes up with something I can make as a veggie meal. Hey y'all, it's worth the try.

I Have Discovered Gazpacho

I went last Friday to a raw food inner and loved it tremendously. I have wanted to head in the direction of raw food, but due to financial constraints, that will be on a back burner for a little while longer. However, I add raw food whenever possible and love it every time.

Delightful Gazpacho

Here is where I got the recipe. Granted I altered mine to fit our ingredients, but it sailed gloriously all the same.


-3 medium tomatoes quartered
-2 green onions
-1 small clove garlic minced
-2 fresh basil leaves torn into pieces
-1 rib celery
-2 green and 1 red MINI bell peppers - remove top and seeds (if you don't have access to mini peppers, use approx. 3/4 cup green bell pepper)
-1 teaspoon sea salt
-1 medium sized cucumber- save 1/3

Yummy use of those fresh garden veggies. This is a great mid-summer meal when veggies are plentiful! Cut off 1/3 of the cucumber and dice, set aside. Place all other ingredients into a food processor and puree approx. 1 minute until well blended. Add diced cucumber and serve cold. ENJOY!Serves: 1-2 depends on how hungry you are!

Preparation time: 5 minutes

I ate a huge bowl of it and then again today for lunch. Great stuff when it is hot outside. Oh yeah, I live in Florida it's always hot here. I love raw food and as long as it can fit into my budget, I will be all over it like white on rice. Try this and what you don't eat as soup you can use as salsa!

I'm Packin'

And I ain't talkin' about a 6-shooter.

For those who may not know or remember, I started back to work lat week. I am a demonstration lady for Boars Head Deli Meats. I know, thee irony. Anyhow, I am having a great time. Not because people are buying my product, (which is a good thing, because if they did not buy it, I would not have a job) but because I am where I do my best work, dealing with the people. Everyone has a calling and this is mine. Stick me in a cubicle and I would wither away.

With that said, I had a little epiphany/revaluation, if you will. My husband had a bit of extra cash so he gave it to me, being the woman on the road now. And I felt a bit special and bought lunch out on three different occasions while working. I do get a 30 minute lunch break.

On two occasions I ordered vegetarian sushi and it was wonderful, but the packaging made my skin crawl. And I had no where to store it so I may recycle the containers. So the guilt factor was way high. Then on the last day I purchased lunch I went to my favorite sub shop and ordered a veggie delight and splurged on my favorite junk food...potato chips, BBQ flavored. I decided on no soda and opted for water. As I was sitting there, I turned the chips over and read their ingredient label. And what do I find? MSG! Yep. So guess what item I won't be purchasing there any longer?

But in a nutshell I did not like how I felt after having eaten out. I felt heavy, bloated and as if I was cheating on myself. I told a dear friend of mine that if I had only a slice of homemade bread and a half a banana to eat, I would no longer buy my lunches out.

And lest we forget the expense. I ate out 3 days only and probably dropped $21 in total. That is gas in my tank. I don't know how folks afford to do it on a daily basis. I would much rather put my money and health to better use.

So for this puppy, I will be brown bagging it in a manner of speaking. And look forward to some recipes here shortly, for I have been cooking and learning to adjust to my new working schedule.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Taco Seasoning

Denise Punger threatened me to post this today...or else. What is, 'or else'. I would really like to know. But this is a mixture we have had for so long, that I have no clue where I got it from. And if you have been reading my blog long enough, you know that I like to give credit where credit is due. With that said, please make this, enjoy it, but do not be put off by the amount of different spices it contains. If you take a look at the spices, they are very common spices that if you are a cook, then you will have no problem with this recipe.

1 T chilli powder
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 t onion powder
1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 t oregano
1/2 t paprika
1&1/2 t cumin
1 t salt
1 t black pepper
Ina small bowl, mix together all ingredients, and slowly stir/whisk until completely blended. Store in an airtight container. Use as needed.

See how simple that is. If you are one that enjoys Mexican flavor, you may want to double this recipe for it does not go bad.

Taco Veggie Meat

I did this all by myself and on a whim. Well, not really a whim, Savanah and I had planned the meal, but we then realized we were out of store bought veggie crumbles and had to improvise... and quickly. Enter bulgar wheat. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh, that is the sound of relief and knowing we can finally let go of ground beef veggie crumbles. Who knew?

So there we are trying to put dinner on the table and all went well. We made our own tortillas, cut up a tomato, shredded some cheese, diced a red onion, thee only thing left is the 'meat'. Have no fear, wanna be wing-it-er is here. So try this and adjust it to your own tastes and home. this recipe serves four with a wee bit left over for the next day.

2 cups bulgar wheat
3-4 cups boiling water
Olive oil
1/2-1 onion, chopped small
1 small can tomato sauce
3/4-1 cup water (more or less if needed)
1-2 T taco seasoning (post to follow)
Put the bulgar wheat in a glass bowl and add boiling water (about 1 inch to cover). While wheat is soaking up water heat up large skillet and oil to cover in a thin layer in bottom of pan. Add chopped onion and cook on low until soft and translucent.

Once wheat has soaked up enough water (15-20 minutes) transfer to a mesh strainer and squeeze out as much excess water as possible. Pour wheat into skillet with oil and onions. Stir to combine. Add tomato sauce, water and taco seasoning and stir until completely mixed together and heated through.

Taste to see if more spice is needed. If ready then serve with your meal. Good times.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Even Way Back When

I was up early this morning with my husband as he got ready for work and I sat on the sofa and picked up my The New Laurel's Kitchen (which my husband got for me back in 1992) which this edition was from 1986, so it tells you how old this book is. As much as I am in love with Sarah Kramer's How it all Vegan, this book is more like a well worn sweater, like something you would save if you could only save one thing from a fire. It is comforting to hold it, read eat and cook from it. That is not to say that other cookbooks do have love poured into them. But I guess you would have to see it to understand what I am talking about.

But in browsing around the book for thee umpteenth time I came across some tid-bits that are strewn in the borders of the pages throughout the book. This is from the Food Guide Section.

The Top 10 Sources Of Calories In The U.S. Diet:
1. White bread, rolls, crackers
2. Doughnuts, cookies, cakes
3. Alcoholic beverages
4. Whole milk (cows)
5. Hamburgers, cheeseburgers, etc.
6. Beef steaks, roasts
7. Soft drinks
8. Hotdogs, ham, lunchmeat
9. Eggs
10 French fries, potato chips
**Taken from G. Block et al. 1985 American Journal of Epidemiology 122:13-40**

Another little tidbit I knew of but did not have the numbers to support my knowledge.

Vitamins Lost When Whole Wheat Is Refined
86% Vitamin E lost
81 Niacin*
80 Riboflavin*
77 Thiaman*
70 Vitamin B-6
67 Folic acid
50 Panothenic acid
*Replaced commercially after refinement.
Source: H.A. Schroder 1973, The Trace Elements and Man (Old Greenwich, Conn.: Devin-Adair), p. 57

There is tons of this information scattered throughout the book. So I will be looking through it, shaking my head and then posting about these things. And guess what, most of this stuff was being put out over 25 years ago. I guess some folks were already clued in, to bad so many of us took so long to catch up with them.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Where Does It Go?

So Hector comes home from work last night with his eco bag filled with middle of the week produce. Yep, you heard correctly folks. I do my weekly dry good shopping, and then I hit the produce stand and purchase my veggies and fruit there. So I had estimated that we spend approximately $100 on dry goods and around $40 on fresh produce.

Then it hit my husband last night that we spend WWWAAAYYY more on produce than just $40. Then he commenced to remind me of how much he had spent on the two nights he had worked. For he closes at a grocery the produce department, so it is easy for him to set things aside and then bring them home to consume.

He tallied it up in his head and he calculated the $40 I spend, plus the $20 something he spent last Sunday and the $30 something he had just brought home. Gee Whiz, we spend nearly $100 dollars a week in produce. Most of that being in fruit, but who cares how you get your raw fruits or veggies, right?

Dang, $100 on fruits and veggies. I never thought we laid down that much money on produce, but the numbers support his findings. That sounded way too much like a study. And you know what? I am thrilled we spend that much on produce. So many people spend it on processed foods, fast food, cigarettes, booze, and a bunch of other crap, but we choose not to throw our money away like that.

So the next time I am in a conversation with anyone about how much we spend on groceries, I will proudly and with a smile say we spend $100 on dry goods, and another $100 on fresh produce. Have a nice day.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Spicy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

You can all start thanking Sarah Kramer for this recipe. Once again she has pulled through and given us a wonderful, yet simple recipe to make and then eat. My daughter makes her chocolate chip cookies all the time, but you can only eat chocolate cookies so much. I have been telling her it was time to cook outside her box, but she dragged her feet on this. And I was out of commission due to 2 days of migraines. But I came back with a vengeance. I was all over these oatmeal cookies at 7:30 AM. Yep, no moss grows under these feet chickies. So saddle up and break out your spices for you will be needin' them in this here recipe.

2 cups rolled oat flakes
1 cup flour (we used our own ground whole wheat)
1/2 t salt
1 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
1 t ground ginger
1 t cumin
1/2 t dried cardamon (we did not have this spice)
1/2 t pepper
dash of Cayenne
1 banana, mashed
1/2 cup dry sweetener
2 T oil (we used coconut)
1 cup sour soy milk (we used almond) milk + 1 t vinegar)
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup chocolate chips or carob chips (we did not use these and they are optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In large bowl stir together the oat flakes, flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cinnamon, cardamon, pepper, and Cayenne. Add the mashed banana, sweetener, oil, sour milk, raisins and chocolate chips to the oat mixture and mix together gently until 'just mixed.' Scoop spoon-sized portions onto a lightly oiled cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. Makes 6 large or 12 small.

I don't know what portions that girlie is using, but I measure mine out with a tablespoon measure, and we get almost double thee amount she has suggested. These were to die for and what a great blend of spices. Wowzer! Simple, easy and vegan...who knew!?

Vanilla Pudding

I love banana pudding. It is such a comfort food for me. I can remember my Nanny making it whenever we would visit. I would lick the bowl like any child would, as long as we were allowed. With that in mind, I had had a hankering for some banana pudding, but did not want to use boxed pudding. So I looked for a recipe from scratch, and what do you know, it is not that difficult to make. Simple ingredients and I was able to veganize it, so heads up ya'll, time to throw your boxed puddings away, there's a new recipe in town. I found this from Allrecipes and again it was easy schmeazy to make. So give it a try and be taken back to your childhood.

2 cups milk (we used rice, but it was too thin, next time I will use soy or almond)
1/2 cup sugar (we used raw (it turned the pudding a nice carmel color)
3T cornstarch
1/4 t salt
1t vanilla extract
1T butter (we used dairy butter)
In medium saucepan over medium heat, heat milk until bubbles form at edges. In a bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Pour into hot milk, a little at a time, stirring to dissolve. (Very Important) Continue to cook and stir until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. (It is so cool when this happens) do not boil. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and butter. Pour into serving dishes. (I poured my into a big serving dish for I knew I would put it in another dish before I was done) Chill before serving.

I then went about putting together my banana pudding. I layered vanilla wafers (note to self, find a healthier version of these cookies) along with the pudding and bananas. you layer it the way you want, but let me tell you this. Everyone in the house went bonkers for this recipe. This will definitely be made again, for sure.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

I'm Not Dieting

These were the words that came out of my husbands mouth about a week ago. I was in the kitchen...DUH!, and we were chatting back and forth about some thing or other and he said, "You know what I just realized?" and I asked him to go on. "I am not dieting. I'm just eating foods and not portioning out my food, or weighing it, or anything like I have done all my life when trying to lose weight." My inner revenge person wanted to say, "SEE I TOLD YOU SO!"

But I stayed cool and said the same thing but with a bit more diplomacy. And then commenced to tell my husband that I was hoping his lightbulb would eventually go on the way mine had years ago. I have never dieted in my entire life. Does that mean I am a skinny minny? By no stretch of the means. Does that mean I weigh what the those stupid charts say I should weigh? Absolutely not. Those charts are stupid and unrealistic. You'd have to live on air and twigs to be that weight, and I'm sorry, but I love eating, that's all I got to say about that.

But I think he was genuinely delighted in the fact that he finally got it. We all know it, but so few of us implement it into our daily lives and then if folks hear of our 'weird' eating habits, we get all the odd looks and the questions of, "What do you eat?" And my tried and true answer is, "Everything you don't." And that isn't far from the truth.

People still look at me weird when I tell them I had a salad for breakfast. Who said, and in what rule book does it say that you have to eat pancakes, cereal, home fries, eggs and the such for breakfast. You guys eat breakfast for dinner don't you? Then why not reverse that. Have dinner for breakfast. There is nothing like left over eggplant parm for breakfast. MmmMmm Good.

But in a nutshell, my husband has finally put two & two together in the food world. He has stuck to his guns about losing red meat and pork and doesn't miss it. He still eats chicken and fish and that is his thing. He becomes a veggie man when he is with Savanah and I, so that is a plus. Thee amount of processed foods in our lives is practically zilch. He was having difficulty letting go of bottled dressings, but after reading Green Smoothie Girls introduction to her 12 step program, one of her steps was letting go of bottled dressing. I myself had done it months ago, but he kept holding on. Not any more. I just need to make sure there is plenty made up in advance, for he eats at least one if not two salads a day.

Guess I better check out my own side bar and get to making some homemade dressings. And look for my next post, I made homemade vanilla pudding to go into some banana pudding. Yummo!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Zucchini Bread

Well to say I love coffee cake style breads is a gross understatement. I love to have a nice thick slice and dunk it my one cup of coffee in the morning. Oh heck, let's be honest, I could grab a chunk of that stuff and stab someone with my fork if they made an attempt to share a piece with me. Don't mess with my canoli's or my coffee cakes.

I had purchased three zucchini's thee other day as an emergency to hold us over until we got to the produce stand. I did not get to use them in a recipe until today. I was thumbing through two of my favorite books and could not find anything under zucchini. But I was obviously looking in the wrong place. I was scouring the entire recipe index and low and behold, looky what I found. A zucchini bread recipe. My oh my! This is so good. Takes me back to wintertime. OK so in Florida our winter is a wee bit different than the rest of the world. But a girl can hope, can't she?

Simple ingredients and oh so healthy and good. Imagine that?! Make this and you will love me in the morning. And who can we thank for this lovely recipe? You guessed it, Sarah Kramer's, 'How it all Vegan. I still say this book will save my life. Her vegan recipes are easy, simple and yet still tasty and delicious. Chalk one up for Miss Sarah folks!

1&1/2 cups flour (we ground our own)
2t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1&1/2 t cinnamon
egg replacer (to equal 1 egg) (we used cornstarch for our replacement)
1/2 cup sweetener (we used raw sugar)
1/3 cup oil
1t vinegar
1t vanilla extract
1&1/2 cups zucchini, grated (about 1&1/2 small zucchini's)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped nuts (we used almonds)
1/4 cup water (we had to use another 1/4 cup)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add the egg replacer, sweetener, oil, vinegar, and vanilla, and mix. Stir in zucchini, raisins, and nuts and mix together gently until 'just mixed."

Add a little water if the dough seems too dry. Spoon the batter into a lightly oiled loaf pan and bake for 45-50 minutes. Test with a knife to see if done. Cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving . Makes 1 loaf.

YUMMO! This is such a KEEPER!!!

Hidden MSG

I will never forget the first time I heard those three letters. I was still in high school and was a waitress at Denny's. A man came to sit at the counter and wanted to order a bowl of the days soup. But he asked me if there was MSG in it, for he was allergic to MSG. I promptly went to one of the cooks on duty and asked him. Looking back now I relaize that he most more than likely did not know himself, unless he had a container the soup came in sitting right in front of him.

Once I learned what MSG it hit me that my grandmother used it All-The-Time. Why do I know this. Well she was a frequent user of the product Accent. And get this, she laso loved her salt shaker. But, she did have a viable argement for using said products. Every time she went for her check-up, other than her weight, her blood pressuer, cholesterol and everything else connected to hyper-tension was not there. So in her mind, why give it up if there have been no reprecussions. I have to agree, but not with the MSG thing, that stuff is just wrong. I say we start a anti-MSG campaign, or group, or something.

But on to the point of this post.

I was reading a small snippet in a little magazine that you can most more than likely find in your local grocery store, or health food store or somehting related to health. The magazine is called: delicious living

And here is what the snippet said about MSG. And darned these companies for hiding and lying to us about hidden ingredients. *&#!!$^) companies.

The food additive monosodium glutamate, or MSG, is linked to migraine headaches and hyperactivity in children. If you see hydrolyzed in an ingredients list, the product contains MSG. Watch for the following terms, which also signal MSG.

*autolyzed yeast
*calcium caseinate
*glutamic acid
*hydrolized corn gluten
*hydrolized protein, such as wheat, soy, or vegetable protein
*monopotassium glutamate
*sodium caseinate
*textured protein

Well there you have it folks. Now it will be my job to get in touch with some of the companies I still purchase processed products form to see if they do inject their foods with derivatives of MSG or not. But if this keeps up then I will soon have nothing from a box in my pantry. This is getting to be a wee bit more difficult that I thought. Guess I will have to rethink, once again how I will be cooking and or planning out our meals.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The 12 Commandments of Food

If you have access to Natural Awakenings, by all means pick up July's issue, it has some rather amazing articles. It has a small blurb about a on line movie/video about stuff. Which I blogged about in my regular blog just thee other day. But then I happened upon a small article with a questionnaire with Michael Pollan. I wish I could put thee entire article here, but suffice it to say his ideas are like none other I have read about. And guess what? They make perfect sense. At leas tot those of us how try and eat as naturally as possible. But what I found interesting, is that he has 12 commandments of food that people should follow. And once again, they make utter and complete sense. And here are those 12 Commandments:

1. Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.
2. Avoid products containing ingredients you can't pronounce.
3. Don't eat anything, that won't eventually rot.
4. Avoid food products that carry health claims.
5. Shop the peripheries of the supermarket; stay out of the middle aisle.
6. Better yet, buy food somewhere else: the farmers' market or community supported agriculture.
7. Pay more eat less.
8. Eat a wide variety of species.
9. Eat food from animals that eat grass.
10. Cook, and if you can, grown your won food.
11. Eat meals, and eat them only at tables.
12. Eat deliberately, with other people whenever possible, and always with pleasure.

Surprisingly enough, many if not all of these I follow, save for a few items we purchase (meat analogs), but we are so desperately trying to let go of those items. But it is difficult to make your own veggie bacon, hot dogs and such. But it is my goal to at least attempt to make these foods and from scratch. Wish me luck.

But try if you can to implement as many of these commandments as you possibly can. You know them all to be things we should all be living by, but we will endlessly make up excuses to try and find ways not to do these things, that we know will better our health and in turn better our lives. Do what you can and keep on trying.

Friday, July 17, 2009

What Would You Like With Your Fast Food?

Fast Food: Would You Like 1,000 Calories with That?

Could someone tell me why any company/restaurant would even make a meal with that many calories. If I am not mistaken the AMA says we should eat on average a 2,000 calorie diet, which of course should not be laden with fat calories. And yet you walk into any fast food joint and their dishes are a majority of fat. Not good. I prefer my calories to come from veggies and even those who still consume meat, yes there are leaner types of meat to consume. Trust me when I say you do not need to eat a double-cheese-triple bacon- two stacker burger. Oh...yeah there is a half a leaf of lettuce on there, maybe 2 pickles and a slice of tomato. Woooooeee!

I love watching the commercials for the fast food joints, for they portray their consumers as lean, healthy vibrant folks. And yet, if you sit and watch the type of folks that do frequent those establishments, you would be hard pressed to see anyone coming form the gym to stop by Mickey D's and slide up to the booth and eat a meal slathered in fat and calories.

I have taken the liberty of going to a few different fast food websites and looked up nutritional information. This is nothing I am making up, for it is right on their own website. And I have to believe, or want to believe that if some people had this information put in their faces, they might make different choices. But there are those few (and that few, is an ever growing number, that being overweight people) who may still never make that choice. So here for your viewing please some of the numbers of what is out there and the fact that we call it food.

Chicken Pot Pie=
690 calories
360 calories from fat
Total fat - 40 (That is more than a days worth of fat in just one small meal)
Saturated fat - 30
Cholesterol - 95 mg
Sodium - 1760mg (no, that is not a typo)
Dietary fiber - 3 grams
Double Quarter Pounder With Cheese++=
450 calories
290 calories from fat
Total fat - 32 (An entire days calories in just a sandwich)
Saturated fat - 14
Cholesterol - 130 mg
Sodium - 360mg
Dietary fiber - A Big Fat "0"
Pizza Hut:
12 Inch Medium Hand Tossed Style Pizza Cheese=
(I am going on thee assumption that most folks eat 2 slices. And that will be the numbers I am crunching)
440 Calories
140 Calories from fat
Total Fat - 16 gm
Saturated fat - 8 gm
Cholesterol - 40 mg
Sodium - 1100mg (Again, that is not a typo)
Dietary Fiber - 2gm

As you can see from a slew of different menu's, it is not the interest of any of these companies to give us anything healthy. And if they even try to claim that I would call them a liar to their face. I was also wondering if they themselves, meaning the top executives eat their own food. (I also say the same thing about the tobacco industry, would they promote their product to their own kids. Makes you think doesn't it?)

We have the power through our dollars to stand up and tell these places that we are not going to stand for the crap they are serving us and calling it food

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Yes You Can

Giving up things should not always be depicted as deprivation. I gave up meat and my table is not hurting. And neither is my stomach. And yet, my stomach does not seem to be getting bigger, and man oh man can Savanah and I put away some food. And it dawned on me this last Thanksgiving that even though I made a Turkey for my husband, son and in-laws, our table was filled with mostly vegan food and it was dee-lish-us.

I used to be a very snobby vegetarian, the first time around that is...back in 92-95. But then I matured, and listened to my daughter. who knew you could learn wisdom from a 14 year old. Well I did. I would ask, (to no one in particular) why couldn't so-and-so, get with the program? And it was not in reference to becoming a vegetarian. I don't expect thee entire world to give up meat just because I did. OK, I do but I am not going to get all preachy about it.

What I do is throw it back into their laps and make them think about it and it's funny. By them just being in my presence, they kind of get this guilty look on their face when they even mention meat. As if it is a bad thing. You think? And most of the time they immediately rebound by saying, we do what we can. And I will give them that. But what is it that you are doing that makes you say that? Have you changed your eating habits in any way? Even a small one, such as letting go of some processed foods, go meatless one night, or even one meal a day, how about losing fast food. Pick a type of fast food, any fast food, and you will see what I am talking about.

But every time I talk to people who keep telling me they can't do something...anything, I gently remind them that it's not that they can't, it's that they won't and there is a difference. My all time favorite is, of course, with me begin a vegetarian, is that, 'Oh, I can't give up meat.' Yes you can, you just choose not too, big difference. I don't say it in a condescending manner, just a statement of fact. They don't say much and usually agree with me.

But what I do tell them when we get on any subject of health is that all they have to do is make small changes. Get use to those small changes, let those changes become part of their every day life, let them become instinctual, then move on to the next thing. For instance, when I roll my grocery cart down the cereal aisle, I no longer even look to see what I should buy, for I no longer think in that manner. To me cereal is a foreign object now.

But I tell my friends who try and make excuses for not getting something done in their lives is, 'Yes you can.', if you want it bad enough. You find a game plan and make it work. Save financial situations and some, not all health issues. People will excuse their lives away if you let them. I try to give them hope that they can do whatever they want. You've got to want something bad enough first. I knew I wanted to have my back heal after going through surgery in July of 2008. The doctors had done what they were supposed to do, now it was my turn to take the baton and run with it (not literally). I could find a hundred and one excuses why I could not get out and do a daily walk, but bottom line, the responsibility falls on to my one elses'.

Now, I walk at least 4-5 times a week, and anywhere from 30-45 minutes per walk. There are days I have to make myself, but most of the time I am good to go. And the one benefit I never saw coming was that I dropped 10 pounds, without even trying. I, as Nike says, 'Just Did It'.

So my words of wisdom to those who feel it is hopeless in any aspect of your life is, 'Yes, You Can.' If I can recover as well as I have from major spinal surgery, then you my friends can tackle whatever you want.

I love these words from a father to his daughter in the movie Contact. The young character wants to move ahead by leaps and bounds in the science world, but her father keeps reminding her, 'Small moves Ellie, small moves.'

And how did the ant eat the bite at a time.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Cousin Natasha's Rice & Bean Salad

OK, Sarah should be giving me commission for all the free press she is getting on her book. Naaah, just kididn'. Anyhow, I took a good look at the front cover of her , 'How it all vegan' book and I saw this salad. So, I went in the book, and I am guessing I found the right recipe, or so I hope. But you know what? It doesn't matter. Because the one I made was fabulous. Great ingredients and I could have had this one as an entire meal, but we had some tempeh to cook before it went, and there you have it out of necessity. Ahhh, what a shame.

1 cup cooked rice (we use brown)
1 large red onion, diced
2 or more medium tomatoes, diced
1 medium green pepper, diced
1/2 medium green pepper, diced
1 cup corn (we used frozen, thawed)
2 cups cooked black, or kidney beans
1 avocado, diced
6-10 sprigs cilantro, chopped (we were out)
2 T red wine vinegar (we used white wine vinegar)
dash of cayenne pepper
juice of one lemon
dash of hot sauce (we used saracha) sp?)
Wash and prepare all the vegetables and place them and the other ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir together well and chill before serving. Makes 4-6 servings.

Just so you all know I am mad, that I had to share this dish. Next time I will send everyone away and have it all to myself.

Vegan BBQ Sauce

I have been looking for a BBQ sauce for ages. And since I am not a full fledged vegan, have a vegan recipe was not on the top of my priority list. But every where I looked many recipes had Worcestershire sauce in it, so I started looking for recipes and added the word vegan to it.

Well, it must have been fate, for I had come across this recipe before. Whoa! This is easy schmeazy and most of us have all these ingredients in our kitchen. We made about three new recipes tonight so hold on to your butts, because it's about to get crowded in here.

I found the recipe here a while back and never made it, now when I needed a vegan recipe I got sent back here. Fate? I think not.

SmarterFitter Blog

1/2 cup catsup
1/8 cup water (more or less for desired thickness)
1-2 garlic cloves, minced (or more ( I mean, why not?)
1 tsp Liquid Smoke
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 cup sugar or honey
1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
Combine ingredients, bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes.

I swear, I would pour this over my ice cream and eat it, it is that good. Nah!, but you get my meaning. Now stay tuned, for I am going to post a tempeh recipe in which you can use the BBQ sauce. Woo Hoo!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

We Pay The Price

So yesterday was our 28th anniversary, yep and to the same man. Hector wanted to take me to dinner, but told our daughter how difficult it was, now that I was a vegetarian. Has he forgotten that he has changed his eating habits quite a bit as well, even though he has not for gone meat? Well, we find out this morning, just how much our eating habits effect what we do.

Dinner was decent enough. I, of course, pick thee only vegetarian option on the menu. Yes I could eat a salad, but been there done that. So I order the black bean veggie burger with fries. (I openly admit to 'loving' fries). My husband ordered some salad with blue cheese dressing and I think small fried chicken strips. Trust me when I say there was more crap in there than salad fixin's. And lest we not forget the dressing. Nothing beats the heck out of my fresh homemade dressings.

Se upon hubby's rising he made his way to the little boys room. then he found me in the kitchen making coffee and admitted that he now understands why we do not eat out. That is the price we pay for eating healthy. But was that a complaint? I'm still not sure. By eating at home, we; know what is going into our food, like what we eat, don't get sick from it, digestive track not out of whack from it, are not drinking tons of liquid to flush out the excess sodium in whatever we ate.

But all in all it was a great experience. Oh and since it was a sports bar, I got, on a huge screen TV nothing but that UFC fighting. How glorious to view a bunch of @$%&(# trying to beat the living snot out of one another while I am trying to eat. Not to self. No more sports bars.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Oatmeal Bread

I love bread. I love everything about it. Grinding the wheat, setting up my supplies, kneading the dough, watching it rise and then the smell of it while it is baking. There is nothing more satisfying then to have warm bread colling on a wire rack then cutting into it with some softened butter. Ooo la la.

This is a recipe I got form Sue Gregg. She is the queen of bread making and I thoroughly recommend you visit her site and buy her books. They are worth it truly.

1)Proof yeast: Dissolve yeast with honey in water in a glass measuring cup; let stand 5-10 minutes until bubbles up:
1/4 cup lukewarm water (100-115 degrees)
1 T honey
1 T (1 package) active dry yeast

2) Blend in mixing bowl in order given:
2&1/2 cups hot water (120-125 degrees)
2t salt
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup honey
1/8 t vitamin C crystals or 250 mg. crushed or 1 T Dough Enhancer, optional
3 cups whole wheat flour

3) Blend in yeast; mix in remaining flour while easy to stir; then turn dough out on a floured surface to knead in rest of flour as needed to prevent sticking:
proofed yeast mixture
3-3&1/2 cups whole wheat flour

Oatmeal addition:
Follow directions as above but change these directions:
Add to hot water and allow to soak for 30 minutes:
2 cups uncooked rolled oats
1/2 cup sesame seeds, optional (we did not have any so they did not go in)

Omit or reduce honey and /or oil if desired ( we did not omit anything)
Reduce whole wheat flour by 1-2 cups as needed. Finish loaves as directed.

4) Knead until smooth and elastic, and resistant

5) Place dough in lightly oiled bowl, oil top of dough lightly, cover with a cloth and let rise in a warm place until double in size, about 1-1&1/2 hours.

6) Gently punch down in center, knead lightly

7) Shape, let rise, bake and cool according to recipe used for breads, rolls, or pizza crust.

Preheat oven to 355 degrees. Once dough has had a second rise and placed in the loaf pans, put the bread in the oven then turn down to 340 degrees and bake for about 40 minutes.

I found the dough to be a bit stickier, but kneaded it the same exact way. I did not however add more dough, even though it was tempting. Once I ran out of required amount of dough I stopped kneading, which was exactly the time I was use to.

This was thee most delicious bread I have ever tasted to date. This will definitely be made again in this home.

Monday, July 6, 2009

How Did That Happen?!

I don't step on scales any longer. You want to know why? Because you should not have to...that's why. If you feel good, are eating properly, fitting into your clothes, then why would you...get on a scale that is? Does it really truly matter? The last time I stepped on a scale was when I went to the doctors office, and that is because I am made to. I may not do that next time I am in, what's the relevance?

So I had noticed that my jeans were feeling a bit loose the last few times I put them on. Even when they had been freshly washed. And we all know who tight jeans are at that time. But I blew it off and kept on keepin' on.

Now for the record, my husband has been steadily losing weight these last few months. And truth be told, thee only thing that has changed (other than losing processed sugar) is the fact that he has added exercise to his daily routine. That is not to say that he goes to the gym 7 days a week. Oh not, he hits the gym about 4-5 days, depending on his schedule or how tired he is. To date, he has lost 34 pounds. And yet he still feels the need to step on a scale.

We talked about it before dinner. Here is my theory. If you started out a a size 44 waist and your goal is a 24 waist. Who cares whether you are 210 pounds, 200 or 180. As long as you fit into the clothes you are striving for, who cares.

So here I sit with the size that I am happy with, and all I have left to do is firm up what I already have, which is just a baby pooch. Those muscle need to be worked and worked a lot, but since my back surgery 1 year ago, my ability to or the types of exercising I coudl do was extremely limited. To date all I do is walk 20-30 mint es 4-5 times a week and a little bit of weight training, if I can remember that is. I hit the pavement between 6AM and 7AM and there you have it.

So what did the scales say when I got on them? I am now 10 pounds lighter than I was 1 year ago. How did that happen? I am now doing what is right for me and my body so we can live a long and healthy life.

Vanilla Cake

You people are probably tired of me singing the praises of this woman and her cookbook. Her, being Sarah Kramer, the book being How it all Vegan! I simply cannot rave enough about this book. It's stylish, catchy retro styling, the ease to which the recipes are laid out and the not having to go out and purchase super weird ingredients that you will only use for one recipe. Yeah, who likes that. No one that I know of. So, hold on to your waistlines honeys, I got a cake that will knock your socks off. And could you serve it for a Birthday? By all means. The Icing/whipped cream recipe that I sued did not fit the bill for what most of us know as 'traditional' icing, but I made this cake last night and it is 75% gone as I type this post.

Please keep in mind that I use fresh ground flour and my cake is going to be heavier/earthier than those of you who use lighter, whiter flour. With that said, let's get down to some serious baking.

1&1/2 cups flour (we used whole wheat)
2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
3/4 cup dry sweetner (we used raw sugar)
3/4 cup milk (we used almond)
2 t vanilla extract
1/4 cup oil (we used peanut)
egg replacer (to equal 1 egg) (we used cornstarch)
Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the sweetner, milk, oil, and egg replacer and mix together gently until 'just mixed." Pour into a lightly oiled cake pan and bake for 25-30 minutes. Check with a knife to see if done. When cooled, ice and (recipe to follow) serve.

I wish there was some way I could hug Sarah, but all I can do is sing the praises of her book and let you folks know just how much I enjoy using her recipes.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Nugget Style Hot Cereal

We found this recipe when we lived in Michigan. Yes we lived up north and we miss it terribly. And when living there, we ate more hot food in general. More soups, and more hot breakfasts. When we turned over the back of a box of Grape Nuts we found a hot cereal recipe. We no ,longer buy anything from Post so we buy the generic version and get the same results.

However I usually was not the one making this dish, for Daddy always seemed to have made them so much better. But due to Daddy's early morning shifts mom had to learn to make them in Dad's absence. Hence this post.

I am not a wing it kind of gal. I like a recipe to follow, at least initially, then I can work with what I have in front of me. But today I walked on the wild side and figured I would measure as I went along and see if my measurements worked. VIOLA! First time I out nailed it. Yeah to me. So go get a box of nugget style cereal and make this, you and the kiddies will not be disappointed.

1&1/2 cups of nugget style cereal
1&1/4 cups milk (we used almond)
1/4 cup raw sugar
2T butter (vegans do your thing)
Put all ingredients in a medium-sized pot. Turn to medium high for 2-3 minutes then turn down to simmer until butter is melted. Serve hot. This recipe serves 2, so if you have a crowd, adjust accordingly.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Balsamic Dressing

An amoeba could make this dressing, but it couldn't enjoy it the way we can. I got this dressing from How it All Vegan (again, yeah I know) and thee ingredients were simple enough and we had them, but that did not guarantee it would taste good. But guess what? It does taste good.

It is quite tangy, but one you read the ingredients, you will know why, but thee other ingredient balances it out for sure. So go make this and have a salad tonight.

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/8 cup maple syrup
Mix the two ingredients together and enjoy.

Did you get that folks? For if it was too difficult for you you can definitely Email me and we can talk about this one. I know it was a difficult recipe and for that I apologize. I crack myself up.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Just Look In Their Grocery Carts

I debated highly whether or not to take the job I currently have. And for no other reason then the fact that I honestly would not eat just about any of the stuff I push upon the poor souls that walk by demonstration cart.

And when unemployment sent me to fill out applications I applied to most places that were geographically close to home. I was unsure as to whether or not I should even apply at some places I cringe at when I drive by them on the road, but we are borrowing vast amounts of money every single month from my in-laws just to stay float. We had bills to pay.

So each and every day I kept hoping that some of these less reputable places that pass themselves off as 'food joints' would call upon me to work for them. And the my next dilemma was, "What do I do if they 'do' call?" I know I don't want to be in debt for the rest of my life, but does how does a wanna be vegan even work in a place like that. Well that answer don't.

It's like an atheist working for a church. I mean it just doesn't mesh. It would go against the very grain of what I believed in. Luckily for me that did not happen.

I did however, get a call from a demonstration company. In essence, I do not work for the companies of the foods/products I push on the poor suspecting public, nor do I work for...wait for it, here it comes...Walmart. Yes, I reside four days a week within the confines of the biggest conglomerate known in the free world. And man, all I can say is WOW!

It is good to be and how I live my life. Please do not take that in the wrong light. Many people are on a mission and on thier way to better themselves. But oh so many are not and you want to know how I know? I see what they put in thier shopping carts every day I am there.

I do not have to say to these people that my product is great, for I am not one to lie to sell soemthing. I just go by what others say about it and quote them. Have of this that graces my table should not even fall into the category of food, and yet people buy into it...all-the-time. And it shows up in the waistlines. I see it all folks. The good the bad and the ugly. I knew we had a nation of obese people. But I had no idea the scale of the morbidly obese. And yes, they come shopping. I don't know whether to be mad at them, pity them or cringe. And truth be told I feel all of the above.

My heart aches that they feel the need to fill some void through food. I am the first one to openly admit to loving food. I mean come on I have a cooking blog for crying out loud. But I make choices, and tough ones I might add. Tell me what family of four can go anywhere and spend that on groceries a week with an extra thirty to forty on produce (remember there are two vegetarian in the house). So roughly $140-150 a week on groceries. Not many families I know can do that. And thee only way I can do that is by shopping at Walmart...for now that is.

When you don't know where your next dollar is coming form and you are constantly borrowing form your in-laws, you have to take what you have and get the most for your buck. And for me and my family rihgt now, that is Walmart. Do I uphold what they stand for? No. But I have no choice at this point in my life. I can however make the best choices inside Walmart once I am there. So I look at what I spend with my $100 and what others would and do spend with thier $100. I get so much less, but only in quantity. My cart is filled $100 of quality foods.

We all make choices, but some folks are stuck in a rut that they have been fed by the food industry, and for that I feel for them. When I do get a chance to strike up a conversation with passer-by's I tell them I am a vegetarian and we talk a wee bit. I get these people for all of about 30 seconds to 1 minute. If I can infuse just a bit of information into them, then my job is done.

So I stand there pushing my wears like a drug dealer on a street corner, but I go home and know I have made some better choices in my life.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Tofurky Sausage

Mr. Cooking Lady come home from work with a bag full of goodies. And they were vegan goodies. I know I should not eat processed foods. And for the most part we do OK. But once in a while I like to have a sausage, or a sandwich, so we have the meat alternatives as a back up. We may not buy them again for months, or we may use them for weeks on end, but that is usually no the case.

The newest product to come into our home is the Tofurky line. When I meet new people who find out that Savanah and I are vegetarians, they nearly run at me with, 'Do you have Tofurky for Thanksgiving?' And up until now, I have told them no, for really and truly we have never had this product. And this next Thanksgiving, there will be no Turkey in our home. Trust me when I say that our dinner table does fine without it.

On to my review. This product had tons of flavor, and held together. A bit to much for me. That is not a complaint. It's just a little too firm. But in the recipe we made it with, it is perfect. So I guess it is doable. Then there was thier lunch meat. Again is was kind of chewy, but I told Savanah, since we load our sandwiches up with gobs of veggies and such, that we would not notice the chewiness. And could I eat it in a plainer sandwich? Definitely, but why when you can pile it high with great fixin's.

Some of you may say, 'Hey, just have the sandwich with the fixin's and ix-nay the fake meat. And like I said, for the most part we do, but I guess this is like our pint of Hagen Daz. We get our fix and move on. But it is nice to know we can purchase these items and fit in with thee others.

And...they are vegan.

Purple Cabbage Optional

I have recently gone back to work. I am one of those demonstration ladies who hands out food in Walmart. I know, I know. But trust me when I say I don't eat the stuff, I just hand it out. When going back into the work force, I debated on whether or not I could work in some places. For instance, I had actually applied at McDonald's. What if they called and offered me a job, would I have taken it, and used that as my platform to let everyone know about vegetarianism? It was something I grappled with. But I got lucky, sort of.

When I tell people about the products I am giving away (And yes it is crap food) I do not tell them I think it is good, for I do not eat it. I do tell them however that others are loving it. I'm not lying and they are happy.

My latest product was Sara Lee's low sodium lunch meat line. I cut the meat up as instructed and laid in on top of a saltine style cracker. Then there was a hand out card on how to make thee ideal 'Hearty Ham & Cheese Sandwich'. Duh, if you can't to that by now, children excluded, then I hand out is surely not going to help you.

So I pick this thing up and read it, just for fun, and here is what I read: (Cracked me up)

- Sara Lee 45 calories & Delightful Wheat Bread
- romaine lettuce
- Sara Lee Lower Sodium Honey Ham
- Sara Lee Pre-sliced Muenster Cheese
- Sara Lee Pre-sliced Baby Swiss Cheese
- red tomato
- purple cabbage optional

OK, I know they added some lettuce and tomato, but why the cabbage to be thee optional one, why not the tomato. Many folks are effected by the acid in tomatoes (my heart aches for them). And why not the lettuce. I mean come on, who wants to be a rabbit (Raises hand...'I do.')

Do folks out there in the print up of recipe cards world realize that if not for the few veggies that omnivore do eat, they would be 'stuck' (without getting gross) Even when I consumed meat, I could not imagine a meal without a salad or some sort of veggie in my plate. I have always loved vegetables. Right now, there is not one I cannot think of that I do not eat. Some of them may need to be disguised, but none that I refuse to eat.

So it cracked me up when I read this for I would have been thee opposite way around...'Meat Optional'

200 Posts

What a landmark. When I started this blog, I knew it piqued my interest, but I had no idea I would blog here more than my regular blog. Who knew.

Thank you to all who frequent here and walk away with a little something more than when you got here. Thanks for reading and in essence, eating with me.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Rose By Any Other Name

This is some what connected to my favorite cookbook post. But not entirely. This woman has many books to her name. But it is her non-condescending approach that makes me like her. Nobody hates a snobby vegetarian/vegan. We all do what we do for our own reasons, and we should not be judged for that. (My daughter keeps reminding me of this...yeah my daughter).
This book is filled with pages of foods broken down into categories and each item has a small description. Then there is a section after the colorful photos that explains the how's and the why's to those items you just drooled over. Who knew there were that many different types of pasta and that each pasta shape has a purpose. Again...who knew. If you get the chance, find her book and buy it. This is one to have in your library, but not just for the recipes. I love it for the easy to understand pages that are filled with veggies and the such.

I picked up her book, guess where? Yeah at either a garage sales, library get-rid-of section or someplace where I know I did not pay top price. I rarely if ever try to do that. I just found Rose Elliot's book on Amazon, in hardcover for $2.90. How cool is that? Obviously very cool. But her website is just as inviting. Plain no nonsense type or woman. Her website is well laid out and easy to navigate.
Check her out and see what she can tell you, for there is plenty of information there to digest.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Hoppin' John Salad

Another great dish by Paula Deen. For me she is comfort food, for my mother's side of the family is from the south. I close my eyes and I can hear my grandmother, Grace. so when I see a dish that sparks a memory, I see how much I can health it up and usually have to veg it up. You know Paula, everything tastes better with Bacon/grease,, mayonnaise, and or butter. I swear one day my daughter and I will go on her show and cook her some dee-licious vegan food. But I have to find the right recipes, and get them perfected. I swear I am going to do it. And...I will drag Savanah with me.

How cool is that, Savanah, cooking in Savannah? But I got time on my side. But on to this recipe. The dish is supposed to be a cold salad. But I was on a time crunch, so we ate the dish hot. I am almost afraid to try it cold. That's how good it was hot. Both my husband and Savanah went nuts over it. And for me and Nana, it could have been a complete meal, but she made her first attempt at baked beans, and did OK. The flavor was dead on, but she cooked them a little bit too much and they were a wee bit dry. She learned what she had to do for the next batch.

This recipe folks was simple stupid ans Paula herself has said on many occasions. The ingredients are basic and most folks have them in their kitchen already. So drop on by, make this and invite me, for I will bring a batch of cornbread to go with this dish.

Hoppin' John Salad Recipe : Bobby Flay : Food Network:

2 cups rice
4 slices bacon (We used Morningstar Farms fake bacon)
1 medium onion, chopped
8 ounces frozen black-eyed peas, thawed (We cooked our own)
2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 4 ears)
10 ounces frozen baby lima beans, thawed
2 cups chicken broth (We used homemade veggie stock)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt (We used Paula Deen's House Seasoning)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Add rice, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed all the water.
In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy. Set aside on paper towels. Reserve drippings in skillet.
To the skillet add onions and cook over medium heat, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until tender. Add black-eyed peas, corn, lima beans, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender; drain. Place into a large bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk oil, vinegar, seasoned salt, and pepper. Pour on top of vegetable mixture and toss to coat. Mix in rice and crumble in the reserved bacon. Cover and chill in refrigerator for a few hours before serving.

My Favorite Cookbooks

I look to cook. Duh, otherwise I don't think I would have a cooking blog. But we all have resources we turn to in times of need, or when thee old standby is raking on our nerves and the tried and true salads, sauces, casseroles, cookies and such forth just don't seem to do it for you any longer.

Hello cookbook.

I have just a few that I turn to ALL the time. The make me feel like I know these people who have taken the time and effort to put their love and thoughts into a book. What an undertaking it must have been for these people to even attempt this, let alone go through it.

The first book I hold near and dear to my heart is The New Laurel's Kitchen:

This was the first cookbook I was given when I was a vegetarian the first time around. It feels like an old worn in shoe that you just can't or won't give up. You can actually visualize the home that these dishes were tested in and the love that went into this book. All I need is a cup of cider and a piece of pie and I am good to go with this book.

The next one that is my new found favorite has just had its 10th anniversary. This is How it all Vegan:
I found this by accident. I was with my children in Borders and where do I always end up? At the cookbook section. This one looked colorful and interesting. It was the retro style that got me to open the front cover. From that moment on I was hooked. So I bought for my daughter *cough cough...myself* for Christmas. The rest as they say is history. It barely leaves our counter top or is at least so close by I can put my hand on it. Try this one out ladies, you will not be disappointed.

The last is my latest addition, but well worth it. Vegetarian Times Complete Cookbook:

Again a complete and total accident that this fell into my hands. I was with my children at an Anime convention and there was a library. In I went and my son found it actually. I browsed through and saw a $.50 price on thee inside. I inquired if it was for sale and was told that is was told my son to dig in his pocket for the change. This has so many recipes and categories that it almost confuses me...NOT! This was a great find.

Do not stop looking for a book that fits your kitchen. Try garage sales, rummage sales, church bazaars, the withdrawn table at the library. The possibilities are endless.