Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Catsup Sauce

This is a great sauce and can be use don anything you use BBQ sauce with, but I put it with the Tofu stick in the previous post. Easy schmeazy, and will keep in the frig if there is left-overs. We had a little bit left over. Try it, but be warned, it has a bit of a bite due to the ginger in the recipe, but oh so good in my book.

3/4 cup water
1/4 tomato paste
2 T maple syrup
2 T fresh lemon juice
1/2 t pureed fresh ginger (I used my micro plainer)
1 T minced fresh parsley (right out of the garden sha-BAM)
Cayenne pepper to taste (maybe a pinch)
Salt and pepper
Whisk together the water, tomato paste, maple syrup, lemon juice and ginger in a small pan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly and cook for 1 minute. Let cool. Add the parsley and season with cayenne and salt.

I did not heat this dressing, but would definitely do it next time. It definitely would have thickened it up a bit, but the flavor rocked all the same.

Another great dish from Vegetarian Times Complete Cookbook.

Oven - Crisp Tofu Sticks

I am beginning to experiment with tofu these days. And so far so good. But I know so many folks would not even try the stuff. their loss in my opinion. Is it exactly like meat? No, but I am OK with that. It has its own distinct quality and an animal did not have to give its life for my meal. But before I start sounding preachy, let me just say this this dish is do-able for sure. Try it and see what you think.

24 ounces firm or extra-firm tofu (water-packed, not aseptic or silken) drained
1/3 cup fine cracker crumbs ( we used flour instead)
2 T cornmeal
1&1/2 T salt free seasoning (We used Paula Deen's House Seasoning, homemade of course)
1/2 t ground chipotle or chili powder (I used 1/4 t)
1/4 salt
Olive oil cooking spray or mesquite oil cooking spray
Drain tofu and wrap in paper towel for 10-15 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 F. In a shallow bowl, mix together the cracker crumbs, cornmeal, seasoning, chipotle or chili powder and salt. Set aside. Spray a large wire cooling rack with oil. Cut each block of tofu into 12 sticks about 3 inches long and 3/4 inch thick. Dredge each stick in the crumb mixture and place the sticks on the wire rack. Spray them with oil. Bake until crisp and brown, about 35-45 minutes. Serve the tofu sticks warm with ketchup sauce (recipe coming soon) drizzled on the top or served on the side.

Thee only thing I did differently and would next time follow the recipie with is the way I cooked it. I put my tofu in a baking dish, so it did not get crispy and crunch. Tasted great all the same, but would follow the directions to the letter next time. Great dish and will make it again for sure.

We can thank Vegetarian Times Complete Cookbook for this one. Good times.

French Dressing

Well I have a few new recipes. I tried out about three today, so get ready. This first one is a dressing recipe. It is my goal to be bottle dressing free here soon. I am, but my hubby still purchases bottled dressing. Go figure. This is one I snagged from How it all Vegan. Imagine that. Easy, simple and I had all thee ingredients, already. I plus in this house. So enjoy, but may I make a suggestion? Double this recipe, not because it is delicious, which it is, but because it barely covered 3 salads and we always go for seconds in this house.

1 clove garlic, minced ( I put mine through a garlic press, much better)
1/2 t salt
1/4 t dry mustard
1/4 t paprika
1/4 t pepper
1/4 cup flax oil or olive (we used olive)
2 T vinegar (we used apple cider)
In a small bowl, whisk together all thee ingredients. Serve over a nice green salad.

I did not change much of anything, and this is definitely a KEEPER for sure. Make and go be a rabbit.

Papas Rellenas

My name is Danette and I am Cuban by marriage. Corny, but I like it all the same. I can cook pretty decently in the world of Cuban food. But since going vegetarian and now on the road to being vegan it is going to become increasingly difficult to go anywhere and eat. I mean come on, when we went to Miami for a few days. we took a box of food and a cooler of food as well.

I have told Savanah, that when you make choices there are always consequences. But people always associate bad things when they hear the word consequences. For us it is not a bad thing, it is just a thing. We have made a decision to better our diet and life and we know what we have to do...end of discussion.

Now, on to this recipe. I have always loved Papa Rellenas. They are a basic staple and utilize left overs. Cubans made these when there was too much Picadillo left over and Viola, you have Papa Rellenas. It is not difficult and they differ from region to region, much like our potato salads. And your picadillo will differ as well. But what I learned from making this dish (which by the way is a KEEPER) is two things. 1) Make sure your potatoes are completely drained and free of liquid...ALL liquid. 2) Make them golf ball size like the recipe says.

Making them was simple enough, mine just came out too big, but that did not alter how delicious they were. take a little time, for they are a bit time consuming and make these lovely little things. All we needed was a salad and we were good to go. Yummo!

4 potatoes, peeled and boiled (I boiled them whole)
1/2 t alt (I would bump it to 1 full teaspoon)
2 eggs beaten (We used almond milk in its place) This is what holds the bread crumbs to the potato ball
Dry bread crumbs (At least 1 cup)
1 lb. Cuban Picadillo (Google it, but I will be putting this recipe up soon)
Flour (Enough to coat the potato balls)
Oil of choice for frying (We use peanut oil) And this is only about 1/4 of an inch deep in a frying pan.

Boil potatoes until they are fully cooked. Drain. Mash potatoes with the salt (do not add any butter, oil, or liquid!) allow mixture to cool for 30 minutes at room temperature. Grab a handful of mashed potatoes, split the handful in half, and make each half into a little bowl by pressing in with your fingers. Stuff the indentation in each half with the Picadillo. Bring the two halves together and smooth to make a round ball, about the size of an overstuffed golf ball. Dip the ball into the almond milk, and then roll in the flour until lightly covered. Dip the ball in the almond milk again and roll in the bread crumbs to coat thoroughly.

Important: Refrigerate the balls for two to four hours before proceeding to the next step. Heat oil to the frying stage (about 375ยบ F) and gently drop each papa rellena into the hot oil. Let it cook for about two minutes or until golden brown. Turn the balls and cook the other half in the same way. Be careful not to overcook.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Rock The Vote

No, not that one, Obama already got into office. What I am talking about is the Sexiest Vegetarian Alive (Husbands and wives do not count, we are talking Hollywood style).

I have voted in the past and try to make sure my vote gets in every year. But what a list they have. And I am impressed every year of how many join the list. I look up to these people, and for many reasons. They have the resources and financial backing to be able to do what us little folks cannot. That is not to say that what we do goes unnoticed, for it does not. How does an ant eat an elephant? One bite at a time. And this is how I feel about how I am approaching my lifestyle and my diet.

So Go vote and take a look around PETA, something may just inspire you.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Your Own Tomato Planter

We have all seen the commercials of the Topsy Turvy, but you can make your own homemade growers. Check them out here at the Cheap Vegetable Gardner.

I am all for cheap and economical things that can help us reuse and recycle items. I myself do not drink sodas, so finding one of these is going to be difficult. I will just go dumpster diving and hit everyone's recycle bins. Trust me when I say there will be tons to choose from in the neighborhood. I have about 2 dozen plants growing right now, and at all different levels. So I could take the newer ones and put them in the litre containers. The more the merrier.

I will definitely be canning this summer and I also plan on making tomato jelly as well. I use to get it from this place we use to visit in Pennsylvania called Kitchen Kettle. Very quaint place and if you are ever in Lancaster County, go and see this place, you will not regret it.

Once I get going on my new planters, I will of course and as always, blog about it. So stay tuned, same place same channel.

Not Just For Salads

I have known for quite a long time that vinegar is versatile, but so many folks have no clue what is sitting inside their pantry. I buy vinegar by the gallon, yep, you heard and read correctly. I purchase vinegar by the gallon. White vinegar that is. I use it for so many things that I would wear my fingers to the bone trying to type them all but I will give you a few examples of how I use vinegar and then add a few more from How it all Vegan. Sarah and Tanya have a few pages full of ideas on how you can utilize your vinegar, other than just your salads.

Let the games begin:
1) As a household cleaner- 1 cup of white vinegar to 3 cups water.
2) As a floor cleaner- 2 cups vinegar to 6 cups of vinegar. Use it on your floors, and use a towel to clean your floors with. You can also add a few drops of essential oils to mask the vinegar smell if it bothers you that much. But the smell dissipates so quickly that you do not have to, but it does smell nice around the holidays when my floors smell like cinnamon or mint. And, you can also use tea tree oil as a disinfectant.
3) Eliminate cooking smells. Let simmer a small pot of vinegar and water solution
4) Add to your laundry through the rinse cycle in place of fabric softener (I haven't used that or dryer sheets in years) And my laundry does not contain anymore static electricity that any other home.
5) Clean eyeglasses. Wipe each lens with a drop of vinegar.

Like I said, I could sit here all day and type away, but I will leave you with an article that Yahoo posted about other ways to use vinegar. Read and try, you will be surprised what you are able to give up and switch to and Mother Earth will thank you.

Vinegar Article.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Strawberry Lemonade

In the good ole summer time. Well by the calender, it is not officially summer, but this is Florida, summer is our middle name. But I was checking up on my fellow cooking bloggers and I cam across this delicious, refreshing and not so sickening sweet summer-time drink. I love lemonade. This drink was perfect, and cute. I wish I had had a lovely glass pitcher to display it in, but alas, all we had was a Tupperware style plastic container.

The simplicity of this drink is wonderful and just in time for summer. All I need is my big brim hat and Scarlett to sit beside me on the wrap around porch on the swing. Fiddle-Dee-Dee. So go visit Vegan Tickles and see what she has to offer.

The juice of 3 lemons
2 cups of washed and quartered strawberries
3 T agave nectar (I would bump this up just a wee bit, but not too much)
6 cups of cold water
Let it sit in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving. It will change colors. It's so purdy. Where's the glass pitcher when you need one. And go to the garden and snap off a sprig of mint for garnish. Yummo!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Grab Your Bags

I saw this on Green Bag Lady. She is a woman who makes reusable bags for those who want them...and for free. She has slacked off, due to the high demand. Man what I wouldn't give to start a group here like that. She just asks for donations, sews them and ships them back. People all over the world have her bags. And people all over the world, send her material and money to keep her project going. What an unbelieveable undertaking. And what a great way to say thank you to Mother Earth.

There are times I forget to take my bags in with me and I am only buying an item or two. I politely tell the cashier, "No bag please." I get 8The look* and I tell them, I have my receipt, and that I do not need a bag for one item. What are they going to do, make me take one. This article talks about charging folks for every plastic or paper bag they use. YEAH BABY! Not me.

I even got hubby to keep a few bags in his car, and he uses them. I would love to see these bill/law implemented. Works in my book. BOO Yah!
Green Bag Article

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Grey Water And Garden

What do those two things have in common? Everything. I was getting into a good groove of using my grey water to flush my toilets. But then I began slacking off a bit. Then South Florida got hit with a drought and I was trying to grow a lush vegetable garden along with an herb garden. But with the water restrictions that have been placed upon us that was about to get difficult, unless I wanted to stand out there all day and water by hand, which is still allowable. Not in this Florida heat.

Enter grey water. I have a bucket I acquired from my local grocery store. I believe it is a 3 gallon bucket. All you do is go to your bakery department and see if they will let you have a frosting bucket. It is not a big as a wheat bucket (which is 5 gallons) and it fits right in my shower. Plus, the quicker you use your grey water the better. Usually a 24 hour turn around is best advised. But my garden needed more water, so I finally convinced my children to put a 2 gallon cleaning bucket in their shower. Viola! I have lots of water now. I am nearly collecting 5 plus gallons a day just in grey shower water. And my plants are loving me for it.
I still utilize the watering restrictions, but this grey water has its definite perks. It is water you would be wasting all the same, and now it is going for a worthy cause...my stomach, eventually that is. My son drags the heavy buckets outside and pours them into our watering can and I take over the rest. What a team. I almost call us the dynamic duo...almost. So let me show you some pictures of my efforts.
This first picture is of our cucumbers, and they are finally latching on to the fence. No need for steaks and string here.
This second one is of tomato plants that are finally starting to bear fruit. I wanted most of my plants to either be heirloom or organic, and most of them are. Next year I will do both.
This next one is of all my tomato plants. Last count I had 24 and that was not the row that has multiple baby plants. I will be taking many of them an making my own Topsy Turvy plant hangers. Check them out here.
This next one is of my fledgling curly parsley. I use this way more than flat, due to how much Tabbouleh we like to eat. And there are 2 sprigs of dill that in there as well so I am seeing homemade dill pickles in my future.
This is my daughters okra. WE LOVE OKRA. It does help that we are form the south. Yummo.
This is all thee okra plants. and they are doing wonderfully. I will soon need to add steaks and string so they can begin to climb.
I planted tons of cilantro seeds and the ones in the front of the garden came up wonderfully, but the seeds in the back piddled out. Fear not, I planted more seeds and guess what? I have tons of cilantro now. Then it hit me as I was weeding one day...these have multiple root systems. dag-nab-it, I had cilantro to uproot and replant. I now have about 8-10 cilantro plants all thriving.
This is my basil plant/bush and that puppy is doing great. Remember, that with basil you cannot pluck off a leaf, you have to take thee entire stem. This one we have had the longest.
This is our oregano. My son loves this on his homemade sub sandwiches. So when we run out he panics. Today I will be dehydrating more. Just chop it down and it grows right back.

This is my mint. There is no other way to describe this plant. IT GROWS WILD, and that my friends is no joke. Unless you want it to overtake your garden, I am suggesting a huge, not big, planter to house this is so it will not interfere with your other plants. I chopped this down to the ground a month ago and it is ready to be pruned again.

This is my flat leaf parsley. When I purchased this in its planter, the label stated that it was curly parsley, but it never got curly. We have adjusted and use it in many a things. But my preference is still to curly.

Way in the back you can barely see what looks like wild grass. No, that is garlic. We just popped off a few cloves form what we had in the house and here we go. But it did take a very long time for it to come up. So we thought we had lost it and planted over it. So now we have 2 things growing in the same place...oh well.

And these are our sweet peppers. the little ones that come in yellow, green and red and you can just pop them in your mouth. These are the same. I am so excited to start eating from our garden. Well worth the time and effort we have put into this.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Potato Green Bean Salad

I love Chuck. His recipes are aromatic, colorful, tasty (have I gone too far) and oh so simple to make and easier to eat. I do not make his meat dishes for I no longer eat meat, but trust me when I say he has many non-meat dishes that are off the hook. This dish is just one of those.

I just finished a two bowl sitting of this dish and could have easily ate a third bowl of this heavenly dish. There were a few things I did differently, but I will state those at the end of the post.

Chef Chuck's Cucina:
1 pound fresh green beans
1 1/2 pounds red potatoes
1 red onion, sliced
extra virgin olive oil
balsamic vinegar or
red wine vinegar
salt and pepper

Place whole potatoes in a large pot of salted water, bring to a boil and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes, drain, cool and cut in quarters. Trim and snap green beans, steam and cool. Combine potatoes and beans in a large bowl add onions, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Add oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to your desire.

I used small white potatoes instead of red potatoes. And when I sat down at the dining table I did sprinkle a wee bit of Feta cheese on my salad. About 1-2 T, nothing more, you do not want to take away from the simplicity of this dish. And truth be told, you do not need the Feta at all, I just had a hankering.

What I would do differently is not steam my beans so much, but that is not the recipes fault, that was my fault. It would have been spectacular with the green beans with a bit of a crunch to them.

I loved this recipe for many reasons, but the one I liked best was that I had all thee ingredients, and that is a plus for me. Make it, eat it and then make some more. Thanks Chuck!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Pan Seared Grits

This was/is a delicious dish to make. We did make a very slight few changes, but it did not deter form the flavor of this dish. You would think it to be a breakfast dish, but that does not have to be so. You could easily make this a side dish for dinner.

In fact the next time I make this dish, I will make a bowl of gravy and pour it over the grits, but you do not have to do this to complete this easy, simple dish to make.

Food for Laughter: Pan-Seared Parmesan Grits: "Pan-Seared Parmesan Grits

5 cups water
3 cups 1% milk or soy milk
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups stone-ground corn grits
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (We used Munster cheese)

* First, make the grits and have them as usual for breakfast. (I made them at night and let them cool in the frig overnight)You could make the whole batch and put them straight in the fridge to chill for pan searing later, but I find it much more enjoyable to have the whole grits experience - traditional soft grits for breakfast one day, and the sliced version the next morning...

~ In a saucepan, bring the water, milk or soy milk, and salt to a boil.
~ Reduce the heat to medium-low, whisk in the grits, cover, and simmer for around 7 minutes, stirring and recovering frequently until the grits are thick and creamy,
~ Remove from the heat, and stir in the Parmesan.
~ Enjoy some for breakfast, nice and warm, and then place the leftovers in a square dish in the fridge...
~ After the grits are well chilled and firm (letting them chill overnight is best), turn the square container upside down to flip out a solid square of grits. (We had to run a knife along the edge to loosen the grits, but easy schmeazy they fell out of the pan)
~ Using a sharp knife, cut the grits into 3/4' slices.
~ Season both sides of each slice with salt and black pepper. (This is where I goofed, I sprinkled a bit too much salt, but other than that, they were perfect)
~ Coat a large skillet with cooking spray.
~ Over medium high heat, sear the slices until well-browned on each side.
~ Serve immediately, 'piping hot...'"

There is nothing left to say about this classic Southern dish. Simple ingredients and simple cooking/planning. Enjoy and let me know what you think. *this dish makes enough for a family of 4-6 or for 2 different meals*

Grown-Up Rice Pudding

I was never much of a rice pudding fan myself, until I met my husband. his mother made this awesome rice pudding. Your classic white rice loaded with whole milk with white sugar. but wait, you can still have your rice pudding and eat it too...Trust Me!!

You know me, I am trying new recipes all the time. And my new favorite cookbook is 'How It All Vegan.' I had seen this book in the book store over a year ago and I connected with it somehow. I know, come on, how can you connect with an inanimate object. but I tell you this book spoke to me. Not literally mind you, but you know what I am talking about.

Fast forward to holiday season 2008 and what lands into my daughters pile of gifts but this lovely book. And to date we both use it constantly. Her mostly for desserts, me for a plethora of dishes. But last night I had a sweet tooth and I refuse to purchase junk from the store. That does not mean I do not want to satisfy my sweet tooth. So I cracked open the book and found rice Pudding.

I usually have at least 2-3 types of rice on hand. But last night I wanted to use my very aromatic brown jasmine rice. Oh my stars. You know how many a cooks will call a mac-n-cheese a grown up version of thee old comfort food? Well put your minds in that frame of thinking. for this one is sweet, delicious, yet somehow satisfying without all the guilt of your moms rice pudding.

So get all your ingredients lined up and let the cooking begin.

2-3 cups soy milk (we used 2 cups of plain almond and it came out just fine)
2 cups cooked rice (we used brown jasmine rice and it was great)
1&1/2 t cinnamon
1 T vanilla extract
1 cup of raisins
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup sweetener ( we used raw sugar)
In a medium saucepan, add the milk, cooked rice, cinnamon, vanilla, raisin, almonds, and sweetener and bring to a boil (we got it to a soft boil, not full rolling boil). Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until pudding thickens to desired consistency, stirring occasionally. Makes 2 or more servings.

This recipe filled 4 small dessert bowls and I still could easily share a bowl with my husband. And he loved it. He did say he thought it had too many almonds, but that the taste still came through wonderfully and he wants me to make it again....like he had to ask. Pffft!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Soyrizo & Black Bean Burgers

OK, so I am looking for the perfect veggie burger. This one is so darned close that it scares me. I followed her direction to the letter, but if I had to make them again I would up the flour a wee bit. While ours tasted grand, they had a tendency to fall apart. But they had a wonderful bit to them, not hot/spicy, but a full Latin styled flavor. We have used this Soyrizo before and loved it then. I made them in a potato dish and boy were they great.

We have been trying to curb our processed food, even in the vegetarian world, but I think my otherwise healthy diet lets us slide every now and then. Try them and see what you think.

now that i'm awesome; another crazy vegan blog: Soyrizo & Black Bean Burgers: "Here's the way I made them:
Soyrizo Burgers
(4 burgers)


1 package of Soyrizo
1 can black beans, drained
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon oil
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley(or cilantro)

In a skillet, heat Soyrizo and beans until hot. Remove from heat and stir in flour.
Allow to cool enough for handling. Using your hands, mix in the green onion and parsley, until the mixture is well distributed. Form into patties. You can pan fry these in a bit of oil, but I highly suggest basting a little oil on them and placing them directly onto a grill!"

Sugar Addiction

We all know the devastating usage of sugar. I kicked my white sugar habit a while back. Oh, You do know that I was referring to the table sugar I wantonly added to my food. Ah hah, you are forgetting the hidden-in-everything-you-eat-sugar...aren't you? Well my dear friends, just pick any box, can, package, bottle and read the back of said container and you will be shocked to see what you have been ingesting and quite possible without your knowledge and or permission.

If you want to read up on someones detox from sugar, then go and read any and all her posts about sugar. Permission to Mother has been through her own trials and tribulations over sugar, but she is stronger, leaner, and healthier due to her sugar elimination Am I that far along? No, but we are so far removed from where we were 1 year ago it is not funny. Do we still eat sweets? You bet, but we are waaaay more careful as to what we add to our food.

You know you are a healthnut when you take your raw sugar to the restaurant to add to your hot beverage, and you taker your grated ginger to add to a cup of hot water. AM I moving over to the freak category? Oh well.

On to the hazards of sugar consumption.

1) Today's Consumption: Today, an average American consumes 2-3 pounds of sugar EACH WEEK. Yes, that is not a typo, I kid you not. While at the end of the 19th century (1887-1890), the average American consumed only 5 pounds PER YEAR. Is someone seeing a correlation between many diseases, and obesity as our sugar consumption has risen. But wait there is more bad news, so keep on reading.

2) A Continual Rise: Over the last 20 years, sugar consumption in the U.S> has increased 26 pounds to 135 pounds of sugar PER PERSON PER YEAR. Are you part of that trend?

3) Hidden Culprits: This is my most favorite and yet disturbing of all entries. Sugar consumption includes highly refined sugars that are incorporated into many of the foods we eat (bread, peanut butter, condiments, sauces, etc.) Some of these are better known as sucrose (table sugar), dextrose (corn sugar) and high-fructose corn syrup. When I started to let go of sugars, I did it in steps. First was thee obvious, boxed cereals. I can now proudly say that I no longer buy or consume these baddies (I made that word up). We either have our own homemade granola or just grape nuts style cereal. End of discussion. So let it be written, so let it be done. (Sorry, that was my Charlton Heston moment)

4) 4 Classes: 4 classes of simple sugars ( Sucrose, fructose, honey and malts) are deemed 'harmful' to optimal health when long term consumption is over 15% (and we all know how much we consume, whether we wantonly admit it or not) of carbohydrate calories ingested. Here's a hint: Complex carbohydrates (veggies, beans, legumes, whole grains) are the way keep this number below 15%. It still amazes me when I hear people freak about how they need to stay away from 'Carbs'. Yeah ya do, if you are consuming the carbs off the shelves. Not my carbs. We live on them and thrive on them. But then again we make our own bread from scratch. Now that's the kind of carbs I am talking about. Carbs Schmarbs!

5) Health Issues: Simple sugars have been documented to contribute to and/or aggravate health problems, including asthma, mood disorder (no more saying it is PMS ladies) mental illness, nervous disorders, diabetes, heart disease, gallstones, hypertension, and arthritis. Some how obesity seems to have snuck under the radar. But do the math folks. I am not laying total blame of obesity on sugar, some of it , OK, a lot of it is what you eat, but I will give credit where credit is due.

6) Insulin Impacts: Sugar raises insulin levels, inhibiting the release of growth hormones which depress thee immune system. Further, too much insulin, promotes the storage of fat, so that when you eat foods that are high in sugar, you are enabling rapid weight gain and elevated triglyceride levels, both of which lead to cardiovascular disease.

7) Degenerative Disease: Sugar has no real nutritional value (minerals, vitamins, and fiber) and as a result, has a deteriorating effect on the endocrine system, causing sugar consumption to be one of the 3 major causes of degenerative disease.

8) Cancer Culprits: Turns out that cancer's preferred fuel is none other than glucose. Controlling one's blood-glucose levels through diet, exercise supplements (which I do not take), meditation and prescription drugs-when necessary (But most medical illnesses could definitely be turned around primarily through diet)- can be extremely important to a cancer treatment program.

So there you have it folks, the unnecessary evil of sugar. the in your face kind and those you may not be aware of. Knowledge is power. Know what is in your food. Is it easy to make changes? Yes and no. I have finally given up bottled dressings and my dressing cruets are so much prettier than those put out by Wishbone and Kraft.

So next time you think of having a lump of sugar in your coffee, remember, a long time ago, people found a way to drink their coffee without the sweet taste of sugar.

Do you avoid sugar? And how much do you consume in a day....week...month...year?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Crock Pot Curried Rice and Lentils

I am trying to figure out if I like curry or not. And thus far I am hanging on the side of no. But that does not mean I will stop trying new recipes. Maybe I just need to find the right combination of ingredients. This dish is simply simple. But the one thing I would add would be a bit of salt. there was none in the recipe and it did need a wee bit , and once a dish is cooked, you can't ever get the same flavor from salting on your plate.

My crock pot took 4 hours and there was still a wee bit of a crunch to the lentils, but not so much that you did not want to eat this dish.

Crock Pot Curried Rice and Lentils - Vegetarian Crock Pot Recipe - Vegan Crockpot Recipe - Vegetarian Curried Rice and Lentils: "Ingredients:
1 cup rice
1 tbsp curry powder
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup lentils
2 vegetarian bouillon cubes
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp pepper
1 onion, diced
Combine all the ingredients in a crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours."

Pasta With Wine Sauce

Don't hate me because I can cook. Be my friend and I can invite you over for dinner. And for the record, I am going to marry Matt but since I have already asked Chuck to marry me, that may be a problem. My husband can find his way around a kitchen, but he cooks to put food on the table, where as Savanah and I cook because we love what we do.

I have been on a roll today. This is the third dish I have made today and there is a fourth one in the slow cooker, but I may blog about that tomorrow. I think I have given you all enough to read for one day. This dish is a great pasta dish and oh so simple. For those who may not want to use wine for whatever reason, remember the alcohol content evaporates so you are safe, and if that is not enough for you, you can always purchase the non-alcoholic version. So grab a bottle and start cooking.

My Veggie Kitchen: "1/4 cup olive oil (don't skimp, really)
6 cloves garlic, whole, but crushed slightly
28 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tbs dried basil (or 1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh)
1/2 tsp dried oregano (or 1/2 tbs fresh)

Set a pot of water to boil for the pasta. While the water heats, heat the oil in a sauce pan. Add the garlic and cook over medium-high heat until the garlic browns. Press the garlic against the side of the pan and discard. Add the remaining ingredients and set the heat so it gently boils. Cook, stirring occasionally until the sauce has thickened and the pasta is ready. As you stir, break the diced tomatoes up with your wooden spoon. When the pasta water boils, toss the pasta with the sauce and serve."

The only thing I would do differently is to let the sauce and pasta cook a wee bit as to let the sauce render down and then I am good to go.

Move Over Bugs Bunny

If you haven't figured it out by now, this post will be related to carrots. I needed some carrot pulp for my marinara post and there was plenty to keep. And I knew I wanted to make carrot cake, but a bit healthier. So where did I go? I yeah, How it all Vegan. Once again these ladies...Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer have a splendid book. Retro look and simple recipes can keep you up to your eyeballs in new food and comfort food as well. I proved that today by making brownies and now a carrot cake.

I did make one tiny boo boo though, but easily rectifiable. I made it in a loaf pan, which is usually where I bake my banana nut bread, but I now see I need a cake pan like thee instructions dictated. But no worries, I just added 10 minutes to the bake time and Viola!

1&1/2 cups flour (we used unbleached)
3/4 cup dry sweetener(we used raw sugar)
2 t baking powder
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t salt
3/4 cup soy milk (we used almond)
2 t vanilla extract
1/4 cup canola oil (we will use this until it if done then buy it no more)
egg replacer (equal to 1 egg) (we used 3T applesauce)
1/2 cup carrot, finely shredded(we used pulp from juiced carrots)
1 t fresh ginger, grated
Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sweetener, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add the milk, vanilla, oil, egg replacer, carrot, and ginger and mix together gently until 'just mixed,' Pour into a lightly oiled pan and bake fro 25-30 minutes. Check with a knife to see if done. When cooled, you can ice if you choose to, we did not.

WOW!, again. I am in a domestic mood today. And my family reaps the benefits. And I am in the process of cooking a lentil curry stew in the slow cooker, so keep your eyes peeled for the results of that dish.

This carrot cake is to die for. It is not as dark as the one you are use to, but who cares, for this sis so darned good. Yowser!


EDIT IN: I forgot to add maple syrup, it is now one of thee ingredients.

Little Debbie, eat your heart out. And yes, I openly admit to having ate Little Debbie Brownies in the day. But no more. I had a sweet tooth and would much prefer our homemade sweets in comparison to those bought in the store. I know all of my ingredients and can pronounce them. Those form the store, you cannot. Now, sit down before you read this next sentence...no, I mean it, sit down. I Don't Like Chocolate! Stop throwing stuff at the monitor. It's true, I much prefer a carrot cake or cheesecake over chocolate. With that said though I have to admit that I do LOVE brownies. But that had better be a slap up great recipe or hang it up sister.

Well the perfect brownie has just landed in my mout...I mean lap and you are not going to believe the ease and deliciousness of this dessert. I had pulled out my recipe books and first looked at Vegetarian Times. But their recipe had 2 cups of sugar. And even thought I use raw sugar or agave, 2 cups seemed a bit too sweet for my taste buds. In comes How it all Vegan. Yeah yeah, another dish from that book.

What you have to remember, is that I try to make recipies that do not call for weird ingredients, unless I absolutely feel they are a vital part of the dish. So enough babbling, let's see this recipe and then run to make them and hope beyond all hope that there is enough for your mans lunch-box the next day.

1&1/3 cup flour (we used unbleached)
1/3 cup cocoa
1&1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup apple juice or water (we used water)
1/3 cup oil (we used canola, until it is finished then we will buy it no more)
2 t vanilla extract
1/2 cups walnut, chopped (we used about 3/4 cup)
Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Add the maple syrup, juice(or water)m oil, vanilla and walnuts and mix together gently until 'just mixed.' Spoon into a lightly oiled 8 x 8 pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, Test with a knife to see if done. Makes 6 large brownies.

WOW!, is all I can say. Not to sweet and yet it could please the toughest critic. Go now and make these little gems, you can call me in the morning after you have eaten thee entire pan to ask for forgiveness, which of course I will not bestow upon you for I will be yelling at you as to why you did not invite me over to devour the pan with you.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Marinara Sauce

Savanah usually makes our marinara sauce, but last week she was very sick with sinus'. So mom to the rescue. Truthfully, I almost forgot how to make this simple dish.But I dove in with a vengeance vowing to make up for lost time.

I had the staples on hand and went right to work. But added soemthing I usually despise...mushrooms. And just today I kicked it up a notch and added carrots. The last time I made the sauce, my son had no idea I had added mushrooms, and today he will have no idea I have added carrots. Now, on to the recipe.

3-4 T olive oil
1 medium onion pureed in food processor
1/4 green pepper pureed in food processor
3-4 cloves garlic pureed in food processor
6-8 medium button mushrooms, stem removed, pureed in food processor
1/4-1/3 cup carrot pulp
1-2 t oregano
1/2 cup meat crumbles
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in skillet. Add pureed onion, green pepper, garlic, mushrooms and lastly carrots. Stir until everything is well coated and warmed through. Add oregano, meat crumbles and salt and pepper. Once everything is combined, transfer to a crock pot.

At this point I add my favorite tomato base sauce. Everyone's is different. So do yours the way you like it and slow cook until ready for dinner. Mine will be cooking for about 4 hours. Enjoy.

You Know You're A Healthnut When...

....you juice carrots just so you can have pulp to make marinara sauce and carrot cake.

Lentil Burger

For the record, I Love Lentils, but this recipe needs tweaking. The burger itself held together the best for ANY non meat burger I have ever made, but we definitely need to spice it up. Granted it had your basics, such as salt and pepper, but we are a spicy type of family so there will be spices added next time. So now on to the recipe.

I got this from How it All Vegan. Yeah yeah, I know you are asking, 'Is that thee only book I cook from?' Well know it isn't but I do use it a lot, did I mention a lot? And also when it is crunch time and I have not prepared ahead, I look for recipes where I either have all or most of the ingredients and go from there. And due to the fact that lentils cook up quick, we were good to go.

3/4 cup wheat germ
2 cups cooked lentils (I used 1&1/2 dry and there was left-overs)
1 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped onion
3 T olive oil
1/2 salt and pepper

On a small plate, set aside 2 T of the wheat germ for coating. In a medium bowl, stir (I used a potato masher) together the remaining wheat germ, lentils, bread crumbs, onions, oil, salt and pepper. Divide and shape into 4 patties. Lay down each patty in wheat germ, coating each side.

Cook on a lightly oiled frying pan on medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes, flipping occasionally. Serve like a regular burger - an all vegan patty special sauce, lettuce, soy cheese (which we did), pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.