Guest Blogging!

Exciting stuff!  My daughter, Erin, is a Blogger over at Fit 4 All.  She is passionate about health, fitness, and helping others.  I’m very proud of her and of the good work she does.

Her contributions to the Fit 4 All blog primarily center around healthy, thrifty food, or “Affordable Fuel.”  She asked me to contribute our favorite chili recipe!  And although this was posted last week(I’m a bit behind), I am so thrilled for this happy honor.😃

Without further delay, here it is:

Mom’s Chili (Inspired by  the recipe for “Pantry Raid Chili” in “Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker” by Robin Robertson(See link below)

Notes – I’ve made this in the slow cooker or atop the stove.  It can take 30 minutes on the stove top, or up to 6 hours on a low setting in the slow cooker.  I do not cook with salt for health reasons, but you can add salt if that is your preference.

1 (24-oz) jar tomato salsa – any kind, I like the chunkier varieties best

2 Tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon dried marjoram

½ teaspoon ground cumin

1 Cup (or a little more) water

3 cups cooked beans, or 2(15-oz) cans beans, rinsed and drained.  I mix and match.  I find that black beans plus kidney or pinto beans are an especially nice combination.

1 tablespoon Bragg Liquid Aminos

Freshly ground black pepper

Optional seasonings – salt, a dash of cayenne and/or red pepper flakes(depending on your spiciness preference)

2 Cups frozen corn kernels

Garnishes – avocado, onion, (vegan)sour cream, (vegan) shredded cheese, fresh cilantro

-Combine salsa, chili powder, marjoram, cumin, and water in the slow cooker or soup pot.  Stir to combine.  Add beans and soy sauce, season to taste with pepper and optional seasonings, if using.  Cover – if slow cooking, set on low for 4-6 hours; if stove top, medium/simmer for ½ hour, stirring often.

-The original recipe says to thaw the corn kernels and add to the pot and cook for 10 more minutes.  I’ve done it this way, or just added them frozen at the beginning with the other ingredients and had equally excellent results.  Serve hot, garnish to your liking.  This freezes well and is a wonderful go-to meal all year round.  Add your favorite salad plus some cornbread or tortilla chips for a very satisfying meal.

You can read the full post here.  If you are interested in the cookbook from which my inspiration was derived, you can find it here.  And, find out ways you can help support Fit 4 All here.

It’s snowy up here in the Northeast.  Keep your long johns on!  I’m knitting a blanket right now.  That keeps my lap warm.

img_20160116_091831109

Dreaming of summertime and the GARDEN!

Wendy

 

 

Back-to-Healthy-Vegan-Basics

After a lovely Passover and Easter weekend spent at Country Mouse House with family, it’s time to reduce the carbohydrate intake once again!  Today’s breakfast:

IMG_0321

I started with some baby romaine, a sliced banana, and a small portion of a raw beet, chopped.  In a bowl I stirred together a tablespoon of cashew butter with a tablespoon of almond milk.  This made a lovely dressing:

IMG_0323

I have to say, it was quite tasty!  Lunch was very filling and delicious as well.  Might I recommend:

IMG_0325

The ingredients for this salad are:

Handful of baby spinach

1/2 avocado

1-2 small carrots, sliced

1/2 apple, chopped

1/2 Cup soaked, cooked kidney beans

Very small piece of raw beet, chopped

1 portobello mushroom cap(previously grilled, leftover), chopped

1 Tablespoon roasted pepitas

Dressing:

Juice from 1/2 lime

1 Tablespoon sesame seeds

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 minced garlic cloves

Lemon pepper Mrs. Dash seasoning to taste

Water to thin, if needed

—-Arrange the vegetables, seeds, apples, and beans on a plate, toss.  Whisk dressing ingredients together and pour over top.  Toss again.  Enjoy!

Wendy

Thurz Day Recipe

Hello there!  And Happy Thurz Day!  Today I am featuring a recipe that I created for a breakfast beverage.  My goal was to pack a lot of nutrition in a drink.  Have a look at the main ingredients:

FullSizeRender (1)

The small chunk of root is fresh turmeric.  It is expensive, so I use it sparingly.  The larger root is ginger.  I try to get a little turmeric and ginger every day, usually by putting a small amount of the dried spices in some hot water in the morning.  There is also an assortment of leafy greens – spinach plus two types of kale – blackberries, and a Meyer lemon.  I added a little aloe vera juice and coconut water as well.  Here it is ready to go:

IMG_0080

The color was kind of strange, but here it is blended:

IMG_0081

IMG_0082 (1)

 

I tried to get a little artistic.  I like the open blinds in the background and the waving flag.

The recipe:

6 large blackberries

1 Meyer lemon

3/4 cup baby spinach

1 leaf each – curly kale and Tuscan kale

1/4 inch each – peeled, chopped ginger and turmeric roots

1/4 cup aloe vera juice

1/4 cup coconut water

Blend all ingredients in a high-powered blender until smooth and drinkable.  You will feel energized!

—————–

As a P.S. – I wanted to share last night’s dinner plate:

IMG_0078

 

This includes a falafel burger, tahini sauce, hummus, and babaganoush, and a whole wheat pita – all from Mrs. Green’s Market.  I put the mixed salad together, and the dressing is a simple, home-made lemony dijon vinaigrette.  The cauliflower is oven-roasted with a little olive oil, Mrs. Dash seasoning, and salt and pepper.

It doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming to put together a well-balanced, nourishing, vegan meal!

Enjoy your day!

Wendy

 

Avocadorito for Breakfast

Happy Monday!  Here is a typical vegan go-to meal that I can’t seem to get enough of lately…..

For Breakfast, my “Avocadorito:”

IMG_0069IMG_0070

The recipe?  Quite simply:

One ripe avocado, sliced

One whole-grain tortilla(If you haven’t got tortillas or wraps, use whole grain toast and eat as an open-faced sandwich)

Salt, pepper, Mrs. Dash to taste

Lay tortilla flat.  Top with avocado slices and spices.  Roll up burrito-style.  Serve with fresh fruit on the side for a nourishing breakfast.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This recipe is so quick and easy.  It only takes a couple of minutes to make.  Brewing tea takes longer.

Enjoy your day!

Wendy

More Vegan Adventures

I’ve maintained my Veganism since September 8, 2014.  That isn’t very long, I suppose in the grand scheme of things, but then, for someone who has been an omnivore all her life prior, it feels like quite awhile!

I have found that when I follow a vegan recipe, and everyone in the household likes it, I keep it in my Recipe Archives to be used at any time.  A current family favorite is a carrot-orange soup, from:

Another favorite is:

http://ohsheglows.com/2010/11/16/holiday-soup-for-the-soul/

I tend to change things up a little bit based on my whim and what is available in my kitchen.  I made the carrot-orange soup, for example, without the parsley or orange zest.  Instead, I garnished it with toasted pepitas.  As for the holiday soup, I pureed about 3/4 of it in my blender, then added it back to the soup pot.  This gave it a somewhat creamy, not-too-chunky texture.  And, lo and behold, here is what happened one evening whilst I was making one of the above soups:

IMG_0009

You see, I didn’t realize in enough time that the lid on the blender was not secure.  I  slammed my hand down on it quickly and held it there until the blending cycle finished.  Unfortunately, the damage was done.  It went on the the floor:

IMG_0010

 

Behind things on the counter top:

IMG_0012

 

It went on the walls, too, as well as on me and the dog.  I have no photos of that, though.  All I can tell you is that I walked into the room where Joel was resting and he asked me if I threw up on myself.  Ew!

It was a 2-day clean-up.  But the soup was GOOD!

IMG_0006

 

Winter is the time of year for lots of soup!  It is the ultimate comfort food, at least for me it is!  With the recipes above, you can pack a lot of nutrition into a relatively easy-to-cook dish.  Just be sure to keep your hand on that blender lid to prevent the craziness.

Wendy

Armoire Update and Vegan Adventure

I am not finished yet, but that’s because the one door needs some TLC:

photo 5 (15)

 

It’s upside down.  That gap at the “top” is really at the bottom.  So…I had some wood cut to (sort of) fit:

photo 4 (24)

I needed to glue it and clamp it:

photo 3 (31)

 

But then, there was a problem.  There was nothing to “grab” it from the back.  See the other door from the inner side:

photo 2 (43)

 

(Note the Not-So-Itsy-Bitsy Spider)  There is another piece of wood on this side, as you can see, held in place with those little flat brackets in the corners.  So far, I only have the back piece glued.  I will install the little brackets next go-around.  But, in order to get the wood to the right size, I had to saw it a little:

photo 1 (42)

 

It took awhile to figure out the best way to rig it so I could cut it evenly.  But I finally did it!

photo 5 (16)

 

That cute little saw was all I needed!

Here is what it looks like from the back all glued and clamped:

photo 3 (32)

 

I found this rusty old hook which I plan to clean up and paint to use just inside the door:

photo 1 (44)

 

It’s amazing what lurks underneath the dirt on a barn floor!  I am really looking forward to getting to the end of this project!  I picked the paint color – “Grey Timber Wolf” by Benjamin Moore Paint.

Meanwhile, another Vegan Adventure:

photo 1 (45)

 

This was an intense salad made with home-grown beets, asparagus, and chock full of other good things.  The recipe is in the book from my previous post, “Delicious and Nutritious.”

Have a delicious and nutritious day!

Wendy

 

Delicious and Nutritious

As always, I look for new, fun ways to improve our health habits.  I recently discovered:

This is not a brand-new book, but it is, nevertheless, very helpful and informative.  With the basic principles in mind, I created a yummy lunch  It contained a little olive oil, baby kale, some red kidney beans, chopped onion(dried), zucchini(I have to use that up!), walnuts, shitake mushrooms, and sunflower nuts:

photo (68)

 

Here it is after cooking briefly:

photo (67)

 

I have to say, it was delicious.  I plan on using food combinations like this as often as possible.  They are nutrient-dense foods, which are low in calories, so they pack a powerful punch when it comes to healthy eating.

In the meantime, I am drying seeds to save for next year’s garden planting:

photo (66)

 

If it is hard to see, due to my “expert” photography skills, I have French Breakfast Radish, Purple String Beans, and Painted Lady and/or Scarlett Runner Beans.  The Scarlett Runner Beans have all red flowers, but the Painted Ladies have red and white flowers.  I think they make beautiful plants as well as yummy food!

It never ceases to amaze me how such a big, beautiful plant can come from a tiny seed!  Every year I marvel in wonder…..

CIMG2407

 

(Flowers from the Painted Lady String Bean plants)

Enjoy making healthy food to nourish you, give you strength, and help you feel happy!

Wendy

“Food Glorious Food”

 

 

 

 

photo 1 (38)

 

Above is a sampling of this week’s harvest!  So is below:

photo (64)

What to do?  Well, first I took some tomatoes, shallots, and parsley and made some salsa:

photo 2 (41)

 

Then I got the kale washed, seasoned and ready to make into kale chips:

photo 1 (40)

 

After roasting in the oven:

photo 1 (39)

 

Then I had to roast some cauliflower.  This had purple tinges:

photo 3 (30)

 

Then came the eggplant parmesan:

Before baking:

photo 4 (23)

 

After baking:

photo 2 (40)

Now for the zucchini:

photo (65)

 

I recently watched a cooking show that created this marvelous-looking concoction, but I can’t remember all the ingredients used.  I did my best, so here is my version of Some Kind of Zucchini Side Dish-

Zucchini slices, cooked in a little olive oil and fennel seeds(either atop stove or grill)

When cooked to your liking, transfer to a serving plate and top with pesto sauce(which I made with walnuts and had in the refrigerator), a sprinkling of feta cheese, and some kalamata olives.

Enjoy!

Happy eating!  Happy Weekend!

Wendy

T. G. I. R.

Thank God It’s Rhubarb!

We made a Vegan Rhubarb Cobbler:

image (40)

 

It really was very good.  The way to “Vegan-ize” something (quickly and easily) is to first check to see if there are any animal-derived ingredients.  This would include milk/dairy, eggs, butter, meat, animal fats, gelatin, etc.  My recipe called for eggs, so we did our chia-seed egg subsitute.  Per egg equivalent, mix one tablespoon chia seeds with 3 tablespoons water, let sit a bit.  It gets gooey and egg-like in its consistency.  For milk, we used almond milk.  For butter, we just used vegetable oil.  You could use coconut oil or a vegan margarine if you want.   We are not all vegans, but one of my children IS a vegan, and yet another goes without dairy.

Onward to the canning…….

image (42)

 

I loved using the blue jars!  They make the contents look even yummier!  I ended up making a Rhubarb-Cherry Topping, which I used on my French toast this morning.  If I do say so myself, it was delicious.  I tried using a jam recipe, but I had more rhubarb than the recipe called for.  I didn’t have quite enough pectin, and I had some cherry preserves in my stash…hence….it didn’t gel up enough to spread.  It pours easily, though, and I have no fear that it will get gobbled up quickly.

Last week, I tried my hand at homemade laundry detergent.  It also came out rather nicely.  The reason I did this is that the cost of laundry soap seems to rise as the size of the container seems to decrease.  This cost about 50 cents a gallon to make.  You can check out a how-to video here.

photo (45)

 

I got to playing around with these Martha Stewart labels I found in Staples, along with a “chalk pen,” which I hadn’t heard of before.  That was in the craft store next door.  The painting in the background is of my front porch at Country Mouse House, by a local artist.   Note the blooming flowers?   (Sigh……)

Time to head outside and smell the lilacs!

Have a beautiful weekend!

Wendy

 

 

Vegan Christmas Cookies

Today I am embarking on a journey.  I am baking Christmas cookies, Vegan Style.  I currently have 3 vegetarian children, one of whom is Vegan, one who doesn’t eat dairy (but does occasionally eat a tiny bit of seafood), and one who is trying it for one month to see how it all works out(but does eat dairy).  Joel still likes meat, poultry, and seafood.  I can’t digest red meat, so it’s off-limits to me.  I can tolerate poultry and most fish.  I do make beef for Joel once in awhile.  Christmas dinner is usually filet mignon.  This year, Joel will be the only one eating that.

The rest of us will be eating:

My vegetarians eat this at Thanksgiving, and I tasted it and it is really quite good.   The key is NOT to expect it to taste EXACTLY like turkey!  It just doesn’t.  Really.  But it isn’t bad.  Really!

Back to my mission today – to bake some cookies.  Here is the recipe:

http://www.ohladycakes.com/2011/12/sugar-cookies.html

And here is how they turned out:

photo (17)

I have found that vegan baked goods have a slightly different texture, due to the fact that there are no eggs or milk.  They are still light and fluffy, and very, very SWEET.  (Not diabetic-friendly!!)  I am going to freeze this batch and the rest of the dough, since Vegan Child won’t be home for the college break until tomorrow.

All my shopping is done – I just have a tiny bit more wrapping to do.  My cards will be sent by this weekend, so I apologize to any of my card recipients if you get yours “late.”  I figure if it’s by the New Year, then it’s all good.  I have done my holiday decorations in “Minimalist” style this year, and so far nobody has complained.

Of course, I always crank up my stress level by adding a random project to the mix.  My gift to myself is re-painting the ceiling and walls of my front entry/vestibule in Town Mouse House.   Add that to one child having been sick, a school concert in the works, numerous holiday parties and events that must be attended by various family members, well……I’m sure we don’t have it much different from anyone else out there.  And really, none of this is complaining on my part!  Just describing the busy-ness of the season.

My hope and prayer is for good health, safety, and joy this Christmas and in the New Year.  From our family to yours – Blessed Peace on Earth!

Wendy