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Pacific Organic Tomato Soup March 26, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Sustainable Living, Vegetarian Recipes.
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Fresh Market’s running a special on Pacific Organic Tomato Soup this month.

We tried it.

We both loved it!  And BFF doesn’t even really like Tomato Soup.

It comes in a resealable quart container and stays fresh in the fridge for 7-10 days after opening.

It’s low fat, gluten free, soy free, kosher, vegetarian, and . . . delicious!

Other soups include: Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup (also yummy), Creamy Butternut Squash Soup (not my fave), and many more we haven’t tried.


In addition to soups, they make Meals, Sides, Sauces, and Gravies ~ all of which can be filtered by dietary preferences.

To learn more Pacific and its sustainable practices ~ check out Our Story ~ Pacific Foods.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Have you tried any products by Pacific?  Are you a fan?

Just For Fun February 10, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Fun & Games, Humor, Joke, Vegetarian Recipes.
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Gymnastics1.  If you’re looking for something FUN to do, check out the Fun To Do list at Thought for the Day.

My favorite idea is #4.

2.  Wondering where to buy a better bomb shelter?  Check out:

Underground Bomb Shelter Sales Up.

3.  Experiences are great . . . but, like exclamation points, they can be overdone.

Sometimes one is enough.

4.  The best part of most weeks for me is water aerobics ~ getting exercise, outside, with real people who are connecting and laughing and splashing about in the NOW . . . with NO CELL PHONES in sight.

It doesn’t hurt that the water temperature is 80 degrees.

5.  Want an EASY recipe for Black Bean Salsa?  

Combine 2-3 diced tomatoes with a 15 oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed.  Add a few dashes of dried onion, dried garlic, cumin, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper.  Stir and chill.  Serve with tortilla chips.

6. Want an even EASIER recipe for Black Bean Salsa?

Combine one can of Ro*Tel (Tomatoes and Chile Peppers) with a 15 oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed.

7.  I thought about going to Zumba this morning.  It’s the thought that counts, right?

Aah . . . that’s better!

One Potato . . . Two Potato January 26, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Simplify Your Life, Vegetarian Recipes.
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IMGP3283bIn our recent effort to shift to a more whole food plant based diet (and lessen our reliance on C~H~E~E~S~E), we’ve put our Slow Cooker to good use this week ~ making Split Pea Soup, Vegetarian Chili, Vegetable Soup with Farro, and . . .

Yesterday, I realized I had 4 onions and 3 pounds of spuds screaming for attention.

I peeled and diced the potatoes and sliced the onions and tossed them in the slow cooker with diced carrot and celery.

I left the slow cooker to do its thing while I flipped through recipes to find a few to suit the spudsy base.  

I selected three ~ a veritable potage à trois!

* Potato Curry
* Tattie Soup
* Hash Browns / Home Fries

Once the potatoes and onions were cooked, I reserved 2/3 of the base for the soup and hash browns, then added a bag of peas, some cooked brown rice, 2 tbsp. of curry powder, and 2 cups of vegetable broth to the slow cooker and set it to simmer, low and slow.

I served the fragrant and hearty Potato Curry for dinner last night with a sprinkling of peanuts and raisins on top.  Yummy!

Today (a chilly day), Tattie Soup will be a hit for lunch and a breeze to fix: heat 4 cups of vegetable broth, add cooked potatoes, onions, carrots, and celery.  Bring the mixture to a simmer. Smash the tatties with a hand masher.  Done!

While the soup is heating, we’ll fry up some home fries for the side.

And we’re not the only ones groaning with delight.  Our freezer is a happy camper, stocked with assorted ready-to-go meals on its shelves ~ pea soup, baked ziti, veggie-farro soup, vegetarian chili, potato curry, and tattie soup.

Aah . . . that’s better! 

Ending the Year on a Sweet Note December 30, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Happiness, Vegetarian Recipes.
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The happiest Happy Hour nibbles we enjoyed this Season ~> Mojito Fries!

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Sweet Potato Fries seasoned with Lime Salt and Fresh Mint with a Sweet and Spicy Dipping Sauce on the side.

Definitely a taste to savor and celebrate.

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Isn’t it wonderful to end the year on a Sweet Note?


Or four?

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Aah . . . that’s better!

Highlights From BFF’s Birthday November 20, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Special Events, Vegetarian Recipes.
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Because we haven’t figured out how to turn back the hands of time or stop the clock, we keep adding rings around the middle to mark the passage of years.

Rather than shopping for STUFF that requires dusting (NOT a good use of our limited time on the planet), we now celebrate birthdays with FOOD and VIEWS.

This year, we went to the Chart House on the southern tip of Longboat Key for Happy Hour where we quaffed beverages over two shared appetizers and a decadent dessert.

First up, a trio of Hummus (plain, roasted red pepper, and edamame) with Pita and Fried Plantains:


Next, an order of hot and cheesy Spinach & Artichoke Dip with crisp crostini:



Yes, please!  Note to self: Calories don’t count during birthday celebrations.


Molten Chocolate Lava Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream and Heath Bar bits.

On BFF’s birthday proper, we headed to the island to pick up pizza from our favorite pizzeria, located opposite the beach.


Due to Oma’s location, we NEVER call ahead or order delivery.  Instead, we place our order and hang out on the beach to watch the waves while our pizza cooks.


Not only are the views grand, the salty sea air perks up our appetites!  Mangia!

Aah . . . that’s better! 

What’s your favorite way/place to celebrate?  Does it involve FOOD or VIEWS?

A Week’s Worth of Veggies November 18, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Sustainable Living, Vegetarian Recipes.
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On Saturday mornings, we often head to the Farmer’s Market in Bradenton to gather fresh fruits and veggies for the upcoming week.


A few weeks ago, we bagged an Acorn Squash, 3 Apples, a pound of Organic Carrots, 10 Pickling Cucumbers, 3 Green Tomatoes, 2 Pattypan Squash, 3 Green Peppers, 4 Orange Peppers, 1 Organic Red Onion, and 1 Ripe Tomato for grand total of $15.

On the way home, we stopped at Fresh Market round out our veggie supply with 2 lbs. fresh Green Beans and 2 Zucchini, spending another $3.


Our haul kept us in veggies for the week with a few salad fixings left over.

I froze some peppers and sautéed the rest with onion (on hand) in olive oil to make a spicy Vegetarian Lecsó (simmered with a can of fire roasted tomatoes and spicy cayenne pepper) to serve over Farro.


I sautéed the pattypan and zucchini squash with red onion to add to jarred spaghetti sauce.  I baked the acorn squash and served it mashed with butter and Vermont Maple Syrup.  I fried up thick slices of green tomatoes to serve with hot buttered grits.  I paired the green beans and carrots with mashed potatoes.

We also enjoyed a few colorful lunches with an eclectic mix of apples, carrots, cucumber spears with roasted red pepper hummus, and open face cucumber sandwiches served on toasted English Muffins with garlic salt and cream cheese.

And let’s not forget the homemade egg roll stuffed with stir fried veggies ~ cabbage, carrots, onion, and red pepper.


Aah . . . that’s better!

Related Posts:  Hunger Action & Awareness Month * Farro Fit For A Pharoah

Do you frequent Farmer’s Markets?  What are your favorite fruits and veggies?

Farro Fit For A Pharoah October 6, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Humor, Vegetarian Recipes.
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Farro, an ancient grain, hales from Egypt, dating back to the time of the Pharoahs . . . when cats were “king” and worshiped as the deities they are.


Farro is not as complete a protein as Quinoi, but it’s higher in nutritional value than Brown Rice and lower in gluten than Wheat.

Farro is an excellent addition to soups or stews since it doesn’t disintegrate into a mushy mess if left cooking on the stove for a tad too long.  Farro can also be used in salads, hot or cold.

The next time you’ve got only 30 minutes to get dinner on the table, you might consider  One Pan Farro with Tomatoes (Smitten Kitchen) ~ one bite and Deb’s entire family knew the recipe belonged in their laminated permanent collection.

Quite an endorsement ~ especially since Smitten rhymes with Kitten and we all know how finicky cats can be!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Want more recipes from Deb Perelman ~> The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

Practicing Mindfulness At Mealtime September 17, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Gratitude, Mindfulness, Vegetarian Recipes.
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Eating delicious food is the perfect time to practice mindful awareness.  Savor the flavors, tastes, textures, colors, aromas.


Enjoy the variety and diversity of healthful grains, anti-oxidant rich veggies, colorful fruits, and protein-packed beans and nuts.


And don’t forget to say . . . C~H~E~E~S~E!


Soak it all up with a heaping helping of gratitude . . . and, perhaps, a refreshing glass of wine or an ice cold beer.


Keep at it and you’ll see real progress in other areas of life.  And, as an added bonus, you’ll enjoy your meals more.


Aah . . . that’s better!

Do you pay attention when you eat?  Or do you find that you’ve inhaled a whole bag of chips, an entire carton of ice cream, or a heaping plate of cookies without noticing and enjoying the tastes and textures?

Mindful awareness of simple pleasures and sweet and savory moments adds to our happiness while whittling away at our frustrations (and our waistlines).

Related posts:  When Eating Breakfast, Just Eat Breakfast (All About Words) * The Bliss Bite (Agrigirl’s Blog)

Cooking With Herbs August 10, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Vegetarian Recipes.
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A few weeks ago, we attended Cooking with Herbs at the Island Library.

Samantha, from the Manatee County Extension Office, perfumed the air with fragrant basil while whipping up Pesto and Pesto Herb Spread for us to sample on wheat or rice crackers.


To make your own:

Basil Pesto:  Blend together 6 cloves of garlic, 1/2 cup pine nuts, walnuts, or almonds, 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves, 1 cup packed Italian parsley leaves, 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and 1 cup olive oil in a blender or food processor.  Serve over hot or cold pasta or with minestrone soup.

Pesto Herb Spread:  Blend together 16 ounces cream cheese, 3 Tbsp. pesto, 2 Tbsp. fresh chives, and 3 Tbsp. fresh cilantro.

A few fun facts:

* Herbs are best harvested in the morning, after the dew has evaporated, but before the sun has warmed them.

* Fresh herbs should be used soon after picking.  If you must store them, trim the stems on the diagonal and arrange in a tall glass or vase with an inch of water, like cut flowers.

* Herbs to consider:  Anise, Basil, Bay Leaves, Celery Leaves, Chamomile, Chervil, Chives, Cilantro, Dill (Weed & Seed), Fennel, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Lovage, Marjoram, Mint, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Sage, Savory, Tarragon, or Thyme.

* To become familiar with the flavor of an herb, mix it with butter, let it sit for an hour, spread the herb butter on a plain cracker, and taste.

Fresh Herb Butter:  Blend 1/2 cup softened butter with 1 tsp. each of chopped fresh basil, thyme, and parsley (or your favorite herbs).  Use on baked potatoes, hot pasta, or spread on bread.

Aah . . . that’s yummy!

What are your favorite herbs for cooking, tea, or lingerie sachets?

Basil and Oregano are delicious . . . but there’s something special about “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme.”

Dining During Disasters August 4, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Nature, Vegetarian Recipes.
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Wikipedia ~ Tropical Cyclone (in Public Domain)

Until this summer, I’d never given much thought to fixing real meals during a disaster.

When hurricane season blows in, we stock up on peanut butter, crackers, nuts, dried fruits, granola bars, boxed juices, and water.

Lots and lots of water.

And a little extra water . . . just in case.

If we lost electricity and running water due to a natural or man-made disaster, I expect we’d adopt a subsistence existence for the duration of the emergency.

Pass the GORP, please!

Except when camping, we’ve never been without electricity and running water for longer than a few hours.  Fixing meals without running water to wash hands, rinse or wash ingredients, and clean up sticky utensils is a pain.  Fixing nutritious meals without electricity is challenging.

Cooking without both for an extended period of time would get old fast.

Of course, if the electricity goes out during the sultry summer months, we’re apt to be too busy melting from lack of air conditioning to notice anything else.


This week, fueled by curiosity, we traveled over the river and through Palmetto to attend Dining During A Disaster at the Manatee County Extension Office.

After discussing what we should include in our Hurricane Disaster Kits, while a thunderstorm raged outside, Samantha fixed 3 recipes:

* Potato Salad Dijonaise:  1 can diced potatoes, 4 Tbsp. minced onion, 1 Tbsp. imitation bacon bits, 1 tsp. dried parsley, dressing (4 Tbsp. olive oil, 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar, 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard).  Add salt, pepper, and chopped chives.

* Lemony Bean Salad:  green beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, wax beans, cannellini beans, minced onion, dressing (1/4 c. olive oil, 1/4 c. lemon juice, 1 tsp. dried oregano, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. black pepper).

* Crab Salad:  8-oz. can crab, 4 Tbsp. chopped bell pepper, 4 Tbsp. chopped onion, 1/2 cup mayonnaise.

All three dishes tasted OK but would have benefited from being chilled before serving.  Something that is not apt to be an option during a power outage.

Pass the ice, please.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Curious about Disaster Meal Planning?

The Healthy Hurricane / Disaster Cookbook gave me a few ideas to try during the next power failure (assuming we haven’t melted from lack of A/C).

The nutrient dense recipes rely on canned beans (black, kidney, red, white, garbanzo), canned fruit and vegetables, and canned seafood (tuna, shrimp, salmon, mackerel, crab, sardines).

More ideas:  Get Ready ~ Emergency Stockpile Recipe Contest * Apocalypse Chow! by Jon Robertson


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