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Just For Fun February 10, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Fun & Games, Humor, Joke, Vegetarian Recipes.
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31 comments

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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46 comments

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! 

10 Fabulous Cabbage Dishes April 12, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Health & Wellness, Vegetarian Recipes.
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54 comments

IMGP3122bWhat vegetables do you keep in the kitchen?

Our staples include:

* potatoes and sweet potatoes in the pantry

* onions and tomatoes on the counter

* lettuce in the keeper

* celery, carrots, and cabbage in the crisper

In the freezer, we have a number of other veggies ~ chopped spinach, corn, peas, broccoli, green beans, and sliced bell pepper for pizza.  We seldom buy frozen veggies with sauce.  One exception: Green Giant’s Cauliflower in Cheese Sauce ~ delicious side with a baked potato.

We keep a few canned veggies on hand:  fire roasted tomatoes, beans (black, red, kidney, pinto, garbanzo), and beets.  Canned beets are almost as good as fresh beets without the hassle of dealing with bleeding pink dye.

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Now that I’ve whetted your appetite, here’s the main course ~ 10 Fabulous Cabbage Dishes . . . with links to recipes:

1. Cole Slaw ~ raw cabbage contains more anti-oxidants than cooked.  Ideal:  2-3 servings per week in tossed salads or cole slaw.

2. Harvest Soup ~ wonderful on a cold rainy day.  If you don’t eat it all, freeze in 2-3 cup servings for a quick meal down the road.

3. Colcannon ~ delicious served with Irish Soda Bread and Glazed Carrots.

4. Veggie Stir Fries ~ serve over cooked rice or stir into spaghetti noodles for lo mein.

5. Curried Lentil Soup ~ hearty, delicious, nutritious, and budget friendly.

IMGP40896. Caribbean Cabbage Slaw ~ a rather fluid recipe, ingredients and quantities.  Ya mon!

7. Split Pea Soup ~ great served with garlic bread, corn bread, or French bread, warm from the oven.

8. Thai Noodles with Peanut Sauce ~ delicious hot or cold.

9.  Vegetarian Egg Rolls ~ so good fresh out of the frying pan.

10.  What Say You?  What’s YOUR favorite way to serve cabbage?

Aah . . . that’s better!

French Onion Soup November 8, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Vegetarian Recipes.
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30 comments

In restaurants, French Onion Soup is not always a vegetarian entrée  (despite the vegetarian sounding name).

When we make it at home, we substitute vegetable broth (or vegetarian bouillon cubes) for the beef broth.  Even then, purists would turn their nose up at the anchovies in the Worcestershire Sauce.

We never turn up our noses at this soup.

IMGP2929bFrench Onion Soup

4 onions, sliced thin
2 Tbsp. butter
6-8 cups vegetable broth or bouillon
2 tsp. Worcestershire
Cracked black pepper

Toasted French Bread

Grated Cheese (Swiss, Gruyère, Muenster, or Mozzarella)

Cook onions in butter over medium-low heat for 20-30 minutes until soft and translucent.

Add 6-8 cups vegetable broth or bouillon, Worcestershire Sauce, and fresh cracked black pepper.

Simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Ladle soup into oven proof bowls. Top with a slice of toasted french bread and sprinkle bread with grated cheese or top bread with a slice of cheese (swiss, Gruyère, Muenster, or mozzarella).

Brown under broiler for 3 minutes until cheese is lightly browned and bubbly.

* * * * *

A few months ago, Tammy tossed out a tasty tip:  carmelize onions in a slow cooker . . . whenever you’re Oniondated!

This morning, I used the slow cooker to make Onion Soup.  I cooked the onions on high for an hour before adding the broth and simmering for another hour.

Next time, I might give the onions two hours before adding the broth.

Aah . . . that’s better!

For more vegetarian ideas and recipe links:  A Month of Meatless Meals

* * * * *

Susanna posted the 8 Finalists from the Halloweensie Contest on Tuesday morning . . .  and I’m in the running!

If you want to vote, click this link and Vote for your Favorite!

They’re all in one place . . . so it’s one stop shopping.  No clicking back and forth between blogs.  Simple, right?  You can vote while your onions sweat.

Curried Lentil Soup October 18, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Health & Wellness, Vegetarian Recipes.
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38 comments

This fragrant soup is easy, inexpensive, healthy, full of fiber, filling, and  delicious . . . perfect for creating welcoming aromas on a cool rainy day.

Curried Lentil Soup

IMGP3612b

1 Tbsp. vegetable or olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp. curry powder
4 cups vegetable stock or bouillon
2 cups water
16 oz. can, fire roasted tomatoes
2 cups dried lentils, uncooked
2-3 carrots, chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 c. red wine (optional)
1 c. chopped parsley (optional)

In a large saucepan, heat oil.  Sauté onion and garlic until soft, not browned. Stir in curry powder, sauté 1 minute. Add broth, water, tomatoes, lentils, (wine), carrots, celery, and red pepper.  Simmer covered until lentils are cooked, about 45 minutes. Stir in parsley, simmer 5 minutes.

For an even heartier soup or stew . . . serve over cooked brown rice or pearled barley.

Lentil soup is also delicious with chopped cabbage or spinach stirred in during the final 10 minutes of cooking time.

Serve with fresh baked bread or cornbread.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Quote:  An idealist is one who, on noticing that roses smell better than a cabbage, concludes that roses will also make better soup. ~ H. L. Mencken

Related post:  5 Homemade Seasoning & Soup Mixes (Clover & Thyme)

Cranberry Fool October 12, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Humor, Vegetarian Recipes.
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35 comments

When I’m in the right frame of mind, I love to cook.

I tend to strike while the oven is hot without worrying overmuch about whether all necessary ingredients are in residence in sufficient quantities.

Often, they are not.

Wikipedia ~ Cranberry (in Public Domain)

That’s where the fun of cooking comes in . . . the art of making do with what we have where we are.  No shopping required.

Now, I will be the first to admit that you cannot make Apple Crisp without tossing apples into the mix.

But what if you have a few apples fast approaching their useful expiration date AND some cranberries that have out-stayed their welcome ~ might they pair well together?

Yes!  Apple Cranberry Crisp . . . a delicious fall dish.

As I peeled and sliced the apples, I realized I had no lemon juice in the house.  Not a drop.  Undeterred, I reached for the orange marmalade and coated the apples with a few tablespoons of the pectin laced preserves.

The marmalade worked its magic to keep the sliced apple from turning brown before heading into the oven.

While the Apple Cranberry Crisp baked, permeating the villa with delicious aromas, I pondered what to do with the other bag of cranberries that had been loitering about the freezer for far too long.

I decided to search the data banks over at Rufus’ Food and Spirits Guide and found just the thing . . . Cranberry Sauce made in the oven!

I had most of the ingredients on hand in the correct quantity:

Cranberries ~ check
Sugar ~ check
Orange juice ~ check
Orange zest ~ check

Brandy ~ nope, not a drop of brandy to be found.
I know, I checked.

Call me a Cranberry Fool if you will . . . I substituted Maple Mist ~ a maple liqueur which is a more potent potable than its next-of-kin, maple syrup.

Best. Cranberry. Sauce. EVER.  Thanks, Greg!

The Apple Cranberry Crisp wasn’t half bad either . . . but it is half eaten:

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related recipes:  Cranberry Fool (Taste of Home) * Cranberry Fool (Neo Homesteading) * Christmas Cranberry Fool (One Big Bite) ~ a “fool” is a dessert made by folding pureed fruit (here, cranberry sauce)  into whipped cream.

Local Seasonal Cuisine October 4, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Health & Wellness, Vegetarian Recipes.
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35 comments

IMGP1603cWhen we eat locally, we promote the local economy, support local farmers, and get in tune with the seasons.

Plus, the food we eat is fresher since it hasn’t flown halfway around the world.

What’s in season in Florida right now?

Tons of great stuff, from A to Z:

Avocados, Bananas, Beans, Beets, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Collards, Cucumbers, Endive, Escarole, Green Onions, Guava, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Melons, Mustard, Navels, Oriental Greens, Papaya, Peppers, Pumpkins, Radishes, Salad Greens, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Sweet Corn, Sweet Potatoes, Tangelos, Tangerines, Tomatoes, Turnips, Winter Squash, Yellow Squash, Zucchini.

Broccoli Raisin Salad

1 head fresh broccoli (or 16 oz. frozen broccoli florets)
1 cup raisins
1/4 cup thinly sliced (or diced) onion
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup Miracle Whip salad dressing or mayonnaise
2 tsp. vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)

Blanche broccoli florets and chill in an ice bath to preserve color.  Drain and chill in large mixing bowl.  Add raisins.

Combine remaining ingredients and whisk together.  Pour dressing over the broccoli mixture.  Stir to combine and coat vegetables and raisins.

Refrigerate, covered, for several hours to let flavors meld.  Stir before serving.

The dressing is also delicious on Cole Slaw or Carrot-Raisin Slaw.   If doubling the recipe, make only 1 1/2 times the amount of dressing.

Bacon lovers: Cook 4 slices bacon until crisp. Crumble and sprinkle over sald just before serving.

Bonus Recipes:   Savory Stuffed Sweet Potatoes (Sustainable Cooking)
Cream of Potato Soup with Roasted Garlic (Rufus’ Food & Spirits Guide)

Related posts:  Join a C.S.A. * A Trip to the Farmer’s Market *10 Ways to Fiber Up Your Diet Great Nutrition Starts On Your Plate *A Month of Meatless Meals * Top Ten Reasons to Become A Vegetarian  (AgriGirl) * How to Save On Your Grocery Bill (Real Simple)

Layered Mexican Dip July 30, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Vegetarian Recipes.
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35 comments

For an appetizer that’s almost as easy to serve as pita chips and hummus . . .

IMGP3195b

Spread refried beans into a quiche pan, pie plate, or other shallow serving bowl.  Layer other ingredients on top ~ spread salsa, leaving 1/2″ around the rim with no salsa; sprinkle grated cheese over the center, leaving 1″ around the rim with no cheese.  Top with chopped lettuce, tomatoes, olives, red pepper,  onion, jalapeno (or anything else you like on bean burritos).

Adjust heat by using mild, medium, hot, or flaming salsa, or by adding cayenne or taco seasoning to the beans.  Delicious served with tortilla chips, pita chips, fritos, melba rounds, crackers, or raw veggies.

Spread leftover dip on softened tortillas to make Veggie Wraps.

Aah . . . that’s better! 

What about you?  Do you have a favorite “go to” appetizer you whip together for unexpected company?

Related posts:  Burrito or Taco Bar * Mexican CurryYummy Hummus * Bon Appetit! * Bruschetta Veggie Tacos * 7 Layer Tostadas (Kalyn’s Kitchen)

Burrito or Taco Bar June 9, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Vegetarian Recipes.
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30 comments

3D-CowSubstituting seafood, fresh vegetables, beans, and/or grains for the ground beef in tacos and burritos boosts the nutrients and fiber, and lowers the fat and  cholesterol, without sacrificing taste.

Setting out different fillings and toppings allows diners of all ages to custom create the perfect Taco or Burrito for their appetites.

Let your imaginations run wild.

Burrito or Taco Bar

* Select 2-3 fillings:  Grilled Shrimp or Scallops, Blackened Fish, Refried beans, Veggie Taco filling, Brown rice, Red beans & rice, Black beans & rice, etc.

* Chop or dice an assortment of veggies, raw or cooked (onion, red or green pepper, carrot, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, corn)

* Toppings: Salsa (Mild, Medium, or Hot), Sour Cream, Black Olives, Chopped Lettuce, Tomatoes, Jalapenos, Grated Cheese

* Assorted Taco Shells (hard or soft), Tortillas or Burritos

If desired, sauté onions and/or other veggies in vegetable or olive oil until softened.  Heat refried beans, seafood, veggie taco filling,  and/or cooked rice.

Heat taco shells (hard) according to package directions.  Allow soft taco shells and burritos to come to room temperature for easy rolling.

Put all fillings, shells, and toppings out buffet style and let everyone create their “perfect” burritos and tacos.

Wonderful with Margaritas for the adults and lime-ade for the kids.   Olé!

No rules.  Just . . . Mangia! 

What about you?

Any crowd-pleasing favorites to share?

Related posts: 10 Ways to Fiber Up Your Diet * Mexican CurryMango Salsa * Veggie Stir FryVersatile Pasta Salad * Veggie Kabobs * Zucchini Boats * Harvest Soup * The Farmer’s Market * Yummy Hummus * Bon Appetit! *  Bruschetta Veggie Tacos

Better Than Bush Baked Beans May 30, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Special Events, Vegetarian Recipes.
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34 comments

Medieval_kitchenYou’ve been lounging around all weekend.  Later today,  you’re planning to attend a Memorial Day Potluck to honor War Veterans who have served our nation.

Ack! What should I make?
I don’t know what to take
I don’t have much bread
And I feel half dead
I know . . . let them eat cake

As you scan the pantry, you spot a lone can of baked beans hidden behind three boxes of stale cereal.

Perfect!

No.  Not the stale cereal . . . the beans.

Better Than Bush Baked Beans

1 28 oz. can of Bush Vegetarian Baked Beans (or your favorite)
1 Tbsp. leftover black coffee
1-2 Tbsp. Heinz ketchup
1-2 Tbsp. chopped onion
1-2 Tbsp. finely chopped green pepper
1-2 Tbsp. Vermont Maple Syrup (or brown sugar)
1 tsp. minced garlic (or 1/2 tsp. garlic powder)
1-2 tsp. mustard
dash of Worcestershire sauce

Pour baked beans into an oven-proof casserole dish.  Stir in any of the other ingredients that you have on hand.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-60 minutes until bubbling.

Baked beans are an inexpensive way to get some healthy and delicious fiber into your diet!  They go great with almost anything that comes off the grill, and pair nicely with grilled cheese sandwiches or subs.

Sausage, Bean and Apple Bake:  Sauté a pound of Hot or Sweet Italian Sausage with a chopped green pepper and 4-5 chopped apples.  Add the sautéed ingredients to a 28 oz. can of beans.  Bake 1-2 hours at 300 degrees.  Accompany with hot out of the oven Cornbread.

If you prefer a “from scratch” recipe:  Boston Baked Beans (Rufus’ Food & Spirits)

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