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Taste of Pine Avenue ~ Garden Project July 23, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Home & Garden, Sustainable Living.
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For a different type of community garden, check out the Taste of Pine Avenue Garden Project, featuring nutritious food grown in raised bed gardens outside shops in Anna Maria’s quaint business district:

In the garden:  Okinawa Spinach, Edible Hibiscus, Katuk, Moringa, Ethiopian Kale, Roselle, Chinese Spinach, and Seminole Pumpkin.

Aah . . . that’s better!

For Recipes, like Peanut Butter & Jelly and Katuk or Moringa Muffins:

Perfect Island ~ Growing Edibles

For more information:

ECHOnet.org * Echo’s Guide to Summertime Garden Vegetables

Related posts: The Historic Green Village

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?

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! 

Leading Lambs To Slaughter January 20, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Animal Welfare, Food & Drink, Mindfulness, People.
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3D-CowIn the recent post, Targeted Thinking, I included a few questions from The Book of Questions, including:

73.  Would you be willing to go to a slaughterhouse and kill a cow?

Do you eat meat?

Those questions reminded me of a blogging exchange from last September.

As summer waned, Cecilia wrote a post about sending animals from the farm to slaughter:

Are you sometimes very tired as the autumn approaches. The time for moving animals off to the abbatoir, the weight of the choices that are mine. Their eyes sit in my eyes. We blink.

Askance.  That is the word that accompanies your look.  You look at me askance, but you see – it is OK not to get it right all the time.  It is OK to sit down and think what am I doing. Am I doing it right. Can I do it better. Do I need to bother.  It is OK to say – what do you think? It is!

Do You Ever Think in Words?  (The Kitchen’s Garden)

In response to the questions she raised, I replied:

OK . . . here’s what I think.  I could NOT do what you do.

Raising animals for food makes no sense to me.  If your heart is heavy at the idea of taking your animals to the abbatoir . . . maybe your heart is telling you that you are “not doing it right”?

“If a man aspires towards a righteous life, his first act of abstinence is from injury to animals.” ~ Albert Einstein

“Life is life ~ whether in a cat, or dog, or man. The idea of difference is a human conception for man’s own advantage.” ~ Sri Aurobindo


Following the exchange, I became a less frequent visitor to Cecilia’s blog ~ it hurts my heart to get to know her animals and then see them marched off to slaughter.

Do listen to your heart if it asks you to make changes.

Consistency is over-rated.


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”   

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related posts:  My Kind of Milkshake * What’s So Special About Baby Ducks? * Tammy’s Top 10 Reasons To Become A VegetarianForks Over Knives * Finicky Eaters * Only A Fool Would Say That * Family (BB’s Blog) * 6 Reasons Why I Eat a Whole Foods Plant Based Diet (Health Room) * What I Learned from a 1980’s Tortilla Recipe (Breathe Lighter)

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?

“Finicky Eaters” September 24, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Animal Welfare, Humor, Sustainable Living, Word Play.
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Donald-DuckaThe other day, I read a comment that made me pause and scratch my head . . .

Someone had chosen to characterize vegetarians and vegans as “finicky eaters.”

Hmm . . .

Thinking that maybe she was using some antiquated or esoteric definition of “finicky,” I went off to investigate.

Googling “finicky,” I found these definitions:


* Insisting capriciously on getting just what one wants; difficult to please; fastidious

* excessively particular, as in tastes or standards; fussy

* full of trivial detail; overelaborate

Next, I googled “capricious” to make sure I wasn’t overlooking the obvious:

* subject to, led by, or indicative of a sudden, odd notion or unpredictable change; erratic

Nope.  “Finicky” is NOT the word I would choose to describe someone who has adopted a sustainable lifestyle designed to minimize the suffering of animals while, at the same time, improving their own health and well-being.

Calvin-gots-an-IdeaInstead of “finicky,” the word “discerning” springs to mind:

* Exhibiting keen insight and good judgment; perceptive.

And from Merriam-Webster:

* able to see and understand people, things, or situations clearly and intelligently

* wise, insightful, perceptive, prudent, sagacious, sage, sapient

Mickey-OKYes!  I’m sure that “discerning” is the adjective she was looking for.

Aah . . . that’s better!

“If a man aspires towards a righteous life, his first act of abstinence is from injury to animals.”
~ Albert Einstein

Related posts:  Tammy’s Top Ten Reasons To Become A Vegetarian * Forks Over Knives * Milk ~ The Deadly PoisonOnly A Fool Would Say That

10 Fabulous Cabbage Dishes April 12, 2013

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


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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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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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


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)

A Savory Sampler @ Panera Bread September 9, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Bulletin Board, Food & Drink, Vegetarian Recipes.
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A few days ago, we received an invite to a series of cooking demonstrations at Panera Bread.

The price was right . . . FREE!

We attended the first yesterday, not knowing what to expect . . . Panera did not disappoint.  Elise prepared three “bread and spread” recipes while her helpers handed out generous samples to the audience:

Wikipedia ~ Green Eggs and Ham (Fair Use)

(1) Avocado and Goat Cheese on French Baguette Crostini

BFF and I are not fans of avocados or guacamole.

We decided to be brave, like the Grouch in Green Eggs and Ham.

We took a tentative bite.

Hmm . . .

I would not eat it in a box.
I would not eat it with a fox.

The goat cheese, garlic, and olive oil masked the taste of the avocados . . . making the spread a bit easier for us to swallow.

(2) Bagel Chips with Cucumber Yogurt Dip

Like Greek tzatziki, this light refreshing spread of cucumbers, yogurt, sour cream, garlic and dill paired well with Panera’s crisp bagel chips, but was a tad too salty for our tastes.

Of course, if they’d been serving Margaritas or Sangria with the demo, that salt would have come in handy.

(3) Asiago Bread Chips with Pico de Gallo

Definitely the winner . . . even if Pico de Gallo does translate as Beak of the Rooster!

Served on a slice of toasted Asiago Cheese Bread, this sharp salsa of tomato, jalapeno, garlic, onion, cilantro, and cumin grabbed the attention of our tastebuds.

For Panera Recipes . . . click HERE.

Before leaving the tasting arena, we received generous portions of Pico de Gallo and Cucumber Dip to take home . . . causing us to head straight to the bakery to buy bagels and baguettes (hot~out~of~the~oven!) to go.

Yup . . . there’s a method to their marketing.

Demos still to come ~ Pizza Pizzazz and Bread Basics.  Yum!

Aah . . . that’s better!


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