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The Balancing Act

“There is nothing that I so greatly admire as purposefulness. I have an enormous respect for people who know exactly what they are doing and where they are going. Such people are compact and integrated. They have clear edges. They give an impression of

Updated: 2018-02-18T06:48:43.203-06:00




The only purpose of this post on my MFP blog is for life balance and celebration.... for everything there is a season. Getting these pictures up here is a real job.  But I got it.  I do enjoy making cakes with family and we had fin this year. Made for my sisters birthday, 2014.  It is vegan vanilla all-purpose cake using brown sugar (recipe dreena burton), raspberry preserves between layers, white marshmallow fondant, with cream cheese flavored buter cream as "the glue" under the fondant and crumb coating.  To give size perspective, the cake pans were 6 inches and four cakes were used.  Overall height was about 6 inches after leveling everything.  I had fun.... time consuming, but fun!!My son's 25th birthday hobbit house... this is actually from 2013.  He used a basic white and chocolate cake recipe (no boxed!), the cake and cupcakes are half and half.  Basic vanilla butter cream icing which we colored every possible way, the hobbit house it a rice krispie and the mini houses on the cupcakes are cake trufles, the ring and cute garden items are marshmallow fondant. My daughters 23rd birthday DR WHO cake.  She really did the majority of this.  I only helped with the recipes and occassional problem solving.  She has my skills but more patience!!  I love her to the moon and back especially through the life learning experiences.  [...]

a new chapter in a new location


So much time has passed since I took a job outside of the small town where we raised our children and now three years later live three hours south of there in the country.  We went from a small town acre to a country acreage including timber land and a crooked creek that runs through it.   Some days I think to myself,"What were were thinking? (within an exasperated internal sigh)", while other days I verbalize it out loud wondering if we were half crazy.Through an unexpected situation with work, Dave and my workplaces were located in a way that we had to maintain dual residency for three years, agonizing! Fortunately we are now on the other side of this and now (for the past two months) both live in one place 100%  of the time.  I no longer think the "are we crazy" part, but now look forward to blogging again about our newest adventures.  This one will include our "baby", Ricky, faithfully waking us at 6am so he can run outside to chase the squirrel up the tree.  The ones where I share about our gardening and current mom and pop business endeavor.... the one that will take several years to build.... again.  The one that will require research each step of the way.  The one that will require hard on the back labor and need to be watched over ........ did I say that I no longer wonder about crazy, I digress.  :-)  -not really.Today's blog entry will also STILL be about family life cycles.  I found this great educationally informing website about this topic to share with you: blogspot focuses mainly on marketing research and sheds insight into purchasing decisions of the family.... nice info if you are looking at selling something and needing to figure out who to target .... exactly the kind of info helpful while future business planning.Info below is copied and pasted from the website....Family Life Cycle concept consists of- income, family composition, changing demands on income -These are the different possible Titles:1.Bachelor - This is someone who is young, single, not living at home2.Newly married - They are Young and with no children3.Full Nest I - Have their youngest child at under 6 years4.Full Nest II - Have their youngest child at 6 years or over5.Full Nest III - Tend to be Older married with dependent children6.Empty Nest I - Are older married, have no children and living at home 7.Empty Nest II - Older married, retired, no children living at home 8.Solitary Survivor I In labour force9.Solitary Survivor II RetiredI am in the #6 Empty Nest 1 stage of life.  I see that I never had a stage 1 in adulthood, because I went from parents home to married #2 and full nest #3 within a year.  So "here we are" on the road map of family life........... I love family life, it's what I chose at a young age, it's what I studied in college and it's apart of what I teach professionally within my job, and now I realize it is what I have been blogging about for years and now will open a new chapter and start a fresh.P.s. I made the doll pictured above using a pattern from the book: Doll Fashionistas: Sewing Stylish Dolls and Their Wardrobes [Book] by Ellen Lumpkin Brown in Books[...]

Yaki Soba & Wonton "Muffins"


I got my EAT TO LIVE book by Dr. Furhman in via UPS yesterday. I have finished reading up through Chapter two. He does alot of explaining about fiber, photochemical, and the importance of nutrient dense food. Everything he says agrees with my personal nutritional interests and background. His explanation about slow metabolism's and low calorie diets is interesting and new information to me. His food pyramid would definitely have fruit and veggie's portion to the widest with grains following behind, as I age and see myself getting a little less active (although I still exercise purposefully three - four times a week) this all makes sense to me.MY VEG HISTORYI started my healthy foods eating experience with a book sale book titled The Save Your Life High Fiber Diet by Dr. David Reuben (c) 1976. I was interested in this book because I just started experiencing some health problems in my early 20's.... alot of hormonal issues. Shortly after reading this book a trip to the library lead me to Dr. John Mc Dougal's very first book .... one written before he had a bunch of cookbooks and prepared prepackaged foods for sale. Then an Internet search lead me to Bryanna Clark- Grogan's very first cookbook, The Almost No Fat Cookbook which I loved before I even understood the word vegan. I bought a coffee cup at this same time to commemorate my decision, it has the very same picture by Mary Engelbreit that I show below. I've been a vegan foodie ever since then. Then larger changes occurred: giving up my social work career and becoming a home schooling SAHM, selling our home and purchasing an acreage, buying another building an opening up our bakery, then the list goes on and on ...... life has changed so much from that decision. I haven't looked back and have the same mind set again after selling our business while I go to full-time teaching (family consumer science / health). Perhaps while reading this eat to live book I will have another paradigm, but so far nothing is new to me that I have read - I will continue.Meanwhile..... In the KitchenWhile in to the greens mode, Brussels sprouts are one of my favorites. This is an old, but goody post that I decided to bring up from the April 2006 archives. Enjoy!YAKI SOBA (buckwheat pasta) I have made buckwheat noodles before using my hand crank pasta maker, but didn't have time to do this for this meal. I found a yaki soba recipe that I wanted to try and I needed it quick because we would be out for most of the day and be very hungry by the time we arrive home. I was happy to find 100% buckwheat flour noodles at an oriental market last week, $2.79 (not organic) for 10 servings and each serving is bunched with a paper holder so that it is easy to boil up just as much as is needed. Eden has an organic 100% buckwheat soba, but I couldn't get this ordered in time and I think it costs $3.79 for a 12 oz serving. Buckwheat is a grain that my son is not allergic to at all and can eat without problem, but I know his system is sensitive and a problem could develop if we overdo. Plus for non allergy conscious eaters, buckwheat soba is a good way to incorporate variety in the diet (a good thing to do). I made my seasoned cabbage and carrot/ onion and chik'n chunks ahead of time in the microwave the night before I planned on having this for supper. It turns out that I was the only one eating this supper because everyone else had something going on (of course the leftovers will be served another night - usually the weekend). This is a basic dish easily eaten with chop sticks.My favorite part of this meal is the wonton "muffins". I baked them in my toaster oven in a mini muffin pan. The filling is unique and made from brussel sprouts (original idea from a Vegan Feast newsletter in which artichoke hearts were used).BRUSSEL SPROUT FILLING RECIPEThe idea for these "muffins" came from browsing some online recipe archives, not vegan but great food ideas that could be make to my preference. I will be making my wontons in this way in the future, possibly buyi[...]

Sugar Withdrawal


I ordered the book Eat To Live by Dr. Joel Furhman. I have been re-reading posts from last year and decided it is time that I take a serious look at healthy food and living. Of course when it comes to holiday time again (once a month or bi-monthly) I will do something that makes life a treat, but I am really wanting to make a change and lose a little flour. Geish! I can't believe I said that, I was a whole grain organic baker for a living for 5 years before going into teaching (health and life skills/ occupational family and consumer science) and a cooking mom before that.... freshly milled whole grain flour IS HEALTHY right! Yes, I cannot deny, but I think I need a little break from wheat and easy going more with the whole grain. Now I will not give up all that I enjoy, just not make it daily or even every week habits.I don't have my book in yet, Thursday is the big day according to amazon. I will also get my circular knitting needle on this day so I can knit two socks at the same time. I am looking forward to this, but I know it will be a slow process! Here's a food report:I have been taking meal ideas from both Bryanna Clark-Grogan and Dreena Burton cookbooks for meals. I know there are some new cookbooks out, but I just need to stick in my personal comfort zone for awhile. BRYANNA's Sharp Chedda' CheezBryanna has some nice cheez recipes in the previous Vegan Feast newsletters. I was impressed with their goodness when the original recipes calling for Emes vegan gelatin came out, then we went through the fall of the company and the wonderful cheez recipe needed a new ingredient that would give it the perfect texture. IRISH MOSS powder was one suggestion and it is what I have available, as stinky as it is. I had to order a pound of the green powder and was asked by other coop members how I intended to use it. When I told them it was for vegan cheez making, I think they thought I was losing my mind and when I first made the cheez using it I wondered whether it was a mistake also. As you can see in the picture below it is green inside the glass measure..... it also smells pretty fishy. But once all is added and cooked the way the recipe says, the green goes away and it doesn't smell or taste the way the Irish moss powder does.Here is the cheez topping the Mexican Lasagna in Dreena Burton's latest book Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan. You can see the chedda and the frozen block of cheez in the background. It even browns beautifully, however Dreena's recipe says to cover for the main baking process and then uncover for the last few minutes, I left the casseroles uncovered the entire baking time. Here's "close-up", it appears to me that the peice I ate is a little blurry. It was delish though and I, for the first time in my entire life, ate avocado.Next up is the enchilada casserole that I tried from Dreena's Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan Cookbook. I had it for supper and then again for lunch and the last of it will be for lunch today. I like it and again a new avacado experience. The bad thing about avacado is the $1.84 price for one. Lasy quick picture is of a lunch salad and homemade croutons using the innards of the red pepper sage bread that I made for the muffaletta awhile back. Hope your lunches are healthy and nutritious.[...]

Merry Christmas and Soup Mix


VEGAN BISCOTTI (plain anise flavored) with awesome dark chocolate brushed on top and sprinkled with ground up english walnuts. My base recipe came from Bryanna Clark Grogan's Nonna's Italian Kitchen Cookbook, Only I made mine a plain anise flavored variation.Here's a free recipe that I found though: Fat Free Vegan's Cinnamon Biscotti RecipeNow that I have your attention with my tantilizing favorite holiday treat -Merry Christmas! I've been trying to post for a couple of days, but I guess NOW is my lucky moment to accomplish the task. After the ice storms came a wonderful Christmas day with highs in the 50's, and sunshine. It was awesome. We had a great Christmas day brunch before opening presents, which we already knew all that there was because we shop together and get what we want .... we just don't get it until after the Bible reading by DH followed by the brunch. Without further ado, I'm going right to the food pictures. Here is my first round Christmas day. The pizza is BREAKFAST PIZZA by Bryanna Clark Grogan Oct/Nov/Dec Vegan Feast Newsletter. Every holiday season since I started subscribing we have had a new awesome main course brunch dish to feast upon. I have been subscribing since the beginning and will not stop. The ideas and personal connection is worth every penny. Bryanna is a kitchen goddess, NO... wait! I take that back, because of Bryanna I AM A kitchen goddess! :) I served the pizza with a sliced pear and a soymilk (made in my soyajoy) cappuchino.Next trip to the kitchen allowed me to get some of this TENDER BANANA BREAD from Bryanna Clark Grogan's cookbook, FIBER FOR LIFE. I love this because the fat is replaced with a silken tofu mixture which is also great protein and it is made 100% whole wheat pastry flour, yet is still wonderfully tender. The cookbook offers the option to use dates in this, but I use vegan chocolate chips which my family adores, I like that if I am going to add a little fat it comes from chocolate. Mmmm-my kinda fat. More cheers for Bryanna and the VEGAN FEAST Newsletter again. Here is a picture of her seitan "salami/ pepperoni", I did the pepperoni version. My meat eating sister ate 10 slices of this with crackers and said, I love this stuff! I wasn't a big fan of the seitan o'greatness awhile back due to the fact it was so dry, but this salami / pepperoni is not. The crackers you see on this plate are actually pretzel flats with an everything seasoning, new find at the grocery store and they are not to bad. Back to the seitan, every issue of the newsletter usually has one new way with seitan that I get the pleasure of trying. I need to back track just a bit. Here is my counter setup for the breakfast pizza. The crust dough, vegan "sausage" crumbles (Bryanna's kielbasa seitan recipe from my freezer that I crumbled up), the tofu frittata mix in the food processor, red peppers, shredded sweet potato, and shreds of Bryanna's sharp chedda' cheez. The crust is interesting, it is like a thick batter that can sit in the frig for up to two weeks until you are ready to use it. The recipe calls for enough to make two pizza crusts. I am going to try a mushroom onion style pizza with the other half, I found a recipe for this that I really want to veganize in a weight watchers magazine. Okay, I am sure that you are probably thinking Bryanna again? .... yes, I say again. There are so many recipes I still have to try from all of her cookbooks and other vegan feast newsletters that I could sing her praises for a long time. This is my version of CHRISTMAS STOLLEN, the dough has no fat but is not dry. I used the sweet bread dough from her Al-most No Fat Holiday Cookbook. To make it stollen I added cardamom, coriander, orange peel, pecans, english walnuts, rum soaked raisins, cranberries, chopped dates and dried prunes. More backtracking. Here is the seitan salami after it finished cooking in my clay pot, it is wrapped with cheesecloth. It cookes in a small amount of very flavorful broth,[...]

Ice Ice Baby


The ice storm on the first of December was followed by another storm system that left a mess of broken tree branches in our yard. Here is the view walking out of our back door onto the porch, the tree still had some leaves left on it. This branch also fell on the roof of my car, but fortunately no damage was done. In February this year we had a similar storm that caused power outages across our state, to the point our county and many surrounding us were considered at the level of federal help. We were with no electricity for almost two weeks. This time 6 hours (We were worried!), but relieved when the electricity came back on.In the mean time I got pictures of the stocking DD and I made. Her's is a black velvet with some fancy painting decoration on it and is in the shape of a feminine high heel. We got the idea from a book about Christmas by Martha Stewart. I wanted mine to look more like a teacher's stocking as this has been a big event in my life this year. The guys stockings ended up being purchased ... yes they "cheated", but they did work on them for a few hours with us and we still have the material cut and ready to turn into a stocking someday. Matthew wanted a more complex design though, something with a symbol of a bear or resembling the renassance time period. I was lost as to how to preceed with this without a pattern and instructions.BREAKING CRAFT NEWS! Knitting is a popular past time recently revived in popularity, so I learned to knit recently. After mastering the lessons in the teach yourself how to knit book my sis gave me a while back I was mesmerized by the idea of a warm pair of socks to make for my feet, but didn't want to spend any money on a pattern that I did not know if I had the skills for. I surfed the net and found a free sock pattern to try and I created one knit sock (pictured above) and yes, it has a few mistakes, but I think I am hooked ... no "needled". I know that if I try to make another sock like my first it would not turn out the same becasue I would want to correct my mistakes so I decided to turn that one into a stocking for a special "my first sock" memory. After running around the house with one sock on showing all I could find who were thrilled with me (one dog and a cat that decided I could talk all I want as long as she was petted) I knew what I wanted for Christmas... tools to pursue my sock hobby. Come Dancer, come prancer, come donner come .... I found what will be my Christams present, but I'll get it after Christmas. The book is KNIT TWO SOCKS AT THE SAME TIME by Melissa Morgan Oakes. I like knitting because it relaxes me, but it is hard for me to set it down before a project is finished.ON THE FOOD FRONTBusy at work still, but not as much as it has been over the past few months as I am adjusted to my new schedule and organized my class room in a way that works for me. A few things that have been cooking at my house include recipes from Dreena Burtons new cookbook called Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan.Dreena's Palak Soyabina Panira p. 137. I really liked this dish, but since I am the only greens fan here I am the only one who ate this dish, but this was fine because I really did like this! Blackened tofu (p. 121) served with baked squash and a romaine salad with pomegranate seeds. This tofu has a spicy bite to it, but I liked it well enough. I had never tried blackened anything before trying this dish, so it was a new experience for me.Dreena's white chocolate chip with macadamia nut cookies p. 202. DH's favorite! I made the five spice almond cookies also which were my favorite and DH ranked them his second favorite.Then a few Bryanna Grogan recipes...Rosemary red potatoes from her Italian Nonna cookbook (yummmmmm).Neetballs that are baked dry and ready to add to a savory sauce. The powdery substance on the outside is whole wheat flour and these actually stay together when put in a sauce to cook. They swell up while taking liquid[...]



Dreena's ED&BV One Wild Chick stew was good. It reminded me of a chicken and rice type soup, but the wild rice made it more...... wild. DH usually does not like chickpeas except in falafels, so he complained about my choice of soup. As usual I said, "I know it's far from your favorite but please at least try it." He did and then said it is alright. I used homemade chickpeas in this soup which cooked up softer than the canned ones, I think it is actually the firmness canned chickpeas he does not like. I really think that it is the way I first introduced chickpeas to him when I first decided I was going vegan many years ago, I made a dish that wasn't wonderful and decided that they were going to like it so I did not cook anything else until it was gone. Ummm... do not try this at home. Stockings are coming along, mine and DD's are finished and hanging, the guys are a bit slower. I'll probably have to help them finish up, but then they are only attempting this to please me, doing things together is what I always ask for when it comes to gift choices. I'll show you the finished stockings in another post.Next food item I have been wanting to try was Dreena's ED&BV Veggie Tempah Muffaletta. I have had this page post-it-note tagged since first seeing the recipe, but thought it would be time consuming with what seemed like a long list of ingredients. Since I was wintered in for a weekend I bought a can of artichoke hearts and went to the kitchen. I had some tempah in the freezer since the beginning of last summer and have not been inspired enough to use it until now. I humbly admit that this was my first time with tempeh, but woo-hoo - my family LOVED it in this recipe. I made two loaves of red pepper sage bread for the round loaf of bread called for in the recipe. Several years ago I was looking at bakery web pages and noticed one had a bread with this flavoring. I took one of my own recipes and did what I thought was good ...... it is.. RED PEPPER SAGE BREAD1 3/4 cup water2 tsp olive oil1/4 cup dried red bell pepper flakes1 1/2 tsp dried ground sage2 Tbsp raw sesame seeds2 tsp salt1 Tbsp instant yeast1 C corn flour1 C whole white wheat flour1 1/2 C unbleached all-purpose bread flour(opt) 1 - 2 Tbsp vital wheat glutenCombine all in bread maker or kitchen appliance to make the dough and allow to rise. Punch down and shape loaves in a prepared baking surface, let rise again 20 minutes. Place in cold oven and turn oven on to 375 degrees. Bake 35 minutes, includes electric oven warming up time, may need more time if you have an oven that heats up slower than mine (approx 6 minutes). I also like to add pumpkin seeds/ pepitas to this when I need a hearty bread to go with a soup supper.[...]

One Wild Chick



I have been trying the soup recipes out of Dreena Burton's latest book Eat Drink and Be Vegan. Today's pot is as my blog entry title suggests. It takes one wild chick to live where i live. Today's weather in the central Midwest USA is COLD! We are getting a mix of freezing rain, sleet, and snow making travel impossible. I love these days when I have no where else to go and the family is all safe at home. I shared in my last post that I have challenged my family to make their own stockings this year to hang underneath the mirror by the Christmas tree. Here we are sitting at the table with our scissors, material, and the sewing machine.... okay a bit of soda pop also.

We are each working hard. Dave took the pictures, but he is trying to make the biggest stocking of all so we can stuff it well with our generosity, however he was hoping I would have enough material to stick a new garage inside of it. ... not likely this year.(image) (image) (image)

The joy is IN the journey. I often like the planning of the event better than the event itself.

Happy Thanksgiving


I WELCOME THE HOLIDAY SEASON!I am thankful for the four very large butternut squash that a friend grew in her garden... she had so many that she gave me four. In order to see a size comparison I have the gift next to a squash I bought, a pear, and my 3 quart crock pot.Yesterday (Wednesday) the kitchen and I had some good bonding time since I had the day off of work. The day started as a "slow" day, the kind in which I prepare oatmeal with pumpkin, carob chips and a pot of hazelnut flavored coffee. I take an hour to sit and eat while everyone else sleeps or goes to work while I reflect on life. During my reflection time I grabbed my journal to write a few things down, but I grabbed the wrong journal. I have kept a family memory book of holidays beginning in 2004 in which I start the holiday season writing a "state of the union address" then each member of our family start this season writing five things they are thankful for. I included a record of all the happenings from Thanksgiving to New Years including lists of the gifts we received, my favorite recipes with our reactions to new ones tried, and ways we want to change to make things more meaningful next year. Sentimental feelings ran high as I looked through this book and this is where I began to journal.Part of my feelings were sadness that I almost forgot this treasure in my "busy-ness" of life. My reflection time took me back to where I was last year at this time, hoping for a teaching position after finishing my license and debating whether to close the doors on my business or stay on part-time. At the same time I was adjusting from being a full-time home school mom into a full-time away from home employee so that DH and I could build up our retirement fund and get the kids through college. My son is now in college full-time and my daughter enrolled full-time into public high school full-time which she wanted and we reluctantly agreed. I have to admit I appreciate hearing her talk about what she liked while being a home schooled student now that she faces a different type of education. DH is very happy with the position he was promoted to at his day job and enjoys his time being the sound engineer for a christian rock band and I have enjoyed traveling around with them. Although this year has been a time of grieving the end of where we have been and who we used to be, it has also been exciting as we transition into where we are now. Exciting, but not without several growing pains which we are dealing with ... "What does not kill me will make me a better person."A summary of 2007 with one word TRANSITION.We also put up our little tree the day Friday (today ... as I finish the blog entry I started on Wednesday). I snapped a picture of my favorite kiddos and one of our dog's, Ricky. DD is in charge of holiday decorations and it looks like we are going to have a blue and silver theme this year. Soon I will replace the picture on the wall with a window like mirror under which out hanger for 4 stockings will be hung. I think the challenge I will give the family this year is to create their very own stocking to hang there this year, something that will creatively express who they are this year and what is important to them.I am also thankful for the opportunity to be able to reflect on our transition, that says we made it through. At one time in our life DH and I stepped away from our "normal" life (trusted in God, sold the house, home schooled the kids, grew a large garden, started a "hippie" business, etc) and followed our hearts. Before we started that journey we both agreed that even if we failed, failure would be better than wondering if or living in regret of never trying. We did not fail, we have been blessed. I hope that your holidays are the same, hope filled and if difficult that they be internally satisfied in the midst of it.NOW I INVITE YOU INT[...]

Pumpkiny stuff...


Isa's VWAV pumpkin seed crusted tofu along with roasted strips of tofu and a romaine salad with chopped apples and dried cranberries. I liked the raosted pumpkin, I have not tried it this way before. The pumpkin seed coated tofu has a nice crisp texture, but needs more flavor ... perhaps a sauce would cure this.

What's cooking at Dori's ....


I have been a little time constrained as I adjust to the full time (and then some) schedule, however it is important to me to stay motivated to cook nutritious and vegan. Now that I am out in the "real" world again and away from the protective constrains of my home, professional kitchen, and organic acreage I am finding the need to stay connected to my roots and passions. It is harder to do this in a time crunch, but I am determined to stay with my values and preferred eating habits. To do this I have found that my Internet community of inspired vegan cooks is what works the best with my schedule and my rural location, also reading the blogs of other cooks inspires me to be a better cook and person despite being "only one". I decided this week as I make my comeback cooking post you are going to get a run down on what this busy, vegan has cooked. ALSO I want to let you know that I purchased Dreena's new book, EAT DRINK AND BE VEGAN via amazon and am enjoying BRYANNA"S VEGAN FEAST fall issue just in time for the upcoming holiday season. I am in the states so Canadian friends, my Thanksgiving pictures will soon be coming.Oh and the pictures....I live in a household with a teenage daughter who has determined that the family digital camera should be shared. It seems that every time I want to take a picture of a gorgeous vegan meal that the batteries are dying, dead, or just got on the charger. Further justification in my complaint is that her my space and face book pictures have great quality and quantity. Perhaps she needs a camera for the next gift (or maybe I do!). Yes here is the lovely sweet daughter on her big day. I made this cake btw ... I used a Bryanna Clark Brogan recipe which features chocolate and coffee.BACK TO DAILY FOOD:I live in the Midwest and our farmer's market season is closed now until May. I can purchase veggies that have been shipped in from other places at the grocery store (at high prices for food that is not as high of quality as I prefer). My garden was small this year because I knew that I was going to apply for the position that I currently work (and I do love it .... despite time consuming for now), so my food creations will be limited to season and availability since my canning shelves did not get as well stocked with soups and wonderfuls that I would have typically done this time of year.Announcing meals I have prepared this week ....Bell Peppers stuffed with Israeli Couscous and Lentils (p. 152) Fresh From the Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Robin Robinson I was given a gift of about 10 beautiful red and green peppers from a gal that goes to our church. This recipe is uniquely different from the typical southwestern flavorings of her Salsa Rice and Beans stuffed pepper recipe, although I made those 11-2006 and liked them very much. I do write in my cookbooks when I try a recipe and date it, it's fun seeing this when I flip through. I also make notes about what I might do the recipe next time. Since it was primarily Dave and I eating these I had them for supper, lunch and supper again one evening when the rest of the family was out doing whatever they needed to do. I really like the convenience of Boca burgers (original) and whole grain buns along with a fresh romaine salad. I do this for lunch or supper at least once a week. With more peppers I made Dreena Burton's red pepper pasta sauce and served this with some whole grain spaghetti and cauliflower that I had in my freezer, homegrown in my garden. Of course a meal like this cannot be served without some of her famous chocolate chip cookies from Viva Le Vegan ... an irresistible necessity. Another Dreena favorite made this week was Ginger Hoison Rice Noodles from The Everyday Vegan, this recipe is prepared several times during pepper season.This is my week's report. N[...]

Summer Vacation


Hey! Just a quick post to say I am spending a lot of time around the pool and reading books. I have been harvesting garden produce and buying flowers from the farmer's market. I have not been blogging. Life is good here, but I need to take a break from being inside and the computer. Until I blog again .... I heart you all and have a wonderful summer!



Two boys bonding after surgery. One with a broken finger and had to have it operated on to screw the bones back together. The other went in the day after to get neutered. They make a lovely pair don't you think. The bandages on the hand are now a florescent orange cast.FOOD:I was at the store looking for canned vegetarian baked beans, but couldn't find any so I decided to make a double batch of Dreena's black strap molasses baked beans in the crock pot and decided to can several jars of it in my pressure cooker. I got 7 pint jars plus enough to eat for a meal, 2 jars did not seal correctly so I stuck them in the freezer to use first when I am ready for some more beans. While I was at it I canned my own chickpeas. I soak them overnight, change the water, bring them to a boil, and fill the jars 2/3 full before adding water and salt. Lid them and process for 1/ 1/2 hour at 10 lbs pressure. The clear jars allow me to see that the chickpea water turns to gel when it cools.FAMILY LIFE ...DH is the sound man for a Christian band called Piercing The Darkness. This past Friday evening they played for an event called JUNE JAM at an amphitheatre .... an out door concert in the middle of the forest. I thought it would be an awesome place for a music video with the lush greenery around.City Wide Garage Sales were also this weekend in our town. I picked up this unique, brand new microwave cooking dish made by Tupperware. All of it's attachments (sold separately) and a cookbook were included. Supposedly one can cook a three course meal (including pasta in the water) all at the same time. After looking at the cookbook a bit I'm pretty impressed with the possibilities. I hope to show something impressive after spending a whopping $10 on this gadget ... the receipt was in the bag and the whole set cost $70 ... this was in it's original wrapping unopened. The entertainment value of trying this out will surely will be worth my money, hopefully I even be able to tell you it was a real steal!GARDEN ...I have been harvesting spinach and edible pod peas, Sugar Anne type, they have a plump pod . I like these better than other types of edible pod peas (aka snow peas).To use these up I made a wrap using some thin sliced seitan, herbed tofutti soy cream cheese and thin slices tomato (purchased from the market not local) along side of the baked beans and peas. The peas were raw and fresh picked form the garden, I love the way they taste without dressing. I also made a schzeuan veggie stir fry. I didn't want to wait the 45 minutes to make brown rice so I served this over a microwaved red potato. My stir fry consists of carrots, mushrooms, purple cabbage, onion, garlic, and a homemade schzeuan sauce. I finished this meal with a fruit smoothie and was very satisfied.I have been drinking a lot of iced herbal fruity teas from celestial seasoning. My favorite is the peach, but black cherry and raspberry are good too.In the mood to bake again, I also made some whole grain (white wheat) bread dough with wheat Bulgar and sunflower seeds added. The last bit of dough was formed into cinnamon rolls starring chocolate chips. This time I chose to bake the rolls in muffin cups, they turned out well .... err, so I heard I actually didn't get one of these.LAST MY FAVORITE ....My herb garden. This is how it looks a week ago, but I have several seeds planted that are just beginning to break through the ground right now. I have dill, thyme, Italian basil, chives, rosemary, radish, sunflowers (these will get big so I will only allow 2 but mainly for looks), English breakfast radish, and an early girl tomato plant because I had one left over and didn't want to waste it.I love this time of year. I hope everyone is enjoyin[...]

Camping, Pets, and Food (oh my)


We are back from our three day camping vacation. We "rough it" in the wilderness with nothing but our tents, air mattresses, propane cook stove, port-a-potty, battery operated DVD player, modern shower houses, firewood and mother nature. I did leave the laptop computer at home :). We drove approximately 2 hours to get to RATHBUN LAKE on Friday night and spent the evening setting up, starting the fire, and having a snack before watching Pirates of the Caribbean 2 DVD.Saturday morning we woke up and it was raining ... most of the morning and again in the middle of the afternoon. We were not "water proofed" in our cozy eating area yet (we realized) and were in no mood to cook or eat breakfast outside so we took a 15 mile trip into town. I brought along a box of KASHI organic promise Autumn Wheat cereal and small asceptic (refrigeration not needed) box of soy milk with a pkg of raisins and ate inside with others at a not vegan friendly restaurant - the coffee was good. :) I did not expect to find much to eat in this area other than the local Hy-Store (a mid west chain grocery store) where I could get the soy milk, some smart dogs, etc in the organic refrigerated vegetable section. While there we decided to shop a couple of stores for "stuff" and purchased a Dora the Explorer cloth key holder type necklace to hold my room keys, a mini twist out pen to sign passes, and some lemon pepper. We were having a good time with the kids so we splurged on toys and a couple of stuffed monkeys that screeched like two girls in a tent having a grand time thinking about all sorts of scary things.For lunch the rain had stopped long enough for DH and I to extend our canopy covering with a tarp over the picnic table so that we could have a dry place to sit if the rain continued. I ate guiltless gourmet corn chips with salsa, a vegan genisoy protein bar, and washed it down with some cold herbal "sun" tea before heading into another town the opposite direction 25 miles away. My son's girlfriend camped with us this weekend and on Saturday we had to make arrangements for my daughter to see her favorite beau for a few hours. While Melissa was off with her guy friend I went with my son and his girl friend to an antique store, watched Shrek 3 in this town's one screen Victorian style opera house, and checked out various restaurants looking for some vegan friendly options for supper. We found one that served pasta with a vegan garden veg mushroom pasta sauce, vegan Parmesan style cheese (on hand due to a request by other customers), a nice very veggie green salad with Newman's own balsamic vinaigrette, and a piece of strawberry rhubarb pie (crust made with Crisco which is vegan). I was pleased that they were familiar with my request (I'm not the only one in the rural part of a rural Midwestern state who eats "funny") and when I started asking questions the waitress knew what I was after and could tell me options.When I asked for the ingredients to the pasta sauce, she replied with ,"Will the recipe work?" Awesome I said. I write it here for blog land to see also, I really enjoyed this meal! The recipe was a print off from recipe search. I left an excellent tip and they have no "trade secrets" going on here, just a simple desire to please a customer (SCORE!).MEATLESS SPAGHETTI SAUCE4 Tbsp olive oil2 cups chopped onion2 cloves garlic, chopped1/4 cup chopped green pepper1/2 cup shredded carrots28 oz can diced tomatoes, juice and all1/2 tsp salt1/4 tsp pepper1 jar garden veg style Ragu1 tsp oregano1 tsp basilFry first 5 ingredients until golden. Add remaining ingredients and simmer an hour, serve over spaghetti. Add a second jar of Ragu to leftover sauce to make another m[...]

Meowza Summer is Near


Meowza summer is near, check out my mother's day goods (a snapdragon and cauliflower plants) above and Sophie all curled up in the garden produce basket I just brought in anticipation of fresh garden goods, but I still have a wait. Around June 15th I can begin to harvest a little spinach and then other stuff after that. It is funny to watch how the cats seem to love little boxes to curl up in. Sophie is the adoptable cat we are still fostering. She's a good cat so I don't mind, however she stalks me... really. Whenever I go into a room she waits outside the door for me to come out, when i reach down to pet her she scampers off like I shouldn't be noticing she is there. I gave her a rude awakening with this picture but it didn't seem to bother her much because she laid her head back down and continued about her very im-paw-tant business.Some great smells were coming from the kitchen! I think the one I liked the most came from the seitan o' greatness I have been wanting to try for so long. The recipe was doubled and made one "regular" size and one in quarter logs. The large one was sliced on the mandolin for sandwiches and the smaller logs were cut into "seiteroni" slices - yum! Being no virgin to seitan, I thought it was tough and dense baked liked this, but with the right knife it can be cut really thin which makes it kind of like commercial vegan pepperoni, but a little dry. The mandolin slices remind me of dried beef. I was thinking that the crock pot might work here also instead of running the oven for 90 minutes in hotter months. I like the smaller rolls best and here is my favorite thing that I did with them. GRILLED PIZZAI was inspired by a journey through blog land one day reading blogs all over the place following a link here and link there.... I don't even remember where I was when I received the inspiration. Anyways when I received it I knew that I needed to try this. We are going camping for three nights this weekend and I wanted to know that this could actually work... it did!UPDATE: KATE 'S vegan ventures BLOG gave me this inspiration (recipe here). She also has a great mini cookbook.The pizza I made was super unique with white bean hummus, seit-a-roni slices, pickled beets, grilled onion and chopped green pepper. Despite unique, although nothing I would "write home" about, it was satisfying and vegan. I was out of everything tomato for a sauce and had little choice for toppings.Basically pizza crust recipes are the same, in grilled pizza cook the crust for 3 minutes, flip and cook 30 seconds more. Next add toppings and cook again until cheese melts, I had no cheese or cheeze for that matter so I cooked until it appeared to be evenly hot (about 3 minutes).GARDEN REPORT:Spinach is up and will the first to harvest, corn is peeking through the ground, I have been doing ALOT of weeding, and yukon gold potatoes are looking good. The cauliflower and broccoli plants finally got big enough that the rabbits seem no longer interested. A gardener friend told me that she put plastic cartons over hers until they were 6-8 inches tall, at that height they aren't as tasty to the bunnies. The only problem with this is that I don't get plastic cartons on a regular basis because I do not buy dairy milk. I have also been working on beautifying my front walkway (and my aching back is proof) with petunias, glads, allyssum, and morning glories. The herb box is doing well too: marjora, dill, and chives came back from last year and is doing wonderful. I started rosemary, basil and parsley from seed and then transplanted a few of the healthiest looking plants. I started them in organic growing mix from our local lawn and garden sto[...]

Falafel everyway you possibly can and homemade pizza


Hi Blog World. Remember my picture back in November? I am Lucy, the dog in this "bakehouse" household. I have several interests and yoga is one of them. In this pose I lie on my back with feet in the air, however one paw sticks in my mouth just like you see here. I find this pose to be very relaxing because I will stay like this for more than 15 minutes. This lady here is trying to get me to chase rabbits out of her garden, but that's really not my style ... they remind me of cats and cats are my friends. The owner of this blog asked me to share some of the food they have been cooking this week. I said sure, but I have to tell you that I am a little disappointed that she did not make any cookies or muffins this week ... I love those! So, to hold true to what I said I would do I present Dreena's (Vive Le Vegan) lightened up Falafel. The meal includes a cuke tomato salad (same cookbook), sliced cukes, onions, red pepper, lettuce and black olives. She put a bit of pineapple on the side and the cup holds some of Dreena's tahini dressing. I didn't like it.... well, maybe with a bit of jelly I would have scarfed that pita down.The leftovers: She just kept going and going with this stuff, reminded me of the energizer bunny and if I told her that she probably would have wanted me to chase that also. Anyways, the falafel pizza, she took the mix and spread it on a pizza, baked it until she was happy with the looks of it and then topped it with chopped red pepper, tomato, black olive and drizzled with more of the dressing. She liked it well enough, but I think it would have been better with a dab of sugary frosting!One would think that this would be enough, but we are talking about the queen of leftovers here. Why not a little more Greek delight for lunch.... yuck from me. That is the cuke and tomato salad in the baggie, gotta keep it separate or the lettuce will wilt. Again, more of the tahini dressing in the cup. I think she really likes the dressing, it's been three meals and she still says, "mmmm!"Last item she wanted me to show ... her very vegan pizza on a whole wheat crust. It contains mushrooms, black olives, broccoli, red pepper, and sauerkraut. She made this during a demonstration for a class..... they were eating within the hour! Impressive huh! She told the class that the more cooking skills you have the less convenience you must pay for. She made 3 very large pizza's and a pan of cinnamon rolls (16 of them) for $8.15. The superintendent happened to come in while they were eating so they shared the food, she was impressed and asked Mrs. Master for the recipe so she could make it at home with her kids. Personally, just the cinnamon rolls would have kept me wagging my tail at her for several days but I didn't get any because she said the class gobbled them down. Imagine that, I guess she just likes them best. :(BASIC PIZZA DOUGH RECIPE:1 tsp granulated sugar1 cup warm water1 pkg (1 oz) active dry yeast (check date to make sure it is not expired)1 Tbsp olive oil3 cups White whole wheat (Wheat Montana Prairie Gold) flour1 tsp salt*cornmeal1. In a small container, mix sugar with water.2. Add yeast to sugar mixture and stir to dissolve.3 Pour yeast mixture into a large mixing bowl; add oil.4. In a large bowl, mix flour and salt.5. Add one cup flour to yeast mixture, mix with a mixing spoon.6. Slowly add more flour; mix.7. Keep adding flour until dough is stiff enough to form a ball. Do not add to much flour; save some for kneading dough.8. Turn the dough onto a floured surface; knead dough for 8 - 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic.9. Cover; let dough rest for 10 - 15 minutes.10. [...]

Wild Mushrooms and Rhubarb


WILD MUSHROOMSDH loves to wander the woods when the temps begin to raise and the days get a little steamy. He has his secret spots, but I cannot tell because mushroom hunters do not tell where their treasures are found. However, this mushroom hunter's wife will tell you what she did with the "loot". This picture is of a wonderful tasty and creamy wild mushroom barley risotto an idea I got from the Lorna Sass cookbook titled, "whole grains: everyday every way". I am saving my version of this recipe in my seasonal family favorite recipe folder.VWAV: Isa also has a great recipe for Mushroom Gravy that I made, however it was the first time I ever used arrowroot powder and discovered it is not as stable as cornstarch. However the flavor and the meal I made with it, no disappointment here. This is a picture of a wild/brown rice combination topped with the mushroom gravy with a side of homegrown asparagus, and breaded mushroom. Bryanna Grogan has a wonderful seasoned breading mix in her Almost No Fat Cookbook.As asparagus is beginning to come up in my garden, the pot stickers were the perfect recipe to use up the three stalks I harvested from my garden that day. I found a mushroom asparagus pot sticker recipe in a Light and Tasty Cooking magazine which allowed me to use up some the large mushroom harvest DH brought home the same day. Honestly, it was alot of work making the potstickers, but I made enough to freeze so I could have some on hand for a fast meal. It was worth the effort because I have discovered my family likes anything placed in a crispy little pocket that they can dip into a soy sauce type mixture. I love anything that the family will eat and allow me to use up the fresh produce that grows in our garden while it is still fresh. I froze the pot stickers uncooked on a sheet and them put them in a freezer bag ready to take out and bake at 425 F for 10 - 12 minutes.To the right is a picture of our meal: broccoli mushroom stir fry, brown and wild rice mix, steamed green beans, and the pot stickers drizzled with a tasty sauce. The schezuan broccoli stir fry came from Bryanna Grogan's: 20 Minutes to Dinner Cook book. I subbed the soy strips called for in the original recipe for DH's fresh wild mushrooms ... the stir fry was much prettier than my meal plate shows so I'll put a close up of the stir fry to the left. It tasted wonderful; schezuan is my favorite!To finish off the FRESH food meals I have been preparing I made muffins, another Bryanna recipe called Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rhubarb Muffins.I make most everything with stevia, so I will give you my version of these muffins.Wet Mix:1/2 C smooth applesauce1 1/2 C soymilk3 Tbsp light tasting olive oil1 T lemon juice2 tsp vanilla1/2 tsp Ener-G egg replacer1 1/2 tsp KAL brand steviaDry Mix:2 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour1 tsp baking powder1 tsp baking soda1/2 tsp saltAdditional:1 1/2 cup diced rhubarb, can be frozen (mine wasn't)Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare muffin cups by greasing or spraying with pan spray (I use special unbleached parchment papers because I like low fat baking and do not want the muffins to stick to the paper and rip apart). Combine the wet mix in the blender or food processor. In a medium bowl combine the dry mix. Add the wet to the dry and stir briefly just to mix. Spoon evenly into the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes. C Cool the pans on racks for 5 minutes, then carefully loosen the muffins with a table knife and turn them on their sides to cool a bit more before serving. These vegan muffins are quite tender when they are very hot, but they firm up with cooling.Brya[...]

Soup glorious soup


I love this time of year! Today will reach almost 90 (60's at night), drop to a high of 71 by Thursday UPDATE: It is Thursday and it didn't reach 70: chilly, windy, with rain drizzle made it pretty chili and good soup weather again. I have heard the saying that if you don't like the weather we have this time of year, don't worry it will by greatly different tomorrow. This is normal for my location. Also, I have finally had the veggies, time, and motivation to try some soup from a couple of blogs I enjoy reading. I copied, pasted, and e-mailed the recipes to myself when I saw them and have kept them in my in box as new so that I would not forget I wanted to try them (hey, gotta remember somehow).The first recipe I made comes from Catherine at Albion Cooks. I noticed it was similar to a recipe I really liked called "Give me strength" soup that calls for split red lentils and cauliflower, yet a different take on it. I like this one very well also, I will make it again for sure...Red Lentil Soup (click the title for her original recipe)Here is my take on the recipe ...1 tbsp olive oil1 small onion, chopped4 carrots, cut into thin 3/4" - 1' fingers1/2 cup minced green pepper2 large cloves of garlic, minced3 cups water plus 1 1/2 cubes Knoor vegetarian vegetable bouillon1/2 cup red lentils1 tsp cumin1 tsp curry powdersalt1/4 tsp cayenne1 tbsp tomato paste1/2 tsp dried basil1 tsp roasted sesame oil1 cup cauliflower, cut into small florettes1 cup rinsed canned red beansHeat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan and saute the onions for 3 minutes. Add the carrot and cook 2 additional minutes. Add the vegetable bouillon cubes, water and lentils, turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and add the remaining ingredients. Simmer for 20 minutes, partially covered. Salt. If the broth is too thick for your liking, add additional water. Check seasoning. Serve. I made a mistake reading the recipe and actually ended up with only three cups of liquid added to the soup. The thicker soup made me feel like I was getting a heartier meal. I am eating the leftovers for lunch today along with an apple and a tablespoon of cashew butter to dip it in. Yum! I also finally tried the Quinoa-Peanut Veggie Soup (from Africa) ... the one I tried came was posted by Odd Tofu Mom (the recipe name link will take you there). This is a bit spicy, but wonderfully different. I did not have access to fresh zucchini, so I subbed and added finely chopped green bell pepper... I thought that chopped cabbage could also be a good sub but I did not have any. I did use 1/2 tsp dried jalepeno peppers (purchased from the spice section) and left out the cayenne pepper called for. Although I am pretty sure that to be true to it's origin it is supposed to be neutral colored, but I added some of the red beans leftover from the first soup to give it a little color boost. I liked this soup well enough to eat some and freeze in small portions for future use, but the family is not accustomed to the spice and texture combination.GARDEN UPDATE:I planted broccoli and cauliflower about two weeks ago. They are dead and didn't even bother to say goodbye. One day they were there and the next day.... just gone. I have never had a problem with fluffy bunnies before, but then pup was always around chasing them off. Now that pup is gone, fluffy bunny may have gone to far. Fluffy bunny if you happen to be reading my blog you need to know that I have never been a selfish gardener, I have always shared my produce generously. Considering I had over 30 plants, more than enough, I would ha[...]

Auto immune disease ramblings ...


Med Research 101 today. Welcome to class.I have been reading about erica's fast on her blog. The fast is her attempt at ending some chronic pain that has been a part of her life. She started a rotation diet some time ago with this same mission, but has not yet achieved a level of health that she has been hoping for. I have been watching this because I have been diagnosed with an auto-immune disease called sarcoidosis and other than taking a steroid with very nasty side effects the doctor can offer no more help. As I have done a little research on how the naturopathic world would handle things I see that a vegan diet is primarily recommended. I know that some autoimmune diseases might be considered environmental/ lifestyle induced, however sarcoid has strong genetic factors which I must offer a sarcastic thanks to a dad, his sister, and my sister --- it affects our lungs the most.Gallstones in the liver and gallbladder reduce the amount of bile necessary to digest food properly. ... Much of the undigested food begins to ferment and putrefy, leaving toxic waste matter in the blood and lymph .... These molecules have a strong acidifying effect on the blood. To avoid a life-threatening disease or coma, the blood must rid itself of these minute toxins. Accordingly, it dumps these unwanted intruders into the connective tissue of the organs. The connective tissue is a gel-like fluid (lymph) that surrounds the cells. The cells are 'bathed' in the connective tissue. Under normal circumstances, the body knows how to deal with acidic waste material that has been deposited in the connective tissue. It releases an alkaline product, sodium bicarbonate NaHCO3, into the blood that is able to retrieve and neutralize the acidic toxins and eliminate them through the excretory organs. This emergency system, however, begins to fail when toxins are deposited faster than can be retrieved and eliminated. Consequently, the connective tissue may become as thick as jelly; nutrients, water and oxygen can no longer pass freely and the cells of the organs begin to suffer malnutrition, dehydration and oxygen deficiency. Some of the most acidic compounds are proteins from animal foods. Excessive proteins are temporarily stored in the connective tissues and then converted into collagen fiber. The collagen fiber is built into the basement membranes of the capillary walls. Consequently, the basement membranes may become ten times as thick as normal.This info comes from ENER CHI WELLNESS CENTER (the bolded words are my emphasis). Although found amongst information about a uninary tract system, I found the explanation of what happens to toxins in the body being "dumped" into the connective tissues (joints) of importance to my own understanding of a process that may be occurring causing other problems. I also realize that gallstones are not the issue for most, but undigested food in the body system is also known as food allergy as the immune system begins to attack these "foreign" large molecules of food that cannot be absorbed properly. As people age and in many auto immune diseases achey, painful joints are an issue. I have also read about how cancer survives in an acid environment, although cancer is not my issue it appears that it and auto-immune diseases with achey, painful joints have acid environments in common.I know that Dr. Joe Fuhrman is a recognized name for vegan food bloggers thanks to the lunchox gal Jennifer Schmoo. The following information actually came from a site called Here's their intro, "Dr. Joel Fuhrman, M.D. ha[...]

It's time...


NAME THIS UTENSIL ....I will tell you what it is at the end of this post.GARDENI feel like an expectant mother who has been waiting for her first born to arrive. The weather has been right and the ground ideal to begin planting again. Armed with my mantis tiller, onion hoe, 4 tine cultivator and sack of seeds to plant I have visions of wonderful produce dancing in my head. The two small, barely visible yellow packets say PEAS, one kind in Sugar Anne and the other Mr Big Pea. Some people get into flowers and yea, I do enjoy these but vegetables fulfil the practical side of me perfectly.I recruited my mom and niece to help me plant yellow onions. I have three rows which were planted about 1 inch apart so I can thin them while harvesting young onions with greens. We cannot start large onions that can be stored for winter use from seed here because our zone 4 growing season is not long enough so we use bulbs or "sets" for that purpose. I personally have not had much luck with red onions, which I'm not sure why yet and I usually do not use the white onions. I have heard there is flavor differences, but I am satisfied with the foods I have.... except vidalia onions are super sweet. I will buy these on occasion (when they are "in season" at out grocery store at a reasonable price).Right now I have planted premium green top broccoli plants even though I prefer packman type, snowball cauliflower plants, nappa cabbage, salad bowl lettuce plants, 2 kinds of peas (edible pod and the kind that needs shelled), cylinder beets, and Yukon gold potatoes.I like English breakfast radish which have a very mild flavor. I am going to wait to plant these for a couple of weeks because they have a short harvest time and I like these esp well in fresh salads. Soon I will have rhubarb and asparagus coming up as well as oregano and marjoram in my herb bed... these come back each year with little assistance. Corn and green beans (planted every three weeks up through August) will wait until the first week of May while tomatoes and green pepper plants will wait until the first of June with chard. Turnips will be planted in June plants and Brussels sprouts near the end of July for a mid to end October harvest because they can stand a good frost and have a better flavor when they get it.FOOD...This has become a staple for my regular lunch at work. It is simply a rectangular Tupperware container that holds my salad which I like to top with a container of balsamic vinegar combined with a little salt and stevia. It is made from romaine lettuce, shredded purple cabbage, carrots, fresh mushrooms, and oven baked flavored tofu. I prefer to get my fats in with a square of dark chocolate (not pictured) instead of in salad dressing. Complete the meal with an apple which I usually eat mid morning.Here is another meal...This one comes from Dreena's Everyday Vegan. Chickpea Sweet potato casserole served with 1/2 a whole grain wrap rolled around a lettuce leaf with apricot mustard (I made this). I like to add currants into this stew which offers a little color boost. I ended the meal with some chopped fruit (apples, apricots, dates, and currants over leftover brown rice. I sprinkled it with a sweet lime juice, cardamom, and almonds.It was good.On a side note I want to mention that my 90+ year old granmother is in a nursing home. She is blind due to two strokes that have also limited her mobility. Her mind is excellent and she loves good company to talk with. It saddened me when I stopped for a brief visit and she said she enjoyed the[...]

Easter . . . Snow?!


This is the facts of living in my Midwestern town even though it is more than one month into spring. April showers are supposed to bring May flowers... no one said anything about April SNOW! This is a picture of green grass topped with white snow. Right now we have an inch and could receive anywhere from 3 - 12 inched today (we got 7 inches). Another sad fact about where I live is that March 26th and 27th we had beautiful sunny skies and temperatures near 80.Garden Update....I didn't get the potatoes planted Saturday like I had hoped because it was raining, now behind schedule some however this is not a big deal, I'll still have potatoes. I will be buying broccoli and cauliflower plants already started so these are okay to, I should be still be harvesting about mid June. This is last year's herb bed (and a great dog named pup who is no longer with us), I will post it now for motivation to hang in there a little longer. If I don't I am sure that I would be running off to California or Seattle soon and then you would never see me in blog land because I wouldn't be cooped up inside avoiding our ever changing weather.Things that make life fun....Matthew was in an Easter play which we attended Good Friday night, part 1, and Sunday morning , part 2 @ 6:30 am. Part 1 was the traditional Good Friday type play. Part 2 was the resurrection story investigated Dragnet style (a show from the 50's). Matt is the one in glasses. He is wearing a traditional Judea robe under his "Dragnet style" white shirt/ black tie. The play was really cute and if others knew Matt like we do they would realize he was not really acting..... that is his type of humor! His senior prom is coming up. My 6'3" baby boy is again taking a 4'6" little red headed girl for a date (I really think Charlie Brown, Matt's hero, and his little red headed girl has really affected him.)Food....I consider myself a family food blogger, so the fact the food follows all the above is not to out of the normal. I have three food pictures to share, considering that I eat at least three times a day and have not blogged in about 8 days = 24 meals, yet I have only three to share..... my diet as of late has been pretty boring. However, what I did do with the burritos will become a staple because I do love the convenience.SMOKEY CHIPOTLE BURRITOS -A NICE STOCK OF THEM IN THE FREEZER (this recipe makes 4, but I quadruple it)I had some TVP taco meat filling leftover in the freezer that I wanted to get used up. I actually prepared it and weighed into a 1 lb package for ease of use later, sure a little fuss but I was happy for the ease of preparation when I made these. I also remember awhile back I was hankering some store bought vegan burritos, but decided that the cost was not worth it. Being a die hard "do it your-selfer" here's my filling recipe....1 C chopped onion1 1/2 Tbsp garlic crushed1 - 14.5 oz can of black beans1 - 7 oz can of whole kernel corn1/2 C salsa1/4 C plain soy yogurt, optional OR use veg refried beans1 1 /2 Tbsp Smokey Mesquite SeasoningSaute onions and garlic in a non-stick pan, when browned add corn, black beans, salsa and seasoning. Cook about 2 minutes until all is warmed. Add refried beans (or yogurt is you choose) and cook until mixture is thickened. Add 1/4 of mixture to a tortilla and top with 2 Tbsp soy cheese. Fold in sides, roll up, allow to cool, wrap, and freeze.I originally got the recipe seasoning idea from a weight watchers core forum that I used to read some time ago, I believe they calculate at 4 points each.[...]

Promotion celebration and food (finally)!


During my "slow down" period our wonderful adopted cat Snowball has been keeping things warm anxiously awaiting my return.So here I am, thanks Snowball. It's been awhile since I had more to say than, "My thumb is healing" ;) Thanks for all your thoughts and well wishes! Also thanks for your prayers for "D", this young man talks nightly to my daughter on the phone and did prior to his mom's death, so even though we are glad he lives more than an hour drive from us we have felt close to the situation. Reading all my fav food blogs and the great food being prepared while I have been on the "sit and mend" has been ..... actually quite inspiring. I now know at least 200 more dishes that I want to cook soon. April 6th I go back to the doctor for an x-ray and anticipate a mended fracture and a freed thumb. Then I will get the fun job of exercising the stiff digit back into shape. This is also the same day I intend to plant my Yukon Gold potatoes.GOOD NEWS HERE!My honey's last day with his current position is today, he has been promoted to a position of more responsibility. Yes, a good thing for us and something that he has been hoping for. My oldest sis always has a nice supply of free hotel stays due her frequent traveler and flier miles, so she booked us a mini getaway to celebrate not only his promotion but the new contract I was offered and signed for next school year (new location with new exciting things to teach and a new FCCLA chapter to start and advise). After a Friday night hot tub time and some eats that I am packing for supper, tomorrow we intend to do a little shopping including stopping at Penzey's to stock up on my favorite spices. I also plan to purchase a few garden seeds (peas, turnips, kale) as well as a few onions sets and plants (broccoli, cauliflower, etc).Everyone in my family is experiencing new, new, new. We attended a college visitation with my oldest, Matthew, and were very pleased with what we saw. He will continue in a computer science program and will attempt dorm living there next year. For most kids this is a big deal, but Matthew has had many obstacles to overcome to get this far. Although we are not on easy street, this step is a doozy that we all feel can be a successful one. My baby, Melissa, is running the two mile in track, singing and dancing in show choir and is planning to go to a dance this evening. *Sigh* I'm proud of her and all she does, but this growing up stuff makes me emotional!Now on to eats....PRESERVING THE HARVEST (tomatoes, part 2)I did make a batch of spaghetti sauce using tomatoes from my freezer right before I broke my thumb. Here is a picture. I do pressure can it and blogged about doing this in August last year. This time I made enough sauce to can, but then everyone here got in a big tomato sauce eating mood, plus I decided to try Fat Free Vegan's No Cook Noodle Lasagna (pictured below) which used up the last of the pasta sauce I had.MY SAUCE RECIPE (copied from the August post linked above):Inspired by Bryanna Clark Grogan's . . . I used Brian's Wine- Free Mushroom Tomato Sauce on page 44 of the Nonna's Italian Kitchen Cookbook. I did add 1 cup of TVP granules and 2 tsp Bill's Best Beefy flavored bouillon powder to this. I reduced the cooking time since the TVP soaks up some of the extra liquid which does not need to evaporate during the long simmer process... I also only simmered for about 1 1/2 hours since I knew I would pressure can it and it would cook for another 1 1/2 h[...]

Happy Blog Birthday


March 17 my blog turned one year old and I've been married another year (19 and going strong!). My thumb feels good enough to take the protective plastic off, but I know that to have a good fix I've been warned to keep it on for the whole six weeks. DH and I went with 25 rowdy (and some uncivilized) teenagers and three other adults to a church weekend event in another state. We and they had an awesome time even if not much sleep was involved. A friend of my daughter lost his 39 year old mother suddenly due to an anuerysm on the 12th, he went to the weekend trip also... my heart was really breaking for him. If you'd like to think of "d" and give a quick prayer for him and family I extend the effort to tell you about it for that purpose.

I have been thinking about gardening and beginning to order. We are going through some major property purchases and related dealings right now, so the face of my garden will be changing greatly this summer. I am looking forward to it. March 21 is the first day of spring. We plant potatoes, a few onions, and some greens seeds on Good Friday usually. Our average last frost date is May 15th and we garden until mid October (short growing season). Soon I have my left hand back in use for cooking and typing, until then I am slowed down tremendously so I haven't been posting much.

Until then... I am still reading other blogs (just not typing much). Happy St Patty's day! Check out my archives from a year ago and you'll find some corned gluten roast as well as big beautiful bran muffins. CHEERS and happy soon to be spring!

Still alive...



Yes, I passed the test (Thanks kleo!).

I added "my blog" to my cell phone address book. I then used the key pad to add my blogpage e- post address in stead of a phone number. I can see by my word test above that I can instantly post a message and pictures by texting a message to my blog page. Isn't that just "techy" of me to figure out. :) Sure I had done it once before but it wasn't as easy as pushing one button like it is now.

By the way I have began to cook again and single handedly wash dished. I can chop veggies pretty well. My thumb is so protected that I do not have to worry about cutting it when I slice onions. Thanks for a double dose hug veg-a-nut. I feel so warm and fuzzy in side y'all.

We got the power ..


HUGS! To all you who commented and left well wishes. We have power and the worst of the branches picked up. Many people around us still do not have power even after two weeks, which means no heat for many but some do have gas powered generators (not us). With the cost of gas being at almost $3 gallon it takes a good 20 gallons a day to power a small house. Dave's work was running generators to power up the entire plant which took more than 50000 gallons of gas a day however there were three days he did not work last week. Many shelters had opened up for showers and just a warm place to stay.

What am I to be thankful for. My home canned food red beans (seasoned), rice, black beans soup, green split pea soup, pickled green beans, jellies, bread I had previously baked in the freezer, etc. We had a propane cook stove to warm things up with (an electric household convection oven doesn't work without electricity) and was thankful that it was cold enough outside that we just allowed nature to keep our freezer goods at the bakehouse cold by opening a couple of windows in the freezer room... we didn't lose anything (yeah!). Other things we were thankful for included a propane heater for the main level of our house, a shower at the school, candlelight, a battery operated radio, bottled water, and each other.

My thumb is healing... four and 1/2 weeks of still having it wrapped :( - the wrap is annoying and my hand occasionally itches inside of it. Washing dishes and ease in going to the bathroom are things I miss the most. I'll be lurking around blog land awhile catching up on my favorite blog reads for a while longer. I'll also be working on that using the harvest frozen tomato post part 2. CHEERS!