Posts filed under ‘Uncategorized’

Lindsay’s Garden Chowder

I saw this recipe on Lindsay’s blog, Passionate Homemaking…and I knew I had to try it! I did tweak her original recipe a bit for our tastes … and it was soooooo yummy (the recipe below is the way we made it).  We all LOVED it. I made the agave vegan cornbread muffins to go with it…a perfect pairing. This will definitely be going into our regular rotation. It made enough for the three of us to have it for supper and lunch the next day.

Lindsay’s Garden Chowder
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped
1/4 cup butter or Earth Balance
1 1/2 cups potato, diced
2 cups cau­li­flower, chopped
1-2 carrots, sliced
2 cups broc­coli, chopped
6 cups vegetable broth
1 tea­spoon salt (more to taste)
3 garlic cloves
1/4 tea­spoon pepper
1/2 cup flour or arrow­root powder (optional)
1 – 1 1/2 cups unsweetened soy or almond milk
1 T minced fresh pars­ley (optional)
1/4 t paprika
1/4 t corian­der
1/4 t ground mus­tard (increase as desired)
1 cup shred­ded cheese (stir in 1/2 cup just before serving, and top with the remainder)

In a Dutch oven or large pot, saute green pepper, onion and butter until tender. Add veg­eta­bles, water, bouil­lon, salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 min­utes or until the veg­eta­bles are tender. Com­bine flour and milk until smooth; stir into pan. Allow to thicken at a low tem­per­a­ture. Add the pars­ley and other spices and allow to simmer for 5 more minutes. Just before serv­ing, stir in the cheese until melted. Yield: 6-8 servings.

January 15, 2009 at 4:05 am 6 comments

Something From Nothing

We’ve been working on our budget for 2009…and we’re going back to my favorite method. Cash budget! Using cash only really helps me when I’m at the grocery store. I pay MUCH closer attention to what I’m putting in my cart, I look for the specials, menu plan ahead of time, etc. Love it. I’m always up for a good challenge, and when I know that I only have X amount in my wallet, I’m thrilled when I don’t spend it all 🙂

With that said, I’ve been taking inventory of my pantry to see how long we could go without going on a major grocery run. I made a big list of all the ingredients I had on hand and also all the meals I could make. I came up with 9 meals out of “nothing”! Yay! One of the meals I came up with is the one you see above.

Here are the things I had to work with:

  • A big bag of quinoa: I love quinoa because it cooks so much faster than brown rice and it has such a high protein level. I made twice as much as I needed and then put the rest in the fridge for another day.
  • Broccoli (I found a big Costco bag of it in the bag of the fridge…sometimes I get a little over zealous and think that we will eat it all, but we never do. So even though some of it was getting mushy, most of it was good. I picked out enough for this meal and then put the rest of it into freezer bags for other meals.
  • Snap peas: I used some of this bag of peas for something quite awhile ago, but amazingly, they were still totally fresh and yummy. I love snap peas, so I was thrilled.

So, I have these ingredients, and I decide to whip up some stir-fry. I like my stir fry to have a little kick, so I Googled a sauce recipe to loosely follow and oh my…it was delish. I squeezed some fresh orange juice from some OLD (but apparently still good) oranges in the pantry, added some fresh ginger, garlic, sesame oil, soy sauce…and poured it on top of the veggies while it sauteed. Healthy, tasty…cheap!

Normally, I would have added tofu to this and probably some shitake mushrooms as well. But because I had taken inventory of what I had, I knew I wanted to keep those things for my miso soup recipe later. Being that the quinoa is so high in protein, it was a well-rounded meal without those things.

Here are more of my favorite “something from nothing” pantry meals:

  • Pancakes: I always make my own (basic vegan recipe from “How it all Vegan”) and love to top it with whatever I have on hand. My favorite is peanut butter, bananas, and pure maple syrup. If we have have blueberries on hand, I will mix those into the batter…but you could also use thawed frozen berries as well. More topping ideas: walnuts, applesauce, any nut butters, the possibilites are endless.
  • Eggs: If you’re not vegan…eggs are a great cheap option for quick protein. We LOVE hard boiled eggs, but often make egg sandwiches or just scramble them.
  • Beans and Rice: Can’t forget this pantry staple. You can dress this up in so many ways it’s ridiculous. Put it into a tortilla, or top it with veggies, add some sweet thai chili sauce…yum.
  • Curries: I try to keep several cans of coconut milk on hand…and as long as I have some rice, curry powder or paste, and frozen veggies, I have a meal.
  • Baked potatoes: Bake a bunch of taters and top them with shredded cheese, beans, salsa…whatever you have on hand.
  • Soup and bread/muffins: You can make a soup from pretty much anything! I keep the all natural veggie bouillon cubes in my pantry at all times so I can have an instant broth. Add whatever veggies and beans you have on hand and some herbs voila! Soup!  Throw it on the table with some homemade bread or quick corn muffins and it’s a perfect meal.

I’m sure I’m not the only one watching my budget carefully right now…what is your favorite pantry meal?

January 8, 2009 at 7:15 am 22 comments

Mighty Miso Soup

Another goody from a favorite cookbook of mine, How it all Vegan by Sarah Kramer and Tanya Barnard. This was SO easy to make and much more tasty than I expected. If you’ve ever had miso soup when you’ve gone out for sushi…multiply the yumminess by 10 and that’s this soup. It’s got so much healthy goodness in it…and so much taste. The perfect healing soup…when I was pregnant with Bella, my midwife told me that it would be a great after-birth replenishing meal.

Here is an excerpt from the intro in the cookbook…very educational 🙂

Miso is a fermented bean/grain paste that orignated in Asia. There are 3 varieties of miso: soybean, barley, and brown rice. I like to use the brown rice miso in this recipe because I find it has the best taste. Combining miso with shitake mushrooms creates a balanced protein. Shitakes not only enhance the soup’s flavor but also contain all 8 essential amino acids the body needs. A word of caution, NEVER boil or overcook your miso; this kills all of its nutrients. Always add your miso just before removing the soup from the heat.

Mighty Miso Soup
3 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup medium or firm tofu
2 large shitake mushrooms or 1 cup frozen
3 T dried seaweed, chopped (hijiki is best)
2-3 heaping T of miso paste (more or less to taste)
3 stalks green onions, chopped
3 T spinach, chopped (or kale, bok choy, or swiss chard)

In a medium pot, add the water, tofu, mushrooms, and dried seawood and bring to a boil on medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 5-8 minutes, until mushrooms are tender. Remove from heat, stir in the miso, onions, and spinach, and let sit for 30 seconds. Makes 4 servings.

Sara’s Tips:

  • I used the sweet white miso and it was delicious!
  • The frozen shitakes worked great.
  • Dissolve your miso in a little warm water first, before adding it to the soup. I didn’t do this, and ended up with giant chunks of miso in the soup.
  • Enjoy!!

November 3, 2008 at 12:01 am 10 comments

Oranges + Spinach = Happy

I LOVE putting oranges in my green smoothies. They just don’t taste right to me without them! And you should put some in yours too. BECAUSE…the oranges help you to absorb the iron in the spinach or other greens. Get all the iron you can and add an orange!! Yum yum.

Photo credit: Christine (Flickr)

August 2, 2008 at 4:39 am 23 comments

Struggle vs. Challenge

I really liked this article on struggle vs. challenge by Dhrumil…lots of great stuff to think about.

Here is one paragraph in particular that really resonated with me::

“Yeah.” Nature continued, “And there have been times that I’ve wanted steamed vegetables since I’ve been raw and I have no problem having them. It’s not that I crave them, I just enjoy them. It may be once a week, but even if I wanted them more often I would have no problem with that either. And if I wanted anything else that’d be fine too.”

“You don’t feel bad that you’re not eating 100% raw?”, I asked.

“But that’s never been the goal for me. The goal is to have a beautiful relationship with food and feel joy. And I feel because I do, that’s why I been able to come this far without a struggle. I’m healthy and happy. Food isn’t my focus, it’s my nourishment.”

August 2, 2008 at 4:17 am 5 comments

Euphoria Loves Rawvolution

Matt Amsden’s book, Rawvolution, was an inspiration to me when I went raw in January…the photos, the information, it was all exactly what I needed at the time. He even has a burger called “The Big Matt”. 🙂 I knew that when we finally got to L.A…we just HAD to go there. Many times 🙂

I was positively giddy when I saw Rawvolution’s green exterior paint in the distance…I practically bolted away from Matt and Bella to get in the door faster 🙂 The inside of the restaurant is very…purple. With lots of really bright colored pictures gracing the walls. Books, superfoods, and t-shirts line the wall as you walk in. The tapestry covered couch in the corner calls out to you…so inviting! There is a juice and elixir bar in the front left, and you place your order on the right. This isn’t a full service restaurant, but rather a “order and go” or “order and stay” kind of casual dining place (or don’t come in at all and order “The Box” raw food delivery service from anywhere in the country!). The whole set up is a bit confusing for newbies…especially when it’s super busy, but we figured it out and were soon diving into our raw feast.

I would have to say that I wasn’t overly impressed with the food. It was TASTY… but it was hit or miss…some was great, some was…”eh…”. With all the hype surrounding this place, I half expected the food break into a song and dance for me on my plate before I ate it. If it was my first raw restaurant experience, I would probably feel differently…but I really wanted to be blown away. I will give the thumbs up for their elixirs, however. I loved the Springtime Protein Shake. So much, in fact, that I came back 3 different times to get the same thing. Yes, it was that good. The great thing is, you can buy the mix online! I found it in their cooler…and wrote down the website. You can find it here. In the winter, they serve it warm…cold for the summer. It was really unique tasting…and you just blend it with a nut milk. Ooooh, I’m getting cravings for one right now!

The thing that I LOVED about Rawvolution? It was like raw “Cheers”. You wanna be where everybody knows YOUR name…right? Well, the vibe in here was pretty amazing. Everyone was so open…talking…sharing…laughing. Each time we went in, we made new friends and had wonderful, lengthy conversations with them. Bella always makes friends especially fast. But here, she was on overdrive… joining some girls on the couch for hugs one time, and then talking Heather, another new friend, into letting her write on her very fancy Mother’s Day cards 🙂 Another day, we all sat with a delightful couple who were into the raw scene in Santa Monica. They were thoughtful enough to grab Matt Amsden as he was breezing through the restaurant and introduced us to him. Very fun.

Not everyone eating here was raw…or even vegan. They just enjoy the creativity and textures of raw food. They enjoy the people and the atmosphere. It was truly addicting. I wanted to be there everyday…to people watch, to make new friends, to enjoy the food, and especially for that Springtime Protein Shake! There is just something about people who are eating primarily raw foods…they are more focused, more intense, more alive. And when they have a place to come together and share ideas over good food…it’s magical.

Rawvolution is definitely worth a stop (or two…or three) when you’re in Santa Monica!

Photo album here.

July 31, 2008 at 5:55 am 6 comments

Berries and a Blog

When I first went raw back in January, I was gravitating towards a low fat raw vegan diet…sometimes referred to as the 80/10/10 Diet, or 811 for short (this term comes from Dr. Doug Graham’s book). I finally got around to reading the book (a great read…tons of info on raw diet in general), and have been inspired to go that route again. It’s basically a fruit-based diet with lots and lots of greens…and a few nuts, seeds, and fats.

For the last week or so, I’ve been back on a lower fat raw diet and I can tell a huge difference in how I feel. I have more energy, I wake up much more rested, and my cravings for cooked foods, sweets, and fatty raw foods are noticeably less. Basically, I try to consume only ONE or maybe 2 of the following:

  • 1/2 – 1 T olive oil or hempseed oil for my salad
  • 1/4 – 1/2 avocado
  • Small handful of nuts
  • 1/8 cup of hemp seeds

The “official” 811 way of doing things calls for NO salad dressings with oils…but I just can’t do that right now. A mixture of tomatoes and pineapple poured over lettuce makes me one unhappy girl 🙂 I love just a little oil on my salad! I do try to use as LITTLE as possible, however.

I have also been trying to eat my heaviest meal of the day at lunch instead of supper…so that my body has time to digest and process the foods/fats while I am active and not while I am sleeping. If your body is constantly trying to digest the heavy foods that you eat at night (especially after 7:00pm)…it is unable to do the more important work of HEALING and refreshing your body. Supper lately has been a light meal, such as a mono-meal of watermelon or bananas…sometimes a very light salad or smoothie.

If you are currently eating a high fat raw diet, I would encourage you to cut out some of that fat and focus on eating more fruits and greens for your calories. You should also pay attention to the amount of dried fruit and dehydrated ‘gourmet’ raw food you are eating. Cut most of it out and add back only fresh, juicy fruits. You’ll find that your cravings will dramatically decrease and your energy level will go up!

Eating a lower fat raw diet is my IDEAL…I can’t say that I follow it 100% of the time, but I am learning my body and how it reacts to different foods and I love that. I still “splurge” on my favorite things…like spring rolls with almond butter sauce (yummy!)…but for the most part, I am much lower fat than I was before.

To end, I wanted to highlight one of my very favorite raw bloggers…Sarah at Going Bananas. I can’t even tell you how much I ADORE this blog. She’s a great writer, she’s knowledgeable and funny 🙂 , and she blogs A LOT! And the bonus is that she eats a low fat raw diet…but of course anyone can benefit from reading her blog. I know you’ll love it too!

July 28, 2008 at 6:30 am 8 comments

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Words to Eat By

"It is easier to change a man's religion than to change his diet." -Margaret Mead

"I don't understand why asking people to eat a well-balanced vegetarian diet is considered drastic, while it is medically conservative to cut people open and put them on cholesterol lowering drugs for the rest of their lives." - Dean Ornish, MD

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson


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