Monday, February 24, 2014

On My Hearth: Global Bean Stew

We returned to South FL yesterday, both of us feeling a little under the weather. Nothing serious, just a scratchy throat and tired. I made a quick grocery store run, decided to make a healthy veggie-full meal to knock those nasty cold germs out of our systems! This Global Bean Soup from Dr. McDougall was perfect, especially since I had almost all of the ingredients on hand.

Global Bean Stew, in Progress photo IMG_20140224_052043_zpsmfyjttof.jpg

Fresh Spinach photo 20140223_162013_zpsloqcggad.jpg


Global Bean Stew (McDougall)

  •   3 cups  vegetable broth
  •   1 medium  onion -- chopped
  •   2 stalks  celery -- chopped
  •   2 medium  carrots -- chopped
  •   1 medium  green bell pepper -- chopped
  •   1 medium  red bell pepper -- chopped
  •   3 cloves  garlic -- minced
  •   2 cups  baby potatoes -- chunked
  •   30 ounces  canned cannelini beans -- drained and rinsed
  •   8 ounces  tomato sauce
  •   1 1/2 cups  prepared hummus
  •   1 1/2 tablespoons  dried parsley
  •   1 1/2 tablespoons  soy sauce
  •   1 teaspoon  basil
  •   1/2 teaspoon  oregano
  •   1/2 teaspoon  paprika
  •   1/4  teaspoon  crushed red pepper
  •   1/2  cup  quinoa -- cooked
  •   1 1/2 cups  fresh spinach -- thinly sliced
  1. Place ½ cup of the broth in a large pot. Add onion, celery, carrot, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
  2. Add remaining broth, potatoes, and beans. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and cook for 30 minutes.
  3. Add tomato sauce, hummus, and seasonings. Cook an additional 10 minutes.
  4. Add cooked quinoa, mix well, and cook for 5 minutes.Sir in spinach and cook an additional 2 minutes.
NOTES : This may be made with other cooked grains, such as bulgur, kasha, millet, rice, or even whole wheat couscous (which is not a grain, but a pasta).
Most natural food stores sell prepared low-fat hummus or you can easily make your own by pureeing cooked garbanzo beans with a small amount of broth, garlic, and salt.
This may also be made with garbanzo beans instead of the white beans.
If you can’t find baby potatoes, use larger red potatoes and chop them into bite-sized chunks.
If you want to use chard or kale instead of the spinach, it will need to cook about 5 additional minutes.
Serve this plain in a bowl, over rice, or scooped up with baked tortilla chips.
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Makes 6 Generous Servings; Per Serving: 366 Calories; 8g Fat (19.5% calories from fat); 15g Protein; 61g Carbohydrate; 14g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 1552mg Sodium.

Global Bean Stew, McDougall photo IMG_20140224_084128_zpskbxfpno0.jpg

This recipe was so good! Hearty and filling and full of healthy ingredients, I can feel those cold germs leaving already!

No menu planning this week, either. Since we hope to be moving (!!!) very soon, I'll be using up as much freezer and pantry items as possible, stay tuned for some of those "mystery ingredient" recipes/posts.

 Hope your week is off to a good start, have a great day!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

On My Hearth: Birthday Cake!

I think I've mentioned before, I have not quite perfected the art of vegan baking, especially not cakes. Hard as I try, the end result isn't as light & fluffy as the traditional version. However, I think that I've done it, thanks to a little help from Chef Chloe! Using her recipe for Halloween Layer Cake, I created a version that was perfect for the birthday girl! I followed the recipe exactly, but didn't bother to color the frosting, and I did frost the whole cake, not just the sides. I left out the icing and just topped the ganache with rows of raspberries. The end result was a huge hit! Not quite as perfect & fancy as Chloe's, but I did my best.

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Of course, the day wasn't all about cake! We also had cocktails at Lulu's..

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and then a delicious dinner at Thai Erawan. Lindsey loved the "Amazing Tofu."

Amazing Tofu photo 20140221_174845_zpsdz8zlvpb.jpg

Alas, all good things must come to an end, and early this morning she and Taylor packed up and headed to Disney World for the rest of her birthday celebration.

As for me, I'll be finding some fun things to do in Ormond Beach today.

Have a good one,

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to the most beautiful, wonderful, amazing daughter a mom could hope for!


 I love you, Lindsey! Have a wonderful day!


Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Winter in Florida
The month of February is bittersweet for me and my family. On one hand, beautiful, wonderful things have happened: Lindsey's birth. 

Mom, Lindsey & Kristyn
Me and Chip reconnecting and then "tying the knot" with our handfasting. 

February 29, 2012 ~ Handfasting on the Beach
On the other hand, it was the month in which we lost my Mom to cancer.  It's been five years since she was taken from us, and some days it still feels as fresh and raw as the first. 

Last Photo of Mom & her Girls
I've found myself at loose ends, without motivation or direction or even energy.  I putter around the house, doing small chores, the most basic tasks to keep myself and my home presentable, but my heart isn't in it.  I feel more than a touch of melancholy, restless yet exhausted at the same time. 

It doesn't help that we are in limbo, either. We're planning a move, have found a new home and awaiting a firm closing date, which is of course wonderful and exciting but also scary and tumultuous.  I've begun to pack up some things, little by little, and in the process sort through my emotions along with my belongings. We have another month here, more or less, expect to be settled in by Ostara, March 20th, another very significant date for me. 

So, what does this all have to do with veganism? Or fitness? Or even, really, travel? Not much.  The only impact, the only connection to the subject matter of this blog is the emotional toll it takes on me, and how I choose to handle these feelings. Do I stuff them down with food, as I have done so often it he past, or do I let them rise to the surface and deal. Of course, the former is the easiest, the most comfortable, what I'm accustomed to, but we all know where that leads. Binge. Guilt. Shame. Repeat.
I'd like to try the other way this time, and so far, at least for the past two weeks, I've succeeded.  Even throughout horrible hormonal cravings and emotional outbursts, I've kept my eating (mostly) under control.  I haven't lost weight, but I haven't gained either.  I'm holding on, staying the course. Maybe because I'm just sitting quietly, not forcing myself to do anything but feel the pain, sadness, hope, and other range of emotions, I'm working through them.  Perhaps instead of just covering them up and forcing myself to get up and do something, I should just continue to be still and see what happens. Do what I'm doing. Reading. Writing. Walking. Cat Cuddling. Dog Petting. Crying, just a little. Laughing. Remembering. Longing. I've realized that some mindsets, perhaps some relationships, need to "die" before I can move on to the next phase of my life. Maybe they don't need to be packed up, they should be left right here, buried along with the sad memories of this house. I'll pack up only the happy, healthy ones. More to ponder..time to do so.

Moving on to practical matters, I haven't planned a menu for this week, am just winging it as I go along.  Last night Chip had frozen pizza and I ate an Amy's meal.  Tonight it's probably going to be tacos.  Simple. Minimal mess. No fuss, allowing more time for packing, processing, feeling..and, hopefully, finding a happier place inside my head. 

Thanks for "listening."


Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Week in Review, Plus a New Chilli Recipe for You!

Despite my best intentions and planning, the week did not turn out as planned. Chip's work schedule was super-wacky so I was eating alone several nights, relying on whatever we had in the house. I mostly lived on potato soup, roasted potatoes, veggie burger and salads.

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I ate dinner out a couple of times, too. One particular night I met my friend Susan at a Thai restaurant. I had perused the menu ahead of time, noted that though they had no tofu on the menu (strange!), they did have several vegetable dishes. I had my heart set on the Vegetable Curry until I learned that they put fish sauce in theirs. Darn it! I'm glad I inquired, but I settled for a plain bowl of brown rice & steamed veggies. I poured on a little soy sauce just for flavor. Ugh! Oh, well, next time I"ll know. Not every meal is going to be a winner!

Steamed Veggies photo 20140213_183633_zpsljdiorax.jpg

Then, of course, there was Valentine's Day. I didn't go crazy, but there were a couple glasses of wine and a tiny bowl of vegan ice cream. Saturday we met up with some friends for happy hour where I enjoyed my weekly french fry fix and shared a Bruschetta with Chip. Our friend Rob (in the foreground) works at this restaurant so he personally spoke to the cook to ensure that our appetizer was 100% vegan. So sweet of him!

 Bruschetta at Brio photo 20140215_181045_zps32esrkvu.jpg

Back to "normal" today, made a pot of chili for dinner. This is another McDougall recipe, delicious blending of traditional flavors with some Moroccan spices thrown in. Super-yummy! I didn't include the peanut butter because I didn't want the added fat, but imagine it would've added a nice flavor to the dish.
Chili with Yams photo 20140216_080147_zpsqrkvb1ui.jpg

Chili with Yams 


I have been using a lot of red lentils lately because they cook quickly and thicken soups and stews very nicely.  I am also very fond of yams and they go together very well in this dish. This is delicious served with fresh, warm corn tortillas or pita bread.

Preparation Time:  20 minutes
Cooking time:  55 minutes
Servings:  6-8

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 ¾ cups water
  • 3 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 4 cups peeled and chopped yams
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 2 15 ounce cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed (I used my own pressure-cooked beans)
  • 2 tablespoon peanut butter (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice (optional)
  1. Place ¼ cup of the water in a large soup pot.  Add onion, celery and garlic.  Cook, stirring occasionally until softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the chili powder, paprika, cumin, cinnamon and crushed pepper.  
  2. Mix well, then add the remaining water, yams, lentils, tomatoes, and beans.  Stir to combine, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook for 50 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the peanut butter, one tablespoon at a time, if using.  Season with lime juice and a bit of sea salt, if desired.
Per Serving (based on 6 servings, including peanut butter): 394 Calories; 4g Fat (8.5% calories from fat); 21g Protein; 73g Carbohydrate; 23g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 535mg Sodium. 
Note: I cooked this in the slow cooker for about 6 hours on High, turned down to warm until ready to serve. 

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

Today is my favorite holiday. Seriously. Don't listen to my hunny when he says that whichever occasion coming up next is my favorite. Valentine's Day truly is it. It's all about romance & love, and the decorations are my favorite colors.

And you know, this holiday is not just for lovers of the human kind! Some of the best cuddles and kisses I've ever received have come from my furbabies. (shh..don't tell Chip I said that!)

 To avoid the holiday rush and to insure that I can have something vegan for tonight's special meal,  we are planning to have dinner at home tonight but I haven't quite finalized my menu yet.  I'm leaning toward making my Lasagna Rolls..

Or maybe keep it simple with some pasta and Chick'n Cutlets..

And for dessert, maybe some Carrot Cupcakes?

I'm still on the fence, what are you all doing for this special day?


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Cat Fights in Dog Rescue

Ok, I'm gonna have a little mini rant now. So, if you don't want to read it, move along, I won't mind. And, yes, I know the term "cat fight" is derogatory and belittling, that's why I chose it, it applies in this situation.

Here goes: a friend just shared some gossip that's going around about a very active local dog rescue group. Supposedly the owner of this group just bought a BMW and since she doesn't work, this is causing all kinds of alarm.

How can she afford that? What if she's using the organization's money to fund her high fallutin' lifestyle? Do you see that she got a boob job?!  Who's paying for all of that?!

This just infuriates me. Unless it can be proven that this woman is indeed using charitable donations to fund her personal expenses, who cares?! And what business is it of ours if she doesn't work, or why? Maybe she got a nice settlement in her divorce. Maybe a rich relative died and left her an inheritance. Maybe she has a successful online Etsy shop, ebay business, or maybe she's a telemarketer, talented stock broker, or phone sex operator..who gives a damn?  Maybe she has a sugar daddy (or mama) who supports her! It's none of our freakin' business! And, honestly, we should be glad that she doesn't have to work a full time job, leaving her endless hours to devote to her cause. The society pages are filled with wealthy women who dedicate oodles of time to charity, thank god/dess for 'em!

We women have such passion, such deep emotions, it's what makes us special and why there are so many females at the forefront of charitable organizations. We could truly save the world if we banded together and put all of that energy toward good, toward helping & healing. Instead, we often choose to be catty, jealous bitches.

I've seen more hate, ugliness and cruelty on rescue FB pages and websites, language that would make a sailor blush, and all from women.  It's the reason I no longer get personally involved in local animal rescue, why I don't visit these sites and don't offer my assistance. While I do not have extra income to donate, I do have a lot of free time which could be used to help these local groups, yet I won't do it. I don't have the patience or temperament with back-biting & nastiness, I would rather do my own thing, in my own way, without subjecting myself to speculation or scrutiny. Because like the woman under attack, I don't work outside the home either.  And while I don't particularly like BMW's, I wouldn't turn down a Mercedes convertible. My rescue dog would look really cute riding beside me in the front seat.

Off my soapbox. Have a nice day.