Sunday, June 30, 2013

On My Hearth: Spicy Red Beans and Brown Rice

My daughter Lindsey moved into a new apartment this weekend, her own little "bachelorette pad." Unbeknownst to her, I had planned to travel over to see her this weekend, was going to be a big surprise. So yesterday morning we packed the RV, locked up the house and were just about to head down the road when Chip realized that the a/c wasn't working. Uh-oh.  He fiddled around with some things, checked fuses and did other things worthy of his Mechanical Engineering degree, to no avail.  Since spending a night in the Florida swamp without air conditioning is not an option, we were forced to cancel plans. Simultaneously weeping and cursing, I unpacked the motor home and accompanied Chip to the repair shop which was, of course, closed on Saturday.  Dropped off the beast and returned home, looked at each other and said, "now what?" With no other weekend plans in place and the weather suddenly turning nasty/stormy, he settled in to watch tv while I consoled myself with some Cooking Therapy. 

Since we'd planned on being away, I purposely hadn't bought many fresh foods the past few days.  Scrounging through the pantry, I came up with ingredients to make a simple beans/rice dish, the mainstay of a vegan diet. Once again, this recipe is from Dr. Barnard's Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook. The whole pot of rice & beans cost about 4 bucks, proof that eating healthy doesn't have to be expensive!

Spicy Red Beans and Brown Rice photo 20130629_175234_zps15c9e3f4.jpg

Spicy Red Beans and Brown Rice


Ingredients

  • 3 1/4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups long-grain brown rice, rinsed
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, liquid drained
  • 1 teaspoon chopped canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
  • 15 ounces red beans (if canned, rinse & drain)
  • Sea Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Heat 1/4 cup broth in large saucepan over medium high heat; saute onion & garlic for 3 minutes. 
  2. Add the brown rice and saute for 2 minutes more.
  3. Add the remaining broth, tomatoes and chipotle pepper and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer for about 45 minutes, until the rice is cooked through.  Add beans and cook for another 2 minutes.  Season with salt and black pepper.
Makes six 1-cup Servings

Original Recipe from: Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook  by Dr. Neil Barnard

Note: The leftovers make a nice burrito filling! You can also add sliced vegan sausage (such as Tofurky brand) for more substance. 

Nutrition Info:

  • Calories:260
  • Fat: 1.8g
  • Protein: 9g
  • Carbohydrate: 53g
  • Sugar 4.9g
  • Fiber 9.2g
  • Sodium 882mg
The rest of the day was spent hanging out with the critters..

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Loki on the Patio photo IMG_20130629_173548_zps264a4807.jpg

and then we went down to Main Street to enjoy some live, local music and watch the weekly fireworks show. (I love this town!) Early to bed, early to rise..today's a new day! Hopefully the RV will be repaired by next Saturday and we'll try again.

Have a wonderful Sunday!




Saturday, June 29, 2013

On My Hearth: Toasty Tortilla Soup

Yesterday was a bit weird, trying to mesh my "normal" schedule with Chip's weird one.  I spent the day cleaning & doing laundry while he was at the office; thank goodness, he didn't have to work last night so we were able to enjoy a little date night.

Food: We had an early dinner at Johnny Rockets, took advantage of a "free burger" coupon we've been saving.  I'm so thankful to JR for including a veggie burger on the menu! It was a real treat for me, especially since I allowed myself a small serving of fries and a light beer.  Yummy!

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Fitness: No official exercise for me yesterday, but I burned a few calories with daily activity.  Even though the scale isn't reflecting it, I must have lost weight/inches because both pairs of jeans I've worn recently are uncomfortably loose, to the point where I can slip them off without unzipping! I lose weight in my legs & waist first, making my clothes loose around the top and baggy at the back of my legs/butt, very weird. I don't think I'm able to go down a size yet so I'll have to suffer through this in-between saggy-butt stage for a while..grin..

Now, on to the recipe I promised, adapted from the Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook.

Tortilla Soup photo IMG_20130627_195850_zpsdb2f73d6.jpg

Toasty Tortilla Soup

Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 15 ounces diced tomatoes (I used Ro-tel for added spice)
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow squash, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 15 ounces red kidney beans (drained & rinsed, if using canned)
  • kosher or sea salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 corn tortillas, cut into 1/2-inch strips
 

Directions

  1. Heat ½  cup broth in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add onion and sauté for 3 minutes.  Add garlic and chili powder and cook for 2 minutes
  2. Add all remaining ingredients except tortillas and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer for 25 minutes
  3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350.  Place tortilla strips on baking sheet and bake for 5-6 minutes until brown
  4. To serve: ladle soup into bowls and top with tortilla strips
Recipe from: Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook  by Dr. Neil Barnard

Note: Instead of making my own tortilla chips, I used a handful of baked tortillas, crushed.  The nutritional info below is for the original version. 

Makes 4 1-cup servings

Nutrition Info:

  • Calories:218
  • Fat: 1.5g
  • Protein: 10.3g
  • Carbohydrate: 45.2g
  • Sugar 10.7g
  • Fiber 9.8g
  • Sodium 1464mg

Well, I hear some chores and the treadmill calling my name, better get to it. Hope you're all having a lovely weekend so far!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Day Trip: St Augustine, FL

Chip's work schedule this week has been crazy, he's been going in from 9 pm til the wee hours of the morning, sleeping for a while and then working from home/fielding phone calls all day.  Not wanting to disturb him, I often spend my time at back of the house where my treadmill lives.  Under the watchful eye of my personal trainer, Jezebel, I burn a few hundred calories and do some good stuff for my heart. (She's ruthless, I tell you, doesn't let me slow down a bit!)

Jezebel the Personal Trainer photo IMG_20130627_095355_zpsd5505970.jpg

Yesterday he decided to take a little time off, suggested that we drive up to St Augustine for shopping and lunch.  Well, twist my arm!

You should know that when we talk about "shopping," it's not how you might imagine. There are no malls or strip stores involved, no fancy shops & long lines. We go thrifting. It's a shared passion of ours, discovered in the early days of our relationship. No matter where we travel, whether for business or pleasure, we manage to scout out a thrift store or two.  It's not just bargains we're looking for, although that's certainly part of it, it's the experience itself that we enjoy. The treasure hunt, finding something unique and unexpected..it's just so much fun for us.  I've passed along that passion to my girls, we're forever proudly sharing our "thrift store finds." Of course, in this day & age with the economy what it is, and the landfills overflowing with unwanted junk, it's also very green to re-use, recycle, and especially in the case of myself & Kristyn: upcycle. So, off we went on a treasure hunt. But first: lunch.

Michele at Present Moment Cafe photo IMG_20130627_125113_zpsfb0534a8.jpg

My favorite restaurant in St Augustine is a little cafe off the beaten path called The Present Moment.  The first time we visited we only had dessert, so I was really looking forward to sampling their "real" food.  The menu is 100% vegan, mostly-raw, so refreshing to open a menu and be able to order anything without question or concern about the content! I chose a Collard Veggie Wrap with a side of Chilled Sweet Potato Soup. Forgive my photo, the presentation was much nicer than I was able to capture here. But the taste, oh, my. Absolutely delicious! If you're accustomed to your sandwich "container" being of the tortilla/bread variety, you really need to try using greens instead. Not only will it save you a bunch of calories and add extra nutrients, but it just gives the whole dish a different flavor! The collard green leaf is firm enough to hold up to folding/wrapping, but the chef kindly adds a layer of plastic wrap just to ensure that it stays in place during consumption.

Collard Veggie Wrap photo 20130627_123725_zps5224acaf.jpg

Chip went for the Viva Burrito, described as follows: Our dehydrated tortilla filled with pine nut-chili and walnut pate, guacamole, coconut sour cream and Jalapeno vinaigrette. Served with salad.

Viva Burrito photo 20130627_123700_zpsaaf04b27.jpg

He said that while it was certainly unlike any traditional burrito he'd ever eaten, it was very good. Of course, a cold organic beer rounded out the meal nicely. (For the record: I stuck w/water)

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Anderson Valley Oatmeal Stout photo 20130627_122802_zps6a863651.jpg

Alas, our thrifting experience wasn't quite as successful as the dining one.  After visiting a handful of stores, we came away with only one purchase: a vintage Pyrex Mixing Bowl.  At only 3 bucks, this was a steal and when not being used for salad, works perfectly as a popcorn bowl! (If you're a collector or simply curious, you can see a similar item here).

Popcorn Time photo 20130627_205804_zpsf18c1cbc.jpg

So, when Chip headed off to work last night I snuggled up on the couch with a cat or two and a bowl of popcorn, proceeded to make my way through the first season of Downton Abbey. (I'm hooked!)

Today's plans have yet to unfold. I'm reading blogs, sipping coffee and trying to stay quiet as a mouse until my hunny wakes up.  I made a new soup recipe for dinner last night, will probably pop in later to post.  In the meantime, have a fabulous Friday!


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Thanksgiving in June

Though he wasn't complaining, I realized that I've been feeding my hunny quite a few rice-and-bean meals this week. I thought I'd cook something more "traditional" for dinner last night, and you can't get more so than Thanksgiving, right?

I had some Gardein Turk'y Cutlets in the freezer, so I served them along with fresh steamed green beans, mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy.  Of course since it's not really a holiday I didn't bother with pumpkin pie and the rest of the feast, this was just enough to make Chip dig in with a big smile on his face. And since the calorie count of this meal was under 500, it's a helluva lot healthier than any T-Day meal I've ever consumed!

I captured a photo but honestly, there's nothing all that pretty about "brown" food..shrug..

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Chip had to work last night so I was left to my own devices.  I logged 30 minutes on the treadmill, then settled in with a bowl of air-popped popcorn to catch up on Mad Men. Let me tell you, I love my old-school air popper! Since I bought this thing, not one bite of chemical-laden, potentially dangerous microwave junk has passed my lips. I tried Dr. Barnard's Curry Popcorn recipe for the first time, yum! I didn't miss the artificial flavorings/fat one bit, a much healthier snack food.

Well, I guess that's all for now, folks.  I have errands to run and then a date with the treadmill, happy hump day!


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

On My Hearth: Pretty Stuffed Peppers

I've cooked quite a few versions of Stuffed Peppers in my day, mainly because bell peppers are one of the (few) vegetables Chip really likes!  I've typically used my slow-cooker for this dish but sometimes the peppers can become too soft, resulting in a mushy mess. So, when I saw this baked version in the Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook I decided to give it a try. 

Pretty Peppers in a Pot photo 20130624_142449_zps4b537653.jpg
Pretty Peppers in a Pot


Pretty Peppers Waiting for Stuffing photo 20130624_144021_zpsbbcc08c9.jpg
Waiting to be Stuffed
  

Pretty Stuffed Peppers


Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown rice, cooked by your favorite method
  • 6 medium bell peppers of your choice; I used 2 red, 2 yellow, 2 green
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 15 ounces cooked black beans; if using canned, rinse and drain well
  • 1 cup seeded and chopped fresh tomato*
  • 8 slices Cheddar-style soy or rice cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°.  
  2. Cut each bell pepper in half lengthwise.  Remove seeds and ribs.  Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil; add the pepper halves and blanch for about 4 minutes.  Drain and pat dry.
  3. Heat the broth in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and saute for about 3 minutes, then add chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and black pepper.  Saute for 1 minute more.  Add the beans, rice and tomato and saute for 2 minutes.
  4. Stuff bell peppers with mixture, packing them well. Top each bell pepper with a slice of cheese.  Place in an 8 x 8-inch baking dish. 
  5. Bake peppers, uncovered, for about 20 minutes.  Set the oven to broil, broil peppers for 1 to 2 minutes, until the top is browned and cheese is bubbly.
*For added flavor & spice, you can substitute a can of diced tomatoes w/green chiles (such as Ro*tel) for the chopped fresh tomatoes. I found it also added some needed moisture to the mix.

Note: I'm a bit confused by the serving size of the original recipe..there are 6 peppers, which equals 12 halves, but only 8 slices of cheese. ? However, there was so much filling there's no way it could've fit into fewer peppers. I'm leaving it as is but noting the discrepancy here. I myself just used an extra slice of cheese, put 1/2 slices on some of the smaller peppers.

Nutrition Info:

  • Calories:425
  • Fat: 8.5
  • Protein: 21.2
  • Carbohydrate: 69.1
  • Sugar 10.7
  • Fiber 15.6
  • Sodium 787

Pretty Stuffed Peppers photo 20130624_175932_zpse851b255.jpg  

The Verdict:

Vegan Gypsy says: Well, I'm not sure I'd call the end result "pretty," but they were very yummy! I'm glad I used the Ro*tel tomatoes, though, as I think the stuffing would've been too bland with plain tomatoes. Also, though I try to limit my consumption of faux meat/cheese, in this case the cheese really made the dish!

Omni-Hunny says: Very tasty! (he's a man of few words)

Tonight I'll be making a traditional dinner of "turk'y" and mashed potatoes, be sure to stop by tomorrow for recipes & reviews.

Have a great day!



Monday, June 24, 2013

Weekend Recap

Good Monday morning! How was your weekend? Mine was pretty good, lots of time reading, relaxing, and cooking!

As promised, I made a few recipes from The Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook, one of each daily meal, in fact! I chose dishes that contained similar ingredients to make shopping & prep easier. For example, while cooking breakfast, chop enough peppers, onions, garlic, etc for the remaining day's meals, saving time and kitchen clean-up.

Breakfast: Sweet Potato Hash with Peppers


Sweet Potato Hash with Peppers photo IMG_20130623_102826_zpsbb70cb03.jpg

Lunch: Black Bean and Corn Salad with Lime

Black Bean and Corn Salad with Lime photo IMG_20130623_152129_zps8b7b53c1.jpg

Dinner: Cassoulet

Cassoulet photo 20130623_185907_zps8a3df639.jpg

The Verdict: I loved every single meal! Each was simple to prepare, contained easy to find ingredients, and turned out perfectly! Since I have plenty of leftovers, I have breakfast & lunch covered for the next couple of days, have only to plan dinners.

Off to run errands and then hop on the treadmill, have a wonderful day!


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Get Healthy, Go Vegan!

That's not only great advice, it's also the title of my latest cookbook acquisition.  Specifically, it's called The Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook by Neal Barnard, MD and Robyn Webb.


Ever since we attended Dr. Barnard's lectures on the cruise, I've been smitten. Gathering up his books and reading his website like a teenager collecting Tiger Beat, my crush respect and admiration grows & grows. (What can I say? I have a thing for skinny, smart geeks!) Out of all the plant-based "professionals" popular right now, Dr. B is my favorite.  He's well-spoken/written but doesn't overwhelm you with too much scientific medical mumbo-jumbo, and he's in this vegan thing not only for the health benefits, but for the animals as well.  As an ethical vegan who also wants look good and live forever without harming any living thing, this is right up my alley! So you see, Dr. Barnard is the perfect man doctor for me.

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So, I thought that for the next couple of weeks you & I could make our way through this cookbook together. I'll cook and share, you do the same if you feel so inclined.  Hopefully I'll lose a couple of pounds while eating some yummy food while we're at it. Sound good? Ok, here goes.

A disclaimer: As I've mentioned before, there's a grey area in the ethics of posting other folks' published recipes, so I'll be tweaking the originals just enough to make them my own. If you want the original author's exact version, please go buy his/her book.

Since I was all out of my usual tofu scramble & greens yesterday morning and too lazy to run to the store, I decided to make something different for breakfast. I had all the ingredients for the Banana-Ginger Pancakes so why not?


Making Pancakes photo IMG_20130621_085842_zpsa356e924.jpg

Banana-Ginger Pancakes

 Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1 1/4 cups vanilla-flavored non-dairy milk (I use unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (about 2 medium)
  • Vegetable oil cooking spray

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour through salt).
  2. In another bowl, combine the liquid ingredients (agave through vanilla).
  3. Add the liquid to the flour mixture. Mix until just combined (the batter will be lumpy).
  4. Add the bananas.
  5. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, then coat with cooking
    spray. Pour 1/4 cup of batter onto the hot skillet. The pancake
    is ready to flip when tiny bubbles appear on the top
    and burst, and the pancake is lightly browned on the edges.
    Flip the pancake and cook for about 1 to 2 minutes, until
    the underside is lightly browned. Adjust your heat so that
    the pancakes cook for about 1 to 2 minutes per side.
  6. Top with maple syrup and fresh banana slices if desired.
Note: this recipe creates a very moist, soft pancake. Take care not to overcook!

Makes 4 3-Pancake Servings

Nutrition Info:
268 calories
2.2 g fat
0.4 g saturated fat
0 mg cholesterol
8.6 g protein
57.4 g carbohydrate
16.7 g sugar
7.1 g fiber
442 mg sodium



Banana-Ginger Pancakes photo 68090f5e-d44f-4fe7-b975-9376028fc8d1_zps57b4e81e.jpg

The Verdict:

Vegan Gypsy Says: Delicious! Soft and moist, not as light & fluffy as traditional pancakes so that took some getting used to. Next time I'll add fresh ginger to the mix for more flavor but otherwise, this is a great recipe for when you're craving something sweet for breakfast.

Omni-Hubby Says: I didn't try them but thanks for the leftover applesauce, it was perfect on top of my hash browns!

It's a beautiful sunny morning here in Central Florida, think I'll head to the patio with my book and a fresh cup of java. Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Summer Solstice

In honor of Litha, I prepared a little Midsummer Eve feast last night. As the herbs gathered on this eve are thought to be especially potent, I turned to my garden for cooking inspiration. The menu consisted of Mojitos on the patio for Happy Hour..

 Mojitos photo IMG_20130620_172818_zps018e33e1.jpg

Then I totally switched cultures with Rosemary Bread & a little dipping sauce (yes, I dusted off my bottle of olive oil for some of these recipes)

  Rosemary Bread w/Herbed Dipping Oil photo 20130620_180011_zps6bf5c466.jpg

alongside Orzo Minestrone Soup (I added some Tofurky "sausage" for substance and flavor)

. Minestrone with Italian "Sausage" photo 20130620_182851_zpsdc1599fb.jpg

and the main course, my own version of Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes, Basil & Garlic.

Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes, Basil & Garlic photo IMG_20130620_191020_zps4871e6c2.jpg

Dessert was a refreshing Strawberry Mint Salad, but we were so full we never got around to eating it! Oh, well, the flavors will be nicely marinated by the time we get to it.

After dinner we took a glass of wine for me, mead for Chip, and headed out to the back yard. We lit the fire pit, the last one until autumn, sat and watched until the flames died down. Overall, a lovely Solstice celebration.

Welcome, Summer!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Hits and Misses

Lest you all think every meal prepared in my kitchen turns out perfectly (ha! ha!), I thought I'd share a couple of "failures" from the past couple of days.

First up: Fettuccine Alfredo. Now, most of you know that this is traditionally not only a dieter's nightmare, heavily laden with butter & cheese, but it's also far from vegan-friendly.  However, when I saw this recipe at Sparkpeople, supposedly originated by Chef Chloe Coscarelli, I decided to give it a shot.  In my haste, I neglected to notice that the SP member had revised the recipe, and spelled Chloe's name wrong. Not a good sign, and not a good end result.

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Without the oil and nuts called for in the original recipe, the sauce was thin & bland. Mushrooms and almond milk do not a alfredo sauce make! Whole wheat pasta can be sort've blah anyway, you really need a good topping to help it out.  I suffered my way through half a plate of it just for testing purposes, but the rest of the dish went straight into the trash, didn't even share it with the family. Yuck! Next time I want an indulgent dinner, I'll try Chef Chloe's original version, posted here by Your Vegan Mom.  

Another miss: Happy Herbivore's Lentil Taco "Meat," from her new cookbook, shared here by Oprah. I love lentils, and I have enjoyed other similar taco fillings, but this one really missed the mark. Again, this is a case of "should have known." Two of the main ingredients are ketchup & mustard. I hate ketchup, and there are two tablespoons of it in this recipe! Mustard and I get along ok, but I'm not sure why it's needed in a Mexican dish? This filling ended up tasting like an overly spiced hamburger.  I ate one taco, threw the rest away, didn't even take a photo.  The good news? I got to use my fancy new Instant Pot, which cooked the lentils perfectly! I'll be using them in other recipes this week.

Lentils via Instant Pot photo 20130618_102154_zps55364c38.jpg

Now, the hits.  Yesterday's breakfast consisted of a cooked sweet potato with a small handful of walnuts and a sprinkling of Saigon Cinnamon. Yum!

Sweet Potato w/Walnuts & Cinnamon photo 20130618_094042_zps002e7698.jpg

I made a simple but hearty salad for lunch, using what I had on hand + a couple of fresh veggies.  Gardein's Chipotle Lime Crispy Fingers atop a pile of romaine lettuce, 1/2 an avocado and a drizzle of salsa. A little higher in fat than I normally eat, but most of it was the "good" kind so I didn't worry too much. Delicious and so refreshing on a hot summer day.

Chipotle Lime Crispy "Chick'n" Salad w/Avocado photo IMG_20130618_131007_zps2099047c.jpg


Fortunately, I didn't have to rely on the flopped lentil tacos for dinner; I also had a stew in the slowcooker. I tweaked this recipe a bit to make it lower-fat, more to my taste and for the crock-pot. I must admit, it turned out delicious! A bit spicy so those of you who don't like as much heat as I do might want to tone down the seasonings or use plain diced tomatoes instead of Ro-Tel. A can of black beans would be a nice addition as well! This made a huge pot of soup, will be (happily) eating this for the next couple of days! 

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Slowcooker Mexican Stew

(print-friendly)

Ingredients

  • 5 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 4.5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1.5 tablespoons seasoned salt
  • 10 ounces frozen corn
  • 1 28-ounce can Diced Tomatoes with Green Chile Peppers (such as Ro-tel)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Put all ingredients into slowcooker, cook on high for approximately 6 hours.
  2. Top with non-dairy sour cream and/or cheese and cilantro if desired. (not included in nutritional analysis)
Number of Servings: 8
Nutrition Info:
  • Calories: 177.9
  • Fat: 0.7g
  • Carbohydrates: 39.7g
  • Protein: 5.0g

Nothing on today's agenda as of yet, looking forward to a nice quiet day of reading and relaxing..ahh... Have a good one!

Monday, June 17, 2013

On My Hearth: Moroccan Lentil Soup

We arrived in Ormond Beach last night just in time for dinner, threw together a quickie pasta dish and then we went to Ocean Deck to get my long overdue beach fix.

Daytona Beach photo IMG_20130616_202347_zps4cbeb2ff.jpg

Today we went back to the Deck for lunch with my dad and his girl friend to celebrate his 70th birthday.  (Sorry, no pics, we were too busy eating & chatting to take any). 

I chose to spend the rest of my day reading & hanging out with the pets instead of grocery shopping...

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Jackson & Jezebel photo 19084234-98a9-4c6a-91cd-21c911c900bb_zpse16bb1c7.jpg
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so when it came time to make dinner I decided to make do with what we had on hand. Fortunately Happy Herbivore had the same idea when she came up with this recipe for Moroccan Lentil Soup. (I know, I have shared a couple of similar recipes, but this one is by far the quickest/easiest) I followed Lindsay's instructions exactly but once the soup was almost done, I transferred it into the crock-pot and put on the Low setting for an hour or so to let the flavors mingle nicely.

Moroccan Lentil Soup, in Progress photo 20130617_161612_zps1951e919.jpg

Moroccan Lentil Soup photo 20130617_182113_zpsdfce460b.jpg

After dinner Chip and I took Loki for a walk, am about to put the kettle on a for a cup of tea and call it a day. I plan to wake up early and hit the beach by sunrise, so that means an early bedtime for me.

Goodnight!


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Dad's Day!

Happy Father's Day to the man who "made" me...

and bio dad,too! photo 423593_3430429323960_271990659_n.jpg

and the one who raised me..

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and to the two who helped me create three of the most beautiful creatures on earth...

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and to the one who shares my life and loves my kids as if they are his own.

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Wishing all of the daddies out there a wonderful day!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Friday Thoughts

Things have been kinda strange here, settling into our lifestyle down south while making plans to head back north on Sunday.  Most times I handle the gypsy thing pretty well, but this week it's wearing on me.  Maybe because our days (and some nights, in Chip's case) have been filled with our own versions of "work" and there hasn't been enough time for socialization/play. The weather has been crappy, raining all day, so that hasn't helped.  The good news is that some long overdue home repairs have been tackled, with plans in place for some more.  The goal is to get this house in sale-able shape by next Spring, will see how that goes.

Anyway, have been dining out a little..Chip treated me to a surprise lunch at a new-to-us Italian restaurant down the street, Pizza Mia.  I told the waitress I'm a vegan, and she suggested several dishes, very helpful. I chose the Pasta alla Mia, sans cheese plus artichoke hearts.  It came with a side salad, which made for a larger lunch than usual but since I got busy and forgot to eat breakfast (that never happens!) I could afford to splurge a little. The pasta was fantastic! While I'm sure there was some olive oil in the sauce, it was not obvious by taste.  The eggplant, peppers and artichoke hearts were cooked to perfection, and a generous amount topped the spaghetti. It was one of the few times I've seen the veggies/sauce actually overpower the pasta! I loved it, will definitely be visiting again.

Side Salad photo 20130613_114659_zpsce49693c.jpg

Pasta alla Mia photo IMG_20130613_123233_zps5f471a65.jpg

Last night we hit Quarterdeck for our usual Thursday night routine, but this time our favorite bartender Mary Ann suggested a different veg-friendly dinner option: Fajitas. She reasoned that I could eat the veggies, Chip the meat, and we'd both be happy. I expressed my concern because in the past the fajita veggies have been sooooo greasy, but she assured me that she'd order them w/o additional oil. While I appreciate her efforts, the end result was still much too oily for my taste. I ate two small tortillas stuffed with a little bit of vegetables, lettuce, salsa & guacamole; even with such a small portion, my stomach gave me fits later on. I guess it's true: once you change your way of eating, you simply can't go back. Good for me, bad for dining out. Oh, well.

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This morning I whipped up some tofu scramble and steamed kale, my new favorite breakfast. Inspired by Chef AJ, I treated myself to a new kitchen appliance, the Instapot Electric Pressure Cooker. It'll be delivered today, can't wait!

Tofu Scramble & Steamed Kale photo 20130614_103041_zpsb7942a77.jpg

Well, look at that; as I sat here typing the sun peeked through the clouds! I'm gonna put on my bathing suit and soak up some pool time before the inevitable afternoon showers arrive. Have a great day, TGIF!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Karma, Baby!

Dear person who ransacked a bunch of cars in the neighborhood last night:

I hope you're happy with your stolen loot.  That I-pad and laptop you snatched from hubby's car? Owned by and protected by his company, will be replaced with new ones before day's end. Other than aggravation and embarrassment (I know, I know, one shouldn't leave stuff in the car!) to him, no big loss.  You should know that the cops got some excellent fingerprints from our cars and the neighbor's next door. Next time you decide to go on a crime spree, you should either wear gloves or at least don't mess with a brand-new, shiny dark blue Camaro whose owner keeps it in mint condition and just had it washed. Yours were the only prints on it.  Tiny hands, by the way, the officer got a full palm print.  Either you're a girl or..well, you know what they say about men with small hands. Just sayin'. If you've got a record, I imagine they'll catch your sorry self pretty damn quick. If not, you'll slip up eventually. What goes around comes around. In the meantime, we go on with our happy, law-abiding lives, and you continue to be a loser.

In other news, here's what I've been eating:

Yesterday's lunch was a "taco salad" made up of leftover taco ingredients from the night before.

"Leftover" Taco Salad photo IMG_20130610_121516_zps8e739ed2.jpg 
"Leftover" Taco Salad

Dinner was a super-simple Pasta e Fagioli inspired by Happy Herbivore. It's so easy, you really don't need a recipe. Combine pasta, white beans of your choice, and sauce. Done!

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Pasta e Fagioli photo IMG_20130610_182918_zps29bb8b74.jpg
Pasta e Fagioli


Breakfast this morning, another Happy Herbivore recipe, Chocolate Banana Oatmeal, because if you can have chocolate and bananas for breakfast at under 300 calories, why not? Just not every day, ok? 'cause that would be as stupid as the guy who broke into our car. But, I digress..


Chocolate Banana Oatmeal photo 20130611_102410_zps0fbb4793.jpg

Before we head outta here, I plan to stop by a local athletic shoe shop to buy some new sneakers. I've always been a fan of Reebok, they were the only brand that fit my feet properly, but for some reason that's changed. Either their quality has gone down, or my feet have changed because the last pair I bought is awfully uncomfortable! I decided that I need a professional fitting from a real shoe store, and it'll make me feel good to buy local. Besides, a new pair of running shoes will come in handy for running down the idiot who broke into our cars..just kidding. I'm moving on now, really, I am...

Hope your day's off to a better start than mine! Have a good one.