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



  • 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


  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!


  1. Oh, now I need a sweet potato. Our little toaster oven makes the most caramelized sweet potatoes ever! It's like a little caramel dripped right on them.

    :-) Marion

    1. Ooh, Marion, that sounds so good! I think you and your toaster oven must be magical. ;)

  2. The sweet potato breakfast sounds amazing. I've used them at breakfast many times, but this simple approach sounds perfect. Love the idea of the walnuts for protein and omegas, and the cinnamon and deep orange sweet potatoes for a lot of good, revved-up antioxidants. Yum! Great way to start a day.

    1. Aisling, you make it sound even better, all of those health benefits! :) Yummy and good for ya, right?