Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Cleaning House

Well, the holidays are finally behind us, and I say - good riddance! Not that I didn't enjoy them, simply that I enjoyed them a little too much! Though I keep a (mostly) vegan kitchen, even plant-based goodies can be unhealthy if consumed in abundance. So, yesterday I did a bit of housekeeping.  Out went the candy canes, leftover chunks of faux cheese, container of soy "nog," etc.  Bye-bye to the big fluffy bagels, cranberry bread & dark chocolate confections. The refrigerator got emptied, cleaned and restocked with veggies & fruits, pantry was swiped and sorted.  Ah, much better!

In my quest to remove the junk, I found some good-for-you items that are languishing and need to be used ASAP. This week I'll be focusing on just that, finding and creating dishes that make use of those little random bits & pieces.

First up: carrots & celery.  While the former has a pretty long fridge life, the latter, alas, does not.  I have a package of slightly-wilting stalks that need my attention, pronto! While they may not be firm enough for dipping, they worked out just fine in this dish.

Sorry, no pic today as it's rainy outside which makes for dreary lighting indoors.  You'll have to trust me that it looks as good as it tastes! (No worries, of course no farm animals were hurt in the making of this recipe!)

   Farmhouse Stew    
            (inspired by Mary McDougall)               

  6               cups  vegetable broth, ready-to-serve
  1             medium  onion -- chopped
  2             cloves  garlic -- minced
  2             stalks  celery -- chopped
  1             medium  carrot -- chopped
  15            ounces  diced tomatoes
     1/4           cup  pearl barley
  30            ounces  cooked kidney beans
  1                     bay leaf
  1           teaspoon  oregano
                        freshly ground pepper to taste
  3               cups  fresh spinach -- chopped

Place a small amount of the broth in a large soup pot.  Add the onion, garlic, celery and carrot.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until vegetables soften slightly.  Add the remaining broth, canned tomatoes, beans, barley, bay leaf, oregano and ground pepper.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook for about 55 minutes.  Add the spinach, cook for an additional 5 minutes. Serve at once, adding salt & pepper if desired.

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Per Serving: 264 Calories; 2g Fat (7.1% calories from fat); 15g Protein; 49g Carbohydrate; 13g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 1038mg Sodium.  6 PointsPlus according to WW Recipe Builder.

Please note: You'll see that the original recipe calls for 2 cups of hearty bread. However, I can not be trusted with a loaf of "good" bread in the house. A fresh baguette has no chance of making it home from the bakery intact. So, I eliminated it from this dish.  If you have more carb-control than I do, by all means, enjoy! Also, I didn't have barley on hand so I substituted leftover cooked brown rice.  

Since soup weather is finally here in South Florida, I'll be making another pot this evening. Pop back in tomorrow for Mexican Chowder!

Have a great day!



  1. I love Snow White!!
    I'm pretty glad that the holiday festivities are over too, but cleaning up is a love-hate thing for me. Hahah

    I have The McDougall Plan book, actually reading it right now! That looks like a great recipe.

    1. Adi, I love her, too! She was so kind to animals. :)

      Let me know if you try the recipe, can't go wrong w/McDougall.

  2. The recipe sounds good but I think I'll use garbonzo beans instead.

    1. Yum, Karen, I think that will be a great substitution! Chip doesn't like garbanzo beans as much, and he hates lentils..pfft..I have to be careful w/the legumes.

  3. Hi Michele, I love Snow White cleaning in that I keep some dumb fantasy in my mind when ever I clean. I hate cleaning, and it is the only way for me to clean--just like Snow White!!! :D

    I need to investigate the contents of my own fridge. I've been putting that off--since I have such a bad cold right now.

    1. Marion, I'm with you! I love the end result but hate cleaning! When I was working outside the home, I had a cleaning lady come every other week, was the best money I ever spent! Just to have her do the bathrooms, kitchen, floors and dusting..worth every penny!