Posted in Bouncing Tigger's Vegetarian Recipe Challenge, Food, Recipes

Meatless in May. Want to Help?

Well, okay. I just found a WordPress blogging challenge I can get my teeth into (literally as well as figuratively). Bouncing Tigger’s Vegetarian Recipe Challenge may just fit the bill. So far I’ve been doing pretty well, with no objections from the hubby and I’m looking forward to trying new recipes.

Cauliflower
My, What A Lot of Cauliflower You’ve Got!

So, first: here’s a recipe I put together for soup. Proportions are entirely optional, as are the number and type of veggies. The more veggies the merrier, including members of the broccoli family which often don’t play nice with the neighbors. I’ve done this soup with broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. Cabbage would be fine, although I don’t think I’ve ever put cabbage in up until now. I’ll have to try it next time. Come to think of it, I don’t think bitter greens (kale, collards, etc.) would work in this soup.

I also add a handful of lentils and a can of beans of whatever kind. There’s your protein. I add some grains, too, like barley and quinoa. And, just to top it off, I also drop in a small amount of pasta towards the end.

I typically use soup stock for this soup. Sometimes it’s home-made, sometimes it’s from a can. How much? Enough to cover the veggies and still leave room for broth – and the inevitable expansion of the grains.

Here are the veggies I typically use:

Onions, garlic, carrots, green beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, corn, peas. I sometimes add tomato and mushrooms, although just small amounts of each. I start by sauteing the onions and garlic in olive oil, then add the other veggies until they’re glistening. Then I add the broth, stir it up, then stir in a handful of lentils, barley and/or quinoa and a can of beans. I’m partial to chick peas, but you can add whatever you want.

I usually use frozen corn and peas, so I want until the soup is almost done to add that plus the pasta. If I have any parsley, I’ll chop that up and add it, too.

Now, here’s your part – do you have any vegetarian recipes you’d like me to try? I like to take pictures and videos of what I’m doing, so I’d probably do that and post it here. Check out my new recipe collections page to let me know!

Posted in Blogging, Food, Recipes

Ring of Fire, or Trial by Fire?

Okay, Blogging 101 universe, now I have to write a post based on this prompt:

Do you love hot and spicy foods or do you avoid them for fear of what tomorrow might bring?

I’m going to digress a bit from this, since I’ve decided to try and go vegetarian this month (May). I’m not sure it’ll work, not because I’m game but because the hubby has his doubts. He wants his honey ham on a bagel each morning. So, we negotiated: I’ll make vegetarian whenever I’m cooking, he’s free to do what he wants when it’s his turn. I want to see what happens to our food bill, among other things. More than that, though, I just want a break from the usual routine.

I have a few hot-type items to add to my meals: dried chilis, Sriracha sauce and Tabasco, but I’m not one for a lot of heat. A tiny bit livens things up a bit, but too much and the hubby will end up driving me to the hospital. I have a very picky stomach. It doesn’t like deep-fried food, fried eggs, pork bacon or sausage or very hot food. I manage to do without these for the most part. When I haven’t, I’ve paid a very high price.

There’s so much in the world to eat and enjoy. I’m happy with what I’m eating and, if anything, want more variety along the same lines of my current diet of leafy greens, grains, legumes and all colors of vegetables. I went to a local farm stand to start the journey today and came home with Tuscan kale and collard greens (among other things). I’ve got a very nice recipe in which I can use either or both of those. I’m going to enjoy my veggies!

I also stopped in at Trader Joe’s and got some interesting new rice combinations. I’ve never tried black rice, so I bought some and added another bag of a brown rice mixture. Looks interesting.

Rice packages
The Rice Part of Rice and Beans

So, please do give me some recipes if you’ve got them and I’ll share mine with you.

Posted in Food, Home, Recipes, Seasons, Winter

Simple Dinner For a Cold Night

The wind’s been howling all day, sounding fierce and rattling windows. The snow has that windswept look to it. It’s supposed to go down into the single digits tonight. The house is cold.

It was almost spring a day or two ago. It was so warm I felt overheated in my winter coat. Now we’re back to freezing cold, blustering winds and snow. They’re expecting rain and temperatures in the 50s by this weekend. Go figure.

On nights like this I like to turn to my dinnertime staple: beans and greens. They’ve become our comfort food. It’s incredibly easy to make: saute kale or any other bitter or just-bitter green with four cloves of chopped garlic. Tonight it was kale, but in the past it’s been kale and Swiss chard or kale and spinach. You could do kale and collard greens, too. That would be good.

Step two: open two cans of white beans. Add salt, pepper and lemon juice. I didn’t have any white beans tonight, so I substituted black beans instead. It tasted just as good. Combine the two when the kale is ready. I usually saute it for about 20 minutes or so. It’s up to you. Give the beans a few minutes in the pan to warm up and it’s ready.

beans and greens
Soon We’ll Be Dinner

I usually serve the greens dish over sliced and sauteed polenta. You can buy it in logs, as I did here. You can also make it from scratch, although that’s a lot of work and some very messy pans to clean up afterward.

This time I also decided to add some Brussels sprouts on the side. They were quite tasty, actually. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Both the black beans and the sprouts worked just fine.

After about 45 minutes of prep and cooking, dinner was ready. It was tasty, very filling and nicely textured. I loved the mouth feel.

beans and sprouts
Beans and Greens Over Polenta. Sprouts on the Side.

It looks a little weird with the black beans, but the end result was just as good. Try it and see what you think!

Posted in Food, Recipes

The Incredible, The Wonderful Squash and Bean Soup

Butternut SquashIt’s the perfect night for soup – cold and wet. I, however, have just come home from a massage so feel just fiiiiiine, thank you very much.

I put the ingredients together for this soup before I left and we were eating about 40 minutes later. Got to love that, too. I’ve had this recipe kicking around for years, sitting in a humongous file folder with recipe clippings I’ve had since the early 1990s. A few weekends ago I decided to tackle that folder and divide it into categories that I could deal with, like vegetarian dinners, breakfast, meat dinners, side dishes, soups, etc. I rescued this soup recipe from folder limbo and and so, so happy I did.

I think butternut squash works best with this soup. It complements the flavor of the carrots to add a very mild sweetness to the broth. And, of course, it really does matter what kind of soup stock you use. I made my own a few days ago, from odds and ends – including bones – that I had laid away in my freezer.

Winter Squash and White Bean Soup
(recipe adapted from Cooking Light magazine)

1 tbs olive oil
4 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
2 cups chopped leek (about 3 leeks)
3/4 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 tsp chopped fresh or 1/2 tsp dried rubbed sage
1/2 tsp salt
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups vegetable stock
5 cups water
2 cups chopped green cabbage
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 – 2 cups cannellini or other white beans, drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven (soup pot) over medium heat until hot. Add squash and next six ingredients (squash through 1 garlic clove). Sautee 10 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of vegetable stock, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add the other cup of stock, the water and bring to a boil. Partially cover, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes until vegetables are tender. Add cabbage and beans and simmer again for about 15 minutes, or until the cabbage is tender. Add fresh parsley and serve.

Alternatively, you can substitute all stock or part stock and part water for the proportions outlined in this recipe.

Posted in Uncategorized

Summer Salads

I've been feeling a bit more comfortable this afternoon, after a very uncomfortable walk to the drug store to pick up a few things (shampoo, toothpaste, fun stuff like that). I downed four Ibuprofen and the ache eventually died down enough for me to get comfortable. I ended up taking a Vicodin tablet last night, which was the only way I could sleep. As bad as that sounds, I actually am getting a bit better. I'm not that sore in the morning, although getting comfortable in bed is still a challenge. I thought I'd take it easy on the walk over and back but, even still, felt things giving out about halfway back to home. I sat in my living room and tried to let things straighten out for a while, then went for the pain killers.

I perked up a bit this afternoon and decided to actually do something rather than sitting on my increasingly sore ass. No walking this time, just a bit of standing to put some salads and other food together. I started browsing Yahoo, which has a very nice food site and was enchanted by a peach cobbler recipe I saw there. We had lots of peaches from a visit to a farm stand yesterday, so I decided to go for it. I also found an interesting fava bean salad that I also decided to make.

I'm back to sitting and am a bit more sore than I'd like to be for the effort I put out. Still, dinner was quite nice. Give it a try yourself and see what you think:

Fava Bean Salad (recipe from allrecipes.com):

  1. 1 (19 ounce) can fava beans, drained
  2. 2 medium fresh tomatoes, chopped
  3. 1 small onion, diced
  4. 1 cucumber, diced
  5. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  7. 1 lemon, juiced
  8. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  9. 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  10. salt and black pepper to taste

  1. Combine fava beans, tomatoes, onion, and cucumber in a salad bowl. Toss with garlic, parsley, lemon juice, and olive oil. Season with cumin, and salt and pepper to taste.

Yield: 4 servings

Very easy and very nice. I substituted some green pepper for the onion and only used one tomato (since I only had one). Fava beans are flavorful and meaty. They ended up balancing the tartness of the dressing perfectly.

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Posted in Uncategorized

White Bean Salad with Fresh Herbs and Olives

Fabulous! A perfect balance of Mediterranean flavors. The beans are lemony without being tart and the garlic and herbs add subtle but unmistakable undertones. Excellent with any kind of grilled or broiled red meat, poultry or shrimp. I'm afraid it's one of those dishes that won't last very long, especially once my husband gets to the leftovers tomorrow!

  • 3 cups cooked and drained white beans (canned okay). If made from dried beans, save about 1/3 cup of cooking liquid.
  • 2 tbs fruity extra-virgin olive oil.
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
  • Scant 1/3 cup bean cooking liquid, water or chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup black olives, pitted and chopped (can also use whole)
  • 3 tbs chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 large fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces or chopped
  • 2 – 3 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  1. Place the beans in a medium non-stick skillet and set aside.
  2. Prepare herb mixture. Combine olive oil and garlic in a small skillet and cook on low heat until garlic is soft, about 3 minutes.
  3. Increase heat slightly and add rosemary and thyme. Cook until the herbs begin to sizzle and little bubbles dance around them – do not let garlic burn.
  4. Add the bean cooking liquid (or other stock) and olives, increase heat and boil for two minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. Scatter the parsley and basil over the beans in the other skillet. Pour the dressing over them and cook over medium-high heat until the liquid is almost all absorbed by the beans.
  6. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  7. Serve warm or at room temperature.
  8. Recipe from "A New Way To Cook," by Sally Schneider

Warm Bean Salad With Fresh Herbs And Olives @ Group Recipes

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