Archive for March, 2009

Livin’ Large

I made the best chili tonight, and wanted to get it down here so I can remember how to make it.

  • 1 smallish onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • splash of olive oil
  • 1 smallish red bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 smallish green bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 2 cans tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 cans beans, rinsed and drained (I used black beans for this one)
  • most of 1 can tomato paste
  • pinch each of herbes de provence, sage, rosemary, crushed red pepper, cumin
  • chili powder

Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil until the onion starts to brown on the edges. Toss in the bell pepper, and saute some more.Pour in the tomatoes and, if they’re not diced already, break them up with your spoon. Stir in the beans and tomato paste and mix well. Add your seasonings to taste (the reason it had sage, rosemary, and herbes de provence is because it started its life as spaghetti sauce). Cover and simmer for a while.  When you can’t stand waiting any longer, serve it up. I had it with whole grain penne, but it would be good over rice or couscous or cornbread.

I’m not sure what triggered the craving, but suddenly this afternoon I wanted cornbread so badly I could hardly stand it. So I looked up a vegan cornbread recipe and made sure I had all the ingredients. And then I thought chili sounded great. So I stopped at the farmers market on the way home and got some lovely vegetables and a little fruit.  When I got home and started getting everything into the pot, however, Joe said he wanted spaghetti instead.  So we made spaghetti sauce.

But as it simmered, I realized that I really wanted chili still. I poured about 1/3 of the sauce into a separate pot and added the chili stuff, using a little extra chili powder to atone for the spaghetti seasonings. Joe thought it looked good, and poured some more spaghetti sauce into the mixture. So yeah. Chili. Mmmmm.

The cornbread was a recipe I found at Post Punk Kitchen, and you can find it here.  It was my first foray into vegan baking, and it came out pretty well. However, pay attention to Isa’s instructions to line your pan with parchment paper. I didn’t, and getting that bread out is going to be a booger.  I like my cornbread to be thicker, so I used a smaller pan. That meant, however, that it took longer to cook, so bear that in mind. Also, it tasted really gross to me when I took my first bite. It had very little salt, so I ground just a weensy bit of salt onto my slice. That made all the difference. Next time I make it, I’ll put a little more salt in the batter.  Otherwise, it seems to be a goof-proof recipe. The instructions read to stir the oil and syrup (I used agave nectar) into the soured soy milk, but I poured it into the cornmeal mixture before I read it.

Today, then, this new vegan ate:

2 apples, 2 blood oranges, 1 banana (this fruit only for breakfast is hard for me)

a little homemade hummus and a spelt flatboard

about 3/4ths of an Amy’s Organic Brown Rice, Beans & Veggies bowl

a small bowl of chili with whole wheat penne and a slice of cornbread

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Yogurty not-so-goodness

This morning I bought a little container of ricera rice yogurt, vanilla flavoured. It’s vegan, made with organic brown rice and sweetened with cane juice.

I can’t say I was too thrilled with it. It’s quite soupy, almost a drinkable texture, and it has an odd aftertaste. It’s way too sweet for me, too.

I found a recipe in one of my new vegan cookbooks for making your own soy yogurt. I think I’m going to have to give that a try.

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The tree in my front yard. Every night when I see this, it just overwhelms me with its  beauty.  Pretty soon the blossoms will come, white sweet-scented flowers, and they will be followed by leaves so large you could use them as place mats.


Earth Hour happened to coincide with a cold snap, so we enjoyed a fire along with the candlelight.


Here’s the cartful of flowers I took home and planted several weeks ago. The pansies and the geraniums lost all their flowers, but the plants have been thriving. I noticed today that the pansies are starting to come back.


Tonight’s dinner was the mousaka recipe from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen that I said I wanted to try. It was good. Ish. Even though I’ve overcome my loathing for eggplant, twice in a row is a little much. And I wasn’t crazy about the tomatoes in this, although I think if I were to substitute zucchini for the eggplant, the tomatoes might work a little better for me. Joe loved it, except for the eggplant. He said he just can’t eat the stuff. (I didn’t mention that he ate two dishes of roasted veggies with eggplant last night, as well as eating the leftovers for lunch today.)  I served garlic couscous with it, and that was delicious. The sauce from the mousaka was really tasty and went well on the couscous. Both dogs gave it a hearty two paws up. Oh, and it looked much better in person than it does here. I don’t have the right kind of camera for food photography. I don’t have the skills yet, either, but it’s on my list.


My glorious new red high-top Chucks that are responsible for the throbbing blister I have on my left heel. But they’re cute, huh?

And in case you’re wondering what this new vegan eats, today I had:

no breakfast. I just didn’t get around to it.

a spinach veggie wrap, no cheese, with steamed veggies and fresh fruit.

mousaka and couscous.

a dollop of garlicky hummus and a nice crunchy seed-y piece of flatbready thingy.

massive garlic breath. 🙂

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A Day in the Life

Breakfast: I made smoothies with frozen tropical fruit (pineapple, strawberries, mango, and papaya), a handful of frozen cherries, a little agave nectar, and some vanilla soy milk. I garnished the glasses with a sliced fresh strawberry.

Lunch: You can’t beat a good PBJ. In this case, the J was Blackberry Simply Fruit on wholegrain bread.  I also mixed a little pomegranate-cherry juice with a bottle of water.

Tea: (I’m not really sure what to call this, but since Joe prepared it and it’s not dinner, I figured tea was as good as anything.) Fresh fruit (sliced apple, sliced strawberries, and sliced blood orange), and some whole grain spiral pasta with garlic and tomatoes.

Dinner: It will be roasted vegetables–eggplant, asparagus, summer squash, and whatever other veggies in my fridge, and black rice. I’ve never had black rice before, so it will be a new adventure.

I can never keep my mouth shut, even when it would be better to do so, so Joe knows that I’m following a meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free diet for now. He heartily approves of the increased vegetables and fruit, but for some dang reason it stresses him that I’m not eating meat or dairy. Anyway, I said it was for a few weeks for a cleanse, but after a few weeks I’m hoping he’ll just be able to accept it. Maybe if the word “vegetarian” or “vegan” doesn’t come out of my mouth, we won’t get into a row about it. 🙂

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I saw this over at Jehara’s blog, and thought it was a great idea. (It also made me want to go to Spiral Diner, which is probably what she intended. Bad Jehara!)


shelly at this eclectic life started this new meme. she says:

As bloggers, we are in a unique position to get our opinions out on the internet for all the world to see. I think it would be fantastic to have a whole list of resources from around the country (or for that matter, the world!). If we post, we could add links to other bloggers who are posting about their own home towns. Soon, nobody will need those guide books, because they will have us!

I learned about Cosmic Cafe from Jehara and Amethyst, and after one visit it became one of my very favourite restaurants. In fact, as much as I loathe driving in Dallas, I will willingly drive out there to go get samosas and hummus from Cosmic Cafe. It’s more than a vegetarian Indian restaurant, although it is superlative. They also offer yoga classes. I haven’t been to one yet (note the yet), but Jehara has and raves about them.  You can go there for dance meditation, and other forms of meditation, if you so desire.  The atmosphere is very pleasant. There is something to look at on every inch of every wall. It’s always crowded, and with good reason.

It’s not a vegan restaurant, unlike Spiral Diner, but a vegan can eat there just as easily and be just as satisfied.  The menu has something for everyone. I can personally recommend the aforementioned samosas and hummus, as well as the herban renewal. Just writing this has me wondering if my Dallas doctor’s appointment tomorrow morning will take me anywhere near Cosmic Cafe.  So if you’ll pardon me, I’m off to do a little mapping.

And if you’re ever in Dallas, you can find Cosmic Cafe at 2912 Oaklawn Avenue.

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Earth Hour

Tonight’s your opportunity to stand with others who are concerned about climate change. From 8:30 to 9:30 p.m., turn off all unnecessary lights. People worldwide are participating. I like that. There are so many reasons that we find to separate ourselves from others, and whenever people across the earth do something together, it really gives me a lot of joy.

Want more information? Go here. Or  here

Take a picture of your home, or your neighbourhood, and upload it to share. Blog about it. Light a candle or two, and snuggle with your sweetie. Enjoy.

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Yeah, I know I’ve already posted today. But I’m over here breathing flames of garlicky magnitude and figured it was too good not to share.  Not the garlic breath, but that which led to the garlic breath.

I fixed gorgeous lovely salads for dinner, trying to make them as pleasing to the eye as to the palate.  So I arranged some organic baby spring greens on two plates. At the four corners, I made little stacks of matchstick celery, orange bell pepper, and green bell pepper, and some snow peas. I chopped up the bell pepper butts and mixed the two colours together and mounded them in the center.

In a separate bowl, I whisked together a splash of balsamic vinegar, two splashes of olive oil, a pinch of herbes de provence, the weensiest little splash of cranberry-grape juice, and a crushed clove of garlic.  I drizzled the dressing over the salads–there was just enough for the two salads with no leftovers.

Really tasty. And pretty, although I have no photographic proof. I ate my salad with one dog on the floor gazing alternately at me and then my salad, and licking her chops to make sure I got the message, and the other dog lying with his head on my knee staring lovingly at my plate. For the record, Molly still loves bell peppers as much as she did as a puppy 8 years ago, but she doesn’t like celery and didn’t care for the dressing. Scout loves everything, and lapped up the dressing like there was no tomorrow.

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Thursday Thirteen!

It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for the Thursday Thirteen! Today I’ll tell you what recipes I’m planning to try from the Fatfree Vegan Kitchen blog.

  1. Quick and Easy Potato Soup. I’m no stranger to potato soup, but I’ve never before made it with soymilk or nutritional yeast.
  2. Butterbean Soup with Portobellos and Wild Rice. There is nothing not to love in this recipe.
  3. Creamy Chickpea Salad with Fresh Herbs. I love chickpeas.
  4. Random Act of Quinoa Salad.
  5. Ridiculously Easy Pineapple Sorbet.
  6. Skillet Gardeners Pie. I once made a vegetarian shepherd’s pie that Joe just really didn’t like. But this one looks so delicious that I’m willing to risk it again.
  7. Spring Green Quinoa.
  8. Smoky Refried Bean Soup.
  9. Vegetable Fried Quinoa.
  10. Cauliflower Dal with Panch Phoran. There was a time when I loathed cauliflower to the extent that when I got a steamed veggie bowl from Jason’s, I asked them to pick out the cauliflower. That time is long gone.
  11. Jolly Green Smoothie. I’m always in a hurry in the mornings, but this doesn’t require my juicer, just the blender.
  12. Moussaka
  13. Chili Mac




The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun!

Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

View More Thursday Thirteen Participants

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Can I Do It?

Not “may I” but “can I.”

I’ve been thinking for the last couple of days about when I was most successful losing weight. It was when I was following the old WW core plan. And with just a few adjustments, that core plan could also be a vegan plan.

I liked when I wasn’t eating meat. I felt good, except for the whole tongue pain thing near the end when I gave up and started eating meat again. And I remember trying to be vegan for a couple of days. It was hard. But see, I was still drinking gallons of soda. Soda isn’t, in any possible way, good for the body. I’m thinking maybe it wasn’t missing the vitamin B12 that was causing the tongue pain as much as it was all that soda.

So if I can do this, I think I shall. I ordered a couple of vegan cookbooks yesterday from BN, and bought another at HPB today, and rounded it out with yet another from BN. And I’ve been doing some research to get ideas on how to make it a little less complicated.

Like today’s lunch. I got a spinach-veggie wrap from Jason’s, without the cheese, and some fresh fruit. I found that it didn’t need the cheese for a creamy layer, because the guacamole provided the nice creamy texture, and it didn’t need the cheese for flavour, because I find the spinach, mushroom, and guacamole plenty flavourful. And the fruit certainly didn’t need the creamy dip they provided–the purple grapes were almost obscenely sweet.

I’m not even bringing it up with Joe. When he’s home, I’ll eat what I have to to avoid getting him freaked. I know that he shouldn’t have a problem with my choosing to be vegan or not, but he does, so I’m just not even going to talk about it with him. He’s on the road enough that I’ll get plenty of good food without any hassle, and I’m on my own for breakfast and lunch even when he is in town. I’ll let him know I’m doing the WW core plan, which he thoroughly supports, and there you have it. 🙂

Who knows–maybe after 6 months of this I’ll decide I don’t need surgery, which is what the insurance company wants anyway. And if I do still think I need it, I’ll be in a lot better shape and have better habits.

Taking a deep breath. Okay. Here I go!

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I am extremely clumsy.
I bruise easily.
I have very fair skin.
Therefore, it seems like every day when I’m washing my hands, or changing clothes, or taking a bath, I’ll notice another bruise and wonder where it came from. The one I just noticed is on my right hand between my thumb and wrist. I have no earthly idea how I managed to bruise myself in that spot, yet there it is.
Just imagine how bruised I was during the two plays I got to be in. I was black and blue all over. (and it was FUN!)

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