Sunday, August 29, 2010

Menu Plan

Keep in mind that even though I am Veg for a Year, my family is not. :) So, I'm only posting the veg recipes here. And they are linked, but if I change them up at all, I will post the newish recipe here. I'm not promising much though, as this is the first week of school and who knows what will happen!

This week in our Bountiful Basket, we have broccoli, celery, sweet potatoes, lettuce, tomatoes, green beans, champagne grapes, oranges, plums, nectarines, mangoes, and bananas. I also got the italian pack which has basil, oregano, rosemary, parsley, onions, mushrooms, eggplant, and zucchini.

Sunday: Whitney's having roasted veggies :)

Monday: Herbed Eggplant Souffle with Sauteed Green Beans

Tuesday: Cream of Celery Soup with Grilled (Ham &) Cheese Sandwiches

Thursday: Broccoli & Zucchini Pasta with a Green Salad

Friday: Meatloaf, Steamed Carrots, Mashed Potatoes

Saturday: Fish Tacos with Corn Salad

Hopefully it will be a tasty week. :)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Peach and Tomato Pasta

Ok, before you freak out at the weird combination...just trust me. Trust me. I have to tell you I thought it was weird too, but I am always willing to take a gamble and try out new flavor combinations. That and the fact that I still have a zillion peaches from the case I ordered a week ago...

But really, trust me. The acidity of the tomatoes cuts the sweetness of the peaches. The sweetness of the peaches cuts the acidity of the tomatoes. It is seriously a match made in heaven. And something that should only be enjoyed in summer...because peaches are a summer fruit, and you shouldn't be eating peaches that have been trucked to you from another country during the dead of your local winter...

Peach and Tomato Pasta
  • 1 pkg of spaghetti (16 oz)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 7 peaches, pitted and chopped
  • 4 oz sliced olives
  • 2 tbsp dried basil (or a handful of fresh if you have it--I didn't)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Prepare spaghetti according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water.
  2. In a large skillet, cook garlic in olive oil over medium heat until golden and fragrant. Add tomatoes and cook an additional 3-4 minutes. Add peaches and cook until soft. Stir in remaining ingredients.
  3. Add mixture to cook spaghetti along with pasta water. Toss to combine.Serve warm or room temp. Yum!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Peach and Corn Salad + Bonus: Roasted Peaches

This uses produce from my Bountiful Basket, although the corn is from a couple of weeks ago. I got some in my basket, but at the same time, it was on sale at the grocery store, so I had a LOT. I cut it off the cobs, blanched it, and froze it in quart sized bags. And it's white corn--YUM!  Anyway, in this week's basket I had peaches and limes, and I had green onions on hand, so I didn't have to go to the store for anything (always a plus!).

Peach and Corn Salad
  • kernels from 2 cobs of corn (or about 2 cups), cooked
  • 2 peaches, pitted and chopped
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • juice from 1 lime (about 2 tbsp)
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
Mix together corn, peaches,  and green onions. In a small seperate bowl, whisk together lime juice and olive oil. Drizzle over salad. Devour. Yum!

Roasted peaches are so easy and so yummy. And since I have an abundance of peaches, there will probably be a fair amount of peach recipes. :)

Roasted Peaches
  • 1 peach per person, halved and pitted
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt OR ricotta
  • honey to taste
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place peach halves, skin side down, in an oiled baking pan. Roast in oven 20 minutes, or until peaches are cooked through but still retain their shape.

Mix yogurt or ricotta with almond extract and honey to taste. Serve with roasted peaches.

Variation: serve with a scoop of your favorite flavor ice cream (vanilla is yummy, and it starts to melt over the peaches. Sooooo yummy!)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I'm a slacker - Pineapple Black Bean Salad

I know, I know. I've been MIA for a while. I attribute it to a new-veg funk. Being veg and trying to figure out what to eat got very overwhelming. So I was cooking normal for my family and eating very blah for me. It's not easy. :)

I've been trying to change that though. Lots more searching on the internet. I spent a week with my daughter in Cedar City, where she did the cooking for a change (she's veg too).

I also joined a fruit and veggie co-op called Bountiful Baskets. The basic premise is this: At the beginning of the week (Monday - Tuesday OR Tuesday - Wednesday depending on what state you are in) you go to the website to make a contribution. On Saturday you drive to your pick-up site and pick up your produce. The produce is sorted into two laundry baskets--one for fruit and one for veggies. You need to bring your own container to bring the produce home in, as the baskets stay at the site.

When we first started this, the closest site was a 45 minute drive away, and that site was every other week. The next closest site was Las Vegas, which is a 60+ minute drive. I was hooked after the first time, though, and decided that this was something that needed to be in my neighborhood, so I contacted BB to figure out how to get a site started closer.

The fruits and veggies have pretty much saved me this summer. As a veg with almost no inspiration on veggie meals, it's no big deal to roast up some veggies or throw together a salad. And that funk is starting to pass, and I'm starting to get inspired by the produce I'm getting--some of which I don't normally buy because of expense (example: pineapple), and some which I've never even had the opportunity to buy (example: white asparagus).

Anyway, we've had pineapple enough in our baskets that I decided to buy a pineapple slicer. This recipe is on the back of the package (although, you know me--I've made some change-ups!).

Pineapple Black Bean Salad

  • Juice from 1 lime (at least 3 tbsp--4 is better though)
  • 3 tbsp no sugar added apricot preserves
  • reserved pineapple juice (from below)
  • 2 cans (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium pineapple, sliced and chunked (tidbit size is good), juice reserved or 1 large can of pineapple tidbits plus juice
  • 2 medium ears of corn, cooked and kernels cut from cob (or about 2 cups of frozen corn, thawed)
  • 3/4 cup diced roasted red peppers (about 3 small)
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1 handful of cilantro, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
For dressing, mix together lime juice, pineapple juice, and apricot preserves.

In a large bowl, combine salad ingredients. Add dressing and toss well. Chill 2-3 hours before serving to blend flavors.

Sorry about the pic--my good camera is floating around somewhere 
between here and New Orleans and I haven't tracked it down yet.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Day 90 - Sigh...

I'm still a vegetarian. But I've been in a slump. Baseball has started and I am struggling with coming up with quick meals to feed my family before we head to the ball fields.

I've been eating lots of salads and roasted veggies. This needs to change. So, I'm hoping to regroup and come up with something to get us through the next couple of months.

In the meantime...salad...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Day 75 - Hmmm....

Well, I don't have a recipe for you, even though I have two to share (just not today). I wanted to drop in, though, and say hi, and to let you know that I'm still out there and I'm still vegetarian. :)

On Friday the hubby and I stopped by Whole Foods in Vegas and picked up some IZZE (Sparkling Fruit Juice) for the kiddo (as we've banned High Fructose Corn Syrup in our house), and some Gardenburgers for me. We cooked burgers Sunday night (some sirloin burgers for the meat eaters, a salmon burger for hubby, and a sun-dried tomato Gardenburger for me). We picked up some Earth Grains hamburger buns (skinny, skinny buns), sprouts, avocados, and tomatoes for the fixins', and ate those burgers right up. I was not thrilled with the Gardenburgers--they were just ok.


For lunch today I cooked up the other flavor we got: Black Bean and Chipotle. Same toppings (sans avocado--that was gone Sunday) as before. This Gardenburger is a WINNER!! It was soooooo yummy. Quite happy with it...

Anyway, in the next couple of days I will be posting my French Toast Casserole Recipe as well as a Chile Relleno Casserole Recipe. Until then...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Day 70 - Black Bean and Spinach Enchiladas

Have I mentioned that I am always changing up recipes? Well, it's true. This time I changed up my own recipe...the one for Black Bean Enchiladas. It was yummy, though.

Black Bean and Spinach Enchiladas
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 of a (16 oz) bag of frozen sweet corn
  • 3/4 cup salsa
  • 3 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 pkgs frozen chopped spinach, thawed, and squeezed dry
  • 2 (10 oz) can green enchilada sauce
  • 24 corn tortillas
  1. Spray 2-11 x 7-inch baking dish with cooking spray. In a 10-inch skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cumin; cook and stir 4 to 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Stir in corn, salsa, beans, and spinach. Remove from heat.
  2. On microwaveable plate, stack tortillas and cover with paper towel. Microwave on high 1 minute to soften. Place 1/4 cup bean mixture along center of each tortilla. Roll up tightly and place seam side down in baking dish; spoon remaining bean mixture on top. Pour enchilada sauce over enchiladas, spreading to coat all tortillas.
  3. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven 25 to 30 minutes or until sauce is bubbly around edges. Garnish with toppings of your choice (olives, avocado, tomato). OR Freeze now. Do not thaw and then cook. Cover with foil and freeze. Bake from frozen in preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Remove foil and cook until sauce is bubbly around edges, 10-15 minutes.
*This actually makes enough for 2 pans of enchiladas. Cook one now and freeze the other one for later. You will be thankful when life is crazy and you need something for dinner ASAP.

    Day 70 - Weigh In



    Monday, March 8, 2010

    Day 67 - Mushroom, Leek, & Cauliflower Pot Pie

    I may have mentioned that I checked Veganomicon out from the library. This is definitely a book that I want to own, however, so it is now on my wishlist. I've cooked (my version of) two recipes from it, and I love it. Great inspiration! I am sure the recipes are fine just as they are--I just can't seem to cook that way. It is very unusual for me to follow a recipe precisely (except when baking--that is imperative, although there are places there as well for creativity).

    Anyway, this is my version of Isa's Cauliflower and Mushroom Pot Pie with Black Olive (Biscuit) Crust.

    Mushroom, Leek, & Cauliflower Pot Pie

    • 3 tbsp butter or margarine (depends on what you like and if you are vegan)
    • 4 tbsp flour
    • 2 cups milk (dairy, unsweetened almond, soy)
    • salt and pepper to taste
    1. Melt butter in small pot over medium heat. Add flour and whisk around until it is completely coated. It will be thick. Slowly add the milk, whisking the mixture as you add. Season with salt and pepper. Keep cooking over medium heat until the sauce is thick (and coats the back of a spoon). Remove from heat.
         The Rest
    • 1 small head cauliflower, stem removed, cut into small florets
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 2 leeks, sliced and washed really well (leeks tend to hold on to sand!)
    • 12 baby carrots, diced
    • 1/2 lb cremini mushrooms, sliced
    • pie crust (see note below)
    1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and carrots and saute until crisp-tender. Add the mushrooms and cauliflower, and cook until mushrooms release their liquid and it mostly evaporates. Remove from heat and pour in sauce, stirring to coat vegetables well.
    2. Prepare pie crust. Place one pie crust in bottom of a deep dish pie plate. Add vegetables and sauce. Top with remaining pie crust. Crimp edges.
    3. Bake in a 350° oven for 35-45 minutes (until top is golden brown). Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes (this will help keep the pot pie together when you cut it).
    *Note: Pillsbury pie crusts, and most likely your store brand purchased pie crusts are made with lard. Unfortunately that means that the easiest way--purchasing a prepared pie crust--is not vegetarian. You may be able to find veg pie crust someplace like Whole Foods or Trader Joes. Or you can just make your own--they are really pretty easy.

's kinda messy, but,ooooohhhhhhh soooooo goooooood!

    Day 67 - Weigh In


    So glad to be under 187. :)

    Tuesday, March 2, 2010

    Day 61 - Weigh In


    I am thinking the plateau has passed for now. And I am so excited that this experiment is helping my health!

    Note to people thinking about going veg to lose weight: Make sure you don't each much dairy (especially cheese!)...dairy will keep the weight on, and there are other ways to get your calcium.

    On that note, I haven't stopped dairy, but I have cut back tremendously. I've never been a big cheese fan (except for that time when my blood iron was so low I almost died, and my body was trying to get protein fast, but which probably only barely kept me alive and caused me to gain 20 lbs in 2 months!). Milk has really been the hardest thing for me, because I love it in cereal. But I've switched to almond milk and it works awesome in cereal. I haven't really been drinking milk (except in cereal) for a long time--my drink of choice has been water for many, many years. But is amazing what milk is in. So, what I'm saying is--just cut back. Your body will thank you.


    Monday, March 1, 2010

    Day 60 - Asparagus Pepper Pasta Revisited

    Sunday was another one of those days. We were all lazing around the house, and we discovered kinda late that the Awards Ceremony we were attending was refreshments only, not dinner like I thought. I was being lazy and I didn't want to go to the store, which leads me to that platitude "necessity is the mother of invention". The Asparagus Pepper Pasta was a hit earlier in the week and I still had asparagus and peppers left, so I revisited the recipe (with a few changes--again, that seems to be how I cook).

    Asparagus Pepper Pasta Revisited
    • 1 lb asparagues spears
    • 1 orange bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 4 tbsp olive oil
    • 3 large mushrooms, chopped
    • 1 largish medium zucchini, cut in quarters
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 lb penne pasta
    1. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Cut asparagus into 1-inch pieces.
    2. Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until transparent. Add asparagus, mushrooms, zucchini, and bell pepper and saute until asparagus is crisp-tender and mushrooms have released their juices. Add salt and pepper.
    3. Serve over penne pasta. 
    Sorry! No pics--I had to get ready for the awards ceremony and time was tight around dinner time. 

    Day 60 - Weigh In


    I'm glad I'm past that 187.  ;)

    Saturday, February 27, 2010

    Day 58 - Asparagus Pepper Pasta

    Thursday was kind of a "its almost the end of the week and we are out of money until tomorrow so shopping is limited to the fridge, pantry, and freezer" day. But I'd purchased asparagus and a 3-pack of colored bell peppers earlier in the week, so it wasn't too much of a stretch to put this dinner together.

    Asparagus Pepper Pasta
    • 1 lb asparagus spears
    • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
    • 1 head of broccoli, cut into small florets
    • 6 (yes 6!) cloves of garlic, pressed
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 4 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 lb penne pasta
    1. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Cut asparagus into 1-inch pieces.
    2. Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until slightly golden. Add asparagus, broccoli, and bell pepper and saute until asparagus is crisp-tender. Add salt and pepper.
    3. Serve over penne pasta.
    This is so, so easy! And quick. Oh, and yummy!

    Day 58 - Weigh In


    Perhaps that plateau is in the past?

    Thursday, February 25, 2010

    Day 56 - Veggie Sloppy Joes

    This is actually from Tuesday, which was a really busy day. Not only did we have school, but I had my weekly newspaper meeting and a story to cover at the ball fields that evening. I was supposed to drop Steven off at baseball practice, and I had Bunko. So a crockpot meal was in order. While I was waiting to pick Steven up from Jazz Band, I bookmarked a couple of recipes in 2 of my crockpot cookbooks (Lazy Day Cooking and Best Loved Slow Cooker Recipes). I figured I could vegetize some of them, although there were a lot there were pretty much already veggie. When Steven got out of band, I let him choose which one before we headed to the store, and of course he chose Sloppy Joes.

    I plan on looking for a completely veggie sloppy joe recipe, but this works in a pinch. It might even be better if you rehydrate your own TVP--at the very least it would be cheaper. But I have to travel to Vegas for that, so I am stuck with the veggie crumbles at my local store (and as a side note, the veggie crumbles in the produce section are $1 cheaper than the frozen ones!).

    Veggie Sloppy Joes (1)
    • 3 (12 oz) pkgs veggie crumbles
    • 1(12 oz) pkg leftover veggie breakfast sausage (hey--it was about 8 oz worth, and I knew it wouldn't get used for anything else!)
    • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
    • 1 1/4 cups ketchup
    • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
    • 1 medium onion, diced
    • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp veggie Worcestershire sauce
    • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
    • 3 tbsp prepared yellow mustard
    • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
    • 2 tsp chili powder
    • hamburger buns
    1. Spray large (12") pan with cooking spray. Crumble in veggie sausage and cook til brown. Add veggie crumbles and cook until brown.
    2. In crockpot, combine ketchup, bell pepper, onion, worcestershire sauce, sugar, mustard, vinegar, and chili powder. Stir in veggie crumble mixture. Cover and cook on low ( crockpot cooks really hot on low, so for 3-4 hours, but crockpots really differ. The original recipe calls for 6-8 hours).
    3. Serve on hamburger buns.
    This really makes a lot, so don't be afraid to freeze the leftovers. It is really handy to have frozen meals available, especially since veggie frozen meals (convenience type, I mean) are so darned expensive!

    Day 56 - Weigh In


    Perhaps this means I'm past this plateau? I sure hope so!

    Monday, February 22, 2010

    Day 53 - Tacheen for Breakfast

    You might have seen how much of this we had leftover...there is a lot. And I was intrigued by what the Iranians call "Tadig". Tadig is the crusty rice formed at the bottom of the pan--which you can either fry, or, well...I'm not really sure of all the ways that it can be made. But I do know that it is quite popular with those of Persian descent.

    So for breakfast I put a bit of olive oil in my small (8-inch) pan, scooped some Tacheen into the pan, and smushed it all down. And let it cook until it was crispy (over medium-high) heat. I ate it with a fried egg atop the whole mess.

    And it was yummy.

    Day 53 - Tacheen! Otherwise known as Saffron Rice

    I spent the weekend reading a series of books by Marsha Mehran. The first is Pomegranate Soup and the second is Rosewater and Soda Bread. The books are about a trio of sisters that escaped from Iran during the revolution in the 70's and ended up in Ireland. They own a cafe that specializes in Persian food, which is simultaneously yummy sounding and extremely exotic. And the books include recipes. :)

    One thing that I've noticed is that a lot of Persian recipes include meat. Even those that appear to be side dishes (such as this recipe). This one sounded particularly yummy, though, and relatively easy to convert. Which I did.

    Tacheen or Saffron Rice
    • 4 cups cooked Basmati rice
    • 4 tbsp olive oil
    • 3 cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
    • 2 medium onions, chopped
    • Saffron water (4 strands saffron dissolved in 8 tbsp hot water)
    • 2 tsp turmeric
    • 2 (10 oz) pkgs baby spinach
    • 7 eggs
    • 1 1/2 cups thick, Greek-style yogurt
    • 2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper
    • 1 cup slivered almonds
    • 1 cup honey
    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan. Add onions and half the saffron water, and saute for 10 minutes. Add garbanzo beans, turmeric, and spinach and saute for an additional 5 minutes.
    2. In a non-metallic bowl, whisk eggs and remaining saffron water. Add yogurt, salt, and pepper. Add garbanzo bean and spinach mixture. Mix well.
    3. Grease a 9x13 baking dish. Spoon in half the rice, patting it down evenly. Add half the yogurt mixture. Layer again with remaining rice. Add remaining yogurt mixture. Mix almonds and honey. Layer over the top. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven.
    4. Let cool for 15 minutes. Remove foil and cover with a large plate or platter. Carefully but quickly, turn the casserole upside down. Tacheen!
    This is how I will make it the next time. Last night's version had a lot more rice and only 2 cans garbanzo beans, and 1 bag of spinach. The flavor is awesome, but it was a bit too starchy because there was so much rice--twice as much as in my updated recipe above. :)

    As you can see, we didn't take ours out of the pan. I was too lazy to get out the platter that was big enough, and we were HUNGRY!
    You may also notice that this is A LOT OF RICE!! Next time will be different. :)

    Weigh In - Day 53


    I seem to have hit a plateau...

    Saturday, February 20, 2010

    Day 51 - Cream of Potato and Asparagus Soup

    This recipe is totally based on a recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance. But way easier. Cuz that's how I roll. There aren't many ingredients, but it makes a soup that is absolutely spectacular. And one that I ate all the leftovers the next day (not all at once! Throughout the day!). Yum. It really is that good!

    Cream of Potato and Asparagus Soup
    • 3 lbs potatoes
    • 2 lbs asparagus
    • 8 oz sour cream (choose vegan or not--I used regular)
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • milk (unsweetened almond, soy, or dairy) if you need it to thin out the soup
    1. Peel the potatoes. Cut into 1-inch pieces and place in large pot. Cover with water. Cook 15-20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
    2. Meanwhile, cut asparagus into 1-inch pieces. When potatoes are almost tender, add asparagus and cook until tender.
    3. Using an immersion blender (or in batches in a blender if you don't have an immersion blender), blend potatoes and asparagus together until creamy and light green. If you are my mom, you prefer it more chunky--but I like the creaminess of it almost all mushed together.
    4. Add sour cream and blend in. Add salt and pepper to taste.
    5. IF you need to thin the final product out some, add milk until soup reaches your desired consistency.
    This has a wonderful asparagus flavor. Yum! Sorry, no pics! It was so good it didn't last long enough for pictures...

    Saturday, February 13, 2010

    Day 44 - Zucchini Pizza

    Did I ever tell you I used to be a professional baker? Yep, I did. I've always loved to bake and when times got tough I was hired at the local grocery store in the bakery. I worked my way up (very quickly, I might add) from being a "packager" to actually becoming a baker and eventually assistant bakery manager.

    I love to bake.

    My kids didn't really like it when I worked at the bakery though because I never baked at home. Now I'm a full time/part time writer and I have a lot more time on my hands. Developing recipes and such. :) For Christmas I purchased a book by Jim Lahey called My Bread. It's a book that gives you the basics of no knead bread. Lahey's hypothesis is that bread has been around forever, so it couldn't have been as hard to make as it is today. One of the many things I learned when I was a professional baker is that bread that has a longer time to develop (in the refrigerator--it slows the rising) tastes better, and Lahey's bread tastes awesome. Lahey includes a no knead pizza dough recipe as well, and some great veggie versions (and some vegan as well) of different pizzas.

    Here's what happened: I mixed up the dough (about 5 minutes between classes). Set it in a bowl on the stove for about 2 hours. At around 5:30 I put the boys to work. They shredded zucchini, salted it, and drained it. And they stretched the dough into the pizza pans. And put on the toppings. And baked the pizza. I supervised. And the pizza was AWESOME! I don't think we'll be buying pizza anymore for our Friday pizza nights...

    Jim Lahey's No-Knead Pizza Dough
    • 3 3/4 cups bread flour
    • 2 1/2 tsp active yeast
    • 3/4 tsp salt
    • 3/4 tsp sugar
    • 1 1/3 cups water
    1. In a bowl stir together the dry ingredients. Add the water and mix until blended. This dough is stiff, not wet and sticky (just in case you are used to Lahey's other recipes). Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature for around 2 hours.
    2. Oil two 11x13 jelly roll pans. Use half the dough for each pan. Gently pull and stretch the dough to fit the pan, using your hands to press it evenly out. Pinch any holes together.
    Stretching the dough may take some time. Here is an example for you:

    The topping:
    • 3 large zucchini
    • 1 1/2 tsp salt
    • 8 oz grated swiss cheese
    1. Preheat the oven to 500°F. Grate the zucchini. In a medium bowl mix together the salt and the zucchini. Let stand for 15 or so minutes, until the zucchini has released its water.
    2. Drain the zucchini in a colander, and squeeze the zucchini to get out as much water as you can.
    3. Spread the zucchini mixture over the dough. Top with the shredded swiss cheese. Bake for 15 minutes or so, until the topping starts to turn golden brown and the crust is pulling away from the sides of the pan.
    Can I just say...YUM!!!

    *Disclaimer--the boys pretty much did all the work (and all the eating). Even taking pictures. I took the video and (kind of) supervised, but this was really pretty much all them. They even decided on the topping!

    Wednesday, February 10, 2010

    Day 41 - Butternut Squash and White Bean Soup

    Yum. It was raining yet again, which of course called for some comforting soup. Steven and I spent ALL DAY schooling (because we pretty much ignored Monday) so it needed to be easy, too. This is an adaptation of Mary Herr's Winter Squash and White Bean Stew Recipe in the Fix It and Forget It cookbook (which has a lot of great recipes in it!). I didn't get it started until late, so it never made it to the crockpot, but it was awesome on the stove.

    Butternut Squash and White Bean Soup
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 3 cups peeled butternut squash, cut into cubes
    • 2 (15 oz) cans vegetable broth
    • 2 (15 oz) cans white beans (great northern, or whatever), rinsed and drained
    • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
    • 1 (10 oz) package fresh baby spinach
    1. In a large pot heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, cumin, salt, and cinnamon and saute until onions are translucent.
    2. Add vegetable broth, squash, beans and tomatoes to pot. Simmer over low heat approximately 30 minutes. Right before you are ready to serve, add the spinach. Heat until the spinach wilts.
    3. The squash and beans will start to fall apart and really thicken the soup. Yum!
    This would be really good with garbanzo beans (chickpeas).

    Day 41 - Weigh In


    Tuesday, February 9, 2010

    Day 40 - Super (Bowl) Veggie Chili

    You will never be able to tell the difference! This recipe is a mix between this recipe at All Recipes and this recipe by Rachael Ray. The goal was to come up with a perfect chili that NO ONE would realize was vegetarian. I think the key to that are the veggie crumbles, which, unfortunately, are not a staple at my local grocery store (did I mention that I live in a really small town?). But I had one package in the freezer that I picked up on my last trip to Vegas. And when I went to the local grocery, I discovered some more in the freezer case.

    Whitney's Super (Bowl) Veggie Chili
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 3 tbsp ground cumin
    • 2 stalks celery, chopped
    • 1 red bell pepper, de-seeded and chopped
    • 1 green bell pepper, de-seeded and chopped
    • 1 jalapeno pepper, de-seeded and chopped
    • 4 cloves garlic, chopped or pressed
    • 1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles, or whole green chiles, diced
    • 2 (12 oz) pkgs vegetarian burger crumbles
    • 2 (28 oz) cans crushed tomatoes
    • 1 (15 oz) can crushed tomatoes
    • 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
    • 1/4 cup chili powder
    • 1 tbsp ground black pepper
    • 1 (15 oz) can red kidney beans, drained
    • 1 (15 oz) can white beans, drained
    • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained
    1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic, cook until translucent. Mix in celery, and peppers. When vegetables are heated through, mix in the vegetarian crumbles. Cover the pot, and simmer for 5 minutes.
    2. Mix the tomatoes in the pot. Add chili powder and pepper. Stir in drained beans. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes.
    Sorry, no picture. Everyone was too involved in the game and the chili was gone before I could take a pic. :)

    Day 40 - Weigh In



    Sunday, February 7, 2010

    Day 38 - Pizza!

    Pizza seems to be a theme at our house. Lately we've been getting it every Friday (may have something to do with having a houseful of teenage boys every weekend). On Thursday we made our own, though. Steven loved it, but we have some picky eaters amongst the teen I don't know how well it would have gone over.

    A Very Veggie (and Hummus) Pizza
    • 1 loaf of frozen wheat bread dough, thawed
    • 1 (8 oz) container of hummus
    • 1/2 large tomato, thinly sliced 
    • 1 tsp italian seasoning
    • thinly sliced red onion
    • 3/4 of a 15 oz can of artichoke hearts, drained well
    • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained well
    • fresh spinach
    • 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese
    1. Preheat oven to 375°F.  Roll out bread dough to desired thickness (ours ended up being about 14" round).
    2. Scoop several tbsp of hummus over bread dough and spread into a thin layer (this is a substitute for the pizza sauce). Sprinkle Italian seasoning over hummus.
    3. Place thinly sliced tomatoes over hummus. Place spinach over tomatoes, and place remaining ingredients over spinach. Top with mozzarella. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until pizza crust is completely cooked.
    This was really yummy. I used to work in a bakery and the master baker would make a similar version to this pizza. But instead of any sauce at all, he would use the tomatoes on the bottom. They were so thinly sliced that they would end up making their own sauce. I can never get my crust as crispy as his, but I attribute that to the fact that he always used these awesome french bread pans for his pizza. They have tiny little holes in them that allow the hot convection air to really touch almost every part of the bread dough. The best I can do is my pizza stone, which works, but it still isn't quite the same...

    Note my tomatoes are in the wrong position but that is because they were an afterthought.
    Don't forget to put them on yours. I promise they make the best sauce! 

    Day 38 - Weigh In


    It was 187 for so many days I was starting to get worried!

    Thursday, February 4, 2010

    Day 35 - Weigh In


    Tuesday, February 2, 2010

    Day 33 - Italian Chickpea Pasta

    I have so much food from last week because all the recipes I made were huge (I am so used to doubling recipes!). I didn't really make a plan for this week's dinners--I've just been using what's in the fridge. Today Steven requested pasta. Well, actually spaghetti, but I'm out of spaghetti noodles. I've always made my own pasta sauce, but in the past it has had ground meat in it. This time I threw a bunch of whatever was in the fridge and came out with this--which was really tasty.

    Italian Chickpea Pasta
    • 3 tbsp olive oil
    • 2 small shallots, chopped
    • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
    • 1 lb sliced or chopped assorted mushrooms
    • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
    • 2 (15 oz) cans Italian diced tomatoes
    • 2 tbsp Italian seasoning
    • 1 cup garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
    • most of a 10 oz bag of spinach
    • 1 (16 oz) pkg penne pasta
    1. Cook pasta according to directions on package.
    2. Heat olive oil in medium pot over medium-high heat. Add shallots and garlic; cook until translucent. 
    3. Add mushrooms and cook until they release their juices.
    4. Add all tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and chickpeas. Cook until heated through. Add spinach; cook until wilted. Serve over penne pasta.

    Day 33 - Weigh In




    Monday, February 1, 2010

    Day 32 - Vegan Jambalaya

    My friend Vicki is having a bunch of people over for Super Bowl Sunday. Her husband wants to serve Jambalaya, which sounds quite yummy, but which is also loaded with meat. :)

    I decided to experiment last night with a vegan version after my trip to Whole Foods. Which worked out perfectly, because my boys came home from a very cold snow campout. What better to warm them up then the spicy goodness of Jambalaya?

    I started with Paula Deen's recipe, making a few adjustments to account for what I had on hand and, of course, veggie substitutes.

    Whitney's Version of Paula's Jambalaya
    • 2 cups long grain rice
    • 6 tbsp dried onions
    • 2 tbsp dried parsley
    • 1 tsp dried thyme
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • 1 tsp ground black pepper
    • 1/2 tsp ground red pepper
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 5 cups vegetable broth
    • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
    • 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
    • 1 (14 oz) Field's Apple Sage Sausage, sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds
    • 1 (10.5 oz) box vegan shrimp
    1. In a large pot, combine rice, onion, parsley, thyme, garlic powder, black pepper, red pepper, salt, bay leaf, veggie broth, tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
    2. In a medium saucepan, brown sausage. Add to rice mixture in pot.
    3. When rice mixture is boiling, cover. Reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until rice is cooked through.
    4. Add shrimp and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes.
    5. Enjoy!
    This was really good. No one was able to tell that the sausage and shrimp weren't "real", and it was very nicely spicy. In fact a little too spicy for Steven, who added a dollop of sour cream* to cut the heat. I would say that it was a successful experiment!

    *Steven's sour cream was not vegan, so if you want to keep it vegan and still cut the heat, either cut down the amount of red pepper, or use a vegan sour cream. :)

    Sorry, no pictures...the camera was still packed from the campout...

    Day 32 - Weigh In


    Saturday, January 30, 2010

    Day 30 - Steak? Mushrooms?

    My son and hubby went snow camping this weekend and left me and mom at home (alone). I discovered some Portabello Mushrooms in the fridge that hubby brought home. Lucious mushroom caps stuffed with herbs and spices, cheese, and red bell pepper.

    Which was very exciting.

    And I was about to be put to my first real meat test. Steak. Its my favorite meat. Ever. And my mom, who is NOT a vegetarian, decided that she was going to cook herself a steak for dinner. With a baked potato. Which she did, and it smelled really good.


    I cooked up those mushrooms and a baked potato. And I didn't even miss the steak. That mushroom was sooooo good and really hit any meat craving that might have been activated by the smell (although, my mouth didn't even water and I had no desire for the steak--go figure!). Really, the mushroom was that good. And there were two, so one is now in Tupperware in the fridge for someone's lunch.

    And tomorrow I'm going to Whole Foods. Kinda excited!

    Day 30 - Weigh In



    Thursday, January 28, 2010

    Day 27 - I'm Too Tired to Really Cook Enchiladas

    This isn't what we had for dinner last night (well, one of us did). We had leftovers. We had lots of Mac N Cheese N Cauliflower leftover as well as lots of that Awesome Mushroom Pasta. I did make this earlier in the week, but it is almost so easy that you don't really need a recipe.

    But I will give you one anyway.

    And before you tell me how unhealthy frozen burritos are, I already know. But that doesn't mean I don't still have them in my freezer. I do--it fills in when I haven't had enough energy to make my own (which I do like to do, and I will share my recipe for that the next time I make them, I promise).

    Too Tired to Really Cook Enchiladas
    • 1 pkg of 8-10 bean burritos
    • 1 (10 oz) can enchilada sauce (red or green--I prefer green, but I actually made this one with the red)
    • 1 (8 oz) pkg shredded cheese of your choice (I used a four-cheese Mexican blend)
    • 1 large can refried beans
    1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Spread refried beans in the bottom of a 9x13-inch pan. 
    2. Place frozen burritos over beans. Cover with enchilada sauce.
    3. Sprinkle cheese over enchilada sauce.
    4. Cook in oven 45-60 minutes (or until burritos are heated through). Voilà!
    Sorry ! No picture. That's how tired I really was...

    Day 28 - Weigh In


    And I am happy about it. Because this seems to be my high now. :)

    Wednesday, January 27, 2010

    Day 27 - Mostly Green Curry Veggies with Tofu (and chicken on the side if you are a meat eater)

    Tofu on the left, chicken on the right

    What you may gather from that very long title is that not everyone in my household is a vegetarian. I was reminded by my mom the other day that she didn't choose to become a vegetarian, and she lives here too. And to be honest, I do try to keep lunch meat and such in the house for her, but I don't really want to make a separate meal for her every time I cook. And I learned that from her--growing up it was always "eat what's on your plate or don't eat at all, but I'm not cooking anything else."

    But I did cook chicken after I cooked the tofu. It wasn't hard, especially since I was already cutting up chicken for the dogs (yeah, I feed my dogs real food--none of that preformed kibble for my sweeties). This recipe is mostly Rachael Ray, but I've added some important (to me) tips and changes...Oh, and the rice is from my friend Rachel. Her version of coconut rice is THE BOMB, and you should try it. Trust me...

    Mostly Green Curry Veggies with Tofu over Coconut Rice

    Coconut Rice (first)
    • 2 tbsp peanut oil
    • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
    • 1 cup long grain rice
    • 1 cup vegetable stock
    • 1 cup coconut milk
    • salt and pepper to tast
    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large, ovenproof saute pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until just transparent (about 5 minutes).
    2. Add the rice and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute. Add veggie stock and coconut milk, bring to a simmer, and add salt and pepper.
    3. Cover the pan tightly. Place in oven and bake for about 18 minutes. The liquid should be absorbed and the rice cooked thoroughly but not mushy.
    Mostly Green Curry Veggies with Tofu
    • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
    • 1 1/4 cup vegetable stock
    • 1 (13.5 oz) can coconut milk
    • 1 (14 oz) container firm tofu, cut into 1-inch pieces and patted dry
    • 1 green bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced
    • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
    • 4 garlic cloves, pressed
    • 3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped (break out that Pampered Chef food chopper!)
    • 1 head of broccoli, cut into small florets. Don't forget to add the stem.
    • zest and juice of 1 lime*
    • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
    • 4 green onions, sliced
    • 1/2 cup italian parsley, chopped
    • 1/2 (16 oz) bag frozen peas
    1. While the coconut rice is cooking, preheat a large, non-stick skillet over high heat with 2 tbsp of the vegetable oil. Add the tofu and brown thoroughly. Remove to a plate. 
    2. Add the remaining tbsp of oil to the pan. Add the peppers, onions, garlic, ginger, and broccoli to the pan. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3-6 minutes, or until broccoli starts to turn bright green.
    3. Add coconut milk to the pan. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Return tofu to pan and simmer for an additional 2 minutes.
    4. Add lime juice, lime zest, cilantro, parsley, and peas. Stir to combine and simmer until peas are heated through. Remove from heat and add green onions. 
    5. Serve over yummy Coconut Rice. Die from sheer veggie pleasure.

    My tofu stuck to my non-stick pan, but it was still surprisingly tasty.

      *Using a citrus press will give you lots of lovely lime juice. This is a tool that is totally worth the moola$$ you spend on it. A microplane makes quick work of zesting said lime.

      This is the exact citrus press I have. You can purchase it from
      Pampered Chef. If you click on the picture it will take you to
      Pampered Chef's online catalog.

      Day 27 - Weigh In


      I like the smaller numbers, but even when they go up, I see a trend. I am still losing weight, and that is exciting! I know that 186 is in my future, because I hit it yesterday. They aren't kidding when they say weight fluctuates. I pretty much measure myself at the same time every day, and sometimes a little later to see what the difference is.

      (Contrary to popular belief, I've found that I weigh less around 2 hours after I get up, rather than right when I get up. Go figure).

      Tuesday, January 26, 2010

      Day 26 - Awesome Mushroom Pasta

      Have I mentioned yet how much I love mushrooms? I could eat them every day. I love them as much as I love steak, which is good since I've given up eating meat. Ü

      Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats--A Year of Deliciously Different Dinners (A 30-Minute Meal Cookbook)
      This week I'm cooking my way through a bunch of Rachael Ray recipes. A lot of them are easy to adapt to vegetarian cooking, and this recipe is no exception. This is based on Rachael's Creamed Mushroom Sauté with Artichoke Hearts, Spinach, and Penne from 365: No Repeats.

      Of course, I put my own spin on things, but the basic recipe is so easy and soooooo good!

      Whitney's Pesto Mushroom, Artichoke Heart, Spinach Pasta
      • 4 tbsp olive oil
      • 4 garlic cloves, pressed
      • 2 shallots, finely chopped
      • 1 1/2 lbs assorted mushrooms, thinly sliced (we used white button mushrooms and cremini mushrooms)
      • salt and pepper to taste
      • 3 tbsp flour
      • 1 cup vegetable broth
      • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (soy would probably be fine, too)
      • 1 (15 oz) can artichoke hearts, well-drained
      • 1 (10 oz) box frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
      • 1 tbsp prepared pesto
      1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
      2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil. Add garlic and shallots and cook for about 1 minute. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until browned and yummy.
      3. Sprinkle flour, salt, and pepper over mushrooms and stir. Stir in vegetable broth and cook for a minute or two (until thickened). Stir in almond milk and simmer for five minutes.
      4. Stir in artichoke hearts, spinach, and pesto. Heat through (1-3 minutes). Mix into well drained penne pasta.

      The finished pasta is soooooooo good!

      Day 26 - Weigh In



      Monday, January 25, 2010

      Day 25 - Mac n Cheese n Cauliflower

      This recipe came about as kind of an amalgamation of what I had and what sounded good and this recipe from Rachael Ray. The taste was pretty good, but I think the sauce got to hot on mine when I was making it, because it started to separate.

      Mac N Cheese N Cauliflower
      • 1 lb penne pasta
      • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
      • 1 tbsp olive oil
      • 2 tbsp butter
      • 1 small onion, finely chopped
      • 3 tbsp flour
      • salt and pepper to taste
      • 1 1/2 cups milk
      • 1 cup vegetable broth
      • 1 lb Gouda cheese, grated
      1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Add cauliflower florets during the last 3 minutes of cooking.
      2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the olive oil and the butter. Add the onions and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the flour, salt, and pepper and cook for about 2 more minutes. Add the milk and vegetable stock and cook until sauce starts to thicken.
      3. Stir in Gouda cheese, until melted and creamy. Add drained pasta and cauliflower. Yum!
      Apparently I didn't take pictures of this dinner. Sorry about that!

      Sunday, January 24, 2010

      Day 24 - Update

      I was feeling lazy again. I decided I would roast a bunch of veggies for dinner and leave it at that. I cut up my eggplants, two zucchini, some broccoli, beets and added some whole mushrooms. I sprinkled it all with olive oil and italian seasoning.

      Eggplant is not very good cooked this way.

      The beets were excellent, though. As was the broccoli. Next time I do this I'm going to use broccoli, cauliflower, onions, potatoes, and carrots. And if I can get my hands on some fresh beets, I will add those as well. The eggplant is just going to have to get used in a casserole, or eggplant parmesan. And mushrooms are way better sauteed.

      That's just how it is.

      Day 24 - Weigh In


      I preferred being lower. :)

      Friday, January 22, 2010

      Day 22 - Breakfast for Dinner

      It has been raining here. A lot. In the last four days, we've gotten more rain that we got in all of 2009. And the weather service thought that we might get flooded. From the river, that is...but unless it keeps raining, that is looking less likely. Which is good for the people who live along the river.

      However...I live along the foothills. And I got flooded from all the water coming off of those hills. Sigh...

      With the cold, rainy weather...I was looking for comfort food, but I also didn't want to cook. In retrospect, this would have been a great day for a crockpot soup, but that didn't happen. So we had breakfast instead.

      I made potatoes, veggie sausage patties, and eggs. And let me tell you, I haven't eaten eggs since last year...but I got kind of grossed out by them yesterday. So I only ate a bite or two and gave the rest to the dogs. The potatoes were really good, though.

      I have two eggplant that I need to cook, and I'm kind of thinking ratatouille. I guess we'll see tomorrow!


      Day 22 - Weigh In


      I want to keep losing...

      Wednesday, January 20, 2010

      Day 20 - Garbanzo Bean Soup

      This is totally my go to soup when we need comfort food. The original recipe calls for chicken broth, but I substituted vegetable broth this time and there was no discernible difference in taste. Wahoo!

      Garbanzo Bean Soup
      • 2 tbsp olive oil
      • 3 garlic cloves, pressed
      • 1 (15 oz) can italian seasoned diced tomatoes
      • 2 (15 oz) cans garbanzo beans, drained
      • 8 oz small shaped pasta (macaroni, shells, etc)
      • 3 (16 oz) cans vegetable stock + 1 can water
      1. In a large pan over medium heat, saute garlic in olive oil until golden. Add tomatoes, vegetable stock, and water.
      2. Bring to boiling. Add pasta, cook til al dente (about 8 minutes).
      3. Add garbanzo beans. Heat through (about 3 minutes). Serve.
      Yummy! This is so easy and so yummy!

      Day 20 - Weigh In


      I liked it better before...

      Tuesday, January 19, 2010

      Day 19 - Eggplant Parmesan

      The grocery store had some lovely eggplants on sale, and I picked up a couple. Especially because I love eggplant. I mixed a couple of eggplant parmesan recipes together to come up with this one, which was quite tasty, and utilized the cheese that I had (which was a little bit of a lot of different cheeses).

      Eggplant Parmesan
      • 2 large eggplants
      • salt
      • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
      • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
      • 1/4 cup Italian style 6 cheese mix
      • 1/4 cup Mexican mix cheese
      • 1 (16 oz) jar spaghetti sauce
      1. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil. Trim the eggplant and slice into 1/4-inch thick slices. Salt the slices generously and stand upright in a colander to drain for 30 minutes.
      2. Preheat oven to 500°. Rinse eggplant slices under cold water and pat dry.
      3. Lightly brush each side of eggplant with olive oil and place on prepared baking sheets. Bake in oven until the eggplant is golden, 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce oven temp to 350°.
      4. In the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch pan, spread 1/3 of spaghetti sauce. Layer 1/2 of the eggplant slices in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with half of the Parmesan cheese and the Italian cheese.
      5. Spread 1/3 of spaghetti sauce over eggplant layers. Layer remaining eggplant slices over spaghetti sauce. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan cheese over eggplant slices. Spread remaining spaghetti sauce over eggplant. Sprinkle with Mexican cheese mix. Bake in oven for 30 minutes.

      Sunday, January 17, 2010

      Day 17 - Update

      I haven't posted any recipes lately. Perhaps you've noticed? That's pretty much because I haven't cooked much. I did make a spinach-y mac-n-cheese type thing, but it was only kinda good. :)

      And then I cooked the enchiladas I had in the freezer--the black bean enchiladas that I already gave you the recipe for. And we went to Jason's Deli after spending ALL day Saturday at the Springs Preserve for the Boy Scout Adventure Base. Which was fun. But lacking in vegetarian options.

      And today we are having cheese enchiladas, because that is what I picked up at the store. With refried black beans and spanish rice.

      I'll be cooking again soon, though. And I will share recipes with you. And so far, I've managed to not eat meat, although it was really hard yesterday at the Springs Preserve. Grilled meat for sale all around. And then there was Wolfgang Puck's Cafe at the Preserve, which has vegetarian options but is so out of my price range.

      Day 17 - Weigh In


      Ok. It does fluctuate. :)

      Saturday, January 16, 2010

      Weigh In - Day 16


      Your weight fluctuates, right?

      Thursday, January 14, 2010

      Day 14 - Weigh In



      Wednesday, January 13, 2010

      Day 13 - Oatmeal for Breakfast

      Yesterday was one of those days where life just throws a curveball, and you either have to catch it, or not...but generally it's a deal with it day.  I had to drop everything to deal with the issue, and all my plans for the day just went out the window.

      That said, we had spaghetti for dinner. With that "very expensive but I bought it because my son was selling it" sauce mix. So, pretty basic--spaghetti with Puttanesca sauce.

      But, I still wanted to share some food pics with you. Of my breakfast. Many years ago, after my son was born, I hit upon a great breakfast that helped my lose the baby weight. Oatmeal. I know, so basic, right? But still...I love oatmeal. I've been buying it in bulk from the grocery (a 50lb bag). Partly because I feed my dogs oatmeal, but also because my family loves oatmeal, too. So what I do is make my bowl of oatmeal (1/3 cup oats & 2/3 cup water in a shallow bowl. Cook in microwave on 50% power for 5 minutes), add sweetener of choice (mine is brown sugar, about 1 tbsp), sprinkle with dried fruits and nuts.

      This adds much needed fiber and fruit to my diet. And it tastes good. It is also awesome using brown rice in place of the oatmeal.

      Try it. You might like it!

      Day 13 - Weigh In


      That's a little slower...

      Tuesday, January 12, 2010

      Day 12 - Five Layer Vegetable Stew

      This isn't really a stew, but it is too soupy to be a casserole. It has a really good flavor, though, so I suspect with some tweaking, it can be perfect!

      Five Layer Vegetable Stew
      • 2 cans white beans
      • 4 oz pesto
      • 4 tbsp olive oil
      • 6 small russet potatoes, thinly sliced
      • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
      • 2 red bell peppers, sliced
      • 2 large zucchini, sliced
      • 2 large tomatoes, sliced
      • salt and pepper 
      1. In a food processor or blender, process the beans, pesto, and 3 tbsp olive oil until well blended and creamy.
      2. Heat the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the potato slices and cook until golden brown on both sides. Set aside. Add the onion slices to the same pan, and cook until browned on both sides.
      3. Spray the inside of a large crockpot insert with non-stick cooking spray. Lay 1/2 the potato slices in the bottom. Spoon a small amount of bean mixture on top of potatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with onion and red pepper slices, bean mixture, salt and pepper. Layer zucchini slices, bean mixture, and salt and pepper, tomatoes. Repeat the layers. If there is any bean mixture left, pour it on top of the final layer of tomatoes. Cover and cook on low 6 hours.

      Day 12 - Weigh In


      This might be a little fast...

      Monday, January 11, 2010

      Day 11 - Green and White Pasta


      It's kind of feeling like spring here. Sorry, rest of the country - I know you are dealing with major below normal temperatures, but, hey...I live in the desert, so it's only fair that my temps (which are always way off from the rest of the country) are spring like. Upper 60's springlike. Very nice.

      Which means that I want peas. The penultimate of spring veggies. Of course, peas aren't available yet. Except in the freezer section. Which is where I bought mine.

      But anyway...

      I adapted this recipe from somewhere...Sadly, this is how many of my recipes come about. I have a recipe, generally handwritten, and then I change it. I can't just make a recipe as written. Except if I'm baking, and even that's debatable.

      So, this is my version of a Green and White Pasta recipe I got somewhere...
      • 1 (12 oz) pkg of angel hair pasta (preferable multi-grain, if you can find it)
      • 2 tbsp olive oil
      • 1 medium onion, sliced
      • 12-ish oz of mushrooms, sliced
      • 4 oz prepared pesto (or you can make your own)
      • 1 (16 oz) package frozen baby peas 
      • 1 (10 oz) pkg of baby spinach
      1. Prepare angel hair pasta according to package directions. Drain. Stir pesto into pasta.
      2. In a large saucepan, saute onions in olive oil over medium heat until soft. Add sliced mushrooms and cook until juices are released and mushrooms are softened.
      3. Add  baby peas and cook until heated through. Add spinach and cover pan. Cook until spinach is wilted, 3-5 minutes.
      4. Spoon over pasta and serve.
      Easy, easy, easy! And tasty, too. Feel free to add salt and pepper to taste. You can also grate parmesan cheese over the top if you feel the need, but it really isn't necessary...

      This makes a lot. Like 8+ servings. But it is totally worth it...

      Day 11 - Weigh In


      It's going down!

      Sunday, January 10, 2010

      Day 10 - Veggie Burgers Stroganoff

      Let me preface this by saying that out of the two MorningStar products I've tried, I've been less than impressed. I've actually had Garden Burgers, and they aren't too bad, but my local grocery doesn't sell them. I had to punt with MorningStar. I bought the prime grillers which were ok, if you weren't expecting any meaty taste at all.

      Unfortunately, I was.

      That said, this wasn't bad. I would prefer a mushroom stroganoff, and I am betting that sometime during the year I will create something to that effect. In the meantime, here is the recipe I adapted:

      Veggie Burgers Stroganoff
      • 1 (10 oz or so) package of egg noodles
      • 1 (9-12 oz) package of vegetable burger patties
      • 1 tbsp butter
      • 3 cups sliced mushrooms
      • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
      • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
      • 1 1/2 cups milk
      • 2 tbsp flour
      • 1 tbsp lemon juice
      • 1 tbsp ketchup
      • 1/4 tsp salt
      • 1/4 tsp dill
      • 1/2 cup sour cream

      1. Cook egg noodles as directed on package. Drain.
      2. In a large skillet, cook burgers as directed on package. Remove from skillet. Cut in half, then cut into strips.
      3. In same skillet, melt butter. Add mushrooms, onions, and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat until mushrooms and onions are crisp-tender. Remove from heat.Stir in burger pieces.
      4. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup of the milk, flour, lemon juice, ketchup, salt, and dill. Stir in remaining milk. Stir this into the mushroom mixture in skillet. Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens, stirring constantly. 
      5. Reduce heat to low. Stir in sour cream and cook until heated through. Be careful not to boil.
      6. Serve over hot cooked noodles.