Thursday, December 31, 2009

Crookneck Squash and Onions...vegan

So far, I haven't been able to fill the Cymbalta prescription, because it, and the Lyric, are both higher priced than most of my other meds. Hopefully I'll get it Saturday, after work. I have the Lyrica and the Flexoril, and while the Lyrica has helped my arms, hands, and shoulders a lot, the Flexoril doesn't seem to do much for me. I admit that I don't seem to hurt as much when I wake up in the mornings now, but I don't seem to be sleeping any better, like the doc told me I would. Oh.well, I'm not sleeping any worse now, and my bed all of a sudden feels softer and more comfortable, lol. So maybe the stuff is working and I just don't realize it?

Susan Albert twittered about the Onion and Apple Sauce that I posted last week, and when I saw it, I was delighted. She told her readers to come over and get the recipe and try it, and she thanked me. Right back to ya, Ms. Albert, I appreciate that you mentioned me.

The Crookneck Squash and Onions is one of those non-recipe recipes, and it's just so simple, and it's just soooooooo good, too. That was my supper last night, along with some mashed potatoes, and no other side dishes at all. I mixed the leftovers together and will try to fry it up as patties for supper tonight, with some green peas with a mint and butter sauce. Sound good? It does to me, lol. Anyway, let me post this non-recipe for you, and I hope you like it.

Crookneck Squash and Onions

4 small crookneck squash, well scrubbed, but with the skin left on
2 small or one medium onion, peeled and cut into half-moon slices. You won't need to seperate the slices, as they'll fall apart while cooking anyway.
1-2Tbs. of olive oil, and 1-2 Tbs. of butter
black pepper, to taste

Heat the oil and butter in a medium sized skillet over medium heat. When the butter is all melted, put the onion slices in. You want them to cook for about five minutes, to soften, and to start turning a little brown, but not too brown.

While the onions are cooking, slice the squash into rounds, about 1/8 inch or so thick, maybe a little thicker if you's not precise, you don't have to aim for perfection here, honest.

Put the squash in with the onions, and add two cups of cold water, cover it, and let it come to a boil. When it boils nicely, turn it down to a good simmer, and let it simmer until the water is gone...unless you want it to be juicy. I don't, so I simmer until it's almost dry, and starting to brown, usually about 45 minutes to an hour. Add black pepper to taste, and that's all there is to it.

You can also do this with zucchini, or you can use 2 crookneck and 2 zucchini together. If you want to, you can add tomatoes to the mix, as well. That's pretty good with spaghetti, along with some parmesan cheese. Experiment. Make it yours.

That's it for now, so until next time, Happy Eating!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Steamed Sausages with Apple and Onion Sauce(vegan); my rheumatologist

My first appointment with the rheumatologist was this past Monday, the 21st. I'm not going into too much detail, but do want to hit the high spots of my visit. First and foremost, I really like this guy: He asked ALL the right questions, and he knew ALL the trigger points to poke and prod, the ones that make me holler, lol. Even tho his lab tech drew about nine tubes of blood, and altho he's sending me for a series of x-rays, he is just about convinced that I don't have rheumatoid arthritis. I do, however, have just exactly what I thought I had: Osteoarthritis and Fibromyalgia. I KNEW IT!!! So, the new series of drugs is as follows: Flexoril, Cymbalta, and Lyrica. And of course he thinks I should do aerobics, 30 minutes at a time, three times a week, and, he thinks I should lose weight. Sigh. Anyway, hopefully the drugs will kick in within a couple weeks, and I'll start feeling better: Less pain, more energy, better sleep, etc.

Susan Wittig Albert has written a series called "The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter," and the Apple and Onion Sauce recipe comes from one of those books, "The Tale of Applebeck Orchard." The other recipe, the Steamed Sausages, I found on the PPK blog, by Isa Chandra Muskovitz. She attributes the recipe to a lady named Julie, and Isa has placed a video of Julie making these sausages on the blog. They are very good, and not too difficult at all. In fact, it has been my experience that working with the wheat gluten is never too difficult.

So, without further ado, here's the recipe for the sausages...vegan, btw.

1/2C pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1C cold vegetable broth(I didn't have any, so used plain cold water)
1Tbs. olive oil
2Tbs. soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4C vital wheat gluten
1/4C nutritional yeast(didn't have any, so used about 1/8C veggie Parmesan cheese)
1 1/2 tsp. fennel seed, crushed
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. sweet paprika
1 tsp. dried oregano
Several dashes black pepper

1. Get the steaming appartatus ready. Have the water at a full boil. The rest of the recipe comes together quite quickly.

2. Have ready 6 sheets of tinfoil. In a large bowl, mash the pinto beans until there are no whole ones left. Throw the rest of the ingredients in, in the order given, and mix with a fork. Divide the dough into 6 equal parts. Place one part of the dough onto tinfoil, and roll into a 5-inch log. Wrap in foil, like a Tootsie Roll. Don't worry too much about shaping it, it will snap into shape while steaming.

3. Place in steamer, turn the heat down to a simmer, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes.

First of all, I used a collapsible vegetable steamer, but a bamboo steamer will work, and in a pinch, a large metal colander works, too. Secondly, in the video, Julie added more spices than are listed in the written recipe: Smoked paprika, which is what I used in place of the sweet paprika, allspice, and if I remember right, some chili powder, too. Julie used both types of paprikas.

I only used half the amount of soy sauce, and only about 1/4 tsp. of the fennel seeds. As I mentioned above, I used plain cold water, and I used the veggie Parmesan cheese.

In spite of my substitutions, these sausages turned out really well. They have a good color, a good flavour, and they actually have a bit of a "snap" when I bite into them, just like a real hotdog or sausage has.

Will I make them again? Absolutely, and the next time, I will use the allspice, too, and hopefully will have the veggie broth, as well.


1/2 onion, chopped fine
clove garlic, crushed
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 pound apples: Granny Smith or another tart apple
2 Tbs. water(I used about 5 in all, I think)
2 Tbs. cider vinegar
Bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 C brown sugar...optional, as it's not in the original recipe

Saute onion and garlic in oil until golden brown. Peel, core, and chop the apples. Add to onion with water, vinegar, bay leaf, and brown sugar if using. Simmer 15-20 minutes, until soft. Remove bay leaf, and puree sauce in a blender. Add salt and pepper to taste.

The brown sugar made the sauce into a sweet and sour, and I loved it, and yes, will make it again. The meal consisted of the sausages, mashed potatoes with the sauce, and green beans. Heavenly, no kidding. And, I have enough leftovers for tonight's supper, too, so that makes it double Heavenly, lol.

I think that the sausage mixture could be turned into one or two larger logs, and steamed probably about an hour. Then they could be sliced very thinly and used for luncheon meat. What do you think?

Which reminds me: I splurged and bought a package of Yves "bologna," and was very pleased with it. Along with the veggie smoked provolone cheese I love so much, it made really good sammiches, I thought. There are ten thin slices of "bologna" in the package, which makes five sammiches...for $2.99 a package. I'm not sure, but that seems a bit expensive to me, but, it's been so long since I bought the real bologna, that I don't honestly know how it compares.

Anyway, until next time, Happy Eating!!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

More Frozen Vegetarian Food

I'm still not doing much cooking, mostly just throwing together soups and omelettes. Seems that I'm quite depressed, and in a lot more pain lately than usual...and you should see my poor apartment! Well, um, no, on second thought, you really shouldn't, lol. It's a wreck, but I really don't have the ooomph to do much at a time. I managed to wash and dry two loads of laundry yesterday, cook a pot of pinto beans, and today I got all the dishes washed, as well as picking up some of the clutter in the living room and kitchen. Baby steps, baby steps. And, I went to the library today, which is always a wonderful thing.

On the 21st, I have an appointment with a rheumatologist, at the insistence of both my other doctors, my primary care man and my kidney man. Hopefully this guy can come up with something that will help control the pain, which just might give me a little more energy, too.

So, frozen foods for vegetarians. Kroger has oodles of them, and I hope to try more of them in the future. Right now, tho, my oven has managed to lock itself, so I can't get it open...and it locked with a baked potato in it, darn it. But, eventually, I'll take my large-size butt down to the resident manager's apartment and report it, and hope that he knows how to get it to unlock.

I tried the Amy's brand "Veggie Steak and Gravy," and fell in love, lol. The steak had a good taste and the texture was good, too. It came with mashed potatoes, which Amy does quite well, and green beans, which are one of my favorite veggies. Again, my only complaint was that there wasn't enough gravy.

Amy also makes a "Southern Dinner," which I tried, and was disappointed in. It has cornbread, beans(pintos, I think), greens, and sweet potatoes. The picture on the box shows mushrooms in the greens, and they're listed in the ingredients, but I sure didn't find any. None of it tasted like it was supposed to taste, altho it was edible. It didn't actually taste bad, mind you, it just wasn't like homemade, not at all, and not compared to the other two dinners I tried.

My last frozen treat was a delight: QUORN!! I was amazed, I really was. This was something that was supposed to go in the oven, but, I did it in a skillet on the stovetop, and it was still good. Theses were "meatless and soy-free garlic and herb chik'n cutlets," and they had a great texture and tasted quite a lot like real chicken, I thought. But, they're just a tad too dear for me: Two cutlets cost $4.49, so they won't be on my grocery list very often, believe me. Still, I'm awfully glad I tried them, and if you haven't, take the chance, you might like 'em as much as I did.

What is Quorn? Well, it's a fungus. Honest. It really is. This is what the back of the box says: "There are believed to be over 600,000 varieties of fungi in the world, many of which are among the mnost sought after foods like varieties of mushrooms, truffles, and morels. The nutritious mycoprotein in all Quorn products is made through fermentation." The mycoprotien is from a fungus, and it's what gives Quorn products their meaty texture and flavour.If you want to know more about Quorn, their website is
So that's all for now. One of these days I'll have recipes for you again, I'm quite sure. But y'know, it seems that it's taking me an awful long time to become totally adjusted and comfortable here in the new apartment. I've been in it over two months now, and still, a lot of things are up in the air, so to speak, and, quite frankly, I'm still a bit overwhelmed. Ah, well, I suppose I'll get it all sorted out one of these days, lol.

Until next time, Happy Eating!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Vegetarian Frozen Dinners

I haven't done a whole lot of "new" cooking for the past couple months, so I don't have any recipes to post today. What I have discovered, tho, is a whole world of vegetarian TV dinners!!! WOW~!!! That's just so cool for those times I just really do NOT feel like chopping/dicing/slicing/stirring/mincing/simmering/sauteeing/whatevering, lol. Some that I've tried just didn't seem worth a second try, but a couple are so good that I would buy them every time I go grocery shopping if I could afford them. They are relatively expensive, seems to me that I remember most of them running about $4.99 a meal, which for me is just too dear.

The first one I tried was a meal from India. The picture on the package looked really good, and the description of it sounded wonderful: PALAK PANEER...Slow-cooked spinach and home-made style cheese cubes tossed in a savory sauce, with seasoned, long-grain brown rice. Yum, right? No. Nasty, very disappointing, and the whole time I was trying to eat this dinner, I just felt sooooo sorry for little kids in India who grew up trying to eat this. Maybe homemade would be as good as the picture looks on the box, but the boxed version really is awful.

My next experience was much, much better, and is, in fact, one of the best things I've ever eaten. One of the Amy's brand, it is an Asian Noodle Stir-fry, made with organic rice noodles, vegetables, and tofu. Excellent, absolutely excellent, and I wish I knew how to make it here at home, it's that good. My only complaint is that there needs to be just a tad more sauce with it, otherwise, it's perfection in a oven-ready tray!!! If I remember right, this one is vegan.

Amy's also makes some other dinners, one of which turned out to be another favorite for me: the Veggie Loaf with mashed potatoes and vegetables, which in this dinner turned out to be green peas and kernel corn. The loaf has a nice tomato-based gravy on it, but like the sauce for the Asian dinner, there needs to be more. Again, tho, that's my only complaint about this meal. As far as I can see, this one is also vegan.

Ok, that's three for now, and I've got three more to tell you about, but since it's pushing 6pm here in the sunny south, and I'm hungry, I'm going to leave for now and find something for supper. I'm thinking that I'd like to make some kind of soup...I've got mushrooms, onions, barley, green peas, potatoes, carrots...sounds like a soup to me, what do you think? And maybe some little dumplings when it's just about done?!?!?!

Until next time, Happy Eating!!!

Monday, November 30, 2009 computer and DSL

This is going to be short, sweet, and to the point: I am all moved in, it took all day on Sept. 28th to do it, I had serious problems with the ATT dsl, resulting in having to buy a new computer...tsk, right? Let me tell you, tho, saving change really adds up, because that's exactly how I bought this gorgous new machine: cashed in a LOT of loose change, and had enough to buy an HP Wal-Mart special on Black Friday...a lovely friend of mine actually did it for me, I never had to deal with the crowds, praise God. Anyway, long story cut short, I've just now managed to get online, and am thrilled, believe me. I'll start bloggin again in a few days. Oh, btw, the new place is ok, and is still not sorted out yet, sigh. It's just tooooo overwhelming for me, it really is. Anyway, until next time, Happy Eating. And a belated Happy Thanksgiving, too.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Big Move

Haven't been here in almost a month, and it may be a while yet before I come back and post any recipes or anything food-related. I've been working, packing my stuff, getting the utilities transferred, and so far have moved two pickup truckloads, and two car loads, both trunks packed and both backseats packed. Full. And there's at least three more pickup loads and I don't know how many car loads left. Long story cut a little shorter, not much, but a little, tomorrow after work, two, and possibly three of us are going to get in here and finish my packing, and then, God willing, Monday morning, around 10, we hope to get it ALL DONE!!! GIT 'R DONE! This is a teenytiny little house, less than 600 sq. ft., and it's amazing how much stuff there is here to be moved. Wow! The new place is bigger, clutter expands to fill all available, I hope I don't have to move again. Forever. Really. I mean it.

So, that's where things stand right now. I don't know when I'll be back online, but I'm hoping no later than this coming Tuesday, but of course, it might be longer. And until then, Happy Eating!!!!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Pappardelle with Caramelized Onions and Parmesan(non-vegan)

The Pappardelle recipe is from Martha Stewart's "Everyday Food," December, 2008. It's one of my favorite food magazines, and I try to get each one that hits the newstands. This recipe was already vegetarian, but even the ones that aren't are usually adaptable to the vegetarian diet.

Pappardelle with Caramelized Onions
and Parmesan Cheese

1Tbs. olive oil
2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 package (8.8 ounces)pappardelle pasta OR 8 ounces fettuccine
2Tbs. butter
2 ounces Parmesan, shaved with a vegetable peeler

1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and thyme, season with salt and pepper. Cover, and cook, without stirring, until onions have released their liquid, about 5 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring occasionally, until deep golden brown, 25-30 minutes more. When bottom of skillet darkens, add a few tablespoons water, and scrape up browned bits with a wooden spoon.

2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When onions have about 10 minuts left to cook, add pasta to water in pot, and cook until al dente. Reserfe 1/2 cup pasta water, drain pasta, and return to pot.

3. Add onions and butter to pasta in pot, season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Gradually add enough pasta water to creat a thin sauce that coats pasta. Serve pasta topped with Parmesan.

Looks like it would be good, doesn't it? Well, it is, I really liked it a lot, even tho...of course, sigh...I had to make some changes. I didn't have any papperdelle or fettucine, so I used rotini, instead. I also don't have the kind of Parmesan that can be shaved, I just have the kind in the shaker jar, and didn't think that would be good. So, I used a mixture of crumbled goat cheese and a couple slices of the Smoked Provolone, and it was great. I love caramelized onions, so this was a hit all the way round for me, and yes, I'll make it again sometime.

Monday I made a sort of stirfry. When I went to Kroger last week, I found some Chinese-style veggies in the freezer, a combination of mushrooms, green beans, garlic, and onions. The first thing I did was dice a medium onion, and put it in a skillet with hot oil and butter, and let it cook a while, enough to soften it some, and to start it turning golden brown. While the onion cooked, I cubed a package of extra-firm tofu. I put the tofu in a bowl, and poured teriyaki sauce all over it, with some goodly sprinkles of garlic powder and dried ginger. Stirred it all up, to coat the tofu with it, and dumped it into the same skillet as the onions. I also had put the Chinese veggies into some boiling water, just long enough to soften them up somewhat, and once they were soft, I drained them, and put them into the same skillet as the onions and other veggies. Probably this should've been served with rice, but I baked a potato. I really enjoyed this dish, and hope that the veggies will be a regular in the Kroger freezer department.

Last night I made soup: carrot, onion, potato, cauliflower, thyme, garlic powder, tarragon, and black pepper. No recipe here, sorry, just throw it all in a pot and use whatever seasonings you like. Oh, I also used two veggie buillion cubes in the water, and used about 12 cups of water. Once everything was in the pan, I brought it to a boil and let it simmer for about 45 minutes, until everything was all done and soft. I used my immersion blender, and that's all there is to making that soup. Took me roughly an hour, I think, and there's enough for supper this evening.

So, until next time, Happy Eating!!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Butterbean/Carrot Soup(vegan); Coconut/tofu Sauce w/Strawberries and Peaches(vegan)

My friend Sherrie, over on posted a recipe for a soup made from butterbeans, carrots, and bacon a while back, and I thought it sounded yummy...except for the bacon, that is. Anyway, it's been a while since I read her recipe, but last night I made my own soup...stole it from ya, Sherrie!!...based on hers. Probably hers is a little more complex, but I honestly don't remember, and I didn't go back to check her ingredients. Anyway, here's what I came up with:

Butterbean and Carrot Soup(vegan)
One 15 oz. can of butterbeans, drained and rinsed
One goodsized carrot, cut into thin "coins"
Water or veggie broth to cover the carrot by about an inch
Garlic powder and dried thyme to taste; black pepper
BacoBits!!!!!(Betty Crocker, and near as I can tell, they are vegan! How cool is that, right?)
Put the carrot in a medium saucepan, cover with water to about an inch over the carrots, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down, and let the carrot slices simmer for about 30-45 minutes, so that they are very tender...IF you want to blend them, that is. If you don't, then just cook them until they are as done as you want them.
Once the carrots are at the tenderness you want, add the butterbeans, garlic, thyme, and black pepper, to taste. If you think you'd like a different spice combination, go for it, it's your soup, so season it the way you want. You may want to use salt, too, btw, but I don't use much at all. Anyway...
Let the beans cook along with the carrots until the water has reduced by about half. Now you can either put this in a blender, or use an immersion blender, which is what I did, and puree it. If you use a blender, be very careful, as the soup is extremely hot, and I don't want you to get burned. Remember to hold the lid on the blender container with a kitchen towel, so the soup can't spatter out the top, or the container get too hot for you too hold. If you use the immersion blender, be very careful with it, also. Make sure it is fully immersed before you turn it on, and do NOT pull it out of the hot soup while it's running. I usually set the pan in my sink, so that I screw up and make a mess, at least it's not all over my stove and walls and floor. Just be careful, please.
After you've pureed the beans and carrots, let it heat up again, and this time, add some BacoBits and even a chunk of butter if you want.
This made about two servings, so if you need more, use another can or two of beans, a couple more carrots, and if you want to, you could add diced onion and celery, as well. This is your soup, play with it, make it your own. Sherrie won't mind, honest. And neither will I, because that's what cooking and recipes are all about!

A few weeks ago, I bought a HUGE container of almost too ripe strawberries, so what I couldn't eat immediately, I froze in three batches. Day before yesterday, on the way home from work, I picked up a couple cans of slice peaches. Sitting on my canned goods shelves in my kitchen are some cans of coconut milk. There was also a box of Bisquick(Bisquick is vegan, remember?). So, I wanted to do something to put all this stuff together in one dessert. This is what I came up with:

Coconut Tofu Sauce w/ Strawberries & Peaches(vegan)
About a pint of strawberries, washed, hulled, and sliced into a bowl and then macerated with about 1/3 cup of sugar for about an hour, in the 'fridge.
As many peach slices as you want.
13.5 oz. can of coconut milk
12.3 oz. vacuum-packed package of firm tofu
1/2 Tbls. vanilla
2/3 cup sugar
dash of nutmeg and ginger
Put everything except the berries and peaches into a blender, and whirl until smooth. Refrigerate for about 30-60 minutes, to let the flavours marry. Meanwhile, bake a pan of biscuits, according to package directions. I didn't make shortcake biscuits because those call for sugar, and I figured that between the berries and the sauce I had more than enough sugar.
As soon as the biscuits are done, slice them open and put in a bowl. Pour some of the coconut sauce over them, and then spoon on the berries and some of the peach slices. Pour some more sauce over them. I had some flaked unsweetened coconut in the 'fridge, so I sprinkled a good handful of that over the top of the berries, peaches, sauce, etc. Eat. Enjoy. This was sinfully delicious, and I was very, very pleased with myself...again, lol. I'll make it again, believe me...and will probably take care of the leftovers tonight!!!

Until the next time, Happy Eating!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Tofu "Fish Sticks"(vegan); JB's TVP "Fish Cakes"(vegan)

The other night I decided I wanted to try these tofu "fish sticks." The recipe looks good, I think, it wasn't all that difficult, so, I headed out to the kitchen to make them. Here's the recipe, compliments of


2 blocks firm or extra-firm tofu, pressed
1/4 cup soy milk
2 Tbs. EACH soy sauce; lemon juice; crumbled nori seaweed
1 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp. lemon pepper
Preheat oven go 350º F.
Slice tofu into strips and coat well with flour. In shallow bowl, whisk together soy milk, soy sauce, and lemon juice. In another bowl, combine bread crumbs, nori, and lemon pepper. Carefully dip tofu in soy milk mixture, then coat well in bread crumbs.
Bake 40-45 minutes, turning over once, until crispy and golden brown. Or, panfry in a bit of hot oil, until golden on both sides.
Serve with vegan tartar sauce, ketchup, bbq sauce, etc.

Ok, there ya have it. Were they good? I have NO clue, none at all. First of all, I had the crumbs all ready, and I decided to panfry mine, instead of put in the oven. So, I poured some oil in my skillet, and just left it there, no heat under it, while I pulled out my firm tofu, to drain and press. Can you tell when tofu has gone bad? Oh, yes, believe you me, you most certainly can. How? IT STINKS! And it stinks really, really nasty, nauseating, to be exact. Soooooo, what to do? The oil was waiting in the pan, the bread crumbs were ready, and no tofu. I was, uh, angry, to say the least. Ok, here's the end results of that fiasco:

JB's TVP "FISH CAKES"(vegan)

One cup of TVP granules, soaked for about 15 minutes in one cup of almost boiling water.
One cup bread crumbs, and by this time, I had seasoned them with garlic powder and just a dash of cayenne pepper.
About 1/4 cup of crumbled wakame, as I have no nori
juice of half of a large, fresh lemon

I mixed the bread crumbs, the TVP, and the wakame all together in a large bowl, and squeezed the half lemon all over it, mixing that in, also. Then I formed five patties, and panfried them in about 1/4 inch of hot canola oil. That's it. OH!!! Sorry...when I added the boiling water to the TVP granules, I also added a teaspoonful of liquid smoke. Ok, that's it, lol.

Were these good? OMG, yes, they sure were! I ate three of them for supper, and then the next afternoon, I ate the other two right out of the 'fridge, lol. They aren't difficult to make, and I know I will make them again some time. The next time I make them, I think I'll add some minced onion to the mix, and hopefully will have the ingredients to make a tartar sauce. They were good without a sauce, but I think tartar sauce would've set them off to perfection. Live and learn, right? What started out as almost a failure, because of the rotten tofu, turned into a wonderful, wonderful meal!!! I was very pleased with myself, lol.

Until next time, Happy Eating!!

Monday, August 17, 2009


Yup, my boss changed my schedule, so I'm off today, and will be off Wednesday and Friday, as well. I don't guess I mind too much, but it does seem like he should've talked to me before he did it. Yeah, like that was gonna happen, sigh. Anyway, I'm having a nice day, I like being home. A lot!!

The hummers are back this year, I've seen two this morning, so one of the chores I've done today was to empty, clean, and refill their feeder. My backyard is quite busy this morning: I've seen two bluejays, some redbirds(cardinals, if you're not from the south), a few birds that I can't name, the hummers, and, best of all, for the first time ever, in one of the trees out there, a red-tailed hawk!!! I was absolutely thrilled! I stood at the door and stared at it for about four minutes, and then it flew off, sigh. It would be wonderful if it would come back and decide to live in my backyard, I would just plain love it!!!

Yesterday, after work, I went to Kroger and bought a package of GardenBurger brand "original" veggie burgers. Usually I don't, because they're pretty expensive, but, I had a dollar off coupon, and I really like the burgers, so decided to buy them. While I was thinking about supper, I decided that I wanted a Patty Melt, and that's just what I had.

Patty Melt
one small onion, finely diced
one veggie burger, whatever kind you like best
two slices of cheese: I used the veggie smoked provolone
two slices of bread...wheat is preferable, but I only had white. It worked.

Heat about a tablespoon each of olive oil and margarine in a skillet, over medium heat, add the onions, and let them cook for about five to ten minutes, until they are fairly tender and starting to turn golden brown. I like to season the onions while they're cooking with black pepper and some garlic powder. After the onions are almost the colour and texture that you want them...and hey, if you want them raw, that's ok, too, y'know...add the veggie burger to the pan. Just push the onions off to one side. While the burger cooks as long as the package directions tell you, butter one side each of two pieces of bread. When the burger and onions are both done to your satisfaction, heat a griddle or skillet over medium heat. When a drop of water sizzles, put one slice of bread, butter-side down, on the griddle, put a slice of cheese on it, and load the cheese up with the cooked onions. Put the burger on top of the onions, and the other slice of bread, unbuttered side down, on top of the burger. Let it grill until the bottom slice is golden brown and the cheese is starting to melt, and then turn it over, using a spatula. Let the second side grill until golden brown and the cheese is melted, and take it off the griddle and plate it. Cut it in half, and serve.

That sammich was sooooooo good. It's been ages since I've had a patty melt, so it was a real treat for me. For a side, I had some cold "pork 'n' beans" that I'd made a few nights ago: One can of Great Northern beans drained and rinsed, heated up with some brown sugar, dry mustard(not much, maybe 1/4 tsp., if that much), a good shake of garlic powder, and a good handful of BacoBits. Let it all heat up together until it's bubbling, turn the heat down, and let it heat for about five minutes, enough to get it all hot and let the flavors marry some.

Another good side would've been potato salad, or maybe even mac and cheese. Heck, you're the one eating it, fix whatever YOU like, lol. Anyway, I'm glad that I made it, and yup, I'll sure 'nuff make another one sometime, too!

Until next time, Happy Eating!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Warm Rotini Ssalad w/Balsamic Vinaigrette(Vegan); BacoBits; Coconut Veggie Curry(vegan)

Today is the fourth day in a row that I've been out of work. This could become a habit, lol. I so enjoy being home, but, the rent must be paid, one needs to buy groceries, pay the utilities, etc., so one goes back to work tomorrow morning. Sigh. The reason that I took Thursday off, is that I'm in a bit of an arthritic/fibro flare-uup:swollen hands and fingers, back aches, ankles hurt, etc., so being home hasn't been as much fun as I would've liked. Sigh again, lol. But, I found out yesterday that my boss has allegedly changed my schedule...yet that I will be off on M-W-F, which is fine by me, because it means that after a horrendous two days over the weekend, I no longer will have to drag in again on Monday mornings. That's good. That's very good! Anyway, I'll find out for sure when I go to work in the AM.

When I bought groceries this past Tuesday, I found a really inexpensive brand of coconut milk, so I splurged and bought four cans. Last night I came up with a way to use one of them, a vegetable coconut curry. Not the most original thing, I realize, as I've seen recipes for something very similar all over the net, but I did this one without a written recipe, and it turned out wonderfully.

JB's Coconut Vegetable Curry
A couple good handsful of frozen cauliflower
A good handful of frozen green peas
About two medium carrots, sliced into very thin "coins"
1 can coconut milk
2 tsp. curry powder, more or less to YOUR taste(two worked fine for me)
To taste: ginger(about 1/4 tsp.), garlic, nutmeg(about 1/4 tsp.), black pepper, cinnmon and sugar(about a tsp. of a mix for making toast)

Put the carrots in a saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil over high heat. When boiling, turn heat down, and allow to simmer for at least 45 minutes, or until carrots are as tender as YOU want them. Oh...the pan should be covered. When the carrots are just about done, add the frozen cauliflower and green peas, bring back to a boil, and simmer a few minutes, or until the cauliflower and peas are tender. When they're as tender as YOU want them, drain most of the water from the pan, and pour in the whole can of coconut milk, along with all the spices. Keep the pan over medium-low heat until everything is heated thru. Serve over rice(I used a baked potato). Enjoy.

I thought this was wonderful, and it could easily become one of my favorite comfort foods. It's rich, mildly spicy, creamy, and just plain good, lol. It made enough for two people for one meal, but for me, it made enough for two meals, so it's going to be my supper again tonight. Will I make it again? Undoubtedly!!!

This pasta salad comes from the "Vegetarian Times: Low-Fat and Fast" cookbook, published in 1997. It's one of the ones I've checked out of the library. The way I happened to make this salad was that I simply closed my eyes, flipped thru the pages a few times, and then just stopped and opened my eyes: there was the salad, so that was supper one night this past week, lol. I was lucky that time, but then I tried to "blind pick" again, from a couple other cookbooks, and didn't fare so well, as I came up with some that had ingredients that I just plain dislike, or that I didn't have. Anyway, I did the best I could with the salad, even tho there were a few things I didn't have, lol.

Warm Rotini Salad w/Balsamic Vinaigrette
8 pz. uncooked rotini

Vinaigrette: 1/3C chopped basil
3 Tbs. Balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt

Salad: Nonstick cooking spray
2C sliced fresh mushrooms
1 med. yellow bell pepper, seeded, and cut into strips
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2C halved cherry tomatoes
1/4C(1 oz.)cubed mozzeralla(optional)Vegans can omit entirely, or use a vegan "cheese," such as the Tofutti brand(which I think isn't very good, btw.)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Prepare rotini according to package directions.
Meanwhile, in small bowl, combine vinaigrette ingredients. Whisk until well blended. Set aside.
For the salad, spray a medium nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Cook the mushrooms, bell pepper, and garlic, stirring, over medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, cook, stirring constantly, until heated through.
Drain the rotini. In a large bowl, combine rotini and vegetable mixture. Add vinaigrette and chesse, if using; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Makes six servings.

Well, ok, there's the real recipe, which to me, looks really tasty. But, I had to make some changes: I don't like basil, and I didn't have any mushrooms, yellow bell peppers, or cherry tomatoes. So, uh, what did I have, right? LOL! Ok. Instead of the mushrooms, I diced up half a medium onion and sauteed that with a green bell pepper I just happened to have, as well as...ready for this?...8 frozen Brussels sprouts, and one small carrot, sliced into really thin matchsticks. I had some frozen yellow tomatoes from the bounty that my co-worker had given me earlier this year, so I let two of those thaw. When a frozen tomato thaws, btw, the peels slips off as easily as if you had done the boiling water procedure with it. Anyway. I let the tomatoes sit in a colander while everything else was sauteeing, and then chopped 'em up and put 'em in the pan with the sprouts, onions, carrots, etc. And, when everything was tender enough to suit me, I finished the salad according to the recipe...except that the vinaigrette didn't have basil, it had about 1/6C of dried oregano, and the vinaigrette was wonderful, seriously.

Ok, so I royally changed the recipe, but believe it or not, it was really good. Oh, yeah, I did have some vegan mozzeralla, so I used a couple slices of that, plus I threw in some vegetarian smoked provolone. Goat cheese would've been absolutely fantastic in this, but I didn't have any. The salad fed me for a couple days, but after the second day, I didn't want any more, I got tired of it. I don't know if I'll make it again or not, but I think I will, hopefully with goat cheese and fresh tomatoes. I'm also wondering if a different type of dressing would be as good as the Balsamic vinaigrette was?

Now, about those BacoBits! I just happened to see them at Kroger the other day, didn't have them on my list, and wasn't looking for them. A container of the BettyCrocker brand just jumped off the shelf into my grocery cart, lol, so I had no choice but to buy it and take it home. As near as I can tell, they are vegan, which means that everyone can use them. The only meal I've made with them so far was a "breakfast for dinner" type of thing: Fried 'taters with onions and BacoBits, and then some eggs cracked over the top of the 'taters, a cover put on the skillet, and the eggs allowed to cook and set, sort of a cross between over light, poached, and sunny side up, lol. Good? OHHELLYEAH! Very good, and I ate every single bite of it, too. I think that the Bits would be good in an scrambled turnip/collard/mustard greens, or even in green beans. I am really pleased that I brought them home and tried them.

One more thing and I'll go quietly away and let you get on with your day. I've added another website to "JB'S Favorites," on the top lefthand of the page. The site is another one that has the recipe ingredient search function, i.e., put in the ingredients, hit search, and it brings up recipes using those ingredients. That's how I happened to make the veggie curry last night: I entered chickpeas and coconut milk, and it brought up a chickpea coconut milk curry. I didn't especially like the looks of that, but thought that coconut and curry would be good, so figured out the rest of it from stuff I had here already. Anyway, the site is
Give it a try.

Until next time, Happy Eating!!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

"SOS(vegan);" Probably some whining, too....

When I was a little kid, my dad introduced me to SOS, which he swore was a Navy-oriented dish of creamed chipped beef on toast. Later on in life, I found out that some folks called SOS a dish of creamed ground beef, or, what my family always called "hamburger gravy." Either/eyether, right? Whatever you choose to call any of it, it involves some type of chopped up meat and a cream sauce, which is served over whatever you want to serve it over: I prefer mashed potatoes, you might like toast, noodles, or rice. Anyway...and btw, I'm not going to tell you exactly what SOS means here, because the last time I said it on a public board, I was soundly trounced for using a "bad" word, lol. SOS is "$&!! on a Shingle," ok? So I've always loved gravies, and last week started craving the SOS type meal, and figured that probably TVP would do the trick. And, much to my delight, yes, it did. There's not a real recipe here, because it's pretty much an "as-you-like-it" type dish, but I'll give you the general idea, and you can run with it, ok?

"SOS" using TVP...vegan

One cup TVP granules
Enough oil/margarine to coat the bottom of a medium skillet
One onion, diced
1/2 tsp. ground sage
One tsp. minced garlic...I use the kind in the jar
One tsp. liquid smoke
About 3C water
About 1 Tbs. cornstarch
Half of a 10-oz. bag of frozen peas and carrots
Salt and black pepper to taste...I like a lot of pepper and not much salt

Cook the diced onion in the oil in the skillet over medium heat until it's transparent and starting to soften. Add the dry TVP granules, sage, and minced garlic, and, stirring, cook for about five minutes, until everything is coated with the oil, the garlic is just starting to brown a little, and everything smells good.

Mix the liquid smoke with the two cups of water, and add to the skillet, add the frozen peas and carrots, and bring it all to the boil, and let it simmer about 15 minutes, to make sure the granules soften nicely. Mix the cornstarch with the last cup of water, and after the granules have simmered the 15 minutes, add the water/cornstarch mixture. Allow this to come to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for a few more minutes, to allow the mixture to thicken up somewhat.

If you want to, while the onion is cooking, you can also add bell peppers, celery, mushrooms, anything you can think of that you think would be good. The more veggies you can put in, the better it's going to be, both in taste and nutrition. I also think that if there's any leftovers, you can, if you want, add some kernel corn, and make a shepherd's pie from this, altho I didn't. I just kept reheating it as gravy, and pouring it over stuff, lol...mashed potatoes, plain bread, biscuits, you get the idea, right? I really liked it, and will make it again, I have no doubt, as it's really easy and doesn't take too awfully long.

Well, I thought I was going to whine, and well, yeah, I guess I will. Nah, not too much after all: I'm just in one of my funks, don't like it, don't know what to do about it, don't feel really well physically and don't know what to do about it. So, waaaaaa, waaaaaaa, waaaaaaa. This, too, shall pass.

Until next time, Happy Eating.

Friday, July 31, 2009

"Loaded Potato Salad,"(non-vegan); Peach Crisp(vegan);Pasta w/Chickpeas and Zucchini(vegan)

So far I've swished the toilet, made the bed, washed and am now drying a mixed load of laundry, and that's it. Some time today I've got to wash the dishes, and as long as it doesn't pour down rain again,take out the trash, well as clean out the 'fridge. Exciting day off, yes? That's fine, I'm going to have enough excitement in a month or so to last quite a while: I'm moving out of my teeny tiny little one-bedroom house and into a two-bedroom apartment, just across the street from where I am now. Plus, I gain a small storage shed in my back yard, and a bathroom with a BATHTUB!! Not just a shower, but a real, honest-to-goodness tub, lol. Um...senior moment here: Did I already post about moving?!?!?

This past week I tried to make some oven-dried tomatoes, but I wasn't pleased with the results at all. I don't know if I sliced them too thin, had my little toaster-oven too hot, or what, but they were nasty, sigh. However. Some day I will try again, and possibly next time they'll come out ok. The directions I read said to set the oven at 250ºF, and leave the 'maters in the oven until they were dried, about two-three hours, but by the time mine were dry, they were burned. Nasty. I took them off the baking sheet anyway, put them in a container with some olive oil and garlic, but they were still nasty, and the peels were impossible to chew.Better luck next time, right? Right!

My other failure this past week was the Pasta with Chickpeas and Zucchini, which altho I thought was yucky, I'm still going to post, because I'm assuming somebody likes it, or it wouldn't have been a printed recipe in August, 2009's issue of "Real Simple." Different strokes for different folks, for sure.

Linguine with Chickpeas and Zucchini(vegan)

12 ounces linguine(3/4 of a box)
2Tbs. olive oil
3 small zucchini, cut into thin half-moons
Kosher salt
1 15-0z. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan(2 ounces)

>Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water, drain, and return the pasta to the pot.
>Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the Zucchini and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cook, tossing often, until just tender, 4-5 minutes. Add the chickpeas, garlic, and red pepper and cook, until heated through, 2-3 minutes.
>Toss the pasta with the reserved pasta water and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan. Divide the pasta among bowls and top with the zucchini mixture and the remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan.

So, there ya go, and if you try it, let me know how you like it, ok? I was so disappointed with it, but just couldn't make myself take more than a few bites, just didn't like it. Had to throw out the whole pot, sigh. What a waste!!

On the plus side, tho, I made a couple loaves of banana bread that turned out well. The recipe is here in my blog somewhere, but to find it, you'll have to go to the list on the left and click on bananas or bread. But it's there, it's good, it's vegan, and I love it.

The Loaded Potato Salad was an effort to help use up a whole lot of fresh cucumbers that my co-worker brought me from her garden, along with a lot of yellow tomatoes(those are the ones I tried to dry in my toaster-oven, and I don't like them quite as well as red 'maters.). I also had an apple in the 'fridge, so used that, as well. I loved the salad, even without any onion or boiled eggs in it. I left those out deliberately, to help avoid stomach issues.

Loaded Potato Salad(non-vegan)

About three medium potatoes, boiled with jackets on, cooled, and then peeled and cut in dice.

1 medium apple, peeled...or not, your choice, but I can't chew the peels so I take them off...cored and cut in small dice.

2...or more, again, your choice...medium cucumbers, peeled and cut in dice.

Handful of washed and halved cherry tomatoes

Small hunk of goat cheese, crumbled, and a couple pieces of vegetarian smoked Provolone cheese, torn into small pieces. If you leave the cheeses out, and use vegannaise instead of real mayo, then this would be vegan.

Mayo to taste Black pepper Garlic powder and onion powder to taste

Once the 'taters are cooked, cooled, and diced, put everything in a large mixing bowl and mix together. Cover the bowl and let it chill for at least 20 minutes before serving, so all the flavours can marry. This made enough to last me about three meals, and I loved every bite of it. If I'd put onions and boiled eggs in it, I admit it would have been even better, but without them, I didn't have any gastric distress and was able to go to work the next morning without any problems. The goat cheese I used had a rind on it that had been soaked in red wine, and it was wonderful cheese. I hope I can find it again, and, I apologize, but I don't remember the brand name, just that I bought it at Kroger.

The last time I went grocery shopping, I went to Food Depot, specifically because they were selling fresh peaches for 38¢ a pound, and I LOVE fresh peaches. So, I over bought, but even so, didn't lose any of them. Part of them went into a Peach and Strawberry Shortcake, and with plenty of whipped topping, it was fantastic. Several of them were eaten out of hand, leaning over the kitchen sink to catch the juice, lol. And the last six went into this Peach Crisp, which altho I liked it, and ate all of it, wasn't one of the best I've ever had, so I learned something from it: even if a recipe for it calls for vanilla, don't use it. Don't use cinnamon, either. Just peaches and sugar, about 1/3 cup, I guess.

Peach Crisp(vegan)

6 good-sized peaches, peeled and sliced(I just used a sharp knife and peeled away, but, to make it easier, you can drop the whole peaches into a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds, then take them out and put them into a bowl of ice water. The skins should slip right off after that.).

1/3 cup sugar

Place peaches in a lightly greased 9"round pie pan, and stir in the sugar. Set aside while you prepare the "crisp." And preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Mix together 1/3 cup EACH raw oatmeal, flour, and, if you like, shredded coconut. If you don't want to use, or don't have, the coconut, just use equal amounts of the oatmeal and flour to equal one cup...duh, 1/2 cup each, lol.

Cream together 1 stick margarine(light Blue Bonnet, or, Earth Balance)and 2/3 cup packed brown sugar, until light and fairly fluffy. Use a mixer if you wish, but I just used a fork. It doesn't have to be perfect.

Mix the dry ingredients with the margarine mixture, and crumble over the peaches. You'll probably have to use your fingers to get it spread relatively evenly over the peaches, but again, it doesn't have to be perfect.

Put it in the oven and leave it there for about 45 minutes...start checking after 30 minutes. The peaches and the topping should be just about bubbling, and while not exactly set hard, sort of set in an almost jiggly way, and still moist. Now, you can cool this or eat it hot, your choice. If I'd had any, I would have put either whipped topping or vanilla ice cream with this, but I didn't have any, so I didn't. 'Tis ok, it was still good.

I think that's all for this week, so until next time, Happy Eating!!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Coconut Jasmine Rice(vegan)

Tuesday was another Kidney Jerk day, so Debra picked me up about 9:45am and off we went. After we left the Jerk's office, we went on to the library, where I had to make myself stop picking out books at 12. Last time we went, I had a very difficult time finding enough to make me happy, and this time, it broke my heart, but I had to stop. But I found a couple books that I've been wanting to read: "The DaVinci Code," by Dan Brown, and another one of the "The .....Tale," by Margaret Frazier. The DaVinci Code is a wonderful book, and much to my delight, at one point in the book, I "solved" one of the riddle clues before the heroes did, lol. The one by Margaret Frazier is one of a series of about 16 books, of which I've read about eight, I think, which is all the library has had, until they stocked this new one, "The Tale of the Reever." These "tales" are all set back in the 1300's, and the detective heroine is a nun. Incredible how she solves murder mysteries without the aid of our modern technology, but, she does! And holds me spellbound thruout the whole book to boot!

The jasmine rice recipe is a spinoff of the coconut rice recipe I posted a while back, but a little more complicated, and a whole lot better tasting. When I made this, I didn't use a recipe, but most likely someone has put it out there on the web somewhere. All I did was check to be sure I wasn't duplicating the earlier one I posted, and I wasn't. I ate the rice with the heated up Moorish Chickpea Stew I posted last week, and much to my delight...and surprise...the stew was MUCH better the second time around, and the rice turned out to be perfect with it, with the sweetness of the rice offsetting the sort of bitter taste of the stew. It was perfect, and I hope to make it again some day.

Coconut Jasmine Rice
1C rice
1(15-oz.)can of coconut milk, plus about half a can of water.
1/2 tsp. cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla
a handful of unsweetened shredded, dried coconut, toasted until light brown in a dry skillet over medium heat, about ten minutes.
Salt if you wish, but I didn't, and didn't see any need for it.

Bring the coconut milk to boil, add the rice, stir it into the water, and after you've covered the pot, turn the heat down so the rice simmers very gently for about 20 minutes, or until tender. Check it after about ten minutes or so, to see if you think it's going to need more liquid. Mine did, so I added half the can of water to the rice and milk, recovered it, and let it alone fro the next ten minutes.

When the rice was done, I added the cinnamon and nutmeg, as well as the shredded coconut, and stirred it all together. Took the pot off the heat and stirred in the vanilla, and that was it: Coconut Jasmine Rice. And, yes, I will make it again sometime.

Until next time, Happy Eating!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Moorish Style Chickpea and Spinach Stew(vegan); Cucumbers in Sour Cream(vegan)

This recipe today is another one from the NPR(National Public Radio?)"How Low Can You Go?" contest, and was sent in by Chef Jose Andres. I found it in "The Simple Dollar" newsletter, and thought it looked good enough to try. The author of "The Simple Dollar" made the recipe the way he found it, and then made an adaptation of it, and this is the adaptation. Hope you like it~!

Moorish Style Chickpea & Spinach Stew

2 cans chickpeas
Garlic powder to equal six cloves
1/4C extra virgin olive oil
3/4C bread crumbs
2Tbs. EACH paprika and red wine vinegar
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 pound spinach, washed and cleaned
salt and pepper to taste

Rinse chickpeas thoroughly, then put them in a pan with 1 1/2C water, and bring it to a boil. In another pan, bring the olive oil to a boil, and then remove it from the heat for 2 minutes. While stirring the olive oil, add the paprika, cumin, garlic, red wine vinegar, then slowly add the bread crumbs and set this aside. When the beans are boiling, add the spinach and allow it to boil for five minutes, stirring a bit. Add in the olive oil mixture, stir, and allow to boil another 5 minutes. Serve with crusty bread.

Well, I was sorely disappointed. The photos of this stew looked really yummy, and the author of the newsletter said his family liked it quite a lot. The recipe itself sounded good, too. I followed the recipe closely, with the exception of cooking my own chickpeas from dried ones, instead of opening a couple cans. And I got a little scared when the olive oil started smoking instead of boiling, so turned the heat off right then. I don't know how much of a difference that would have made, tho, and everything sizzled nicely when I stirred it into the hot oil. There's plenty left, so I'm pretty sure I'll eat it at least once more, because it is edible, even tho I'm not too fond of it. I certainly can't bring myself to toss it out...just yet. Y'know, I think I'd like it a lot better if I made it the next time with cannellini beans.

I didn't have any crusty bread, so I made a few boxed mix biscuits, and I also made a dish of cucumbers in sour creme for a cooling effect...and was glad I did, really.

Cucumbers in Sour Creme
1C diced cucumber, 1 C sour creme, 1Tbs. snipped fresh dill, and 1/4 tsp. salt.
Mix it all together, let it chill for at least 15 minutes, and enjoy. That's all there is to it~!!!!

At least the biscuits and cucumbers were good, lol. I think tonight I'll finish the cucumbers with "beefless gyro" sammich.

Until next time, Happy Eating!!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tomato Pie(non-vegan)

Good morning, and welcome back. How has your week been going? Mine has been ok, nothing out of the ordinary, which, altho boring, is also nice, because it means I'm not in any kind of a crisis, and THAT is wonderful, lol.

One of my favorites, on the left of the page, is "," and I get a daily newsletter from there. Two times lately, the author has posted recipes from an NPR(National Public Radio?)contest called "How Low Can You Go?" Folks have sent in all kinds of recipes, all supposed to be under $10 to prepare, for a family of, I think, four. Anyway. I followed a couple links from one of the recipes in his newsletter, and one of them took me to the NPR contest site, which is where I found this Tomato Pie recipe, from Kathy Lloyd, of Pittsfield, Massachusetts. If you're interested, the link to NPR is, but you'll have to do a search for the contest itself.

Kathy Lloyd's Tomato Pie

Make one biscuit recipe from a boxed biscuit mix. Use it as a pie crust and bake it. Place either ceramic baking beads or another pie plate on top of it to keep it from rising out of control.

Layer in the pie crust sweet onions[such as Vidalias]piled high and sliced thin, generally one big one. Then use fresh tomatoes, not too thinly sliced, about two pounds. Season each layer of tomatoes with salt, fresh cracked pepper, and fresh basil.

Make a top crust with two cups shredded cheddar cheese and one cup mayo. Mix the cheese and mayo with your hands and squish it all over the pie like a top crust. Bake at 350ºF for 45-60 minutes. On the crust, I used half goat cheese, half mayo, but you have to have the mayo to make the crust.

Now, I don't know about you, but to me, those directions are a little confusing in places. "Each layer" of tomatoes? How many layers? And what temperature should the biscuit crust bake at, for how long? Are the directions on the box? I'm sure the end product is good, but I'm NOT sure about how to get there.

So. Here's what I did, instead of Ms. Lloyd's pie: tarts...sort of, lol. A couple years ago, one of my customer's kids was selling stuff for his school, so I ordered a dozen of the silicone muffin cups from him, and have been so glad that I did, many time. These babies are wonderful: you can bake them up to 500ºF, they sit on a baking sheet all by themselves and don't need liners or to be greased, and they wash easily, too. So I used those instead of an actual tart pan, which I odn't have anyway, and instead of regular muffin tins...which I do have, but prefer not to use.

My crust recipe comes off the box of Kroger brand biscuit mix, and is actually for a pizza. I think I've posted it here before, but I'm not going to take the time to hunt for it. Just know that it's a very, very acceptable substitution for a real pizza crust, but no yeast, and very easy.

1 1/2 C biscuit mix
1/4 C HOT water
1 Tbs. oil

Mix all together to form a soft dough, and then mix well for about 20 strokes. Then let the dough rest for about 8 minutes. Then, after the 8 minutes, I put the dough on a floured cutting board, greased my hands well with olive oil and slid them up and down my rolling pin, so it wouldn't stick to the dough, and rolled it out until it was about 1/4 inch thick, close to a six by six inch square. I used a drinking glass to cut six rounds from the dough, and pushed the six rounds down into six of the silicone muffin cups(if you don't have the silicone cups, just grease six regular muffin tins, and after you've got the dough in the muffin tins, weigh it down with the ceramic thingies or even dried beans), and set the other six cups inside these, to keep the crust from rising too high. I had already preheated the oven to 450ºF...and btw, the cups were sitting on a small metal cookie sheet...and so I put the cookie sheet in the oven. Ok, even tho the cups are good to 500ºF, I didn't like the smell coming from the oven, so I turned it down to 450ºF, and that took care of the smell. After about eight minutes I checked on the little crusts, but the were too soft. Ultimately it took about 12 minutes to brown them a little bit, but they didn't get crisp, which was fine with me.

Ok, now. You'll need one large tomato, and about half of a large onion, some oregano, about 3/4 of a cup of mayo, and as much cheese as you like. We're working with a smaller amount than the pie would be, so you won't need the full two cups of cheese, or the full two pounds of tomatoes.

First, I lowered the oven temperature again, down to 350ºF. Then I diced the onion finely, and put about two teaspoonsful into each little pastry cup, and sprinkled them well with oregano. On top of the onion and oregano, I laid a good slice of tomato, sort of folding it if necessary to keep it inside the cup. I sprinkled the tomato slices with black pepper. Now for the fun part, lol. I can't use dairy cheddar, even tho I love it, and I do NOT like the vegetarian cheddar, so I totally used goat cheese, probably about a cup in all. Use whatever cheese you have and like, crumbled up to mix well with the 3/4 cup mayo. After you've mixed them together, spoon the resulting glop(good stuff, tho)on top of each cup, put the whole shebang in the oven, and wait about, oh, 30 minutes, I think. The whole thing should be hot, and the mayo and cheese should be oozing and lightly browned.

Ok, are these good? OH HELL YEAH! LOL! I ate three of them, one right after the other, and I've eaten another one, cold out of the 'fridge, this morning. If you and your family like pizza, you will like these, I assure you. And you can experiment with them until the cows come home, too. Don't like oregano? The original recipe calls for basil...try thyme...try tarragon...add some minced garlic...use different cheeses...whatever you think you'll like. I don't think you can screw these up. And I also think that instead of the biscuit dough crusts, you could use...ohhhhhhh, no, senior moment, know, it's the flaky crust on Napoleons, on Baklava, I can't think of it, sigh. And I love it. Anyway, if you figured out what I mean, I think it would be good, too, lol. HAH! Phyllo! Got it, lol. It's rough getting'll find out for yourself one of these days, lol.

Now, will I make these again? I honestly don't know. They were fairly labor intensive, but not all that bad, so yes, I think someday I'll make them again, and I think that I will do it as a pie next time. These would make good appetizers for a party, I think, whereas the pie could be sliced and served at dinner as a side dish.

Until next time, Happy Eating!!!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Another New(to me)Website.

I came across this website today courtesy of the email newsletter from "The Simple Dollar." The site's url is , and I think I've fallen in love, lol. What this site does is hook you up to recipes that utilize things you have in your kitchen. On the left side of the page is a box where you put the ingredient you have, and once you do, the right side of the page pops up with ideas for using that ingredient. For instance, I typed in potatoes, cabbage, and onions, and a bunch of recipes popped up, the first three of which I was informed that I had all that was needed for that one. I don't remember all three recipes, but the one I did like the looks of, and clicked on, was "Vegetarian Bubble and Squeek." Anyway, I hope you check the site out...and if the link in this post doesn't work, it's also on the left of the page here, under "JB's Favorites..." and I hope you enjoy it.

The hash I made from the leftover potatoes and chickpea sausage patties was wonderful. I cut up half a large onion, and let it cook in canola oil and margarine until it was almost, but not quite, caramelized. While the onion was cooking, I diced up the two cooked potatoes, just as finely as I could, and covered them with smoked paprika. When the onions were the way i wanted them, about 15 minutes, I guess, I scraped the 'taters in on top of them, and then put the leftover sausage mixture on top of the 'taters. Stirred it all up, let it get brown and crispy on one side and then turned it over and continued cooking it, until most of it had crisped up nicely. It was really and truly terrific, and is going to be one of my favorite meals, I think.

Until next time, Happy Eating!!!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Chickpea Sausage Patties(vegan)

This recipe is another one from and is one that I think is really good, and has the potential to be very versatile, as well. In fact, my supper tonight will be the leftover patties fried with leftover, cooked potatoes, sort of a hash. I think the side vegetable will just be canned(with no sodium added)French style green beans, one of my favorites. I didn't really time myself last evening, but seems like it took me about 45 minutes to get this ready to cook, but that included soaking time for the tvp granules, getting everything out, and the fact that I'm just naturally slow in the kitchen...any time I'm not at work, in fact!!! So you'll probably be able to get it ready in about 30 minutes,maybe less, ok?

Chickpea Sausage Patties

1/2 C TVP granules soaked 5-10 minutes in 1/3C boiling water
1 1/2 C cooked chickpeas(I used drained and rinsed canned ones)
2T Bragg's Amino Acid or soy sauce
1Tbs. vegan Worcestershire sauce
2Tbs. canola oil plus more for frying
1tsp. liquid smoke
1/2 tsp EACH dried marjoram, sage, and onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 C EACH dried bread crumbs, and vital wheat gluten

In a large bowl, mash chickpeas with potato masher or a fork until no whole chickpeas are left. Stir in everything except the wheat gluten. Now add the wheat gluten and stir vigorously for a minute or so. Form into 10-12 patties and fry in a little canola oil over medium heat until nice and brown on both sides.

Ok, possibly I did something wrong, altho I followed the recipe to the letter, but my patties fell apart. Badly. That didn't affect the flavour at all, but it didn't look as pretty as patties would have. I also felt like another 1/2 to 1 tsp more of liquid smoke would have been good, and I didn't have any marjoram, so I used tarragon instead. Over all, tho, I was delighted with the results, and can see me doing this again, quite often. I'm thinking that with a fairly thick gravy of some sort it would be a good base for another Shepherd's Pie, and I also think it would make a lovely meatless loaf. And, it's good cold the next day, so it would probably make good sammiches...maybe grilled with some kind of vegetarian cheese, or even real dairy cheese if you prefer. As I said earlier, I'm going to make hash with the leftovers tonight, and am really looking forward to it.

Until next time, Happy Eating!!!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Hot Spinach Salad w/Feta(non-vegan); More about the kidney jerkl

This past Tuesday, the 7th, I was scheduled for my second visit with the kidney guy/jerk. Well! I sat in the waiting room, and I sat,and I sat, and I sat, and finally, his assistant came out, and, long story short: The doctor wasn't even in the building, he was running late, and there were three patients ahead of me. Sooooooo, I called my friend to come and get me, wrote that I would re-schedule on the sign-in sheet, and I left. Period. I was there roughly 45 minutes, the couple ahead of me had been there over an hour, and nobody had bothered to come out and tell the jerk's patients that he was late. Forgive me, but I have serious issues with that situation, and think it was unbelieveably inconsiderate, as well as not even close to being professional. However, I do have to see him again, so I will make another appointment. Sometime. In the meantime, it's been at least a week since I talked to the rheumatoligist's scheduler, and still haven't heard anything from them. I'm just very, very grateful that none of this is life-threatening, because I think that I'd most likely have died by now, from waiting for these "specialists" to decide what to do with me and my life. I'm pissed. Period.

None of that has anything to do with the hot spinach salad, does it? Nope, it doesn't, so I'll right to the point now. The original recipe wasn't for a hot salad, so this is an adaptation of a recipe I found in "Eating Well." When I read the original recipe, I thought, "Oh, yum...and I just actually happen to have a bag of baby spinach in the 'fridge." I had bought it to make something else, but since I don't remember what, I used it for the salad. The reason I decided to go with a hot salad is that I'm still kinda leery about raw bagged "stuff" in general, after the E.Coli scare a few months back. So, here's my recipe.

Hot Spinach Salad with Feta Cheese
One 10-oz. bag baby spinach, thoroughly rinsed and left very wet
Feta cheese...I used Vigo, which is made with sheep's milk. Use any kind you prefer...or leave it out entirely and make the salad vegan.
About two tablespoonsful olive oil
One heaping teaspoonful minced garlic(mine is from a jar, always)
About one teaspoonful Balsamic vinegar

Heat the olive oil in a skillet big enough to hold the spinach, remembering that the spinach will wilt and cook wayyyyy down. Toss the minced garlic in the pan, and let it sit until the oil is hot. Put the very wet spinach in the pan when the oil is hot, cover it, and let it cook down...if you want to, you can salt and pepper it now, but Feta cheese is wicked salty, so be careful. All I used was the black pepper. Once the spinach has wilted, crumble as much of the Feta cheese over it as you like. I guess I used about 3/4 cupful, because I love the stuff. Sprinkle about a teaspoonful of Balsamic vinegar over it all, stir, and let it sort of stew for a few minutes, just enough to let the flavors marry. Oh, yeah, I didn't put this in the ingredient list...obviously I'll never be a cookbook author...but I also peeled and diced up a big, red tomato, and put this in right after the cheese. If you don't have a tomato, I don't see why you couldn't use canned, drained, diced 'maters, do you? Anyway, that's all there is to it. It's one of those recipes that you can add to, or subtract from, or multiply, whatever. Different seasonings if you like, different type of cheese...goat cheese would be nice, too...or no cheese at all, maybe shredded carrots or minced onions, whatever. Play with it, make it yours.

Did I like this? Oh, yeah, very much! I ate all of it, by myself, in two evenings. Will I make it again? Possibly, but basically it falls into that category of "I'd love to have more of this if someone else would cook it," tho. And I don't have the Vigo Feta very often, as Kroger doesn't sell it: All their Fetas are made with cow's milk, and I can't handle the dairy. Since I cooked the spinach anyway, I think if I make it again, I'll just use frozen spinach. All I know for sure is that I really liked it. With it I had boiled potatoes and cubed seitan in onion gravy. Wonderful meal!!!!

Until next time, Happy Eating.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Vegan French Onion Dip; French Onion Biscuits(Vegan, I think.)

Again with two posts in one day...obviously I'm feeling a little better this week. Thankfully, I've managed to find some pain meds that work a little better, and I'm just in a better frame of mind, as well. Plus, my boss and I have finally worked out a new schedule for me that seems to satisfy both of least, for now.

Vegan French Onion Dip

1 medium onion, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
1Tbs. EACH balsamic vinegar and olive oil
1tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 12-oz. container vegan sour cream, such as Tofutti
1/2tsp. low-sodium soy sauce and 1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1. Preheat oven to 450ºF. Toss together onion, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper on baking sheet. Bake 18 minutes, or until onions are browned. Transfer onion to bowl, and cool.

2. Coarsely chop onion slices and return to bowl; stir in sour cream, soy sauce, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to serving bowl, and enjoy with chips, crackers, and veggies.

Ok, it's not bad at all just the way it is, but if I make it again, I think I will use two medium onions, and after they're out of the oven, I will dice them much, much smaller than "coarsely." I also think I should have left them in the oven longer than the 18 minutes, but keeping an eye on them, so that they don't blacken instead of brown. And, this just doesn't have quite enough "ooomph" to suit me, so I'm thinking that maybe a small shot of white wine vinegar or lemon juice, and maybe a shake or two of garlic powder. It's your ball game, play it any way you want to. Like I said, it's not bad just the way the recipe makes it.

This biscuit recipe was sent to me by one of my cyber-sisters, but I have no clue where she got it from. It's the reason I made the French onion dip...and btw, I was delighted to stumble across the recipe for the dip, as I wasn't looking for it. Serendipity, I suppose!

French Onion Biscuits

2 C Bisquick mix
1/4 C milk(I used soy milk...rice milk would be very good, too)
1-8 oz. container of French Onion Dip(so I used one cup of my homemade dip)

Preheat oven to 450ºF.

Mix everything together in a bowl, and stir until a soft dough forms. Drop dough into 6 mounds onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 12-14 minutes or until light brown. Serve warm.

To get a soft dough, I had to use just about a whole cup of soy milk. The recipe made eight good-sized mounds, not six, and took about 15 minutes to get as brown as I like them. These are pretty good, but, quite frankly, not worth the trouble I went thru. Now, if I had gone out and bought some real, honest-to-goodness French onion dip, the biscuits might have been a lot better, I really don't know. I don't think it would've been a vegan recipe if I had, but again, I don't really know. There's about another cup of the dip in my fridge, and I sure wish I had some cucumbers...that would be sooooo good, I think. Dice up the cukes, add a little more black pepper, and mix 'em in with the dip. Yum!

Until next time, Happy Eating!!!

TVP Sausage Crumbles #2(vegan); Vegan Buttermilk Biscuits

I'm really enjoying fooling around with the TVP crumbles, and have found another sausage recipe, one that I like a little better than the first one I posted here. This new one is an adaptation of one that Barbara Kingsolver's daughter, Camille, put into the book, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle," by Barbara Kingsolver. The book is excellent, well written and very interesting, about the Kingsolver family's experiment to eat ONLY locally grown, harvested, and butchered foods for one whole year. Camille writes a lot of recipes for us, as well as writing down some of the family's menus for a week. Barbara raises turkeys, and her description of female turkeys in heat, and then being broody, had me roaring. If you've not read this book, I really wish you would.

Anyway, here's the #2 sausage recipe:

1C TVP granules, hydrated per package instructions(1 cup dry granules, 7/8 cup boiling water, mix together and allow to sit for about 15 minutes. Easy. Or I wouldn't bother with it, you know that, right?)
1/4 cup minced onion
2 tsp. minced garlic(I use the kind in a jar. Easy.)
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/2 to3/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. EACH dried oregano and dried thyme
black pepper to taste
pinch cayenne...optional...use more if you like. I didn't use any. I don't like hot.

Mix the seasonings in a bowl. Add the TVP and combine well. Either form the mixture into patties and fry in a little oil until browned, or fry the crumbles as is in oil.

After I had the crumbles browned the way I wanted them, I added two cups of water, and let it come to a boil. Then I added one tbs. of cornstarch, mixed in about a quarter cup of water, stirred that well, and let it come to a boil, and then a simmer for just a few minutes.

It was good the way it was over biscuits, altho I have to admit that I used too much cumin, the 3/4 tsp. was too much for me. The next night I added about 3/4 cup of frozen peas and carrots and about another cup of water, and let that come to a boil, and then a simmer for about ten minutes. That was even better, and I put it over potatoes. And, did the same thing the third night, by which time, it was gone. I'll make it again, but with less cumin. Seems to me that it would be a good base for a Shepherd's Pie: don't use quite as much water, so that it would be thicker, put it in a greased pan, and cover the top with mashed potatoes. Bake it at 350ºF for about 30 minutes, or until it's bubbling and the 'taters are brown.

The "buttermilk" biscuits are from an old cookbook of mine, called "The Metropolitan Cookbook," put out by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, copyright 1953.

"Buttermilk" Biscuits
Preheat oven to 450ºF................................makes about 12 biscuits

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup shortening
2/3 to3/4 cup buttermilk: one cup soy milk with one tablespoon cider vinegar OR lemon juice, stir, and allow to sit for a few minutes.

Mix dry ingredients together. Blend in shortening with fingertips or pastry blender. Mixture should resemble coarse cornmeal. Add enough milk to make soft dough which can be handled, stirring with fork. Turn out onto slightly floured board. Knead lightly for about 1/2 minute and roll or pat to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut with 2-inch floured cutter or glass. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet from 12-15 minutes. Or, ignore all that, and drop by spoonsfuls onto the cookie sheet, and bake just the same. Easy. Guess which way I do it!?!?!

So, there ya go, gravy recipe and a biscuit recipe. Now scramble some tofu, and have you a good breakfast. Until next time, Happy Eating!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Kidney Specialist....

My world is very sunny and hot lately, with heat indices over 100ºF, which is just darned hot for me. I am soooooo ready for winter, I really am. During the winter, I promise you that not once will you hear me say I'm ready for summer, tho. Never.

It's been almost two weeks since I've posted, my apologies, but I haven't felt much like cooking anything new. Or much of anything at all, really. Most of what I have cooked has been using up the stuff in the fridge, so it doesn't spoil. For instance, I used the last of the cabbage, carrots, and sprouting(really. VERY sprouting, lol)potatoes in a sort of boiled dinner, and then I used the leftovers from that the next night to make a vegetable hash: everything diced fine and fried up together, then a little apple cider vinegar poured over it. Very, very good!

But, all in all, I really am not feeling up to doing much lately. The visit to the kidney man went well. I am not dying, and I am not facing dialysis, both of which I am very grateful for. He thinks that the poor functioning of my kidney is reversible, that it is caused from too many ibuprofen for too many years, and has taken me completely off ibuprofen, as well as my pain med, Tramadol, and instead, has put me on Vicoden, and told me that I may use Tylenol. Sigh. It's not working, and I am in awe of how much the "cocktail" of ibuprofen and Tramadol had stopped my pain. I am now hurting in places that I didn't realize that I hurt...and am just about out of the vicoden to boot.

Kidney man has insisted that I go to a rheumatologist, but this isn't proving all that easy. I finally got to speak with her "scheduler" this AM, only to be told that they would have to contact kidney man for my records, have the records faxed to their office, and then they'd contact me about setting up an appointment. Oh, goody. Wonder how long this is going to take?!?!? Mainly all I can tell you is that I am heartily tired of people sticking needles in my arms and telling me to pee in a cup for them!! Next time someone offers to stick a needle in your arm, or asks you to pee in a cup, just tell them, "Not today, thanks.!!!!" LOL!!

I'll be back with more recipes eventually, but in the meantime, please keep me in your prayers, and, Happy Eating!!!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Coconut Rice Pudding(vegan)

Back again...twice in one! This pudding came about because of the vanilla tofu I mentioned in the last post. I had leftover jasmine rice in the refrigerator, I had the tofu, I had coconut milk, and I had unsweetened shredded coconut. So, all I needed was someone to tell me how to put them all together into a pudding. My google search took me to
This is a great site, and this recipe is from someone there named Chris. It's a wonderful recipe, and Chris, thank you for posting it.

Coconut Rice Pudding(vegan)

2C each cooked rice, and soy milk
1/4C sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 of a 6-oz package of silken tofu
2/3C raisins
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 Tbs vegan margarine

In a medium sized saucepan, combine rice, 1 1/2 cup of the soy milk, the sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until it starts to get a little thicker, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, blend the silken tofu and the other 1/2 C soy milk in a blender until smooth and creamy. Add to the pan along with raisins, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. Cook about 2 minutes longer. Turn off heat and add margarine, stir until margarince is melted.
For coconut variation, replace 1C of the soy milk with coconut milk, omit raisins, and add a drained can of pineapple chunks. Can replace vanilla with coconut extract, but if you don't have any, don't worry about it.

Ok. First, I used only coconut milk, no soy milk at all. My silken tofu was the vanilla flavored, and if you haven't used it yet, you need to know that it is already textured like a pudding. It doesn't have to be drained or pressed, use it straight from the package. Second, I think, for me, anyway, that if I make this again, I will cut the cinnamon to only 1/4 tsp. The nutmeg is fine, but I added 1/2 tsp. of vanilla, instead of the 1/4, and was very pleased...but, I love vanilla. You might not. No raisins. I don't like raisins. No pineapple, either, as I didn't have any, and don't like it one bit! So instead of the pineapple, I added one good handful of the shredded coconut. OMG! This stuff is just soooooooooo good, it really is. I made it last night, and I hate to admit it, but I finished it this morning, lol. It's not something I'm going to make very often, I know, but I sure am glad that I tried it this time!!!

Until next time, Happy Eating!!!

Crookneck Squash/Zucchini Casserole(can be veganized); Cashew Gravy(vegan)

Welcome back to my world, very hot, sunny, and humid! Makes me awfully glad I don't have to be outside at all, believe me. There are a couple AT&T trucks across the street, doing whatever it is that phone men do, with the orange vests and the heavy hardhats on, and they truly have my sympathy today. It has to be miserable wearing those things in weather like this.

My first appointment with the kidney specialist is this coming Tuesday, the 23rd, at 11am. My boss is NOT happy about it, but since this doctor really is a specialist, we have to do what HE says, and not what Waffle House says, so I won't be working that day. tsk. gee. darn. breaks my heart...snicker. Anyway, please, again, keep me in your prayers, ok? Thanks.

Kroger is coming up in the world, and has stocked three new vegetarian/vegan products in the health food department, and I am delighted. The first one I noticed was seitan, two different flavors, but I don't remember what the flavors were. Sorry...senior moment, y'know. One of these days it will happen to you, too, I'm quite sure. The second product I noticed was the flavored tofus!!!! YIPPEE!!! They are vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. I bought the vanilla one. And btw, I didn't bother with the seitan, as it is almost $3 for a box that looks like no more than two servings...I could be wrong...and I also have a log of it in my freezer. It's also ridiculously easy to make, and Kroger sells the vital wheat gluten needed for it. Anyway, I've digressed, sorry. The third thing I found was Tofutti "cheese," in two flavors: American, and Mozzarella, so I bought the Mozzarella. If it's a Tofutti product, then it's vegan, correct? I didn't see anything in the list of ingredients that would say otherwise, so I guess it is vegan.

So, on to the recipes: The crookneck squash/zucchini casserole was basically to use one of the fresh green bell peppers my neighbor grew and gave me, and to try the new vegan mozzarella "cheese." The only thing non-vegan about it is the goat cheese crumbles I used, so to veganize it, leave them out. Possibly you could use nutritional yeast, or more of the Tofutti cheeses in its place. Your of the great things about vegetarian cooking: you can play with a recipe any way you want to, and make it yours. And yes, I know I've said that before, lol.

Crookneck Squash/Zucchini Casserole

2 smallish yellow crookneck squashes, and two small zucchinis
1 bell pepper...mine was green, but I bet red would look really cool
1 medium onion, sliced into thin rings
3/5-oz. package goat cheese crumbles
five slices of Tofutti brand mozzarella "cheese"
About 1/2 tsp. oregano
About 1 tsp. smoked paprika
Black pepper to taste
A few good shakes of Japanese mirin(sweetened rice wine for cooking)

Preheat oven to 375ºF
Butter(ok, I use Blue Bonnet margarine, vegans can use Earth Balance)a 13"X9" baking pan. Slice the squash and the zucchini the long way, in thin "slabs." Core and seed the bell pepper, and dice it. Slice the onion into really thin rings. First layer is the zucchini slices, a good handful of the diced pepper, a good handful of the onion rings, and half the package of goat cheese crumbles. Second layer is the yellow squash, and then repeat the first layer, ending with the goat cheese and a few splashes of the mirin. Sprinkle the oregano and the smoked paprika over the top, and then layer the "cheese" slices across the top. Put all this in the oven and leave it there for 30-45 minutes, until the cheeses are bubbly and the veggies are tender. Take out of the oven, scoop onto a plate, and eat. Makes about four servings, I think.

I was totally impressed with myself, lol. This is wonderful, I love it, and I ate it again the next night, and will eat it again tonight. Before I started, I went to, to find out what temperature and how long to cook it, and the recipe that I took the temp and time from used tomatoes as one layer, so if you wanted to, that's another option for you. I didn't want to, but if I'd had any fresh ones, I think I would use them. Even tho I used oregano, if you don't want to, or don't have any, try basil, thyme, tarragon, whatever you have or like. I even think that mint might work, too. If you want to make it with just the squash, or jsut the zucchini, that's fine, too. And FYI, while mine was baking, it smelled like a pizza! Sort of tasted like one, me a downside to that, eh?

With the casserole I had a baked potato with cashew gravy. I put the potato in the oven, at the same temp as the casserole, and waited about 30 minutes before I put the casserole in, and that way, they were done at the same time. While they were cooking, I made the cashew gravy...very, very easy and twice as good!!

Cashew Gravy(vegan)

2C water
1/2C cashews
2 Tbs. each cornstarch and onion powder
1/2 tsp. salt
Place everything in blender and liquify. In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, heat gravy, stirring constantly until thickened. Add more water if gravy becomes too thick. [ And it really will get thick, be aware of that.]

This is the third recipe I've used for cashew gravy, and
all of them have been really, really good. So, I don't think there's such a thing as a bad cashew gravy, lol. If you've never tried one, do so, and be prepared to be pleasantly surprised. Um, you do have to like cashews, tho...snicker. Until next time, Happy Eating.
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