Friday, May 29, 2009

TVP Taco Recipe; Summer Sammich Ideas

This has been a pretty good week. I found $50 that I thought I had lost, one of my cyber-sisters sent me a Terry Blackwell book in the mail: "True Light," the Imaging Center where I had the ultrasound and the CT scan sent me a cute little "thank you" card, AND a check for $10(evidently I overpaid my c0-pay for the ultrasound!), went to the library yesterday which is always a joy, and best of all, Wednesday afternoon at work, I had the time to sit and snuggle with my nine-week old great-grandson!!! He was trying so hard to tell me about the nasty doctor that had stuck the nasty and painful needles in his little legs, bless his heart. So, I told him I understoon how he felt, and that I don't like needles being stuck in me, either. I'm sure he understood me, too. LOL!!!

I've spent the last five hours browsing three new-to-me websites, which mostly don't have much to do with food or cooking. The three of them have been added to my list of favorite websites, on the left of the page, and as of this moment I haven't checked them to see if the links work, but I will, and if they don't, I'll fix them. One is EasyEarth, and that one does have a section about food, and a few vegetarian, not vegan, recipes. The main reason I went there, tho, was to find some recipes for homemade, and "green," cleaning supplies, which I did find. Another site is TheSimpleDollar, and is one man's blog about being frugal, which another subject near and dear to my heart. The third one is Yes!magazine, and it's, well, it's about all sorts of things. I linked to it from the SimpleDollar, I think, to check out an article called "Sustainable Happiness," lol. And have signed up for the well as the newsletter from TheSimpleDollar, too. EarthEasy has one, but for reasons of my own, I chose not to subscribe to theirs.

About three weeks ago, I went into this little town's far as I food store, and altho I was extremely disappointed in it, I did fine some TVP, and some, um, wakame, I think...maybe it was dulse, but I don't think so. Anyway. So, I've been looking around for recipes using TVP, and while I've found several, this one really seemed like a good one, so I made it last night. Yup, it's a good one, and it comes from, thanks to Jolinda Hackett, the vegetarian pages blogger. She does a fantastic job, and if you've never checked the vegetarian pages out over there, do yourself a favor, and do so. Sometime today. Anyway....

Ten Minute TVP Taco Recipe
2 cups each TVP and water
2 Tbs. each soy sauce and olive oil or vegetable oil
1 package taco seasoning
1 red or yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
1/4 cup salsa
flour tortillas or hard taco shells

In large skillet, heat water, over medium heat and add the TVP, stirring well. Allow the TVP to reconstitute for 2-3 minutes.

Add oil, soy sauce, peppers, and seasoning, stirring well. Allow to cook another 3-5 minutes.

Serve wrapped in tortillas or hard taco shell. Eat as is, vegan, or add tomatoes, lettuce, refried beans, sour cream, cheese.

I made some refried beans with diced onions in them. Spread a tortilla with a goodly amount of plain chevre goat cheese, plopped on some of the beans, and covered it all with a good bit of the TVP taco mix. Rolled it all up, heated the tortilla until lightly browned on two sides, and ate. I will most definitely do this again. In fact, there's a fully made and rolled up tortilla in the freezer right now, as well as a fair amount of the taco mix still in the refrigerator. I think I'm going to top a couple small baked potatoes with it and some cheese for supper tonight, along with some kind of vegetable. I can also tell you that the taco mix and a couple slices of the vegetarian smoked provolone cheese make on helluva great grilled sammich, too!!!!

Yesterday at the library, I checked out another cookbook: "The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook," by Cathe Olson, and while I no longer have little kids at home, the book is definitely a winner, seriously. One of these days I'm going to try to find it, and add it to my home collection of cookbooks. One section of her book is called "Sandwiches and Quick Lunch Ideas," and some of these sammich ideas sound really, really good. Now, for the most part, you know I won't post a recipe here unless I've tried it and can vouch for it, but this is one of those times I'm going to break my own rule(hey, at my age, that's subject to happen a LOT!!), and give you three or four sammich recipes that I think look like they would be awfully good. It would take me quite a while to get around to trying all of them myself, so, I decided to post them. And, here goes:

Spinach-Hummus Wrap...vegan

1 large whole grain tortilla or slice flatbread(lavash)
1/4 to 1/3 cup Hummus
1/2 cup chopped spinach
2 to 3 Tbs. each diced cucumbers, tomatoes, and/or shredded carrots(all optional)

Liberally spread tortilla or flatbread with hummus. Layer vegetables over hummus and roll up. Wrap tightly with wax paper, foil, or plastic wrap until ready to eat. It will keep for couple of days wrapped and refrigerated. Makes 1 serving.

Veggie-Apple Melt...can be made vegan

2 slices whole grain bread.
2 tsp. EACH Dijon mustard and mayonnaise(regular OR vegan)
4 apple slices
2 Tbs. shredded carrots
2 to 4 cucumber rounds
2 Tbs. alfalfa sprouts
2 thin slices cheddar cheese(dairy OR non-dairy)

Preheat toaster or conventional oven to 375ºF. Spread one slice of bread with mustard, the other with mayonnaise. On mustard side, place apple slices and carrots. On mayo slice, place cucumber slices and sprouts. Cover each with a slice of cheese. Place on baking sheet and bake 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

My apologies, because that's only two sammiches instead of three or four. I had forgotten that it was necessary to go to other pages in her book for more recipes for a couple of those sammiches, such as Beanballs for the Beanball Sub I was going to post, sigh. I'm just too darned lazy to look it up, so, again, my apologies. If you do try either of these sammiches, tho, I'd appreciate it if you'd leave me a comment. Until next time, Happy Eating!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Vegetarian Reuben Sammich...non-vegan

Good afternoon...really rough day at work, holiday(Memorial Day), and we were very busy, very. I'm exhausted, and everything hurts, so I'm not going to take a lot of time here today.

First of all, this past Thursday, I had a CT scan for my kidney, but of course don't know the results yet. My doctor should get the results either tomorrow or Wednesday, and then he'll decide which specialist to send me to. I don't care. I just want to find out what's wrong, and how serious it is or isn't, and what can be done about it. Again, please keep me in your prayers. Thanks.

Once again, I don't really have a recipe for this veggie version of a Reuben sammich, but I odn't think it really matters. Sammiches are so much our own individual likes, that you can use as much or as little of the ingredients as you like, or you can add something, leave something out, whatever. This is just one more case of taking a "recipe" and making it your own.

Vegetarian Reuben Sammich
Peel, core, and thinly slice an apple. I chose a Red Delicious for this, but you can use any apple you like.

Peel an onion, cut it in half, and then thinly slice into half moon shapes.

Put the apple and onion in a skillet with some margarine or olive oil, and saute until the apple is soft and the onion has browned somewhat.

Throw in some sauerkraut, I guess I used about half of a 15-oz. can, and stir it all together until the sauerkraut is good and hot.

Spread some brown mustard on two slices of bread...I used sourdough...and put as much cheese as you want on one slice. I used the soy-based vegetarian Swiss-style cheese I found last week, but you can use any kind you want, or leave it out entirely. Up to you!

Spoon a goodly amount of the hot apple/onion/sauerkraut mixture onto the cheese, so that the cheese will soften and almost melt, put the other slice of bread on top, and there ya have it. How easy was that, eh? And if you feel energetic, you can butter the outsides of the bread and grill the whole thing, altho I didn't bother.

Next time, I've got a couple more for you, and may even have more of that, but don't know yet. Until next time, Happy Eating.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Angel Hair w/Zucchini and Bread Crumbs(Vegan); Homemade Coleslaw(can be vegan)

My Dad left to fly back to Maine Monday the 11th, and Sunday, which was Mother's Day, he wanted to find a bookstore so he could pick up a book to read on the flight home. So, after I got off work, he and I went to Borders. He found a couple paperback westerns, and I bought myself a copy of the magazine, "Vegetarian News," and one of Nava Atlas's cookbooks, "The Vegetarian Family Cookbook." This book is terrific. I'm only about halfway thru it, but have already found lots of good-sounding recipes I want to try(y'know, I don't think there's going to be enough time to try all the recipes I've found so far, as well as the ones I keep finding, almost daily, lol!). Ms. Atlas raised two sons on vegetarian meals, so I figured that if the kids would eat it, then the recipes in the book had to be pretty good, lol. The one I tried last night proved my point!

..............................Angel Hair w/Zucchini and Bread Crumbs...................................

4 slices whole-grain bread
10-12oz. angel hair pasta(cappellini)
3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
4 small zucchini, sliced, or 2 medium zucchini, quarterd lengthwise and sliced(about 1 1/2 pounds total)
1/4 C dry white wine, vegetable stock, or waater
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Place the bread in a food processor and whirl until it becomes fine crumbs.

2. Cook the pasta in plenty of rapidly boiling water until al dente, then drain.

3. Meanwhile, heat 2 tsp. of the oil in a wide skillet. Add the bread crumbs and cook over medium-high heat until they turn toasty brown and crisp. Transfer to a bowl.

4. Heat the remaining oil in the same skillet. Add the garlic and saute over los heat for 1-2 minutes, until golden. Stir in the zucchini and wine. Raise the heat to medium, and cook, stirring frequently, until the zucchini is tender-crisp, about 4 minutes. When done, remove the garlic cloves.

5. Combine the pasta and zucchini in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper and serve, topping each serving with some of the bread crumbs.

Ok, I didn't have any wine of any kind, so I used a couple splashes of white wine vinegar, and another 1/4-1/2 cup of water. I turned the heat up high under the zucchini and vinegar, so that it simmered away. The vinegar did the trick, it gave the dish a little added push that I liked, and didn't taste vinegary at all. I also added vegetarian Parmesan cheese to the crumbs, and then some more once I had it plated. Did I like this? Yes, very much, very much indeed. Will I make it again? Probably. It's somewhat labor intensive, but the end result is well worth it. It would make a good dish for a company dinner, I think.

The sidedish I chose was coleslaw, so I made some, first time in years, too. It turned out pretty good. Once again, no real recipe here. Recipes, as a general rule, aren't really needed for a lot of things. I'll find a recipe I think I'll like, and almost always do something to it to make it mine. That's one of the things I enjoy so much about vegetarian cooking, the fact that so many times I can look at a recipe and think of how to change it around just a little bit, but yet enough to make it mine. And, I'm digressing..."Going 'round Robin Hood's barn" is what my dear grandmother used to call it, lol. On to the coleslaw:

I used about a quarter of a medium head of cabbage, and one large carrot. Grated both of them into a mixing bowl, and added black pepper and mayonnaise. Well, that just seemed to be a tad too bland, so I added some apple cider vinegar(just a splash or two), a couple teaspoonsful of sugar, some garlic salt, and a splash of soy milk, mixed it all together, and that did it. It was excellent, and I loved it. It went nicely with the angelhair and zucchini, too.

One last thing I'd like to tell you before I go, is that I tried another of the vegetarian soy-based "cheeses" this week: Swiss flavor. It is surprisingly good, and tastes very much like the real thing. I'm glad I took the chance, and if it makes as good a grilled sammich as the smoked provolone flavor does, I'm gonna be doing the happy dance, lol. Until next time, Happy Eating!!!!

Two-Bean Vegetable Soup(Vegan); "Beefless" Stew w/Dumplings(probably vegan)

Good morning, beautiful, sunny day here in the metro Atlanta area, and I'm hoping it's a good day where you are, as well. About 30 minutes ago, I called my doctor, and kinda wish I hadn't, sigh. I think I mentioned a while back that I had to have a renal ultrasound, because my creatinine levels are too high, which means my kidneys aren't working right. So, I had the ultrasound, and this morning, Doctor told me that it shows a mass in my right kidney. I am NOT pleased. This is NOT what i wanted to hear, not today, not yesterday, not any day at all, ok? Doctor is going to call my insurance company for me today, and get the referral for either a CT scan or an MRI, and I'll see him tomorrow, as I need my pain med 'script rewritten. Needless to say, I'm scared. Maybe it's just a cyst. Whatever. Please keep me in your prayers. Thanks.

Yesterday was a really good day, one of the best in a long time, as far as feeling good physically goes. It's probably a combination of the thyroid med starting to kick in, and still being quit from smoking. Whatever it is, I'm not hurting as much as I was, and I had quite a bit of energy and accomplished, for me, quite a lot. Swished and swiped the toilet and sink, stripped the bed and washed the linens, washed and dried and put away two loads of laundry, remade the bed, washed the dishes, took out the trash, and vacuumed the living room and bedroom. Had time to read quite a bit, play on the computer, and cooked supper, too. Today all I plan on doing...all that's really needed, in washing dishes again, and watering my plants.

I love beans and lentils, and I love soups, so I make quite a few bean and lentil soups/stews, even in warm weather. In one of my last few posts I said that I was going to make a bean/barley/vegetable soup, but I didn't, not exactly. It was basically the same as the recipe I've posted for the bean/barley/vegetable soup, but just a couple variations. No real recipe needed here, just as you like it/to taste.

...................................Two-Bean Soup................................................................
One can each pinto beans and cannelini beans
Onions, garlic, bay leaf, thyme...all to taste
Potatoes, celery, many or as few as YOU like.

Drain and rinse the beans, set aside. In a large pot, saute the diced onions, celery, carrots, and garlic for about five minutes, or until the onion starts to get tender and is translucent. Add the peeled and diced potatoes, the two types of beans, and about 6-8 cups of water w/veggie buillion cubes or veggie broth or plain water. Season with dried thyme and the bay leaf. Cover and bring to a boil, and allow to simmer until the veggies are tender enough to suit you, probably about 30 minutes or so. I like mine really smooshy, so I let it simmer for closer to an hour. Your choice...I won't know, and it's fine with me. The soup can be left the way it is, or, if you like, and I do, use a potato masher or fork to mash up some of the veggies, which will thicken the soup somewhat. Serve this with a pan of hot, buttered, biscuits. Or cornbread. Or grilled cheese sammiches. Or just saltines or bread and butter. Your choice.

...........................JB's World Famous "Beefless" Stew, this time with dumplings....

Ok, ok, so it's not really world famous, and altho I never once looked at a recipe to come up with this lentil stew, I have no doubt that there are several thousand recipes just like this, or very close to it. There are probably enough variations of lentil soup to make a different one every day for at least three years out there, seriously. The important thing, tho, is that it's good, and even confirmed meat-lovers will ask for seconds, no kidding. Again, no real recipe needed, it's to taste/as you like it, ok?

Enough dried lentils for your family. Lentils don't need to be soaked, btw. You can just use them right out of the bag. And I don't recommend using canned ones, if there even is such a thing. I don't think I've ever seen canned lentils, just canned lentil soup, and that was just plain nasty. Anyway, I digress........

Put the lentils in a colander, pick them over and take out any little rocks or bad lentils, and rinse them really well. Set aside.

In a large pot, saute onions, carrots, celery if you like(I don't), and garlic. Meanwhile, wash, peel, and dice some potatoes, and then add them to the rest of the veggies. Add the lentils, a bay leaf, and enough water to cover all of it by about three inches or so. If you want to, you can use veggie broth or add veggie buillion cubes to the water. Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer until the carrots are tender, about 30-45 minutes. Lentils will cook that quickly, in case you've never used them before, which is just one of the reasons I like them so well.

Now for the dumplings, and I'll give you a REAL recipe for them, right off the box of biscuit mix. So, this is where it stops being vegan, because the biscuit mix has small amounts of casein and buttermilk listed in its ingredients. Dumplings can be veganized, but you'll have to use your own biscuit recipe for them, as I don't have one. I suppose self-rising flour, shortening, and soy milk would do it, tho, right? Anyway...

2 cups biscuit mix
2/3 cup milk
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1 qt. broth
Mix first three ingredients. Drop by teaspoonfuls into boiling broth. Cover and simmer 5-8 minutes. Yield: 16 servings.

I used much smaller portions for myself, and didn't use the poultry seasoning, I just left them plain. And instead of broth, I dropped them, using an infants feeding spoon, on top of the lentil stew.

This was a really good meal. The dumplings were small and good, and just set the stew off to perfection. In fact, when I heat up the leftover two-bean soup, I'm going to make dumplings again, instead of biscuits.

Until next time, Happy Eating.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Homemade Vegetarian Pizza(non-vegan)

Lovely day, as well as being a serendipitous day, also! I'm supposed to work on Tuesdays, but yesterday, one of my co-workers asked me if I'd let her work, as she needed to make some extra cash. After thinking about it for, oh, maybe ten seconds, I told her it was fine by me, lol. I love my Dad dearly, I enjoyed his visit, but I figured it would be nice to be home alone and get some things done that I've been neglecting. And, that's just what I've done. Swept and mopped the kitchen floor, washed, dried, and put away a load of sheets and part of the shabbily chic secondhand store fabrics I use to cover the love seat, and then a load of towels, plus put away a bunch of clean laundry that's been resting in "The Chair" in the bedroom. Hey, don't roll your eyes at me, Iknow darned well you've got "The Chair," or something like it, in your bedroom, too. So there! And the dishes are done, and the counters thoroughly cleaned. Wanted to vacuum, but just can't do it, sigh. Maybe later this week?!?!?

Last night I decided I'd better figure out a way to use the lone zucchini in the 'fridge, so decided to make a pizza. This is going to be one of those "to you like it..." recipes, except for the crust, which is totally different from a real pizza crust. I got the recipe from a box of biscuit mix, I kid you not, and while it doesn't taste like real pizza dough, it's quick, easy, and will do in a pinch.

.................................................Biscuit Mix Pizza Dough.............................................

1 1/2 cups baking mix
1/4 cup hot water
1 tbs. vegetable oil{I used olive oil, use whatever you like best}

Heat oven to 400ºF. In mixing bowl, mix the baking mix, hot water, and the oil until a soft dough forms. Beat dough about 20 strokes, and let dough stand for about 8-10 minutes. {I chose to knead the dough about 20 times instead of beating it, and kneaded it right on the baking sheet.}

Grease baking sheet, or a pizza pan. Using hands dipped in baking mix, press dough into a 13-inch circle on the baking sheet, pinching up edges 1/2 inches, or press the dough into the pizza pan.

Ok, now the fun begins, as you can put anything you want to on this dough. I thawed and then wrung out in a dry kitchen towel a 10-oz. package of spinach, which I spread right on the dough. I scattered about half a cup of diced raw onions over that. While the dough was resting, I had washed and sliced the zucchini, put it in a mixing bowl, sprinkled it with about a teaspoonful of dried thyme, and then some olive oil. Then I mixed it all with my hands, so that every slice had a little thyme and some oil on it. The slices went on top of the onions, and on top of the zucchini, I crumbled/spread chevre goat cheese, the kind that comes seasoned with basil and sun-dried tomato. Then I sprinkled vegetarian Parmesan over the whole thing, and put it in the oven for, oh, I guess about 20 minutes, or until the crust is nice and brown. That's it, that's all there is to it.

I ate half of it for supper last night, and I ate the other half, cold, this afternoon. It's good cold, too.

Tonight I'm going to make some kind of soup, and some more biscuits. LOVE my hot buttered biscuits!!! Until next time, Happy Eating!!!!

Veggin' at the Steakhouse

As I mentioned in a previous post, my omnivore Dad took me, my granddaughter, and my new great-grandson to the Longhorn Steakhouse this past Friday, the 8th, for an early Mother's Day dinner. The g'daughter and Dad both had sirloins, the great-g'son just dozed in his chair for the most part, but, gee, what's a vegetarian like me going to eat at a Steakhouse, right?

Well! Let me tell you! They had a Strawberry Pecan salad on the menu, and after reading the ingredients in it, that's what I chose. This salad was a mix of baby greens, with strawberries, pecans, red seedless grapes, red onion, mandarin oranges, feta cheese, and raspberry vinaigrette. To die for! I asked that the oranges be left off, but otherwise, I ate everything else, but it was so big that I took over half of it home. With it I had a baked potato and all I had to drink was a glass of ice was too late for coffee.

My dessert was huge. It was so big that Dad, the g'daughter, and I couldn't finish it, and I took over half of it home, too. Along with two scoops of vanilla bean ice cream(and remember, I can't eat dairy foods, sigh), there were two mile-high slices of chocolate cake with a layer of chocolate mousse, covered with a, well, maybe it was a ganache. I've never had ganache before, or at least if I have, I didn't realize it, but this might have been. It wasn't a hard layer of chocolate, and it wasn't really a frosting, so...choose a name for it, and that's what I'll call it, lol. Sooooo, over half of that went home with me, too. The next day, Dad and I each had some more of it, and both of us thought that it was better the second day, altho we couldn't figure out why, lol. I finished the last of it Sunday afternoon, after work.

Saturday evening, Dad and I went with my best friend and her fella to an all-you-can-eat buffet, called Green Tomato. I had sliced cucumbers, a tiny bit of cottage cheese, some cole slaw, potato salad, and a combo of watermelon and cantaloupe chunks with slice bananas. Then I had a soft dinner roll, some green beans, and then, dessert! Banana pudding, and the banana pudding there is out of this world...and I'm not crazy about banana pudding any other time. But we had gone out there last year, when Dad was here, and I remembered how good that pudding was. And it still is!!!

Dad was here for a week, and we ate out every night except one, the night I cooked the cheese omelettes. He flew home Monday afternoon, and that evening, he and his lady, two of my sisters and the older one's husband were going to have dinner at Applebee's. Near as I can tell, even when he's home with non-vegetarians, he eats out most of the time. It's nice once in a while, but I think it gets old, and most of the time I'd rather eat at JB's Kitchen, lol. Like this evening: I'm going to make another bean/barley/vegetable soup, and some hot biscuits, and will eat like royalty!!!!

So, until next time, Happy Eating!!!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Dinner for the Omnivore Dadster!!!

This week there isn't going to be a new recipe, as I really haven't cooked all that much, and nothing new anyway. It's been a rather hectic week for me, work was busy, so I've been tired and eating mostly sammiches or cereal, and last night just pulled something from the freezer and baked a potato to go with it. My dad arrived Tuesday, the 5th, so I've been talking to him, and we went out to eat Tuesday evening, at the Waffle House where I work. Wheeeeeee! LOL! I had a waffle, hashbrowns, and a couple overlight eggs, and it was adequate.

Around five this evening, Dad's taking me and my granddaughter, the mother of my gorgous little great-grandson, out to an early dinner for Mother's Day. He wanted to do it...logically enough...on Mother's Day, but I flat refuse to go out on Sundays, much less a day like Mother's Day. The crowds and the lines are going to be stupendous, I have no doubt. Even the WH is busy...and btw, if you ever want to take me out on Mother's Day, do NOT insult me by taking me to any Waffle House, anywhere! Got it? Good! Anyway, he's taking us to the Longhorn Steak House. I think this is hilarious...what do you suppose he thinks I'M going to eat, eh? IF he even gave it a thought, which he probably didn't, lol.

So, when we were talking on the phone about his coming down to visit, I told him I was a vegetarian, and he very quickly informed me he wasn't going to be eating vegetarian food. Ok. So, we went to the grocery store after he got here, and he picked up eggs, a can of Dinty Moore, and a can of tuna. So far he's had half the can of Dinty Moore. The night I offered to cook, I wish you could've seen his eyes light up when I told him what I was planning: Cheese omelettes, fried potatoes with onions, biscuits, and sliced tomatoes and cukes. While he was eating, he kept saying how good it was, and of course I had to tease him a little, reminding him that he was eating vegetarian food. "Well," he said, "this is REAL food!" So, um, Dad? What did ya think I ate?!?!

So, until next time...and btw, I'll post again tomorrow to let you know what I had to eat at the steakhouse...Happy Eating!

Dinner for Omnivore Dadster

Friday, May 1, 2009

Lentil Shepherd's Pie(Vegan); Creamy Nut Sauce w/ Spaghetti or Noodles(vegan)

Before I go any further here at all, I need to tell you that I forgot something in my last post. The Two Cheese Potato Casserole was sent to my email by a very dear cyber-friend of mine, but she neglected to tell me where she got it from, other than it was also sent to her. The recipe is NOT one of my own creations, so if the creator of said recipe is reading this, be aware that I think it's a great recipe, and I am NOT taking credit for it. There! Got that off my shoulders, lol. I couldn't stand for anyone to think I had deliberately tried to steal a recipe of theirs to pass of as one of my own, because, that just ain't my style.

Something else...Lap, and Joycie, I know y'all are reading here on occasion, so please, tell the folks on the forum that I've post there, and can't. I even logged out and then logged back in again, to no avail. This is soooooo upsetting, I miss y'all so much. WAAAAAAAAAA! Anyway, tell everyone hello, please...and thank you.

There, I've had a little breakfast, put the dishes in soak, and in a little while will go hang up the last load of laundry. Other than that, all I've done, and all I intend to do, has been to swish the toilet and make the bed. Hopefully, once the med for the thyroid gets into my system, in a couple to three weeks, I'll have a little more energy, and will actually dig in and get this poor little house cleaned. Reckon I'll find out, right

Ok, on to the next two, four in one week, lol, and three of them total winners, in my opinion. The first two are on the post just before this one, just in case you hadn't realized that. The recipe here, for a Lentil Shepherd's Pie, is a combination of two different recipes from, plus an addition of my own, and I was very, very pleased with the results. Definitely a keeper!

Lentil Shepherd's Pie

1 cup lentils, cooked and drained
1 onion, diced
1/2 tsp. each dried sage and oregano
1 tsp. salt, dash cayenne pepper
4 large potatoes, peeled and boiled until tender
1/2 to 1 cup hot soy milk, or, 1/2 C each soymilk and "sour cream," or "soygurt"
1 C frozen mixed peas and carrots, canned if that's all you have, or fresh if you like.
1/4 C Parmesan cheese(optional), the vegetarian kind

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

When the potatoes have been peeled, rinsed, and cubed, place them in a saucepan and cover with salted cold water by about 1/2 inch. Place over high heat, covered, and bring to a boil. Lower heat to where the water will be simmering, and let cook about 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender enough to mash.

When potatoes are done, drain them, and mash them with the soy milk or the mix of soy milk/sour cream or soygurt, however you prefer, along with as much margarine as you like...or Earth Balance for vegans. If you're using the Parmesan cheese, mix it in with the potatoes now. Set aside.

In a saucepan, combine the lentils, onion, peas and carrots, seasonings, 2Tbs. margarine, and 1 cup water. While this heats, mix 1/4 flour with 2/3 C soymilk with a fork, until smooth. Stir this into the saucepan with the veggies, bring to a boil, and allow to simmer until it begins to thicken. Once it thickens, check for seasonings, and if needed, add more salt and pepper.

Spread the lentil/veggie mixture in a large baking pan[I used a metal 11in.X7in. pan]. On top of this, I put several slices of the smoked provolone cheese I love so well, but to keep this vegan, you don't have to use it, and, in fact, neither of the recipes I read used it. On top of the cheese, spread the mashed potatoes, and sprinkle with a little more Parmesan if desired[I didn't]. Bake 30-40 minutes, or until potatoes are slightly golden, and the sauce mixture is bubbling. Let sit for about three minutes before serving. This looks to me like it would be four hefty servings, or six not-so-hefty, but adequate, servings. Depends on whether or not you serve some side dishes with it.

Like I said, I was very pleased with this, and as it's not too much work, I'll make it again, believe me. It's one of those dishes you could probably serve to your omnivore friends and they'd enjoy it.

This next, and last, recipe for today, is from "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian," by Mark Bittman, and again, this one is a keeper. I loved it.

Creamy Nut Sauce

1 cup unsalted nuts, preferable cashews, walnuts, almonds, or hazelnuts[Mr. Bittman says, however, that any nut OR seed will work, so choose your own favorite one].
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or 4Tbs.(1/4 stick)butter...Earth Balance for vegans
1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg(optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup cream[soy milk works very well], plus more for thinning if desired.
Milk or veggie stock for thinning, if desired.

1. Use a food processor or blender to grind the nuts to the consistency of coarse meal.
2. Put the oil or butter in a deep skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot or the butter is melted, add the ground nuts. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes fragrant, about a minute. Turn the heat down to medium-low and continue cooking and stirring until the mixture darkens and forms a sort of passte...this is the roux. Sprinkle with nutmeg if you like, salt, and pepper.
3. Pour in the cream and stir or whisk to blend with the roux. Gently cook the sauce without boiling, stirring frequently, until it thickens, 5-7 minutes. Taste, adjust the seasoning if needed, thin if desired, and serve. Makes about 2 cups.

I poured this over hot spaghetti, served some green peas on the side, and ate like a queen that evening. This stuff is wonderful, I love it, and will absolutely make it again...and again...and again.

It's time to hang up my laundry so my uniforms will be clean for tomorrow, time to do the dishes so i can eat supper tonight, so, until next time, Happy Eating!!!!

Falafel Plate(can be veganized); TwoCheese Potato Casserole(non-vegan)

Good morning, welcome back. How was your week, did it go well for you? Mine was good, I actually had FOUR good days in a row at work, paid the rent and all the utilities in full, bought groceries, and paid the full 20% co-pay for a medical procedure yesterday, so I seem to be doing well.

Today is 43 days, 1274 cigarettes NOT smoked, $243.81 and 9 days, 7hours of my life saved. Not bad, eh? I love the way the calculator can do that, lol. I sure couldn't figure it out, even if I sat down for a couple hours with my own calculator!!!

The medical procedure yesterday was a renal ultrasound. As soon as my pc doctor gets the results, he'll call me, and then he'll refer me to a kidney specialist. I'm not to pleased about this, believe my. It's a weird sensation knowing that my kidneys may be shutting down, but hopefully my doctor has caught it in time that the specialist can do something to keep it from getting worse, and to keep me from having to have dialysis. My other medical problem is treatable with medication, and I started taking yet another drug this past Tuesday...this makes five prescriptions I'm on now. "The road to better living thru chemicals." I guess I should be grateful for the chemicals, they are probably keeping me alive, eh? Two are for high b/p, one is a pain pill, one is Zoloft(antidepressant), and the new one is for an underactive thyroid. Probably the specialist will prescribe another one, too, sigh. But, I don't know that for sure, so I'm just gonna keep it in the now. And ask you to keep me in your prayers, please. Thanks.

Ok, I've got some real recipes for you this week, well, sort of: one of them comes from a box mix, lol. The other one is real, tho, and very good, too. The first one is for a falafel plate, and it came from the May 5th, 2009, issue of Woman's Day.

Falafel Plate

1 box(6oz.)falafel mix[they used Near East, I used Fantastic Foods]
1 cup plain yogurt
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and shredded
2 tsp. white vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. each pepper, salt, and sugar
1 small red onion, thinly sliced, 1 cup green lettuce, 2 plum tomatoes, sliced thin
4 pita breads

1. Heat oven to 375ºF. Prepare falafel according to package directions for baking
2. In a medium bowl, combine yogurt, cucumber, vinegar garlic, pepper, salt, and sugar. Set aside.
3. Place onion in a glass bowl with water to cover. Microwave for 1 minute or ujntil onion softens. Drain.
4. Arrange falafel on a platter with cucumber sauce, lettuce, onions, tomatoes, and pitas. Serves four.

Ok, the Fantastic Foods box didn't give baking directions. The mix made seven flat patties, which I put in the oven for about ten minutes. They seemed to be done enough, and not too done, so I guess I judged the time ok.

I don't use dairy products, so instead of yogurt, I used the Tofutti brand of "sour cream" for the sauce, and quite frankly, the sauce turned out to be the best part of the whole thing!!! The next day, I diced up a tomato in the leftover sauce and ate it with some buttered sourdough bread, and it was great, absolutely great. Much better than the falalels, which I didn't really care for, and no, won't be making them again. I WILL made that sauce again, tho, and use it as a sort of side dish or even a sandwich spread. It's that good!!!! Oh, btw, using the Tofutti brand sour cream was what veganized it.

Two Cheese Potato Casserole[could possibly be veganized, by using vegan cheeses]
4 cups potatoes, peeled and cubed
8 oz. cream-style cottage cheese
8 oz. sour cream
1/2 green onion, chopped, or more to taste
1 Tbs. fresh parsley, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease a 1 1/2 qt. casserole dish.
Boil potatoes in salted water until tender, about 15 minutes, and drain well.
In large bowl, combine next 6 ingredients, and mix well. Stir in the potatoes, and spoon all into the casserole. Bake for 25 minutes. Sprinkle the cheddar and paprika over the top, and bake 5 minutes, or until cheese has melted.

This was to die for, no kidding, even tho I had to make some substitutions along the way. First of all, I didn't have any cottage cheese, so I had to fake it: 8 ounces of firm silken tofu, crumbled up, salt and pepper and a teaspoon of cider vinegar, and let it sit a couple minutes, to sour it a little. It was a pretty good substitute. The sour cream, of course, was the Tofutti brand. Now, here's where I went off on my own, lol: I mixed in maybe two tablespoonsful of chevre goat cheese, flavored with dried tomatoes and basil, just to give the "dairy" base a little boost of flavor, as it was really pretty bland. I baked it in a ten inch glass pie plate, turning the oven 25º lower than the recipe called for. When it was time to sprinkle it with the cheddar, I just laid four slices of my beloved smoked provolone vegetarian cheese over the top, and put it back in the oven for about ten minutes, I guess. Totally forgot the paprika!!! Loved it, I really loved it, but don't imagine I'll make it often at all. It's one of those things that's just a "tad" too much work, lol. We all know I'm lazy, right?

I've discovered another good "meat" product, too, and ate it with the Cheese and Potato Casserole last night: Gardenburger brand "BBQ Riblets." Very, very good, and when I can afford them, I'll buy them again. The flavor is a wonderfully deep and rich smoky bbq sauce flavor, and the ribs are a very meaty texture, and actually taste sort of meaty, too. Wish I could figure out how to do that here at home. If you know how to do it, please email me and tell me, would you? My email is on the left side of the page, quite a ways down, btw.

This has made me hungry, so I'm going to go find something for breakfast. Until next time, Happy Eating!!!
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