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!!!
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