Monday, December 30, 2013

Carrot Soup with Candied Clementine Pecans and Croutons.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday.
We had quite the holiday excursion, going to New Jersey and Vermont and squeezing in 5 Xmas's over several days...

I was at The Boyfriend's parents house and got the urge to cook.  It had been several days and I get antsy.  We usually bring a cooler filled with food so I can eat my savory breakfasts and have what I want on hand without putting people out.  It's a win win situation, since his family understands and is fine with me bringing food.

I grabbed a pound of carrots and put it in the cooler (because the day before I left, I scored 5 lbs of organic carrots for $3.99!).. I thought I would munch on them, but I was feeling super antsy and NEEDED to cook, so I made a quick soup with what we had on hand.

Now, I have to give credit where credit is due.  A couple weeks ago, we went to our friend, Andrea's house for dinner.  (She is actually They Boyfriend's X GF... I love that he is still friends with his X's...  and she has become my friend.. )...  she made us this AMAZING dinner and served a Spicy Carrot soup with it.  The soup was infused with curry spices, candied orange peel and toasted almonds.   Super yummy.  She also made a spinach artichoke dip with homemade almond crackers and some sauteed greens with cranberries and almonds.  Everything was soooo delicious!  Better than most restaurant meals I've had.... but I digress....

So. this carrot soup was inspired by that meal.  I used what his mom had on hand... along with my carrots.  I am not a huge fan of pureed soups, but seem to make an exception for carrot and sweet potato based soups.

No recipes here, but I wanted to give the method, since that is more my cooking style.  I caramelized onion and garlic in some olive oil... along with sage, thyme, rosemary and lots of salt and pepper.  I added some apple cider, potatoes, water and lots of carrots, clementine juice and zest and a bit of cream at the end.. oh, and lots of white pepper, a bit of nutmeg and cinnamon.

I candied pecans with fresh clementine juice, brown sugar and salt and baked some sourdough croutons.  Savory, sweet, orange pecan goodness.

The Boyfriend got me a Kindle Fire and I took the above pic with it.  I think I'm in love with it!  Who knows, maybe it will replace my big camera?

Monday, December 23, 2013

Dec. Pantry Challenge: Cabbage, White Beans and Potatoes with Thyme and Coconut Oil

Growing up, one of my favorite comfort meals was tofu and zucchini sauteed with thyme and tamari, served over bulgur.  I would add some cottage cheese to it sometimes too.  Yum..

So, this morning, I was kind of craving that, but I had red cabbage, white beans and some baked potatoes that I needed to use up.  We are going out of town for 5 days for xmas, so I made this awesome breakfast!

Cabbage, White Beans and Potatoes

  • 1 tbsp chipotle lime infused coconut oil
  • 1 onion
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp good quality dry thyme 
  • red pepper flakes to taste if desired
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4 cups red cabbage (or green cabbage)
  • 2 small baked potatoes
  • 1.5 cups cooked white beans
  • Braggs to taste (or tamari or soy sauce)
  • Black Pepper to taste
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped


  1. In a 12 inch skillet over medium heat add the coconut oil, onion, garlic, thyme and pepper flakes. 
  2. Saute for several minutes, then add the balsamic vinegar, cabbage, potatoes and white beans. 
  3. Cook for 15 minutes or so, adding braggs and pepper to taste. Stir in cilantro just before serving.
  4. Serves 2

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Dec. Pantry Challenge: Blueberry Smoothie

This smoothie is creamy, delicious and oh so healthy.

I used very well cooked white beans and water in place of non-dairy milk.  I like to use beans in smoothies for several reasons:

  • inexpensive
  • high in fiber
  • high in protein
  • filling
  • complex carbs 
Here's the recipe:
  • 1/2 cup well cooked white beans
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 c frozen blueberries
  • vanilla stevia to taste
  • pinch cardamom
Blend well for a couple minutes. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Dec. Pantry Challenge: Chickpea Flatbread Banh Mi

I LOVE Tofu Banh Mi's; they might be one of my favorite things to eat ever!  Unfortunately, the crusty white bread is not a healthy thing for me to eat on a regular basis, so this morning, I decided to use my Chickpea Flatbread in it's place.

This is a wrap you can feel good about eating!

I made a batch of 5 Spice Tofu (cubed instead of in slabs), Sriracha Aioli out of my Homemade Low Fat Vegenaise Alternative, used some Pickled Jalapenos from our garden, romaine, spiralized daikon and topped it with more sriracha.  Avocado would have been great, but this was still really delicious. Super filling and full of sustainable energy.  My favorite way to start the day.

Yesterday, I made a batch of Auntie's Dahl which is in the fridge, which I will heat up for lunch and serve over sauteed cabbage.

I got The Boyfriend a stove top smoker for his birthday!  We've been having fun smoking :-)

These veggies made a GREAT base for a Smoky Yellow Split Pea Soup with Kale:

I have a HUGE backlog of recipes to post...

Friday, December 13, 2013

Dec. Pantry Challenge: Copycat Tabasco Chipotle Sauce Recipe

I LOVE hot sauces of all kinds, and Tabasco's Chipotle Sauce is one of my favs for sure!  Most people probably add a couple of drops to their food, but I like to add a bunch, and that can be expensive! A 5 oz. bottle costs around $7.

I decided to attempt to duplicate the sauce and while it's not exactly the same, it's pretty awesome!  I wish I had actually had the sauce on hand to taste and compare before I made this version, but I think this sauce is a great alternative!

I will preface this by saying that I added two ingredients that most people may not have on hand.:

The brine is to add some live bacteria, since traditional Tabasco sauce is made from fermented peppers and they are an ingredient in the sauce.  I suppose you could replace the brine with 1 tsp of regular tabasco.  

The xanthan gum is there as an emulsifier.  You could just leave this out, but the mixture will separate, which is not a big deal in my opinion and would probably give it a more authentic texture.. the gum thickens it as well.

This is my first attempt.  I will probably buy a bottle and really compare the flavors. As I mentioned above, omitting the gum would give a more authentic texture.

Here's the recipe:

  • 12 oz. boiling water
  • 2 Knorr Vegetarian Bouillon cubes
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1 /2 cups white vinegar
  • 3 tbsp live sauerkraut brine OR 1 tsp Tabasco sauce plus 2 tbsp water
  • 1 7 oz. can Chipotle Peppers in Adobo (use all of it and add the vinegar to it to get all of the essense!)
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
  1. Pour the boiling water over the veggie cubes, garlic, onion, salt and sugar.  Let stand until room temperature. 
  2. Add mixture to a blender with the rest of the ingredients and blend until totally smooth.  
  3. Pour into a mason jar and chill for 24 hours.
  4. This will keep for at least 1 month!

Friday, December 06, 2013

Stream of consciousness thoughts about "Clean Internet Diet Gurus"

Image Credit: WEB

I am really feeling at my wits end when it comes to blogging and the internet in general.  It seems like a black hole of SUCK frankly. 

I am sooooo sick and tired of the lies and misinformation that is being distributed on a daily basis to so many people. 

Especially about food and nutrition.  

.. and don't even get me started on the "Clean Eating Movement".  

The term, CLEAN EATING is soooo divisive and so judgmental. I'm sure that most of the people using these terms aren't aware how exclusive they are to their readership.  It makes me sick, if you want to know the truth.  

The definition of CLEAN:
 adjective \ˈklēn\
: free from dirt, marks, etc. : not dirty
: tending to keep clean
: free from pollution or other dangerous substances
Full Definition of CLEAN
a :  free from dirt or pollution clean
 clothes><clean solar energy>
b :  free from contamination or disease clean
c :  free or relatively free from radioactivity clean
 atomic explosion>
a :  unadulteratedpure clean
 thrill of one's first flight>
b of a precious stone :  having no interior flaws visible
c :  free from growth that hinders tillage <clean farmland>
a :  free from moral corruption or sinister connections of any kind clean
 record>; also :  free from violations clean driving record>
b :  free from offensive treatment of sexual subjects and from the use of obscenity clean
c :  observing the rules :  fair clean
:  ceremonially or spiritually pure clean
 may eat flesh — Leviticus 7:19(Revised Standard Version)>
a :  thoroughcomplete clean
 break with the past>
b :  deftly executed :  skillful <clean ballet technique>
c :  hit beyond the reach of an opponent clean
 single to center>
a :  relatively free from error or blemish :  clearspecifically:  legible <clean copy>
b :  unencumbered <clean bill of sale>
a :  characterized by clarity and precision :  trim clean
prose style> clean almost austere lines>
b :  evensmooth clean
 edge> clean break>
c :  free from impedances to smooth flow (as of water or air)clean
 airplane> clean bottom>
a :  empty clean
b :  free from drug addiction clean
 for six months>
c slang :  having no contraband (as weapons or drugs) in one's possession
:  habitually neat
— clean·ness  noun
Examples of CLEAN
1.    This table isn't clean. There's a sticky spot where something spilled.
2.    He keeps a very clean house.
3.    The janitor does a good job of keeping the office clean.
4.    I wiped the baby's face clean.
5.    He's a clean young man.
6.    Cats are very clean animals.
7.    Solar power provides clean energy.
Origin of CLEAN
Middle English clene, from Old English clǣne; akin to Old High German kleini delicate, dainty
First Known Use: before 12th century
Related to CLEAN
Related Words
Near Antonyms
: all the way : completely or entirely
Full Definition of CLEAN
a :  so as to clean clean
b :  in a clean manner clean
:  all the way :  completely clean
 through his arm>
Examples of CLEAN
1.    Somehow, the top of the machine came clean off.
2.    The nail went clean through the wall.
3.    The fish were jumping clean out of the water.
First Known Use of CLEAN
before 12th century
Related to CLEAN
Related Words
Near Antonyms
: to make (something) clean : to remove dirt, marks, etc., from (something)
: to become clean
: to make (something, such as a room) neat and orderly
Full Definition of CLEAN
transitive verb
a :  to make clean: as (1) :  to rid of dirt, impurities, or extraneous matter (2) :  to rid of corruption clean
up city hall>
b :  removeeradicate —usually used with up or off <clean up that mess>
a :  stripempty cleaned
 of fruit>
b :  to remove the entrails from <clean fish>
c :  to deprive of money or possessions —often used with outcleaned
 him out completely>
intransitive verb
:  to undergo or perform a process of cleaning <clean up before dinner>
— clean·abil·i·ty  noun
— clean·able  adjective
— clean house
:  to clean a house and its furniture
:  to make sweeping reforms or changes (as of personnel)
— clean one's clock
:  to beat one badly in a fight or competition
— clean up one's act
:  to behave in a more acceptable manner
Examples of CLEAN
1.    The carpet needs to be cleaned.
2.    They divide household duties so that she cleans and her husband cooks.
3.    They cleaned the fish and cooked them on the campfire.
4.    skin and clean a rabbit
First Known Use of CLEAN
15th century
Related to CLEAN
Related Words
Near Antonyms
: an act of removing dirt from something
Full Definition of CLEAN
:  an act of cleaning dirt especially from the surface of something

So.... if you look at the above definition, and especially the Antonyms... Besmirch, dirty, foul, soul, spot, stain and sully...
What does that even MEAN when it comes to food?

If you think your "Clean Eating" philosophies aren't divisive, then I don't know what to tell you.  I am only touching on the food situation in America, or rather the HUNGER in America...  and the people who live in inner cities, or rural food desserts, or the single mother of 4 who goes to school, works and still tries to be their for their kids...  do you think that CLEAN eating has a place in their life?  Do you think that those who want to attempt to be healthier come to your blogs and feel encouraged by healthy recipes, or do they feel judged and like no matter what they do, it will never be good enough, or CLEAN enough?
I feel like it is a very similar stigma to STI's.  People refer to themselves or potential sexual partners as "clean"... well, what does that mean to someone who has an STI? They are DIRTY, CONTAMINATED... and totally judged...  

I am totally going off on tangents here, but frankly, I am so sick and tired of the level of food policing with judgement.  It doesn't matter if you're vegan, omni, paleo, vegetarian.. nothing will ever be good enough when you read blogs that spout their views on nutrition!... and where do these people even get off PRETENDING like they KNOW anything?  Who made them gods/desses? Seriously..  so many people spout of sooo much BULLSHIT... with no fact or studies or anything to back it up...  it is terrifying... and you see people just lapping it all up like pathetic little lap dogs....  
Why do people want to be told what to do? Why is the very act of critical thinking LOST on so many?  Is it desperation? 
I think that people prey on desperation and do so much harm.. and I am sick and tired of it. 
I don't EVER want to be lumped into that category.

I will tell you this now and probably over and over in the future...

I don't know SHIT!... I am not a health professional.  I have no qualifications when it comes to nutrition or diet! 

I have very strong beliefs about MY DIET and what helps ME... but that is it...  
Just because someone has a fancy website, does not mean they have ANY qualifications to advise YOU on how you should eat, or what you should eat or what herbs or supplements you should take...

I love Plant-Based foods...  that is what this blog is about... but I am no expert and if you have a health condition, I hope that you will pursue MANY, MANY different venues when it comes to your LIFE. 

That is all.

I leave you with my adorable yard sqiurrel, Bratty Mr. Bratterson!