Tuesday, January 31, 2012


With careful thought and consideration already being given to my spring garden; I was delighted to discover an available app to help me in the decision-making process.


This app allows you to search by growing locations, by fruits and vegetables, by identifying a problem and also identifies trees and fish. 

You set your location, city and state, then you can actually research fruits and vegetables that are good for your location.  For each item listed you will then get a picture and detailed description along with varieties, planting, growing, and harvesting times and general tips for that crop.

You can't beat this FREE app.  Preview this in ITunes.


My southern garden is STILL producing an abundance of greens.  For this mixture I used kale, chard, beet tops and spinach.  It was simple and easy to prepare, delicious.

ready to serve

simply delicious


mixture of greens (lots), ribs removed and cut small
generous portion of olive oil
8 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 cup water
2 tsp. veggie broth powder
2 - 4 Tbsp. tamari
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
pepper to taste
ravioli (I used cheese and spinach mixture but have used tofu ravioli as well)


To pot with the heated olive oil, add the greens, garlic, water, broth powder, tamari, pepper flakes and coarse black pepper.  Cook all with lid on for about 45 minutes or until nice and wilted and tender.

Spoon over cooked ravioli and sprinkle with vegan Parmesan "cheese" and additional black pepper if desired. 

Monday, January 30, 2012


I found these little metal boxes at the local WORLD MARKET store.  A large bottom magnet allows the tin to adhere to the frig.  By twisting the lid, an elongated slit is exposed OR a series of 4 small wholes. 

These work well as spice containers, a practical decorative solution to storage dilemmas.  They can be pulled off quickly for cooking or used directly on the serving table.  3 colors are available,  stainless, red and teal. 

this one holds my coarse pepper

slot and holes are positioned along the edge

easy frig access
tins totally at home on the table


good meat alternative

brown in a small amount of oil; next add pkg of taco seasonings and water to pkg instructions

available toppings:  fresh diced tomatoes, salsa, cheese OR cheese substitute

don't forget the shredded lettuce and fresh avocado

build your salad: start with a bed of lettuce and add the desired toppings
I love to put the hot "meat" over the cheese layer to soften the "cheese"

Thursday, January 26, 2012


This one was sent to me by cousin Bea; originated from a food site forwarded by brother Jon.  I've tweaked it a bit.  Here's my version.  REALLY TASTY!


6 cups water
1 tsp. salt
3 1/2 cups old fashion oats
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup finely chopped dates
6 Tbsp. agave nectar
3 Tbsp. butter (earth balance)


Coat a 9" x 5" baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large saucepan, bring the water and salt to a boil over medium high heat.  Stir in the oats, cinnamon and vanilla.  Cook for 5 to 6 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the dates and agave nectar.

Pour the oat mixture into the baking pan, cover, and chill for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Remove the loaf from the pan and cut into 1 inch thick slices.  In a large skillet, melt 1 Tbsp. butter over medium heat.  Cook the oatmeal slices for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until golden and heated through, adding more butter as necessary.  Optional heating method:  microwave slices for 1 to 2 minutes, until warmed through.

ready to sit overnight

turn out onto cutting board and slice

brown in Earth Balance and serve

For my next batch, I'll replace the dates and vanilla with fresh blueberries and almond extract, a favorite combination of mine.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


use your hands to shape the "meatloaf"


2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cups finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
2 tsp. veggie powder bouillon
8 oz. mushrooms, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 block tempeh, crumbled
1 cup smoked sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tsp. mustard
1 cup Panko crumbs
2 eggs, beaten OR use egg substitute
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. paprika
1/4 cup half and half, fat free


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt butter in a 12 inch skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onion, celery, and carrot to the pan and stir.  Cook until onion is translucent and beginning to brown (about 10 minutes).  Add the bouillon powder and stir into the vegetable mixture until incorporated.

Place mixture into a large mixing bowl.  Add the mushroom, bell pepper, tempeh, sun-dried tomatoes, walnuts, ketchup, mustard, bread crumbs, eggs, garlic powder, red pepper, thyme, paprika, and half and half.  Work the mixture together with your hands until everything is well incorporated.  Allow mixture to rest in the fridge for 10 minutes.

On a parchment lined (or silpat-lined, rimmed baking sheet, place the mixture in the center.  Using your hands, form a loaf that is about 12 inches long, 6 inches wide, and about 2 1/2 inches tall.  The loaf should be smooth and have rounded edges.  This will help the loaf stay together when serving.  Place loaf in the oven for 25 minutes.  Brush with the ketchup glaze and return loaf to the oven for another 10 minutes, brush another coat of glaze on top, and bake for a final 10 minutes.
topped and baked with a ketchup glaze


I just threw together a mixture of low sugar ketchup, a couple spoonfuls of granulated brown sugar and a generous squirt of agave nectar.  Follow the recipe directions for using this glaze.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


wafer thin and extra crisp

nice size for appetizers

While visiting with friends in Tampa, I was introduced to a great new cracker.  I searched to find these crispy little gems only to find them nearby in Publix AND everywhere via the net. 

This Denver, CO company, 34 degrees, bills this cracker as "flat out" good.  I buy the whole wheat version (4 others are available)  and love making breakfast sandwiches with two crackers surrounding almond butter and nutella.  YUM!  The company suggests Cheddar and Gouda, nut butters and also sliced avocado and sea salt.  Whatever you choose, these thin and crisp crackers are totally addictive.

Check out the other flavors and serving ideas at their web site.


THE BEST NEWS:  9 crackers adds up to a mere 35 calories.  0 fat, 0 cholesterol, 7 grams carbs,
1 gram fiber, 0 sugars, 1 gram protein


reduce calories / drop the simple syrup, used in most recipes, in favor of the blueberries and WATER

Place 5 to 6 blueberries in each indentation.  Cover with water and freeze.  When solid, empty into a freezer bag and store till the wine cork is popped.

I love this on a hot summer day with sparkling white wine.  The blueberry is an after-drink TREAT.

my top white wine pick

blueberries are released as ice melts and cools your wine

yep, it doesn't even have to be that hot outside  :)

I normally prefer a nice red wine but lately am loving the white sparkling wine, particularly Graham Beck (pictured above).  It's reasonably priced, refreshing and delicious.

Monday, January 23, 2012


cracker ready pate


1/2 cup oil soaked sun-dried tomato strips
6 Tbsp. pine nuts
1/2 cup Brazil nuts (or walnuts)
1 1/2 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp. fresh chopped parsley
2 Tbsp. chopped scallions
2 Tbsp. olive oil
zest and juice from 1/4 lemon
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
pinch of cayenne
2 Tbsp. chopped black olives


In a food processor, blend the nuts until finely ground.  Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Combine in the food processor all the remaining ingredients EXCEPT for the black olives.  Process until smooth.  Add the nuts and process.

Remove to a bowl and STIR in the chopped black olives.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


I serve these as a side dish / QUICK AND EASY


1 box baby portabello mushrooms
4 cloves garlic
olive oil
hoisin sauce
dark sesame oil
1 tsp. powdered veggie soup base


Clean and cut the mushrooms into fourth OR if larger, sixths (save the stems and freeze for veggie stock) 

In a sauce pan, start to heat a combination of olive oil and sesame oil, about 1 Tbsp. of each.  Add powered soup base, garlic and liberally douse with bottled HOISIN sauce.  Simmer on stove top until tender and saucy. 

These would be fabulous as a part of a mushroom trio and served atop cooked whole wheat pasta.  I'd add peas to the mixture.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


the onions saute while the peas simmer

2 cups cooked frozen peas
1 Tbsp. oil
2 tsp. whole brown mustard seeds
1/4 onion, thinly shaved into slices and then chopped very small
2 tsp. curry powder  (I use Maharajah Curry Powder - Penzeys)
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. powdered ginger
2 tsp. agave nectar
1/4 cup fat free sour cream


Heat the oil over medium heat.  When hot, add the onion.  Stir and cook until translucent / starting to brown, 2-3 minutes.

Add the brown mustard seeds.  When they start to sizzle and pop, add the curry powder, garlic, ginger and agave nectar. 

Stir well and then add the peas.  Cook a few minutes until the peas are heated through.

Turn off the heat, stir in the sour cream and serve.

serves 4

Monday, January 2, 2012


You can play around with the ingredients with this recipe BUT this is MY version.  Initially I serve this one as an appetizer spread.  Great on some thin crackers.  The next day or two, a wonderful omelet addition OR serve over pasta.  YUM!

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.


2  medium white sweet onions, cut into chunks
1 medium red onion, cut into chunks
6 large peppers, 1 green, 2 yellow, 2 red, 1 orange
5 cloves garlic, sliced
1 bulb fennel, cut into chunks
1 medium zucchini, cubed
olive oil (about 1/4 cup)
balsamic vinegar


To a large roasting pan, add the onions, peppers, garlic, fennel, salt, pepper and olive oil to moisten all. Toss.
Bake about 30 minutes then add the zucchini, stir together and continue to roast.

Total cooking time is approximately 1 1/2 hr. to 2 1/2 hr.  Stir occasionally.  The vegetables will shrink down, thicken,  and start to turn dark - caramelize.

When finished, remove from the heat and splash balsamic vinegar over.  Mix.

I cook this in a large roasting pan and it cooks down so much that I serve it in a 10 inch quiche dish.

in the process of roasting in the oven

the finished recipe / serve as an appetizer for dipping, omelet ingredient OR over pasta