Blue Balls and Green Bags

Got your attention, didn’t I? I’ve posted a link to the Debbie Meyer green bags under my Shortcuts and Resources menu. These bags really work! They keep fruits and vegetables and all my greens fresh for at least 7-10 days longer than when I wasn’t using them. I also keep a blue ball in each of my crispers and fruit drawers in the fridge.

Fall Harvest

Fall Harvest

Happy Fall!

Using these green bags will definitely help keep your squashes and zucchini and broccoli, and all your root vegetables really fresh for much longer.

We had a beautiful weekend in Chicago. As I watched Roger put on his corduroy coat for the first time this season, I got a flash of warm soups, stews and chili!  There’s nothing better on a crisp, new fall day than the smell of delicious vegetables, beans, potatoes and seasonings all basking in the warmth of my crockpot.  I don’t have a fancy crockpot. In fact, we bought our $30 Rival model about 6 years ago. It’s seen everything from beef to chicken, and lots of pork.  Since last year, however, the crockpot is happily housing only whole grains, legumes, colorful vegetables and occasional tofu pieces.  Without the use of oil, clean up is a pleasure.

Here’s the chili recipe I made last Sunday, which we ate with chorizo seitan and mushroom stuffed potatoes as we watched the Bears battle the Steelers.  We also had to tune in the St. Louis Cardinals game to root them to victory. Those of you who know us, understand this!

CROCKPOT CHILI AND LOADED POTATO

I often write my food thoughts on the chalkboard in our kitchen; mainly, so I don’t forget anything, but I also think it’s fun to have a menu board for Roger.

Crockpot chili and loaded potato

Crockpot chili and loaded potato

Makes 6-8 cups

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 3-5 hours

Ingredients

6 cups soup stock or 15 cubes of your homemade frozen stock

Soup stock cubes

Soup stock cubes

2 Tblsp. tomato paste

1 can diced tomatoes (or 4 fresh diced plum tomatoes)

1-1/2 cups black beans or any of your faves!

12 oz. can black soybeans (no salt)

2 large carrots, sliced into 1/2 in. pieces

1 large red pepper, sliced into 1/2 in. pieces

1-1/2 cups frozen okra pieces

1/2 cup chopped onions

1 cup corn (I used a whole cob and sliced off the corn, but frozen is fine!)

Colorful veggies for chili

Colorful veggies and frozen beans

1/8 cup diced jalapeño chilis

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1/8 tsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. Spike Natural salt-free seasoning

1/8 cup balsamic or other sweet vinegar

Options: 1 medium sweet potato, chopped into 1/2 in. pieces

2 large kale stalks, stripped and chopped

Directions

Turn crock pot on high.  Pour soup stock or frozen cubes into crock pot. Then, the tomato paste goes in and stir it until thoroughly dissolved.

Add all the other vegetables, including the diced tomatoes.

Add all the seasonings and vinegar. Stir all to combine.

Cover and cook on high for 2 hours, then turn down to medium and let cook for another 2-3 hours.

LOADED POTATO

Servings: 2

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 45-50 minutes

Ingredients

1 large baked potato

8-12 oz. roughly chopped shitake or any mushroom of your choice

Upton's seitan

Upton’s seitan

4-5 oz. of chorizo seitan, diced

Directions

Heat oven to 400. Place washed potato on middle rack (or a piece of foil under it). Bake until tender. Cut in half lengthwise and scoop potato out, creating a well in each half.

In saute pan or your stovetop grill, heat mushrooms and chorizo seitan until cooked thru, and mushrooms are soft.  You may need to add small amounts of water to keep it all from sticking.

Pile that goodness into your potato ‘wells’ and pour on some of the juice from your chili pot.  Or, pile the chili right on top!  I added the sweet potato and kale to my bowl and Roger ate his without.

Eat for your Life!

Crockpot chili and loaded potato

Crockpot chili and loaded potato

 

Clarity and Corn

Has this happened to you? A new diet trend hits us between the eyes, so you abandon your current diet (BECAUSE IT ISN’T WORKING) and jump into this new one being touted by all the ‘experts’. One ‘expert’ advocates juicing, others don’t recommend drinking your calories. Some promote ‘moderation’ with your diet and a little splurge now and then is ok. But another ‘expert’ warns that moderation leads us back down the path of poor eating habits.

Seriously, I’ve tried just about every diet that has been shoved down our throats. Mostly, for weight loss or management; but, some food trends I’ve tried because they promised a ‘more youthful’ appearance, brighter skin and more energy. Juicing, fasting, grapefruits, carb-load, no carbs, all chicken, no eating after 7pm. I’ve restricted my calories and counted more than a million calories over the last 25 years.

My head is spinning, and still spins when I read something that sounds smart, but is contradictory to what I’ve been following. So, what do I make of all this? FIND WHAT WORKS FOR YOU, BE OPEN TO LEARNING AND DON’T LISTEN TO THE REST OF THE NOISE! As Albert Einstein said: Doing what is right is not always popular, and doing what is popular is not always right.

I don’t count calories anymore and boy, is that liberating! My head now spins only when dreaming up what plant-based goodness I can create, and eat! Like these two fun corn recipes:

LOADED CORN ON THE COB

Corn cob open

I saw a picture of Elote (Mexican corn) in a magazine and glanced over at my last lonely corn on the cob. The thought of drenching the corn with creaminess and then sprinkle cheese on it sounded pretty appealing to me.

 

Corn cheese sauceCashew Tofu Mayonnaise

original recipe from Fat Free Vegan

This recipe makes about a pint of mayo. If you don’t think you’ll use it all within two or three weeks, you may want to make just a half batch or freeze the excess.

 

Ingredients

12 ounces firm silken tofu

1/2 cup raw cashews (about 2 ounces)

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon prepared mustard (I always like dijon)

1/8 teaspoon granulated onion powder

1/8 teaspoon smokey paprika

Salt to taste

Instructions

Drain water from tofu and place it with all other ingredients except salt in a high speed blender. Blend at highest speed until light and creamy. Add salt to taste and blend again. Seal tightly and keep refrigerated. Stir before each use.

Corn grilled
Parmesan Cheast
This is ‘da bomb!!  First of all, it’s only three ingredients (unless you want to get all fancy); second, you can double, or triple the quantity and keep it in the fridge to use on just about anything….really. I sprinkle on all my veggies, in my soups and on my grilled or baked tofu.
Ingredients
1/2 cup toasted sesame or sunflower seedsCorn with cheese sauce
2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
Salt to taste
Options: add smokey paprika or any other seasonings you like.
Instructions
All ingredients go into high speed blender; blend until finely ground.  Store in air tight container in fridge for up to two weeks.
Grill your corn, slather on the mayo first, then roll the corn cob in the parmesan cheast mix.
Corn with sauce and cheese
HOMEMADE CORN SALSA
Corn Salsa

Ingredients

4 large plum tomatoes, diced

2 Tablespoons tomato paste

1/8 cup red wine vinegar

2 Tablespoons diced red onion

2 Tablespoons finely diced jalapenos

1 corn on the cob, kernels sliced off

½ cup chopped mango, either fresh or frozen

1 Tablespoons chopped fresh or dried cilantro

1/8 tsp chipotle seasoning

1/8 tsp cumin

Instructions

First 6 ingredients go into large sauce pan over medium heat, stirring the tomato paste thoroughly. Slowly bring to boil.  Turn heat down to simmer, add the rest of the ingredients, cover and let cook for 15 minutes.  I ate this (for breakfast) in a warmed corn tortilla, with shredded red cabbage and marinated, grilled tofu strips.

Eat for your Life!