Friday, September 30, 2016

Corn Chowder



I'm fighting a cold.  It's going around.  First my daughter and then my husband -- so I am assuming I am next given that I now have a runny nose and slight sore throat.

I turned to the slow cooker for a simple meal that I knew both mama and I would like.

My pithy directions:

1/2 or so of a large white onion, diced
1 pint of home canned sweet corn
2 or 3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced 
veggie broth to cover over the potatoes
salt and black pepper to taste

That's it. I cooked it on low for about 6 hours. Took a cup or so out and whizzed with the stick blender.  (That's why I peeled the potatoes, which I normally don't do for soups.)  I served it with cornbread while we were on the corn kick because it was just easy.  We ended up with two bowls of soup each.

Now this soup is versatile -- add peppers, carrots, or whatever you like. 

My goals were simple:
1.  use up items on hand
2.  an easy meal so that I had time to visit
3.  warmth for my throat
4.  creamy without dairy

This was actually quite delicious and it is one I will make again.  (Oh, if you don't have home canned corn, just use a couple of cups of frozen corn kernels.)


Thursday, September 29, 2016

Family Time and Quilting



Mama came to visit for a few days and we worked on sandwiching this "weed patch" quilt together -- all the fabrics were from scraps except for the backing and border which we pulled from my craft room supplies.  She's English paper pieced this top and is  actually tying it with #10 cotton thread for a softer look.  We spent our free time watching British mysteries and keeping our hands busy.  She tied on her quilt and I worked on knitting a sweater for my grandson. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Borrowing Cookbooks from the Library



I have a weakness for cookbooks. I can sit and spend hours reading them.  I mentally adjust recipes, look for things I might like to try, and just in general enjoy them. 

I picked up these three from the library Sunday afternoon. 

My general review is based on the number of recipes I could see myself making some version of.

Isa Does It only has about 4 or 5 recipes I might try. None of them were particularly earth shattering to me.  This was one I am glad I checked out before considering purchasing it.

However, Vegan Brunch, which is written by the same author, was marginally better. Mostly I found a few pancake and bread type recipes I might would try. Again not high enough to qualify for me to spend money on.

Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson is one I would consider investing in.  I made a list of 26 must try recipes and a long list of several other possibilities. Most of the recipes I immediately ruled out were because of nut and or peanut ingredients.  Some could be easily altered though.  Of course, I have admitted before I am partial to her books.  However, the plan is to try the recipes I have marked and see if we like them. If we do and I consider them worth investing money in I will begin a search for an inexpensive used copy of this book.

Freezer Assets -- Dump and Go



A quick browse through of the cabinet where I keep bits and pieces of things reminded me I had some opened lentils I wanted to use up.  I did a quick online search and found a lentil chili that called for butternut squash so that I could also use the butternut squash I had in the refrigerator.

I quickly assembled the ingredients for three batches.  One went straight into the crockpot while the other two went into freezer bags.  I was able to use all on hand ingredients so that was nice.  The double bonus was I'll have to dump and go meals available for busy days. I'll serve it over cooked rice from my food storage for a complete meal and possibly for the second batch I will make cornbread.  The third is anyone's guess.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Slow Cooker Veg Lasagna



I am really enjoying the new crockpot.  I absolutely crave tomatoes some days and I was having one of those.  I pulled together a vegan lasagna and ended up with enough for two meals, plus leftovers for my husband's lunches for the week.

My cost wasn't too bad.  The biggest expense was the 3/4 package of vegan cheese substitute I used, but it gave it that mouth feel I was looking for.

Dollar Tree no boil noodles, a jar of Aldi Marinara sauce, a few mushrooms, a bag of Aldi frozen spinach, part of a diced onion, two shredded carrots, tofu,  and the vegan cheese.  It cost me approximately $12 to make and about $4 of that was the cheese.  We had 9 generously sized portions at less than $1.40 per serving.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Saving by Baking my Own


My son and his family visited us over the weekend.  My grandson wanted doughnuts, but due to nut allergies I cannot eat the varieties we can buy locally.  He and I made doughnuts instead -- vegan and nut free.  He was happy, I was happy, and we made a memory in the process. 

Bonus I was able to use staples I have on hand and saved my self a trip across town and I wasn't out of the $9 for a dozen doughnuts.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Anniversary Dinner

The time had come for me to downsize my crockpot.  It was a tough choice, but 7 quarts was just too large for only two or three people.  We picked a casserole style one that was 3.5 quarts.

Today we celebrate 24 years together.  I can't believe how the time has flown.  While to some a crockpot may not be a romantic gift, I can tell you it shows he truly knows me.  

Tonight's dinner will be all vegan and a little fancier than I usually make.

Pumpkin pie with a tofu base....he loves pumpkin pie!

Greek Potatoes slow cooker style recipe is here and I simply used vegan butter substitute 

Vegan Fish Fillets (the most expensive part of our meal) with chunky homemade tartar sauce

Green beans (Aldi frozen foods)




Friday, September 23, 2016

Vegan Baked Goods



It's been a long week.  I managed, thanks to arthritic knees, end up with swelled tendons.  I have been hobbling along, but we have company coming in from out of town this weekend so I wanted to fill the cookie tins.


Whole wheat brownies with tofu as egg replacer


Whole wheat vegan ginger snaps


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Monday's Eats


Breakfast was simply coffee and a bowl of strawberries, which I totally forgot to photograph.

For lunch I wanted to cook something I could eat for several meals this week -- if as nothing but a side dish.

A quick perusal of the pantry reminded me I had about 1/3 of a box of wheat macaroni noodles lingering.  I tossed them in water to boil. Pulled out some of the kidney beans I cooked over the weekend, diced some peppers, onions, and carrots, and I was well on my way to making a macaroni salad,  I tossed the carrots in the pasta pot for the last few minutes of cooking.  A good dollop or vegan mayo, some Dijon mustard, and pepper and I had a creamy dressing.  




Over the weekend I cooked chili, keeping a pint for myself.  I tossed a potato In the microwave and grabbed leftover green beans for the fridge.  When the potato was done I plated it all up, added a sprinkle of vegan cheese, and popped it back in the microwave for a minute.



I actually have enough chili to serve with my macaroni salad tomorrow.  

Monday, September 19, 2016

Frugal Happenings 8/12 to 8/18

Last week's frugal happenings felt like mostly the typical things we do to try to be good stewards.

1.  I dyed my own hair.  Sadly it now goes gray quick enough (in spots) that I cannot justify the cost of paying some to color it that often for me.  Costs savings was tremendous because I used coupons and CVS rewards to buy the dye.  We did pay for my daughter's color treatment and hair cuts for both of us.  This time she opted not to have highlights which reduced our costs even further.

2.  Some of my frugal happenings included spending.  I ordered soy powder for an upcoming trip.  This is less expensive and easier to carry than individually sealed small soy milks.  I also bought two pair of shoes for myself, carefully selecting what would be best for my comfort and most versatile for my lifestyle.  I combined sales, coupons, and rewards at CVS to buy needed bathroom supplies and we are now stocked up on several items for several months.

3.  I continued to work on my grandson's camouflage sweater.

4.  I used library books and online resources to find some new recipes to try.

5.  I used freezer assets for a lot of the meals for the week -- pizza crusts, beans, etc.

6.  We had guests over one night and I pulled together a nice casserole from our food storage.  I also baked some carrot muffins.  The meal was enjoyed by all and I ended up with enough leftovers for two meals for my daughter.

7.  We made homemade take out -- pizzas, "chicken" patties, Spanish hot cocoa, etc.

8.  For splurges we bought two packages of flavored coffee.  Even though these are more expensive than plain coffee, they are far less expensive than buying seasonal flavored coffees at places like Starbucks.

9.  As usual we worked to avoid food waste.  I did end up with a little, which went out to the birds.  I enjoyed sitting and watching them through the window so it was a win win.

10.  I hung the laundry I could hang to dry.  I also waited until we had large loads to do the washing.

11.  We've also taken advantage of the slightly cooler weather and turned the thermostat up on the air conditioner.

12.  I bought myself two pair of winter tights -- both in black -- that were buy 1 get 1 half off.  I'll use these all fall and winter.


Black Beans and Greens

I haven't tried this recipe, but it showed up in my email this morning.

Pressure Cooker Spicy Black Bean

I love black beans and I love the pressure cooker.  The beans are nutritious, inexpensive, and easy to store.  The pressure cooker --- speedy, lower energy usage, and I can let it do its thing while I do other things. 


Sunday, September 18, 2016

Quiet Sunday

It is kind of a quiet Sunday here.  Due to recent gas shortages we filled the cars up yesterday.  (The nearest gas stations are now out.)  As a precaution, in case they don't have the pipeline repaired by the end of the week, I've spent the morning cooking for my husband to take with him.

I thought I would share how I use my freezer, pantry and stock up items to pull together meals.

I made a pot of bean chili.  Quick and easy.  I made exactly enough to fill 3 pint jars.  Two for him to take with him and one for me.
This used:
kidney beans -- dry storage, cooked in bulk yesterday
chickpeas -- from freezer
diced tomatoes with chilis -- from pantry
onion and bell pepper -- from freezer
tomato sauce (1/2 can) -- from pantry
spices and seasonings from storage

I also wanted something "taco" flavored.  A quick survey showed me I had leftover Spanish rice, which served as my jumping off point.

Spanish rice (a few cups) -- from fridge (previously made from all food storage)
1 cup of ground vegan crumbles -- from freezer
onion and bell pepper -- from freezer
tomato sauce (second half of can from chili)
spices and seasonings  from storage
kidney beans  -- from yesterday's cooking

This made a pretty large batch.  We will have it in tortilla wraps (burrito style) and serve some on baked potatoes. 

While all of this was going I baked 8 of my freezer biscuits.  4 went for breakfast and 4 for my husband to take along this week. Since the oven was already hot I baked a crisp, too.

For the crisp--
1 sweet potato from short term storage
2 apples from short term storage
coconut sugar from pantry storage
cinnamon from storage
Earth Balance -- from fridge
oatmeal -- from pantry storage

To me the best thing about having a stocked pantry is not having to run out to get things.  I was able to pull out canned fruits, veggies, baked beans, etc. to round out his weekly meals.  If the gas shortages continue I'll be able to do the same thing for us here at home with no problems.  If things were to progress we might have to switch from more fresh to frozen, canned, or dried, but we would still eat well.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Friday and Saturday



Friday morning I baked some buns for the evening meal and tried my hand at vegan garlic and cheese rolls.  Delicious!  That afternoon I had to run a few errands.  I picked up some soy milk, fresh produce, and hot cocoa mix from the neighborhood market. Then I went to CVS to take advantage of some sales combined with coupons to pick up some items we needed -- deoderants, shampoos, Zyrtec, face cleanser, and a few other small things.


My kitty kept trying to help me photograph our supper.  This was our version of fast food.  Boca Chicken patties with the fixings and sweet potato fries.


We started out Saturday with fresh fruit and the last of the carrot muffins.  Then daughter and I had hair cut appointments.  From there we went to what is the most expensive store in our area, but they are the only store that carries the vegan dairy substitutes that we like.  I came home with cheese (mozzarella and cheddar), 2 tubs of "cream cheese" (on sale), vegan "butter",  two containers of specialty coffee, and some peppermint sticks for hot cocoa.  When we got in from the store I pulled together a few quick pizzas using on hand ingredients, some of the cheese we purchased, and the last of the crusts I had frozen.  By the time the oven had preheated I had them ready to go -- bake 15 minutes and fresh from the oven pizza.  Wonderfully quick!

While I was working on other things I also went ahead and cooked a big batch of dried kidney beans.  I saved several cups out for meals for this upcoming week and put two containers with two cups each in the freezer for future.  I've used all the beans I froze last time except for one bag of chickpeas and they'll go into chili this week.



This is my new hair cut ad I love it.  One thing that I can say about eating this vegan plant based diet is that I feel better than I have in years.  I told my husband I feel like I have the energy and mental clarity I had at 18 and I will be 45 this fall so that is taking off a lot of years!




Shoes



One of the issues I have is that I do have arthritis.  My hips and knees often hurt so I try to be careful about what kind of support I wear in shoes, but I hate to simply wear tennis shoes.  I ordered both pairs of these from Amazon, which does have an excellent return policy.  Both fit perfectly and will carry me through the fall and winter.  They both have excellent padding and non slip soles, which are a must in my mind for day to day shoes. I went with black for both pairs and each have a print that adds some detailed interest to them.

I don't do a lot of online clothes or shoe shopping for myself, but I was quite pleased with the price, the speed I received them, and the fit.  These were my first "deliberately planned" pairs of animal friendly shoes and I love them. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Bean and Rice Recipes

These are some bean and rice recipes I have found online that I would like to try.  I'll substitute a cheese alternative, but other than that I like the simplicity of these recipes.



Vegetarian Rice and Bean Casserole 

Rice and Bean Casserole (Black Beans) 

Slow Cooker Mexican Bowl

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice


I'll try to share the results as I work these in our menu over the next few weeks.




Thursday, September 15, 2016

Carrot Muffins


I love this little cookbook.  The recipes are all family friendly....young child and teenager alike. 

I made the carrot muffins today -- adjusting for my food allergies and preferences. 

Kale -- It's what's for dinner!


I came home with a huge bag of organic kale and I'll be eating it for the next few days.  Any I cannot finish will go in the freezer for future sides.  (I was craving potato salad and it seemed like the perfect accompaniment to the kale and red onions.)

45 days



I celebrated 45 days of plant based eating with a homemade pizza.  I ended up making two so that my husband could have leftovers for the next day.  (I love having the crusts prebaked and in the freezer.)


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Frugal Happenings Week 9/4/16

I spent the week with my son and actually didn't spend a lot.  Things I did spend were planned.

1.  I bought my daughter in law her birthday gift early.  She wanted cast iron pans and we found her a griddle, a Dutch oven, and a large skillet.  I considered these investment pieces.  Because I was with them I saved on having to ship them to her and because of weight I can only imagine how much that would have been.

2.  I carried snacks with us for our trip.

3.  I rode the train back instead of driving.  The only way driving is more economical for us is if we have the economy of scale of having a car full of passengers.

4.  I packed muffins and fruit for the train ride.

5.  I picked up some vegetarian cookbooks and some books for a Christmas present at the local library book sale.  $3 for a bag of books isn't bad at all.

6.  I packed my husband's meals for the week.

7.  We went out to eat and took my grandson to ride the merry go round....while these did cost, they were planned splurges and totally worth it.

8.  We walked to the park several days.



Monday, September 12, 2016

Goals for this Month

Next week I will be gone for a few days.  My husband has a business trip and I am tagging along.
Then we will be leaving the beginning of October for an anniversary trip.  I've got a few things I want to get done over the next few weeks.

1.  Finish the crocheted sweater for my grandson.
2.  Finish the knit sweater for my grandson.  (Yes, I have two going.  The knitting one was not travel friendly.)
3.  Plan our packing and have those items ready.
4.  Decide on a travel project for our trip.
5.  Record another video of me reading a book to share with my grandson.
6.  Finish the last 20 minutes of my sweater coat.  Why I put it down I'm not sure...sigh.

I'm sure the list will expand as the month goes on, but this sounds like plenty for me to get done.  I have several family events and a couple of doctors' appointments thrown in there along with the normal day to day life.

More About Me -

1. ARE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? Yes I am, but I've never met her.

2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? When I had to leave my son and his family after a week of togetherness.

3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING?  Yes, I have beautiful handwriting -- unless I am in a hurry.

4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT?  I don't like lunch meats, but I love sunbutter or a tomato sandwich.

5. DO YOU HAVE ANY KIDS?  Two -- one of each model as my husband says.

6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS?   Yes.

7. DO YOU USE SARCASM?  I prefer ironic humor...lol

8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS?  Yes

9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP?  No.  Nor skydive, rock climb, etc.

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL?   I don't eat many cold cereals, but I love all hot cereals except for cream of wheat.

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF?  No, but to be fair whenever possible I wear slip ons.

12. DO YOU THINK YOU’RE STRONG?   Physically I am limited by some arthritis, but mentally I'm tough.

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR?  Chocolate!

14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE?   I look for something in their eyes.  I can't put the something into words, but it is either there or it isn't.

15. RED OR PINK?  I like pink, but rarely wear it -- especially pastels, but I love to wear red.

16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING YOU LIKE ABOUT YOURSELF?   I cannot rest until the things on my to do list are done.

17. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING RIGHT NOW? Gray pants and I am barefoot.

18. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE?   Grits.

19. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?  The sound of the cat lapping water.

20. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE?   Purple or maybe silver.

21. FAVORITE SMELL?   Babies.

22. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO? my daughter

23. FAVORITE SPORT TO WATCH?   I only like to watch sports if I know someone playing.  Really I am not much of a watch sports kind of person at all

24. HAIR COLOR THATS REAL? Yes, although I am planning to color the gray that is appearing lol

26. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? Nope, glasses for me!

27. FAVORITE FOOD?   I don't know.  I have favorites for each season.  Summer is berries.  Fall is pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and chili.  Winter is soups and casseroles.  Spring I find myself wanting more vegetable salads.

28. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS?  I do not watch scary movies or romances per say.  I am a mystery kind of person.  I do enjoy a lot of British comedy and drama.

29. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED. Star Wars The Force Awakens (with my grandson)

30. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING?  Coral.

31. SUMMER OR WINTER.  Winter, but fall is my favorite.  I hate being hot.

32. HUGS OR KISSES?  I am a personal space kind of person.  My family hugging me is fine.  I'm not crazy about strangers hugging me.

33. FAVORITE SWEET FOOD?  Cheesecake -- something about the creaminess wins me over.

34. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?  I'm "reading" a few cookbooks I checked out from the library.

35. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD?  I don't use one.

36. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON T.V. LAST? Miranda (Miranda Hart)

37. FAVORITE SOUND?  child laughter, waves, Celtic music

38. ROLLING STONES or BEATLES?  I like them both.

39. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE TRAVELED?  Europe.

40. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT?  I am very quick to pick up on the ins and outs of any kind of hand project.


Join in the fun and copy  and paste the questions on your blog with your own answers.

Robin Robertson's Pumpkin Spice Cake

As I have mentioned before, Vegan on the Cheap is one of my favorite cookbooks.  Rarely do the recipes have ingredients I cannot find.  They also rarely have ingredients that sound a little "weird" to me.  :-)

This pumpkin spice cake recipe is from this book.  I did not make the chocolate glaze, so I am not sharing that recipe.  (I try to only share recipes I can vouch for turning out well in my opinion.)

This recipe uses items I keep on hand and makes frugal, healthful dessert.

Pumpkin Spice Cake

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease a Bundt pan and set aside. (I used two small pans because I was slicing ours in travel sized pieces for a road trip.)

In small bowl combine:
1/2 cup soy milk (can be plain or vanilla)
2 tsps. apple cider vinegar
Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together (until light brown and fluffy) for about 2 or 3 minutes:
1/2 cup of vegan margarine (softened)
1 cup of light brown sugar

Add:
1 (15 oz) can of pumpkin
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Beat until incorporated.
Stir in the soy milk mixture.

In medium bowl whisk together:
2 cups AP flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour)
1 tsps. baking soda
2 tsps. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsps. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture about 1/3 at a time, incorporating after each addition. 

Put batter in pan and bake for about 30 minutes or until toothpick test shows it is done.

Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack and then remove from pan.  Cool completely on wire rack and then gaze if desired.

Aldi Trip 9/11


I had to be out and my husband needed a few things for this week so I went ahead and hit Aldi while I was out.  During my baking earlier in the day I made a list of the things I was out of.  There were three things left on my list, but they are things Aldi doesn't carry.  I'll try to pick them up later this week or perhaps see if I can get by without them for a while.

For some reason three things didn't make it into my photo. 

Gala apples
2 cranberry juices (for pantry)
Roma tomatoes
3 avocadoes
2 soy milks
2 bags of stir fry veggies (for freezer assets)
2 bags of green beans (for freezer assets)
1 box of instant potatoes (for pantry)
2 boxes of wheat crackers
1 container of raisins (for the baking cabinet)
1 bag of chopped kale
2 bags of pepperoni for my daughter
3 lbs. bananas
mints
10 lbs. of potatoes
bag of lemons
cinnamon
parsley
salsa

Total spent was $52.61.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Library Trip

Our library was having a book sale -- $3 for a grocery bag full of books.  I picked up these few vegetarian cookbooks and then we filled the rest of the bag with mysteries that will be part of my mama's Christmas gift.


While I was there I checked out these books.

"Turkey" and Dressing -- A Trial Run for Thanksgiving





We decided to do a trial run for our Thanksgiving turkey.  I used pantry ingredients I keep on hand to make the roast, the stuffing was my homemade bread (dried), Brussels sprouts (from the freezer), and molasses gingered carrots (from my home canned carrots).  This was delicious and my husband declared it a definite winner for Thanksgiving.  Next weekend we will test a pumpkin pie recipe -- oh the sacrifices we have to make.





Saturday, September 10, 2016

Plant based Chili Mac



After a long train ride home I was craving something warm and filling.  I made up a huge pan of Chili Mac.  I used this basic recipe for my starting point.

Of course, in typical fashion I may have changed it a little.  I used freezer and pantry items to pull this together quickly.  I did use fresh onion, but if I hadn't had any I would have simply used dried onion.

I used whole wheat pasta.  My onion was red because that was what I had on hand.  I minced some garlic to add because I love garlic.  I used 1/2 of a bag of Gardein beef crumbles and added 2 cups of the pinto beans I had previously frozen.  I didn't want that much of the crumbles and prefer more of my protein to come from beans.  I also wanted to keep the costs a little more reasonable.  I used 1 can of tomato sauce because I like it saucy.  I also increased the amount of cumin.  Oh, and I just stirred in a little Daiya cheddar shreds.

What I've Been Eating

I spent the past week with my son and his family.  I'm very fortunate because my daughter in law is a person I would be friends with even if she were not my daughter in law.

Meals this week were varied and included among other things:

Tofu and bean burrito

corn pasta with black beans and Mexican seasonings
(sorry I nibbled first)  collards, seasoned beans, and roasted potatoes)

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Be Back Soon


Spending a week with my favorite Minion lover.  I'll be back to posting come Sunday. 

Monday, September 5, 2016

"Chicken" Casserole



Many years ago I switched to a plant based diet and found it hard to maintain.  There were a few things I found extremely difficult, but I think all of those things have changed except for one.  I am now in an area where I have access to a larger variety of items, I now can order things in bulk online (or purchase since I am in town), and I now have family support with my husband joining me.  The only other thing I didn't do at the time was find a way to remake some old favorites.  In hindsight that was an error of youth.  This time I am determined to avoid that mistake.

Rainy day blahs found me wanting comfort food, and for some reason I was craving a cheesy casserole.  One of my past favorites was always made with rice and chicken.  It wasn't a particularly healthful dish though.  I decided to set about revamping it.  I used freezer assets and pantry staples to recreate it.

White rice became brown rice.
Cream of chicken soup became olive oil, whole wheat pastry flour and vegetarian "chicken" base with water.
I substituted the second half of the bag of Gardein "chicken" for the usual chicken.
Sour cream and cheese became vegan mayo and vegan cheese.
I added onion powder and garlic powder....a pinch of dried mustard...some thawed broccoli.
Topped with a sprinkle of homemade whole grain breadcrumbs and tiny bit more cheese.
Baked at 350F for  about 25 minutes covered and 10 uncovered.

It was great!  Just what I was looking for.  The casserole dish held three large dinner servings and I still had half a dish left for lunches.


Sunday, September 4, 2016

Pumpkin Cake


This is hands down my favorite vegan cookbook.  The recipes are so approachable and her recipes are in line with how a home cook thinks....or at least how I think. 

It's beginning to feel like fall.  I was down to 3 cans of pumpkin left from last fall's stock-up....and now there are two... 

This vegan cake is super easy to make and really delicious.  Of course, I changed a few things.  I used whole wheat pastry flour and refined coconut oil as opposed to all purpose flour and vegan margarine.

Half of one cake became dessert.  I sliced the rest and put in a tin for our road trip.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Opportunity Spending



I had to run to Aldi to pick up some convenience items for my daughter. With her school schedule it is hard for her to cook three meals a day and neither of us want her to eat out multiple times a day.  Convenience foods were the most economical and healthier route.   Her items aren't shown here because they come out of a different category.  

However, since I was there anyway I picked up some items that are accounted for in grocery and travel line items.

2 lbs of fettuccine -- $1.89 (normally not in my Aldi)
1/2 bag of apples for travel and 1/2 for her -- $1.79
Apple Jacks for travel (a gift for my grandson, when we arrive) -- $2.89
1 box crackers -- $1.49
1 box crackers for travel $1.49
2 80 ounce jars of dill pickles -- $7.38 (normally not in my Aldi)
2 bottles bamboo shoots -- $1.89 (hit and miss stocking)
2 bottles of bean sprouts -- $1.89 (hit and miss stocking)
4 cans water chestnuts -- $1.56 (hit and miss stocking)
Soy milk -- $2.19
Peach iced tea for travel -- $3.99
NescafĂ© instant coffee for travel  -- $5.38
Hummus for travel -- $1.99
Onion powder -- .99
Bananas for travel -- .85
Wheat tortillas for travel -- $1.39

Home $19.67 including tax
Travel $20.17 including tax
Daughter's supplies $36.15 including tax





Friday, September 2, 2016

"Wet and Green" and Chatter



We've kind of settled in and are waiting for Hermine to pass through.  It's been raining since I got up and I am assuming through most of the night.  Hopefully rain will be all we end up with.

Got up this morning to a crazy mess.  For some reason the refrigerator freezer was not working.  I checked everything and finally gave up and moved the items I had in it to the chest freezer. They barely fit, but I was grateful I had been working its contents down. 

Nothing I did seemed to be working and I contacted my husband.  We could not get a repairman here before September 9th.  Lowes had already sent out their delivery truck for the day.  Sears could not deliver until September 9th.  We found one of those "we will finance and or sell you an appliance at a ridiculous fortune" that would deliver today.  I was set to change my travel plans and wait until next week rather than go that route. 

In desperation I asked myself what was the easiest thing to do.  In a voice only a computer techy would truly appreciate I said, "Did you try turning it off and back on?"  I figured I had nothing to lose.  I turned the entire refrigerator off -- this thing is only 5 years old and a good quality that was bought for longevity -- and let it sit for five minutes.  I turned it back on and the temps began to drop.
I was amazed!

The only thing I can figure was that last night during the thunder storming several of the small electrical appliances went off, but we never lost power or anything like that.  I am assuming the refrigerator must have done the same.  My husband said perhaps some kind of brown out.  Either way it is working now.  Thank goodness.  Nothing else in the house seems to be having any troubles either.


Freezer Biscuit Test


The freezer biscuits worked well.  They weren't quite as fluffy as I would have liked, but the texture was right.  Next time I just won't roll them quite as thin. 

This was a win win recipe for us.  I had to have them in the oven and ready before my husband came down. I put them in the pan and set them in the refrigerator at night.  Next morning while the oven preheated I left them on the counter.  410F for 15 minutes....and we had fresh baked biscuits for breakfast.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Quick and Easy Stir Fry


Some nights we just need something quick and easy.  Step one is to always check and see what I have on hand first.  Bowl of brown rice jumped out at me.  Quick grab of two bags from the freezer (I only used about half of the Gardein "chicken" for this meal.), a few pantry staples and we were on our way.

I browned the chicken and while it was cooking I lightly microwaved the veggies.  Made a quick sauce -- forgot to photograph the corn starch.  When the chicken was browned, I removed it and put in the rice.  Chopped the chicken and added it and the veggies to the wok.  Tossed it good and let it finish cooking. 

Easy supper for three.  Also enough for two more lunches.  Not bad and on the table in less than 30 minutes.

Childhood Foods Revisited

While my husband and I were drinking our morning coffee, we were reminiscing about favorite elementary school meals. We both agreed tha...