Thursday, August 29, 2013


I went to farms2forks at the Esselstyn family farm in upstate New York.  It was wonderful and so uplifting.  I saw this summary that described it so nicely, I don't need to do it myself:

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Zeb's waffles with no sugar!

This is the first time I ate waffles or pancakes without maple syrup and it was great! I made a mini-version of Zeb's waffles from "My Beef with Meat". I used a generous 1/2 cup oats, 1 tsp flax seeds, a few walnuts halves (1/4 oz), some orange zest, and 1/2 banana. I ground the flaxseed and walnuts and some of the oats, combined all the dry ingredients. I blended the banana with 1/2 cup water to make "banana milk". Then combined everything and made two waffles out of them. I topped them with 1/2 large fresh peach. It was delicious!
If you are avoiding the nuts,  you probably wouldn't even notice if you left out the walnuts. I'm so proud of myself for not adding sweetener. I didn't miss it at all! What a surprise!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Awesome chili

This chili was inspired by Chef AJ's Red Lentil Chili, but in the end I think I only had a few overlapping ingredients, ha.  Well I didn't have red lentils, and I had a bunch of wonderful veggies I wanted to cook up it went.  I did like her spices though and followed them pretty closely.  Here's my version, and as usual, the amounts and even the ingredients don't matter too much, use whatever you like or have on hand.

1 lb of beans.  I used 1/2 lb pinto, and 1/2 lb lentils (half green, half brown).
2 15-oz cans of tomatoes
1 large onion
1small bulb of garlic or 1/2 large
a bunch of your favorite veggies:  I used eggplant, carrots, zucchini, and a giant red bell pepper.
Something sweet:  1 large beet (or 2 medium) or a sweet potato or some mango or some pineapple, or some dates or some maple syrup (take your pick or picks)
spices and herbs:   I had some fresh parsley, sage, chives and rosemary
1.5 Tbsp salt-free chili powder or to taste
2 tsp smoked paprika (smoked is key)
1/2 tsp chipotle powder (also gives a smokey flavor)
more chipotle if you like it hot, and some crushed red pepper if you like it hot (I don't really).
2 Tbsp apple basalmic or apple cider vinegar (more if you want).
I forgot scallions but that sounds pretty good as a topping if you want it.

cook up the beans in a large pot (soaked overnight, or do a quick soak:  boil then sit for an hour) or open up a few cans of beans.
prep the veggies:   cut them up, peel as desired.    I cooked the beets separately because I wanted to blend them.  the rest I put in a large pan with 1 cup water, covered in foil, baked at 375 for 1 hour.  don't bother cutting the garlic, just put the bulb in (see picture).

When this was done, I blended the beets and one cat of tomatoes and the garlic.  For the garlic, cut off the bottom, and then sqeeze out the garlic--super easy!  I took the rosemary out and poured the veggies into the bean pot.  I added the beet/tomato/garlic puree and the other spices and herbs.   It was delicious before adding the spices so I knew it was going to be good.  

Here is a bowl served up with lunch.  Someone else got a brat so everyone was happy.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Easy and good baked veggies

This makes 1-2 meals.  Put 1/4 cup lentils in the bottom of a baking dish.  Cut up whatever veggies you have that seem like they would be good. Today I used onion, beet, and kohlrabi.  Tomorrow I'll do those plus eggplant.   Add 1 cup water.  

Top with foil.  Bake at 375 for 1 hour 15 minutes (including oven heating up).   Let cool.  stir, serve or save for tomorrow.  

If you have beans already cooked, you can forget the lentils and add the beans afterwards.  I also cook up greens and onions, and have those on the side.

Red sauce (ketchup? barbecue?)

I've experimented with making my own ketchup and barbeque sauce. Of course, store bought is fine as long as it's used as a condiment. I just prefer lower salt and sugar in mine. Anyway I decided I like a sort of combination of the two. Here are the ingredients I used today:

That's salt-free mustard, fire-roasted tomatoes, garlic powder, chipotle powder, onion powder, apple-balsamic vinegar and a baked beet on the right! The beet adds sweetness and a little thickness when blended up. If you want a different sweetener, you can use maple syrup or dates, whatever you wish. The Chipotle adds a smoky flavor but I have to be careful not to add too much because it's hot. Another thing I thought of after snapping the picture smoked paprika, which I also added. I blended this all up, then froze in an ice cube tray!

Then put the cubes in a ziplock bag and back in the freezer. Now I have individual servings whenever I want. They thaw quickly in the microwave. Here's today's lunch with the red sauce as a dipper for my potato fries.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Zeb's Waffles

Now that the E2X Captain's Challenge is over, I had my Zeb's waffles from "My Beef with Meat" and I wasn't disappointed! Here is a picture of our waffle iron from the 1950s!
I was worried it wouldn't be up to the task because it doesn't have a modern day non-stick surface. Well, it turns out the 1950s no-stick surface works just as good. It's probably iron for all I know.  But the real reason these turned out is because this baby gets really hot! Here is one of the waffles:
I made a half-recipe which made 3 waffles and I ate them all!  (yes I am a pig, yes I am the only plant-strong person in the house). Another thing that thrills me is that this is the first time I didn't OD (overdose) on maple syrup with waffles or pancakes. I had this clever idea to heat up frozen sour cherries and blueberries in the microwave until nice and hot. They release a lot of juice and taste mighty fine too. I added 1 Tbsp of maple syrup and it made a nice fruit topping, enough for all three waffles. I was most pleased.  
Now I have an even better idea for next time using a recipe from Ann Esselstyn (not posted, just word of mouth--it's just banana, oats, water and cinnamon).  I'll post that whenever I make it.   

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Captain's Lasagna!

I gotta write this down so I can remember.  It was good.   I call it Captain's Lasagna because it's consistent with the Captain's Challenge guidelines on the E2X website.   I have pictures below that will contradict slightly my recipe because I'm modifying it based on what I think would make it better next time.   As you read this, keep in mind that I don't really use recipes or measure things.  I will list amounts but it's kind of arbitrary, depending on what I buy.  And you can pick different ingredients as you wish, and as I will in the future.   This recipe takes a long time from start to finish but you don't have to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.  It's good for a day at home when you are doing other things.

4 Japanese eggplants or 1 largish globe eggplant (the Japanese are less bitter).
2 sweet potatoes
1 medium-large onion
1/2 large bulb of garlic or 1smaller bulb
An ear of sweet corn or some broccoli or cauliflower or something that looks good, or any combination
Some spinach (however much you like)
A can of tomatoes (16 oz)
Lots of fresh herbs (I used basil, parsley and sage from the garden) or dry Italian seasoning
1/3 cup oats or so (soaks up liquid)
1/2 lb mushrooms, more if you like them, less if you don't
Some small tomatoes to slice for topping
1/2-1 cup beans, any kind

Bake all the veggies in the oven.  Just throw them in whole.   Bake at 350 or 375 for 45 minutes.  The garlic should be done then, so take that out.   The eggplant and sweet potatoes probably need another 20 minutes.   The corn and onion can go for even longer, maybe another 20.   Don't worry about overcooking, it just makes it taste better.   If using broccoli and cauliflower, you probably want to cut it up and bake in a dish with some water, covered in foil--but take it off in the last 20 minutes if you want it toasted.   Here's everything going into the oven (I used zucchini, but preferred the eggplant after it was done).   Cook up the mushrooms in a pan if you want (I didn't do that today and they weren't quite cooked all the way, though they were good, so I'm not sure which way would be best).

Let everything cool.   Peel the skins off.  Eat any that look good if you want (I kind of like sweet potato skins).   Assemble all your ingredients on the counter.

Prep the veggies:  Get the corn off the cob (knife works good).   Today I sliced the sweet potatoes but I think next time I will mash them.  And this time I pureed the beans but I think next time I will leave them whole, if they are small, or just slightly pureed if large.  I'll see if I like that better.   Slice the onion.  Slice the eggplant lengthwise so it's like lasagna noodle.   Slice the mushrooms, tomatoes.   Take your can of tomatoes, put in a blender or food processor.  Squirt the garlic out of it's cloves into the blender.   Blend (or process).   If using fresh herbs, add them and blend some more, not too much, just enough to see green pieces of the right size.

Get a baking pan that looks like it will fit everything, either 8x8 or 9x13.  Mine fit in 8x8 today.   Start assembling!   Put a layer of tomato sauce on bottom, then eggplant.   Then it's kind of as you like but add the oats fairly early so they absorb liquid.  Here's a possible way to go: Add some onions, mushrooms, beans, oats, and more tomato sauce.   Then spread the sweet potatoes.  Then add spinach, more onions, mushrooms, beans.  If there is any eggplant left, add that.  Add the final layer of tomato sauce (doesn't have to cover, can just drizzle).  Top with sliced tomatoes.

Here's an early layer

Cover with foil.  Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.  Then take the foil off and bake another 15 minutes.

Here is the final product:

It was good!   I ate 1/3 of the pan.  But it was just veggies!

Friday, August 2, 2013


I started a new exercise program today. My trail running friend got me interested in running again (not sure that's a good idea), but I'm only going to do a little. Also, even though I hate doing weights (bores me), I feel I need to do it for my backpack training. So I thought every morning I could run down to the YMCA, only 1/2 mile from my house, do some weights, then run home, for a quick 45 minute workout. Then I'll do something more enjoyable in the afternoon.  I tried it this morning and liked it. I like getting outside soon after waking, because I have this notion that it helps my sleep cycle. Later in the day I biked 14 miles for my work commute.  
On to food.
For breakfast I tried out Bill's idea for toasting patties from leftover breakfast cereal, but my oat groats and brown rice weren't mushy enough to make patties out of. Frying it up (no liquid) did make it crispy though, and it was good some sour cherries and blueberries. 
I had lunch with friends and brought some beets and onions I had baked up last night with some more of the oat groats and brown rice. I also had a bowl of the kale and onions that I had made yesterday.
I had no food left for dinner and knew I was going to work late so I planned to stop at the co-op on my way home for some fruit and raw veggies.  At the co-op I had some cherries and a banana. Then at home I had some sugar snap peas, carrots, a tomato from the garden, and I snacked a little on the strawberries that I was prepping for the freezer.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

8/1/13, great hiking day

I met a friend and we hiked almost 8 miles today on hilly terrain.  It was great!   She is training for a hilly trail run and I'm training for hiking and backpacking.   She definitely got my interest about this trail running.  I keep telling myself I'm too old to run--because I want to be active until well into old age and I don't want bad knees to prevent that.  But I still might look into it, and promise I wouldn't run much, just a bit.
Breakfast was just nibbling on raw spinach and fruit while making housemate's smoothie.  
Lunch after a hilly 6 mile hike was my fantastic baked kohlrabi and onion (so sweet when baked) topped with beans and lentils; and some cooked kale and onions; and some snow peas.  That was followed by an easy 2 mile hike.
Dinner was corn on the cob, kale and onions, and too many blueberries.
Happy Aug. 1 everyone!