Autumn Ratatouille

Autumn Ratatouille

It has been way too long in between recipes… but it is Autumn and this looks like the colors of fall leaves, doesn’t it? This version is super-quick, low calorie, vegan, with no added fats, but I’ll add some variations in the postscript in case you want to change it up.

Ratatouille
makes 2 large servings, 230 calories each.

Ingredients:

1 eggplant, cubed (I don’t peel them)

1 carrot, cubed (you can cut it into discs, I just like how it looks shape-wise with the eggplant & corn)

1 2/3 cup frozen corn

1 can S&W stewed Roma Tomatoes, Italian style, 14.5 oz.

Imagine Brand No-Chicken Broth, Low Sodium, 2 cups

2 bay leaves

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp (or less) Tamari

dash cayenne

Add salt & pepper to taste

Process:

Place cut up vegies in microwaveable bowl and cover (I use a corning ware casserole) cook on high 5 minutes.

Meantime, place a soup pot on burner and heat broth and tomatoes with their liquid, add vegetables and remaining ingredients to liquid and simmer until carrots are tender and flavors are blended, about 20 to 30 minutes. Enjoy with bread or crackers  if desired.

Variations:

For even lower calories, you could substitute yellow pepper for corn, but I like corn and the starchiness makes it filling. You could also use different flavors of S&W tomatoes and stock to change the character of the broth. If you like olive oil and would like a higher fat, higher calorie version, instead of cooking your vegetables in the microwave, brown an onion in olive oil, then add liquids to pot. cook as per remaining instructions.

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The Leaping Bunny Program

leapingunny

The Leaping Bunny Program

The link above is the website of the international coalition for cruelty-free cosmetics.

If you’ve ever tried to compare products and have wondered what the difference was between one company’s “vegan sourced”, another’s “cruelty free” and “not tested on animals”, these guys are the true arbiter to help you figure out those confusing claims.

Bonus: they have an app for iPhone and Android!

UPDATE, 10/26: I love the app. I don’t have the latest iPhone, I have an elderly Samsung so I was interested to see how it would work. I was at the store and checked a brand of laundry detergent I had been buying because I remembered them advertising as “not tested on animals” apparently that was long ago, because when I clicked on my leaping bunny logo, chose “products” from the menu, and scrolled down looking for their name… nope. But Seventh Generation was the best-priced of the options that were listed in the detergent aisle, so I bought theirs. I did confirmation checks on two other products, fast, easy, super app. :)


Thanksgiving and Turkey

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving as a tradition

Christianity.com says: the pilgrims never observed an annual Thanksgiving feast in autumn. In the year 1621, they did celebrate a feast near Plymouth, Massachusetts, following their first harvest. But this feast most people refer to as the first Thanksgiving was never repeated.

Thanksgiving Timeline from The Library of Congress

1621 – Pilgrims and Native Americans celebrated a harvest feast in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
• 1630 – Settlers observed the first Thanksgiving of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in New England on July 8, 1630.
• 1777 – George Washington and his army on the way to Valley Forge, stopped in blistering weather in open fields to observe the first Thanksgiving of the new United States of America.
• 1789 – President Washington declared November 26, 1789, as a national day of “thanksgiving and prayer.”
• 1800s – The annual presidential thanksgiving proclamations ceased for 45 years in the early 1800s.
• 1863 – President Abraham Lincoln resumed the tradition of Thanksgiving proclamations in 1863. Since this date, Thanksgiving has been observed annually in the United States.
• 1941 – President Roosevelt established the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day. Read the rest of this entry »


Bead Crochet Bracelets

Well, here they are!

The verdict? They are comfortable to wear, fun to make and I love them. I realized during my photography session that I either need a mannequin arm or a friend with daintier wrists than mine. :) You can see from the pictures that some can be worn as both  necklaces and bracelets. I am having fun rummaging through my bead bin and scrounging cool buttons for closures.

Creating is fun, photography is hard, but now that I have them all photographed I will get them measured and listed in my Etsy store tomorrow.  So far I am making them to fit a 6.5 inch wrist (mine),  but I’d be happy to make them in custom colors or lengths, call or email me with your ideas!  Here are a few pictures to whet your appetite…


SOTD, Shake of the Day

Mmmm, breakfast.

I was pretty shaky after my exercise this morning, I guess green tea alone just doesn’t cut it for me for Nordic Walking. In the past, working out in a fasted state was believed to burn a lot more calories but I just googled it and found that those findings were controversial. I am linking (see related articles below) to 3 articles that reach different conclusions. Anyway, I had to come in after 45 minutes because I was too dizzy to continue, so I’ll probably go with “lightly fed exercise” myself unless I am just doing a 20 minute run or something. But…  it is all OK because I made this!

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Pineapple mylk

Ingredients:

almond or soymilk, 1 cup

flax seeds, 1 tsp

frozen or fresh pineapple, 1 cup

sweetener as desired, I use 3 drops of Stevia

Process:

I used the VitaMix. If you don’t have one you should probably use flaxseed meal because my regular blender never ground the seeds up well enough for my taste.  Essentially, that is the difference between a VitaMix and a blender. A strawberry smoothie made in a blender will still have strawberry seeds in it, the smoothie made in the VitaMix will not.

You can bet I’ll make one of these before I walk out the door tomorrow.

Related articles:

Mark’s Daily Apple recommends fasting before intense exercise, referring to a study in which the subjects were eating a diet containing 50% fat. He also notes, “Lifting heavy things while picturing the pounds of meat to come is, for lack of a better word, kinda Primal. The hunger fuels my performance.”

BuiltLean recommends a light meal before exercise. He says, “The group that ate before the moderate cardio session continued to burn significantly more calories up to 24 hours after the exercise bout. The authors concluded that “when moderate endurance exercise is done to lose body fat, fasting before exercise does not enhance lipid utilization (fat use); rather, physical activity after a light meal is advisable.”

The New York Times: Phys Ed: The Benefits of Exercising Before Breakfast which states, “Exercising in the morning, before eating, the study results show, seems to significantly lessen the ill effects of holiday Bacchanalias.”


Every-day Eggplant Parmigiana

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Before you get started, I want to warn you that this is not a traditional recipe, this one is quick and simple enough for a week-night. Click this link if you were looking for a traditional recipe and want to bail out now.

Mine is low-fat, gluten free, and either vegan or vegetarian depending on whether you use mozzarella cheese or a vegan substitute. In case you worry that this is sacrilegious, don’t. First of all, the traditional dish it isn’t from Parma at all, despite the name it is from Southern Italy. Second, there are many regional variations on eggplant Parmigiana, also called eggplant parmesan in the USA, and third, there are two completely different traditions that claim the name, one is the baked casserole type and the other is the stacked slices type. I like the casserole type best but each slice of eggplant is generally salted, pressed, dipped in egg, breaded, then fried, and finally baked with sauce and cheese. That is just too many calories and way too many steps for me. Read the rest of this entry »


Healthy Cream of Mushroom Soup!

This is a winner!

I just came up with this last night and it is amazing, fresh-tasting, rich, vegan, gluten-free, and low-fat to boot. The house smells incredible while it is cooking and your guests will never believe that there is no cream or flour in the broth. The original inspiration for pairing mushrooms and a serious amount of paprika is from The Moosewood Cookbook (this link is to the NEW book but the cover pic is the same.)

Now, make it and let me know how you like it!

Ingredients:

  • Mushrooms, I used baby bellas, about 12 oz.
  • Celery, 4 stalks
  • onion, about 2 slices, you can use more but I don’t really like onion
  • Miso (any color), 3 tablespoons, (you can sub your favorite bullion)
  • Almonds or walnuts, 2 tablespoons
  • Paprika, 1 tablespoon
  • Dill weed, 2 teaspoons
  • Black pepper, 1 teaspoon
  • Tamari, 1 teaspoon, or to taste
  • 3 cups water or broth

Separate the stems from the mushroom caps, slice each mushroom cap into three or four slices. Place stems in blender, (I used my Vita-Mix), and mushroom caps into a slow cooker or crock pot, (you could use a soup pot on the stove).

Chop onion and celery and microwave on a plate until soft, add to mushrooms. Add remaining ingredients to blender or Vita-Mix and blend until smooth, about 1 minute. Pour over mushrooms and cook in crock-pot on high, or on stove at medium, until mushrooms reach desired softness. Mine took an hour in the crock pot, it would take less time on the stove.

Options:

  • Saute your onions and celery in butter or oil instead of microwaving them
  • Sub milk for 1 cup of water
  • Sub wine or sherry for 1 cup water
  • Add sour cream to each bowl right before serving

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