soup+bread=comfort

I woke up to pouring rain and 46*.  It was dark and dreary.  There was a chill in the air.  I was walking barefoot across my yard.  (grounding, it works)  I slipped on my boots to go tend to my chickens.  As I fed them and gave them treats and fresh water, I told them how it seemed like a soup and bread kind of day.  They all chatted back in agreement.  It sure doesn’t feel like the middle of May.

 

I knew I was going to bake bread.  I try and do one tricky thing and one or two super simple dinner ideas. Each packed full of nutrients and flavor, always lots and lots of flavors.

The soup was an easy peasy choice and you can start to finish have this soup on the table in about 30 minutes.  Not much effort for brilliant results.  I used Brandi of The Vegan 8 fame recipe.  https://thevegan8.com/2018/01/25/tomato-vegetable-soup/

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While flipping through a couple of my bread books, I happily stumbled upon Onion Rosemary bread.  This is a good one.  The recipe calls for one LARGE loaf.  I prefer to make two smaller loaves.  A couple of reasons.  1.   I can keep one and give one to a neighbor.  2.   there are only two of us.  We get tired of the same bread over and over and over.  Now and then, I prefer to divide the recipe in half.  We are able to devour a small loaf of bread in 2 or 3 days.

Here is what you knead (get it, a joke…knead…need, Come on, that was a good one!):  1/4 cup butter (you know I use Earth Balance, vegan butter) 2 cups of onions, chopped finely, 1 envelope of yeast, 2 teaspoons of sugar (I use coconut or date sugar), 1 cup warm water, 4 cups unbleached flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (I use Himalayan salt and please for the love of good flavor, measure the salt), 1 HEAPING Tablespoon of finely chopped Fresh Rosemary (fresh makes a ginormous difference).

rosemary*side note suggestion:  At our previous home, I could not for the life of me get my Rosemary to grow well.  I have a friend who was hacking her Rosemary bush back constantly.  So one day, I said, I will trade you fresh Rosemary for a loaf of bread.  She gave me a GROCERY BAG full!  haha.  I did bake a couple of loaves for her and gave her two other recipes to use.  It was a beautiful barter.  I am SURE you have something you can barter with a neighbor in exchange for a handful of their fresh Rosemary?  

Melt the butter on medium/low and toss in those beautiful fragrant onions.  Cook for about 20 minutes until they are golden.  You know they are done when you want to sneak one for a taste.

While those are cooking, in your mixing bowl, combine half the flour, sugar, water and yeast. Let sit until bubbly, takes about 20 minutes.

Next add your remaining flour, salt (measured) and Rosemary.  Mix well with a wooden spoon (if you have or want big arm muscles) or just turn on the Kitchen-Aid.  Gradually add the onion/butter mixture.  This will form a slightly sticky dough.

Use your dough hook and let it do it’s magic for 10 minutes.  Or if you are upset about something or fretting, toss that dough on the counter with a little flour and work it out.  Knead the dough for 10 minutes.  It is a rather satisfying feeling.

Cover a cookie sheet with parchment or Silpat.  Arrange the dough in a slightly flattened circle.  Cover with a damp tea towel.  (here is where I set the whole cookie sheet on a medium warm heating pad) Let rise for 45-50 minutes.

Bake 400* for 30 minutes.  Place on a cooling rack and brush with melted butter.  I save a pinch of rosemary and add that to the butter.  The aroma of freshly baked onion bread and rosemary is divine. 20190515_152011

The table is set with big soup bowls, oversized linen napkins, the bread is on a board, sliced & ready to choose your perfect slice…..you sit down………………say Grace and pick up your soup spoon, gingerly take that first small sip.  Oh, my.  Another larger spoonful….and the conversation begins………….

that my friend is comfort, pure and simple.

 

In this together,

Chat soon.

PS.  Printed on the soffit above my kitchen, I have a quote,

“they broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts” Acts 2:46

smooth Friday

Hello and Happy Friday!

I wanted to share a helpful, easy, “you will thank me by next Thursday” tip.

20180212_135712_resizedWhen you fill up your refrigerators and freezers this weekend, might I gently suggest you make 7 or 8 smoothie packets at the same time?

Super easy.

A beautiful way to bathe yourself in Grace and Wellness.

Bring home your greens and wash.  (Yes, even the greens in the bags.)  I wash with vinegar then rinse with water. Then I dry/spin the whole bunch in a salad spinner.  You could easily use paper towels or a clean cotton towel.   Vinegar is inexpensive and best part ….. it really works.20180212_135312_resized

We froze oodles and oodles of berries last year, so I am still working off of those.  Or you can purchase frozen berries.

Now, get out 7 or more zip freezer bags.  Roll down the tops.  Set up an assembly line of sorts.

(I use these amounts for one smoothie, you can certainly double or so forth the recipe for more.)

20180212_135415-1_resizedAdd one cup of clean, dry spinach or Swiss chard or bok choy or kale or a combination of greens to each zippy bag.  Then I add one cup of a variety of berries.  Sometimes, I toss in half a banana.  Add anything else you want.   The sky is the limit.  Toss in a handful of chopped up peaches or apricots!   (some weeks I do a tropical take on the smoothie….pineapple, mango, strawberry, lime) 20180212_135719-1_resized_1

Actually, next time you are at your specialty health food store and you “treat” yourself to a $6.00 smoothie, jot down the ingredients that you fancy in your favorite option.  Then re-create in your homemade freezer packs.

The idea is to create these helpful, beautiful packets that will help you make a smoothie quick and easy and almost effortless.20180212_135305-1_resized

That way, you can add your liquid, fresh coconut pulp, ground flax seeds, etc. and toss in your bag of frozen goodness.  40 seconds of blending later, you are enjoying a great smoothie.  Little effort to create something wonderful.  Fast and hits the spot.

Refreshing.

Perfect to drink on the way to work.   Perfect to drink on the way to take care of your grand for the day.  Perfect to drink while you decide if you want something more for lunch.

Just think of all the good you will be doing to your body?  One cup of berries a day times five days a week times each month.   Woah, Nelly!  That is a bucket full of antioxidants!  

Berries are some of the most powerful (and delicious) disease-fighting foods available. Color pigments in berries that are powerful antioxidants. Blue, purple, and red color have been associated with a lower risk of certain cancers, urinary tract health, memory function, and healthy aging.

20180209_132104-1_resized_3In this together, friends.

(next Thursday, when you take out a frozen zippy bag and make an amazing smoothie, send me an email.  I promise you, you will be so happy that you took the time to make something good for you!)

Here’s to our wellness and good health!

Cheers!

 

W4D?

The age old question:  What’s for Dinner?

Kids ask, girlfriends ask, spouses casually slip in the question…..This question crosses the lips of all families across our land.

I have an answer for you!  Friday night dinner idea is taken care of.  done.  you’re welcome.

The Lenten season is fast approaching. Lots of folks will be trying to do away with some meat and dairy products. Maybe you just need a fresh new to you idea for dinner tonight?  Maybe you want to know what the heck your vegetarian friends eat for supper?  Maybe one of your resolutions was to eat with a healthier twist?

Giving up familiar items or trying new things can be tricky and frustrating.  Change is hard for everyone.

Adding something new to the dinner line up has to be slipped in carefully for some family members.

What’s For Dinner?  Secret insider information…. when I am plum out of ideas, I send a message to girlfriends…. W4D????  That means I am looking for dinner ideas, please help!

I thought I would share a dinner solution….we enjoyed last night.

falafel-2Vegetarian, quick, delish and you can build your own.  You can cut open a piece of naan, you can build your Falafel sandwich folded between the naan, you can even cut it up and make your own little stacks of goodness.

Tasty, great texture, filling, packed with flavor and pretty darn easy to make.  You can make the mixture early in the day, cover and refrigerate.  When dinner time comes around, you just use a cookie scoop (or spoon) and flatten them onto a pan or put into a black iron skillet.

Did you know there are restaurants in Europe and the only thing on the menu are Falafel???

While the Falafel patties cook, you have plenty of time to set the table, and chop some cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce. 20170209_172248-1_resized

I do not own a Tandori oven, I buy Naan Bread (Trader Joe’s has some for $3.69).  Sprinkle with a bit of water, heat in a 400* oven for 3 or 4 minutes, brush with garlic butter.  If you can’t find Naan Bread you can always use pita bread.

Serve with plenty of Tzatziki sauce and a big ol bowl of hummus.

Falafel Patties  http://www.myhdiet.com/Fall-In-Love-With-Food-Again/

1 onion, quartered, 3 garlic cloves, 2 cans of chickpeas, drained (or 3 cups of cooked chickpeas),  2 Tablespoons tahini, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, 1 Tablespoon olive oil , 1 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, 1/4 cup fresh parsley, 2 to 3 Tablespoons flour, pinch cayenne

Recipe notes:   When did the world started calling Garbanzo beans , Chickpeas?  I sometimes leave out the coriander (because I am too lazy to reach to the top shelf), I always use way more parsley than they suggest, I never use cayenne and I use a gluten-free flour blend.  For just the two of us, I make a half a batch. Sometimes I bake, other times, when I want it fast, I use a little oil and get that outer crust pretty crispy, yum. 

Process the onion and garlic in a food processor until well chopped.  Add the rest of the ingredients and process until well mixed and fairly well-chopped.  Scoop and pat into patties on a baking sheet, then bake at 400* for 35 minutes (flip over after 20 minutes) or saute in a skillet for about five minutes per side. 

Say grace and dig in.  Use lots of napkins, these beauties can get sloppy and messy and oh so good.  🙂

Here’s to our good health!

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

mmm

Last night’s dinner was Marvelous Meatless Monday.

Cracks me up to say that.  Get it?  Because we have marvelous meatless meals 98% of the time.

This is funny stuff people.  Hey, word has it, that it is “hip” to have Marvelous Meatless Mondays?  (not to mention lowers blood pressure, saves oodles of gallons of water, nicer to animals, does not contribute to horrid diseases, vegetables heal & all the cool kids are doing it.  Just to see if you were still reading, I added that last part.)

While Mr. Right is still at work, I try to send a before/during/prep picture to tickle his fancy & let him know what’s on the menu.  I knew yesterday’s picture would scare him.  In his voice,  I can hear him saying…..”oh no, that is way too much fresh Thyme.   I am not eating all those weeds.”  ps.  He always does and he always like them.  haha20161017_140446-1_resized

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we are right in the middle of the glorious season of the mushroom.

Those Chanterelles were calling my name, the Oyster mushrooms were whispering sweet nothings to me.  The Crimini and Agaricus bisporus (white button mushrooms) didn’t want to be left out.

I turned all those weeds…aka fresh Thyme from our garden into a silky, smooth cream sauce with flavor that almost brought tears to my eyes.  So smooth it slipped off the back of a spoon.

Next, I reduced some Balsamic Vinegar.  I gotta tell ya, when that is cooking, the aroma in my kitchen sort of makes me feel like I know what the heck I am doing.  It is savory and sweet at the same time.  The aroma makes people walk towards your kitchen and ask, “whatcha got cookin’?”

I sliced polenta and started frying.  Yes, I said frying.  I used some left over oil from the Bagna Cauda that I prepared last week.  Oh, be still my heart.  That garlic & oil was the perfect thing to use.  Not much oil, just enough.  I did scoop out the little garlic nuggets of heaven.

Fresh green beans and onions were cooking on a different burner.  It a weird twist of fate, beautiful fresh green beans and little tiny onions played second fiddle to the main dish last night.

Last, but most importantly, I heated the black iron skillet and all those mushrooms got to know each other up close and personal.  A bit of coconut oil and some real salt did the trick to help release some of that moisture.

In the blink of an eye, dinner was ready to serve.

20161017_175808-1_resizedI started with cream thyme sauce then the polenta.  Next, I put those glorious roasted pieces of garlic along with some slightly cooked garlic atop the perfect circles of organic corn.

Hold on to your hats, next layer, those mushrooms in all their glory, were most certainly that.  Glorious.

Wait for it, the moment of pure goodness………the reduced Balsamic vinegar…….I fully admit to being a little heavy-handed.  While a drizzle or a few drops here and there would have been more artistic, I just poured it on.  I can’t help it, I am weak.  I want to lick the picture, right now.

Say Grace and savor that very first bite of marvelous goodness.  I mean savor and breath in.  This is what Marvelous Monday’s are all about.  Right here on one plate.  20161017_175948-1_resized

To sum up:

Marvelous Meatless Monday was marvelous.

We were both clean plate club members.

All the “weeds” were eaten with nary a sigh.

Here’s to our health and wellness.

What did you have for Marvelous Meatless Monday?

In this together, friends.

Chat tomorrow.

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