Thursday, January 27

Nutty Apple Oatmeal (Vegan and Daniel Fast Friendly)

I don't like grape nuts.

There, I said it! I do not like grape nuts or they're slightly healthier sister cereal from Kashi. I can't do it...! So, on this fast I have two choices, oatmeal, or oatmeal! That is if I want to get some whole grains in me before noon. I have been trying all sorts of new and exciting variations of oatmeal. Here is the latest and greatest! By the way, We are on Day 5 and feeling pretty good! I can't believe I've gone 5 days without any dairy products!!! Crazy talk!

One more recipe for the SOS Kitchen challenge!!! WOOT!

Nutty Apple Oatmeal: Serves 1. Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 5 minutes.

3/4 cup rolled old fashioned oats.
1 1/2 cups liquid. (water, soy or almond milk)
a pinch of salt
1 tsp coconut oil
half an apple chopped into tiny bits
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 tsp cinnamon
a splash of your favorite "milk"
1 more tsp of coconut oil for the top.

Cook the oatmeal according to the packaging. (my measurements are from Quaker's rolled oats) and while your oats are bubbling away, start your coconut oil in a small pan over medium heat.

Add the apples and pecans to the oil after it's all warmed up, and toss in the cinnamon. Give it a good stir to coat the apples and pecans. Cook till just heated through, about 5 minutes. (I like my apples a little crunchy)

Bowl your oatmeal, add in the apples and pecans. Pour on some "milk" and add the other teaspoon of coconut oil. By the way, having just given up on butter 5 days ago I can tell you that coconut oil acts just like butter!!! It adds the smoothness and creaminess that you get from butter! It's amazing stuff! It's not salty, but there's salt for that isn't there?

Now for those of you not on the Daniel Fast, you can add whatever sweetener you like! It would only make this recipe that much tastier!

Thanks for reading guys!

Red Curry Soup (Vegan, Gluten Free, Daniel Fast Friendly)

There is a great place in this country called Arcata, CA. It's a college town, it's a hippie town, it's a haven for all green people. There is a wonderful little hole in the wall soup and noodle place called Japhy's! Trevor (the DH) and I would always get the curry soup special. Red or green Thai style curry vegetable or chicken over jasmine rice. Anyone who has eaten at this place will tell you it is SO GOOD!!! So, as we were on day 3 of our Daniel Fast I knew I could try to imitate that soup and still be within the fast guidelines. Here is my take on red curry soup.

I can also submit this recipe once again to the SOS kitchen challenge! WOOHOO!!!

Red Curry Soup: Serves 6. Prep time: 10 minutes or so. Cook time: 55 minutes ish.

3 Tbs coconut oil
1 medium onion chopped
2 celery ribs chopped
2-3 carrots peeled then cut on the bias, thinly
1 yellow squash ends trimmed sliced down the middle then cut into half moons
1 zucchini ends trimmed sliced down the middle then cut into half moons
3-4 potatoes diced
1 inch piece of ginger root grated
3 cloves of garlic grated
1 Tbs red curry paste
7 oz of extra firm tofu cubed
1 14 oz. can of coconut milk ( I used the "lite" one)
32 oz. of vegetable stock
Juice of half a lime
Salt to taste
12 stems of cilantro (for the end)

Start with your coconut oil over medium heat in your trusty soup pot. Wait till it's nice and hot then add the onions, celery, carrots, squash, zucchini and potatoes. Cook for about 10 minutes.

Add the garlic, ginger, and curry paste and stir to coat the veggies. Add the coconut milk and veg stock.

*side note: I openly admit that I have never ever cooked with tofu before this recipe. I've eaten it before at restaurants and like it enough so I figured I would give it a shot! Also, I have no idea how to cook it, the only thing I profess to know about tofu is that it takes on flavors of whatever recipe it is in. So I added it after the soup was put together and simmering.

I'm new at all this... so forgive me!

So after the coconut milk and veg stock I let my soup come to a slow simmer and waited about 1/2 an hour before adding the tofu. You can add it whenever you want! The soup should simmer at least 45 minutes. After the veggies are tender the soup is done. Turn off the heat and add the lime juice. Taste the soup and add salt if necessary. Mine needed just a pinch.

Serve over rice and top with 2 stems worth of cilantro leaves. Now, even if you don't like cilantro, like myself, trust me, it's totally necessary.

I hope I'm doing Japhy's proud with this take on their soup. Now that we live in what the city people call "upstate" New York, it's a little bit of a haul to get to their great place! This is a perfect winter recipe. I will give you fair warning, it's pretty spicy!

Stay tuned for some Daniel Fast breakfast!

Monday, January 24

Vegan Island Chili!

I was in my kitchen, trying to come up with a twist on veggie chili. Then it hit me, I saw the ginger root in my fruit bowl and I wanted to use the coconut oil that I purchased yesterday. I just couldn't figure out a name! Thanks to the MIL and a Church friend I have my recipe name! I am going to submit this recipe to Affairs of Living for their latest giveaway! This is also a Daniel Fast recipe. We are on day two and so far so good!

Here's the recipe:

Vegan Island Chili: Serves at least 8. Prep time:  20 minutes Cook time: varies, but at least an hour.

2 Tbs Coconut oil
1 large onion chopped
1 celery rib chopped
2 carrots peeled and chopped
1 green bell pepper chopped
1 small zucchini chopped
1 jalapeno diced finely
1 inch of ginger root diced finely
3 cloves of garlic diced finely
1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 15.5 oz can of red kidney beans
1 15.5 oz can of pink beans
2 15.5 oz cans of black beans
1 handful of fresh cilantro torn apart a bit
2 Tbs ground cumin
1 Tbs Chili powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
juice of half a lime.

For those of you who don't know: Coconut oil is a solid at room temperature. It's interesting stuff. So, place the coconut oil in your handy dandy soup pot over medium heat. When the oil is all heated up and liquidy add your onions, celery, carrots, pepper, zucchini, and jalapeno.

Cook for about 5-7 minutes then add the ginger and garlic. Cook for another 3 minutes or so.

Add the tomatoes, and all the beans. I don't always drain and rinse my canned beans. This is one of those times. I think that the water and whatnot they pack the beans in gives chili a nice consistency. You can do what you like though, rinse or not.

It's up to you.

Give the chili a good stir then add all the spices and cilantro. You can adjust the spices for how hot you want your chili. I would say that mine was hovering around medium spicy. You can add more jalapeno at the beginning too. You can always leave out the cayenne and the red pepper flakes if you want milder chili. The jalapeno though is kinda necessary, at least for me. But you can adjust the "hot" things to your liking.

Simmer on medium low for an hour or two or four. If you have a woodstove heating your house you can put your soup pot on that and not waste any gas or electricity!

I miss my woodstove!!!

This is also a good point to move to a crock pot for a while. After it's all done hit it with the lime juice and give the chili a stir. Serve immediately over rice, or with tortilla chips!

I hope you enjoy. Please try it with the ginger! I know it sounds crazy!!! It surprised me with how good it is!!! Also, apologies for the low quality phone pic! My computer and my camera are acting up!

Saturday, January 22

Tons of Veg Soup!

I tried my first Daniel Fast recipe today. It is my own recipe. It's very easy, and if I may say really really good!

Tons of Veg Soup:

2-3 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped.
3 ribs of celery, chopped (the leaves give soup a great flavor too so include them!)
5-6 cloves of garlic chopped finely.
2 small zucchinis ends removed sliced in half lengthwise then sliced into half moons.
1 large leek (just the white part) cut lengthwise then turn halfway cut lengthwise again then slice into 1/2 inch pieces.
1 red bell pepper diced.
2 carrots sliced anyway you like.
5 oz or so mushrooms (any kind you like, I used baby portobellos, I used half of a 10 oz. container.) cleaned and sliced.
2 15.5  oz cans of kidney beans drained and rinsed.
64 oz of vegetable stock. (I used two of Emeril Lagasse's organic veg stock)
4 oz. can of regular tomato sauce. (make sure there is no added sugar to be Daniel Fast friendly)
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp lemon pepper
2 Tbsp Dried Italian herb mix (Basil, Oregano, Thyme, Parsley, Rosemary, Marjoram)
1/2 tsp fennel seeds (I used a very big sharp knife and coarsely chopped the seeds... wear safety goggles)
Salt and pepper to taste.
handful of fresh spinach leaves coarsely chopped.

Okay, that was a workout! A lot of ingredients, but trust me, it's yummy! So good for you too!

Start with your soup pot over medium heat pour in the olive oil and let it get hot. Add the onions, celery, and garlic. Sweat the veggies until they're not quite cooked. Add the zucs (like cucs, but with zucchini!), the leeks, pepper, carrots, mushrooms, and beans. Let all the veggies cook for a minute or two then add the stock.

Bring the soup to an almost boil, a little better than a simmer... a bimmer, like a simmer only more boily. Right.

Add all seasonings and tomato sauce. Let the soup bimmer for about an hour (it's the only way for all the flavors to marry properly!) Add salt and pepper to taste, then stir in the spinach (which you want to just wilt, so it keeps it's beautiful color) and the lemon juice.

Voila! Homemade vegetable soup! Vegan style and so stinking delicious! I will post pics of the finished product tomorrow! This Daniel Fast is looking pretty promising! Thanks for reading, not go try the soup! You know you want to!

Daniel Fast: Here we go!

Trevor (the husband) and I will be starting the Daniel Fast tomorrow. We will be fasting and praying about Trevor's new job. He starts on Monday. Trevor has been working very close to home (about a ten minute drive) his new job is at least a 45 minute commute.He will be training locally for four weeks and then he will be on his own in a coordinator position in a grocery store. He will finally have a full time job with full benefits. It's been almost three years that he has worked part time.

We will be praying about that job. We will be praying for our family and what all this means for us. We will be seeking God's guidance in our lives and the direction he has for us. The fast is not about the food, what you can and cannot eat. There is a great blog full of info link here: Daniel Fast Blog and it is written by a woman who lives the daniel fast. To briefly explain, it's basically a vegan diet. It's a cleansing diet.

I will focus on great Daniel Fast recipes and keep you all updated on our spiritual journey through this fast. I will try to include the meal plans that I will be using for us. Maybe I could help some fellow daniel fasters. I am going to work today making a few big meals that we can eat all week long.

Wish us luck and keep us in your prayers as we start this fast. Please pray for Trevor and his new job too.

Monday, January 17

Mine! Mine! Mine!

Those words that every parent hears at some point in the early years of his or her child's life. Luckily for us Fiona (almost two) doesn't really have "mine" issues yet.

"Mine" is a word of greed. We learn from an early age that we have possessions and they are "mine". I was thinking about the future on our very cold very quiet walk earlier this afternoon. Both kids were passed out all bundled up, Henry on my back and Fiona in the stroller. I was thinking about when they get older and about new little ones yet to be born. I was thinking about how many bedrooms our house will need to accommodate all these children. I was thinking of the space we will need for all the toys and clothes and whatnot. I thought back to my own childhood and how there were two bedrooms for five kids. I thought of how it was so important to me to have my own things. Things that I could definitively say were "mine", things over which no one else could claim ownership. I don't know if I want my kids growing up the same way. The idea of "mine" is a greedy one.

Then I paused a minute.

An epiphany.

What if there was no "mine". What if everything belonged to everyone? The very definition of sharing!

Trevor and I are not materialistic. We freecycle everything we're not using.  We used to be pack rats. Now that we live in a two bedroom townhouse we really don't have the room for that habit. We have donated a lot of things to the salvation army. We don't have all the latest gadgetry, we are using a computer that Trevor built back in 2006, we don't have a huge flatscreen TV, or a blue ray player. We have been blessed with two working laptops for our various computing needs. We live on very little and we're happy. We have what we need! We have more than what we need! Trevor and I share everything. We have shared a bank account since before we were married. What's his is mine and what's mine is his. With the two of use there is no "mine". We want to raise our kids the same way.

There will be no toy box marked "Fiona's things" or "Henry's things" just one communal toy box for everything. I know you parents out there may be thinking "You're nuts! Think of the fighting! You will never have a moments peace!" I'm not sure what the future holds. Maybe my kids will fight like crazy, but I'm hopeful that we can teach them from a young age that we need to love each other, that loving is not fighting.  Loving is sharing and cooperating and playing together.

I'm praying that we can raise our kids to love in the same way as the love in 1st Corinthians.

I may be an idealist to the core, but I am hopeful that what I want can be accomplished.

*side note: I will be trying a new recipe later. So stay tuned!!!

Thursday, January 13

As promised!

Leftovers gathered!

All assembled!

Seriously good... why am I not eating yet?

Okay last one... this soup is good!!!

Don't these photos make you want to make this soup like right now? You know you want to!!! Don't think of the fat content or caloric intake... just focus on the cheesy creamy potato-ey goodness!

Wednesday, January 12

A new Beginning!

It is 2011. It's hard to believe that it's already 2011. I have turned 26 and that is a little hard to admit. I am excited about having my own stake in the infinite world of the interweb. I look forward to sharing snippets of my life. I'm hoping to blog at least once a week, if not more.

Today was a snow day! I took pictures but I haven't uploaded them yet. I am not great at staying on top of the whole photo thing. I'm working on it, being that it's a new year and all. Both kids had fun and Trevor and I mostly had fun. Snow just isn't the same when you're grown up. It's COLD! You never remember it being so cold. When you're a kid you just go with gusto.

I'm looking forward to posting all about the daily whatnot. I will start the year with a recipe!

Loaded Baked Potato Soup: Yields 8 or more servings (not sure I just make a big pot!)

6 strips of bacon
1 medium onion, chopped
3 to 4 ribs of celery finely chopped
1 to 2 carrots peeled and chopped
2 cloves of garlic very finely chopped
1/4 tsp each crushed red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper
1 tsp of lawry's seasoned salt
1/4 cup flour
2 32oz containers of chicken stock (or your own)
6 ish good size russet baking potatoes already baked and cubed
1 pint heavy cream
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese (by hand is preferred because it's smoother in the soup)
salt and pepper to taste
chives and extra cheddar and sour cream for garnish

Cut the bacon into small pieces (about 1/2 inch) and fry in your soup pot over medium high heat until crisp. keep the grease! Keep the bits!
while bacon is going chop up your veggies.
measure out 4 tbs of bacon fat and put it back in the soup pot
add veggies and cook till softened over medium heat
add the seasonings and garlic
then the stock
then the potato cubes
bring it all to a simmer and let it simmer uncovered for at least 1/2 an hour
add the heavy cream and continue to simmer for 15 minutes (if you think your soup is too thin by all means simmer longer, the longer it simmers the thicker it will be!)
when the soup is as thick as you like take it off of the heat and add your cheese
stir it up and taste add salt and/or pepper top with extra shredded cheese, bacon, sour cream and chives, or nothing at all as it's wonderful just plain!

I will try to post a photo of this scrumptious  dish tomorrow!

This was the perfect soup for this snowy day! Happy reading and Happy eating!