Category: Food/Cooking

As my back is slowly healing I have found myself chaffing against the inability to do anything.  I find myself pushing my limits by trying to cook at least once a day.

The first time I cooked since my back went out it took me well over 2 hours, almost 3, to make a simple pot of soup because I would have to sit and rest with ice every 5 minutes or so. After several months of nothing but canned or frozen food that pot of vegan ‘clam’ chowder was awesome, even if the last 20 minutes was spent in pain with an ice pack strapped to my back as I stood and stirred.

The other day I made a large pot of rice in the rice cooker not thinking about the weather. With the weather turning hot the rice can’t be kept out for as many days as when it’s cooler out, and as we all have experienced at some point rice just doesn’t do well in the fridge. I carefully stored my leftovers in an air tight glass lock container, which cut down on the fridge problems, then this morning I pulled out the 2 cups of rice and turned it into yummy rice pudding.


Then because I was remembering to I added the recipe to my recipe box over at spark recipe.


      2 cups cooked Brown rice
      1 3/4 cups Water
      handful or 1/4 cup Almonds {natural, not roasted}
      2 tablespoon Flax Seed Meal
        Zest of 1/2 Lemon
      1/4 cup Raisins
      1 tablespoon Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread**
      1/4 cup Honey*
      1/8 teaspoon Salt
      1 Apple, diced into 1/4 – 1/2 inch pieces

*For this to be a true vegan recipe swap out the honey for sugar or agave nectar.

** Earth balance is what I keep on hand feel free to sub out for a preferred butter alternative.




Preheat oven to 350

Into a 16 oz or larger mason jar that will fit your blender add: water, almonds, 2 Tbsp of the cooked rice, and the flax seed meal; blend until you no longer see chunks of almonds.

In a medium bowl mix: margarine, honey, salt, lemon zest, and liquid blend. Then add in rice, raisins, and apple pieces.

Pour mix into an oiled/greased {I used olive oil} 8×8 pan. Bake for 30 minutes, allow to rest for at least 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Can be served warm or cold.

Serving Size: Makes roughly 8 1/2 cup servings


My recipe is adapted from the recipe for Raisin Rice Pudding found in The Settlement Cookbook. I’ve made it the original way in the past before I found out that I was allergic to dairy products … I still miss Brie cheese but I digress …. and honestly I find this version to be much yummier than the original. Of course that could be largely due to the fact that I have never liked egg custards.

I probably should note that I’m a 3rd generation Settlement Cookbook user, and that my copy has just as many notes and added sheets of paper as my grandma and mom’s copy’s hold.


Today’s menu 12/4/10


slow cooker oatmeal

2 tbsp(about) of a fruit & nut mix

1/2  apple

1/4  Haas avocado

mango+ Kind bar

cup of coffee w/1 tsp of sugar



1 c leftover veggies

left over chow mein (Panda Express)

left over eggplant tofu (Panda Express)


Dinner (planned & cooking)

slow cooker baked beans, vegan

slow cooker pork (for hubby & kids)

mixed vegetables


brown rice

old school dinner, sort of

Today was the second day back to work and a bit more work intensive than yesterday’s meetings. For dinner I went with a slightly lazy approach and fried/baked some chicken thighs, baked potatoes, green beens for DH and the kids. I had a nuked garden burger with green beens for myself.

No pics, sorry.

Bread was getting low, 1/2 a loaf left, so it was time to make more bread. Today I tried the Wheat Bread recipe. Between the 1/2 loaf white, this mornings bagels (the remaining ones), rolls, and 2 loaves of wheat the bread bin is full.

The few seconds between pulling the rolls from the oven and grabbing the camera, Tdd had grabbed a roll and was munching away 😀

Dinner was Stuffed Eggplant, another Moosewood recipe.

Stuffed eggplant with bulgar pilaf

I was going to prep some dough for buttermilk donuts in the morning, but I’m feeling tired so if I’m done cooking/baking for today.

With DH returning to regular graveyard soon, and different nights off, I’ll be switching our menu cycle. Since Friday will become his Monday, that will become our pork night and everything will be shifted to match, which means that our veggie night will switch to Tuesday or Wednesday.

In order baked beans, pasta salad, and bagels.

First the baked beans, made using the recipe from Cooking For Consciousness A Handbook for the Spiritually Minded Vegetarian published by Ananda Marga. I was missing the dry mustard from the recipe, so I’m not sure if that impacted on the flavor. The recipe came out so-so which I think speaks more to missing ingredient than anything else, I doctored them a little with, gasp, a little brown sugar and butter, and they were fine. What was not fine was that no-one else would eat them, they didn’t even try a bite ….. grrrrrr. Which meant I was stuck eating a pot of beans by myself over 3 days. Needless to say I don’t want to see any baked beans for a while, lol.

Second recipe, a tuna-black bean-tomato pasta salad from The Settlement Cookbook, with a vinaigrette from the same book. This came out nice, except for the beans they were a little on the dry side, need to figure out that before I fix this salad again. I made 3 variations on this since Tds is allergic to tomatoes he needed a tomato free version and me, I don’t eat meat, so I needed a tuna free version for me.

I did add diced red onion to it and for mine I added some grated parmesan. Yum :), haven’t heard from DH yet if he liked the regular version, and Tdd picked out the pasta and left the rest.

Last the bagels, which I am renaming manna from heaven. If your on the East Coast, especially Boston to Upstate NY areas, you know how good a good bagel from a good bagel shop can be, how a good bagel is nothing like the Sara Lee or Thomases bagels that are in the grocery stores. Ok now picture yourself stuck in a world where those are the only bagels available, well at the grocers any way, Noah’s and Bruegger’s have found their way to California’s central valley region in the last 10/15 years, but none conveniently close by. Inspired by my success with the bread recipes from the web I searched for a a bagel recipe, found many read through around 10 pages/sites before settling on one that looked promising, Bagels|The Fresh Loaf. Copy & pasted the recipe to word trimmed out a little excess dialog and pictures, great reading just not printer friendly, got it down to a handy 2 pages printed followed to the T, well almost I forgot to sprinkle cornmeal on the baking sheets before baking. My other deviation was I didn’t top most of them, on 4 I sprinkled a little parmesan, the rest I left plain. Mmmmmmm, as soon as one cooled off enough to handle split it, toasted a little butter ……. ahhhhhh heaven, I haven’t had a bagel that good since I lived on the east coast. One bagel plus coffee, I’m full with happy taste buds.

step 1 sponge
step 2

step 3

step 4

step 5

oven ready

how long before nibbling begins???

I made yummy noms

Ok so most people would be like huh, or whats the big deal about cooking with out a recipe. For me, well it usually doesn’t turn out well.

eggplant heaven

eggplant heaven

Ok the sauce I did use a recipe, from Rachel Ray’s 30 minute cookbook. It’s a recipe I use frequently.

Call this dish either an open face sandwich or a de-constructed eggplant parmesan either way I call it Yum! DH even liked it, he snagged a bite.

Ingredients list and how I made it, very easy and didn’t take long at all.

Fresh bread toasted. Fresh eggplant, ours came from the fruit stand at 32nd & Q, cut into even sized pieces and lightly fried with no-stick spray and a pinch of salt, marinara sauce, grated parmesan.

If your making the sauce from scratch, it cooks in about the same amount of time as it took to fry the eggplant until tender, toast bread at same time. Assembly, bread, pinch parm, eggplant slices, sauce, another pinch of parm.

My taste buds were very happy.

Don’t feel like typing/talking much tonight so enjoy the pictures.

Bread rising
dough rising

in the oven
ready to bake

fresh out
Fresh from the oven

don’t you wish you were here …..
You can find the recipe and directions at , recipe used Country White.

To go with it
ready to eat
mmmmm …… absolutely heavenly dinner
The recipe for the Tomato Lentil Soup, at least until they finish moving blogs. According to their blog they got the recipe from “Cooking Light“.

For tonights dinner we are having Stuffed Vegetables courtesy of “Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant“(p72).

{Digression}When we lived in Ithaca, way back in the 80’s, I was fortunate to eat there on a few occasions with my parents. All I can say is, ‘oh yum!!!! the food was heavenly’, and I was thrilled to get the cookbook, it’s 2nd best to actually eating there in person.{/Digression}

It won’t be exact on the recipe tonight, I’m missing a few of the ingredients, so I’ll have to do the best I can.

Ah, I was missing a bit more than I thought, oh well I did the best I could, it should still taste fine.

Got the rice started rice
got the onion started onion
went to pull out the peppers ……. ulp 😯 😳 … only one big one left. what’s a cook to do, grab the mini peppers too 😆 . mini peppers
Stuffed as many as I could, drew the line at most of the ones that barely held a tablespoon of stuffing, put the remaining rice up in the freezer, I’m thinking it’ll go nice with the lentil soup that’s in there. Put 2 custard cups in the pot to keep peppers from sliding down, wait for the final step to finish.ready to cook
(If I remember, I’ll log back on later and add a finished result picture)

heres a couple of random shots

Grandma's bowl
Ok, so this one is a gratuitous mixing bowl shot, I love working with my Grandma’s cooking dishes, pans, and in her old kitchen. Every day I get to cook in there I feel extra blessed.

Final shots & comments
For all that my ingredients didn’t match the recipe 100% dinner came out nice. To make up for the lack of nuts, I served cooked black beans on the side and we topped everything with a light grating of sharp cheddar.

Finished cooking

Ever have one of those technology moments where you do something and just totally undo hours of hard work? 😯

Yeah, me too and today was one of them, editing picture in the cooking photo album, went to delete 1 … just 1 picture and accidentally wiped out all pictures in the album, mumble.. 😳 ..mumble, so now I wait while they all get re-uploaded, and then I’m going to have to back and fix links , bleep. According to the up loader it’s going to take about 40 minutes 😦

So while I’m waiting I’m going to add some links to some of my favorite cooking/recipe related you tube videos. Enjoy 🙂

  • Flour Tortillas
  • I love watching this woman cook tortillas, very old school.
  • Bread Making recipes
  • more to come …..

    …….. sorry was watching hectorfergo’s video again, for like the millionth time, did I mention I love watching her cook.
    Pictures are almost done re-up loading, yay. Here are some more video’s for your viewing pleasure.

  • Indian cooking – vahchef
  • more old school ❤

  • Nana’s Homeade Cavatelli – Part 1
  • Nana’s Homeade Cavatelli – Part 2
  • Nana’s Homeade Cavatelli – Part 3
  • Nana’s Homeade Cavatelli – Part 4 (footnote)
  • Watching the old school videos, makes me wish that video could have been shot back in the 70’s when I helped Grandma make apple butter from scratch…… sigh ….. to everyone on you tube who has taken the time to video and upload our older generation cooking from scratch, Thank You, for helping to preserve small bits of our history and different cultures.

    Well the picture are done uploading off to edit the photo album ……. again.

    You know how there are some folks out there that have everything planned out weeks in advance, well I’m not one of them, I tend to be a fly by the seat of my pants sort. It’s not to say that I can’t plan anything in advance and have it come out great, I just have to make myself work a little harder and remember to get everything organized in advance. What does this have to do with cooking? I can almost hear you asking since I categorized this post under cooking.

    Menu planning, not my strong suit by a long shot, however I have worked out a system that works for me through a lot of trial and error. Some families have themed nights like pizza, Mexican, etc., you get the idea I trust. That didn’t work well for me, I tried, it just didn’t work. What I have found that works for me is to assign a particular protein source to each day, and then plan my menu’s that way. It works, and works wonderfully for me. So in our house the days of the week are as follows:

  • Sunday, pork/ham and occasionally bacon
  • Monday, beef (DH’s favorite day of the week :D, next to the last work day of each week)
  • Tuesday, turkey
  • Wednesday, fish (my least favorite day:P)
  • Thursday, chicken
  • Friday, vegetarian all the way baby 😀
  • Saturday, leftovers/FYO – fix your own
  • Sometimes I will use Saturdays as a day to experiment with recipe’s that use alcohol as ingredients, but that’s pretty rare.

    With the main protein, in mind I flip through the cookbooks and pick a recipe at least 2/3 days in advance. If I need an ingredient I have time to swing by the store and pick it up, it gets used within a day or two, and helps eliminate the scary unused foods from the fridge.