Vegan Fajitas

I am making an effort to eat more veggies. So far the only meals I have come up with are stir fry and fajitas. I can cram a ton of veggies into stir fry and my kids will eat them all (they might pick out the onions, but if they eat the rest, I’m happy).

Fajitas are usually meat, onions and peppers. I know there are recipes out there subbing mushrooms for the meat, but I am not a mushroom fan. So, I put zucchini in my fajitas. I saw a tip (pretty sure it was Rachael Ray) to scoop out the seeds of zucchini before you cook them so they don’t get mushy and it totally works.
Vegan Fajitas

1 med yellow onion, cut into wedges

1/2 yellow bell pepper, cut into strips

1/2 red or orange bell pepper, cut in strips

2 small zucchinis, cut lengthwise with seeds removed, then cut into strips

Salt and pepper to taste

1/8 tsp liquid smoke (or less to taste)

1/2 tsp chili powder

Saute everything in olive oil over med-high heat. I like my veggies a little charred, but still crisp. Season with salt, pepper, chili powder and liquid smoke. Serve with tortillas and beans and rice on the side.

 

Seriously, my husband loved this. This is a great meal when you want something comforting without the meat. I don’t know that that makes sense, but I know when I cut out meat I just feel lighter. This filled me up without making me feel slow and sleepy. Good stuff!

Sugar! 

I have mentioned my sugar addiction before. I’m focusing on sugar again. My husband and I watched a documentary out of Australia called “That Sugar Film”. It was like Super Size Me, except with sugar. Damon Gameau didn’t have to eat candy and drink soda, he ate yogurt and granola bars and other food we think of as healthy, to eat 40 tablespoons of sugar a day. It is easy to overload your body with sugar.
Six tablespoons is the recommended daily allowance of sugar for women. That’s 25 grams. One container of vanilla coconut yogurt has 19 grams of sugar. Yesterday I had 79 grams of sugar without any soda, juice, candy or processed foods. So today I’m only having 25 grams of sugar. Guess what? It is amazingly difficult to eat that little sugar. Here is what I ate.

Green Goddess Breakfast Salad from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen

Almonds and coconut chips for a snack (because the breakfast salad was huge)

Chicken stir fry with rice

No sweets, no soda, not even an apple and that was 25 grams of sugar! I even left the honey out of the salad dressing and my teriyaki sauce. The most sugar came from sweet potato.

I agree that the Western diet is full of sugar and it is ruining our health, but I’m not sure that I can maintain this low sugar diet. I had to be careful to measure the amount of carrots in my stir fry so that I didn’t go over my sugar quota. Carrots! It seems a bit much when carrots need to be restricted. Who came up with the daily allowance number? The American Heart Association. I went to their website and all their infographics on healthy eating include fruit. Not possible with only 25 grams of sugar. Did they mean six tablespoons of added sugar? That would be too much of the white stuff, but 25 grams total is a tiny amount. Yesterday I had a fruit salad with half an orange, small handful of grapes and half a banana, it was 22 grams of sugar (according to MyFitnessPal). Giving up soda is not going to lower your sugar intake anywhere near the recommended amount. That takes drastic measures.

I will continue to watch my sugar amounts, but I’m not giving up all fruit. That doesn’t seem right. Like most things in this life moderation is the key. 

Super Fondue Party

There will be no football watching at our house on Sunday. I like to watch football. We watch football every Sunday during football season. However, my husband will be watching Super Bowl with his buddies and I really don’t care about the game. I follow the Saints and the Seahawks so this year I don’t need to watch the “big” game.

My girls and I are going to have a fondue party and watch old movies. If it is a hit we might invite some girlfriends over next year. I think Super Fondue Party could be an annual thing.

Starters:
Welsh Rarebit fondue
Vegan cheese fondue
sourdough bread
Granny Smith apples
olives
baby dill pickles
French Fries

Main:
Beef
Chicken
Ham
potatoes
broccoli
carrots (veggies lightly steamed or roasted)

Dessert:
Chocolate fondue
sugar cookie dippers
brownie bites
marshmallows
apples
pineapple

 

Welsh Rarebit Fondue (original recipe)

  • 4 cups shredded sharp cheddar
  • 1/2 cup beer
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • dash hot pepper sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water

Have cheese at room temperature. In a small bowl beat the cheese on low with a hand mixer gradually add beer. Mix at medium speed until fluffy. Add Worcestershire, mustard, garlic and hot sauce. Beat well. Melt in fondue pot on stovetop. Blend cornstarch and water, add to fondue. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.

This is an old fondue recipe from my mama. We had fondue on New Year’s Eve when I was growing up. I have seen several recipes for fondue broth floating around and I know it would be healthier than frying, but I don’t want boiled beef. I just don’t. We don’t have fondue all that often anyway. I think the last time I had fondue was in college.  Can that be right? My husband has moved my fondue set (including pottery plates) all over the country for over ten years and we have never had fondue? That can’t be right.

Chocolate Fondue (adapted from the Gourmet International Fondue cookbook, vintage-super fun)

  • 2 tablespoons of honey or light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened dairy free coffee creamer (nutpods)
  • 1 cups allergy free chocolate chips (Enjoy Life or similar)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons Amaretto (after the kids go to bed)

Heat honey and creamer on stove, when honey is melted lower heat and stir in chocolate. Stir constantly until chocolate is melted. Stir in vanilla and liquor (if using).

I haven’t made the vegan cheese fondue yet and I have a couple of recipes I want to try before I post one. Here are the contenders:

Easy Vegan Fondue

Vegan Fondue

Melty Stretchy Gooey Vegan Mozzarella

I’ll let ya know how it goes. I’m also thinking of making my mom’s Welsh Rarebit with Dayia or Follow Your Heart vegan cheese. Sometimes commercial vegan cheese turns to liquid when you melt it though. Tricky.

I can’t seem to do anything without making a Pinterest board for it, so here is my fondue party board:

Yea for Pinterest and people who take pretty food pictures!

How-ya-like-it Halibut Chowder

How-ya-like-it Halibut Chowder

  • 1/2 pound bacon
  • 2 cups cubed ham (optional)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 6 potatoes, pealed and cubed
  • 1 carrot, shredded (optional)
  • 2 cups unsweetened coconut milk beverage
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2-1 cup white wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp dill weed
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne (to taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons potato flour
  • 2 pounds of halibut or other fish
  • 2 cups broccoli, steamed
  • parsley

Preheat oven to 400°. Lay bacon flat on baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until it is done to your preference. Set bacon aside, use 1-2 tablespoons of drippings to saute onion and celery in a large pot. When the onion is translucent stir in the chicken broth, milk and wine. Add potatoes, carrots and spices. Bring to a simmer, cook for 20 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through. While soup is cooking put halibut skin side down in a baking dish. season with salt and pepper. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until fish flakes. Back to the soup- stir in potato flour, don’t be too worried about lumps, just keep stirring. Make sure to taste the soup and see if it needs more salt or spices. Serve soup with broccoli and halibut arranged on top. Sprinkle with parsley.

 

One of my children loves fish and broccoli, the other child acts as if I’m trying to kill her when I even mention fish. Serving chowder this way means that my husband can have as much fish as he wants and the children can have theirs on the side if they want. I also like that I don’t have to skin the fish first. Baking is the easiest way to make fish. AND I only cook bacon in the oven. I got so tired of fat popping on me that I decided to never make bacon on the stove again. I made this soup in the crock pot. So, I didn’t saute the veggies, I  just dumped everything in the pot and turned it on. About an hour before dinner, I turned on the oven and cooked the bacon. Then I baked the fish. While the fish was cooking I prepped the broccoli and set it to steam. I added the potato flour last. It sounds like a lot of work when I write it all out, but it was really easy.

I love the way the wine and spices compliment the fish in this recipe. If I could order chowder in a restaurant, this is the way I would want it to taste. So yummy served with sourdough bread.

Mexican Veggie Soup

I bought my first package of “Veggie Ground”…um…meat? product?…fake hamburger. Yves Veggie Cuisine. I am not a fan of soy. I remember reading several papers about the dangers of soy years ago and I stopped using soy milk. Ask me what those papers were specifically warning against and I will give you a vague answer, possibly involving hormones. Anyway, I was scared enough to not buy another half-gallon of soy milk. But some things, like Tofutti cream cheese taste better to me than other brands I’ve tried. Moderation! Plus, I’m a bit stumped coming up with vegan protein. I can’t seem to eat enough nuts and seeds to get enough protein. And yes, I have read the blogs about people not needing as much protein as “guidelines” tell us we need, but when my hair starts falling out, I’m eating more protein.

I started making this soup a couple of years ago with ground beef. My sweetie loves it! Not sure how the no beef version will go over.  I love it! And if I’m cooking, that’s what matters. It is a great way to get my kids to eat veggies. For some reason I can put just about anything in soup and they will eat it. Unless they have decided that they no longer like soup. In which case, I just give up.

Mexican Veggie Soup

  • 1 package of veggie meat crumbles or 1 lb grass fed ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, any color, chopped
  • 2 cups carrots, sliced or shredded, what ever you prefer
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 6 cups vegetable broth (or beef broth)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups green beans, fresh or frozen
  • 3 cups baby spinach

If you are using beef, brown it first then on to the next step. Saute “meat”, onion, celery and bell pepper in a little olive oil. When the onion is transparent add carrots, crushed tomatoes, broth and seasoning. Bring to a boil and simmer for at least 20 minutes. About 10 minutes before serving stir in the green beans. Right before serving stir in spinach. There have been times that I wanted the spinach just wilted so I filled my bowl with greens and then poured hot soup over the top. OR if my children are being picky I’ll chop the spinach and let it simmer for a couple of minutes in the soup. Greens can be a personal thing.

 

Raco? Taco Rice

I was thinking of calling this Mexican dirty rice or taco rice. The “raco” name was suggested by my eight year old. My DH went further to suggest that we open a raco truck. Hmm, yeah that isn’t happening. I was craving taco meat and rice and tortilla chips; raco was born. I guess this is like hamburger helper, although I can’t remember ever eating hamburger helper.  I have no idea how I got through college without eating hamburger helper, but as I was dealing with chronic headaches and food allergies at the time, I just never bought the stuff.

Raco

  • 1-1 1/2 lbs Grass-fed Ground Beef
  • 2 Tbsp, Taco Seasoning (Azure Market, GF and no weird stuff)
  • 1/2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes (Natural Value Organic)
  • Tortilla Chips
  • 1 bunch cilantro leaves, rinsed, stems removed

Brown the ground beef, season with taco seasoning. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add cooked rice and pour tomatoes over all. Cook until bubbly. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Top with cilantro leaves and serve with tortilla chips.

Probably best to serve this with a green salad, this isn’t really the healthiest recipe, not veggie packed or anything. Still, it’s easy and yummy and probably not at all original. Oh, well. I mostly wanted to write down the recipe for the next time I make it.

October Menu 2016

 

 

Menu
October
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
30 31 1
Aunt Sandi’s Stew Soup and Sandwiches Falafel/chicken
flat bread
olives
cucumbers
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Minestrone soup
French bread
Chicken pot pie Chicken Fried Steak
Mashed potatoes
green beans
corn
Haystacks Chicken Enchilada casserole
beans and rice
green salad
Loaded baked potatoes Red Beans and Rice
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
Chicken
Chimichangas
Beans and Ham
Baked potato
Halibut fingers
veggie tray
oven fries
Meatloaf
acorn squash
Baked potatoes
spinach
Gumbo
french bread
Chicken Verde
rice
beans
green salad
Carbonara
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
Teriyaki Halibut
Rice
Green salad
Taco Salad Halibut Melts
baby carrots
apple slices
Fried Rice
Stir-fry veggies
 Popcorn Chicken French Dips Asian chicken
salad
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
Spaghetti
green salad
bread sticks
Peanutty Pork
skewers
rice
cucumber salad
Tuna noodle casserole
peas
green salad
Mexican Veggie Soup Burrito/taco bar Pizza/Calzones Greek Chicken
Salad
humus
flat bread
olives

I haven’t posted a menu for some time, but I find them so helpful. I just want to be able to go to the monthly menu page and get some ideas. This blog is the place where I can organize my thoughts.

I’m trying to incorporate more slow cooker and oven meals because the school year gets so busy. There are days when I’m not home until dinner time. How am I supposed to cook something when I haven’t been home? I don’t do a lot of “30 minute meals” because it seems like too much work. I don’t mind something that takes an hour or two in the oven just as long as the prep time is short.

I also avoid slow cooker meals where you have to cook everything first. What is the point? I will say that I have made soups and stews early in the day and then transferred them to the crock pot until dinner time. I want to be able to do my prep work and cooking when I have the time. And that is rarely just before dinner time.

That said, Chicken Fried Steak is one of the most labor intensive (and messy) things that I cook. It is also high in calories and fat. (We don’t have it often, even when it is on the menu.) So, I schedule that dinner for a day that we have more time at home.

On the other hand Chicken Verde is just about as easy as you can get! It’s just chicken breasts and salsa verde (from a jar) in the crock pot. My family loves it. Even the child that complains that almost everything is too spicy likes it. Just buy a salsa that your family likes.

I am looking forward to Fall and all the cozy meals I can make. Can’t wait for Navy Beans! I love them in a bowl, on top of a baked potato or even on top of toast. I might have to move that up on the menu a bit. Getting hungry.