Friday, April 24, 2015

Tis the season for a Coconut Cranberry Bean Burger

Recently I traveled to Naples, FL. 

I spent every day on the beach or poolside and came home to 40 degree rainy/snowy weather in April.
 Image result for snow in april So, this is my attempt to recapture some of that tropical warmth by creating a very tropical type of veggie burger.

One cup cranberry beans, dried
one cup flaked coconut
3/4 cup vital wheat gluten
1 cup dehydrated sweet potato(I usually don't buy stuff like this, but it appeared in my pantry so I am using it)
Two minced jalapenos--yes I put them in nearly everything
thinly sliced pineapple rings
thinly sliced red onion
Your favorite BBQ sauce
eight buns

I bought Cranberry Beans from my health food store locally without really knowing what they are like.  They seemed exotic and in comparison to the dreary April I was returning to at home, I felt I needed a to take a risk--with beans.  I know, you think weirdy beans isn't very exotic and you are right, but neither is Michigan.  We have to cope with what hand life deals us, am I right?

Cranberry Beans, I learned are Italian and used primarily to make things like Pasta Fagoli soup.  They are also called borlotti, and have a somewhat higher protein content than other beans.  The Cranberry Beans I purchased were organic and non GMO and as a result poofed up HUGE when cooked in a small crock pot.

So in a very small crock pot or regular sized saucepan, cover your beans with two inches of water at least and cook on medium heat for one hour.  Add more water as needed, and stir occasionally.  You can always drain the excess water out of the pot, but burned beans are yucky,  Keep an eye on them for that, things tend to escalate quickly sometimes.

Clean and seed your jalapenos. You can also use any kind of pepper you like or no peppers at all if you are a big chicken and don't like spicy food.  (Or, if you have some gastro intestinal ailment and can't eat spicy food then please don't hit me for calling you a chicken.)  I use a small Cuisinart to chop my little stuff for burgers and vegan "meat" because I want all over flavor and even size distribution.  Add some garlic if you fancy it, dice it up really small using the pulse setting on your chopper.  Place jalapenos in a bowl.

When beans are cooked to a soft consistency--Cranberry beans take less time that more common types of beans, drain the cooking liquid from them and rise with cold water a few times.  You can use a colander, or simply a lid and your pot if you have anti dish dirtying tactics like me.  Place some of your beans into the chopper you used for the jalapenos and pulse until smooth.  Repeat with the remaining beans until they are gone, adding contents to your bowl.  Add the coconut, sweet potato flakes, and the vital wheat gluten until a very pliable dough is achieved.  Vital wheat gluten does better if it has some time to rest and "set up."  So, cover it and put it in the fridge overnight or just let it sit on your counter top and do something else for about 30 minutes.

Spray a cookie sheet with oil and form 8 patties out of your burger mix.  Using wet hands to make the patties, it's easier if you pat the burger mix down into the bowl and then cut it like a pizza to make sure you have sort of uniform sized burgers.  Sprinkle the tops of the burgers with BBQ or Cajun seasoning, or your favorite seasoning.  Cover pan loosely with foil and bake for 45 minutes.

To test the firmness of a burger poke it with your finger, it should be springy and firm.  You could grill these for a minute if you wish.  They will not crumble like many other veggie burgers would due to the vital wheat gluten.  Or just use your already hot oven, brush burgers with BBQ, top with a pineapple ring, onion slice and let cook a few minutes--maybe 5?  Not too long, but long enough for the pineapple to soak up some BBQ and onion flavor and for the sauce to infuse into the burgers.

Serve atop a bun with extra BBQ or any of your favorite burger toppings: lettuce, tomato, cheese, and so forth.  Pickled banana peppers might be fun.

This recipe was heartily enjoyed by a non vegetarian person--so, any reluctant family members will not be disappointed!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Jalepeno Popper Chili

This is a recipe for Jalapeno Popper chili.  Pretty good stuff.  I have some rockin' heartburn,

Image result for jalapenos clipart

 but it's probably the fault of the half a pot of super strong
coffee I drank to make it through work today.

 So here goes: for all you vegans, veggies and carnies...I've got all the bases covered.

Jalapeno Popper Chili

1/2 bag(8 oz) dry white beans: Great Northern or Navy OR two 14 oz cans of white beans for you lazy folks

2 lbs ground meat of your choice, for Vegans and Vegetarians, this is two cups of Textured Vegetable Protein, dry.  Meat eaters: chicken, turkey, you wish.

One chopped onion

Fresh Jalapenos, chopped: use as much as you like here.  I like hot, so I used probably about ten.  You can use less, or even do Poblanos for less heat.  But, at least put a little in there--C'MON!  The name of the recipe says it all!

Two ribs of celery, chopped

Chopped Sweet Pepper (Optional, I had some laying around so what the heck)

1 package of Cheesy Taco Seasoning, (Again, optional.  I like it, but you can always skip it or do some vegan cheese powder or even nutritional yeast flakes if you dig them)

1 14 oz can of tomatoes with liquid--don't dump it, this is soup!

16 oz creamed cheese, Any strength of cheese you wish, or Tofutti for my special people out there.

1 14 oz can of corn--save the juice for the broth

1 14 oz can of creamed corn-- Vegans, you can skip this and do another can of corn, or just double the regular corn.  I won't tell on you for that.  I have never ever seen vegan creamed corn in my life, but for my defense I hate creamed corn, so I wouldn't be looking for it.  I am sure it's out there....somewhere   O_o

At least 1/2 T baking soda to get some of that acid out of the tomatoes.

If you like to use dry beans because they are cheaper and don't have all that added sodium of canned, then you and I have something in common.  Quick soak half a bag of white beans(or a whole bag and when cooked freeze the other half), let sit for one hour and then simmer for 1.5 hours.  It's easy to do this part in a separate pot.  Meanwhile clean and chop your veggies.  If you are using TVP,

I would saute the veggies first in a little water while your TVP is soaking in some bragg aminos or whatever you like to use to season and hydrate them.  Salt is something people can always add at the table, is my rationale, so I don't cook with it at all.  Once you take it out of your life, it's amazing how you develop as a chef but I digress.  Add the TVP to the sauteed veggies because it does not need to brown like meat does.  For you non veggies, brown the meat first, add the veggies and then drain the fat from your big stock pot.  At this point, put in your cheesy taco powder or nutritional yeast  and stir in the tomatoes and reserved liquid.  Shake the baking soda into the pot and the mix will fizz up like crazy.  The sodium bicarbonate will sweeten the tomatoes and neutralize the acidity. Add in your beans, and your creamed cheese and let it melt and combine with the rest.  Next add your corn and stir.  Your chili will be thick, add more water if you'd like it to be more soupy.

You can make substitutions or additions all over the place if you like; if you can't find Textured Vegetable Protein, you can add more or different types of beans.  You can add less or more chillies or more veggies.  I wanted to put pumpkin in it, because I firmly believe in pumpkin chili, but I didn't this time.


Serve with corn chips or do whatever
you want with those corn chips.

Image result for billy talent hardcore logo

or throw some extra cheese on top if you feel like it.  It's all good.

Monday, January 12, 2015

6 Rounds of Punk Does Any Body Good-- Fan Review of 1/10/15 Show, Council Bluffs IA

 Armed with quite possibly the worst sleep deprivation hang over of my relatively younger middle aged life, I sit to pen this fan review of the amazing show I saw on January 10, 2015 at the Mid America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa.  With over 877 people in attendance, bands such as Total Chaos, Guttermouth, Strung Out, The Vandals, The Dead Kennedys, and The Misfits entertained a wide cross section of fans assembled.

Walking into the show, Pomona CA band, Total Chaos, had already taken the stage. High energy antics garbed in the full street punk fashion of leathers and gelatin hair spikes, these boys were giving their all to warm up the crowd for the show.  Sitting in the main area of the stadium, I had a good vantage point, but I knew I could get closer so I grabbed my escort and we headed to stage right.  In a deserted area of the stadium, behind the sound guys and roadies I was able to score the best house seats possible.  Here band members waited to go on stage, sat to support their fellow tour bands, and warmed up to go on.  This is where I was able to congratulate some members of Total Chaos. Contrary to their tough exterior, Ryan Perry and Shawn Smash were very sweet and personable when I spoke to them post show.

Next band on the stage is an old personal favorite of mine, Guttermouth(formed in 1988) from Huntington Beach CA. My first time seeing Guttermouth live was in 1999 while they toured for the "Live at the Pharmacy" Album.  Guttermouth's lead singer, Mark Adkins, comedian Mike Myers's doppelganger, quite possibly stole the show with his routine.  Adkins remarked that he was 48 years old, but to me and many other fans seeing this band again brought back great memories of youth and made me feel that these "6 Rounds of Punk" were exactly what I had been needing as a treatment for this malaise of adult life.

Next up was the Simi Valley CA band, Strung Out.  Jason Kruz, the band's lead vocalist startled me when he came over to stage right before they went on during sound checks to check his pitches for the song list Strung Out was about to play.  I may have offended him by laughing, but he just gave me his most apathetic look and jumped onto stage.  Strung Out's set was concise and tight, but in my opinion the best part of their act was when Kruz "John Bender-ed" himself by spitting a giant wad into the air.  However, unlike Judd Nelson in the Breakfast Club, he did not catch the spit again in his mouth.  The entire show had the feel of a high school auditorium taken over by a touring group of miscreants.  Jason Kruz helped with that illusion, making you feel like this was the best day of detention you've ever served.

Another Huntington Beach CA Band donned the stage, and you might remember them from the movie "Dudes" opening the movie with their original song, "Urban Struggle."  The Vandals began all the way back in 1980, and are famous for their funny lyrics.  I first saw the Vandals in 1998 when they toured with their album "Hitler Bad, Vandals Good."  Aside from their excellent song selection for this show, a focal point was the physical comedy of Warren Fitzgerald, who at one point jumped into the stadium's penalty box, took two beers from fans and proceeded to pour them both simultaneously into his mouth.  He also managed to do several cartwheels without (visibly) pulling any groin muscles and unsuccessfully dived off a speaker, belly flopping onto the stage in front of the performing band.  Guttermouth joined the Vandals on stage, sitting behind John Freese's drum set laughing aloud with the audience.

The band now called "The Dead Kennedys" took the stage after the Vandals.  During sound checks on stage right, Skip Greer came out and proceeded to walk through the audience.  He was unstopped by any fans, made his way through the crowd and then headed back to stage right before the band went onstage.  Although I recognized Greer, I did not stop him because I was still unsure how to feel about this reformation of the DK without Jello Biafra.  Greer is the DK's current singer, and I felt it was more open minded for me to hear him perform live before forming an opinion.  Greer took the stage, and because he was unsatisfied with the their reception to him, he began to insult the audience saying that "they were too old to appreciate punk music," and that he was "the only punk punk enough in the room."  It was more than a train wreck to say the least.  Original members, Klaus Fluoride, East Bay Ray and D.H. Peligro worked hard to keep it together until Greer's vocals got so offbeat that it was apparent the band was having a hard time finishing songs at once.  Post show I spoke to Klaus Fluoride and he informed me that only a minority of people dislike Skip.  Later it came to me that I should have suggested Cyndi Lauper as a new lead singer, but hindsight is 20-20.  DK played no new music, just old songs originally recorded by the band.  We watched out of respect to the band, but were not alone in fan's reactions of disappointment in the act.

Finally, the Lodi New Jersey band the Misfits took the stage.  In 1977, the Misfits consisted of Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only consistently picking up many different members.  Today, Jerry Only is the only original member left in the band.  Only is a down to earth guy who definitely enjoys performing and worked hard to pack as many songs into the show as possible.  The three piece band of Only, Dez Cadena, and Eric Arce powered through a giant catalogue of songs many of which were played at nearly twice the speed of the songs on their albums.  With impressive accuracy, the Misfits wowed the crowd with their varied song selection playing old favorites like "Skulls," and "20 Eyes," asking the fans to sing along.  Everyone belted their best Danzig impression, and although Only barely took seconds between each song it was very fun to watch them play.  Only dedicated a new song, "Vampire Girl," to his girl and proved he was the biggest sweetheart by stopping the show when a fight broke out in the pit, making sure a young fan was not hurt as another fan was hauled away by security for attacking the first fan.  Only said, "We do not fight each other, we fight everyone else."  While they were the front liners, Misfits were very humble and played up until the very moment the show had to close.  Although the fans chanted for encore, Only could not hold the show over due to the regulations of the stadium.
This fan left the show feeling exhilarated and a renewed sense of youth and vitality.  If you do get the opportunity to go see the "6 Rounds of Punk," do it!  It's worth your time and money.  You will not be disappointed.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Blister cure for runners and walkers

Picture it:  Sicily 1941.....You go for an amazing walk and due to ill fitting shoes, or just simply distance, your feet are telling you something.  They are telling you OW!  Just kidding, about the Sicily part and the 1941, but really have you been there?  Have your feet been marred?  Are you needing relief?

I have a cure and it's all you need for some feet feel good.  And, you can obtain the ingredients at your local discount store, or dollar store for just under five bucks.  Sounds good?  Okay lets go.

What you will need:

A silly hat--like this guy, he looks like a weiner!                       
Peppermint mouthwash(not alcohol free!)
Epsom salts
Diaper Rash creme
gel toe covers

Take your silly hat, put it on and go to the dollar store.  This is very important for your feet to recover.  (Okay, it's not.  So, I like seeing people wearing silly hats.  Sue me, I like to laugh)
Buy ingredients, Go home and take off said silly hat.

In large mixing bowl, mix about 1/2 cup salts, a cup of peppermint mouthwash and enough hot water to dissolve the  salt, stirring until dissolved.  Soak feet in solution, easing them in.  It may sting at first, but it's totally worth it.  The salt with cauterize the blistered skin and the mouthwash is safe for soft tissues like your mouth, so you are all good.  Relax and enjoy for up to a half hour.  

When you pull your feet out of the solution, they will be minty and cool.  This feels really good and can be used for tired feet too.  Dry them gently with a towel and then get out the diaper rash creme--stuff with Zinc in it is good.  Smooth it on your foot and gently over the blistered area.  Cover blistered area with gel toe covers and then loose fitting socks.  Do this before you go to bed.

Tomorrow, your blisters should be gone, The fluid will be gone from the blister and your feet will feel almost as good as new.  To be safe, put more diaper rash creme on the blistered area gently and cover with toe covers when you have to leave the house and wear shoes.  Be sure to give the area some air when you return home to allow for proper healing.

In advance, you're welcome!  No more do you have to wait for feet to heal to get back to your walking or running routine.  You are as good as new!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Gluten Free Pizza?  Don't worry, silly Homer.  You can do it.  Here's how

Gluten Free Pizza Dough

1/4 cup cornmeal
2 Cups Instant Oats (gluten free of course, silly Homer)
1 Cup Brown Rice Flour
3/4 Cup Very Hot Water
Dash of Garlic Salt
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp fast acting yeast for bread machines

Pour cornmeal and water into microwave safe bowl and heat in microwave for 2 minutes.  Pour into bread machine.  In a blender, add Oats and pulse until a fine flour is formed.  Add to bread machine, with rice flour, yeast, salt, sugar and using the dough setting start machine.

You may need to add water or extra brown rice flour to get a good consistency.  It should form a play doh like dough.

Spray pizza pan with oil and pat dough into pizza shape.  Pre-bake five minutes in 375 degree oven.  Add the toppings you like and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes.  Cooking time may vary depending on the temperature and efficiency of your oven.

I used marinara sauce, provolone cheese, portabello mushrooms, jalepenos, and a few sliced olives.  A person who is not avoiding gluten also enjoyed this pizza!  :)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Sandalwood Rose Rain Soap

This summer I made rose oil.  I have beautiful roses in my garden.  So many types and kinds, I cut a rose every time I go see my grandmother.  She loves pink roses.  I always bring her a rose to put floating in a bud vase.
As flowers dwindle on the vine, I pick the petals and save them as my futile protest against summer's fading paradise.  These petals I put into a jar and through winter's tyranny, found a solace to last me until spring.

One bar soap grated
two cups water, hot
essential oils

This recipe is barely a recipe at all.  I used a bar of sandalwood soap grated it and added hot water.  I let it sit for a long time and finally it gelled.  Then I added my essential oils and it's heaven.  I make my own essential oils so that makes things gorgeous.

Creamy Lentil and Potato Stew

Recently, I encountered an unbeatable price on potatoes, but it was the sort of thing I had to dare myself to buy.  Twenty pounds of potatoes for three dollars was too good a price to forgo, but holy smokes!  What am I going to do with twenty freaking pounds of potatoes?  I must say they are beautiful local red potatoes to boot, so it was definitely a good deal.  I am Irish.  Challenge accepted.

Everyone in my house has been sick lately, so soup is the thing that smacks in my mind about sickness.  In another bargain adventure I found lentils for 55 cents!  There is no better price for lentils than that, so here's a recipe that would put the most frugal chef to shame.

Four Small Potatoes, scrubbed and pierced with a knife then microwaved on high until soft.
One cup dry lentils
One small rutabaga, peeled and chopped
Three large potatoes, scrubbed and chopped
Four small carrots, scrubbed and chopped
Chopped celery, about one cup
One half a large onion, chopped
Mrs. Dash
Salt and Pepper if desired

First of all, scrub the four small potatoes, pierce with a knife and put in microwave.  Place lentils in a large pot and add about four inches of water and turn heat to boil.  Add rutabagas, potatoes, carrots, celery, and onion as you are chopping them.  Stir as vegetables cook.  When the microwaved potatoes are cooked, put them right into your blender and add very cold water to cool them.  After a few minutes, pour the water into your soup leaving potatoes in the blender and refill the cold water.  Cover the blender pitcher and pulse until a nice consistency is achieved.  It should look very much like whipped potatoes.  Pour contents into your soup and stir. This creates a nice consistency without the fat of a traditional cream soup roux.  Season to taste.  I try to avoid cooking with salt.  People can always add that later to their liking.