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.    

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Buffalo Cauliflower won't you come out tonight?

I am the sort of person who usually gets a song stuck in their head.  It could be anything, but usually there are triggers that make me think of a song then it plays ad nauseum.

Buffalo Cauliflower, won't you come out tonight

One large head fresh cauliflower, broken into florets (Save the base of the Cauliflower to make soup)
One cup flour of your choice (I used 2/3 white and 1/3 fine cornmeal)
One cup water
Garlic Powder or other seasonings
Dash of nutritional yeast

Hot Sauce of your choosing or you could do really any kind of sauce you like here: BBQ, Sweet and Sour, Thai Sweet Chile....

Mix flour, water, nutritional yeast, and seasonings to form a batter.  Dip into batter and place in single layer on a baking sheet in preheated 375 degree oven.  Bake 20 minutes, then remove, toss in sauce and replace in oven for an additional 10 minutes.  Hot sauce goes well with a nice ranch dressing for dipping, or what ever you prefer.  It's so easy and so good, but totally filling!

A caveat about white flour, it is nearly nutritionally void. If you happen to have some other fancier healthier flour laying around I suggest you use it instead.  I make this recipe often, and the last time I used regular gluten flour (different and cheaper than vital wheat gluten) and cormeal.  I was very pleased with the results and gluten flour has about 35 grams of protein to offer this recipe when used in the 2/3 C recipe.  I have had some luck using soy flour in recipes that require a roux, but I do not recommend it here: the flavor is quite beany.
My recipes are for anyone, not just veggies, so I try to put it in plain ingredients that anybody could find.  Family and friends tease me incessantly regarding all the weirdo health food stuff I add to recipes. But in my defense, I make treats for people I love.  Why wouldn't I want to use healthy ingredients?    

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Red Lentil, Yellow Lentil


 Lentil experimental!  Lentils are so pretty and they pack the highest protein per calorie punch of any legume, so they are my favorites.  They are rich with isoflavones that fight cancerous tumors and folic acid: an essential nutrient not found in any other plant source.   This soup is so delicious that you will be glad that the weather's awful, because it makes it twice as good.

Red Lentil Yellow Lentil Soup--Vegan, and Low Sodium
One cup each red and yellow lentils, dry
One 28 ounce can of tomatoes, preferably the type with chiles or garlic
One Cup Brown rice, dry
One onion chopped
One cup chopped celery  *see note*
Garlic powdered or fresh
Hot pepper flakes

In a large pot or slow cooker, place the lentils, rice and tomatoes with their tinned liquid.  To make things easy, I usually fill up the empty can with water and pour that into your cooking liquid.  You could use about three cans of water as your lentils and rice will double in size when cooked.  It's important to keep enough water in the soup, so don't throw the can in recycling just yet.  You may need to rehydrate your soup as time passes.

When the lentils and rice seem about halfway cooked (maybe a half hour into cooking), add your celery.  It's dense texture will need more time to soften than the onions.  At this point, a trick to neutralize the acidic nature of the tomatoes is to shake a little baking soda in the top of your pot.  It will fizz up like crazy and you need to stir to incorporate the soup.  This will give your tomatoes a naturally sweet flavor without needed sugar.  

An important thing to remember is that when cooking, the seasonings you add at the beginning will have a mellow taste and then ones added toward the end will be more robust.  Hot peppers added in the beginning make for a smokey flavor, toward the end have a spicier kick.  Fresh garlic added in the beginning of cooking can almost develop a sweet flavor, but added at the end has a sharp taste to it.  I like a lot of garlic, onion and spicy flavor so I add these things in the last 10 minutes of cooking to make the flavors pop.  Conversely, if you like a mellower flavor add the seasonings earlier.  There is no right or wrong, only preference here.  Personally I don't cook with salt anymore.  It's a health measure for me and I don't miss it.  If you like salt, please feel free to add as much as you like.  Same goes for the pepper flakes: only add them to your liking.

*Note* I use the outer celery for sticks and the inner leafy part, I save for soup.  

Monday, January 20, 2014

But can you spike your hair with it?

So, I am awake.  It's four thirty-five AM Eastern Standard Time and I am doing what everyone does at this time of night when they can't sleep: reading vegan recipes.  Okay, so maybe I am alone on that one.  In reading a recipe for vegan pepper jack cheese(!!!!!! Right?) an ingredient caught my eye.  It's called Pomona Pectin.  I've never heard of the stuff, but hey it looks pretty cool.  So, check it out fellow non meaties.....and maybe you can even use it to spike up your hair all punk rock style?  Seems like it would work, I think.

Monday, December 30, 2013

New Year's thinking

After reading the article "Six harsh truths that will make you a better person," by David Wong I began to reevaluate my life.  Assuming what the man totes as truth in the article is true, then I asked myself what is it that I do that makes me special in this world?  After pondering it, I realized that I do a lot of creative and interesting things that enrich my life and fulfill me as well as potentially impress others.  However, that whole impressing people horseshit is totally overrated.  Let's be honest here: if you do something that is noteworthy, more often than not if someone is truly impressed by your actions, they are also personally assassinated for not being so awesome.  So, in the grand scheme of life if what you seek is a pat on the back from someone my vote is not to hold your breath.

If you do something awesomely, often people will do their damnedest to take undue credit for it or even try to stop you from being so awesome.  It is better to go about your interests in whichever way you see fit and not seek any approval from anyone.  Do you actually think that the greatest people in our society went around seeking approval for their efforts?  Einstein, I am certain, was not reliant upon his mother's approval of his theory of relativity.  Nor did Plato wait around for approval to begin thinking and teaching.  They just did it--even if other people laughed at them or rejected them!  Plato's teacher Socrates was sentenced to death for being original!  Imagine what your family would say if you chose to follow someone like that!

The truth is, if you are awesome it's likely that most people won't even understand your awesomeness.  So, don't be a douche and go changing who you are to please people.  Sure, be productive, have interests and passions.  Live life abundantly, but don't ever stop being who you are for the sake of meeting a significant other!  For pete's sake, who the hell likes a yes-man?  So even though, David Wong tried to guilt me into not reacting to his article, I do not care.  I did not have to change who I am to be appreciated or loved, AND I do feel accomplished in the world.  And, if I can do it, anybody can.  

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Sometimes its really tough to care about people.  I have this friend who used to tell me all the time he was going to commit suicide.  Initially, I was really frightened and jumped to his aid.  Suicide is a horrible, desperate act and no one should die that way.  We all die whether or not we enjoy life, so why rush into anything?  As time wore on, I grew numb to his rantings and finally had to distance myself from the friendship.

It grew obvious to me that his threats were idle and that no amount of my companionship would ever change his attitude.  Sadly, I am aware that this person still does desperate self harming things with no regard to his well being.  Relationships with people who are unwilling to make good choices for themselves are really hard.  Sometimes I even wondered if he used my pity to control me: like his suicide threats were a tool to manipulate my emotional state to let him back into my life when I had every reason to be angry with him.

I am aware that the holiday season totes a high suicide rate and many people are quite lonely, but why is there any difference than any other time of year?  For some reason my birthday this year was very sad to me.  Usually I love it, but this year I just cried and cried for no reason at all!  It was like I felt very alone, even though I was not.  Maybe it was hormones or just depression about aging, but it was totally strange to me!  I've never really felt that way before.  There is no comparison of that to suicidal ideation, and really the only being that knew I cried was my cat who licked the tears off of my face.  Cats are awesome like that.  Her licking caused my laughter, which made me cry more for whatever reason.

Compassion is definitely a trait that I come upon naturally, so maybe that person feels the way I felt on my birthday all the time?  If that's the case, I would never wish that on anyone.  It was so strange to be so down for no reason at all.  So, as the holidays approach I wish blessings on my estranged friend.  I hope wherever you are that you are okay and that your sadness will dissipate and life become livable.