Vegetarian Family

A Peek @ Food We Eat & Things We Do!

Friday, March 31, 2006

Habanero Jelly

This is the hottest thing at our house! It is such a delicious appetizer...just top a Triscuit with cream cheese & a dollop of habanero jelly. My husband puts it on pancakes & rolls them up. I use it as a marinade and cooking sauce. I believe we are yet to discover all the ways to use this yummy concoction.

Orange Bell Peppers
Habanero Chilies
Cider Vinegar
6 1/2 pt. canning jars/lids

Seed/Stem, cut into pieces & process peppers and chilies, bring to a rolling boil in a stainless steel pan with vinegar & pectin. Add sugar fast, return to a boil 1 minute, stir constantly. Remove from heat & fill jars immediately, cover & screw band tightly. Invert 5 minutes, then listen for the pop of the seal.

I really enjoy making this jelly & I use Walt's original recipe. More photos (You should check the photos, if nothing else, just to see my dog balance a biscuit on her nose!)

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Cabbage Salad

GailAnn Shimke brought this salad to a teacher's luncheon several years ago & I loved it, so she gave me the recipe.

3 tblsp cider vinegar
2 tblsp sugar
1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning
1/2 c oil
6 green onions - chopped
1 top ramen seasoning package (I usually use "oriental" - this week, I found an alternative featured in Midweek Munchies) Mix together & refridgerate over night.

Then mix together with:

1/2 c toasted blanched almonds (toast in oven 325* for 15 min.)
1 head cabbage - chopped (or 1 package coleslaw mix)
1/2 c sugar snap peas - cut at a diagonal (my addition)
1/4 c soybeans (also my addition)
Top Ramen noodles - broken (I recommend sticking to the Top Ramen brand because it tastes better raw)

Mix with dressing & serve. This rates high for easiness & tastiness & I discovered on a midnight snack excursion that this salad goes well on a veggie ham sandwich! More Photos.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Tulips & Cayenne Pepper

I sprinkled my tulips with cayenne pepper today. In the Spring of 2004, the deer ate all my tulips...just before they were going to bloom. It was so disappointing! Last year, my neighbor told me to sprinkle cayenne pepper on the tulips when you see the buds emerge. So we got a bunch of the pepper in bulk and got a parmesan cheese shaker and it works like a charm! The other day my other neighbor saw me doing this & told me that she puts peppermint oil on her tulips and that works also.

Midweek Munchies

We were ready for a big shop this week -- so I grabbed all of our shopping bags, lollypops & sippy cups for the girls, and headed to Winco Foods & The Co-op. This is what we bought:

Fuji Apples
Sweet Potatoes
Green Grapes
Red Radishes
Green Onion
Red Garnet Yams
Orange Peppers
Sugar Snap Peas
Butternut Squash
Red Potatoes

Classic Black Bread
Taco Shells
Gen Soy "Soy Crisps"
Sunflower Nuts
Whole Cashews
Lemon Perrier
Organic Black Beans
Organic Blackeyed Peas

Tofu Pups
Morning Star: Chik'n Nuggets, Corn Dogs, Chik Patties
Smart Ground (Taco/Burrito)
Yves "Veggie Ham"

PICTURED ITEMS (that I'm excited about!)
--- Koyo Ramen w/organic noodles "Asian Vegetable" & "Garlic Pepper" (One of these will replace "Top Ramen" in my upcoming salad post)
--- Putumayo Kids Presents: French Playground CD (Liv is totally into French these days)

MidWeek Munchies Hosted by HARMONIA

Monday, March 27, 2006

Pasta Salad

I made this pasta salad to go with the stuffed peppers for Abigail's birthday party.

spiral pasta
1 can black olives - cut in half
1 carton grape tomatoes - in half
1 onion - finely chopped
2 cups petit peas
1 bottle balsamic vinaigrette dressing
feta cheese

Toss & chill over night.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Arborio Stuffed Peppers

I made stuffed peppers for Abi's birthday party. I was excited because Art figured out why we could never find risotto at our stores. Well, actually we could only find risotto that was pre-flavored & boxed. We wanted to use our own flavorings, but couldn't find it in a bag like other rice. Turns out that we should have been looking for something called "arborio". What's up with that? Anyhow, I made 2 kinds of risotto stuffed peppers -- mushroom & black olive. At the party, I was at the back of the buffet line, and I ended up with a mushroom pepper..ughh, my luck! 50/50 chance & I get a mushroom pepper. I hate mushrooms! But, I ate it anyway because I had made them the night before and a black olive pepper had been calling my name since then, and I was going to eat one no matter what....even if it was mushroom! I actually liked it...mushrooms and all. I put a spoonful of petit peas in the bottom of each pepper -- my friends were surprised & happy at the unexpected, also noting that the green and orange were pretty together. This was a festive party food that we'll do again. It was also fun making them & so took some photos of the process. (btw: I can't figure out why, but my thumbnails are a box & you'll get a large version...)

Birthday Carrot Cake

Cake Ingredients:
2 3/4 c. grated carrots
1 c. pureed pineapple
2 1/4 c. flour
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
4 eggs
1 c. vegetable oil
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves (Art omitted this)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. gold raisins (he added this)

Frosting Ingredients:
16 oz. cream cheese
5 c. confectioner's sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract (he used almond extract instead)

Art made Abigail's first birthday cake and found the recipe at
Let me just say the cake really was fabulous! Several people had seconds and nothing remains of the double recipe. I couldn't resist taking some photos of his yummy creation in progress!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Wine Charm Party Favors

When we have a party, I like to make wine charms for our guests. For Olivia's second birthday party, I made mice charms out of walnut shells; and for New Year's Eve, I made cork charms. The ones pictured here are for all our adult guests who'll come to Abigail's first birthday party. They were quick to make with just a few basic supplies (beads, wire, and plyers) and, they will add a personal touch as well as be functional. I hope my friends like them! :o)

Friday, March 24, 2006

Corn Patties

1 can corn (I used white)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp. cumin
1 dash cayenne
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 egg
4 tbsp. corn oil

1: Mash the drained corn lightly in a medium size bowl. Add the onion, spices, flour, baking powder, and egg. Stir well and season to taste with salt.
2: Heat the oil in a skillet. Drop tablespoons of the mixture carefully onto the hot oil, far enough apart for them not to run into each other as they cook.
3: Cook, turning each patty only once for 4-5 minutes, or until golden brown and firm to the touch. Take care not to turn them too soon, or they will break up.
4: Remove the patties and drain on a paper towel. Serve at once.

We were surprised at how much we liked these, and we talked about ways we'd like to modify the recipe next time we make them. They are so easy, and we usually have the ingredients on hand...probably easy to veganize? Along the way I took some photos.

I found this recipe in "Greatest Ever Party Food", Parragon Publishing.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Crazy Quilt

I call this my "quilting masterpiece" -- it's a quilt that I made from vintage neckties. I had been collecting neckties for a while and had an idea to make a quilt...I didn't have a plan or example, so I just made it up as I went along. It took me 2 months to complete working on it nightly for several hours. I had to take my sewing machine in for repairs and broke numerous needles in the process because the neckties were so heavy duty. This is king size and weighs 40 pounds. From some of the scraps, I made two purses pictured here and here.

Midweek Munchies

This week, I grabbed my canvas shopping bag, handed it to my husband, and he went to the Co-op for some midweek suprise me with his choices! We are stocked up in the kitchen, so this was a true munchies run.

He picked out:
1. Garlic Primavera Risotto
2. Roasted Sweet Red Pepper Hummus
3. Ezekiel 4:9 pocket bread
4. Polenta Chips (these are good... & see, he still has polenta on the brain :)
5. Delightfully Turkish Organic Dried Figs (these were the best treat of all...major yum!)

Midweek Munchies hosted by Harmonia

Checked out 4

I love our library! We all went today and split-up inside -- Abi & I went upstairs to look for some cookbooks, while Art & Liv scouted the kid's section. We found rows and rows of cooking books. I wasn't looking for any particular title, so I just pulled random books that looked interesting.

I found: Famous Vegetarians & their favorite recipes by Rynn Berry; Mother Nature's Garden: Healthy Vegan Cooking by Florence Bienenfeld & Micky Bienenfeld; Vegetarian Feasts: Memorable Meat-Free Menus by Richard Cawley; and Vegetarian Entertaining: Menus for All Occasions by Diana Shaw.

BTW, Leonardo da Vinci was vegetarian. Some of his favorite dishes were "fried figs and beans" and "chick-pea soup". The chapters in Famous Vegetarians & their favorite recipes are grouped this way: Immortals, Visionaries, & Contemporaries. It's an older book (copyright 1995) which features Linda McCartney, George Harrison, and Dennis Weaver as contemporaries. This helps make it more interesting to look at, if you ask me. I'm wondering...does anybody know if they have a new version of famous vegetarians/vegans and their favorite dishes?

I found a vegan book, also copyright 1995 - pictured here with the basket of veggies. It has all the regular chapters, plus: holiday dishes, ethnic specialties, festive party, & brunch specialties. I'm bummed that there are no pictures, but the recipes look short and basic...the kind I'm more likely to try.

The other 2 cookbooks each have colorful and artistic pictures. The "Entertaining" book is divided by seasons and has several menus for each, for example: Robust Spring Supper, Backyard Cookout, Harvest Supper, New Year's Day Supper.
The "Feasts" book has a list of menus and recipes featuring: party finger food, beautiful breakfasts, cook-ahead cuisine, three-star meal. I like that the last two books have themed menus along with all the recipes in one place.

Polenta Tamale Pie Tacos

We had quite a bit of the Polenta Tamale Pie left from last night, so with a few basic ingredients (taco shells, carrots, tomatoes, & lettuce) I made tacos. As my husband says, "You've got one here." The PTP tasted best the next day. I had to snicker a little - it reminds me of know how you're supposed to keep some of the old each time you make more? Well, with this, it's the black beans. First I made the black bean soup, then I used some of the soup to make the Polenta Tamale Pie, and then used some of the PTP in the tacos. How's that for using left-overs?! I love the saying "Waste Not, Want Not."

Polenta Tamale Pie

*Ground soy meat (I used Smart Ground)
*2 cups salsa (I used Chachies)
* 1 can black beans rinsed (I used some of my left over black bean soup)
*Half can vegetable broth
*1 1 lb. roll prepared polenta (sliced in 1/3" thick rounds)
*Grated cheese (I used pepper jack)
*cayenne pepper, ground cumin, and safflower oil for sauteing

Saute soy meat in a bit of safflower oil for around 5 minutes or until heated through. Add salsa, black beans, broth, cayenne, cumin, and simmer until mixture thickens.

Oil 9"x9" glass baking dish. Place approximately 1/3 of polenta in bottom of dish. Cover with 1/3 of soy meat mixture and then 1/3 of the cheese. Repeat layering (I ended up with 2 layers of each). Bake for 40 minutes @ 350F.

I got this recipe at from Sara. This dish is filling and satisfying - we liked it.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Fountain Grass

Both girls were napping, so I had a chance to do some solo gardening. I trimmed our fountain grass (click here to see the results). We tried a little experiment with our outdoor potted plants. We stored them in the back of Art's '68 Ford truck, inside our garage, under some straw, along with our hanging geraniums for the winter. We were hoping that we could help them survive the cold and not skip a beat in the Spring when we want to put them back outside...which seems to be now. The fountain grasses look great, the potted shrubs also look wonderful, time will tell on the geraniums.

Black bean soup

* 2 tbsp. olive oil
* 1 onion, chopped
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 2 cans Mex style tomatoes (don't drain)
* 2 cans black beans (drained & rinsed)
* 1 can vegetable broth
* 2 tsp. ground cumin
* 1 dash cayenne pepper

Garnishes: Try any or all of these - Thinly sliced scallions, chopped cilantro, cubed avocado, cheese, sour cream, spoon full of salsa.

Directions: In a medium-size saucepan, heat the oil over med. heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 5 minutes, until the onion is tender. In a food processor, combine the onions, tomatoes and the beans. Process until smooth (I did this in 2 batches). In the medium saucepan, combine the bean mixture, broth, and cumin & cayenne. Cook over low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve the soup hot, topping each bowl with any or all of the garnishes.

This soup is delicious -- warm & hearty. We decided not to add garnishes, and we each had a second helping. This one is a keeper!

The Vegetarian Cookbook

I bought a new cookbook! It's small - only 5 inches, and each dish has a photo of the end product and many recipes have smaller photos showing the steps. It was less than 5$ naturally I couldn't resist cute and cheap bound together!
It's chapters are: introduction, soups, appetizers & light meals, main meals, salads, tarts pies & pizzas, side dishes, desserts, breads cakes & cakes.
I'm looking forward to trying the: french onion soup, Vegetable & coconut curry, Avocado salad with Lime dressing, Spring vegetable tart, Winter vegetable cobbler, Green beans the pine nuts, Easy mango ice cream, Olive & sun-dried tomato bread. It all looks yummy and I need some new dishes for some up-coming events...Abi's 1st birthday party and Ann's surprise 40th birthday party.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Roasted Root Veggies

We loved these veggies. I served them with a Morning Star 9-Bean Loaf and topped it all with mushroom gravy. This is a modified recipe inspired by Meatout Mondays.


2 large onion, quartered
5 large Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered
2 large sweet potatoes, cut into 2" pieces
5 large carrots, cut into 2" pieces
5 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp. olive oil
2 Tbs. dried dill weed (or rosemary, basil, curry)
1 tsp. sea salt


  1. Toss cut vegetables, garlic, oil, dill, and salt in a bowl.
  2. Transfer to baking sheet and roast in a 450° oven for 50 minutes, or until the vegetables are not hard, and have browned.
  3. During the last 30 minutes of roasting, toss vegetables every 10 minutes to ensure they do not burn on any one side.

Spicy Mandarin Chickpeas

We didn't like this dish. Art wouldn't eat more than one micro-bite, while I ate my entire remekin containing not more than 8 total chickpeas -- vowing to try it again the next day after the ingredients had blended. Well, I couldn't bring myself to try SMC again and threw it out. Arrrgh, I hate doing that! Honestly, I'm not really that surprised since the recipe is basically just opening some cans and mixing it together. But it was worth a try because I love garbanzos and it'd be nice to have a new way to enjoy them. I don't remember where I got this recipe -- if you recognize it comment to me.


Two 19-ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Two 10.5-ounce cans mandarin oranges, drained
1/4 cup strawberry jam
2 Tablespoons spicy brown mustard
1/2 teaspoon cayenne

Heat all the ingredients in a medium-size pot over medium heat for 10 minutes. Serve over a bed of rice.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

4 Score

4 Jobs I've had:
Scooped ice-cream @ Baskin-Robbins
Jr. High History Teacher
Waitress @ Red Robbin
Aerobic Instructor

4 Movies I could see over & over:
Paris When It Sizzles
The Sound of Music

4 Places I've lived:
San Diego, CA
Silverlake, CA
Boise, Id
Beachwood Canyon, CA

4 Places I've been on vacation:
Negril, Jamaica
Paris, France
Venice, Italy
Amsterdam, Netherlands

4 of my favorite foods:
Corn on the cobb

4 Places I want to visit:
Costa Rica

4 TV shows I like:
Rick Steves' Europe
KTLA news
Surprise by Design

Who wants to play?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Midweek Munchies

I grabbed my canvas shopping bag and headed to the
Co-op for some midweek munchies:

1. Silk Chocolate Soymilk
2. Nasoya Organic Tofu (firm)
3. Island Teriyaki by Soy Vay (to marinate the tofu)
4. Smart Ground by Lightlife
5. Tofu Pups also by Lightlife
6. Organic dried blueberries
7. Adams no-stir Peanut Butter
8. Quorn Chicken-style Tenders
9. Peanut Noodles by A Taste of Thai
10. A Bunch of Carrots
11. Pink Lady Apples
12. Orange Bell Peppers
13. Lemons
14. Tomatoes
Hand of Bananas
17. Carton of Habanero Peppers (to make jelly)
Annie's Honey Bunny Grahams
Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Soup by Pacific

Midweek Munchies hosted by Harmonia

Oatmeal with Flax

So my plan was to buy some flax seeds and begin making fabulous meals incorporating them. I set out to the Co-op with a mission to find them or some linseed oil. The flaw in my plan was that I took my girls shopping with me. My 3 and 1 year old began their "I don't want to go shopping" antics (grabbing anything that they saw, arguing with eachother, screaming, hair pulling, back arching, etc.) You get the picture...I could not think straight let alone search out some little, itty-bitty seeds. So this is what I found instead to satisfy my flax desires. Look, it's organic oatmeal and 2 of the 4 varieties contain flax seeds! I'm eating a bowl of the "flax 'n oats" right now! I added some organic blueberries and golden raisins to sweeten it up a bit and let me tell you, it's delicious! The oatmeal is made by Nature's Path.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Flax Seeds

Lately, I've become curious about flax seeds, so I did some homework, and here are the flax. I've learned that flax seeds come from a blue flowering plant grown in Canada for its oil rich seeds. This natural oil (also known as Linseed Oil) is highly recommended for the general well being and whole body nutrition. It is considered to be nature's richest source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are required for the health of almost all body systems. There seem to be numerous health benefits -- though I did run across one glaring negative study saying that flax seed oil actually increases prostate cancer, however that same study recommends 2 ounces every day of freshly ground flax seeds.

Here are some quick Serving Ideas:
*Sprinkle a couple tablespoons ground flaxseeds onto your hot or cold cereal.
*Add flaxseeds to your homemade muffin, cookie or bread recipe.
*To pump up the nutritional volume of your breakfast shake, add ground flax seeds.
*To give cooked vegetables a nuttier flavor, sprinkle some ground flaxseeds on top of them.
*Add a tablespoon of flaxseed oil to smoothies.
* In homemade salad dressings, use flax seed oil in place of 1/8 to 1/4 of the oil.

Cooking Tips:
*Flaxseed adds flavor, extra texture and good nutrition to your breads and other baked goods. *Add a scoopful of flaxseed to bread doughs and pancake, muffin or cookie mixes.
*When sprinkled on top of any of these before baking, the seeds add crunch, taste and eye appeal.
*Mill a desired amount of flaxseed to a granular, free-flowing meal in a coffee bean grinder.
*Don't use flax oil for cooking. Oils high in essential fatty acids are not good for cooking. In fact, heat can turn these healthy fats into harmful ones. Add flax oil to foods after cooking and just before serving.

Substitutions in Recipes:

*Substitute flax for fat in your recipes. When making muffins or other baked goods, replace 1/2 cup butter/oil/shortening with 1 1/2 cups flax seed meal. Flax can be substituted for all or some of the fat, depending on the recipe. Note that baking with flax, as fat substitute will cause baked goods to brown more quickly.
*Substitute a ground flax seed/water mixture for eggs in recipes such as pancakes, muffins and cookies. Use 1 tbsp ground flax plus 3 tbsp water - left sitting for several minutes - for each egg. Note that this will result in a chewier version of the recipe, with less volume.

Watch for my upcoming flaxseed cooking experiments! What's your favorite way to use flax?!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Star Mosaic

Here's my own mosaic. I used broken plates to make it and I call it North Star. It hangs outside on our patio wall.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Angel Picture

This is what I made with all the angel pictures I took. Los Angeles (City of Angels) had a bunch of artists decorate life-size angels and put them on display around the city -- mostly downtown. Eventually the angels were auctioned off to benefit Volunteers of America and Catholic Big Brothers. I was totally taken by the project and took a bunch of photos. When I got the photos developed, I wondered what to do with them all! So, I cut them in 1"x1" squares and made a collage of sorts. This hangs in our hallway near the kitchen. I know Chicago did a similar thing with cows being decorated. Do you know of other such projects?

Midweek Munchies

I grabbed my canvas shopping bag and headed to the Co-op for some midweek munchies:

1. Silk Vanilla Soymilk
2. Silk Chocolate Soymilk
3. Silk Vanilla Creamer (giving it a try...hopefully to replace my dairy creamer)
4. Nate's Black Bean & Soy Cheese Taquitos (Super delicious!)
5. Vegetarian Chicken Drumsticks with curry sauce (trying this for the first time...we LOVE their citrus sparerib cutlets)
6. Morningstar Farms Nine Bean Veggie Loaf (I've never seen this before...Is it new?)
7. Dr. McDougall's Peach Raspberry Oatmeal & Barley Hot Cereal
8. Amy's Beans & Rice Burrito
9. Hand of Bananas
10. A Bunch of Carrots
11. All the small Gold Beets they had
12. Half price napkins that look a lot like my Jolie
13. 2 Kiwi (we ate these before the picture was taken)

Some disappointing strike-outs:
1. Tofu Pups -- they were totally sold out (Liv will only eat these...don't even try to substitute)
2. Logodent Kid's Strawberry Dental Gel (I'm bummed to find out that they no longer sell this product)
3. Tamari & Flax Seed (Not enough time to hunt for these...I've never cooked with either...I see them mentioned a lot @ other blogs....Any advice/information for me?)