Munchie Monday

I am a ‘working-on-it’ healthy eating fanatic.  I backslide; I admit it. Never all the way; just small ‘errors’ in judgement, ha. I am not as strong-willed as my eldest daughter who has been straight vegan for…ever!  And it shows.  She is healthy strong, and fearless.  I hope a little of that comes from me…making her endure packed lunches with homemade whole grain bread (no white bread in this household!), and fruits, veggies…no bologna or processed foods…just things I knew were healthy for a growing little person but awfully hard to explain to classmates who just thought she/we were ‘weird’.

The entire family has been red meat free for 15 years for humane and environmental reasons. I have in the last couple of years started cutting out all the turkey and chicken…and while I am pretty successful in managing mine, it is still in the house because I also have a very recalcitrant teenage son who wants his ‘meat’ at least sometimes.  Since this way of eating is my personal choice…and I hope someday he will make that choice on his own…I am not going to force it on him.  But here we are with a new month, a new year…and I am eager to expand my horizons on the foodie front.

I am so excited!  Today I revisited a favorite even with my meat-eater…stuffed okra boats.  The kids love them.  I love them.  Time to try some new things to stuff them with… but first:

This is my go-to recipe:

  • 24 fresh medium size okra pods (1 lb.)  (split down the top, stem removed, and but don’t pop it open. It is a ‘boat’ not a ‘life preserver’ lol)
  • 1/2 avocado (mashed)
  • 1 cup roasted unsalted peanuts (chopped fine)
  • 1/4 cup red onion (minced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 1-inch piece fresh ginger  (minced)
  • 1 jalapeno chili, seeds removed (minced)
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp salt  (add to taste)
  • First mince all the ingredients that need mincing.  (NOT the okra)
  • Combine filling. Add the creamed avocado.  Gently stuff filling into each okra boat.
  • Place on parchment lined baking sheet, spray with coconut oil spray and bake at 425 till the boats are crispy and tops are slightly browned (about 10 min)
  • Peanut-Stuffed Okra Fingers
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Adventures in Thanksgiving

A crazy busy week that began on Saturday before my birthday and culminated today in a marathon of cooking and experimenting.  It was great!

Reesie invited her ‘sweety’ over to have Thanksgiving with the family. He got to meet AJ and the pets… he survived the shock, ha ha.

One of the goals I set myself for this new year is to not just eat healthier, but to explore new possibilities. What better time to indulge than today?

First up, a departure from the sugar-laden sweet potato casserole with its marshmallow topping invitation to diabetes… instead I made sweet potatoes with coconut sauce and fresh coconut which provided natural sweetness and a surprising crunchy contrast to the creamier sweet potatoes.

This was yummy … next year I am going to find the purple sweet potatoes. That ought to add a nice pop! to the table 😀

Instead of traditional gravy I made a lovely gravy with vegetable broth, sage, and apple cider. It turned out great, even the kids loved it.

Cider-Sage Gravy

And green bean casserole with its mushroom soup and fried onion topping was replaced with wonderful fresh green beans sauteed with a touch of garlic, caramelized onion, mushrooms (in this case brown beech mushrooms for their lovely nutty flavor, shiitake, and oyster mushrooms for their ‘meaty’ texture), fresh ginger, and a splash of my favorite spicy szechuan sauce and sesame oil.

I took some new ideas, tweaked them to fit our tastes, and what was available, and had so much fun in the kitchen this year.  Truly another reason to be so thankful this year.

Can’t wait for the next special occasion to see what I can come up with next.

Hope your Thanksgiving was extra special too.

Freezer Friday

Okay…not literally.  This is still the Lowcountry, after all.  Still, after three glorious days of bright sunshine and 80s, to drop into cold rain and 40 was depressingly ‘wintery’.  Tomorrow we shall rebound to 60 and it is all better from there.  Before long this long winter shall finally be a memory and we can all bask in the glory of summer.

Cait came by today and we made Red Shrimp Curry for supper…while the teens ordered pizza.  Too bad for them, we got all the good stuff 😀  Since Cait surprised me with that meal, the supper I had planned gets pushed back to tomorrow.  Mushroom and pepper alfredo… which may not be exactly traditional…but I love the flavor the cashew milk adds to the garlic and spices.

I have the hankering to bake.  Something I loved to do and gave up when Reesie was diagnosed with celiacs because I couldn’t find a way to make anything come out ‘right’ with what was available back then and I refused to make something we  all couldn’t enjoy.   Now there are a lot more options and it is possible to make at least some of my favorites in a GF/vegan friendly version…  I really want to give it a go.  Maybe next week when the groceries for this month are gathered I can get the ingredients to enjoy playing with some old favorites once more.

Spent some time yesterday working out the final (okay …right this moment final but could still be changed on a whim when I commence, LOL) patterns for the little rocking chair.  Some of them I like so much I may very well turn them eventually into clay ‘stamps’ for future use on pieces of pottery.  A rather random and ecelectic mix that speaks to my own whimsy and our heritage… a bit of Gullah, a bit of Celtic, some Native American inspired, and a squid….because…well… SQUID.

Now to this week’s FANTASY inspiration for Fantasy Friday… I have reached a turning point in the story, and looking out over a scene rather like this and deciding which way to follow.  Where would you go?

misty waterfalls

Marvelous Monday

Reesie brought me home last night.  We made salmon croquettes (a favorite)  and hung out. A pleasant afternoon.  Today we ran errands…. the ones I can’t get done because of the lack of car situation.  We went to Staples, the bank, got gas for her car, I wrote letters to be mailed tomorrow, we got some groceries … then home in time for dinner.

I made chayote to go with supper.  A different recipe than I usually make, but well suited to the meal and went wonderfully with the roasted pototoes and the cranberry sauce.  So simple:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • chayote squash, cut into 1/2 inch strips
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon white sugar or stevia
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes   (I used more…but we like spice)

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

You put the oil in a skillet, brown the onion and garlic, toss in the chayote and seasoning.  Brown for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the lime juice (you may need a dash more if you have a large chayote as I did tonight) and cook another 2 – 3 minutes till done, but still crisp.

YUMM!

What fun

It has been a couple of crazy busy days….but such fun.

Yesterday was DeeDee picking murals for the toddler bedroom….this lovely tree branchs with leaves and birds that stretched 2/3 the length of the wall!  Then another tree that came up from the floor and ended in all these gorgeous pink cherry blossom style flowers,  I loved making them and they bring such a fantasy, friendly forest feeling to the room.  The other side, appropriately enough, is Winnie the Pooh…so here we have created a little girl’s 100 Acre Woods 😀

Meriill got a new cabinet for his electronics…such an improvement over the very modern glass shelves previously used. They didn’t fit the ‘feel’ of his Man Cave… or the decor.  Plus they left all those ugly cords out in plain sight.  Downside to the new set up? taking everything apart, squeezing my butt back under the table and behind the cabinet, and thinking by any stretch of the imagination I could help figure out what went where!  LOL!  Still, he was very patient… no I said MSI2 not USB… and eventually… VOILA!  all things connected and … gasp! working!

Today was spagetti pizza (a lovely way to slide that spagetti squash right on past ’em) at our house.  And I brewed a big pitcher of sweet tea…which will last till tomorrow.  Big tea drinkers in this family.  No idea what tomorrow holds, but sure to be different.

I hope to finish taking the last of the pine mulch out to the back bed I am working on, so that, come the first of the month, I will be ready to plant it.  Also wandered over to Hyams and checked out the new plants.  Spring fever is fast upon me, fellow gardners.  So many plants.  So little time.