What I Ate Today:

Breakfast was a cup of overnight oats (oatmeal, almond milk, cocoa powder, cinnamon, maple syrup). It was very rich and I could not finish it. Tomorrow I’m going to make it with fruit.

Lunch was a liter jar (in my previous post I said quart, but nope, it’s a liter) of the lentil soup I made yesterday. It has absorbed all the liquid so I added about a half a cup of water. I could not finish that, either. I’m spotting a trend.

Dinner was two small russet potatoes and two small sweet potatoes cut into fry shapes and tossed in coconut oil and baked. I ate those with highly processed ketchup. Please forgive.

And for dessert/snacky snack I am drinking a smoothie with frozen mixed berries, a banana (not even that ripe) and a ton of spinach. I felt I needed some greenery in my diet today.

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Ok last food post, I promise!

LOL If you’re looking for a concise recipe food blog you’re looking in the wrong place. I rarely follow recipes. I read them a couple of times, then wing it. The pea soup I followed, only because I happen to have most of the ingredients on hand. So when I tell you about something I cook, take everything as a suggestion, rather than a rule.

The last thing (hopefully) I will make today (oh no – that’s already I lie, I want to make some overnight oats, and sh*t, I’ll probably post about that) is energy balls. The kind with dates. A cool thing I’ve been able to find at Aldi is Medjool dates. I’ve been adding them to smoothies. I kind of got off that, so I had a whole container sitting in the pantry. Now that I’m off sugar, I’ve been trying to curb my sweet tooth, not to a lot of success. Friday night I bought coconut milk icecream (pb and chocolate). It was so rich and decadent! I used to eat that a lot when I was a ‘junk food vegan’ back in 2011. But that’s not what I want to be now. Anyway, onto the “energy balls”:

All of this goes in a food processor:

8-10 dates, pitted
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tbsp ground flax (feel free to omit or use some other seed, like chia)
1 cup oatmeal
1 tsp vanilla extract
(I forgot cinnamon but you can add that too)
1 tbsp oil (I used cococut oil – feel free to omit – I used it as a binder and for moistness)
(I also didn’t have any chopped nuts, so throw those in if you want)

Take for a spin in the processor. Shape into 1 inch balls. Put on a baking tray and stick into the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Stores up to a week in an airtight container in the fridge.

One day I’ll start taking photos of all this, but today is not that day.

 

 

A recipe for Split Pea Soup

Disovered and adaped from here:
https://www.budgetbytes.com/2016/10/pressure-cooker-split-pea-soup/

(these all equal about a cup of each)
1 medium yellow onion
3 carrots (I used pre-sliced)
3 stalks of celery

all the garlic you can handle

1lb of split peas (don’t pre-soak)

6 cups of water or veggie broth

1 tbsp vegetable Better than Boullion (omit if you use veggie broth. Or don’t. I’m not your boss. I like tons of flavor. I’m just thinking about sodium.)

1 tbsp oil (it says coconut oil, which I had. Use any or omit if you don’t want fat. The coconut did give a nice aroma, though)

I kind of use the same spices in everything, because that’s what I have and that’s what I like. I try not to add salt, becasue the boullion has sodium and the Tony Charchare’s has salt.

1 tbsp Tony Charchare’s (“sa-sher-ees” a Cajun spice blend that is a Louisiana staple you can get it in most stores, or whatever blend you like)
1 tbsp garlic powder (yes, in addition to the buttload of raw garlic, thank you)
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tsp chipolte powder or smoked paprika (depending if you like a little heat, both are smoked, only one is spicy)
1 tbsp paprika (I use it in addition to the chipotle, mainly for color, omit if you already used smoked)
1 tbsp basil or oregano or parsley (I don’t have a ton of dried green herbs, just this and an Italian blend, feel free to add what you want, or omit)

So add all these to a quart pot. Never fill the Instant Pot to the top. Seal, and cook on Manual for 15 minutes, and let the pressure naturally release, which takes about an additional 30 minutes. When you open the lid, everything will look lumpy, but give it a stir, and turns into a creamy soup! I can fill about 4- 5 quart jars with this and it will last me the whole week.

split pea soup
the finished split pea soup

 

A recipe for veggie lentil stew

Ok I just put a mess of vegetables in the Instant Pot. I have no idea how it’s going to turn out. I stuck pretty close to the pea soup recipe I did last week (which I can post momentarily). I’ve just found a huge pot of soup split into quart mason jars can set me up for lunches for just about the whole week. Before I was doing this plant-based eating, I made a few batches of beef stew. Anyway, here’s what I put in this thing:

I eyeballed all of this. I filled up at 6qt pot little over 3/4 of the way.

All of these diced:

2 smallish yellow onions
4 smallish russet pototatoes
3 large stalks of celery
3 large carrots
8oz white mushrooms
a sh*tload of garlic (2 heaping tbsp minced?)

12oz bag of green lentils (feel free to omit, but they help add bulk and fill you up)

(About a level tablespoon of each, but I go heavy on seasonings becasue flavor but use your best judgement)

Tony Charchere’s (cajun seasoning + salt)
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Basil
Parsley
Bay leaves (2 large)
Chipolte powder (just a teaspoon bc spicy)
Paprika (not smoked but if you have that omit the chipotle, unless you want a little heat)
Black pepper

Almost 2 large tablespoons of Better Than Bouillon veggie boullion (I just emptied the jar, usually I’ll only put about a tablespoon in)

7 cups of water (to cover the stuff)

I set on high pressure for 30 minutes and since it’s the middle of the day I’ll probably just leave it on natural release and let it sit on warm until I’m hungry again.

The Winds, They Will Blow

So hi, again. I’m back, as unreliable as ever. I’ve abandoned the #100Days gimmick. I’m still trying to do better, I just don’t pay any attention to the numbers anymore – that was getting out of hand. So what’s up? We’re just past Hurricane Irma. I live an an apartment, and the complex had a lot of downed trees. One went thru one of the buildings. The two trees in front of my building lost a ton of branches, and one crashed through a car’s winsheild. My car had a branch ~just~ touching my windsheid, but it did not break. (Yay!) Also, we did not lose power. Half the complex did, though. I stayed up until about 12:30am the night of the storm, but I was so tired I quit caring and said, let that f*cker come! I woke up a few times and note that the power was still on and I did not hear any high winds, so I figured it was all good. The next day was still cloudy and windy, but it did not rain. We went outside and discovered the car situation, and talked to a few neighbors. Oh – my cell phone service went out around midnight and has not returned. Just around my house. I had it when we drove into the next town today. Also, I have to back to work tomorrow. Boo. But I got paid for the last two days. Yay. Today we drove around town and there were a few traffic lights out and a lot of stores were closed. We went to the mall and actually did some shopping (Sears was having a huge sale!) So now were home it’s all done. People who were not as lucky have a long way to go.

Instant Pot Update (Day 37)

So far since I bought the Instant Pot last weekend, I’ve cooked five meals in it, and only eaten out twice. I haven’t bought lunch at work, because I ate what I made last weekend all week. We ate out Wednesday lunch and today (Sunday) lunch. Both times we had coupons. BOGO at Perkins and $3 off $15 at McDonald’s.

So last Sunday I made beef stew. I had two bowls for dinner and split the rest between four 1-liter Mason jars. I ate the stew for lunch all last week (except Wednesday, but I was home hence the Perkins). The stew had beef, onions, mushrooms, carrots, potatoes, and celery. We didn’t pre-cook anything. It went in for 35 minutes on the meat/stew setting. When it was done, it looks and tasted like it had been in a slow cooker for 10 hours. The meat was falling apart. It was delicious.

Then Monday we made honey/garlic/soy/ketchup chicken thighs. Actually The Kid made those. They took about 30 minutes on the poultry setting and it was also falling apart. Very good.

Thursday we made shrimp and rice with almost the same recipe except it was brown sugar/garlic/soy. I put it on rice setting, and it turned out great, but I forgot that I wanted to add broccoli to it, so I did and turned it back on on manual for ten minutes with about a quarter cup of water. But I screwed up because the rice was over done and stuck to the bottom of the pan and the broccoli didn’t even cook. Oh well, you can’ t win them all. We ate that two times, and then threw it out; it just wasn’t worth keeping.

Saturday I made spaghetti sauce. I added two onions, garlic (tons, of course), a large can of crushed tomatoes, two regular cans of diced tomatoes and one small can of tomato paste, spices, etc. I added maybe a cup of water. So I set it on Manual – 30 minutes and left it. But while it was cooking I was in the living room and could smell it the whole time, which, if it was sealed, I shouldn’t have. So I checked on it and it never sealed. I released the valve and no steam came out. I opened the lid and the sauce was boiling and it was sticking to the bottom. I had no idea what I’d done wrong. So I went on the office InstantPot Facebook page and asked. Turns out that tomato sauce is usually too thick and doesn’t have enough liquid to come to the boil it needs to make enough pressure to seal the pot. I could add another cup or two of water and try again, but really, in my opinion, that would have made the sauce too thin, and it had been boiling for 30 minutes at that point, so I called it done. It wasn’t bad at all, but I was disapointed I can’t cook something so time intensive in the InstantPot.

Today I’m making food for lunches next week. It’s beans and rice. You don’t have to soak the beans, but it helps, so I soaked them for about five hours. I turned the iPot on sautee and added onion, bell pepper and celery (the Cajun trinity) and smoked turkey sausage and a pound of beans (mixed various from a bean soup package, not just plain kidney beans). I added water until it was about 3/4 full and closed it up and set it on the Beans/Chili timer. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

 

An Actual #100Days Activity! (Day 29)

So there’s comes a point where it’s been so long since I’ve written a blog post that I have to go back and read to make sure I’m not repeating anything. *goes off to do that*

Ok.

So anyway, I just finished balancing my budget. I have a spreadsheet that is essentially just my bank statement, but I can add future stuff in there, and I’ve got it estimated for the next year. I got such a feeling of accomplishment, becasue I hadn’t been able to balance it, so I started over and it worked this time. Things are differenct now that I’ve paid off my car, but I’m still way behind on credit card payments due to be being poor and then out of work. LOL I’m still poor but now I have income (yay!)

So one of the things I decided to do was pay someone to deep clean the house. My hatred of cleaning, plus mental illness, plus busy schedules, plus exhaustion, makes us never want to do anything that would be considered unpaid labor. I am not a domestic godess, to the despair of my mom and sister, whose lives revolve around cleaning. So I got onto a local facebook group and asked. And it turns out the admin of the group owns their own (green) cleaning business. So I emailed them, and they came over the other night to see the damage and give me a quote. And we have so much in common! Our kids graduated together (they don’t know each other) and we have a lot of the same interests and ideals (meaning she’s liberal unlike most of the people around here, lol). I had already talked to one person, and this chick’s quote was much better, and while I thought I didn’t care about being green, I actually do. So she’s coming Wednesday and then I think I’ll have her come back every two weeks.

The kid just came back from a week at his Dad’s family’s in Alabama. They spoil him so bad. He got new shoes and dined out almost every meal. They don’t do it for him specifially, that’s just how they live. Then on Labor Day weekend, he and his Dad are driving up there and the Kid gets his Aunt’s truck. So I have from between now and then to teach him how to drive, and get him his driver’s license. Daunting task.

Ok well I promised myself that I’d get rid of some old stuff before the cleaning lady comes. I want to make a real fresh start!