Category Archives: vegetarian

Lettuce and fruit – what a match


Last September we invested in a Tower Garden and I’ve been on a learning and experimenting curve ever since.  The green lettuce, kale and herbs have been a delightful Winter and early Spring treat.The tomatoes, cucumbers and yellow squash are progressing.  And my beloved Datil peppers are growing nicely.  This is the first time I’ve tried Datils from seed, and I am happy that they are doing well. Can’t wait to make Datil Pepper Relish and Devil Sauce   this summer. (find the sauce recipe at the link).  I’ll share the relish recipe soon.  Watch for it.

The Tower Garden is great for gardening in Florida where bugs and heat are a constant challenge.  Not much we can do about the heat of mid and late Summer, but I find it much easier to control bugs since many of them come up from the ground and this system uses no dirt  — just water that is pumped through to the pods that hold the plants.  Seedlings are started in rock-wool cubes that can be placed in a small dish of water or right in the garden.  Many of my fellow “tower gardeners” in cooler climates garden with the TG right through the winter by using grow lights and keeping their towers inside.  It’s a great system if you are “garden-challenged!”tower garden

For now the strawberries take center stage. I only put in 5 or 6 of the bare root plants that I purchased on Amazon so the harvest is small, but each day I get enough to provide a lovely garnish to a lettuce/fruit salad.  Today I added some orange segments and I think the visual appeal is beautiful.

Top this off with my homemade poppy seed dressing, and you’ve got a delightful lunch to brighten an already beautiful Spring day here in Dunedin, Florida.  But enough, here’s the recipe for the dressing so you can enjoy it on your salad!

Poppy Seed Dressing

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp poppy seeds
  • 2 Tbsp sesame seeds (optional)
  • 1 slice or red or sweet white onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar

I chop the onion finely in my mini-blender then add all ingredients except the seeds.  Blend well and transfer to a glass jar.  Add poppy and sesame seeds.  Time to enjoy or chill until ready to use!

Note: I’ve also made this with Splenda, but we do try to stay away from artificial sweeteners for health reasons. Experiment with other sweeteners – especially if you are on a sugar-restrictive diet.

Happy Spring!


Tofu – It really is good!

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Tofu – eww! That’s what you might say when anyone mentions that word. “That’s for those vegetarian/vegan nuts,” you think. Well, to the carnivores in my audience,  think again and give it a try! Last night after an earlier trek … Continue reading


Superbowl Protein – Artichoke & Lentil Salad

Add a little extra protein to your Superbowl spread.  

Here’s a quick and easy salad that packs 9g of protein in a 1/2 cup serving.
The original recipe came to me through my daughter who found it on MeatoutMondays  Although we are not vegans or vegetarians ourselves, we do eat quite a few dishes  that fit into those categories.  Thanks to daughter Julie,along with friends Josh and Susie Neimark, founders of Vegan by Choice
,  who influence many of our eating habits. We do try our best to eat right, both for our health and to protect the balance of the universe.  So don’t be afraid to give something new a try! You may like this way of eating so much that you won’t turn back.

Be sure to check out MeatoutMondays where you’ll find all the nutritional info on this salad and the original version by Alan Roettinger. I tweaked his method and the ingredients slightly, and here is my version:


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  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1 cup dry lentils
  • 1 16 oz can artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed and cut in  thirds, lengthwise
  • 1/3 cup minced red onion
  • 1- 2 cloves garlic


Cook 1 cup dry lentils in rice cooker with 2 cups water seasoned with ¼ tsp. sea salt. Optional: add 1 bay leaf and/or 1 garlic clove, minced.
 While lentils cook, prepare dressing:
Mince onion and garlic in mini-food processor/chopper.
Add oil, lemon juice and vinegar and process quickly – just a few seconds should do it. 
Add salt and pepper to your or taste.

  1. Cool lentils and combine with artichokes in a large mixing bowl.  Pour dressing over and toss well. Add fresh parsley, thyme and basil.
  2. We like it chilled well.  Add additional oil and vinegar to suit your taste.

I think next time, I’ll try it with one of our favorites – quinoa – in place of the lentils!


A Pudbudder Holiday

Last year I did the Twelve Days of Pudbudder.  Since today is already the 15th of the month, I’m a little late to start the Twelve Days for 2013, so I’ll cut it short and just call it A Pudbudder Holiday.

We all embrace this time of the year with good cheer, smiles (mostly) and just a better attitude toward everyone around us.  Too bad we can’t preserve this throughout the year. But I am trying!  I hope all of my readers are too 🙂

So why am I behind? Well as usual, I am trying to manage too many projects at the same time.  That’s pretty easy to do at this time of the year.  After a feverish attempt at putting final touches on my long-term Cookbook/Family Memoir project, I’ve once again decided it just won’t make it for Christmas gifts, but on the bright side, I’ve made great progress on it and have learned some new InDesign techniques along the way. The key to my success actually revolves around joining the gym.  Yep, you read that correctly.

So here’s my strategy:

  • Go to You Tube and research Indesign Tip and Tutorials.
  • Throw them into my YouTube Favorites folder
  • Head to the gym. Get on the treadmill and plug my iPhone into my headset and tune in to those tutorials while I do my treadmill time.

This has worked great: I’ m staying in shape and learning — all at the same time.  Love it!

Although my Cookbook is still not ready for the printer or an ePub file, I’ve made great strides on the design. My next step is to break down my book into several documents and develop a book file so that I can better control the final product. This is a backwards way to approach this, but I know better for the next book layout that I take on. I have great hopes for this project and many more in the future….  Wish me luck!

This may be more information than you want or need to know, but I feel it is important  to share so you know why my time has been stressed.  And stressed time means simpler meals. So here’s a quick, easy and health recipe to help get you through.

You’ve heard me brag about Quinoa here before.  It’s a great source of protein, filling and versatile.  You can turn it into a side dish or make it a main meal depending on the ingredients you add to it. Check out my original quinoa post here.

Much like creating style sheets in Word or InDesign where you base a new sheet on an existing one, I’ve carried that method into cooking.  I took my original quinoa recipe and blended it with a new one.  It fits right into vegetarian/vegan diets too.  For a non-vegetarian choice, add shrimp or chicken. Here it is:

Black Bean Quinoa

Black Bean Quinoa

Black Bean Quinoa

Cook one cup of Quinoa in rice cooker with ½ tsp sea salt and 1 1/2 cups water.  When done, allow quinoa to  cool and dry out on a cookie sheet.  Meanwhile prepare dressing by whisking together:

1 large clove of garlic, minced

2 tbsp. white wine or plain rice vinegar or combination

¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

Pour dressing over cooled quinoa and add grape tomatoes, sliced in half and 1 can drained black beans.  Add ¼ cup coarsely chopped parsley, reserving some for top as a garnish.

Refrigerate to let flavors blend.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Perfect with a little extra vinegar or fresh-squeezed lime juice at serving time.

Hope you enjoy it and see you for the next post in the Pudbudder Holiday series!

It’s Salad Day

Today it was salad for lunch.  From time to time I think about giving up on gardening here in Central Florida.  Usually the heat and bugs hit so heavy by July 15 or so that you have to wrap it up.  And that gets frustrating,  But in the last 24 hours I’ve picked green beans, jalapenos and banana peppers – and that makes me realize that it’s all worth it.

green beans

Today’s pick from one row in my little Florida garden.
Photo credit: Words Etc.

If you’ve ever grown green beans, you know there is nothing like fresh – from the garden to the steamer, saute pan or pot and then to your table, all within an hour, can’t be beat.

today's salad

Today’s salad that included my fresh picked yellow banana peppers.
Photo Credit: Words Etc.

Today’s lunch was a salad of a variety of things from my fridge along with a wonderfully aromatic and flavorful portion of sliced banana peppers. Most summers I pickle these delightful peppers, mixing them with red peppers, garlic and spices.  You’ll find the recipe and pictures here. Picking them and adding them right to the salad can’t be beat.  So crunchy and fresh – there’s nothing like it.

And this year, the bugs that usually devour my tomatoes before they even begin to turn red have decided to take a hiatus.  Perhaps it’s because the lizards have returned.  A few years ago our cat Paper Clip decided that lizards were her favorite prey.  And as the number of lizards tumbled, the bug population grew.  But not this year – at least not yet – it’s early.  I guess Paper Clip has had her fill for a while.

Our cats, Paper Clip (bottom) and Susie, love hanging out in the screen room!

Our cats, Paper Clip (bottom) and Susie, love hanging out in the screen room!
Photo Credit: Words Etc.

OK, so the garden hat and basket of tools will remain a part of me for yet another season.

Communicating with food

Today I am communicating with food.  If you think food is not a way of communication be sure to check out this link  Want to try a meatless chili on this chilly day?  (no pun intended!)

Here’s a great recipe I tried today.  

Communicate with your family by telling them you love them through this delightful dish that incorporates traditional flavors (cumin, chilies, cocoa and cilantro) with healthy black beans and sweet potatoes!

Chili with Black Beans and Sweet Potatoes

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 sweet red pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 1/2 large sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1 28-can diced tomatoes plus 8 oz can
4 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained or 6 cups cooked black beans
hot sauce to taste – I use my homemade Datil pepper hot sauce
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 lime, cut into wedges

  • Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat and add the onion, red pepper, garlic, and salt. Saute slowly until onions are well cooked.  Depending on your stove 10 – 15 minutes.
  • Add the sweet potato and lime zest, and cook 10 to 15 minutes more, continuing to stir occasionally.
  • Add the tomatoes, black beans, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, and cocoa, bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.  Add hot sauce to taste.
You may serve with rice.  A nice bread to accompany this is corn bread or beer bread.  Never had beer bread?  Tune in later this week for my recipe!

P.S.  This recipe makes about 3 quarts of chili; a similar version was suggested to me by my vegetarian daughter……..