Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Black Bean Chipotle Soup

Its soup season again!

1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely sliced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 chipotles (canned in adobo), chopped
1 can diced tomatoes
3 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
2 tsp. cumin
salt and pepper to taste
sour cream
thick and chunky salsa
fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

In medium dutch oven, saute onion, carrots and celery in 2 tablespoons of oil. Once slightly softened add chipotles, tomatoes, black beans, stock and cumin. Cook over low/medium heat for 45-60 minutes. Allowing it to thicken to preferred taste.

Serve soup with sour cream, salsa and cilantro.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Black Bean Spaghetti

Well, I found another "keeper" recipe that my family loves. You know it's good when everyone comments, "This is good!" within the first bite or two, instead of after the meal is over and you have to ask.

Here goes:

1 large onion, chopped
1 8 oz pkg fresh sliced mushrooms
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 green bell pepper, cut into thin strips
2 T. olive oil
2 15 oz. cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 2.25 oz can black olives
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 12 oz pkg spaghetti or angel hair pasta
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Saute first 4 ingredients in hot oil in a large saucepan over med-high heat until tender. Add beans and next 5 ingredients. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cook spaghetti according to package directions, drain well. Top with sauce. Add Parmesan cheese.

Serves 6.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Delicious Pumpkin Soup

Super easy and wonderful. :)

32 oz can vegetable broth
1/2 cup whipping cream
28 oz. can pureed pumpkin
3 T brown sugar
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp coriander
1/8 tsp nutmeg
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
chopped cilantro
salt to taste

In a large saucepan add vegetable broth and whipping cream. Bring to a slight boil. Turn down to medium heat and add pumpkin, brown sugar and spices. (If too thick add water 1/2 cup at a time until desired thickness acquired) Simmer approx. 15-20 min. Top w/cheese and cilantro.

Basic White Sauce Recipe

Here's a recipe that's been long promised to several people, so I thought I'd finally get it posted. I use it often to make home made mac and cheese and as a canned cream soup alternative.

1 T Butter
1 T Flour
1/4 tsp. salt

2 T Butter
2 T. Flour
1/4 tsp. salt

3 T Butter
3 T flour
1/4 tsp. salt

4 T Butter
4 T Flour
1/4 tsp. salt

Melt butter in heavy saucepan over medium heatuntil bubbly. Use a wire whisk to work in flour and salt until smooth.

Stir in 1 Cup milk, stock or combination


Add 1/2 cup grated sharp cheese and 1/4 tsp dry mustard ( I use MEDIUM thickness for mac & cheese)

Use tomato juice as liquid; add dash each of garlic salt, onion salt, basil and oregano

Saute 1/2 cup chopped celery and 1 T finely chopped onion in butter before adding flour.

Use chicken broth or bouillon as half the liquid. Add 1/4 tsp poultry seasoning or sage and diced cooked chicken if available.

Saute 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms and 1 T finely chopped onion in butter before adding flour.

Makes slightly over 1 cup. MEDIUM-THICK compares to undiluted condensed soups and is approximately the same amount as a one 10 oz. can.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Trying a Few New Recipes!

If I have the ingredients, I will try to make nearly anything. Strangely, I usually have a lot of odd ball things to work with so there's usually a high chance I can try it.

I've been a fan of making my own cleaners for years. My favorite book is
Clean House Clean Planet by Karen Logan. It's dog-eared plenty with pages loose and barely in order, but it's well loved.

Today I was inspired again by Julie at Towards Sustainability to try a few recipes.

Here is one: Dishwashing Liquid
** I ended up subbing lime essential oil because I'd used up my lemon. It works GREAT! The whole non-sudsing thing is different, but that was all. My dishes passed the squeak test, so that's all that mattered to me! I'll be adding this recipe to my repertoire.

And another: Home made Deodorant
** Loved it! Well, at least it feels wonderful. I haven't put it through the full summer sweat test yet. By the ingredients it should kill bacteria pretty well. I love both tea tree oil and witch hazel. The aloe was nice and refreshing to put on. I wasn't able to pry the stinkin' ball out of my roll on deodorant container so I opted for a spray bottle and so far its working. I'll have to monitor the clogging factor for that.

And yet another: Light Moisturizer
** So far so good. It did feel really cool on my face and the glycerin kept the aloe from feeling like a dry mask after a while. I like this combo and I think it wiil be really healthy for my skin.

And hold on, yes, another: Toothpaste
** Well... Let's just say I didn't have the stevia and should've. I'm sure it's a preference thing and the cleaning power was great, but salty peppermint toothpaste was hard for me to use. I'm going to use it until its gone, but I will be adding stevia asap!
I must say that the toothpaste recipe reminds me of what Aunt M showed me as a kid. People can and have used such things as plain baking soda and plain salt to brush with when needed. It's something to consider if you are in a tight spot. :)

Instant Oatmeal Packets

I'm not one who embraces making convenience food, but here is a recipe my family begs me to keep on hand. I am happy that this is mucho healthier than the ones bought at the store AND the proportions are better. My family is older and the serving sizes of the commercial brands are less than satisfying for breakfast. The big plus for this is that may DH loves to put some of them in his locker at work for a snack.


Makes 8 single serving packets

3 cups quick oats
8 plastic sandwich bags or ordinary envelopes, approx. 6 1/2 by 4 inches

Put 1/2 cup oats in a blender and whirl at high speed until powdery; reserve in a small bowl and repeat procedure with an additional 1/2 cup of oats. If using a food processor, powder the 1 cup of oats in one motion.

Into each sandwich bag put 1/2 cup unpowdered oats, 2 tablespoons powdered oats, and a scant 1/4 tsp salt.

You can store it like this and then add your flavors, but I like to add them ahead of time and I haven't had any problems so far.

Here are the different flavors and what to add:


1 T sugar, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, and 2 T of chopped dried apples


1 T sugar


1 T sugar, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, and pinch of nutmeg


1 T brown sugar and 1 T raisins


2 T wheat germ.

To Serve: Empty packet into a bowl. Add 3/4 cup boiling water; stir and let stand 2 minutes. Add more or less water to adjust thickness if desired.

Note: This recipe will not be as sweet as the commercial brands so add more sweetener if you want to.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Finally, A Granola Recipe I Can Do...

I love granola, but it usually is either too expensive to buy or too expensive/too much trouble to make. Most of them anyway are high in fat and aren't the healthiest anyway. I'm thankful to Path To Freedom's post on Skillet Granola. It fills a void with my family of "we're tired of plain oatmeal" to "hey, I can make it in like 10 minutes."

I found that I can substitute the sesame seeds for other things like "Bob's Red Mill 10 Grain Hot Cereal" I wasn't a huge fan of this cereal by itself, but it works wonderfully in this granola. I also was able to add some tropical trail mix I got from the Dollar Tree instead of raisins. I really like the flavor. :) I prefer to eat this cold with milk like regular cereal.