I Can’t Believe

Carrot Soup

Cooked out from Thanksgiving?  Recovering from Black Friday shopping?  How about something nice and simple and healthy in order to get back on track and ready for the holiday sprint. This is the first time in 9 years where I’m not working or shopping on Black Friday and it was rather strange not waking up at 330 this morning to get ready.  Instead I’m using the time to get the place clean and the dogs washed.  While not the same as racing to the DVD section of Target, washing the puppies still provide a decent workout so low impact cooking is a must.  This soup is about as easy as it gets, and provides a nice break from the turkey coma.


Joe added some grated Parmesan Cheese to his while I left mine more on the naked side, just adding a dash of pepper.  While this might not cancel out the large slices of pecan pie I have been enjoying, it makes me feel slightly better.

Casserole · Slow Cooker · Vegan

Runaway Train

Sweet Potato Gratin

I really thought I had posted this recipe before, and with that thought that I had a picture.  Yet somehow I have managed to either delete or just forget to post what is easily my favorite Thanksgiving Recipe.  I stumbled across the original version of this recipe many moons ago in the Washington Post and in the years since have modified and adjusted until it is just right.  I’m not even sure if I have the original version written down anymore, but I remembered it involved bacon and pecans and didn’t involve brown sugar, coconut milk, or vanilla.


To me this dish is the best of Thanksgiving, and I love sharing it with others.

Slow Cooker · Vegan


Slow Cooker Vegetables

Things have been a little insane lately, with classes, certifications, and only one car.  So I have been leaning heavily on my slow cooker to insure that there is something delicious for dinner, with little effort (or time) on my part.  I have been going back to my old faithfuls but have also been testing some new combinations to add to my list.  Essentially my testing consists of just throwing a bunch of veggies or beans in the slow cooker with some type of liquid and seeing what happens.  While one recipe was a massive fail, the rest were a huge hit.  As an added bonus I tried to incorporate as many local and seasonal ingredients in order to stay on track with my goals.  In doing so I think I found a new Top Squash: Delicata Squash.  Yum!


I had some Parmesan Cheese left over from a dish earlier in the week so decided to use the last of it as a topping, which worked perfectly for us.  Greek yogurt would also be a great topping, but the vegetables could easily go naked.  I served it over garlic couscous but yellow rice, egg noodles, or simple brown rice would also work great.


All the Colors

Pasta with Fall Squash

I have a horrible confession to make: up until this summer I have never really done seasonal cooking.  Sure I’ll do more soups in the winter but I never focused on what produce is at it’s height for those soups.  Lately however I’m trying to be more attentive, and luckily my grocery store makes it easy with large “Grown Local” signs, so all I have to pay attention.  This dish is the result on that, and I’m happy to report that I have realized how versatile squash really is.  Once I was of the variety that purchased zucchini only, then I added butternut squash, but with the latest purchase I think I have now experimented with close to a half-dozen squash/gourd varieties so far this season.  I’m sure this is nothing compared to some (most?) people but I’m proud of how far I’ve come in being more aware of where the food I eat comes from.  This post is an example of one of my squash adventures.  As I mentioned earlier my grocery store does a great job of signing locally grown seasonal produce, and this time of year they have the squash bin row.  This row goes a good 20ft and features a good dozen types of squash/gourds ranging from the small pattypans to some huge blue hubbards.  It’s been interesting to watch them cycle thru as the pattypans are reduced to a smaller and smaller section while the butternut, acorn, and buttercup types are taking over.  For this recipe I used some late season pattypans but if done during the summer either long neck or bent-neck yellow squash would work.


I also enjoy that this recipe is one of those quick and easy ones where dinner is on the table within about 30minutes of starting.  I’m looking forward to seeing what other varieties of winter produce start showing up at the market and what all I can do with them!

Secret Recipe Club

Now Hush Hush

Eggplant Parmesan Pizza

Secret Recipe Club

Greetings one and all! Another month has flown by and it’s time for a brand new Secret Recipe Club recipe 🙂 I have to admit that one of the highlights of my blog month is getting the new blog assignment from my fearless host Amanda and checking out all the cool new recipes I can pick from.  This month I was assigned the Pictures of all my Princesses blog run by Jules.   I was immediately drawn in by the cute header and set out to find the perfect new recipe to try.  I wasn’t sure what recipe I wanted to try or even what type of recipe I was in the mood for so I started at the beginning and worked by way up.  I noted a few recipes that sounded interested before spotting the PERFECT recipe for my household: Eggplant Sauce!!!  Not only did the recipe give instructions for serving this sauce three different ways, one of them included a way to adapt it for pizza.  I was sold and quickly started collecting all the ingredients I needed.  I did cheat and use my bread machine to prep my crust, but I have found that my blood pressure tends to do best when I’m not trying to kneed dough.  I did make some slight modifications to make it vegetarian friendly and also left out the cream since I felt that much dairy might be a little much.   Please check out the original recipe if you don’t have the restriction and if you want to see the other ways you can use this incredibly versatile sauce.



This dish was a HUGE hit in my house, and as an added bonus it gave off an amazing aroma.  To enhance the flavors I used an oregano pizza crust recipe and it worked perfectly.  The little bit of sauce left over was also the perfect dip for the pizza crust ensuring that not a single drop was wasted!


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Mexican · Vegan

I got Issues

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos

Lately my household has been on a slight Mexican/Tex-Mex kick so I apologize for the sudden surge in South of the Border Recipes.  I’ve always been a fan of Mexican food and now that Joe’s heat tolerance has gone up I no longer have to water down sauces/skip the peppers, it’s GREAT!  I’m always looking for new ways to change up old faithfuls and have decided to fully embrace this Mexi craze and see how many different combination I can stuff inside a taco/enchilada.  Normally when I do tacos I just stick to black beans and onions in place of the standard ground beef, and then top with an insane amount of fresh veggies.  This time I decided to make the black beans more of a supporting member and gave sweet potatoes the spot light.  I’ve only had sweet potatoes once before in a Mexican-style dish and since that was a delicious success I figured I really couldn’t lose.  I did cheat cheat however by using a prepared bag of taco spices but sometimes cheating is okay.

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 12 tacos (hard or soft)
  • 1 pack of taco seasonings
  • 1 tbsp veg. oil
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, cubes
  • 1 jalepeno, diced and seeded (optional)
  • 1 vidalia onion, chopped and divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 beef steak tomato, chopped
  • salsa (optional)
  • sour cream (optional)
  • taco cheese (optional)
  1. Prepare the taco seasoning per instructions and set aside.  If using hard tacos preheat the oven to 325 and place the taco shells on a baking sheet.  Bake for 7minutes.
  2. Meanwhile heat the veg. oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add the sweet potatoes and cook for 2 minutes before adding the onion, pepper and garlic.  Cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking before adding the black beans.  Pour the taco seasoning mixture over the sweet potatoes and beans.  Cover and simmer for 5 minutes then allow to sit for 3minutes which will allow the sauce to thicken.  
  3. Remove tacos from oven and start stuffing!

When I was younger we use to set up taco stuffing sections, in an attempt to prevent a bottleneck.  Since my kitchen is large enough for one person and two dogs,  I normally stuff all the tacos while Joe preps the table along with any chips/salsa that are being served along with the dish.  I’m also a fan of Rice-a-Roni Spanish Rice, using Rotel Mexican Tomatoes with Green Chiles but that’s just me.  As for toppings there is no wrong way to top a taco, the trick is just getting it all to fit!