Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Odds-n-Ends, Early Autumn

It's an odd season right now, with temperatures swinging drastically from 80 degrees to the 40's and back again.  This is still in my garden:

Yes, my wonderful gardenia bush that was on its last leg last year is back to robust health, thanks to my tender loving care (it needed an acidic food -- the pH was off). This wonderful plant began blooming in the spring and is still producing these amazing blossoms. The heady, intoxicating fragrance is like nothing else and it always effectively transports me back to Greece in my mind.

So, we have summertime in the yard even amidst drastic cold snaps when I need this:

Mmmm . . . homemade split pea soup! I made a huge vat of it in the slow cooker and put half of it in the freezer for future enjoyment. I used the recipe on the back of the pea bag, except instead of the pound of ham, I used a teaspoon of liquid smoke. It did the trick. I also added my favorite bonus: kale torn into little pieces. All major vegan food groups are represented here, kids. A bowlful is so nourishing and filling, and addictive in flavor. I usually want another bowlful a couple of hours after I have it, and there's no guilt! Yippee! This goes wonderfully with a pair of fuzzy slippers and a blankie.

So, now that you know about the dramatic temperature fluctuations in the deep south this time of the year, in my typically random fashion for "odds-n-ends", I'll share this:

This is just a pile of the peelings from the veggies I ate tonight. As I was cleaning up and chopping the vegetables, I was struck by how pretty vegan garbage is, so I had to take a picture of it.

And here's the finished product! These veggies got a vote of approval from the meat-eater! These really were especially delectable. As per usual, I didn't measure, but I don't really think it matters too much with food like this. It's just a large couple of handfuls of collard greens without their stems, a large handful of sliced cabbage, about half a cup of purple onion, slivered, and half a leek, carefully washed and cut into pieces. I cooked them all quickly on medium high heat in olive oil and a little bit of earth balance, onions and leeks on the bottom of the pan with the greens on top for a minute or so, then I stirred and tossed the veggies like crazy for another minute, then took the whole thing off the heat and set it aside, covered, while I prepped the other food. It was perfectly cooked -- tender but still bright and fresh.

The other food, in this case, was chicken for the man, and vegan mashed potatoes for all of us. I just boiled and drained four peeled potatoes, and mashed them with vegan butter, sour cream and cream cheese, about a tablespoon of each. Diet food, this ain't. I loved this dinner. I got my protein at lunch with the pea soup. Happy early autumn to you! 


  1. I've been so busy and out of touch. Good to be back to your blog. Did you miss me? I've missed you! I love to make vegan mashed potatoes by simply boiling my potaotes in water flavored with "Better than Bouillon" vegetable base. It comes in a jar. Amazing stuff, just go easy cause it is high in sodium. And don't get the mushroom base flavor because it has dairy. Then drain off most of the water, but leave enough to help with mashing. I also add Earth Balance. Great flavor and less fattening!

  2. Yes, I have missed you Emily! I am going to try your idea for boullion potatoes. Sounds great!