Thursday, November 17, 2011

Best-Ever Vegan Chili and Best-Ever Rainbow

Best-Ever Chili

One of my latest "unpacks" from our recent move to the Olympic Peninsula is our moveable dry goods pantry - - beans begging to be cooked, since temperatures have dropped into the low 40's and 30's. I made yesterday an At-Home day, primarily so I could cook a large batch of homemade vegan chili based on "Big Paul's Chili" award-winning recipe with the follow additions, as follows :

I cooked up my own red beans, added V-8 juice for additional liquid, my own dried tomatoes (chopped), as well as crumbling three vegan Sunshine falafel patties (gluten /soy free) into the chili during the last stage of simmering all the ingredients.

It's savory sweetness and chunky texture make for an especially tasty, hearty, nutritious meal to stave off the fall and winter chill!


3 Bell Peppers (green, red, yellow or orange combo), chopped

2 medium Onions, finely chopped

2 Carrots, chopped

3 Celery ribs, chopped

6 Garlic cloves, minced

2 T Lemon juice

1 small can Jalapeño peppers (mild), chopped

1 (15 oz) can organic Tomato Sauce

1 (28 oz) can organic crushed Tomatoes

1 cup dried Tomatoes, chopped

V-8 Juice for additional liquid

1 (15 oz) can of pitted Black Olives, chopped

6-8 cups Red Beans, cooked or canned (15 oz)

2-4 cups Black Beans, cooked or canned (15 oz)

2-4 vegan meatless patties or soy crumbles (optional)

¼ cup Maple Syrup (or Brown Sugar)

1 T Molasses

2 (heaping) T Chili Powder

¼ tsp Cayenne Pepper

Salt to taste

Olive Oil for sautéing vegetables


  1. In a large stock pot over medium heat sauté in olive oil the onions, carrots, celery, bell peppers and garlic until soft.
  2. Add the tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, dried tomatoes, lemon juice, chili powder, cayenne pepper, maple syrup, molasses or brown sugar. Stir to mix well and heat up.
  3. Reduce heat to medium, and then add in the red and black beans, black olives and optional meatless crumbles.
  4. Simmer for 30-minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally. Salt to taste.
  5. Garnish options: green onions, sour cream, crumbled saltine crackers
  6. Serve with Spoon Bread (see my recipe)

Serves 8-10

Best-Ever Rainbow

After the chili was made and simmering, I made a quick trip over to the Wooden Boat School to deliver a new assortment of teas for the students to enjoy. It was a cold and rainy day. As I came down the hill, I saw the most beautiful, spectacular, breath-taking rainbow I've ever seen, which spanned the entire bay, seeming to rise out of the water at Port Hadlock and arch across the sky to Port Townsend. Here are the images I quickly captured before it faded away:

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Gone Vegan, Be Back Soon!

Yep. I've gone vegan! About a week and a half ago, I started juicing with lots and lots of fabulous, mineral and vitamin rich veggies and fruits every day. I'm drinking at least 32-ounces of juice daily. I snack on raw fruits and veggies and have eaten a couple of meals out at a new vegan restaurant in town, the Cornbread Cafe.

I've eliminated all remaining animal products from my diet: seafood, eggs and dairy. I have easily adjusted to a plant-based diet. Satiated by an abundance of nutritious raw and vegan foods, I have increased energy and am dropping not only weight, but reducing my blood pressure too.

This all came about as a result of watching two documentaries: Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead (instant play on Netflix). Joe Cross has a website as a follow-up to his film: Reboot Your Life. Forks Over Knives is a must see, which is now available on DVD. I just ordered a copy, as I plan to show it to everyone I love. I highly recommend them both!

It's been months and months since I've blogged, but I will get back to it soon. From now on, all my posts will focus on vegan cuisine and related topics. I will continue to enjoy the vegan recipes I've already prepared and shared here with you. For the time being, if you are reading this post and interested in juicing, I invite you to try my "The Beet Goes On" juice recipe featured on Healthy Juicing.

To Your Heatlh!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tina Turner Turning Tuna

Do you remember The Tuna Turner, the ill-designed invention from the '80s?

Occam's Razor is a line of reasoning that says the simplest answer is often correct. Watching Tina Turner turn tuna with the The Tuna Turner on David Letterman's show brings to mind Yogi Berra sage advice, "When you come to a fork in the road....take it."

The Tuna Turner vs. The Fork

While The Tuna Turner appeared to be a clever kitchen gadget, purchased by who knows how many gullible consumers, it was a disaster in every way. Not only was it awkward and difficult to crank, but it was an absolute fiasco to clean. On the other hand, the simple fork-mixing bowl combo, readily available in most kitchens, is easy to use and clean, and by far out scores it's competition. It's laughable to think that I was snookered by the promo into buying one. I'd like to think that I've come along way as a consumer over the past 25 years!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Throat-Comfort Tea

While culling through a pile of paper scraps during a sorting frenzy today, I can across my recipe for a tea that I share with scratch-throated friends. If you're experiencing a sore throat, give this a try. I hope it's healing and comforting, speeding your recovery. Be well!


  1. Ginger, coarsely chopped*
  2. Zest of 1 Lemon
  3. 3 tablespoons of fresh-squeezed Lemon Juice
  4. 1/4 cup of fresh Mint Leaves, chopped
  5. 2-3 teaspoons of Honey
  6. 1 teaspoon Echinacea - Goldenseal Extract
  • *Coarsely chop a four to six-inch slice of fresh ginger, depending on how strong you want the flavor of ginger.
  • In a sauce pan, combine the chopped ginger, lemon zest and chopped mint with 6 cups of water. Cover and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes, with lid slightly ajar, until the tea has reduced to about 5 cups.
  • Pour the tea through a fine strainer over a heat-proof bowl.
  • Pour the tea from the bowl back into the sauce pan, add the fresh lemon juice and honey to taste.
  • Simmer for 2 minutes. Place 1/4 teaspoon of the echinacea-goldenseal extract into each cup of tea. Pour tea and serve.

Monday, January 3, 2011

My All-Time Favorite Minestrone Soup

Yesterday, my girlfriend Loma mentioned that she wanted to get back in the kitchen and cook up some healthy meals following the holidays. Sounds good to me! The topic of homemade soups came up and I offered to share my all-time family favorite minestrone soup recipe with her. I started making homemade minestrone back in 1978 using the recipe on page 109 in the Spices of the World Cookbook by McCormick. I hope you are fortunate enough to find a copy of this out-of-print cookbook. I guarantee you’ll be glad you have it on your culinary book shelf!

Photo from "Everything Minestrone Soup"


1 cup dried marrow beans or garbanzo beans or lima beans

7 cups water

1/cup chopped instant onion

1 tablespoon Parsley Flakes

3 tablespoons Celery Flakes

1/8 teaspoon Instant Minced Garlic

2 tablespoons Bell Pepper Flakes

¼ cup olive oil

¼ teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper

½ pound fresh spinach

2 teaspoons Beef Flavor Base, or vegetable base

1/8 teaspoon Rubbed Sage

¼ teaspoon Italian Seasoning, or make your own blend

1 teaspoon Ground Thyme

2 teaspoons Salt

¼ teaspoon Course Ground Pepper

1 cup diced potatoes

2 cups tomatoes

1 cup chopped cabbage

1 small zucchini, thinly sliced

1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni

Grated Parmesan Cheese


  1. Soak beans overnight in water to cover. Drain.
  2. Add the 7 cups of water. Cover and simmer for 3 hours or until tender.
  3. Sauté the onions, garlic, parsley, celery and pepper flakes in oil until well-coated and hot, but don’t allow them to brown.
  4. Add mixture to the beans with the remaining seasonings, fresh vegetables and uncooked macaroni.
  5. Cook over low heat for 30 minutes or longer.
  6. If the soup is too thick for your liking, add water to thin to the consistency you prefer.
  7. Top the minestrone soup with grated Parmesan cheese.

Makes about 3 quarts.


  • This cookbook was designed to promote the sales of McCormick spices, so if you decide to use all fresh ingredients including the beans, onions and herbs, as I typically do, you will want to decrease the amount of water.
  • To make this a gluten-free soup, simple add gluten-free macaroni (quinoa or brown rice).
  • If you want to learn more about minestrone and try other variations, click here.