Meat Free Monday: Cooking for the week

So yesterday I did some cooking. And once I have the kitchen going, I like to take full advantage. 

The big pot holds lentils. 

I later used some of the lentils to make a curry with carrots and potatoes and onion and garlic. I didn’t follow anybody else’s recipe, so I guess you could call it a … Tim curry …

The black pot holds garden noodles, rotini and penne made with vegetable flour.

 The smaller lidded pot holds rice, 

The smallest pot has a red sauce with onion, mushrooms, garlic and basil.

This won’t hold our whole household for a week without some additional cooking and mixing, but it lays a decent framework of ingredients.

Hey, Congressman Palazzo: The EPA Does More to Fight Crime than the FBI!

This is called the “Lead Hypothesis,” and research had found the same correlations not only across the US, putting Giuliani’s “broken windows” theory to rest, but across the world, putting Freakonomics’ “Roe v. Wade/abortion solves crime” theory down.

Kevin Drum’s Mother Jones article gathers the evidence in one really readable piece, and the evidence is strong.

It wasn’t mass incarceration or abortion that stopped America’s thirty year crime wave. It was banning lead paint and gas.

And now, my congressman, Steve Palazzo, and a handful of other corporate reps want to eliminate the E.P.A., which would almost certainly create a “race to the bottom” as states compete to bring in businesses by giving exemptions to environmental protections, or gutting them entirely.

If you like the drinking water in Flint, Michigan, you’ll love the new, EPA-less America.

Another Leaf in the Bowl…

We dont need no salad dressing

We don’t need no soybean oil

No added trans fats on our veggies

Hey, Wishbone! Leave them greens alone

Leave them greens alone

(With insufficient apologies to Pink Floyd) 

Seriously,  though,  if you have a decent mix of fresh (and/or pickled) veggies on the salad, all you need is a little salt and pepper. 

And if you didn’t get the reference,  let me introduce you to one of the greatest rock bands of all time… you’re welcome.

Quick Microwavable Oatmeal that Tastes like Banana Pudding 

I was eating some oatmeal that had gone cold and it hit me: “this tastes like banana pudding!” 

Alright, it doesn’t have exactly the right consistency,  but the taste is definitely there. 

I’ll share the recipe and you can tell me if I’m crazy.

One serving (I usually eat 2 or 3 servings):

  • 1/2 cup dry oatmeal
  • 2 medjool dates
  • 1/3 large ripe banana 

Cut up the dates and put in a large microwavable bowl with the oatmeal. Cover the dates and oatmeal with water.

Cook on high for 4 minutes

Cut up the banana and stir into the cooked, how oatmeal.

Let it cool just a little, then eat. Save a little, let it go cold, and see if you think it tastes like banana pudding. I do.

Meat Free Monday: Crispy Oil Free Quick BBQ Tofu Sandwiches

I feel like a Doctor Who villain: Devour! Devour! Devour!

Seriously, I’ve never tasted, and certainly never made, tofu this good. And I owe it all to this video from Sarah’s Vegan Kitchen:

This was actually my second batch. The first tasted good, but didn’t quite have the golden crisp texture I was looking for. This one nailed it.

By the way, one package of tofu makes three big sandwiches or maybe six smaller ones.

I used Sweet Baby Ray’s Raspberry Chipotle BBQ sauce as the final ingredient in the tofu “fry”, and added some to the sandwich.

For the sandwiches, use your favorite bread (I made two sandwiches, one on white and one on seeded wheat, and both were equally good). 

  1. Toast the bread first.
  2. Spread each slice with a little mayo (optional).
  3. Add BBQ sauce to one slice, and layer it thick with golden crispy caramelized sauced tofu.
  4. Then add shredded cabbage (or cole slaw, if you prefer) and thin cut red onions. Go big with both of these, especially the cabbage. They bring a big crunch and bright flavors to the party, er, sandwich. 

Put the sandwich together and you’re ready to go. 

The tofu and the toasted bread are warm and both crispy and soft at once. The cabbage and onion are cold and crunchy.

The combination of flavors and textures really makes the sandwich pop.

Everybody Was Tai Chi … well, not fightin’ … more exercisin’ and relievin’ stress slowly … Whoa whoa oh-oh


Okay, so day 2 at the Wellness Center went as well as day 1 (archery).

Monday, I tried Tai Chi, which I’d been wanting to try for several years. 

I’ve dabbled in martial arts several times, but what intrigues me about Tai Chi is how many elderly people perform its forms every day, and how those forms keep them strong and flexible.

When I was younger, I was always over interested in the self defense side of any martial art I took. 

But now I have a different enemies list: osteoporosis, heart disease, lack of flexibility, inability to get down on the floor and play daughter, hip fractures and other immobilizing injuries, etc.

None of these have struck me yet, but I’m only 42, and all of them loom.

So I’m excited to learn an art that can carry me into my seventies or eighties … or even beyond.

And just in case anybody didn’t get the title:

Bullseye! Exercise Part 1: Archery Class

One of my goals this year is to become more active, so I joined our Wellness Center.

That gave me the opportunity to do something I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid: learn archery.

I remember reading a book my great-grandfather had, a version of the Robin Hood story. I don’t recall its title or author (Grandpa passed away when I was 8 years old, in 1983) or much else except its ending:

Maid Marian had died some time before, and Robin was dying (from age or a wound or a broken heart I can’t recall) too. He told his friends, “bury me where my arrow lands,” and fired an arrow into the sky.

The arrow landed in the ground right beside Marian’s grave.

That was simultaneously the greatest shot and the most romantic thing I had ever seen, heard, or read.

I think that’s when I started wanting to learn the bow. 

Then, of course, I saw this gem:

… and I was even more hooked.

Anyway, that’s really my bullseye up there in the picture. It’s the only one out of probably 60 shots (and we won’t talk about how many missed the target altogether), but I’m proud of it. 

I’m more proud of the way my shots improved over the course of the session. I’m learning! 

Also, everybody in the class is super friendly and supportive. Thanks to Sarah for taking and emailing me the picture. I’d left my phone in my car.

And archery is a great workout for a beginner like me. Sure, I’m a bit sore from pulling back that bowstring so many times, but it’s nothing painful. It’s more like a reminder of the fun I had in archery class.

Jumping into something like Zumba or even yoga always made me feel ragged, discouraged, and occasionally even hurt. This, I think, was a much wiser choice. And besides:

Meat Free Monday: Quick Low-Fat Potato Hash

It’s the one on the right. The one on the left is a skillet of low-fat white bean burgers.

This has a yummy Southwestern flavor, but is mild enough for the most heat-averse palate. 

  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 1 can great northern beans,  rinsed
  • 1/2 large onion
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups broccoli
  • 1-2 cups salsa or picante, to taste


  1. Steam broccoli (I used the microwave)
  2. While the broccoli is streaming, wash & perforate potatoes 
  3. And finely chop the onion and garlic
  4. Microwave the potatoes
  5. While the potatoes are cooking, soften half the onion bits and all the garlic in a little water in a skillet on high heat
  6. Cut the potatoes into chunks and put them into the skillet. Turn the heat down to medium
  7. Add the cooked broccoli and the beans
  8. Stir in the salsa and cook for a few (2- 5) minutes. Taste as you go to see how much salsa you want to add.
  9. Add the raw onions and cook for a few minutes more.

This is hearty, filling, and low in fat. And delicious!