We have a few things to look forward to this month – we get to change the clocks this weekend and gain more daylight! The days have been waxing right along and now a whole extra hour to adjust to. Then, of course, we have a parade to honor the city’s Irish population for good ol’ Saint Patrick.
Little is known of Patrick’s lifeline, but it is sort of narrowed down to the second half of the 5th century – that’s a long time ago, for sure. What is known about this Saint is that he was born in what is now called Great Britain. His first name was Sucat and he was kidnapped by pirates when he was about 16 years of age. He was a slave to these Irish pirates for about six years, and he managed to escape and get back to his family.
He became a cleric and took the name Patrick, which means “nobleman” and decided to return to northern and western Ireland. Following the path, he eventually became an ordained Bishop. Unfortunately, not much is known about the places he worked – he does get credited for Christianizing the island and for being the first Bishop of Armagh, which is the of ALL of Ireland versus being the Bishop of Dublin.
So Patrick is known as the “Apostle of Ireland” and is the patron saint of Ireland, out showing poor Brigit and Columbia.
What makes his day so special?
It is actually the day of his death. Indecently, Patrick was so sacred it took two centuries to celebrate because it was a sacrilege to mention his name! Well, the real reason I believe is that it falls during Lent, and Catholics lifted the restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol for the day. This religious miracle has promoted and encouraged the tradition of over consumption!
There’s more to the holiday than drinking – eating is a big part of the celebrations. And what meal goes without bread?
So here is an Irish “Soda Bread” to whet yer whistle!
It is actually a quick bread and its roots go back far by mixing cake or pastry flour, baking soda and buttermilk, causing a chemical reaction to make bubbles in the bread.
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter softened
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup buttermilk
Optional: 1 cup Soaked Raisins
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and lightly grease a large baking sheet.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and butter.
Stir in 1 cup of buttermilk and egg.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly.
Soak the raisins in warm water for a half hour and drain them and add to the mixture, if desired.
Form dough into a round and place on prepared baking sheet.
In a small bowl, combine melted butter with 1/4 cup buttermilk.
Brush loaf with this mixture. Use a sharp knife to cut an ‘X’ into the top of the loaf.
Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes.
Check for doneness after 30 minutes.
You may continue to brush the loaf with the butter mixture while it bakes.
Below: Chef Joey’s crew, all homeless and hurtin’ before Joey adopted them. Abby was thrown out of a car window! Vinny was abused and became a bellicose teddy bear❤!… Mikey needed a home so so badly! ALWAYS ADOPT!
Photos by Chef Joey
Vinny and Mikey
Kitty Kong and CK
Got these cinnaroll pics from Chef Joey today. Here’s his recipe (one more time💙) to go with his photos! – R.T.
SUPER BOWL YUM YUMS🏈🏈🍻
Text, recipes and photos by Chef Joey
Super Bowl is amongst us again, and we are Massachusetts – the “Football Nation.” People are chatty, bets are being placed, and team spirit is at an all-time high.
So snacks are appropriate to have during the game, and what’s better than finger foods, right?
The pictures you see are of roll ups. I made these two for a sweet side, one with sugar and cinnamon, the other I added rum-soaked raisins. The joy of this snack is the fillings are endless!
For a different kind of snack, you can smear the middle with pesto and fresh mozzarella, provolone and pepperoni, Italian sausage and cheddar – the list is endless, and they can be all your favorite foods!
The whole recipe takes an hour and a half – start to finish – including the dough rising. If you are in a hurry, buy pre-made dough, but a 10-pound bag of flour is cheaper, and yeast lasts a while.
For the dough:
1 pound of dough (4 cups of flour) makes 2 rolls that yield about 14 slices each.
4 cups flour
1 packets active dry yeast or 4 tablespoons if you buy the money-saving jar
1 TBSP sugar
3 TBSP oil
1 TSP salt
WARM WATER (This varies from flour brand – for real! I like King Arthur.)
Add all the ingredients to a bowl EXCEPT THE WATER in a large bowl. Plan on 2 cups of super warm water but not hot, as you do not want to kill the yeast.
Keep adding the water until dough is malleable and basically dough-like.
Add additional flour if necessary.
Kneed for a few minutes until smooth – cover and place in a warm spot and let it rise for 30 minutes.
Punch the dough down, roll it out and cover and fill with your favorite filling.
Roll the dough up like in the pictures and cover it again and let it rise for another ½ hour.
Place in a pre-heated oven 375 degrees and bake for approximately 15 minutes.
Let cook and slice and serve! So easy! A recipe for life!
💖 Go ahead and make a pizza crust or form it into a loaf of Italian bread!
For the bread brush with olive oil and sprinkle with parmesan, or add pitted Kalamata olives for a rustic bread – your possibilities are endless. A 10 pound bag of flour for $8 makes a good 20 loaves or 30 pizzas or 20 roll ups – cheap – easy and DELICIOUS!
2 sticks of butter melted – ½ cup sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon – mix and spread it our between the 2 rolls roll and when they are baked – brush with a glaze of ¼ cup melted sugar and 1/16 cup water – brush on cooked buns and serve.
Here is a great recipe for cinnamon and/or raisin buns. You can make veggie roll ups, sausage bread or whatever you want for fillings. This is a simple, easy way to make a snack – a recipe that will stay with you for life!
There is a quick way to do this and that is to purchase bread dough – or the economical, fresh-and-tasty way: Making your own dough…
4 cups of flour
5 tablespoons of yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ cup oil and warm water until above ingredients feel like dough – usually around one cup.
Mix everything together and let it rise – same with pre-made dough.
After your dough has risen, in a warm, draft-free place – covered, of course! – roll it out, following my pictures:
If you are making cinnamon buns, melt 1 stick of butter ½ cup sugar and 3 teaspoons of cinnamon.
Spread the mixture over the two sets of roll outs you get from this recipe.
It is at this point too that you can add raisins that have been presoaked or boiled for maximum plumpness.
If making something for a football party, you can layer out salami, pepperoni, crumbled cooked sausage and shredded cheese – pasta sauce – or whatever you are craving. And roll it up!
Once rolled, set it on a cookie sheet with parchment paper. If you are making a savory (salt-based) app, you can sprinkle corn meal as a nonstick surface for your treats.
Let it rise – once again in a draft-free area, lightly covered – and preferably warm (a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees works great).
Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes to 20 minutes – tops.
If making cinnamon rolls, brush with melted sugar and butter for a shiny effect.
When cooled, slice and serve, and you have the perfect snack.
Freeze them and pull out as many as you feel that you will need as a snack or for a party!
So here is the trivia part of buns … They basically are mini-loaves of bread that were carted around by royalty when they travelled to avoid bread crumbs in their carriages from slicing loaves of bread or breaking baguettes. The “upper crust😉” thought it was great, and the servants liked the easier clean up!🍞
For many folks the holidays mean a time of happiness, Santa pictures, gatherings and delicious meals. …
Chef Joey donates his time and talent every Christmas – he donates and cooks all the turkeys and makes vast amounts of turkey soup and stuffing for his friend Boa’s nonprofit, the Southeast Asian Coalition. photos: Boa Newgate
… I know people who start their gift shopping as early as July! (Maybe a personal attempt to throw the spending numbers off that retailers thrive by!) Many organizations have fundraisers and the Salvation Army hand bells can be heard at just about every market and store and, of course, who says no to Toys for Tots?
I have a foster daughter this season and was invited to “Family Appreciation” day hosted by the Department of Children and Families. It was held at the DCU center (I almost typed Centrum!), and much to my surprise there were hundreds of families there! All of us had a common link: We were all foster parents. Some with one child and I met a family of four! What was amazing is the fact that everyone was there to enjoy themselves. It was a veritable “League of Nations”! There were children and parents of all ethnicities, mixed families, and when I say families, they all were together and smiling.
Santa and Mrs. Claus were there too, and there were so many families they called them up by tables of 10. And there were more than 50 tables! – just to give you an idea.
We were table 38 so we got to watch what was planned. Hats with antlers made by tracing your child’s hand and then cut out and taped to a band that fits across the forehead. Then there were the gingerbread men decorating stations. Face painting is always a hit with kids and the ice cream buffet was a guarantee that everyone would stay awake – never mind the 20 foot table of various candies!
As we got called up to meet Santa, we talked about where the children came from, how long we had them, etc. and that’s when I looked at the stage and saw a young man, say no more than 9 or 10, attempting to climb the two steps to see Santa himself, refusing help, as he had arm crutches in both arms and two very twisted legs. He was so determined to get there without assistance, you could see the effort in his face. When he reached the top he smiled. Made his way to Santa and sat on his knee, face beaming as he recited his list of whishes. Then he smiled for the camera, got up and walked across to the finish line per se where he was handed a wrapped toy, which he handed to his foster mom, who was not the same ethnicity, but had a parental smile that melted me. She gave he foster son a hug and helped him down back to the floor level and he was telling her all about it, as if she had not seen. This was a classic case of “To love and be loved is the greatest gift of all!”
After a few snacks and comradery, we left and were greeted with a table of books, crayons, coloring pencils and other complementary items that were gleefully distributed to the attendees, all passed out by volunteers. Today everyone was making a difference.
The Southeast Asian Coalition celebrates!
Meanwhile, on the other side of town, Mr. Boa D Newgate, now a Culture Broker for the Southeast Asian Coalition recently wrapped up his Thanksgiving party and was busy getting ready for Worcester First Night, where his team of Lion Dancers once again performed.
Boa’s story is simple: He was a refugee with his parents and sibling. They made it to the United States and fortunately to Worcester. Boa saw inner-city kids who were not amounting to much, so he decided to show them boxing and other activities to exercise. He made arrangements with the YMCA and had regular sessions, starting with just a few kids that grew and grew. As the expansion started so did the activities and the need for transportation.
He found a way to procure a school bus, and though tenacious work and donations, registered and insured it. He then involved at the Southeast Asian Coalition.
Go, Boa, go!!
Everyone loves and is so proud of Boa!
From their website their story is the following: The Southeast Asian Coalition of Central Massachusetts, Inc. (SEAC) was founded in 1999 and established as a non-profit agency in 2001 to address the lack of culturally and linguistically appropriate support services for Southeast Asian Immigrants in Central Massachusetts, which includes Laotians, Cambodians, and Vietnamese.
SEAC’s mission is to assist Southeast Asians in Central Massachusetts successfully integrate into mainstream society while maintaining their unique cultural identity. SEAC has developed a strong reputation both among members of our cultural community and with our partners in the community at large for being a trusted organization of first resort. Their mission is focused on education and job training.
The first Thanksgiving holiday party I attended was sparse, perhaps 25 to 30 kids. I made a turkey and all the fixings – this is back in 2009. In 2010 there were more kids and I was there as well, but now there was karate, judo, and other things being taught and the space was growing.
Last year there were very young kids that were learning the Lion Dance; they had a demonstration and explained how every move tells a story.
Those heads are heavy! Each eye can go left, right, up or down and blink!
So put the movements to a beating drum, and the magic of the dancing dragon comes alive!
Like Hula dancers with their hands and hips, all these Polynesian and Asian rituals are secretly threaded. Of course, Richard and I supplied the turkeys and again this year knowing there was to be a crowd, we made several turkeys, stuffing and a vast amount of turkey soup.
Boa was promoted to his new position, and having volunteered for years donating his own time and money. His new title is Cultural Broker, and he is working with people with mental and other physical disorders by linking and bridging communities. His focus is to transition folks to better life styles and connect to them to resources in the community so that each person feels completely normal and free of any labels due to their condition. He is a mighty man and a kindred spirit! Everyone he has helped has a smile on their face when you mention his name. The best part about Boa: he tries to make sure everyone is appeased and juggles to make it happen. And it does!
RECIPE: CHEF JOEY’S HOLIDAY TURKEY STUFFING!
Here is a quick easy recipe for stuffing – you are going to love it!
All you need is:
2 large onions
1 bunch of celery
Bell’s seasoning tops it off.
It is a delicious and healthy and gluten free!
First, chop the onions and sautee in olive oil
Add the celery and stir until soft.
Add ½ cup raisins and 1 cup fresh cranberries and stir in 2 tablespoons of Bells seasoning.
Chef Joey makes primo Italian sauces! Go, Chef Joey, go!!! pic: R.T.
Text, recipe and photos by Chef Joey
Here is a quick dinner recipe sure to please anyone in your family! I chose the vegetarian, gluten-free version, which is also vegan. However, with a switch from lentils to hamburger, it can be the traditional Bolognese pasta sauce you all know and love.
Here is how fast and easy it is!
1 box pasta (penne works great)
1 small can tomato paste
4 cloves garlic
1 cup red wine
salt & pepper
3 large carrots peeled and rough-chopped
1 ½ cups cooked lentils or ½ pound lean ground beef
Take 3 good sized carrots, chop …
… and add 1 cup of water to a food processor
… and 4 whole cloves of garlic.
Garlic – use 4 WHOLE CLOVES for this recipe!
Pulse until you have a thick puree.
Add some olive oil to a thick seep pan and sauté on a medium fire until the water starts to evaporate and the carrots become soft.
In the meantime, take a large onion and chop it fine and add to the carrot mixture.
Stir constantly and add 1 cup of water.
As the water reduces – keep an eye on it – add 3 tablespoons of sugar to caramelize the carrots and onions.
As the onions get soft, add 1 cup of red wine (anything works) slowly and stir.
As the sauce starts to smell delicious, add 1 can of tomato paste …
… and another cup of water and stir.
Let this cook for about 20 minutes and add a few basil leaves for flavor.
In the meantime cook your pasta …
This is where you go vegan or carnivore. For meat lovers, add ½ pound of LEAN ground beef; for vegans, add 1 ½ cups cooked lentils.
When the meat/lentils are warm (5-10 mins), pour the sauce over the pasta. Stir and serve.
Srinkle with cheese, garnish + add a parsley or basil leaf = ENJOY!💝
Of all the foods associated with the holiday season, cookies may be the most ubiquitous — and the best-loved. They’re easy to make and fun to eat and instantly put everyone in a better mood. What’s a holiday office potluck or party for friends without plates piled high with rugelach and spiced snickerdoodles?
But what if all those batches of sugar cookies and gingerbread folk could do more than bring holiday revelers brief moments of cheer? What if they could help promote peace on Earth?
Don’t believe it? It’s true. You really can help foster an atmosphere of goodwill to all—by swapping out the eggs and butter in traditional recipes and using vegan ingredients in their place. In the process, you’ll also be giving your guests some food for thought.
As vegan television star Christina Pirello, from the PBS show Christina Cooks, says, “Cookies are the most benign, noncontroversial way to start conversations” about what we eat. “When presented with a chocolate chip cookie, most people will not turn up their nose, even if told it’s vegan. And if a ‘healthful’ cookie turns out to be yummy, the door is open for discussion.”
And there’s a lot to discuss when it comes to delicious vegan cookies and other baked goods. Not only do they contain none of the animal fat or cholesterol found in eggs and dairy products, they also spare animals enormous suffering on factory farms.
Virtually all hens used by the egg industry spend their entire lives in cages so cramped that they can’t even spread a single wing. They never get to breathe fresh air, feel the warmth of the sun on their backs or engage in any natural behavior.
Cows on dairy farms are typically forced to stand all day on hard concrete or in manure-laden dirt. And since they produce milk only to nourish their calves, farmers keep them pregnant or lactating from the moment they become sexually mature by artificially inseminating them.
The male offspring of chickens and cows are useless to the egg and dairy industries. Male chicks are discarded shortly after birth—often by being thrown into high-speed grinders while they’re still alive. Calves are often torn away from their loving mothers within a day or two, causing both extreme distress. Mother cows are known to call out for their lost calves for days afterward. The male calves are sold to the veal industry, which keeps them confined to tiny crates, while females are sentenced to the same sad fate as their mothers.
If all that’s a little too heavy for holiday party conversation, just mention that when you use vegan options instead of raw eggs in recipes, you can sneak a bite (or three) of cookie dough without fear of salmonella poisoning.
Vegan baking substitutions are as easy as they are compassionate. For instance, instead of cow’s milk, just use an equal amount of soy or almond milk. If a recipe calls for buttermilk, add a little apple cider vinegar to your nondairy milk. One tablespoonful of ground flax seeds mixed with 3 tablespoonfuls of water is a tried-and-true egg replacement. Look online for other vegan baking tips. These simple substitutions won’t change the taste of your holiday favorites, and no one will know they’re vegan—unless you tell them.
But remember, everything in moderation—including vegan chocolate candy cane cookies. If you do overindulge in jam-filled thumbprint cookies and macaroons, there is some good news: Eating vegan can also be your best ally in the battle of the bulge come the new year.
Vegan Gingerbread Cookies
1 cup vegan margarine
1 cup sugar
Egg Replacer equivalent to 1 egg
1 cup molasses
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
5 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. ginger
1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
In a large bowl, cream the vegan margarine and the sugar. Mix in the egg replacer, molasses, and vinegar. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Add to the wet ingredients.
Chill in the refrigerator for 3 hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet.
Remove from the refrigerator and roll out on a floured surface. Cut into desired shapes.
Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, until the edges brown.
Cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet and remove to a wire rack.
Home for the Holidays – that seems to sum up what everyone wants, or thinks is the best, or so the song says.
But what exactly is “home”?
According to Webster’s Dictionary it is a “domicile” “House” “workplace” and even a “Habitat,” say where fish return home to spawn. Even they have a favorite spot!
Where ever it may be, home is a place of grounding, whether it be an apartment, a house, rented space or even a nursing home. One needs to have a place of one’s own. Nothing is more important than that, especially during the holidays.
This is one of those holidays that reaches into the depths of our memories, the Santa Claus watching us all year, the Elf on the Shelf scampering around to new hiding places. All this cerebral fun, combined with transferring the “Home” into an ornament filled room, awash with lights and color. And there has to be some heirloom decoration that comes out just for this time period.
Holiday trees are plentiful on many corners, having grown for the last 10 or so years to be cut, transported, marketed and sold for $15 to those who dare take the chance it will last the Holiday. Others prefer the safe “fake” tree …
… that stands just as majestically as a real one, but does come back year to year and eventually becomes an heirloom itself. …
On a brief note, because of space constraints, Europeans generally decorate a fir branch in their homes to celebrate the solstice, when fermented beverages from the summer were ready to consume and animals were slaughtered and stored for winter meals. Three tops were used to save the rest of the tree. Early decorations were edible items as well – dried apples, cookies etc.
My European grandmother would place a branch on the mantle in the dining room and decorate it with a few ribbons, and a candle ended up there. Simple and yet elegant.
The common thread for all these definitions is, of course food. Even the fishes have to eat! We, however, have cheese dips, even cheese Christmas trees! …
… cookies …
… cakes and favorite meals …
Gift swapping, too. People in homes run by caretakers have the advantage of enjoying continual celebrations. Work places always have some kind of holiday party and private residences are always cozy. Christmas recipes tend to indulge more the sugary side. Confections seem to go very well with this holiday.
Cookies go back to the Middle Ages when spices like cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg made their appearances. Cinnamon cakes, nutmeg beverages and various ginger cookies and cakes started appearing.
Ginger and Gingerbread Men and Gingerbread Houses
Surprisingly, most gingerbread items have changed very little since then, right down to the molasses that was cheaper than sugar. The birth of the “Gingerbread Man” was for Queen Elizabeth the 1st, who had the cookies made for her favorite advisors. Giving a cookie became the thing to do because in medieval times it was hard for working people to procure dried fruits and nuts, and when they did it was for an important event like Christmas. So the making of cakes and puddings would be the priority and hard to share. So using your butter and lard to make a batch of cookies or cakes was less expensive, therefore people would share a “cookie” or a cake with friends and neighbors during the holiday season.
Now we have gift cards.
One time I painstakingly made a Gingerbread House for the holidays, as my parents were coming to the states from France to visit me. They came into my house directly from the airport. I showed them my Gingerbread House, all proud – it was complete with frosted shingles and gumdrops!
My mom said, “Oh how pretty” and ripped a corner off the roof and ate it.
When I protested, she said, “It’s ginger bread – use cardboard if you don’t want people to eat it. You make cakes and cut them. What’s the difference?”
Good point. I got over it.
Germany had a lot to do with confections, but mainly breads. The French had cakes. This being New “England,” we have Christmas puddings and English-like holiday treats. Of course, immigration has brought holiday traditions for families to America, and no shocker, they all involve food!
Whatever your tradition, I hope you enjoy it in a happy, healthy way and celebrate with others if you can – it makes for a nice time. Our common thread? We are all still kids at heart!
Here is a gingerbread recipe that is quick, easy and tasty. It takes less than one hour to make and can be served warm with ice cream or whipped cream.
2 cups flour
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp nutmeg *you can use allspice
2 tsp for cinnamon cloves and nutmeg blend
½ cup melted butter
¾ cup molasses
¼ cup water
1 cup whole milk or buttermilk for thicker bread
Heat oven to 350 – grease a 9 x 9 pan or cup cake liners (6).
Mix all the dry ingredients together, add the butter and molasses to a bowl and sift in the dry ingredients (everything up to the butter from the top).
Stir, adding water.
Mix the egg and milk together, add to your batter, mix well and pour into the pan or tins.
Bake 30 minutes or so for cake and 15 to 18 minutes for cupcakes.
Test with a toothpick for doneness.
Remove from the oven – let stand – turn the cake out on a cooking rack, cut into pieces and serve!
Dare I say the weather is changing and it looks like we are going colder folks! But that can be a good thing. With the colder weather the yearning for hearty food goes up, and believe it or not you can cook up some delicious fare for cheap!
Using beans as your protein source not only reduces thecost of your meal, itactually is better for you. We so often look to short cuts – a quick “dollar” meal, frozen microwave meals, or all out dining. Investing in a $15 crock pot makes cooking a breeze: you come home to a prepared meal!
On the flip side 45 minutes to an hour will also yield a delicious soup or stew made on your stove top.
You can make more than 1 gallon of homemade tomato or cream of tomato soup for less than $5. It’s easy fast and delicious!
All you need:
water and a soup base – I prefer “Knorr’s” or “Better than Bullion” veggie base for the flavor. The wet bullion base will cost you upfront – but the yield is amazing.
So Joey, how do I make that soup?
Well, it is easy!
Get a big pot, slice up 2 large onions and add to the pot with 1 -2 inches of water and let those puppies heat up – the water softens the onions and does not allow them to burn.
Now peel and rough chop 4 carrots and 4 or 5 stalks of celery and 3 or 4 cloves of garlic
Put them in a blender with 1 cup or 2 of water, depending on the volume
Blend until smooth.
Add this to your onion mix then open a large
6 pound can of crushed tomatoes (called #10 cans – your food club stores sell them for under $4) and stir
It will be kind of thick so add ½ can or less of water and stir well.
Bring it to a near boil and let it simmer
a good 40 minutes.
Add 3 or 4 tablespoons of your bouillon at this point and taste for flavor
Now would be the time you salt and pepper.
Add heavy cream for cream of tomato soup, or enjoy it vegan fast and easy.
The carrots add a sweet tinge and give another veggie element to the soup!
Notice how I had you finely chop the onions
and cook in water. You can add a little olive oil if you like, too …
This helps act as a baby sitter so your
onions don’t burn.
Blending celery and garlic is a great way to introduce it to your broth without having to cut it up small small.
This is the basis for just about everything. The carrots and celery need to be pureed for the tomato soup. Cubed or chopped is fine for other soups. Garlic, however, I feel works best in this application.
To make lentil soup start with your onions
then puree garlic
when the onions are soft add about
2 quarts of water , 8 cups , and one bag of lentils that have been rinsed off.
To this add 3 peeled (or unpeeled) potato
… finely diced and 4 peeled and
diced carrots and 4 or 5 stalks of celery.
A tablespoon or 2 of cumin or turmeric, it does wonders!
For this soup the lentils need a solid 45 minutes to cook.
At the end taste for flavor – if you feel ths need for bouillon, go ahead.
If not salt and pepper – you can add fresh lemon juiceand a whole bunch of fresh chopped spinach, too (blender trick works
Substitute the bag of lentils with barley for
another great soup and instead of cumin – try
turmeric or curry powder!
One cup of barley goes a long way, and it keeps “growing”! So don’t use more than a
cup per 2 quarts.
Ok. We get it but I don’t like lentils. Well, that’s great but I say try them as an adult. But you still don’t like them…Ok then start your base of onions. This time triple your garlic (I LOVE bags of whole peeled garlic and NEVER use the chopped up stuff – you will ruin your recipe). Blend it together and add Cannelli beans or white navy beans juice and everything into your onion base.
Ideally if you buy a bag of dried beans and soak overnight or quick boil prepare is the cheapest route – 1 pound bags range
from $.89 to $1.50 versus the same price depending on the brand for cans. Add your water and base at this point for this soup.
Add fresh washed and chopped escarole to this, and there you have it! Escarole and bean soup.
Just add diced carrots – and boom white bean soup or get a package of grape tomatoes, rough blend in the blender with water – add to ths beans and you have a variation.
BLACK BEAN SOUP
Black bean soup is just as fun! A secret I taught myself when I didn’t have any cilantro was to add a jar of salsa to my black beans.
So basically start your base:
onions and garlic
then add 2 cans of black beans
8 cups water
Let that heat up – throw in a bag of frozen corn and a cup or 2 of diced carrots
a tablespoon of cumin – these old world spices really work!
After about a half hour, add the salsa – at least a cup.
Stir until hot.
There you have it!
All of these nutritious meals costs less than $5.
You can add meat to the barley soup if you have leftovers – it is ideal chop it up into little cubes. One half of a whole chicken breast goes a long way and can feed many.
CHICKEN POT PIE
Chicken pot pie is chicken stew with a crust. It is easy – once again the base of the
a little oil on this one
toss in 4 or 5 chopped celery stalks
then add your diced chicken and sauté for a few minutes.
2 cups carrots
2 cups peas
2 cups diced potatoes
Then cover with mixture just enough – about an inch over the mixture.
When veggies are done add some chicken base or veggie base. I am gluten free so I thicken with corn starch – 4 or 5 tablespoons mixed with COLD water (1/4 cup works fine)
Add to the broth
And there you have it! 20 minute chicken stew.
For pot pie: Pour it in a pan – make a quick crust (1 stick cold butter 2
cups flour – salt and a teaspoon of baking powder. Throw it in your food processor – or if you don’t have one mix the dry together.
Soften the butter – both ways require a little bit of cold water until it becomes pastry-like. Roll it out on a floured surface. No roller? Use a bottle or a can (clean it first) and bake
until flakey and golden.
When you go shopping and you see carrots potatoes, turnips etc. on sale buy them – they can last a while in dry storage. A 10 pound bag of carrots will sell for $3.99 vs 1 pound for $1.99. Always shop for the lowest price per pound. Speaking of carrots… peel 3 pounds of carrots, run them through the food
processor or blender with water to purée them. (if you don’t have one use the side of your box grater – or dice very fine.
Start your soup with the onion base
then add your carrots
Cover with water
Add a tablespoon of fresh chopped ginger
Let it cook for a good 30 minutes on medium – a tablespoon of curry powder will add another dimension.
Salt pepper and add base, if needed.
You can find many different spices in the ethnic sections of your supermarket – fennel, curry, turmeric etc. are way cheaper in the Indian section versus the spice section of the market. Look for the big Goya displays most yearly supplies are under $5.
Use chick peas with your onion and garlic blend, add water…when it boils add a cup of pasta! Pasta Cici – and if you soak your own beans – you’re talking $3 soup for 10 or more – that’s $.30 cents a serving! And no additives. Don’t be afraid to experiment!
Remember the book stonesoup? I don’t like to admit it much either becauseit shows our age, but it is true – you can make
soups and stews with anything – adding mashed potato will thicken the case nicely.
Save your leftover veggies no matter how small the portion and after a couple days well stored – “add them to the pot”!
If onions bother you – I feel bad for you! – use leeks instead and make sure you wash them well as they can collect dirt between the layers. They enhance soups wonderfully. Toss some cubed butternut squash in with
your lentils or barley soups or even chicken stew – at $.79 a pound it’s inexpensive and just one will add 3 or more servings!
Cece and Jett – fast becoming … distant aquaintances. … Three weeks ago one of Cece’s aunts was allowed to wander off into the woods, as folks were moving out of the apartment, under the gun so to speak. She is now, if not dead, one of the millions of homeless cats in America. Like them, she is relying on neighbors for water, food and shelter. pic:R.T.
We repost this excellent Deb Young piece on caring for homeless cats in wintertime, just in case you want to do the beautiful thing and help stray and homeless felines in your neck of the inner-city woods! Also: Check out Deb’s terrific help-circus-animals FB page on this website. You’ll learn so much about nature and wild animals! – R.T.
By Deb Young
Street cats, alley cats, wild cats, feral cats, homeless cats … there are a lot of different names we give to these free ranging felines. Most of the time, they take care of themselves, scavenging and hunting for their meals while also depending on the kindnesses of cat lovers, but things can get worse when the weather turns frigid.
In any neighborhood that supports a healthy (i.e, neutered and released) feral cat population, rodent populations are kept in check, eliminating the need for harmful chemicals and poisons, and protecting the residents of these neighborhoods from the diseases and damage rodents can cause to life and property. Cats are a practical and “green” solution to this universal problem. In addition, a family and neighborhood commitment to caring for a controlled feral cat population teaches our children that we respect life and appreciate the work these cats do for us.
This is why many animal supporters encourage community participation in maintaining their local feral cat population. If you count yourself amongst these supporters, there are ways you can help your local cats to get through the winter with a minimum of hardship. If you can get your neighbors involved, so much the better.
Cats don’t need a lot of space, just a space that is large enough for them to stand and move about and stay safe from the harshest outdoor elements. When the weather is at its coldest, the cats will be relying on each other for warmth, and will create their own tight spaces within their shelter. With that in mind, you can use whatever space and materials available to you to create a small haven.
Homemade shelters can be crafted out of nearly anything: from a sturdy cardboard box (think of the heavy cardboard used for packing television sets) to an anchored plastic garbage can to a few pieces of scrap wood that have been arranged as a buffer against the wind and snow and rain. The shelter should be large enough to accommodate several cats comfortably, but not too wide or tall. In fact, the smaller the size, the better the space will be equipped to retain the cats’ body heat.
Finally, be sure to locate the shelter in a safe, concealed spot where the cats feel securely hidden from predators and can watch their surroundings.
The cats will require extra calories and fat during the cold weather months in order to maintain their energy requirements. Canned cat foods are also a great source of high calorie nutrition, but because of their higher liquid content they may freeze during the coldest temperatures.
Feeding the cats at the same time each day will allow them to expect and rely on a schedule. If they do not know whether they will be eating or not, they will venture out into the cold to look for food, defeating the whole purpose for the care project. Having a dedicated “feeder,” or a small group of scheduled “feeders” who take turns, can make the process much smoother. Also important to the cats’ survival is fresh, clean water. Of course, snow is an excellent source for water, but don’t forget to check the water bowl regularly to make sure it hasn’t frozen during the night.
Feeding and water stations should be protected from the cold and placed as near to the sleeping shelter as possible so that the cats do not have to be exposed to harsh conditions when they need to eat or drink.
While the cats may not be able to thank you in ways you can understand, you will know that they have repaid your kindness with the absence of rodents, and you will know that it is all worth it.
Hearty Vegetable Soup
Nothing can cure the winter cold quite like a big bowl of piping-hot vegetable soup. So the next time you’re looking for a dish that will keep you feeling warm, full, and satisfied, whip up a batch of this hearty soup.
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 medium white onion, diced
1 Tbsp. dried basil
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. olive oil
32 oz. vegetable broth
28 oz. canned diced tomatoes, with juice
14 oz. canned white beans, drained and rinsed
2 small zucchini, sliced
2 small yellow crookneck squash, sliced
3 cups chopped kale
4 small purple potatoes, cut into cubes
2 small yellow potatoes, cut into cubes
2 small red potatoes, cut into cubes
6 cups water
In a large pot, sauté the garlic, onion, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper in the oil for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are translucent.
Add the broth, tomatoes with juice, beans, zucchini, squash, kale, and potatoes. Cover the pot and bring to a boil.
Lower the heat. Add the water in batches, stirring occasionally.
Simmer for about an hour, or until you can easily pierce a potato with a fork.
Serve immediately. Store the remainder in the refrigerator or freezer.
Makes 10 to 12 servings
Mexican Noodle Soup
By Ashley Palmer
This noodle soup was inspired by our growing PETA Latino community! The popular Mexican dish, referred to as “sopa de fideo,” is versatile and can be altered to your liking. Want a thicker base, spicier flavor, or splash of lemon juice? No problem!
4–6 large tomatoes, cut into large cubes
1 medium white onion, cut into large cubes
1 clove garlic
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 16 oz.-pkg. cut fideo or 1 16 oz.-pkg. angel hair pasta, broken into 1-inch pieces
32 oz. vegetable broth
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 Tbsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. oregano
2 Tbsp. cumin
Chili flakes, chopped serrano chilies, or diced jalapeños, to taste (optional)
Cilantro, soy sour cream, and sliced avocado, for garnish (optional)
In a blender, purée the tomatoes, onions, garlic, and oil. Transfer to a large pot and cook over medium heat.
Add the noodles, broth, salt, pepper, oregano, and cumin. For a spicier soup, add the chili flakes, serrano chilies, or jalapeños. Cook for approximately 12 to 15 minutes, then simmer until the noodles are tender.
Garnish with optional toppings, as desired.
Makes 10 to 12 servings
Coconut Curry Soup
The list of ingredients might seem a little long, but don’t be scared. You can leave out an ingredient or two, and the soup will still be delicious. The only required items on the list below are the coconut milk, a little salt, and some curry powder, if you ask me. The rest is up to you.
To make a more filling meal, try serving the soup over noodles — udon, soba and even budget-friendly ramen work very well.
And to spice up the dish, add a few drops of Sriracha to the broth after ladling it out.
1 cup broccoli florets
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 carrot, julienned
3 white button mushrooms, sliced
1 12-oz. can coconut milk
1 cup vegetable broth
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. Madras curry powder
Perfect tofu (optional)
1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
•Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Add the broccoli and cook for 1 minute. Drain and set aside.
•In a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat, add the olive oil then the onions. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, or until just soft. Add the garlic, carrot, mushrooms, and cooked broccoli and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
•Add the coconut milk and broth to the pan and stir well. Add the lime juice, salt, and curry powder, then let simmer for about 5 minutes, being careful not to let the soup boil.
•Remove from heat and serve the soup with perfect tofu and chopped cilantro.
Makes 4 servings
And a tune for you! This year posted during November! – R.T.