Thursday, April 30, 2015

Klunker's Mushrooms

(Edited on 5/18/2015 to reflect Mike's new domain url)

On the McDougall Friends Facebook group, a member named Michael Klunker posts recipes that he adds to his blog, Klunker's Kitchen. The past 2 weeks, many people have mentioned his Crockpot Mushrooms, and I finally tried them yesterday.

But first, I had to unbury my Crockpot. 

This is the exact same Crockpot I have, graphic from here.

My poor Crockpot had seen many years - over 3 decades - of use, but in recent years I decided things like canned beans were much more convenient and tasty than from-scratch beans, and it lay unused in one of the few kitchen cabinets. Over time I bought more spices and herbs and in larger containers than could fit in one of the smaller cabinets above and started tossing the bottles in this one, strategically arranging them on top of the Crockpot so they wouldn't fall out when I opened the door. 

I also have a new Crockpot that I bought on sale about 5 years ago, one of the larger sized ones. That's the same one Mary McDougall used in her refried beans recipe on the McDougall Made Easy DVD. That was in a storage area in our front hall and had less stuff on top of it. But I didn't think one pound of mushrooms needed a 9 quart crock, so left it still un-opened where it was. 

Cooked down, in the 3-quart Crockpot

So, changes I made to the recipe:

Mushrooms - Instead of the whole ones Mike used I got sliced cremini because they were on sale and looked good.

Red onions - I thought I had a 10 ounce container of them in the refrigerator but couldn't find them, so used a bag of frozen diced ones. A few hours after dinner I was grabbing the hummus for my husband for his snack and found them. Oh, well.

Garlic - I used cubes of frozen Dorot, my go-to for garlic lately.

And that's it. Tossed it all in the Crockpot on high for about an hour then turned it to low for another 4 or so. 

I made a big batch of mashed potatoes and steamed up the last of the multi-colored carrots from Trader Joe's to go with it all. 

We each had one big bowl (as shown) and my husband had another, somewhat smaller amount of potatoes and mushrooms. We have about a half cup left over that I'll have tomorrow for lunch with the leftover mashed potatoes.


Now that the Crockpot is unburied, I just finished making a batch of pinto beans in it, and tonight I'll soak some garbanzos and make them up tomorrow. Oh, and I joined the Rancho Gordo Heirloom Bean Club! I was on the waiting list for almost a year and a week ago got the email telling me I can register if still interested. Of course I was! After I completed the order form and got my receipt and welcome email I expected that to be it until the next shipment in July, but a half hour or so later got another email with a tracking number telling me the first shipment is on the way. Good think I uncovered that Crockpot, since that's the way they advise cooking the beans. I foresee a lot of tater or rice meals with beans and greens in our future. Can't go wrong with that, right? 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Aveggies: Age of Bonbon (Sesame Street Avengers Parody)

A super villain was prepared to destroy all the healthy foods in the world, until one hero, actually, several heroes stuck together to save the world's vegetables! Together, Dr. Brownie, Onion Man, Captain Americauliflower, Black Bean Widow, Mighty Corn, and Zuchin-eye are...The Aveggies!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Chef AJ's Foody TV Videos Now on YouTube

For those of you who may have had difficulty getting the videos to play on the FoodyTV site, they're now all on YouTube.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Our Revised (Once Again) Monthly Menu

I mentioned a few posts ago that our monthly menu has recently included less Mary McDougall meals and more Chef AJ lately. I've also been trying to get more Jeff Novick SNAP recipes in, too. I just made up this new monthly menu that includes the best of all three. It's a work in progress and may change weekly, possibly daily, but it's a start. 

I do like the idea that most of these make up enough food for two days' worth of dinners so I don't have to cook as often, especially now that the warm weather is approaching again. And if it so happens there aren't enough leftovers, there's always rice and beans or pasta with a jar of Engine 2 spaghetti sauce. I bought a dozen of those last week when we went to our first ever Whole Foods store and that's enough to last for a long time.

Week 1 
Sunday - Red Lentil Chili
Monday - Susie's Autumn Chili *
Tuesday - Indian Potato Curry
Wednesday - Red Lentil Chili
Thursday - Chinese Rice **
Friday - Autumn Chili
Saturday - Indian Potato Curry

Week 2 
Sunday - Mushroom Chili
Monday - Sweet Potato Chili with Kale
Tuesday - New Orleans Jambalaya
Wednesday - Mushroom Chili
Thursday - Chinese Rice
Friday - Sweet Potato Chili
Saturday - Jambalaya 

Week 3
Sunday - Butternut Squash & Quinoa Chili
Monday - Split Pea Soup **
Tuesday - Curried Potato Stew
Wednesday - Orange is the New Black Sweet Potatoes
Thursday - Chinese Rice
Friday - Butternut Squash & Quinoa Chili
Saturday - Pea Soup

Week 4
Sunday - Saucy Glazed Mushrooms and Brussels Sprouts 
Monday - Indian Lentil Vegetable Soup
Tuesday - Kasha Varnishkes
Wednesday - Curried Cauliflower 
Thursday - Chinese Rice
Friday - Speedy International Stew
Saturday - Pasta with Jeff's Marinara

Week 5
Sunday - Nutrient Rich Black Bean Soup
Monday - Festive Dal Soup
Tuesday - Mexi Soup
Wednesday - Enchilada Strata
Thursday - Chinese Rice
Friday - Speedy International Stew
Saturday - Cuban Potatoes

* This recipe is an exclusive (so far) to the Ultimate Weight Loss 21 Day Recipe Guide, sent to people who purchased said program from Chef AJ's web site. Neither the DVD/CD program nor downloadable versions mentioned in this post by Wendy of Healthy Girl's Kitchen seem to be available any more on the web links on Wendy's page, but I'm sure if you wrote to either her or Chef AJ they can give you details on how to purchase the program. Last I read, it's going to be part of Chef AJ's new cookbook, whenever it ever gets published. The UWL recipe guide has a few other so-far unpublished recipes, too, but most are already out there on-line.

** Chinese Rice - I mentioned in the past this is basically a batch of rice with veggies and fried marinated tofu that we eat with sauces such as soy/coconut aminos, sweet and sour, terriyaki, or other Asian-type sauce.

*** Split Pea Soup - I go back and forth between the green split pea with russets/Yukon Gold potatoes and the yellow split pea with sweet potato version. Both are equally great.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Mushrooms McDougall

This is one of the earliest Mary McDougall recipes I ever tried. My husband loved it, yet, because I was never that much of a mushroom lover, I rarely made it. Hubby started a week's vacation last Monday and I wanted to start him off with something a little different. As I mentioned in my Family Menus post, most Sundays we eat a meal our son started calling Unchicken Dinner back when he was a little kid. Potatoes, stuffing, cranberries, a load of veggies, and some kind of gravy. Last Sunday, instead of gravy, I made making these mushrooms. Here's Mary's write-up of the recipe in the July 2004 newsletter on-line:

I have recently rediscovered this old favorite of ours.  We like this plain, on baked potatoes and on burritos.  It is really quick if you buy presliced mushrooms!
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Servings:  4

1/4 cup water
1 1/2 pounds fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1  4 ounce can chopped green chilies
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup sherry
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
 fresh ground pepper to taste

Place water in a large pan or wok.  Bring to a boil, add mushrooms, green onions, garlic and chilies.  Cook and stir for a minute or two, then add the remaining ingredients.  Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until all liquid has been absorbed, about 10-12 minutes.
Serve rolled up in a burrito shell with fresh salsa; use on top of beans in a Mexican-style burrito; or serve on top of baked potatoes. This is wonderful on almost anything!

I used the pre-sliced mushrooms, but since the package no longer says they're also pre-washed I rinsed them well and let them dry for over an hour before using.

Our store only had these very small bundles of scallions, only about 8 thin scallions in each, and most of them were brown or yellowed and wilting. I was able to find 2 that weren't, and one was needed for a different recipe later in the week. I added a few freeze-dried scallions to the pan as they were all cooking to make up for it.

The last time I made these was years before my husband's gout attacks and I always had a bottle of cooking sherry in the pantry that I used. Since all alcohol is contraindicated for people with gout, I used the substitute of half apple cider vinegar and half water as suggest in numerous cooking sites on-line. If you can handle alcohol, or have access to non-alcoholic sherry, go for it, although it didn't taste that much different from what I remembered.

The finished product. My husband likes to eat sloppy foods in a bowl instead of on a plate and this was no exception. Under the mushrooms are nuked Yellow Gold potatoes and spinach. 

I think this has now earned a place on our regular rotation. We both loved every bite of this meal, and next time I make it I'll probably add a fourth box of mushrooms, just to have a bit more leftovers for lunch the next day. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Penn Jillette Looks Great

He recently lost 100 pounds, between December 2014 and March 5, 2015, using the Fuhrman program. He claims he didn't count calories, yet he knows he ate only 800 to 1000 calories a day.

But three pounds of greens each and every day? That takes determination! I guess winding up in the hospital in hypertensive crisis kind of kicked him in the tush (one of those Scrabble words, BTW) to get healthy.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

I'm Going to Shut Up Now

I'm also going to (try) stay off the scale. Not only did those pounds gained while eating Faves go away, but I went down another pound to be at my lowest weight since I first injured my neck and had degenerative disc disease diagnosed which greatly reduced the amount and kinds of exercise I could do and caused a 50 pound weight gain back in 1999. My husband also relost those added pounds, regained one, added one back on - all depending on what kinds of snacks he had the night before he weighed in. I keep warning him to watch the sodium in things like sriracha sauce and ketchup!

I guess I better just stick with posting about recipes and not the minutia of what/how we're eating over here.

My usual chain grocery store doesn't seem to have those Stokes purple sweet potatoes any more, but I guess for the holidays they did have a load of the best looking regular sweet potatoes I've seen in years so I bought 2 dozen of them. Now to eat them all up before they go bad. I've had Sweet Potato Beginnings for breakfast and a snack a few times, sweet potatoes with Chef AJ's Yummy Sauce for lunch, will have 2 sweet potatoes mashed into the tofu ricotta cheese for tonight's lasagna dinner (Inspired by Jeff Novick's recipe ), and later this week will either make Chef AJ's Sweet Potato Chili or Jeff's Tzimmes from his Fast Food 4: Beyond the Basics DVD. So far the tzimmes are calling the loudest, but we'll see on Tuesday what I wind up with. I really don't want another quart of OJ in the house so will probably go with Jeff's. Besides, I still haven't made all the recipes from that DVD yet. This recipe seems like a good one to get that ball rolling again.

Purple Sweet Potatoes!

I just found this post in my Drafts folder. I wrote it way back on March 3, 2015 and I swear I thought it posted on that day! Sorry for the delay. I'm only posting it now because my next post refers back to these potatoes mentioned.
We gave up waiting for the snow and ice to defrost and release our cars from the hold they've had on them since January and took a cab to the chain grocery store this past weekend. Oh, it was so nice to see fresh - really fresh - produce again!

I spent over a half hour roaming the produce aisle, sniffing at apples and oranges, turning over tomatoes, groaning at green and black bananas, shaking my head at the empty areas where things like celery and cabbage should have been, shaking off bugs, real and imaginary, off the kale. (sigh) I know I promised not to diss this store's produce department after seeing what the local mom and pop store sells, but this was ridiculous! I really need to find a better store! Even Walmart has better produce than this store, even though they have a smaller selection and it's probably the only store in NJ that doesn't have organic produce.

But one section I was happily surprised at were the potatoes. I was able to grab 2 bags (only 3 pounds each) of Yukon Gold, a few sweet potatoes, and to my surprise, purple sweet potatoes! The sign called them Japanese Sweet Potatoes, but the sticker said they're Stokes (TM) Purple Sweet Potatoes. They cost almost $3 a pound, but I didn't care at that point.

That day I washed off a few and baked them up to have with lunch. It was only a bag of Bird's Eye mixed vegetables, but with those cut up potatoes in the bowl and a drizzle Chef AJ's new Ultimate Sauce, it was heavenly!

I'm having the last of them with today's lunch, and have no idea when I'll be back at the store, since our cars are still locked in ice and the prediction is for 3 more inches of snow today, some rain changing to sleet tomorrow, and another 3 inches of snow and temps in the 20's Thursday.

I really hate this winter!