Visit with a friend, Vegetarian Meals, and a Missing Dog

Ever have one of those days when you have it all mapped out but things just seem to fall apart?  That was my day today.  I was ahead of myself with the cooking that needed to be delivered this morning and my friend even asked if I could wait a little later to come so I didn’t have to be out of the house as early as I planned.  So I got dressed to work out – thinking I would squeeze that in before I really got going.  Then… life happened, as it always seems to do.  Between a little girl who is not-quite-there potty trained and what can happen with that and getting beds made, laundry done, and reading 3 or 4 dozen books, alas, I didn’t work out.  But, I was still in the game and planned to do it later.  I got to have a great little visit with my dear friend Amanda (who by the way is one of my heroes these days!)  She looked great and just made my day to be able to see her smile this morning.  I made the ever important trip to Edward McKay  because Jake was certain he did not have a single book left in the house that he wanted to read.  I was feeling ever efficient as I chose new books for him while waiting for our trade in credit.  I was reading to Maddie May when I got the call that would turn my productiveness upside down…

“The dog is out, he is at our neighbors house but they are going to take him back and put him in the yard.”

Seems like good news, but still I rushed out of there as soon as I was able and still had to run into the grocery store for things I needed to cook for tonight, but I was still right on track to get food on, MM down for a nap, and get on the elliptical to work out.  And that’s when it all went wrong.  I got home, laid MM down for her nap because she was seriously needing one.  I went to check the yard and once again he was gone.  Apparently the gate on the opposite side was not latched so when our neighbor brought him back, once Tae was alone he just slipped right back out!  I dragged Maddie May back out of bed and looked for that dog for 2 hours!  All the while needing to get back because I had meals to make for my friend.  And one of those meals was red beans and rice that needed to be started early in order to be ready.  Long story shortened, the same neighbor found him and lovingly brought him back to me.  I thought I would cry from relief.  I was terrified he had gotten out to the main road, but my silly little (big) dust mop looking puppy was home and I was relieved.  But I still had to cook 4 meals plus dinner for us, get Maddie May down for a nap (never happened fyi), bake sourdough bread, deliver it to church, help kids with homework, and get Jake to Tae Kwon Do. All before 4:45.  It was 2:30 at this point by the way.

It all worked out, we are all still alive and well and my puppy is back where he belongs and VERY TIRED from his big adventure.  And it is 10:40 and I am still in my workout clothes and never broke a sweat today.  It’s the thought that counts, right?

So what all was I cooking you ask?  I made fat-free potato breakfast casserole (I will post the recipe after I get a report on how it tastes!), 3 different vegetarian pasta dishes, and vegetarian red beans and rice that was a million times better than the recipe I posted before.  I found it at Fat Free Vegan Kitchen , I made some changes though so I will post my version below.  The picture won’t load right now for some reason.  I will edit once I get it loaded.

Fat Free Vegetarian Red Beans & Rice (see original recipe inspiration here) – My version is spicy.  If you prefer a milder dish you can add less cayenne, black pepper, and chipotle.

1 lb dried red kidney beans (soaked over night)

4 large cloves of garlic finely chopped

1 large onion finely chopped

4 celery ribs finely chopped

1 green bell pepper finely chopped

2 tsp dried oregano or 1 tbsp fresh oregano chopped

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp black pepper ground

2 tbsp chipotle pepper in adobo finely chopped (find it in the canned items in the mexican food aisle)

2 tbsp Texas Pete hot sauce

Salt Generously to taste (make sure you check.  I felt like I needed to add a lot)

Cooked Brown Rice

How to make it:

Rinse and drain beans after soaking over night.  Place beans in a large pot and cover with water to about 2 inches over the beans.  Begin cooking over high heat while you prepare the other ingredients to be added.

Add chopped veggies (make sure they are all finely chopped) and next 5 ingredients.  Bring it all to a boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer.  Stir occasionally.  After about 30 min, taste and begin to add salt to your taste preference.  Cook for 2-3 hours.  At this point, remove about 2 cups of the bean mixture and puree in a food processor or blender and return to the pot.  Cook for 30 more min.

Serve hot over rice – it is delicious!  Thanks Fat Free Vegan Kitchen for the great recipe!


Now for my real post… White Bean Chili, Crab Cakes, Veggie Pasta Bake, Apple, Banana, Cranberry Bread (Not all together!)

I know it has been days since I last blogged, but with the start of school and all the cooking I have been doing, I just have not had time.  Here are a few recipes I have been promising & my dinner tonight.


I make lots and lots of mac n cheese.  My grandmother makes the absolute best so I am always inspired to find new ways to do it.  This one sneaks in zucchini & squash!  Maddie May had 3 huge servings tonight!


3 cups cooked penne pasta

1 egg slightly beaten

1 1/2 cups 1 % milk

1 slice reduced fat cheddar cheese slice

4 slices reduced fat swiss slices

1 1/2 cups shredded or Julienne zucchini and squash (peel the zucchini if your kids are afraid of green things!)

1/2 cups shredded

colby jack cheese

salt to taste

In a casserole dish, combine pasta, veggies, salt, and cheese slices torn into bite size pieces. Just mix it all together.  Combine the egg and milk.  Pour egg/milk mixture over pasta mixture.  Top with colby jack.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 min until top is browned and bubbly.  If you peel the zucchini first they will never know it is there !



The boys loved these so much they asked if they could take them for lunch tomorrow.  Actually, Will asked if he could take them for SNACK tomorrow but I was afraid his teachers would laugh at me if he pulled out a crab cake for “snack”.  They seem so rich but have very little added fat.


1 green onion finely chopped

1 large clove of garlic finely chopped

3 tablespoons red bell pepper, finely chopped

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

3 tbsp 1 % milk

1 tbsp dijon mustard

1 egg beaten

1/2 tsp dried parsley

1/2 tsp dried basil

1 1/2 cups plain bread crumbs

1 lb fresh lump crab meat

1/4 cup shredded parmesan

Saute the onion, garlic, and bell pepper in just a little olive oil until tender, about 2 min.  Add cayenne, milk, and dijon.  Remove from heat and cool slightly.  Combine egg, parsley, basil, bread crumbs, and 1 cup bread crumbs.  Add onion mixture to crab mixture.  Mash together gently with your hands.  Form 6 large patties for entree portions or 12 small patties for side or appetizer portions.  Combine remaining 1/2 cup bread crumbs with parmesan.  Roll patties in mixture and pat to keep intact.  Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 1 hour.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 min turning halfway through.  Serve with lemon dill sauce



3/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup 1 % milk

1 tbsp dried dill

1/2 tsp dried parsley

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

Combine and chill.  Serve over crab cakes.



I have been cooking an almost completely fat free diet (other than the little bit in very lean chicken) for a friend the past week and I am finding all sorts of new ways to prepare things without the fat.  I was so excited with how great this chili turned out.  This would be great as a vegetarian meal as well, just leave out the chicken and substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth.

1 lb dried great northern beans (put in a pot covered by 2 in and soak over night)

2 med onions chopped

fat free chicken broth (1/4 – 1 1/2 cups)

1 jalapeno finely chopped (with seeds if you like a little heat)

4 cloves of garlic minced

4 tsp ground cumin

3 tsp ground oregano

6 cups fat free chicken broth

5 cups chopped, cooked chicken (I boiled mine in salted water)

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


Drain beans after soaking the night before and set aside.

Saute onion and jalapeno in chicken broth, adding a little more as needed to keep moist.  Add garlic, cumin, and oregano.  Cook 2 min stirring constantly.  Add chicken broth and soaked beans.  Bring it all to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer 1 hours, until beans are beginning to get tender.  Add chicken salt, and pepper and simmer 1 hour more.  Stir in cilantro just before serving.  Makes 13 cups.

*If you are not worried about keeping it low fat, it is great with a little monterey jack cheese stirred in and a dollop of sour cream on top!

Sorry I don’t have a picture of this one.  I will take one next time I make it.



Another creation for the low fat diet!


1 3/4 cups AP flour

2 t/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 large egg, slightly beaten

2 mashed ripe bananas (about 2 cups)

1/2 cup skim milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup dried cranberries

Combine 1st four ingredients in a large bowl making a well in the center.  Combine egg, mashed banana, milk, vanilla, and applesauce and add all to the dry ingredients.  Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened, add cranberries.  Pour batter into a greased loaf pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50 min. or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pan 10 min.  Then complete cooling on a rack.


Hope you enjoy these!