Vegetable Curry

Curry sauces needn’t be feared – they are easy to pull together, and the beauty is you can put most anything in a curry sauce. The veggies I used are just a start, use what you have on hand. As for flavor, this is a very mild curry. A little heat would have been my taste – but I wanted the boys to enjoy it as well. So we sprinkled on hot sauce after 😉 If you want it spicier, add in some fresh chile peppers (such as Thai ones), or use a little red pepper flakes.


Vegetable Curry


  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup shredded coconut + 1 cup water
  • 1 cup water
  • 14 ounce can coconut cream (or full fat coconut milk)
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 5 gold or white potatoes, chopped
  • 1 pound zucchini, quartered and sliced
  • 15 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Salt, to taste


Combine the coconut and water in a small pan, bring to a boil, reduce to a low simmer for 10 minutes, set aside.

Heat a large pot over medium-high, add in oil. Saute onion until tender, add in garlic and ginger, saute for a minute. Add in curry powder, tomatoes (with liquid), water, coconut cream, simmered coconut with its liquid, vegetables and chickpeas. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, keeping mostly covered, for 20 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.

Stir in lemon juice and salt to taste.

Serve with hot rice and naan bread…….

Serves 6 to 8.

Sweet & Sour Sauce

If there was one abomination I’d love see disappear, it would be the nasty candy cane red “sweet and sour” sauce served in Asian restaurants – or worse, in bottles at the store. It is rarely sour, and has so much artificial red dye, it is a migraine waiting to happen. A good basic sweet & sour sauce is easy to make. Keep it on hand for a week or so, in the refrigerator, for dipping rolls into, or add it to a stir fry right at the end, for an amazing dinner.


Sweet & Sour Sauce


  • 20 ounce can pineapple chunks or tidbits, in juice
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar (plain)
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 3 Tbsp ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp lower sodium soy sauce (gluten-free if needed)
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • ½ tsp powdered ginger


Drain pineapple juice, measuring out 2/3 cup, reserving the rest. Add the 2/3 cup juice to a saucepan with rice vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often.

Meanwhile, stir the cornstarch into the remaining pineapple juice (it will be 1-2 Tablespoons worth). Stir the cornstarch into the boiling sauce, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium, stirring until thick. Take off the heat.

If using as a stir fry sauce, stir in the reserved pineapple. As a dipping sauce, use pineapple in another recipe.

Makes about 1 cup sauce.

Cheesy Rice and Veggie Casserole

Originally I was going to use quinoa and then right as I started dinner, I realized I had forgotten to stock up. So rice it became! You can use either, if you choose quinoa, use 1 cup quinoa, rinsed, instead of the rice. Cook the same.


Cheesy Rice and Veggie Casserole


  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 2 cups water
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp dried onion
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into coins
  • 2 pounds zucchini or yellow summer squash, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 cup frozen green peas, preferably unsalted
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 8 ounces grated cheddar cheese, regular or sharp


Add water, sea salt, dried onion, and garlic to a small saucepan, bring to a boil. Add in rice, stirring. Return to a boil, stirring. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook covered for 20 minutes. Set aside.

While the rice is cooking, steam the carrots and zucchini, until tender-crisp, about 10 minutes. Take off the heat, add in peas. Fluff up rice, add to a large bowl and gently toss with the vegetables.

Preheat oven to 350°, lightly oil a 9×13″ baking dish.

Melt butter in saucepan, over medium heat. Whisk in flour, cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Slowly pour in milk, whisking smooth. Cook until thickened, whisking often.

Take off heat, whisk in pepper and 6 ounces of the cheese. Taste for salt.

Pour over the rice, stirring gently to combine. Spread rice in prepared baking dish. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted on top.

Serves 6 to 8.

Dry Cream of Mushroom Soup Mix

This dry mix can be use as a soup base, added to dry recipes and more. Have it on hand and never need to go to the store to buy the sad soup in a can….


Dry Cream of Mushroom Soup Mix


  • 1 cup dry milk
  • 6 Tbsp cornstarch
  • ¼ cup dried shiitake mushrooms, crumbled
  • 2 Tbsp veggie broth mix
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried onion powder
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper


Mix dry ingredients together.

Makes about 20 Tablespoons, or 4 batches worth. Store in an airtight container, such as a mason jar, shake well before using.

To make soup:

Add 5 Tablespoons dry mix to 1 cup water, heat over low till thickened, whisking preferably, constantly.


For best results, look for dried mushrooms not imported from China. Any edible dried mushroom can be used, shiitake’s tend to be more affordable. White button mushrooms can be dehydrated easily at home, if you have a food dehydrator.

One Pot Caprese Pasta

I was feeling the need for a late summer dish, in the middle of winter. And paid $$ for that pleasure: greenhouse grown tomatoes and basil from Canada are never cheap in January – but so worth it. At the same time, while the base ingredients were not cheap, considering it served 6 amply, it was still an affordable pleasure. (The basil? $4 Tomatoes? $4 Cheese? $5 Ack!) Walker, our 4-year-old, had 3 servings! Anytime my children keep asking for more helpings, it is well worth the indulgence.


One Pot Caprese Pasta


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 4 cups broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 8-12 ounces small tomatoes, cut in halves or quarters
  • 1 bunch fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 16 ounces dry pasta
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella balls (such as Ciliegine size), cut into bite size pieces


Heat a large pot over medium, add oil and onion, saute until onion is tender.

Add in remaining ingredients, except for mozzarella cheese. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-high, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often.

Take off heat, stir in mozzarella cheese, and serve.

Serves about 6.

One Pot Beyond Chicken Creamy Pasta

Craving a hearty winter pasta dish to whisk you off to carb-coma land? If you haven’t tried Beyond Meat’s faux meat products, keep an eye out for them.


One Pot Beyond Chicken Creamy Pasta


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 small bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 4 cups lower sodium broth
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 16 ounces linguine, broken in half
  • 1 package Beyond Chicken
  • 4 ounces cheese, shredded  (see below)


Heat a deep skillet or stock pot over medium, add oil, onions and bell peppers, saute until tender. Add in broth and half & half, bring to a boil.

Add in pasta, stirring well. Return to a boil, reduce heat and simmer mostly covered, for 10 minutes. Stir in cheese till melted.

On preparing Beyond Chicken:

There are two options – follow the package directions for best texture/taste and add in at the end, or you can add the frozen product with the broth step.


Any melting cheese will work.Cheddar or a Co-Jack work well. There are 3 flavors of Beyond Chicken, so you can play with the flavors.

Holiday Dishes: Cranberry Cherry Sauce

Before you read the long dissertation below, have you checked out the giveaway this week yet?


I’ll be first to admit I can be a very, very, very, verrrrryyyy petty person and hold grudges. Years ago, when I was first blogging on my Trail Cooking website (so long ago it had a different name!), I got into a snit-fit with a certain cranberry company (lets call them “O.S.”) and their legal department. I was sent a very unpleasant email from their legal department because I had forgotten to use a “™” symbol after 1, yes, 1, reference to a certain dried cranberry product they market. Every other reference of it had it on my site, and all had links to the product page and the product names were capitalized. A simple “Hey, can you fix that?” would have been a quick fix. But no, I got a threatening letter from legal, telling me all the horrid things they would do to me. I instead went through my site and removed EVERY reference to the company, and a good 8-9 years later have avoided buying anything from them. So…..making fresh cranberry sauce can be a fun one come the Holidays. Why? Because the majority of the cranberries grown in the US are sold to this company. If I search hard enough, I can find independent farms selling their berries frozen. This year I scooped up a 5 pound bag frozen, from a farm on the border of Canada here in Washington.

Anyhow, petty grudges aside, this was an interesting take on the traditional whole cranberry sauce – it is almost a fruit preserve. Perfect for serving as a side dish, or even better, spread thickly on sandwiches.

Cranberry Cherry Sauce


  • 1 pound cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1½ cups Dried Cherries
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • Fine sea salt


In a tall saucepan, combine cranberries, dried cherries, sugar, and organe juice. Heat over medium-high until simmering, reduce heat to medium, let simmer until the cranberries burst open, and the sauce is thickened, to jam-like.

Take off the heat, season to taste with salt (a good pinch to start). Let cool down before stashing in a serving bowl and refrigerating until cold.

Make in advance and store chilled for up to a week.

Enjoy with a side of long-holding grudges 😉

Holiday Dishes: Handcrafted Green Bean Casserole

Green Bean Casserole is something you either love or hate. There is no middle road on this side dish.

At the same time though, it isn’t a recipe one should mess with overall. Fancy dishes of just steamed green beans topped with panko crumbs? Pffffttttt. No, lets keep it real but minus the can full of grey soup mix……make the soup base yourself in a few minutes time, full of fresh mushrooms and onions. And, bonus, you can have this dish vegan even…..


Handcrafted Green Bean Casserole


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups milk, dairy or unsweetened non-dairy
  • 1 tsp vegetable bouillon base
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning blend
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • Ground black pepper
  • 2 14.5-ounce cans green beans, drained
  • 6 ounces french fried onions


Heat oven to 350° and lightly oil a medium baking dish. Heat the milk in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes, until warm. Stir in bouillon base.

Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high, add mushrooms and onions, saute until tender. Sprinkle flour on top, cook for a minute.

Slowly whisk in milk, Italian seasoning blend, soy sauce and ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper. Cook until thickened and bubbling, whisking often.

Reduce heat to medium, stir in green beans and heat through. Take off heat, stir in ¾ of the fried onions. Transfer to baking dish, top with remaining onions.

Bake for 25 minutes.

Bonus points if you serve it in vintage Pyrex or Fire King dishes….


One Skillet Creamy Pasta with Spinach and Chickpeas

The bread crumbs make this dish – and if you have leftover homemade bread, this is the way to go. Psssttt….if you love bread crumbs on pasta like I do, you might want to double that part!


One Skillet Creamy Pasta with Spinach and Chickpeas


  • 1 thick slice bread
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced, divided
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups broth
  • 1 cup half and half
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 16 ounces small pasta, rotini or penne
  • 14.5 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 6 ounces spinach leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated


Tear the bread into small pieces, add to a mini food chopper, process until coarsely ground. Heat a large skillet over medium, add in 1 Tablespoon butter and 1 cloves worth garlic, saute for 30 seconds. Add in bread crumbs, toss to coat and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Transfer to a large rimmed plate to cool.

Return skillet to heat, add in remaining butter, garlic and red pepper flakes, saute for 30 seconds. Turn up to high, stir in broth, cream and a healthy grinding of black pepper, bring to a boil. Add in the pasta and chickpeas, return to a simmer, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often. Reduce heat as needed to medium-high, to keep it at a steady simmer. Turn off the heat, stir in the spinach, allowing to wilt. Stir in the parmesan cheese until melted.

Serve with bread crumbs to sprinkle liberally over.

Serves 6.

A Vegan Thanksgiving

A Vegan Thanksgiving might strike fear in many people – as they envision roasted tofu and no dessert. But no, it can be fun and delicious!

Fall Chickpea Tart:


Quinoa Chickpea Dressing:


Savory Broth Powder:


Cranberry Apple Whip:


Dried Cranberry Maple Sauce:


Vegan Pecan Pie & Crust:


Pecan & Coffee Mini Pies:


Maple Rum Pecan Pie:


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