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Stetson Makes It Easy

Book I'm Reading: The Great Perhaps
Last Movie Watched: Bored to Death - Season One
Beverage: Watered Down Gatorade

I got up at six am to make the Lentil Meatballs Wendy posted a recipe for yesterday. Dana for years has been nagging me to cook more vegetarian food for her and I am so set in my carnivore ways I never really have. I always go back to the old stand by recipes when cooking for her,

- Baked Gnocci
- Homemade Mac and Cheese
- Baked Ziti (see a pattern forming here? I basically throw cheese together with Pasta and bake it.)
- Vegan Taco's
- Vegetarian Stew

Or I just cop out and make sure there are plenty of vegetarian side dishes. I TRY, there is always SOMETHING, but I could try harder. I'm making a real effort to. I made a really amazing Vegetarian chili in the crock pot the other week that she loved. I felt good about it, because I love chili and when I normally make chili it's kind of a selfish meal. Not just because Dana can't eat it, but also because the ingredients are kind of expensive. Also I then have a metric ton of chili so I'm stuck eating nothing but chili for DAYS afterwards. By the end of the week I'm sick of it and I never want to look at it again. Until of course, a few months go by and I forget, then I make a new pot.

I have to say, I didn't miss the meat at all. The Morning Star Crumbles were a good substitute. The next day Rich and Lizzie came over with their friend Daleia and the three of them each ate two bowls. If it has Rich "I tried to change my middle name to bacon" Denny sold that should be all the endorsement you need.


I'll post the recipe below for anyone who might be interested. Mary I know you said you wanted it, and Wendy I know you are always looking for crock pot recipes so...

2 (12 Oz) Packages of Morning Star Veggie Crumbles
2 (15 oz) cans of black beans, rinsed and drained.
2 (15 oz) cans of dark red Kidney beans
1 (15 oz) can of light red kidney bean
2 cans of tomato paste (I actually wound up using three to cut the spice for Dana)
1 (29 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (12 fluid oz can) Tomato Juice
3 Onions chopped
5 cloves of Garlic chopped
1 Green bell pepper diced
1 Red Bell pepper Diced
3 Tablespoons of Chili powder (add or subtract to taste)
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
3 tablespoons garlic powder
1/4 cup brown sugar OPTIONAL!!!
Salt and pepper to taste.

1. Sautee the peppers, onions and three tablespoons of the garlic in a little bit of olive oil until they are just a little translucent. You don't HAVE to do this step, but I think it enhances the flavor.
2. Combine all ingredients MINUS THE VEGGIE CRUMBLES AND 2 TABLES SPOONS OF FRESH GARLIC into the crock pot and cook on low for six hour or high for 3-4
3. Heat the veggie crumbles in a pan with the remaining two tablespoons of garlic. Again this step is optional. You could just dump them in the crock pot from the, but the crumbles really absorb any flavor you surround them with so I suggest it.
4. Add the crumbles to the crockpot and let it simmer for at least an hour before serving.

When you add the crumbles it's also a good time to check the heat of the Chili. I found this chili to be on the spicy side, which meant Dana would have found it unbearable. I googled some web pages to find out how to cut the heat and they suggested adding sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time or a tablespoon of baking powder at a time. WARNING... THE BAKING POWDER WILL MAKE THE CHILI BUBBLE UP LIKE A VOLCANO IN A SCIENCE FAIR!!! DO NOT PANIC LIKE I DID!!! It will return to normal... In the end I wound up cutting it with brown sugar (which I really liked the taste of and I will add again the next time I make it), another can of tomato paste and, another splash of tomato juice and Baking Powder. Again, it's all to taste.

I served it with chopped onions, chives and Honey Cornbread Biscuits. The next day we mixed crumbled corn chips in it and that was amazing too. But you don't need me to tell you how to doctor your chili.

I hope you guys like it! Mary, if you do make it let me know what you think.

Since the chili was such a success I decided that I would try to make one new vegetarian dish every week or so. This week I'm making those Lentil "Meat"balls. I looked at the link Wendy posted. The woman's recipe seemed totally bland so I just seasoned them the way I would any other meatball. They SEEM to be a good consistency so... fingers crossed.

I spent the rest of the morning cleaning and doing laundry because our laundry pile is out of control and Lily is running out of clean pants. I hate doing laundry, it's like my third least favorite chore behind changing the sheets and cleaning out the fridge. Cleaning out the fridge is the worst though. I'm pretty sure I have bribed more than one of my friends to clean out the fridge. Last night, Dana took the bullet and she REALLY cleaned it out. I mean not just the obviously bad stuff, that I get every few weeks when I do a fridge overhaul. I mean the secret bad stuff. Like my tube of ground ginger in the bottom of the vegetable drawer that went bad in Dec 2008.

I sent the whole house into a panic last night because I saw a news report that said a huge nor'easter was heading our way. I couldn't get the whole story, because Lily has pressed something on the remote and their was no sound (it wasn't mute it was something with the cable box) all I got were the scrawling bulletins...

"Schools will be closed.... Tens of thousands without power.... Massive Erosion along the south shore... evacuation sites" etc etc. Then I see some plastic headed Ken Doll of a weather man in front of a green screen waving his hand over what looks to be a MASSIVE storm front heading right for us. So of course I panic because that's what I do best and because we are only two blocks from the water. I think about how I have to move my entire comic book collection to higher ground because we now know the basement floods. I worry that this time we are going to lose power or our roof or one of the big trees in the yard and OMG where are we going to park the car?! I call Dana at her meeting and tell her she has to bring home bottled water for the babies formula in case we lose power and water.

I fought off lazyness and made the meatloaf I didn't want to make just in case we lost power. At least then I would have SOMETHING cooked for Lily and I. I scrubbed the floors, washed clean linens, scrubbed all the dog bowls and made sure EVERY dish, pot, pan and cup in the entire house was clean. I also cranked up the heat so if we DID lose power - at least we wouldn't freeze. I also planned on filling the tub with water my shower so we could at least flush the toilet.

I mean it. I'm was lunatic.

Dana kept saying. I don't think a storm is coming. I don't think so...
and I would scream,
"Of course a storm is coming?! I saw it on the news!!! The news! You think you know better than the weather man? When did you get your degree in meteorology?!?

Finally we are in bed, and I make her put on the news to PROVE to her I'm not crazy...
and nothing. No mention of a storm. None. Zip. Zilch.

Turns out, I must have been watching a DVR'd news broadcast. They must have interrupted one of the shows we were recording. When Lily was playing with the remote she must have turned it on So I was preparing for and driving my family batty over a storm that happened... three days ago....

Dana just looked at me and waited. She's good at saying a lot without saying anything at all.

"Yeeeeah. I MAY have been wrong."

So tonight Dana is getting a lovely vegetarian meal cooked for her.
Guilt may or may not be a motivating factor.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 16th, 2010 04:12 pm (UTC)
LOLLL I'm sorry but that is too funny about the DVR'd news! When I first moved to Florida I pretty much acted that way too whenever I heard about a storm. It's crazy but hey it can't hurt to be prepared.

I really wish I could make that chili but my boyfriend hates the morningstar crumbles in chili. :( I have tried it before and I think it's passable but he would prefer I make it with ground turkey. Morningstar crumbles on home made pizza tastes awesome and exactly like ground beef topping though (such as Domino's would have haha).

Oh and I have another vegetarian recipe that has been pleasing to the meat eaters that I know, but only if you can stand tofu. I make "tofu parmigiana" which is pretty much like eggplant or chicken parm but using slices of tofu that are drained extremely well. Sometimes I make it in a casserole dish with sauce and put mozzarella on top like actual chicken cutlet parm, and sometimes I just make "tofu cutlets" and eat them with a side dish or whatever. They are also good if you marinate the tofu in Italian salad dressing for a little while before you egg and bread them. Oh and I know Dana is on WW so if you use Nasoya Lite Firm tofu its like 30 calories a cutlet :D
Mar. 16th, 2010 04:28 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the tip...

Yeah when I was researching Veggie chili recipes, people were torn. Some HATED the veggie crumbles, some just cut up morningstarr patties. Some people left out the crumbles all together... saying it didn't need it.

I'm sure it could be made with turkey - just brown and season it and add it at the beginning of the recipe (i added it towards the end because I read on a lot of sites the crumbles tend to come apart if you add them too soon.

I personally love the crumbles and I would follow them to the end of the earth.
Brontis turned us on to them with his "taco buckets" and we use them all the time when we make vegan tacos... so yummy!

I will make the cutlets for dana! That's a really good recipe for us because my chicken cutlets are pretty much my favorite thing I make. I can't stand tofu - but I'll give it a whirl... worse case I will slip one chicken cutlet into the tray.

Thanks Wendy!

Mar. 16th, 2010 09:37 pm (UTC)
yay, thanks for the chili recipe! it sounds really good - i will make it soon, probably next month (since we're going away next week and i don't want the leftovers to go to waste). sounds like it makes a TON of chili, though... maybe i should invite some friends over.
Mar. 16th, 2010 11:20 pm (UTC)
I was going to say that in the recipe... it does make a ton of chili so invite over friends!

I made it, Dana and I are it for dinner one night...
Then the next night, like I said we had company and everyone had two bowls and we still had a ton left over...

plus you can also freeze half of the batch...
Mar. 16th, 2010 11:23 pm (UTC)
I tried to google dumpcake to show you what it looks like, and all of the pictures I came across look horrible and underdone...

I should start photographing my dumpcakes - apparently mine are thoroughbreds!
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )