Sunday, December 27, 2009

Vegetable Stew - More From the CSA!

Ok, not really...the shares stopped the first of the month, but I'm still using up what I had in the freezer...tonight I felt like lots of veggies, and since I can't think of a better way to do that than soup, that's what I tried to do.

But probably you have figured out that what I start doing seldom finishes that way? :)

I ended up tossing in everything but the kitchen sink for a thick Italian-style stew with not a speck of meat. Unless you count the teensy bit of anchovies in Worchestershire Sauce? If you do? Leave it out.

The whole thing is a miniscule 3 points per serving on Weight Watchers (and that's only if it serves 8. I'm thinking that will be huge servings!

I used:
4 cups of vegetable stock (I bought prepared, but you can obviously make your own)
2 cans of stewed tomatoes with Italian flavoring
1 can of dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups of whole wheat rotini pasta (the corkscrews!)
3/4 cup sliced mushrooms
about 2 cups of frozen eggplant (CSA)
about 2 cups of frozen carrots (CSA)
about 1.5 cups of frozen green beans (CSA)
4 cloves of garlic (CSA)
3/4 of a package of frozen green, yellow, and red peppers and onions
about 1 cup of diced celery
2 Tbls of Worchestershire Sauce (to taste, I shake it in, without measuring, and you can, as stated, leave it out, but then you'll need to adjust your seasonings)
Salt and pepper (fresh ground) to taste
1 Tbls Oregano, dried
(feel free to add any seasonings you like - I even tossed in some garlic & herb Mrs. Dash!)

All of this can either be tossed in the slow cooker to cook all day, or, as I did, toss it in the stock pot and cook it on top of the stove for a couple of hours, or until you think it's done.

I will enjoy this tonight with whole grain bread and my allowed 2 tsp. of olive oil seasoned with Italian dipping herbs...(Have I mentioned how much I love Weight Watchers for requiring healthy oils every day?)

Here's a photo of the stew:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Intriguing Reading...

I recently read a thread on Ravelry's Simple Living group that mentioned a book I'd missed along the way (hard to imagine, that a simple living tract would get by me, but they do! *wink*)

I found it at the library and read it over a few evenings...savoring her thinking as I went. It's called Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping by Judith Levine.

The thought of not shopping at all for an entire year (other than food and necessities) strikes terror in my mind - I am a retailer, after all. But the concept of being very aware of my purchases, being certain that what I buy is useful, beautiful, and fills a specific need? That I can buy...and determine not to buy unnecessary, un-useful STUFF for the sake of buying? Yes.

So just for the record, since I'm determined to eradicate most of my debt and also to make "catch-up" funding of my retirement account a priority, getting clear about what's an important purchase and what's not is pretty critical. I've already decided that I'm notorious in the grocery aisle. So I'm instituting a plan to take cash out of my paycheck each payday and put it in an envelope and when the money is gone, I eat what I've got, or perhaps go hungry (but don't bet on that, there's food in the larder!) - and shopping with a list and doing some menu planning. The idea, of course, is to buy what's needed and not what isn't. To reduce waste (yes, I do waste food, and it makes me very unhappy)...

(oh, and just for the record, there will be no participation in the CSA this year, because it just was too much food - it's a good deal for large families, or even for those with a chest freezer, or canner, but it's not a good place for my money. It taught me much, and for that I'm grateful...not the least of which is that I LOVE Swiss Chard!! *wink*) might see more about all this in upcoming posts.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Fortunately, I'm Not Weird About a Touch of Over-baked-ness!

I've been pretty darn good these couple of months on Weight Watchers, but I've had a craving for pizza and was determined to find a way to enjoy it. Ok...that's a bit dark across the top, but it was still really good.

The details? Easy. One of those wonderful Boboli Whole Wheat Pizza shells. Then I made my own tomato base with a can of paste, and added about 1/4 cup of water to thin it just a bit (actually? I used the water I'd used to rinse out my spaghetti sauce jar and had frozen to add to something - stew base, pizza sauce or another spaghetti sauce who cares? It's not wasting anything I'm interested in). I finished up the Morningstar Farms recipe crumbles from the bag I used to make my spaghetti sauce some weeks ago. Added in 2 cloves of garlic minced and a very small red onion, minced very fine (both from the CSA share). I had bits of Stoplight Peppers (red, yellow, and green) so that together, chopped finely, they totalled about 1 cup. I didn't have any fresh mushrooms, but instead added in a can of stems and pieces. The sauce got a goodly dash of dried oregano, too. On top, I used the reduced fat mozzarella cheese sticks - 3 of them - and I peeled them to cover the entire top. Next time, I'll spray that with olive oil cooking spray to see if it will melt a bit better, and perhaps not brown so quickly.

The Boboli says to bake at 450 for 8-10 minutes and time got away from me. Still it was really good, and I ate two pieces, which came in at 8 points according to Weight Watcher's Recipe Builder. I'm not one who can eat just one slice of pizza, so I have always loaded mine with tons of veggies over everything else, just to keep the healthiness in it...If I left off the recipe crumbles (which it would have been just as good without) the count would come in around 7 points per 2 slice serving.

I hope that photo doesn't turn you off. I was disappointed with myself, but I guess it shows that I really really am an amateur when it comes to this cooking stuff!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

It Snowed Today!

It wasn't a lot, but it came down steadily after pouring rain overnight and this morning in the early hours. Changed over about 8 a.m...and continued into the afternoon. My plans to go south were dashed, as it was worse there than here. And tonight? The temperatures are to drop into the low 20s! That's winter in these parts...

I knew I had to use up some of the winter veggies from the CSA share, and will be continuing to show you some of that as the days go by here at Nana Sadie's Place. I'm happy to report on another Weight Watchers Etools recipe here:

I had everything called for, so didn't have to shop. It's called Barley and Roasted Vegetable Pilaf and is a whopping 4 points for a full cup of turnips, butternut squash (yes, I have 3 more...and I put a full quart bag in the freezer with the balance of the one I cut up for this recipe!), red onion (which doesn't look all that red, does it?). Barley of course. And cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and cumin. I punched mine up more than the recipe calls for, as it was bland to my taste, but I love spicey, Moroccan (and Indian) food. I also halved the recipe. It says it'll keep for 3 days in the fridge, but making 6 servings, there's no way I can finish all that in 3 days - and the freezer is pretty much full!

But I can vouch for this one - it was a wonderful addition to the last of my turkey breast from last Sunday night.