Saturday, April 6, 2019

Starting #WFPB in April, Episode 6

Ok, we started on Monday with an empty freezer (apart from staples) at the beginning of the month, and sofar I've still got some frozen pea soup and a few left overs (in the fridge). During the week I also shared some meals with a neighbor, for with a single person household, I tend to always cook too much, and I don't want to eat leftovers all the time. For the rest, from what it looks like, I'll make roast cauliflower over rice for tonight and cook ahead some soup for the week.

Part of creating a cooking system for me is to use certain containers always for the same purpose. In this case, I use one container for oatmeal, so washing it and putting it aside, is my reminder that evening to cook oatmeal overnight. My oatmeal is always for 2 days. The same goes for another staple, my kale salad, when that container is half way, I know to bring another bunch of kale, and steam it (I prefer steaming, but that's personal, you could cook it in water). I have a method that involves my induction cooktop, 12 minutes to bring the water to a boil, and then I steam the kale for 15 minutes and I let it drain for a while over the sink, so I do not put it away too soggy. Then I cut it up in about 1-1/2" squares on the cutting board, and mix it with the other ingredients.


At breakfast, I ended up milling some flax seed for the week (again, do not buy it milled, mill it yourself), which I keep in a jar in the fridge, and I use it about twice a day, in my steel cut oats at breakfast and in salads. The other additions I use a lot is chia seeds and hemp hearts.

The oatmeal was ready in the rice cooker at 6:30 and all I needed to do was add a grated apple, a half pint of blueberries, cocoa nibs, 2 tbsp of raisins, 1 tbsp of goji berries, and cinnamon, and let it go for another 5-10 mins on "keep warm." After that just add in a sliced banana, and some blackberries. I never cook my oatmeal with anything other than water, but if people prefer some plant milk, you can add that at serving time - just mix it in and the oatmeal will simply be a bit more liquid, but some folks like that taste better, and using plant-based milk, you are fine.


It was time to steam a bunch of kale, and prepare my usual kale and sweet potato salad, and this time I decided to mince some fresh garlic, which is incredibly healthy. I minced it really fine. Other than that, I cut up a sweet potato in cubes, with skin (high ORAC value), added some mustard seeds, and a drizzle of balsamic and mixed it up really good.


This is saturday, right? Cucumber salad, some left overs, and a piece of toast with home made hummus.

Hummus with endless variations

1 can of chickpeas, drained, preserving some 1/4 cup of aqua fava
whatever spices you prefer. Today, I am making it with chopped parsley and a table spoon of paprika powder, plus I'll add in some minced sundried tomatoes after it's made.
Put the chickpeas with 1/4 cup aqua fava, and the spices in your Magic Bullet, or whatever herb grinder you use, and go to it. 

A note about knifery

You will note that I 'cut up' things, or I 'mince' them, I do not 'chop.' It all depends what your knife habits are. Chopping is a crude method, and it will make your knives dull fast. I keep my knives nice and sharp and I cut, or mince things, as needed. I also do not scrape the cutting board with my knife, which people do who have dull knives in their kitchen. That is anathema to me, though you can scoop up stuff off the board without endangering the edge of the knife.


The last of the leftovers from the week, while cooking a kitchen sink soup for the week. See here the recipe:

Umpteen Bean Soup

My own variation on the various bags with 13-16 beans, or so-called soup mix beans. The Link is just one example, there are a kazillion recipes available.


1 lb Soup Bean Mix (or whatever the name is, like 13 or 15 or 16 bean mix), soaked with a little kombu (kelp)
8 cups vegetable stock (or 4 cup water, 4 cup stock or all water!)
2-4 onions, chopped yellow or vidalia onions are great here
1 tsp savory
3-6 cloves garlic, minced
3 chilis minced
1 jalapeno minced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

2-3 stalks celery with tops, chopped
2-4 carrots, peeled and cut-up
1/4 tsp himalayan salt and fresh black pepper to taste
1/2 tsp of ground red pepper
1 dried bay leaf
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup of barley
juice of 1 lemon
Braggs Liquid Aminos to taste and some nutritional yeast to round out the flavor.

OPTIONALLY: other veggies as available, root vegetables such as parsnips, or taro (aka edo, or coco), turnips, ginger, fennel, celeriac, turmeric, potato, rutabaga


  • You can cook them directly (dry) in the Instant Pot, for 45 mins or so. I usually soak them and then cook them in the Instant Pot for just 5 mins or so, while I am prepping the other stuff. You can add in the savory during this phase.
  • Then, to cook the soup, I start with the onions, chilis and jalapenos, 5 mins at medium/high, no stirring. By the end of five minutes the lower layer of onions should be starting to turn brown.
  • Add in the garlic and gradually add 2-3 ice cubes of veggie broth, while doing another 5 mins on medium/high, with constant stirring.
  • add in the turmeric and spices while simmering on medium low
  • add in the beans from the Instant Pot, and add in the savory, if you had not done so before.
  • Now you can simply cut up the veggies and add them in and keep adding some veggie broth, or water. I used tow packs of veggie broth this time.
End result: I have a HUGE bowl of soup for lunch today, and I have a container of soup in the fridge for during the week, plus I froze about 6 quart size freezer bags of soup for another time. In short, since the start of the month, I have now built up 10 portions of frozen soup, and whenever I am in a hurry, I can just heat up a frozen soup and combine with a generous salad with quinoa, and I have a nice lunch. It's all part of making your cooking into a system. After all, there are always times when you have no time to cook. I don't have a microwave, so my reheating of frozen soup means melting it in a bowl of hot water and then pouring it into a double boiler. In that time I can be making my salad, so I have about 30 min prep time for a great lunch.

Note 1: Today I added some edo, a parsnip, some broccoli, turmeric, ginger.

Note 2: The kombu and savory add flavor and nutrients but specifically also are thought to help making beans easier to digest. In fairness, over time, you get used to digesting beans, it is really not a problem, except to people who for a long time already have not been getting enough fiber.

Here is the low down on the health value of Kombu which is a form of kelp - note you can overdo it: This is an interesting site to consult. Notice that some of the iodide cooks off.

Overall, you might want to pay some attention to get some sea veggies into your food... here's a great info source:

Here is another piece: there is just one disease, which is bad diet.
A recent report from The Lancet confirms the same thing - Diet is the #1 leading cause of premature death world-wide.

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