terra, not terror

sharing ideas about a simpler way to live

Nutritionism January 31, 2008

Filed under: food — terra @ 12:00 pm

Check out this idea by Michael Pollan on Planet Green. He suggests a way of eating kind of like the “pronounceable diet” I wrote about a while ago, but more thorough. I think I like #1 the most.

Pollan calls our current way of eating “nutritionism,” meaning we focus on nutrients instead of food. He has some great suggestions that simplify our lives and help us eat healthier. Village Green has a great review of Pollan’s new book, In Defense of Food.


Friday Recipe: Rosemary Garbanzo Beans January 25, 2008

Filed under: food — terra @ 7:00 am

I got this from Instructables, created by canida.

1 onion
2 cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
chopped fresh rosemary
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 can tomatoes, or 2 fresh chopped tomatoes

Chop onion and saute in olive oil until soft. Open two cans of garbanzo beans, drain, and add to the pot. If you don’t drain enough liquid off you’ll have to wait for it to evaporate, which isn’t in keeping with a quick-prep dinner.

Add a nice big handful of coarsely-chopped rosemary, and a handful of chopped garlic. Stir and cook over medium-high heat until beans are warmed through. (one commenter suggested putting the beans in later – your choice) Add either a can of tomatoes or a double-handful of chopped fresh tomatoes to the pot, and stir.

Add any other seasonings you like: I (canida) recommend a bit of dry oregano and thyme, and possibly a dash of paprika or chili powder.

Cook over medium-high heat just long enough for all the ingredients to heat up and the tomatoes to break down and mingle. They’ll drop a bit more water, so if you forgot to drain the cans earlier you’ll really be sad. Make sure you’re cooking the mix at a simmer to get it moving quickly, but take care it doesn’t stick.

Note that the color changes as the beans and tomatoes both cook down a little bit. Call it done when everything is hot, the tomatoes have softened up, and the liquid has mostly disappeared. You want this to have a stew consistency.

Now that your beans have cooked down properly, taste and adjust the seasonings. Add salt, pepper, garlic, or lemon juice if it seems a bit flat.

Serve with chopped parsley or basil on top for extra style points. This also goes well on top of pasta, in which case you can leave a bit more juice/sauce on the beans.

Thanks, canida. This looks great!

For dessert… Chocolate chip french vanilla pudding cookies or Monkey Bread


FEED Bags Feed People January 18, 2008

Filed under: conserve, food, social consciousness — terra @ 12:00 pm

This reusable bag has a dual purpose – reducing waste and feeding children! The purchase of a FEED bag will provide food for a child in school for one year. The FEED program was created by Lauren Bush, UN World Food Programme Honorary Spokesperson (and niece of President George W Bush). This is an exciting and effective program because:

  • bag kidsBuying one World Food Programme FEED bag feeds a child in school for one school year.
  • School feeding acts as a magnet, dramatically increasing enrollment, sometimes by as much as 100 percent. It also improves performance at school; children concentrate better on a full stomach. Girls who go to school not only marry later but have half as many children as illiterate women. Furthermore, these children are healthier and better educated.
  • 10 cents a day or 20 dollars a year can transform a child’s life and provide the tools for a lifetime of self-reliance. School feeding is a simple but effective way to beat hunger and poverty.

The FEED bag costs about $60, but the impact is tremendous!

I found this story on Planet Green.


Friday Recipe: Penne with Peas, Grape Tomatoes and Ricotta January 18, 2008

Filed under: food — terra @ 7:00 am

2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1 pound penne rigate or ziti pasta
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese (or cottage cheese)
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves, chopped
1/4 cup freshly grated Romano cheese
2 teaspoons grated fresh lemon peel (from 1 lemon)
Salt and ground black pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pint grape tomatoes

1. Heat large covered saucepot of salted water to boiling over high heat.

2. Meanwhile, if using fresh peas, shell by running thumb along length of seam to open pod and release peas.

3. Add pasta to boiling water and cook as label directs. Add fresh peas to saucepot when pasta has 2 minutes cooking time remaining.

4. While pasta is cooking, in medium bowl, combine ricotta, parsley, Romano, lemon peel, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; set aside. In 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes and cook 6 to 8 minutes or until tomatoes burst and are heated through, shaking pan frequently. Remove skillet from heat.

5. Remove 1/2 cup pasta cooking water; set aside. Drain pasta and peas.

6. To skillet with tomatoes, add pasta with fresh peas (or thawed frozen peas) and reserved cooking water; stir to combine. Spoon into 6 bowls and dollop with ricotta mixture.

(based on individual servings)
Calories: 420
Total Fat: 7 g
Saturated Fat: 3 g
Cholesterol: 16 mg
Sodium: 395 mg
Carbohydrates: 70 g
Fiber: 6 g
Protein: 19 g

Originally published in . I found it on The Daily Green.


I ate at VegiTerranean on Friday… January 16, 2008

Filed under: food, local — terra @ 7:00 am

It was wonderful! Here is their new site, complete with lunch and dinner menus.

I took my husband there for his birthday, and it was well worth it. We started with the grilled artichoke appetizer, which he said was his favorite. Next was bread, which was so soft, it melted in your mouth. I had the Fresh Linguini with Portabella and Wild Mushroom Ragu. Amazing! The sauce was so fresh, you could still taste the wine flavor. (When we cook with wine, the flavor is never that intense.) He had the special, which was a Root Vegetable Risotto. The sauce had an earthy, nutty taste, which really highlighted the vegetables’ rich flavor.

For dessert, we had a raspberry-infused chocolate cupcake and some other chocolate cake with a butter cream frosting. The latter was better, although both were rich and delicious.

If you go, bring your appetite and your credit card. It’s not a cheap date. The lunch prices are a little better.
Based on the menu, I was expecting a more plush, warm environment. It was “modern,” I guess, with steel tables and lots of silver, black and light purple colors. Our waiter was friendly. I was glad to see the place was packed. If you didn’t have reservations, you weren’t getting in before 8:30 on Friday night.

We’ll be back for special occasions.


Friday Recipe: Rotini with Cheesy Zucchini (on Sunday) January 13, 2008

Filed under: food — terra @ 10:29 am

Rotini with Cheesy Zucchini


7 ounces rotini pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 1/2 cups small zucchini, sliced
salt and black pepper to taste
2/3 cup ricotta/soy cheese, crumbled (I always substitute cottage cheese instead of ricotta, as a healthy alternative)
1 handful basil, chopped

1. Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling water with a little salt and oil.

2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a heavy-based pan and very gently fry the garlic until soft (don’t let it brown).

3. Add the zucchini and gently stir-fry for 4-5 minutes. Season and set aside.

4. Drain the pasta and mix with the zucchini. Add the cheese, check the seasoning, garnish with basil, and serve immediately.

Calories: 714

I haven’t tried this yet – it’s on my shopping list for today. I hope you enjoy!

-The Daily Green


Friday Recipe: Postponed January 11, 2008

Filed under: food — terra @ 6:01 am

Sorry, I didn’t write a recipe today. Maybe I’ll do one this weekend.


Friday Recipe: Chili Mac January 4, 2008

Filed under: food — terra @ 7:00 am

Chili Mac can be made by combining a box of mac ‘n cheese with a can of chili, both prepared according to directions. Here’s a better way – homemade Chili Mac with fresh ingredients!

chopped onion
chopped green pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBSP chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (don’t use these if you don’t like hot stuff)
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes, undrained
1/2 lb firm tofu, drained and crumbled (or Boca fake ground meat)
2 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
7 oz wagon wheel (or any fun shape) pasta
1/2 cup cheddar cheese

1. Saute onion, green pepper, and garlic in an oiled dutch oven pot until tender. Add spices and saute 1 minute more, stirring. Stir in tomatoes adn tofu. Bring to a boil, reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered 15 minutes. (Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions.) Add kidney beans and cook 10 more mins, or until it’s thoroughly heated.

2. Serve by putting some pasta in each bowl and topping it with chili. Top with cheese while it’s hot.

291 calories
4.3g fat
16g protein
48g carbs
5mg cholesterol (or use soy cheese for 0 cholesterol)
sorry, no fiber listed

-Cooking Light Vegetarian Cookbook


Friday Recipe: Black Bean / Red Bean Chili December 21, 2007

Filed under: food — terra @ 7:00 am

Black Bean / Red Bean Chili

2 TBS olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
a dash of chili powder
a dash of cumin
28 oz. crushed tomato
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 TBS honey or maple syrup
1 1/2 cups water
14 oz can hominy, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup corn

1. Saute veggies. Add spices, tomatoes, beans, honey, water. Bring to boil. Reduce to low. Cook 45 minutes.

2. Garnish with corn and eat.

- Vegetarian Times

I haven’t tried this one, but it looks delicious. I think this will be a winter break meal for sure!


Friday Recipe: Three-Bean Soup (bonus vegan waffles!) December 14, 2007

Filed under: food — terra @ 7:51 am

Three-Bean Soup

2 TBS vegetable oil
1 large onion, diced
1 can navy beans, rinsed
1 can black beans, rinsed
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, or water
1 can Great Northern beans, rinsed

1. Heat oil in a large pot and saute the onion 2-3 minutes, or until soft. Add navy beans, black beans, and garlic. Continue stirring 8-10 minutes. Stir in 1 cup broth.

2. Meanwhile, blend Great Northern beans and remaining 1 cup broth in a food processor or blender. Pour puree into soup. Thin with more broth or water, if necessary.

3. Eat.

-Vegetarian Times, Nov./Dec. 2005


Vegan Waffles

What makes them vegan? They use applesauce instead of eggs. Pretty simple.

1 3/4 cup flour (always get unbleached flour)
2 tsp baking powder
1 TBS sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup applesauce
1 3/4 cup milk (soymilk, silknog, whatever)
1/2 cup vegetable oil

1. Mix dry ingredients.

2. Combine applesauce and milk. Stir into dry mix. Stir in oil. Pour into wafflemaker. You know what to do from here. :)

-adapted recipe from internet


Friday Recipe: Polenta Lasagna December 7, 2007

Filed under: food — terra @ 7:00 am

Polenta Lasagna

2 cups tomato sauce
precooked polenta (in a tube), cut into 16 slices
1/2 cup cottage cheese
2 TBSP pesto
mozzarella cheese

1. Assemble the lasagna. Preheat oven to 375F. Oil a 9-inch square baking dish. In a small bowl, stir together the cottage cheese and pesto. Season to taste with salt and pepper (or none). Layer the polenta slices and pesto mixture in the baking dish (the polenta pieces are kind of laying on each other like dominoes). Top with the remaining tomato sauce and mozzarella.

2. Bake the lasagna. Bake until cheese is melted and the lasagna is heated through, about 20 minutes. Serve hot.

Serves 4

- Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast: Vegetarian

This dish can be preheated, because it doesn’t take much time to assemble. I’ve read lately that there is no need to preheat the oven. You can just turn it on so it will be the right temperature, but don’t preheat for the entire time it takes to prepare a meal.

In the spring and summer, use fresh basil, pinenuts, garlic, and parmesean cheese to make fresh pesto. You can’t beat it!


Friday Recipe: Pasta and Bean Skillet November 30, 2007

Filed under: food — terra @ 7:00 am

Pasta and Bean Skillet

1 cup salsa
2/3 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
3/4 cup water
2 tsp chili powder
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar (or Soy Cheddar)

1. Heat all ingredients except cheese to boiling in 10-inch skillet; reduce heat to low.

2. Cover and simmer about 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until macaroni is just tender. Sprinkle with cheese.

Serves 4. You could also substitute the elbow macaroni with small shells, farfalle (bow-tie), penne, or ziti.

- from a Betty Crocker Vegetarian cookbook that I got in a grocery line a few years ago

Question: Have you tried any of the polenta or cornmeal recipes? Do you like them? Should I keep posting them?


Friday Recipe: Mexicali Pie November 16, 2007

Filed under: food — terra @ 7:00 am

Mexicali Pie

2 TBS oil
1 med onion, chopped
1 chile, seeded, chopped (I don’t use the chile)
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 TBS all-purpose flour
1 12-oz pkg. soy crumbles
28 oz can tomatoes

Cornbread Topping
1 cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 TBS light brown sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 eggs, separated (try 1/2 cup tofu as replacement)
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup canola oil
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 small jalapeno, seeded, finely chopped (I don’t use this either)

1. Make filling. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, 5-6 minutes. Add chile and cook 2 minutes. Stir in corn, flour, and soy crumbles, breaking up with wooden spoon. Stir in tomatoes. Bring to a simmer, cook 5 minutes. Add salt to taste.

2. Transfer mixture to greased 1 1/2 qt baking dish. Preheat oven to 400F. (the dish seems too small, but it works. if you want, you can use a larger dish)

3. Cornbread Topping: Combine cornmeal, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in large bowl, and mix well; set aside. Wish egg yolks (or tofu) in separate bowl. Whisk in buttermilk and oil. Set aside. Beat egg whites in separate bowl until soft peaks form. (We’ve never done this step and it works fine)

4. Make well in dry ingredients and pour in buttermilk mixture. Mix just until combined. Add green onions and jalapeno. Fold in egg whites. Pour over vegetable mixture.

5. Bake until topping is cooked through, about 45 minutes. Cool 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

- Vegetarian Times, Feb 2006

This is an all-time favorite recipe of ours. It looks like a lot of work, but it’s totally worth it. Even the meat-eaters will love it.

Here are some modifications we’ve done:
*instead of 12 oz soy crumbles,  use 1/2 soy crumbles and a can of black beans
*instead of chile and jalapeno, I use a green pepper
*when something calls for 2 cans of tomatoes, I always use 1 can, and 2 fresh tomatoes
*Buttermilk substitution: 1 tsp vinegar + 1 cup milk (or soymilk)


Friday Recipe: Spanish Bean Stew November 9, 2007

Filed under: food — terra @ 7:00 am

I found this recipe in a wonderful cookbook I got for my birthday. I’m surprised at how easy the recipes are.

Spanish Bean Stew

olive oil
yellow onion, chopped
2 cups vegetable broth (we used 1/2 broth, 1/2 water)
1 carrot, chopped
1 leek, white part only, halved, rinsed, and coarsely chopped (leeks are like onions)
2 tsp Spanish or Hungarian paprika
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 lb green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cans kidney or pinto beans

1. Prepare the onions. In a large saucepan, saute onions until soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer 1/2 of the onion to a blender. Add the broth, process until smooth, and set aside.

2. Finish the stew. Return the pan to medium-high heat and heat the remaining 1 TBL oil. Add the carrot and leek to the remaining onion and saute until the leek is tender, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and stir in the paprika and garlic, and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add the green beans, kidney beans, and pureed onion broth, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender-crisp, 8-10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper (which we never have to use, divide among soup bowls and enjoy.

- Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast: Vegetarian