Piled High Nacho Fries (an easy plant based supper)

We particularly love Thrive magazine, which can be found at places like Vitamin Cottage or Whole Foods. It is a thick, colorful, book-like magazine filled with beautiful synopses of bloggers, Instagrammers, and vegans who share tidbits of recipes. The food photography and the visual inspiration is astounding. Since I rarely follow a recipe word for word, this type of “recipe” book is perfect for me. We look for it when we get to the health food store. We have missed several issues along the way, but when we see it, it is like we have won a great scavenger hunt.

Years ago, we came across a recipe in Volume 9 for fabulous looking Carno-Asada Fries by Chris Petrellese @consciouschris if you are on Instagram. I am not sure why this is, but when we go vegan, we have so much more fun cooking at home. We typically cook more often together and have a good time ad libbing recipes and enjoying the plates of vibrant, delicious food that result. We save all our Thrive magazines, and this recipe is one we come back to time and again. This is our variation of it (which changes each time we make it!):

Nacho Fries

At least 2 hours before you make dinner, put 1 cup of raw cashews into a bowl of water to soak!

  • 4 large russet potatoes- peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch fries. Place potatoes in a bowl and drizzle well with olive oil and mix.
  • Spread out onto a cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, or until crisp, flipping fries over half way through.
  • Heat up some veggie ground meat. You can purchase already seasoned chipotle or taco meat-style, or buy plain and season it yourself with cumin, chipotle, taco seasoning, salt, pepper, etc. (Another fun idea that we used to do in the past for veggie meat was to soak walnuts in a bowl of water for a few hours, strain, run through the food processor with taco seasoning and wallah! Taco meat!)
  • Make the queso- (Let me just real quick tell you how much I love queso. Real queso is made from some pretty sketchy ingredients and it usually makes me feel pretty gross, so I LOVE cashew queso. Same addictive taste but ever so much better for me!)
  • Strain the cashews and add them to a Vitamix or other powerful blender.
  • Add in:
  • 1 Tablespoon or more Sriracha
  • 4 Tablespoons of nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 cup of hot water
  • Blend completely. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Serve crispy fries with loads of veggie taco meat, queso, shredded ice berg or romaine lettuce, diced tomatoes, cilantro, and guacamole for a delicious, healthy, fun supper!

Bringing Back Sunday Dinner (and an easy dinner to prepare)

Norman Rockwell’s famous dinner party.

Sunday feels symbolic of family and spending time together. In old homesteading and farming memoirs I have read, the families go visitin’ after church, or family comes to see them every Sunday. A chicken or two inevitably gets plucked and the sound of children running around while the adults chat can be heard through pages of books and memories. I love the idea of bringing Sunday dinner back. (Dinner traditionally being lunch, whereas Supper is actually the later meal.)

My cousin had come from two hours north to visit me. She hadn’t seen our new farm yet and after much chattering and catching up, she spent night. As she sat on the couch sipping coffee, catching up on news, my husband drinking his and waiting for football to start, I texted my best friend, Tina, and invited her and her husband over. I had a chicken defrosted.

I had harvested some things before we moved out of our old house and into this one a few months ago, so the meat chickens were in the freezer, my homegrown potatoes and onions were in the pantry, and I had jars of green beans. A half stale loaf of homemade onion bread became stuffing and a bottle of local Pinot Noir was opened.

I drizzled olive oil in the bottom of a cast iron Dutch oven, and placed fingerling potatoes all over the bottom. They need a sprinkling of salt and pepper. I then used my fingers to rub the chicken with olive oil and gave it a good rub with New Mexican red chile and other spices. That went breast down into the pan on top of the potatoes. Cook the chicken with the lid off for 15 minutes at 425 degrees, then lower the temperature to 350 degrees and replace lid. Total, the chicken will cook for 15 minutes per pound.

I let the chicken rest on a platter for 10 minutes, moved the potatoes to a bowl, heated up the green beans with butter, and made a quick gravy with cream and flour in the broth that was left at the bottom of the Dutch oven. The stuffing came out, the chicken was cut up, and everyone feasted. The chicken was tender and delicious, the stuffing crisp, the potatoes soft and the green beans reminiscent of summer.

Rusty, Tina, me, and Julie. Doug is taking the photo.

Nothing has to be difficult to prepare. The table settings simple. The conversation and connection is the important thing. Sunday dinner is a very nice tradition to bring back.

Three Chile Mole Chili (5 minute dinner!)

I needed to get to the shop.  We were loading things into the car.  We weren’t getting home until kind of late.  We don’t have the money to keep eating out.  What to do?  Throw everything into a large crockpot and run out the door, of course!  We came home to the smells of savory hot chili wafting through the house welcoming us in.  Doug opened us each a Vanilla Porter and I poured us a few bowls of flavorful chili.  The prep time was about five minutes.  Well worth it, I tell you.

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Three Chile Mole Chili

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Into a large crockpot, or half the recipe for a regular sized one, add the following:

1 cup of dried pinto beans

1 cup of dried kidney beans

1 package of meatless ground (we like Quorn brand…so good, non-GMO)

1 jar of 505 green chili

1 large can or jar of diced tomatoes

1 quart of broth

Then add more or less:

2 teaspoons of Mole seasoning (it’s cocoa and chile and amazing)

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

1 teaspoon of cumin

1 teaspoon of red chile powder (New Mexican preferably)

1/2 teaspoon of chipotle powder

(I get my spices from Savory)

Now put it on low and run out the door!  Eight hours later your are boss of dinner.