Category Archives: Photos

Soup in August

I feel like I’m getting a handle on what herbs and spices work together to make a delicious soup.  You can add almost any vegetable to round out the flavor.  It’s all about being  a “minestrone” which means, you can use what ever vegetables you have and amounts are flexible!

Here is what I’ve come up with for a milder seasoning.                                                         (I use more of the spicy stuff for chili):

2 teaspoons of Chile Lime Seasoning Blend (Trader Joe’s)

2 teaspoons chili powder

1/4 teaspoon Umami Seasoning Blend (Trader Joe’s – Mushroom & Company)

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon ground fennel

1/4 teaspoon curry powder

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 Bay leaf

I mix these up and add them in layers because I read somewhere that it helps the flavors blend.

For the actual soup:

First I sauté (in water or broth) a cup or so of onions along with stalk or two of celery (including some of the leafy part).

Once this cooks a bit, I add in about a cup of the broth and sprinkle in some of the spice mixture, then I add in a couple of carrots and a sweet pepper — sometimes red, sometimes green and sometimes a mix.

Next comes a 16 oz can of diced tomato –  I add a teaspoon or so of sugar to mellow this out — it’s still good without the sugar, though.

Then I add in some kidney beans (white and red) or any kind of beans I have on hand.

For variety, I sometimes include a cup or so of red lentils.

After I add in each item, I sprinkle a little more of the spice mix.

After adding in the beans, I pour in the rest of the broth.  I use about 16 ounces of

low-sodium vegetable broth and about a cup or so of water.  Then I add in the bay leaf.

After the soup simmers for about 20 minutes, I add in sliced zucchini and a cup of peas and a cup of corn — anything that needs less time to soften.

After another 30 minutes, it’s blended and ready to go.

Ingredient list for the soup:

1 16-oz box of vegetable broth

1 cup of water

1 cup diced onion

2 stalks celery

2 carrots

1 sweet pepper 

1 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes

2  15-ounce cans of beans

1 cup corn

1 cup peas

1 cup red lentils

1 zucchini sliced (green or yellow – or both)

P.S.  One thing I like about retirement is that it’s so great to have TIME to cook.  It’s kind of therapeutic and fun — and being retired, means I can take my time and I like that!



Any Three Beans…

Since I had some left-over kidney beans and pinto beans, I made a bean salad with them.

I added in about a quarter cup of diced celery and a quarter cup of diced onion and one diced hard-boiled egg — just leave that egg out to make it vegan and it will still be good! Crushed some slightly dried dill from the garden into the mix and also a dash of salt and pepper.

I used about a 1/8 of a cup of Vegenaise and about a teaspoon of mustard and stirred that in.  (I bet dried mustard would be a good addition — about 1/4 teaspoon or so).

I had a few Italian green beans from our garden so I cut them and sautéed them for a few minutes in just a little water to soften them.

And there it is.  A quick and easy salad.  


Playing with Pencils and Colors ✏️ 🖍

If it’s not worth doing it badly

Is it even worth doing today?

Can I struggle and play and discuss it?

Without getting lost in the fray?

Might have to be willing to fail

Might have to be willing to fall

Who Knows? but I’m playing

with pencils

and colors

as if it doesn’t matter at all




In a Blue Dish

Today’s harvest!

Peach Crunch

The peachy part:

Six peaches (as pictured)

1/4 cup brown sugar                                                                                                                            3 tablespoons instant tapioca                                                                                                   Pinch of salt                                                                                                                                  Pinch of ground nutmeg                                                                                                                 1/8 tsp cinnamon

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

Put ingredients in a pan on low heat and stir until blended then cover and let it simmer for about 10 or 15 minutes, stirring frequently.

The Crunchy Part:

1/4 cup finely ground oats                                                                                                                          Plus 1/4 cup minute oats                                                                                                                            

1/2 cup King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour (regular flour works, too).                                                                                                            

1/8 cup ground flax

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon                                                                                                                Pinch of salt                                                                                                                                    Pinch of nutmeg

1/4 cup Earth Balance & sunflower oil, mixed together                                                          (you can always use butter instead)

Mix dry ingredients, then cut in oil mixture (or butter) with a fork until blended into pieces.  I usually end up using my fingers to break it all up and make sure dry stuff is buttery.

Pour peach mixture into baking dish and top with crumbly mixture.                                       Bake at 425 degrees for about 10 minutes; reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 25 minutes or until bubbly and crust is crusty or browned.  Gluten-free flour tends not to brown much at all.

Note:  You can leave out ground flax if you don’t like that and you can add in other things, like pecans if you do like that.  It’s a very flexible recipe.

Tastes great on its own or with ice-cream or whipped topping.




Mixed-up Meatloaf

Being retired means I can take my time and create something good to eat and relaxing to prepare. For example, this made-up meditative meatloaf mishmash.


1/4 cup cream of rice (uncooked)

Small chopped zucchini 🥒🍆

1/2 orange pepper 

Stalk of celery – diced

One small diced carrot🥕

About a 1/2 cup of chopped onion

1/2 cup of panko crumbs ( I used gluten-free) bread 🍞

Two tablespoons of ground golden flax seed 🥄

About a cup of diced mushrooms

Two sliced mushrooms for topping

Teaspoon of chives for topping

Two teaspoons coconut aminos 🥥 (I use Trader Joe’s)

One pound ground turkey

SPICES: about 1/8 tsp each of salt, pepper, paprika; 1/4 tsp each of thyme, poultry seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, basil, ground fennel seed; a teaspoon of chopped chives from garden (dried for a couple of days on counter)                                                  🌿 🌿🌯

Lightly sauté onions, celery, carrots, pepper, mushrooms and zucchini. Just to soften a bit.

Mix it all up–spice and everything else.

Fold into casserole dish. Top with sliced mushrooms, chives and about two teaspoons of coconut aminos– if you feel like it.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.  From what I gather from other people’s recipes, 160-165 degrees is the temperature to shoot for.  

Ingredients are pictured above.  

Second photo shows the loaf before baking.  

A bite is missing from the third photo – had to try it after baking in case it didn’t pan out but it did pan out — I liked it!

It’s a beautiful day!


A Sprig of Spring



A splash of sun

A sprig of spring

A stunning rebirth

As life goes green


Mangos, Strawberries and Spinach, Oh My…

New blender arrived today and now I’m all happy making a smoothie!