Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Mediterranean Inspired One-dish Meal With A Southern Flair

This Minnesota weather has been quite different than what is normal this time of year. A delayed spring just does something to the body, that junk food seems to alleviate.

I have made three kinds of cookies, a brownie, a breakfast cracker and mini muffins over the past two weeks!  At least, I am working on the cookbook again.

Usually Spring is warm with fresh berries and birds singing.  A week ago, a robin was walking on the lawn when the snow started again.  At the time, all of the snow had melted minus a few small mounds..  The poor bird didn’t even fly away although I was nearby. Wonder what happened to the robin, as it has snowed three times with freezing temperatures since.

Today, I decided to cook rice for dinner and then decide what to go with it.  For me, it is best to just make a one-dish meal and be done with it!

I fell in love with Black Japonica rice a few years ago, because, I was refraining from eating rice at all.  It is a mixture of black, brown and white rice, planted together in the same field. That makes it easier to mix rice without having to buy three kinds of rice.

I saw some really good fresh okra about two weeks ago, so I prepped it and froze it because I knew I would be using it within two weeks. 

Tonight, I cooked rice and pulled together some vegetables and made a meal!

No salt was added, the seasonings were enough

Mediterranean Inspired One-dish Meal With A Southern Flair


 Mediterranean Inspired One-dish Meal With A Southern Flair



1/2 cup black Japonica rice, soaked for 4 hours

1/2 cup Long Grain Brown Rice, soaked for 4 hours

2 tbsp olive oil, or less

1 12-oz bag  frozen cut green beans

2 cups okra, trimmed, cut into no larger than 1/2 inch pieces

1 cup carrots, diced

1 cup portabella mushrooms, diced




1 inch piece ginger, thinly sliced, diced

2 tbsp chopped basil

1 tbsp Italian herb mix (squeeze tube)

1 tbsp Bragg's Organic Sprinkle( or other dried herb seasoning )

4 garlic cloves, roasted in oil


Add last

2 tbsp sesame seeds

1/3 cup pine nuts




Soak the rice separately for about 4 hours.

soaking rice


Rinse and drain the rice, place it in 2 cups boiling water with 1 tbsp oil. Reduce heat to a simmer for 15 minutes.  Turn heat off and test for tenderness.


As the rice is cooking, heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large iron skillet, add the Seasonings and stir to blend, add the okra and stir, Stir in the portabellas. Place top on skillet to allow okra to steam for 5 minutes.


 Mediterranean Inspired One-dish Meal With A Southern Flair - adding portabellas


------If the garlic is raw, dice it finely and add it to the skillet at the same time as the Seasonings, so it will cook.-----


Microwave the carrots 5 minutes. Stir in the carrots.


Mediterranean Inspired One-dish Meal With A Southern Flair - adding carrots


Microwave the green beans 5 minutes. Drain and add to skillet.   Stir to mix.


Mediterranean Inspired One-dish Meal With A Southern Flair - adding green beans


Stir in the drained cooked rice


Mediterranean Inspired One-dish Meal With A Southern Flair - adding rice


Stir in the sesame seeds.  Stir in the pine nuts.


Mediterranean Inspired One-dish Meal With A Southern Flair - adding sesame seeds


Mediterranean Style - Southern Flair - Vegetarian Stir-fry - adding pine nuts


Stir and allow seeds to warm to temperature of skillet.


Mediterranean Inspired One-dish Meal With A Southern Flair




Mediterranean Inspired One-dish Meal With A Southern Flair



Servings: 6 (to 8)


Nutrition (per serving): 303 calories, 12.8g total fat, 5.4g monounsaturated fat, 4g polyunsaturated fat, 0g trans fatty acids, <1g alpha linolenic acid, 1.4g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 32.4mg sodium, 106.7mg calcium, 1131.7mg potassium, 97.1mcg folate, 364.1mg phosphorus, 50.2mg phytosterols, <1mcg lycopene, 21.4mcg selenium, <1mg thiamin, <1mcg vitamin b12, <1mg vitamin b6, 18.5mg vitamin c, 2.4mg zinc, 43.7g carbohydrates, 8.2g fiber, 35.5g net carbohydrates, 5.7g sugar, <1g fructose, <1g galactose, <1g glucose, 0g lactose, 0g maltose, 1.3g sucrose, 10.4g protein.

© 2013

Monday, April 15, 2013

It’s USA Tax Day! Do you Need A Smoothie?

I have been ‘working’ on my returns for about two months, but stopped because of the tax software glitch.  Minnesota stopped accepting returns prepared with the software I was using until it was fixed.  So I set mine aside and ‘sort of’ forgot that I still needed to finish it.

Thursday night, I realized that I only had a few days to get it done. So, quickly downloaded the updates, crossed check the deductions, recalculated all deductions by calculator and compared to tax software…..  Finally printed off draft copies of the ‘official’ forms for review.

By Sunday night, I decided to file Federal online and allow an ACH transfer for the balance. But, decided to do another quick check for the SS 1099 and discovered that I had taken the wrong number and was paying too much tax. Quickly, I changed the numbers and sent it to IRS.

Prior to my doing the last check, I had written checks for IRS balance, Minnesota balance, IRS first estimated payment and Minnesota first estimated payment!

The only advice I can give, that I didn’t take, is plan for taxes all year long, beginning in January! If you just cannot file by the deadline, file an extension! 

How to file that extension:

Now, relax and enjoy this smoothie to ‘smooth’ out the wrinkles from the stress of filing your taxes! It’s creamy and “smoothy”….

This is very filling and can be shared.  I tend to eat this mornings and go until around 4:00PM without another meal, because it keeps hunger away.

Appropriately named -

 2013Tax Day Smoothie

2013 Tax Day Smoothie - served



1 small orange cut into slices

1/3 small avocado  (1/3 of fruit)

1/2 med banana, frozen, sliced

1/3 cup frozen strawberries, sliced

1/2 kiwi, cut into chunks, frozen

1 cup broccoli, cut into small pieces, frozen

1/4 cup almonds, whole natural

1/2 scoop protein powder

1/2 cup crushed ice, as needed




Peel the orange and remove all white coating and strings.


2013 Tax Day Smoothie - orange


Place orange and avocado in the machine being used as a blender, and then add the others, including the protein powder, if using, except ice.



 2013 Tax Day Smoothie - blender


Add ice last over the top, gently dropping it onto the powder, so it will not fly around. Pulse and scrape down the sides of the blender as needed.


This spatula works great, because the blades will not cut it as easily as a soft one


hard spatula


After the mixture is completed blended, remove the blender blade, carefully scrape it down, if needed.  Continue holding it by the tip and rinse it under water, using a sprayer if needed.  Place in a safe area, so no one could have it fall or be injured with the cutting blade.


Ninja Blender blade




Serve in parfait glasses. Eat with a spoon.


2013 Tax Day Smoothie   


Final check, stamped the envelopes and enjoyed that smoothie!


2013 Tax Day Smoothie - final tax prep


Servings: 1


With almonds - worth adding them!


Nutrition (per serving): 513 calories, 26.3g total fat, 15.6g monounsaturated fat, 5.4g polyunsaturated fat, <1g trans fatty acids, <1g trans-monoenoic fatty acids, <1g trans-polyenoic fatty acids, 4.3g linoleic acid, 2.4g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 220.5mg sodium, 211.4mg calcium, 1387.8mg potassium, 175.9mcg folate, 305.9mg phosphorus, 9.4mg phytosterols, 0mcg lycopene, 4.9mcg selenium, <1mg thiamin, 0mcg vitamin b12, <1mg vitamin b6, 204mg vitamin c, 0IU vitamin d, 2.1mg zinc, 55.7g carbohydrates, 16.6g fiber, 39.1g net carbohydrates, 27.6g sugar, 6.6g fructose, <1g galactose, 6.3g glucose, <1g lactose, <1g maltose, 3.1g sucrose, 2.3mg stigmasterol, 23.8g protein.


Without almonds


Nutrition (per serving): 308 calories, 8.7g total fat, 4.5g monounsaturated fat, 1.1g polyunsaturated fat, 1.1g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 220.2mg sodium, 117mg calcium, 1135.7mg potassium, 158.1mcg folate, 132.9mg phosphorus, 9.4mg phytosterols, 0mcg lycopene, 4mcg selenium, <1mg thiamin, 0mcg vitamin b12, <1mg vitamin b6, 204mg vitamin c, 0IU vitamin d, <1mg zinc, 47.9g carbohydrates, 12.2g fiber, 35.7g net carbohydrates, 26.2g sugar, 6.6g fructose, <1g galactose, 6.3g glucose, <1g lactose, <1g maltose, 1.8g sucrose, <1mg stigmasterol, 16.2g protein.



© 2013

Monday, April 8, 2013

My Favorite Coffee Cake - Gluten-Free Version

This is one good coffee cake!   Thanks to Cathy at The Dutch Bakers Daughter.

The coffee cake was made using a gluten free cake mix, a sugar-free pudding mix and reduced the amount of filling and glaze.

Basically follow the instructions on the cake mix box for mixing and baking, but include the additional ingredient list for the recipe. 

This is a large loaf cake, so it will take from 60 to 70 minutes to cook completely.

I baked it at 350F, but should have reduced the the temp to 325F, for gluten-free baking, so the crust didn’t brown so much.

Cathy's “My Favorite Coffee Cake

Cathy's My Favorite Coffee Cake


Cathy's My Favorite Coffee Cake - ingredients


Cathy's  My Favorite Coffee Cake - half way

Cathy's My Favorite Coffee Cake

Just out of the oven

Cathy's Favorite Coffee Cake - just out of oven


Cathy's  My Favorite Coffee Cake - ready

Sampling ………. Delicious!

Cathy's My Favorite Coffee Cake - enjoying a piece

As made, allowing 16 servings

Nutrition (per serving): 281 calories, 10.3g total fat, 2.8g monounsaturated fat, 1.4g polyunsaturated fat, 0g trans fatty acids, 0g trans-monoenoic fatty acids, <1g linoleic acid, 5.3g saturated fat, 70.8mg cholesterol, 324.3mg sodium, 33.8mg calcium, 31.1mg potassium, 8mcg folate, 81.5mg phosphorus, 1.3mg phytosterols, <1mcg lycopene, 4.2mcg selenium, <1mg thiamin, <1mcg vitamin b12, <1mg vitamin b6, <1mg vitamin c, 4.8IU vitamin d, <1mg zinc, 43.8g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, 43.6g net carbohydrates, 25.3g sugar, <1g fructose, <1g galactose, <1g glucose, <1g lactose, <1g maltose, <1g sucrose, <1mg stigmasterol, 2.9g protein.

Original recipe: My Favorite Coffee Cake

© 2013