Category: In the Kitchen/Recipes

Our Little House Peach Dump Cake

As we’ve gotten older, desserts are something I don’t make a lot of anymore.

This past weekend, we had planned one of our best Sunday dinners, beer butt chicken with potato salad and my mom’s baked bean recipe.

I recently consulted with my doctor, who follows a 90% vegan diet as I do, and he advised me that I need a little more protein and B12 in my diet other than the once a week fish I’ve been eating.

This made Dale, who left vegetarianism behind after a few months, extremely happy. I bought a free-range, organic bird from a local farmer at our town’s natural food store. Next week, the leftovers will make some delicious chicken enchiladas.


Mom’s Bean Pot

We have been enjoying the bounty of summer with cucumbers, organic sweet corn, tomatoes, green beans and new potatoes coming on almost faster than we can eat them.

One summer treat my husband loves is baked beans.

When we moved to Our Little House, I knew we would be grilling and doing some entertaining in the summer months and our summer dinners on The Party Deck aren’t complete without baked beans.

To me, baked beans would not be the same if they weren’t cooked in my mom’s bean pot.

When downsizing to a small space, if you have things that are sentimental, they must also be functional as well (like my antique bedside lamp).


Living Large Veggie Enchiladas

I typically don’t cook a lot of heavy foods in the summer, but my sister in law brought us some of our favorite corn tortillas made locally in Kansas City when she visited last weekend and Dale is getting tired of variations on salads, so I decided to try some vegetable enchiladas.

When we were in Kansas City for our last visit, we made a couple of stops at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants, Panzones, and I was delighted they had added a whole section on their menu for vegetarians.

I had the vegetable flautas, which were yummy. I yearned for that same taste and it got close when a new Mexican restaurant opened here. They didn’t have vegetable flautas, but their veggie enchiladas are almost the same (and maybe even healthier since they are not fried).

Mexican food is an area where I say I’m 90% vegan. It’s of course, all about the cheese. When I eat out, I cannot control what they put on it, which is a great thing about eating at home. I do eat dairy cheese on the Mexican food I cook (the “fake” stuff is really bad), but not nearly as much as I used to.


Living Large Vegetarian Red Beans and Rice Recipe

Summer has arrived, it is hot and humid and this year, I’m loving every moment of it.

It was a long winter and a cool, wet spring. It was still cool and rainy last week and I got hungry for some classic red beans and rice.

I had a friend in college who hailed from Louisiana and she made the best jambalaya I’ve ever tasted.

After she moved and I raided the freezer of the last of the huge batch she made me before she left, our red beans and rice and jambalaya have consisted of the boxed variety.

I know, but that was before. This is now.


Happier and Healthier at Our Little House

There is typically nothing that can make one’s day any better than to see an old friend and have them start out by saying, “You look GREAT! How much weight have you lost now?”

That’s what happened this week when I met up with our former neighbor down the road who moved to town a few months ago.

I gave up on fad diets a long time ago, but used to embark on them regularly. The only one that worked well for me and gave me the longest results was Weight Watchers. That’s because if you do what they tell you and focus on eating healthier rather than losing the weight, the weight comes off and stays off.

Of course, you have to stick to the routine and who wants to spend their life weighing food?

I’m not on a fad diet, but last year, Dale had to rush me to the ER because I thought I was having a heart attack. After being sent home with a prescription for high blood pressure medication and a heart monitor, it woke me up to my family history of diabetes and heart disease (my paternal grandfather and father died before they were 60) and I was convinced I needed to do something.

Our goal when we moved here, afterall, was to start living happier AND healthier.


Produce Dirty Dozen

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) released its 2014 list of The Dirty Dozen today.

What does this have to do with Living Large? For us, living as sustainable as possible goes hand in hand with our lifestyle.

We buy organic when we can. Sometimes, that isn’t possible, either due to availability or price. That’s when I refer to my Dirty Dozen list to see if we want the produce bad enough to risk the extra pesticide intake.

For example, I will never buy a head of lettuce or apples that are not organic, but I buy avocadoes that are conventionally grown, because they are part of the Clean 15.

“The EPA has not complied in full with the Congressional mandate, for more than a decade EWG has stepped in to fill the void by publishing its Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce.  EWG aims to help people eat healthy and reduce their exposure to pesticides in produce.”

“EWG’s Shopper’s Guide helps people find conventional fruits and vegetables with low concentrations of pesticide residues,” said Sonya Lunder, EWG’s senior analyst and principle author of the report.  “If a particular item is likely to be high in pesticides, people can go for organic.”


The Miracle of Apple Cider Vinegar

If you’ve read Living Large for a while, you know that I’m all about natural solutions if at all possible.

Last year, I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and I was put on a beta blocker to help. I’m grateful for modern medicine, my father died of a sudden heart attack at 58 and I sure do not want to follow in his footsteps.

However, with every medication there is to help our symptoms, the medicine sometimes creates more unwanted side effects.

For me, it was a lack of energy, digestion problems and the inability to lose weight, although I have been on a very healthy vegan diet for over a year.

Enter apple cider vinegar.


Do You Really Need That Veggie Wash for Fresh Produce?

Our local natural food store was stocked up on so much fresh produce this week that I had to stop myself from shopping, it all looked so good.

When a neighbor asked what I bought, my husband interjected, “What didn’t she buy!”

I’ve heard a lot of people talking about how they wash their fresh produce lately. I admit, I’ve been tempted to purchase some of those pre-mixed produce washes in the grocery store, but is that really necessary?

I really didn’t start thinking about bacteria on produce until the outbreak that involved cantaloupe a while back.

At that point, I started washing everything before cutting into it, even if we didn’t plan on eating the skin.

But, am I getting everything really as clean as it needs to be?

I went to some trusted sources for the answers, including university researchers and the FDA.