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Red Pepper Hummus ♥

Today's easy appetizer recipe: A pretty chickpea and roasted red pepper hummus. Such pretty color! Low Carb. Weight Watchers Friendly. Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real. Naturally Gluten Free.
After ten days and ten inches of rain and record flooding, on Friday the sun finally made a much-doubted welcome re-appearance here in Missouri. All of a sudden, our kitchen was sunlit again! All of a sudden, twas summer!

... which got me to digging around in the pantry for "summer food," the stuff that's so easy it almost makes itself, the stuff that as easily fuels a quick snack as somehow contributes to supper. Say hello to my latest hummus, this one a pretty pale hue of red, color-wise, as welcome as sunshine compared to my otherwise wonderful signature hummus, the Crazy-Smooth Crazy-Good Hummus and even the stuff-there's-no-getting-enough-of, the Roasted Eggplant “Hummus" (Eggplant & Chickpea Dip & Spread).

All three versions of hummus are extra-smooth…

Thomas the Tank Engine Vegetable Trains ♥

Hosting a Thomas the Tank Engine theme party? Here's a fun addition to kids' birthday parties and family gatherings with a train theme, colorful and healthy! It's just bell-pepper train "cars" with cucumber "wheels" filled with fresh vegetable "cargo". It's easy to make and great fun for a buffet table centerpiece!
So exactly what is it with little boys and trains? And for that matter, big boys grown men and trains? Twin grandsons are eight now so Thomas the Tank Engine has lost some of its allure. What hasn't, however, is the daily challenge of assembling wooden train tracks that cross the living room floor and then u-turn into a bedroom and under the beds. At Christmas, their PopPop (aka The Man With the Hands) built a two-level train platform with several loop-di-loops that dominated the living room for weeks. Young to old, we gathered round the platform, mesmerized by the tiny battery-charged trains circling round and round, hold…

Blue Apron: How It Works for Someone Who Wants Real Food But Doesn’t Like to Cook

How does Blue Apron work for someone who doesn't like to cook but wants to eat real food? A non-foodie's perspective!
Please welcome Minnesota nature photographer Barb Kellogg to A Veggie Venture! Barb is a talented, creative photographer. Flowers and treescapes make up the majority of her work. That's her image "Warm Sunny Day," doesn't it have have a soft, dreamy feel? Much of her work does. In fact, you won't be alone to mistake Barb's fine-art nature photographs for paintings! (And yes, we're related! Cousins!)

Barb also does portrait work. Last spring, she did a photo shoot of me with my dog Lady. I was so happy with her work! Two favorite shots have been been on my personal Facebook page ever since. I can't bear to take them down!

Anyway, Blue Apron! When Barb mentioned on Facebook that she and her husband had signed up for the subscription meal-kit service Blue Apron, right away, I had the idea that after a few months, others might …

Bok Choy Salad with Homemade Creamy Vinaigrette ♥

Today's quick, flexible and dare-I-say addictive salad recipe: Raw bok choy stalks and greens tossed in a light creamy vinaigrette, topped with whatever you choose but really special with seasonal fruit, a little cheese and toasted nuts. Low Carb. Weight Watchers Friendly. Naturally Gluten Free. And of course, Totally Delicious!
~recipe updated, first published way back in 2008~
~more recently updated recipes~
Yum. Yuuuuum. Bok choy is the current salad obsession around here. It's got great crunch and a slight bite, a poor man's arugula. For a quick salad at lunch or a supper salad, I add whatever is on hand, some times veering toward more vegetables but more often to salad in the photograph with fruit (citrus is lovely, so are apples and pears), a crumbly cheese (a fresh cheese like goat cheese or a good blue or a creamy feta) and toasted walnuts. It's filling, it's satisfying. It makes for a great salad to share, even a supper salad.

For years and years, I'v…

Best-Ever Lentil Salad ♥

By all rights, I should call this recipe One Turnip + One Onion & Six Cloves = The Best-Ever Lentil Salad. But that's kinda long so let's just go with Best-Ever Lentil Salad, the one I've been obsessing over for a couple of months now. Served either warm or cold, it's Vegan and Gluten Free and Weight Watchers Friendly and High Protein and (naturally!) OhSoGood.
So let's talk new-to-us cooking techniques. Who else keeps their eyes peeled for new cooking methods while perusing new cookbooks or diving into promising-looking recipes? You have to stay focused but upon discovery, at least with me, it's either:

Why didn't I think of that?! (followed by by a head thump) or
How'd someone ever come up with THAT? (with a sense of incredulity)

Definitely #2, the idea to add a turnip and a clove-studded onion to cook a big pot of lentils. Ina Garten credits a friend, me I credit sheer genius. Story goes, Ina was never keen on lentil salads until a friend menti…

Homemade Minestrone Soup ♥ Recipe

A light-tasting but hearty soup made with low-calorie, low-carb vegetables. For Weight Watchers, a cup is just 1 or 2 points. Not into pasta? No problem, it's just as good without!
~recipe updated from the Recipe Box, first posted 2009!~
~more recently updated recipes~
Today's recipe comes with a lesson in Italian, compliments of the Epicurious food dictionary. (Sorry, I'd share the link but Epicurious keeps breaking its own links. Google and your Veggie Evangelist don't approve!)

"Minestra" [mih-NAYS-truh] means "soup" in Italian. Most often, it refers to a soup of medium thickness, frequently with both meat and vegetables.
"Minestrina" means "little soup" in Italian. It's a thin broth.
"Minestrone" means "big soup"! It's usually a thick vegetable soup containing pasta and sometimes peas or beans, usually topped with grated Parmesan cheese. It's hearty enough for a complete meal!

That makes my v…

Spin Dip Baked Eggs ♥

It's a quick, healthy, low carb and high protein breakfast, just "spin dip" (that's what restaurants call their popular spinach and spinach-artichoke appetizers) with runny eggs baked in the same skillet. Gorgeous good! Keep a bag or two of frozen spinach in the fridge, breakfast'll move from great idea to the table in minutes.
BOR-ING. That's me, about breakfast. Day in, day out, I could eat the same thing for breakfast. At school, the morning ritual was an English muffin with peanut butter. (Who else adores how salty peanut butter oozes into the little holes of a just-toasted English muffin?) Then came a cup of yogurt, handy for catching the bus to work. Then for y-e-a-r-s, I stirred peanut butter into oatmeal. (Hmm, is it the warm peanut butter? Maybe!) In last years, it's been another oatmeal porridge, half old-fashioned and half steel-cut, cooked in milk.

But the men I live with (that'd be Jerry and my almost 91-year old father who lives with…