Let's get cooking!!

Hollis keeping busy while I studied cookbooks.

As some of you may know because of our Facebook connection, I'm starting a cleanse today. It's vegan, wheat-, sugar-, alcohol-, and caffeine-free. I did this once before in June and mostly enjoyed it, although, I did run out of steam by week three and think that was mostly because I was spending so much time trying to come up with recipes.

A typical week finds me making bacon and eggs for breakfast for me and Anthony, eating a light lunch of leftovers or an Amy's Organic frozen meal or a salad, and then cooking dinner. Dinner usually includes a meat because Anthony claims he'll die if he doesn't eat meat (sorry, babe, but this is my blog, after all so I can say what I want hehe).

I try to menu-plan to keep the grocery bill down and so I can plan for extra mouths, etc., but I didn't do that during my last cleanse. I was sorta going by the seat of my pants; looking up recipes the day of, or a couple of days before, not weeks in advance. This time around, I've already scoured 1000 pages' worth of recipes looking for compatible options and I'm pretty excited.

I can't believe I haven't written even once about food on here, specifically the recipes that I love and all the cooking that I do. It's one of my resolutions for this blog this year to start giving my love of food more attention.

As for the cleanse menus, I have at least 100 new options. Some I've made before, some will be brand new. Hollis played diligently for the 2 hours I spent pouring over my cookbooks - what a terrific kid, right??

Since it's cold and gray today for dinner tonight I'm going to make Ground Nut Stew from the Moosewood Collective Cookbook. I've made it once before and subbed out the required okra with eggplant, since okra sorta makes me gag. It was incredible, stuck to my ribs, and just made me feel satisfied. Plus, I get the added bonus of feeling a little worldly. Afterall, millions of Africans are eating their own versions of Ground Nut Stew, too! It even passed the "I'm A Man and Must Eat Meat!!" Test! Woot!

Ground Nut Stew:
2 c chopped onions
2 tbsp peanut or vegetable oil
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp pressed garlic cloves
2 c chopped cabbage
3 c cubed sweet potatoes (1 in cubes)
3 c tomato juice (I mix equal parts tomato puree with water if I don't have any on hand)
1 c apple or apricot juice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp grated, peeled freshe ginger
1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
2 chopped tomatoes (I'm using a can of chopped tomatoes because they're always tastier than fresh tomatoes from the grocery store)
1 1/2-2 c chopped okra or eggplant
1/2 c peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)

1/4 c sliced scallions
1/4 c chopped fresh parsley
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro
1 mango sliced
1/4 c crushed or whole peanuts

Saute the onions in the oil for about 10 minutes. Stire in the cayenne and garlic and saute for a couple more minutes. Add the cabbage and sweet potatoes and saute, covered, for a few minutes. Mix inteh juices, salt, ginger, cilantro, and tomatoes. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are tender. Add the okra or eggplant and simmer for 5 minutes more. Stir in the peanut butter, turn heat to low and gently simmer until ready to serve. Add more juice or water if the stew is too thick.

Serve over rice and top with scallions, chopped fresh parsley and cilantro, sliced mangoes (or pineapple, bananas, oranges, grated coconut) and whole or crushed peanuts.

Bon appetit!!

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