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Super easy Red beans and Rice

This is fast and easy. Everything’s already on hand in the pantry and fridge. It’s perfect for when you’re out of ideas but what to throw together a great meal.

 

  • 1 box  rice mix.  I like Seeds of Change organic Havana rice and beans, or Near East Spanish style
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1/2 bell pepper
  • 1 can drained and rinsed kidney beans

In a large sauce pan sauté in oil and broth:  onion, celery, bell pepper

Add water according to box (a touch more), bring to boil.

Add rice mix and rice, 1 can drained kidney beans.

If desired add small amounts of cayenne pepper, chili powder, garlic powder to compensate for the added ingredients if the spices in the mix aren’t enough.

Reduce heat and simmer according to box until rice is tender.

Garnish with green onion.

Madras Peas and Potatoes

This is a family favorite. It’s filling and delicious and not lacking anything.

  •  2 lbs. potatoes
  •  ½ onion
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes pulsed in blender
  • ½ can coconut milk
  • 1 cup thawed peas
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  •  2 tsp. curry paste
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Curry powder to taste
  • 2 small zucchini

Cut potatoes bite sized with skin on and sauté in 2T. oil, add broth to not burn and soften potatoes.  Cook potatoes for about 10 minutes add onions, cook together for about 5 minutes add zucchini.

When vegetables are mostly cooked add the rest of the ingredients and simmer until flavors blend and mixture is hot. If you don’t have curry paste use more curry powder and tomato paste.  Use more broth if too thick. You want a lot of sauce.

Serve over cooked lentils or brown rice

And now for something completely different.

This was a solo journey but I’m the cook in my family for my husband of now 26 years and 3 kids coming and going from college. I was committed to my new mission and could have been very content with beans and broccoli for the rest of my life but I didn’t want them to suffer. Twice I made the main dish vegan and then sautéed chicken breast  to put on theirs. Independently they each said the dinner would have been just as good without the chicken and they could have had it “your” way. Then twice I decided to ask first. I announced what I was going to be making and asked if they’d like meat to go with it. They all said not necessary. I stopped asking. Now I was on a serious mission to make great meals everyone in the family would like that didn’t appear to be lacking something major or have weird substances they’d hate. Many of the vegan cook books rely on the meat substitutes seitan and soy. We were coming from opposite sides but in the same place. I couldn’t stomach meat, so why copy it with something fake? They loved meat, so why copy it with something fake? So I just left it out, and pretty successfully.

 

Earthlings….the final destination.

Earthlings is the Granddaddy film of how humans abuse animals. Nicknamed the vegan maker it thoroughly outlines the torturous conditions of factory farming and goes on to cover fur, leather, fishing, animal experimentation, and the overpopulation of house pets. Joaquin Phoenix is the narrator. His passionate and succinct narrative makes you forget or not care about the hype over whether or not he’s crazy. This was the deciding moment, I knew if I watched it I would be giving up animal products. I hit play.

It’s no Band on the Run

Glass Walls is a documentary narrated by Sir Paul McCartney, a vegetarian for some 40 years. The name comes from his belief that if slaughter houses had glass walls everyone would be a vegetarian. It’s not the Paul McCartney video we’re used to. It’s been a year since I viewed it and I can’t watch it again. It is categorized animal by animal with Sir Paul giving a list of attributes of the particular animal. Collectively farm animals are highly social, passionate mothers to their young, playful, and intelligent at a comparable level or higher than dogs. All animals want to live and express fear and distress when they face danger. Then the video shows in graphic detail what happens to these sophisticated and sensitive beings.

Undercover Farm Videos

So this friend of a friend, a very committed and outspoken vegan Shani, posts farm videos on her Facebook wall and one day I got curious. Thus began the abrupt part of my journey. I’m still haunted by the face of a particular cow being forced down the shoot they walk to slaughter. Her eyes were bulging in terror as she, and I, could see and hear the dying cows in front of her. I felt absolute helplessness watching this knowing that cow had already died a terrifying painful death.  I now have a toy cow above my sink in her memory and I pledge to my little plastic friend that I won’t contribute to the suffering of any animals. I was already eating very little meat but I had 2 fears for completely giving it up: 1) I wouldn’t know what to feed my family, this was my mission and I didn’t want to impose crappy food on them. And 2) I was afraid I’d feel weak and have less energy. But I watched more videos knowing that it would force me to make this commitment. The videos were short, thankfully, and basically single subject, i.e., torture of cows on one, pigs another, chickens and so on. There were two I had become aware of that were much more comprehensive and professionally produced. “Glass Walls” and “Earthlings”. It was time to see the worst of the worst and commit.

I’m getting there

So my vegetarian coworker Julie moved in with a new roommate, a vegan activist named Shani. Julie became one too, overnight it seemed. She also became a lot more vocal on the subject. She had been my source for vegetarian information now I had new questions. Why no dairy and eggs, those animals get to live, what’s the big deal? I got a brief rundown of the terrible things that happen to those animals and the suggestion, “ask my roommate” (but vegans are scary and cultish). Shani was on Facebook, ironic name since it allows you to communicate without facing the person. Perfect, I could just peek into her world………