Interrupted by Sandy

I was all set to finally write another post, but it’s not meant to be!

I’m standing in a Verizon store using a demo iPad just to tell you that I can’t wait to come back! I am currently without electricity due to Hurricane Sandy.

We’re safe, thank God. There’s been no damage to our house, but we are getting along without electricity and internet. Cooking has been interesting, and our choice of what to eat has been greatly influenced by what’s defrosting in spite of our generator and what can be made on a stovetop.

But we have food. And hot water and a stovetop due to natural gas. No heat, but inside the house it’s only gone down to about 60 degrees even though it’s been around 38 at night.

I feel like I’m rich. Truly, so many of our problems are First World Problems. So many have so much less.

We’re seeing an outpouring of help from churches, organizations, businesses and individuals. Caravans of trucks from electric companies from all across the country. It’s truly heartwarming.

So I look forward to coming back. I even took a picture of our pancakes this morning. I miss you guys. 🙂

See ya soon!

Root Vegetable Soup with Tofu

Anyone notice anything different? Yes, a recipe page! I recently went to use one of my own recipes and realized I should have a recipe index. You can also put a title of a recipe or even just an ingredient into the Search box, and it will bring up all the recipes with that ingredient in it.

I also went to print out the recipe, and to be honest, I don’t know how to help you further there. I just select the text I want (which includes the pictures), copy and paste it onto a Word document, then delete the pictures, then print. Until I learn about some other way, I hope this will work for you, too.

I appreciate your patience. 🙂

What to do with a rutabaga? A rutabaga is also called a yellow turnip. I bought one last week from a farmer’s market, hence no wax coating! I had never seen one like that, lol! But since it had no protection, it started to feel a little soft by the end of the week so I had to think of something.

I’m most familiar with it in soup. I smile just thinking about it. We go to my in-laws’ house every Christmas Eve, and it’s traditional there to have turnip soup before the full dinner is served.  Because Christmas Eve throughout our family’s history has meant my husband’s 90-something-year-old grandmother playing Christmas carols on the piano. One of the “boys” (they’re in their 50s) dons the very same Santa Claus costume that their grandfather used to wear. And somebody’s baby always cries when they hear Santa’s booming voice. 🙂

So that’s why I smile when I think of turnip soup.

A rutabaga (yellow turnip) is a root vegetable that originated as a cross between the cabbage and the turnip. They are part of the brassica, or cabbage family. They may help remove potential cancer-causing agents from the body, thus possibly preventing some types of cancer, reports the Linus Pauling Institute. They’re a great source of fiber, potassium, magnesium, and Vitamin C. And with a good, sharp knife, they’re easy to peel. So don’t be afraid of those big waxy things you see in the store!

English: A root of rutabaga (Brassica napus su...

English: A root of rutabaga (Brassica napus subsp. rapifera) Deutsch: Eine Steckrübe Français : Rutabaga Español: Un nabicol o rutabaga Svenska: En kålrot (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rutabagas are so flavorful that they easily make their own broth. I looked around for what else to add and found other root vegetables – onions, carrots, and parsnips. Then I added a few simple ingredients to make it a one-dish meal. This dish is vegan, gluten free, and very light.

Maybe you can make your own memories with it. 🙂

Root Vegetable Soup with Tofu

Makes 2 large dinner servings


Extra virgin olive oil to saute in

1 medium onion, chopped

2 ribs celery, sliced

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

3 carrots, peeled, quartered and sliced

1 6-8″ diameter rutabaga, peeled and diced

Water or vegetable broth to cover

Salt and pepper to taste

2 parsnips, peeled,quartered and sliced

1/2 brick extra firm tofu

1-2 cups cooked brown rice

1 T chopped fresh parsley (or 1 t dried)


1. Cut 1/2 brick tofu into 4 planks. Place them side-by-side about 1/2″ apart on a clean dishtowel. Fold the towel over them and press gently to squeeze out some of the water. Remove tofu planks to a cutting board and cut into small cubes. Set aside.

2. Saute onion, garlic and celery in a little oil in the bottom of a heavy-bottomed 4-quart saucepan 5-10 minutes.

3. Add carrots, rutabaga and water or broth to cover. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Simmer until vegetables are almost tender.

4. Add parsnips, tofu and parsley. Continue to simmer until parsnips are tender. This only takes a few minutes. Adjust seasonings.

5. Either stir about 1 cup cooked brown rice into the pot or serve a scoop of it alongside the soup ladled into each bowl.


Just got back from the farmer’s market. I bought a few things that are different for me. Turnips, spaghetti squash, poblano peppers. And fresh pears! You may think I’m nuts being excited about pears, but these are just off the tree – they are water-crisp! I didn’t know pears could taste this good. Apples, too, from their local orchard of apple trees. Ten different kinds of apples at the stand this morning. Back in the summer I bought Opalessence apples from them – if you ever find them you have to try them.

It’s the last day of the farmer’s market season for me. So sad.

On a happier note, isn’t it great that sometimes just a tweak to our diet can bring health where there was pain and discomfort? I’m just grateful for that today. 🙂 I injured my knees recently and had to take a break from hiking, and it reminded me of all these years I had knee pain before I realized I was gluten-sensitive. And it’s been such a relatively easy transition. Crazy, but I actually enjoy the challenge of some limitations to my diet. How boring it would be if I could eat everything and anything. And I love helping friends and family find good food to eat that benefits their bodies. So I hope this blog can do that for you!

Worth thinking about…

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. ~Hippocrates

Enjoy your weekend!

Tomato, Spinach, Cheddar Quiche – Quick and Easy


I wanted to make a quiche to bring to our ladies Bible study this morning and had to scramble (haha) for ingredients because I’ve been away for the past week and had no fresh veggies in the house. No problem! (Alas no picture either because, as usual, I was running late and forgot to snap one! Just imagine this with beautiful chunks of red tomato throughout – very impressive but so easy!)

Blend in blender:

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups milk

3-4 tablespoons flour (GF if desired)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

few scrapings nutmeg

Toss together in bowl:

1 1/2 grated cheddar cheese

1/2 medium onion, chopped

1 cup frozen spinach, squeezed in paper towel

1 c fresh tomato, cored, seeded and chopped, or equivalent of canned diced (let sit on paper towel for a few minutes to remove excess water)

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1. Turn cheese and veggie mixture into oiled pie pan.

2. Pour blended liquid mixture over.

3. Bake in preheated 425 degree oven for 15 minutes, then at 300 degrees for additional 30-45 minutes. It’s done when it doesn’t jiggle and when knife inserted into center comes out clean.

That’s all!


Name change

Along with  the other changes I’m making to this blog, I knew “What’s for Dinner?” didn’t quite encompass what I want to share now.

Why “Enjoying Real Food While Living in the Real World”?

I don’t live on a farm. I don’t have unlimited time. And I certainly don’t have an abundance of extra money.

But I DO want to do the best I can with what I’ve got!

I live in the real world.

As much as I’ve dreamed of homesteading, in reality, my house is on a small property, and I grow a small (11×30) garden, and my growing season is from May to September.

I work part-time. I have occasional “food factory” days, as I call them, where I cook and freeze a lot of dried beans or bake bread or make a large batch of yogurt. Most of the time though, it’s a challenge being committed to a whole foods lifestyle when some of these meals can take quite a bit of preparation.





Also, I am one frugal lady! I would much rather be able to give or save than spend. We live simply, and our main expense is food. So I invest in our health by buying quality food, but I work hard to find the best prices out there!

the handsome guy on the left is my husband/fellow day tripper 😉

In addition to normal life limitations, we are bombarded with marketing ploys and confusing nutrition claims regarding the food we buy. Are you aware that corporations hire “social scientists to study unconscious human emotions, not for the good of humanity but to help companies manipulate people into buying products”? (What To Eat by Marion Nestle, pg. 18) What’s a person to eat?!

This is my “real world.” Maybe it’s your real world, too. I’d like to share ways that we can enjoy nourishing ourselves and our families with healthy, whole, minimally processed food in spite of these limitations and without it having to take over our lives.

I believe we can truly enjoy real food while living in the real world!

A quick start before I chicken out…

My husband is tired of hearing me say, “if I had a blog, I would want people to know…” 🙂

So…this will be a food blog. In addition to recipes, I’d like to add some topics to this blog that have become of great interest to me:

Food quality/purity issues.

A little food politics.

Book/cookbook recommendations.

How some health issues can been resolved by a simple change in diet.

Maybe some food prep ideas, shortcuts or economy measures.

It’ll be a place where, when I’m talking to someone at church or in a grocery store or at work and can’t remember the details of an aspect of nutrition that can help them (this happens to me often!), I can say, “Go to this blog. There’s a link there to an article about this very thing!”

I’m not a nutritionist, health care practitioner, or certified anything. Just a wife and mom of three married kids who has always had a passion for studying nutrition and for preparing food for family and friends from whole, natural ingredients.

I am a researcher, though, and I have a high tolerance for searching out possible nutritional answers to health problems. If we chat about avoiding processed foods or why to choose grass-fed meat or the benefits of shopping at your local farmer’s market, I will share what I’ve learned from experience as well as links to articles that can help you choose for yourself.

I’ll also be adding a few personal bits of my life for the sake of loved ones who live at a distance, so bear with me!

So, I guess we’ll see what happens. Just another leg of the journey that’s my life. I hope this little blog will be able to encourage you to wade through the food options available to us and determine how best to nourish yourself and your families. :)