Potatoes in a Crock Pot

Gleaning Potatoes

POTATOES, POTATOES, POTATOES! We’re always searching for methods to prepare vegetables that is quick and easy…potatoes cooked in a Crock Pot fits this bill perfectly. It’s so easy that we were wondering if it was worth shooting a video but what the heck, practice makes perfect. At least once a week we cook a batch of various potatoes – our favorites and the most nutritious are yellows, sweets and reds. You can mix and match, just be aware, each one takes a different amounts of time to cook. 

Potatoes in a Crock Pot
Potatoes in a Crock Pot

You can make these in the evenings or on weekends, let the slow cooker do the job. This technique is very simple, just scrub potatoes and put them into the pot (no need to pierce or add water). Fill, cover and slow cook on low for between 4-6 hours. That’s all there is to it.

Now you have a batch to use for a potato bar or snacks. Store the extras in a bowl in the refrigerator…yum, just waiting for anyone who wants a healthy snack to grab it on their way out or as an evening snack. In particular, we love our potatoes plated on leafy greens and topped with specialty mustards. An additional benefit of using a Crock Pot, especially in the summer, is to save the environment,  it’s an energy saver and keeps the kitchen from getting hot. See we told you eating whole food, plant-based can be simple! 

Heirloom Tomato Soup – easy in the Pressure Cooker

Tom's Heirloom Tomatoes

Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes…we love heirloom tomatoes, Tom grows Cherokee Purples, Brandy-wine,  Beefsteak, Striped German and more! This year was a banner year for all things tomatoes, with the plentiful rain in PA our tomatoes are growing fast and furious. They even survived the rabbits and ground hogs. With all these critters you would think we lived on a farm but we live in town. So we are thankful for the fabulous crop. What do we do with all of our beautiful tomatoes – no problem, plenty of recipes for tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, soups and more. We grow our own but people in our area are fortunate to have plenty of tomatoes available for sale at the Farmer’s Market, produce stands and grocery stores. Take in the rainbow of colors, unique shapes and sizes, and range of flavors, we are lucky!

Heirloom Tomatoes at the Farmer's Market
Heirloom Tomatoes at the Farmer’s Market

For our video today we are showing Coach BJ’s  quick, simple pressure cooker Heirloom Tomato Soup recipe. We are using a Swiss made Kuhn Rikon Stainless-Steel Pressure Cooker (5-1/4 quart). We use it practically every day, it’s been a faithful companion for nearly eight years. Benefits of using a pressure cooker over other methods of cooking include the following;  a time saver, retains beautiful appealing food color, easy to store just like a soup pot and nutritional value of plant-based foods are keep intact. Besides demoing the pressure cooker we have included a bonus, that is, how-to use an immersion blender to quickly blend the soup. Check out this plant-based tomato soup with minimal calories but terrific nutritional value, you can eat this all day long!

COACH BJ’S HEIRLOOM CHUNKY TOMATO SOUP:  What a treat for the taste buds and your heart will love it too! Use your favorite garden heirloom tomatoes to make a quick nutritious soup to eat with salads or sandwiches or snacks.

Serves: 6 || Prep Time: 15 minutes || Cook Time: 4 minutes medium pressure
8 tomatoes, mix any heirloom vine ripe, core and quarter (no need to peel)
3-4 stalks medium celery, diced
1 medium onion, quartered
1 clove garlic, sliced
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1-2 cups or as needed, water
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
sprinkle with red pepper flakes

Prepare all ingredients and place in the pressure cooker. Cook on medium pressure for 4 minutes. Take the cooker off the hot burner and let set for about 10 minutes, quick release if needed. Mix ingredients with an immersion blender. To make it chunky save off a few cups of the soup; blend a short time then add the cups of chunks back into the soup pot. Or to make the soup creamy, blend the whole pot to your desired consistency.

Nutrition Facts
Calories 61  Calories from Fat 3, Total Fat 1g, Saturated Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 40mg, Total Carbohydrate 11g, Fiber 4g, Sugars 1g, Protein 5g

Coach BJ's Heirloom Soup Recipe
Coach BJ’s Heirloom Soup Recipe

Potato Chips in the Microwave

New Potatoes at the Farmer's Market

Cooking potatoes in the microwave to make crispy potato chips without any oil is just too easy. All we need are a few potatoes, a microwave, Mandolin, safety gloves,  a few spices, microwaveable food tray and 7 minutes.  Normally we use yellow potatoes but try other varieties too. Use any of your favorite spices too…variety is the spice of life. The real key is to thinly slice the potatoes. The clean up is so easy. What’s not to like!

As you heard in the video, the potato chips are crisp and crunchy. We love our chip snacks, anything potatoes, whole foods plant-based eating is so much fun! One warning, I hate to mention, but the downside is that we eat the potato chips before we can load up the next tray again!  

Coconut Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies

Coconut Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yummy gems for a special chocolate chip cookie treat! Who doesn’t love a soft chewy chocolate chip cookie with a low calorie count, natural sweetener and no oil. It’s hard not to eat them all right out of the oven…save a few for later!

Coconut Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Coconut Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Serves: 24 (2” cookies); Bake 12-14 minutes.
1/4 cup date syrup or maple syrup
1 medium banana, mashed
3 T. aquafaba (chickpea brine)
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 lemon (juice and 1 T. grated peel)
1/2 cup water plus 1 T.
1/3 cup Almond Butter or Peanut Butter
1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup coconut reduced-fat shredded flakes
2 T. flaxseed meal
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1/4- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips 

Preheat oven 350F. Prepare and combine all liquid ingredients. Place dry ingredients in mixing bowl (except choc chips), mix. Pour liquid ingredients into dry, blend. Fold in chips. Cover a baking sheet with Silpat or parchment paper, spoon batter onto it. Bake 12-14 minutes.

Nutritional Facts:   Amount per Serving, Calories 103, Calories From Fat 40, Total Fat 6g, Sodium 51mg, Total Carbs 13g, Dietary Fiber 2g, Sugars 6g, Protein 2g 

Check out this cookie recipe along with 34 other dessert recipes in my downloadable e-cookbook. Whole food, plant-based dessert recipes include Apple Cherry Crumble, Banana Quick Bread, BJ’s Double Chocolate Cake, Citrus Pumpkin Cheezcake, Date Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies (gluten free), Fudge, Orange Cake, Soft Pretzels, Strawberry Banana Cream Pie, Sweet Potato Pie, Walnut Pumpkin Bread and more – all with a healthy twist.


Enjoy Cooking Whole Food, Plant-based DESSERTS with Coach BJ
Enjoy Cooking Whole Food, Plant-based DESSERTS with Coach BJ

How-to Make Cantaloupe Banana Ice Cream

Cantaloupes at the Market

A nice cool refreshing dessert made from frozen fruit, including bananas and fruits of your choice, is easy to make with another toy that we own – Yonanas. But don’t fear, if you don’t own one, you can do the same by using a strong blender.


No dairy or added sugar but all the wonderful nutrients makes this a super healthy treat. Plant-based ice cream can be made anytime of the year but it is especially pleasurable during the summer.

Ice Cream Made with Bananas and Blueberries
Ice Cream Made with Bananas and Blueberries
Cherry Banana Ice Cream
Ice Cream Made with Bananas and Cherries

The other day I noticed that our cantaloupe was getting ripe faster than we could eat it. We’re aware of food waste and try our best to eat what we purchase or grow. So what to do with those fast ripening fruits, well easy, just freeze them, especially bananas and, in this case, half of that cantaloupe. I’m curious about how yummy this ice cream will taste. First time try but I think it will be perfect with cantaloupe’s natural sweetness!

You can see from my food photography that I’ve made ice cream from bananas and blueberries and cherries. Try strawberries, peaches, mangoes, raspberries…how about watermelon. So let’s see what happens with the cantaloupe in this video, what do you think?

Remember to throw over-ripe or excess bananas and fruit in the freezer – make an ice cream treat later! Top with nuts and add chocolate chips too. Delicious. Waste NOT!

An Evening of Corn Gleaning

Me and Tom gleaning corn at Etter's.

What a beautiful evening to glean corn – fresh air and sunshine! Once again Tom and I were at Etter’s cornfield near Marion PA gathering corn for The Gleaning Project. It’s a time to help more people in our community have access to fresh produce, in turn, helping our community to be healthier – a win-win. It’s time in the fields to meditate and count our blessings. It’s a time to keep moving – great physical activity. It’s a time for community gathering and to meet our neighbors. There were such a variety of gleaners, old and new faces, a wonderful turn out. I love to see so many young gleaners, one young man mentioned that he was 5 years old, they are such troopers…makes my heart full. 

Jay giving a quick tutorial on picking corn.
Jay giving a quick tutorial on picking corn.
BJ thick in the corn rows, looks like her bag's empty!
BJ thick in the corn rows, looks like her bag’s empty!
BJ and fellow gleaner Jerry, having fun like Jay told us! Be safe and have fun.

The Gleaning Project is a nonprofit effort to reduce food loss on local farms, and increase food security in our communities.

Not everybody has the time or schedule or physical ability to help with gathering the food but you can support this great nonprofit in other ways. They are holding a Glean-A-Mania, it is a new and exciting way to support The Gleaning Project. They state on their website, “The idea is simple. We’re asking our community members to pledge a penny for each pound of produce that we glean during one super week in September. (September 9-15)” See detail here at The Gleaning Project.

As I write this post, Tom is off again, geaning peaches, this is the season. Support this terrific community endeavor by helping The Gleaning Project! 

Blueberries In The Round and more

Coach BJ's Blueberry Cobbler in the Round

I’m totally in love with cobblers in the round with a hint of peanut butter in the cobbler… throw in some beautiful fresh blueberries with a splash of a juicy peach…makes my mouth water. Decadent without many calories; plant-based fruits produce natural sugar – the best. Natural fruits…what a dessert treat! 

Aren’t we lucky to be surrounded by fruit orchards here in Central PA. We love to support our local farmers who work so hard to bring freshness to our table. We have no excuse for not eating healthy fruits and for those less fortunate there are various outlets and food pantries where in-season fruit is available for the asking if you qualify. Tom and I participate in the Gleaning Project where we help other community volunteers collect fruit which would otherwise go to waste but is now distributed to people who are eager to eat fresh vegetables and fruit. 

Tom Gleaning Peaches
Tom Gleaning Peaches

Here are a few of the cobblers I’ve made this season. Even when the fruit is out of season, it is perfectly fine to use frozen fruit…so enjoy cobbler all year “in the round”.

Coach BJ's Blueberries cobbler in the Round
Coach BJ’s Blueberries Cobbler in the Round
Coach BJ's Blueberry Cobbler in the round
Taking a bite of Coach BJ’s Blueberry Cobbler in the round…delicious!

…and there’s more…

Coach BJ's Blueberries and Peaches Cobbler in the round
Coach BJ’s Blueberries and Mangoes Cobbler in the round

…and more…

Coach BJ's Strawberries and peaches cobbler in the round
Coach BJ’s Strawberries and Peaches Cobbler in the round


Coach BJ's Peaches and Cherries cobbler in the round
Coach BJ’s Peaches and Cherries Cobbler in the round

Now let’s dig into that fruit cobbler! But which is your favorite…blueberries, cherries, peaches, mangoes or strawberries? My favorite is the last one I’ve made, so mix and match fresh or frozen fruits!

Cooking Ears of Corn in the Microwave

Corn in the Wind

More CORN, CORN, CORN…we love it, summer fun! Takes us back to those playful summer vacation days. Aren’t we so lucky to have an abundance of fresh produce and fruits in Franklin County, PA. A perfect place to raise whole food, plant-based on fertile farmland  – the soil is filled with wonderful nutrients to grow fantastically healthy food, add blessings of sun and rain, and hard working farmers…can’t beat it.

Tom and I volunteer for the Gleaning Project of South Central PA and view fields and fields of beautiful fresh corn up close and personal. I have learned how to pick full ears of corn and toting those heavy bags is wonderful exercise, saving us a trip to the gym. Helping our community by providing saved veggies is another breath of fresh air. We love gleaning! 

Gleaning Corn in Franklin County, PA
Gleaning Corn in Franklin County, PA

Speaking of corn, let’s cook a few ears for ourselves. How to cook a few ears of corn on the cob without the fuss of pots and water while saving time is shown in the video. We’ll be watching Tom cook ears of corn in the microwave. Depending on your microwave, cooking time takes only between 1-2 minutes per ear. NO need to add anything to the hots ears, they are packed with natural sweetness. Let’s get started, I’m getting hungry. 

…and now enjoy those tantalizing ears of corn!