In these posts, tips and techniques are also included with short videos. Tom is normally the voice and demonstrator, CoachBJ is the video recorder and editor, then Zipper puts in his cameo appearances.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
We love to experiment in the kitchen and Tom loves new kitchen toys (oops did I say toys or tools). So I’ll share some of our first exploring with our AIR FRYER. In the following video, Tom shows you how easy it is to make healthy plant-based fries, of course, without using oil.
(1) FRENCH FRIES EXPLORED: About two months ago, Tom ordered an Air Fryer online. I was unsure about his new toy but I was a willing participant, as long as he’s doing the cooking. Of course the first exploration was the making of crispy French fries. Wow, they just blew us away – Crisp and Easy! Out of the box, they turned out terrific. Here’s the process; Tom just cuts up two potatoes as he normally would, places them into the basket, slides basket into the fryer, turn on 390 degrees F for 20 minutes, turns fries half way, and voila! NO OIL FRIES, who would’ve thought. We LOVE, LOVE the fries. Clean up is so easy, just wash out the basket. Tom makes fries about twice a week, sweet potato fried too. Since Tom loves toys and he takes care of them…don’t tell him but perhaps that’s why I’m so impressed with the FRYER, I don’t have to cook!
Our dog Zipper is featured in the video. He loves plant-based, no oil, air fries too!
(2) PIZZA EXPLORED: Stay tuned, our next exploration will be cooking pizza in the Air Fryer.
In this video Tom is going to show you his way of shucking corn with a sharp knife. Then I’ll explain how to make a simple corn stock. Tom’s method makes it simple by using kitchen tools which you will already have, that is, a knife, cutting board and pot – quick and easy. But one of these days I’m going to try a small corn zipper tool…another post for another day.
Who doesn’t love farmer’s fresh corn from the market, my latest favorite, which I deem to be the most colorful and flavorful, is bi-colored corn. We just returned from the North Square Farmer’s Market, Chambersburg PA with our bags of goodies: Plan on using around 6-8 ears of corn to make corn stock and have the cut kernels for a yet to-be-determined corn soup or dish.
So here’s TOM! I’ll pick you up on the other side…
As you saw, he throws the cobs along with some husks into a large stainless steel soup pot. Now add water: As a general rule one cup of water for each corn cob. This time I did not add any other ingredients since I’m not sure how we’re going to use the corn stock but it never hurts to add fresh onions and celery. Boil the corn stock on the stove top for about 30 minutes but of course it would only take a hot 4 minutes on medium pressure in your pressure cooker. Strain the corn stock and it’s ready to use! It really enhances soups made with corn, adding another layer to your culinary skills. Another bonus is that it’s doubly wonderful to freeze and have on hand, especially in the cold winter months!