Smashed Potatoes


Rustic Smashed Potatoes are so yummy! Here is a quick method to use and cook a variety of potatoes. We usually have yellow, red and sweet potatoes on hand. Use yellow potatoes as the base, red potatoes are so creamy  and sweet potatoes, of course, add a slight sweetness. OR use any type you have. So just grab a few…no peeling needed…easy to mash with a simple hand-held potato masher. In no time you’ll have a pot full of cooked potatoes. Add your favorite leafy greens to make an outstanding side dish.

SMASHED POTATOES: Mix various potatoes with non-dairy milk to make Smash Potatoes.
Serves: 8 || Prep Time: 15 minutes || Cook Time: 15 minutes
6 medium yellow potatoes, 1 1/2″ cubed (do not peel)
1 medium red potato, 1 1/2″ cubed (do not peel)
1 medium sweet potato, 1 1’2, cubed (do not peel)
3/4 cup non-dairy milk, as needed
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon Dijon style mustard
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper or to taste


Place prepared potatoes into a medium pot and cover with cold water. Boil about 15 minutes until potatoes are easily pierced with a knife. Drain (reserve hot water to wilt leafy greens) and add nutritional yeast, mustard, onion powder, salt and pepper to a serving bowl. I use a hand-held masher to smash the potatoes by adding milk, little by little, until desired consistency is reached.

Nutrition Facts
Calories 117  Calories from Fat 4, Total Fat 1g, Saturated Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 127mg, Total Carbohydrate 23g, Fiber 3g, Sugars 0g, Protein 3g

Add leafy greens:

  • To make the potatoes even more nutritious, add your favorite leafy greens
  • Tear greens into bite-sized pieces and place into the  reserved  hot potato water for 2 minutes to wilt
  • Drain and stir greens into potatoes

I have eaten rustic smashed potatoes for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I love the chunkiness and creaminess of this dish and you can’t beat the lovely color!

Smashed Potatoes
SMASHED POTATOES: In your creamy potatoes, add bite-sized pieces of kale.


ColeSlaw with Fruit


One of my favorite sides – coleslaw with fruit! It’s easy to make tasty plant-based coleslaw with pre-packaged coleslaw mix or, of course, you can make your own slaw. To add visual interest and ramp up the taste, just add various fruits. In this case golden raisins, Granny Smith apples and colorful grapes. The bottom line…it is nutritious, easy on the eyes and fabulous tasting!

Serves: 8

  • 1 (12-ounce) package coleslaw mix
  • 1/2 onion, quartered
  • 1 clove garlic, quartered
  • 1 cup golden raisins (divide)
  • 1/3 cup raw cashew nuts (soak overnight or microwave)
  • 1/3 cup water (to be used for cashew soak)
  • 1 Granny Smith apple (core and cube with skin, soak in lemon juice)
  • 1/2 lemon juice 
  • 1 tablespoon Stone-ground or Dijon style mustard
  • 1/4 cup or, as needed, non-dairy milk 
  • 1/4 cup (or more ) black or red seedless grapes, halved 
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds (sprinkle on top) 

Pre-soak:  In the 1/3 cup water, soak 1/3 cup cashew pieces overnight or soften in the microwave for a few minutes.

Dressing:  In a food processor, puree pre-soaked cashews with onion, garlic, lemon juice, 1/4 apple with skin, 1/3 cup golden raisins and mustard. Add non-dairy milk, as needed, for desired consistency. Blend in food processor until dressing is smooth.

Combine Dressing with Slaw:  Place slaw in a large serving bowl. Mix the prepared dressing into the slaw. Add remaining 2/3 cup raisins, 3/4 cup cubed apples and grape halves to the slaw; toss gently. Sprinkle celery seeds on top. Refrigerate a few hours so that the flavors meld.

COLE SLAW with FRUIT: Turn simple coleslaw into an adventure for your eyes by adding fruit. It’s easy to make CoachBJ’s tasty plant-based coleslaw.




Roasting Plum Tomatoes

Roasting Plum Tomatoes Plant-Based

Just call me a tomato snob! I really miss our home-grown heritage tomatoes during the colder months in Pennsylvania. Usually after October any store-bought slicer-type tomatoes are just so dull and not even worth purchasing. Of course you may choose to can tomatoes to savor their fresh taste. But I’ll talking about using tomatoes in sammys and on  salads. 

So here are two tips around this flavor challenge. If you have more tips, we’d love to hear from you!

(1) We have found that store-bought cherry tomatoes are still rather tasty during this season. We use in salads and in some soups.

Cherry Tomatoes at the Market
Cherry Tomatoes at the Market

(2) We have found roasting store-bought Italian Plum Tomatoes will get us through the winter. They are inexpensive and accessible but still rather flat tasting during the winter, that is, until roasted. After roasting they are taste busting gems! I roast plum tomatoes in my toaster oven about once a week; wrap left overs in the parchment paper which they were roasted on and store in the refrigerator so they are handy to grab.

Plum tomatoes
Plum tomatoes

TOMATOES (PLUM) – ROASTED:  Juicy caramelized tomatoes – use to enhance sauces, in salads, on sandwiches or just pop into your mouth for a tasty nutritious treat. It’s easy to make small batches in a toaster oven. They are particularly yummy in the colder months when store bought tomatoes are so tasteless.

Serves: 8 tomatoes || Prep Time: 10 minutes || Cook Time: 30 minutes
8 fresh Italian Plum Tomatoes
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons dried basil
1 teaspoon salt substitute
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder


Preheat toaster oven 400°F. Cut fresh tomatoes in half lengthwise, cut out stem. Place halves in a medium sized bowl, pour tablespoons of Balsamic vinegar over the tomatoes. Stir until all surfaces are coated. Sprinkle with dried basil, salt substitute and garlic powder; gently toss. Place halved tomatoes, cut side up, on parchment paper; roast for about 30 minutes.

Nutrition Facts
Calories 26  Calories from Fat 0, Total Fat 0g, Saturated Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 9mg, Total Carbohydrate 6g, Fiber 1g, Sugars 1g, Protein 1g

CoachBJ Roasting Plum Tomatoes
CoachBJ Roasting Plum Tomatoes

Delicata Squash – I’m in Heaven!

Delicata Squash

Fresh Winter squash are showing their faces at farmer’s markets, vegetable stands and grocery stores in the area. It’s that time of year. I’m in heaven – Delicata Squash!  Just to hold them in the palm of my hand is exciting, just my size. This gem  is characterized by a cream colored delicate rind with green stripes.

There are so many  varieties of winter squash to pick from, but, so far, Delicata has become my overall favorite!  Why, you ask? Well let’s see:  Foremost, they are so easy to prepare, my favorite method is roasting; you can eat the “delicate” skin, no peeling, yipee; when roasting they become caramelized, so creamy and naturally sweet but not too sweet; they have a somewhat nutty flavor too; perfect size for a single serving (about 6-7 inches long) and they fit perfectly into my energy-efficient toaster oven; the green striped skin is just beautiful, with golden-orange colored flesh; this delicate squash could easily be eaten as a dessert, it’s that tasty…need I say more. 

Various Winter Squash at the Market
Various Winter Squash at the Market- DELICATA on the far left.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love many types of winter squash, they each have their own attributes and purposes. But today it’s time to roast a Delicata. Perhaps another day I’ll cover other preparation methods. 

I’m going to use it as a single serving for my lunch. So here’s the simple roasting process for a Delicata Squash:

  1. Preheat toaster oven for 5 minutes 395 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Scrub squash
  3. Place parchment paper on the oven tray
  4. Place Delicata squash on the parchment paper
  5. Roast for 20-25 minutes or to your liking, turn mid-way. (I love to eat the brown crusty portion of the roasted skin.)
  6. Cool, cut in half, scoop out seeds and stringy flesh (seeds can be roasted too but that’s another post)
  7. That’s it, eat flesh and skin – DELICIOUS


Roasted Delicata
Roasted Delicata
Delicata Squash - cut in half after roasting
Delicata Squash – cut in half after roasting
Scoop out seeds
Scoop out seeds
Eat flesh and skin of the Delicata Squash
Eat flesh and skin of the Delicata Squash

Pennsylvania Apples

PA Apples

FALL is in the air, that means Pennsylvania APPLES! Did you know that PA is the 4th leading state in the United States which produces APPLES? Furthermore, Franklin County is the 2nd top producer of apples in PA (after Adams County). Aren’t we lucky to live in this fertile valley and have fresh fruit available many months of the year! Beautiful orchards lined with rows of apple trees grace the landscape.

Rows of PA Apples
Rows of PA Apples
Beautiful PA Fall APPLES
Beautiful PA Fall APPLES

Apples are raised to use for the fresh market as well as for processed products. For us Pennsylvanians, fresh locally grown apples can be found in September and into the winter months.

Many varieties of apples are available…today we will be making applesauce with Golden Delicious, McIntosh and Cortland. But use any variety which satisfies your taste buds. I like to mix one sweet type apple, like Golden Delicious, with various other apples to give the applesauce more complexity. Of course there are a variety of methods to cook apples but the day the video was shot I had purchased a number of bags of seconds so I used a large slow-cooker (crock pot) to cook up a batch of applesauce.

Directions to cook applesauce in a crock pot:

  • Scrub, quarter and core apples (I do not peel to retain more nutritional value and I don’t mind if the applesauce is not totally smooth; but, if you wish, peel to make silky smooth applesauce.)
  • Cut into similar sized chunks, place in the pot, do not add water (add spices is you wish)
  • Cook for 4 or more hours on slow. (To make apple butter, it takes 10 hours or longer.)
  • When the apples are breaking up and have a mushy texture, it’s time to blend with an immersion blender to make applesauce.

Watch the video to see how easy it is to make and freeze applesauce to have fresh eating all year round. The video is a few years old but I still use this method. ENJOY!

Roasting Chick Peas

Roasting Chick Peas

We LOVE to snack on roasted low sodium CHICK PEAS (garbanzo beans)! Nice and crunchy like nuts without all the calories. Our toaster oven makes roasting so easy, quick and energy efficient too.

[A spin off is that we always have aqua faba (brine from chick peas) on hand to use as a leavening agent in baked goods…it keeps well in the refrigerator for about a week or freeze extra.] 

Roasted Chick Peas
Roasted Chick Peas

The process for roasting Chick Peas is simple:

  • Just pre-heat your toaster oven 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes or roast in your regular oven.
  • Take a can of low sodium chick peas and save off the aqua faba (brine) to use as an ingredient in baked goods.
  • Do not rinse the chick peas, place them in a single layer on the roasting tray lined with parchment paper.
  • Sprinkle on your favorite seasoning, we like garlic and cayenne pepper.
  • Roast for 20-25 minutes, turning mid-way. That’s it!

Tom and Zipper had fun making this video…Zipper was hungry.

A downside is that they are so good that we gobble up the roasted Chick Peas in a hurry and have to made more! ENJOY!!

Roasting Carrots in My Toaster Oven

Carrots at Market

Roasting CARROTS from the farmer’s market or fresh from your garden makes a nutrient filled tasty dish. On the other hand, organic carrots from the grocery store are wonderfully tasting too and available year round. It is so quick and easy to roast small quantities of vegetables in my small toaster oven. It is such an energy saver especially during hot weather when you don’t want to heat up your kitchen by using your regular oven. Use your own favorite spices. Boy do they taste terrific, it’s hard to save them as a side dish for a meal, I just want to eat them straight from the oven! 

Roasted Carrots
Roasted Carrots

Serves: 3 || Prep Time: 15 minutes || Cook Time: 20 minutes

  • 6 – 8 medium carrots
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

Preheat your toaster oven 400°F for 5 minutes (can be roasted in regular oven too). Cut carrots lengthwise, then cut in half again or to make thickness of pieces similar. Place cut carrots in a medium sized bowl; add 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar or enough to coat; stir until all carrots are coated. Line the baking pan in the toaster with parchment paper; place carrots on the paper. Mix spices together then sprinkle half the spice mixture on the carrots. Place in the preheated toaster oven and roast for 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven, turn carrots over then sprinkle with remaining spice mix. Roast for another 10 minutes. It’s that easy!

Roasting Carrots
Roasting Carrots

Nutrition Facts:
Calories 124  Calories from Fat 1, Total Fat 0g, Saturated Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 96mg, Total Carbohydrate 29g, Fiber 8g, Sugars 1g, Protein 3g

We love roasted carrots…well any veggie roasted! So give it a try – let me hear how it worked for you!


How-to Shuck Corn with a Knife

Bi-Colored Corn in Husk

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!

Corn Cob Broth