Day 1142 – Hiking and Good Food

What a day!

I woke up with a great need to get moving, and we all wanted to explore the trails around us. After breakfast, David led Kathie and I on his favorite “loop” near the base of the Chocolate mountains.  It took us a little over two hours, but it was lovely.

The leaves are popping on the ocotillo
The leaves are popping on the ocotillo

The rains, of which we have now seen more of than in our previous years combined, are helping the desert floor start to bloom.  The spring flowers are going to be amazing!

Following the Trail
Following the Trail

After I saw this picture that Kathie took, I felt compelled to buy some hiking shorts.

Burros
Burros

We were treated to a couple of burro sightings.  This little guy was being guarded by Mom pretty tightly.

Beautiful Skies
Beautiful Skies

See, I told you it was a lovely day for a hike!

We returned just in time for lunch, and really enjoyed our salads.  It felt so good to get out after the rains and see how the desert is doing.  I will certainly take that walk again.

After lunch, we all went to do our own thing.  Kathie set up on a lawn chair and did some sketching.  David started stacking rocks around our campsite, as well as setting up our solar lights.  The area is rocky, as you can see, and he tried to level out the area around our door to eliminate tripping hazards.

Bill and Elyse, a lovely couple that we meet each year at the Hitchhiker gathering in Quartzsite, gifted us with about 10 pounds of fresh lemons from their neighbor in Mesa, AZ.  I decided to use some of these to try my hand at a vegan lemon pie.  And I am glad that I did.

I ended up having one of the most successful cooking days ever!  By the time the dust settled, I had made a lemon pie and a soup for dinner that was just out of this world.  The recipes are at the end of the blog today.

The lemon pie came out so yummy and tart, and the Grape-Nut crust was just what it needed.  I will certainly make it again.  I was caught a little short on the cornstarch, so I had to use 1 tablespoon of chickpea flower in its place.  And I went to almost 1 cup of lemon juice, since I wanted it to be extra lemony.

While that was chilling, I went looking for a soup.  I am so glad that I found this recipe for Curried Potato Soup with Corn and Red Pepper.  It was thick and creamy, and really filling as well as tasty.  The picture below is of Kathie’s bowl, which happened to have some white cheddar shavings on the top.

Yes, I spent about 4 hours in the kitchen, but I had some marvelous results to show for it.

Here are the recipes:

Dessert First!

Lemon Pie
Lemon Pie

Grape-Nuts Piecrust
1 – 1 1/4 Grape-nuts cereal, or enough to thinly cover the bottom of a pie plate
2 – 3 Tablespoons frozen apple-juice concentrate (it spoons out quite easily)

Preheat oven 350°
Pour Grape-nuts into a 9 inch pie plate, add apple-juice concentrate, and mix until the cereal is moist but not wet.
Press Grape-nuts up side of pie plate and bake for 10 minutes, until crust nicely browned, watching constantly.
Cool crust in freezer or refrigerator until ready to fill.

Lemon Pie Filling
Recipe adapted by: Susan Voisin (From Fat Free Vegan)

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup water
1 cup fatfree soymilk
3/4 cup lemon juice
grated rind of 2 lemons (about 2 Tbsp.)

Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in saucepan. Stir in water and soymilk and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and slowly add the lemon juice and grated rind. Pour into a fatfree pie crust. Chill.

8 servings: 195 calories per serving (without crust), 0 fat

*Non-Vegan version
*Non-Vegan version

Curried Potato Soup with Corn and Red Pepper

This is a hearty, healthy soup with the added warmth of curry spices.
SERVES 4
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 large Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1 pound), peeled and chopped
3 ears corn, kernels removed (about 2 cups)
4 cups Vegetable Stock , or low-sodium vegetable broth
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 batch No-Cheese Sauce Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 green onions (white and green parts), sliced
½ cup chopped cilantro
Place the onion and red pepper in a large saucepan and sauté over medium-high heat for 7 to 8 minutes. Add water 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time to keep the vegetables from sticking to the pan . Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the potatoes, corn, vegetable stock, and curry powder and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, covered, for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Add the No-Cheese Sauce and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper and serve garnished with the green onions and cilantro.

Sroufe, Del; Sroufe, Del (2012-08-14). Forks Over Knives—The Cookbook: Over 300 Recipes for Plant-Based Eating All Through the Year (Kindle Locations 2204-2219). The Experiment. Kindle Edition.

No-Cheese Sauce
This low-fat sauce makes great Mac and “Cheese” or Baked Ziti . Best of all, it only takes about 5 minutes to put together. It may seem as though this recipe will not work in a blender, but with a little patience it does. If your onions are strong, blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes, or sauté them over medium heat for about 5 minutes before adding them to the blender.
MAKES ABOUT 2 ½ CUPS
1 large yellow onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons cashews, toasted , optional
1 tablespoon tahini, optional
1 cup nutritional yeast
Salt to taste
Combine all ingredients in a blender in the order given and puree until smooth and creamy, adding up to ½ cup of water if necessary to achieve a smooth consistency.
VARIATIONS
Use an equal amount of roasted red bell peppers in place of the raw pepper.
Combine the prepared sauce with a jar of store-bought salsa or a recipe of Fresh Tomato Salsa, and use as a dip for vegetables.
Add ½ teaspoon of nutmeg with the salt.

Sroufe, Del; Sroufe, Del (2012-08-14). Forks Over Knives—The Cookbook: Over 300 Recipes for Plant-Based Eating All Through the Year (Kindle Locations 1020-1034). The Experiment. Kindle Edition.

We topped the day off with more Australian Open tennis, and then called it a very nice day at Imperial Dam LTVA.

I’m glad that we could have this chat,

Nancy

 

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