Category Archives: Fun Stuff

Pickled Sweet Pepper Strips – a vegan recipe

Today is the first ever Flagler Beach Vegan Fest. I’m not a vegan myself, but I’m finding myself eating this way more as I’ve been working with a great group of people to help them promote this event.  The excitement has been growing over the past few weeks. This is a passionate group who believe whole-heartedly in their commitment of creating a balance in the world that is the end result of eating vegan-style. Exactly what classifies a recipe as vegan? To be vegan, a recipe must exclude meat, eggs, dairy products and all other animal-derived ingredients. Check out Vegan by Choice for more information.

Bounty from my garden 2011
Photo credit: Words Etc.

My husband and I often eat vegetarian meals and many of those meals and dishes end up being vegan.  What I’ve observed in recent weeks is that by “hanging out” with a few vegans while planning and promoting this event, I’ve started to analyze everything we cook and eat to see if it fits into the “vegan” category.

So it is in that spirit that I make my vegan recipe contribution today.

Communication with the earth by growing your own stuff is a favorite form of communicating for me.  Last year my yellow banana peppers just wouldn’t stop communicating with me!  We were overrun with Datil peppers as well as sweet yellow banana peppers.  The Datils have been turned into an amazing hot sauce, and I also developed a Datil Pepper Relish that has become very popular with friends and neighbors. But the real fun I had last summer was to perfect my version of a sweet pickled banana pepper. I am already anticipating what new creativity this summer’s garden will inspire!

I’ve finally got it down to science so here it is for all the world to see.  And to all my vegan friends in Flagler Beach and all around the area, Happy Vegan Fest Day!!

Christine’s Pickled Sweet Pepper Strips
Photo Credit: Words Etc.

Christine’s Pickled Sweet Pepper Strips

Start with 2 pounds of yellow and red sweet peppers, seeded and cut into 1/4 or 1/2 inch strips or rings (about 4 cups yellow banana and 4 cups of red bell)

Cover peppers with ice water, adding a few cloves of garlic and  1/3 cup pickling salt.  Mix well and allow to stand covered for about 3 hours. Drain the peppers well in a colander.

Pack 4 pint jars with peppers. Be sure to pack the peppers tightly.  Remember they are raw when you pack them and will shrink up a bit from the hot brine.  To each jar add:

½ tsp pickling salt

¼ tsp celery seed

1 tsp mustard seed

1 clove garlic

One Datil pepper or a few slices of jalapeno pepper for spicy jars.  I usually make a mild jar or too for those less adventurous!

Prepare the brine by mixing together:

 2 cups white wine or cider vinegar

1 ½ cup sugar

1 ¼ tsp turmeric

 Bring to boil and simmer 5 minutes.  Pour brine over peppers. Leaving ½ inch headspace. Seal and process 10-15 minutes in boiling water bath. Let jars cool on a towel on counter top. Store the cooled, sealed jars in a cool, dark, dry place for at least 3 weeks before eating the peppers.

Be prepared to make more.  Everyone will love these peppers, and you can tell by the photo that they are beautiful!

Have some recipes that fit into the vegan category?  Please share with me!

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Happy Cinco de Mayo!!!

It’s Cinco de Mayo and that means, music, celebration and, of course, food and drink.  In spite of all of the ideas spinning around in my head about what I should be blogging about – like converting a resume to plain text or discussing  different writing styles –  the tastes of the day keep permeating my imagination.  As one who has been working hard on losing a few pounds, those blasted “caloric counts” are always on my mind.  Now I’m doing good in the weight-loss department with the assistance of MyFitnessPal  – a great app to help you count calories and exercise.  I am pleased to report that I have 15 lb less body fat surrounding my middle than I had just  7 1/2 weeks ago.  It’s been a pretty easy ride with the help of MFP.  I’ve become so much aware of every bite I put in my mouth and what it’s worth.  I don’t feel deprived; I just count everything I eat.  So that means today, a Margarita or a Corona Light is not out of the question — as long as I count it! But do I really want to waste all those calories on one little drink.   Hmm, have to think about that one.  I’d much rather enjoy good, fresh goodies from my kitchen.

MFP makes to easy to count your calories and exercise!

Those of you that follow me know that I communicate with my readers on all levels – and that includes food and eating.  So on on a lighter eating note, today I communicate with you through my Black Bean and Mango Salad or call it a salsa.  I made this with fresh jalapeno and cilantro from the garden — some of this year’s first spring bounty. And at only 53 calories per half cup, it’s pretty guilt-free, so enjoy!

Black Bean and Mango Salsa

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

2 cups chopped mango

1 cup diced sweet red pepper

1 jalapeno – seeded and chopped fine

½ cup diced red onion

¼ fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

¼ cup fresh lime juice

1 tbsp extra virgin oil oil

Coarsely ground salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, mixing well.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.  Serve with pita chips.

If you have the time to make your own pita chips, they are well-worth the effort, especially when still warm from the oven.  Here’s my version – short and simple.

The Best Homemade Pita Chips

Whole wheat pitas

Coarse sea salt

Extra-virgin olive oil

Prepare baking pan by drizzling lightly with olive oil, using a pastry brush to spread evenly if necessary. Cut each pita in half and then into triangles, separating each triangle into 2 pieces. Place triangles on pan in a single layer.  Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with coarse salt.  Bake at 350 for 8 – 10 minutes or until lightly browned.  Watch carefully as they can brown quickly.

Enjoy with Black Bean and Mango Salsa.

See you next time!!

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Out on a limb with food – brown rice and mango meet their match

For those of you that have been following me for a while, you know that I sometimes go off in different directions with content for this blog. I usually stay focused on words and writing or freelance strategies, but once in a while I like to explore the not so obvious paths of communication.

So today I’m going back to an area I’ve visited before – food. 

Cooking, eating, or sharing a meal are all great ways to communicate with nature, our inner creativity and our friends or family.  So I can’t resist the urge to share with you something I put together a few days ago for dinner.  It’s based on a dish I enjoyed at a St. Augustine Beach spot – Mango Mango’s.  This great spot offer a touch of the islands to every dish they serve.

Here’s my version of brown rice, peppers and mango.  In addition to the whole grain benefits of the rice, it also peps up your metabolism with hot peppers.

Photo by Words Etc.

Christine’s Spicy Brown Rice Pilaf with Mango and Peppers

February 16, 2012

  • One cup organic brown rice (I like Gourmet House brand that I get in the Publix organic food section)
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • 1 tsp. salt (optional)
  • ¼ tsp. Mrs. Dash Chipotle Seasoning (or to your taste)
  • ¼ cup each green and sweet red or orange pepper
  • ½ jalapeno pepper chopped fine
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ medium-sized mango, chopped
  • Grape seed oil

Cook rice in rice cooker or on stove top with water, salt, Mrs. Dash, and a dash or two of olive oil. Cook ahead of time if desired so rice dries out a bit.

When ready to prepare, coat medium sized skillet with grape seed oil. I use grape seed oil because it has a higher cooking temp tolerance than olive oil. Add peppers and sauté until peppers are soft. Add garlic and cook for a minute or two more.

Add cooked rice, adding a little more oil if necessary. Stir gently. Add mango and stir again. Serve with a wedge of lime. Delicious!!

We also serve with my homemade sweet plum sauce. (I’m not sharing that just yet, but stay tuned!) You can make this dish as mild or hot as you like. Just adjust the Mrs. Dash or jalapeno use. Just remember the heat of the peppers is good for your metabolism and helps you burn more calories!

A side of fresh strawberries and mango is a perfect accompaniment.  Now my vegetarian friends (it qualifies as vegan) will enjoy this as a main dish, but it’s also a great side.

Enjoy!  And here’s a little Calypso music to entertain you while you fix this dish……

STOP HERE IF YOU’RE VEGETARIAN!

We had it with Chicken medallions that were sprinkled with Chipotle Mrs. Dash.  I have an Armatale pan that works great on the grill and is perfect for sauteing just about anything on the grill.  Any grill-safe pan will work, but be sure to check out the link if you’ve never heard of these pans.  They are extremely versatile and well worth the investment.

Start by warming some grape seed oil in a pan on the grill, then add the medallions and saute, turning once to keep a nice brown.  At the very end I add just a touch of dry white wine (optional) and continue sauteing for just a few minutes.

As always, thanks for reading, and I welcome your comments!

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Kreativ Blogger Award

Congratulations April and thanks for accepting the award.  Please click on the “reblogged” link to read her entire post.

Working on Creative Chaos

I have been nominated for the Kreativ Blogger Award by Christine Speno. It is an honor to be nominated and I apologize profusely for my negligence in posting on the topic.

To accept the award, one must post ten things that their readers may not know about them as well as listing six blogs that they think are outstanding and deserve nomination as well. In the spirit of the award, I had a wonderful time perusing the blogs and selecting six that I thought were also worthy.

In no particular order, here are my selections for nomination. I have chosen six categories that I am fond of and found blogs therein.

Blogging~The Paltry Meanderingsof a Taller than Average Woman

Books~ Writer’s Rambles

Poetry~ Apologize with Lies

Recipes~ Disseminated Thoughts

Drama~ A Day in the Life of Me

Humor~ Jessseeker

These blogs are great, and because I found them and…

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Flagler County catches season’s spirit | StAugustine.com.

Capt Nick entertains guests at Beach House Beanery

Palm Coast: Flagler County catches season’s spirit | StAugustine.com.

The holiday season is buzzing in our area.  It seems to be festive no matter where you go.  Recently I spent an afternoon working at the great new internet room at BeachHouse Beanery in Flagler Beach.  In addition to their newly upgraded super-fast WiFi service, it was “Birthday Tuesday!”  The brainchild of owners, Jeff and Carol Fisher, anyone with a birthday in December enjoyed a free piece of birthday cake.  Actually Carol was generous with sharing the cake with all the regulars (birthday or not).  In addition to the cake and great mix of local and visiting personalities on hand, Captain Nick was there for our entertainment pleasure.  Listen to his original songs at the BeachHouse website.

If you have to work, and you have the ability to be a freelancer, there’s no better spot around our area.  It’s also the perfect spot for a casual business meeting. You’re surrounded by great conversation, a view of the ocean, super fast internet speeds in a dedicated internet area if you prefer a quieter workspace, superb coffee, and a breakfast/ lunch menu to please anyone  – even our Vegan friend – Josh – a regular at the Beanery.  BTW Josh has inspired the famous Jack & Lu Sandwich – veggie blend on whole grain bread  – named affectionately after his kids.  You won’t find a more neighborly place to hang out than BeachHouse.  Stop by or visit them online or on Facebook to find out more about Birthday celebrations and other upcoming events at BeachHouse.

Don’t forget to stop by the Christmas Come True gift wrapping table when shopping at Belk’s this season.  Volunteers will be on hand to get your gifts “under-the-tree-ready.”  Although this is a free service offered by Belks, donations to Christmas Come True are welcome and encouraged.  The organization focuses on helping Flagler families give their children food, clothing, and gifts during Christmas.

Read more about community holiday events by clicking on the title of this post or the link below.  Thanks for reading!

Palm Coast: Flagler County catches season’s spirit | StAugustine.com.

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First tree lighting ceremony for Palm Coast.

Tree of Light

Palm Coast Neighbors: First tree lighting ceremony | StAugustine.com.

Be sure to catch the first Palm Coast tree lighting ceremony.  Learn more about this and other upcoming events in Palm Coast/Flagler County by clicking on the link above.  Be sure to also read my post about sharing with family and friends during the holidays at this link.

And don’t forget that Team Feed Flagler is hosting our annual holiday dinner on Wednesday, November 23 at the locations shown below.   Also food boxes will be distributed to those in need.  This is a real community event!

  • Buddy Taylor Middle School, 4500 Belle Terre Parkway, Palm Coast
  • Bunnell Elementary,  305 N. Palmetto Street, Bunnell
  • Bunnell First United Methodist Church,  205 Pine Street, Bunnell
  • Espanola Community Center 3055 C.R. 13, Espanola
  • First AME Church of Palm Coast 91 Old Kings Road North, Palm Coast
  • Hammock First Baptist Church 5328 Oceanshore Blvd, (S.R. A1A)
  • Hidden Trails Community Center 6108 Mahogany Blvd, Daytona North
  • Mt. Calvary Baptist Church 75 Pine Lakes Parkway South, Palm Coast
  • Pellicer Community Center 1380 C.R. 2007, West Flagler County
  • St. James Missionary Baptist Church 609 State Street (U.S. 1) Bunnell
  • Wickline Center 800 S.Daytona Ave., Flagler Beach

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL!!

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More food as promised!

Okay readers, this is starting to feel like a foodie blog instead of a communication blog. But food and eating is communicating, right?  Especially when we talk with our friends and family over a great meal.

Last week I posted a new recipe for black bean and sweet potato chili and promised a recipe for beer bread.  Here it is!

Beer Bread

3 cups self-rising flour, sifted
12 oz beer

½  cup sugar


Mix together flour, beer and sugar.  Pour into a greased loaf pan.  Bake at 350 for 45 – 60 minutes.  Immediately upon removing from oven, pour a stick of melted butter or margarine over the warm bread.  Let cool for a few minutes; remove from pan and serve immediately.

Optional.  You may pour the butter over the batter before baking for a bread with a softer crust.

Note: If you don’t have self-rising flour, sift together 3 cups regular flour, 3 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp salt.  Be sure to sift the flour to avoid too heavy a bread.

This is great with chili, soup or stew or just with a salad.

 More later……..

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