The Blood Full Moon high in the sky last night and the leaves just tipping into a new spectrum of color as autumn sweeps in and October is right there waiting at the end of the week.
The farmer’s markets are thinning out but there is still plenty to work with to make meals nutritious and interesting.
Monday: Minestrone Soup and Salad (recipe below)
Ian Firestone makes the best soups!!
Tuesday: Shepherd’s Pie
Mashed potatoes placed in a large casserole dish (oven friendly) with a layer of sauteed onion (in butter), green pepper, and crumbled soy sausage (Trader Joes has a good one that is GMO free and vegetarian, then top with cubed cheddar cheese.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 min. Add 1/2 a stick of butter cut into several slices and arranged around the top of the casserole – cook an additional 10 min.
Wednesday: Chick Pea Tacos
1 can of chick peas mashed with ripe avocado, seasoned with chili powder, salt, and pepper (optional taco seasoning)
Warm taco shells in oven and stuff with chickpea avocado and top with shredded lettuce and grated cheddar cheese.
Thursday: Fried rice with diced carrot (2-4), onion (1 big one) and mushroom (1-2 cups shitake) tossed with 2 large farm eggs (beaten first) and about 4 cups cooked rice (you know I love leftovers for lunches!). I like to sautee the veggies in a mix of sunflower and sesame oils. Then coat with Braggs, Tamari, or Soy Sauce – get some eggrolls from the Eggroll Lady at the South of the James Farmer’s Market for an extra treat.
Friday:Stuffed Red Pepper with side salad
Half the peppers, stuff with rice, sauteed cubed zucchini, onion, and garlic, then top with Parmesan cheese or other cheese
Place on cookie sheet and bake at 350 for about 30 min. or until peppers are tender.
Saturday: Veggie Sushi
Fun to make! Let me know if you need further instructions
You must use sticky sushi rice tossed in rice vinegar and roll with nori or seaweed
Be creative with what you put in them – sliced thin carrot, cucumber, avocado or try sauteing shitake mushrooms in garlic or sliced strips of tofu seasoned with tamari and garlic.

Minestrone Soup

Like most of my soups, this one is prepared in three stages in a big (2 gal) pot. Each step should take about 10 minutes.
Stage 1: Sautee the firmer and aromatic veggies.
On medium heat, add oil to pot and allow to heat up while chopping the onion. Cube all vegetables and add to the hot oil in the order listed below.:
* 1/3 cup sunflower oil
* 1 large white onion
* 1 large zucchini
* 4 medium-sized carrots
* 1 large yellow squash
* 1.5 cups green beans
* 3 garlic cloves (squished through a press)

Stage 2: Add softer ingredients, and seasonings.
* 4-5 large, ripe tomatoes (diced)
* 8 okra (sliced like buttons)
* 3 Tbsp finely chopped fresh chives
* half a stick of butter
* 2 Tbsp ground sage
* 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast (this is NOT bread yeast)
* 2 tsp ground rosemary
* 1 tsp ground peppercorns (I used a black-red-green medley)
* 1/2 tsp ground lavender or dried basil flakes (I did both)
* 1/2 tsp cumin
* 1/4 tsp ground mustard seed or coriander seed (I did both)
* 1 Tbsp sea salt
* 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
Optional: 1.5 cups corn kernels, 1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper, and/or cubed potatoes.
Stir for about a minute, allowing all the ingredients to get well acquainted with one another.
Stage 3: Making the pasta Since we make a combined volume of about 1.5 gallons of soup to consume throughout the week, we make the pasta separately so it doesn’t dissolve into utter mush after two days.
[3a] Start Pasta: In a separate pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil.
[3b] Dilute Veggies: While waiting for pot #2 min. or until peppers are tender. to boil, add 8 cups water (half a gallon) to the simmering veggie soup pot. This should double the volume in the soup pot. Increase heat to return to a boil, then set heat to Low-Medium and simmer with lid on.
[3c] Optional: Put a tsp of rosemary in a handled tea ball, and place in the pasta water. Does this really do anything? It made me feel clever.
[3d] Add a bag [about 8-10 servings] of your preference small-size pasta, such as rotini or shell (rice pasta for gluten-free, as we do).
[3e] Boil according to package directions (stir rice pasta occasionally, until al dente), drain, then put into a container and close the lid. This will be about 3 quarts of cooked pasta.
SERVE: Stir soup well, then ladle into bowls. Add about 1/3 to 1/2 as much cooked pasta into each bowl, then stir each bowl. Garnish and/or season with additional salt according to cook’s/recipients’ preferences.