How to Steam Broccoli ♥ with Step-by-Step Photos

How to steam broccoli, step-by-step photos and three important tricks
How to steam fresh broccoli in a collapsible steamer basket, producing perfectly cooked broccoli, the creamy stalks, the chewy stems, the tender florets. There are three tricks, they're all detailed here!

Steamed broccoli, what could be simpler, right? Well that's the thing about simple stuff, the tricks are in the details. So now there are step-by-step photos with all my broccoli-steaming insider tips, including my Top Three Tricks to perfectly steamed broccoli.

Trick #1: Trim Aggressively!
Trick #2: Layer the Broccoli
Trick #3: Finish Off Heat

A cutting board
A sharp knife
A vegetable peeler
A collapsible steaming basket
That's all!

African Pepper, Tomato & Spinach ♥

African Pepper, Tomato & Spinach Stew, just 5 ingredients, 15 minutes and 4 Weight Watchers points. Vegan too!
graphic button small size size 10 Today's vegetable quick 'n' easy supper recipe: A quick skillet from pantry ingredients, just five ingredients, not counting the water, salt and pepper, that is. Surprisingly tasty for something so simple. Just 4 PointsPlus for Weight Watchers. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real". It’s a great defense to the onslaught of Easter and Passover sweets that will be tempting us over the next few weeks. Gird thyself!

~recipe & photo updated 2006 & 2014, & reposted 2014~
~more recently updated recipes~

2005 ORIGINAL POST Yum! A definite keeper! The start is pretty typical, just sautéed onion and bell pepper. The tomato and spinach are added later, then comes the secret ingredient, peanut butter! It adds flavor, texture and protein – though skip the boring details and tell the kids only that it tastes good. Will kids love this? Maybe? New lesson: Sauté vegetables in water or chicken broth, not fat, especially if there's fat (in this case, the rich peanut butter) to be added later.

Easy-Easy Slow Cooker Honey Carrots ♥

Easy-Easy Slow Cooker Honey Carrots, just dump 'em in and go to town.
Today's slow cooker recipe: Simple, tasty cooked carrots, either baby carrots (I know, I know, read on!) or real carrots (better still!). Just dump 'em in with a few pantry ingredients and let the slow cooker go to town. The kitchen will smell so good! Kids and grownups like these approachable carrots and they add great color to a buffet or dinner plate. Inexpensive. Weight Watchers Friendly. Low Cal. Gluten Free. Primal. Vegetarian.

Okay so no April Fool's joke here but for the first time ever, I'm gonna say, "Okay, okay. Go ahead, use baby carrots."

Surprised? Because we remember the outright lies fiction about so-called "baby" carrots, right? I first started spreading the word way back in 2005 on Day Twelve of A Veggie Venture. The truth is, baby carrots aren't the young, tender carrots they're marketed to be. The fact is, baby carrots are giant carrots shaved down to bite-size carrot bullets. Snopes even claims that carrots destined for infantilization what the carrot industry now calls "baby-cut" carrots are especially bred for sweetness and bright orange color. Really, that's necessary? What's next, carrot Fruit Loops?

How To Microwave Asparagus ♥

How to cook asparagus in the microwave.
Today's microwave recipe: How to cook fresh asparagus in the microwave, quick 'n' easy and absolutely delicious. Weight Watchers Friendly, just WW 1 PointsPlus. Low Cal. Low Carb. Gluten Free. Paleo. Vegetarian. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real".

F-A-I-L. How in bloody h-e-double-toothpicks in nine years of cooking vegetables did I ever miss this most basic way to cook asparagus? These are my explanations feeble excuses for somehow overlooking the microwave for cooking asparagus:

"Couldn't see for looking," my mother used to say when she couldn't find something and then suddenly, there it was, right before her eyes.
Some times the most obvious is least expected.
Some times it's possible to hide in plain sight.

When the first asparagus showed up in the supermarket a couple of weeks ago, Missouri was still a frozen, snowy place. Buying asparagus felt like defying winter, a determined act of spring hope. I threw the first batch in the microwave for lunch one day, grabbing the camera after the first bite: perfect, absolutely perfect. That night, I put another batch in the microwave: again, a hit. I remembered my long-time favorite asparagus steamer and relegated it to the basement storage room year-round. For a fast fresh vegetable, microwave asparagus is terrific!

NOW. I know some people object to microwaves and strongly believe that a microwave removes nutrients from food. I don't share that idea but do respect your viewpoint. If you'd like to comment, do but be polite and respect my viewpoint as well. Impolite comments will be microwaved deleted. For those who appreciate the speed and convenience of microwaves, check out the brand-new page, Microwave Vegetable Recipes.

Comfort Food: Reuben Casserole ♥ Recipe

Reuben Casserole, great for leftover corned beef, easy & very tasty.
Today's easy casserole recipe for St. Patrick's Day or afterward to use up leftover corned beef, a reuben sandwich, deconstructed in casserole form using corned beef, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese.

~first posted 2008, recipe & photo updated & reposted 2014~
~more recently updated recipes~

2008: When the butcher asked if I wanted the "big" piece of Kobe corned beef for our St. Patrick's Day feast, I was sure a "small" one would be plenty. "Are you sure?" he encouraged. "It's really good." So I charged ahead, "Sure, a big one, it is." Good advice, good decision. The Kobe beef was spectacular, moist and meaty and fork tender in my long-time favorite Corned Beef & Cabbage. The only downside to lots of meat turns out to pure upside: great leftovers. This casserole, it's a keeper. [Note to Vegetarians]

2014: Thanks, Pinterest! This recipe pops up on Pinterest often, thanks for the reminder! It's so easy to throw together, just a handful of ingredients. It made for a nice light supper and with just the two of us, was finished off in grilled sandwiches. Wonderful!

"[With cream cheese for an appetizer ...] it's exceptional." ~ Diana

Spinach Pancakes ♥ Go Green!

Spinach Pancakes, whole-wheat pancakes with fresh spinach, light and fluffy.
Today's easy pancake recipe: Whole-wheat pancakes with fresh spinach, light and fluffy. The pancakes are "dyed" green (St. Patrick's Day, anyone?!) from the all-natural spinach but yet, there's no bitter spinach taste at all. Surprisingly good, frankly they taste just like regular pancakes except maybe a little "greener". Thanks to both Greek yogurt and spinach, they're also high in protein. And besides, aren't they just plain fun?! Weight Watchers Friendly, WW 2 PointsPlus. Vegetarian.

So let's talk pancakes, shall we? Cuz everybody loves 'em, at least my family does! I don't repeat many recipes in my column Kitchen Parade – but pancakes are an exception! There's my sister's recipe (thick and fluffy with tiny, small, medium and large batches for changing family sizes) and my mom's recipe (the classic! calling for either buttermilk or "sweet" milk) and cornmeal pancakes (especially good with blueberries) and even pancakes made with cottage cheese (extra moist). You see?! And now I add to the arsenal, completely addictive Spinach Pancakes. I love their color, love their texture, love their good taste.

No surprise, my family knows its pancakes. Two things help [FYI, this is not a sponsored post, just pancake tools I like]: