Veggie Stew

Over the weekend (Saturday), I made a veggie stew. It might even be vegan, but I would have to check the ingredients on a few labels.

Let the Chopping Begin

I started out dicing up three medium-sized onions and got them cooking down in my cast iron skillet. I used two good olive oils to help soften them up. While the softening up was happening, I peeled and chopped up a head of garlic from the farmer’s market.


Once the garlic was in the pan, I added some salt, pepper, and spices. The spices were curry powder, cayenne, chipotle, smoked Spanish paprika, and Ancho chili powder. I then added dried basil, thyme, and oregano along with many turns of finely ground Szechuan peppercorns.

I let the spices cook a bit to intensify the flavor. Before adding the pound of Rancho Gordo heirloom Classic Cranberry Beans to my large stainless steel pot (16 quarts?).

Soaking Beans and Wild Rice

The dry Rancho Gordo beans started soaking three-hours before I started chopping my vegetables. I also soaked half a pound of Trader Joe’s wild rice separately.

Okay, it was probably between 14 and 15 ounces of bean because I put 50 of them in a small envelope in my wine cooler. The reason being I wanted to see at some point if I could grow my own beans.

Slow Cooking

I added the beans and then made sure they boiled for five minutes. Then turned them down to a simmer. I then went to read some more, lying on my sofa. About every twenty minutes or so got up to check on the beans and other vegetables and stir them. After about an hour, I added the soaked wild rice and it’s water to the pot.

Stirring While Reading and Writing Blog Posts

More reading, and I think outlining a blog post or two along with more stirring.  After another hour or so, I added in a 12-ounce package of Anson Mills Slow Roasted Farro. Before adding the farro, I made sure to presoak it for an hour or more.

Over the next hour or more, I let the beans, the wild rice, and the farro slowly cooking. I added the following a 4 ounce can of Trader Joe’s Fire Roasted Diced Green Chiles. Then I added a 13.75-ounce jar of Trader Joe’s Corm and Cile tomato-less Salsa. Followed later by a one 15.25 ounce can of Wegmans No Salt Added Whole Kernel Crisp’ N Sweet Corn.

At some point in all of this, I cooked up 10-ounces of Impossible Burger in my cast iron to then added to the pot too.

Oops, I forgot I chopped up a medium-sized head of fennel and cooked in my cast iron pan, and added it in at some point to my veggie stew.

All this needed time to meld together and get tasty.

Extra Notes

For the spices, I probably put in two tablespoons of each, give or take in a very large pot. I learned over time; I can add hot sauce for added flavor and heat later. Instead of putting n to many hot spices in, that got hotter as the water evaporated.


So now I’m eating it most days for one meal. I need to put some in the freer for later if there is any room.

Here’s to more large batch cooking on a slow Saturday to have good food and lots of leftovers.

My Weight Loss

My weight loss over the last fifteen or so months has been slow and steady. Been working on what I eat and don’t eat, along with portion size and healthier choices.

Eating Habits

My eating habits have changed a good amount since I’m no longer buying breakfast and lunch at work. Which has allowed me to save more money.

During the height of the summer, lots of my lunches started with tortillas. I added garlic hummus, mixed greens, heirloom tomatoes (Cherokee Purple), and a cheese slice. I started eating more salad too as my dinner a few nights a week.

Most of my salad was the bagged kind with a dressing pack and some crunchy element. You would think that might not be healthy, but it was better, I guess than what I used to eat. But I would add some smoked sunflower seeds and two slices of torn up sliced cheese. I would even crunch up tortilla chips for some crunch.

I almost forgot the halved heirloom cherry tomatoes that I added when possible to my salad.

Breakfast or lunch could also include peanut butter and jelly on a tortilla. Or eggs and cheese in a tortilla with some hummus if I had some and mixed greens too.

Lots of Tortillas

You might have noticed all the mentions of tortillas. It’s been more because I saw that when I purchased bread, it dried out or got moldy much quicker. So I went with the tortillas, which cut down on the carbs, I think a bit more, but I’m no scientist.


Snacks have been better also. Meaning I now eat more peanuts, cashews, fruits, carrots, and hummus when I need a snack than before. Sometimes after dinner, I will put a good handful of peanuts in a bowl. Then a half a pint of blueberries, a sliced banana, and add a bit of chocolate sauce. So it’s feels like a fancier dessert minus the ice cream etc.

New Habits

With all this and more purposeful walking and eating better. Not perfect, but an improvement from what I have been doing. I have lost about 60 lbs (27.2 kg or 4.3 stone) since the end of September 2019. Half of that has been since the beginning of the pandemic.

What Other’s Noticed

Seeing friends on Zoom after a long time like today, a bunch were amazed at my weight loss. I haven’t seen some of them since I lost the 60 lbs, and others only the last 30 lbs since mid-March 2020.

New Things

I even had to buy a set of metal leather whole punches to put new wholes in my handmade leather belt. I purchased the belt from an old friend in June or July of 2019 when he was in town for an art show. I had ran out of wholes so that I couldn’t tighten it anymore. I didn’t want my pants to fall down.

I even purchased one new pair of jeans this fall because the others were at least four to five sizes too big. I only bought one pair for now. Since I’m mostly sitting in the house working and then out for a walk in the cold. So I don’t need more than one pair. I can put on some shorts or sweats when I need to wash them.

Walking Everywhere

Another thing that has helped is having to walk to the grocery or farmer’s market. Which are a mile or more one way and using a backpack. I found there was less room for junk food that way.

Okay, at one point, I was down 65 lbs. For the last two months or so, I have been getting more foods like pastries or cookies from the farmer’s market or the store. Now with doing a bit less walking and the holiday’s being over this will stop except for once in a while treat.

Slow and Steady

So my weight loss has been slow and steady for the most part and has become more of a change in my eating habits. That needs to be tweaked now and again.

Adding some exercise besides walking will come when I’ve lost more weight.

How much that is, I don’t have a goal in mind besides feeling better and more rested.

Adding More Places to Eat to My List

Over the last nine or ten months of the pandemic, I have been gathering places to eat at Gotta Eat Here. So with not going out to eat or even having the means to do so. Such as a car or using the bus or metro (commuter train) that I do not want to use either right now.

New Food Resources

I have found many food-related shows. Been reading articles or found new people on Twitter with great food recommendations. The list of places they all are suggesting is adding up.

Adding My Backlog or Making Updates to the Application

So I have been adding them to my backlog in GitHub of places to add to my web-based application when I have time. The application lists all the places I have been or want to go to when I travel or even go to in the DC area.

Each day I make an effort to either add at least one place to the JSON files that power the application. Or add a new restaurant to the backlog.

I have found many new places to make it worth adding a new location (city or state) to the application. So that’s work that needs to be done too.

New Features

A feature I need to add to the website is the ability to link to a page with a dynamic map of places near the person. Or at least put the restaurants for that location all on one page. A more useful option is the ability to store the page contents with service workers. It’s for when there is no internet in some big cities or out in the middle of nowhere. So you can at least show the pages you brought up before.

Finding the Time

So here’s to making more time to work on these items.

I’m thinking a good time will be over the upcoming five-day long weekend. I figured since I already have MLK day off and the Inauguration off, I would take Tuesday the 19th off.

P.S. You can find my list of places to eat the website “Gotta Eat Here“.

A Lazy Saturday in January 2021

Today’s one of those lazy Saturdays where I have no major plans.

I managed to sleep until 9:06 AM after waking up around 6:26 AM and then falling back to sleep sometime after 7:00 AM. I stayed in bed for a bit, reading some Twitter. Before getting ready to head to the Del Ray Farmer’s Market to drop off my compost.

Farmers Market

I left the house around 9:37 AM to walk the mile-plus to the farmer’s market. I managed to walk in the street the entire trip there. Okay, I did have to walk across the sidewalk from my driveway to the road, but otherwise managed to do that.

I ran into a few friends sitting outside in the cold (36 F of 2 C) of a local coffee shop (St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub) talking. They were getting ready to leave, so I went to the market a block away. I dropped on my compost.

Then I picked up a Philly style tomato pie that was on a Focaccia type bread. Along with some Ecuadorian beef, empanada’s at another stand.

On my walk home again, I was taking the long way. I stopped at Adli’s to get some salad. Because last night, when I went, they were sold out. The salad was on sale for like 80 cents to a dollar per bag, which is why there was none. I also grabbed two ginger-based GT’s Kombucha’s.

Made it Home to Start Cooking

Once home emptied my backpack and put things away.

Then started soaking 8 oz. of Trader Joe’s Wild Rice and Rancho Gordo heirloom Classic Cranberry beans. I think it was around 14 oz because I save 50 beans to grow them myself later.

The heirloom classic cranberry beans, wild rice, slow-roasted farrow from Anson Mills will get combined with garlic, onion, Trader Joe’s Corn and Chile Tomato-less Salsa, Trader Joe’s Fire Roasted Diced Green Chiles, a 12 oz packed of Impossible Burger, salt, pepper, and some spices. Who knows what else will end up in there.

Once the beans start cooking, I’m going to continue reading Heydon Pickering’s book “Inclusive Components – Accessible Web interfaces, Piece by Piece”. Maybe nap some and watch more of Ron Finley’s MasterClass on gardening. You need to watch Ron Finley TED Talk if you haven’t heard of him before.

To More Slow Weekends

So here is to more slow Saturdays or even Sundays or any day of the week for that matter.

Yes, I will post a final list of what goes into the soup/stew, whatever it’s going to end up in a later post. I might even add a photo or two.

Eating Healthier

In the last nine months to a year, I have gotten healthier because I have been eating almost all my meals at home and making better food choices.

By only bringing in healthy food, it’s easier not to eat less healthy foods. Doing so has made it easier to eat what is in the house.

Another reason is when you are walking to the grocery store with a backpack, there is less room for junk food. Plus, when you are stocking up on fruit and vegetables, along with kombucha and eggs every two weeks. You buy less junk since there is less room. Not that I haven’t been buying tortilla chips to crumble on my salads for some crunch or dark chocolate bars, etc.

I think I’m healthier partially because I’m not eating at restaurants. Or I haven’t had any takeout since mid-March, and I’m walking more. Doing so has improved my eating habits. I have been making, cooking, or assembling (salads) for all my meals, which I enjoy doing. But hadn’t done much of or as often until this year, especially when cooking for one person.

Changes in Eating Habits

I have managed to eat more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, on tortillas, than in the last ten years. Which is still better than what I would eat for breakfast or lunch from the work cafeteria.

Breakfast at work used to be scrambled eggs and pork sausage. Or two egg, pork sausage, and cheese sandwiches on a croissant or toast or a toasted bagel. At the same time, lunch ended up being about a pound or more of hot food from the lunch buffet.

I have eaten more fruits, vegetables/salad, nuts, this year, which has been a good thing. Along with trail mix of peanuts, cashews, almonds, raisins, and M & M’s.

Rethinking My Cooking

When cooking hot meals, I have used more grains, fresh vegetables, and less meat. When using meat, I would put a pound in what I was making. That gets divided amongst the six to eight servings that I ended up eating over time. So there is less in each portion. I even ate more tofu and plant-based meats too.

By making larger quantities, I was able even to make enough to have many extra meals. So I only had to reheat them and put others in the freezer for later. That way, I wasn’t cooking every day, but a few days a week. Then I would have salads, etc., so I wasn’t eating the same thing for every meal.

Not Everything has Been Healthy

Not that everything I ate was healthy, but it’s been an improvement. I have eaten more fruits and vegetables, healthier snacks, salads, etc. The snacks have been more nuts (peanuts and cashews).

I nice dessert I have made many times is to take a large handful of nuts. Put them in a bowl with half a pint of blueberries, a sliced up banana, and then add some dark chocolate sauce. To me, it’s like an ice cream dessert without the ice cream and a lot more fiber.

How I Fared with Eating Better

All in all, I have been eating better but not on what I would call a diet per se.

So here is to making more eating improvements in 2021 for the long term.