CrockPot Diaries: Tandoori Spiced Potatoes and a Whole lotta Greens

cooking, crockpot, recipe, Uncategorized, Vegan

I have to say – this is probably one of my favorite recipes to come out of my crockpot experiments. Probably (read definitely)  that is because I actually followed the instructions in my cookbook, and didn’t try to get fancy by substituting ingredients.

It’s like I actually…..followed directions or something?!

This recipe came from one of my Christmas cookbooks, “Quick and Easy Vegan Slow Cooking” by the incredibly talented Carla Kelly. Carla does a great job of not over-complicating the prep work involved in crock-potting (yes – it’s a verb now) – and she’s traveled around the world – so many of her recipes are internationally inspired. Since I adore Indian food – I thought I’d give this a whirl! I was not disappointed!


1/2 onion (diced)

2 garlic cloves (minced – which is really like dicing but OK)

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger (ahem – I used powdered ginger – it was fine)

1 tablespoon curry powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 potatoes – cut into 1/4 inch cubes. Guesstamate on this – just keep them relatively uniform (Yukon is recommended for their firmness – but if you like a mushier dish – you could probably use sweet potatoes)

3/4 cup veggie stock/broth

1/2 cup coconut cream or full fat canned coconut milk (OK – so – my local grocery store didn’t have a ton of selection – so I just picked up (the only) can I could find. It seemed to work – a little runny – but it was close enough for government work)

4 cups spinach – chopped


1. Dump everything into crock pot! (Except spinach) – Apologies in advance, and, the #1 reason you should by Kelly’s cookbook is that she does a much better job in explaining all this than I do. Consider my blogs the “spark notes versions”

2. Stir – some veggies will be left uncovered by broth – DON’T PANIC!! it’s ok 🙂

3. Cover & set to low for 6 hours

4. Do grad school homework and play with family pet.

6 hours later…..

5. Add the spinach (bet you forgot about that – didn’t you!) – I added more than 4 cups. Way more than 4 cups. I like spinach – Don’t judge me!

     – Add the spinach a little bit at a time, stirring between each. You want to let it wilt down before adding more.

6. Post-spinach – VOLIA!






It was good – it was really, really good. I ate the entire thing in about 3 days. Nice and spicy – but mild thanks to the coconut milk.

It cost me about, maybe 8 bucks for the whole meal, and it was 4 decent sized servings. That’s $2 per serving!

The Broke Vegan strikes again!!


CrockPot Diaries : Hodge-Podge Soup

cooking, crockpot, recipe, Vegan

After the emotional roller coaster that was this week – I’m not really up for cooking. And since I don’t have a dishwasher in my shoebox-sized apartment, I’m not thrilled about the possibility of cleaning either.

Luckily – I had some leftover “Hodge-Podge Soup” in my freezer, easily defrostable and microwavable for a hearty & filling meal, either alone or with a side of rice. This recipe isn’t an exact replication…. I took some creative liberties with this interpretation 🙂 I used the proportions from THIS (non-vegan) recipe – and modified it based on the ingredients of my pantry.

The beauty of hodge-podge is that it’s so versatile. Don’t have a sweet potato? Use butternut squash. Don’t have chickpeas? Use lentils. Don’t have vegetable broth? Too bad, you’re out of luck. 🙂 (but seriously – you have to have that….)

FYI – you will need some sort of “smoothing” tool – an immersion blender works best & is the least messy, but if you’re in a pinch, (and don’t mind the extra clean-up) you can use a food processor or a blender. But not a potato masher, that will not work. Just warning you….

It was good! I swear!

Ingredients :

  • 1 can black beans
  • 2 (or 3 – whatever) cloves of garlic – minced
  • 2 cups vegetable broth/stock (what is the difference between a stock and a broth? Anyone?)
  • 1 decent sized sweet potato (cubed, skin on or off, whatever you prefer)
  • diced onion (depending on how much you like onions)
  • 1 can of chickpeas (drain ’em danno)
  • dash o’ parsley
  • 1 teaspoon of “Italian Spice Mix” (this is negotiable – but remember, the “main” ingredients are all pretty mild in flavors, so go easy on the spices, you don’t want to over-season)

Directions : 

  • Put all ingredients into the crockpot.

Look! All the ingredients in the crock pot!



  • Put soup on “low” for 6 hours (or until potatoes et. al are very tender)
  • Celebrate excellent soup-making skills with a trip to Starbucks for a unsweetened-soy-green-tea-latte, and admit to yourself that you’re a 2013 hippie

6 hours later…..

Soup is ready for it's close up

Soup is ready for it’s close up – also – stir it. Don’t leave the spices floating at the top….







  • Get out your handy-dandy smoothing tool. (And let’s all take a moment to appreciate that I actually HAD/HAVE an immersion blender!)
  • Use it on soup (I left some texture in mine, so it was more stew-esque, rather than soup-esque)







I’ll be honest – the flash on my camera makes it look more orangey than it was. It was more brown (thanks to the black beans) – so don’t panic if yours looks more like mud. It’s still good.

  • NOM on your delicious soup!!!

One side note for those of us who like any excuse to add more greens to a meal – for this soup, that is not a good idea. When I tried reheating it on the stove, I added in some kale for an extra boost of vitamins… for some reason I thought, “this time my greens will be good in soup!”.

I was wrong. Yet again – greens in soups/stews turn into stringy green snot and I hate them. (whaaa!)  I’m thinking that next time I’ll juice the greens and substitute the green juice for some of the broth first, instead of adding them in at the end.  Unless one of you lovely folks has a better idea… 🙂

Crock Pot Diaries : Pasta Salsa Bake

cooking, crockpot, recipe, Vegan

Do you know what I asked for for Christmas this year?

I asked my mom to go to Homegoods and clear out their Clearance Foods section. If you’ve never perused the clearance food aisle of one of these stores (including Marshalls & TJ Maxx) – you’re missing out. Depending on where the store is located – they always have a crazy assortment of spices, pre-measured baked goods, condiments, olive oils – just the most random collection of stuff for your kitchen you could possibly imagine. I, being the equal-opportunity nommer that I am, can’t help myself.

Like the adoring madre that she is – my mom made a pit-stop at the local Homegoods and filled my stocking. Do you know what she filled it with!?

4 jars of salsa.

I kid you not. 4. jars. of. salsa.

Need I remind you – I live alone. LB does not like salsa. Let’s add these 4 to the already-opened jar I had in my fridge! I now have salsa until the apocalypse. I could bath in salsa at this point.

Salsa selection includes:
– Brad’s Organic Salsa (hot)
– Mrs. Renfro’s Ghost Pepper Salsa (caution: scary hot)
– Mrs. Renfro’s Mango Habanero Salsa (medium hot)
– Guy Fieri Chipotle Salsa (smokey)

Well – at least I got a variety….

What’s a single girl to do with salsa coming out of her ears?

While reading through one of my 3 new vegan cookbooks (thanks bro!) I found a recipe in “Vegan Slow Cooking” by Carla Kelly for “Pasta Salsa Bake”. It looked simple enough – and I really needed to get rid of some salsa.

It called for ingredients you’d expect – spices, salsa, onions, peppers & crushed tomatoes. Here’s where my attempt went array, and the reason why there’s not a photo to accompany this post.

I could only find a 28oz can of crushed tomatoes, but the recipe called for only 15oz. So….I had to guestimate. (Probs not my greatest idea). I also used two different kinds of pasta – (I had to get rid of the open box I already had!) I used Quinoa Barilla, and then a Barilla veggie pasta (spinach) – both fusilli type.

Again – not my finest cooking moment.

The quinoa pasta cooked much, much faster than the veggie pasta, basically disintegrating into the crock pot. Plus – too much crushed tomato paired with the liquid-y consistency of the salsa meant that the (remaining) pasta didn’t absorb enough of the liquid while cooking. It was a bit too watery for me…. and really anyone else who would have tried it.

I ate 2 servings of it – there’s an entire tupperware of it frozen in my freezer. I don’t know if it’s ever going to get reheated….. it may go right into the trash the next time I clean the fridge.

Hey – I got 2 meals out of it – which is 2 more than I ever got when I tried cooking oatmeal 🙂