Tag Archives: food

Alternate Uses for a Dining Room

Don’t have a grow table? Don’t worry! A card table in your formal dining room works just fine:


Let’s have a closer look at Operation Homegrown Eats 2013:


This certainly isn’t the prettiest operation ever, but hopefully it’ll be an effective one. Last year I bought a grow kit; this year, I went with the “use watcha got” mentality. And I’ve got an array of plastic pots, a flat, and a bunch of seeds. I even reused flower tags to make new veggie tags. And since I don’t have a clear lid to place atop all this, I’m going to see if plastic wrap can create the same greenhouse effect.

The more I write, and the more I look at the photos, I realize how completely janky this operation is. Which is funny, because I’m usually as much about the fashion as the functionality. But, seed-starting season kind of crept up on me. I mean, we just experienced Snowmaggedon 2013 last week, so this whole concept of Spring seems pretty unrealistic. I’m just hoping that I don’t end up starting over before these puppies ever make it into the ground (that happened last year… no thanks to the teeny tiny slots in the grow kit… no where near big enough to accomodate the roots of a summer squash seedling!)

Anywho, I planted 2 types of tomatoes (Brandywine and Salad Hybrid), cucumber, summer squash, zucchini squash, green onion, cilantro and basil. And I’ll probably end up buying green peppers, more herbs, and maybe another cantaloupe plant. That thing did alright last year.

My Most Ingenious Recipe Ever

I don’t want to brag, but really, this might be the best. thing. I’ve. ever. created.

Hidden Veggie Chili - TwoPurpleCouches.com

I’m not a mom, but I do know how hard it is to get my husband to eat his vegetables. He’s a lot more food-adventurous than the meat-and-potatoes 17-year-old I met way back when, but he’s still a skeptic. So with all the Resolution things I’m trying out this year, I’m looking for ways to get more veggies into our diets (and fewer grains and dairy… which isn’t hard for Tom because he’s lactose intolerant, but I, however, would marry a wedge of cheese if I could). We love homemade chili, and I’ve tried out different recipes with zucchini, tomatoes, etc, but they all seem like they’re lacking something – awesome spices. So the other day I got to thinking… why not add the spices from our favorite traditional chili recipe to one of the veggie-heavy recipes?


Hidden-Veggie Chili is born!

If you’re into this sort of thing, grab a pen, paper, and your crockpot (oh yea, it’s also a crockpot meal! can you say jackpot??)

Hidden-Veggie Chili, an original TwoPurpleCouches Kitchen Creation

1lb lean ground turkey

1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 lg shallot, chopped

1 red pepper, chopped

2 zucchini, sliced

1 sm butternut squash, chopped (i find they’re easier to work with when they’ve been softened in a microwave first. then you can scoop/cut the flesh away from the peel/rind)

1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes

2 8-oz cans tomato sauce

1 1/2 pkgs Frank’s Chili Powder (if you don’t have this brand… i would recommend quite a few tablespoons of your favorite chili powder)

1 tsp. allspice

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

dash (or more) of hot sauce

1 tbsp Worchesteshire sauce

1 can chili beans

1/2 – 1 c. water, if desired

Stovetop: brown meat, garlic and onions. drain any fat. add rest of ingredients, cover and cook 2 1/2 – 3 hours. add chili beans in the last half-hour.

Crockpot: toss all ingredients, minus chili beans, in the crockpot. cook on low 6-8 hours. add chili beans in the last half-hour.

Oh, and Tom’s exact words after having a few bites, “Unfortunately, I can’t tell that there are vegetables in this.” Talk about a back-handed compliment, huh?

Do you have a go-to recipe for hiding veggies? Is your husband or significant other also a skeptic when it comes to trying new things, food or otherwise??

2013 “Resolutions”

Let’s start off with a some background info: my husband works for SparkPeople.com. If you’re not familiar with SparkPeople, it is the largest online diet and healthy living community (and it’s free!). In the spirit of “practice what you preach,” SparkPeople employees are encouraged to participate in an annual challenge that includes fitness and nutrition goals. Participants are also asked to create some personal goals to work towards throughout the year. They don’t have to be fitness or nutrition-related; these goals can be anything. I thought writing these out and sending them into the ether of the Interwebs might help with accountability and responsibility and all those other abilities.

I put “resolutions” in quotes because that word makes me shudder a little bit, and conjures up almost immediate expectations of failure. So maybe something like resolutions will have a more positive effect on my mental outlook for the year to come, especially since after reading through these, I may be asking for a lot of myself at once!

Here goes nothing!…

1.) Work on my diet/food prep. There are a lot of different components to this, but here’s what I’ve got in mind – I already eat a fair amount of organic fruits and veggies, but I want to make an even stronger effort at eating only organic, as well as looking for organic/local/grass-fed sources to buy meats (anyone have any recos?). I’m considering giving the Paleo diet a shot, as I feel it would really benefit me to cut out as much dairy and grains as possible. I’d also like to make an effort this year to make more basics from scratch, at home. For instance, spices and seasonings, chicken or veggie stock, etc, instead of buying from the store. I also want to plan at least 2 meals a week, so we don’t get sucked into the “let’s pick something up because I forgot to defrost the chicken” habit. Make sure those meals include plenty of veggies and fish!]

>> I’ve already started with meal planning: Sunday we had Black Bean Burgers and tonight, Mexican Quinoa is on the menu! Yum! I found both recipes on Annie’s Eats: Black Bean BurgersMexican Quinoa

2.) Find a form of exercise that doesn’t feel like a chore. I’m really looking forward to daily dog walks once the weather improves a bit, but I really need help motivating myself (indoors or out!) when the weather’s so cold and dreary.

3.) Start writing again. My novel is never going to write itself! I don’t know what I’ll write, but I think a personal project, beyond this blog, will be good for me 🙂


What are your “resolutions” for the year? If you have any tips that could help with mine, I’d love to hear them! Let’s help keep each other on track and motivated!

{I already listed out some of the house projects I want to complete in 2013. You can view those here.}