“Doctored up” canned black bean soup for lunch

For lunch today I didn’t want to spend too much time or effort and I am low on ripe fruit so I decided to have a can of soup.

Health Valley organic no salt added black bean soup.  By itself, it lacks the flavor I crave so I add the following ingredients while I am heating it up on the stove:

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp minced onion

1/2 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp coconut aminos

fresh cilantro

I then top it with one chopped avocado.

My grandmother used the phrase “doctoring it up” to describe the process of adding fresh ingredients to a store-bought convenience food to make it healthier and to taste more homemade.

Eggplant lasagna

Another great find on the reduced produce shelf at my local Giant supermarket.  This beautiful eggplant was less than $1.00.  My favorite use for eggplant is in eggplant lasagna.

INGREDIENTS:

Veggies:

1 large eggplant

About 4 cups of baby spinach (do not measure, just use as you go when layering)

About 2 cups of cremini mushrooms, sliced (do not measure, use as needed for layers)

Sauce:

28.2 ounce can of organic whole peeled tomatoes

28.2 ounce can of organic diced tomatoes

1/2 cup soaked raw cashews, drained and rinsed

2 TBSP dried minced onion

2 TBSP dried minced garlic

2 TBSP dried parsley

2 TBSP dried oregano

2 TBSP dried basil

2 TBSP nutritional yeast

2 TBSP coconut sugar

2 TBSP coconut aminos

1 tsp red pepper flakes (or more if you like it spicier)

“Cheese” for top layer:

1/2 cup cashews, soaked at least 30 minutes (but preferably overnight)

1 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp basil

water

INSTRUCTIONS:

First, peel the eggplant and cut it in half lengthwise.

Then cut each half into thin wedges.

Eggplant is sometimes bitter and too thick and crispy to use in lieu of lasagna noodles, so I typically soak it in water overnight at room temperature to take out the bitterness and to soften it.  Sprinkling it with salt also has this effect, but I do not typically use salt so that was not an option for me.  Keep the pieces submerged in water by placing a plate or pot lid on top of the eggplant pieces until none of them are sticking out of the water.

Also, soak a half cup of raw cashews overnight in water.

The next day, drain and rinse the eggplant pieces and set aside while you make the homemade sauce.

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Put all sauce ingredients except the diced tomatoes into a Vitamix or other blender and blend until frothy.  Stir in the diced tomatoes so that the sauce is a little chunky.

Pour a thin layer of the sauce into a large casserole dish (I used a Pyrex 4.8 quart oblong baking dish).  Layer with eggplant pieces (single layer).

Add a layer of fresh spinach, then a layer of chopped cremini mushrooms, then another layer of sauce.

Repeat the process of layering with sauce, then eggplant, then spinach, then mushrooms with the last layers consisting of eggplant then sauce.

  

Blend “cheese” ingredients in a Vitamix or other high speed blender, adding water until the mixture is the consistency of pancake batter.  Pour/spread “cheese” batter on top of last layer of sauce then bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for about an hour and 15 minutes.

Let stand for about 15 minutes after it is removed from the oven so the sauce can thicken.

Serve topped with garlic powder and vegan Parma.  

Since all I had eaten earlier in the day was a personal watermelon fo breakfast and 4 oranges for lunch and I had just gone for a run, I ate this entire tray of lasagna for dinner!  Then later, as a late-night snack I ate an entire bowl of fresh strawberries. High-carb ultra-low fat vegan living is definitely not for people who don’t like to feast on huge amounts of delicious food every day.  Why would anyone want to eat a restrictive diet instead of thriving on all-you-can-eat food that your body craves and was meant to consume?  Did I mention low-sodium and no cholesterol?  GO VEGAN!

Quick and flavorful red cabbage and kale over rice

This recipe is too easy to be so delicious and healthy.

INGREDIENTS

1-1/2 cups white jasmine rice (dry) steamed

Veggies:

1/2 head red cabbage, chopped

1 bunch kale, chopped

3 spring onions, chopped

Sauce:

4 TBSP coconut aminos

2 tsp garlic powder

1 TBSP coconut palm sugar

2 TBSP cornstarch

1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

1/3 cup water

INSTRUCTIONS 

Dry fry veggies without water or oil in a large wok or skillet until starting to soften.

Add remaining ingredients and stir constantly until sauce thickens.  Put rice in a large bowl, add a generous shaking of coconut aminos, top with veggie mixture, enjoy.

Simple broccoli and rice

Steam some Jasmine rice (I used 1-1/2 cups dry)

Steam some broccoli

Put the rice in a bowl and add some coconut aminos.

Top with broccoli and more coconut aminos and maybe a little garlic powder and ground black pepper.

Rotelle with spinach and cremini mushrooms

INGREDIENTS

2 boxes corn/quinoa rotelle

1 pint cremini mushrooms

6 cups fresh spinach leaves

1 quart strained tomatoes

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

2 TBSP coconut sugar

2 tsp dried garlic

2 tsp dried onion

2 tsp dried oregano

2 tsp dried parsley

2 tsp dried basil

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

Cook rotelle per instructions on the box

Place spinach and chopped mushrooms into a large wok and cook until spinach is wilted.

Place remaining ingredients in a Vitamix or blender and mix on high for 15 seconds.  Add sauce to wok with cooked and strained rotelle and cook all on high heat, stirring constantly, until bubbly.

Serve sprinkled with garlic Parma or other vegan cheese topping.

Vegan “tuna” salad wraps

I have been craving mock tuna lately and I have a lot of extra Veganaise in the fridge so I decided to make some tasty wraps.

INGREDIENTS 

1 can drained chick peas

1 tsp dulse flakes

1 tsp kelp flakes or powder

1/2 tsp lemon juice

1/4 white onion finely chopped

3 stalks celery finely chopped

5 sweet pickle chips, finally chopped

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp yellow mustard

3 TBSP Veganaise

  

Mash chickpeas with the bottom of a glass.

   

  

 

  

Add remaining ingredients and mix.  Add more Veganaise as desired.

  

Scoop a large serving of mixture onto wrap and add lettuce and tomato and a little more Veganaise and roll into wrap.

 

  

     

Vegan ragout over jasmine rice

Place 6 cups spinach, 1 cup lima beans, and 3 cups green beans in a wok with 1 cup water.  Cover and cook on high for 3 minutes. 

  

 Add 1 TBSP dried fennel fronds (not the bulb), 1 tsp dried parsley, 1/2 tsp dried oregano, 1/2 tsp dried onion, 1/2 tsp dried garlic, 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, 1/4 cup coconut aminos (or soy sauce), 2 tsp coconut palm sugar (or other sweetener), 1 TBSP mild miso, 1 TBSP corn starch, 1/2 cup spicy salsa, and 2 tsp tomato paste.  Add another 1/2 cup water and cook until sauce reduces and thickens and lima beans are starting to soften.  

  

Serve over jasmine rice with coconut aminos (or soy sauce) and sirachi sauce if desired.

  

Honeydew

I ate one honeydew melon for breakfast.

  

  

 

Baked russet fries

Peel potatoes and slice into fries.

Boil fries in water until starting to soften, then place on a baking sheet and season (I used garlic powder, black pepper, and paprika). Bake in a preheated 450° oven until crispy (about 20 minutes). I ate mine with Organicville ketchup.

Brown rice grits with bananas and raisins

I went for a walk with the dog in a light rain this morning then started working with my windows open so I could listen to the rain and suddenly I needed something hot to eat instead of my usual raw fruit.  This is an incredibly quick and wholesome meal that will keep you full for hours.

  

INGREDIENTS

1 cup brown rice grits

3 cups water

2 bananas

2 heaping teaspoons of coconut palm sugar (or other sweetener)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 vanilla beans sliced open lengthwise

1/4 cup raisins

  

Bring water to a boil then add cream of rice and vanilla beans.  

  

Cover and simmer for three minutes.

 

Slice bananas and sprinkle with cinnamon.    

  

Add bananas, coconut palm sugar, and raisins to pan.

  

  

Stir continuously uncovered for one or two minutes, remove vanilla beans, then serve.  

  

Plant-based milk may added if desired, although I prefer mine plain.  For variations, other fruits may be added or substituted for the bananas and raisins.

 

Nutritionally, this meal has:

Calories:   957

Fat:  4.5 grams

Protein:  15.6 grams

Carbohydrate:  194 grams

Fiber:  16.2 grams

Vitamin C:  34%

Vitamin B-6:  40%

Magnesium:  16%

Potassium:  21%

Thiamine:  40%

Iron:  22%

Niacin:  40%

Phosphorus:  40%

Calcium:  2%

As is the case with all meals on this blog, this dish has zero cholesterol so it won’t cause heart disease and clogged arteries.

Pottage Day 4

After having five large Fuji apples for lunch, I am finally finishing up the cabbage pottage I made before Easter.  Now is when it tastes the best as it’s had a few days for the flavors to really develop.  Maybe next time I’ll can a large batch in quart sized mason jars.

  

Fast food for breakfast

  

Bananas are truly fast food.  No matter how late I am running as I am leaving the house I always have time to grab a bunch of bananas.  Today I had six of them while driving to court.  

Mangos for lunch

  

Mangos are a sweet fruit with a lot of substance.  Today I ate three of them for lunch.  A lunch consisting of three mangos has 600 calories, 3.9 grams of fat, 15 grams of fiber, 8.4 grams of protein, and, of course, zero cholesterol.  Percent daily values are 48% potassium, 216% vitamin A, 609% vitamin C, 9% calcium, 6% iron, 60% vitamin B-6, and 18% magnesium.  Got energy?

Judgment error on Easter

     

Easter eating started well. I ate half of these bananas for breakfast on my way to church and the other half during a coffee break at church.  

For Easter supper I made rotini with tomato sauce and wilted spinach with vegan garlic Parma topping; a tossed salad made with romaine, tomatoes, avocado, and cucumber; and a small bowl of leftover cabbage soup from the day before (sorry, forgot to take pics before we ate everything). Since the weather was perfect we even took the dog for a walk to the lake after supper. So far so good – healthy and happy. 

Then came my judgment error.  In an attempt to be festive, I ate an entire  vegan chocolate egg (made with rice milk chocolate).  Did I mention I ate the entire thing?  I knew it was more fat than I am used to eating, but I didn’t anticipate how heavy and thick it would feel in my stomach and digestive tract.  I also forgot about how much caffeine there is in chocolate!  I don’t typically consume anything that  contains any caffeine whatsoever so I had quite a strong reaction to an entire chocolate egg’s worth.  I literally had a hangover from indulging in this egg.  Oh well, live and learn. Next holiday I will undoubtedly be making my own ultra-lowfat high-carb caffeine-free dessert.

Spicy and hearty cabbage pottage for dinner (with plenty to share)

Most of the recipes I post are single servings for an ultra-low-fat-high-carb vegan, but every once in a while I make so much that there’s more than even I can eat in one sitting, and I can eat quite a bit at one time.

Anyway, tonight I made a huge pot of spicy cabbage pottage with plenty to share.

INGREDIENTS

Part I – veggies & broth:

1 head green cabbage, sliced into wedges

6 carrots, chopped

4 sticks celery, coarsely chopped

7-10 potatoes (8 cups cubed)

3 leeks, chopped

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Part II – flavoring sauce:

2 TBSP brown jasmine rice

2 TBSP sprouted green lentils (or regular green lentils if you don’t have sprouted)

3 TBSP nutritional yeast

1 TBSP mild miso (I used South River Adzuki Bean Miso which is a mild one-year miso)

1 tsp black peppercorns

2 bay leaves

1 tsp minced dried onion

1 TBSP minced dried garlic

1 TBSP tomato paste

1/4 tsp brown mustard seed

1/2 tsp paprika

3 TBSP coconut sugar

4 TBSP coconut aminos

5 drops toasted sesame oil

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INSTRUCTIONS

Put potatoes in a large stockpot with 10 cups of water and bring to a boil then simmer for about 15 minutes.

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While potatoes are simmering, put celery and carrots into a wok or large skillet and dry fry until they begin to soften, then add to simmering potatoes.

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Similarly, dry fry chopped leeks and add to stockpot.

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Place cabbage wedges in wok and char on both sides.

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Chop cabbage into smaller pieces and continue to char the pieces until they appear to have been grilled or placed under a broiler. 

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Add cabbage to stockpot.

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Put remaining ingredients into a blender or Vitamix with 4 cups broth from the stockpot and pulverize on highest setting for 2 minutes or until liquid is smooth.  Add liquid to stockpot and simmer for 5 minutes then let stand for an additional 5 minutes.

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Serve while slightly cooled for best flavor.  I don’t typically use salt, but a very tiny shake of sea salt immediately before serving really enhances the flavor of the other spices in this pottage.

Saturday brunch.  

I got up later than usual today because I had no morning plans and I was very snug.  By the time I started to get a meal together it was almost lunchtime so I decided to have brunch.  I looked around my fruit room to see what was ripe and decided to have 3 grapefruits, 1 orange, 2 kiwis, and 2 pears.

   

  I was very pleased with my selections.

   

Lunch date.  Green beans & rice for dinner.

My lunch today was a solitary medjool date taken from my emergency stash located in a mason jar which I keep in my car’s console.

Dates are great for emergencies. A single date has 66 calories and 2 grams of fiber so it was able to keep me from whining until dinner.

At dinner I decided to make fresh green beans over jasmine rice.

INGREDIENTS

6 cups fresh green beans

coconut aminos

mirin rice cooking wine

1 TBSP dried minced garlic

1/4 tsp paprika

ground black pepper

4 TBSP chopped scallions

3 TBSP coconut sugar

2 TBSP cornstarch

a few drops of toasted sesame oil (+optional more to taste)

1-1/2 cups uncooked jasmine rice

water

INSTRUCTIONS

Place rice and 3 cups of water into a medium pot and bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes then remove from stove and let set, covered, for an additional 10 minutes.

 

Meanwhile, while rice is cooking and setting, place green beans in a large skillet or wok with garlic, paprika, pepper, 1 TBSP mirin, and 4 TBSP coconut aminos. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until beans are charring.

When the pan appears to be blackening, add water then cover so that the beans are getting steamed.

While beans are steaming, whisk together 1/2 cup water with cornstarch, coconut sugar, a few drops of toasted sesame oil, and 2 TBSP coconut aminos then pour the mixture into the pan with the green beans.

Cover again and once the beans are starting to soften, add the chopped scallions and cook uncovered, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens.

Put steamed rice into a large bowl and top with coconut aminos then green bean mixture.  Add additional aminos or toasted sesame oil to taste.  

Cantaloupe!

Have I mentioned before how much I love to eat melons for breakfast? Since I totally over-stuffed myself last night eating an entire pot of bean-thread noodle soup I figured this morning I would start out slow by eating a solitary large and juicy lope, which only has about 275 calories. However, what my lope lacks in calories it makes up for in nutritional content. One large cantaloupe has 550% of my daily vitamin A and 497% of vitamin C. It also has 30% of vitamin B-6, 14% magnesium, 9% iron, and 7% calcium. As an added bonus, 7 grams of protein, 1.6 grams fat, and a nice dose of 66 grams of carbohydrate to give me energy to face my day. Perhaps I should have given my dog a lope this morning as she appeared to have no desire to face the day when she chose to hide under my desk rather than go for a walk in the rain.


Bean thread noodle soup with sea vegetables

This is a meal that I try to eat about once per month.  It has more steps than my usual rice and steamed vegetables, but it is an ultra-high-carb delight.  This meal is perfect for athletes who will be heavily exerting themselves the day after eating this meal because it really gets you carbed up.

INGREDIENTS (serves 1)

1 kombu strip (or 1/4 cup kelp flakes)

1/4 cup arame and 3 TBSP Pacific wakame soaked in 4 cups of water for at least 10 minutes

Liquid smoke or smoked sea salt

3 medium carrots (I used rainbow carrots) either cut into ribbons or matchsticks

1/4 cup chickpea miso (I use chickpea miso because I do not eat soy, but I would expect soy miso would be fine)

1 bag (5 nests) cellophane bean thread noodles (rice stick noodles will work, too)

6 scallions or spring onions, chopped

1/4 cup of coconut aminos (or soy sauce if you eat soy)

a few drops of toasted sesame oil

1 TBSP rice cooking wine

Notes:

I ran out of South River chickpea miso so I used Miso Master instead, which is less chunky and has much more sodium than South River but which is cheaper to buy in bulk.

The sea vegetables will greatly expand once they have soaked.

I usually shave the carrots into ribbons, but today I decided to chop them into slivers because it was quicker.

Use only the green stems of the scallions.


INSTRUCTIONS:

1.  Put kombu into 4 cups of water in a pot and heat on high until boiling.  Simmer on low for 4 minutes.


2.  Remove and discard the kombu, keeping the clear broth.


3.  Add a few drops of liquid smoke or a dash of smoked sea salt then add carrots.


4.  Add the miso and whisk it in with a fork or whisk.


5.  Add the rice cooking wine, coconut aminos, and a few drops of toasted sesame oil.


6.  Put noodle nests into the bottom of a large stock pot.  Pour the miso broth and carrots over the noodles. Add the arame and wikame together with their soaking liquid.  Simmer for 8 minutes.  


7.  Add chopped scallions.  Simmer an additional two minutes.


8.  Ready to eat.  You can add more coconut aminos or toasted sesame oil to taste. Sometimes I also add portabello mushroom caps which I have dry fried with coconut aminos until charred and then cut into strips.


NUTRITION

Interestingly, these noodles are made completely from the starch of mung beans and have 43 carbs per serving.

Since I ate 5 servings, I consumed 215 grams of carbs. Calories were 900, plus the veggies and broth and miso which added another 200. Although the noodles don’t have much nutritive value other than helping me to get carbed up, the carrots and sea vegetables add 3 grams of fiber, over 100% of my daily iron, 11% of my magnesium, 11% calcium, 18% vitamin C, 15% vitamin B6, and 410% vitamin A.

After eating this meal, I was unbelievably full, yet my total calories for the day were only about 1800. Before bed I will probably eat a gluten-free soft pretzel with mustard as a snack so my total daily caloric intake will be slightly under 2000 even though I will feel as though I ate 5000 calories today. I felt VERY well fed throughout the day, especially after eating this huge portion of soup. This lifestyle is certainly not one based upon food restriction. Instead, it is based upon eating large amounts of delicious foods while avoiding cholesterol and eating no more than 10% of your daily calories from fat and protein.

Watermelon for breakfast, again.  Navel oranges for lunch.

I eat watermelon for breakfast often.  It is one of those foods that I find myself craving like an addiction. Watermelon not only provides great energy, but it is also hydrating, sweet, juicy, and delicious.  And, because an entire melon has only 400 calories, I can still pig-out during the rest of the day without feeling like I over-ate.

Last night I rode my bike for about 45 minutes then ravenously ate three left-over fajitas for dinner together with some low-fat salt-free tortilla chips and salsa. Later, as I was eating two navel oranges as a snack, I immediately made plans to have them for lunch today.

Oranges have about 60 calories each, so an average meal of five oranges has approximately 300 calories.  Five oranges also contain 580% of my daily recommended vitamin C, 30% of my vitamin A, 20% of my calcium, and 15 grams of fiber.  As a bonus, you can peel them quickly and no knife is needed, which also makes them edible while driving if necessary.

So far today I have only consumed 700 calories, so I will need to eat heartily this evening to make sure I get enough calories.

 

 

 

Cucumber and tomato salad for lunch

Among the great buys I found yesterday when shopping for produce, I came across 8 cucumbers (about 1 lb) for $2.26, so I decided to eat them for lunch today together with a dry pint of grape tomatoes.

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I first peeled the cucumbers then sliced them into quarters lengthwise before chopping them into bite-sized chunks.

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I then cut each tomato in half and put them into a mixing bowl with the cucumber chunks.

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I then made a dressing using the following ingredients:

2 TBSP Bragg’s apple cider vinegar
2 TBSP mustard
6 TBSP coconut nectar (or coconut sugar or agave nectar or minced dates or other sweetener)

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I ate this entire bowl for lunch.  Peeled large cukes have about 35 calories each and the pint of tomatoes had about 110 calories for a total of about 390 calories in fruit (yes, both tomatoes & cukes are technically fruits) plus the calories in the sauce, which was about 330 (due to the coconut nectar). Therefore, the entire meal was 720 calories, with only about 3 grams of fat (from the cukes), zero cholesterol, about 18 grams protein, and 20 grams of fiber.  Nutritionally, the meal contained 195% of my daily vitamin C, 100% of my vitamin A, 40% of my iron, and 25% of my calcium (from the cukes).  It was quite a refreshing, satisfying, and nutritious lunch.

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Prickly pears for breakfast

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Prickly pears are the fruit of a cactus.  I first tried a prickly pear a few years ago when I was on a trip to Santa Barbara for my uncle Jim’s wedding.  I enjoyed the pear, but then I spent the next hour pulling microscopic barbs out of my hands with tweezers. Beware of prickly pears as they are indeed prickly.

I was surprised to see these pears at my local Giant Supermarket yesterday in Mechanicsburg, PA.  They are not quite as fresh as the one I picked in Santa Barbara, but they were definitely the perfect ripeness for eating.

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Due to the dangerous cactus covering of these pears, it is wise to handle them while wearing gloves.

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To get to the fruit inside, you simply cut the fruit along one side and peel off the outer layer to reveal the beautiful seeded fruit inside.  The seeds are crunchy.  I find these pears reminiscent of a pomegranate, except much sweeter.

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Prickly pears have about 40 calories each.  A serving of six pears only contains 240 calories which are made up of 84% carbs, 10% fats (from the seeds), and 6% protein.  Six pears also provide 100% of your daily magnesium, 36% of your daily calcium, and 36% of your daily potassium.

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Fajita wraps for dinner

I was shopping at Giant last evening and came across five red bell peppers on the reduced produce shelf for under $4.00. Hence, I decided that I would make fajitas for dinner.  These fajitas are oil free and salt free and are packed with nutritious goodness.  I typically try to derive at least 80% of my calories from carbs and no more than 10% of my calories from protein and 10% from fat throughout the week (80/10/10).  Usually I am closer to 90/5/5 on a daily basis so once or twice per week I will make a meal like this which has much more protein (from the beans) and much more fat (from the avocados) than I typically eat for dinner.

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INGREDIENTS:

5 red bell peppers (or a mix of various colors of peppers, perhaps even add a jalepeno if you want more spice)

2 onions

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp each of dried minced garlic and rice vinegar

2 tsp each of nutritional yeast, cumin, cilantro, chili powder, coconut aminos, and corn starch

3 tsp coconut sugar

1 jar of salsa

2 ripe avocados

1 tsp lime juice

1 can refried beans

1 package of soft tortillas (or red chile sandwich petals like I used)


 INSTRUCTIONS:

1.  Wash the bell peppers and take out the seeds and trim the white parts.

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2.  Slice the peppers into strips and slice the onions into wedges.

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3.  Place peppers into one skillet and place the onions into a separate skillet.

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4.  Do NOT add water or oil, but dry fry over very high heat, turning and stirring with a metal spatula every few minutes as the vegetables are charred.

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5.  Once the vegetables are charred and beginning to soften, transfer the onions into the same skillet as the peppers and mix them together and turn off the flame.

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6.  Pour about 1-1/2 cups of water into the hot empty skillet that the onions were cooked in then add cayenne pepper, dried minced garlic. rice vinegar, nutritional yeast, cumin, cilantro, chili powder, coconut aminos, corn starch, and coconut sugar.  Mix well and bring to a boil.  The consistency should be like a thin gravy and not everything will dissolve.

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7.  Add peppers and onions and half the jar of salsa to the bubbling sauce and cook over a high flame stirring constantly for two minutes then turn off flame and let set to thicken.

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8.  Add a little water to the canned refried beans to thin them out then cook over medium flame until hot.

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9.  Mash the two avocados and add lime juice and whip with a fork until creamy.  Place refried beans, mashed avocado, and remaining half a jar of salsa into bowls and get ready to assemble a fajita wrap by placing a large serving of peppers and onions into the center of the wrap then adding the salsa, a couple dollops of mashed avocado, and a slathering of refried beans.

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10.  Enjoy.  I ate three of these tonight and saved the rest for leftovers tomorrow.  Beware as they are extremely messy to eat.  Sometimes I give up and use a knife and fork.

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