July 2018
Homeplace & Community

The Co-op Pantry

As I was growing up, we lived in a double shotgun house with a very narrow kitchen. There was hardly room for two people, so usually we kids did not try to help cook.

My grandfather made breakfast every morning – these wonderful "cat-head" biscuits. When I was in high school, he taught me how to make them. When my husband Rick and I married, the only thing I could make was these biscuits!

I could read, however, and proceeded to learn to cook using the "Pillsbury Family Cookbook" my aunt had given me for a wedding present. I discovered I really liked preparing meals that tasted good.

I began to experiment and expand my skills.

When our children came along, I cooked at least breakfast and dinner (or supper, as we called it) every day. The meals, especially supper, were always prepared around the meat as the main item.

In 2005, Rick and I began reading, talking and praying about eliminating meat from our diet. Soon after we began our research, he was diagnosed with acid reflux and given a prescription for Nexium. We decided to try to relieve the acid reflux by changing our diets. He took only one Nexium pill. He discovered, by eliminating meat, he did not need the medication.

Later that year, he was diagnosed with bladder cancer. Praying in earnest and well into the research about food and its effects on the body, we progressed from a vegetarian diet to a vegan one, including many raw foods and juices, and eliminating all meat products from our diets. (This was hard!)

He still had chemo and other treatments, but he came through the process very well, and at the end was declared cancer-free.

We still do not usually eat meat products but cheat now and then. (I miss the cheese!)

Every Sunday, our family comes to lunch! It’s been a fun challenge to cook for everyone.

I do actually still cook meat, because the rest of my family does not care to "go vegan"!

My son-in-law even has a bumper sticker saying, "Eat Beef! The West was not won on salad!"

I’ve also included favorite recipes from some of my family and friends.


Servings: 4-6
1 pound dried spaghetti (or angel hair, etc.)
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, washed
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
½ onion, chopped
¼-½ cup olive oil, more if pasta is sticky
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 lemons, zest and juice
About ½ pound fresh baby spinach, washed and roughly chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese, grated, for topping, optional

Heat oven to 400°. In a large pot over high, boil water. Prepare pasta according to the package directions.

On a baking sheet, roast tomatoes for 10-15 minutes, or until they begin to burst.

In skillet, sauté mushrooms and onions in olive oil. Add garlic.

When pasta has finished cooking (do not overcook), remove from heat. Drain, reserving some of the liquid and place it back into pot. Add olive oil mixture, lemon zest and juice, tomatoes and spinach. Toss together. (Spinach will wilt in the hot pasta.) Add more olive oil if the pasta sticks together. Add some reserved pasta water to loosen the mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Top with cheese.

Note: You may substitute kale and/or artichokes for the spinach and mushrooms.



½ cup olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup lime juice
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon chili powder
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds chicken
Red, green, gold and/or orange bell peppers
Oil or butter
Chili powder and cumin, to taste

In a large, flat container, mix all marinade ingredients.

Cut chicken into strips. Add to marinade. Let sit in refrigerator for at least one hour.

Slice bell peppers and onion.

In a skillet, cook chicken in oil or butter.

In another skillet, cook peppers and onions. Add chili powder and cumin.

Serve chicken, peppers and onions with all the things you like with fajitas: flour tortillas, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, etc.

Note: I make this vegetarian by sautéing peppers and onions, squash, broccoli and other vegetables. I add reserved marinade to the mixture. I always serve with black beans, guacamole, etc.



Serves 6
2 teaspoons oil
1 (12-14-ounce) package firm tofu
¼ teaspoon chili powder, or more to taste
Salt and black pepper, to taste
3 green onions, sliced
2 ears fresh corn, kernels cut off cobs, or use frozen whole kernel corn
¼ cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
6 large inner leaves romaine lettuce, from a romaine    heart
2 avocados, sliced

In a nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat oil. Add tofu and break into very small pieces. Cook to remove much of liquid and tofu starts to turn golden, for several minutes.

Add chili powder, salt and pepper. Stir. Mix in onions and corn. Cook for a few minutes. (The corn can remain crunchy.)

Add soy sauce. Cook until most of liquid has been absorbed. Turn off heat. Stir in balsamic vinegar.

On plates with individual romaine lettuce leaves, pile mixture. Add avocado slices.

Ree Drummond



1 (3-4 pound) boneless beef roast, your choice of cut
1 stick butter, melted
1 package au jus gravy mix
1 package dry ranch dressing mix
Pepperoncini peppers, number to your liking, and juice
Salt and pepper, to taste, optional

In a slow cooker, place roast. Add butter, au jus gravy mix, ranch dressing mix and pepperoncini peppers with juice. Add salt and pepper, if desired. Cook on low, until tender, about 6-8 hours.

Robin Chapman



1 pound baby spinach, or other greens
1 package strawberries, sliced or quartered, or other fruit, such as pears
4 green onions, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
½ cup nuts or seeds
1-2 avocados, chopped
½ cup oil
½ cup sugar, or 1/3 cup honey or agave
¼ cup raspberry or red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
¼ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

In a large bowl, mix all salad ingredients, except avocados.

In a medium bowl, mix dressing ingredients. Just before serving, add avocados and dressing.



3 bananas plus any other fruits you like
3 pitted dates
½ pounds baby spinach or other greens
1 cup pineapple juice, water or other juice
½ lemon, juice

In a blender, blend until smooth.

Note: Good for lunch!



1 onion, chopped
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2½ pounds (about 7 cups) butternut squash, cubed
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 apple, peeled and grated or finely chopped
2 sprigs thyme
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
½ cup cooked spaghetti squash, optional
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup soy milk

In a small bowl, soften the onion in olive oil.

In large saucepan, combine butternut squash and other ingredients, except spaghetti squash, salt, pepper and soy milk. Add softened onions. Cook until squash and apple are soft. Remove from heat. Remove bay leaf. Add spaghetti squash, if using. Into immersion or regular blender, pour soup. Blend. (If using a regular blender, blend in small batches.) Add salt and pepper, if desired. Stir in soy milk. Serve hot.



2 onions, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
Worcestershire sauce, to taste
Garlic, salt and pepper, to taste
1-2 (46-ounce) cans tomato juice
4 cups vegetable broth
2 vegetable broth cubes
3 (14½-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 (16-ounce) package frozen black-eyed peas
1 (16-ounce) package frozen butterbeans
1 (16-ounce) package frozen green beans
1 (16-ounce) package frozen corn
1 (16-ounce) package frozen carrots
3 potatoes, cut into cubes
1 (16-ounce) package frozen okra

In a large pot over high heat, mix onions, bell pepper, celery, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt, pepper, tomato juice, vegetable broth, vegetable broth cubes and tomatoes. Heat to boil for a few minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Reduce heat to medium, cook until vegetables are tender. Add extra liquid as needed.

Note: You could definitely use garden vegetables for this soup! Every Saturday for years, my mom would cook vegetable soup made from vegetables she had shelled, cut off cobs, snapped, peeled and chopped! She would serve it with fried pork chops. It’s a favorite memory of mine.



½ cup slivered or sliced almonds
½ cup sesame seeds
2 packages ramen noodles, any flavor
1 head cabbage, chopped, or two bags angel hair cabbage
4 green onions, chopped
½ cup sugar, or 1/3 cup honey or agave
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup salad oil
2 teaspoons salt
6 Tablespoons rice vinegar

Heat oven to 250°. On baking sheet, place almonds and sesame seeds. Brown for 15-20 minutes.

Crush noodles in package. Open package and discard flavor packet. Set aside crushed noodles.

In a large bowl, mix cabbage and green onions.

In medium bowl, combine dressing ingredients.

Just before serving, add almonds, sesame seeds, uncooked noodles and dressing to the cabbage and onion mixture. Toss lightly.

Lisa Nesbitt



Per Serving: 12-13 frozen blueberry bites
1 cup vanilla, nonfat Greek yogurt – pick your favorite brand or make your own
1 Tablespoon stevia, or other sugar substitutes can be used
1 pint container (about 125 blueberries) blueberries, washed and dried

Line baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick mat. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine yogurt and sweetener. In small batches, gently fold blueberries into yogurt mix to coat. Scoop them up with a fork and tap a bit to remove excess yogurt. Place on baking sheet – make sure they don’t touch. Freeze until blueberries are completely frozen (about 1 hour). Store in an airtight container in freezer!

Nutrition information per serving: 38 calories; 1 calorie from fat; 0 g fat; 0 g saturated fat; 1 mg cholesterol; 10 mg sodium; 8 g carbohydrates; 2 g fiber; 7 g sugar; 3 g protein. 2 SmartPoints.

Note: This recipe is not only simple but fun! Fun to make and fun to eat!! You can use other flavors of Greek yogurt to change it up a bit!

popculture.HealthyLiving.com, 5/16/2018


Gay White is freelance writer from Cullman. Jena Klein is AFC’s Wellness Program Coordinator. You may email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..