Onions and Garlic
Onions and Garlic
Nature's Bounty
Nature’s Bounty

I hope that you enjoyed my most recent post on making what essentially is a tomato sauce dolled up to cater to personal taste.

Today, I would like to wax poetic on some handy hints to make your cooking experience run smoothly, some options for changing up this recipe, as well as the personal reasons behind the ingredients that I use.

So, no time like the present. Let’s get this show on the road.

Handy Tips

How to dice an onion:

Place onion on its side and, using a sharp knife, trim off both ends.

Use the blade of the knife (carefully, folks) to peel away the outer skin.If the outer portion of the onion seems to be a bit soft, or mushy or discolored, peel away that portion as well.

Chopped Onion
Chopped Onion

Place the onion on the broadest end and while securing the onion with one hand (keep fingertips turned in, please), make vertical cuts in the onion almost to the base, but not quite through.

Turn onion 180 degrees(halfway) to cut the other half in the same manner.

Turn onion 90 degrees(1/4 turn) and slice in same manner.

Turn onion 180 degrees(last time folks) and slice in same manner.

Place the onion on its side with horizontal slices facing the blade of the knife and slice crosswise thru the onion thus creating what cooks call the dice.

Chop remaining end piece into a rough dice and Voila, your onion is cooked (well, not quite).

How to prepare fresh garlic:

Garlic Bulb
Garlic Bulb
Separated Cloves

Place garlic bulb (if it is still whole) on cutting board like so.

Place palm of one hand on top of bulb and then place other hand top for leverage.

Press down(takes a bit of elbow grease) on garlic bulb wiggling hand to separate the cloves.

Remove excess paper skin and store unused garlic in a paper bag if possible.

Nubby end
Nubby end
Slice off Nubby End
Slice off Nubby End

Place clove on its side with nubby end facing knife and then slice off this end.

Smashing Garlic
Smashing Garlic
Minced Garlic
Minced Garlic

Cover with flat side of knife blade.

Put palm over knife blade and press down sharply on blade to smash garlic.

Peel will miraculously fall away from clove and you are ready for mincing.






Substitutions: Instead of Vegan Sausage

Add 2 or more cups of legumes.

Add 1-2 cups sliced olives.


I base  my ingredient choices on two lists, The Dirty Dozen and The Clean Fifteen, taking my budget into consideration.

So, here is what I do.

Items on The Dirty Dozen List are an automatic organic purchase if they are reasonably priced. If they are not, I will usually buy non organic.

I wash all produce or soak very well with a veggie wash: 35 seconds for hand washing and 5 minutes for soaking.

Organic Carrots: I cannot find them on either list, so….

Organic Peppers: When they are not too expensive

Organic Garlic: It is so inexpensive that I buy organic whenever I can.

Organic Mushrooms: They are at the bottom of The Clean Fifteen List which means they are one away from being on The Dirty Dozen List. I use wild mushrooms, because of their added nutritional punch.

Non-Organic Onions: Nice List

Organic Canned Tomatoes:  Naughty List.

Organic Pasta Sauce: …Tomato based. Be sure to check the ingredient list on the side of the jar. Not all veggie pasta sauces are vegan. Some have fish oil in them.

Organic Veggie Broth: …some of the ingredients are on the Dirty Dozen List.  I buy low sodium, but I have heard this just means less salt than the regular veggie broth. The price is the same so….I err on the side of caution.

Plant Based Sausage:

Field Roast Grain Sausage or Tofurkey Tofu Sausage . I generally stay away from what many people call “fake meats”. I think they send a confusing message to people who are considering a plant based diet and hopefully a vegan lifestyle. Also, many fake meats are made using soy protein isolate and I try to stay away from that as well. These are two tasty and fairly healthy options.


Annie’s Vegan View

Changing from a plant based to a whole food plant based diet doesn’t have to be instantaneous or perfect to be beneficial.

Dr.  Esselstyn and Dr. Greger urge that we not get caught up in the topic of contamination, lost nutrients through cooking, and organic versus non organic. The main goal is to eat a varied diet of lots of fruits and vegetables, grains and beans.

Let us continue to remember that plant based, whether whole or not, is the kindest and most compassionate food choice we can make for the nonhuman animals with whom we share this earth.

Therein lies our own salvation.

May all beings be happy and free.

Cooking Tips and Organic and Non Organic Fruits and Veggies

2 thoughts on “Cooking Tips and Organic and Non Organic Fruits and Veggies

  • October 12, 2016 at 9:19 am

    Hey Anne,
    Great tips on preparing food. I was going to try and grow some garlic this year. Apparently it is easy to do and you just separate a clove into it’s individual segments and plant. I think you can plant them about now until November. Need to get my act together and get down the allotment. I love garlic and usually put it in everything when cooking.

    My carrots were a flop this year, as they usually are. I think they like a sandy soil. I try to buy organic whenever possible too if I can’t grow it myself. I love to make carrot and butterbean soup in the winter. I love soups in the winter. They are so comforting and warming on a cold day.

    I love mushrooms also but have never grown them myself. I like the wild mushrooms and also the big portabello mushrooms stuffed with rice and vegetables and maybe a bit of grated vegan cheese, served on a bed of salad.

    I do buy plant based sausage but I am not that keen on the idea of “mock” meats for the reasons you describe. I never put them in a sauce like you. The only way I have them are with roast potatoes and gravy. They tend to be a winter thing for me. I usually buy violife or Tofurkey sausages. I haven’t heard of field roast but I will look out for it.



    • October 17, 2016 at 1:42 pm

      Hi Rachel,
      We did grow a very few vegetables this year- from veganic plants purchased from Jimmy and Mélanie. I was amazed by the amount produced and realize more than ever that human starvation could be wiped out if we would just stop using and eating other species of animals and started using the fields for growing fruits and vegetables.
      Take care.


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