Sunday, August 26, 2012

Fresh Tomato Sauce and Pasta

Found yet another one on Pinterest.  Love that site. Find the recipe here.

Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce

The only thing I would do differently is that I would have not refrigerated the tomatoes. I know, I know. You are not supposed to refrigerate the tomatoes. I did anyway, because I bought them at the farmer's market on Saturday, so I could make this dish, but I wasn't sure when I would get to it.  So I put them in the fridge.

Refrigerating tomatoes really does impede their flavor.  Don't do it.  This is a fantastic recipe and mine would have tasted wonderful if my cold tomatoes didn't have a metallic taste to them that comes with sitting in the fridge.

Totally easy to prepare. I even went the extra mile to scrape out the seeds before processing them. I made the sauce in advance and then squeezed much of the liquid out of the bowl before mixing with the pasta.

Bam! dinner was done. I'd say it took me less than 15 minutes.

Makes plenty of leftovers.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Quinoa Crunch Salad

Oops, I accidentally posted on the wrong blog!  I took this picture with my ipod touch and posted it using the blogger app.  The picture is a little off, but you get the idea.  What I said on the other blog is that I am not always a far of the quinoa, but I really liked it in this salad.  I think the crunch really is what made it, and it was strangely addictive.  I got the recipe from my blog crush at The Lively Kitchen.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad

This is a super salad. 

This is one I found off of Pinterest. I've become a pinterest junkie lately. So many good ideas.  I have to say I quite liked this recipe. The roasted salted almonds added a crunch factor that was quite fun.  Find the recipe here. It was easy to prepare, and I could make it in advance and leave it in the fridge until everything else was ready.

My two oldest would't eat it, but my baby sure likes Kale. He gobbled it up.  Oh, the flecks of orange are carrots. I screwed up and added carrots to it, even though the recipe doesn't call for them. I was doing too many things at the same time and got confused. But who can go wrong with more veggies in your diet?

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I had a bad experience with brussels sprouts once - when I was kid.  Poorly prepared, sitting cold on my plate. I tried to feed them to the dog but even she wouldn't eat them.  I haven't been back there since.

Now, 30 some odd years later I'm brave enough to try them again.  Got the idea out of Veganomicon.  And I read somewhere that the smaller ones are not bitter. The ones I had were all about the size of a marble or a superball your kids would get from those little vending machines.They were quite yummy.

Get a fresh bunch from the farmer's market.
Trim the knobby ends and slice in half.
Lay cut side down on the tray, evenly coat with EVOO and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast at 400 for 15 mins, throw a teaspoon of minced garlic in with them in the last few mins of baking.

Voila. They were so good, my husband (who also doesn't like brussles sprouts) and I ate the whole batch.

Give it a go.

wait for this cake . . . .

I've tried most of the recipes from this month's VT issue. Up Next:  Garlicky Cheezy Kale & Crispy Chick’n Salad,  Jack Burgers and Fabulous Vegan Fudge Cake with Bittersweet Icing

I have to say, I've liked almost all of them.  Follow this link to get the recipes, and see below for my comments.

Garlicky Cheezy Kale & Crispy Chick’n Salad

The jury is out on this one.  First of all, I couldn't find Gardein Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick’n. I search SuperTarge, Cub Foods and Kowalski's (which is gourmet grocery). Nada. Whole Foods is in St Paul and I didn't have time or energy in my schedule to drive all that way, so I just made do with good old fashioned Garden Burger meatless chicken patty. The recipe was simple to prepare, had a distinct tahini taste to the dressing. I didn't love it, didn't hate it, but it was kinda nice to have the mix of chicken strips with the salad.  I'm not sure why this one got an Honorable Mention in the VT Get Lucky Recipe contest - seems to me that there would better recipes out there.  I'd make it again though.

Jack Burgers

To me, Jack burgers would be a competitor to the Chick Pea Cutlets from Veganomicon.  They were prepared similarly, but I used bisquick instead of the GF pancake mix the recipe called for. They were a little mushy on the inside, but not really too bad. Good flavors.  Easy to whip up in the food processor and the recipe makes quite a few.  I'm going to experiment with freezing and cooking the remaining batter to see how that would work. Will keep you posted.

Fabulous Vegan Fudge Cake with Bittersweet Icing

This cake really was so fabulous, it probably deserves its own entry on this blog. OMG. my mouth is watering just thinking about the leftovers in the fridge. My husband ate two slices last night and had one for breakfast this AM. 

Rich. Fudgy and thick.  Super easy to make. I used rice milk instead of soy (since I was pregnant I've developed an aversion to soy milk and it grosses me out).   One note however: when making the icing, allow it to cool significantly before pouring it on the cake. Seriously. If you think its ready, wait a little while longer. It will still pour even if its chilled. Mine ran all over the place and my cake was sitting in a pool of icing. Not the best for appearances, but it was still yummy.

More from Vegetarian Times

I'm guilty. I'm just going to post pictures of the tings I made from the Sept 2012 issue of VT because I'm too tired to reproduce them. (Sorry folks, I'm just a busy mom, like everyone else and I've got too much to do not enough time). If you can find it, go out and buy this month's issue. Its worth it.  If you prefer to wait until next month, I'll post the links to these recipes on this blog when they are available.

I really recommend this issue. I've tried most of the recipes in it and there are a few. We had Heirloom Tomato Salad with Grilled Foccaccia and Rosemary Honey Drizzle one night for supper. It was really good.  I've been visiting the farmer's market here. Local produce just adds to the yumminess. 

Heirloom Tomato and Nectarine Salad

served with:

Grilled Bread with Rosemary-Honey Drizzle

Sunday, August 19, 2012



This wasn't a really great recipe, but it was an easy pantry meal that I was able to throw together after being out of town and I didn't have to go to the store!  I love gnocchi, but it seems like a lot of work to make without a lot of yield.  This why I usually get it at Briosa.  Someone else makes it.  Well, when I make my run to Trader Joe's, I usually pick up a package of premade gnocchi.  It usually sits in my pantry for awhile.  It is not the same as fresh, but in this case it was ok.  

Crap, now why isn't that picture working.  See, this is why I stopped blogging, I am tired of the computer issues.

Four- Grain Hot Cereal

Its a good thing I had this ready to go this morning. 2 of my 3 were up ALL NIGHT last night - sick. We've all been there before - sick kids is no fun for anyone.  At least it was nice to wake up and not have to do a thing to prepare breakfast.

Its Four-Grain Hot Cereal, by Better Homes & Gardens.  I bought the book a few years ago, before I started eating more vegan, because I wanted to simplify my life. Most of the recipes in this book are just okay (only a select few are vegan). This one included.  But at least it was healthy and I didn't have to do much at all.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Butternut Squash 3 Ways

I wrote that I made the butternut squash pizza a week or two ago and it was really good. I'm totally planning on making it again.  But I bought a huge squash and I only needed a little of it for the pizza. I sure wasn't going to waste the leftovers.

So I visited my old friend Annabelle Karmel.  She wrote a book called First Meals and I used to use it quite a bit, but its been a while since she called me to open her pages and read her words of wisdom.  Plus I feared my kids were getting bored with PB&J, carrot sticks and grapes.

Low and behold were two recipes that I had all the ingredients for already. I was prepared. I went to work.


This was absolutely delicious.  DH and I really liked it. The kids wrinkled up their noses at first, but they ate it when I told them they couldn't have dessert if their plates still had food on them.  They had it again a second time around so given that they ate it with a small amount of intervention on my part, I think this one was a success.

Risottos are a little bit of a pain.  Constant stirring for 30 mins or more make them high maintainence and therefore off my list of menu items to prepare regularly.  However, DH was home and could watch children so I could tackle this.

Risottos use a special rice called Arborio. Its a short-grain, high-starch rice. The starch content allows it to stick together.  I guess the desired texture for risottos is soft on the outside of the grain and firm on the inside. I didn't think my kids would go for that, so I cooked it a litttle longer to make it soft. I thought it was good. Maybe thats why I'm not a professional chef or food critic.

It was good as a leftover as well. I didn't try to freeze it and I'm not so sure that it would really freeze the greatest, but if anyone wants to try, let me know your results.

Here's her recipe:

2/3 C Butternut squash, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 1/2 T EVOO
1 onion
1 garlic clove
1 C arborio rice
2 1/2 C hot veggie stock
8 sage leaves, torn into small pieces

Steam the squash for 5 minutes. Heat EVOO in heavy bottomed pot and saute onion and garlic over low until soft. Add the rice and stir until well coated. Cook over medium for 25 minutes adding the stock on ladleful at atime stirring constantly allowing the rice to absorb each ladleful of liquid before adding the next.

About 10 mins before the end of cooking time, add the squash and sage. Continue to add stock until its all used up.

*note the original called for 3 T parmesan to be added at the end, but I omitted it to keep it vegan.

I had a bunch of puree already made up. I thought it was cute to use the alphabet pasta as well.
This recipe could easily transform into a soup by thinning the puree with vegetable stock.  My baby really liked it.

3 C butternut squah peeled and cubed.
2-3 T alphabet soup pasta
1/2 T chopped fresh sage

Steam the squash and puree until smooth. Cook the pasta until tender. Cook sage in EVOO for 1 minute until fragrant. Combine sage, squash and pasta. 

This item freezes well. I froze it in ice cube trays so I can pull out exactly what I need each time and there is no waste.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Who Wants Dessert?

The Elvis and Magic Bars

My daughter loves to read my cookbooks. She loves cupcakes and cookies. She inherited my sweet tooth. Last year when I first turned over this vegan leaf I was relieved that I wouldn't be tempted by desserts anymore. Then I discovered Isa Chandra Moskowitz and her books Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World and Vegan Cookies Invade your Cookie Jar.  There goes that plan.

If you have a sweet tooth, I'd recommend both of these books. She hasn't steered me wrong yet.

The first one is the Elvis. My daughter picked this one out by herself. I was a little skeptical. Wasn't Elvis's favorite food a peanut butter sandwich with bananas and bacon?  Ick.

But whatever, if she wanted to try it I'd go for it. The cupcake part tastes just like banana bread. Very light with a fine crumb. Top it off with peanut butter icing (not my favorite) and garnish with chopped peanuts, chocolate chips and a banana slice.  The combination was actually quite delicious.  If you are really brave, try sticking a piece of facon bacon on it to be really authentic. I couldn't bring myself to do that.

Secondly, she wanted to make magic bars. Now, these I was really game for. Kinda like a 7 layer bar with coconut, nuts and chocolate chips. It was fun to do with her too she could help with all parts of the assemble since no loud machinery like a mixer was involved.  She stirred the base and put it in the pan, I poured the caramel sauce then her favorte part: making the layers. Which actually turned out to be more like mountains of each ingredient in the middle of the pan, but we were able to get them spread out.

Refrigerated overnight and voila! Bribes!

Eat More Kale!

Oh, I've got a slew of kale recipes up my sleeve. This is another one from VT (I'm telling you, this month was a good issue!).

Kale Chips.

Now, I tried Kale Chips before and I didn't like them. Not to mention expensive - I'm embarrassed to say I paid $7 for what I think is a 4 oz bag of them. But I didn't want to give up. Please keep in mind that I'm not a professional photographer. The picture above doesn't do them justice. You really must try these. They were the simplest to prepare. And totally yummy. Light, crispy, subtle hint of cheese.  None of that bitter green vegetable aftertaste that one would expect.

But I have take a moment to gripe.  Nutritional yeast. Can't find it anywhere. I could have driven to St Paul to Whole Foods to get it, but I didn't want to go all that way for one thing. I scoured the stores in my town - no one had it. So I ended up ordering it online from Bob's Red Mill. What a pain. I've skipped the nutritional yeast in many recipes before and they've all been fine. But if the recipe calls for it (and I'm coming across more and more that do), I figured I owed it the recipe to include it.

Kale Chips

1 12 oz bunch kale
1/3 C nutritional yeast

Preheat oven to 350. Tear kale into large chunks, removing the stems. Rub leaves with EVOO and sprinkle nutritional yeast over the top. Bake for 5 mins, then flip the kale and bake additional 5-10  minutes or until crispy.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Trek Bars

Great Harvest brings their goods to the farmer's market and I had the pleasure of trying. It was good. So-So actually. And for $2.50 a square they really weren't worth it.

But I'm a clever girl. Where there is a will, there is a way.  I found this recipe on another blog and tried it.
It has a peanut butter taste to it, but its really not too bad. I havne't tried it with other nut butters, but I don't see why you could use almond butter or anything else.

They seem like a good snack that could hold you over for a while.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Butternut Squash Pizza

I cheated a little on this one. I used parmesan cheese instead of a nondairy subsitute like Daiya. I couldn't find it in the local stores and am far too busy to make a special to Whole Foods. But I actually think this pizza would be great wtihout cheese altogether.

Its another one from this months issue of Vegetarian Times. See all the recipes I'm posting here..

Butternut Squash Pizza
Candice Garrett
Monterey, Calif

Serves 6
1 small butternut squash, peeled, halved, and sliced 1/8-inch thick
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced (1 1/2 cups)
2 Tbs. Eden Selected Spanish extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 16-oz. pkg. refrigerated pizza dough
1/2 cup fresh spinach leaves
1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Toss together squash, onion, oil, and rosemary in bowl. Spread in large baking dish, and roast 30 minutes, or until  tender.

3. Increase oven temperature to 450°F. Divide pizza dough into 2 pieces, and shape each piece into 8-inch round. Place dough rounds on baking sheet, and top with squash mixture. Bake 13 to 17 minutes, or until crust is crisp. Drizzle pizzas with oil, scatter 1/4 cup spinach over each, and garnish each with 2 Tbs. shaved Parmesan.

Per 1/3 pizza (2 SLICES) 295 cal; 9 g prot; 8 g total fat (2 g sat fat); 47 g carb; 2 mg chol; 448 mg sod; 3 g fiber; 5 g sugars

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sweet Potatoes!

I'm back to a recipe I found in my VT magazine this month. Evidently the mag had a contest - create a recipe with 7 ingredients or less.  I love this contest - so far I'm 2 for 2 in what I've tried from this contest. The biggest plus is that the recipes are simple and I've had most of the ingredients already.  I thought this was really good - although was skeptical at first - cumin can be so over powering. But in my opinion the flavors are really well balanced. I prepped the whole thing in the morning and kept  it in the fridge until it was time to pop it in the oven. Viola- Dinner!

Here's a new one by Jennifer Plantenberg of San Mateo CA.

Cumin & Lime Roasted Sweet Potatoes

1 large sweet potato peeled amd cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 t safflower oil (I just used canola oil)
1 t ground cumin
1 t paprika
1 lime, halved.
1/2 C chopped cilantro

preheat oven to 425. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or cooking spray (I used an 8x8 pan). Toss potato and onion with oil on prepared baking sheet. SPrinkle with cumin and paprika and season with salt if desired. Squeeze juice of 1/2 lime over the top and roast for 45-60 minutes. Toss half way through cooking time.

Remove veggies from oven squeeze juice of remaining 1/2 lime over top and sprinkle with cilantro.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Fruit Calzones - Pink-a-yummy!

I subscribe to Vegetarian Times magazine (Thanks Shannon for introducing me to VT!).  They have many new recipes and many of them are vegan. So when I saw this recipe in this month's issue I thought "how perfect! easy and my kids will love it!".

Well, my daughter nibbled on hers, surprisingly.  My son however devoured it. At least one of them liked it!

My husband liked them. Too easy to put together and quite yummy.
I had to reproduce the recipe - the magazine doesn't publish their recipes while the current issue it out.

Here it goes

1 pkg refrigerated pizza dough
8 t all-fruit spread
1 apple, grated
1/2 C berries of your choice, sliced if they are large
1/4 C sugar (opt)

1) Preheat oven to 500. coat baking sheet with cooking spray
2) Divide dough into 8 balls. roll out to 4x6 oval.
place 1 t fruit spread on inside and top with 1 t apple and 1 T berries.
3) Wet the edges of the dough with a little water and fold over the top half and seal. Crimp the edges with a fork.
4) Brush the calzones with water and sprinkle sugar on top.

5) Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden. Let stand 10 mins before serving. (mine got a little too done - still getting used to a new oven, I guess!)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Magic Kale Salad

I'm trying to eat more kale. I hear its supposed to be good for you - like spinach only better. I tried it once last summer - it wasn't the greatest. I used a recipe from my favorite vegan chef Moskowitz (some enchilada recipe out of Veganomicon). It was okay. I had an issue with the texture - very tough. And the curly bits on the ends got stuck in my craw. But I'm going to give it the old college try and really get into it this time.

Now, I'm not as big of a fan of Momma Pea as Kerri is.  I think her recipes are hit or miss. But she's a great writer and fun to read so I keep up with her as my schedule allows.  Lately I haven't been doing much cooking at all. Moving half way across the country takes its toll. I gave Shannon most of the ingredients out of my pantry and fridge before we left (can't take it with you on the truck), and restocking has been painfully slow. It would be one thing if I didn't care what I put in my fridge, but I really try to buy organic, wholesome foods and that is expensive. Additionally my children seem to have hollow legs - my 3 and 4 year olds are eating me out of house and home. I'm having to go restock basic fruits and veggies every 2 days. Plus, with unpacking and organizing the house, trying to get to know a new community blah, blah, blah . . . .  you know how slow things can go.

But I digress. I've been hanging onto this one for a while now.  My mom grew some kale in her garden and brought me some. This recipe was super simple and a very good basic salad. I wouldn't give it 5 stars, but I would make it again if I had to throw something together in a pinch. I used walnuts instead of pistachios because thats what I had. It was fine.