Friday, June 29, 2012

Heaven in a Pot


So, I’m having one of “those” kind of weeks. You know what I’m talking about. Nothing seems right, the kids are a little wild, I haven’t cooked one meal from the menu, we just had peanut butter and honey sandwiches with a carrot for lunch (again!), laundry is pouring out of the laundry room, I haven’t seen the bottom of my sink in a week, I was a royal b*%@& to the Man last night and all I really want to do is watch Felicity re-runs on Netflix. I know, its bad. When I have these little moments in life, it usually has something to do with hormones or season changes. Some of you are thinking, “She is so weird”, while others are yelling, “Me too! Me too!” Well, I have a little treat for the  “Me too”s out there! It is called heaven in a pot… at least it should be. If you’ve read the menus, you know I’m a little on the healthy side (or I pretend to be): I don’t eat ice cream,  I don’t devour a bag a chips, I try to hold myself back from mountains of chocolate. (Try is the key word, people!) Well, when I’m in a funk like this, I want to cry, I want chocolate, I want something REALLY REALLY bad for me… but then I think of how miserable I’ll feel after I consume something horrible for me. So, (enter stage right): heaven in a pot. I almost shed a tear today when I tasted it because it was what I NEEDED! My world was in harmony J Here you go “Me too”s, this one’s for you!! (Okay, and the “She’s weird”s too!)

Heaven in a Pot:
      In a saucepan, mix together 1/3 c. maple syrup, 1/3 c. almond milk and ¼ c. cocoa, bring it to a gentle boil and let it simmer for about 3 minutes. Add 3 tbsp organic peanut butter or almond butter to the mix and stir until its melted into the mixture. Once its well mixed, remove from heat, let it cool for about 5 minutes then stir in 1 tsp vanilla and if you just need an AMAZING chocolate sauce to dip fruit in, you’re done. If you want a cookie style treat, mix in 1 ½ c. oats. Spoon cookies onto a plate and refrigerate. In about 30 minutes it’s cool enough to munch on. Or you could eat it out of the pan with a spoon, like I did J

I got this recipe from Forks Over Knives.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Red Pepper Risotto


I love risottos and according to this website it is gluten free and a decent protein source, win-win! I don’t think it has much in the way of fiber so mixing in some fiber-full veggies sure does make it almost perfect!

Ingredients:
3 large red bell peppers (this is a good time of year to get them cheap! In the winter, 1 organic red bell pepper will cost you a fortune!)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 handfuls chopped spinach
About 20 oz diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
5-6 1/2 c. veggie stock
2 ½ c. Arborio rice
6 fresh basil leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place your whole peppers on a broiling pan and broil in the oven until the skins are blackened and blistered all over. Put the peppers in a bowl and cover them with a damp paper towels. Set them aside for about 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes, peel off the skins and slice the peppers thinly. Toss out the core and seeds. Heat oil in a large saucepan. (I have a wide pan about 6 or 7 inches deep that is perfect.) Next add the garlic and tomatoes; gently cook for about 5 minutes. Add the pepper slices, spinach and bay leaves, cook for 15 minutes stirring occasionally. In a separate heavy, large saucepan, add the stock and heat until simmering. Now, put the rice in with veggies and stir and cook for about 2 minutes. Add about 2 or 3 ladlefuls of the hot stock to the rice/veggie mixture, cook while stirring occasionally until all the stock is absorbed. Continue to add the stock this way. Make sure all the stock is absorbed before adding more. Once the rice is tender, season with salt and pepper, remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes before stirring in the basil… this will also help keep your kids from searing their tongues. An added benefit!

Go to smoothie recipe


Smoothies are one of my favorite go to breakfasts. It is delicious, healthy, raw goodness! Here is our traditional smoothie:

¾ c. ground flax (I grind mine in our coffee grinder)
1 handful fresh spinach
1 handful fresh kale (with the spines removed)
2 bananas
6 bid strawberries, quartered
1 c. almond milk
1-2 c. ice

I put the ingredients into my ninja in the order listed so that the heavy ingredients will press down the not-so-heavy ones. Put all the ingredients in your blender, minus the ice, blend away. Once you have a nice liquid, add the ice and blend until it is all chopped up. This makes enough for small smoothies for the five of us. 

Thai Red Curry


I’ve been making Thai Curry for YEARS! I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! I have thought a time or two about getting adventurous and making my own curry paste but I have yet to take the plunge. There’s always next time, right? Ha! Anyway, this is one recipe that we turned vegetarian quite some time ago because we could put so much other goodness in it. It doesn’t taste exactly like a Thai restaurant but it is pretty darn close! Maybe when I make my own… or maybe not.

Here’s what you need:
2 cans coconut milk
3 tbsp red curry paste (less if you don’t want it hot)
1-2 tbsp fish sauce (I can forgo this one but it does add a very authentic flavor)
1 tbsp agave or sucanat
1 sliced red bell pepper
2 sliced zucchini
½ c frozen peas
1 small can sliced bamboo
Salt

Start off by pouring your coconut milk into a large skillet or saucepan. Add the red curry and whisk it into the milk. Let simmer for 4-5 minutes then add the fish sauce and sweetener of your choice. Let these guys mix together and simmer for a few more minutes. Next add in your veggies: pepper, zucchini, bamboo and peas. (You can add other veggies too, whatever needs to be used in the frige) Salt to taste. Let it cook until your veggies are tender and delicious! Serve it over some brown basmati rice and you have a treat!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Week 3


I have officially been meat-less (and mostly dairy-free) for 2 weeks and I can’t tell you how great it feels. I don’t have cravings like I used to, no heavy bloated feeling after meals, blemishes on my face have cleared up, I have TONS more energy, just to name a few! Well, here is the menu for week 3, I am buying up new cookbooks left and right to get more inspiration, so if you have any cookbooks that you love, please, pass the title along!

Monday
Breakfast: sucanat, raisin oatmeal
Lunch: We’re eating at Your Dekalb Farmers Market (if you’re in the Atlanta area, CHECK IT OUT!!!!)

Tuesday
Lunch: good ol’ almond butter and honey sammie on homemade whole wheat bread

Wednesday
Breakfast: fruit salad (pineapple, cantaloupe, bananas)

Thursday
Breakfast: Vegan Quiche, yep, you read that correctly J
Dinner: Szechwan Eggplant

Friday
Breakfast: homemade Musli
Lunch: Veggies with Aunt Margaret's Black Bean DIp (I'll post the recipe if I get permission from the creator!)
Best dip ever!
Here is my picky eater! And this is the lunch
she devoured! 
Dinner: Pizza for the kids, Veg Spaghetti for me!

I will post the rest of the recipes hopefully by tomorrow morning :) I hope you all have a great week! Good health to you!

Banana Nut Muffins


 This is a variation from my mother-in-law’s amazing banana bread recipe.  I love to experiment with family recipes to make them into something healthy while maintaining their yumminess J

½ c. sucanat
½ c. honey
½ c. butter
2 eggs
4 REALLY ripe/rotten bananas
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soad
2 c. flour blend (1 part coconut flour, 1 part almond flour, 1 part whole wheat flour, 1 part quinoa flour- sometimes I vary how much of each I use, but ½ c. of each is fairly standard)
½ c. crushed walnuts (optional)

Mix together the sucanat, honey and butter in a mixer. Add eggs, one at a time. Mash your bananas and then add them to the sugar mixture. Ina separate bowl, combine the salt, soda and your flour blend. Add the flour to the banana mixture followed by the nuts. Pour the mixture into 3 mini loaf pans and cook for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Ovens vary, so be sure to watch your bread the first time you bake it. Also, honey darkens faster than regular sugar so if your bread begins to get darker than you like it, lay a piece of foil over the bread. If you want muffins, cook at 325 for about 20 minutes. Enjoy!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Homemade Larabars!


We make these delightful treats called Date Bars because that is what they are. I have one friend whose family refers to them as dookie balls, yes dookie, because she rolls hers into balls… and other reasons. Anyways, this is the homemade version of a Larabar, so you can put whatever you want in it until you like the consistency. You’ll eat them all in one day, I have no doubt.

  • 1 ½ c. pitted dates (I have pitted my own before, not worth it, pay $2 for the pitted ones)
  • ½- 3/4 c. various nuts (ex: almonds, pistachios, cashews, walnuts, whatever floats your boat)
  • ½ c. coconut
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • Whatever else you want to put in (choco-chips, cocoa, oats, grated carrot, seriously, whatever sounds good to you in the moment)

Just after adding the coconut!


In your food processor (I use a ninja, its amazing) first toss in the nuts and give them a good grinding. Next put in the dates, I do it a little at a time because too much might just make it into a ball… of dookie, no, just kidding, but some times it will just clump together instead of mixing in with the nuts. So a scoop at a time. Next add the coconut and oil and your ‘extras’ and process away. The end product should stick together nicely but if for some reason it’s too dry add a little more oil and give it another whirl. At this point you can scoop the contents of your processing bowl into a small, glass, baking dish. Cut into pieces and serve. I refrigerate it afterwards just to keep it extra firm. Or you can roll them into balls… easier to transport, I hear. My kids think they’re cookies… success. 
Sleepy face :)









Sunday, June 17, 2012

Curried Celery Soup


I’m the kind of person who enjoys soups for dinner. I don’t like having anything too heavy at night so soups and salads are my friends. The Man however likes his big meaty meals, (I mean, he IS a MAN) so with soups I like to throw in some good hearty bread so that he feels like he’s getting some real quality substance J I love him and I love using him as a culinary guinea pig! (He’s so good at it too.)

Here you go:

2 tsp-ish coconut oil
1 chopped onion
1 sliced leek
1½ pounds chopped celery
1 tbsp med or hot curry powder (we like it hot around here!)
8 oz. diced potatoes (the type is up to you, I’m using red ones this week because that is what I found at the farmers market today)
3¾ c. veggie stock (almost a box)
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
Fresh cilantro
Salt to taste

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan, toss in the onion, leek and celery. Cover and let simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add curry powder and cook a couple more minutes after stirring
  • Add potatoes, stock, cumin and cilantro. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes or until veggies are tender
  • Set the soup aside and let it cool slightly then puree in a blender or food processor until smooth
  • Add the fresh cilantro (about a small hand full) and salt until it tastes perfectly salty and process it super quick.
  • Return it to the sauce pan and reheat until hot

This recipe is a variation from a cookbook called Vegetarian by Nicola Graimes. It has some good eats in there and I like to edit it a bit to my taste and dietary preference. I hope you enjoy the goods!

Crock-Pot Tikki Masala


Um, this recipe is delicious. Seriously, every time I make it, I feel sorry for everyone who isn't eating with us. It’s just that good.
So here's what you need:

Marinade:
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1tsp pepper
½- 1 tsp cayenne (this depends on you)
1 tbsp garam masala
½ c. almond or coconut milk
Whatever veggies you want to put in the mix. I usually slice up some zucchinis, eggplant, broccoli and bamboo if I’m feeling crazy J
It should total about 4 cups of assorted veggies.

In a plastic Ziploc place all the veggies as well as the other ingredients. Toss them around a bit in the bag and let all the goods get nice and mixed up and the veggies get thoroughly coated in the marinade. Refrigerate for an hour or so.

Masala:
1 can 28 oz diced tomatoes, or fresh if you are so lucky
1 can 5.5 oz tomato paste
About 2 inches of fresh grated ginger or 2 tsp if its ground (ground wont give you the same awesome flavor as the fresh stuff but it will be good, none the less.)
2 gloves minced garlic
1 diced onion
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tbsp tikki paste or 2 tsp tikki masala powder (I like both, so no worries)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dried coriander
1 can coconut milk
Salt to taste

So you add the ingredients to the crock-pot and mix it all up. Let it cook for about 2-3 hours on high (or 4-5 on low) then add the veggies from the refrigerator in and cook for another hour. That’s it. Cook some rice according to the package (we usually go for brown or basmati) and you have a delicious dish! Right before I serve it some times I’ll add a pinch more cumin, chili powder and garam masala just to make the taste even more exciting… if that’s even possible! You can garnish with some fresh cilantro if you’re in the mood.

ENJOY!!!

Week 2


Happy father's day!!!! My littles have the greatest dad and I was so blessed to celebrate him today. I hope everyone had a great day with their fathers or enjoyed the opportunity to celebrate or remember the men who helped to make us who we are. 

So while the Man is our for a run, I will post a menu for this next week. I'm attaching some links to recipes as well as posting some of my own, so enjoy! I hope you're week is filled God's richest blessings and great health!

Monday:
Breakfast: Cinnamon, raisin steel cut oatmeal
Lunch: Almond butter and honey on homemade whole wheat bread w/ veggies and hummus
Dinner: Curried celery soup with homemade bread

Tuesday:
Breakfast: Date bars
Lunch: quinoa salad
Dinner: Creole Chickpea fritters w/ mashed cauliflower and a salad

Wednesday:
Breakfast: homemade granola
Lunch: Burlotti
  • Basically, pasta with tomatoes, white burlotti beans and a handful of spices.
Dinner: Minestrone soup with pesto and bread

Thursday:
Breakfast: quinoa with blueberries and almonds
Lunch: black beans over brown rice
Dinner: Tikki Masala

Friday:
Breakfast: banana nut muffins
Lunch: Veggie Bok Choy wraps with hummus
Dinner: Vegetable Ribbon Pasta

If there is ever something we're eating for a meal and the recipe isn't listed, just let me know and I'll let you know how we do it around these parts.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Eggplant Parmesan


So, I have NEVER consumed eggplant IN MY LIFE. The Man never seemed interested and my littles, even with their diverse palates, I was afraid it would be a waste of time. I like to imagine myself an adventurous eater but whenever the subject of eggplant was approached, all my ‘adventure’ was thrown out the window. What can I say, I like adventure on my own terms! I wouldn’t even tell the Man what we were having for dinner when he called from work because I didn’t want him to talk me out of it! Ha!

Last night, my life-long eggplant-free streak ended with delicious eggplant Parmesan, a recipe that I kind of made up as I went. When I looked recipes online I saw a bunch of fried eggplant deals and a handful of baked ones but most of them required eggs and such for the breading process. So, I free-styled… my favorite way to cook! This recipe is vegetarian but it isn’t vegan. Mostly because it was my first time so I wanted to get a good hold on the process (and to see if I even liked it!) before I moved on to a dairy-free version. I’ll include what I plan to do next time to make it vegan

Here’s the ‘recipe’:

1 eggplant
1 tsp salt
1 stick melted butter (next time I’m using coconut oil)
2-3 c. bread crumbs (I crumbled some of my homemade bread and let it stale)
½ tsp (ish) salt, yeah, salt round 2
1 tsp Italian seasoning
¼ c. Parmesan cheese (not doing this next time.. I don’t think it was a deal breaker!)

So I sliced the eggplant about ¼- ½ inch thick pieces and placed them on a cookie sheet (I think I had like 10-12 pieces) and sprinkled them with salt. I let them sit for about 30 minutes to let the ‘juices’ rise out of them. (I read about this process on food network) Next I combined the crumbs, salt, Italian seasoning and parm cheese in a bowl.  I dunked the eggplant in the butter and rolled it around in the crumb mixture (it doesn’t really stick super awesome) so I put it back on the cookie sheet with a sprinkling of breadcrumbs on top. I did this to all the slices and then stuck that pan of skepticism in the oven for 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees. What I pulled out was muy delicioso! I put some mashed cauliflower on the fam’s plates topped with a couple slices of egg plant and then covered with some homemade marinara. The Man, my eldest and I WORKED IT!!! The younger two I had to work a bit harder to get them to try it but once they did, they ate most of it. It was a success!! I am SO pumped when a new recipe works out! I should have taken a pic... maybe next time.

If you try it, let me know how it works out for you J



Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Flax Crackers


Yeah, they're good. The littles love them and they're so easy to make it can be a 'last minute' thrown together snack.

 I got the idea here. This site has great gluten-free and vegan recipes- check it out, it is delightful! She has some great gluten free waffles and dairy-free whipped topping that I'm excited to try out on Big Breakfast Saturday- Woop! Woop!

Here is what I did:
1 ½ c. ground flax seeds (I ground  mine in the coffee grinder- works like a charm!)
1/2 c. sesame seeds
1 c water
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp nutritional yeast (makes it taste ‘cheesey’)

I mixed all the dry ingredients together in a bowl then added the water once it was all in a clump I put on some parchment paper on a cookie sheet. I rolled it out fairly thin. I kept saying to myself, “Cracker, it’s supposed to be a cracker.” So then I would go thinner. J I scored it with a fork to make little perforations so that they would snap off easily, then I popped it in the oven for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Voila! Flax crackers. Boom, so easy.

Organic Blue Berries on Sale!


Whole Foods Sale!!!!

This Friday only, Whole Foods/Harry’s Farmers Market has their organic blueberries on sale for $1.99/pint. This is almost a $3 savings… that’s just crazy! So if you’re in the Marietta area, stock up, blueberries freeze super easy!!

Vegetable Pilaf


Vegetable Pilaf: Vegan

2 c. basmati rice
4tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp cumin
4 bay leaves
8 cardamom pods
8 cloves (I use a teaspoon ground cloves)
2 onions, chopped
2 carrots finely diced
2/3 c. frozen peas
2/3 c. frozen corn
½ c cashews (lightly toasted or fried)
½ tsp additional cumin
1 tsp salt

Let the rice soak for 30 minutes.
Heat oil in a large pan. Sauté cumin, bay leaves, cardamom and gloves for a couple minutes. Add onion and cook until it is soft and light brown (about 5 minutes). Stir in carrots and cook for 3-4 more minutes.
Drain rice, add to the pan with peas, corn and nuts. Cook for 4-5 minutes at medium heat.
Add 2 cups water, ground cumin and salt. Bring to a boil, cover and let simmer over low heat for 15 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Let stand 10 minutes covered before serving.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Veggie Gumbo: Vegan


I got this recipe from a vegetarian cook book I have. Everyone needs a solid veg cookbook in my opinion.

Veggie Gumbo: Vegan
¼ c. brown rice
2 tsp Coconut oil
½ c. chopped onion
2 garlic cloves
4 c. veggie broth
28 oz. jar or can diced tomatoes
10 oz. frozen okra (or 2 c. fresh sliced!)
2 bay leaves
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
2 c. kale
½ c. frozen corn

Cook brown rice according to package instructions.
In sauce pan, heat oil at med-high temp. Add onions and garlic, sauté 3 minutes. Add stock, tomatoes, okra, bay leaves and spices. Bring to a simmer and cook 5 minutes before adding kale, brown rice and corn. Cook for 2 additional minutes (or a bit longer for the flavors to ‘marry’).
I sometimes prefer to make soup the day before and put it in the refrige over night because all the flavors have time to mesh and it’s AMAZING the next day!

Week 1 Menu




Week 2


Happy father's day!!!! My littles have the greatest dad and I was so blessed to celebrate him today. I hope everyone had a great day with their fathers or enjoyed the opportunity to celebrate or remember the men who helped to make us who we are. 

So while the Man is our for a run, I will post a menu for this next week. I'm attaching some links to recipes as well as posting some of my own, so enjoy! I hope you're week is filled God's richest blessings and great health!

Monday:
Breakfast: Cinnamon, raisin steel cut oatmeal
Lunch: Almond butter and honey on homemade whole wheat bread w/ veggies and hummus
Dinner: Curried celery soup with homemade bread

Tuesday:
Breakfast: Date bars
Lunch: quinoa salad
Dinner: Creole Chickpea fritters w/ mashed cauliflower and a salad

Wednesday:
Breakfast: homemade granola
Lunch: Burlotti
  • Basically, pasta with tomatoes, white burlotti beans and a handful of spices.
Dinner: Minestrone soup with pesto and bread

Thursday:
Breakfast: quinoa with blueberries and almonds
Lunch: black beans over brown rice
Dinner: Tikki Masala

Friday:
Breakfast: banana nut muffins
Lunch: Veggie Bok Choy wraps with hummus
Dinner: Vegetable Ribbon Pasta

If there is ever something we're eating for a meal and the recipe isn't listed, just let me know and I'll let you know how we do it around these parts.