Sunday, November 23, 2014

Cranberry Brussels Sprouts


This morning my husband accidentally woke the baby up early. And guess who had to get up with him? Anyways, I got to watch my favorite cooking show of all time, Good Eats. And the episode featured my favorite vegetable, Brussels Sprouts. I've seen the episode before, but kind of ignored it since I loved my sprout cut in half and pan fried. But today I paid attention and saw him make the most delicious looking dish ever. Shredded Brussels sprouts with dried cranberries and pecans. I had all those ingredients in my fridge and couldn't decide what to make, this recipe was just what I needed! I made it vegan and added a few ingredients too. This dish would make a fantastic healthy side dish for the Thanksgiving!

Cranberry Brussels Sprouts
1 pound Brussels Sprouts
3 ounce raw pecans, chopped
1 tbs vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
4 ounces dried cranberries
1/2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
Salt and pepper to taste

Rinse the brussel sprouts and remove any brown leafs. Cut off the tip of the steam. Cut the brussel sprouts into shreds (or use a food processor like Alton did).

In a skillet over medium-high heat, lightly toast the chopped pecans. It will only take a minute or two. The color won't change much but you will be able to smell the aroma. Remove from the pan and set aside.

In the same skillet, add the butter and brussels sprout shreds. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, until the sprouts soften.

Next add the cranberries and cook for one minute longer.

Transfer to a serving bowl. Add the olive oil and bread crumbs. Mix well.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Now dig into this delicious dish! Michael and I devoured the bowl. I even hoped Jack wouldn't eat his  portion (I gave him just the sprouts, never give a baby nuts as they are a choking risk).  But he devoured his too! I will need to make this again soon, it was just so good!




Monday, October 27, 2014

Samosa Casserole with Cilantro Gravy

This recipe is one of the freezer meals I made a few weeks ago. I wanted something filling and flavorful to enjoy after a long, hard day. I thought of freezing one of my Samosa Pizzas, but I didn't quite know how to store that. Then I though a casserole would be nice, very hearty from all the potatoes and it would freeze very well. And I had just bought a big bag of sweet potatoes, too.  So I essentially made a bigger batch of the potato filling from my pizza recipe, but used sweet potatoes instead. As for the gravy, I wanted something more the usual cilantro chutney. Something creamier, to really stand up to the sweet potatoes.Like how well hash browns go with saw-mill gravy. So I made up a cilantro version.

I made the casserole in disposable pan and covered it in foil. The gravy I made the day of, but you could freezer it as well. Just put it in a freezer bag.

This recipe makes one 8 X 10 pan, and 1 cup of gravy. 

Samosa Casserole with Cilantro Gravy
Filling
3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 tbs vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp mango powder
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tbs ginger, peeled and minced
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 tsp garam masala
2 cups frozen peas and carrots (or any other vegetable mixture you like)
Dough 
2 cups baking mix (I used Bisquick)
2/3 cup water
2 tbs tamarind chutney
Gravy 
1 bunch of cilantro
1 cup water
3 tbs olive oil
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic salt
2 tbs flour

Add the peeled sweet potatoes to a pot of cold water. Bring to a boil. Cook until they are soft.

While the potatoes boil, in a small pot add the vegan butter and melt over medium heat.

Add the cumin seeds, fennel seeds, coriander powder, and mango powder. Cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.

Add the garlic, ginger, and onions. Cook until the onions soften a little and it's very fragrant.

Turn off heat and set aside.

Once the potatoes are soft, drain well and return to the pot.

Add the frozen peas and carrots, and the spice/oil mixture. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Then set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the baking mix, water, and tamarind chutney. It should make a wet dough, like for dumplings. Set aside.

Spray a casserole pan with cooking spray.

Spread the potato filling evenly.

Tear off dumpling-size pieces of the dough and evenly distribute over the filling.

Cover with foil.

To make the gravy,  blend the cilantro and water in a blender or food processor until smooth. Set aside.

add the oil to small pot over medium heat.

Once the oil is heated, add the fennel, cumin seeds, chili powder, and garlic salt. Cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.

Add the flour and quickly whisk it into the oil. Cook for 1 minute.

Add the pureed cilantro and whisk in quickly.

Cook for 3-5 minutes, until it begins to thicken slightly.

Remove from the heat and pour into another container to cool

Now you can let it cool, then pop it in the freezer.  Or you can bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes. To bake after being frozen, 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes. To thaw the gravy, place it in warm water and heat in a pot on the stove once it's liquid again. You may need to add a bit more water on the stove to keep it from thickening too much.

I popped this in the oven after a long road trip to LA and back this weekend. It was totally what my whole family needed. Nutritious, tasty, and filling, Even the baby loved it. I hope your family loves it too!

















Thursday, October 9, 2014

Pumpkin Date Muffins


Want to know what statement that makes a cook feel horrible? "I didn't know what to have for breakfast so I skipped it. And you forgot to make me a lunch so I just had ramen." Most days I do feed my husband good meals. I make him nice lunches most days and make sure there is something he can heat up for dinner (usually my leftover lunch). But some days Jack doesn't let that happen. Michael knows I am busy all day trying to care for the baby and working in the evenings. He isn't mad, and isn't the 'I expect dinner on the table at 6 sharp women!" kind of guy. But I love to cook and feed people, so hearing this was a dagger in the heart. I decided to make some freezer meals. This way there is always something to eat and it would save us money in the long run. I made 6 recipes total, so look out for the rest. Also, this recipe is also good for Baby-Led Weaning, the way we are introducing solids to Jack.

So, Michael never has to skip breakfast again. I decided to make muffins that he could eat in the car or at his desk. These muffins aren't your those fluffy cake-like store bought muffins. Do you know why Costco muffins taste so good? They aren't muffins, they are cake. You are eating giant cupcakes without frosting. Totally not the breakfast of champions!  My muffins are sweet but dense, and full of nutrition. A great way to start the day!

This recipes make 24 muffins or one 8 in by 12 in baking pan. 

Pumpkin Date Muffins
2 tbs flax seeds
4 tbs hot water
1 29 oz can of pumpkin puree
2 cups chopped dates
2 cups old fashioned oats
2 tbs vital wheat gluten (or flour works fine too)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners or spray the pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a small bowl, add the hot water and flax seeds. Set aside for 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, add the pumpkin puree and dates. Mix well.

Add the oats, vital wheat gluten, brown sugar, flax seed mixture, nutmeg and cinnamon. Mix until combined. It should be thick and lumpy.

Spoon the batter into the muffin tin. Fill it all the way to the top, these muffins don't rise much.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the tops are lightly golden.


Eat them hot, let them cool for later, or freeze them for the rest of the week! A tasty breakfast any time.




Thursday, September 11, 2014

Cold Soba Noodle Salad

I have no idea if I got this recipe from somewhere. Maybe I made it up! I don't recall, but it's similar to many other Asian noodle salads. But I've made it for years. It's light but satisfying. Especially on a hot summer day (though it's September and I really over this hot weather now). Very simple to make and tastes better the longer it sits, so make a big batch for leftovers.

Soba noodles are made from buckwheat, a grain that looks like a seed. It's also gluten free so soba is great alternative to for those with a gluten allergy. Buckwheat is high in fiber and manganese, and is overall a very nutritious food. Soba noodles can be served cold like in this recipe, or hot like in a soup. I've tried them both ways, but I prefer cold.

This recipe makes 4 servings.

Cold Soba Noodle Salad
1 bag (12.8 oz) of Soba noodles
1/4 cup sesame oil
3 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 large cucumber, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
Other options:
1 large carrot, shredded
1 cup steam shelled edamame
 1 block of extra firm tofu, drained and cubed
1 tbs toasted nori

Cook the soba noodles according the directions on the package. When done, drain well and rinse with cold water immediately. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mixed together the oil, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, ginger and pepper flakes to make the dressing. Set aside.

Chop your veggies and add to a large bowl.

Add the soba noodles to the veggie bowl.

Add the dressing and mix together well.

Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Top with some toasted nori and enjoy!


My favorite way to make this is adding all the optional ingredients, but that will have to wait until Jack's older. I left my basic because I was sharing with my little son. We have started to introduce solids through baby-led weaning. I didn't think he was quite ready for tofu or edamame yet.

Baby approved!







Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Lactation Cookies For Everybody


Check out my other blog Vegan Babymama for the story behind why I made those cookies. And two things before I get to the recipe. First, I know it says cookies but I made bars. When you have a 4 month old baby, you don't have time to be scooping out dough and baking one batch at a time. So I spread all the dough out into a pan quickly and pop it in the oven on a cooking timer so the oven would shut off when it's done. That way I could nurse Jack and not worry about anything burning. But if you have the time, these do make wonderful cookies, so by all means scoop away. Second, these cookies are not just for nursing moms. They will not make you lactate if you aren't already. I'm referring the men who reading this, seriously? You don't have functioning mammary glands! They are normal ingredients and the cookies taste great. My husband as stolen a few cookies and loves them. But if you lactating, some of these ingredients are lactrogenic, meaning they have been known to increase your milk supply. The oatmeal, flax seed, brewer's yeast, walnuts, and whole wheat flour in this recipe are all lactrogenic.

This recipe is based on these two recipes I found on Pinterest: Lactation Cookie Bars and Lactation Cookies for Nursing Moms

Lactation Cookies
1 cup vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
1.5 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1 cup hot water
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups rolled oats
2 heaping tbs brewer's yeast
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips (make sure they are dairy-free)
pinch of salt
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Pre-heat the oven to 350 and spray a baking pan with cooking spray. I used a 9 x 9 ceramic. 

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. 

In a small bowl, add the ground flax seed and hot water. Let it sit for 5 minutes. 

Add the flax seed mixture to the butter mixture. Mix well (though it will be very sloppy). 

Add the flour, rolled oats, brewer's yeast and baking soda the bowl. Mix well. 

Stir in the chocolate chips and salt. 

Stir in the coconut and walnuts, if using. 

Spread evenly into the baking pan and bake for 30-35 minutes. They are done when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Note to self: Take pic before you take a piece,
despite how amazing it smells.
These cookies really are for everyone. Don't let the title scare you away. They are high in fiber and contains good fats. Plus they are very tasty. I really suggest either the coconut or walnuts, or both! And this is a wonderful treat for nursing momma. You earned it, taking care of a baby is hard! 





Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Curry Vegetable Quinoa


One day I wanted fried rice, but I had no rice. But I had quinoa though. Then I realized I had no soy sauce. But I had a ton of Indian spices. So I looked up what I could make and came across a recipe from Manjula's Kitchen called Quinoa Vegetable Pilaf. It looked good so I decided to make my own version.

Curry Vegetable Quinoa
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
Dash of salt
1 tbs coconut oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 piece of ginger, pealed and minced
1 small white onion
Kernels from 2 ears of corn 
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 small head of broccoli, chopped into bite-sized pieces 
3/4 cup tomato juice
1 jalapeno, minced
Dash of asafetida
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cilnatro

In a small pot, add the quinoa, water, and salt. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes, until the water is absorbed. 

While that cooks, heat the coconut oil in large skillet over medium heat. 

Add the cumin seeds, fennel seeds, curry powder, and chili powder. Cook for a minute, just until it becomes fragrant. 

Add the ginger and onions. Cook until the onions are soft. 

Add the corn kernels, bell pepper, and broccoli. Cook until the veggies are tender. 

Once the quinoa is done, fluffy gently with a fork and let it sit for a minute. 

Add the quinoa to the skillet. 

Add the tomato juice, jalapeno, and asafetida. Stir well.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with cilantro.

A flavorful Indian version of fried rice, with plenty of protein from the quinoa. No need for meat or egg!And don't be afraid to make a big batch of this, the flavors get even better the longer it sits.





Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Red Beans and Rice


One pot meals are genius invention. Whether you be busy with work, a fussy 3 month-old or both,  it's nice to still have a home-cooked meal. And even better when there is only one dish to clean!

I  came up with this one day while Jack was napping and I had a few spare moments to think about dinner. It's pretty much your standard red beans and rice dish, just with frozen kale instead of bell peppers.

Red Beans and Rice
1 lb bag of Kidney Beans, soaked overnight and rinsed
5 oz frozen kale (about half a bag)
2 cups uncooked brown rice
10 cups water or vegetable broth
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large white onion, chopped
1 tbs chili powder
1/2 tbs smoked paprika
1 tps thyme
1 tps oregano
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Tabasco, to taste

Combine all ingredients--except the salt, pepper, and Tabasco-- into a large pot.

Bring to boil then reduce to a simmer and cover.

Cook for an hour. The beans will be soft enough to eat but still a little firm. The rice should be fully cooked. There will be a little bit of liquid left, similar to a light sauce.

Season with the salt, pepper, and Tabasco as desired!


There is something so satisfying in a classic simple meal like red beans and rice :-)