Sunday, May 4, 2014

GORGEOUS: Hot Rosemary Cashews



These are a favorite of the teens in our town apparently. They were chatting them up in the car on the way to a babysitting gig.

I happened to have all the ingredients and whipped a batch up while i was cooking something else. 

Seriously.

 Thats how easy they are.


GORGEOUS: Hot Rosemary Cashews


1 1/2 pound cashews
2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp cayenne
2 tsp honey
2 tsp coarse salt
1 tbsp olive oil

On a cookie sheet, Cook cashews for 10 minutes until they turn a golden brown.

Mix all the other ingredients in a large bowl
When the nuts are done... Toss them with the mixture, coating evenly.

Serve warm or let them cool and put in an airtight container!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

BEAUTYS: Vegan Vegetable Dumplings/Eggrolls

WHOA! These were WAY simpler than expected. The filling is PACKED with protein, light, savory and generally delicious.Very palate friendly for picky kids, as the veg is not so VEGGGG!!!!! The super easy part helps too! 

As usual, I am tremendously surprised about how LITTLE effort it takes to make that same kind of food i usually buy frozen, only better. It just takes a TINY bit of forethought....AND it's cheaper.

Now i work, so adding all this cooking to my schedule isn't easy, But i have actually grown to love the process more. The MAKING of things, where i used to HATE recipe cooking and could only tolerate making my own (almost always) savory throw togethers.

...and I hate the dishes, But what are you gonna do? Everyone can't have a huge kitchen with much cabinet and counter space, an actual dishwasher and an oven that works 100% of the time. :)

****I won't go into the the fact that I ALSO tried to make GF dumpling wrappers...which were a miserable horrible soul degrading FAIL. Uncharacteristically, I didn't even take pictures because the scene ended up being so ugly. Luckily, i had extra wrappers on hand. I'm getting smarter about these things.



BEAUTYS: Vegan Veggie Dumplings

1 1/2 cups Savoy or green cabbage, chopped
1/2 small red or yellow onion chunks
1/2 cup crumbled firm tofu
1/2 cup celery lightly chopped
1 large carrot, lightly chopped
1/2 cup water chestnuts

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1 tablespoon Soy, Tamari or Teriyaki Sauce
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons oil for pan (i always use coconut)
sea salt
30 square dumpling wrappers (Find packaged ones near the tofu in the refrigerator section of your supermarket.) *** You'll see I used egg roll wrappers accidentally and all was well.


Optional for dipping:
3/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
1/4 rice wine vinegar (flavored if you like)
2 tbsp sesame or olive oil.
     -whisk together!

Pulse the onion, carrot, water chestnuts and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. On medium-high, heat these ingredients in large non-stick skillet and add the cabbage and pinch of salt.


Stir until softened, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add in the tofu, peas and quinoa and continue cooking just until the peas are soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the soy sauce and sesame oil. Allow it to cool to room temperature.





















Now...Line a few of the dumpling wrappers on a flat, dry surface and put 1-3 tablespoons of the filling mixture in the center of each wrapper depending on if it is small or large (see pictures).  Carefully bring each of the edges together to form what resembles a little pyramid, making sure you press all the edges to form a good seal.


Don't forget to lay it out in a DIAMOND shape, points north and south
Fold #1.
If you are making smaller dumplings just bring the #1 fold ALL THE WAY up to the top and press edges firmly, firmly firmly.
I used a bit of egg wash to seal if you arent vegan, but you dont have to.
Fold # 2 & 3 for eggrolls.
Press edges after each fold,
 like you are trying to nicely wrap a package with sharp edges


There is a bit of a learning curve with the wrapping.
Don't worry...If you seal them well, it doesn't really matter if they are all EXACTLY the same does it?!
To Cook:

You have options.... 
1. Place the dumplings in a steamer for 4 minutes. No oil, no browning.

2. Do a combination of frying and steaming, by heating a bit of oil (again i would use Coconut or canola, and not easily burning Olive Oil) in a large nonstick skillet on HIGH heat. Lightly brown the dumplings for 2 minutes turning ONCE. Then add 1/2 cup of water and steam them for another 2 minutes with a top on. This is the method have done with much success in the past, but not what i did, which i regret....

3. Lay them out on a lightly oiled cookie sheet and brush with a bit of olive oil. Bake at 400 till golden brown. I tried this method, and had to turn them. They look gorgeous, but still have that slightly chewy middle. I would go for #2.... but do what you will.

**Gratefully adapted from G. Paltrows veggie vegan dumpling recipe.

DUH: Broiled Asparagus



Honestly.
   
I read some of these cookbooks and I go..."a recipe for TOAST?!?!? a recipe for a boiled egg?!?!?" (Yes, I'm talking to YOU Paltrow!)

This "recipe" falls into that category. So shoot me. I'm guilty. This is just too good, too easy to share. If it seems remedial to you, I get it.


and I will try and be a little more lenient with my censorious thoughts about Le Paltrow and the like from now on.


Absolutely delicious and flavorful on top of quinoa or rice for a simple meal, AND these travel really well for get togethers. i think people are generally overjoyed not to see another green salad on the buffet table.



TOO EASY2: Broiled Asparagus


1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed

olive oil
garlic salt
lemon pepper

Line a cookie sheet with foil and add enough olive oil to lightly cover it. Put your asparagus spears(they should NOT be wet)and roll them in the olive oil to coat. Arrange so that they all have a bit of air in between each spear.


Sprinkle lightly with garlic salt and lemon pepper.


NOTE: I use lemon pepper because REAL lemon tends to collect in the tips TOO MUCH and the balance just isn't as right as when you use the lemon pepper. If you use real lemon, squeeze on at the end of the cook time.


Broil for 4 minutes (or until the spear start to look sort of sparkly). Take kitchen tongs and gently reroll the spears again to even up the cooking.


Broil for another 2 minutes. *Don't take your eyes off them or you'll be sorry.


These will still be crunchy and fresh, and delightfully browned and gorgeous on the outside!

DOUBLE DOWN: Oat flour Banana Nut Loaves


Weird. 
These are perfectly good and tasty. However,Its taken me well over a week to blog about them. They don't have the WOW factor of CAULIFLOWER PIZZA CRUST or....SESAME ALMOND COOKIES i guess (both of which are amazingly WOW and you can find in my index of recipes)I don't know. They just aren't ....sexy.

Let me back track...

I have an AMAZING gluten free BANANA BREAD recipe which i haven't made for the blog yet, But i wanted to give my oat flour a try, so went searching for recipes. I found this one.

I like the recipe because it makes 2 loaves and I'm starting to feel like making a double batch of anything is good. I like to take things to work for my coworkers to try, since alot of us are on the 'HEALTHY' band wagon. Sometimes this backfires....But these were a hit. THE MEAT EATER preferred this recipe aver the other one I have. I was bowled over...But i'm allowed to be ambivalent sometimes no?


DOUBLE TROUBLE: Banana Nut Loaf 

6 very ripe bananas (medium-large)
2/3 cup melted coconut oil
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups Oat flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 tbsp of ground flax seeds
3 tsp Light Agave (regular will work)
2 tbsp Chia seeds
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup chopped walnuts or almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease two loaf pans. 

In a large bowl mash bananas with a fork until they form a slightly chunky banana paste. Add melted Coconut Oil, Agave, Eggs and Vanilla.

In a separate, medium-sized bowl combine Oat flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt, chia and flax. Whisk together until completely combined.

Add the dry ingredients about 1/3 at a time, mixing until barely combined each time. After all of the dry ingredients have been added fold in the nuts.

Scrape batter into 2 prepared loaf pans and bake in 350 degree oven for 45-50 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean when inserted into center of loaf. 

FAMILY TALLY: Kids preferred the banana marble bread from an earlier post. No surprise. Co-workers and MEAT EATER loved this. I think they came out just fine, just not overly excited about them.

Monday, April 28, 2014

WORK FOR IT: Cauliflower Pizza Crust (LOW CARB)

Before I launch into my tale, let me preface by saying there is an extremely delicious, low carb end to this story, lest you be put off by my next few paragraphs.

Like all things in life,this seemed endless overly complicated and stressful.... 
I did't think i was going to get through it.
I regretted even starting it.

1.I had already made several other 'regular' pizzas for the fam. They had moved on and were happily enjoying their saturday night while i slaved over this bad boy.

2.I have a very small kitchen which was already a complete wreck when i started. AND my busted oven was turning on and off the whole time, making things indescribably difficult. 

4.Plus, I was really hungry.

As I was making it I really thought, 

OK NO. This is too much.

Now, that I am on the other side of it, I think making a second one would be 1000x easier. I urge you to try it when you have time and energy to get through the virgin crust.

Plus it was absolutely delicious. EVERYONE went nuts for it. Trust me, it does NOT taste like some fakey vegetarian version of a food we adore. It's super! It's low carb!

I confess, I WILL make it again, knowing what i know now.



WORK FOR IT: Low Carb Cauliflower Pizza Crust
makes 1 large crust
Ingredients:
4 cups raw cauliflower rice
1 egg, beaten
1 cup mozzarella 
1/2 cup cheddar
(Use whatever spices you think will work. I used...)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 t oregano 
1 t basil 
2 t chopped garlic
pinch of salt
Directions:
Preheat your oven to 400F, and start your crust.
To make the cauliflower "rice": pulse batches of raw cauliflower florets in a food processor, until a rice-like texture is achieved. Ours came out even finer than rice and worked just wonderfully. It's just too easy.
Microwave the cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl, for 8 minutes, stirring to vent steam every 2 minutes. When it's done, Let it sit and cool, folding it over with a spoon every so often. I put it onto a flatter plate to allow more steam to come out.
Once you've cooled the "rice", transfer it to a clean, thin dishtowel.  In the dishtowel, twist it up, then SQUEEZE all the excess moisture out! It should make the cauliflower into a sort of mashed potato like ball inside the towel. ALOT of extra water will be released, which is important! 
In a large bowl, combine the cauliflower ball, egg, cheeses and spices. Transfer onto a parchment lined baking sheet and spread/shape/flatten into a rectangular crust like thing. It WON'T feel like regular dough, but don't worry. (1/4 inch?...our was even thinner i think) Now,continue to blot the whole thing several times with paper towels when you are fashioning it into the crust. 
(Yes, it takes alot to get the moisture out, But if you don't do it, the crust will be soggy and not like a crust at all.)
Bake it until it starts to turn golden. Then, VERY IMPORTANT, CAREFULLY invert it onto a new cookie sheet by placing another parchment on top and flipping. It's not as hard as it seems, but be careful. Let's be honest, it's hot and not cooked completely yet. (If you made two smaller crusts this whole shindig would be easier....)
Peel the old parchment off the back and then bake the other side till it is also golden. You could even broil it a little to speed up the process! 
Take it out and  top it with whatever the heck you want! (Yes, we used pepperoni on half or it...But thats entirely optional -duh.)
BROIL the toppings everything is browned and melted the way you like. Let it cool for 5 or 10 minutes,If you want cut it perfectly, But we devoured it right away and it was just glorious.

I think making a double batch of this and freezing one seems like a delightful option.
FAMILY TALLY: A+++. SERIOUSLY.

I was inspired by this recipe and the comments that were made regarding it. http://detoxinista.com/2012/01/the-secret-to-perfect-cauliflower-pizza-crust/

Sunday, April 27, 2014

COMPROMISE: Sunday CornBread Muffins

Death to the grocery store bakery made corn muffins my kids used to live on. That is my quest. That is my vow. 

I used to lean on those heavily when my kids were young. For some reason they seemed healthier than the BANANA NUT or the supposed BLUEBERRY. All those glorious containers waiting for you in the bakery section screaming "Your Kids will LOVE US!"...." You dont have to COOK anything!!!"

Of course, I ignored the label and concentrated on the fact they had a whole grain in them, and were there waiting to be lovingly eaten without complaint.

Those days are gone and yesterday I said NO to the PICKY ONE when she requested I buy her old favorite. The old stand by. The gorgeous plastic encased sparkly grocery store mini corn muffin. I didn't even look at the label, I didn't even consider it. Knowing what i know now, those things probably have as much sugar as an oreo....and probably just a trace of corn flour.....The PICKY ONE didn't seem terribly surprised.

Boo Hoo. Goodbye old friend.

So i just adapted the recipe on the back of my cornmeal bag. Old fashioned and probably the best resource. These came out beautifully, But i should warn you not in any way as sweet or oily as the grocery store's. They are moist and nicely brown on the edges, But i fear the kids will just say...THEY TASTE LIKE CORN BREAD!?!?!

Now,this whole thing confirms my suspicions entirely,those other muffins are FULL of crap. I feel like I added plenty of sweetness. sigh. 

Sugar is not our friend.

I order to appease the younger set, I will continue to try and incorporate sweetness without dumping in cups of white sugar...but for now these are gorgeous serious corn muffins that might beg for a nice tsp of natural jam?



two different pans gave me tow different muffin looks. weird.

COMPROMISE: Sunday Corn Bread Muffins

1 3/4 cups Corn Meal of your choice (i like the coarse yellow version)
3/4 cup GF Flour of choice ( i used oat and all purpose mixed)
2 eggs beaten
1/2 cup Brown Rice syrup or Agave
1 packet stevia
6 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted at room temp
2 cups milk of your choice (i mixed 2% and almond unsweetened vanilla)

Mix together as little as possible until fully incorporated. Coconut oil is tenacious and hates to mix in. Put in muffin cups.

Bake at 450 for approx. 14 miuntes. Check with a toothpick for doneness!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

BLAMO: Super Protein Bars

I made some protein bars last week that the kids were really jazzed about. They said they tasted like CLIFF bars, but i didn't. 
Anyhoo, I forgot to blog them and they are LONG gone. ah well. I was taken by how STUPID EASY these things are to make. 

The HEALTH FOOD business is pulling a huge one over on us, people.

Today before my run i wanted to get something made for when THE VEGETARIAN comes back from her 2 dance classes. Something sweet and healthy, that feels like a treat and has all the protein she so desperately needs ...being the no eggs, no fish, no garbanzo bean kind of vegetarian she happens to be. 

sigh.

I quickly adapted a simpler recipe from the internet, as it was really boring and just not nutritious enough for my taste. 

These came out great. Maybe even TOO sweet, although you'd never hear my kids say that.

New challenge= I need t make my own chocolate chips. I just can't buy 'em anymore. There has to be any easy, low cost and less sugary version i can achieve. 

I'm on a mission.... stay tuned. But not today. There are attics to be cleaned, teen bathing suits to be shopped for (lord help me), flowers to be planted and tonight...Cauliflower pizza crust. 

Yes it's happening.

Welcome to my relaxing weekend.


BLAMO: Super Protein Bars


1/4 cup steel cut oats (for a real crunch)
1/8 cup hulled hemp seeds
3/4 cup rolled/old fashioned oats (i always used Gluten free)
1/8 cup chia seeds
1/8 cup honey
1/8 light agave
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
1/8 cup unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 tbsp protein powder (i use RAW vanilla, because it's awesome)

Note about ingredients: You don't HAVE to have chia...you could use ground flax! You don't have to use hemp, you could use quinoa flakes or just more oats, you could use regular agave or even just more honey....See what I mean? It's pretty easy to adjust.

In a large bowl, mix them together. Take half the mixture and shape into a large log on a long piece of saran wrap. close the saran wrap around the length of the log and roll into a thinner log. When it is the shape you desire, slightly flatten for a more bar like shape.  

pop them in the freezer for at least 1/2 hour and then cut to desired length.
(You don't have to do any of this. You could just roll into bite sized balls or put in a pan and cut..It's up to you.)

Keep in the freezer until you are ready to eat or pack in a lunch!