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

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

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

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
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
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.

I was inspired by this recipe and the comments that were made regarding it.

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. 


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 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! 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

OAT BOY!: Breakfast Bars

I am remiss. 
After my first ecstatic wave of blogging I hit the big wall.
Time, money, and my horrible oven got me blue. I guess. 
I realize thats the very crux of this blog.dealing with all this, and trying to make it work. Trying to find thing that makes everyone happy and still make us healthy.

PART TWO of this confession is that, apparently, I went on a banana binge. 
I looked on my counter and there were 6 over ripe bananas.
I looked in my fridge and there were 4 over ripe bananas.
So I decided to get back on the horse and figure things out. Get through it. Look my oven in the eye and beg it to cooperate. Deal with what I've been dealt.
.....Use those bananas

This is recipe #1 of the great banana binge of 2014.

OAT BOY! : Breakfast Bars

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup un sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/4 chopped dates
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup brown rice syrup (you could use brown sugar)
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup greek yoghurt
  • 1/8 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 very ripe medium bananas, mashed (about 3/4 cup)

  1. 1
    Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 8-inch square baking pan. **Use something larger for thinner crispier bars!
  2. 2
    In a large bowl, stir together oats, coconut, nuts, apricots/dates, and salt.
  3. 3
    In a medium bowl, mix together mashed bananas, syrups, and melted oil until combined.
  4. 4
    Add banana mixture to oats and stir until evenly incorporated. Spread mixture into prepared baking dish.
  5. 5
    Bake until bars are golden brown, about 25 minutes. Let cool, then cut into squares.
  6. NOTES: I personally think these are divine, however too thick. I will try again and use a wider pan to make them more....crunchy.I also think these could be just as good with less sweet stuff.

EASY PEASY: 5 ingredient Oatmeal Cookies (CChip or Thumbprint!)

These two cookies were SUPER easy to make and delicious.  Less ingredients makes me happy.

A. Everyone I've ever met loves a chocolate chip cookie.
B. Who doesn't love a nice glowing jam center in the middle of a thumbprint?

THE MEAT EATER and both kids preferred the thumbprints over the chocolate chip.

I guess sometime you just need a break from the expected, right?

 EAST PEASY: PB&J Oatmeal Banana Cookies (or Chocolate Chip!)

base cookie:
4 medium ripe bananas, mashed
2 cup of uncooked quick oats*
4 tbsp chunk peanut butter (I like the texture)
2 tbsp almond butter
1/2 cup Brown Rice Syrup

Add ins:
4 teaspoons reduced sugar fruit jelly or preserves (i used Polaner)
1/2 cup chocolate chips

General Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F.  Spray a non-stick cookie sheet with cooking spray ( i always use coconut oil) or use parchment paper.

Mash bananas either by hand or in a mixer. I used a mixer because i have bad wrists...
Add your butters and syrup and combine. Mix in Oats and make sure everything is evenly combined.

For Thumbprints:
drop a tbsp sized clump of the mixture onto pan . After you've gone through all the dough, go back and shape into flattish circles AND use a wet finger to make a small well in the center. Drop 1/8 tsp of fruit into each. Bake as directed.

For Chocolate Chips Cookies:
Add chocolate chips into mixture. Drop 1 tbsp dollops onto pan and flatten a bit with a slightly wet finger or fork. Bake as directed.

Note: Next time I might cook them longer since I like things more crisp, but these were just chewy and lovely.

Monday, April 14, 2014

FISH TALE: Miso/Honey Glazed Salmon & Asparagus in Almond Sauce

Ya know pictures just don't look as nice when taken at night.

Whatever. This was a lovely and SUPER easy dinner we had after a very long and fruitful day of taxes, wrestling a HUGE ugly bush into submission, raking and generally making plans we probably won't have time to implement. 


The other thing to say is that i really don't LOVE Salmon. This glaze seemed like it might be tasty enough to turn over my leaf. 

It WAS delicious, But i still don't think I'm gonna run out and buy some salmon for myself. THE MEAT EATER was thrilled with this whole meal. The fact that I ate the whole damn filet will tell you how good this was. But i still don't think I'm gonna run out and buy salmon for just me.

The Almond sauce for the Asparagus you can make in your sleep, I assure you. It's sort of a take on a peanut sauce only more delicate. I ADORE peanut this is a huge win!

I paired the asparagus & salmon with TRADER JOE'S Kimchi Rice, which was perfect. I have found all the frozen rice blends from TJ's to be FANTASTIC. This one was spicy, but no exception.

Asparagus with Almond Sauce
1 bunch Asparagus, trimmed
2 Tbsp White miso
2 Tbsp Almond Butter
1/4 cup boiling water
1 Tbsp Toasted sesame seeds if you want fancy-ness.

Mix the miso and butter together, boil some water...throw that in. Steam your asparagus and throw the sauce over it. Add sesame seeds if you like.  seriously thats it.
Serving size: We couldn't stop eating it, but it would serve four normal people.

Broiled Salmon with a Miso Honey Glaze

4 salmon fillet (or less if they are thick)
2 Tbsp miso paste
2 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp mirin

  • lime wedges to taste would be good, But i didnt have any and it was great anyway.
Serving Size: 4
  1. Move the oven rack to the 2nd highest shelf. 
  2. Mix all the dressing ingredients together with a small whisk.
  3. Line a baking tray with foil and coat with smidge of oil. Lay down the fish (skin side down IF they have skin).
  4. Spread about half of the miso-honey glaze over the fish and let it sit for 10 minutes. 
  5. Generally broil The fish until its pink on the inside with a gorgeous brown outer layer. I'd say...For a about 10 minutes if they are thick. Kepp an eye on it, since it is BROILING. It should have a lovely dark caramel color on the outside. I turned my thinner filets after abt 5 minutes. **** Baste the fish once or twice during the cooking time with the remainder of the dressing.
  6. Serve immediately with a lime wedge squeeze

FAMILY TALLY: DELICIOUS for 2, I have my doubts about the kids eating any of it, but what are you gonna do? If your kids like Salmon, i think this is a no brainer.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

HALLELUJAH: Homemade Crackers with Hemp & Flax

Oh Gee Whiz
 i had a bee in my bonnet about crackers. 

I love them, but almost NEVER buy store bought because they are expensive and taste really processed to me. Plus I really can't stop eating them when they are around.

I ran across this recipe when I was trolling for all things HEMP SEED related. I can't tell you how worth it is to go buy a bag of Hulled hemp seeds and a box of Quinoa flakes at the health food store. I can't stop cooking with them and they jack up MANY recipes with a huge list of benefits...including added protein.

That being said, i didn't have high hopes. They just seemed way too easy. Except for the rolling. I'm not fond of the rolling all bets were off.

It's been a busy couple of weeks, and I haven't cooked as much. But this morning when it was cloudy and my bad arm was going to keep me out of the garden for the most part (SAD FACE), I decided it was recipe day.

This is the first thing I tried, and boy 'm I glad!

The PS is these also happen to be PALEO as well as GF.. Not lowfat by any stretch of the imagination...But they are made with the wondrous coconut oil, which is VERY VERY good for you.

And yes, some of them were shaped like small elf boots. 
What can I say?

OMG: Homemade Crackers with Hemp & Flax

  • 2 egg white
  • 2 tbs coconut flour
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup ground flax meal  (Easy to make from flax seeds ground finely in a mill)
  • 4 Tablespoons shelled hemp seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, or possibly a bit less.
  • 4 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1/8 each Garlic & Onion powder
  • 2 pinches rosemary, i ground it up...
  1. Preheat oven to 300° F.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Pour coconut oil and the egg white into the dry ingredients and mix well, add a bit more flour if it seems to crumbly...but not much! When you get this mixture together it really looks as if there is NO WAY they will stick together....but they do.
  3. IMPORTANT: These are extremely easy to roll BUT, They are also fragile. Its tempting to roll them out extremely thinly, which adds up to a million rounds of re-rolling. Focus on making them dense as opposed to super thin.  I learned that the ones which had the most DOWNWARD pressure with the pin, were the easiest to cut out. Use a cookie or pizza cutter to cut and Don't go nuts.
  4. Roll the crackers out thinly between two sheets of parchment paper.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes and them eye them until they until they are getting brown all over..
  6. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.
  7. Makes about 200 small elf sized crackers :)
FAMILY TALLY: Only 2 of us were home, but we thought them delightful!