Friday, November 19, 2010

Chewy Ginger Cookies

I first made these cookies after I saw them on my friends blog... and they were incredible!  They were chewy, spicy, beautiful and festive!  I couldn't wait to make them this year, but I had an obstacle before me.  Our new dietary restrictions (which I will share when I have more time) requires that I adapt the recipe and I was nervous as to how they would turn out.  Well, I shared them with a group of ladies last night and they were a hit!  So without further adieu...

3/4 cup softened vegan butter (or regular)
1 cup sucanat (sugar)
1 egg
1/4 cup good unsulphured molasses
21/2 cups spelt flour 
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2+ cup organic (evaporated cane juice) sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 325.

Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add in the egg and molasses and mix until combined.

Sift together dry ingredients and slowly add into the butter mixture.  Mix until combined.

Scoop out a rounded teaspoons of dough and roll into balls.  Then gently roll the balls into the sugar and place on a cookie sheet.

Bake for 8-12 minutes (depending on your oven) just until the edges are firm.  Take caution to not over bake!!!  Let the cookies rest on the cookie sheet for a few minutes to set up, then finish cooling on a wire rack.

yields 2-3 dozen perfectly chewy cookies!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Chili recipe #317

I call this chili recipe #317 because I never make chili the same way twice.  Chili, for me, is really more about using what ingredients I have on hand that day.  Oh, and, this can be made in a crock pot as well!

olive oil
I yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 box of POMI diced tomatoes *** (major disclaimer below)***
1 Tbsp, or more, of cumin
2 tsp coriander
dash ( or more if you can handle spice) of chipotle chili powder
1 can of black beans
1 can of kidney beans
1 can of garbanzo beans
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 large, or 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
veggie stock, just in case it gets too thick and needs to be thinned out
cilantro for garnish

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Drizzle some olive oil over small cubes of sweet potatoes and roast until they are tender, about 10 minutes.  Remove and set aside.

In a large dutch oven or stock pot, heat oil over medium heat.  Add in onion and garlic and saute until translucent.  Add in tomatoes, and spices and stir together real well.  Next, pour in all the beans, bell peppers and sweet potatoes and simmer until it thickens.  You could be ready to eat this chili in a matter of 30 minutes, or keep it simmer on the stove until you are ready to eat.  Just check back often and add stock if it is thickening up too much.  Just be careful not to stir vigorously, too frequently... you don;t want mushy beans now, do you?

***ok, here is my disclaimer! I cannot recommend using canned tomatoes because of the amount of BPA that leaches from the lining into the food.  Please google this and research for yourself... I am not some crazy lady, just doing the best I can to keep my family healthy and limit our exposure to harmful toxins.  I am not going to go into all the finding here, but I will leave you with some links.  I would love to hear your thoughts and findings on this subject!***

Consumer Reports: BPA in canned foods

BPA free tomatoes

Lettuce Wraps

These lettuce wraps are so delicious, simple and easy to adapt to your preferences.  The possibilities of what you could add are endless.  Next time, I will try sauteed tofu and mushrooms.  You could slice up some raw bell pepper or bean sprouts.  For meat eaters you could add some shredded chicken or shrimp.   Leftovers make a great salad the next day, so don't worry if you made too much!

serves 6-8, or 4 with leftovers

Chili Peanut Noodles:
5-6 oz of dried bean thread noodles ( found in the asian aisle)
1/2 cup unsalted creamy peanut butter ( i used 1/2 pb, 1/2 almond butter)
5 Tbsp agave, honey or brown rice syrup
3 Tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
2-3 Tbsp soy sauce
4 tsp sweet chili sauce
4 + large garlic cloves
dash of red chili pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 cup warm water

Lettuce Wraps:
1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup dehydrated coconut flakes (optional)
1/2 cup toasted peanuts, chopped
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 cup shredded carrots
hoisin sauce
1-2 heads of butter leaf lettuce, washed and gently dried
3 limes, quartered

For the noodles, fill a medium pot with water and get it hot.  Add the noodles and soak until tender, about 15 minutes.  Then, bring the water to a boil and boil for 1 minute.  Drain and set aside.

Using a food processor or a really good blender, combine nut butter, agave/honey, lime juice, soy sauce, chili sauce, garlic and 1/2 cup warm water and chili flakes.  Pulse until fully incorporated.  Make sure to taste the sauce and see if it needs anything else.  The portions above are just a suggestion.  I ended up adding some extra lime juice and soy sauce, but its all up to you!  Pour 1/2 the mixture over the noodles and set aside.

For the lettuce wraps, put all the ingredients in the own small prep bowls.  To assemble take a lettuce leaf and spread a dollop of hoisin sauce on, then add the noodles.  Then top with onion, carrots, cilantro, peanuts, coconut and chili peanut sauce.

*Remember, be creative!  This recipe is merely are starting point.  I would love to hear from you the ways you have adapted this (or any of my recipes for that matter) recipe to your taste buds!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Breakfast Tacos

This recipe is inspired by my mom.  She is also on the journey to eating better and feeling better.  She told me that in an effort to eat something other than oatmeal for breakfast, she dreamed up this beauty.  I took some liberty to embellish it a tad.  I hope you enjoy and have a healthy, fulfilling start to your day!

1 "good" corn tortilla ( I love the Mi Abuela Bonita ones from Whole Foods)
1 "good" egg ( and by good, I mean, organic, free range, cage free...the whole nine yards)
1/4 cup black beans, heated up
a sprinkle of cumin
a drizzle of whatever salsa you have handy ( I used a salsa verde)
a couple hunks of avocado
a couple leaves of cilantro (optional)

So, in a cast iron skillet, heat your tortilla on both sides and set aside.  Add a little olive oil to the pan and fry your egg.  I prefer my yoke runny, which makes for an extra delicious taco, when the yoke breaks and becomes part of the sauce. mm mmm.  Mix together warm beans and cumin and place on top of the tortilla.  Put the egg on top of the beans and drizzle with salsa.  Top it all off with some sliced avocado.  if you are really crazy and work really hard at presentation, knock yourself out with a garnish of cilantro.  But for me, the presentation didn't matter, because it was consumed in about 5 seconds!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Healthy Caramel Corn

8 cups of popped popcorn (make sure to remove un-popped kernels)

1/2 cup butter, coconut oil, vegan butter, canola oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 sucanat, evaporated cane juice, or brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 300.

Heat butter, syrup, sugar and vanilla over low heat in a large dutch oven or stock pot.  Add popcorn into melted mixture and stir until all pieces are covered.  

Spread popcorn onto GREASED cookie sheet (preferably one with a rim) and bake at 300 for 10 minutes.  Keep an eye on it, as it can burn quickly.

Remove and let cool for another 10 minutes.

Devour it!!!  

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Spicy Lentil Dahl

serves 4

This is hearty, flavorful and delicious Indian soup.  It does have a spicy kick, so if you prefer a more tame flavor simply omit the cayenne pepper.

1 Tbsp sesame oil (or olive oil)
1 small onion, finely chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
4-5 cups veggie stock or water
1 cup red lentils
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp tumeric
1/4 tsp cinnamon 
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 tsp curry powder (optional)
2 Tbsp tomato paste

In a dutch oven or medium sized stock pot, heat oil over medium heat.  Add in onions, garlic and ginger and saute for 5 minutes.  Once the veggies are translucent, add in lentils, stock (or water) and spices.  Bring to a boil and reduce down to a simmer.  Cover and simmer for at least 20 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the lentil are very tender.  Stir in tomato paste until well combined.  I actually did not have any tomato paste on hand, so I left it out and it was still delicious.  Check for seasoning and add more s/p if needed.

Braised Cabbage

serves 4

We used this to top our veggie burgers, or it would be delicious as a side dish

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 c finely chopped onion
3 large garlic cloves , minced
4-5 c thinly sliced green cabbage
2 c roughly chopped kale leaves (optional)
1/2 c water
splash of white wine
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Saute onions in oil until they have softened. Add the garlic, cabbage, kale, (1/2 c) water, salt and pepper and cook covered for 10 minutes, checking periodically to make sure that it doesn't scorch. Remove lid and cook additional 20 minutes over medium heat stirring every 5 minutes or so.  Splash in wine towards the end, and cook until absorbed.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Butternut Squash Risotto (with fried sage and toasted walnuts)

serves 4-6 as a main coarse, or 8-10 as a side dish

1 medium butternut squash
small bunch of sage (6 leaves finely chopped, 20 roughly chopped)
8 cups veggie stock
1 onion, diced
3-4 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups uncooked Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (optional)

1) Preheat oven to 425.  Peel the squash and cut it into small cubes, about 1/4 inch.  Place squash on a roasting pan and drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt.  Roast for about 5-10 minutes, or until it turns golden and becomes tender.  Do not overcrowd the pan or else the squash will steam and become mushy.

2)  Put stock in a pot and bring to a simmer.  Once simmering, keep it warm on the stove.

3) Take 6-8 sage leaves and finely chop them.

4)  In a large, dutch oven or heavy sauce pan, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat.  Add in chopped sage and cook for 1 minute.  Add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Turn the heat to low, add in rice and season with salt.  Cook for 3 minutes or until rice starts to become translucent as well.  Turn the heat back up to medium and add in the wine.  Once the wine has been absorbed, add enough warm stock to cover the rice.  Stir well and reduce the heat back down to medium-low.

5) Gently simmer the rice, stirring frequently, until stock is absorbed.  Add another ladle full of stock (about 1/2 cup) and stir occasionally until new stock is absorbed.  Repeat this process until all the stock has been absorbed and the rice is tender.  This usually takes about 20-30 minutes.

6)  While the rice is cooking, heat about 1 Tbsp olive oil in a small sauce pan and saute about 15-20 roughly chopped sage leaves until crispy.   This takes about a minute.  Remove them to a paper towel.  In the same pan,  toast walnuts for about 2-3 minutes.

7)  When rice is tender, stir in squash and 1 more Tbsp olive oil.  If you are using parmesan cheese, go ahead and stir it in at this point.  Cook until cheese is melted or until squash is heated through.  Season with s/p to taste and garnish with fried sage leaves and toasted walnuts. Serve IMMEDIATELY!