Monday, January 31, 2011

Tiffany's Kick-Ass Chicken and Rice Soup with Brandy and Saffron

Ah, the snow is back!  Another night for a warm bowl of soup, right?  This one is a keeper!  It's not only warm, but definitely hardy, I hope your able to enjoy this.  It's a mix of chicken, rice, vegetables and a little kick of brandy and saffron, for good measure!  Enjoy
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
1 large sweet onion, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 small cloves garlic, sliced
6 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
4 celery stalks, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 carton portabella mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup edamame, shelled (frozen works fine)
3/4 cup corn (frozen works fine)
1 tablespoon Italian parsley, cut fine (also a few full leaves for serving)
1 cup Basmati rice
6 cups good quality chicken broth
1/2 cup brandy
1 teaspoon saffron, plus a dusting for serving
Salt and Pepper to taste

Method

1) In a pan large enough to hold all the ingredients, add olive oil.  Place the heat to medium high and add onions, carrots, celery and garlic.  Saute for 5 minutes and add the chicken, continue to saute until chicken is cooked. 
2) Next, stir in the mushrooms, edamame, and corn.  Continue to saute for 3 to 6 minutes.  Add the brandy and broth and bring to a boil.  Once at a boil add the rice and cook until rice is finished about 15 minutes. 
3) Lastly, add parsley, saffron and salt and pepper.  You can add an extra splash of brandy and saffron for serving.







Organizational Monday...The last one of January!

Alright this is it!  The very last Monday of the month of January!  I knew I needed to step up my game a bit to keep your attention!  So on Friday, I started taking apart my cabinetry in the master bathroom!  What a good idea at the time.  I thought I would take it apart, paint it, buy new hardware and WALLAH, it would be amazing!  Well, it started out that way, but after taking everything apart and sanding all the doors I got a surprising little phone call from my sons school.  Turns out he broke his arm snowboarding on a school 'team building' trip...REALLY? So...off I went to spend the rest of the day at the hospital, WHAT FUN!  You all will be happy to know I still managed to finish the project!  When a kid doesn't sleep you can always...PAINT!  So here are some helpful little hints if you're planning on painting woodwork in the near future!

Step 1:  Take off all doors and hardware.

Step 2: Clean any dirt or grime off the cabinets.  Then, lightly sand. I would use a medium to fine grade
           sandpaper.

Step 3: Fill all holes or cracks with wood putty and then re-sand lightly.  Make sure there no visible cracks.

Step 4: Wipe any residue off with a cleaner of your choice, I used "KRUD KUTTER", purchased at Home
            Depot.

Step 5:  Tape off all area's you don't want paint to adhere to.

Step 6: Apply primer coat of your choice.  I would recommend an oil based product in high traffic areas.
            I used KILZ, interior oil-base primer. HINT: Use a brush you can just throw away, at Target they
            have a package of brushes 5 for $5.00.  Perfect for the job!
Step 7: Lightly sand if needed, to get out brush marks and wipe off again with clean cloth!  Then, apply your first coat of paint.  I used BEHR premium plus ultra (paint and primer in one). You can use a conditioning additive like Penetrol which allows you to lengthen the time you have to work with your paint.  But, I suggest picking yourself up a coffee and working quickly instead.  One extra HINT: Use a combination of a throw away brush and a small foam roller (Cost: $1.97, found at Home Depot).  This also helps you work faster and you won't have brush strokes to sand.
DO YOU SEE A THEME HERE??? TOO FUNNY!

Step 8: Apply a second coat when the first is dry, remember to sand out any drips or brush strokes if you have them.  Let dry and attach the hardware of your choice.  REMEMBER: This is your Jewelry for your cabinets so choose wisely, you're going to have to look at this everyday.
Second coat: Completed at 2 a.m.

FINISHED PROJECT:

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Veal Shephard's Pie

This weekend my husband was home for a visit and I love making up recipes, so this was my chance to use skills I've been lacking sense I've gone vegan!  I should also mention the fact that the temperature in Minnesota was -9 that morning, so the thought of eating a HOT homecooked meal appealed to me even though I wasn't able to eat it.  This meal contains veal rather than the usual lamb and potato variety of Shephard's pie.  One more little tidbit of information: If you buy your veal (or any meats/seafood) at Byerly's in Chanhassen Minnesota visit Doug (from the butcher shop) he can help you with any of your needs.  He helped me make this meal cheaper than it would have been if I bought the meat out of the front case.  I saved over $4.00 and he cut everything up for me!  Tell him Tiffany from As Easy As Salt and Pepper sent you...he'll love that!

 FOR FILLING:
3 tablespoon's olive oil
2 medium purple onions, cut into chucks
1 lb. veal, diced (I used veal shoulder blade steak and used the bones for the gravy)
5 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 turnips, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 cup celery, sliced
1 container sliced button mushrooms
1 clove garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon dried Tarragon leaves
1/2 cup white wine, (I buy little 4 packs of chardonnay for cooking wine I find it tastes better)
GRAVY:
1 cup beef broth
All drippings from the filling made in the crockpot
Place bones (if you have them) in the beef broth
1 tablespoon flour
Salt and Pepper to taste

FOR MASHED POTATO TOPPING:
2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/4 cup skim milk
3 tablespoons butter
Salt and Pepper to taste

Method:

TO MAKE THE FILLING:

1) Add Olive oil to a saute pan.  Salt and Pepper the veal.  Sprinkle a little flour over as well and saute on medium high heat, until slightly browned but NOT cooked all the way through.  Place in crock pot.
2) Saute onions, carrots, turnips, celery, mushrooms in olive oil until lightly sauteed about 8 minutes.  Place in crock pot and add the garlic and tarragon.
3) Deglaze the pan with wine, place over meat and vegetable for 4 hours, on low, in the crock pot.


WHEN FILLING IS ALMOST FINISHED
 BEGIN MAKING POTATOES:

1)  Boil the potatoes, uncovered until very tender, 20 to 25 minutes.  Drain in a colander.
2)  Add milk and butter to the potatoes and mash.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

GRAVY:

1) Take any liquid from the crock pot and place in a pan and mix in beef broth (Add bones if you have them and boil for 8-10 minutes.  Remove them before adding the flour mixture).  In a container you can shake, mix 2 tablespoons cold water with the flour.  Pout into the mixed liquid and stir until it thickens.  Add Salt and Pepper to your liking.

ASSEMBLE THE PIE AND BROIL TOPPING:

1) Preheat broiler.  Using a oven proof dish, that you're able to serve in, place items from crock pot.
2) Spoon in gravy.
3) Spoon potatoes over the top evenly with a spatula, making a pattern if you desire.
4) Lastly, broil until top is golden, about 3-5 minutes.  Enjoy!



Monday, January 24, 2011

Organizational Monday

It's here again...MONDAY!  Wow, does it come around quickly!  Today the boys had school off... again!  I decided I needed to teach them how to start fixing things they break.  I mean really, don't you think boys these days need to learn this stuff?  The boys got this cute cabinet that holds a basketball hoop and a few balls.  Of course, they broke the hinges off of both sides.  So...with this being said, we all jumped in the car for a ride to Home Depot!
This is what I did...with boy help of course!
1) First, I took all the broken hinges off!
2) Next, take cabinet doors off and place on a sturdy surface.
3) Then fill all the existing holes with a piece of a dowel rod (I cut one to fit in the holes, I was not planning on using any longer).
4)  Then, "Titebond II" (which is wood glue) to secure the dowel rod in place and lightly sand.
NOTE: This step is only needed if the new hinges you bought don't fit perfectly.



















5)  Lastly, reattach the new hinges and rehang the doors! Woo...another project finished! 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Fingerling Potato Salad with Apples

My husband was home this weekend so I made things I was trying to stay away from, but knew he would enjoy!  This version of the old stand by potato salad was really simple to make because there was no need to peel the potatoes!  The fingerling potatoes can be purchased at any store these days.  They are a fun alternative to the small basic red or yellow potatoes.  Hope you're able to find time to put this together! 

4 cups fingerling potatoes
1 large red apple, peeled and diced
3 celery stalks, sliced
1/2 small sweet onion, diced small
2 tablespoons Italian parsley, finely chopped

Dressing:

1/2 cup alterative mayo or real mayonaise if your diet allows
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 teaspoon of both salt and pepper (prefer to use freshly ground)

Method

1) Boil potatoes and cut in half.
2) Place potatoes, onion, apples, celery and parsley together in a bowl, you would like to serve in.
3) Mix the dressing ingredients together in a seperate bowl.
4) After you have mixed the dressing together, pour over the potato mixture and mix together well.
5) Place finished product in the refrigerator for an hour, or longer, then serve.

****NOTE****This can be made a day in advance if you would like!


Saturday, January 22, 2011

My Version of the "Green Drink"

It seems like "Green Drinks" are everywhere these days!  People are claiming they can even heal cancer!  Well, I'm not so sure about that, but I do agree we all need more greens in our diet! A green drink is a easy way to get greens in our diet without eating salads for every meal.  This week I tried making the boys and I a special smoothie every morning.  Our favorite was this little concoction!  It's green without the 'green' taste!  It tastes more like pineapple juice but a little less tart!

3/4 cup pineapple, diced
2 cups spinach, loosely packed
1/4 green pear, diced
1 tablespoon flax seed oil
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1 cup ice cubes

Method

1)  Blend all together and drink immediately!


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Kale & Sweet Potato Soup

We all want to boost are immune system, so why not try a bowl of soup that can help us do just that.  This was really easy to make and tasty too!  I really hope you try this one, I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
INGREDIENTS:

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
4 cups vegetable broth
1 bunch dinosaur kale, chopped
2 tablespoons Italian parsley
Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
Salt & Pepper to taste

METHOD:

1)  Saute onions and garlic in olive oil over medium-high heat.  Use a pot that can contain all the above ingredients, 5 minutes.
2)  Next, add sweet potatoes and vegetable broth and boil in the pot until the sweet potatoes are tender.  Add the kale to the soup just long enough to get bright green, 2 minutes.
3)  Take the soup off the stove, add the parsley, and puree in a blender or Cuisinart until smooth.
4)  Serve with toasted sesame seeds and season with salt and pepper to your liking.
This was really good and very easy!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Organizational Monday...again and again!

It is amazing how quickly Monday rolls around.  With all the kids off of school it makes doing any project a bit overwhelming!  Today I did little "fix-it" type things that have been driving me crazy.  First, was the wands that are attached to blinds in a couple of the bedrooms.  It seems the wand you use to open and close the blinds always break.  I knew I could fix this if I would just take the time to take it apart.  So today was wand fix-it day, kinda sounds funny, but I did it!
Here is briefly what I did:
1)  First take the plastic top off the wand.  Normally, this just screws off!
Took plastic cap off!
2)  Next, take off all the broken wire pieces, taking note of where they seemed to be attached, this way it's easier to reattach new heavier gage wire in its place.
3)  Then, locate a heavier gage wire that still is pliable.  Bend it with pliers to fit in the previous holes you removed the old wire out of.
This is the wire I chose for the job!

In this photo I'm trying to show you the difference in the thickness of the wire.
4)  After you bend and cut the the new wire to fit, screw on the plastic cover and reattach to the blinds! 
Oh Ya...we fixed another thing!  Oh... one more thing, this cost the big...ZERO!  Yep, you're reading this right, I used stuff from the little workshop and didn't buy a thing!  Maybe, a cool pair of jeans should be my reward...just joking...wink, wink!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Vegan Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd's pie was originally created to use up leftovers from a dinner of lamb and potatoes.  I haven't had lamb lately, but did have some vegetables.  I actually put some beef roast in the boys version of this meal because I think they are missing meat in there diet.  I however, kept true to my new way of living...which is NOT easy living with a bunch of boys.  This did turn out really good and was easy to make different versions for different nutritional needs.  Have fun with it!
FOR FILLING:
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, diced
5 carrots, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 turnips, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 celery stalks, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
3 leeks (white and pale green parts only), cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
1 container sliced portobello mushrooms
1 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 teaspoons chopped parsley
1/4 cup red wine (white wine would work too)

GRAVY:
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoons corn starch
Salt and pepper to taste

FOR MASHED POTATO TOPPING:
1 1/2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/4 cup oat milk
3 tablespoons earth balance vegan butter
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste

Method

TO MAKE THE FILLING:

1) Saute onions, carrots, turnips, celery, leeks, and mushrooms in olive oil until lightly sauteed about 8 minutes.  Place in crock pot and add the parsley and garlic.  Next, deglaze the pan with wine and place in crock pot and place on low for 4 hours.

WHEN FILLING IS TENDER BEGIN
TO MAKE THE POTATOES:

1)  Boil the potatoes, uncovered until very tender, 20 to 25 minutes.  Drain in a colander.
2)  Add oat milk, earth balance butter, and garlic to the drained potatoes and blend.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

GRAVY:

1) Warm vegetable broth and add corn starch until it thickens add any liquid left from the crock pot and stir to combine.


ASSEMBLE THE PIE AND BROIL TOPPING:

1)  Preheat broiler.  Using an oven proof dish, that you can serve in, place vegetables. 
2)  Spoon in gravy.
3)  Next, spoon potatoes over the vegetables and spread evenly with a spatula, making a pattern if you would like.
4)  Lastly, broil until top is golden, about 3 minutes.  Enjoy!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Romaine and Kale with Clementine Olive Oil Dressing

The boys and I went skijoring today (picture below).  With all the new snow we had yesterday it was wonderful skiing today.  I should say Lilly (our dog) and one boy went skijoring!  My other son and I worked for our food, and didn't have the benefit of a 80lb. golden retriever pulling us on cross country skis.  It was great fun and when we got home it was time to eat.  The boys wanted soup, but I was in the mood for a salad.  I put this little salad together and was pleasantly surprised with the outcome.  Very easy to do and it would be a great starter salad for a dinner party!  Enjoy!


1 head Romaine lettuce, torn into bite size pieces
1 bunch of Kale, torn into bite size pieces
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds, no shell
1/4 cup walnut pieces, lightly toasted
4 dried figs, sliced thin
3 Clementines, Zest of one, Juice of one, and peel and cut one to use on salad
Olive Oil (I used the "oil mister" I talked about)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Method:

1) Place lettuce and kale on plates (should be enough for 2). 
2) Top with sunflower seeds, walnuts, figs and clementines.  Zest one clementine over each salad. 
3) Next, spray olive oil over both salads and squeeze clementine juice over as well.  Salt and Pepper to taste and serve.



Thursday, January 13, 2011

Vegetable Bouquet

Vegetable trays get so boring so...I decided to make a vegetable bouquet.  This is a much smaller version of what I usually do, but it still came out really cute.  We are having a office party and I thought it would be fun to bring something a little different. 


This took about 1 1/2 hours.  Each Jicama Daisy took at least 10 minutes.  

Method:

1 Jicama,  peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick (cut daisy free hand)
1 small bag carrots
1 small bunch broccoli
1 small bunch cauliflower
1 bunch kale
1 bunch green onions
1 pack of wooden skewers (purchase at any food store)
1 foam cube cut to fit into your container snugly

This took about 1 1/2 hours.  Each jicama daisy took at least 10 minutes.  Place all vegetables on a skewer and then into the foam container.  Continue until the vegetable bouquet is to your liking.  Serve with a dip.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Raspberry Banana and Coconut Smoothie

The other day I made a sweet potato and yam crock pot meal.  Within the ingredients of that recipe I had used coconut milk.  I rarely buy speciality items unless I can use the leftovers for yet another recipe.  So... tonight I made the kids the ultimate healthy smoothie using, you guessed it,  the leftover coconut milk.
1 1/2 cups frozen raspberries
1/2 can coconut milk
1 banana, peeled
1 tablespoon flax oil
1 tablespoon ground flax seed
1/4 cup purified water

Method:

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.  I placed a little whip cream and a raspberry on each glass...just for a little "eye candy" for the kids.  I'm sure they would never guess how healthy these are:)

Monday, January 10, 2011

My Top Three Items 'I' think you should try for 2011!

I love new things!  When it comes to gadgets, I especially like kitchen ones (Big Surprise)!  Only if they truly work of course, but you have to try them to see if they work for you.  This year my favorite gadget is the "Oil Mister'!  With this little gadget you can pour in the oil you most use and spray it out like you would a bottle of Pam.  This of course is healthier than the Pam spray and you can refill it with whatever oil you wish.  I used olive oil, but canola oil, walnut oil, and flax oil would all be other great alternatives. 
The other two items on my list are:
1) Metromint Water: It has been a favorite for quite sometime and I spurge on this when I feel like I deserve it (with zero calories I can get away with it)! 
2) Natural Calm Magnesium Supplement:  I like the lemon flavored one.  As far as supplements go this one is drinkable without holding your nose...lol!  It won't taste as good as...cheesecake of course, but if it helps with calcium intake and stress it's worth the try.  I found this helped with my "sweet tooth" cravings as well!  DON'T take my word of course...ask your doctor, if a magnesium supplement might work for you?

Organizational Monday...again!

Today was clean out all cabinets and highly used drawers!  This consisted of mostly kitchen stuff for me.  Not sure what cabinets/drawers would be messy for you, but GET CLEANING IT out!  You can send me photo's of your clean spaces if you would like!  This way you are all 'somewhat' held accountable for getting SOMETHING done!  Hope your Monday is...CLEAN:)

BELOW: MESSY PHOTO
For me messy cabinets needed some cleaning...YIKES!
AFTER PHOTOS
I took all batteries and glue gun stuff and put it into a box that could be labeled!
Labeled Box!
I placed all photos in photo boxes in the back of the cabinet and then placed 'most used' things in the front for easy access!
MORE CLEANED DRAWERS BELOW:
Totally cleaned out the utensil drawer...Now it's so clean!


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Erica's Raspberry Cheesecake

I know not all of you are Vegan!  Before my little cholesterol deal, I wasn't either.  A friend of mine, who is now off to college, makes a killer cheesecake.  I asked her if she might want to post the recipe when she was home on Christmas break and to my surprise, she agreed, to give all of you her "secret" recipe.  This cheesecake is yummy and would make a wonderful special dessert for birthdays or any other special occasion.  Enjoy and Thank You, Erica!

Raspberry Cheesecake
• 12-14 Servings
• Prep: 25 min. Bake: 55 min. + chilling

INGREDIENTS:

• 1-1/2 cups crushed vanilla wafers (about 45 wafers)
• 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
• 1/4 cup HERSHEY®’S Cocoa
• 1/3 cup butter, melted

FILLING:

• 3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 1/3 cup sour cream
• 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 3 eggs, lightly beaten
• 1 ½ cup (6 ounces) HERSHEY’®S Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, melted
• 1 ½ cup HERSHEY®’S Premier White Chips

TOPPING:

• 1 tablespoon each semisweet chocolate and vanilla or white chips
• 1-1/2 teaspoons shortening
• 2 cups fresh raspberries

DIRECTIONS:

• In a large bowl, combine the wafer crumbs, confectioners' sugar, cocoa and butter. Press onto the bottom and 1-1/2 in. up the sides of a greased 9-in. springform pan. Bake at 350° for 7-9 minutes or until set. Cool on a wire rack.

• In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add the sour cream, flour, vanilla and salt. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Remove 2 cups batter to a bowl; stir in white chocolate chips.

• Pour over crust. Add chocolate chips to the remaining batter; carefully spoon over white chocolate layer.

• Bake at 350° for 55-60 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen. Cool for 1 hour.

• For topping, divide shortening in half and put into separate microwavable safe bowls. Add one flavor into each bowl. Microwave on high for 25 seconds; stir. Heat in 10- to 20-second intervals, stirring until smooth. Place the raspberries in three rows around the perimeter of the cake. Drizzle toppings over cheesecake. Chill for at least 3 hours. Remove sides of pan. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 12-14 servings.

Yam and Sweet Potato Crock Pot Stew! Yep you guessed it...It's Vegan!

I had purchased yams and sweet potatoes on my weekly shopping day, really not knowing what I was going to make with them.  When Sunday rolled around, we had more kid sporting events and I knew it needed to be a crock pot meal.  But, what should I make?  This little ensemble of flavors are sure to get your taste buds watering!

1 large sweet onion, coarsely diced
4 large carrots, coarsely diced
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup white wine
2 yams, diced 1 inch chunks
1 sweet potato, diced 1 inch chunks
1/2 can coconut milk
1/4 cup mixed jumbo raisins
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup Tibetan Goji berries, optional
1/4 cup shelled peanuts, optional

Method

1) Saute the onions and carrots in peanut oil until softened, 8 minutes.  Add cinnamon and nutmeg and stir for a couple of minutes then pour the ingredients into a crock pot.  Bring the pan back to the stove and deglaze the pan with the wine.  Cook down to 1 tablespoon and pour over the onion and carrot crock pot mixture. 
2) Next, place the diced yams, sweet potato, coconut milk, raisins, curry powder, cayenne pepper and vegetable broth in the crock pot and stir to mix well.  Place the temprature on high and allow to cook for 4 hours.  (Do Not Over Cook)
3) 20 minutes prior to the stew being finished add the Goji berries and shelled peanuts, if using.  Serve!


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Hot Pot... Vegan Style

Not sure how many of you have never had Hot Pot?  But, when my husband and I lived in Toronto, Canada several years ago we were very lucky to be able to try this at an authentic restaurant.  It was really a neat experience.  I will spare you all the boring details, but I thought you would want to know what made me think of this!

1/2 large sweet onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 large carrots, cut in half and cut veggie tray style
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup Edamame, shelled
1 teaspoon dried cilantro
1 medium garlic clove, sliced
1 15oz. can of white beans
3 green onions, including tops, diced (you can use an extra one, if you have it, for decor like I did above)
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup Italian parsley stems, diced (*see note below, step 5)
3 tablespoons tamari
1 tablespoon Italian parsley leaves, diced
1 1/2 cups White Basmati rice, cooked according to package directions

Method

1)  Saute onions in olive oil in a pan that will be able to hold all the above ingredients.
2)  Add the carrots and continue to saute until carrots are slightly cooked, 4 minutes.
3)  Next, add the broth, Edamame, cilantro, garlic, beans, green onions, and red pepper flakes and cook on medium high until carrots start to soften.
4)  Meanwhile, in a separate pot begin cooking the rice until done.
5)  While the rice is cooking add the Italian parsley stems to the soup pot.  *All I mean by parsley stems is the part we usually through away.  This part of the parsley actually has MORE flavor than the leaves.  Dice the stems into 1/4 inch pieces and  place in the soup.
6)  Lastly, add the tamari, and parsley leaves.

To serve place the rice at the bottom of each bowl and ladle soup on top, use green onion or parsley to decorate if you wish!  Enjoy!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Three Fruit Smoothie

This morning my guys wanted a smoothie for breakfast!  As I was making them, I quickly found out I didn't have enough blueberries to make them both one.  I also didn't have enough kiwi's.  So... I had this idea to make a rainbow style smoothie for the both of them which would keep them from arguing about who gets the better smoothie.  It worked!
1 cup blueberries
1 tablespoon Flax oil (optional)
3 tablespoons vanilla yogurt
3 kiwi's, skins removed and diced
1 cup pineapple
1/4 cup milk
water

Method

1) Mix the blueberries, flax oil, milk and vanilla yogurt in a blender.  Use as the bottom layer (It's heavier).
2) Next, washout blender and add the kiwi's.  Blend kiwi's and use as the center layer.
3) For the third and last layer, add the pineapple to the blender and add about 2 tablespoons of water so the pineapple can blend properly.  Layer this on top and garnish with either blueberry, slice of kiwi, or a chuck of pineapple.  Enjoy!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

MOCHI

After long days at work I sometimes have little energy for cooking...Is anyone else with me on this???  Well, on these nights I have homemade soup which I previously froze and typically I make MOCHI!  I know what you're thinking, "What is that?"  Well, they are kind of like popovers but without the wheat and the wait time.  You can typically buy this at your local Co-Op or Whole Foods market in the dairy section.  One little hint...The Cinnamon Raisin one is the best!

I serve these with honey rather than butter!
The Directions are on the back of the package but I thought I would tell you in a 'Nut Shell' what it says:
1)  Heat oven to 450
2)  Cut Mochi into 1"X2" squares.
3)  Place on cookie sheet (I line with parchment paper first), and cook for 8-10 minutes!  Enjoy!
They kind of "pop up" sideways sometime, but they are good!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Lemon Broccoli Risotto...Yep It's Vegan

So far so good...I'm 2 for 2 on the Vegan thing!  I'm not missing the cheese yet!!!  I'm sure I will in a day or so, but let me be happy for at least today.  In this recipe I did let the kids put Parmesan in the risotto they ate, but I didn't put trace in mine and the taste was fantastic...Woo hoo!
1/2 large sweet onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup Arborio rice
4 cups Vegan vegetable bouillon
1/2 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups broccoli, lightly steamed
1 tablespoon Italian parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon rind, diced
2 tablespoons Earth Balance Butter...it's vegan!
 (If you have people eating this meal that are NOT Vegan, serve with a wedge of Parmesan)

Method

1) On medium high heat saute chopped onion in olive oil.  When onion becomes translucent add rice and continue to cook until rice becomes plump and opaque. 
2) Add white wine and allow to cook off, add 1/4 cup of vegan broth at a time and allow to cook down, stirring constantly.  Continue cooking, adding broth and stirring until rice is a little hard in the center when you test. 
3) Next, add the steamed broccoli and continue to cook, adding broth until rice has a creamy consistency and no longer is firm to the bite.
4) Now add parsley, Earth balance, and lemon rind mix well and serve at once.

Vegan Banana Bread

If you were reading the blog yesterday and you noticed I was going Vegan for 6 months to lower my cholesterol you most likely thought, "Yikes, these recipes are going to be gross!"   Well, I was pleasantly surprised today when I made myself a healthy version of the old stand by Grandma's banana bread.  It was moist with a wonderful texture I thought I wouldn't get out of a gluten-free all-purpose flour.  I altered this recipe myself, as usual, so if something seems unpleasant or undesirable to you feel free to change it back to an ingredient you might like better.  For example, instead of sugar I used agave nectar, and instead of butter I used canola oil.  I also switched out the milk and used oat milk.
The Acorn is not butter but rather Vegan Earth Balance Spread.
1 cup Bob's Red Mill gluten-free, all-purpose baking flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (can be purchased at a local Co-Op or Whole Foods store)
1/4 salt
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup oat milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup walnuts, broken into small pieces
Picture of some of the Ingredients used!

Method

1)  Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly spray small loaf pan and line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper.
2)  In a bowl mix the first 5 ingredients together (Flour, baking soda, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt.)

3)  In a separate bowl, mix the next 4 ingredients together (bananas, canola oil, oat milk and vanilla extract).

4)  Mix the dry and wet ingredients together and add the walnuts if you would like.
5)  Next, bake in oven for 45 minutes to an hour.  Bread is done when a toothpick placed in the center comes out clean.  Allow the bread to cool before turning out of the pan.  Enjoy!

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