Monday, February 28, 2011

Homestyle Orange Chicken

After picking my boys up from school today I informed them we needed to stop by the store for a few things.  I explained I was really in the "mood" for a garlic soup with an authentic crusty bread (Wheat Free) for dipping.  My oldest son responded, "MOM, I just want Chinese food tonight!"   Well, I guess I'll have to experiment with the garlic soup another night and make them something they are in the mood for.  So here it is...kid friendly orange chicken!

Marinade:
2 Tablespoons Dry Sherry
1 Tablespoon Corn Starch


Sauce:
1/3 cup orange juice
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon chile paste
1 teaspoon Sesame oil

Ingredients:
4 boneless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced
Oil of your choice for stir frying
1/4 cup dry sherry, for deglazing the pan


Method:

1) Make the marinade, and allow chicken to saute for 30 minutes.
2) Meanwhile, combine all ingredients for the sauce, mix well and set aside.
3) Add oil of your choice to a wok and when heated add the minced ginger and garlic, stir for 2-3 minutes.
4) Add the marinaded chicken and saute until browned on all sides, deglaze the pan with the 1/4 cup of dry sherry and once it disappears add the sauce and stir for a minute or so.  Serve over sticky rice and add a green vegetable on the side (Let's get these kids eating more greens:)  Enjoy!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

New Toy

   Yep, I finally did it!  I bought myself a 'little toy' I've been longing for, for approximately 8 years!  It's a Vitamix mixer.  Watch out world, the juicing will begin! Of course, I have been making juice in my little "Magic Bullet" for years.  But, now I can blend things I otherwise would never have tried!  Raw carrots would never have been so completely blended in a traditional blender, but with the Vitamix, not only do I get a great consistency, I also retain all the fiber in the fruits and vegetables I use.  So... this will help my cardiovascular health along with helping balance blood sugar levels.  
Here "He" is!

   While we all can buy ready-made juices and smoothies, nothing quite beats the taste of a blend made at home.  So, now I'll make my green juice along with all the other combinations I can come up with.  Here are a few of my new morning juices:
Makes 2 small glasses

1/2 teaspoon Stevia sweetener
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup water, boiling
1 small pink-lady apple peeled, other eating apple would work
10 blackberries
2 ice cubes
To decorate I used a cinnamon stick and a flower from a plant I'm wintering (Optional).

Method:

1) Put the stevia and cinnamon in the boiling water and mix until well dissolved.  Put into the blender.
2) Add the apples, blackberries and ice cubes.
3) Blend on high until well blended, pour into individual small glasses, decorate if you wish and enjoy at once.

Makes 2 4oz. glasses

4 organic carrots, cut up
2 small eating apples, skinned
1 teaspoon fresh ginger root, peeled
1/4 cup filtered water
2 ice cubes
Fresh mint to decorate (Optional)

Method:

1) Place all ingedients listed above in the blender and blend until well combined, enjoy!

Vegetable Tortilla Soup

Last night I was in need of a meal...pronto!  I had a lot of left over ingredients, none of which seemed to combine well together so... I used what I could and decided to make a vegetable soup, Mexican style.  My kids love Mexican food so why not let them have it?  I warmed up some tortilla chips on the side to give it that authentic flair and we sat down to an amazing meal, which was literally made from all the leftover vegetables from the past week! P.S. I only added the cheese to the boys soup.  I just had the vegetables:(
1/2 large purple onion, diced
2 tablespoons, olive oil
1 15oz can diced tomatoes, along with any leftover tomatoes you have, diced
1 cup frozen corn
1 15oz can black beans, drained
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped (Include the stems if it is leftover, do not waste it)
2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup salsa, (whatever you have in the refrigerator)
2 carrots, diced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/4 cup cheddar cheese, per serving (Optional, to top the soup)

Method

1) On the stove top, heat the olive oil and add the onion, garlic, and carrots.  Saute until onion is slightly limp, 7 to 8 minutes. 
2) Add the broth, salsa, cumin, jalapeno, corn, black beans, tomatoes (including any fresh leftovers you might have) and cook on the stove, with a lid on, 8-10 minutes.
3) Add the cilantro, and a grind of salt and pepper, continue to cook for 2-3 minutes.
4) Meanwhile, turn the oven on broil.  When ready, ladle soup in oven safe serving dishes, place 1/4 cup or more of cheese on top and promptly place into the oven, 2-3 minutes.  When cheese is melted and slightly browned on top serve with a dollop of sour cream.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Vegan Bolognese ?

  Can there really be such a thing?  Typically, a true Bolognese contains ground beef, sometimes pork or pancetta along with vegetables, wine and cream.  Well, I guess I can't have that...or can I? 
  I decided tonight to try a Vegan Bolognese using ingredients I had around the house (using up all the vegetables on past recipes).  The combination was marvelous and the cooking time was even more appealing.  Normally, with a bolognese sauce the cooking time is 3-4 hours.  This sauce only took 30 minutes in actual cooking time and another 15 minutes of prep time (i.e. cutting all the vegetables). 
  If you're trying to go vegan and trying to stay away from too much wheat, this recipe is for you!  I was so surprised how good this turned out, I just had to share with all of you!  Enjoy!

Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 sweet onion, diced small
3 large parsnips, diced small
5 large carrots, diced small
1/4 cup brandy
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup water
1 15oz can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Baking flour mixed with 2 tablespoons cold water in
    separate container.
2 tablespoons Italian parsley, finely chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste

Method

1) Put olive oil, onions, carrots, celery, and parsnips in a pot, and turn heat on medium-high.  Cook and stir all ingredients together until the onions turn translucent and the other ingredients start to stick to the bottom of the pan.  When this happens, deglaze the pan by quickly adding the brandy and scraping brown bits off the bottom of the pan.  The brandy will cook off quickly so have the vegetable broth ready to add in after the brandy cooks off.
2) After you have added the vegetable broth add the extra 1/2 cup of water and Bob's Red Mill flour and water mixture.  Stir well and allow sauce to cook down and thicken a bit, around 4-6 minutes.
3)  Next, add the canned tomatoes and parsley and continue to cook.  If the sauce seems to be getting to dry put a lid on it, and turn down the temperature to an occasional bubble.  Salt and Pepper to taste.
4) Meanwhile, while the sauce is finishing up, make the pasta of your choice in a separate pan of salted water.  To serve, place pasta in bowls and cover each with vegan bolognese.  Serve with Parmesan for those that don't mind some dairy in there diet.  Enjoy!





Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Boyz Breakfast Sandwich

In my mind there are two types of food; "Adult food" and "Kid Friendly food"! It seems my children always want to eat something I consider to be bland or just plain unhealthy.  It has always been my intent, as an informed Mother, to have my children eat...well, somewhat healthy!
    When they were babies, I would make squash and mash tofu in it with a fork. I would also, cook organic carrots, blend it, and freeze it into ice cube trays. I think I covered the gamut, as far as, trying to bring up healthy children in an unhealthy world.  But, with this being said, they still WANT things I would rather NOT let them have!
    So… this brings me to today’s post!  I made a McDonald’s style breakfast sandwich as healthy as I could, without changing the consistency of it, too much! In other words, I didn’t add any spinach or vegetables of any kind which would have irritated the boys, even though this would have satisfied me tremendously!
    My oldest son’s response to this sandwich this morning was, “Wow, I didn’t even know this was an option in this house! What did you hide in it?” I responded, “Who me, I would never put anything in your food, lol!”

Makes 2 Sandwiches

4 Turkey Sausage links
2 Whole Wheat English muffins, toasted
2 large organic eggs
1/4 cup organic shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

Method:

1) Heat pan on stove and complete the turkey sausage links according to package directions.  Allow to sit on paper towels, to get out any grease while you are making the eggs.  Slice lengthwise.
2) Toast the English muffins.
3) Meanwhile, in the pan you made the sausage links make the eggs.  Scramble the eggs and make them separately as you would small omelets.  Put cheese in the center and fold over to let it melt. 
4) Layer, english muffin, sliced turkey sausage, then mini omelet and top with english muffin.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Guacamole

We all LOVE guacamole at our house.  Here is the quick recipe I use all the time, I hope you're able to enjoy this one someday soon!
2 avocados
2 teaspoons fresh lime
2 green onions
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoons finely chopped jalapeno
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh cilantro
1/4 fresh tomato, chopped (optional)
Salt to taste

Method

1) Cut the avocados, remove pits, and scoop the flesh into a bowl.  Mash with a masher and add lime juice simultaneously.
2) Stir in remaining ingredients and mix well. 
3)  Taste and adjust seasoning.  ENJOY!

Crazy Winter 2011

This winter is ridiculous in Minnesota this year!  I mean really...How much SNOW do we need?  Here are a couple of photos to prove my point!  You can tell I'm having to shovel the roof as well...Lucky Me!
Today's photo:
 In this photo you're unable to see the tree on the left.  Sure hope the tree survives with all the heavy snow on top of it!

This photo was taken this past Summer!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Dover Sole Served with a Gingered Carrot Sauce....WHEAT FREE!

  Did any of you grow up with an authority figure who would say, "Eat all your food there are people starving in other countries"?  Well, for me it was a constant reminder and a very unwelcome one!  I got so tired of my Grandmother telling me, to eat all of my food, people were starving, and the like, that I would end up trying to find ways to feed it to the dog under the table.  The reason I'm divulging so much information is sometimes I'm finding I say the same thing to my children.  I guess this explains two things about me:
                     1)  Why my dog Lilly is unable to lose weight...too funny (Get it? The kids
                           must be feeding her under the table)!
                    2)  Why I'm an incurable frugal cook!  I'm contantly trying to find new       
                          creative ways to use ingedients I had originally purchased for another recipe. 
  Which of course brings me to today's recipe.  I had bought the ginger and green onions for the soup yesterday and had leftover's;  I wouldn't that go to waste.  The carrots were purchased for the soup a couple days ago, so why not use them?  And lastly, the wheat free spaghetti which I purchased for the above mentioned soup, with only a quarter of a box left, I wouldn't dream of throwing that away either!
  I had stopped by the store today to pick up some essentials for the kids and browsed around the seafood area to see if I could spot a deal.  Which I did!  I came home with a a couple pieces of Dover sole for a total of $2.43, which would feed the three of us tonight!  Perfect, simple, healthy meal! Did I mention...YUMMY?
Serves 3
3 slices Dover sole(Note: True Dover sole is imported frozen to the United States from European countries)
1 tablespoon Earth Balance vegan butter, Optional
2 tablespoons Wheat Free Flour
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
5 carrots, sliced lengthwise
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, sliced into thin disks
3 green onions including stalks, sliced
1/4 cup white wine
1/4-1/2 box of Wheat free pasta, made al denta
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
Serve with the left over lemon wedges

Method:

1)  In a large pot, bring water to a boil.  Place pasta in boiling water and cook according to the directions on the package, 8-11 minutes.  Cook this while you are cooking the fish and vegetables
2)  Meanwhile, dust each Dover sole fillet with salt and pepper and wheat free flour (picture above), and lemon zest .  Also, cut up the carrots, ginger, green onions, and parsley to have on hand when fish is complete.
3) In a medium frying pan, heat the olive oil over high heat.  Add the fillets and allow to cook on each side for 2 minutes.  This should not take too long, depending on the thickness of your fillets.  Carefully, remove the fillets and set on a warm plate.
4) Using the same pan you cooked the fillets in add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Quickly, add the carrots, ginger and green onions and saute until carrots soften a bit, 4-6 minutes.
5) Add the wine to the pan, deglazing and scraping any brown bits off the bottom of the pan, remove promptly, 1 minute.
6) To serve, take drained pasta and mix in 1 tablespoon of Earth Balance butter (if you would like).  Place a portion of pasta on 3 plates, top with vegertable mixture and sauce, divided among the plates.  Lastly, add the Dover Sole to each plate and top with parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice.  Serve at once and enjoy!



Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sick Girls...Ginger Soup

I got a text today from a friend who was not feeling well.  She wanted to know if I  had a fabulous ginger soup recipe? Well of course I do!  Just let me add some kale and parsley to give it ample amounts of vitamins A and C, and you will be good to go.  So if you're not feeling good...try this soup.  It's flavor is warm, peppery and slightly sweet, while the aroma is spicy and awakens your "Sick Girl" senses.
1/4 cup sesame oil
1 sweet onion, diced
1 container mushrooms
3 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
2 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped
1/4 cup kale, sliced
1 cup brown rice spaghetti, cooked al dente in a separate pan
Optional: 2 tablespoons Spicy Seed Mix

Method

1) In a separate container boil water and make brown rice pasta
2) In another container that can hold all the ingredients, heat sesame oil, and add diced onion.  Saute until onion begins to lighten in color, about 5 minutes. Add mushroom and lightly salt and pepper (1/4 teaspoon of each), saute until mushrooms soak up the remaining oil left in the pan. Add the broth, green onions and fresh ginger, continue to cook until all flavors combine, about 10 minutes.
3) Meanwhile, chop the parsley and slice the kale. 
4) When soup is done, place pasta in bowl, add the mushroom and broth mixture and top with chopped parsley and kale. 
Optional: Add sprouted spicy seed mix



Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Berry and Peach 'Love' Pie

Please pardon my cutesy name, but it was Valentine's day yesterday (just in case you forgot) and I was in need of a dessert!  My problem was I didn't want the dessert to off set the healthy meal.  So... I used the name as a bit of a disguise (for the kids) and came up with this recipe using frozen berry's I had in the freezer along with a jar of peaches I had in the cupboard.  The crust was using my favorite butter substitute~Earth Balance. 
One side note regarding the butter:  I was talking to a friend of mine and she mentioned she bought the butter I suggested (i.e. Earth Balance).  She stated that she thought it had a funny taste.  Do NOT buy Earth Balance in the tub, rather purchase the sticks.  For some reason, the sticks of Earth Balance tastes much better than the tub, even the color is slightly different. Just thought I would save you the trouble:)
Dough:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
4 tablespoons Earth Balance, cold cut into 1/2 inch dice........................
4 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
1/4 cup ice water

Filling:
2/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar
3 tablespoons corn starch
1 jar of sliced peaches, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 cup frozen wild blueberries (I purchased at Costco)
1 cup frozen blackberries
NOTE: You could use fresh for this recipe, I just didn't have any on hand!

To Make the Dough:
1) Mix all the ingredients together in a food processor adding them in the order above. When dough forms a ball take out of processor and refrigerate for 1/2 hour.
2) Preheat the oven to 450.
3) On a lightly floured surface, roll out the chilled dough into a circle slightly larger than your pie pan.  Slide a large metal spatula underneath the dough to loosen it.  Fold the dough and center it over the pie pan and open it.  Gently press the dough against the bottom and sides of the pan to fit to your liking.
4) Place dough lined pie plate in the refrigerator while making the filling.
Make the Filling:
1) In a large bowl, whisk 2/3 cup sugar with the cornstarch.  Gently toss in the peaches, let sit for 5 minutes.
2) Rinse the frozen blueberries and blackberries under lukewarm water and let dry on paper towels.
3) Meanwhile, with the extra dough you have left over from the pie plate roll out and cut into desired shapes (I made Hearts)!
4) Mix the berries in with the peaches.
5) Take the Dough lined pie plate out of the refrigerator and place the peach and berry mixture in the shell. Promptly, arrange the cut out pieces of dough around the edges, and sprinkle over the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, immediately place in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes.  After 20 minutes turn the temperature down to 375 and bake for another 35 to 45 minutes longer. Allow to cool on a rack for an hour or so prior to eating.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Vanilla Bean Potato Soup

Occasionally~~and more times than I typically care to admit~~the inspiration for my posts, and recipes, in particular, generates from utter randomness (using my sons vocabulary).  Case in point, is today's post, which came from watching the television while on the stair master!

One of the shows broadcasted a recipe for 'Cream of Potato Soup'.  Ahhh...those were the days, when I didn't need to worry about my cholesterol and haphazardly ate what I wanted, when I wanted it! Well, with that being said, I still feel the need to eat what I want, but my recipes now need to consist of vegan ingredients.  So here is another recipe that meets the requirements I established for myself!  Enjoy!


1 large sweet onion, peeled and diced
3 cups vanilla oat milk
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons earth balance vegan butter (use the sticks)
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 vanilla bean
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped

Method

1) Saute onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Simultaneously, warm the vegan butter and oat milk in a pot big enough to contain all the ingredients.  When onions are complete, place in a blender with 1 to 2 cups of the warmed oat milk.  Blend on high until no pieces of onion are visible.  Place back in the pot with the remaining oat milk and swirl to combine.

Oat Milk with Vanilla and Onions being Sauteed


2) Next, add the potatoes, vanilla extract, vanilla bean and salt and pepper to taste, place a tight fitting lid over it and allow to simmer until the potatoes soften, around 20 minutes. 
3) Remove the vanilla bean and discard .
4) Serve, with 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley and salt and pepper. 


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Crock Pot Chick-pea Soup with Kale

The Vegan thing is NOT as easy as it seems!  There are tons of recipes for vegan, vegetarian, and those that follow different diets, ect.  But, what I have found most helpful for me, while trying to be vegan, is making up recipes using ingredients I like verses trying to follow the food trends.  Let's face it, we still need to live our lives, having a specific diet can become difficult for everyone around us if we let it!  So... I have come up with another recipe I feel is a real winner and healthy to boot!  With this recipe you could easily add diced chicken for those who would like it...enjoy!

1 large Vidalia sweet onion, diced
4 tablespoons, olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
6 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup red wine
1 tablespoon Italian parsley, chopped
3 cans chick-peas
2 parsnips, peeled & sliced into 1/4 inch disks
2 tablespoons kale, sliced, per bowl of soup
Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

1) In a saute pan add 2 tablespoons olive oil and onions, saute until light gold in color, 5-8 minutes.  Place in Crock pot and deglaze the pan with the wine.  Place the wine (about 1 1/2 tablespoons) in the crock pot as well.
2) Next, add the other 2 tablespoons olive oil to the pan and saute the garlic, about 2 minutes, add this to the crock pot.
3) Add the chick peas, parsnips, vegetable broth and parsley to the crock pot and turn on high heat for 6 hours.
4) Before serving add sliced kale to the soup and salt and pepper to taste! Yummy!


In case you are wondering what vegetable broth to use, here is what I use and like!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Lacinato Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing

Trying to make more dishes using kale these days.  Kale is a cruciferous vegetable and can be used in anyway suitable for spinach.  Of course, it tastes different!  Kale has a mild cabbagey flavor and ranges in color from a deep green, blue green to green with a hint of purple.  Kale also is more popular with the northern Europeans which could explain there lower levels of cholesterol.  This explains my LOVE for this vegetable.  Not to mention it contains folic acid, calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C.  WOW ...a low calorie powerhouse! 

1/2 bunch lacinato kale, washed and torn into bite size pieces
1 tablespoon Tahini
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 slices of lemon, for serving


Method

1) Arrange torn Kale on two serving plates.
2) In a seperate bowl, mix together, tahini, canola oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, salt and pepper.
3) Divide the dressing over the kale on both plates.
4) Sprinkle the sesame seeds on both salads and top with a slice of lemon on both.
5) Serve with extra salt and pepper and enjoy!

Serves 2
In this photo you can see how beautiful the salad is up close.  This will clean out your intestines!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Carrot Curry Soup with Orange Liqueur

Today is another COLD day in Minnesota.  Why do I live here?  Really, the summers are so short with mosquitoes the size of my thumb, this is crazy!  So, here is a soup to help me get through another month of COLDWe need something to warm up our insides!


2 Tablespoons Olive oil
1 Medium Yellow Onion, cut into pieces
6 Carrots, peeled and cut into pieces
1 large green apple, peeled and cut into pieces
1 teaspoon Curry Powder

1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons Orange Liqueur
2 cups Vegetable broth

Method

1) Heat Olive oil in a pan that can contain all ingredients.  Add the onions and carrots and saute until onions are a warm yellow color, 6-8 minutes.
2) Deglaze the pan with 1/4 cup Orange liqueur and add the broth immediately. 
3) Add the apple and curry and continue to cook until the carrots have softened. 
4) Take the ingredients from your pan and blend in a blender, add the last 3 tablespoons of Orange Liqueur at this time.

Serves 2 

Clean up the kitchen with...Bar Keeper's Friend...click below!