Monday, May 30, 2011

Aduki and Black Bean Burgers

What's Aduki you say???  It's just another can of beans you can purchase near the other cans of beans in the store.  It's really not fancy!  They can be spelled azuki, adzuki, or as I found them aduki.  These beans are a small, russet-colored bean with a sweet flavor.  The can I purchased also had Kombu Seaweed in the ingredients but you can't taste any seaweed at all (maybe just another health benefit)!
Ingredients:
1 15oz. can aduki beans, washed and drained
1 15oz. can black beans, washed and drained
1 medium onion, cut in half
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 reconstituted mushrooms, optional
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1/2-3/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup all purpose baking flour (Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Olive oil

Toppings:
Sliced green onions, sliced baby tomatoes, sliced avocado, vegan or regular mayo, spinach leaves, parsley leaves, lime juice to squeeze on top.

Method:
1) Place 1/2 can aduki beans, 1/2 onion diced into small chucks, fresh thyme, garlic, reconstituted mushrooms (optional),  1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper into Vitamix blender or high powered mixer and blend.

2) Once blended pour into a bowl and add the rest of the aduki beans, and can of black beans.  Mash with a hand masher just to get well blended (some chucks still visible).
3) Dice the other half of the onion and mix into the bean mixture.  Add almond meal and baking flour (I used gluten free) and make into patties.  The patties will be sticky, if to wet add more almond meal.
4) Place oil in frying pan and heat on medium-high.  Place patties into frying pan, lightly salt and pepper and cook until lightly browned.  (I did patties in batches, placed on a parchment lined pan and put in the oven on 300 to keep warm until I was ready to serve).



Sunday, May 29, 2011

Iced Green Tea with Lemongrass, Stevia and Mint

I love warm days and a glass of ice tea.  I really don't think there could be anything better!  This brings me to this little concoction which is sure to please!  Really easy and the bonus is a lemongrass stalk is so inexpensive.  This only cost me $0.24!  So if you want to make something a little different try this healthy drink on for size!
 Directions:

4 Green tea bags
1 Mint tea bag
1 Lemongrass stalk, trimmed at the bottom
1/2 teaspoon Stevia sweetener
2-3 stems Spearmint
2-3 stems Stevia leaves (Optional- just decor)
5-6 cups boiling water

Method:

Pour boiling water over tea bags.  Steep 3 to 5 minutes add the stevia sweetener and the lemongrass stalk.  Allow to steep another 5 minutes or until serving.  Can be made a day in advance and kept in the refrigerator.  Serve with lemongrass stalk, fresh spearmint and stevia leaves!  Yum!



Saturday, May 28, 2011

Tuna Boats

How gratifying it is to come up with unusual Appetizers!  This one is popular with adults however, I have to admit my oldest son thought they were incredible!  These are pleasurable to eat as well because you can cut them in half and eat them in smaller proportions without them being too messy. So proper!
2 cucumbers, cut lengthwise, seeds removed
1 7oz. can tuna, drained
2 hard boiled eggs
2 Tablespoons vegan mayonnaise (You could use regular, this is all I had)
2 Gherkin's (sweet pickles), diced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 Tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
Lemon slices to squeeze on top

Method

1) Cut cucumbers lengthwise and remove seeds.
2) Drain tuna place in a small bowl and add yolks of hard boiled eggs, reserving the egg whites for topping.  Also, add mayo (of your choice), chopped gherkin's and salt and pepper.
3) Stuff each cucumber with tuna mixture and top with chopped reserved egg whites.  Then lastly dust with chopped chives and add a slice of lemon to squeeze on top if desired.  Enjoy...These are so yummy!


Grow and Pass Party...aka Garden Party

  This year I came up with an idea to have a party to divide perennial plants from the garden and pass them in a party environment.  Everyone that got an informal invitation were told to divide three plants from their garden, place them in plastic containers (recycling), then come to a party where NO MONEY was needed.  Just a bunch of girls that wanted to exchange plants and have a little fun!  I think we have decided this is going to be an annual event!  It was so much fun!
As a centerpiece I just added some tags to a green houseplant.
On a table in the kitchen I placed decorating, gardening books, and flowers from the garden!

On the herb garden bench I placed a fun face with sedum coming out of his mouth!

On the other side of the herb garden bench I filled a little bird container with the same sedum!

From the hanging baskets beautiful bright flowers!
Pathway to the herb garden was framed with an rose covered arch!
Plants were all labeled for sun/shade and name of the plant just for easy decisions!
Moss covered monogrammed letter just for a little decoration!
Oh ya...Did I mention the yummy Appetizers I came up with???  I'll blog about that tomorrow:)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Big Day Breakfast...Smoothie

Some mornings the outlook on the day seems so long... it makes you want to jump back into bed!  Or...you can just jump start it with an easy to prepare smoothie that is energy packed!  This one is a wonderful fuel for our bodies because the bananas and sesame seeds provide a perfect fuel in the form of slow-release carbohydrates.  Oh... and did I mention your not compromising taste because with the added mango and orange juice make it refreshing~YUM! 


SERVES 2

1 whole mango, peeled & cored
2 small bananas (By this I mean NOT Costco sized...just regular)
1 large orange, (Juice of)
2 tablespoons raw sesame seeds
1 tablespoon honey
4 ice cubes

METHOD

Place all ingredients in Vita-mix blender.  I juiced the orange with a little hand-operated citrus squeezer and used all the pulp (Pictured below). ENJOY!



Monday, May 16, 2011

Bright Eyes...Smoothie

  I take pleasure in creating recipes with various ingredients I have around the house.  Equally as fun, is formulating a name!  The name above was uncomplicated but cutesy and ingenuous.  "It is what it is," as my Grandmother would say!
  Hope it was as pretty outside in your "neck of the woods," as it was here in Minnesota today!
2 1/2 large carrots, peeled
5 pineapple chunks, 1 1/2 inch chunks
1/2 cucumber, peeled
1/4 cup water
1-3 ice cubes
1/2 teaspoon Lecithin Granules (Supports healthly nervous system)

Method

Mix all ingredients in a vita-mix blender and serve.



Sunday, May 15, 2011

Grilled Lavender Sweet Potato Sliders

Side dishes are so gratifying to make!  The possibilities are limitless.  Tonight's meal is a superb example.  I simply took sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced them, added some quick and easy ingredients, placed in foil lined with parchment paper, grilled and served. 

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 Tablespoons Earth Balance butter (it's vegan)
                     (*Note: Buy the sticks they taste better)
3 Tablespoons Agave Nectar
1 1/2 tablespoons Lavender, chopped (use extra after your done grilling) 
Dusted with Salt and Pepper
2 large pieces of foil
1 large piece of parchment paper

Method

1) Line foil with parchment paper, place sliced sweet potatoes in the center so your able to fold up the sides to cover the sweet potatoes. (This helps them cook quicker.)

Sliced Sweet Potatoes
2) Place earth balance butter, agave nectar, chopped lavender and dust with salt and pepper.
3) Fold up the side and close up if possible to make a ball shape.  Place on the grill for 10-15 minutes or until slightly soft.  Place on a warm serving platter, dust with more lavender and serve.  YUM!


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Turkey Avocado Wraps with Vegan Lemonaise

Why did you use Vegan Lemonaise if you have Turkey bacon on the wrap, you say?  Well, I was making myself a wrap as well and didn't want to get out different ingredients for everyone.  So... this is what I made for the whole family.  I left out the Turkey on mine.  It was really good.  Of course, I think anything that contains ripe Avocados is pretty amazing
Ingredients:

4 wheat free wraps, of your choice
1 pk. turkey bacon
8 romaine leaves, (2 per wrap)
4 large spinach leaves, (1 per wrap)
2 ripe organic tomatoes, sliced
1 ripe avocado, (pitted, and sliced)
8 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise, (2 tablespoons per wrap)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, Optional (mixed with 8 tablespoons of vegan mayo if you want a light lemon taste)
Freshly ground Salt and Pepper to taste, on each wrap

Method

1) Mix vegan mayonnaise with lemon juice if you want to have a lemony flavor (optional).  If you don't go ahead and place 2 tablespoons of vegan mayonnaise on each wrap.

2) Simultaneously, have the turkey bacon on the stove (make like you would regular bacon). 

3) When complete start layering the wraps.  Start with lettuce, spinach, turkey bacon, avocado, and tomato.  Salt and pepper, then roll to make a wrap.  Use toothpicks to hold together for serving.  Enjoy! 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Risotto with Chicken & Orange

Tonight in between tornado warnings and hail the size of golf balls I made a surprisingly good meal!  I'm surprised I even remember what I put in the dish considering the television was blaring, "WARNING, WARNING, WARNING"!  This meal took about 30 minutes to make and I didn't add prep time because I cut up the things I needed as I cooked.  Try this meal and let me know what you think!  I love comments!
INGREDIENTS:

1 tsp. saffron threads
1/2 cup water
2 cups chicken broth
4 boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
2 tbsp. sesame oil
1 cup Arborio rice
1 cup white wine
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. paprika
3 small orange sweet bell peppers, sliced
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 tbsp. orange rind
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tbsp. Italian parsley, chopped, extra for garnish (optional)
Orange wedges, to garnish

METHOD

1) Put the saffron in 1/2 cup water and let infuse for a few minutes.
Saffron infused water

2) Warm the sesame oil in a risotto pan and add the chicken.  Cook until golden all over then transfer to a warm bowl.

3) Add onion to the pan you used to cook the chicken and saute for 2 minutes.  Add the garlic and rice and saute for another 2-3 minutes.   Add the wine and cook down.  Add the paprika and saffron with soaking liquid and cook stirring constantly, for 1 minute.  Add the sliced orange sweet bell peppers and orange rind, continue cooking. 

Sweet Multi-colored bell peppers (I used the orange ones for this recipe)

4)  Add a little chicken broth at a time and allow to cook down, stirring constantly.  Continue this pattern until rice is complete about 20 minutes (taste to make sure).  Just before rice is finished add the tomatoes, parsley, and orange juice, cook for another 2 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with parsley sprigs and orange wedges.  Enjoy!




Monday, May 9, 2011

Green Drink #2

Green Drinks are hot these days and they are fun to make!  Of course it's important to get the color just the right shade of green so that it's appetizing and the taste has to be wonderful or in my opinion why make the drink???  Here is another version of the green drink I really liked and I think you might to!

Serves 2

1/2 cucumber, peeled if not organic
1 1/2 cups spinach, loosely packed
1/2 green organic pear
1/2 green apple
3 chucks of pineapple
1 cup ice
1/2 cup purified water
1 tablespoon flax oil, optional

Method

Blend all ingredients in a vita-mix blender and serve.



Monday, May 2, 2011

Agave Nectar Chicken Fajitas...SO GOOD!

This is a crazy good idea!  I looked in the refrigerator and thought well... I have left over cilantro, 2 sweet peppers, half an avocado, left over flour tortillas, and a few green onions.  I could pull some chicken out of the freezer...hmmm!  I GOT IT!  I'll make a marinade for the chicken and see what happens.  I LOVE the mix of sweet and spicy so lets see what I can make happen!  HERE IT IS...A MUST TRY!    


Serves 4

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Agave Nectar
1 tablespoon Sherry vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
2 green onions, cut up including the tops
1 teaspoon dried cilantro
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1 inch pieces
4-6 flour tortillas, warmed in the oven (I used a wheat free version for me)

Suggestions To Serve along side:
2 cups cut or torn lettuce of your choice, I used romaine
1/2 avocado, optional
2 tablespoons sour cream, per fajita, optional
2 tablespoons salsa of your choice, per fajita, optional

METHOD:

1) Place 2 tablespoons olive oil, Agave nectar, sherry vinegar, garlic, green onions, dried cilantro, oregano, pepper flakes, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl large enough to hold the chicken as well. Mix the ingredients together and allow to marinate with the chicken for 20 minutes or so.  You could make well in advance and allow to marinate for a day or so.

2) Heat skillet with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, place all ingredients in the pan including the marinade.  Saute on high until the marinade cooks down and all sides are light brown in color. 

3) Push the chicken to one side of the pan and add the bell peppers, cook them until they soften a little.  Transfer all to a warm serving platter.

4) Serve at once with the warmed tortillas and sides of your choice, I gave some examples above.





Sunday, May 1, 2011

May Day Baskets!

My kids love leaving little May Day baskets at the neighbors front doors and running away.  So, every year we put these little treasures together and they run out to deliver them.  This is such a charming little custom that has seemed to have slipped in popularity with the hecticness of our lives these days.  Along with the economy, I think people are having a hard time celebrating what spring can/could offer.... if we would only all stay positive!  It's just as hard for me to do just what I preach above, but this little blog is the place I can say and bring all GOOD THINGS, without much criticisms from the world.   I hope when you visit this blog it brings happy thoughts, that are 'sweet' to the senses, and reminds you of yesteryear, with a new and healthy twist!  BRING ON THE SUN!


These don't have to be expensive, just use what you have around the house!  In years past... I would make a funnel out of paper, staple it together and fill it with whatever goodies I could find.  What this day is suppose to represent in the states... is the celebration of SPRING.  In some countries it is "Worker's Day" or what we would call "Labor Day", but for us,  it's all about coming out of the cold and into spring!  Well, NO SPRING yet but let's hope this week we FIND warmer weather!

SOME IDEAS TO FILL LITTLE MAY DAY BASKETS:

1) Candy...you should have a bunch left over from Easter,lol
2) Cookies (Make a batch of sugar cookies)
3) Salt Water Taffy...always reminds of the summer days!
4) Little flowers you find around the house...daffodils for example! P.S. Don't pick the neighbors, lol!
5) Grow Wheat Grass in little containers like the ones shown above!
6) Grow fresh herbs from seed in little containers, fun but you need to pre-plan for this one!
7) Tie everything with spring colored ribbon...LOVE IT!
8) MOST IMPORTANT: drop one of your creations off at someones house who would least expect it but needs a little smile and some sunshine!


Almond, Strawberry and Banana Smoothie

What to make boys after a sleepover??? Well, how about smoothies???  May day smoothies that is!  Here is a quick and healthy smoothie using my favorite new toy the Vitamix!

Serves 4

3/4 cup almond milk
1 pint fresh strawberries
2 bananas, extra slices for serving
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup ground flax seed
A couple of flowers to decorate...Optional!

Method

Blend all the ingredients together in a Vitamix mixer and serve at once!  If you don't have a high power blender you might need to add more of the liquid.  In this case I would suggest the almond milk!


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