Thursday, October 22, 2009

Creamy Italian Dressing

I am still trying to find dressing alternatives to those I used to buy in the grocery store. It is a taxing process. Because, not all recipes please everyone in the house. That's not to say they are not good dressings. It's just that they do not tickle everyone's taste buds. With that said, I have found a new recipe for a new dressing. Now, since I did not have another recipe lined up for the soft tofu, I was brave and doubled the recipe from the get go. But be forewarned, it is garlicky. But no in a bad way garlicky. Does that make sense?

I got this from How It All Vegan. She has some wonderful dressing recipes and with simple ingredients. So make this and trust me there will be no vampires at your house this Halloween.

1/2 lb. soft or medium tofu (we used soft)
1/2 cup flax or olive oil (we used olive)
3T vinegar (we used apple cider vinegar)
1t salt
1/8 t pepper
4 cloves garlic (pressed )
2T sweet pickle relish
1/4 t dried oregano
1/8 t red pepper flakes
In a blender or food processor, blend together the tofu, oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper until smooth and creamy. Fold in the garlic, relish, oregano and red pepper flakes. Excellent as a chip dip in addition to a salad dressing.

Thee only small flaw I see with this but nothing that would make me stop making and or eat this dish was a tad bit of graininess from the tofu. But I think I may try to remedy that by using silken tofu next time. But for the record, this one is will worth its weight in gold.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Now I Get It

I am now in the working mother category. Part time is all but let me tell you it still takes allot away from my day. I usually rise between 5:30AM and 6:00 and begin or finish dishes and or laundry. Walk the dog and myself, make breakfast, then get ready for work and am out the door by 9AM depending on which store I will be working. Some times I drop off AVON book to customers who are on the route I take to work, again depending on which store I am working.

Thee other day I came home from a good but long day which is totally on my feet and walked in and did not sit down until after dinner. The children had started everything I had asked of the, so all I had to do was finish what they had started, and still I never stopped. I made bread, which my daughter had set up for me. I rotated thee oregano, did dishes and began dinner.

By the time I got to my sofa to watch a bit of TV, I was whipped. And I told my husband, I don't see how real working mothers do it. And my children do not have piano lessons, soccer practice, church functions or much of anything like that for me to get them to. For those parents my heart goes out to you. For we struggle with getting everyone together for dinner as it is, let alone with activities to get to.

When do people have time to just be families. Do people even sit down together at the dinner table anymore? We do and love every minute of it. But it was my husband who pointed out that now he/I see why people get hooked on fast food. Whether it be the rotisserie chicken at the supermarket or the pizza delivery boy, or the burger drive-thru. It becomes the convenience.

There are nights we do not sit down to a home cooked dinner until nearly 8PM, and that is with children home to prep me for the meal. I can only imagine how a mother of three little ones has to do it and moreso if she is a single mom or the wife of a dead beat dad who thinks it is his only duty to bring home the paycheck (do not even get me started on that subject).

So now I am a bit more sympathetic, but still feel there is always room for improvement. We all can take small steps to better how we eat. Yes, it takes a lot more effort. And yes you may have to take an entire day and bulk cook, but at least that is a start. And how did the ant eat thee elephant? One bite at a time.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Baked Spaghetti

I was at my girlfriends house thee other day cutting back all her oregano to help her out. For it was taking over her garden. Again here is where bartering comes into play. She is without a car three days a week, for her daughter takes it to college. And guess who is off those three days? ME!

Now, we got to talking and I was completely out of oregano and she was up to her neck in it, soooo, in walks the lady who needs oregano to a lady who needs a ride to get her glasses. So you see where I am going with this? That was Tuesday, and I am still dehydrating oregano as I type this new recipe.

When I was at said friends house, I went into her frig for some tea, it is still a scorcher here in Florida. I happened upon a plate of something...took it out and showed it to my friend. She then told me it was baked spaghetti and didn't I remember her telling me about it? No. She went straight away and got the book it came from and made me a copy right then and there. Wam bam thank you ma'am.

Needless to say that recipe was made the next night. Her sauce had meat in it, but we left out the dead cow and it was still delicious. So here it is. And this may be a new way for us to have spaghetti.

2 cups canned diced tomatoes
2 cups tomato sauce
1 cup water
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 chopped fresh parsley
1&1/2 t Italian seasoning
1&1/2 t The Lady's House Seasoning
1&1/2 The Lady's Seasoned Salt
1&1/2 t sugar
2 small bay leaves
1&1/2 lbs. ground beef
8 ounces uncooked angel hair pasta (we used 16 ounces and fettuccine, use the angel hair)
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
Anything pertaining to the sauce we kind of winged it and did with what we had in the house, and the same goes for the cheese. What we had in the house went into the dish and there were no left overs.

Cover the bottom of a 13x9x2 inch pan with your sauce. Add a layer of pasta, then half of the cheese; repeat the layers, ending with the sauce. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Top with remaining cheese, return to the oven and continue to cook until the cheese is melted and bubbly (just a few minutes). Cut into squares before serving.

Thee only thing I would change is that I would cover the dish with foil for half the baking time, and for one reason only. The pasta that sticks out of the sauce will get super crunchy, so not fun to bite into when you are expecting a soft dish. But other than that, this dish is a Super-Keeper!

And this is a Paula Deen dish if you did not figure it out already!!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Raw Cauliflower Cous Cous Salad

Let me start out by saying that most of the raw dishes I make are not all that time consuming. But this one did take a little more time that usual. But fear not, for it was/is , well worth the effort.

If I may make a suggestion, unless you have the time on your hands, is to wash all your herbs ahead of time and maybe make this salad the day after. Again, your choice. I had four different herbs to wash and cut. So, if not for my daughter, we would have eaten at midnight.

I had this recipe sent to my Email box, looked at it and wanted to make it. But I deleted it, thought I had saved it somewhere, but did not. Thank the stars above for thee Internet. I kept searching for the title and found it after about three hits. And this lovely young woman had it on her blog, who I happen to subscribe to on YouTube. And she goes by the name of Meghan Telpner from Making Love In The Kitchen

If you have not visited her on her blog, or anywhere else, then get off your hiney and go see what she has to offer. She is such a breath of fresh air that you will want to keep on visiting her again and again. But now on to the recipe you have all been waiting for.

1 head of cauliflower
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 bunch parsley, chopped
1 bunch mint, chopped
1/4 cup basil, chopped
2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered and seeded (we had to use regular tomatoes, but the cherry tomatoes would have been nicer)
1 red bell pepper, chopped(We used green)
1/2 cup black olives, seeded and sliced(Had none)
salt and pepper to taste
Process cauliflower in food processor with ‘s’ blade to achieve cous cous like consistency (can also chop finely by hand).
Place in bowl and add lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Mix in herbs, tomatoes, pepper and olives.
Stir well and serve chilled.
This is great to enjoy on a bed of greens.

This dish will definitely be on our table a whole lot more. It was a lot of food, so plenty for left overs. It definitely looks like cous cous. But when my husband came home and saw the bowl on the table, he thought it was Tabouleh salad. But this dish was so good, that I fell in love. All thee herbs are very powerful and yet none of them take over the dish. The simplicity of the salad is scary. You would think it would have too much of an over-powering taste, but it is nothing like that. This is just one of those things that you just have to make and see for your self how good a dish it really is. And trust me, you will not be disappointed one little bit.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

No-Knead Ciabatta Bread

Nope, I am not lying, this is really a bread where you do not have to knead it one darn bit. But, what you do have to do is be able to calculate the rising time. Have your fingers ready.

The rise time to this recipe is 18 hours. Yep, I did not make a typo, this is for real. It will rise for 18 hours, then rise another 2 once you get it placed on the cooking sheet. I could sit here and type thee ingredients, but I am going to give you the link to the YouTube video and see for yourself. Make this bread, you will not regret it, and what a fantastic tasting artisan style bread. Hooray for bread!