Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cabbage Un-Roll

This is another so easy recipe that it scares me to death. I have such wonderful memories of my father's mother making stuffed cabbage when we would visit her in Michigan. Man she could make that dish like no one else I knew. I would crave as soon as our feet hit the floor of her house. I have made this dish a few times as a vegetarian, but rolling them leaves is a bear. With that said, in walk this recipe. So easy a monkey could make it. So read on and make this with comfort food in mind.

1 head of cabbage, chopped
6 carrots, chopped, (optional, we used them)
1 jar-24 ounces tomato sauce
1 bullion cube, (we used our own broth)
1 package vegan ground beef, (use your favorite)
1 t salt, maybe more
1/2 t pepper, maybe more
8 cups of cooked rice
Put cabbage, carrots, sauce(plus one can of water), and bullion/broth in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes., or until the vegetables are soft. Stir in your veggie ground beef, add spices and serve over rice.

Could this dish have been any simpler. Was I lying when I said a monkey cold make this disrespect to those primates. But see the ease of this lovely comfort food. serve this on a cold night with a slab of cornbread.

This was another great dish from VegWeb.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Creamy Avocado Dressing

Told you I was on a roll. Again, I found this one when I was looking for a non-vinegar dressing. This fit the bill. Easy and simple to make. But always remember, to make sure your avocado is ripe before using it, especially for dressings. I found this one on VegWeb as well.

2 ripe avocados chopped
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced or pressed
lime juice to taste
Water as needed
sea salt as needed
1/2 t cider vinegar, optional
Place onions, garlic and avocado in a blender. Add lime juice and water until desired consistency. You like it thinner, then add more water. Sprinkle in the sea salt and vinegar for a bit more tanginess.

You are good to go. See how simple. I did use the blender, but I am going to try the food processor next time and see how that goes.

Swiss Chard Spaghetti Squash

I have so many recipes to get up, I have no idea where to begin. So here goes. I found this on VegWeb, and made it because I had all thee ingredients...a big plus in this house. It was simple to make and simple ingredients. Try this, you are going to thank me in the morning.

1 spaghetti squash
1/3 cup of olive oil (less if you think it is too much)
4-5 chard leaves, washed but not dried and sliced in threads
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 lemon or lime, juice and pulp
1 t salt
1/2-1 t pepper flakes
Cut spaghetti squash in half and bake in a 350 oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remember to remove seeds and pulp but not the flesh of the squash. Once squash is done, then you can move on to the rest of the dish.

Saute garlic in oil for about 1 minute, on low as not to burn the garlic, not a good thing to do. Add chard and tomato. Toss and cover for 3 minutes, or until chard wilts. Stir in lemon/lime juice along with the pepper flakes and salt. Mix thoroughly.

Add squash threads to the pan. Mix all together and serve immediately.

I took down the pepper flakes form thee original recipe. I knew I would be on fire if I added 2 teaspoons of pepper flakes. I would add more lemon next time, but it was still delicious just like I typed it here.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Jana's Famous Herb Dressing

I am going to openly admit that I have slacked off on my salad eating. It has to do with nothing other than pure laziness. I prefer not to purchase bottled dressing, but alas, it came to a point where I did. I was not happy.

For the last two days, I have been cleaning out the fridge. It has been a two fold operation. I have been throwing out left-overs that did not get eaten, and I have physically cleaned out the fridge. Meaning I have disassembled the door and the drawers and also wiped down the shelves. Man, there is nothing better than a clean refrigerator.

So, since I was on a roll, I decided, that instead of throwing away the wilty vegetables, that I would put them to good use and make a soup. But, as I was cleaning out the fridge, I also threw out all my bottled dressings. So...out came the How it all Vegan Cookbook and I started flipping through the sauces section and stumbled upon this very potent dressing.

This is not for the faint of heart. No, it is not a spicy dressing, it is just a very powerful set of herbs all dancing around the bottle. And just by my first taste test. I would highly recommend that you let this set over night in the fridge so everything has time to marry. I am almost tempted to pour this over my pancakes. Just kidding.

- 1/4 cup flax oil or olive oil
- 4 T nutritional yeast flakes
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 t pepper
- 2 T maple syrup
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or through a press
- 2 T fresh thyme, or 1 T dry
- 1T fresh rosemary, or 1/2 T dried
- 1 t fresh oregano, or 1/2 t dried
- 1 T of sesame seeds
Mix everything in a bowl, except for the oil. Slowly whisk in the oil to the mixture whisking the entire time you are pouring. This gives the oil a chance to emulsify. If not then your oil will pretty much stay separated. This is strong dressing, but oh so worth it.

Vegan Pumpkin Cookies

Another great recipe I found when looking for something sweet to eat. I myself, am not all that much into the whole sweet tooth thing, but my husband and daughter are for sure. And, I have no problem making the sweet dishes, so in comes this glorious recipe and I am lovin' it 100%.

I made these at work, and people were wanting to take me home with them, just to cook these little devils of joy. So, without further adieu let's get rockin' and rollin'.

-Nonstick spray or a touch of oil to coat pan
-2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
-2 cups canned pumpkin
-1 cup vegetable oil
-2 t vanilla
-4 cups all purpose flour (I used a mix of unbleached white and whole wheat)
-2 t baking soda
-2 t baking powder
1 t cinnamon
-1 t nutmeg
-1/2 t ginger
-1 cup nuts, chopped
-1&1/2 cups raisins (optional, but I highly recommend)
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a baking sheet. Beat sugar, pumpkin, oil and vanilla.
-Sift together dry ingredients. Stir into the pumpkin mixture until smooth. Blend in raisins and nuts.
-Drop spoonfuls (I used tablespoon measure) on prepared baking sheet, and bake for 12-15 minutes.
-Makes 5-6 dozen

The 1 Tablespoon measure is a perfect size for these cookies. they do not spread out stay in the little mounds I set them down in and they are really cute to look at. So make these and you may even give up pumpkin pie.

Shepard's Pie

What a great comfort food. I did not have this made for me as a child growing up. Oddly enough. my mother is from the South, but my mom never made this dish. What a shame, for this is such a simple basic, easily adaptable recipe you could have ever imagined. You can easily adapt it to whatever you have a in your pantry and or freezer and or fridge. It is that inter-changeable.

So let's get down to business and show you this recipe. Just so you know I am finding a great majority of my recipes on VegWeb. This is a strictly vegetarian recipes, but how they break them down into so many different categories is mind blowing. And if they do not have it, you don't need it. Another great plus is that these recipes are submitted by folks like you and me. So these recipes have been tried and tested over and over again. Plus folks who make these recipes send in their reviews with what they have added or taken away, so extremely user-friendly.

Olive oil (As needed)
1 (12 ounce) package veggie ground beef
2 large carrots, grated
1 medium onion, chopped
1&1/2 t rosemary
1T + 1&1/2 t vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
1&1/2 t salt
1 cup frozen corn
7 potatoes, boiled and mashed
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook ground 'beef' with onion and grated carrot in olive oil for about 5 minutes over medium heat.
-Add salt, rosemary and Worcestershire sauce and m ix well.
-Put mixture in casserole dish and top with corn and then potatoes. I would make sure the potatoes are not very stiff, for they will cook more in the oven. So make sure there is a bit of a give to them.
-Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Just give me a piece of cornbread or biscuit and I am good to go.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Raw Chia Pudding

All I can say is Wow!! I have been putting up more raw recipes and that is because I am the teacher of raw food at my local health food store. Now, one would think that with all these recipes I would have already crossed over to being a raw foodist. But not so. So, I am thinking to myself, what has me lagging behind. Well I have finally figured it out. It is s two-fold reason, but it is going to sound like more of an excuse, which in reality it is. And think about that for a moment. When someone tells you that cannot do something for a reason, it is usually just an excuse. There...I said it. I feel much better now. Admitting your problem is half the battle.

Reason number one is; I am just being lazy, for I have enough recipes to start working with, but I have just not pushed myself. Reason number two; My family is truly not into this whole raw food scene. Hubby is alright with it, but not my daughter. Yeah yeah yeah, I know, we have to do it for ourselves and not others. One day I will get there. But long the way I am enjoying these new dishes all the same. Now on to the recipe.

I had seen this woman, Mona at a Vegetarian Festival in Orlando Florida. If the word raw was in the description, I was there. I liked her from the get-go. She was real, down to earth and approachable. She talked in lay-mans terms and that made me feel comfortable. When I saw this chia pudding mush, I way is this going to amount to anything. Man was I wrong.

I will openly admit there is a texture issue. However, if any of you have ever eaten a bowl of tapioca, then get your brain in that direction and you will know where I am coming form. I myself, use to love tapioca. So this was like walking down memory lane a bit. The ingredients are simple enough and very little preparation time is involved. Just the soaking of the seeds. Once that is done, you are home free. So let's get cracking...shall we?

1/2 cup chia seeds
3 cups water (filtered if possible)
1 cup raw almond milk (this is where I used prepared almond milk. I do not have thee equipment to make my own milk)
1/2 cup diced red apple (about 1 apple total)
3/4 cup cup raisins
3 T raw agave
1 t nutmeg
2 t cinnamon
1/8 t cloves
Pinch of sea salt
You will need to soak the chia seeds the night before or like I did early in the morning, that way, I can have the pudding by dinner time. Stir the seeds with the water for at least 30 second. This is quite a necessity. Learn form others mistakes...please. Each seed needs to be thoroughly coated. If not then a stick, slimy film occurs and this does not make for a good pudding base. Also they need to soak up as much water as possible. For if not then they soak it up in your digestive track and that makes for things to move allot slower, if you get my drift.

Take the soaked chia seeds and stir them up. I swear I felt like I was back in science class. The consistency is wicked cool. Stir in your milk, spices, raisins, apples and agave. Also add your salt, but only a pinch. Now, let the bowl sit for at least an hour so the raisins can plump up. If you can give them more time then by all means, do so.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tofu Pumpkin Pie

I am not a big sweet eater, but I do love my pumpkin pie. And why is it that we have to keep it down to once a year. Who invented that rule? Well they are stupid. For I am going to break with tradition and start making this lovely dessert all through the year. All I have to do is stock up on canned pumpkin and I am good to go. I even have a pie crust to go with this pie...who knew???

I had been wanting to make a tofu pumpkin pie for a few years now, but I had not been impressed with those I had seen out there. But this one took me by surprise. I think once you are a cook who is in the kitchen long enough you can pretty much read the ingredients, you can tell how it will go. Well this was one of those recipes. I knew by looking at it, that we were good to go. However, my daughter thought I was off my rocker when I told her I was trying a brand new recipe, sight untasted and moreso on thanksgiving. What kind of fool was I? Well, as it turned out not a fool at all. this, bar none was the best pie I had ever made. And not a soul knew it was made with tofu.

I then took this same recipe and made it at work and not one customer knew it had been made with tofu. Tofu gets a very bad rap. And here is what I tell folks who think tofu is bad tasting. 'Yes, it tastes like nothing if you eat it right out of the container, even I don't do that. Eating tofu is like eating a plain baked potato. Would you eat a baked potato with not one drop of anything on it? I think not. the same goes for tofu. You have to give it flavor. And don't blame the tofu, blame the person who made the dish, they probably did not know what they were doing with it and hence the bad rap.'

I am here to disprove that tofu tastes like nothing. So here goes and hold on to your boots, for you are going to be amazed. Thank you to VegWeb for this lovely dish

1-16 ounce can of pumpkin puree
3/4 cup sucanat, or sugar, or 1/2 cup maple syrup
1 (10-12) ounce package of silken tofu (firm)
2-3 T corn starch to firm of the pie filling
1 t each, ground allspice and cinnamon
1/2 t each, ground ginger and nutmeg
1/2 t salt
1/4 t ground cloves
1 (9 inch pie shell) (recipe to follow)
1) Preheat oven to 425
2) Blend the pumpkin and sugar. Thoroughly mix in tofu and spices.
3) Pour mixture into pie shell and bake for 15 minutes.
4) Lower heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 60 minutes. Let cool down before serving.

I do not recommend low fat tofu, this could be a disaster, but if you feel then need, then by all means do so. But it's pumpkin pie, have at it folks.

Savory Biscuits

Man do I have allot of catching up to do. I made quite a few new recipes over the holidays and even since then. I love trying new dishes. I just wish I could plan out a menu a bit better than I do. It's not that I do not have the time, I just need to get myself motivated enough to plan a menu. I know it is not that difficult and I surely have enough recipes to do just that, who knows, one day.

Now, on to this recipe. I love biscuits. always have...always will. My aunt and Nanny, use to make them from scratch. Please remember they were made in the true Southern tradition, with whole milk and lard. I will also openly admit that I do not think you can a truly healthy/vegan biscuit that will look like the ones in the commercials, but I will die trying. and even if not then I know mine are pretty darned close and I am AOK with that.

I have been scouring VegWeb lately and finding some terrific recipes. Do you want to know why? Well I am going to tell you. these recipes are submitted by folks like me and you. And they will review any given recipe and tell you how it is. I like honesty, even if it is critical. Yes, no one likes to have their dishes torn apart, but how are to ever learn how to improve on perfection.

These Savory Biscuits fit the bill this morning. I had all thee ingredients and that was all I needed. So off i went, up to my elbows in flour. But it was oh so worth it. With that said, let me get you the recipe.

2 T apple cider vinegar
1 cup non-dairy milk
1&2/3 unbleached white flour
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
5 t baking powder
1 t dried herbs (your choice)
1 t salt
5 T margarine (we used Earthbalance)
-Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
-For the buttermilk: To a measuring cup add the vinegar. Add the milk to fill the measuring cup to the 1 cup measure. Stir gently and let set for a minute or two to let curdle.
-In a bowl add flour, nutritional yeast flakes, baking powder, herbs and salt.
-Cut the margarine into the flour mixture until it is crumbly.
-Add the buttermilk to the flour mixture until if forms a ball of dough.
-On a lightly floured surface roll the dough to about 1 inch thickness. Cut biscuits with a sharp cutter** and place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet
-Bake at 450 for 10-12 minutes.
-Makes 12-14 biscuits
** This dough was a bit wet, so I kept sprinkling in a bit of flour just a little bit at a time, as not to over flour the recipe. I also took a small drinking glass and used that as my cutter. It worked perfectly. But to help it not to stick to the dough itself I had a small mound of flour to keep dipping the rim of the glass into so it would not stick. It worked perfectly.

These were fabulous biscuits and i can change them from savory to sweet with one fell swoop of an addition or eliminating of a few ingredients. Yowser!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What Do You Eat?

Being a vegetarian, I get this all the time. But moreso around the holidays that question seems to be a favorite to be asked by those who still have no clue what us veg-heads really truly do eat for dinner.

I mentioned this in a previous post that I volunteer at a local high school and talk to them about vegetarianism and how their meat gets to their table. I love the shock treatment every now and then. And I always tell them, that if they do not believe me, to look it up for themselves. I could not make this stuff up.

The one question that I got asked over and over was what will I be eating on Thanksgiving. Well for me, that is a no-brainer, I have been doing it for years, so I do not even think about it any longer. But for those who may be new to the whole vegetarian thing, just sit back and think about even a traditional Thanksgiving and what is on the table once you remove the dead flesh.

1) Green bean casserole
2) Mashed potatoes
3) Corn, on or off the cob
4) Sweet potatoes
5) Salad
6) Soup
7) Bread
8) Cranberries
9) Corn pudding
10) Pie
11) Ice cream
12) Cakes

So, as you can see, there is no lack of food at my table. And all of these dishes can be vegetized. Change the broth from meat based to veggie based. Use vegan butter over dairy butter. The list goes on. So when someone asks you what you eat at Thanksgiving...tell them, everything!!

Lentil Loaf

I recently had an event at my health food store where I work. We were given organic, free range turkeys to cook up and sample out. I was the designated vegetarian who made all the side dishes, showing people that you did not have to have a slab of dead flesh in the center of your table in order to have good food.

We were given samples of pre-packaged, instant gravy to use for our mashed potatoes. They were, luckily, vegan and gluten free. What I loved was the recipe on the back of one of the packages that was for Lentil Loaf. And I am always trying to perfect a mock meat loaf. Yeah, yeah, yeah, i know I will never completely achieve the same exact flavor, but I will keep on trying. And I have to say, this one is not all that bad. I will tweak it a bit, and it is not as close as our Skinny 'B' recipe, but not bad for being 100% non packaged foods. One for the naturalist in me.

I took the little package home and gave it a whirl. And moreso because I had all thee ingredients. So many nights i am flying by the seat of my pants. And luckily for us we do not need to thaw out any meat. And for the most part I have beans cooked in bulk and in the freezer. So for me to throw some frozen cooked beans in a pot of hot water while I get dinner ready is nothing. Shazam, we have dinner on the table. So let's get this recipe up and see how it rolls.

1 onion, diced
2T water
2 cups cooked lentils
1/2 cup ground walnuts
1 cup ground rolled oats
1 cup cooked barley or brown rice
1/2 cup pureed tomatoes
1/2 t each, garlic powder, rosemary, and basil
2T soy sauce
Cook onion with water for about 5 minutes in a saucepan until onion is tender. Combine cooked onions and all other ingredients in a large bowl. Pat mixture into an oiled loaf pan. Cover with tin foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 15 minutes. Serve with gravy and enjoy.

I found this a tad bland, but could be easily remedied by adding a bit more spice. And, I could taste the walnuts, don't know how to fix that one, but I will get it. This held together quite well and would make this again without evening thinking about it. try it, you will like it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Apple Crisp

This dish is a variation on a theme...thee apple pie. So many folks will but an apple but and I will give you that some of them may even be taste worthy, but nothing, and I mean nothing, can stand up to a homemade apple pie(or anything homemade for that matter).

But there are many a people who break out into a cold sweat at the thought of making a pie crust from scratch. And I will be the first to admit, that making them is not my forte. With that said, in walks the apple crisp family. there are so many different ways to do this one, that an entire book could most more than likely be written on this dish alone. however, you have not made the version made by Vegan in Louisiana for if you had, you would have flooded her blog or mine with many thanks.

I will be making this more often, that is for sure. It is quick and easy and oh such a comfort food. My first time making this of course was here at home, then I will be making it at a huge event at my job(Nutrition S'Mart) for Customer Appreciation Day. they will be making 2 organic turkeys, and I get to make all the side dishes. It is my hope, to show folks that you do not have to consume animal flesh in order to eat at 'any' holiday and you can still have a full plate with dishes that are traditional and meat free. And most folks have no clue you are feeding them vegan food until you mention it. that is why I do not say one word until they have eaten the dishes and then I pop the surprise on them. And then it hits them, that a vegetarian diet is do-able, you just have to think a bit more originally.

So on to this lovely dish.

8 cups of cored, peeled apples (about 10 apples)
1 cup raw sugar
1&1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1&1/4 cup quick oats
1 cup vegan butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Core and peel thee apples
  • Cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • Mix apples and raw sugar together and spread evenly into a 9x12 baking dish
  • Add the butter to the flour
  • Mix together with hands until well blended, it needs to be crumbly
  • Add the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt
  • Mix together with hands until all ingredients are well blended, this too will be crumbly
  • Sprinkle the topping over the apple mixture, it does not have to be pretty
  • Bake at 375 for 45 minutes
  • Cool on rack for 20 minutes

I cut this recipe in half for my first time making it at home. B-I-G mistake. I may never make an apple pie again. this is so comfy and cozy, and you can even add a scoop of your favorite ice cream alternative and have at it. Take that to all you who think vegan food is just sticks and cardboard. Neener neener, I have a great dessert and don't have to share!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Raw Brownie

I found this like I always do, when I am looking for a new dish to teach at my raw food class where I work. I have had this saved for quite a while, but never got around to using it, but I finally got my butt moving and made it. So glad I did.

Do not think all warm and fuzzy with this, for you will not get it. what you will get is something so close you will be able to fool others.

1 cup ground pecans
1 cup chopped dates (not soaked)
1/4-1/3 cup raw cacao powder
1 t agave nectar or honey if you prefer
Process the pecans and cacao powder together in a food processor. In a separate bowl add chopped dates and agave/honey. I prefer to chop my dates by hand. As messy and time consuming as this is, it is my preference. Most everything else is fine in the processor, but I like to chop dates by hand. Just my thing.

Add your pecans to the bowl with your dates and agave/honey. This is your your bicep workout comes into play. You are going to have to work this allot. Did I mention allot? Once you get all thee ingredients worked together really well, then mash them into your glass baking pan. I pressed it down with my knuckles when I balled up my fist. But if you have anything with a flat bottom, then use it to smooth out the top of the brownies. It gives it a nice look and a bit more presentable, other than seeing knuckle imprints on the top of your brownie mold.

I suggest putting it in the fridge for about an hour. Just so it sets up. These are joyful and cut quite nicely. I may be having to add these to my holiday table. Yay to raw food.

Raw Cranberry Salad

Well, it is getting to be that time of year again...the dreaded holidays. I have to admit, that I still enter them with a bit of trepidation, but only because we have been so ingrained to believe that any meal, and especially Thanksgiving cannot continue without a slab of dead flesh. I am here to prove those folks wrong.

I recently volunteered at a local high school and talked to them about vegetarianism and told them some startling numbers about meat-eaters and cancer. I also told them their parents would say that I was a whack job. But that they did not have to believe me, do the research. And that is my new motto now. If you don't believe me, go see for yourself. For most of these numbers are form our own AMA or ACA, so I don't need to make this stuff up.

So as I was talking to these kids, the one big question was,'What 'DO' you eat?', and my tried and true answer was,'Everything you don't.', which always gets them thinking. For like many people out there, most folks do not have a varied diet, and if they would make a food diary, they would see that. So, I used Thanksgiving as an example. I asked them to think about the Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving portrait, but they all looked at me like I was Medusa, meaning that not one student knew who Normal Rockwell was...Google him.

With that said, I told them to envision a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, but, we were going to take away the turkey. Now, tell me what is left on the table. Well these little dynamos were able to rattle off names of food in a matter of seconds a minimum of a half a dozen dishes that were meat free and that all of those dishes could not possibly fit on my plate all at once, so, 'I' was going to have to go back for seconds, possibly thirds, and that was only because I stopped them from naming 'side dishes'. I showed them that their side dishes became my main dishes. And then it hit them that anyone, not just me, could easily survive at Thanksgiving and never eat a dead animal. Eureka!!

Now, on to this brilliant dish that one of my bosses gave me. We will be using this at my job for our upcoming Customer Appreciation Day where we will be serving organic turkeys and a plethora of side dishes that yours truly will be making. So any and all side dishes will be vegetarian if nothing else. And this little gem is for the raw foodists out there. This is to die for and it will most definitely be on my Thanksgiving table for sure.

1 container of cranberries (8-16 ounces)(frozen is all right if fresh is not available)
2 navel oranges, peeled and roughly chopped
1-2 red delicious apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
Raw honey or agave to taste (start with 1 tablespoon and work your way up)
Make sure you have washed all fruits and dump them into your food processor. If your honey is hardened, then you can easily melt it in a double broiler type set up as not to bring above 118 degrees. Once your sweetener is ready, add to processor and hit your pulse button...if you have one. If you do not, then do not turn on your processor and walk away, you want this salad to have some consistency, but small enough that is not quite minced, but pretty darned close.

Play with the size of chunks you are willing to eat and let it be done. This is better if done the day before, for the sugar will draw out some of the water and make it a bit soupier. I may never cook a cranberry ever again.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Raw Taco

I recently had the pleasure of attending a vegetarian festival in Orlando Florida. The Orlando Veg-Fest is a mecca of vegetarians who are there to have a good time and of course eat til your hearts content. I also was able to ride over there with some really good friends and meet another friend there. with that said, me and Hank went about trying to eat every food available. We nearly succeeded. We decided to split all the dishes. So one of us would purchase the first dish and the other one would purchase the second dish until we were full.

However, we ran out of time before we ran out of money or empty stomachs. Hank had a bicycle race to get to, so he had to cut out a bit earlier than he truly wanted. Bummer, for I had more food to taste.

The first dish that graced our palettes was a raw taco. Now I am extremely open to new foods and new ways of preparing them. But I am also a bit skeptical when something claims to be so close to its traditional dish. But I was up for it. The taco was purchased, split with Hank and instantly regretted that action. Oh, not the eating of the taco, the sharing of it with Hank. Next year he is own his own, i ma in never sharing a raw taco with anyone, ever again.

I then knew that I wanted to make these delicious little roll-ups, so I asked one of the girls behind the food counter if I could have the recipe for I taught raw food classes back in Port Saint Lucie. She gladly gave me her email address and said that I could email her and she would be happy to give it to me. I got home and set the card aside running into a busy week. I kept saying I would email her, but I just kept putting it off.

Then I was looking through one of the little magazines that I get at my place of work, Delicious Living and saw raw food on the front cover. Then it hit me, I had seen a raw taco recipe in there. I could not flip to that page fast enough. I had no idea what was in the taco I had tasted at the festival, but I know that this recipe had to be a variation on a theme. I was willing to give it a go.

This is a dish I have not regretted form the get go. I was in pure heaven as I ate these again. I was transported back to the festival and also elated that I could now make these on my own and still feel confident serving these to guests. Now most folks would have a hard time seeing these as a main entree, but we were very happy eating them as such.

So enough with my babbling, let me post this lovely little recipe and see how simple it is to make and even easier to eat.

Cilantro-Cashew Cheeze(makes 1 cup)
1&1/2 t garlic (about 2 cloves)
1/2 t sea salt
1 cup raw cashews
2&1/2 T fresh lemon juice (1 lemon)
1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup filtered water
Ground Walnut Meat (makes 1 cup)
1 cup raw walnuts
1&1/2 t ground cumin
1&1/2 t ground coriander
1/2 t liquid aminos, tamari or soy sauce
Pinch of salt to taste
to make cheeze: Place garlic and salt in a food processor; process into small pieces. Add cashews and process into a paste. Add lemon juice, cilantro, and water; process to mix well. Set Aside.

To make walnut meat: Place walnuts, cumin, coriander, liquid aminos, and salt in a food processor. Process into small pieces until the mixture looks like ground meat; be careful not to over process into a butter.

Spread 2 tablespoons cheeze down the inside spine of each romaine leaf. Sprinkle with 2 Tablespoons walnut meat. Add salsa and avocado slices. Wrap and serve.

I could eat this fro breakfast...oh yeah, being a raw foodist means there are no meal boundaries. Eat what you want...when you want and enjoy always!!!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Teff Banana Pancakes

Well here is the second recipe I made at the gluten free event I attended. So many people find pancakes to be a comfort food...and they are. I could eat pancakes every day, that is how much I love them. And there is no one style I like better than others. So when I needed to find one that could satisfy and still be good enough for gluten free folks, I knew I had a challenge in front of me.

Usually I make all my dishes at home before releasing them onto my unsuspecting public, but this was one of those dishes I knew(hopefully) that I would not mess up. It paid off. The recipe was a hit and turned out picture perfect. I think there was one person in the back that cried, for he had not had pancakes in such a long time. So this is for all those folks who have had to give up a very important comfort food.

2T flax seeds, ground
2 bananas, ripe (or ripened, frozen and thawed out)
1&1/2 cups vanilla milk (soy, almond, hemp, rice)
1T vanilla
1T honey
1&1/2 t olive oil
1&1/2 cups teff flour (Teff is a grass grown in Ethiopia)
1T baking powder
1/2 t sea salt
1/2 t cinnamon
Grind flax seed (or use pre-ground flax seed, more commonly known as flax meal) in a coffee grinder, until powdery. In a medium bowl add banana, vanilla, milk, honey, and 1/2 oil. Blend well.

In a large mixing bowl, combine teff flour, baking powder, sea salt, and cinnamon. Stir in banana-milk mixture.

Heat your skillet or griddle to a medium heat. Using tablespoon measure, scoop up the batter and pour on to hot griddle. Cook pancakes for 3-4 minutes, or until holes appear, or a dry rim forms around thee outer edge of the pancakes. Flip and cook for another minute or two. Serve plain or with syrup or yogurt.

These were fantastic and I would be hard pressed for anyone to tell me these were not traditional pancakes. Make them and see for yourself.

Quinoa Tabouleh with Chickpeas

I suddenly realized how long it has been since I posted any new recipes and it is pitiful. this was a dish I found when I was asked to make a couple of dishes about gluten free. I know a little bit about gluten free issues, but not so much so that I could teach a class about it. However, I can talk about cooking.

The lady who puts together the calender at the health food store
I work in asked me to find a dish or two to make at a special event, and this one struck a cord, only because Tabbouleh is such a traditional dish in the Mediterranean diet but is made with cracked wheat. Not good if you are adhering to a gluten free diet. In comes quinoa (pronounced keen-wah). Other than changing the wheat to quinoa, this dish is pretty much like the traditional tabbouleh, but this was oh-so-good. So now, on to the recipe.

1 cup white quinoa, drained and rinsed
1&3/4s water, boiling
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1T lemon juice
1T white wine vinegar
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
4-6 green onions, thinly sliced
1 medium cucumber, seeded and chopped
1 cup canned chick peas (make your own whenever possible)
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup chopped mint (or 1/4 cup if mint is dried)(spearmint is preferable)
Rinse and drain the quinoa. Bring the water and 1/2 t salt to a boil. Add the quinoa, and reduce the heat to low. Cover pan, and simmer until grains are dry, fluffy and tender and the white germ ring shows, about 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the olive oil (olive oil being added last) lemon juice, vinegar, 1/2 t salt and black pepper to taste. Stir into the hot, cooked quinoa(for better absorption flavor). Transfer to a bowl, and let cool. If refrigerating, bring to room temperature before adding thee other ingredients. Combine the tomatoes, green onions, cucumber, chickpeas, parsley, and mint and let stand for 30 minutes to soften slightly. Add to the quinoa and toss gently.

This was a wonderful alternative to the traditional tabbouleh. And can easily be served and for those with gluten issues they can still enjoy the best of both worlds and us traditionalists miss out on nothing.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Raw Kale Salad

Now I know what you must be thinking, all salad are raw. Not entirely. If you add cheese, eggs, croutons, bottled dressing, roasted peppers, then you have just 'killed' your living salad. With that said, you will need to make your own dressing and for the most part form scratch. Not as difficult as you might think. And I found this lovely gem in Alissa Cohen's book Living on Live Food. Which is a wonderful book. I plan on purchasing this myself on my next paycheck.

The book is broken down into three different sections, so to say. there is the informational section, the in's and out's of raw food. then there is the testimonial section, with before and after photos. then there is the recipe section. My boss let me borrow the book to find some new recipes, and find them I did, and just hours before my shift at work. Nothing like being a last minute Larry. But it worked out wonderfully. And what people kept asking me the most was, 'What is this dressing?' Well low and behold, there was no dressing, it was incorporated into the salad already. What a concept.

So...without further adieu, let's get on to this salad recipe.

1 head kale, shredded (I prefer lacinato)
1 cup tomato diced
1 cup avocado (About 2 Haas)(make sure they are ripe, or this will be a bit difficult)
2&1/2 T olive oil
1&1/2 T lemon juice
1 t Celtic sea salt (I used regular sea salt)
1/2 t cayenne pepper (do not omit, you will regret it)
Rinse and dry the kale. Remove any woody stems. If need be, slice the kale down the middle so you do not have large pieces of greens going into your salad. Place a few leaves on top of each other and shred as thin as possible. Do this until all your kale is shredded.

In another bowl, chop your tomato and set aside.

In a large bowl add all your other ingredients. Squish together all ingredients until the avocado is thoroughly mixed in with all ingredients. There may still be a few tiny lumps in there, but very few. Now takes a handful of kale and add to the dressing, squeezing the kale until the dressing is coating the kale. Now grab another handful of kale and do the same. Keep doing this until all the kale is mixed with the dressing.

Take the tomatoes and add to the kale salad. You can either toss them into the salad itself or leave them on top. I prefer them to be gently tossed in. That way they will have the dressing on them as well.


I had so many customers loving this, even if they were not raw foodists. They realized that they were able to, with this recipe not have to worry about bottled dressing. Who knew!!!???

Friday, September 3, 2010

Feta Schmeta

Well, I have struck gold once again. And all thanks to Sarah Kramer and her How it all Vegan book. I tell everyone that I meet, that his is my proverbial cooking bible. I would be lost without this book. It is simple and using ingredients that are found, for the most part, in your everyday grocery store. Do not get me wrong, there may be one or two ingredients that you may have to get at your local health food store, but that is not a bad thing.

I went looking for this because I have made the final leap to letting go of cheese. I know for the most part, cheese is made with rennet, which is the lining of an animals stomach. Mostly a cows stomach, but I have recently found out that it can come from a pigs as well as a sheep's. So, I am choosing to not eat the cheese. Letting go of cheese was my final hurdle to veganism. But I shall prevail. With that said, please enjoy the simplicity of this dish and make it often. I know I will.

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 t salt
1 T dried basil
1/2 t pepper
1/2 t dried oregano
1 pkg firm herb tofu, cubed or crumbled(we used plain tofu)
In a large bowl, mix together the oil, water, vinegar, salt, basil, pepper and oregano. Marinade the tofu in the mixture for at least one hour or more. Makes aprox. 1/2 cups.

I did mine a wee bit differently. I put all thee ingredients into the food processor and whirled them together. I did not massacre them, I just blended them together long enough to get the ingredients mixed thoroughly. Worked fine for me. This dish was incredible. I took some to work today and one of my co-workers said she had made it and it tasted like butt (she used an entirely different word), and I told her that she had to try mine. She did and was then in love with me, telling me how she could actually bathe in that stuff. Suffice it to say, the dish was a smash hit. This will be made often in my home.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Raw Pancake

Folks...when I tell you I am enjoying these new raw recipes, do not take me lightly. For i love cooking food. Yes, I am one of those freaks who can stay in the kitchen all day and not mind one little bit. And that goes for the dish washing as well.

With that said, I stumbled on this little dish over at The Bee's Knees Kitchen. This was so simple I nearly cried. There is one tiny glitch. It wasn't a problem for me, for i am use to flax seeds. But for those of you who may not be aware of their gelatinous state when mixed with a liquid, then please prepare yourself. Didn't stop me from gobbling this pancake down. And even my daughter gave it a taste. She is not into the raw thing, but still gave it a thumbs sideways. Not bad...I think.

1 cup ground flax seeds or 3/4 cup whole (I prefer ground)
2 bananas
1&1/2 T agave or maple syrup
1T cinnamon
1t nutmeg
1/2 t allspice
1/2 t cloves
Grind the flax seeds using your 'S' blade on your food processor or magic bullet until a meal forms(we used our coffee grinder). Empty into a medium sized bowl. Blend the rest of the ingredients and empty into the bowl with the flax meal. Lightly fold the mixture together and let sit for 5 minutes while you prepare the fruit topping. This will allow the flax meal to become a bit thicker.

EDIT IN: It would be nice if I gave thee assembly instructions. I must be losing my mind. Divide the thick, sticky cinnamon pancake batter in half over 2 plates, or pie plates. We have a plethora of pie plates, so we used them. Using a spatula, smooth out the surface into a round circular pancake form. Top with your fruit mixture of choice. Drizzle with honey, maple syrup or agave nectar.

For your fruit topping, you do not have to be a rocket scientist. Cut up some fruit, sprinkle with some sweetener, if you so desire and have at it. Make this, you will be smiling a bit more because of it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Stephanie's Asteroids

I was looking for a new recipe for work. Since I cook at my new job at Nutrition S'Mart, our local health food store, I am always making one main dish, or side dish, and always have a dessert of some sort. But this week I was bamboozled as to to make for the dessert end of the dishes. I try to make something that is easy, quick, tasty and what people can recognize. Who wants a recipe with 18 ingredients, that they will only use once. So I go for the stick to your ribs kind of meals...dessert included.

With that said, please hold on to your hats, for this dish is simple stupid. Even my bachelors can make this. And want to know that kicker? You know you want to know. There is NO BAKING involved. You got it. All you have to do is melt down some ingredients and Viola! Dang it's good to be me.

I got this recipe form Sarah Kramers La Dolce Vegan book. My kids got this for me for Christmas last year. I had cracked the book but had not really gone through it. Big mistake on my part. This is a very eclectic book of recipes she has collected from friends and readers. How cool is that? Try these and tweak them where needed, I know I do.

1&1/2 cups quick oats (we used rolled oats)
1 t ground cinnamon
2 T shredded coconut, unsweetened
1 cup sugar (I would go 3/4 next time)
1/4 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
1/4 cup milk (can use soy, rice or almond)
In a medium bowl, combine the oatmeal, cinnamon and coconut and set aside. In a small pot on medium heat, heat the sugar, peanut butter, and milk until soft and smooth, stirring often to avoid burning. Pour peanut sauce into oats and stir until well blended. Form mixture into balls on a plate or cookie sheet. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving. Makes 8 large or 16 small Asteroids.

These are so yummy and with a taste that brings you back to your childhood of homemade peanut butter cookies, minus the heat of the oven. Make them, you will thank me in the morning.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mashed Potatoes - NOT

I found this recipe quite by accident. Where I work, (Nutrition S'Mart) there is a small little raw food book that is a great introduction to the raw food world. What I mean by that is, it is simple, and easy read, common ingredients, and the instruction lines are three lines at the most. Now who cannot get into a recipe that has only three lines of instructions. I am all over that one.

The name of the book is Rapid Raw and it is loaded with tons of recipes. Oh, by the way, we sell it at the store but are currently waiting for the latest shipment. From soup to nuts. No really, I mean that. One day when I was having a slow moment at work I was scouring through the book and this one dish caught my eye. I love cauliflower. And I had no idea just how versatile it truly was until I started messing around in the raw world.
Try this recipe and see what you think.

2 avocados (they need to be EXTREMELY ripe, or this recipe will not work)

1 cauliflower head, chopped

1/4 cup lemon juice, (about 2 lemons)

1 sweet onion, chopped (I used a half of one for it was huge)

1 t salt

1/4 cup nutritional yeast


Wait for it....Process all ingredients in a food processor until smooth and creamy. All right, there is a bit more to it than that, and here is what I have found. I process the cauliflower down to the consistency of cous cous. Transfer it to the bowl you will be serving it in and then process thee other ingredients...THEN put back the processed cauliflower. If you do not do it this way, you will be doing ALLOT more bowl scraping and time is of thee essence with this dish.
After my husband ate this version (my first attempt tanked badly) he mentioned that this could also go as a guacamole dish, all you have to do is add some tomatoes. And you do not even have to inform your unsuspecting public what is in the dish. then when they are raving about it, tell them cauliflower has been added, and watch their faces. Yes, I have a streak of evil-ness in my blood.
Me at my raw food class preparing said dish.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Vegan Kibbeh

For those of you who may not be familiar with Middle Eastern food, may I make a suggestion? TRY IT! I was introduced to Middle Eastern cuisine way back in 1991 when my husband found some long lost relatives. If I had to choose one ethnic food to eat from, it would be the Mediterranean food. Their dishes are very vegetarian friendly. And I just discovered how I can veganize one of my favorite meat dishes of theirs. Man am I a happy camper now.

This is a bit on the time consuming part, but trust me it is well worth it and your friends will be impressed. Here is the original recipe for the meat version of Kibbeh. And if you have not visited the Middle Eastern recipe site I have on this blog, then please do so. these are the real deal and looks like it could have come from someones kitchen. I know for I have witnessed their food making first hand.

Thee only thing I changed was I used Gimme Lean Ground Beef style meat substitute. And man was it a winner. But the real critic was to be my son. He is not a vegetarian and my mother-in-law brings him a few kibbehs when she does make them for she knows how much he loves them. So when I made mine, I hoped he wold like them so I could make them at a family dinner. Well low and behold he actually loved them. So I now have another veggie dish I can serve my son. I will convert him yet.

You can add some Hummus to the table along with some Arabic Pickled Turnips. We had some carrot salad and away we went. It was a delicious meal. You could also have some yogurt, vegan or not on the side to dip your kibbeh in. I dipped mine in my hummus. Good times at the Cooking Lady's house.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Juicing With The Juice Daddy

Well here I am talking about one of my favorite people. I am going to be doing this in many of my upcoming posts. What is ti, you may ask, that I am referring to, well I am going to tell you. There are people in this world, (in the health realm) that inspire and make you take a look at what you are doing, or there lack of, in the world of nutrition. Meaning, what is it that you are doing to make your temple...AKA your body, a better place to live?

If you sat down and wrote a daily diary of your food intake and your activity level (notice I did not say exercise), how would you rate? On a scale of 1-10, where would you fall? 1 being the least healthy and labeled a couch potato, or a 10, where you are doing some form of movement on a near daily basis, and putting into your moth the best possible food imaginable. I am not a 10 yet, but I am working on it for sure.

This man, and if you have not heard of Jay Kordich, then let me introduce you to him. I found about him the first time I was a vegetarian and then I began to juice, but not nearly as much as i should. That was back in 1992-ish. Fast forward to 2010. the man is 87. Go on take a look at him. How many men or women do you know that look that good at 87. Heck, how many people do you know look that good at 50...40, or even 30?

The man cured himself of pancreatic cancer back in the late 40's. He had a promising career in Pro Football, but got way-laid by this so called disease that was most definitely going to not only end his career, but end his life. And yet, here he is a testament to how diet alone changed his life, AND saved it as well.

My juicer is ancient, and I do not juice half as much as i should, but like I have stated in so many of my posts. I am on a journey of better health. Please join me and go visit Jay on his website, where you can sign up for free emails. And when you do that, you can download a fee ebook for free. I want to look that good and feel that good at 87. We all know it is possible. You do not have to carry around a suitcase of medications to be able to live. that my friend is not living. It is your doctor telling you that if you do not take these pills you will feel bad and not get better. WRONGO!

There are so many people now bucking the tried and true system and taking their health into their own hands. And they are feeling better for it and not lugging around a gallon size freezer bag of medications and a computer sheet filled with meds that you need to hand to each and every new doctor. you go to. Doctors are there for a necessity, but most of them would be out of business if we all get well. Think about that one for a minute. You get better and where does that leave them. Not riding around in that little red corvette.

Do the research, see for yourself what is out there. And DO NOT be afraid to take your health into your own hands. You will thank yourself for it in about 30 some-odd years.

Jay Kordich And Why He Juices

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


If you have not read The Skinny Bitch, then please find a copy and do so. But if the title alone has not given you a fore-warning as to its content, then let me warn you now. It is not for the faint of heart. In other words, if you do not like being told the truth about your diet and or what you are putting in your moth in an in-your-face kind of way, then by all means, do not pick this book up.

These two women tell it like it is. And for most people that is too much. There will always be those people who say, 'Well if I don't know where it comes from then it doesn't bother me.' Really? What if folks had felt that way about Hitler, where would we be today. Being passive is not going to make the changes that need to be made in our food realm. Get yourself educated and see what is really going on in the cattle and dairy industry. You may find out that our government who is supposed to be protecting our food supply, is letting it be altered to the point of not being recognized. But that is for another post.

Now, on to this delicious recipe.
  • 1T refined coconut oil, plus more for the pan (we now use this oil all the time)
  • 1 carrot, cut into 1/4 inch dice (I would shred or grate next time)
  • 1 celery stalk, cut into 1/4 dice
  • 1 onion, cut into 1/4 dice
  • 3 ounces mushrooms, your choice, cut in 1/4 inch dice (about 2 cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 t sea salt
  • 1 t pepper
  • 2 slices vegan whole wheat bread
  • 1 cup toasted almonds
  • 2 (14 ounce) package Gimme Lean ground beef style
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup catsup
  • 2 T chopped parsley


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Oil a 10x4x3 inch loaf pan (or anything you have).

In an 8-10 skillet, over medium heat, melt the oil. Add the carrots and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, garlic, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are crisp-tender and any liquid the mushrooms have released is cooked off, about 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the bread and walnuts, pulsing to form a coarse meal. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and add the 'beef', oats, catsup, parsley, and the vegetable mixture. Use your hands to mix well. Transfer the loaf mixture to the prepared pan, spread it into an even layer, and bake for 45 minutes, until tip of a knife inserted into the center, comes out piping hot.

Sweet Mother of Abraham Lincoln. this is bar none, of of the best mock meat loaves I have ever eaten. Make it, eat it and then make some more.

Decadent Brownies

My lovely daughter found these brownies via The Food Network. Now, there is not much I do watch on that network, but I highly suggest people do indeed watch them and for many reasons.

We actually love Paula Deen. Why you may ask, well I will tell you. My heritage, on my mother's side at least, is rooted deep in Georgia. So for me to sit and listen to her is like a slice of heaven. And trust me when I say she is thee epitome of Southern Hospitality and the real deal I might add.

And you can always pick up a cooking tip or a gadget you may like to try or a new spice or a spice you did not know how to use. the possibilities are endless.s So pick a show and go for it.

But my daughter and I will see a recipe she has made and see how far we can veganize (I made that word up, so it is a real word now) it. Then we try our version and see if it works and if we like it. We may need to tweak it or it may not be salvageable. But we don't know until we try.

With that said, try these brownies. My daughter made the first batch like the recipe stated but the second batch was so much better and so much healthier as well.

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup vegan margarine
4 large eggs (we used our own substitute. Use what works for you all)
2 cups sugar
1 t vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13x9 inch baking pan.

Melt the chocolate and margarine on low and stir every 30 seconds or so until the chocolate is completely melted. Add your egg substitute, sugar, and vanilla extract and mix well with a spatula. Add the flour and stir to combine. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Bake for 25 minutes.

When cool, cut into 1&1/2 inch squares and store in the fridge in a plastic container. Really, you have got to be kidding me. There were no left overs to save. Guess we double batch next time.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Eating Abroad

For those of us who have chosen a healthier life style, it now becomes more difficult to eat out. Yep, restaurants would rather shovel us a bunch of garbage and make a higher profit, then offer something healthy. But here is a website that can help you navigate your way around any unknown city.

I myself try to pack as much food as I possibly can, but that is not always do-able. So when you cannot drag your food with you, this is a place that can hopefully help you out in a pinch. If I had only known about this site before I went to Tampa last week, my trip would have been so much less stressful. But now i know for my next visit and for my upcoming trip to Orlando in November.

The site I am referring to is Happy Cow. It is so nice to be able to punch in most any city and find at least a handful of places to get something. But it much more then just a directory. there is a recipe section, community section and so much you can surf for. So give them a gander and enjoy the site. I know I do.

Corn Fritters

I have no clue how I found this young woman, Vegan in Louisiana, but I am loving her recipes. They are simple and for the most part, easy to make. And even though I love being in the kitchen, there is nothing like a simple yet delicious recipe. Well here you have it folks. So dig in and try these. You will not regret it one little bit.

And before you say it, yeah, I know they are not super healthy, for they are fried, but hey, I don't smoke, I don't drink so I fry foods once in a while.

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
3/4 t salt
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t Tony Chacheres or Old Bay Seasoning (I had neither so I used a Mrs. Dash blend)
1/4 t cumin
1/4 t paprika
1/2 cup soy or rice milk (we used almond)
1/4 cup water
1&1/2 -2 cups fresh corn(I had bough a bunch a while back and cut it off the cob and froze it. I am a genius)
1-2T oil for frying
Combine flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder, Mrs Dash, cumin and paprika in a bowl. Add milk and water to dry ingredients and whisk until combined.
Fold in corn.
Heat skillet with oil to med-high heat. When oil is hot, spoon out fritters, about 1 T at a time and flatten with the back of a spoon. Cook until golden brown. (Edges will turn brown and bubbles will form on top, similar to pancakes)
Flip and cook again. Drain on paper towel and enjoy.

These are a keeper for sure. They were simple, easy and a wonderful comfort food.

Supposed To Be Poppyseed Muffins

I swear I had poppy seeds in my pantry, but low and behold...I did not. So, these muffins turned into raisin muffins. But they turned out great all the same. Just no blinking poppy seeds. Pffft!

I needed a pick me up, for we had not made any new recipes in quite a while, but I found this one in the first vegetarian book that was ever given to me. The New Laurel's Kitchen. That was back in 1992. Stop counting!

This is one of those comfort books that you find on your Nanny's bookshelf after she has passed away and you find out this is where she kept all her tried and true recipes. this is a book that can be handed down form generation to generation. I love this book. Now, on to the recipe.

1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup boiling water
2&3/4 cups rolled oats (about)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2&1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/4 t nutmeg
2 eggs (I used applesauce)
2T oil or butter (I used coconut oil)
1/4 cup honey(I used honey...that was meant to be funny)
1 cup milk (we used almond)
2 T poppy seeds (WE HAD NONE)
2 t grated lemon zest (we had dried so we cut it to 1 t)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan. (We used our jumbo tin so we made 6 instead of 12)
Soak raisins 5 minutes in 1/4 cup boiling water. Chop coarsely in a blender or by hand. ( left them whole.
Make the oats into a coarse flour in a blender or food processor(if using a blender, do it 1/2 at a time). You will need 2 cups of coarse flour.
Put oat flour in bowl and sift in the other dry ingredients. Beat eggs, oil, and honey together, then stir in the milk, raisins and water, poppy seeds, and lemon zest.
Add dry ingredients to liquid ones, stirring just enough to mix well. Spoon into muffin pans and bake for about 15 minutes.(my oven was 18 minutes) The muffins will be a sunny yellow (mine were not) on top and a delicate brown on the bottom when done.

These were great, even without the poppy seeds. But they just went on the list for next week.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Falafel Queen

I started out wanting to make hummus, but they cooked little devils of deliciousness turned into delectable balls of goodness, more commonly known as Falafel. But for those of you who have not checked out the Middle Eastern Site on my side bar, please do so. Those recipes are are extremely genuine, so check them out.

But tonight I made the Falafel and man oh man, these little guys came out great, but I did have to adapt the recipe, for I did not have any fava beans, and my chick peas were already cooked and the recipe called for soaked chick peas. I love improvising.

Original Recipe

Thee only thing I did differently was not add fava beans, and I used 3/4 cup of garbanzo flour and also added 1/2 cup whole wheat flour.

These little things were so delicious that I even amazed myself. they were oh so simple to make. So give them a try, whether you make them as is or my variation. Or tweak it to your home/kitchen. Whatever works.

You can use any tahini dipping sauce you like. I just took some Greek yogurt, added some tahini and some crushed garlic and salt to my taste and there you have it. this meal is a no brainer for sure.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Healthy Quotes

I have been scouring the web and moreso after watching Food Matters...again.

But here are some Healthy Quotes I found on Dr Saul's Website.

If you have not seen this film, then please do yourself a grand favor and rent it...go see it somewhere. And then tell me that doctors, hospitals, pharmaceuticals are not all bed partners and not trying to make us well at all. For if we got better, they would be out of business. Think about that for a moment and then let it sink in.

This is my second time watching this film and I will watch it 2 more times before I send it back via Netflix. It is one of those films I could watch over and over again. And for those who still think that what the food industry is telling what they are selling you is healthy, then please take off the blinders and see what is really going on. they are LYING to you. Trust me on this one.

You do not have to be a rocket scientist to see that you are what you eat and the pulling up to a fast food joint is the way to go. I had someone ask me, "Well isn't it more expensive to eat healthy?" And that may be true, but only in dollars. I would gladly forgo a movie to put better food in my families stomachs. I may be paying now, but you will be paying later on when you develop cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and so many more I cannot name. I will not be plagued by those diseases, because i have made my choices now and chose not to be filled with pills for every little ache and pain, for I will not have those aches and pains you will be getting.

And yet no one can truly believe that disease can be cured by what you eat all by itself. What a concept. If you think it is hog-wash, then eat super healthy for a week, then go back to you tried and true ways and see how much better your body feels. But remember, you may go through a time of detox, and that is when so many people will say, "But I felt worse." Well yes, because your body was letting go of all the toxins you had been stuffing inside, so it had to come out somehow. Be patient and diligent, it will get better.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Raw Apple Pie

I found this recipe while searching for dishes for my next raw food class. This is easy, inexpensive and no oven needed. My family was not to shab on the crust, but it was more a texture thing and not a taste thing. But I will make it again for sure. I think we have been just so use to a smooth crust that they have to get use to the new style of crust. Their plates were still cleaned. Hah!!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Knick-Knack Paddywhack...

...give a dog a bone. Let's talk about bones for a moment. I talked about protein in a prior post and I will be going into more detail with more information as I learn about the misconceptions we have been led to believe about calcium and protein.

I rarely if ever pay full price for any of may books. Whether I purchase them at flea markets, garage sales, at the withdrawn/reduced section at the library, thrift shops, or on Amazon. I like to find bargains. And believe you me, the bargains are out there, you just have to look.

I stumbled upon a book called The Complete Idiot's Guide to Being a Vegetarian , and if you have ever wanted information for yourself or that skeptical aunt who still tries to tell you that you still need to eat meat at every Thanksgiving, even thought you have been a veg-head for more than 7 years, then this is the book for you. I have even learned tons of interesting things to inform my readers with. It was information I knew 'of', but not 'about'. Now I know.

I recently watched an hour long video from John McDougall (which I will be posting here in an upcoming post) and everything he said in the video is here in this book. This book was published in 1999. The McDougall was made in 2006...I believe. What keeps striking me most is that after listening to so many people about our over proteining ourselves, via meat and or dairy, that folks would still not see the light. That meat and dairy are causing way more harm than good, without a doubt.

I knew a little bit of information about the ratio of protein to calcium and that if it was out of proportion that it would be detrimental to our bones. And it is. We have been led to believe that we need animal protein to stay health. A more falsehood has never been spewed by a industry so powerful as the cattle industry. And the dairy industry is a real close second.

Let me give you a bit from the book I am reading:

Dogs do it.
Deer do it.
Even chipmunks and raccoons do it.
They all produce milk for their babies. Cows do it too. So do humans. Fifty percent of them, anyway.

But dogs don't drink chipmunk's milk. And deer don't drink raccoons milk.

That's because milk is species specific. Each species' milk is tailor-made for its own kind. So how on Earth did people start drinking milk from cows? Even adult cows don't drink cow's milk. And if we drink cow's milk why stop there? Why not drink dog's milk? Or bear's milk?

This is just a sample of the theory behind why we are not designed to drink milk from another mammal. I had this discussion with a dear friend of mine and her question was, 'Why then, were cows put here, if not to feed us?' Heck, for that matter, why are we here? I do not have thee answer. We are humans, they are not. And when I teach or talk to people, I ask them every single time, 'Would you drink elephants milk, whales milk, are any other animal's milk?' And usually thee answer is no. And my next question to them, is why not? Usually they do not have an answer, or they give me the one I am looking for. 'We are not that animal.' BINGO!

This is what I have tried to explain to my friend for a long time (even though at the time I myself was still consuming dairy), is that we were made to drink milk, yes, but from humans, not other animals.

As I kept reading into the whole calcium thing, I learned what I had been wanting to know for the longest time. Consuming extra dairy has not improved our problem with osteoporosis, not one little bit.

And you want to know why we are still getting osteoporosis, well here is the deal:

Protein form plant sources does not have the same effect on you as protein form animal sources. That's because protein form animal sources are have more sulfur-containing amino acids. Now, that is getting a little technical. Suffice it to say that the sulfur in animal products contributes greatly to the acid condition of the blood, which makes the bones lose more calcium. The sulfur also has an effect on the kidneys that causes more calcium to be lost in the urine.

The amount of protein in your diet probably has a great bearing on the health of your bones than thee amount of calcium in your diet.

As you can plainly see, consuming meat and or dairy is not something that is helpful to our systems. But most people will either not believe that or think it has any merit. I choose to believe the part of the medical community who has actually done the research and taken the time to get themselves more that the standard 8 hours of nutritional knowledge they receive in medical school. More on that in an upcoming post.

Like McDogall says multiple times in his video, 'If you don't believe me, go find thee information yourself, it is out there.' And that is just what I am doing.

Grape-Nut Bars

Another recipe under my belt. sha-BAM! I seriously hope I can keep up this trend. I love experimenting with foods. I love being in the kitchen and seeing the looks on peoples faces when they bite into that dish and savor the flavor. When I am in the kitchen, I am in my element. That is not to say I am by any means a chef. I am a cook and one that is still not comfortable with either winging it or flying by the seat of my pants. That was my mothers strong point. She could open a refrigerator and make something out of a supposed nothing.

Well here I am making a sweet dish and this fits the bill. Now, you have to remember, that with McDougall, his goal is to cut down on extra fat and sugar. So your taste buds will definitely need to get use to this line of cooking. Even though I do not have a sweet tooth, I am finding that I feel the need to sweeten up some of these dishes. But that just goes to show you how we have become accustomed to thee extra sweetener that the companies out there have gotten us use to. I want to break that habit. I am on a mission.

3 cups Grape-Nuts (we do not buy anything from the Post company, so we purchase generic)
1 cup low-fat soy milk (I don't do anything low-fat, so it is full flavor milk for us and we used almond milk)
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup raisins
2 t vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all of thee ingredients together. Pour into a nonstick 9-inch square baking dish. Bake for 35 minutes or until firm. Cool and cut into 12 squares.

This one came out picture perfect. However, thee only thing I may do differently is to use only a 1/2 cup of applesauce and use either agave , molasses or honey to take up thee other 1/2 cup. But other than that it was perfect. And, I added a 1/2 t cinnamon, for in my book, if a recipe has raisins and vanilla, then you must add cinnamon. It was a great addition.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Macaroni & Cabbage

Another McDougall recipe here. I hope to stay on this roll. Thus far, he has proven to be a pretty good cook. And his book on everything else is not too bad either. Thee only thing I would change is to add some basic spices, like salt and pepper, but other than that, this is such a simple, hearty meal and I can see myself making this during the winter more often.

12 ounces whole-wheat macaroni (we used elbows)
5 quarts boiling water
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup water
1 small head cabbage, coarsely chopped
One 28 ounce can whole tomatoes (we used diced)
One 8 ounce can tomato sauce
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Drop the macaroni into the boiling water and cook until just tender, 8-10 minutes. Saute the chopped onion in the 1 cup of water until transparent, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped cabbage and saute until the cabbage is limp.

Lightly oil a casserole dish. Spread a layer of cooked macaroni on the bottom, followed by a layer of cabbage and onion. Repeat until all is used. Slightly chop the tomatoes while still in the can, then pour over the macaroni-cabbage mixture. Pour the tomato sauce over everything. Cover and bake for 45 minutes, or until the sauce appears to have thickened slightly.

I added just a bit of salt and freshly ground pepper, and it was just enough. I will add this to the entire recipe from the beginning the next time I make this dish. I winner in my book.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Spicy Tofu Burgers

I am trying to learn how to work with tofu. Sometimes I hit it just right, others...well, I just can't seem to get it. But I will keep on trying. I love burgers. I loved them when I was a meat eater, but I just can't seem to get anything even vaguely close. Yeah, I know, I am no longer using meat. But man do I miss a quality burger. Not that McDonald crap they call burgers. Pfffft!

But I would never go back just to have that flavor again. I am a big girl and can be the grown up. So tonight I tried another McDougall recipe. Now this one id all right, but it needs some tweaking. The burger itself held together fantastically, but it still had that tofu taste. And I even let the tofu marinade before forming the burgers. But I will keep on trying until I hit it just right. so keep on reading and when i hit the jackpot, you will know about it.

1 pound firm tofu, drained
1&1/2 cups rolled oats
2T soy sauce (we use tamari)
1T dijon-style mustard (we had none so we used stone ground mustard)
1/4 t fresh cracked pepper
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 t onion powder
1 t grated fresh ginger
2T minced fresh parsley (we were out)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the tofu in a large bowl and mash with a potato masher. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until well combined. Moisten your hands. Shape into 8 patties and place on a non-stick baking sheet (we have none so I took a wisp of oil and painted it on a cookie sheet).

Bake for 20 minutes on the first side; turn over and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve with your favorite toppings and condiments.

I am finding that with just these two recipes, I am not missing the fat and or the sweetener. I am looking forward to more new dishes from this book.

Overnight Porridge

I love oatmeal. Always have, always will. And I am always looking for ways to bring it to the next level or spruce it up a bit. So, with my new found love for John McDougall and having found one of his cookbooks at a flea market about 1 year ago, I am beginning to dive in.

Now I openly admit to not liking every recipe we make. Some of them are downright garbage worthy. So I will not say I like a dish, just because it is a healthy one. If I don't like it, you will hear about it for sure. With that said, I tried a new twist one oatmeal. One of the things I look for in a new recipe , is mostly whether or not we have all if not, most of the ingredients, then we move on to the making process.

This one I was a bit skeptical about and for a couple of reasons. 1) There was only 1 tablespoon of sweetener for the entire dish. That is not to say I slather sugar in my food, but by making this dish, I realize just how much I came to depend on any sweetener to make our food palatable 2) I was not going to add my usual dollop of butter.

Yep, today was my first day of my venture into being vegan. I openly admit that I may fall off the wagon, and trust me when I say it was extremely tempting to dive in at work and grab a few pieces of cheese, but I did it, I left the liquid meat out of my mouth and I am still here to type about it...who knew.

So on to the recipe. Very simple, common ingredients and you just prep it the night before and viola!, you have a new recipe in the morning.

1/2 cup bulgur
3T rolled oats
1T molasses or brown rice vinegar (we used molasses)
1/3 cup mixed dried fruit pieces or raisins (we used raisins)
1&1/2 cups water
Place all of the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Stir well. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Transfer to a saucepan. (It has microwaveable directions, but since I no longer use a microwave, I am not going to offer those instructions)

Stove method: Cook over medium heat for 6-8 minutes, stirring frequently.

I served this as is, no added sugar or sweetener and it was to die for. Next time I will change the fruit and maybe add some nuts. A definite keeper for sure.

Serves 4

I Use To Think

Way back, when I was a vegetarian the first time(1992, before the Internet took off), I had a hard time adjusting, and for many reasons.

1) Lack of recipes (Or so I thought)
2) No support (You can imagine a woman in her child bearing years, telling her family she was losing meat. How dare I)
3) Nowhere to get information (Or so I thought)

So as you can see, I was in a pickle...or so I thought. I ended up finding a Vegetarian Times magazine and getting in touch with a local support group, which did OK, but that was my foot in the door. At that time I met vegans who I thought were weird. I mean come on, I had already given up all meat, why go that far? Little did I know the brainwashing that had been and is still going on by the meat and dairy industry.

We have been and still are being sold a bag of goods that would lead us to believe that we 'need' both meat and dairy to be healthy, when in fact just thee opposite is true. I have listened to people who tell me that our bodies need either meat or dairy, and some ask me, if we don't need meat or dairy, then why were cows put on the earth. I really don't have that answer, but why were we put here, if you can answer that, then you are one up on me. But dairy is touted as the 'perfect' food. Yeah, if you are a baby cow who needs to get from 100 pounds to 600 pounds in 6 months. go ahead, do the math.

If we were designed to drink milk form another animal, then why are we not selling or drink elephant milk, or rhino milk, or for that matter, whales milk. Why, because our bodies could not stand the fat content. We are humans...they are not. And where in the 'wild' nature do you see other animals drinking one anothers milk? You don't. You only find that in human society stories. So if it does not happen in nature why are we doing it? Beats me.

But I sat here just the other day as I am contemplating going full vegan and it hit me. When I listen to those who still consume meat and hear them say, 'I just can't see how you live without eating meat.' I would look at them and think what ninny-heads. How whacko are you, it is oh so simple to lose me that was. Now that I am on thee opposite side of the coin and trying to let go of dairy (for the eggs have been gone for a while now), I can see how people view me just as a vegetarian. So trust me when I say I will be a bit more compassionate when I talk of my eating habits.

I thought I knew the evils of dairy, but I was still astonished when I saw this video with John McDougall. I knew of this man, but had no idea just how smart he was. And his angle was never about animal rights. He always came strictly from a medical point of view. His peers told him he was nuts to tell people they could get better just form diet alone. But you know what? He was/is right. He has proven time and again. And one of the lines he uses in this video is' Don't take my word for it, look it up yourself.' He has done his homework and is the real deal.

I hope to be dairy free in a few weeks. I have always been a small step person, butter is no biggie, but cheese, I am finding that to be a bit more difficult. But I shall endeavour and be where I want to be in my own time. But for those who may want to hear about the man and his message I am talking about, please take the time to watch this video. I know, it is 1 hour and 15 minutes. It took me an entire day to watch it. I watched it in segments. But his message is clear and no denying what he is telling us. That dairy is just liquid meat.

The Perils of Dairy

Thursday, June 24, 2010

'Chikin' Nuggets

Well I think I have finally found a recipe that will have me leaving the store bought brand of chic nuggets and patties in the freezer section. Please do not misunderstand me, I love the convenience of pulling them out of the freezer and plopping them into the frying pan. And the journey is turning out to be pretty darned tootin' good.

I stumbled upon these quite by accident via Post Punk Kitchen on Facebook. The recipe comes from Opera Girl . She is not a vegetarian, for she has meat dishes, but this one caught my eye and I had more then 90% of the ingredients.

I made them and they looked so much like the nuggets you get in a little box with toys that I scared myself. Thee only thing I need to work on is the texture. They were just a bit soggy in the middle. Not so much that I did not eat 4 of them...oh my gosh, did that just slip out on to the blog. The seasonings were to die for. Take that fast food. These will definitely be on our plates again for sure.

1 cup cooked chick peas
2T olive oil (for frying)
1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
1/2 cup Italian style bread crumbs
1/3 cup water
2T low sodium soy sauce/Tamari
3 cloves garlic, grated with a microplane
1/2 t lemon zest (we were out)
1/2 t thyme
1/2 t paprika
1/4 t dried sage (we were out)
1) In a mini chopper process the chick peas until mostly mashed.
2) Put the chick peas in a medium sized mixing bowl and add the rest of thee ingredients. Turn the mixture onto a cutting board and knead for 3 minutes until you see the strings of gluten forming.
3) Using a knife, divide the ball into 4 even sections. Then divide those 4 into 4 more balls. Shape the hunks of dough into nugget style shapes.
4) Heat up a think layer of oil in a heavy bottom skillet over a medium-low heat. Cook for about 5-7 minutes or until golden brown.

Honey Mustard Sauce

2T coarsely ground Dijon mustard (we used deli style mustard, stone ground)
1T honey
Mix well and serve with nuggets.

This is going to work well once I master the texture thing. I am hoping to make them into cutlets for a more main course style food. Wheeeeeeeee!

Friday, June 18, 2010

I Got Your Protein...Right Here!

For those of you who still may think that you 'need' meat to get your protein...think again.There have been more than enough articles written to support a vegetable based lifestyle and that if done correctly gives us way more than enough protein. But there are forces who would lead you to believe that you need meat to sustain an ample amount of protein in your diet. Pfffft! Yeah, have fun with that. Those would be you meat industry lobbyist. And lobbyist is just another word for legal bribery, in my book of course. If I were to go to a judge and try to persuade him/her to alter my guilt or innocence by how much I donate to his campaign, I would be thrown in jail however, these morons, are still allowed to go in to Washington and gives TONS of money to senators and congressmen, all in the name of contribution. Puh-leaze!

I just to choose to educate people. And when and if they are ready to open their eyes, they can do so by their dollars. Yes folks, there is power in numbers. And the numbers I am talking about is how and where you spend your hard earned money. I choose not to spend anything from Kraft. Why you may ask.Well I am glad that you did. Kraft is connnected, if not owned by Phillip Morris, which we all know is one of thee biggest tobacco companies in the world. Not where I want my hard earned dollars to go. And if you don't think that by not spending your money somewhere does not hurt...then think again.

So I have been doing a bit of research to see where we get our protein from. I myself do not worry about it any longer, for i know what I eat is loaded with protein. And so much so that even on a vegetarian/vegan diet, if done properly, is way more than enough protein. Most Americans, eat the S.A.D.(Standard American Diet) diet, are getting way too much protein, which is even more taxing on the system.

So here are just but a few of the ways to get enough protein and see that you really do not need as much as you think. Who do you think sets the standards for thee amount of protein we need to get. The FDA. And who supports thee FDA? Big time lobbyists. Time to rethink what you eat and where your money is going.

Broccoli - 4 grams in 1 cup
Brown Rice - 5 grams in 1 cup
Refried beans - 7 grams in 1/2 cup
Soymilk - 7 grams in 1 cup
Peas - 8 grams in 1 cup
Tofu - 11 grams in 5 ounces
Oat bran - 16 grams in 1 cup
Lentils - 18 grams in 1 cup
Chick peas - 18 grams in 1 cup

And if we are still going by what the FDA tells us we need, which is a whopping 30 grams per day, then a veggie diet is AOK in my book. But I myself feel we do not need that much protein, but that is just me. An article I read goes further in stipulating that meat may be loaded with protein, but there is a major downside to it as well. Put aside the animal thing and how those poor creatures are being treated. Let's crunch some numbers, shall we?

6 ounce porter house steak - 38 grams of protein(which by FDA standards is already over the limit) & 44 grams of fat, and 16 of those 44 are saturated. Read more in an article here

Now for those of you who may have youth on your side. Trust me when I say that Mother Nature has a way of playing catch up, and she ain't always nice about it. So those Big Macs now will be your triple by-pass in a few years, not necessarily in decades. So you keep on thinking that meat is your best source of protein. Here are some more numbers.

Corn on the cob - 1 cup - 5 grams
Collards - 1 cup - 4 grams
1 medium baked potato - 5 grams
Spinach - 1 cup - 5 grams
Peanut butter - 2T - 8 grams
Almonds - 1/4 cup - 8 grams
Peanuts - 1/4 cup - 9 grams
Cashews - 1/4 cup - 5 grams
Pumpkin Seeds - 1/4 cup - 8 grams

As you can see, it is quite easy to obtain your protein from elsewhere. And no, I do not sit around doing the math. I just eat and enjoy my food. And for those of you who may say, well nuts are fat. Yep, but so is that T-bone steak you ate last week, and I will take my nuts/seeds over your T-bone any day of the week, ounce for ounce.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cool 'N Spicy Watermelon Salad

This I found on a Facebook group I belong to. Raw Vegan Recipe Exchange. They have some great recipes and to date I have used two of them. I am not a fan of mixing sweet and savory, but I saw that I had all thee ingredients and went for it. I am now a believer in sweet and savory. Try this over the summer, it is a dish you will not regret trying.

3 cups cubed watermelon
2T jalapeno (diced, I used less)
2T mint (I used dry)
2T lime juice (I used lemon)
pinch of salt
I put all thee ingredients on our already cut watermelon and this was unbelievable. For those of you who try this, please drop me a line on what you think of it, I am very curious to see what others think.

Happy Birthday Son

My son may be getting older, but I am not. Okay, maybe a little. But yesterday was my sons 21st birthday. Man oh man, where does the time go? Now usually he has a big to do, here at home, but this year he wanted it be just a quiet gathering, meaning, his immediate family and super-close friends. Two of the three friends could not make it due to prior obligations or work, so it came down to just enough people to sit at our dining room table.

I was at work all day, which was a 45 minute drive away. So suffice it to say, I would not be the one cooking dinner. In steps my daughter. We of course, had asked my son what he wanted for his birthday dinner and he fessed up right away that he wanted mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese. Taters are easy enough. But her macaroni and cheese are very grown up. But last night she out did herself.

Then there was the coup de ta (sp?). She made her brother a golden cake. Basically a vanilla cake. To him, as long as it is white, it is vanilla. We have not told him otherwise. She found the recipe for the cake and the frosting at Food Network, but let me tell you, there are no words to describe how good these recipes were.

Gold Cake

3/4 cup butter flavored vegetable shortening (I have no idea what she used, but I will find out)
1&1/4 cup sugar
2&1/2 cups cake flour (she used unbleached white flour)
3t baking powder
1/4t salt
8 egg yolks, beaten (I know I have given up eggs, but I did try the cake all the same, but I would love to find a substitute)
3/4 cup milk
1t vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 (9 inch ) cake pans with shortening and set aside. Cream together the shortening and the sugar. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly alternate adding the egg yolks and milk with the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.

Add the vanilla and mix well. Pour into the prepared pans, about half the batter. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a rack.

Quick Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup butter
1t vanilla extract
1-2T whipping cream

In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on ow speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.

Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading.

Suffice it to say, our dinner last night was to die for. And all thinks goes to my lovely daughter Nana Brain!!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Pasta And Navy Bean

I have had this recipe for so long that I cannot even remember where I got it, or from who. Needless to say this is easy and filling. And so much so that for me at least, it is a one pot style meal. Meaning that I don't need anything else but some bread and a tall glass of iced tea and I am good to go.

3/4 lb dry pasta
2T olive oil
3 cloves garlic minced
1 large tomato, chopped (I used canned for I was out of fresh)
2 cups tomato sauce
1/4 water
3 sprigs parsley, chopped
2t dried oregano and basil
2 cups broccoli florets (mine were the frozen style)
2 cups cooked navy beans (I had soaked a bunch and cooked them in bulk, then froze the leftovers)
1/4 cup chopped black olives
Cook pasta according to directions, drain well. In a large pot, heat oil, and saute garlic until lightly browned. Stir in tomatoes. Add tomato sauce, water, parsley, oregano and basil. Cook uncovered over medium heat smashing tomatoes with spoon.

When sauce thickens, add broccoli. Simmer covered until broccoli is tender but crunchy. Add beans and olives, mix well. Simmer covered until heated through. Stir in pasta. Serve with parsley.

This is so pretty to look at and again, it is just a meal in and of itself, nothing else is needed. Try it, they will ask for it again, you can bet on it.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Paper Or Plastic?

Not anymore, or so it will be in California in the foreseeable future. By the year 2012, you will no longer be asked if you want paper or plastic, you will either have to bring your own, or be charged $.05 for a recycled paper bag. I can't wait for that to get to my home state.

I was recently at the grand opening of a grocery store where my company is a vendor. There were many of us from our company, and us who demonstrated the meat and cheese (Yes I work for a deli meat company) would rotate between giving out samples and greeting customers at the front door.

I saw a lady walk in with a bag from Whole Foods that read, 'I use to be a plastic bottle.' It was ingenious. I mean think about it. I told her how much we do in the green category and our conversation was going splendidly until an old fart of a man walked by and gruffed out, 'You will never see my use any of those.' I, of course, could say nothing, for I was on duty. But the lady I was talking to, did not have to obey my constraints. She, without missing a beat, politely told him, when they start charging you for them, you may see things differently. She had won me over.

But my daughter asked me, 'What if you gave people a discount for using the reusable bags, won't that make them use them more often?' And I told her no, and for this reason. People are so accustomed to BOGO, 1/2 off, sale, reduced price, clearance. BUT, when you take their money from them right out of their pockets, that makes them mad, and people do not like parting with their money.

So, I look forward to the day when folks get charged for the bags they use. There are may a day that I walk out and never even use a bag...for 1 item...really?

Read more here.