Archive for the ‘vegetarian’ Category

Vegan Cornbread – Yes You Can!

Friday, April 21st, 2017

I’m on the constant hunt to find “regular” recipes and make them into vegan versions so my daughter will eat them.  Since I was making my vegetarian chili for dinner I decided to test out a vegan cornbread.  I adapted this from a Food Network recipe and it was surprisingly good.  It makes use of a “flax egg” rather than a real one.  I used my daughter’s Ripple (pea protein milk) for the soy milk in the original recipe.  Next time I may even add some fresh corn.  My whole family ate it happily with the chili.

  • 2 tablespoons ground flax meal
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 14cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 34teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup vegetable milk
  • 14cup canola oil

Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray 8-inch-square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Bring  water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the ground flax meal, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer the ground flax seed in the water until thickened, stirring occasionally.  Takes about 2 – 3 minutes. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt until well-combined.

Add the ground flax seed mixture, milk, and canola oil to the flour mixture.

Stir with a rubber spatula, just until smooth (do not overbeat)

Turn into prepared baking pan. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cool on wire rack 10 minutes before cutting.

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When Life Gives You Lemons – Makes Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hands down these are the muffins I get the most requests to make, and garner the most compliments. I can’t believe I never shared here. Sorry. Whether it’s a school function or a team snack. They work for all ages and diets.  I hate to say upfront that they’re vegan because then some may not want to try them. But they are. I can’t even tell you where I got the recipe. I found it online, printed it, and pasted it in my recipe notebook when my sister was just starting a vegan lifestyle. I made them for Easter brunch about 7 years ago and have been making them ever since. They check a lot of boxes for diets, but no they’re not gluten free. If you have a lemon tree, you can make these at a moments notice.

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 5 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup soy, almond or rice milk (I’ve been using Ripple)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375F. Lightly grease a muffin tin.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking power, poppy seeds, and salt. Make a well in the center and add milk, lemon juice, zest and vanilla. Mix just until moistened.

Fill muffin cups 3/4 full and bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until muffins are lightly browned on top and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Transfer to cooling racks.

 

 

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Perfect for Snacking and Packing – Banana Apple Flax Muffins

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

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Kids are back in school and the activities and sports are starting.  I decided to make a batch of muffins for my kids to pack and have for snacks.  I was going to make the usual Banana Apple Bran Muffins from The Petit Appetit Cookbook (page 105), however I realized I was out of bran.  I decided to substitute flax meal, which made them even better.  Now they also have more protein too.  Here’s the recipe:

 

Banana Apple Flax Muffins

Makes regular muffins

1 cup organic wheat flour

½ cup organic flax meal

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup sweet cream butter, (1 stick)

¾ cup applesauce or apple puree

1 medium banana, mashed

½ cup organic light brown sugar

2 cage-free, organic eggs

 

Preheat oven to 375F. With a fork, combine flour, flax, soda and salt in a small mixing bowl. Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Or melt butter in microwave for 25 seconds on high. In a large bowl combine melted butter, applesauce, mashed banana, sugar and eggs. Mix together with a rubber spatula. Add flour mixture to applesauce mixture and stir until just blended. Batter will be lumpy and very moist. Spoon batter into greased mini muffin tin cups 2/3 full and place banana slice on top of each muffin. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown and set*. Remove pan from oven and cool on a rack 5 minutes, before turning out muffins.

 

*Note. Because these muffins are so moist with the mashed bananas and applesauce, the wooden pick test is difficult. The center may not come out clean if you hit a chunk of banana. If you’re not sure if they’re done, you can always pop one out and cut in half.

 

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Pickle Power

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

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My family has been experimenting lately with pickling.  Pickling cucumbers, green beans and carrots.  It started because of our affection for banh mi sandwiches.  Somehow homemade pickles just taste better for these sandwiches.  Not too tart or spicy.  Plus I needed to find a reason to use all the old sauce and pickle jars I’ve collected.  This recipe makes 3 large (about 18 – 24 oz.) jars of pickled veggies.  I usually do one of each veggie.  They’ll last about a week in the refrigerator, but ours usually don’t last that long, between sandwich toppings and lunchbox additions.

 

When choosing cucumbers to pickle I like the small Persian or kirby cucumbers.  These have less seeds and a more mild flavor than garden or American slicing cucumbers. You can buy glass jars online or at the hardware store. Even better clean out glass sauce and pickle jars to recycle and make your own. These make great gifts too.   As long as they have a tight fitting lid, they’ll work well. Happy pickling!

Homemade Pickles

3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

1 ½ cups distilled white vinegar

¼ cup sugar

4 teaspoons pickling or kosher salt

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

1 teaspoon peppercorns (black, pink or variety)

¾ teaspoon dill seeds

2 cups hot water

2 pounds (about 6) Persian cucumbers, quartered lengthwise (or combination carrots, green beans and cucumbers)

6 sprigs fresh dill

In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups water to a boil, reduce the heat so the water simmers and add the garlic. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the vinegar, sugar and salt. Raise the heat and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar and salt dissolves. Remove from the heat.

 

In 3 clear 1-quart jars, place two sprigs of dill. Divide the seeds and peppercorns between the jars. Using a slotted spoon, remove the garlic from the brine. Place a few cloves in each jar. Then pack the jars full of cucumbers. (You can also slip in some carrots, scallions or green beans, cauliflower and chilies). You want them to be tightly stuffed.

 

Bring the brine back to a boil. Remove from heat and carefully transfer liquid into a glass pitcher or large measuring cup with spout.  You may have to do in batches but this makes it easier to pour in jars.  Pour hot liquid over the vegetables to cover completely. Let cool, then screw on jar lids and refrigerate. The pickles will taste good in just a few hours, and even better after a day or two.

 

 

 

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Tis the Season – Eat More Pumpkin with Banana Pumpkin Muffins

Monday, October 26th, 2015

pumpkins

My family loves all the seasonal food this time of year.  We buy enough pumpkin butter, canned pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon and molasses to keep us going throughout the fall and then some.   Halloween may seem to be all about candy, but for me it’s all about pumpkin and the various ways we can incorporate it into our fall meals.  And why not?  According to this article in the Huffington Post pumpkin is healthy and helps our eyesight, mood and waistlines, while also protecting our hearts, immune system and skin.

 

I noticed some too ripe bananas on my counter and immediately thought of making banana bread or muffins, but how about banana pumpkin?  I switched the applesauce in my banana apple muffins with pumpkin and it was a big hit.  Banana and pumpkin is a great combo.  It was perfect for the kids’  weekend sleep over as well as snack after a soccer game.  Here’s the recipe.

 

Banana Pumpkin Muffins

(Makes 12)

1 1/2 cup organic wheat pastry flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup sweet cream butter, (1 stick)

¾ cup canned pumpkin

2 medium ripe bananas

½ cup organic light brown sugar

2 cage-free, organic eggs

sprinkle of cinnamon

 

Preheat oven to 375F. With a fork, combine flour, soda and salt in a small mixing bowl.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Or melt butter in microwave for 25 seconds on high.

In a large bowl combine melted butter, pumpkin, mashed banana, sugar and eggs. Mix together with a rubber spatula. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and stir until just blended. Batter will be lumpy and very moist.

Spoon batter into greased muffin tin cups 2/3 full and sprinkle with cinnamon if desired. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until golden brown and set. Remove pan from oven and cool on a rack 5 minutes, before turning out muffins.

 

 

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It’s All in the Wrists – Massage Your Kale!

Friday, October 9th, 2015

kale

It’s on restaurant menus, snack advertisements and at your local farmer’s market.  You hear everywhere that you should should be eating more kale.  It is considered one of life’s most nutritious foods, packed with vitamins C and K plus calcium, fiber and antioxidants. I love kale but many do not.  While it can be bitter and that’s why some disguise it with fruits in smoothies or eat it in bags baked with cheese and chili flavor – I don’t think the taste is the problem.  It’s the texture.  Especially if you have it raw in a salad.  There are too many times when I order a kale salad in a restaurant and it is almost inedible because it is just too rough and I’m afraid I’ll choke or stab myself.  Also if it’s too wilted and I find myself chewing forever.

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curly

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red

lacinto

dino or lacinto

There are a few varieties of kale.  There’s lacinto or dinosaur kale while has very wide, flat, dark green leaves that are bumpy (far right).  There’s red kale with dark red stems and green leaves (center).  Then most popular is curly kale which is brighter green and more curly and spiky(left).  Thus a problem for raw salads if not prepared properly.  So the magic to prepping raw kale for a salad is…..wait for it…..the massage.  Yes.  You must massage the kale Leaves (after removing stems) in some fresh lemon juice and/or salt.  And this isn’t a little light pressure stir with some tongs.  This is a 3 – 5 minute deep tissue massage with your hands.  It makes all the difference in the world to being able to enjoy and chew the kale.  Here’s an adapted recipe we make at my house for a favorite kale salad from Picture Cook: See. Make. Eat. by Katie Shelly.  This book if fun because it’s all pictures and no instruction (but you kind of have to have some kitchen and cooking knowledge).  I use this preparation anytime I’m using raw kale.  However you an substitute dressings and veggies.  This is a great asian dressing that marries the sweet apples and spicy ginger and onion.

 

Chelsea’s Kale Salad

1 bunch kale, stems removed

1/2 lemon – squeezed

1 avocado, diced

1 apple, peeled and chopped into squares

1/2 cup almonds (optional)

a few slices of red onion (optional)

Dressing

2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

In a large bowl tear kale leaves into bite sized pieces.  Squeeze lemon juice over kale and massage with your hands for about 3 minutes until kale is pliable and not sharp.  Add avocado and mash with your hands to incorporate.

Prepare dressing in a small jar and shake to combine.

Add apples, nuts and onions to kale.  Drizzle with dressing and toss everything together.

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Summer of Pop – Cool Popsicle Ideas and Recipe

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

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My kids are usually big on making ice cream in the summer.  We certainly did make and eat some.  However this year at our house it seems to be the popsicle which took center stage for recipe experimentation and overall cool treat winner.  My daughter and her friend Emily, even set up a popsicle stand after experimenting for 2 days with flavors.  Watermelon, mango and strawberry were big hits while peach, raspberry and pineapple not as sweet.  It was actually less about the flavor than the texture.  The girls’ popsicles were nothing but fruit.  No sugar or anything added.  Just take fresh fruit, blend in a blender and pour into a popsicle mold.  That’s it!  This also meant no one would worry about gluten, dairy or nut allergies.  There was discussion and tests about water and they figured our about dilution and flavor vs quantity.  There was also a discovery that fruit should be ripe.  Under ripe fruit meant bland popsicles.

 

You have to give them credit…spending all day blending and freezing (of to be patient) and sign making, they still wanted to then go out and sell.  Here’s where the tricky part came and the logistics of a popsicle stand vs other non frozen edibles.  We thought ahead and used popsicle sticks and straws for sticks so people wouldn’t have to give back the reusable popsicle tops (or I wouldn’t loose them).  We carefully loosened the popsicles, set them back in the trays and carefully placed them in an ice chest with ice packs.  But how long would this last?  Well when opening and closing an ice chest full of frozen popsicles on an 85 degree day at the park the answer is about 30 – 40 minutes before they turn to slush.  Thankfully Emily’s mom to the rescue with a stop at the store to pick up cups.  They then rebooted the popsicles to “new fruit slushies” and ventured to another park to sell. Certainly their popsicle stand wasn’t as big of a draw as their past bake and lemonade stand sales, but you never know what they’ll create next.

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Not over the love of popsicles (or our crazy 90 degree heat), I decided to use some left-over canned coconut milk and create my own popsicle as a surprise for my kids finishing the first week of school.  I made sushi for dinner and then these were the perfect dessert pop to finish the hot evening.  I was inspiredly by a coconut popsicle recipe from Don’t Waste The Crumbs .  I changed mine to all coconut milk (vs mix with cream), reduced the maple syrup, omitted the fresh coconut flakes (my kids wouldn’t have wanted the hairy texture) and increased the recipe for a bigger pop mold.  Next time I’ll check my chocolate stash before freezing as the use of chocolate fudge sauce didn’t give my popsicles the hard chocolate coating I was hoping for.  However there were no complaints.

Coconut Chocolate Popsicles

(makes 4, 3 oz. popsicles)

  • 12 oz light coconut milk
  • 4 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2  tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 3 oz dark chocolate for coating, less if drizzling
  • ½ tsp coconut oil
  • pinch of sea salt
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Combine coconut, syrup and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Add a pinch of sea salt, or more to taste.
  2. Ladle or pour the mixture into popsicle molds and freeze for a few hours, or until set.
  3. Prepare the chocolate “shell” coating by melting chocolate and coconut oil in a small sauce pot over low heat, stirring constantly until just melted.  Or melt in the microwave for 15 second intervals, stirring between each. (This is where I used fudge sauce and although tasty it don’t set in the freezer).  Once melted, remove from heat immediately and stir in a pinch of salt.
  4. When pops are frozen, remove from molds and place on a cookie sheet or plate lined with wax paper. Place pops in the freezer.
  5. Removing one pop at a time, use a small ladle or spoon to drizzle or pour the chocolate over the pop. Quickly transfer the pop back to the lined board in the freezer. Can sprinkle with additional flaked coconut if desired.
  6. Repeat until all pops are coated and in the freezer to set.
  7. Store pops in freezer until ready to eat (cover if storing longer than a few hours).
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Making Masa – Handmade Tortillas Recipe

Friday, December 5th, 2014

What do you do on a rainy day?  Make you own tortillas.    I’ve been wanting to do this with my kids and was having a hard time finding Masa Harina (flour made from corn).  I was complaining to a friend about having to drive to a mexican market and she happened to have  extra to give to my cause.  By the way the bought it at Safeway.  I was checking Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.  Now I know.

 

The recipe is simple as is the process and very hands on for kids.  Of course they’d look more impressive with a tortilla press, but more fun and abstract using your hands and rolling pin.  And no I don’t have a tortilla press. Maybe I should check with Santa.  My daughter was really into it and rolled most of them.  My son decided he’s rather help fill them with the good stuff after.  They were pretty small and some were kind of thick to bend or roll, so we used them more like a flat tostada shell and layered black beans, avocado, shrimp, cilantro and corn salsa.

Corn Tortillas

(makes about 20, 6 inch tortillas)

4 cups masa harina (flour made from dried corn)

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups warm water

Put the masa harina in a bowl and mix in the salt. Add about 1 cup warm water and mix with your hands; add more water as needed until the dough comes together. Knead for a few minutes to smooth the dough out. The dough should be firm and springy and should not stick to your hands. Test by forming a small disk, if it’s crumbly or cracks around the edges you need more water.

Form a 1 1/2-inch ball of dough and place it between two sheets or plastic wrap.  Press down with your palm, then roll the dough with a rolling pin.   Remove the top layer of plastic. Carefully peel the tortilla off the bottom plastic.

Place tortillas on a hot, ungreased cast iron skillet or griddle and cook for about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Remove the tortillas and stack on a plate, covered with a clean towel to keep them soft and pliable. Continue until you have used all the dough.

Layer with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

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I Can Make Crepes Too!

Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

My lucky kids have been on the receiving end of many sleep-overs and playmates with homemade crepes.  Yum.  My son came home and said “Mom, how come you don’t make crepes?”  I used to make crepes when I was doing some recipe testing, but I guess the kids were little and don’t remember.  And yes, it had been a while.  We have them at the farmer’s market, so it’s not like they’re crepe deprived.  So first I said “well, I don’t have a crepe pan”.  Then my son said his friend’s parents don’t use a special pan.  I thought and said to myself “Hmmmm, I don’t make crepes because I taught you to make pancakes, and then I get weekend breakfast off”.  However not to be outdone on the sleep over circuit I’ve started making crepes.  These are actually super easy and only need a few basic ingredients.  So far we’ve been eating them with squeezed lemon and powdered sugar and/or bananas and berries.  Next breakfast for dinner I’m going to try some savory additions.

 

As the crepe maker, plan to stand over the crepe pan for a good 30 minutes as you make one at a time and kids just keep wanting more.  That’s why I have no pictures too.  I got too busy cranking out crepes.  I understand how the crepe maker at the farmer’s market feels as his line grows and he mans two special crepe griddles.  I tried to get my son to try making them today but he was a bit worried about holding the pan over the flame, to tilt and get the batter to spread.  We’ll just keep practicing…

 

Basic Crepe Recipe from Allrecipes.com

Makes about 8-10 crepes, so I usually double the recipe to keep up with the kid demand.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, meltedIn a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and the eggs. Gradually add in the milk and water, stirring to combine. Add the salt and butter; beat until smooth.Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each crepe. Tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly.

    Cook the crepe for about 2 minutes, until the bottom is light brown. Loosen with a spatula, turn and cook the other side. Serve hot and add toppings.

 

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When Friends Give You Apples….Make Fall Desserts

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

My friend gave me a bag full of her beautiful apples right off her tree.  It doesn’t get any better than that.  Except a week later she gave me another bag and I can’t believe these are even bigger and juicier.  The first bag I made this super easy apple crisp.  Crisps are so easy and with so few ingredients I just made it up as I went along. I went to a friends’ and shared with lots of moms and kids. It was a hit and I was asked for the recipe.  Oops!  My own kids didn’t have any crisp. And my daughter didn’t get to help.   So when the second bag of apples came around my daughter and I made another crisp to share with my kids and followed a real recipe so I could share with everyone.  Although I cooked according to directions for 40 minutes and the apples turned to sauce.  I think 25 – 30 minutes for firmer apples.

Another great option for fall apples is an Apple Gallett.  Easier than a pie as the crust is tasty but more rustic and doesn’t require all the fuss of a pie pan, fluting, etc.  I still have some apples left so I’ll make this next.


Apple Crisp

6 -8tart apples, peeled, cored, and sliced (such as Granny Smith)

2 -3 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup flour (can use whole wheat)

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup butter

Toss apples with lemon juice, sugar, and spices; turn into an 8×8″ baking pan that has been lightly coated with no-stick cooking spray

Cut together flour, brown sugar, and butter until crumbly; sprinkle evenly over apples.

Bake at 350° for 30-40 minutes until apples are tender; serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

 

 

 

 

 

Apple Galette

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) plus 2 tablespoons cold butter

1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten

1/2 cup walnuts

2 pounds tart apples (3 to 5), such as Pink Lady or Granny Smith

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 large egg, beaten to blend with 1 tablespoon water

In a food processor or large bowl, combine flour, granulated sugar, and salt. Cut 1/2 cup butter into pieces and add to flour mixture; pulse motor, cut in with a pastry blender, until mixture resembles coarse meal. With motor running (or stirring with a fork after each addition), add egg yolk and 3 to 4 tablespoons cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time; process or stir just until mixture comes together in a ball. Form dough into a flat disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill until firm but still pliable, about 1 hour

Meanwhile, spread walnuts in a baking pan and bake in a 375° oven until barely golden under skins, 6 to 8 minutes (leave oven on). Coarsely chop nuts.

Peel and core apples; cut each into eight wedges. In a 10- to 12-inch nonstick frying pan over medium heat, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter. When it’s foamy, add apples and stir often until slightly softened and brown at edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Sprinkle brown sugar and nutmeg over fruit and stir until liquid is syrupy and bubbling, about 5 minutes. Stir in walnuts. Remove from heat.

Unwrap dough. On a lightly floured surface, with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll into a round about 15 inches in diameter. Line a 12- by 15-inch baking sheet with cooking parchment and carefully transfer dough round to sheet (edges will hang over sheet)

Pour apple mixture onto center of pastry, mounding wedges in a circle about 8 inches wide and 2 inches high. Gently fold edges of dough over apples, pleating as you go, leaving an opening about 4 inches wide in the center. Brush pastry all over with beaten egg.

Bake in 375° oven until pastry is golden brown and apples are tender when pierced, 40 to 45 minutes (35 to 40 in a convection oven). Transfer galette (with parchment, if using) to a wire rack to cool. Transfer to a large plate, gently pulling parchment from under tart. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature, cut into wedges.

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