Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Chive And 'Cream Cheese' Smashed Red Potatoes

It seems that on every cooking competition on TV, pureed this, and foamed that, are all the rave.  I don't get it.  All I know is, as Moto Moto the Hippo from Madagascar says, "I like 'em chunky"... at least when it comes to potatoes... and babies.  Here is one of my favorite ways to make them... potatoes, that is.  Super easy and amazingly delicious!

2 1/2 pounds red potatoes, washed and cubed
water for boiling
salt to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
4 ounces Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese

1.  Boil the potatoes in a pot of water for 10-15 minutes or until they are tender.  Check with a fork.
2.  Drain the water and mix in the 'cream cheese', and chives and stir with a large spoon, breaking up the potatoes as you mix.  You could use a potato masher, but like I said, "I like 'em chunky".
3.  Salt to taste.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Spiced Pumpkin Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

It's kind of a tradition in my family to make some sort of treat on Sunday afternoons.  Dr. J is a dentist by weekday and expert treat maker on the weekends.  Kind of like a food lover's superman.  I did however give him this Sunday off.  I just had to get another pumpkin recipe in...  and these little cookies did the trick!  This recipe makes a lot of cookies which is great so you can freeze extras in bags for school lunches or for convenient on the go snacks.

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup pumpkin puree (I used the canned pumpkin puree)
1/4 cup vanilla soy yogurt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups raw cane sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 cup finely chopped pecans

1.  Combine the sugars, oil, soy yogurt, vanilla and pumpkin puree.  Mix well.
2.  In a separate bowl mix the remaining ingredients.
3.  Add the mixture from step #2 to the wet mixture from step #1 and mix well.
4.  Form little teaspoon sized balls and place on a cookie sheet.
5.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 10-15 minutes.


Monday, October 11, 2010

A Full Plate

This week, I have a very full plate.  I am working on a few blog designs, teaching a cupcake decorating class (which I am sooooo not qualified to do), babysitting for my sis, taking my kids to pick pumpkins and then decorating them...  and then all the usual stuff I do.  Needless to say, it's bean burritos, oatmeal and take out here at The Veggie-Full Kitchen this week.  So, instead of sharing one of my recipe's I thought I would refer everyone who lives in Southern Cali to Native Foods, to try Tanya's new Reuben.  It is AMAZING!  Just look at my little Sous-Chef.... he can recognize a good sandwich when he sees one... he just can't eat them yet.

For those of you not in Southern California, here is a link to Chef Tanya's Blog where she shares some awesome recipes and more.  Also, if you are in the market for a dynamite vegan cookbook, she's got one of those too.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Elise's Raw Pumpkin 'Cheesecake'

I bought/tried the best raw lemon cheesecake at Whole Foods, made by Earth Cafe, over the weekend.  It was so amazing, I wanted to try to recreate it at home. As I was shopping for my ingredients, I couldn't help but notice all of the pumpkins hangin' out in the produce section.  They just looked so beautiful to me, I decided to make a raw pumpkin 'cheesecake' instead.  Boy am I glad I did!  I love pumpkins anyway you prepare them, but this is definitely one of my  favorite recipes.  It's pretty amazing what you can do with raw food!

3 1/2 cups raw cashews
1/2 cup medjool dates, pits removed
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup raw agave nectar
6 tablespoons coconut oil
1 vanilla bean, split the pod and use the seeds only (I like to save the pod and boil it in a pot full of water with a cinnamon stick and some cloves for an amazing room freshener that can be used over and over.)
3/4 cup pureed pumpkin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon ginger

1.  Soak the cashews in water for 4-5 hours in the refrigerator.
2.  Once they've soaked, measure out 2 cups of the cashews and place in a food processor with the dates and chop until the mixture is the texture of cookie crumbs.
3.  Remove the mixture and press into a pie pan and set aside.
4.  Place the remaining cashews in a blender along with the rest of your ingredients.
5.  Blend until smooth.  If you don't have a Vitamix, which I don't, just blend until you start to smell the blender's motor burning.  (I'm hoping Santa will bring a Vitamix for Christmas... hint, hint - Dr. J)
6.  Once the texture is smooth, pour it into your pie crust and place your 'cheesecake' in the freezer.
7.  Before you want to serve, allow your 'cheesecake' to partially thaw on our counter or in the fridge.  Slice while it is still partially frozen.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Roasted Brussels Sprouts And Potatoes

Hmmmmm... Brussels Sprouts... My relationship with these little guys wasn't on the best of terms when I was a child.  In fact, the only way I could get them down was if I plugged my nose, chewed quickly and washed them down with a glass full of water.  There was no love.  Then, out of the blue, I tried them as an adult and was head over heals!  Funny how that is... This is my favorite way to eat them.  It's such an easy and simple recipe... and the result is simply AMAZING!

12 ounces Brussels Sprouts
20 ounces Honey Gold or Baby Yukon Gold Potatoes
2 shallots, sliced
3 tablespoons fresh chives, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1.  Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels Sprouts and pull off any leaves that have turned brown.
2.  Place all ingredients in a large bowl and toss to coat the ingredients evenly.
3.  Pour the ingredients in a 9x13 pan and bake in a preheated 400 degree F oven for 35-40 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
4.  While it's baking, shake the pan every 10 minutes or so to brown the ingredients evenly.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Animal Acres' Compassionate Cuisine Event

Morgan, from Little House of Veggies, and I went to Animal Acres' Compassionate Cuisine event last Friday.  We left Dr. J and Mr. D with the rest of our kidlets and just took our babies.  As you can see, they thoroughly enjoyed it.  Too bad my little sous chef is on a mother's milk only diet.  Anyway, Morgan and I definitely enjoyed it!  It was a Vegan Smorgasbord!  There were Vegan restaurants and products galore to sample and enjoy.  I thought I would share with you my top 3 tastes of the evening...

A Vegan food truck!  I wish they were in my city.... but I still might drive out to the O.C. to hunt them down.  They sampled a beer battered avocado taco.  It was divine!

If you didn't know already... this is my favorite restaurant.  Tanya, the chef, sampled one of her new menu items, the Chimichurri Fajita Platter.  It was the best thing I ate all night!

Dr. J and I don't drink alcohol... we DO however, drink Root Beer!  Dr. J considers himself a gourmet soda connoisseur of sorts and he gave this root beer two thumbs up!  Not only is the taste amazing, but the company has a pretty amazing story... donating 100% of profits to animal shelters!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Chili & Lime Marinated Chick'n Tacos With Carrot & Red Onion Escabeche

This is one of Dr. J's favorite meals.  It's a perfect warm weather dish, and with it being over 100 degrees F here, it's was just the ticket for dinner the other night.  My favorite part of this is the carrot/cilantro/lime combo... it is so refreshing.  Definitely one of our family favorites!

Carrot & Red Onion Escabeche

2 cups carrots, sliced into matchsticks
1 large red onion, diced finely
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Combine all ingredients.

Chili & Lime Marinated Chick'n

1/4 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
juice from 1 lime
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
dash of red pepper
1 package of Gardein Chick'n Scallopini

1.  Combine ingredients and marinate in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.
2.  Remove the patties from the marinade and saute over medium high heat until they are cooked through.
3.  Slice the chick'n into strips.

For The Tacos
I like to use corn tortillas and I first place the Chick'n in the center and then add a big scoop of the Escabeche, followed by a dollop of tofu 'sour cream'.  If I have avocados, a spoonful of guacamole is yummy on the taco as well.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My Square Foot Garden....

A week or so ago, I was in a class where I learned about Square Foot Gardening.  It's quite an amazing approach to gardening.  As soon as our teacher said there was no weeding involved... EVER... I was sold.  After the class, my mother-in-law and I decided to start our own square foot garden together.  She's a lot more experienced than I am when it comes to gardening.  She also reads the directions, which I am notoriously bad at.  Anyway, this is our progress so far.  We got the building and set up out of the way, so now we just need to plant and let things grow!  I will keep you posted on our garden's progress.  Square foot gardens definitely have the potential to make it as one of my favorite things...especially when it comes time to harvest!  I can't wait to come up with, and share some new recipes inspired by our garden...


Monday, September 27, 2010

Friday Night Camp Out, Gourmet Tin Foil Dinners

We decided to go camping this past weekend on a whim.  I wanted to keep it close to home, so we set up camp in our backyard.  I wasn't feeling up to packing everything up and using a potty that wasn't my own... I've gotten really lazy in my old age... plus, my kids are young enough that I can get away with it.  I used to be quite the outdoors woman in my college years.  I almost majored in Recreational Therapy, which will come as a shock to many who know me now.  I did try to make our camp out as much like REAL camping as possible, so we lit our fire pit, set up our tent and  I made these yummy tin foil dinners, which could easily be taken and made on a REAL camp out.  The kids loved cooking them and gobbled them up!  After our tummies had their fill, we just sat around the fire, telling stories and looking up at the stars until bedtime.  I have to say, it was a great use of a Friday night!

Basil Balsamic Marinade

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Combine ingredients and whisk until incorporated.

Gourmet Tin Foil Dinners

Basil Balsamic Marinade
2 red bell peppers, chopped into bite sized pieces
2 zucchini, sliced into bite sized pieces
8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 large red onion, diced
32 ounce bag of frozen, southern style hash browns, thawed

1.  Combine the marinade and the mushrooms and allow to sit in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.
2.  Tear approximately 12 inch sheets of aluminum foil.
3.  On the dull side, layer potatoes, bell peppers, zucchini, red onion and then mushrooms.
4.  Drizzle a little of the left over marinade over the top.
5.  Fold the aluminum foil in half and roll it down tightly to keep any steam in.  Do the same on the remaining 2 sides.
6.  We cooked ours in a fire pit using briquettes.  Once your briquettes are grey, place your foil dinners on top.
7.  Cook for about 20 minutes or until they are cooked through.  The time will vary depending on how many coals you use and how hot they are.
8.  If you want to bake your foil dinner in the oven, bake it in a preheated 350 degree F oven for about 20-25 minutes.

(If you wanted to add in some protein, cubed seitan would work well.  You could even toss in a handful of pine nuts, which would be tasty.)


Friday, September 24, 2010

Homemade P-P-P-Popcorn

Popcorn is one of my favorite foods.  It's in my DNA to like popcorn.  As a kid, every Sunday night my mom would pop some homemade popcorn on the stove and my whole family would gather around the TV to watch the latest episode of Star Trek.  There is nothing better than a warm, salty bowl of this fluffy white stuff...  I could do without the Star Trek, though.

It's so easy to make, and you can switch it up for a little variation.  Here are just two ways that I like to make it:

Homemade Olive Oil & Sea Salt Popcorn

1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1/4 cup olive oil
Sea Salt

1.  Heat the oil in a large pot over medium high heat.
2.  Once hot, add in the popcorn and cover.
3.  Occasionally shake the pot to keep the kernels at the bottom.
4.  Once the popping slows to about once every few seconds, remove from heat.
5.  Pour into a large bowl, salt to taste and mix.

Homemade Kettle Corn

1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1/4 cup sunflower oil
1/8 cup baker's sugar (I've found it works really well because it is so fine.  You could use regular sugar if that's what you've got on hand)

1.  Heat the oil and the sugar in a large pot over medium high heat.  STIRRING CONSTANTLY.
2.  Once hot, add in the popcorn  and cover.
3.  Occasionally shake the pot to keep the kernels at the bottom and to keep the sugar from burning.
4.  Once the popping has slowed to about once every few seconds, remove from heat.
5.  Pour into a large bowl, salt to taste and stir until cooled to keep it from clumping up.