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.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Mama E's Chick'n & Waffles

Last Saturday I had two treats.  The first... Dr. J got up with our kiddies so I could sleep in.  The second... I made and ate these.  I tend to forgo breakfast messes much of the time with a simple smoothie, but I am so glad I went the route of chick'n & waffles.  It was sooooo worth it!  You will love the balance of flavors... sweet... spicy... savory... it's crazy good!  Dr. J might make sure I sleep in every Saturday from now on if I make him these.  Sounds good to me... I'd say a win/win for sure!

Mama E's Chick'n

1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1/4 cup flour
oil to coat the pan
1 package Gardein Chick'n Scallopini

1.  Mix the flour and Cajun seasoning in a shallow bowl.
2.  Dip the chick'n in the flour mixture.
3.  Over medium high heat cook the chick'n in a preheated and lightly oiled pan until browned and cooked through.

Mama E's Waffles

1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
1 1/2 cups almond milk
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/8 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

1.  Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl.
2.  Add in the wet ingredients and mix just until incorporated.  Lumps are ok.
3.  Spray your preheated waffle iron with cooking spray.
4.  Using a measuring cup, pour desired amount of waffle batter onto your iron.  Just a note:  Your first batch or two might come out a little funky, but that's totally normal.
5.  Cook for a couple of minutes and check it.  Remove the waffle when it has a nice golden brown color.

To Serve

Mama E's Chick'n
Mama E's Waffles
Pure Maple Syrup

Place the chick'n on the waffle and drizzle it with your desired amount of pure maple syrup.  Serve and eat up!


Friday, September 17, 2010

My Favorite Vegan Cupcake Recipes...

Earlier this week I made these yummy cupcakes for my 3 year old's birthday.  I used a recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.  Every recipe I have made from their book I love.  These two have vegan cupcakes down to an art!  They have everything from your basic Chocolate Cupcake to your more unusual cupcake, like the Pistachio Rosewater Cupcake.  I haven't tried one of their recipes that I don't like... these are  DEFINITELY some of my favorites!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fresh Picked Apple And Pear Salsa With Cinnimon Sugar Tortilla Quarters

This past weekend we took a day trip to an apple/pear orchard.  We met up with our best buds over at the Little House Of Veggies to pick some of nature's bounty.  It was so much fun!  I think it is so important for us city folk to be able to show our children where their food comes from.  And there is something to be said about letting loose and getting your hands a little dirty.  My 3 year old took it to the extreme, though.  He had dirt everywhere... even his mouth.  He looked like he just walked off the Pirates of the Caribbean set.  Anyway, it was a great time... dirt included!

I wanted to make something with our apples and pears that the kids could help me make.  We came up with this perfect afternoon snack.  It is easy, simple, and delicious!

Fresh Picked Apple And Pear Salsa

1 pear, finely chopped
1 apple, finely chopped
1 nectarine, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons coconut milk

1.  Combine ingredients except coconut milk in a bowl.
2.  Transfer into serving dish and drizzle with the coconut milk.

Cinnamon Sugar Tortilla Quarters

4 whole wheat tortillas
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
coconut oil or oil of your choice

1.  Mix the cinnamon and sugar.
2.  Brush a small amount of coconut oil on each tortilla and sprinkle one side with the cinnamon and sugar mixture.
3.  Using a pizza cutter, slice the tortilla into quarters and lay them out on a cookie sheet.
4.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 8 minutes or until they are crispy.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Wonder Woman's Spicy Peanut Asian Salad With Chipotle Marinated 'Chik'n'

Wonder Woman's?  Let me explain...  I made this salad last night for 17 people... after getting my 5 year old off to school, babysitting my sister's 2 year old which included: taking him to two different grocery stores along with my 3 year old and my 5 month old in tow.  Have you ever chased a toddler through the produce section?  How about two?  YIKES!  After the shopping, I got the two older boys fed and down for naps and with my sous chef on my hip I managed to prep everything.  I found a spare minute to post some updates on my family blog and to check my email.  Then, I made a dozen cupcakes, custom cupcake wrappers, and frosted them to boot!  Before I knew it, it was time to pick up my 5 year old and drop my nephew off.  I was homeward bound after that to begin making my dinner for 17.  I know this may not seem like a busy day to some, but to me, it was BONKERS!  The mess in the kitchen said it all.  It looked the way I felt.  The good news is, after all of that craziness, dinner turned out great.  This was the perfect meal to end my busy day and it was well worth it to be able to spend time with people I love.

Chipotle Marinaded 'Chick'n'

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
1-2 chipotle peppers
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/2 cup sunflower oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 package Gardein Chick'n Scallopini

1.  Put all ingredients except salt and pepper and Chick'n into a blender and blend until smooth.
2.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
3.  Place Chick'n in a container and pour over about 1/2 the marinade.
4.  Refrigerate and allow it to marinate for about 1 hour.
5.  Heat a pan over medium high heat and add just enough oil to coat the pan to keep the chick'n from sticking.
6.  Cook the chick'n for a bout 3 minutes on each side until it is cooked through.

Spicy Peanut Asian Salad

6 oz. fresh spinach
1 cup red cabbage, shredded
1 cup carrots, shredded
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup green onion, chopped
2/3 cup canned corn
1 red bell peppers, julienned
1 1/2 cups rice, cooked and cooled
Marinated Chick'n
1/4 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
left over marinade

1.  Toss all the ingredients except the chick'n and rice in a bowl.
2.  Serve the salad over rice and top with the chick'n.
3.  Lightly drizzle some of the remaining marinade over the salad as a dressing.


Friday, September 10, 2010

One Of My Favorite Things... Fry Sauce

According to Wikipedia, Fry Sauce is a regional condiment served with French Fries.  According to me, it's one of the best things ever!  Now, you may have never heard of this saucy side, as it is mainly found in Utah.  I was born and raised in California, but as a kid, my family drove to Idaho every summer, and as soon as we crossed from Nevada into Utah, we were on the look out for the first drive through that would offer this delightful dip.  It's one of my favorite condiments, and I make it whenever I make fries. So here my version... vegan of course!

1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup Follow Your Heart Vegenaise
1 tablespoon BBQ sauce (I like to use a BBQ sauce with a little heat)

Just combine all the ingredients and mix until smooth.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Elise's Baby Bella Mushroom Stroganoff

I think that we all have a handful of recipes that are our time tested favorites.  This is one of mine.  My mom made Beef Stroganoff for us when we were kids, so this is one of those recipes that emotes home and comfort and warmth and love.  I craved it when I was pregnant with all three of my kiddies... even when I was sick!  The truth is, it always sounds good to me.  So here is a culinary hug from my kitchen to yours.  ENJOY!

8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, washed and sliced
1 yellow onion, halved and sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cube Edwards & Sons Not Beef Bouillon + 1 cup boiling water
1/2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1 tablespoon cornstarch + 2 tablespoons cold water, mixed
1/3 cup tofu 'sour cream'

1.  Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat and saute the onions, garlic and mushrooms for 10  minutes.
2.  Add the bouillon/water mixture, worcestershire sauce, tomato paste and ground mustard and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.
3.  Stir in the 'sour cream' and then the cornstarch/water mixture.  The sauce should thicken up at this point.
4.  Serve over rice or noodles of your choice.  I served mine over rotini pasta.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Asian Pepper, Onion And Pineapple Stacks With Teriyaki 'Meatless' Balls

TVP(Textured Vegetable Protein) is an amazing product.  It is a great source of lean protein as well as fiber.  I thought it would be the best protein to use in my 'meatless' balls because of it's texture and it's ability to take on flavors... AND I think that there are some amazing flavors going on!  I layered the flavors so the 'meatless' ball alone packs a lot of punch, and then when combined with the teriyaki sauce, bell pepper, onion and pineapple it's even better!  I also just LOVE teriyaki sauce, so you could put that on just about anything and I would be a fan!

1/4 cup yellow onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced
1/8 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
2 tablespoons sesame seeds 
3/4 cup Textured Vegetable Protein (I use Bob's Red Mill brand)
3/4 cup boiling water
1/4 cup oats
3 tablespoons white whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal + 2 tablespoons of water, mixed
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 tablespoons safflower oil
2 cups pineapple 1 1/2 inch cubes
1 red onion, cut into 1 1/2 inch squares
2 green bell pepper, cut into 1 1/2 inch squares
1/2 cup of your favorite Teriyaki sauce

1.  Add boiling water to the TVP and allow it to sit for 15 minutes.
2.  In a bowl, mix onion, garlic, ginger, oats, white whole wheat flour, brown sugar, soy sauce, ketchup, red pepper, cilantro and the flaxseed/water mixture.
3.  Add the rehydrated TVP to the mixture from Step 2.  Mix well, cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
4.  After the 20 minutes is up, roll the mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls.
5.  Heat safflower oil in a large pan over medium high heat.
6.  Add the balls a few at a time and cook them until the outside is browned.  They can be fragile, so be careful as you turn them in the pan.
7.  Once they are browned, set them aside until they have all been browned.
8.  Place the 'meatless' balls in a 9x13 pan.
9.  Brush them with your favorite teriyaki sauce and put a toothpick through each one.
10.  Add a bell pepper square, a red onion and a pineapple cube to each toothpick and drizzle with teriyaki sauce.
11.  Bake in a 350 degree F preheated oven for 15 minutes.
12.  Serve over rice and enjoy!

    (For an easy, semi-homemade version, you could buy pre-made 'meatless' balls and then skip to Steps 9-12.)

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Best Artisan Bread I Ever Ate...

My best bud, Morgan and her sweet mom, Debbie, introduced me to this amazing bread!  It is the perfect artisan bread... the best, in my opinion.  You bake it in a clay oven called a La Cloche, that fits inside your conventional oven.  It turns out crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside... just like the bread at all those fancy bakeries.  The smell of freshly baked bread wafting through your house will just add to the experience.  I used the recipe from Breadtopia with tips from Debbie.  She recently posted a variation of this bread on her blog, The Health Seeker's Kitchen,  that I am definitely going to try.  It looks delicious!