Thursday, December 17, 2009

hey mambo mambo italiano

My daughter loves that song. She was introduced to it when hubby popped in the soundtrack to Mad Men into the car. She loves that and pretty much all types of music. She is in love with Frank Sinatra's music and tries to imitate his style of singing.
Last night I made something easy and quick.

Fettuccini Alfredo

3 quarts water
about 4 3/4 tsps fine sea salt
8 ozs whole wheat or brown rice fettuccini
1/4 cup refined coconut oil
1/2 cup vegan creamer
1/4 cup vegan Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cups fresh peas, cooked, or frozen peas, thawed (optional) but please throw them in anyway. I used sweet peas to make the natives happy.

in a 4-6 quart stockpot over high heat, combine the water with about 1 1/2 tbsp salt. bring the water to a boil, add the fettuccini, about 7 minutes.
meanwhile, in a 1-2 quart saucepan over medium heat, melt the coconut oil. When it's almost melted, whisk in the creamer, increase the heat to medium high, and bring to a simmer. whisk in the Parmesan, pepper, and the remaining 1/4 tsp of salt. cover and set aside.
when the pasta is done, drain it. return the pasta to the pot and stir in the sauce (re-whisk if it separated) and peas. if it seems too dry, add 1/4 to 1/2 of water.
My kids liked it very much.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

getting very busy..........

I try not to sweat the small stuff but sometimes there is nothing else but to do that. Moving is such a lengthy and difficult process. Trashing stuff you don't want to take w/ you. Finding stuff you forgot you had. Two days in a row I was just too tired to cook much. Monday I had a bag of whole wheat ravioli stuffed with soy cheese and spinach. I did make the red sauce from scratch.

2 tbsps refined coconut oil
1 onion, cut into 1/4 inch dice
8 - 10 cloves garlic, minced
2 (28 oz) cans crushed tomatoes
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1/4 cup fruity red wine (optional) I didn't use this.
2 tbsps finely chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp salt
1/8 tsp hot sauce like tabasco (optional) I didn't use this either.
1 tbsp agave nectar (optional) I DID use this.

heat the coconut oil in a 4 - 6 quart stockpot over medium-low heat. add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 6 - 8 minutes (adjust the heat, if necessary, to avoid browning). add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, 1 minute. stir in the tomatoes and tomato paste, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. remove from the heat and stir in the wine, if using, along with the basil oregano, salt, and hot sauce (if using). taste, and if the sauce is too acidic, stir in the agave. use immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 2 months.

The sauce was very good. I only used a bit for our dinner and bagged and froze the rest. I did divide the sauce and put in separate bags since it is alot. Very good on those days when you have no time but to boil water. You can defrost on the stove top while cooking your pasta. Great when you have only 15 minutes of patience left for the day. You can also add any veggies you like to make it more wholesome and stretch the sauce.

Last night was even more tiring.
I made quesadillas with spinach. It was good and perfect since I had no more patience and was super tired.
Once again I was so tired that when I got out of the shower and snuggled into my robe I forgot to turn off the shower. Thank God one of the kids just walked in to say good night to turn off the water and the lights.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Hurry the Curry

I love the smell of curry.  There is an Indian family a couple of doors down and it smells like curry almost everyday.  I want to live there.

Potato and Pumpkin Curry w/ Brown Basmati Rice
1 1/2 cups brown basmati rice (or whatever rice you have at hand.  I used regular brown rice)
2 1/2 cups water
3/4 tsp fine sea salt
2 tbsps refined coconut oil
1 onion cut into 3/4 chunks
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (all I had was the diced tomatoes with green chili.  I still used it and it was still very good)
1 cup low-sodium vegetable stock
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp cayenne (I used chili powder)
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 lb red potatoes cut int o 3/4 inch chunks
3 cups 3/4 inch chunks pumpkin (ok I did cheat.  I used butternut squash because they were already cut into big chunks and whole foods.  sue me.)
1 1/2 tbsps lemon juice (I was a bit distracted and didn't add.  It was still so yummy)
1 tsps chopped fresh cilantro or italian parsley.

In a 2 quart saucepan over high heat, combine the rice, water, and 1/4 tsp of the salt.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 30 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let the rice stand, covered, at least 10 minutes.
While the rice is standing, make the curry.  Heat the coconut oil is a 10-12 skillet over medium high.
Side note:  I had to transfer everything towards the end to a pot because my skillet wasn't large enough.
Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost tender, about 3 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and cook 1 minute more.  Add the tomatoes, stock, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, cinnamon, cloves and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  Bring to a boil and add the potatoes and pumpkin.  Return to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the portato and pumpkin are tender, about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.
Serve over rice sprinkled with cilantro.

I loved it.  It was a bit spicy for the kids.  For the littlest she had a tiny bit and just ate her brown rice.  The middle kid loved the potatoes and curry but wasn't thrilled with the squash.  Hubby.  sigh.  He is still not on board with eating healthy.  He eats a tiny bit and then just makes cereal.  Which is just fine with me.  I am putting myself first.  I really do feel the need to eat better for my health and teach my kids the same.  They might not be thrilled but understands what I am doing and why I am doing it.  Coming from a family living with heart diseases and diabetes, it is my duty to break away from it and live better and healthier.  I am not there yet.  Baby steps for sure.  I have thyroid disease and with it cholestrol is very high.  When I started eating better for me my good cholestrol was very high and the bad cholestrol was borderline.  My doctor was thrilled and said because of the good cholestrol being so high he feels the bad cholestrol is normal.  He did ask what kind of changes have I been making.  I told him eating no meat and more vegetables and switching from white bread/pasta/rice to brown bread/pasta/rice.  He told me not to stop and wish his patients with extremely high cholestrol, heart disease, type 2 diabetes would all follow suit. Being vegetarian is not easy.  It takes work and dedication and support.  PETA has a wonderful starter kit you can order free online and you can easily pick up many vegetarian or vegan cookbooks at your local library.  Many of the ingredients can be found in any supermarket or farmer's market you enter.

Please forgive any spelling errors.  I seem to have lost my spellcheck.....

Thursday, December 10, 2009

testing #1 on twitter and facebook

hoping this works

I'm Just Sayin'.......

It isn't easy preparing meals and cooking meals daily. Whether you are a SAHM or work outside of your home or have no kids at home or too many kids you can do it. It takes a bit of planning and shopping ahead of time to make it all come together. A really good idea is planning your meals one week at a time. I bought this really cute magnetic pad that has one side the days of the week where you write each dish per day and on the other side the shopping list. I picked one up at Michaels and there are 30 sheets per pad. That's 30 weeks! Take that shopping list and buy everything you need. I like to buy in bulk so diced tomatoes, tomato paste, commonly used seasonings, etc. I buy at Smart and Final. It is just like Costco except it is smaller, no membership fees, and they only sell things you use in your kitchen and cleaning supplies. So you are not tempted by all the extra stuff you don't REALLY need. The rest of my shopping list I go to Whole Foods. It isn't really all that expensive. I do not buy name brands unless I have no choice. Sticking to their brand is the way to go. They also sell some veggies already diced and minced for you which, let's be honest, when you are busy and don't want to spend alot of time in the kitchen, saves alot of time. For example, I picked up chunks of butternut squash for dinner to be used today. Easy and convenient and although it is cheating, you are still saving money in the long run because you are not eating out. Lots of the veggies you can prepare on the weekends and keep refrigerated and when you are ready to begin dinner you just take out of the refrigerator and are almost done! You can also make sauces over the weekend and refrigerate or freeze until you need it.
At the end, you will have yummy meals for you and your family. It doesn't have to be difficult. Just delicious.


Be warned. Although this was a very good and hearty meal, those who are not willing to try new things might not like the taste of buckwheat soba noodles.

Japanese Soba Noodles w/ Steamed Vegetables and Tofu

2 tbsps mirin (it is a Japanese rice wine used for cooking. I bought mine at whole foods but you might be able to find it in other stores or look for an Asian market)
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
2 tsps sesame oil
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar (use lite less sugar and salt)
1/2 lbs globe eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch cubes or Chinese or Japanese eggplant cut into 1/4 inch slices
about 4 3/4 tsps fine sea salt
8 ozs firm or extra firm tofu cut into 1/4 inch cubes (I actually used the whole container of tofu for more protein
1 cut cut into matchsticks ( I used a peeler)
8 ozs buckwheat soba noodles (I had no problem finding this in the Asian section of whole foods)
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 tbsp gomasio (this is a seasoning w/ seaweed and sea salt and sesame seeds. it is very good and it does complete the meal so don't skip it. also found in the Asian section.

in a large bowl, whisk together the mirin, ginger, tamari or soy sauce, and 1 tsp of the sesame oil. set aside.
in a pot fitted with a steamer insert, bring 1 inch of water and 2 tbsps of the rice vinegar to a boil. arrange the eggplant in the insert, sprinkle w/ 1/4 tsp salt, cover, and steam for 7 minutes. add the carrot and steam for 5-8 minutes. add the tofu and steam for 3 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and the tofu is heated through.
meanwhile in a 4-6 quart stockpot, combine 3 quarts of water with about 1 1/2 tbsps salt. bring to a boil over high heat, add the noodles and cook according to package directions. drain, rinse, in cold water, drain again and return the noodles to the pot. toss with the remaining 1 tsp of sesame oil and cover. when the vegetable mixture is cooked, add it to the bowl with the mirin mixture tossing gently.
to serve place the noodles on plates or a platter and top w/ the vegetable mixture, scallions and gomasio.
or to save time and space I just mixed everything in the pot where I cooked the noodles and mixed everything except the gomasio. You should add that to your liking.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I am the International Bitch

I think I was Greek and Italian in another life. I love Greek and Italian cuisine and really try to make it at home as often as possible.


1 can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons panko or whole wheat bread crumbs
2 tbsps chickpea (garbanzo) flour
2 tbsps coursely chopped italian parsley
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp pepper
4 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
about 2 tbsps refined coconut oil melted
1 lemon
6 tbsps tahini
1/4 cup water
3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp paprika
6 pita breads (I use whole wheat because it is healthier but grab what you want)
1/4 head inceberg, romaine, green leaf, or red leaf lettuce, coarsely shredded (I actually use spinach cause I need dark green and more nutritional value than others)
1/2 cucumber, cut into 1/4 inch slices
12 - 18 slices dill pickles (I did not use pickles because it is just so yucky It was yummy w/o)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
in a food processor (if you don't have one go get one or ask for one on craigslist or freecycle) combine the garbanzo beans, onion, panko, flour, parsley, cumin, coriander, pepper, 2 cloves of the garlic, and 1/2 tsp of the salt. Pulse, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary, to form a course paste. shape the paste into 12 golf ball sized rounds. flatten the balls to about 3/4 inch thick and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. brush both sides of each ball with the coconut oil and bake for 45 minutes, turning halfway through, until nicely browned. set aside to cool. meanwhile, juice the lemon. in a small bowl, whisk together the tahini, water, olive oil, paprika, lemon juice, and 1/4 tsp salt (if using unsalted tahini). press or finely mince the remaining 2 cloves of garlic and whisk into the tahini sauce. set aside until ready to serve or refrigerate for up to a week. to assemble the sandwiches, cut about 1 inch off the top of each pita, forming a pocket. add falafel, spinach or lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and pickle, dividing evenly. drizzle each sandwich with about a tbsp of tahini.

It is so delicious. I even assembled one for lunch today. You can make your own hummus and add on to it. Better to make your own because after having my homemade hummus, the store brought kind isn't so good.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

toot toot

Have been so busy packing and throwing things away. We are finally moving to a bigger place but I still found time to cook a full meal. I am going to start posting recipes and hopefully I don't get into trouble. BTW, persistance works! My picky eater now likes brown rice. Yay mom!!!!!
Last night I made this yummy chili. I did make a small portion w/o the spices because my picky eater cannot handle it.
Cha Cha Chile (serves 6-8) good to freeze some or leftover lunch or weekends

2 cups dry red kidney beans (I used black beans more fiber) you can use canned beans but I buy dry beans because it is much cheaper buying a 5lb bag and storing it in an air tight container.
1 tablespoon refined coconut oil
2 onions, cut into 1/4 in. dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chili powder
1/2 tbsp fine sea slt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
pinch cayenne pepper
1 (14 oz can) diced tomatoes
1/2 cup medium-grain brown rice
1 red, green or yellow bell pepper cut into 1/4 inch dice
1 carrot shredded
chopped red onion
shredded vegan cheddar cheese (I omitted this because I didn't have any block cheese and it was still yummilicious)
vegan sour cream (also omitted because I just didn't have any and again no reason. it doesn't make the meal)

In a 4 or 6 quart stockpot, combine the beans and enough cold water to cover by 2 inches. cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.
drain the beans, return them to the stockpot and cover w/ water by 1 inch. place the pot over high heat, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
meanwhile, in an 8-10 inch skillet over medium, heat the oil. add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes. add the garlic, chili powder, salt, pepper, oregano, sage, cumin, and cayenne and cook for 1 minute. add the onion mixture to the beans, alon with the tomatoes and rice. cook for 30 minutes.
add the bell pepper and cook for 15 minutes. add the carrot and cook about 5 minutes until the beans and rice are tender.
serve w/ red onions, shredded cheese and sour cream, if desired.

You can make some corn bread to go w/ this. My father used to make chili and pour it in a pan and in a mixing bowl he mixed together boxed cornbread and pour it on top of the chili. It was enough to cover the chili a bit and baked in the oven until it was golden brown.

The recipe was taken from the cookbook Skinny Bitch in the Kitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin.

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