Archive for October, 2011
Last week while I was picking up some groceries I came across the most beautiful looking eggplants. I had no idea what I was going to make with them but they were too gorgeous to pass up. I love roasted eggplant and pairing it with Romesco Sauce made for the most delicious lasagna ever! Even my kids had fun eating these roll ups.
- 8 lasagna noodles of your choice, cooked
- 1 large eggplant
- olive oil
- 2 cups Romesco Sauce, divided
- 1 cup Homemade Breadcrumbs, divided
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Thinly slice the eggplant and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and place in the oven for about 20 minutes (flipping over halfway through cooking) or until the eggplant is nicely browned.
- Remove from oven and let the eggplant cool slightly.
- Line the lasagna noodles on a flat surface and place a layer of eggplant on top of each noodle. (Depending on the size of your eggplant you might need to cut the eggplant strips to fit the lasagna noodle.)
- Next, top each eggplant with 2 tbsp Romesco Sauce and then evenly sprinkle 1 tbsp Homemade Breadcrumbs over the sauce.
- Carefully roll up each lasagna noodle and place in an 8×8 baking dish. Pour the remaining 1 cup Romesco Sauce over the noodles and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup breadcrumbs over the top.
- Place in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.
Makes 4 servings.
Serving size 2 lasagna roll ups.
Nutritional info not available not available at this time.
Leftover lasagna roll ups can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
It’s not always easy being a mother. No matter how old your children are you never stop worrying about them or wanting to protect them from the hard things in life. I guess the best thing you can do is to help them grow up to be strong and determined to make the best of what ever comes their way. This past week has been a trying week as Sarah prepared for and thankfully made it through a difficult surgery both physically and emotionally. I can’t begin to tell you how proud of her I am for her courage and the way she has faced a very difficult situation. Sarah posted a quote earlier on her Facebook page that for me really sums up her bravery throughout this whole ordeal. ”What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
So, while Sarah was in surgery and of course Cliff was with her I put together a comforting dinner that would be ready for them when they got home. I had some Onion and Apple Confit in the refrigerator and I used it along with lentils and mashed potatoes to make a hearty and satisfying meal that is what I call real “comfort” food.
- 1 cup Onion and Apple Confit
- 2 1/4 cups low sodium vegetable broth, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (if you follow a gluten free diet make sure to use a gluten free sauce)
- 1 tbsp no salt added tomato paste
- fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp organic cornstarch
- 1 cup cooked lentils (I used Beluga lentils because they stay firmer and keep their shape. You can use any kind of lentil but don’t over cook them)
- 1 cup frozen vegetables of your choice (I used organic sweet corn)
- 5-6 medium sized potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place the potatoes and salt into a large pot and fill with water to cover.
- Boil potatoes until tender. Drain and set aside.
- Spoon the Onion and Apple Confit into a 2 quart or larger sauce pan.
- Add 2 cups broth, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste and heat on low to a simmer. Season with black pepper to taste.
- Add the lentils and vegetables and return to a simmer.
- Mix the remaining broth and cornstarch in a small bowl. Add to the sauce pan and stir until thickened slightly.
- Pour into a 2 quart baking dish.
- Whip the potatoes with the milk. Stir in the nutritional yeast.
- Drop spoonfuls of the potatoes evenly over the lentil mixture and then spread them out to cover the top completely.
- Bake 30-40 minutes until hot and bubbly.
Makes 6 servings.
Serving size 1 generous cup.
Nutritional information will vary depending on what milk and vegetables are used. Nutrition information provided is based on unsweetened soy milk and corn.
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 307, Cal. from Fat: 34, Total Fat: 3.5g, Sat. Fat: .5g, Carbs: 61g, Fiber: 9.5g, Sugars: 10g, Protein: 11g, Sodium: 500mg, Chol: 0mg
Cover and store leftovers in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.
You know as a grandmother I must provide my grandchildren with treats. I think it’s in the contract somewhere. Providing no sugar vegan treats must have been in the fine print cause I’m not sure how that slipped past me. But, I love my grandchildren and I’ll go to any length to find ways to put smiles on their faces with sweet and fun treats.
Have you heard the Gummy Bear song or watched the video? It’s a lunch time You Tube favorite of my grandkids. Now, how could we watch this video and not have our own “yummy tummy funny lucky gummy bear” to munch on?
While my All Fruit Gummy Bears may not be exactly like the real thing, more a cross between Jello Jigglers and Gummy Bears, they were a big hit with the kids and that’s good enough for me.
- 1 can (12 ounces) unsweetened frozen fruit juice of your choice (Cascadian Farm has several unsweetened organic juices – our favorite is grape)
- 4 1/2 tsp agar agar powder
- Place the juice in a small sauce pan and thaw.
- Once thawed dissolve the agar agar into the juice.
- Place over medium high heat and bring to a simmer.
- Lower heat to keep at a simmer and stir constantly for 5 minutes.
- Pour into candy molds or into an 8 x 8 glass baking dish.
- Cool for 2 hours or until firm.
- Pop the gummy bears out of the mold or cut with cookie cutters.
- Do a little dance while singing the gummy bear song and enjoy eating your own gummy bears!
Amount and nutritional information for the gummy bears will vary depending on the mold and juice you use.
Store uneaten (ha-ha) gummy bears in the refrigerator for up to a week.
You know Skittles were really on to something when they told you to taste the rainbow. Unfortunately their rainbow contains: sugar, corn syrup, hydrogenated palm kernel oil, apple juice from concentrate, less than 2% – citric acid, dextrin, modified corn starch, natural and artificial flavors, coloring (includes yellow 6 lake, red 40 lake, yellow 5 lake, blue 2 lake, yellow 5, red 40, yellow 6, blue 1 lake, blue 1), ascorbic acid (vitamin c).
I have a much better rainbow for you to taste! One that isn’t filled with processed, artificial sugars and a boatload of chemical coloring. Here’s the rainbow nature intended you to taste!
- (Red) radish, finely chopped
- (Orange) carrot, finely chopped
- (Yellow) cauliflower, finely chopped (I used a yellow cauliflower but the traditional white variety works great too)
- (Green) broccoli, finely chopped
- (Blue) sorry, I have nothing for blue : (
- (Indigo) purple cabbage, finely chopped
- (Violet) red onion, finely chopped
Preparation for Rainbow Salad:
- In a large bowl add in any amount of the ingredients above and stir well.
- Top with Homemade Croutons and your favorite dressing.
Nutritional info will vary greatly depending on the ingredients used.
Leftover salad can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Last night was hard. Really hard. The reality of what tomorrow was going to bring FINALLY sunk in. Of course I would wait til the very last minute to deal with something. I always said I’m just one day away from figuring out how to postpone tomorrow until tomorrow.
It was actually a really nice night. I went out on the trampoline with the kids and bounced with them knowing that it would be a quite a while before I could do that again. Then Cliff got in and really gave them some good bouncing. Sitting there, watching my beautiful family, I realized just how scared I was of having surgery tomorrow. The floodgates opened and I was a sobbing mess.
While my decision didn’t change at all I mourned over the loss of what was permanently being taken away from me. I’ve never been that attached to my breasts. I developed VERY early and they consistently cause me pain and ridicule as a child. But as I’ve gotten older I’ve become much more accepting of my body and the fact that my breasts shrunk from a size 36D to a 34B helped a lot too. Would I have ever made the decision to chop them off – NO! I cried knowing that I would never again feel them again or have my husband touch them. A part of my body, one that fed my little baby boy would be taken from me tomorrow. Later that night in bed I sat there watching my children and wondered what they would think of mommy. What would Keegan think when she got older and she had breasts and mommy didn’t? What would they think of me?
Luckily all the crying made me exhausted and I was able to fall asleep pretty quickly. I awoke this morning at 4am to Keegan’s sweet little face. She wanted to crawl into bed and snuggle with me. I laid there with her and held her at tight as I could. My baby girl. From the moment I had her she’s clung to me with abnormal strength. I remember the first night in the hospital with her and the nurse tried to put her into the crib in the room. Keegan screamed until the nurse couldn’t stand it and gave her back to me. Things haven’t changed much in 5 years. There is no where she’s rather be than with me. I feel the same.
Later, I crawled out of bed and checked on Caleb. My little angel. So sweet and good. So worried about everyone else and making sure they are happy. I kissed the top of his head and breathed in this scent. He never ceases to make my heart happy. I can’t help but smile when I see him. His goodness fills me with joy. I remember the moment I saw him for the first time and couldn’t believe that something so perfect and so beautiful was actually mine. Each day he continues amazed me…
Kissing them both goodbye this morning was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. This was it. We were on the way to hospital. I went into auto pilot. Answering everyone’s questions, getting undress and into the hospital gown and having the IV put in. Then I broke down again. I couldn’t stop the tears. The reality of losing a part of me was slapping me in the face.
I said goodbye and gave Cliff a kiss as they wheeled me to the operating room. I couldn’t stop crying. I heard one of the OR nurses behind me say that they should give me something right away to calm me down. Apparently they took that advise because a few seconds later I could feel my whole body relax and I was out cold.
Less than 2 hours later it was done and I was in the recovery room. I wasn’t in much pain. I didn’t look down at all.
I was still pretty out of it when we got home and immediately fell asleep for a couple of hours. When I woke up most of the drugs were pretty much gone and I felt a lot more alert. I slowly got up, walked to the mirror and lifted my shirt. I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty and it wasn’t. I had a scar almost the entire way across my chest. I had drainage tubes coming out of me that looked almost alien. I cried. This was not my body, the one I’ve had for 30 some years. Cliff came in and told me I was still the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen. Gosh I love that man!
The pain itself hasn’t been bad at all. I’ve only taken Ibuprofen and hopefully won’t have to take any additional drugs.
I’m sure I’ll have more days ahead of me that will be filled with tears but for now I’m happy to be alive and celebrate my little guys 6th birthday tomorrow. It situations like this that help you realize the real important things in life. Giving up apart of myself is nothing when compared to spending my life with a man who completes me and children who I live and breathe for.
Last week when most of Southern California was complaining because it was a gloomy, rainy and overcast day I was actually enjoying every second of it. It totally felt like Fall and I was loving it! I wasted no time throwing together this stew so that I could enjoy a bowl of it for lunch with some whole wheat bread. I made this in my slow cooker but you can also make it on the stove top. Feel free to mix and match your favorite veggies to make this stew your own. It freezes really well too so store the leftovers in freezer safe containers and you’ll be able to enjoy this meal all winter long!
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups diced carrots
- 3/4 cup diced celery
- 2 cups potatoes, diced into small pieces (I used some small red potatoes I had on hand)
- 1 can (5 ounces) sliced water chestnuts
- 16 ounces sauerkraut
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup frozen sweet corn, thawed
- 1 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 2 cups lentils *see notes
- 7 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 tbsp oregano
- 1 tbsp parley
- 1 can (6 ounces) no salt added tomato paste
- In a large soup pot sauté the onions in a tiny bit of vegetable broth over medium high heat. Once the onions are translucent add in the rest of the ingredients.
- Stir well and then bring the stew to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and let cook for about 30-45 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
- You can also make this in your slow cooker. Add the sautéed onions (if you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to sauté your onions just add them directly to your slow cooker without sautéing first) along with the other ingredients, cover and cook on low for 4 hour or until the potatoes are tender.
Makes approximately 13 cups.
Serving size 1 cup.
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 214.5, Cal. from Fat: 11, Total Fat: .5g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Carbs: 40.5g, Fiber: 10.5g, Sugars: 6g, Protein: 9.5g, Sodium: 211.5mg, Chol: 0mg
I used a Black Beluga lentil in this recipe (although you can use any type of lentil in this recipe that you like). This particular type of lentil holds it shape really well when cooked and is a bit firmer than other types of lentils.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week. Stew can also be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months.
What is confit you might ask? Well, I asked the same thing and being the queen of Googling I learned this; “Confit (French, pronounced [kɔ̃fi] or in English “con-fee”) is a generic term for various kinds of food that have been immersed in a substance for both flavor and preservation. Sealed and stored in a cool place, confit can last for several months. Confit is one of the oldest ways to preserve food, and is a speciality of southwestern France.” (Wikipedia)
In other words, this onion and apple confit is like a jam or marmalade, tastes similar to caramelized onions and can be used for so many delicious things like a topping for burgers and toasted sandwiches. It’s great with pasta or on a pizza with roasted vegetables. Mix it in with meat, bean or lentil loaves as a quick flavor enhancer. I love it on toast that’s been rubbed with a garlic clove. It’s great to have on hand when in a hurry to get dinner on the table. Be creative. I bet you can think up many more delicious ways to use this magical mixture. I recently used it in my Lentil Shepherd’s Pie and it was amazing!
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 3 pounds sweet onions, quartered and thinly sliced
- 4 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced (a mixture of green and red apples gives a nice flavor)
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 6 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
- 3-4 tbsp raw coconut crystals (depending on how sweet you like it, start with 2 tbsp and add more to the finished confit if desired)
- 1 tsp thyme
- Place all of the ingredients into the slow cooker.
- Stir well.
- Turn cooker to high. Cooking time will vary depending on your cooker. Cook time will be anywhere from 6-10 hours. My older cooker that cooked at a lower temperature took 8-10 hours but my newer cooker takes about 6-8 hours. The onions and apples will start to release their juices in the first couple hours of cooking. Your confit will be done once the juices have all been cooked off and you are left with soft and syrupy onions.
- You are now ready to use your caramelized onions and apples in any number of delicious recipes.
Makes 8 cups.
Serving size 1/4 cup.
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 85, Cal. from Fat: 31, Total Fat: 3.5g, Sat. Fat: .5g, Carbs: 13.5g, Fiber: 1.5g, Sugars: 9g, Protein: .5g, Sodium: 123mg, Chol: 0mg
For a tasty variation add 2 tbsp Barbecue Sauce to 1 cup of the confit.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. I like to divide the confit into 1/2 cup portions, place in freezer bags and freeze for up to 6 months. To use, remove from the bag and defrost in the microwave or in a covered sauté pan before using.
One of my favorite chili recipes is a black bean pumpkin turkey chili. I was in the mood for burgers today so I thought, why not use that concept and make a burger of it? While I’m at it, why not find a way to include corn tortilla chips as well? Have I mentioned my unhealthy love of tortilla chips? Plain unflavored organic corn tortilla chips have had to be banned since I tend to eat far more than are good for me but if I use them in a recipe I am allowed to have them (wink). The result is this black bean burger filled with nutritious vegetables and a crunchy tortilla surprise inside and out.
- 2 tbsp organic sunflower seed oil or Garlic Gold Oil
- 1/2 medium onion, minced *see notes
- 1/2 red bell pepper, minced *see notes
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper, minced *see notes
- 1 carrot, minced *see notes
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp sea salt or to taste
- black pepper to taste
- 1 can (15 ounces) no salt added black beans, rinsed and drained (aduki or pinto can be used also)
- 1/2 cup organic pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
- 1 tbsp blackstrap molasses
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups organic corn tortilla chips, divided (you will need 1 cup crushed)
- Place the tortilla chips into a food processor and pulse until you have a coarse crumble. Measure 3/4 cup into a bowl and the other 1/4 cup to a plate and set aside.
- Place the beans into the food processor and pulse a few times until the beans are broken up but not mush.
- In a large skillet heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium high heat and add the onion, peppers and carrot. Saute until tender about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic to the vegetables and saute another minute. Add the cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper and stir to mix in the seasonings. Be careful not to over salt as the tortilla chips will add sodium.
- Add the beans, pumpkin puree, 3/4 cup tortilla chips and the molasses to the vegetable mixture. Stir to combine. Turn off the heat.
- In another skillet heat the remaining oil on medium high heat.
- Form the bean mixture into 6 patties. Lay each bean patty onto the crushed tortillas on the plate and press gently to make the tortilla crumbs stick to the patty. Flip over and repeat with the other side.
- Place the patties into the skillet and brown 2-3 minutes on each side.
- Serve one burger over a bed of mixed greens and tomato slices or on a bun with tomato slices, lettuce and Sweet Heat Chili Sauce or even in a whole grain tortilla with your favorite toppings.
Makes 6 burger patties.
Serving size 1 burger.
Nutrients per serving (burger only): Calories: 238, Cal. from Fat: 80, Total Fat: 9g, Sat. Fat: 1g, Carbs: 32g, Fiber: 6g, Sugars: 4.5g, Protein: 6g, Sodium: 210mg, Chol: 0mg
Nutritional information above is based on the specific products that I used. Please note that the actual numbers will vary depending on the ingredients you use.
*You can also pulse the vegetables in a food processor to save time but don’t over process them into a puree. You want to have small chunks of vegetables.
On Friday my little guy will be 6 years old. SIX. YEARS. OLD! I swear it was just yesterday that I was looking into this little face….
Now my little guy is growing up and I CAN’T STOP IT!!!! Caleb LOVES banana bread. He asks to have it for breakfast every single morning. He likes to tell me that if I can have salad for dinner every single night that he can have banana bread for breakfast every single day. His logic astounds me sometimes!
We’re having a joint birthday party for both my kids a week after his birthday (Keegan’s birthday is 12 days after Caleb’s and we tend to combine the parties as they share most of their friends) but I wanted him to have a special treat for his big day so I merged his favorite bread with his favorite treat!
I made these cupcakes in my mini cupcake tin and they were fabulous. Caleb would put a chocolate coating on everything so coming up with a chocolate frosting was a must! We all loved these little cupcakes. I now get asked to have banana cupcakes for breakfast everyday!
Even if you’re not celebrating a birthday these are a fun treat to have for breakfast or dessert. Enjoy!
- 1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry or brown rice flour
- 3/4 cup raw coconut crystals
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup milk (I used oat milk but I believe any type will work)
- 1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract, divided
- 3 ripe bananas, mashed
- 4 1/2 tbsp coconut oil, divided
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips of your choice
- 1 tbsp raw honey or coconut nectar
- olive oil spray
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl add in the flour, coconut crystals, baking powder and soda. Mix well and set aside.
- Place the milk, 1 tbsp vanilla and bananas in a small saucepan over low heat. Once the mixture is just slightly warm add in 3 1/2 tbsp coconut oil. Stir continuously until the coconut oil is completely melted. Set the mixture aside and let it cool down to room temperature.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix together. Do NOT over mix.
- Lightly spray your cupcake tin with olive oil. Fill each cupcake mold about 3/4 full with the batter.
- Place the cupcake tin in the oven and bake for 12 minutes for mini cupcakes and about 18 minutes for regular sized cupcakes. Your cupcakes are done when the tops bounce back when you press down on them.
- While your cupcakes are baking add the chocolate chips, 1 tbsp coconut oil, honey and 1/2 tbsp vanilla to a small saucepan. Cook over low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
- Remove your cupcakes from the oven and let cool for 2-3 minutes. Over a piece of wax paper or even paper towel, turn your cupcake tin over and gently pat the back. Your cupcakes should pop right out. Continue to let your cupcakes cool to room temperature.
- Once your cupcakes are cool dip the tops of them in the chocolate mixture. You can let them sit at room temperature or place them in the fridge. If you store them in the fridge the chocolate top will harden. (We actually preferred the harder chocolate tops.)
Make 32 mini cupcakes or 15 regular sized cupcakes.
Serving size 2 mini cupcakes or 1 regular cupcake.
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 141.5, Cal. from Fat: 48, Total Fat: 5.5g, Sat. Fat: 4g, Carbs: 23g, Fiber: 2g, Sugars: 10.5g, Protein: 1.5g, Sodium: 42mg, Chol: 0mg
If you want to make these cupcakes gluten free simply replace the whole wheat pastry flour with brown rice flour and use a gluten free chocolate chip for the chocolate sauce.
The cupcakes will keep for 2 days at room temperature and up to 1 week in the fridge.
As Albert Hammond sang, “seems it never rains in Southern California” but today proved that wrong as it rained all day long. The silver lining in the clouds? It put me in the mood for soup. As I browsed through my soup recipes one jumped out at me as just the thing I was looking for, a little spicy, a mix of sweet and sour and lots of creamy goodness. Thai Coconut Vegetable or Tom Kha Phak. I made this soup with tofu but it could also be made with chicken by replacing the vegetable broth with chicken broth and the tofu with cooked chicken. If you’ve never had this soup before, give it a try. Like I tell my grandchildren, “be an adventurer or explorer, not the mule he rode in on that only eats the same old hay every day”.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 carrot, sliced thin
- 1 sweet potato, diced
- 5-6 ounces shitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
- 1 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 can (12 ounces) lite organic coconut milk
- 2 small chili peppers, seeded and minced (I used anaheim peppers but you could also use 1 jalapeno)
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp sea salt or to taste
- 1-2 tbsp lime juice (start with 1 and add more if desired)
- 7 ounces firm or extra firm organic tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 2 tbsp cilantro, chopped (optional garnish)
- In a large stock pot or dutch oven saute the onion, carrots and potato in the olive oil on medium high for 5-7 minutes or until just tender.
- Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook 2-3 minutes more.
- Add the chili peppers, ginger and coriander. Stir to combine the seasonings into the vegetables.
- Reduce heat to low and add the broth, coconut milk, tofu, lime juice and salt.
- Simmer over low heat 10-15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
- Spoon into bowls and garnish with cilantro.
Make 4 cups.
Serving size 1 cup.
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 254, Cal. from Fat: 132 , Total Fat: 14g, Sat. Fat: 6g, Carbs: 22g, Fiber: 3.5g, Sugars: 7.5g, Protein: 7g, Sodium: 595mg, Chol: 0mg
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.