I was lavished with food and gifts a few weeks ago by some incredible friends in Seattle. My husband was in Africa on a retreat for his job. He claims he worked but I have yet to see a photo to substantiate this claim. There were many photos, however, of the beach, food that made me drool and shorts. Lets get back to me and my son and the snow storm that ensued while he was away. Just before the storm, my son and I stayed with these women who I love dearly and who love my son dearly and that makes me swoon all over them in a somewhat inappropriate manner. The meals they prepared were magazine worthy and one dish in particular made me go back for at least four bowls.
It was a soup made of quinoa, kale, potatoes and love. It sang gently of comfort and health, and was exactly what we needed while my husband was so far away. I was not able to obtain the recipe from my friend but decided to get creative one night and make something as close as possible to what we had eaten but using only my own personal knowledge and “expertise”. I have to say, I really hit it out of the ball park with this one. I made enough to give to a friend and she raved and demanded the recipe. I fluffed my chest out appropriately and informed her it was actually my very own recipe. I may have strut a bit when I walked later that day, maybe.
Saute onion and carrots in oil over medium heat until softened. Add garlic cook another 30 seconds.
Add broth and beans and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer, cover and cook 30 minutes.
Add potatoes and rutabaga, cover and cook another 30 minutes.
Return to boil. Add quinoa, spices and greens, reduce heat, cover and simmer another 15-20 minutes or until quinoa is soft. Remove from heat and serve with thick, hearty bread.
I also added a bit of leftover shredded chicken that was in our fridge. I think it was a wonderful addition but not at all necessary.
1-3 Tbsp oil (I used coconut)
2-3 carrots, diced
1 small onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup dried beans (soaked for 8 hours or overnight)
2 cups vegetable broth or water
3 small potatoes, diced
1 rutabaga, diced
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 bunch greens (kale, spinach, swiss chard), finely chopped
spices as desired *
salt and pepper to taste
* I used 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp curry powder and 2 tsp thyme
I was invited over for dinner and asked to bring a salad. The main course was sweet potato and bean enchiladas. I know how to chop up vegetables and throw them together last minute, buy some dressing and call it a day. On this particular day, however, I had some extra time and a desire to roast nuts in a sweet and savory mix. I made this mix during Thanksgiving as a way to use all the extra pumpkin seeds I had from several huge pumpkins that were left over from Halloween. My nephews were around for the holiday and munched on the mix and begged me to send them some in the mail. Fast forward to several months and I finally decided I had put it off long enough. I wanted to mail my promise. I was thus inspired by the nut mix to make a sweet and spicy mango salad to accompany our dinner.
The nut mix takes no time at all and is incredibly delicious. A great way to snack with healthy intentions. The salad is also very quick and keeps well for at least 3 days once mixed (without the dressing). Heat the oven (or toaster oven) to 350°. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and toast them for 6 minutes or until they are fragrant and their color deepens slightly. In a medium-size bowl, stir together the spice mix.
In a saucepan, combine the glaze ingredients and bring them to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Stir in the toasted nuts and continue to stir until all the nuts are shiny and the liquid is gone, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Move the glazed nuts to a mixing bowl, sprinkle on the spice mix, and toss them well to coat. Spread the coated nuts on a cookie sheet and return them to the oven for another 4 minutes; check regularly to make sure they don’t burn. Remove and let cool. Makes 2 cups.
Mix together ingredients for dressing in a bottle with a lid. I use old salad dressing bottles. Shake well. Chop 1/2 cup of nuts. Place greens and mango in large salad bowl. Top with chopped nuts. You can dress the salad in the bowl or allow each person to dress it to their liking. The undressed salad will last longer as left overs in the fridge.
I wish I had remembered to take a photo of the final product but alas…I was far to busy consuming it. Enjoy!
2 cups mixed nuts
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tsp teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 tsp ginger
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or smoked paprika
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon canola or coconut oil
1 manco, peeled and cut in chunks
4 cups greens
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup mango juice
1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp cayenne or smoked paprika
salt and pepper to taste
This post will be short and sweet. I don’t have a lot to say. My soap box has been left for this surprising sunshine and I’m feeling like a nap could be a better way to spend my “free time” than writing a long post. These burgers are my own invention upon realizing I had extra ground meat and a desire to get more veggies into my son’s diet. It’s really not all that precise and you could make tons of substitutions. To say he enjoyed these would be so sadly inaccurate. He sucked them down so fast I could hardly remember whether I had put one on his plate or not. This action was coincided with lots of “mmmmm” sounds. This is a boy that will pull spinach out of his eggs….so the fact that he inhaled the greens in this burger just proves how delicious it must have been.
Mix together all ingredients until well incorporated. Shape into patties. Heat frying pan with a scant layer of oil. Fry on both sides about 5 minutes or until cooked all the way through. These could probably be baked as well at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes. I didn’t get a chance to try that out but I would love to hear if someone else does.
.5 lbs ground meat
1 cup finely chopped greens
1/2 cup grated cheese
2 Tbsp ground flax
1 tsp cumin
1/4 cup mashed sweet potato (or one egg)
oil for frying
I love making pancakes on saturday mornings. It is usually the first day of the weekend for our family and it feels as though it signals a slowing down and soaking in of all that we cherish. Usually, that is time with one another, and for me, it also means more time for cooking and baking. My little guy, who really isn’t that little anymore, is increasingly interested in helping me in the kitchen. This last saturday we were sans my husband and I wasn’t about to let that stop our little tradition. I mixed together the dry ingredients, gave my 16 month old a whisk and away he went. To say I was proud and possibly moved to tears is an understatement. It’s such a joy to have someone keeping me company in the kitchen, the fact that it is my son is a bonus.
I want to convey that while the pictures show him squatting on the floor, this is not required to obtain a replica of our product. I’m sure you knew that…but thought I would clarify for any hard core literals out there. This recipe is my own, which has been happening more and more lately. I keep forgetting to write down the ingredients and this does not bode well for a blog. I did remember this recipe and it’s ingredients so bonus points for me and lucky for you!
Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl until well combined. Obtaining the assistance of a young child is not necessary but does make it more enjoyable. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, and then whisk in the remaining wet ingredients. If you want a smoother batter, let all ingredients soak for 5-10 minutes. Gradually pour the dry ingredients over the wet ingredients as you whisk them together until just combined. Do not over mix.
Bring a skillet to a medium heat, this takes about 4-5 minutes and it is essential to get the pan nice and hot before pouring your first pancake. Lightly oil the pan. When I say “lightly” I really mean it. Make it light folks…it makes a big difference. Pour 1/3 cup of batter into the pan. Allow bubbles to come through and the edges to lightly firm and then flip to cook the other side.
Our favorite topping is peanut butter and real maple syrup. Sometimes we splurge and put whipped cream on…ya know…when we are feeling really lucky.
1.5 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp + 2tsp sugar
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (1 tsp cinnamon, 3/4 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp nutmeg)
2 cups milk
1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp coconut oil (or melted butter) and extra for greasing the pan
It’s been a long time. I could excuse myself for a number of reasons. Husband on a business trip for 10 days and I alone with the 16 month old boy. Worst winter storm in 20 years. Power outages. Possible insanity while all this occurred at once. If I were honest, however, it has just been a lack of inspiration and motivation. I haven’t really felt like cooking anything new or inspired by anything I have been reading in the cooking world. It may also be true that I have a really good set of “go-to” recipes that I find difficult to stray away from. Then my husband returned, the snow melted, the power was provided and a fire was lit under me. I went to a dinner party recently and someone mentioned putting beets in their chili.
Beets in chili? This I had to try. It also felt like a fairly easy gate way recipe to new and more exciting adventures. I put together my favorite chili recipe, with a few tweaks, and added some beets. Outcome? Tremendous. The beets add heart and earth to the chili without making it taste like…well…beets. I also decided to throw in some finely chopped greens to up the ante even more. I did learn, however, it is wise to either put everything in the slow cooker for the day so the beets get nice and tender or boil the beets until tender before adding them to the chili if you are short on time. Get adventurous, try this out. I swear your kids will adore it and only the redness of the chili will give away that there is anything different.
If using a slow cooker/ crock pot: Throw all ingredients in, turn to low and let go for 6-8 hours. Garnish with cheese and sour cream.
If using a traditional pot: Place diced beets in tall pot. Pour water in pot until beets are barely covered. Place pot on stove and bring to boil. Boil until beets are tender (15-40 minutes depending on size). Drain water and set beets aside. Sauté onion in oil until tender. Add garlic and sauté about 2 minutes more. Add beans, tomatoes, beets, chopped greens, smoked paprika, cooked ground meat and chili seasoning. Bring to boil. Let simmer 20-30 minutes. Add broth as necessary if chili becomes too thick. Garnish with sour cream and cheese. I also made vegan squash cornbread muffins to go with dinner.
1 can beans (chili, black, pinto)
.5 lb ground meat (pork, lamb, beef), cooked
2 beets, diced
1/2 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
14 oz can crushed or diced tomatoes
1 cup broth (vegetable or chicken) or water
1 Tbsp chili seasoning
1/8 tsp smoked paprika
1 cup finely chopped greens (collards, kale, swiss chard, spinach)
Garnish: Sour Cream, Cheddar or Cojita cheese.
There is a restaurant in Bellingham, Washington called Man Pies. It opened in the last few years, during the time our family was living in another part of the state. We often visit, however, and decided we had to try any food establishment with such a clever name. Turns out, we were about to get our socks and pants knocked off. The first pie I tried was stuffed with a lamb stew. It was so astounding I have never ordered anything else off the menu because I am so obsessed with the unique flavors married in this dish. I have had it in my mind to recreate this joyful experience at home but have not been handed the time or ingredients.
I assumed it would be easy to find a good recipe. I was wrong. It was nearly impossible. Most people use puff pastry for the top and this was just unacceptable to me. I will admit, it takes about an extra hour to make your own pie crust. It is so totally worth that hour of time. If you just absolutely cannot make the extra time, which I am well aware can happen, a store bought crust will do just fine. Even puff pastry would work but the oven temp and cooking time would be altered based on the package directions.
The dish is a meal all on it’s own and could easily feed 6-8 people. It also keeps very well, refrigerated, for at least a week or two. You can also make the crust way ahead of time and freeze for up to 6 months, just removing it the night before and putting it in the refrigerator to thaw. You can also make the filling of the pie a day ahead of time and refrigerate for up to 3 days, just reheat in a pot before putting inside of pie crust.
As a last ditch effort, this is also a fabulous lamb stew recipe. If you just have 30-45 minutes to make dinner then pick up some rolls or hearty bread at the store and whip up just the stew portion of this recipe. It will not fail you.
img src="http://purehunger.com/images/uploads/IMG_53591.jpg" alt="" width="620" height="413" />
Heat oil in large soup pot over medium-high heat and brown lamb meat (about 4-6 minutes on each side). Add garlic, onion, celery, carrots and potatoes and cook another 8-10 minutes or until vegetables have softened. Add tomatoes, broth, wine and spices and bay leaf and bring to boil.
Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove 1/4 cup liquid from stew and mix with arrowroot powder until blended. Add mixture back to stew pot, stir and simmer, uncovered, another 10-15 minutes or until stew has thickened. Add frozen peas. If making only the stew then stop here, and serve in bowls with bread.
While stew is simmering, roll out one pie crust and place in 9-10 inch pie pan. If you need more direction on how to roll out crust just look at link for pie crust in side bar. Cover and place in refrigerator. Roll out top of pie crust. If stew is still simmering, put top crust in refrigerator, covered. When stew is 5 minutes from complete, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Once stew is complete, remove pie pan from refrigerator, fill with stew and gently place second pie crust on top. Cut excess crust dough around pie pan and seal edges together with fork by gently pressing all the way around.
Brush top of crust with lightly beaten egg. Place pie in oven and let cook 45 minutes or until crust is browned. Let cool 30-60 minutes or overnight in refrigerator. Slice and serve.
2 Tbsp coconut/olive/canola oil
1 lb lamb stew meat (can sub any other meat)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, finally chopped or 1 cup
4 stalks celery, diced or 1.5 cups
4 small carrots, diced or 1.5 cups
3 medium potatoes, cubed or 2 cups
2 tomatoes, diced or 1 cup
1 cup low-sodium chicken/beef broth
1 cup red wine (can also use beef broth)
1 bay leaf
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp arrowroot powder
Frozen/fresh peas (optional)
1 egg, lightly beaten
The first day of the new year and my feature photo is a huge hunk of meat covered in bacon. Not necessarily what you might have in mind when this is the day most people begin to set goals for health and weight loss. I am not oblivious. This is incredibly intentional. I want to send a clear message about food and health. The contents of this meatloaf are local, seasonal and sustainably raised or produced. Each and every ingredient was purchased from the farmers market or food cooperative. While it may have more fat content and less vegetables than a conventional salad, it probably has far fewer harmful chemicals and additives and far more healthy omega 3 and 6, protein and beta carotene.
My message is not that meat is healthier than vegetables. The message is: there is a balance to everything, including food. It took me years to discover, when you put time and energy into carefully selecting your ingredients, it often does not matter what you are eating. What matters is how present you are when you are making and consuming your dish. The more you stay in the moment, the less it matters whether you are eating salad or meatloaf. If the ingredients are from local, sustainable sources then you can trust that your body is being nourished without being harmed. Remember, however, there is balance. Eating meatloaf every night is neither good for you or the world we live in.
We all try the best we can to follow “rules” for eating well. The struggle, however, is the “rules” are often changing. Hundreds of “experts” have conflicting opinions. Children, work, hobbies and life take a lot of time and energy. We cannot always succeed every single day to get the “correct” amount of food in each of our bodies. What we can do, however, is use a strong foundation for health by visiting local markets and food cooperatives. Even if we are making meatloaf instead of a green salad or vegetable soup, we can feel positive about the balance we are creating in our world and our lives. We are focusing less on what we are eating and focusing more on where it came from, how it was made and how we are going to eat it.
It was also incredibly inexpensive for the large amount the recipe produced. I could have easily fed 8-10 people and still had left overs. Meatloaf is not some delicate art form in the cooking world. It’s the comfort food for a busy family. While many dinners can be a battle to get down my toddlers throat, I knew this would be one he would eat and happily ask for more. I made a side of roasted vegetables to balance the dinner.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix all meat loaf ingredients except meat and bacon in a large bowl until well combined and mushy. Mixture will fizz due to baking soda and vinegar. Let sit 10-15 minutes, then mix in meat until well combined. On an oiled pan, loosely form meat mix into loaf. Drape bacon over loaf and slide into middle rack of oven and bake 50-60 minutes or until thermometer reaches 170 when put in middle of loaf.
Combine ingredients for glaze in small pot and bring to boil for 1-2 minutes. Twenty minutes before meatloaf is done, pour glaze over evenly and return it to oven.
Adapted from “The Family Dinner”
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
1 1/4 cup milk
1 tsp baking soda
2 Tbsp vinegar
1/2 cup ketchup
1 1/2 tsp each salt & pepper
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
2 1/2 lbs ground meat
5-6 slices pork bacon (optional)
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp ground cumin
One of my favorite things happened last weekend. I was casually introduced to a new vegetable. While picking out my familiar items such as beets and carrots, I happened to overhear the woman who was making her purchase. She was discussing what she was going to do with her produce and mentioned how rare it is to find the two vegetables she was looking for: rutabagas and turnips. We grew turnips in our garden last year…I was really grossed out when eating them raw. As I found out with my initial aversion to kale, it sometimes only takes the right recipe to bring out the greatness in a vegetable.
After a little more inquiry, I learned you can roast both these vegetables as easily as you might roast beets or carrots. I asked for a few small picks and happily hurried home to give both these vegetables a fighting chance. I had recently learned an incredible secret to roasting vegetables: sugar and high temperatures.
I swear to you, even your children will eat this, as long as they can get past the fact that it is a vegetable. If for some horrific reason, they refuse to eat it, you won’t even argue. You wan’t them to hate it because it just means more leftovers for you. You will want leftovers. Trust me.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut vegetables in chunks. Don’t be precise about this, just cut it about the size you would want to put into your mouth. A little rectangle or square. Place in lipped oven proof pan, coat with sugar, salt, pepper and oil and roast for 30-45 minutes. Roast until they are tender and browning. The high temps bring out the natural sugars in the vegetables and the brown sugar gently caramelizes the top. This can be refrigerated and happily eaten as leftovers for days afterward.
2 Beets (I used golden and striped)
3 cups brussel sprouts
2 tsp brown sugar
2-4 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
Feel free to mix and match any root vegetables or squash in place of suggested ingredients such as potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes
Hello there. It’s been a while. Not sure you remember me. I’m the one with the clever, seasonal blog that you have been checking every day for the past two weeks only to be disappointed and heavy hearted when you learn there is not a single new post. Two weeks. Two whole weeks have gone by without even a little peep from this lady that calls herself a “blogger”. Shameful. Shame on me. I will, however, happily pull the, “It’s the holidays” card and leave you embarrassed that you ever thought bad thoughts about me….you know you did.
Well I am about to make it up to you in a BIG way. A creamy, cheesy, sweet and addicting way. It’s not even my own recipe. I straight up stole it from this lady. Sorry Pioneer Woman. Your cheesecake recipe with it’s gingersnap crust and pumpkin goodness is just far to delicious to keep secret any longer. Seriously. I ate the whole thing by myself. I may have given a piece or two to friends but I ate at least half the damn thing in the matter of seven days and that, my friends, took some serious self restraint.
A dear friend of mine had made this a few weeks back and I had ordered her to save me a piece or our friendship would officially be over. I don’t mess around when it comes to food, especially cheesecake. She complied, somewhat grudgingly, I may add, and I wouldn’t blame her one bit. My first bite may or may not have been followed up by some very inappropriate groaning and moaning. This is the kind of shit you sell your first child, and maybe your second, just so you can get one more fix. I’m dead serious. It’s that good.
This recipe is in now way healthy or “good for you” but it is so very very “good for you”. If you make it and feel guilty about eating every single slice all by yourself, call me up and I will happily fly my ass across the country to join you in a slice of heaven and self pity. We could be best friends!
You should follow all the instructions on the original post and do not be afraid if your cake starts to rise and look a bit like a volcano exploding in your oven. It’s supposed to do that and it will return to a preferable shape once it has cooled off a bit. I would also highly recommend setting the springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet because I found the butter from the crust would drip into the oven and made my kitchen so very smokey.
An insignificant price to pay for such a sinful treat. I also highly recommend inviting over as many friends as possible to help you consume this cake or you will easily be having “just one more bite” until you realize there are no more bites left to consume and your stomach feels a bit achy. The recipe recommends chilling the cake at least four hours or over night and I tried to push the limit and cool it exactly four hours. I believe this was a mistake. This is a dessert that should be made the day before and just gets better with age, as most things in this world.
The original recipe calls for caramel but my friend and I both felt this cake was rich enough on it’s own. Be your own judge but I would reserve the caramel for a topping, if at all.
Taken from Pioneer Woman
12 ounces, weight Storebought Gingersnaps
1/2 cup Chopped Pecans
6 Tablespoons Butter, Melted
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 dash Salt
4 packages (8 0z. Packages) Cream Cheese
1-1/2 cup Sugar
1 can 15-ounce Pumpkin Puree (NOT Pumpkin Pie Filling)
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Allspice
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
4 whole Eggs
2 Tablespoons Heavy Cream
The photo to your left is neither remarkable nor very good but it reminds me of the holidays. Fuzzy, warm, soft and bursting with color. This is a comfort dish that is meant for indulging between those very heavy holiday meals. I wasn’t convinced this list of ingredients would mesh well together but I should never have worried when the word “caramelized” is involved. Take anything anyone hates and caramelize it. No shit. It’s unbelievable. Onions? Caramelized? Beets? Caramelized? Brussel Sprouts? Caramelized. It’s like a magic wand for picky eaters. I kid you not, caramelized should really equal “fucking awesome”.
I guess that wouldn’t be so appropriate as titles in cookbooks. Fucking Awesome Onion Pork Chops. So this recipe was great. It is also a complete meal without a scarp of meat due to the power grain, quinoa. I think it would be a favorite in any home as long as you could get them to take just one bite. That’s no small undertaking but I have faith in you!
This recipe comes from an equally wonderful cookbook. This is the first recipe I have tried but the suggestions and ideas for having a family dinner is truly inspiring and motivating. It reminds me that the dinner table is a sacred space for connecting with one another and since this reminder we have taken action to remove all distractions from that opportunity to connect.
During the cooking process is also a great opportunity for kids to connect with parents and the food they are eating. Studies show children are twice as likely to eat their dinner if they are involved in the process of making it. Even if this means dinner takes a bit longer to make, it can really make a huge difference in your child’s willingness to consume their food. Think how much energy you will save at the dinner table when they happily chow down their meal instead of refusing to eat.
All of these ingredients are fairly seasonal as well, which means they will taste better and be less expensive, even as organic options. I got a huge bag of vegetables at the farmers market last week that lasted us two weeks and it was $9.50. That included carrots, onions, kale, spinach and beets.
Slice yams/sweet potatoes 1/4-inch thick. Toss with salt and 1 Tbsp olive oil. Place in well-oiled, nonstick baking pan. Cover tightly with foil, put in cold oven (this is important because gradual rise in temperature will bring out flavors) and turn oven to 400 degrees. Bake for about 30-40 minutes or until yams/potatoes are very soft. Remove foil and bake another 20 minutes or until caramelized (golden or amber on the edges, almost burnt).
Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in medium pot and sauté onion. Add garlic, ginger, beets and curry powder/paste and sauté until sizzling and fragrant. Add greens and stir until wilted. Add quinoa to pot of greens along with 3 cups stock/water. Simmer, with lid, until all liquid is absorbed (about 15 minutes). During this time DO NOT STIR THE POT. Quinoa is a grain that cooks by using up little pockets of water/air and stirring really screws with that process. To check if water has been absorbed just tilt the pot lightly and if water runs towards the edge then let it cook a bit longer.
Fluff quinoa with fork, season to taste. Add olive oil/butter and a squeeze of lemon. Put quinoa on platter, top with sweet potatoes and enjoy!
Adapted from “The Family Dinner”
4 medium-size yams or sweet potatoes*
salt and pepper
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp peeled and chopped fresh ginger (optional)
3 Beets, chopped into small sticks
1 Tbsp mild indian curry powder/paste (optional)
3 cups leafy greens such as kale, chard, collards
1.5 cups quinoa
Ground pork/beef or chicken (optional)
3 cups water or chicken/vegetable stock
2 Tbsp olive oil or pat of butter
Squeeze of lemon (optional)
*A quick note on the difference between yams and
sweet potatoes. Yams are yellow. Sweet potatoes
are white. Yams are sweeter, meatier. Sweet
potatoes are lighter, fluffier, mildly sweet. Do not
be fooled by signs at the grocery store. Yellow
is yams, white is sweet potato.
This menu is missing it’s lead character, the turkey. I do have an incredible roast chicken recipe that I’m sure will translate wonderfully for turkey. I have never, and have not volunteered for, the job of creating the lead role for Thanksgiving dinner. Just writing about how I have not taken on this task makes my heart start beating rapidly, in panic, not excitement. I love bringing the side dishes, pie, drinks, anything really, except the main dish. I really dislike cooking meat as a main dish in general. This is not because I dislike eating meat, oh no, I do love my local meat, a lot. I just don’t enjoy cooking the stuff.
This role is usually handed off to my husband and he happily accepts. He also happens to make an incredible dish anytime he is in charge so why mess with a good thing? I am thankful for his willingness and patience in this area and so many others. I am thankful someone else has always taken on the grand task of roasting the turkey so I can enjoy my holiday without a mild panic attack. I am thankful for so many things it would take way to much of your time. I am thankful for you, my readers. These are suggestions for bringing seasonal, local ingredients to your table without too much time or money. Enjoy.
Easy Cinnamon Rolls if you are still hungry the next morning. I hope everyone enjoys their holiday and many thanks to all those who read this blog. Food is such a vital and central role in connection during the holidays. Thank you for connecting.
This is very close to the last in the series on what to do with a whole pumpkin. I started with a pumpkin roasting 101 and guts bread, moved on to making soup and now curry. This is one of those recipes where the quantity and type of vegetable really doesn’t matter all that much. I happened to have carrots, spinach and potatoes on hand so I threw it in with the mix. You can follow this recipe to the letter or add your own random vegetables looking sad and lonely in the drawer. This is the perfect recipe for shriveled carrots, droopy greens or that last bit of wrinkled onion you have yet to use from last weeks groceries. The flavor of the pumpkin is subtle and if you don’t have pumpkin, any squash will do.
Another note: If you don’t have time to roast your pumpkin or squash then throw it in early, with the carrots and let the whole thing simmer a little longer until it’s soft. I just so happen to be roasting pumpkin like crazy around here due to the three whole pumpkins staring me down. While this recipe was astounding, I think I may be done with pumpkin for at least a week.
I can now see that when people choose to eat what is in season, they eat so much that they become tired of the food until it is in season once again. The ability to restrain yourself from buying strawberries in December means they will taste just that much better in March and April. The fact that they won’t have to travel hundreds or thousands of miles just to get on your plate will also help satisfy your desire.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not at my best after I have traveled a while. I’m sure those strawberries aren’t much different. In terms of self restraint, I’m probably one of the worst. When I want a food item, I want it today, now, right this minute. I’m learning, however, sometimes it’s better to wait. While I may want a strawberry in the warmth of my heated home in the middle of December, I know it will not taste nearly as good and thus leave me unsatisfied, until I can pluck it from my own garden in April.
While I know that I can’t begin to wait for all things to come in season, I can choose to hold off on at least a few. This choice, helps me support my local farmers and decrease the amount of fuel and energy that will affect the planet for my son. It may just be a pint of strawberries in December, but it could mean one less farmer in my neighborhood gives up. One extra breath of fresh air for myself and my family. Just one. While I will always be far from perfect in any area of my life, I try to make at least one choice like this every day.
Heat 2 Tbsp oil in large pot. Add peanuts and sauté until roasted. Remove peanuts from pot and set aside. Sauté chicken breast in 2 Tbsp oil until no longer pink in the middle (about 5-8 min). Remove from pot. Sauté carrots, potato and onion in pot with more oil until softened. Add garlic and sauté another 2 minutes. Dump in can of coconut milk and add curry paste/powder.
Bring to boil. Turn down heat and let simmer about 10-15 minutes, covered, or until all vegetables are soft. Add pumpkin and spinach and simmer another 5 minutes. Serve in bowls and top with roasted peanuts. Enjoy this curry and your choice to eat in the season.
6 Tbsp oil (I used coconut)
1 cup peanuts, chopped
1 chicken breast, chopped (can omit for vegan)
1 carrot, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 potato, chopped
1 can coconut milk (15oz)
1-2 Tbsp curry paste or curry powder
1 bunch spinach, chopped
2 cups pumpkin, roasted and chopped
I began my series on pumpkin last week with a 101 on roasting the flesh and making bread from the guts. We continue with soup and later this week, I will feature a recipe for pumpkin curry and put up a suggested menu of recipes for a Thanksgiving meal. The recipe featured today, was actually my first introduction into the concept of local and seasonal foods. A few counselors met in the winter of 2007 to watch a training video for couples counseling. The person who hosted the event made us this soup on a very cold fall day. While we were all there for a training, conversation easily shifted to the food we were eating and the afternoon crept into the night.
Along with the recipe, she later emailed after we all raved about both, she began talking about her experience with local and seasonal foods. She was attempting to source her food and become as close to her farmers and products as possible. After reading a few of her adventures and experiences, I got curious and started educating myself. It’s amazing how little I knew.
Take those two carrots in the picture above. One is from our garden and the other from the co-op. Both are carrots but different varieties. Incredible how the selection of seed changes even the structure of a basic item like carrots. So this recipe is pretty special. It signifies a new beginning, warmth, comfort and friendship. I hope this blog and these recipes can do for you what this recipe started for me.
In a stockpot over medium heat, melt butter and saute carrot, onion, and apple for a few minutes, then stir in pumpkin and sage. Saute until all are tender (I found I needed to add a little of the broth to moisten it). Add broth and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
Puree all or half of the soup (I just pureed half and left in some chunks of carrot, apple, onion). Then add the cream and simmer for another 5 minutes—do not boil. Season with salt and pepper to taste, although I found it was already delicious on its own!
2 Tbsp butter or coconut oil
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced or sliced
1 apple, diced
2 cups fresh pumpkin, roasted* and diced
1 Tbsp sage leaves
3 cups vegetable broth/boullion (or chicken stock)
1 cup cream or Silk plain soy creamer
This is the first in a series on using a whole pumpkin. I mean the whole darn thing, well maybe except the skin. This is for all those who still have their little pumpkins lingering on their front door step long after the last fall leaf has turned yellow, orange, red and fallen to the ground. Am I the only one in this category? That’s embarrassing. To be honest, I didn’t even get a pumpkin for Halloween. We went to the pumpkin patch with my son the weekend before Halloween day and left with our hands empty. Out stomaches, however, were full of apple fritters and caramel apples. It was the real reason we went to the pumpkin patch. There may have been some motivation to take adorable photos, but the fritters were really our focus.
My mother was on her way to visit my sister the weekend after Halloween and noticed the farm stand she stopped at was giving away their pumpkins for free. She knows how much I love things that are free, especially food, and picked up a few for me. I had grand plans to use them right away but one weekend turned into the next and those orange globes were still staring me down. I had to admit, I was fairly intimidated. A whole pumpkin? What do you do with a whole pumpkin?
I took a deep breath and started doing what I always do when overwhelmed. I googled that shit. Turns out you can do a lot with a whole pumpkin. After poking around for a bit I got fairly excited. Then I stumbled on a recipe for bread you can make out of the guts of the pumpkin. I am the type of person to cut the mold off cheese or bread just so I don’t waste food. So the thought that I could make something edible out of a part of the pumpkin most people just toss out, was way too tempting to pass up.
With a focus, I found my drive and dove in knife first. The original recipe for the guts bread had way more sugar, eggs and white flour than I prefer, so I fiddled with it until I found my ideal recipe. Let me tell you, it’s incredible.
Before we jump ahead of ourselves, lets talk about what to do with the roasted flesh of the pumpkin. You can make a puree and freeze it or make pumpkin curry or pumpkin soup. I will have recipes for the last two in the next few posts. You can also just freeze the flesh as soon as it cools and let it thaw before using whole in recipes.
To roast pumpkin: preheat oven to 400. Cut whole pumpkin in half and then each half into several pieces. Scrape out the insides, saving the seeds for roasting and the guts for bread. Place pumpkin on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive or canola oil, season with salt and pepper. Roast in oven until tender but not falling apart, about 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool, peel skin off, and dice.
While the pumpkin is roasting, make bread. Preheat oven to 350 F or just turn it down once you remove the roasted pumpkin from the oven. Use your fingers and a pair of scissors to separate the pumpkin guts, making sure they’ll be able to mix well into the batter. Mix flax and chia with maple syrup and let sit for 15 minutes.
Combine flours, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and sugar in large mixing bowl. Add flax/chia mixture, applesauce and pumpkin guts. Stir until blended. Pour into two 9×5″ loaf pans. Bake 50-60 minutes. Cool slightly and take out of pans to let cool on a rack. I made this bread last night and one loaf is already demolished. So unbelievably good. As a bonus? The guts have the same nutritional value as the pumpkin flesh itself!
Makes 2 loaves:
2 cups whole wheat flour
1.5 cups white flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup maple syrup
2 Tbsp ground flax seed
2 Tbsp Chia seeds
1 cup applesauce or 2 ripe bananas
2 cups pumpkin guts, seeds removed
There is this story about the creation of play-doh. When coal was the original heat source for homes, it often left black soot on wall paper. Play-doh was originally created to clean wall paper of the soot. When the industrial revolution, occurred, and people began relying on other forms of energy to heat their homes, the creator of play-doh thought his product was obsolete. His sister, a teacher, brought some of the play-doh to school to try with her children, as modeling clay was very firm and somewhat toxic for kids. Turns out, as you know, they loved it. So why the hell am I talking about play-doh on a cooking blog? When we think we may be headed for failure, often we just need a way to get new perspective to find success.
This happened the other night, when I was making dinner. I had found the recipe on her blog and was excited about the flavor combinations. It was Halloween, I knew we would be out late so I prepared many of the ingredients ahead of time. My son was dressed as Steve Jobs and we stayed downtown for the afternoon because he is so little and it was fun. We got home right around dinner time and as I began assembling the ingredients I realized, to my dismay, I had completely forgotten to make the rice. Key ingredient in my opinion.
My excitement quickly turned to self abuse and words like “stupid” and “idiot” flew out of my mouth. I was just a click away from dialing for sushi when I told myself to just stop, breathe, and think. Within a few moments, I realized I could make quinoa in just 15 minutes and it would have a much greater health profile than brown rice. As the recipe does not have much in the way of protein, it would also boost that number considerably. Success. Oh and it tasted damn good.
Preheat oven to 425F and line a large glass dish with tinfoil. Drizzle olive oil on squash and give a shake of salt and pepper. Coat with hands. Roast chopped butternut squash for 45 mins. or until tender. You can also buy frozen bags of cubed squash.
Heat burrito shell in microwave for 15 seconds. Top with beans, spices, squash, cheese, quinoa and other additional toppings of your choice. I added avocado and spinach. Wrap. The original recipe has you sauté it all with garlic and onions. I think this would also be a great idea. In the interest of time, I skipped this step.
Just in case you were curious. This is my son, as Steve Jobs.
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, cubed, & roasted
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
2 tsp ground cumin, or to taste
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp smoked paprika or to taste (optional)
One 15-oz can black beans (about 1.5-2 cups cooked), drained and rinsed
3/4 cup cheese
4 tortilla wraps (large or x-large)
Toppings of choice: (avocado, sour cream, spinach/lettuce, cilantro, etc)
I’m torn. I am mourning the loss of daylight in the evening hours for a multitude of reasons. Cold season, long walks after dinner, playing with my son just before we do our bath time routine in the warmth of the sunlight, trips to the park to get out that last burst of energy and the natural light that makes my photos for this blog look decent. I am celebrating the coming of fall in just as many ways. The leaves changing color and falling to the ground; making the world burst with life, soups, cider and comfort food. While these photos are in no way my best work, the recipe is. I am ordering you to forget whatever ideas you had for dinner tonight and make this, now.
If you are plagued with a cold, even more reason. It is seriously quick, easy and just brimming with incredible flavors. The curry and cayenne will knock the snot right out of our sinuses. I was very pessimistic about this recipe but needed something warm, bright and easy to make this last week. I also happened to have all the ingredients on hand. I had canned soup as a back up but it was completely unnecessary. I’m actually fairly devastated I ate the last of it two days ago and already planning in making more this weekend.
Melt oil/butter in large saucepan over high heat. Cook onion, garlic, curry paste, cayenne, and salt until fragrant, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Add carrots and broth, coconut milk and cook, covered, until carrots are very tender. Puree soup with immersion blender or regular blender until smooth. I left some carrot chunks as I like that in a soup. You can add yogurt, cilantro or nothing at all to finish it off.
Adapted from Sunset Magazine March 2011
1 Tbsp coconut oil/butter
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tsp curry paste (or 1 tsp for more mild flavor)
1/4 tsp cayenne (or less for less heat)
1/2 tsp salt
1 lb carrots, chopped
2 cups chicken broth
1 (15oz) can coconut milk
I have long had an aversion to making fish. There has never, however, been an aversion to eating it. As a good friend would say, I can pound that stuff. Unfortunately, my consumption of said scaly friend has been limited to restaurants or trips to Mexico. It wasn’t until recently that I really started to feel like I was mastering this skill with enough precision that I could make it a regular spot on our weekly menu. While feeling particularly uninspired in the cooking arena last week, I took it up on myself to peruse my pile of recipes I have torn out of magazines. These recipes are torn with the intention that I will cook them for dinner that week, then inevitably, I wind up making this or this and the recipe goes into “the pile”.
I sorted through that pile with a mission and found several recipes that made me curious and salivate. Necessary requirements when in a cooking slump. This took very very little time or planning but did require a few ingredients you may not have on hand at home. I tell you it’s worth whatever extra trip you need to make to the store to make this happen in your house this week. The original recipe is a meal on its own but I also made coconut greens to add additional vegetables and taste.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Make crust: Whirl ingredients in food processor or blender until nuts are finely chopped.
Make fish: Brush fish with 3 Tbsp butter/coconut oil, pat nut mixture all over fish, and set on a greased baking sheet. Cook just until fish is opaque in center, 10-15 minutes. The thicker the fish, the longer it will cook. When it flakes easily when prodded a bit with a fork it is done.
Make salsa: Heat 3 Tbsp butter/oil in medium frying pan over medium-low heat, add shallots/onions and apple, and cook until slightly softened, about 2 minutes; remove from heat. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice and remaining ingredients; stir into apple mixture.
Serve halibut with apple salsa and sprinkle with a little more thyme.
Adapted from Sunset Magazine September 2011
3/4 cup toasted hazelnuts
1/8 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 Tbsp lemon zest
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 tsp dried
Fish and Salsa
4 white fish fillets
6 Tbsp melted unsalted butter/coconut oil
2 tbsp minced shallots/onions
1 3/4 cups chopped apple
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp mustard (Dijon, Honey, Yellow)
1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1/4 tsp dried
1/4 tsp salt and pepper
pinch of cayenne