Blog of the Belly Biter:

Some plant-based, some unhealthy, some super healthy but ALL good. Kid tested and mother approved!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Fajitas with Tex-Mex Fried Rice.

These are yumm.... love it with the tex-mex fried rice inside.

roast peppers & onions
saute mushrooms
warm up some black beans
smash up some avocado
make sunflower sour cream
add salsa
whole grain tortillas


Sunday, January 30, 2011

belly bites by week: 8th addition

tuesday: ancho chili

thursday: freebirds

friday: 13 bean soup
[i need to tweak it a little for my tastes ... love me still, please Natalie!]

mashed potatoes
steamed broccoli

Butternut Squash Soup

Looking for a good crockpot recipe that I can put together before church, I found this one from my friend Brooke's food blog... which she got from Better Homes and Gardens magazine. It was perfect for after church and took no time getting it all together. I love butternut squash, and this creamy soup was sweet and different.

Belly Biters
[me: yum] [nolan:yummy] [shayne: alright] [coco: eh.] [ava: yuck]
with half and half, I'll for sure be making it again.

2 lbs. butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups vegetable broth
1 14-oz. can unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon shy maple syrup (brooke used brown sugar)
1 tablespoon fish sauce, soy sauce, liguid amino's1/2 to 1 teaspoon Asian chili sauce (Sriracha sauce) or crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 recipe Thai Gremolata, [recipe below]

In a 3 1/2 or 4-quart slow cooker stir together squash, broth, coconut milk, onion, brown sugar, soy sauce, and Asian chili sauce. Cover; cook on low for 4 to 5 hours or high for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

At this point, the the crockpot, it looks pretty nasty. But keep it together and use an immersion blender to carefully blend soup until completely smooth. Stir in lime juice. Ladle into bowls and top with Thai Gremolata (below). If desired, serve with lime wedges.

Thai Gremolata
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil or cilantro
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
1 tablespoon lime peel, finely shredded

In a bowl stir together.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sage Beanballs with Tomato-Balsamic Gravy.

I first morphed this meat lovers fave just using the regular beanball recipe. But this time I converted all of the mini meatloaves spices into the beanballs. I'm not sure which ones I like better... probably the sage ones. Both delish. But I do know that I love, love, love this gravy. So yum. 

Make sure when you make the beanballs to double or even triple the batch. Bake and throw what you don't use in the freezer and pull them out to make this again, or for spaghetti & beanballs or beanball subs.

Mashed Potatoes
1-2 red potatoes per person, cut in chunks
2-4 cloves of garlic
1-2 tablespoon vegan butter

Put potatoes into a pot and cover with water, and then some. Add the garlic cloves and bring to boil. Once potatoes are tender, drain water, and mash potatoes (I like to whip them in the kitchen-aid mixer) - adding vegan butter. Add sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Sage Beanballs
1 (20-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained (about 3 cups)
2 tablespoons steak sauce or tomato paste
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for frying or baking
2 garlic cloves, grated or minced finely
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
3 sprigs sage, leaves removed from stems and chopped
1 cup (about 1 large handful) parsley, chopped
1/2 bunch scallions, finely chopped on an angle {green onions}
2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 375*F.

Pulse in a food processor (or mash with a fork) the kidney beans. [The original recipe from veganomicon says make sure you can still tell they were beans... I disagree. When cooked, I don't want to bite into a piece of bean! If that even makes sense.] Add the rest and use a fork to mix everything together. Use your hands to mix, until everything is really well combined and firm.

Roll the bean mixture into walnut-size balls (I use a cookie scoop so they're all uniform). But don't make them too big; smaller cook better.

Grease a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil {i spray}. Place the balls on the sheet and then drizzle them with a little more oil, to coat {i spray a liberal coat}. Bake for about 15 minutes, until lightly browned on the bottom, then flip them and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove them from the oven.

Tomato-Balsamic Gravy
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 pints grape tomatoes
Extra-virgin olive oil spray 
1/2 medium red onion, sliced
2 tablespoons vegan butter (earth balance)
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 cup vegetable broth

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Toss the grape tomatoes and onion slices onto a baking sheet along with a spray of EVOO spray, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Put the tray of veggies in and roast until the onions are caramelized and the tomatoes have burst open, about 15 minutes.
While the tomatoes and onion are roasting away, get the roux started: Melt the butter in a medium-size skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the flour over the melted butter, cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the balsamic and broth to the pan, whisking to incorporate. Cook until thickened, then remove it from the heat and reserve.

Add the roasted tomatoes and onion to the sauce and break up the veggies with a potato masher (I usually just pulse it in the blender, Shayne and the kids don't like chunks). Serve a  side of mashed potatoes and a handful of beanballs per person with a hearty ladle of the tomato balsamic gravy.

A merge of Rachael Ray & Veganomicon

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Whole Wheat Penne with San Marzano Tomatoes

I was so excited to try this one out because I love fennel... knowing full well that I'd need to puree it before I fed it to the kids to avoid any nose turning ups. It was good but it didn't shine the way I thought it would... I think the pureeing mutilated the tastes. If that even makes sense. 

I'm not giving up on it that easily though... next time: I won't puree, cut the fennel really small, serve the swiss chard on the side, and go with regular tomatoes. I'm not convinced paying the extra bucks for the san marzano's is entirely worth it.

2 onions, quartered and sliced
2 fennel bulbs, halved and sliced
1 (28-ounce) can peeled Italian San Marzano tomatoes, drained
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup vegetable stock
½ cup white grape juice (wine)
4 cups roughly chopped Swiss chard
Freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
¾ cup Manzanilla (green) olives, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
8 ounces whole wheat penne, cooked al dente according to package

Place a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the bottom with a pinch of salt and heat for 1 minute. Add the oil and heat for 30 more seconds, being careful not to let it smoke. This will create a nonstick effect.

Add the onions and fennel and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes, crushing each with your hand, along with the garlic, stock, wine, and chard. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the lemon juice and olives and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, until the olives are tender. Fold in the tarragon, thyme, and parsley, along with the hot pasta. Serve immediately.

**Swap out anything you don’t like or don’t have on hand – chard for kale or olives for capers (which I did instead of the olives).

belly biters: Coco: awesome - Shayne, Nolan & I: good -
Ava: no way {she saw me cutting up the fennel and swiss chard}

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ancho Chili.

I've had this recipe in my arsenal since it aired on the Rachael Ray Show over 2 years ago. I figured it was about time because I was sick of seeing it, along with about 50 other bookmarks on my google homepage.

It was good... Ava loved it... but wasn't exactly worth the 2 year wait. Still trying to decide if it'll go into the much coveted rotation around this house. Although, while I was typing it up I realized that the avocado mixture was suppose to be use in the soup and not just as a garnish - which I omitted. So, I'll for sure be trying it again... and figured I'd throw it up here in case it suits someone else's fancy.

1 quart vegetable stock
4 ancho chilis (dried poblano peppers), seeded (next go round, I'll use 3)
1 red onion, chopped
3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
1/2 cup raisins, roughly chopped (sounds beyond weird, but trust me-or Rachael)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon {i omit}
Salt and ground black pepper
1/4 cup tomato paste
1-2 cans of black beans {3 cups}

1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1 ripe avocado
Zest and juice of 1 lime

1 1/2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese, for garnish {i used an almond pepper jack}
Yields: 6 servings

Place a medium sauce pot over medium-high heat with the stock and ancho chilies. Bring the liquid to a bubble then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes until chilies have softened. Transfer mixture to a blender or food processor and -- very carefully, this mixture is very hot! -- puree it until smooth. Reserve.

While the chilies are simmering, place a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, steam fry the onion, garlic, raisins and spices to the pan. Season with salt and pepper, and cook until the veggies are tender, 5-6 minutes. Add the tomato paste to the pan and cook until deep golden brown and aromatic, about 1 minute. Add black beans.

Add the blended stock-chile mixture to the pot and bring the liquids up to a bubble.

While that's working, in a food processor {or just mash together} the cilantro, avocado, lime zest and juice. Season the mixture with salt and pepper, and puree until smooth.

Add the avocado mixture to the pot of chili stirring to incorporate. Serve the chili garnished with toasted pumpkin seeds and a little cheese with the quesadilla alongside.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Hurry Up Alfredo.

Ya'll are going to love me for this one. Like, "L-O, L-O, L-O, L-O-V-E, L-O, L-O, L-O... I'm talkin bout... I'm talkin bout love!" (Any Ashlee Simpson Wentz fans out there? Nope? No one? Yeah, me neither!)

Anyhow, back to this amazing pasta. It's for sure going into the Hatch Family rotation. It couldn't be more delicious. It couldn't be more easy. And it couldn't be more any on-hand, go-to meal to make, whatsoever. [any Chandler fans catch that one?... Man, I have got to stop writing these up late at night!] Although if you're just starting up on this vegan/plant-based thing it won't seem at all 'on-hand' ingredients to you at first. But this one alone is well worth the investment of the ingredients.

I seriously wanted more and more of this one, and couldn't believe that it was vegan. Seriously, just try this tonight. Or, right now. I can't wait to play with it some and add roasted red peppers... or try it into a rose sauce... and try roasted garlic with it... yum!

The only downfall was the garlic is not cooked, so the garlic flavor is strong - be ready for that. Too strong for my little Ava... "it's so good Mom... but it's just too strong!" I'll tone that down or try some roasted garlic cloves next time.

1 cup soy or almond milk
1/3 cup raw, unsalted cashews
3 tablespoons low-sodium tamari/soy sauce/bragg's liquid amino's
2 tablespoons Earth Balance margarine
1 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon paprika (smoked is awesome)
1 pinch nutmeg
2-4 cloves of garlic, optional (used 2, will use 1 next time)
Black pepper, to taste
whole wheat thin spaghetti

Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. This may work best in a high-speed blender (like a Vita-Mix), but you can definitely make it in a regular blender. Just blend extra-long, or perhaps strain if you want it perfectly smooth. Tiny bits of cashews won’t hurt anyone though!

If you’re making this sauce for pasta, drain the pasta and return it to the hot empty pan. Pour the sauce over, place on medium heat, and stir until heated through. Serve with lots of fresh cracked black pepper. I love it with steamed broccoli added in!

belly biters: amazing!!
5 Star Hurry-Up Alfredo...
I just moved this already yummy dish up to 5 star yumminess... I cut up sundried tomatoes and added to the pasta water 1 minute before it's done. And sauted baby bella mushrooms and added them in after I mixed the pasta and sauce together. SOOOOOOO yummy!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Chia Energy Porridge.

Don't judge this by the picture... I almost didn't post it because it totally looks unappetizing. But trust me, it is goooood! Maybe a good sub for the morning oatmeal, but I am for sure liking it for after school snack!

1/2 cup hemp/almond milk
1 1/2 tablespoons chia seed**(bulk at Central Market)
1/2 apple, shredded
1 tablespoon raisins
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Stir together chia and milk. Set aside for 15 mins, or as long as overnight for the chia to swell. Mix in the remaining ingredients. Garnish with anything you wish...

belly biters: me, ava, nolan - love it... shayne has yet to try... and Coco wasn't texturing it
Thank you Crysta for the intro and Sweetly Raw for posting it!
**Sweetly Raw says... "It should be dubbed "the wonder seed" - chia is packed with quality protein, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and is the richest known plant source of omega-3. In addition it is easy to digest and can be stored for long periods of time without going rancid (unlike other nuts/seeds, particularly flax). Throw some chia into liquid overnight and you've got the base for an excellent breakfast in the morning."

belly bites by week: 7th addition

I got really laxed on planning my meals out the whole month of December... and it only confirmed to me more just how important it is for me to do it.

I hate the dread of having to figure out what we're having for dinner in the 4:00 hour of the day. No bueno. So... as long as I keep planning our weekly belly bites, I'll try to keep posting them here.

I did this on my personal blog before the foodstyle conversion. So, if you're not into solely eating things with roots, check those out... What's Cookin Good Lookin? There's 50 weeks of animal eating yumminess there.

But, for all you root people, here's how our week went down.





w/ banana wheat germ muffins (from freezer)
& leftover corn chowder


granola... we spoke in church and it was pretty much all that was on my mind

Saturday, January 22, 2011

WHAT I buy & WHERE I get it...

I get a lot of questions on where I buy my stuff. So, I thought I'd compile from my spreadsheets where I get everything and how much. I'm not saying this is the cheapest place you can buy some of this stuff... but I've found what works best for me and not hauling all around town shopping all day to do so.

I hate grocery shopping, so some of the 'specialty items' I have just gone straight to Amazon. Which often times, it's cheaper then what's at the store and I now have free 2-day shipping with my Amazon Mom Prime account. Score. Sure beats going from store to store.

{i'll fill in more of the prices when I get a chance...}

agave nectar - costco 2-23.5oz at $6.99
almonds - costco - 3lbs/$9.69
ancho chilis - walmart - _lb. bag [usually in produce or ethnic aisle]
barley - sprouts
black beans - sprouts - bulk
brown rice, short grain - sprouts - bulk
brown rice syrup
cacao - central market
cashews - sprouts - bulk
chia seeds - central market
chickpea [flour] - sprouts - bulk
chipotle in adobo - grocery - ethnic aisle in by latin stuff
coconut [shredded] - sprouts - bulk
coconut oil, virgin & unrefined - mountain rose herbs - 1 gallon/$44.00
cornmeal - sprouts - bulk
craisins - sprouts - bulk
cremini [baby bellas] - costco - $3.99
date syrup - OrganicsAreForEveryone - 12.3 oz jar/$9.99
dates, med jool - costco - 2lbs/$7.99
earth balance - sprouts/kroger marketplace -
flaxseed - sprouts - bulk $0.89/lb
flour, rye - sprouts/kroger marketplace -
flour, whole wheat -
flour, whole wheat pastry -
hazelnuts - sprouts
lentils - sprouts
liquid aminos, braggs - sprouts/amazon - 32 oz./$5.24
liquid smoke - walmart by bbq sauces
maple sugar - amazon - 25 oz./$16.65
maple syrup - costco -
milk, almond - sprouts/amazon -
milk, rice - costco - 12-32 oz./$15.99
millet - sprouts - bulk
millet, puffed - sprouts/kroger marketplace -
nutritional yeast - amazon - 6-5oz./$28.10 {split with my Mom}
oats (rolled not instant) - sprouts/grocery
pepperoncini - grocery {next to pickles}
quinoa - sprouts - bulk
shiitake - sprouts/kroger marketplace
shoyu, nama - amazon - 32 oz./$21.99
soyrizo - sprouts -
steel cut oats - sprouts -
sucanat - central market
sun-dried tomatoes - sprouts
sunflower seeds - sprouts - bulk
tahini - sprouts - $5.29
tofu - sprouts/grocery
tortillas, multi-grain & whole wheat - central market
tvp - sprouts - bulk
vegenaise - sprouts/central market/kroger marketplace
vegetable broth powder - dr. fuhrman or make it
vital wheat gluten - grocery by bread making/flour
wheat germ - sprouts - bulk

And here's what I pick up on a regular monthly basis at the stores...

bakery: bread, sandwich thins

produce: apples, pears, bell peppers, sweet peppers, carrots and/or snack carrots, cremini mushrooms, broccoli, baby spinach, mixed greens, clementines, cherry tomatoes, bananas, avocados, dates

freezer: strawberries, mixed berries, peaches, raspberries, blueberries, broccoli, corn

aisle: natural peanut butter, almond butter, honey, agave nectar, maple syrup, nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts & pine nuts), black beans, diced tomatoes,

snack: zone clif bars, "Simply Fruit" all-natural fruit roll-ups, Annie's bunnies snack packs, fruit leather

Central Market
bakery whole wheat & multi-grain tortillas, any other random stuff I need

... is a 'farmers market' chain store that I love! It's got great prices, is only a few miles away, and I like supporting my more local growers. I usually buy all my bulk stuff here once a month, as needed. Especially when they have their 25% off bulk buys... I usually only try to buy the bulk and produce [although, sometimes it's hit or miss due to what's in season]. The stuff that you can buy at a regular grocery store is usually more expensive here.

While I hate going here... you really can't find better deals on their canned stuff - which I usually buy a flat of when I go. I also buy my toiletries and other house items here. So, I usually can get away with going here only every couple of months. Hallelujah!
Aisle items: beans: black, red, northern, chickpeas & pinto (while I try to make my own & freeze them... it's always nice to have some on hand ), hominy, artichoke hearts, fire roasted tomatoes, green chilis, pepperoncini, tofu, pickles, pasta, almond milk, jams, vinegars, pimentos, olive oils...
Hope this helps!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Mesclun Salad with Tarragon, Grapes, and Apple

Shayne was not excited when he came home and saw that we were having salad, leftover soup and muffins for dinner tonight. Mainly because he was worried about the salad. When he took his first bite, it was "Now that is good!" Score.

For vinaigrette

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons oil substitute
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves or 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon, crumbled

For salad
1/4 cup sliced almonds
20 red seedless grapes
1 crisp apple such as Fuji
8 ounces mesclun (mixed baby lettuces) {red & green lettuce}

In a large bowl whisk together mustard and vinegar. Add oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified. Whisk in tarragon and salt and pepper to taste. Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a shallow baking pan toast almonds in middle of oven until pale golden, 6 to 8 minutes, and cool. Halve grapes. Core apple and cut into 16 wedges. Add mesclun to vinaigrette and toss to coat well.

Divide greens and apple slices among 4 plates and top with grapes, cheese, and almonds.

belly biters: all loved, except Coco because she's still figuring out lettuce
saw it on Anne's blog
who got it off Epicurious

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Enchiladas.

My friend Natalie gave me this recipe with a few of her other staples. This one will for sure be in the rotation in my house too. When I texted her to tell her "thanks, it was awesome!..." she was having it at her house that very night too. Shayne's stomach had been feeling sick all day, and when he took a bite - the cumin was much too much for him. He's decided that after 6 years into marriage with a cumin-lovin-girl, that he doesn't like cumin. I even halved it for him - but it was still a no go with the sick stomach. So the kids and I totally enjoyed all of it.

1 small onion, diced
2 sweet potatoes, diced (about 2 ½ cups)
2 cups cooked black beans (if you are using canned beans, use 2 cans)
2 cups chopped greens (kales, spinach, etc.)
sea salt and black pepper to taste
2 cups enchilada sauce (see below)
8 to 12 whole grain tortillas
optional toppers: avocado, mashed

In skillet, steam fry onion and sauté for 5 to 10 minutes, until soft. Add sweet potatoes. Cover and cook about 10 minutes or until tender. Stir in beans and greens. Cover and heat about 5 minutes until greens are wilted. Add a little water if necessary to prevent scorching. Season with salt and pepper.

[With my texture sensitive, trying to disguise the 'yucky' food family... this is when I pureed it. It was green... and with the kids on their shrek shake strike - they were leery of them. I had to make the kids eat their first bites - but they all loved it after... green and all.]

Cover bottom of 9 x 13 with 1/3 cup of enchilada sauce. Scoop a line of filling across the width of the tortilla about 2 inches from the bottom. Roll up and place in pan, seam side down. Repeat until all filling has been used. Cover with enchilada sauce. Cover and bake @ 375 for 20 minutes.

We like to eat these with shredded lettuce and/or cabbage, salsa, and guacamole.

Enchilada Sauce
1 small onion, minced
2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups tomato puree (i just used 14 oz. can)
½ cup water
½ teaspoon sea salt

In a medium pan over medium-low heat, steam fry onion. Sauté 5 to 7 minutes or until golden. Stir in chili powder, cumin, oregano, and garlic. Sauté 1 minute. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and simmer 15 minutes.

belly biters: we all [except Shayne] and Nolan had 2 full ones himself
recipe from my friend Natalie

Fruit-Flax Yogurt.

Back in September of 2009 - when I first read Dr. Fuhrman's book, Disease Proof Your Child, I knew this recipe was a first-try recipe. I knew the only way I'd be able to get my kids off dairy was to find a proper replacement for their yogurt on their morning waffles. It was a hit! We also subbed peanut butter, banana slices and a little honey too. Yum.

So, when a friend asked how she could ween herself off yogurt, I looked for this post, and couldn't find it. I can't believe I hadn't posted it yet! Belly Bites wasn't born yet... and I probably was a little unsure if I was even going to really do this plant-based thing. Funny how I totally proved myself wrong.

2 cups fresh or frozen berries, peaches, etc.
1/2 cup soy or almond milk
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
3 medjool or 6 deglet noor dates

Blend until smooth. Chill and serve. I love storing them in old baby food containers... perfect size for a snack or for lunch.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Corn Chowder.

I am totally diggin on Tal's [as if I personally know him] book. Every recipe I've tried from it has been awesome! This one included. Knowing my texture obsessed family, I pureed it and then added the corn because I didn't want anything to stop them from lovin this one. I also added a splash of liquid smoke, because this recipe just kinda feels like bacon would be good in it too. ;)

2 cups Vidalia onions, diced
2 large carrots, peeled & cut into ¼ inch dice
1 celery stalk, dice
1 red bell pepper, dice
1 dried chipotle pepper (couldn't find, used a little chipotle in adobe sauce)
5 cups faux chicken stock (Better Than Bouillon brand - I used veggie)
2 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into ¼ inch dice
2 fresh thyme sprigs
Kernels from 6 ears of corn, plus 2 ears roasted or grilled corn (used frozen - about 3/4 cup to 1 ear of corn) & roasted earlier in the day
1 ½ cups thick cashew cream
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced chives
½ cup diced tomato
splash of liquid smoke [optional]

Place large stockpot over medium heat and steam-fry the onions, carrots, celery, bell pepper , and chipotle pepper. Sauté for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the stock, potatoes, and thyme, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

[This is when I pureed.] With the back of a spoon, smash some of the potatoes against the side of the pot and stir to thicken the soup. Add the raw corn and cashew cream, season with salt and pepper to taste and add liquid smoke, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the chipotle pepper and thyme sprigs. Garnish with the chives, tomato, and roasted corn kernels.

belly biters: all -

Makes 6 servings
Prep time: 1 hour

The Conscious Cook: Tal Ronnen

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tex-Mex BBQ Tamale Pie.

Saw this on Rachael Ray... it looked gooood... made it vegan... with almond pepper jack cheese at that. It was good, just not goooood. I'm still deciding if it's worth an insert in the rotation - so, it's for sure not worth my cut and paste time right now.

If you do make it, cut the ground turkey - add black beans, cut the beer, change to veggie stock and almond/soy milk.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sunflower Seed Ranch Dip.

I think that those that have known me from way back only knew it was a matter of time before I layed up here a vegan version of ranch. I love ranch. I use to put it on everything. Salad, pizza, salsa, hamburgers, popcorn...

My kids like carrots, but I thought if they had a little dipper they may just love them. Turns out I know my kids better then I thought I did. They love this. Coco loves this. And not getting fat from meat, they need to get it from somewhere - so I love this healthy alternative. I merged 2 recipes... one from my friend Brooke and her Sunflower Seed Sour Cream and the other from OurBestBites. Thank you both. Ya'll did all of the hard work for me, all I had to do is merge, and then some.

With this baby, I can see updating my pork-fave with vegan tomatillo black bean burritos in my very near future...

1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 cup water
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 garlic clove pressed (or 1/2 tsp. garlic powder)
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white vinegar {double all down?}
1 teaspoon parsley
1/8 teaspoon dill
1 1/2 teaspoon dried chives
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/8 teaspoon dry mustard

Place first 7 ingredients into the blender and blend until smooth... like, really really smooth. I didn't do it all that long the first time, like in the picture above because I was so excited to get it done. Then, add the rest - here you can blend or just stir in.

Now, here's the important part... put it in the fridge and let it chill. Warm ranch is no bueno. Especially if you're using dried... they need a little time to let out their flavor. It's only until after it cools that I'd taste it and adjust... you've gotta give the flavors time to mush. It got better and better each day. You'll have to stir it each time you pull it out... and I wouldn't keep it for much longer then 3-4 days.

*note that all spices/herbs listed are dried. If substituting fresh, use the rules 1 part dry = 3 parts fresh.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Chia Snowballs.

These are so, SOOO good and pretty cute.

1 cup peanut butter (natural, without added sugar)
½ cup honey (don't use agave, it's not sticky enough to form into balls or keep in bars)
¼ cup brown rice syrup (or date syrup)
2½ cups brown rice cereal (i used puffed millet)
½ cup oats
2 tablespoons chia seeds
optional: 1 cup finely shredded coconut

Mix all of the ingredients together except for the coconut. Roll the mixture into balls and then roll in the coconut. Or, if omitting the coconut, press mixture into an 8x8” pan and let it sit until soft, about 1 hour.

{I've added the shredded coconut in with the mixture before I rolled it into balls. The first time I made these, using agave, the balls weren't staying in balls and the coconut wasn't sticking very well. Conclusion: agave isn't sticky enough. So, stick to the sticky honey and I'm sure the coconut would then stick on.}

Note: Chia seeds are a power food. Packed with nutrition, they contain 19-23% protein. Two ounces of chia seeds will give you more Omega-3 than 1¾ pounds of salmon. Chia also has three times more flavanol (to fight cancer) than blueberries.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

No-Knead Multi-Grain Peasant Bread.

I am not a good bread maker. I know the more I practice, the better I'll get... but let's face it... with a Mom that can make bread as good as mine can, sometimes it's just not worth it to go through that sort of self destruction each time a new loaf comes out...

[Look at that texture!]

So, when I found this bread - peasant bread - totally different from my Mom's whole wheat homemade bread... I thought I'd give it a whirl. I made it months and months ago and it didn't rise as high as it did in the picture, but it still tasted yummy. Probably because I never use as much white flour as it calls for. But, I figured it's time for me to try it again. When I wanted this soup for dinner, and knew how yummy it'd be if I had a good crusty dipping bread - I went for it.

I ended up not having all of the right flours and all the right proportions of the ones I did have... but I went for it anyway. It still didn't rise as high as it did in the picture {blasted picture!} but it was yum, and perfect for dipping in our soup.

And when it came out of the oven I rubbed a clove of garlic all over the top... so good... no butter needed.

It's such a good base... and it really couldn't be easier. Like 10 minutes of active handling time - that's it. I so want to play around with it more... I'll add some herbs (rosemary) next time.... and then cranberries and walnuts the next (trying to imitate my favorite bread from Central Market). I love so many possibilities.

No-Knead Multi-Grain Peasant Bread  
1 cup rye flour
3 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup cracked wheat, uncooked steel cut oats, sunflower seeds, or other textured grain, seeds, or nuts
1 cups white all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast
3 1/4 cups (26 ounces) room temperature water
2 tablespoons dried rosemary
In a large bowl, mix together all the flours, salt, yeast and rosemary. Stir in the water to form a thick, gloppy batter. (If your yeast needs to dissolve in water before being added, do this in a separate bowl before combining with the flours.)

Cover the bowl and let it sit at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight. If necessary, you can refrigerate the dough after this fermentation period for up to a week***. Refrigerating for a few hours also helps make the dough easier to work with and improves the flavor.
When ready to shape and bake the loaves, sprinkle your work surface with a little flour. Turn the cold dough out onto the counter and divide it in two equal pieces. Sprinkle the dough with a little more flour and shape them into round loaves or sandwich loaves, as desired. Cover and let the loaves rise for about 1.5 - 2 hours at room temperature, until nearly doubled in bulk.

A half hour before baking, preheat the oven to 450°. Put a pan in the bottom of the oven to preheat as well. If you're baking round loaves, set a baking stone on the middle rack while the oven is heating.

When the loaves have risen, quickly cut 1/2-inch slashes in the top with a serrated knife and set them in the oven. Pour a half cup of water into the pan at the bottom of the oven and close the oven door.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the loaves are dark brown, sound hollow when tapped on the bottom, and the interior registers 190° on an instant-read thermometer. {This is when I rub a clove of garlic on the top... sooooo good!} Allow to cool fully on a rack before slicing and eating.

***I love this because I'll make it once, cook one loaf one night and then cook the other refrigerated loaf a few nights later.

***Be sure to use a pan and not a glass dish when baking it... when you pour the water in the hot pan it'll break. Learned that the hard way!!

I adapted it from thekitchn who originally adapted it from the Master Recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes
Makes 2 loaves

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Pepper, Mushroom, Tomato, Spinach & Garlic Pizza.

This is another one of those 'if you don't think about the real deal stuff, and think of it as something different - and not just a healthy version of pizza' - it's good, reallllll goooooood. Don't ever think of it as a pizza replacer because I don't think there's such a thing. Part of the joy of eating a pizza - at least for me - is that I'm eating something so yummy but so bad for you!

There's no guilt with this stuff. I made this one for Shayne and made a separate pizza for the kids with basically just the sauce and spinach. Puree sauce, here I come! And maybe next time I'll add the vegan 'mozzarella cheese' sauce so I fake the kids out even more and roast the garlic. Yum.

Pizza Dough
2 teaspoons agave nectar

1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (preferable organic)
1 teaspoon salt
Vegetable oil cooking spray
2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal

In a large bowl, dissolve the agave nectar and yeast in ¾ cup warm water (100*-110*). Let stand for 5 minutes. Add the flours and salt to the yeast mixture and stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if necessary to prevent sticking. Dough will feel slightly sticky.

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat the top. Cover with a towel and let rise in a draft-free place until double in size, about 30-40 minutes.

Punch down the dough and roll into a 10- or 11-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Place dough on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and sprinkled with cornmeal. Crimp edges to form a rim. Lightly spray the surface of the dough with cooking spray.

Pepper, Mushroom, Tomato, Spinach & Garlic Pizza
1 recipe Pizza Dough (above)
1 cup canned tomato sauce
½ yellow pepper, thinly sliced
½ red pepper, thinly sliced
½ small onion, thinly sliced

1 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced
½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup spinach, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon fennel seed
10 fresh basil leaves, torn

Preheat the oven to 500*F.

In a small bowl combine the tomato sauce, garlic, oregano and fennel.Cover the pizza dough with tomato sauce, then top with bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach, and garlic. Bake for 8 minutes. Take pizza out of the oven, top with basil, and bake for another 1 to 2 minutes.
Adapted from...