Apologies from a working girl

27 01 2012

My week at work has been a bit of a nightmare.  As a result, I have enjoyed eating cereal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner – when I’ve had time and appetite to eat at any of those meals.

*sigh*

I was really excited to have a lovely routine of getting recipes posted every other day and then last weekend I had to work a trade show and everything went poopy: work went sideways and I didn’t have my normal weekend time to plan the food I’d make all week.

Wanna watch me eat some homemade granola?

Next week will be better, I promise…





A Little bit of summer from the freezer

25 01 2012

Sometimes, in the cold of winter, you need a little pick me up. Something that, when you close your eyes reminds you of sitting in the backyard on a Sunday afternoon, lazing in the sun, and enjoying the best the season has to offer.

A berry vinaigrette served on baby spinach – it pairs well with pears, apples, and pecans or almonds.

Berry Vinaigrette

1/3 cup olive and/or flaxseed oil (I used Vega Oil and olive oil)
1/4 cup fresh or frozen berries (I used blueberries)
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp agave nectar or maple syrup
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 or 2 Tbsp water, for desired consistency

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

Can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week.





Granola you could thrive on

23 01 2012

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I used to make granola religiously and then I started eating oatmeal.  I’m growing tired of oatmeal and looking for something new, something crunch, something satisfying.  So I made some granola.

Looking at a bunch of recipes that I have, I pulled my favorite parts together and tried something new.  Something healthier, fruitier, and downright protein-i-er.

My favorite thing about this granola is cooking it at a low temperature.  It’s so much more forgiving!

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My Newest Granola Creation

1 cup oats

1/2 cup almonds, chopped

1/2 cup protein powder

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds (optional)

1/2 cup ground flaxseed

1/2 cup unsweeted coconut

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup apple, peeled and chopped

1/4 cup agave nectar

1/3 cup apple sauce

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 250ºF.  Prepare 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Mix all the dry ingredients, stir until everything is evenly combined.  Measure wet ingredients into bowl full of dry ingredients.  Stir until combined, ensuring that all the oats, flax, and protein have been been moistened.  The resulting mixture should be thick and moist, not runny.

Divide the granola between two baking sheets and spread thin.  Bake for at least an hour or until the granola seems mostly dry.  This recipe does not require you to stir the granola during the process, although you can stir it, stirring will break up the granola into smaller bits.

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Butternut Squash ‘n Banana Loaf… with some pecans

21 01 2012

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This is another modified creation from Skinny Bitch: Ultimate Everyday Cookbook.  First, I thought putting pecans on the top before baking would look pretty and taste delicious.  I was wrong, the pecans got a little overdone and, although I enjoyed picking them off and eating them, this would have had better presentation without burnt pecans on top.

The original recipe called for pumpkin, but I used butternut squash instead.

It also called for a lot more sugar, which I replaced with less sugar and some protein powder.

The end result is, perhaps a little dry, but totally delicious.  Spreading applesauce on each slice helps with any moisture issues without adding any fat.  Genius.

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Butternut Squash ‘n Banana Loaf

2 cups flour (I used a combination of spelt and buckwheat)

1/2 cup protein powder (no protein supplements? just add 1/2 cup extra flour)

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp allspice

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups puréed butternut squash

1 banana

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 tsp stevia powder

1 tsp vanilla

2/3 cup chopped pecans

Preheat over to 350ºF.  Lightly oil a large loaf pan and dust with flour.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, protein, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt.

In a blender or food processor, blend squash, banana, oil, water vanilla, sugar, and stevia together until smooth.

Mix wet and dry ingredients together until just mixed.  Fold chopped pecans into batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

 

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Peanut Pasta with Tempeh and Chard

19 01 2012

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I decided to try something new with my photos.  I’m not sure how I feel about it.

I bought some chard, swiss chard.  Actually “some” is an understatement, I bought 3 bundles for 1 girl to consume in 6 days – that’s probably a lot of chard, swiss chard.  But I like a challenge and I’m committed to eating my greens.

I think 2012 is going to be the year of the library for me.  I think I’ve already checked out 30 books this year, and The Skinny Bitch: Ultimate Everyday Cookbook is one of them.  This recipe very nearly came from the book, but in the end the book just inspired it.

I didn’t have brown rice pasta spirals so I used whole wheat macaroni.

I didn’t want this to be a pasta dish with veggies, I wanted a veggie dish with some pasta.

I didn’t have broccoli so I used swiss chard.

I didn’t have carrots and I couldn’t find anything to replace them.

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I’m happy to say that I was pleased with the results and continue to be pleased with the left overs.

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Peanut Pasta with Tempeh and Chard

3 Tbsp sesame oil, divided

1 (225 g) pkg tempeh, crumbled

4 – 5 cups swiss chard, chpped

1 red bell pepper, julienned

1 cup uncooked pasta of your choice, cooked

3 Tbsp natural peanut butter

1/4 cup water

2 Tbsp Braggs or tamari

1 Tbsp agave nectar

1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp fresh ginger

1 tsp chili flakes

sesame seeds, for garnish

Get your pasta cooked.  While your pasta is cooking, get all your veggies chopped and ready to go.

Heat 1 to 2 Tbsp sesame oil in non-stick frying pan over high heat.  Fry the tempeh until slightly crispy, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the chopped swiss chard and stir, cooking for another 2 – 3 minutes.  Add red pepper and remove from heat.

In a blender, food processor, or a bowl armed with a whisk, combine peanut butter, 1 Tbsp sesame oil, water, soy sauce, agave nectar, vinegar, chili flakes, and ginger.  Blend, whiz, or whisk until completely combined.

Mix all three parts together: pasta + veggies + peanut sauce.

Portion into bowls or onto plates and garnish with sesame seeds – if you’re feeling fancy tonight.  Otherwise, devour in the same manner you devour all delicious creations.

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Bubble and squeak, -ish

17 01 2012

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When I first moved to England I had no idea what “toad in the hole”, “ruby murray”, and “bubble and squeak” meant.  I’m still not convinced I understand but I nod and pretend that I’m in on the joke… it is a joke, right?

Anyway, I’m pretty certain that bubble and squeak is a fun name for left over mashed potatoes and cabbage, among other things.  Generally this melange is shallow fried and it’s delicious.

By the way, I’m giving the Brits credit, but Google informed me that the Irish call it Colcannon,the Germans call is Bauernfuhstuck, the Danes call it Bikesmad, and the Columbians call it Calentado.

Anyway, I had some stuff in my fridge and I was looking to make a meal.  I knew I needed to use the baby bok choy, wanted to use the rutabaga, and thought mushrooms would make a nice addition.  In the end, I enjoyed a plate of mashed veggies, topped with green veggies.  It wasn’t a flashy mean, but it was just the right kind of stick-to-your-bones good that is needed when it’s -30ºC outside.

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Mashed Veggies (Bubble)

1 large rutabaga, peeled and cubed

1 medium potato, washed and cubed

3 large carrots, washed/peeled and chopped

(Note: you can include parsnips if you’d like.)

salt and pepper to taste

2 – 3 Tbsp olive oil (or EFA oil if you allow the veggies to cool slightly before mashing)

Add all the cubed and chopped veggies to a pot and cover with water.  On medium-high or high heat, bring the water to a boil and cook the vegetables until tender, approximately 15 – 20 minutes.

Drain the water from the pot and then, if you removed the vegetables from the pot to remove the water, return the vegetables to the pot.  Mash.  Mash.  Mash!  Season and mash the vegetables, add the oil and mash the vegetables a little more.

If you haven’t already prepared your green veggies, put a lit on this mash and set it aside for a minute.

Green Veggies to Accompany Mash (Squeak)

1 to 1 1/2  cups of bok choy – per person, chopped

1/2 cup sliced mushroom – per person

a bit of garlic, I’ll leave it to you to discern how much is appropriate for your meal

1/2 tsp oil

Heat oil in a frying pan and then add everything.  Stir it up, don’t let it stick and watch your greens – they are going to lead the show and tell you when to stop cooking.  You’re watching your greens to see them get a little wilted and a lot brighter.

Remove from heat and grab some plates.

Putting it together

Plate the mashed veggies and then top with green veggies.  DONE!

Feel free to enjoy this with your preferred veggie cutlet: seitan, tempeh, or tofu – it’ll be great!





Sugar-free Muffins for V

15 01 2012

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V slept over last night and we had a girlie night in.  We drank wine, ordered talk-away, painted nails, did face masks, and played Wii video games before falling asleep in front of the television watching movies.

An excellent evening that required an excellent breakfast start that wasn’t too fussy.

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As I’ve mentioned in many a post, it’s January and not only am I broke but I’m trying to get out of the bad habits I developed over Christmas: eating lots of cookies, having chocolate for breakfast, and not caring about what I was eating at all.

You have nothing to feel guilty about with these muffins.

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Sugar-free Oatmeal Muffins

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup unsweetened apple sauce

1/2 cup soy milk or almond milk

2 flax eggs (2 Tbsp ground flaxseed + 6 Tbsp water)

2 Tbsp ground flaxseed (yup, more flax)

2 Tbsp canola oil

1 Tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 cup whole-wheat flour

1/2 cup dried cranberries.

Preheat oven to 375º.  Prepare muffin tins with paper liners or cooking spray.

Combine oatmeal, applesauce, soy milk, flax eggs, flax and oil in a bowl; stir and allow to rest.  In a separate bowl, combine the remaining dry ingredients, including dried cranberries.  Combine wet and dry ingredients together until just mixed.  This is one instance where a wooden spoon is the tool of choice over an electric mixer.

Portion your batter into the muffin cups, filling 2/3 full.  I use my ice cream scoop for consistent portions.  Bake for 15 – 20 minutes and allow to cool before eating.  Serve with coffee and enjoy with a good friend.