Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pesto Pizza

Let me start out by saying that this is the most intricate pizza that I will probably ever make.  There are much more ingredients than my usual sauce/cheese/basil/tomato pizza, but most of them I already had. I originally had plans for this pizza to be completely vegan after I saw how beautiful this pizza turned out on Oh She Glows.  However, my hopes of staying true to the veganness of this pizza were quickly dashed!  I was unable to find nutritional yeast to add a cheesey flavor to the pizza, so I felt obligated to add some fresh mozz, and Alex of course felt like it was necessary to add his daily 12954 oz of meat on his side.  I found this pizza incredibly satisfying and ridiculously shove-in-face-until-you-realize-you-should-have-stopped-two-pieces-ago worthy.  I don't even like onions on my pizza, but I found myself enjoying each and every soft and somewhat crunchy onion on my half of the pizza. Alex had strong objections to me spreading out the onion/tomato mixture on his half of the pizza (as if a mature flavor would ruin his taste buds or something) and ended up picking the onions off, so I probably will only make this in the future for myself.  However, I do think that this pizza dough will be my go-to recipe for when I'm making a pizza for the two of us since Alex despises my all-time favorite dough.  We ended up dunking our pizza crust in heated pizza sauce, which has me thinking that I'm going to use this recipe for bread sticks. Pizza rating 8.5/10.   Dough rating 9/10.

Chicken and cheese contaminating what once was completely vegan

Recipe adapted from Oh She Glows

Pizza dough- prepare at least two hours before you bake your pizza
1 cup unbleached bread flour +3/4 cup
1 packet of pizza yeast (2 1/4 tsp) or regular yeast
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp white sugar
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2/3 cup very warm water

Combine the 1 cup flour, yeast, salt, sugar, and herbs in a bowl.  
Add in the water and oil and combine thoroughly.  
Gradually combine the remaining 3/4 cup of flour.
Knead the dough for about five minutes and set aside in a covered (not air-tight) bowl for 1 1/2-2 hours.

While the dough is rising get started on your veggie topping!

Veggie topping ingredients
approximately 1 1/2 cups chopped tomato
1 large red onion- diced
4 basil leaves- finely shredded
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves- minced

Preheat oven to 375
Combine the garlic, vinegar, and olive oil.  
Mix the veggies with the sauce and spread on a tin-foiled pan.
Bake for about 35 minutes.
The veggies should be used within an hour.

Oil spread
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic- minced

In a small saucepan heat the olive oil and garlic over low until the garlic becomes fragrant- about 4 minutes.

About 1/2 to 1 cup of any homemade or store-bought pesto will do.

Assemble your pizza in this order
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees with a pizza stone inside.
Toss the pizza into desired size and place it on a cornmeal coated pizza peel/flexible cutting board/back of cookie sheet/parchment paper.
Coat the entire top surface of the pizza with the garlicy olive oil.
Spread a nice layer of pesto over the toppings-designated area.
Distribute the veggie mixture over the pesto.
Top with cheese/ cooked chicken if desired.
Place the pizza on the preheated pizza stone or on the back of a unheated cookie sheet and cook for 10-15 minutes.

Oh Show Glows contains a gluten-free "Parmesan cheese" if you are interested/can find nutritional yeast!

Check out my new fiestaware!  (It's lead free, made in the USA, and reasonably priced on Amazon)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Vegan Creamsicle Smoothie

I know what you are thinking mom!  I failed at being a vegetarian when I was a kid, why bother with the vegan thing? Don't worry, this time I'm not making any crazy diet promises that I can't keep!  I jokingly told Al last night that I was thinking about going vegan, he responded that he is going to go carnivore.  Instead, I'm going to try to expose myself to more healthy vegan meals.  So his insistence on eating lots and lots of meat and my love for eggs, kefir, and BBQ pork will probably keep me from straying too far into the vegan realm.  However, when I can I'll take a stab at vegan meals.  This was an awesome first vegan snack, and even Alex "liked it" (he can't stop comparing all smoothies to the mocha java smoothie) so I don't know how much stock to put into his rating.  I, on the other hand, LOVED IT.  I was super annoyed at my previous blender for breaking the day before I discovered this awesome recipe, and ended up using my food processor to do the job.  Good gosh that was annoying.  Anyway, I was so happy that I made too much last night since I had the leftovers for breakfast today.  The drink comes out frothy, filling, packed with vitamin C, and perfectly sweetened.  I went out and bought a new blender today just so I could make tons of these in the future. Rating 9/10.

Adapted from Oh She Glows.  She includes some additional healthy ingredients that I didn't have on hand, but I didn't find them necessary for the overall awesomeness of the flavor.
  • 1 1/2 large ripe banana, peeled, sliced, and frozen
  • 4-5 Clementines, peeled and separated (fresh of frozen- if you do use frozen then you won't have to worry about your cuties going bad)
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk (the cream from top of can)
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (watery part)
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp almond milk (or dairy milk, but the almond milk was really really good)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice

Combine in blender and let the blender do its thing. Adjust ingredients to taste.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Carrot Muffins

Another Ellie Krieger recipe.  Some people have their Martha or Paula, but I have my Ellie. I also have a bag of carrots sitting in the fridge with a dashed dream of being part of a buffalo chicken salad that never was.  I hate wasting food, especially when it is organic (aka expensive).  I do have to say though that organic carrots DO taste better, by the time the first batch of muffins finished cooking I had already gnawed through 2 carrots.  Anyway, I remember the boy saying on a few occasions that he likes carrot cake.  I've never had it, I've only been exposed to it at weddings and there is no way I'm going to eat a veggie-laden baked good when I could be eating chocolate cake.  Anyway, I figured I would take one for the team and make him these healthy muffins.  And then I baked them and I ate way more than one.  Hehe.  These are supposedly cupcakes, but as you can tell I've been calling them muffins.  They are moist, dense, and perfectly spiced.  The next time that I make these (soon), I'll add a couple tbsp of ground flax and some raisins.  Maybe even the cranberries that I need to use up.  The possibilities are endless.  Rating 8.5/10.

Update- five days later and the few left (it's hard eating 24 muffins between two people) still taste FRESH!  

Recipe by Ellie Krieger
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar (my second batch I used 1/2 cup, and it turned out just as fantastic as the full-sugar batch)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup natural applesauce (I used my cranapple sauce)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups finely shredded carrots (about 2 medium carrots)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts (optional- I didn't add any)
Turn your muffin into a cupcake with this optional cream cheese frosting!
  • 4 ounces 1/3 fat cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Preheat oven to 350.
Combine the dry ingredients.
Mix together the oil, eggs, applesauce, and vanilla.
Blend the wet and dry mixtures together.
Stir in the shredded carrots and the optional walnuts.
Place muffin liners in a muffin tin or spray with baking pam.
Distribute the batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups.
Bake for 20-22 minutes.
Let cool and store covered in the refrigerator.

Optional frosting (I didn't add any)
Using an electric blender mix together the cream cheese, sugar, and lemon zest until light and fluffy.
Pipe onto cooled muffins.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Mocha java smoothie

To make up for the lack of Ellie recipes lately, I'm determined to crank out a few over the next couple of weeks.  This one combined my love of Ellie with my love of frozen drinks.  Alex and I were going to make it as a snack once we got home, but it was -3 today and we were exposed to the elements for a long, long, long time so we whipped this up after thawing for a couple of hours.  My gosh, was it ever good.  I am pleased to say that my contribution to preparing this drink was measuring out the ice and chopping up a banana, Alex did the rest!!!!  It was the perfect combination of banana, vanilla, chocolate, and ice!  Rating 8/10.

Recipe by Ellie Krieger

  • 1 tbsp sugar- turbinado or white
  • 2 rounded teaspoons of instant espresso (I used vanilla), or 2 shots of espresso
  • 2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Dutch cocoa from Penzey's)
  • 1/4 cup of boiling water
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 ripe bananas- fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup ice
Combine the sugar, espresso, cocoa powder, and water in a small bowl.
Add the cocoa mixture, milk, bananas, and ice and blend until mixed through.

This recipe makes 2-3 servings.


I realized yesterday that I had not made any Ellie Krieger recipes lately, and promptly started whipping through the pages of her book So Simple.  I wanted to make everything, but settled on these parfaits because all that I usually eat during the semester for breakfast is a bowl of raisin bran cereal.  Boring.  I threw them together last night for breakfast today, and I have to say that they are the best parfait that I have ever had.  Granted, I think that the only parfaits that I have ever gotten are from Mcdonalds and then one time last summer when I was at O'hare airport waiting for my flight to China to begin.  Both were gross, still kind of frozen and expensive.  This parfait on the other hand is scrumptious and I had a hard time keeping myself from scarfing down the other parfait that I made last night for Alex.  This recipe is soooo simple that even young kids can help throw this together.  All that you need to do is measure ingredients, combine them, put them in a cup, and top it with berries.  Simple!  If you have leftover yogurt/oat mixture just cover it with saran wrap and use within 3 days to make more nummy parfaits.  Rating 10/10.
Recipe by Ellie Krieger
  • 1 cup of skim milk
  • 1 cup of vanilla yogurt or kefir
  • 1 cup of old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • fresh or frozen berries

Mix everything but the berries together.
Spoon the mixture into a parfait cup and top with berries.
Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge overnight (the oatmeal needs time to absorb moisture).
Keeps in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Serves 4

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Pop-eye Smoothie

I came up a bunch of titles for this smoothie, but Pop-eye seemed to fit the best considering the amount of spinach in this smoothie.  I decided to make this recipe today when I was perusing through Webmd trying to figure out what is wrong with my eye, and came across a list of foods that will supposedly reduce your risk of getting the flu.  On that list?  Spinach!  One of my favorite smoothies is Odwalla's Green Machine, but I don't often feel like busting out the big bucks to buy one.  So... since I'm home alone tonight I decided to whip this up for a small meal/snack.  This smoothie is great for those who are detoxing from the holidays and are looking for a tasty break from soda, and the spinach is not noticeable at all.  It is not the most delicious smoothie in the world (mainly because I like smoothies with dairy and berries), but it has a nice wholesome taste with a pineappley aftertaste.  Rating 8/10.

1 1/2 cup packed spinach
1 cup frozen pineapple
2 tbsp ground flax
1 cup orange juice
1 banana
1/4 cup of cold water (if needed)

Combine in blender and serve immediately.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Norwegian pancakes

Today is Alex's birthday, YAY!!!!  To celebrate his 22nd year, I decided to whip up these Norwegian pancakes to celebrate part of his heritage (and also because I've been wanting to make them forever, and haven't had the opportunity to make Al  breakfast for a while.)  I tested them out yesterday with a friend, and had trouble with the consistency of the batter.  This morning I made some alterations, which gave me better results.  The thing that I like about these pancakes is that they are dense from the kefir.  Sure I like airy pancakes once in a while, but these are a nice alternative.  They are mildly sweet, have a bit of a chew to them, and have a nice crisp outer layer.  Rating 8/10.

Recipe altered from Cooking Books
  • 4 cups of plain or vanilla kefir (or buttermilk)
  • 3 tsp baking soda
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or more all-purpose)
  • 1/2 cup of turbinado sugar or regular sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt (optional- I didn't add any and didn't lament it)
  • Milk- (optional) a small amount (about 1 1/2 tbsp) to create desired consistency.  
Dissolve the baking soda in the kefir, and then combine it with the eggs, sugar, salt.  Sift in the flour and mix it into the batter.  Mix in milk if the batter feels too thick.
Pour 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake on a pan coated with PAM over medium heat.
Wait to flip until bubbles have risen to the surface and the sides start to curl upward.  Flip and cook until done.

This should create enough batter to feed at least 4 people.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Super smoothie

"Wherever flax seed becomes a regular food item among the people, there will be better health."- Gandhi.

Well, I certainly wouldn't mind being a little bit healthier.  But, I'm not going to lie... I do not like flax seed.  I think that it has something to do with my mother going all Charlemagne on me (he made his subjects eat it) and trying to force me to consume a spoonful of ground flax seed daily sometime during my middle adolescence.  Flax looks like tiny armored beetles, which are just about as much fun to eat as flax seed.  What do smoothies have to do with flax seed?  Well... They are an excellent way to disguise flax seed as something that is super delicious.  This smoothie is delicious, and the texture of the ground flax seed blends in well with the seeds from the blackberries.  The seeds also make the smoothie seem more filling.  I would drink ten a day if I could afford it, and wanted to clean my blender daily.  Rating 10/10.
Recipe tweaked from Edible Moments
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen mixed berries
  • 1/2 cup vanilla kefir or yogurt
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 tbsp ground flax seed (Bob's Red Mill sells it)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Combine in a blender and consume immediately.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Millet bread

 This is the bread of the birds and bees.  Well, not really.  However, it does contain millet which is something that I never thought would be in my diet.  I remember hanging clumps of millet in my parakeet's cage when I was a kid, and that's where I thought that my exposure to millet would end. But then I had to go and buy Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day and discover for all of mankind that millet is in fact palatable. 

Apparently Bob's Red Mill already discovered this, so I bought a bag of millet at the store.  This bread is great.  It has a nice dense crust and there is just enough millet in the bread to be evenly distributed in each and every bite.  It tastes heavenly when dipped in  honey (that's where the second half of the birds and the bees comment comes from).  You can put dried fruit such as cranberries or raisins in this bread, but you really don't need to.  Don't eat this if you have a date over and you have gaps in your teeth, because the millet will get lodged in there.  Rating 8/10 on its own, 9/10 when smothered in honey.

Recipe from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day
1 cup millet
4 cups whole wheat
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tbsp yeast
1 1/2 tbsp kosher salt (I only used about 3/4 of that)
1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
3 3/4 cups lukewarm water
3 cups of mixed dried fruit (optional)

Toast the millet in a small pan over medium heat until it has turned a deep gold color-constantly shake and stir it!

Combine the toasted millet, flours, brown sugar, yeast, salt, and vital wheat gluten in a 5-qt bowl, large food processor, or stand mixer.

Add in the water and fruit.  If you are doing this by hand don't knead- use a spoon to combine everything. Food processors use the dough attachment, and stand mixers use the paddle.

Cover and allow to rise and collapse (about 2 hours)

Refrigerate for at least 24 hours in a lidded (not airtight) container.  The millet needs this time to soak up the moisture.  Use within seven days.

To use dust flour over the surface of the bread and remove a 1lb ball of dough.  Sprinkle it with more flour and shape into a ball, then elongate into an oval.  Cover and let rest for 90 minutes.

30 minutes prior to baking preheat the oven to 375 degrees with a baking stone placed inside.

Before placing the dough in the oven use a pastry brush to coat the top of the loaf with water and with a bread knife slash 1/4 inch parallel cuts across the top.

Place in the oven, pour 1 cup of hot water into the broiler pan and close the oven door quickly, and bake for about 40 minutes, or until nicely browned and firm.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Individual serving garlic french fries

I love love love french fries.  However, after learning about acrylamide I've made a serious effort to stop ordering fries when I eat out.  Does this stop me from munching on other people's fries?  No- muahaha.  Anyway, I figure if I'm going to be eating foods that contain acrylamide, then they better be healthier than their processed version!  That's where oven-baked french fries come into the picture.  The diversity that you can get in your homemade french fries is awesome, you can always pick and choose exactly how you want your fries to be seasoned and prepared.  I eat homemade french fries all of the time, and usually I make an entire meal out of them.  Usually I like to prepare sweet potato fries, but I have some regular baking potatoes that I need to use up soon. 

  • 1 russet potato
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 pinches of garlic- start off low!
  • sea salt
  • pepper
Place a baking sheet covered in tin foil in an oven preheated to 425 degrees.
Slice up potato into 1 inch wedges.
Place in a pot and cover with water and bring it to a boil.
Boil the fries for 4 minutes.
While the fries are boiling combine the olive oil and garlic in a small bowl and microwave for one minute to bring out the fragrance of the garlic.
Drain the fries and toss with the olive oil/garlic, cayenne pepper, and a few dashes of salt and pepper.
Take out the baking sheet and spray it down with pam.
Lay out the fries so that none touch and bake for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes remove the sheet and flip the fries.  Bake for 5-10 minutes more.

Caribbean Fajitas

In an effort to expand my taste buds' horizons (I'll  be the first to admit that they are each quite sheltered), I whipped up this meal featuring pernil, which is supposedly a Caribbean favorite.  It was a breeze to make from the beginning to the end, and it was fun to prepare the night before (I get intense satisfaction out of juicing oranges).  Yesterday I was feeling a bit funky and had no appetite (what!?!?!), but I found this to be quite delicious despite my stomach's lack of desire.  It was a bit sweeter than I'm accustomed to, but was balanced out with a nice dose of savory.  It is also quite healthy since most of the fat is removed (I spent an hour sawing fat off of my hunk of meat while I watched Dr. Zhivago), and Al actually asked me if he could take this to school with him today.  Did he?  Well, no.  I blame his forgetfulness on his lack of sleep (video games).  Rating 7/10.
  • Cooked pernil (I didn't change anything from the original recipe from Gina's Skinny Recipes)
  • Tortillas- I used La Tortilla Factory's low-carb variety and found them to be pretty darn good
  • Spinach
  • 1 sweet onion (or red onion)
  • 1/2 pineapple
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 lime- juiced

While the pernil is in its final hour of cooking prepare the pineapple salsa.
Dice the pineapple and the red pepper (or just give them a whirl in a small food processor).
Combine the pineapple, red pepper, cilantro, and half of the lime juice in a bowl and adjust to taste.  You may want to add more lime juice or more cilantro.  Refrigerate.
Just before the pernil is finished cooking saute the sweet onion.  Prepare the onion however you want it (diced, sliced into wedges...).
Drain the pernil and replace in pot.
Shred with two forks and spoon over the tortilla.
Top with spinach, onion, pineapple salsa, BBQ sauce, rice, whatever!

I bought a 3-lb chunk of pork shoulder, and I found that it was enough to serve 2-3 people. Three pounds looks like a lot, but fat is a hefty component of the meat and the meat shrinks down as it cooks.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Black bean soup- with oomph

Lately I have been making an effort to eat more legumes.  Not only are they nutritious and cheap, but they're also a way for me to dilute Al's consumption of meat.  A few days ago I wound coming home from the store with many bags of beans, and all day yesterday I devoted my crock pot to making a huge batch of black beans.  In my opinion beans taste pretty awful without anything added to them, so I spent the whole day begrudgingly taste on testing the beans to see if they were done.  The plain black beans were nasty, but this soup on the other hand is deluxe.  It has a nice complex flavor that is achieved without too many ingredients.  I'm certain that this is going to be my go-to black bean soup recipe for well... forever!  I didn't bother taking a decent photo because this soup was beckoning me to devour it.  Rating 10/10.
Recipe adapted from My Culinary Quest
  • 1 medium or large yellow onion- diced
  • 1 serrano pepper- seeded (optional), and diced
  • 1 tsp of chile or chili pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1-4 cloves of garlic depending on your taste- minced.  I used 1 tsp of canned crushed garlic.
  • 1 14.5 oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes- with their juices
  • 6 cups of pre-cooked black beans, or 3 cans drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup of cilantro leaves, plus more for topping
  • 1/2 of a lemon- squeezed
  • salt and pepper to taste.  Home-cooked beans have no added sodium so I ended up adding 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
Cook the onion and serrano pepper with the chile pepper, oregano, and cumin until soft.
Add the garlic and cook until fragrant- about 30 seconds.
Add in the tomatoes, black beans, and broth.  Stir well to combine.
Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Mix in the lime juice and cilantro and simmer for another ten minutes.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with a lime wedge, chopped up avocado, shredded cheese, cilantro, bread for dipping, you name it!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Green lentil soup

Ever since I received a dutch oven from the future in-laws for Christmas I have been all over soup.  My previous soup making endeavors took place in a HUGE pot that could prepare enough gruel for an army.  Anyway, I've  been hankering to make this particular recipe for a couple of months now.  I wanted to make it SOOOO bad that I went to THREE different grocery stores to look for french green lentils today.  This resulted in me becoming super cranky because Whole Foods is the only place that sold them, and they were ALL OUT.  Grr.  I figured regular old green lentils would do, and they did!  This soup is rich, earthy (in a good way), healthy, and easily modified.  Num.  Rating 9/10.

Recipe by Heidi Swanson
  • 2 cups of green lentils (or french green lentils, or black beluga lentils) picked over and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion- diced
  • 1 cup of butternut squash (optional) cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 28 oz diced fire roasted tomatoes (or regular diced tomatoes)
  • 2 cups of water (if you don't like dense soup)
  • 3 cups of deveined and chopped kale
Saffron yogurt
  • 1 pinch of saffron
  • 1 tbsp boiling water
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

Boil six cups of water in a 4 qt or larger pot and add in lentils.  Cook until tender- about 20 minutes.
While the lentils are cooking prepare the saffron yogurt by combining the saffron and boiling water and then mix it into the Greek yogurt after a few minutes. 
Combine the olive oil, sea salt, butternut squash, and the onion in pan and fry until tender.
Pour the tomatoes into the pot containing the lentils and combine.  Add in the additional two cups of water if you like a less viscous soup.
Combine the squash/onion mixture into the lentils and mix. 
Add in the kale and simmer for a few more minutes before serving with a huge dollop of yogurt.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Mango Lassi

I have had a bag of frozen mango chunks sitting in my freezer for some time.  I don't know why I bought it, but luckily I was inspired by a recipe in a library cookbook for a mango lassi and today I was in the mood for a sunshiney drink.  Unluckily, I returned the books before I got a chance to actually check out the ingredients.  This is my healthy take on one of my favorite (and kind of expensive at restaurants) drinks.  This mango lassi was a rich, healthy, and tasty way to start my day, and is enough to make two servings.  I froze the second serving for later treat. Rating 7/10.

  • 12 oz frozen mango chunks
  • 1 cup of ice
  • 6 oz vanilla yogurt
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
Combine in a blender.  Serve in a fancy glass.  A white wine glass for a mango lassi?  Why not!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Pumpkin pie muffins

So not too long ago I said that pumpkin season was over.  I generally judge seasons based on when things are available in the grocery store that I used to work in.  That store not selling pie pumpkins combined with my overdose of all things pumpkin led me to make this declaration.  I now admit that I was wrong, but only because my craving for pumpkin reemerged and I have a lot of puree left in the freezer that needs to be used up ASAP so I can fill it up again with other goodies, like these muffins that were made with said pumpkin. 

So I decided to thaw that darn pumpkin and make something.  I'm returning all of the four bajillion cookbooks that I rented from the library tomorrow (if I actually feel ambitious to put real clothes on), so I had to pick out some final recipes from Ellie Krieger's The Food You Crave to make.  I love her books so so so much.  One of the first recipes was for these pumpkin pie muffins, and they looked intriguing enough to make.  So I made them.  And oh boy are they awesome.  They came out perfectly spiced, moist, and inhale-all-of-them-in-one-breath worthy, AND HEALTHY (in moderation of course)!  I wish that my mom wasn't allergic to pumpkin so I could send some to her and wow her socks off. The recipe was supposed to make 12 muffins, but unless she was making jumbo muffins she was way off.  I made 12 regular muffins and like 15 mini-muffins. Rating 8/10.
Recipe by Ellie Krieger
Adapted by Krista

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon (I used Penzey's Chinese cinnamon)
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp unsulfured molasses 
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin
  •  1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk (I never buy buttermilk since making the substitute is so easy.  All you do is place 1 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar in a one cup measuring cup and fill the rest with milk and let it sit for 10 minutes.  Make sure to measure out the 3/4 cup of milk and not add in the whole cup.)
  • unsalted raw pumpkin seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine the flours, baking soda, salt, and spices in a medium bowl.
In a large bowl or the mixing bowl of your stand mixer combine the brown sugar, molasses, oil, and one egg until thoroughly mixed.  Add in the other egg and mix it in.  Add in the vanilla and pumpkin and combine well.
Mix in half of the flour mixture and combine, then add half of the buttermilk and mix.  Repeat once so that all of the flour and buttermilk is combined with the pumpkin mixture.
Spray a muffin tin(s) with baking Pam and pour batter into the tin, filling each 2/3 full.  Any fuller and you will have to increase your cooking time.
Place in the oven and bake regular sized muffins for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, and mini-muffins for about 12 minutes or until they pass the toothpick test.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Healthy Pasta

I have been jonesing to make my own pasta ever since I can remember.  My memory has been pretty spacey since the start of winter break and the narcotics that I've been taking for my wisdom teeth extraction, so pretty much I've wanted to make pasta since Sunday.  I had everything all planned out.  I had come up with a satisfactory recipe that was a blend of recipes that I found online.  I had decided that I was going to roll out the pasta myself and cut it into linguine strips.  Then I realized that I was one egg short and that I don't have a decent surface to actually roll out the pasta on since my table is essentially an Ikea failure that is missing the parts to keep the legs stable.  Since I had failed to take attendance of all of the ingredients before I started, I found it imperative to make pasta asap so I didn't have to waste my precious flour.  Luckily my future in-laws have every kitchen gadget ever, and were gracious enough to let me borrow their Kitchen Aid pasta attachment, which was ridiculously fun to use.  Thankfully Alex "forgot" to bring the leftovers to school today (he rarely eats leftovers), so I added some extra tomato sauce to the leftovers and used them as a meat sauce.  Num. Rating 7/10.

Pasta recipe
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour (or just regular whole wheat)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp cold water
Combine the dry ingredients and then mix in the eggs and water, use the paddle attachment if using a stand mixer.
Knead for about ten minutes by hand, or switch out the paddle attachment for the dough hook and mix until a dough ball has formed at the end of the hook.
From here feed the pasta dough into a pasta attachment or roll out thin and flat and slice into desired thickness.
To cook pasta fresh place in boiling water and cook 3-5 minutes, depending on thickness.
To store fresh pasta lay the pasta flat and dry for an hour, and then store in an airtight baggy in the fridge.  Use within 5 days.
To dry pasta lay the pasta flat and dry. Store in an airtight container. Use within one month.

For the sauce I used my leftovers from the sloppy joes that I made yesterday combined with the tomato sauce that I had left over from making them.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Healthy sloppy joes

My whole life I have had an aversion to sloppy joes.  I really don't know why.  I love ground beef, and I looooove tomatoes.  But for some reason the concept of combining the two into a sandwich never got me excited.  I think that in my entire life I have had two sloppy joes, so I don't really know why I decided to make these tonight.  It's probably because it is one of the recipes that has a picture in Ellie Krieger's book The Food You Crave (I adore her books).  Anyway, I decided that I needed some "real" food that would be relatively simple for my to eat without things getting stuck in my wisdom teeth holes.  This was fun, easy, and quick (because I used my new 4-cup food processor to chop practically everything up- woohoooo!), and delicious to make so I will be making this a lot in the future.  I added some celery to this recipe since for some reason I have two unused bags of celery sitting in my fridge that have no plans for the future. Alex was originally hesitant to warm up to this version of the sloppy joe since I had omitted the salt (and also because it didn't come out of a can- this recipe is so amazingly easy that our future spawn won't have to eat canned sloppy joes).  After he consumed his first sandwich he added some salt to the second, which apparently made it satisfactory.  Humph.  Rating 8/10.

Recipe from Ellie Krieger
Adapted by me!
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion- diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic- minced
  • 1 jalapeno- seeded (optional) and minced
  • 1 stalk of celery- diced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper- seeded and diced (I may or may not have pulverized the pepper in the processor- so the picture definitely doesn't display the nice crunch that should have been there)
  • 1 15.5 oz can reduced sodium small red or pinto beans (I may or may not have forgotten to put the beans in the sloppy joes, but when I was eating them I definitely didn't think that anything was missing.  Good lord I need to read ingredient lists better)
  • 1 1/2 cups no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp unsulfured molasses
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 3/4 tsp salt 
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • whole wheat burger buns
Brown the burger and onion in an oiled skillet over medium heat.
Add in the prepared garlic, celery, jalapeno, and red pepper and cook for 5 minutes.  Stir once in a while.
Add in the rest of the ingredients (not the buns though!), simmer for 5 minutes.

This can supposedly feed up to 8 people if a single serving is going to be considered as 1/2 cup.
1 serving has 265 calories and 4.5 g of fat.