Friday, August 29, 2014

Satay Noodle

8oz fettuccine
2 Tbs olive oil
1 bunch bok choy, greens chopped, stems discarded
1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 bunch radishes, halved and sliced
3 Tbs almond butter
3 Tbs unseasoned rice vinegar
3 Tbs honey
1 Tbs soy sauce
1 tsp sriracha sauce

1) Cook fettuccine according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
2) In a saute pan, heat the oil and add the bok choy and zucchini. Saute until bok choy is wilted and zucchini becomes tender.
3) Meanwhile in a small bowl, whisk together the almond butter, rice vinegar, honey, soy sauce and sriracha sauce.
4) In a large bowl, combine the fettuccine, bok choy & zucchini mixture, radishes and sauce.

Review: I tried a different fettuccine and it didn't work well. Many of the strands stuck together and formed large clumps that didn't cook fully. Gluten free pasta that works like regular pasta can be really difficult to find! I hadn't had a chance to drive to Trader Joe's for pasta and took a chance on a new brand. Eek, looks like I'm just going to have to stock up at Trader Joe's and stick with what works!! Otherwise, this dish was simply ok. I thought it would be as tasty as the last almond butter sauce I made, but it wasn't. I did like the contrast of radish and bok choy. Maybe I'll try again with good pasta and my other almond butter recipe!

Adapted from:

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Cashews & Greens

1 Tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp sesame oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 cup roasted cashews (salted or unsalted)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 small head savoy cabbage, rinsed and chopped
1 small bundle collard greens or kale, rinsed and chopped
1 lime, juiced
2 Tbs Bragg's Liquid Aminos

1) In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and sesame oil over medium-high heat.
2) Add garlic, ginger, cashews and cayenne pepper. Fry, stirring frequently, until the garlic begins to soften.
3) Add greens and toss a few times to coat with oil.
4) Add lime juice and Liquid Aminos. Toss again, then cover and let steam-fry for about 2-3 minutes. The greens should still be a nice, vibrant color and not soggy.

Review: I was excited to make this, noting it would fit with my husband's low-carb diet. However, he took one bite and declared it to be disgusting. I was disappointed, especially noting I had a tremendous amount of food (accidentally bought 2 bunches of collard greens). Fortunately, I found this to be incredibly yummy and had seconds. It's a fairly guilt free dish for seconds!! This had a savory quality with a bit of a citrus kick. The heat from the garlic/ginger/cayenne really rounded out the dish. The heat was likely what made it so yucky to my husband who greatly dislikes spicy food. I loooooved this, though!!

Adapted from:

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Vegan Shepherd's Pie

4 cups cooked lentils, or 2 cans of lentils drained and rinsed
1 lb mushrooms, sliced
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 1/2 cups butternut squash, diced
2 cups hot water
2 Tbs vegan 'beef' bouillon powder, or 2 cubes
1 Tbs cornstarch
salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper
8 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 Tbs vegan margarine
3-4 Tbs unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp salt

1) In a large skillet heat oil over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic until they start to soften.
2) Add mushrooms and saute until softened and starting to brown.
3) Add butternut squash. Stir to combine. Cover and let cook until almost tender.
4) Add lentils and green peas and warm through.
5) In a measuring cup or small bowl, mix hot water, bouillon and cornstarch. Mix into the lentil/mushroom mixture and stir until thickened. If the mixture gets too thick, you can add more broth or water.
6) Taste and adjust for seasoning.
7) Meanwhile, boil potatoes in a pot with enough water to cover. Once fork-tender, drain and mash.
8) Add vegan margarine and almond milk. Mash until you reach a smooth consistency. If necessary, add more milk to get a smooth, creamy mixture.
9) Add salt to taste.
10) Heat oven to 350F.
11) Transfer lentil mixture to a casserole dish. Top with mashed potatoes. Place uncovered in heated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until completely heated through and topping gets slightly browned.

Review: The only canned lentils I could find were more than $3 a can. Therefore, I opted to buy some dried lentils from the bulk bins and cook them. I miscalculated how many cups I would end up with and had roughly 8 cups of lentils. Eek! So, I had way too much food. I had six very large servings, so I had to freeze some. I also had to skip the oven portion of the recipe, because I didn't want to dirty up two casserole dishes (to fit all the food I made) on top of all the pots and pans I already dirtied!! I do believe I had a similar issue the last time I attempted a shepherd's pie. This version was much better, though. I really loved the fake beef bouillon. It gave it a wonderful savory flavor.

Adapted from:

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Soba Noodles with Almond Butter, Lime & Chiles

1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup lime juice
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs light brown sugar
1 Tbs sesame oil
2 tsp sriracha sauce
8oz soba noodles
1 red jalapeno or Fresno chile, stemmed and seeded, finely chopped
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
2 Tbs toasted sesame seeds

1) Cook soba noodles per the package directions. Rinse with cool water and set aside.
2) To prepare dressing, combine almond butter, lime juice, garlic, soy sauce, light brown sugar, sesame oil and sriracha sauce in a small bowl. Whisk until smooth.
3) Pour half the dressing over noodles and toss well. Add more dressing if desired. Sprinkle remaining ingredients over noodles. Toss once or twice. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Review: I thought this would be a great recipe, with easily obtainable ingredients. I have always seen soba noodles in grocery stores and soba is supposed to be made with only buckwheat (which is not wheat, making it naturally gluten free). However, corners seem to have been cut and I repeatedly found brands that used wheat and buckwheat flour. I found buckwheat only noodles online, for more than $8!! At Mike's urging, I went to the local co-op and luckily found what I needed. I also joined, which makes me an official member/owner. So, I happily made this tonight. The sauce is AMAZING and I couldn't believe how tasty it was. Oddly, the cilantro detracted from the dish. I hate saying that, because cilantro is one of my all time favorite flavors. Yet, I won't use it the next time I make this dish. Mike wants me to find other ways to use this sauce, because it was soooooo good!!!

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Vanilla, Apricot & Bourbon Popsicles

1/4 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups apricot juice
4 oz bourbon
2 Tbs sugar
pinch of salt

1) Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.
2) Pour mixture into popsicle molds - should fill 10 3oz molds or 8 4oz molds.
3) Freeze at least four hours before enjoying.

Review: I loved making popsicles, but realllllly liked the idea of popsicles with more of an adult flair. I found this recipe and gleefully put it together. However, it was an epic disaster. I must have realllllly small popsicle molds. I filled seven (one broke a while back) and still had more than half of my mixture left! I filled two ice cube trays and still had enough left to fill a 16oz glass (which I drank after dinner). I made this last night and looked forward to trying it tonight as a popsicle (it was too sweet as a drink, though I still drank it all last night). As soon as I attempted to eat the popsicle, it broke in half. It wasn't fully frozen, likely because it had too much alcohol (though two little bottles is only about 3.5oz!!). I ended up dumping it in a glass with a few of the ice cube pieces I made and ate it with a spoon. I loooooooved the flavor. However, I'll make it again with half the juice and even less booze! Though, this may be a great drink idea, when made into a frozen concoction using an ice cream maker.

Adapted from:

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Pine Nut Agrodolce with Quinoa & Zucchini

1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
3 Tbs white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 cup fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 Tbs olive oil
1 lb baby zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds

1) Prepare quinoa according to package directions. Set aside.
2) To make sauce: Bring vinegar and 1 Tbs water to a simmer in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and set aside.
3) Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pine nuts, and toast 3 minutes, or until just golden. Transfer nuts to blender, along with vinegar mixture, mint, parsley, garlic, cayenne pepper and 2 Tbs water; blend until smooth. Set aside.
4) Heat oil in skillet, then add zucchini and saute 5 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Transfer to large bowl, and season with salt and pepper, if desired.
5) Toss zucchini with 4 Tbs sauce, add quinoa and stir to combine. Serve warm or cold, with extra sauce on the side.

Review: It's been far too long, but I'm back to blogging! I recently endured another big move and am starting over in a new state. Admittedly, I haven't been cooking much for the past three years. My husband dramatically changed his diet and I couldn't cook for him. It wasn't as much fun just cooking for myself, and I had a huge commute that left me with little time to cook! I've eaten too much prepared foods for the past few years. So, I have a local job now that has a 15 minute commute. This means I promise to cook healthy foods for myself and occasionally make foods that my husband can enjoy with me. Tonight felt really good as I broke in the new kitchen (though some of my kitchen stuff still needs to be unpacked!). Even better, I got to use home grown garlic that I harvested before I left my garden. I wish I had baby zucchini from my own garden, but Trader Joe's (45 minutes away now!!!) helped me out. This was an amazing, yummy dish. The sauce is essentially a chutney and I was eating it with a spoon!! This was pretty good served warm, but I bet it will be even better tomorrow after the flavors have had a chance to meld. 

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