Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Poached eggs over vegetables

My plan was something entirely different when I walked into the kitchen Monday night.  I had scheduled for a creamy sundried tomato pasta dish but I had some potatoes and previously cooked broccolli and green beans that needed to be used.  As I was boiling the water for the pasta I realized that's way too much carb!  So, plan B was born.

3-4 red or white potatoes
1/2 head steamed broccoli
1/2-1 cup steamed chopped green beans
2 cloves garlic, minced
eggs for poaching
Mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
olive oil
sea salt
vegetable broth, low sodium
bread crumbs
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Bring water in a large pan to boil.  Heat the olive oil in a oven safe pan.  Add the potatoes and saute until crisping.  Drizzle in some vegetable broth to soften the spuds and prevent sticking.  Add in the broccoli and green beans, saute until the potatoes are done.  Sprinkle with the minced garlic, season with salt, mix well.  Sprinkle with the bread crumbs and drizzle with the melted butter.  Place in the oven under the broiler to brown. 

Poach eggs in the boiling water.

Serve the vegetables with poached eggs and top with a few slices of cheese.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Monthly menu planning

I just penciled out my first full month of menus.  I've been a menu planner for quite a while, I do agree that it helps keep cost down by reducing quick trips to the store and helps me be more efficient with my kitchen time.  But I usually plan week to week.  Now though I'm going to jump into monthly menu planning.  I printed off a blank September calendar and assigned a theme to each day of the week:
  • Sunday is a family feast, something that takes a little more time to prepare and can be re purposed for lunches like roasts.
  • Monday is our dedicated meatless day.
  • Tuesday is crock pot meals, Paulo has a late soccer practice on Tuesday so this is definitely good for my sanity.
  • Wednesday is our fiesta theme night
  • Thursday is left overs, again, soccer practice so I'm trying to make my life easier!
  • Friday will be a trip to the Orient for Asian style meals
  • Saturday we're off to experience the wonders of Italian Cuisine
I have no idea if this will actually work out for me in the long run.  I hope it does.  I hope it helps me cut down on both time and money-both of which are in short supply-but that remains to be seen.  This will be an experiment for me.  Part of my motivation for trying this is my nerves over the impending start to school.  Don't get me wrong, I love school, so does Paulo but when he goes back to school free time gets more precious and ever more scarce.  If I can shave a few minutes off my time in the kitchen we all benefit now won't we?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Swai-hobo style

I learned a few things making this dish last night. 
  1. Tin foil is my friend, it makes for insanely easy clean up.
  2. Do not pile a bunch of vegetables on top of the fish, it impedes the cooking process!
  3. I really like tin foil.
Take whatever veggies you have, I used the following
One yellow, pre cooked, potato-quartered and thinly sliced. 
One zucchini, sliced into rounds
Red onion
Fresh basil
Garlic powder
Olive oil

Season the vegetables with the herbs and spices, drizzle with olive oil.  Lay the vegetables down first in the tin foil square, then plop the fish on top, close up the tin foil into a sack and pop it into an oven until the fish is cooked through.  Easy peasy!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Shrimp tacos with grilled pineapple salsa

I hate to say it out loud for fear of jinxing our good fortune but Summer may have finally least for a couple of days.  What better way to celebrate than shrimp tacos bursting with spicy tropical salsa?

1 pound shrimp
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
zest and juice of one lime
1 serrano chile, sliced

Combine the above in a sealed bag or medium size bowl and marinate at least 30 minutes.

1 pineapple, cored and quartered
4 tomatillos, husks removed
1/2 cup cilantro
1 serrano chile, sliced
sea salt to taste

Into a high powered blender place the tomatillos, cilantro, chile and salt, blend well until smooth and set aside.

Heat a grill to medium heat, remove the shrimp from the marinade and reserve the liquid.  Cook shrimp until done.  Grill the pineapple on all sides.  Chop pineapple roughly and combine with the blended tomatillo mixture.  Mix well, taste and add salt if desired.  Bring the reserved marinade to a boil and simmer until thick, if desired.  Serve the shrimp tacos on corn tortillas topped with the pineapple salsa and grilled onions, drizzle with the heated marinade for extra spice.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Taco pasta frittata

It was leftover night at Casa de Rodriguez.  I had a little of this, beans, and a little of that, cooked pasta, and a dash of some other, veggies, and I thought...frittata.  I love the concept of a frittata, you can throw whatever you have on hand into a pan, pour some eggs in there and you end up with a very filling, and cheap, dinner!

Taco pasta frittata
A Krista kitchen creation

1 cup cooked beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup cooked pasta, any type
1 zucchini, sliced in half and then into thin moons
1 tablespoon taco seasoning
6 eggs
diced tomato
shredded cabbage
Shredded Parmesan

Heat your oven to 350.

Heat an oven proof pan over medium heat and saute the zucchini lightly in olive oil.  Add the beans and pasta, stir well to combine.  In a small bowl, beat the eggs with the taco seasoning and pour into the pan.  Cook on the stove until set.  Add the shredded Parmesan  and transfer to the warm oven to finish setting the eggs and melting the cheese.  Top with vegetables and enjoy!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Last week I was flying blind in the kitchen, just winging it!  We all got fed but there was very little planning, it was a clean out the pantry and freezer week.  I love those weeks, I love looking into my fridge at the end of the week and thinking, geesh, there is no food in here!  Of course when I'm standing at the checkout of the grocery store thinking, geesh, that was a lot of money I'm not as in love with clean out the fridge week.

Here's this week's plan:
Sunday-grilled steak and chops with quinoa black eyed pea salad with roasted corn
Monday-left over meats for the boys with fresh beans, tortillas and jicama cucumber salad
Tuesday-teriyaki chicken/tofu with purple jasmine rice and steamed broccoli
Wednesday-lemon dill tuna pasta salad
Thursday-at my In Law's to celebrate my sister's birthday
Friday-shrimp tacos with fresh beans
Saturday-roasted chicken with forbidden rice and white navy beans

For more inspiration visit Menu Plan Monday on Organization Junkie's blog!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Creamy fiesta three bean salad

Phew, it's been a rough month!  I've been cooking, we've been eating, but frankly I just was not up to sharing.  So, thanks for your patience and I hope that things will get back to a normal posting schedule now that the end of the school year stress is over.

Beans, we eat a lot of beans in our house.  I love them because they are cheap, nutritious and very filling.  I was never a big bean eater growing up, the extent of my love affair with beans stopped at the good old American can of pork n beans.  We had refried beans for our taco night, but always from a can.  Once I met my husband's mother and experienced what fresh beans were all about I was hooked.  Sometimes though, I want a cold bean side dish and that's what we had last night.

Creamy fiesta three bean salad

1 1/2 cup dried beans, assorted varieties, sorted rinsed and placed in a crock pot
water to cover by 3"
1/4 cup veganaise
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon taco seasoning mix (check the label to eliminate the nasty stuff or make your own mix)
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro
2 cloves garlic
1/4 onion, roughly chopped
2 tomatillos, husks removed, washed and stem removed

Cover the dry beans with water and cook on low for 7-8 hours until done, but still firm.  Drain the beans and set aside, reserve the juice if desired for another use.

In a high power blender combine the veganaise through the tomatillos and blend on high until well combined.  This will make more sauce than you need for this dish, save the rest for green salad, a marinade or a dip for veggies.  Add the sauce to the beans and toss well to coat, set aside or refrigerate. 

You can add whatever other veggies to this dish you'd like.  Last night I tossed in the last little bit of my frozen corn and chopped up a roma tomato.  The time before I added diced raw zucchini.  Diced avocado would be good too.  It's limited only by what you've got on hand and need to use up.  It could even be turned into a main dish if you wanted by adding cooked chicken, shrimp or tofu, which sounds like a good alternative to dinner salads during the **hopefully** warm weather on it's way for us. 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Tropical chicken

I wasn't able to get a picture of the chicken before it was devoured but Rene was a big fan of the marinade I made tonight.  So here goes:

1/2 can pineapple, with juice
2 cloves garlic
1/2" ginger
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
basil, 5-6 leaves

Blend all the above in a high power blender until smooth, pour over chicken breast and marinate at least 3 hours, longer if possible.  Grill chicken and enjoy!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Monday again!  I have the easiest menu to plan that I can remember in ages this week since it'll be a short week for us.  Hurray for vacation!

Monday: quinoa spirals with red sauce, asparagus and a big salad
Tuesday: rice and beans with steamed broccoli, sausages on the side for the boys
Wednesday: crunchy taco night-always a crowd pleaser
Thursday: airport dinner, oh yes, sweet Thursday you cannot come fast enough for me!!
Friday: Shabbat dinner at my sweet friend's house in sunny California, I am especially excited for Friday
Saturday/Sunday/Monday: Vacation!! 

Of course as much as I'm looking forward to vacation I actually enjoy cooking and controlling what goes into my body.  Eating healthy while out and about, in another state, can be very challenging.  Any tried and true tips and tricks to pass on before we fly out? 

What's on your menu this week?  For more inspiration visit Menu Plan Monday on Organization Junkie.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Brussels Sprout salad

I have finally found a way to serve Brussels Sprouts that my 7 year old LIKED!  Oh happy, happy day!  I find it ironic that I even try to serve this particular vegetable to my son, I loathed them as a child.  Despised them even.  I had to choke them down-because in my house you did not tell the cook that you did not like her food, it would not end well if you did-but every single bite was pure torture.  I revisited them, out of love for my sister, at a Christmas dinner a few years back and realized that it's true, everything tastes better with bacon.  I've since enjoyed them steamed, sauteed, roasted and raw.  Paulo was not yet convinced that the little cabbages were not the enemy. 

This simple salad though may have helped him turn the corner.  While not in love with the humble cabbage he at least no longer loathes them.

Brussels Spouts, outer leaves removed, washed and thinly sliced
1 apple, cored, thinly sliced
1 pear, cored, thinly sliced
walnuts, a handful
2 tablespoons Veganaise
the juice of one lemon
Sea salt to taste

Combine the Veganaise, lemon juice and salt, mix well.  Toss the vegetables together in a large bowl, pour the dressing on and mix well to combine.  EASY!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Potato and wilted spinach salad

After a few weeks of seriously uninspired cooking I made something tonight I liked well enough to share!

Citrusy warm potato and wilted spinach salad
A Krista Kitchen Creation

3 cups baby spinach, rinsed and dried
1 zucchini, thinly sliced
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
6 fingerling potatoes, sliced
1/4 cup onion, thinly sliced
1/2 fennel bulb, sliced
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1 grapefruit, segmented, juice reserved
1 orange, segmented, juice reserved
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon agave
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan and saute the onion and potato slices until potatoes start to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and the fennel, cover and cook through.

In a small bowl, combine the reserved citrus juice with the vinegar, salt, cayenne and agave, whisk well and add in the remaining tablespoon of oil.

Add the sauce to the pan and simmer until liquid is reduced and potatoes are fully cooked.

Toss the spinach with the tomatoes and zucchini, add the hot potato mixture and combine well, allowing the spinach to wilt slightly.  Serve topped with segmented citrus fruit.  Enjoy!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Maple mustard salmon

It's been a busy week!  I'm finally getting around to creating posts about what we ate for Easter!  I love fish, salmon in particular, and this one turned out great.

Maple mustard salmon

2 tablespoons grainy mustard
1 tablespoon real maple syrup
1/2 tablespoon white wine vinegar

Mix well and drizzle on salmon.  Season with salt and pepper and bake like normal.  When the fish is cooked through, turn the burner on high to caramelize the topping just a little.  Served with asparagus and shredded carrot and zucchini salad.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Shredded carrot and zucchini salad

A super easy shredded salad, very light and spring like!

It's been a very busy week but I'm finally going to get around to posting a few things we enjoyed on Easter Sunday.  This was the salad I made to go with our salmon dinner.  I wanted something light, and easy.  I always wanted to find a way to get my kid to eat the zucchini which he'll do when it's shredded, he's not crazy about slices but he doesn't really realize what he's eating when it's shredded!

Shredded carrot and zucchini salad

2 large carrots, peeled and shredded
1 zucchini, shredded
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon veganaise
sea salt to taste

Combine the above in a medium sized bowl, mix well to combine.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. 

A new bread

I found a new bread recipe that I wanted to try.  I was intrigued by how low sugar it was, only 1 tablespoon of palm sugar, and that it used a flour I had not experimented with yet-garbanzo fava bean.

First things first I need to make up a batch of Amy's basic flour blend.

1 cup sorghum flour
1 cup garbanzo fava bean flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/3 cup tapioca starch

I doubled the ingredients so I would have enough to try her new bread recipe.  Plus now I have some in my fridge so I can try it out in other dishes, like waffles or muffins. 

Now, the bread!

3 cups Amy's basic flour blend
1 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1 tbsp palm sugar
1 packet dry instant yeast
1 1/4 cup warm water
2 extra large eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt

Prepare a 9x5 loaf pan with spray and/or line with parchment paper.  Preheat the oven to 350F.

Whisk together the flour, gum, sugar and yeast.  Set aside.

Put the water, eggs, oil and vinegar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix until combined *I do not have a paddle attachment so I used my trusty spoon and elbow grease!*  Add the dry ingredients, except the salt, mix on low until incorporated.  Increase to medium high an mix for a minute.  Turn off, add the salt, mix for two minutes more.

Turn the batter into the prepared loaf pan, place in a warm place for an hour to rise until the loaf doubles in size.

Score the bread with a sharp, serrated knife if desired.  Bake for 45-55 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the loaf sound hollow when you tap it. Let it cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then turn the loaf pan on its side, scoot the loaf forward so the steam can escape, but leave it in the pan.  Let it cool for another 10-5 minutes then move to a wire rack to cool completely.

Paulo really enjoyed this bread, so did I.  It has a good flavor and a great texture to it.  I was a little put off by the beany smell of the flour but Amy was right, you can't smell that after it's cooked!  I will be adding this to my bread baking rotation for sure.

Happy baking!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Here we are, the final Monday of April, hardly seems possible!  Yet here we are and it's time for Menu Plan Monday again.

Sunday: honey mustard salmon with fingerling potatoes, asparagus and shredded zucchini and carrot salad
Monday: stir fry veggies and tofu over lentils
Tuesday: fish tacos with black beans and salad
Wednesday: ground beef (tempeh for me) and potato hash with kale chips and steamed broccoli
Thursday: Paulo's birthday!  He's opted for pizza so Momma gets the night off from the kitchen
Friday: out for dinner before Paulo's school play
Saturday: family dinner to celebrate Paulo's birthday with a crunchy taco/tostada bar

For more inspiration visit Menu Plan Monday on Organization Junkie's site.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Lemon rasberry cake-gluten free and vegan

Yes folks, I think we have a winner!  This is an awesome vegan, gluten free cake, and I will be making it again next week and weekend for Paulo's 7th birthday.  Credit for this deliciousness goes to Allyson at Manifest Vegan!  Take a minute, click the link and see how gorgeous her cake turned out.  I aspire to such baking beauty, alas, I'm a work in progress.  The cake though, the cake is awesome!

For those that do not wish to click the link...your loss, her cake is's the recipe:

Lemon Raspberry Celebration Cake
By Allyson
Published: March 14, 2011

This given recipe yields a double layer cake, rather than the triple one shown, but for you ambitious bakers out there, I’ve also included the breakdown for a third cake* at the bottom.

Lemon Raspberry Celebration Cake ~ Vegan & Gluten Free
makes two 9″ round cakes


•1 1/2 cups sorghum flour
•1 1 /2 cups potato starch
•1 cup tapioca flour
•1 cup brown rice flour
•2 tsp xanthan gum
•3 tsp baking powder
•1 1/2 tsp sea salt
•2 1/2 cups sugar
•2/3 cups olive oil
•1 cup very cold water
•1 cup almond milk (unsweetened)
•1 1/2 tsp lemon extract
•zest of 1 lemon
•4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
•2 cups fresh raspberries
•1 recipe vanilla bean buttercream (below)


1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.Line two 9″ cake pans with a parchment circle, and lightly grease and flour the sides of each pan.
3.In large mixing bowl, combine sorghum flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, brown rice flour, xanthan gum, baking powder and salt. Sift together very well.
4.Add in sugar until well combined.
5.Stir in olive oil.
6.Gradually mix in almond milk and water until all liquid has been used.
7.Stir in lemon extract and zest.
8.Stir in vinegar, one tablespoon at a time, and mix on high speed, or mix vigorously by hand.
9.Pour batter into prepared cake pans and bake cakes for about 30-35 minutes, or until knife inserted into center comes out clean. The cakes will be ever so slightly golden brown.
10.Let cool and make buttercream icing. You’ll need lots of it for this.

Vanilla Bean Buttercream Icing Ingredients
(Make two batches of this to cover a 3 layer cake)

•6 tbsp vegan margarine (cold)
•6 cups organic confectioner’s sugar
•1 tbsp vanilla bean paste (or use 1 to 2 actual vanilla bean pods, scraped)
•6 tbsp almond milk
•2 additional tbsp vegan margarine (softened)

Icing Directions
1.Cream together the cold margarine and about 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar.
2.Gradually add in other ingredients, except the softened margarine.
3.Once all the other ingredients have been combined and are fairly smooth, add in softened margarine.
4.Mix on very high speed, whipping until fluffy.
5.Use immediately on cake, or chill in fridge for later use. If refrigerated, make sure you let it warm up slightly by setting on counter until softened enough to spread onto cake. If you find the icing too thick, add a touch more almond milk to thin.

Cake Assembly – - Requires 2 cups fresh raspberries

1.Once cakes have cooled, invert them once onto plate and then reposition them so that the top of the cake is facing up. Basically, you’re flipping both cakes out of the pans and just making sure the bottom is on the bottom and top is on the top.
2.Use a long serrated knife to slice the tops of the cake off so that both cake rounds appear very level. Use excess cake for crumbs… or just eat it!
3.Use a small portion of the icing to create a crumb layer on the each cake… meaning, apply the first layer of frosting without worrying about keeping those crumbs out of the icing; that’s what this step is for!
4.Chill briefly in freezer until the crumb coating has hardened.
5.Now, place one of the cakes onto a steady cake dish or icing plate.
6.Top liberally with frosting and arrange fresh raspberries on top of the frosting. Place second round cake on top of frosted cake and press gently to set the filling in between cakes.
7.Frost again with a second layer of frosting, and garnish with any fancy piping that you can dream up.
8.Garnish with fresh raspberries, lemon zest, and of course, chocolate decorations!

If you're really ambitious and want the triple layer here's the measurements for that:

 3/4 cups sorghum flour
• 3/4 cups potato starch
• 1/2 cup tapioca flour
• 1/2 cup brown rice flour
• 1 tsp xanthan gum
• 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
• 3/4 tsp sea salt
• 1 1/4 cups sugar
• 1/3 cups olive oil
• 1/2 cup very cold water
• 1/2 cup almond milk (unsweetened)
• 1 tsp lemon extract
• tsp lemon zest
• 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

I was so happy with the way this cake turned out, it was moist, had great flavor and texture, I was thrilled.  I made it last Saturday because Paulo was invited to a birthday party on Sunday and I wanted to be sure he had a sweet treat to eat when all the other kids were eating the birthday cake.  I don't expect my sons' friends' parents to accommodate my child's dietary restrictions.  That's my job you know?  So I made the cake Saturday and set it in the fridge over night, I brought it out a few hours before the party and also before we'd be eating it at brunch and let it warm up a bit.  Loved it.  So good.  So very, very good. 

So, thank you Allyson for a fabulous recipe and for making my baby boy's birthday next week special!  Now, go click that link and marvel at the beauty that is Allyson's cake!

Sweet potato and green pea curry

I keep revisiting curries in the hope that my son and husband will grow to love them as much as I do.  I've yet to find the magic recipe that makes them both go Mmmm!  So if you have a tried and true curry, please tell me what it is!!  This one turned out a little too thick for my preferences but I enjoyed the flavors and textures and was a quick, easy, weeknight meatless meal.

In the meantime we dined on sweet potato and green pea curry last week.

1 sweet potato, scrubbed, peeled and diced
1 cup green pea, frozen is fine
Mushrooms, assorted types, diced
1/4 red onion, finely diced
1 can of coconut milk
1 1/2 teaspoons Thai Kitchen red curry paste
sea salt to taste
Raw cashews
Rice, cooked
Olive oil

Heat olive oil in a pan and add the onions, saute until soft, add the mushroom and potato to the pan.  Add in the red curry paste and coconut milk, simmer until warm and the potato is soft.  Add the green peas and cook until heated through.  Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. 

Serve over rice, we used a combination of brown and black rice, top with cilantro and cashews.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pineapple Jicama salsa

A light and refreshing side just in time for the return of warm weather!

Pineapple Jicama salsa
A Krista kitchen creation

1/2 jicama, skin removed and diced
1/4 pineapple, cored, skin removed and cubed
1 serrano chile, seeds removed if desired, and thinly sliced
1/4 cup cilantro, diced
Juice of one lemon
sea salt to taste

Combine the above in a large bowl, mixing well to distribute the lemon juice.  Season with sea salt to taste and enjoy! 

While this was great for dinner that night it was almost better the next day, the flavors blended together wonderfully.  I served this as a side dish for bean tacos but this would on top of grilled fish for a light summer dinner.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Mac n "cheese" revisited

Paulo loves Mac N Cheese, the good old fashioned boxed kind.  To be honest, so do I.  It was the first thing I ever learned to "cook" for myself.  I have fond memories of standing in the kitchen, stirring the noodles, book in hand and of licking the bowl clean of that abnormally orange "cheese" sauce.  Since his allergy diagnosis, Kraft is off the menu. 

I attempted a cheese sauce a while ago, he seemed to like it but I just wasn't happy with it.  It took me a while to get back to the kitchen for a recipe reboot.  For it to be a safe food for Paulo I use quinoa or rice noodles, Daiya cheese, almond milk and Earth Balance spread.  The first attempt came out too sweet, this one was much better.  Added bonus, it even has a similar hue to the good old Kraft boxed mac!

Mac N "cheese" Paulo style
A Krista kitchen creation

2 tablespoons Earth Balance
3 tablespoons finely minced onion
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tablespoon rice flour
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp yellow mustard
1 cup daiya cheddar
2 cups quinoa elbow noodles

Cook the noodles as directed, being careful not to overcook them.

Saute the onion and garlic in the Earth Balance until soft. 

Add the rice flour and stir well to create a paste. 

Pour in the almond milk and bring to boil, add the seasonings and the daiya, stirring to melt the daiya.  Taste, adjust seasonings as needed.  When the daiya is melted, add the vinegar and mustard, mix well to combine.

Drain the noodles and return to the pot, pour the sauce over the warm pasta, and coat the noodles.

Paulo gave this an enthusiastic two thumbs up and is already asking me to make it again!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

It's that time of the week again, time to look for inspiration to answer the age old question....what's for dinner?

Monday: Black and brown rice with roasted veggies and kale chips
Tuesday: Almond crusted trout with salad and broccoli
Wednesday: Soft tacos with refried beans and salad
Thursday: Salmon with salad and steamed veggies
Friday: out to a friend's house...really looking forward to that!

For more inspiration visit Organization Junkie's Menu Plan Monday.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Poached eggs two ways

We hosted wonderful friends this morning for brunch.  I love feeding people, it's just part of who I am. 

If I love you I feed you, if I feed you I love you

This particular morning we had the usual over abundance of food; lemon vanilla coconut scones, banana oatmeal pancakes, ham, fruit and cheese, a delightful corn salad provided by an equally delightful friend (we did however really miss his fabulous other half!) and we had poached eggs two ways:

A poached egg on thinly sliced, toasted, baguette topped with thinned lemon basil cashew cream.  I tossed a few snipped chives on top after I took the picture.  It might sound like an odd combination but I think it worked rather well, it tasted very Spring-y!

And my personal favorite, the poached egg topped with balsamic vinegar marinated tomato and basil.  I could eat tomato and basil soaked in balsamic vinegar every single day and not get tired of it!  

This morning made me remember that I miss having people over!  It's been such a horribly wet, rainy, dreary winter we've just hibernated half the year away.  Today was a beautiful Spring day and it felt great to be feeding people I love again!

Lemon basil cashew cream

I'm on a cashew cream kick.  I make no apologies for it, if you haven't tried it, you must, it is just that good!

Lemon basil cashew cream
A Krista kitchen creation

1 cup cashews, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
4 tablespoons olive oil
4-6 tablespoons water
zest and juice of one lemon
1/4 cup fresh basil
sea salt to taste

Process all in a high powered blender and enjoy.

On this meal it was used to top a very simple dinner of brown rice with a mixture of beans cooked in the crock pot.  I love my crock pot too...almost as much as I love cashew cream.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Spicy cashew cream

Oh I heart cashews!  Big puffy heart as some of my darling friends would say.  Alas with braces the actual crunching of cashews is forbidden.  Enter...cashew cream! 

The culinary goddess that is Susan Powers over at Rawmazing posted a delightful looking salad topped with a Cayenne cashew cream, I knew I had to try it.  As an added bonus, I already had everything I needed on hand, love it when that happens!

To see the full recipe and drool a little over her photography click here.

Lime Cayenne Sauce

Lime Cayenne Sauce
  • 1/2 cup cashews, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon agave or raw honey
  • 1/2 lime, juice from (I used a lemon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Himalayan salt and pepper to taste (I used the sea salt I keep on hand)
1. Place all ingredients in high speed blender. Blend until smooth

Not only is this a delightful topping to a salad it is also a fabulous raw veggie dip and as a sandwich spread.  The possibilities are endless!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Chile adzuki beans and rice

Beans and rice are a perfect, vegetarian, dinner.  High in protein and good carbs it is filling and nutritious and as an added bonus-cheap!  Add a side of sauteed swiss chard and you're getting even more bang for your nutritional buck.

Chile adzuki beans and rice with greens

One cup adzuki beans, sorted, rinsed
One cup brown rice
Greens of your choice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 serrano chile, sliced
2 cloves garlic
1 handful cilantro leaves

Place the beans in a pressure cooker and cover with 2-3" of water.  Bring the pressure cooker up to full pressure and cook for 10 minutes.  Do a quick release and drain the beans to a bowl, season with salt and set aside.

Cook the brown rice according to directions.

In a blender combine the oil, vinegar, chile, garlic and cilantro, blend until smooth, taste and add salt if desired.

Heat olive oil in a large pan, add the rinsed greens and saute until done.

Top the rice with the beans and chile sauce, serve with the sauteed greens.

Monday, April 11, 2011

GF zucchini oat bread

Ahh bread...sweet, tasty, lovely bread!  We love bread, since Paulo's food allergy results I've learned to cook it in a whole new way.  Eliminating my beloved whole wheat flour and learning how to use things I'd never heard of before like sorghum flour.  I've baked some great breads that are safe for Paulo and delicious.  I have two go tos for his lunches, a honey oat bread and a buckwheat bread.  I have favorite muffins, pancakes and waffles, I still struggle with cakes, but I'm working on it!  What I wanted this weekend was a zucchini bread and I wanted to see if I could take a traditional recipe and tweak it to meet our gluten free and vegan baking needs...the result was a very moist and flavorful bread that we all-even the wheat eaters-loved.  Along with changing the flours to suit our needs, I cut the sugar in half and omitted the nuts due to the food allergy policy in Paulo's school.

GF Zucchini Oat bread
A Krista Kitchen Creation

3/4 cup sugar
1 cup sorghum flour
1 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup potato starch
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1 cup GF oats
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
3 tbsp egg replacer mixed with water (or 3 eggs if you prefer)
1 cup applesauce
1/4 cup melted Earth Balance butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 zucchini, unpeeled and shredded
3/4 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan with cooking spray; set aside.

Combine 1 tablespoon of the sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of the cinnamon; set aside.

Combine flours with starches, oats, baking powder, salt, baking soda, xanthan gum, sugar and remaining cinnamon; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl beat egg replacer and water with electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes or until foamy. Add the applesauce, butter, and vanilla. Gradually add the dry mixture, beating on low speed just until combined. Stir in zucchini and raisins.

Spoon into prepared pan. Sprinkle with sugar-cinnamon mixture.

Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely on rack. Wrap and store several hours before slicing. Makes 16 slices-Mine will not yield 16 slices because I cut them way too thick!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Lentils with tomatillo sauce

I'm fast becoming a fan of lentils.  They're cheap, nutritious and quick to cook.  I used red lentils in this dish, because that's what I had on hand, and I think it worked well with the other flavors in the bowl.

Tempeh lentils with spicy tomatillo sauce
A Krista Kitchen Creation

1 cup red lentils, sorted and rinsed
1 1/2 cup water or vegetable broth
1 teaspoons taco seasoning spices
1 cup tempeh, cubed
1/4 cup onion, finely diced
Beans, any type, about 1 cup
olive oil

Heat the olive oil in the pan and add the onion, saute until soft.  Add the lentils and stir, add the water to the pan and bring to a boil, simmer until lentils are soft, about 20 minutes.  When lentils are close to being done add the tempeh and the seasoning spices.  Add in the beans (I had some black beans on hand, I drained off most of the broth and added it all to the pot.) Stir well and allow to warm through.

Spicy tomatillo sauce
A Krista Kitchen Creation

3 tomatillos, husk removed, rinsed and diced
1 serrano chile, sliced, seeds removed if desired
5 mushrooms, washed and cubed
olive oil
red wine vinegar

Heat olive oil in a saute pan and add the chile, saute until softened.  Add in the tomatillos and mushrooms, stir well and bring to a simmer, season with sea salt if desired and add the cilantro.  Finish with a splash of red wine vinegar.

Ladle the tempeh lentils into a deep bowl and top with the tomatillo sauce, enjoy!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Another was a good one though, I completed my first EVER race, a 10K, Paulo had gymnastics and a birthday party plus a playdate so it was a full social calendar for my little man which makes him my little happy man!  But, back to Monday and menu planning! 

Monday-brown rice with adzuki beans and sauteed garlic greens, add chicken for the boys
Tuesday-swai fillet over quinoa with edamame
Wednesday-bean tacos with salad
Thursday-potatoes with top round steak for the boys and veggies galore for me
Friday-Waffle sandwiches and soup
Saturday-at Paulo's school for a fundraiser dinner

I'm starting my Spring Cleanse so there will be some minor modifications here and there for me but the boys remain easy as ever to feed.

For more menu planning inspiration visit Menu Plan Monday at!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Coconut curry tofu

Friday was left over night, I will admit I thought seriously about dialing for a pizza but I refrained.  There's only so much GF pizza I can stand!  Plus whenever we order it's double the cost because they want meat and I want veg!  Meat and I are taking an extended break, it's not's, well, it.  It just doesn't sit well in my body.  Instead of picking up the phone I picked up a pan.  I had a lot of veggies that needed to get eaten, one of my resolutions being to not waste food, I had three different kinds of left over already cooked rice, plus I already had a can of coconut milk in the fridge, I'd needed the cream for my Irish Soda Bread so I figured, some sort of curry would be in order.   

Into the pan goes the coconut milk with 2 tablespoons brown sugar and 1 tablespoon Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste along with 1 cup of water. 

Bring that to a boil and reduce the heat, add the veggies, this works with whatever you have on hand, that's the beauty of it.  I added the last of my carrots, a head of cauliflower and asparagus.  Simmer until the veggies are soft.  Here's where mine got complicated by an extra step.  Into one sauce pan went 1/2 the liquid and veggies.  Into that pan I added left over cooked chicken, and into the remainder of the sauce and veggies I added cubed tofu, simmer until warmed through.  (You might be able to skip that step if you have a unified household instead of a carni/vegi split like me!)  Warm up your cooked rice (or cook fresh if you have to but then it's not as quick and easy!) and top the rice with a generous portion of the curry. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mexi tofu sandwich

I hate wasting food so when I found myself with left over sauteed tofu and refried beans from dinner I thought....lunch!

The tofu had been very simply prepared, marinated in a little oil, vinegar and lemon juice and sauteed with salt and pepper and had served as my soft taco filling while the boys ate chicken.  On the bottom we have a layer of my refried beans homemade in my trusty crock pot, topped with a tofu slab then some sauteed onions and a big thick slice of tomato.  This was a big, tasty, messy sandwich, I miss that sandwich...I was sad to see it disappear....

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Vegan lemon basil 'cream' sauce

Asparagus screams SPRING to me and Monday being the first full day of Spring I wanted to feature that lovely green vegetable in our dinner.  The sauce was put together with things that I routinely keep on hand, sort of a pantry sauce if you will.  The whole meal came together quickly which is a definite plus on a busy weeknight. 

Vegan lemon basil cream sauce
A Krista kitchen creation

Pasta of choice-ours was a rice penne
Broccoli florets
Asparagus, cut into 3" pieces
2-3 mushrooms, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons diced red onion
4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1 zucchini, diced
1 12.5 oz block of soft tofu
2 lemons, juiced, zest reserved
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Vegan butter
Olive oil

Cook the pasta and set aside.  Bring a pot of water to boil, blanch the broccoli and asparagus and plunge into a bath of ice water to stop the cooking process.  Set aside.

Combine the tofu, basil, 1/2 the garlic and 1/2 the lemon juice in a blender and blend until smooth.

Melt 1/2 tablespoon Earth Balance butter and 1-2 tablespoons olive oil in a deep sauce pan and saute the red onion, stirring well to prevent burning.  Add the garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes, add the mushrooms, stir well and allow to soften.  Add the reserved lemon zest and stir well.   Add the zucchini and saute briefly before adding the sauce from the blender.  Season with sea salt and pepper, bring to a boil and reduce the heat to simmer for about five minutes.  Finally add the broccoli, asparagus and drained pasta, tossing well to coat the noodles and allow to warm through.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  Garnish with more fresh basil.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

I've been a die hard menu planner for years but I've never participated in menu plan Monday on Organization Junkie's blog, until today.  In case you're curious, here's what we'll be dining on this week:

Monday- rice pasta with vegan lemon 'cream' sauce, broccoli, asparagus and mushrooms
Tuesday- lentil soup and sandwiches
Wednesday - soft tacos, beef for the boys, tempeh for me and fresh pinto beans with salad
Thursday - white and kidney beans with roasted veggies
Friday - crunchy tacos, again beef for the carnivores and tempeh for me with refried beans and raw veggies
Saturday - thai mung bean noodles
Sunday - Happy Hour!  I'm very excited about that one!

What's on your menu this week?  For more menu planning inspiration click here.

Irish(ish) soda bread

First, I will admit I'm not sure I've ever actually eaten real Irish soda bread, I might have but I couldn't say with any certainty.  That little tid bit aside I will say, this is darn good bread! 

This is another of Allyson's recipes from Manifest Vegan.  I saw it in the days preceding St. Patrick's day and I knew it would be a perfect dessert.  Not too sweet and easy to make on a busy work night-two of my favorite things.  This bread is a snap to put together, I had everything on hand already, or made very minor adjustments, and it smelled divine.  Try it, you'll love it!

Allyson's Irish-ish Soda Bread
Manifest Vegan

•2 1/2 cups sorghum flour
•3/4 cup potato starch
•1/2 cup finely ground brown rice flour
•1/4 cup sweet white rice flour (I did not have sweet rice flour, I used millet flour)
•3 tbsp organic sugar
•1 tsp sea salt
•2 tsp baking soda
•1 tsp cinnamon
•2 tsp xanthan gum
•4 tbsp vegan margarine, cold
•1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
•1 1/2 cups almond milk (I used the rice milk I had on hand)
•2 tbsp flaxseed meal mixed with 4 tbsp water
•1 tbsp coconut cream + extra for brushing
•1/2 cup raisins
•1 tbsp corn syrup or agave mixed with 1 tbsp warm water


1.Preheat oven to 350 °F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.

2.In large mixing bowl, combine sorghum flour, brown rice flour, potato starch, sweet white rice flour, salt, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and xanthan gum.

3.Sift together really well to combine all ingredients together.

4.Use a pastry blender to cut in the margarine until it disappears into the flour mixture.

5.Mix the almond milk with the vinegar and set aside to curdle, about 5 minutes. Combine with prepared flaxseed meal and 2 tbsp coconut cream.

6.Gradually incorporate almond milk mixture with flour mixture into mixing bowl until a soft dough is formed. Gently fold in raisins and shape dough into a round loaf.

7.Use your hands to pat the dough into place on the baking sheet, creating a slight dome shape. The dough will be sticky, and that’s okay.

8.Use a sharp knife to cut an x in the middle of the loaf.

9.Brush lightly with coconut cream and bake in preheated oven about 45-50 minutes, or until it reaches a deep golden brown and makes a “thunk” sound when tapped. Gently brush with corn syrup mixture and allow to bake the remaining 5-10 minutes. Essentially you are trying to create a shiny glaze on the loaf just before pulling it out of the oven.

10.Do not let the total amount of baking time exceed 60 minutes. This particular loaf is prone to drying out if baked too long… so keep a watchful eye on it around the 50 minute mark, and for extra measure, go ahead and stick a knife through the middle to see if it comes out clean. It should be nice and baked through at about 55 minutes.

11.Remove from oven and let cool briefly before slicing.

Paulo preferred it smothered in honey, I personally loved it with some vegan butter.  So, so, so good!

However you like your bread I hope you like this one as much as we did!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Marinated shredded beet salad-raw, vegan

1 large beet, shredded
3 carrots, shredded
1/2 head of chard, rib removed and thinly sliced
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 1/2 lemons, juiced
sea salt to taste

Prepare the oil and vinegar and set aside in a large bowl.  Shred the vegetables and slice the chard, add to the oil and vinegar, juice the lemons directly onto the vegetables and toss well, taste and add salt if desired.  Set aside at room temperature until ready to serve, toss well before serving.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I find the fast food push to market oatmeal interesting.  There's a big campaign going around right now to lead you into a certain fast food restaurant to try their new "healthy" breakfast-it's revolutionary, it's exciting, it's....oatmeal?  Don't get me wrong, I love oatmeal, so does Paulo, we eat it a lot.  I love how cheap it is, how filling it is, how nutritious it is, I love everything about it.  If you make a big pot on the weekend then you can even call it fast food during the week.  I was curious about, among other things, the cost comparison between my oatmeal and the fast food options that are making the PR rounds. 

I buy Bob's Gluten Free oats because of Paulo's allergies, I figure better safe than sorry.  I buy organic apples, because they are on the dirty dozen list, and organic raspberries-berries are also a fruit that I insist on buying organic due to pesticides.  Even factoring in the added costs of those items vs conventional produce I came out to an approximate total cost of $1.82 for the bowl of oatmeal you see above. 

If memory serves that's fairly close to Ronald's "new" breakfast but significantly lower than Starbucks and it's all done in a matter of 15 minutes in the comfort of my own kitchen. 

My other sticking point is the sugar content, other than a light drizzle of local raw honey there's no added sugar-at all-in the bowl above.  Paulo takes his with honey and a dash of cinnamon, that's all, no white sugar, brown sugar or any other kind of sugar.  If you order Ronald's oatmeal the way you see it on all the commercials with all the trimmings you're consuming 32 GRAMS of sugar for breakfast.  That seems excessive to me.  I know that some of that sugar is the naturally occurring sweet stuff in the fruit but McD's estimates 14 grams in the oatmeal alone, with no fruit.  I suppose it's a better option than a fried egg and greasy sausage sandwich but I think I will keep cooking my oatmeal at home, thanks anyway Ronald!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tempeh waffle sandwiches

What's a girl to do when she just can't bear the thought of cooking dinner on a Friday night?  Power up the waffle iron!

To my very basic favorite waffle recipe I added a few tweaks and sandwiched sauteed tempeh with spinach, tomato and red onion-the boys had regular old meat, their loss!

Waffle sandwiches
a Krista kitchen creation

1 1/4 cup gluten free flour, I use Bob's
1 1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
2 tablespoons vegan sour cream
1-2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoon olive oil

Mix well and cook according to directions and fill with your favorite sandwich fixuns'.  This was a quick, cheap and easy Friday night dinner on a night when I seriously stood staring at the deli counter on my weekly grocery trip hoping to find something that I could just bring home and reheat.  That presents a challenge when one family member needs to be wheat/dairy/egg free and another member (me) isn't eating meat!  Rene would happily eat his way through the New Seasons deli but there wasn't much that was safe for Paulo or appealing to me.  Fortunately these waffle sandwiches were a big hit with all three of us!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Black eyed pea salad

Until January 1, 2011 I do not believe I had ever actually eaten a black eyed pea-I certainly loved their music though-but I must confess I did not think I'd like them-I judged them because I did not know how to prepare them, they were foreign to me.  I should have known better.  I loved the salad I made on New Year's Day this year but had not gotten around to making more, until tonight.

Cilantro and avocado black eyed pea salad
a Krista kitchen creation

2 cups cooked black eyed peas (I used my pressure cooker and allowed dry beans to cook at full pressure for 10 minutes, after that I removed it from the heat and allowed it to sit another five before releasing the pressure)
3/4 avocado, diced
1/4 red onion, finely diced
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup light oil
sea salt to taste.

Cook the beans and set aside until ready to use.  Place the diced vegetables and herbs in a medium bowl, add the cooked and drained black eyed peas, coat with oil and vinegar, season with salt to taste.

I love how filling the salad is, yet light at the same time.  I served this with a cabbage and sugar pea slaw, steamed asparagus and crispy tofu-the boys had chicken sausages.  I think we will definitely be experimenting with more flavor combinations to compliment this very nutritious bean.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Juice monster

I've created a monster, a juice fiend if you will.  He asks for it, he begs for it, he says no to OJ and only wants this juice. 

And frankly, I am ok with that......

Paulo's green juice

1 Romaine heart, stem removed
1 apple, washed and cored
1 lemon, yellow peel removed, pith remains

Process through the juicer in the order above, if desired, add a small bit of agave to sweeten the deal. 

Seriously, this is Paulo's favorite morning drink.  I started giving it to him about six weeks ago to try to up his green quota, he drank it, but he didn't love it.  After a couple of weeks he started asking for it and now, if I run short of time or run out of an ingredient, I get the know the look, the one that says Mom, I'm so disappointed in you!  I love that he loves his green juice. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Carrot cake muffins

I love carrot cake, but I have a hard time justifying sending it in my kids' lunchbox.  Now a carrot muffin on the other with flax, sunflower seeds, good healthy ingredients, that can go!

Carrot cake muffins, gluten free and vegan

Preheat oven to 350 F.

1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup potato starch
1/2 cup GF oats
1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
3 teaspoons ground flax

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl, set aside.

1 tablespoon egg replacer mixed with 1/4 cup warm water, blended
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup light olive oil
1 cup vanilla coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the wet ingredients and mix well.  Add to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.

1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
2 carrots, peeled and shredded, excess water removed

Fold in the raisins, seeds and carrots.  Prep your muffin tin, either with paper or by spraying the tin.  Fill each cup about 2/3 cup full and bake for 20-25 minutes.  I was able to make 15 full sized muffins with this recipe.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.  Once cool, split one open, slather it with butter and enjoy getting some extra veggies into your body!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Oatmeal cookies

A fresh cookie, still warm from the oven is a thing of beauty.  These bad boys are a masterpiece!  Once again, Karina, at Gluten Free Goddess, has out done herself.  These are really, really good cookies!

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine in a bowl and beat until smooth and creamy:

2/3 cup Spectrum Organic Shortening
1 1/2 cups organic brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened organic applesauce
2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla extract (I used regular old vanilla extract)
2 tablespoons agave or honey

In a separate bowl whisk together the dry ingredients:

1/2 cup rice flour or sorghum flour
1/2 cup oat flour [certified gluten-free Lara's Oats]
1/2 cup potato or tapioca starch
1/4 cup vanilla rice protein powder [I used Nutribiotics] (Karina noted that if you don't have or don't like rice protein flour you could sub in another GF flour, I used millet flour)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Slowly add the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture, beating to combine.
When the dough is smooth, add in the following, by hand, and mix well:

2 cups rolled oats- certified gluten-free Bob's Red Mill or Lara's Oats
1/2 cup raisins

Use a spoon or ice cream scoop to measure out the dough, and using your palms make 28 to 30 round balls. Place the balls of dough on a cookie sheet about two inches apart. Don't flatten them.

Bake in the center of a preheated oven for about 12 to 15 minutes, until they are golden. They will be quite soft until they cool.

Using a thin spatula, remove the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes approximately 28 to 30 cookies.

For Karina's witty commentary click here, her photos of the cookies are to die for too!  Then when you're drooling sufficiently go into your kitchen and bake some gluten free oatmeal cookies, you will not regret it!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A lunch for little P

In the never ending quest to find fun, interesting, and healthy lunches I turn once again to What's for Lunch Wednesday.  I always enjoy looking at the super cute lunches that some kids are opening up around the country.  For Paulo on this day he feasted on baked potato sliced up, a couple of carved carrots-the carving was a huge hit with him and with his lunch buddies-and some grape tomatoes in the main section.  Some raw goat cheese-we're experimenting with goat dairy!-and dried cranberries to satisfy his sweet tooth and the last section has strawberry coconut yogurt with a sprinkle of gluten free vanilla cereal on top.  Not pictured, for snack, was a rice cake with sunbutter and jam on top which, interestingly, he's decided he doesn't like.  He loves rice cakes with Tofuti cream cheese and jam but the sunbutter was not a hit....note to self, no sunbutter on rice cakes....check!

For more lunch inspiration visit What's for Lunch Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Maple Brussels Sprouts and Rutabaga

I'm always looking for different ways to eat Brussels Sprouts.  It's one of those vegetables that I despised as a child.  Really, really hated!  As an adult I tried them again and found that they weren't as terrible as they used to be.  Now, I actually like them.  I think though one of my favorite ways is the raw Brussels sprout salad, but this was good too.  The maple is not overpowering but you can definitely taste it.  Rene loved it, Paulo....well he tried it.  Sometimes that's as far as we get!

Maple Brussels Sprouts with rutabaga and walnuts
Brussels Sprouts trimmed and halved
2 rutabaga, peeled and diced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons real maple syrup
2 tablespoons dry cranberry
2 tablespoons walnuts
1 tablespoon earth balance butter spread

Steam the Brussels sprouts until fork tender.  Boil the rutabaga in salted water for around 10 minutes, also until tender.

Heat the butter in a saute pan, add the shallot and saute until soft.  Add the steamed Brussels sprouts and rutabaga.  Drizzle on the syrup and toss with the dry cranberry and walnuts, stir well to combine.  Simmer for 2-3 minutes, serve hot.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Spicy coconut rice

Shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup brown rice, soaked and rinsed
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

In an oven safe pan, saute the shallot in olive oil until tender, add the garlic and saute for one minute more.  Add the brown rice and allow to toast for two minutes, stirring frequently.  Pour in the broth and coconut milk, stir well.  Add the paprika and cayenne and stir well to combine.  Place the pan in the oven and bake for one hour, stirring after 30 minutes. 

Friday, January 14, 2011

Plan B

Sometimes you think you've done everything right when you leave for work in the morning.  Meat defrosted? Check.  Beans in the crock pot?  Check.  Crock pot turned on?  Check.  Crock pot plugged in????  Whoops.  I was supposed to come home last night to a pot of cooked beans, instead I came home to an unplugged crock pot and a pot of soaked beans, beans that had soaked for a long, long time since I started them soaking Wednesday night!  I actually picked up the phone and dialed Pizza Caboose.  It rang twice, then I hung up.  For one, it was already 5:30 and it would probably take until 6:30 or 7 for them to make, bake and deliver my pizza-that's just too late for a little guy that needs to be in bed early for school.  Two, I didn't want to spend the money.  Three, I had enough food to figure out a plan B.  This was my plan B:

Steamed broccoli with honey dijon sauce.  Fingerling potatoes simmered and then broiled for a crispy shell.  And tempeh, sauteed, topped with red onion, portobella mushrooms and a few slices of raw Cheddar style cheese.  Paulo's was the same except he had some thin steak and no onions or mushrooms.  Rene, I turned his steak into a sandwich with the mushrooms and onions when he finally made it home-long day at the shop yesterday. 

What I was reminded of though was the importance of having a well stocked refrigerator and pantry.  I was able to improvise and everyone was happy, well fed and, best of all, I know where everything they've eaten came from.  I cannot say that about Pizza Caboose.  Don't get me wrong, we love their pizza, but ever since Paulo's allergy diagnosis it's been harder and harder to go out to eat.  There are simply more things on the menus that my son cannot eat than there are that he can.  And he gets frustrated, which upsets me, which upsets him, it's a vicious cycle.  That's one of the reasons I cook as much as I do, this way I know I can give my son something that will make him happy-he is a very appreciative eater-and keep him healthy. 

So, what's your go to plan B dinner?  What do you do on those nights when dinner does not go according to plan?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Spinach and quinoa salad

Leafy green vegetables are so important and yet seem so hard to get sometimes.  This is a quick and easy, very filling, dinner salad that is loaded with greens in the form of baby spinach.  Baby  spinach is very tender, mild tasting and a good way to start getting more greens in your diet.

To a bed of baby spinach add:
1 3/4 Mandarin oranges peeled, separated and sliced in half
1 apple, thinly sliced
1 pear, thinly sliced
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, sliced
5 radishes, quartered
1 cup cooked quinoa, to sprinkle on top

In a blender combine the following:
1/4 Mandarin oranges
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup basil leaves
sea salt
Blend until smooth, pour over the quinoa and spinach salad, toss well and add more dressing if desired.  Serve by itself or with sandwiches for your hungry boys.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What's for Lunch Wednesday

It's that time of the week again! I love Wednesday, I get loads of inspiration from the What's for Lunch blog.  I enjoy perusing other moms and dads' attempts at getting their kids to eat good healthy, whole, REAL food. 

This is Paulo's lunch today, he has a dish of potato gnocchi soup, I am loving the glass containers my mother in law gave me for Christmas, he can warm up his lunch in the classroom microwave and I don't have to cringe at the thought of him eating plastics.  In his divided container he has a Mandarin, some vanilla coconut milk yogurt, blueberries, grape tomatoes, green olives and some new chips we're trying.  They are actually yams and carrots but we'll see if he figures that out and A. loves them or B. hates them or C....somewhere in between. 

For more lunch time inspiration visit What's for Lunch at Our House.

Gnocchi soup

Here's take two and creating some new soup recipes.  I really enjoy soup but hadn't really tried to create any of my own recipes.  In fact I was much more likely to open a tetra box of soup than bring out my soup pot, soup can really take a lot of time to make.  But this soup was so easy there's no excuse not to make it on a weeknight.  I think all in all it took less than 30 minutes to get on the table.  Perfect weeknight hearty soup!

4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
24 oz jar, low sodium, strained tomatoes
1 package frozen, gluten free, Conti's potato gnocchi
1 zucchini, thinly sliced
6 mushrooms, quartered
2/3 head Swiss chard, washed, stems and greens diced separated
1/4 red onion, diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dry basil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
sea salt to taste

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot, add the onion and the chard stems, saute until softened.  Add the garlic, saute one minute more.  Pour in the vegetable broth and the strained tomatoes, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer, add the potato gnocchi, zucchini and the mushrooms.  Season with basil and pepper.  Cover and simmer for 8 minutes.  When the gnocchi are done add the chard greens and remove from heat to soften the greens.  Season with sea salt if desired.  Serve with warm toasted bread.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Tofu stir fry

We've been making up for our culinary sins this week, eating tons of fruits and veggies and good whole grains-I'm hopeful that will absolve me from the dozens of gingerbread cookies I've eaten.  And the fudge, don't forget the chocolate could we forget the fudge?!  I know I won't soon forget it...

To shock our systems back into health I whipped up a veggie and tofu stir fry this week with brown rice.  Served with steamed bok choy I felt very, very healthy and could almost forget about all the dark, festive, beer I've been drinking!

The inspiration for this stir fry sauce was found here on The Food Rules Cooking blog I like to read.  Someday I will try her actual recipe for the Phad Thai, it looks amazing!

1/4 cup wheat free soy sauce
2 limes, juiced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Sesame oil
Extra firm tofu, drained and cubed
Assorted veggies (stir fry is an outstanding way to empty out the crispers) I used julienned carrots, sugar peas, steamed broccoli and mushrooms
Brown rice, preferably cooked over the weekend to save time
Toasted cashews

Combine the soy sauce with the lemon juice and brown sugar and set aside.

Heat the sesame oil in a pan and saute the tofu, add the veggies and rice, pour in the sauce, stir to heat through, taste, add salt if needed.  Add in the toasted cashews and top with the cilantro.

Serve with steamed bok choy drizzled with rice vinegar.

Sauteed spicy kale

2010, the year I met, and fell in love with, kale.  I really had no idea I would love it as much as I do!  I love it in my green juices, I love it baked, blended and sauteed.  Here we have a spicy kale saute.  I added a little serrano chile for a hint of heat.

One bunch of kale, cleaned, deribbed and sliced thin
1/4 onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 serrano chile, deseeded (or partially deseeded as the taste buds may be)
the juice of one lemon
olive oil
sea salt

Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the onion and the serrano, cook until softened and translucent, add the garlic and continue to saute for a minute.  Add the kale to the pan, wet, and stir well, season with sea salt and cover with a lid.  Remove lid and stir after a few minutes, squeeze the lemon juice into the pan and mix well.  Serve hot.