Friday, December 14, 2012

Molasses Raisin Almond Balls (Sugar Plums)

Hey All,

I made this variation of sugar plums (the kind that dance in  your head) last night in about 5 minutes and they were gone almost as quickly (by myself). Neil took a half bite and well, he didn't appreciate them. I am a bit of a sucker for molasses, which seems to be something people either love or hate. I got this recipe from Vegan Crunk ( (no i'm not vegan, nor do I intend to be) but I like to dabble. There are lots of varations of this recipe, as sugar plums are a general term. These kind of remind me of Larabars, the energy bar made from dates + spices + some kind of nut + whatever chocolate/peanut butter/flavor combo etc it's labeled as. I'm not really a date fan when they're on their own and I'm also not a fan of paying for energy bars when I can make them in tasty ball form. The next version of these that I'm going to make is with oats pulverized to a powder, but for this version my MIL gave me some almond meal to use. Thus I didn't put everything in a food processor, I just mashed with my hands. If you're going to go that route (so you don't have to clean your food processor), chop up the raisins first.

Also of note, the original recipe calls for Blackstrap Molasses, which is much more bitter and since I only had regular molasses on hand, that is what I used.

Raisin Almond Molasses Balls
makes about 15-18 balls
raw, vegan, gluten free, soy free

1 1/4 cup raw almonds
generous pinch of sea salt
2/3 cup raisins
4 tbsp molasses
1 tsp cinnamon
dash cloves/dash allspice ( I skipped these)

Grind almonds & sea salt into food processor until finely ground. Add raisins, molasses and spices. Grind until mixture sticks together and is uniform looking. Shape into balls (or press into a baking pan). Eat.

Store in the fridge, they should last a week....*should if you don't share

Monday, July 30, 2012

Pickle Soup

Neil and I love dill pickles and we go through them pretty quickly. One day I was mulling over what a waste it is to throw out that pickle juice. So I googled things to make with pickle juice and let me tell you, there are a LOT of pickle juice advocate out there. I made this soup tonight and it was AMAZING. I bet this would be something fun to serve to kids if they like pickles. It's just a fun word to without further silliness:

Pickle Soup (zupa ogorkowa)
 I made a half recipe and used an immersion blender to make it smooth, but still thick because I like thick soups.

6 cups stock
1 medium carrot, diced very small
1 big potato, diced smallish
1/2 onion minced
6 big pickled cucumbers, grated or finely chopped.
pickle juice from jar - i used 3/4 cup for a half recipe
2 tsp sour cream and more to serve.
2 tsp little flour
  1. Heat the stock up and add the potato and carrot. Leave it to simmer while you saute the onion slowly in some butter.
  2. When the potatoes are almost tender add the onion and pickles to the pot. Continue to simmer until the potatoes are soft
  3. Mix two teaspoons of flour with the sour cream then slowly stir into the soup to thicken it.-if you don't have sour cream, equal amounts of flour & milk will work just fine. Apparently using sour cream with the flour is a Polish thing? I've always only ever used cornstarch and water to thicken.
  4. Taste the soup and add some of the pickle juice to taste - the sour taste should be distinctive but not out of control.
  5. Serve with masses of chopped dill, rye toast and more sour cream

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Apple Carrot Salad

Another gem from Simply in Season

Apple Carrot Salad
serves 4-6 sides

1/4 cup lemon or lime juice (i used both)
2 tbsp orange juice
1 tbsp honey
Mix together in large bowl until honey is dissolved

2 cups of apple (about 1 and 3/4 medium size apples)
Grate directly into the juice mixture to keep apples from browing

2 cups carrots, shredded (about 2 big, full length carrots - not minis)
1 tbsp fresh mint (omitted)
1/8 tsp salt or to taste (omitted)
1/4 cup raisins (didn't have, so thus omitted)
Toss with apples and serve immediately

I used two different kinds of apples. Also be aware that the apples and carrots release water so you'll end up with a lot of residual liquid in the bowl, which I'm sure would be delicious say, mixed into a smoothie the next day.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Curried Potato & Pea Soup

I found this recipe in a magazine at my MIL's house. We made it last night and it was delicious! I had it for breakfast and it was even better! I only made a few minor adjustments that I note:

Curried Potato & Pea Soup
makes 4 cups - 40 mins

Sweat in 2 Tbps unsalted butter
-8 oz yellow potatoes, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1/2 cup onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced

Stir in
- 1 Tbsp all purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp curry powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- pinch of red pepper flakes

- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 tsp sugar
-1 cup frozen peas
- Juice of 1/2 a lime (or two small)
- salt to taste

My changes were that we added extra potatoes and BEFORE adding the peas, we took the immersion blender and made the soup a bit chunkier. We didn't blend all of it, but enough to give it more body. Add the peas after that if you don't want them blended. Enjoy!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Turkey Pita

I had lunch with a friend the other day and she made the most delicious sandwiches. I rarely make myself a sandwich for lunch - lack of creativity, ingredients, time, etc...but this was so good it made me want to start trying.

It would be perfect for Thanksgiving leftovers, too.

Shaved turkey (or leftover roasted turkey)
Bean/alfalfa sprouts
Red grapes, halved
Feta cheese
Greek salad dressing

So, so yummy!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Fall Soup

I got this recipe from my mother in law.  I haven't actually made it myself yet, but I've tasted it as she graciously made us a big pot of it this week.  The thing about this soup is that, in addition to being tasty, it is super filling especially for a soup.  My MIL got this from The Wall Street Journal but I don't see a title for the recipe on my copy.

2 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for finishing
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 t fennel seeds, coarsely ground with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder
7 whole canned San Marzano tomatoes, drained
1 1/2 - 2 lbs butternut squash or pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cubed yields about 5 1/4 cups
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 3/4 c chicken stock
1/2 c Parmesan cheese
2/3 c mascarpone cheese

In a medium pot set over low heat, heat 2 T olive oil with garlic and fennel seeds.  Squeeze tomatoes over the pot to break up the flesh and catch all the juices in the pot.  Cook over low heat stirring often for 8 minutes or until tomatoes begin to turn dark red.  Turn heat to medium-high and stir in squash and potatoes.  Add enough stock to just cover the veggies and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer covered for 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally to make just the veggies are just submerged.  Once veggies are tender, remove from the pot and mash with a potato masher.  Soup should be thick and creamy like risotto.  Ladle into bowls.  Garnish with Parmesan and a few dollops of mascarpone cheese and if desired some additional olive oil.

Monday, October 17, 2011

And One for my Husband


So,while yes I eat differently, I still cook "normal" meals for my family. Although now I make them as healthy as possible. Like with this recipe, I made homemade breadcrumbs with whole wheat bread and things like that. 

When making the menu this week I thought Dan would appreciate little changes to our normal stuff. He loves spaghetti with meat sauce so I serve it a lot but he also loves meatballs so meatballs it is this week! I started with a recipe Mrs. Zak gave me but decided it wasn't what I was looking for this time. When that happens I take to Google and pretty much just took a little something from a few recipes and got this.

Fast & Easy Meatballs
1 lb lean ground beef
1 eggs, beaten
2 slices of whole wheat bread
some Italian seasonings
sea salt - 1/8 tsp-1/4 tsp 

Put the bread in your Cuisinart and pulse until well ground. Put everything else on the list into a bowl and mix well. Form into balls; makes about 12-14. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, turn once and bake another 5. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Collard Greens

I wrote about my diet changes over on my blog so that's why I'm posting all these new recipes. I'd never had collard greens till about two months ago. Lucky for me, I've always loved vegtables so getting to try new stuff like this and others has been fun. The only draw back would be, I have no idea how to cook this stuff. I eat about 40% of it raw (like when I first ate collard greens it was literally me holding a huge leaf in my hand chewing at it while watching my girls). Here's a little something I've try and was good. Oh, I almost forgot, this amazing-for-you-vegetable is dirt cheap. I'm taking $1.29 for a HUGE bunch of HUGE leaves. Can't beat that.

Collard Greens with Nuts and Other Good Stuff

Put about a tbls olive oil in a pan - bring it to medium-high heat
Put whatever kind of nuts you have on hand (walnuts in my case) and saute about a minute. Be careful not to burn - I did this the first time I made these.
Add about 2-3 leaves of chopped collard greens and cook another minute or three. Remove from heat and sprinkle with balsamic vinegar and some dried fruit (raisins and cranberries in my case)

And voila! 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Cornbread Revisited

Here's a new cornbread I made tonight...and the whole family loved it! It's the closes I've ever gotten to making that famous cornbread from my beloved, but not forgotten, Cajun Connection. Does anyone else miss that place?  Here we simple and SO good.

1 cup sorghum or maple syrup (since I have no clue what sorghum syrup is, I used maple)
1 1/4 cup soy milk (or rice milk)
1/4 cup safflower oil
1 1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (or all-purpose)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt

Preheat over to 400 degrees and grease a 9x9 pan (I used a 8x8). Combine syrup, soy milk, and oil in bowl and mix. Add in remaining dry ingredients and mix until well combined.

Pour batter into greased pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Recipe from: The Kind Diet

Monday, October 10, 2011

Burritos: Black Bean and Sweet Potato

How have I not shared this recipe before?  I first made it over three years ago.  And it is yummy!  The original comes from the much-loved book Simply in Season. Does anyone have that book and not love it?  It is fabulous!  Here's my only slightly altered version.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burrito
1/2 onion, diced small and sauteed in 1 T oil
then add
2-3 cups diced sweet potatoes, cooked covered until soft
use water or apple juice as needed to prevent sticking to the pan
1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 t cumin
a generous 1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt (or more as needed)
Heat until warm.  Serve inside warm tortillas.  Also good on top of rice.  Shredded cheddar cheese is a good topping option.