Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Funniest Baby Shower Ever

No, I didn't attend the shower, but I do have baby showers on the brain (my friends are having triplets...)

I found my way to this post this morning, and I just thought it was too funny not to share. Great pics. My kind of humor.

Coming up tonight: recipe for zucchini fritters that I made for dinner last night.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Smoothies, Hummus, Vegan Chili, and Coconut Mango Muffins

Lots of good food today. No new recipes yesterday because we finished up the last of the leftovers for dinner. Not a lot of new recipes these days. My hubby has been traveling a LOT this year (8 trips), which means not a lot of time to try new things PLUS only 1.5 of us left at home to eat all the food, so leftovers last longer.

So let's start with the smoothie - been using my new blender every day this week. Today's was spinach, ice, strawberries, banana, peach, yogurt, milk, and flax. Yum!

Next, I made vegan chili. I actually made this yesterday, using a combo of the pressure cooker and slow cooker. I am working my way through a 10-lb bag of pinto beans. I generally buy (in addition to the pintos) 2 kinds of beans/lentils for the month. This next month (July) will be pintos, green lentils, and chickpeas. I cooked up 1.5 lbs of dried beans (3 cups), and used 2/3 of those in the soup. Froze the rest for later, gonna make veggie burgers. This time, Bittman's recipe.

Then I tossed whatever I had in the crockpot, cooked on high, and stuck it in the fridge. I have taken to not salting my food while cooking, and doing it only on eating.

Vegan Chili:
4-5 c. cooked pinto beans, and some of the cooking liquid: 0.67
1/2 lb frozen corn: 0.60
14-oz can diced tomatoes: 0.56
1/2 can tomato paste: 0.16
2 carrots, diced: 0.20
1 onion, diced: 0.15
1 red bell pepper, diced: 1.25
chili powder, garlic powder, cumin to taste: 0.20
1/2 small chipotle "cube" (puree a can of chipotle in adobo, freeze in ice cube trays): 0.10
3 T diced roasted poblanos (from last summer): 0.20
3 small summer squash, diced: 1.00
oregano and one bay leaf: 0.10
2 old corn tortillas from the freezer (for thickening): free
Makes 12 c. for $5.99, or 0.50 per cup

Soak pinto beans. Drain and rinse. Cook pinto beans. Put everything in crockpot. Cook on high 4 hrs or low 8-10. Top with stale tortilla chips, which really aren't good for anything else.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

3/4 c. dried garbanzo beans: 0.48
3 T. tahini: 0.61
2 T olive oil: 0.22
1 clove garlic: 0.05
1 roasted bell pepper: 0.57
juice of 1 lemon: 0.25
1/2 tsp cumin: 0.05
1/2 tsp salt: 0.02
pinch cayenne: 0.01
Total: $2.26 for 2 cups, or 0.28 for 1/4 cup serving

Soak the chickpeas for 6 hours. Drain, rinse. Cover with water and cook (I used pressure cooker for 15 min). Cool.

Puree chickpeas, roasted pepper, garlic, spices, lemon juice, and a couple of Tbsp of water in the food processor. Pulse for about 15 sec. Scrape down sides and puree for 1 min.

Mix tahini and olive oil in a small bowl.

Start processor again. While running, pour in tahini and olive oil mixture. Puree one more minute, scraping sides again if necessary. We ate this with carrot sticks.
Toddler's Lunch:
Salad with fresh figs, toasted walnuts, gorgonzola, and balsamic vinaigrette.
The secret to keeping it healthy is using a small amt (1 Tbsp) of cheese and nuts, and using only about 1 tsp to 2 tsp of oil for the whole bowl of salad, which serves 2.

Coconut Mango Muffins (Vegan)

No recipe here, just a picture. These are delicious, and I followed the recipe to a T. It's from my new birthday present Vegan Brunch (a big thank you to my mother-in-law!)

These came out at $0.27 per muffin (recipe made 12), and used dried mango and dried toasted coconut.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me...

I'm officially "tippin' 40". I celebrated by running a 5k last night and hit a personal best for a 5k, 27:48, just under a 9 min mile. One minute faster than the 5k I ran 3 weeks ago.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

My Fancy New Blender

I got a new Blendtec Total Blender for my birthday. I had been coveting a new blender like this one or the Vita-Mix for a few years. No, it's not my birthday yet (this week though...gulp...), but since my spouse has yet ANOTHER business trip this week, I decided to break it out early.

I made a green smoothie with fresh spinach, banana, juice, peanut butter, and frozen berries. It was delicious. My spouse has asked for some tomorrow, but he really wants me to leave out the peanut butter. So I probably will. Tomorrow will include fresh peaches.

Unlike the regular blender, the spinach is ground up so small that you can't even see it. Can't taste it. Can kinda smell it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wine is Evil

Well, it's not exactly evil. Most people who know me know I love wine. Not in a "let's get trashed" kind of way, but in a "glass a day" kind of way.

I've been reading a log of (younger) healthy bloggers, and they seem to like wine too. And as younger people, a lot of their meals out seem to come with 2-3 glasses, and/or maybe a cocktail. Boy, I can't do that in my late 30's. Probably shouldn't have done it in my 20's. Not good for the waistline, plus there's that breast cancer risk.

The other day, I skipped my nightly glass. I had a meeting after work (for fun). Boy, I had so much energy! Usually, at the end of a long work day, plus playing with my toddler, cooking dinner, doing dishes, 7:30 or 8 pm comes around and I feel like passing out. Barely keep my eyes open.

So, I did a little experiment this week. No wine. You know? I do, really, have much more energy at night. I still get tired, but not the overwhelming need for a nap.

So here's my new, practical, leaf (and frugal too!) Wine on Fri/Sat/Sun only. Still only a glass.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Shithi's Chickpeas

I've had a little bit of a fascination with Chana Masala, despite the fact that I haven't ever cooked it, and only had it in a restaurant just once. I have a friend named Jeff that I know from walking (Breast Cancer 3-day), and we'd while away the 8, 12, 16 miles talking food. And he got me thinking about chana masala, and how he'd tried different recipes, and hadn't perfected it.

So I started collecting recipes, without actually trying any of them. Then I went to a birthday party for a 3-year old in Feb (my ex-boss's daughter). My former boss is from Sweden, but his wife is from Bangladesh. They served this WONDERFUL chickpea dish, as well as a delicious salad (which I guess was simply cucumbers, tomatoes, olive oil, white vinegar, salt, pepper, and dill).

I begged for the recipe. Shithi being as busy as me...took awhile for her to send it to me, and me even longer to try it. It's a definite keeper.

Shithi's Chickpeas
1 cup dried chickpeas, cooked. Or one can chickpeas, drained. 0.65
1 T canola oil: 0.04
1/2 tsp cumin seeds: 0.06
1 onion, diced: 0.20
1/2 small can tomato paste: 0.17
1.5 cups chicken broth (I used water and vegetarian broth mix)
1/2 tsp curry powder: 0.06
Total: $1.18 for about 3 cups, or 0.39 per cup.

With 1 tsp butter: adds about 0.02 total, or $0.40 per cup

Cook the cumin seeds in the oil until they turn brown, but not black. Add the onion and saute until translucent. Add remaining ingredients, and cook, stirring, until thickened and chickpeas are soft. This is one of those things that you can ignore simmering and stir occasionally.

She also recommended adding a little butter (or ghee) at the end for flavor, which I did. It was good, but not sure if it helped that much. Maybe next time I'll leave it out.

I served with crusty bread and ramen slaw. I didn't have pita or naan, which would have been better.

Next time I'm making a double batch.

Tabouli and Creamy Vegetable Chowder

Can it really be called tabouli if it's missing lemon and mint? I'm not sure. I love this recipe, but I am so mostly beyond buying something just because a recipe calls for it. I realized AFTER the shopping trip that I didn't have lemons. And it's silly...hundreds of lemon trees on yards around my town, but my neighbor's is empty. Hmmph.

I love fresh summer garden tabouli. All our garden produced thus far is the parsley. Sadly the tomatoes and cukes are just now flowering, and the onions are producing very...slowly... So this is made from produce-store ingredients. Still good and child still likes it.

2 small tomatoes, seeded and diced: 1.33
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced: 0.69
1 c. bulgur: 0.50
handful of parsley: free
2 T. olive oil: 0.22
S&P to taste, plus 1/2 tsp cumin: 0.10
2 cloves garlic, minced: 0.10
1/3 c. diced red onion: 0.07
1/4 c. cider vinegar
1 c. water
Total: $3.51 for about 4 cups, or about $0.88/cup (it was a side dish, I ate 1/2 cup)

Put bulgur in heat-proof bowl. Boil water. Add to bulgur and cover, let sit 20 min.

In another bowl, add chopped veggies and garlic. Mix dressing ingredients (vinegar, oil, s&p&cumin, juice of 1 lemon if you've got it). Add bulgur once it's absorbed the water and cooled a bit. Toss with dressing. Top with feta if you like it (I did).

Creamy Vegetable Clam Chowder

So, had this can of clams on sale for months because I was going to make clam chowder. Decided to improvise today. It was good...but didn't taste very clam-my.

1 T. olive oil: 0.11
1 onion, diced: 0.20
1 potato, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch chunks: 0.50
3 crookneck yellow squash, shredded: 0.50
1 T. flour: 0.01
1 c. vegetable broth: 0.10
2 c milk (I used from dried): 0.25
pinch dried thyme: 0.02
small handful fresh basil, sliced: 0.05
fresh parsley: free
pinch fresh or dried savory: 0.03
pepper to taste (I left out salt on purpose)
1 can cream corn: 0.50
1 can clams: 1.50
Total: $3.77 for 7.5 cups, or 0.50 per cup

Heat olive oil in large saucepan. Saute onion until soft. Add flour and cook gently, stirring, until golden. Add water slowly, stirring constantly to avoid clumping. Add potatoes, squash, herbs, and milk. Cook gently about 25 mins, until potatoes are soft.

At this point, I used my immersion blender to smooth out the soup.

Add corn and clams, cook 10 more min. Add parsley and basil. Serve.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Stir-fried kohlrabi

This is inspired by World Vegetarian by Madhur Jaffrey. Love this cookbook. As usual, I adjusted it based on what I had.

This week at the CSA pickup, I saw a trade basket FILLED with kohlrabi. Usually it's leeks, radishes, or fennel. But I guess there wasn't any of that this week. I couldn't conceive of it - I love kohlrabi. Thought about swapping something to get extra...but I loved everything.

Then I realized...this week was the first week of the summer season. Soo...a bunch of newbies to the farm, who look at kohlrabi and say "huh?"

Now I've steamed it, sauteed it, stir-fried it, put it in potato salad, eaten it raw...this was the best recipe ever. No pic, because we ate it all up, all three of us.

Stir-fried kohlrabi
2 medium kohlrabi, about 10 oz: $1.50 (just guessing, I've never actually paid for the stuff direct)
1 T. canola oil: 0.04
1 clove garlic, pressed: 0.05
1 tsp sesame oil (dark): 0.10
1 tsp soy sauce: 0.05
salt and pepper to taste
pinch red pepper flakes
Total: $1.74 for three servings (smallish ones at that).

Cut the ends off the kohlrabi and peel. Slice into 1/8 to 1/4 inch slices. Stack and cut again into 1/8th to 1/4 inch matchsticks. Set aside.

Heat canola oil in nonstick skillet on medium high. Add red pepper flake and stir one minute. Add garlic and saute 10 sec, add kohlrabi and stir immediately. Add S&P, reduce heat to medium low, and cook, stirring regularly, for 10 min.

Add sesame oil and soy sauce and stir to combine.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Fettucini Primavera

I doubt this is traditional. But it's pasta with vegetables. I used fettucini, because that's what I had. I thought it was spaghetti until I looked at the package.

Fettucini Primavera
3/4 lb. whole wheat fettucini: 0.97
3/4 lb. fresh green beans: 2.25 (at the farm they are listed at $5 a lb. Farm mkt is $3)
1 zucchini from my coworker's garden: free
2 small crookneck yellow squash: 0.25
3 cloves garlic: 0.15
1 T. olive oil: 0.11
2 oz fresh spinach: 0.38
2 cubes pesto from freezer: 0.30 (estimate... one is from this year, one is from '07)
2 T. parmesan: 0.37
2 oz cream cheese: 0.25
5 kalamata olives: 0.22
4 sun-dried tomatoes in oil: 0.17
Total: $5.42 for about 10 cups, or 0.54 per cup

Wash and slice crookneck squash. Place in roasting pan with olive oil, S&P to taste, and unpeeled garlic cloves. Roast at 400F for 20-30 mins, turning once. Let cool (so you can handle the garlic).

In food processor, puree spinach, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, parmesan, and pesto. Add cream cheese and puree until smooth.

Slice the zucchini into thin ribbons. I used my v-slicer, ribbons ended up looking about the size of spaghetti. Raw foodists often use zucchini as "spaghetti".

Wash and trim green beans. Keep whole.

Cook pasta according to package directions. 3 minutes before it's supposed to be done, add green beans, return to a boil, and cook three min.

Drain beans and pasta. Return to pot with zucchini, roasted squash, and pesto sauce. Heat gently and stir to blend/warm through.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Kinda Cuban Black Beans

I had a bag of black beans. Decided to cook them in the pressure cooker. Found a couple of recipes, combined them and adjusted them based on what I had on hand. Tasty! Ate just a bit last night for dinner, rest for lunches this week.

Kinda Cuban Black Beans - pressure cooker
2 c. dry black beans (slightly less than a pound): 1.00
1 onion, diced: 0.15
1 bell pepper, diced: 0.90 (used yellow, toddler picked it out at the farmer's market and ate a bite on the way home)
3 cloves garlic: 0.15
couple Tbsp of diced hot pepper (I used stuff I froze last summer): 0.25
2.5 c. water (in addition to soaking water)
1 tsp cumin: 0.05
1 tsp oregano: 0.05
1 tsp black pepper
2 T. sugar: 0.05
2 T. vinegar: 0.03
1 tsp salt
1 bay leaf: 0.02
1T. canola oil: 0.03
lime zest (had some in the freezer)
Total: $2.68 for 6 cups, or $0.33 for a 3/4 cup serving.

Soak the beans 6-8 hours. Drain and rinse.

Saute onion in oil in crockpot until soft. Add garlic, bell pepper, hot pepper, cumin, oregano, black pepper and saute one minute more. Add water.

Bring to boiling. Add black beans and bay leaf. Cover, bring to high heat. When the cooker reaches pressure, reduce heat to keep pressure level. Cook at high pressure 10 min. Remove from heat, let pressure reduce naturally. Remove lid carefully.

Add salt, sugar, vinegar, and lime zest. Yum!

This took all of 15 active minutes of cooking time. My kinda recipe.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tahini dressing and quesadillas

Two different recipes today.

I've been kind of craving a tahini dressing, kinda like Annie's Goddess dressing, on my salad. Today was the day to attempt a type of dressing, based on what I had in the fridge. It was pretty good, but I need to dilute it to make it more pourable, probably with a little bit of water.

Tahini dressing
1/2 c. yogurt: 0.35
1/3 c. tahini: 1.12
1 clove garlic, pressed: 0.06
juice of 1 lemon:0.25
1 tsp balsamic vinegar: 0.03
1 tsp honey: 0.05
salt, pepper
pinch cumin and paprika
2T olive oil: 0.22
Total: $1.08 for about a cup. Would probably make 1.25 cups if you thin it out.

Veggie quesadillas

tonight, I used frozen mixed Mexican style veggies (corn, bell pepper, cauliflower, broccoli), steamed and chopped.

4 flour tortillas: 0.44
3 oz shredded cheddar: 0.37
1/4 of a 1-lb package of frozen veg: 0.25
Total: $1.06 for 4 quesadillas, or 16 wedges. $0.27 per quesadilla

Heat skillet to medium. Put veggies on 1/2. Top with cheese. Fold over top. Cook on one side until browned lightly and cheese is melted. Flip.

Served these with sour cream, salsa, guacamole.

Nites Moves 5k

My friend Yejin and I did our 2nd Nite Moves 5k. It's on Weds nights all summer long, and we signed up for a "5-nite series" which is every 3 weeks.

Looks like week 2 there were 6 more particpants, and I ran faster than 1 of them. Still in the middle of the pack, but moving up because they are slotting people in 5 year age groups. So I'm not being compared to the 30-year olds anymore.

Got passed by two guys pushing strollers, but did pass one of them again on the downhill.

My friend improved her time by 1 min 30 sec!