Monday, October 31, 2011

immunity energizer smoothie

I've made a kajillion fruity-green smoothies in my day, but I've had a hankering to just jump in and do some zingy, spicy, and mostly veggie ones.

This one fits the bill, and though the kiddiewinks chose not to indulge, Stephen and I really enjoyed our glasses.

Adapted from a recipe in Green Smoothie Revolution.

You'll need:
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1 avocado
  • juice of one lemon
  • chunk of fresh ginger (you can leave the peel on)
  • one garlic clove
  • 1/4 leek
  • several kale leaves
  • fresh seaweed (I found this at my local international market in the produce section)
  • water, to desired consistency
  • chia seeds (a good deal from the Mexican spice section of my int'l market)
  • ground flax seeds
Do this:



And then don't be surprised at a sudden energy burst. No lie!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

algerian chicken stew and couscous

Comfort? Yeah. Heat? Cayenne, heck yeah. (But not overwhelming. Just enough to tickle your nose but not so much that you have to get out the box of tissues.) Chickpeas, squash, tender fall-off-your-fork chicken, tomatoes, carrots, green beans, onions? You betcha. Yummy spices plus a hint of garlic? For sure. Dished up over your favorite couscous? Mmmm hmmm.

Easy? Yup. Doable in the slow cooker? Uh-huh.

Adapted by moi from Extending the Table: A World Community Cookbook.

You'll need:
  • 3 c. (750 ml) chicken broth, or 3 c. water plus 2 or 3 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1 lb. (5oo g) chopped chicken (I like boneless organic thighs)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 c. fresh or frozen green beans, chopped (I've used okra instead and that's great, too)
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 t. (5 ml) ground cumin
  • 1 t. (5 ml) dried basil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 t. (2 ml) dried parsley, or some fresh
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 small or 1 medium zucchini, sliced (or as I did last time, one yellow pattypan squash)
  • 16-oz. (500 g) can chickpeas, drained
  • 1/4 t. (1 ml) ground red pepper (I use a bit less)
Do this:

You can cook it all together in a pot on the stove, or throw it in your slow cooker/crock pot and leave it on low all day.

For the couscous, just boil 1 1/4 c. water on the stove, stir in 1 c. couscous, turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let it sit for a couple of minutes till fluffy.

Ladle the stew over your couscous in a bowl, grab a seat, light some candles, wield your spoon, and contentedly rub your tum after.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

pumpkin gingerbread bundt cake

Shown here with British custard (made from Bird's custard powder) and pieces of crystallized ginger--I couldn't resist.

Anyway, this is a simple gingerbread recipe that I embellished by substituting brown sugar for white and pureed pumpkin for half of the molasses. I had some great kiddiewink helpers for making it and eating it, and the cake turned out delightfully. I poured the batter into a bundt pan for added fun! Moist and rich...perfect for warm custard, or just dusted with powdered sugar.

Elder Kiddiewink took this photo...

And can you guess who shot this one?

The original gingerbread recipe came from my Grandma's Circle Cookbook. But as you know, I can't fight the urge to fiddle.

You'll need:
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 c. flour (used all-purpose)
  • 1/2 c. pureed pumpkin
  • 1/2 c. molasses
  • 1/4 t. ground cloves
  • 1 t. ginger
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1 c. hot water
Do this:

Grease a 10-inch bundt pan (4 inches deep) and leave it to ruminate by itself for a few minutes. With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy as a bunny. Add the egg (crack it first, honey) and beat it all up some more. Mix those dry ingredients together, then add them, plus the pumpkin and molasses, to the creamed mixture. Mix well and add in the hot water till it's all smooth like a glassy pond. (A dark brown pond that you probably wouldn't want to swim in.) Pour the batter into your prepared and musing bundt pan, then give those beaters to your kids to lick and get all over their countenances.

Bake in a 350 F (180 C) cavernous 1950s oven for approximately 40 minutes and hang out in the kitchen looking at this black walnut tree while you're enjoying the warmth from said oven.

feeling dehydrated

Recently I borrowed a friend's dehydrator...and I love it except for the huge chunk of counter space it requires.

It's easy to use and turns out some delectable dried persimmon and apples (let's not talk about the bananas, OK?)...

Saturday, October 15, 2011

salsa picante

Don't kick me, or feel sorry for me, but no, I'd never made my own salsa before (as far as I can remember, anyway). And I've made it twice in the last week.

So, so stinkin' easy, and so much cheaper and fresher than the storebought stuff, even the "fresh" tubs of it in the refrigerated section of your local supermarket.

Loosely based on a Mexican recipe from Extending the Table: A World Community Cookbook (Amazon tells me I purchased my copy on October 17, 2002, so it's appropriate that I would be posting a recipe from it almost exactly nine years later).

You'll need:
  • fresh tomatoes - I use organic multicolored heirloom variety cherry tomatoes
  • splosh of Sriracha hot sauce
  • clove or three of garlic
  • handful of fresh cilantro (coriander) leaves
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh lime juice
  • plop of olive oil
  • 1/4 onion
Do this:

Throw it all in a food processor and pulse to desired chunkiness. Doesn't take long.

This is so yummy on pulled pork quesadillas, Mexican burgers, or mixed into your favorite guacamole. Whatever your little pea-pickin' heart desires.

Friday, October 14, 2011

pumpkin kale banana peanut-butter muffins

Think I could add any more ingredients than this, or make a longer title? (I'm working on it...) Anyway, these were good - really good!

Heavily adapted from a regular banana quickbread recipe from Cooking in Circles, a cookbook put together by women from my grandma's church, and given to me for Christmas in 1997. I first started cooking from that baby in college...don't start adding or subtracting years, please.

The original banana bread recipe was from Edna (Mrs. Charles) Limpus. (Would she like my pumpkin, kale, and peanut-butter chip additions? Not sure about that one.)

This made 8 regular-sized muffins and 24 mini ones, for the mini kiddies (though they ate 4 or 5 at a time, so I could've just stuck with my regular muffin pans!).

You'll need:
  • 1/2 c. butter, margarine, or shortening, softened (butter gives the best flavor!)
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 c. sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. sifted whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 c. sugar (I used organic cane sugar)
  • 1/4 c. molasses
  • 3 bananas
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 c. pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 c. kale puree (I just grabbed a bunch of multicolor kale, the kind with purple stems, cut the stems off and threw in my compost bucket, cooked the leaves in a little bit of water, and then pureed in my food processor--it made about 1 c. of puree so I froze the other half for future projects.)
  • 5 oz. peanut-butter chips, or approximately half a package (Read the package and make sure there's no high fructose corn syrup, please--let's not even talk about how that stuff is metabolized.)
Do this:

Preheat your oven to 350 F/180 C. Cream the butter, sugar, molasses, and pumpkin in one bowl, then add the salt and eggs. In a separate bowl, mash the banana with the baking soda. (Yes, you will create a load of dirty dishes for these muffinistas.) In (yet) another bowl, mix the flours and baking powder, then add to the creamed mixture. Add in the kale, then the peanut-butter chips.

Spoon into a greased bread pan or muffin tins. The bread should take about an hour but the baby muffins only took approximately 10 minutes, with the regular muffins taking another 5 minutes or so.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

perfect hard-boiled eggs

It seems that I've been on a quest to make easily peel-able hard-boiled eggs for years.

I've tried everything from putting a matchstick in the water to plunging the little eggy fellows into ice water as soon as they've cooked.

Anyway, my system is now down pat: I use my handy-dandy egg timer (bought on sale in a Japanese department store for 100 yen), add vinegar and salt to the water, rinse the eggs as soon as they reach the hard mark, leave them in tap water about ten minutes or so, tap them on the wider end where there's an air bubble (got that idea from Debbie Macomber in her Cedar Cove Cookbook), and peel them under a trickle of water.

Et voilĂ !

It's a good thing everything's ironed out kiddiewinks are on a total and complete egg kick.

Monday, October 3, 2011

free loot and sweet-potato bacon waffles

In the space of about one week I won this great canvas lunch bag (I use it every day!) and coupons for the other things from Nature Moms Blog...

And also this super-duper West Bend rotating waffle iron from Burp! I'd been wanting one and the beans are enjoying it as well. Our first batch was yummy mixed berry waffles made with vanilla almond milk (those disappeared rather quickly!)...

And then this afternoon I made up a new recipe that we all adored: ten-grain waffle mix, eggs, rice milk, sweet-potato puree, grated extra sharp cheddar cheese, olive oil, flaxseed meal, chives from the garden (see pic below), and BACON! I fried the bacon first and crumbled it up into the batter--oh, boy! (I buy luscious no-nitrate, no-nitrite, uncured applewood-smoked bacon from my butcher down the road, and it's out of this world.)

Homemade applesauce to go with...

Our taste buds were chivin'...

You know, I don't usually win stuff and so that week was a fun surprise--the hubster even asked me why I didn't play the lottery.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

spinach quinoa muffins

Danke for the recipe, Red Tricycle! My suggestion for these babies: Double the ingredients, bake them, and freeze half. After you get through all the work of cooking the quinoa, pureeing the spinach, mashing the banana, measuring everything out, and washing all those dishes, you'll thank me.

Changes I made: I added some molasses, used lemon and lime peel, and topped them with pecans instead of the nuts they recommended.

These kinda reminded me of one of our green smoothies, in muffin form.

The verdict from the kiddiewinks? Well, the goodies are all gone.

That about sums it up.