Tuesday, December 25, 2012

christmas lunch menu

1. boneless turkey breast draped with bacon and herbs
2. pumpkin mashed potatoes
3. roasted parsnips
4. roasted brussels sprouts with lemon
5. carrot-raisin-pineapple salad
6. homemade cranberry-apple-ginger sauce with a hint of orange
7. choice of sparkly apple-pomegranate, apple-grape, or apple-cranberry juice
8. chocolate-coconut cookies (gluten free)
9. Christmas pudding with brandy butter

Then...a nap? With kiddiewinks in the house? No way that's happening!

Monday, December 24, 2012

rosemary red cabbage, apples, and onions

We have little eggies with ham almost every breakfast and I'm always on the lookout for fun and savory sides to go with. My garlicky/vinegary favorite is kimchi (nobody's complained about my breath yet!), but I alternate with slices of avocado and/or tomato, or with just zigzags of ketchup on top.

Practical Paleo is my main inspiration for meals lately and this little sweet-and-sour number came from its luscious pages. (Even the kiddiewinks, especially the elder one, sit around and read it to find recipes for me to make. It's that yummy.)

This would be lovely accompanying your holiday meal as well.

You'll need:
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced (I chop mine in half and then cut it into half-moons)
  • 1 T. coconut oil
  • 1/2 head red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 2-4 T. apple cider vinegar (I use 3)
  • chopped fresh rosemary to taste
  • salt to taste
  • 1 green apple, cut into matchsticks (I leave the peel on when I buy organic)
Do this:

In a large pot on the stove, saute the onion in the oil till soft, then add your reddy-purpley cabbage and cook it till it begins to soften as well.

Add the vinegar, rosemary, and salt and allow it all to soften together and the flavors to meld beautifully and fragrantly.

Add the apples and cook them until tender.

I'm a vinegar kid so this hits the spot every time, and the addition of rosemary is unique to me. I've made a variation of this for years, but with the rosemary it really makes me happy. And my eggs get goose bumps.

Monday, December 17, 2012

christmas puddings 2012

 fruit soaking in brandy, ready to be pudding-ed

Flashback to 2010 when my mother-in-law was here from the UK and helped me make her mother's Christmas puddings...

Flash forward to my 2012 helper (above!)...

And my husband helped stir because once you put in the breadcrumbs, suet, eggs, sugar, candied citrus peel, currants, golden raisins, raisins, spices, and brandy, it is stiff stuff!

Well, the puddings are made and brewing in the basement till Christmas and we already have two sets of plans for those puppies.

And now I'm being summoned for a game of pirate chutes and ladders, so me pretties, I must depart.

Monday, October 1, 2012

mint lamburgers

I could've eaten ten of these juicy little gems, and when they got heavily involved with a Greek salad, it was enough to put my taste buds over the burger moon. Even the kiddiewinks were asking me if we had more lamburgers today. Sadly, we did not, but there will most definitely be a next time for this meal.

The recipe hails from The Food Lovers Kitchen and I'll be thanking them for quite some time.

You'll need:
  • 1 lb. ground lamb
  • 2 T. mint leaves, minced (fortunately I have mint in our back garden so it's really fresh)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper (I didn't measure these)
(They also called for a minced shallot, but I didn't have that on hand. Would be nice, methinks.)

Do this:

Grab yourself a big mixing bowl and chuck all the ingredients right in. Use one hand to dig in and mix and the other hand to spin the bowl round and round, like a child trying to make himself dizzy on purpose. Pat into burgers and cook them in a cast iron skillet with some olive oil and you'll have the juiciest, tastiest minty-garlicky mouthfuls you could ever imagine.

For the salad, I just tossed together lettuce, chopped tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped cucumbers, and roughly chopped black olives. I used an Everyday Food Greek salad recipe for the dressing, which is basically equal parts olive oil and fresh lemon juice, with salt and pepper thrown in.

A tad obnoxiously, I must end with a quote from Wool Gathering: A Sheep Family Reunion that my son reminded me of this evening: "Good-baaaaaa." Good-baaaaaaa, little lamburgers. You made our tummies happy.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

sweet-and-salty banana snackie

My new favorite munchies: organic banana slices, salted almond butter, and organic and fair trade roasted cacao nibs from Theo (down the road from us).

Sweet, salty, and crunchy with a slight coffee-smoky flavor from the nibs. Bring it on. I shared today, but oh, so reluctantly.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

let them eat broccoli!

The beanie-kids surprised the socks off me the other day by trying and devouring broccoli!

I just use a really simple method: Roast in olive oil in the oven, then top with balsamic vinegar and kosher salt.

Just to test that it wasn't a fluke, I bought more and served it the same way tonight--and it worked again.

It only took six years.

Friday, July 27, 2012

salmon with blackcurrant-ginger sauce

Still using the blackcurrants we picked the other day, but sadly, we're running low after a week and I'm hankering to go pick more. I doubt we'll drive an hour away again to do that, but it's a nice thought, anyway. We had such a lovely day and it's a sweet memory for me.

I got some Alaskan wild-caught salmon from our local butcher the other day and as my mind is always working overtime in the food department, I threw together a sweet-spicy blackcurrant puree to bless the fish (and our tummies).

You'll need:
  • about 1 cup fresh blackcurrants
  • a splash of real maple syrup
  • about 1.5 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • dash each of salt and pepper
  • water
  • drizzle of balsamic vinegar
Do this:

To a blender, add the fruit, syrup, ginger, spices, and enough water to make a puree. Blend on the "sauce" setting, if you have one, till smooth.

Add the puree to a small saucepan and warm on low, adding in a drizzle of balsamic vinegar at the end.

On a scale of 1 to 10? 9.824!

chicken bolognese resting on portabella beds

We've cut out wheat and way back on other carbs, so the wee cogs in my noggin are always turning, conjuring up ways to serve sauces and such.

Sunday I put some chicken bolognese in the slow cooker, and after our boat ride on Lake Union, we came back and all I had to do was roast some portabello mushrooms for a few minutes, et voila!

So here's the sauce (very loosely based on a recipe from Extending the Table: A World Community Cookbook):
  • chicken thighs
  • onions, garlic, zucchini
  • basil puree
  • Italian seasoning (rosemary, savory, basil, and marjoram)
  • tomato paste
  • salt
  • sugar (just a wee bit to take away the acidity)
  • pepper
  • bay leaf
  • water
Just saute the onions, garlic, and zucchini in olive oil in a frying pan on the stove, add the chicken, just to brown it a little, then throw all that plus the rest of the ingredients into the slow cooker for the day.

Then when you're ready, roast your mushies in a casserole dish with olive oil and more Italian seasoning on 400 F for 15 minutes or so.

Serve the sauce on the thick, juicy mushrooms with just a tiny sprinkling of parmesan (this is pretty much the extent of our dairy consumption these days, but it's just enough to add a bit of je ne sais quoi).

blackcurrant-kale green smoothie

Blackcurrants and blueberries from our picking haul last weekend...
  • blackcurrants
  • blueberries
  • carrots
  • kale
  • key lime juice
  • fresh mint
  • 2 bananas
  • 2 navel oranges
It all adds up to yum.

Friday, July 20, 2012

mamatouille's restaurant

The kids call our kitchen "Mamatouille's Restaurant" and have the above sign posted outside the door into the kitchen.

And we have our aprons close by, just in case we need to grab them in a jiffy...

gifting my taste buds

If you want to see a few nutters dressed up for a tofu factory tour, click here. I won't claim to have ties to these folks.

Island Spring tofu, made organically on Vashon Island (just a short ferry ride from Seattle), is the best tofu we've ever had, and after living for over eight years in East Asia, that's saying a lot.

I contacted them a year or so ago to tell them how much we love their products, and asked if they give factory tours. They do, but we waited until now to visit because I wanted to make sure the beans would be big enough to appreciate it.

We loved all their samples, including a stupendous jar of their homemade kim chi they gave to me. As you can see from the photo below of the almost-empty jar, I'm enjoying it of a morning with my eggs and Korean-style dried seaweed.

Burp, one of my favorite foodie blogs (they hail from Milwaukee), recently had some giveaways and I happened to win some lover-ly bottles of pickles and ketchup from The Scrumptious Pantry. It's the kind of food I'd drool over online but never purchase because of budget constraints--what a nice gift!

The package came with cranberry catsup, earthy-spiced heirloom tomato catsup, pickled heirloom red beets, and a Wisconsin specialty, pickled heirloom Beaver Dam peppers. (On a side note, I also won an insulated lunch bag with a cow on it from the Wisconsin Dairy Board, via Burp. Ironic, because we really don't do dairy anymore, but it's a useful bag anyway.)

Trying out the cranberry catsup on my eggs (the boys claim it's too spicy). I think hubby and I decided it would be better on meat than eggs (maybe pulled pork?).

A salad with roasted potatoes and walnuts, with a dressing of finely minced Beaver Dam pickles, olive oil, white wine vinegar, basil paste, and roasted garlic paste. Yum.

My light supper tonight: mixed greens, grape tomatoes, those gorgeous pickled heirloom beets, ham, green onions, and walnuts. Dressing: olive oil, red wine vinegar, parsley, finely minced Beaver Dam pickles, basil paste, and roasted garlic paste. I plowed through this in a jif and loved every pickle-y bite.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

lettuce wraps with pulled pork and purple-cabbage pickles

I could eat these all day every day...don't tempt me.

Our local butcher, Better Meat, always has pork shoulders in stock and I tend to make pulled pork in the slow cooker--so much easier than in the oven.

The dry rub is so, so yummy and I got it here, though I cut down the sugar and salt and don't add white pepper. It's peppery enough with the black stuff.

Make sure you marinate the pork overnight in the fridge with the spice rub.

We eat it so many ways--with polenta, or in quesadillas, and my new favorite is in romaine wraps with my purple-cabbage sriracha pickles. Oh, boy. 

You get the fresh verdant cool crunch from the lettuce, the warm, sweet and fragrant pork, plus the sweet and spicy kick from those amazing pickles. Can't beat it with a stick.

rhubarb-cabbage smoothie

This was one luscious puppy!

You'll need:
  • about 1 c. chopped rhubarb (I used rhubarb from my friend's garden that I had frozen)
  • a handful of frozen mixed berries
  • a few squirts of key lime juice
  • a dusting of flaxseed meal
  • 2 bananas
  • 2 navel oranges
  • about 1 c. chopped purple cabbage (why do they call it red?)
  • enough water to make it smooth
Do this:

Blend and drink.

I don't have to tell you to enjoy! You just will. Trust me.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

glut(tons) of rhubarb

Lucky me! A friend has a huge, gorgeous rhubarb plant and she was willing to share...we cut about eight pounds or so (my guesstimate)...

I chopped and chopped...and chopped and chopped...and ended up freezing 27 cups of raw, chopped rhubarb...

I also made two rhubarb crumbles plus a really nice gingery compote (based on this recipe, but I also added 2 tablespoons raw grated ginger--gave it a good kick)...

It's great in green smoothies, too!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

hot-dog hilarity

The beans think this is so, so funny: Put your ketchup, mustard, and pickle relish in the order shown above and you've got yourself a traffic light.

(And don't forget to buy all-natural, chemical-free hot dogs! Your bod will thank you.)

cauliflower and cornmeal pizza crust

Believe it or not, this entire (gorgeously yummy) pizza is completely gluten and dairy free.

Yep, you read that right, folks!

I loosely based it on Eat Drink Smile's cauliflower crust, but made it my own and we will be putting this in our tummies quite often from here on out.

I started with raw cauliflower (and used the stems, too)...then food processed it till grainy (don't process too much or it will turn to mush)...

Then microwave it in a big bowl till soft. You mix it with cornmeal, egg, some Daiya "mozzarella", and spices, flatten it out onto a cookie sheet, and bake.
Pull it out of the oven, top as you like, and broil till bubbly and browny and happy.

We have to section ours because some folks don't like anything except sauce and "cheese", others only like pepperoni, and then the Big Beans (that's hubby and me) like everything. Yes, please.

 Twenty minutes later...

For the crust, you'll need (for a 10 inch X 15 inch rectangular cookie sheet):
  • 2 1/2 c. cooked cauliflower (after processing and microwaving)
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 c. cornmeal
  • 1 c. Daiya mozzarella
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 t. Italian seasoning (rosemary, savory, basil, marjoram, and oregano)
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • olive oil for brushing on just before baking
Do this:

Wash and chop your precious cauliflower (one of my favorite veggies!), then process till grainy and not mushy. Put into a microwave-safe bowl, cover, and microwave 7.5 minutes. Preheat your oven to 450 F, spray a cookie sheet with oil, and add your eggs, cornmeal, mozzarella, garlic, spices, and salt to the cooked cauliflower. Press into the pan and brush with olive oil.

Bake about 15 minutes. Then add sauce...

For the sauce, you'll need (I base it on this recipe):
  • 1 small can tomato paste (4.5 oz.)
  • enough water to make a smooth sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 t. Italian seasonings
  • sugar to taste (I use about 1/2 t.)
  • dash of pepper 
Feeling saucy!

Add the toppings of your choice and some more Daiya mozzarella on top, a sprinkling of Italian seasoning, and it's going to grab you and never let you go.

I had some cooked cauliflower left over (I had a big head) and I froze it. Will let you know when I make my next lovely pizzer (as my grandma calls it)!

sriracha pickles

 Red cabbage pickles and rainbow chard stem pickles.

After I made my rainbow chard smoothie the other day, I had the stems left over and I COULD NOT compost them. They were too pretty and I knew they had a kind of crunchy salty flavor. I thought PICKLES! And sure enough, when I searched for chard stem pickles, I found a recipe. And there I was thinking that I was the only one on earth who had imagined that combo.

The recipe I found is from Bon Appetit and it's called Sriracha Fridge Pickles. I keep sriracha hot sauce on hand, so with vinegar, sugar, and onions, I was good to go. (Didn't have celery seed so used celery salt.)

My lovelies. So bright they're almost iridescent.

I tripled the pickling brine and used some red cabbage I had on hand for a second batch.

You'll need:
  • 1 1/2 c. chopped chard stems (I prefer rainbow for the brightness and happy factor)
  • 1 c. distilled white vinegar
  • 2 c. sugar (I used 1 c. instead and it was a good amount of sweetness for us)
  • 1/2 onion, halved and then thinly sliced
  • 3 T. sriracha (I used 2 T. and that was plenty of heat for our taste buds)
  • 1/2 t. celery seeds (I used 1/2 t. celery salt)
Do this:

Stir the vinegar and sugar together in a bowl, then throw in the celery salt (or seeds), onion, and sriracha. Pour it over your rainbowy stems and let it hibernate in the fridge for a few days (two was fine).

Oooooh, man. This is good stuff. We ate them a few nights ago with tahini-lemon burgers (recipe to come!) and this made me so, so happy. Looking forward to having them again.

I've always been a pickles girl and just can't get enough--my mom said I used to ask her to buy pickles and olives for me when I was a kid and went to the grocery store with her. So there you have it: I've always been a bit odd. Odd, but with good taste buds.

rainbow chard smoothie

1/2 pineapple, 1 Granny Smith apple, 1 banana, key lime juice, water, rainbow chard, sweet baby lettuces. With some apple seeds in the background for the beans to plant later.

greenberry smoothie

3 leaves chard, 2 big leaves kale, 2 bananas, 3 navel oranges, 2 apples, 1 avocado, key lime juice, frozen blueberries. Blend. Yum.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

breakfast of champions

Energy on a plate! Scrambled eggs with roasted red peppers, diced turkey breast, spinach, and tomatoes, with avocado on top. Super yum with a cuppa tea for breakie.


One of my bloggin' heroes: The Pioneer Woman. I got to see her at Third Place Books recently with some friends, and even though we had to stand way in the back and my camera zoom doesn't do her justice, we had a great time laughing. The woman is a hoot and a holler!

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Our munchies bag today included bananas, cashews, 100% fruit leather, and Korean dried seaweed. (I'm also hankering to make peanut butter balls again, but with almond butter instead. Also, none of the optional dry milk powder, but adding in sunflower seeds instead.)

What do you take along on outings? I'm nosy.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

cheesy krabby appetizers

We're not doing much wheat or dairy lately, but when we go out, I'm not religious about it. Plus, we were sharing this with quite a few other folks and not downing it all ourselves.

Recently we had a Japanese homestay student staying with us and the leaving party for her group was potluck. Luckily I have a quick and easy appetizer to pull out of my hat! I got it from a 2001 or 2002 Taste of Home magazine that I had a year's subscription to, and this is one recipe from that year that I've kept and adapted (I found the original recipe online, too, if you're interested). It's basically wheat tortillas rolled up with cream cheese, cheddar cheese, krab, and baked. Of course I add my own flair!

You'll need:
  • 1 package tortillas (I think this pack had 10 medium-sized ones)
  • grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 block cream cheese
  • krab, chopped
  • green onions, chopped
  • black olives, chopped
  • cilantro, chopped
  • salsa for dipping

Do this:

Mix the cheddar, cream cheese, krab, onions, black olives, and cilantro in a bowl. Spread a bit on each tortilla and roll up. Place them next to each other on a cookie sheet, bake at 350 for 12 minutes or so (until melted in the middle and a bit crispy on the outside), let cool a few minutes, then chop into rounds. Serve with salsa and if you're so inclined, do the salsa.

purple "green" smoothie

I make green smoothies every day and we have them with our lunch. I guess they really are green sometimes but mostly end up being a bright shade of purple because we all love berries. A recent favorite:
  • big bunch of organic spring mix greens
  • one organic avocado
  • key lime juice
  • 2 organic Granny Smith apples, cored but unpeeled
  • 2 organic bananas
  • frozen unsweetened cranberries
  • mixed frozen berries: raspberries, blueberries, blackberries
  • a bit of water
  • fresh cilantro leaves
The cranberries and key lime juice add such a wonderful tang and I've repeated this one a couple of times already.

Friday, March 16, 2012

turkey-bacon fried rice and quinoa

It all started with this lovely sprouted rice and quinoa blend (first heard about it from college friend Jen at her blog, Gluten-Free Gluttons, and then saw at Costco and had to have)...

The brainstorming set in and I sauteed a chopped onion and two sliced garlic cloves in quite a bit of olive oil...

I had cooked one cup of the rice and quinoa blend and then added that to the cast iron skillet, then cracked in two eggs and stirred till cooked. We had two strips of leftover cooked bacon that I crumbled in along with two thick slices of roasted turkey breast I had defrosted.

With a sprinkling of seasoned salt, we were ready to dive in.

Don't forget your greens for the side: mixed lettuces, cilantro leaves, cucumber, avocado, and black olives.

And the leftover fried rice the next day was great with a few squirts of Worcestershire sauce. Mamatouille's verdict? Mamayummy.

You'll need:

  • 1 cup sprouted brown rice and quinoa blend (cook according to directions, and at some point I'll try it in my rice cooker and let you know how it turns out)
  • generous splashes of organic olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 pieces thickly sliced leftover cooked turkey breast, nitrate and nitrite free, chopped
  • 2 pieces leftover cooked chemical-free uncured bacon, torn into small pieces
  • seasoning salt
  • Worcestershire sauce, if desired (good on leftover fried rice)

Do this:

Saute your onions (if you remember and love Justin Wilson, pronounce them onYONS like I do, please) and garlic in olive oil, adding the onions first until they're soft, then throwing in the garlic a bit later to prevent burning. Add in your cooked rice and quinoa blend, then crack in the eggs and stir it all up. Next come the proteins and seasoned salt, and then bowl it up! (Don't forget your chopsticks.)

This makes enough for two adults and one kiddiewink-bean who had two helpings, plus it made some leftovers for a one-adult lunch the next day.