This morning I needed to stay in the kitchen while the pressure cooker processed our first batch of green beans for the season, so I baked a gluten-free double chocolate banana bread. The bread is easy to make and allowed me to use some of the almond pulp in my freezer from making almond milk and a couple of overripe bananas. An added bonus to this recipe is that it is only about 155 calories per slice and contains very little fat.
Point your browser to http://thetoastedpinenut.com/double-chocolate-banana-bread/ If you are interested in trying the recipe.
Twice a month I take a Friday morning to make bread for my household. This Friday i took advantage of some early spring herbs and made a tabbouleh bread. The bread has a great sent, flavor and makes great sandwiches that are piled high with fresh feta or Farmer’s cheese and vegetables.
2 cup water
1/2 cup bulgar
3 T olive oil
1 T yeast
1 cup warm water (additional)
2 tsp salt
1 bunch flat leaf parsley chopped
6 green onions sliced thinly
Zest 1 lemon
5-6 cloves garlic chopped
6 cups flour (may use white or a white/whole wheat mix)
Cook the bulgar in 2 cups of water and the olive oil. Turn pan off when it comes to a boil and cool until lukewarm.
Dissolve yeast in 1 cup warm water.
Mix parsley, green onions, lemon zest, chopped garlic, salt, egg, flour, bulgar mixture, and yeast mixture well.
Allow dough to rest for fifteen minutes. Add more flour if needed to make a soft dough.The dough should be soft and slightly tacky, but not sticky.
Knead dough for 5 to 10 minutes by hand or by machine, until a smooth ball. Place dough in a greased bowl and allow to rise for one hour or until double. Punch dough down. Rest for 10 minutes. Shape into two loaves and place into greased pans. Let rise for 45 minutes or until double. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
Bread is great served with a olive oil and lemon dipping sauce or used on a sandwich of herbed feta cheese, sliced tomatoes and sliced cucumbers.
I just love having a large batch of fresh, colorful vegetables to work with. Fortunately, peaches are in and the vegetable gardens are producing well, so this morning I made and canned a batch of peach salsa.
Fruit salsa is so popular in my house that this is the second batch that I have made in the last week (all will be gone by next spring). I hope you enjoy the recipe as much as we do.
- 9 cups fresh peaches, mangoes, or a combination of both, peeled and chopped
- 2 Tbsp lemon or lime juice (fresh or bottled)
- 4 cups fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped
- 2 large sweet peppers, diced
- 2 cups onions, diced
- 2 Tbsp dried jalapeno flakes (or fresh hot peppers if you wish. Add more or less to your desired heat level)
- 1/4 cup cilantro or parsley, chopped
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 T honey
- 2 T clear gel to thicken
- Mix peaches with lime or lemon juice.
- Combine all ingredients in large pot.
- Bring to boil over medium heat and cook for five or six minutes.
- Remove from heat.
- Ladle into prepared canning jars.
- Screw on lids and process in boiling water canner for 10 minutes.
It appears that the spring is going to be just as unpredictable as the 2015 winter. Last week it was in the 70s and we started yard work, took the plastic off the chicken’s winter run (they are a bit puffed up today since the wind break is down), and moved the veggie seedling trays to the sun porch. Today it was in the 30s with rain that changed to sleet and then to snow and back again.
With all of the lovely weather we were blessed with over the past few weeks I had planned to change to our spring menus and clean the wood stove for the season. The weather today and the what is now promised for the balance of the week actually had me to start the wood stove, and brush off a couple of winter favorites for dinners this week. Today I made a pot of vegan red beans and rice with a side of pumpkin cornbread. The red beans have a very rich flavor with just a hint of spiciness created with fresh vegetables, veggie stock, creole seasoning, and a nice bunch of kale.
If you like red beans and rice but would like to forego the animal fat in the traditional recipe than you may want to try the following.
- 1 cup of dried rice
- 1 cup dried red beans, picked over
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped fine
- 1 medium carrot, chopped fine
- 1 large celery stalk, chopped fine
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped fine
- 5 cups vegetable stock
- 1 Tbsp creole seasoning
- 1 bunch of fresh kale, roughly chopped, or 1/2 cup of dehydrated kale
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Soak the beans overnight in a large bowl of water.
- Rinse and drain the beans.
- Add the beans, onion, carrot, celery, jalapeno, creole seasoning, and vegetable stock to a medium-sized crock pot, and cook for 6 hours on high or 8 hours on low.
- Taste the broth and adjust seasoning as needed.
- Cook rice according to package directions.
- Add the kale to bean mixture and cook for an additional 30 minutes.
- Serve the beans over 1/2 cup or so of rice with a side of cornbread.
The dogs got us up really early this morning so I decided to make some carrot cake scones to go with our morning tea. One of the things that I like about this recipe is that they use no processed sugar and are very low in fat while still being moist and packed with flavor.
The scones were a very nice Sunday morning treat. I hope that you will give the recipe a try.
for the scones
- 1 ½ cups white whole wheat flour
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter or coconut oil, very cold and cubed
- ½ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 3 tbsp maple syrup or honey
- 2 tbsp + 2 tsp nonfat milk, divided
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup freshly grated carrots
for the drizzle
- 1 tbsp Greek yogurt cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1 ½ tsp nonfat milk
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- Preheat the oven to 425°F, and line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, spices, and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or the back of a fork until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.
- Stir in the Greek yogurt, maple syrup, 2 tablespoons of milk, and vanilla. Fold in the grated carrots.
- Shape the dough into a ¾” tall circle on the prepared baking sheet, and brush with the remaining milk. Slice the circle into 8 triangular segments with a sharp knife.
- Bake at 425°F for 17-20 minutes, or until the tops are lightly golden. Cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- To make the drizzle, stir together the Greek yogurt cream cheese, milk, and maple syrup in a small bowl. Transfer the mixture to a zip-topped bag, and cut off a tiny piece of one corner. Just before serving, drizzle on top of the scones.
Today was a big project and errand day so I needed to prepare a meal that was quick to prepare, tasty and filling. After spending the morning driving around to a number of stores this morning the last thing I wanted to do was run out and pick up ingredients for a meal so I worked with what was in the house. Acorn squash was pulled from the cold room, cranberries from the freezer and other items from the pantry. The various items allowed me to create a meal that was savory with a nice touch of sweet to finish the meal that only took about 20 minutes to prepare.
What I made was a baked acorn squash stuffed with walnuts, cranberries, orange juice and hint of brown sugar. We also had a savory couscous as a side. I have provided the receipts below so that you can enjoy the same meal at some time.
Stuffed acorn squash
- 2 acorn squash
- 1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 2 tablespoons butter
- honey, optional
- Preheat oven to 375º F.
- Cut each squash in half (make halves as even as possible) and scrape out seeds.
- Place squash cut side up in a large baking dish.
- In a large bowl, combine walnuts, cranberries, brown sugar, orange juice and a drizzle of honey, and toss together. Make sure everything is evenly coated.
- Divide mixture into 4 parts and stuff into hollow center of squash.
- Top each half with 1/2 tablespoon butter.
- Cover baking dish loosely with aluminum foil and transfer to oven.
Bake for 60-90 minutes, or until squash is fork tender.
- Remove from oven and serve immediately.
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 cup couscous
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 2 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped
- Heat oil in a medium saucepan
- Add chopped onions and cook until soft
- Stir in crushed garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes
- Stir in vegetable broth and bring to a boil
- Remove saucepan from heat and cover. Allow to stand for 5 minutes
- Stir in parsley
- Add salt and pepper to taste
- Serve with the acorn squash
Frosty evenings have started for the season so we had some major yard and coop cleanup to do yesterday. The long day in the yard left little time for dinner preparation and after a fair amount of physical labor we really wanted something hot and filling for dinner. Fortunately the early morning hours were a bit cold to head outside so I made a couple of loaves of Hawaiian bread that was paired with a Swiss chard and cannelloni bean soup for dinner. The semi-sweet bread paired very well with the satisfying savory soup that took less than 30 minutes to prepare.
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed
- 1 onion, diced
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup water
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup uncooked orzo ( I use Delallo organic orzo)
- 1 bunch of Swiss chard, cut into thin ribbons. Separate and save chopped stems ( can also use bunch of kale or 3 cups of chopped spinach)
- 1 (15 ounce) can cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
- Juice of a fresh lemon
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over a medium heat. Add garlic, onions and chopped Swiss chard stems, and cook until onions become translucent.
- Stir thyme and basil into onion mixture and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute).
- Stir vegetable stock, bay leaves and 1 cup of water into pot mixture. Bring mixture to a boil.
- Add orzo to the pot and reduce the heat so that the mixture simmers. Cook until the orzo is tender (10-12 minutes).
- Add cannelloni beans, Swiss chard and lemon juice to the pot and simmer for another 3-4 minutes
- Turn off heat and stir in chopped parsley, salt and pepper. Serve with a nice bread.
Hope you enjoy the soup as much as we did.
We woke to a cool morning so I decided to do a little baking before the heat of the day set in. I made a couple of fat-free quick breads that allowed me to use some of our garden harvest and a few over ripe bananas that we had hanging out in the freezer. I made mini zucchini chip and banana breads. Both breads are fat free, vegan, low in sugar and super most and favorable. The recipe for the zucchini bread can be found below and the banana bread can be found here. Substitute organic eggs for the flax eggs in the recipes if you are not concerned about eating vegan.
My honey cut into the large loaf of zucchini bread before I could take the picture 😦
- 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour or whole wheat cake flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ginger powder
- 2 flax eggs (2 Tbsp ground flax seed and 6 Tbsp water)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup cane sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 packed cup shredded zucchini
- 1/2 cup carob chips, chocolate chips or nuts
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare 8 mini loaf pans or one standard loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.
- Mix the ground flax seed with the water in a small bowl and set aside.
- Mix the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and chips or nuts in a medium bowl.
- Grate the zucchini and pack into a measuring cup — dumping off any liquid that rises to the top of the measuring cup.
- In a large bowl mix the flax eggs, applesauce, brown sugar, cane sugar, vanilla extract, lemon juice and zucchini.
- Fold the dry ingredients into the wet until just combined. Be careful not to over mix.
- Pour the batter into the pan(s) and place in oven.
- Bake for 35 – 45 minutes or until a toothpick come out clean. The exact amount of cooking time will depend on the oven and size of pans used.
- Cool on a rack and enjoy or freeze for a later date.
We brought the following fiesta quinoa salad to a gathering this weekend and it was a great hit so I thought that I would share it with you.
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 1 cup water
- 1 – 14 oz can garbanzo beans (chick peas), drained and rinsed
- 1 – 14 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 brightly colored bell pepper, diced or julienned
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 jalapeño or other hot pepper, finely diced (remove ribs and seeds to keep heat down)
- zest of one lime
- juice 1 lime
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- few grinds black pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon local honey
- 1 minced garlic clove
- cook quinoa in water and cool.
- Add quinoa and rest of the ingredients to a large mixing bowl, fold gently, and let marinate for at least an hour before eating.
The cool wet weather that we received this summer encouraged many of our vegetables to provide us with bumper crops. One of those vegetables was bush beans. After canning 30 pints and making copious amounts of four been salad, I decided to convert a childhood ham and beans recipe to a flavorful vegan dish. With a bit of experimentation a dish of juicy green beans with soft potatoes and a rich flavorful smokey broth was created. An added bonus of the dish is that it takes a little effort to prepare and can cooked in a crock pot started in the morning before work or prior to an event.
If you have some extra beans in your garden or the local market has fresh beans on sale you may want to try the following recipe.
- 10 cups of green, yellow and/or purple beans cunt into bit sized pieces
- 4 medium-sized potatoes cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 large onion, diced
- 5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 cup of water
- 2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tbs soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 Tbs chili powder
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- salt and pepper to taste
- Spray the bowl of the slow cooker lightly with cooking spray
- All all of the ingredients to the slow cooker and stir
- Cover pot with the lid and cook on low for 6-8 hours
- Enjoy with some hot water cornbread or crusty rolls
Towards the end of this week I will be traveling to the west coast for a week to assist a family member, so I am spending the early part of the week picking and processing what is ripe in the garden. Today I picked and processed a dozen jars of green beans, some dilly beans and carrots. Since the kitchen was over heated with the water bath canning pot and pressure cooker the oven was turned on to slow roast a batch of cherry tomatoes and garlic for a Mediterranean pearl couscous salad recipe I found on “The Little Spice Jar” blog. The vegetarian couscous salad is tossed with a lovely tomato garlic sauce created from the roasted vegetables and a number of fragrant fresh herbs. After a long day of food prep and preparation the salad will be a nice reward for dinner tonight.
It will be interesting to see what will mature in the gardens during me week away…
The unusually cool and wet summer that we received this year has encourage our herb gardens to flourish. This bounty has encouraged me to seek out new recipes and storage methods for the different herbs and spices from the garden. Today I made a cherry chutney from some of the fruit from our trees. I will be using this dish to complement an afternoon snack of cheese and crackers.
While the chutney was cooking down I used a number of fresh herbs to make a yummy three grain Mediterranean tabbouleh and braided pesto bread for dinner tonight. The hardy salad is bursting with flavor and the bread is soft yet stable with wonderful pesto flavors.
All of the flavorful items in this post are vegetarian and can be be made vegan if the Parmesan cheese in the bread is replaced with cashew cheese or nutritional yeast.
Click on the names of the dishes if you would like to try any of the recipes.