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
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.
Today was so full of work and errands that I needed to make something quick, but tasty for dinner. After a quick look through the refrigerator and pantry, spicy noodles came to mind. The entire dish take about 20 minutes to prepare and is packed with flavor.
- 6 ounces of noodles of choice
- 1 cup of your favorite green vegetable, chopped into bit sized pieces
- 1 large carrot, small julienne strips or a large grate
- 1/3 cup smooth, natural almond or peanut butter
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup veggie broth
- 1/4 cup low salt soy sauce
- 2 Tbs rice wine vinegar
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- 2 Tsp siracha sauce
- 2 Tbs toasted sesame oil
- 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 2 Tbs black sesame seeds
- 1 Tbs cilantro, chopped
- 2 scallions, sliced thinly
- Cook the noodles following the package directions, omitting salt, and using a tablespoon of low salt soy sauce in the water instead.
- Heat the veggie broth almost to boiling.
- Put nut butter and maple syrup in a small bowl, add 1/4 cup of the hot broth and stir until smooth and blended.
- Add soy sauce, vinegar, lime juice, siracha, sesame oil, ginger and garlic, ad stir together.
- In a large bowl stir together cooked noodles, green vegetable and carrots.
- Pour the sauce, scallions, black sesame seeds, cilantro and over the top of the noodles. Stir everything together gently, and if need the other 1/4 cup of veggie broth.
- The dish can be served hot of cold.
Since there has been an abundance of pie pumpkins and butternut squash (these two can be used interchangeably in recipes) this season I have been collecting and preparing a number of recipes I have collected and dehydrating as many of the gems as our machine can handle as possible (1/4 cup of dehydrated pumpkin makes a cup of nice thick puree). The following provide links to some of the yummy items that have been prepared in our kitchen over the past few weeks.
The pumpkin ravioli with brown butter sauce and pecans made for a wonderful Sunday with a harvest vegetable salad.
Honey Butter Pumpkin dinner rolls were made to complement a wonderful roasted parsnip, sweet potato and cherry tomato with caper dressing dish out of the Plenty cookbook.
This morning I made an iced pumpkin coffee cake as a treat for my honey as a thank you for the afternoon Cirque Du Soleil show to which I was treated. The coffee cake was well liked and the show was well worth the three hour drive each way. Note: I cut the icing in half and it was still very good.
Fall vegetables are starting to mature. In our garden most of them are winter squash of one type or another. So far we have harvested 3 crates of butternut squash that have been moved to the basement to age, a create of delicata squash that I am look for some new ways to prepare and a fair amount of pie pumpkins. Last week I made pumpkin zucchini spice bread, pumpkin spice cinnamon buns and pumpkin mac and cheese. This morning I made some delicious pumpkin oatmeal pancakes. I hope that you enjoy them as much as we did.
- 1 cup wholewheat flour
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp ground ginger
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup maple or agave syrup
- 2/3 cups pumpkin puree
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbs melted coconut oil
- 3/4 cup plant based milk
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, oatmeal, baking powder and spices.
- In a small bowl whisk together maple syrup, pumpkin puree, egg yokes, coconut oil and plant based milk.
- Stir the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture.
- Beat the egg whites until fluffy and then fold into the batter.
- Spay a pan with oil and heat the pan. When the pan is hot, pour about 1/4 cup of batter into the pan and spread it slightly.
- When the pancakes are st on the top, flip and cook until golden brown.
- Serve with maple or agave syrup.
Apples are also in so I spent a bit of time preparing and packaging apple crisps of the winter months. Next I will be moving on to dehydrating some of the tomatoes from this years garden.
I was in the mood for a little Mexican food but didn’t want all the fat and calorie that come with a lot of the dishes, so I made modifications to a traditional dish to make it gluten-free and vegetarian. This simplified version of the dish takes less that an hour to prepare and 15-20 minutes to cook.
Red Enchilada Sauce
- 2 Tbs vegetable oil
- 2 Tbs brown rice flour
- 4 Tbs chili powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- Heat the oil in a medium sauce pan over medium high heat
- Add flower and stir together over the heat for a minute or so
- Stir in the seasonings
- Gradually add in the stock, whisking constantly to remove lumps
- Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes until thickened
- Set aside and make the enchilada filling
- 1 cup dry quinoa
- 2 cups water
- 10 corn tortillas
- 2 cups cooked black beans
- 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- enchilada sauce (see recipe above)
- Add the quinoa and 2 cups of water to a medium sized pot and cook on low heat until all the water is absorbed
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
- Prepare a 13″x9″ baking dish and set aside
- Placed the cooked quinoa in a large bowl
- Add black beans, onions and 1/2 cup of grated cheese and stir together
- Dip a corn tortilla in the enchilada sauce, lay on a flat surface and place a portion of the quinoa mixture in the center of the tortilla, fold the sides to the center and place seam side down in the prepared baking dish
- Repeat until all 10 tortillas have been filled
- Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the arranged enchiladas
- Top with the remaining cheese
- Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the dish is bubbly and the cheese melted
Yesterday we spent the day taking one of the cars in for servicing and running errands. These activities required that we drive a little over an hour from our home to one of the larger villages, so we decided to treat ourselves to lunch (and us up part a gift card that we received for Christmas). When we drove up to the Olive Garden in Keene we noticed that some snowmobile drivers had that same idea about where to have lunch (please excuse my finger in the lower right of the photo — I was using my cell phone to snap the picture.)
Lunch was nice and the conversations interesting. We got home just in time to feed the animals and then head out to a friends for dinner and socializing. Robertine made a lovely vegetarian curry stew that was enjoyed by all. I commend her for trying a new recipe…
This week I will be cooking some old favorites, trying a new dish or two and modifying a comfort food that hasn’t been seen on our table in at least 10 years. Some of the items that we will be enjoying this week are:
Lentil Souffle — A light easy to create main dish. Great served with a nice salad.
Black eyed Peas and Kale Soup — the recipe for this hardy soup can be fond on The Whinery. The only modification that I made to the recipe was using dried black eyed pies that I soaked and pre-cooked instead of the canned version, and served the dish with some hot-water cornbread. I really love the combination of herbs and spices that she uses in her recipes.
Curry Chickpea Hummus with Raisins — I made this lovey hummus to be served with fresh vegetables for lunches this week. I made slight modifications to the recipe: I did not puree the currents (I wanted some texture) and I used a hot curry power (we like spice in our foods). The recipe can be found on the Plant Powered Kitchen blog.
For tonight’s dinner I have modified an old recipe to create a beefless stew using Gardein beefless tips and replacing beef broth with mushroom broth (vegetable broth would also work). You dredge and sear the tips just like you would for beef, but they are added to the vegetable mixture in the last 15-20 minutes of cooking.
We are running low on bread so later this week I will be making some more sprouted loaves using sprouted quinoa and chia seeds. The seeds need to sit in the sprouter for another few days.
Woke up to a beautiful day, fresh sow on the ground, bright sunshine and deer and wild turkeys in the yard. What a great day to spend in the kitchen preparing foods for the week.
This week we will enjoy:
Some fresh baked breads – made a sprouted grain bread for this week.
Curried red lentil soup with chickpeas and quinoa – I found this lovely gluten-free vegan soup on the Zesty Cook blog. I replaced the yogurt with cashew cram and the chicken broth with a nice vegetable stock.
Lentil meatless loaf a favorite in my house — shows up on the table about once a month. I found this yummy gluten-free, vegan recipe on the Healthful Pursuit blog.
Vegetarian chili with winter squash and wild mushroom – Recipe to be posted soon.
For a sweet treat Grain-free banana cranberry & lemon breakfast cake. This tasty little gluten-free cake provided the perfect balance between sweet and tart.
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1 cup ripe mashed bananas (approximately 2-3 bananas)
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup agave
- 6 tsp Ener-G egg replacer (you can use 4 eggs if you prefer)
- 8 tbs warm water
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a 8 inch square baking dish with oil of your choice. Set aside.
- Mix the egg replacer and warm water in a small bowl and set aside.
- In a medium sized bowl mix together the coconut flour, almond flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Mix together well with a fork to decrease any clumps.
- Add the vanilla and agave to the egg replacer and whisk well.
- Add mashed banana into your egg mixture and whisk together until well combined.
- Pour wet ingredients into your dry ingredients and stir together until it is mixed thoroughly.
- Add the melted coconut oil and stir once again until the batter is completely mixed together.
- Fold in the lemon zest and fresh cranberries into the batter. They should be evenly distributed throughout.
- Spoon the batter into a greased baking pan and spread it out evenly.
- Bake it for 40-45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and then center when pierced with a toothpick or a knife comes out cleanly.
- Remove from the oven and let it cool for 20 minutes or so.
Adapted from a recipe at So Lets Hang Out
Life has been so busy around my house recently that there has been little time to make tasty meals. Thank goodness the freezer was full of items that could just be taken out and warmed. This weekend I did work in making the bread for the next few weeks, but that was about it. Monday we had pesto made over the summer and lentil meatballs over rice pasta, but with the amount that was left on the table I knew that I needed to make something fresh today. I pulled out an old standby recipe that is healthy, tasty and low calorie — a carrot soup that I haven’t made in ages… good thing the soup was low in calories, because I served it with grilled cheese sandwiches that were served on the pumpkin-rosemary bread with biga that I made with teff flour (from the gluten-free & vegan bread book) — which wasn’t that low in calories, but oh so tasty.
Since the soup only takes about 15 minutes to prepare and another 25 minutes to cook, I thought I would share the recipe with you.
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 tbsp curry power
- 2 pounds carrots, chopped
- 4 cups vegetable broth (I like to use mushroom broth)
- Heat the oil in a medium to large pot over medium heat.
Saute onion until tender and translucent.
- Stir the curry powder into the onion.
- Add the chopped carrots, and stir until the carrots are coated.
- Pour in the vegetable broth, and simmer until the carrots are soft.
- Transfer te mixture to a blinder, and puree until smooth.
- Pour back into the pot, and thin with water if you prefer a thinner soup.
We are just starting to recover from heavy snows and temperatures in the negative digits. The snows provided promises of lots of outdoor fun, the wonderful sunshine beckoned us outdoors, but the negative temperatures plus the wind chill of -25 degrees kept us in the house with the wood stove burning and the kitchen full of wonderful aromas.
Driveway after a quick plow
A little fun with the dogs between shoveling activities
View of the back yard out the kitchen window.
Heavy snows are a bit much for the young trees. Will have to cut this one down in the spring.
The items that we cooked for this week are:
and for our sweet tooth I made a gluten-free blueberry crumble with some of last years blueberries.
This coming week is going to be very busy for me, so I thought I would get a head start on baking and meal preparation. Some of the tasty treats we will have this week are:
- 1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup steamed broccoli
- 1 cup steamed cauliflower
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup plant milk
- 1 1/2 cups grated Cheddar cheese, more for sprinkling
- Gluten-free bread crumbs (optional)
- Toppings (optional) salsa, hot sauce, scallions
- Add quinoa, garlic and water to medium sized pot. Cook quinoa until all water is absorbed. (About 15 minutes)
- Stir grated cheese into quinoa.
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat 13×9 inch dish( or 8 individual ramekins) with cooking spray.
- Whisk together eggs, milk and salt in large bowl.
- Stir steamed vegetables and quinoa into egg and milk mixture.
- Transfer to prepared baking dish and if using bread crumbs add now and bake 30-35 mins, until bread crumbs are browned.