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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What's cookin' tonight

I stumbled upon the Budget Recipe Challenge at The Whole Foods website, and decided to try one of the recipes tonight. My husband's response when I had him look at the recipe was, "Hmmmm...I'm not sure. But I do like sweet potatoes, so maybe?" It IS a really unique recipe.

The recipe is Vegetarian, to make vegan, simply omit the sprinkle of cheese, or substitute with a Soy Cheese. I am not making the Quick Green Chili sauce, simply because I have a fabulous vegetarian green chili sauce I bought at the Farmer's Market from a guy who knows his green chilis. I trust him. :)

I'm all for vegan recipes that remind me of comfort food. I'm hoping it's good. Pity the poor guy at the wine shop when I brought this recipe in and asked him to pair it with a wine for me under $15. :) He did decide on a Spanish red: Codice 2006, Vino De La Tierra De Castilla. I can't wait to try it out! It'd be nice to have a good red to know of for these vegetarian green chili recipes I plan on

I'll let you know how it is!

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas
This recipe was submitted by Karina Allrich of Karina's Kitchen: Recipes from a Gluten-free Goddess. Here's what Karina has to say about one of her most popular vegetarian, gluten-free recipes: "These wrapped little gems are soft and creamy and a little bit spicy. Serve with crisp greens. Photo shown is family style, rolled in a baking dish. For company, I prefer to nestle these babies into individual gratin dishes. It makes for a prettier presentation."

Quickie Green Chile Sauce
1 cup light vegetable broth
1 tablespoon arrowroot starch dissolved in a little cold water
1 generous cup chopped roasted green chiles, hot or mild
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin or chili powder, hot or mild, to taste
Enchilada Filling
1 (15-ounce) can organic black beans, rinsed, drained
4 cloves garlic, minced
Fresh lime juice from 1 big juicy lime
2 heaping cups cooked diced sweet potatoes
1/2 cup chopped roasted mild green chiles
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder mild or spicy
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

2 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, as needed
8 white or yellow corn tortillas
4 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Serves 4. $2.59 per serving*

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Choose a baking dish that would hold 8 rolled enchiladas. Make your Quickie Green Chile Sauce by combining the broth, dissolved arrowroot, green chiles, garlic and spices in a sauce pan and heating over medium-high heat. Bring to a high simmer. Simmer until thickened. Taste test and adjust seasonings. Set aside.

In the meantime, for the Enchilada Filling, using a mixing bowl, combine the drained black beans with minced garlic and lime juice. Toss to coat the beans and set aside. In a separate bowl combine the cooked sweet potatoes with the chopped green chiles; add the spices. Season with sea salt and pepper.

Pour about 1/4 cup of the Quickie Green Chile Sauce into the bottom of the baking dish.

To assemble the enchiladas, grab a skillet and heat a dash of oil. Lightly cook the corn tortillas to soften them, one at a time, as you stuff each one.

Lay the first hot tortilla in the sauced baking dish; wet it with the sauce. Spoon 1/8 of the sweet potato mixture down the center. Top with 1/8 of the black beans. Wrap and roll the tortilla to the end of the baking dish. Repeat for the remaining tortillas. Top with the rest of the sauce. Top with a sprinkle of shredded Monterey Jack cheese.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the enchiladas are piping hot and the sauce is bubbling around the edges.

Per serving (about 14oz/405g-wt.): 500 calories (190 from fat), 21g total fat, 7g saturated fat, 25mg cholesterol, 980mg sodium, 64g total carbohydrate (11g dietary fiber, 11g sugar), 18g protein

* We make a good effort to estimate the cost of ingredients used in each recipe, but small regional and market variations may occur.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I finished!

I finished my 4 day journal! I was going to post it on here, but then I thought maybe I shouldn't? Maybe they wouldn't want me to? I'll wait and see if they use it or not. But I will post links to some of the recipes I used during those 4 days for dinners, since those are all over the web and no secret. From my previous post you know I've got Roasted Green Chilis coming out of my ears, so I did find an egg bake to use up some of those. We also grilled some Portobello Mushrooms, and made a Vegetarain Chili. One appetizer I made is from one of my previous posts.

Some things I noticed about myself is:

- I tend to take note of how I am feeling that day to decide what/how much I eat. I do work out 1-3 days a week, and those days I tend to be hungrier. If I know I am stationary a lot that day, or that I'm just craving something, I am able to let it pass and make good choices. I feel like that is something I am good at.

- If I am making cooked food for the rest of the family, I'm going to want to eat some. Some recipes are a lot of work, and well, they look good! So I'm not usually able to avoid sampling. However, if it is something from somewhere else - take out, pizza etc, that I didn't cook, I have no problem not eating it.

- Mornings and afternoons are when I crave something hydrating: fresh juice from my juicer, raw smoothie, or Kombucha Tea. If I'm away from these things and somewhere I can't get anything close I tend to get sparkling water, or black unsweetened ice tea.

- Almost all of our produce is from the local farmer's market right now (I know that will change in winter), and organic as much as I can get it. Except for the smoothie, which I used fruit that I froze myself, nothing I made was from frozen or canned.

Overall, this was really interesting for me. All three of my kids AND my husband were sick, so I was up a lot at night taking temperatures, giving medicine. I know that lack of sleep always makes me hungrier. Anyway, those are the conditions. :) It is what it is.

So here are some recipes, except the Vegetarian Chili recipe is a friend's recipe, so I'm not going to post that....enjoy!

Grilled Portobello Mushroom and Veggie Fajitas
I used this recipe for a quick marinade for some Portobellos, Onions, and Peppers I wanted to put on the grill. The family ate fajitas, I enjoyed mine over a salad. I didn't even need dressing, because the juices from the veggies were so yummy! I just topped with avocado and fresh salsa.

Goat Cheese Toasts with Spicy Olives

Spicy Baked Eggs with Green Chilis (if some measurements won't come up in your browser, they are "1/2")
recipe is from a B&B in CA, I have made their Blueberry Stuffed French Toast, and Eggs Florentine before for company and different brunches and always get recipe requests.
(and the Eggs Florentine is super easy if you are short on time, no sauteing, and not much prep work at all, it's my recipe I turn to if I need one quick, and scroll down for other recipes)

I hope you all are having a wonderful, healthy week! I'll let you know if anything comes of the journal!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Day 3

So I'm on my third day of this journal. They wanted two days to be weekend days, and two days to be week days. It has made me realize a few things about how we eat.

First of all, there is no normal. I tried to pick 4 days for them when we were not traveling, and didn't have company, because in our house that's as normal as it gets. It made me realize though that every day has it's challenges, and also brought to the surface the struggle I have had with eating local, and in-season, and eating raw and vegan. I know that it is easier in places that are warm year round, but even that does not always make it easy. I go to the Farmer's Market on Sundays, and try to buy what I think we will need for the week. The end of the week I'm trying to use things up, or things need to be frozen or cooked. I think this is going to get really challenging (to eat local and in season AND eat raw) during the winter. I also realized that with my husbad home over the weekend I do tend to make more cooked food, and we go out more. I went out for brunch with a friend for example. I made hubby an egg bake with some of the roasted Green Chilis I mentioned in a previous post. I realized that I do tend to eat vegan and a raw until dinner on the weekdays, and it's not a big problem. (Except for the occasional seafood, or goat cheese on a dinner during the week). The weekends are different. We are more likely to go on a road trip, which sometimes unexpectantly can put us in the situation of eating out, or we are more likely to be at, or hosting, a social function. Lastly, I am more likely to tackle some 4 hour long recipe that I've been eyeing because Rob is around to help with the kiddos. Just something I noticed. It made me wonder if I focus on the weekends, and doing better there, what kind of breakthrough I might have. How much even better than I do now would I feel? How much healthier, and energetic, and vibrant would I be, if I conquered the weekends?

At the same time, food for me is more then vitamins, filling an empty stomach, or taste. Food is fellowship with friends. There is a reason we "commune" together, and "break bread" together. It is a bonding, rewarding experience to dine with friends. It also is something creative to me. I've realized that since I don't have all the tools, and appliances (a fancy dehydrator that let's you heat below 118, food processor) when I feel like doing something creative in the kitchen, I turn to my cookbooks. I also have not (because I lack those two appliances) jumped into the world of raw desserts yet, and I think when I do that will help with these creative surges.

Someone from the Culinary School of the Rockies called today, and we talked for quite awhile about all the programs they have there. This has been something I have been toying with the idea of - going to culinary school when the kids are all in school. I am impressed with their programs, especially the CO Farm to Table program they have, and would love to go there. Actually I would love to take both of their tracks: the 6 month Colorado Farm to Table program, where your last month you spend a month on the road in CO visiting farms and local artisians, and the second track where you learn French Cooking, and spend the last month in France working with real chefs in their restuarants. *sigh* I can dream, right? I think the Farm to Table one would be more practical, and useful here. However, the French Cooking one would be such a life adventure.

This is another thing I have been mulling I need to go through a traditional culinary school to be a raw chef? Do I want to be a raw chef? It seems like if I did, I would have to go through the traditional ropes to get my foot in the door with any restaurant. I don't know the answer but at least I have 2 1/2 more years to figure it out.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

4 days in the life of me

I was asked to keep a 4 day food journal for a major magazine, and today is the first day. I'm not going to say who it is, as I'm not sure if I should or not. When it's all over and they decide if they are going to use it then I will let you know. :) I guarantee you've heard of it, and I can also almost guarantee that you will be surprised by who it is. I was!

I was thinking of recording it also here too.....I'm going to TRY to not let the fact that the whole world could be reading what I eat not effect my choices, but I admit it's hard. I'm not going to cancel my brunch plans this AM, or try to redirect my family if we go up to the mountains and are picking somewhere to eat. I want to be real. I am not perfect, and not every situation lends itself to eating raw or vegan. I also just try to do the best I can, and avoiding real life does not appeal to me at home. I do not stay home within 10 feet of my juicer and blender, and I try to just roll with whatever is happening.

So today I started out with 22 oucnes of Green Lemonade from my juicer (2 apples, 1 lemon, 1/2 head of celery, 4 large pieces of Kale), and we'll see where we go from here......

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Fall Harvest

I came home from the Farmer's Market today almost giddy, with bags overflowing. I just love the Fall and all of the vegetables and fruit that are overflowing from the tables there.

One thing I hadn't realized was how big of a deal Green Chilis are in Colorado. When I popped into Whole Foods this AM they had big displays of them, both fresh and roasted, and were handing out DVD's of demonstrations on how to cook them, and recipes. At the Farmer's Market they had someone there with a big contraption that looked like the big mesh things they roll balls around in for Bingo and he was throwing fresh green chilis into it and roasted them over a fire, and then selling them right there. I bought a bag labeling "Pueblo - Hot ! " and a fresh jar of Vegetarian (no pork added) Green Chili Sauce and Rob was thrilled when I came home. So we'll see what we end up doing with those this week.

I also came home with a bag of peaches to make a peach pie for my mom and stepdad's birthdays, which they requested, as they will be here Wednesday to see us for a couple of days.

I also got plums, apples, eggplant, red peppers, squash, green beens, wax beans, sweet potatoes, red and white potatoes, and some sort of Transylvanian (i'm serious) pastry that these two cute old ladies were selling and I couldn't resist. (See picture at right)

This week I am planning to make something we made last fall that was delicious, though time consuming to do all the roasted (tip: teach one of your children how to brush vegetables with olive oil, and you are set). It's an Eggplant, Zucchini, Red Pepper, and Parmesan Torte. yum!!

I hope you are all enjoying the beautiful temperate Fall weather. As you can see my kids were delighted to use our wood fireplace for the first time this year. :) Happy Harvest!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

It has been awhile

It has been awhile since I have posted about food or otherwise, so I thought I would try to write today. My heart has been heavy the past few weeks, and then my kiddos and I caught a cold (which never happens, but I was traveling and run down and think that's what happened).

I had a great girls weekend away! My friends Iesha, Christina, Amy, and for one night Christine joined me in getting a break from the daily mom duties, and doing what we love - sleeping in, trying new restaurants, sitting in a hot tub, some shopping, and yes even hula-hooping. :) We stayed in the beautiful town of Breckenridge for one night. The end of the day Sunday we got pedicures at the Woodhouse Day Spa in Denver. It was such a fantastic weekend and I hope it is not too long before we get to do it again. :)
I realized I hadn't posted about my ice cream maker. About the same time I got the spiral slicer, I also decided to go on a hunt for an ice cream maker. I had checked out the book "Vice Cream" from the library, and was so excited to make some raw, dairy-free ice cream, and then realized you HAVE to have an ice cream maker to really do it. SO I started researching them, and had what I would really like in mind ($200 White Mountain 6 Quart machine) and then decided to hunt on craigslist. I have always had a good
experience using Craigslist for these things, and tried to be patient during the usual days of calls, and machines that were already sold, etc. Finally I came across *gasp* the actual machine I wanted, in an after-garage sale for $30. I called her and said I would take it, as long as it still works. She thought for a moment, and realized she hadn't plugged it in for two years, and wasn't sure. I said that I would still take it, as she lived nearby, and I'd just let her know if I had any problems. So when I showed up at her door, she insisted I take it for free! She said she would feel bad if it didn't work, and that way she could just not worry about it. She wouldn't give in, and I practically ran back out to my van. The kids were squealing with excitement when they saw what I came out with! :)

We went to Kinkos and copied off our favorite recipes (and I admit, all the ones that mostly didn't use coconut water, as I still have not been able to brave cutting open one on my own (I like my fingers too much)). We bought the stuff to make our first Vice Cream, AND...........

It was wonderful!!! We made Hazelnut Cherry Ice Cream, which was just Hazelnut milk, fresh chopped cherries, and dates. You put the milk, half the cherries, and the dates in the blender. Then you just set the blender pitcher in the freezer for a while. Then you stir in the rest of the chopped cherries, and let the ice cream maker handle the rest. 20 minutes later we had 4 quarts (I made a smaller batch) of healthy ice cream! Next on my list is to try Vanilla Bean, and I picked 2 beans up when I got groceries. yum!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Thinking of Steph

Tonight I'm just remembering my friend Stephanie Perry that passed away 2 years ago tomorrow, and saying some prayers for her family....