Entries Tagged as 'recipe'

Chickpea Tomato Minestrone [with vegan option]

Posted on: October 21, 2013

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When reflecting on past gardens, I can’t help but be grateful for the fact that I was able to have an inground garden this summer. In years past, I’ve always moved in August and had failed attempts with transplanting tomato plants and herbs. This means that the last time I had a real garden was when I was little and my parent’s let me pick out what I wanted to grow. And that was gourds – I remember distintcly only wanting to grow gourds and my parents thinking that was a little funny (although I wouldn’t understand why until many years later… when I realized they are really not very useful in the kitchen).

But anyhow, this year… this year I was able to go all out. No more of that half assing tomato and basil plant in a few pots. Nope, Nope. This year I wanted a garden both in the back and side yard (one for full sun and one for part). We planted tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce, kale, swiss chard, scallions, lemongrass, cucumbers, bell peppers, jalapeños, rosemary, sage, and so on. Some of them flourished (lemongrass, scallions, kale, tamotoes) and some of them never quite got off the ground (potatoes, cucumbers…). But whether they grew to monstorous portions or stayed micro size, we tried to harvest and enjoy them. We harvested everything in September but the swiss chard and lemongrass.

 

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I’m not sure what I was waiting for with the swiss chard but I knew I was ignoring it until a sign occured. Whether that sign was a must-try recipe or the first frost biting at it’s leaves, I knew I needed a sign. Perhaps it was because the leaves were coming in so beautifully with the colored veins speckled through out them. Whatever it was, I knew I didn’t want to waste these greens by burying them at the bottom of a recipe.

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Nutmeg Banana Carrot Muffins /// Some Words on Sugar Substitutes

Posted on: September 29, 2013

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Today is Sunday, September 29th. Today is a very very special day. Or should I say tonight? Yes, tonight is a very very very special night. Tonight is the season finale of Breaking Bad. It is when three (four?!) years of pain-stakingly frustrating tension is finally resolved (or at least we hope it will be). There is only one problem: we don’t have cable. How did we watch all the other 61 episodes then, you ask? Well you can stream them on the network’s website the followig day after an episode has aired. Which I am usually totally fine with. But this is the season finale of the whole series. And I can’t stop thinking about it. I don’t want to go into work tomorrow and have to keep my ears shut the whole day. Or spend the next 24 hours avoiding my newsfeeds on facebook and twitter. I want to experience it along with the rest of America.

So, how will I do this, you ask? Well, I’m not sure. But I sure as hell want to be prepared with baked goods when I figure it out. I’m thinking…bribing frineds with these muffins? Or the bartender to turn it to AMC with these little handheld cakes. Or maybe even going over to our new neighbors house and using these muffins as a ‘welcome to the neighborhood’ peace treaty right when the show is starting (that way I can peep in the door and see if they are watching it. ‘OH! You guys are watching Breaking Bad?! We were just about to put it on. Maybe we should all watch it together. I also have some local cider and whiskey I can bring over, if you’d like….’). You know, those kinds of things.

 

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Oh no. This post was supposed to be a distraction from thinking about Breaking Bad. Okay, what were we talking about before I so rudely changed the subject to a drug-ring-themed-pop-culture-television-drama? Oh yeah, muffins. And not just any muffins – muffins exploding with nutritional benefits like dates (fiber, iron, calcium), bananas (potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C), nutmeg (iron, magnesium, calcium), and carrots (vitamin A). These are nutritional enough for breakfast but satisfying enough for dessert. And even scrumptious enough to bribe your friends with.

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Blueberry Pistachio Parfait with Quinoa Granola and Maple Cashew Cream [Vegan]

Posted on: September 1, 2013

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There is so much fall going on around Pinterest these days; I find it to be both appalling and kind of exciting. Maybe it’s this streak of 90 degree weather or my longing for copious amounts of curry in my stomach or the desire to wear knee high socks but I am feeling ready for it. [Heck, maybe I even already bought a can of organic pumpkin for vegan fall baking].

My brain feels so fried from this heat that I’ve managed to stumble into a mundane food routine of salads for lunch and veggie sandwiches for dinner. That is about it….Well, almost it. The other summertime food that has been a regular lately is greek yogurt and homemade granola. So much so that I am starting to think we may need to take some time off from each other soon or we may not be able to stay friends.

Thus, in an attempt to keep yogurt off my long list of hated foods (right next to beets and jello), I decided to try cashew cream in my breakfast parfaits. I originally made the cashew cream to lather on eclairs (…more on that in the coming days) but haven’t looked back at yogurt in weeks.

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The cashew cream only takes a few minutes to whip up and usually lasts me 3 to 4 servings of breakfast. It’s sweeter than yogurt but not so much that you feel guilty about enjoying it for breakfast. Feel free to enjoy with whatever granola you have on hand but I highly recommend trying out this quinoa version. The toasted quinoa gives the granola a crunchy texture unlike any kind of granola I’ve had before. And it’s a complete protein so you’ll be really ready to start your day right. ‘Nuff said?

 

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Blueberry Pistachio Parfait with Quinoa Granola and Maple Cashew Cream

Inspired by Gourmande in the Kitchen & Cashew Cream adapted from Oh, Ladycakes

For the granola:

  • 1 cup tri-colored quinoa (or 1/2 cup red + 1/2 cup white), rinsed super well
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • dash of cinnamon & nutmeg
  • vanilla bean, seeds removed and pod discarded (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
  • 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil (or any baking oil you’d prefer)
  • 2 Tablespoons honey (or more maple syrup to keep vegan)
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, divided & lightly crushed

For the maple cashew cream:

  • 1/2 cup cashews, soaked in water overnight
  • 4 dates, pitted
  • 2-3 Tablespoons maple syrup (depending on how sweet you want to make it)
  • about 1/4 cup water
  • 1 pint blueberries

Submerge cashews in water and let soak overnight.

Remove pits from dates and let soak with the cashews 30 minutes prior to making the cream.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine the quinoa, rolled oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, and the vanilla bean seeds in a mixing bowl. Fold in the oil, maple syrup, and honey. Transfer to a baking sheet and spread out as much as possible. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to keep from burning. After 30 minutes, add 1/4 cup crushed pistachios to granola and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Drain cashews / dates and place in a food process or blender. Add the maple syrup and 1/4 cup water. Blend. If too thick, gradually add more water a tablespoon at a time until a desired consistency is reached (I like mine at the consistency of greek yogurt – thick and sustainable but a little fluffy).

To assemble: Layer the cream followed by the cooled granola followed by blueberries and garnish with crushed pistachio and cinnamon.

 

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Summer Recap Zine // Vegetarian Ventures Issue 1

Posted on: August 29, 2013

 

I already showed this on VV’s Facebook and Pinterest yesterday but I wanted to share it with all of you. I created a short Summer recap zine with some of my favorite highlights for what has been going on around VV this past season.

I am totally hooked on independent magazines right now. Having articles published in Chickpea, Incadenscent, and Remedy Quarterly has made me realize how fun it is to see your work in print. There is something so satisfying about being able to stack your pieces of creative work on a shelf instead of in a hard drive. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the internet but there is nothing better than being able to flip through pages of inspiration over and over again.

In addition to hoping to write a small recap zine every season, I’d really love to start making a collaborative publication in the near future. I really enjoy the community that is built around having a blog and would love to expand it beyond guest posts and re-pins. You know, something physical [eventually] and filled with recipes, adventures, tricks, tips, guides, drawing, a cute name (Toast? Hibiscus?), and (of course) beautiful photography. I realize that will mean recruiting a co-op of writers, adventures, photographers, taste-makers, bakers, and designers (these people could be YOU. Yes? No? Maybe?). Until then, I’ve got my VV recap zine to get my technique down.

What independent zines have you been lusting over lately? I’ve been SO into Kinfolk, Pure Green Magazine, and Weekend Almanac.

Goat Cheese Polenta with Basil Almond Pesto & Pan Fried Chickpeas [For one]

Posted on: August 21, 2013

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Wyatt is off at a Black Sabbath concert tonight . No, I’m not sure why – he’s not a 60 year old fan or a metal head of any kinds [but this is beside the point]. The point is that I’m here alone tonight. I decide to have a sort of girl’s night…with myself. Yoga, red wine, and a chick flick (Bridesmaid to be exact…hey, don’t judge! Everyone ALWAYS references it and I have no idea what they are ever talking about). This is a special treat because I’m usually get suckered into alien, death-centric, action flicks and a case of beer.

This also meant I was on my own for dinner this evening. Any normal American would have probably just got chinese take-out but I was excited by the thought of not having to worry about another person’s needs / preferences. Both polenta and chickpeas are two things Wyatt isn’t really that crazy about – and I totally disagree. I personally don’t think there could ever be anything wrong with a big bowl of corn creaminess that takes on the subtle flavor of whatever cheese you decide to melt into it. And as for chickpeas – give me them anyway you’d like: blended, roasted, sautéed, or panfried.

Needless to say, I’ve settled in for the night with this big polenta bowl and my boxer dog, Tuko. If you need us – we’ll be over here watching some girls relieve themselves in wedding dresses because of some bad Mexican food they ate (gross! Sorry, Bridesmaid reference?)

When pan frying the chickpeas, make sure you use just a big enough skillet so that they can lay evenly in one layer but not so big that you have to use half your bottle of oil. And as for the pesto, I’ve been into using kale (since it grows like wildflowers in my garden) but went with basil on this one since it’s finally basil season – feel free to use whatever leafy green you have on hand!

 

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Goat Cheese Polenta with Basil Almond Pesto & Pan Fried Chickpeas

  • 1 cup dried polenta
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 ounces goat cheese (or more if you are like me)

 

  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup parmesan
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt / pepper

 

  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (from a can or from dried)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • salt / pepper
  • oil (I used olive but you could use vegetable as well)

In a food processor or very powerful blender, combine all the pesto ingredients and blend until a smooth paste forms. Add more olive oil if needed to reach your desired consistency. Set aside.

In a saucepan, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add polenta and lower heat to medium low. Whisk continuously until the polenta has become thick enough that it won’t stick to the bottom. After fifteen minutes of simmering, stir in the cheese and remove from heat. Cover to keep warm and set aside.

In a large cast iron skillet, heat a thin layer of oil over medium. Add chickpeas, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Sauté for ten to fifteen minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel lined tray. Let sit for a few minutes to crisp up.

Mix the polenta, chickpeas, and pesto all together and enjoy!

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VV Turns 2 /// Spicy Double Chocolate Cookies with Cappuccino Frosting

Posted on: August 17, 2013

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Yay – today Vegetarian Venture’s has officially been around (and active!) for two years! It seems both unreal and yet two years doesn’t seem that long. I can’t remember my life without this creative outlet and can’t imagine what I did with all my time before baking, cooking, photography, styling, and playing with food?

The world as I know it has changed drastically since 2011. Two years ago, this guy didn’t exist:

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And I didn’t live in our blue house with this guy:

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Two years ago I was going to school part time and working at a local co-op grocery store. The co-op had this wonderful shelf in the fridge called the ‘chump shelf’ and was filled with any sort of unsellable item that were up for grabs – day old baguettes (perfect for french toast), pints of berries with one moldy piece, two day old tabbouleh (everyone know it’s better after it’s aged a bit), blemished organic produce, bulk bags of grains that people bagged up and then decided against buying, etc. As a student trying to live cheapily and still obsessed with food, this was the most amazing shelf for me. I would come home beaming every night with bags full of free food and feed my entire house full of college roommates. The food I brought would often times be a weird mix of ingredients and that was what sparked searching through recipes and blogs and eventually starting VV to document my adventures.

Two years later and I do not still work at the co-op (but still live right down the street from it and shop their almost everyday), have graduated college, and don’t have a house full of roommate to feed. I do, however, still love blogging and spend most of my free time cooking for my boyfriend / boxer.

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Currently Crushing

Posted on: August 11, 2013

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In an attempt to not completely fall off the grid during the ‘dog days of summer’, I thought I’d fill you in on a few things I’ve been up to aside from cooking. With my kitchen lacking air conditioning (UGH), I’ve been keeping the cooking to a minimum and mostly sticking to veggie centric salads, staple recipes that I know are quick, and grilling outside.

Anyhow,  I’ve been turning to other outlets of inspiration – mostly spending a large portion of my free time reading and thought I’d share a few recent favorites with you guys.

Top right: I found this back issue of Pure Green Magazine at a local bookstore and am totally in love. This particular issue is their ‘food’ issue and features articles ranging from the history of ancient grains to a step by step on how to make the best coffee. It has become a new indie magazine staple to add to my shelf alongside Chickpea Quarterly and Kinfolk.

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Fresh Squeezed Bloody Mary with Rosemary Infused Vodka & Goat Cheese Olives

Posted on: July 15, 2013

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I’m all about playing around and inventing new cocktails (see: Loaded Hibiscus Arnold Palmer, Blueberry Basil Peach Fizz, etc) but sometimes you just need to go with a traditional cocktail. And NOTHING (I mean NOTHING) is better than a fresh squeezed Bloody mary during peak tomato season. It’s savory and spicy and elegant and just darn right delicious.

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There is this AWFUL local sports bar that we used to go to on Sundays because it was right next to our old house. And when I say awful..I mean awful. Big screen TVs so loud that you can’t hear the person next to you, bland bar foods that leaves the one vegetarian option of french fries, and snooty blonde waitresses that pay you no attention knowing they’ll get bigger tips from the table of men across the room. But despite the terrible service and atmosphere, I became addicted to their signature Bloody Mary’s. I didn’t even know I LIKED Bloody Mary’s before I had one here. It was like a meal in a glass…savory, peppery, and full of spice. This is what got me hooked.

This takes quite a few tomatoes to make a decent amount of juice so this is a recipe you’ll want to make at the peak of garden season. Plus, this cocktail will taste the best with in-season, right off the vine, tomatoes. None of the ‘recipes’ below are exact. Unlike baking, making cocktails is all about experimenting and working in your personal preference. Like it spicy? Add more sriracha. Like it strong? Up the vodka ratio.

Also, I recommend not wasting the leftover tomato skins – I just put mine in the freezer for the next time I make some vegetable broth but you could also use them to make tomato paste or even just chop up and throw in a salad.

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Rosemary Infused Vodka

  • 3 large rosemary sprigs
  • 1 cup clear vodka

Combine vodka and rosemary in a clear glass jar and seal. Stick in the fridge and let infuse for several days (I did mine three days ahead of time). Shake once a day. Strain rosemary and use the infused vodka in all your favorite drinks.

Goat Cheese Stuffed Olives

  • 1 jar of green olives, drained and rinsed
  • 3 ounces of goat cheese (or chèvre)
  • Salt/Pepper

Mash the goat cheese with a little salt and pepper. Stuff the peppers with cheese. (Yup – that’s it).

Fresh Squeezed Bloody Marys

  • Assortment of Heirloom tomatoes (amount depends on size and desired servings. I used 4 large tomatoes per a serving), halved
  • 1 ounce of Rosemary infused vodka (see above) or any vodka you have on hand
  • 1 teaspoon horseradish
  • dash worcestershire sauce (vegetarian version)
  • dash of Sriracha (you can even make your own over at Reclaiming Provincial)
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • Juice from half a lime
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
  • Celery sticks, for garnish
  • Rosemary, for garnish

Squeeze the tomato insides into a blender and do a quick puree until smooth. Add in the vodka, lemon juice, lime juice, horseradish, worcestershire sauce, sriracha, salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust with more salt / pepper / sriracha to your liking. Fill a glass with ice and pour cocktail into glass.

Garnish with celery, rosemary, and goat cheese olives.

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The Blue Bush

Posted on: July 12, 2013

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I had so much fun reading Baker Bettie’s post on their new home that it inspired me to give you guys a little peak into our lives.

It’s been one year since I started the ‘post college’ stage of my life that I’m currently knee deep in. It’s been a year since I moved into The Blue Bush with Wyatt and our peanut butter loving dog, Tuko. The Blue Bush (as we like to call it since…well…the outside of the house is bright blue) is a cozy little Midwest home that was built in 1910. Yup, that’s what the records say…1910. So, as you can imagine, the place isn’t exactly in tip top shape. We’ve worked hard to transform it into a home that reflects us and it’s been fun to watch the process unfold. I’ve collected quite a few pictures of the last year so I was thinking this could be a good time to show you around.

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This also means it’s been one year since we owned a microwave or a dishwasher. Can you guess which one we miss the most? What my nails wouldn’t do to have a rest from being drenched in soapy dish water for just ONE night.

As for the microwave… I always just forget they even exist these days. I still remember the look on Wyatt’s face when I first purposed not having a microwave in our new home…the look of bewilderment followed by complete disbelief. But he agreed and it’s been wonderful. I’ve learned SO many new things since having to go back to cooking ingredients the way they are supposed to be cooked (i.e. using a double boiler, boiling water over the stove top, etc). My favorite part about not having a microwave is that you always have to work for your food around here. Sure, if you REALLY want to just eat a frozen dinner of (veggie) nuggets then that’s fine…but you’ll have to bake them for 20 minutes in the oven which means you could just whip up some polenta / sautéed veggies in that same amount of time. It really has helped me to not take short cuts and prepare real food in the kitchen.

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We’ve filled the house with lots of vintage furniture…

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…And vinyl records..

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..And have filled our sunroom with house plants (which is a perfect little hideout full of green in the middle of winter)

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This is the studio room…

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<— Wyatt’s desk and (can you tell who is the clean one in this relationship? ahem, definitely not me…) and my desk —>

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We spent a lot of our time in the backyard. I’ve managed to build two gardens…one with herbs and one with vegetables. The cucumbers and zucchini have been going crazy and it’s finally time for the tomatoes to start ripening (!!!).

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Well, I just wanted to take the opportunity to show you around a little. It’s crazy it’s taken a whole year to get around to telling you about my obsession with house plants, my love for vinyl records, and show you a peak of our little cozy home. Thanks for reading!

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Homemade Raw Vegan Fudgsicles

Posted on: June 20, 2013


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Anyone who is familiar with raw “cooking” will find the ingredients in this recipe as no surprise. But for those of you who aren’t, stay with me. I’m looking at people like you, Mother. The kind of people that scoff at green smoothies and kale salads (“Ew. You don’t actually drink those, do you?” my mother ALWAYS says when green smoothies are brought up.) The reason this recipe may seem weird is because the word ‘fudgsicle’ usually congers up images of pre-packed, ice cream laden, milky wonderfulness. But what if I told you that we could achieve that creaminess without the ice cream? Without even the milk. In this recipe, we use avocados as the “cream” base but still load it (of course) with chocolate and [natural] sugar (delicious delicious agave).

The cocoa does a wonderful job of taking over the flavor AND color so you don’t have to worry about trying to force feed your friends a weird greenish looking ice pop. In fact, they probably won’t even be able to taste the avocado at all if you don’t mention it!

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Oh… and did I mention that these little pops are HEALTHY?! Forget that post-dairy bloatedness that often comes with consuming a pint of ice cream. These little pops are loaded with omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin B6, and vitamin E (just to name a few wonderful things found in avocados). So instead of feeling guilty about reaching for that popsicle in the fridge after dinner, you can get excited about getting an extra punch of nutrients while eating your dessert!

I rolled my popsicles in coconut, chopped pistachios, and sprinkles but feel free to have fun with it. Use whatever nuts you have on hand or roll them in something you know your boyfriend will love (butterscotch chips? chopped hazelnut? dried blueberries? potato chips?).

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Raw Vegan Fudgsicles

Makes 4 large fudgsicles (this will vary depending on the size of your popsicle molds)
  • 2 large ripe avocados (3 if they are small)
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder (most are vegan but double check before purchasing)
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • dash of vanilla extract
  • ~1/4 cup water

Topping suggestions: 

  • chopped pistachios
  • shredded coconut

Use a mixer to blend together the avocados, cocoa powder, agave nectar, vanilla extract, and water. Blend until light and fluffy – if stiff then add a little more water. Divide among popsicle molds and let set in the freezer for at least 5 hours (I let mine sit overnight… just to be safe).

Enjoy once frozen or roll slightly softened popsicle in nuts, coconut, or both.

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Coriander Hummus

Posted on: June 17, 2013

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Did everyone have a fantastic Father’s day? What wonderful thing did you do for our Father? I drove eight hours to see Fleetwood Mac in Chicago with my Father on Friday (although…he paid for the ridiculously over-priced tickets so we are probably even). My father ALWAYS had a Fleetwood Mac album on in the car when I was little and it’s one of the rare moments I remember singing and dancing with him. It was awesome growing up on Fleetwood Mac, I’ve always wanted to see Stevie Nicks in person and she did not disappoint.

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Here’s a simple hummus recipe for you. I decided to put the ‘flavoring’ in the top and keep the hummus itself super basic (mmmm garlic garlic hummus). You don’t HAVE to peel the chickpeas but I read about doing it over at Smitten Kitchen a few months back and am totally hooked. I’ve ruined 2 blenders by overheating them when making hummus and this takes the majority of the work off the blender. Plus, it leaves your hummus so smooth that you’ll never need the store bought stuff again.

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Coriander Hummus

  • 1 15 oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/8 cup olive oil

 

  • 1/4 cup coriander seeds, toasted and crushed (instructions below)*
  • 3 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped

 

Peel the chickpeas by lightly pinching the bean and the outer shell should come right off in one big peel. Repeat with the rest of the chickpeas. Transfer the beans, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, water, and olive oil in a blender (or food processor) and blend until smooth. Taste and season with salt, pepper, or more lemon juice. Transfer hummus to a big bowl.

Place the coriander seeds in a saucepan over medium low heat. Stir constituently for about two minutes or until they are fragrant and lightly browned. Remove from heat and immediately transfer to a mortar and pestle to crush. Sprinkle crushed coriander seeds over the hummus followed by sprinkling the cilantro.

Serve with pita and fresh veggies.

 

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Searchable Saturdays

Posted on: June 8, 2013

       

1. CRAVING /// Have you seen this Roasted Apricot Buttermilk Ice Cream with Almond Streussel from Reclaiming Provincial?! Yup – dayummm! Summer fever has hit me hard and I have began a ridiculously large collection of ice cream and popsicle recipes..

2. CREATING /// The Vanilla Bean posted some wonderful pictures of making lilac sugar. I love using flowers in baking (makes your baked goods so so fancy!) or perfect way to add some extra fragrance in your afternoon tea.

3. INSPIRING /// I don’t usually save ‘inspirational’ quotes but this picture has stuck with me for some time. I often times get worked up over work and have problems letting it go – this picture reminds me that I often times get sucked into a situation and ‘go a little mad’; getting creative with doing something out of the normal helps reminds me I can remove myself from this funk. My way of removing myself is by hiking, baking, cooking, camping, and being out in nature.

4. DREAMING /// My dream is to eventually own my own bakery. Until I have the money and find a wonderful town lacking fresh breads and treats, I can only dream and prep. I’ve contemplating taking some bread baking and pastry classes to help expand my cooking knowledge.

 

Hope you have a wonderful weekend! I’m off to do some thrifting and pick up some fresh produce at the farmer’s market.

 

PS Have you checked out my new logo in the top corner? It’s totally different from all those ‘minimalist’ logos that are out in the food world right now and I love it. I asked Wyatt’s brother to draw me a picture of two vegetables having fun canoeing together and this is what he came up with. It’s a weird mix between a children’s book cover and DIY zine style – I love it!

Poached Plums WIth Vanilla Bean Greek Yogurt & Dulce de Leche

Posted on: June 4, 2013

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Being an aspiring baker is hard. Sometime I wonder if it’d be easier to just hide the sugar from myself instead of whipping up a batch of 4 dozen cookies on impulse. What single couple needs FOUR DOZEN cookies? I usually eat 1 and a half followed by Wyatt and the dog eating maybe another 4. Such a sad sad waste. This also sometimes ends up being the case with pies – it’s hard to make a portion controlled pie when you have a pan that comes in large and X-large.

Portion control is one of the main reason I’ve been so in love with poaching and roasting fruit lately. It’s super easy and simple to just poach a single plum and add more if someone happens to drop in. No worrying about who I’m going to give an half eaten pie to anymore or if I’ll have to throw away those stale cookies from two weeks ago.

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Have you ever had Dulce de Leche? But have you had it homemade?? It’s an Argentinan caramel that can be made with only one ingredient. Yup, one ingredient. There are about 20 billion (exaggeration) ways to make it according to google. These methods vary from using the microwave, stove-top, or the oven. Even one method is called “The Bomb” in which you put an entire can into the oven and cook (I would cautious against using this method..). I don’t own a microwave so that option was out of the equation for me. I was into doing the stove-top method but many recipes called for anywhere between 2 and 6 hours of stirring and well…I wanted Dulce de Leche like.. now. I chose the oven method because it’s the fastest and most hands off. It’s actually as simple as making a sauce can get – pour everything into an oven proof pan and bake. Boom. Easy.

Lastly, I have to admit something. I could not decide on a name for this recipe. I knew it was going to be long and filled with wonderfully sweet words but I couldn’t settle on which ones. At my day job I have to be very particular and consistent in my writing. This means I’m over being consistent and will do whatever I want on my blog..because well… I can. So call it whatever you want but just remember that in the end it’s a big plate full of bright fruit, irresistible dulce de leche, creamy yogurt, and loaded with spices like vanilla and cinnamon.

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Poached Plums With Vanilla Bean Greek Yogurt & Dulce Le Leche

Serves 2
  • 2 plums, sliced in half and pits removed
  • 1 cup Chobani plain or honey yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 vanilla bean, sliced lengthwise and split in half
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 14 ounce can condensed milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place the condensed milk in a glass oven-safe pan and cover with aluminum foil. Then place that pan in a large oven-safe pan. Fill the larger pan with water so that the condensed milk pan is submerged – leave room in the pan for the water to boil but make sure it’s filled up enough that it’s above the milk level.

Cook for an hour to an hour and a half. Check frequently and add more water as needed. Mine took close to 1 1/2 hours but my oven is slow so I’d recommend checking it after an hour. Carefully remove from oven once it turns a light caramel color and stir. Set aside.

Fill a small saucepan with just enough water that the plum halves will be submerged. Add the cinnamon stick and half the vanilla bean. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and add the plums. Let them only cook for about 2 minutes (time will vary depending on ripeness) – enough to soften but not so much that they become mushy. Once poached, remove using a slotted spoon.

Remove the vanilla beans by scraping out the inside of the other half vanilla pod with a knife. Discard the pod and transfer vanilla beans to a small bowl with the Chobani yogurt, cinnamon, and honey. Whisk until combined.

To assemble: Scoop a dollop of yogurt over the plums and drizzle with dulce le leche.

If the dulce le leche has hardened then use a double boiler to re-melt.

 

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Loaded Hibiscus Arnold Palmers

Posted on: June 2, 2013

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Somewhere down the line I picked up this habit of “loading” my drinks with fruit and herbs. I could probably link this on my mother for exposing me to sangria at such an early age. Or blame it on drinking the same boring glass of soda water for lunch for over a year that I was bound to start throwing extra things into it. Either way – I’m hooked. There is something so elegant and fancy about adding a little bits of color and infusion into your everyday drinks. And it’s a great way to use up fruits and herbs leftover in your fridge – wilted herbs will perk up when placed in water so no need to waste your good ones on this drink!

This Hibiscus Arnold Palmer is summer in a glass. Not only is it full of homemade lemonade and fresh iced tea but it’s also chocked full of lemon slices, blueberries, and mint leaves. Heck, if I would have had cucumber lying around then I could have thrown that in there too!

Do you drink hibiscus tea? 99% of tea that I drink is in the winter and hibiscus is one of the few I reserve for iced tea and summer picnics. If you don’t have much experience with hibiscus tea then I would recommend the Republic of Tea’s Natural Hibiscus – it’s wonderfully delicious and makes a mean iced tea. And no, I’m not endorsed by them (other than that fact that I buy their product) so feel free to give me suggestions if you have a better hibiscus tea to try! There are supposed to be many health benefits links to this tea as well – ranging from lowering blood pressure to being chocked full of antioxidants.

I do hope to make my own hibiscus tea from scratch in the near future for you guys but until the flowers bloom like crazy on my plant – store bought tea will have to suffice. I do, however, make the lemonade from scratch in this recipe to guarantee a fresh and dizzying lemon punch. The following recipe uses agave as the sweetener in the simple syrup but feel free to use equal parts sugar if that is what you have on hand. Also, I keep mine pretty tart so if you like it sweeter than up the agave ratio or add more agave at the end to adjust flavor.

 

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Loaded Hibiscus Arnold Palmer

  • 1 cup lemon juice (from 4 large lemons) + extra sliced lemon for garnish
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar
  • 3 1/3 cups filtered water
  • 4 cups prepared hibiscus tea, cooled
  • handful of mint leaves, for garnish
  • 1/2 cup blueberries, for garnish

 

In a small saucepan, combine 1/3 cup water with 1/3 cup agave syrup. Bring to a boil, stir until combined, and let simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a pitcher.

Juice the 4 lemons and transfer juice to the pitcher. Add the extra 3 cups of water to dilute the lemonade. Pour in the prepared hibiscus tea and garnish with lemon slices, blueberries, and mint leaves.

Serve over ice at your next cookout or picnic adventure.

 

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Maple Almond GORP // The Adventure’s Food

Posted on: May 31, 2013

As mentioned on Tuesday, we spent last weekend exploring the forest wonders of Wisconsin. We went hiking and can0ing and swimming (Yes, Wyatt’s brother has cheetah hair)…

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It was a beautiful and relaxing adventure. However, traveling with a group of Midwestern families, I was nervous about the eating situation. There are still many places that don’t realize ‘vegetarian’ means not eating fish or chicken. And Midwest fast food doesn’t necessarily cater to vegetarians with their bland ice burg lettuce salads and sugar drenched parfaits. I decided to take the situation into my own hands by whipping up some homemade chex mix, stuffing as many sparkling water cans into my purse as possible, and baking a pan of GORP.

Why GORP? I don’t have fond memories of preparing it at summer camp or munching on it during Girl Scout outings. We never backed it during family road trips or enjoyed a big bowl at 4th of July. I guess this lack of GORP in my childhood made me curious of what I was missing out on. Plus, a friend told me that my Cinnamon Quinoa Granola reminded them of GORP – portable, high-protein granola? I’m in.

Say hello to my new favorite road trip snack. This stuff lasted me the whole four days since a big scoop is pretty filling. I would suggest this for anyone going on a long car ride, camping trip, hiking, or anyone in need of a high-protein snack. I put coated chocolate in this recipe (hey, I was on vacation after all) which I found helped the chocolate from melting. Feel free to adjust this anyway you see fit. For me, I’m not a big raisen person so I snuck dried cranberries in there instead.

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MAPLE ALMOND GORP

  • 1 1/2 cups oats
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup cranberries
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 vanilla bean, sliced in half
  • 1 cup candy coated chocolate or chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the maple syrup with the split vanilla bean in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let the vanilla bean steap for ten minutes. After ten minutes, remove vanilla bean.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the coconut flakes, almonds, oats, cranberries, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour maple syrup mixture over everything and stir to combine. Transfer to a baking sheet and cook for 15 minutes.
Let cool completely before folding in chocolate. Store in an airtight container or plastic bag and adventure away!

 

 

Cabin In The Woods

Posted on: May 28, 2013

We ditched work last Friday and headed to a cabin in the woods for our long Memorial weekend. Wyatt has family who owns a Wisconsin lake home. We had been promised hours of swimming, boat rides, and tubing. Unfortunately, the weather never rose above 60 and we had to improvise. I did manage to get out of my comfort zone by hanging out with some lamas, riding on a 4 wheeler for the first time, and eating obscene amounts of velveeta cheese (which was kind of a mistake.. but I’d probably do it again).

We couldn’t do much exploring close to the cabin because they were having problems with ticks and bears (another weird experience for us – I can’t be the only one that thinks this is strange, right?). We were, however, able to build campfire down by the water and enjoy the dock. We also adventured to a nearby State Park (Interstate Park) and did some major hiking. Here are some snapshots from the weekend:

 

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What did YOU do for the long weekend?

 

Mango Cucumber Salsa

Posted on: May 22, 2013

It’s finally time! After five loooong, cold months – fresh produce is back! And I’m not talking about those root vegetables that taste like dirt (sorry, beets. You just don’t do it for me). I’m talking about spinach that was picked earlier that day and strawberries that were carried on a truck from down the street.

This salsa is great in it’s simplicity. It’s wonderful when produce is so fresh that you don’t need a ton of added ingredients. Dip this salsa in tortilla dips or use as a topping for tacos, veggie burgers, or anything else that sounds delicious!

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Cucumber Mango Salsa

  • 1 mango, peeled and diced (pit removed)
  • 1 red chili pepper, diced
  • 1/2 english cucumber, diced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • juice from half a lime
  • 10 mint leaves, chopped
  • squirt of sriracha (optional, add if you’d like to add a hint of heat)

Combine the mango, pepper, cucumber, cumin and mint in a bowl. Squeeze the lime juice over the salsa and stir until everything is coated. Season with salt and sriracha.

 

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Mini Strawberry Chocolate Tart with Whipped Goat Cheese & Basil Micro Greens

Posted on: May 19, 2013


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Let’s talk about micro greens. Do you eat them? Do you grow them? To be perfectly honest, I had not had much experience with them before this spring. After planting my two gardens, I was still left with tons of seeds until I rememberd an article my Grandma sent me a few months back about using extra seeds to make micro greens. The process is simple and only takes between 7 and 14 days to grow. So while you are sitting around waiting for those tomato plants to produce fruit three months down the road, you could have already harvested six rounds of micro greens!

 

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For this recipe, I used basil micro greens which complimented the strawberries wonderfully. It tasted like summer in every bite. I’ve found the basil micro greens to be the most flavorful so far but the swiss chard is the prettiest. With tiny strips of pink, yellow, and red…it’s hard to resist not topping everything with them. If you are into the idea of making your own micro greens, check out Claire’s post on it here or hop on over to Organic Gardening for their step by step tutorial.

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Also, on the topic of new things, I was at the farmer’s market earlier today and my friend mentioned how her boyfriend eats the strawberries with the stems on. I immediately asked if she had told me he wasn’t supposed to do that and she laughed. She then went on to tell me that although it’s not standard, it’s in fact totally okay to eat the stems and that she has no right telling him not to do it. I didn’t believe her. After much research (aka – hopping on my iPhone), I discovered that I was completely wrong.  MIND BLOWN. AND…this was a game changer! I loved sliced strawberries but they are so much more beautiful whole. Hence the reason i kept them whole in this recipe…you can totally dig into the ENTIRE strawberry. BUT, if that is too weird for you (it’s okay, I totally understand) then feel free to chop the strawberries into thin slices or chunks.

If you’d like to just make one regular pie size version instead of two miniature, just double the recipe below.

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Macaroni Salad

Posted on: April 10, 2013

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For me, the biggest parts about giving up certain foods is the association. I doubt any [sane] person would pass up a piece of their favorite chocolate cake. Why? Because that slice taste more than just delicious. It triggers a reminder of the gitty feeling they used to get when they woke up on their birthday as a child. It triggers that memory of friend and family standing around while they opened presents. It triggers the smell of their grandma after giving her a big hug goodbye. It’s so much more than about the endorphins that our bodies create from the chocolate. It’s about the associations.

That is why I could never give up macaroni salad. It is what we always ate at grill outs when I was a child. There was something about the unique tang from the mayonnaise that has always stuck with me. For me, it triggers those memories of being around friends and family. And catching fireflies in my jar at dusk. The smell of the grill and of the sunset. It’s a calming feeling that comes over me when I take a bite and its a feeling I don’t want to forget.

Perhaps for me, the reason the association is so strong is because I don’t “cook” with mayonnaise very often. Or eat it in my daily diet at all. That is to say, when I do taste it then it brings me back to those summer days.

I was tempted to call this ‘healthified’ macaroni salad but I decided that would be misleading. It would still be healthier to munch down on some slices of fresh fruit. Or some grilled veggies and hummus. Or a big spinach salad with sliced almonds. But it is slightly healthier than the one you are going to pick up from the deli. I didn’t want to alter this recipe too much or remove the mayonnaise (probably the unhealthiest part) because I wanted it to taste exactly like I remember it. With that being said, I did only make HALF the amount of dressing most recipes called for and the pasta still absorbed the flavor just as well. And I added a few extra veggies for good measure. But other than that, this recipe is going to taste exactly like it did back when your father would pick it up from the deli.

Don’t worry – there will be lots of ‘new’ and seasonal salads to come in the summer months here on VV but I had to get this traditional one out of my system. Go on, why don’t you whip this up and feed your inner child as well?

Do you have any associations with food that you could never let go off?

 

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Macaroni Salad

adapted from Old Time Cooking Recipes
  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni (I used whole wheat and couldn’t tell)
  • 1 small onion, chopped (tip: let the chopped onion sit in water for 10 minutes to take the bite out of it)
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 tablespoons pickle relish
  • 1 cup mayonaisse (I like the Mayo made with Olive Oil but use whatever you have on hand)
  • 1 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar (keep the sugar out in case you want to add more  at the end if you like it a little sweeter)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds

Cook macaroni according to package directions.

To make the hard boiled eggs: Place the eggs in a small saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, let simmer for one minutes and then remove from heat. Cover and let sit in the warm water for 12 minutes.

Combine the macaroni, onion, celery, eggs, bell pepper, and carrots in a large serving bowl. In another bowl, make the dressing by combining the relish, mayo, vinegar, sugar, mustard, salt, and celery seeds. Fold the dressing into pasta/veggie mixture. Stick in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.

Once chilled, check for flavor. Adjust flavor by adding more salt, sugar, or pepper.

Serve at your next grill out or bring to a friends house (this serves 4+).

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Berry Brioche Muffins

Posted on: April 9, 2013

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I love making bread. On any given rainy Sunday, you will most likely find me in the kitchen kneading up something delicious. Whether it’s beer bread or pumpernickel or cinnamon rolls will all depend on my mood. There is something I find soothing about watching the dough slowly rise. Or kneading the batter with your bare hands. Or feeling like you are conducting a science experiment in your kitchen. Or starting with a huge pile of flour and ending with a crusty ball of deliciousness. Whatever it is, it soothes me and I find myself turning to bread making in moments where I crave relaxation the most.

This is also the reason I often times make the same cinnamon rolls or beer bread. When relaxing, I don’t want to have read through a 3 page recipe four times over. I want to be able to get lost in stirring and pound of my frustration through kneading.  I had come across a brioche recipe in a Food Network cookbook a few months back and it was 5 pages long. FIVE. The ingredients list was extensive and there were several randevues with the mixer (sorry but I prefer the old fashion way. This both makes me lazy because I don’t want to clean the mixer and a BA because I knead the dough by hand). It left a bad taste in my mouth and made me write off sweet brioche as too much work.

That was until Pinterest told me last week that I could make brioche in a slow cooker. In a slow cooker, really? How hard could a slow cooker recipe be?! So that triggered lots of brioche research (AKA google searching) and I came across Artisan Bread in Five. It’s a wonderful resource for any breadmaker and lays out some of the best instructions on how to make delicious bread I’ve ever come across. I’ve only gawked at their blog but am very excited to try out some of their cookbooks as well. I can only imagine!

I suggest making the dough the night before so you can just let it rise for an hour in the muffins pan the next day and bake them right up. That will cut down on 2+ hours of rising time.

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Berry Brioche Buns

Dough adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1/2 tablespoon yeast
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup Mixed berries
  • 1/4 sugar

Mix the yeast and warm water in a bowl. Let sit for five minutes or until it starts to foam. Add in the salt, eggs, honey, and butter. Add 4 cups of flour and mix with a spoon until incorporated. Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise for two hours.

After it has risen, chill the dough so that it is easier to work with. I let mine chill overnight but feel free to just let chill for an hour or so.

Grease a 12 muffin pan and divide the dough evenly between the tins. Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise for one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Press a few berries into each muffin (make sure to really get them in there so they don’t pop out) and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 20 minutes or until the brioche is brown on top.

Remove from oven and let cool. Sprinkle with cocoa powder or powdered sugar.

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Citrus Thyme Cocktail

Posted on: April 3, 2013

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I usually post in the mornings but a happy hour post seemed appropriate with this cocktail recipe. I reserve the winters for beer and baileys and mulled wine. But as the sun starts to show itself and the days are taking their time to set, I’m getting anxious for warm weather cocktails. You know – those cocktails loaded with so many fresh herbs and smashed fruit that you can almost convince yourself it’s healthy.

Well, I know it’s a little early for summer rituals but I had this ginger citrus infused rum to use up somehow! So over the weekend, I talked my boyfriend into firing up the grill, whipped up some pasta salad, and picked out the healthiest looking herb I could find at the co-op (which, surprisingly, happened to be thyme). We enjoyed an early dinner filled with veggie hot dogs, this citrus thyme cocktail, and watching our dog chase the birds out of our [new] bird feeder. It didn’t have the lingering warmth that summer grill outs tend to have but it sure felt closer than we’ve been in six months.

I may be jumping the gun on summer with the thyme but this cocktail is a perfect spring drink. The winter citrus is still lingering (you may even still be able to find blood oranges for this recipe!) and the soda water keeps this drink light compared to all those lagers you’ve been sucking down in these winter months.

Also, don’t forget to check out my post on how to infuse the rum with ginger and citrus!

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Citrus Thyme Cocktail

  • 1 1/2 ounces of Ginger Citrus Infused Rum
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice (orange or lemon would be wonderful too)
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • Sparkling Water (I used about 5 ounces but use more or less depending on how strong you like your cocktail)
  • Sprigs of Thyme
  • Slices of citrus

In a shaker, mix the rum, lime juice, honey, and water. Place in a cocktail glass with ice. Garnish with citrus and thyme.

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Music Pairing:

Ginger Citrus Infused Rum

Posted on: April 2, 2013

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So remember when I made that Blueberry Basil Infused Vodka? Well, it was awesome. So awesome that I needed to play around with more infusions. From what I had read, you only get better batches each time you try since it’s all about getting used to how long certain herbs/fruits need to sit for.

This time around I used a combination of citrus (Blood oranges, lemon, lime) and slices of ginger. I let this batch sit for a week and half in the fridge (which was a little longer than the vodka) and added more ginger a few times throughout the process. The results? Success!

 
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Again, don’t forget to sample the mixture every day or two so that you know when to add more citrus or ginger and when it’s ready. Also, the infusion process can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks – it all depends on your flavor profile. Some herbs/fruits release their flavors faster than others so be patient and make sure to experiment. For more tips on how to infuse alcohol, hop on over to my original post about it.

Also, my last tip is that you use organic citrus for this. This is because the peel is where the pesticides are exposed to and the alcohol will be absorbing all the flavors (and pesticides) from the peel. Perhaps the alcohol kills these pesticides but we don’t really know…so why not be safe instead of sorry? And plus, shopping organic is cool – do it!

 

Ginger Citrus Infused Vodka

Ginger Citrus Infused Rum

  • Peel from 1 organic orange, washed
  • Peel from 1 organic lemon, washed
  • Peel from 1 organic lime, washed
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced
  • 2 cups clear rum

Place peels and ginger in a resealable jar. Top with rum, seal, and place in fridge. Shake daily and sample at least every other day. Add more citrus/ginger as needed. Should be ready after about a week! Enjoy!

 

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I served mine with a refreshing Thyme cocktail that I will post tomorrow. Make sure to check back!

 

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Song Pairing:

 

Wild Rice & Wheatberry Grain Salad

Posted on: April 1, 2013

  Wild Rice and wheatberry grain salad

 

Helloooo, April. April Fools has always been one of my favorite holidays. I’m ruthless about it. My childhood pranks consisted of unplugging the fridge and turning the house upside down in the name of ‘Aprils Fools’. My teenage April fools jokes only got more cruel – from telling my mother I was pregnant to calling my father crying about dropping out of school. I was just plain awful.

I feel a little unprepared today. I usually have a list of pranks that I spend the day playing on people. But this year I have nothing. No silly string was bought in advance and no text messages were craftily worded out. I wonder if I’m loosing my touch? I think I’m just having a hard time drawing the line between what are acceptable pranks at my age? If I was to trash a house then I’d have to clean it up – sooo… jokes on me (and we all know that’s no fun). Do any of you guys have some really good pranks planned today?

Anyhow, so I feel the need to point out that April Fools has nothing to do with this salad. I just wanted to talk about April fools. And now I want to talk about salads (I can do…you know, pick topics…because it’s my blog). So we are going to talk about grain salads.

The lettuce has been looking pretty sad at my co-op these past few months so I’ve been turning to grain salads more and more for my lunches. They are portable, easy to make a big batch ahead of time, and super filling.

If I could, I would eat wheat berries for every meal. They are wonderfully chewy and filling and stuffed full of fiber. However Wyatt isn’t a big fan so I’ve been hiding them along with other grains. It’s been working out wonderfully! They give a hidden chewiness to the salad that makes you work a little harder and leaves you feeling more satisfied! This salad is on the sweet side because of the maple syrup so I would suggest serving it with a side of almond butter and toast. Or if you want something savorier, swap out the maple syrup and orange juice for balsamic vinegar. Don’t be afraid to play around here!

 

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Wild Rice & Wheat Berry Grain Salad with Dried Cranberries & Almond

  • 2/3 cup wild rice, rinsed
  • 1 cup wheat berries, rinsed
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped almond
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • juice from half an orange
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • Salt / Pepper, to taste

First, prepare the grains. Place the wheatberries in 3 cups of water and let simmer for 45 minutes. Place the wild rice in an pot with 2 1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Once the wild rice water is boiling, reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 30 minutes. Drain both the pots (if there is any water leftover after the wild rice has absorbed it) and set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium. Add the onions and saute for about five minutes (or until softened). Add in the garlic and saute for another minute. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, mix the wild rice, wheat berries, and onion mixture with the rest of the ingredients. Serve right away or stick in the fridge for an hour to help the flavors meld together.

 

Wild Rice and wheat berries

 

PS – Want to turn this lunch salad into dinner? Why not stuff a roasted acorn squash with it?

Searchable Saturdays

Posted on: March 23, 2013

Hello Weekend! The sun shining outside is tricking me into thinking it’s warmer than 20 degrees out. Oh spring – where are you??! Ah well. Here are some inspirational links from the week..

 

   

 

1. CRAVING /// I am starting to feel the spring cleaning urge coming on but refuse to do anything until it’s warm enough to open my windows and let the fresh air in. More than cleaning, I am looking forward to ‘freshening’ up the look of our house. I have thoughts of new wall artwork, more more more hanging plants, and new rugs.

2. INSPIRATION /// Most of my food inspiration came from looking at menus last week when we were traveling. It’s wonderful to see what crazy combinations restaurants have come up with. Since I’ve been back from Florida, I’ve been scoping the internet looking up menus from all over the world. This picture is of a place in Seattle called Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery. There menu is a mouthwatering list of boozy shakes, chocolate cakes, and seasonal items.

3. CREATING /// Even though it’s still super cold here, I am hoping to start planning my seeds indoors this weekend. In addition to my usual herb and vegetable seeds, I am planning to try growing ginger and potatoes from already grown produce. Why not? I’m still rather new to gardening so I plan to do lots of experimenting this time around.

4. LUSTING /// I’ve fallen head over heels for the blog My New Roots. Every recipe sounds so refreshing and delicious, I cannot wait to cook my way through her website!

Lentil Meatball Subs

Posted on: March 22, 2013

Lentil Meatball Subs

 

Lentils are known for being a good source of protein, increasing energy, helping with digestion, maintaining good cholesterol, and so many other important dietary needs. So, of course, these inciting benefits make me want to cram as much lentil’s into my diet as possible. Although I enjoy a big bowl of Lentil soup now and then, my palette often longs for some variety. So I’m on a new hunt to conquer more lentil recipes without taking the easy way out and making soup. This recipe was my first attempt on this new journey. And damn – it is delicious!

I made a sub out of these with delicious meatballs but I don’t plan on stopping there. With the leftovers there are talks of spaghetti and ‘meatballs’ or ‘mostacholi’ bakes. Also, I cannot wait to make these again in appetizer form and serve them on cute little sticks with a Sweet Pepper Aoili or a cilantro dipping sauce. The options are endless with these little balls!

These do take a little time because there are several rounds of cooling processes but it’s totally worth it. And these freeze super well! The recipe below easily feeds 4-6 so if there are only 2 of you then I’d suggest freezing the rest for an easy spaghetti weeknight meal.

 

 Lentil Meatball Subs

 

Lentil Meatball Subs

Adapted from The New York Time’s Wellness Blog

For the meatballs:

  • 2 cups lentils
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs

 

For the subs:

  • Tomato Sauce (I used my homemade sauce)
  • Baguette
  • Gouda Cheese (fresh mozzarella would be wonderful too)
  • Fresh basil or oregano, for garnish

 

Place the lentils in a saucepan with 8 cups of water. Let the water come to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils are soft but not falling apart. Remove from heat and drain. Let cool.

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium. Add the onions, carrots, and celery and let cook for about ten minutes (or until they begin to brown). Next, add in the garlic, thyme, and a little bit of salt. Let cook for another minutes. Add tomato paste and stir for three minutes. Then add in the mushroom and continue to cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed (about 15 minutes). Remove from heat and let cool.

Combine the cooled lentils with the cooked vegetable and add the Parmesan, eggs, and breadcrumbs. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease a 13×9 inch pan. Using clean hands, roll the mixture into golf ball size (smaller if you want to use them as appetizers) balls and place on greased baking sheet. Continue with the rest of the batter.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the meatballs start to brown on top.

To assemble: Take two pieces of baguette and slice them down the middle (but leave a little piece at the bottom still attached). Press the baguette open and stick slices of Gouda on each bottom followed by meatballs and sauce. Stick under the broiler for a minute or until the cheese has melted. Top with fresh basil or oregano and server fresh!

I served mine with Parmesan Thyme Sweet Potatoes and it was fantastic!

 

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