Saturday, February 13, 2010

Quick Recipes

Here are the notes I took when we talked about quick recipes at Emily's last month. I'd be happy to edit this post with any others you'd like to add, or you could create your own list and link to this post. This is one we'll surely want to add to...

  • Toast sesame, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds and set aside. Sauté cooked chunks of sweet potatoes in coconut oil with cumin, paprika, garlic granules, salt and pepper. Toss seeds back in and stir to coat. Serve warm or cold.
  • Cook Asian rice noodles. Chop veggies, garlic, and ginger and stir fry with protein in toasted sesame oil. Add cooked noodles to stir fry and toss to coat.
  • Quinoa and vegetables
  • Black beans, squash or sweet potatoes, cheese (optional), quesadillas
  • Cooked beans mixed with pesto pureed into a dip
  • White bean, olive oil, parmesan dip
  • Grated carrots (optional burdock) with dressing: tamari or shoyu, rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds
  • Canned salmon or tuna into burgers with sautéed veggies
  • Wilted green salad (dump sautéed garlic, nuts and salt over greens)
  • Miso soup with udon noodles (wide noodles)
  • Fried rice with egg and veggies
  • Leftover rice in a bowl with some veggies; pour hot tea or broth over it
  • Noodle or grain with peanut sauce and pan fried protein and boiled veggies (Almond Ginger Drizzle online)
  • Fried eggs with leftover rice and greens
  • Baked eggs in polenta nests (3.5 cups water to 1 c. polenta for quick cooking; with salt; cook about 15 minutes)
  • Leftover rice and lentils with veggies into a burger

What can we have for snack?

Here's the list of snack ideas generated at our first meeting (at least, what I wrote down). If you have ideas to add to this list, you can either email me and I'll edit this post, or you could create your own post and include a link to this one in it.
  • popcorn (popped in coconut oil with spirulina and brewer's yeast)
  • almond butter on nori
  • "energy balls" of raw cocoa powder, date paste, nuts/ nut butter, seeds, spirulina, etc.
  • fried mush (leftover porridge plus egg, fried like a pancake)
  • nuts and dried fruit (offer nuts second to help get fruit off teeth)
  • celery sticks with cream cheese/ nut butter/ ants on a log
  • stuffed dates
  • lettuce wraps
  • leftover roasted veggies dipped in bean dip, etc.
  • mochi
  • thin sliced taters/ sweet taters, baked
  • parmesan melted on whatever healthy treat
  • homemade crackers from the nourishing traditions cookbook, dipped in bean dip, etc.
  • avocado cocoa powder pudding

Friday, February 12, 2010

Carrot Timbales

I found this recipe in an old Kitchen Gardener magazine I was looking through for a crafts project. They make fun individual portions. Next time I might make it into a single soufflé just to be quicker.

I forgot to save a carrot for the decorative top (see below), and when I turned mine out they stuck, so the flower might be both decorative and functional.
  • 1 1/4 lbs. carrots, peeled
  • 3 Tbs. oil or butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt
  • parsley or scallion for garnish

Thinly slice all but one carrot. Cook the sliced carrots, with the oil or butter, in a heavy, covered saucepan over a low flame for 30-40 minutes. Allow the carrots to cool slightly, then purée.

Preheat the oven to 325. Stir the eggs, salt, and paprika into the puréed carrots. Add the yogurt and purée together for 1 minute.

Prepare six 1/2-cup timbales (I used 1/2 pint wide mouth mason jars) by greasing them lightly with butter. Using a sharp knife, cut five or six lengthwise grooves in the remaining carrot, then slice it horizontally so the pieces resemble flowers. Place a carrot "flower" in the bottom of each cup and add small pieces of parsley or scallions as "stems". The bottom of the cups will be the top of the finished timbale.

Carefully spoon the carrot purée into the cups until they are full. Place the cups in a pan just large enough to hold them all. Bring a kettle of water to a boil, then remove it from the head. Fill the pan with enough of the hot water to come 2/3 to 3/4 of the way up the sides of the timbales. Bake in the hot water bath for 30-35 minutes. Unmold gently by running a knife around the sides of the timbales. Serve warn or slightly chilled.

Valentine’s Raw Cacao Aphrodisiac Elixir

This sounds too good to be true! Have not tried it, but hope to soon. Much love!

Valentine’s Raw Cacao Aphrodisiac Elixir – You have to try it to believe it!
Courtesy of Jennifer Murray and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Raw

Every ingredient in this beverage is an aphrodisiac designed by nature to enhance your senses. This elixir is a marriage of flavor with none overpowering the others. Don’t omit the salt; it is the spark that lights the fuse.

Makes 4 cups

1 cup almonds
2 (3- in.) cinnamon sticks
1/4 tsp. whole cloves
6 green cardamom pods
1 tablespoon ginger, chopped small
4 cups water
4 dried figs, soaked in 1 cup filtered water
2 tablespoon raw cacao powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon rosewater
Pinch of salt

1. Place almonds, cinnamon sticks, cloves, cardamom pods, ginger, and 2 cups water in a blender, and blend, for 20 seconds gradually going from low speed to high speed, for 20 seconds. Pour mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Rinse the blender well, and return spiced water to the blender.

2. Add figs, and fig soak water, cacao powder, vanilla extract, rosewater, salt, and remaining 2 cups water. Blend on low speed for 20 to 30 more seconds more or until figs are well blended.

(Amy's note ~ I'm guessing that soaking the almonds overnight would be a good idea :)

Slow Cooker Red Lentil Dhal

Emily's post on red lentil tomato soup (which I have made and LOVE) reminded me of this favorite slow cooker recipe. Crock pot meals can be tricky for me-- as easy as they are, the results can be a bit like "cafeteria food" (to quote my husband). This one seems to work for us for some reason.

A few tweaks:
1) I use more liquid than called for, perhaps double if it fits. It seems my slow cooker tends to let off quite a bit of steam.
2) I replace the water with homemade chicken stock.
3) You could add bits of cooked chicken to make it meatier (I know some of our guys prefer this).

Feel free to be flexible with whatever vegetables and spices you have on hand. I've never made this the same way twice, depending on what's in season.


  • 1 potato, cubed
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • ½ small cauliflower, florets separated
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • ½ red pepper, chopped
  • 1 zucchini
  • ~6 large mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1 cup some frozen peas


  • 1 ½ cups dry red lentils


  • 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 ½ tsp mustard powder
  • 3 tsp turmeric
  • 2 ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 3 slices ginger, thickly sliced
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • ground black pepper to taste


  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil or margarine
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 400ml water


  1. In the slow cooker, combine all of the vegetables except for the peas. Firmer vegetables should go at the bottom, mushy ones on top.
  2. Add lentils.
  3. Add spices.
  4. Add liquids.
  5. Cook for 7-9 hours on low, 3-4 hours on high or until the lentils have dissolved. Add the peas, cook for 10 minutes more.
  6. Serve with basmati rice, naan or other flat bread.

Creamy Rosemary, Tomato, and Lentil Soup

This is one of our go-to suppers for those evenings when we haven’t been to the store in awhile. When our hands are busy with the kids, the only real prep we have to do is chop the onion. I recommend that you make a triple batch so that you have some to freeze and some to eat the next day at lunch. We use olive oil or butter here, but I'm sure that you could some some other oil or fat if you prefer.

1 onion, chopped

a few cloves of garlic, minced

aromatic vegetables (carrots, celery, leeks, or whatever else you have on hand), chopped

olive oil or butter

1 32 oz. can tomatoes, with their juice

2 cups good chicken stock, or water

½ cup red lentils

salt to taste

large handful minced fresh rosemary (optional)

greens, roughly chopped (kale is a favorite here)

Heat some olive oil (scant ¼ cup?) in a soup pot. Add the onions, salt to taste, and cook over medium heat until softened but not browned. Add the garlic, rosemary and aromatic veg (if using), and allow the garlic to soften as well. Add tomatoes, lentils, and broth or water, salting to taste. Bring to a simmer and then turn heat to medium low (or whatever heat the soup simmers gently at on your stove). Simmer, partially covered, until the lentils are creamy and falling apart, (at least 1 1/2 hours for us). Do remember to stir the soup occasionally, though it doesn't need much attention if the heat is low enough. We often putter around the garden or go for a short walk after we get this going IF the heat is right. We've also put this in a 300 degree oven and gone for a longer walk: we call this the poor man's crockpot.

When the lentils are completely soft, check the seasonings and adjust as necessary. Puree with an immersion blender, or use a food mill or regular blender. If adding greens, return the soup to your saucepan and toss the chopped or torn greens on top. Turn up the heat to medium and steam the greens.

Sometimes we swirl a dollop of pesto or green goddess into each bowl for variety. Delicious with salmon broiled in herbed and oiled breadcrumbs and a salad of some kind.

Nut Butter Granola

I'm so excited to pick up my giant bag of oats tomorrow so that I can do some baking with my kids this weekend! Here is a recipe we tried recently and adapted to suit our tastes. (I can't remember where on the internet we found the original recipe. Let me know if you spot it!) We were baking something else in our oven when we made it, so we put all the granola in one baking sheet. Our results were chewy and stuck together quite well -- something like those granola recipes that call for an egg white. Because we baked it in one thick layer, we scored a few granola bars when the pan was just out of the oven, and left the rest for granola. If you're trying for granola bars instead of granola, you may want to skip the step of toasting the nuts and just stir some chopped nuts directly into your oat mixture before it goes in the oven.

I wanted to take a photo of this to post here, but it was gobbled up very quickly by my granola-loving family. This took only 20 minutes or so to prepare, and it was easy for my children to participate in the process.

1/2 - 1 cup nuts
4 tablespoons butter or coconut oil (optional)
2/3 cup nut butter
1/3 - 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
big glug of vanilla
salt to taste (optional)
6 cups rolled oats (or rolled barley, rye, etc.)
good handful of flax or other seeds
dried fruit, if desired (we added some precious home-grown and dried strawberries to delicious effect)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Toast nuts on a cookie sheet until lightly browned and pleasant-smelling. Spread them out to cool on a large cutting board and turn the heat up to 375.

While the nuts are toasting, melt the butter or coconut oil over medium-low heat in a 3 quart (or larger) saucepan. Add the nut butter, sweetener, vanilla, and salt to the pan and give everything a good stir. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the ingredients are well-combined.

Add the oats and seeds to your saucepan and stir well to combine. Spread the mixture out on one parchment-lined cookie sheet for granola bars, or two for standard granola. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Chop the toasted and cooled nuts, then set aside.

If making granola bars, score the granola mixture into sections with a butter knife while still warm. Or set the granola aside to cool completely, then break into chunks, combine with dried fruit and toasted nuts, and seal in a large jar.

We love this with yogurt and applesauce or chopped apples. Yum!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Lamb and Lima Bean Stew

This is adapted from Hazel Demarco’s Bean & Lamb Shank Soup.

  • 1 lb. dried lima beans (~2 cups)
  • 1 lb. lamb meat for stewing
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • salt
  • 4 c. chicken broth
  • 2 c. water
  • 3/4 c. finely chopped onion
  • 3/4 c. finely chopped carrots
  • 1/2 c. finely chopped celery (or omit/ replace it out of season)

  1. Soak beans overnight.
  2. In soup pot, brown lamb on all sides and pour off any fat.
  3. Drain and rinse beans, and add to lamb with garlic, broth and water.
  4. Cook partially covered, around 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add vegetables and salt and cook another 1/2 hour, stirring occasionally.
  6. Remove lamb pieces, cut into smaller pieces, and return to soup.
  7. Swirl in 2 Tbs. butter and serve.

Yields 6 servings.

NOTE: Can also use a lamb shank, cutting the meat off the bone in the final step. It may be cheaper and add flavor/ nutrients but it’s more work.

French Winter Beet Salad

This is from Fresh From the Garden Cookbook by Ann Lovejoy. It is well-liked by children, a nice balance of colors, and a good potluck item. It stores well in the fridge for a few days.


  • 3 crisp eating apples, peeled, cored & diced (I don't peel mine)
  • Juice of one organic lemon
  • 1 and 1/2 cups diced cooked beets
  • 1 cup walnut halves, toasted
  • 1 bunch flat Italian parsley, stemmed


  • grated zest of half to one organic lemon
  • 2 Tbs. wine vinegar (I like white or apple cider)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher or sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper

Prepare dressing:

In a jar, combine lemon zest, vinegar, oil, mustard, salt and pepper. Cover tightly, shake well to emulsify, and set aside.

Prepare salad:

In a serving bowl toss the apples gently with the lemon juice. Add the beets and walnuts, toss again with the dressing, and serve garnished with parsley.

Pop the champagne cork!

Welcome, cooking mamas! We should be able to post recipes, tips, questions, etc. for each other. Later in the week I plan to add some of our favorite soup recipes, and maybe our empanada recipe. Let's try to use the label feature each time we post something so that we can search our vast archives easily -- hah!

Email me if you have any questions.