Saturday, January 30, 2010

Cheesy Potato and Broccoli Soup

This was kind of....meh, but DS loved it! And I made it for the kids anyway. Every once and a while you'll see a super high in calorie recipe from me, this is because my children are stubborn and making them gain weight is a lot harder than one could imagine. More on that later I'm sure. This is another one pot dish....kind of...I also had to use a colander, and I used the pot twice. Once for steaming the veggies, and once for cooking the soup...
I also used a food processor...
So really probably not a one pot dish, but if I had an immersion blender it totally would have been...
I've always kind of sucked at math anyway, what do you expect this is a food blog, not a "let's make fun of the girl who doesn't know how to count to one"blog...

1 head of broccoli steamed
3 potatoes peeled and boiled to mashed potato consistency
4 cans of evaporated milk
2 tbs butter
1 pkg cream cheese
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
salt, pepper, garlic know the drill

Melt the butter on low heat with the cream cheese, meanwhile run the broccoli and potatoes through the food processor. Pour the vegetable mush (I know you're salivating already, right?) into the pot with the butter and cream cheese and mix thoroughly. Slowly pour in the evaporated milk mixing well. Cook on medium low until warm throughout, add cheddar cheese, add salt pepper and garlic salt to taste. You may notice there is no broth or stock in this recipe, I was trying to amp up the calories and protein of this dish, for the kiddos. For the average adult not looking to gain twenty pounds you could probably replace about half of the milk with broth.

Sugar Fast Day it normal to feel like stabbing people??

...The answer would be yes.
I have given up cane sugar for a week...kind of...I'm really sucking at it though. The idea is to retrain my taste buds so that I don't crave sugar as often, to eat more whole foods, and if weight loss is a side effect I would not mind that one bit. I've also started "The 30 Day Shred".
What prompted all of this?
Well my birthday is coming up, and I kind of loath my birthday. Adult birthdays suck monkeys, it's like the calendar is mocking me...
"You're older", it whispers
"and bigger than last year"......

I have some issues.

Beyond that, the fact that everyone insists on preceding the word "birthday" with the word "happy" is like a cruel joke. Maybe it would be happy if it weren't a reminder that I have spent another year thousands of miles away from my closest friends, but I just don't see the point in celebrating*. Other holidays don't do this to me, most are a celebration of love, or family, or the birth of Jesus, these are things I can get behind. Birthday cards might as well read "You're one year closer to adult diapers, and mandatory colonoscopies"...yes!!! Woo-hoo, party down. Someone break out the champagne.
Anyhoo...Back to the sugar fast thingie
I figure regardless of my views on birthdays there will be phone calls, and facebook messages, and cards, reminding me of the anniversary of my entrance to this world, and if nothing else I want to feel healthy and fit when I turn twenty five....for the third time.

* especially when "celebrating" in Mommy Land usually means sleeping an extra hour, and baking myself a cake....oooh the excitement.

Quick Chickpea and Potato Curry

I recently bought some Masala simmering sauce from Trader Joe's. I wanted to be blown away and I was not. Super sad face goes here--->, because I love TJ's and wanted a super quick curry for lunches.
Well with a wee bit of adjustment, adding things like fresh garlic and ginger I was able to give it a more homemade taste.

What you need
1 tbs olive oil
5 cloves garlic smashed and minced
1 onion diced
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 dash cayenne (or more to taste)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 Jar of masala simmer sauce
1 can chickpeas drained and rinsed
1 potato diced
2-3 handfuls of spinach (optional)
yogurt and chopped cilantro for garnish

In a large pot heat the oil. Add the onions, garlic, ginger, potatoes, and salt, cook for two minutes. Add the spices and cook for one more minute. Add the diced tomatoes, simmer sauce and chickpeas. Simmer covered until potatoes are cooked. Add the spinach and cook for a few more minutes. Serve topped with yogurt and cilantro....or not. This is also yummy on top of rice, but then it really isn't a one pot dish.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

One Pot Wonder Week

We just got back from a vacation, which means laundry, and catching up on housework, and errands, throw in a teething baby and the fact that it is tax season and you've got my life. Needless to say, I'm looking for things to make this week a little easier. Instead of relying on eating out, I like to use my crock-pot, OAMC, and one pot meals. The beauty of the one pot meal is that there is very little clean up, not a lot of multitasking, and often leftovers. In an attempt to catch up on house work I will be making one pot meals this week.

Garlicky Tortellini Soup

What you need:
1 tbs olive oil
1 box veggie broth (about four cups)
1 cup butternut squash puree (re purposing baby food is a new hobby of mine)
1 bulb of garlic, peeled, and put through a press
1 cup frozen spinach (totally optional if you are a spinichaphob)
1 pkg frozen peas
1 pkg of whatever filled pasta you desire, I accidentally bought regular tortellini, but this would be super yummy with a nice portabella mushroom ravioli
salt and garlic salt to taste

Are you ready for this......because this is very difficult....pour everything into a large pot, stir together, and cook following the directions on the back of the pasta......voila.

Behind the scenes.........
me: I don't know hunny, do you think I can fix this picture
hunny: Well it doesn't really do it justice
me: Well what about...
hunny: eeeeeesh, ya ok, go with the first one.
me: I'll just make it small then.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Chocolate Covered Almond (butter) Sandwich

We bought some almond butter today for half price....
It is about to go bad.
However I have a few recipes in mind that I have been wanting to try out so now I have the chance to do just that.

Chocolate Covered Almond(butter) Sandwich
Chocolate Covered Almond(butter) French Toast

There is no picture for this recipe...they were eaten too fast for my camera to catch on film. I will try again later.

2 slices whole wheat bread
almond butter
chopped up dark chocolate

Do I really need to put directions here? You all are intelligent people right? You know how to make a sandwich don't you? You put the almond butter and chocolate on the bread and you grill it like a grilled cheese sandwich, but instead of cheese it's dark, melty, creamy, chocolaty goodness and it's healthy, even if it isn't low cal. To make it vegan, just make sure that your bread and chocolate is vegan. To give it even more calories, dip the sandwich into French toast batter before cooking, and then sprinkle it with a mixture of cocoa powder, raw sugar, and a wee bit o cinnamon.

Cupcakes and Strawberry Ice Cream....for dinner

I love a good vegetarian meatloaf, and also a good why not combine the two??? Just what you were thinking right? I got the great idea to make cupcakes for dinner from my friend Katie, and it has quickly become a family favorite. The "strawberry ice cream" mashed potatoes were my addition, because there is nothing like a good lentil loaf and some garlic mashed potatoes. I made these a few days ago, and had not gotten around to writing the recipe down, so my solution is to add "ish" to every recipe amount. And that will make it ok if my amounts are all off...........right?

Lentil cupcakes

2ish cups cooked lentils
1ish package of cream cheese
1 package spaghetti sauce seasoning
1/4 cupish spaghetti sauce
5ish cloves of crushed garlic
2ish cups of oats

Ketchup or BBQ sauce for "frosting" and shredded cheese and/or baco bits for sprinkles.

Combine the softened cream cheese, spaghetti sauce seasoning, garlic, and spaghetti sauce in a large bowl. Stir until mixed thoroughly. Add the lentils and stir in oats until it has a good meat like consistency. You should be able to shape it into balls without it crumbling all over the place. Heap this mixture into GREASED muffin tins and bake at 350 until *doneish. Let the kiddos frost these bad boys with ketchup, or BBQ sauce (Annie's makes some great HFCS free condiments), and sprinkle with cheese and or baco bits.

"Strawberry Ice Cream" Mashed Taters

6 Potatoes peeled and boiled
6 cloves of crushed garlic
3/4ish cup milk (divided)
3tbs butter
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Beet juice
Salt and pepper to taste
In the same pot you cooked the potatoes in (waste not want not) melt the butter on low heat. Add the garlic, and about 1/4 cup milk, heat through. Remove from heat and mash in the potatoes, adding more milk as needed. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and add salt and pepper to taste. Add beet juice until it has reached desired coloring. This recipe is fantastic with red potatoes left unpeeled, however if you have itty bitty children in the house it's best to peel the potatoes, so that you don't have to put that Heimlich maneuver to use.

*see how splendidly that "ish" works out.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Make it Pink

We don't like to use red dye 40 in our house.........we also don't like lawsuits, so I will leave it at that. Unfortunately DD's favorite color is pink, not only that but if you ask her what her favorite food is she will smile and say "Pink!" (ok so she doesn't so much say it as she throws her hands in the air and sings it).....sigh. To top it off she has asked for a pink princess party for her birthday. Luckily beet juice makes a fantastically sickening pink hue when added to frosting.

With Valentines day coming up I thought it might be fun to post some of these pink treats.

Pink Fizzy Drink

DD is allergic to sulfites, this means no juice (among other things). If she weren't I would probably just serve a mixture of cranberry juice and seltzer water and call it good....but then I wouldn't have thought of this drink.

2 small scoops of raspberry sorbet
6 oz seltzer water

Scoop the sorbet into a cup and pour the seltzer water over it. The sorbet turns the drink pink, and gives it a delightful refreshing fruity flavor.

Pink Fruity Flower Toast

This is another sweet treat, it can be made even more simple by using no sugar added strawberry jam....but I really like the chunks of fruit, so we make it from scratch. :)

1 box strawberries
1/4 cup sugar (or to taste)
Juice of one lemon
Cream cheese

Chop the strawberries into small pieces and heat in a sauce pan on medium low with water (a very little bit like maybe 1/4 cup if that), lemon juice, and sugar, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile toast bread and cut with flower (or heart) shaped cookie cutters. Once the strawberry mixture has reduced and is all gooey and sweet and tangy remove it from heat and stir in the cream cheese. Spread this on your flower toasts. If it is too watery you can let it set in the fridge before using.....I know, I know, the picture is not a flower...and it also does not make you want to eat, but it works on, you know, give me a break.

Beyond these two treats beet juice can be added to things that are not going to be cooked* to create a fantabulous pink hue.

*Hummus, sour cream, yogurt, frosting, and mashed potatoes just to name a few.

Spicy Pumpkin and Black Bean Enchiladas with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

I can't stop eating this, I had to go get a handful of baby carrots so that there would be something in my mouth besides enchiladas. The original recipe for the sauce can be found here, it was so simple and so yummy, I will definitely be making these again. Thanks Sarah!

What you'll need

1 pkg low fat cream cheese
1 can pumpkin puree
1 can black beans
1 box roasted red pepper and tomato soup
1 can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 pkg corn tortillas

For the filling mix together the cream cheese, pumpkin, drained black beans, and adobo sauce to taste. For the sauce, in a separate bowl mix together red pepper soup one to two chopped* chipotle peppers, and salt to taste. I made these lasagna style because I was crunched for time, alternating layers of tortilla, filling sauce, tortilla, filling, sauce finishing with the last of the sauce, and the shredded cheddar cheese. Bake in the oven at 350, until the cheese is melted and bubbly.These enchiladas were good, but spicy. My children would not eat them, but I don't think the hubster and I will have a problem finishing these off.

*When working with chipotle peppers be sure to keep your hands away from your eyes (even if you have a really, really, really, bad itch, and you don't think you got any sauce on your fingers) or you will find yourself singing Oklahoma at the top of your lungs because it's the first child friendly exclamation that comes to mind....true story.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Lentil and Brown Rice Casserole

I had some lentils leftover from yesterday so I decided to throw it in a pan with a bunch of other stuff we had lying around, and call it a casserole. This was actually a big hit. DD ate an adult size serving, DH had two servings. Even DS had two servings, directly after which DH called out "Not it!", seeing as DS isn't potty trained yet.

You will need...
2 cups cooked brown rice
2ish cups cooked lentils
1 pkg sliced mushrooms
4 tbs butter divided
3tbs flour
2 cups milk
salt, pepper, and garlic salt to taste

In a large pot melt 1tbs of butter, add the mushrooms and some seasonings and cook until brown. Add the lentils and rice and toss to coat with the buttery mushroomy goodness. Empty this mixture into a casserole dish. Put the pot back on the stove with the remaining butter and wait until it has melted. Whisk in the flour until a paste forms and cook for about a minute more, then pour the milk in all at once and whisk like mad. Cook until thickened, season with salt, garlic salt, and pepper to taste. Pour this sauce over the top of the casserole and bake until warmed throughout.
I will admit, this is one of those dishes that made me wonder if we would have loved it as much if we ate a conventional American diet, but if nothing else it's proof that if you offer kids healthy options they will eat them...maybe not always, but sometimes. And if you just keep trying new foods different ways, you may just find yourself some day raving about lentils.....

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Creamy Sweet Potato Curry with Lentils

Sweet potatoes used to really gross me out. I've had them butchered in more ways than I care to recall. However, I read in a book that they were super healthy and oh so good for women to eat, and I decided I would try them in different recipes until I liked them. I found that not only did I like sweet potatoes in sweet recipes like sweet potato casserole with pecan struessel, but I enjoyed them even more so (and could eat a surprising amount of them) when added to savory dishes like this curry. I was quite tired when I made this so while I tried to keep track of how much of this and that I was adding, I just couldn't keep my mind on the task at hand, most of these ingredients can be adjusted to taste.

2 tbs Olive oil
dash o' salt
1/4 cup curry paste (Indian style)
dash o' cayenne
5 cloves crushed garlic
1 tbs minced fresh ginger
3 cups COOKED lentils
5 roasted sweet potatoes (skins removed, and mashed)
1 can coconut milk
some veggie broth to thin

Heat the olive oil in the skillet and add the curry paste, stirring until it is evenly dispersed. Add the garlic, ginger, and dash of salt heating over medium and stirring until fragrant (about a minute to two minutes). Add cayenne and lentils and lower heat, stirring until mixed thoroughly. Stir in sweet potatoes, and coconut milk, adding broth to thin to desired consistency. Serve over brown rice.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Twice Baked Potatoes

I think I figured out how to put a link on my page...go me. You would be impressed too if you knew me. I am going to put my theory to the test in this blog, stay tuned to find out if it works....are you we go...
Last night I made twice baked potatoes from a recipe I found here* at my friend Toni's blog. The only adjustment I made was to use pureed spinach instead of broccoli, and I added a little creole style seasoning to the tops of the ones for the adults. They were a hit. The kids loved them, and I loved them. I ate two despite my intentions to only eat one, and I froze half of them for a rainy day. Thanks Toni!

*So....did it got all purpely and underliny when I typed it in...I think it may have worked. Cool...totally going to do that again.

We Aint Got No Money Hunny Split Pea Soup

A few years ago the hubster and I gave up using credit cards. It was a difficult decision to make seeing as we live so annoyingly far away from our families and family like friends. It was always very easy to justify using credit cards for travel, a new pair of pants, new dresser, or other things we "needed". It has been so neat learning to live within our means, because even though there have been times that were more difficult than others we have always had our needs met. Anyhoo that's another blog for another day...
This soup was the product of a more difficult week where rather than break out the credit cards I decided to rummage through our pantry to see what I could come up with for us to eat. It's super simple, but tasty. I'm not sure if it tastes like real split pea soup, since I don't think I have ever had any, but it is made from peas so...

1 bag green split peas
1 packet ranch seasoning (on the East Coast we have a brand of organic
1/8 tsp pepper (or to taste)
garlic salt, salt, and dill to taste
4-6 cups water

You just dump all of the ingredients in your crock-pot for about four hours on low, stirring occasionally and adding water if the peas aren't covered. Voila. You can fancy this up a bit with some sour cream, baco bits, and cheese, I sometimes add a bit of evaporated milk to the kiddos servings for extra calories.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Somewhere Between Spaghetti O's and Creamed Spinach


Let me start off by saying this, this dish did not look good to me, it did not taste good to me, it did not even smell good to me, but 1 year old and my 3 year old both had seconds. I would not recommend this dish to any adult I know, however if you are at your wits end trying to get your kids to eat veggies, or if you have a child with sensory issues who can't tolerate leafy greens whole, or if you can't figure out how to get more greens into your toddlers diet, you might just want to try it. If nothing else it's healthy, lots of calcium, and the fats and vitamin C in the dish help you absorb the nutrients in the spinach.
Should you attempt this here's what you will need...

1 block of cream cheese
2 cans of tomato sauce
2 cups of cooked frozen thawed (in microwave) spinach
1 can of evaporated milk

All you have to do is blend this up in your food processor and cook it on medium low until it is heated through. Don't forget to let the spinach cool before you put it in the processor....Did I mention my kids both asked for seconds???

Monday, January 11, 2010


...AKA let's clear out the crisper....
The hubster got me a food processor for Christmas and this is the first recipe I used it for. It cut down on my prep time A LOT. I see a large number of soups, and purees, and latkes in my future.

Here's what you need...

For the pancakes
2 potatoes
3 zucchini
2 onions
Get thrown into the food processor on shred...or you could stand for hours in front of a hand grater shaking your fist at me for even suggesting this recipe, when really you should stop shaking your fist because that is making it take even longer, and it is really not safe to try and grate food with one hand. Not to mention how much those onions are going to hurt your oh man I wouldn't want to be you by the end of it with a hand cramp and all those tears running down your face with the burning, and the stinging of the onion and such...
anyhoo...the choice is yours
In a separate bowl mix...
1 1/4 cups pancake mix
1/2ish cup of milk
2 eggs
salt, pepper, and garlic salt to taste.
Then stir in the veggies
This should NOT be soupy, keep in mind that veggies come in different sizes you will probably have to adjust the pancake mix to flour what you gotta do. Heap these bad boys onto your griddle with an ice cream scooper and cook them until they are golden brown, flipping once.*

For the sauce
1/2 cup of yogurt
1-4 cloves garlic...I think I used like 5 but I really really really like garlic
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
dash or two of garlic salt
stir it all together and let sit until you are done cooking.
The End

*P.S. Do as I say, not as I do. I am a chronic flipper, I can't help myself.

P.P.S. Sorry about the picture, apparently I can't photograph food. I played around with the tint and saturation a lot...I just couldn't make these look as good as they tasted.

You say "taquito"...I say LIAR

The picture you see above is the beginnings of what will be a Spanish tortilla (tortilla de patatas), this is one of three types of tortillas we eat in my house. The first kind (being the one we buy almost every shopping trip, and the one we use most often) are corn tortillas, they are gluten free, cheap, and perfect for tacos, enchiladas, and taquitos. The second kind of tortilla is the "larger than life so you can make a burrito the size of your head" variety. As unhealthy as these are, I do occasionally purchase them for special occasions so that I can make burritos and chimichangas. You will find these in my house about once a year, more often if I am pregnant. The third kind of tortilla, is tortilla de patatas...and it's not really a tortilla as we know it, it's more like an omelet. Missing from this list are six inch, ten inch, and whatever else they come in flour tortillas...because I do not eat them Sam I am, and I do not use them in my cooking unless we are having company.
One of the saddest things about living in the south for me is the lack of knock your socks off good food. I gave up on going to Mexican restaurants here, due to a post Mexican food home sickness/depression that kicked in almost every time we went out to eat it. After choking down plateful after plateful of Americanized Mexican cooking, flautas trying to pass for taquitos, tacos filled with instant mashed potatoes (did I stutter) and even cheese enchiladas filled with what tasted like Velveeta, I could take no more.
Sadly, I have by no means mastered the art of Mexican cooking at home. I do however have one or two recipes that I make at home that keep me somewhat satisfied. The trick for me is to have all the trimmings. If I make taquitos I serve them with homemade guacamole, salsa, fresh tomatoes and sour cream. Tacos are served with a side of Spanish rice and refried beans. It makes me a little less home sick.
Make Ahead Taquitos

Filling #1
Refried black beans (Beans that have been cooked with onion, garlic, bay leaf, cumin and cayenne, then blended, may post recipe some day)
2 blocks of cream cheese
can of chopped green chillies
hot sauce (if desired)
Soften the cream cheese and mix in green chillies, hot sauce (if you like it spicy), and black beans. Taste, add salt, and more hot sauce to taste. This makes A LOT of taquitos. I usually make this filling and spend hours baking and filling taquitos assembly line style. The best part about this though is that it freezes well, and you can serve them either taquito style or put them in a casserole dish and cover with enchilada sauce for nearly instant enchiladas.

Filling #2

Soyrizo (one pkg)
2 potatoes diced
1 Onion diced
Salt to taste
For this filling all you have to do is fry up the potatoes and onion with a little bit of salt, and add the soyrizo towards the end. This doesn't make as much filling, but it tastes fantastic. I have also used this as a taco filling, and have even on occasion added shredded carrots for extra veg.

To make the taquitos

Preheat oven to 350 and line up tortillas on a baking sheet. Place small amount of filling on each tortilla, DO NOT ROLL THEM UP YET. Stick them in the oven for a couple of minutes, this will soften the tortillas and enable you to roll them, without them cracking. When pliable, roll taquitos into taquito shape and place them (flap side down) back on the cookie sheet. You can brush them with oil at this point to give them that pan fried taste. Bake them until they hold their shape, then flip them over and bake a few more minutes. At this point I usually place them on a cookie sheet in the freezer to individually freeze them, then I take them out and put them back into the freezer until I'm ready to eat them. I usually heat these in the toaster oven or pan fry them and sprinkle with salt (while they are still hot).
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