Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cranberry Chutney in the Crock Pot/Slow Cooker

I used organic produce for this. I am only specifying because choosing organic makes me better than you.......HA......I'm totally kidding.......please don't leave me*. Organic fruits and veg are sometimes smaller than their conventional counterparts. The two organic apples I used would probably be equal to one standard granny smith apple, and I only used about 7oz of cranberries, if memory serves most cranberries are sold in 12oz bags. You could always use half a bag, or double the recipe......which I intend to do later this week. :)

This recipe works very well in a small dip style crock pot, but you can use anything. Watch your cook time, it will cook down and become an ugly tasty mess, but you don't want it to burn.

I used

7oz cranberries
2 apples washed and diced
1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup sugar
1/8 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp cardamom
1/16 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup water

Mix everything together in the crock pot and cook on low. All of the cranberries should burst and the dried fruit should plump. You can add more water if you need too. I cooked this for about two hours on low and then removed the lid for another hour of cooking. All crocks cook differently though, so I am hesitant to say exact cooking times.

You should totally make this. The chutney smelled wonderful cooking, and it's much better than a scented candle because you get to eat it afterwards......
you shouldn't eat scented candles.....
they taste a lot like wax......
and 409.....
this is totally better.
Also it's yummy on sandwiches. My husband thought so too, so you don't have to take the word of a girl who licks scented candles. You could even try it on top of an unmeatloaf!

*Sometimes I think I may have no social life because I'm a jerk, then I remember how awesome I am and realize that surely this isn't the case.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fall Treats and Tricks

I can't believe I haven't posted these yet! We went to a fall festival a couple weekends ago, and when we got home we had a family fun night. I made these French bread pizzas. Simply pesto, roma tomatoes and cheese. Great because you can make extras and freeze them for later. Great for lunch the next day too.
Pesto free version for my little man. Butter and garlic replace the pesto, and I chopped up the tomatoes for easier chomping.

These are cheesy pumpkin rice pumpkins. Bell peppers for the stems. I
believe I got the idea for these from Family Fun magazine.

These are (less convincing) pumpkin wraps. Wraps made with sun dried tomato wraps and garnished with parsley. Also an idea from Family Fun.

What is any party without pie? Egg free key lime pie. This was very tasty, I can't even believe I'm typing a blog right now and not in the kitchen making more.

Now for the trick portion.........


is the candy my kids brought home. Yikes!! I get kind of jittery just looking at it. I helped the kids pick out a couple pieces of candy to keep and they left the rest out overnight. It was replaced in the morning with a new microscope for my little girl and a new game for my little boy.....a game that had a piece missing....and has been discontinued so they can't send me a new one....sigh. Luckily the other pieces were exciting enough that they are now being used as action figures.

Well there you have it. We had a lot of fun eating and crafting. I am going to try to get my Thanksgiving pictures and recipes up before Christmas, but at this rate who knows! Hope you all are enjoying the holidays!

Friday, November 12, 2010

"Cream" of Broccoli Soup

This soup was plain but tasty, and very similar to a lot of other green soups I make for the kiddos. they gobbled it up and asked for more. It makes a very nice compliment to a sandwich on a cold day. It's souper simple (hehe sorry), and requires few ingredients. It gets most of it's creamy texture from potatoes. You can use 1/2 cup of any sort of milk I suppose, whatever tickles your fancy or doesn't happen to turn members of your family into an anaphylaxis mess. :)

4 cups cooked broccoli florets
4 baked potatoes with skins removed.
1/2 cup milk (I used rice)
Veggie stock to desired consistency
Salt, pepper, seasoning salt to taste

Put the broccoli, potatoes and milk into your food processor and blend, add stock and blend until desired consistency. Pour the whole mess into a pot and heat through on the stove, adding salt, pepper, and seasoning salt to taste. I added a good bit of salt to ours. I added cheese and sour cream to the tops of the kiddos bowls, and I think they also had toast with theirs. This was even better the next day as leftovers.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Make Ahead Soy Free Taquitos

Here is the finished product, golden brown and a sprinkling of salt..mmmmm...I know what I'll be having for dinner tonight.

Here are the taquitos out of the oven and ready to be frozen. My kids each ate two just like this and had no complaints....I wouldn't necessarily recommend that though. My four year old has also been known to eat paint.

This recipe is really simple 3 ingredients (four if you choose to add cheese or rice cheese) and I'm giving you a vegetarian and vegan option for the taquitos. I made half with cheese for the kids, and half without for myself. I've made taquitos on this blog before, I really enjoy having taquitos in the fridge to make for lunch or a super quick dinner alongside a mashed up avocado and some diced fruit. For these I use the same process, but the ingredients are even simpler. All you need are corn tortillas, vegetarian black beans, and hot sauce. For the vegetarian option you can add cheese.

All I did was mix together refried black beans (make sure yours are vegetarian as well as soy free) and hot sauce to taste. I laid the corn tortillas on a baking sheet and made a thin line of beans down the center. I was going to take a picture of this stage, but it looked a lot like poo on a tortilla and I was feeling too nauseous and immature to take a picture of that. If you want cheese on these you need to sprinkle the cheese FIRST then add the beans. I baked this (do not roll them up yet) for about 5 minutes at 350. The tortillas should be softened and easy to roll without tearing at this point. If not stick the whole mess back in the oven for a couple more minutes. Roll from one end to the other and place flap side down on the cookie sheet. Pop them back in the oven for another 7 minutes or so. I was making these to freeze so I didn't want them cooked to a golden brown. I just cooked them long enough that the tortilla became crispy and maintained it's rolled up shape when moved about. When I'm ready to eat these I will either pan fry them, or brush them with oil and bake them until they are golden brown. I have even been known to stick a bunch into a casserole dish, cover them with enchilada sauce and call it dinner.

The kids as it turns out were very hungry as these came out of the oven, their little pleas for "kitos" were just too much to stand and I gave them some as is. They gobbled them up and asked for more. These are a favorite in our house, and a great example of how to make your own convenience foods.

As a side note...I've tried making taquitos the recommended way, by heating all the tortillas first then filling and rolling them and it has never worked for me. If you have mad tortilla making skills (I bet you do you lucky duck) do whatever works for you. This is just the way that I have found that works for me.

Do you make and freeze any foods? What's in your freezer?

P.S. Please be sure to check ALL ingredients you are using if you are on a soy free diet for allergy or intolerance reasons.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Our Thanksgiving Menu

If I were a good blogger, I might already have an abundance of side dish recipes tested and pictures taken......but I haven't done that. In fact I have nothing for you but a link and a list. Maybe that will help to get your creative juices going though.

This is my first year blogging through the holiday season and I'm quite excited. Not only am I thrilled to share with you our favorites, but I can't wait to see what you all are cooking up in your kitchens!

I've done many different things over the years on Thanksgiving since becoming a vegetarian. One year I made acorn squash ravioli in a gorgonzola cheese sauce, grilled zucchini, and onion bread....this was of course the Thanksgiving before we had children and I had time to do things like shower on a regular basis, and make my own ravioli. One year we had an Indian feast, and a few of the years we have dinned at friends houses and I have brought a side dish. I toyed with the idea of making Persian food this Thanksgiving, but as the day has drawn closer I am once again leaning toward a "traditional" menu, and this had better be my last leaning because the day draws near.

So what might the main dish at this vegetarian Thanksgiving be? Well, in my humble opinion, the celebration roast from Field Roast Grain Meat Co. is the only way to go. It's tasty, soy free, complex in flavor, and goes perfectly with a side of mashed potatoes and gravy. I would love to hear if you try it out, especially if you happen to be a carnivore. Let me know what you think.

The rest of our menu

Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Cranberry Chutney
Balsamic and Brown Sugar Baked Carrots
Broccoli Soup
Struessel Topped Sweet Potatoes
Sourdough, Caramelized Veggie, and Cornbread Stuffing
Sourdough Dinner Rolls
Pumpkin Pie
Cran-Raspberry Pie

What does your Thanksgiving menu look like?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mujadara in a Pita with Spicy Eggplant Sauce

I saw mujadara over at The Vegan Mouse, and my first thought was why have I never made this?? Lentils.......onions....rice??? This is cheap, this is easy, this is will help if you like the flavor of onions, and I really really do. You will find recipes for mujadara all over the web, I chose a simple one that involved only rice, lentils, salt, pepper, cumin, and onions...I added a bay leaf while it all cooked up, but other than that I followed the recipe pretty closely....I wish I could find that recipe now. It is bookmarked on my other computer. I will add it when I get the chance.

Mujadara is very tasty on it's own, but I wanted a little zing to make it into a pita sandwich the next day for lunch. I thinly sliced an eggplant and pan fried it in about 1tbs of oil over medium heat, along with one onion also thinly sliced and 1/2 tsp of salt. I cooked the eggplant for ten minutes, then flipped and cooked for ten more minutes. Then I added a jar of tomato paste mixed with one cup of water (make sure you lower the heat before you add this as it will splatter a good bit). I simmered this covered for about 20 minutes until the eggplant cooked into a mush (mmmmmmm eggplant mush). I removed it from the heat and added about 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream, more salt, and a generous amount of cayenne. I actually think this sauce would be quite good on it's own as a dip for pita bread, or over rice. I was inspired by a Persian eggplant dish that I have been wanting to make for a while. However I was missing some key ingredients, so this was my compromise. You can use 1/2 cup of coconut milk to replace the heavy whipping cream.

In short this dish will be making the rotation, it is warm and comforting and I imagine it would be quite good in the summer months with some sort of cucumber yogurt sauce. Most of the onions are on the side, which appealed to my daughter, and it's super cheap which appeals to all of us. I heart lentils, how about you?
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