Thursday, March 17, 2011

All Things Irish

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

Oh to be Irish! Well on St. Patty's Day everyone is Irish so KISS ME!! =*

All silliness aside, for those of you who may not know I am actually part Irish, on my mom's side. Her mom is, I believe, half Irish, but I am that among other things. So I had a full out Irish making food day yesterday. Here are some of the tasty treats that I made:

Irish Soda Bread in mini form

Guinness Irish Soda Bread Loaves

Irish Car Bomb Cup Cakes

Oh yes these bad boys have Guinness in the chocolate cake batter, Jameson in the chocolate truffle center, and Baliey's in the frosting. I say this recipe on one of the blogs I follow. I should my brother it and he immediately wanted them. I am always up for a challenge in the kitchen, so I took on the task. They came out very good.

And this now leads me to what I had to celebrate St. Patty's Day. I combined all of my heritages to celebrate Mediterranean and Irish. I made green hummus:

Green Hummus

3/4 can of chick peas
3 tablespoons tahini
juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 cups fresh spinach
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 bunch of fresh parsley
2 garlic cloves, roasted

Place the chick peas, garlic, lemon zest, spices, and spinach into food processor and pulse a few times to start and break everything up.

Add in the tahini and then turn on the the machine and drizzle in the lemon juice until it becomes a smooth paste. Add in the parsley and pulse a few times to combine the parsley.

Yummy and green!!

What's For Dinner?
Monday, March 14th
The usual salad.

Tuesday, March 15th

Sauteed mushrooms, peppers, roasted beets, and some added spinach in the end to almost wilt it.

Wednesday, March 16th
Roasted corn, asparagus, peppers, black olives, cheese, guc, and salsa.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sometimes You Feel Like A Nut...

and sometimes you feel like having THREE!

Sorry for not posting anything for a week, but excuses aside, I just haven't had any thing good to post about. I did not really make anything worthy of posting. So this week I have come up with two recipes to post!! I'm going all out this week, and from now an I am going to try and post at least twice a week, hopefully more!

Now back to the reason of this here post: Sometimes you feel like having three nuts. Oh yes I know that song is famous from Almond Joys and Mounds (which were always my favorite, because at one time in my life I did not really enjoy nuts in my various foods, but give me some coconut and chocolate and I was in heaven!) but now I love some toasted nuts, raw nuts, any type of nut in everything. I have crossed the song over to represent my baked goods. I was thinking more about how I want to make the best vegan peanut butter cookie, even though the bar version (which I have posted: but I wanted to take this mission to another level. I got to thinking how I haven't bought almond butter in a long time and that perhaps I should give it another try. Some time ago I had bought it, tried it, and didn't go crazy over it, but it wasn't bad either. I just thought well maybe I should give it another go. Then I got to thinking how I enjoyed adding the cashew butter with the peanut butter for my bars and well one thought lead to the next and I wanted to try adding almond butter as well to the mix. And so I did just that. Peanut butter, cashew butter, and almond butter all in one cookie! Yummy. So I changed the recipe from the bars a little for this recipe.

Three Nut Butter Cookies

1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup cashew butter
1/4 cup almond butter
1 ripe banana, mashed
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons flax meal
1 1/4 cup whole wheat white flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chocolate chips (grain sweetened dark chocolate)

Heat oven to 375 degrees and spray a mini muffin pan with nonstick spray.

Mix the mashed banana and the nut butters.

Next mix the water and flax meal together then add it along with the oil, agave nectar, vanilla to the nut butter mix. Mix in the flour, baking powder and salt but do not mix it in completely.

Before it is completely mixed add the chocolate chips and continue to mix throughly.

Place into the mini muffin pan, you can fill them up to the top because they do not puff up while baking. (The dough is very thick, so next time I might try and place them on a baking sheet and bake like real cookies, but we will see.)

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, turning the pan half way through baking time. I left mine in to 20 minutes, but I think this was too long, so try the 15 first and they should feel soft when touched, but take them out anyway because they harden as they cool. Cool in pan for 8 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

What have I been eating for dinner? Let us see:

What's For Dinner?
Tuesday, March 8th
Rosemary hummus with jicama, cucumbers, and tomatoes.

Wednesday, March 9th
Salad with strawberries, mango, roasted butternut squash, jicama, and pecans with ginger dressing. It was really, really good!

Thursday, March 10th
Roasted veggies with parsley and roasted cashews.

Friday, March 11th
I was interning with this catering company and I had some of the food we were making: mushroom and leek ravioli with a cashew fennel cream sauce (I am sooo going to be recreating that sauce delicious!)

Saturday, March 12th
Salad with my usual veggies and ginger dressing.

Sunday, March 13th
Roasted everything: eggplant. asparagus, green peppers, and mushrooms with tomatoes, black olives, parsley, fennel seeds, and cheese.

(by the way I am not going to be posting pictures of my dinner meals unless I think it is amazing due to the lack of picture storage I have on this blog)

Coming soon...going green for St. Patty's Day!!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Stuffed Eggplant

No funny, catchy title this time. I couldn't think of something, sorry.

Let's see, I bought a smallish eggplant and decided to make a recipe using it. I also bought an over abundance of spinach this week (due to great sale prices, is it just me or did they raise the price of bagged salads, spinach, and such?? it is driving me crazy! why must they make being a vegetarian so expensive!!) so I needed to use some of it up and I did just that with this recipe. I have been wanting to make a different type of stuffed eggplant using only veggies and no breadcrumbs or anything, why because! So I looked in the fridge and there was my over abundance of spinach, some newly opened black olives (which I always try to have on hand, they add a nice slaty bite to a dish, that is if you like them), and some 4 cheese blend I want to use up because I am thinking about not eating cheese any more but we will see how that goes. So this is what I came up with using the above listed ingredients (just remember this is for one person but can easily be made for two or more!):

Spinach Stuffed Eggplant

1 small eggplant
1 1/2 cups fresh baby spinach (2 cups for 2 people)
1 garlic clove
4 large black olives, chopped (6 for 2 people)
1/4 cup 4 cheese Italian blend (reduced fat) (1/2 cup for 2 people)
onion powder
olive oil
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Heat oven to 400 degrees or toaster oven to 450 degrees. Cut eggplant in half and cut off some of the "neck" of the eggplant to it will lay better in the pan (if making for two people you are going to have to follow the rest of the recipe for each half of the eggplant [I know that seems obvious but I just wanted to state it so no questions can be asked] if making for one person, cut up the other half of the eggplant and roast it for future use, I did this by tossing the cubed eggplant with the above listed spices and some oil and roasted at 400 degrees for 20 minutes)

scoop out the center of the eggplant leaving about a quarter inch border of eggplant flesh.

Add a pinch of slat, a few turns of fresh pepper, a dash of onion powder, oregano, and coriander to the inside of the eggplant "boat" and then drizzle with a teaspoon of oil. Rub the inside of the eggplant so it is coated with the oil and seasonings.

Then drizzle a little oil on the skin of the eggplant and place the eggplant skin side down on a pan and roast for 15-20 minutes in preheated oven, until the edges become browned.

While the eggplant is roasting, heat a pan with 2 teaspoons of oil over medium high heat. Chop the scooped eggplant up and the "neck" part that you cut off. Cut the garlic in quarters and place in the oil, let it brown for 2 minutes. Add in the eggplant and let it start to cook about 5 minutes. Add in the spinach and let it wilt. Place the black olives, a little bit of salt and pepper and the parsley into the filling, saving about a tablespoon of parsley for a garnish) .

By now the eggplant should be ready, add the filling into the eggplant,

then top with the cheese. Let the cheese become melty and brown and bubbly =] for about 5 to 8 minutes. If there is any left over filling, place on the plate, then top with the eggplant, sprinkle with parsley, and there you go.

What's For Dinner?
Wednesday, March 2nd
Roasted corn and pepper tacos with cheese, salsa, and gucamole on whole wheat wraps.

Thursday, March 3rd
Sweet potato platskis with toasted hazelnuts and cinnamon applesauce.

Friday, March 4th
Salad with baby lettuce mix, parsley, roasted corn, kidney beans, green and yellow peppers, carrots (which I ate out first cause the didn't really fit in the salad I just wanted to add more food with out having to go to the store, lazy I know) and roasted red pepper dressing.

Saturday, March 5th
Rasted veggies and butternut squash and parsley salad, no cashews this time.

Sunday, March 6th
Salad with rest of lettuce, baby spinach, roasted corn, tomatoes, yellow pepper, kidney beans, and roasted red pepper dressing.

Today my yummy eggplant!

I just want to say thank you to those of you that actually read my blog! And I want to apologies for eating some of the same things day in and day out, I just tend to get stuck in ruts of food that I crave and I give into the cravings. But do keep reading!! Thanks ~muah

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Whiskey For My Men And Beer For My Horses

Or at least beer for my bread! I said I needed to post a new savory recipe, so I am going to do just that. My older brother had mentioned to me the other day, "Hey Deb you should use up some of the beer I have downstairs and make some beer bread or something." My little head got to thinking and it agreed with my older brother. And I made some beer bread, but me being me I can't only make normal beer bread I also have to make some strange type as well. That's just me being me.

I looked up some recipes and most require self rising flour, which I do not have on hand because I can just as easily look up the recipe and whip some up myself instead of having a huge bag of it that I may not always use, so I looked up how to make some and found a recipe:

Self Rising Flour
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Sift all ingredients together.

Easy enough. Then I looked in my cabinet and saw I had some bread flour that needed to be used, so I decided to add some of that to the bread. Bread flour just contains more gluten then normal flour which you want in bread. Gluten gives the bread that chewy-ness that we all love. The basic beer bread recipe went like this:

Beer Bread
3 cups self rising flour
3 teaspoons sugar
1 12oz bottle or can of beer

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease a loaf pan.
Mix all ingredients, then pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until golden browned and crust.

So simple, I know. This is how I actually made my beer bread though:

Beer Bread

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons sugar
1 12 oz bottle of Samuel Adams Noble Pils (I don't know, it was what was down in fridge!)
1/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a loaf pan.
Mix dry ingredients together.

Add in the beer, it is going to get very fizzy and blubblely, I found that because of the bread flour you need the water, so add that in too if the beer does not moisten all of the flour.

Spread into prepared pan.

Bake 50 to 60 minutes, until golden browned and a crispy crust forms.
Allow to cool in pan 5 minutes, then remove from pan and either enjoy warm or allow to cool completely.

But I can't leave it just like that, nope nope! So I did my own little twist to beer bread, oh yea...

Rye Beer Bread Muffins

1 1/2 cups rye flour
1 1/2 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 12 oz bottle Samuel Adams Noble Pils
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a muffin pan (the one with 12 muffins).
Mix all of the dry ingredients together.

Add in the beer, water, and honey (to be completely honest with all of you I forgot to add the honey in my recipe, don't ask me how cause it was out in front of me but I just didn't add it, all well) and combine.

Spoon equal amounts into each muffin cup. Before you bake them you may want to spray the tops with spray or brush them with alittle oil because mine did not brown like I would have wished.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until nicely browned.
Remove from tin and enjoy or cool.

So there you have it! Beer for some bread oh yea! The alcohol is cooked, in this case baked, off; the flavor however remains, so if you do not really enjoy the taste of beer you may not enjoy it in bread form. I love yeast and the smell of fresh yeast when you make some yeasted bread and this is what beer bread reminds me of, so I enjoy it. I use to make it at Thanksgiving and then have a cranberry turkey sandwich on the beer bread- so good!

I also made a new type of treat for myself. I do not know about you but I really enjoy salty and sweet combination, as in a chocolate covered pretzel- yum. So I took that idea a step further. I combined fruit into the mix! (This recipe shows how much I love Trader Joe's too!)

Pretzel and Fruit Chocolate Clusters

1/4 cup chocolate chips (grain sweetened)
1/4 cup carob chips
1/4 cup raisins
2 tablespoons dried unsweetened blueberries

2 tablespoons dried unsweetened cherries

1/4 cup whole grain pretzel nuggets

2 tablespoons white chocolate chips (optional)

Over a double boiler, melt the chocolate and carob chips.

Add in the fruit and pretzels once the chocolate is ready.
Spoon nice sized amounts, maybe 2 tablespoons, of the mixture onto some parchment paper or a silpat over a baking pan.

Sprinkle a few white chocolate chips over some of the clusters if your heart desires.
Place in the fridge to harden.

There you go! I had some fun today.

What's For Dinner?
Friday, February 25th
Salad with my usual veggies and dressing.

Saturday, February 26th
Salad with roasted corn, tomatoes, white mushrooms, spinach, and roasted red pepper dressing.

Sunday, February 27th
Veggies and grilled cheese! Sun dried tomato wraps with 4 blend Italian cheese mix.

Monday, February 28th
Out with my friend to the Tomato Factory. I had a salad with pears, toasted almonds, and a Asian vinaigrette with some sauteed spinach (I was craving spinach, but they made it with like 3 whole cloves of garlic, although they did slice it).

Tuesday, March 1st
Roasted root veggies with cashews and parsley.

I really have to become more creative with my food choices!

(I will try to add pictures later because I am still having a problem with them sorry!)
3/2 problem fixed I believe! I had to purchase more picture space, so we will see how long that will work. tada!