Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tomatoes Are My Favorite

I do love anything tomato.

Any type of tomato: red, yellow, orange, purple, hybrids, heirloom, sun dried, made into sauce, in a salad, as a salad, in bread, hummus, or as my newest and latest invention- Tomato Bean Balls.

Yes they sound strange, but they ended up being rather good. I found the idea here. So I made them my own way (like always). I might have stated in the past that Mondays at my house are pasta night, well for the rest of the family at least. So I wanted to eat sort of the same meal along with them. I made these little guys.

Tomato Bean Balls

2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon each garlic powder, onion powder, oregano,  coriander, and basil
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup garbanzo bean flour

Mix spices with tomato paste.

Add in the flour.

Then add in the parsley.

Chill mixture for 15 to 20 minutes, but this is not really necessary but it does make it easier to roll into the balls.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Roll the mixture into small 1 inch or 1/2 inch balls depending on how big you want them. Place on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size you make them.


I topped some fresh spinach with them and chopped black olives.

Has anyone ever really looked at a chick pea? I was de-skinning some to make my favorite bacon chick peas for dinner today and those little beans look like chickens to me. With out a head and wings. Next time you eat one look at it, tell me what you think.

Guess what next month is...December! So that means COOKIE TIME!! =]
Oh it is the holiday season yet again.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Day Of Thanks

This was probably the best Thanksgiving I have had in a very long time. Don't get me wrong, I love my brothers and parents and just having dinner with them, but this year was extra special. My nanny surprised all of us by having my aunt and cousins come up for a visit! An awesome surprise. We haven't seen them in 7 or so years. Aka the Best Thanksgiving ever!

All my prep work really paid off the day of. Except I really should have made the crisp on Wednesday, because the oven ended up being full at my house anyway (we roasted the turkey at my grandmas but we roasted a turkey breast at our house, I guess we really did need it though). So I tried to bake the crisp in our toaster oven, but I did burn it slightly. Opps.

So my version of the crisp went like this:

Grape and Cranberry Crisp

4 cups black and red grapes (about 2 1/2 cups black and 1 1/2 cups of red)
2 cups fresh cranberries
4 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
3 tablespoons arrowroot
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup oats
1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon flax seeds
3 tablespoons coconut palm sugar 4 tablespoons smart balance (other butter sub)
1 cup walnut pieces

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix the filling,

place in a pie plate and start to bake the filling for 15 minutes, while you make the topping.

Mix together the dry ingredients.

Add (cut in) the smart balance until the topping starts to clump up,

add in the walnuts.

Take the filling out of the oven and

top it with the topping. Bake for another 30 minutes or until nice and golden on top.

Serve with some TrueWhip and coffee or tea!

Oh my gosh AMAZING!

Way to go Amy at Fragrant Vanilla Cake.

So my turkey day plate looked like this:

(ok so I had begun eating before I took the picture, but hey I was hungry and we were waiting for my aunt and uncle to come [who I love with all my heart, but they tend to run rather late for functions, love them dearly though! and Hey I am also the queen of being late!] but my belly was calling the food).

Guinnuess Pumpkin Beer Bread, roasted carrots, parsnips, and butternut squash, and steamed broccoli and cauliflower.

The bread was good, had a nice spice to it, but I felt like it was lacking something, not sure what though. (I keep feeling like this with all of my food lately, hum? I really wonder why. Maybe something is wrong with my taste buds?) Everybody absolutely loved the roasted veggies, even people who dislike parsnips. Anything roasted taste good so I blame it on that and the fact that I burned it slightly =].

And dessert the perfect end to one of the greatest Thanksgivings ever.

I just want to thank the Lord for my amazing family and friends and every opportunity he has giving me. I love walking with him everyday and I cherish those that he has put in my life. 

Proof that I did burn the crisp slightly:
I picked off the burntness. It's in a line across the top because I was baking it in the toaster oven and that was where the heat source was.

Not all burnt things are that tasty.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Prep Days...

For Turkey Day! Of course!

So what do you do for Thanksgiving? How do you get ready for it? What food do you eat?

I am one of those vegetarians that do not really like meat substitutes. If I want turkey I would eat turkey, since I do not want it, I do not eat it. Easy as that. So what to eat instead of turkey or a meat substitute?

How about some baked pumpkin falafel, add roasted nuts to your meal, sure eat some tofu or tempeh or seitan, beans beans beans are also a good add to the meal. Me being me, I may choose to add some roasted cashews to my meal. I have tried a few different things through out the years I have been a vegetarian. Some being vegetable stews with corn bread on top one year, on the side the next, once topped with mashed sweet potatoes like a Shepard's pie, and one year just roasted root veggies with corn bread and my favorite cranberry sauce. Then there was last years dinner, which was pretty tasty. (And that also has my cranberry sauce recipe on it.) This year will be sort of the same with some different twists.

I have made two parts of the festive menu items already. Roast carrots, parsnips, and butternut squash (yes I love those veggies and will/can never get enough of them!) and Guinness Pumpkin Beer Bread! Crazy I know! But I sooo cannot wait to try it out. (Yes I am good at making something and not eating it until the day necessary, which can be a bad thing because it could be gosh darn awful and a complete fail or it could be amazing and I eat it all before hand.) I am not completely sure where I got the recipe from it was one of the blogs I follow. But I did make my few usual changes to a recipe.

Guinness Pumpkin Beer Bread

2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons molasses
1 cup 100% pumpkin
12 oz Guinness

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray a loaf pan with cooking spray.

Mix the flours, baking powder, salt, and spices together.

Add in the pumpkin, molasses, and beer, mix until well combined.

Pour into prepared pan and bake 60 to 70 minutes or until firm when touched, turning pan half way trough baking.

It smells amazing while baking!

I also made just a plain beer bread using a Black and Tan.

And I roasted all the veggies:

which I will then reheat for dinner.

And tomorrow I will be making my dessert so it will be even better and freshly out of the oven! It is going to be a grape and cranberry crisp! Yum I know. I found the recipe/idea from Fragrant Vanilla Cake site. Can't wait.

Wow I have added so many links to this post.

I will be posting my version of the recipe either tomorrow or Friday along with pictures of my dinner plate!

Happy Thanksgiving all!! No food comas people! Eat safe haha!

Oh and remember to put any left overs in the fridge after you are done eating dinner, try not to let them sit out on the table too long, it can cause you some problems the next time you go to eat them. Don't wait any longer than an hour after eating. The danger zone it not to be messed with people!!


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Black Beans Love Pumpkin

Oh yes they do! Especially together with tomatoes, corn, and chili spices!

Yes I finally made some Black Bean and Pumpkin Chili. It came out pretty darn good. The pumpkin makes it even thicker then my regular bean chili I make. You don't even really taste the pumpkin in the chili. I feel like my chili is always missing a little something something when I make it, so I have still yet to figure out what that something something is. Upsetting, yes, but the chili is still delightfully delicious. (I have a feeling it is some spice, like heat, that is missing. I need to make a stop in New Hope to this hot sauce store that carries tons of different hot sauces, best store ever! Well if you love hot sauce.)

Black Bean and Pumpkin Chili

1 can black beans, rinsed
1/2 can 100% pure pumpkin (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 large shallot, minced
1 medium sized green pepper, chopped
1/2 bag (1 cup) frozen corn
1 teaspoon coriander
2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon onion
1/2 teaspoon garlic
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon oil

Heat a large pot on medium high heat (I use my dutch oven) with the oil. Add the pepper and shallot, cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until lightly browned.

Add in the spices, toast for 1 minute to bring out the flavors.

Add in the beans, coat with the spices.

Add in the tomato paste and pumpkin.

Then add in the tomatoes. Fill the can with water and add that to the pot. Bring to a simmer, cover and lower heat to medium low. Allow the chili to simmer for 1/2 an hour.

Add in the frozen corn. Continue to simmer for at least another hour, but the longer it cooks the better it tastes.

I let my chili cook for 5 hours, I just kept it on low heat for the last 4 hours of cooking.

Top with cheese, guacamole, salsa, chips, however you wish. Eat with some pumpkin cornbread, cornbread, or like me and just eat a huge arse bowl of it because it was so darn yummy! =p (And I had just gotten back for an amazing 7 mile run!! and needed some protein and warmy goodness in my hungry belly.)

So who would like to share the left over chili with me? There is enough for 3 normal people with some cornbread on the side or 2 ravenous people and cornbread on the side! Let me know! I'll even make the cornbread! =]

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Evil Persimmon

Sounds like a good food filled story, right.

Well, Wrong!

This is a tale of an evil delicious looking persimmon that when I ate it made me feel all funny. It left a chalky feel/taste in my mouth and then preceded to make me get nausea. Evil, yes indeed. They were 2 for $5, so me seeing a nice sale like that and my love for persimmons, I did buy two of these evil ones. (I guess we can blame the evilness on me buying and trying a new type of persimmon and me not knowing the proper way to eat the said new version of persimmon. I proceeded just as I always do with all the other persimmons I have eaten, wrong move. I usually buy a fuyu persimmon while I believe this was a hachiya persimmon.) What to do with this other evil persimmon? Bake with it. Yeah, that should get rid of any evil feelings, yeah, bake it. With what?

Good old momma to the rescue, she bought a bag of fresh cranberries! (Oh joy it is that season again! Love it.) Hum, a persimmon cranberry muffin sounds divine. Let's do it!

So the tale of the evil persimmon ends with one of the most delicious muffins I have ever made! And no revenge of evil persimmons.

Me being me, I made enough for 3 muffins, also because I only had one persimmon. Please use whole wheat white flour for the recipe. For some reason it gives off a cornmeal flavor, not sure why, but hey it works.

Persimmon Cranberry Muffins

1 large hachiya persimmon, very ripe
1/4 cup fresh cranberries
1/2 cup whole wheat white flour
1 tablespoon flaxmeal
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup water, more if necessary
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray nonstick spray in muffin pans.

Peel the skin off the persimmon (best to do this with a paring knife) and chop, removing the innerness of the persimmon (it's just were the seeds would be, I didn't like the way it looked and it feels tough, so I removed it),

and place in a bowl to mash.

Once the persimmon is mashed add in the oil, flaxmeal, vanilla, honey, salt, arrowroot, and nutmeg, mix.

Add in the flour and baking powder and the cranberries.

Mix, if water is needed to make a moist batter, add in the 1/4 cup in small amounts until desired consistency is reached. Place in prepared pans and bake for 30 minuted, turning pan halfway through baking.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes in pan, then cool completely out of pan.

The persimmons do not mash completely, while eating you sometimes find a piece of persimmon, yum. And with the tartness of the cranberries, yum. Greatest evil persimmon mistake ever!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Apples and Pumpkins

I think they go together. Especially when you think along the lines of pumpkin pie and apple pie, yum! Adding cinnamon and nutmeg to anything makes my heart melt. I just love those spices, I just love spices in general. I am also in love with adding apple cider to a recipes. It adds a subtle flavor burst when you add the cider. I am going to miss it when I use up all the cider I have on hand, that will be a sad day.

The recipe I put together combining these to ingredients were a muffin recipe. I made it wheat free too. The texture was not up to my par, but the flavor was there, spot on (not to boast on my baking though).

Apple Pumpkin Spiced Muffins

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup flax meal
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
1 heaping tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup apple cider
1 cup chopped apples
1/2 cup 100% pumpkin
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease a muffin pan.

Combine the apples, oats, flour, arrowroot, baking powder, spices and salt (and walnuts).

Mix the oil, maple syrup, cider, and pumpkin.

Add to the dry ingredients and mix.

Divide into the greased muffin pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Allow to cool in the pan completely. Or enjoy warm. Yum!

Feel free to add more cinnamon to the recipe, cause you know I added almost a tablespoon to mine.

I have to get some black beans so I can make my chili! I am jumping on it, I swear. And a friend and I have a combination recipe testing/posting idea that will be soon to come!

Also, look my first attempt at mini donuts, they were not vegan though.

I have to keep trying though.