Friday, January 27, 2012

January is always a challenging month for us.  Between Christmas and only getting paid once a month the budget is already hard but add to that we get paid 1 week early because of Christmas and for some reason January always seems like an incredibly long month (could it be because of the 5 weekends?  I don't know)
Anyway, at the end of January there is usually no money and we tighten our belts.  Grocery shopping just doesn't happen unless there is something we really need.  So my challenge is always to come up with something good to eat with what is in the freezer, fridge and pantry!  This year has been fun!!!  So far I've managed to come up with some amazingly good dishes (albeit vegetarian or close to it) that use mainly what's here.  One big one is the dinner from last night.....I don't have a picture but am posting the link because it's definitely worth it.  I LOVED it. The kids were on the fence, Hubby LOVED it!  Kids are weird anyway!  What do they know.
So what we had was brown rice and Aarti's Indian Summer Stew
And the only thing I had to buy was Cilantro!  YIPPEE!

Tonight's dinner:
Lemon Chicken Pasta with Peas and Red Bell Pepper. 
I cooked up some Gluten Free Spaghetti I had on hand and then made this yummy sauce with the other ingredients I had laying around:
1Lb cut up boneless skinless chicken breasts sauteed in Olive oil, then add:
1/2 diced onion
1/4 C Lemon Juice
1 diced red bell Pepper
1C frozen peas (these also make a great easy frozen pack to ice down sore shins or whatever else - I always keep a few bags around in the freezer!)
1/2 C. goat milk (thankfully I still have a few girls in milk right now but you can use any milk you want)
1/2 - 1 tsp tapioca starch to thicken sauce.  ( you can use cornstarch but because I have a family member who is gluten and corn free we use tapioca!)
Mix it together and throw over the pasta - YUM!
Added to that is this Gluten Free Homemade Foccacia Bread
and some Pesto Spaghetti Squash  - how can you go wrong!!!!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Two nights now of some awesome tasting and healthy for you food and I didn't get pics.  I need to remember to pull out that camara!  But I will still post the recipes because they hit the mark: Easy, Filling, LOW FAT!
First up is 3 Bean Chili with Ground Goat meat (OR Super Lean Ground Beef, Buffalo or Turkey)
This one takes a little prep work but it is still easy.  Soak 1 C. Black Beans, 1C. Red Beans or Kidneys, and 1 C Pinto beans over night.
the next morning rinse beans good and put in crockpot with water (lots) and turn on high. Have a nice day.
At dinner time sautee 3 cloves of garlic, 1 diced whole onion, and 1 lb of ground meat of your choice. Buffalo, Goat and Turkey will the the lowest in fat but if you prefer beef use grass fed and very lean if possible.
Add this to the crockpot with 1 can of diced tomatoes, 2 TBSP of tomato paste (I use Amore concentrate because it has no additives) and 1/2 can of chipotles in adobo sauce ground up in your blender. Top with a little bit of feather shredded cheddar cheese.  A 1C. helping is not at all high in fat but full of fiber and is good to boot!

Butternut Squash Soup

1 Onion, and 3 cloves of minced garlic - saute in olive oil (1 tbsp) or coconut oil.
Add 1 large or two smaller butternut squash (peel, de-seed and cube) and 3 organic carrots, chopped up.
1quart of vegetable stock and water to cover.  Boil until squash is tender.  Use you stick blender to blend up
good and add salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste.

Quinoa Tabbouleh  (thanks to our friends at Sunset Magazine for this goody - April 2011 issue)

1C Quinoa(cooked according to package direction)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tbsp. each - extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice
1 bunch parsley, chopped
1 tomato chopped
1/2 english cucumber chopped
1/4 C Crumbled feta cheese

Balsamic Vinegar Roasted Asparagus

1 or 2 bunches of asparagus, cleaned and woody ends cut off - place in a ziplock bag. 
Add: 1 Tbsp Olive Oil, 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp kosher salt and a bit of fresh ground 
pepper.  Marinate asparagus for about 1 hour and then place in pan and roast - you can also grill this 
and it's good!  

Strawberry Spinach Salad 

4 C. rinsed and patted dry baby spinach leaves (or leaves from your own garden!) 
1 C. Strawberries, rinsed dried and cut up. 
1/4 C toasted slivered almonds. 

Dressing: 1/4 C Olive Oil, 1/4 C. sugar (I use 1/2 of that and agave nectar instead), a few pinches of toasted sesame seeds, 1/4 tsp. onion flakes, 1/8 tsp sweet paprika, 1 tsp worchestershire sauce. Shake well to blend - you can adjust this to your taste. I like MORE worchestershire sauce and less sugar and really not very fond of the sesame seeds.    

Monday, January 16, 2012

This has quickly become my favorite chili - Move over Texas Chili, move over white bean chile.  And I am sure some of you are thinking - Pumpkin?  In chili?  Okay, I admit I thought this was a bit weird too until I tasted it.
And while I use a base recipe I found online I've added a few things I really like to make it my own recipe.  I'm going to give you the Vegetarian version - For those who want meat (and I usually do because for some reason I think Chili has to have meat) add white meat chicken or turkey.
1 Onion diced, sautee in Olive Oil
3 cloves of garlic minced and added to onions.
Add Vegetable broth (or water, or chicken broth) about 4 C 
2 C. Pumpkin puree(you could also use butternut squash or sweet potatoe.
2 Cans of Black beans or about 3 C. Cooked black beans.
2-3 potatoes diced (I like yukon golds)
2 zucchinis and 1 yellow squash cut in bite sized chunks.
1 Can fire roasted diced tomatoes (I use Muir Glen Organic)
1 C. frozen corn (I do not add because of a family member who doesn't eat corn due to allergy)
2 tsp salt (or to taste)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 TBSP chipotle puree (I take a can of chipotle in adobo and puree it and then add what I need - freeze the rest for later use - trust me you'll make this again!!!!) 
Simmer slowly for about and hour or so and top with some sour cream if desired.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Thai Tuna wraps
 So, for about a year now (it will be a year in Feb) I decided to take hold of my health and work on getting back to the me I was before I had kids and let myself go.  It's a health decision, not a weight decision though weightloss is certainly a part of it.  I made some changes, and am working on the daily battle of getting healthy again.  These are some of the changes I've made - diet, excercise, drink more water, try to live greener, eat more locally, get out unhealthy toxic products and replace with healthier products, drink more water.   Since this is my recipe blog, I'm concentrating more on the diet aspect.  NOW, Let me make one thing clear - I don't believe it diets, no fad diets, no drinking shakes to loose weight, I believe that the changes that are made need to be LONG lasting changes in habits that aren't healthy.  So I guess you could say I am making lifestyle changes, not dieting.  One of the things we are doing is eating vegetarian several nights a week.  NOT vegan but vegetarian and even then, sometimes we have a predominantly veggie meal with some small bit of protien but meats are not the main course of the meal.  I decided to post this meal because it was particularly tasty and not too hard to prepare and also - because we have the extra added challenge of a gluten free family member - have there be very little grains.  This one is most certainly a winner in my book.  The kids seemed to like it as well and the best part was - it was filling.
 We started off with Chinese Cabbage Soup from one of my fav. vegetarian cookbooks: 1,000 Vegetarian Recipes by Carol Gelles.
1 1/2 tbsp vege oil (I use EVOO)
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 c. sliced onion
1 clove minced garlic
5 C. vege broth
1 TBSP dry sherry sauce
3 C shredded bok choy
1/2 C carrots,
1/2 C mushrooms (I used shitaake)
1/4 C Peas
1/4 C. scallions
Saute the cabbage, carrots, onion and garlic in a big pan. Add Vege broth, sherry and soy sauce. Then simmer until veggies are soft.  Add bok choy, mushroom, peas and scallions toward end.

Added to the soup was Almond Ding Veggies, Also from Carol Gelles' cookbook.
toast 1/2 C. almonds (I used slivered) and set aside.
in bowl stir together 1/4 C water, 3 TBSP mirin or sherry,  1 tbsp soy sauce (I use tamari because it is wheat free)  1 tbsp thickener (I use tapioca starch due to corn allergy but you can use cornstarch)  and 1/2 tsp sugar.  In large Wok or skillet heat 2 tbsp Olive or sesame oil, 4 C chopped celery, 1 C. diced onions, 3 cloves garlic, minced, one can of water chestnuts and 1 can of bamboo shoots and 1 head of brocolli chopped up.  Sautee until crisp-tender and then add your soy/mirin mixture and stir in, take off heat and add the almonds.
Lastly, we had Thai wraps.  My kids LOVE these things.  You take Rice Wrappers, soak them in water until they are pliable (I do one at a time) and rice noodles (you can buy a package of rice thread noodles and pour hot water over them unti they soften) The put the noodles on the wrapper, then add: Tuna (we prepare it like tuna sandwich filling) shredded carrot, avocado, pickled daikon radish, slivered red bell pepper and fresh mint or cilantro and then wrap according to package directions. We usually dip ours in Thai Peanut sauce, hot chili sauce or Hoisin sauce (not for those who are gluten free) .