Tag Archives: sweet potato

Edibles & Etsies

Considering the fact that just about the whole United States is snowed in right now…you’re probably not too surprised to hear that I am, too.

Luckily, I was more productive than this one:

I'm trying to get her on a diet program. It's hard when no-one else sees the importance of it, though.

Fun fact: I actually quite enjoy shoveling snow. Today, though, was a lot of snow. I shoveled this morning, a couple hours later, and a couple hours after that. It just kept coming! Luckily it’s just the decks and walkways I have to do, and we have a snowblower and snow plow for the driveway.

Early this morning. It's still coming down.

Work called me last night to tell me not to bother coming in, and it was sort of nice to know I wasn’t going to be going anywhere in the morning.

Of course, it didn’t really matter because sleeping in is impossible when you have a cat and a dog come barging in your room to wake you up at the usual time.

Oh, well. I had a day of productivity in front of me, remember?And it was. After pancakes, a quick workout, shoveling (aka workout numbers 2, 3 and 4) and some baking of Super Charge Me cookies, I buckled down to backing up photos taken this past summer and overall just organizing my computer life.

And getting productive with some Carob Chip Muffins. Made in loaf form. Holy heaben, this is a wonderful recipe. Though look at how funny barley flour looks – the inside is almost a reddish, and the outside a normal tan!

It’s not very attractive as a loaf – but uuber delicious. I love the marriage of coconut, orange, nutmeg and chocolate – something I was unsure of. For some strange reason, though, I was craving something with chocolate chips for once.

I found my indecision as to dipping choices comical. I always need variety! Still on the fence about that black bean and orange hummus, though.

…and I almost had to call the presses when I had a bowl of mushrooms as a snack. I mean, I love mushrooms and all…but how many times have you seen me have a bowl of hot veggies as a snack like this?! It’s usually something sweet! (even when I posted all my food)

Dinner was something special, though – another grain salad in which I will sing the praises of this Vermont Soy tofu and the Bob’s Red Mill cookbook.

First, though, a funny whoopsie – I accidentally made steel cut oats instead of bulgur. Don’t be surprised if you see them in pancake form in the morning – I was not going to use steel cut oats in this recipe! I never realized how remarkably similar they look when dry!

The recipe I (mostly) followed was one for a Moroccan Millet Salad. I love Moroccan dishes – they have such a unique combination of flavors, typically incorporating sweet and savory elements, along with neat spices more typically seen in sweets rather than savory meals such as cinnamon, nutmeg and cardomom.

This in particular was a mix of green pepper, red onion, dates, raisins, orange zest and sunflower seeds…

that was mixed with bulgur and tossed in a dressing consisting of orange juice, lemon juice, cumin, cardamom, ginger, honey and olive oil. I added in tofu that I first pan-fried in a bit of olive oil and then pouring over half of the dressing.

I was in love with the sweet-meets-savory, something I quite enjoy, but would probably make this sans lemon juice in the dressing next time. Otherwise, it was spot on! I loved the tofu, too…but I think I could eat that tofu plain 😉

What else was I being productive with this afternoon?

Trying to figure out ways I could “go public” with my pictures! I’d entertained the idea of maybe re-starting an Etsy shop after not having a ton of success last time (it’s not like I advertised anywhere, though!). Seeing Jenny “go for it” and open her shop was sort of the final kick-in-the-butt that I needed to at least try, too.

I don’t have too much added yet – but it’s part of my winter project! Realistically, I am not expecting much to come from this, but every penny counts towards the Mac and Teddie fund…not to mention the fact that I lost my full Adobe Creative Suite with my old computer :X

SO! If you know of anyone looking for some photography to…hang somewhere…gift to someone…I don’t know what else…maybe they’ll be interested in some of my listings? I’ll keep you guys UTD when I think I’ve got a “full shop” 🙂

So – who else out there is still shoveling snow?!

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Bulgur and Tempeh Salad with Citrus

Okay. I’m sure there was at least one of you who was willing to bet that I wasn’t going to wait much longer to “break into” my new Mac. Who cares that I don’t have a place to put it – throw it on the floor, right?!

Well, maybe not quite the floor. Maybe I’ll just steal the coffee table from the living room. And it’s really just because now that I’ve got the photos from my old computer on the new one, I really needed to put through a senior picture print order I’d received just after the computer crashed!

Sorry. You know I had to go there, though.

Anyways. This is Maxwell. Naming credit goes fully to Tatianna! And I’m going to put this out in the open: I respect Maxwell too much to let him become a complete mess of unorganized pictures and unnamed files. From here on out, I will be ORGANIZED with my images. Right down to naming my food folders with the names of what they contain. And we’re starting right off with “OrangeBulghurSalad”. You’ll see why soon…but I think it’s pretty self explanatory.

But first.

I did something I never thought I’d do today. What you see in the blender above is a mish-mosh of black beans, orange zest, orange juice, almond butter, my computer is making noises and I don’t know what they are, parsely, garlic and other weird things. I was a little queasy thinking about it.

But no fear. It was hummus. Weird hummus. But sometimes, you’ve just gotta trust people.

When I saw the Black Bean and Orange Hummus in Eat, Drink and Be Vegan I skipped on by.

When Daniel suggested I make it to have with my sweet potato obsession, I considered it before grimmacing again and passing.

When I saw the grocery store had no hummus and I’m all out, I knew I’d have to suck it up and make my own.

When I realized there was no way my blender could puree chickpeas like the folks at Cedars can, I grumbled, sucked it up, and made the damn black bean hummus. Because black beans are softer. And I’m on a zesting kick anyways, remember?

I’d probably like this hummus better if someone made it for me and I didn’t know that I was eating a puree of black beans, garlic, almond butter and orange. But as it is, it’s okay. I think I’d prefer it sans garlic, though.

Somebody call the news, I just said sans garlic! That is earth-shattering, my friends.

But while we’re on the topic of what goes good for sweet potato dippage, I don’t think I’ve quite told you all my true passion for this barbecue sauce:

Good old Grandpa Jim’s. You know something’s good when the brand starts with Grandpa or Uncle.

…our original BBQ sauce…best used on meatloaf, pulled pork, chicken, ribs, venison and more.

And sweet potatoes. He forgot to mention sweet potatoes. This BBQ sauce (which was developed just a drive away, I might add – which makes it even mo’ betta’) has me so spoiled rotten that I tried another brand the other day and had to spit it out. It wasn’t attractive. And no, the sauce wasn’t “technically bad,” as my sister had no problem gulping it down.

Anyways. Enough rambling. (…but you know me and you probably know that even after saying “enough,” I’ll continue to do so…)

For Valentine’s Day last year, I received a Bob’s Red Mill Cookbook.

Before you say “awww! how sweet!” it was from my mother. Which is still sweet, but not awww how sweet, you know?

For some reason, I’ve been a bit…tardy…going through it. This is quite unusual for me. But, I think a large part of it has to do with the fact that back when I received it, I wasn’t as comfortable altering a recipe to make it “animal friendly” or a little healthier. Now that I am, I think I have a brand new appreciation for the book.

I might even go so far as to consider it a “grain bible.” There are so many recipes that utilize various flours, grains, cooking methods and a wide array of flavors, too. I flipped through it the other night, not expecting to find much, but fell in love with about five recipes in a row, and then had to stop browsing because my imagination was running too wild.

The first one that caught my eye was a recipe involving rice, chicken and a orange vinaigrette. I decided I’d tweak it just a bit, and utilize bulgur wheat, tempeh and keep the vinaigrette pretty much the same.

This salad is wonderfully refreshing – it can be enjoyed either hot or cold, and I love it over a bed of mushrooms and greens, but I bet it would be wonderful wrapped in a large collard leaf or a wheat wrap.

There’s a couple different routes you could take with the tempeh preparation. In the instructions, I tell you how I did it, which was lightly boiling for five minutes and then panfrying. If you’re against boiling things, by all means – skip that step. If you’d prefer your tempeh boiled for the full ten minutes to remove any trace of bitterness, by all means, do that.

Bulgur and Tempeh Salad with Orange-Dijon Dressing

adapted slightly from Bob’s Red Mill

serves 2 as a main, 3-4 as a side

  • 1/2 block tempeh, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 t. basil oil
  • 1/2 c. bulgur wheat
  • 1 large orange, juiced
  • 1 orange, cut into sections
  • 1 t. whole-seed dijon mustard
  • 1 t. honey (if veganizing, I’m sure maple syrup would be a wonderful substitute)
  • 1/2 T. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 of a medium red onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 1 t. dried chives (fresh would be even better)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • walnuts, to garnish

Prepare the bulgur: bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Once boiling, turn off heat and pour in the bulgur. Stir once and cover. Allow to sit 10-15 minutes to absorb all the water.

Prepare the dressing: Whisk together juice of orange, mustard, honey and vinegar. Set aside.

Prepare the tempeh: Bring a pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, place the tempeh pieces in the boiling water and simmer for five minutes (ten if you want it more tender and less bitter) After five minutes, drain and toss with the basil oil. Heat a small saute pan over medium-high heat and transfer the tempeh to the pan. Pour half of the dressing over and stir to coat. Continue to heat until dressing is absorbed. Remove from heat.

To combine: In a bowl, combine the diced onion, pressed garlic, dried chives, orange sections, salt, pepper, cooked bulgur and tempeh. Toss to combine and then stir in the remaining dressing. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

May be served warm or cold – top with walnuts, if desired.

Uh-yuhm.

So, I made orange black-bean hummus today by combining black beans, almond butter and oranges – weirdest things I’ve ever combined to make something edible. What’s the “scariest” ingredients you’ve ever combined to make something surprisingly tasty?

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Hummus Crepes

UHHH…apparently I’m a little…greedy.

21″ computer screen sounds totally reasonable, right? Larger than most, even?

But bigger is better, right? Go big or go home? So why not just get the 27″ screen, right?

I’ll show you why not – because 27 inches of computer screen is totally unnecessary and no one needs a computer that large. This could serve as my television, for Pete’s sake! Oh, well.

I’ll probably have a crick in my neck for the first week of iMaceration (uh, that was intended to be the conglomeration of the words iMac and operation, but it turned into maceration, as in to chew, not as in iMac operation as intended.) but at least I finally have my iMac, after years of threatening to throw my “i-hate-life” PC off the deck after working with the happy-go-lucky Macs at work and school all day.

…but of course there’s the desk dilemma, and since ms. Mac has no place to live until Thursday, she’s living in her cardboard box and I’m using my mom’s i-hate-life PC still.

Name suggestions for the new baby are welcome.

How does one celebrate new motherhood? Hummus crepes, that’s how.

Because the only thing better than hummus in its’ natural form is hummus in crepe form. d’Oh.

I saw the idea for hummus flatbread while I was browsing Food Network magazine last weekend. I’ve been sort of phasing out of bread lately for reasons unbeknownst to me, but there are still times that call for a bread-like-vessel. Like today. When I arrived home from the barn, I was hangry, and really wanted to try the hummus flatbread but didn’t have the patience to flip through my giant blue-binder-of-recipes where the recipe resided.

So, I just mixed some hummus with some flour, nooch and water and prayed to the hummus Gods that it would at least sort of work. The worst that could happen was I’d have hummus mush, right? Not so bad, right?

Alright, so I got too zealous withthe fillings to make a real wrap – but it still worked! And was pretty amazing. It actually got crispy, which I wasn’t sure would happen. Crispy on the outside, with a creamy hummus inside. el perfecto! Next time I’d probably just use a bit larger of portions so I can get a full wrap 😉

I whisked together 3 T. forty spice hummus, 2 T. oat flour, 1/2 T. nutritional yeast and probably 3 T. water while preheating a skillet over medium heat. Greased the skillet with a little earth balance before pouring on the hummus mixture and spreading it out pretty thin. Before flipping, spray the top with a little cooking spray so it doesn’t stick. Cook until golden on both sides.

The mixture should be similar to the consistency of a crepe – not too runny, not too thick.

And remember how last time the B’s playedI mentioned how I almost made Boston baked beans to jingle good vibes? Well, I didn’t end up making them. And they didn’t end up winning.

They play Montreal tonight so I knew jingles were necessary. Enter: Veganomicon’s cheater baked beans. I entertained the thought of another recipe, bt if there’s one thing I’ve learned about baked beans, it’s that you dn’t mess with a good thing.

To be honest, I don’t know what classifies baked beans as Boston or otherwise, but lets hope this works.

Or maybe you can hope it doesn’t – because if they win tonight I’ll probably decide eating baked beans every night we have a game is the way to go. Not only will you guys get sick of seeing baked beans, but my family will probably get sick of me eating said baked beans.

I don’t think I’d get tired of eating them, though.

I feel like all I talk about lately is hockey and Mac computers. Maybe tomorrow I’ll tell you about how I found Teddie dressed up in a penguin outfit today.

(p.s. You have until noon tomorrow to enter the date syrup giveaway!)

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It’s a Zesty Thing

I wish I had a good excuse as to why I’ve been so absent in the blog world lately. Truth be told – I do have a good excuse…but I’ve been battling as to whether it’s something I want to share with everyone just yet.

And then I remembered that I can be completely open with you guys, without feeling the need to hide anything. Save for the details about where I live and where I am at specific times of the day just because…you know…there are still creepers out there.

Anyways. Enough beating around the bush. The truth is…

I’m in a new relationship.

With my zester. It’s getting really heated these days…and I just can’t bear to be without it very long. Using it brings a whole new element of “brightness,” almost, to a dish – and I knew I was getting a little too involved after wishing I had my zester with me while I was at work yesterday.

To add orange zest to my hot chocolate. I tried this at home just now, and I definitely think it’s one of the weirder things I’ve done. My mind was on the right track – you know, dark chocolate + orange? However, the execution needs work. I’m currently drinking hot chocolate only to chew on a mouthful of zest immediately afterwards. Uhh…whoops.

Luckily – this Dagoba hot chocolate is fan. freaking. tastic. I’ve had my eyeballs peeled (how creepy is the word eyeballs, anyways?!) for a good hot cocoa and when I saw this on sale at the co-op I had to splurge on it. Yes, I just used “on sale” and “splurge” in the same sentence…because it was still $7 for a couple of cups of hot cocoa. Never fear, though – it has chunks of dark chocolate in it, which is pretty amazing whether you love hot cocoa/chocolate or not. I don’t declare myself a chocolate fan, however I love a good cup of hot cocoa to warm up with! I just wish it didn’t have a little bit of dairy in it :\

Oh, and by the way while we’re speaking of eyeballs, my eyeballs were also glued to the TV last night anyways, as I watched Tuuka Rask make a great come-back from a less-than-wonderful game on Sunday night. Just had to throw that out there, you know.

Ask an ordinary human being, and some of my other creations have probably been a little bit out there – but ask me, and I’d say not at all! You’ve already seen me post recipes including zest – the orange-date cookies, the lime poppyseed muffins, and how I’m constantly having pancakes with blueberries and lemon or lime, or cranberries and orange.

But how about something savory?

…like pasta? Pasta with kale and orange zest? And cranberries? and butternut squash? Sounds good to me!

[shallots sauteed in olive oil + kale + juice of one tangerine + salt, pepper, sage + roasted butternur squash + zest of one tangerine + splash of balsamic vinegar + serving of cooked whole wheat pasta + topped with dried cranberries and toasted walnuts]

Similar to that was my lunch today – but the mushrooms took it to the next level.

[sautee 1/4 of a red onion and a clove of garlic in basil oil – add in sliced mushrooms and chopped kale – add in juice of one tangerine – fold in a heaping portion of roasted butternut squash. serve with toasted walnuts.]

The critical element is getting the mushrooms to get a little bit of crispy golden-ness on them and not cooking them until they’re mushy.

And then, there’s the sweet side of my new addiction. Also known as – the combination of two obsessions in a relatively odd way. Also known as – sweet potato pancakes. With orange zest and cranberries.

I thought orange zest would be a good addition because it would add a refreshing element to contrast the heaviness of the sweet potatoes. I also wanted to leave the sweet potato in chunks, rather thanmashing it and adding it to the batter. I wouldn’t have bothered baking a sweet potato just for pancakes in the morning – but I had one I couldn’t finish the night before, so I chopped it up for the following morning. I think next time, I’d make them with the individual chunks having been roasted. I just chopped a potato I’d baked whole, and the texture of the potato and the pancake were a bit too similar.

I topped them with almond butter “mousse” (almond butter mixed with almond milk) date syrup and almonds. I love this crunchy TJ’s almond butter with flaxseeds that Jess sent me – so runny, crunchy and delicious!

True conversation:

“whats in the oven?”

                “a sweet potato.”

didn’t you just have one for lunch?

                “yup.”

huh. is that good for you?”

              “well, i can think of worse things i could have.”

This was followed by my mom telling me I was soon going to turn orange. I’m sorry – but once you oven bake a sweet potato, or have them roasted low and slow, there is no going back!

[for the pancakes: follow the base for my BLOC pancakes, replacing the lemon with orange and blueberries for cranberries, and use only 1/4 of a cup. add in 1/4 of a chopped baked sweet potato. season with ground cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg.]

I’ve also put some ripe bananas to good use…do you know what I added to the recipe, though? I bet you do…

…and if youguessed orange zest, you’d be hitting the nail on the head!

Aaaand lastly, but surely not leastly – something a bit more traditional. Blueberry pancakes with tangerine zest rather than lemon or lime! Honestly – is there anything better than some good ol’ blueberry pancakes, panfried in a leetle bit of earth balance (or butter) to get nice and crispy-golden, lightened up with the zest and juice of a good ol’ citrus fruit? And don’t forget, smeared with the aforementioned almond butter mousse and real (vermont!) maple syrup?

The answer is no, my friends. If you’d like to tell me something is better than that, go for it. It might take a bit of convincing, but I welcome the thoughts.

And yes, I’d be totally okay with eating pancakes for the rest of my life.

Alas, this never-ending zesting has left its mark: the knuckle on my left thumb has a permanent scar from my slipping with the zest one too many times (and zesting my thumb knuckle) and my zester is missing a metal “loop.” I’ve eaten it, for all I know. And believe it or not – the zesting is contagious. My mom added orange zest to a jello pudding pie she made the other day!

Zest: yay or nay? I want to hear you weigh in with tips, tricks, recipes, etc!

OH! Two more things: don’t forget about the date syrup giveaway, AND!!! Teddie posted some videos on his blog that might make you laugh 🙂

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Trendy Tofu

Alright. So here’s the deal. Remember all of those times I declared I didn’t care for tofu?

Forget it. Lately, I’ve realized something: I love tofu.

I’m not sure if previously I just wasn’t preparing it to my liking, or I just wasn’t buying good tofu. Not to mention the fact that I had negative thoughts associated with tofu anyways. Every time someone would see me cooking or eating, I was obviously eating/cooking toe-fu something. And I never was. So just to spite them, I would declare “I don’t even eat toe-fu!”

And yes, I would always say it toefu, as if it was fu from somebody’s toes. I was also skeptical of how much conflicting information is out there re: the possible hazards of non-fermented soy products.

Anyways. I found this locally-produced tofu, and I’ve done all sorts of things with it and now I have dreams of tofu, I love it so. Maybe it’s just the fact that it’s really fresh tofu that makes all the difference? Or maybe I’ve just finally figured out what to do with it? I don’t know.

First thing’s first – buffalo tofu. I knew I loved buffalo tempeh, and thought maybe buffalo tofu would be a good way to give tofu yet another chance.

I didn’t allow much marinating time – just simply sliced the tofu and placed it in a baking dish, pouring a mixture of Frank’s, olive oil, garlic and water over the top of it, and baked for about an hour. To get a little crispy-crusty action going on, I pan-fried it prior to smacking it in a sandwich filled with fresh herb lettuce, hummus, tomato and pickles.

Oh, yes, please.

After that experience, I knew tofu might be earning a spot in my heart.

My next tofu experiment came from my little black book:

Er, okay, maybe it’s a bulky blue binder. This is where I keep recipes I clip from magazines and such. It’s much more practical than keeping a bajillion magazines around for just one recipe that I don’t even remember seeing.

However, it tends to be put on the backburner for “real books.”

Was there a recipe for sweet potato gnocchi with lemon-basil sauce and panfried tofu with onions and mushrooms? Absolutely not. Did I develop a recipe for gnocchi with lemon-thyme sauce into the aformentioned gnocchi dish?

Why yes, yes I did. I feel like I’ve been eating too well lately. Why am I this lucky? Anyways. This is adapted from a recipe out of Cooking Light.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Lemon-Basil Sauce

served with onions, mushrooms, peas and grilled tofu 

For the gnocchi:

  • 1 medium sized sweet potato
  • 1/4 – 1/2 c. white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • water (for boiling)

Bake (microwave or oven) the sweet potato. When cooked, allow to cool a few minutes before removing skin and mashing in a bowl. Add in the flour and salt. Stir to form a dough and then turn out onto a clean surface that’s been dusted with flour, adding in more flour until you get a smooth dough. Divide into four pieces, and roll each piece intoa 10″ log. Cut into 1″ pieces. Press against a fork to get indentations on one side (your thumb will lightly indent the other side)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add in 5-10 gnocchis at a time, and leave in the simmering water for 2-3 minutes. When they’re ready, they will float to the top. Remove with a slotted spoon, and place in a strainer. Repeat until all are cooked, and move onto your sauce.

For the veggies and sauce:

  • 1/2 block tofu, sliced into 1/4″ slices and then triangles
  • 1 t. earth balance or butter
  • 1 t. basil oil
  • 1 t. dried basil
  • 1 lemon – you’ll need the juice and the zest
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 c. frozen peas
  • 3/4 c. sliced mushrooms
  • salt and pepper (I used lemon pepper)

In a saute pan over medium heat, warm the oil and butter. Add in the onion and cook until softened. Add the mudhrooms and cook until almost softened. Season with salt and pepperAdd in the lemon zest, lemon juice and dried basil.

In a tupperware or bowl, place a layer of tofu and then veggies, repeating until used. Cover and allow to sit at least an hour.

When ready to prepare, heat the skillet and add in the veggies and tofu. Make sure the tofu is lying flat in the pan. Cook until golden on both sides, removing from heat when done. Add in the gnocchi (you might need to add more oil at this point) and cook just until they get a deep golden crust on both sides. Add in the frozen peas halfway through.

When done, serve over a bed of herb salad.

I’m not sure which dinner I liked better – that one or this one:

Chutney “Chicken” One-Pot.

And by chicken, I mean tofu. Since it wasn’t marinated and simply added in towards the end of cooking, the tofu was a wonderful way to “cool down” my mouth from the gradually increasing heat of the dish from the ginger and cumin.

I omitted the parsnips and apple fromt he original recipe purely because I didn’t have one, and instead subbed half of a roasted butternut squash and carrots. I also didn’t use quite as much dried fruit, used nutmeg and clove in place of the allspice, candied ginger instead of fresh ginger, regular balsamic instead of white balsamic, applesauce instead of apricot preserves and vegetable broth instead of chicken stock. I also added a pinch of white bean flour to thicken a touch.

I think this dish would be superb with figs, too – and maybe fig preserves instead of apricot? Either way – it was a serious winner, in my book. I love you, Rachel Ray.

In other news?

My computer is toast. Well, let’s classify it as burnt toast. I sort of like toast, so just calling it toast is sort of putting it lightly. That’s why blogging’s been a bit sporadic lately – it takes so much more time, and my mom is usually on her computer at night, anyway. I’ve had almost the whole week off from work (hence being so productive in the kitchen) so I have a bit more time for blogging in the afternoons for the time being.

Of course, that’s only after my Teddie time and walks with Kaia, which we’ve been doing lots of lately. We both love it 🙂 And Teddie? Man, that pony is rockin’ lately! I am so proud of him – but I let him gloat about that on his own blog now 😉 (even though he posts pictures where I look like a dorkus.)

Anyways, what I’m trying to say is that I’m a proud new Mac momma…but it’s not getting here fast enough!!

Do you like tofu? What’s your favorite way to prepare it?

And/or – what’s something you thought you didn’t like, only to find out you actually do?

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Italian Sweet Potato Gratin

For what seemed like such a looooong week – this weekend sure flew by!

There was lots of pancakes. The best pancakes of my life.

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There was lots of finishing up on schoolwork.

There was lots of Bruins watching.

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There was lots of sweet potatoes.

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There was lots of following recipes…

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…as well as creating recipes.

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There was lots of rain. Too much rain.

I’m sick of rain. And wind. I just want snow. And blizzards. I want to be snowed in. I want to step outside and be up to my waist in fluffy, pillowy snow. I want to hear the stillness of a town covered in snow. To look down my road and see nothing but pine trees covered in white, and the road revealing that only the plow truck and sander braved go out.

I don’t want rain. Or wind. Last time we had rain and wind, we had no power for three days, anyway. And I got cold.

Okay, anyways. I’ve cried my river (and it suddenly makes sense why it’s raining) and now I’m building my bridge.

How do I build my bridge?

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By baking. Naturally.

I think the only part of working all week last week that I hated (besides not riding Teddie – that’s a given) was not being prepared or getting to spend time in the kitchen.

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Unfortunately, it’s still too early to get some real Christmas baking done – but it’s never too early to just bake for fun, at least. I chose Vegan with a Vengeance’s Orange Glazed Scones, while my mom baked some of her classic anisette cookies.

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…and got an arm workout while she was at it. And reminded me of a night with a certain alcoholic substance that tastes of anise. I never realized it until today but that is probably what anise will forever remind me of. Shudder.

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Before anyone asks, no, I will not post this recipe. I don’t post recipes from cookbooks when I haven’t changed anything, or have only changed a fraction of the ingredients, or have only made a simple swap. I don’t consider  a recipe to be “adapted” when I’ve simply switched the flour or added some nuts. I used Earth Balance in place of the oil, sure – that’s pretty far from me adapting the recipe, however. Regardless of how I feel about “adaptations” of recipes, however – these scones are delicious enough that they could convince you to buy the book Winking smile

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At one point, my mom tempted me with her food coloring and I attempted to turn my glaze orange. The color frightened me, but hey – it’s a special occasion and I was playing – but I had to start over when the glaze was way thinner than it should have been. I started over sans icing. That fascination was short-lived.

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I did, however, make what I consider adaptations of a couple recipes while in the kitchen today! I wanted to prepare stuff for the week so if I am working every day again, I won’t be so frantic and at a loss as to what to have for lunches and dinners. One recipe was for burgers that I’ll share sometime soon (tomorrow?) and another for an Italian Sweet Potato Gratin.

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This is an adaptation of Moosewood’s Italian Sweet Potato Gratin. I realize I’ve done dinners like this before…but this one is good. I don’t think casseroles ever get old!

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The only bad thing about this gratin?

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It used up the last of my Bove’s pasta sauce Sad smileWell worth it, I suppose – you’ll want to use a good tomato sauce for this recipe! I suppose that’s silly to say, though; I can’t really imagine when you would want to use a bad tomato sauce?

Anyways. Here you go.

Italian Sweet Potato Gratin

serves 4 as a side, 2 as a main

  • 1 medium sweet potato, sliced thinly
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 T. basil oil (or olive oil) divided
  • 1/2 t. italian seasoning
  • 1 T. balsamic vinegar
  • 1T. water
  • 3-4 large kale leaves, chopped
  • 1 c. sliced mushrooms
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/4 c. + 1 T. roasted red pepper hummus (or garlic)
  • 1 t. yellow mustard
  • 1 T. nutritional yeast
  • 2-3 T. water
  • 1/2 – 3/4 c. good tomato sauce
  • 1/4 c. whole wheat bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 400*.

In a small bowl, whisk together 1 T. of the oil, italian seasoning, vinegar, and 1 T. water. Set aside.

In another small bowl, mix together the hummus, nutritional yeast, mustard, and 2-3 T. water. Set aside.

In a casserole dish, spread the remaining 1 T. of oil and then uniformly layer half the sweet potatoes followed by half the onion. Sprinkle with salt and then pour half of the oil mixture over top. Spread half the hummus mixture over top, and then half of the tomato sauce. Layer on the kale, followed by the mushrooms. Sprinkle with salt and repeat the layering process, finishing everything: sweet potato, onion, oil, hummus and pasta sauce. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over top.

Cover and bake for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, remove cover and bake another ten. Let set for 10 minutes before serving.

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Oh, yes. This was pretty simple to prepare, even though there was a bit of hands on and hands-off time. The perfect warm meal to make on a weekend and enjoy on a week-day Smile

In other news, I was finally able to replenish my peanut butter that I’ve been going through like crazy:

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I may or may not have made that in my mom’s bathroom. I didn’t think whirring a food processor for five minutes straight was going to go over very well.

I still get all excited when peanut butter reaches that peanut butter state. It’s like this clumpy ball one second, and then the next…peanut butter. It’s magic. I don’t know if I can ever buy it again.

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To jazz it up a little this time, I combined:

  • 1/2 c. honey roasted peanuts
  • 1 1/2 c. dry roasted peanuts
  • 1/4 c. sunflower seeds
  • drizzle maple syrup
  • pinch of nutmeg, cinnamon and clove
  • crystallized ginger pieces

And of course I replenished my banana stash so I can resume having bananas dressed up in peanut butter for snack Winking smile

So! That is all for now…but! stay tuned for:

  • lemon-poppyseed blueberry cornmeal-oatbran pancakes
  • broccoli and cashew white bean burgers
  • more fun things that I don’t even know about yet. I hope.

What’s your favorite peanut butter add-in?

What was one fun thing you did this weekend?

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Filed under breakfast, dinner, lunch, recipe, sweet potato, vegan, vegetable, vegetarian

Tzimmes and a Winner

I’m still defrosting from the frigid air that was today! Well, this whole weekend, really. It’s days like this that make me question my sanity…why am I riding in this, again? It’s fun? Really?

Okay, so it is fun. After you forget how cold you are, and start sweating because your pony is so naughty. Ah, yes. I knew I loved you for a reason, Teddie. Keeping me warm and working me hard.

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I have beyond obsessed with the combination of the fig jam Tat sent me and bananas on my cornmeal waffles/pancakes. This morning some So Delicious Coconut Milk yogurt joined the party, making it all that much more amazing.

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What’s the best way to warm up from being froze solid all morning? Why, make bread, sip hot apple cider and go for a walk, that’s what!

This bread is a real winner. It is thisclose to replicating that bread that I love oh-so-much that I used to live on, buying all the time. It’s got the chewy, fluffy interior ad the slightly crusty exterior – making it perfect for sandwiches or just eating for fun.

And not only that, but it’s 100% whole wheat and no one would ever guess it. I mean – look how much it rose! Not only that, but my mom – whole wheat hater – loved it.

The recipe? This one. Changes I made/options I chose:

  • 2 T. olive oil versus 3 (and it’s still plenty moist)
  • 2 T. maple syrup
  • 2 1/2 c. white whole wheat flour + 1 c. 6-grain flour
  • 2 T. wheat germ
  • 2 t. instant yeast

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I was flipping through Veganomicon when I saw a recipe for sweet potato and pear tzimmes. I’m still not entirely sure what a tzimmes is – but gather it’s some sort of vegetable dish. I switched it up a bit, and this is what I did:

Sweet Potato, Pear and Chickpea Tzimmes

serves 1 as a meal, 2-3 as a side

  • 1 small-medium sweet potato, cubed
  • 1 medium red pear, cubed
  • 1/4 of a red onion, chopped
  • 1/3 c. garbanzo beans
  • 1/ 2 T. basil oil (or olive oil – or coconut oil, maybe?)
  • 1/2 T. maple syrup
  • 1/4 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 t. maple pepper
  • 1/8 t. garlic salt
  • 2 dried figs, chopped

Preheat oven to 350*.

Combine the sweet potato, pear, beans and red onion in a bowl, and toss with olive oil and maple syrup. When evenly coated, stir in all the seasonings. Spread evenly onto a rimmed baking sheet and cover with tinfoil. Bake for 30 mins.

After 30 minutes, remove foil and gently stir. Add in the figs, and return to oven, baking for another 30 minutes.

Serve with a side of [my choice] bulgur and spinach!

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Even though I’m a huge fan of sweet-vs.-savory, I was a little worried this would be too much sweet with the maple and figs and pear – but I didn’t find that to be the case. Instead, it is a pleasant medley of flavors, tied together with the buttery, nuttiness of the bulghur.

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Today was another crazy day, but finally found time this afternoon to make some more white bean aioli balls. These things are good.

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Makes me wonder – I bet you could do the same thing with hummus if you didn’t feel like going through the whole process of making a veg burger. Hmmmmm!!!

I wouldn’t be surprised if you guys see some…crafty…meals this week. I can only imagine we’re going to have food overload with turkey day coming up, so I’m not bothering to fill the fridge up with “my” food and am just going to eat through what I’ve got. Ironically, even though I haven’t gone since two Thursdays ago, I feel like I’ve got plenty of food! Of course, my mom saw kale on sale and picked up a bunch, along with broccoli. Yeah, I think I’ll be fine Winking smile

Oh, right – now I’m supposed to tell you the giveaway winner!

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Counting down 18? Sarah – from her blog “Running to Slow Things Down”! Always inspirational and always cooking up delicious feasts, I can’t wait to see how it’s put to use. So – email me with an address to send it too and it’s on its way to you, Sarah!

Do you usually have a big Thanksgiving, or small and with direct family members?

23 Comments

Filed under breakfast, dinner, lunch, pancakes, recipe, sweet potato