February 24, 2011 § Leave a Comment
How are you? We’re doing well here. We’ve been treated to gorgeous, clear mornings like this all week long:
It’s so bright and sunny, I thought that I could run outside wearing only my pjs and flip-flops to take a picture of the sky. But the second I opened the door, I received a frigid slap in the face and heard Mother Nature cackle and say “PSYCHE!! It’s still winter, dummy!”
In my mind, Mother Nature is Kathy Bates. In Misery. (If you’ve never seen that movie, you should totally put it on your Netflix list. It’s so sick, but I love it.)
Black-Eyed Pea Masala
Yield: approx 6 cups
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or oil of choice)
- 1 15 oz. can of black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained (this was the major adjustment. Angela used dried peas – pwa)
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ginger-root, minced (or more to taste) (I used about a teaspoon of ginger powder – pwa)
- 3 small cloves garlic, minced
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 3 cups canned diced tomato (approx. one 28oz can)
- 1.5-2 teaspoons garam masala, to taste
- 1-2 teaspoons sugar, or to taste (I didn’t use any sugar – pwa)
- 1.5 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- Chopped parsley or cilantro, to garnish (I added leftover baby spinach at the end – pwa)
- Rice or bread, for serving (I served the masala over leftover whole wheat couscous – pwa)
In a large skillet, add 1 tbsp of oil over medium heat and add the chopped onions. Cook, stirring, until onions soften, about 6-8 minutes. Add the cumin, ginger, and garlic and stir for about 1-2 minutes.
Add the drained peas and all remaining ingredients. Simmer until the black-eyed peas are tender, about 20 minutes. If desired, add chopped baby spinach and stir until wilted. Check seasonings and add more salt and garam masala if necessary.
Sprinkle with parsley/cilantro and serve with brown rice or fresh bread (or couscous). Makes approx. 6 cups.
As I mentioned, Angela used dried black-eyed peas in her recipe, while I took the easy way out and used the canned version. Please jump to Oh She Glows if you want the directions for cooking the dried peas.
I thought this masala was great (and quick). I only wished that I had a piece of warm naan to scoop it up with. The couscous was fine, but it wasn’t naan!
Enjoy your Thursday!
February 23, 2011 § Leave a Comment
February 23, 2011 § 2 Comments
This week’s recipe is from Sarah. Thanks, Sarah!
Tomato-Bean Soup with Pasta
From the Chicago Tribune|Serves 6
1 cup any small soup pasta
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 cans veggie broth (I assume 30 oz. – pwa)
2 cans cannellini or black beans
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
1/4 cup red wine
2 tsp Italian herb blend
1 bay leaf, optional
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4 kale or Swiss chard leaves, coarsely chopped
Prepare pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and onion, cook until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add broth, beans with their liquid, tomatoes with their liquid, wine, Italian seasoning, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Simmer 20 minutes.
Add chard leaves, cook until slightly wilted, about 5 minutes. Ladle soup into bowls, add pasta. Pass Parmesan at table.
(The only thing I question about this recipe is not rinsing off the beans. I assume the bean liquid thickens the broth, but still, when I make this I may stick to my habit of rinsing and deal with having a thinner broth. That beany, slimy, salty liquid kind of turns my stomach! That’s only my opinion! – pwa)
February 22, 2011 § Leave a Comment
How are you? What a gorgeous, bright morning here! The sun is shining and the sky is pure blue. I know it’s freezing out there, but at least it’s pretty!
I know that school vacation week may not be the best time for introspection, but I thought you might be able to catch a break at night (or during t.v. time. Please tell me you have t.v. time in your house) and work on this Circle of Life activity (see link below. You’ll need to print it out). It’s an exercise that I had to complete while I attended the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and it’s also a segment of the 6-month wellness program I offer.
I don’t talk about it much in the blog, but as you can read on my “About” page, I’m a health counselor who is accepting clients–virtually (phone/Skype) or in person. The program is really a whole-life program as opposed to a strict nutrition program. We discuss way more than calories and Vitamin D, for sure.
My schedule is a little limited since Peter is with me the majority of, well, the majority of my LIFE (edited to add: and I wouldn’t want it any other way ), but if you’re interested in improving your health and the health of your family, send me an email at email@example.com and we can work something out.
Anyway, I think this little sneak preview of the program is a super-helpful visual representation of where one might be a bit unbalanced in his or her life. I hope you find it useful and enlightening.
Have a nice Tuesday!
February 21, 2011 § Leave a Comment
How are you? I hope you had a nice weekend. One thing I learned this weekend: to a 3-year old, the best thing about a trip to an art museum is riding the big, long elevators. Oh well. I’m sure he absorbed a little bit of culture by simply being in the building
Speaking of art, I just opened an email from High Falls Mercantile and saw an adorable piece of art which has inspired me to
take on think about taking on a DIY project. (I’m not a DIY-er. I’m the polar opposite of a DIY-er…basically, I’m a “Hire-er” or “Buy-er.”)
But these Printers Tray Assemblages by Canace, while obviously beautiful and interesting works of art, also inspire a different way to keep–and display–mementos, whether they’re from vacations, weddings, honeymoons, childhood, relationships, or hobbies.
I don’t know about you, but my mementos and souvenirs are scattered. Some are taped into journals, some are in my jewelry box, but most are buried in our basement dwellers: otherwise known as “the large Tupperware bins o’ Amy’s crap.”
I literally lift up one corner of a bin’s lid and toss in whatever trinket I want to save. Kind of pointless since I look through the bins maybe once a year. Unfortunately, I’ve been following the same method for Peter’s mementos. The kid doesn’t even have one cohesive baby book.
I think it would be so cute to find a printers tray in which to group and display small photos, shells, rocks, movie/theater tickets, dried flowers, small notes, pieces of fabric, etc. , all related specific theme. So much cooler and more functional than an album or scrapbook (or Tupperware bin)!
I want to create one after this summer’s Cape Cod vacation and for Peter’s baby/toddlerhood (maybe from birth to age 5 ). Or even better, have Peter collect items from our vacation(s) and he can create his own printers tray art …fun!
The challenge will be finding small printers trays. The ones I’ve found online are huge. I’ll be keeping an eye out for some the next time I’m browsing an antiques store. However, now that I think about it, I suppose a certain recently retired stepfather could be persuaded to build a faux printers tray for me
Enjoy the rest of Presidents’ Day!
February 14, 2011 § Leave a Comment
First of all: Happy Valentine’s Day! <3 I hope you’re spending the evening with your honey, your friends, or doing something special for yourself. Personally, I feel like curling up on the couch with a bowl of banana soft serve and watching Eclipse. However, I think I’m legally bound to lavish affection on my husband tonight. My work is never done. I keed, I keed, I hope we both can stay up past 9:00 p.m. to watch “Eclipse” together.
Secondly: I hope you had a nice weekend! We took Peter to the movie theater for the first time to see “Gnomeo and Juliet” (not the best animated movie I’ve ever seen, but it was cute).
After the movie, we came home and I made my Comforting Cabbage dish for dinner. It was just as good as I remembered.
Undoubtedly, this week is already better than last week when I remained culinarily (real word?) uninspired. I didn’t cook much at all….well, I did make homemade applesauce, but it was nothing to write home about. I got a little overzealous in Trader Joe’s two weeks ago and bought 8 pounds of apples. I had four pounds sitting on the counter last week getting all kinds of wrinkly, and the mere thought of chewing all those apples within a day or two made my jaw tired.
I first thought I’d make apple crisp, but realized that most of it would probably go to waste since we’re not big sweet eaters here. My second thought was applesauce since it’s multifunctional. We could eat it plain, put it in oatmeal, over pancakes, freeze some for later, etc.
So, applesauce it was. I followed this recipe, but used brown rice syrup instead of sugar. I did learn that an immersion blender is a perfectly suitable way to mash the apples once they’re cooked (my potato masher is practically useless.)
Now, here’s what you came for, the Mom’s Club recipe of the week. Nancy provided two great recipes this week, and here they are:
For this recipe I usually make a huge batch of homemade sauce on the weekend, and then freeze individual bags of sauce to thaw and use as needed. This is great for all those lasagna noodles that have been broken and you don’t know what to do with them.
prep : 5 minutes cook: 30 minutes
1/2 lb ground beef, pork or turkey (or none at all)
2 tbs of balsamic vinegar (omit if not using meat)
2 tsps of Italian seasonings
4 uncooked lasagna noodles, broken into large pieces
1 (14.5) can diced tomatoes with onions undrained, OR I use same amount of home-made sauce
1 cup of bottled roasted red bell peppers, chopped ( I omit because I put peppers in home-made sauce)
3/4 cup of water
5 tsp pesto
1 cup skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup mozz and parm shred cheese
Cook meat in a large nonstick deep skillet. Add vinegar (to beef) and Italian seasoning. Dollop ricotta over meat, and add shredded cheese. Top with broken noodles, making one flat layer (noodles will overlap a little bit).
Pour tomatoes and peppers over noodles, making sure that noodles are completely covered (or pour sauce over). Repeat 2-3 layers ( top layer should be noodles, just like regular baked lasagna). Add water. Dollop pesto by half tsp over top ( if I don’t have any I just omit). Bring mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until noodles are cooked through. Uncover and sprinkle shred cheese on top. Cover let stand 2 minutes or until cheese melts. Cut into wedges, remove with a slotted spatula.
Fennel Salad ( can’t really get the kids to eat this yet, they get a different salad, but us big people like it)
2 cups thinly sliced fennel bulbs ( about 4 small bulbs)
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup bottled citrus sections or fresh orange sections
2 tsps olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt (I have used sea salt)
1/4 tsp black pepper or to taste
1 tablespoon fennel fronds
Combine first 3 [ingredients] in a large bowl. Add oil and remaining ingredients toss gently to coat.
These recipes have been adapted from CookingLight Superfast suppers.
(Thanks , Nancy! I cannot wait to try the fennel salad. I actually just bought some at Trader Joe’s – pwa)
Talk to you soon!
February 7, 2011 § Leave a Comment
I hope you had a good weekend! We had a busy, but good one. We were in CT to attend an annual bowling benefit in honor of one of my dear friends, Aedan. He left us too soon, nearly 10 years ago. I still think about him every day.
(2001 was probably THE crappiest year of my life. I was in a wacko and ultimately pretty devastating relationship, Aedan passed away, and then two weeks later 9/11 happened. I had never felt so off-kilter. It was like the kicks just kept on coming. At the end of September 2001, I actually spent a long weekend at a Buddhist Meditation retreat in Vermont just to get my head and life back together. As it usually does, life got better, eventually and thankfully. It’s no joke that time heals.)
But back to this weekend, yesterday we had a birthday party for my step-father and brother-in-law at my Mom’s house, so I got to see a bunch of family including my nieces and nephews, which always makes me happy. (I was ecstatic to meet my 6-week-old niece, Ainsley, for the first time! ) The kids spent hours playing Wii Dance — it was so funny. We think my 8-year-old nephew, Jaedon, broke some kind of Guinness Record for continuous Wii dancing. He takes the game very seriously. So cute.
So, here we are on Monday. I don’t know if it’s the weather or what, but I still feel like I’m in a bit of a funk. Nothing horrible, but I’m just like “blaaahh,” you know? I don’t feel like trying out any new recipes and my body is still feeling a little bloated and just not normal after my vegan experience.
Six months ago I didn’t think that turning 40 was all that bad, but now I’m not so sure! Maybe I had a delayed reaction- lol!
Anyway, I’m not bitching and moaning, I’m just getting my thoughts out. Blogs are funny. Readers (usually strangers) often have more insight into the writer than those closest to the writer!
OK, I clearly have a case of verbal diarrhea today. If you’ve stuck with me, thanks. Here’s what I intended to write about:
On Friday morning, while I was sitting here thinking about what I could write about, my eyes set on the new living room lamp I purchased from One Kings Lane. Now, I know that material things can’t make a person happy, but there is something to be said for how things that are pleasing to our eyes can give us a feeling of happiness. Right? There are some things that I look at in my house that are just random things, but something about them or their placement gives me a feeling of “alrightness” that could also be interpreted as a feeling of happiness
Here are some of those things:
These things may not do anything for you, but they give me a nice warm feeling! I’m sure I’ll get called materialistic tonight when my husband gets home
Have a nice Monday night! I hope to be back with a recipe or two later this week…
February 2, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Back in the golden days of mid-November– a much simpler time when we were dreaming of a white Christmas and probably some other equally stupid, stupid things–I mentioned that we attended my sister-in-law’s wedding (and also exposed my husband’s “shih tzu” problems).
Well, I just got my blistered and calloused hands on some wedding pictures and I thought I’d share them. Mainly because Peter looks super cute and I don’t feel like talking about food today.
All photos are courtesy of Kate Leigh Photography.
I hope you’re having a great Wednesday
February 1, 2011 § Leave a Comment
I’m probably stating the obvious here, but in case you didn’t know, it’s snowing again.
That’s all I have to say about that.
A certain kind of weather calls for a certain kind of food.
Hot, humid, summer days beg for fruity, icy popsicles.
And cold, snowy, winter days beg for nourishing, hot soup (and copious amounts of red wine. After 5:00 p.m., of course. Although today may be an exception. What time is it now? 9:30 a.m.? It’s 5:00 somewhere, right?).
Anyway, I love this soup. I’ve made it at least 4 times this winter. And despite its name, it’s not just for the holidays.
Thanks to Angela at Oh She Glows for yet another winner of a recipe.
This is hands down one of my all time favourite soups! Not only does it look festive just in time for the holidays, but it tastes incredible and warms the soul. It packs a wide array of seasonings and spices from cinnamon, nutmeg, and vegetable bouillon, to the saffron and curry. Somehow it just all works together magically!
Inspired by Fat Free Vegan Kitchen.
- 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 cup red quinoa, uncooked (I used regular quinoa this time – pwa)
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium sweet onion, finely chopped
- 1 medium zucchini, chopped*
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 vegetable bouillon cube (not low sodium)
- 6 cups water, boiled
- One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes (I used 1 28 oz. can this time – pwa)
- 1.5-2 cups cooked black beans (about one 15 oz can) (I used 1 25 oz. can this time – pwa)
- 1 tsp good-quality curry powder
- Pinch or two of cinnamon
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- 2 cups baby spinach leaves, well rinsed and roughly chopped
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Pinch of saffron threads (optional, but tasted amazing) (I didn’t use saffron this time – pwa)
Directions: Heat the oil in a large soup pot. Add the chopped sweet onion and sauté over medium-low heat until translucent. Add the chopped carrots, chopped zucchini, and minced garlic, and continue to sauté for about 5-7 minutes.
Place your bouillon cube into a medium sized bowl. Boil 6 cups of water and pour over the bouillon cube. Stir well to dissolve. Add bouillon mixture, tomatoes, red quinoa, black beans, and spices + seasonings. Bring to a boil and then simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes.
Add the roughly chopped spinach, stir well, and cover. Simmer on low for about 15-35 minutes. The longer you cook it the more the flavours will develop. Taste test and adjust seasonings if necessary. I also have a feeling this soup will be even better the next day! Garnish with nuts of choice if preferred.
Makes about 8-10 cups.
*I usually don’t buy zucchini (or tomatoes) in the winter because it just doesn’t seem right to eat them in the winter. They grow in the SUMMER and should be eaten in the summer. However, I really do like the zucchini in this soup, so I made an exception to my rule.
I also used more diced tomatoes and black beans than called for in the original recipe because I had the larger cans on hand. I often follow a recipe to a T, which results in little Tupperware containers of leftover diced tomatoes or whatever taking up space in my refrigerator. I have the best intentions to use the leftovers, but of course they sit and sit and sit until they look like a mold-growing experiment.
Luckily, the extra ingredients did no harm. It’s still soupy, not stewy. I added a little more cinnamon and nutmeg at the end, but that’s it.
The result is a warming, feel-good soup that’s great mopped up with a piece of sourdough bread.
And accompanied by a glass of red wine.
Stay warm and safe if you’re weathering the storm somewhere.
Peter and I will be hanging out, pretending to drink Play-doh hot cocoa, and singing songs like “Cocoa-cabana” and “I’m Dreaming of a White Tuesday.”