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Archive for February, 2009

Recipes for the Busy Mom

After seeing our cousin, Tracey, over the weekend – yes, folks..she’s vegan, as is her husband Steve (audience applause) – I realized that while I can make a dish for me on a Sunday afternoon and it’ll serve me as lunch for most of the week…this is because I’m just feeding myself. For someone who has children and a husband – a serving for four or six doesn’t go as far as it does for just me (and Mocha). So here’s a list of a couple recipes that would be easy to make on a Sunday afternoon that can feed the entire family for several days (at least through Wednesday dinner) without having to endeavor on long preps during the week after a long day at work. Spending two or three hours in the kitchen on a weekend can really open up the rest of the week. And doubling the recipes (pending you have dishes big enough) will also help stretch the quantities with the same prep time.

Baked Rice Casserole – minimal chopping which saves time, and once it’s in the oven, you can move on to prepping something else.

Homemade beans – making a huge batch which could then be used to add a cup to any dish during the week, or make homemade burritos for a light dinner. Once they are on the stove-top, you can forget about them for at least an hour, and move on to chopping vegetables for something else – but be sure to throw them in some water to soak on Saturday night 😉 . I always make a batch of beans on the weekend…for beans at a moment’s notice.

Roasted Vegetables (any that you have on hand) – either the Marinated or just plain salt-n-pepper veggies roasted in the oven can stay in the fridge for a couple of days, which you can throw into burritos, enchiladas, or on top of a pizza, or even tossed with some rice. Again, take 10 minutes to chop, and roast for 45 minutes – you could even have them in the oven alongside your baked rice casserole!

Rice – making up a batch of brown rice on Sunday will cut down on time spent during the week. Make about 3 dry C of brown rice, in about 6 C broth – a little canola oil, salt, and pepper..Once it’s simmering, forget about it for 45 minutes (though if you’re making such a large quantity it might take longer than 45 min). This can go simultaneously with your beans that are cooking on the next burner. Though I’ve never tested it myself, I’m told you can freeze batches of brown rice. So you could divide it up into about 1 C (cooked) portions, and freeze them. In the morning before work, pull out a portion and let it thaw on the counter – and it’s ready to be warmed up, tossed with some beans and veggies, a few spices, and voilà!

Soups are another good option – but if you’re making a soup with noodles, keep those separate until serving so they don’t get mushy. Tomato soup makes an excellent leftover lunch.

Hearty Whole Wheat Waffles – double the recipe, and freeze them for a quick breakfast.

Whole Wheat Sugar Cookies – make up the dough, cut into individual cookies, and freeze – then you can pull out just a few cookies at a time for a mid-week treat.

You can also pre-prep some veg, and store them in containers – just like those pre-cut veg you pay way to much for at the store…just do that on a Sunday afternoon while your beans, rice, casseroles, and soups are cooking!

Then on Thursday, order a vegan pizza… Friday, do something easy like a “breakfast dinner” and a movie – have pancakes and fruit for dinner, then some popcorn with a movie, and finish off with a cookie made fresh from the freezer! You’re now back at the weekend to start thinking about groceries and prep for the following week.

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Over the weekend, I wanted to take something that Jo and I could eat for breakfast Monday morning (as well as everyone else), and that traveled relatively well. I was going to make some breakfast muffins, but then it occurred to me my donut craving has been slowly creeping back in recently. And after seeing Madcap Cupcake‘s post about the nutmeg yeast donuts..well, that just sealed the deal. I normally make Nikki’s vegan baked donuts, but I didn’t have any applesauce at the ready. And since I decided to spend my entire Saturday in pj’s baking for the quick 24-hour trip to San Antonio, I didn’t want to get dressed just to get applesauce from the store – that and I knew I wouldn’t have any time to finish them Sunday morning before my flight. Luckily I had already pulled off MC’s yeast doughnut recipe (no internet at home), and I had all the pertinent ingredients. I followed it practically verbatim, with some minor exceptions. The other thing I changed was baking the doughnuts instead of frying them. While I think they would be absolutely delicious fried..I didn’t have enough oil for it (my grocery shopping has declined recently due to lack of time). I’ll go ahead and repost with my alterations, for ease of those wanting the recipe and think it’s too much to click a link 😉 but Marika has a photo of them fried, whereas mine are photo’s of them baked! Now you can see how they turn out, same recipe different ways. I have no doubt that they are super great fried, what a great recipe!

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp flax meal
4 Tbsp water
3/4 cup scalded hemp milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 packet of active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3 C King Arthur Flour organic AP + 1 C bread flour, sifted (or 4 C AP)
1 tsp nutmeg
1/3 cup softened Earth Balance vegan butter
confectioner’s sugar for glaze (for this I used Nikki’s basic glaze recipe)

Directions:baked yeast doughnuts1

1. In a small bowl, whisk flax meal and water together until frothy. Set aside.
2. In a larger bowl, stir scalded hemp/soy milk, sugar and salt together, and set aside to cool.
3. Add nutmeg to flour, then add 2 cups of flour mix to hemp or soy milk and beat until well combined.
4. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water, then add to milk and flour mixture. Next, add vegan butter and flax mixture and mix until well-blended. Add remaining flour a 1/2 cup at a time.baked yeast doughnuts2
5. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 3 to 4 minutes, then place into an oiled bowl, cover and allow dough to rise until doubled in volume – approximately 30 to 45 minutes.
6. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to a thickness of a 1/2 inch. Cut into circles using a doughnut cutter or round cookie cutter. Set cut dough shapes aside to rise for a further 30 to 40 minutes. The dough will become light and fluffy.
7. Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake donuts for 8-10 minutes, until lightly golden on top. While still warm, dip tops in vanilla glaze. Then you can either double dip into a cinnamon-sugar blend or leave with just plain vanilla glaze. The cinnamon-dipped ones were more popular than the plain glaze, just FYI.

*Note: These are fabulous, just out of the oven. Because baking them keeps them fairly dense (as there is no oil to be soaking up), think density of a bagel with the flavor of a donut, they are better when warm. So reheat in a low temperature oven before enjoying.

baked yeast doughnuts3

**Next I want to try these with a whole wheat flour because I love the heart-healthy aspect of the flaxseed, I wonder if it would be just as tasty (and thus healthier) with a white whole wheat.

Happy Baking!

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Pink Passionate Virgin

pink passionate virgin

Ok, remember the Pink Passion cocktail? Well, here’s a non-alcoholic variation that is equally tasty – for those of you under age or who don’t consume alcohol for any reason…

Ingredients:

1 C passion-fruit juice
1/4 C orange juice
1 tsp grenadine, chilled

Directions:

1. Pour juices into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well, then strain into 2 Champagne flutes (or martini glasses).
2. Add 1/2 tsp grenadine to each cocktail (which will sink to bottom of glass).

Happy Shaking!

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I apologize for such a short intro, but things have been hectic (read: exhausting) in the world of graduate studies. I have no healthy justifications for this recipe, other than a small dose of daily chocolate is allegedly good for keeping facial skin healthy – I know it’s good for keeping my sanity in check, so it’s good for something. This recipe can be doubled easily…at these quantities, it made about 2 dozen small cookies.

Ingredients:

1 stick (1/4 lb) vegan butter, slightly softened
1/2 C confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/3 C cocoa powder (for benefits make sure it’s 70% cacao or more, try Dagoba or Green & Black)
1.5-2 C AP or oat flour
1 tsp kosher salt

Directions:chocolate shortbread cookies1

1. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy.
2. Add the vanilla, then beat in the cocoa on low speed. Beat in the flour and salt – at this point the dough will be very soft.
3. Transfer to another bowl (or not, depending on the room you have available in the fridge) and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 min, but the longer the better (overnight if you can take it).chocolate shortbread cookies2
4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Roll/mold into small balls by hand. Transfer to parchment paper-lined baking sheets, and bake for about 8-10 min, or until firm. Let cool on the baking sheets for 10 min.
5. Using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to a rack to cool completely.

*The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days, but then either eat it or bake it! I didn’t test out the freezing of the dough, so I can’t comment on that – I’ll leave that for you Nikki 😉 .

chocolate shortbread cookies3

Happy Baking!

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This dish tastes great both while the rice is still warm, and the next day at room temperature! I love rice and veg, and having it like a ‘salad’ is a wonderful variation. I love the raw veg mixed in, making it taste that much fresher – like Spring is on its way… You could serve this as a main entrée/main dish salad or a side. It could also work as a stuffing for bell peppers. This recipes makes 8-10 servings as a side (about 4 as a main), so you’ll have plenty for leftovers if its just you.

Ingredients:

Dressing
1 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP fresh lime juice
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Salad
3 C total cooked rice (any combo of wild rice and brown rice, I used about 30:70 wild:brown in this batch)
1 yellow or red bell pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
6 oz red cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/4 C chopped fresh, cilantro

Directions:

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper; set aside.
2. Place the wild rice, brown rice, bell pepper, red onion, cherry tomatoes, and cilantro in a medium bowl. Add the dressing, and toss well to combine. Transfer to a serving bowl.

wild brown rice salad1wild brown rice salad2

Additional/Optional Add-ins: You could opt to toss in some cucumber or celery, perhaps even some corn or chopped spinach. For an even heartier (pun intended) dish, you could toss in some beans – any kind I think would do – or sprinkle in some fresh ground flax.

wild brown rice salad3

Happy Cooking!

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DF: Pasta Bake

pasta bakeAnother Dad-friendly recipe – it’s ready within 30 minutes, minimal chopping (if any), and makes leftovers for lunches! I call for veggies like grape tomatoes and baby spinach which require no prep other than washing and pre-minced garlic (or pre-roasted garlic cloves) and shallots, but feel free to chop your own (I was just aiming for a no-excuse dish that Dad could make). You can also choose to add in your favorite veg if you don’t mind chopping – like diced bell pepper or onions. And by the way, how awesome is that casserole dish of mine? pasta bake1It’s the old-school ones from the 70’s that we had growing up!

Ingredients:

1 TBSP olive oil
1.5 C orzo pasta
1 (loose) C baby spinach
1/2 C cherry or grape tomatoes
1 TBSP pasta bake2pre-minced garlic (or handful of roasted whole garlic cloves)
1 TBSP pre-minced shallots
1 C (or 1 can) cooked chickpeas or cannelini beans
1 jar favorite pasta sauce
1 C vegetable broth
1 tsp each herbs (fresh or dried): pasta bake3basil, oregano, thyme, sage
1/2 C peas

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Drizzle 1 TBSP olive oil on the bottom of a casserole dish (13X9 or 10X10 shown in photo). pasta bake5Combine all ingredients into the dish (except the peas), give it a stir, and cover with glass lid or aluminum foil.
2. Bake for 15 minutes, give it another stir, and bake an additional 10 minutes. Add peas and bake for a final 5-8 minutes. Let cool about 5-10 minutes, pasta bake6serve up in bowls and garnish with a fresh sprig of basil or herb of choice. Serve alongside some herb foccacia or rosemary potato bread and a nice glass of Chianti Classico (Brolio 2003 is a good bottle if you can get your hands on it).

*Note: You can also reduce the quantities by half and make this in a smaller dish. You could also opt to combine everything in a big mixing bowl, then aliquot into two casserole dishes if all you have are smaller ones. Dad, you could mix this up in a bowl and pour what you could into the 9X9 red le Creuset, and the remainder in the smaller le Creuset that’s with the other ‘veggie only’ items in your kitchen.

pasta bake7

Happy Cooking!

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Purple Potato Wedges

Remember Jo’s post about purple (“blue”) potatoes? Well, here’s those purple/blue potatoes turned into wedges! I brushed lightly with olive oil, salted, and roasted them at 425°F for about 20 minutes. Purple ketchup I can do without, but purple fries…ooh, yeah baby! I can’t imagine a more fun way to get my daily dose of anthocyanins!

purple potato wedges

Happy Cooking!

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