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11.29.2009

Ann Arbor holiday weekend

After decorating our tree on Thursday, we decided to stay up all night and venture into Black Friday starting at 3am. There has been a long tradition with my hubby's family where every Friday after Thanksgiving they go out Christmas shopping. My first time to experience such a tradition was last year. This year, we wondered if we could continue the tradition just the two of us. We stayed up and left at 3 am for our first stop at Old Navy, which turned out to be disastrous. The line for checkout was outside the store! Forget that! We then ventured to JC Penny which opened at 4am. We found the items we had marked down. We then arrived at Walmart and stood in line from 4:30am to 5:00 in 32 degree weather. The line was VERY long but we made it into the store and out within 20 minutes. Target was our next stop. I then urged my hubby to stop at Panera for breakfast, for staying up late creates an appetite.

After a few more stops, we arrived home at 8:30am, where we proceeded to crash on our mattresses until 1:30pm. It was lovely. We then planned to get away for a few days and visit Ann Arbor, which is only an hour from where we live.

We arrived to Ann Arbor Friday night looking for a place to eat, naturally. We parked in downtown and walked around Main street until something caught our eye. We finally decided to go to Kai Garden, a Chinese / Taiwanese Restaurant. Since I have started eating vegan, it has been interesting to see what choices restaurants have for their customers. I proceeded to choose the Vegetable Delight in Garlic Sauce with Crispy Tofu and Brown Rice.





After lunch, we strolled down to Kerrytown, where there was a great Farmer's Market awaiting us. It was a gorgeous day so we enjoyed the outdoors and the fresh green wreaths that were on sale. We then walked near the U of M campus to Nickels Arcade, which was Michigan's first indoor mall.
We then found a major weakness of ours. A used books, CDs, and DVDs store. We spent 1.5 hours finding treasures until we were very dizzy! Those kinds of places make me feel claustopobic and dirty afterwards because the place was so dusty. After we dusted our feet from that place we visited a Trader Joes. I had never been to one but had constantly heard people talk about how great this store was. Boy, were people right. This place was so much cheaper than Whole Foods. It made me sad that East Lansing did not have a store, but we kept on living.
That evening, we decided to go try a Cuban restaurant called
Cafe Habana. It had such a great environment and it was one of the cuisines my hubby and I had not tried together. We ordered tostones, which are green plantains fried twice and served with Mojo, which is a garlic sauce. Real good stuff. There were not many choices for vegan and I did not feel like another sandwich so I ate black beans and rice and steamed green beans. It was a lovely meal.
Our third and last day was the lovely Sunday. We packed all our things and checked out from our hotel and headed to 1st Baptist Church in downtown Ann Arbor. It was beautiful to see a church all decorated for the first Sunday of Advent. The church was very beautiful and we enjoyed the choir singing from the back of the church.
After the service we headed to Seva, a popular vegetarian restaurant in Ann Arbor.
My hubby and I saw a ton of people waiting in line for seating the night before so we investigated the menu and history. I convinced my hubby it would be a great adventure to try this place. I was just excited to go to a place where I would not have a problem ordering. BOY, was I wrong! It had too many choices. Both my hubby and I had to help each other make a decision. We ended up with the following:
My hubby had the Nachos Grande that consisted of house-made corn chips topped with tomatoes, green onions, black olives, jalapeños and cheese, served with sour cream, guacamole, salsa, and your choice of pinto beans or black beans. He was very pleased with his dish.

I chose the Tofu Rancheros which consisted of Crisp corn tortilla stacked with refried pinto beans, sautéed tofu, ranchero sauce and guacamole, with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, green onions and a steamed whole wheat tortilla. It was very delicious.

To top everything off, we went to Michigan Theater for a free viewing of Christmas in Conneticut in a very old theater. It was a great weekend of relaxation and we hope to do it again soon!Silly me thought about asking about MSG half way through my meal, where the waitress proceeded to tell me that their restaurant does not cook with MSG. The menu said otherwise. I proved her wrong when I later got to the hotel and noticed that I had broken out in hives and had a nagging headache! So disappointing when a restaurant LIES! They will be receiving a phone call from me.

After sleeping in on Saturday morning, which never happens, we headed out for breakfast. I read that Zingerman's Bakery and Delicatessan are very popular, especially when it comes for breakfast. From what I hear, it is one of Oprah's favorite places to go. Can we all say "oooo ahhhh!" LOL. Anyway, when we arrived we decided that it was so close to lunch, we chose to have one of their sandwiches. My hubby had a pastrami sandwich and I had a lovely Vegan sandwich consisiting of the following: Portabella mushroom, artichokes, red pepper, onions, and hummus on toasted farm bread with a pickle. My beverage of choice was a Kombucha Wonder Drink.

11.27.2009

Huevos a la East Lansing


This year we were not able to go out of town and be with our family for Thanksgiving. Even though we kept them in mind, we decided not to make Turkey dinner for JUST ourselves. Since we had already had our pre-Thanksgiving celebration on Monday, we decided that Thanksgiving was to be a day of rest. I was going to have my hubby at home the whole break so I decided to take adavntage of that. We took all the Christmas decorations and tree and fixed up our living room.

Don't you like this time of year? I mean, just putting up a tree, lights and decorations can create such a beautiful, cozy ambience. We were then inspired to start addressing our Christmas cards. How empowered and thankful we were to have this time for catch up. I know, I know,despite what you might think, "Hey, it is still Thanksgiving!", we took advantage of our time. As musicians, our lives can be very hectic so we relished this time. Sometimes it is just different not having family around, even though I was able to talk to family back in Texas after their huge meal.

I later prepared a Cherry Sangria and we had that while watching ELF. Did I mention I like laughing too? Good times. Once that was finished I knew that I would have to whip up something for dinner. What to make, what to make. My hubby told me this week that we hardly have Mexican or Tex-Mex food, so I decided to make something that suddenly popped up in the deep recesses of my mind.

While we were kids, my father worked for Four Seasons and by God's grace and blessing we were able to stay at these hotels on vacations. I mean, that was a huge perk, but boy was I spoiled with staying at hotels such as these. We really liked going to Dallas at Las Colinas Resort. We would order breakfast and my mom's favorite was usually Huevos a Las Colinas. It was so delicious. It was 4 layers of fried corn tortillas filled with refried black beans, over-easy egg, avocado and tomatoes. This is what came to my mind as I was trying to decide to make for dinner. Is it not super strange what memories come to mind? I do not usually remember what foods I ate on my trips unless I took pictures, so I took it as a sign to make something like this memorable breakfast. I on the other hand, ate the bean mixture and added brown rice for a Vegan meal.

I pretty much used what I had on hand and came up with a recipe of my own. The important thing was that the hubs liked it and emphasized that I write down the recipe! How about that!


Huevos a la East Lansing

by Noelle Kelly
Keywords: grill fry breakfast vegetarian eggs Southwest

Ingredients (serves 1)
  • 4 corn tortillas
  • 2 Tbsp Tbsp Sunflower or Coconut oil
  • 1 can of Rotel Original
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • dash of Tony Chachere's seasoning
Instructions
Heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium high heat in a medium sauce pan. Take each tortilla and semi dip each tortilla side in the oil before placing in pan to fry. Fry until semi-crisp.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in another saucepan and add beans, Ro*tel, spices and salt to taste. Simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Fry 2 eggs until medium over easy. If you like the yolk to be runny, over easy then.

Assemble: Place 2 Tbsp of bean mixture on plate, then add one tortilla over beans. Add 1 Tbsp of beans and add one egg. Place 2nd tortilla on top and add 2 Tbsp beans, sprinkle with cheese. Take third tortilla and add 1 Tbsp beans, 2nd egg, and sprinkle with cheese. Add final tortilla and layer with 2 Tbsp of beans and rest of cheese. If cold already, zap in microwave.

If Vegan: Eat a bowl of bean mixture over brown rice. Can be accompanied with a nice big green salad.
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11.24.2009

Herbed Bread and Vegetable Stuffing

What to bring to a pre-Thanksgiving dinner potluck? That was the question of the hour last week when I was planning ahead. It has been tremendous fun looking for new recipes that are healthier using olive oil rather than loads of butter without removing the great flavor.

Since I have not been eating meat for 3 weeks, I decided to bring something safe to eat at a potluck. Usually everything is made with meat-based broths or loaded with dairy products so I decided to make this delicious stuffing. It is funny making a stuffing when you do not have the turkey to go along with it, but our hostess was in charge of making the turkey, which looked spectacular.

Please try this new stuffing. It is super flavorful and very hearty. It goes well with a side of vegetables, mash potatoes or even someone's great recipe for stuffed mushrooms!


Herbed Bread and Vegetable Stuffing
serves 8

from
Delicious Living




4 ounces fresh spinach leaves (about 4 cups packed)

3 tablespoons olive oil

3/4 cup diced celery (1/4-inch dice)

3/4 cup diced onion (1/4-inch dice)

3/4 cup diced carrot (1/4-inch dice)

2 cups stemmed, diced white button mushrooms (1/4-inch dice)

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves, or 2 teaspoons dried

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, stripped from stems

3 cups Ezekial sprouted low sodium bread (or multi-grain bread)
cubes (1/2-inch cubes)

½ cup reduced-sodium vegetable broth, plus more if needed
(I use vegetable bouillon cubes)

Steam spinach in a large, wide pot with 1/4 cup water over high heat, about 1 minute, until wilted. To retain its bright green color, drain and immediately plunge into iced water. Squeeze out water, then chop. Set aside.

Rinse and dry pot. Warm olive oil over medium heat. Add celery, onion, carrot, and mushrooms. Cover and cook for about 1 minute, until mushrooms release some of their water. Uncover and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. If vegetables begin to brown, reduce heat.

Stir in reserved spinach, salt, pepper, sage, and thyme. Cook 1 minute. Turn heat to low. Add bread cubes, then broth, stirring well. If bread is especially dense, add a bit more broth to soften to desired texture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, or turn stuffing into a baking pan brushed with olive oil. Cover and heat at 350˚ until heated through.


11.23.2009

Chicken and Vegetarian Tamales with Red Mole Sauce

This past weekend happened to be my hubby's birthday. He requested a specific dish that I made 3 months ago and asked for only that. What was the dish you ask? Well, tamales. Even though I am 1/2 Mexican, I really did not learn how to cook authentic dishes at home. We mostly cooked dishes that were either concocted by my mother or it was Italian or Mediterranean.

When I decided to make tamales 3 months ago, I thought I would call my grandmother in Mexico and ask her specific questions about ingredients and assembly method. You know what she told me? "Honey! Don't fret yourself. Go to the store and buy some already prepared. It is too much work." I literally laughed out loud! I mean it is one thing not being in the same country where your maternal grandmother lives, but not to have these recipes to pass on to my kids! Well, the next step for me was to find a recipe and make it my own, adding ingredients that my grandmother would use.
Tamales are different depending on each region of Mexico. Northern tamales are normally made with corn husks and southern tamales are made with banana leaves. Yes, banana leaves. I know that the Asian culture also uses banana leaves for different dishes so there are many simliarities. Since I did not have banana leaves so I decided to use the corn husks instead with my own twist for fillings. The newer process to me was making a vegetarian version for myself. It was really easy and did not take so much time additional time.
Before I begin let me tell you that you need to set aside 2 days for the whole preparation. Of course if you start early on one day, you could get the tamales done in a day, but my process felt better with 2 days. The first day dealt with preparation and the second day focused on assembly and cooking time. The total time for the process is 5 hours total. If you do not want to make the mole sauce, then your time would be cut to 4 hours. I know it sounds like a lot of work, but this is the reason I told my hubby I would only make these for special occasions. Besides, the recipe gives you about 40 tamales and they freeze well. It is not a meal that takes SO much time and is immediately consumed. These are great leftovers!

Chicken and Vegetarian Tamales with Red Mole Sauce

makes 40 tamales

Step by step instructions
5 cups vegetable broth ( I used vegetable bouillon cubes)


On day 1, take a whole bag of dried corn husks and soak in cold water. It you want to make on the same day, it can be soaked for up to an hour, otherwise they can soak overnight. When removing from water, dry each husk with a paper towel and set aside.
Fry 5 roma tomatoes, 2 small onions, 4 garlic cloves in 1/4 cup olive oil for 10 minutes or until the skins on the tomato start falling off. Cool mixture and remove tomatoe skins. See pic below.

Next, take 6 chile ancho peppers and 5 chile guajillo peppers and remove stems and remove seeds. Wash the peppers over cold water and dry. On a medium high, toast the peppers until a litle brown on the skin for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Place in a bowl and cover with hot water for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, toast 2 Tbsp of pumpkin seeds and 1 Tbsp of sesame seeds until browned. Place in a coffee grinder and grind until it looks like a seed meal.

After the thirty minutes have passed, drain the peppers and place tomato mixture, peppers, and 4 cups of vegetable broth or chicken broth in a blender.

Liquefy the mixture and pass through sieve. Sauce should be in a saucepan after going through sieve. Add 1 1/2 tsp cumin, 1 1/2 tsp salt, seed meal, 1/4 cup Taza cinnamon/chocolate pieces, 1/2 tsp ground coriander seeds, 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 tsp cinnamon. Simmer mixture for 30 minutes.

Boil 6 chicken breasts with 4 bay leaves and 3 garlic cloves for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and drain water. Cool and shred chicken. In a separate sauce pan, heat 1/2 cup corn oil, 5 Tbsp chili powder, 2 Tbsp cumin, 2 Tbsp garlic powder, 1/2 Tbsp black pepper, 1 Tbsp salt. Heat for 5 minutes and then pour over chicken and mix thoroughly. Cool and cover and refrigerate.
In a separate bowl, add 2 pounds of instant corn masa and place the following spices: 3 Tbsp paprika, 3 Tbsp salt, 1/2 Tbsp cumin, 3 Tbsp Chili Powder, 3 Tbsp garlic powder. Mix flour and spices well. Add 2 cups of corn oil to flour mixture. After incorporating oil, slowly incorporate 5 cups of vegetable broth. I use my hands so I can get a good arm work out. It is a lot of dough, but I guess it can be done on a dough hook on your Kitchen Aid.

For the vegetarian filling, saute the following ingredients for 10 minutes:


2 Tbsp olive oil
1 pint mushrooms, chopped
1 zucchini, julienned
1 poblano pepper, chopped
3/4 cup leeks, chopped
1/3 cup cilantro
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper

On day 2, assemble the tamales. It is so much faster if you add the masa to all the husks first and then add the filling. Cover 2/3 of the wider portion of the husk leaving the 1/3 space from the narrower section on top and side. See picture below. Masa should be 1/2 inch thick.
Add 1 to 1 1/2 Tbsp of chicken depending on size of corn husk.

Add 2 Tbsp of veggies to 12 tamales. I did not make as many for myself.
Roll each tamale, without overlapping the corn husk. It is like a taco on the inside.
Then fold the bottom portion to seal each tamale.
The sealed section should be facing down. Place in a double steamer with water that does not overflow into the steamer. The tamales cook for 2 hours, so continue to check the water and refill as to prevent evaporation. After 2 hours, remove tamale from steamer, let cool on a plate for 3-5 minutes and remove corn husk and serve. Add mole sauce and enjoy!



Chicken and Vegetarian Tamales with Red Mole Sauce


by Noelle Kelly
Keywords: steam brunch lunch entree vegan recipes on recipage vegan chiles Mexican

Ingredients (40 tamales)
    Mole Sauce:
    • 5 Roma tomatoes
    • 2 small onions, diced
    • 4 whole garlic cloves
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
    • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
    • 1 Taza cinnamon chocolate disc
    • 1/2 tsp ground coriander seed
    • 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 6 Mulato chiles
    • 5 Guajillo chiles
    Chicken
    • 6 chicken breasts
    • 4 bay leaves
    • 3 garlic cloves
    • 1/2 cup corn oil
    • 5 Tbsp chili powder
    • 2 Tbsp ground cumin
    • 2 Tbsp garlic powder
    • 1/2 Tbsp black pepper
    • 1 Tbsp salt
    Masa (Dough)
    • 2 lbs instant corn masa
    • 3 Tablespoons paprika
    • 3 Tablespoons salt
    • 1/2 Tablespoon ground cumin
    • 3 Tablespoons Chili Powder
    • 3 Tablespoons garlic powder
    • 2 cups corn oil
    Instructions
    Step by step instructions5 cups vegetable broth ( I used vegetable bouillon cubes)
    On day 1, take a whole bag of dried corn husks and soak in cold water. It you want to make on the same day, it can be soaked for up to an hour, otherwise they can soak overnight. When removing from water, dry each husk with a paper towel and set aside.

    Fry 5 roma tomatoes, 2 small onions, 4 garlic cloves in 1/4 cup olive oil for 10 minutes or until the skins on the tomato start falling off. Cool mixture and remove tomatoe skins. See pic below.

    Next, take 6 chile ancho peppers and 5 chile guajillo peppers and remove stems and remove seeds. Wash the peppers over cold water and dry. On a medium high, toast the peppers until a litle brown on the skin for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Place in a bowl and cover with hot water for 30 minutes.

    Meanwhile, toast 2 Tbsp of pumpkin seeds and 1 Tbsp of sesame seeds until browned. Place in a coffee grinder and grind until it looks like a seed meal.

    After the thirty minutes have passed, drain the peppers and place tomato mixture, peppers, and 4 cups of vegetable broth or chicken broth in a blender.

    Liquefy the mixture and pass through sieve. Sauce should be in a saucepan after going through sieve. Add 1 1/2 tsp cumin, 1 1/2 tsp salt, seed meal, 1/4 cup Taza cinnamon/chocolate pieces, 1/2 tsp ground coriander seeds, 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 tsp cinnamon. Simmer mixture for 30 minutes.
    Boil 6 chicken breasts with 4 bay leaves and 3 garlic cloves for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and drain water. Cool and shred chicken. In a separate sauce pan, heat 1/2 cup corn oil, 5 Tbsp chili powder, 2 Tbsp cumin, 2 Tbsp garlic powder, 1/2 Tbsp black pepper, 1 Tbsp salt. Heat for 5 minutes and then pour over chicken and mix thoroughly. Cool and cover and refrigerate.
    In a separate bowl, add 2 pounds of instant corn masa and place the following spices: 3 Tbsp paprika, 3 Tbsp salt, 1/2 Tbsp cumin, 3 Tbsp Chili Powder, 3 Tbsp garlic powder. Mix flour and spices well. Add 2 cups of corn oil to flour mixture. After incorporating oil, slowly incorporate 5 cups of vegetable broth. I use my hands so I can get a good arm work out. It is a lot of dough, but I guess it can be done on a dough hook on your Kitchen Aid.

    For the vegetarian filling, saute the following ingredients for 10 minutes:
    2 Tbsp olive oil
    1 pint mushrooms, chopped
    1 zucchini, julienned
    1 poblano pepper, chopped
    3/4 cup leeks, chopped
    1/3 cup cilantro
    1 1/2 tsp chili powder
    1 tsp cumin
    1 tsp salt
    1 tsp black pepper
    1 tsp cayenne pepper
    On day 2, assemble the tamales. It is so much faster if you add the masa to all the husks first and then add the filling. Cover 2/3 of the wider portion of the husk leaving the 1/3 space from the narrower section on top and side. See picture below. Masa should be 1/2 inch thick.

    Add 1 to 1 1/2 Tbsp of chicken depending on size of corn husk.

    Add 2 Tbsp of veggies to 12 tamales. I did not make as many for myself.

    Roll each tamale, without overlapping the corn husk. It is like a taco on the inside.
    Then fold the bottom portion to seal each tamale.

    The sealed section should be facing down. Place in a double steamer with water that does not overflow into the steamer. The tamales cook for 2 hours, so continue to check the water and refill as to prevent evaporation. After 2 hours, remove tamale from steamer, let cool on a plate for 3-5 minutes and remove corn husk and serve. Add mole sauce and enjoy!

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    11.19.2009

    His and Hers Rustic Whole Wheat Pizza

    When it comes to pizza making, my hubby is the man. He has worked over a year and a half to perfect what he calls the best deep-dish pizza. I totally agree, so usually I do not touch that realm of cooking. Usually. OK. I lie. Here is a picture of his creation:

    You know sometimes I prefer thin crust or the original hand-tossed pizza, because the deep dish tends to have to much breading. So I decided to tackle my own pizza with a healthy kick! Why His and Hers Pizzas, you might ask? Well I decided to have one pizza that was for the carnivore hubby and one that was vegetarian. It actually was not that much of a hassle to prepare for both pizzas since the dough was the same for both meals.

    The toppings pretty much be what you choose. You can decide not to have tomato sauce as a base or you can have an olive oil / garlic base for the pizza. My pizza did not have cheese and was SURPRISINGLY delicious! I sprinkled some soy parmesan topping and presto, the pizza was complete! We even had enough leftovers for lunch the next day, so have fun and experiment with your own creation.


    His and Hers Rustic Whole Wheat Pizza



    Dough
    recipe from
    Keep Your Diet Real


    1 package of dry yeast
    1 cup of warm water
    1 tablespoon of honey
    3 ½ cups of whole wheat flour

    In a large glass mixing bowl, combine the water, yeast, and honey and allow it to sit for 10 minutes.

    Add the flour and combine to form a ball. Place the ball of dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. The dough should become more elastic.

    Place the dough in an oiled mixing bowl and cover it with plastic wrap and a towel then allow it to rise for 1 hour.

    Pizza assembly

    Punch down the dough and split dough. 3/4 of dough for HIS pizza and 1/4 for HER pizza. Roll it out into the desired pizza shape.

    His Pizza

    3/4 cup seasoned tomato sauce
    3/4 cup sauteed onions, garlic, asparagus tips and Italian seasonings
    1 cooked, seasoned chicken breast, diced
    1/2 cup black olives
    3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
    1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

    Saute 2 small onions diced with 4 cloves of garlic, diced for 5 minutes on medium high heat. Add 1/2 tsp salt, pepper, and 1 tsp Italian seasonings. Add 1 cup asparagus tips at the end. Do not overcook green veggie.

    Her Pizza

    3/4 cup seasoned tomato sauce
    3/4 cup sauteed onions, garlic, asparagus tips and Italian seasonings
    1 cup radicchio, chopped
    1/2 cup Kalamata olives
    1/2 cup sunflower seeds
    Soy parmesan for sprinkling

    Saute 2 small onions diced with 4 cloves of garlic, diced for 5 minutes on medium high heat. Add 1/2 tsp salt, pepper, and 1 tsp Italian seasonings. Add 1 cup asparagus tips at the end. Do not overcook green veggie.

    In a bowl, place chopped radicchio, sunflower seeds, olives, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1 Tbsp olive oil and toss.

    Preheat oven to 425F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll out each dough to 1/2 inch thickness and place on cookie sheets.

    HIS pizza: Spread sauce, veggie mixture, chicken, olives, cheese
    HER pizza: Spread sauce, veggie mixture, radicchio mixture, soy parmesan.

    Bake for 12-15 minutes. HER pizza should not be TOO overdone since radicchio is very sensitive. Enjoy with a side salad.


    11.17.2009

    Pomegranate Power Mix

    There was a nice theme tonight as I am getting better with this DARN cough! My honey was out on business meetings and I was left to have fun on my own! It felt very much a night full of red themes. On a grocery run yesterday, I picked up 4 beautiful POM pomegranates to have as dessert or breakfast options. Since I had some time on my hands, I peeled and seeded these beautiful gems. I was happy to know that it took me 20 minutes to peel all 4 pomegranates. I actually planned on having them sealed and refrigerated for the morning treat, but since I knew I had dinner earlier I knew I would want some sort of fruity dessert later. What kind of dessert could I prepare that would not require cooking or much preparation?

    2 weeks ago I purchased a nice bag of Organic Chocolate-Covered Cocoa Nibs made by
    TAZA chocolate.
    I have been reading how they process their chocolate and all the wonderful natural ingredients they use to provide such a delicious product. A guy at the health food store assured me that I would not be sorry. Boy was he right! This little baggie lasted me two weeks because with a nice chocolate craving, a teaspoon or two of these little morsels will keep your sweet tooth satisfied. It was 67% chocolate, which happens to taste somewhat dark and bitter. My favorite! I am looking forward tasting other products of theirs.
    Where was I? Oh yes, creating my perfect dessert. I took God's lovely red gems and mixed it with these lovely nibs and what did I get? A power dessert! It tasted so healthy and I felt energetic afterwards too! Please try it and see if you do not think the same. Enjoy!

    Pomegranate Power Mixserves 1

    3/4 cup pomegranate seeds
    1/4 cup Taza Chocolate-covered Cocoa Nibs
    2 Tbsp sliced almonds
    2 Tbsp shredded sweetened coconut

    Peel a pomegranate and combine ingredients and totally enjoy!



    Here is one of my newest creations completed last night. I told you it was a red themed evening for me! This little beauty is red coral on red silk thread with matching earrings. If anyone is interested, let me know. It is for SALE!

    11.15.2009

    Cherry-Apple Almond Oatmeal Bake

    We have lately been having hearty breakfasts in the morning in order to build up our immune systems. In the mornings I usually wake up in the morning and prepare my hubby's lunch, but knowing that we both like oatmeal and do not usually have the time to prepare it, I decided that after stumbling across a recipe on Foodbuzz, that it was an excuse not to be able to have a delicious and healthy breakfast.


    Instead of baking an oatmeal with water, this recipe calls for the oatmeal to be baked in almond milk. I have made it 3 times and every time I made this recipe I used 3 different milks. I used the following milks:
    1. Chufa milk
    2. Coconut milk

    3. Almond milk
    Chufa milk, otherwise known as Horchata de Chufa or Tiget Nut Milk, is one of my favorite nut milks. Ever since I tasted this drink in Spain, I knew I would have to get my hands on it soon. My sister brought me some from Spain a while back and I quickly put it to good use. The oatmeal came out creamy and nutty and OH so delicious!
    I decided to make the second batch with coconut milk made by Turtle Mountain , which is a great dairy free beverage that I also had on hand. The recipe required a little more sugar than required, but otherwise it was delicious but not so creamy as the first batch.
    Almond milk finally was used as the third choice, as the original recipe stated. The third batch came out creamy and delicious. It is great knowing that a nutty breakfast beverage other than milk can make such a warm and nourishing recipe complete! Of course, almond milk is always accesible as opposed to the number one choice that can only be purchased in Spain!. :)

    Cherry-Apple Almond Oatmeal Bake

    adapted from Inn the Kitchen


    serves 4

    2 Cups Old Fashioned Oats
    4 Cups almond milk
    1/2 Teaspoon Almond Extract
    1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
    1/2 Cup Sliced Almonds
    1/2 Cup Dried Cherries
    1 cup stewed apples

    Start by pre-heating your oven to 350 degrees. Peel and core 8 Gala apples and semi-cover with water. Add 2 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp nutmeg. Boil for 20 minutes.

    Mix the almond extract with your milk. Then sprinkle the oatmeal in a greased glass casserole dish and pour the milk on top. Next, layer the remaining ingredients on top of the oatmeal.

    Next, CAREFULLY add the casserole to the oven. It will be a little liquidy until the oatmeal soaks up the milk. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

    Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes, scoop and serve!

    11.14.2009

    Udon Noodles with Sesame Crusted Tofu

    Last week while still being sick we felt like having something other than soup, you know what I mean. So I thought, what would be the next best thing to soup? Well a stirfry! Yes, a stirfry can have as little or as many veggies as one pleases and this recipe sure did not disappoint.


    I learned a while back that my husband likes tofu so I was happy and glad to make this recipe a vegetarian one. It still shocks me the things my husband prefers to eat and what he will eat. He likes tofu because his grandpa ate tofu at Asian restaurants. How about that? Two thumbs up. I personally do not have that much experience cooking with tofu but when I ran into VeganDad's blog the last week, his recipe sounded convincing for a first timer.


    First I decided on vegetables and modifies the recipe by adding a different vegetable that I like: bok choy. You end up chopping a lot of the vegetable, and after cooking it, it becomes so little. So if you chop up 2 cups worth of bok choy, you will only get 1 cup, so double up on the veggies. Here is a picture of the ingredients:



    Udon Noodles with Sesame Crusted Tofu

    serves 2

    from VeganDad's
    blog

    2 package of udon noodles (i.e. small packages in Asian grocery stores)
    1 pkg tofu, cubed
    1/3 cup sesame seeds
    2 tbsp cornstarch
    oil for frying
    1 small red pepper, thinly sliced
    2 mini bok choy, chopped
    1" piece of ginger, minced
    1 garlic clove, minced
    1/4 cup rice vinegar
    3 tbsp soy sauce
    1 1/2 tbsp hoisin sauce
    4 green onions, thinly sliced

    Cook noodles according to the directions on the package.

    Place tofu in a bowl and add sesame seeds. Toss until most of the seeds are stuck on the tofu (you don't need full coverage here). Add cornstarch and gently toss until tofu is coated. If you still have some seeds in the bottom of the bowl, dump the tofu out on a cookie sheet and roll the cubes in the excess seeds.
    Fry tofu in some oil over medium heat until nicely golden. Turn regularly to brown all sides. You don't need a lot of oil here. Start with a relatively thin layer and add more as needed. Remove tofu from pan/wok and drain.
    Add peppers, bok choy, ginger and garlic to the pan (there should be just a bit of oil left) and stir fry for 3-4 mins, until softened and fragrant. Add noodles to the pan/wok and fry for a min.

    Add vinegar, soy sauce, and hoisin sauce and mix well. Add tofu and mix well. Cook until sauce thickens/soaks into the noodles. Adjust flavours/wetness to your liking by adding more of any of the three ingredients.

    Remove from heat. Garnish with green onions. Serve.

    11.11.2009

    Vegetarian Tostadas and Chocolate Almond Butter Cups

    I totally did not feel like cooking last night because this horrendous cough is draining all my energy. I finally switched from Zyrtec-D to Mucinex-D. Some how I do not know why physicians try to pawn off their samples when they can easily prescribe medication that will take care of the issue. Such is the case when I switched from one med to the other. I have to say I feel SO much better. Even my hubby said I was not having as many coughing fits as I did the day before. Anyway, I finally decided to make something simple yet delicious.

    My hubby likes Mexican food, so much, that he has requested homemade tamales for his birthday. Even though I am half Mexican/half Chilean, I do not tend to cook Hispanic dishes. I defer to Asian stir fries, Mediterranean dishes, or Greek dishes. Really! Well, one of the easiest Mexican dishes to prepare are Tostadas, which are like flat crunchy tacos. The preparation takes a little longer because this dish requires an assembly line. It requires many bowls and spoons too, so be prepared. Now if you have a carnivore at home like I do, then you can have ground beef or shredded beef as an additional topping, but otherwise beans can be your source of protein along with some mushrooms.

    So I said I did not feel like cooking but I lied. I decided to prepare one of Alicia Silverstone's recipes from her The Kind Diet book. I would recommend to prepare dessert before dinner so that you can dessert ready. It requires 2 hours to refrigerate. After we were done with dinner, I no longer felt like dessert! Sigh. Coughing makes me lose my appetite, but I had one today, so I gotta say it was a winner. The dessert is vegan so when I handed one to my husband, he nodded enthusiastically and said they were delicious. Who said you can't somewhat convince your hubby to be vegan? Ha ha. I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I did!



    Vegetarian Tostadas

    serves 2

    10 corn tortillas
    1 avocado, sliced
    1 pint sliced mushrooms (your choice)
    1 zucchini squash, sliced length-wise
    2 cups shredded lettuce
    1/2 cup chopped red onions
    1/2 lime
    salt and pepper to taste
    1 can of vegetarian refried beans
    Your choice of picante or tomatillo sauce


    Preheat oven to 425F. Place tortillas on cookie sheet, somewhat overlapping. Process takes 10-15 minutes to toast. Check at mid-point and flip tortillas. Toast tortillas until somewhat golden brown.

    Meanwhile, grill zucchini and mushrooms and place in a side dish along with the sliced avocado. Warm to refried beans and place in another bowl. Place the shredded lettuce and red onions with the lime and season with salt and pepper in a third bowl.

    Assemble: Take a tortilla and spread a layer of beans, avocado, veggies, salad, and top with sauce. Enjoy!!


    Chocolate Almond Butter Cups

    makes a dozen
    adapted from The Kind Diet


    1/2 cup Earth Balance butter
    3/4 cup crunchy almond butter
    3/4 cup chocolate graham crackers crumbs
    1/4 cup maple sugar or other granulated sweetener
    1 cup grain-sweetened, non-dairy chocolate or carob chips
    1/4 cup soy, rice, or nut milk
    1/4 cup chopped walnuts

    Line 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.

    Melt the butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Stir in the almond butter, graham crackers crumbs, and sugar and mix well. Remove the mixture from heat. Evenly divide the mixture, approximately 2 tablespoons per cup, among muffin cups.

    Combine the chocolate and milk in another pan. Stir over medium heat until the chocolate has melted. Spoon the chocolate evenly over the almond butter mixture. Yop with chopped walnuts. Place in refrigerator to set for at least 2 hours before serving.

    11.09.2009

    Anniversary Brunch: Sour Cream Coffee Cake and Orange Fruit Soup

    Last weekend I was able to enjoy the time at my grandparent's 50th anniversary in Blue Bell country. It is amazing to see a marriage for such a long time and it was a beautiful time. My grandmother had everything planned from the flowers to dinner reservations at the town's best Italian restaurant. We had such a great time and the grandparents were pleased!

    On Saturday, the day of the celebration, my grandmother planned a lovely brunch. The recipes she picked out are family favorites and my grandmother knowingly plans to prepare these yummy recipes when family is around. I ventured in the kitchen with her and made the Sour Cream Coffee Cake while she prepared the casserole. These recipes might sound old fashioned buy they are GREAT tasting! We also had a Ham and Cheese Casserole but I do not have that recipe.

    Sour Cream Coffee Cake

    Batter
    1/4 pound butter
    1 cup sugar
    2 large eggs or 3 small eggs
    1 tsp vanilla
    2 cups flour
    1 tsp soda
    1 1/2 tsp baking powder
    1 cup sour cream

    Filling
    1/2 chopped pecans
    1/2 cup sugar
    1 tsp cinnamon

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cream butter and add sugar, eggs and vanilla. Mix dry ingredients together and add egg mixture alternately with sour cream.

    Pour half the batter in well-buttered tube pan. Add half the batter and sprinkle with half the filling. Cover with remaining batter and sprinkle with the rest of the sugar mixture. Bake for 40 minutes.
    Orange Fruit Soup

    2 Tbsp quick-cooking tapioca
    1 1/2 cups water
    1 Tbsp sugar
    dash of salt
    1/2 cup quick frozen concentrated orange juice
    1 package sliced peaches, thawed and drained
    1 banana
    5 or 6 strawberries, sliced or 1/2 pint blueberries


    Combine tapioca and water in sauce pan. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat and add sugar, salt, and juice; stir to blend. Cool, stirring after 15 minutes. Cover and chill. Before serving, fold in fruit. Delicious stuff ya'll!

    11.05.2009

    Sweet Potato and Broccoli Soup

    Sigh...both my hubby and I managed to get sore throats these past two days and it has been very crummy. I HAD contemplated taking a respirator with me on my plane trip down south but I thought I would look silly so I decided not to. Sure enough, I woke up the day after with an annoying sore throat. This is probably the first time both my hubby and I have been sick together, but we decided we were going to fight back. I mean we both still needed to work, so we have been laying it on thick with hot herbal, medicinal teas, soups and lozenges. I have been off meat for 2 days so I had asked my hubby buy me some vegetarian noodle soup but the stuff at the store still has a meat base, so I decided to make my own veggie soup.

    I recently joined Twitter and I won a book from
    Eccorazzi, which is a "news and gossip on celebrities and notables in support of the environment and humanitarian causes." The book I won was Alicia Silverstone's new book called The Kind Diet, where "Alicia reveals how eating a plant-based diet will give you tons of energy, mental clarity, gorgeous skin and a renewed zest for life. Plus, it’s one of the greenest things you can do. Because it requires less fuel, water, and other resources, following a plant-based diet is a major contribution toward improving the health of our planet."

    It is a huge step but I thought I would give it a try, while I continue to make meat for the carnivore in the family. It was just kind of crummy that while venturing on this new time that I had to get sick! Oh well. I guess it inspired me to make a yummy soup that took 20 minutes to prepare.

    Sweet Potato and Broccoli Soup

    serves 2

    2 small sweet potatoes, diced
    1 1/2 cup broccoli florets
    3 garlic cloves
    4 Tbsp soy sauce
    1/3 cup chopped parsley

    Place sweet potatoes in a small pot and cover with water. Add the garlic cloves and boil for 10 minutes or until soft. Add the broccoli and continue to boil for 5 minutes. Add the parsley and soy sauce. Place all items in a blender and puree. Serve while hot and top with crackers.

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