Monday, April 21, 2014

Good News.

First off, I hope everyone had a lovely Easter.

Second, I have some good news to share.  For me, at least.

In short: I'm transitioning the blog from being an active space for new recipes to appear, to being a blog that is used purely as a resource.

There are many reasons for this transition.

Very basically, life is busy and the blog is not the priority it once was.

The blog has been active for about 5 years now, and the last 3 years it has been heavily plant-based and I have been very active in updating and maintaining it.  The fact of the matter is that it took me about 2 years or so to really figure out how to cook using only plant-based ingredients.  I'm done searching for new recipes and creating my own.  I'm actually going through all my wonderful recipes and trying to figure out which ones are our absolute favorites.

The blog has on it all the recipes that were destined for the cookbook and that was the goal a year ago.  That goal has now been accomplished and while I've so enjoyed putting all these recipes together and making sure they were on the blog, it's time for me to be finished with all this food blogging business.

So here's the plan.

1) I will post especially note-worthy recipes when I make them as long as they're recipes I've tweaked a considerable amount and the recipe is one I think others really need to know about.  This will happen rarely, I'm just warning you.  I encourage you, though, to follow some of the plant-based bloggers I do.  There is a list of bloggers I follow regularly under the "Helpful Hints" tab.

2) I have started to post 16 weeks worth of seasonably appropriate meal plans comprised purely of recipes from this blog.  I have a separate tab for those, and they will be labeled very cleverly.  Once all 4 seasons are completed the blog will be hands off where I'm concerned.  I'll maintain it, sure, but as for new content goes, there will be none.

3) I am going to attempt to double check and make sure all recipes are tagged as they should be and are in the recipe index so using those tools will not only be helpful, but easy.  I'm also going to attempt to revamp the index to it's easier to navigate and find recipes you're looking for.

And for you, reader, whoever you are.  Please, use this blog as a resource.  Look at it as an online, plant-based, cookbook. Use it to help you figure out how to eat healthier.  Use it to search for recipes.  Take note of the tabs at the top of the blog and explore them.  There are lots of great documents up in there.

Lastly, thank you.  Thank you for the notes and comments.  Thank you for your encouragement.  Thank you for understanding.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

WF's White Bean & Kale Soup

Spring soups are some of my favorite.  Light and flavorful.  Delicious broth and add-ins.  You can create any number of great soups with the simplest ingredients and the proper spices.  This would was a total "chance" soup -- it is inspired by a soup I tasted at Whole Foods...I took the ingredient list home and just went from there.

Thankfully, it turned out great!  Add some rosemary bread and a side salad and you have yourself a wonderful springtime dinner!  This freezes beautifully and makes a great lunch, too!

White Bean & Kale Soup
serves 6
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 TBLS minced garlic
  • 2 cups chopped carrots
  • 1 cups chopped celery
  • 8 cups water/broth mixture (I use half and half)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 TBLS rosemary
  • 1 TBLS lemon juice
  • 2 cups packed chopped kale
-- Saute onion, garlic, carrots, and celery until soft. About 7 minutes.
-- Add liquid, tomatoes, beans, and spices.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 -15 minutes.
-- Add kale and lemon juice and stir until wilted
-- Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Creamy Cauliflower Pasta Sauce

This pasta sauce is magic.  Seriously.  I made it with a lot of skepticism -- how could a pureed vegetable be creamy or taste good as a pasta sauce?!  Oh...let me tell you what.  It's amazing.  It's easy.  It's deeeelicious! 

My boys (all three of them) licked their bowls and asked for more!  The trickiest part was spooning the cauliflower out of the broth.  I wanted to make sure I got every last floret, ya know.   It was so worth it, but next time I'm just draining the florets instead.  

We will be making this again and again and again! 

Got the original recipe right here.

Creamy Cauliflower Pasta Saue
serves 1 lb of pasta
  • 5-6 cups cauliflower florets
  • 6 cups vegetable broth (can sub 2-3 cups water, too)
  • 2-4 TBLS nutritional yeast (opt)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4-1/2 cup milk
-- Boil cauliflower in broth until soft.
-- Take out 1 1/2 cups of the broth and then drain the cauliflower using a larger colander.
-- Using a food processor, puree cauliflower with reserved broth, milk, nutritional yeast, and spices until very smooth and creamy (if it's dry, just add in a little more milk)
-- Stir in with cooked/drained pasta 

Monday, March 31, 2014

White Bean Rosemary Soup

I'm always leery of soups that have so few, and simple, ingredients.  This soup, though, shines with its simplicity and is bursting with the lovely notes of fresh rosemary.  It's light, yet flavorful and very filling.  This is a perfect compliment to a hearty green salad and some good crusty bread.  Or, serve this with a main dish that is a little lacking when it comes to a protein component.

I got the recipe here and like most of Dreena Burton's recipes, tweaked it only slightly.

White Bean Rosemary Soup
serves 6-8

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped celery
  • 1 TBLS minced garlic
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 4 cans white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 cups broth + 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 1/2 - 2 TBLS lemon juice, to taste
  • salt and pepper, to taste
--Saute onion and celery in stock pot until soft
-- Add garlic and mustard and saute another 2 minutes
-- Add three cans of beans, liquid, and rosemary.  Simmer 10 minutes and puree until very smooth
-- Add the last can of beans and lemon juice and heat through.
-- Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Inside Out Stuffed Shells

I'm all about ease.  And making my family's favorite dishes. Oh, and the comfort of casseroles. 

This recipe came about because I was out of large jumbo shells when I went to make one of our family's favorite recipes, stuffed shells.  Thankfully, my improvised version went over better than the original. I hope you enjoy this creamy and nutritious pasta bake, it is hands-down my boys' favorite meal.

Inside-out Stuffed Shells
Serves 6-8
Active time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total time: 55 minutes
Serving Suggestions: With red and yellow roasted vegetables and/or a green salad.

What you'll need:

  • 1 lb whole wheat small shell pasta OR other small pasta (elbow, rotini, penne)
  • 1, 16 oz, box tofu, drained
  • 10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed OR chopped kale
  • 1, 24 oz, jar favorite pasta sauce
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp basil -- using 3 TBLS fresh chopped basil makes this really delicious
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 TBLS nutritional yeast (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
What you'll do:
  • Cook your pasta al dente according to the directions.
  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Meanwhile, mash the tofu well in a large mixing bowl with a potato masher.
  • Add in all the other ingredients and stir well.
  • When pasta is done, drain well and then add to the mixing bowl.  Stir until pasta is well coated.
  • Transfer coated pasta to a lightly greased 9x13 baking dish.  
  • Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
Time saving tips:  
  • Make the noodles and tofu sauce ahead of time
  • Consider assembling the dish ahead of time, and then just bake when the time comes

Monday, March 24, 2014

Orange Vegetable Soup

I once had a chicken tortilla soup with similar ingredients to this soup and I just loved it so much I had to try and recreate it while making it healthier.  This is my rendition.  The beans combined with the barley give you the complete protein and also lends itself very nicely to a great spring time soup!

Orange Vegetable Soup
Serves 8-10 (16 cups total)
Active time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
Serving Suggestions:  A soup like this only needs some great bread and a simple green salad.

What you'll need:

  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 cups sliced celery
  • 2 cups chopped carrots
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups orange juice
  • 1 (14 oz) can tomato sauce OR 2 8oz cans
  • 1 cup raw barley
  • 1 TBLS dried cilantro or 3 TBLS fresh
  • 2 (14 oz) can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • salt and pepper to taste

What you'll do:
  • Saute the onion, garlic, celery, and carrots until soft and translucent.  About 10 minutes.
  • Add remaining ingredients, minus beans, to the stockpot.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 40 minutes until the barley is soft.
  • Once barley is done, add beans to the stock pot.  Heat through, season to taste, and serve.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Curried Red Kidney Beans

Ahh...this is total comfort food for me. I just love Indian flavors in my food.  Cauliflower is just a bonus.

This dish is easy and delicious.  It made the whole house smell amazing, and while we served it with some brown jasmine rice, you could very easily have some naan on the side, or even wrap it up in a whole wheat tortilla.  Don't leave the fresh cilantro out, as it really brings this dish together.

I got the original recipe here and tweaked it to our liking!  Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Curried Red Kidney Beans
serves 6
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 TBLS minced garlic
  • 1 TBLS freshly chopped ginger
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cardimon
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp each: basil, tumeric, garam masala, cinnamon
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, with juices
  • 4 can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups chopped cauliflower florets
  • 1 TBLS lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup loosely chopped fresh cilantro
  • salt to taste
  • 4 cups cooked brown rice
-- Saute onion until soft in a large skillet
-- Add in garlic, ginger and all spices.  Saute 2 minutes.
-- Add tomatoes, beans, cauliflower and 1 1/2 cups water.  Simmer for 20 minutes, until cauliflower is soft.  Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
-- Add lemon juice, cilantro, and 1/2-1 tsp salt (to taste) and heat through
-- Serve over cooked brown rice