Saturday, April 27, 2013

Chili Lime Avocado Topping

Happy Saturday!

We are doggie sitting two little Dauchshund's this weekend so we took them out for a walk early this morning. We are really enjoying them!

I planted some tomatoes the other day in containers. These are in Global Buckets and I plan on trying other container's this weekend.

Today, I am sharing a super-easy yummy topping for taco's, could be used for a dip or spread on pita for a sandwich. We had our's on top of the Southwest Pasta from a few days ago. 

I actually planned on making sort of a salad, but my avocado's were too ripe and mushy. SO I converted it and was super happy with the results!!

Here ya go...

Chili Lime Avocado Topping

2 ripe Hass avocados 
Juice from 1 lime
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Chopped fresh chives, about 3 sprigs

Scoop out Avocado and mash in a bowl. 

Combine lime juice, sugar, chili powder and salt in a small bowl and pour over avocado. Mix well and stir in chives. 

Dig in!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Critter

We have learned that as homeowners, you encounter all kind of crazy stuff. CRAZY stuff. Like for example....

(Please ignore grimmey looking floor. It's stains. Horrible finish on the wood floor. Also, grease on the back wall is from a previous tenant that fried constantly apparently. OH the grease we cleaned when we moved in...)

That's a possum...under my stove. A baby possum to be exact. We thought we had a rat in our laundry room...but it turns out, it was this guy...or his sister. 

I heard scurry in the kitchen 2 nights ago, I hauled it out of there and waited....waited for the 'rat' to come around the corner. Tink chased something in the dining room a little later...kept waiting...then I heard something under the couch. I got brave, peeked...and it was a baby possum. I woke up Kevin and we chased it out with a very handy set of plastic golfclubs we bought for Coop that exact evening. 

So this MORNING...Kevin wakes ME up..and tells me there is scratching under the stove...and it was this possum. He was sitting in my muffin pan. We chased him out AGAIN...or we chased it out the first time if it was the sibling. I am now in the process of washing all of my cookie sheets, lasagna pans etc....he peed in them. OH LORD. 

So I went to Home Depot and got a couple cans of that expandable spray foam stuff to fill in the gap we believe he or she or they are coming in in our laundry room..wish us luck. Hopefully they will be gone in a few days. I read that they only stay in one den for 3 or 4 days, a little longer if babies are involved. SO we will see. Eek. 

Southwest Black Bean Pasta Bake

I'm going to post 2 blog entries for the recipe below...and one for a fun little story about a critter we've had in our house...

OK, so this pasta is easy, yummy and super healthy!

I veganized it with Daiya cheese, but you can use regular cheese if you like.

Anyway, hope you enjoy!

Southwest Black Bean Pasta Bake

2/3 box of rotini, cooked according to package directions in salted water
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 1/2 to 2 cups cooked black beans (1 can if using canned, drained)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 cups salsa
1 cup shredded cheddar

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a casserole dish.

Saute garlic and jalapeno in olive oil until tender, don't let garlic get too brown! Add black beans, chili powder and oregano. Stir in salsa and simmer for a 5 minutes. Stir in cooked pasta and pour into casserole dish. Top with cheese and cover with foil.

Bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 10 more. Let sit 5 minutes before serving.

Dig in!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

2 Ingredient Chocolate Cake

In our 'quest' to cut wayyyy back on the animal products, I've done a lot of research on egg substitutes in baking. I did applesauce in the Snickerdoodles 2 weeks ago and it was a success! I read somewhere that you could also use pumpkin when baking and combined that with the ideas of mixing things with a cake mix and went for. I've seen, and sure you have too, ideas online of mixing a cake mix with soda or juice or vodka...whatev...and baking it. I decided to give the pumpkin a whirl and it turned out great!

I used a chocolate cake mix. I bet a spice cake mix would be really good too. I didn't ice ours, but it would have been fantastic with whipped cream!

2 Ingredient Chocolate Cake

1 box of cake mix
1 (15 oz) can of plain pumpkin (not pumpkin pie)
A few tablespoons of water, if needed

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 13x9 inch baking dish.

Mix cake mix and pumpkin. It will be REALLY thick, but if it's not mixing well, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until moist. 

Pour and smooth evenly into pan.

Bake for 20 minutes. 

Dig in!

Friday, April 19, 2013

So I Made Some Baked Potatoes in the Slow Cooker

Lookie what I did! I made baked potatoes in the slow cooker! I tried it without foil and they turned out great! I know this idea is all over the 'nets....but I had to share my results with you.

I recently was listening to Car Talk on NPR...and Martha Stewart was a guest. Yes, Martha Stewart on Car Talk. of the callers asked about cooking a chicken on the engine while driving and mentioned wrapping it in foil. She said it's not good to wrap food in foil...chemicals and what not. I never thought about that and now I am hyper sensitive to foil yada yada. Long story short, I tried NOT wrapping the potatoes in foil. And it worked! I don't wrap them in foil when I oven bake them and they come out great.

So anyway....

(No, my crock pot/slow cooker isn't's stained from cooking black beans in it....)

You basically take your potatoes...I used 4...and scrub them clean, plop them in the pot(no water) and cook them on low. Mine took around 4 hours. Yours could take longer if they are larger potatoes. I plan on trying this with sweet potatoes next!

Dig in! We had ours with A1, sour cream and butter....

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Southern Hospitality Fried Rice

It's raining, It's pouring....

Love the sound of rain.

I've been re-watching the entire series of Lost. I get obsessed with a series and have to watch it all as soon as I can! Before this it was Weeds. I re-watch Doctor Who every 6 months or so. I don't know what I'll watch after I finish Lost.

SO...for this obsessed with Lost while listening to the rain night....I share a recipe with you.

Southern Hospitality Fried Rice. Something different, uses things from the south like black-eyed peas and Crystal hot sauce. It could be southerned up a little more with some shredded collard greens..

 I like the idea of playing around with fried rices. Something untraditional. I am thinking of trying a Santa Fe style rice next...

It's super easy. Just precook some brown rice or used leftovers. Open up a can of black-eyed peas, use frozen or again, leftovers. Canned tomatoes work great, but you could use fresh diced.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy it!

PS...rice was in my great-grandmother's China bowl....

Southern Hospitality Fried Rice

1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium or 1/2 of a large Vidalia onion, or other sweet onion, diced
5 cups cooked brown rice
14 oz can diced tomatoes or 2ish cups chopped fresh tomatoes
1/2 a lemon's worth of fresh juice, about a tablespoon
1 - 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Louisiana Style hot sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups (1 can's worth if using canned, drained) cooked black-eyed peas

Heat oil in large skillet or wok over medium. Saute the onion until soft, 5ish minutes. 

Add rest of ingredients and stir-fry 10 or so minutes, until hot. Season with salt and pepper. 

Dig in!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

White Trash Vegan Delight

This should have been my Tofu Tuesday post...but...the recipe I was working on was a complete disaster. I didn't press the tofu, used the wrong onions...oh it was just a mess. I will try again. BUT...I had to figure out something quick for dinner so I went to one of my new standbys. I already had the rice cooking and beans in  the today, I teach you how to make White Trash Vegan Delight.

(I know the picture is horrible, it was dark outside so I had to use the hood light as lighting (and I was really hungry an just wanted to eat))

My husband has fond memories a friend used to make that consisted of hot dogs cut up into cheap mac and cheese. They called it White Trash Delight. This just kind of reminds me of that because it uses canned beans.

You basically cook or used left over rice mixed with some soy sauce. I used brown jasmine this time. THEN you use a can of vegetarian baked favorite are Heinz. If you really want to dress it up, top it with some caramelized sweet onions. It's fantastic. It's simple. Doesn't sound great, but I promise you, it is. It's a total comfort food, and crazy cheap to make!

I hope you enjoy it as much as we do! Let me know what you think in the comments.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Caramelizing Onions in the Slow Cooker...On The Small Scale

Hope you are having a good weekend! It's a gorgeous day here. The boys are at the park and I am catching up on Friday night's Grimm. I love that show.

We took a nice walk last night after dinner and played in the front yard when we got back. Coop played with his new yard toys the Easter Bunny brought him. After, he lined them up by the fence...I thought it was very cute.

My indoor cat also ran outside this afternoon....she eventually ran back in. After she had an adventure visiting with the outdoor cats and going under the house for a while. (please ignore the weeds, the backyard is still a work in progress....) I took a picture of her outside because the sun is so pretty on her fur. But...if she were an outdoor cat, her fur would not be this pretty...

Dang cat. 

Anyway....I am working on a recipe for Tofu Tuesday that requires sauteed onions. I decided this would be a good time to blog about caramelizing onions in the slow cooker. I did a post about this ages ago on my old blog, but that required a ton of onions and a larger slow cooker. We LOVE caramelized onions. They are great to keep in the fridge to heat up to put over some beans, on a sandwich or mixed in with sauteed peirogies. 

Ok...first you need a little crock pot/slow Meme calls these dip sized. 

I used 3 yellow onions this time, but my favorite type to use are big sweet onions. Like the Strawberry Onions I referred to in another post. Slice them up and don't worry about separating them. You will stir them after they've cooked a while and that will divide all of the slices up. 

Place all of the onions and a glob of butter on the top...maybe 2 to 3 tablespoons. I used Earth Balance. Put the lid on a cook on low. After about an hour to 1 1/2 them up and give them a stir. If they seem to be sticking on the bottom, add some more butter around the edges. 

It only takes 2 to 3 hours to cook them. Really keep an eye on them after you stir them the first time, to prevent them from burning. Let them completely cool, if you don't plan on using them right away, and store in the fridge for up to a week. They 'perk up' if you put them in a hot skillet with a dab of butter for a few minutes. 

Ok, Grimm's over....I have dishes to wash. 


Saturday, April 6, 2013

Egg-Free Snickerdoodles

My sweet boy got so excited when I mentioned him helping me bake cookies this evening. He loves to help me with things in the kitchen and doesn't understand why he can't help me with 'stove stuff' as we call it. He's usually pretty happy if I say he can when he's 8. At least he has a number then.

Hopefully he won't remember that I said when he's 8...I should have said 12. 

Anyway....TONIGHT....Coop and I veganized a much loved cookie...the snickerdoodle. It was fairly easy. We used Earth Balance instead of butter and applesauce instead of eggs. They came out great. Yum yum yum. I plan on trying many more vegan baking recipes in the future....

Egg-Free Snickerdoodles

2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine Earth Balance Vegan whatever
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375. I recommend lining your cookie sheet(s) with parchment if you have it. 

Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a separate large bowl. 

Cream butter and sugar. Add in applesauce and vanilla. Mix until well blended. 

Add flour mixture in batches and mix well. 

In a shallow bowl, combine 1/4 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons cinnamon. Scoop cookie dough (I used a tablespoon sized cookie scoop) and roll into balls. Roll balls in cinnamon sugar mixture and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. 

Bake 9 to 10 minutes until they have spread and tops have cracked a bit. Cool for a few minutes on cookie sheet then transfer to a cooling rack. 

Make around 2 1/2 dozen cookies. 

Dig in!!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Tofu Tuesday:Japanese Pancakes with 2 Dipping Sauces

I am starting a new weekly post theme..Tofu Tuesday. We have started the process to switch to strict vegetarian in our house, not fully vegan...but no dairy or meat. And only eggs when we (finally) get our own hens. Anyway...part of it all is learning how to change your mindset on how you cook. We are so used to using chicken in most meals, and chicken broth in others. Or eggs, butter, milk, etc... So tofu is an easy answer for a lot of things. You can puree it in a smoothie, use it instead of eggs in egg salad....or just grill it, saute it, or bake it. I know some people are turned off by the idea of tofu..but in this recipe, you don't even notice it. Just make the pancakes super hearty.

These were SO good. They are super filling, so watch how quickly you devour them, they swell in the tummy. Coop loved them, Kevin loved them...I loved them. I hope you love them too!!

Stock Pretty Photo...

This is how we really set the table...complete with pile of books at one end and a few rice grains left over from lunch on the table...

The fun part of this recipe, is that you can pick and mix any crunchy veggies you want. This time I used a handful of coleslaw mix that included cabbage and carrots, mushrooms, green onions, broccoli and some snowpeas. You just chop/slice them all thinly. 

I tried large and small sized pancakes to see how each cooked. The key is to add a spoonful of batter at at a time and spread it out with the back of the spoon. My batter was thick and I ended up adding about a cup more of liquid. They also didn't brown very well, but were still delicious. I am sure the not browning had something to do with the tofu/extra liquid. 

I also tried out 2 different dipping sauces...both were very good. One was creamy and the other a more liquidy type. 

But anyway, here you go!

Japanese Pancakes with 2 Dipping Sauces

2 cups water or broth
1/4 pound of tofu, about half a block
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 to 5 cups thinly sliced crunchy veggies of your choosing (green onions, yellow onions, cabbage, bok choy, broccoli, carrots, etc)

Puree water/broth and tofu in the food processor or blender until smooth. Mix flour, salt and baking soda together in a large bowl. Pour in tofu mixture and mix until combined. Add in veggies. Mix. 

Heat a little olive oil over medium in a large skillet. (or use pan spray like I did)

Cook pancakes until lightly browned on both sides. Transfer to plate and cut into wedges for serving. 

Creamy Dipping Sauce

1/2 cup vegan mayo
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Splash of sriracha to taste
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Whisk it all together in a bowl

Sesame Dipping Sauce

3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 dash sriracha
Pinch of sugar

Whisk it all together in a bowl. 

Dig in!!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Zucchini Crumble

I have a cold. My throat hurts. I want soup. Ok, enough complaining.

On a funny 3 year old now calls me  by my first more mommy, it's all Amanda now. We'll see how long this lasts.

Today...I bring you....

Zucchini Crumble...

This is a very basic recipe that could be dressed up easily with some Italian seasoning or sauted onion. 

Basically, you chop up 2 pieces of sandwich bread or 3 pieces of French Baguette like I did...and toast it in some oil and garlic. 

Then you saute some sliced/chopped zucchini until it's tender. 

After the zucchini's done, you toss it all together with some salt and pepper. Like I said, very basic, but yummy. 

Zucchini Crumble

Olive Oil
2 slices sandwich bread or 3 to 4 slices French Baguette sized bread, coarsly chopped
1 pound zucchini, cut long ways into 1/4 and then sliced
1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper

Heat a little olive oil over medium and add half of the garlic. Add bread and toast until browning. Transfer out of pan to a plate. 

Heat a little more olive oil, and saute rest of garlic with zucchini until tender. Add bread and season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine. 

Dig in!