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Quinoa Lettuce Wraps

Upon searching it out, I found that a few other people had done this, but I wasn’t able to find a recipe that matched, well… mostly what I happened to have in the house when I was struck with the desire to cook this.

This is all my guesses on the measurements after the fact.

  • Half an onion diced
  • 1/2 cup orange bell pepper diced
  • Half package of mushrooms cubed
  • 1/4 cup carrots cubed
  • 8 0z water chestnuts cubed
  • 1/2 uncooked quinoa
  • garlic
  • sesame oil
  • soy sauce
  • ground ginger
  • romaine lettuce

In one pot, get your quinoa cooking. In a pan, start cooking your onions and bell peppers with a generous drizzling of sesame oil. Once they are closing in on how cooked you’d like them, put your mushrooms and garlic in

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This is what mine looked like at this point. Then I put in the carrots and water chestnuts. I wanted them to still be a little crunchy. I sprinkled ground ginger on top, and then mixed in the cooked quinoa. Pour in soy sauce to taste and serve on romaine lettuce.

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Everyone loved it. Next time I’m planning on putting in a little honey, and the rest will vary based on what’s in the house, but the bones of the recipe was awesome.

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Oven pancakes

I got the idea to cook pancakes in the oven from a friend, but then I decided to make it a little more fun.

Preheat oven to 400.

  • Use whatever recipe you want and mix up a batch.
  • Grease a cookie sheet (jelly roll pan? You know, the type with edges) and pour batter into it.
  • Bake for 10 minutes
  • Here’s where my version comes in- grab the cookie cutters and go nuts.
  • Watch the toddler enjoy the shapes while eating the yummy crusty edges.

I went fancy pants with just add water mix this time.

Here they are before going in the oven

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The tops won’t look pretty after baking and cutting out shapes

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Just flip it over to serve

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Instant fun

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Chickpea Curry

1 tablespoon  olive oil
1 1/2 cups  chopped onion
1 cup  (1/4-inch-thick) slices carrot
1 tablespoon  curry powder
1 teaspoon  brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2  teaspoon garlic
1   serrano chile, seeded and minced  (I’ve used many different things for this…)
1 can or so  cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 1/2 cups  cubed peeled baking potato
1 cup  diced green bell pepper
1 cup  (1-inch) cut green beans
1/2 teaspoon  salt
1/4 teaspoon  black pepper
1/8 teaspoon  ground red pepper
1   (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1   cup water

1 cube veg bouillon
3 cups  fresh baby spinach
1 cup  light coconut milk

Preparation
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and carrot; cover and cook 5 minutes or until tender. Add curry powder, sugar, ginger, garlic, and chile; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Place onion mixture in a 5-quart electric slow cooker. Stir in chickpeas and next 8 ingredients (through broth). Cover and cook on HIGH 6 hours or until vegetables are tender. Add spinach and coconut milk; stir until spinach wilts.

Original here

Since we have a little family, I take half of it right away and put it in the freezer. This freezes very, very well. Make sure to let it thaw before reheating or you’ll have mushy vegetables. I also go ahead and freeze the rest of the coconut milk. It effects the texture a bit, but it doesn’t matter if you’re going to cook with it.

Tortilla soup/enchiladas

1 can drained corn
1 can rinsed black beans
1 can diced tomatoes
Shredded zucchini
1 packet of taco seasoning
2 veg bouillon cubes (could use anything I suppose)
water to taste

Combine everything in a saucepan and let simmer. We like it chunky so I don’t add very much water at all. Serve with regular tortilla soup fixings.

The next day, I drain what little liquid there is off, add some cottage cheese, and I roll it into corn tortillas. I put it in a casserole dish, and cover with cheese and enchilada sauce. Tada, easy dinner for two days.

Home Fry Potatoes

I wish I had taken a picture of dinner, it looked so fancy, and tasted even better. I realized too late that I didn’t have everything I needed for dinner today, so it was a oh-junk-what-will-we-feed-everyone kinda day.

In one pan we had onions and bell peppers sautéing in bacon grease. I know, not my usual go to. And in the other I had purple potatoes cubed. I cooked them for about 10 minutes in blood orange EVOO (so good!), then combined the two pans, also throwing in crumbled bacon. The now empty pan took on the task of making scrambled eggs. There was two of us in there cooking, hence the slightly less than clear series of events, but I just want to remember that those home fry potatoes with eggs, were to die for. Yum.

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

First let me link the original recipe. http://www.chow.com/recipes/28985-lemon-ricotta-pancakes I hadn’t read it, just saw what it was, and had been dying to eat these for weeks. When I finally read the recipe at dinner time, thinking I would have a quick meal in no time, I was horrified at how many steps there are. It’s numbered 1-8, but even that’s deceiving, and I don’t know about you, but I make pancakes because they are easy. So below is how I totally redid that recipe and had delicious pancakes for dinner. First off, the changed ingredients:

  • 5 tablespoons coconut oil, plus more for coating the frying pan
  • 1 cup 1% milk
  • 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Zest from one lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup fat free ricotta cheese
  1. Place coconut oil and milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until butter has melted; remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt; set aside.
  3. Place eggs, sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla in kitchen aid. Pour in a quarter of the milk-butter mixture (this will temper the eggs and prevent them from curdling), then add the remaining milk-butter mixture until smooth. I don’t know if this really prevented the eggs from curdling, but why risk it, right?
  4. Add the reserved flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined (do not overmix).
  5. Gently fold the ricotta into the batter, being careful not to break down the texture of the cheese (the batter will be lumpy and streaked with ricotta).
  6. Cook like you would any other pancake

So it was still more complicated than using a pancake mix, but the results were well worth my lazy version of this recipe. I had them with vanilla yogurt and strawberries.

Hubs had them with strawberry yogurt and whip cream. … I don’t ask….

And the wee one was just excited to be there

They really weren’t heavy, which was a nice surprise since I didn’t separate the eggs and I put whole wheat flour in it. Here’s what the batter looks like

Another take on pretzel candies

I made these last year, and let me say that they were ridiculously delicious. I see variations of this all over the place, but they mostly require you to have certain kind of candy on hand, which I did not. So I used what was in the house, and this is what I came up with.

I forgot to take a pic until I was packaging them...

I made two kinds. The one on the right is a milk chocolate  hershey bliss with melted butterscotch drizzled on top. And yes, I did eat that ugly one in the front. I would never put the recipient through the grief of an ugly chocolate;)

The one on the left has the same kind of chocolate, with white chocolate drizzled on top. What makes this guy special though, is that I spread a layer of peanut butter on each pretzel before put the chocolate on top.

If I were going to layer them when giving away, I’d have done a thicker layer of PB, and then dipped the bottom in chocolate to seal it, but no such issue here. I just put the PB ones on bottom and the butterscotch ones on top. Just in case anyone is confused, melt the bliss (or whatever you have on hand) onto the pretzel, then drizzle. Let these guys cool for a loooong time.

And don’t mind my stove knobs hanging out on the counter, that’s how we keep little girl from poisoning us.

Anyway, my stance is that experimenting with chocolate rarely goes badly… now go eat some chocolate.

Not so sweet- sweet potato casserole

I like sweet potato casserole, in theory, but in practice… it’s just too sugary for dinner. I feel like I’m cheating on my pie. I love straight up sweet potatoes, but that seemed too plain for Thanksgiving dinner, so I did what I should have done years ago… I made up a recipe.

  • 4 c sweet potato
  • 1/2 c orange juice
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 3/4 t salt
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • 1/4 c coconut oil

I cooked my sweet potatoes in the oven the day before. They taste so much better when you take the time to bake them instead of tossing them in the microwave (which I am not above doing in a pinch).

I have a picture of my coconut oil here. It looks kind of like crisco, but it tastes better and it is actually only about a billion times easier to work with. It’s not as solid as it looks. Just winking at it makes it start to melt.

Add everything and whip. It has a pretty distinctive look when it’s ready.

Other than not putting sugar in the potatoes proper, here’s the other place I went off the beaten path. I made the topping with almonds. I couldn’t find any recipes, or references to, sweet potato casserole with almond crumble…. and I began to worry I was about to make a thanksgiving faux pas.

And then I slapped myself. 1. Who cares. 2. I probably already crossed the line with no white sugar and coconut oil.

Topping, where the bad is hidden:

  • 4 tbs butter
  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 1 c sliced almonds

Melt it up and toss it on

See, it doesn’t make enough topping to feel guilty about. I cooked it at 350 for about 30 min.

Also, I made this recipe, except I used turkey bacon cut in half and xylitol instead of sugar. So good. Seriously. My only downfall was not keeping them warm enough and going too easy on the sauce. So good.

Dinner in a hurry

I don’t have pictures, but these are two recent main dishes I’ve done that honestly took no time at all. They were quite good and I need to write it down before I forget.

First, cabbage stir-fry. I cut up mushroom and cabbage, threw it in a skillet with a little coconut oil. Once it started wilting, I poured soy sauce and sweet chili sauce over it. Just a small sprinkling of white wine vinegar. If I’d had more time, I would have made rice to serve it over, but it was very tasty by itself.

Second, feta-parm noodles. While the noodles were cooking, I sauteed some mushrooms and onion in a little butter. Once they were cooked through, I added a little vegetable broth. Once it was boiling I stirred in enough flour for it to thicken. I poured this over the noodles, which finished about the same time I did, and tossed it with parm and feta cheese. I meant to put cherry tomatoes in it, but totally forgot.

Both of these took less time than driving to fast food, promise:)

Pureed Pineapple Stir-Fry

I don’t know what else to call it. From this point on, assume that every measurement I give you is a guess… because it is. The only thing I measured was the soy sauce.

This is kind of like sweet and sour stir-fry, but with more zip and less (none) atomic red sauce. What is that stuff anyway? This is a way to use up pineapple when you love pineapple, but a whole one is really too much for your family.

Anyway, I happen to have all fresh ingredients today.

  • Pineapple
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Mushrooms
  • Tomatoes (from my brothers garden, no less)

The garlic is a lie, I forgot about it

First, the only thing I cooked separately. Those mushrooms are sauteing in sesame oil and butter
I pureed a few slices of pineapple
Then I added:
  • the puree
  • all the soy sauce I had (like 8th of a cup because I ran out. Who runs out of soy sauce! Me apparently)
  • 2 T of sweet chili sauce
  • little more than fourth cup of vinegar
  • 3 T of honey
  • 1 ½ t brown sugar
  • 1 T flour
Once that was thick, I added everything else. Oh, I lie, I held off on the tomatoes until everything else was heated through.
It was quite tasty. What I would do differently though, more soy sauce, less vinegar. I still can’t believe I’m out of soy sauce!
Here’s the finished product, side by side with brown rice, in Little Girl’s bowl.
I definitely recommend pineapple puree as a base for stir-fry. Who knew?!