Monday, May 16, 2011

100 blog posts!

We have finally started getting some beautiful weather. We had a lazy day today, just hanging around outside in the sun. On beautiful days like this I always like to eat something cool...something like a salad! As the kids continued to play outside I put together this simple but tasty dinner. The kids wanted more bread sticks right away but had to finish their salads first...which they did. The boy ate his dinner in about ten seconds flat.  I originally got this salad recipe from my good friend Amanda, she brought it over for a potluck many years ago and it has been popular here ever since!  Here is my 3 year old daughter's plate, she thought it should be her turn :)

Spinach Salad

4-5 cups baby spinach
1/2 cup sliced dried apricots
1/2 cup craisins
1/3-1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2-3/4 cup feta
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1-2 tbsp poppy seeds
salt and pepper

*Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl
*In a food processor, pulse together all dressing ingredients
tada (easiest meal ever)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Quinoa Casserole

Today turned out to be just as great as yesterday!  We spent the day outside again and I feel totally rested (but also exhausted somehow?) and ready for the week.  We had my in-laws over for dinner and I thought we'd all really enjoy this quinoa casserole that I found on Savvy's website.  I served it with these black bean burgers (sans feta and curry paste but added parsley), and grilled asparagus and corn on the cob.

Quinoa Carrot Zucchini Casserole

1 cup quinoa
1/4 cup currant
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped celery
2 chopped carrots
2 chopped small zucchini
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp paprika
pinch cayenne
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 cup vegetable stock
* * * * * * * * * * * *
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
ground pepper

*Soak quinoa in water for 1 hour
 *Saute celery in olive oil until translucent, add carrots and cook 5 minutes, add zucchini and cook 1 minute.
*Add remaining ingredients (up to the asterisks and not including the stock) and stir until browned
*Pour into casserole dish, along with boiled vegetable stock and cook (covered) at 350
*Cook until stock is absorbed (about 20 minutes) and remove bay leaves and cinnamon stick
*Add parsley and ground pepper and serve!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Best Day, Ever.

Today was the best day, ever.  We went on a hike, had a wiener roast, played in the yard (and the neighbour's yard), I went to hot yoga, and it ended with an impromptu family bbq.  Needless to say, I don't have a supper post to share!  BUT, I did make something from Simple Suppers that I never got around to posting on Thursday.  We had a warm lentil salad with french bread and it was delicious

Warm Lentil Salad

1 cup (french) lentils I never found french and this salad was still great
1/2 tsp salt
1 medium head of escarole
1 fennel bulb
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves of minced garlic
2 tsp ground fennel seed
 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
3/4 cup chopped walnuts I forgot to add these, oops!

*Cook lentils according to package instructions
*Rinse, drain and chop the escarole.  Thinly slice fennel bulb.
*In a large skillet, saute garlic, ground fennel and thyme for 2 minutes.  
*Add fresh fennel and salt and cook for 2 more minutes.
*Add escarole and stir and cook for a few minutes.
*Remove from heat and drain of liquid.
*Stir in lentils and tomatoes (and walnuts-oops) and serve at room temperature

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Burger Wednesday: Spicy Kidney Bean Burgers!

I would be lying if I told you that this early morning shift isn't hard to get used to because it really is.  The work itself? No big deal... but going strong all day because my children refuse to nap?  THAT is the hard part.  I'm a little off topic from food but I'm going somewhere, I promise.  This meal was super easy to put together and very low prep, perfect for days like today where it's raining and chilly and you can't keep your eyes open.  I have a feeling that we'll be eating like this a lot while I get used to waking up early for work!  We had spicy kidney bean burgers, rice and roasted vegetables.  The burgers were a little bit too spicy for the kids but I thought they were delicious and they managed to finish them anyway.  I originally found the recipe here but have made some adjustments because I can't seem to follow a recipe, haha!

Spicy Kidney Bean Burgers

3 cups cooked kidney beans
1 chopped onion
4 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
2 tsp green chili paste
2 tsp hot sauce
2 tbsp fresh cilantro
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
3/4 cup rolled oats
juice from 1 lime
1/2 cup crushed almonds
salt and pepper

*In a food processor, pulse together all ingredients but oats, lime and almonds
*Transfer to a large bowl and add remaining ingredients
*Cook in an oiled skillet for 5-6 minutes per side

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What to do with a can of leftover artichoke hearts...

I hosted my sister's bachelorette party this weekend and I was left with a lot of leftover snacks as well as some ingredients that just never got used.  I make a mean spinach and artichoke dip and had originally planned on doubling the recipe but never got around to it.  That left me with a can of artichoke hearts  that I just couldn't let go to waste!  I ended up finding a couple of recipes for artichoke pasta sauce and figured that I could fine tune my own crockpot recipe in no time.  This was what we ended up with, we all liked it but my oldest and youngest daughters LOVED it.  I served the sauce on some bowtie pasta with chickpea nuggets and a green salad!

Tomato Artichoke Pasta

Olive Oil
1 chopped onion
5 cloves minced garlic
2-28 oz cans of diced tomatoes, one can drained of juice
2 tsp basil
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp thyme
2 tsp brown sugar
2-14 oz cans of artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/2 cup vegetable stock
red pepper flakes

*Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until soft
*Transfer to slow cooker and add tomatoes (along with juice from only one can), and remaining ingredients
*Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Monday, May 9, 2011

My Do-Nothing Day!

I've had a busy couple of weeks - in particular a very busy weekend - and today also happened to be my first day back at work after my one year maternity leave (I work very early mornings and am back just as the kids are finishing breakfast).  Needless to say, I was feeling a little (or a lot) worn out.  I decided that I would do absolutely nothing all-day-long and I was very successful!  I didn't do any housework, I didn't cook a single thing, I didn't exercise, I really did nothing!  We had our favourite Monday visitor over for dinner and her mom brought us take-out Boon Burger for dinner.  I had a buddha burger, sesame french fries, and red peppers and broccoli.  Best.  Monday.  Ever.

Menu Plan for the week of May 10

Tuesday: Artichoke Pasta,chickpea cutlets and a green salad
Wednesday: Spicy bean burgers, roasted veggies, and rice
Thursday: warm lentil salad, quinoa rolls
Friday: kids at a sleepover, date night?
Saturday: pizza and raw veggies
Sunday: Quinoa, carrot and zucchini casserole, green salad, crusty bread
Monday: Peanut butter and jam sandwiches on fresh bread, spinach salad
Tuesday: repeat Mediterranean lentil soup, cheese biscuits, dessert of some kind ;)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Butternut Squash Ravioli

I've been waiting to make this ravioli again for about a year.  During my last month of pregnancy last year I literally filled my freezer with food...I actually wish I had taken a picture now.  My sister was visiting then and I had been asking (okay, begging!) her to teach me how to make ravioli.  It was a lot of work but so worth it in the end, the ravioli was devoured and there wasn't anything left for lunches the next day!  Since then I have asked my sister several times to make it with me again and she finally humoured me today.  We served this butternut squash ravioli with a balsamic vinegar tofu salad, and once again there were no leftovers!  Next time my sister visits I have a feeling I will be getting her to double this recipe...

Butternut Squash Ravioli

pasta dough
14 eggs
14 all purpose flour
4 whole wheat flour
1 tbsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil

*Place flour and eggs in kitchen aid mixer with dough hook, mix until just moistened
*Add salt and olive oil, mix until dough is formed into a ball
*Remove from mixer and knead for several minutes
*Divide dough into 4 equal pieces and wrap in plastic.
*Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes

butternut squash filling
1 large butternut squash
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/3 cup romano cheese
salt and pepper
1 tsp italian seasoning
1 tsp sage
2 tbsp brown sugar

*Cut squash lengthwise and scoop out seeds
*Place face down in a casserole dish and bake at 400 for 1 hour
*Scoop out squash and pulse in a food processor until smooth
*In a large bowl, combine all squash with remaining ingredients

assembling the ravioli
*Take pasta dough out one section at a time.  Roll out into a square (this takes much patience), remember to give dough a chance to rest in the middle of this process.  Try to get it as thin as possible.
*Scoop 1 tbsp of filling onto dough and repeat 1 inch apart to cover half the dough.
*Brush empty half of the dough with a egg white/water wash and fold to cover filling.
*Using your hands, press dough down in between filling to create the ravioli squares
*Using a butter knife, cut out each ravioli and place on a floured surface.
*Place ravioli in boiling water for 2-3 minutes.

You can serve it this way or in any pasta sauce you choose.  We had ours in a simple butter/garlic/sage sauce!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

It was a bbq kind of day! BBQ Seitan Ribs :)

The seitan that I made last week went over so well that I wanted to make it again.  This time I tried the Veganomicon cutlet recipe which was slightly easier for some reason.  My friend, Heather (that hero, she keeps coming up!) mentioned to me that when she made this recipe she had bbq'd it and that sounded perfect for our family.  I cut the cutlets into rib shapes and then cooked them on low coating it with a homemade bbq sauce.  Here it is, served on some rice with a green salad and some bbq'd pineapple, it was such a beautiful day for a bbq <3

Seitan Cutlets

6 cups vegetable broth
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
1/2 cup cold vegetable broth
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp lemon zest

*(for the broth) In a large sauce pan, bring vegetable broth and soy sauce to a boil.  Cover and turn off heat.
*Place the vital wheat gluten in a large bowl
*In a large measuring cup, mix together cold vegetable broth, soy sauce, olive oil, minced garlic and lemon zest
*Pour the wet mixture into the vital wheat gluten and mix well (and quickly)
*Knead for 3 minutes and roll into a log and cut into 6 equal pieces
*Turn and knead each piece into a cutlet shape (this takes several minutes and I ended up using a rolling pin)
*Pour first broth mixture into a glass 9x13 casserole dish and place cutlets in it
*Bake at 375 for 30 minutes, turn pieces and bake for another 20 minutes

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Burger Wednesday: Fava Bean Burgers

I think I've only ever used fava beans in a mixed bean salad or in chili so when I noticed this recipe in (SURPRISE, I found it!) Veggie Burgers Every Which Way I just had to try it out.  I'm so glad I did because they were delicious.  I know I've said it many many times before but these really are my new favourite burgers.  I served them with a quinoa salad and some raw broccoli, I only wish I could have served some dessert but I'm in the middle of a sugar detoxing that just may kill me.  I only changed a few things from the original recipe so here is my version...

Fava Bean Burger

 2 chopped onions
4 cloves minced garlic
1 cup crushed walnuts
3 cups fava beans
 2 cups chickpeas
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup ground flax in 1/4 cup water
salt and pepper
3 cups toasted bread crumbs

*Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent
*In a food processor, pulse together walnuts, fava beans, and chickpeas
*Transfer to a large bowl and mix together with onion mixture and remaining ingredients
*Let sit for 10 minutes and form into 11-12 patties
*Cook in a well oiled skillet for approximately 10 minutes, flipping once
*Bake at 375 for 15 minutes

Corn and Roasted Red Pepper Soup

So it seems that now that spring has finally arrived *fingers crossed* I have fallen behind in my blogging.  We spend the days outside and I guess it wears me out as much as the kids!  Here is our dinner for yesterday, posted after our burgers for tonight are already in the fridge, ha!  I'd never tried this recipe before (from the 125 Best Vegetarian Slow Cooker Recipes cookbook) and I'm pretty sure I won't be making it again.  It was good, nobody hated it, but nobody loved it either.  I bought a loaf of garlic sourdough bread (who knew such deliciousness existed?!) to serve with it and had some leftover bean salad on some salad greens. 

Southwestern Corn and Roasted Red Pepper Soup

1 can of chiles
 1 large chopped onion
6 cloves of minced garlic
6 cups vegetable broth
1 tbsp fresh rosemary
1 tbsp cumin seeds
salt and pepper
4 cups frozen corn
1 bay leaf
3 roasted red peppers, cut into 1" squares
2 cups whipping cream
parsley to garnish

*In a food processor, pulse together chiles, onion, garlic, 1/2 cup broth, rosemary and garlic until smooth
*Add to slow cooker with remaining broth, rosemary, cumin, corn, bay leaf, and salt and pepper
*Cook on low for 6-8 hours
*Add roasted red peppers and whipping cream, and cook on high for 15-20 minutes
*Garnish with parsley

Monday, May 2, 2011

Yet another Monday.

When you wake up Monday morning thinking that it's Friday you know it's going to be a long week.  The day just dragged on from there and by dinner time, I was done!  I was so thankful that I had planned this low-prep meal; even with the chickpea nuggets I think the whole thing took less than 1/2 hour.   We literally ate every last drop of the entire meal though, and were fighting over the remaining nuggets.  I keep saying that I'm going to have to start doubling the recipes but now I think I really have no choice now!  Can you imagine when the kids are teenagers?  Tonight we had a simple cream cheese pasta dish, with chickpea nuggets and a spinach salad.  Our favourite 2 year old did not enjoy this meal but next week we are having Boon Burger... so maybe then?  Cross your fingers!

Cream Cheese Pasta

1 box spaghetti prepared according to package instructions
1 tbsp butter
1 finely chopped onion
3 cloves minced garlic
1 chopped red pepper
1-1 1/2 cups chopped broccoli
1 cup plain cream cheese
1 cup milk
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp garlic and herb seasoning
salt and pepper

*Saute onion and garlic in butter until softened.  Add red pepper and broccoli and cook until tender.
*Break cream cheese into chunks and add with remaining ingredients.
*Stir frequently for 5 minutes until everything is well blended.
*Serve over pasta <3

Menu Plan for the week of May 2

Tuesday: Southwestern corn and roasted red pepper soup, sourdough bread, and a green salad
Wednesday: Fava burgers, quinoa salad, and spinach salad
Thursday: BBQ seitan, green salad, rice, grilled pineapples
Friday: Pizza and raw veggies
Saturday: Warm lentil salad and rolls
Sunday: Butternut squash ravioli, and a green salad
Monday: BOON BURGER (First day of work :()
Tuesday: Artichoke pasta, tofu salad

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Vegetable Upside-Down Casserole

We woke up today to snow.  Yup, snow in May!  Usually we spend Sunday mornings at church and then at the pool, but today?  No, today we stayed in.  We played games, we napped (well baby and I napped!), played cribbage.. it was perfect.  So this meal should have been an awesome way to end the day.  It was okay but it definitely wasn't delicious.  I may try it again and add some more flavour but the kids liked it the way it was.  To each their own, I guess?  I served the casserole (originally from the Vegetarian Family Cookbook) with some leftover roasted potatoes and a 6 bean salad. 

Vegetable Upside-Down Casserole

6 cups of chopped vegetables I used zucchini, red and yellow pepper, red onion, butternut squash, carrots, garlic and broccoli
 2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup plain yogurt
3/4 cup milk
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

*Saute vegetables in olive oil until slightly tender
*In a large bowl, combine flour, wheat germ, baking soda, powder, and salt
*Make a well in the center and add milk, yogurt, and oil.  Mix well.
*Pour vegetables into a large 9x13 casserole dish
*Top with shredded cheese, and then batter.  Spread evenly with a spatula.
*Bake at 375 for 35-40 minutes.  Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.