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Archive for the ‘Lunch & Dinner’ Category

With the holiday looming and just days ahead, the internet has gone crazy with links to recipes, planning, decorating and anything else to do with our American Thanksgiving.  Rather than try to produce much of my own information, I want to share links here for those of you who might not be able to monitor the net all day, or who watch different websites than I do.

I will update this list as the week progresses — I cannot stand to not share!   Enjoy, and Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

National Geographic Thanksgiving Quiz & Games
Some amazingly delicious drinks from my friends at Madtini.com
Eatdrinkbetter.com – Vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes from around the world
Whole Living – Warming fall recipes
Mini pumpkin pies for the kids to make – from National Geographic
Indiana Public Media –  Easy baked apple crisp
OrganicAuthority.com – Article about volunteering this Thanksgiving
Easy Thanksgiving side dishes from delish.com
Be the Hostess with the Mostess
Gluten-free pie crust made with coconut flour
A very nice handful of Thanksgiving links from Organic Valley
The Martha Stewart Thanksgiving Hotline Info

I’ll try to keep up with the mad amount of info crossing my computer, so check back for new links.  Yay for Turkey Day!!  I can’t wait!

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Everything I do lately seems to be a little bit random, and last night’s dinner definitely was.    But I can explain:   I had chosen the two recipes I wanted to blog, and then had a huge craving for an Amy’s frozen pizza.    And one of my favorite things about living alone is that you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want, and you don’t have to explain a thing to anyone.  So my dinner last night was an Amy’s frozen pesto pizza, okra and onions, and sweet potato chips. 

I found the recipe I used for the sweet potato chips in the October 2010 issue of Vegetarian Times.  This recipe is not posted on their website yet or I would link it here.   Their recipe is for making the chips in a dehydrator, but I altered the ingredients a bit, then popped the chips into the oven.  I was really surprised at how many chips one large sweet potato makes!  

Rosemary Sweet Potato Chips

1 large sweet potato
1 T. olive oil (and more as needed)
1 T. lime juice (or lemon if you like)
1 T. dried rosemary, crushed
Salt to taste

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.

Thinly slice the sweet potato, getting the slices as thin as you can.    Place the slices into a bowl and toss with the olive oil.  I started with one tablespoon, then just added as needed.   Once your slices are coated in the oil, add the lime juice and crushed rosemary, tossing to cover.   Then sprinkle sea salt on the surface and toss again to coat.  

Spread the slices onto a cookie sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, then toss to expose uncooked surfaces and put back into the oven for another 15 minutes or so.    Cooking times will vary greatly depending on the thinness of your chips, oven variables, etc.    But I think you know when a chip is ready to be eaten.  ; )

The other recipe I made was Okra and Onions, also from the October 2010 issue of Vegetarian Times, in an article from the book The Indian Vegan Kitchen: More Than 150 Quick and Healthy Homestyle Recipes by Madhu Gadia:

Okra and Onions

2 T. canola oil
1/2 t. whole cumin seeds
1 medium onion, chopped (1.5 cups)
12 oz. frozen sliced okra, thawed
2 t. ground coriander
3/4 t. salt
1/2 t. ground turmeric
1/2 t. cayenne pepper, or to taste
1/2 t. amchoor or 1 tsp. lemon juice (I used lime)
1/2 t. sugar

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat.   Add the cumin; cook 10 seconds.   Add the onion; saute 3 minutes.   Stir in okra, then coriander, salt, and turmeric.   Also add the cayenne pepper at this point.  I just sprinkled a little bit of cayenne into the pan, I am a bit afraid of heat – I’ve ruined a few dishes making them too hot for my taste.  Cover and cook 10 minutes, stirring once or twice.   I cooked mine a tiny bit longer, uncovered, until the onions were clear and just beginning to carmelize a little.    Once the okra and onions are cooked, stir in the amchoor or lemon juice (in my case lime juice) and sugar.  

I really liked this recipe, the okra and onions have their own flavors, and then as you eat it you taste the various spices at different times, and then the sweetness of both the onions and the tiny bit of added sugar also comes through.  It’s simple, quick and delightful.

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I played around on a web project too long today and found myself starving and shaky with no plans for dinner.   I was thinking about pasta, but when I saw a couple of different kinds already open in the kitchen, I didn’t want to open a new box.   So I threw some water on to boil, with plans to blend some shells and thin spaghetti, and top it with a concoction of leftovers.

I had on hand a half zucchini, a can of black beans, and a half jar of pasta sauce. I also had some apples from my friend Lise’s tree, which would make a perfect dessert.

While the water was boiling I peeled the apples, but left them on the core.   Then I put them into a bowl and drizzled vanilla extract over them, sprinkled nutmeg and cinnamon on them, then shook a couple of spoonsful of raw sugar over the bowl.   I popped those into the microwave for three minutes.

While the apples cooked, I sliced the half zucchini onto a plate, along with a couple cloves of prechopped garlic from a jar, dried oregano and basil, and some cracked pepper and sea salt.   I set that aside until the microwave was available again.

Once the water was boiling, I put both pastas into the water.   When the apples were done, I put the zucchini dish into the microwave for three minutes, too.   I opened a can of black beans and rinsed and drained it.   Once the pasta was done, it was drained and added back to the pan, along with some olive oil, which I then tossed it in.   I added one can of black beans, and 1/2 jar of pasta sauce to the noodles and tossed.   By then the zucchini was finished microwaving and I sat down to have my delicious hot meal that didn’t take more than 15 minutes to make!

Every thing I used in the meal was organic.   The noodles and beans were from Eden Organic, the spices, herbs and pasta sauce were Archer Farms.  You gotta love that. 

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Wow!  I can’t believe how busy I have been.  I’m working on a couple of other web projects and recipes and gardening — life just gets in the way sometimes, doesn’t it?

I cooked something new the other day: rice pasta.  This was the first time I had tried it;  I used the angel hair pasta and I like it!  It’s a bit tricky on the cooking time – my box said 5 to 7 minutes, and I went a bit longer, which made it too soft.  I cooked more later and stopped right at 8 minutes and it was just right.  The water turns opaque white, so don’t be alarmed.   The rice pasta doesn’t have the usual pasta flavors we are used to –  it doesn’t taste like a wheat noodle, maybe closer to the lack of flavor of a white flour pasta, but with it’s own rice flavor.  I like them — I’ll continue to buy them.  I’m still using up my farmer’s market veggie finds, too!  Here’s what I made:

Rice Pasta with Zucchini, Patty Squash & Kidney Beans

olive oil
1/2 zucchini
1/2 yellow patty squash
1/4 large white onion
1 clove garlic
cracked black pepper
1/2 can stewed tomatoes
1/2 cup organic pasta sauce
cinnamon
rice pasta – angel hair spaghetti
1/2 can kidney beans

Start your water boiling for the rice pasta.  Chop the onion and slice the squashes, then saute along with garlic and cracked pepper in olive oil until vegetables are browning slightly.  In the meantime, add pasta to water and cook the recommended time, rinse with cold water.  Return the pasta to the pan and add the kidney beans to it;  stir slightly to mix.   To the vegetable saute add 1/2 can stewed tomatoes, 1/2 cup pasta sauce, and a dash of cinnamon (or two).    Stir until heated through.  Put drained pasta with beans onto a plate and top with some of the cooked mixture.   It’s delicious! 

I always use organic ingredients, but the choice is yours. 

If you haven’t discovered glass storage containers yet, have a look at the small one in the photos below.  It measures about 3 x 4 x 4 inches and is so handy for storing canned foods when I only use a portion of the can’s contents.  These containers come in all sizes, but I have been using this small size every day to put stuff in my fridge. 

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Today is my first “Friday with Friends” post!  Each Friday (or most), I hope to tell you about a dinner with a friend where we cooked a good healthy meal.   I’ll be able to share my friends’ recipes with you and hopefully you can get some ideas for meals and entertaining. 

Last week, my friend Tracy allowed me to take photos while she prepared a delicious Grilled Tuna with Rosemary using this recipe from “The Sonoma Diet Cookbook” by Dr. Connie Guttersen.   The recipe calls for capers, but because I’m super special, capers taste like perfume to me.  Tracy is such a good friend, she left the capers off the finished dish.  She also cooked it on a George Foreman grill instead of the conventional grilling.   The rest of the recipe was followed to the letter, and the herb of choice was dried rosemary, crushed.   Tracy served Butternut Squash Whole Wheat Fusilli made by Archer Farms on the side and I brought some asparagus to steam. 

Halfway through the prep of the meal, I thought I just had to have some coffee.  Tracy’s household is currently between coffee makers, but she very graciously found me a drip cup thingy, the filters for it, and pulled out some delish organic free trade coffee.  I sprinkled some cinnamon on top of the grounds and the flavor was so perfect when it was brewed up!

I like cooking with friends (harassing them with my camera and questions) and hope to have many more dinners to blog.   I will happily take my show on the road and come to your kitchen!   So let me know when I may stop by.  ; ) 

This meal was delicious — thank you, Tracy!  Let’s do it again sometime. 

(Funny quote:  I said to Tracy “Isn’t it fun hanging out with me while you cook and I photograph it all?  Tracy replied, “It’s different.”  LOL!  See how nice she is? )

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LAST WEEK, I POSTED THE Heirloom Tomato Sandwich with Herbs and Creamy Tofu Spread recipe from Whole Living on the “14 Months to 50” Facebook page as our first recipe for Thursday Cooking Club.   Today we will all meet on the Discussion tab to tell how we made the recipe our own, offer opinions, etc.   Here’s what I did:

I don’t eat tofu, so I substituted goat cheese in this recipe.   In two small mixing bowls, I divided 4 ounces of goat cheese.   I added chopped fresh dill and a couple of squeezes of lemon to the goat cheese in one bowl, along with a dash of cracked pepper, then blended with a fork.  In the second bowl, I added chopped fresh basil and cracked pepper.  I’m not sure it’s possible to use too much dill or too much basil — in my house it isn’t.  I have always loved basil and cream cheese and with goat cheese I can closely imitate that flavor combo, with just a little bit of added tang. 

After blending the herbs with the cheese, I spread half of each mixture on 1/2 slice of wheat artisan bread.  I topped the dill mixture with halved grape tomatoes, more dill, and pieces of fresh lettuce.   The basil mixture was topped with tomatoes, more basil and walnuts.  Then I sprinkled the entire dish with cracked pepper and sea salt.  

This recipe is good for a brunch or lunch, snack, or even as an appetizer if entertaining.   The flavors are very savory, and the bread gives it some weight — delicious and filling. 

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Today was a special day in my family, the birthday of our beloved Mema, Shirley G., who is a grandmother, mother, sister, aunt, close friend and so much more to so many.   My Aunt Karen arranged for us all to surprise Mema at her home on my dad and stepmother’s farm today — we arrived in three cars total, with lunch by Karen and gifts in tow.   Karen’s plan went off without a hitch (minor bumbling on the way with our phones and iPads, but all worked out thanks to Sarah’s phone and driving skills) and Mema was completely surprised when we arrived.   We were so glad our close family friends Suellen, Leslie and Elle could join us!  

The meal by Karen was amazing, the flowers from Leslie were beautiful, and Suellen brought the most magnificent and delectable Italian Cream Cake.   Karen arranged for family members to email birthday wishes to Mema, and she had the messages printed out to present to her all tied up in a pretty bow.  

A fresh spring meal, the company of good friends and family, a trip to the farm and garden, and a celebration for one of our most favorite people in the world — what more could anyone want out of one day?   Thanks to Karen for putting it all together. 

Happy Birthday, Mema.

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