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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Green Curry Vegetables

      It's no secret that I'm not a fan of processed foods, including jarred sauces.  The majority of them contain too much salt, sugar, or oil - not to mention preservatives and artificial colors, and most of them are much easier to make at home than people tend to think.

      That said, there are some nights when a mama (or daddy) just needs a break (these happen about once a week in our house!), and a good jarred sauce can be the answer to creating a delicious, healthy, homecooked meal in 20 minutes or so.

      For this reason, I always keep one or two jars of sauce in the cupboards.  I've sorted through and read the ingredient and nutrutional informations on dozens of sauces att the grocery store to try to find the most nutritious, and least processed, ones.  This is one of our favorites:

      World Foods Green Curry.

      It's also great for one of those nights when you've made everything on your meal plan, don't have much food in the house, and have no idea what to cook.

      Just take whatever veggies you have on hand - last night I had an onion, 5 organic carrots, 2 organic zuchinni, and a bag of frozen green beans on hand.  I was also going to add asparagus, but decided that would be better grilled on it's own.  So, you take what you have on hand, toss it in the wok (or big pot),  lightly stir fry it, add the sauce, and simmer for 10 minutes.  Bam.  Healthy and delicious.  I made ours with quinoa because it's high in protein.  And we were out of pretty much everything else...

       What kind of sauces do you build meals around?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Holiday Ham

      When I found out the family was coming for Christmas, I was very excited.  I immediately called Boo to talk about what they wanted to do while they were here.  I also asked him what he wanted for Christmas dinner.

      "Dangit!"  he exclaimed.  "I didn't even think of that."

      "Mom made the best honey ham for Easter, and I was really excited about having one for Christmas, but I guess that won't be happening at YOUR house."  READ MORE>>

Monday, January 2, 2012

Hot and Sour Veggies

       This was a great way to repurpose some of the cabbage left over from New Year's Eve.

       Approx 1/3 a heat of cabbage
       2 small zucchini
       2 carrots
       1 med onion
       2 big handfuls diced shitake mushrooms
3 cloves minced garlic 3 dried chili peppers, seeded and chopped 1/4 c organic low sodium veggie broth        2 tbsp white while vinegar
       1 tbsp fermented black bean sauce
1 tbsp ground ginger        1 tsp sugar
       1 tbsp sesame oil

First, I chopped the onion and set it aside. Next, I shredded the cabbage, and slice the zucchini and carrots - a task for which I highly recommend use of a mandolin. Love that thing! In a very hot wok with about a tbsp of grapeseed oil and roughly 1/2 c of water, I stir fried the veggies for about 3 minutes until they'd jsut started to soften but were still crisp. I set aside the veggies and put a bit more grapeseed oil in the wok. I added the rest of the ingredients and sautéed for about 3 minutes before adding the veggies back in and mixing it all up. Finally, I used a little bit of roux made from 1 tbsp whole wheat flour and 2 tbsp water to thicken the sause. In the meantime, MacGyver made his amazing sticky sushi rice with wakame (seaweed). I don't know the recipe for this, but it's delicious ;-) Let me know if you try this one. It was really good! Oh, and I substituted hoisin sauce for the black bean sauce because I couldn't find any.

Taco Salad

      We are big salad people (shocking, I know).  If I ask Punky for dinner suggestions when working on the meal plan, 9 times out of 10, she'll ask for salad.  Taco salad is a great way to change things up a bit, and is itself pretty flexible.

      I started by putting on some bulgar to boil, and prepping the raw portions while it cooked.  While Tempah is my favorite unprocessed meat substitute, Bulgar works great in this recipe because it looks a lot more like meat.

       I chopped up some organic romaine (MacGyver's favorite lettuce), which is a good source of vitamin K, and mixed in some organic baby spinach. Flintstone took great pleasure in pumping the salad spinner after I washed the greens.

       I topped it with a green pepper and a half (sadly only 1/2 from the garden since it IS January), and a lot of organic tomatoes (again only partially from the garden).  Sometimes, I'll sauté the peppers with onion and mushrooms, but tonight I was feeling a little lazy.

      I also mixed up a quick and easy, but absolutely delicious, guacamole:

      2 ripe avacadoes
      2 tbsp organic salsa
      1 1/2 tbsp HUMANE plain yogurt (Cabot, Organic Valley, or Stonyfield Farms)
      1/4 tsp cilantro
      1/2 tsp lemon juice

      Peel the avacado (no need to chop or dice, I peel it in quarters, which I find to be easiest), and put in a bowl with all the other ingredients.  Mach with a fork.  BAM. Done. Top with fresh chopped tomatoes. Delish.

       Bulgar Taco Filling:
      1 cup uncooked bulgar wheat Icooked w/ 2c water)
      1/2 can Amy's Vegetarian Refried Beans
      1 tsp Garlic Powder
      1 tsp Onion Powder
      1 1/2 tbsp cumin powder
      1 tsp oregano
      1/2 tsp paprika
      1/4 tsp dried chili flakes
      1/2 tsp chili powder
      1/2 tsp black pepper
       Dash salt, if desired

      By now the bulgar was done cooking, and I mixed in 1/2 a can of Amy's organic vegetarian refried beans (which is amazing, by the way) and all the seasonings.  The amounts listed above are estimates and should be adjusted to your taste.  Ideally, I'd use fresh, lightly sautéed onion and garlic, but like I said, I was lazy tonight.  Stir it all together, being sure to evenly mix the beans throughout. I like the crumbly texture, but you could add water if you want it a little smoother.

       Then we assembled our salads:
       Greens and fresh veggies,
       Bulgar taco filling,
       Refried beans,
       And a dallop plain, HUMANE yogurt.

      If you've never tried subbing plain yogurt for sour cream, you MUST try it. It works amazingly.  Seriously. It rocks.

       Lastly, if you live with MacGyver and Punky, you top with crushed up unsalted tortilla chips.

      Enjoy! Let me know if you try it!