Kale Strawberry Quinoa Almond Salad
We had a pizza and movie night in planned for Valentine’s Day, but I thought maybe we should add a salad. When I was at the grocery store the strawberries looked so good I put them in the cart. And then I saw the box of baby kale. And somehow in my mind I started thinking of putting them together, with almonds and some sort of vinaigrette and feta cheese. So I got those things too. Went home and looked up kale and strawberry salad and to my great joy found a recipe for just that thing on one of my favorite recipe blogs - Poor Girl Eats Well. The main thing she added that I hadn’t thought about was quinoa, which we happened to have a lot of already!
Check out her recipe: http://www.poorgirleatswell.com/2012/04/recipe-kale-quinoa-fresh-strawberry-salad-with-minneola-vinaigrette.html If you don’t get totally lost looking at that amazing site, and far more gorgeous pictures, you can come back here and I will tell you my variations I made, mostly just because I wasn’t about to go back out to the store again!
- The baby kale meant I didn’t have to cut anything.
- I toasted the almonds for a little first.
- I subbed orange juice (from concentrate), olive oil and balsamic vinegar for the dressing. Added a little Italian seasoning.
- Feta cheese instead of goat cheese.
It was delicious!!
Zucchini & Yellow Squash Fritters!
I had a zucchini & a yellow squash in my fridge from the farmer’s market last week and I figured I better use them. Being really hungry, somehow I got it in my head that if I shredded them, they would cook faster. But then my brain went to hash browns and zucchini pancakes and then I’m looking up recipes and I get really inspired by this one:
Adapted a bit from Simply Recipes
Yield: About 10 2 1/2 inch fritters
1 pound (about 2 medium) zucchini
1 teaspoon coarse or Kosher salt, plus extra to taste
2 scallions, split lengthwise and sliced thin
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Olive or another oil of your choice, for frying
(It’s totally worth going over to read the stories and see the gorgeous pix!! There’s also a recipe for a sour cream topping for these on the same page)
So suddenly it’s actually probably gonna take me LONGER to make these things than if I’d just sliced up the squash and sauteed them, but hey, when inspiration strikes I like to follow it. I cooked up some veggie sausage patties while I was waiting for the salt to pull the liquid out of the squash and ate those to stave off the hunger.
It was totally worth making these, they were SO delicious! I didn’t have any scallions and I didn’t make the topping, and I just had to use regular table salt. I ate them all today between lunch and dinner, but hey, that’s two squash, so it can’t be that bad right? :) Really easy to make, definitely doing this again!
Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Sauce
I wanted to make a cake for my roommate’s birthday party and got the whole chocolate raspberry idea in my head. Found the recipe linked below. Came out really yummy, even though I only had a square glass baking dish. I mixed a little water in sugar to sub for the corn syrup in the glaze, and we got ice cream to go with instead of whip cream. It was a big hit! (I also made the balloon bouquet out of water balloons and green glitter pipe cleaners.)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (6 oz)
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
4 eggs, separated
1/2 cup sugar
1 box (10 oz) frozen raspberries, thawed, drained and juice reserved
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 to 2 tablespoons orange- or raspberry-flavored liqueur, if desired
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup whipped cream
Fresh raspberries, if desired
- Heat oven to 325°F. Grease bottom and side of 8-inch springform pan or 9-inch round cake pan with shortening. In 2-quart heavy saucepan, melt 1 cup chocolate chips and 1/2 cup butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cool 5 minutes. Stir in flour until smooth. Stir in egg yolks until well blended; set aside.
- In large bowl, beat egg whites with electric mixer on high speed until foamy. Beat in 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until soft peaks form. Using rubber spatula, fold chocolate mixture into egg whites. Spread in pan.
- Bake springform pan 35 to 40 minutes, round cake pan 30 to 35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (top will appear dry and cracked). Cool 10 minutes. Run knife along side of cake to loosen; remove side of springform pan. Place cooling rack upside down over cake; turn rack and cake over. Remove bottom of springform pan or round cake pan. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, add enough water to reserved raspberry juice to measure 1 cup. In 1-quart saucepan, mix 1/4 cup sugar and the cornstarch. Stir in juice and thawed raspberries. Heat to boiling over medium heat. Boil and stir 1 minute. Place small strainer over small bowl. Pour mixture through strainer to remove seeds; discard seeds. Stir liqueur into mixture; set aside.
- Place cake on serving plate. In 1-quart saucepan, heat glaze ingredients over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until chips are melted. Spread over top of cake, allowing some to drizzle down side. Place whipped cream in decorating bag fitted with star tip. Pipe a rosette on each serving. Serve cake with sauce. Garnish with fresh raspberries.
Fluffy Whole Wheat Biscuits
Basic recipe here, my modifications below: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/fluffy-whole-wheat-biscuits/detail.aspx
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/2 cup milk
In a medium bowl, combine flours, baking powder, sugar, and salt; mix well. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in milk just until moistened. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface; knead gently 8 to 10 times. Roll to 3/4-in. thickness; cut with a 2-1/2-in. biscuit cutter and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm.
This is a half batch, it made 5. Didn’t have milk, used 4 TBS butter and not quite 1/2 a cup of water. Did drop biscuits instead of rolling. Yum!
One of my new Austin friends brought these veggie burgers to a potluck and they were so tasty I asked her for the recipe! I still haven’t gotten to make them myself but planning to soon and wanted to have easy access to the recipe so here it is:
4 ½ Cups of water
½ Cup soy sauce (I used low sodium soy sauce)
4 ½ Cups Old-Fashioned Oats
1/3 Cup oil (I used veggie)
1 Diced Onion
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
¼ Cup Yeast Flakes
¼ Cup Sesame Seeds
¾ Cup Walnuts or Sunflower Seeds (I used sunflower)
Cook oats in boiling water and soy sauce for 5 minutes. Mix remaining ingredients in a separate bowl. Add dry ingredients to cooked oats and mix well. When cool enough to handle, form into patties and bake at 350 for 30-45 mins. (turn after 15-20 mins.) until nicely browned on each side. You may freeze extra burgers cooked or uncooked for future use.
I added chocolate chips. Should have halved the recipe, because there were way too many for me to eat on my own, but how do you do half an egg? :-P I saved some of the batter, hope it will still be good tomorrow. SO GOOD.
(almost) Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes
Starting out with this recipe for vegan chocolate cake, which I modified using 1/2 c of white sugar 1/2 cup turbinado, apple cider vinegar and 1 cup of coffee instead of the water, I made some cupcakes for my friend’s birthday. She is aiming to be vegan & gluten-free, and I pretty much managed to get the vegan part down, but I don’t know enough yet about alternative flours to feel comfortable experimenting at the last minute.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
- 1 cup water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease one 9x5 inch loaf pan.
- Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add the oil, vanilla, vinegar and water. Mix together until smooth.
- Pour into prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Then I used this recipe as a basis for the frosting:
- FOR THE FROSTING:
- 1 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
- ½ cups Vegan Margarine
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- ½ cups Powdered Sugar
Now the thing is, I didn’t have actual vegan margarine, and looking at the margarine I had, turns out there was a little bit of whey in it, as one of the last ingredients, which is why I’m calling these “almost vegan”. But you can see how they are easily vegan if you have the right ingredients! (On a side note, margarine kind of freaks me out, is the vegan stuff better than the non-vegan? Not something I have much experience with…)
I also didn’t have a food processor like the recipe called for, so I did my best with egg beaters and the frosting came out kind of lumpy. I was going to try and pipe it on the cupcakes with a sandwich bag, but it was just coming out in blobs. So I decided to go for flowers on top.
I think overall they came out pretty good for some first time winging it! Well, not totally true, I’ve made many eggless cakes before. Just maybe not cupcakes, and this was the first time of this combo of ingredients & frosting. :-)
THE “fact” that junk food is cheaper than real food has become a reflexive part of how we explain why so many Americans are overweight, particularly those with lower incomes. I frequently read confident statements like, “when a bag of chips is cheaper than a head of broccoli …” or “it’s more affordable to feed a family of four at McDonald’s than to cook a healthy meal for them at home.”
This is just plain wrong.
A Fun Food-Shopping Trip
A few weeks ago I got a voucher for $20 at Whole Foods for $10 from Living Social. My cupboards were looking pretty bare, so today I finally went to use it with the goal in mind to not go over by any amount I couldn’t find in my change purse.
One of my inspirations was this post: http://www.poorgirleatswell.com/2009/06/25-shopping-cart-version-40.html
It was my first time going to Whole Foods to shop here in Austin, which is where Whole Foods was started! The store was beautiful and full of tasty and pretty things. I spent a long time looking for stuff that would give me the most bang for my buck, and here is what I ended up with:
Water refill, whole grain tortilla chips, milk, raisins, quinoa, baby spinach, carrots, garbanzo beans, eggs, cheese, tofu and an orange.
I put the stuff on the checkout conveyor slowly, in case I was going to have to put something back. I’d kept pretty good track but I wasn’t exactly sure how much the bulk and produce stuff was going to end up being. The orange was last. I had tasted one they had out for sample and really liked it, but it seemed like more of a treat, because everything else I got is going to take more than one meal to use up.
So imagine my delight when everything, including the orange, came out to $20.29! I definitely had $.29 in my coin purse!
I managed to fit all of it except the water in my collapsable cooler, and the water fit in my backpack. Then I walked back to the bus stop and the bus pulled up pretty much just a few minutes after I got there.
When I got home I cut up that orange and ate it like it was chocolate cake! I was so pleased with myself that I had been able to fit it in to the $20. It was delicious.
Then I made hummus to go with the chips. Yum. I will probably have a spinach salad for dinner.
Oh yeah, and I also got free samples of really nice face cream and cleanser, plus coupons if I decide to buy full-sized ones later.
I WIN! :-)
Eggless Peanut Butter Cookies
I’ve been wanting to bake but trying to “be good” or something like that, so when my roommate came home from a camping trip, stared at the pantry and said, “I want something sweet..” I said, “I could make cookies!” We have a lot of peanut butter, so peanut butter it was. These would be amaaaazing with some chocolate chips, but they are definitely tasty!
I cut the original recipe in half (which is reflected in the measurements below), used butter instead of shortening and coconut milk instead of buttermilk. I still got a ton of cookies and they came out in different degrees of brown because I spaced out on the timer thing on the 2nd two batches. All pretty good though! :-)
Oh and I think next time I would use less of the baking powder/soda…
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease cookie sheets.
Mix the shortening, peanut butter, white sugar, brown sugar and buttermilk until smooth and fully combined.
Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt to the peanut butter mixture and mix until well blended.
Drop cookies 2 inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheet. Flatten with a fork that has been dipped in flour. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 10 to 12 minutes.