Sunday, January 30, 2011

sauteed vegetable jambalaya

You ever get in the mood for something really spicy?

Man I do, and this time I thought Jambalaya. The boys were watching "The Sweet Life on Deck" last week and Cody kept saying "Jumbo-lia!". It just stuck with me.

A quick warning, the recipe that follows is not for the faint of heart, I left the table dripping sweat, but very satisfied.

This is a recipe adapted from "Vegan Planet", a cook book by Robin Robertson. If you are vegetarian or vegan and don't have this book, I highly recommend it.

Notice the Hot & Spicy on the label. This is not a slogan, its a warning!

I'm starting to sweat just smelling this stuff reheated!

Sauteed Vegetable Jambalaya

2 Links of Mexican Chipotle Sausage from Field Roast.
(the label is pictured above)
1 Large yellow bell pepper seeded and chopped
1 Pablano pepper seeded and chopped
1 Roasted bell pepper seeded and chopped
1 Package steamed in bag frozen peas (didn't use all of the package)
1 Large head of broccoli, steamed and chopped
1 Smaller eggplant, cut into strips and steamed
2 Garlic cloves minced
1 tablespoon onion flakes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 15oz can of dark red kidney beans drained and rinsed
1 28oz can of crushed tomato
1 cup veggie stock (water can be substituted)
1 tablespoon of corn starch
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
salt and pepper to taste

Slice the sausage and place in a skillet or large sauce pan and brown slightly on each side with some olive oil, remove and set aside.

Place the yellow bell, the pablano, and the onion flakes in the same skillet at medium heat with a tablespoon of olive oil.

Cover and let soften for about 8 minutes, then stir in the garlic and let cook for another 2 minutes.

Now add in the tomato, beans, spices, and veggie stock and let simmer till it begins to thicken, about 30 minutes.

Steam the broccoli, peas, and eggplant, I used a microwave steamer for the broccoli and eggplant.

Add these in towards the end of cooking to let flavors mingle. I added these at 20 minutes in but i would recommend 3-5 minutes as they got a little too soft.

This goes great over long grain rice or pasta.

These sausages are very hot, you might want to start with a milder version and add your own heat.

To see where I party go to the linky party page.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

sweets to the sweet

We had my in-laws over for supper last night and I was in the mood to make something sweet.

Spencer is of the mind that if it's not chocolate it's not worth eating.

However, my mother-in-law likes lemon just as much as I do.

So, this is what I made

Lemon bars, yum. :)

(the leaning tower of lemon bars)

I got the recipe from this blog. As soon as I read the recipe I was in love. And their it!

I was trying to recreate the cool stacked look that they did. But the lemon bars were so gooey they kept sliding off of each other. Then I would stack them back up, lick off my fingers and the plate, take another shot...and start the whole process again.

I was seriously cracking myself up.

Finally, I gave up on getting the "perfect" shot and just settled for the ones you see above.

Too much more "food styling" and my family would have found me in the corner of the living room in a self-induced sugar coma. :)

Here is the recipe--taken from here: just cook already. In fact, you need to just go there, look at their pictures, drool over their recipes and then email them and beg them to let you submit a recipe for their cool site like I did. :)

Lemon Bars

1c. butter
1/2 c. powdered sugar
2 c. flour
3 eggs
2 c. sugar
8 Tbs. lemon juice
zest of one lemon
4 Tbs. flour
1 tsp. baking powder

cream together butter and sugar then slowly sift in the flour.
Press this into a greased 9x11 pan and bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.

In the mean time combine the rest of the ingredients together in a large bowl.

When the "crust" comes out of the oven pour the sugar/lemon mixture over it and bake.
They suggested 20-30 minutes.

I baked mine for 27 minutes but next time I will go for a full 30 (so I won't have the gooey problem).


This dessert was so good even my chocolate lovin' snob of a husband loved it. :)

To see where I party go here.


snickerdoodle hummus

I'm always looking for a good afternoon snack for the boys.

When they come home from school in the afternoon they are starving!!

Snickerdoodle hummus you say? hmmm

It was a hit with everyone in the family except my youngest.

And I think he just disagreed to be disagreeable. He's an antagonist like that. :)

I loved it so much I could eat it with a spoon.

The photos I took pair it with some pink lady's. I love pink lady apples.

Snickerdoodle Hummus

(recipe adapted from here)

1 can Cannellini beans drained and rinsed well

1/4 c. peanut butter

1/4 c. maple syrup

2 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together in a blender until smooth and creamy.

That it!

Enjoy with fruit or vegetables.

Question of the Day:

What afternoon snacks do you feed your kids?


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

for the birds

I've been thinking of making a bit of birdseed bribery for our feathered friends.

I am not above bribery at all...I have used it for years as a mothering tool ;)

I found a recipe for these cute birdseed ornaments from here.

I'm generally not a very crafty person. But I do like to do some craft time with my boys.

I like pretty things and all things food related (apparently even bird food).

I picked up some heart-shaped cookie cutters at the grocery, most everything else we had in the pantry.

Here is how we made them

Bird Seed Ornaments

3/4 c. flour
1/2 c. water
1 envelope unflavored jello
3 Tbs. corn syrup
4 c. bird seed

Mix everything together until evenly coated. Press into muffin tins or cute cookie cutters. Put plastic straws in the top to form a whole for the ribbon to go through.

Let them set for 3-4 hours

Carefully remove them from their molds.
String a pretty ribbon through and hang into the trees in your yard.

Congratulate yourself for being so arty-crafty and for being such a cool Mom. :)


Go to the linky parties page to see where I'm hangin today.

hot tea

i love hot tea.

in the winter months i drink hot tea from sunrise til sunset.

it warms me up.

it keeps me going.

it makes me realize i can hang in there til Spring.

my favorite tea is hot cinnamon spice.

i went to the bakery where i buy it and they were out.

so i settled for red raspberry.

i was skeptical that any tea could compare to my hot cinnamon spice.

red raspberry has a bold, fresh berry flavor with hints of orange and lemon.

it's also naturally caffeine free.

have i told you that i have a new favorite tea?


ode to the parsnip

I was at the grocery store the other day on a mission to try something unusual, exotic even.

Then I spotted the parsnips.

I don't recall eating a parsnip before and I'm not exactly sure how to prepare it.

But, it is a vegetable right? And what have I been doing with vegetables all winter?

I roast them.

oh, yum.:)

You have to try this, it's so good!

Amelia's (exotic) Roasted Vegetable: the parsnip

alternate title: parsnips: the unsung root vegetable

4-5 parsnips chopped

1 tsp. olive oil

1 /2 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. salt

Put all ingredients in a large bowl and stir until parsnips are well coated with oil/spice mixture.

Spread onto a parchment lined jelly-roll pan and bake at 400 for about 30 turning once halfway through baking time.


To see where I party go to my linky parties page.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

muffin revenge

look at you with your rich cream cheese filling
your hint of cinnamon is the stuff of dreams
you think your so cool infusing the bakery with pumpkin decadence
the second i saw you i didn't stand a chance

but i'm stronger than i look little muffin
yes... i drink my coffee black
just wait until tomorrow
i'm gonna have you for breakfast


Saturday, January 22, 2011

everything is bigger in texas

I'm planning a trip to see my best friend Denise. She lives in Dallas now which is really too far away for a best friend, don't you agree? The good thing about her living in Dallas is that it's really not that far away (about 5 hours by car or less than an hour by plane) and we have made several trips back and forth to see each other.

I love Dallas and really Texas in general. Everything is bigger in Texas. They wear their pride like a badge on their sleeve. You don't mess with Texas. :) One of my friends from High-School was from Dallas and she invited me home with her for Spring Break one year.

It was the first time I had ever been on an airplane. I decided right then that I never wanted to travel any other way. :)

I also decided that I loved to travel.

Part of the experience of traveling is trying new things. Discovering a part of the world that is different than what you know of it.

Spencer and I have a rule anytime we travel be it out of state or country: we always eat what the locals eat. I like to follow rules and this is a good rule. :)

So, I got a crazy good deal on a flight to Dallas and I will be going in a little over a month.

Question of the Day:

Where should I eat while I'm there?


Thursday, January 20, 2011

huevos rancheros--vegan style

Spencer and I usually have a day off together in the middle of the week. It's nice to relax and chill just the two of us. Our day off generally involves food in some way. Either we go out for lunch or we cook something together. we are always together in the kitchen.

We record cooking shows that come on at odd times so we can watch them together too (I mean really, who doesn't do that, right?) we love anything with Bobby Flay. We were watching "Throwdown" the other day, it was the episode where he challenges a mother/son team making Huevos Rancheros.

We have a little dive of a Mexican Restaurant that makes the best Huevos Rancheros I have ever eaten and we have been talking for a few months about making our own.

Here is our take on Huevos Rancheros with a little inspiration from Bobby Flay.

Huevos Rancheros Vegan Style

Ranchero Sauce

5 medium sized tomato

2 Jalapenos

2 cloves garlic

1 roasted chipotle pepper

4 c. water

Bring water with vegetables to a boil on med-high when water begins to boil turn temp down and simmer until veggies are soft (about 15 minutes).

Take veggies out of water and puree (reserve the water).

Place 1 chopped onion and 1 minced clove garlic in a big pot with a hint of olive oil (or other liquid) and saute until soft.

At this point add the pureed mixture and reserved water into the pot with the onion/garlic and bring back to a boil.

Add either 1 roasted green chile or 1 roasted pablano to the mix and let simmer for 20 minutes.

While Spencer was making the Ranchero Sauce I did the rest, you will need:

6 corn tortillas

1 can black beans

1 can pinto beans

1 avocado (make your favorite guac.)

1 tub organic tofu

Mix beans together in a mixer then heat on stove until warm. We crisped the tortillas by toasting them for a few minutes.

Since we are doing the six week ETL diet we aren't eating eggs right now. So I made a tofu scramble.

Using your fingers crumble up one block tofu into a skillet and add 1 TBS tofu scramble. You can make your own but I used one that I got here.

Then just build your Huevos Ranchero.

To see where I party go to the linky parties page.



you can see by the picture above that we used whole wheat instead of corn tortillas but I much prefer corn with this dish! The picky redheads loved this too. :)


I have always hated bananas. I realize that "hate" is a strong word but it really is the best one that I can use to describe the strong aversion that I have to the taste, smell and texture of bananas.

Until 3 weeks ago.

Three weeks ago I woke up and thought: I want banana and almond butter toast.

So I made one.

And I have been eating them almost every morning since (I think I just heard a collective gasp of surprise from all of my family and friends). :)

I have been on a roasted veggie kick lately and I had the thought floating around in my head: why not roasted banana? (Yes, I do frequently talk to myself).

Banana, honey and almond butter. yum

I made this for breakfast this morning and it was every bit as good as I imagined.

Roasted Banana & Almond Butter Spread:

Recipe inspiration came from here

1 banana cut nearly in half length-wise
drizzle with honey
sprinkle with cinnamon

bake in 350 degree oven for approx 10 minutes

4 Tbs. almond butter
roasted banana

combine almond butter, banana and dash of salt in blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. Spread generously over Woodstock or other grainy bread.



Nutella Cinnamon Hot Cocoa--Your Welcome

It snowed pretty steady here all morning. By mid-afternoon it had tapered off and we bundled up and braved the elements.
After a hike around the backyard, several attempts at the "perfect" snow angel, and a collection of the best snow to be reserved for snow ice-cream we were chilled to the bone and in need of sustenance.

We had used the last of the swiss miss on our last snow day.

Oh, no. What to do!

Then I remembered a gift that my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas.

A jar of Nutella and a recipe. :)

It is a rich, creamy cup full of chocolate decadence.

It is quite frankly the best hot cocoa I have ever tasted. It almost brought me to tears it was so good. :)

MeMe's Decadent Nutella Cinnamon Hot Cocoa

1 c. milk

1/3 c. Nutella

Pinch cinnamon

Pinch salt

In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk (I used soy milk) until hot but not boiling. Whisk in the Nutella, cinnamon and salt until Nutella is completely melted.


Go here to see where I party at.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Can i hear a B?!

when I was little I used to dread the words "Brussels sprouts". They would sit there on my plate mocking me and even after copious amounts of butter and salt were added I would gag as I tried to choke them down. Oh, the drama of childhood. :)

I happen to love roasted vegetables of pretty much any variety. I mean, come on, who doesn't? Roasting vegetables make them taste like candy (and for this sweet tooth, there is nothing better).

I was grocery shopping the other day when I spied some brussels sprouts in the produce department. I don't remember ever eating them fresh when I was little, they were always of the frozen variety. Anyway, I was in a daring mood so I thought, why not live dangerously? In my cart they went.

And then into my oven they went. They turned out far better than anything I remember as a child. In fact, I munched on them as a snack for several days. :)

Roasted Brussels Sprouts (Better than your Mama makes, or I guess my Mama;)

1 carton fresh Brussels sprouts
1 clove garlic
1 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. panko bread crumbs

Mix the garlic, oil, and bread crumbs together and then toss the brussels sprouts with the mixture until evenly coated. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Spread onto parchment lined jelly-roll pan and bake in 400 degree oven until tender approx. 30 minutes.


These were so surprisingly good that I can't wait to make them again.

Warning: Let it be known that Spencer and the redheads were not as enamored with the green lovelies as I was. I guess I just have a more sophisticated palate. :)

Question: are there any foods that you hated as a child that you love today?

To see where I party at go here


Brussels sprouts are cruciferous vegetables which means they are cancer-inhibitors (so are cabbage and broccoli to name a few). they are also a good source of vitamin K & C.

tomato bisque

We had my Mom and Step-Dad over for supper the other night and soup was on the menu. I love making soup, especially in the winter! Tomato bisque is a family favorite. It is easy to make but tastes so good everyone is always impressed when I serve it.

I like making "bisque" type soups too because I can sneak in extra veggies that my boys wouldn't normally eat.
I think the secret that makes this tomato bisque so good is the canned fire roasted tomato. It gives it a depth of flavor that you wouldn't get if you just used plain canned tomato.

It turn out really good. Rich and creamy with very little oil added and no heavy cream.
The only thing it was missing was croutons, that would have been a nice addition. But we did have open-faced grilled veggie sandwiches on Woodstock bread so we weren't missing out on too much. :)
The original recipe was one that was passed to me from my sister and I'm not sure were she got it. She has several good vegan cookbooks. I usually take the bones of a recipe and change it to my tastes. You know you do it too. :)

Creamy Vegan Tomato Bisque:
1 onion chopped
2 carrots sliced
2 garlic cloves
1-2 Tbs. olive oil to saute veggies (or you can use veggie broth)
4 c. vegetable broth
1 28-oz. can fire-roasted tomato
1 28-oz. can crushed tomato
1 Tbs. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 c raw cashew pieces for "cream"
salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onion garlic and carrots in the oil or broth whichever method you chose until they are soft and the onion is beginning to caramelize. Stir in the ww flour and seasonings and cook for another minute.

Add the broth and the cans of tomato and turn to med-high heat until boiling. Once it starts to boil turn heat to low and simmer on cook-top about 30 minutes adding more liquid if needed.

Once your soup is simmering your kitchen will be filled with a tantalizing aroma and everyone will be making their way to the kitchen to see if Mom needs help with supper.

After you have snacks set out of everyone you will make the cream.

1/2 c. raw cashew pieces rinsed well and put in blender with enough water to cover. Blend until creamy. Adding more liquid to the consistency you want.

After the soup is done use a hand blender to puree the tomato and other veggies while they are in the pot. Add the cashew cream.


It's simple, it's delicious. It's by far our favorite soup. :)

Question of the Day:

Do you eat more soup if the winter? What is your favorite soup?


Monday, January 17, 2011

lousy service

Some friends of ours invited us out to eat last weekend. We always have fun whenever we get together with them so we jumped at the chance. Her Mom was gracious (or crazy) enough to agree to watch all four boys (our two and their two) at their house. I'm sure the night included take-out pizza and mayhem.:)

All four of us had heard good things about the restaurant that we were going to and were excited to try it out! The place is called Flint Creek Steakhouse and it is inside Cherokee Casino in West Siloam Springs. It was the 2010 Reader's Choice Awards Best of the Best. With praise like that don't you see why we were so excited?

I really, really wanted to like this place. The decor was polished and modern. That is about the best I can say about the place. Our waitress didn't smile at us once and she looked put-out when we asked anything of her. They didn't have either of the beers that Spencer and Kendall ordered and it took over an hour for our entrees to be served.

The food itself was good. I had a spinach and endive salad and grilled salmon. But honestly, I could have made something just as good at home.

We were in the best of company and conversation flowed smoothly despite the lousy service. I would like to try to give this place another chance. But it was quite a drive for us and I'm not sure if/when we could make another trip.

Question of the Day:

Have you ever been disappointed in a place you have heard great things about?


Thursday, January 13, 2011

after school snack

I'm always on the lookout for quick, healthy snacks that I can feed to my boys after school. I found this recipe from Chocolate-Covered Katie and I love it! She has a lot of really tasty vegan and raw recipes on her blog.

I made these balls (she calls them babies) with almonds, dates and raw honey.

For this recipe and many other flavor combinations using different nuts, nut butters and chocolate go visit her here. You will have fun and be inspired. :)

This snack approved by the two picky little redheads.


Greenhouse Grille

Yesterday Spencer and I had the day off together and we drove into town to run some errands. Town for us is about an hour away. The distance to town is actually a good thing because we are on a pretty tight budget and making that trip has slowed our spending down so that now most purchases we make are deliberate and well thought out.

One of our favorite places to eat is a locally owned restaurant called Greenhouse Grille. We eat there as often as we can. The food is organically grown from local area farmers. They also use the Fayetteville Farmer's Market when seasonally available and they have a little veggie garden right out the front door of the restaurant.:)

We split the greenhouse salad and the savory vegetable crepes. The salad had crisp, tart, thinly sliced apples, carrot ribbons, candied pecans and dried cranberries over a bed of greens drizzled with homemade balsamic vinaigrette. Every bite was perfection. The crepe was resting on a bed of whipped sweet potatos and loaded with fresh, perfectly grilled veggies with subtle touches of goat cheese. Yum!

They have made a location change since they open their doors in 2006 (Wow has it been that long)? The space they are in now is a large warehouse with sleek modern decor with an artsy vibe courtesy of local artists. There is that word again: Local. Gotta love it.:)

I even noticed on their website that they bring in musicians on certain nights of the week for live music. Can I say date night or girl's night out?!

Disclaimer: all opinions in this post are my own. I was not paid, bribed...etc to gush on so. I am not their old college roommate, neighbor down the street or first cousin.:) I just really love the food. And if you are a local or are ever in the area I suggest you make reservations here.

P.S. I would not be opposed to taking a bribe in the form of Shiitake fries;)

question of the day:

Do you like crepes and if so do you prefer them savory or sweet?


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

eggplant anyone?

I have had an eggplant in the crisper for over a week now and I knew that I needed to use it. I was thinking eggplant roll ups but I couldn't find a recipe that I liked for it so I made this dip.

Roasted Eggplant Dip

1 large eggplant
1/2 c. canned roasted red pepper (or roast one med. red pepper)
1/4 c. calamotta olives
2 cloves garlic minced
1 Tbs. olive oil (or no oil if you are on ETL)
sea salt (or salt substitute)
fresh ground pepper

cut eggplant lengthwise and then cut width wise so you have four pieces of eggplant. Put on parchment lined jelly-roll pan and dry roast in 400 oven for about 30 min or until soft. Take out of oven and let cool.

When eggplant is cool enough to manage peel the skin off and put the sections of eggplant in a mixer or food processor. Then just throw in all remaining ingredients.

Don't over blend. You want that good interesting texture.

We ate this for supper tonight with raw veggies and a few pita chips.

What is you favorite veggie dip?


sweet cravings

it's about 2:30 in the afternoon which is usually about the time that I have a snack. I know with the eat to live diet you are not supposed to snack but rather eat three large meals a day. But it wasn't agreeing with me.

I was feeling lightheaded and weak mid-afternoon and just couldn't focus on anything. Also the large meals were making me too full. So instead I decided to eat three smaller main meals and one afternoon snack.

It's exactly what I need to feel good.

Except for today. Today I was having a major sugar craving. My mind started whispering...nutella...nutella. Then it became more insistant...Nutella...Nutella! Then it was like a rock concert with the lead singer screaming NUTELLA! Get the picture?

So I dove in head first and took my kids along for the ride. We ate it by the spoonful. yum:)

Next time I need to be more prepared with a sweet vegan option like Artisina Cacao Bliss. In fact, I think I will make a trip to the health food store tomorrow!


Monday, January 10, 2011

yummy granola

this is week 2 of the ETL 6 week program. I only "cheated" a few times last week with extra bread servings and too much olive oil. I have no trouble giving up dairy, but oil? No way. Might as well ask me to give up my first born, or shopping, or chocolate (oh wait, that's not on the diet either)!

Over all I feel really good. no heartburn or bloating which is how I sometimes feel with dairy.

I also came up with a good granola last week. It is slightly sweet and has a good, satisfying crunch.

amelia's sweet and satisfying granola:

3 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. chopped pecans
2 Tbs. flax seed
1 Tbs. chai seed
1Tbs. sesame seed
3/4 c. raw pumpkin seed

1 Tbs. canola oil (i just had to)
1/3 c. raw honey

chopped dates and mango to equal 1 c.

combine wet with dry ingredients until coated evenly except for mango and dates

pour onto parchment covered cookie sheet

bake at 300 for about 15-20 min.

sprinkle the mango mixture onto the granola just as it comes out of the oven.

enjoy with fresh blueberries or over yogurt. yum. :)

I'm going to stop by here today.

Question of the Day:

anyone have a good granola recipe without oil?

sesame seeds are more than just a garnish for chinese food. they are a good source of calcium and lots of other goodies you can read about here.