In case you’ve never seen the episode on how to make these and two more delicious and easy kid-friendly snacks, here it is!
And here are the recipes to follow yourself!
In case you’ve never seen the episode on how to make these and two more delicious and easy kid-friendly snacks, here it is!
And here are the recipes to follow yourself!
There’s a heat wave in LA. And this refreshing drink is my saving grace. It is also a bit of an apothecary, as this tea, made with gorgeous golden turmeric and ginger root are both known for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Besides the health benefits, I drink this tea all day, because it is so good! I make it in concentrated batches, and dilute them with water and ice. Though this tea would be wonderful warm as well, with a little almond or coconut milk. I know the black pepper is kind of a weird ingredient in this recipe. The simple answer is that black pepper helps the body absorb turmeric. I didn’t want to bog down this blog post with a lot of healthy talk – but there’s plenty of information on the internet about how super healthy these ingredients are and why.
Now onto the recipe.
Combine the water, turmeric, ginger and black pepper in a pot. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for about 10 minutes. Let cool slightly, add honey to taste. Pour the concentrate through a tea strainer into a container, such as a mason jar. For a cold drink, add a little of the concentrate to cold water (ice optional). It’s really up to you to choose the water to tea ratio. I make it with about a quarter cup of tea to 1 ¾ cups of water. Once the concentrate has cooled, you may store it in the fridge. One large mason jar lasts me a couple of days, and then I quickly make more. Sip and enjoy!
This week, I was tantalized by a recipe I stumbled upon on The First Mess, a beautiful blog filled with many wholesome and delicious recipes, and wonderful food photography. The thing that really caught my eye, was the word “Old Bay seasoning” in the title of the recipe. Old Bay seasoning has a dear place in my heart, as my boyfriend turned me onto it, and then then I discovered it in my Christmas stocking from him that winter. It is great on roasted potatoes, eggs, beans, and anything with a mild taste (It was originally invented as a crab boil; my boyfriend attests it’s excellent on shellfish as well as chicken).
The photos on the blog were so tantalizing, and I am a sucker for a good veggie burger, plus my friend Stephanie was coming over for dinner this week, and I knew she would love for me to try the recipe out on her.
It is a bit involved. But the directions seemed more complex than the experience making them. Put on some good music, have a lovely beverage to sip on and have fun making these Chickpea & Cauliflower Veggie Patties with Vegan Cashew Lemon Spread. I made some personalizations to the original recipe by adding cayenne and turmeric for added flavor and a healthful boost.
Chickpea & Cauliflower Veggie Patties with Vegan Cashew Lemon Spread
Makes 4 patties
Cashew Lemon Spread ingredients:
Feel free to customize to your taste. I made mine with whole wheat pita bread, sliced cherry tomatoes, avocado and fresh arugula.
* The original recipe called for 1/4 cup chickpea flour and 3 tablespoons oat flour, with the option to use all chickpea flour – which is what I did. But if you’d like to use 3 tablespoons oat flour, you can easily grind oats in a food processor, vitamix or spice grinder to make it. Also, if you don’t have Old Bay seasonings (I’ve seen it sold at Target and Cost Plus World Market fyi), here is the link to make it yourself!
The first time I made the patties, I cut one patty in half and one pita in half. The second time I made it, I cut the top third of the pita and put an entire patty in. These are options depending on your appetite! It is a lovely, satiating, satisfying meal. Enjoy!
If you are equally intimidated by the hard, funny shaped gourds, know that you’re not alone. I didn’t grow up eating or decorating squash or pumpkin, but having lived in the US for over 30 years now, I decided to embrace them as treats and decor, and even tried my hand at my own recipe, featuring an easy to cut one, delicata squash.
I incorporated black beans into my squash stuffing for the protein, and Brussels sprouts and mushrooms for the vegetables. You can certainly customize to your liking. I made them at my boyfriend’s place, and totally forgot to bring over onion, which I think would have deepened the flavors. Three cloves of garlic definitely helped. I also feel it was missing a fresh element. In the future, I may add fresh green onions as garnish, or incorporate a fresh herb into the vegetable sauté, like thyme, and/or make some thyme or green onion infused sour cream to dollop on top. But here’s what I did:
Herb Infused Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt
And here is my second annual hand at pumpkin carving. Mine is the guy with the stitched mouth. We had a great time making these, and roasting the seeds after!
During November each year, the organization, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces, in the US and around the world. With their Mo’s, these men raise vital awareness and funds for men’s health issues, specifically prostate and testicular cancer initiatives. Let’s raise some awareness and grow them staches, gentlemen!
When I heard the news that my local Trader Joe’s would be closing its doors at the end of August, I can honestly say, I got a pit in my stomach. And I’m not alone, as others, like LAIST are writing about it too. Ever since I moved into my beloved condo in West Hollywood in 2005, this TJ’s has been my reliable neighborhood companion.
I know, I know, it’s just a friggin’ store, why get so dramatic?!
When I lived in NYC, I shopped everywhere by bicycle or by foot. It was great! And in a new home, in a new city, having a TJ’s walking distance away was a real comfort, and I knew that anytime I just needed one or two things (although let’s be real, you never leave a TJ’s with just one or two things), it was just a few minutes away. Not to mention, having been to the other Trader Joes’ around town, this one had the best parking.
I was out of town when the store closed, so I didn’t say a proper good-bye, and when I returned to LA, it was gone. At first, I felt like someone died. Where would I shop? I tried the Hollywood TJ’s on Vine, one night after the gym, and the unpleasant experience began as soon as I turned into their underground parking garage (My Trader Joe’s had an easy and convenient outdoor lot), and took my ticket from the automated ticket box, a guy on a scooter whizzed through the open gate, and it shut on me before I could follow. Now with a line of cars behind me wondering what the hold up was, I had to get out of the car, and walk back to the box to get another ticket. Once I entered the store, it was filled with people, Hollywood people. I longed for the elderly West Hollywood Russians who walked too slowly down the aisle, and would stand way too close to me in the checkout line, or the super friendly staff who knew me and were more than willing to look in the back if I couldn’t find what I wanted on the shelves, and who I could count on to recommend their favorite beer or wine. That night as I drove home from the Hollywood Joe’s, I missed my neighborhood companion. A couple of days later, I went to the local Whole Foods store, where I already shop at occasionally, but which costs me about triple what I pay at TJ’s for my regular groceries.
Then something happened. On my way home one afternoon, I remembered I needed to buy a plant as a gift, and again cursed that I couldn’t go to TJ’s to get one of their wonderful orchid plants. Then I remembered a local plant store, Moe’s. I worried that it would be more expensive, but I didn’t have time to figure something else out. To my surprise, I could find some very affordable and healthy plants on sale, and even decided to buy myself a beautiful fern as well. So, as the reality that my local reliable store has moved on is sinking in, I am beginning to open up to what my neighborhood still has to offer.
On Monday, I shopped at my local farmers market, where I became lazy about going to on a weekly basis because I could always go to TJ’s if I missed it that week (even though the produce is far superior (and cheaper) at the farmers market). There are also plenty of local Eastern European delis and grocery stores in the neighborhood that carry the things I may need on a moments notice, like cream for my coffee.
And actually, the small stores and the farmers market are what I love about living in a neighborhood, where the locals all go. The Trader Joe’s was an incredible convenience, but sometimes it’s good to expand one’s view to what else is out there.
Ever since I was introduced to the art of making my own nut milk, I couldn’t bare to buy the boxed variety in stores. The main reason, other than the cost, is that preservatives are added to these milks, to retain freshness for much longer. The only thing I was bummed about was that I didn’t know how to make my own Coconut Milk – until now! This heavenly milk has a pretty short shelf life – 3 to 4 days, so I don’t make a lot at a time. But oh boy, it’s delicious!
What are the benefits of Coconut Milk, you ask?
Coconut milk is high in enzymes and vitamin E, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate and panthothenic acid.
It is high in Lauric Acid, a a medium-chain fatty acid that is otherwise only available in human breast milk. Lauric Acid converts into Monolaurin in the human body, which helps destroy fungus, bacteria and viruses.
And most importantly, it’s delicious, and will make you go, Mmm!
I have a very special and rewarding job. I teach cooking to two adorable (future heartbreakers) 13 year old boys. Their enthusiasm for food and trying new ingredients gives me faith in humanity. Ok, maybe not that dramatic, but I love seeing them waft their hands over a pot of soup, inhaling the scents, and sighing excitedly over the aromas. I love how badly one of my boys wants to put cumin into everything. They love cracking eggs, and rolling dough and trying new flavors. On one of our lessons, we cooked lentils, they kept snacking on little fingerfuls of the freshly cooked lentils that were cooling in a colander, excited to discover a new food they hadn’t had yet.
I try to come up with nutritious recipes and dishes that boys their age would eat. While they are certainly more ambitious with their palette than one assumes of the average child and teen, they are still kids, and love pasta and pizza and burgers. My goal has simply been to pack these same dishes with tons of vegetables, and to make the pasta and bread products with whole grain alternatives. Below are some of the dishes that they have prepared in our lessons.
Maybe I’m impatient, or have issues with authority, but I really don’t like to follow recipes when I’m cooking. I know that’s not everyone’s thing. Some people prefer to design their delectables via measurements and procedures written out in an easy to follow format.
How did I get comfortable cooking au natural? Well, to start, I love eating! Specifically, I love to uncover and discover flavors, and decipher what ingredients are used in the dishes I love, and then try to guess how they were made. These flavors inspire my kitchen improvisation. I might start with an ingredient I’m craving or see at the farmers market, or maybe something in my fridge that needs to be consumed before it goes bad. For example, if spinach were my starting point, I think it would be lovely tossed raw in some hot fusilli with ricotta until it wilts. But wait! Some bold flavor would be nice. Since I’m not a meat eater, pancetta or everyone’s favorite, bacon isn’t an option, so perhaps rather than the subtle taste of ricotta, I could use goat cheese or parmesan, add olives, red pepper flakes and fresh herbs tossed with some olive oil to keep it summery, or make a light white wine cream sauce… There is a chance that these flavors could fail. There’s only one way to find out.
I do enjoy reading recipes, and watching cooking shows. I learn a lot, and get inspired. I saw a photo of zucchini gratin the other day, and decided to make a less heavy version in the form of a casserole. Since my casserole skills are a bit amateur, I looked up a bunch of recipes, and went with the easiest one, and then changed it to my liking. I tossed a bunch of zucchini with cheese, fresh herbs, salt and pepper, and placed the ingredients into a casserole dish. I topped it with a small amount of panko breadcrumbs, and placed the dish in the oven. Just before it looked ready with the veggies and cheese bubbling and smelling delicious, I decided to add some more breadcrumbs and freshly grated parmesan, and raised the oven temperature to broil to brown the top. Unfortunately, what I didn’t take into account was the wateriness of the zucchini. I needed to add something to thicken the dish and absorb the water from the zucchini. Next time, I’ll add more breadcrumbs or matzoh meal to that baby and my favorite ingredient, an egg, to thicken it. Cornstarch is also a great thickener, so I might toss some in with the zucchini, cheese and herbs before putting it into the oven. YUM!
A good improviser in the kitchen requires just a few skills: courage, flexibility, a basic knowledge of cooking (which you can acquire by following recipes at first), and a good flavor palette – to know what ingredients go well together. The worst thing that could happen is it won’t come out just right. It’s food! They’re ingredients you already like – so how bad could it be?
Sadly, the same doesn’t go for baking. Baking requires exact proportions, and an understanding how the flour, leavening agents, fats, eggs and sweeteners need to be properly combined and added in exact measurements and in the proper order to achieve the desired result. Once you have that understanding, you can alternate ingredients, and make adjustments – which is what I do to bring you delicious healthy baked goods!
Let me know how you’ve stripped away your cookbook attire and improvised some beautiful dishes in your kitchen!
Yummy, filling and low in calories, Spaghetti Squash is an excellent, and easy to prepare delight! Some people watching their carb intake like to substitute pasta with spaghetti squash, and eat it with a marinara or alfredo sauce.
I’m a fan of having it as a side dish. Here’s a recent recipe I came up with that was oh so delectable (and ahem, healthy)!
1 medium spaghetti squash, cut in half
1 scallion, sliced
3-4 mushrooms (I used cremini), sliced
About a cup of your favorite greens (I used kale), chopped
About a quarter cup crumbled feta cheese
Preheat oven to 375. Place cut spaghetti squash face down on baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until the flesh is soft. Take out of oven, and allow the squash to cool about 10 minutes. Pull out as many seeds as you can, with a fork, and set them aside – they’re great toasted! Then with a fork, begin to scrape into the meat of the squash. You will quickly see why it’s called a spaghetti squash, as you pull up the yummy squash “meat”. Place a little olive oil (or oil of choice) into a pan on a medium heat. Once pan has heated, toss in the squash and scallions, and cook over medium heat for a minute or two, then add greens and cook for about 5 minutes, until greens soften. Toss in mushrooms and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Season with sea salt and pepper (or my favorite combo of sea salt, cayenne and garlic powder :)). Place into a serving bowl and sprinkle crumbled feta on top. Serve warm.
Rinse squash seeds, and toast 5-10 minutes until lightly browned. Makes an excellent snack!
Last night it was cold. Ok, not East Coast cold – but wearing my fuzzy wool socks, turning the heat up and snuggling up in my throw on the couch, cold. I was craving a brothy soup to warm up. It was dark out already, and I didn’t want to get into a huge soup project. I came up with a warming Soba Noodle and Vegetable Soup in a Miso Broth, and I made it in 15 minutes!
**Soba Noodles are buckwheat noodles commonly used in Japanese cuisine. They are reasonably easy to find in the Asian section of your grocer. They are lighter in texture and in some ways healthier than Udon Noodles (which have their own healing properties). Buckwheat has a lot of protein, is high in Vitamin B1 and B12, minerals, rutin, an essential nutrient not found in other grains, as well as the essential amino acid lysine, the micro-nutrient choline, and Vitamin P, which helps with Vitamin C absorption.
Boil water, add soba noodles. In a separate pot or kettle boil about 2 cups water for broth. In a large bowl, empty contents of miso packet (or tablespoon miso paste), teaspoon dried sea vegetable, sea salt and cayenne. Set aside. Saute garlic with a little oil (I used olive) in a skillet on a low heat, add finely chopped kale, sliced mushrooms and chopped onions and ginger. Cover and keep on a low heat. Stir occasionally until onions are translucent, but kale still retains bright color. Turn off heat. Drain noodles. Add to broth bowl, add sauteed veggies, and 2 cups boiled water. Can add dash Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil and cut scallion for added flavor. Stir and eat up!
P.S. The miso packet I used had small pieces of tofu. If yours doesn’t, I recommend adding a little more protein, thinly sliced meat or diced tofu.
**”Health Benefits of Japanese Noodles.”www.mitoku.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Dec 2011. <http://www.mitoku.com/products/pasta/healthbenefits.html>.
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