Thursday, November, 21, 2013
I bet you thought I had given up on my calendar project. Nope, I’m about to conquer that silly twelve month goal.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s the scoop: last December I got a calendar at Fausto’s in Key West. It featured a recipe each month that was healthy but didn’t necessarily work for me. I decided I would re-create each of the recipes to work for how I eat…and maybe how you eat.
I’m admittedly not a calendar person. I keep a paper day planner for business appointments and use my phone’s calendar for everything else. We don’t usually have pretty calendars on the wall in our house. I hung this one in the kitchen and realized late last week it was still on the September page. That means I’m three months behind in my project!
The September recipe, Pesto Stuffed Potatoes, called for baby potatoes that were sliced in half, bottoms leveled off and then scooped out. I had issues with this. First, what was I gonna do with the itty bitty pieces I sliced off of the bottom to make them stand upright? Second, what was I gonna do with the potato goodness I scooped out? Oh, yeah, right…I was gonna eat it while making these. Instead of doing that, I made an even easier variation. These are good hot or cold AND they are perfect for holiday party nibbles. Perhaps being behind in this project isn’t such a bad thing. I just created my new favorite party food!
So here we go, I’m gonna catch up and share with you four more amazing recipes. And I’m gonna hope Santa sends me a plane ticket to Key West so I can get another calendar for next year.
- 1 pound Small potatoes (I use Melissa's peewees, micro-steamed or baked)
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1 cup kale, stems removed
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, plus additional for garnish
- 1/4 cup brazil nut parmesan (dairy parm works, too)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook potatoes by either microwave steaming or baking until fork tender. I use the Melissa's peewees, which are in 1-pound packages in the produce department. Any small potato is fine.
- Allow potatoes to cool while preparing pesto.
- In bowl of food processor fitted with "S" blade, combine all ingredients except olive oil.
- Process until all are finely chopped.
- With process running, drizzle in olive oil. Stop when combined.
- Place potatoes you will be using on a flat surface. This is important, as you want to see how they sit flat. Once you have determined which is the bottom of the potato, cut a small slit in the top of the potato and get it a little smoosh from the ends, opening the potato up just a bit to make room for the pesto.
- Fill with a small spoon full of pesto and top with a few pine nuts. Serve either hot or cold, they are tasty both ways!
- Store any leftover pesto in the refrigerator. It's excellent spread on crusty bread, with zucchini noodles or pasta.
Want to see more of the recipes I’ve remodeled from the calendar? Here they are:
January: Hummus Wrap with spicy orange cashew creme
February: Pumpkin Kale crockpot chili
March: Spinach Artichoke Panini
April: Weeknight Vegetable Stir Fry
May: Double Bean Salad
June: Double Blueberry Shakes
July: Mini Tomato Basil Pizzas
August: Dairy-Free Raspberry Ice Cream
Wednesday, July, 31, 2013
Although it’s nearly August, kale is still producing in large quantity in our little garden. And the basil. Oh my goodness, the basil! I went a little overboard with basil this year, planting six varieties. A few of them have grown into full-blown bushes.
So what’s one to do with all of this kale and basil? Make pesto! I’m making pesto to eat right now as well as freezing pesto to eat in the months when we aren’t lucky enough to have all of the garden-fresh goodness we are enjoying right now. It’s super easy to freeze pesto and have the fresh flavors of summer in the middle of winter.
A few quick words about the kale in this pesto. You can use any variety of kale. In the batch shown in the photos, I used a combination of Lacinato and Scots kale, sometimes referred to as curly kale. I know kale can be a tough sell, some folks just don’t like the flavor of it. This late into the growing season, the flavor can be more bitter than the springtime baby kale. No worries, all of the other flavors in this pesto mellow out the kale. In fact, some might not even know there is kale in this pesto.
I’ve included ingredients in this pesto to make it more likely for our bodies to absorb the good stuff in the kale. I’ve added in lemon juice to make the iron more easily absorbed and olive oil to make the fat-soluble carotenoids more likely to be used. Plus these traditional pesto ingredients just taste good. How can you resist a tastes-great combination that is also good for you?
I like this pesto with zucchini noodles, cut with The Noodler. It’s also great with traditional pasta and on eggs. Honestly, I eat it on about anything this side of cupcakes. I’d love to hear from you. How do you eat pesto?
Kale Basil Pesto, with a freeze-ahead option!
- 2 cups basil leaves, any variety
- 2 cups kale leaves, stems removed
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 1/2 cup Brazil nut parmesan (regular can be used, see note at bottom)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided into 1/3 cup and 1/3 cup
- salt and pepper to taste
- In bowl of food processor, fitted with "S" blade, combine all ingredients except olive oil.
- Process until ingredients are nearly a paste.
- Add in 1/3 cup of olive oil, streaming into the bowl of the food processor while it runs.
- If you are freezing the pesto, stop here, remove the pesto from the food processor and place in your freezer container. Pour remaining oil on top of pesto and freeze.
- If making pesto to eat now, add in the remaining 1/3 cup of oil while the food processor runs. You may not wish to use all of the oil, stop when it reaches the consistency you like.
- *If you are using regular dairy parmesan and making pesto to freeze, you may prefer to not add the cheese to the pesto until you are ready to eat it. Just make a note on top of your freezer container to add in 1/2 cup parmesan when ready to eat. Brazil nut parmesan freezes well, dairy cheeses may not freeze in the same manner.
Monday, April, 01, 2013
You know, I’m a bit Crazy for Kale. Maybe more than a bit crazy, a whole lot crazy!
Last fall I planted around 300 kale plants with my friend Renee. I did this because kale changed my life. Really, it did! Eating several servings of an extremely nutrient-dense dark leafy green has made me much healthier. And juicing kale? Watch out! It’s like rocket fuel for my body and gives me an energy boost that is unrivaled. I’m currently twiddling my thumbs, waiting on Mother Nature to cooperate so I can get the spring crop of kale in the ground. In the meantime, I’ve been cooking kale in lots of fun, new ways and have an original recipe to share with you today.
But first, I want to tell you about a new e-book that you NEED. I got a sneak peek at this one and it gets my kaleaholic stamp of approval. It’s a steal at just $5.99. Packed with 40 recipes (33 that are grain-free, 31 that are vegan or have veg-alternatives), Hallie of Daily Bites has created a kale masterpiece that will motivate you to get into the kitchen and cook with my favorite dark, leafy green!
Click on over to Hallie’s site to read about her new e-book and join us for the Crazy for Kale e-book Launch Party. You’ll find links to many more kale recipes from bloggers who like kale as much as I do!
Oh, a recipe. Right. I’ve got one and it’ll knock your socks off. This is my take on spinach artichoke dip, but without the spinach. And dairy. And I’ve used kale instead of spinach. So really it’s not like the classic spinach artichoke dip at all, except that it tastes amazing, it’s a whole bunch better for your body AND your tastebuds will love it.
This recipe uses Japanese sweet potatoes. Combined with non-dairy milk and nutritional yeast, they make a creamy cheese sauce that comes together in mere minutes in the blender. I’ve chosen to use Japanese sweet potatoes in this recipe to get the lighter color. If you can only find regular sweet potatoes, they will work just fine. Your dip will be a bit more orange and slightly less sweet. I’ll share more variations on this “cheese” sauce soon using regular sweet potatoes.
Kale Artichoke Dip, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free
- 1 1/2 cups baked, mashed Japanese sweet potato (about two medium potatoes)
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk or other non-dairy milk
- 3/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 1/2 cups finely chopped kale
- 3/4 cup rough chopped artichoke hearts (I use frozen)
- dash of salt
- In a 400 degree oven, bake Japanese sweet potatoes on a baking sheet until soft. This is usually between 45 minutes to an hour depending on the size of the potatoes. You may use regular sweet potatoes, but it will make your dip orange.
- Mash the baked sweet potatoes with a fork. Add to high speed blender along with milk, nutritional yeast and garlic. Blend until smooth.
- In a medium baking dish, add chopped kale, artichoke hearts and a dash of salt.
- Pour mixture from blender over the kale and artichokes. Stir to combine.
- Bake at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes, until bubbly and just starting to brown around the edges. Serve with tortilla chips.
Thanks for dropping by today to read about my kale craziness. Don’t forget to head over to Daily Bites for even more terrific kale recipes in the Crazy for Kale E-Book Launch Party!
Thursday, February, 21, 2013
Brrr! We’re having a snow day here. There’s really nothing better than a crockpot full of chili on a cold, snowy day!
Last month I shared this post with you about my calendar project. I brought a calendar home from my favorite little grocery store in Key West and am re-making each month’s featured recipe to fit my dietary style.
This month the calendar features Turkey Pumpkin Chili.
This didn’t require a lot of modifications on my part. I really could have just subbed tempeh for the turkey. But that would have been too easy. I’ve upped the phytonutrient content in addition to subbing out the meat. I knew you were over there googling “chili high in phytronutrients,” right? To do that, I added a bunch of kale. If you have picky eaters in your house, you can chop the kale up into teeny tiny pieces or even chop it until it’s almost a puree in your food processor. We’re big kale fans here, so we just give it a rough chop.
A quick note about the tempeh: beyond making sure it is gluten-free (not all are, some contain barley, read the labels carefully as always), it is a very forgiving protein, super easy to work with. You may choose to grate it on the large side of a box grater so that it is crumbled like ground meat, you can cut it into cubes or break it by hand into pieces. I broke it into pieces by hand in the batch pictured here. I used a variety that contains flax seeds, but any gluten-free variety is fine.
Pumpkin Kale Chili in the Crockpot
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 package tempeh, gluten-free
- 1 bunch, 6 to 8 stems, kale (remove from stems, chopped to desired size)
- 4 cups vegetable broth, gluten-free
- 1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
- 1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes with chiles
- 1 T. chili powder
- 2 t. ground cumin
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/2 t. black pepper
- Heat a large sauce pan until droplets of water poured into the pan will sizzle and dash across the pan. Once the pan is that warm, add 2 Tablespoons of water, the chopped onion and garlic. (This is water sauteing.)
- Once onions are transparent, add tempeh. Cook, stirring occasionally, to brown the tempeh just a bit. Add kale, cooking until kale has softened a bit.
- Add this mixture and all remaining ingredients to crockpot. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.
Monday, February, 18, 2013
It’s grey here today, the sun hasn’t peeked out yet. Add to that the usual challenge of getting moving on Monday and I needed a boost to get going.
Sparky Juice to the rescue!
This is a more savory juice than most that I drink but I have to say I love the spice. When I started drinking green juice, I tried to hide the green, bitter flavors with sweet, fruit juices. This juice has helped me add a different flavor profile to my juice repertoire. It’s also loaded with folic acid and magnesium, plus lots of phytonutrients, all things that give me a BIG boost in energy and mood. Take that, grey Monday!
New to juicing? There are a few resources here, including another juice recipe, in a post I wrote about juicing last year. Green juice has been a vital addition to my diet and has helped me over several health hurdles. And now I actually crave it! How about you? Do you juice? Scared to try it? Curious? I’d love to hear your thoughts on green juice!
- Handful of cherry tomatoes, 9 or 10
- ½” piece of ginger root
- ½ to 1 jalapeno, adjust to your taste
- 2 stalks celery
- ½ cucumber
- 1 lemon
- 1 bunch kale, 6 to 8 stems
- Dash of smoked paprika
- Dash of sea salt
- Juice all ingredients and strain if desired. Adjust the heat of this by adding part of an jalapeno or make it super spicy using the entire jalapeno, seeds and all!
Monday, January, 07, 2013
Brrrrr! It’s too cold for my liking here in Missouri. While it seemed like a good idea to spend the holidays in southern Florida, coming home to snow, ice and single digit wind chills has me questioning it. Either we should have stayed where it is warm or we should have never left the cold.
Thanks to the cold and short daylight hours, I’ve entered full-on hibernation mode. That means lots of hours in the kitchen cooking warm, comforting foods. And when I’m not in the kitchen, I’m curled up in a corner of the sofa with a mug of hot tea in my hands. It’s hard to get warm and stay warm!
One of my favorite soups for this time of year is Creamy Cauliflower Kale Soup. Packed full of nutrients and veggies, it’s so creamy you’ll think it has thick, rich dairy in it. It reminds me of a hearty cream of potato soup, except without the ingredients I feel guilty eating this time of year when I’m such a sloth. Plus it has kale in it. Like an ever-growing number of folks, I’m convinced kale is about the best thing I can eat. I juice it, saute it and even blend it up in creamy soups. A kale cupcake can’t be too far off…
Creamy Cauliflower Kale Soup, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil (extra for drizzle if desired)
- 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium to large head of cauliflower, stems and florets cut into 1" pieces
- 8 stalks kale, stems removed, greens roughly chopped
- 2 T. fresh parsley, roughly chopped (I use Italian flat parsley) plus more for garnish
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat oil in large soup pot. Saute onion until soft. Add minced garlic and cook for a couple more minutes.
- Add cauliflower, kale and parsley. Pour water over the top. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once at a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until greens and cauliflower are both soft.
- Puree soup in high speed blender. This may work best in two batches depending on the size of your blender carafe. You may also use an immersion blender, however the soup will not be quite as creamy.
- Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprig of parsley.
Saturday, December, 31, 2011
Well, here it is, the end of another 52 Journey for me. And wouldn’t you know it, my final ingredient is one I have chosen not to bake into a Sweet. Instead, I’m putting it into the blender.
You see, this is the end of three years of blogging about one Sweet every week. I’ve tried hard to limit my Sweet intake to only one thing a week, with exceptions for a few holidays and my birthday. And President’s Day, every third Wednesday, Thursdays when the temperature is above 40 and the barometric pressure is climbing…
In all seriousness, what I have found is that I no longer have an issue limiting how many Sweets I eat. Some weeks there are plenty of them, there’s an occasion to celebrate or a project that requires me to bake 9 or 10 recipes in just a couple of days. Sometimes I momentarily lose control, but I always get back on track. And then there are times when I am so tired of Sweets it becomes a task for me to create a recipe, to blog about a Sweet.
That’s how I reached this place I’m at today, blogging about a green smoothie to wrap up this year’s 52 Journey. Right now, today, I don’t want to bake a Sweet. I’m okay without a piece of chocolate cake or a hand pie packed full of caramel-drenched apples. Instead, I’m having a green smoothie. Next week, I’ll probably need a dessert to share at a friend’s potluck or I’ll be elbow-deep in sugar working on a recipe development project. But today, it’s a smoothie.
And hey, real quick, a note about where I’m headed. Next year’s 52 Journey is going to be much different. After three years of blogging about a Sweet every week, I’m done with weekly Sweets. I’ve got a really fun 52 Project going on over at Johnna52 (where you can find my non-baking adventures) and here at 52 Sweets, I’ll be sharing an occasional Sweet, just not one every week. What I will be sharing has a great new twist…
I’ll be blogging in 2012 about gluten-free Sweets that can be made for $5.20 or less. Get it? It’s like 52, $5.20. Gluten-free baking can be so incredibly pricey, so I wanted to make some inexpensive Sweets, simple desserts, with a minimum of four servings that can be made for $5 or so. I hope you’ll stick around for the Journey.
And now…here’s the green smoothie you’ve been dying to read about!
(Makes two generous servings)
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
3/4 cup coconut water
6 oz. cultured coconut milk yogurt (you could use almond yogurt or Greek yogurt, I was going with the coconut theme here)
1 1/2 cups pineapple tidbits, frozen
1 bunch kale, stems removed (I used 5 large stems of kale in this)
Blend on high speed until well combined. Super easy…and Sweet!
Wishing you a happy and healthy 2012!