Category Archives: Recipes

Coconut Curry Popcorn

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Ingredients:

1/2 Cup popcorn kernels

1/4 cup or more Coconut Oil

Fine ground salt

Spices, in order of greatest-to-least proportion used:

Curry
Paprika, smoked (go easy if using scant oil)
Cumin
Cilantro flakes
Black Pepper
Coriander (just a dash)

Directions:

For popping in pot:
Turn on the exhaust fan and open all the windows. This recipe makes smoke.

Heat a tablespoon of oil on med-high heat with 3 kernels. When kernels pop, add the rest. Keep the lid on, and using mitts pick up the pot and shake it vigorously to move the kernels around, every 6 seconds or so. Continue until all the kernels are popped. If the oil smokes a little that’s okay, but if it smokes a LOT then turn the heat down because you don’t want it to catch fire. When popcorn is done, transfer to a bowl and add the remaining oil and spices.

Popping in a popcorn machine:
Pop the popcorn according to the directions on the machine, then transfer to a large bowl and add the oil. If the popcorn is hot, the oil may melt by itself – else, heat it in a saucepan and drizzle over.

Season: salt liberally. If the salt doesn’t stick to the popcorn, add more oil. Add the seasonings one at a time, sprinkling and mixing thoroughly. Exact amounts aren’t important, so much as the overall flavor, so add and adjust to your liking.

Eat and enjoy!

::BK::

 

 

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Whole-Wheat Cream Puffs

I loved this whole wheat, sugar-free cream puff recipe! Unfortunately, the recipe leaves a lot unsaid. The first time me and my roommate tried it, it turned out into perfect little puffy puffs! The second time, however, it was a total flop even though I followed the recipe to the letter. I spent some time experimenting and consulting, and figured out the technique. Here’s my adaptation.

This recipe makes 15-20 puffs. I advise making extra batches; these go quickly!
Time: 45 cooking, plus 30 prep and filling them
Tools: Mixing bowls, pot on stove, pans in oven, and mixer/whisk for cream.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup butter [add pinch salt if using unsalted butter]
1/2 cup ‘white whole wheat’ flour: see below
2 servings stevia: see Notes
3 eggs

Filling:
2 cups heavy cream (any kind that will whip will do; can be regular or ‘extra heavy’)
2-3 servings stevia: see Notes
2 tsp vanilla or almond extract

Directions:
1. An hour or so before beginning preparation, set all ingredients out to come to room temperature. This makes the cream whip up much more effectively (especially thin cream), and helps the eggs combine smoothly in the mix.

Preheat oven at 350º. (Convection: 325º)

2. Combine water, butter, and salt in a sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and let simmer for a few minutes. The butter will melt, and should steam and mingle with the water. Do not brown the butter, but allow it to simmer for 2-5 minutes and evaporate a little.

3. Combine flour and stevia. Remove saucepan from heat. Shake in the flour, and mix till smooth.
At this point it may resemble pancake batter, pourable in texture.
Put saucepan over low heat, and cook for a few minutes, stirring all the while. Time will vary based on particular flour, and how long the butter was simmered in Step 2.
Stop when it becomes thicker than a brownie batter but not yet like cookie dough. Remove from heat.

4. One at a time, break the eggs into a cup, give a few beats with a fork, and add to the dough. Stir till combined before adding the next egg. This will seem weird and clumpy and the dough won’t want to readily combine with the egg; keep at it!

5. With batter now complete, set it back on low heat and stir. The goal here is to thicken it a little. Do not use higher heat; it will cook the eggs. Stir constantly and scrape up from the bottom of the pan to prevent burning.
As the batter thickens, it will begin to form a ball. When the dough pulls away from the pan readily, it is done. It will be like a cookie dough: soft, but keeps its shape when molded or scooped.
If it drizzles off your spoon like peanut butter, it’s not ready. The dough must be just barely thick enough that it doesn’t spread when dropped on the baking sheet.

6. Remove pan from heat. If it doesn’t cool quickly, remove the dough ball into a bowl so it doesn’t continue to cook.
To prevent sticking, grease baking sheet or use parchment paper (which works much better).
Using a spoon, scoop dough onto baking sheet, about 1-2 TB each. Space mounds 1-2 inches apart.

Set on middle rack in oven, and
Bake for 40 minutes at 350º, or till puffed and golden brown on top.
Convection: 25-ish minutes at 325º. These turned out wonderfully in the convection!

7. While puffs are baking, whip up that cream! Plain cream is fine, vanilla is classic, and I like almond extract for that “little something-something” it adds to baked goods. Whip to stiff peaks, then pop in the fridge to chill.

8. When puffs are done, let them cool before filling. Try to have something else to do, so as not to eat them while watching them cool. 😛
Fill them: Using a spoon and a very sharp knife, slice each puff in half horizontally, and scoop a heaping spoonful of cream into the center. Stick the halves back together, and presto!

9. Get yourself a spatula and eat the rest of that whipping cream. One other flaw I found in the original recipe creates a disproportionate amount of filling to the amount of puffs. No problem at all. 🙂
NOTES:
Stevia: depending on the variety, a ‘serving’ will differ, but it’s usually enough to sweeten 8oz of something. You can use any kind of stevia. 2 of those packets, or 1-2 droppers of the liquid (consult the label), or 2 itty bitty scoops with the included scoop from the pure powdered extract kind.
The flour puffs don’t need to taste noticeably sweet.
When sweetening the cream filling, taste before it’s done whipping, and add more stevia to taste if necessary. It should be just-barely-sweet to the taste. Cream puffs are not an overly saccharine treat.

Flour: aka ‘Soft White Winter Wheat’,or ‘Whole wheat pastry flour’. It’s a type of wheat that produces a finer, fluffier flour while still being whole-grain. Regular whole-wheat will work too. We also tried a combo with half white flour and half whole-wheat, and that worked fine.

 

Enjoy! How do you like your cream puffs?  😀 😀

As a bonus, this lovely indulgence is mostly harmless, made with all whole foods and not loaded with sugar. I may or may not have eaten these for breakfast on several occasions.

::BK::

Ginger Stir-fry #1

Quick recipe jot-down for reference!

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, slice
  • Carrots, slice
  • Celery, slice
  • Red cabbage, in strips
  • red peppers, sliced small — I used canned peppers.
  • sesame seeds
  • tofu, extra-firm (≈4 oz)
  • cilantro leaves, small handful
  • tamari or soy sauce
  • 1/2 to 1 inch of fresh ginger, grated
  • garlic powder
  • honey and/or stevia powder
  • olive oil
  • dijon mustard
  • salt, pepper

In a cast-iron pan, add some sesame seeds. Heat dry, until start to brown. (if using pre-toasted seeds, just add them with the veggies.) Add oil and onions. Saute, adding the rest of the veggies. Chop and add tofu and spices. If using soy sauce instead of tamari, may need more salt. Add the sweetener for a teriyaki taste, and a dab of mustard for some zing. Add cilantro at the end.

It came out quite good, and I will be trying this again.
The tofu disappears into the flavors of the mix. Chicken would also go. I prefer tofu over chicken, so I was happy. 🙂

Tastes great as a leftover, when the flavors have had time to marry.

::BK::

A Better Pumpkin Pie

If I had a beautiful picture it would go here, but alas, this pie was too beautiful to live and was consumed before I could snap a shot. Try baking one and snapping your own pictures…. go on, I dare you.

😉

This Thanksgiving, I tackled my annual tradition of making the pumpkin pie for our family dinner. Since this became a tradition, I always used the basic baked-in-shell pumpkin pie recipe from my cherished copy of The Joy of Cooking, baked in a whole-wheat butter crust. The result was always okay…good but a lot more dense and ‘serious’ than a really great pumpkin pie would be. The pies looked great, I wasn’t impressed with the taste… but my family ate them, and I didn’t want to take the risk of trying different recipes on Thanksgiving.

And then this year, I lost my cookbook. I looked all over, only to realize I left it at my place… we couldn’t even find my mom’s copy in the house. I turned to the Internet.

My first goal was just to see if anyone had posted that pumpkin pie recipe from the original book. They had — but along the way I found altered versions of that recipe, and improvements, and a bunch of unrelated google links about pies. My curiosity got the better of me, so after some investigation, I decided to try the following. This recipe is more or less original, pulling ingredient amounts from several different recipes, technique from internet posts, and my personal experience. The crust is new flour in an old recipe: made with a buckwheat mix, it becomes light and flaky instead of dense and chewy.

We had our family plus friends over for dinner, and they all said it was the best pumpkin pie they’d had ever/longtime, even if they didn’t like pumpkin pie before, and a most amazing recipe. And when I tasted a bite, I had to agree.

Pumpkin Pie 2.0: The Next Generation

PIE.

3 eggs (separate)
2 C cooked butternut squash (puree before mixing). Yes, the next generation of pumpkin pie isn’t even pumpkin anymore. Progressive I know, but try it and you won’t look back!
1.5 C heavy cream
1/4 C cane sugar
1/4 C maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves/allspice (you can use either or a mix of both)
1 tsp cinnamon

Before making this pie, you must have some cooked (baked) butternut squash. Alot several hours for this process; reference the Internet for squash-baking instructions. Bake it, don’t boil or microwave [shudder]. Baking releases the most natural sugars and flavor in the squash.

Separate the eggs and set the whites aside. Blend/mix the yolks, and all the other ingredients, together until smooth. Whip the egg whites until stiff, then fold them into the batter. Pour into prepared crust (see below), put in oven, turn to 375ºF and bake 45+ minutes, until a knife in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely (unrefrigerated) before serving.

This recipe just barely fits in a 9″ crust; could also use a 10″ or 10.5″ pan. Or go smaller and make several mini pies!

 

CRUST

This recipe (whole wheat pie crust) directly from The Spot cookbook by Tonya somebody…, with my modifications for GF/yeast-free baking…

this part coming soon. (until then, use any crust recipe, but pre-bake the crust for 5-10 minutes [until edges golden] before pouring the filling in.)

 

This recipe is not part of my usual diet, but is much more nutritious and has much less sugar than a typical pumpkin pie, nonetheless.

::BK::

Squash/Brussels/Cranberry Salad

I love cranberries, and their tart-yet-satisfying flavor! I must admit, my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner is the cranberry sauce.  ^_^ Happy to see them in season again, I’ve been looking for ways to use them. Found this ‘salad’ recipe and knew I had to try it.

This recipe turned out to be not quite as savory as I expected, but still super delicious!

I had more like 1.5 lbs of squash and brussels sprouts, so here’s what I did with my edits:

Dish:

1 butternut squash, cubed
1.5 bags of frozen/fresh Brussels sprouts, halved
0.5 cups frozen (or fresh) cranberries, cut in half
1 TB parsley, chop fine

Dressing:

olive oil
dijon mustard

Put the sprouts and squash in baking pans, dress with salt and olive oil, and roast in oven: 400º for 15 minutes or more, until cooked but not mushy.

Put cranberries in baking pan, and pop in the oven for 3-5 minutes, until soft and juicy. (If using fresh, skip this step.)

Mix a teaspoon of Dijon mustard with a little oil.

Combine all ingredients in a big bowl. Eat!

Time: about 30 minutes total.
Cost: low, considering the affordable prices of squash, brussels, and cranberries in season.

This tastes great warm, but can also be eaten cold. The original has a bit of sugar from the craisins and vinaigrette, but my version is totally yeast-free, except maybe the tiny bit of vinegar in the mustard (which I decided to let slide).
A satisfying dish which makes a great main dish or beside a lettuce salad, and I found it easy to pack to school for lunch! Will be making this one again.

::BK::

Best Green Smoothie

This is my absolute favorite ‘green smoothie’ yet! Try it, you really might like it. 😀

Best Green Smoothie: Avocado/Kale
Makes 1-2 servings (almost 16oz)

Stuff:

2 large leaves frozen kale = a generous 1 cup packed
1/2 frozen avocado [see note below]
stevia (I use 1 tiny scoop of pure stevia powder, but other kinds would work)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup water or milk (unsweetened sunflower seed milk is the best!)
Optional: 1 TB wheatgrass powder for an added kick.

Blend kale first with just a little bit of water. It should shatter and grind up well. Then add avocado and blend till thick. Add water/milk and flavorings.

green smoothie in a glass.

Enjoy plain or add your favorite ‘kick’! (berries, wheatgrass, flax…)

That’s it! Super quick, and AMAZINGLY delicious.
If it tastes too ‘avocado-y’, add salt a 1/4 tsp at a time ’till it mellows out.

Frozen kale: wash fresh kales leaves, put in freezer bags, and freeze. Then pry off a frozen leaf when you need a smoothie. Frozen kale is great because it breaks apart easily (rather than being all stringy in the blender), and seems to be less bitter than the fresh kind.
Frozen avocado: I preserve hass avocados by blending 1 avocado with a few tsp of lemon juice and 1/2 tsp salt, and freezing the puree in an airtight container. I then break off chunks for smoothies. You could do this, or use fresh avocado.
If using fresh avocado:
-Only use perfectly ride ones.
-Add some ice cubes if you prefer a cold/slushy smoothie
-Add lemon juice and salt

This smoothie keeps surprisingly well: I’ll often save some in the fridge till the next day, with no problems. Avocado is a great replacement for banana in smoothies — I actually like it better!
I love this drink: the greens are energizing, and the natural fat of the avocado makes this a satisfying breakfast. Fresh fruit and a tall glass of green goodness is my favorite way to start the day. 🙂

Did you know? Wheatgrass is an amazing superfood! Whenever I have it for breakfast, my brain is  clearer and more focused for hours afterwards. I always have wheatgrass on exam days, to prevent brain-foggyness on the test. (seriously!)

Enjoy.

::BK::

Mini Pot Pies!

I wanted to make vegetable pot pie, but I didn’t have broth, peas, egg, or crust available. Was this possible? I turned to the Internet to find out.

Most of the recipes I found did call for eggs, or a fancy crust, but I got the general idea of what vegetables and spices go well in a pot pie. This recipe is an amalgamation of pot-pie formulas, with my own innovation for the crust.
It came out quite well! The crust was a bit weird in the making, but when baked tasted fine as an addition to the pie. I made these in brownie-pans, so they’re serving-size pies. 🙂 This is another freezer-food: one mini-pie, heated up, makes a great meal for one!

Note: I used butter to make the crust, which makes this recipe not vegan. You could use oil or other shortenings, but I don’t know if they’d work. The filling, however, is totally veg. 🙂

This recipe looks long and complicated, but it’s really easy and fairly quick, I swear!

The Pot-Pie Recipe:
Makes 6 mini-pies. Or pour into a regular pan for family dinner.

1-2 TB butter (or olive oil)
2 cloves garlic [crush/dice]
2 small leeks [slice]
1/2 onion [slice]
3 (small) or 2 (med/large) carrots [cube]
1 stalk celery [dice]
1/2 to 1 C of sweet potato [dice]
small handful green beans [dice]
1/2 a portobello mushroom (or button mushrooms) [dice]

1. Melt the butter/oil in a soup pot, then put everything above in pot and sauté, starting with the garlic and going down the list. When all veggies are satisfactorily sauteed, add:

1.5 C water (or more, it should not stick to the pan, but not be super-soupy.)

And bring to a simmer.
10 minutes in, add:

2-4 TB flour (I used amaranth flour)

Stir pot as necessary.
15-20 minutes in, add:

1/4 C fresh parsley [chop]
2 tsp thyme
pinch cumin
salt, pepper

Simmer 15-20min total, or until veggies are slightly tender (sweet potato and carrots should be about half-cooked when poked with a fork). It should be thickened up by now.

Turn off heat, and scoop mix into crust [see recipe below], using a slotted spoon (to prevent excessive soupy-ness).
For mini-pies: use brownie-bar pan, or muffin tins for itty-bitty-pies!

To eat now: Bake at 415 F, for 20+ minutes, or until all veggies are soft and crust is golden.
To eat later: Put uncooked pie straight in freezer overnight. Then carefully pry it out of the pan, pop the frozen pie in a freezer bag(if you need your baking dish back), and stick back in the freezer. When you’re ready to eat it: Bake straight from the freezer (in a baking dish of course) at 415 F for 30-40 minutes or until done.

individual size pot pies, made in a brownie-bar baking pan.

Mini-pies for supper!

Times:
-25 min chopping and cooking the vegetable on stove
-20 min prepping the crust
-30 min baking to eat them

Deliciousness:
Frankly, I was impressed! The flavors blended perfectly, and I got that mm-comfort-food feeling in my tummy. I’ve always loved pot pie.  ^_^ Crust didn’t seem to be a problem – flavors of individual grains disappeared, and it just added a nice texture.

Cost:
Haven’t calculated this one yet, but definitely reasonable. Most expensive item would be the mushrooms. (Could make that cheaper by using canned ones.)

 

=====

Crust is classic, but optional. If you want crust:
Crust Recipe:
(Requires basic pie-crust-making knowledge)
-about 1.5 – 2 C gluten-free flour mix. Recommended: golden quinoa (vs. red), amaranth, flax, and tapioca starch. Millet is bitter in flour and is not recommended.
-1/4 C cold/frozen butter [cut into little pieces]: work into flour like a regular pie crust.
-add oil as necessary for sufficient shortening (you can use all butter, but I like to do half/half to save money, and you can’t really tell the difference.)
-add a little ice water. The cold water and cold butter help the G.F. flours stick together better.
-salt

You’ll end up with a weird, wont-stick-together, un-rollable dough. That’s okay. Divide up (for mini-pies) into the baking tins. Using fingers, press the dough to the bottom and then up the sides. This is part is labor-intensive but not difficult. Pinch off extra dough. Fill crusts with filling. If you want a top crust, which is totally optional, then: press the remaining dough into a sheet against the side of a mixing bowl, and carefully slide it up into your hand, and then onto the face of the pie. (There’s no way to roll the dough, or pick up a sheet of it, so this was the best I could do. It could be a bit more practical to simply crumble the extra dough on top as a topping.)

-Then bake or freeze as per pie instructions.

 

Notes:
-Use sweet potato, not yams. Yam flavor is too strong, and the point of the sweet potatoes here is as a replacement for the regular kind (but without all the starch). (In the store, sweet potatoes are a lighter potato-color, whereas yams are a deep orange-red. They’re the same shape.)
-Mushrooms are what give it that nice creaminess of a true pot pie. I’m not a mushroom fan, so I put relatively little, but feel free to put twice as much, or different kinds of mushrooms.
-I’ve only cooked this pie from-the-freezer so far, so the ‘eat now’ baking times are only best-guess. Proceed with caution.
-Each pot-pie recipe that I came across had exactly one green vegetable. Instead of green beans, try substituting: broccoli, peas, or asparagus.
-No need to have both leeks and onions, either compliments the potatoes, but I really like leeks.

 

::BK::

Pizza! +cauliflower, -cheese

I saw this awesome Cauliflower Pizza Crust and suddenly knew I had to have pizza. So I made two types of crusts, went shopping for toppings, googled ‘vegan pizza toppings’ for ideas (because I can’t have cheese), and got to work! Here’s what I came up with:

Cauliflower Pizza Crust - thin

Cauliflower Pizza Crust – thin

 

First, I made a crust with cauliflower and a mix of GF flours (millet, amaranth, quinoa). The recipe (link above) made two whole baking sheets! Also, best GF-baked-good yet! The cauliflower makes the difference – I’m going to try using it in other baking projects, too.

 

 

 

 

square pizza crust

Fast cooking, good texture

 

I also made a quinoa crust according to this recipe. Deliciously Ella is a new addition to my food-blog faves – her food selection is close to mine, and I’ve learned a few things from her recipes. Definitely worth checking out.

 

 

 

 

Two combos!

Two combos!

 

Toppings!

Left side: squash (quick roasted, cubed), onions (fried/carmelized), and bell peppers.

Right side: squash, onions, spinach, and portobello mushroom. I ate one of these; it was quite good.

Added spices: basil, oregano, thyme, salt, pepper, olive oil.

 

 

I also did a classic tomato-sauce-and-olives, And one with summer squash. I didn’t take pics before I froze them, but I might add some here later.

It was interesting to try out the portobellos: portobello are really the only kind of mushroom I don’t mind (I really dislike the texture and flavor of the smaller ones), so I thought I’d get one and experiment.

After adding the toppings, I stuck ’em back in the oven for 5min or so to make everything stick together as much as possible (a challenge w/o cheese or thick sauces), then cut and froze the slices. Now I have a whole bunch of fast-food meals in my freezer: grab a slice, stick it in a oven, toaster oven, or microwave, and it’s ready in 10min!

Serve with a nice green salad. Did I mention I’ve been craving green salad lately? I’m bringing lettuce back into my dinners.

Notes for next time: The flavor of the ones shown above is really good, but I did still want the texture of sauce. Tomato sauce would drown out the fine squash flavor, so I think perhaps a sauce of bell peppers would work (since they’re in there anyway). Or, alternately, make a creamy squash paste and then put the peppers and onions on top. If said sauce had the right spices, it could totally hold its own to cheese. Most cheeseless pizzas rely on pesto, but that’s out-of-season/expensive, so I’m trying to find alternatives. And of course I could just stick to tomatoes and spinach… but I want to put all kinds of fancy vegetables on my pizza! Like asparagus — I’m going to make one with asparagus sometime.

I still have a ways to go, but I’m pleased with my pizzas, and shall enjoy their eating greatly. 🙂

::BK::

Tumeric Sautée

A great late-summer dish with fresh veggies!

veggies in frying pan.

Cooking up some color.

Stuff:
1 large bell pepper [slice]
1 small or ½ large onion [slice]
2 small or 1 medium zucchini squash [slice]
Cilantro, about ⅔ cup worth [chop]
oil for pan

Spice:
½ tsp salt
½ tsp turmeric

It’s like a sauté but not quite. Cook up everything in a frying pan with olive oil, on medium-low heat. Add the onions first, then zucchini, peppers, and cilantro in succession. Time it so that each item is about ⅓ done cooking when you add the next one. (Bell peppers will end up being mostly raw; add them earlier if you want them soft.) When everything is done to your liking, season with turmeric and salt.
Eat!
Makes 2 servings.
Time: 15 minutes (on gas stove)

====
Notes:
Be careful with the turmeric. It stains all types of surfaces.
Goes with: limeade, fajita meat, guacamole, rice or millet
scalable: somewhat: can feed more if you have more vegetables.
Most spendy item: bell peppers. The organic ones are 5.99/lb (!), commercial ones around $1/each.
Cost of this recipe as I made it: ≈$4.00. Deliciousness-for-money rating: 3 of 5.

::BK::