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Archive for the ‘food’ Category

Hey, all! I’m more sporadic (the week has FLOWN) but I’m still here! The good thing about my work is the days go by so fast. The bad thing about my work is the days go by so fast! I’ve really learned to appreciate life with all that’s gone on.

Anyway–there are three hundred trillion recipes for “single-ingredient ‘ice cream'” and “banana soft-serve” out there. A few months ago, I decided to try it, myself. Used to be that when I had a banana that was… overly mature, I’d make banana bread. Not only was that more time-consuming than what you’ll see here, but more sugar- and fat-filled as well!

Here’s the quick “recipe” for
Banana “Soft Serve”
1. Peel, slice, and freeze a slightly overripe banana. It should be ready within a day of freezing. I actually like using multiple bananas, since I have a bigger food processor and the blade has more food to work with.
2. Put the banana chunks in your food processor, and whirl away! You may have to stop and scrape down the sides occasionally, but the texture ends up almost… creamy.
**I like adding cinnamon to this. Oops, that’s two ingredients!

Now, as for making it a sundae, I recently made homemade Magic Shell. I remember when this came out (sigh, dating myself)… you know what I’m talking about? The chocolatey sauce that turns hard when you put it on something cold, like ice cream? (I admit, when I was younger, to putting it on spoons, freezing the spoons, and eating it straight….)

Homemade Magic Shell is easy. You’ll need coconut oil, which you can get at Trader Joe’s these days, or any Whole Foods type store. Coconut oil has just the right melting point for our desired effect.

To Make Magic Shell
Over low heat or in a double boiler, melt
2 parts chocolate of choice (dark, milk, white, a combination….)
1 part coconut oil (refined or unrefined, doesn’t matter. Unrefined has a very slight coconut flavor)
Any flavorings, optional (mint extract, cinnamon, chipotle powder, orange extract, be creative….. I’d love to hear what you do!)

Stir until combined. You now have Magic Shell in liquid form. Pour into your desired storage vessel and, depending on your air temperature, it will either be solid or liquid as you store it. No worries if it solidifies, just melt a bit before you use it.

And now, the fun part: pour Magic Shell on your banana soft-serve….. oh, YEAH!

For additional chocolate, put cocoa powder in the soft-serve (and maybe some maple syrup or agave to keep it sweet, to taste). Come up with your own combinations, and let me know!

Happy New Month!

A time to renew ourselves and make new plans, right? Especially since the weather has been shining bright upon us up here. I checked the weather report, and it’s not supposed to rain again until next FRIDAY. Yes, that’s next week. Do I live in Seattle????

I wish I could get in all of my running now! I’m doing my best to train for an April half-marathon. My last major hip surgery was only 11 months ago, so I’m taking an easier path. I’m using one of Hal Higdon’s plans and hope to get to the starting line! I have no time goals, since this is proof of concept that I can actually run one again, but maybe next time I’ll improve my pace!

So, I just made an interesting soup for a lunch group. Interesting? Yes… because I read the recipe and had no idea what it would taste like! So I had to do it. And… it’s subtle but comforting. Fluffy, light quinoa, and the feta melts into the warm soup just enough to make the broth lightly creamy. The texture is light, not too brothy, and hearty for a chilly winter day. Try it!

Quinoa Chowder with Spinach, Feta, and Scallions
from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone (Deborah Madison)

3/4 c quinoa, rinsed
2 T olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely minced (or more, if you’re me)
1 jalapeno chile, seeded and finely minced
1 tsp ground cumin or more to taste
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 pound boiling potatoes (I used yukon gold), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 bunch scallions, including an inch of the greens, finely sliced into rounds
3 c finely chopped spinach
1/4 lb feta cheese, finely chopped
1/3 c chopped cilantro
(1 hard-cooked egg, chopped. I don’t like hard boiled eggs, so I omitted this.)

1. Put the quinoa and 2 quarts water in a pot, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. While it’s cooking, dice the vegetables and cheese. Drain, saving the liquid. Measure the liquid and add water to make 6 cups if needed.

2. Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and chile. Cook for 30 seconds, giving it a quick stir.

3. Add the cumin, 1 tsp salt, and the potatoes and cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently. Don’t let the garlic brown. Add the quinoa water (which smells so nutty and good… kinda like me) and half the scallions and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

4. Add the quinoa, spinach, and remaining scallions and simmer for 3 minutes more. Turn off the heat and stir in the feta and cilantro. Season the soup with pepper and garnish with the chopped egg (if you’re into that sort of thing).

This is supposedly South American… but I can’t vouch for it. I know! I need to take a field trip there to find out where this soup is native to, don’tcha think?

Enjoy! Happy weekend!

Hi!

Good busy news from me! I’m running about 12-15 miles per week, I have one more class to go to make 9 fitness classes taught this week, and… while I’m a bit exhausted, everything seems to be in working order! Go, me!

So, I’ve been trying to find recipes that aren’t too challenging (yeah, I really don’t feel like standing up in the kitchen for hours this week, nor do I feel like cleaning a ton of stuff) but provide a lot of nutrition. A quick web search led me to this veggie-filled recipe, which I tweaked in several places.

This is one of those recipes where it’s tough to figure out a name, since it’s full of so much stuff! It also contains spinach, onions, garlic, a few seasonings…. wait, don’t run away! There isn’t a long ingredient list, don’t worry.

I cut back on the amount of liquid in the soup (this was based on the comments at the end) and it ends up giving you more of a stew, not much broth. If you want more broth, increase the amount that you add. THe original recipe calls for 5 cups of broth, and I probably wouldn’t go quite that high.

White Bean, Fennel, and Tomato Soup
based on an All Recipes recipe

1 large onion, chopped
1 fennel bulb, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
3 c veggie broth (more if desired)
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt (or more to taste)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
4 c shredded fresh spinach

1. Saute onion, garlic, and fennel in oil over medium-low heat about 5 minutes, until starting to soften.

2. Add broth, beans, tomatoes, thyme, pepper, salt, red pepper, and bay leaf and bring to boil, Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and let simmer another 30 minutes or until fennel is tender. Remove bay leaf.

3. Add spinach and cook another ~3 minutes or until spinach is wilted. Adjust seasonings and serve!

The weather is wonderfully sunny outside, so I’m going to take advantage with a longer run in a few minutes! (I did see one of the news stations predict a low of 17 degrees today, though–hopefully that’s passed! Brrrr!!!) Go and make it a great weekend, whatever it is you’re doing!

Last chance for a Recipe Friday this year! So… here it is! I made this yesterday, and it’s wonderfully warm comfort food. Healthy, too: lots of good-for you fiber, anti-inflammatory turmeric in the curry, and the peas are a great vegetarian protein source.

Now, I grew up with grandparents who loved their split pea soup… but that was back in the day when bean soups and split pea soups were merely a bacon or ham flavor delivery mechanism. I had a container of dried split peas, but not being a bacon fan (please don’t stop reading my blog, I promise I’m still cool) I wanted something different. I didn’t have to search far to find this yummy alternative.

Curried Split Pea Soup
based on Alton Brown’s recipe

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 c chopped onion
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 1/2 c split peas, rinsed and picked through
5 c vegetable or chicken broth
1 tbsp curry powder

1. Place the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion and a large pinch of salt and saute for 2-3 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and continue to saute another 1-2 minutes, making sure that neither onion nor garlic brown.

2. Add curry powder and saute for an additional minute to lightly toast the spices in the oil. Then add peas and broth. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 45-50 minutes or until peas are tender and no longer hold their shape.

3. Using either an immersion blender or blending in batches in a regular blender, process soup until smooth. Adjust seasoning as desired.

This is such yummy comfort food… trust me on this one! Some cultures ring in the new year with black eyed peas for good luck… why not try split peas?

Start thinking about goals for the coming year! I’ll be back in a few days to talk more on that!

Hey, gang! I’ve returned from my holiday adventure, and I want to share it with you all! We went to Germany, Belgium, France, and Luxembourg to check out their Christmas markets. Though the weather could have cooperated a bit more (maybe 9 hours of sun on the whole trip), it was a really great adventure, and we ate a lot of good food. I did manage several Pilates sessions, and further explored exercises that I can accomplish all while not lying on a questionable hotel floor! (So–Pilates while standing, Pilates on a bed…)

I blogged about the trip, and there are many pictures, so take your time to peruse. You can check it all out at

http://mehrgluhwein.wordpress.com/

I’m getting back into my daily routine–even teaching two spin classes tonight–and glad to say that the knee strain from a few weeks before the trip disappeared shortly after we started… hooray! So, I’ll see what kind of running I’m able to do once I shake the rest of this respiratory infection.

Start thinking of your 2012 goals… I’ll be back with a recipe on Friday, and the new year is just around the corner!

Howdy!

OK, I’m back and recovered from Thanksgiving. I made an Indian feast (worthy of many Recipe Friday posts)… it included:

Papads with tamarind chutney

Minted lamb patties (wow, these were so good)

Baked spicy chicken (almost tandoori-ish)

Homemade chai

Stir-fried red lentils

Garlic naan (storebought….)

Kheer

 

And we shared it with a friend who worked part of the day. Good stuff! The lamb dish will certainly be happening again… I’ll admit that it was my first time cooking lamb!

 

<i>Did you all have a great holiday weekend? Did you cook anything out of the ordinary?</i>

 

I’m prepping for another big holiday adventure, coming up here in a few weeks, but meanwhile, here’s a few fun holiday links:

 

1. Easy gifts for the holidays, or just fun things to share: holiday cake pops and candy apples.

 

2. The perfect Christmas gift for the cat.

 

3. This sweet minty Chex mix looks promising…. not healthy, but use a good quality white chocolate like Callebaut, and you’re set!

 

4. Make your house smell like the holidays! Boil a pot of water, add some orange peels and a few cinnamon sticks.

 

5. And to balance out the less-healthy eats above, here’s a good-looking recipe for curried sweet potato soup. It’s been soup weather for a while here, so why not make a big pot?

 

It’s December in a few days… can you believe it? I made a great red lentil and potato soup a few days ago, and I’ll share it with you all on Friday–big-time comfort food. Healthy, too!

 

Have a great rest of the week, everyone!

Hi, all.

I’ve been gone for a while… between mentally decompressing, and dealing with an overuse problem in my right hand/thumb (from too much typing, piano playing, cooking, cleaning… I’m trying to get myself to slow down and just read, but it just ain’t happening often enough). I asked my acupuncturist yesterday to give me a few needles for my thumb, which I’d overworked to the point of losing motor control, and he said… well, just don’t use your hand for a while… (Duh, right? I was hoping for the magic bullet. Don’t we all?)

But I can’t be gone for too long, and I just (literally just) made a fantastic culinary discovery that I had to share! I have to thank Indian cookbook author Monica Bhide for inspiring me to try this… because it was amazing, and it worked so well!

Have you ever had those crispy wafers (pappads) at the beginning of a meal at an Indian restaurant? You’ve probably had a bright green, spicy dipping sauce that goes with it–this is coriander (or, cilantro) mint chutney. I made some recently… and had a lot left over after cooking up my pappads that I bought from the Indian market.

First, I used some in a frittata. (that was good.)

And just a moment ago, I took Monica’s suggestion to put some on toast. Eh, why don’t I just give you a few recipes…..

Coriander-Mint Chutney
from various

1 c fresh coriander (cilantro)
1/2 c fresh mint leaves
1-2 serrano chiles, coarsely chopped
juice of 1 lemon
1-2 tsp white sugar (to taste)
salt to taste

Place all ingredients in food processor and pulse until a thin paste. You may need to add water to achieve the proper texture. I had to scrape down the sides a lot.

**So, once you’ve made the chutney, feel free to use it in a frittata with spinach and onions (that was good, too), or use it on toast…

Coriander Mint Chutney on Toast
adapted from The Spice Is Right (Monica Bhide)

2 slices whole grain bread
butter or butter substitute (salted)
1-2 tbsp coriander mint chutney

1. Toast bread.

2. Spread bread with thin layer of butter. (Allowing it to melt works best.)

3. Spread buttered toast with 1-2 tsp chutney per slice (depending on your taste and/or size of bread). Serves 1-2 — up to you!

This would also be fun cut into smaller pieces as a party appetizer!

I’m thinking this might feature in my Indian Thanksgiving menu. Yeah, I’m cooking a bunch of Indian dishes this year–it’s just the two of us, and we’re not huge turkey fans, so why not experiment? It’ll be good!

Well, I’d better get back to the doctor’s orders, but if you have anything really out of the ordinary going on for Thanksgiving, I’d love to hear about it! Happy weekend!


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