Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Cranberry Feta Dip

My friend, Keri, shared this recipe with me. It is super quick to throw together and is just plain yummy!! Enjoy!

8oz container of whipped cream cheese (definitely use whipped)
1/2 to 1 cup of crumbled feta cheese, to taste
3 - 5 green onion, sliced,  to taste
3/4 cup craisins, chopped
1 to 2 Tbl ranch dip powder, to taste

Let cream cheese come to room temperature. Mix all ingredients together. Serve with wheat thins or other firm crackers.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Curry Citrus Quinoa Salad

This recipe is inspired by a scrumptious salad my friend and I always order at one of our favorite local restaurants. I made it for dinner tonight and my mother just RAVED about it! She loved guessing the ingredients - she said, "I taste orange! I taste cinnamon! I think I taste....coriander?" YES! Ha! It is a salad with many layers of flavor. Very tasty indeed!

I think I did a pretty good copy cat with the recipe below! Kim, what do you think?

1 1/2 cups quinoa
2 cups water
1 Tbl olive oil
1 tsp salt

4 celery ribs  (I use the inner ribs, including the leaves), diced
1/3 cup fresh parsley, (stems removed) chopped
1/2 cup currants
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 Tbl curry powder
Fresh spinach or chopped romaine

1/4 olive oil
2 Tbl lemon juice
2 Tbl fresh orange juice
1 Tbl honey
2 tsp curry powder
1/8 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

To cook the quinoa: place dried quinoa, water, olive oil and salt in a pot. Bring to a boil. Cover with a tight fitting lid and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until water has been absorbed (I always check after 10 minutes just to make sure). Remove from heat and let sit uncovered for five minutes.  Fluff with a fork.

While the quinoa is cooking, chop the celery and parsley. Place them in a large bowl.

I always soak my currants or raisins before using- it is a good idea to plump them up! Fill a small microwave safe bowl with water and heat in the microwave for a minute and a half.  Carefully remove the hot water from the micro and add the currants to the water. Let them soak for five minutes and then drain the water from the bowl. Add the soaked, plump currants to the bowl with the celery and parsley.

Also while the quinoa is cooking make the dressing.  Put all the dressing ingredients in a Tupperware with a tight fitting lid. Shake well until all the ingredients are combined.

To assemble the salad put quinoa into the bowl with the celery, parsley & currants.  Add sliced almonds and 1 Tbl of curry powder. Stir well with a wooden spoon.

Place spinach or romaine on a plate.  Add quinoa mixture to the top. Drizzle with dressing. Enjoy!!!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Loaded Baked Potato with Veggies & Vegan Cashew "Sour" Cream

I cannot even tell you how obsessed I am with this vegan cashew "sour" cream!!!! It is so much better than regular sour cream (and most importantly, it is dairy-free)- you must try it for yourself to believe it!!! This cashew cream seems to be a staple in a vegan's diet....I have found it in many cookbooks and on many blogs. The recipe here is from the Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon. Please note that the cashews need to soak in water to soften for at least two hours before blending and preferably overnight.

Every week I try to think of meals I can make just so I can use this cashew cream!!!! Haha! This loaded baked potato was super quick to throw together and it was extremely filling and tasty! Of course, you can easily add ground beef or turkey or shredded chicken to it if you want a little meat.

2 medium to large russet potatoes, scrubbed clean
Olive oil
1/2 sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
8 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced
3 handfuls of fresh spinach, chopped
1 can white or black beans, rinsed and drained
Salt & pepper to taste
Earth Balance or butter (optional)
Cashew "Sour" Cream (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 400F

Wrap each potato in foil. Cook on 400F for an hour.

While potatoes are cooking, you can get the veggies and mushrooms ready. Add a little oil to a skillet. Cook onion for 3 minutes and add mushrooms; cook for another 3 minutes. Add the bell peppers and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until all the veggies are crisp tender. Add the spinach at the end and cook for a minute or two until it is wilted. Add the beans and remove from heat; just let the beans warm through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Slice each potato down the middle and top with Earth Balance (this is a great dairy-free alternative to butter) or butter and then load up with lots and lots of the veggies. Top with heaping gobs of the cashew "sour" cream (oh my, it's so good I want to eat some now).  Enjoy!!!!

Cashew "Sour" Cream Recipe from Oh She Glows:
1 cup raw cashews, soaked (for at least two hours to overnight in the fridge) 
1/2-3/4 cup water, as needed
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/4-1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, to taste 
Place cashews in a bowl and cover with water. Soak for a minimum of 2 hours, preferably overnight or for 8 hours if you have the time.Drain and rinse the cashews and place in the blender.
Add water, lemon, vinegar, and salt. Blend on high until smooth. You might have to stop to scrape down the blender now and then or add a touch more water to get it going.
Once it's super smooth, it's ready! Transfer into a small container. The cream will thicken up as it sits.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Maple Syrup

Brussels sprouts are my absolute favorite vegetable - I love love love them!!!! It cracks me up that I love them so much now because as a child, I literally detested them.  Now, I know exactly why my hatred for the little green guys ran so deep....they were always served to me boiled....and I'm guessing, that's how they were always served to most of you. Boiling makes them slimy and stinky - yucko! Brussels are best when they are crispy and not overcooked.....enter roasting! Thank you, my dear oven, for turning these baby cabbages into crunchy little balls full of flavor and goodness!!! Have you ever picked off the outer, slightly burnt, leaves of a freshly roasted sprout? They taste like potato chips and they are very hard to stop eating. My husband and I have had many a fork fight over the crunchiest ones on the plate.

Okay, so, I know I have posted before about roasting are probably wondering what's new?! Well, tonight I added a tiny little bit of pure maple syrup to the sprouts and OH MY MY! what a glorious addition it was! So, I just had to share!!!! Here ya go:

1 lb brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and cut in half
Olive oil
Salt & pepper
Pure maple syrup (don't you DARE use anything other than the real stuff, I know it's expensive, but, it's your health we are talking about here, people- you deserve to eat the real stuff)

Preheat oven to 400F

Line a cookie sheet with foil (this makes for easy clean up).  Drizzle olive oil over the sprouts - I don't measure, but, I'm guessing I use no more than 1 Tbl for the whole pound (a little goes a long way). Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper (you can always add more later) and toss with your hands to get each sprout.  Roast for 10 minutes.  Remove the sprouts from the oven and lightly drizzle with the pure maple syrup. I probably use about 1 to 2 tsp. You do not want to over-due it here. The whole point is to have a subtle hint of sweetness. Use a spatula to evenly distribute the maple syrup. Roast for another 5-7 minutes or until the sprouts are to your level of crispy.