Tuscan White Beans (or, GARLIC and SAGE!)

So good. Excellent bean dish, good alternative to chili, easy vegetarian and vegan option that can be dressed up by adding meat or cheese, and super, super fast.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3T chopped FRESH sage (or more!)
  • 2T chopped FRESH basil (or more!)
  • 1/2 C chopped kalamata olives
  • 30 oz cannellini beans (2 regular size cans)
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes (or one big can, drained)
  • 1/4-1/3 C minced garlic (about 6 cloves, crushed or diced)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil

DIRECTIONS

  • sautee herbs and garlic in olive oil for a few minutes, until herbs soften up and the garlic starts to cook nicely (don’t burn it!)
  • add the olives, sautee for a few more mins
  • add the beans, sautee for a few mins
  • add the tomatoes, stir
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • let simmer for a bit, taste again, crush more garlic or add more salt if you need.

Top with cheese, or mix chopped sausage or chicken in at earlier stages, serve with crusty bread or over chunky pasta as a sauce… any way you do it, it’s delicious.

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PB Banana Brownies, because Awesome

Screw banana bread. This is what I’m making from now on:

Ingredients

  • One box of brownie mix
  • One cup mashed banana
  • One cup natural (unsweetened) smooth PB, room temp (soft)

Directions:

  • Mix up the brownies mix as per the box directions (I used the Dr. Oetkers stuff, which calls for two eggs and 1/4C melted butter). 
  • Add half the peanutbutter and the mashed bananas, blend thoroughly and put batter in to a buttered brownie pan.
  • Melt the other half of the peanut butter (I did this in a metal measuring cup in the oven as it was preheating). Drizzle this melted PB over the top of the brownies and pull a butter knife through it to make a swirly marble effect. 
  • Bake per box directions, knowing that you may need an extra 5-10 minutes. Pull out when it seems solid and a toothpick comes out pretty clean.

These brownies are AMAZING. They’ll be a bit wetter/fudgier than straight up brownies, but it’s totally, totally worth it. 

 

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Eggnog. Pancakes. Oh yes.

I often make pancakes on Saturdays – there’s something so weekend about pancakes. Blueberries, yogurt, maple syrup, however you top ’em, they’re just tasty. This weekend, I was partially in to making the batter when I realized we had no milk or almond milk. We did, however, have eggnog. This resulted in some seriously delicious pancakes, and I WILL be making them again!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 C All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 C Rolled Oats
  • 1 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 3 T butter, melted
  • 1-2 T sugar (depending on how sweet you like your ‘cakes)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 C + eggnog
  • 1/2 C room temp water
  • nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves

Mix all the dry ingredients together with a whisk. Mix all the wet ingredients together in a bowl, blending well. Combine wet and dry, adding extra eggnog to get the batter to a nice soupy consistency. Don’t overmix, but make sure there aren’t any giant lumps, and that the batter is runny rather than slodgy (like my use of adjectives that aren’t really words here?). Makes about 12 4″ pancakes. It’s okay, you don’t have to share them.

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Lactation Cookies – Not just for moms!

Who knew that cookies were good for breastfeeding? Yay, I say! These are basically PB/Banana/Oatmeal/Choc-Chip cookies with some other tasty bits thrown in, and are good for everyone. They’re adapted from this recipe. I made half and froze half, and am having a hard time not just eating the whole batch. I think next time I’ll cut even more of the sugar and maybe add some nuts and some dried cranberries.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 C Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2 C Steel-Cut Oats
  • 3/4 C Nut Butter (I used PB)
  • 1tsp Salt (less if using salted PB)
  • 1tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 C Butter (1 stick), Softened
  • 1 C Milled Flax (Bob’s Red Mill makes a good organic flax meal)
  • 3T Brewers Yeast (NOT bread yeast, friends!)
  • 1/3 C Water
  • 1 C Banana Pulp
  • 1/2 C Brown Sugar (could be cut to 1/4 and still be tasty, I think, or subbed out altogether)
  • 3 tsp Spices (I used 1tsp fenugreek, 1tsp cinnamon and 1tsp cloves)
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 bag of choc chips (about 2 cups)
  • Nuts or other things…

Combine flour, salt, spices and baking soda in a bowl. In the mixing bowl, cream the butter, sugar and nut butter until creamy, then add the banana, flax, yeast and vanilla, blending thoroughly. Add the eggs and mix well. Add the flour mix in several parts, and then add the water until it looks like a good, goopy consistency. Mix in your chocolate chips and nuts, and then add your oats slowly, mixing thoroughly. Add more oats or liquid as needed to make them sticky – not too wet but not dry, either. Make balls of the desired size on cookie sheets and flatten with a fork. (I used parchment paper for easy clean up). Bake for 10-15 minutes at 350. Let cool, and then consume!

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Ricotta Mousse

Okay, this might be my new favorite thing. Seriously. Adapted from the ‘Moosewood Cooks at Home’ cookbook, this is insanely easy, fast, flexible and delicious. This may be my new go-to for potluck desserts.

Ingredients

  • 1lb ricotta (comes in 15 oz containers – close enough.)
  • 2T instant coffee powder
  • 2T hot cocoa mix
  • 1/4c (or more) confectioners sugar
  • 1T almond milk, milk, cream or half and half
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

In the bowl of a food processer, blend the ricotta, vanilla, half the coffee powder, half the cocoa mix and half the sugar. Blend on high until creamy. Taste, and then add the rest of the dry ingredients until it’s as sweet/coffee-y/chocolately as you like. Add the milk at the end, in little dribbles until the whole thing has the consistency you like. Put into tiny attractively hip ramekins (mine are red) and chill for a half hour or so before serving. Makes about 6 small servings. This stuff also freezes beautifully and makes excellent fudgesicle things. It was so good I didn’t even take time to take a picture of it before eating it all. I’m betting you could also leave out the coffee and chocolate and put lemon or orange zest and some blueberries in it as well…. pardon me, I have to go back to the grocery store for more ricotta.

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Summertime means AVACADOS!

This is really for those of you who live in climates where you can get 10 avocados for $1. I do not live in that climate, so when I see 2/$1, I jump on it. Coupled with fresh cherry tomatoes and sweet corn, both locally abundant this time of year, it makes for tasty, tasty salad/guacamole/whatever. Put it over beans and rice, or, as I’ve done below, black beans and yams, since that’s what was in my pantry.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large can black beans
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 4 fist-sized yams or sweet potatoes
  • cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 ripe avocados
  • 1 carton cherry tomatoes
  • 2 ears sweet white corn
  • 1 lime

To prepare the beans:

  1. Peel and cube the yams, and boil them in a separate pot until *just* tender.
  2. Dice the onion and saute in some olive oil until they start to become clear.
  3. Add the beans and sweet potatoes, then the salt and spices to taste. Mix well.

To make the avocado topping:

  1. Dice up the avocado into smallish chunks, and cut the cherry tomatoes in half or quarters.
  2. Husk and rinse the corn. With a sharp knife, strip the kernels into a bowl. No need to cook – sweet corn is tender and juicy this time of year!
  3. Mix it all in a bowl with lime juice to taste (I used a whole small lime). Chill in the fridge for a while.

Put the cool avocado on top of the hot beans/yam mixture, top with cheese if you so desire (although w/the avocado, you don’t really notice missing cheese), and serve! Finish it with some ripe watermelon and a tasty beer, and you’ve got a good summer meal on your hands. Or in your belly.

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Maple Banana Muffins

We’re currently stocking our freezer with quick easy snack type things, in preparation for a big move and a new baby. I had some dead bananas and figured I’d make muffins, and then realized I’d packed my Joy of Cooking with the recipe I always go from in it. Deciding to try something new, I poked around on the internets and cobbled together a muffin recipe that didn’t use refined sugar as a sweetener, and would take care of using up the last of the oats from our baking box. These definitely fit the bill – it was hard to only keep out one or two and to freeze the rest – I could happily have eaten the rest of the batch today.

Ingredients

  • 2C flour (I used 1.5C whole wheat and 1/2C all purpose)
  • 1C oats
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • cinnamon and allspice to taste
  • 1C coconut (you can use sweetened or unsweetened, the sweetened stuff obviously makes sweeter muffins)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2C banana pulp
  • 1/2 C maple syrup
  • 1/3C almond milk, soymilk or regular milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 C oil
Makes 12 big muffins or 24ish small ones
DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 375 and grease a muffin tin
  2. Mix dry ingredients together
  3. In another bowl, combine the eggs, syrup, milk vanilla and oil and mix until totally blended, then add banana pulp, mixing until blended
  4. Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients, combining thoroughly without overmixing.
  5. Plop into muffin tins – you can fill them up all the way to the brim of the cup, they won’t overflow too much (at least, mine didn’t) and they make nice big muffins that way
  6. Bake for 20-25 mins, or until the muffins are golden brown on top and a toothpick poked into the center comes out clean
  7. Take out and cool on a rack in the muffin tin for a bit before removing, then cool out of the in on the rack (or just eat warm).

These muffins are really moist, which is great but makes for difficulty in applying cream cheese or cold butter, but they make excellent breakfast snacks. You could add protein powder to them easily to give them a bit more nutritional value, and you can also put nuts, raisins, cranberries, chocolate chips, etc…

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