Thursday, October 29, 2009

Put These in Your Mouth- Portobello Mushrooms

Have you tried cooking portobello mushrooms?  They are the large mature mushrooms that contain vitamins B and D, phosphorous, potassium, sodium and anti-cancer properties.  I love them because they are juicy, satisfying and can be substituted for meat easily.

If you're new to portobellos, give this spicy recipe a try.  You can almost always find portobelllos at the farmers market.  Savor!

To make marinade, combine in a jar and shake until mixed:

1 minced garlic clove
1 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons honey (or brown sugar)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

Place two large portobello heads and 1 chopped onion in a plastic sealable container.  Pour marinade over mushrooms.  Let marinate 30 minutes, shake once or twice while marinating.

Heat oven to 425F. Bake mushrooms and onions in a glass pan until mushrooms are soft but browned outside.  Serve with your favorite rice (or grain) and vegetables.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

OH, SNAP! Try these delicious peas.

This is a tasty snack or yummy complement to any meal.  Get ready for this awesome, easy vegetable treat.

Heat a non stick saucepan.

Throw in a handful of fresh snap peas.
Sprinkle tumeric, sea salt and black pepper over them. 
Sprinkle with some water (1 to 2 tablespoons) to make steam.
Stir fry until the outsides are just a little crisp.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Have You Met Mochi?

I have an incurable sweet tooth and I realize I can't live on cake, cookies, candy bars and junk food most of the time.  A couple of years ago, I discovered sweet, satisfying mochi.  You might know mochi from the delicious mochi ice cream served at japanese restaurants.  Mochi is brown rice pounded into a rice cake.  You can buy it pre-made in sheets or you can be really adventurous and make your own.

What do you do with Mochi?  Here's a few suggestions:

  • Bake small cubes of it and serve with butter or honey almost like petit fours.
  • Stir fry cubes of it with apples, raisins, nuts and eat like a pudding.
  • Cut into strips, arrange in the waffle iron and cook until puffed up.  Serve the waffle with fruit, nuts and syrup.
  • Bake cubes in the oven at 450F for 8 to 10 minutes until puffed up.  Garnish as you like.

Mochi is delicious because it is sweet in a mellow way, crispy on the outside and warm and gooey inside.  It comes in original flavor or delicious flavors like cinnamon raisin.

If you are extra adventurous, you can make your own mochi.


2 cups sweet brown rice
2 1/8 cups water

Once rice has cooked and is soft, turn into a large bowl.  Pound the rice until it gets soft, like taffy.  You can press on a cookie sheet into sheets, let them harden and then store in the refrigerator as sheets or you can cook right away like cookies.

So, branch out and meet your new friend Mochi.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

How Green Is Tofu?

This article caught my attention and I learned something new about soy and tofu.  I'm not much of a tofu fan, but I have been known to indulge in edamame (soybeans) or tempeh (soy cake) every now and then.  I've often wondered about the environmental impact of soy- wondering if some rainforest was being flattened for my edamame snack.  Well, this article is a brief overview, but it answers the basic questions. 

So, give this a read before you bite into that Boca Burger.  Perhaps, the goal is not to find a synthetic meat substitute, but to eat natural protein sources like legumes and rice, nuts, etc.  Just some food for thought....

Photo from Huffington Post

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Feisty Feta with Roasted Veg

This is a savory Greek recipe adapted from Relish Magazine.  It's a little trickier than most of my recipes, but it's so worth it. 

Preheat oven to 400F.

Roast in a glass pan:

1 red bell pepper
1 yellow (or orange) bell pepper
1 onion
6 cloves of garlic
drizzle of olive oil
black pepper

Roast until vegetables are soft inside and crispy outside.

Combine in bowl with:

1 tablespoon capers
24 olives (blend of black and green is nice)
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1/4 cup fresh chives
1/4 cup fresh dill

Now, here's the tricky part.  Make sure the oven is now on BROIL and ready to broil.  If it's still warm from the peppers, but not ready to broil you will just melt the feta and make a mess.  Trust me, toasted feta is worth it.

Crumble 8 ounces of feta cheese on a baking sheet.   Broil until bubbly and lightly browned- about 2 minutes.

Toss cheese with the vegetables.  Enjoy on couscous, corn tortillas or pita bread.  Smile.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fall in Love with This Pudding

Here's a fall version of Righteous Rice Pudding.  You can use your favorite fall squash or root in this pudding such sweet potatoes, butternut squash, acorn squash or pumpkin.  Dress it up with ice cream, custard, vanilla yogurt or cream.


1 cup brown rice (I like short grain)
1 1/2 cups water

Combine in saucepan:

cooked rice
2 cups milk
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 pecans
1 cup chopped winter squash
4 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Bring to a boil, then turn to low.  Simmer, stirring frequently, until thickened.  Savor and enjoy.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Ready Set Eat Roasted Vegetables

This is one of my favorite easy dinner recipes.  Peppers are the staple of this dish, but you can easily add any other vegetables to the roasting pan.  Roasted vegetables are delicious served over rice, couscous, quinoa and in tortillas.

Preheat oven to 375F.

Combine in a large glass pan:

Whole garlic cloves
1 cup of water

Suggested other vegetables:  eggplant (shown here), squash, tomatoes, onions, green onions and mushrooms.

Cook until vegetables are soft with crisp outsides.

Quickee Quinoa

If you aren't already friends with quinoa, get ready to love this superfood!  Quinoa is a grain from the Andes and has long been appreciated in South America for its high nutritional value.  Its protein content is very high (12%–18%),  it contains a balanced set of essential amino acids, it is high in fiber, phosphorous, magnesium and iron.  It's also gluten free and easy to digest.

Most importantly, quinoa works well in so many dishes.  I like it as a breakfast cereal, salad topper, rice alternative, casserole bulker,  main coarse item and stuffing staple.  I like to make up a batch and store in the fridge for cooking.  You can find quinoa in the bulk section of the market.  It's easy to make and delicious to eat.  Cook quinoa like rice using 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups water.  Just make sure to rinse before cooking to avoid a bitter taste.

Here's my combination for a quick and delicious breakfast:

1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1 chopped pear or apple
handful of whole almonds
handful of raisins
handful of flax seeds
splash of vanilla soy milk

Heat one minute in the microwave.  Enjoy!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wicked Good Wild Rice Stuffing

I made the stuffing last night and it was out of this world delicious!


1/2 cup uncooked short grain wild rice
1/2 cup uncooked brown rice

Cook rice according to package.  Yes, you can mix the two rice grains and cook together.

Tip:  If you get the rice started first, you will have plenty of time to prep and cook the following mixture.

Saute in a large pan:

1 tablespoon butter
1/2 lb crimini mushrooms diced
1/2 onion diced
1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
1/4 tablespoon celery salt
1/4 tablespoon black pepper
2 cloves of garlic crushed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 large pear chopped
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Mix ingredients in pan, saute over Med heat for 7-8 mins, or until onions are soft.  Remove from heat.  Combine cooked rice to mixture in large pan and heat for 5 mins on Med-Hi heat.

Serve as a main or side dish.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Check It Out Chewy Rice Cookies

Well, I like cookies way too much, so I try to make up some healthy sweet concoctions.  Also, there always seems to be leftover brown rice in the fridge, so brown rice cookies resulted.


2 cups short grain brown rice (1 dry cup plus 1 1/2 cups water to cook)
1/4 cup soy milk
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 egg whites
1 cup pecans
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 tablespoons oat bran

Bake at 350F for 15 to 25 minutes, until golden brown.  Serve with fresh fruit and enjoy.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Indian Spiced Rice

This quick recipe is a creative solution for leftover rice.  It makes a great meal or side dish.

Sautee on high heat in large pan:

olive oil
1/2 large onion
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 garlic clove
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspooon tumeric
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


1/2 pound of  cubed tempeh (soybean cake)
1/2 cup red lentils
1 cup eggplant
1 cup yellow squash
water to cover dish.

Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add 1 to 2 cups of cooked rice.  Cover and simmer 10 minutes.  Stir in green peas.  Serve when peas are warm.  Top with fresh cilantro.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Yes to Yerba Mate!

It's a chilly and rainy Saturday here and it's perfect for snuggling up with a cup of tea and a good book.  Today's tea selection is Yerba Mate.  Yerba Mate is a little known in North America, but it's drunk often as water in South America. 

In South America, yerba mate has been revered for centuries as the “drink of the gods” and is drunk daily.  Yerba mate grows wild in Paraguay, Argentina, Chile, Peru and Brazil.  The leaves of the rainforest mate tree naturally contain 24 vitamins and minerals, 15 amino acids, abundant antioxidants.  It does contain caffeine, so you should only consume it in the morning.

The flavor of brewed yerba mate is strongly vegetal, herbal, and grassy, reminiscent of some varieties of green tea.  Yerba Mate should be steeped in hot (not boiling) water.  You can find yerba mate in most tea sections, tea shops and hispanic grocery stores.  Give it a try!!

Friday, October 9, 2009

MMmmmm Mushroom Pie

 Oh Mushrooms!  They are a wonderful meat alternative.  Mushroom pie sounded like a good idea, so here it is.

Sautee in a large pan with olive oil until soft:

1 pound crimini mushrooms
1 large onion
3 large carrots

Add to taste:

Splash of dark beer
parsley flakes

Cover with water and let simmer until thickened.

Turn into a round casserole dish and cover with mashed potatoes (3 large russets).

Cook in oven at 350F until guts are hot and potato top is crisp.  Serve with gravy, worchestershire sauce, cheese or any other dressings.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

In a Vegetarian World, What Happens to the Cows?

You might have noticed that this is a vegetarian blog.  I'm often asked if I am a vegetarian and my answer is, "95%."  I don't cook meat and I'm usually too lazy to chew it either.  If I was a perfect human, I would be a vegetarian, but I'm not there yet.  Anyhow, this is an interesting article on vegetarianism and sustainable food.  I really like that this article doesn't take a militant stance and suggests moderation:

"If you're not ready to go full-time veg, start with one consistent meal: try eating a veg meal for lunch, or go vegan, say, two days a week. Set a realistic goal you can feel good about achieving."

Check out this article by clicking on the link and contemplate what you can do to green up your diet.

In a Vegetarian World, What Happens to the Cows?

Photo by Matt

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pure Indulgence: My Favorite Cake Ever

There's nothing healthy about this post, except the smile on my face after eating cake!  This is my staple cake recipe and it has never failed me.  White cake recipe is from The Joy of Cooking.  Chocolate silk frosting recipe is from Betty Crocker's Chocolate Cookbook.  Strawberry jam was homemade by Mom.  Enjoy!

White Cake

Preheat oven to 375F

Mix together:

3 1/2 cups white flour
4 teaspoons double acting baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 egg whites

Beat until well combined and light.  Turn into greased two 8 or 9 inch round pans.  Bake for approximately 25 minutes until toothpick comes out clean and outside is golden.

Let cake cool and turn out of pans onto baking racks.  Cool until room temperature.

Spread strawberry (or raspberry) jam onto one cake and top with second cake layer.

Chocolate Silk Frosting


2 1/3 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cups buter
6 to 9 tablespoons cocoa powder (to your desired chocolate taste)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 to 3 tablespoons milk (to achieve spreadable consistency)

Frost cake.  ENJOY!!!!

Scrumptious Summer Squash Soup

 I bought about 5 pounds of summer squash at the farmer's market this weekend.  After sharing squash with the neighbors, I still had tons!  So, I decided to make a soup- actually it is a chowder- with all the squash.  This is true comfort food for a rainy day.  Enjoy with some rice and sweet potatoes!

Roast in the oven at 425 until inside soft and outside browned:

1 medium onion
1 1/2 pounds summer squash
1 large russet potato (cook first in microwave)

Transfer to a large soup pot and add:

1 cup water
1 cup milk
1 to 2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon basil

Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer.  Simmer 15 minutes.  Puree in blender and serve.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Today's Super Foods

It's amazing how simple and healthy foods can be so tasty!  I had a power dinner of multi-grain rice, steamed collard greens and roasted sweet potato rounds.  It was delicious.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Cause It's Good for Us: Community Supported Agriculture

Yesterday, my neighbor and I discussed sustainable and healthy eating and the great concept of community supported agriculture (CSA). In short, CSA is the "produce delivery in a box."  Here's the scoop, directly from Local Harvest, a website devoted to eating locally.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. Here are the basics: a farmer offers a certain number of "shares" to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a "membership" or a "subscription") and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.
This arrangement creates several rewards for both the farmer and the consumer. In brief...

Advantages for farmers:
  • Get to spend time marketing the food early in the year, before their 16 hour days in the field begin
  • Receive payment early in the season, which helps with the farm's cash flow
  • Have an opportunity to get to know the people who eat the food they grow
Advantages for consumers:
  • Eat ultra-fresh food, with all the flavor and vitamin benefits
  • Get exposed to new vegetables and new ways of cooking
  • Usually get to visit the farm at least once a season
  • Find that kids typically favor food from "their" farm – even veggies they've never been known to eat
  • Develop a relationship with the farmer who grows their food and learn more about how food is grown 
It's a fun and easy way to support local farmers and to expand your palate.  To find your local CSA and to join, click on the Local Harvest link below.  Have fun!  Do Good!  Get Started!



 All images from the Local Harvest website.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Righteous Rice Pudding

Now that fall is approaching, it's time for some comfort food.  One of my favorite and almost guilt-free comfort desserts is rice pudding.  In the summer, I serve it cold with tropical fruit and during the cool months, I like it warm with apples, pears or raisins.  Here's the simple recipe adapted from Eat More Weigh Less.  Enjoy!


1 cup brown rice (I like short grain)
1 1/2 cups water

Combine in saucepan:

cooked rice
2 cups milk
4 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla

Bring to a boil, then turn to low.  Simmer, stirring frequently, until thickened.

Serve with fruit.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Must Try Mushroom Tomato Bisque

I love mushroom soup, but commercial preparations are often salty and filled with cream.  Thanks to my handy soup cookbook, A Good Day For Soup, I was able to make a tasty and healthy version..  It's a nice soup for a rainy day.

Sautee in a large soup pot until soft:

1 large yellow onion
3/4 pound mushrooms (I like crimini)
2 teaspoons tarragon
1 garlic clove
1 tablespoon olive oil


2 large tomatoes
1 to 2 teaspoons of celery salt
1/2 baked potato
1 cup bread crumbs
black pepper to taste

Bring to a boil, then turn heat down and simmer for 20 minutes.  Puree in blender.  Serve!