Reclaiming my Mojo

Hi Friends,

I have been in a cooking/blogging slump for a good month now.  Yesterday afternoon I had enough and decided it was time to get my booty in the kitchen.  It was great fun :)

First up, a batch of Genius Blondies from Katie.  In strange move, I decided to get rid of all my square/rectangular pans because I my round/oval ones were so much nicer.  I question my logic behind this choice now and blame my tiny, apartment kitchen set up….. So I ended up with a 9 inch pie plate full of gooey, vegan blondie goodness.

There was a most lovely doughiness in the middle of these guys.  I love vegan baked good because you can totally get away with under cooking them a bit.  I topped with some greek yogurt and maple syrup for dessert last night. 

I was craving bacon for dinner and recalled seeing a little bacon/avocado/socca creation on Lori’s blog a last week.  It had been far too long since I had made anything from Clean Food so I decided to adapt the Green Goddess Dip a bit to use in my dinner creation.

Into the food processor went half a box extra firm silken tofu, half a large avocado, a big handful of cilantro, 4 chopped green onions, juice from a small lemon, a big spoonful of miso, a big squirt of spicy brown mustard and a splash of rice vinegar.  I am kicking myself for not measuring more closely.  The dressing is a nice mix of creamy, tangy, and greeeeeen :)

I made a half batch of socca and topped with the dressing, romaine, cherry tomatoes and bacon.  Partnered with grilled asparagus, it made for a lovely little dinner.

It felt so good to spend the evening in the kitchen cooking again.  I think my mojo is back and Art certainly appreciated a nice dinner. 

Later,

Kate

Spring has Sprung?!

Hi Friends,

I don’t want to jinx it, but I think spring may be making its way to Minnesota.  All fingers and toes are crossed in anticipation of temps in the mid 40s predicted for this week.  I decided to do a little spring cleaning of the blog this weekend and change-up the theme.  I updated the blogroll and recipe page too.  I like how it looks but don’t think I am completely satisfied.  More changes could be on the way!

Check out the nice pictures of last night’s dinner.  Thank you daylight savings time!  I can’t remember the last time I was able to take a non flashy picture at 6:30pm.

I decided to make a springy, picnic inspired meal.  I made the Savory “Unbaked” Beans recipe but Clean Food but added three pieces of cooked, crumbled bacon to the mix.  As always, Terry Walters did not disappoint.  Hope she didn’t mind that I de-veganised the recipe.  I tossed a bag of coleslaw mix with a bit of olive oil, red wine vinegar, sea salt, and pepper.  Cooked quinoa rounded out the meal.  Simple and satisfying.

Do you have a go to cookbook that always turns out well?

Spring break countdown = 5 days!

Later

Kate

Cookies and Dip

Hi Friends,

Thanks for your comments on my last post about going gluten free.  Please know that I did quite a bit of research and reflection before I made the decision to give up gluten for at least six weeks.  I honestly do not think that I have Celiacs disease but a gluten intolerance.  Even if I do not notice any changes to my health, I thought the experience would be nice to have especially since I want to ultimately become a health counselor and could be advising people to do the same.  Again, please ask any questions that you may have.

So, Friday morning I had intentions for being productive and banging out a bunch of homework.   While at the gym I got the cooking bug and couldn’t my brain off of spinachy dill dip and gluten free cookies.  I think I could happily subside on dips and desserts :)

Spinach and Dill Dip

- 1 can cannellini beans rinse and drained

- 2 cloves garlic

- juice from half a lemon

- 3 TB olive oil

- 1 TB tahini

- 1 1/2 TB dried dill

- pinch of sea salt

- three big handfuls of spinach

- Place all ingredients thru sea salt in a food processor and process until smooth.  Add spinach and continue to food process until mixture reaches desired consistency.

Check out how green it is!  The dill is heavy in this mixture but I am ok with that.  I love dill!  It reminds me of spring for some reason.  I would love to add hard boiled eggs and some celery to this and make an egg salad creation.

I really wanted to give a gluten free baked good another try and recalled a recipe for peanut butter chocolate chip cookies I tried last year.  I, of corse, had to tinker with it a bit and came up with the following :) 

Gluten Free Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cookies

- 1/2 cup peanut butter

- 1/2 cup CocoAlmNut Butter

- 1/4 cup honey

- 1/2 cup brown sugar

- 1 egg

- 1/2 tsp baking soda

- 1/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour

- 1 Endangered Species Dark Chocolate and Coca Nib bar, chopped

- Preheat oven to 350.

- In large bowl, combine the nut butters, honey, brown sugar, egg, and baking soda.  Stir in the gluten free flour.  Fold in the chopped chocolate bar.

- Drop by the spoonful onto cookie sheets and bake for 9 min.  Makes 15 medium/large cookies.

These turned out wonderfully!  Crispy outside but gooey in the center, just how I like my cookies.  The batter without the gluten free flour was a bit more liquidy than liked which I attribute to using honey instead of all sugar.  I decided to add the gluten free flour in an attempt to thicken it up a bit.  Art and I were both fans.  I am sharing some with family today so hopefully they will enjoy as well.

What are two food groups you could subside on?!

Have a lovely weekend!

Kate

Food Energetics

Hi Friends,

In my Integrative Nutrition studies, they have talked a lot about the energetics of food and how it affects you.  The theory goes that everything we consume has an energy associated with it.  This energy can be attributed to how it grows, how it has been raised, how it is cooked, the kind of environment it is cooked it and so on.  This energy is then passed on to you as eat and digest it.

A carrot, for example, is a sturdy vegetable that is rooted deeply in the earth.  Therefore it has a grounding, balancing affect on your body when you eat it.  Apples grow on trees close to the sunlight.  They take on the energy of the sun and when you eat them you feel light and energized.   Food cooked quickly in a busy restaurant kitchen has a more frantic energy.  Home cooked foods in have more clam, peaceful energy about them.  Make sense?

I thought a lot about this concept has I was cooking dinners this weekend.  What kind of energy was the food putting into my body?  And did I notice the effects?

Saturday evening I made a very yummy pork tenderloin stir fry with clementines and bok choy from a recipe I found on epicurious.com.  It was a flavorful, spicy dish that I cooked in my wok.  I loved how it tasted and could feel my body warming up from the spices.  I felt very sharp and witty on Saturday evening.  Perhaps this was due to the high heat that quickly cooked the meat and vegetables? 

On Sunday I started a vegetable curry recipe I found on myrecipes.com cooking in the crock pot before I left for work.  We enjoyed this dish too.  I didn’t notice it much of a change in myself after eating this meal.  I typically eat meals similar to this one.  My body could be well adjusted to the energy of beans and vegetables so I do not notice much of change within myself?

(Art wanted me to post a picture of the curry with mango chutney in the background.  He has his fingers crossed that the photo will be his ticket to receiving free mango chutney from the company :) )

What do you think about the energetics of food?  Do you notice different energies in your body based on what you have eaten?  I find this to be super interesting and would love to hear your observations

A photo of my haircut was requested.  It isn’t the greatest pic but I think it you can get the jist of the cut.  My directive to my stylist was “shorter with enough sass to get me through to spring.”  I am satisfied!

My classes (finally!) start this week.  It is going to a be busy semester but I am quite excite.  My brain is in need of exercise :)

Later,

Kate

Fun With Sweet Potatoes

Hi Friends,

Thank you for your well wishes yesterday.  I am half convinced that my sickies were attributed to the fact that Art likes to leave the heat up really high in our apartment all night long.  I doubt there is any medical evidence behind this, but I am sure sweating all night long can’t be good for you.  Right?!  After more rest yesterday morning, I was feeling better by lunch time. 

Ok, on to the food!  I attempted sweet potato falafels in the fall but wasn’t super pleased with how they turned out.  This second attempt proved to be much better.  Can you still call them falafel’s if they aren’t ball shaped?

Sweet Potato Falafels – Round 2

- 1 cup chick peas

- 3/4 cup baked sweet potato

- 1 TB olive oil

- 1 heaping TB garlic hummus

- 1 tsp cumin

- 1/4 tsp cayenne

- 2 big handfuls of cilantro

- 3 TB cornmeal

- Combine chickpeas through cilantro in a large bowl.  Mash all ingredients together until well combine.  (I used my immersion blender but a potato masher would work as well.)

- Stir in cornmeal until mixture thickens up and isn’t quite so sticky.

- Form into patties and cook over medium high heat in a greased skillet.

I was left with five, flavorful falafel patties.  The cornmeal added a nice crispy texture that previous attempt was lacking.  Art suggested using mango chutney for dippage.  This was a the perfect accompaniment.  I would definitely make this recipe again.

I saved about a 1/4 cup of sweet potato to play with in a smoothie.  I saw this recipe on the lovely Lori’s blog and was inspired!

Sweet Cranberry Smoothie

- 1/4 cup baked sweet potato

- 1/3 cup frozen cranberries

- 1/2 a small frozen banana

- 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder

- cinnamon and cardamom

- 3/4 cup Unsweetened So Delicious Coconut Milk

- Combine all ingredients in blender.  Mix until creamy.

YUM!  I loved this smoothie.  Topped with some gluten free granola and flax seed it made for a great breakfast.  Plus it was just so pretty to look at.  The color was a gorgeous shade of salmon that my crappy, flashy photo does nothing to fully capture.  Thank you Lori for the inspiration!

What is your favorite way to eat a sweet potato?

Later,

Kate

Future Fun

Hi Friends,

I got a little email from WordPress yesterday with blog facts from 2010.  This lead me to think about what I want to do with the For the Love of Breakfast in 2011.  First up, I think that I may discontinue round 2 of the 30 Days of Breakfast Challenge.  I am feeling slightly uninspired in that department as of late.  Sorry!  Here is what I am thinking I will blog about in 2011:

– Kitchen experiments and recipes.

– Updates on my quarterly projects.  (I have been successful with my anti acne diet thus far!  More details on that later this week.)

– Things I am learning in school.  I am starting the Integrative Nutrition distance learning program on January 10th.  I am pumped! I will use their classes as independent study credits for my masters.

– Little bits of daily life!

How does that sound?  And be forewarned, I reserve the right to switch this up whenever I feel like it :)

I wanted to make a black-eyed pea dish on January 1st to  bring us good luck in the new year.  The co-op was totally out black-eyed peas, canned and dried, when I went shopping around noon.  I guess there will be lots of lucky folks in 2011.   I improvised and was very pleased with the result.

Beans and Rice and Greens

- 3 slices bacon

- 1/2 an onion chopped

- 3 cloves garlic chopped

- 1 TB olive oil

- 1 bunch collard greens, stems removed and chopped

- 1 can red beans, drained and rinsed

- salt and pepper to taste

- cooked brown rice

- Cook bacon according to package.  Remove from pan and drain grease from the pan.

- In same pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Cook onion and garlic until they soften slightly, about 5 mins.  Add collards to pan and cook until they start to wilt and turn bright green.  ( I added a splash of water as my collards seemed a little too dry).

- Add beans, salt and pepper to pan.  Continue to cook for another 5 min.  Crumble bacon on top of beans and greens and stir.

Serve with brown rice.

This was really easy to make.  The simple flavors complimented each other nicely.  Everything worked together to make for a satisfying, healthy meal that will hopefully bring us a bit of luck in 2011.

Happy first Monday of the new year!

Kate

Chilli Time

Hi Friends,

Despite the fact that the weather was positively lovely and in the 60s both Saturday and Sunday, it seemed like the right time of year to make a big old pot of chilli.  I love chilli and could probably eat it all winter long if necessary.  I try not to make my first pot too early in the season.  I like to wait until it feels like winter is on the brink of surfacing.  I do this with my winter coat too.  I delay breaking it out for as long as possible.  I know that once it surfaces, I will sentenced to dragging it around for a good six months.  booooo.

Enough rambling.  The best part about chilli is that you can dump just about anything in and it will turn out ok.  Last nights batch was an attempt to clean out odds and ends in our refrigerator.

– I started by sautéing a small onion in olive oil and added three cloves garlic, two small bell peppers, and chilli powder.

– I then added about 1 1/2 cups boxed roasted red pepper soup and the end of a jar of salsa (maybe 3/4 a cup). 

– Once the mix was simmering, I added a 20oz can of black beans, a 20 oz can of pinto beans, the end of a bag of frozen corn and a few dashes of hot sauce.

The real star of the dinner was the last bits of the pumpkin spice chevre that we used to top the chilli.   The combination of the sweet cheese and the spicy chilli was very nice!  Perhaps my favorite part of making chilli is having plenty of leftovers to enjoy all week.  yay!  

I stumbled upon a nice quote from Emerson that I thought fit nicely with my gratitude theme for the month.

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Isn’t that nice?  It is very easy for me to focus on the things that I am unhappy with.  But I have so much to be thankful for and so much to good stuff going on.  Giving my attention to those things is so much more pleasant.  With that I give you Nugget 7.

Yummy Leftovers!  I am so glad to be able to afford and prepare good food.  I am very thankful to have some all ready to pack up and eat throughout the course of the week.

Happy Monday! 

Kate

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