Friday, December 31, 2010

Frugan: Oh that Gluten Free Pizza!

Caramelized Onion, Pear and 'Goat Cheese' Flatbread Pizza

I think Pizza is one of the meals that people avoiding gluten miss the most! I know I sure did, so I developed a simple recipe that is not only super tasty, but frugal as well. This dough is actually easier than traditional dough. There is no kneading and no mess. It is best to let the dough sit overnight in the fridge, but it can be used after rising for an hour if you really can't wait. I ask that the first time you make it, please let it sit overnight to develop a better texture and better flavor. 

I use Bob's All Purpose Gluten Free Baking Mix in this recipe. I have never tried it with another brand. This is available to me and if it ain't broke, don't fix it! I can't guarantee the same results with other flours or subs. If you try it with subs, I'd love it if you left me a comment letting me know what you did and how it worked out! 

GF Pizza Dough
  • 1.5 c warm water
  • 1 T yeast
  • 1 T sugar
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 T balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ c golden flax meal
  • ½ t crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • ½ t rosemary
  • 2 c Bob’s All Purpose GF Baking Mix
  • ½ c cornmeal
  • 1 t chunky sea salt ( or ½ t fine ground )
  1. Bloom yeast in water and sugar for 5 minutes
  2. Add oil, vinegar, flax and spices. Whisk well
  3. Stir in flour, cornmeal and salt until very well incorporated. 
  4. Let rise for at least an hour or overnight
  5. Pre-heat oven to 425
  6. Sprinkle greased parchment paper with cornmeal,form into the shape you want then bake for 10 minutes
  7.  Flip dough, add toppings and bake for another 10 minutes 

See the whisk? This is the texture of the dough. It is not dough like, so don't be concerned by how runny it is.
After sitting overnight, it will be a little more dough like, but you will still need to spoon it on to the parchment and smooth it out with a spoon to get the desired shape.
Alternatively, you can spoon some out in a cast iron heated to medium and cook for 5 minutes on the first side and 2 minutes on the second side.

This week, I will have several of recipe for cultured nut and seeds cheese on the blog along with kicking up Operation Booty Shrink into high gear!

If you are looking for recipe for Black Eyed Peas and Greens, click HERE!

Have a wonderful and SAFE New Years Eve!!! I am so glad that all of you lovely people have been in my life over the past 4 years! 

Peace and Good luck and Eat Your PEAS and GREENS!!
Jorda says Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Lucky Black Eyed Peas and Greens!

Happy New Year Black Eyed Peas

Even though I am not from the south, I bring in the New Year with Black Eyed Peas and Greens. 

I have made our New Years meal already this year ( it's in the freezer ) because I am pretty busy the next couple of days and I don't want to miss out on one of my favorite traditions! 

New Years Day Black Eyed Peas

  • 4 T EVOO
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 small stalk celery, diced
  • 1 medium green pepper, diced
  • 10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1-3 Chipotle Peppers in Adobo
  • 1 C dried black eyed peas
  • 3 c veggie broth or water
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes and their juice
  • ¼ t lemon zest
  • 1 c fresh parsley
  • 1 T fresh thyme, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 t liquid smoke
  • Freshly ground pepper and soy sauce to taste
  1. Heat a heavy bottomed soup pan to medium heat
  2. Add oil, onion, celery, pepper, garlic and old bay
  3. Sauté for 10 minutes
  4. Add chipotle, black eyed peas and broth
  5. Cover and bring to a strong simmer. Cook for 30 minutes
  6. Add tomatoes, zest, parsley, thyme and lemon juice; cook uncovered for 15 more minutes
  7. Taste and adjust seasonings
  8. Garnish with Gremolata ( recipe follows )
You can't have black eyed peas without your greens, so here is one of my favorite ways to prepare them. You can use collards, kale, mustard greens, spinach, chard, beet greens, cabbage, escarole or any mixture of the above. I am partial to a kale and collard mix. To prep your greens, chop them well, then fill a HUGE bowl ( or a sink ) with cold water and a splash of vinegar. Let the greens rise to the top, allowing all of the grit to sink to the bottom. Lift out of the water. Do this twice ( three times for extra sandy bunches ).  Don't spin dry, you want the water on the greens to help them cook. Now, a note about the stems. Many people suggest de-stemming the collards and kale. I don't bother. I have several  reasons for this. First, I am frugal and this gives me more food! Second, I believe that the stems carry vital life force and I like to eat them and third, I am lazy! If you feel the need to de-stem, go right ahead. I don't use all of the stem, just the part that is connected to the leaves ( unless I am cooking chard or beet greens, then I use the whole stem.)

New Years Day Greens

  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 1 t chipotle powder or smoked paprika if you don’t want the heat
  • 1 large onion, sliced in half moons
  • 6 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 T chopped ginger
  • Pinch Tony’s Cajun Seasoning
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 10 c chopped collards or kale 
  • 1/4 c chopped dehydrated sun dried tomatoes (optional)
  • ½ c water
  • 1 bouillon cube
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 T nutritional yeast
  • 2 T toasted sesame seeds
  1. Chop Greens, wash well and set aside (don’t dry the greens)
  2. Heat a large skillet to medium and add the oil, chipotle, onion, garlic, ginger and a pinch of Tony’s seasoning or salt
  3. Sauté for 10 minutes or so
  4. De-glaze with vinegar; add the collards, tomatoes, water and bouillon
  5. Cover and Cook for 15 minutes
  6. Add freshly ground pepper to taste, top with yeast sesame seeds before serving

This meal is great served with Gluten Free Cornbread or Basmati Rice and topped with Gremolata. 

  • 1 c tightly packed parsley, washed well, dried and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • Juice and zest of 1 big lemon
  • ¼ t salt
  • ¼ t pepper
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil 
Mix everything together

As you can see from the recipes, I like a lot of flavor and spice. If you are unsure about the level of garlic, feel free to use less. If you don't like spicy food, you can substitute smoked paprika for the chiopotle. Start with 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika to replace 1 chipotle pepper and add more to taste. 

Here are some links to more Black Eyed Pea recipes:
If you're looking for a yummy Raw Collard salad recipe, click HERE for my Collard Apple Slaw.

Remember, a great way to get your greens is in a Green Smoothie!
  • 2 c spinach
  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 1 T flax meal
  • 2 C water 
What are your favorite ways to eat your Peas and Greens?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Frugan: Mushroom Barley Chickpea Soup and Polenta

I had some mushrooms leftover from our Christmas dinner and we were expecting a blizzard, which of course made me think of having a hearty soup simmering on the stove.

I used to hate mushrooms growing up. I don't think I developed a taste for them until I was in my early 20's and my X insisted on topping pizza with them. Now I love them. As a side note, I also hated cilantro until I was 19 and pregnant and all of a sudden I couldn't get enough of it.

Mushroom Barley Soup with Chickpeas
  • 2 T olive oil or Earth Balance
  • 1 t dried thyme
  • Heaping  ½  t poultry seasoning
  • Heaping ¼ t smoked paprika
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 8 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 t Tony’s Cajun seasoning
  • 2 c chopped mushrooms
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1.5 c chickpeas and their liquid
  • 5 c water
  • 2 T Dijon
  • 2 T nutritional yeast
  • ½ c barley
  • 1 c chopped green beans (optional )
  • 1 c chopped parsley
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 c Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1 T fresh Thyme ( if you have it )
  1. Over medium heat in a heavy bottom soup pot, place dried spices in oil, add the onion, garlic, carrot, Tony’s and mushrooms.
  2.  Sauté for 10 minutes. 
  3. De-glaze with vinegar. Add chickpeas, water, Dijon, yeast and barley
  4. Bring to a boil, cover, turn heat down to simmer 
  5. Cook for 30 minutes
  6. Stir in parsley, green beans, yeast, soy and thyme
  7. Taste and adjust seasoning
Yesterday, it was frigid. The wind was howling and again, I was craving something warming. I had some soup leftover and figured it would go really well over some soft poletna. I was right! I added some TVP and a potato that needed to be used and it became a delicious, stick to your ribs meal. 

I think that I'm going to experiment with some breakfast polenta puddings using my bean milk. Organic, whole grain cornmeal is affordable and available in the bulk sections in your health food store or supermarket.

Stay tuned for a big Black Eyed Pea post either later today or tomorrow! I always eat Beans and Greens for the New Year. This years menu is going to be Cajun Black Eyed Pea stew and Collards. Yum! 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie Pie

I can't believe it. I just lost a HUGE post. uuuggghhhh how frustrating. It said that blogger autosaved, but it didn't. I am so bummed.

To make a long story short. Here is the recipe for my pie.

For the crust you will make a batch of Gluten Free Brownies. Divide the batter into three 9 inch cake pans. Bake for 15 minutes. Now you have two pie crusts ( one you can freeze for future use ) and another crust that you will divide in half and crumble for the topping. Cool the crust completely before filling.

  • 1 box firm silken tofu, drained
  • 1.25 c natural peanut butter
  • 1.25 c packed brown sugar
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • ½ t cinnamon
  • 1 T instant coffee
  • 1 T balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ t salt 
½  crust crumbled + ¼ t nutmeg
1 c chopped roasted peanuts
  1. Blend the ingredients in a food processor, scraping down the sides as necessary. 
  2. Spoon into pie crust and either freeze for and hour or refrigerate overnight
  3. To serve, sprinkle reserved crust and peanuts on top. 
  4. To gild the lily, add some chocolate sauce  or coconut whipped cream
If you click on the chocolate sauce link, you will also find my recipe for Sugar Free, Gluten Free Banana Bread which is really really good.

If you are looking for my Gluten Fee Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing recipe, click HERE.

I have been eating food other than cake and desserts!

Moroccan White Beans and Veggies over Barley ( topped with yummy sauces! )

Balsamic Tofu with Barley and Kale

Blogger is really acting up, I'm going to stop here because I don't want to lose this post too

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Eats ,Mango Lassi and Gluten Free Carrot Cake Recipe

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cheesecake
Just a disclaimer: I did not stick to my budget with this meal. In fact, I spent $30 on ingredients for it, more than I spend in an entire week, but it was worth it. I splurged and don't regret it at all!

I didn't take pics of everything. The baked ziti was super ugly and brown looking because of the pesto and marinara mix, but it was sure taste.

Here's what we had:

  • Baked Ziti with Cashew Tofu Ricotta, freshly made pesto and marinara topped with FYH Mozzarella ( Gluten Free )
  • Green Salad with Almond Feta
  • Garlic Bread baked with Hummus and FYH
  • Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheeseckae ( Gluten Free) 
  • Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing ( Gluten Free )
  • Mango Lassi
  • Organic French Roast Coffee with French Vanilla Soy Creamer and an Assortment of Tea
We ate family style and all in all had a lovely day. My X got me a Kindle! Woohoo! I am soooo excited about that. My boys were happy and it was great having them together and hanging out. For those of you who don't know, my older son is 19 and doesn't live with me and my younger son is 17 and lives with me part time. Having the three of us together in the same room for any length of time is a rarity these days. I drew a line in the sand yesterday; we are going to have at least one family meal a MONTH. That isn't too much to ask for? Parenting  adult (teen) children is a strange thing. It's hard to let go.

My Greek Salad is super simple. Romaine, cukes, tomatoes, carrots, fresh oregano, peppers and almond feta.
Kalamata olives were served on the side since my older son doesn't like them.

One of Turin's ( my younger son ) favorite things to drink is Mango Lassi. He just loves it. I do too and even though it did not really fit in with the menu, I made it.

Mango Lassi

  • 1 lb frozen mango ( or fresh if it's available )
  • 2 c soy yogurt plain or vanilla 
  • 2 c water
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 T rosewater
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • Very scant 1/4 t stevia  powder ( I use KAL Powder )
Blend well; chill for several hours

I have also made this with cultured almond milk. To culture almond milk, make a batch , stir in 1/4 c of  plain soy yogurt and culture overnight in a yogurt maker or a cooler filled with mason jars of very hot water.

As I mentioned, my Baked Ziti was really ugly and I was not about to get all food stylie in the middle of dinner to dress it up, so no pic of that. It was delicious and somewhat expensive because of the cashews, tofu, fresh herbs and vegan cheese!

Now, onto my Gluten Free Carrot Cake! This is one of my favorite things to make and eat. It would always sell out at my last job and I made it at least 4 times a week there.

Gluten Free Carrot Cake

  • 1/2 c golden flax meal
  • 1.5 c rice milk
  • 1 c oil
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 1 t coconut extract
  • 2 c sugar
  • 4 c shredded carrots
  • 1 c dried coconut

  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t nutmeg
  • 1/4 t cardamom
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 2 1/2  c Bob's Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Mix
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1 tub Tofutti Cream Cheese at room temperature
  • 2 T soy yogurt
  • Juice/zest 1 lemon
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • around 1/2 lb powdered sugar ( more or less, just add enough to get it to the consistency you like )
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 grease 2 8 inch pans
  2. In a large bowl add the wet ingredients. Mix very well. 
  3. Sift together dry ingredients and stir into the wet ingredients. Mix very well. 
  4. Pour into cake pans; bake for 30 minutes ( or until a toothpick comes out clean ) 
  5. Cool completely 
  6. In a food processor, add the cream cheese, yogurt, lemon juice/zest and powdered sugar. Pulse until it reaches the texture you desire
  7. Frost. Depending on how much sugar you use, you can almost pour the frosting on. That's what I like to do because I can't be bothered frosting a cake
  8. Grate nutmeg over the cake after it's frosted
  9. Chill cake well before eating so the frosting will set up.

Finally, I just wanted to end this post to clear up a misconception a reader of mine had. Apparently, they thought I was eating for $1 a day ; feeding 3 people on $3.33 a day. I'm not! I am pretty much feeding myself and ONE Of my sons who only lives with me part time, so that's not even two people. More like 1.5 people. There's no way I could have the variety on this blog if I was only spending 1 dollar a day per person!

Stay tuned for the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake recipe later on this week.

We are supposed to get a huge blizzard today, so I'm going to make a big pot of Mushroom Barley/Chickpea  Stew to warm up!

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Moroccan Raw Daikon Pasta

I made a quick, delicious breakfast this morning using the two sauces from my last post.  I spiralized the daikon,  ( I paid $.29/lb for the daikon! ) tossed it with the Sesame Mint Chutney and some finely minced ginger and topped it off with the All Purpose Moroccan Sauce, toasted sesame seeds and a bit of soy sauce.

To all of you who celebrate Christmas, I hope you have a wonderful holiday!

I am excited about the new year. Operation Booty Shrink will be in full force and I will be posting a lot recipes that maximize flavor for minimal cost and calories.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Frugan: Saucy Saucy

Sesame Mint Chutney

When you are watching both your waistline and your budget, sometimes it is hard to get enough flavor in your food. There are endless varieties of condiments available at the store or online, but they are pricey and often full of ingredients that are less than wholesome.  I am going to share two simple recipes that are full of flavor. You might notice that I am liberal with the olive oil, but it is necessary for both flavor and as a preservative. You will use less than a tablespoon to flavor your food, so it still fits in nicely with my 400 calorie mini meals. 

I use mint in our first sauce. It's important that you wash and dry the mint well before use.
I like to fill up a bowl of water, and gently swish the mint around, letting the dirt fall to the bottom naturally. I lift the mint and place it on a dish towel to dry. Just make sure you don't bruise the herb. It will turn brown faster if you do. 

Mint Sesame Chutney

½ c loosely packed mint leaves; washed and dried well
¼ c onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, pressed
5 T apple cider vinegar
½ t chunky salt ( ¼ t fine grain salt )
2 T toasted sesame seeds
½ c EVOO

  1. Pulse mint, onion, garlic, vinegar and salt in a food processor
  2. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the sesame seeds and evoo
It is important to stir in the olive oil by hand. Sometimes, olive oil can become bitter if worked too hard in a processor or blender. 
Our second sauce is similar to Harissa. It is smokey, spicy and tangy flavored with caraway, cumin, coriander and peppers. If you do not like spice, you can substitute the chipotle with smoked paprika and if you don't like smoke flavor, use sweet paprkia or cayenne for spice. 

Moroccan All Purpose Sauce 
  • ½ c EVOO
  • 1 large red or orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 t cumin 
  • 2 t caraway seed
  • Scant 1/8 t cinnamon
  • 1 t chipotle or smoked paprika 
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 T chunky sea salt ( or 1.5 t fine grain salt )
  • ½ c tomato sauce
  • ½ c water 
  • ½ c apple cider vinegar

  1. In a non reactive skillet add oil, pepper, spices, onion, garlic and salt. 
  2. Turn heat to medium and cook for 30 minutes, stirring often
  3. Add the sauce, water and vinegar
  4. Cover then simmer for 20 more minutes
  5. Puree in a food processor or blender

These will keep for 4-5 days in the fridge, but I doubt they will last that long! 

For lunch today, I made a Barely, White Bean and Vegetable Stew like dish. I topped it with both of the sauces and it was sure delicious! 

What are your favorite condiments? Do you have any requests for a specific recipe?  

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Thai Tofu and Veggies, Sun Cake

I made a version of one of my kids favorite dishes for dinner tonight. It's a Thai spiced tofu and veggie stew served over brown rice and it is so good! I usually use a 15 oz can of coconut milk, but today, I threw the coconut milk in my vitamix along with some warm water and pureed it and used half of it. No need to buy lite coconut milk, just do this and you get twice as much for the same price.

Simple Thai Tofu and Veggies
  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 1 t cumin seeds
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 2 t ground coriander
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 10 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1/4 cup freshly diced or grated ginger root
  • pinch salt/pepper
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 2 c chopped waxy potatoes ( around 2 )
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 6 c collards or other greens
  • 15 oz lite coconut milk ( or half a can of regular mixed with water to fill the can )
  • 4 Kaffir lime leave
  • 2 tbsp lemongrass
  • 14 oz extra firm tofu, dry fried 
  • 1-2 c veggie stock or water
  • Soy sauce to taste
  • Siracha to taste
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped

  1. Dry Fry Tofu ( and do the rest of the prep while you are doing this )
  2. Heat a heavy bottomed 4 qt pot to medium heat, add oil and spices; toast for a minute
  3. Add onion, garlic, ginger, salt and pepper. Saute for 10 minutes
  4. De-glaze with vinegar
  5. Add potatoes, carrots, collards, coconut milk, lime leaves, lemongrass, tofu and stock.
  6. Bring to a strong simmer. Cover and let cook until the potatoes are done, around 30 minutes
  7. Season with Soy sauce, Siracha, Lime juice and Cilantro. If you are using the lemongrass and lime leaf, add to the onion mixture in the beginning. 
  8. Taste and adjust seasoning, serve over rice

I ran out of Siracha while making this. I might try to make my own, but maybe not. It may be cheaper to just buy it. I am going to do a post soon about what things I feel are worth spending money on. Siracha is one of them!

Do you guys want me to list everything I buy for the week and include receipts? I was doing it for a while, but it got a little tedious, but if enough people want me to you can leave a comment or email me ( email link is on my profile ).

For the Solstice, I baked a Sun Cake to leave out last night. I like to write my goals for the year and leave them out with cake for the sun. I was playing around with recipes and knew it was a gamble. Gluten free, sugar free citrus coconut cake. Stevia is just not meant to be used in certain recipes and this was one of them. Oh well, it's the thought and intention that counts!  Failure makes me appreciate success all the more.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Frugan: Beets three ways.

I have been on a beet kick lately since finding organic bunches for $2.99. It's a great deal because you get two veggies for one. The beautiful beets and their greens. I got 6 cups of beet greens per bunch; perfect for soups and sautes and they're organic! 

I tend to go through phases with flavors and lately, I've been using lots of fresh ginger. I like to dice it so you get these itty bitty bursts of flavor, with almost a crunchy texture. Fresh oregano ( buy the fresh herbs if you can, you can hang them to dry if you can't eat them all ), beets and ginger have making appearances in several over the past couple of days. 

The soup above was full of white beans, beet greens, carrots, potatoes, tomato, oregano and ginger. I finished it with some delicious cultured almond cheese sauce.  The sauce was made my my cultured almond cheese, orange peppers and smoked paprika. Super good.

The dish on the left was a beet infused savory oatmeal. Again, I used fresh oregano and ginger. Oatmeal is so warming and comforting during the winter and very very inexpensive. Finally, no matter how cold it is, I enjoy salads. Shredded beets and carrots, organic spring mix ( reduced produce bin $1.99)  and a mock blue cheese dressing ( made from cultured almond cheese ) totally hit the spot for one of my mini meals.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Frugan: Creamy Tomato Soup & WholeSoy & Co Recipes

Creamy tomato soup is probably one of my go to comfort foods. Growing up, it was a special treat when my mother would get canned soup. ( It was our junk food! )

It is simple to make your own healthy and delicious soup in 20 minutes if you have some cooked white beans on hand.

Creamy Tomato Soup

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 6 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1/4 t red pepper flakes ( if desired )
  • pinch allspice
  • 1 t dried basil
  • 1/4 t marjoram
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • Pinch salt/pepper
  • 1 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1 c vegetable stock 
  • 3 c canned tomatoes 
  • 15 oz white beans 
  • 1/2 c fresh herbs of choice ( basil, cilantro, dill, parsley )
  • 1/4 c nutritional yeast 
  • Salt/pepper to taste

  1. In a heavy bottomed soup pot add oil, garlic and dried spices.
  2. Turn heat to medium and cook until the garlic becomes very fragrant
  3. Add onion, carrot, pinch salt and pepper; cook well, stirring frequently for 3 minutes. 
  4. Deglaze with vinegar; add stock. Cover and turn heat to high. Cook for 10 minutes
  5. Meanwhile, add the tomatoes and white beans to a blender and blend until super creamy
  6. Add tomato/beans to the soup, turn heat down to medium, cover and cook until hot. 
  7. Stir in herbs and nutritional yeast. Taste and adjust salt/pepper levels. 
Yum yum and really easy. This soup freezes well and actually improves chilling out for a couple of weeks. The fresh herbs really infuse the flavor when they are frozen.

Here's the link to the WholeSoy & Co website where I'm the week's featured chef! You can find my recipes for Red Pepper Soup, Scallion Flatbread, Sweet and Savory Cranberry Crostata and Chocolate Mint Cupcakes HERE. They have a lot of great recipes from talented chefs many of us know well from the blogosphere.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Frugan: Organic Braised Beet Greens

I'm back to eating my mini meals today and I'm already feeling healthier! I am trying to eat more organic when possible and always on the lookout for deals. I scored some delicious organic beets for $2.99 a bunch while testing recipes. I had to go to a store I don't usually frequent for an ingredient and realized that there are deals to be had everywhere. You just have to look!

These braised beet greens were topped with a couple T of my cultured almond cheese and made a delicious mini meal. I like my food spicy, so I included red pepper flakes and Tony's Cajun Seasoning. You could leave them out and just use a good seasoned salt instead.

Braised Beet Greens and Peppers
2 big or 4 small servings
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 10 cloves garlic, sliced
  • ½ t crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ t rosemary
  • 2 c sliced onions
  • 1 large red or orange bell pepper
  • 1 small carrot
  •  very scant ½ t Tony’s Cajun Seasoning
  • 2 T Balsamic Vinegar
  • 8 cups chopped beet greens
  • ½ c vegetable stock
  • 1-2 T soy sauce ( taste after 1 )
  • Freshly Ground Pepper
  • 1/8 t freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 T nutritional yeast
  1. In a 12 inch skillet place oil, garlic, pepper flakes and rosemary. Turn heat to low and slowly allow the garlic to caramelize. This will take around 15 minutes. Use this time to prep the rest of the ingredients
  2. Add the onion, pepper, carrots and Tony’s and turn heat to medium. Sauté for 10 minute or so 
  3. Deglaze with the balsamic vinegar. Add greens and stock
  4. Cover and cook for 15 minutes
  5. Add soy sauce, pepper nutmeg and nutritional yeast. Taste and adjust seasonings.

I hope everyone is having a great week so far!
Stay warm!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Last of the teasing

Last of the recipe teasing. These Chocolate Mint Cupcakes are the end of my recipes for Whole Soy & Co. I will link to them once they are up.

I have had failed at my Operation Booty Shrink today. The last three days, I have been slipping by eating crap for my mini meals and today I just ate whatever including two cupcakes. I really need to stay away from wheat and sugar. I know I sound like a broken record. It's OK though. Tomorrow is a new day and I will choose wisely.

I may just do a mini green smoothie cleanse tomorrow. I have tons of bananas and collards and beet greens. It's really cold, but I can warm up with hot ginger tea.

I am really excited about the new year. I have a lot of fun ideas and plans and really want to travel somehow! I know for sure I'll be in Portland this summer for Vida Vegan and visiting my very best friend in the world and welcoming her 5th baby!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

More Teasing..

I scored red and orange bell peppers today for $1.19/lb, so I whipped up this spicy Middle Eastern themed soup along with some scallion flatbread. I will link to the recipes once they are up on the Whole Soy and Company site.

I just love the reduced produce bin at Market Basket. Saturday, I found daikon for $.20/lb. Woohoo!  You do have to kind of pick through it a bit, but I have found really good quality fruits and vegetables.  Lately, I've been shopping several times a week and find that I am getting a better variety. Largely due to the reduced produce bin. The best time to score is usually about an hour after the delivery truck comes in. Make friend with your produce people... they will hook you up!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Just a tease................

Cranberry Crostata

I'm developing a couple of recipes for WholeSoy and Co .. here's one I just pulled out of the oven. I will link to the recipe once it's up on the site!

Don’t let the long list of ingredients and steps turn you off of this recipe. You will have extra chutney and almond cheese for use in future recipes and a lot of the time is down time. You can double the dough recipe and freeze half for future use if desired.

Sweet and Savory Chutney Crostata
Melody Polakow

 Basic Pastry Dough

8 oz unbleached all purpose flour
¼ t salt
1 T sugar
½ c vegan margarine
¼ c soy yogurt
1 - 2 T ice water

In a food processor place flour, salt, sugar and margarine.
Pulse until mixture resembles sand
Add yogurt and pulse until yogurt is incorporated
Add ice water by the T until mixture just comes

Filling ( here’s my spicy cranberry chutney recipe. You can use 2 cups of your favorite store bought chutney if desired)

2 c cranberries
2 apples
2 Serrano chilies
1 T chopped fresh ginger
Juice of 2 oranges
2 3 inch pieces of orange zest
½ c apple cider vinegar
1 t cinnamon
1 ¼ c sugar
½ t salt

Place in saucepan and cover. Cook over medium heat for 30 minutes or so. Stir often.

Cultured Almond Cheese

8 oz ( around 1 ½ c almonds ) soaked overnight
¼ c   soy yogurt
¾  t salt

Drain almonds and place ingredients in a food processor.
Pulse until  mixture resembles feta cheese
Place in a covered bowl and store mixture overnight

To assemble Crostata:
Pre-heat over to 450
Roll out dough, line a baking sheet with parchment
Place dough on parchment, making sure the sides of the dough are thicker and will hold the filling
Spread around 2 cups of chutney on dough
Sprinkle almond cheese on top
Bake for 20 - 25 minutes
Sprinkle mint on each piece before serving if desired

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Frugan: Gluten Free Carrot Cake Blondie Bars & simple eats

Gluten Fee Carrot Cake Blondies

I am entering these yummy Blondies in the Earth Balance Made Just Right recipe contest. 

I've been a bit burnt out with blogging lately.  My food has been kind of boring!. Basically, I've been eating leftover and soup and soup and more soup and a pasta stewish thing for days... and salad and my healthy banana bread with peanut butter.

My son has been at his dads almost all week, so it's been really simple here. The above dish was just brown rice pasta, white beans and veggies cooked in one pot all together.  I had this for dinner two nights in a row. 

Salad has rounded out my meals. I'm still doing the Mini Meal thing for the first part of the day, but at night I have a bigger meal. It seems to be working. I will weigh myself on the 21st. 

I pressure cooked a pound of pintos last night, so I'm sure some good mexican food is in the future!

What are your favorite ways to eat Pinto Beans? Do you have any recipes you'd like to see using them? 

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Monday, December 06, 2010

Frugan: Borscht with Caramelized Shallot Sour Cream

I developed this delicious Borscht for Northeast Flavor's website as part of a simple Hanukkah dinner. I used quite a bit of oil in the recipe for full flavor, but feel free reduce it oil by 2 T if desired. It will still be delicious. I topped it with caramelized shallot sour cream ( I used tofutti ), but if you don't want to deal with the hassle of peeling all those shallots, use a red onion and the flavor will be pretty similar. Next time, I am going to replace the sour cream with white beans and roasted garlic. I think that would be a delicious topping.

4 T olive oil
1 t caraway seeds
1 T dried dill
4 t  smoked paprika
2 large onions, diced
10 cloves garlic, pressed
½ c carrots , diced ( 1 small )
2 T tomato paste
1.5 t salt
Pinch pepper
3 T apple cider vinegar
3 medium beets, peeled and diced. Wash and chop beet greens ; set aside.
4 c cabbage, shredded
Reserved beet greens
2 c  waxy potatoes, diced ( around 2 medium )
15 oz can canellini beans, drained or 1.5 cups cooked beans
6 c good quality vegetable broth ( lo w sodium )
2 T soy sauce
2 T apple cider vinegar
2 T fresh dill
Garnish with:
Caramelized Shallot Sour Cream  ( recipe follows)


  1. In a heavy bottomed 8 qt pot over medium heat, warm spices in the oil for 20 seconds. Ad onion, garlic, carrots  and tomato paste along with salt and pepper.
  2. Sauté for 10 minutes stirring well or until the vegetables are fragrant.
  3. De-glaze with apple cider vinegar
  4. Add beets, cabbage, beet greens, potatoes , beans and broth. Turn heat to medium-hi and cover.
  5. Cook for 35 minutes. While soup is cooking, caramelize shallots
  6. When soup is finished, stir in apple cider vinegar, soy sauce and fresh dill 

Caramelized Shallot Sour Cream
2 c shallots, coarsely chopped
2 T olive oil or cooking spray
Pinch salt/pepper
¼ t smoked paprika
½ t sugar
2 c sour cream
1 T fresh dill
Pinch sea salt

  1. Use a cast iron skillet over low heat
  2. Add shallots, oil, salt/pepper, paprika and sugar
  3. Cook for 30 minutes or until very brown.
  4. Stir often
  5. Let mixture cool
  6. Stir into sour cream along with dill. 

If you are really watching your wallet, fresh beets can be a little pricey. You can substitute canned beets if need be, although fresh beets are much better, plus you get the fabulous beet greens. 

Beet greens can be sauted like chard and are delicious with roasted garlic. Stir some into whole wheat or brown rice pasta along with some cultured seed cheese, olives, chickpeas, and tomatoes for a delicious meal. 

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Vegan 5 Spice Sesame Fritters

I developed this recipe for Northeast Flavor's website and figured I should post it here too. I am somewhat hesitant because it is not healthy, but it is Hanukkah and in the spirit of honoring the oil here ya go! We'll be back to our regular scheduled program tomorrow with a delicious and healthy recipe for White Bean Borscht.

I added 5 spice powder, sesame seeds and orange zest ( from my freezer of course ), but you could any of your favorite spices. I was originally going drizzle syrup over these, but decided to roll them in cinnamon sugar instead. They would be really delicious drizzled with chocolate. ( just melt chocolate chips with a couple T of chai tea )... chocolate, orange and 5 spice is an amazing flavor combo and the toasted sesame seeds would burst in your mouth with a nutty surprise.

5 Spice Fritters
  • 1/2 c warm water
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1  tsp five spice powder
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp vinegar
  • 3 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp orange zest 
  • 1 1/2 -2 c all purpose flour
  • heaping 1/4 t salt
  • 1 c vegetable oil
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t nutmeg
  1. Place water, yeast and sugar in a mixing bowl. Let yeast bloom for 10 minutes
  2. Add spices, olive oil, vinegar, sesame seeds, zest, flour and salt
  3. Stir well until it resembles a very thick batter/dough. It will be too sticky to knead
  4. Cover and let rise for an hour 
  5. Heat oil to 375 in at least a 3 qt pan
  6. Drop by heaping tablespoons and fry for several minutes ( until golden brown on all sides )
  7. Toss in sugar mixture directly from the oil (as long as your oil is hot enough, they will not be very greasy at all )
Serve warm.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Frugan: Funny Oatmeal Breakfast Cake & Lentil tostadas

Lentil Tostadas 400 Calories

I have a lot on my mind today! First, this was my delicious Mini Meal 1. As many of you know, I like savory breakfasts and this one sure hit the spot.  I marinated some collards and cilantro in the juice from canned tomatoes, balsmic vinegar, cumin and nutritional yeast. I warmed 1/2 cup of lentils,chipotle and braggs, made a quick pico from diced canned tomatoes, onion, cilantro, crushed red pepper flakes ( substituted for fresh chilies ) and a touch of balsamic. I defrosted 2 T of frozen corn and topped it with 2 t of my Southwestern Sauce ( my badly textured, but oh so yummy homemade vegenaise ). I dry fried the corn tortillas in my cast iron which created contrasting crunchy texture.

I switched things up just a bit yesterday, creating two snacks to equal 400 calories instead of a mini meal. A simple green smoothie ( banana, spinach, chia ) and this Oatmeal Breakfast Cake. 

This recipe was created with maximum nutrition for the calories. I only call it a cake because it resembles a cake. I used the microwave because I don't like turning my oven on for small baking projects. It came out pretty good, as long as you are looking at it as an energy source and not dessert or pastry. Does that make sense? I am  not someone who is really into sweets as those who have tried some of my breakfast cookies can attest! Add more of the sweet stuff if you need to.

Microwave Apple Oat Breakfast Cake
1 small apple
¼ c old fashioned oatmeal
2 T chickpea flour
2 t psyllium husk
¼ t cinnamon
Tiny pinch nutmeg
Tiny pinch salt
70 calories worth of protein powder
½ c water
1/16 t stevia powder or 1 T sweetener ( or more if you want )

  1. Pulse the apples and oat in food processor.
  2.  Scrap into bowl and mix in the rest of the ingredients. 
  3. Spray a 2 cup microwave safe dish with cooking spray and cook on high for 5:55 seconds. Your microwave time may vary. 
  4. Turn cake out on a wire wrack and let it cool completely before eating. It will look gummy when you first take it out. 
270 Calories
3.2 grams fat
38.6 g carbs
8.3 g fiber
25 g protein

My dinner last night was really good. Lentils, brown rice pasta topped with  a serious veggie marinara. I used 1.5 oz of pasta.  For my last mini meal, I made Carob Banana Ice Cream. ( frozen banana, peanut butter, carob, cinnamon ). 

I had a total of 1900 calories yesterday and worked out for an hour. 

As long as I keep it under 2000 and work out for at least an hour, I should start losing weight! Or so Fitday says. 

It's interesting to me because so many people restrict their calories down to 1200-1400 a day. I KNOW I would lose weight if I did that, but I also know myself well enough to be realistic about my ability to keep that sort of lifestyle up for the long haul. 

Do any of you count calories? What would you estimate your daily intake is?