admin / April 28, 2014

It’s Meatless Monday-A Guest Recipe and Book Giveaway

http://www.amazon.com/The-China-Study-All-Star-Collection/dp/1939529972/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1398690928&sr=1-1

Remember The China Study cookbook? The publisher has gathered together recipes from all their plant based recipe cookbooks and come up with The China Study All Star Collection. I think it’s the best one of all because you get a selection of all their authors’ recipes. There’s a chance to win a copy. All you need to do is say why you’d like to own a copy and either post a comment or send me an e-mail. Contest will end midnight Eastern on April 30th and I’ll announce the winner on Friday.

Here’s one of the recipes from the book to try this Meatless Monday.

BARBECUE PORTOBELLO SANDWICHES
MAKES 6 SERVINGS RECIPE BY JOHN AND MARY MCDOUGALL

These sandwiches remind some people of pulled pork, but since we have never
Eaten a pulled pork sandwich you couldn’t prove it to us. They are still great though, no matter what you call them.

1 cup fat-free barbecue sauce
1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce, minced
1 onion, chopped
3 large portobello mushrooms, stems and gills removed, chopped
6 whole-wheat buns

1 Place the barbecue sauce in a bowl. Add the minced chipotle and mix well. Set aside.
2 Place the onions and mushrooms in a large nonstick sauté pan. Cook over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, stirring almost constantly with a spatula to keep the vegetables from sticking to the pan. The onions and mushrooms will take on a golden brown color.
3 Pour the barbecue sauce over the onions and mushrooms and mix well. Decrease heat to low and cook gently, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
4 Split the buns and warm them, then ladle the barbecue mixture over the buns.
5 Top with your choice of garnishes. Serve open face or close up the buns and eat the sandwiches with your hands.

TIP
Try topping with coleslaw, tomatoes, sliced onions, and lettuce. (Shredded cabbage tossed with rice vinegar and lime juice makes a delicious stand in for coleslaw.) Or try topping with sauerkraut and mustard.

admin / April 21, 2014

It’s Meatless Monday-Edamame Noodle Bowl

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

One of my favorite snacks is edamames. They use to be hard to find, but now most supermarkets sell packages of already prepared ones that you simply steam in your microwave. With their broader availability in mind, I thought why not make a simple meal out of them. I came up with this noodle bowl. You can add just about any vegetable you like, but I chose carrots for their sweetness…brought out more by the slow sautéing, to contrast with the salty tang of the soy sauce. Add some peanut butter for added flavor and you have the perfect lunch or light supper for this Meatless Monday.

8 ounces noodles…I actually used linquine, you could use spaghetti too as these types of pastas keep the cost of the recipe down
1 8 ounce package shelled edamame (steam them as per package instructions)
3 small carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
¼ cup soy sauce (I used low sodium variety)
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
Pinch of red pepper flakes, more or less depending on your tolerance for heat
Salt and pepper
Oil for sautéing

Break noodles in half and cook as per package instructions.

While the noodles cook, over medium high heat and in a skillet, heat about a tablespoon of oil and add the carrots, and a little salt and pepper, stir fry until they’re softened and slightly caramelized.

Add the edamame and cook for a few minutes. Set aside.

In a bowl, add the soy sauce, orange juice, red pepper flakes, and stir in the peanut butter.

Drain the noodles, return to the pan and add the carrots and edamame and then stir in the soy sauce/PB mixture.

Stir until everything is well coated.

Serve either hot or cold and you can also drizzle over some sesame oil or sesame seeds.
Serves 6

admin / April 14, 2014

It’s Meatless Monday-Potato, Leek and ‘Bacon’ Pizza

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’ve been experimenting with making my own pizza crusts for my cookbook and had one leftover so thought I’d rummage through the fridge to find some toppings. I had lots of potatoes, some cream cheese, and one of my favorite veggies, leeks. If you ever get tired of onions in a recipe, opt for leeks. They have a distinct but subtle flavor that pairs beautifully with potatoes and yes, anything with a smoky flavor. I thought about adding smoked paprika but then opted to use some of the bacon bits I had on hand…remember the container I purchased a while back? Combine all of them together and I think you have the perfect combination for a delicious pizza topping that’s a change from the usual tomato based sauce kind.

1 pizza crust
2 leeks, washed and sliced
2 medium size potatoes, washed, peeled and diced
3 tablespoons bacon bits
2 tablespoons cream cheese
Salt and pepper
Oil for sautéing
Shredded cheese for topping (optional)

Preheat oven to 375.

Place the pizza crust on a cooking sheet.

Over medium high heat, heat the oil and add the bacon bits and cook for one minute.

Add the leeks and potatoes and a generous amount of both salt and pepper.

Cook for about 5 minutes or until the leeks are softened and slightly caramelized and the potatoes partially cooked.

Add the cream cheese and stir until it’s melted and the vegetables are well coated.

Place the mixture on top of the pizza crust and spread it out so it covers almost to the edge.

You can top this with some shredded cheese but it’s optional and just as good left as is.

Cook for about 10 minutes or until everything’s slightly browned and bubbling.

Serves 4-6

admin / April 7, 2014

It’s Meatless Monday-A Sweet Snack-Peanut Butter, Oatmeal and Chocolate Chip Cookies

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMeatless Mondays focus on main meals but sometimes a cookie to be enjoyed as a snack is just what you need. Last week I came up with this recipe. While making it I also discovered another money saving secret. Gluten free is all the craze and many recipes use oat flour. I don’t know if this type of flour has always been expensive or if the prices have been hiked due to the demand. Any way, I decided I wanted to use whole wheat flour and opted to make my own oat flour. It’s easy… just put some old fashioned oatmeal into a blender or food processor and pulverize it. Viola, you have oat flour which in this recipe stands in for the oatmeal. I opted not to use dairy products for this one but if you’re not worried about it being completely vegan, then you can use regular milk.
This definitely isn’t a low calorie treat but with a cup of tea it’s perfect any afternoon, not just on a Meatless Monday.

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup oat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ cup peanut butter
½ cup agave nectar or maple syrup (or if you don’t need it to be vegan, honey)
Just under ½ cup oil
½ cup non-dairy milk
1/3 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 and spray two cooking sheets with non-stick spray.

In a large mixing bowl add the flours and baking powder, stir together.

Add the chocolate chips and stir.

In another bowl combine the peanut butter, agave nectar, oil, and milk and stir well.

Add to the dry ingredients and stir until everything is well blended.

Place about two tablespoons of the mixture onto the cookie sheets and bake for about 10 minutes.

They tend to rise just a little so I pressed them down with a spatula half way through the baking process.

I think these would also be great served with ice cream or frozen yogurt for a Meatless Monday dessert.

Makes about 18 cookies.

admin / April 4, 2014

Friday Round Up-Saving Money While You Eat Well

MR900439512I finally squeezed in some time for a Friday Round-Up-

First up, two links I found today with a money saving theme-

Five products you can get for less this month-https://homes.yahoo.com/news/5-products-deep-discount-april-162008234.html

If spring has you wanting to decorate your home, this might be of some use-https://shine.yahoo.com/at-home/10-easy-ways-decorate-less-193400078.html

As many of you know I’m working on a budget focused cookbook and as I’ve been developing and working my way through the recipes I’ve learned even more about cooking and eating on a budget. Here are some things I’ve discovered-

Homemade Isn’t Always the Best or Cheapest
One chapter of the cookbook focuses on foods you’re better off making at home rather than store bought. However, it’s not always true. Besides factoring in cost and your time, also take into consideration if you like the store brand better. If you don’t like, you won’t eat something you make than it’s a waste of money. An example here is refried beans. I tried to make my own three times and each time just didn’t like them as much as the ones I buy in cans.

Cook Lots of Things At Once
Saving money on food isn’t just about the ingredients; you have to factor in the cost to cook the food too. Some days I’ve been testing four or five recipes at a time and I made sure that when the oven was on, it was full of a couple of things, maybe a casserole and some scones, or a pizza crust and a cake. Plan ahead. I’ve also been cooking things like lentils and rice in the oven so I can have them on hand for recipes I’m testing later in the week.

Plan Meals around Leftover Ingredients
A couple of recipes have left me with egg whites. Deserts are perfect for using up these sorts of items. The egg whites became meringue nests that I filled with canned fruit. Leftover pasty became jam tarts. Also, if you use them straight away there’s less chance you’ll put them in the fridge and forget about them.

Think Seasons Ahead
When you’re testing recipes on a schedule you can’t wait for things to be in season, for example, cranberries, or cherries. Freezing, canning or drying them is the perfect way to have them on hand without having to one, search for them, and two, pay more for them.

Frozen and Canned Are Okay
My mindset used to be fresh produce is the best, but after testing so many recipes I’ve resorted to frozen and canned vegetables and fruits to keep the cost down. One example is I have a recipe for potato crusted Brussels sprouts. The week I wanted to test the recipe, they were very expensive. I headed to the frozen food section and found a large bag for under $2, and yes, there was less waste because they were already cleaned and trimmed and ready to eat.

Pantry, Pantry, Pantry
And finally my last tip for saving money is to have a well-stocked pantry. If you’re just starting out on stocking it, buy one or two items a week. You’d be surprised how many ingredients I’ve used in these recipes that were already sitting on the pantry shelf and I’ve saved lots of money that way.

Happy Savings

Check out the new Budget Smart Girl Store Dismiss