Cranberry Orange Sauce with Ginger

Standard

IMG_5493-1.JPG

This year was the first year that I made cranberry sauce from scratch and I was amazed at how easy it was to make with only a few ingredients. To be honest, I’ve never been a huge fan of cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving dinner but this homemade sauce has completely changed my mind. Why anyone would ever buy store bought again is beyond me… You can add so many different flavors to your homemade cranberry sauce. In this recipe, I added fresh squeezed orange juice and ginger and just enough sugar so that the sauce remains slightly tart. This sauce was perfected through trial and error. The first batch I made came out incredibly bitter and after extensive research I came to realize that I was over cooking the cranberries. They only need to be simmered for about 10 minutes. Do not make the same mistake I did! In addition, cranberries contain high amounts of pectin, which is released when you cook them. This causes the sauce to naturally thicken to the consistency of a jam. This recipe yielded about 2 1/2 cups but I doubled the recipe and decided to freeze some. Who ever said cranberry sauce should be exclusively served at Thanksgiving dinner was crazy. I served this sauce along with Camembert cheese (similar to Brie) and it was a pair made in heaven. Tip: The leftover cranberry sauce is super yummy in Greek yogurt!

Time:15 mins
Yields: 2 1/2 cups
Dietary Info: Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free

•1 12-16 oz. bag of cranberries
•1 heaping cup of sugar
•1 cup water
•1-2 inch piece of ginger, grated
•1/4 cup fresh orange juice, added last
•Pinch of nutmeg

Throw everything except orange juice into a large pot. Bring to a medium boil and then simmer for ten minutes. Remove from heat and and stir in orange juice. Transfer to a bowl or airtight container and allow to cool completely. The sauce will thicken as it cools. Optional: Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. This allows the sauce to thicken even more. Enjoy!

Advertisements

Energy Boosting Green Smoothie

Standard

IMG_5226.JPG

If you’re anything like me, getting out of bed in the morning is no easy task. While I normally depend upon coffee to wake me up, this energy boosting smoothie is a great way to start the day on a healthy note. My recipe yields about two smoothies but you can refrigerate the extra green goodness in a jar or other airtight container for up to three days! The chia seeds are packed with fiber and the turmeric is great for getting rid of all those nasty toxins in the body. I also like to add spirulina, which is an algae rich in protein and amino acids, among many many other things (it’s crazy good for you!) If you’re not familiar with spirulina, you can read about the health benefits here. It is found at most health food stores though I will warn you that spirulina smells utterly terrible (think fish food). But the flavors in this smoothie will totally mask the yucky algae smell, I promise you. This smoothie is also a great pre-yoga/workout drink!

Dietary Info: Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free
Yields: 2 smoothies
Time: 5-10 minutes

•3 cups of spinach
• 2 cups of coconut water (or just water if coco isn’t your thing)
•3/4 cup ice
•1 banana, chopped
•1 apple, chopped
•1 inch piece of ginger, chopped
•1 tablespoon chia seeds
•1/2 teaspoon turmeric
•1/2 teaspoon spirulina

Throw spinach and coconut water into blender, processing until spinach has been completely blended. Then add fruit, turmeric, spirulina and ice and process until everything is blended. Probably about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Lastly, add the chia seeds and give your smoothie a quick pulse or two. Enjoy!

Babaganoush (Babaganouj)

Standard

IMG_4647.JPG

As the farming season comes to a close, I’ve been trying to scoop up all the veggies at the farmer’s market before they’re totally gone. Where I live, it’s prime time for eggplant – the shining star of my babaganoush recipe. Babaganoush is a delicious dip frequently served with pita bread in most Middle Eastern restaurants. If you haven’t had babaganoush before it is essentially hummus WITHOUT chickpeas and WITH eggplant. And it’s delicious (did I mention that?) Traditionally, the eggplant is grilled but I simply sliced mine up and roasted it for about 15-20 minutes. This recipe can easily be doubled for a large group of people. While even hummus has become somewhat of a common staple, this babaganoush is a creative recipe to serve for company. Side note: I always find it very difficult to tell when eggplants are ripe. If they’re overripe, they can be very bitter and who wants to eat bitter eggplant? I think the best way to tell if they’re ripe is to give them a firm but gentle squeeze and if the skin bounces back, then you’re good. But if the eggplant if soft and your fingers leave an imprint, the eggplant is likely overripe. Eeek!

Dietary info: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free
Yield: about 2 cups
Time: 30 minutes

•1 large eggplant
•1/4 cup tahini
•1 tablespoon lemon juice
•2 tablespoons olive oil
•2 large cloves of garlic
•1 teaspoon cumin
•Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 1 teaspoon Zaatar*
Optional: Chopped herbs, such as parsley

* Zaatar (Za’atar) is a common Middle Eastern spice blend usually consisting of oregano, sumac, coriander, sesame seeds and thyme though there are different variations.

1. Slice eggplant into 1/4 inch coins and salt. Roast for about 15-20 minutes.

2. When eggplant is done (it will have shriveled a bit) you have the tedious option of de-seeding the eggplant. I do not do this. I am lazy. I also don’t think there is anything wrong with using the seeds.

3. Throw all ingredients into a food processor and process for about 30 seconds. Assess the situation. Is it super chunky? If you want it super chunky, then cool. You’re done. If you want it to be smooth, you probably want to scrape the sides and purée it for another 30 seconds. Garnish with Zaatar, herbs of your choice or just a little olive oil. Enjoy!

Oh, and you can use it as a spread on sandwiches too!

White Summertime Sangria

Standard

20140724-211746-76666822.jpg

This summer is just flying by and I haven’t had the chance to post any yummy recipes in weeks. Things have been a little hectic but I finally got to take the edge off with this white sangria – it’s light, citrusy and perfect for summertime! Generally, I am not a huge fan of white wine but the fruit in this sangria adds so much flavor, making it pretty much irresistible. Note: Many people add brandy or even a bit of rum to sangria so if you have any on hand, go to town!

Dietary info: Dairy-free, Gluten-free
Time: 10 minutes + 2 hours of refrigeration
Yields: 4-5 glasses

•1 bottle of white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc but you can use a sweeter wine like Rosé or even just a table white)
•1- 1/2 cups seltzer water or club soda
•1 lime, sliced
•1 peach or nectarine, chopped
•1 green apple, chopped
• 1 cup grapes or blueberries
Optional: 1-2 tablespoons of honey

Throw fruit into a large pitcher, followed by wine and seltzer water. Add honey if desired and stir. Refrigerate for at least two hours. When ready to serve, top off sangria with ice. Enjoy!

Coconut Oil Sugar Scrub

Standard

20140801-181554.jpg

Everyone is talking about the miracle that is coconut oil – you can cook with it, use it as a conditioner, make lotions and lip balms out of it. Really, what can’t you do with coconut oil? Well, I just bought a huge jar of it the other day and made this moisturizing sugar scrub since my skin is still so dry and cracked from the winter. This exfoliant hydrates your skin, leaving you feeling soft AND smelling good. You can use any essential oil of your choice, or just a tablespoon of lemon juice for a nice scent. Use in the shower or bath and rub all over – it is especially good for hands and feet!

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil at room temperature (I used Nutiva)
  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pink Himalayan salt
  • 15-20 drops of essential oil (I used lavender)

    Just throw all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and thoroughly combine. I store my sugar scrub in a mason jar and use at most 1 tablespoon each time I exfoliate, as coconut oil is very thick and a little bit goes a long way. Enjoy your smooth and moisturized skin!

    Chickpea Tikka Masala

    Standard

    20140504-234433.jpg

    Indian is probably my favorite cuisine. Naan, samosas, pakora – it is all just so good. But until recently I had never really experimented with cooking Indian food at home. When I became a vegetarian three years ago, the hardest thing I had to give up was my favorite Indian dish: chicken tikka masala, a mildly spiced dish made with a tomato cream sauce. Oh, how I have missed that sauce. I got the idea to recreate this dish using chickpeas, instead of chicken – kind of similar to chana masala. I was surprisingly satisfied with how it turned out. This sauce is definitely going to be a staple from this day forward! You can put your own spin on this recipe by doing away with the chickpeas entirely, adding different vegetables, cashews and/or raisins.

    Time: 30-40 minutes
    Serves: 2-4
    Dietary Info: Gluten-free

  • 1 15 oz. can tomato purée
  • 1 cup cream
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • Cayenne pepper
    Note: 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon for a MILD dish- or- 3/4 – 1 teaspoon for a SPICY dish
  • Pinch of garam masala (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons of ghee, butter or oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup jasmine or basmati rice

    1. Start by heating ghee, butter or oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes. Then, add garlic, salt and spices and cook for another 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.

    2. Next, add tomato purée and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add sugar and cream, simmering for about 10 more minutes or until sauce is thickened. Note: Now is a good time to cook your rice.

    3. Lastly, add chickpeas and cilantro and simmer for 5 more minutes. Serve over rice and garnish with chopped cilantro. Enjoy!

    How To: Build Your Own Veggie Burger

    Standard

    I absolutely love experimenting with different types veggie burgers. The flavor combinations are endless and homemade burgers are so much better than the frozen store-bought kind. So, I thought I would share MY guidelines to building a veggie burger. These burgers can be made ahead of time and can be frozen for up to 3 months. Who needs meat when you can have veggie burgers like these?! Check out my recipe for Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean burgers!

    Get creative and make it your own! Here is how:

    2 cups of cooked legumes:
    •Beans (black, garbanzo, white, kidney)
    •Peas
    •Lentils

    2 cups of starch and/or grains (you can use 2-3 different ones):
    •Sweet potato
    •Quinoa
    •Brown rice
    •Breadcrumbs
    •Ground oats

    2-3 cups of vegetables:
    •Onion
    •Peppers
    •Corn
    •Carrots
    •Mushrooms

    1/3 cup of liquid/thickener (choose 1-2):
    •Tomato paste
    •Tahini
    •Ketchup
    •Sriracha
    •Oils (olive, coconut, grape seed, canola)
    •Vegetable broth
    •1 egg

    1/3 cup of herbs:
    •Cilantro
    •Parsley
    •Basil
    •Rosemary
    •Thyme

    Spices (based on preference):
    •Cumin
    •Chili powder
    •Paprika
    •Cayenne pepper
    •Oregano
    •Curry powder
    •Garam masala

    1-2 tablespoons of seeds (optional):
    •Flax
    •Sesame
    •Chia

    1/2 cup of cheese (optional):
    •Sharp cheddar
    •Cheddar
    •Mozzarella
    •Jack
    •Feta

    Now, for the assembling:

    1. In a mixing bowl, mash legume of choice with a fork or potato masher. Add starch or grain and combine to create a paste (it’s alright if it’s chunky!) I use my hands for this step and it’s really fun.

    2. Add vegetables, then liquid and combine with (clean!) hands. Add herbs, spices, seeds and cheese if you so desire. Combine.

    3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    4. While oven is preheating, form patties with your mixture. This recipe should make about 8-10 medium-sized veggie burgers. Place on a well oiled or parchment lined baking sheet.

    5. Bake burgers for 20 minutes, flipping once halfway through (10 minutes on each side).

    6. Take out of oven and serve on a bun of your choice, topping with: hummus, ketchup, mustard, hot sauce, onion, avocado, tomato, mixed greens, mushrooms – whatever you desire!

    7. You can store your veggie burgers in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. These burgers can be grilled or cooked in a stovetop skillet. About 4-5 minutes on each side should do the trick! Enjoy!

    Note: You can also freeze these veggie burgers in an airtight container (I recommend a BPA-free bag) for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to cook them up, allow burgers to thaw for an hour before cooking or grilling.

    Mini Hummus Pizzas

    Standard

    20140331-155328.jpg

    Well, the past few weeks have been so hectic and I haven’t had the time to make anything super yummy or creative. It’s pretty much been pasta or take out every night. But I finally got the chance to experiment with these delicious (and quick!) pita pizzas yesterday. Now, I went out on a limb here as this is not your traditional pizza. I made these personal pita pizzas (how’s that for alliteration?) with hummus, sautéed veggies and feta cheese. This post is part of Our Growing Edge, a monthly food blogging event that encourages food bloggers to try new things! Hope you enjoy this experiment!

    20140331-163955.jpg

    Dietary Info: Dairy-Free Option

    Yields: One personal pizza

    Time: 20 minutes

    •1 flatbread pita
    •1/2 cup Hummus
    •3/4 cup chopped vegetables of your choice (I did red pepper, onion and asparagus)
    •1/4 cup feta cheese*
    •1 clove of garlic, minced
    •1 tablespoon olive oil
    •Chopped cilantro, for garnish
    •Salt and pepper for sprinkling

    *For a vegan option, omit cheese or use a dairy-free alternative.

    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush flatbread pita with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 5-7 minutes.

    2. While pita is baking, sauté garlic and vegetables in a small skillet.

    3. Remove pita from oven and smother with hummus. Next, top with veggies and feta.

    4. Place your hummus pizza back in the oven and bake for another 5-7 minutes (or until pita is golden brown), allowing the feta to melt a bit. Let cool and garnish with cilantro. Enjoy!

    Homemade Cilantro Salsa

    Standard

    20140306-094329.jpg

    Dietary Info: Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free

    Yield: about 2 cups

    Time: 10 minutes

  • 4 red vine tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small jalapeño, seeded and minced OR 1/2 serrano pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • 1/8 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 dash of cumin
  • 1 dash of chili powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

    Throw everything into a food processor and pulse until all the ingredients come together. I usually pulse about 10 times in a food processor to get my desired chunkiness. Serve with chips and enjoy!

    Mulled Wine

    Standard

    20140214-012614.jpg

    More snow today. A LOT more snow. I’m not sure it will ever stop. Since I was trapped inside all day, I decided to experiment with mulled wine. I received about 12 bottles of wine for my birthday last month and still had a few (okay, two) left so I thought I would put them to good use! I was skeptical at first of how it would turn out (warm wine? ew.) but sure enough, it was delicious! Definitely helped with the cabin fever. Note: To make this recipe sweeter, use sugar instead of honey. Curl up with a book and stay warm with this mulled wine recipe!

    Serves: 3-4

    Time: 20 minutes

    Dietary Info: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free

    •1 bottle of red wine (any red table wine works)
    •1/4 cup honey
    •1 cup water
    •3 whole cloves
    •3 whole allspice
    •2 cinnamon sticks
    •1/2 naval orange or 1 clementine, sliced

    Add all ingredients except for the wine to medium saucepan and boil for one minute. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, allowing flavors to blend. Add red wine and stir for a minute. Remove from heat. Optional: Pour wine through a fine mesh strainer to remove orange pulp and whole spices. (I don’t mind this so I didn’t bother). Serve with a ladle and enjoy!