Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Chickpea (Garbanzo) Salad (GF and V)

I hope you all had a Happy Happy Holiday and continue to enjoy family and good food throughout the season!!! 

Our family got together with my brother's family yesterday afternoon and went to a movie (Adventures of Tin Tin was awesome). We all ate a mountain of popcorn, so we weren't really up for a big supper when we got home.  But about 9:00, my husband and son started poking around the kitchen looking for something a little more substantial than the normal bedtime snack. 
(My son said we needed something that was a mixture of lunch and snack--a "lack" or maybe a "snach."  His words, not mine.  That kid cracks me up.  I can't wait to see the comments on that one!)

ANYWAY, I had been glancing through cookbooks earlier in the day and saw a recipe for Chickpea Salad that was similar to Chicken Salad for sandwiches.  I grabbed a can of chickpeas and just sort of threw in some simple ingredients.  I couldn't believe how good it was.  My son literally licked the bowl clean.  They loved it and we will definitely be adding this simple dish to our regular menu.

Chickpeas and garbanzo beans are the same thing.  They are a little dry and a lot nutty. Because of that nuttiness, you see them a lot on salad bars.  Give them a try next time you see them.  Buy a good brand name if you're buying them canned because the cheaper ones tend to lose some of that great texture.

I made this recipe just like I would have made a chicken salad sandwich a couple years ago with only two minor changes.  I used chickpeas instead of chicken and I used vegan mayo instead of real mayo.  Other than that, feel free to use your favorite version of spices and sauce.  Use it like you would a chicken salad, too.  Serve on bread or toast, in a pita, on greens for a salad, on crackers for an appetizer, etc. etc. etc.

This is the one I made last night.  It took less than 5 minutes from thought to plate.  SUPER SIMPLE.  SUPER FAST.  SUPER CHEAP.  SUPER YUMMY. 

    It's so super it should wear a cape

(Notes: One can of chickpeas makes about 4 pita pocket sandwiches.  These are approximate amounts since I didn't really measure anything.  Taste and adjust to your liking.)

1 can Chickpeas, fork mashed
1/4 c. vegan mayo (Vegenaise)
1-2 t. fresh lemon juice
2 T. celery, finely chopped
2 T. onion, finely chopped
1/2 t. paprika
Sea Salt
Pepper, freshly ground

Mix all together. Best if you refrigerate it for a short while before serving to let the flavors blend.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Even My Husband Can Make These Pumpkin Muffins/Cupcakes

It's no secret that my hubby is GREAT in the kitchen.  Too bad he can't cook, though! (Ba dum dum!)

But even my husband can make these pumpkin muffins.  They are so easy it's embarrassing.  I got this recipe from a friend and have made it a hundred times since then.  People always ask for the recipe and I try to make it sound like they are something really fancy.  No.  They are not. They have only two ingredients.


These can be made into muffins by adding a simple glaze, maple glaze, orange glaze, etc. or streusel topping.  Add in pecans if you like.  Or you can top 'em off with a little cream cheese frosting and call them cupcakes.
I really like them with the pecans mixed in the batter and the maple glaze on top (just mix real maple syrup into powdered sugar slowly until a good glaze consistency). I make them mini size and they just pop right in your mouth all on their own.  Make them as bars with cream cheese frosting and they'll be a huge hit at your next church potluck.  I even made it as a bundt cake once and drizzled orange glaze over the top for a little get together with friends.  (Don't tell them how easy it is.)

Start with the basic two ingredients and jazz it up however you like.  I made mine tonight with a pecan streusel topping.  I spent 4 minutes prepping and 20 minutes playing on facebook while these baked. And now they are all ready for a quick breakfast in the morning, which is good since my husband needs to leave early for a work meeting and I'm on my own to feed the kids.

These are vegan--the cake mix I used contains no egg or dairy products.  Be sure to read the label if you are concerned about either of those ingredients.  I used a vegan butter in my streusel. 

All vegan.  All yummy.  All easy.  It's all good! 

One note:  These are actually better if you make them ahead and let them sit overnight or for a few hours.  They are a little dry right out of the oven but get more moist as the day goes on.

1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
1 box spice cake mix

Mix together well and cook according to directions on box for cake, muffins, etc.  Normal size muffins usually take about 18 minutes at 350 degrees.

1/4 c. chopped pecans
1/4 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 c. oats
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. vegan butter

Stir together the pecans, flour, oats and brown sugar.  Cut in butter until mixture is pea sized crumbs.  Sprinkle over muffins or cakes before baking.  (Also good with a drizzle of maple syrup added in.)

Gemelli Pasta and Brussels Sprouts with Dijon Vinaigrette

I got a great cookbook from my day care kids as a Christmas gift--Pampered Chef's The Vegetarian Table.  There's a whole section on vegan main dishes.  Awesome!!  My family immediately thumbed through it and marked a few pages they thought looked tasty. 

The first one we tested was "Gemelli & Brussels Sprouts with Dijon Vinaigrette." Only the recipe actual called for this to be served cold as a salad.  I made just a couple slight changes and served it up as a hot dish. My kids gave this one two thumbs up and ate up a huge batch of it. I would also highly recommend using this Dijon vinaigrette for other things, too.  It's really awesome.  I think this dressing would make a good cold salad.

I know what you're thinking--my family will not eat Brussels Sprouts!!  But give it a try.  We call them "green balls" here and my kids love them.  My son likes to buy them fresh when possible and help to clean and peel off the outside layer.  Actually, last night I was watching Food Network and there was a comment about how Dijon went so well with Brussels Sprouts.  The judges on the show were pleasantly surprised by how yummy they were prepared that way.  I plan to use this dressing on sprouts even without the pasta.

I cannot take credit for this recipe. I'm not trying to do that, I swear.  (Are there some sort of laws about stealing recipes and putting them on your blog?  Should I call a lawyer?)  I will print MY version of this recipe.  But I give full and complete credit to the good folks at Pampered Chef and to my sweet and wonderful child care family that gave me the book.

Oh, and Gemelli is a twisty pasta.  I suppose you could use rotini or fusilli if that's easier to find, but the gemelli is a great texture and I recommend trying to find it.

Okay, enough rambling for me.  Let's get to the recipe already!

16 oz. box of gemelli pasta (cook according to directions and reserve 1/2 c. pasta water at the end)
1-2 pounds fresh (or 2 bags frozen) Brussels Sprouts (trimmed and cleaned if using fresh)
1 large red onion

Juice from 2 lemons
1/3 c. Dijon Mustard
1/4 c. White Balsamic vinegar (original calls for apple cider, use what you have)
1 1/2 T. packed brown sugar
1 t. fresh cracked black pepper
1/2 t. sea salt
2 1/2 T. olive (or canola) oil
1/2 c. dried cranberries
1/2 c. pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped

Slice onion thinly and cook slowly in small pan over medium heat until soft and sweet--this may take 10-15 minutes to caramelize them nicely.  Keep onions in pan.
Whisk together lemon juice, mustard, vinegar, brown sugar, salt, pepper and oil.  Add to onions in pan and bring to a simmer for about 2 minutes.
Cook pasta according to directions, reserving 1/2 c. cooking water. Steam Brussels sprouts until crisp tender (or softer if you prefer) and season with salt and pepper. Toss Brussels sprouts with pasta and pasta water. Stir in onions and dressing.
Serve with pecans and dried cranberries for topping.

Baked Potato Soup (V and GF)

We had some really great baked potatoes yesterday smothered in creamed peas with baby onions.  So yummy!  But the potatoes were huge and I ended up with leftovers.  So today I've got a big pot of Baked Potato Soup on the stove heating up the house and making it smell soooooo good.

There are a lot of schools of thought when it comes to baking potatoes.  You can do yours however you like best.  But my favorite way is to rub them with a little olive oil, rub them down with coarse sea salt and bake in a hot oven (425 degrees) until potatoes are soft and skins are super crispy.  My family likes the texture of the skins this way.  I use the skins in the soup--just be sure to chop them small.  I think they add a great flavor and texture.  Feel free to spoon out your potatoes if you are not a skins kind of person.

2 large baked potatoes, chopped
2 large baked potatoes, mashed smooth (for thickening the soup--use potato flakes if you prefer)
4 cloves garlic, mashed
1 large onion, chopped
1 bunch chives, chopped (reserve a few tablespoons for topping/garnish)
1 bunch parsley, chopped (reserve a few tablespoons for topping/garnish)
6 c. vegetable broth
2 c. almond milk (or another unsweetened/unflavored vegan milk)
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 t. Crushed red pepper (or more to taste)

Saute garlic and onion is a small amount of veggie broth just until soft but not browned.  Add in remaining broth and potatoes and chives. Season well with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.  Cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes.  Turn heat to low and stir in milk and mashed potatoes for thickening.  You may need more or less to achieve the thickness you prefer.  Heat through but do not boil once milk is added.  Serve with chives and parsley for topping.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Roasted Parsnips, Leeks and Carrots (GF and V)


1 lb. parsnips, peeled and cut into strips
1 lb. baby carrots
1 large leek, slice lengthwise and clean thoroughly then slice into 1 inch chunks
1/2 c. vegetable broth or stock
Sea Salt and Black Pepper

Toss everything together on a large cookie sheet and cover loosely with foil.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20-45 minutes or until tender and just starting to brown.  Parsnips will get a little mushy when over cooked, so check often. 

 I serve these roasted veggies with cous cous, brown rice or potatoes and some fresh fruit.