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Navajo-Inspired Cookies (Vegan)

This is a recipe I made up based off of a few recipes and what I had available.  The cookies turned out really good.

Ingredients:
1/2 c. roasted ground corn meal
1 1/2 c. flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1 c. sugar
a few dashes of cayenne powder
a few handfuls of raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
a small scoop of chia seeds
1/2 c. coconut oil
1/4 c. water

  1. Mix all dry ingredients and form well in center.
  2. Mix oil and water, and pour intel middle of well.
  3. Stir all while oven preheats to 350F.
  4. Put dough on ungreased cookie sheet(s) one small spoonful at a time.
  5. Bake for about 8 minutes.

Plant-Based 15-minute Pasta

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There are some pastas made from plants.  Mung bean fettuccine is one example.  Here’s a recipe I made from things I had at home:

Cook some mung bean pasta as directed.  On the side, take grapeseed oil or some other light type and brown cut or minced garlic.  Meanwhile, bake some pine nuts and slice some fresh parsley.  Mix up the pasta with the oil “sauce” and garlic, top with pine nuts and parsley, and sprinkle with sea salt and grated pepper.  Done.

Vegan Thai Curry

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Here’s how to throw together a simple curry and also a better way to make rice.

ingredients

for the rice – a cup of basmati and about 1 3/4 cup of water and some salt for cooking

foe the curry – a couple tablespoons of curry paste, a can of coconut milk, a couple stalks of lemongrass, five or so scallions, a few cloves of garlic, several inches of ginger, and lots of vegetables including as many hot pepper as you like.  I used crimini mushrooms, zucchini, bell peppers, chilies.

In a pan, add some oil and curry paste and  don’t brown it but get it cooking some.  As the flavor cooks up, start chopping the ginger, green onions, and garlic.  Add those to the mix.  Clean and start cutting the vegetables while the pan cooks.  Also, pull out the rice and a bowl.  Fill the bowl with water, stir the rice in it with your hands, and drain, repeating until the water comes out clear.  Fill one more time and let the rice soak for about 30 minutes while you cuadd the rice and cooking water and salt to a pan and cook for about 15 minutes.  Cut the rest of the vegetables.  Once the vegetables are cut, and them to the pan.  Shake and open the coconut milk and pour that in, adding as much water as to your preference.  Throw in the lemongrass.  As this is cooking, add the rice and cooking water and salt to a pan, bring to a boil, and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add any salt or pepper desired to the curry, and also fresh basil leaves if you like.  Cut the heat on the rice when it’s done, let sit 5 minutes, and fluff with a fork.  Everything should be done now.

Crepes: A Easy, Quick-Fix

I’m living in Arles, France for a portion of my summer.  Yesterday, my host mother was nowhere to be found when my 5 o’clock grumbly-in-my-tumbly started.  I’m used to eating early – even for Americans – so waiting around for a late French dinner often leaves me preferring to skip the meal altogether.  I decided to fix the issue by whipping up something with what was in the pantry.  My supplies were scarce, but crepes were the perfect solution.

When I threw a 4th-of-July party at my host house last week, the Americans in town whom I invited were shocked that I had offered to cook crepes.  There is apparently a wide misconception that crepes are something difficult to make.  This is so far from true!  Okay, sure, I have a nice crepe pan at home and a wooden tool for making them more professionally…but NO, you do NOT need those fancy things they have a restaurants to make crepes.  I’m not sure why they even use those things!  A skillet is so much easier!  And crepes are the perfect solution for a quick snack, an easy way to use what you have lying around, and the ingredients are quite simple.  I’ll tell you how I did it yesterday:

  1. Ingredients: flour, eggs, and water are the bare minimum.  Salt is good for taste, and sometimes I add a few dashes of sugar per serving.  I use oil in a skillet and anything I can find to scrape the crepe up if it sticks.  I tend to not even measure my ingredients – it’s that simple, at least in small batches.
  2. For one person (2-3 crepes), I measure out approximately ¾ of a cup of flour in a bowl.  I add about a teaspoon of salt, sometimes a dash of sugar, then I break an egg in the bowl and mix it well.  I add maybe ½ cup of water – just enough to mix the batter into something pourable but not too runny.
  3. I heat a little bit of oil in the pan each time I pour a crepe, being sure to keep the heat on the low side.  I pour a little in the middle with one hand and tilt the pan so that the batter makes a trail to the edge of the pan.  I keep pouring a little into the pan as I slowly swirl the pan, letting the batter naturally fill the whole skillet as thinly as I can easily manage.
  4. With the batter covering the skillet bottom, I wait thirty or so seconds (depending on the heat and the skillet) until the crepe appears to be lifting well from the edges.  Usually, I can flip the crepe by simply shaking the pan until the crepe is at the edge before using the pan to flip the crepe over.  I cook it on the second side like I did the first.
  5. Usually I flip the crepe back to the first side to make sure both sides are done before tossing the crepe onto a plate.  Once it’s set aside, the next crepe can be started with more oil in the pan, and so on until all of the batter is used.  The last crepe might not have enough batter for a big crepe, so I just use my best judgment to form a circle in the pan with what’s left.

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 Simple ingredients, simple recipe.

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Enough batter for a quick snack.

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You don’t need fancy pans.

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So simple and they go with anything!
(Photos taken at my house in Arles, France.)

Crepes are good rolled with jam and topped with sugar or even simply drizzled with honey, cinnamon spices, and maybe whipped cream.  My favorite, which I made last night, is simply Nutella.  My brother and I usually add banana slices to the Nutella.  Some people like strawberries or other fruit.  There are also the savory options, like ham and cheese or even mozzarella, basil, and tomatoes.  Be creative and use what you have around the house.  I view crepes as just a means of snacking quickly or using ingredients that I have in surplus, but they can certainly be made into elegant dishes as well!  Enjoy.

Healthy Popcorn

I’m alway an avid supporter of cooking popcorn rather than buying it bagged.  Not only is it about 50% cheaper, it’s also really easy and very healthy!  You can season it however you’d like.  Here are some photos of me making popcorn that needed to be used up for dinner last night:

Kernels that I keep in a mason jar.

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Olive oil and sea salt.

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Add them to a pan.

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Shake the pan as it pops all the way.

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Perfect popcorn every time!  Sometimes I add sugar for kettle corn, too!

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DIY: Recycled Newspaper Nail Polish Prints

This is something fun I saw on Pinterest yesterday and decided to try.  It’s really easy and it’s technically recycling, so I figured I’d share!  This is how to make cool nails like I did:

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1. Paint your nails a light color.
2. Dip your nails in alcohol.
3. Press newspaper over your nails.
4. Hold, wait, remove.
5. Done!

I didn’t have rubbing alcohol, so I used diluted vodka.  If only I weren’t so bad at painting my nails…but they’re pretty cool, even the guys dig them!  Give it a try.

Goat Cheese & Blueberry Pie

I’m a competitive dancer and last summer, my dream came true: I finally got to compete in the Pre-Championships at Grandfather Mountain in western North Carolina.  After 13 years of dancing, it was the peak of my dancing career.  I went camping in Appalachia, my homeland and my calling.  I tented with my mom (who had dreamed of me going for years), my brother, and his girlfriend/my friend.  We used my Foursquare to pinpoint all kinds of local food places and indulged in unique plates.  One of my favorite dishes was a dessert we had on our last night in the area.  The restaurant was The Painted Fish Cafe at 1 Paupers Ridge, Banner Elk, North Carolina.  The dish?  Goat Cheese & Blueberry Pie.

I of course didn’t have the recipe off hand… but usually I can find something pretty close.  I did some searching, and I found a recipe that I thought would be adequate.  Then I went to the Shaker Square Farmer’s Market to pick up some goat cheese, fresh basil, and eggs.  Unfortunately, blueberries aren’t in season so I ran across the street and bought some from my favorite place to eat, Algebra Teahouse.  (I intend to blog about them soon.)  The Farmer’s Market (and goat cheese for that matter) aren’t exactly pennywise, but the pie is sure good and considerably healthier than most I’m sure!

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My pie that I had in North Carolina (with my brother staring me down).

The recipe I used was from a generic All Recipes search and is as follows:

Blueberry Goat Cheese Pie

Crust:
2c flour
1/2-3/4c cold margarine
1T sugar
pinch of salt
cold water

Filling:
1/2c soft goat cheese (4 oz)
1/2c heavy cream
1 large egg
1/2c brown sugar
1/4c flour
pinch of salt
1T finely chopped, fresh basil
5c fresh blueberries

Topping:
1c sliced almonds
1/2c sugar
1/3c melted margarine

Directions:
Mix the crust ingredients except for the water, then slowly add the water until a ball forms.  Wrap and chill the dough for 30 minutes.
Mix all of the filling ingredients except for the berries, then add them to taste.
Mix all of the toppings ingredients together and set them aside.
Preheat the oven to 350F.  Roll the dough into a standard, 10-in crust.  Fill the crust with the filling and sprinkle on the topping.  Bake for 25 minutes, rotating the pie halfway through.  Chilling the pie is best!

Here are my ingredients laid out:
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I wasn’t able to get fresh blueberries, so I made do with frozen ones.  There also weren’t enough so I added a few raspberries and strawberries from my freezer.

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I made sure to use good, fresh basil though.  I think that’s important to get a strong flavor that compliments the chèvre.

I didn’t actually rotate the pie, either, because I didn’t see a reason for doing it.  I also used an 8-in pan, so I had leftover filling and topping and crust.  The filling seemed particularly soupy to me as I added the cream and stirred it by hand.  Maybe whipping it would have helped stiffen it.  When I baked it, I overfilled it a little and had some spillage issues.  I also baked it for longer than 25 minutes, trying to get my crust to bake the whole way.  I did not have any issues with burning.  Here’s my end product:

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My friends and I all really enjoyed the taste, but I was disappointed that this pie wasn’t textured like the one I had in North Carolina.  If I were to use this recipe again, I would be sure to stick with fresh berries (maybe my water content was too high from the ice on the frozen ones), I would possibly try whipping the cream before stirring it in, and I would also go heavy on the basil and maybe bake the shell before I filled it.  My almonds were also slivered and not sliced which could affect the texture.  Although my friends liked the raspberry touch, I am a blueberry fan and didn’t like the seeds.  Next time I hope to make it all with blueberries…and maybe to look for a firmer recipe for this pie!  Regardless, it was delicious and I recommend trying this savory sweet combination!

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Les Pieds Fatigués

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