Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cabbage soup and a glass of wine, therapy for a long drive

To think I thought Seattle traffic was bad and Michigan would be a piece of cake. Apparently not! This morning it took me 15 minutes door-to-door; tonight was over an hour to getting home. I was the kind of frustrated only a glass of wine and some soothing food would fix, so the soup was on. I had all the right ingredients to make a simple soup on hand, in my kitchen. Making a soup is such a simple process, and yields so much product with flavors as simple or complex as you want them to be. After a soothing half hour at the counter and stove, I sat down to a tasty and healthy meal with a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon (nothing fancy, so I won't bore you with the details) and let my drive stress float away. After all, I'll be doing it again tomorrow.

As a side note to impromptu recipes: I seem to still be too nervous to try out food experiments on the boy for fear of a bad reaction, things I did not concern myself with too much while living with the girls. Thanks ladies ;) Apparently I love you as testers for strange concoctions, admittedly not always with good results. But tonight was just me and a bottle of red (No, of course not the whole bottle! ... I wouldn't be writing this right now, that is for sure!) so I just threw the cut veggies in the pot, and let it rip. With a decent return on my investment of time and resources, I'm am pleased to count this soup experiment successful!

Cabbage/Potato/Millet Soup
(I really roughed this out, so feel free to take the idea and run with it in any direction you wish ;)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Onion, diced
2 Carrots, diced
2 Celery stalks, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Stalks from a bunch of broccoli* (I just had it in the fridge, but feel free to omit)
1 Quart of Chicken or Vegetable stock
1 Tb Vinegar (I learned in school, you've gotta have the acid! use apple cider or champagne for this one)
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp dry oregano (and whatever herbs/spices sound good to you!)
1/2 cup Millet
3 Red potatoes, peel and dice (if you do this while the mirepoix sweats, you won't end up with brown potatoes)
1/4 head Cabbage, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Heat the oil over medium heat, add the onion, carrots, celery & a pinch of salt, and cook for about 8-10 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds. 
2.  Stir in the stock, add the bay leaf, oregano, millet & potatoes and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook for 6 minutes.  Then, stir in the cabbage and cook for 10-15 more minutes, or until potatoes, grains and veggies reach desired textures. Salt and pepper as you see like. That's it!

*When trimming broccoli stalks, I do end up with a lot of waste, as it is a fairly fibrous part of the veggie. Better to use it, than toss it though! I did not blend this soup and the pieces are eaten whole, so I want it all gone. Trim all the exterior of the stalk, so you just have the middle portion that is much lighter in color and dice like you would normally. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Thank you Diana.....creator of this granola recipe, grower of green kale, and rockin' mountain biker.   She emailed me this granola recipe several WEEKS ago and I finally had a chance to make it, why did it take me so long?  Diana made this recipe up based on various store bought brands. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.
Grainy Granola
Dry Ingredients:
2 cups rolled oats (uncooked)
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup buckwheat (uncooked)
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup sliced almonds (or nuts of your choice)

Wet Ingredients:
1/2 to 1 cup sweetner to taste. (Try maple syrup, honey, brown sugar, agave, etc. and try combos of 2 or more. I like ~3/4 cup total. It depends on how sweet you want your granola!)
1-2 tablespoon coconut oil (I use 3 tbsp because it's really good for you!! you can also use olive oil, sunflower oil, or another healthy oil)
1-3 teaspoon cinnamon (depends how much you like it)
1.5 teaspoon vanilla extract
1.5 teaspoon salt

  • Preheat oven to 350. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl and mix. In small saucepan over medium heat, combine the wet ingredients and bring to a boil, mixing well.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well with a large spoon to coat.
  • Spread mixture onto large baking sheet(s) lined with wax paper. Bake at 350 for ~20-25 minutes or until desired "toastiness". Take out and allow to cool completely.
  • Mix in raisins or any other dried fruit that you like. Store in airtight container.

Feel free to modify with other ingredients/flavors. I LOVE a giant bowl of granola with a few scoops of yogurt and milk in the morning. I have some pomegranate seeds that I froze in the fall. I like to take them out for a few min then mix in the bowl right before eating. Yummy!!!    -amy w.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Toasted Almond Crackers & Hummus

I'm addicted to making crackers and storing them in a large mason jar. When I get home from a trail run, bike ride, or work, I'm starving and need an instant snack.  Instead of digging a spoon into a bowl of homemade chocolate ice cream or a eating a spoonful of peanut butter covered in chocolate chips (yes, it still can happen), I stretch my hand into the half gallon mason jar that sits on my counter full of fresh crackers.   I dip the crunchy crackers into homemade hummus and it hits the spot. 

If you are looking for a simple fast cracker, I posted this recipe several months back - Thin Wheat Crackers .  If you need a cracker with a hint of sugar, try my recent favorite - Toasted Almond Crackers.  Amy Pennington is an amazing author, gardener, and cook.  We have her book, Urban Pantry listed under our "book tab" so be sure to check it out.  Her recipes are simple and pantry friendly.

Now, for the homemade hummus.  I've adapted this recipe from The Vegan's Cook Bible.  I often double the recipe so I have even more to freeze in small containers.

Roasted Vegetable Hummus
4 cloves, garlic
2 onions, quartered
3 carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, quartered
Olive oil
1 can chickpeas
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp Peanut Sauce or Tahini
1 tsp ground cinnamon
dash sea salt
1/4 cup of apple juice (add before processing)
1/2 tsp honey

On a baking sheet lined with foil, combine all the veggies, drizzle olive oil over and toss well to coat.  Roast in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 40 minutes or until soft and browned.  It's ok if the edges of your veggies are slightly burnt and crisp.  Let cool.

Combine veggies, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and additional ingredients.  Blend until smooth.

Transfer into smaller containers and freeze.  Enjoy!  - amy w.