Sunday, August 18, 2013

Japanese Restaurant Style Ginger Dressing

Don't miss this one.  I don't even know how long it would keep in the fridge.  It hasn't lasted that long around here.  It is a nice dressing to use on a Kale & Apple salad because it breaks down the tough leaves nicely.

Original here.

4 carrots, peeled
½ white onion
¼ cup chopped ginger
2 tablespoons white miso paste
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons dark toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup water
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Throw everything in a high speed blender/food processor and blend until smooth.  Really it won't be that smooth, unless your equipment is amazing.  It will still be a little chunky like the restaurant dressing.


  • Store extra ginger in your freezer.
  • Miso paste is a fermented soy product.  You could probably use a little soy sauce in its place or just skip altogether like I did.  Having the miso would probably have rounded out the flavors really nicely.
  • Don't skip chopping the ginger.  It needs to start off smaller to be well dispersed.  

Hamburger Buns 2

Ahhh... These buns are much better than the previous recipe I used.  They taste better and are easier.  Win-win!  I'll be playing with a few details, but there is no going back to the old recipe.

Original recipe (& reviews) here.

3/4 to 1 cup lukewarm water
2 tablespoons butter
1 large egg
3 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon instant yeast
*For best results (a smooth, slightly soft dough), use the smaller amount of water in summer (or in a humid environment), the greater amount in winter (or in a dry climate); and something in between the rest of the time.

3 tablespoons butter, melted

Place bun ingredients into bread machine in order specified by manufacturer and start the dough cycle (or do it by hand or in your mixer with a 1-2 hr rise). Upon completion, gently deflate the dough and divide into 8 pieces (perfect size for 1/3lb Bubba Burgers; make more if you like smaller burgers).  Shape each piece into a round ball by pinching the bottom.  Place on a parchment paper covered (or lightly greased) baking sheet. Allow to relax for a minute or two and then flatten with the palm/heed of your hand so that they are at least 3" in diameter.  Cover and let rise for 1 hour, or until noticeably puffy.  Brush buns with half of melted butter.  Bake at 375* for 15-18 minutes.  Brush with remaining butter for a soft crust.  Cool buns on a rack.

Intended future modifications:

  • Try this as a sandwich bread loaf as some commenters suggested. 
  • Try brushing with water after baking.  Or at least unsalted butter.  The greasiness/griminess was unpleasant in the hand, even though the taste was wonderful.  
  • Try decreasing sugar or replacing with honey.
  • Replace some of the flour with whole wheat. 
  • Try an egg wash (white + 1/4 c. water; add extra yolk to dough) with sesame seeds.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Black Bean Soup 2

I finally found a black bean soup that I love and that I can consistently reproduce.

Saute together until fully cooked:
1T olive oil
1 lg onion,c hopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped

2T chili powder
1T ground cumin
1/4t black pepper
1T+ salt (adjust to taste, esp if you use salted broth)
4c unsalted broth
2 cans* black beans

Puree** and add:
2 cans black beans
28oz can tomatoes (diced or crushed or whole, whatever is cheaper)

Cook until flavors have combined and everything is heated through.

Remove from heat and add:
2T lime juice
15oz can coconut milk

Serve with cilantro.

*If you are using beans cooked from dry (much cheaper), 1 can is a scant 2 cups cooked. Recipe uses approximately 1.5lb dry beans.

**When I use dried beans and crushed tomatoes, I skip the pureeing.  Canned beans usually have chemicals added so that they retain their shape and firmness.  You don't have that with dried beans and I often find they are falling apart by the time I'm cooking them to my preferred doneness.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


If you don't love hummus, perhaps it is because you haven't had good, homemade hummus.  Now is your chance!

If you find the chickpea (garbanzo) measurements annoying, I'm sorry.  This recipe has been customized for one of my pots and my food processor size (7c).

1 1/8c Dried Chickpeas (equiv of 1.5 cans)
1/4c Tahini (I hear you can use Peanut Butter in a pinch)
3 Garlic Cloves, chopped/minced
1/2c Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed
2T Olive Oil
2T Dried Parsley
1/2t Crushed Red Pepper
1/2t Black Pepper
1 1/2 - 2t Salt

Cover chickpeas with water and simmer until tender (approx 90 minutes).  Drain, reserving a bit of liquid.  Place all ingredients in food processor and puree.  Add reserved liquid to achieve desired consistency.

Vegetable Dip
Sandwich Spread

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Hot Cereal

I mentioned that I've been eating a lot of non-oatmeal hot cereal lately.  I have a new recipe you might like to try.  It is a very high fiber recipe.  I've been eating it while on an elimination diet where I'm not eating gluten (and a bunch of other things).  Oatmeal is technically gluten free, but there is a high risk of cross contamination and oatmeal has another protein that can affect people with gluten sensitivity. 

Anyway.  It is yummy.  Mix up a big batch and enjoy!

1c brown Basmati rice (Basmati really is worth it)
1/2c quinoa
1/2c millet
1/2c buckwheat groats
1/2c sesame seeds
1/2c flaxseed

Use the food processor to partially grind the rice and buckwheat.  Mix all together and store in the fridge or freezer. 

Bring 4c of water to a boil.  Add 1c of the cereal and simmer for 20 minutes.  See my post about oatmeal flavors for some different ideas on how to flavor your cereal. 

Oatmeal Flavors

I've been eating a lot of oatmeal and other hot cereal lately.  I thought I would document some of my favorite flavors and sweetening methods.

Sweetening Methods:
  • Mashed bananas
  • Dates, chopped (approximately one per serving)
  • Fruit juice concentrate (apple or orange)
Of course, you can always use honey, maple syrup or brown sugar.  Over time I have tried to reduce the amount of sugar, especially refined sugar.  You can also gain quite a bit of sweet flavor by spicing your cereal well. In the falling "recipes" be sure to use enough spice!

Favorite Flavors:
  • Orange Walnut: Replace 1/4 of water with orange juice concentrate.  Add cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.  Serve with walnuts.
  • Apple Pecan: Add 1/2c peeled, chopped (sweet) apples per serving.  Reduce water by 1/4.  Add cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.  Serve with pecans.
  • Cinnamon Raisin:  Add healthy amounts of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.  Add chopped dates at a rate of 1 per serving.  Stir in raisins after cooking (scant 1/4c per serving).
  • Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter: Mash bananas (1/2 per serving) with cocoa powder (1T per serving).  Add after cooking.  Serve with a spoon of crunchy peanut butter.
  • Pumpkin Walnut:  Reduce water by 1/4.  Add twice as much pumpkin.  When in season, add 1/4c  (fresh) cranberries per serving.  Add chopped dates at a rate of 1-2 per serving.  Add cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.  Serve with walnuts and craisins (if no fresh are available).
  • Strawberries and cream:  Replace 1/4 of water with coconut milk.  Add chopped dates at a rate of 1-2 per serving. Stir in 1/4-1/2c chopped strawberries per serving after cooking.
I have to be honest.  Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter is my FAVORITE, but it makes my man gag.  You can't win them all.  More for me.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Soft Flour Tortillas

I went shopping for tortillas last night, but I made the mistake of turning over the package and looking at the ingredient list. Wowsers.  23+ ingredients, depending on how you count them.  Needless to say, I left the store without the tortillas and decided to make my own.

The only problem with my plan is that I'm allergic to pork and the traditional recipe contains lard. Pork shows up in the darndest places.  I scoured the Internet, but most recipes called for vegetable shortening. Ha. The only time I splurge and cook with that load of chemistry is when I make Holly's Cookies.  That happens almost never.

Some recipes call for olive oil, but I kept thinking there was something to the traditional use of a fat that is solid at room temperature. Finally I found a recipe that used coconut oil, which is solid at room temperature, and it worked marvelously.  There are only 4 ingredients and it didn't take long to make.  One of the leftover tortillas even doubled as peanut butter chocolate banana crepe this afternoon.

Check it out.

Written here in case the website ever disappears.

2c. AP flour
1t salt
4T (1/4c) Coconut Oil (solid)
3/4c warm milk, water or whey

Begin heating cast iron skillet or electric griddle.  Mix flour and salt.  Cut in oil.  Add liquid until it comes together.  Kneed 2 minutes and then rest for 20 (or don't).  Divide into 8 balls.  Roll them out thinly.  Cook about 30 seconds on each side.  Place in a folded towel.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Stuffed Peppers

Original here

My version:


  • 6 red bell peppers, tops removed and seeded
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 2 teaspoons freshly chopped garlic
  • 2 zucchini, diced
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 (14-ounce can) tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup diced red and green peppers (you can use the tops)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 lb ground, browned, turkey (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Boil peppers for about 7 minutes, or until they yeild to a squeeze of the tongs.  While water is coming to a boil and peppers are cooking, do the following. 

In a large skillet  (or 2) over medium heat, add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions, mushrooms and garlic and saute until the mushrooms are golden brown. Add in the zucchini, rice, tomatoes, red and green peppers and continue to cook until the vegetables are tender. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste. Place peppers in muffin trays to keep them upright.  Spoon the vegetable mixture into the peppers. Bake until the peppers are fully cooked, about 15-20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and serve.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Vegetables for Breakfast

This is going to be a little long.  If you want the recipe, just skip over the blabbing.

I've been following the folks over at Precision Nutrition for a while.  They have some pretty good free courses and I just *love* their blog.  They have a pretty scientific, common sense approach to nutrition.  I highly recommend their free 5-day courses.  The first day of the first course I took started off with 5 questions to ask yourself when you prepare a meal.

  1. Are you eating too much food?
  2. Are you eating enough protein?
  3. Are you eating too many sugars or starches?
  4. Are you eating enough vegetables?
  5. Are you eating enough healthy fats? 
The course talks about serving sizes and food types to help you answer these questions.  Check it out.  Anyway, I kept thinking about increasing protein and vegetables while decreasing the sugars/starches (but not eliminating them).  I haven't had too much trouble using these questions to improve my lunches, dinners, and snacks, but breakfasts were/are sticky.  

Some of the things I've done to improve the quality of my breakfasts include buying eggs from happy chickens (the kind that see sunlight) as they have more Omega-3 fats, mixing spinach in with my eggs, and having only a small piece of toast.  Oh, and sometimes I eat an extra sausage patty for a bonus protein because I've been KILLING it at the gym lately.  

Recently I found a salad recipe (source: forgotten) that I have been enjoying for/with breakfast.  Check it out.

Grapefruit Salad
  • Mixed Greens
  • Grapefruit sections (how to prepare)
  • Avocado slices
  • Red or green onion pieces
  • Balsamic Vinaigrette (homemade)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Original is here.

My Version:

1 (2 1/2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 2-inch cubes
4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 cup chopped onion
3 cups no-salt-added chicken stock
1T hot curry powder
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1/4 cup flaked unsweetened coconut, toasted
2 small Thai red chiles, thinly sliced (optional)
Roast squash at 450* with 1T oil and 1/4t salt. Saute onion in remaining oil.  Add squash, stock, remaining salt, and curry powder.  Simmer for 15 minutes.  Stir in lime juice and coconut milk.  Puree with immersion blender. Serve with toppings.
I have a similar recipe that doesn't call for roasting the squash.  You just throw it in with the stock and simmer for about 20 minutes.  I'm sure it would be equally tasty.

Anytime Sausage (Sugar Free!)

Who needs Breakfast Sausage?  I vote for Anytime Sausage. 

Original is here.

My version:
1.3 lb ground turkey (not extra lean... you need the fat so it doesn't stick to the pan!)
2t sage
1t salt
1t black pepper
1/8t crushed red pepper
1pinch ground cloves
For sweeter sausage: 1 baby apple, peeled, finely chopped (optional)

The original recipe called for marjoram, but I don't have any.  I'm sure it would add a nice little touch.  I did recently acquire some Italian Seasoning, which is heavy on marjoram and I sprinkled it on top during cooking.  That turned out really nicely.

If you don't want to measure out a bunch of seasoning each time, then make a big batch.  I found that 1t of the mix for every 1/3lb of meat works great.