Posts tagged ‘recipes’

Summer BBQ

Everyone has a slightly different meaning of appropriate cook-out foods depending on your cultural and regional backgrounds. Growing up in NJ, a summer BBQ always meant hamburgers and hot dogs, potato salad, and chips. To my husband, who was born in Brazil, no cook-out is complete without linguica (Brazilian sausage) and short ribs. I have also heard that BBQ and cook-out can signal two totally different affairs if you are from the southern US.

No matter what, it is hard to disagree that anything off the grill just screams summer. My husband got a new Weber charcoal grill for his birthday yesterday, so we are excited to have many grilled treats this summer. Here are some of my favorite summer recipes for the grill. These are all perfect for any special graduation celebrations or Memorial Day BBQs coming up!

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Homemade Shake Shack – Two Ways

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Fingerling Potato and Asparagus Salad

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Grill Basket Veggie Panini

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Sweet Potato Grill Fries

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Greek Herbed Turkey Burgers

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Grilled Pizza

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Beer Can Chicken

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Drunken Grilled Fruit

May 23, 2014 at 7:43 am 1 comment

Thinking of Thanksgiving

written by Jen

Thanksgiving has to be one of my favorite holidays. Growing up in a family of fantastic home cooks has always meant some pretty spectacular feasts. As a kid, Thanksgiving was always held at my maternal Grandmother’s house. We would start with Sweet Potato soup, a pureed soup similar to butternut squash soup but slightly thicker. Turkey was, of course, a highlight, but her creamy garlic mashed potatoes stole the show. After they retired to Florida, my mom took over hosting this holiday meal. Several new traditions were born, including a flavorful Cranberry-Apricot sauce and a crowd-pleasing French Bread Stuffing with Fennel and Sausage (both adapted from a Cooking Light cookbook). This year, I have the honor of hosting Thanksgiving in my Boston home. I will be keeping some traditions, as well as finding my own signature contribution. Here is a preview of some things that have caught Chelsea and my eyes stomachs, all brought to you from fellow bloggers!

Quinoa Salad with Butternut Squash, Dried Cranberries & Pepitas by Two Peas & Their Pod

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts with Rosemary and Garlic by Oh She Glows

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Honey and Cinnamon by My Kitchen College

Honey Butter Pumpkin Dinner Rolls by Averie Cooks

Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Bacon & Apples by Little Pink Monster

Bourbon Apple Sangria by Climbing Grier Mountain

November 25, 2013 at 6:22 pm 1 comment

Salad Weather

Summer happened overnight in Boston, it seems. It has been warmer here than it has been in Southwest FL for the past few days! Now that is hot. When my thermostat reads 88F INSIDE the house, there is absolutely no way you can convince me to turn the stove on for longer than absolutely necessary, let alone even think about using the oven. I have survived 4 Boston summers with no A/C, but if it stays this hot for much longer I might break!

To beat the heat, I end up eating a lot of salads in the summer. While I love my leafy greens, salads don’t have to be so monotonous. Here are some of the things I have been making lately:

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A lovely, multi-colored, Mexican-inspired salad that is sure to brighten up any meal. I mixed mine all together right away and have enjoyed it for lunch for the past few days. You can eat it plain, serve it as a side for taco night, or even fill a tortilla with it! For those of you afraid of the long ingredient list, most of the work is just simple veggie chopping! Jicama is the most unfamiliar ingredient, but is a wonderful, naturally sweet, tropical starch-y vegetable that adds great crunch and flavor. I can see this recipe easily becoming a summertime lunch staple! I think it would be fun to turn it into a layered jar salad the next time I make it!

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Who said fruit salads are just for dessert? This Mango Blueberry Quinoa Salad also makes for another great lunch salad! The lemon-basil dressing is refreshing, and the blueberries and mangoes are unexpected but delicious. This is a must-make for any fruit lover!

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The last summer salad I made to go along with these delicious Chipotle Shrimp Burritos with Avocado Crema. I would highly recommend these burritos – simple, spicy, and flavorful. I cheated on the avocado crema and simply mixed a store-bought packet of guacamole with a spoonful of Greek yogurt, some extra cilantro and lime. To balance out the spicy shrimp, I kept the salad on the lighter side. This literally came together with the odds and ends left in my fridge, freezer and pantry from the week! The palmitos are acidic, soft, and refreshing. The edamame provides protein and substance, and the corn has a great natural sweetness. The dressing is heavy on lime, giving it a nice, fresh summer flavor. It reminds me of a grown-up version of succotash with a little South American flavor. It could easily be made into a main meal by adding some avocado and increasing the portion size!

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Question: How do you stay cool on hot summer days? My favorite response from a friend: “I eat popsicles in my underwear.”

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Palmitos Succotash

serves 3-4 as a side dish

1 can hearts of palm (palmitos), drained and sliced

1 1/2 cups shelled edamame, cooked according to package instructions

2 ears corn, steamed (about 1 1/2 cups if using frozen)

1 cup loosely packed cilantro, minced

3 scallions, greens and whites, sliced

3 limes, juiced

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp rice wine vinegar

1/4 tsp salt and garlic powder (or to taste)

Cook the edamame according to package instructions. Allow to cool. Steam the corn for 3-4 minutes. Once cool, cut the kernels from the cob. Mix the corn, edamame, and sliced palmitos together in a bowl. Add the sliced scallions and minced cilantro. Whisk together dressing of lime juice, olive oil, and rice wine vinegar. Season to taste with salt and garlic powder, then stir to combine. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

June 3, 2013 at 5:20 am 1 comment

Fusion Food

Everywhere I look lately, there are tacos. Really fun and interesting looking tacos. Like these and these and these. I even made my own! I would venture a guess that tacos are one of the trendy foods this season, and I am loving it! Bright colored veggies packed with flavor on a warm corn tortilla is totally my idea of fun backyard summer food! More so, I love the ideas that are breaking tacos out of the box. These recipes are certainly more creative than my memories of family taco nights, and are sure to liven up your dinner table!

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These tacos are a fusion of cooking influences in my life right now. My boyfriend, who is Korean, has been teaching me some basics about Korean cooking, and I have learned how to make some simpler traditional dishes like kimchi jjigae and ssam jang. Learning this new style of cooking, and having a fridge full of new-to-me condiments, has started to spark my creativity and put ideas in my head of how to combine our food heritages. Thus, after a weekend of Korean cooking and a brief glance through the most recent Cooking Light magazine my mom lent me, the idea for these tacos were born! Korean pulled pork, a simple ginger cucumber, and a great scallion slaw, and it worked! The meat is tender and flavorful, with rich and complex notes upfront and a slow spice that follows. The cucumbers and carrots are crisp and refreshing, and the scallions nicely finish off the taco.

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Some notes on the recipe: First, you might be scratching your head about the pork. Isn’t she a vegetarian? Well, recently, I have slowly started to add meat back to my diet. (My decision was made mostly for personal health reasons that I won’t fully discuss here.) I am still eating vegetarian meals 80% of the week, but am making a conscious effort to make a meal that includes meat at least once a week. After 5-ish years of vegetarian cooking, this has required a little more planning and experimentation than I expected! Also, don’t be intimidated by the super long ingredient list that follows– most of it is for the meat marinade and is pantry-based. The only “specialty items” are the Hoisin sauce, which can be found in most major supermarkets, and the gochujang. That might be a little harder to find, unless you have an Asian food market in your area. It is essentially a red pepper paste that adds a slow, sweet spice to your meat. If you can’t find it or don’t love spice, replace it with ketchup. Lastly, make sure that you take the time to toast your tortillas! A warm corn tortilla is much more pliable and tastes better, really giving the finishing touch to this dish!

Question: How do you feel about the changes on my blog? Over the past two years, this blog has been an outlet to record and share what I have been making and the things that excite me. I realize that I have many vegan/vegetarian readers, but feel that it is important for me to share how I have been eating! Like I said, most of my meals will still be largely vegetarian, but I hope to reflect the new styles of cooking I am learning to incorporate as well. I hope you will continue as I adventure in cooking and healthy living!

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Korean Pulled Pork Tacos with Sesame Ginger Cucumbers, Carrots and Scallions

inspiration for the meat from here and the cucumbers from here, serves 4-6

12 corn tortillas

pulled pork:

2 lb pork (shoulder, butt or loin all work well)

1-inch piece ginger, minced

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp Hoisin sauce

1/3 cup soy sauce

2 tbsp sesame seed oil

3 tbsp gochujang paste (or ketchup)

3 tbsp rice vinegar

2 tbsp honey

2 star of anise

1/4 tsp fennel seed

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker. Set to low and cook for 7-8 hours. Pull meat apart using two forks to create pulled pork. Mix desired amount of residual sauce into meat.

cukes and carrots:

4 medium pickling cucumbers, julienned

3 carrots, julienned

2 clove garlic, minced

2-inch piece ginger, minced

4 tbsp rice vinegar

4 tsp sugar

2 tsp sesame seed oil

Combine the matchstick-sized cucumbers and carrots with the marinade ingredients. Shake and then refrigerate, covered, for at least one hour.

scallions:

2 bunch scallions (greens only), julienned

1.5 tbsp sesame seed oil

3 tbsp rice vinegar

1.5 tbsp red chili flakes

Cut the scallion greens into 2-inch chunks, then julienne into thin strips. Combine with remaining ingredients and refrigerate for at least one hour.

to assemble:

Warm a corn tortilla in a skillet or griddle. Layer cucumbers, carrots, scallions and pulled pork. Fold and enjoy warm!

April 27, 2013 at 7:00 am 4 comments

Just Saying HI!

Friends, I miss blogging. I have thought of you all often, and still am reading and perusing the blogosphere! However, my camera is still out of action and I have been to cheap lazy to look into replacement cords or card readers.

Since I have none of my own pictures, here are some links to what I have been loving lately!

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Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats: I know I am late on the bandwagon, but these are AMAZING! The fact that I can throw stuff in my crock-pot overnight and wake up to the smell of apples and cinnamon wafting through my house is enough to sell me on these oats. But add the fact that I now have 5 days of amazing, healthy breakfast ready, cutting time off my normal morning routine? That is pretty amazing. I have made a loose interpretation of these once so far and added some shredded carrot, which added sweetness and blended in well. Nutritious oats made at the end of a lazy Sunday, ready to enjoy all week… my new favorite!

Slow Cooker Beans: Speaking of the slow cooker, I am also looking forward to trying this method for cooking dried beans. I don’t always remember to pre-soak my beans and often don’t have hours to spend cooking my dried beans, so this seems like a handy trick! I will let you know if it works! Do you have any experience?

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Feijao: Speaking of beans that I did remember to soak… My Brazilian-born boyfriend introduced me to this amazing national dish, and I instantly fell in love. My heart broke when I learned that it is traditionally made with bacon and pork skin, but I knew I could find a way to veganize it, and I did! The beans are spicy, the collard greens sing with garlic, and the rice rounds out the meal. For you carnivores out there, the original recipe can be translated and makes an awesome hearty winter dish. For my plant-based friends, I will perfect my version (AKA actually measure ingredients) and post the recipe next time I make it! (Spoiler alert: I used nori to replace the umami flavor of the pork fat. My boyfriend almost fainted when I told him of my plans, but he ate two huge helpings and said I should make it again, so I guess it worked!)

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Buffalo Chickpea Dip: I might have a minor obsession with hot sauce. I may have even put it on popcorn once. (Sillier things have been done by hungry college students.) I often crave the buffalo chicken dip that is laden with grease and dairy, and was so excited to find that there is a vegetarian/vegan recipe that can replicate this game day favorite. I made this for the Superbowl and the pan was licked clean by half time… everyone loved it! I cannot express enough how tasty this is, so you should just find out for yourself. I used regular cheddar, and am pretty sure you could use all white beans instead of including cashews in the base (if you are looking to simplify the recipe). Make and enjoy!

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Winter Red Curry: I am knee-deep in root vegetables! As much as I love the change of seasons and commitment to eating as locally as possible, I am ready for a little more variety in my produce options! To spice things up a little, I figured everything tastes good in a curry! And it does. I made a loose interpretation of this curry with some added kale and served it over brown rice. Root vegetables, you have not conquered me yet.

For more of what I have my eye on, follow me on Pinterest. Until next time friends!

Question: What have you been loving lately?

February 5, 2013 at 8:02 pm 1 comment

It’s Fall Y’all: Ginger

Ginger might not be the first thing that jumps to mind when you think of fall, but in reality is one of the unsung heroes of this culinary season. That might sound a bit extreme, but bear with me. What makes the pumpkin in pie sing? Ginger. A really great apple or pear crisp? Ginger. Breads, cookies, pies, and fruit crisps all rely on cozy spices to make them truly come to life. Ginger happens to be one of my favorite flavors, but can be a bit aggressive and divisive. If you love strong ginger flavors, then this post is for you.

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First attempt at homemade candied ginger

It all started out with the goal of making homemade candied ginger. I love the store-bought version, but it is expensive and very sugary. I set out to make my own and, thanks to Pinterest, found this great recipe and tutorial. The cashier at my grocery store looked at me funny when I walked away with a rather large ginger knob tree, but I was determined to accomplish my goal! The result – decent. Honestly, not as great as the store-bought version, but also could be cook’s error. My syrup over-boiled, dried out, and likely didn’t cook for quite long enough. The candied ginger is tasty, but not a solely edible treat like its store-bought counterpart. The resulting ginger syrup, however, is delectable. I cannot get enough!

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The resultant ginger syrup

Here are some ideas of what I have been doing with my ginger creations!

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Homemade Ginger Ale: Mix a few spoonfuls of the syrup with seltzer water for a tasty homemade soda!

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Adult Ginger Ale: Add a shot of whiskey to the above for an adult version. (Or a shot of rum and a squeeze of lime, with a little heavier hand on the ginger syrup, for my favorite– the Dark and Stormy!)

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Honey Ginger Butter: Mix 1/4 cup of ginger syrup, 1 tbsp honey, and 1 stick softened butter. Whip with an immersion blender, and then refrigerate in a small container until solid. Goes great with pancakes, waffles or this amazing Honey Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread!

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Coconut Ginger Granola: Maybe the best granola I have ever made… seriously. I made a few changes, like using butter instead of coconut oil and adding a dash of ginger syrup and it is DELICIOUS! You should definitely try this.

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Stuffed Delicata Squash: In danger of recipe overload, I am going to tease you with these pictures and post the recipe later in the week! Definitely stop back– you don’t want to miss this one!

In case that isn’t enough for you, here are some ginger recipes I tried out last year…

Gingersnap Oatmeal

Gingerbread Oatmeal

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle

Gingerbread Cookies

…and some I have my eye on!

Ginger Sangria

Gingersnap Martini

Ginger Cookies

Question: Are you a ginger fan?

October 21, 2012 at 4:00 pm 6 comments

It’s Fall Y’all: Pumpkin

Fall is definitely my favorite season. This was confirmed so many times this week: making fall snacks rich with cinnamon, taking a walk through Beacon Hill in the crisp chill of autumn with smells of fireplaces and fall leaves in the air, seeing all of the rich reds and oranges and yellows that fill the trees on my way to work. I love this season! This past weekend, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen making some fall treats to last me for the upcoming weeks. So look forward to some fall themed posts coming your way! Unfortunately, finding time to write about what I have been creating has been my limiting step as of late…

First up: pumpkin! It is all over the blog world right now – pumpkin in every baked good, breakfast treat, soup, and stew… wherever you can think to look, you can find pumpkin! I decided to be adventurous this year and roast my own pumpkin…from scratch! I did this once before I was blogging, and thought it was a fun process… boy, did I forget how much extra work it is! The beauty of thick-skinned pumpkins and squashes is that you can buy them, keep them as a centerpiece for a few weeks, and then roast them when you have time! Small, sugar pumpkins make the best for roasting, but the seeds of carving pumpkins are delicious too!

To roast a pumpkin, slice the top off, scoop out the seeds and strings, and then season with a bit of butter, salt and pepper. Roast it until it is soft at 350F – about an hour and a half. Then, peel the skin off and use the flesh for soups, stews, or puree to make your own un-canned pumpkin! The interesting thing about pumpkin is that the flavor is very mild. Most people associate pumpkin flavor with pumpkin pie, but the pie is made by the cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar. Take that away and pumpkin itself is pretty mild. That also makes it very versatile if you have an open mind about what it should taste like!

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For a great pumpkin soup, try this spiced up version: Coconut Pumpkin Soup. This was my first pumpkin soup adventure and I would make it again! I am not quite sure what the equivalent of canned pumpkin would be since I used the whole pumpkin method. It has a great Thai flavor profile, thanks to the coconut milk (I used the lighter, boxed kind, 4 cups, in place of cans), coriander, and ginger. You can adjust the spice level by using less chilis. Use vegan margarine or oil instead of butter and it is vegan as well! Also, if you aren’t a soy sauce fan, I’d suggest adding a pinch or two of salt to the soup while cooking! This is a great alternative for a fall soup with great homestyle bread, or as an appetizer.

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While you have the oven going, why not roast the seeds? Rinse them and shake them in some olive oil, salt and paprika. Spread them out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast them at 350F for 20 minutes, stirring them once. This is easier than most people thing, and make for a great fall snack!

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Another great fall snack is pumpkin pie roasted almonds. I made them this weekend and seriously cannot stop eating them. If you are an almond fan, this is a healthier (and cheaper) way to have a sweet and salty snack than most of the pre-packaged varieties!

In case that isn’t enough for you, here are some pumpkin recipes I tried out last year…

Vegan Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle

Pumpkin Brownie Pie

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Pumpkin Almond Oatmeal

…and some recipes I have my eye on!

Pumpkin Gnocchi

Pumpkin Garlic Knots

Pumpkin Scones

Question: What is your favorite pumpkin recipe?

October 8, 2012 at 7:50 pm 1 comment

Recipe Roundup

Between Pinterest, stars in my Google reader, old bookmarks, and saved family recipes, I have more meal ideas than I know what to do with! To deal with some of the recipe overload, I have been making some other blogger’s meals for the past week with delicious results. The only problem is, for every recipe I try, I find three more to replace it with! Inspired eating is never a bad thing, so I am not complaining. Here are some of the things I have tried and loved lately. All of the pictures are from the original websites, since I was to lazy to photograph my recreations.

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A microwaved sweet potato with a scoop of plain Greek yogurt, almond butter and cinnamon. I was inspired by Sarah at My Less Serious Life during a WIAW post. I was a little skeptical at first since I usually associate sweet potatoes with savory meals, but gave it a try anyway. I had a small sweet potato and enjoyed it for breakfast, and am so glad I didn’t let my skepticism get in the way of this delicious meal! It is definitely something I would make again.

layered salad

For lunch, I have been enjoying a healthy, hearty and delicious layered salad. Angela at Oh She Glows recreated a favorite from the Whole Foods salad bar, and it is easily one of the best grain salads I have ever tasted. The quinoa and edamame help keep you full all afternoon, and the citrus dressing is incredibly light and refreshing. I didn’t follow the recipe for the dressing exactly since I didn’t have apple juice on hand, but used what I had to approximate the flavors. Check out this recipe for a week of easy, healthy and portable vegan lunches!

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For all of you cauliflower fans out there, this recipe from Heather at 101 Cookbooks is for you. If you aren’t a cauliflower fan, I would bet you’d still like this meal. The chiles and cilantro give the dish a great kick, and the turmeric adds a fantastic pop of color. To make this a rounded out meal rather than a side, I added some roasted red potatoes and some adzuki, lentil and pea sprouts. My friend went back for thirds, so let that speak for the bold and amazing flavors in this vegan dish!

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Looking for a dairy-free alternative for a crudite platter, I tried out Katie’s vegan Ranch dressing. It is tofu based and has a great dill flavor. I made a lot of substitutions to use what I had on hand (real onions for onion powder, Greek yogurt for vegan mayo, and a touch of extra salt) and loved the result. This recipe makes a pretty large batch of ranch dressing, perfect for a party dip. I think it would also be great thinned out a bit for healthier, protein-packed, salad dressing!

Question: What is one new recipe you have tried and loved lately?

March 4, 2012 at 7:45 pm 2 comments

Giving Thanks

There is so much to be thankful for this year. I got to be home with my family for several days. The family that we are not near, we have gotten to catch up with on the phone.  I have been able to spend time with my sister and my closest friends. I have not had to think about school or sneak away to get work done at all during this holiday. I am well and energetic, able to go for a run in the beautiful fall weather each morning. I have so many hobbies that I can enjoy, in both busyness and vacation: cooking, knitting, blogging, running. I have a fridge full of good food and have been able to spend days in the kitchen with my mom, experimenting with old and new favorite recipes. I am so thankful for the many blessings I have in my life, but am most thankful for the deep and meaningful relationships that I have. My sister was asked to sing at a church member’s funeral on Friday, and I was deeply touched by the message of how important relationships are in life. The pastor’s sermon emphasized her importance as a wife, mother, grandmother, and friend. The tributes recounted memories of time spent together and, even without knowing her well, I could see how deeply she had touched others lives. One day, we will look back and remember holidays, birthdays, and dinners spent together. Important things of the present like exam scores, work deadlines, and temporal achievements will fade away. I hope to carry this message with me throughout each day of the year, and not just let it permeate my mind during this holiday of thankfulness.

To celebrate Thanksgiving, we made our traditional feast, even if we were a day late! The rest of this post will be pictures and links, with a few teasers of some recipes I will post in the next few days. Enjoy the rest of the holiday weekend and continue to reflect on the many people who bless your life each day.

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An easy appetizer: canned crescent rolls with a spoonful of cranberry sauce and slice of brie cheese inside. A great way to use some leftover cranberry sauce as well!

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Our Thanksgiving spread

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Dad carving the turkey

potato process

The evolution of the mashed potatoes: roasted, then mashed, topped with roasted leeks. They contain no butter and just a splash of milk, substituting some steamed cauliflower instead! The recipe will be up soon!

Recipe to come soon!

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Sauteed green beans in the forefront, using red onions instead of shallot, and roasted asparagus in the back. My sister claims that she has never liked asparagus so much, so that simple recipe will be posted soon as well!

Sauteed Green Beans, a Homemade Adventure Original

Mustard Roasted Asparagus, recipe to come soon!

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We roasted the white and colored veggies separate, trying to keep the beets apart for as long as possible so everything didn't turn pink! Worked out well, and also allowed the unique flavors of the turnip, rutebega, parsnip, carrot, and beet separate! We spiced things up with some fresh sage, thyme and rosemary added before roasting the veggies.

Roasted Root Vegetable Candy, from the Pioneer Woman Cooks

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Spiced Sweet Potatoes, made with sliced almonds instead of pecans. Lesson learned: go shopping for staple items before Thanksgiving Eve! Our grocery store ran out of pecans! Pecans or almonds, this is so good that you will never go back to the marshmallow casserole again.

Spiced Sweet Potatoes, from Rufus’ Guide

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Mom's classic Sausage and Herb Dressing, recipe from an old cookbook.

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Cornbread Stuffing, made with homemade veggie broth and heated in a casserole dish instead of stuffed in the turkey. My first experience with this type of dressing, I was skeptical when we first put it in the oven, since I am used to the more rustic stuffing that my mom makes. The results sure were sweet, though!

Cornbread Stuffing, from Rufus’ Guide

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My homemade cranberry sauce, a new holiday favorite!

Homemade Cranberry Sauce, a Homemade Adventure Original

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Vegan Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls, so simple and easy!

Dinner Rolls from About.com (How did people cook before Google? ;)

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My Thanksgiving plate! Who says you need turkey on Thanksgiving? Love all of the colors from our veggies!

gingerbread trifle

A Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle, with recipe to come! Adapted from a few different sources, this is a relatively healthy dessert and is a beautiful way to end your Thanksgiving meal!

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle, recipe to come soon!

Question: Which recipe do you want to see first?

November 26, 2011 at 6:38 pm 6 comments

Cooking in Croatia

Most people can cook – with a few basic tools and skills, and some patience, it is easy enough to follow a basic recipe. However, it is much more difficult to create. Looking in the fridge and pantry, seeing what is on hand, and combining only what you have to create an awesome meal. This is what makes programs like Boston Organics or traditional CSA’s so intimidating – a loss of control of what ends up in your fridge, and a big push into the realm of creative cooking. However, this, for me, has been the most fun part of my Boston Organics box! I love day dreaming about how I can pull together the random assortment of ingredients from my fridge and cabinets. A quick tip: keep a well-stocked pantry! I always have pasta, brown rice, quinoa, cous cous, canned and dried beans, canned tomatoes, vegetable broth, olive oil, a few vinegars and basic spices on hand. They really make a huge difference when trying to pull together fresh ingredients into a satisfying meal! The biggest hurdle to overcome: fear. But what is there to be afraid of? If it doesn’t taste good, scrap it and start over. At least food usually isn’t too expensive of an experiment! (Or you could eat it anyway, what I usually do since I really, really hate to waste my veggies…)

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Who knew that it would be such great preparation for my time at my friend’s vacation home in Croatia, too? We were excited to be able to cook for ourselves for a few days, both to save money, and to see some veggies back on our plates after a few days eating out in Sarajevo! We brought along some fruits and veggies from a market in Sarajevo, and bought a few necessities from the supermarket as soon as we got there. Soon, our fridge was full with necessities: tons of fresh fruit, eggplant, cauliflower, onions, potatoes, chicken, peppers, beer, wine, gnocchi, tomatoes, cucumbers. We bought what looked good, paying little mind to what we were going to use it for. We could always run back to the produce stand, or swing by the store on the way back from the beach if we needed anything! We ended up making three meals at home, one of which I have already shared. The other two are coming up this weekend!

Two bits of exciting news… I now have a Facebook page! I feel guilty for constantly spamming my friends and filling their news feed with post updates. If you are a friend who gets updates about new recipes and posts through Facebook, or are a regular reader, like my page to keep getting those updates! I will no longer be posting to my personal wall, so be sure to stay in touch!

In much more exciting news, my best friends are getting married! Over the long weekend, I will back home in NJ for the wedding (you may remember her engagement celebration and bridal shower!) I am fortunate enough to be hosting her rehearsal dinner, so will be busy this evening tonight and tomorrow with preparations for that. And of course there will be no time for blogging on the wedding day – Saturday! I am so excited for my friends and am so blessed to get to share in their special day. I hope you enjoy my prescheduled posts about my cooking adventures in Croatia in the meantime!

Question: Are you a recipe-follower or creator in the kitchen? 

September 1, 2011 at 7:00 am 4 comments

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