Brown Bread Pudding w Molasses & Raisins

A favorite way to use up old bread! Surprisingly this tasted like I made my own molasses muffins- really nice texture.

Cut up old bread into squares. I used 5 slices of sprouted whole grain Ezekiel bread.

In a bowl, beat to combine:
3 eggs
1/2 C milk or half and half
2 TB to 1/4 C molasses
2 TB to 1/4 C brown sugar
handful raisins
1 TB water (or as much as needed to keep bread moist)

1.5 TB cinnamon
1/4- 1/2 tea nutmeg
pinch cloves
vanilla extract
almond extract
pinch salt

Toss the bread chunks into bowl stir to get the bread soaking.

Pack into 8 muffin tins, smushing bread down.

Bake 20-25 min at 350, until knife comes out clean.

Store in fridge or freezer.

Approx 150 cal per muffin (1/8th of recipe): 5 g protein, 24 g carbs, 4 g fat.


Indian Cauliflower Peas

Insanely easy and delicious. Got a light flavor and slightly sweet from the peas- really goes well with dal/bean dishes.

Great for a side dish for company or a dinner party b/c you can have this prepped and ready to go waiting in the oven, then turn it on 20-25 minutes prior.

1/2 - 1 head cauliflower, broken into bite size pieces. Place the cauliflower on a baking sheet or pan.

Mix the following into a paste, then smear over cauliflower with your fingers:
2 TB grated ginger (microplane is the best too for this)
1/2 tea salt
1 tea cumin seeds
1/2 tea ground cumin
1/8 tea chili powder
1 tea olive oil

Cover the pan with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes (or until tender).

Pull out, remove aluminum foil. Pour in 1/4- 1/2 C frozen green peas, stir.

Return to oven, turn off heat (residual heat will work fine to warm the peas through). Let sit for 5 more minutes in the turned-off oven, until peas are cooked/warm.

Remove from over, pour into serving dish, cover with the aluminum foil until guests arrive.


Rajma Chawal (Kidney Bean Curry)

Inspired by this excellent book on homestyle Indian cooking.

Soak 1 lb kidney or small red beans in water overnight.

Drain beans. Put soaked beans in pressure cooker pot, cover with water. Add a pinch of fenugreek seeds and a drip of oil (to reduce foaming in the pressure cooker). Bring to a boil under pressure, reduce heat to low. Cook 22 minutes. Then release pressure and strain.

Meanwhile, cook 2 chopped onions in olive oil until softened and starting to brown. Add 3-4 cloves garlic (minced) and 2 TB minced ginger (or 1/2 tea powdered ginger).

Add and stir for 30-60 seconds to toast the spices:
3 crushed chiles (or chile powder)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 TB ground corriander
1 TB ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
black pepper

Add 1 can chopped tomatoes (or approx 14 oz fresh) and saute for 5 minutes. Add water if needed to keep it from drying out.

Temper 1/2 C greek yogurt with some of the hot mixture, stirring to slowly increase temperature of the yogurt. Then dump yogurt back into the pan and stir.

Add 2-3 C cooked beans from above, stir to combine and warm.

Serve over brown rice.

DIY Ceasar Dressing

Always wanted to make "real" ceasar salad. Not sure how "safe" coddled eggs are but we buy high quality eggs and we've eaten plenty soft cooked eggs, cookie dough and the like (lol!)

Place 1 raw egg in a mug. Pour boiling water over, let sit 60 seconds. Then remove egg from hot water and set aside.

Mix 2 tea minced garlic, 1 anchovy fillet (packed in oil) and 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Then add 2 TB fresh squeezed lemon juice (make sure no seeds) and 3 drops Worcestershire sauce. Stir.

Crack the egg you coddled into the bowl with lemon and other stuff. Whisk for 1 minute.

Measure out 4 TB olive oil into something with a pour spout. While whisking the egg mixture, slowly drizzle olive oil to emulsify. Add cracked black pepper to taste.

Store in fridge. Use on salad, boiled potatoes or other veggies or over cooked grains.

DIY Crutons

Don't know why I never tried this before. Delicious results and much cheaper than buying them! Easy to pop in the oven when working on something else in the kitchen to save for later. Good way to use up stale bread. But I warn you they are as snackable as chex mix!

Chop up bread (fresh, stale, brown, white whatever) into squares.

Combine olive oil (or butter), crushed/minced garlic, salt, pepper, herbs (thyme, oregano, onion powder worked well for me) in a bowl.

Or use a blender to make a more uniform oil/sauce.

Stir in the bread, mix to combine. Spread on baking sheet. Bake at 300 or 350 for 15-20 min or until crunchy/golden. Easy to toast while you have something else baking- they don't mind changes in temperature-- just be sure that whatever else you're cooking won't mind taking in a garlic scent (i.e. don't cook cookies and crutons at the same time!)

A Note about Cruton Storage
Don't keep these in a sealed plastic/glass container as they will get soggy. Either keep in the pan in the turned off oven (assuming you don't use your oven often) or transfer to a PAPER BAG. The paper bag will soak up the oil which doesn't look pretty but will keep the crutons crunchy.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Frozen Bananas

Good way to use up ripening bananas. And a good treat from the freezer to curb cookie/sweets cravings with some nutrient dense stuff.

Melt 2 oz dark/bittersweet chocolate over double boiler.

Add 2 TB peanut butter and stir until melted.

Peel & chop 2-3 bananas into bite sized chunks.

Using a fork, coat banana in chocolate mix. Drop on a cookie sheet (make sure the cookie sheet will fit in your freezer!).

Top with sunflower seeds. (or crushed peanuts or other nuts/seeds. I bet hemp seeds would be good!)


Enjoy straight out of the freezer!


Dr Furhman's Strawberry Spinach Salad

I'm in love with Dr Furhman's Strawberry Spinach Salad, from Super Immunity.

This dressing is yummy. I even ate it on greek yogurt!! With some fresh strawberries coming into market and being a spinach time of spring, this is a treat. Makes a splendid breakfast or packs well (with dressing in separate bottle) for lunches/picnic.

Consuming the whole nut/seed instead of extracted oils is supposedly better for you (i.e. blend sesame seeds into your dressing instead of using sesame oil) and theoretically fewer of the calories are absorb-able.

I use cheaper frozen strawberries for the dressing and reserve the fresh expensive ones to slice on top of the salad.

Instead of tossing the spinach in the dressing, found it was best with the dressing heavily drizzled over the top- looked prettier too!

Oil-free Strawberry Dressing
2 C strawberries
4 pitted dates
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
3 TB balsamic vinegar

with enough water to get the blender going

Half batch:
1 C strawberries
2 pitted dates
1/2 tea sesame seeds
1.5 TB balsamic vinegar
with enough water to get the blender going 

Pour over salad of:
Strawberry halves
Hemp seeds or pecans
Optional: sunflower greens

Wild Rice, Spinach, Mushroom, Onion Pilaf

Made this as an impromptu ravioli filling. Then realized it made a great wild rice pilaf!!

Saute in olive oil until release moisture and shrink:
1 C sliced mushrooms
1/2 white onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic

Add 2-3 C washed spinach to the pan, stir and cook until it wilts.

Dump into food processor. Add salt, lemon juice and 1/8 C walnuts. Pulse until it is uniformly chopped, but not a paste.

Good as a pasta filling or for stuffing mushrooms or other veggies.

The next day, toss the mixture with cooked rice, such as wild rice. Serve warm or cold as a salad or pilaf.

Tuscan Kale Salad (in Lemon Garlic Vinaigrette)

Really surprised by how delicious this was. The lemon and garlic vinaigrette offset the kale well. I have actually eaten this for breakfast several times- it's that good. Better than kale juice!

This would be awesome as a summer dish, for a potluck or guests (and no heating up the kitchen!!) Especially since it is safe to leave out, is vegan and absolutely addictive.

Roast 2 cloves garlic (either in a dry pan or from a previous baking expedition). Mince the roasted garlic and put in a jar. If you're desparate or making this for breakfast, use raw garlic!


juice from 1/2 lemon
optional lemon zest
1 teaspoon olive oil (give or take)
1/4 tea salt
cracked black pepper

Shake the jar to emulsify.

Meanwhile, clean half a bunch of tuscan/lacinato/dinosaur kale. Rip into bit size pieces, discarding the tough stalks.

Toss the kale pieces with dressing. Top with (my favorite) hemp seeds or shaved parmesan cheese.


Chicken Wild Rice Soup (slow cooker, no stock)

Delicious soup from the slow cooker-- my favorite part is it doesn't require stock, since it makes it own stock as it cooks.

Push the chicken skin off from the meat (ok if it hangs onto the ankle bone) from 2.5 lbs chicken drumsticks.

Place the following in slow cooker:
chicken (see above)
1/2 C cooking sherry
3 carrots (chopped in .75" chunks)
2-3 stalks celery (chopped)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion (chopped)
black pepper
3 bay leaves

Add enough water to cover most (but not all) of the drumsticks.

Cook on low 4-5 hours in the slow cooker.

When the chicken is cooked it will fall off the bones easily. Shred the chicken in the pot, discarding the bones and skin.

Add 1 C sliced mushrooms, and 1 C cooked wild rice* and continue cooking on low for another 20-40 minutes until cooked.

When ready to serve, add and stir:
2 TB half and half
1/4 C chopped parsley


*Wild rice can be cooked in pressure cooker. Combine 1 part rice to 4 parts water. Cook under pressure for 22 minutes. Use "slow release" method, then drain and reserve.


Pumpkin Polenta Pudding

This was really simple, quick and delicious. The combo of corn (polenta) and pumpkin into a pudding would be great for thanksgiving dessert. Inspired by this recipe.

Brown 2 tea butter in a pan. Add 2 C water, bring to a boil.

Reduce temp to simmer. Add 1/2 C polenta (grits) and 1/4 tea salt. Stir and cook on low for 5-10 minutes or until it thickens.

Stir in 1/2 C cooked pumpkin pie filling (or cooked pumpkin+ sugar and spices).

Dish into individual ramekins and enjoy! Would be great topped with whipped cream (or whipped coconut topping for vegans), cinnamon and chopped pecans. But good just as is.


Shiitake Mushroom, Sesame & Watercress Sushi

Randomly decided to make sushi (not something I randomly make) and realized this vegan version is really good! Would be great as a party tray, assuming you assembled it right before the party (no meat/fish means it is safe at room temp).

Clean 1.5 C shiitake mushrooms, remove caps. Thinly slice.

Combine with 2 teaspoons sesame oil, 2 tea soy sauce and 1/4 tea garlic (fresh crushed or dried/powdered works too).

Sprinkle with sesame seeds (black sesame seeds are dramatic!). Toss and let sit for 5-10 minutes to marinate- the mushrooms will shrink a little.

Make brown sushi rice, or use leftover plain brown rice (heat a little with a drip of water and some komezu vinegar).

Carefully lay a 2" wide strip of brown rice about 1/2 inch from one end of a sheet of nori. Arrange marinated mushrooms on top of rice. Then put a few sprigs of watercress.

Roll up tightly. Use a dab of water to seal the final edge of nori to itself.

Transfer to cutting board. Slice into 1" rounds using a sharp knife (dipping knife in water helps prevent sticking).

Lay on a tray with the cut sides up. Serve with optional soy sauce on the side for dipping.


Slow cooker Beef Ragu

Wanted a way to use cheap cuts of quality beef in the slow cooker, with an italian twist.

Cut the beef into chunks. Add your favorite spices/herbs (salt, pepper, paprika etc.) Place in slow cooker, pour in liquid (stock or water). Cook for 10 hours on low. Shred the beef, set aside reserving everything from the slow cooker (i.e. including the beefy liquid).

Saute sliced onion in olive oil until golden. Add minced garlic. Add optional veggies (mushroom, carrot celery) and stir.

Pour in crushed/blended tomatoes, red wine and leftover beefy liquid from the slow cooker. Add herbs/spices (basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, nutmeg, pepper, salt, sugar). Cook sauce uncovered until it thickens up a bit.

Add shredded cooked beef, stir to combine.

Serve over creamy polenta (plain polenta or fancy polenta). Or pour over whole wheat pasta, chopped parsley and parmigian cheese.

Bound for the compost Soup

After composting way too many broccoli stalks and bottom ends of asparagus, realized I needed a way to eat them since the grocer and farmer's markets don't want to sell me just broccoli crowns or pre-snapped asparagus!

Boil the leftover stalks (broccoli, asparagus etc) in 1-2 C water until tender.

Pour all of it into a blender (carefully!) and blend until smooth. Optional: blend in a clove of roasted garlic.

Season to taste with salt/pepper and serve hot as a plain but nourishing soup. Surprisingly good for just leftover veggies and water!

Optional: for the "chunky soup" lover in my house, going to stir in leftover cooked rice/barley, cooked lentils/beans and then finish with an indian tadka (thin sliced onion/garlic, mustard seed, cumin seeds toasted in a little bit of olive oil).

French Lentil Mediterranean Salad

Inspired by this recipe to try french lentils. Pretty cheap but tastes "meaty" and filling. C didn't think he'd like it but was really surprised when he tasted it and had to change his mind!

This would be great as a summer picnic food or potluck dish. Also could be done "build a bear" style where the lentils are tossed in dressing, and the veggies are on the side.

Cook 1-2 C french lentils in water (enough water to cover by 2 inches) for 25 minutes, or until soft but not mushy. Drain lentils, reserving some of the cooking liquid.

Dressing: combine following in a jar until dressing consistency, tasting for the proportions of each.
Roasted or fresh garlic, minced
dijon/fancy mustard
Balsamic Vinegar
lentil cooking liquid

Toss hot (or cold) cooked lentils with dressing, sliced green onion/scallion, chopped parsley, sliced or chopped tomatoes, good quality feta cheese (my favorite is Mt Vikos) and any of your favorite roasted veggies (mushrooms, eggplant, asparagus, onions). Optionally you could add kalamata olives and capers.


Poppy Seed Cole Slaw w Apple

Inspired by this post. Deceptively simple! Delicious with fatty meats like pork or rotisserie chicken. Changed it a little based on what I had on hand.

2.5 TB honey
1/4 C mayonnaise
2 TB apple cider vinegar
2 TB poppy seeds

Mix/shake in a jar.

2 C shredded red cabbage
2 C shredded green cabbage
1 apple, julienned
1 carrot, julienned

Toss the salad and dressing together. Surprisingly keeps well in the fridge once combined.

NOTE: 2 oz/53 grams (approx 1 serving) cole slaw is 66 calories, 4 g fat, 7 carbs & 1 g protein. And it's packed with cruciferous veggies!

Shredded Pork (slow cooker)

Thinly slice 1 onion. Layer onion slices in bottom of crockpot/slow cooker. Optionally add bay leaves and minced garlic.

Trim the excess gristle/fat off 2-3 lbs pork shoulder (or "shoulder ribs" work well too!), cut into chunks.

Coat pork pieces in spice rub (1 tea salt, 1 tea cumin, 1/2 tea coriander, 1/2 tea chili powder, 1/4 tea black pepper-- or your own favorite rub).

Place pork on top of onion in slow cooker.

Add 1 to 1.5 C liquid (chicken broth, or water, wine, orange/lime juice mixtures have all been suggested across the web).

Cook on low setting for 10 hours.

Shred with 2 forks.

Enjoy as is over rice, with poppy seed cole slaw. Or top with BBQ sauce. Or use as tamale filling!

Amazing when shredded and folded into corn tortilla tacos with avocado (see top photo)! Or add cabbage, scallions, salsa in a taco.