No Peel Potato Latkes for Hanukkah

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Hanukkah falls really early this year, beginning Sunday, December 2nd (which is tomorrow!) and the holiday season starts with a bang. You know what that means… chocolate and latkes!  So, I want to share my easy no-peel latke recipe which, besides skipping the tedious and time consuming job of peeling potatoes, serves two purposes. The skin has much of the nutrition and leaving it on helps make the latkes extra crispy and tasty.  Warm latkes topped with applesauce and sour cream, are a family favorite. The only problem is, that no matter how many I make, they disappear! Feel free to try my No Peel Applesauce recipe as a great topper. Click HERE for the recipe

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Who wouldn’t love a celebration that lasts eight days and involves lighting pretty candles, exchanging gifts, playing games that involve chocolate coins and eating foods that have been fried in oil?  Once a year, latkes (and even doughnuts) which are fried in oil are the reigning treats.  So what is the significance of the oil?  Hanukkah, (Hanukah, Chanukkah or Chanukah depending on the transliteration) also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday in which candles are lit for eight nights to commemorate the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem which had been desecrated and a statue of Zeus built in it’s place back when Greek Gods were in favor (2nd century BCE). During the dedication a cask of oil which should have only been enough to burn the temple menorah for one night miraculously burned for eight, thus the eight days of celebration today incorporating candles, menorahs and oil.

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Dreidel is a popular game played during Hanukkah.  Tradition has it that the reason the dreidel game is played is to commemorate a game devised by the Jews to camouflage the fact that they were studying Torah, which was outlawed at the time by the Ancient Greeks. The Jews would gather to study, posting a lookout to alert the group to the presence of soldiers. If soldiers were spotted, the Jews would hide their scrolls and start to spin tops, so it would look like they were gambling instead of studying Torah. My family loves playing dreidel for chocolate coins, and I have been collecting dreidels for over 20 years.  Every year I hunt for a new one to add to our collection. It’s getting harder to find something unique but I always find one.  Here is the new addition.

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The other ubiquitous Hanukkah treat is the chocolate coins given as gifts or used as collateral in dreidel. Gold are milk chocolate and silver are dark, so pick your favorite!

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Latkes are easy to make but it does take a toll on your kitchen as the splattering oil makes a bit of a mess – but they are worth it!  There are many kinds of latkes, made with grated, shredded or mashed potatoes but my family prefers them extra crispy made with long thin strips of potato that allows the oil to  seep in through the middle, crisping them the whole way through.  Topped with applesauce and sour cream, they are hard to beat.

TIPS:  This recipe calls for potato only latkes but it’s fun to add other veggies or even fruit.  I often add shredded apple strips which makes them salty sweet.  You can also try grated or shredded carrots or any other root vegetable.  Get creative!

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NO-PEEL POTATO LATKES
4 large potatoes
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp salt (or more to taste)
1/2 large or 1 whole small yellow onion, chopped
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsn lemon juice
2 Tbsn flour (any kind)
1 to 2 cups vegetable oil

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  •  Grate unpeeled potatoes using a hand grater or food processor fitted with the grate attachment. You can use a blender but your latkes will be more like pancakes. Squeeze excess water from the grated potatoes with paper towels and add lemon juice right away to prevent browning.  Pour into a large bowl and add chopped onions.

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  • Stir in the flour, baking powder, salt and eggs. It will not look like batter.

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  • Heat half the oil in a heavy skillet on medium high to high until the oil is almost smoking. A cast iron pan works great as it holds the heat. Drop potato mixture by generous spoonfuls onto hot oil and flatten slightly with the tip of a wooden spoon. I try to poke a few holes so oil can bubble up through the middle.

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  • Brown well on both sides, turning to accommodate hot spots in the pan.

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  • Drain on paper towels.

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  • Keep warm in a 250 degree oven covered loosely with aluminum foil.  Latkes can be made ahead and reheated in single layers in a 350 degree oven.

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  • Serve plain or with applesauce and sour cream.

 

Potato Latkes

  • Servings: 2 dozen
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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4 large potatoes
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp salt (or more to taste)
1/2 large or 1 whole small yellow onion, chopped
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsn lemon juice
2 Tbsn flour (any kind)
1 to 2 cups vegetable oil

  •  Grate unpeeled potatoes using a hand grater or food processor fitted with the grate attachment. You can use a blender but your latkes will be more like pancakes. Squeeze excess water from the grated potatoes with paper towels and add lemon juice right away to prevent browning. Pour into a large bowl and add chopped onions.
  • Stir in the flour, baking powder, salt and eggs.
  • Heat half the oil in a heavy skillet on medium high to high until the oil is almost smoking. A cast iron pan works great as it holds the heat. Drop potato mixture by generous spoonfuls onto hot oil and flatten slightly with the tip of a wooden spoon. I try to poke a few holes so oil can bubble up through the middle.
  • Brown well on both sides, turning to accommodate hot spots in the pan.
  • Drain on paper towels.
  • Keep warm in a 250 degree oven. Serve with applesauce and sour cream.

 

 

 

13 Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes

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Thanksgiving is celebrated as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest, and in that spirit our festivities rightly revolve around food and lots of it. I have collected a dozen of my favorite vegetarian and vegan dishes, plus a new recipe for a vegan Portobello Wellington, which would be perfect for your Thanksgiving dinner as main courses or side dishes.

goodmotherdiet

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Dear Readers;

Thanksgiving is celebrated as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest, and in that spirit our festivities rightly revolve around food and lots of it.  I have collected a dozen of my favorite vegetarian and vegan dishes, plus a new recipe for a vegan Portobello Wellington, which would be perfect for your Thanksgiving dinner as main courses or side dishes. In keeping with the theme, most of them are stuffed or roasted and they are all deliciously vegan or vegetarian (that can easily be made vegan).  Don’t miss the Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Crispy Shallots!  I have thrown in a couple of my favorite seasonal salads to complement the roasted dishes and add a splash of color to your festive table.

Luckily, most of these recipes are healthy and naturally low fat so won’t add to the ‘winter layer’ we seem to start putting on this time of year. Clicking on any link will…

View original post 129 more words

13 Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes

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Dear Readers;

Thanksgiving is celebrated as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest, and in that spirit our festivities rightly revolve around food and lots of it.  I have collected a dozen of my favorite vegetarian and vegan dishes, plus a new recipe for a vegan Portobello Wellington, which would be perfect for your Thanksgiving dinner as main courses or side dishes. In keeping with the theme, most of them are stuffed or roasted and they are all deliciously vegan or vegetarian (that can easily be made vegan).  Don’t miss the Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Crispy Shallots!  I have thrown in a couple of my favorite seasonal salads to complement the roasted dishes and add a splash of color to your festive table.

Luckily, most of these recipes are healthy and naturally low fat so won’t add to the ‘winter layer’ we seem to start putting on this time of year. Clicking on any link will take you to the recipe and original blog post.  Lots of sharing buttons below too… Share with your friends!

Happy Thanksgiving!  xoxo J

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Portobello Wellington (Vegan)

Acorn Squash with Wild Rice Stuffing

Roasted Acorn Squash with Wild Rice Stuffing

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Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Crispy Shallots and Toasted Pinenuts

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Mason Jar Veggie Pot Pies (Vegan)

Acorn Slices1

Acorn Squash Rings with Cornbread Stuffing

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers3

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Root Vegetable Tian3

Root Vegetable Tian with Goat Cheese and Crispy Shallots

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Wild Rice, Mushroom and ‘Sausage’ Stuffed Pumpkin

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Roasted Maple Glazed Acorn Squash with Apples and Pecans over Rainbow Quinoa

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Roasted Artichokes Stuffed with Garlic, Parmesan and Quinoa

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Spice Crusted Whole Roasted Cauliflower

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Honey Glazed Winter Squash with Pomegranate

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Portobello Mushrooms Stuffed with Eggplant, Tomatoes and Mozzarella

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Kale Salad with Apples, Pecans and Goat Cheese

Black Rice Dish

Black and Wild Rice with Roasted Squash and Pomegranate

Portobello Wellington (Vegan)

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This vegan Portobello Wellington is pretty enough to serve as a main course for Thanksgiving or Christmas. It features layers of rich beluga lentils, whole portobello muchrooms and sauteed garlic spinach. I made a vegan Wellington last year using chestnuts and portobello mushrooms as the predominant ingredients.  While the dish was beautiful, it wasn’t as tasty as I thought it should be.  So this time, I scrapped the chestnuts which are difficult to find, and a bit dry, and layered lentils,  mushrooms and spinach instead.  The dish was a huge success, pretty AND delicious.  Just add mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce!  🙂

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A traditional Beef Wellington is a fillet steak coated with pâté and duxelles, which is then wrapped in pastry and baked.  In this reimagined vegan  version, whole portobellos stand in for the ‘steak’  and the lentils with shallots and garlic would be the ‘pate’ with duxelles, which is just a fancy name for mushrooms sautéed with onions, shallots and garlic.  The flavor combination of the three layers worked so well together in creating a flavorful but still juicy filling.  I cooked the lentils in vegetable broth for more flavor. Of course, adding sauteed shallots and garlic to the black lentils gave them an even richer taste.  They were a great first layer.  Then I placed whole sauteed portobello mushrooms as the middle later and topped with spinach sauteed in garlic.

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Except for the pretty crust, which is what makes this a holiday worthy dish, all of the ingredients add flavor and nutritional value.  Spinach and mushrooms are high in food value, including fiber, vitamins and minerals, plus protein.  They also have zero or low amounts of fat, cholesterol, carbs and sugars.  If I were going to make my own crust, I would try a recipe using white whole wheat flour like this one from King Arthur Flour.  I actually didn’t know I was going to be making this last until the last minute, so I cheated with pre-made crusts.  It happens…

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I chose black lentils, also called Beluga lentils due to their resemblance of black caviar, because I find them the richest in flavor and their texture remains firm when cooked.  However, brown or green lentils would work well here too.  They are also quite healthy.  100 grams of cooked lentils contains 116 calories, 9.02 g of protein, .3 g of fat and 9.02 g of fiber.  They are also rich in minerals and vitamins.  Click for MORE info.

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TIPS:  This recipe is easy to prep a day or so ahead of time and assemble just before cooking.  Just prepare the lentil mixture and saute and drain the mushrooms and the spinach, then place in the refrigerator in airtight containers until ready to assemble.  You can preform them into log shapes before refrigerating for easier assembly.  For those who really like to plan ahead, you could probably assemble the whole thing a day or two ahead and refrigerate until you are ready to bake.

 

PORTOBELLO WELLINGTON

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Note:  This recipe can be made with 3 or 4 large portobello mushrooms.  The 3 mushroom wellington will fit in an 18″ baking sheet, while a 4 mushroom one needs a 21″ pan.  The recipe is for both.  For the larger wellington, use the larger quantities.

  • 1-1 1/4 cup black lentils (or brown)
  • 4-5 cups vegetable broth (optional)
  • 3-4 large portabello mushrooms
  • 3-4 large shallots peeled and minced
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced (divided)
  • 3 Tbs olive oil (divided)
  • 8-12 oz fresh spinach (3- 4 cups)
  • 2 – 3 blocks or rolls of pastry dough (or puff pastry, if preferred)
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter or soy milk (as pastry wash)
  • salt and pepper to taste

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  • Cook lentils in vegetable broth for more flavor (optional) following instructions on package.  Remove from heat and let cool. Trim mushroom stalks if needed and wipe caps clean with a damp paper towel. Do not immerse in water.

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  • Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a skillet and place the mushrooms, top side down. Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Turn them over and cook for another 5 minutes or until you hear the water release and sizzle in the pan. Remove from the heat, and drain on paper towel cap side up as they will release liquid as they cool.

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  • In the mushroom skillet, heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil and half of garlic, lightly saute spinach.  Just cook until wilted and liquid releases.  If you decided to use frozen spinach, squeeze out as much water as possible. Remove from heat and let cool

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  • Saute shallots in 1 Tablespoon olive oil until lightly browned.  Add remaining garlic and cooked lentils.  Stir to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.  Remove from heat and let cool.

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  • Once cool enough, you should be able to form it into a log.  If you can’t, it’s probably too wet, so return it to the stove or put it in the refrigerator to firm up.

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  • Roll out pastry dough into any shape you prefer to make both a top and bottom crust.  I used 4 pre-made pie crusts and rolled 1 1/2 together to make the long traditional Wellington shape, however, you can make it a circle, square or rectangle.

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  • Place bottom crust on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Form lentil log in center of bottom crust and pat into shape

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  • Arrange mushrooms on top of lentils, cap side up

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  • Top evenly with the sauteed spinach.  Pat into as smooth a shape as possible for best results

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  • Place top crust over your lentil, mushroom, spinach creation and smooth it with your fingers.

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  • Cut around the Wellington using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, leaving a generous 1 inch margin.

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  • Using a fork, firmly press the two edges closed going all the way around.

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  • Cut shapes with a cookie cutter to decorate the top if you like.  Save any leftover dough for future use.

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  • Brush the pastry with melted vegan butter or soy milk and poke air holes with a fork.

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  • Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.  If the edges start getting too brown, cover them with strips of aluminum foil.

Portobello Wellington

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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Note:  This recipe can be made with 3 or 4 large portobello mushrooms.  The 3 mushroom wellington will fit in an 18″ baking sheet, while a 4 mushroom one needs a 21″ pan.  The recipe is for both.  For the larger wellington, use the larger quantities.

  • 1-1 1/4 cup black lentils (or brown)
  • 4-5 cups vegetable broth (optional)
  • 3-4 large portabello mushrooms
  • 3-4 large shallots peeled and minced
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced (divided)
  • 3 Tbs olive oil (divided)
  • 8-12 oz fresh spinach (3- 4 cups)
  • 2 – 3 blocks or rolls of pastry dough
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter or soy milk (as pastry wash)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook lentils in vegetable broth for more flavor (optional) following instructions on package.  Remove from heat and let cool.
  2. Trim mushroom stalks if needed and wipe caps clean with a damp paper towel. Do not immerse in water.
  3. Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a skillet and place the mushrooms, top side down. Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Turn them over and cook for another 5 minutes or until you hear the water release and sizzle in the pan. Remove from the heat, and drain on paper towel cap side up as they will release liquid as they cool.
  4. In the mushroom skillet, heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil and half of garlic, lightly saute spinach.  Just cook until wilted and liquid releases.  If you decided to use frozen spinach, squeeze out as much water as possible. Remove from heat and let cool
  5. Saute shallots in 1 Tablespoon olive oil until lightly browned.  Add remaining garlic and cooked lentils.  Stir to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Once cool enough, you should be able to form it into a log. If you can’t, it’s probably too wet, so return it to the stove or put it in the refrigerator to firm up.
  6. Roll out pastry dough into any shape you prefer to make both a top and bottom crust.  I used 4 pre-made pie crusts and rolled 1 1/2 together to make the long traditional Wellington shape, however, you can make it a circle, square or rectangle.
  7. Place bottom crust on a parchment lined baking sheet
  8. Form lentil log in center of bottom crust and pat into shape
  9. Arrange mushrooms on top of lentils, cap side up
  10. Top evenly with the sauteed spinach.  Pat into as smooth a shape as possible for best results
  11. Place top crust over your lentil, mushroom, spinach creation and smooth it with your fingers.
  12. Cut around the Wellington using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, leaving a generous 1 inch margin.
  13. Using a fork, firmly press the two edges closed going all the way around.
  14. Cut shapes with a cookie cutter to decorate the top if you like.  Save and leftover dough for future use.
  15. Brush the pastry with melted vegan butter or soy milk and poke air holes with a fork.
  16. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.  If the edges start getting too brown, cover them with strips of aluminum foil.

Meatless Monday – Fried Green Tomatoes with Buttermilk Lime Sauce

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Dear Readers, I thought this a timely recipe for those like me in California, and my sister in Seattle, who are pulling out the last of the tomato vines with green tomatoes still clinging on for dear life. I know what’s for dinner tonight…Enjoy!-gmd

goodmotherdiet

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“Remember if people talk behind your back, it only means you are two steps ahead.”
Fannie Flagg, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

Spring was early and hot in Northern California this year, so I took a risk and planted about a dozen tomato plants.  I have been enjoying an abundance of early red, vine-ripened tomatoes but then a chilly late spring set some of my plants back a bit.  They don’t like cold nights and foggy mornings.  So even though many of the ailing plants still had fruit clinging to them, I opted to pull them out and replace them with healthy plants since it’s still early in the season.  Of course, that meant harvesting quite a few still green tomatoes too.

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If I place green tomatoes in a sunny window sill, often they will get ripe but having just enjoyed ‘Fried Green Tomatoes’ in…

View original post 695 more words

Meatless Monday – 12 Trader Joe’s Favorites

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You have heard of Oprah’s Favorite Things.  Well this is not that.  I can’t give you a free car or a surprise gift under your seat, more like several fun and easy vegan and vegetarian cooking hacks and ideas for quick and easy appetizers and meals.  People are often surprised when they come over and I haven’t made everything that I’m serving.  However, I love a good shortcut just as well as anyone.  So when I see something that I really like that saves me time or is an easy presto-chango dish that I can put on the table at the last minute, I’m all in.  It’s always nice to have a few tricks up our sleeves (or in our freezers), especially with the holidays already here.

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Okay, it’s actually 13 favorites plus a bonus.  I just miscounted and didn’t want to remake the collage.  Trader Joe’s has quite a few frozen foods that are actually really high quality and an excellent selection of vegetarian and vegan foods.  They also have the best selection of nuts, cheeses and snacks as well as some good prepared foods for when you REALLY don’t even want to turn on the oven.  Here is a list of some of my current favorites and some suggestions.  My top five that I always have in my refrigerator/freezer are Starred.  Oh, by the way, I’m not getting paid to mention Trader Joe’s products.  I’m just sharing because I like you and its the season of giving.

  1. VEGETABLE BIRD’S NESTS (VEGAN)*
  2. BANH MI INSPIRED NOODLE BOWL (VEGETARIAN/DRESSING HAS EGGS)
  3. THAI VEGETABLE GYOZA(VEGAN)*
  4. FIVE CHEESE GREEK SPIRAL (VEGETARIAN)*
  5. MIDEAST STYLE FEAST (VEGAN)*
  6. EGGPLANT CUTLETS (VEGAN)
  7. MEATLESS MEATBALLS (VEGAN)
  8. SEEDY ALMOND SALAD TOPPERS (VEGAN)
  9. CARAMELIZED ONION AND FETA BITES (VEGETARIAN)
  10. CAULIFLOWER AND BROCCOLI VEGGIE PATTIES(VEGETARIAN/EGGWHITES)
  11. FRENCH ONION SOUP (VEGETARIAN)
  12. BUTTERNUT SQUASH MAC AND CHEESE (VEGETARIAN)
  13. VEGETARIAN SAMOSAS (VEGAN)*
  14. BONUS! PUMPKIN SPICE ALMOND BEVERAGE.  JUST IN TIME FOR THE HOLIDAYS!

SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOS, DESCRIPTIONS AND SERVING SUGGESTIONS.

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  1. VEGETABLE BIRD’S NESTS (VEGAN):  These tasty treats are like a potato latke on steroids but with kale and other vegetables rather than potatoes.  They are crispy and delicious and come with their own soy dipping sauce.  Ready in 20 minutes.

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And here is the finished product…great as an appetizer or a side dish.  Especially great for your non-dairy friends. Buy two boxes, just because.  You can thank me later.

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2. BANH MI INSPIRED NOODLE BOWL (VEGETARIAN/DRESSING HAS EGGS)  I love this combination of ingredients which are well balanced with lots of protein.  The dressing is really good too.  This is large enough for two meals for me but you may devour the whole thing in one sitting.

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Just toss together with the yummy, slightly spicy dressing.  I like to cut the tofu into smaller cubes for easier eating and better dressing ratio.20181020_123247.jpg

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3. THAI VEGETABLE GYOZA(VEGAN):  This is my favorite Sunday breakfast served with fresh edamame, sliced oranges and the Sunday paper.  Whip up a quick dipping sauce of soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil and sriracha while they’re cooking and you’re good to go.  Or provide small bowls and let your diners create their own dipping sauce. I recommend skillet directions. Ready in less than 10 minutes.

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These are a house favorite.  Really delicious!

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4. FIVE CHEESE GREEK SPIRAL (VEGETARIAN):  Need I say more?  Just delicious and decadent with a wonderfully flakey pastry crust.  I will admit to making this my whole meal. Not on purpose, it just kind of happened. Ready in 30 minutes.

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This will go fast!  Guaranteed…

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5. MIDEAST STYLE FEAST (VEGAN):  This is an entire value meal;  stuffed grape leaves, hummus, lentil salad and tomato cracked bulgar wheat salad.  I love every part of this ready to eat HEARTY feast. Grab a fork!

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This is a hearty meal for one or two people or an appetizer for a small group. Just re-plate and go… and maybe add pita chips or naan.  Of course, you can make it prettier than this with some fresh herbs or a sprinkle of feta cheese.

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6. EGGPLANT CUTLETS (VEGAN) These breaded eggplant slices are a great time saver.  There are so many ways to use them.  Bake in a hot oven until brown and crispy, then let your imagination take over. Layer them with tomato sauce and cheese for a quick eggplant parmesan.   Tip:  Only cook what you are going to use right away.  They don’t refrigerate well.

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Roast and build a super sandwich with your favorite ingredients. Or just serve as they are with a drizzle of olive oil and some fresh herbs.

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7. MEATLESS MEATBALLS (VEGAN):  These soy protein based meatballs have good flavor and texture. Saute with tomato sauce and serve with toothpicks as an appetizer, a slider or over pasta. (Sauce not included)

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  Everybody loves a good meatball. 

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8.  SEEDY ALMOND SALAD TOPPERS (VEGAN):  These were such a great find.  This combination of seeds, nuts and spices will up your salad game and make any salad seem like you labored over a recipe.  Just open one of the individual packets and sprinkle over any combination of greens, veggies or fruit. Drizzle something. Done!

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9. CARAMELIZED ONION AND FETA BITES (VEGETARIAN):  I have made these by hand and they are delicious but it’s way easier to just pull them out of the freezer and pop them in the oven.  Delicious appetizers ready in 25 minutes while you get the wine ready.

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I have had them turn out prettier before, but I was making lots of food for a book group, so may have been rushed as my guests were arriving.  I know I dropped a few while plating.  They are really tasty though and small one bite treats.

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10,  CAULIFLOWER AND BROCCOLI VEGGIE PATTIES(VEGETARIAN/ CONTAINS EGGWHITES) These tasty cakes made with broccoli, cauliflower and potatoes were a pleasant surprise and a good quick little snack or appetizer.  They are a decent size but there are only four per box.   I recommend stove top instructions. Ready in 12 to 17 minutes. Serve immediately for best results.

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I served these veggie cakes with a jalapeno tartar sauce for me and a spicy cocktail sauce for my husband.  They would also be good with a salad as a light meal.

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11.  FRENCH ONION SOUP (VEGETARIAN):  Most onion soups have a beef based stock but this one features a nice vegetarian broth along with the traditional onions, swiss cheese and crouton.  Ready in 5 to 40 minutes depending on preparation.

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Be warned.  There are only two servings in each package.  My husband asked for seconds.  Oops!

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12.BUTTERNUT SQUASH MAC AND CHEESE (VEGETARIAN) This mac and cheese has a nice cheesy sauce and the butternut squash adds some extra flavor (and nutrition too).  Microwave five minutes.

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This is comfort food at its best. Dig in…

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13. VEGETABLE SAMOSAS (VEGAN):  These are seriously delicious!  These crispy triangles are filled with an Indian spiced mashed potatoes, carrots, peas and lentils.  I like them hot from the oven.  They are also a great small size for passed appetizers.

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BONUS! PUMPKIN SPICE ALMOND BEVERAGE:  Start your morning off right with this seasonal, not too sweet, pumpkin spice ‘milk’ frothed into your coffee.  It’s like the holidays in a cup.  Savor one sip at a time…

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Meatless Monday – Pasta Puttanesca with Roasted Eggplant

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Tthis combination of tangy olives, salty capers, sweet tomatoes, fragrant garlic and aromatic fresh basil all whirled around in a good olive oil is so delicious that it is ‘sinful’, thus the name Pasta Puttanesca. Click through to see why…

goodmotherdiet

Linguine Eggplant Caper14

Spaghetti alla puttanesca translates literally as “spaghetti of the whore” in Italian. I’m sure there are many stories as to how this dish got it’s ‘flavorful’ name and who gets the full credit for it’s creation, but I’m not going to go there.  I’m only going to suggest that maybe this combination of tangy olives, salty capers, sweet tomatoes, fragrant garlic and aromatic fresh basil all whirled around in a good olive oil is so delicious that it is ‘sinful’.  Puttanesca is a classic Southern Italian sauce that is very versatile.  It is great on any kind of pasta, drizzled over creamy polenta, or even on toasted bread or crostini as an appetizer.  I opted to add eggplant, as I just happened to have a nice fat one sitting on my counter, and I wanted to make it a little more filling as a main course. Roasting the eggplant first gives it a nice creamy texture that blends nicely with the sauce. I…

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D’Anjou Pears in Vanilla Brandy Syrup (with Canning Instructions)

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These delicious and pretty poached pears could be your new holiday treat! This recipe showcases the pears natural delicate flavor but adding a few spicy peppercorns and anise, along with the richness of the vanilla and brandy to the sugar syrup creates a wonderfully flavorful dessert.  These lovely pears can be served just as they are, or with a dollop of whipped cream, creme freche or ice cream, or with a slice of angel food cake to soak up the juices. Yum!  Of course, if you don’t have the sudden urge to can, you can follow this recipe and serve right away or refrigerate for a week or so.  Just simmer the pears in the syrup (with all the ingredients) for about 30 minutes, until they are tender but not falling apart.

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It takes time to can fruit, but the effort really pays off.  Just open a jar of your poached pears and serve in a pretty bowl and you have a fabulous dessert, hassle free. I adapted this recipe from Put Up or Shut Up , a canning blog filled to the brim with great canning ideas.  The blog name is a cute reference to canning. When people can goods, they refer to it as ‘putting up’ something.  Don’t be afraid to try canning.  Once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty easy.  Just follow the guidelines for headspace (amount of space to leave at the top when filling) and processing (boiling) time.  When I canned applesauce for the first time, I called my Mom for help.  She told me to relax and follow the directions AND to watch out, because after this, I was going to be looking around to see what I could can next.  She was so right! Smile…

There is another practical reason to can your extra fruits and vegetables.  You can freeze many fruits and preserves but then your freezer gets full and there is no room for ice cream.  Frown…  Canned goods can be stored practically indefinitely at room temperature.

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These canned pears make a pretty hostess gift as well.  People seem to appreciate home made gifts.  Maybe because we rarely take the time to make things any more when it’s so easy to just pick them up from the store.  Its fun to snazz  up your jars with a cute label and some decorative tape or ribbon.   For wide mouth jars, I use a round 3.33″ label from Onlinelabels.com.  For regular mouth lids, I use the round 2.75″ labels. You can download a printing template right from their website and create your own label. It’s easy!

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I always have a selection of colorful tape handy to decorate the lid edge.  My colors, of course, go with goodmotherdiet, red, white and black.  You can find the tape in craft stores like Michaels or The Container Store.

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TOOLS REQUIRED:

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Canning Pot with wire rack

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Mason Jars:  4 Quart jars, 6 Pint and a half jars or 8 Pint jars with lids and rings

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Wide mouth funnel, pot grabber, tongs, melon baller, sharp knife or potato peeler

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 gallon cold tap water
  • 1 teaspoon citric acid or 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 8-10 lbs firm pears
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  •  6 cups cold water
  • 1 vanilla bean, cut into 4 pieces (or one for each jar)
  • 24 peppercorns (preferably pink)
  • 4- 8 tablespoons brandy (optional)

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1. Fill your canning pot with 4 clean quart, 6 pint and a half, or 8 pint canning jars fully immersed in the water.  Bring to a simmer.  Immerse lids, but not rings, in a shallow pan of water. Bring to a simmer.

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2.Mix the water and citric acid or lemon juice together in a large bowl. Peel, halve lengthwise and core the pears and place them in the water mixture to prevent browning. I like to use a melon baller to cleanly remove the core.

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3.Meanwhile in a large saucepan combine the sugar and the water. Bring to a boil over medium heat stirring until sugar is dissolved. Reduce the heat to low and add the split vanilla bean.

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4.Place pears in a single layer (you may have to do two batches) in syrup. Cook over medium low heat for 5 minutes until fruit is heated through. Turn once.

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5.Use the pot grabber to remove a hot jar from the water. Put six peppercorns and 1 – 2 tablespoons of the brandy in the bottom of the jar.

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6.Using tongs or a slotted spoon pack pears into jars as snugly as possible (the fruit shrinks while cooking). Before filling completely, slide 3 star anise and one piece of vanilla bean down the side of the jar to make sure they are visible from the outside. Then fill to the top with pears, squeezing in an extra half pear if possible.

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6.Cover the pears with the sugar syrup leaving 1/2 inch headroom. Remove any air bubbles. Wipe rims with a wet paper towel to make sure you get a tight seal and place lids on using tongs, screwing rings on only finger tight.

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7.Place jars in canner covering with more hot water, if necessary,to submerge the jars by at least one inch. Bring to a boil and process for 25 minutes (timed from the boil). Process pints for 20 minutes. Turn off heat,  remove canner lid and wait 5 minutes before carefully removing jars  using the jar grabber. Don’t try using tongs or anything else or you will end up with a face full of boiling water. Place jars on towels or a cooling rack. Let cool undisturbed for 24 hours.  You may hear a pinging sound as the jars seal themselves but you may not. Both are normal.

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TIPS:

I prefer the look of wide-mouth jars, partially because they take a larger label and I like to include storing and serving instructions on my labels. However, canned fruits or tomatoes fare better in the regular jars as the small opening helps keep the fruit submerged. With the wide mouth jars the fruit rises up to the top sometimes leaving you with an inch or two of liquid on the bottom of the jar which does not look quite as pretty.

Poached D'Anjou Pears in Vanilla Brandy Syrup

  • Servings: 4 quarts
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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TOOLS REQUIRED:

  • Canning Pot with wire rack
  • Mason Jars:  4 Quart jars, 6 Pint and a half jars or 8 Pint jars with lids and ring
  • Wide mouth funnel, pot grabber, tongs, melon baller, sharp knife or potato peeler

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 gallon cold tap water
  • 1 teaspoon citric acid or 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 8-10 lbs firm pears
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  •  6 cups cold water
  • 1 vanilla bean, cut into 4 pieces (or one for each jar)
  • 24 peppercorns (preferably pink)
  • 4- 8 tablespoons brandy (optional)
  1. Fill your canning pot with 4 clean quart, 6 pint and a half, or 8 pint canning jars fully immersed in the water.  Bring to a simmer.  Immerse lids, but not rings, in a shallow pan of water. Bring to a simmer.
  2. Mix the water and citric acid or lemon juice together in a large bowl. Peel, halve lengthwise and core the pears and place them in the water mixture to prevent browning. I like to use a melon baller to cleanly remove the core.
  3. Meanwhile in a large saucepan combine the sugar and the water. Bring to a boil over medium heat stirring until sugar is dissolved. Reduce the heat to low and add the split vanilla bean.
  4. Place pears in a single layer (you may have to do two batches) in syrup. Cook over medium low heat for 5 minutes until fruit is heated through. Turn once.
  5. Use the pot grabber to remove a hot jar from the water. Put six peppercorns and 1 – 2 tablespoons of the brandy in the bottom of the jar.
  6. Using tongs or a slotted spoon pack pears into jars as snugly as possible (the fruit shrinks while cooking). Before filling completely, slide 3 star anise and one piece of vanilla bean down the side of the jar to make sure they are visible from the outside. Then fill to the top with pears, squeezing in an extra half pear if possible.
  7. Cover the pears with the sugar syrup leaving 1/2 inch headroom. Remove any air bubbles. Wipe rims with a wet paper towel and place lids on using tongs, screwing rings on only finger tight.
  8. Place jars in canner covering with more hot water, if necessary,to submerge the jars by at least one inch. Bring to a boil and process for 25 minutes (timed from the boil). Process pints for 20 minutes. Turn off heat,  remove canner lid and wait 5 minutes before carefully removing jars  using the correct tool.  Don’t try using tongs or anything else or you will end up with a face full of boiling water. Place jars on towels or a cooling rack. Let cool undisturbed for 24 hours.  You may hear a pinging sound as the jars seal themselves but you may not. Both are normal.

 

Meatless Monday – Honey Glazed Winter Squash with Pomegranate

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I spotted delicata squash at the market the other day and realized it was time to give this dish another try. This recipe combines some of my favorite flavors, rich and earthy winter squash, roasted with shallots, then tossed with toasted pine nuts and pomegranate seeds and finely, drizzled with a sweet and tangy cider vinegar and honey reduction. This time I layered it over some baby kale. Yum!

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It’s finally starting to feel like Fall!  We actually got a few drops of much needed rain here in California last night.  It’s been six months since we have received this manna from heaven and the weatherman was positively giddy during his forecast last night.  With Fall comes a fabulous selection of gorgeous squashes with their colorful but knobby exteriors and rich and sweet interiors. Their gorgeous skins make them a perfect table centerpiece and then you can turn them into a spectacular meal later. This dish combines some of my favorite flavors, rich and earthy winter squash, roasted with shallots, then tossed with toasted pine nuts and pomegranate seeds and finely, drizzled with a sweet and tangy cider vinegar and honey reduction.

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This recipe from “Eating Well, November/December 2015” will work with any winter squash, except for Spaghetti Squash. Each has a unique flavor but all are nutritious and…

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Tomatillo Salsa

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I recently asked all of you for suggestions on what to do with all the tomatillos I’m harvesting from my garden.  The vast majority of you said to make Tomatillo Salsa, better known as Salsa Verde because of its vibrant green color.  So right you were.  It’s fresh and delicious with just the right amount of zing.  I quick broiled tomatillos and garlic, and combined them with jalapeno peppers, onion, mint and cilantro in my food processor with a bit of salt, cumin and lime.  The blackened but still raw tomatillos added a slightly smokey flavor to the salsa and tempers the natural acidicity of the fruit, while the cilantro and mint give it a freshness.  However, you can skip the broiling step and make an all raw salsa too.  This salsa would be great on enchiladas, tacos or just with tortilla chips.  This recipe uses very few ingredients and takes less than 30 minutes.  If you can, make it the day before because the flavors will develop and improve with passing hours.

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What are tomatillos?  Tomatillos (Physalis philadelphica) are also known as the Mexican husk tomato, since that is where they originated. They are related to the tomato, but grow enclosed in a papery husk. They taste a little bit like a green tomato, which can be used as a substitute in this recipe. They are usually green or yellowish in color. I have one bush that grew larger yellow to almost white fruit and two other plants that grew smaller green fruit.  The yellow fruit is sweeter and the green is more tart, so a combination works well in rounding out flavors.

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Tomatillos, like tomatoes, are actually a fruit, not a vegetable.  If you are planning on growing tomatillos, you need to plant at least two plants or more, as one plant will not produce fruit on its own.  The plants are quite pretty but somewhat leggy, so I have mine in tomato cages.  The tomatillos remind me of paper lanterns with their pretty papery skin and hot air balloon shape.  After picking, tomatillos can be kept in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, longer if the papery skin is removed before storing.

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Tomatillos are a very good source of dietary fiber, niacin, potassium, and manganese. They contain 20 percent of the daily recommended value in vitamin C, 13 percent of the vitamin K, and a healthy amount of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and copper. They don’t have any protein but they don’t have any fat either.

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TIPS: The salsa can be stored in the refrigerator for about two weeks but it can easily be frozen for later use.  Cool salsa before freezing to prevent condensation which can change the taste and texture when thawed.  Pour into an airtight container or sealable plastic freezer bag. Leave at least an inch of space as foods expand when they are frozen. Remove as much air as possible before sealing.  If you have a clean straw, use it to suck out the air or press it out with your hands before sealing.  If you have a large quantity of tomatillos, you can find directions to can the salsa from Ball Fresh Preserving  but keep in mind, that for safety reasons, only hot salsa can be canned so heat it up first.

 

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TOMATILLO SALSA

  • 1 1/2 lb tomatillos (about 4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3-5 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup mint leaves (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 Jalapeño peppers OR 2 serrano peppers, stemmed, seeded and chopped (you can use whole for more heat if you want)
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp cumin (optional)
  • Salt to taste

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  • Remove papery husks from tomatillos and rinse

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  • Cut the tomatillos in half and place cut side down on a foil-lined baking sheet. Add the garlic cloves in their skin.

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  • Broil on high for  5-7 minutes until the skins of the tomatillos have slightly blackened. Let cool and remove the garlic skins.

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  • While the tomatillos are roasting, roughly chop the onion and pappers.

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  • Place the tomatillos in a blender or food processor with the garlic, peppers, onion, cilantro, cumin, lime juice and 1/4 cup water to the and pulse to a coarse puree. Transfer to a bowl, add salt, and thin out as desired with water. Taste and adjust salt, and set aside to let the flavors develop.

Tomatillo Salsa

  • Servings: 3 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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  • 1 1/2 lb tomatillos (about 4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3-5 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup mint leaves (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 Jalapeño peppers OR 2 serrano peppers, stemmed, seeded and chopped (you can use whole for more heat if you want)
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp cumin (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  1. Remove papery husks from tomatillos and rinse
  2. Cut the tomatillos in half and place cut side down on a foil-lined baking sheet. Add the garlic cloves in their skin.
  3. Broil on high for  5-7 minutes until the skins of the tomatillos have slightly blackened. Let cool and remove the garlic skins.
  4. While the tomatillos are roasting, roughly chop the onion and pappers.
  5. Place the tomatillos in a blender or food processor with the garlic, peppers, onion, cilantro, cumin, lime juice and 1/4 cup water to the and pulse to a coarse puree. Transfer to a bowl, add salt, and thin out as desired with water. Taste and adjust salt, and set aside to let the flavors develop.

 

 

 

 

Meatless Monday Celebrates Fall Harvest

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Meatless Monday published my Harvest Vegetable Tart in their Fall Harvest recipe  roundup.  Check out my recipe featuring root vegetables like sweet potatoes, parsnips, purple carrots and butternut squash cut into leaf shapes using small cookie cutters.  This is a savory vegetarian pie with a creamy rich filling of vegetables braised in vegetable broth, coconut milk and parmesan cheese, although goat cheese would work well too for the filling.  Harvest Vegetable Tart Recipe on goodmotherdiet  By the way, goodmotherdiet has 99,771 hits to date.  Who is going to be the 100,000?

Meatless Monday has compiled a nice assortment of recipes from bloggers like me, pastas, curry, lentils, squash, beets, enchiladas, etc. For the full list of Fall Harvest recipes click HERE

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Join me in supporting the Meatless Monday movement.  Even if you’re not ready to skip meat altogether, going meatless one day a week helps.  Choosing to go Meatless Monday can help fight diseases, reduce the risk of diabetes, and improve heart health. It also conserves land, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, saves water, and saves energy. Meatless Monday is in over 40 countries and over 20 languages.  Check out their website for more information. Meatless Monday Website

Meatless Monday Infographic

Graphic Image created by Danielle Russell for Meatless Monday.

Easy No-Peel Applesauce

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It’s that time of year, where apples are plentiful and falling off trees. Judging from my stats page, about 50 people a day are looking at this recipe for Easy No-Peel Applesauce, so I have decided it timely to reblog this recipe. Enjoy!

goodmotherdiet

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Every year, after the apple pies are baked and enjoyed, I make applesauce with all the rest of the apples from my garden. Of course it’s usually just in time for Hanukkah which means yummy latkes with applesauce and sour cream. Making applesauce is pretty easy but peeling the apples is very tedious and time consuming, so this year I decided to try leaving the peels on. Okay, I’ll admit it, I got lazy, but it worked out for the best. I LOVE this applesauce and it is so easy! It’s got a richer and creamier texture AND it’s more nutritious since most of the nutients and fiber are in or right under the peel which is usually removed and thrown away. Win! Win!  For best results use a combination of both sweet and tart apples.  Fuji, Red Delicious, Pink Lady and Golden Delicious apples are sweeter in taste, while…

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Meatless Monday – Rustic Roasted Tomato Tart

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I can’t say enough about these roasted tomatoes – drizzled with balsamic and honey and slow roasted until they reach caramelized perfection. Their cooking juice alone is worth the price of admission, delicious as a dipping sauce for a crusty baguette. But that’s not all! I layered the lovely roasted tomatoes over a bed of fresh mozzarella and then folded it all in a buttery crust to form a rustic tart. Click through for recipe.

goodmotherdiet

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I can’t say enough about these roasted tomatoes – drizzled with balsamic and honey and slow roasted until they reach caramelized perfection.  Their cooking juice alone is worth the price of admission, delicious as a dipping  sauce for a crusty baguette.  But that’s not all!   I layered the lovely roasted tomatoes over a bed of fresh mozzarella and then folded it all in a buttery crust to form a rustic tart. You would never know that the crust is actually good for you because it’s so yummmy, but it’s made with 100% White Whole Wheat Flour.  No that wasn’t a typo.  I used a whole grain flour made from white whole wheat, which is a different kind of wheat whose germ has a lighter color and milder in flavor than the more traditional ‘red’ wheat.  It has the same nutritional value as whole wheat but is not as heavy…

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Wheatless Wednesday Tomatoes, Mozzarella & Peaches with Balsamic Reduction

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Here is a twist on the ubiquitous Caprese Salad, with the addition of sliced ripe peaches which adds sweetness and a drizzle of rich balsamic reduction to up your game. This salad is fast, easy and flavorful. This is for those of you who have been out in your gardens picking buckets full of ripe tomatoes. Enjoy the last yummy bits of summer!

goodmotherdiet

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Summertime favorite, Caprese Salad goes rogue with sliced ripe peaches and a drizzle of velvety rich balsamic reduction. This colorful combo was the brainchild of my son, Eric.  I had recently purchased a flat of perfectly ripe peaches and I am lucky enough to have a constant supply of lovely heirloom tomatoes from my garden in shades of red, yellow and even striped green.  The peaches add a nice sweetness to the traditional tomatoes and mozzarella and the balsamic reduction is the piece de resistance.  Of course, you can drizzle with a balsamic vinaigrette which is easy and delicious, but the reduction is worth the minimal effort.  In only 10 minutes or so, balsamic vinegar is transformed into a richly flavored syrup that can be drizzled on almost anything to enhance its natural flavors.  I also love using a variety of colors for an exceptionally colorful presentation.

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Peaches are one of…

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Meatless Monday – Sesame Crusted Tofu

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I’m sorry for going MIA this summer.  A combination of travel without my computer,(Iceland is another coming post)  made blogging (and cooking) difficult and the recent illness and death of my beloved father left me with a void that I am struggling to fill.  He was a kind man. He chose family and a career in education over wealth and prestige. Dare I say it was not the exciting career he probably thought he was going to have. He and my mom fostered dozens of kids and believed in uplifting others, especially those that really needed help the most.  I suppose, his death, following hers three years ago, only reaffirms my growing belief that we should try our best to  leave a gentle footprint on the earth and make a positive difference in the world, no matter how small.  Kindness matters. Voting with your pocketbook matters.  Our choices matter. Speaking up for those that have no voice matters.  I guess a tofu recipe is a good start.

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This is my favorite, quick and easy, protein filled, go-to dish.  I especially like to make it for my meat eating friends who think they don’t like tofu.  I have changed some pretty closed minds with this one.  The tofu is savory and crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside.  I like to serve sesame crusted tofu over pasta or rice to take advantage of the yummy pan drippings.  Surprise! Vegan food can have pan drippings. This time I tossed together some sugar snap peas sauteed with ginger and garlic until they glisten, tender but firm.

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I love the combination of black and white sesame seeds, but if you think they are just a pretty decoration you would be mistaken.  They add a nutty flavor and add to the crunchy texture in this dish, but for their small size, they also provide quite a bit of nutrition. Sesame seeds  are an excellent source of copper, a very good source of manganese, and a good source of calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, molybdenum, selenium, and dietary fiber.  Black sesame seeds are unhulled while white seeds are hulled.  Since most of the calcium is in the hulls, black sesame seeds have more calcium.  Otherwise, they are nutritionally similar.

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TIPS:  This time, I served the tofu over thin spaghetti which picks up the sesame seeds and spices easily but angel hair pasta would work well too.  I just stirred the hot, cooked pasta in the same pan I cooked the tofu to evenly coat the strands. I often serve this with brown jasmine or basmati rice.  Just cook with vegetable broth and a 1 inch knob of peeled fresh ginger or teaspoon of ginger paste and drizzle the sesame oil and pan drippings over the rice.  Yum!…  (*smacking lip sound*)

This recipe serves two to four people, depending on appetites.  I can only eat one 4 ounce tofu steak but my husband can eat two.  You can easily double the recipe. I also prefer the 4 oz steaks because I like the crispy edges.

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SESAME CRUSTED TOFU

  • 1 block extra firm tofu
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup black sesame seeds
  • 1-2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsn sesame oil, divided
  • 1 Tbsn soy sauce (or gluten free tamari)
  • 2 Tbsn cornstarch
  • 3 scallions, minced (optional garnish)
  • 8 oz thin spaghetti

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  • Drain tofu and slice in half lengthwise into two wide slabs (8 oz. steaks).  You can also cut the slabs half again for four 4 oz. servings.  Arrange in a single layer on double papertowels or a clean dishcloth, cover with more towels and let drain 15 or 20 minutes.  Placing a heavy pan on top might help press the liquid out.
  • Cook spaghetti as directed, drain and set aside

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  • If you are making sugar snap peas, in a cold saute pan, stir together a Tablespoon each of olive oil and sesame oil, 1 teaspoon minced ginger or ginger paste and several cloves of crushed garlic. Remove stems and strings from the peas, rinse and stir them into the garlic mixture.  They can sit until you are ready. Cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat just before you cook the tofu.

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  • Place cornstarch in a shallow pie pan or plate

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  • Stir together 1 Tablespoon sesame oil and 1 Tablespoon soy sauce

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  • Combine sesame seeds, red pepper flakes, garlic and onion powders in a shallow pie pan

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  • Heat a heavy fry pan (cast iron if you have) on medium heat and add remaining sesame oil while you prepare your tofu.
  • Dredge tofu on all sides in cornstarch

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  • Dip tofu in soy/sesame mixture, all sides

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  • Press tofu into sesame seed mixture making sure to coat all sides. Repeat with remaining pieces.

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  • Cook in hot sesame oil several minutes on each side, or until crispy and golden brown.  Lower heat if the oil starts to smoke.

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  • Remove tofu from pan and set aside. Turn heat to low.

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  • Toss cooked spaghetti in hot pan used for cooking the tofu until sesame seeds and oil are evenly distributed.  Add any remaining seeds and spices or a drizzle of sesame oil, if desired.

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  • Serve tofu topped with tofu steaks and sugar snap peas, garnish with scallions, if desired.

 

 

 

 

Sesame Crusted Tofu

  • Servings: 2 - 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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  • 1 block extra firm tofu
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup black sesame seeds
  • 1-2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsn sesame oil, divided
  • 1 Tbsn soy sauce (or gluten free tamari)
  • 2 Tbsn cornstarch
  • 3 scallions, minced (optional garnish)
  • 8 oz thin spaghetti
  1. Drain tofu and slice in half lengthwise into two wide slabs (steaks).  You can also cut the slabs half again for four servings.  Arrange in a single layer on double papertowels or a clean dishcloth, cover with more towels and let drain 15 or 20 minutes.  Placing a heavy pan on top might help press the liquid out.
  2. Cook spaghetti as directed, drain and set aside
  3. If you are making sugar snap peas, in a cold saute pan, stir together a Tablespoon each of olive oil and sesame oil, 1 teaspoon minced ginger or ginger paste and several cloves of crushed garlic. Remove stems and strings from the peas, rinse and stir them into the garlic mixture. They can sit until you are ready.  Cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat just before you cook the tofu.
  4. Place cornstarch in a shallow pie pan
  5. Stir together 1 Tablespoon sesame oil and 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  6. Combine sesame seeds, red pepper flakes, garlic and onion powders in a shallow pie pan
  7. Heat a heavy fry pan (cast iron if you have) on medium high heat and add remaining sesame oil
  8. Dredge tofu on all sides in cornstarch
  9. Dip tofu in soy/sesame mixture, all sides
  10. Press tofu into sesame seed mixture making sure to coat all sides
  11. Cook in hot sesame oil several minutes on each side, or until crispy and golden brown.  Lower heat to medium if the oil starts to smoke.
  12. Remove tofu from pan and set aside
  13. Toss cooked spaghetti in hot pan used for cooking the tofu until sesame seeds and oil are evenly distributed.  Add any remaining seeds and spices or a drizzle of sesame oil, if desired.
  14. Serve tofu topped with tofu steaks and garnish with scallions, if desired.