Meatless Monday – Shaved Fennel Salad with Burrata

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Salad is perfect for warm summer days. I particularly like this one featuring shaved fennel marinated in lemon and olive oil and paired with creamy burrata over a bed of baby arugula and topped with toasted pine nuts and fresh mint. I love the juxtaposition of the slightly crunchy, lemony fennel with the creaminess of the burrata which is one of my favorite cheeses. Burrata is similar to fresh mozzarella but has a soft, oozy and delicious center. If you are avoiding dairy, use Miyoko’s vegan mozz, VioLife feta. or a dollop of Kite Hill ricotta. The fennel salad is strong enough though to stand on it’s own without adding cheese.

goodmotherdiet

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The longer and warmer days of Spring bring forth a whole new crop of fresh vegetables. One of my favorites is fennel with it’s distinctive licorice-like flavor.  Fennel is wonderful roasted and caramelized but it is also delightful served raw in salads.  I particularly liked this salad featuring shaved fennel marinated in lemon and olive oil and paired with creamy burrata over a bed of baby arugula and topped with toasted pine  nuts and fresh mint.  I love the juxtaposition of the  slightly crunchy, lemony fennel with the creaminess of the burrata which is one of my favorite cheeses. Burrata is similar to fresh mozzarella but has a soft, oozy and delicious center.  Of course, if you are avoiding dairy, the fennel salad is strong enough to stand on it’s own without adding burrata.  Since I made this as a main course, I also added avocado to add healthy fats…

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Caramelized Onion Tart with Brie and Cambozola

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This tart has only six ingredients but together they create quite a taste sensation. Imagine sweet and savory caramelized onions with creamy cheeses baked on puff pastry until golden brown and melty.I love the brie and cambazola combo but when I make this in a few days when I’m back in town, I’m going to try some of the fabulous vegan cheeses Right now I’m loving cheeses from Miyoko’s, Vio Life and Kite Hill ricotta but there are so many more… This tart takes almost an hour to prepare because it takes about a half hour to caramelize the onions, which is worth it. Otherwise, the preparation is easy. Just unroll the puff pastry, spread the onions evenly over the top and dot with cheeses and bake until golden brown and melty. This is a perfect appetizer for your Fourth of July party…

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Welcome to my new favorite appetizer, which “Hint” would be great for Fourth of July.  This tart has only six ingredients but together they create quite a taste sensation. Imagine  sweet and savory caramelized onions with creamy melted brie and sharp cambozola baked on puff pastry until golden brown.  This tart takes almost an hour to prepare because it takes about a half hour to caramelize the onions, which is worth it.  Otherwise, the preparation is easy.  Just unroll the puff pastry, spread the onions evenly over the top and dot with cheeses and bake until golden brown and melty.  If you are sharing, you won’t have any leftovers.

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You are probably familiar with brie which is a rich and creamy cheese that adds a richness especially when melted. We all know that Brie is calorie and fat laden,  but did you know that it is also a good source of protein? A serving of brie can provide…

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Meatless Monday – Summer VegetableTart

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I’m travelling but thought it timely to share my most favorite summer recipe. This vegetable tart with eggplant, zucchini and ripe tomato interspersed with fresh mozzarella, garlic and herbs is always the answer. Its definitely my favorite go to. Easy to make vegan by using vegan mozz. Enjoy!

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Eggplant Tart2

Are you a flexitarian?  I have heard the terms omnivore, herbivore, vegetarian, vegan and pescetarian.  What on earth is a flexitarian?  Well apparently it wasn’t even a word until 2012, when it was added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Flexitarian = flexible + vegetarian:  apersonwhosedietismostlyvegetarianbutsometimesincludesmeat,fish,orpoultry.  My mom recently sent me an article from Mother Earth News,  Becoming a Flexitarian. which outlines the basic flexitarian approach – eat less meat and eating grass-fed when you do.  There are a lot of great reasons to eliminate or reduce meat in our diets, including health, the environment and humankindness.  Perhaps a Flexitarian approach is more doable for people than going vegetarian or vegan and can actually help promote local farming as a profitable business by only buying grass fed, humanely raised meat from responsible growers and not from…

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Meatless Monday – Tofu ‘Steaks’ with Chimichurri Sauce

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When I made this the first time, I declared it a place where meat lovers and vegans can co-exist in happiness.  I just made it again and I still agree. Here is a  ‘steak’ a meat lover will find tasty and satisfying while a vegetarian will be in raptures…  It takes less than 30 minutes and will not disapoint.    Last time, I served the tofu steaks with brown rice and broccoli with a healthy dose of chimichurri over everything which was hearty and satisfying.  This time, I served with a simple salad of lettuces and edible flowers that I had just picked from my garden.  It’s a hot day so it was perfect.

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Each tofu steak is a hefty seven ounces although my husband has a hearty appetite and usually eats his and goes back for seconds, so I need to use two blocks of tofu if I’m serving a large eater.  I also like to make sure there are leftovers for lunch.  Its really good cold too. The tofu is first brushed with a spicy and savory marinade and then pan seared and topped with a fresh and zesty chimichurri sauce, a South and Latin American condiment that is loaded with chili peppers, fresh herbs and garlic.  Chimichurri is good on almost anything and it can be made spicy or mild depending on your taste, which is why its so popular.  Originating in Argentina, it is commonly used to top grilled steak, which is one reason it’s so good on this dish.

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Even though the tofu should be allowed to drain for about 10 minutes, this recipe still takes less than 30 minutes.  Just slice the tofu and let it drain.  While it’s draining, prepare the chimichurri sauce and the marinade.  Using a food processor for the shimichurri sauce saves time and results in a smoother sauce.  Brush the tofu with the marinade and let sit while you prepare the rice or other veggies you’re serving.  The tofu only takes about 6 minutes to cook.  Easy, fast, delicious!

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Tofu steaks can be cut in two sizes, depending on preferences.  One block serves two people, unless you have someone with a large appetite, in which you can double the recipe.  I loved the thickness (about one inch) of the steaks and my husband loved the size (7 oz each).  Tofu is normally cut into thinner slices or cubes so this is a nice difference. The outside was so flavorful and the inside had a wonderful creamy consistency that you don’t get with thinner pieces.  For 7 oz steaks, stand the tofu on end and slice vertically to get two one inch thick pieces. For 3.5 oz steaks, cut each half in half. Pictured below.

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TOFU ‘STEAKS’ WITH CHIMICHURRI SAUCE

15 – 16 oz extra firm tofu
1/4 cup avocado oil (or other high heat oil)
1 bunch broccolini(optional)
1 cup brown rice (optional)

Tofu Marinade:
2 Tbsn olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Chimichurri Sauce:
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (or red wine vinegar)
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup fresh oregano, finely chopped
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1 fresh red chili pepper, seeded and minced (or 1 tsp dried hot pepper flakes-or both)

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  •  Drain tofu and stand it on it’s end and cut in half vertically on the narrow side so you end up with two wide one inch slices.  Place tofu on double thick paper towels and top with another paper towel and place something heavy (like a cast iron pan) on top to help press out the water.  Let sit at least 10 minutes. Tofu can be cut into 7 oz or 3/5 oz ‘steaks’.  See TIPS.

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  • Mix all Chimichurri ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside. For a finer sauce, pulse in food processor.

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  • Combine tofu marinade ingredients and brush them onto tofu covering top, bottom and all sides.  Marinade should be fairly thick and pasty. Set aside.

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  • If you are serving with rice, get it started.  If you are preparing a vegetable, like baby broccolini, heat 2-3 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy skillet and saute broccolini with some chopped garlic, 8 to 10 minutes.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Remove from pan and tent with foil or cover and use a new pan for the tofu.

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  • Add more oil to the pan if necessary, or use a grill pan or grill, and heat on medium high until almost smoking.  Add tofu and cook 3-4 minutes until golden brown. Turn and cook the other side another 3-4 minutes.

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  • Serve with a big spoonful of chimichurri sauce.

Tofu Steaks with Chimichurri Sauce

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

TOFU STEAKS WITH CHIMICHURRI SAUCE

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

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15 – 16 oz extra firm tofu
1/4 cup avocado oil (or other high heat oil)
1 bunch broccolini(optional)
1 cup brown rice (optional)

Tofu Marinade:
2 Tbsn olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Chimichurri Sauce:
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (or red wine vinegar)
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup fresh oregano, finely chopped
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1 fresh red chili pepper, seeded and minced (or 1 tsp dried hot pepper flakes-or both)

  •  Drain tofu and stand it on it’s end and cut in half vertically on the narrow side so you end up with two wide one inch slices.  Place tofu on double thick paper towels and top with another paper towel and place something heavy (like a cast iron pan) on top to help press out the water.  Let sit at least 10 minutes.  Tofu can be cut into 7 oz or 3/5 oz ‘steaks’.  See TIPS.
  • Mix all Chimichurri ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.  If you prefer a smoother sauce, pulse in the food processor.
  • Combine tofu marinade ingredients and brush them onto tofu covering top, bottom and all sides.  Set aside.
  • If you are serving with rice, get it started.  If you are preparing a vegetable, like baby broccolini, heat 2-3 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy skillet and saute broccolini with some chopped garlic, 8 to 10 minutes.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Remove from pan and tent with foil or cover and use a new pan for the tofu.
  • Add more oil to the pan if necessary, or use a grill pan or grill, and heat on medium high until almost smoking.  Add tofu and cook 3-4 minutes until golden brown.
  • Turn and cook the other side another 3-4 minutes.
  • Serve with a big spoonful of chimichurri sauce.

 

 

Meatless Monday – Mediterranean Orzo

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Toss together cooked orzo, sun dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, crumbled feta and fresh herbs with a lemon dressing for a quick, fuss free meal.  I just love a dish that doesn’t need to be babied or involve a lot of prep, no oven and can be ready in 20 minutes, plus cooling time.  This delicious pasta dish is served at room temperature, so you can make it and let it sit until you are ready which makes it perfect for a summer buffet or when you have guests for dinner.  Or better yet, make this the day before and bring to room temperature to serve while you sit back and enjoy a glass of wine…

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I love this combination of flavors and colors. The orzo (which is pasta not rice) absorbs the lemon vinaigrette along with the sun dried tomatoes in oil.  The herbs and onions add a freshness while the olives and feta add a wonderful saltiness as the final touch. I have made this for a large party and tossed with roasted shrimp with great success but I prefer it just like this.  I think I like it better the next day, so feel free to make it ahead. To avoid waiting for the orzo to cool, cook it ahead of time and just toss all ingredients together for a 10 minute meal.

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In purchasing feta, I advise getting a block in water rather than already crumbled.  The quality is better and you can control the size of crumbles.  Often the pre-crumbled feta is very small and would get lost in this dish.

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MEDITERRANEAN STYLE ORZO

  • 3/4 lbs orzo pasta (or gluten free orzo)
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2-3/4 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil
  • 1-2 tsp salt (to taste)
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup scallions, minced white and green parts
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced or small dice
  • 8-12 oz feta cheese, large crumble or dice

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  • Cook the orzo according to package instructions, stirring occasionally, until it’s cooked al dente. Drain and pour into a large bowl. Do not rinse.

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  • Whisk together the lemon juice,  olive oil, salt and pepper and pour over the hot pasta. Mix well.

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  • Stir in the sun dried tomatoes with oil and the olives. Set aside to cool and allow the juice and flavors to absorb.  If it seems too dry, add a bit more olive oil.

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  • While the pasta is cooling, thinly slice the scallions, thinly slice the red onion and cut the slices in half (or finely dice) and chop the parsley.

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  • When pasta is cool, add the scallions, parsley, onion and mix well.

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  • Add the feta and stir gently. Taste and add seasoning as needed. Set aside at room temperature to allow the flavors to blend (the longer the better).

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TIPS:  This recipe can be made a day ahead and refrigerated overnight. Just bring it back to room temperature and check seasonings before serving.

Mediterranean Orzo

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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  • 3/4 lbs orzo pasta (or gluten free orzo)
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2-3/4 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil
  • 1-2 tsp salt (to taste)
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup scallions, minced white and green parts
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced or small dice
  • 8-12 oz feta cheese, large crumble or dice
  1. Cook the orzo according to package instructions, stirring occasionally, until it’s cooked al dente. Drain and pour into a large bowl. Do not rinse.
  2. Whisk together the lemon juice,  olive oil, salt and pepper and pour over the hot pasta. Mix well.
  3. Stir in the sun dried tomatoes with oil and the olives. Set aside to cool and allow the juice and flavors to absorb.  If it seems too dry, add a bit more olive oil.
  4. While the pasta is cooling, thinly slice the scallions, thinly slice the red onion and cut the slices in half (or finely dice) and chop the parsley.
  5. When pasta is cool, add the scallions, parsley, onion and mix well.
  6. Add the feta and stir gently. Taste and add seasoning as needed. Set aside at room temperature to allow the flavors to blend (the longer the better).

TIPS:  This recipe can be made a day ahead and refrigerated overnight. Just bring it back to room temperature and check seasonings before serving.

 

 

Root Vegetable Chips with Two Dips

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Game Changer! Skip the tasteless store bought chips. Make these simple and delicious chips at home for a unique and fun appetizer. They also happen to be colorful and pretty. Prep is easy if you have a mandolin or food processor. Dips can easily be made vegan. Great game day treat!

goodmotherdiet

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Root vegetables, I know – they’re homely and mostly relegated to salads and stews… but not any more!  These root vegetable chips will please almost anyone, especially people who love savory snacks!  They are like a potato chip on steroids, more flavorful and more healthful. Parsnips, red, yellow and pink striped chiogga beets sliced thinly, brushed with olive oil, dusted with salt and pepper, and baked into crispy chips.  They are absolutely delicious and crunchy and  a great way to get people to eat more non-traditional veggies.  I mean, who eats parsnips?  Well, a whole group of people ate them and came back for more at my house the other night.  I served them with a homemade Lemon, Parmesan Aioli (my go-to dip) and a traditional guacamole, but really they were good enough to stand up on their own. The dips are just extra for people (like me) whole love a…

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Meatless Monday – Buffalo Cauliflower Bites (vegan, gf)

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Perfect for Game Time!  Right now we have basketball and hockey playoffs – right in the middle of baseball season.  These buffalo cauliflower bites are a crowd pleasing snack that is a twist on the traditional buffalo wings but without the chicken.  They are not meant to taste like chicken but they do taste pretty good. It’s really all about the buffalo sauce. This is a fun recipe that can cater to various tastes and dietary needs.  In my house, we have vegetarian (me) plus gluten free and dairy free omnivores.  Everyone was happy.

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I posted a recipe for Buffalo Wings Two Ways five or six years ago just before I stopped eating chicken.  It included a recipe for both chicken and cauliflower ‘wings’.  I decided to circle back and improve on the cauliflower recipe and try to give it more of a coating for the buffalo sauce to stick to.  We (me and my test kitchen peeps) went through a few variations and methods but are satisfied with this final version.  Due to my gluten free people, I used half almond meal and gluten free panko instead of flour.  I was aiming for a thicker and crisper crust.  Using white flour or gluten free white flour will result in a lighter crust which some people might prefer.  You can also use a whole grain flour like white whole wheat flour for a few extra nutrients or crushed breadcrumbs for some crunch. Any combination of flour and breadcrumbs will work as well.

20161025_160100 Why cauliflower?  For me the biggest reason is because its not chicken and I still get to have the buffalo sauce. 😉  For everyone else, cauliflower is a chameleon that can become whatever you want it to be.  It’s mild nature allows it to absorb flavors and it can be grated and formed into a multitude of carb free and gluten free foods;  rice, mashed potatoes, pizza crust, tortillas…  Cauliflower is not empty though in spite of its white color.  Its an excellent source of vitamin C and good source of B vitamins.  Click through for 18 Massive Benefits of Cauliflower

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BUFFALO CAULIFLOWER BITES

  • 1 large head cauliflower (4-5 cups) 
  • 1 cup vegan milk or water
  • 3/4 cup flour/breadcrumbs (or almond meal, GF panko)*See TIPS.
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • cooking oil spray (optional)
  • 1 cup Buffalo Sauce(some use butter so check labels) 
  • 1/2 cup Ranch or Blue Cheese Dressing (optional)
  • 1-2 cups carrot and celery sticks (optional)

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  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.Remove core and cut cauliflower into florets.  Cut the larger ones in half.

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  • In a medium bowl, stir together flour/bread mixture, garlic and onion powders, pepper and salt. Add milk and stir until smooth.  If it feels too thick (and its not sticking to the cauliflower), add more milk or water. Heavier flour mixtures may need more liquid.

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  • Using a fork, dip the cauliflower florets into the batter to fully coat and place on the baking sheet. Don’t crowd them, or they will stick together. Spray with cooking oil (optional). Bake for 25 minutes.

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  • While the cauliflower are baking, prepare the veggies and dips

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  • Remove the hot baking sheet from the oven.  Using a fork, dip each floret into the buffalo sauce on each cauliflower bite and place back on the baking sheet.

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  • Bake for another 10- 20 minutes.  You can broil for a few minutes for a golden color but don’t take your eyes off of them. They should be tender but not soft.

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  • Serve with your chosen veggies, dressing and some extra buffalo sauce.

Tips:

I used half almond meal and half gluten free panko (as I was serving gluten free people) which made a nice crunchy coating, however, all purpose white flour is a little lighter.    Or feel free to use a combination of flours and breadcrumbs. I also found that dipping them individually into the batter provides better coverage than brushing or stirring them all together.  Dairy free people need to check labels to make sure the Buffalo Sauce doesn’t include butter.  I used Sweet Baby Rays which does not.

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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BUFFALO CAULIFLOWER BITES

  • 1 large head cauliflower (4-5 cups) 
  • 1 cup vegan milk or water
  • 3/4 cup flour/breadcrumbs (or almond meal, GF panko)*See TIPS.
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • cooking oil spray (optional)
  • 1 cup Buffalo Sauce
  • 1/2 cup Ranch or Blue Cheese Dressing (optional)
  • 1-2 cups carrot and celery sticks (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Remove core and cut cauliflower into florets.  Cut the larger ones in half.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together flour/bread mixture, garlic and onion powders, pepper and salt.
  4. Add milk and stir until smooth.  If it feels too thick (and its not sticking to the cauliflower), add more milk or water. Heavier flour mixtures may need more liquid.
  5. Using a fork, dip the cauliflower florets into the batter to fully coat and place on the baking sheet. Don’t crowd them, or they will stick together.
  6. Spray with cooking oil (optional). Bake for 25 minutes.
  7. While the cauliflower are baking, prepare the veggies and dips (optional)
  8. Remove the hot baking sheet from the oven.  Using a fork (since they’re hot), dip each floret into the buffalo sauce on each cauliflower bite and place back on the baking sheet.
  9. Bake for another 10- 20 minutes.  You can broil for a few minutes for a golden color but don’t take your eyes off of them. They should be tender but not soft.
  10. Serve with your chosen veggies, dressing and some extra buffalo sauce.

Tips:

I used half almond meal and half gluten free panko (as I was serving gluten free people) which made a nice crunchy coating, however, all purpose white flour is a little lighter.  Or feel free to use a combination of flours and breadcrumbs.  I also found that dipping them individually into the batter provides better coverage than brushing or stirring them all together. Dairy free people need to check labels to make sure the Buffalo Sauce doesn’t include butter.  I used Sweet Baby Rays which does not.

Cheesy Cauliflower Breadsticks

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I have a couple of gluten free, dairy free people in the house, plus I have been trying to eat less dairy, so I decided to circle back to this popular recipe which is already gluten free and try making it with vegan cheese. I used Vio Life Shredded Mozzarella and VioLife Parmesan with excellent results. I also made them smaller for easier finger food. Everyone devoured it while watching basketball playoffs. It helped that the Warriors won!

goodmotherdiet

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These cheesy grainfree breadsticks are a guaranteed winner!  They are yummy enough to satisfy that carb craving that we all know so well, without adding empty calories and they are wheat and gluten free. This is one of the blog posts that went missing during my technically challenged summer, however, I certainly didn’t mind ‘having’ to make it again.  The first time I spread the cauliflower ‘dough’ into rectangles  (like a sheet pizza) and cut it into strips to serve.

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This time I decided to try making into individual strips or bars which can be picked up by hand to eat.  I am a crispy crust lover so I figured this would maximize the crispy edges and I was not disappointed.  I sprinkled the cooked breadsticks with fresh basil but you could also provide warm tomato sauce or pesto for dipping.

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Cauliflower is a great carb substitute and provides vitamins, and minerals plus fiber and…

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Meatless Monday – Steamed Artichokes with Two Dipping Sauces

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Time to bring back a classic. If you love artichokes dipped in creamy mayo but your honey swears by melted butter, this one is for you! Picture whole steamed artichokes dipped in either Lemon Herb Butter or Garlic Parmesan Aioli.  It’s yummy but easy too! I’ve included several other artichoke recipes as well for the more adventurous. Enjoy!-J

goodmotherdiet

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If you love artichokes dipped in creamy mayo but your honey swears by melted butter, this one is for you! Picture whole steamed artichokes dipped in either Lemon Herb Butter or Garlic Parmesan Aioli.  It’s yummy but easy too!  I couldn’t decide which sauce I liked better so I kept trading off.  Why play favorites if you don’t have to?  Yes, you might say I am still on an artichoke kick but they are in season and so good right now that they are hard to resist. I have recently oven roasted, pan roasted and stuffed artichokes with great results but wanted to try steaming them, just like Mom used to do.  It’s definitely the easiest way to cook them and it makes a fun appetizer or side dish, especially when you have delicious sauces to dip them in.  For the more adventurous artichoke lover, check out , or  or 

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Artichokes…

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Why You Should Thin The Carrots In Your Garden – Or Not!

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I’ve been working like crazy in my vegetable garden, feeling late but after so much rain and my trip to India, well it is what it is. I have fond memories of my first carrot year. I’m reposting for all of you who may be planting carrots this year. Enjoy your carrot people!
Joyce

goodmotherdiet

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Carrots are people too… Earlier this spring, I planted a variety of heirloom red carrots by seed, then waited for them to germinate.  When I checked on the young seedlings, I knew they were spaced too close together and should probably be thinned.  Carrots need space to develop into the tall straight specimens we see at the market.  Carrot seeds are almost always seeded too close together, because they are so tiny. Thinning is recommended for the first time when the plants are 4 inches tall. Remove the smallest and scrawniest plants or those that are growing right on top of one another. Ideally the plants are thinned to about a thumb’s-width apart. The carrots can also be thinned again about a month later to about 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart.  By then the ‘thinned’ carrots should be large enough to eat as baby carrots.  Click HERE for…

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Meatless Monday – Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

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Salads in winter must have a hearty element to them or they just don’t work for me, especially in cold, wet weather, like now.  This one has roasted butternut squash, toasted pecans, dried cranberries and salty feta over a bed of dark leafy greens, drizzled with a rich balsamic vinaigrette.  Yum! Best of all it’s simple, just a few delicious ingredients and good for you. Butternut squash is my favorite of the hard winter squashes and still in season.  Butternut squash has a natural sweetness that really shines when brushed with olive oil and roasted, and it is loaded with vitamins and minerals, as evidenced by it’s brilliant orange color.
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This salad is easy to make except for the peeling and cutting of the butternut squash  It is not that really that hard to peel but if you are looking for a shortcut, many supermarkets offer it already pre-cut into cubes.  Go for it if you need a big time saver!  This recipe calls for 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of cut up squash (medium butternut).  Supermarket packages of cut up squash are usually 16 to 18 ounces, which is equal to a small squash but totally adequate for this salad. It will just be slightly smaller.  To make this salad more hearty, you can add cooked barley or quinoa.  A layer of black or green lentils cooked al dente would be a good addition too.
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I used a sprinkling of feta cheese which works well with its salty flavor and crumbly texture.  Goat cheese would work well here too, as well as some of their vegan counterparts.  If you’re not a dried cranberry fan, walk on the wild side with dried blueberries or cherries.  Best of all is the vinaigrette with the balsamic reduction.  It’s rich and really complements the other ingredients, however, the ingredients do combine to a pretty delicious vinaigrette without the fuss of reducing the sauce.
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ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SALAD
  • 1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 3/4-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6-8 cups fresh greens (baby kale, spinach, arugula, etc)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted or candied
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup feta or goat cheese, crumbled (optional)
Vinaigrette:
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • salt and pepper, to taste

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  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spread butternut squash pieces into a single layer on an oiled baking sheet. Drizzle or spray with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. You can line baking sheet with parchment paper instead of oil for easy clean up.

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  • Roast for 20-25 minutes, turning a few times, until squash is tender.

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  • While the squash is cooking, whisk together all the vinaigrette ingredients and set aside.  Or, if you want a thicker dressing, stir the vinegar and honey in small saucepan over medium heat until reduced by about half (recommended).  Let cool slightly and add the remaining ingredients.  Set aside.

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  • Thinly slice red onions and chop salad greens and add to large bowl or platter

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  • Allow squash to cool and then add to salad greens

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  • Top with dried cranberries, pecans and crumbled feta. Drizzle with vinaigrette.

 

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Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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  • 1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 3/4-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6-8 cups fresh greens (baby kale, spinach, arugula, etc)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted or candied
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
Vinaigrette:
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spread butternut squash pieces into a single layer on an oiled baking sheet. Drizzle or spray with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. You can line baking sheet with parchment paper instead of oil for easy clean up.
  • Roast for 20-25 minutes, turning a few times, until squash is tender.
  • While the squash is cooking, whisk together all the vinaigrette ingredients and set aside.
  • Thinly slice red onions and chop salad greens and add to large bowl or platter
  • Allow squash to cool and then add to salad greens
  • Top with dried cranberries, pecans and crumbled feta. Drizzle with vinaigrette.
TIPS: This salad is easy to make except for the peeling and cutting of the butternut squash  An easy shortcut is to buy pre-cut squash which is a great timesaver but a bit more expensive.  To make this salad more hearty, you can add cooked barley or quinoa.

Meatless Monday – Pasta Fazool (Vegan)

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Cold and rainy (or snowy) days call for hearty and warm foods that warm you up from the inside out.  This savory pasta dish, which is a twist on an Italian favorite, Pasta Fazool, was a winner with my meat eating men.  Picture penne pasta and lentils swimming in a delicious hot broth, flavored with tomatoes, garlic, onions and the zing of red pepper flakes. I served each bowl with a pinch of parmesan and chopped parsley.  Plus its a One Pot Meal!

IMG_20190213_185034This is technically not Pasta Fazool, or pasta e fagiole, which means pasta with beans.  Lentils are actually a legume not a bean, so the technical name would be Pasta e Lenticchie which is way less fun to say and why I call it a twist on a classic.  You can make it more traditionally by using two cans of white beans, drained and added in place of the lentils, if you wish.  Both are delicious options.  Pasta Fazool is usually more soupy than your typical plate of pasta but it can be made as wet or dry as you wish.  To make it more of a soup, just add more water when you add the pasta or even more before serving if too much liquid has evaporated.  If you are using broth to start, adding more water shouldn’t diminish the flavor.

img_20190213_175453.jpgThe parmesan cheese is optional as a topping but I want to share a new vegan parmesan cheese that I find is just as good as the real thing.  I found myself eating slices of it while cooking.  I mean someone had to taste it. 🙂  This Just Like Parmesan by Violife contains no dairy, soy, gluten, lactose or nut products.  So what is it made from?  Well, mostly a combination of potato and rice starch, rice protein, coconut oil and sea salt, including Vitamin B12.  As Violife says, “Delizioso”!

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PASTA FAZOOL

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1/4 -3/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup brown lentils, rinsed
1 can diced or crushed tomatoes
1 tsp fresh thyme
4 cups vegetable broth or water
8 ounces pasta (such as ziti or penne)
1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, chopped (optional)
parmesan cheese, grated (optional) *Check out Violife Vegan Soy*

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  •  In a large saucepan or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and some of the red pepper flakes, and cook, stirring often until soft and transluscent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

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  • Add the tomatoes, thyme and broth and bring to a boil. Taste and add salt and pepper and more red pepper flakes, to taste.

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  • Add the lentils, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer with the lid slightly ajar, until the lentils are almost tender, 20 minutes.

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  • Increase heat to medium and add one or two cups of water along with the pasta and simmer, uncovered, stirring often so that the pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom, until the pasta is al dente, 10 to 12 minutes. Add water if necessary. The end result should be a bit soupy, unless you prefer it more pasta-like.

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  • Divide the pasta among serving bowls and garnish with the parsley and parmesan, if desired.
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Pasta Fazool

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1/4 -3/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup brown lentils, rinsed
1 can diced or crushed tomatoes
1 tsp fresh thyme
4 cups vegetable broth or water
8 ounces pasta (such as ziti or penne)
1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, chopped (optional)
parmesan cheese, grated (optional)

  •  In a large saucepan or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and some of the red pepper flakes, and cook, stirring often until soft but not brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add tomatoes, thyme and broth and bring to a boil. Taste and add salt and pepper and more red pepper flakes, to taste.
  • Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer with the lid slightly ajar, until the lentils are almost tender, 20 minutes.
  • Increase heat to medium and add one or two cups of water along with the pasta and simmer, uncovered, stirring often so that the pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom, until the pasta is al dente, 10 to 12 minutes. Add water if necessary. The end result should be a bit soupy.
  • Divide the pasta among serving bowls and garnish with the parsley and parmesan.

Meatless Monday – Vegetable Paella (Vegan)

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Paella is a beautiful dish worthy of a party or gathering.  This one is loaded with fresh veggies instead of traditional Spanish ingredients, usually a combination of meats and seafood.  My veggie recipe retains the usual flavors, smoked paprica, saffron and Spanish rice but in lieu of the meats, I added artichoke, eggplant, mushrooms and fennel, and topped with roasted red peppers and capers.  Simply Delicious!

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Paella is not as hard as it’s reputation leads us to believe.  Its not like risotto which has to be constantly stirred and fussed over.  In fact, paella should be minimally disturbed after the first few minutes and if you have done it correctly, a golden crust will form on the bottom, called the socarrat, from the Spanish word “socarrar,” which means “to toast lightly,”. Once the paella is done, it can sit covered off the heat and wait until you’re ready to serve.  I used several canned items, partially as a shortcut and because some things are not in season right now.  I used fresh fennel and trumpet mushrooms (because they are available now) and fresh eggplant. I also used jarred capers, roasted red peppers and canned baby artichokes which are already fairly soft, so I added them in near the end.

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I love this combination of textures and flavors.  It turned out quite pretty and colorful.  You can substitute any vegetables that you like, just keep in mind how long they need to cook and plan accordingly.  I also used a vegan chorizo that I have had good luck with recently.  It’s made from vital wheat gluten so not gluten free but pretty tasty and combines nicely with the saffron and smoked paprika.  This ingredient is optional though.  I would like the dish either way. Some people don’t enjoy substitute meats for a variety of reasons but I like to promote those companies who are making their way into the vegan food industry. The more good products available, the better they get and the less meat people will eat.  Win win!

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TIPS:  I have a giant paella pan which was relatively inexpensive but for this recipe, I used a 12 inch cast iron pan.  It was fairly full but worked fine for the quantities.  You could use a pan a couple of inches larger and it should turn out well.  Don’t be tempted to use aromatic rices like jasmine or basmati as they don’t soak up the flavors properly and some of the long grained rices don’t have the proper texture.

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VEGETABLE PAELLA

  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 oz vegan chorizo (optional)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
  • 1 large bulb fennel, sliced
  • 14 oz can baby artichokes (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 large Japanese eggplant, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup mushrooms (crimini, shitake or trumpet)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 1/4 cups bomba, arborio or valencia rice
  • 1-2 Tbsn capers, drained
  • 1 roasted, marinated red pepper, cut into strips
  • fresh parsley or thyme for garnish (optional)

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Vegetable Paella

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

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VEGETABLE PAELLA

  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 oz vegan chorizo (optional)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
  • 1 large bulb fennel, sliced
  • 14 oz can baby artichokes (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 large Japanese eggplant, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup mushrooms (crimini, shitake or trumpet)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 1/4 cups arborio or valencia rice
  • 1-2 Tbsn capers, drained
  • 1 roasted, marinated red pepper, cut into strips
  • fresh parsley or thyme for garnish (optional)

 

9+ Superbowl Recipes

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If you are still looking for Superbowl inspiration, here are a few (mostly vegetarian ) crowd pleasers that might help you plan your halftime snacks. For some of us, especially if our team didn’t make it to the final showdown, the Superbowl is all about the food and the commercials, maybe the halftime entertainment or the Puppy Bowl. Recipes include my favorite vegan chili, tacos, sliders, and of course, Buffalo Sauce … Click through for recipes.

goodmotherdiet

9 Superbowl Recipes

If you are still looking for Superbowl inspiration, here are a few (mostly vegetarian ) crowd pleasers that might help you plan your halftime snacks.  For some of us, especially if our team didn’t make it to the final showdown, the Superbowl is all about the food and the commercials, maybe the halftime entertainment (although it will be hard to beat the gloriously fun Kati Perry extravaganza from last year). Yes, Buffalo Sauce is in here… Click through for recipes.

 4 Ingredients = yum!

Asparagus and Goat Cheese Tart5

Because Buffalo sauce…

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Both Cauliflower “Wings” and Chicken Wings. ( This recipe is back from when I still ate chicken ) Now chicken is off my menu, but I would make the cauliflower ‘wings’ again.

Buffalo Wings 14

https://goodmotherdiet.com/2014/08/01/feta-chili-lemon-dip/  Just add crackers. Yum!

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 Fun alternative to chips and dip.

Root Vegetable Chips13

Three bite salads made with citrus, grapes, avocado and crumbly cheese.  If you can’t find endive, use any small headed…

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Meatless Monday – Hot and Sour Soup

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‘Tis the season for colds and flu and my house is not exempt. This hot and sour soup is the perfect antidote with just enough spice to clear your head…and it’s pretty tasty too.

goodmotherdiet

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If hot soup equals a warm belly, what about hot soup that is also hot-spicy? As you can see, I’m still on my hot soup bender – and judging by the forecast for seven days of rain next week, it’s not ending any time soon. My husband is in bed with the sniffles so I decided that Hot and Sour Soup would be the perfect antidote. I am a true believer in the medicinal power of soup.  I used to rely on chicken soup but now I’m looking for vegetarian options and it looks like this one will do the trick.  Hot and Sour Soup contains anti inflammatory aromatics, like red chile and ginger, lending some truth to the old saying, that ‘soup is medicine in a bowl.’

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This soup has all the healing properties you need to fight infections, help digestion and boost both your immune system and your metabolism.  It’s also a great way to warm up on a cold winter’s…

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