Monday, July 23, 2012

Authentic Roasted Tomato Salsa

In preparation for my upcoming trip to Chicago and Great Falls, MT, I am left to empty the fridge of all things perishable.  With a drawer full of tomatoes and chili peppers, whats a girl to do but make salsa?!  After several attempts adjusting the flavor, I think I finally got it right. 

Roasted Tomato Salsa

5 Medium Tomatoes, cut in half (Roma or vine-ripened works best)
3 Chili Peppers of your choice, stems cut and cut lengthwise in half (I used 1 poblano and 2 red chili's)
3 Cloves Garlic
1/2 Medium onion (I used yellow but use what you have)
1/2 C loosely packed cilantro (about 1/2 bunch)
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
dash sweetener of choice (agave or organic sugar)

Turn broiler on HIGH and place tomatoes, peppers, garlic and onion cut side down on a baking sheet.  Broil for about 10 minutes until skins bubble and start to turn black.  Remove from over and allow to cool. 

Put all veggies and remaining ingredients into your Vita-Mix or other blender or food processor until well incorporated.  End of show.  Enjoy with your favorite tortilla chips!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Ancho Chili Pie

What started out as a lazy DIY dinner night (i.e. leftovers and frozen crap) quickly turned into a recipe creating session (AKA Throwing shit together in a bowl to see what happened).  The result?  Not as satisfying as I had anticipated but good nonetheless.  Addison (the 5 yr old picky eater who would prefer to live on saltine crackers and ice cream alone for the rest of her days) LOVED it.  That says alot considering she has really only ever LOVED a few things I've made and I was sure when I served it up on her pink plastic plate that it would be met with rejection and an unrelenting fight that could only result in 2 things: My increase in blood pressure and her fidgeting for 2 hours while I try to force feed her gruel.  Luckily, that didn't happen and she even begged for more, despite the fact that she could literally see tomatoes and green peppers in it.  Shocking!  So, low and behold:

Ancho Chili Pie

1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green pepper, diced
2 tsp ancho chili powder
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can corn, (you guessed it...rinsed and drained)
1 can diced tomatoes (UNDRAINED...ha! Didn't see that coming, did you??)
1 C cornmeal (medium or coarse grind)
1 C flour (or white rice flour for GF)
1Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp flaxmeal
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1 1.2 C non-dairy milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

Using non-stick spray or even just a Tbsp or so of water, heat skillet and throw in onion, garlic, peppers and chili powder.  You don't really need oil since the onions and peppers release a lot of water when cooking.  Cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat.  Then throw in your beans, corn and tomatoes.  Reduce heat to simmer while you prepare your cornbread topping.

Whisk cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar, flaxmeal, cumin and salt together.  Whisk in 'milk'.

Pour the bean mixture into a casserole dish and pour the cornbread mixture on top, smoothing it out.

Throw it in the over for 30 minutes and you're done.

**If you don't have black beans, throw in an extra can of kidney, or vice versa.  If you don't have canned corn, throw some frozen in.  It's not rocket science.  If you have leftover brown rice in the fridge from last night, throw that in too!  Want it spicier?  Add cayenne.  You get the idea...

I seriously need to take a photography class!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Butt Wipes

I am new to the natural parenting thing to be honest.  I turned my life around and started living more naturally about 3 1/2 years ago, after my daughter was already born.  So, she endured disposable diapers, wipes, baby formula instead of breastfeeding and a million other things that she happily survived and is none the wiser, but that I would never do again.  I still do not cloth diaper full time.  I do it at home and sometimes out but my 9mo old is generally in disposables when we are out because I have a bit of a handbag fetish and I will be damned if poop gets on my Louis Vuitton.  (I recently used cloth out and had a wet bag with 2 diapers in it that I forgot about.  The next day when I went to retrieve my wallet for a supermarket purchase, I was hit in the face with the stench of shit permeating out of my precious Damier Neverfull MM.  Horror of horrors!)

My main reason for cloth diapering and using cloth wipes is really an environmental issue moreso than anything else.  My husband and I almost make a game of seeing how little trash we can accumulate in a weeks time.  When garbage day hits, our recycling bins are overflowing but our trash is nill.  The thought of stuffing landfills with poop filled chemical laden disposable diapers pains me and I just can't bear it.  While the idea of cloth wipes freaked me out at first far worse than the idea of cloth diapers, I soon became addicted and it is the ONLY way his butt gets wiped at home. 

I started off buying organic cotton cloth wipes online and they though they are great, baby washcloths are far less expensive and do the job just as well.  I have found baby washcloths for super cheap and have quite a collection now.  I keep them in an open plastic shoebox in the top drawer of our changing table and on top sits my wipe solution.

To make the wipe solution, boil water and then cool to room temperature to remove impurities.  Funnel into a decorative soap dispenser.  Add about 1-2 pumps or squirts of organic baby wash and a few drops of lavender essential oil.  You can also add a drop or 2 of coconut oil, aloe vera or sweet almond oil.  Put the pump back on the dispenser and shake it up gently.  Voila!  Wipe solution!  Just squirt some solution onto your wipe and wipe away! 

I just throw them into my cloth diaper pail but if you use disposables, you could use a separate small pail with lid for your wipes or a hanging wet bag.  Wash in hot water. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Thai Me To The Bedpost Black Bean Burger

It is well known around my house that I love Thai food.  I originally was going to post a blog called Black Bean Burgers: 3 Ways, but after I made the first last night I had to post it.  It was pretty damn good, if I do say so myself. 

I served it with a Green Papaya Salad, a common traditional Thai dish called 'Som Tam'.  My husband discovered that a rental house we just bought had a forest of green papaya trees in the backyard and brought me home!  One papaya will make a HUGE salad, so I'm considering filling a flatbed truck up and sitting roadside with them.  Maybe I could make a buck?  lol

Black beans are loaded with fiber, protein and folate among other things and the protein/fiber combo helps with blood sugar regulation.  Papayas are loaded with high concentrations of papain, which has a pretty exciting story of its own.  Papain is well known for aiding in digestion, especially of meats and has been shown to hinder tumor growth.  Historically and in third world countries, papayas are eaten by women as a source of contraception and for abortion.  I would not suggest making this salad if you are pregnant since the evidence is uncertain whether or not papayas could be detrimental. 

I need to stop making Thai food because I'm running out of amusing phrases to say Thai...

Thai Me To The Bedpost Black Bean Burgers

1/4 C flax meal
1/4 C organic peanut butter
1/4 C loosely packed cilantro
1/2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 Tbsp red pepper flakes
Juice of 1/2 Lime
1 garlic clove
1/2 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 can black beans, rinsed and drained
Peanut Sauce (recipe follows)
Mung bean sprouts

Preheat over to 425 degrees.

In a food processor, combine flax meal, peanut butter, cilantro, oil, pepper flakes, lime and garlic.  Process until well combined.  Add onion and pulse a few times.  Add beans and pulse a few more times until at least half of the beans still are somewhat intact.  Put mixture into a large bowl and hand mix with a spatula to combine all ingredients well.  Mixture will be sticky and mushy, but moldable. 

Form into 8 patties (for a regular sized bun).  I had large flat buns so I made 6 big patties.  Form patties so they are not too thick and will cook well in over.  Put onto ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes in preheated oven.  Remove, flip patties carefully and cook for another 10-12 minutes.  Remove and allow to cool for 5 minutes.  Put pattie on a bun smeared with peanut sauce and topped with bean sprouts. 

Peanut Sauce
1/4 C coconut milk (canned..make sure to shake well prior to opening, contents settle in can)
2 Tbsp peanut butter
1 1/2 Tbsp Tamari (or Braggs Liquid Aminos)
1 tsp agave nectar
Juice of 1/2 Lime
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro

Combine all ingredients except for cilantro in saucepan over low-medium heat until smooth.  Add cilantro and remove from heat.

Green Papaya Salad

1 large green papaya, peeled, seeded and shredded (a food processor works great!)
2 Carrots, shredded
1 Thai red chili (or 2 if you like more heat), seeded and sliced thin.
2 Tbsp Tamari
Juice of 2 Limes
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 Tbsp organic/raw sugar
1 Tbsp Rice vinegar
1 Tbsp Sriracha sauce (or less to adjust heat)
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
Chopped Peanuts

Toss papaya, carrots and chilies together.  In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients except for peanuts and cilantro.  Toss sauce with papaya mix and refrigerate at least an hour until ready to serve.  Before serving, top with peanuts and cilantro.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Kid 'Sushi'

Summer is here.  The kids are out of school.  For a Stay At Home Mom, that means lots of activity and meal planning.  While I certainly don't have time to do exciting kid friendly recipes every day, planning something fun each week is a blast.  When kids help cook or prepare food, it not only makes the food more appetizing to them, they can learn other things like order of operations, measuring, following directions and its a great sensory experience for them.  Last week, we made kid-friendly sushi.  Fish-free, kid tested and approved. 

It helps to have a sushi rolling mat.  Use step stools for kids at the counter or do it at the table so they can be hands-on.  We used green spinach tortillas to mimic the green seaweed of sushi. 

Lay the green tortilla on the sushi mat and smear with peanut butter or any other natural/organic nut butter. 

Kid-Friendly Sushi

1 green tortilla
Peanut Butter
Bananas, sliced lengthwise
Strawberries, sliced (or other berries)
Apples, sliced julienne style
Agave Nectar (optional)
Sesame seeds (optional)

Spread peanut butter (or other organic nut butter) over the tortilla.  Let kids stack up fruits and raisins along the bottom half.  Use sushi mat to roll up tightly, use finger to smear on a very light coat of agave on top and roll in sesame seeds.  Cut using a serrated knife.  Let kids experiment with using chopsticks.  (if old enough not to poke eyes out!)  =)

Use mashed potatoes instead of peanut butter for a dinner roll.  Use green onions and marinated bacon flavored tempeh inside. 

I Can't Wait!!!

To my beautiful children,

There is a well hidden secret that all parents know and one day, you will too. Science cant explain it. It just, sort of, happens. Some say it's an illusion but most parents know it to be true. It's the most peculiar thing. It seems that the second that little spark of life happens inside a mother, and a baby is near birth is when it happens. Time begins to go just the slightest bit faster. It doesn't speed up fast enough to be explained by laboratory experiments, but it happens regardless and all mothers know it.


I said I couldn't wait to meet you...

I said I could t wait until you said 'mama'...

I said I couldn't wait until you finally walked and fit into those adorable shoes I bought for you...

We were so excited we said we couldn't wait to have another baby to complete our family and give you each other...

and after 36 hours of labor...

We said we absolutely could not wait until our 10 day Mexican vacation...

.....which came...

....and went.

It seems we are always in a rush to get to the next step.  The next adventure.  The next chapter in our lives.  Our lives are full of events, good and bad.  Joyful and sad.  Busy.  Rocky.  Smooth sailing.  But if there is one thing I have learned, it is that I will never let myself be bored.  Every minute I live is another minute I will never get back and I will live and experience every second to it's fullest.

mysterious way that time speeds up, I know in a few blinks of my eye they will both be grown.  It saddens me to see the time move so fast but  more so makes me linger in the present. 

I may be excited about an event coming up, a birthday, a milestone... but I will never say, "I can't wait". 

Because I can.