Recipes

A Fast and Easy Way to Cook Sweet Potatoes

I LOVE sweet potatoes. Enough so that I usually buy a big ole’ bag of them when I go to Costco. I especially love them roasted along with other root veggies, but sometimes I just have to grab a potato and go. So, the next best thing is to microwave it. I can do that in my own kitchen or wait until I get to work to cook the potato for lunch. I like to eat them plain or with a little butter and maple syrup. I also like to cube them and add them to my veggie mixes.

Here’s the FASTEST way that I know to cook a sweet potato. Rinse it off with clear water. Place it onto a microwave safe dish. Place a wet paper towel or dishcloth over the potato. Microwave on high for 8 to 10 minutes. Eat warm or let cool and cut into cubes for your other dishes.

A plus is that the potatoes freeze well, so I can cook the whole bag in one day, plate my week’s worth of lunches and freeze the rest.

vegan lunchThis nutritious lunch is made with a medley of cooked sweet corn, squash, zucchini, black beans, diced tomatoes and cubed sweet potatoes. Add a little salsa to spice it up and you will be good to go.

S McCall

Food · Recipes

Fried Shiitake Mushrooms with Onions, Potatoes and Turnips

Let me start this post with, “I HATE mushrooms!” so, you may ask, why cook some? Well, it all started with a post from the Crunchy Radish about shiitake mushrooms and how they taste just like bacon when fried. Really? Because I love the taste of bacon, but I no longer love the idea of killing an animal for me to eat. So, I happily pinned her recipe to my Pinterest board to save for when I had time to try it out.

Well, I tried it.  And I learned. Fried Shiitake mushrooms do not, under any circumstances taste like bacon. Sorry, but no. Continue reading “Fried Shiitake Mushrooms with Onions, Potatoes and Turnips”

Food · Recipes

How to Make Split Pea Soup

I’ll say it right up front. A lot of people, including my husband, say that they don’t like split pea soup. BUT they’ve never even tasted it! Les won’t taste it because it looks mushy and kind of, well, a pea-soup green. Plus, he hates canned peas. Well so do I! I’m telling you, split pea soup has gotten a bum rap and I also want you to know, it does not taste anything like those yucky canned peas. If you like other dried beans and legumes, then I am confident that you will like this split-pea soup recipe.

split pea soup Continue reading “How to Make Split Pea Soup”

Food

Gluten Free Alfredo Sauce with Edamame and Mung Bean Pasta

I have a feeling that many people are buying jarred Alfredo sauce because they don’t know how quick and easy it is to make their own gluten-free sauce. Also, when you make your own version, you have better control over calories and a lot of control over ingredients. Continue reading “Gluten Free Alfredo Sauce with Edamame and Mung Bean Pasta”

Food

How to Roast Root Vegetables

Fall and winter are the perfect time to roast root vegetables. Not only are they plentiful, but the weather has turned a bit cooler or downright cold as the case may be. Unlike summer, autumn is a great time to have the oven on for about an hour or so. That’s all it takes to roast a truckload of veggies ready for the week’s feasts. I cook one day a week, so popping a pan of veggies into the oven is an easy way to assure that I have plenty for grab and go lunches and dinners all week long. Continue reading “How to Roast Root Vegetables”

Food · Recipes

Easy but Delicious Lunch with Roasted Vegetables

I’m in the middle of cooking for the week again. My crock pot chicken is almost done so I’ll have that for lunch. I’ve already made the rice/ quinoa medley, so I’ll move on to roasted vegetables next. Roasted root veggies are so easy to make and I can eat those all week as well. They are fabulous when combined with other foods to make satisfying and easy meals. Continue reading “Easy but Delicious Lunch with Roasted Vegetables”

Food

Healthy, Delicious, Gluten Free and Almost Sugar free Mini Tart Cups

Just in time for your holiday baking – Try my gluten free, graham cracker mini tart crusts. I made them so that I could make fabulous but still healthy mini tarts to take to work for a holiday pot luck. Of course they had to be healthy, but not taste “healthy and gluten free” if you know what I mean.

mini tarts
mini tarts with graham cracker crust

They were a hit! Even the people who pooh-pooh my brown bag lunches didn’t guess that they are made of exactly what I often eat- – Gluten free honey grahams, nuts, and sunflower butter. They all ate their cake tarts and had to admit that these are delicious. One of my sugar-junkie non- believers even said that he could eat these all day long. And, seriously, so can I. Let’s just say that I have to do a LOT of taste testing when I make these little cups filled  with everything from fruit yogurt, diced poached pears or pumpkin pie desert topped with coconut whipped cream. YUM!

I’m calling these mini crusts “almost sugar free” because there is a little honey in the recipe and a little sugar in the purchased graham crackers. Since my recipe calls for a cup of pecans, it cuts way down on the graham crackers as well. You can certainly make the tart cups have even less sugar by substituting Stevia for honey. Speaking of substitutes, there is an excellent chart of baking substitutes found on Greatist. Click to see and print it out.

tart cups

Recipe for Almost Sugar Free Mini Tart Cups

  • Servings: 12 mini cups
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Before you get started, you will need an un-greased mini tart or cupcake baking pan and a food processor.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees

Ingredients:

  • 6 gluten free honey graham crackers
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1/8 cup coconut oil
  • 1/8 cup sunflower butter
  • 2 tbs honey (can substitute 2 packets  Stevia or sweetener of your choice)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
spice for mini graham cracker tarts
Ingredients for mini graham cracker tarts. There is coconut oil in the back cup, but you can’t see it in my photo. I’m still working on taking better food photos.

Into the food processor, toss the dry ingredients and whirl them until they are all crushed up. Add melted coconut oil and sunflower butter and process until smooth and pebbly.

Drop spoonfuls of the cracker mix into the baking pan. Use your fingers to press down into the cups and up along the sides.

Pop the pan into the oven and bake for fifteen minutes. When they come out of the oven, the cups will be a little raised and puffed up. Use a dowel or small jigger glass to push them back down so that they are nice and flat on the bottom. Cool and fill with whatever you like.

trio of tarts

Food

Make a Simple Syrup with Raspberries and Stevia

This latest recipe is due to the fact that I LOVE raspberry syrup in my Starbucks green tea frappes.  Since I am giving up sugary Starbucks frappes in lieu of more healthy and less expensive drinks, I wondered if I could make a sugarless simple syrup to pour into my own green tea. It works! Follow the instructions below and you too will have a delicious syrup to keep on hand for whenever you need a flavor boost for your drinks. Just a bit of the berry juice makes a beautifully flavored water too.

boiling berries to make simple syrup
boiling berries to make simple syrup

Into a small pot, add about a cup of raspberries to two cups of water. Any berry mix , including frozen berries, works great. Bring to a roiling boil and stir until you see that the berries are breaking down and the water is getting really saturated with berry juice. This will only take about five to ten minutes. If I am going to use the berries for something pretty like a parfait, I only boil for about five minutes. The delicate raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries will break down really fast. If I want all of the juice out of them for a stronger flavor and I don’t care if the berries break down a lot, then I boil them for a bit longer – like ten minutes or so.

straining mixed berries

Strain the berries to separate the juice from them

Mixed berry simple syrup with Stevia

If You are going to make jam with the berries, pour off about a cup of juice to keep for your drink mixer. Stir in a packet of Stevia (or sweetener of your choice).  I’m not kidding when I say that a little Stevia goes a long way so start with a small amount and then add to taste. Store in the refrigerator until you make your next cup of tea or sparkling water. I only make enough to last a week. I know for a fact that it will keep at least that long when stored in the fridge. (In the photo above, I have added the berries back to my juice in preparation for making sugarless jam. That post will be up next.)

Green tea with homemade, organic raspberry simple syrup

Simple deliciousness. Green tea laced with homemade, organic and sugar free mixed berry syrup.

Tomorrow I’m going to post the second batch of goodness with the boiled berries. I’ll tell you how to make jam with a very tiny amount of sweetener. ANY sweetener. You no longer need a full two cups of sugar in the pot.

If you have boiled a longer time and the berries are no longer pretty, they still have a lot of good fiber left. Don’t throw the pulp away! Transfer the cooked berry pulp to your blender so that you can make a smoothie when you are cleaning up the kitchen. Don’t forget to throw in some protein powder. You’ve gotta have some energy to clean.

raspberry green tea