Kicking the Asian Rice Up a Notch

 photo IMG_0940.jpgWe eat a lot of Asian styled meals around here. Our varia-bowl approach to eating works particularly well with Asian flavor profiles, and well Mr. Little Sis and I just love Asian food. Ms. Picky Pants, however is not a fan of rice. We’ve used quinoa, noodles, amaranth, polenta. We’ve done all that. But let’s face it, rice is cheaper than ALL that. So, while reading an issue of Vegetarian Times, I stumbled onto a new rice preparation that I thought was worth giving a go. Combined with a new sauce, we had a hit on our hands, at least for a couple of rounds. She is a changeable little thing.

The beauty of this rice prep is that you can use leftover rice and it’s largely hands off. You simply put it in a pan in the oven, wait, and bam, you have rice that is slightly crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, the perfect foundation for any rice friendly food you can think of. Continue reading

Macadamia Nuts, Apple Cider, and Sausage Products Recalled

FSNBRaw macadamia nuts recalled for salmonella. Details here. Unpasteurized apple cider for E. Coli, sold in Canada,  additional details here. Okay, so I blitzed through those, because I just had to get to this last one. My title was a little abbreviated. The actual description from Food Safety News was “sausage-like product.” I’d hoped to not have to ask what on earth as “sausage-like product” is, really. While I didn’t particularly want a description, I figured I’d encounter one. Near as I can tell these babies have a lot of rice in them, which perhaps takes them to some meat to “other” percentage that prevents them from being able to say just “sausage;” I seriously don’t know. At any rate, these particular food product items were subject to “temperature abuse” and “may contain an emetic toxin produced by Bacillus cereus” according to the FDA. I don’t know what that is either, but I’m pretty sure if the FDA says no go, I’m like get me the heck away from that. Feel free to read the details here, especially if you eat “sausage-like products.” Eat well, be well friends.

Weekly Meal Plan

Wild wacky weekend. For whatever reason the plans we made for our weekend required us to be outside for most of the day on Sunday. Sunday when it was chilly with a chance of bone chilling gale winds. Amazing the power that the wind has to make an otherwise reasonable weather day seem downright brutal. Mr. Little Sis lay on a blanket watching our little man’s last T-Ball game of the season – on the blanket to be lower than the wind. I shoved my hands in my pockets and stamped my feet up in the woods where my daughter was attending as a friend at “Bring a Friend” to Girl Scouts Outdoor Skills Day. I suspect the fact that it took me until bedtime yesterday to warm up has had some impact on this week’s meal plan, so if it looks like one made by someone who has a cold, forgive me. I don’t have a cold; I’m just making a seasonal adjustment. This week we’re looking forward to a shift to indoor sports (dance and basketball) and beginning to plan our holidays… yikes. In the meantime, I offer you my weekly culinary horizon. Continue reading

Oats, They’re Not Just for Breakfast

I told you a week or so ago (okay, it could have been last year, I have no idea) that I had become intrigued by the fact that people the world over eat some form of porridge and that they have it for lunch and dinner. Let me tell you what time of year is a good time for porridge for lunch and dinner – the time where it’s starting to give you lots of reason to believe that this winter may just well be as cold as the last, when leaves are crunching under foot (and blasting by in 40 mph gusts), and you’re digging in your sock drawer for that special pair you actually slip over other socks when things are really bad (just me?). I am a fan, a convert, and a chilly advocate of savory porridge.

 photo IMG_0915.jpgOur last porridge attempt was polenta, because I knew the mediterranean leaning would make it more approachable for my crew. This time I decided to go a little more full-on porridge by using oats.  In this preparation an ‘oats risotto.’ Let me confess right here that pretty much anything with ‘risotto’ in the title will get my interest, add oats to it and I’m downright intrigued. This particular oats risotto had mushrooms, walnuts and leeks. The original recipe can be found on this little treasure trove for those trying to increase their plant-based intake (or decrease their other), Meatless Monday. Continue reading

Happier Caramel-la Dipping Sauce (no added sugar, vegan)

Okay, so how do you make caramel sauce with no added sugar.  Caramel IS sugar – it’s just sugar cooked to a certain temperature with some butter thrown in, right?

Clearly there is only one way to make caramel that is ‘no added sugar’ and that is to leave out the caramel part.  Like low fat peanut butter.  How do you make low fat peanut butter….. leave out some of the peanut butter and put something else in there.   Doesn’t that thought make you want to read the label on the low fat peanut butter -yikes!

In this case however, the substitution is not scary – even if it is Halloween tomorrow.  In this case, you use the sweetness of dates, the smoky flavor of maca powder and almond butter to make a dipping or dripping sauce that will make any apple proud. Continue reading

Salmonella in Carob, Cashews, and Chiles

FSNBHeads up people. Apparently salmonella can be on just about anything. Z Natural Foods Organic Carob powder recall details here. Deep raw cashew pieces too; details here. A variety of peppers details here. Check your pantry. Check your fridge. Check your friends. Salmonella’s bad news. Eat well, be well friends.

Weekly Meal Plan

Wow are we having some beautiful weather in Mid-Maryland! The trees are changing color. The mornings are crisp and the afternoons are sunny and warm. Oh fall, I love you. This week’s menu is definitely leaning in the fall direction, and probably also shows that we’ve got a wicked cold circulating through the troops. Lots of warm hearty comfort food working its way onto our table. Hope you’re enjoying autumn as much as I am! Continue reading

Chicken and Crabmeat Recalled

FSNBAntioch Farms partially prepared chicken products (sounds appetizing, right?) recalled for possible salmonella. Please see details here. All Natural Jonah Crab Meat recalled for listeria. See here for details, and ignore the picture as it doesn’t seem to match the description of the container being recalled… Eat well, be well friends.

Keeping it Together When the Plan Falls Apart

I’ve shared with you that I’m not necessarily the best meal planner. When I said that, I didn’t really give you the whole picture. The truth is that with planning our culinary landscape, there are a variety of points in the process that can go wrong. 1) No plan at all; 2) an incomplete plan; 3) an unrealistic plan; 4) no grocery list; 5) an incomplete list; 6) an inefficient shop and finally 7) a culinary fail.  Any concerns you have about making something yucky should really take low priority in your worries about food. If you get through to 7, you’ve really run a marathon in my book.

So this week, I made my realistic plan, made a list, and then promptly blew 3 meals on the plan by forgetting to buy tomatoes and onions. Who forgets onions? This “I’m going by my plan and my list no matter what girl.” Daggone alliums didn’t make it on the list. We’ve had a full week here at Lake Domestica, so rather than try to fit in another trip to the store so early in the week, I decided to do some quick shuffling.

Moved burritos to later in the week when I already had errands planned, changed the varia bowl to soup in response to sniffly requests and rather than making potato pancakes, which I love but don’t like to clean up, I switched them out for a lovely, easy and super quick Dreena Burton recipe from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan: Everyday Vegan Recipes Worth Celebrating.  I absolutely love this book. Dreena has a site and tons of books and they are full with a great range of recipes. I’ve found things from the simple to the sublime in this book and it always gives a boost to my plant strong repertoire.

 photo dda1ada6-b9a8-4835-aa0d-6c9eb5c61e71.jpgRather than our favorite potato pancakes, we had Ms. Burton’s Potato Squashers. These are essentially the world’s easiest and simplest twice baked potatoes. Rather than ordinary russets, the recipe calls for Yukon Golds. I used Kennebec Whites as that’s what I grew in the garden. They have some of the same qualities as the Golds in that they are a little waxier and creamier than the russets. At any rate, the basic plan is to bake them to tender. To press on them until they give a bit, dress with olive oil and salt, return to the oven at greater heat so that the exposed and olive oiled flesh browns and crisps. Dead easy and fan flipping tastic. 100% approval rating AND would you believe that Ms. Picky Pants actually wants me to pack leftover potatoes in her  Thermos for lunch? Oh my stars, it’s like a dream come true. A simple delicious dinner that my daughter wants to eat as leftovers at school. I swoon.

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We had our potato squashers with sautéed green beans and a big green salad. Mr. Little Sis and I had ours with our favorite potato condiment, malt vinegar. And just so you know how great these were, I’ll share the greatest part of our dinner – the kids skipped the ketchup. Woot! Thanks Dreena!

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The big lesson? When the plan can no longer be executed, do a little shuffling, move things around, make the best of what you DO have, and check in with your most trust worthy advisors. If you do, you might be eating something as delicious as our dinner. :-)

Serrano Chilis and Dietary Supplements Recalled

FSNBBummer news in perfect chili season…. serranos recalled for possible salmonella. Details here. For serrano-less chili, see our picadillo or 30 minute bean and bulgur chili.

Shark cartilage supplement has also been recalled for salmonella. Shark cartilage? Hunh? Am I missing something great besides possible salmonella? Details here. Eat well, be well friends.