The Sisters Hit the Road

Hey friends!  It’s that wonderful time of year when Bigg Sis and I (and our entourages who insist that we cook for them and tuck them in) meet our fab Carni-Mom for some quality time at the shore.  We’ll be taking the week off this time – in the sense that we won’t be posting recipes.  We WILL most assuredly be cooking in between visits to the beach and games of cards, and I’m sure we’ll have plenty to share when we get back.  Who knows – we may even have some pictures of our escapades to share (I know you can hardly wait).  We sincerely hope that you have a glorious unofficial start to summer, that you are able to resist wearing white shoes until Tuesday, and that all (or at least most) of your food choices are real choices.  We’ll be back, refreshed, revived, and most likely more relentless than ever!  Eat well, be well!

Giggling in Anticipation,

Little Sis

One Simple Sauce – Several Tasty Meals

Some of my favorite meals are simple.  They are often not the meals that I choose to serve to guests, I guess the show off comes out in all of us sometimes…. or lots of times, however, simple is so important to a majority of what I cooked when I first started cooking…. and before I started trying to show off in a blog ;-).  As Little Sis and I have been writing the Baby Steps series, we have discussed that there are recipes that are ideal for people just getting into cooking.  These are SO important, because biting off more than you can chew can discourage further cooking… but hopefully not further eating.  I have written about sauces in the past because they are the difference between Blah and Bingo!  And Bingo will help you and your family stick with some healthier recipes.I much prefer “Bingo!” to “Do I really have to eat all of this?”

So while preparing a delicious, but not overly simple recipe from Amanda at Good Clean Food I was so impressed with the tofu marinade that I knew it was destined for other uses besides the Gingered Greens with Tofu that she shared.  And if I lost you at the tofu, fear not…. what you choose to marinade or stir fry is between you, your doctor and the animals in your life 😉   Although I will say that tofu gets a bad rap with folks who’ve never tried it, the truth is that it takes on the flavor of what it is cooked in, AND there are ways to change it’s texture if you don’t like it as is (see notes at the bottom).

So do check out the recipe above…. and do check out this marinade because it is very simple and I’m going to add just afew ingredients to it the second (or third time around to make a VERY easy stir-fry. Continue reading

Rockin’ Gluten Free Falafel

That’s right Sis, I got you.  In the weird world of cooking for my family, I have made some surprising discoveries.  First, my children don’t like ALL sweet things (and I am so glad). Secondly, my kids usually accept my food dicta without significant complaint and finally (drumroll) my kids will eat anything that has anything to do with chickpeas.  Errrrrrrh….. what what WHAT?  Yes, that’s right chickpeas.  I have no explanation for you.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the little buggers myself, but that discovery certainly had not happened by age 6.  There was not significant trickery to get them to try the little beans, although I admit to calling them tushies and pointing out that they look like a little pile of baby bums.  Some people might not want to eat that, but it worked for my kids… go figure.  So when trying to decide what to make for dinner the other night, and since I was feeling kind of summery and listening to great music, I thought falafel made a lot of sense (if you don’t get the connection you probably wasted less of your 20s than I did).

When I found a falafel recipe, however, I noticed that it had wheat flour and breadcrumbs in it.  Not surprising – most pattie type foods have one or both of these, but thought, I couldn’t possibly serve these to my sister’s family as written, and so I began my usual alteration dance with gluten free falafel as the goal.  And guess what? Gluten free falafel is awesome, regardless of whether or not you’re in the parking lot of a large concert venue.  Gluten free falafel rocked this suburban (okay exurban for the geography geeks – holla!) momma and Ms. Picky Pants?  She had thirds.  Yep. Thirds.  Enough said. If Ms. Picky Pants has thirds, I’m pretty convinced everyone should give this one a go. Continue reading

Pumpkin French Toast

Okay, so it’s springtime and I’m still talking about pumpkin.  So sue me.  Well, please don’t… instead admit that you too love pumpkin, and perhaps even have a few cans in the pantry from when they were on sale, or when you didn’t get to that pie you were going to make.  Or like me, you bought a whole case of pumpkin from Amazon because you could get organic there for just a bit more than for non-organic in the store and then you had a whole case of pumpkin to use up!  Happily use up, I might add.

Rarely does a recipe call for the actual 2 cups of pumpkin available in these little cans, so what does one do with the little bits / 1/2 cup, 1/4 cup, 3/4 cup of pureed pumpkin left over.  Makes a nice science experiment if left in the back of the refrigerator too long, but I try very hard to not lose precious pumpkin in this way. Continue reading

Caribbean Flair – Cheap, Easy, Delicious

I can’t count the number of posts that I’ve started by way of saying that I was running late and hadn’t planned dinner well…  Well, I guess I could, but honestly I don’t really want to.  The simple fact is that planning is not my strong suit.  So how do I eat healthy food without breaking the bank? I keep a healthy pantry and that pantry allows me to start with the ingredients that I have and cobble together something that works for most of us most of the time.  (Learn more about our real food pantries here.)  So last night, running on about 3 hours of sleep and a miserable day of contract work I stood in front of my magic pantry and waited for inspiration.

And then it happened.  Oooh, sweet potatoes.  Oh right, I just got some quinoa!  Black beans, hot dog!  Chipotle, garlic, cumin, salt, coconut oil… oh and cilantro!  Oh yes, life is good.  Dinner for four in about 35 minutes featuring: Continue reading

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

This article came trickling across my wire today and I think it’s absolutely fascinating. It’s a pictorial: one week of groceries in 20 different countries around the globe. Interesting to see how much of that picture is taken up by ingredients, and how much is taken up by processed foods. I’ll say this, I have a hunch as to why Bhutan keeps being named one of the happiest places on earth…

THAT is a whole lot of real food.  It’s an interesting experiment really.  What would your kitchen look like if you spread a week’s worth of groceries around and took a picture? Check out the other 19 countries in the pictorial and see what food looks like around the world.  I’m tempted to include my own picture, but the market trip was a few days ago and the idea of hauling it all out to photo makes me crazy…  but chances are good I’ll be going again… Hmmm, I smell a little real food pictorial coming on.  What’s in your pantry?

A Cookie By Any Other Name

A cookie is a cookie is a cookie, right?

I’ve known that is not true since I was very young.  Not to brag, but my mother baked when I was a kid.  Her cookies were better than any store bought cookie…. but not as good as bakery cookies (sorry Mom).  I preferred a good cookie.  Who wouldn’t?

Once she started working she didn’t bake as much but still being budget conscious, she bought the cheapest cookies available.  I thought they were really lame…. until my best friend would come over and be delighted to break into the cellophane wrapped goodies.  She didn’t get cookies at all, so she thought even the cheap-o, 3 dozen for $1, lame ones from the store were okay.  It’s what you get used to, isn’t it?

I also like to bake and I have always been a cookie person as opposed to a cake person.  Many of our friends can tell you that they looked forward to dessert at our house because they knew it would be really good.  Every person’s good.  Plain old good.  Good old good – sweet – good.  What you get used to good. Continue reading