Tofu Bahn Mi: Plant Strong Vietnamese

When our twins were 6 months old we moved from our inner ring suburb to what is geographically known to those in our former metro area as the “exurbs.” We are fully ex-ed from the “urb.” The Our exurb, ironically, is just outside of a lovely town. There are restaurants here, and thankfully an increasing number of options for ethnic food; however, lately I find that I simply feel better when I cook at home, even if I am sacrificing a real chef’s authentic dish in favor of my approximation that serves to satisfy a craving.  I often “make do.” This time, I wasn’t “making do.” This dish was fabulous. Continue reading

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Spaghetti Squash with Sunflower Lemon Pesto (DF / GF)

Walkin’ that line between summer and fall
Feelin’ like maybe I can have it all…

And I can!  Well, I can have fresh squash and basil anyway!  Speaking of pairing foods in a speed dating type situation…. (we talked about that in our last post and are dreaming up a fun contest around that theme)…..

Spaghetti Squash says, “I’m new around here, what do you plants do for fun?”
Basil: “I just turn all my faces up and keep reaching for the sky!”

Reaching for the sky IS fun and even on a cloudy day, there is tons of room up there for dreams and hope and autumn leaves twirling their way to a moment’s repose on the ground.  Reaching for the sky turns my eyes into and onto larger ideas, beliefs and a faith that I am part of the seasonal change that defies all of the little problems that cloud my vision of the beautiful, expansive sky.

So you’re probably thinking “This must be an easy recipe if she has time for all this ruminating on the sky!” 🙂

It is indeed an easy recipe and another one that modifies a recipe we’ve posted earlier.  This time I was getting jiggy with the dilly sunflower cheese Little Sis introduced us to after a bear visited their suburban backyard. Continue reading

Kale, Spinach, and Deli Salads Recalled

FSNBGood Grief!  I decided to pile these together so I wouldn’t clog up your feed.

For the kale: listeria, Seattle area Whole Foods. If you’re near there, I’d check it out.

For the spinach: salmonella, Canadian stores (Ontario, Quebec and “other areas”). Details.

For deli salads: listeria, Weis supermarkets. More info here.

All of this makes me extra happy to see news like this. Kudos to Wegman’s for raising standards. Here’s hoping other chains follow suit. Eat well, be well friends.

Gingery Sweet Potato Black bean soup

Wow!  It’s been awhile since I’ve posted!  Little Sis and I have another project up our sleeves and she’s been holding down the fort with incredible food and garden posts while I’ve been working on our other project.  It is so nice being part of a team – especially with Little Sis!

Seems like lately I have found myself elaborating on our own creations rather than starting from scratch or adapting other people’s brilliance to my palate (or ingredient list).  In fact I am going to have to write another post with updates and twists on some of our recipes…. the least we can do is tell you if we figured out how to make it easier or better, right?

Besides busy-ness, an additional test to my culinary creativity is that Mr Bigg Sis has now been advised to avoid tomatoes, peppers, soy and corn as well as dairy and wheat.  You’re killing me Mr. Integrative-Physician-Man!   Did he provide us any recipes?  No.  However, he is a nice man, and, as is true to the name of the blog, a peep in the pantry revealed some ingredients calling to be introduced, or thrown into a speed dating situation with an old stand-by to see what kind of lasting relationship might result.  I think a cooking show should take up the speed dating of ingredients idea to find new interesting pairings, but then again, I’m a little strange 🙂

Looking for love or not, sweet potatoes are always a good starting point for me.  I thought I’d build on Shweet Potato Stew by adding some new ingredients and flavors.  I’m happy to report that a second date is definitely in the offing and while I don’t like to rush anyone, all sides apparently see the potential for lasting bliss.  The result? Continue reading

No Fear Homemade Whole Wheat Bread

While I love may of the joys of summer, in truth I revel in these late summer/early fall days.  Slightly cooler temps, garden and yard changes, wildlife waking up out of summer stupor, and FINALLY my kitchen feels cool enough to bake. Hallelujah, baking season is here.

For the last few months, the only baking I’ve done has been brief and out of necessity for the purpose of providing the little people with some less sweet treats, but now, now that I can bear to have the oven on for longer than 15 minutes, it’s time to get serious, make some bread and be Miss Picky Pants’ hero. Despite all the guff she gives me about food, I do so love being her homemade bread hero. Yes, I am a masochist. Moving right along.

A few days ago I was envisioning a little homemade tapas adventure – plant based small plates for nibbling and tasting.  I knew the way to ensure some level of success was to have bread to tie it all together.  Having no decent bread in the house and having already decided I could not justify a store trip, I faced the fact of returning to baking bread at home. Continue reading

Tapas for Two, or Four

Miss Picky Pants (known for the remainder of the post as MPP) is a grazer.  She is easily overwhelmed by large portions (with the exception of cake, of course), and loves to have just a bit of as many things as possible.  In a desperate attempt to have dinner out a few years ago, Mr. Little Sis and I took the twins to a Tapas joint here in our little burg.

Don’t know if you’ve ever walked 4 year old twins into a restaurant before, but I can tell you it’s the rare restaurant staff that greets this moment with true enthusiasm.  Weren’t they surprised to find out that as long as they kept the bread and little plates coming, MPP and her all cuisine loving brother would be just fine, thank you very much.  To be fair my little MPP, she comes by the small plate thing honestly.  I love having bits on the plate to choose from , tie together, nibble on, mop up with bread.  Yum. Tonight we had just such a plate.  If there had been sections dividing MPP’s food, everything would have been perfecto.  All of it was simple, hearty, and super yummy.  Perfect for these increasingly cool evenings.  A little preview of autumn’s heartier fare. The highlight of the meal, for me, was garlic mushrooms, a classic tapas favorite. The beauty of this dish is its simplicity and its versatility. Want it with rice – rock it out. Over quinoa? Keen. With pasta? Perfection. Garlic mushrooms, a foodie’s best friend. Continue reading

Great Grains: Quinoa & Summer Veggie Fun

How have I not written this post yet?!  We use a lot of quinoa around here. Why? Well, there’s lots of reasons, but  I favor quinoa because it tastes great, has a much higher nutritional impact (more protein plus fiber, vitamins and minerals) than rice, is gluten free, AND is really versatile.

My most recent quinoa creation had everything to do with the weather. My favorite time of year has finally arrived. Fall is in the air and in the night chill, but hasn’t fully asserted itself yet. Cool nights, warm days, long walks and garden madness. Yay! Now that the critters have been deterred and I am allowed to eat some of my garden produce, I have the delight of finding ways to use that abundance that really allow their natural yum to stand out. For me, that often means using those veggies raw. I like the crispness, the clear unmuddled flavor of raw veggies. I also, admittedly, like not having to work all that hard to prepare them. 😉 Continue reading

Formaldehyde in Supermarket Fish

My favorite parts of this story: “Only 4 percent of imported fish gets tested for any contaminants at all…” followed by: “the U.S. imports 92 percent of its seafood.”  It’s time to ask the guys at the fish counter some questions. Check the details here.

Deer? What Deer? Feasting From the Garden

You may recall my tales of woe. This year’s garden has been pretty disappointing since the loss of our sweet terrier, who was apparently much better at keeping the critters away than I thought. I tried a variety of things to keep the deer and the squirrels at bay, and had modest success with some plants, but still lost a lot of produce – especially my tomatoes until….

Enter Baxter. My hero. Since we picked Baxter up from the rescue 3 weeks ago, I have watched my neglected garden spring back to life. The deer repellent research is over.  There is, quite simply, nothing as effective as a pooch in dissuading exurban deer from garden destruction.

IMG_9836 IMG_9921 IMG_9920

Know what those are? Tomatoes. Growing amidst the neglected vines and the weedy overgrowth. Growing in spite of the rain that has plagued so many gardeners this summer. Growing and turning red in the middle of the garden that was reduced to stubs. What better expression of hope could there be? Continue reading

Slow and Simple Tortillas, Beans, and Rice

There are times when we all need a fast meal.  We are overbooked. We are overtired. We are overworked. There are also times we need a slow meal. We are overworked. We are overtired. We are overbooked. So we stop and go to the kitchen and pull out ingredients to make a meal that is comforting, that is universally accepted in the home, that everyone can help make. We bring our consciousness back to the basic reality of finding nourishment and achieving flavor. We bring our attention back to the domestic, in the very best sense of the word, the hearth, the heart of our existence on this earth. We use our hands to turn ingredients into a basic meal. We are still likely overbooked, but less tired, and the work is restorative, the motion therapeutic, the company a balm. Slow food. Breathing. We CAN wait a few more minutes. Especially if it means we get homemade tortillas. Continue reading