Teriyaki Roasted Broccoli

The search continues for broccoli that both My Boy (er… young man…. almost 15!) and I both like.  Mr. Bigg Sis is not at all picky, (one of his many fine qualities), but ever since I was pregnant with My Young Man broccoli has fallen to the bottom of my vegetable list.  But it is SO very good for you that I simply can’t forget about it.  I have roasted broccoli before to good effect, but My Young Man was not sold on plain roasted broccoli.  He does love Asian flavors however and perhaps the combo of flavor and roasting would please us both!

I decided to try a teriyaki sauce and a google of said delicacy led me quickly to an easy version from allrecipes.com:

2/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup cooking sherry
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 clove garlic, minced

I cut the sugar in half and used vermouth instead of sherry because I recently substituted vermouth for madeira and figured that would work here as well.  I also used granulated garlic because I was out of fresh, but normally would definitely opt for fresh whenever possible.

To make teriyaki broccoli, preheat oven to 400.  Cut broccoli in bite sized chunks.  Mix teriyaki sauce and toss  with broccoli.  don’t over do the amount of sauce.  It should be a light coating on the broccoli.  Pour onto a baking sheet and roast for about 15 minutes – checking at 10 minutes for your preferred level of done-ness / tenderness.


The brown you see on the broccoli is teriyaki sauce sunk in – not burning.

And if you are chopping and roasting, might as well throw in a pan of red potatoes cut in fry-like shapes, and roasted with oil, salt and pepper.  For me, I then know that My Young Man will enjoy something on the plate!

I also had some chicken and doused that with teriyaki and baked at 400 for about 15 minutes.  One oven, 3 dishes, reduced stank, happy eaters.  My Young Man says this is the best way he has ever eaten broccoli (although he still wouldn’t choose it over potatoes).  Any positive comment about broccoli is a very welcome thing and noted as a success!


Other broccoli dishes?

Broccoli Meatballs
Vegan Broccoli Cheese Soup
Broccoli Burgers
Bok choy & Ginger & Broccoli

And just in case you are new to our blog…. We can help you meet your goals to eat healthier and feel better.   Follow our gentle, sensible “Baby Steps to Better health: A Guided Journey in Healthier Eating”  Great for you or someone you love 🙂



Pickled Green Beans

Our Pantry Penchants are sometimes quite clear.  We have toyed at times with re-naming the blog My Sister’s Sweet Potatoes…. My Sister’s Pancakes….. and now I guess we’ll have to consider My Sister’s Pickles as well.  I hope you like pickles as well as I do, so you won’t mind another pickle recipe, and I offer the explanation that my preference for pickles is related to a problem.  My son, who used to enjoy lots of raw vegetables has somehow lost his taste for raw veggies.  We have a rule that before any non-produce snack is eaten, a piece of produce must be consumed.  Fruit is easy and always an option, but in the past he was also willing to eat raw sugar snap peas, grape tomatoes, carrots, green beans, slightly pickled (raw) cucumbers or salad (although that is generally only with a bit of pressure).  We do also keep leftover roasted potatoes and other cooked veggies as an option but as far as raw vegetable go, we are down to pickled (raw) cucumbers, carrots (under duress) and salad (duress-er).  He eats cooked vegetables and I still freely load any dish with veggies that I can, but I’m thinking that perhaps if I can cold-pickle some more veggies, that would provide us with another veggie snack.  These green beans are not strictly raw, but they aren’t cooked much…. so I’m going to give it a go!  The recipe I found was a dill-y concoction but my son generally prefers the sweet (surprise, surprise), so I made up a batch of both which are currently getting flavored up in the refrigerator.  I leave you the recipes and then I will sleep while my green beans soak in flavor!! Continue reading

Green Beans, Raspberries and Almonds Oh My!

 photo IMG_0459.jpgSummer is here FOR REAL. Know how I know? It’s not the lack of school. It’s not the calendar. It’s not the heat. It’s not the clothes and toys strewn around the house with wild abandon. It’s the garden. My garden has told me that summer is well and truly here by giving me a glorious bounty of green beans and raspberries.

We planted a small grouping of raspberry canes three years ago. I now have a raspberry thicket that in the last two days has yielded 8 cups of deliciously sweet and fabulous raspberries. And that’s after the Japanese Beetles take a share. I must have found one of those magic spots in gardening, because frankly I’ve not done anything special for these raspberry canes. They are so vigorous that they are taming the mint that somehow got in the ground over there (what kind of idiot would plant mint in the ground… ahem… yeah…).

 photo IMG_0465.jpgMy favorite summer meal game is to look at the produce I have and find a way to put it together and enjoy it. So a few days ago I was staring at a big bowl of green beans and a big bowl of raspberries. Why not? I’ve done beans with oranges, why not berries? Why not indeed?

Green Beans with Raspberries and Almonds

  • olive oil for the pan
  • green beans – as fresh as possible, so much yummier fresh
  • salt to taste
  • raspberries
  • almonds
  • balsamic vinegar

Yes, that’s it. No I don’t have quantities. I feel confident saying that your own preferences can rule the day on this one. Warm the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the green beans to the pan. The key is to sauté the beans until they are just al dente. They will get a little deeper green and sweat a little. Add a sprinkle of salt. When beans are very nearly to the tenderness you prefer (yes, you have to taste them to determine this), add the raspberries and almonds. Give them some gentle stirs. Splash in some balsamic vinegar and stir gently to distribute. The raspberries are delicate and will disintegrate if you over-bother them. When warm, remove from heat and serve. Eat as soon as possible and with great summery gusto. Delish!
 photo IMG_0461.jpg  photo IMG_0463.jpg  photo IMG_0466.jpg

Easy Refrigerator Dills

Alas the beach, and the FABULOUS cake Little Sis made for my birthday, are in the past… back to the grind of work and school (for me) and needing healthy snacks and sides.  I come from pickle people and pickles are a lovely and potentially healthy side or snack, but….. Yes, you know what’s coming next.  You just can’t find healthy pickles very easily.

Little Sis threw up her hands last year over the amount of sugar in processed sweet pickles and after asking you, our wonderful readers, for help and input, she offered up this very fine recipe that replaces those store bought pickles with something very tasty but much healthier.

We enjoy her pickles very much.  In fact I keep a large jar in the fridge in which I started the pickles by following her recipe and to which I add another cucumber, another Tbsp of sugar and apple cider vinegar and a pinch of salt 3 or 4 times before following the recipe again.

But what about dill pickles?  They cost a bloody fortune!  So I’ve adapted Little Sis’ approach to dill pickles and although my son thought the results a little too garlicky – the beauty part is that I can change it next time!  In fact I’ve added another cucumber to the jar method without adding any more flavor and this has toned it down more to his liking.

Heck this is so easy, one could have several varieties going at the same time!

This is very much like the original recipe but with less sugar as well as the addition of garlic, dill and pepper flakes.

Easy Refrigerator Dills

1 large English cucumber or 2 medium cucumbers
2 c water
1 small clove garlic, minced or mashed (I used a fairly large clove and it was a bit strong – so use less for less garlic flavor)
1/2 c apple cider
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp mustard
1/2 – 1 tsp dill
pinch pepper flakes

Heat water, garlic, sugar, salt, and apple cider vinegar to almost boiling, or until sugar and salt are dissolved
Let cool to room temperature
Slice cucumber(s) and place in glass bowl or jar with a cover
When liquid is cooler, add the spices, stir and pour over cucumbers.


Store in the refrigerator and give a couple of hours for flavor to develop.
Keep a sweet and a dill jar going in the frig – makes a great side dish, snack for school or work or on a hot day.  Nothing like a cool pickle on a hot day!


Make note if you think one taste is too strong and reduce or increase for the next batch!

Although cucumbers are not summer-time cheap yet, I still find this less expensive than pickles….. and with less processing, less sugar and less other ingredients.  A whole lot easier to swallow!!


Twisted Ratatouille

Vegetables are indeed the sure bet for health…. have you ever heard anyone say that vegetables are bad for you?  No, vegetables are definitely good for you.  A belly full of vegetables is a belly full of….. drum roll please…

Vitamins, Vigor and Vitality!  

Indeed.  This is the wonderful pitcher that my Little Sis gave me for my birthday.  Isn’t she awesome?  She had fun negotiating with the man at the flea market who was the former owner of this wonderful thing.   I’m so glad she won!  And so I say to you dear friends… bring on the vegetables and their inherent vitamins, vigor and vitality.  We could all use a little V cubed couldn’t we?

On nights when I haven’t planned well, the extra and assorted vegetables on the counter or in the frig call out to me like a siren song and invite me to make them into dinner.  There is always the stir fry or curry approach to a variety of unclaimed / unplanned for vegetables, but this time, with an eggplant, a sweet onion, and a can of tomatoes on hand I decided to go in a different direction.   Continue reading

Free Tea – And Great Slaw

Isn’t summer grand?

After my strawberry post (the doe has not yet returned, by the way), I got to thinking about how amazing it is that you can plant something in the ground, give it some water, and then you can eat it. I mean, if you really think about that it’s pretty astonishing. I’ve picked about 20 pounds of strawberries at this point and the equivalent of about 20 store bought bunches of kale and chard. I’ve also plucked 6 or 7 beautiful heads of lettuce and a couple of heads worth of broccoli stalks. Just amazing. And I get to eat it; not only that, but it’s good for me. Now, lest you think I’m just showing off, I wanted to focus today on a gardening delight that many have found to be a little less than delightful, mint. Continue reading

Veggie Basics: Roasted Cabbage? Yes, Please!

Brussels sprouts are so cute.  Their big ugly cousin, the cabbage is usually shredded, embedded and outside of coleslaw, dreaded by most children.  While I can’t say that this latest endeavor with cabbage won my son’s heart, he would eat it.  For me it was an addition to Little Sis’ journey to simplify vegetable preparation.  It doesn’t get much easier than this folks and the result was very tasty with lots of room for you to adapt to your family’s taste.

If you can roast Brussel’s sprouts, then why not cabbage?  Maybe other people already are, but this was new to me.  An acquaintance wishing to remain anonymous suggested this idea and I eagerly tried it as the store is full of cabbages for St. Patty’s Day right now.

3 Slice Roast Cabbage.

Yup, you heard me – 3 slices. Continue reading

Veggie Basics: A String, A Green, We’re Full of Beans!

When I was young, my weary mother occasionally prepared green beans.  They were canned green beans and they were cooked in the style of the day, which is to say that they were boiled until limp.  Now, if you are a canned limp green bean fan, please don’t take offense. I cannot make some “truth” claim about what is a good green bean, but I can tell you what green beans are good TO me, and as you may have guessed canned limp green beans are not in this club.  The only other green bean exposure I had with any regularity was at my dear grandmother’s house.  Her addition to the container of limp green beans was a big piece of fatback.  While I understand that might entice some folks, it didn’t create a veggie siren song for me.  All this is to say that I am a late bloomer where the green bean is concerned.

Years later, I was convinced to try green beans with a promise of something truly different from what I’d experienced before, something that tasted like, well, something other than salt water.  Al dente… tender crisp… a vegetable that is still cooked, but that resists the bite, offers a little crunch, demonstrates a need for teeth.  And so began my love affair with green beans.  I’ve since tried all the varieties I can find (I must confess that the yellow ones still don’t work for me), and have prepared them a variety of ways – and that’s they part you’re probably actually interested in. Continue reading

Groovin’ the Cauliflower

I can’t wait to try Little Sis’ cauliflower steaks.  The cauliflower that I got (the same day she did – now entering the cauliflower zone), was already being roasted with potatoes and garlic and looking forward to being mashed.

Now I know mashing cauliflower is nothing new, with or without potatoes, but I wanted the flavor a little different, a little garlicky – and as long as I’m chopping vegetables, why not roast them?  Roasted garlic is a bit more subtle and rich than sauteed, and certainly more so than raw, so I thought it might be good to toss it all together.

This is not a recipe for you to follow to the number, just a guide and my numbers are so you can approximate ratio of ingredients should you desire to make something tasting similar to mine.

Mashed & Roasted, or, Fairly Abused Cauliflower.

Preheat oven to 375

6 medium red potatoes cut into chunks (leaving the skins because it is very convenient to my time crunched self that lots of the nutrients are in the skin, so I SHOULD leave the skins on),


1 smallish head of cauliflower, also cut into chunks – see the abuse begins already

4 plump garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half

1 sprig (about 4″) of fresh rosemary clipped into little pieces (about 1/2 Tbsp – use 1 tsp dried) 

2 – 4 Tbsp olive oil.  Use more than you might for plain roasting so the mix will be nice and greasy for mashing.

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 – 1 cup unsweetened milk of your favorite variety.  I used homemade almond milk.

Place all but milk in a bowl or right on the tray and mix it up.

Roast for about 45 minutes or until very tender (times will vary by chunk size and crowding)


Then I stuck them in the Vita Mix, poured in milk a bit at a time until as creamy as I wanted. Actually my desired consistency of thick was a bit much for my Vita Mix, so, I ended up removing the big white glob with red speckles of skin in it and completing the mashing with a masher.  Not the masher in a raincoat from Carol Burnett – that’s just gross when you are trying to cook!  My good old masher.

Next time I think I’ll use my hand held beaters, or just be more liberal with the milk from the get go to avoid overheating my Vita Mix.

But it was worth it!  Very tasty and the 11 year old gobbled up those ‘mashed potatoes’ even knowing that the dreaded cauliflower was present.  Served here with non-dairy creamed kale which is also very tasty!


Whatever approach you take to healthy eating, no one denies the importance of vegetables.  See our Baby Step check in about the use of pre-emptive produce (PEP) and…. Rock On with your bad self Ms. Cauliflower.

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Coaxing the Kale Cower-ers

Come on out kale cower-ers.  We know you’re out there…. doubting that kale could ever be a pleasant addition to your diet. Well, we have several suggestions to change your mind!  And no it’s not a kale smoothie – although that is a fine way to get a little kale in you or your kids without really tasting much kale.

First I must tell you the frightening tale of my possessed stove.  My stove was apparently possessed by a fiery demon from… well…, you know where fiery demons come from.  3 of the 4 burners could boil rocks in about 60 seconds but could not simmer to save your life.  I spent a lot of time turning the stove off completely and setting the timer so I’d remember to come back and turn it back on and checking and re-checking and then hearing that hissing sound yet again as something boiled over.   Aaaagh!

While the Episcopal prayer book has a service for exorcism and there is a website with instructions for Catholic exorcism, no mention is made in either regarding deviant appliances.  So when the burners decided only to boil rocks sometimes and other times remain tepid at best, we did what any red-blooded American would do.  We bought a new one.  And it’s gas!  I’m so excited – no more pix of my crummy old possessed stove in my posts.

And the only hiss is this…..

Beautiful blue.

Beautiful blue.

But I digress…. Here is my take on creamed kale – adapted from The Hungry Hippie’s version.  She presents it as a substitute for creamed spinach, but I’ve got to say it’s better than that (since lots of folks don’t like creamed spinach.)

I offer a dairy-free version and a cheesy version for The re-Kale-citrant, both young and old.

The dairy free version involves the use of cashews, which are expensive, however, you can get them cheaper on-line than at the grocery store, so if you try a few cashew oriented recipes and like them – check out your options on Amazon.

This is also an easy recipe to whip up on short notice as long as you have soaked the cashews.

Creamed Kale

This can be made as a side dish or by mixing in some rice or quinoa, a heartier dish.  I love to keep leftover cooked rice and/or quinoa in the fridge for these types of quick and easy meals.

If using grain – cook enough ahead of time that it will be done!

kale – broken into pieces and de-stemmed, enough to stuff a 4 cup measuring cup:

kale in cup

Vegan Sauce:

1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 cup soaked cashews (about 6 hours or all day in twice as much water)
4 Tbsp. nutritional yeast flakes
1.5 – 2 Tbsp. mustard
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 cup non-dairy, unsweetened milk
1 small squirt honey (probably 1/2 tsp.)
1 Tbsp flour (I used brown rice)

Saute the onion and garlic in a little olive oil.
Meanwhile place all other ingredients except kale in a food processor
When onion and garlic is translucent add to the food processor
Process baby.  Processing is so very good!
Add the kale to the pan you sauteed the onion and garlic in – add a Tbsp of water, stir, cover and steam.
Once the kale gets a bit wilty add your sauce.

Cook just a couple of minutes to warm and mix.  Then add a cup or two of rice or quinoa or some other grain.

I you are not going to mix in grain you might want to either cut the sauce in half – or save some for another use the next night.  I have not frozen this mixture so I can’t tell you what the results might be of that endeavor.

done in pan

OR – leave them all separate and let folks take what they like best in the best ratio for them.

If you’d like an easy cheese sauce, then try this cheese sauce from our Mac & Cheese without the Box:

Instantly Healthier Mac & Cheese
adapted from Instant mac & cheese recipe on Cooks.com

  • 1 cup cold milk
  • 2 Tbsp. White whole wheat flour (what I used)
  • ½ – ¾ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp dry mustard
  • ¼ – ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. Butter
  • ¾ cup grated cheddar cheese (Little Sis’ kids preferred less cheese, and they are awfully cute as well… Just sayin’)

Mix the flour and milk in a small jar with a tight-fitting lid.  Shake well to mix the flour in.  Begin the butter melting in a saucepan over medium high heat.  Add the spices and milk/flour mixture making sure to give another good shake to the jar before pouring the milk in.  Heat the mixture to boiling, stirring well.  Boil, stirring the whole time for 1 minute.  Turn heat to low and add cheese.  Add to the kale once it is wilty in the pan, or again keep it separate and add as people like.  If there is too much sauce here for your kale then you can freeze if for another night!

Here again, right before I gladly consumed it is the dairy-free version of creamed kale (with rice):

on plate

Hoping that your bellies are full, your houses are warm and cozy and your appliances are well under control.