Fall Recipe Parade – Yes, there’s some pumpkin

It’s that time of year – one of the many that sneaks up on me each and every year. While it is still sunny and warm here in mid-Maryland, I am apparently supposed to desperately want pumpkin everything. And honestly, I’m okay with that (except for the coffee thing, I don’t get it – but to each her own coffee). Here at the pantry we do have a healthy love of pumpkin. We also love the other flavors of fall and the opportunity to break out those super warming dishes as the temperatures begin to drop. To welcome this season of bounty and cool nights, we offer you¬†a treasure trove of autumn yum. Most of these recipes are both gluten and dairy free. ūüôā

Morning Warmer Uppers

  

1. Pumpkin French Toast

2. Dark Chocolate Steel Cut Oats

3. Sweet Potato Apple Oats

Mains

  

4. Slow Cooker Burritos

5. Chickpea and Cashew Tikka Masala 

6. Sweet Potato Chili with Greens

Sides

  

7. Amazing Applesauce

8. Herbed Bulghur Pilaf with Pine Nuts and Cranberries

9. Waldorf Saute

Sweet Endings

  

10. Super Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies

11. Walnut Crust Apple Pie

12. Healthy Pumpkin Cookies

Yay for pumpkins and apples, for warm afternoons and cool mornings, for low humidity and crunchy leaves, for new pencils and new schedules. Here’s to fall and wonderful food, family, and friends. Delish!

Sweet Potato Patties with Black Beans and Greens

Every now and again I find myself in a food rut. After all the holiday hullaballoo (which officially ended with twin birthday number 7 last week), it seemed that I had forgotten how to cook all but a few of our standard and semi-standard recipes.  Once I cycled through those a couple of times, I confess even I was having trouble finding my enthusiasm for our usual healthier fare.

Thusly uninspired, I applied my tried and true tactic for waking some enthusiasm for healthier eating.  I went to the library and found my way into the aisle with healthier cookbooks, looked for a couple that I knew of and found a couple of new titles to peruse.

One of the books I picked up this time was¬†The Cleaner Plate Club: Raising Healthy Eaters One Meal at a Time¬†by Beth Bader and Ali Benjamin. I should say, before explaining how this led to dinner, that this is a lovely book for a home cook who’s trying to get out of the habit of relying on processed food and who needs some sage advice on how to make that shift, what kinds of foods to purchase, and what to do with those ingredients. ¬†It also includes a section that describes the way that children, in particular, eat and how to more comfortably address dietary change with kids. A great book, that also includes lots of yummy recipes, as well as a slew of non-recipe suggestions, one of which led me to create this fabulous dinner.

IMG_0116¬†The authors suggested baking sweet potatoes and then topping them with black beans. ¬†I had cooked sweet potatoes on hand (for baking purposes)… and so, I admittedly made it more complicated, but with surprisingly fabulous results.

Sweet Potato Patties with Black Beans and Greens (DF, GF)

The Black Beans

  • olive oil for the panIMG_0100
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped fine
  • 2 1/2 c cooked black beans or 2 cans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1 t Bragg’s or soy sauce
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • dash garlic powder

In a small pot, warm olive oil on low-medium heat.  Add onions and cook for a few minutes, stirring periodically.  When onions are translucent, add the other ingredients and simmer over low heat while you prepare the rest of the meal.  Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.  Add water if necessary to get the consistency you prefer.

The Patties

  • 2.5 cups sweet potato (cooked until VERY soft)IMG_0097
  • 1 c cooked grain (I used quinoa)
  • 1.5 c chickpea flour
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 c rolled oats
  • 1 t orange zest
  • 1/2 t paprika
  • 1/4 t garlic powder
  • olive oil for the pan

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.  Warm oil in the pan at slightly less than medium heat.  Preheat the oven to 225. Use a mixing or soup spoon to spoon large dollops (sorry for the technical term) into the pan.  Allow to cook for about 5 minutes per side, or until brown.  Flip and brown the other side.  Transfer to a baking dish and allow to rest in oven while cooking the rest of the patties.

The Greens

  • olive oil for the panIMG_0116
  • about 8 ounces of your preferred dark green leafy
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • toasted nuts (opt)

Warm the olive oil on low-medium.  Add minced garlic and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds).  Add greens and cook until wilted, stirring to ensure all greens make contact with the hot part of the pan. Remove from heat when they are just starting to look ready.  Add nuts (we used walnuts).

When it was all said and done, we served the beans over the patties, added a dollop of Annie’s cashew cream, a spoon of our favorite salsa, and added the greens to the plate. ¬†The dish tasted best when all the elements were on the fork together, regardless of what Ms. Picky Pants (who would dearly love to have a plate with sections) says. ¬†Delish.

IMG_0108 IMG_0112 IMG_0110

Fall Flavors: Bulgur Pilaf with a Twist, and a GF Option

While you wouldn’t know it today, at 77 degrees and sunny, Fall has definitely been in the air lately, and I’ve been craving some real hearty cooking. ¬†In an effort, however, not to totally overdose on delicious casserole type dishes (that are far too mixed up in the foods department for my daughter), I’ve been trying on some new dishes. ¬†The other night we struck gold, with a totally surprising combination. Continue reading

Healthful Breakfast In A Flash

The traditional wisdom tells us that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. ¬†I honestly don’t know if I buy that – I think lunch and dinner are pretty important too. ūüėČ However, I can tell you that I wake up hungry. ¬†I want food and I usually have about 15 minutes to prepare and eat whatever it is I’m having (this is after I deal with feeding the kids and completing the whole lunch prep deal). I’m not kidding; I’ve timed it. ¬†Sure, I could wait until after I drop them at the bus stop and make it a leisurely affair, but at that point I will have been up for over an hour. ¬†Homey don’t play an hour before breakfast. I could also get up earlier. ¬†Guess what? Homey don’t play that either, so 15 minutes it is. Continue reading

Shweet Potato Stew

Oh is there no end to the wonderfulness of the sweet potato?

“I yam what I yam,” she replies coyly from her bed in the soil. ¬†“You dig?”

Oh I do dig – well not literally, not yet anyway. ¬†I have not attempted to grow sweet potatoes but I should because they are so versatile and good for you, and so darn shweet. ¬†I am afraid to count how many posts Little Sis and I have written about sweet potatoes. ¬†If I count we might have to change the name of our blog to My Sister’s Sweet Potatoes… and that’s a little un-savory. ¬†And that translates to a little Shweet, don’t you think?

This stew tastes complex but it’s quite simple and I know we will be eating it again real soon. ¬†It definitely falls in the category B on Baby Step 7 of recipes that don’t take long but do require a cooking time component. ¬†If you need it faster or Category A of fast, healthy dinners, you could either microwave your sweet potatoes first, or cook them on a day when you have time and keep ¬†in the fridge until you’re ready to make the stew.

The lumpy orange shtew was a big hit (once again – I’m on a roll) with the now TWELVE year old boy, and would have passed the “wants to have it in the thermos for lunch at school test”¬†had there been any left. ¬†We ate all but a measly little portion that nobody could stuff in.

This is based on a recipe by Mark Bittman in the New York Times. Continue reading

Our Weekend Pleasure

Just about every weekend, we have pancakes (I trust this is not new information for those of you who’ve been here for a while). We all love pancakes, and while typical pancake breakfasts are not exactly low sugar, I’ve cut the sugar out of the batter, and we’ve greatly limited syrup. The kids get to have some with their first pancake, and then we turn to jam. There was a smidgen of resistance the first time we announced this policy change, and not a gripe since. They are just happy to have pancakes; and I am happy to see them happy eating wholesome homemade breakfast food. I am even happier that I have a weekly opportunity to tweak the family favorite and experiment with grain combinations and flavors. Today’s offering… Momma’s MultiGrain Thanksgiving Pancakes. As you might have guessed, these include our favorite tuber in a starring role.

Momma’s Multigrain Thanksgiving Pancakes

  • 1.5 c whole wheat flour
  • .5 c all purpose flour
  • .5 c corn meal
  • .5 c spelt or buckwheat flour
  • 3 t baking powder
  • 1.5 t baking soda
  • 1.5 t salt
  • nutmeg to taste
  • 3 eggs (I used flax eggs)
  • 3 c butter milk or soured milk (I used soured almond milk)
  • 6 T oil (I used canola)
  • cooked sweet potato cut into small bites
  • handful of craisins (any dried fruit, I used craisins because I had some leftover from a large purchase BEFORE I looked at the sugar content)
  • handful of pecans (toasted if you’re really going for it)

When I make pancakes, I mix the dry ingredients and prepare the flax eggs (1T flax meal to 3T water for one egg, in bowl, in fridge) the night before. ¬†I can’t speak for everyone, but I am hungry when I wake up and I don’t like waiting TOO long for breakfast. ¬†I also put my pans in the oven and set it pre-heat them before we get up because I’m fussy like that (more on pancake technique here). ¬†On rising I task whichever munchkin is up with mixing the dry ingredients while I whisk the oil and flax eggs together.¬† Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just combined. ¬†I then remind wakeful and hungry munchkins that we must let the batter rest. ¬†While resting, I gathered my “flavors” (sweet potato pre-cooked and cut into small pieces, toasted pecans leftover from making a salad, and the stupid big bag of Craisins). ¬†Remove warmed pans from oven and turn on heat on stove to bring to temp. ¬†After at least 10 minutes of resting, pour batter using a 1/4c measure onto med warm pan. ¬†Add mix-ins (I find it takes surprisingly little, especially of things like craisins, to get the flavor without overwhelming).¬†I realize many people mix in their flavors, but I prefer adding them to the pancakes once in the pan. ¬†This way the fruits get a little brown edge and you can SEE what you are eating, and you’re more likely to get all the bits in one bite – yes, I am that particular. ¬†Flip when pancake edges are firm, and there are a few bubbles in the batter. ¬†Serve to famished and delighted family. ¬†Happy Thanksgiving… errr.. ¬†delish!

Tuber Gratitude

While tooling around the internet news world, I came across a fascinating story. ¬†It has all of the things I look for in news: a real story about a real problem, a real solution proposed and implemented by real people, and a demonstration of a fundamental principle of healthier eating. ¬†Who could ask for more? ¬†The short version, for those of you who are pressed for time and prefer reading my post to the news story (a girl can dream, right?)… Economist and all around international smarty pants Howard Bouith, when faced with the reality of micronutrient deficiency amongst the world’s most impoverished populations, proposed that rather than attempting to ship vitamins and supplements to these, often remote, populations, communities would be better served by consuming those micronutrients in the foods that they rely on as staple nourishment. ¬†The most successful implementation of Bouith’s idea to date: a public health campaign in Uganda and Mozambique that encourages farmers to grow ORANGE sweet potatoes rather than the white and yellow ones that most farmers have traditionally grown there. ¬†Why? ¬†Because the North American orange sweet potatoes provide the beta carotene needed in the body to make vitamin A, a micronutrient that has been so sorely lacking that it has resulted in death of children in these countries.

The good news? It seems to be working. ¬†The farmers are growing North American sweet potatoes, and the people are eating them. ¬†Public health campaigns educate parents about the improved nutrition available from the orange spud, and parents demand them at the markets to ensure the health of their children. ¬†The better news for you? ¬†You are likely living somewhere where the choice of an orange sweet potato can be made at the market. ¬†You will not have to wait for your farmers to plant and grow a more nutritious choice. ¬†You can simply pick one up. ¬†You can simply make that choice – a sweet potato, whole grains over refined flours, water over soda, whole fruit over a juice box, nuts over chips, milk over non-dairy flavored creamer goo. ¬†If you can’t find the nutritious choices you seek at your market, ask for them, and ask your friends to do the same. ¬†In Mozambique and Uganda, the baby step of eating an orange potato rather than a yellow one can change the fundamental quality of a child’s life. ¬†The truth is, a baby nutritional step can fundamentally change the quality of anybody’s life. ¬†And all that needs to be done is to make that choice.

While I like sweet potatoes, I must admit that I also really enjoy their less nutritious relatives. ¬†I am moved to give myself a kick in the proverbial nutritional pants and so I will embark on a sweet potato romance. ¬†I thought I’d share a few recipes that I intend to savor as part of my orange spud flirtation.

Big Sis has provided us with some lovely options: Sweet Potato Gratin, Sweet Potato Pancakes

I had to do a quick search on OhSheGlows and was quickly drooling at this particular option: Sweet Potato, Black Bean, Spinach, and Pepper Vegan Enchiladas

I also liked the look of these Sweet Potato Pita Pockets.

There is always the option, of course, of roasting those bad boys in a little olive oil, salt. And then dip them in herbed naioli… oh yes.

Delish and nutrish, a reality I am grateful to be able to choose.