Archive for September, 2006

Strawberry Banana Bread

3 c. flour

1 tsp. salt

1 ½ c. sugar

1 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. cinnamon

¼ c. oil

¾ c. unsweetened applesauce

¼ c. vanilla yogurt

3 eggs, beaten

2 c. mashed strawberries

2 mashed ripe bananas

Mix all dry ingredients together. Mix oil and eggs until blended slightly, add to dry and stir together until blended. Stir in fruit. Bake in two standard greased loaf pans at 350° for approximately one hour. Cool in pans, then on cooling rack.

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Poblano Rice with Vegetables

2 fresh poblano peppers
1 c. frozen corn
1 c. milk
2 c. long grain rice
2 t. cooking oil
2 c. chicken broth
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1/2 c. finely chopped carrot (or equiv. of shredded)
2 garlic clove, minced

Salt and pepper to taste
1 Bay leaf

Halve seed and core the poblano peppers, rub with oil and broil until skins are blistered. Place peppers in bowl and cover to steam. When cooled completely, remove skins and chop.

Rinse corn under cool water to thaw slightly, and then place corn and milk in blender and process until smooth, set aside. In a large skillet with a tight lid, sauté onion in oil over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add zucchini, carrot and peppers, sauté another 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Remove vegetables to bowl. Add rice to pan and cook, stirring occasionally until lightly browned and fragrant, about 5-7 minutes. Add in vegetables and stir to combine. Slowly pour in corn/milk mix, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce and simmer, covered until liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Stir to fluff. Remove bay leaf before serving.

The original of this recipe came from AllRecipes.com but has undergone the Extreme Recipe Makeover edition in my kitchen, as most recipes do when they get in my eager little hands. There are a few critical steps to this recipe that really add to the final taste that shouldn’t be skipped, namely the pepper roasting and the corn and milk mixture. It may add a bit of extra time, but the final result is worth it. You can alter the amount of rice to suit your needs, but make sure as a rule that you double the liquid, using the corn/milk mix as part of that. The added veggies can be suited to your tastes as well. These are from the original recipe, I have subbed shredded carrot for the diced with good results.

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This was a question that I encountered quite often in my days working customer service for a produce company. Apparently, true yams are only found in South America and they are starchy, hard to digest and not very user friendly; what we have here in the States that is labled a yam is actually a different species of sweet potato. Whatever they are called, I love the ones named Red Garnets. They make the most succulent mashed potato blended with yukon golds; the bake well, roast well and can be utilized in many, many ways. Sweet potatoes are more like a russet in texture; mealy and with a bit of sweet taste. The Red Garnets are super moist (make sure you bake them on a foil lined cookie sheet to catch their sugars as they carmelize or your smoke detector will rage) very deep orangey red and with a concentrated sweet flavor. And, they are also one of The 12 Best Foods and this is what the book says about them:

” Packed with more beta carotene than carrots and containing more antioxidant punch than winter squashes, sweet potatoes and the deep orange fleshed variety we call yams are terrific for boosting the immune system, reducing LDL cholesterol and can help fight off age related cataracts and a certain number of cancers. A lower glycemic index makes them a good choice for avoiding insulin resistance and they are loaded with minerals, including potassium; and they have vitamin B,C and folate.”

I have found that people either love sweet potatoes/yams or they don’t. There doesn’t seem to be much middle ground. I have only started eating them within the last two years, before that I was not a fan but since they offer up such a healthy plate, I thought I owed it to myself and my health to get to know them better. Now my Thanksgiving potatoes include yams, and we eat them pretty often when the weather turns colder.

Sweet Potato Butter

Wash 4 Beauregard, Garnet or Jewel yams, prick with a fork and coat them lightly with olive oil. Remove the papery layer of 1 medium onion, slice in half and coat with oil. Fold the onion up in a square of foil, add 4 garlic cloves still with paper layers attached. Cover a baking sheet with foil, add yams and onion pack, roasting at 400d until yams can be easily pierced with a fork. Cool, peel and process yams, onions and garlic in food processor with 1/4 c. olive oil, 4 T. tahini, salt and pepper to taste. Chill well.

Beautifully roasted yams, onions and garlic smelling fabulous

Peeled, whirred and seasoned and whirred and stirred and seasoned….and voila!!


This has a texture similar to hummus but it is all yam flavored and sweet. I added a handful of dried cranberries to it to liven it up some, I think dried cherries would be just as yummy. It was smooth with hints of the roasted garlic, some of the mild onion taste and the tart little bite of the cranberry. I had some with toasted pita bread, and plan to serve it with celery, baby carrots and the pitas. If no one eats it, too bad for them and way good for me!

(NOTE: My apologies to Jeff, at C is for Cooking, as he requested rather tongue in cheek with regards to my Harvest Stew, that I no longer make any naughtay posts about good lookin’ veggies. Sorry Man!!!! Are naughtay posts about good lookin’ fruits and legumes OK, though? What would Steph say?!?!?)

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Dana Jacobi’s cookbook, The 12 Best Foods has this to say about black beans:

“Black beans are high in folate and rank among the top legumes for antioxidants and fiber, lowering cholesterol and LDL levels, scavenging free radicals, moderating insulin levels and reducing cancer risk.”

Well, right on then, let’s eat!!

Black Bean and Mango Salsa

Combine the following: 2 15-oz cans black beans, drained. 1 medium tomato, seeded and diced, 1 jalapeno chile, seeded and minced, 1 ripe mango, diced, 1 navel orange, peeled and diced, juice and zest of 1 lime, 3-4 T. chopped fresh cilantro, salt and pepper to taste.

Stir together in a large bowl and refrigerate to blend flavors. Serve with chips, pita chips or bagel crisps.

This salsa is heavenly; fresh, fruity, flavorful and so easy to make. Be sure to stir it up ahead of time to allow flavors to blend, it is definitely worth it. No matter where I take it, I always come home with an empty bowl and someone will always tell me “Hey! That’s not salsa!!” to which I scoff and simply say “Then leave it for me!!”
Here the tomato is diced and ready to add to the mango and black beans. The jalapeno awaits!


My repetitive stress injured wrists REALLY love this citrus squeezer!! It turns the fruit inside out and gets a great amount of juice, AND the good folks at Cooks Illustrated endorsed it so you know it must be good! And the zest is lovely in bowl, don’t you think?? (gee….my hand looks FAT in this picture!! It’s really NOT!)


Behold the Black Bean!! Yum! Healthy!!

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Harvest Stew

1# pork loin or roast, cut into 1” pieces with fat trimmed; 2 small onions, diced; 1 medium apple, peeled and diced; 1 28-oz can whole tomatoes with juice; 1 14-oz can great northern beans, drained and rinsed.

Peel and dice the following:

2 red garnet yams, 3 medium carrots, 2 parsnips

Toss together in a plastic bag with 4-6 small cloves of garlic,  2 T. canola oil and salt and pepper to taste. Roast on parchment covered cookie sheet at 400° until fork tender.

Sauté onion until slightly browned. Remove from pan. Sauté pork until browned, draining off any liquid. If desired, add about 1 c. rich red wine and reduce to half. Add back in onions, apple and tomatoes with their juice. Rinse the tomato can with a cup of water and add that as well. Simmer, covered, until meat is fork tender. Stir in vegetables and beans and heat through. Thicken with a flour/water slurry if desired.

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Applesauce Spice Cake

4 T. real butter, softened

1 c. sugar

1 egg

1/4 c. water

1 c. unsweetened applesauce

1 1/4 c. flour (use half whole wheat if you wish)

2 T. ground flaxseed

3/4 t. baking soda

1/2 t. salt

1/2 t. cinnamon

1/4 t. each nutmeg, allspice and ginger

Blend all dry ingredients together. Cream sugar and butter until smooth then add in egg, water and applesauce and mix well. Stir in dry ingredients and mix until incorporated and slightly fluffy. Spray an 8-inch pan with non-stick cooking spray and pour in batter, bake in a 350d oven 30-35 minutes, or until tested done.

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Sunrise Whole Grain Waffles

Mix together: 1 c. flour, 1 c. oat flour, 2 T. ground flaxseed, 1/3 c. rye flour, 1/3 c. cornmeal, 4 t. baking powder, 1 T. sugar and 1/2 t. salt.

Stir together: 2 eggs, 2 c. liquid (i have used buttermilk, straight milk and a milk/water combo- all are great) 2 T. canola oil and 1 t. vanilla extract.

Stir into dry ingredients until just moistened.

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Simple Granola

Everyone knows that more whole grain is always a good thing to eat. I love granola, as does Mike and yet I won’t spend the abhorrent amounts of money asked for in a store to buy a 10-oz bag of granola that will disappear in one sitting in my house. I found the origin of this recipe in a Cooking Light magazine and embellished it to include more grain and flavor. It makes a big batch all on it’s own, but I double it because we can eat it on so many things.


In a large bowl combine 2 c. regular oats, 2 c. barley flakes, 1 c. oat bran, 1/3 c. ground flaxseed, 1/4 c. chopped almonds, 1 t. ground cinnamon and 1/2 t. nutmeg. In a small saucepan stir together 1/3 c. orange juice, 1/3 c. honey, 1/4 c. packed brown sugar and 2 t. canola oil. Cook over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in 2 t. vanilla extract. Pour over dry ingredients and stir well to coat. Spread on two cookie sheets coated with non-stick spray and bake at 300 degrees for approximately 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10-15. Remove from oven and sprinkle the top with dried cranberries and/or dried blueberries to taste. Allow to cool and store in airtight container.

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Combine the following in food processor: 1 14-oz can garbanzo beans (i drain and rinse, you decide about that one), 1/3 c. tahini, 1/4 c. lemon juice, 1 T. oilive oil, 2 t. minced garlic, 1 t. salt, and 1/4 c. water for smoothness (this is optional but it seems to even it out well- you will need less water if you don’t rinse the beans)

Whirl together until well blended, scraping sides and stirring from the bottom as needed. Keep in fridge, eat with pita bread, crackers or veggies. Resist standing at the counter and eating it with a spoon.

I often add about 1/2 c. chopped kalamata olives to ours because we love the flavor. I have also used roasted red peppers which makes it sweeter. Don’t skimp on tahini, it gives it the authenticity you want and if you can find organic tahini, buy it. The flavor is way better.

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Blueberry syrup

I love blueberries and go picking every summer at my favorite farm, usually twice if I can manage. This summer I got one good visit in and picked 20#. One thing I like to make with the bounty is blueberry syrup. I have always loved blueberry syrup since I was young, often desiring it more than maple. When I found this recipe I never looked back at the expensive jars of thin and sugary stuff in the stores. We love this on pancakes and waffles of course, but it is wonderful on ice cream, in vanilla yogurt (with granola for an added bonus), on cereal with milk and in hot oatmeal. It is chunky, not too sweet and bursting with delectable blueberry flavor. I imagine it would freeze well too, although none of it ever survives in my kitchen long enough for us to find out.

Blueberry Syrup

In a saucepan, stir together 1/2 c. sugar with 2 T. cornstarch. Pour in 1 c. of water and stir to dissolve sugar. Add 4 c. of blueberries and cook over medium heat to boiling. Stir occasionally. Boil for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Cool and store in fridge. It should last for several weeks if you aren’t consuming it in your sleep.

I have used fresh berries right off the vine for this, as well as those frozen from previous forays and also berries from the store for the times I can’t stand living without this for too long. It always comes out delicious. If you want it less chunky use the spoon to mash the berries as it heats to boiling, or you can crush them prior to putting them in the liquid.

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