cooking

Ten Vegetarian Recipes I’ve Tried And Loved

veggierecipesyouwonthateI’ve had a very informal New Year’s resolution this year of trying one new recipe a week. Like everyone else, I tend to get into ruts.

If I plan on eating healthy throughout my life, I am going to need to expand my repertoire. And being healthy includes working with more vegetables. And I quite accidentally liked these ten vegetarian ones.

They are all easy, requiring less than 30 minutes of prep time (in a general way though the spinach pie should be the exception). Meatless Mondays anyone?

Stuffed Onions from Plenty cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi (Another person with a hard to spell ‘O’ last name like myself!)

Stuffed_onionsAlso this happens to be vegetarian, great if you’re going to one of those kind of potluck suppers where you are unsure of the crowd.

How to Make Fresh Pasta Dough In The Food Processor by Kitchn

Have more tomatoes than you know what to do with? Want to impress people but have it not actually work hard to do so? Have some picky eaters? This will meet all your needs.

freshpastadough

Butternut Squash and Brussel Sprout Lasagna with Yummy Mummy Kitchen

While mommy blogs usually leave me feeling left out (and like I should have lots of spare time on my hands), this recipe was so good, Derrick bragged about it to his friends and made them try it. Also you can make two and freeze one. (This is good enough to be worth the effort – might take you 45 minutes to do unless you are super efficient.)

butternutsquashlasagna

Roasted Corn and Tomato Soup from Williams Sonoma

If you are like me and have a bag of corn in the freezer all the time (or got suckered into buying 5 ears of corn for $1 and live alone), this is a great flavorful soup you can throw together when you have no idea what to make. And you can eat it a couple days in a row without wanting to hate corn forever.

roastedcornsoup

Tuscan Sweet Spinach Pie from NPR

You are kind of expecting for a recipe you hear on an NPR podcast to be a slight pain in the butt but I almost cried while making this (baking in general makes me weepy). Brought it to the almost in-laws house for Easter and I think I scared everyone. “It’s spinach pie but it’s sweet?” Yup. And as one of the most memorable things I’ve ever made I had to include it in my list.

tuscanspinachpie(Mine so did not look like that. Do yourself a favor and know there will be ‘extra’ dough and just save it for some lemon squares or something versus trying to make it all fit in there. Or buy premade crusts and shove some lemon zest into them… I might do that next time.)

Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Kale Quesdillas from Cookie Monster Cooking

Good for those who like spice (though make less sweet potatoes than you think necessary because you’ll have plenty of extras). And by plenty, I mean you’ll eat them for a week and still have some left over.

Sweet-potato-black-bean-and-kale-quesadillas-web-1

Chocolate Fudge Pie from Chocolate Covered Katie

When Derrick said he was kind of ‘Meh’ on the pie, I ate the rest of it the next day. He was sad which means he really did like it. It has tofu in it, so you can feel self righteous as you eat a ton more than one serving. (Let it thicken overnight for a more pleasing consistency.)

tofu-pie_thumb

Beet Hummus via Shape

I don’t normally like to cook via infographic but this beet hummus was so good, two people at my poker game asked me for the recipe (I haven’t tried the others on here but we ate the beet hummus with toasted bread and carrot sticks.)

Southwestern Chopped Salad by The Garden Grazer

Sorry, I love black beans, tomatoes, and cilantro so this is all that is good in the world in my opinion. (Well all that is healthy good anyway.)

southwesternsalad2

 

Healthy Peanut Butter and Chocolate Fudge by Creating Naturally

ChocolatePeanutButterFudge_thumb

 

I already blogged this but yeah, need I say more?

Anyway, in case you’re wondering what I got out of a year of cooking (on the vegetarian side anyway) this is it!

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Too Cute Tuesday: Sesame Balls

You know what the problem with Too Cute Tuesday has been lately? We’ve been getting together and crafting then I start the blog posts that stay in ‘draft’ form. Bummer! I did know that I had to write about this week’s craft though.

Sesame Balls

Sesame Balls

So little known fact: I love Chinese baked goods. They are so unlike cakes and cookies and usually involve a bit of a salty/savory element I find lacking in most other sweets. My favorite thing ever is the sesame balls. The outside is crispy with a slight fried layer and sesame seeds while the inside is doughy and filled with a sweet bean paste. I usually pick up a half dozen every time I’m in Chinatown. They are best fresh otherwise I’d stock up.

For a long time, I thought they may be difficult to make these, but at a health food store a few months ago, I picked up rice flour and bean paste and in my cupboard it sat… until Tuesday.

After finding the recipe at About.com and seeing they only took 30 minutes, I thought we’d give it a shot. Here’s the link: http://chinesefood.about.com/od/desserts/r/sesameseedballs.htm

Materials:

Rice flour
Water
Sugar
Bean paste (you can make it too)

Cooking Oil

In short, our balls weren’t quite as round and pretty as the ones above in the professional shot (which you can buy a poster of here) but were still quite tasty. I ended up having to mix more sugar in my red bean paste than expected to make the filling a bit less tangy and at one point, the oil we were frying them in got too hot, cooking the outside and leaving the inside of a couple balls not quite cooked all the way through. Once we lowered the temperature and adjusted the filling to be sweeter, we had quite the tasty treats.

Thanks to Amy and Dorrie for their cooking help. I’ll post photos tomorrow when I’m next at my office (where I left my digital camera card reader unfortunately). It just goes to show you that sometimes you really can do it yourself. If only things were easier than we thought more often in life!

Aren’t we crafty… with dumpling skills!

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Too Cute Tuesday: Bacon Jam

My favorite part about Too Cute Tuesday is when people send me stuff and say ‘You guys should try this!”

My friend Sarah C. sent me this link for Bacon Jam, a Foodista recipe which sounded just ridiculous enough for our group.

The most interesting condiment we've attempted. Photo from Foodista.

The most interesting condiment we've attempted. Photo from Foodista.

Dorrie, Sue, and Amy did the chopping of the chilies, onion, and and garlic while I cooked one of the pounds of bacon. Once the veggies were chopped, we sauted them in the bacon fat. We dumped it all into a slow cooker, set it on low, and headed to Aqua Zumba. (You know our group, we’ll try anything that won’t kill us… and we had to counteract our future bacon eating.)

I got home and cooked the second pound of bacon (thanks to Dorrie for keeping me company) and added it to the mix. Before going to bed, I shut off the slowcooker and put it in the fridge.

Tomorrow before work, Dorrie is going to bring over her immersion blender to make the whole thing a bit more jam-y. And we’ve decided we should make beer bread next week to go with our new bacon confection.

So if you’re looking for something to serve to make people say “Wha?”, this is it.

Aren’t you crafty, and serving people some crazy stuff the next time they come over!

Too Cute Tuesday

 

Every Tuesday, it’s friends, a craft, and a cocktail right here on the Breaking Even blog. To see our archives visit, www.toocutetuesday.com or like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/toocutetuesday.

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Too Cute Tuesday: Homemade Twix Bars

Just when you think you’ve got your crafting planned out, suddenly you see something on Twitter.

Our bars, with the exception of Andrew's really perfect one in the middle there, were a bit less than perfect. But delicious. Sprinkle sea salt on top for artisnal touch.

Our bars, with the exception of Andrew's really perfect one in the middle there, were a bit less than perfect. But delicious. Sprinkle sea salt on top for artisnal touch.

In my case, ‘homemade Twix bars’ with a link to beautiful snacks made of four delicious ingredients created by a fellow blogger and crafter I follow on Twitter. We had to try them. Full disclosure, her pictures are way better than ours. Here’s a link to the original post.

Once assembled the dipping was a bit messy but definitely fun.

Materials:
Carmels (I learned from my friend Hope after we did this that today was National Carmel Day– could we be any more accidentally psychic?)
Chocolate (we used semi-sweet chips)
Rold Gold honey wheat pretzels (you’ll see why so specific in a moment)
Nutella
Cutting board and knife
Plastic bag
Scissors
Parchment paper
Small saucepan
Fondue forks

Cocktail of the Night: Iced Tea

1.  Cut caramels in half. Squish so you make a little caramel sheet that’s thin.
2.  Line up two pretzels one next to the other, wrapping the caramel on the sides a bit. If your caramel sheet is too big, cut it down.
3. Using Nutella in a plastic bag with a hole cut in the corner, pipe Nutella in the crack created by where the two pretzels meet. Smear.
4. Melt some chocolate (use a microwave if you got it, doing this on the stove is a bit of a pain). Dip using the fondue forks if you are using a deep pan.
5. Place on parchment paper to dry. If you are Jen and impatient, put them in the freezer.

This week, we were joined by Amy, a new TCT participant. We originally became friends on the suggestion of my accountant. Thanks for looking out for my social life, Ron!

This week, we were joined by Amy, a new TCT participant. We originally became friends on the suggestion of my accountant. Thanks for looking out for my social life, Ron!

We ate our ‘mistakes’ and found that too much caramel wrapped around the pretzel combined with the warm chocolate made things slightly gooey-er than we meant for them to be.

But all taste testers agreed ‘These are so good!’ The pretzel, has a bit of sweet in it and the salt with the caramel, yum. “I think these are even better than regular Twix bars!” Andrew said. And they are, also it helps they are really easy! Thanks for the hookup, Twitter.

Aren’t you crafty, and now slightly covered in chocolate?

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Too Cute Tuesday: Irish Soda Bread

Dorrie may have cheated by using the mixer but the results were still delectable.

Dorrie may have cheated by using the mixer but the results were still delectable.

 

Due to Nicole’s travel schedule, Dorrie took over the Too Cute Tuesday reins and made her famous Irish soda bread in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. Here’s her post:

Due to the fact that the puppies ate my Really Yummy Blarney Scone Trader Joe’s Irish Soda Bread, I was inspired to make Irish Soda Bread myself. I Googled ‘easy Irish Soda Bread’ and found quite a few recipes. I went with Amazingly Easy Irish Soda Bread from Allrecipes (). It seemed easy enough and a quick trip to Hannaford to get the missing ingredients and I was off and running.

I mixed all the dry ingredients first (flour, sugar, baking soda, and baking powder). Then I mixed in the softened butter and buttermilk. (I cheated and used the Kitchen  Aid.) Once combined, I turned the dough onto the floured counter top and kneeded it just a bit to form it into a big round loaf.

Raisins: an optional addition to your Irish celebration (at least for Nicole!)

Raisins: an optional addition to your Irish celebration (at least for Nicole!)

Because the recipe I picked did not included raisins I did add a cup of those – I soaked them in some water to plump them up a bit too!

I melted the 1/4 cup butter with the 1/4 cup buttermilk in the microwave to brush on top of the bread. I cut the X and popped it in the oven.

*fingers crossed*

The Irish Bread: Ready to bask in the ovenly goodness.

The Irish Bread: Ready to bask in the ovenly goodness.

About 25 minutes through the baking, I brushed it again with the butter/buttermilk mixture and then with about 10 minutes left to go!

After waiting for it to cool, it was time to taste test. Delicious!

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Too Cute Tuesday: Homemade Marshmallows

This week, we decided to junk our initial plan when we saw the Too Cute Tuesday Saint Louis branch had a better idea: Homemade marshmallows. Not very difficult, these were all the rage a Christmas or two ago when I saw them in higher end gift giving magazines.

Sam got ready for the process of spreading the marshmallow mixture by oiling her hands...it didn't help a ton.

Sam got ready for the process of spreading the marshmallow mixture by oiling her hands...it didn't help a ton.

No matter what, it's kind of messy... but delicious messy.

No matter what, it's kind of messy... but delicious messy.

We used this recipe but most of the other ones we ran into online seem similar: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Marshmallows

The mixture worked hard for us while we did our other dishes. That's right, at Too Cute Tuesday, we practice no trace crafting.

The mixture worked hard for us while we did our other dishes. That's right, at Too Cute Tuesday, we practice no trace crafting.

It was just Sam and I this week but since Dorrie is nice and also has a standing mixer, we crashed her house to craft. That said, we practiced no trace crafting.

You will also appreciate this week that I bought a bottle of riesling for the cocktail portion of the evening only to find Dorrie’s wine bottle opener was broken.*le sigh

Even without our cocktail though, we still had a great time!

Materials
Corn starch
Powdered sugar
Oil
Parchment paper
Pan
Non-flavored gelatin
Corn syrup
Granulated sugar
Pot
Cooking thermometer
Standing mixer
Water
Vanilla flavoring
Scissors
A willingness to get sticky

Cocktail of the Night: Some cheap riesling Nicole got at the grocery store for $6, couldn’t open because the wine opener wasn’t working, then left at Dorrie’s house. D’oh!

Cleaning up, if it involves a crapload of sugar, can be the best part.

Cleaning up, if it involves a crapload of sugar, can be the best part.

1. Mix equal parts corn starch and powdered sugar. We did one cup of each and had way more than needed.

2. Put gelatin (3 packets) and cold water (1/2 cup) in the bowl of the standing mixer. Let develop.

3. While the gelatin is doing its thing, mix 2/3 cup corn syrup, 2 cups granulated sugar, and 1/4 cup water in a pot over medium heat. Stir and heat mixture to 244 degrees F.

4. Once mixture is at that temperature, dump it into the mixing bowl with the water and gelatin, which is now puffy.

5. Mix at the fastest setting for 15 minutes. During the last minute, add flavoring and/or coloring desired. We added a couple teaspoons of pure vanilla extract because we like regular marshmallow flavor.

6. While things are mixing, take a pan and line with parchment paper. Oil it and dust the corn starch/sugar mixture from step one.

7. Pour the marshmallow mixture into the pan. Sprinkle with additional corn starch/sugar mixture. Let set at least four hours (or in our case, overnight).

8. The next day, cover your scissors in the corn starch/sugar mixture and cut up your block o marshmallow into convenient sizes.

I won’t lie, Sam and I did take some tastes while cleaning up. “Wow, this tastes like marshmallow!” she said. That’s always a good sign at Too Cute Tuesday.

The true test was of course trying them the next day. And they’re actually good!

The magical Sam will now hold the whisk with only the force of her gaze... and the power of marshmallow goo.

The magical Sam will now hold the whisk with only the force of her gaze... and the power of marshmallow goo.

So there you have it, an easy way to impress people the next time you serve hot cocoa and cleanup that involves a bowl lick. Aren’t you crafty, and a bit sticky?

Too Cute Tuesday

Too Cute Tuesday is a weekly event involving friends, a craft, and a cocktail. To learn more, check us out on Facebook or browse our crafty archives.

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.
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