Easy, healthy, sometimes indulgent recipes

Archive: Nov 2015

Basic Pie Crust

When it comes to pies, I think crust makes all the difference. Nothing comes close to that flakey, buttery flavor that comes from homemade crust. Again, this is one of those key basic items that sounds intimidating, but it is shockingly easy to make.  I  heavily  rely on my food processor to make pie crusts and that is what takes all the difficulty out of it. Of course, this is doable without it, but it is hard to beat the ease of pressing  the “pulse” button around 10 times.  Once all the ingredients are measured, it is really a 20 minute hands on affair.  Really!

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Easy Homemade Cashew Milk

Cashew milk is a favorite in our household.  We are not vegan nor do we have any issues with dairy, but we still love to use this plant based milk. I previously wrote about making almond milk, but cashew milk is even easier to make than almond milk.  The process is very similar, but there is one less step.  Raw cashews need to be soaked overnight to achieve ultimate creaminess and then they are blended with water.  However, cashews are so creamy that once they are blended they actually disappear into the milk. There is no need to strain the pulp. The milk actually retains all that wonderfulness and nutrition.

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Morning Very Berry Smoothie

vegan smoothieI don’t know about you, but usually after a major Holiday, like Thanksgiving I am looking to prepare something quick, satisfying, filling and as healthy as possible.  This smoothie is actually one of my go to breakfasts post workouts and pre work. Often time I layer everything in my blender in the evening,and just push the button in the morning.  The easiest way for me to prepare this is to use frozen organic fruit, but any fresh fruit obviously works. If I do use fresh fruit, I typically add 1/2 cup of ice.

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Homemade pumpkin puree

pumpkin puree

This year, between various pumpkin patches, magical pumpkin fairies and my own lack of willpower not to buy pumpkins, I have an overload of pumpkins.  Almost all are sugar pumpkins, meaning they have a sweet, meaty flesh that will lend itself well to use in pies or other desserts.

Something that is often easily forgotten is pumpkin is so versatile and can be used in so much more than desserts. Some of my favorite ways are to use it are pasta, hummus, smoothies and pumpkin soup. At some point, I would love to recreate a pumpkin lobster bisque that I had a few years back at a resort, but that will require a different time since I am not in the habit of having an entire lobster handy to make fine lobster stock.

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Classic Refreshing Moscow Mule

moscow muleI don’t know how it has taken me this many years to try a Moscow Mule. I had seen them everywhere. I knew they were served in gorgeous copper mugs, but somehow I always passed on them.  Finally,  one of my cool colleagues talked me into trying one.  I can easily say that was the moment where the obsession began. I knew these would become my entertaining staples.

Fast forward to a few days later,  a couple of hours of research and I found myself on a quest to find copper mugs. Online search led me to find copper mugs at a local Target which had them at  a reasonable price. Before I knew it, here I was spending my Saturday evening purchasing mugs, ginger beer, vodka and limes with my mother-in-law as my accomplice.

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Quick Weeknight Mushroom Pasta

No matter how poorly stocked my fridge may be, I always have mushrooms. Sometimes I am lucky enough to happen to have “fancy” mushrooms like porcini or shiitake, but almost always I have baby bellas or white button variety.mushroom pasta

Last Thursday I was in a particularly sad state when it comes to fresh groceries. It seems we ran out of everything; the fridge was desperately empty from long nights at work and not enough trips to the grocery store. Luckily, my trusty baby bellas were there to rescue me.  I find them to be a powerhouse ingredient that can give any simple dish a robust, meaty flavor and can make any kind of vegetarian cooking worthy of any meat dish. Other than mushrooms  I had garlic, shallots, butter, oil and pasta and along with a few basics from my pantry, it seemed enough for a quick dish. In fact, we liked this dish so much that we have already repeated it as a comforting Sunday night meal.  What I love about this particular dish, it is done by the time the pasta is done cooking.

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Yogurt Berry Bowl

Berry Bowl

This is my go to morning breakfast. It is essentially a yogurt parfait, but it is made with freshly cut strawberries and bananas, homemade granola and creamy, thick greek yogurt.  My twist on this is a generous spoonful of natural peanut butter mixed in with the Greek yogurt.

Something magical happens when plain yogurt is mixed with a nut butter. I always use plain yogurt and while I love it, it is tangy and mixing in a nut butter allows for it to just taste indulgent.  Almond butter or sunflower butter also work great, but somehow  natural peanut butter, creamy or crunchy is always on hand in our household.

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Unsweetened Almond Milk

This is my first post for the new blog. Welcome! We are so close to Thanksgiving and I am busy putting together the menu for Thanksgiving 2015, but in the mist of all the prep, I am working on some basics, like almond milk to have on hand for easy morning breakfasts.

In the recent years, I really grew to love “alterna” milks.  At this point, it is all I drink. I started buying various types, cashew, soy, coconut and finally almond.   There are so many choices and options that I honestly find it overwhelming. Sometimes I just stand there in the natural foods aisle, staring, reading the ingredients, staring some more and finally nervously choosing a non-dairy milk product.  I hate to imagine what I actually look like while choosing a carton of non dairy milk.

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