April 25, 2012

Cleaning Wild Leeks

Over the weekend, Dad & the Bup went leek digging. Mom & I walked down to check it out & saw a lot of nice wildflowers, but we let them do the digging & cleaning.

Also called ramps, these little leeks are way different than the ones you buy in the store. They're very pungent & full of flavor. We usually eat them whole, either sauteed or grilled (see pic here). I've also had them in soups, similar to how you'd use regular leeks. Mom made a leek broth with the leaves & it added some great flavor to the potato & mushroom soup that she used it in.

Once they dug them up, they washed off the dirt & then trimmed away the roots & leaves. Then they're ready for eating or storing in the fridge for a few days.

I'm hoping to have a recipe up for you soon, in case you ever have the chance to go leek hunting. They're delicious!

April 19, 2012

Vibrant Lemon & Avocado Kale Salad

We really have a thing for kale in our house. I think I've mentioned that a few zillion times already! I hope you like it as much as I do.

I didn't really eat kale until a couple years ago, so I think I'm making up for lost time. Plus it's seriously delicious. I like it raw, cooked, as a spread, in soup, growing in the garden, as a chip, in smoothies, & everywhere in between!

Last night, we had our kale in the form of a huge salad paired with Jenna's Spicy Black Bean Burgers. These are one of our go-to bean burgers because they're super yummy & easy to throw together.

The salad is fresh & bright, with lots of flavor. I love the creaminess that the avocado gives to it. Avocadoes are full of healthy fats, & in this case, it adds some bulk to an otherwise fairly light salad.

I brought kale salad to the Bup's family Christmas dinner & to my family Easter dinner. Both versions had variations of this dressing, but I felt like it needed a few tweaks to be just perfect. The recipe below is that I've decided is the best of the bunch.

If you've never had a kale salad, here are a few tips:

1. Unlike lettuce salads, you can dress it ahead of time & it will only get better. The flavors marinate & the kale softens slightly, making it easier to chew.

2. You have to commit to getting your hands in there & massaging the kale. There's really no better way to get the dressing spread evenly & to soften the kale leaves. Just be prepared - if you have even the slightest knick in your skin, it will burn from the lemon juice!

3. Kale is a chewier green than lettuce, so it's not a traditional salad. It is, however, extra full of flavor & health benefits!


Vibrant Lemon & Avocado Kale Salad
Dressing inspired by Tracy
Serves 2-4

1 bunch kale, stems removed & torn into pieces
1 avocado, cubed
1/2 small onion, sliced
1 apple, chopped

Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 T Dijon mustard
1 T extra virgin olive oil
2 T nutritional yeast
1 tsp. honey or maple syrup

In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Combine kale & dressing in a large bowl. Massage with your hands (wash them first!) until the kale softens & turns a dark, shiny green. Add avocado cubes, onion slices, & apple. Toss to mix & serve.

Note: Salad can be made ahead of time. Once dressed, just cover & place in the fridge until time to serve. Flavors will develop as it marinates.

April 13, 2012

Easter Lambs

Cuteness: Look at that face! So precious.

Pain: We met this lamb on Easter at my grandparents' farm. It got trampled by the other sheep & has an injured leg, so it has to stay up in the barn.

Kindness: They're bottle feeding it since it's been separated from its mom.

Joy: It is the sweetest little lamb! It hobbled around & kept moving to the sunniest spot it could find.

Bright & colorful: Mommom's tulips were in bloom & they're gorgeous!

Stinky: Digging manure. They filled 2 bags for our gardens.

Beauty: The barns, so big against the blue sky.

Spotted: All the sheep, strewn about the pasture.

Lost & found: Another lamb, almost left outside overnight, was rescued & brought into the warm barn.

Lesson learned: This is the best way to enjoy lamb on Easter. Just look at those adorable faces! And for your viewing pleasure, available for purchase, is this.

April 10, 2012

Chewy Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cookies & milk, anyone?

I've never really been one to dunk my cookies, but occasionally I'm in the mood for a warm cookie with milk. I love almond milk & that's what I buy for us to drink. Neither of us are really the type to sit down with a glass of milk, so we usually use it in cooking, baking, or cereal. Almond Breeze just came out with almond coconut milk, which is delicious.

It's perfect to pair with a chewy cookie!

I actually like eating cookie dough more than baked cookies, so it's a real testament to these cookies that I've eaten so many already.

Ever since I started doing vegan baking, it's extra dangerous for me to bake cookies. The horrors of eating raw eggs scares me off enough that I'd usually eat maybe 1 or 2 bites of dough. Now, with no raw egg, it's free game. For all of you cookie dough lovers, this is great news!

Whether you like the dough or the actual cookies, these are for you. The tart cranberries are perfect paired with the dark chocolate & the chewy texture of the dough really brings it all together.


Chewy Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
Makes 2 dozen cookies

1 flax egg (1 T ground flax + 3 T warm water)
1/3 c coconut oil
3/4 c light brown sugar
2 T orange juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/3 c white whole wheat flour
1 c dark chocolate chips
1 c dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350*F. In a small bowl, combine ground flax and water. Set aside to let gel. Beat the coconut oil in the bowl of an electric mixer until fluffy. Add brown sugar & mix. Once combined, add  orange juice, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, & salt. Mix on low until just combined, then add flax egg. Stri in flour, mixing just until no dry flour shows. Use a wooden spoon to fold in chocolate chips & cranberries. Do not overmix! If your dough is super soft, refrigerate for 30 minutes before baking (optional step, but your cookies will be spread less & be thicker). Drop by tablespoons onto baking sheets, keeping cookies about 2" apart as they will spread. Bake for about 12 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then carefully move to a wire rack to finish cooling.

April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

May your day be spent surrounded by family & friends and may you always remember the true meaning of Easter!

April 6, 2012

Lately, I've Been...

Our peach tree is budding!

I haven't been cooking a lot this week, but I do have a lot to share!

1. Slow Cooker Black Beans rocked my world. So did the brown rice tortillas from Trader Joe's that we crammed them into.

2. I am now totally inspired to turn my basement into a closet.

3. Coconut Almond Rice Pudding = deliciousness.

4. Broccoli Tempeh Curry & Cashew Curry got combined into dinner on Sunday night, with plenty of leftovers. Mmmm!

5. Chocolate Almond Macaroon Cookies rocked my world. More, please!

6. Maybe I shouldn't admit it, but there is some part of me that, deep down, thinks this is totally awesome & wishes it was me.

7. I'm bringing Kale Salad to Easter dinner. A bit unconventional, but the in-laws liked it at Christmas!

8. If you don't already listen to the Joy the Baker podcasts, you should start. So funny!

April 2, 2012

New Growth

In early March, before we left for Florida, I planted the first seeds for our 2012 garden!

We could barely see anything before we left, but in the short time we were gone, everything took off.

Above: sugar snap peas...I think they're the prettiest of the bunch!


And more onions! I bought a scoop of yellow & a scoop of red onion sets. It only cost about $1 at the store, so I thought I might not have bought enough. But no, I have some leftover after planting enough to fill half of a garden bed.

The rhubarb came up all on it's own! I guess that means I should finish off the last 2 packs in the freezer from last year...

Baby mixed greens. I can't wait to have lettuce for days. Mmmmmmm!

Not shown, we have baby jalapeno pepper plants growing inside. Mom also started tomato plants for us & they're growing quickly. I can't wait for all the fresh veggies!
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