November 26, 2012

Fresh Apple Beet Juice

Our town's juice bar just closed. One of our favorite things to do on Saturdays was to go to the local market for a few items, & get a fresh juice at the same time. We made one final stop a few weeks ago on their last day open, & have been thinking about it since.

When I found myself with some extra produce, I decided it was time to try our juicer again. My mom gave us her old one & we had used it once, then put it away. I brought it up from the basement to try again.

It's fun to put in the chunks of fruit/veggies & watch the juice & pulp come out in 2 different spots. Juicers are pretty amazing!

Fresh juice is a great way to pack in vitamins & minerals from fresh produce without all of the bulk. Your body is easily able to assimilate the nutrients in juice form. While you wouldn't usually sit down & eat several fruits & veggies in one sitting, it's easy to drink them all.

It is a good idea to use organic produce when juicing. Since you are ingesting so many items at once, the pesticide content is more concentrated. If it's not possible to get all organic, at least try to buy organic for the Dirty Dozen. (For this recipe, the apples are highest in pesticides.)

My favorite part about fresh juice? The foam on top.

Just look at it! All frothy & delicious.

This particular juice is fairly sweet, perfect for beginning juicers. Although I think some cabbage or romaine lettuce would be great additions, we didn't have either to add. The lemon adds a nice tartness & the apples add enough sweet to counter the earthiness of the beets. The combination also produces such a pretty color of pink!

Fresh Apple Beet Juice

3 small beets
3 medium carrots
1 large apple
1 lemon

Trim stems from beets & carrots. Peeling is not necessary. Chop each into chunks small enough to fit into your juicer. Remove stem & seeds from the apple; chop into quarters. Peel the lemon & divide into quarters.

Feed chunks into the juicer, following juicer instructions. Drink immediately. Reserve pulp for future use or compost it.

If you do not have a juicer, you can still make fresh juice! Just use your blender to combine all of the ingredients & then strain through a cheesecloth, squeezing to release all of the juices. You could also make a smoothie, if you don't want to bother with straining.

November 24, 2012

Tasty Tidbits

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Ours was relaxed - we got up, ate a small breakfast, did yoga, read, & then headed to my in-laws house for dinner. Afterwards, we came home & raked leaves & mowed the lawn, & then hung out around the house.

She loves to join us in the living room, especially if we have the fireplace on!

Here's what we've been eating in the last week:

  • Katie's Chocolate "Protein" Milkshakes
  • Peach & Raspberry yogurt with cherry & honey lentil granola 
  • Trader Joe's Cinnamon Crumpets toasted & topped with pumpkin butter
  • Baked pumpkin cranberry oatmeal
  • Heidi's Whole Wheat Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirl Loaf - I'm not huge into cheesecake, so I made this for the Bup. He said he likes it even more than pumpkin roll! Plus, it's pretty healthy as far as eating cheesecake goes, because it's balanced with the bread.
  • Bananas & crunchy peanut butter



  • Mama Pea's Coconut Curry Kale Stew - This soup has great flavor, a creamy broth, & required minimal chopping. Plus, it's made in the crock pot, so it's hands off.
  • Yummly's Whole Wheat Honey Oatmeal Bread - After a failed attempt at sourdough bread in the bread machine, I tried this instead. It's a soft, but chewy, bread with the perfect amount of sweet from the honey.
  • Spinach Salad: Spinach topped with pan-seared tempeh, carrots, red onion, dried cherries, & honey roasted sliced almonds, tossed in Mama Pea's Orange Balsamic Vinaigrette - This was pretty revolutionary. We had it twice this weekend & I think we'd both be happy to eat it daily. All of the flavors blend together so well!
  • Cream of potato soup with broccoli
  • Pretzel bread bowls
  • Tortilla pizzas topped with bbq sauce, roasted garlic, broccoli, bell pepper, red onions, pineapple, kalamata olives & shredded smoked cheddar cheese
  • Pan-seared Brussels sprouts
Thanksgiving dinner!
  • Appetizers: Fresh veggies, pickles, crackers, cheese
  • Spinach lasagna with tomato sauce
  • Roasted butternut squash & penne casserole
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Stuffing
  • Kale salad topped with sunflower seeds & mandarin oranges
  • Dessert: Apple pie & pumpkin roll
Dinner with Mom & Pops
  • Linguini with cauliflower pesto
  • Green Salad
[Tink licked the bowl from the cream cheese icing for the pumpkin roll. She has a sweet tooth!]

  • Trader Joe's Sipping Chocolate (apparently we were in a hot cocoa mood this week!)
  • Chocolate covered nut clusters
  • Deb's Chocolate Sorbet - Usually I like a pretty big serving of ice cream, but this is very rich & perfect for a 1 scoop treat. It's super chocolatey, which I love! I've been wanting to make it for at least 3 years now, but didn't have the ice cream maker. It was worth waiting for!

November 21, 2012

Hot Apple Cider with Peach Rum

Last week, I posted about our dinner at Great Sage Organic Green Cuisine & I mentioned that the Bup had the Fireside Orchard to drink. It's been on our minds ever since, so I decided to try to replicate it.

I knew we had a random bottle of peach rum somewhere, & when I found it, I realized it had just enough to make us each 1 drink. Perfect!

To keep the cider from losing it's edge, I did not bring it to a boil. As soon as it started to steam, I turned off the heat & stirred in the rum. If you prefer your cider to have a smoother taste, you may want to boil it briefly.

I love the way the peach plays off the apple in this drink. It tastes just like summer mixed with fall, with the juicy peach & the crisp apple flavors blending perfectly.

This would make a great after dinner drink for with Thanksgiving dinner! It's light & warming, perfect for settling down with while visiting with family & friends, or for wrapping your hands around after coming in from the cold.

Hot Apple Cider with Peach Rum
Serves 2

2 c apple cider
1/4 c peach rum
2 cinnamon sticks

In a small pan over medium heat, warm the cider. When it starts to steam, remove from heat to prevent boiling. (This should take about 5 minutes.) Stir in peach rum. Divide evenly between 2 glasses or mugs & garnish with cinnamon sticks. Enjoy immediately - that's an order! :-)

Happy Thanksgiving! 

November 20, 2012

Apple Cider Cranberry Sauce with Oranges

Are you getting excited for Thanksgiving? What do you have to give thanks for this year?

I'm giving thanks for many things...

  • Brisk fall mornings that warm up into sunny days
  • Kale & Brussels sprouts still growing in my garden
  • Sipping hot chocolate in the evenings
  • Hugs from my love
  • A soft kitten to cuddle
  • Warm soups, filled with nourishing foods
  • Pretty leaves falling from the trees
  • Fall/winter fruits, like cranberries & oranges
  • Loving friends & family 
  • Chances to learn more & hopefully use it in life!
  • Fuzzy socks
  • Pumpkin scented candles

With Thanksgiving coming up, I kept thinking about my dad's cranberry sauce. He handed me a packet of recipes he has been compiling, with one on top labeled "Best Cranberry Sauce." Over the years, he had tried many recipes, pulling the best of them all into one go-to recipe. It's a good one.

His recipe calls for orange juice, which we usually have, but we were out when I went to make this. Instead, I used apple cider. I didn't notice a huge difference, although this does have a very fall-ish feel to it. Cider has a nice sweet/crisp flavor that pairs well with cranberries.

The best part of the whole thing is that I get the entire batch to myself! The Bup isn't much into cranberries, so he took one bite & that was enough. YAY!

If you are looking for something to add to your Thanksgiving dinner, this is the good stuff! It's quick to make, too, so it's easy to fit into your busy cooking schedule.

Apple Cider Cranberry Sauce with Oranges
Serves 6-8

12 oz. bag of cranberries (fresh or frozen), washed
1 c apple cider
2/3 c sucanat (or brown sugar)*
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
zest of 1 orange
1 orange, peeled & segmented
1/4 c Triple Sec
walnuts, to garnish (optional)

In a medium pot, heat cranberries, apple cider, sucanat & ginger. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes or until cranberries pop & mixture thickens. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. While the cranberries cook, chop orange segments into 3-4 pieces each.

Once it is done cooking, remove cranberry mixture from heat. Stir in zest, orange pieces, & Triple Sec. Allow to cool, then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use. Best served cold, although it is also good right from the pot (just don't burn your tongue like I did!).

*More sucanat may be needed, depending on your preferred level of sweetness. I like to taste some of the tartness from the cranberries, so I kept the sugar on the low end. If you prefer your cranberry sauce to be sweeter, add up to 1/2 c more, tasting as you go.

More Thanksgiving Ideas:

November 17, 2012

Tasty Tidbits

Tink's growing!

But she isn't so big that she doesn't still fit in my hood. :-) Such a cutie, at least when she's not being bad.

I'm happy to have this week over! It was very busy & I'm ready to sleep past 6:12am. We'll be going on a breakfast date, raking leaves, doing laundry, cooking & relaxing this weekend. The colder the weather gets, the happier I am to just stay home & be cozy.

What are you up to this weekend? Any fun plans? Great eats?

Here's what we've been eating in the last week:

  • Canteloupe Green Smoothies
  • Peach yogurt with cherry & honey lentil granola 
  • Trader Joe's Pumpkin Greek Yogurt - SO GOOD! I hope they make this year round.
  • Trader Joe's Cinnamon Crumpets toasted & topped with apple butter
  • Ashley's Apple Cider Muffins - These are gluten free & still light & fluffy. They have just the right hint of apple cider tang & are delicious topped with homemade apple butter.
  • Bananas & crunchy peanut butter



Out to eat at an Asian restaurant
  • Tofu & Vegetable Soup
  • Spring Rolls
  • Mountain Pie Pizzas over the campfire
  • Green Salad
  • Tortilla Pizzas topped with red onion, bell pepper, pineapple & kalamata olives
  • Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai (adapted from Tina, who adapted from Well Fed) - I followed the recipe for the sauce pretty closely, then added bell peppers, edamame, & carrots & ommitted the snap peas & chicken. It had a lot of flavor & is one of the best spaghetti squash dishes I've had so far.
Traditional choir night dinner at Mom & Pops' house.
  • Butternut Squash Quesadillas
  • Couscous stuffed peppers
  • Green salad
  • Eggplant burgers
  • Roasted potatoes
  • Skillet cooked broccoli

November 14, 2012

Great Sage & Family Time

We spent part of the past weekend visiting the Bup's aunt. We try to go a few times a year, so you might remember some of the past posts about our visits. Last time we were there, we had Tapas & Thai. It's always fun to visit & an adventure trying new foods. 

As usual, we made a stop at Trader Joe's. My favorite new finds this time were the Pumpkin Greek Yogurt & the Roasted Coconut Chips. After shopping, we headed to dinner at Great Sage Organic Green Cuisine. We dined there once before, almost 2 years ago, & I think they've increased their selection since then. I got an email with their specials, which inspired us to try it again. It was busy, which was great to see!

We started with some appetizers. I got the Autumn Apples & Baby Spinach side salad, which came topped with "roasted apples, tempeh bacon, toasted peanuts & butternut squash, tossed in a smoky maple vinaigrette & topped with crispy onions." It was delicious! I was almost wishing I had ordered the large as my meal, but when the rest of the food came, I was glad I'd ordered other items, too.

The Bup ordered the Fireside Orchard, a yummy drink of hot organic apple cider mixed with peach-mango rum. It was so good! I want to try to recreate it at home.

The three of us shared the Vietnamese Spring Rolls, which were stuffed with "raw carrot, cabbage, scallion, sesame, peppers, cashews, cilantro and herbs." They were served with a sweet & spicy chili sauce & a rich peanut sauce. I could eat that peanut sauce by itself! The spiralized beets on the side were good, too. I put some on my salad.

For our main courses, we all tried something new. The Bup got the Roasted Vegetable Bolognaise,
Roasted butternut squash, eggplant and spinach in a robust herbed red 
 wine tomato sauce tossed with rigatoni and topped with cashew 'cheese'
 and fresh basil. (Gluten-free option)
which was "roasted butternut squash, eggplant & spinach in a robust herbed red wine tomato sauce tossed with rigatoni & topped with cashew 'cheese' & fresh basil." The flavors in this were amazing!

I ordered the special that sparked our interest in the first place. It was Sweet Potato Gnocci in roasted garlic-pepper sauce topped with grilled vegtables. The gnocci was super creamy & paired so well with the sauce & roasted veggies. It was delicious!

Connie got the Green Lentil & Pumpkin Buger, a "pumpkin seed crusted vegetable burger made with green lentils, pumpkin, quinoa, green cabbage, caramelized onion, carrot and spices." It was "topped with tempeh bacon, micro mustard greens & roasted garlic aioli, & served on a toasted Kaiser roll with roasted sweet potato fries." She requested that they leave off the aioli, & when they brought it out, it was still on the burger. They took it back & made her a new one, but it was unfortunate that we had our meals & she was waiting. We all wound up finishing about the same time, but it was still frustrating.

For dessert, the Bup & I split the Four Layer Chocolate Cake, "a towering slice of moist chocolate cake with fluffy chocolate frosting, topped with rich, dark chocolate ganache." It wasn't quite what I expected, as the frosting wasn't fluffy at all, but it was sooooo chocolatey, just how we like it. :-)

The next morning, the Bup & I took a walk around the lake near Connie's house. The sun was still coming up & the air was crisp.

We went almost 4 miles & I was thankful for the cool air once we got moving!

By the time we finished, it was a gorgeous sunny day.  

After our walk, we showered & went to breakfast at the local diner.

I had blueberry pancakes, the Bup had a vegetable omelet, & Connie had a mushroom omelet. The servings were generous & the service was excellent. Our waitress even made me a half coffee-half hot cocoa mix!

We spent the day playing with the kitties & working on fixing the lights around the house.

The cats were super helpful!

We had dinner at an Asian restaurant near Connie's house. I had the tofu & vegetable soup with spring rolls. The bowl of soup was huge & filling, & the broth was perfectly seasoned.

After dinner, we packed up the car, said our goodbyes, & headed home. Great weekend! Thanks to Connie for the wonderful time.

November 12, 2012

Asian Inspired Brown Rice Noodle Bowl

We had to make a quick dinner last Thursday. I get home from work at 5:15ish, & we needed to cook & eat in an hour before heading out again. I was originally going to make a pasta with tomato sauce (that I made & froze earlier), but I was in the mood for something different. This dish came together quickly, especially with the Bup helping chop veggies while I mixed the sauce.

We had a few moments of panic when the water wouldn't come to a boil. Somehow the flame went out on the burner, but it was still pumping gas out into the air! Luckily the Bup discovered what happened before we got gassed out. Even with the set-back, we still had time to do the dishes before leaving.

I love the many flavors of Asian cooking. There is such a variety of sauces & they all have their own unique differences that really bring something to a dish. As a vegetarian, it's always a joy to go to an Asian style restaurant because their foods rely heavily on whole grains & veggies. 

This dish had equal parts crunch & chew, plus some creamy bites due to the avocado. The sauce does have a kick to it from the chili garlic sauce, so if you are sensitive to heat, you may want to omit that. It would change the flavor a bit, but it would still be good. I hope you get the chance to make this. I know we'll be making it again. I can't wait!

Asian Inspired Brown Rice Noodle Bowl
Serves 4
8 oz. brown rice noodles
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 large or 4 small bell peppers, sliced
1 jalapeno, diced
3 oz. edamame (fresh or frozen)
1 carrot, shredded
1 avocado, diced
juice from 1 lime
1/4 c rice vinegar
1 T toasted sesame oil
3-4 T Bragg Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce)
1 T natural creamy peanut butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. chili garlic sauce (like this)
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. honey
1-2 T water, if needed to thin
1/4 c peanuts

Start the heat under a large pot of water to begin to bring it to a boil. Saute the onion, bell peppers, jalapeno, carrot, & edamame over medium heat for about 6-7 minutes, or until the veggies soften. 
In a small bowl, gently toss the avocado with the fresh lime juice (this prevents browning). Set aside. Whisk all of the remaining ingredients together in a separate bowl.
Once the veggies and sauce are ready, cook the rice noodles according to package directions.*  Drain & combine noodles, veggies & sauce in a large serving bowl. Serve immediately. Top each serving with about 1 T of peanuts.
*Rice noodles take such a short time to cook that it's best to wait so that you can mix everything together as soon as they are done cooking.

Inspired by Grubarazzi's Avocado Rice Noodles

November 10, 2012

Tasty Tidbits

I seriously can't resist this tiny bundle of fur. She is truly a terror around the house & my hands are covered in little scratches, but I can't even stay mad at her!

She was so content, cuddled down in the blanket. Then I wanted to take her picture & she got all grumpy.

It was a busy week & next week is looking even busier. Deep breaths; it's going to fly by!

 This fall weather is gorgeous. Get out & enjoy the crisp, cool air. Have a great weekend everyone!

Here's what we've been eating in the last week:


  • Leftovers
  • Sandwiches
  • Brown rice with peanut sauce & steamed kale
  • Panera Bread for a lunch date! (Tomato Soup & Salad)
  • Apples


  • Tracy's Pumpkin Hazelnut Grilled Cheese - This was fantastic. I used a local raw smoked cheddar cheese in this & it blended so well with the hazelnut & pumpkin. The Bup did comment that the pumpkin made the inside of the bread mushy, but I think that was party due to my pumpkin being very wet.
  • Joy's Baked Chili Fries (minus the cheese) - These had quite the kick! I loved how crispy they got, especially since usually baked fries aren't so crisp.
  • Broccoli with celery & red onions
  • Bon Appetit's Frascatelli with Pecorino & Mustard Greens - This did not turn out like the pictures! It was still good, just not quite like we expected. My Frascatelli did not stay in nice nugget forms, so it was more of a mash than individual pieces. Still, the flavors were excellent.
  • Brown rice noodles with an Asian sauce, avocado & bell peppers
Visiting family
  • Out to eat

November 9, 2012

Kale & Feta Portobello Caps

Along with our cabbage side dish, I made baked portobello caps. They look kinda fancy, but they were super quick to make. This whole meal came together in about 40 minutes, most of which was baking time.

I don't like my portobellos to be too juicy, so I prefer to bake or grill them with the gill side down first to cook off some of the juices. After that, I turn them over, top them, & bake them a little longer until heated through.  The Bup likes his a little juicer, so when he's grilling, he'll keep mine gill side down for almost the entire cooking time.

Since kale really shrinks when it cooks, I pre-cooked it prior to topping the mushroom caps. That way it would stay on easier & I could fit more on there. It also cut down on the baking time, since the kale mixture just needed to be heated instead of complete cooking.

This meal had a lot of flavors, but they went so well together! It was surprisingly warming, which made for a perfect dinner on a crisp fall night.

Kale & Feta Portobello Caps
Serves 2-3

3 large portobello caps, washed & destemmed (save the stems)
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
3 leaves of kale, destemmed & chopped
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
3 T feta cheese, divided
3 tsp. Balsamic vinegar, divided

Preheat oven to 400*F. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Place mushroom caps gill side down on the baking sheet & bake for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, chop the stems that you removed from the caps. Cook stems, garlic, & kale in a skillet over medium heat until the kale is wilted. Add red pepper flakes if desired.

Remove baked caps from the oven & drain juices from the baking sheet. Turn the caps over so they are gill side up. Top with equal parts of the kale mixture. Then add 1 T feta cheese & 1 tsp. Balsamic vinegar each. Return to oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until heated through. They can be served now, or placed under the broiler for about 3 minutes to lightly brown the feta cheese (highly suggested!). Enjoy!

November 7, 2012

Simple Sauteed Cabbage with Carrots

Ever since last year, when we stayed at the Swiss Farm Inn, I've been periodically thinking about the cabbage side dish we had. That might seem strange, but it was delicious!

I really like pepper slaw (the not-creamy version of coleslaw), but haven't eaten much cabbage otherwise. The idea of cooking it & making it the star of a dish never really occurred to me. I finally found myself with extra cabbage, so the other night I cooked it with some shredded carrots.

It turns out that cooking cabbage aids in lowering cholesterol. Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable that is high in Vitamins K & C as well as antioxidants. It's low in calories, so it's perfect for a side dish that packs a lot of punch. I really liked it cooked - it retains its crunch & became a little sweeter than raw cabbage.

We served the cabbage with Kale & Feta Portobello Caps (recipe soon!) & sweet potato fries. Yum!

Simple Sauteed Cabbage with Carrots
Serves 4-6

1 T coconut oil (or olive oil)
1/2 of a large head of cabbage, sliced or shredded
1 carrot, grated
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. black pepper

In a large skillet (mine was cast iron), heat oil until melted. Add cabbage, cooking over medium heat for about 8 minutes. Stir occasionally. Once cabbage begins to soften, add carrots, salt & pepper. Cook another 5 minutes or until cabbage is lightly browned & soft. Season with additional salt or pepper to taste.

November 3, 2012

Tasty Tidbits

We survived Hurricane Sandy with little impact. Aside from a bit of water coming in the north wall of our basement, we were safe & secure. Tink was her typical spastic self, so I'm not sure if she knew there was a storm brewing or not. My parents' cat stopped eating & using the bathroom on Sunday because she was so nervous! She was back to eating again on Tuesday, thank goodness.

Over the weekend, the Bup bottled 2 carboys of wine. I helped a little with the corking & sampling, but that was enough. :-) It was a long weekend for me, as work was cancelled on Monday & Tuesday. I got a lot of things done that I've been trying to find time for, like making curtains for our kitchen windows & refilling/reorganizing my spice cupboard.

Hope your week went well & that everyone in the path of Hurricane Sandy is safe.

Here's what we've been eating in the last week:

  • Strawberry Banana Smoothies
  • Banana Pumpkin Peanut Butter Bread
  • Whole Wheat Pumpkin Waffles
  • Black Cherry yogurt with honey lentil granola 
  • Bulgur Porridge with dried cherries & crunchy peanut butter
  • Leftovers
  • Sandwiches
  • Eating Well's Kale & Potato Hash - This had SO much flavor! The kale/potato combination is definitely a keeper.
  • Baked beans mixed with roasted cauliflower
  • Apples

                                                          [Saturday night pizza!]

  • Jessica's Crockpot Bourbon Baked Beans - While these required some advanced prep (soaking & cooking the beans), once they were in the crockpot, the house smelled delicious all day long. I altered the recipe a little: replaced bacon with liquid smoke, used whiskey instead of bourbon, & 1/2 c sucanat instead of 1 c brown sugar. They were plenty sweet with the smaller amount of sugar. I'm sure the flavors also depend a lot on which bbq sauce you use.
  • Angela's Flat & Crispy Cornbread - I've made this before & we love it. It's not your typical cornbread, but it's great for dipping & it comes together quickly.
  • Green Salad
  • Maryea's Vegan Chili Lime Lentil Tacos topped with sauteed peppers & onions, fresh tomato salsa, & guacamole - I usually use black beans when we make tacos, so this was a nice change. The lime really added a delicious twist.
  • Green Salad
Birthday dinner for my father-in-law at Villa Rosa
  • Bruschetta
  • Vegetable Stromboli dipped in Marinara Sauce
Traditional choir night dinner at Mom & Pops' house. 
  • Linguini with Cauliflower
  • Green Salad
Bazaar Day at church
  • Vegetarian chili
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