Tuesday, April 29, 2008


If anyone other than friends ever read this blog, this may or may not bother you...

While I've titled the blog "Vegetarian", we are not strict Vegetarians. Technically, we are Pescetarians. "Pesca wha??" is usually most people's response and why I always tell people I'm Vegetarian. Chalk it up to my own laziness, but after explaining Pescetarianism 100+ times, I've lost my will to explain. To be fair, I understand most people simply haven't heard of Pescetarianism.

For my snippit of the day, I thought I'd forewarn and educate, as you may see Salmon recipes from time to time. Especially now that it's close to grilling season!

Basically, Pescetarians are Vegetarians that eat seafood. A strict Vegetarian would not. Seafood is considered an animal, and a Vegetarian would not eat it.

On a side note, you may have also heard the term Vegan. Vegan's do not eat animals, but in addition, choose not to eat animal products (eggs, butter, milk, etc).

Hopefully true Vegetarians don't black list me... I'm from the NW where the seafood roams free and fresh, and is irresistible. Plus, when you become a strict Vegetarian, it can be more difficult to get some of your body's necessary vitamins and minerals (protein, iron, etc). That's just an excuse though, because frankly, I like seafood.

Therefore, I must fully apologize to the strict Vegetarians, as you may have to skip over the occasional Salmon or Shrimp recipe. But I don't make them often, so you're probably pretty safe!

Guten Appetit!

p.s. Just a reminder that Mother's Day is coming up on May 11, and I hope you have everything planned/squared away for your wonderful mama. I'm sending my cards off today!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Moroccan Couscous

I'm lacking words for this post... what more can I say, than "It's easy and delicious, you should try it!"? Tim really liked this one, and immediately requested I make it again soon. We also had friends over, and they both had seconds. That's always a good sign. My opinion was that it was very tasty, but more of a 4 spoons (not quite 5). It didn't wow me, but it was definitely good. This makes me sound like I have reservations about this recipe, and I don't, I swear! I thought it was really good, just not great. Drat it, this review is not turning out as I wanted. I didn't sleep well last night.

Let's try again:
It's easy.
It's delicious.
You should try it!

Very solid weeknight meal, considering the speed of preparation. You chop, you saute, you're done! And it's incredibly healthy (low in calories and fat) with nothing but veggies and chickpeas, and couscous for the carb/starch.

Must. Stop. Typing. Now. I am doing nothing but babbling today... Recipe, time!!

Found this one on Healthy Recipes for Healthy Living.

Moroccan Style Spicy Couscous

1 3/4 cups vegetable broth (I would use a little more broth next time - 2 1/2 cups, as the sauce was very yummy)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp hot red pepper flakes
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger root
2 cloves minced garlic
2 fresh, sliced mushrooms (I didn't use this, as 2 mushrooms seemed pointless)
1 1/2 cups sliced carrots
1 cup sweet red pepper, chopped
1 (19 0z) can chick peas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup raisins (I didn't use these, as I don't like raisins)
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts (I used almonds, as that's what I had on hand. Turned out great)
1 cup whole wheat couscous

In a large saucepan, mix broth, cumin, coriander, hot chili pepper flakes, ginger root and garlic; bring mixture to a boil. Add mushrooms, carrots and onion and cook over medium heat 5 to 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the couscous in a medium bowl and pour 1 cup boiling water over it; cover and let sit for 5 minutes.

Add red peppers, chick peas and raisins to mushroom mix; cook 2 to 3 minutes until hot. Taste and add 1/4 tsp sea salt and pepper, if necessary. Stir in parsley.

Fluff couscous into individual serving dishes. Place vegetable mixture around the couscous and top with broth evenly distributed. (I made little couscous mounds on the plate, and then put the mix right on top with lots of sauce)

Garnish with pine nuts.

The recipe says it serves 4, but I thought this would serve 6 if you are also offering salad, or other side dishes.

Guten Appetit!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Roasted Chipotle Salsa

I'm a fan of mexican food. Ok, ok, I LOVE mexican food. If I could have, I probably would have married it. Yep, a solid veggie burrito or enchilada could serve as the only food I eat for the rest of my life. (For Tim, it would be Italian, and specifically pizza. Good thing pizza is my 2nd favorite food!)

Unfortunately for me, as soon as we stepped off the plane in Germany, it was painfully obvious how lacking they were in Mexican food (anything Latin American actually, they really are pork and potato folks over here). You know those gleaming food isles in the US with tons and tons of ethnic food?? We have none of that (sigh). I did, after a few sad months, find a Mexican store in Munich! Hip, hop, hooray! Just 1, but hey, that's all I need. And they thankfully stock some of the basics I'm used to (dried chilis,
black beans, chipotle chilis in adobo sauce, corn tortillas, etc). I think the first time I went there, I practically kissed the woman, I was so happy.

After that, we stopped pretending we liked the Fuego salsa they sell in our regular grocery store (they offer one store bought salsa option, which is Pace Picante-esk and a cross between ketchup and spaghetti sauce, with chunks of onion and green peppers). But forget all that, I now had the means to whip up our own easy, tangy, smoky salsa... I just needed a recipe.

The Roasted Chipotle Salsa recipe below had me at 'hello'. Why? Because anything with Chipotle chilis immediately has my attention.

This salsa is soooo tasty, and super easy to make! Requires a bit of chopping, some time to broil, then zap it all in a food processor, and your done.

Makes a great dip, especially if you want to offer a few options (like guacamole, this chipotle salsa, and then maybe a fresh tomato salsa). We like it best as a sauce for our Chickpea and Corn Fritters. Really, any salsa needs you have, this recipe fits the bill. It also froze well, and was just as tasty 2 weeks later.

Roasted Chipotle Salsa
from Cooking Light

1 1/2
cups chopped onion
3 medium tomatoes
6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, undrained*

* Chipotle chilis in adobo sauce are very, very hot. They are responsible for the great flavor of this salsa, but if you are not a fan of spicy heat, just use 1 chili from the can to start with.

(sorry, this is the best photo I can muster right now!)

Preheat broiler.
Place the first 3 ingredients on a baking sheet; broil for 20 minutes or until blackened, stirring often. Remove garlic cloves; squeeze to extract garlic pulp. Discard skins.
Place onion, tomatoes, and garlic in a food processor; add the remaining ingredients, and process until smooth. Serve warm or at room temperature with baked tortilla chips.

Guten Appetit!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Dirty Dozen

There was a great article was on msn a few weeks ago, called the Dirty Dozen. Did you read it?

This was an article I clicked on and thought 'wow- I'm so glad I read that, I can definitely be more focused on my organic grocery shopping now' and then promptly forgot all about it. I do that so often with great information and articles, it's scary. My hope is to rekindle the epiphony I had, and to share the article with you.

For me, it's truthfully hard, and expensive, to buy organic. There are times I stand in the grocery store and wonder if it's really worth it, debating that 60 cent difference in organic lettuce vs. regular, and then there's always the precut, prewashed bag.... don't get me started! Next the support for independent farmers comes to mind and tugs at my heartstrings. I can literally be having a debate in my head while standing in the middle of the produce section, for 10+ minutes. All over 60 cents.

Why did I love this article? It lists the 12 most important foods to focus on, due to high levels of pesticide, chemicals and hormones. Woohoo- it's like cliff notes!

Drum roll, you're top 12 foods to eat organic:

1. Meat
2. Milk
3. Coffee
4. Peaches
5. Apples
6. Sweet Bell Peppers
7. Celery
8. Strawberries
9. Lettuce
10. Grapes
11. Potatoes
12. Tomatoes

After first reading the article, apples were the only item that stuck with me. I couldn't have told you the other 11 vegetables on the list to save my life.

I'm hoping to do better the second time around!

If you'd like to read the complete article, click here.

Guten appetit!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Mac & Cheese

After featuring the two cookbooks on how to sneak healthy food into your kids meals, I thought I should try one of the recipes out... I mean, I like veggies, fun food and am a kid at heart. Right? Right.

I took a closer look at each chef's website, and I decided on a recipe from Deceptively Delicious. The Sneaky Chef is actually something I wouldn't buy. Why? A) I didn't like the recipes very much. And B) In many of the online recipes (examples from her book), she uses mostly pre-made or boxed foods and then just inserts pureed veggies.

I'm not disputing her recipes or using boxed foods for kids. I just don't believe anyone, even busy moms, need a cookbook to tell then how to crack open a box of mac & cheese, and add a 1/2 cup of pureed veggie. Or to add a veggie puree to your store bought pasta sauce. For this sort of thing, use her website to gleen a few veggie puree ideas and then add them to whatever meals you are making. No cookbook required.

If you actually want recipes, where it includes sneaking veggies into the meal, I recommend Deceptively Delicious.

I choose to make the mac & cheese recipe. The first time I ever made M&C, I was amazed how easy it was, and Jessica from Deceptively Delicious gives a GREAT recipe with either a cauliflower or squash puree option to include.

Our only complaint was that it made a pretty thick cheese sauce. Next time, I will add more milk and experiment a little. But we ate it up, it was really good! And I will be making it again, soon.

Macaroni and Cheese

Created by Jessica Seinfeld

1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni
Nonstick cooking spray
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 cup nonfat (skim) milk
1/2 cup butternut or cauliflower puree (I used cauliflower, see below)
1 1/2 cups shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese (about 8 oz.)
4 oz. (almost 1/4 cup) reduced-fat or nonfat cream cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. paprika
1/8 tsp. pepper

* Cauliflower puree: Wash and cut off florets (discard core). Steam for 8-10 minutes. Zap in food processor or blender for approximately 2 minutes with a few teaspoons of water for a smooth consistency.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the macaroni and cook according to package directions. Drain in a colander.

While the macaroni is cooking, coat a large saucepan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add the oil, then the flour, and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture resembles a thick paste but has not browned, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the milk and cook, stirring every now and then, until the mixture begins to thicken, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the vegetable puree, Cheddar, cream cheese and seasonings and stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Stir in the macaroni and serve warm.

Look at this big 'kid' lovin his mac & cheese!

Get more Deceptively Delicious recipes on the Oprah website

Guten appetit!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Curried Egg Salad, Pasta Casserole and a Disaster

Welcome Recipe Box Swap readers!

While this is an old post, it's one of our top 3 favorite meals and one I'd like to share with you. After making it a couple times, it's super easy to whip up. It's also great to double (or triple!) and to freeze (up to 2 months). Did I mention, it's delicious?!

I hope you enjoy. Thanks for visiting my food blog.


A number of days ago, I promised more egg salad recipes- curried, to be exact. Well, sit back and enjoy the internet aromas of delicious curried egg salad recipes...

Mmmm, do you smell that? No? Sniff harder. Maybe it would help if you put your nose right up next to the screen... now?

Well, maybe you don't smell anything because there has been no curried egg salad cooking at my house this past week. Sorry- April Fools? No, no. I suppose that doesn't work for promises made days earlier, does it?

Well, I will give you a consolation prize AND curried egg salad (But later this week. Please, as if you don't STILL have colored eggs in your fridge to use, I've got time).

As a consolation prize, I'm giving you our make-it-three-times-a-month, can't-get-enough, gift-to-all-our-food-loving-friends, pasta casserole. I first made this 2 years ago, and since then, I kid you not, I triple any batch I make and we have this once a week. I also gift this casserole to all friends I feel are worthy.

It is de-licious, and I feel it's time to share the pasta casserole love with you. Enjoy!

Pasta Casserole
AKA Chipotle Macaroni & Cheese, from Cooking Light

1 (7-ounce) can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained
4 cups hot cooked elbow macaroni (about 2 cups uncooked)
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup 1% low-fat cottage cheese
1 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Cooking spray
3 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 350°.

Remove 1 teaspoon adobo sauce from can; set aside. Remove 2 chipotle chiles from can; finely chop to measure 1 tablespoon. (Use half the chilis/sauce requested if you are not a spicy fan!)

Reserve remaining chiles and adobo sauce for another use. (I separate the remaining chilis and sauce into recipe portions, then put into ziplock sacks to freeze for the next time I make the casserole)

Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chopped chiles, onion, bell pepper, and garlic; cook 4 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring frequently. Sprinkle with flour; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly.

Reduce heat to medium; add tomatoes. Cook 3 minutes or until thickened. Add reserved 1 teaspoon adobo sauce, pasta, cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, milk, Parmesan, and egg; stir to combine.

Spoon pasta mixture into a 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray; top with breadcrumbs. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until bubbly. (We like a crispy top, so it usually takes up to an hour for our casserole to cook as we like it)

Last, but most importantly, remove CAREFULLY from the oven. Otherwise, you risk this:

Yep, that's fresh, yummy, delicious pasta casserole on our kitchen floor. The pan slipped right out of my mitted hands and onto the floor as I was removing it from the oven. Drats, drats, drats.

Guess it was about time for one of my usual kitchen disasters. Karma was coming back to haunt me today for all the jokes I played. The final April Fools was on me!

Hope you enjoy your casserole more than we did, this time around.

Guten appetit!