Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Three Roots & Beans Soup

My attempt at a cute name for la soupe du jour. :P The soup has three beans (yellow wax beans, green beans, and pink Lila beans) and three root vegetables (golden beet, Yukon gold potato, and red potatoes), along with some other yummy ingredients.

This morning was an early morning. Not because I had to get to work early (like Friday and Monday), but because the girls have gotten used to waking up early with me. We just need to adjust their other sleeping times to make up for the hour they are losing in the morning.

I asked J, as we were making breakfast sandwiches with the pumpkin biscuits, slices of Tofutti cheese (orange for J, white for me), and Yves faux Canadian bacon, what she wanted to do. She wanted to make soup! So, we made soup, in the slow cooker.

I dreamed of minestrone for some reason last night. This soup is by no means a minestrone (not sure what makes a soup a minestrone...must figure that out...), but it's a very full (and hopefully filling) soup.

1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, chopped (part of our Fairway haul)
1 large clove garlic, minced (EO)
1 golden beet, chopped (EO)
6 small red potatoes, chopped
1 medium Yukon gold potato, chopped (Fairway)
1 - 1/2 lbs green and yellow wax beans, ends snapped off and broken into 1 - 2 inch pieces
1 cup tiny orange/yellow tomatoes (J picked them Saturday at the market)
beet greens, washed and cut into small pieces (EO)
5 cups water
1 square not-chicken vegetable bouillon
1/2 cup pastini (stars!)
1 cup cooked Lila Rancho Gordo beans (grown by Mexican farmers participating in the Rancho Gordo-Xoxoc Project)
Splash of apple cider vinegar

What to do
It's a slow cooker soup, so bring out the slow cooker and plug it in. Put it to hot. W hen it's a little warm, add the olive oil.
Chop the onion and garlic, and add to the warm pot and olive oil. Stir.
Chop the root vegetables and add to the pot. Stir.
Add the water and the bouillon square. Stir.
Wash, trim, and break the yellow and green beans into 1 - 2 inch pieces, and add to the pot. Stir.
Wash and add the tomatoes to the pot. Stir.
Add the Lila beans. Stir.
Take the beet greens off the stems (J helped here), wash them, and cut them up. I used kitchen sheers because I was holding A by this point and couldn't use a knife. Add the greens to the pot. Stir.
After 10-15 minutes (give the greens time to wilt), add the pastini. (Add more water if you think you need it at this point too.) Stir.
Add the splash of apple cider vinegar. Stir.
Wait until lunchtime, and serve!

Any bean would probably work here. I had made these beans up over the weekend and have been eating them as I need beans. They are quite good, with a depth of flavor that I'm not used to in my normal beans. That's why I paid the big bucks for them though -- the taste of RG beans is supposed to be outstanding!

The apple cider vinegar is to combat the bitterness of the greens. I know that J likes the greens (we've eaten them before), but I cook them with a splash of vinegar to take the bitter edge off. So, I added that splash to the soup. Should work.

I ate this soup for dinner. By the time I got home tonight, as you can see from the pictures, the soup was more of a stew. I think that D must have left it on high for most of the day and not turned it to low or warm after lunch. Oh well. Still delish! :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

A, J, and Spike

Spike, doing what he does best -- lounging in the various seats around the apartment. This is J's seat. He's using the towel as a pillow. Gotta love it!

J, eating her yellow bean barley soup and sitting in her "special" chair. This is the chair we bought initially for A to have a seat at the table, but J took it over immediately. Just as well, because it doesn't have a tray and has to be pushed right up to the table. A inherited J's tray seat...
And she loves it! Lunchtime on the weekends with Mommy and J is the best!

Drop Pumpkin Biscuits

Tonight I made pumpkin biscuits to go with my eggplant would-be chili leftovers. The would-be chili is still blah, even after the flavors/spices have had a day to blend (plus the full day in the slow cooker). But the pumpkin biscuits are light and airy and full of pumpkiny-goodness! Together, a filling meal.

Drop Pumpkin Biscuits


1 cup freshly milled spelt flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup + 1 spoonful canned organic pumpkin

1/2 cup almond milk + 1 T lemon juice

What to do

Preheat oven to 400 (415 for my sad oven).
Mix the dry ingredients together.
Add the pumpkin and the milk with lemon juice. Mix together with a spoon or your fingers if you need to. (I needed to.)
Drop biscuits onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper. I made 13 with this recipe.
Bake for 15-20 minutes.

This is a wet biscuit dough. For a drier biscuit dough, use 1/2 the pumpkin. I think if you make the drier biscuit dough, you could roll these out and use a biscuit cutter with them. But they are perfect like this for drop, and they have more pumpkin in them...and who doesn't love pumpkin!

These biscuits are based on the topping for FatFreeVegan's Celebration Pot Pie. I won't be making that any time soon (I need a large kitchen, large fridge, people to eat the large quantities of food it makes), but I did like the idea for the pumpkin biscuit topping.

Eggplant Would-be Chili

This wasn't quite a fail. But it was not a success. And I won't be making it again.

I had two gorgeous eggplants to use. Gorgeous. Not the full purple ones, but the streaks of purple on white. Gorgeous. I wanted a soup with eggplant and garbanzos (I had cooked up garbanzos earlier in the week and wanted to finish them off).

I also wanted a chili. To be chili, a dish needs cumin, chili peppers/powder, and oregano. I like my chili with beans (come on, vegan here!). And I wanted my chili to have eggplant.

I was out of onions, so this chili didn't get any onions. (I didn't even have onion powder or granules, only garlic.) I had a little bit of red lentils that I thought would add good texture and iron, and millet remaining from a lunch meal for me earlier in the week. I don't know why this turned out so blah.

I chopped up my eggplants, chopped up two small red turnips, added the golden zuchinni I had cut up for J (she asked for "chinni" and then ate one bite of one piece), about a cup of cooked millet, my garbanzos (about a cup), cumin, oregano, Mexican chili powder, 1/3 cup dry red lentils, and 1 1/4 cups water. Hello slowcooker Friday night, cook please so that I have chili for Saturday.

Ok, maybe I know what happened. I was afraid of the spices (I wanted J to be able to eat, and the Mexican chili powder has been too much for her in the past), so I didn't use enough initially. When I tasted the would-be chili in the morning, I added more. But it just wasn't enough. It looked like chili, but the taste just wasn't there. I added fresh oregano and roasted squash seeds when J and I ate it for lunch, which really improved the dish, but still, not something I'm making again. And J had a really hard time eating it...because she didn't like it at all! Eck!

The leftovers...I'm thinking maybe putting them in bread or something. We'll see as the week progresses.

Winter Squash and Tofu Soup

It looked like cornmeal. Yummy cornmeal. And made me really want cornbread or popped corn or anything corn. But no corn involved. I did snack on the popped pumpkin squash seeds I made while roasting the squash...

I based the soup on a recipe in Robin Robertson's One-Dish Vegetarian Meals cookbook. I roasted my long pumpkin squash on Saturday, and needed to use up some of the goodness. A can't eat it all herself!

I also had a block of soft tofu in the fridge, taking up precious space needed for our $200 haul from Fairway... I'm a little afraid of tofu, so I tend to use it blended in things, made into brownies, etc. One day I will be brave and try some of those great sounding and looking tofu recipes out there, but until that day, beans are my staple and tofu will be incorporated into my dishes.

Here's Sunday's dinner

Winter Squash and Tofu Soup
1 1/2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
1 huge clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped (frozen) celery
1 large carrot, chopped
1 Yukon gold potato, chopped
1 1/4-1 1/2 cup roasted pumpkin squash
5 cups water
1 block soft tofu, crumbled
2 cups frozen brown rice
1/4-1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2-1 tsp coarse sea salt
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/2-1 tsp no-salt seasoning
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 cup (or more) nutritional yeast

What to do
Heat big LeCreuset, heat olive oil, saute onion for 5 minutes. Add garlic, saute 2-3 minutes more. (I forgot the garlic, and sauteed and added it after the soup was a soup; it still worked. :))
Add the vegetables, water, seasonings, nutritional yeast, and rice. Crumble the tofu into the pot. Cook for 30 minutes, until vegetables are soft.
When all the veggies are soft, puree the soup, with an immersion blender or by batches in a blender or food processor. (The immersion blender makes this step SUPER easy.) Taste and add more salt or nutritional yeast or no-salt seasoning, whatever you think it needs.

It's a full meal in a bowl. You could serve it with fresh parsley, but I couldn't find mine. (Turns out it was still in a bag in the living room, having been forgotten the previous day! I crashed when putting the kiddies to bed after our Fairways trip, and D didn't remember that the parsley was hiding out in a bag with sweet potatoes and other non-refrigeratables.)

J and I ate our soup with extra sprinkles (aka nutritional yeast) and I added some sprinklings of coarse sea salt to mine. YUM.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pizza Dough

J loves pizza. D loves pizza. I hate buying delivery pizza because we end up with huge boxes in the fridge (none of us ever finish our pizzas). Our fridge isn't very big. The pizza boxes are big. (And D refuses to eat the cheese-less pizza that J and I get, so we will never finish a full delivery pizza...)

I've been looking for an easy-to-make pizza dough recipe that **doesn't** require making the day before and sitting in the fridge, because you know that's not going to happen. Also, Lynn has been bragging about making Vegan Dad's stromboli with Whole Foods brand frozen pizza dough. (Our freezer, like our fridge, is small. And filled with frozen veggies, frozen breastmilk, and flours, so no room for pizza dough.)

Today, while checking out the Disposable Aardvark blog -- which, btw, I will totally be relying on when J starts school for great vegan kid bento lunch ideas -- I found a relatively quick and easy pizza dough recipe. I will be making it later this week!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Hearty Tomato, Fennel, and Kasha Soup

Saturday was a big cooking day for me. I had lots of yummy vegetables that I didn't want to go to waste, and I needed to make some good food for J for the week.

The inspiration for this soup was the fennel I bought. It's been sitting in the fridge for a week -- I didn't know what to do with it. I looked in all my cookbooks for something that sounded good -- or that even included fennel! Not much.

I decided that the fennel looked like celery, and so maybe I could use it like celery. The most interesting recipe I saw for fennel was a Mediterranean-style soup, but it required some vegetables (and beans) that I didn't have. I did have crushed tomatoes...and who doesn't love a good tomato soup on a rainy day?

1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 cup baby carrots, chopped
1 fennel bulb + stems, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 no-chicken bouillon square
4 cups hot water
2 bay leaves
1 tsp no-salt seasoning
1 28-oz crushed tomatoes
fennel fronds, chopped
1 cup cooked garbanzos
1 1/2 cups cooked small white beans
1/2 cup uncooked kasha

What To Do
Make the "fennel mirepoix" - warm the LeCreuset over medium heat, add and warm the olive oil, then add the chopped onion, carrots, and fennel. Saute for 10 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and saute for another three minutes.
Add the bouillon square and hot water, bay leaves, seasoning, and crushed tomatoes.
Add the garbanzos and white beans. Mix well. Add the kasha. Cover and cook for 30-60 minutes.
Add the fennel fronds, and keep soup warm on low until ready to serve.

How it turned out
D and J had this soup for dinner Saturday (while I was out celebrating Sera's birthday!) and both liked it. They had some breadsticks with the soup. I ate a bowl when I came home. The fennel was still a little crunchy (I had hoped for that) and the soup had a slight licorice smell and taste. D called it a "tea-smell" -- I think my nursing tea has fennel in it and he associated the smell with my tea. It was much thicker than I thought it would be - but in a good way.

All the recipes I saw with fennel only called for the bulb. I thought that was such a waste! There are stalks and fronds to work with too!!! I used everything from my fennel in this soup. I also used up my last onion and most of my garlic, so those are getting added to the shopping list too.

Yellow Eye Barley Stew

I finally received my beans from Rancho Gordo! I had ordered two packages of Yellow Indian Woman Beans, but I received two packages of Yellow Eye Beans. When I contacted Rancho Gordo, they said to keep the Yellow Eyes and they would ship me the Yellow Indian Woman Beans. I took this as a sign that I should make something immediately with the Yellow Eyes.

I really wanted a thick, earthy stew, so I chose barley as the grain to match with the Yellow Eyes.

I've also been reading a bit lately about the "traditional" preparations/soup bases, especially in European cooking. A mirepoix is the basic French base for soups: onion, carrot, celery. So, that's what I started with vegetable-wise.

The beans were soft and delicious. This soup doesn't overpower them, and all the vegetables went very well with the flavor of the beans. The barley was a good complement too.

1 cup uncooked Rancho Gordo Yellow Eye Beans, soaked overnight
1 small yellow onion, chopped (KF*)
1/2 - 1 cup organic celery, chopped (KF)
1 cup organic baby carrots, chopped (KF)
1 1/2 T organic extra virgin olive oil (KF)
4 large organic cabbage leaves, cleaned, rolled, and chopped (EO*)
1 organic golden beet, chopped (EO)
2 organic purple turnips, chopped (EO)
6 very small organic red potatoes, chopped (KF)
1 cup uncooked pearl barley (KF)
1/2 cup sliced exotic mushrooms (FW*)
1 heaping T organic no-salt seasoning (C*)
1 organic Rapunzel no-chicken bouillon square (NYN*)

What To Do
Soak beans overnight. Cook in soaking water, plus more water if needed, for 45 - 60 minutes.
Start with the mirepoix: heat large LeCrueset, when warm, add olive oil; when olive oil is warm, add onion, carrot, and celery and saute for 10 minutes. It took me a little longer because I used frozen chopped celery, which brought a bit of water into the mix. Although, I should add that if the mirepoix starts to stick, you should add a little water to keep everything from charring on the pan.
Add a bit of water and the bouillon square, and stir to mix well and break up/dissolve the bouillon.
Start adding the other vegetables, ideally the ones that take the longest to cook (potatoes, beet, turnips) first. I did not put anything in the right order, and it still turned out great. :)
Add in more water (to cover vegetables) and seasoning. Add the rinsed barley, make sure the barley is covered by the water, and cover.
When the Yellow Eye Beans are almost done cooking, add them and the cooking water to the stew pot. Cover and cook. Barley needs approximately 45 minutes to cook. The stew should simmer for at least that long; longer will make it even tastier!

Serve and enjoy -- it's a perfect stew for a rainy Saturday. This stew should make 6 servings. J and I ate it for lunch, and I had four servings to put into the fridge for meals later this week. Like most of my stews, this will need some water added when reheated because the barley will soap up the broth. I guess it could be eaten as a not-stew if you didn't add the water when reheating.

*KF - Key Food; EO - Evolutionary Organics (my favorite farmer at the market); FW - Fairway; C - Costco; NYN - New York Naturals (my local natural market).

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Photos added!

Photos of recent posts...

Pumpkin Muffins!!!

Saturday Stew (aka Potato, Squash, and Wild Rice Stew)

Stuffed Squash with Quinoa and Greens

Sweet Black Bean Chili

Sweet Potato Biscuits...and a close-up to see how scrumptious they are!!!

And finally, a photo of J enjoying her Saturday stew with one of her favorite vegetables in spoon - Brussels sprouts! Yay!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Pumpkin Muffins!!!

It being fall, and I loving pumpkin, I decided to make my own pumpkin muffins to supplement the pieces of pumpkin breads that my loving D brings home for me on days when he takes J for lunch to our friendly veg-Ital shop on Washington for a vegetable or soy pattie and maybe some vegan ice cream.

These muffins are perfect for breakfast or a snack or a second breakfast. They are light and moist (although if you add the extra T of flax below, they are less moist). It's hard to stop after just one!

I've worked on this recipe a bit and tried it a few different ways. These muffins have been devoured, so I am making them regularly now (or as often as I can get organic canned pumpkin!). I need to get some more pumpkin from the store on my way home tonight, as we finished the last of these for breakfast this morning. :)

2 T ground golden flax plus 6 T water
1 can organic canned pumpkin
1/4 cup organic oil (canola or sunflower -- don't use olive)
1/3 cup maple syrup (I'm now using the HUGE container that D brought back from Canada on his last trip)
1 1/2 cups spelt flour (ground by the farmer!)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 T flax, if desired (I find adding the extra flax makes the muffins less "wet" after baking)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground tumeric
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 - 1 cup chopped nuts (I use pecans)
12 whole nuts to top muffins
cinnamon sugar, ground nutmeg, etc for topping muffins
12 biodegradable muffin liners

What To Do
Preheat the oven to 370 F (350 F for those of you without finicky ovens).
Whisk the flax and water in a small dish and set aside while you prepare everything else.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, oil, and maple syrup.
In a large bowl, stir together the spelt flour, baking soda and powder, salt, and spices. Add the extra ground flax if using.
Whisk the flax and water together again and add to the pumpkin mixture, whisking to combine. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir or whisk to combine. Make sure to get any pockets of flour incorporated into the batter. Add the chopped nuts if using.
Prepare your muffin pan with the muffin liners. Fill the tin. Top each with a whole pecan or other nut. Sprinkle the tops with freshly ground nutmeg or cinnamon or cinnamon sugar, or whatever you may like.
Put in the oven for 35 minutes. If your oven runs hot, check at 30 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center of one of the middle muffins should come out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Try to wait until they've cooled a little before you start to devour them!

Green Beans and Cinnamon Yogurt Dipping Sauce

J loves picking green beans at the market. *loves* loves * loves* picking them.

Saturday we got a whole new bunch of green beans and yellow wax beans, but we still had half our haul of green beans from the previous week. So, I put J to work. I showed her how to snap off the ends and break the beans into smaller pieces. She and I got all the beans ready, washed them, them put them on the stove with water for 10-15 minutes to cook (covered).

After a trip to the playground, I chopped and sauteed 1/2 yellow onion in some olive oil, then added the beans to warm them up again. I added in some Earth Balance to make it all super yummy.

Before cooking the onion and beans, I made up a little dipping sauce for J: ground cinnamon sprinkled in a container, one small pinch of saffron threads, and some vanilla soy yogurt. I let the sauce sit for 5-10 minutes (longer probably would have been better) before serving.

I put some of the green beans and a big dollop of the dipping sauce on J's plate. She happily ate everything. And then I happily ate some too. Yummy and simple. The sauce was very cinnamony - this is a good cool weather sauce.

Saturday Stew

This stew was excellent! ...and probably deserves a better name than Saturday Stew...

I wanted to use up some of my veggie stores before going to the farmers' market. J and I put this stew together in the morning between making/eating breakfast, getting A to sleep for a nap, and heading out to the market, where we of course bought lots more vegetable goodness.

1 big tomato (mistakenly bought or given me by one of the farmers last week), chopped
1 cup cooked black beans
1 golden squash, sliced into rounds and then halved or quartered
1 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups Brussels sprouts, halved
6 small red potatoes, scrubbed and chopped
1 cup wild rice mix
1 no-chicken vegetable bouillon cube
olive oil

What I did
I started by chopping the onion, heating up my huge LeCreuset, and warming the oil. Then I sauteed the onion for a few minutes.
J picked out six of our little red potatoes, which I then scrubbed, cut the eyes out of, and cut up.
I peeled the butternut squash, scooped out the insides, and cut it up. I then cut the rest of the veggies. I had already "peeled" (not quite the right word, but I'm not totally sure what to call it) the Brussels sprouts earlier in the week, so I just had to cut them in half.
I added the veggies as I cut them to the pot, where I had already add the water and two bouillon squares. This process took an hour or so, between all the other stuff we were doing. I kept it on low-medium heat.

Maybe 15 minutes before we left for the market, I added the black beans and J helped me add one cup of a wild rice mix that I got at MOM's last time we were down in Maryland. (I kept wavering on adding the black beans, because I really wasn't sure about black beans with potatoes and squash. I decided that I needed to use them, and they were the only cooked, non-frozen beans that I had on hand, so I put them in. I don't know why I was so wary about adding them -- they were excellent in this soup, and provided a nice contract to the whites, reds, and browns of the rice, and the orange of the squash.)

We left it on low heat on my simmer burner and spent 1 1/2 hours at the market getting all sorts of fall vegetables from Evolutionary Organics and a NJ farm (hello way too many green and yellow beans!) and some Freekah and spelt flour from Cayoga Pure Organics, listening to Cajun zydeco music (two fiddlers and one accordionist), and stopping off at the Brooklyn Public Library to drop off and pick up a book.

The apartment smelled delicious when we walked in. J asked for some more zydeco music; I didn't have any on my iTunes, so we settled for some South American, and got ourselves some stew for an early lunch (it was 11:40). Not only did is smell like it should be eaten again and again, it looked gorgeous! So many colors and textures! One bowl each of thick, filling stew later, J and A were ready for their naps. Ahh...sleep...full tummies...

I gave J this stew for lunch on Sunday, adding more water to it when I heated it up on the stove (the rice had soaked up all the broth). It was just as delish and possibly more filling the second time around (I ate the bit that didn't fit into J's bowl). She's got probably three more servings for meals this week. Yum.

Soup Fail

It's hard to mess up soup, but I did it.

I had grand dreams for this soup...winter squash plus adzuki beans plus apples. It should have been delish. But alas and alack for my poor soup, I decided to cook it in the slow cooker overnight (because I got home very late last night from Penn Station to see my Mom and Sister, who were there for two hours between trains).

For posterity (thanks Lynn), here's what I did - and what not to do again.

1 1/2 cups cooked adzuki beans
1 medium long pumpkin squash, thing rings, then thirds
1 1/2 granny smith apples, sliced very thin
1 red delicious apple, sliced very thin
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1-2 T olive oil
1-2 tsp frozen fresh lime juice
two shakes black pepper
two shakes ground cinnamon
pinch ground cloves
2 vegan buillion cubes (Rapunzel)
4 cups boiling water

What I did -- Where did I go wrong?
First, I cooked up 1 cup of dry adzuki beans earlier in the day. It made 3 1/2 cups cooked. I used 1 1/2 in the Failed Soup, and put the other two in the fridge for later this week.
I needed to use up some of the too many apples that my m-i-l keeps bringing over, so I decided to use apples with the squash. I used 1 1/2 granny smith -- 1/2 because J and I used the other 1/2 for our breakfast oatmeal! :) I peeled and cored the apples, then sliced them thin.
I peeled the pumpkin squash, scooped out the insides, and the cut each half into rings and the rings into thirds.
I chopped the onion and minced the garlic and ginger. I put those into the crockpot after I heated it up and added some olive oil (letting the oil get warm first). I let them "cook" for five minutes before adding everything else.
Add all the other ingredients, stir well, put on low to cook. Stir once more before going to bed. (This is where I think I went wrong. The cooking for many hours killed the soup, I think.)
In the morning, turn to warm, and use immersion blender to puree half the soup.

It smelled funky. I put a bunch in a container for me to take to work, with red quinoa. We'll see how it tastes in a little bit...but I was not subjecting J to this today. I told D not to even bother trying to feed it to her. We still have Saturday's wonderful stew (I will post about that later), so she can eat that today. :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My Legume Love Affair Round Up for October is Posted!!

As I mentioned on Halloween, I entered my sweet black bean chili in my first blog event -- My Legume Love Affair # 16 (October 2009). Jeanne from Cook Sister! just emailed to let me know that (drumroll please)

The Round Up is posted here!

Woo hoo!

Now, to improve my photography skills for my next blog event entry. :P

Quinoa Stuffed Squash

Monday night for dinner, I made stuffed squash for me and D. (J ate some golden orange soup.) I also sauteed up some swiss chard and kale that I mixed up with some quinoa, and made some baby red potatoes.

I needed to use up some more of the golden orange soup from last week (it's getting on in age there). That's actually what inspired this whole meal. D had made J the soup for dinner, and I was looking at it thinking that it would be a good base for squash stuffing. I had been dreaming about stuffed squash all day at work. Dream, meet the means.

Ingredients for the stuffing

1 cup cooked red quinoa

1 cup
golden orange soup
3 Swiss chard leaves
1/2 pomegranate

1/4 cup golden raisins

1-2 T pine nuts

Ingredient to be stuffed

1 carnival squash

What I did

To start, while feeding J dinner, I rinsed and cooked one cup of red quinoa. I think the red quinoa is just so pretty. Rinsing is essential, as I've learned. It takes the bitter coating off the small grains, so that they taste MUCH better!

I also washed, rolled, and julienned three mixed Swiss Chard leaves. I then quickly and lightly microwaved steamed them (one minute at 5 power). First ingredient into the bowl.

Looking around the kitchen, I wanted something sweet and thought,
raisins! I pulled out my organic golden raisins and put approximately 1/4 cup into the bowl of stuffing wonders. Then J added some to her soup. And some pine nuts (I had already taken those out of the fridge to add to the squash.)
I had a pomegranate that my mom bought me, sitting on the table, just waiting for something to be made with it, so I used half it, scooping/pulling out the little pom gems and any juice that came along. More sweetness and a little bit of liquid.

I added a cup of the golden soup to my bowl of stuffing wonders.

(Sometime while preparing the stuffing and cooking the quinoa, I pre-heated the oven to 410F.)

I cut the carnival squash in half and scooped out the seeds and string. (It did not want to be cut! J thought it would be funny to keep poking me as I was struggling with the huge knife and the not-to-be-cut squash. It was not funny.)

When the quinoa finished cooking, I took one cup of it and added it to my bowl of stuffing wonders -- chard, raisins, pom, and golden soup -- mixing everything together well. (I saved the rest of the quinoa for other purposes.)
Then I spooned the mixture into the squash halves, topped each with some pine nuts, and placed them in my brownie/roasting/all-purpose pan with a bit of water (maybe 1/2 - 1 inch). (I had enough of the stuffing mixture left to fill another squash half. I saved the stuffing for J to have for lunch today.)
I popped the pan in the oven right before I went to put the girls to bed. If I was going to be in the kitchen, I would have covered the squash with foil for the first 20-25 minutes of roasting, but I didn't want to give D any more complicated directions than, take out when the timer goes off.

I set the time for 40 minutes. This is another step that I would change. I would set it for 50 minutes instead, or maybe even 60.
D turned off the oven after the 40 minutes (I was still getting the girls to sleep), but didn't take the squash out. I don't know how much longer they sat in the oven, but it was all good. [I would add the extra ten minutes because, although everything was cooked, the squash (bottom) could have been a little more tender. Just my preference. :)]

For the side greens and quinoa, I was inspired by a recipe for Swiss Chard in Dreena Burton's Eat, Drink, & Be Vegan.
I saved the rest of the chard and kale that I could (that's what I get for forgetting about two bunches in the crisper!), washed and dried the leaves, rolled and julienned them. I heated my saute pan, added some sesame oil, and when it was warm, added the greens and some salt and pepper. I sauteed them for 2-3 minutes, then turned off the heat and added a bit of Bragg's and some more sesame oil. When I put them on the plates, I added in some more red quinoa and mixed together. (The Bragg's was a bit overpowering without the quinoa, so note to self: don't use Bragg's next time. Buy some tamari.)
D and I ate dinner as the night wore on, adding in some sourdough bread (thanks Rita!) with Earth Balance and Tofutti cream cheese and the baby red potatoes slathered with Earth Balance. All together, very filling. But I should have made the potatoes with everything else, so that we could have been filled up at one sitting. Lesson learned, to be employed next time. And the stuffing was quite delish - toasty pine nuts, splashes of juice in the pom seeds, softened raisins...

Operation Chocolate Covered Kindness!

Chocolate Covered Katie is having a Page View Charity Drive!

How it works: Every time someone views a page on her blog, Foodbuzz pays her a little bit of money. She's going to send all of the money raised this month to The Enough Project.


The goals of the Enough Project are to end genocide and stop crimes against humanity.

So check out Chocolate Covered Katie's blog and look at all the neat pages and suggestions. Yummy food and raising money for a charity!