Posts filed under ‘Recipes’
Costa Rica is a veggie paradise. Fresh (local) fruits and salads and the nutritious and flavorful staples described below are all this woman needs to be happy. Well, along with strong Costa Rican coffee and a daily hit of chocolate.
The “casado” is the ubiquitous Costa Rican plate. It consists of rice, black beans, plantain, cabbage salad, a soft corn tortilla and usually some meat. The marriage of the flavours and textures are what make this plate of food delicious, and their name “casado” means just that, “marriage”.
As a vegetarian, I ate this almost daily on my visits to Costa Rica, simply asking the chef to omit the meat.
And then, in the morning, the rice and the black beans are once again presented in the form of Gallo Pinto, a mixture of the black beans, rice, onion, herbs and spices, sometimes served with eggs.
I have made the Gallo Pinto at home, though there is a Costa Rican sauce called Lizano which the North American version is missing:
- 3 cups cooked rice
- 2 cups cooked black beans
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon green or red pepper
- 1-2 tablespoons coriander
- 3 tablespoons Lizano “Salsa Ingles” (only available in Central America)
- alternative: 1 tablespoon worcester sauce
- Bunch of fresh cilantro (to taste – I like a lot)
Sear garlic with the onions on medium heat. Add beans and cook for 3 more minutes. Add coriander and salsa lizano (or worcestershire sauce) and stir well. Sprinkle liberally with fresh cilantro bits.
Try this easy little burst of Central America right in your kitchen and think of me missing all my northern family and friends in the coming months.
When I taste something delicious in a restaurant, I want to try to figure out how to make it at home. But of course it has to be simple and I usually have to try to make it “healthier”. Derek hates when I do this.
On Friday I had dinner at Churchill’s again. I had promised that I would give it a second chance, and a neighbour’s birthday gathering was planned there – perfect opportunity.
There is nothing on the menu that I would order as is. I am veg mostly, but do occasionally eat fish and seafood when I’m out. I avoid dairy as much as possible, unless it’s butter baked into a delicious treat :).
I ended up ordering the same thing I had when I visited in the summer, the Asian Beef Salad with the beef on the side for my beefy companion (husband). The salad on its own is really delicious. It is not filling, because there is no substantial protein source, but it tastes great.
On Sunday, I had a couple of hours on my own at home and I attempted to recreate the dressing. I’m very happy with the result:
Asian Sesame Ginger Salad Dressing
3 ounces rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce (I used half soy, half tamari)
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp white sesame seeds
1 tbsp fresh minced ginger
I doubled the recipe and it’s in the fridge for this week’s salads.
We had terrible service again at Churchill’s. Our table of 7 was irritated, and the poor guy across from me kept trying to get the server’s attention to order another drink. Another guy at the table said he likes the ambiance there, but everyone agreed that the food is totally mediocre and overpriced and the service is really the pits.
Unless it’s because I’m invited there for a particular occasion, it’s off my list.
During my Sunday kitchen time, I also made two other delicious and nutritious treats just for me. I am going to get the kids to try the first one, but I think the second one is too rich-tasting for their palate:
Blueberry Chia Pudding
Makes 4 servings
2 1/2 c frozen blueberries
1 tbsp Artisana coconut butter (coconut oil would probably work too, or you could leave this out)
1/3 c chia seeds (ground is better but I only had whole in the pantry)
Blend until smooth. Refrigerate in portioned containers for at least an hour, and up to a few days. A refreshing post-run treat.
Calories per serving: 122
Chocolate Protein Fudge
Makes 8 1″ squares
4 Tbsp Artisana coconut butter
1 scoop Sunwarrior chocolate raw vegan protein
2 Tbsp cocoa powder (the pure unsweetened kind)
1 frozen banana
Blend all the ingredients in a blender or food processor until they are smooth and stick together. Fill an ice cube tray or mini muffin tin or similar with the mixture and freeze. It’s like eating a fudgicle with a banana undertone.
Calories per square 77
And last but not least, tonight I made a new pancake recipe for dinner (Lil C’s special dinner request). It’s another oatmeal pancake, but I blended the oats into flour before I added it to the batter. I think the boys preferred the texture and they looked more like Nana’s famous pancakes (which are a fluffy and perfectly cooked pancake made with Aunt Jemima mix, milk and egg).
Blended Oatmeal Pancakes
Makes approx 12
1 c whole wheat flour
2 c oats (either quick or old-fashioned)
1 1/4 c of water
1 1/4 c of milk (recipe calls for all milk)
pinch of salt
3 egg whites
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 c coconut oil
Blend all the ingredients in the blender. Pour onto hot pan in 1/4 c portions.
I made the batter this afternoon and refrigerated it in the blender pitcher until I was ready to make the pancakes at dinner time, and it worked fine.
Calories per pancake 148
So, any good recipes y’all have to share with me? I just finished the full Friday Night Lights series and have found myself with “y’all” as a new addition to my everyday lexicon.
The first day of school gave me a ton of blog fodder. I was left with many first impressions, but discussing them at this point would be premature, and perhaps unfair. So instead, I will leave you with a couple of recipes that have been popular in the house this week. Both recipes and a carrot loaf from a mix (with a few add-ins) took me about one hour from start to finish (not counting chilling time).
This first recipe was inspired by peanut butter balls and requested by Derek:
No-Bake Sunflower Seed Butter Balls w/Rice Krispies Cereal
adapted from recipe by Rachel Keller on AllHomemadeCookies.com
Makes approx 24 balls
Ingredients:1/2 cup sunflower seed butter 1/4 cup honey 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 2-3 cups of crispy rice cereal (I used about 2.25)
- Combine the sunflower seed butter, honey, and vanilla.
- Stir in enough cereal to make balls. (Wet your hands before rolling the mixture into balls.)
- Place the balls on parchment paper and freeze or chill. They should keep for at least a month in the freezer though, based on the rate of consumption around here, I’m not sure the freezer life matters.
You could use peanut butter or other nut butter and these would be delicious; just don’t serve them when Lil D is around.
Serving Size – 1 ball, Calories 49, Carbs 6, Fat 2, Protein 1
Very Sweet Easy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
Ingredients:1 1/4 cup quick cooking oats (not instant; I think regular might work too) 1 3/4 cup crispy rice cereal (I used Rice Krispies) 1/3 cup honey 1/3 cup brown sugar 1/3 cup canola oil 1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used mint chocolate chips)
- Prepare 8 x 8 baking dish or similar size bowl with cooking spray and line a small baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine the oats and cereal in a mixing bowl and set aside.
- In a small saucepan combine sugar, honey and oil. Heat at medium high until boiling. Let boil for one minute. Remove from heat.
- Combine hot liquid mixture with oats and cereal mixture.
- Transfer to baking dish and sprinkle with chocolate chips.
- When cool enough to touch, to transfer to baking sheet and press to flatten.
- Cut into sixteen bars or squares.
Note: These are VERY sweet, but also very good; more a dessert than a snack. I might try them with less or maybe even without brown sugar next time, a little more honey or perhaps brown rice syrup, and maybe with half the oil and some applesauce to replace the other half… I might suggest mashed banana instead of oil/sugar, but it won’t work for me because the boys pick out the banana taste and reject it (except fresh or in banana bread). Or now, as I write this, I’m thinking pureed dates… but that would require getting out the food processor.
Nutrition Facts (as made)
Serving Size – 1 granola bar
Calories 164, Carbs 23, Fat 7, Protein 2
Last week I mentioned that I was going to write about fad diets today. Well, with a little jet lag and a lot of work, it didn’t happen. However, you can probably guess that I’m not a fan of fad diets, and in keeping with my anti-fad diet theme, I’m gonna give you a recipe that I’m sure fits within NO fad diet.
If you scroll to the bottom, I still have my usual Fitness Friday report.
Improvised Ice Cream Pie: Weekday Special Dessert
I over-baked some blondies. They were harder than my kitchen counter. I put them in a container and looked at them daily for a week. And then I remembered this recipe for banana split cake.
But that recipe is for a special occasion cake. So I used it as inspiration to create something simpler from ingredients I had on hand.
Waste not want not right?
Improvised Ice Cream Pie with Cookie Crumb Crust
Approx 1.5 cups of crushed blondies, brownies, cookies of any kind. You could even save the crumbs from the bottom of few boxes of store-bought cookies (or Graham cracker crumbs).
Approx 3/4 L of neopolitain ice cream or any flavor you prefer.
1 large banana (frozen if you want to serve immediately).
6 large strawberries
1. Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap making sure that you have a large enough piece to drape over the sides.
2. Set side 1/4 c of the cookie crumbs. If you are using cookies that have a high fat content (like homemade choc. Chip cookies or blondes) microwave them for 30 seconds or so until they’re a bit warm and press them into the bottom of the pan. If you are using Graham cracker crumbs, you will need to add a few tablespoons of melted butter to the crumbs to keep them together.
3. Slice the banana into rounds and place over the cookie crumb crust.
4. Spoon about an inch thickness of strawberry ice cream onto the banana layer.
5. Spoon a similar sized layer of vanilla ice cream on top of the strawberry layer (the order and or the mixing of flavors really doesn’t matter).
6. Slice enough of the strawberries to cover the ice cream in single layer.
7. Cover the strawberries with a half an inch of chocolate ice cream.
8. Sprinkle remaining cookie crumbs over the top and garnish with remaining strawberries and a squiggly drizzle of chocolate syrup.
9. Freeze for at least 20 minutes to harden before slicing.
10. If serving to guests or if you think your family will eat this in one sitting, lift the plastic out of the loaf pan and put the whole “loaf” on a serving dish. Otherwise, leave it in the pan and cut slices as you would a banana bread.
When you serve it in slices, the layers look pretty.
11. Watch your kids eyes bug out when you serve them this for dessert on regular Wednesday.
And now, back to your regularly scheduled Fitness Friday:
Everything is posted in km. For those of you who only do miles, 1 km = .625 mile OR 1 mile = 1.6 km
Tuesday – 10 km run. I used my jet lag to my advantage and enjoyed an early morning run along the Ottawa River. I forgot how much I love mornings.
Thursday –8.5 km – another early morning run. The goslings are turning into teenagers. Soon they won’t be cute, just annoying like their parents.
Strength and Conditioning Stats
Wednesday: Greco Lean and Fit class
Friday: Vinyasa Yoga class
Have a great weekend. We’ve got a soccer festival, Westfest, and family birthday BBQ on our agenda. Should be fun times!
As usual, our Mother’s Day brunch this year was at my mom’s house. In our signature control-freak kind of way, the women in our family take responsibility for our own Mother’s Day brunch. This year we each brought something so it really didn’t amount to too much work.
We had planned to hire a helper for a few hours to do clean-up, but we didn’t have any luck finding anyone. So, in the end, the clean-up mostly fell to my mom as she consistently refused our offers to help. She almost had to push my mother-in-law out of the kitchen she was so persistent. But my mom has her systems and she finds it more relaxing if she can do it on her own in her own way. If it was at my place, I think I would prefer that too… but instead I don’t have people over (much less work :)).
The brunch worked out really well. In attendance were (in order of appearance):
- My mom and dad (Nana and Grandpa)
- My mother-in-law (Nanny Maddy)
- My grandmothers (Nanny Antoinette and Nanny Marion)
- My parents’ friends (P and B)
- Us (Liisa, Derek, Lil D & Lil C)
- My aunt and uncle (B and P)
- My teenage cousins who are sometimes babysitters (N and A)
Lil C and Lil D played Junior Monopoly for two hours with various adults rotating in and out while the rest of the adults chatted and ate. The great grandmothers enjoyed their food while struggling to hear the conversations going on around them.
The hearing aid situation really drives me bonkers. Could someone please invent a hearing aid that works? It’s not only sad for the elderly person who can’t take part in the conversations, it’s really frustrating for those of us who have to repeat ourselves three to four times.
I was literally shouting at my Nanny M. a few times. And then, my other grandmother started talking to my aunt at a volume that she perceived as very low. She was talking about some other people in the room. From across the room, I had to tell my aunt to tell my grandmother that I could hear what she was saying (and therefore, soon the others would too).
Tiny frustrations aside, we had a great time and a delicious brunch.
Mimosas, sparkling water, and coffee (Grandpa)
Smoked Trout (Nana)
Caprese Salad with big slices of buffalo mozzarella (Aunt B)
“My Favourite Things” Salad (Me with Nana’s dressing) – salad recipe below
Quiches with Scratch Crust – Red Pepper and Broccoli (Nanny A)
Thinly-Sliced Cold Roast Beef (Nana)
Bagels, Rolls, Cheeses, Raw Veggies, Olives, Fancy Horesradish Mustard (Nana)
Carrot Cake Loaf (Me)
Coffee Cake (Nanny Maddy)
Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – P (failure to communicate caused the duplication, but you can’t really have too much carrot cake!)
Brownies (Nana – using Nanny Marion’s recipe)
Mixed Berries (Nana)
The salad I made was inspired by a post I read about an author’s favourite restaurant salad. She listed the ingredients without noting whether this was an exhaustive list, so I really just concocted this salad using her description as inspiration. I added and I subtracted and really, I just guessed.
My creation is delish and nutritious. It contains all my favourite salad ingredients (except blue cheese and candied pecans).
The base: Organic Baby Spinach AND/OR small bite-size bits of romaine lettuce
The crunch: 2-3 celery stalks, thinly chopped
The firm bite: roasted heirloom beets from the local market (4 small, roasted in olive oil and sea salt in foil packets for 35 minutes at 375F)
The salty protein bite: diced greek feta cheese (1 container, diced)
The sweet chew: raisins (1/2 cup)
The nuttiness: pumpkin and sunflower seeds (1/3 cup each)
The dressing: My mom made a traditional vinaigrette with lemon juice instead of vinegar. I added a little red wine vinegar over the salad because I felt it needed that acidic taste. Next time I will make it with a balsamic vinaigrette. I like the super sour dressing with the sweet and salty ingredients.
Monday evening, I recreated a facsimile of the salad as a side dish for dinner. I didn’t have any feta but felt like I could leave it out since it was a side salad. I subbed apple for beets and romaine for the baby spinach. I added some coarse sea salt since both the feta and the beets had been salty.
Despite the brown edges, Derek and I fought over the last bit in the bowl. I can’t wait to make it again with feta, beets and spinach.