Sunday, September 19, 2010

Scary Spice

This is my spice cupboard. As you can guess, I have trouble remembering what spices I have on hand for any given recipe. You see, I mostly buy the small Tones spice containers. They're typically just $1.00 and the containers stack really well, but then I have no idea which spices are on the bottom without rummaging through them all.

I found a really interesting recipe on Food Network called Quinoa-All Bran Pilaf with Raisins, and it called for curry powder. I had no idea if I had any, but I highly doubted it because I don't cook Indian food so I really wouldn't have had a need for it in the past. I bought some curry powder without looking through my existing supply, but I was right that I didn't already have it. But now, I have yet another spice adding to the confusion.

I decided that I needed to take stock of my spice collection. The simplest solution I thought would be to make a list of what I have and tape it to the inside of the cupboard door. At least now I know what I have, even if I still have to dig for something.

(BTW - I didn't make the pilaf yet. I had so many other dishes to make or ready in the fridge that I thought something would go to waste if I added yet another dish. I'll make it later in the week once I use up some leftovers.)

(Also, you see correctly - that is Worchestershire sauce in the cupboard. Not for me, but for Husband. He loves the stuff - and so did I before I went veg. I'd like to try some Bragg's Liquid Aminos and see if it's a good substitute.)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Gone Bananas

I took a few days off work to make this Labor Day weekend a nice, long one - and as usual, when I take a day off, I bake. A few days ago, I ran across a recipe for Easy Apple Pie Burritos at (which is currently my favorite blog). The only problem with making it - I had no apples. I did, however, have three ripe bananas that were begging to be baked somehow, so I improvised. I replaced the apples with my bananas (cut into thick slices), halved the amount of brown sugar (so I only used 1/4 cup), and added some chopped pecans. Otherwise, I followed the recipe as written.

I was really worried how they would turn out. After all, I hadn't even tried the recipe as written, much less as an improvisation. I needn't have worried. They are delicious with bananas! The crust is so yummy, too. I bet it would make a great shortbread-style cookie. (Note to self: bake spelt crust cookies.) I ate two of them after they'd cooled a bit.

I ended up with a little extra banana filling, so I poured it into a small ramekin and baked it along with the pies. Also devine, but would probably be over-the-top wonderful with some kind of crumble crust. (Note to self: try banana crisp recipe.)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

All Quiet on the Midwestern Front

I see that I haven't posted in a while, and in the meantime, some new folks have become followers of this site. Welcome, and I'm sorry I've been so inactive.

Honestly, I just haven't done much that I considered blogworthy. I've been cooking the same old things. They're still delicious, just not anything I haven't posted about already or that wasn't incredibly basic (brown rice with vinaigrette, anyone?). For example, tonight's dinner was zucchini-potato hashbrowns made with a shredded zucchini (liquid mostly squeezed out) and shredded leftover baked potato. I browned them up in a skillet with a little olive oil, grill seasoning and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast. (I'm still trying to find ways to use nutritional yeast.) I also had green beans with Earth Balance on the side. It was a wonderful and filling meal, but very basic and I didn't take a picture.

I've been reading a lot of other blogs lately and frankly, it's intimidating. There are so many well-written, beautifully photographed sites out there that my little blog is pretty rinky-dink by comparison. You'd think that I'd be inspired by all those great sites, but instead I just think that I'm not very creative with recipes and not that great a writer. Sigh.

But enough with this self-pity new recipe I've discovered through my blog surfing has been Green Monster smoothies. Actually, I've only made one, but I was amazed at how delicious it was and how I couldn't taste the greens at all! In a blender, I mixed spinach leaves, a ripe banana, green seedless grapes, flaxseed, almond milk and vanilla extract until super smooth. Even Daughter loved it! This may be my new secret weapon to get some greens into her diet. (Son wasn't interested in it at all. One small victory at a time, I supposed.) I plan to try another Green Monster with kale - a nutritional powerhouse that I just can't stand to eat.