Thursday, March 31, 2011

GIVEAWAY - prize info.

So I've decided to give away one of my favorite secret seasonings.  It is a versatile blend that I use in hummus, chili, Pad Thai, black beans and countless other dishes.  It is called Trader Joe's Taco Seasoning Mix; however, I have yet to use it for tacos.  :)

Anyway, comment on the yogurt post here for your chance to win.  

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Plain Yogurt Recipes??? GIVEAWAY

So I sorta goofed.  My 2 year old daughter eats plain yogurt twice a day - once before her nap and once before bed.  So - when we buy plain yogurt, we buy a lot of it.  Last month, we ordered it through our natural foods co-op, because it was a bit cheaper that way.  We ordered 12 quarts.  When they came, they had about a one month shelf life.  Perfect - we had ordered about a one month supply.  When I ordered for this month, we weren't as fortunate.  My co-op order came in on March 21.  The sell-by date on the yogurt was March 29.  That gave us 12 quarts of high quality, organic, full-fat, plain yogurt to use in eight days.  So - here it is, March 29th and I still have eight of the twelve quarts to use.  They don't freeze well - I've tried.  I can't be certain - but my guess is that I have about a week to ten days to use them. 

So this is where I need your help.  Do you have any creative ways to use up plain yogurt?  Any recipes that call for it?  PLEASE leave a comment, including your recipe or a fun way to use this stuff.  If you post a comment, I will enter you into a random drawing to win something fantastic.  I haven't decided what I'll give away yet - but I promise it won't be an expired quart of plain yogurt.  :)  Please send me your ideas by April 5th.  Thanks for your help.  I will post an update - with the prize details - within the week.

The Mammoth Mangoes

So we got mangoes with our CSA box last week.  They must be of the extra large variety.   I had to take a picture because these things are HUGE.

I also thought I'd post my very favorite mango recipe - just in time for your Spring get-togethers.

Mango Avocado Salsa

2-3 large mangoes
1 small red onion
juice of one lime
                                                                                        2-3 avocados
                                                                                       1/2 c. chopped cilantro

Chop the mangoes into bite sized pieces and put into a large bowl.  Include all juices.  You can also use a 16 oz. bag of frozen, chopped mangoes - thawed.  Then chop the avocados into bite sized pieces and toss them with the mangoes.  Chop the red onion into very small pieces and toss that, along with the cilantro into the bowl.  Add the lime juice and stir everything together.  You may want to add a little salt - depending on your preference.  Serve this with tortilla chips and watch it disappear.  I like to use blue chips with this salsa.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Sometimes, my everso handsome, vegan husband has a hankerin' for fries.  Here's my best method for making fries that taste good enough to calm the cravings. 

6 potatoes, medium sized
1/4 c. oil
garlic powder
any other seasonings you like

Cut the potatoes in half - longways - and then into long wedges, about 1/2 inch thick.  Try to make all your wedges about the same size.  Then put them all into a large bowl and toss with the oil.  Add spices and salt and then toss again.  Spread out the spuds on a cookie sheet and bake at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes or until done.  Cooking time will vary according to the freshness and thickness of your potatoes - so keep an eye on them.  When they are done, take them out and put them on a paper towel on a plate and serve.  My husband likes them with BBQ sauce.  I like them with ketchup. 

Tip - these fries freeze very well.  I like to make extra and freeze what we don't eat in a zipper seal bag.  Then, when we want fries again, I heat the frozen fries at 425 for about ten minutes or until they are crispy.  I think they are even better and more crispy the second time.

Also - I like to season these with Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute. 

Beautiful Soup

Ah the butternut squash.  So big, so pretty, so difficult to cut.  I got quite a large supply of butternut squash in my CSA box recently.  Here's a soup that I made.  It turned out just delectable.  First, enjoy this poem about soup.  We read it aloud lastnight before we ate this soup for dinner. 

Beautiful Soup
Beautiful Soup, so rich and green
Waiting in a hot tureen!
Who for such dainties would not stoop?
Soup of the evening, Beautiful Soup.
Soup of the evening, Beautiful Soup.

Beau-ootiful Soo-oop!
Beau-ootiful Soo-oop!
Soo-oop of the e-e-evening,
Beautiful, Beautiful Soup!

Beautiful Soup!  Who cares for fish,
Game, or any other dish?
Who would not give all else for two
Pennyworth only of Beautiful Soup?
Pennyworth only of Beautiful Soup?

Beau-tiful Soo-oop!
Beau-tiful Soo-oop!
Soo-oop of the e-e-evening,
Beautiful, Beauti-FUL SOUP!
                          -Lewis Carroll

So here's the recipe for Beautiful Butternut Squash Soup:

2 large or 3 small butternut squash
1 large onion
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground ginger - or 1 Tbsp. ground fresh ginger
2 Tbsp. butter
1 can (14 oz.) coconut milk
5 cups water
1 tsp. cinnamon

Cut squash in half and seed them.  Then place them, flesh side down, into a large, oiled, shallow pan.  Add a couple of Tbsp. water.  Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for about an hour. 
While the squash are baking, chop the onion into very small pieces and saute in the butter until the onions are soft and clearish.  Then add a cup of water, the garlic, pepper and ginger and simmer - covered for about ten minutes.

When the squash is tender - remove it from the oven and allow it to cool a bit.  Once it has cooled, it will be easy to remove the flesh from the skin.  You will be able to peel it right off.  Put half the squash in a food processor - and add half the can of coconut milk.  Process until smooth.  Then add it to the pan of onions and spices.  Put the rest of the squash and the rest of the milk into the processor and repeat.  Add in the remaining four cups of water, the chili powder and the cinnamon - then stir, over low to medium heat, until hot.  Add salt - if you wish and any other spices that you like.

I really never measure much when I make this soup.  These are all approximate measures and I encourage you to add a little of this and a little of that until the soup tastes good to you. 

You'll love this soup.  I add about a cup of cooked lentils to the soup and call it a meal.  It is also nice served with some good bread.  It is even more fun if you read the Lewis Carroll poem aloud before you eat it - and I think that makes it taste better too.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Kettle Corn

Kettle corn is one of my favorite snacks to make.  It is easy and delicious.  We have a few variations.  I will give you the basic recipe and some suggestions afterward.

2/3 c. popping corn
1/2 c. cooking oil - canola, grapeseed or coconut oil
1/4 c. agave nectar (you can use sugar or corn syrup)
salt - to taste

Heat oil, over medium heat, in a large pot with a tight fitting lid.  Add one kernel of corn and cover.  When the single kernel pops, quickly and carefully dump in the rest of the popping corn.  And as fast as a fox, add the agave nectar.  Put the lid back on and shake the pot back and forth to combine the agave nectar.  Keep the lid on and continue to shake the skillet while the corn pops.  When the popping slows down, remove the pot from the heat.  When popping has completely stopped, carefully remove the lid.  Dump the popped corn into a large bowl or a clean, paper grocery sack, add salt and mix.

Variations and Tips:
  • I like to add in a bit of Trader Joe's Taco Seasoning Mix to make "sweet & spicy" kettle corn.  IF you use this, you won't need salt.
  • Though any pot will work, a nonstick pot works really well for this.
  • To make chocolate Kettle Corn, use less agave nectar, then add in a bit of sugar mixed with cocoa at the end - and salt.
  • Cinnamon is also a tasty addition - add it when you add the salt.  
  • This Kettle Corn can be stored in an airtight container for a few days.
  • A large batch of Kettle Corn makes a nice gift.