Spaghetti and Bean Balls

IMG_3037Last night I had my sister and her kiddos come over for dinner. Nothing fancy, nothing to complicated,  just something  fast and something that I knew the littles would eat.  Spaghetti and meatballs, except replace meatballs were bean balls So they came, we played, did a little drawing and had a bit of first grad gossip. Then came  dinner time  when I was told by one little that she was not going to eat.. She had pasta for lunch. Well I made her sit anyway and she mainly just ate carrots (I was ok with that) Then the other little was all into his pasta and bean balls, 1 down, 3 more to go, when the mister let slip that the meatballs were not really meat. He ate around the remaining balls, said he didn't want them anymore. And my sister, well she doesn't eat anything that is not pizza.

Good thing a neighbor stopped by while we were eating. He had a few of the balls and told me that they were amazing. I needed someone to tell me that.  

So yeah, the littles were not overly enthused with the ball, but the Mister the Neighbor, and I thought that they were awesome and delicious. Maybe next time I will make sure that  pasta was not lunch and tell Nick to keep his mouth shut and stop talking about balls at the dinner table.

IMG_2960I feel like I don't need to tell you how to boil pasta or heat up the sauce, so I left that portion of the recipe out. I have faith that you are capable in doing that part without my instruction.

The bean ball stuff. Chickpeas (soaked and cooked or canned), sweet potato, carrot, onion, and some chick pea flour. Dried garlic, basil and oregano. Salt and pepper and a little bit of olive oil. IMG_2974Small chop all the veggies and toss them and the dry spices into a skillet with a drizzle or two of olive oil. Stick on medium  heat and add about 1/4 cup of water to pan. Top with  slid and let veggies cook down until soft and fragrant.

IMG_2983Add the cooked veggies to a food processor or blender with  the rinsed and drained chickpeas. IMG_2984The mixture gets pulsed until combined,  keeping a little bit of chunkiness.  Now go warhead and taste  the mixture. Add another pinch or two of salt , pepper or any of the spices that you think it need.  Dump the mixture into a bowl and mix in the chickpea flour than stink the mixture into the fridge for a least a 1/2 hour. Cooling to off is really important to forming the balls. If you don't, it's much harder to keep mixture from falling apart and sticking to your hands.

IMG_3016After the mixture has had time to cool and set, start rolling the mixture into balls roughly the size of ping pong balls. In a shallow bowl, add a few tablespoons of the chickpea flour with a pinch of salt, pepper and garlic powder. Take each ball and roll in flour and place each ball on a well oiled baking sheet. When the balls are all rolled, stick into the oven and bake away for about 30-40 minutes, flipping balls after about 20.  After you flip the balls, get the pasta ready so its finished about the same time the balls are done.IMG_3039You pasta and sauce is cooked and the balls are all crispy and oh so nice.

Serve balls over pasta with sauce and eat with a fork.

Your day is now complete.. balls and all.

Happy Weekend!

-C


Spaghetti and Bean Balls

makes about 20 balls

  • 4 Cups (or 2 cans) Cooked, Rinsed and Drained ChickPeas
  • 1 Small Sweet Potato
  • 1 Small Onion
  • 1 Carrot
  • 1/4 Cup Chickpea Flour plus extra to roll balls in
  • 1 Heaping Teaspoon Basil
  • 1 Heaping Teaspoon Oregano
  • 1 Heaping Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • Olive or Vegetable Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Your choice of Spaghetti (Use Vegan and or Gluten Free if needed)  Prepared as package recommends
  • Marinara or Pasta Sauce of your choice

Preheat Oven to 425 degrees

Small dice the carrot, onion and sweet potato and toss into a skillet on medium high heat with a splash of oil. Add in the dry spices and add in about a quarter cup of water. stir and cover the skillet with a lid and let the veggies cook down until the water has evaporated and the veggies are tender. 

Add rinsed and drained chickpeas to a food processor with the cooked veggie mixture. Pulse together until the mixture is combined and slightly smooth, but still with a little bit of texture left.Place bean mixture in a bowl  and mix in the 1/4 cup of chickpea flour. and stick in the fridge for a least a 1/2 hour to cool. (Mixture can be made a day ahead if you want)

Once the mixture has time to cool and set up , remove from fridge and with a light head, roll mixture into ping-pong sized balls. In a separate shallow dish add a bit of chickpea flour with a pinch of salt and pepper. Roll each ball in the flour mixture and place balls on a well oiled baking sheet. Once balls ae made, stick into the oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes, flipping after about 20 minutes. The balls are done when the outsides are once and golden brown and crispy. After about 30 minutes, get to cooking your pasta and mariana sauce.

Once the pasta and sauce is done, plate it and toss on some of those awesome bean balls!

Bean balls also make fantastic bean ball sandwiches or bean balls on a toothpick. 

Roasted Carrot Beet Salad and Creamy Avocado Lemon Dressing

IMG_1991 As the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, my food brain turns to fresh colorful simple spring food. (which is totally a thing). Spring food is a combination of the last of the winters hardy root veggies combined with the springs bounty of fresh greens and early growers. Spring food is the best!

This lovely. oh so gorgeous salad has been on repeat in my meal repertoire. It's so yummy and so simple. Beets and carrots roasted and sliced, tossed onto a bed of tender spinach and topped with a creamy, lemony avocado dressing. Fresh, fast, light, and filling. Everything a perfect  spring salad needs. Not to mention it takes no time at all to make because with all this nice weather , we want to spend as much time basking in the warmth and glow of the sun. I might even take my spring salad outside today. Maybe.

IMG_1904Dressing stuff. A nice and ripe avocado, the juice of a juicy lemon, a bit of garlic powder (raw garlic is nice too, but grate it super fine) and salt. Simple simple and sometimes simple can be the best.IMG_1911All stuff get mashed super mashed until smooth and scooped into a jar with a lid. Add about 1/4- 1/2 cup water (depending on how thick you like it) and shake that jar all around.

That's it. You now have super creamy avocado lemon dressing. Drizzle on anything and everything… especially this roasted carrot and beet salad..

IMG_1969A roasted beet and carrot, all sliced upIMG_1976Tossed onto a bed of tender baby spinachIMG_1978And topped with creamy avocado dressing. Fantastic, so pretty, and makes the day super springy!

A salad suggestion….  Add some roasted chickpeas toasted nuts, or sunflower seeds to this or any salad. Adds a little proteins and the crispy crunch is a nice addition. 

Enjoy the day..Smile lots 

-C


Roasted Carrot Beet Salad and Avocado Lemon Dressing

Salad

  • 2-3 cups Baby Spinach
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 medium beet
  • Toasted nuts, beans, or seeds (Optional)

You can roast the veggies a few ways.. Slice the carrot and beet, place on a baking sheet and  stick into the oven at 425 degrees until tender. Or you can just toss a the carrot and beet onto a baking sheet whole and roast.( What I usually do)

Once the veggies are roasted and cooled, thinly slice and toss onto the bed of baby spinach. Top with Avocado Lemon Dressing (recipe below) and some toasted crunchy thing.

Dressing

  • 1 Ripe Avocado
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4- 1/2  cup water

Scoop avocado fruit into a bowl and mash with a fork until a paste is formed. Scoop mashed avocado into a jar and add remaining ingredients. Stick lid on jar and shake tip combined. Use on anything. 

Dressing lasts a few days in the fridge. Should stay green, but add a layer of lemon juice to top to keep from browning.

Bloody Mary Tomato Soup

IMG_1345You ever have one of those days where its  9 am and your ready to call it a day? . Yesterday was one of those day for me. Its spring vacation around here (more like an  arctic vacation) and I had volunteered my day to babysitting/ hanging out with 2 of my nephews, ages 11 and 13. (I know, I am the greatest sister). I had all of these great ideas and plans of things to do, but when it came down to it, they wanted to do nothing but play video games and not really listen to anything I said. I basically had to drag them outside to go for a walk we me and that's all I could get them to do  My great little nephews, I love them so much, but yesterday they had their minds set on being little monsters.

I needed a drink. And I needed lunch. And so I was inspired to make this bloody mary tomato soup. Its got all the essentials to a great drink, the tomato, the spice, the zingy flavors, but warm and thick to eat as soup which was a perfect lift for a freezing cold dragging day. And no, I didn't add the vodka to it because that would be irresponsible of me.  I am not about to serve up lunch soup to a couple  young boys with alcohol in it. I am not a dumb ass…Save the vodka for when the kids go home!

IMG_1308 What we have going here…... Chopped up onion, celery, and carrot in a pot. Stick that pot on the stove for a few minutes on medium heat to start the cooking process.  While that happening get the other stuff ready.  A big can of diced tomatoes, hot sauce, worcestershire sauce*,  prepared horseradish*, celery salt, garlic powder, salt and pepper And last but not least a good squirt of yellow mustard. Now add it all to the pot and bring to a boil. Turn down to low and stick a lid on it.

*I used  the horseradish that is made with only horseradish and vinegar…..You can use the other stuff that contains sugars and milk, but I don't know how tastes. And the worcestershire sauce I used did not contain fish but be aware that a lot of the popular brands do, so if you care, check labels!

IMG_1323After about 20 minutes the veggies should be soft and the flavors should all have melded together. Taste  soup as it is cooking and add any more spice that you want.

Now in goes the emulsifying stick of fun! (Or dump in a blender) Blend blend blend!  

IMG_1366I stopped when I got to a smooth consistency with the littlest bit of texture.

And now the soup is now ready for the bowls!

IMG_1361And there it is…served with a stock of celery and a wedge of lemon (I forgot to add them to the pictures!)  A bloody Mary to take the edge off any drag of a cold weather day. And best part..   left over soup is great served chilled with a shot of vodka to loosen this Mary up!

Have a Happy Day!

-C


Bloody Mary Tomato Soup

The Stuff

Side note…The spicier ingredients...hot sauce, horseradish, and worcestershire sauce are pretty flexible. My advice is to start with the lesser amounts of the ingredient and work your way up until you get to your happy soup place.

  • 32 oz can of crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 stalks or celery plus more for garnish
  • 1-2 teaspoons horseradish
  • 1-2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1-2 teaspoons hot sauce or  ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard 
  • A lemon cut into wedges (To squeeze on as a garnish)
  • 2 teaspoons celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and cracked pepper to taste

Dice up carrots, onion and celery and place in a large pot and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Once the  veggies are slightly soft, add in the rest of the ingredients plus one tomato can  worth of water. Bring to boil, cover and turn heat down to low. Cook for another 15-20 minutes or until all the veggies are super soft and the flavor have all developed.  Add salt and pepper, taste and add any additional spicier spices that you want.

When happy with taste, either  in a blender or with a hand emulsifier, blend soup until smooth (or to your desired constancy) Soup is now ready to serve.

Ladle or pour into bowls  and serve with a stalk of celery and maybe a wedge of lemon. Crackers or croutons are welcome too.

Eat with a Spoon

Soup left overs are great refrigerated and served cold. Add a splash of vodka to make it fun.

Parsnip and Carrot Fries with Smokey Sriracha sauce

   IMG_0792  IMG_0950Before we get to the fries, I just want to mention that  yesterday was one of those fantastic winter days that reminds me why I love living in Vermont.  Pretty white snow everywhere, the sun was out, and 20 degrees without a gust of wind. The trash dog an I were even able to go for a little hike.  It was so nice and soooo sooo needed!  Anyways, the other day as me, my sister and the mister where putting together  one more piece of Ikea furniture, (I am the master at Ikea assembling!)  a little runs into the room and presents the mister with a Dominos pizza. Yup, a whole pizza just for him. Why you might ask? Well I guess my sister was  delivered the wrong pizza and the place didn't want it back and she didn't want it, so she gave it to him.

A whole pizza to himself. I didn't mind too much..he was just going to be eating it for lunch and dinner until it was out of the fridge. But for dinner I did want him to eat something of the vegetable matter that didn't come out of a box. I was going to make him a big salad, but then realized that would mean sharing the last of the greens that I had for MY dinner and I was not about to do that, so I made him parsnip and carrot fries instead. No biggy, just some slicing, a little tossing and a bit of time in the old oven. And I figured I might as well make a nice sauce for those fries because I be so very nice.

The biggest problem that I ran into when I made these fries was that I didn't make enough, so you should probably make twice as many as you think you will eat. If you end up not eating them all (which you probably will), well then you now have a great start for a soup or a nice addition to a salad. Either way, you will eat them because they are amazing and addicting… and as healthy as can be!

IMG_0818The carrots and the parsnips are all sliced up into big matchsticks and ready to be baked to crispy browned perfection.  I added the oil to the pan to toss the fries in and then sprinkled with a fair amount of salt and pepper.  If you don't have and or want to use a cast iron pan, a baking sheet works just the same.

IMG_0852   IMG_0896Oh saucy sauce stuff. Tomato puree, sriracha, and yellow mustard. Add a little bit of honey to lighten it up (can use brown sugar if keeping it vegan), a splash of apple cider vinegar and a couple minced cloves of garlic. Topped off with the smokey delightful spice of cumin. I cold eat this on everything…and I kind of did. 

All mixed up in an oven safe dish, I stuck it into the oven for a about 8 minutes until it got a little bubbly, just to let all the flavors fuse together…

IMG_0917Fries are done, Sauce is ready. Served in super cute tea cups.(from now on I want to serve everything in tea cups.) A perfect side dish, snack, or even a light meal.  It lead the mister to ask the question...What pizza? 

Happy Day!

-C


Parsnip and Carrot Fries with Smokey Sriracha Sauce

The Stuff

For the Fries

  • 2 large parsnips
  • 2 large carrot
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon oil

For the Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 2 tablespoon tomato puree (or 1 tablespoon tomato paste and 1 tablespoon water)
  • 2 cloves or garlic
  • 1 teaspoon honey or brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • a splash of apple cider vinegar
  • a pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 425.

Wash and trim carrots and parsnips and cut into large matchsticks (any shape is good, just make them all uniform) Toss with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on cast iron pan or baking sheet and stick in oven for 30 or so minutes, and rotating after about 20. The fries are done when  crispy and brown.

For the sauce. Mince garlic and add to all the sauce ingredients in an oven safe bowl. stick into oven for about 8 minutes until slightly bubbly and hot.

Dip fries in sauce