Fresh Veggie Spring Rolls

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My contribution to last nights dinner at my sisters.... Freshy fresh veggies spring rolls.I had about 30 minutes between work and getting over to my sisters house to throw something together so it needed to be something fast, easy, and something I could make without going to the store. She was making the main course (some teriyaki situation and rice) so I was doing up the veggies.

I had just bought a package of spring roll wrappers…. Bingo! The perfect and logical choice. I grab the wrappers, a variety of veggies and after spending 12 of my 30 minutes trying to scrub the oil based paint off of my face and hands, I still managed to completely prepare, construct, and take pictures of these lovely tasty spring rolls. and get over to my sisters in time for dinner.

Impressed?  

Damn right!

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The stuff. Carrot, beet, asparagus, red cabbage, and kohlrabi, which all (except asparagus, which I just cut into thirds) got cut into matchstick sized pieces with my mandoiln. Then there are the rice spring roll wrappers that we need to make the veggies into rolls. Also a bit of red wine vinegar to drizzle onto the veggies for a little extra zing. And lastly, soy, fresh ginger, and a couple cloves of garlic for a spicy salty dipping sauce.Start by having everything set out and ready to assemble. Fill a large shallow dish or baking sheet with really warm water. Working with one at a time,place a rice wrapper into water and let sit for about 10 seconds or until the paper starts to soften. Remove from water and place on a damp surface (just splash a little water on the counter) Take a little bit of everything and and place on the lower middle part of the paper. Fold in the sides first, then tuck and roll the wrapper as tightly as you can without ripping the wrapper.

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Repeat until you have used up all you veggies.For the dipping sauce. Finely grate ginger and garlic and add to soy sauce. Stir… and it's done.Freshy, pretty and fantastically delicious. And for real, took about 8 minutes to make. (I even had enough time to wash the dishes before we left!)

I am so awesome!

Hump Day Pow!!!!!

-C

Fresh Veggies Spring Rolls 

Makes 8-10 but can easily be increased or decreased to desired amount 

  • 8-1o rice spring roll papers
  • Splash of Red wine or rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy or tamari sauce
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • teaspoon  freshly grated ginger
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 medium beet
  • 1/4 head of purple cabbage
  • 10 thin fresh asparagus
  • 1 small kohlrabi

Note… I used the veggies that I had in the fridge at the moment. If you have a bunch of veggies but not these particular ones, use what you have. Pretty much all veggies taste good inside a spring roll!

Gather your veggies and prep by either using a mandolin, a grater, or some sick knife skills, and julienne, shred, or slice you veggies into thin match sticks. Once all the veggies are prepared, sprinkle a little vinegar over the top.

For the rolls...Grab a large shallow vessel  (a rimmed baking sheet works great) and add in warm water. Working  one at a time, place the wrapper into the water for about 10 seconds or until the wrapper starts to soften. Remove and spread onto a clean, damp work surface. Gather a bit of each veggie that you are adding and place towards the bottom  middle of the wrapper. Now fold the sides in over the pile of veggies. Then with the side closest to you, tuck and roll wrapper away from you, trying to keep it tight, but not to tight that it rips.. (Hopefully that makes since.) Place finished rolls onto a damp surface to keep from sticking and if not serving right away, drape with  a damp towel or paper towel to keep from drying out.

For the soy ginger dipping sauce. Add grated ginger,  minced garlic, and soy into a bowl and mix together.  Serve with spring rolls. 

Eat one, two, or a plateful. It's nice to share but not a necessity.

Black Bean and Bulgur Sloppy Joe's

     IMG_0540 And that's how I know that this is a winner. IMG_0499As an awesome aunt, when I have any of my nieces or nephews,  I feel the need to make something special for dinner, something that the kiddos might not get very often, but also keep it on he healthy side. I have 2 littles for the night which gives me the perfect opportunity for a trash food recipe. You know trash food, things like boxed mac and cheese, beefaroni in a can, or, in this case, sloppy joes.

Sloppy yes, trashy, not so much. These are made with beans and bulgur. No meat.

And I figured it is nice enough out that I can make the kiddos some messy food and then just bring them out back and hose them off… I mean, why not right?

IMG_0475The stuff… We start with onion and green pepper, chopped into pieces. Black beans, bulgur, can crushed tomatoes. Chili powder, garlic powder, a bit o apple cider vinegar (which I forgot to picture) ,and some salt and pepper. Oh and cheese if you want… Plus a bun of some sort is necessary.IMG_0490     IMG_0493 Toss the chopped onion and peppers into a deep skillet or pot with a drizzle of oil. Cook on medium heat until tender and toss in the spices. Give a stir. Add in the beans, bulgur, and tomato, a splash of vinegar. Stir it all up, cover, and let simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the bulgur has absorbed the liquid and is nice and tender.

If you are a bun toaster… toast while waiting. If not, just get the buns readyIMG_0504 And Then dump a good heaping pile right onto a bun. Add some cheese, or not..and eat with wild abandonment,  making sure to get as much on your face as you get in you mouth. 

Fantastic Friday!! Live it up. 

-C


Black Bean and Bulgur Sloppy Joes 

  • 2 cups or 1 can cooked black beans
  • 1 16 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup bulgur
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder 
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • salt and pepper
  • a splash of apple cider vinegar
  • olive oil
  • 4-6 burger or bulky buns
  • cheese (optional)

Dice the onion and the pepper and toss with a drizzle of olive oil into a large skillet. Sauté on medium heat until veggies become tender. Add in the spices, stir in and let cook for a minutes, then add in the beans, the tomato,water and the bugler. Cover skillet and let simmer until bugler becomes soft.

When the slop is ready, either toasted or not, scoop a generous portions onto buns. If so inclined, add some cheese. 

Eat with hands… Sloppy is good.

Kohlrabi Apple Walnut Slaw

IMG_0405Before we left for the weekend, I was was trying my hardest to empty the fridge out of all food with the intention of leaning it empty so I could leave it open to defrost while were were gone. Unfortunately I was not able to make it happen. What I did make happen was emptying it almost completely so that when we got home, we had pretty much no food in the house, except for a few things that probably should be eaten.  Plus one of the last things that I want to do after sitting in a car for 6 hours is go to the grocery store, or anywhere for that matter, so I was determined to make with what wet had in the fridge:

  • Carrots
  • half of a gigantic kohlrabi
  • soy milk
  • iced tea
  • bananas that needed to be frozen
  • strawberries

Perfect!  A few carrots and half of a gigantic kohlrabi.. plus at the hotel we were staying at, there were fruit bowls in he lobby full apples. Every time I went past the apples (which was a lot) I grab one or two, so I have a few apples (I actually have a lot of apples now). All the things I need for a super awesome salad slaw. Apples with their  nice sweet crispiness and kohlrabi with its cabbagey, crunchy earthiness, tossed together with some vinegar, some toasted walnuts and some carrots, I mean, so freaking good. And to make it a bit more of a meal, I made some lentils to go with it. But the best part was there was no need to leave the house!!

 IMG_0361    IMG_0364The stuff… A huge hunk of a bigger then my head kohlrabi (or 2 normal bulbs). A carrot, an apple, toasted walnuts, red wine vinegar, and some salt.

Pretty simple stuff going on here. Just peel and julienne the kohlrabi, carrot and apple. (no need to peel the carrot or apple unless you want too) and stick it all into a bowl.  I used my mandolin, which is one of my favorite kitchen tools ever, but if you don't have one, a box grater works too.IMG_0372Sprinkle with salt and a good glug glug of red wine vinegar. Chop up the walnuts (some big chunks and some very small pieces makes for good eating), toss it all together and, well that's it. But wait…. let it sit for a few minutes before serving to really let the flavors draw out.IMG_0393And there we have it. Super fast, full of flavors and crunchy texture. A salad slaw after my own heart.

Serve it as it or add to a bed of greens, rice, or lentils… and make sure to save at least as little… cause its an awesome little pre-bed snack.

Happy Week!!

-C


Kohlrabi Apple Walnut Slaw

  • 2 medium sized Kohlrabis 
  • 1 medium apple   
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
  • red wine vinegar
  • salt

In a large bowl, julienne kohlrabi (after peeled) apple and carrot. Sprinkle with salt, add in vinegar. Rough chop walnuts and toss the whole bit together. Let sit for at least 10 minutes, if not longer before serving. (A great salad to make ahead of time)

Eat as is, or toss onto a bed of greens, plate of rice or a bowl of lentils.

Any left overs only end up tasting better the next day.

So Good Pineapple Dill Kale Salad

IMG_3986Last week pineapples were on sale everywhere……So I bought 5. Don't judge 

And I bet I am not the only one that got overly excited at $1.50 pineapple and bough themselves a few. We will just call ourselves opportunists.  Now we have plenty of pineapples and don't have to pay  the $4 a piece prices. (Justification)  

But if you don't have a pineapple laying around, you must go get one. (Maybe if your lucky, there might still be some sales going on) because you must make this salad. I am on a mission to make everyone I know eat it because, for lake of a better way to say it…….It will rock your world.

Dill and pineapple are a serious match made in heaven. Pineapple, with its sweet, tangy, citrusness  and dill with it's super fresh earthiness. Mixed together with a few other helpers to create a fresh, clean, chunky, tangy, over the top, flavor. I could stop right there, but toss in a handful of lentils, some creamy avocado and a bed of kale…It's like the best spring time, celebration on you tongue, happiness in you tummy, kind of salad.

A salad that will make you smile. (and maybe buy  5 pineapples) 

IMG_3941 Stuff for the goodness. We got the kale, some avocado because all salads should have avocado and some cooked lentils because, well, all salads should have lentils (or beans or nuts.. so you could totally something else) Then a few sprigs of fresh dill, a clove of garlic, red wine vinegar, salt and a bowl of chunked up pineapple. IMG_3962The pineapple, dill, garlic, red wine vinegar, a splash of water and a pinch of salt get blended in a blender or whatever blending device you use. Go as smooth or chunky as you like, I recommend going smooth, but leaving a little chunk, like half blended.

The prep is done, now compile.  Kale in bowl, top with lentils,. Toss on avocado chunks, and, last but not least, the blended pineapple dill mixture.IMG_3967So good……So so good.

Happy Friday!!

-C


So Good Pineapple Dill Kale Salad

Serves Two

  • 3 cups washed and chopped Kale
  • 1/2 a avocado, diced
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
  • 1-2 springs fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
  • Salt 
  • 1/2 cup cooked lentils (or any bean or nut will do)

Note. No fresh dill? You can use dried, just sub in 1 teaspoon for the fresh and after blending with the pineapple, let sit a little longer to really let the flavors meld together. 

Place pineapple, dill, pinch of salt, vinegar and garlic into a blender or whatever you own that blends and blend stuff together, leaving it a little chunky. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.

Kale goes into a bowl and add the lentils and diced avocado. Pour the blended pineapple on. Toss around. 

Now eat.

Whole Grain Mustard

IMG_2795    IMG_2818 I love mustard, and when I say love, I mean LOVE. I eat it on anything and everything. And not just small quaintites, I buy jumbo sized containers of the stuff because I go through it so fast.  Over the past few years I even  started taking down others with my mustard eating obsession. Sisters, brothers, even some of the littles are now mustard eating feens.  One of my little nieces is now just as bad as me. I don't think I have seen her eat a single meal without a side of mustard. Her favorite snack, clementines and mustard,  although sometimes she skips the clementines and just goes in with her fingers. Oh so good. I think that child could possible be mine.  And yes, it's mostly the yellow grocery store variety of mustard being consumed, but yellow mustard is just the tip of the ice berg. There is a whole world of flavors, textures and colors when it comes to the humble mustard seed. Whole grain mustard, to me, is one of the best and easiest to adapt to any persons specific taste. You can make it plan or add in just about any spice, vinegar, even a little sweetness that you might like. One of my favorite variations of this mustard is to skip the vinegar and use picked jalapeño juice. Aah, my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

So if you are anything of a mustard connoisseur, you really must, at least once, make your own batch.(It's so easy!) And you will love it and share it with all your friends and they will think you are a bad ass for making your own mustard and your life will just be so great. All because you are now a mustard maker.  Yes. 

IMG_2644Yellow mustard seeds, brown mustard seeds, apple cider vinegar and salt. The most basic ingredients.

Note- If you want, add in a pinch of any spice that you want.. Chili flakes, granulated garlic, turmeric.... And you can use the vinegar of your choice. I like apple cider because its mellow with a slight sweetness but white or sherry or any vinegar would be great. Even left over picked juice is fantastic too.

IMG_2678   IMG_2791 In a large jar, combine the mustard seed , twice as much vinegar and a pinch of salt. Cover and let sit for on the counter overnight until the seeds have soften and look almost like caviar. 

IMG_2800Now blend those seeds. You might want to add another splash or two of vinegar to help  blend and to thin out a bit. Chose how creamy or seeded you like you mustard. I like to make it creamy but seedy so I blend it half way to creamy.

Taste and add another pinch of salt if its needed and……..

IMG_2812You have got mustard! Make sure you have a good snack ready to eat with it.. My go to is carrots. I could eat this all day long.  

Enjoy and have a great Tuesday full of mustard and stuff!

-C


Whole Grain Mustard

  • 1/4 Cup Brown Mustard Seeds
  • 1/4 Cup Brown Mustard Seeds
  • 1 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • Optional..A pinch of  Garlic Graduals, Red Pepper Flakes, Curry Powder (Anything you want) 

Combine all ingredients into a large jar that has at least a few extras inches for the seed to expand.  Leave on counter for 8-12 hours.

Once seeds are nice and soft and have expanded, either eat as is (Mustard seed caviar) or blend the seeds to desired consistency (I like it half smooth, half seedy) Add a pinch more or salt and another splash or two of vinegar to help blend.

Refrigerate and use on anything and everytihng.

Pie Crust

IMG_2283I am so happy its Friday, but like whoa, this week has flown by so fast. I think I need to make a pie to slow things down a bit.. What Kind of pie am I making? We will get to that, but first we must make a killer pie crust, one to hold of the goodness to come.  

IMG_2269Crusty Stuff. Flour, a stick of frozen butter (or a stick of frozen Earth  Balance, which I have used and it turns out much the same) a  bit of sugar, some salt, ice water, and apple cider vinegar*.  

Whats with the vinegar you ask? Well first  off, don't worry about tasting it, you won't. Secondly, I add it because it helps keep gluten from forming in the flour, which in turns makes the pie crust more flakey and less doughy. If the though of vinegar really bothers you, you can use lemon juice or even leave it out. IMG_2273

The flour, salt, ans sugar are mixed together into a bowl. Then with a box grater or hand grater with big hole, grate the frozen butter directly into the flour, stopping every few tablespoons to toss around in the flour. (DO this or you will end up with a big pile of shredded butter that is starting to melt back together) Also, hold the butter with the wrapper to keep from warming the butter with your hand.

Once the whole stick is shredded, take a fork and just toss the chunks around a bit more just to evenly distribute. Now add in vinegar and water. Toss with fork until the mixture starts to come together. If you think that dough seems way to dry, add in one more tablespoon of ice water.IMG_2277Dump the dough onto a lightly flour surface and kind of squish, smoosh dough into a pile. The dough is all clumpy and weird looking, Well thats what it is support to look like, so your good. IMG_2281Once the dough is gathered into a ball, place onto a piece of wax paper and wrap. Now is the most satisfying part..Smoosh the wrapped dough into a disk but applying pressure. Aaahh, kind of looked like pie crust. Now Stick it in the fridge for a least a hour (Don't skip this or your crust will be blah)

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Out of the fridge and awaiting a roll and a filling. 

Weekend plans for a pie are set!

Have lots of good times!

-C


Pie Crust

Notes... You can for sure make this  pie crust vegan by replacing the butter for  a stick of Earth Balance.  Also, this is the stuff for a single pie crust but I usually habra bit left over to make a few little cutouts for the top of the pie or pie scrap cookies.

To make this a double pie crust, just double everything up.  

  • 1 1/4  cups  all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (or Earth Balace), cold or frozen
  • 1/4 cup ice water
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar  

In a large bow, whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar. Place grater in bowl and with the biggest grate hole, grate the frozen or cold butter directly into the flour mixture, stopping ever few tablespoons to toss around in the flour so you don't end up with a big pile of grated butter. With a fork, toss around a bit until  the butter is evenly disrupted in the flour being careful NOT to work the butter into the flour.  Add in the vinegar and water and mix as little as possible with a fork until the mixture starts to come together. The mixture will seem kind of dry and almost like it is falling apart, but thats what you want. If dough is really too dry, add in another tablespoon of ice water. Dump mixture onto a lightly floured surface and squish together to form a ball, handling as little as possible. Place on a piece of wax paper and wrap. Give it a good squish to flatten out a bit and place back into fridgerater for a least one hour, if not longer.

And then you have crust

Crust can be frozen.. just wrap in plastic wrap and place into a freezer bag. 

Balsamic Soaked Strawberries on Spinach Almond Avocado Salad

IMG_9958When something goes on sale at the grocery store, I tend to buy it. Being that it is Valentines Day this week, all the stores are having specials on all sorts of sexy things… and strawberries are one of them.  Now I am not a huge fan of buying produce that is terribly out of season, but I can't help myself…a good deal is a good deal and the strawberries were a super good deal. I was just going to make some sweet ass strawberry jam or maybe a lovely strawberry cake with them (and I probably still will), but these strawberries are actually super juicy and full of flavor, and it's always nice to eat some full flavor freshy strawberries… especially soaked in balsamic vinegar.  And yeah,  I think that this salad is pretty sexy, so it makes for a perfect Valentines day dish.

IMG_9894A handful of ingredients and 5 minutes will get you to a fantastic salad experience.

A bowl of  baby spinach, a few chopped up strawberries*,  half a sliced avocado and a small handful of toasted almonds.. Oh, and don't forget the balsamic vinegar…. 

*Note.. Strawberries are kind of heart shaped already so if you want, reserve a few slices to fancy up you salad presentation, but chop up the rest into smaller pieces.

IMG_9905Pour the vinegar on the strawberries and let sit for at least 5 minutes. (the longer the strawberries can sit with the vinegar, the better)

IMG_9937 IMG_9949Pile it on..  thinly slice avocado.. rough chopped toasted almonds… It's pretty much as easy as it can get.IMG_9955And last but not least, toss on the balsamic soaked strawberries and drizzle the remaining vinegar. (if you made hearts, place on top to make pretty) Sprinkle with a pitch of salt and pepper and pow! Fancy, sexy, delicious salad.

Not to shabby for  5 minutes and a handful of ingredients.  Anyone (don't feed to a person with nut allergies) would be so syked to be fed a salad like this… You yourself should be pretty excited to eat a salad like this. Heck, I am excited to eat a salad like this!

A love salad for everyone and everyday!

YAY for Thursday and Happy meal planning!!!! 

-C


♥ Balsamic Strawberries on Spinach Almond Avocado Salad ♥

Ingredients for 1 large or 2 small salads

  • 3-4 ripe strawberries
  • handful of roasted almonds (slivers or whole)
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar 
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • Pinch of salt and pepper 

Dice strawberries into small pieces (reserve a few whole slices for heart shapes if you want) and toss in a small bowl  with the balsamic vinegar. Let sit for at least 5 minutes. Rinse and dry spinach. Place in a bowl(s) and top with thinly sliced avocado, chopped almonds and balsamic soaked strawberries. Drizzle the residual vinegar on top and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. 

Eat with a fork