Halloween weekend

Friday night Brian and I met some of my college friends out for drinks and had a lot of laughs. After being out late on Friday, most of Saturday was dedicated to watching college football, recovering, finishing up Halloween costumes and making pizzas. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle style cookie pizzas.
Your turtles:

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The pizzas:

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Sunday we got up and headed to wait in line to cast our votes early. Votes cast! Civic duty done. Most of the rest of the day was filled with errands and cleaning.
I made Iowa Girl Eats take out fake out sesame chicken. Very tasty and easy to make. Next time I might add a little fresh ginger and some cashews.

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Easy pumpkin oatmeal

Pumpkin pie oatmeal for one. Warm and satisfying.

Combine 1/3 cup gluten free oats, 2/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1/3 cup pure pumpkin, 1/2 of a ripe banana(sliced), pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon.

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Cook according to directions on oat package. Stirring occasionally to combine ingredients and mashing pieces of banana. I add the banana for nutrition and as a natural sweetener. Once cooked, place in a mug or bowl. Sprinkle with flax and chia.

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Top with pieces of almond and the other half of banana.

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This is a very healthy breakfast, full of nutrients. It’s also very tasty, gluten free and doesn’t have any added sugar. If it’s not sweet enough you can always drizzle with maple syrup.

Baked autumn samosas

I am smitten with (never)home maker‘s blog. I’ve ben following for a few years and love the recipes they come up with. I was intrigued by the baked autumn samosas as soon as she posted them. Brian and I love Indian food. I made them almost immediately and didn’t regret it.

I almost halved (never)home makers recipe and then made a batch of more traditional filling of potato, cauliflower, onion and peas. While she made her own outer wrapper, I bought egg roll wrappers from the grocery store out of convenience and they worked great. She used bbq sauce as a dipping sauce and I used that as an idea for a “chutney” made of BBQ, orange marmalade, Sriracha, soy sauce and ginger.

My “chutney”:

I had 2 wrappers left over so I very finely diced some apple, tossed with sugar and apple pie seasonings and made us two dessert samosas. So easy and delicious.

The filling options with this technique are endless!

I’ll let you follow (never)home makers version of the tasty autumn samosa and just give the recipe for the more traditional. But since I took them, I’ll share pictures of my autumn fillings:

Ingredients:
1/3 head of cauliflower, cut into small pieces and steamed until fork tender
1-2 medium red potatoes, diced and parboiled
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 small onion, diced and sautéed
tumeric
madras curry powder
salt and pepper
ginger
garlic

Preheat oven to 375F.

Mix vegetables together and season with seasonings to taste.

Scoop about 1/4 cup filling into egg roll wrapper.

Lightly wet edges of wrapper so it will bind when you roll it.

Place on baking sheet. Repeat with rest of filling.

Once all of the samosas are rolled and placed on baking sheet, lightly brush them with olive oil.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve with a side of “chutney” or dipping sauce of choice. Be careful as the inside will be piping hot.

Chipotle apple turkey chili

I emailed myself this recipe not long after making my last batch of chili. The original recipe is apparently from the Rachael Ray magazine.
This chili is very slightly sweet with a deep smokey flavor with some spice. It’s a nice change from the standard chili recipe.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds lean ground turkey
1 can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 gala apple, diced
1 stick cinnamon
1 bay leaf
1 cup apple cider
2 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons tomato paste

Heat the olive oil on medium heat in a large dutch oven or soup pan. Cook onion and garlic until onion translucent. Add in turkey meat.

Cook until browned, breaking into chunks while cooking.
Finely chop 3 peppers and add that and one tablespoon adobo sauce to turkey.

Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the coriander, cumin and paprika.
Add the diced apple.

Add the cinnamon stick and bay leaf. Cook for another 10 minutes or until simmering. Add in the tomato paste, cider and chicken stock.

Simmer for at least 20 minutes, up to two hours.


I am convinced the longer it simmers the more tasty it becomes. Whether this is true or not, I let mine simmer for about an hour and a half.
You can top this chili with more apple and some cheese. I served it with a side of corn bread.

Rustic ham and beans

Last week when I was fueling my Pinterest addiction, I ran across this incredibly simple recipe.

It’s a very rustic and heart warming meal. I imagine walking into an English pub on a cold and misty night and being served a piping hot bowl of this with a hunk of crusty bread. Now, that is a completely made up scenario as I have never been to England, but after dipping into the crockpot mid-afternoon and taking a taste, the scenario was further fueled.

You can’t get a more inexpensive and filling meal.

Ingredients:

1 pound ham with bone in(I used bone-in ham steak)
1 pound dried great northern beans
1 teaspoon dried minced onion
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
6 cups water

Place everything in crockpot but ham. Stir a little to combine. Place ham on top and push slightly under water so it is submerged.


Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Take lid off and stir a little to break up ham. Cook another 2-4 hours.

Serve with corn bread or hunk of crusty bread. Enjoy the salty, creamy, beany delight in your bowl.

Italian roasted tomatoes

After removing my tomato plants from my garden, I pulled all the green tomatoes and orange tomatoes off to ripen on my counter. After coming back from Arizona, most of them were ripe. Since I couldn’t eat an entire counter top of tomatoes at once, I decided to roast them.

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Ingredients:
tomatoes
thinly sliced cloves of garlic
thyme
basil
orgeano
salt and pepper
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 325F.

Slice the tomatoes in half. Toss the tomatoes with olive oil and garlic. I used 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil per pound of tomatoes. Sprinkle generously with herbs. Place all tomatoes so they are cut-side down.

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Bake for about two hours. The length of time will depend on the size of the tomato. Bake until the tomatoes are completely softened, wilted and started to wrinkle.

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These are super tasty. They taste like pizza. I couldn’t stop eating them once they cooled. They would also be great tossed with pasta and basil.

Fried green tomatoes

I pulled all of the tomato plants out of my garden this past weekend. I brought home a lot of green and orange tomatoes and very few red ones. I will let them ripen on my counter but couldn’t resist trying my hand at fried green tomatoes with a few of them. And I have to say, they turned out to be a pretty tasty pre-dinner snack.

Ingredients:
2 large green heirloom tomatoes(or other variety)
1 egg
1/4 cup milk(I used almond)
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup corn meal
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
oil for frying

Heat some oil in a pan. I didn’t use much oil as I didn’t want the slices to get too saturated. Most recipes recommend heating up a quart of oil. I probably heated up 1/4 cup in the bottom of a frying pan.

Combine dry ingredients in one bowl.

Combine egg and milk in another bowl. Set aside.

Slice the tomatoes in 1/8 inch slices.

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Once the oil is hot, dip a tomato slice in the egg and milk bowl, completely coating it. Then dip the wet tomato in the dry ingredients, making sure it’s completely coated. Carefully place tomato in hot oil. Continue with other slices of tomato, making sure not to crowd the pan.

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Once golden brown, carefully flip the tomato over to cook other side. Make sure not to splash hot grease. Once golden brown on both sides, remove from oil and and place on paper towels to drain. Blot to remove excess grease.

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Serve hot. Enjoy this tangy and almost meaty treat. Careful not to burn your tongue.

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Pancakes for two: pumpkin pancakes

When it comes to breakfast items I almost always prefer savory to sweet. Lately, I had a taste for pancakes. Not just any pancakes, pumpkin pancakes. It started a few months ago when we went to a great brunch spot and I saw them on the menu. At that time it was still way too summery and hot to be into anything pumpkin. So I shelved them in the back of my brain and have been thinking about them every weekend since the temperatures have started to drop.

Last weekend, I really wanted to go and get those pumpkin pancakes with cream cheese drizzle and candied ginger. Then a funny thing happened. I thought about how good the first 2 bites would be then I wouldn’t want them any more because they would be too sweet. Just too much.

So I layed in bed and googled “pancakes for one” knowing I could double the recipe so Brian could have some, too. I also knew I would be converting the recipe from plain to pumpkin pancakes.

This recipe produces a very thick batter. I had to spread it out in the pan with a spatula, but it made some delicious, but unattractive pancakes. The recipe will make one very large pancake for each person or 4 medium sized pancakes

Ingredients:
2/3 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons dried oats(regular or quick cooking)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie seasoning
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Mix all ingredients well in a medium sized bowl.

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In a separate bowl, combine:
1/3 cup pure pumpkin
2 tablespoons oil of choice(olive, vegetable, or coconut)
1/2 cup coconut or almond milk
dash of vanilla

Heat a small frying pan with a teaspoon of coconut oil. While that is heating, combine the wet and dry ingredients. Make sure to not over mix.

Pour half of your batter into frying pan for one large pancake or 1/4 of batter for a smaller pancake. Spread out batter with the back of a spoon or spatula.

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Cook over medium until bubbles form and pop on the surface of the pancake. Then flip and cook until golden brown on the other side.

If it doesn’t flip perfectly, that’s ok. It’s still going to taste delicious. Top with some banana slices and pure maple syrup. Some chopped nuts would be nice, too.

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Homemade tomato soup

I have been in soup mode lately. I think it’s the perfect starter, side dish or even main course. I like tomato soup, but not really a fan of the canned stuff. I like mine nice and thick with a lot of flavor, not just a bowl of boring acidity.

Since I have never made tomato soup before, I started out by googling things like “the world’s best tomato soup” and “best tomato soup ever.” I quickly eliminated several of them based on the amount of cream they used or the lack of flavor in the ingredients. When I saw this recipe I knew it was similar to one of the favorite bowls of tomato soup I have ever eaten.

Ingredients:
8 baby carrots, diced
1 stalk of celery with leaves, chopped
1 small onion diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons butter
pinch of thyme
pinch of oregano
salt and pepper
olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar(optional)

Preheat oven to 450F. Separate tomatoes from their juice. Reserve juice to the side.

Place pieces of tomato in a roasting pan, drizzle with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.

Roast for about 20 minutes or until deep red and caramelized.

While the tomatoes are roasting, heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a deep pot. Add in carrots, celery, onion and garlic.

Cook until onions translucent, about 7-10 minutes. Make sure you get those nice and tasty little brown bits.

Then add roasted tomatoes, tomato juice, vegetable broth, butter(use Earth Balance to keep it vegan), thyme and oregano. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables softened.

At this point, taste the soup. If it’s too acidic or you prefer a sweeter taste, add the sugar. If you add sugar, simmer 5 more minutes. Next, use immersion blender or carefully transfer soup to blender and blend to desired thickness. I put the soup in a blender and left the spout open a little to let the steam out then pulsed until nearly smooth.

This soup is so good that I might have to make another batch. Roasting the tomatoes really gives it depth and complexity of flavor. The added vegetables really help to cut the acidity, too. Even my tomato hating boyfriend loved it.

Chicken pesto sandwich

The inspiration for making fresh pesto…the chicken pesto sandwich.

Take some nice bread for your boyfriend. And a slice of sprouted grain for yourself.

Heat cast iron grill pan until nice and hot.

Slather some fresh pesto onto the bread.

Layer on some fresh mozzarella.

Top with some nice chicken.

Add some tomatoes(optional for boyfriend) mandatory for me. Add some more pesto to the other side of the bread.

Butter outside of bread. Place in grill pan and place something heavy(and non-flammable) on the other side to weight it down a bit. I used a heavy dinner plate.

After a few minutes, flip sandwich. Replace heavy object on top.

After a few more minutes, take off stove and pair with homemade tomato soup. So hot and melty inside with crisp and crunchy bread on the outside.