Fox and Broom

A mom's adventures in keeping healthy, keeping her sanity, and making stuff.

Archive for the tag “recipes”

Cheesy Corn Muffins

I was looking for a yummy addition to our chili the other night and I came across this recipe from Vegetarian Cooking: A Common Sense GuideI’m not totally sure why this book claims to be the commonsense guide. The recipes are not at all common… It does have good recipes, just not ones we are used to seeing. I also took a few liberties with the recipe, which I will note in my directions.

CheesCornMuffin|Fox & Broom Blog

 

 

Cost: VERY inexpensive
Skill Level: Novice. This is a super easy recipe, with minimal clean-up.

 

Corn Muffins
Makes 12

Ingredients

  • 310 g (11 oz/2 1/2 cups) self-rising flour [I measured out 2 1/2 tsp baking powder + 1/2 tsp salt into a cup, topped it off with all-purpose flour, measured out the rest of the flour – so total would be 2 1/2 cups, whisked it all together]
  • 75 g (2 1/2 oz/1/2 cup) fine polenta [I just used my regular corn meal]
  • 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) milk [I had to add an extra tbsp of milk to my recipe]
  • 125 g (4 1/2 oz) butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 130 g (4 1/2 oz) tin corn kernels, drained [I used about 1/2 cup of frozen corn]
  • 2 spring onions (scallions) finely chopped
  • 60 g (2 1/4 oz/ 1/2 cup) grated cheddar cheese
  • cream cheese or butter to top

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 210º C (415º F/Gas 6 – 7). Grease two six-hole muffin tins.
  • Sift flour and polenta into a large bowl and make a well in the center.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients and season with sea salt and pepper. Pour into the well in the flour mixture and gently fold using a metal spoon [I used a wooden spoon] until just combined. Do not over-mix – the batter should still be very lumpy.
  • Spoon the batter into the muffin holes and bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and leave in the tins for 5 minutes before turning them out. Serve the muffin hot or at room temp, split in half and spread with cream cheese or butter.

You could easily add more things to these muffins (chives, dried tomatoes). They are NOT SWEET at all. Notice there is not sugar added. I really really liked them alot. My husband still put honey on them – he likes a little sweet with his chili – and said they were really yummy with the sweet added to them.

They also seem to last nicely. They are on day 4 and still quite tasty. They will probably be completely gone by the end of today.

I think I might play around with this recipe a bit and see if I can make a vegan version… If I am successful, I will post the recipe.

CheeseCornMuffin|Fox & Broom Blog

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Salads

So, I decided to start off my healthy eating series with a simple salad. What got me started on this was a meme I happened to see on Facebook. It actually pissed me off.

funny-burger-salad-price-obese

This was not the exact meme I saw. The one I saw said “Why are poor people fat?” So, I started thinking about this. There is so much wrong with this, yet it holds true at most fast food restaurants. So, I conducted a home experiment to find out how much a salad should cost.

I created the most basic of salads:

Ingredients:

Head of romaine lettuce ($1.49)
Cucumber ($0.50)
Radish bunch ($0.50)
Dressing (this was already in my fridge, so I will say about $3.00 just to be on the safe side. That is most likely over.)

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Now, this price will go up or down depending on what you put in. I like artichokes and feta in my salads, also, so this will go up due to that. Your choice of lettuce will also change the price. I could have gone with Iceberg for .99, but Romaine has a higher nutritional yield than most leafy greens (here is one chart and here is another). It’s worth the extra $0.50.

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So, I chopped up my lettuce. I used a knife in this instance. It will stay fresher for longer if you rip it up by hand or take off however many leaves you want. I wanted to get an accurate measurement so I could post an accurate price. I do have a trick to preserving my cut up lettuce. I rinse it in a bit of vinegar. It stays crisper and prettier for a few days longer.

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Once I chopped it up, rinsed it, and spun it in my salad spinner (I love this gadget), I measured it out. I came up with 5 1/2 cups of lettuce.

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I sliced up 1/4 of the cucumber and one radish (the bunch had 10 radishes).

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I put 2 cups of lettuce into a bowl (splurge! 1 cup = 1 serving), piled on the cucumber and radish slices, then poured on 2 tablespoons of dressing.

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So, to total up our cost on this salad:

2 Cups of Romaine: $.54
1/4 Cucumber: $0.13
1 Radish: $0.05
Dressing: $0.19

Grand Total: $0.91

Yes. Less than that burger in the meme. And because I used TWO CUPS of lettuce, this was actually two servings of salad.

Nutritional Value (approximation)

Calories: 44
Carb: 7
Fat: 1
Protein: 2
Sodium: 185
Sugar: 5

I would recommend adding in some sort of protein (cheese, chicken, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds) to get the full nutritional benefit from your salad.

The Big Check-In

So, last Saturday I had my 6 week check-in for the Gold’s Gym 12 Week Challenge. Not great news, but not terrible, either. I lost a few pounds and a few inches. However, I also lost some muscle. Doh! Not at all what I was going for. However, I will go into more detail about how that came about later on. For now, I will post my stats:

Before:

Weight: 170.8 lbs
BFI: 30.1
Waist: 36
Hip: 42
Thigh: 20

Now:

Weight: 167.8
BFI: 29.5
Waist: 36
Hip: 41
Thigh: 20
Not a huge difference, but a little.

Now, the reason this bit of difference doesn’t bother me is because it would appear that I am pregnant. Yay! I found out a few days after my weigh-in. I have decided to stay in the Challenge, not for weight loss, but to remain on a healthy schedule. I want this pregnancy to be healthier than my last one. I am hoping to keep diabetes away with a healthy diet and exercise regime. I really want to have a home birth with this one. I have done the hospital birth with my other two. I want to experience it on a more personal level. The healthier I am, the fewer complications I should have during pregnancy. Now, I will need to cool it with some of the classes in the near future. For now, here is my current work-out plan:

Mon: 9:30 buoyancy Burn/9:30 BodyPump/swimming (Sammi usually has therapy at 11, so I will most likely be swimming laps)
Tues: Running
Wed: weights + cardio/11 am Yoga
Thurs: Running
Fri: 9:30 BodyFlow/weights + cardio/swimming
Sat: 9:30 BodyCombat/Running
Sun: Hike/Walk

I want it noted that I am not just starting up on this exercise routine! I have kept up with my exercises 3 – 5 times per week. A pregnant woman should NEVER just start-up a physically taxing schedule if she is not used to it. It is harmful to her and to her baby.

I also plan to keep up with MyFitnessPal. Also, as mentioned above, not to lose weight, but to keep myself on a healthy diet. I will be changing my settings so that I will be getting slightly more calories. I have NO intentions of starving or harming this little baby in way, shape, or form. MyFitnessPal is able to tell how much more I need of certain vitamins, proteins, etc., and it will at the same time let me know if I have had too much of something. Love that app/website.

I also have an idea that has been brewing in my mind. I am going to start a page listing healthy, inexpensive recipes. Preferably easy ones. I got the idea from One Hungry Student. This blog is a group of college students posting cheap-o eating ideas. I remember my ramen days. Too well. I really wish I had had the knowledge then that I have now regarding cooking. And nutrition. So, that will be a future project.

While I am checking in, I will also give an update on my boys:

Sol is really making me proud. He is doing AWESOME in school. He reads about a book a day. I am loving it. Right now, he is in a challenge to read 10 hours to win theme park tickets (to a theme park we are already going to this summer – woot!). He has already read over 8 hours and there are still 20 days left in the contest. He has really become a great big brother. His little brother looks up to him. They both have a lot of fun playing games.

Sam is making strides in his therapy. He was recently given new goals since he has way surpassed his old ones. He still has a little catching up to do, but he is working on it. He has finally broken out of the 2% range for weight. He is now in the 10% range. He still looks too chubby to me to be that low, but whatever. He is healthy and he is happy.

Crisp-Soft Noodles With A Broccoli, Mushroom, and Zucchini Topping

Crisp-Soft Noodles With A Broccoli, Mushroom, and Zucchini Topping
taken from Madhur Jaffrey’s World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey

Cooked on: October 16, 2011

Servings: serves 4

Cost: Somewhat Inexpensive

Skill level: Intermediate. Be sure to follow instructions.

Notes: Time consuming. I had a lot of trouble finding the lo mein noodles. I had no luck AT ALL finding fresh, so decided to buy the dried noodles. I also did not find shaohsing wine, but the dry sherry worked very well.

Ingredients

1/2 lb fresh Chinese lo mein egg noodles
1 medium zucchini
1 tsp salt
About half a bunch of broccoli (about 2 cups, when cut)
8 medium-sized mushrooms
2 tsp cornstarch
3/4 cup “Delicious Stock” (I used store-bought vegetable stock)
2 tbsp bean sauce (I am totally in love with this stuff now)
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp sesame oil
7 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 quarter-sized slice of fresh ginger, minced (I keep a root of ginger in my freezer and cut pieces off of it as I need it. Ginger is also good in a tea with honey.)
1 tbsp shaohsing wine or dry sherry

Procedure

Bring 13 cups of water to a rolling boil. Gently separate the noodle strands and drop them into the water. When the water comes to a second boil, pour in 1 cup of cold faucet water. When the water comes to a third boil, pour in another cup of cold water. When the water comes to a fourth boil, empty the contents of the pot into a colander set in the sink. Rinse the noodles under running water, washing off a lot of the starch. Leave to drain for at least half an hour.

Trim the zucchini ends and cut it in half, lengthwise. Cut the halves crosswise at 1/4 – inch intervals. Put the zucchini in a bowl. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp salt over it and mix. Set aside for half an hour. Drain and pat dry.

Cut the broccoli into slim flowerets, not more than 2 inches long. You can use some of the stems, too. Just peel and cut them into 1/4 – inch thick strips. In all, you should have about 2 cups.

Wipe off the mushrooms and then cut them, stem and all, into 1/4 – inch thick slices.

Put the cornstarch in a small bowl. Slowly add the stock, mixing as you do so. Add the bean sauce, sugar, and sesame oil. Mix well.

Heat 3 tbsp of the vegetable oil in a 7 to 8 inch non-stick skillet over a medium flame. When the oil is hot, put in the noodles, spreading them out evenly over the entire bottom of the skillet. Fry without stirring for about 4 minutes or until the bottom of the noodle patty is a reddish-golden color  and is crisp. Now slip one spatula under the noodles and hold the top of the patty with another spatula. Turn the patty over. Dribble another tablespoon of vegetable oil along the edges of the skillet, allowing it to slither downward. Cook the second side until it, too, has turned a reddish-golden color. Carefully lift up the patty and put it on a warm platter.

Heat 3 tbsp of vegetable oil in a wok or skillet over a medium flame. When hot, put in the garlic and ginger. Stir a couple of times. put in the mushrooms, broccoli, and 3/4 tsp salt. Stir and fry, turning the vegetables around briskly. Put in the zucchini. Stir and fry for another 30 seconds. Now add the wine, cover immediately and turn heat to low. Cook for 1 minute. Uncover, give the cornstarch mixture a quick stir and pour it over the vegetables. Turn heat up a bit and cook, stirring gently, until the sauce thickens. Spoon the vegetables and sauce over the noodles and serve immediately.

Final Notes

This was a very interesting recipe. Somehow, I only read it partway through before trying it out, so was not totally prepped for some of the steps. The turnout was very good and it turns out this is one of those recipes which age very well – leftovers were yummier than the fresh stuff. We also liked it with some teriyaki sauce over it. As mentioned above, I could not find fresh noodles, so I am sure that I wound up with waaaaay more noodles than are called for in the recipe. If you buy dry noodles, just be prepared to possibly use a bigger skillet for frying them.

Chickpea Soup

Chickpea Soup
taken from Madhur Jaffrey’s World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey 

Cooked on: November 22, 2011

Servings: serves 6

Cost: Inexpensive

Skill level: Novice. Be sure to follow instructions.

This is a time-consuming recipe!

Ingredients

2 cups dried chickpeas, picked over, washed, and drained (I used 2 cans of chickpeas)
2 medium-sized onions, peeled, and chopped
2 medium-sized boiling potatoes, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch dice (I would use more potatoes the next time I make this)
1 tbsp salt or to taste
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin seeds
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp lemon juice

Procedure

Soak the chickpeas in 8 cups of water for 12 hours. (I would soak mine in a mix of water and vegetable stock). Drain and rinse thoroughly. Put the chickpeas, onions, and 8 cups water (stock) into a large pot and bring to a boil. Cover partially, turn heat to low, and simmer gently for 1 hour. Add potatoes, salt, turmeric, cumin, coriander, cayenne, and another 3/4 cup water. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on very low heat for another 1 1/2 hours. Stir a few times during this period. Check seasonings. Add the black pepper and lemon juice. Stir to mix.

My Notes

This was a HUGE hit with my husband. It does require a bit of planning, but the end result was pretty fantastic. We were able to dine on this soup for almost a full week and it only got tastier the longer it aged.

 

Capsicum, Spinach, and Chickpea Soup

I really need to catch up on some of my recipes. I am embarrassingly behind. I only now thought to make time to write this one up because @onestarrynight requested healthy recipes. Now, on to the recipe:

Capsicum, Spinach, and Chickpea Soup
from Vegetarian Cooking: A Common Sense Guide by  Bay Books

Cooked on: October 16, 2011

Servings: supposedly 4. I would say more than that.

Cost: Inexpensive

Skill level: Novice. Be sure to follow instructions.
Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil
8 spring onions (scallions), finely sliced
1 red capsicum (pepper), finely diced (I used a medium fish pepper)
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp cumin seeds
375 ml (13 fl oz/1 1/2 cups) tomato passata (pureed tomatoes)
750 ml (26 fl oz/3 cups) vegetable stock
300 g (10 1/2 oz) tin chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 – 2 tsp sugar
100 g 3 1/2 oz/2 1/4 cups baby English spinach leaves

Procedure

Heat olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan. Add the spring onion, cover and cook over medium heat for 2 – 3 minutes, or until softened. Add the capsicum, garlic, and cumin seeds, and cook for 1 minute.

Add the passata and stock and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chickpeas, vinegar, and sugar, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Stir in the baby spinach and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook just until the spinach begins to wilt, then serve.

My Notes

I added the spinach as I served it into each bowl. It doesn’t take long for the spinach to get wilty and my husband reacts badly to spinach, so I served him without any.

This is a really awesome dish. It is very easy to make and would be easy to make it the way you prefer it to be. I used a medium pepper left over from my venture to the farmer’s market. Mmmm. It added just the right spiciness.

Zakiya’s Potatoes and Onions (from India)

Zakiya’s Potatoes and Onions (from India)
from Madhur Jaffrey’s World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey

Cooked on: October 2, 2011

Servings: 4 – 6, will stuff 8 dosas

Cost: Inexpensive

Skill level: Beginner. Be sure to follow instructions.

Ingredients

4 medium-sized boiling potatoes (1 lb.)
¾ inch cube fresh ginger, peeled and cut into 3 to 4 pieces
1 fresh hot green chili, or more to taste, cut into 2 to 3 pieces (I used a medium-heat fish chili and I washed out the seeds for less fire)
¼ cup vegetable oil
A generous pinch of ground asafetida (Had trouble finding this. Finally found it at Richland Health Foods.)
1 teaspoon whole black mustard seeds (did not find black, but brown seemed to work just fine)
2 medium-sized onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
¼ tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. salt

Procedure

Boil the potatoes until tender. Let them cool, then peel and cut them into ¾-inch dice. (I accidentally over-boiled mine. I left the peel on and just diced them up.)

Put the ginger and green chili into the container of a food processor or blender along with ¼ cup of water and blend until you have a somewhat grainy paste. Set aside.

Heat the oil in an 8” – 9” skillet over a medium flame. When hot, put in the asafetida first and then, one second later, the mustard seeds. As soon as the mustard seeds begin to pop (this takes a few seconds), put in the onions. Turn the heat down slightly and sauté the onions for about 5 minutes or until they turn translucent. (Do not let them brown). Now add the paste from the food processor as well as the turmeric. Stir and cook for one minute. Put in the potatoes, 1 cup water, and the salt. Cover, and cook on medium-low heat for about 6 minutes. Lift cover and, using a slotted spoon, break the potato pieces into smaller 1/3” to ½” cubes. Cover again and cook on very low heat for another 3 to 4 minutes. The “sauce” for the potato dish should now be very thick. Serve as is or inside a dosa.

Final Verdict

This was super easy and incredibly delicious. We ate them with dosas and had leftovers for a few days. We did not mind at all.

The Joy of Cooking Pita Bread

Pita Bread
from The 75th Anniversary Edition of The Joy of Cooking Cookbook by Irma Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, and Ethan Becker

I have had a few people ask me for this recipe. For some reason, pita bread seems to be a daunting bread creation. It is really very simple. It will take a while as the dough does need to rise at least once. I usually let it rise twice.

Ingredients

3 cups bread flour (I have used all-purpose with good results)
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 packages (1 1/2 tbsp) active dry yeast (I usually use 2 tbsp)
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 1/4 cup room temp water

Combine flour, sugar, salt, & yeast in a large bowl or the bowl fo a heavy-duty mixer. Add the butter and water. Mix by hand or on low-speed for about 1 minute. Knead for about 10 minutes by hand or with the dough hook on low to medium speed until the dough is smooth, soft, and elastic. Add flour or water as needed; the dough should be slightly tacky but not sticky. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and turn it once to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temp until doubled in volume, 1 – 1 1/2 hours.

Set a rack in the lower level of the oven and place a pizza or baking stone on the rack. Preheat the oven to 450°F for 45 minutes. (If you do not have a pizza or baking stone, preheat the oven, place an inverted baking sheet on the rack, and heat the baking sheet for 5 minutes.) *if you punch the dough down an extra time, wait for it to finish rising the second time before doing this step.

Meanwhile, punch down the dough. Divide equally into 8 pieces, and roll the pieces into balls. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes. (*I will usually punch down the dough and let it rise one more time in the bowl, then punch it down and divide it).

On a very lightly floured surface, roll out each ball of dough into a thin round, about 8 inches in diameter and 1/8 inch think. Spray the stone or baking sheet with a mist of water, wait 30 seconds, then place as many dough rounds as will fit without touching each other directly on the hot surface. Bake until the dough rounds puff into balloons, about 3 minutes (seriously – only about 3 – 5 minutes. Pitas are thin and do not require much baking time), then bake 30 seconds longer and immediately remove the breads to a rack to cool. If you leave the breads in the oven too long, they will become dry and will not deflate to flat disks. Bake the remaining rounds.

Tofu Pastries

Tofu Pastries from Vegetarian Cooking: A Common Sense Guide by Bay Books

Cooked on: May 26, 2011

Servings: Makes 8

Cost: Inexpensive

Skill level: Beginner. Be sure to follow instructions.

This recipe requires about 4 hours to prepare.

Ingredients

150 g (5 1/2 oz) firm tofu, drained

2 spring onions (scallions), chopped

3 tsp chopped coriander (cilantro)

1/2 tsp grated orange zest

2 tsp soy sauce

1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

2 tsp grated fresh ginger

1 tsp cornflour (cornstarch)

2 sheets of frozen puff pastry, thawed

1 egg lightly beaten

 

Dipping Sauce (I did NOT make this as I opted to use the sweet chilli sauce for dipping instead)

3 tbsp sugar

125 ml (4 fl oz/1/2 cup rice vinegar

1 small Lebanese (short cucumber, finely diced

1 small red chilli, thinly sliced

1 spring onion (scallion, thinly sliced on the diagonal)

 

Procedure

1. Pat the tofu dry and dice. Place in a bowl with the spring onion, coriander, orange zest, soy and sweet chili sauces, ginger, and corn flour. Mix gently, then cover and refrigerate for 3 – 4 hours.

2. Meanwhile, make the dipping sauce. Put the sugar and vinegar in a small saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Tip into a small bowl and add the cucumber, chilli, and spring onion. Allow to cool completely.

3. Preheat the oven to 220° C (425° F/Gas 7). Cut each pastry sheet into four squares. Drain the tofu filling and divide into eight portions. Place one portion in the center of each square and brush the edges with beaten egg. Fold each one into a triangle and seal the edges with a fork.

4. Place on two lined baking trays, brush with beaten egg and bake for 15 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed and golden. Serve hot, with the dipping sauce.

 

Verdict: This was a very tasty side dish. The tofu took on the chili sauce flavor mmmmm. The taste reminded me of an egg roll. I don’t remember why I didn’t just make the dipping sauce. I probably forgot to find a cucumber or something along those lines, but using the sweet chili sauce was perfect.

This pastry was a perfect side dish with the Pea & Asparagus Saffron Risotto. Both just slightly sweet, with a little savory added in.

Pea and Asparagus Saffron Risotto

Pea and Asparagus Saffron Risotto from Vegetarian Cooking: A Common Sense Guide by Bay Books

Cooked on: May 26, 2011

Servings: 4 (according to the book – this recipe lasted a week for me)

Cost: Inexpensive – I already had saffron on hand, so this was super in expensive.

Skill level: Beginner. Be sure to follow instructions.

Ingredients

450 g (1 lb) fresh peas in the pod, or
235 g (8 1/2 oz/1 1/2 cups) frozen peas (I used frozen)
175 g (6 oz/1 bunch) asparagus, trimmed and cut into 3 cm (1 1/4  inch) lengths
a pinch of saffron threads
1.5 litres (52 fl oz/6 cups) vegetable stock
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
440 g (15 1/2 oz/2 cups) risotto rice
30 g (1 oz/heaped 1/4 cup)finely grated Parmesan cheese

1. Shell the peas into a heat-proof bowl and add the asparagus. Cover with boiling water and leave to stand for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside until needed.

2.  Pour 60 ml (2 fl oz/1/4 cup) boiling water into a small bowl. Add the saffron and leave to infuse.

3. Pour the stock into a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and keep at a gentle simmer.

4. Het the olive oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan. Sauté the onion over medium heat for 5 minutes, until soft. Add the rice and stir until translucent.

5. Add 125 ml (4 fl oz/1/2 cup) hot stock, stirring constantly over medium heat until the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding more stock, 125 ml (4 fl oz/1/2 cup) at a time, stirring constantly for 20 – 25 minutes, or until all the stock is absorbed and the rice is tender and creamy. Add the saffron water about halfway through, and stir in the peas and asparagus about 5 minutes before the rice is ready.

6. When the rice is tender, remove from the heat and stir in the parmesan. Serve sprinkled with freshly ground black pepper.

Final Verdict: Yummy, cheap, and fairly healthy. A great dish for vegetarians (or anyone who just wants a good dish) on a budget. If you can not afford the saffron, I would recommend adding in fresh basil.

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