Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Few Days

A few days of medication and lots of rest and I'm feeling a little better.
Lots of healthy foods and a few not so healthy -- but all delicious and prepared at home -- didn't hurt either.

Sweet and sour meatballs over brown rice.
A cup of coffee made by another's hands always tastes better.

an extra dose of vitamin C

zucchini pasta with pumpkin sauce and ground beef

Fresh green limas with ham and potatoes

A little sweet for my sweeties.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Acorn Squash Soup

Squash and Meatball Soup
1 quart of homemade vegetable stock (salt if stock isn’t salty and also add some garlic if your stock didn’t have any added)
½ bag of good quality frozen Italian meatballs or a handful of homemade (precooked)
1 medium acorn squash, peeled and cubed
1 quart home canned tomatoes, drained (or equivalent canned diced)
Dried basil and oregano (I used between ¾ and 1 tsp of each.)
1 sweet onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
A few baby Portabellas diced
I kept this simple.  I poured in the stock, added the meatballs, seasonings, squash and veggies.  I then drained the tomatoes and added them on top.  I didn’t stir them in.  Cook on high for 8 minutes pressure and then let rest for a minute or two.  Quick release pressure. 
At this point you can take out part of the squash to puree it if you chose.  I left mine slightly chunky because I like texture. 
(My vegetable broth did not have salt, but because I had canned my tomatoes with salt I ended up not needing to add anymore. I also was heavy on the garlic when I made my broth, but if I had not been I would have added some for that extra depth.)
This soup was a huge hit with my husband.  He ate two bowls of it and kept telling me how great it tasted. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Recipe and a Break

Chicken Risotto
1 large chicken breast, cut into small pieces
1 tbsp. olive oil

(can add onion at this point if desired – for family reasons I used an onion powder)
Sauté in the Instant Pot, until the chicken is almost done, but not browned.
Add in:

4 ¼ cups of broth (chicken or veggie will work)
1 ½ cups of Arborio rice
¼ to ½ cup of green peas
(seasoning of your choice – I added onion powder, salt, pepper)
Cook on high for 7 minutes.  Quick release the pressure.
Stir in butter and cheese.  (I just added cheese.) Let sit for a minute or so until melted and creamy.
This makes a pretty large batch.
We deliberately made "planned overs"
for our lunch for the next day
and still had some left.
On the break front,
it turns out this little sore throat I have
is a bacterial throat infection.
I'm out of a good chunk of change for the doctor
and pharmaceuticals, but ever so grateful
they are an option.
I'll be taking a few days to recover.
See y'all soon!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Fall is in the Air and in our Kitchen

Apple Cinnamon Bread
(no real recipe, but I use whole wheat pastry flour,
homemade applesauce and all the usual bread ingredients)

This is a sweet potato and apple gratin from the book
I actually have this one on my shelf,
but if you are on the lookout for sensible vegan recipes
I recommend her books.
She seems to use fairly reasonable ingredients
and so far everything we've made from her books
has been a hit -- enough so that I've been using her book
for inspiration for over 4 years now and lug it with me
every time we move.
As always I made a few changes --
this is my simplified variation.
I peeled and grated two large sweet potatoes and two medium apples.
I tossed them with 1/3 cup of pure maple syrup, 2 tbsp. of brown sugar,
2/3 cup of water and 2 heaping teaspoons of apple pie spice.
Poured into a greased square glass pan
and baked for 45 minutes at 375.
I added a handful of chopped pecans and let it go another 15 minutes.
This is really good.
Sweet without being sickeningly so.
In fact, I think it would make a great Thanksgiving dessert.
These were both baked at the same time to save on energy costs.
Then they were separated into individual servings with part going with my husband
to go with his meals for the week.
I've been semi-down all week with a full head cold/sore throat.
Meals have been simple and I've kind of relied on as healthful and convenient as I could.
Pressure cooker came to the rescue most nights.
We made a complete long term food storage hamburger helper
that was taco flavored.
This was an "it is 5 and I'm feeling too bad to cook" pull together.
Ground beef, taco seasonings, whole wheat noodles, green peas, cheese powder.
This was actually a hit with daughter
and with me too because I added extra "heat" in the spices, which
I had hoped would help my throat.
(I did use part of my second batch of homemade vegetable broth for added nutrition.)

A few days later we made a pressure cooked chicken noodle "casserole"
from a combination of food storage and fresh storage -- including homemade vegetable broth again.
I almost felt guilty for two convenience foods in the same week,
but in typical virus style the later the hour gets the worse I feel.

I am so thankful for my bread machine this week.
When I feel like crap getting the ingredients in and letting it do
its thing is a wonderful.

Corn chowder -- this was so good and quite simple.
I pressure cooked it.
6 minutes once it came up to pressure.
I'm down to just a quart of the second batch of vegetable broth left
and it will go into a risotto.


Yogurt Making

I followed the basic directions for using the pressure cooker I have to make yogurt and I'm pleased with the results.  Of course, there are tons of ways out there for making yogurt that don't require having this kitchen gadget. 
Lili over at Creative Savv has the best detailed version I can find.  However, I at best go through a few cups of yogurt a week.  I was excited to see that I could start small batches with minimal effort of my part and walk away from them. 
We ended up with my desired 3 jars of yogurt and some extra whey that I will use in cooking.
Even though I had a pretty thick consistency before I refrigerated it,
I did drain the whey off because I want a thick Greek style yogurt. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Cereal on the Cheap

Cereal can be both cost effective and healthy.  I'm not talking the stuff you buy in boxes at the store (although I do believe it can be both of those things, I think it is the exception rather than the rule), but instead talking granola. I buy oats in bulk and over the last two weeks we've tried two new to us granolas.  Both were big hits.


(My changes -- I used homemade applesauce and
stirred in 3/4 cup of raisins when the granola cooled.
I also halved the salt and used vanilla extract.)

I'm sorry I didn't photograph this in a bowl, but
this peanut butter granola was excellent, too.
It was a bit more decadent and even my daughter, who refuses
to eat oats as cereal, loved it.
(My only change was to use cow's milk.)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Mixed Vegetable Curry

I used my mad money this month to buy a new cookbook.
We're trying hard to incorporate more whole foods meals into our diet
and since pressure cooking is right up my alley, I decided to buy
I haven't had a chance to thoroughly review it yet,
but our first dish was a huge success.
We made Mixed Vegetable Curry
and as usual I made a few changes.
The recipe I am sharing is what I made and not the actual
recipe from the book.
(I served our curry over brown basmati rice that I pressure cooked separately.
I cooked the curry first and let the greens sit in it to wilt.
I covered it and it was still plenty hot by the time
the rice was done.)

Mixed Vegetable Curry (inspired by The New Fast Food)
5 baby bello mushrooms, sliced
1 can black soybeans, drained and rinsed
2 tsps. minced garlic
1 pint of vegetable broth
2 tbsp. of curry powder
1 large potato, scrubbed and cubed
1 bag of frozen mixed veggies
1 quart of home canned tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
a few handfuls of baby kale
I put it all in the pressure cooker with the exception of the salt and pepper and greens.
I didn't salt or pepper mine until it was finished.
Since I used homemade unsalted broth I knew I would need some.
If you use purchased, you may not need to add any.
Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes.
Quick release.
Stir in greens and let them sit to wilt.
(I think spinach would work great, too.)