Monday, January 31, 2011

Hearty, Healthy Snack

I've made these twice already, because they're so yummy. The second go round I used a heart shaped cookie cutter to make them into a Valentine treat for some friends. I think they may become a holiday favorite--whatever the holiday!

My 3 year old cannot get enough of them. "Mmm. Good Mom," he says in a very matter-of-fact tone. He's right--they're really tasty and super easy to make.

I did find that sometimes they stick together better based on how the honey is distributed, but when we had only crumbles, we put them into our morning grain (amaranth these days), and they were just as good!

1.5 cups raw or roasted p-nuts
1.5 cups dried cranberries
3 T sesame seeds
1/2 - 1 T freshly grated ginger
3-4 T honey

  1. Place all ingredients except honey in bowl of food processor and pulse until well crumbled and incorporated together--you're not making p-nut butter, so use the pulse button.
  2. Add honey and pulse until it's blended into mixture.
  3. Press into cookie cutter shape of choice or into a square pan and refrigerate at least an hour.
  4. Cut into bars and enjoy!

Salmon Croquettes with Avocado Yogurt Dip

I had to post this recipe, because I've tried croquettes in the past without much luck keeping them together. I don't know what sort of magic was swirling in my kitchen, but this time around they stuck together beautifully. Boy am I grateful!

Now I can't decide which of these two I like better--they are both off the charts outstanding. I had a leftover croquette over salad greens with the remaining dip, and I think it may have been even better the second day.

The carrots don't cook down very much, which leaves a nice crunch in every bite. I would have thrown in greens, too, but only had salad on hand. Next time, I'll add some kale or collards. That's another great thing about the croquettes--I can "hide" all kinds of veggies in them. Not to mention it's main ingredient--wild, Alaskan salmon--the heart healthy stuff. Since "heart month" is upon us, it seems only natural to cook these up. So love on your heart with these yummy croquettes.

15 oz can wild, Alaskan salmon (bones included & packed in water is best), drained or 1-2 cups leftover salmon fillets
1/2-1 cup leftover cooked brown rice
2-3 carrots, grated or chopped finely
1 small red onion (or green onions or sweet onion)
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 egg
1 t Dijon mustard
as much fresh or dried parsley as you can stand (start with a Tablespoon)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
some bread crumbs (maybe 1/4-1/2 cup)
1/4-1/2 cup high heat cooking oil (I used Grapeseed oil, but Coconut oil or butter would be good, too)

  1. Combine everything through salt and pepper in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Add enough bread crumbs to help hold things together, but too many, which will dry the mixture out.
  3. Pour bread crumbs onto work surface or plate.
  4. Form mixture into patties (you decide what size you'd like--I got 7 largish patties out of this recipe) and coat well with bread crumbs.
  5. Place on wire rack (best option) or plate and put in refrigerator for 15-30 minutes (or more--I made these ahead of time, picked up at school, ran a couple of errands, then came home to cook them).
  6. Heat a skillet on medium high heat for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add oil enough to generously cover bottom of skillet and reduce heat to medium.
  8. Cook croquettes until brown on both sides--about 3-5 minutes per side--I actually set a timer and prepared the avocado yogurt dip while the croquettes cooked.
  9. Remove from heat and drain on paper towels.
  10. Serve with Avocado Yogurt Dip or lemon wedges and get ready for a delightful taste explosion in your mouth!
 Avocado Yogurt Dip
This is so tasty on top of the croquettes, but is good with chips or cut up fresh veggies, too. It doesn't keep extremely well, so try to consume it within 24 hours.

1 avocado
juice of 1 orange
juice of 1-2 lemons (to your particular taste)
1/2 cup Greek style yogurt
some minced up red onion (maybe a heaping Tablespoon?--again to taste)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  1. Place flesh of avocado and juices in bowl of a food processor or blender and process/blend until liquid.
  2. In a bowl, mix with yogurt, onion, and salt and pepper.
  3. Adjust seasoning to taste and enjoy!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Savory Sweet Sensation

I'm into roasting things this time of year, if for no other reason than to keep the kitchen warm. I'm roasting sweet potatoes, beets, turnips, sometimes carrots, but especially onions. It continues to amaze me how sweet they taste when they're roasted in a little oil and salt. They're like candy.


I'm still coming down from all the sugar indulgence* over the holidays, and adding in sweet vegetables is helping. Onions are my sweet vegetable of choice these days. Here's what I do:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Chop onion into largish chunks.
  3. Drizzle with oil (I use Grapeseed).
  4. Sprinkle with sea salt.
  5. Roast until caramelized (sometimes I let them get a little "burned").
  6. Roast alone or with other sweet veggies and enjoy dessert with your main meal!
*I didn't get an official count, but I think I ended up with somewhere around 12 chocolate bars in my house--majority dark chocolate, which is a great choice, but 12 candy bars? Really? Right now, I wish it had been 12 bags of onions.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Chicken and Rice in the Pot

Yesterday was a crock pot cooking day--dreary is how I described it to my 3 year old on the way to school. On the way home from dropping him, I got the notion to put some stuff together in the crock pot for something warm and soothing. Here's what I did:

1.5 cups Brown Rice (I used Jasmine) or other whole grain, rinsed
3.5 cups broth
1 t dried thyme
1/2 t crushed red pepper
1/2 t tumeric
A little cooking oil or spray
1 small red onion, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1/2 yellow pepper, chopped
2 bone-in chicken breasts, skin removed and washed
2 broccoli stalks
3-4 carrots, roughly chopped
2-3 celery stalks, roughly chopped
freshly grated ginger to taste
sea salt to taste

  1. Place rinsed rice, broth, thyme, crushed red pepper, and tumeric in a pot with tight fitting lid on stove over high heat until it comes to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, drizzle a little oil on the bottom of the crock pot and turn it on (I started with it high) while chopping the onion, garlic, and peppers. Place chopped items in crock pot. 
  3. Wash chicken.
  4. Once rice comes to a boil, pour into crock pot on top of onions, garlic, and peppers.
  5. Place chicken on top.
  6. Depending on how long you've got to cook, turn heat to low (all day) or high (half a day or less) and sit back and smell the goodness!
  7. About 30 minutes before you're ready to eat, add the broccoli, carrots, and celery. Return lid and keep cooking.
  8. Just before serving, add freshly grated ginger, salt to taste, and stir it all together.
  9. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Collard Salad

Photo by Jill Richards Photography
I have to admit I didn't think I would ever see the two words "collard" and "salad" smooshed together as if they actually "go" together. But then I made what is best described as collard salad for dinner this week, and I don't know why they haven't been put together at my house before now.

A friend suggested the idea to me, so I went with it, because I got a nice bunch of fresh, local, organic collards at the market this week. Try for yourself and see!

Take fresh collards, cut away the stem, fold leaves in half and stack 4 or 5 on top of each other. Now roll the leaves into a fat "cigar" and slice across, making long strips. I cut them fairly close together to make really thin strips. Submerge in water (a salad spinner with colander works best for this part)  and let soak while preparing other parts of the salad. This will plump up the leaves, as well as remove any dirt.

While the collards soaked, I investigated what I had on hand to go with them. Here's the list of things I threw in a bowl:
  • roasted beets (click here for simple instructions)
  • toasted pumpkin seeds
  • grated fresh parmesan cheese
  • the best vinaigrette going--Roasted Shallot (click here for the recipe), which I had leftover from the holidays (I used dried herbs, and it's held up nicely)
After gathering these ingredients, I drained the collards, spun the extra water off, and tossed it all together. Quite delicious, quick, and a nice addition to my kitchen. Enjoy!