Category Archives: Uncategorized

Quinoa Stuffed Delicata Squash

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I made this delicious fall recipe on a whim with a smattering of random ingredients I had laying around my house. It is now officially Jairus’ favorite meal. I must admit, its a good one, and very healthy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 delicata squash, halved
  • 1/2 of a yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 plump cloves garlic, minced
  • Several mushrooms of your choice, chopped
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 of one apple, peeled and chopped
  • handful of walnuts, chopped
  • Small handful dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup red or tricolor quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • Small handful panko bread crumbs
  • fresh thyme, rosemary, sage and parsley, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Earth balance vegan butter

Instructions:

  1. Cut delicata squash in half and scoop out “guts”. Paint flat sides with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place face down on baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until fork tender. Remove from oven and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, sautee onion and garlic in 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat until translucent and fragrant. Add minced fresh herbs, except for parsley. (Parsley is for garnish).
  3. Add mushrooms and 1 Tbsp Earth Balance. Sautee until mushrooms begin to soften.
  4. Add white wine and reduce by half.
  5. Add dry quinoa and vegetable broth. Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook for about 20 minutes or until quinoa has absorbed all liquid and is soft.
  6. Stir in chopped apple pieces. Cover and allow to cook until apple is slightly soft, about 5 minutes.
  7. Stir in walnuts and dried cranberries.
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste
  9. Spoon quinoa mixture into delicata squash with a large Tablespoon. Use spoon to pack mixture in and form a nice dome shape. Top with panko bread crumbs. Bake for 10 more minutes.
  10. Sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve alongside your favorite sauteed greens such as kale, chard or collards.

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Creamy Pumpkin Pasta

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Creamy comfort food that is 100% vegan! 

This recipe was a Pinterest find that I will most definitely make again and again because it was so amazing. Just imagine that satisfying, comforting feeling of eating mac and cheese…except there’s no cheese or cream or butter involved! Guilt free comfort food at its best! We did alter this recipe to incorporate our favorite vegetable: kale. It was absolutely stick-to-your-ribs fantastic and great for a chilly fall night.

I do think it would’ve been better had we used linguine or tagliatelle, but all we had was whole wheat penne. Alas.

Vegan Creamy Pumpkin Pasta Recipe

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Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

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This photo is just the best: “Bad Puppy waits for humans to look away so he can eat all 6 pancakes in one bite without chewing.”

Because it is Fall. That is all. Need I further justify why I’m posting 3 pumpkin recipes in sequence? Yes I’ve jumped on the pumpkin bandwagon and not ashamed one bit!

Jairus actually made these so I can’t take full credit. He used this recipe:

Cookie and Kate Vegan Pancake Recipe

…and added a few key ingredients to autumnize them. Such as:

  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger

They were perfectly fluffy and pumpkin-spicy. You can adjust the spices to your liking; this is just a guide. Of course they taste 1 million times better with REAL maple syrup, not that yucky high fructose corn syrup that you buy at the grocery store that is artificially flavored to imitate maple syrup. It just so happens that I date a bona fide mountain man that I kidnapped a while back from backwoods New Hampshire who makes his own REAL maple syrup from scratch. Not even kidding. He taps maple trees and collects all the liquid and boils it for a gagillion hours until it is the perfect color and consistency. Its the real deal!

Homemade Dog Treats

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First just let me say that I’m so proud this experiment turned out! Totally winged it and these dog treats came out exactly the way I wanted: nice and crunchy and tasty for my Bassets. Here is the fall inspired recipe, ready for you to try for your own pooch:

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup quaker oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • dash cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • A drizzle of water, for consistency

Instructions:

  • Mix all ingredients together in mixing bowl. Add a little water at the end if the mixture is too dry. The consistency should similar to that of bread dough.
  • Shake some flour onto a countertop. Take half of the mixture and form it into a ball. Put a bit more flour on top. Using a rolling pin, roll to 1/2 inch thickness or less. I made mine more like 1/4 inch thickness.
  • Use a cute cookie cutter (like the bone one that I used!) and cut the shapes out. Place on cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray to prevent sticking. No need to leave lots of space in between each cookie; there is no leavening agent in the mixture so they will remain the same size.
  • Repeat the rolling process with the other half of the dough.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes. I flipped my cookies over after 15 minutes to allow them to get golden and crispy on both sides!
  • Allow to cool on wire rack.
  • Store in sealed tupperware container.

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Peach Jam

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Its so peachy!

Here in central Virginia, we are lucky enough to have 3 peach orchards within a short drive of our house. We made homemade peach jam for the first time last summer as a trial and error sort of thing basically because there was no way we could possibly eat all of the peaches we picked before they went bad! The peaches on the trees were so enormous and so juicy that when you bit into one, your whole face (and front of your shirt) would get covered in juice! This year, Virginia had a bad peach growing season. A late frost ruined a lot of the peach crops in this area. The peaches were much smaller and harder to come by, but still delicious. And luckily, we got all of the trial and error mistakes out of the way in terms of jam-making last year, so the jam this year ended up being the best yet!

The thing with jam is you must follow the instructions PRECISELY. Yes, jams call for an absurd amount of sugar. No, you absolutely cannot cut back on the amount of sugar in your jam unless you want it to turn out like pure liquid. Just come to terms with the fact that jam is not a very healthy thing! Delicious, but not very healthy!

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I love this jam recipe because you don’t boil the peaches to death so they retain their true peachy flavor! 🙂

I love this particular jam recipe because 1. I taste tested it. Just trust me, its amazing, 2. You leave the skins on for more flavor and better color, 3. You don’t cook it to death so the true peachy flavor stays intact and 4. It sets up to the perfect consistency that is spreadable and holds together. Its just the best! Try it for yourself:

Peach Jam Recipe

I had some help from a special someone in the making of this jam. Doesn't she look so helpful?

I had some help from a special someone in the making of this jam. Doesn’t she look so helpful?

 

Whole Wheat Zucchini-Oat Muffins

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Gardening is such a passion of mine but sometimes it drives me crazy. Like when my zucchini plants explode all of a sudden and produce 6 baseball bat sized zucchini every other day. I’ve had to give some of them away, we just can’t keep up! We’ve eaten zucchini just about every night this summer in various forms: spiralized zucchini pasta with sauce, roasted zucchini, grilled zucchini, zucchini bread and zucchini muffins. These ones are just about 100% guilt free. They are made with whole wheat flour and are completely vegan. There is not very much sugar in there, either. I was inspired by this recipe that I found, and adapted it into my own muffin variation. I changed a few things because when I made the recipe as-is, it was too sticky and moist due to the orange glaze. This muffin adaptation is just right. They are fluffy and moist with a hint of citrus and some texture due to the oats and walnuts.

Ingredients:

    • 1 cup whole wheat flour
    • 1 cup AP flour
    • 2 cups grated zucchini
    • 1 tsp salt, scant
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • ¼ tsp baking soda
    • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
    • ⅓ cup coconut oil
    • zest of one orange
    • ½ tsp vanilla
    • 2 Tbsp orange juice
    • 3/4 cup quaker oats
    • ⅓ cup walnuts (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a muffin tin with nonstick baking spray.
  2. Grate one large zucchini. You will need 2 cups worth of grated zucchini, all in all. Place the grated zucchini in a bowl and set aside. You will want to squeeze the liquid out of it as best as you can before adding it to the batter.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the fours, oats, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, zest the orange and also squeeze 2 Tbsp juice out of the orange, adding it to the bowl as well. Add the applesauce, vanilla, coconut oil (melted) and sugar. Stir well.
  5. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture, mixing just until combined. Fold in the grated zucchini and walnuts, if desired.
  6. Spoon into the muffin tins. Sprinkle about a tsp of additional oats on top of each muffin. Bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the muffin tin on baking rack for 15 mins or so before removing the muffins from the tin. Enjoy warm with a pad of butter or cold as a grab and go snack!

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Hot n’ Spicy Salsa

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If you like spicy salsa, this is the recipe for you. Of course, it can be adjusted according to your spice tolerance. In our house, the spicier the better. We grow a few varieties of hot peppers (jalapeno, habanero and spicy banana this year) and it seems as though they all become ripe at the same time. What does one do with dozens of jalapeno and habanero peppers other than make salsa? I don’t have a clue!

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Unfortunately, our beautiful tomato plants were pillaged and destroyed this year and thus yielded no tomatoes at all. We suspect deer and raccoons were the culprit. This was a big tragedy for us. To nurture a plant from the time it is 3 inches tall until it grows to be as tall as a person, weighted down with several pounds of fruit is a very personal endeavor. The plants are like my babies. When all of those plants get chewed to bits and every single fruit gets plundered off of them by barbarians (raccoons) in the night, well lets just say I cried a little.

To remedy this situation, Jairus and I went to the farmers market and bought about 8 pounds of delicious, ripe, local tomatoes. We chose some red ones, some golden and some lumpy gnarly heirloom ones. I then began creating my salsa recipe by the seat of my pants, tasting as I went. It it very important to make salsa with fruit that is perfectly ripe. The tomatoes I used were nearly bursting at the seams with juice and the flavor is to die for.

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Here is my recipe, tried and true:

Ingredients:

  • About 6 lbs ripe tomatoes, chopped. Doesn’t matter what variety as long as they are juicy and perfectly ripe. The quantity of tomatoes in the photo above amounts to about 6-8 lbs, more or less.
  • 1-2 yellow onions, chopped.
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 4-5 jalapeno peppers, minced*
  • 2-3 habanero peppers, minced*
  • handful parsley, chopped
  • handful cilantro, chopped
  • juice of 4 limes
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp pickling salt
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • a dash of black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin

*Note: for those who prefer less spicy salsa, leave the pepper seeds out. If you are like me and LOVE spicy hot peppers, throw those babies in the pot!

Instructions

  1. Place jars in canner (large lobster pot) and boil for 10 minutes with lid on to sanitize. Lids and rims go in for last few minutes of boiling.
  2. Place all ingredients in large saucepan. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and boil gently for about 20 minutes until salsa is thickened.
  3. Remove hot jars from canner and set on dish towel. Ladle salsa into the jars leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Wipe rims clean, apply lids and rims and gently tighten to “finger-tight”.
  4. Process for 20 minutes. If you have never canned before, “processing” means boiling the jars after they have been filled. This pressurizes the insides of the jars and seals them so they can sit in your cabinet for months or years at a time without the contents spoiling. If you have never canned before, please do a little research before embarking on this recipe because there are a lot of important tricks and tips that are crucial to the process that I am not about to get into here.

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