Saturday, May 26, 2012

Cauliflower pilaf and tofu kabobs

Cauliflower pilaf and tofu kabobs
Memorial Day weekend must mean it's time to break out the barbecue. Well, that's provided you have nice weather to provide some encouragement; not so, in my neck of the woods. I've been thinking about kabobs all week long but the rain forced me to use my stove to make the tofu kabobs and cauliflower pilaf, pictured above. The kabobs grilled up perfectly under the broiler but I'll be ready when the weather gets nice to take these out to the barbecue.

Cauliflower Pilaf
(makes 4 servings)

  • 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds or other seeds or nuts of choice
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • Diced veggies: Your choice but I used 1 small zucchini and carrot
  • Optional: 2 T. chopped onion and 1/4 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup veggie broth
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Trim and cut the cauliflower into small pieces.
  • Put the cauliflower pieces into a food processor. Pulse until the cauliflower resembles rice.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.
  • Saute the veggies and optional onion and garlic.
  • Add the cauliflower and other ingredients to the skillet and cook for several minutes until everything is tender.
  • Stir in the toasted seeds or nuts.
Tofu Kabobs
(makes four kabobs)

  • 1/2 block of extra-firm tofu, cut into large cubes
  • Veggies of your choice cut into pieces (zucchini or yellow squash, onion, red pepper, mushrooms, grape tomatoes)
  • Marinade blended in food processor: 2 T. miso paste, 2 T. lemon juice, 1 T. tahini, 1 tsp. sesame oil, 2 T. Bragg's amino acids, dash of stevia
  • Prepare marinade and pour 1-2 T. of marinade over cubed tofu and veggies in a bowl. Toss to coat.
  • Thread tofu and veggie pieces onto kabob skewers.
  • Place on a baking sheet if grilling in the oven.
  • Broil for 8-10 minutes or until veggies are tender.
  • Serve over cauliflower pilaf.
Bathtub entertainment center for Bailey and Nika

While you're cooking your kabobs, keep the "fur kids" busy with some toys in the bathtub.

Pumpkin seed haystacks

The cauliflower pilaf and tofu kabobs make a "light" meal so you might be interested in some dessert.

Pumpkin Seed Haystacks
(makes 6)

  • 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds or seeds/nuts of choice
  • 2 T. melted coconut oil, mixed with 1 T. sunbutter or seed/nut butter of choice
  • vanilla stevia to taste
  • 1 T. cacao nibs
  • 2 T. freeze-dried blueberries or other dried fruit
  • Line a baking sheet with wax paper
  • In a medium bowl, toss seeds, dried fruit and nibs with melted coconut oil and sunbutter mixture
  • Drop mixture by heaping tablespoonful onto wax paper
  • Place in the fridge or freezer to harden

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Friday, May 18, 2012

50-calorie chocolate fix

Big Red (Nika) takes down her older pal, Misha
You'd think an IT band injury would be something you'd get from running or jogging. The photo above shows the cause of mine.  Nika (A.K.A. Big Red), my malamute, just topped 75 pounds, and she's just eight months old. Despite lots of training and exercise, she still loves to pull. Boy, can she throw her weight into it. Unfortunately, your tendency is to pull back and strain the IT band. I'm thinking she needs a sled.

Coyote pups in the neighborhood

 On one of my "walks or pulls" with dogs, I spied these little guys (six coyote pups) in their irrigation drain pipe den. I've been having fun keeping tabs on their growth, play and curiosity on my daily walks. I discovered the pups on Mother's Day in exactly the same place where their mother had pups last year. It was a pretty nice Mother's Day surprise.

Dandy Blend cacao chips, about 50 calories each
I've been seeing a physical therapist for my IT band injury( and of course, all the "torture" is a perfect excuse to enjoy some chocolate, flavored with Dandy Blend, an instant herbal beverage with dandelion that tastes (to me) like coffee.

Here's what you need:

2 -3 T. cocoa powder
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tsp. Dandy blend (optional)
sweetener of choice
dash of sea salt
1 tsp. vanilla powder

Here's what you do:

Melt coconut oil. Add in other ingredients and stir to mix. Place in a container such as 8 X 8 square pan to allow to harden in the fridge. Cut or break into desired pieces.

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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Two-serving, brownie cookie-dough cake for Mom

Backyard kildeer parent protects her eggs
I think I'm going through parenthood, Chapter 2, but this time the kids have fur. Funny thing, this second chapter is pretty much like the first chapter. You get to spend sleepless nights tending to sick doggies, just like kids.You get to spend your money on the dogs or kids (e.g. doctor/vet visits, toys), rather than on yourself. And then there's the money you spend for your own medical care after one of the kids or dogs accidentally injures you. My son, as a baby, almost broke my nose, and my dogs have given me whiplash.

Ah, parenthood! Whether you're a parent of fur babies or human babies or bird babies, there are ups and downs associated with parenthood. Talk about downs. Our backyard kildeers, pictured above,  suffered through wind, rain and hail storms to raise their brood. But I celebrated, along with the parents, when the little guys hatched.

In honor of Mom's Day, I'm sharing a few of my joyful moments with my fur kids in the photos below.

Enjoying a spectacular view
Parenthood can have high points, like enjoying a spectacular view with the fur kids after hiking to the top of a bluff.

I just like soft sleeping bags!
Sometimes what they do is so cute, you just can't be mad at them for long.

A face to love
Or they look at you with their big brown eyes.

Nika and Misha lounge in tent
Sometimes, they're just quiet and calm, and you can appreciate how adorable they are.

Two-serving, brownie cookie-dough cake
Happy Mother's Day! If you want to celebrate with something really delicious, try this two-serving, brownie cookie-dough cake.

Ingredients for cake:
  1. 2 T. melted coconut oil
  2. 3 T. unsweetened almond milk or other dairy-free beverage
  3. 4 T. cacao powder
  4. 2 T. unsweetened applesauce
  5. 1 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  6. 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  7. 2 T. ground sunflower seeds or other nuts or seeds
  8. 2 1/2 T. gluten-free flour mix
  9. stevia to taste
  10. 1/4 tsp. each baking powder and soda
  11. Pinch of sea salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix ingredients #1-6 in a small bowl. Mix #7-11 in a separate bowl.
  3. Then, whisk the wet and dry ingredients together.
  4. Spray, with pan spray, two single-serve cake pans, and fill each two-thirds full.
  5. Bake 12-15 minutes. The top and edges should be set while the middle will be slightly loose.
  6. Cool  before removing the cakes from the pans.
  7. For serving, slice the cakes in half and pipe on sunbutter frosting in the middle and on top. To make the frosting, cream together 2 T. each of coconut oil, palm shortening and sunbutter. Add stevia, vanilla and a pinch of salt.
  8. For more deliciousness, sprinkle on 1 T. cookie dough (made from this recipe Ignore the direction to make the dough into balls and simply use freeform.
  9. Garnish with some strawberries/berries and a drizzle of chocolate sauce.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Lentil, garbanzo bean flour flatbread

Bailey: asleep or secretly watching TV?
Do you ever wonder what your cat does when you're away from home? They always act like they've been sleeping but what were they really up to? For instance, the picture above makes you wonder if Bailey, my cat, was napping or secretly watching TV.

Bailey with his mammoth buddies
Actually, he was napping. I think he was tired after all of his roughhousing with his canine pals, Misha and Nika. Now, seriously, I realize to some this picture makes it look like tiny Bailey is being attacked by two vicious, mammoth dogs.  But in reality, Bailey loves playing with the twosome, albeit usually one at a time, rather than the pair. He hides behind doors and springs out at them to encourage them to play. It does explain why he gets tired.

Napping buddies
But look who he likes to nap with. Just about every day, Bailey and Misha enjoy some napping time together. That wouldn't happen if Bailey were afraid of Misha.

Bailey enjoys some "me time" near a sunny window
Sometimes, it's nice to just have some "me time." For Bailey, a soft, red pillow bed next to a warm, sunny window is the perfect spot.

Lentil, garbanzo bean flour flatbread
I enjoy "me time" myself but lately my "me time" has had to include canines. I take lots of walks, make many trips to the dog park, and go on hikes with my over-zealous pair, Misha and Nika. Today, I hiked in the foothills for several hours and came home with a giant appetite for some lentil, garbanzo bean flour flatbread I had made earlier in the week and stored in the freezer. I thawed some out and enjoyed the flatbread with hummus and veggies.

Lentil, garbanzo bean flour flatbread
(makes 8-10 flatbread)

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour mix (I use a mix of quinoa flour, garbanzo bean flour and arrowroot starch)
  • 1/2 cup lentil flour made by grinding up lentil beans in a coffee mill
  • 3/4 cup garbanzo bean flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup grated Daikon radish
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 T. ground flax
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • Optional: chopped garlic
  • Spices: 1/2 tsp. each turmeric, ginger, garam masala
  • oil for cooking the flatbread
Note: Other veggies, such as parsnips, beets, cabbage or zucchini, may be used in place of carrots and radish.

  • Mix all ingredients together to form a somewhat sticky dough. You may or may not need any water because of the veggies used in the flatbread. However, if you do need some water, add a little warm water at a time until dough forms a big ball. Recipe-making is not a perfect science, so if the dough is too sticky, add more flour.
  • Oil and warm a cast-iron skillet on the stove.
  • Moisten your hands with water. Grab a fistful of dough for each flatbread. Keep your hands moist and flatten the dough ball into a flatbread which will be on the thicker side. Place it on the hot skillet and flatten a bit more with an oiled spatula.
  • Cook at medium heat until you start seeing light brown spots on the bottom side. Flip the bread over and cook the other side until light brown spots are seen.
  • Stack the flatbread and cover them tightly with foil to keep them warm and soft.
  • Freeze any extras.
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