Thursday, January 28, 2010

A new way to make chai...

I am a big fan of chai as I have posted in the past and I refuse to buy chai tea bags because I belive they do not taste anything like real chai. When I do make it from scratch it always makes too much since I am the only one who drinks it. When I saw this recipe the other day over at Angry Chicken I had to try it. I love the idea of being able to make your chai a cup at a time. The base is sweetened condensed milk (which I also am a big fan of) to which you add the spices and a little sugar. Keep it in your fridge (good for a couple of weeks, if it lasts that long) and whenever you are in the mood for some chai just add to your hot black tea. The recipe didn't call for ginger, but I added about 1/2 tsp. dried ginger to mine since that is the spice that I like to taste most in my chai. I will admit not as good as my chai recipe I posted last year, but still a much better tasting chai than the tea bags, especially if you are using good black tea leaves. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Monday Menus

Monday: Veggie lasagna

Tuesday: Left-overs and salad w/roasted pumpkin, feta, pepitatas & a balsamic maple vinaigrette

Wednesday: Taco night

Thursday: Madras curry pumpkin soup, spinach salad and fresh bread

Friday: Pizza and spinach salad

Saturday: celebrating Chinese New Year with friends

Sunday: left-over pizza, spinach salad w/ fresh fruit & nuts & sauteed kale w/raisins & pinenuts

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Monday, January 18, 2010

Monday Menus

Monday: Arabic left-overs

Tuesday: Mushroom & spinach risotto

Wednesday: Farmer's market casserole & salad

Thursday: Caribbean beans & rice w/mango salsa & guacamole

Friday: Pasta with chunky tomatoe sauce, arugula & pine nuts

Saturday: Greg's Birthday...going out

Sunday: Chickpea & winter squash curry (recipe below) and fresh rolls and garlic naan

This is one of my favorite dishes that a dear friend turned me onto. I LOVE eating it with a dollop of thick Greek yogurt or Arabic Labne on top of the curry and then topped with the cilantro!

Butternut Squash Curry

3 T. veg. oil
1 medium onion chopped
1 t. dried ginger or 2 t. fresh ginger
1/2 t. cumin
1/2 t. turmeric
1/4 t. cinnamon
2 t. yellow curry powder
1/2 t. cayenne pepper (or to taste)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tomatoes, cubed
1 1/4 c. veggie broth, a little more if starts to get too thick
1 butternut squash, cubed (not cooked)
1 lg. can chickpeas
cilantro for garnish

Heat oil in pan.

Add onion and saute until clear. Add all spices to onion and cook until flavors are infused.

Add the garlic for the last minute of sauteing the onion and spices.

To the pan add the tomatoes and the broth and mix in completely.

Then add cubed squash and let simmer at a low heat for about 20 minutes.

When squash is fork tender, add the chickpeas.

Heat the chickpea through and then serve over rice with cilantro.

Here is a photo of this dish that I made with the black chickpeas that I grew in my garden these last two years~

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sunshine take me away... far,far, away!!!!

Do you ever feel like you want to ride a rainbow to a magical land far away? A place where you fully rejuvenate. I wonder some days is that even possible. Will I EVER feel fully rested and on top of my game?

This is a picture from this past summer when we were lucky to see an entire rainbow over our neighborhood. It was so magical. It was one of those nights when we had friends over and the evening was complete perfection. The company was good, the food and sangria were good and the kids were running all over the yard having the time of their lives. It was a night to remember and the rainbow made it just that; an evening that we will never forget. And today I think about the rainbow, the sun and a magical place that I have never been, but is traveled to many times a year in my mind.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Monday Menus

Monday: breakfast for dinner

Tuesday: egg noodles, steamed broccoli & miso soup

Wednesday: taco/fajitas night

Thursday: pasta w/ lentil tomato sauce

Friday: orzo & pea soup, salad & fresh bread

Saturday: going out for the day

Sunday: mujudarah (recipe below), tabbouleh, hummus & fresh Arabic bread

I LOVE mujudarah!! Probably because I LOVE caramelized onions. There are a couple of ways this dish can be made, but this is my favorite way to make it because of the flavor that the sweet onions add. Yes, this dish takes a long time to make, but is so worth it. I start this in the morning because I usually let the onions caramelize on med-low heat, which takes about 3 hours for them to be perfect for this dish. It is a perfect dish to make on a Sunday while you are buzzing around the house cleaning or getting ready for the week. Make sure to have fresh Arabic bread to eat this with.

1 Cup of green or brown lentils
1/2 Cup of white rice
3/4 Cup of olive oil
3-4 medium onions
1 Tbsp. salt
6 cups of water

Peel onions and slice thin. Heat the oil in a large pot or dutch oven. Add the onions and cook on medium low heat. Make sure to stir often so they don't burn or stick and if they start to cook to fast turn the heat down since you want to caramelize them. Somewhere around 3 hours.

Add lentils and water to the pot and turn heat up to medium. When it starts to simmer, turn down a little and cook for 20 minutes.

Add rice and salt and bring back to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

Turn off heat and let sit for 10-15 minutes so that the lentils and rice will absorb all of the liquid. Enjoy with fresh bread.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Monday Menus

Monday: Spinach & cheese stuffed pasta shells and salad

Tuesday: Kale Harvest pie, roasted yellow beets, salad & fresh bread

Wednesday: Thai red curry w/veggies and spicy coconut rice

Thursday: Loubieh siami (recipe below) & salad

Friday: calzones & salad

Saturday: Going to a potluck, taking sweet potato & black bean hash

Sunday: tomato bulgar soup & salad

We make this often so I thought I would finally put it on here because I have had a lot of requests. Enjoy.

Kale Harvest Pie:

If you want, include a mixture of other greens (Swiss chard, spinach, turnip greens) for varied flavor if you want.
3 pounds untrimmed kale or other greens

3 tablespoons butter, divided

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced
small red or yellow pepper, finely chopped

2 small zucchini or yellow summer squash, shredded

2 small carrots or 1 large, shredded

2/3 cup fresh chopped basil or a couple of TBSP. dried

salt and pepper

3 large eggs, beaten

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, but I have used pepper jack, shredded Mexican mix, Gruyere', Dubliner and they ALL taste great so I suggest use whatever you like!

1 cup fresh bread crumbs

Trim stems and ribs from kale and discard. Wash, drain, and chop into bite-size pieces.
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter with olive oil in a large skillet. Add onion and garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add remaining vegetables and basil. Cook, covered, over medium heat for 10 minutes. Uncover and simmer gently until liquid has evaporated. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Remove from heat and cool slightly. Add eggs and pour into a buttered, shallow baking dish or pie pan. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Melt remaining butter in a skillet and saute bread crumbs until golden. Sprinkle over the pie.
Bake at 375 degrees F for 25 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

The other recipe that I am giving you this week is for a common Arabic dish made with onions, green beans and tomatoes. It is an easy, fast and healthy dinner that we eat over brown rice or egg noodles, but is excellent with white rice as well. The flavor improves as it sits and the flavors can mesh so I will usually make this in the morning and heat back up for dinner or even the night before.

Loubieh Siami
1 Quart of canned green beans or 2 cans from the grocery store. If you are using fresh green beans about 1 1/2 lbs.

1 Large onion, chopped

1/3 cup of olive oil

1/2 cup of water (optional)

1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes, I use the Dei Fratelli seasoned diced tomatoes if I am not using my own canned tomatoes.

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. of allspice and pepper

1/2 tsp. cumin

Cook onion in hot oil until tender. If using fresh green beans add them and let them cook down for 10-15 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices and the water if using. Sprinkle with the salt and spices. Cook on medium heat for 25 or until the green beans are tender.

NOTE: When using canned or frozen green beans add them after the tomatoes, onion and spices have cooked for about 20 minutes. Cook until the beans are hot.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

It is the first day of 2010 and I am not sure how I even feel about that. Right now I feel like my head is full of thick fog; extremely thick fog. I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that yet another year has flown by and I am not sure where it went. We have had an interesting year and in all honesty I am happy that it is closed out and a new year full of new memories, challenges and drama awaits.

I have been ignoring the blog for awhile now and have not been on here to really write. Too many other things that have been keeping my brain in overload mode such as family in from out of town, an intimate relationship with my sewing machine, hosting holiday dinners and all of the usual craziness that accompanies the holiday season. So instead of writing or reading during my down time I have been in front of the television indulging in past episodes of Mad Men (all time favorite show) and getting caught up on Weeds before the new season starts thanks to Netflix.

But now the holidays are done. And there are still so many things to do in this first month of 2010. I want to sit down by a fire and bury my head in my new books, yet I can't. Too many other things racing through my mind. This year is a big change in our household. Many changes to take place. A child turning 6. Another one turning 3. The 3 year old will be starting school. I will hopefully be starting school. Trying to figure out how to pay tuition for three on one income. Maybe getting a part-time job. Potty training. Garden planning on a budget. Sewing my heart out to try and make some extra $. And the list goes on. And whatever else the universe has in store for us. Change is good; not always easy, but good. So welcome to our lives Ms. Change and I embrace you and all you have to offer us! And I hope you do the same this year. And I wish you a new year full of prosperity, love, joy and peace.