Sesame Noodle Stir fry & Noodle Trick

Noodle Stir fry
2 large heads broccoli, cut in small pieces
10 mushrooms
Stir fry broccoli with toasted sesame oil and garlic. Saute mushrooms. In wok, stir fry spaghetti noodles in toasted sesame oil, sriracha, and Island Soyaki (from Trader Joes).

Zucchini and Yum Sauce 
2 zucchini (although I should have cooked 3-4!) cut in wedges and stir fried with salt and pepper.
Mix together...
1/3 cup mayo
1 Tbsp. Sriracha
1 tsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. agave syrup
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
sprinkle of salt and pepper

Place dry spaghetti noodles in a large saute pan, cover with cold water, add salt, and bring to a boil uncovered. Turn off the heat, cover it, and let it stand for 15 minutes. Drain and you have super tasty noodles!

Chickpea Caesar Wraps

I used this caesar dressing recipe but cut the recipe in half. At Trader Joes on Sunday I picked out a package of their Middle Eastern flatbread which was the perfect texture and thickness for the wraps. After warming the flatbread in a pan, we topped it with some lightly steamed kale, red leaf lettuce, spiced chickpeas (with turmeric, black pepper, smoked paprika, garlic salt and oregano), and caesar dressing! We made it in under a half an hour - a record time considering how long I've been taking to make dinner lately.

1/2 cup soaked raw cashews
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1 clove garlic
1/2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. capers
1/2 tsp. salt


Kombucha: Batch 01

I'm so excited to be back to brewing kombucha again. Last week my friend Scott gave me a SCOBY and the first batch turned out delicious.

Boil 5 cups of water and pour into 64 oz. glass jar. Stir in 1/2 cup sugar until dissolved. Add four green tea bags and let steep until water cools to room temperature. Remove tea bags and pour in the 1-2 cups of leftover kombucha and SCOBY. Cover jar with paper towels and store in a dry place for about ten days.

After 10 days, I poured out all but two cups of the kombucha into a big measuring cup (I was left with about five cups) and added ginger and cranberry juice. I was going to second ferment for a few days, but I decided it had enough fizz already, so I just stuck it in the fridge. I'm thinking the key to the success of this batch was the green tea - I used to use black before and it made the kombucha more bitter and less bubbly. I'm excited to experiment with more flavors!

Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Mix together:
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 flax egg (2 1/2 Tbsp. water and 1 Tbsp. flax meal; let rest for 5 minutes)
1 cup Almond/Coconut milk
1/4 cup oats
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt

Stir everything together until combined. This was originally a waffle recipe but they did not cook well and made a mess of my waffle iron, but I discovered that they make much better pancakes. This time around I noticed that using coconut oil on the pan made them stick to my cast iron, but a little butter made them much easier to flip. I'm not sure why! We add chocolate chips after putting the batter on the pan and that pairs really well with the banana.


Vegan Caesar Salad

This caesar dressing is SO good.
1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight (I forgot this step but it turned out fine)
1/2 cup water
4 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
4 tsp. capers
1 tsp. salt
pepper to taste

...just blend everything together for a delicious Caesar dressing. We put this on a mixture of romaine lettuce and lightly cooked kale and topped it with spiced chickpeas (chickpeas sprinkled with turmeric, pepper, oregano, dill, and smoked paprika in a cast iron pan with a bit of oil) and vegan parmesan. It was surprisingly filling!

Recipe from here

Banana Muffins

2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg, beaten
2 bananas, mashed
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup buttermilk (I used 3/4 cup Almond/Coconut milk with 1 Tbsp. lemon juice)

Preheat oven to 400. Cream butter and sugar together. Beat in egg, banana, and vanilla. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together. Add to banana mixture and slowly stir in buttermilk.

Bake for 15-20 minutes. Makes 12 muffins.

Eggplant 'Parmesan'

Eggplant, cut in 1/2 inch slices
Egg Mixture:
1 egg (or flax egg) with a bit of water to thin
about 1/3 cup flour with salt and pepper
1 cup panko bread crumbs

Vegan parmesan:
3/4 cup raw cashews
3 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
heaping 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 tsp. salt

Dip each eggplant slice in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 400 for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, take slices out in batches and cook in cast iron with 1 Tbsp. olive oil to brown and crisp (this is really important!). Sprinkle with vegan parmesan and oregano.

Serve on top of spaghetti noodles and marinara. Sprinkle with more parmesan since you don't have to feel guilty about this stuff.

Evan Starts Work & We Celebrate with Chocolate Cake

I'm so proud of Evan and excited for him as he undertakes his first year as a teacher! Obviously this occasion called for chocolate cake...which we promptly ate half of as a snack.
I'm indebted to my youngest sister for discovering this delicious chocolate cake recipe on Pinterest from here. It always turns out incredibly. 

1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 of 3/4 cup cocoa powder (this was originally for two cakes so some measurements are kind of weird)
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk (I used our Almond/Coconut milk)
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 9 inch cake pan with butter or coconut oil. 
In a large bowl, add dry ingredients and whisk together. Add milk, oil, egg, and vanilla to the bowl and mix together with an electric mixer. Add boiling water to the batter (the batter will seem really thin but it will work out fine!) and mix on medium/high for a minute to add air to the batter. Pour into cake pan and bake for about 25-30 minutes.


Vegan Chili

1 can drained corn
1 can black beans
1 can kidney or chili beans
1 small can vegetarian baked beans
1 28 oz can chopped tomatoes with juice
1 can Rotel (or just do a can of chilis)
1 medium onion, diced
2 chopped green bell peppers
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. cumin

1 can water

Mix everything together in a crockpot and put on low for 8 hours. Even better served with Trader Joes Corn Cake Bread.
Thursdays are our hectic days - I have class all afternoon and evening, Evan works all day and then has catechism class in the evening - and we miss each other for dinner. I'm trying to get better at crockpot meals since that seems to be the best solution!


Dinner Guests

We love these two and are so excited for them to live just down the road.

Dutch Babies

For some reason, the past few months I have been craving Dutch Babies regularly. The salty-buttery-lemony-sweet-bready taste is just so satisfying! I've made Dutch Babies for quite a few breakfasts - and a few dinners - and it always hits the spot. Since Evan and I haven't been eating much dairy, I swapped the milk for the Blue Almond Almond/Coconut Blend we drink and it turned out just fine.

For two people (8x8 pan):
about 2 1/2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup milk
2 1/2 eggs (I do this by scrambling three eggs and then pouring out just a little into a cup to scramble later)
1/2 cup flour

While the oven is heating to 425, put the butter in 8x8 pan and put the pan in the oven. In a blender, blend together the milk, eggs, and flour. When the butter has melted and started to brown, remove the pan from the oven and pour the blended mixture into the pan. Return to the oven and bake for around 20 minutes.
Serve with - my favorite - lemon juice and a light dusting of powdered sugar.

Small Space Solution No. 2

Apparently the toaster works just as well on the floor as it does on the kitchen counter, which is great considering how little counter space we have!

Asian Quinoa Salad

2/3 cup white quinoa
1 cup water

small head of broccoli, cooked with minced garlic
2-3 carrots, cut in thin slices
thinly sliced red cabbage, cooked with minced ginger
water chestnuts
bell peppers
(I can't remember if I put mushrooms in this, but they would be good!)

heaping Tbsp. peanut butter
1 Tbsp. sweet chili sauce from Trader Joes
4 Tbsp. liquid aminos/soy sauce
4 Tbsp. lime juice
3 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp. Sriracha

I cooked the veggies in small batches in my little wok and mixed everything together in a big bowl. This was yummy reheated the next day, too! We added green onions and toasted sesame seeds to ours.

Recipe inspired by Minimalist Baker

Reading: Lord of the Rings

One year and 1250 pages later, we finished the Lord of the Rings series (including The Hobbit). What began last June as a way for Evan to entertain/comfort my sick self ended up occupying our attention for many evenings and long car rides over the next year. I'm thankful for writers like Tolkien who create worlds with words and thankful for Evan's many accents that made those words come alive.