Bring the Restaurant Home

Recreating restaurant dishes is easy and less expensive.  Here’s a restaurant salad I modified by using substitutes for what was on hand.  According to the online menu, the original calls for Mixed Greens, Fresh Roasted Beets, Goat Cheese and Toasted Pistachios Tossed with a Hazelnut-Citrus Dressing. My version was made with arugula, beets, ricotta cheese, oranges, red onion, almonds, and a from-scratch oil/vinegar/seasoning dressing.  Cooking at home allows you to utilize portion control, use fresher and healthier ingredients, and you can use less or more of an ingredient if you choose.  Not to mention it’s faster, more relaxing, and you get to choose your background noise : )


Butternut Squash Soup

I hope everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving.  Here’s a recipe to help squeeze out those last few days of fall flavor.

Butternut Squash Soup

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 2 c. vegetable broth
  • 1/2 – 1 c. pureed pumpkin
  • 1 c. water, plus a little more
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 T butter
  • 1/2 c. light cream, half and half, or whatever you have on hand that’s similar
  • 1/2 t powdered ginger
  • 1/2 t allspice
  • 1/2 t curry powder
  • black pepper to garnish
  • sour cream to garnish

*If you want a thicker soup, lose 1 c. vegetable broth.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Cut butternut squash once vertically and place face down in baking pan with water just covering the bottom (about 1/2 an inch).  Bake for approximately 20 minutes.

Finely chop onion and sautee in butter until clear, about 5 minutes.

Remove squash from oven, reduce temperature to 400 degrees.

Let cool for about 5 minutes and with fork and knife slice squash and carefully remove skin.  Cut into chunks and return to pan to bake for 10 minutes more.

Remove from oven, let cool about 10 minutes and put chunks into food processor in batches with onion mixture until pureed, adding a little water as needed.

Put in large pot with vegetable broth, water, pumpkin, and spices and bring to low boil. Turn off and add cream. Serve with garnish.

One large can of pureed pumpkin (29 oz.) will get you pumpkin waffles, two batches of pumpkin muffins, and this soup.  So nothing goes to waste!

Vegan Pumpkin Muffins

My ultimate favorite pumpkin recipe, from theppk.  Sugar can probably be reduced to 1 cup, and if you don’t have the individual spices on hand you can sub for 2 1/4 t. pumpkin pie spice mix

  • 1 3/4 c. flour
  • 1 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t nutmeg
  • 1/2 t ginger
  • 1/4 t allspice
  • 1/8 t ground cloves
  • 1 c. pureed pumpkin (fresh or canned)
  • 1 T soy yogurt
  • 1/2 c. soymilk or almondmilk
  • 1/2 c. vegetable or canola oil
  • Optional:  cranberries, walnuts, 2 T molasses

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin pans.

In separate bowls, combine wet ingredients and dry ingredients, then pour wet into dry.

Bake 15 minutes then reduce to 350 and bake for 5 minutes more.

Cool in pan for 5, then place on rack for additional cooling. Make 12 muffins.

Fooducate Yourself

If you’re an iPhone user you no longer have an excuse to not be health conscious.  Fooducate is a great new app that you can use to scan the barcodes of grocery store items to see their “grade” of healthiness as well as warnings, alternatives, and user comments, and best of all it’s FREE.  Click the above link to check out sample scans and a link to connect you to the iTunes store to download.

Fooducate also has a blog here where you can read about interesting topics such as appropriate fat consumption, making your own baby food, and egg-buying info.

Pumpkin Waffles

With November right around the corner I am way behind in my pumpkin recipes.  Pumpkin is probably one of my favorite ingredients because it can be used for such a wide variety of things:  pumpkin soup, pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin cookies, and pumpkin muffins to name a few.  I usually like to dabble and experiment with my own recipes but things don’t always turn out as planned.  Below is a great recipe from for pumpkin waffles.  Yum!

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

I can’t attest for the “apple cider syrup” as I didn’t make it since I love plain, pure maple syrup on my waffles.

Apple Cider Syrup

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, salt, and brown sugar in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, stir together the pumpkin, milk, and egg yolks. Whip the egg whites in a clean dry bowl until soft peaks form.

Stir the flour mixture and 1/4 cup melted butter to the pumpkin mixture, stirring just to combine. Use a whisk or rubber spatula to fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter, stirring gently until incorporated. Fold in the remaining egg whites. Cook waffles according to manufacturer’s instructions.

To make the syrup, stir together the sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon in a saucepan. Stir in the apple cider and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to boil; boil until the syrup thickens. Remove from heat and stir in the 2 tablespoons of butter until melted. Serve warm.


Mobile & Other Photos From the Year

Tofu Broccoli Quiche

The thing about quiche is that one can have as many as 4-8 eggs, resulting in a ton of calories, fat, and cholesterol.  The thing about making a quiche without eggs is it’s pretty hard to get it to taste like a quiche and have quiche consistency.  Below is a work in progress.  Adding one egg will help keep it together if you are iffy about the tofu.

  • 1 9″ crust
  • 3 c. chopped broccoli
  • 1 package (14 oz.) firm tofu
  • 1 c. shredded cheese
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/2 t. mustard
  • 1/4 t. black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Bake pie shell for 5 minutes then remove from heat.

Steam chopped broccoli for about five minutes.  In meantime, sautee onion and garlic in 1 T olive oil until golden brown.  Remove from heat.

In a food processor, combine tofu, cheese, onion and garlic, milk, mustard, and pepper until smooth.  Fold into broccoli in a bowl and then pour into pie crust.

Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 20 minutes.