Tuesday, June 26, 2012

don't eat this!

I don't know whether I've ever posted this recipe before, but I make homemade playdough for my students all of the time!  Cheap, easy, infinitely customizable, and lasts so much longer than the stuff in the little yellow jars!

You will need . . .

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tbsp oil
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup water
any food coloring or scent you'd like to use (unsweetened Kool-Aid packets add a lot of bright color and fruity fragrance!  Any extracts or spices work well, too -- I especially like adding lots of cinnamon to orange playdough in the fall!)

(And feel free to use cheap, non-organic ingredients.  No one will be eating this!)

(Or should I say, no one SHOULD be eating this?????)

Combine all of your ingredients in a saucepan.  (I made a quadruple batch last night, as I have 20 kids in my class!)

Stir over low heat.  (This will take quite a while, and will get pretty stiff and thick near the end.  Use your best, strongest, wooden spoon!)

When the playdough begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and hang together in a big lump, it's done!

Knead while warm until smooth.  I usually wear my kitchen gloves for this task, as the dough is usually pretty hot at first.


Store the playdough in the fridge in a ziploc baggie or sealed plastic container for maximum life.  :)

Have fun!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

make your own Chipotle

You, too, can make your own Chipotle at home.  Although not as speedy as the restaurant fare, it's definitely healthier -- I can control my portions better, and don't feel compelled to drink a gallon of water after my meal.  :)

(Notice that I still felt I "needed" an extra-large portion of guacamole.  Other components are more in check, though!)  :)

In my "burrito bowl at home" --
cilantro-lime rice (i.e., cook up some brown rice and add minced cilantro and the juice of one small lime)
black beans (from my freezer, although rinsed, canned beans would work just fine, too)
fajita veggies (a small red onion and two small green bell peppers, fried up in a freaking-scorching cast iron skillet, seasoned with a pinch of salt and a few dashes of chili powder)
shredded cheese (I bought the pre-shredded kind in the bag!  It's hot!  I'm lazy!)
pico de gallo (I can get a beautiful, local, fresh salsa at my co-op!)
shredded romaine (local!)
sour cream (local!)
guacamole (containing a ripe avocado, a squirt of lime juice, salt, garlic powder, and a dash of hot sauce)

Scoop the whole thing up with Whole Grain Milling Company tortilla chips, if you are so inclined.

Dragon Bowls!

As summer settles in with all of its heat and humidity, (I'm not a fan, can you tell?)  ;) I crave vegetables more than anything else -- I love how fresh, crisp, and hydrating a big bowl of veggies can be!

However, I don't find a big bowl of JUST veggies very filling . . . so I'm constantly searching for new and exciting ways to add veggie-heavy meals to my summer repertoire, without feeling constantly hungry.  Ali recently posted about one of her new-found favorite summer meals, the Dragon Bowl with Tahini Dressing, and I had to try it!

I cooked up a mix of red and white quinoa, (as John astutely pointed out, cheaper to buy some red and some white and mix them together at home, than pay the extra $$$ for the pre-mixed "rainbow quinoa" from the bulk bin!), topped it with some Sesame-Sauteed Kale, and then piled on the veggies -- avocado, cucumber, red bell pepper, mushrooms, purple cabbage, chickpeas, shredded carrot, and some sugar snap peas and cilantro from the garden.  After making Ali's recipe for tahini dressing, I just wasn't sure about it . . . I really don't much care for nutritional yeast, and the sauce was so strong and heavy tasting on its own . . . but when drizzled cautiously over my bowlful of veggies, magic happened, people.  :)  We had HUGE bowls of this stuff a couple times this weekend, and I'm certain this recipe will grace our dinner table again and again!

What are your favorite hot weather meals?  I need some more inspiration, as all of the Dragon Bowl leftovers are at John's house, and I'm looking at one empty fridge right now -- time to go shopping!

Friday, June 15, 2012

kale "addiction"

I seem to be suffering from a serious case of kale"addiction."  I have been exploring many new kale salad recipes lately, and tonight, returned to cooking up what appears to be my all-time favorite green:

I thought, for a long time, that I just didn't care much for cooked kale, preferring lightly sauteed chard or spinach instead of kale's sturdier, more bitter flavor profile.  Tonight, I decided to give cooked kale another chance, deciding to treat it much like I would treat spinach or chard, sticking with a light, quick saute.  Success!  Cooked kale's back in my repertoire, and better than ever.

Sesame-Sauteed Kale
serves 2 to 4, depending on serving size
good hot, cold, or room temperature

1 large bunch dino kale, stems removed and thinly sliced
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, grated on a Microplane or finely minced
1 tsp grated or minced fresh ginger
1/4 tsp sambal oelek
2 tsp low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
toasted sesame seeds for garnish

1. Warm the oils in a frying or saute pan.  Add the garlic, ginger, and sambal oelek and cook, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes.
2. Add the kale to the pan, and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the kale is wilted and bright green.  Add the tamari and sesame seeds, and stir until well-combined.  Enjoy!

Monday, June 11, 2012


I can't believe I've forgotten to post about my last TWO baking projects!  The horror.  :)

First up, more rhubarb crumble:

This rhubarb crumble was supposed to be a strawberry-rhubarb pie . . . what happened, you ask?  Well, John and I had planned on going strawberry-picking this weekend, but decided against it at the last minute after calling several farms and hearing tales of the long lines and large crowds . . . we'll wait a week or two until all of the excitement dies down!  So then, no strawberries.  I thought I'd just make a rhubarb pie . . . and then I got to chopping, and realized I didn't have nearly enough rhubarb on hand for a pie!  Oh well -- crumble to the rescue.  :)

I made my standard Joy of Cooking crumble recipe, (3/4 cup sugar, 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, and 1/2 cup butter for the topping,) and mixed an additional 1/4 cup of sugar with 4 cups of chopped rhubarb for the fruit base.  The last time I made rhubarb crumble, I used only 2 tbsp additional sugar, and it turned out to be a bit too tart for John.  (He's not at all a picky eater, but it seems he's very sensitive to highly acidic foods.  Go figure!)  The additional sugar pleased both of our palates, and organic vanilla ice cream took things over the top.  :)

Next time, I promise I'll (literally) dust off the ice cream maker, and make my own for a change!

And here are some cupcakes I made last week for the church choir end of season potluck:

I whipped together a batch of "Banana Cupcakes" (with chocolate cream cheese frosting!) from Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers after work, the day of the party, and still had plenty of time to spare before heading out to the 'burbs to hang out!  Can you believe it?  Cupcakes on a weeknight?  (And I didn't need to go to the grocery store for any special ingredients, either!)  This just goes to show how amazing this cookbook is -- and I know I've written about how much I love this particular book at length in the past.  I have tried many recipes from that book, and every recipe has been simple, speedy, reasonably healthy, and incredibly delicious!  I love the Moosewood cookbooks in general, but Simple Suppers is my all-time favorite.

Anyone own that book?  Favorite recipes?  Favorite Moosewood books?

Saturday, June 09, 2012

More kale!

Lately, we can't seem to get enough kale, so I keep searching for and trying new kale salad recipes. Dinner tonight was pretty incredible, if I do say so myself ... Kale, Apple, and Tempeh Salad (using this recipe for the tempeh,) with Wedge bakery bread and olive oil for dipping on the side. Vegetables sure do require a lot of chewing, but they are so worth it! Delicious, healthy, light, yet filling; a perfect summer dinner for hot, humid weather! (P.S. about half the kale we harvested from our garden this morning!)

rice and beans, beans and rice

Who doesn't like beans and rice?

Brown rice, black beans, corn, green onions, red bell pepper, queso fresco, salsa, and a little extra-virgin olive oil.  Tasty hot, room temperature, or cold; I generally make a vast quantity, as I never seem to get sick of this meal!

Monday, June 04, 2012

local eats

It's official . . . locally grown produce is starting to pour into the Farmer's Market, and our garden is starting to produce!  A few meals from this past weekend, all using local eats:

A simple stir-fry dinner:

Short-grain brown rice topped with onion, carrot, red bell pepper, tofu, and local sugar-snap peas, covered in my homemade stir-fry sauce, and sprinkled with cashews for extra crunch.

A delicious, deep-dish pizza:

I used this crust recipe (halved) again, as I was in a bit more of a hurry and didn't have time for my usual Artisan Bread dough to sit for two hours.  I shaped the dough into more of a rectangle, patted it into a well-oiled jelly roll pan, and topped with more oil, parmesan, mozzarella, a big pile of spinach and arugula from our garden, cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, and oregano.  This soft, chewy, bready pizza hit the spot last night!

And dessert:

Rhubarb crumble, made with two big bunches of rhubarb from the Farmer's Market!  We also picked up a rhubarb plant, and cleared an area behind John's garage . . . wahoo!  I may have to wait until next year for more rhubarb, (at least rhubarb we've grown ourselves,) but that's ok -- it'll spread like wildfire back there, and then we'll have all the rhubarb we can eat!

What local food are you excited about right now?