Nut crackers (vegan, gluten free)


One of the biggest challenges to a high-fat low carb diet is not having the bread and crackers to snack on, use to dip, or round out a meal.  Sometimes veggie sticks and cabbage leaves just don’t cut it!  I love these crackers because they at fairly easy to make, full of good fats, filling, and last for a while in an air tight container (the ones in the photo are 2 weeks old).   I have been using them to make open faces sandwiches, appetizers with flavored cream cheeses and herbs,  croutons for salad and soup, and just plain as a quick snack when I get hungry.  If you want variety, you can add spices to the mix.

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Grilled Peach Gazpacho

Peach GazpachoAugust = peaches!!! Nothing beats fresh, ripe peaches in late summer.  I got 4 peaches, a few tomatoes, and basil in my Hungry Harvest box this week.  Instead of eating them straight or making a sweet dish, I decided to make a savory one.  The 100 degree weather has really put me in the mood for a nice, chilled gazpacho.  I wanted to add a little more flavor to the gazpacho without adding too many ingredients, so I grilled the peaches before adding them.  I also had this Mango White Balsamic Vinegar, which added the tart and sweet flavors without being too punchy or overpowering the other ingredients.  I listed the topping as optional since some people prefer smooth gazpacho, while I prefer the texture variation that the finely minced topping provides.

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Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Soup

Red pepper tomato soup

This is an easy soup that has lots of flavor and really lets the ingredients shine.  That being said, use good quality, fresh produce- it makes all the difference!  If you are short on time, you can roast the veggies ahead of time and blend it later.  The photo shows the soup topped with my attempt at a basil foam, but usually I just top it with basil ribbons.

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Gazpacho is one of my favorite summer soups- straight from farmer’s market treasures!  I’ve seen and tasted so many different gazpacho recipes over the years, and one thing that hits me is how forgiving they are.  The recipe below is a general guide, but you can vary the ingredients based on what’s fresh and available.  How can you not get hooked on a recipe that’s this quick and easy and light!? =)

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Spicy Sourdough Croutons

Spicy Sourdough CroutonsYou may never want to buy croutons again… These are super easy to make and soooo addictive!  I end up making extra because I know I’m probably going to eat half of them before they ever make it to the soup or salad.  If you don’t have day old bread, you can dry it out by cutting the cubes and then heating them in the oven at 200 F for a few minutes.  Also, these croutons freeze really well- just take them out of the freezer long enough to allow them to come to room temperature.

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What to do with leftover chili??? (aka… I got carried away and made too much)

This post doesn’t have recipes, just ideas.  A little bit of this… a little bit of that… and suddenly I have a vat of spicy, chunky chili!  Far more than I can eat at once.  Luckily, chili freezes well.  The list below is how I used up all my leftovers…. If anyone else has ideas, please share!  As a side note, I think I’m always going to make extra now. =)

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Basil Arugula Spinach Pesto

PestoI realized that I use pesto in a bunch of my recipes, but never actually posted a recipe.  Surprising, since I consider this a staple.  It a quick way to make an okay meal taste special (pasta, sandwich spread, soup, grilled veggies, etc).  Adding the other greens keeps the color nice and bright, and adds some additional flavors.  Also, if I don’t have pine nuts, I substitute cashews and it still tastes good.  This sauce also freezes well, so I often make extra and keep it.

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Roasted Pumpkin Chipotle Soup with Caramelized Onions

JarrhadaleKnowing my love of pumpkins, my friend bought me a Jarrahdale pumpkin for my birthday!  Such an awesome gift- especially because I’ve never cooked with one before.  If you’ve never seen one, Jarrahdale’s have an interesting greenish-blue outside, with a beautiful bright orange inside (picture below).  The last few times I made Pumpkin Soup, I used coconut milk.  But this time I really wanted to taste the flavor of the pumpkin.  I’ve also recently discovered that I love caramelized onions.  So you’ll see this recipe has relatively few ingredients.  Don’t be fooled though- it still took a little over an hour to make.  And honestly, if I wasn’t so hungry and it didn’t smell so good, I would have simmered it for a while longer so the flavors would blend together more (I’m sure this will taste yummier tomorrow!)

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Homemade Pumpkin Pulp

Pumpkin Pulp 2

Until last year, I always used to buy pumpkin pulp from the store, and I’ll admit, I still do if I’m craving pumpkin dishes and don’t have a real pumpkin on-hand.  However, now, if I plan ahead, I prefer to buy my own pumpkin and cook it.  It feels like the epitome of fall to go to a farmer’s market and pick out a pumpkin to bring home.  I like using pie pumpkins because I find that they have less seeds and less stringy flesh.  Don’t be intimidated- the toughest part is cutting the pumpkin in half… =)

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“Roasted” Red Peppers

Roasted Red Pepper 2I realized today that I use roasted red peppers all over my blog, and haven’t actually described how to roast them at home.  I put “roasted” in quotes since these are actually broiled (not sure what the difference is).  The first time I roasted the peppers, I was really careful not to burn it.  Turns out, it actually tastes better if you completely blacken it!  You can buy ready-made roasted peppers from the store, but I prefer roasting them at home.  It’s fun and I find that it tastes more flavorful to me.

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Split Pea Soup

I’ve been waiting for a chance to use my new Dutch Oven (Le Creuset) to make a soup to see how the flavors change.   I really do like the way the dutch oven (and probably a crock pot) enhances the spices and flavors of split pea soup.  I like chunky split pea soup more than blended ones, so I cook this one for a long time, until the split peas fall apart.  Since this soup takes a long time to simmer, I generally make large batches and freeze them in small containers.  That way I can have some ready whenever I want!  I like my soups on the thicker side, but you can add more water/broth if you want it thinner.  If you are going to freeze it, I would make it thick and dilute it when you reheat it.

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Roasted Veggie Soup

I was in the mood for soup one day, so I picked up a few veggies that looked healthy.  This soup is relatively simple, low-fat, and tastes really good because the veggies are roasted!  It’s also pretty forgiving in terms of which veggies you put in, and how much- so it’s great for using up leftover veggies!  If you want to make it creamy, you can add a spoon of sour cream or cream cheese when you serve it.

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Roasted Vegetable Stew

This is a nice, hearty stew that tastes good over rice, couscous, quinoa, barley, pretty much anything!  It does take some time to make, but it’s totally worth it.  Also, you can make part of it the day before (Steps 1 and 2) so that it’s less work the day you want t serve it.  I served it over multi-colored rice with different textures, mainly because I was in the mood to make rice look fancy… =)

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Asparagus Soup

The grocery store had some good-looking asparagus two weeks in a row, so I couldn’t resist buying it again!  I forgot to post the soup recipe last time I made it, so I made it a point to remember this time.  This is a fairly simple, healthy soup (no oil or butter!) that has a lot of flavor.  I like keeping the asparagus tops intact so that I have something crunchy when I eat the soup.  However, if you like soup that is more uniform in consistency, you can add the tops in Step 3 and blend it with everything else or save the tops for another recipe.

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Acorn Squash Soup

Sadly, squash season is almost over… The grocery store still had some acorn squash, and it’s kind of chilly, so I figured I’d make some acorn squash soup.  This is one of those soups that I think tastes better the next day, after the spices have a chance to really set in.  If you don’t like spicy things, you can leave out the paprika and black pepper in Step 1.

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Butternut Squash Soup

Fall’s here!  Meaning it’s soup time =)  I love soup, it’s one of my favorite winter foods, so the next couple months will bring many soup recipes.  The farmer’s market had really nice looking squashes, so I figured I’d kick of soup season with a butternut squash soup.  One squash makes a lot of soup, so I usually make it fairly thick and freeze it in small portions.  Then when you want to eat it you can heat it up and add water to get your desired consistency.

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Carrot Fennel Soup

This soup was completely an experiment, but it turned out okay!  It started out on the sweet side because of the carrots.  Since I’m not a huge fan of sweet soups, I added the salt, paprika, and cumin-coriander powder and it helped a lot.  However, if you like sweet soups, you can omit these ingredients.  Although it’s vegan, I noticed that it’s actually kind of creamy, which I didn’t expect.  The fried fennel seeds in oil is also optional.  I liked it because it gave it that extra bit of flavor.

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Lemongrass Soup

This past weekend I was at a market where they had really good fresh lemongrass stalks, so that’s what I used in this soup.  There are a number of things I’ve learned about lemongrass over the years.  1.  A good portion of the stalk is super fibrous and really tough to chew and swallow.  That’s why I split the recipe into two parts: first making the base and removing the lemongrass, then adding all the veggies.  2.  If you don’t have fresh lemongrass, I know you can buy it frozen.  I’ve never tried this, so I don’t know what the equivalent quantity would be.  3.  Most of the recipes I saw call for kaffir lime leaves.  I didn’t have any, so i substituted a lime with the peel still on instead.  4.  When you’re boiling the lemongrass, crush it against the side of the pan as much as you can, it releases the flavor.

If I haven’t totally scared you off, this is actually a pretty simple recipe and it tastes really good!

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Pasta e Fagioli Soup

My family came over for dinner yesterday, so I wanted to try a soup I’d never made before.  Minestrone always seems to be a hit, so I thought I’d try another soup that had pasta in it.  I’m not claiming that this is a traditional pasta e fagioli soup because I was making it up as I went based on what I thought should be in it, but it does have the pasta (Ditalini) and the fagioli (navy beans)!

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Ethiopian dinner

When we were in college, there was this really good Ethiopian restaurant that we used to go.  I love the bread they serve with the food called injera.  It’s made from teff flour and is soft and slightly sour.  Luckily, we have an Ethiopian grocery store near us, so I picked up ready made injera from them.  I heated it right before we sat down to eat by giving it a quick steam (2-3 min).  Other than the injera, the menu was (please forgive misspellings):

Yetakelt W’et (vegetable stew)– left most item

Ye’abesha Gomen (collard greens)– right to the vegetable stew

Atar Allecha (split peas)– above the collard greens

Yemiser W’et (red lentil)– right of the split peas

Cucumber Tomato Salad– this is not Ethiopian.  It’s just cucumbers, tomatoes, and coriander chopped fine with salt and pepper.

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Corn Chowder

We had another potluck at work for the holidays, so I made corn chowder.  For whatever reason, I always associate corn chowder with winter.  It’s spicy and colorful, so makes me feel festive.  I’ll tell you up front, this recipe is very easy, but it does take time to chop everything and it has to slow cook for a while.  When I lived alone, I used to make extra and freeze it in ziplock bags for lunch. =)

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Vegetarian Thanksgiving Dinner Menu 2009

Hi!!! While I’m waiting for people to come for dinner, I figured I’d update this with our Thanksgiving Menu.  I’m a little nervous because this is the first time I’m making tofu turkey and gravy, so I’m crossing my fingers.  Anyhow, here’s what’s on the menu for tonight (some of these I posted already, the rest will be posted today or tomorrow):

Pumpkin Soup
Cranberry Walnut Salad
Tofu Turkey (with stuffing) and Gravy
Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Fennel
Biscuits (no recipe since I used ready made ones)
Pumpkin Cheesecake
Spiced Apple Cider (no recipe since I just heated Trader Joe’s spiced cider and added a cinnamon stick and some cloves)