Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Taco Salad

I have to say I had so much fun cooking up bulgur wheat and adding it to our taco salad!  It was one of those grains that I did not experiment with because I did not make the time.  For those of you who are gluten free soaked quinoa works well in this recipe (I would like to try teff or millet in it but have not tried it but I will!).  I usually just make some chili beans and serve them with a big salad, salsa and guacamole.  So this was a fun, healthy addition to our taco salad.  Bulgur wheat is high in iron, vitamin B-6 and magnesium so adding it to some beans and salad is a great idea!  

When I tried the bulgur wheat plain it was kind of bland but it went well with all of the other vegetables and it gives it a nice texture.  It has that texture that I know my clients who have been meat eaters in the past enjoy.  So this is a great alternative for you and it is healthy!

First (I forgot to take a picture of the bulgur wheat cooking...), I cook the bulgur wheat.  1/2 cup of bulgur wheat and 1 cup of boiling water and simmer for 15 minutes in a covered pan.  After it is finished just set the cooked bulgur wheat aside.  I like to cut up the vegetables small.  After the vegetables are prepared saute them in 2 TBS of water for 5-7 minutes (or until tender).

Add the cooked bulgur wheat and saute for 1-2 minutes more and then add the seasonings and saute for another 1-2 minutes while stirring.

Finished bulgur wheat and ready for the taco salad!

I think it has a nice looking texture!  And the texture in the mouth is wonderful too!  It makes about 3 cups of bulgur wheat.

I added 2 cups of my chili beans (recipe at the bottom of the page at that link) or any of your favorite chili beans or pinto beans if you do not like spicy.

Our taco salad is: lettuce, spinach, tomato, red onion, peppers, olives, green onions and cucumbers.

Then mix it all together... And add your favorite guacamole or avocado!  Yum!  We also like it with tortilla chips.  The blue corn chips or the corn chips with flax!  Such a filling meal and so good for you!

Taco Salad

1 small onion, minced
3 - 4 mushrooms, minced
1/3 red or yellow pepper, minced
2 cups bulgur wheat (cooked ahead of time)
1 TBS onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder (optional for those who like it spicy)
1/2 tsp salt
1 TBS cumin

1. Cook 1/2 cup of bulgur wheat in 1 cup of water for 15 minutes.  Set aside.
2. Saute onion, mushrooms, and pepper for 5-7 minutes in 2 TBS of water or until golden.
3. Add bulgur wheat and stir wheat and saute another 2 minutes.
4. Add seasonings (onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, salt and cumin) and saute another 1-2 minutes.  Remove from heat.
5.  Add 2-3 cups of chili beans.
6. Serve with salad, guacamole and chips.


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Split Pea Soup to warm on a cold day!

I think taking pictures is one of my favorites things to do besides cook or maybe bake... And I have to say that Split Pea Soup is one of our favorites soups!  It is easy, cheap, hearty, and healthy!  But it is not photogenic at all!  It does not look pretty when taking a picture of it.  Green mash is what I think of but if one just closes their eyes and takes a bite the image of it will go away because it tastes so good!  The secret to this split pea soup is that I put a sweet potato, onion, carrots and celery in it to help enhance the goodness of the soup!  It is a very tasty soup and my kids do not mind eating it.  It is helpful when they eat the foods I make.  As long as it is not spicy they will eat anything!

See not that glorious of a picture... but when making the soup it does help to know what it shall look like in the end!

I prepare the vegetables (pictured here is an onion, 3 carrots, and 3 celery stalks) by using my onion/vegetable chopper so it is quicker and all of the pieces are the same size.  And I like to saute them (use a 6 quart pot to cook the soup) before adding the seasonings and split peas.  I use 1/2 - 1 cup of water to saute and saute for 10 minutes on medium high and covered.  (Split peas cook very quickly so in order to avoid split pea casserole, as Paul would say, I like to saute the vegetables ahead of time so they do not take very long to cook once the split peas have been added.) 

Just another picture here with the sweet potato on top.  I saute all of the vegetables together.

Once the vegetables have been sauteed for 10 minutes I add the seasonings and the split peas and then the water.  I use my homemade chicken - like seasoning, nutritional yeast (good B vitamins), dried parsley, salt and garlic powder.  Stir well to incorporate everything together.  And bring to a boil and then cook over low heat covered for 20-30 minutes or until the split peas are to desired tenderness.  

Split Pea Soup

1 large onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 large sweet potato, chopped
2 TBS chicken-like seasoning
2 TBS nutritional yeast
1 TBS dried parsley
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 - 1 tsp salt 
1 lb (2 cups) split peas
6-8 cups of water (use judgment the more water the more brothy)

1. Heat a 6 quart pot with 1/2 - 1 cup of water.  
2. Prepare vegetables and saute vegetables in the pot of water for 10 minutes on medium high.
3. Add seasonings, split peas, and water.  Stir well to incorporate ingredients together.
4. Bring to a boil.  Simmer for 20-30 minutes or until desired tenderness.
5. This makes about 8 large bowl fulls and goes well with a green salad and corn muffins.


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Carob Peanut Butter Balls

What a yummy treat!  Since giving up chocolate because I learned it gives me severe headaches I have re-fallen in love with carob!  As a kid we would go to campmeeting (for our church) and I would go to the food tent just to enjoy carob milk.  It was so delicious!  Carob is not chocolate and it should not be compared.  It is a different treat and a fun one!  My kids really enjoy this treat and it is fairly healthy.  It still have sugar in it so it should not be eaten a lot but it is a fun dessert!

You can see the texture from the oats.  They are very simple and can be put together in just 10 minutes.  I like to put them in the freezer before eating.

I used 1/3 cup of organic coconut palm sugar (which is brown sugar) but honey or maple syrup can be used as well in the same amount.  And 4 teaspoons of carob powder.

Then add 1/4 cup of milk (I used vanilla almond milk), 1/4 cup of natural crunchy peanut butter and mix together and heat just until it is warm enough to mix in the oats.

Once the mixture is warm add in 1 cup of oats (rolled or instant or a combination of both) and mix well.  I let it sit for a 1-2 minutes because when I tried to roll them right away they were too warm and I had more on my hands then in the balls.  I can get 18 carob balls out of this batch.  Then freeze them for 10-20 minutes.

They store well in the freezer or the fridge for several days.  They do not last long in our house.  I am thankful the kids like them.  It makes it easy to make one treat for all of us.

Lukas enjoyed rolling the balls with me.  We had a fun time making them and licking our hands!

Carob Peanut Butter Balls

1/3 cup sugar/sweetener
4 tsp carob powder
1/4 cup milk (any plant based milk will do)
1/4 cup natural crunchy peanut butter
1 cup oats (instant or regular rolled)

1. Mix together the first 4 ingredients and warm the mixture for 1 minute in the microwave or for 2-3 minutes on the stove on medium heat (stir often so it does not stick to the pan).
2. Remove from heat.  Stir in the oats and let sit for 2-3 minutes.
3. Roll into balls.
4. Place in freezer for 10-20 minutes before enjoying.
5. They will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge or freezer.