Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Lately I have been moderately feeding my sweet tooth, but have not quite been satisfied with my options. Tonight it was time to answer the little voice in my head begging for some good old fashioned chocolate chip cookies. I have a fantastic recipe that I have made many times from my Canyon Ranch, Nourish cookbook. They are slightly crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. I wish I could tell you that they keep well for days, but they don't last that long in my house when I make them. They are THAT good!

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe from Canyon Ranch, Nourish

4 Tb. unsalted butter, cold
1/3 cup low-fat cream cheese, cold
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large egg yolks
3/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt
One (6 oz.) packge semisweet chocolate chips ( I accidentally used the whole bag, 12 oz. Not a bad mistake : )

Preheat oven to 350

With an electric mixer on high speed, cream the butter, cream cheese, and brown sugar. Turn the mixer to low and add the egg yolk and vanilla and mix until combined.

Combine the flours, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips in a medium bowl. Add to the butter mixture and mix by hand until combined.

Drop rounded heaping teaspoonfuls onto the baking sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart.

Bake for 7 minutes. Lightly flatten cookies with a fork. Rotate the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 3 minutes more, or until golden. Cool on on a baking sheet until the cookies are set.

Transfer to a cooling rack until completely cooled. Store in a tightly sealed container.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Apple Pancakes

This morning I wondered what sort of breakfast we were going to start our morning with. I am tired of eggs, pancakes, waffles and oatmeal. I know there are a million ways to make each of these things, but none of it sounded good to me until I saw a recipe for apple pancakes and had two apples that needed using. This recipe turned out to be a winner! These pancakes were so dreamy, and naturally sweet, they didn't even need syrup.
Apple Pancakes
2 eggs, well beaten
1 1/2 cups of milk or yogurt (I used 1 cup yogurt and 1/2 cup rice milk)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat or spelt flour (I actually used some of each)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar (I used turbinado, raw sugar)
3 medium apples, peeled and coarsely grated
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 pinch of nutmeg
zest of 1 orange
1 Tb. orange juice
Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting (optional)
1. Mix the eggs with the milk or yogurt in a large bowl.
2. In a smaller bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, spices and sugar together.
3. Combine the wet and the dry ingredients and stir in the apples and orange zest.
4. Lightly spray cooking spray on a griddle or large skillet. Drop a large spoonful of batter into the pan and flatten it out a little (otherwise, you might have trouble getting them to cook in the center) and cook until golden brown underneath. Flip the pancakes and cook them for an additional two or three minutes.
5. Either dust with powdered sugar and serve immediately, or keep on a tray in a warmed oven until you are ready to serve them.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pumpkin Gingerbread with Almond Spiced Whipped Cream

For our "pre-thanksgiving" dinner, I decided to skip the pumpkin pie (partly because I had just made one last week) and made a festive gingerbread instead. The whipped cream came from Rachel Ray. I used it for the pumpkin pie last week and fell in love! It's so simple and so delicious! Once again, a MUST for Thanksgiving this year!

The gingerbread had great flavor but seemed a little dry to me, so I reduced the time in the oven by 5-10 minutes depending on your oven. I cooked it for 45 mins and I think 40 or less would have been sufficient. I suggest you test it after 35 minutes and go from there.

Pumpkin Gingerbread
Recipe by

1 Tbsp cider vinegar
3/4 cup milk
2 1/3 cups flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup canned pumpkin purée
1/2 cup dark molasses

1. In a small bowl, blend the cider vinegar and the milk and set aside. It will curdle. That’s the point.

2. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Spray an 8″x8″x2″ pan with cooking spray.

3. In a medium bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients and spices. Use a whisk to blend them thoroughly and to break up any lumps. Sifting would achieve the same result, but using a whisk is easier.

4. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, cream the butter. Continue mixing while gradually adding the sugar until the two are creamed together and fluffy. Add the egg and beat well. Add the pumpkin and mix thoroughly. Add the molasses and blend.

5. Alternating between dry ingredients and curdled milk, in three batches, mix each into the wet ingredients. Mix the ingredients as little as possible.

6. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 40-45 minutes. Serve Warm and top with almond spiced whipped cream (recipe below)

Almond Spiced Whipped Cream
Recipe adapted from Rachel Ray

1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 shot almond liqueur or 1 teaspoon almond extract
Grated nutmeg, to taste
2 pinches ground cinnamon
3 Tb. powdered sugar

Whisk cream until soft peaks form, a couple of minutes. Whisk in almond liqueur or extract, powdered sugar and season with nutmeg and cinnamon, to taste.

Golden Mashed Potatoes with Leeks and Sour Cream

We really love Thanksgiving in this family. I am partial to any holiday that revolves around food really. Last night, my family decided to have a "practice Thanksgiving". We just wanted an excuse to have turkey and all the fixings actually. All the usual suspects were there; David's Barbecued turkey as the main guest, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, roasted veggies, rolls, and a special appearance for the first time, home made ginger bread with spiced whipped cream...YUMMM! (recipes to follow).

I think these mashed potatoes were the best mashed potatoes I have ever had. Sooooo creamy, loaded with fat, and delicious! (I guess there is a reason we only do this once a year!) I have had mashers with roasted garlic, I have had them with gorgonzola, I have had them plain, etc. etc...THESE were the best (in my oh so humble opinion) Anyway, you must make these this year, they will not disappoint!

Golden Mashed Potatoes with Leeks and Sour Cream
Recipe by Williams Sonoma (Thanksgiving Edition)

4 lb. large Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled and preferably organic, scrubbed
8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter
4 leeks, white and light green portions, finely chopped and rinsed well
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1 cup milk, heated to a simmer
1⁄2 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste

Cut the potatoes into large, uniform chunks. Put the potatoes in a large saucepan and add water to cover and a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, cover partially and cook the potatoes, stirring once or twice, until they are very tender, about 40 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, in a fry pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the leeks, cover and cook, stirring once or twice, until tender and lightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.

Return the potatoes to the saucepan and place the pan over low heat. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes thoroughly. Stir in the leeks and their buttery juices. Add the sour cream and stir well. Add the hot milk, the 1/2 tsp. salt and the 1 tsp. pepper and stir vigorously until light and fluffy. Remove the pan from the heat. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.
Serve hot.
Serves 8 to 10.

Corn and Sweet Potato Chowder

Out of my 35 cook books I have been collecting over the years, I decided to pull out one of my favorites; Vegetarian Planet by Didi Emmons. I wrote down every dish that I wanted to make in the next few months. I came up with 20 recipes! I LOVE this cookbook. Tonight I made a delicious corn and sweet potato chowder. Though I thought this was tasty, I think tomorrow it will be even better. I think it needed a bit of salt and possibly a little more spice, maybe thyme, or even a touch of ginger actually. Please let me know if you come up with a new addition for this hearty chowder.

Corn and Sweet Potato Chowder
Recipe by Vegetarian Planet, by Didi Emmons
2 Tb. butter
1 Tb. olive oil
2 cups onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. paprika
2 1/2 Tb. unbleached white flour
6 cups whole or low fat milk
3 corn tortillas, cut into small pieces
2 cups corn (shaved from 3 ears preferably) and the shaved cobs
1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes
1 tsp. salt
fresh pepper to taste
squeeze of lime
2 Tb. chopped cilantro (optional)

In a stockpot or large saucepan, melt the butter with the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, cumin, and paprika. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the flour and stirring constantly with a whisk, cook for 30 seconds. Slowly add the milk, 1/2 cup at a time, while continuing to stir with a whisk so the flour doesn't lump. Add the tortillas, the shaved cobs, and the sweet potatoes, and simmer the mixture over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender.

Add the corn kernels, and let the soup simmer 2 minutes more. Add the salt, pepper, and lime. Remove the shaved cobs, then ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle it with cilantro, if you like.

Serves 4 large bowls

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Homemade Calzones

I used to live in Brooklyn, NY for four years and had some pretty yummy calzones during my time there. Though there are many amazing pizza places in NYC, Smiling Pizza was my favorite local pizza joint. It was on the corner of the 7th Avenue subway stop on the F train in Park Slope. The smell wafting out the doors roped me in more often than not when I was coming home from the train. Tonight I attempted my hand at a calzone for the first time. Super easy and you can't really go wrong with any recipe that includes cheese! Please feel free to stuff them with whatever else you wish, the possibilities are endless!

Owen liked these so much, he was trying to eat the crumbs off of his shirt!
Recipe adapted by

1 pre-made whole wheat pizza dough package, or make it fresh.
1 Tb. olive oil
8 cups fresh spinach (or 1 bag, frozen)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 cup cottage cheese/ or ricotta
*1/3 cup grated Parmesan
*1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
*1/4 cup grated jack cheese
3 Tb. sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, chopped small
10 black olives thinly sliced
1 handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped
1 cup marinara sauce (optional)
*Note, the cheeses are just what I happened to have in the fridge, feel free to use 1 cup from a pre-packaged blend of Italian cheeses.

Preheat oven to 425.
Let pizza dough rest for 20 minutes at room temperature on a floured surface. While waiting for the dough to relax, place oil in a large pot and saute the garlic for 2-3 minutes on medium high heat. Add washed spinach and herbs and cook until completely wilted. Drain the mixture well and place in a large bowl.
Add the cheese, sun dried tomatoes, olives, and basil to the warm spinach mixture and combine thoroughly.
When ready, cut the dough into 4 even pieces. Stretch each piece large enough to hold a quarter of the mixture. Place mixture on one side of dough, leaving room at the sides to pinch closed. Fold dough over the filling and crimp the sides shut with your fingers. Be sure to leave no holes so the filling doesn't leak out. Repeat for each piece of dough until the filling is gone and place on a lightly floured cookie tray. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until lightly brown. Top each hot calzone with 1/4 cup of marina sauce if you like and enjoy!
Serves 4

Yummy in my tummy!

Apple Pie Cookies

Last week, I made pumpkin cookies and Apple pie. This week I made apple cookies and pumpkin pie. I love fall! I think it is my favorite season, correction, I KNOW it's my favorite season! I have been bit by the "pre-thanksgiving" baking bug lately and can't seem to stop, even if I start at 10 or 11 PM! Am I crazy? Don't answer that.
I am always looking for new recipes to use up all the produce we continue to have in our house. Right now I have a ton of pears and figs, so keep your eyes peeled for a pear/fig recipe soon! These cookies are slightly cake like (just like the pumpkin cookies, which stayed fresh and soft all week). The apples keep them super moist. They are like little autumn cookies, just my style.

Apple Pie Cookies
Recipe adapted by

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup rolled oats
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 1/2 cups diced fresh apples (2 medium)
3/4 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup dried cranberries (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and maple syrup. With the mixer on low speed, gradually blend in the flour mixture. Once all flour has been incorporated, stir in apples, cranberries and pecans. Drop by large tablespoons onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until cookies are browned around the edges. Cool for about 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 28 cookies.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Soothing Red Lentil and Tomato Soup

It's raining! I put on my bright pink rain boots, we got Owen dressed in his yellow rain gear and went puddle hunting this afternoon. I played for about 20 minutes or so before it was time to come in and get a warm dinner started for my boys.
I was just waiting for the first storm of the season to try this soup out. I tried it, loved it and will be making this again and again in the future. Forget that plain Campbell's sodium loaded tomato soup, this is a hearty easy meal that leaves you pondering all the flavors that marry in your mouth instantly! The lentils give this soup a nice texture, while adding a good source of protein. The coconut milk and cilantro add a refreshing twist to the regular tomato soup you are probably used to.

Soothing Red Lentil and Tomato Soup
Recipe adapted from
1 tbsp virgin coconut oil
1 large onion
1/8 tsp ground chipotle pepper (optional)
2 tsp garam masala (found in most super markets, Cost Plus has a great one)
1 cup red lentils,rinsed and drained
2 cans (400g) whole tomatoes, pureed
3 cups chicken or vegetables stock
unrefined sea salt, to taste
1/2 cup coconut milk
cilantro leaves

Process tomatoes in the blender or a food processor until roughly pureed. Then, quickly rinse the lentils and drain well.

To start the soup, first peel and finely dice the onion. Then heat a heavy-bottom soup pot over medium high heat. Add the oil, followed by the onions. Season the onions with sea salt and cook until the onions are soft and tender. Add the chipotle pepper and garam masala and cook for another one minute. Then add the red lentils, tomatoes and stock and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat, cover, lid slightly open and simmer the soup for about 20 to 30 minutes until the lentils are tender.

When the lentils are already tender, chop some cilantro leaves. If the soup is too thick, add more stock. Season the soup with sea salt to taste. To serve, ladle the soup onto soup bowls, then garnish with coconut milk and chopped cilantro.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Lasagna Rolls

Once again, I found this awesome recipe through Each roll serves one, it's super easy and very tasty! This is great for toddlers, and for guests as well. It serves up nicely.
Lasagna Rolls Adapted from
9 Lasagna Noodles (I cooked 1 extra in case they tear while boiling)
1 Egg
16 Oz. Ricotta Cheese
1/2 Cup Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 cup soaked sun dried tomatoes, finely chopped (or 1/2 cup oil packed, drained and chopped)
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp Salt
1 Cup Spinach or Broccoli, cooked and finely chopped (I used frozen, thawed and drained well)
1 1/2 Cups Marinara Sauce
1 Cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided

1. Cook lasagna noodles in salted water 2 minutes less than package directions call for and rinse with cold water.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
3. In a bowl whisk the egg, ricotta, 1/4 cup Parmesan, 1/2 cup mozzarella, sun dried tomatoes and broccoli or spinach to combine.
4. Place 1/4 cup of the marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9×11 inch baking dish.
5. Spread 1/3 cup of the ricotta mixture on each lasagna noodle, covering the sheet and roll up jelly roll style.6. Place the lasagna rolls seam side down in the baking dish and top with remaining marinara sauce and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese.
7. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
8. Uncover and continue to cook an additional 15 minutes.
9. Serve.

* You can also prepare the dish through step 6, cover and freeze. When ready to eat, bake for 45 minutes covered and 15 minutes uncovered.

Mamma's Veggie "Meat"loaf

OK, though I don't eat red meat now, I did as a kid. Like most Americans, I still have fond memories of my Mom's meatloaf. I wanted to find a way to get a similar texture and flavor, but with out the meat. Through the use of lentils and oats and lots of seasoning, I think I got this one down. I have made this countless times for Owen (it's his favorite meal), and make it slightly different each time. I think tonight, I got the right amount of all the ingredients and the texture turned out perfect! Now I hope my memory doesn't fail me and I can write this down exactly how I made it.

I used to make this in one regular sized loaf pan, but tonight, I got the idea of making individual servings in muffin tins instead. It cut down on the cooking time and turned out great! This made 14 mini loaves, so there is plenty of left overs and some for freezing when you need a break in the kitchen one night!

Mamma's "Meat"loaf
1 1/4 cups lentils
2 1/2 cups water, veggie and or chicken broth
1 small onion, finely chopped in the food processor
1 carrot, finely chopped in the food processor
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup quick steel cut oats
1/3 cup cooked cous cous (millet, rice or quinoa would probably work fine as well)
3/4 cup grated cheese (mozzarella, pepper jack, Swiss, cheddar)
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup jarred chunky spaghetti sauce
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. seasoning salt (I use Emeril's Essence)
1 tsp. worcestershire sauce

Heat oven to 350

Rinse lentils and take out any stones you might find. In a medium sauce pan, heat the water or broth and lentils to a boil. Place a lid on the pot and turn down heat to a simmer for 25-30 minutes until the lentils are soft. Drain any excess water and partially mash lentils with a potato masher and set aside.

While lentils are cooking make cous cous according to the box. Alternatively, if you have any left over grains in your fridge, just use a 1/3 cup of that instead.

In a food processor, pulse onion, garlic and carrot until finely chopped. Put 1 Tb. oil in a skillet and saute the mixture until soft (about 5-7 minutes). In a large bowl, mix the onion mixture, oats, cous cous and the lentils until slightly cool. Add the eggs, cheese, spaghetti sauce, garlic powder, basil, parsley, worcestershire and seasoning salt. Mix until combined.

Lightly spray a muffin tin with cooking spray and fill each cup to the top with the mixture. Cook for 20 minutes and take out of the oven, making sure the top is firm and slightly brown. Evenly spread a dollop of ketchup on top of each mini loaf and place back in the oven for another 5 minutes. When done, let cool for a few minutes, take out and serve with a side of steamed veggies or better yet, homemade mashed potatoes!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Black Forest Biscotti

I was never much of a biscotti fan until I had it homemade from my friend Eriko's house (who is an excellent cook, especially when it comes to sweets!). It's slightly more soft then what you would buy at the store or a coffee house. As I was thumbing through my Moosewood cookbook one day I found two biscotti recipes that looked great! I have made almond biscotti a few times, which was delicious, but last night I thought it was time to try the black forest! It is super easy and looks exactly the way it should!

Black Forest Biscotti
Recipe from Moosewood Restaurant, New Classics

1/2 cup dried cherries
1 cup water
1/4 cup butter, at room temp.
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. pure almond extract
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
2 cups plus 2 TB unbleached white four
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 and lightly oil a baking sheet.

In a small saucepan, heat the cherries and water just to boiling, and then remove from the heat and set aside. In a bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and well combined. Blend in the eggs and almond and vanilla extracts. Fold in the chocolate chips. Drain the cherries, place them on a paper towel to absorb any extra moisture, and then stir them into the egg mixture.

In a separate bowl, sift together the four, cocoa, salt, and baking powder. With a rubber spatula, fold in the wet ingredients until the dough is uniform and holds together when pressed with lightly floured hands.

Use the spatula and your floured hands to scoop the dough onto the oiled baking sheet. Form the dough into a 12 inch x 3 inch diameter log shape; then press down on the log, flattening it to a thickness of about an inch. The length and width of the flattened log should be about 14 x 4 inches.

Bake on the top rack of the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the dough is firm and just lightly brown. Remove from the oven and transfer the log to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, slice crosswise into 3/4 inch pieces. Lay each biscotti cut side up on the baking sheet. Bake for about 5 minutes on each side, using tongs to flip them. Cool completely on a rack and then store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Monday, October 5, 2009

La Ribollita

When I was in my mid 20's I back packed solo through Europe for 6 weeks. Italy was one of my absolute favorite places I visited. I spent some of my time in Tuscany and spent a wonderful day in the quaint little town, San Gimignano. It was pouring rain when I got there, so I found a local restaurant to wait out the storm. I sat down and wrote in my journal while I had one of the most incredible soups I have ever had! I made a note of it and came back to New York looking for the exact recipe of what I had. "La Ribollita" is Italian for reboiled and "refers to the fact that in the old days the soup was reheated and served day after day."

Though I call this a soup, it is very hearty and more like a thick stew just to warn you. I make this several times a year, and this recipe is as close as I have gotten to what I had on that rainy day in Tuscany. Tonight is a little chilly, so we have a fire going, sweaters on and I thought this would be the perfect soup for dinner tonight.

La Ribollita Adapted from Complete Italian, by Hamlyn

1 can cannellini beans (white kidney beans)
4 Tb. pureed Italian tomatoes
6 Tb. olive oil
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 large leek, chopped
2 carrots, thickly sliced into rings
2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
2 potatoes roughly chopped
1/2 cup fresh corn (optional)
1 medium Savoy cabbage, finely shredded (I used Napa Cabbage, couldn't find Savoy)
4 cups water
1 tsp. dried thyme (or 1/2 Tb. fresh, chopped)
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, (or 1 tsp. fresh, chopped)
4 slices stale white bread (I used 12 grain from La Brea bread company)
salt and pepper

Drain and rinse cannellini beans. Blend half of the beans and the tomatoes in a food processor.

Heat 4 Tb. olive oil in a large soup pot, add the vegetables and cook gently, stirring frequently for 10 minutes until soft.
Add the pureed tomatoes and beans and stir well to mix, then add the cabbage, water, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper to taste. ring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 1 hour.

Tear the bread into the soup and add the whole beans. Stir well to mix, then simmer for 10 more minutes. Check the seasoning, serve hot, drizzled with the remaining oil.
Note: this is a pretty versatile recipe, feel free to add any other veggies you have lying around. Green beans would be a nice addition, or substitution as well.
PS, Owen absolutely LOVED this dish and it's full of good stuff which makes us both happy : )

Banana "Ice Cream"

I had some fairly ripe banana's that I wasn't ready to use up, so I peeled them and stuck them in the freezer for a later use. I remembered seeing on a raw food/ vegan blog recently about blending a frozen banana and eating it as ice cream. So I tried this and added a little, yogurt, peanut butter and one pitted date for more protein, fiber and minerals. DEEELISH!!! I have given this to Owen twice this week and he loves it! This is so easy and healthy, I highly recommend this for your little ones....or yourself : )
Banana "Ice Cream"
1 frozen banana
1 Tb. peanut butter
1 pitted date (optional)
1/4 cup plain yogurt (optional)

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sweet Potatoes with Warm Black Bean Salad

Nanna, Pappy, Owen and I had a great day at the avocado festival today in Carpinteria. For dinner I decided to make a meal that included these creamy nutrient packed local fruits. I found a recipe on for sweet potaotes with savory spices and black beans. It called for a sour cream and cilantro garnish, which to me, screams, "Add Avocado!" Depending on the size of your sweet potatoes, this meal could be very filling on it's own. I, however always make too much food and we had some small potatoes, so I made a side of quinoa with broccoli and tofu in a home made almond vinegrette dressing, which was a very protein loaded nutty flavored dish. Which was good, but not necessary as I am pretty full typing this right now!

Sweet Potatoes with Warm Black Bean Salad

4 potato(es), sweet
15 ounce(s) black beans, drained and rinsed
2 medium tomato(es), diced (I used 1 large heirloom tomato)
1 tablespoon oil, olive, extra virgin
1 teaspoon cumin, ground
1 teaspoon coriander, ground
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup(s) sour cream, reduced-fat
1/4 cup(s) cilantro, fresh, chopped
1 avocado, diced


1. Prick potatoes with a fork in several places. Place in a baking dish and bake at 425 degrees F until tender all the way to the center, about 1 hour. If you are in a hurry you can use a pressure cooker for 10 minutes, like I did.

2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine beans, tomatoes, oil, cumin, coriander and salt. until hot.

3. When just cool enough to handle, slash each sweet potato lengthwise, press open to make a well in the center and spoon the bean mixture into the well. Top each with a dollop of sour cream (or plain yogurt), a sprinkle of cilantro and top with diced avocados.