One thing I love about my best friend is our constant texts throughout the day…dogs, horses, sometimes our men, (Mars/Venus!) and of course, food. “Whatcha makin tonight?” is a common one. In the winter we can both eat our weight in roasted Brussels Sprouts so when I answered the standard question with “I’m not sure yet…something with Brussels?” She said add the Quinoa and with the idea sparked, this super simple, delicious winter recipe was made. I’m thankful for the ideas we bounce off of each other and especially being able to stay in touch across the country through something we both love, food.
I would love to take the credit for this one, but I found the base for this recipe in the magazine “Extraordinary Health”. So so yummy. I have a hard time not eating this one right out of the serving bowl…
This came out of a desire to eat some items in the fridge that needed to be used. Honestly, I had never had okra before and was inspired to grab some at the Farmer’s Market to try. According to online foodies, it needed to be thinly sliced right before you cook it and pan-fried super hot to sear in the moisture. The polenta I sometimes buy in the prepared rolls at Trader Joe’s or Wegmans, just slice and brown on each side. We had dinner in under 30 min. and no food went to waste, perfect.
Polenta is made from cornmeal and can be bought in tubes in the produce at Wegman's or in the Italian section of most grocery stores.
half a large onion, diced
1-2 hot peppers of choice (or sub mild)
3 garlic cloves
Okra, about ½ lb. rinsed and dried in kitchen towel
Tomatoes, diced about 1½-2 cups
1 cup veggie broth (or water mixed with veggie bouillon)
Saute onion, peppers and garlic in a large saute pan with a little olive oil.
Heat a separate saute pan over high heat, add vegetable oil. Slice okra on bias to get longer slices. When oil begins smoking, add sliced Okra in single layer. Let sear, then stir to flip. Total of only 3-4 minutes cooking time.
Add to sautéed veggies, add tomatoes, few tablespoons of tomato paste or ketchup and broth as well. Salt & lots of cracked black Pepper.
Meanwhile slice polenta, spray okra pan with oil and begin browning one side over medium high heat. About 3 min. check for browness/crispness and flip.
Taste Okra mixture, adjust seasonings/more tomato paste, add hot pepper flakes if desired.
Cook eggs over easy when all is done and seasoned to liking. (Crack in medium high heat pan sprayed with oil, let cook until whites almost set and bottom browned, season heavily S&P, flip, turn off heat.
Plate browned Polenta, Okra & Tomatoes and egg on top.
Dino-what? As perplexed as the checkout people at the grocery store were, the two names I knew to look it up under were Dinosaur or Lacinato Kale and they couldn’t find it. Oye…few minutes later a checker sprinted back “Tuscan Kale”. Alrighty then, this yummy dark leafy green has 3 names. It’s also one of my favorite new things to eat in the following salad. Thanks to MommaPea over at Peas & Thank You for turning me onto this fabulous idea!
When AJ returned from Africa, we decided to start a tradition on Sunday nights of eating what the people of Zambia eat 3 meals a day (if they’re able). It is composed of 3 things: Nshima (pronounced she-ma) and two “relishes”, usually beans and greens. Nshima is a cornmeal mush similar to a firm grits or polenta. Zambians eat with their hands, scooping the nshima and then dipping into the relishes. The only addition I make to the Zambian traditional meal is a “Makoua*” veggie- sweet potato.
*What the children would yell whenever they saw AJ “white man!”
On the 10,000 acre farm at Sons of Thunder Mission where he visited, the local Tonga people learn agricultural practices to combat starvation & malnutrition while building self-sufficiency, confidence, pride, and independence. They learn “Farming God’s Way” including training in irrigation, harvesting, storage, and marketing. Sons of Thunder also operates a grade school, a clinic/medical ministry, and an outreach program, including evangelism, church planting, and feeding /meeting the needs of the hungry and starving.
All parts of their meal is grown on the grounds, the Nshima is made of mealy meal, or corn ground into a fine flour, greens (AJ thinks swiss chard) cooked with tomatoes and onions and beans cooked with salt. They also grow some different kinds of squash to sell to the local hotels, but they do not in fact eat it themselves. AJ promised to bring me back to show them how to cook the Makoua vegetables! Gladly : )
A quick fix supper or lunch when you're craving a little cheesey-ness. Daiya mozzarella is the only non dairy "cheese" that actually tastes like, melts like, browns like cheese. It is made from tapioca root but magically tastes like mozzarella. Go figure.
½ Onion, sliced
2 cups Broccoli, bite size
Handful Mushrooms, sliced
1 Zucchini, diced
¼- 1/2 cup Chickpeas
Daiya Mozzarella, ¼ cup
Heat pan over medium high heat
Spray with olive oil
Add Mushrooms, saute until beginning to brown
Add all other veggies, sprinkle with Garlic Salt
Throw in chickpeas, stir to combine, Saute until all browned and tender crisp
Sprinkle Daiya mozzarella over top, brown in oven if desired
This vegetarian take on French Onion soup builds on the flavors of slowly caramelized onions in a balsamic reduction. I used the picture from my award-winning caramelized onions because sometimes food disappears fast around here.
Feel free to sub whatever veggies you have, broccoli would be a great. I had a box of quick cooking Barley which makes this recipe come together in much less time. However, whole barley or hulled Barley is a much better choice nutrition wise, packed full of fiber and other important nutrients. If you have the time (1 hr) go with the real stuff.
2 Garlic cloves Minced
1 Onion Minced
2 carrots chopped
1 Zucchini chopped
1 Yellow Squash Chopped
Green beans (frozen or fresh)
Spices (Rosemary, Oregano, Salt & Pepper, Red pepper flakes)
4 cups Water
1½ Cups Quick cooking Barley (Pearled that has been steamed & dried like oats)
Saute garlic & onions until brown, add rest of veggies.
Brown slightly, add spices (start with tsp. if not sure amount).
Add water & Barley, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover.
If using quick barley, check in 8-9 minutes (45 min. for hulled/whole barley),Taste, add more seasoning if needed (i.e. is it bland? Add few more tsp.at a time of herbs., stir, taste again).
This is a quick, one pan pasta dish. Roast your veggies, dump sauce over them and stir in cooked pasta. In less than an hour you’ll have a bubbly, browned dish, ready for your family or to share with a new mommy (Macaria : ).