Thursday, November 27, 2008

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Easy Chili

Sometimes ya gotta have chili. Yesterday was one of those days. I almost always have ingredients for this chili, or a variation of it, in my pantry.
This chili has excellent flavor, but is not overly hot. Just a nice tingle. If you want a hotter version, you could use a hot chili powder or add jalapenos or serrano peppers or other chile peppers or crushed red pepper flakes or use tomatoes with chiles instead of plain tomatoes. Whatever floats your boat.

Kari's Easy Chili

1 medium onion, diced
1 large green bell pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp Mexican oregano, crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp mild chili powder
black pepper
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
2 cups water
2 cans (15 oz) chili beans (these are pinto beans in chili gravy)
1 can (15 oz) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 tsp Better Than Bouillon No Beef Base
1 cup Morningstar Farms Grillers Crumbles

In large pot, saute onion and bell pepper in a little water until soft. Add garlic and saute a couple minutes longer. Add water as necessary, if the vegetables get too dry. Add oregano, cumin, chili pepper, and black pepper. Cook and stir a couple minutes. Add tomatoes, stirring to scrape bits from bottom of pan. Add tomato sauce, water, chili beans, and kidney beans. Stir in Better Than Bouillon and Grillers crumbles. Simmer 30 minutes. Adjust seasonings if necessary.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Apple Cinnamon Rolls

I had some pouty-faced Gala apples on the counter begging to be used. This is what I came up with. I didn't have a lemon, so I went with lime juice to tang the Galas up a bit. If you use Granny Smith apples, you could omit citrus juice. Also, you might want to chop or mash your apples up a bit to keep them from popping out of the roll when you slice it...or just squish 'em back in like I did.

Kari's Apple Cinnamon Rolls (bread machine)

For the dough:

1 Tbsp flax meal
1 cup warm water
2 Tbsp shortening (or margarine)
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup white whole wheat flour
2 cups bread flour
2 tsp instant yeast

Whisk flax meal into water then put all ingredients into bread machine according to manufacturer's instructions for dough setting.

Apple Filling:

5 apples, peeled and sliced
1 Tbsp lime juice
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Place all ingredients in small heavy saucepan. Simmer on low, covered, 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool.

To Assemble Rolls:

Pat dough into a rectangle about 9 x 13. Spread apples over surface and sprinkle with an additional 1/4 cup brown sugar. Roll up, starting on long side, and pinch edges closed. Carefully cut into 12 equal pieces. Place pieces into muffin tin that has been sprayed with cooking spray or lightly oiled. Cover and let rise 1 hour in a warm spot. Bake at 375 for 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes then drizzle with icing.


2/3 cup confectioners sugar
1 Tbsp soy milk
1 tsp vanilla

Whisk together until smooth. Drizzle over rolls.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pinto Beans and Collard Greens

Any day I serve mashed potatoes is a good day, according to my youngest daughter. She also likes fried tofu, as long as she can dip it into something tasty like maple syrup or ketchup. I usually prefer to dip mine in some kind of bbq sauce. Husband goes for honey mustard. Oldest daughter almost always shuns condiments. I served our tofu and mashed potatoes with a side of pintos and collard greens. Youngest daughter of course hissed at the greens and chose to eat only the beans. Can't win 'em all.
The collard greens were cooked in a pressure cooker. Saute half a diced onion and garlic (4 big cloves, minced) in a couple teaspoons of oil in the pressure cooker. Add a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. Add a big bunch of cleaned collard greens cut into strips (around 4 or 5 cups, I guess) and 2 cups of water. Cover. Bring to pressure and cook for 3 minutes. Quick release pressure and throw in a couple cans of rinsed/drained pinto beans. Heat through and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mmmmm.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Low Fat Green Gumbo

Last night's dinner was green gumbo.

Kari's Green Gumbo

1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp canola
1 large onion, diced
2 stalks celery with leaves, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound okra, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
6 cups water
4 tsp Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base
1 Tbsp Tamari
1 Tbsp Emeril's Creole Essence
Black Pepper
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 vegan sausage, quartered lengthwise and sliced**
2 baby bok choy, sliced
1 large bunch spinach, stems removed, rinsed well and drained

Brown flour in microwave about 3 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. Don't let burn. Alternatively, brown flour in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly.

Heat oil in heavy dutch oven; add onions, celery and bell pepper and saute until onions are translucent. Add garlic and saute another minute or so. Add browned flour; cook and stir a minute or so. Gradually add water, and stir to dissolve all flour. Add okra, bouillon, tamari, Emeril's seasoning, pepper, thyme, bay leaves, and sausage. Simmer 45 minutes. Add bok choy and simmer 20 minutes. Stir in spinach and simmer 10 or 15 minutes more. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve over rice.

**I'm pretty sure the sausage I used was from Vegan Dad's recipe for andouille-flavored vegan sausage, but you could use a store-bought Italian sausage or whatever you have on hand. If you use a mild sausage, you might want to add a bit more spice. You could also omit the faux meat altogether. If you want your gumbo "meatier" add an extra sausage or two.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Banana Nut Muffins

Kari's Banana Nut Muffins (12 muffins)

1 cup white whole wheat flour
2/3 cup unbleached flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cinnamon

2 Tbsp flax meal
6 Tbsp water
1 1/2 cup mashed very ripe banana (4 medium)
4 oz unsweetened applesauce (1 individual serving size)
1/3 cup soy milk
1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350. Spray muffin cups with cooking spray.

In small bowl, whisk flax meal with water; set aside.

In large bowl combine flours, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, baking powder, ginger and cinnamon.

In 2 cup measuring cup or small bowl combine mashed bananas, applesauce, soy milk, vanilla, and flax meal mixture.

Stir banana mixture into flour mixture. Stir in walnuts.

Divide batter evenly between 12 muffin cups. Bake for 32 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of muffin tests clean.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Chocolate Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

This isn't the greatest picture, but these muffins are #1 with my kids. This is my healthier version of a recipe I found online that calls for white flour, more sugar, oil, egg, and a cup of chocolate chips. I make these quite often.

Kari's Chocolate Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

1 c. white whole wheat flour
1/2 c. unbleached flour
3/4 c. sugar (I usually use turbinado)
1/4 c. cocoa
2 Tbsp wheatgerm
2 Tbsp flax meal
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/3 cup mashed very ripe bananas
1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce (4-ounce individual container)
1 egg substitute
1/2 to 3/4 c. chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Spray nonstick (regular sized) muffin cups with cooking spray.

In mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients. In small bowl, combine bananas, applesauce, and egg substitute. Add banana mixture to dry mixture and stir until moistened. Fold in chocolate chips. Divide batter equally among muffin cups. Bake for 25 minutes.

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Simple Cabbage, Potato, and Butter Bean Soup

I love cabbage in soup. I had a chunk of cabbage begging to be used, so deciding how to use it wasn't too difficult. Here's what I came up with.

Kari's Simple Cabbage, Potato, and Butter Bean Soup

1 medium onion, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 or 4 cups chopped cabbage
7 cups water
3 or 4 tsp Better Than Bouillon vegetable base
a few twists of fresh ground black pepper
a big pinch of dried basil
4 medium potatoes, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 can butter beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup frozen peas

In a nonstick soup pot, saute onion, celery, and carrot in a little water until soft. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add water and bouillon, pepper, and basil. Bring to a boil. Add cabbage. Reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer 30 minutes. Add potatoes and simmer 15 minutes. Add butter beans and simmer a few minutes more. Stir peas in at end to heat through.

Serve with crusty bread...or Fritos. Use 'em like croutons. Mmmmmm.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Kari's Tzimmes

Tzimmes is a Jewish dish typically featuring carrots, fruit, and usually honey. There are many variations. This one uses brown rice syrup instead of honey.

4 or 5 sweet potatoes, peeled, cut in chunks (6 cups)
4 carrots, peeled, cut in chunks (2 cups)
1 cup pitted prunes, chopped
1/2 tsp cinnamon
salt and pepper
1 Tbsp melted Blue Bonnet Light margarine or other margarine (optional)
1/3 cup brown rice syrup
2 Tbsp orange juice concentrate
1 Tbsp water
2 Granny Smith apples (or other), peeled and sliced

Cook sweet potatoes and carrots separately until tender. Carrots usually take longer to cook. Drain, combine, and mash together. Mix in prunes, cinnamon, salt, and pepper.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together brown rice syrup, orange juice concentrate, water, and melted margarine.

Spray a 2-qt or 2 1/2-qt casserole with cooking spray. Layer the sweet potato mixture and the apples, drizzling the syrup mixture over each layer. Begin and end with sweet potato layer.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or an hour. Longer baking gives more caramelized edges. This is a great make-ahead dish for the holidays.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Sometimes ya just gotta have a taco. I made these one day last week. The filling includes potatoes. I topped mine with iceburg lettuce, tomato, avocado with lime juice, and Tabasco chipotle sauce. I served these with leftover Puerto Rican Rice. Here's the recipe for the filling. Easy pleasy.

Kari's Taco Filling with Potatoes

2 potatoes, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced thin (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup water
1/2 onion, diced
1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
2 cups MorningStar Grillers crumbles
1/2 Tbsp Emeril's Southwest Seasoning*
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Couple twists fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup water

Put potatoes in a bowl with 1/4 cup water, cover and microwave 2 minutes.
Spray nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Add onion and bell pepper and saute over medium heat until onions start to brown on edges. Drain potatoes and add to the skillet. Cook a few minutes until potatoes start to brown. Add Griller crumbles and spices. Cook and stir for a few minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup water. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes.
Serve in corn or flour tortillas with favorite toppings.
Fills about 8 tacos.
*I like to mix my own seasoning so I can add less salt. The link will take you to recipes for three of Emeril's spice blends, if you don't already have them. I use the Creole blend along with extra garlic powder on oven fries. Mmmmmm.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Damn, it's quiet in here

We need a little noise. Feel free to sing along.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Puerto Rican Rice

I've been making variations of this recipe for thirty years. Did I say thirty years? Wow. That's a long time. I'm often asked to bring this to family get-togethers. There are many versions of Puerto Rican rice. They usually contain green olives and sofrito (a blend that includes onion, garlic and green pepper). Many versions contain pork. Before I quit eating meat, I would add 4 vienna sausage cut in half moons. This version is meatless, but you could add a vegan sausage or other faux meat if you wanted to. You would add it when you add the onion.

Kari's Puerto Rican Rice (low-fat vegan version)

2 tsp oil
1 cup long-grain white rice
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup green olives, sliced (about 12 olives)
2 cloves garlic, minced (You can substitute with garlic powder. Add with other spices.)
1 Tbsp parsley flakes (approx)
1 tsp cumin
pinch or two crushed red chili flakes (more, if you want it spicy)
pinch or two Mexican oregano
salt and pepper, to taste*
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
2 cups water, scant (You don't want this to come out soupy, so go shy of 2 cups water, probably closer to 1 3/4)
1 tsp Better Than Bouillon No Chicken flavor (optional)
1 can pinto beans (or kidney beans), rinsed and drained

In a large nonstick skillet with tight-fitting lid, heat oil and add rice. Saute over medium-high until rice turns opaque and starts to brown. Be careful not to burn. Add onion, bell pepper, and green olives. Saute, stirring occasionally, a few minutes until veggies soften. Add garlic and saute, stirring frequently until veggies are translucent and starting to brown.. Some crispy edges are nice. Add parsley flakes and spices. Cook and stir a minute to toast spices. Carefully add tomato sauce (It will splatter!). Cook and stir a minute or so. It will thicken a bit and darken. Add water and bouillon, and stir together. Add drained beans. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 20 minutes. Do not remove lid before time is up. After 20 minutes, stir. If rice is still a bit soupy, return lid and cook a few more minutes. When liquid is absorbed, turn off heat. Let rice rest with lid on for 5 or 10 minutes before fluffing and serving.

*Salt amount will vary depending on whether you use bouillon and no-salt tomato sauce.

This reheats well in the microwave. Or you can eat it cold straight out of the fridge like my brother.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Vegetable Barley Soup & Spiral Rolls

This was dinner one night last week.
The soup contained onion, celery, carrot, red bell pepper, portobello mushrooms, a splash of mirin, homemade vegetable stock, water and Better Than Bouillon No Beef flavor paste, fresh thyme, barley, and peas.
I made the rolls with (reduced fat) foccacia dough made in the bread machine. I patted/rolled it into a rectangle and then brushed it with a mixture of melted margarine, garlic powder, and a bit of dried oregano. Then I rolled it up like a jelly roll, pinched the seam, and cut into twelve pieces which I then placed in a muffin pan to rise and bake. I was surprised at how nice they turned out.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Julie's Rice Pudding

I made Julie Hasson's Creamy Rice Pudding the other day, substituting vanilla rice milk for the hemp milk. I like to eat it with cinnamon and a splash of Silk Creamer. Thanks, Julie! I love rice pudding.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Birthday Cake

Yesterday was the husband's birthday, so I baked him this layer cake--basic chocolate (double recipe) with rich chocolate ganache filling, peanut buttercream frosting, and more ganache drizzled over top. All recipes were from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. Yum. Yum.

Husband ate two huge chunks.

Are my pictures too small?

Daily Bread

I make this bread quite often. It's good for sandwiches and toast. White whole wheat flour makes for a milder tasting bread.

Kari's Buttermilk Bread (for bread machine)

1 cup soy milk
1 1/2 tsp white (or cider) vinegar
2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
2 Tbsp honey or maple syrup (or sugar or other sweetener of choice)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (I use King Arthur brand.)
1 1/2 cups bread flour
4 tsp vital wheat gluten
2 tsp instant yeast

Add vinegar to soy milk in measuring cup. If cold, warm 30 seconds in microwave. Put ingredients in your bread machine according to manufacturer's instructions. Set for 1 1/2-pound loaf, medium crust, white bread. After machine is kneading a while, check to make sure all the flour is incorporated into a ball and not stuck to sides of pan. If too dry, add water a teaspoon at a time. If too wet, add flour a teaspoon at a time.

Saturday, October 4, 2008