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Black Bean and Sweet Corn Quinoa Salad

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Last week, I shared the Fudge Babies recipe, divulging how late I was in jumping on the raw dessert train.  Well, raw desserts aren’t the only thing I was incredibly slow to catch on to.  Until this week, I also had not tried quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), despite seeing it on nearly every blog I frequent!  I’ve been saving recipes for years, finally bought some over a month ago, and finally, finally, made something with it this week.

Quinoa is gluten-free and while it’s not a grain (it’s a seed), it is often used in place of rice and is cooked the same way.  Although I’ve now enjoyed it, I still can’t tell you if I like quinoa or not, because I couldn’t identify its flavor apart from everything else in this salad.  The salad itself was stupendous, so I guess if I didn’t like quinoa, I wouldn’t have liked the salad as much.

It has a pleasant Mexican flavor profile, and while carbohydrate-heavy, it is also fiber and protein-rich.  It is so delicious that I am a bit ashamed to admit I couldn’t even wait to sit down and eat it from a bowl like a civilized human being.  As soon as it was done, I took a taste and then stood over the pan, shoveling it into my mouth with the ginormous serving spoon.  In my defense, I was stressed, approaching a certain time of month, very hungry, and found this salad to be irresistible.  The perfect storm of coincidences to bring out the barbarian in me.

Black Bean and Sweet Corn Quinoa Salad

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1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup frozen sweet yellow corn
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

In a medium pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When shimmering and hot, add the onions and saute for 4-5 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and stir for a minute or two until the garlic is fragrant, being careful not to burn the garlic.  Add the quinoa and cover with broth. Stir in cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes (or until all the liquid is absorbed).  Stir in the frozen corn and black beans. Cover and let the pot sit off the heat until the corn and beans are heated through, about 5-6 minutes. Stir in the cilantro. Serve warm or chilled – it is delicious both ways!

Serves 4 as a main dish, serves 6-8 as a side

Per serving (1/4 of recipe): 417 calories; 7 g fat; 72 g carbohydrates; 17 g fiber; 20 g protein; 10 Points Plus

Recipe source: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

Fudge Babies

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I’ve been seeing raw desserts around the blogosphere for a while now and am kind of late in joining in on this remarkable food trend.  I finally made the first raw dessert recipe I ever saved after I started seeing it in varied forms on other blogs.  And I was blown. away.  I’ve made other raw desserts since, and these are still my favorite.

These things are called Cocoa Nibbles on the blog I nabbed them from, but I think Katie’s name for them, Fudge Babies (same ingredients, slightly different recipe), is much more apt.  Because they really do have the consistency of fudge!  And they’re healthy.  Gluten-free.  Fruit-sweetened with no added sugars.  Vegan.  Simple.  Easy.  Perfect for a summer treat because there’s no cooking involved, and they’re served cold.  And did I already say they’re amazing?

Fudge Babies

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½ cup raw cashews (or any other nut you love)
1 ¼ cups Medjool dates, chopped
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
Optional add ins: vanilla, 6 leaves mint, chopped; ¼ – ½ tsp chili flakes; 1 tbsp chopped candied ginger; 1 tbsp raw cocoa nibs; 2 tsp freshly grated orange rind; ½ tsp cinnamon, or play with other spices of your choice

In a food processor, process the nuts, dates and cocoa until you have what looks like a fine meal. Sprinkle with optional add-ins, if using, and continue to process until the mixture comes together as a ball that rolls around the edge of the processor bowl.  The “dough” is ready when, if you pinch some and press it between your fingers, it sticks together readily and looks a bit shiny. (If you are using regular dates, the mixture might be too dry to produce this type of dough, in which case you can sprinkle up to 2 teaspoons water and proceed as above).

Pull off pieces of dough and roll into truffle-like balls, placing on a plate.   Go ahead and eat one while they’re room temperature and give a little sigh of pleasure.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate  at least two hours or overnight.  They are much better cold, as they firm up considerably and will attain the texture of a dense fudge.

Makes 16 fudge babies

Per fudge baby: 61 calories; 2 g fat; 12 g carbohydrates; 1.3 g fiber; 1 g protein; 2 Points Plus

Recipe source: slightly tweaked from The Copycat Cook, while the name came from Chocolate-Covered Katie, who uses a similar recipe.

Wacky Cake {Vegan}

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Wacky Cake (also called Crazy Cake), so named because it uses vinegar and no eggs, is perhaps the first cake I ever baked, and the only recipe my Mom really passed on to me.  The first time she told me about it I was a little girl, and she fondly recalled baking it when she was a little girl at a time when I was lamenting the lack of eggs in the house.  I immediately asked if she still had the recipe, because anything that had chocolate in it and had such a cool name had to be good.  I was the designated family baker even at the age of nine, and I baked up this cake that night, much to my family’s delight.

It became popular during the depression, when eggs and butter were rationed and hard to come by, and many of us continue to enjoy it today because it is economical, delicious, and easy to make!  I’ve made this cake many times over the years, including as the base for my vegan Mounds Cake, and was just about to use it as the base in another recipe when I realized I should probably give it a post of it’s own so I can link to it each time I post a recipe that uses it, rather than typing it out each time.

Many recipes for Wacky Cake make an 8×8″ pan, but this one will give you a 9×13 pan (or two 9″ round layers) full of chocolatey goodness.  I’m also going to include a yummy vegan frosting recipe that goes really good on this cake.  The cake is great just with a dusting of powdered sugar (I really like to eat it a little warm like this), but the shiny chocolate icing really puts it over the top.  Enjoy!

Wacky Cake

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3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup cocoa powder*
¾ cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 cups cold water

*I use Dutch process cocoa powder because it makes a darker cake with more intense chocolate flavor, but you can use any kind you wish.  Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder is available in most supermarkets, which works well here.

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray and set aside. Sift all dry ingredients together into a large bowl.

Make three wells and put the oil in one, the vanilla in another and the vinegar in the last. Is this really necessary?  I don’t know, I’ve never disobeyed the recipe.  I like to think of it as keeping history alive.  Our foremothers made Wacky Cake this way, so who am I to change it now?

Pour water over it all and mix until well blended.  Look at all the bubbles as the vinegar interacts with the baking soda! This is the kind of science I can get behind.

Pour into prepared pan and bake 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool completely on a wire rack.  Frost or sprinkle with powdered sugar to serve.  I love how dark it gets while baking–the magic of Dutch process cocoa!

You wouldn’t believe how moist and delicious a vegan cake can be!  This is one of my hubby’s faves.

Now let’s frost Dennis’ piece…

Shiny Chocolate Icing

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1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ cup cocoa*
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup water or nondairy milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix sugars, cornstarch, salt, and cocoa in a medium sauce pan. Whisk in the coconut milk. Stirring constantly, heat over medium until it gets thick and starts to boil. Continue stirring and boil for 1-2 minutes or until very thick. Remove from heat and stir in oil and vanilla.  Allow to cool to room temperature, then spread over the top of your cooled cake.

*Again, I used Dutch processed cocoa, but regular is fine.

Recipe source: I apologize to the originator of this recipe! I did not copy the source and since I changed it, I couldn’t locate it by entering the recipe words into Google.  The original was very similar but called for water instead of milk.  Both work great but I like using coconut milk.

Usually it’s a little thicker like real frosting, but I made this one a little thinner like a glaze, plus I put it on a slightly warm cake which made it run a little more.

BSI: Cream Cheese Roundup and Winner

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I had some wonderful submissions to this week’s BSI contest. Get ready to drool!

Green Chile Pepper & Cream Cheese Burger from Debbi Does Dinner Healthy.

Pomegranate Margarita Cupcakes from Food 4 Thought

Double Chocolate Cheesecake from Cupcake Muffin

Irish Cream Cheesecake from it’s a Greyt Vegan Life

Spiced Carrot Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting from My Bizzy Kitchen

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German Chocolate Cheesecake from Nutmeg Nanny

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Strawberries and Rosewater Mousse from Anasbageri~Ana’s Bakery (her blog is in Portugese, which I translated with Google’s language tools)

You guys made it hard for me!  I didn’t have as many recipes to choose from as last time, but those that were submitted were so good that I didn’t know how I was going to pick a winner.  To figure it out, I ended up discussing the merits of each recipe with my husband during our nightly walk with the dog, and after all was said and done, we both agreed that Christina’s vegan Irish Cream Cheesecake impressed us most.  Not only the concept, but that even the star ingredient was homemade as well.  It pretty much rocks our faces off, and we haven’t even tasted it  yet!  So congrats Christina, I will be sending you some vegan homemade soap from my sister’s shop, The Flying Pig Gift Boutique.

I’m still looking for a host for this week’s BSI contest so anyone that is interested can leave me a comment or shoot an email to vraklis@yahoo.com.

Muhammara (Hot Pepper Dip)

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This spicy vegan dip originates in Syria and I didn’t discover it until my friend, Pia, introduced me to it.  It’s her favorite dip and she recommended it to me when she found out I enjoy Middle Eastern cuisine.  I knew it was right up our alley simply because it’s spicy, and since I’d seen some of the pomegranate syrup the recipe calls for at a market attached to our favorite Lebanese restaurant, I snapped a bottle up next time we were there and set out to make this dip.

It is great simply as a dip, but I’m also going to include a “recipe” for a veggie wrap that I’ve incorporated it into for quick lunches.  The first time I served this to my husband, he raved, and it wasn’t until afterward that I realized he had eaten an entirely vegan meal with no complaints. Score!

Muhammara (Hot Pepper Dip)

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1 (12 oz) jar of roasted red peppers, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
1/2 cup breadcrumbs — 1/2 cup (I turned pita bread into crumbs in the food processor)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses/syrup/concentrate
1 tablespoon sriracha hot chile sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Chop the peppers roughly and place them, along with all the remaining ingredients, except the olive oil, into a food processor or blender. Pulse to roughly chop the ingredients, then slowly pulse in the olive oil. Try not to purée the ingredients too much. You want the dip to have a little texture.  Adjust seasoning to taste and serve as a dip or spread with pita wedges, vegetables or kebabs.

*Veronica’s notes: the original recipe calls for four fresh red peppers which you roast before processing.  Click the recipe source link below for instructions on this if you would like to do it this way.  The original recipe also calls for red pepper flakes instead of sriracha, so that can be used in place of sriracha if you desire.  As for the pomegranate syrup, my bottle is actually a pomegranate juice concentrate and I know that Pom is now selling this so you might be able to find it where Pom brand pomegranate juice is sold if you don’t have a market that sells ethnic foods in your area.

Recipe source: Inato lang Filipino Cuisine and More


Muhammara Veggie Wrap

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You will need:

  • Muhammara
  • Black beans
  • Parsley
  • Fresh baby spinach
  • Shredded carrots
  • Tortilla, flat bread, or pita bread*

Spread muhammara down the center of your tortilla or bread, then sprinkle on some beans, a little parsley, a handful of spinach and shredded carrots.  Wrap tightly and cut in half to serve.

*I used a pita “tortilla” for my wrap bread:

Recipe source: inspired by My Kitchen Adventures

***For those who wish to participate in BSI this week, don’t forget to submit your cream cheese recipes to me by Sunday night!  Details here.***

Restaurant-Style Tabouli

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Hummus and tabouli are my favorite sides to serve with Lebanese fare.  Not only are they simple to make, but crazy delicious!  My Mom’s tabouli consists predominantly of bulgar wheat, and most recipes I’ve found are the same, but I noticed when I ordered it at restaurants, it was mostly parsley with a tiny bit of bulgar in it.  Not only is this lower in calories (bonus!), but I actually prefer the taste.    The parsley and lemon make for a very refreshing salad!  Here’s my version of restaurant-style tabouli.

Restaurant-Style Tabouli

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3 bunches parsley, chopped
1/3 cup chopped onion
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup fine bulgar wheat
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, cover, and let sit overnight before serving.  There is no need to cook the bulgar, as it will absorb moisture from the salad and become tender in a few hours.

Makes 6 servings. Per serving: 76 calories; 3 g fat; 12 g carbohydrates; 3.5 g fiber; 3 g protein

Recipe by Veronica Miller

I used red onions in the first picture, and white onions in this one. You can also use green onions, if you prefer.

On a personal note: I’m leaving to visit friends in Texas so this is the last recipe I’ll be posting for a while.  I know I’m not a regular poster anyway, so you guys won’t even miss me!  Nevertheless, I will return later next week with some sweets & savories for you. You’re in for a few treats! :)

Vegan White Chocolate

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I have a confession to make.  I didn’t use vegan white chocolate on my Cinnabon Caramel Corn, despite my recipe calling for it.  It was my practice batch and since I was making it with things I had on hand, I used regular white baking chips.  I assumed finding vegan white chocolate would be simple and I could go out and buy it when it was time to make the real batch to ship to the winner.  Well, a friend of mine asked me where I got my vegan white chocolate because she had not been able to find any in Wichita so I called all the health food stores and none of them sold it.  I was shocked!  Apparently this stuff is harder to find than I assumed.

To remedy the situation and make sure I had some vegan white chocolate on hand when I needed it for the 100% vegan batch of Cinnabon Caramel Corn next week, I set out to make it from scratch.  And I’m happy to report that it is a smashing success.  Yowza, this stuff is good!  The cost of the coca butter makes it a little pricey, but when you need some vegan white chocolate, you need some vegan white chocolate, and we’re not going to let a $8 jar of cocoa butter hold us back, now are we?


Vegan White Chocolate

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1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 teaspoons soy milk powder (I used raw coconut flour with good results)
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 1/4 ounces food grade cocoa butter
1 vanilla bean (optional)

Measure the powdered sugar, soy milk powder, and salt into a sifter and sift into a bowl; set aside. Measure the cocoa butter into a large microwave-safe bowl and microwave for one minute; stir. Continue microwaving in 30-second intervals, stirring very well in between, until the cocoa butter is melted. If using the vanilla bean, scrape the seeds from the pod and whisk into the melted cocoa butter. Next, quickly whisk the dry ingredients into the cocoa butter until completely smooth. Pour into a chocolate mold (I used an 8-ounce candy bar mold).  If you don’t have a mold, paper cups or silicon bakeware will do in a pinch.  Gently tap the mold on the counter top a few times to release any excess air bubbles.  Allow to sit at room temperature for half an hour before placing in refrigerator to fully harden.  Pop the chocolate out of the mold and enjoy.  Store any leftovers (yeah, right!) in an airtight container.

Veronica’s notes: I read many first-hand reports of vanilla extract causing homemade white chocolate to curdle and become a vile consistency, so I chose to play it safe with vanilla bean seeds instead.  If you would like to try using extract or vanilla bean paste, consider yourself warned.  And please let me know if you try it and have success! UPDATE: I have now tried adding vanilla extract and have confirmed that it does indeed ruin the texture. Please do not try it.

Makes 8 ounces.

Recipe source: barely tweaked from It’s a Greyt Vegan Life

Vegan Cinnabon Caramel Corn

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Katie from one of my favorite vegan blogs, Chocolate Covered Katie, announced today that she is going to host an online bake sale to raise money for disaster relief in Japan.  She grew up in Japan so this cause is near and dear to her heart.  I imagine we have all been touched by the disaster in one way or another, and I’m no exception.  I have a good friend that lives in Japan, and also have a co-worker whose family lives there, and while all of them came  out OK, my heart goes out to those who are suffering from loss and devastation because I know how easily it could have affected someone that I loved.

I had so much fun participating in Stephanie’s bake sale for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, so I immediately started brainstorming about what I could donate to Katie’s.  I only have two vegan dessert recipes on my blog (Mounds Cake and Black Rice Pudding), and neither would travel very well, so I opted to make something else that would.  Caramel corn!  I took my favorite  Cinnabon Caramel Corn and turned it vegan and I have to say, it’s scrumptious!  I will be offering a full gallon-sized bag of it for Katie’s bake sale on April 5th.  I will give another announcement the day of the bake sale so you can stop by to bid or see if there’s anything else there you’d like to bid on and help raise money for Japan.  If you’d like to donate a vegan baked good, click here to check out the details.

Vegan Cinnabon Caramel Corn

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½ cup popcorn kernels or about 12 cups popped corn
½ cup roughly chopped pecans
½ cup roughly chopped walnuts
½ cup Earth Balance
1 cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup light agave nectar or light corn syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 ounces vegan white chocolate, roughly chopped*
1 tablespoon coconut oil

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.  Use an air popper to pop corn into a large bowl.  Fish out any unpopped kernels, then sprinkle the nuts over the top and set aside. In a large saucepan, melt the Earth Balance over medium heat; stir in the brown sugar, agave nectar, cinnamon & salt. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly (I increase heat to medium-high to achieve this faster, then reduce heat back to medium once it’s boiling), then allow to boil for 4 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat and stir in soda and vanilla (mixture will bubble up and become foamy). Pour over the popcorn and stir well to coat. Spread out on a large rimmed baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for half an hour, stirring halfway through baking time. Remove from oven and scatter onto waxed paper-lined cookie sheets. Place white chocolate and coconut oil in microwave safe bowl and heat for 30 seconds; stir. Heat in 15-second intervals, stirring in between, until smooth. This should only take 1-2 times. Using a spoon, drizzle chocolate over the popcorn and put in refrigerator for ten minutes or until chocolate is firm.  Break into pieces and store in an airtight container or Ziploc bags.

*If you can’t find some sort of dairy-free, vegan white “chocolate” in your area, it is available for purchase online or you can make your own.  I used this recipe.  If you use homemade vegan white chocolate, do not melt it (it becomes too liquid and won’t coat the pieces very well).  Instead, chop fine and once the caramel corn is spread on waxed paper lined cookie sheets, scatter it over the top so that the heat from the caramel corn will melt it.  Place the sheets in the refrigerator as soon as the chocolate is on top to keep it from melting too fast or it will drain to the bottom instead of staying on top.

Recipe source: adapted from Our Best Bites


Masoor Dal with Cauliflower and Kale

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Before we get to some major Indian yumminess, I wanted to mention two things.  First, you may notice things look a bit different around here.  I changed my theme and I like it but I’m not sure it’s “the one.”   I think the header is very plain…but I’m cheap and I don’t want to pay to get fancy so this is probably as good as it gets. :) Let me know what you think!

Second, I think I caused some confusion with my post on the cake decorating competition at work.  I’m not sure how many of you saw that, but I wanted to clarify that the date on it is correct.  I wrote it two years ago on my MySpace blog, and newly copied it to Recipe Rhapsody so that I could link to it in reference to how to make a tiered cake in an upcoming post.  I posted it with the original date I wrote it, so I didn’t think any one would see it, but I started getting some comments on it so apparently it came across some of your radars!  Just wanted to clarify that it’s now old news, but I appreciate your kind words and congratulations.

Red Lentils

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Although I still have a large backlog of recipes to post, the weather is heating up again and it looks like the casseroles, soups, and pumpkin recipes will probably have to wait until next year, so I thought I’d gush (or perhaps rhapsodize would be a more appropriate word for this blog!) about the lunch I made today instead.  I’m on a mission to spring-clean my wreck of a house into sparkling submission, and I started eying the red lentils I’d purchased at a Lebanese market over a month ago while I was organizing the kitchen.

I decided I was (finally) going to make something with them, but by the time I took a break to cook,  I was starving and didn’t want to bother with looking up any recipes.  I needed a quick meal and I threw this one together in just over half an hour, so it would be great for a busy day.  While I’m usually not a good enough cook to come up with anything edible without using a recipe, I think I knocked this one out of the park, if I do say so myself!  Becoming familiar with the cuisine by cooking several Indian dishes over the last few months helped a lot.

I made a masoor dal (a thick stew made of red lentils) that is almost vegan, and could certainly be turned so by using vegetable stock in place of the water and chicken bullion.  It is spicy in the full sense of the word–with plenty of Indian aromatics and and a moderate heat index, though you can certainly reduce or increase the spiciness to your tastes.

I’m usually not a fan of lentils, but I liked this more than any lentil dish I’ve made before.  I’m not sure if red lentils have a better flavor (which I do suspect, because I detected none of the usual musky lentil flavor in this dish), or if the spices just overwhelmed it.  The tender cauliflower pieces were a perfect accompaniment, but I don’t think the kale is absolutely necessary.  I couldn’t really detect any of its flavor, and it got kind of dull & ugly during the cooking process, but I don’t think it hurts to have all that extra nutrition!  Kale has powerful  antioxidant properties and is considered an anti-inflammatory so if you have it on hand, throw it in!  If not, don’t sweat it.  The only thing I didn’t have that I really felt it needed was a little cilantro to sprinkle over the top.  I had to make do with some dried parsley.  Bummer!

I served mine with whole wheat couscous since I was in a hurry to eat (it only takes 5 minutes to make), but you can serve it with rice or bulgar or even pasta.  Whatever floats your boat!

Masoor Dal with Cauliflower and Kale

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2 cups water
2 chicken bullion cubes
1 cup red lentils
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon sriracha hot chile sauce, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 head cauliflower, separated into florets
2 cups loosely packed kale
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Fresh cilantro, for garnish

In a large 3-quart saucepan, combine water, bullion, lentils, onions, and garlic; cover and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium and cook for ten minutes.  Stir in the tomato sauce, garam masala, curry powder, sriracha, and cumin.  Add the cauliflower and kale, stir & cover.  Cook for 20 more minutes, stirring often to make sure the dal isn’t sticking, or until the lentils are tender.  Stir in the olive oil during the last five minutes of cooking and serve with a sprinkle of cilantro over rice or couscous.

Serves 4

Per serving: 231 calories; 8 g fat; 40 g carbohydrates; 15 g fiber; 13 g protein

Hummus and Baked Flour Tortilla Chips


Somehow, over time, hummus has become my favorite food.  The food I think I could live on if I had to choose just one.  I eat it almost every day, sometimes with pita chips, sometimes with baby carrots, and sometimes with homemade whole wheat tortilla chips. I often replace whole meals with it!

Hummus is essentially a white bean dip that originates in the Middle East and usually contains chick peas (garbanzo beans), tahini (sesame seed paste), lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, and cumin.  Most basic recipes contain all these and the only difference seems to be the amount used and the preparation methods.

I’m going to share my own recipe for hummus with you, one that is not only approved by me (a lover of all hummus), but by my husband, who used to detest hummus.  I tried countless times to get him to like it, making him sample it every time I ordered it at a restaurant or bought some from the store, but he never enjoyed it until I started making it at home.  I had almost given up hope and it does me good to have converted him, because now that we’re both eating it, it doesn’t hang around as long, tempting me to eat it all in one sitting.

You can always add less or more of any of the ingredients to make it to your own tastes, and there’s no reason you can’t have some fun and make variations on this basic recipe.  I’ve made it into a sauce by adding yogurt, and I’ve also added pesto for a sandwich spread, inspired by Debbi’s recipe.  My foodie twin, Melissa (so called because we have often cooked up the same thing in our kitchens over a thousand miles apart without realizing what the other is up to), likes to mix balsamic vinaigrette with hummus for a salad dressing and I can’t wait to try it that way.  My blogger buddy, Biz, has made a beautiful beet hummus, and of course there’s always classic variations like roasted garlic & red pepper.  Let your imagination run wild!

Hummus

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2 (15.5 oz) cans chickpeas, drained and water reserved
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
salt to taste

Toast the cumin by placing it in a microwave-safe dish and microwave for one minute or until fragrant. Combine all ingredients in food processor with 1/2 cup of the reserved water and turn on. While it is running, slowly add more reserved water (I use another 1/2 cup or more) through the feeding tube, stopping to scrape down the sides, until the hummus is your desired consistency. Continue processing until smooth. Taste and add salt if desired. I like to sprinkle mine with paprika and drizzle with olive oil for a pretty presentation, and you can also use sesame seeds and additional garbanzo beans on top. Serve with pita chips, baked flour tortilla chips (recipe follows), or baby carrots. Refrigerate leftovers in a covered container.

To make your own baked tortilla chips, cut wheat tortillas (I like whole wheat, or use corn if you’re making them for another dip, like salsa) into desired shapes and put in an even layer on a baking sheet lined with foil and sprayed with cooking oil. Spray the tortillas with oil and sprinkle on some salt. Bake at 350 until edges are starting to brown, about 5 minutes depending on size of chips, turn them and bake for a few more minutes until browned. Chips will crisp upon cooling. Store leftovers in a Ziploc bag or airtight container.

Per serving (based on 16 servings and calculated without chips or carrots): 115 calories; 6.5 g fat; 11.5 g carb; 3.8 g protein

Recipes by Veronica Miller

This recipe is linked with The Balance Broad for BSI: Cumin.

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