Cooking Beans

It has astounded me how many vegetarians I have talked to of late who mentioned they don’t make/don’t know how to make their own beans. From scratch.

I too used to be in the canned bean buying club. With my budget concious ways making my own beans was just a matter of time. At first I found it frustrating and confusing between the soaking and the rinsing and the simmering. And I always seemed to have too many or not enough when I was done making a batch.

Cooking Dried Beans

Then I learned you can freeze them after cooking. Freeze.them. What?!

World turned upside down.

Cooking Dried Beans

Now this is the only way I make beans. I keep all sorts of dried beans on hand at all times because I buy them in bulk from my co op. A pantry full. Many of them from the local valley too. I’m a lucky girl. Also I tend to keep at least 3-4 different containers full of different kinds of cooked beans in my freezer.

Cooking Dried Beans

Pretty much a kitchen full of beans. Not really but you get the idea. But seriously since I learned that you can make and freeze beans I haven’t bought a single can from the store. Mostly because I can’t bring myself to buy a can of beans when I know I have so many at home. Sure if I have to make a batch from dried its going to take an hour and half ish or if I need to thaw them it will take a while but I am more than happy to go this route.

Or I’m neurotic and just love making everything from scratch.

Anyways. It’s easy. It’s cheaper. You should do it. Join me.

Cooking Dried Beans

One year ago today: Orange poppyseed scones

Cooking Dried Beans (makes as much as you want)
Mine (ish)

Dried beans
Water

It is not necessary to pre-soak most beans but you can if you want. Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) must be soaked overnight however.

Place your beans in a large pot, pick them over for any rocks and broken beans. Rinse a couple of times in cold water to get off any residual dirt. Drain the dirty water. Cover the beans with 2-3 inches of water and place over medium high heat. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Set a timer for one hour. Once the timer goes off taste test at least five beans from the pot (try to get them for different places) to see if they are done. Continue checking in 10 minute increments till they are perfect. Drain and allow to cool slightly. Use immediately or cover with fresh water, cover, and freeze till you want to use them. Enjoy!

Cooking Dried Beans

Fresh Spinach Pasta

Sometimes I do things in what feels like a cheater way.

Homemade pasta has been finicky. Sometimes it comes out right, sometimes it frustrates the living daylights out of me.  I truly love it but I often find it daunting because. Cracking eggs into a pile of flour on my counter stresses.me.out. A lot.

Homemade Fresh Spinach Pasta

And yes I have had my beautifully crafted well break and have egg spill all over my counter. I don’t do messes. Much less egg and flour messes on my counter.

But I wanted spinach pasta. I just had no idea how to get there without making an even bigger mess. So I avoided it for far too long.

Homemade Fresh Spinach Pasta

That is till I learned you can make (and should!) make spinach pasta in your food processor. Throw ingredients in bowl, whir, dump on counter, kneed, done. Totally makes me feel like a cheater cheater.

I love it.

Our little family cannot put away an entire batch of homemade pasta in one sitting though. We have dried pasta before and it has been quite successful but it’s just… Augh. It’s a thing. And pasta hangs out on your counter for what feels like forever. And it breaks SO easy.

Homemade Fresh Spinach Pasta

The solution? Freeze it! I take the pasta after running it through the cutting roller, toss it with flour, and then put it in single serving piles on a baking sheet. Once frozen I toss them in a ziplock bag. When we want fresh pasta it is just as easy as grabbing a pile/nest per person and tossing them in boiling water. Where has this trick been my entire life?

So I’m a convert. Next time I make regular pasta I’m going to try the food processor too. And freeze it. Because we rock like that.

Homemade Fresh Spinach Pasta

One year ago today: Homemade Black Bean and Spinach Enchiladas

Fresh Spinach Pasta (makes a bit more than a pound)
From Food Network/ Emeril Lagasse 

5 ounces fresh spinach, blanched and squeezed dry
1 pound all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
6 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, salt and blanched spinach. Process to mix well. With the machine running, add the eggs, egg yolks, and olive oil through the feed tube, and process until it resembles wet cornmeal, about 2 minutes.

Dump the dough on to the counter and kneed till elastic and cohesive (about 5 minutes). Let rest covered in plastic wrap for at least 30 minutes. Roll out each dough ball into desired shape in a pasta machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta until just al dente, about 2 minutes. Drain in a colander and serve with desired sauce.

(This particular batch was cut into small sheets for cannelloni)

IMG_2063Homemade Fresh Spinach Pasta

Mini Meatloaf and Red Duck Ketchup

We chit chatted earlier this week about Red Duck Ketchup. How delicious it was and how perfect it is on corn dogs. Remember? And I promised there would be one lucky winner of a ketchup gift pack?

Well Emily Shack you are the lucky winner! I’ll email for your address so we can send tasty ketchup your way.

I do want to share one more recipe with you before we jump off this ketchup train for a while. Simple homemade meatloaf. Except I made mine in my mini muffin tin instead of in to an actual loaf. Apparently I have a thing for miniature sized foods….

Mini Meatloaf and Red Duck Ketchup

There really is a story behind this though. When my sister and I were little we wouldn’t eat meatloaf. Well we wouldn’t eat it in loaf form. However is my mom baked it in a muffin tin, slathered it with ketchup and topped it with cheese, and called them snuffleupagus meatballs we would devour them. My mom is a pretty bright woman if you ask me.

I have never tried to feed Little meatloaf in a loaf form. In fact (are you ready for this??)….. I have never made meatloaf before. Like ever. I actually had to go look up some recipes because, while I had a vague idea of what I was doing, I wasn’t completely sure what all went in it.

Mini Meatloaf and Red Duck Ketchup

And then I decided to wing it. I liked the idea of pureeing some veggies in the food processor to add to the mixture. Hiding veggies in your meals can NEVER be a bad idea. But I so trust the Pioneer Woman recipes I really wanted to make hers. Except I had no bacon (a completely separate tragedy which will be remedied shortly). That and her recipe didn’t have the veggies in it.

So I just kinda did my own thing. It turned out positively delicious. Little promptly ate two (at 9 am) as soon as they were cool enough to handle.

Mini Meatloaf and Red Duck Ketchup

I wasn’t sure how the curry ketchup would fare on the meatloaf. Please please please believe me when I tell you, if you are local, go out and buy a bottle of Red Duck curry ketchup even if it is just for meatloaf. What an incredible addition and layers of flavor. Hands down the winner.

The spicy ones were also incredibly delicious but I was simply blown away at how well the curry went with the meatloaf. It’s a thing. You should do it.

Mini Meatloaf and Red Duck Ketchup

One year ago today: Broccoli Cheese Soup

Mini Meatloaf (made 22 mini cupcakes sized)
Pieced together from many recipes

1 carrot
1 celery stalk
1/4 yellow onion peeled
1/2 cup milk
2 slices Bread
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup (heaping) grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 whole eggs, beaten
Ketchup for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour milk over the bread slices. Allow it to soak in for several minutes. Put the coarsely chopped carrot, celery and onion in the bowl of your food processor. Process till very finely chopped. Place the ground beef, milk-soaked bread, Parmesan, veggies, and black pepper in a large mixing bowl. Pour in beaten eggs.

With clean hands, mix the ingredients until well combined. Form the mixture into a little balls and place in your mini muffin pan. Place a good sized dollop of ketchup on each mini meatloaf and spread evenly.

Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until internal temp reaches 170 F. Enjoy with a side of veggies or potatoes.

Mini Meatloaf and Red Duck Ketchup

Homemade Corn Dogs and Red Duck Ketchup

Proof we are not 100% healthy eaters around here.

I am not kidding about these corn dogs. These are genuine dipped in batter fried in oil deliciousness.

Homemade Corn Dogs and a Ketchup giveaway!

Sure. Ok. Fine. It is organic non gmo masa and cornmeal. And the hot dogs are locally made from ethically raised meat. And the oil is cold press canola. BUT it is still battered and fried food. A true scarcity around here.

What prompted this? Ketchup. Wonderful local craft ketchup.

Homemade Corn Dogs and a Ketchup giveaway!

Nathan has been working with a super cool founders group and Red Duck  just happens to be part of the same group. Red Duck is a brilliant group of entrepreneurs who tired of the boring ketchup fare offered locally. They took to their kitchen to create something delicious and over 30 flavor combinations later three tasty flavors emerged- classic, curry, and spicy.

I had the privilege of tasting all the flavors at a local expo. Who knew ketchup could be so good? I feel this is the point in time where I need to admit I don’t really like ketchup. Well  I guess I should say I don’t like commercially available ketchup. This stuff? This stuff I will eat by the spoonful.

Homemade Corn Dogs and a Ketchup giveaway!

And guess what!?! You will get to too! Red Duck gifted me with two jars to taste and cook with at home (I did promise I would tell you about it) and then has offered to ship a 3 pack gift set to one lucky lucky reader.

Homemade Corn Dogs and a Ketchup giveaway!

Can we talk about this ketchup for a second? First off it is organic. Secondly it has none of the odd ingredients found in mass market ketchup such as high fructose ketchup or stabilizers. Thirdly it is local to my area. Love me some local businesses.

I highly recommend if you do win this ketchup that you make these corn dogs to go with. Seriously easy as all your are doing is mixing up a batter, dipping, then frying. The hardest part is waiting for them to cool. Dipping them in cool ketchup helps. Trust me.

Homemade Corn Dogs and a Ketchup giveaway!

How to enter this give away:

There are three ways to get an entry.

1. Leave a comment on this blog post telling me what’s your favorite thing to put ketchup on.

2. Go like Red Duck Ketchup on Facebook. Come back here and leave a separate comment telling me you did so.

3. Share this post on your Facebook. Come back here and leave a separate comment telling me you did so.

Entries close Friday, February 28th at 8 am. I will draw and and announce a winner on Friday.

Luck!

Homemade Corn Dogs and a Ketchup giveaway!

One year ago today: Brownie Cookie and Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwiches

Corn Dogs (we made them mini so it made 24)
From How to Cook With Vesna

Pack of hot dogs, the very best all-beef ones you can find
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup masa harina
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 to 1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
Bamboo skewers
2-4 cups of oil for frying

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the wet indregients (start with 1/2 cup buttermilk) and stir well. You are looking for the consistency of thick pancake batter. Skewer a hot dog and test dip in the batter. If it coats easily then you are ready to go. If it is too think then add some more buttermilk. Pour the batter into a tall cup. Pour the oil in a heavy duty pan (cast iron is best) and bring to about 375 F. A small dap of batter dropped int he oil should sizzle nicely. Skewer the hot dogs (or in our case 1/4 of the hot dog pieces) then dip in the batter. Put immediately in the pan and cook till golden then flip. Once the second side is golden remove to a paper towel to drain. Allow to cool slightly then enjoy dipped in the very best ketchup around.

(And Red Duck does have a fan in this little picky eater. The curry one specifically. Who needs corn dogs when you can just eat it with your hands!?)

Homemade Corn Dogs and a Ketchup giveaway!

 

Spanish Lentil Soup

When Little was born one of the pieces of advice about taking care of my new mama self was to eat nourishing food. And more specifically it was to eat food I personally found nourishing. To trust my body to crave what I needed and then to eat that.

In my mind nourishing food was things like casseroles and stew and this soup.

Spanish Lentil Soup

Funny thing is as a kid growing up in Spain I hated this soup. Hated it. I think it was the in thing to do amongst kids my age. I was just trying to fit in probably. Now the much older version of me loves this comfort food. The flavor is so familiar and the way it looks in the bowl is nostalgic.

This is a staple I think in almost every Spanish home. Much like tortilla it is simple every day food. The ingredients cook up fast and you can go from start to finish in just over a half an hour if you work quickly.

Spanish Lentil Soup

And the house smells so so so good. Like I said these are all comfort smells and flavors for me- the paprika in the chorizo especially.

My toddler true to form refused to eat it. He was trying to stick with the cool kids too and hate on this deliciousness. That is until I made him his own dinner and sat down with my bowlful of lentils. Then he promptly refused his dinner and demanded to eat mine. That was a win I guess? Kinda? I’ll take it. At least he tried it.

Spanish Lentil soup

We ate it for days. Delicious nourishing food.

Spanish Lentil Soup

One year ago today: Roasted Banana Ice Cream with Hard Chocolate Topping and Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake

Spanish Lentil Soup (serves at least 8)
Learned from watching many spaniards make it

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion diced
1 lb ground chorizo sausage or 1 dried spanish chorizo chopped (I recommend Palacios but at $11 for 12 oz I compromised for cheaper ground chorizo)
2-3 russet potatoes peeled and diced
3 carrots peeled and chopped
1 1/2 cup brown or green lentils
Water
Salt to taste

In a large soup pot over medium hit heat sauté the onions in the olive oil till they just start to soften. Add the chorizo. If using ground cook it all the way through breaking up as you go. If using dried cook for 3-4 minutes till it starts to release its oils and smell delicious. Add the potatoes and carrots and sauté for a minute. Cover with water then add the lentils and stir. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer for 20 minutes or until the lentils, potatoes, and carrots are all soft. Enjoy with big slices of crusty bread.

Spanish Lentil Soup

Warm Lentil and Potato Salad

Dishes like this make me feel smug.

Every so slightly posh. Just a tad on the complicated side (not really but it does use two pots AND a bowl). Incidentally vegan. Chocked full of good for you stuff.

The day I saw it I couldn’t wait to make it.

Warm Lentil and Potato Salad

Except it got bumped on our weekly menu I don’t know how many times. I had all these ingredients on hand for at least ten days before I finally forced myself to make.

Why on earth did I have to force myself to make something I was initially so excited about? Who knows. I am just as baffled as you are. Maybe it was all the dishes I knew it would dirty.

And yes in case you are putting two and two together I had ALL the ingredients on hand for ten days. Including the parsley. Did you know if you wrap things like parsley and cilantro in a paper towel and stash in a zip lock bag in the fridge they might last up to two weeks? A serious life saver for the “I really want to make this no wait I don’t” person that sometimes takes up residence in my house.

Warm Lentil and Potato Salad

It also means I now just keep cilantro on hand since it can hang out in the fridge for some time before taking a trip to funky town. Seriously. Try it. Fresh cilantro on hand at all times is a win.

And I guess parsley too because when I made this Nathan paused from shoveling long enough to request this once a week. Delicious lentils meet buttery potatoes in an ever so slightly tangy dressing.

It made for a perfect light dinner. I can see this gracing the table at a fancy summer picnic too.

And probably our dinner table again in the very new future.

Warm Lentil and Potato Salad

One year ago today: Artisan Bread

Warm Lentil and Potato Salad (serves 4 as mains)
From Smitten Kitchen

1/2 onion
4 sprigs of thyme
1 small bay leaf
1 cup dry small green lentils
1 small bay leaf
Salt and pepper
1 pound yukon gold potatoes diced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 large shallot finely diced
1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced or smashed to a paste (I use less)
1 tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard
1/4 cup of your favorite olive oil
2 tablespoons capers roughly chopped
1 to 2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

Cook the lentils: Pick over and rinse lentils. Place them in a medium saucepan with the the 1/2 onion, thyme branches, bay leaf, some salt and 4 cups of water. Simmer the lentils over medium heat for 25 to 30 minutes, until firm-tender. Drain (discarding shallot, thyme and bay leaf) and keep warm.

Cook the potatoes: In a separate saucepan, cover potatoes with 1 to 2 inches cold water. Set timer for 15 minutes, then bring potatoes to a simmer. When the timer rings, check for doneness with a fork. Cook longer if needed. Drain and keep warm.

Make the dressing: Place the chopped shallot and red wine vinegar in the bottom of a small bowl and let sit for 5 minutes. Whisk in minced garlic, dijon, a pinch of salt, a few grinds of black pepper and olive oil. Stir in chopped capers and scallions.

Assemble salad: Place the potatoes, lentils, dressing and all but 1 tablespoon parsley in a large bowl and combine gently. Adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper if needed. Scatter salad with remaining parsley.

Warm Lentil and Potato Salad

Spaghetti Squash and Kale Gratin

Spaghetti squash and I have not been on the best of terms. Mostly I want to to like it. Mostly it disappoints me. Alot. Like the bad boyfriend you just KNOW is going to change but no… nope… same story.

I was bemoaning this to my brother in law as I was roasting the squash for this recipe and he agreed. In fact unprompted he mentioned that for him it seems like you can never get it quite cooked enough and is crunchy. E.X.A.C.T.L.Y. my issue. Does this happen to anyone else?

However, kale. Kale let me count the ways I love you. I love it in my juice, in a pot pie, sauteed with simply with olive oil and garlic then piled high with homemade mac and cheese. Kale was our bumper crop this past year in our garden. In fact it is still growing. After a week of snow and countless frosts the hardly buggers are still hanging on. Yum.

Spaghetti Squash and Kale Gratin

So why did I tackle a new recipe with spaghetti squash when I don’t like it? I was given two huge spaghetti squash and I hate wasting food. When I stumbled on this recipe I though it might, just might, be ok.

It is more than ok. It is lets make this twice in one week good. It is a we fought over leftovers good. Sure you could serve this as a side dish to chicken or steak but it also makes a lovely stand alone vegetarian dinner.

The other winning fact is this recipe is so forgiving. The second time I made it I eyeballed everything. I just threw things in bowls, sautéed estimations in a pan, and threw it in these cute individual dishes. It tasted just as good as the first time when I payed more attention to measurements.

Bravely I made this into two 8×8 pans and gave one to a mama friend of mine who recently started a new job. I hate gifting recipes I haven’t tested but thankfully they enjoyed it as much as we did.

Cooking the squash twice (one roasted in the shell and again in the pan) helps it not be as crunch. It actually tastes done. And the kale. The kale makes up for everything.

I will be making this again soon. My son wont eat it but my husband and I devour it. I made both recipes with just one of the two enourmous squash I had. Yeah you read that right. Twelve servings from one squash. That was one big squash.

Spaghetti Squash and Kale Gratin

One year ago today: Black Bean and Brown Rice Burgers and Stuffed Peppers

Spaghetti Squash and Kale Gratin (serves 6-8)
Adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen

1 large spaghetti squash
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1 large onion, diced small
fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon minced garlic
5-6 cups chopped kale leaves
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives or sliced green onion
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese plus about 1/4 cup more for topping the gratin
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup shredded mozarella

Preheat oven to 400 F. Prick the spaghetti squash all over with a fork. Place the whole, uncut squash on a baking tray and place in the oven. Bake for an hour or until easily pierced with a fork. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Cut open, remove seeds with a spoon, then using a fork pull the strands of spaghetti squash out and into a bowl. Set aside (this can be done a day ahead).

Heat 1 tablesppon olive oil in heavy frying pan, add chopped onions, rosemary, and black pepper, and saute until onion is softened, about 2-3 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook about 1 minute more, then add chopped kale all at once. Cook kale about 1-2 minutes, turning a few times. until it’s wilted to about half the size it was. (The kale shouldn’t be completely cooked, since it will cook more in the gratin.) Salt well. Turn off heat.

Using a large fork, gently mix the chopped chives or green onion and shredded spaghetti squash into the onion/chard mixture. Combine the sour cream, cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, and beaten egg in a seperate bowl and salt well. Mix into the chard/spaghetti squash mixture. Then put the combined ingredients into the gratin dish, and press down so it’s evenly distributed in the dish. Sprinkle top with about 1/4 cup more Parmesan cheese and with the mozarella cheese.

Bake about 30-35 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbling and cheese is browned on top. Serve hot.

Spaghetti Squash and Kale Gratin

Veggie Tortilla Soup

Hey there.

Yeah still on the needing to eat well kick over here. Yoga and whole foods are helping to make me feel whole. I swear about half of my anxiety and mood can be attributed to how I eat. Eating well helps keep me sane.

Tortilla soup is one of my all time favorite soups. For some reason I have always had it in my brain that it had to be made with chicken. Happily I stumbled on this recipe and realized I was so wrong.

veggie tortilla soup

Even as I started making it I was skeptical. Could it be just as tasty meatless? Surely it could right? And can these measurements for the spices be accurate? That is a big bowl full of spices for just one pot of soup… On and on I doubted.

Till I took the first taste. Perfect. Delicious. Spicy. So full of flavor. And completely vegan. Well at least until I topped it with cheese and sour cream. Stick with just lime, avocado and cilantro and it would be.

Nathan, who is not very thrilled with my vegan/vegetarian attempts of late, has gone to the fridge and unprompted eaten this soup as a leftover. This man is not know for eating leftover ANYTHING (well except for pizza and tortilla) fixed himself a huge bowl and raved about it the whole time.

As with most flavorful soups this was definitely better the next day. And the next day. It made a huge pot and I will happily eat it for days to come.

veggie tortilla soup

One year ago today: Roasted Chickpeas and French Apple Tart

Veggie Tortilla Soup
From The Cooking Photographer

2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (4 ounce) can diced mild green chiles, drained
1 (28 ounce) can fire roasted chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 cup fronzen whole kernel corn, defrosted
32 ounces vegetable broth homemade or store bought
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 lime

Garnishes:
tortilla chips
shredded cheese
diced avocado
chopped cilantro
sour cream
hot sauce
lime juice

In a small bowl mix together cumin, sweet paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, coriander, salt and black pepper. Set aside. In a large pot heat the oil over medium high. Add the onions and bell peppers. Sauté until soft, stirring occasionally. Add the spices and garlic; cook for 2 minutes. Add the green chile peppers, tomatoes, corn, black beans and vegetable broth. Cook until warmed through. Squeeze in lime juice. Serve in bowls and garnish as desired.

veggie tortilla soup

Chickpeas with Bengali Mustard Spices

Are you feeling the over indulgence from the holidays?

Both Nathan and I have certainly noticed it. Nothing irritates me quite as much as my pants not fitting the way they are supposed to. I mean come on. I bought them and they fit a certain way and continued to fit that way for EVER and a few too many holiday cookies and the suckers are out to make my day miserable.

Do.not.like.

Chickpeas with Bengali Mustard Spices

I put up with for exactly fourteen seconds before I resolved to do something about it. Sure I am a bit behind the rest of you with your new years resolutions but hey don’t judge. Some of us are born procrastinators.

For the record I did make resolutions. Two of them in fact. Firstly to move more. As in physically move. Second was to love myself more. I am winning at one of those but not so much at the other. I will let you sort that one out.

So. Back to what I decided to do about my rebellious pants. I decided first to concentrate on my first resolution to move more. Moving should help my pants fit better right? So thus began 30 days of yoga vinyasas every morning. Asthanga yoga is my personal favorite so I have been doing three surya namasakara a (sun salutation a) and three surya namasakara b (sun salutation b). It is tough. Mostly to motivate myself but man do I feel better.

Secondly I jumped started my body back into healthy eating with a three day juice fast and switching to vegetarian eating focusing on whole grains, beans, and veggies. It has been delicious and I feel so so so good.

Chickpeas with Bengali Mustard Spices

I am an all or nothing type of person. Making some drastic changes in how I was eating has helped me get on track and realize my body does better on less and on real food.

This was one of the many recipes I pinpointed when picking veggies and bean recipes. Nathan loves chickpeas so I knew right off the bat this would be a winner. And I was so right. He inhaled it. He told he would eat it every single day.

I would too.

We ate it just as is with no rice. It felt downright indulgent.

I love nothing more than a recipe that is delicious and nutritious and I can’t get enough of it. Also thankfully my pants have decided to get their act together and stop making me miserable.

Chickpeas with Bengali Mustard Spices

One year ago today: Graham crackers and Muesli 

Chickpeas with Bengali Mustard Spices
From Taste with the Eyes

2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon dry mustard
salt to taste
1 can chickpeas, rinsed & drained
5 oz. baby spinach

Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add mustard seeds, cumin, fennel, and cook for a minute or two. Add turmeric, chile powder, dry mustard and stir to combine. Add chickpeas and cook until heated through. Add spinach, cook until the spinach has wilted. Season with salt to taste.

Chickpeas with Bengali Mustard Spices

Spinach Pesto Risotto

I don’t think I have EVER made pesto the normal way.

You know- with basil, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan, and olive oil. The only other pesto post I have is for pea pesto. Incidentally that is delicious stuff. Also wow. That post was so so so long ago it seems.

Spinach Pesto Risotto

Aaaanyways. For so many reasons I have not made traditional pesto. Chief of which is pine nuts. My husband and I are at complete odds about them. I’m pretty indifferent about them and for the price point I can’t justify them. Nathan on the other hand loves them and dislikes my attitude towards these spendy buggers. Until we win the lottery I will keep subbing walnuts in for the pine nuts.

Also I love veggies. The idea of pureeing veggies with tasty basil, garlic, cheese, and olive oil entices me. And then you can put it on things. Bread, pasta, more veggies, and yes even risotto.

As much as I love and have made risotto it has never occurred to me to stir in basil. Perusing Pinterest like you do one day I stumbled on spinach risotto. Done. Pinned and planned.

Spinach Pesto Risotto

Or maybe not. It took a few weeks for it make it on the menu. I happily had the privilege of making it for my family one Sunday. They all absolutely loved it. Even Little. He will scarf this stuff down like it is going out of style.

The very best part about this recipe? It makes a bunch of pesto. Enough for two batches of risotto for us. Plus it is a great way to get loads of veggies in a toddler. Because currently that is on the long list of things that keeps me up at night and watching him chow down on this warms my heart.

Hey you do what you gotta do sometimes.

IMG_1646Spinach Pesto Risotto

One year ago today: Beef with Barley Stew 

Spinach Pesto Risotto (
From Food Recipe HQ

For the pesto:
2 cups fresh spinach leaves, stemmed and washed
1/4 cup walnuts
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Risotto
4 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons butter
1 finely chopped onion
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

Make the pesto: Place all ingredients into you food processor and blend until you get the desired consistency.

Make the risotto: Place the stock in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Keep at a simmer while cooking the risotto. In a large, heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until tender but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter cooking for 2-3 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total. Remove from the heat. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, as much pesto as you want, the remaining tablespoon of butter, and salt and pepper to taste.

Spinach Pesto Risotto