Category Archives: Vegetarian

Snack / Sweet / Vegetarian

Whole Wheat Applesauce Muffins

September 19, 2017

I made applesauce yesterday, as a sort of “making lemons into lemonade” situation after a tough weekend. Cooking and baking generally boost my spirit, and having the house smell like baked apples and cinnamon as fall is fast approaching, well — that’s a pretty good bonus.

I have been looking for some easy grab-and-go snacks for Prim lately, as we have fallen into the rut of consuming the same snacks day-in and day-out. The girl eats allll day long, so having plenty of snacks on hand is crucial. She’s in a bit of a picky phase, so any time I can sneak in anything mildly healthy I try to take advantage.

These muffins are a great dessert, but given that they’re pretty low in sugar, they’ve mostly been serving as a snack in our house. They come together quickly and make exactly 12 muffins — two things that are somewhat essential right now, given that I only have one muffin tin and very limited time where I can be out of eyesight of Lark now that she’s semi-mobile.

Whole Wheat Applesauce Muffins

makes 12 muffins

  • 1 cup old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used whole)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 tbsp melted butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • big pinch of nutmeg
  • big pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup unpacked raisins
  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Whisk together oats, applesauce, milk, vanilla, egg, melted butter, and sugar.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and raisins.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet, stirring just to combine (don’t overmix).
  5. Spoon into muffin cups or a greased muffin tin, then bake for 10-15 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Modifications

  • You could probably use 1/4 of cup maple syrup or 1/6 cup (about 2 2/3 tbsp) to a scant 1/4 cup of honey in place of the sugar, but you may need to decrease the amount of milk by a couple teaspoons if you take this option. (Though it may be so minimal that it won’t make much difference.)
  • UPDATE ON SUGAR ALTERNATIVES: I have made these with one ripe banana in place of the sugar and with 1/4 cup maple syrup in place of the sugar. Both work well if you modify the recipe use 1/4 tsp salt and a scant 1/2 cup of milk. The banana addition wasn’t my favorite, but my kids gobbled up the muffins (so maybe it’s the best of both worlds — kid-friendly and sugar free, but not tasty enough for me to dive into after they’re in bed. Ha.) The maple syrup in place of the sugar tasted almost identical to me, so if that’s your jam — go for it!
  • Subbing coconut oil for butter shouldn’t be a problem.
  • Feel free to add dried cranberries or nuts in place of the raisins — both should work well.

Fall / Gluten-Free / Personal / Stay Healthy / Sweet / Vegan / Vegetarian

This Was Not the Plan

September 18, 2017

The past few days have been a little trying. I woke up on Friday morning in a bad mood. There wasn’t any real reason for it (well, the perpetual sleep deprivation might have something to do with it), but nevertheless, there it was. Later that morning I managed to lock myself and the girls out of the house after Prim’s dance class; and then naptime, the only time I get to myself during the day, fell apart royally.

Most days during the week I use naptime as my workout hour, so it’s not even like I’m sitting back watching TV and shoving cookies into my face (which is what I would really rather be doing). On Friday though, my 60-80 minute workout turned into a 3-hour ordeal, due to the fact that I was running up the stairs to deal with one or two screaming children every 10-15 minutes. I finally had to pull Lark out of the room and have her sleep in the guest room, which was frustrating since I just transitioned her into sleeping in the girls’ room during naptime. This of course did not deter Prim, who continued to scream and carry on until I finally pulled her out of the room, giving up on her taking a nap altogether. I ended up sticking her in front of Puffin Rock on the iPad so I could finish my workout, but since I really try to limit her screen time (when we’re not traveling) I felt like a complete failure.

On Saturday I got my hair cut for the first time in nine months. I had previously vowed never to have my hair cut in Europe, having been warned by numerous expats (and being a person with eyes who has seen Euro-hair). However, my hair was last cut in mid-December and our next trip back to the US is set for mid-March next year, so that means I would have had to go another six months without a cut. After seeing a friend’s cute cut, I decided to brave it and came to the salon armed with pictures of multiple mid-length hairstyles with long layers. What I got was… not exactly that. In fact, I was so unhappy with it I ended up chopping somewhere between four and six inches off by myself the next day. I now think it looks ok, so whatever. And it’s just hair. I’m actually not really someone who gets hung up on bad haircuts because my hair grows pretty fast, but I have to admit that the whole ordeal was fairly annoying.

This weekend we also had two nights where the girls were up for two hours in the middle of the night. Being up from 3-5am on two occasions in the same week is not my idea of fun. (This is also why I am in pajamas and no makeup in the photos above. No sleep = no effort to look presentable.)

Oh yeah, and my phone fell out of my pocket while I was riding my bike and the screen got smashed. (Like, suuuper smashed.)

So this morning I decided to reset. KC is working late tonight and will be in Dublin the rest of the week, so I am on my own with these two little ladies. This morning I made applesauce from the apples that were about to turn AND I laid down the law at naptime and managed to get two hours to myself as a result. Right now I’ve got applesauce muffins in the oven and the apartment smells amazingly fall-like as a result.

This week is going to be better. Let’s go, Monday. We got this.

Quick No-Sugar Applesauce

makes 3-4 cups

  • apples, peeled and diced (I used 5 Jonagold that were about to turn)
  • 2 thin slices of lemon or juice from half a lemon
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • small pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  1. Combine everything in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat and let simmer for 20 minutes. If you like a thicker applesauce, remove cover and simmer up to another 10 minutes.
  2. Remove the lemon slices, then mash with a potato masher, fork, or run a hand blender through everything until the desired consistency is reached.
  3. Store in the fridge.

Baby / Breakfast / Brunch / Easy Meals / Pescatarian / Savory / Vegetarian

Feeding Babies: Mini Frittatas

April 6, 2016

img_8002I’m forever looking for new foods to feed Prim, or even just a new way of introducing something she’s already had. And since I work full-time and still make dinner for people other than Prim on a semi-regular basis, I prefer to cook things for Prim that freeze well and will last beyond a couple of meals.

img_8001Last Sunday I was at Whole Foods staring at the vegetables, trying to figure out what to cook for Prim when I saw some delicious-looking spring onions. Once I saw those I had the idea of a frittata, because one of my all-time favorite frittatas is chock-full of spring onions.

Rather than making the frittata in my giant Le Creuset braiser, I decided to make miniature single-serving frittatas in a muffin tin so that they would be easier to freeze and store for later.

These little “frittata muffins” come together quickly and are awesome for breakfast, lunch or dinner (or even a party!)  img_8004 img_8005

Mini Frittatas (for you AND baby)

makes about 17 muffin-sized frittatas

  • 5 small yukon gold potatoes, diced
  • 3 large spring onions, small dice
  • 12 eggs
  • 1/2 cup half and half or milk
  • 4 oz / 1 cup grated swiss cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Drizzle diced potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper, toss to combine and place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until a knife pierces potatoes easily — about 10 minutes.
  2. While potatoes are baking, heat some olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add diced spring onions to pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook until soft and translucent — about 5 minutes.
  3. Once potatoes and onions are cooked, toss them together and spoon into greased muffin cups — about 1 tbsp per cup (should cover about 17 muffin cups).
  4. Whisk together eggs and half and half, season with salt and pepper, then stir in cheese. Pour into muffin cups, covering potato/onion mixture, until muffin cups are almost full.
  5. Lower oven temperature to 375° and bake until frittatas are puffed and set in the middle — 10 to 12 minutes. Loosen frittatas with a rubber spatula and let cool on a wire rack. Store in the fridge or freeze.

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Dairy-Free / Dinner / Easy Meals / Gluten-Free / Savory / Stay Healthy / Vegetarian

Easy Meals: Tabbouleh

March 30, 2015

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I have this thing about freezer meals — I just don’t love things that have been defrosted and reheated most of the time; so I’ve been trying to think of easy meals that I can prepare once the baby arrives.  Specifically, meals that come together in 30 minutes or less, and utilize fresh ingredients.  I’m still planning to make some frozen things to have on hand (like my favorite cookie dough), but our freezer is small, so I think I’m going to be limited in what I can really prep and freeze.

And I don’t know about you, but when I’m exhausted and have zero energy for cooking, I tend to get into this rut of ordering out and not eating well, which really just makes me feel even worse after awhile.  So a quick meal like this that will last through multiple shifts?  I think it might just be a lifesaver.

This week I went back and revisited one of my favorite easy meals — tabbouleh (or, my interpretation of tabbouleh).  This recipe is so simple and healthy, plus it makes a lot of food and saves well in the fridge — all of which add up to a good meal for post-baby.  You could totally even throw some of the leftover tabbouleh over lettuce, dress it up with a dijon/oregano/red wine vinaigrette — and voila! it’s a delicious salad.  Put a dollop of hummus on top and you’ll really be in business.

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Tabbouleh with Tzatziki (+ Hummus and Pita)

serves 4-6 generously

Tabbouleh:

  • 1 cup bulgur wheat (feel free to substitute quinoa here to make it gluten-free)
  • 1 large chicken breast (to make this veg, omit the chicken and add in cooked chickpeas for protein)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 English cucumber, diced
  • 1 large red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 1/2 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered, depending on size
  • optional: couple large handfuls of fresh spinach, chopped; kalamata olives; cooked chickpeas; crumbled feta
  • olive oil
  • juice of 1-2 lemons
  • small handful of fresh mint leaves, minced
  • salt and pepper
  1. Cook bulgur wheat (or quinoa) according to package instructions.*
  2. Grill or roast chicken breast with some olive oil, salt and pepper — then dice.  (I roast mine at 350° for 30-35 minutes).
  3. Combine all ingredients into a large bowl, season with fresh lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil, and salt and pepper, then toss to combine.  (Don’t skimp on the salt and pepper — you’re seasoning a lot of food here!)

*I generally just cover the wheat with 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups boiling water in a bowl, then place a dish or lid over the top and let it steam until the chicken is done cooking (about 30 minutes).  Once it’s ready, I’ll dump it into a strainer and press out any excess moisture before adding it in with the rest of the veggies.

Tzatziki:

  • 1/2 – 3/4 large English cucumber, grated
  • 8 oz greek yogurt (I use Fage 2%)
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • small handful fresh mint leaves, minced
  • salt and pepper
  1. Place grated cucumber into a clean towel and squeeze over the sink to release excess water.
  2. Once well-squeezed, combine cucumber with rest of ingredients in a small bowl, season with lemon juice, salt and pepper, then stir to combine.

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Spoon tabbouleh into pitas and top with tzatziki and your favorite hummus.  So delicious!

Gluten-Free / Pescatarian / Salads / Savory / Stay Healthy / Vegetarian

Arugula and Endive Salad with Citrus

January 15, 2015

I meant to post this yesterday and forgot.  I also got on an elevator going down today and forgot to get off, leading me right back up to the floor where I had boarded the elevator.  And I almost missed my BART stop last night.

Basically, my brain is barely functioning at this point.  I keep thinking that it’s a good thing that this baby is literally attached to me, otherwise I’d probably forget her and leave her at Starbucks or something.

I’m gonna be such a good mom.

Anyway, this is a salad I made for my extended family the night of our annual cioppino feast in December.  We have a cioppino night every year around Christmas as a pseudo Feast of the Seven Fishes, which is an Italian tradition.  My mom makes a killer cioppino with seven types of seafood and we all eat way too much of it (worth it).

My contribution was this salad, which ended up pairing quite nicely with our pescatarian feast.  It’s a good recipe for a crowd if it’s a side dish, and it’s pretty dang tasty (if I do say so myself).  Plus, all the ingredients can be found at TJ’s (as this salad actually came about because I didn’t go home to grab anything out of my fridge before dinner).  So head on over to Trader Joe’s and whip this up next time you’re tasked with bringing a salad somewhere.  You won’t be sorry.

Arugula and Endive Salad with Citrus

Arugula and Endive Salad with Citrus

Salad:

  • 1 bag or large bunch arugula, washed and spun dry
  • 3 small heads endive, washed and sliced into 1/2″ ribbons
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (I just dumped the whole pack from TJ’s in)
  • mandarin oranges from one small can, drained, rinsed and chopped
  • 1/4 small red onion, sliced
  • big handful of toasted almonds, chopped (you can also buy the toasted sliced almonds at TJ’s and use those — the honey roasted ones would probably be delicious in this)
  • bleu cheese crumbles

Dressing:

You have a few options with the dressing here.  I’d recommend a standard champagne vinaigrette (equal parts champagne vinegar and olive oil + salt and pepper, or Girard’s makes a nice one).  I ended up using TJ’s Champagne Pear Vinaigrette and adding a little red wine vinegar + salt and pepper to cut down on the sweetness.  A sherry or red wine vinaigrette with a little dijon and honey added might work well also.

  1. You know the drill — put it all in a big bowl, dress it and toss it to your heart’s content.