Friday, August 5, 2011

Moroccan Chickpeas & Zucchini

Moroccan Chickpeas & Zucchini (page 249)
served with quinoa and green salad

Another winner from Appetite for Reduction! I enjoyed this a lot. It had a nice flavor, with a comforting blend of spices. I always love chickpeas, so I'm already biased there. As a bonus, this recipe makes a huge pot-ful, and I was able to freeze several portions for El Hombre to have on hand when the girls and I will be traveling for a couple of weeks.

I wasn't sure the girls would like this recipe, since the spices are on the exotic side, and it has cooked zucchini, which is usually not a favorite. So, I tried to bill this as a cultural experience for them: we got out the globe to find Morocco, we played some Moroccan music during dinner, we looked at pictures of traditional Moroccan dress, etc. Did it work? Well, they both said they liked it, but neither ate a whole lot, so I'm not sure.

Instead of the suggested couscous, I served this with quinoa, which I thought made a nice alternative.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Unfried Refried Beans

Beans for breakfast: Unfried Refried Beans (page 136)
served with hash brown potatoes and berries

First, let me state the obvious: it is not easy to take an appetizing picture of refried beans!

Beans and hash brown potatoes are a regular item in our breakfast rotation around here. Sometimes it is baked beans, and other times, we have black beans or refried beans. And sometimes we stuff the beans and potatoes inside a couple of corn tortillas and call them breakfast tacos.

Many people don't realize that refried beans are ridiculously quick easy to make, even without lots of oil. Isa's recipe is a slightly different variation of what I usually make, because of the addition of tomato sauce, and the coriander. Usually, I stick with cumin and a little bit of chili powder for the spices, instead.

I enjoyed the beans, but the girls did not. El Hombre wasn't here to try it, so I can't report on his assessment. SweetPotato said it was "too tangy" - maybe the tomato sauce? SweetPea said there was some "extra taste" that she couldn't identify, but she didn't like - maybe the coriander? So I guess this was too different than what they are used too.

In conclusion, even though I liked these beans, I'll probably stick to my usual way of making refried beans, since that's what the kids'll eat.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Cauliflower Pesto Soup

Cauliflower Pesto Soup (page 210)
served with a simple green salad and creamy Italian dressing, and whole-wheat cheezy garlic dinner rolls.

So this was super duper yummy! It has great flavor and texture, and once again, it was totally easy. It's basically a matter of throwing ingredients in a pot, letting them simmer a bit, and then pureeing the results with the fresh basil.

Fun fact about this soup: there are only 50 calories per serving! I guess that's entirely possible, since it's based on cauliflower, which is a naturally low calorie food. So, theoretically, you could eat the entire pot of soup for only 200 calories. That's a lot of soup.

The final product was not quite as intensely green as I had expected, but it was still a nice, light and appealing green color. The toasted pine nuts were a nice finishing touch. Another fun fact: Bulk pine nuts at my neighborhood H-E-B cost $27 per pound! It's a good thing you only need a couple of tablespoons for this recipe.

The girls were a fan of this soup also. To round out the meal, I made a simple green salad and quick whole-wheat cheezy garlic dinner rolls.

So far, one of the most valuable takeaways for me from Appetite for Reduction has been the amazing nature of cashew-based creamy dressings. For tonight's salad, I whipped up a simple creamy Italian-like dressing, with cashews, water, a little red wine vinegar, onion, garlic, and Italian seasonings. Yum.

Anyone interested in my quick dinner roll recipe? We think they are really quite good, and they are the perfect addition to a soup and salad type meal. Also, they are about 100 calories per roll.

Mix together in a bowl:
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons yeast
1 1/2 cup warm water

It'll be a little sticky. There should be enough dough to fill a lightly greased standard muffin pan (12 pieces). Let rise for 20-30 minutes. If you like, lightly sprinkle the tops with more nutritional yeast or a mixture of vegan parmesan (1 tbsp) and paprika (1/4 tsp). Bake at 375F for 15-20 minutes. Yum!