Cabbage Barley Melody

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Wanted something new and was inspired with the ingredients that we had on hand. This dish turned out to be filling and comfort food like but not very guilty.

1/4 cup Barley

1/2 Cabbage

1 Onion

1 Bell pepper

Mushrooms

Pistachios

Cumin to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

1 Tsp olive oil

Bring a pot of water to boil and add salt and barley. While the grain is cooking dice and saute the onion, mushrooms bell peppers and cabbage on olive. Season it with salt pepper and cumin. When barley is done add it to the vegetables and mix well. Top with shelled pistachios or mix them in. Bon appetite!

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Spring! Or not.

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I could not resist adding the ladybug to the picture. We have a lady bug living in our house now for about two months and it is pretty neat to watch her. Also we will be buying some ladybugs in the spring for our garden as pest control. I can’t wait and will tell you all about it! Saturday we had freezing rain and ice. I did not poke my nose outside all day. Sashenka had to work the whole day. But for brunch I did have this dish and it felt like spring, at least inside. And no that is not Ossetra caviar (I wish), its Tangkorn seaweed topping from IKEA. It has a very mild salty taste. The Rye crisp bread is also from IKEA.

Rye crisp bread

Hard boiled eggs

Mayo

Seaweed topping

Spinach

Spread mayo on the crisp bread and top with slices of hardboiled egg and seaweed toping and a little bit of sea salt. I wilt spinach my adding a drop of olive oil and water to a pan and a whole bag of spinach and cook until wilted seasoning with sea salt and a few drizzles of lemon juice.

Coconut Macaroons

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I didn’t know these were called macaroons. My belle-sœur (sister-in-law sounds prettier in French), Innachka, made these when we were in the mountains for Christmas. Everyone referred to them as ‘coconut cookies’ and liked them! Later I found out that these are macaroons. I always thought macaroons were sweet meringue-based cookies. But, as it turns out, there is a difference between a macaroon and a macaron. The sweet meringue based cookie is a French macaron and what I made is a coconut macaroon. Anyways back to the story… Innachka made them before dinner for dessert but they were gone before everyone sat down to eat. She gave me the recipe since they do not have any dairy. Just coconut, eggs, and sugar. Yes I made them with white sugar. These sweet innocent cookies have white death in them. But they taste so delicious and me not eating dairy I thought I could handle a little of the poison.  To take away a bit of guilt I added 1/3 cup of sugar instead of 1 whole cup. And they were just as sweet to us! Hope you enjoy these coconut macaroons.

16 oz coconut flakes

4 eggs

1 cup sugar (I used 1/3 cup)

1 tsp vanilla

Coconut oil

Combine everything together in a pan and heat till warm on low while constantly mixing. The mixture should not be hot but warm. Then mix it well with a mixer for five minutes. I think the heating and mixing is done in order for the sugar to melt and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate for an hour.  Preheat the oven to 325°F. Oil a baking sheet with coconut oil, and with a teaspoon make cluster like drops on the baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 min or until the tops begin to golden and before the bottoms burn. Enjoy!

Vegan Stuffed Sweet Potato

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This is the best tasting stuffed potato that I have ever tasted. Sweet or regular, vegetarian or not, twenty times better than the sour cream, butter, and cheese stuffed potatoes!!! And that was my favorite. Until now! When I tried it I was not starving hungry (everything tastes good when you are hungry). Sashenka dislikes sweet potatoes. He approached them very open-mindedly and has tried about 5 different recipes that I have made but still did not like the taste of the sweetness in a potato. When I was baking the potatoes, Sashenka stated he will not be having any and proceeded to reheat borscht and make pasta for himself. When I finished crafting my masterpiece, Sashenka had already eaten a bowl of borscht and stated that he will try a bit of my sweet yam. I told him not to touch it until it had its photo shoot. But sensing that he will like it I proceeded to make him one too. By the time I stuffed his potato, he had finished eating his meal. After his first bite he was pleasantly surprised that he liked the stuffed sweet potato and humbly admitted that it was delicious. He went on to finish the potato after he was full! It was that good.

So here are the toppings:

Baked sweet potato

Sauteed red onion with broccoli

Tomato basil hummus

Diced fresh tomato

Kalamata olives

Chocolate covered apples

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I made these for the New Years party 2012/2013 and they turned out pretty. They taste pretty good but not a wow. I think that pistachio and chocolate tastes great together  and maybe will make chocolates with this combo. They are gorgeous and as far as a raw/vegan dessert goes this is pretty good.

Apples (I used Golden Delicious)

Pistachios

Raw Chocolate

Ingredients for the chocolate:
2 part Cacao (perferably raw – it tastes better:) )
1 part Coconut oil – melted
1 part Agava syrup

Cut apples into wedges and dip them into the chocolate and sprinkle with chopped pistachios. Refrigerate or put them in the freezer if you want the apples to freeze.

Vegetarian Chili

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I guess I’m still in the ‘Oh the weather outside is frightful but the fire is so delightful’ mood. Maybe its the Russian in me, that are still celebrating New Years and Christmas till February. But I do not want it to be cold and am looking forward till spring!

Sashenka and I have never tried chili before until about a year ago. Our church was having some kind of event and asked for someone to make a vegetarian chili. I never made chili before nor tasted it and though I would give it a try since we are vegetarians. I looked through a bunch or recipes and talked to some people about it for ideas and in the end came up with this recipe. We fell in love with it and since then always make this chili! This is a perfect dish for weeknight dinners because it is supper easy to throw together and makes a big batch for leftovers. Not to mention it tastes better the next day!

2 cans of Black beans
2 cans of Kidney beans
3 cans of Diced Tomatoes
1 can of corn
4-6 celery sticks
1 zucchini
2 green peppers
1 bell pepper
1-2 onions
2 carrots
5-7 garlic cloves (or less we love garlic)
1 jalapeno pepper
3 tbsp Chili powder
2 tsp Cumin
dash of Cayenne pepper (or more to your liking)
Salt pepper
Water
Olive oil
Topped with avocado, fresh cilantro, and sour cream

For the chili in the picture I was out of carrots and cilantro but this is our usual recipe.

Dice all veggies that need to be diced and throw them in the pot with a little bit of olive oil. Saute for a couple of minutes then add all of the canned veggies. Add the spices and then water to your desired consistency. Bring to a boil and let simmer for a couple of minutes. Serve with the toppings and tortilla chips!

Soups From The Past

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It’s January. It’s wet and cold outside. Everyone is starting the New Years with detoxes, smoothies, and juices. But I am freezing and the only thing that I can think of is soup! The only thing that Sashenka can think of is soup and hearty food like vegetarian chili that we made Sunday and finished the rest on Monday (picture and recipe coming soon.) Here are some soups that I made in the past but haven’t posted on this blog before. They are healthy and hearty at the same time. Well some of them. The ones that contain dairy can easily made without. The past two months – no dairy for me. Thus I have to reinvent even my old recipes.

1. Veggie Soup

  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Celery
  • Zuchini
  • Cauliflower
  • Olive oil
  • Veggie broth
  • Dried basil
  • Dried parsley
  • Salt and pepper

Dice all veggies. Sauté onion on olive oil until translucent. Add broth and remaining veggies, dried basil and parsley, and salt and pepper.

2. Broccoli Noodle Soup

  • Vegetable broth
  • Noodles
  • Broccoli
  • Celery diced
  • Onion diced
  • Olive Oil
  • Pepper
  • Salt

Saute onions and celery with olive oil until onions are translucent. Add broth, noodles and salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Add broccoli and cook until pasta is done.

3. Curried Carrot Soup – Recipe here

Oil instead of butter and veggie broth and this is easily vegan.

4. Vegetarian Zuppa Toscana

  • 2 large russet baking potatoes or I sometimes like to use the young red potatoes
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups kale or 2 cups Swiss chard, chopped
  • 16 ounce veggie broth
  • 1 quart water
  • 4 Italian “sausage”
  • ½ cup milk or cream (I omit this b/c Sashenka does not like anything that is white and liquidy including almond milk Sometimes if he does not know that it is in there he will eat it but it’s hard. )
  • Crushed red pepper flakes

Sauté onions, garlic, and crushed red pepper until onion is translucent. Then add your fake sausage. Sauté for a couple of minutes stirring occasionally so that it won’t burn. Add broth and potatoes and bring to boil. Then add kale and if using, milk. Cook till potatoes are done and do not forget salt and black pepper. You can top with Parmesan cheese if not afraid of dairy.

5. French Sorrel Soup

You can easily substitute the butter for oil and any non dairy milk. Or just leave the milk out all together. I love this soup because it reminds me of the Russian Green Borscht that I used to eat when little.

  • 1/2 pound sorrel
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/2 pound potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 egg yolk

Clean and shred sorrel, then chop. In a large heavy pan, heat butter. Add sorrel and cook, stirring, for ten minutes until reduced to about 1/2 cup. Add the water, potatoes and salt. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 1/2 hour. Strain and mash or puree the vegetables. Stir the cooking liquid into vegetables and return to pan. Bring to boil. Stir in milk (Sashenka does not like milk so I do not add any and it turns out great or you can add almond milk) and yolk. Cook until hot, but do not boil.

6. A raw green soup but I can not find the recipe to it and will update this as soon as I do. I just love the way the picture turned out! It looks super healthy!

7. Lentil and Black Eyed Pea Soup – Recipe Here

Very simple. But takes a while to cook because of the lentil and peas.

Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake

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This is a no dairy cheesecake. I do not like cheesecakes in general and Sashenka hates the crust that they are always made out of. But the name is deceiving because this tastes nothing like a cheesecake and it shouldn’t! This is a vegan pumpkin cake that I got from RenegadeHealth.com  . Since lately I am not eating dairy I still want dessert once in a while and the hardest thing to find without dairy is dessert in my opinion. At first I thought it would be breakfast but then there is always coconut yogurt and oatmeal that I love so much. So breakfast was not a problem. Back to the pumpkin cake. I did not follow the recipe exactly and made my own crust and omitted the topping. Why? Would I not love to try a crust made from buckwheat and White Chocolate Buckwheat Crunch Topping? Of course I would have loved to try a cake made with such delicious ingredients but I didn’t make it. For two reasons: One I do not have a dehydrator and was out of buckwheat and cacao butter and two I was too lazy to make the topping(oops that’s 3 reasons). Maybe on my third try when I find coconut butter, cacao butter, and figure out a way to make dehydrated buckwheat, then I will follow the recipe strictly and will make this delicious cake!

On my first try I did not have coconut butter and just omitted it and added more coconut oil. And on the second time that I made this I used coconut cream. The first time with just coconut oil it tasted a lot better. The coconut cream was nasty and I did not enjoy the second cake that I made. I really want to find the coconut butter to make this cake what it should. But overall I enjoyed how this cake turned out and most importantly Sashenka liked it as well. Anything that passes his approval gets 5 stars in my book!

I made the crust from soaked prunes, pecans, flax seeds, almonds, and coconut oil. Blending all of the ingredients together and pressing them into the pan.

Sleeping through the night

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Wow Aurelius slept 7 hrs and then 5 hrs. To be exact, 6 hrs and 46 min and then 4 hrs and 55 min. At 10:39 pm was when he last nursed and fell asleep to sleep 7 hrs. Then I nursed him and held him to pee and he went back to sleep. Actually he didn’t even wake up. He kept his eyes closed and was dead weight the whole time. Overall he sleeps well at night and never cries or wakes up. He just starts moving and grunting or sucking his fists and we hear him and feed him.
We never aimed at trying to make him sleep the whole night through or make him sleep more. It’s just because we do not have a strict sleeping schedule our selves (maybe something to consider changing in the New Year). We do not co sleep and we do not follow a feeding/sleeping regiment either. He eats every 2-3 hrs and I put him down to sleep whenever I see that he is about to get tiered. If he is tiered and wants to sleep then it’s harder for him to fall asleep. He then cries himself to sleep even if I’m holding him. But if we calm down and stop playing before he gets tiered then he coos himself to sleep and those are the most precious moments ever!

Coconut Oil Scrub

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Happy New Year!

Today I woke up with rather dry skin. I wanted to wash my face but knew that even if I use plain water it would feel even dryer. Usually I do not have dry skin and lately love the way it feels. So I do not have a long routine of doing things to may face like I used to. Over the past three years I learned that what you put in your body will show up on your face/skin. Thus I have focused on a healthy diet versus a rigorous skin care routine. I have learned that the less I torture my skin with chemicals the better it will look. So far this has worked for me and I hope it will continue to stay this way. Back to dry-skin-this-morning: I did not want to put just the coconut oil on my face and wanted some kind or scrub that would not dry my face up even more. I know a lot of people use sugar and coconut oil as a scrub. But that would have been too tough for my face. Coconut oil and sugar are amazing as a body scrub in a hot steamy shower!!! But sugar feels too harsh on my face. So I Goggled ‘coconut oil scrub’ and found that you can use backing soda. Baking soda is a lot softer and worked great! I mixed a teaspoon of melted coconut oil with backing soda to a pasty like consistency. Then gently rubbed my face with it and washed it off with warm water. The oil did not wash off all the way so I just massage it into the skin. Make sure to wash all of the baking soda off so it won’t burn or irritate your skin.

Overall, I did not like the feeling of backing soda on my skin and it stings a little. Maybe next time I will try arrowroot powder instead. But my skin did feel soft and moisturized with the oil. I absolutely love coconut oil!