real food. real life.
Whew! What a busy weekend! 2 Birthdays and Father's Day! My teacher-planning skills were put to the test this week - making and checking to-do lists, planning menus and activities... I am glad it's over. But, hey, who am I kidding - I loved it all. Tiring - yes. But I loved every second of it.
Hannah celebrated her first birthday (and, I, my 31st), and then Lee had his very first Father's Day today. We had about 40 people over to our house on Saturday for the big festivities. BBQ, presents, birthday cake. The whole deal. It was a lot of planning, but it all worked out great. We had amazing sunshiny weather, which helped immensely as the kids played in the yard and everyone was able to come and go from the deck to the kitchen. Definitely makes our little house feel a little bigger when we can use the outdoors!
A big part of the planning was food, of course. What recipe I wanted to use for Hannah's birthday cake, of course, hoping to make it sugar-free and not use dairy. What easy, make-ahead or cook-easy foods to serve a crowd of children-grandparents, but still trying to keep it true to my style of cooking - healthy and delicious. We settled on BBQ burgers with side salads for the meal, and chocolate beet cupcakes with chocolate avocado frosting for dessert.
The burgers we made ahead of time, with pork, fresh chives and spices, oats and an egg, and froze them. Easy to grill up. I also made a batch of veggie burgers the day before, which were eaten up, so wasn't a waste! (Yes, we did have hotdogs as well... I just can't escape them, no matter how hard I try!)
I tried to find other frosting recipes to try for Hannah's cake, but nothing could beat the simplicity, fool-proof recipe, and delicious texture of avocado frosting. So easy to make, stores so well, and tastes great.
For the salads, I wanted to make a couple. But they had to store well in the fridge so I could make ahead of time, use some of the local ingredients I had from the farm share, but appeal to both children and adults. For one salad, I settled on a simple pasta salad with just some grape tomatoes and peppers and simple sweet dressing. That's easy to make ahead of time, and usually, something children will eat.
The second salad was a new one for me! I wanted something like a coleslaw, that could be made a day ahead of time, but still offer some use of leafy greens or something healthy. I looked around on the internet and came across this pairing - Kale and Apple. Perfect - I have tons of apples at any given time because of the farm share, and could easily find kale this time of year. Kale is such a thick leafy green and can hold up to a dressing for more than a few hours. Plus, it may be something not many have tried. I love introducing new food! It's got a nice crunch, as well. Paired with a sweet apple - it worked out great! I used a poppyseed dressing, just using some basic kitchen essentials. It held up really well, looked pretty, and tasted wonderful! I was impressed! So, here it is! Try it at your next BBQ!
Total Time: 10 minutes??? Just slicing, shaking, and combining :)
1 big bunch of kale
3 apples, any kind!
3 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp honey
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp poppy seeds
Pinch of sea salt & pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup small-diced red onion
What to do:
1) Cut the thick stems out of eat leaf of kale. They are bitter tasting and not needed. Roll the leaf up and cut down, sliced into thin pieces, similar to that of a 'slaw'. Place in a large bowl.
2) Slice up apple in a similar way, match-stick style. Add to kale and toss together.
3) For the dressing, place all other ingredients in a jar or plastic container. Cover well and shake! Shake until evenly combined. Test taste and adjust ingredients, if needed (sometimes a bit more sweetener or salt). Pour over kale and apples and toss well to combine. Let sit, covered, in refrigerator for about 15 minutes if serving right away, or refrigerate for up to a day ahead. It should still be crunchy and delicious.
Alright, so I don't know what has happened in this house but I'm not questioning it! Lee agreed to let me make vegetarian meals all week! So excited to try out some new recipes and to save money on meat. Is it just me or is meat just getting more and more expensive these days??
I know, without a doubt, that I could pull off a vegetarian lifestyle. Heck, probably a vegan lifestyle. I don't eat dairy anyway. Eggs - I could take them or leave them. But I don't think I could leave honey out of my diet... I suppose I would miss bacon and sausage, for sure. And lobster... But the savings on food bills would make it all seem worth it, right? I know Lee isn't there with me on the v-train... yet... so meat in the freezer is just how it's going to be! However, we have mainly crossed into only buying our meat from local farms/markets, so at least we know where the meat came from. That's a start, I think.
Anyway, today's vegetarian recipe (actually raw vegan recipe, if we're getting specific here) is brought to the by the awesomeness that is Laura Miller. She hosts a show on youtube/Tastemade called Raw. Vegan. Not gross. Haha, I know, awesome title. Makes vegan foods intriguing! Actually, watching her shows totally reminds me of my sister, who is currently somewhere deep in the woods cooking food for a bunch of tree planters, right now, but who also has an awesome food blog, focused on v foods - check it out here!
Alright, sorry, side track there. Back to Laura Miller. I have watched every episode she's posted. She is entertaining to watch and posts a ton of yummy, easy, recipes. I find her humour hilarious. Lee finds it corny. But I laugh out loud every episode.
This one episode caught my attention because I am always looking for ways to use cabbage - we get a ton of it in our CSA. It does have a lot of 'nuts' in it though... which is a bit pricy and 'heavy', but it does go well with the sweet and spicy flavours. She uses mango as her sweet fruit topping. I used pineapple. (Lee's allergic to mango) I think both would taste good, either way. She also uses soy sauce in hers. I just omitted it, as I didn't have any coconut aminoes in the cupboard. I think it tasted find without it, but it would definitely boost the flavour if you have some. Here is the original recipe. Subscribe to her channel! She's full of wonderful vegetable info. These are best places to learn about food and how to cook! (Raw vegan cooking is extremely easy, great place to start!)
Here's what I did to create ours!
half a head of cabbage (red looks prettier)
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
1 slice of pineapple, thinly sliced
For the "Meat":
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup almond butter
2 tbsp ginger
1 tsp chili flakes
juice of half lemon
1/2 cup walnuts
3/4 cup cashews
What to do:
1) In food processor, add oil, maple syrup, salt, almond butter, ginger, chili flakes, and lemon juice. Pulse until combined.
2) Add walnuts and cashews. Pulse just a bit until it looks half smooth/half chunky. It should look kind of gross, but taste delicious! Haha
3) Assemble the wrap! Use half a cabbage head and peel away the leaves. Scoop about a tbsp or 2 on a leaf, then top with pineapple, pepper, and carrot. Eat like a taco, roll it like an egg roll, or flatten like a quesadilla. The cabbage keeps it crunchy, but it you're like Lee and not a fan of cabbage, try using another leafy green. So good!
We really cooked these things. From scratch. On weeknights. And we even had time to do the dishes.
They have real, simple ingredients that you'll find in your cupboards. They're healthy and delicious. No lies.
Thanks for reading. Leave a comment below!
Here's a pic of me and my babies. Just because.
A Bit About Me...