Sunday, June 16, 2013

Watermelon Salad

listening to: Daft Punk
drinking: iced coffee



Good afternoon! I've had two very productive mornings this weekend.  I always want to sleep in during the week, then when the weekend rolls around I can't sleep in and get up early.  My cat probably has something to do with that... he doesn't like sleeping in.

Yesterday morning I got up and headed out to the Saturday morning farmers market downtown Austin. I found some veggies, including PURPLE BELL PEPPERS! Yes- purple. I am so excited.  I haven't thought of what to make with them yet.  I of course took pictures of them, you can find them on my instagram @nataliesanders.

I absolutely love watermelon.  It is super summery and reminds me of my littlest sister.  Her and I once cut up an entire watermelon and ate nearly the entire thing in one sitting.  I mean, that's healthy right?

Watermelon salad sparked my interest recently.  I never thought about pairing a cheese, tomatoes, or any veggies with watermelon..

In my watermelon salad I included red onion, tomatoes, and feta cheese that I let marinate in balsamic for a good 20-25 minutes.




The salad itself is very simple.  I thinly sliced the red onion, and left the tomatoes and watermelon pretty chunky.  I did add some freshly cracked black pepper to taste at the end.  This salad gets better as it sits in the fridge for a bit.  I can't wait to enjoy it tonight for dinner!


juicy tomatoes and watermelon :)

Watermelon Salad
Time: 10 min
Makes: ~4 cups

Ingredients:
1 watermelon, cubed
5 tomatoes, diced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 c feta cheese crumbles
balsamic vinegar to coat/marinate feta
fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Marinate feta cheese in enough balsamic vinegar to coat the cheese for about 20 minutes.
2. Cube watermelon, dice tomato, thinly slice red onion.
3. Toss all ingredients, add black pepper to taste.
4. Let sit in fridge for at least 1 hour before enjoying.

You can feel free to add more tomatoes, or use less. Same for the onion, this salad is really about your right balance of flavor!

Follow me on twitter @veggie_ology and pin this recipe below using the 'Pin It' button.

Happy Cooking,
Nat


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Homemade Blackberry Ice Cream

drinking: Shiner Ruby Redbird beer
listening to: 6AM by Fitz and the Tantrums


I had a lovely weekend filled with sleeping, good food, and some Blackhawks!  Much needed after this long, hot week of work.

Aaand this weekend, I finally purchased an ice cream maker.  I found a (sort of) cute ice cream maker for CHEAP and couldn't resist.  After talking with my mom about stealing hers for years, I figured I should just go and buy one.  And, naturally, I had to break it in the second I got it! 

There are so many interesting ice cream flavors out there today.  I encourage you to do some looking  in to the ice cream flavor world, ive seen strawberry balsamic, bacon, chocolate jalapeno. There's a ice cream place in Austin called Amy's that has some wild and delicious flavor combinations. Just a few weeks ago my mom had some ice cream with tequila in it at Amy's! So, so good.  Here is link to some funky Chicago based ice cream places.

My refrigerator was hosting some blackberries that were about to go bad, and instead of just freezing them I wanted to come up with a recipe to use them up.  After some research on ice cream making I found a good balance of healthy/creamy to satisfy even the sweetest tooth.  In this recipe I used greek yogurt, sweetened condensed milk, honey, and blackberries. That's IT! And it tastes absolutely decadent.  I don't know how I will resist eating the whole batch tonight.... yikes.
lovely pool of honey right there

I started by blending the blackberries, sweetened condensed milk, and honey with my beloved immersion  blender.
















Next, I folded in the greek yogurt to the blackberry puree.


















kinda weird, kinda cute?
Then I let my ice cream maker do the rest.



















And ta-da! My very first ice cream. SO creamy and refreshing.

omg I just want to dive in
Homemade Blackberry Ice Cream
Time: 45 minutes
Makes: 2 pints

Ingredients:
3 c fresh blackberries
3 c Greek Yogurt
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 c honey

Directions:
1. Using a conventional or immersion blender, combined blackberries, sweetened condensed milk, and honey.
2. Fold in greek yogurt until completely combined.
3. Follow directions on your manufacture's ice cream maker.

I think this may be my favorite blog post yet.... what do you think?
Follow me on twitter @veggie_ology, and pin this recipe below with the pin it! button.

Happy Cooking,
Nat

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Mushroom, Kale, and Zucchini Lasagna

listening to: alt-j
drinking: topo chico mineral water (so refreshing on this hot day!)


Hello! I apologize for my lack of blog posts.  I have recently accepted a promotion at work and I am now living in Austin, TX.  Fort Wayne to Austin was a big move!  I am sure going forward, my recipes may change from the midwestern feel to the south.... I am hoping to share some tex mex recipes soon!  The great thing about living in Texas is I now have an excuse to eat tacos for every meal :)

I have had this recipe ready to blog for quite some time now but did not get it typed up and posted! I was craving some lasagna one day and wanted to load it up with some veggies to bring as much flavor.  I also have been interested in making my own tomato sauce, so this was a perfect way to try out both.  I made this lasagna using zucchini thinly sliced instead of noodles, and whipped up a tomato sauce to go along with it. I won't say I have nailed down a perfect red sauce yet, but that can be for a whole separate post :)  I will include the tomato sauce I used here as well. The filling is ricotta cheese with kale and mushrooms and is SO delicious.


yum
The sauce simmering made my apartment smell wonderful!



















hello friends
First, I cooked down the kale and mushrooms with some garlic.



















creamy goodness
Next, I combined an egg, parmesan cheese, and ricotta cheese in a bowl, then added the kale mushroom mixture.


















The tricky part was thinly slicing the zucchini to be as even as possible.












Next, I spread some sauce on the bottom of the baking dish, then layered zucchini, the kale mixture, sauce, cheese, and repeated.


layered goodness
oh yeaaaah
The end result was INSANE! So delicious!! I was able to enjoy this as leftovers through my week.


has there ever been such a beautiful sight?

Basil Red Sauce
Time: 20 min prep, 1 hr simmer
Makes: 3 cups

Ingredients:
5 tomatoes, whole
1 small yellow onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic
2 tbps basil, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp white sugar
1 tsp oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Blanch tomatoes, peel, then puree (I used my hand blender)
2. Sautee onion in olive oil for ~5 minutes
3. Add garlic, cook another ~2 minutes
4. Add the tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients and stir over medium heat
5. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 1 hour, stirring occassionally

Mushroom, Kale, and Zucchini Lasagna
time: 45 min prep, 40 min bake
makes: 6 servings

Ingredients:
2 large zucchinis, sliced thinly length wise
3 c kale, chopped fine
8oz mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
8oz ricotta cheese
1/2 c fresh grated parmesan cheese
1 egg
2 c red tomato sauce
1 c fresh mozzarella cheese, grated or sliced
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. Cover bottom of baking dish with sauce
3. Sautee garlic in oil for about 1 minute, add kale and cook another 5 minutes
4. Add mushrooms and cook another 5 minutes
5. Combine egg, parmesan cheese, and ricotta cheese in a bowl
6. Add cooked kale mixture and stir with spatula
7. Layer zucchini, then kale mixture, then sauce and repeat
8. Cover top with mozzarella cheese and bake at 350F for ~40 minutes or until the top is slightly brown and bubbly

Will you guys try this veggie lasagna? Let me know if you have made something similar before, I know a lot of people use eggplant, but I am more of a zucchini fan!

Happy Cooking,
Nat


ps -- pin this below:

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Raspberry Chia Seed Jam

listening to: Andrew Bird
drinking: chamomile tea


I didn't do too much cooking this week, so I was craving something fresh this morning.  I recently purchased a bag of chia seeds from Trader Joes and have been throwing them in to smoothies and on top of greek yogurt.  I stumbled across this amazing recipe on Pinterest (here) for a raw raspberry jam made with chia seeds and just had to try it!













little loves
Chia Seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in other plant oils like hemp oil or flaxseed oil.   Chia seeds are also what chia pets are made out of! They become gelatinous when you add water to them, so they are excellent to add to smoothies to add volume and texture to your smoothies.  If you have ever had Kombucha with chia seeds, then you know just how gelatinous they get!


This jam was very simple to throw together.  First, I mashed a container of organic raspberries.

action shot!

Next, I added the chia seeds and some organic white sugar.  You can control how sweet you want to make your jam.  I added about a tablespoon, and it's not super sweet.















And thats it! I ended up spreading it on some toast to try.  It would also be excellent stirred in to some greek yogurt, added in to a smoothie, spread on a sandwich, really anything goes.  I found a cute little jar to put it in too :)



a lovely way to start my sunday
Raspberry Chia Seed Jam
Makes: 1/2c
Time: ~10 minutes

Ingredients:
1 container organic raspberries
1 tbsp organic white sugar 
1 tbsp chia seeds

Directions:
1. Mash raspberries with a fork.
2. Add sugar and chia seeds, stir.
3. Let sit for a half hour.
4. Enjoy! Store in a jar or air-tight container in the refrigerator.

I can't wait to use the rest of this jam throughout the week! If I come up with something crazy that I use it on I will tweet it out on @veggie_ology.  For all of you meat eaters out there, this would be excellent on a toasted turkey or chicken sandwich! 

Don't forget to pin it for later!

Happy Cooking,
Nat
@veggie_ology




Sunday, March 10, 2013

Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookies

drinking: sun brewed tea
listening to: Otis Redding

I've been doing some research on gluten free recipes.  A few of my friends are gluten free, for various reasons, and I have considered going that route myself.  You should do some research in to why people are adopting a gluten free diet, and why more and more people are being diagnosed with celiac disease.  Please note, these cookies are not a healthy cookie by any means (2 sticks of butter.... holy yum). I do, however, bake with mostly organic ingredients!


I have never made a cookie, or any baked good for that matter, without flour.  But these cookies turned out pretty great! I did some research on different gluten free recipes and combined a few ideas. Naturally, I decided to add some chocolate chips.












I made it a special point to purchase gluten free certified oats (from Trader Joe's).   Also, you can find gluten free baking powder! 












This recipe requires grinding a portion of the oats until very fine. I used my regular blender for this, but a food processor would definitely be more ideal.  Well, to be honest, I used my hand blender first but made a huge mess.  Do not do that...














Then adding the rest of the dry ingredients, including plenty of cinnamon and a leavening agent.


















Next, using my glorious vintage kitchenaid (grandma's hand-me-down when I moved to Indiana!) I whipped the butter and sugars and added the dried ingredients.
















is there anything better than whipped butter and sugar?


After folding in the additional oats and the chocolate chips they cookies were ready for the oven.!
These cookies will be brought to work this week. They make a ton of cookies and are perfect for sharing.

a monster cookie!
Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookies
makes: 2 dozen
time: 10 min prep, 15 min bake

Ingredients:
4c gluten free old fashioned oats
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp gluten free baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
3/4c sugar
1/2c light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1c chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Grind 1.5c of the oats until very fine. In a bowl combine ground oats with cornstarch, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.
3. In a stand mixer, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
4. Gradually add the oat mixture slowly, until combined.
5. Fold in the chocolate chips and the rest of the oats with a spatula.
6. Drop dough in mounds (about 2 tbps) on to baking sheet lined with parchment paper, about 2 inches apart.
7. Bake 15 minutes, or until the edges are browned.  Let bake 2-3 more minutes on baking sheet after you take out of the oven, then move to cooling rack.  Let them cool completely before moving them too much as they will be crumbly.

What other gluten free recipes do you guys have? I am new to this way of cooking.. please share!

As always, you can pin this recipe by clicking the button below.  Also, follow me on twitter!

Happy Cooking,
Nat
@veggie_ology



Sunday, March 3, 2013

Caprese Topped Balsamic Portabella

drinking: ice water
listening to: Umphrey's McGee album Live from Beacon Theater


Last night I threw a mushroom in a little pool of balsamic vinegar and hoped to dream up a plan for what to do with it today.  Well, today came around, and I went searching for inspiration with what I already had in my refrigerator.  I didn't want to leave my house on this lazy sunday.






The mushroom turned out absolutely perfect.  Soaked to perfect balsamic goodness...
 





















I decided spinach, tomato, and mozzarella sounded like a lovely, fresh topper to the mushroom! Nice and light atop a meaty,  roasted balsamic mushroom.  

simply delightful...
...and utterly divine
This was super easy to bring together and turned out beautiful! I loved taking these pictures.

Caprese topped Balsamic Portabella
makes: 1 salad
time: overnight marinade, 20 minute cook time

Ingredients:
1 portabella mushroom cap, marinated in balsamic vinegar overnight
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 c spinach
6 cherry tomatoes, sliced
1/8 mozzarella cheese ball, cubed
1/8 tsp dried basil
1/8 tsp dried oregano
t tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Marinate the portabella cap overnight in balsamic vinegar, coated completely and the smooth side up.
2. Heat oven to 425°F. Line baking sheet with foil.  Place the cap smooth side down and sprinkle chopped garlic clove all over.  Lightly season with salt. Bake 12-15 min.
3. Make salad while cap is cooking by tossing spinach, tomato, and mozzarella with the basil and oregano.  Add EVOO and balsamic to the salad with a little s&p to taste.
4.  Top mushroom cap with salad and enjoy!

This salad looks gourmet and will definitely impress your friends and family.  It was an excellent meal to end my weekend!  Will you be making it this week? Let me know!

Happy Cooking,
Nat
@veggie_ology