Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A few more recipes from Dec-Jan

Crispy Kale "Chips" taken from steamykitchen.com

The biggest secret to getting the kale super-crisp is to dry them in a salad spinner. If there is moisture on the leaves, the kale will steam, not crisp. Also, do not salt the kale until after they have come out of the oven. If you salt beforehand, the salt will just cause the kale to release moisture…thus steaming instead of crisping. I’ve also found that the convection setting on my oven works really well too – I set the convection on 325F and bake for about 10-15 minutes. Have fun with this recipe, I sometimes mix the salt with Cajun or Creole seasoning.

4 giant handfuls of kale, torn into bite-sized pieces and tough stems removed (about 1/3 pound)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt or kosher salt

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Place the kale leaves into a salad spinner and spin all of the water out of the kale. Dump the water and repeat one or two times more just to make sure that the kale is extra dizzy and dry. Use a towel to blot any extra water on the leaves. Place the kale on the baking sheet.

3. Drizzle olive oil over the kale leaves and use your hands to toss and coat the leaves. Bake in the oven for 12-20 minutes until leaves are crisp. Take a peek at the 12 minute mark – the timing all depends on how much olive oil you use. Just use a spatula or tongs to touch the leaves, if they are paper-thin crackly, the kale is done. If the leaves are still a bit soft, leave them in for another 2 minutes. Do not let the leaves turn brown (they’ll be burnt and bitter) Remove from oven, sprinkle with salt and serve.

T3, El3, Er3, Ch3

Actually, Ellie's direct quote was, "Mom, these are SO yummy that I want you to make them 100 times a day!" Later she suggested that we should make a new house out of kale chips so she could always, always eat them. So yeah. You better try them.

Corn pudding in acorn squash taken from 101cookbooks.com

I used an acorn squash here, but you can experiment with other types of squash if you like. And if aniseed and scallions aren't your thing, you might try do a version swapping in coconut milk and a bit of curry paste - and perhaps a cilantro drizzle?

Also, (important!) depending on the size of your squash you might have quite a bit of filling leftover - I ended up with double the amount I needed. That being said, I kept Karen's original milk/egg ratio intact here. I poured my leftovers into a buttered ramekin and baked that alongside the squash for a nice, light corn-flecked pudding. Or alternately, you might use a second squash.

1 small (2 lb.) acorn squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeded
1 tablespoon clarified butter or olive oil
1 cup milk
1 egg plus 2 egg whites
1/2 cup fresh corn kernels (or more if you like)
1/4 teaspoon anise seed, chopped
1/2 cup chopped scallions
a tiny pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/3 cup grated white cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 375F degrees with a rack in the middle.

Rub the orange flesh of the squash with the butter/oil. Place cut side up on a baking sheet. You will want it to sit flat (and not tip), if you are having trouble just level out the bottom using a knife. If the squash is tilting on the pan, the filling will run out - bad news. Cover the squash with foil and bake for 40 minutes or until the squash starts to get tender.

In a bowl combine the milk, eggs, corn, anise seed, half of the scallions, nutmeg, and salt. Fill each of the squash bowls 3/4 full (see head notes about using leftovers). Carefully transfer the squash back to the oven without spilling (tricky!). Continue baking uncovered for another 30 - 50 minutes, or until the squash is fully cooked through, and the pudding has set. The amount of time it takes can vary wildly depending on the squash and oven. At the last minute sprinkle with cheese and finish with a flash under the broiler to brown the cheese. Keep and eye on things, you can go from melted cheese to burnt and inedible in a flash. Serve hot sprinkled with the remaining scallions.

Serves 4 - 6.

T2, El2, Er1, Ch2

The pudding took longer than expected to cook through, and then was insufficiently flavorful to diffuse yumminess into the squash. I love the idea of roasting soup inside acorn squash, but next time I will try a flavor-packed chili or curry.

Fennel Cucumber Salsa from allrecipes.com


  • 1 English cucumber, diced
  • 1 large fennel bulb, diced
  • 1 avocado - peeled, pitted, and diced
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pickled banana peppers, diced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine the cucumber, fennel, avocado, red onion, banana peppers, cilantro, honey, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Allow mixture to sit 20 minutes before serving.

Brussel Sprout Pie from Inspired Vegetarian

Ehh, I'm not even going to bother transcribing this recipe because it was no good. The pic in my cookbook looked absolutely delectable, but it just wasn't. I'm on the lookout for a good comfort food veggie pot pie. I'll let you know when I find one.

Roasted turkey hoisin wraps from enlightenedcooking.blogspot.com

Hoisin sauce is the Chinese equivalent of bbq sauce—it adds tremendous flavor to these wraps, giving them a taste similar to Peking duck. You’ll find it where soy sauce is shelved in the grocery store.

2 cups roasted turkey cut into strips (I bought a 1/2 pound piece from the deli—unsliced—then cut into strips at home)
5 tablespoons bottled hoisin sauce, divided use
2 medium-size flour tortillas (regular or whole wheat)
1/2 of a seedless cucumber, roughly cut into thin strips
4 green onions (scallions), trimmed and roughly chopped
2 packed cups prewashed baby spinach

Combine the turkey and 2 tablespoons of the hoisin sauce in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Heat 30 seconds until warmed through. Place the tortillas on a dinner plate and heat in microwave 15-20 seconds until warm.

Spread the tortillas with the rest of the hoisin sauce, then use to wrap up turkeywith the cucumber, onions and watercress. Cut in half and enjoy while still warm. Makes 2 servings.

T2, El2, Er1, Ch1

Okay, these looked so good I impulsively went to the store just to buy some turkey, and getting off my lazy rear with all the kids for extra groceries is a big deal for me. However, after checking my hoisin sauce's ingredients, I disapproved, but it was too late. Also, I couldn't find roast turkey, so I bought one of those whole roasted chickens. I didn't use enough hoisin sauce. Chicken itself doesn't taste great to me anymore. And I used sprouted whole wheat tortillas, which weren't quite pliable enough to hold together. So... the recipe itself it probably great, but my tweaking rendered our experience less so.

Pineapple quinoa pilaf

I based my pineapple salsa off of the following from allrecipes.com, and then mixed it into quinoa and seasoned to taste.


  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons shallots, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup diced pineapple
  • 2 large plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 (6 ounce) fillets salmon
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • lemon pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Whisk together lime juice, olive oil, soy sauce, shallots, and sugar. Stir in the pineapple, tomatoes, and basil. Season with salt and pepper. Cover, and refrigerate. Remove from refrigerator 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
  3. Place salmon in a 9x13-inch pan. Pour chicken broth over the top, and sprinkle with lemon pepper.
  4. Bake in a preheated oven until fish flakes easily with a fork, about 30 to 40 minutes. Serve with salsa on the side.
T3, El3, Er3, Ch2

Eggplant marinara in whole wheat pitas

I had an eggplant to use up, so all I did was slice it and dip the slices first in an all-natural marinara sauce and then in a bread crumb mix (panko, bread crumbs, garlic powder, Italian seasoning) and baked them maybe 15 minutes (?) until browned. I spread pesto inside the pitas and stuffed the eggplant in there with fresh spinach. Only problem with pitas is that they don't hold much. Next time I will layer the eggplant in a sandwich, or just eat plain, which is what the kids and I did for lunch the next day. I find that if I attach the label "chips" to pretty much any food, they come running. This is my new favorite way to eat eggplant.

T3, El3, Er3, Ch2

Asparagus cream crepes

The first time I made this, I roasted the asparagus with butter, salt, and garlic powder until yummy-looking. I mixed about 4 oz cream cheese with 4 oz mozzarella cheese and some parmesan and seasonings and spread that inside whole-wheat crepes, and filled with the asparagus. Too hard to eat-- the asparagus is especially tricky to bite through for kids.

So, my second time (when I didn't have cheese-loving guests to satisfy), I used only the second half of the cream cheese bar with some non-dairy milk, garlic, and seasonings. I chopped the asparagus and stir fried with mushrooms. Obviously, not as cheesy, but still very yummy, although still hard to eat as the veggies didn't stay in at all. Overall, I love the concept of savory-filled crepes. I will keep experimenting, next time sans cheese completely.

Oh, and I used the whole-wheat crepe recipe from enlightenedcooking.blogspot.com

T3, El3, Er3, Ch1 (E&E LOVE asparagus plain, so adding cheese makes 'em go crazy!)

Cheesy Spinach Filo Roll taken loosely from Inspired Vegetarian

1. cook 1 lb spinach until wilted; drain excess liquid
2. saute 1 chopped onion until soft, remove from heat and add spinach
3. add 6 oz ricotta cheese, plus feta or parmesan or whatever cheese you have, plus some seasonings of choice
4. layer five filo sheets down, brushing with oil or butter between each layer
5. spread the filling, leaving a 1 inch border, then roll it up and brush top with more oil
6. bake, seam side down, at 375 for 30 min until golden brown

T3, El3, Er3, Ch3 (I made this when Bob and Mom were in town, and it certainly had enough cheese in it to please all. It's not something I would make for just my family, but was a special treat.)

Coconut panna cotta

Total time: 15 minutes, plus 4 hours chilling time

Servings: 6

Note: From "Hawaii Cooks," by Roy Yamaguchi (Ten Speed Press, $32.50)

-2 envelopes granular gelatin

-6 tablespoons water

-2 cups coconut milk

-1 1/4 cups heavy cream (I used coconut cream, which is so wonderfully thick)

-3/4 cup sugar ("stevia in the raw" is my new fave sweetener-- somehow it's all-natural, not sure how...)

-1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

-Fresh fruit, diced, for garnish (I used fresh pineapple and raspberries with a little canned peaches and fresh mint leaves, but of course any tropical-ish fruit will do)

1. In a small bowl, combine the gelatin with the water until softened.

2. In a small saucepan, combine the coconut milk, cream, sugar and vanilla. Place over medium heat and warm until hot to the touch (about 110 degrees). Add the gelatin and stir until dissolved.

3. Pour into 6 (6-ounce) ramekins or custard cups. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours, or until set.

4. Serve garnished with fresh fruit.

T3, El1, Er3, Ch3 (Turns out Ellie doesn't like coconut. Weird. Anyway, it's basically jello, but a very healthful version. Yes, I realize coconuts are loaded with saturated fat, and I happen to still believe they are fabulously healthful! I try to consume coconut in at least one form every day.)

Lemon Cream sauce from Inspired Vegetarian (which is a remote cookbook I own but generally do not recommend-- too fancy aka exorbitant for my tastes)

1. combine 1 c broth (even water from cooking veggies will do) and 1 T cornstarch or flour and bring to a boil, stirring until sauce thickens slightly; add 2 t sugar and remove from heat and cool slightly
2. beat 2 egg yolks with juice of 1.5 lemons and stir gradually into sauce
3. cook over very low heat, stirring all the time, until sauce is fairly thick --don't overheat or it will curdle
4. remove from heat, still stirring a minute, and add salt and sugar to taste

T3, El3, Er3, Ch3 (My kids will eat anything over pasta. I love the idea of a creamy lemon sauce, but I think I'll try a more straightforward one next time.)

Gluten Free BBQ Sauce
from Elanaspantry.com
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
¼ cup shallots, minced
1 (7 ounce) bottle Bionaturæ Organic Tomato Paste
1 cup orange juice, fresh squeezed
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon dry mustard powder
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon celtic sea salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
  1. Warm oil in a saucepan over medium low heat
  2. Add garlic and shallot; cook until soft
  3. Add tomato paste, orange juice, vinegar, mustard, paprika, salt and pepper
  4. Simmer over low heat 15 to 20 minutes, stirring often
  5. Baste over fish or chicken
  6. Refrigerate and allow to marinate for 1-3 hours
  7. Grill and serve
Serves 6 -makes enough sauce for one whole chicken or 4 breasts

T3, El3, Er2, Ch2

I added sundried tomatoes and used this sauce with beans and fresh raw veggies rolled in tortillas. It was plenty sweet, although lacks any of the smoky flavor of traditional barbecue sauces. But with no expectations of barbecue flavor, it makes a great naturally-sweetened tomato sauce.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Recently Charlie's adopted an obsession with babies. This is normal for toddlers, I know, but still shocking that he was excited to see me hold my friend's baby. He squeals "beh-beh beh-beh beh-beh!" pointing emphatically at every carseat, stroller, and even the occassional two or three-year-old. So, maybe he doesn't actually know what babies are.

Still, it's pretty encouraging to see him do things like this:

No wait. I was supposed to insert an irresistible picture of Charlie cradling a baby doll in his arms. Can't find it, but I promise it did happen!

We're pretty sure Charlie wanted to be some couple's only child. Despite being quite the attention-monger, he just never gets enough lovin. Thus, the addition of a smaller, even snugglier life form might provoke some mighty unpleasant scenes in our world. But, maybe I'm wrong. I hope I'm wrong.

Erik, on the same hand, approached Kyle the other day and suggested that he sure would like to have a baby sister! I swear I did nothing to compel him to have such feelings or utter such utterings!

Ellie has naturally been begging for a sister for some time.

All the while, I am absolutely anything but baby-hungry. I don't even really like babies. I don't swoon when I pass a cute one in a buggy. I have no desire to hold babies (perhaps because I still hold mine all day?). Nothing personal, really. I realize they're very cute and that I can respect. I'll just take a toddler over a baby any day.

It's not that I haven't loved my babies like other mamas do, of course. I just haven't enjoyed that first year of their lives as much as every. other. year. Hmmmm, perhaps circumstances explain some of this? During Ellie's first year of life I was finishing my college degree full-time. Erik's first year of life was blanketed by the hazy gray skies of Tianjin living plus post-partum depression. Charlie's first year would make any woman consider a hysterectomy. So, I'm not such a bad mom after all, right?

It doesn't matter. None of this matters because in the end, or rather, in the beginning, each child must be a baby. I will deal. Babies can't be all that bad because they do turn into children, and them I love very, very much.

Actually, even less than none of this matters. I am no Madonna or Angelina Jolie as baby hoarding is concerned, and Kyle.... let's just say that about the only way I'll be getting a baby any day soon is if that diaper I planted in the backyard really starts sprouting babies. Yeah, you better watch this sketch.

Friday, February 11, 2011

new year resolutions and other stuff

-Remember that time when it was New Year's Day? Well, I made myself a resolution here and there. Let's get it down in type form to solidify my commitment to a better 2011.

1. be more punctual
2. go to bed earlier
3. get me and kids into a daily household chore routine

A short and practical list, right? Number one is pretty heavy, though. It's going to take allllll year to make some headway on that one.

-Ellie's sporting a new smile for the next couple of years.

Don't feel too sorry for her. She was ecstatic to get a visit from the tooth fairy, complete with eight quarters and a hand-written note. Turns out the tooth fairy's fancy handwriting strikes a resemblance to my own chicken scratch... (how does a five-year-old notice that?)

The other front tooth is loose, but was salvageable. For now. That girl is quite the little putz so it's only a matter of time before the next collision finishes it off.

-Busy week over here, but good and productive. On Wednesday I threw a little Valentine's Day shindig for Thunderkids and fams. As of late, I'm in charge of weekly activities for Thunderbird students' kids and the moms. It's been a challenge to forego indulgence in all those party planning details that make me giddy, but I'm determined to make this a manageable responsibility. Actually, for the first time in a very long time, I don't think I have an unhealthy obsession with some corner of domesticity right now.

-I mean, I'm still going strong on the plant food business, but that's around to stay, and it's not taking any extra time. Except for this past week, that is. Last night I hosted a mini-class on healthy eating for ladies in my ward. I spent a few too many [hundred] hours perusing recipes in preparation for this class. I was actually quite nervous about the whole ordeal. It's not easy to make meat-less, dairy-less food look and sound appetizing to omnivores!

Of course, the only type of person who would show up to such an event is a bit more primed to the idea of vegetarianism than your average Kyle, for instance. So, I think it went well. I still likely came off extreme in my dietary philosophy, but there was some good discussion and taste-testing and the regular hullabaloo that makes a social event worthwhile.

And I remain just as convinced as I was six months ago that this will be a permanent lifestyle for me. I just can't imagine going back to my previous diet ever again. Not now that I feel as good as I do.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Christmas 2010

Wow. It took three evenings devoted to selecting and uploading to bring you the slew of Christmas cheer before you now.

Today is the first day I've skipped a meal, not to mention skipped THREE consecutive meals, since 2004 (aka pre-preg/lactation days), so I daresy I am feeling more than a little too weary, cranky, and famished to properly caption all this fun.

Also, I have exactly seven blog entries saved in my draft folder awaiting elaboration, so witty commentary in this post will be notably lacking. Sorry to disappoint the vast quantities of my fans who bother reading the text. Thankfully, most of these photos prefer to speak for themselves.

With no further ado, it's Christmas 2010 aka THE BEST CHRISTMAS EVER!!!! (yes, I say that every year.)

Martha Stewart once again conned me into believing I could duplicate her designer kiddie snacks for our Joy School party. The sad thing is, I actually made these, not the kids.

My parents and unattached sibs were able to join us for Christmas at our place (We missed SKISLN and Joestie!). This was our first year since marriage having Christmas at our home. LOVED it. Traveling is always fun, too, but there is something sweet and magical (plus easier in many ways) about Christmas culminating where we've spent the whole season.

Here are the Goodwins in our natural states (check photo backgrounds).

The kids asked for Berenstein Bear books for Christmas and Grandma elf delivered early, having successfully excavated my childhood stash of literature from her garage. (!)

Ma & Pa were so very terribly wonderful to have around, for so many reasons. I love seeing them interact with my kiddos. EE&C have no idea how fortunate they are to have four excellent grandparents.

Mom and Dad took the kids on a special trip to the theater (their second time ever!) to see Tangled, with a natural follow-up at McD's. I still haven't seen Tangled-- can't wait 'til it hits the Dollar Theater. Hmmm, hope they have those outside of Utah Valley....

No such thing as Christmas without caroling and consuming Ma's candy cane bread without restraint.

Mish and Bryce insisted that caroling afflicts awkwardness on recipients in that the visits are unannounced and unwarranted. Have they even seen Elf? Who wouldn't love a good, spontaneous Christmas tune delivered to their doorstep. Anyone? It comes with free food and four-part harmony, so yeah. I don't get it.

And this is how we spent much of our quality time together as a family.

I'm pretty sure I am at LEAST as excited as the kids when a package from Gramps and Gran Larsen arrives. They have a 100% track record of being packed full of goodness.

How fortunate that the kids consented to make Santa's favorite type of cookie! Let's get real, though, this Santa's favorite foods in the world are, in order of preference, 1. every single type of homemade cookie, 2. everything else.

Jiminy! How did all those presents get there!? I swear I tried not to buy anything this year...

This is what all the slacker elves did while I played Santa.

Six hours of visions-of-sugar-plums later, CHRISTMAS MORNING! Charlie went straight for Santa's cookie remnants.

Ellie put in a request for Santa to bring her Puppy Surprise, which went out of stock in the, oh, mid '90s. Thankfully, a very crafty elf named myself pulled a few strings here and there and BAM! Kitty/polar bear surprise!

But they sort of look like dogs. Sort of.

Erik originally asked for Daddy Bean from Santa (what the...?) but later recanted and simply requested a surprise. Conveniently enough, I had picked up a surprise (in the form of Tinker Toys) at a garage sale months ago that I'd put on a shelf and forgotten to give the kids. So, it all worked out. He was most excited about his new toothbrush anyway.

Charlie was too modest to make a request, but Santa happened to know he didn't have and therefore should have a shape sorter/cup stacking duo.

Some other faves include...

a new (eco-friendly!) outfit for Emma,

coolest rocket ship ever,

Hungry Hungry Hippos,

and lots of other good stuff. Way too much good stuff actually. Too bad I used to judge parents for spoiling their kids. Turns out it's super easy and exceedingly enjoyable.

Here are the kids with their Christmas stocking spoils:

Erik played with his rocket ship for eight solid hours of Christmas. No hyperbole about it. Ellie and Charlie had to open his presents while he focused on the toy that mattered most.

So weird, but Santa went all healthy on us this year (while simultaneously gobbling the cookies we left him-- hypocrite!), garnishing our stockings not with Halloween candy, but rather with miniature apples, bananas, and oranges.

Yeah, a little overboard. How cute are those apples, though!?

Oh yeah, Bryce was there, too!

Kyle pretended to be surprised about the ukulele (my parents gave him) that I'd shabbily hidden in the garage. Yeah, I hid it under his jacket. Sometimes I just underestimate Kyle's seeking skills!

Mish will hate me for posting this picture, but I just love this expression. (Near) tears of joy over clothes. A sister understands.

Hmmmm, who took this? Wasn't me. Bryce likely wanted to document the hard work gone into growing his "beard."

He's at it agaaaain!!!

Yep, still at the rocket.

Mish waxed artistic over Dad's typical rags. This year's victim: unsuspecting slippers.

My favorite gift was a homemade tamper for my Blendtec, hand-crafted my Kylie-poo! The absence of tamper was my only complaint about the Blendtec (vs. Vitamix). Now it is perfection!

And you may think I'm blending dirty water down there, but no. Bryce's inaugural contribution to a family buffet came in the form of what he dubs "Fresh," a yummy limeade. So weird to see Bryce in the kitchen, though, if only for a beverage.

I think we were too tired to photograph it, but we did an international buffet for Christmas dinner, at Kyle's request. It sounded fun and exciting, and it would've been, if we hadn't had to make it ourselves. I think I'll order out pizza on Christmas from now on.

Anyway, Mish made polenta pancakes with avocado salsa, Mom made jiaozi or some Chinese dish, I think, Kyle whipped up his famous Thai curry, and I fried some bananas. Okay, that doesn't actually sound like such an impressive, time-consuming spread, but it was. And that's why it's pizza from now on.

Ellie whooped her uncles at Slamwich (a slap happy game like unto Egyptian Ratscrew), we exchanged jolly greetings with Skisln and Joestie via skype, and that was Christmas. Wonderful, tasty, sleepy, cozy, perfect Christmas. We really should have another Christmas every June, but just with the family fun, not presents.

Also, Kyle and I should really celebrate our Dec. 23 anniversary in June. What were we thinking? Sorry about that, everyone who got roped into pulling off that wedding.

Mish left before her birthday on the 29th, so for the first time (maybe ever?) she didn't have to share a birthday cake with Bob!

My birthday gift to Bob was homemade sushi. Bob is easy to please.

Mom's birthday came up on New Year's Day. Again, I gifted food. I saw her eying a sale on steak in the grocery ads. Poor carnivorous Ma had had enough of my veganish nonsense.

I also took the liberty of buying some fresh (read: NOT reduced) pastries in lieu of birthday cake. The way to Mom's heart is also through her stomach. Love that Ma.

Well, that's all I got. Let it be known, in case any doubts remain, that Christmas was the coolest! Loved that food, love that fam. Yup, as Becca says, forever sounds pretty good.