Sunday, March 13, 2011

Beans and Rice, Beans and Rice, how nice!

Well, its been more than a year now since Ive posted anything here in the blog world. I suppose anyone who read my blog before probably forgot about me. That's alright, I had a great reason for my extended absence - I was pregnant! I didn't feel like cooking or eating much of anything, and didn't really feel like writing much anymore either.

Now my little man is here I finally feel like expressing my creativity to the world - no matter how insignificant it may be. I am changing the name of the blog to reflect the content a little better, since I really don't want to only write about food. I am no chef by any means, but I do like to share my explorations. Even more than that I like to share my adventures with my kids and what I'm making (mostly for the kids).

So, I'll start with what I'm making. I have been working on a cardigan for my husband for the longest time (well, 3 months feels like the longest time...) and I think I'm almost close to the end. I hope so because I want to finally make myself something, for once! I have some beautiful yarn to create something for me and I can hardly wait.

Here's some views of his sweater:
Mr. Rogers sweater


While thinking of something I'd like to make for myself, I've started a mini version for my daughter. It will be a little cardigan, knit sideways. Hers is short sleeved. I'm super excited about it, especially because it's my first creation entirely my own. Pics to come...

As far as food goes, the other night (its taken me a while to get this up) I cooked up some yummy creation with rice, beans, tofu and chipotle sauce. It was quite good. I was inspired a bit after my mom and I were reminiscing over old School House Rock videos, and this song got stuck in my head:

Thus this weekend is a nice combo of some yummy beans and rice.
Chipotle beans and rice

The picture is a little yellow... sorry. Taken quickly with my phone, while holding a wriggling little boy.

The ingredients are:

1 package firm tofu, cubed
1 to 1 1/2 cups basmati rice (cook as usual, with a bit of turmeric and paprika for color)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp hing (aka asafoetida)
1/2 medium bell pepper, diced
1 1/2 cup water
3 tbsp Braggs Liquid Aminos
3-4 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp chipotle sauce (to play it safe... if i were cooking for myself I'd used at least 3x as much!)
1 tbsp fresh cilantro
1/2 cup frozen baby lima beans
1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach
1 15 oz can each whole kernel corn and black beans (or pinto, or both!) drained and rinsed
About 1/2 cup chipotle Salsa, or your favorite salsa
2 medium carrots, shredded
salt and pepper to taste.

I baked the tofu cubes. You could also easily just fry them a little, but to bake them:
Heat the oven to 400 degrees f. Coat the tofu in a little oil (about 1 tbsp). Spread out on lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with a little salt and nutritional yeast, if desired. Bake about 30 minutes, turning a couple of times so they cook evenly.

In the mean time, in a large pan heat olive oil over med heat. Add bell pepper and cook for about 1 - 2 minutes. Add cumin seeds and sautee another minute or so. Add hing just until it turns color. You can also use garlic, I suppose, if you like that or if you can't find hing. Which is very likely.
Add the rest of the ingredients except beans, corn and carrots. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beans and corn and cook until heated through. Stir in tofu, cooked rice and shredded carrots. Wah-lah! Yumminess! Would be best with some avocado, chips and fresh salsa.

 Hope you like this week's flavor! As a special bonus to celebrate my return, I'm including another recipe!

Peanut Butter Breakfast Cookies!

Yep, you read right -- breakfast cookies!  These pair perfectly with a cup of soymilk and some fruit on the side, especially a banana. Made with oatmeal, peanut butter (duh!) apple sauce and whole wheat flour, its a little meal in a cookie!
I just tried this tonight, and honestly I think there was a bit too much flour. Next time I think I'll lessen the flour by maybe 1/4 cup, and/or use regular, unbleached flour, add a little more apple sauce, or use regular sugar or agave nectar instead of powdered sugar. However, they are still yummy, especially for dunking!

1 cup of your favorite creamy peanut butter (about 1/2 of a 15 oz. jar)
5 tbsp applesauce
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup oatmeal flour (2/3 cup oatmeal processed in food processor or blender until a fine powder)
1 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Put oatmeal in food processor or blender and process until a fine powder. Measure w.w. flour, baking soda and salt together. Add to food processor and process for about another minute, until fine and completely mixed. Alternatively, you may whisk the dry ingredients together. I would love to mix some ground flax in here as well - I add that to almost everything I bake. However, I try to keep my recipes here as universally accessible as possible, so I didn't add them here. Feel free to toss in a couple tablespoons if you have some!
In a separate bowl, mix together peanutbutter, applesauce, and sugars together until completely mixed. Stir in flour mixture slowly, about 1/2 cup at a time. When it gets a little tough to stir, just mix in with your hands until flour is no longer visible. It'll blend in with the peanut butter.
Form into small golf-ball sized balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Press down with a fork twice, to form a criss cross pattern typical of yummy peanut  butter cookies. Bake for about 10 minutes, until lightly browned on the bottom. Let cool and enjoy with a cup of soymilk, almond milk, hot chocolate, tea.... whatever your pleasure!

Again, I hope you enjoy these recipes. Please let me know of any ideas for improvement!

*A note about hing - this is a very particular spice, and an acquired taste in many people's opinions. My family does not care for garlic or onions much, so I generally use hing in its place. It is often available in Indian as well as some Asian and Mexican food stores. Feel free to adjust the amount of hing to suit your "tolerance" :) or feel free to put a little garlic if that's what you use.

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