Avocado Sweet Potato Soup

Avocados are wonderfully versatile, and you find them in all kinds of recipes– on BLTs, in salads, salsas, even desserts. They also add a creaminess to soup that leaves one feeling satisfied without using any cream or coconut milk. If this soup sounds odd, trust me and give it a whirl. It’s easy, and it has a distinctly Southwestern taste, a nice balance of sweet and spicy.

A warning: This soup is spicy!! If you don’t like spice, skip the jalapenos.

This is a doubled and altered version of the recipe here.

Ingredients

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into dice-sized pieces

2 avocados, peeled and chopped

1-1/2 jalapenos, minced

2 tsp applewood smoked salt (This stuff adds a wonderful bacony taste to things)

1 Tbsp cumin

ground black pepper, to taste

7 cups water

1 lime

1 Tbsp fresh cilantro (optional)

Make It:

Combine everything but the lime and cilantro in a pot. Bring to a boil for 15-20 minutes, then puree til smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. Squeeze in the juice of one lime just before serving, and garnish with cilantro if desired.

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Filed under Soups and Salads, Vegetarian.

Honey Oatmeal Waffles

I love waffles. In college, if you wanted a truly warm dinner (instead of the usual lukewarm,) your best option was to make yourself a waffle in one of the dining halls’ Belgian waffle irons, and in the winter I lived off them. It’s warm here, but these are still comfort food. You can find the original recipe for these here.

Ingredients

1 cup oats

1-1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp cinnamon

pinch of salt

2 eggs, separated

1-1/2 cups milk

4 T butter, melted

3 T honey

Make Em

Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with foil and spread oats in pan, baking for ten minutes (tossing occasionally) to toast the oats. Turn off the oven and let the oats cool, then pulse in a food processor until ground to a powder.

Preheat your waffle iron. Beat egg whites to stiff peaks.

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl, mixing well. Mix in egg yolks, milk, butter, and honey. Gently fold in egg whites. Pour 3/4 cup at a time into your waffle iron– these waffles are fluffy, and if you leave them in the iron for a while, they get crispy on the outside and soft within. Serve with honey and bananas.

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Filed under Meals, Uncategorized, Vegetarian.

Checking In: Use It Up Challenge

Hi folks,

So far it’s been two weeks of eating just the food in my house and a few new purchases, mostly produce and milk. I’ve been eating quinoa burgers, baking frozen chicken breasts, and making some yummy whole wheat baked goods. All of these recipes will be forthcoming soon. Except baking chicken breasts. I ate them plain… I was real hungry.

One thing I have discovered: I hate white rice. It has no flavor and I’m hungry again an hour later! I unfortunately bought a really big bag of it at Sam’s Club a few months ago, and so I’ve been eating it with lentils. Maybe the lentils balance out how useless white rice is as a source of nutrition or satiety.

Blah. Click for source.

So far I’ve spent about $40, roughly half of my monthly allotment, on fruit, vegetables, milk, yogurt, and a nice block of cheese. I did end up buying bread crumbs and ketchup, too, because I needed them to make burgers out of all my stored goodies! Overall, though, I think this experiment has been successful- I’m clearing out my cabinets, saving money, and eating just fine.

If you could only use what you have on hand right now, what would you cook for dinner?

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Slow-Cooker Thai-Inspired Pork

I have a tiny slow cooker, which really only makes enough dinner for two people– maybe three people if Captain Crunch isn’t one of them. I’ve only really used it to make Carolina-style pulled pork, which wasn’t really good enough to share with you. (Just go to a barbecue joint. It’s worth it.) This, then, is the first real success I’ve had with it. Hopefully more will follow.

Ingredients:

1 lb pork loin, rinsed and patted dry, trimmed of any excess fat

1/2 cup teriyaki

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon chili oil

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/3 cup peanut butter

1 bell pepper, chopped

1 head of broccoli, chopped

1/2 cup chopped green onion

Make It:

Place the pork in a greased slow cooker. Mix the teriyaki, vinegar, oil, and ginger together, then pour over the pork. Cook on low 3-4 hours. Remove pork and shred with two forks. Stir peanut butter into remaining sauce, then return pork to pot along with vegetables. Let cook an additional 30-45 minutes. Serve over rice or noodles. Makes 4 servings.

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Black Bean Soup

Beans are pretty much magic. They’re full of fiber AND protein, and they’re inexpensive. I cook with them all the time, and this is one of my favorite things to do with black beans.

I use canned tomatoes, beans, and other products, but there’s a lot of fear about BPA poisoning, so if you like, prep some dried beans and use fresh tomatoes and tomato juice. This recipe comes from the fantastic Moosewood Cooks at Home.

Ingredients:

10 sun dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped
3 minced garlic cloves
1 jalapeno chile pepper, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/3 cup water
28-ounce can of diced tomatoes, with the liquid
2 14-ounce cans of black beans, with the liquid
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Make It:

Put your sun dried tomatoes in a bowl with boiling water to soften them for ten minutes. Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil in a pan over medium-high heat, and add the onion, cooking for five minutes, then the garlic and pepper. Cook another two minutes, then add the water, cumin, tomatoes, and black beans. Bring to a boil and then simmer. Chop the re-hydrated sun dried tomatoes and add them to the soup. At this point, you have a choice: You can puree half the soup in a blender and return it to the pot, or enjoy the soup as is. I usually do the latter, letting it cook for an hour or so to break down the beans. Stir in cilantro one minute before serving.

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Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Muffins

I’m an early riser– I try to get my workout in before I go to work at 7:30 in the morning. A portable breakfast, then, is key. Usually I take a Fage yogurt with me, but since I’m trying to use up everything in my pantry, I decided to make some healthy(ish) muffins instead. I had peanut butter on hand, and dried cranberries, so that’s what I used in my modification of the recipe here. They turned out really great!

Ingredients

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

4 tsp safflower oil

2 T Greek yogurt

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup dried cranberries (or you could use peanuts, chocolate chips, whatever.)

Make Em:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix. Pour into prepared muffin tin and bake at 375 degrees for 20-22 minutes. Let cool on wire racks before trying!

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Kitchendeavor Challenge: Use It Up!

Who knows what's lurking in there?

I spend a fair amount of money on food every week, perhaps because I eat a lot of organic or humanely-raised foods. I’m usually on the order of $80 a week, which includes some meals to share with Captain Crunch or friends.

But today, writing up a shopping list, I looked at all the food already in my cabinets, and my freezer, and got to thinking… how long could I get by on what’s already in my pantry? I have a lot of frozen fruits and soups, cans and jars of vegetables and legumes, a big ol’ bag of flour… Heck, I bet I could eat for a month without going to the store.

Well, except I don’t scurvy or osteoporosis.

So here’s the plan: I’m going to spend $80 in a month instead of in a week– enough to buy milk and produce, maybe the occasional container of yogurt, and other than that I’m going to make do with what I already have. So I’ll be posting some “Use It Up” recipes when my ingredient list demands creativity, and I’ll let you know what I’ve bought with my weekly $20, so we’re all honest here. I’m excited!

How long do you think you could go just on what on hand?

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