Gluten Free · New Favorite · Vegan · Vegetarian

West African Peanut Stew

Peanut Stew is featured today thanks to this great recipe prepared by fellow Grandma-in-law (grandson Evan’s other Grandma), Chris, for our potluck last week as mentioned in Tuesday’s post.

She adapted the recipe per her notes below and it was absolutely delicious!  The original recipe serves six and is easily adaptable to vegan, omitting the chicken and using vegetable broth.  I will add this recipe to my favorites.

WEST AFRICAN PEANUT STEW

“A hearty stew that’s super-easy to make and great for peanut butter lovers. Can be made vegetarian or with chicken. In a pinch, feel free to use vegetable or corn oil for peanut oil, powdered ginger for fresh, water for stock, etc. Kale works well in place of collard greens.”

2 tablespoons peanut oil (I used coconut oil)
one half onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger (I prefer to slice them thick so you can fish it out)
a pinch of sugar to caramelize onion
1 pound chicken, cut into chunks (optional)
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper, or to taste (which for me was none)
I added about a tsp of cinnamon
salt and ground black pepper to taste
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3 small sweet potatoes, cut into chunks
1 (16 ounce) can chopped tomatoes, with liquid
1/4 pound collard greens, roughly chopped
1 cup chunky peanut butter

  • Heat the peanut oil in a large pot over medium-high heat; cook and stir the onion, garlic, and ginger in the hot oil until softened, about 5 minutes.  (I used Costco rotisserie shredded chicken, so I didn’t add it until the last step, since it was already cooked)
  • Add the chicken; cook and stir until completely browned. Season with the crushed red pepper, salt, and black pepper. Pour the chicken stock over the mixture. Stir the sweet potatoes into the liquid and bring the mixture to a boil; reduce heat to low, cover the pot partially with a lid, and cook at a simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Stir the tomatoes, collard greens, and peanut butter into the soup. Partially cover the pot again and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, another 20 minutes. (Mine simmered for about 30 minutes longer than that. I used a potato masher and crushed up the sweet potatoes and tomatoes a little after the recipe’s 20 minute simmer, so it would be thicker rather than chunky.)

I had extra collard greens and one review suggested to sauté them as garnish along with chopped peanuts.

The original recipe was found on Epicurious.

 

Book Club · New Favorite

Poisonwood Bible and African Themed Potluck

Poisonwood Bible (1998) was our recent Book Club read. I remember trying to read this great book in the late ’90s but work, teenagers and life interrupted  my reading experience.  I was delighted when our Book Club added the book to our 2014 list. While the book is long, the time flew by as I read this marvelous book by Barbara Kingsolver.

The book was originally suggested to me by my sister-in-law, Betty, when they were living in Malawi, Africa on a medical and education mission. During their time in Africa, Betty wrote many emails to family and friends capturing the many wonderful and tragic moments there.  Poinsonwood Bible brought back a flood of memories from her stories.

Our book club always begins the evening with a potluck dinner with a theme from the book, so African recipes it is! Betty was kind enough to mail me her cookbook, The Malawi Cookbook:

Malawi Cookbook
Malawi Cookbook

The cookbook was originally published in 1972 by the Malawi Ministry of Health to raise money for children’s vaccinations and the Save the Children fund.  Malnutrition is one of the leading causes of morbidity in young children in developing countries.

The recipes are fascinating and I will keep a few for my future cooking experiences, although I doubt I will ever serve Bee Larvae, Flying Ants, Grasshoppers, Crickets and Locusts.  Instead, I decided to use the eggplant recipe that Betty shared directly with me. I love eggplant, made any which way, so this was a perfect choice. As Betty shared, Mashed Eggplant is served everywhere during harvest season.

Other wonderful dishes shared at our dinner were Ingera (sponge bread), Chicken and Peanut Stew (recipe to appear in Friday’s post), Fried Plantains, and an array of Ethiopian dishes from a local restaurant.

I took several wonderful pictures of the Eggplant and Peanut Spread, to later discover I didn’t have my memory card in my camera. My apologies but let me assure you the dish was a big hit, even for those that confess to not liking Eggplant. Serve this spread with wedges of pita bread or, for those eating gluten-free, a gluten free cracker.

The only change I would make the next time I make it, would be to roast the eggplant in the oven to decrease the amount of fat in the dish.

Eggplant

MASHED EGGPLANT & PEANUT SPREAD

2 pounds eggplant, peeled and sliced
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter (in Malawi, they would use local made groundnut butter)
salt and red pepper flakes, to taste
  • Prepare the eggplant in the usual way of slicing, salting, weighing down the eggplant during the two hours you are extracting the liquid and bitterness.  
  • Pat dry, then fry eggplant slices for about five minutes in the olive oil, turning once.  
  • Mix and pour remaining ingredients over the fried slices, mash with fork, then serve with pita wedges.  (I admit to having used a food processor which made the finished product a bit smoother).

 

 

 

Family · Garden · My Roots

Bleeding Hearts…Springtime Legends

Memories of Bleeding Hearts in my Mother’s garden are vivid. Planting these beauties in my shade garden was a must when we moved into our home many years ago.  Each year I look forward to their spring blooms and the memories they bring. Delicate little white and red hearts dangling from their tender stems, blowing in the breeze in my yard are precious.

My Mother used to take a  blossom from the plant and fold down the bottom of the heart to create what appears to be a girl in a pretty red skirt.

Bleeding Heart Blossom
Bleeding Heart Blossom
Bleeding Heart Girl in Dress
Bleeding Heart Girl in Dress

In playing this game with my girls, I discovered that if you fold the petal down a little more you now have a young boy in his pants.

IMG_2277
White Bleeding Heart Boy

When I decided to post about the beloved Bleeding Heart, I did some research and discovered a wonderful legend that I love and will share with my grandchildren.

BLEEDING HEART LEGEND

Long ago there lived a noble prince who tried in vain to win the heart of a very beautiful princess. The prince had brought the princess wonderful gifts from his travels far and wide. Yet she had taken no notice of him. One day the prince returned from a long journey with very special gifts to surely win the love of the princess. First he presented her with two magical pink bunnies. (Peel off the two outer petals and set them on their sides to display two little bunnies.)

Story of the Bleeding Heart, Bunnies
Story of the Bleeding Heart, Bunnies

The princess only sighed and barely looked at the little bunnies. The hopeful prince had another gift for the princess – he presented a pair of beautiful enchanted earrings. (Remove the two long white petals and hold them next to your ears.)

Bleeding Heart Story Earrings
Bleeding Heart Story Earrings

These she took happily, but declared she could not love him.  Still, he can’t bear to give up hope, and he makes her another gift of slippers made of the finest silk.

IMG_4222

Again, the princess hardly noticed the prince’s gift. Now the poor prince was utterly heartbroken. He could try no more to win the heart of the princess. He rose up, pulled a dagger from his sheath and stabbed himself in the heart. (Remaining in the flower is a heart shape with the stamen, appearing as a dark green line down the center. Hold the heart up, carefully remove the dagger-like line, and plunge the dagger through the heart.)

Bleeding Heart with stake
Bleeding Heart Story with Stake

The princess was overcome by the dedication of the dying prince and his unending love for her. She realized too late that she loved him also. “Alas,” she cried out. “I have done wrong, my own heart is broken also. I shall bleed for my prince forever more!” And her heart bleeds to this very day.

Bleeding Hearts
Bleeding Hearts

There are many blossoms on a Bleeding Heart in full bloom, so next time you pass such a delightful array, perhaps you’ll have permission to pick a heart and discover the mysteries within

Adapted from Story of Bleeding Hearts from Four Friends and a Blog and Forklore and the Bleeding Heart and Thursday Myths and Legends

Gluten Free · New Favorite · Skinny · Vegan · Vegetarian

Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Soup…surprisingly delicious!

Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Soup, with only 5 ingredients, sounded too easy to be good. I was wrong.

It was full of flavor and, depending on your taste buds, could be enhanced with additional vegetables and spices. I think I will add a bit of curry next time.

What would you add?

 SWEET POTATO AND CAULIFLOWER SOUP

1 head cauliflower
3 sweet potatoes
1 sweet onion
Olive oil
2 cloves garlic
7 cups water
Salt and pepper

  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • Cut up cauliflower and lay out on a cookie sheet, drizzle with oil, and bake for 25 minutes.
  • In a large pot bring water, sweet potato, onion and garlic to boil.  Cook until sweet potatoes are tender.
  • Remove half of soup and puree in food processor.  Return to soup pot.
  • Garnish with green onion, salt and pepper, parsley.

Recipe adapted from Living Paleo Cuisine

New Favorite

Cheesy Sausage Grits…MMMM, MMMM, Good!

Grits and Cathy did not have the opportunity to meet until about 8 years ago when I tasted a Grits Breakfast dish at a party. They actually tasted good and weren’t just a mushy, bland bowl of nothing like I expected.  Of course, what doesn’t taste good when mixed with cheese and sausage?

A few weeks ago I bought a bag of grits at Sprouts before I found a recipe for this yummy dish for my annual Mother’s Coffee/Tea. Every recipe I came across called for ‘instant grits’ not just plain old grits.  After much searching, I found this recipe. As one Southern friend told me, instant grits aren’t as good so don’t even bother!

Grits are now like a dear, old friend (at least when cheese is involved). I plan to make this again, without the sausage, as a side dish for BBQ.  MMMM, MMMM, good!

CHEESY SAUSAGE GRITS

1 cup grits (uncooked)
1 lb. breakfast sausage (bulk, if you need to use links, finely dice the cooked links)
1 cup onion (diced)
9 oz. green chiles (drained and chopped)
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs (slightly beaten)
2 cups cheddar cheese (shredded)
10 drops Tabasco
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/4 cup fresh parsley (chopped)

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  • Cook the grits in 4 cups of salted water until done (follow package directions). (I whisked the grits into boiled water and it only took me about 5-10 minutes to cook the grits)
  • Saute the sausage and onions, breaking the sausage into small pieces.
  • Drain the grease from the sausage and onions.
  • Add the chilies, butter, eggs, cheese and Tabasco to the cooked grits.
  • Combine the sausage and onions with the grits mixture.
  • Pour everything into a 9″x 13″ casserole and garnish with the paprika and parsley.
  • The mixture can be refrigerated for up to two days before baking (bring to room temperature before baking to use the same bake time).
  • Bake at 325°F for one (1) hour.
  • (The recipe states that this freezes well but I didn’t have any left to freeze!)

http://www.food.com/recipe/sausage-and-grits-casserole-92343

New Favorite · South Beach

Spinach and Green Onion Egg Bake

SPINACH AND GREEN ONION EGG BAKE

For 8.5″x12″ Pan:

5 oz. organic fresh spinach (4 cups packed)
1-2 tsp. olive oil (depending on your pan)
1 1/2 cups low-fat mozzarella
1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
8 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
fresh ground black pepper to taste

For 10.5″x14.75″ Pan:

10 oz. organic fresh spinach (I used frozen spinach and skipped the olive oil)
3 cups low-fat mozzarella
2/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
16 eggs, beaten
1.5 tsp. Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
1 tsp. dried thyme
fresh ground black pepper to taste

  • Preheat oven to 375F/190C. Spray glass or crockery casserole dish with olive oil or nonstick spray.
  • If using fresh spinach, heat the oil in a large frying pan, add spinach all at once, and stir just until the spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes. If using frozen spinach, thaw and drain the spinach.
  • Transfer spinach to the casserole dish, spreading it around so all the bottom of the dish is covered. Layer the grated cheese and sliced onions on top of the spinach.
  • Beat the eggs with Lawry’s seasoned salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Pour the egg mixture over the spinach/cheese combination, and then use a fork to gently “stir” so the eggs, spinach, and cheese are evenly combined.
  • Bake about 35 minutes or until the mixture is completely set and starting to lightly brown. Let cool about 5 minutes before cutting. Serve hot.
  • This dish could be served with salsa, sour cream, or hot sauce.
  • This can be cut into individual servings to keep in the fridge and microwaved for a quick breakfast during the week. Don’t microwave longer than 1-2 minutes or the eggs can get slightly rubbery.

Recipe adapted from KaylynsKitchen.com

Family · My Roots

Mother’s Day…Things I Miss About You

Time is so precious and passes every so swiftly. When I was younger, I took so much for granted, assuming that time and moments would go on forever.

Each Mother’s Day (and Father’s Day) I recall the times that I did have with my Mom and Dad. How I wish I could call them up to chat and tell them how much I love and miss them.

Betty Gaunt senior portrait 2

Things I Miss About You

It’s Mother’s Day again,
And I’m trying to make it through,
Because this day reminds me
Of all the things I miss about you.

I miss your face smiling down at me,
With love shining from your eyes.
I miss the way you’d laugh at my jokes
So hard that it made you cry.

I miss the touch of your dear hands,
How gentle and kind they could be.
And I miss the warth of your hugs, and how
You’d wrap me up tight as could be.

I miss the smell of your perfume,
The way it lingered in the air.
Sometimes I think I smell it again,
And I get a sense that you’re there.

I miss the way you could always tell
When something in my life had gone wrong,
How you’d talk to me until I felt better,
Your words soothed me like a song.

And so I sit here once again
Remembering these things I miss
And this year, just like every year,
I make a silent wish.

I wish that one day I’ll see you again,
Whole, and safe, and sound.
That you’ll take my hand securely in yours,
And for Heaven we’ll be bound.

Author Unknown

New Favorite · Vegetarian

Quinoa Omelette Bites

I am a protein breakfast person.  Straight carbs just don’t last for me.  If I eat cereal or toast, I’m starving in an hour. My typical breakfast is either Greek yogurt or an egg, with a strong cup of coffee. My dear friend, Jan, told me about this wonderful recipe.

I modified the original recipe to fit my taste buds and loved the results. The next morning I reheated in the microwave and they were equally as good and  filling.  Hello breakfast for the week!

QUINOA OMELETTE BITES

1 cup quinoa, warm
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese
1 egg white & 1 whole egg
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup minced green or red bell peppers
1/4 cup minced sweet onion

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray mini muffin tins with cooking spray.
  • Cook the quinoa according to package instructions.  Chop and microwave, on high, the onions and peppers, for 1.5 to 2 minutes.
  • In a medium bowl, mix the warm quinoa with the cheese to melt the cheese.  Add the eggs, garlic, salt, spinach, peppers and onion.  Stir to combine all ingredients.
  • Spoon mixture into mini muffin tins, filling to the top.

  • Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before removing from muffin tins.  Run a small knife around the edges to loosen and pop out of the tins.

Recipe adapted from Tablespoon.com

Family · New Traditions · Uncategorized

Celebrating Moms!

Each year, for the past four years, a group of gal pals have gathered to celebrate ourselves. This wonderful group of women saw our kids grow from adolescents to adults and we have a lot to celebrate! While we don’t see each other as often, we do gather together for a Mother’s Coffee/Tea as well as in smaller groups for Book Club, Card Making, and Christmas.  These women are such a blessing for me as well as for their children.

That being said, we all LOVE to come together over food. Each year our friend, Barb, captured pics of our delicious array of food as well as pics of our group.

2013MDfood

Last year was the first time our daughter, Sarah, joined us as a Mom celebrating the birth of Evan. It’s such a wonderful gift to now have our daughters (and in the future daughter-in-laws) join us in the celebration.

P1120107We will be celebrating a week before Mother’s Day this year so let the party begin.