In our little family, Thai food is always a big hit. One of our favorite treats is fresh spring rolls, but we’ve had a hard time finding them in our new city. So, we took things into our own hands and tried making our own! I’m so glad we did. This recipe is really much easier than it seems, although it is a bit of a project to do all the prep work. It’s well worth it, though, and we had a lot of fun putting them together.

One of the best things about these spring rolls is that they are so adaptable. You can really include any veggies that you have on hand, and you can adapt the herbs to your preferences. We used baked tofu to add some protein, but you could leave it out or include some strips of grilled chicken or another meat. Basically, just add whatever you like!

A couple of notes about the recipe: We used cellophane noodles instead of the rice noodles called for in the original recipe. You could use either, but we had cellophane noodles on hand. Cellophane noodles are usually made out of mung bean starch and they are also known as vermicelli or glass noodles. You could use thin rice noodles, but we thought the texture of the cellophane noodles was perfect for filling these rolls.

Also, when you are buying the spring roll wrappers, be sure to find the ones made out of rice instead of the ones made out of wheat. Wheat egg roll wrappers are usually refrigerated and have to be cooked, but their rice cousins are dried and they only need to be soaked in warm water instead of being cooked. We found a package of about 50 wrappers for only a couple dollars in the Vietnamese section of our local Asian market.

Finally, we would cut the recipe in half next time for our family of two, since it makes 12 rolls and we found that they don’t keep well for more than about a day before the wrappers start falling apart. They were delicious, though, and this is a recipe that we will be making over and over again!

Fresh Spring Rolls (slightly adapted from The Curvy Carrot)

Ingredients

Peanut Sauce:

  • 1/4 c. creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 c. hot tap water
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. lime juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste 

Tofu:

  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • dash of pepper
  • 8 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into twelve 3-by-1/2-inch sticks

 Spring rolls:

  • 1 c. cellophane (or thin rice) noodles, prepared according to package directions
  • 1/2 of a cucumber, sliced into thin sticks (about the width of a matchstick and about 3 inches long)
  • 1 carrot, sliced the same size as the cucumbers
  • 1 c. mung bean sprouts
  • 1 avocado, sliced lengthwise into 12 even pieces
  • 12 pieces lettuce, torn into 3-by-3-inch pieces
  • 1/4 c. coarsely chopped fresh mint (less if you prefer – the flavor is strong)
  • 1/4 c. coarsely chopped cilantro
  • Twelve 6-inch spring roll wrappers

Instructions

First, make the peanut sauce:

  1. In a small bowl, mix the peanut butter and hot water until smooth.
  2. Add the soy sauce, vinegar, honey, lime juice, salt, and pepper and mix until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
Next, prepare the tofu:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Whisk together the soy sauce, oil, and pepper.
  3. Drain the tofu sticks on a paper towel to remove excess water, then place them on a rimmed baking sheet or in a casserole dish.
  4. Pour the marinade evenly over each piece of tofu, making sure all sides are thoroughly coated.
  5. Allow the tofu to marinate for at least 10 to 15 minutes before baking.
  6. Bake for approximately 20-30 minutes, flipping the tofu sticks over halfway through baking. The goal is to get them golden brown on each side. Keep an eye on them; ours were finished in about 25 minutes but the original recipe called for 30 minutes.

(While the tofu is baking, you can prepare your veggies!)

Finally, assemble the spring rolls. This is where teamwork comes in handy:

  1. Fill a wide, shallow bowl with warm water. We used a frying pan, but a pie pan would be great too. You just need an inch or two of water.
  2. Take a spring roll wrapper and place it in the water for about 5 seconds, until it is soft and pliable.
  3. Lay the wrapper flat on your work surface. Place one piece of lettuce on the top center of the wrapper, making sure to leave a border on all sides.
  4. On top of the lettuce, arrange a few pieces of carrot and cucumber, a slice of tofu and avocado, a spoonful of bean sprouts and noodles, and a sprinkle of mint and cilantro. (You want the wrapper to be more full rather than less, but don’t overfill it. You’ll get the hang of how much to include once you do one or two rolls.)
  5. Hold the fillings together with one hand and wrap it up like a burrito: start by folding in the sides, then roll the wrapper lengthwise around the fillings. You want to wrap it as tightly as possible around the fillings so that the roll stays together once you begin eating it. Press the edges of the wrapper together to seal it.
  6. Repeat the process with each of the remaining spring roll wrappers, and serve with the peanut sauce.

Enjoy!

 

 

In High School I had a supervisor that would make this soup for us very regularly. I have found that it is a perfect substitute for Mac n Cheese(which Rosemarie can’t eat ). So I’ve taken to making this very often. It is incredibly simple and very tasty. Give it a try and if you want to add vegetables it tastes really good with zucchini. There are several variations of this recipe. I found this one on www.laughwithusblog.com

Sopa de Fideos

 

Sopa-de-Fideo-Mexican-Alphabet-Soup.jpg

Sopa de Fideos

You’ll need:

2 packages La Moderna pasta 7 oz. each (Found in the Mexican food aisle.)

2(8 oz) cans of tomato sauce

6 cups of water

4 Tbsp. chicken bouillon (Knorr for the authentic flavor)

2 Tbsp. Oil

A couple dashes of Fajita Seasoning and a dash red pepper flakes(optional)

A lime(optional)

Directions:

Fry pasta in oil until brown. It goes fast so keep an eye on it. Add tomato sauce and 6 cups of water. Stir in bouillon and spices. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Add a little lime juice and enjoy. :)

 

 

I recently found myself with left over zucchini. I considered making bread or muffins but it was lunch time and I found this recipe while I was looking for snacks I could make with zucchini. It turned out delicious, I will definitely be using this recipe again. For a little variety you can also use the black beans and zucchini mixture in a tortilla wrap or as I did on left over hamburger buns toasted with melted cheese.

Click Image for link to health.com Food and Recipes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons salsa
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped zucchini
  • 4 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • 4 tablespoons shredded Cheddar cheese

Preparation

1. Combine beans and salsa in a small bowl; mash with a fork. Stir in zucchini. 2. Layer 1 tortilla with half the bean mixture, sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cheese, and top with another tortilla. Repeat with remaining tortillas, bean mixture, and cheese. 3. In broiler or toaster oven, cook quesadillas 1 minute on each side until cheese is melted and bubbly. Or microwave for 1 minute.

 

I recently tried and fell in love with a new recipe from my Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers cookbook- Navajo Stew. I was sure it had to be a winner when I saw it contained roasted veggies and some chipotles in adobo sauce. The flavor is amazing and the stew makes for a satisfying, filling meal. I plan to make this repeatedly even though it takes a little more effort than I generally put into a meal these days… especially since the leftovers provided many easy, delicious lunches. I served this stew with pita bread and plain Greek yogurt- yum!

(This photo is from here- where you can also find the full recipe from the Moosewood website. I provided the recipe below for your and my convenience).

I must also mention that one of my carnivorous, reluctant-to-even-touch-vegetables brother tried this last night and loved it. He went for seconds! What can I say? This recipe is a winner.

 

Navajo Stew
from Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers
2 medium sweet potatoes
2 red or green bell peppers
1 large onion
4 garlic cloes, minced
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbspn ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 15 oz can of tomatoes (I used diced)
1 Tbsp canned chipotles in adobo sauce (no more than this amount!!!)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 15-oz can of butter beans or black beans, drained and rinsed
flatbread (tortillas, lavash, or pita) (I used pita-yum!)
plain yogurt, sour cream
Preheat the oven to 450. Lightly oil a baking sheet.
Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into 1-inch cubes. Stem and seed the peppers and cut into 1-inch pieces. Peel the onion and cut it stem end to root end into thin wedges. In a bowl, toss the vegetables with the garlic, oil, cumin, salt, and pepper. Spread on the prepared baking sheet and roast in the oven for about ten minutes.
Stir and continue to roast for another ten to fifteen minutes, until the sweet potatoes are tender but not mushy.
While the vegetables roast, puree the tomatoes, chipotles, and cilantro in a blender until smooth. Set aside.
When the vegetables are tender, put them into a 2- or 3-quart baking dish, stir in the tomato-cilantro sauce and the beans, and return to the oven until hot, about ten minutes.
A few minutes before serving, warm the bread in the oven. Serve the stew in bowls topped with yogurt or sour cream, with warm flatbread on the side.
serving and menu idea- This is a filling stew, but corn on the cob makes a wonderful side dish and if you’ve got room for dessert, consider Warm Plums with Marscarpone.
 

This was my favorite recipe growing up, and it’s still one of my favorites now. They are delicious with jam. I have cut the butter to 1/2 cup when I didn’t have more without a problem.


1/2 cup honey
2/3 cup melted butter
1-1/2 cups milk
2 well-beaten eggs
2 teaspoons almond extract
5 teaspoons baking powder
3-1/2 cups whole wheat flour

 
1. Blend wet ingredients thoroughly.

2. Mix in dry ingredients. Fill greased
muffin pans 2/3 full.

3. Bake at 350* for 12-15 minutes.

For variety, add nuts, dried fruit, blueberries, or chopped apple. Or use
maple, orange, or vanilla extract instead of almond extract.

 

I recently realized that we have very few stir-fries up on the blog, which is a bit strange because stir-fries were a staple in our home growing up. Even now, a stir-fry is my default meal. They can use up a variety of vegetables left over from other dishes; the ingredients are flexible; they come together quickly; and they are healthy, economical, and delicious. The sauce was my spur-of-the-moment creation when I realized that I had a small amount of orange juice from another recipe and nothing to do with it.

1 cup orange juice

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp rice vinegar

2 tsp cornstarch

pinch red pepper flakes

2 tsp oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup fresh or frozen peas

2 large carrots, chopped

2 bell peppers, cut into small pieces

1 cup cooked black beans (a bit less than 1 can)

1. Mix the orange juice, soy sauce, rice vinegar, red pepper flakes, and cornstarch. Set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet. Add the garlic and the peas. Stir-fry until the peas, if frozen, have thawed, or for a minute or two.

3. Add the rest of the vegetables along with the sauce. Continue stir-frying until the sauce begins to simmer.

4. Let simmer for five minutes, then serve over cooked rice.

Makes approximately four servings

 

Hello, family and friends! It’s so good to be back at the ol’ blog. I have so many delicious recipes I want to share with you. Today, I offer a soup recipe that has quickly become my favorite. I have been making this about once a week for the last month. I love eating it for dinner with the hubs and then enjoying the leftovers for lunch over the next couple of days. I just don’t get tired of it. Try it- I bet you’ll love it too!

Carrot Potato Soup with Ginger
from The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner
yields 7-9 cups

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 white onion, peeled and cut into large chunks
4-6 cups vegetable (or chicken) broth*
1 Yukon gold potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream or half-and-half (I have started using milk since that’s what I tend to have on hand and the soup still turns out great)

 

1.  Melt the butter in a large saucepan or soup pot over medium heat. Cook and stir the carrots and onion until the onion is just starting to brown, about 8 minutes. 

Mmmm… It already smells so good at this point…

2.  Stir in the broth and potato. Increase the heat and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to simmer and cook, covered, until the vegetables are soft and the flavors are blended, about 40 minutes. Add the ginger.

3.  Puree in batches in a blender, or use an immersion blender, until smooth. Stir in the salt, white pepper, and cream. Serve immediately.

*Note: Use just 4 cups of broth for a more distinct carrot flavor. The more broth, the milder the flavor. I prefer the taste and texture with about 6 cups of broth.

 

 

In recent months, I’ve eaten a lot of crepes. Rebecca and Sarah have independently decided to treat me to them, and I’ve also made crepes for myself a few times. I’ve filled them with peanut butter, Nutella, bananas, honey-flavored Greek yogurt, and berry syrups, and discovered that I like just about any and all combinations of the above. I’ll leave picture-posting to Rebecca and Sarah, since they can make picture-perfect crepes and I am just not that good, but I do have a few recipes to share. The terrific recipe Rebecca uses can be found here. Since I, as always, am interested in making everything whole grain, I found another recipe here (but I left out the honey, since I was planning on putting in more savory fillings, and they tasted great anyway). I don’t know if you have a different recipe, Sarah, but if you do, you should post it in the comments. For truly divine breakfasts or desserts, Rebecca’s crepes with honey Greek yogurt and simmered down berries are hard to beat, but if you’re looking for more of a sandwich substitute with fruit and nut butters, the second recipe does a great job. One other note: crepes keep for several days in the fridge and can be frozen with sheets of wax-paper between them.

 

I was looking for an easy cake one day and came across this one. Not only does it only take six minutes to mix together, but it also relies on non-perishable items that I always have on hand, so within forty minutes of deciding chocolate cake sounds good, I can be eating deliciously moist, fresh cake. That, for me, is the appeal of the vegan label on this cake: there’s nothing in there that can’t keep for a long time.For any family members out there, this cake tastes a lot like the traditional cake in Mom’s family (since her dad was allergic to eggs), but I think it’s a bit more fudgy and moist than that one. I can’t be completely sure on that one, as it’s been a while since I had Mom’s cake.

1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup cold water

2 tsp vanilla

2 tbsp vinegar

Preheat oven to 375*. Mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and sugar in an ungreased 8-inch square or 9-inch round pan. Mix together the oil, water, and vanilla in a 2-cup measuring cup. Pour the liquid into the pan and mix with a whisk or fork until batter is smooth. Add the vinegar and stir quickly; there will be white streaks caused by the vinegar reacting with the baking soda. Stir until the vinegar is evenly distributed. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool at least a little bit, and then enjoy.

 

 

Our Best Bites is a very popular food blog, but to be honest their recipes have been really hit or miss for me. But this one is excellent (and not as time consuming as you think. Comes together quickly). . This recipe is meatless, hearty, satisfying, and healthy. I have been really happy with the six pack of red bell peppers found at Costco – they’re huge, slightly sweet, just perfect for stuffing, and affordable considering they’re not in season right now. The spiciness is very customizable; I wanted it to be kid-friendly so we use mozzarella instead of pepper jack. I love spice though so if I weren’t cooking for kids I’d leave the jack cheese in. Here’s the recipe as we make it:

 

can be made 24 hours ahead.

southwest stuffed bell peppers

adapted from Our Best Bites, who adapted it from America’s Test Kitchen

serves 4.

4 large or 6 medium sweet peppers (preferably not green)
1 Tb salt
1/2 cup rice or quinoa
2 Tb olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced (I’ve totally subbed a tsp of garlic powder when I don’t feel like mincing fresh)
1/2 – 1 jalapeno, minced (or a small 3oz can of mild green chilies) (or omit if you don’t want spicy)
1 14oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn kernels (OK I left this out, I like corn on the side.)
2 green onions, sliced
1/2 tsp chili powder (use chipotle or mexican chili powder if you have it)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 black pepper
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes (they recommend fire-roasted, I used diced tomatoes with lime and cilantro, and highly recommend this substitution)
1 1/4 C jack or pepperjack cheese, divided (I used mozzarella).
3-4 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro
tortilla chips, just a handful and more for serving if desired. (we omitted). 

Heat oven to 350.  Start a small pot with the rice cooking if you’re doing it separately (see below).  Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon salt.   Prepare peppers by washing, slicing tops off, and removing insides. Boil whole peppers for about 3-4 minutes, until they begin to soften.  Remove from water with tongs and place on kitchen towel to drain.

OBB tells you here to add rice to your boiling water from the peppers and cook until tender, about 13 minutes (or longer if using brown), and then drain thoroughly. (If you have a strainer or skimmer like this one, it makes it easy to scoop the cooked rice out of the water.) Having tried it both ways, I found it easier to cook the rice by itself in a separate pot and then add it in.  

Set the rice aside and dump out the water. In your pot, heat the oil and add onions, garlic, and jalapeno (or chilies) and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add corn, beans, green onions, chipotle chili powder, salt, and pepper. Stir until corn and beans are heated through, about 5 minutes.  Place peppers in a baking dish.  Remove pan from heat and add rice, tomatoes, 1 cup cheese, and cilantro.  Stir to combine well and evenly divide mixture between peppers.

Top peppers with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.

Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.

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