Archive for April, 2010

As you have probably noticed I am not a vegan, but I needed to make a cake for a dear friend whose son has a severe egg allergy. I found this recipe that just happens to be vegan and tweaked it slightly.  The cake is really moist and chocolatey and we never missed the butter and milk.  My whole family loved it. I took one to my in-laws house and my husband’s grandmothers almost got in a fight over it.  It’s great as a snack cake with no frosting or to layer and decorate for a special occasion.  It is a bit more crumbly than a typical cake, so if you plan on making multiple layers and applying frosting be very careful.  

I prefer it with no icing straight out of the 9×13 pan.  A dusting of powdered sugar makes for a pretty presentation.  I have made this cake 3 times now and I can get it mixed up and in the pan before the oven is heated.  It’s super easy, simple and delicious.  It might also be healthy (as healthy as chocolate cake can be).

Vegan Chocolate Cake

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1  teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup olive oil (or canola or vegetable oil work too)
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Spray a 9”x13” pan with cooking spray.  In a large bowl stir together dry ingredients, sugar, flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa.  Add water, olive oil, vinegar and vanilla.  Beat by hand with a fork until combined.  Batter should have a uniform appearance with no lumps.  Pour into the prepared  9’’x13” pan.  Bake in middle rack of oven for 45 – 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.  You can also bake this in two 8”x”8 pans for 35 – 40 minutes.


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First of all, I agree that cauliflower is not a substitute for potatoes, but it is really tasty and deceptively yummy when mashed with just a tiny bit of olive oil and butter.  My kids ate it up.  My son picked most of the spinach out of his rice, but loved the tender flavorful flank steak.  I think this meal is beautiful and delicious.

I can’t guarantee that you can make this meal from start to finish in any particular time period, but if your kitchen is somewhat organized, and you have small children helping wash veggies and play with the salad spinner, you can do it in about 45 minutes.  This is the second time I made this exact meal, (I wanted to make sure the first time wasn’t just dumb luck),  and I did it in 45 minutes with a break to fold a load of laundry.  Anywho, it’s a complete meal, veggie, whole grain carb, mmmmmm yes red meat, and its super easy.

Garlic Ginger Flank Steak

  • 1 ½  lb flank steak (approximately)
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 Tb soy sauce
  • ½ tsp sesame oil
  • 2 Tb honey
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger root (or really really finely chopped)
  • Juice of one lemon

Place steak in a large zip lock bag.  Combine marinade ingredients, pepper through lemon juice, and pour over steak in bag.  Mush it around a little and marinade in refrigerator 30 – 60 minutes.

Remove steak from bag, reserving marinade, and place on a foil lined baking sheet.  Broil on top rack of oven for 6 minutes per side for medium.  While steak is cooking pour reserved marinade into a small sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Boil over medium heat until reduced and slightly thickened (about 7 minutes).  When steak is done, transfer to a cutting board and pour juice from pan into the sauce pan with the marinade.  Simmer for another minute or two and remove from heat.  Let the steak rest for about 10 minutes before slicing!  Cut against the grain into thin strips and serve drizzled with sauce.

Mashed Cauliflower

  • 1 head cauliflower (washed and florets separated from stalk)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tb unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Place florets and water in a large pan with tight-fitting lid.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Bring water to a boil over medium high heat.  Once the water is boiling, cover and reduce heat.  Simmer for about 40 – 45 minutes.  Check after 30 minutes to make sure the water hasn’t evaporated.  Add more water, ¼ cup at a time, if necessary until cauliflower is very tender.  There should be about ¼ cup of cooking liquid left in the pan when cauliflower is done.  Remove from heat; add butter to pan and mash with a potato masher until it resembles mashed potatoes.  Season with salt and pepper.

Brown Rice with Spinach

  • 4 cups hot cooked brown rice
  • 1 bunch or 1 bag spinach washed and dried in salad spinner
  • 2 Tb soy sauce
  • 1 Tb sesame oil (use less if you’re not a sesame oil lover like me)
  • Drizzle of honey

Cook rice according to package directions.  Sorry I’m not much help here, my husband is Korean, we have a rice cooker, I highly recommend getting one.  Combine the hot cooked rice with the uncooked spinach in a large bowl.  Stir until all the spinach is incorporated with the rice.  Let it sit for a minute or two (slice up your steak here) and then add the soy sauce, sesame oil and honey.  Stir again and the spinach should be wilted.  TADA!

For tips on when to start what so its all ready at the same time, send me a comment.  Thanks!

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I know its parsley in the picture not cilantro, please forgive me

I love soup, and with summer coming a bowl of hot steaming soup doesn’t sound so great after a day of playing outside with the kiddies.  This version of chicken noodle soup is cooled off with fresh, cool veggies and cilantro.  I think it tastes best room temperature.  It does seem like a lot of components but I made this for lunch today in less than an hour.  The chicken cooks for a long time so that it is tender and easily shredded.

Asian Style Chicken Noodle Soup

  • 1 32 oz carton all natural or organic chicken stock
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 Tb onion, grated (or cheat and use 1 tsp dried minced onion)
  • 2 Tb soy sauce
  • 1 Tb brown sugar
  • 1 – 2 tsp sesame oil
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • Black pepper
  • 4 Boneless skinless chicken thighs, or 2 breasts
  • 1 lb. Asian noodles like somen, soba, or udon


  • Thinly sliced cucumber
  • Shredded Carrot
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Sriracha or Gochujang (Korean red pepper paste), (optional)

Combine chicken stock, ginger, garlic, onion, soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, nutmeg, and pepper in a large saucepan.  Add chicken thighs and heat until simmering.  Simmer over medium low heat for about 30 minutes.  While the chicken is simmering cook noodles according to package directions in salted boiling water.  Most take between  5 and 10 minutes.  Drain noodles and rinse under cold water and set aside.  Grate the carrots and slice the cucumber while the chicken finishes.  When chicken is done, remove from broth and place on a plate or in a shallow bowl.  Shred chicken using 2 forks.  To assemble soup, divide noodles among bowls, ladle broth over noodles, top with shredded chicken.  Arrange carrots, cucumber slices, cilantro, and hot sauce on top of chicken.  Stir together before eating.  (Makes 4 servings)

For a vegetarian version, use vegetable broth (one without tomato), and tofu.  Combine the broth ingredients and add the tofu and simmer for 10 minutes or so.  Assemble the same way!

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My 3-year old daughter loves spinach and mushrooms.  My 4-year-old son hates spinach and mushrooms, but we are able to force him to eat a few bites by telling him he will be super tall when he grows up if he eats spinach.  I really hope he’s tall or he’ll have years of therapy and he’ll blame me for everything wrong in his life.  An airplane spoon and vivid sound effects help too. 

I love leeks, and this is an easy and tasty way to use them. This is currently my favorite veggie side dish.

  • 2 Tb olive oil
  • 2 leeks, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 8 oz button or baby Portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced


  • 1 bunch or 1 bag baby spinach (washed well and dried with a salad spinner)
  • salt and pepper 


Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  When it starts to shimmer add sliced leeks.  Saute until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add mushrooms and garlic and season with salt and pepper.  Saute over medium heat for about 3 – 4 minutes until mushrooms are slightly browned.  Reduce heat to med low and continue to cook until leeks are brown and mushrooms are golden, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Return the heat to medium and add the spinach.  Using tongs quickly turn the spinach until just wilted.  Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.

This goes really well with beef, but I have entertained the idea of adding cubed firm tofu with the mushrooms and serving with brown rice for a yummy vegetarian dinner.

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