VEGAN MONDAY BLACK BEAN CASSEROLE

After a week at The Ranch in Malibu I returned inspired to try and stick to a “vegan until dinner time” diet as well as eating a plant based diet one full day a week. My husband and son do not embrace my new found enthusiasm so the dinner I make on my vegan day needs to satisfy them as well….or maybe I should tell them to shove their opinions where the sun don’t shine considering that I’m the boss of the kitchen. But, OK fine, I’ll play nice. Here’s a wonderful Mexican flavored vegan dinner that requires very little time to prepare:

Black Bean Burrito Casserole (adapted from Gourmet Magazine, 1990)  Continue reading (258)

Quinoa Chia and everything else that will get stuck in your teeth Granola Bars

It’s been ten months since my last blog post. Forgive me reader (singular on purpose…Hi Mommy!) for I have just finished a massive one year renovation of my home, and was simultaneously training to climb Kilimanjaro (summited August 10th! Can you we say hell yeah!). But I am back in my home, Kili behind me and reenergized to share some of my favorite recipes with you.

Let’s talk granola bars. The store bought ones deserve all the bad rap they get. They really do. They are loaded with sugar, contain barely any fiber, have negligible protein and let’s face it are so antiquated since the advent of the ubiquitous protein/energy bar. But here’s the deal, if made by you they can really pack a nutritional punch because you get to choose what you want in them. The basic formula is: Continue reading (987)

You’ll-never-buy-it-in-a-jar-again Tomato Sauce

As much as I love cooking, I am here to tell you that there are certain products I will NEVER make from scratch and will shamelessly continue to buy from a store because let’s face it, they are just so good. Spending hours in the kitchen replicating the original gives you bragging rights yes, but it also inspires people to want to punch your smug face and it will NOT taste better than the original.  So, peanut butter, mayonnaise, sriracha (sorry GP), Oreos, Ritz, Mallomars, Graham Crackers, flour tortillas, are perfect the way they are. Move on people.

But if there’s one product that with just a teensy bit of effort can be improved tremendously it is TOMATO SAUCE.  Now, listen readers and listen carefully. If you are having one crazy military operation kind of day and jarred tomato sauce is all you’ve got, then by all means heat that sucker up, boil some pasta and call it dinner. It certainly beats the drive thru at McDonalds or KFC. This is a no judgment zone. Continue reading (2115)

THE Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I’ve been baking these cookies at least once a week for ten years (you know since I was 20). I originally found the recipe inside the Baker’s semisweet chocolate box (nuh-uh don’t start getting all chocolate snob on me, this supermarket brand works perfectly in this recipe) and have tweaked it over time. It’s a simple one bowl recipe with few ingredients that requires no electric or standing mixer, just your arm and a spatula. My son and I have been making these together since he was a toddler and this is how he learned to crack an egg.  My family loves them, they are perfect in my boy’s lunchbox, popular in a bake sale, a dinner party favorite, great on a road trip and in a get well care package, they make a perfect ice cream sandwich, they are unbelievable with a dollop of fresh whipped cream and berries, or dunked into some ice cold milk. These cookies are loved by young and old. Stoned or straight. They are the bomb. Period. Continue reading (1926)

Chunky vs Smooth isn’t just for peanut butter anymore

My husband was raised in Houston, TX and he is a proud Longhorn. I’m pretty sure that learning how to make a good guacamole and tomatillo salsa was a pre-marital requirement. That and agreeing to participate in the systematic brainwashing of our son that his first choice school will be UT (I put my foot down at painting his nursery burnt orange). The more I delved into the world of avocados, salsas, tomatillos, jalapeños, cilantro (I pity people who are genetically disposed to tasting soap when they eat it), serranos, chili pequin, and chipotles, the more these ingredients revealed their potential.

Let’s say you went to Costco and find yourself coming home with six avocados you convince yourself you’re going to use by the end of the week and the end of the week comes and behold those untouched, perfectly ripe avocados are still in that sexy fishnet stocking like bag taunting and teasing you from your kitchen counter. Could you mash them and put them in your hair as a conditioning treatment? Probably, but that is the subject of a different kind of blog. Here’s how to use those avocados in two different ways using the exact same ingredients; it’s all in the texture. Smooth or Chunky.  Continue reading (4082)