Sunday, December 4, 2011

Life as of Late

     It's been too long since I've posted - I've been in another mindset lately, but I hope to post more regularly (don't all bloggers say that? hm...). And I won't bore you with paragraphs upon paragraphs of what I've been up to...I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. However, I will say as of right now I am settled in a sweet little apartment in Pennsylvania and just this past week I started as a Cook's Assistant in a nearby cafe. I'm thankful for the opportunity, and as always, I know God has a [mysterious] plan for me.

     Without further ado...

Weekend Trip to Michigan - my two favorite little girls..
..and who doesn't love coloring?
K loves baking with me - she always pulls up a stool to
the counter to see what she can do!
Sweet baby Cole - can't believe he is 3 months old now!!
..precious kiddos who call me aunt them to pieces!
can't forget the picture of the celebratory cake I made for my mom..
"Raspberry Blackout Cake with Ganache-Y Frosting" should definitely make this cake..
The cake after 20 minutes...sneaky little paws... :-) who would blame them?

     Yes, I've been up to more than coloring with children and making food (well, maybe not much more)...but I have been enjoying time with family and making a few new friends.

     P.S. Here are a few websites I HIGHLY recommend for some more plant-based recipes...these are my go to blogs...

Be sweet & enjoy the Christmas season!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Good ol' Diner Cookin' - Katie Style!

     "Tuna" Melt!

     For some reason, a tuna melt came to my mind today...I have no idea why. So I went with it and my meal reminded me of what might be served in a small diner - although mine is a little bit more health-promoting (but I did provide a typical "sorry" amount of broccoli - like most diners would...just keepin' it real).

     The base of my "tuna" is garbanzo beans paired with a tahini mayo, complimented by scallions, sprinkled with mozzarella daiya cheese, and served with roasted butternut squash fries. I love that it's open-faced - 2 pieces of bread is just too much sometimes. I enjoy using Ezekiel bread, but you take your pick (GF bread would be a great choice too). Give it a try - it is quite delicious (& nutritious - full of protein, fiber, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats).

Please YOUR palate today and be perfectly satisfied!
*Free of soy, dairy, fish, & gluten (depending on your bread choice)*
     For your "Tuna" Melt:

 2 cups cooked garbanzo beans (canned is fine)
1/3 cup scallions, finely diced
1 recipe tahini mayo
1/2 cup of mozzarella daiya vegan cheese
4 pieces of bread, your choice

     Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. With a fork, mash garbanzo beans. Stir in tahini mayo and scallions until well combined. Place a quarter of the mixture on each piece of bread and sprinkle with 1/8 cup of daiya. Once all 4 open-faced sandwiches are completed, place on a cookie sheet and bake for 8 minutes, until cheese is melted.
     If only needing one open-faced sandwich, this mixture stores wonderfully in the fridge for 2-3 days.

*Variations - feel free to jazz it up even more - diced carrots, onion, celery, etc.

     For your Tahini Mayo:

1/3 cup tahini (sesame butter)
1/3 cup water
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp ume vinegar
1/2 lemon, juiced

     **Simply blend all of the ingredients in a blender until well-combined
        (or just stir together in a bowl - easy peasy).

     Roasted Butternut Squash Fries:
enough for 3-4 people*

1/2 butternut squash, sliced into 3x1/4x1/4 inch pieces
1 Tbsp olive oil
Seasoning of choice - I used a combo of sea salt, pepper, and lemon zest

     Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Toss butternut squash with olive oil and seasonings. On a baking sheet, create a single layer of fries and bake for 15 minutes. Take the fries from the oven and flip. Bake for 10 more minutes, until tender.

Don't deny yourself a "good ol' diner experience" -
but just DIY at home - so much more nutritious and satisfying - won't finish feeling groggy & greasy. :-)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Quick Trip to D.C.

     I have to say, I love that I can go visit one of my best girlfriend's in only 2.5 hours! :-) I had the joy of visiting my sweet friend and her husband in D.C. for the day. We had a lovely afternoon in the sunshine walking the mall and exploring the sites of our nation's capitol. We also took pictures of me at the WWII memorial in front of all of the states I've been to (or through) this year...there are quite a times and sweet memories made.

.been friends for over 10 years now. :-)
.the new MLK Jr. memorial. phenomenal.
.WWII Memorial.
.home for 6 months.
.just passing through.
.another pass through state.

.college state.

.what's one more state to pass through?.

.visit to the capitol.
.home for 1 month - being aunt kate.

.home for 10 years.
.home for 2 far.
     What a year. I'm thankful for each and every experience this year has brought to me...many more to come while learning patience, quietness, & confidence...waiting on the Lord in the midst.

     So moving on from too many pictures of me - I leave you with a picture of a recent yummy treat I made - Fruit & Nut Pinwheels. Yum! See, I don't just travel - still cooking & baking like always! Big hugs to all!

.Fruit & Nut Pinwheels.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Hey Pumpkin! ;-)

     It's officially fall! I actually can't believe it's already October. So many life-changing events have happened this year...who knows what the rest of the year will bring (hopefully a fantastic job & a cozy apartment). As of last week, I have joined my mother and most of my immediate family in E-town, PA. It's a quaint little town with charm and sweet character.

     It didn't take long for my mom and I to find a farmer's market and lunch at a precious chocolate cafe. I am definitely in chocolate land - Hershey, PA is just around the corner. In fact, when I step out of my mom's apartment, the aroma of chocolate tickles my nose...I'm okay with it! :-)

     While we were exploring the farmer's market, we stumbed across a Long-Neck Pumpkin...we of course happily bought it in hopes of making yummy treats and desserts! be made into pumpkin puree!

First step - peel the pumpkin...this takes quite the energy, believe it or not!

.process of cutting...

.and de-seeding.

.Cut into 1-inch pieces to steam until soft.
.Once the pumpkin is soft, blend in a blender to make pumpkin puree.
     My longneck pumpkin made 7 cups of pumpkin puree! Woohoo! Lots of desserts to be made in the very near future. I put some in the freezer for later use in the season, but also left some in the fridge to make goodies in the next week or so. I'll keep you posted on how I choose to use the fruits of my labor! :-)

     Thanks for being a loyal reader...please let me know if you ever have any questions or need food advice. I'm your gal! ;-)

Friday, September 23, 2011

The joys of being Aunt KT!

     It has been a wonderful blessing living with my brother & sister-in-law this past month in their new home in Michigan! They needed some extra helping hands with the kiddos, so I have had the pleasure of being full-time Aunt KT. :-) It's been a blast to dance & sing with Autumn, rock Cole to sleep, feed the little puppies (English Mastiffs), hang out with my brother & sis-in-law, and cook & bake up a storm (I love their kitchen)!

     A few glances at the joys in life...along with some tasty goodies...

.baby Cole...7 weeks now.
.mischievous much?.
.2 weeks old. then they get this big...
.playing with the big dogs. English Mastiffs.

.love my daily kisses.

.the Yahara clan.

.mr. handsome.

.apples from the orchard! it's fall!

.GF Chocolate Cupcakes with Vegan Butter Cream Frosting.

.baked samosas.

.coconut red lentil & broccoli soup.

     ...stay tuned for my upcoming adventures... :-)

Monday, September 19, 2011

1-2-3 Applesauce

     When I say "1-2-3" I really mean 1-2-3! Making your own applesauce is extremely simple & tastes far better than store bought. AND you don't get those icky preservatives!

     So 3 steps - that's it!

Homemade Applesauce
*Yield: 1 3/4 cup*

2 medium-sized apples, variety of choice
filtered water
cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, optional 

1. Chop apples into 1-inch pieces. It is not necessary to peel your apples if they are organic. However, your sauce may be a pit pink depending on the variety/color you choose.
2. Place apples and enough water to cover the apples in a small pot, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, covered.
3. With a slotted spoon, scoop out apples and place into a blender. Blend on high for 1 minute or until desired consistency is reached (smooth or chunky).

*Variations - add in cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, or agave for additional spice & sweetness.
*Store in refrigerator. Use in place of oil when baking or enjoy by the spoonful!

See - it's that easy! The remaining liquid may be used for further cooking or you may simply drink your freshly made apple juice! 

.simple. nutritious. homemade.

     Apples are high in fiber, which promotes healthy digestion and prevents/relieves constipation. They are full of vitamins & minerals too!
Have you had your apple for the day?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Taco Night!

     Tacos are simple, satisfying, easy to make gluten-free, and a great meal for eating a variety of fresh veggies, plant-based protein, and complex carbohydrates. For the hard taco shells, I used Whole Foods 365 organic brand and for the tortillas, I used brown rice tortillas from Food for Life.

     For my taco night, I included:
                         ~ re-fried beans, brown rice, tempeh crumbles (recipe below)
                         ~ scallions, tomatoes, shredded lettuce, fresh corn
                         ~ daiya, salsa, and few slices of avocado.

     ...All to be bundled up and served inside of a crispy blue corn shell or a warm brown rice tortilla! Yum! So fresh & so flavorful!

All ready to go - lovin' Taco Night!

.the bright colors make me smile.

.mmm. my taste buds were quite happy!

.enjoy YOUR taco night - I enjoyed mine! :-)

'Tempeh Crumbles'

 1 8 oz. package tempeh
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp sea salt

Slice the tempeh into 4 pieces. In a small pot, place tempeh and enough water to cover the tempeh in the pot and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes, covered. Set aside to cool. This technique tenderizes the tempeh and improves digestibility. 
In a medium saucepan, add oil and heat over medium flame. Add onions and garlic. Saute until translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir in cumin, chili powder, and sea salt. Crumble the cooled tempeh into small pieces. Stir in tempeh crumbles with the onion mixture. Cook for an additional 5-7 minutes until tempeh is golden brown.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Cookies, Pies, Cobblers, & Bread!

     For some reason, I have been in quite the baking mood this week...from cookies, to pies & cobblers, to bread! It also helps that my sister-in-law and brother are happy to be my little guinea pigs for any of the goodies I desire to make. :-) Gotta love that sweet tooth! All of my cookies are made with bananas, homemade applesauce, agave nectar, and rolled oats (not quite certified GF- easy to fix though). It's only the little add-ins and spices that I mix up!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Oatmeal Craisin Cookies

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies
Rustically Red Apple - Apple Pie!
Blueberry Peach Cobbler (Certified GF)
Wonderful Whole Wheat Bread
     Don't worry though, I am getting plenty of veggies, fruits, and whole grains in all of us! ;-) Release your inner baker and get in that kitchen!