Vegetable Couscous Salad

Please note: this post was written last week, so the “today” and “yesterday” are not literal. Thank you for understanding.

ImageDon’t you love the concept of devouring a huge salad? It’s a gorgeous concept—dozens of flavors, textures, and colors, all tossed into one enormous mound. For you. For your hunger and your health. And if salads make you happy, it’s for your happiness, too.

I’ve become a salad fanatic lately, but I have a hard time coming up with new combinations. Sometimes a salad is a salad is a salad. Our side salads are usually lettuce, carrots, purple cabbage, avocado, and nuts. My main dish salads consist of…well, whatever I feel like putting on them. (If you’re really interested, my lunch salad today was lettuce, cucumber, grated carrot, meatloaf, orange bell pepper, and poppy seed dressing. It was fantastic.)

Right now, however, I’m going to tell you about yesterday’s salad. The salad mentioned above is not the All-Gong Oriental Salad of the title. Let me tell you about that one.

I feel like making a huge salad and eating it like a starving herbivore. (Well, not exactly.)

I grab The Two Sisters’ Cookbook and go to the Salad section.

I see the All-Gong Oriental Salad.

I start mixing. Not sure how much of all the ingredients, so this is a non-recipe.

Be advised: This recipe is NOT the same as the All-Gong Oriental Salad in the Two Sisters’ Cookbook! I just used that recipe for ideas and inspiration.

Vegetable Couscous Salad

Salad:

Lettuce, chopped

Carrots, diced

Green onion, sliced

Black olives, sliced

Broccoli, chopped

Frozen peas, thawed

Purple cabbage, chopped

Couscous

Fresh ginger, grated

Dressing:

¼ cup water

1 – 1 ½ tsp. cornstarch

Soy sauce

Lemon juice

Brown sugar

Rice wine vinegar

Fresh garlic, minced

Toss desired amount of salad ingredients in a large bowl. As you can tell from the pictures, I went heavier on the vegetables and lighter on the couscous. But that can change!

For the dressing, combine water and cornstarch. Microwave a minute or two, stirring frequently, until the mixture is bubbly and thick. Whisk in several tablespoons (each) of soy sauce, lemon juice, brown sugar, and rice wine vinegar. Toss in a little garlic. Drizzle over the salad and toss well. I would recommend chilling the salad for awhile, but yesterday I didn’t have time.

Now you can devour the salad!

Image

In case you’re wondering, I don’t like the calories of normal oil-and-vinegar dressing, so I prefer to thin them out a little with a cornstarch-and-water mixture. Thinner dressings go farther on my salads.

I’d like to know…

What do you like to add to your salads?

Image

Ah. It’s so satisfying to post, isn’t it?

See you next time!

rachel

“Not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord” (Romans 12:11).

Special Green Beans

Do you ever want to make something different but not too weird? Or an everyday dish that’s dressed up a little?

Thursday, I was in charge of making lunch for my dad, brother, grandfather, and sister. Meatloaf, baked potatoes, apple slices, and bread made up the menu. Green beans sounded like a good idea, but I did NOT want plain, boiled green beans with a little butter and salt. Vegetables should be delicious. And please, please, PLEASE don’t smother low-calorie vegetables with butter and cream cheese and cheese sauce!

I found a recipe that helped me get started: The Best Vegan Green Bean Casserole. Please note, Special Green Beans are not vegan, but please be assured that they are quite healthy. I’ll include nutrition at the bottom of the post.

I had fun mixing up this dish, and I probably enjoyed them more than the rest of the family did. (That’s probably because I’m a vegetable lunatic!) Ah. Green beans covered with a creamy sauce speckled with onions, mushrooms, and bacon bits. Oh yes, and don’t forget the cracker crumbs on top! That’s an idea I got from The Pioneer Woman, but I just realized that she put crackers on broccoli, not green beans. Oh well!

Let’s get on to the recipe!

Special Green Beans

1 pkg. (probably 12 oz.) frozen green beans

2 tsp. coconut oil, olive oil, or butter

1/2 cup onion, diced

3 mushrooms, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 slice turkey bacon (I used Applegate Farms)

1/2 cup 2% milk

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 T. cornstarch

Salt and pepper to taste

4 crackers (like Ritz, I used Late July)

Boil the green beans in salted water until tender, 7-8 minutes.

In a small saucepan, saute onions, mushrooms, and garlic in oil until vegetables are wilted. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine milk, chicken broth, and cornstarch. Add to vegetables; cook and stir until sauce is hot and bubbly. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Drain green beans and place in a serving bowl. Pour the sauce over them. Crumble the crackers on top, and serve immediately.

Yield: 4-6 servings

Nutrition Facts: (1/6 of a recipe) 76 calories, 2.7g fat, 1.6g saturated fat, 2mg cholesterol, 11.1g carbohydrates, 3.1g fiber, 3.3g protein.

Try these out if you’re looking for something new to do with green beans! Remember? Something different but not too weird. An everyday dish that’s dressed up a little.

What is your favorite thing to do with green beans?

Well, that’s all for now!

Because He lives,

~rachel~

Blueberry Pear Scones

Hi, everybody! *Waves*

I am listening to the wonderful Robin Hood Soundtrack (by the way, I adore soundtracks), and I am ultra-happy to share a recipe with you for the first time in…well, never mind. Let’s change the subject.

Let’s talk about scones. Exciting creatures, aren’t they? That’s because they can take so many forms. Just Google it, and you’ll find endless possibilities…lemon poppy-seed, cinnamon chip, maple pecan, apple cheddar, potato, asparagus, raisin scones! 

Scones, glorious scones!

You might have guessed that we made Blueberry Pear Scones the other day. It’s true. My little sister and I thought it would be a good idea, found a recipe to prove it, and went to bake. And (insert evil laugh) severely alter the recipe. That included turning the cute scone triangles into lazy drop scones.

Image

Blueberry Pear Scones

3 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/8-1/4 tsp. cardamon

1 T. baking powder

1/2 cup coconut oil (I recommend that you chill it well first)

1/3 cup honey

1/2 cup yogurt

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

3/4 cup pear, diced

2/3 cup frozen blueberries

Combine flour, salt, cardamon, and baking powder. Cut in coconut oil, then fold in honey, yogurt, eggs, and vanilla. Once everything is nice and combined,gently stir in the fruit. You don’t want those blueberries to thaw and make your scones purple! Immediately drop large spoonfuls of batter onto a greased cookie sheet. Make it like a big cookie. You should end up with 12-15 medium-sized drop scones. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until scones are lightly browned and “done” on the bottom. Serve warm and enjoy the combination of flavors!

Yield: 12-15 scones

Nutrition Facts: (per scone of 15) 191 calories, 8.4g total fat, 6.6g saturated fat, 25mg cholesterol, 94mg sodium, 26.9g carbohydrates, 3.4g fiber, 8.4g sugar, 4.6g protein

Our family enjoyed these scones! They were simple, had good flavor, and didn’t feel too heavy or rich. However, they needed more depth of flavor. I wish I had added more cardamon or some lemon peel, since the pear and blueberry flavor didn’t permeate the whole scone. Probably, we could have added more fruit to get more of that flavor.

Image

I did have one great success with these scones! I didn’t snack on the dough…something I usually do. It’s a chronic problem. I set a snacking “fast” until the end of March. I’ve loved it! It’s like non-optional self-control. Yes, it is hard, like when I’m making trail mix bars, but it’s worth it at the end of the day.

“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

That’s an amazing verse. If you are a believer of Jesus, your body is a temple. The Holy Spirit dwells in you! He bought you for His glorify, so glorify Him with your body!

Looking forward to seeing ya’ll again soon. I have pictures on my camera of a certain green bean dish I made today. Ya’ll might just want to try it!

And honestly, if you don’t, I’ll still have fun posting it. This is like a cooking journal.

Until next time,

~rachel~

Image

Healthy Pumpkin Streusel Bread

It is October. Thus, I need pumpkin.

I caught a glimpse of Starbucks Pumpkin Bread when I was in the store on Thursday. The glimpse lingered with me, and though I never tasted it, I tried to re-create it. As always, Corrie and I met in the kitchen this morning to concoct Pumpkin Streusel Bread.

This recipe is a combination of this recipe and this recipe. And a variation on this streusel. As usual, we changed some ingredients to make it healthier.

The result was an almost-dense, moist, comfortable-tasting bread. Nothing extraordinary, but I am interested to see what the bread will taste like after it sits awhile and the flavors meld. All the spices didn’t stand out when the bread was fresh, but that might change. Speaking of the spices, don’t be afraid of the generous measurements!

Healthy Pumpkin Streusel Bread

1/2 cup coconut oil

1 cup honey

1/2 cup applesauce

3 eggs

1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin

1 tsp. vanilla

2 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1/4 cup cornstarch

1 tsp. salt

4 tsp. baking powder

4 tsp. cinnamon

2 tsp. cloves

2 tsp. nutmeg

Streusel:

1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 1/2 T. brown sugar

1 1/2 T. sugar

3 T. butter, slightly firm

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 loaf pans.

2. In a large bowl, combine coconut oil and honey until smooth. Add applesauce, eggs, pumpkin, and vanilla.

3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Add to pumpkin mixture and stir until just combined.

4. Transfer batter to two greased loaf pans.

5. For streusel: in a small bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, and white sugar. Cut in butter and mix until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter.

6. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Shake the pans as they come out of the oven to loosen the sides. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing loaves from pans.

7. Slice and enjoy warm with a little butter!

Yield: 2 loaves

So, that’s Healthy Pumpkin Streusel Bread. All in all, it was yummy pumpkin bread. Will it ever reach perfection? Probably not, and neither me nor my family will endure too much pumpkin-bread-testing. I’m not that kind of cook. Next time, I’ll probably just find and tweak a new recipe. I can’t follow recipes, you know.

That’s all for now. Thanks for visiting!

~Rachel~

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57

Sausage and Pumpkin Pasta Recipe

You’re seeing this recipe title and you’re thinking, “Weird.” So did I. But I was so intrigued I had to try it. Another one of my during-harvest-cook-for-myself recipes. It probably has something to do with my pasta craze.

The combination of flavors is…interesting. The pumpkin and sage reminded me of autumn, the mushrooms added a new dimension, and the sausage…… I won’t say anything about the sausage, because (confession time!!!) we were out of all sausage, so I substituted a part of a hot dog. Truly. Please forgive me. Back to the pasta…Parmesan cheese is the perfect complement.

Sausage and Pumpkin Pasta Recipe for 1

Taken from Taste of Home

2 oz. whole wheat pasta (obviously, I used penne, Taste of Home used bowtie)

Sausage (not sure about the amount, an ounce or two would probably be enough)

2 fresh mushrooms, sliced

2 T. onion, diced or onion powder to taste

1 clove garlic, minced

1/3 cup chicken broth

1/4 cup canned pumpkin

1/2 tsp. cornstarch

1/8-1/4 tsp. rubbed sage

Salt, pepper, and garlic to taste

3/4 tsp. dried parsley flakes

Dash cayenne pepper, optional

1 T. Parmesan cheese

1. Cook pasta according to package directions.

2. In a small greased skillet, lightly saute sausage, onion, garlic, and mushrooms. In a small bowl, combine chicken broth, pumpkin, sage, salt, pepper, garlic, parsley, and cayenne pepper. Add pasta and pumpkin mixture to sausage. Stir and cook over medium-low heat until hot and bubbly. Stir in Parmesan cheese; serve immediately. Unless, of course, you take pictures and the pasta gets cold and you have to reheat it in the microwave. Yield: 1 serving

Maybe I should post some harvest recipes – things I make for the cotton harvest crew, not things I make for myself during cotton harvest. That would require me to take pictures, which takes time, which I’m usually a bit short of when suppers need to get out the door. And harvest meals aren’t made for beauty.

That is a possibility for future posts, though.

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you people reading this blog! I hope it’s a blessing to you!

Have fun cooking,

~Rachel~

Spinach Pesto Penne

I cook weird things for myself. Really. My family walks in, looks at my plate, and asks, “What’s that?” The answer to that question can be quite long and/or disturbing.

Please don’t be disturbed about Spinach Pesto Penne. Be adventurous. It’s  delicious…and healthy…and GREEN. It’s a combination of my pesto craze and my pasta craze.

Spinach Pesto Penne for 1

2 oz. whole wheat penne pasta, cooked a la dente

1/4 cup chicken broth

1/4 cup 2% milk

1 cup spinach

1 – 1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch

1-2 T. pesto

Salt, pepper, garlic, and parsley to taste

Dash cayenne pepper, optional

1-2 T. parmesan cheese

In a food processor or blender, combine chicken broth, milk, spinach, cornstarch, pesto, and desired herbs. Place cooked pasta in a small saucepan; pour spinach mixture over it. Cook over medium heat until hot and bubbly and the sauce coats the noodles. Stir in Parmesan cheese until it’s melted and creamy. Eat and enjoy. Yield: 1 serving

I ate it all. I highly recommend it.

I know the pictures are a bit dark. I had no natural light, I’m afraid.

Please excuse all the appearance changes. I want to play around and find a look I like for my blog!

See you next time for another pasta recipe!

~Rachel~

Tomato Cucumber Salad

Do you have a recipe in your mind, then start looking for it? And you aren’t contented until you find it? You want to make something up, but first you want to prove to yourself that this is legitimate? “Surely there’s a recipe with this and this and this….”

I wanted to make a Tomato Cucumber Salad. A fuzzy image hung suspended in my mind. Big chunks of tomatoes and cucumbers. Mom suggested olives. A tangy marinade. Fresh herbs.

What’s wrong with me? I don’t even like tomatoes. But I liked this salad.

Where was I? I had a salad in mind, but I needed a recipe to back it up. A little Taste of Home searching revealed a recipe – THE recipe!

I adjusted the salad ingredients a tad, but the dressing was perfect. All in all, the ingredients fall in love with one another. I don’t like olives either, by the way. But I liked this salad.

Tomato Cucumber Salad

2 medium tomatoes, cut into large chunks

2 medium cucumbers, peeled and cut into large chunks

1 (4-oz.) can sliced olives, drained and rinsed

2 small green bell peppers, cut into large chunks

2 T. fresh parsley, snipped

2 T. fresh basil, snipped

1/3 cup light olive oil

2 T. red wine vinegar

2 T. balsamic vinegar

1 tsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1/4 tsp. pepper

Combine the tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, green bell peppers, and herbs in a large salad bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Pour over vegetables; toss to coat. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes, up to 3 hours, before serving. Serve with a slotted spoon. Yield: 8-10 servings

Note: The original recipe called for mozzarella cheese. Feta cheese would be fantastic, too. 

See the original recipe at Taste of Home! 

I’m glad to get back into blogging a little more! I know I always seem to post on Sundays. That’s because I almost always do. I feel justified “playing” on my blog when I’m relaxing on Sunday afternoons. But I hope to post a little more during the week. That, of course, depends on whether I have recipes and pictures or not. Maybe I can create something for my Sunday night supper and share it with you.

Leave a comment. I love comments.

Thanks for stopping by!

Rachel

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whole Wheat Artisan Bread

Okay, it does take a little more than five minutes. But it doesn’t require any kneading. And it’s always ready in the refrigerator in case you need a lovely artisan loaf for lunch.

Sorry, I’m not going to share the recipe. If you want to make it, you’ll have to get the revolutionary cookbook itself. Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

How to describe it? A deep whole wheat color, slightly bitter, sourdough undertones. It feels hearty. The crust is not as tough as normal artisan bread, but that makes it easier to cut and chew. It does not have as many air bubbles as white bread would have, either, but you don’t think about it. Enjoy warm with butter or cold with peanut butter.

I definitely recommend it; I believe I will be making some more to keep in the refrigerator. Artisan bread will not replace our usual bread recipe, but it’s a tasty variation. Use it for pizza crusts, too. We discovered tonight that works well.

Have you ever tried Artisan Bread in 5 minutes? What do you think?

I must remember that Jesus is the Bread of Life. Whole Wheat Artisan Bread, or any bread, or any type of cooking, will never truly satisfy me. Only He can. I want to love Him more than food or cooking or nutrition. I want Him to be preeminent. Then I can have the right perspective to enjoy food as He created me to enjoy it.

I’m wishing all my readers a joyous weekend. Thanks for visiting!

~Rachel~

Light Italian Vinaigrette

There. I found Wednesday’s to-do list, on which I had written down our new Light Italian Vinaigrette recipe. Doesn’t that sound sophisticated? It’s not, really.

I’m not going to get scientific, but olive oil is supposed to be better for you than soybean oil. And most salad dressings you buy contain soybean oil. So Mom wanted to experiment and make our own salad dressing…one similar to Newman’s Own Lighten Up Italian dressing….with GOOD oils. So this was my first experiment. I like how it turned out.

Light Italian Vinaigrette

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup water

1 heaping tsp. cornstarch

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 T. Parmesan cheese

1/4 tsp. each salt, sugar, pepper, oregano, mustard, and onion powder

1 T. fresh basil, minced

1 T. fresh parsley, minced

In a microwave-safe measuring cup or small bowl, combine water and cornstarch. Microwave for 30-40 seconds or until bubbly. Stir until smooth. Add remaining ingredients; combine well. Pour into a salad dressing bottle and chill before serving. Drizzle over your favorite salad! Yield: 3/4-1 cup

Here’s the calorie count if anyone’s interested. I am.

1 serving (2 tablespoons) has 7 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 85 mg sodium, and not much else. But believe me, all those herbs are good for you.

I like this initial experiment of Light Italian Vinaigrette. It has a slightly funny off- or after-taste, but overall it’s very pleasing. What will I change on the next experiment? We’ll see what floats my boat then.

~Rachel~

“Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You, and let such as love Your salvation say continually, ‘Let God be magnified!'” Psalm 70:4

The Amazing Trail Mix Bar

This has got to be one of my favoritest recipes on the planet. They are perfect. Make them for parties, make them for road trips, make them for family reunions, make them for ski trips. Make them for cotton harvest.

Everyone will love you. Because everyone loves the Amazing Trail Mix Bar.

I mixed up a batch the other day since I will soon be entering the throes of cotton-harvest-supper-cooking. And these seem to be a favorite.

And I even got to take pictures of them.

Let me share with you. But before that, let me say, “I love you, the Amazing Trail Mix Bar.”

The Amazing Trail Mix Bar (adapted from Smucker’s Trail Mix Bars)

3 cups old-fashioned oats

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup pecans

4-5 cups toasted oat cereal (I used Mom’s Best Naturals)

1 cup honey

3/4 cup sugar

1 16-oz. can natural peanut butter, stirred

1 tsp. vanilla

Combine oats, cereal, sunflower seeds, and pecans in a large bowl.

In a small saucepan, combine honey and sugar. Heat until boiling, stirring frequently. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Add peanut butter and vanilla; stir until well combined.

Pour peanut butter mixture over the cereal mixture. Stir until coated. Press into a 15×10 jelly roll pan. Let cool. Cut into bars; serve and spread good cheer.

Note: Change anything you like; these bars are very adaptable. Change the nuts, change the cereal, stir in chocolate chips and watch them become chocolate bars. Please make them your own.

Warning: DO NOT cook the peanut butter with the honey and sugar! This will cause the bars to crumble excessively. Don’t let it happen to you.

 

The Amazing Trail Mix Bar up close.

Have a wonderful next week!

~Rachel~

“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.'” (Hebrews 13:5)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.