Monday, January 30, 2012

Mushroom Barley Soup

Recipe: Barley Mushroom Soup

1/2 cup Barley (pearled is ok, I have also seen variations of this recipe that goes up to a full cup of barley as well.  Just depends on how much barley you want in it and how thick you want your soup.)
1 Onion, chopped
1 rib celery chopped
1/2 cup of shredded carrots or chopped carrot
1 8oz package of button mushrooms (whole or sliced, choice is yours. I prefer whole chopped)
1 oz of dried mushrooms (I like to use Oyster, Wood's Ear, and Chantrelles. If you don't want to use dried then you can omit them by adding more white buttons or a large portobella cap in its place).
6-8 ounces of Vegetable broth (adjust liquid to your liking for thickness of the soup, less liquid if you want more of a stew)
1 Tablespoon of tomato paste
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon of Thyme

First, if you are using dried mushrooms, you will need to soak them in hot water for about 30 minutes. Reserve 1/2 to 1 cup of the water from draining.

In a saute pan, warm oil over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and carrot until soft (about 5 minutes). Put mix into the bottom of a slow cooker. Next layer the barley and mushrooms. Place the tbs of tomato paste and thyme then add the vegetable broth and mushroom liquid you reserved to cover the contents. Add a bit of salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook on low heat for 5 to 6 hours. If the soup is too thick, you can either add more vegetable broth or water to thin it out. At the final cooking stage, you can also add more salt and pepper to your individual liking. If you like a bit of heat, then you can also add hot sauce to it as well. Barley has a very sublte taste to it, so this dish will be more flavored from the mushrooms than the barley.

If you eat meat, you can also add beef or venison to this dish. I would suggest adding 1lb of meat and layering it above the onion, celery, and carrot and then putting the barley on top of the meat. You will need to increase your liquid by 1/2 to 1cup. If you want more of a stew consistancy, you can also increase your barley from 1/2 cup to a full cup. You want to make sure everything is covered with liquid in the slow cooker prior to cooking. This meal is also great served with some hot crusty bread to soak up the broth. Or possibly served in a bread bowl as well.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Will You Love Me Still? by Valya Boutenko

Will You Love Me Still? by Valya Boutenko
Published by Raw Family
ISBN: 978-09704819-8-6

Without going into great detail, this book is about a little girl and her cat and shows the relationship of unconditional love between the two.

Not only did I like the book, but my two sons loved it as well! I originally wanted this book for my 2 1/2 year old. One of the plus's about this book is its sturdy construction. This book will survive for quite some time and is very durable. As I read this book to my "baby", my older son was at our dining room table doing his homework. As I read allowed to my youngest Shaunnessy, in the corner of my eye, I would see Lancer (my oldest) fidgeting at the table. Lancer was actually trying to position himself closer to us to hear the story himself. After I completed the story, Lancer asked if he could read it himself. Of course I said sure. For a book to grab his attention and want to read it himself, is fantastic since he does not like to read at all.

Even thought the story is about a girl and her cat, the story itself has great meaning to both myself as a parent as well as to my children. Lancer and I have recently discussed things that children may do and get in trouble but no matter what their parents still love them very much. This book reinforced that concept for my family. The illustrations captured both my attention as well as that of my two sons. My boys liked the book so much that later in the evening, I could hear Lancer talking to Shaunessy in his bedroom. I opened the door a crack and seen the two of them on his bed and Lancer was actually reading to his baby brother! That has never happened before!

I would recommend this book to anyone.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Today's Lunch and Dinner

I could not decide what to do for lunch, kale, taboulli, cabbage slaw or soup.  So I decided upon the Taboulli and Slaw.  I turned them into pita sandwiches.  With a big glass of homemade fresh squeezed lemonade.

Tonight's dinner was inspired by:
A book from my personal library.  It was actually the very FIRST Vegetarian cookbook I purchased last year.  It stays within reach because I use it that freaking much since its winter and I love soup.

Page 48's "Corn Chowder in Winter"

I love this book so much you should go out and buy it.  Especially if you love using a slow cooker!

Here are a few photos of what's in it....

There are some more items underneath all that corn!!!!!  You'll have to go get the book to find out what they are.....

Salt and Pepper to Taste

Just before I put the lid on.....

It's cooking right now and making me freaking hungry, I can't wait for dinner!

More photos later of final product.....

Friday, January 6, 2012

Breadstick Wrapped Asparagus

Breadstick Wrapped Asparagus
(Created at Crystal's house Samhain Slumber Party 2011, I will post a photo next time I make it.)

24 Asparagus Spears
1 can of your favorite Crescent Dough in a can (according to various sources Pilsbury is Vegan friendly and what we used)
Earth Balance "Butter" spread (or if you eat butter/margarine you can use that too)
Parmasan Cheese (I like the Whole Foods' 365 Vegetarian brand)

Open the can of dough. Cut each piece of crescent roll into two pieces. (Can is for 12 rolls). Take each piece of asparagus and wrap it with a strip of dough. Place on cooking sheet and follow directions to bake the rolls. (Think it was like 350* for 12 minutes, but could be wrong, get the temperature off the can's instructions).

When done, take out and brush with butter. Sprinkle on the Cheese. Then devour.

NOTE: There was also talk of the possibility of blanching the asparagus ahead of time and also putting the cheese on inside of the dough. Can experiment with these options as well. Let us know how it turns out if you do!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Lollihop Box Received

On Christmas Eve, this is how the conversation went between me and my husband.....well it went along these lines of conversation anyways, its not exactly word for word.

E: "Are you expecting a package?"

Me: "No, everything's come in I think."

E: "The Fed-Ex guy is here."

Me: "He's probably delivering across the street, they have been getting alot of deliveries this week."

E: "Nope, he's coming this way."

ding dong....

I go to the door and open it.  On the floor upon our welcome mat is my LOLLIHOP BOX! 

Now all I wanted for Christmas was Lollihop (see my previous post and photo and sure thing Lollihop delivered!

This is what I got:

Inside were a t-shirt, two bags of chips and inside that little red stickered box were more stickers, an organic cherry lollipop, bing cherries, and a dark coconut chocolate bar.  SWEET!

I have been trying to pace myself especially since I wanted to eat the whole box at once...but I haven't....I still got my lollipop, cherries, and chocolate bar still....which one should be my dessert tonight after dinner???? hmmmm.....

Monday, January 2, 2012

Experiment: Veggie Lime Tacos

Experiment:  Veggie Tacos

So tonight I was making tacos for the guys....I wanted tacos too.  My choices were to do breakfast tacos (with Egg cause I am still eating them) or with miscellanous veggies I had in my fridge.  I chose the later.

1 large Dinosaur Kale leaf
1 cup of mushrooms
1/3 of a vidalia onion
1/2 cup of leftover basmati rice
1 teaspoon of minced garlic
pepper and salt to taste (I use very little salt now a days)
Juice of one lime
1 pat of Earth balance "butter"
Salsa Verde packets from Taco Bell
1 Hot sauce packed from Taco Bell

This recipe is still in the experimental stage.  I did not like the addition of the rice.  Basmati has its own unique flavor.  It was not horrible, very edible and did curb the craving for tacos that I had.

The kale was still very tough so next time I think I will marinate it in lemon juice prior.  I might switch to portobello mushrooms next time as well.   I still am not brave enough to try out black beans (I have to watch my protein intake after all).  I might try them next time even if its just a few tablespoons.  I might also add corn and cilantro as well.

Another way to go with this is to turn it into a fajita of sort...adding the roasted grilled vegetables such as bell pepper and possibly roasted tomatoes as well.  Back to experimenting.

I will find a substitute I will fall in love with to replace my tacos one day.....