The Real Housewife of Santa Monica

Archive of ‘Vegan’ category

Homemade Blueberry Lara Bars

 

Do you ever eat these?

(Photo taken from the Larabar website!)

We used to take them when we went hiking, skiing or kayaking. Those were the days! I always preferred these to Power Bars (old school), Tiger’s Milk & even Cliff Bars thinking they were less processed/chemically.

Also, I wanted something portable for the kids & me that wasn’t loaded with extra sugar. I can’t believe how easy they are to make. These are great little energy bars – and a healthy power snack to keep in your purse.

I think they also help keep you regular. If you know what I mean.

You should be able to get everything at your regular grocery. Nothing fills me with dread more than the thought of a trip to Whole Foods. I actually like the store but it’s not near my house, it’s pricey & it’s just a li’l too much sometimes. Holy cow I was amazed to find everything I needed at Ralph’s & Trader Joe’s!

Here’s what you’ll need:

INGREDIENTS:
1 c dried blueberries
2 c cashews
1 c dates, pitted (Medjool work best)
1/2 a vanilla bean
zest of one lemon

1. Toss blueberries in your food processor. I know, I know, in the past I’ve bragged about using my blender for everything. And I did this time too. But if you are lucky enough to have a food processor – use it.

Dump blueberries into a large bowl.

2. Now process your cashews. They should be in a fine dust. Not like mine. Here’s where things went wrong. (I chopped the dates first but they made the stickiest, crazy mess so I decided next time I’ll do the cashews first.) Anyway, by the time I got to the cashews my blender had had it. It smelled like smoke and then the two black rotors with black rubber teeth, that need to stay clenched together, melted down, spewing black rubber, followed by a VERY BAD SOUND and a less bad but still bad SMELL. After that, the blender ceased to function.

Is this where bragging gets you?

Anyway, that explains the whole cashews in my bars. Yours won’t have those. But if they do, big deal?

Before the blowout.

Add the chopped cashews to your bowl.

3. Now chop the dates. This’ll be an ooey gooey sticky mess. Like someone stepped on a giant raisin. Except in your blender. Only you’ll be using your food processor for this.

I did the blueberries & dates first!

Add ‘em to the bowl.

4. Finally, add the lemon zest & scrape out the innards of a half of a vanilla bean. That’s that really dark stuff on top.

5. This ain’t pretty but knead it by hand. You’ll want to combine it as thoroughly as you can unless you don’t mind biting into a pure clump of lemon zest.

Could my hand BE any less photogenic? Oh wait, that’s what it actually looks like in person.

6. Spread the mixture into the bottom of an 8×8 (or something close) baking dish. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes before cutting.

Bea loves ‘em!

Maddie feels differently about them.


What’s Maddie doing back there? Who didn’t fold the laundry?

These will keep well in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks according to internet lore…

Homemade Blueberry Lara Bars
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack
Prep time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4
 

Homemade Blueberry Lara bars – nuts & fruit, what more could you want?
Ingredients
  • 1 c dried blueberries
  • 2 c cashews
  • 1 c dates, pitted (Medjool work best)
  • ½ a vanilla bean
  • zest of one lemon

Instructions
  1. Toss blueberries in your food processor. Dump chopped blueberries into a large bowl. They won’t chop perfectly but as long as they’re sort of torn you’re in good shape.
  2. Now process your cashews. They should be in a fine dust. Add the chopped cashews to your bowl.
  3. Chop the dates. This’ll be an ooey gooey sticky mess. That means you’re doing it right! Add ‘em to the bowl.
  4. Finally, add the lemon zest & scrape out the innards of a half of a vanilla bean. That’s that really dark stuff on top.
  5. Knead it by hand. You’ll want to combine it as thoroughly as you can unless you don’t mind biting into a pure clump of lemon zest.
  6. Press the mixture into the bottom of an 8×8 (or something close) baking dish. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes before cutting.

Notes
Properly wrapped, these should keep well in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

 

Source: Use Real Butter

When Life Gives you (too many) Lemons

Make lemon ice cubes!

Here’s what you need:

YOU NEED:
lemons (duh!)
a sharp knife
a mesh strainer
an ice cube tray or two
a freezer safe container to store your cubes

Lemons, lemons…lemons,,,,,lemons_____lemons!!!! I love juicy lemons!!!

1. Squeeze your lemons.
Talk about a hand cramp!

2. Strain out the seeds over an ice cube tray.

3. Freeze.

4. Store in a freezer safe container.

I’m not sure this is the best storage method – I’d love to hear other opinions on this???

5. Drop ‘em in any drink to which you’d would normally add a lemon slice (iced tea, diet coke, sparkling water etc). OR let them melt & use for cooking/baking when lemons aren’t in season. YUM!

Sesame Noodles

 

My blog is backed up with recipes, LA Family activities, park recommendations, and even a “How to Paint Stripes on Your Ceiling Tutorial” that I need to post but since my in-laws left my kids have been glued to my side. Hell, they’re glued to my side, front, and back (including the older one who is sitting behind me in this small chair at my desk, like, right NOW.) about 12 hours of the day. 2 hours are devoted solely to cleaning up the mess left by the Bea-dozer and trying to catch a Real Housewives or Shahs of Sunset episode here & there. Still, knowing this special time at home with them is so fleeting, I really don’t want to keep pushing them away so I can sit here typing a blog even though it’s such a fun outlet for me. The kids are so silly, inquisitive, entertaining (oh yeah, and infuriating) that I want to be here for all (ahem, most) of it.

Anyway, I’d planned on doing my Easter post but *someone* took the camera to an all-night shoot so I’ll do these easy, oh so yummy sesame noodles instead! These are great for when you’re in a pinch (as I am every other night or so…).

You prolly have all these ingredients:

and this:

INGREDIENTS:
12 oz thin noodles (I used whole wheat spaghetti but you can use soba or another kind of Asian noodle or whatever you like)
1/4 c soy sauce
2 TBSP sugar (or maple syrup)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBSP rice vinegar
3 TBSP pure sesame oil
1/2 tsp hot chili oil
4 TBSP canola or vegetable oil
4 green onions, sliced thin

NOTE: if you don’t have all these ingredients, go and get them! You should be able to find them at your regular grocery store in the Asian aisle. Even if you are put off by buying all these ingredients for a supposedly simple dish, you’ll be glad you have them as I promise, you’ll make these noodles like once a week until time immemorial. Trust me!

Holy cow – look it how much soy sauce I bought! I go through this stuff crazy fast.

This dish is really easy! I make these once a week or so for the girls and then I eat half of them, from a standing position behind the counter. They’re not going to trick me into sitting down with them so that the second my bum hits the chair they ask me for something. Fool me once…shame on me, fool me twice, well, you & G.W.Bush know the rest.

1. Set some water to boil.

2. Whisk together the dressing/sauce ingredients.

Taste the sauce & adjust any ingredients to your liking. For instance, if you like it spicier you might want to add more hot chili oil. Or if you like it sweeter, more sugar.

3. Add your noodles to the water.

4. Slice your green onions.

5. Drain your noodles. Really shake them & try to get the water out by tossing them in the air gently a few times.

6. Return noodles to pot and drizzle about 3/4ths of the sauce over the noodles & toss. I reserve about 1/4th of the sauce to drizzle over each person’s bowl when serving. Add green onions & toss. Unless you find it painful to watch your kids pick out each and every green onion. Then just hold those back for your bowl.

Yes, it’s 6PM here in Santa Monica. Love it when summer’s on its way!

I swear, we DO own a hairbrush!


Maddie’s name this week was “Furten” (rhymes with “curtain”) but today it’s “Caston.”

 

5.0 from 1 reviews

Sesame Noodles
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 2-4
 

Simple – 5 minutes prep & 10 minutes cook time. Perfect dish for little ones & adults!
Ingredients
  • 12 oz thin noodles (spaghetti, Asian noodles etc.)
  • ¼ c soy sauce
  • 2 TBSP sugar (or maple syrup)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 TBSP rice vinegar
  • 3 TBSP pure sesame oil
  • ½ tsp hot chili oil
  • 4 TBSP canola or vegetable oil
  • 4 green onions, sliced thin

Instructions
  1. Set some water to boil.
  2. Whisk together the dressing/sauce ingredients.
  3. Taste the sauce & adjust any ingredients to your liking. For instance, if you like it spicier you might want to add more hot chili oil. Or if you like it sweeter, more sugar.
  4. Add your noodles to the water.
  5. Slice your green onions.
  6. Drain your noodles. Really shake them & try to get the water out by tossing them in the air gently a few times.
  7. Return noodles to pot and drizzle about ¾ths of the sauce over the noodles & toss. I reserve about ¼th of the sauce to drizzle over each person’s bowl when serving. Add green onions & toss. If you find it painful to watch your kids pick out each and every green onion, hold those back for YOUR bowl.

Notes
Sometimes I add thinly sliced bell peppers (red, orange or yellow) or bean sprouts. You can sautee briefly or add raw to warm noodles depending on what you like!

 

Source: The Pioneer Woman

Sesame otsu, how to press tofu & “needs v. wants”

I have this new favorite cookbook – “Super Natural Every Day” and I am always daydreaming about the recipes. Sometimes I get caught up on ingredients I am missing but today I said “What the hey?” and made this otsu with what I had on hand. You’ll see firsthand where I made a mistake learned something.

Btw: this has TOFU in it. People have different reactions to tofu as a foodstuff depending on their experience or non-experience with it. If you’ve never tried it and are scared (is scared too strong a word?) I urge you to challenge yourself to go out of your comfort zone. Anyone who knows my husband, G, knows that he is a self-proclaimed “meat-a-tarian” with a limited palate. But he likes fried tofu. Hell, he likes fried anything pretty much. Anyway, the tofu in this dish is fried and my kids love it. It’s NOT slimy! It’s like a french fry. (Yuuuummmm, french fries!!!!) Anyway, you have to laugh at the irony of being scared of a plant based product but eating dead animals without hesitation. Especially when you think about what those animals are being fed and what is being injected into them to make them fat as well as to keep them alive despite pretty gnarly conditions. Enough with my (run-on) rant. Try this tofu! What’s the worst thing that can happen?

This is an amazing dish – the wholesome buckwheat noodles are coated in a complexly flavored sesame paste. Tofu rounds out the dish.

YOU NEED:

INGREDIENTS:
1 tsp pine nuts (if you don’t have pine nuts, double the sunflower seeds)
1 tsp sunflower seeds
1/2 c sesame seeds
1-1/2 TBSP sugar
1-1/2 TBSP soy sauce or tamari
1-1/2 tsp mirin (Japanese sake – I got it at Ralph’s)
scant 1 TBSP toasted sesame oil
2 TBSP rice vinegar
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
sea salt
12 oz soba noodles
12 oz extra firm tofu
olive oil
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin on a diagonal

All the ingredients listed are from Ralph’s, Trader Joe’s, Costco or my garden. None are from specialty stores. I had the ingredients from my regular monthly/weekly shopping excursions.

**NOTE: as always, I changed some of the ingredients to make them more accessible. I’m not sure how Heidi Swanson would feel about it and I’m sure it changes the flavors but my goal is to make recipes do-able without going to any special stores just for that dish. When you have a 1-1/2 year old who refuses to sit in a shopping cart, responds to her carseat as it if were doused in battery acid, and delights in running down an aisle with her arm out to knock EVERY box of cereal off the shelf, more than a Xanax, you need to keep it simple.**

TOFU PREP TUTORIAL
If you’re not familiar with preparing tofu – this part is for you. If you’re an old pro – you will want to skip this section.

Tofu comes in a little pool of water. You need to get rid of most of that water before you fry it because you know what they say about oil and water? They don’t mix. In fact they splatter all over you. Also, think of the tofu as a sort of sponge for flavors. The more water you get out of it the more flavors it can absorb. In this recipe, you’re getting the water out for better frying since we’re just salting it.

Here’s my method:
- Remove the tofu from its package over the sink.
- Slice tofu in a few large flat pieces (3 or 4)
- Place slices together on half of a paper towel atop half of a kitchen towel (the paper towel keeps any grody fuzzies or bits & pieces that were on your kitchen towel from touching your tofu)

- Fold the the other half of the paper towel & kitchen towel over the top of the tofu, covering it completely.

- Place something heavy but not too heavy atop. I use a cast iron skillet. This presses the water out of the tofu and into the towels.

Try to press your tofu for about 15 minutes if you can.
After 15 minutes, you are ready to cut your tofu into whatever size pieces you’d like. I usually cut mine into 1×2″ pieces.

Ok. So anyway, press your tofu first thing.

Did you do it? Great! Let’s start…

1. Toast the pine nuts & sunflower seeds in a large skillet over medium heat. If you don’t have pine nuts, just substitute more sunflower seeds.
Be sure to toss them in the pan often. Those pine nuts can burn quickly! I should know, I just burned a bunch. After about a minute, add the sesame seeds.

The second you start smelling the sesame seeds, remove from heat. You are making the sesame paste now in case you didn’t realize it!

This year I’ve made it a personal challenge to make ice cream, bread, pesto, pastes (that is not a typo – I haven’t tried to make pasta yet), pizzas and soups all without an ice cream maker, bread machine, food processor, pizza stone or stand mixer. My opinion: you don’t NEED most of that stuff! That said, I WANT a pizza stone but as for all the other expensive stuff clogging up my tiny countertops – this appliances can s____ it! I do, however, concede to the usefulness of the mandolin which I also do not currently own. But that’s another story… Another WANT not a NEED.

Regardless & irregardless of what you have or don’t have, need or don’t need, you are about to make a paste that calls for a mortar & pestle but which I’m here to assure you can be made just as easily in a regular old grotty old blender. Here we go!

2. Crush seeds/nuts with a mortar pestle. What? You KNOW I don’t have one! I crushed them in my blender.

The seeds look like sand.

Damp sand.

3. Add the sugar, mirin, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and cayenne pepper to the “sand” mixture.

Stir to combine thoroughly & adjust any ingredients to your taste.

It should look something like this.

5. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Read the soba noodles package direction before you go any further. They don’t cook like typical pasta.

The soba noodles will expand quite a lot so you really will need a large pot! Add salt to the water & cook according to package directions. **NOTE: save about 1/3 c of the cooking water just before draining.**

Drain the noodles when done & rinse under cold running water. (They will stick together in a huge clump if you don’t do that!)

6. Put your cut tofu into a bowl & toss with a little olive oil & salt.

Heat a large skillet to medium high and toss your tofu in there. This time I tossed in there helper skelter but usually I lay all my tofu out in neat lines as I find it easier to turn. Another instance of OCD which doesn’t seem to spill over into my housekeeping. Flip occasionally – tofu should be golden brown on all sides but not tough and chewy. Taste one to see how it is.

This is what it looks like as some of the sides are browned. You still want to try to brown those paler sides but if you miss some – no biggie.

Mmmmm a nice pile of fried tofu!

7. You’re almost done!! Save 1 heaping TBSP of the sesame paste.

Water down the rest with that 1/3 c of reserved pasta water. If you forgot to save it, just use 1/3 c of hot water. Transfer your soba to a large mixing bowl & pour the thinned paste/sauce over it along with half the green onions.

Toss to combine. Serve topped with a dollop of the sesame paste & green onions. Beautiful!

That reminds me! I forgot to tell you what I learned. When I started making this I realized I was out of sesame seed oil but I DID have some Hot Chili Sesame Seed Oil in my fridge. I thought, “I’ll just use half the amount.” The sesame paste definitely had a VERY noticeable kick to it after I did that. This really makes me mad sometimes! I spend a lot of time & energy on a dish only to do something to make it 100% inedible to the girls. You know, something like serve it with live snakes or add carrots. Or green onions. This time I played dumb about the spice factor but stealthily passed out unasked for cups of milk along with the food. AMAZING!! They both ate a lot. And drank a LOT of milk!

Next time I will use plain sesame seed oil… (Trader Joe’s has it cheapest btw.)

Sesame Otsu, How to Press Tofu & Needs V. Wants
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4
 

Complexly flavored wholesome soba noodle dish.
Ingredients
  • 1 tsp pine nuts (if you don’t have pine nuts, double the sunflower seeds)
  • 1 tsp sunflower seeds
  • ½ c sesame seeds
  • 1-1/2 TBSP sugar
  • 1-1/2 TBSP soy sauce or tamari
  • 1-1/2 tsp mirin (Japanese sake – I got it at Ralph’s)
  • scant 1 TBSP toasted sesame oil
  • 2 TBSP rice vinegar
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
  • sea salt
  • 12 oz soba noodles
  • 12 oz extra firm tofu
  • olive oil
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced thin on a diagonal

Instructions
  1. Toast the pine nuts & sunflower seeds in a large skillet over medium heat. If you don’t have pine nuts, just substitute more sunflower seeds. Those pine nuts can burn quickly! After about a minute, add the sesame seeds. The second you start smelling the sesame seeds, remove from heat. You are making the sesame paste now in case you didn’t realize it!
  2. Crush seeds/nuts with a mortar pestle, a food processor or in a blender. The ground seeds will look like damp sand.
  3. Add the sugar, mirin, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and cayenne pepper to the “sand” mixture. Stir to combine thoroughly & adjust any ingredients to your taste.
  4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. The soba noodles will expand quite a lot so you really will need a large pot! Add salt to the water & cook according to package directions. **NOTE: save about ⅓ c of the cooking water just before draining.** Drain the noodles when done & rinse under cold running water. (They will stick together if you don’t do that.)
  5. Put your cut tofu into a bowl & toss with a little olive oil & a few pinches of salt. Heat a large non-stick skillet to medium high and toss your tofu in there. You can add a little oil to the skillet. Flip occasionally – tofu should be golden brown on all sides but not tough and chewy. Taste one to see how it is. Toss until all sides are brown. Remove from skillet onto a plate lined with a paper towel.
  6. Save 1 heaping TBSP of the sesame paste. Water down the remaining paste with that ⅓ c of reserved pasta water. If you forgot to save it, just use ⅓ c of hot water. Transfer your soba to a large mixing bowl & pour the thinned paste/sauce over it along with half the green onions. Toss to combine. Serve topped with a dollop of the sesame paste & green onions.

Notes
TOFU PREP TUTORIAL If you’re not familiar with preparing tofu – this part is for you. Tofu comes in a little pool of water. You need to get rid of most of that water before you fry it because you know what they say about oil and water? They don’t mix. In fact they splatter all over you. Also, think of the tofu as a sort of sponge for flavors. The more water you get out of it the more flavors it can absorb. Here’s my method: – Remove the tofu from its package over the sink. – Slice tofu in a few large flat pieces (3 or 4) – Place slices together on half of a paper towel atop half of a kitchen towel (the paper towel keeps any grody fuzzies or bits & pieces that were on your kitchen towel from touching your tofu) – Fold the the other half of the paper towel & kitchen towel over the top of the tofu, covering it completely. – Place something heavy but not too heavy atop. I use a cast iron skillet. This presses the water out of the tofu and into the towels. Try to press your tofu for about 15 minutes if you can. After 15 minutes, you are ready to cut your tofu into whatever size pieces you’d like. I usually cut mine into 1×2″ pieces.

 

Red Cabbage & Carrot Slaw (No Mayo!)

This afternoon I wrestled two tiny heads of red cabbage out of the garden. They’d stayed about the same size for two weeks now so I assumed they were DONE. Since all I had in my cupboard were some carrots, onions and a ginormous bag of CA grown garlic (COSTCO!!! wink wink), I looked on the internets and found this mayo-less slaw. You remember a few weeks ago I posted a mayo-friendly broccoli slaw. G did not like that one. Here’s this one, G. Just for you, Baby!

You need:


Looks like I am plumb out of maple syrup but I had another full one in the cabinet. Also, forgot to put the sesame seeds in the pic.

INGREDIENTS:
Slaw
1/2 a red cabbage (I used a whole one since my cabbages were so teeny tiny), sliced thin
2 medium carrots, shredded (I used 4 small ones)
1 small onion, sliced thin
3 green onions, sliced
Dressing
2-1/2 TBSP rice vinegar
1 TBSP maple syrup
1 TBSP crushed red pepper (OR hot chili paste)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp salt
2 TBSP toasted sesame seeds

1. Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and adjust anything to your wildest desires! It will be kind of thick due to the sesame seeds. Yum!

2. Combine slaw ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle 3/4ths of the dressing over it and toss to coat. Add more if desired!

3. Let your slaw sit for about 15 minutes before serving if you have the time!

TASTY!!!

Red Cabbage & Carrot Slaw (No Mayo!)
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4
 

For the non mayo lovers in your house/party – a refreshing, slaw with some ZING!!
Ingredients
  • Slaw
  • ½ a red cabbage (I used a whole one since my cabbages were so teeny tiny), sliced thin
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded (I used 4 small ones)
  • 1 small onion, sliced thin
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • Dressing
  • 2-1/2 TBSP rice vinegar
  • 1 TBSP maple syrup (or agave or ½ TBSP brown sugar)
  • 1 TBSP crushed red pepper (OR hot chili paste)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 TBSP toasted sesame seeds

Instructions
  1. Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and adjust anything to your wildest desires!
  2. Combine slaw ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle ¾ths of the dressing over it and toss to coat. Add more if desired!
  3. Let your slaw sit for about 15 minutes before serving if you have the time!

Slightly adapted from Korean American Mommy.



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