The Real Housewife of Santa Monica

Archive of ‘Vegetarian’ category

Creamy Kermit Smoothie

Here’s a variation on the Kermit smoothie I posted a week or so ago.

I tried a strawberry banana smoothie. Kids did not like it. I tried a creamy pineapple smoothie with coconut milk & honey. FAIL.

So I changed up the Green (Kermit) smoothie a bit and the kids loved it! They want GREEN and I’m happy to oblige…

I don’t really measure ingredients when I make smoothies but here’s a list of the ingredients with the amounts roughly estimated:
1 c frozen pineapple
1 c frozen mango
1-2 c apple juice (I used Santa Cruz Organic which is supposedly made only of apples & water.)
1 large handful spinach
3 heaping spoonfuls of plain yogurt (I used Greek non-fat)

OPTIONAL:
ground flax seed
chia seed

Blend & blend! I use just as much juice as I need to get the thickness that will flow through a wide straw.

YUM!

Serve with a little granola. I made the granola the day prior after a roasted artichokes with lemon thyme butter sauce FAIL. I am going to work on that artichoke recipe & post when it works out because the butter sauce is excellent!! Anyway, the granola is really easy but I did another dunderhead move with that which I’ll share in the next post.

Wanna-Be Gilbert’s Carrots

 

The only reason we moved into this house was it was the closest one we could find to Gilbert’s El Indio.

What’s Gilbert’s, you ask? It’s a casual neighborhood Mexican restaurant 3 blocks from us. I’ve been going there for 15 years and still love it. It took me a while to realize the food is just OK. But I don’t go for the food. I go for the carrots & the margaritas. There’s nothing like a Gilbert’s marg on the rocks with salt! I don’t dig frozen margs. Unless that’s all there is, then I’m like, “Yes, pu-leaze!”

Aside from the margaritas, the pickled carrots are real draw.

They are spicy, but not too spicy, salty, but not too salty, & oregano-y. Yum, yum, YUM – don’t get me started. I just can’t stop eating them. By the time my food arrives (which is pretty darn fast, actually) I am so full up on carrots & margs that I really don’t need my entree but I like to be classy & order one anyway.

This place is TOTALLY family friendly! What I mean by that is you can wear WHATEVER you have on (even mud splattered mountain biking gear), children are more than welcome & the food comes out in about 3 minutes. They have high chairs & will make up a plate of beans & rice with shredded cheese or whatever you want even if it’s not on the menu. I just order a beans/rice plate for my kids to share. Then they eat everything else off of my plate.

Two notes: It’s not the most vegetarian friendly place (read: chips are fried in LARD – you can actually see yourself in the chips) BUT it does have a vegetarian burrito and a chile relleno both of which are tasty ENOUGH supplemented by your carrots & margarita(s). I recommend 2 margs on the rocks with salt. Don’t go over 2.

Almost forgot the second note: it’s CASH ONLY. If you forget your cash – go next door to the liquor store or launder mat & use their ATMs.

Forgive the poor photo quality. I will make these again this week & post better closeups.

Anyway, I was thrilled to find this copycat recipe on the internet(s) a few months ago. Apparently someone else is as crazy about these carrots as my friend Kinga & I are. I tried it and it was spot on! I still need to sneak some of my carrots over there for a true taste test which I’ll do when Kinga gets here…

These are reeeeeeeeeally easy.

All you need:

10-12 large carrots, peeled & sliced at an angle
1-2 small white onions, sliced
1 sprig fresh oregano (left whole)
2-4 bay leaves
2 c white vinegar
1 tsp sugar
3-4 tsp salt (to your taste)
3-4 jalapeños, sliced (or use jarred Jalapeños – I added about 1/4 c jarred)

Directions called for diced onions. Next time I make this, however, I will slice them. The onions are not the star of this show so you want to be able to get at the carrots without wrestling with hundreds of tiny onion pieces. So just slice them longways. (I’m not even going to show you the photo b/c I don’t want you getting confused!)

Ok. Here we go: combine carrots & jalapeños in a large container with lid. I didn’t have a lidded glass dish so I just used a huge mixing bowl (non plastic).

In a large sauce pan, combine remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer for 2 minutes.

I actually ran out back to check my garden and then forgot to run back in. When I finally came inside my pot was boiling away merrily, and I do mean away as it was on HIGH. Everything turned out fine though!

Pour the hot liquid over the carrots & jalapeños making sure all vegetables are covered.

Let it cool to room temperature on your counter.

Pour into some kind of lidded dish (glass is best) and chill in refrigerator for 3+ hours.

I got some of these lidded jars at IKEA of all places. They have larger ones too.

YUM these are sooooooooooo good!! I actually ate them all myself.

And then, the other day, after I made & ate all those carrots, I found that Gilbert’s actually shared this recipe with the world via the LATimes way back in the 90′s. So I’ll try that recipe next & post the results.

Wanna-Be Gilbert’s Carrots
Author: 
Recipe type: Relish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4
 

Zesty, spicy marinated carrots! Great as a relish for Mexican food or just for pregnant ladies.
Ingredients
  • 10-12 large carrots, peeled & sliced at an angle
  • 1-2 small white onions, sliced
  • 1 sprig fresh oregano (left whole)
  • 2-4 bay leaves
  • 2 c white vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3-4 tsp salt (to your taste)
  • 3-4 jalapeños, sliced (or use jarred Jalapeños – I added about ¼ c jarred)

Instructions
  1. In a large glass or ceramic bowl, combine carrots & jalapeños.
  2. In a large saucepan, combine all remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil for a few minutes.
  3. Pour hot liquid over carrots/jalapenos.
  4. Allow to cool to room temperature on the counter.
  5. Chill in refrigerator (in lidded container) for 3+ hours.

Notes
These should store in your fridge for 1-2 months!

 

 

Source: Go Go Zoe

Kermit Smoothie

Some call this the “Shrek” smoothie. Since my kids don’t know Shrek as well as Kermit I called it a Kermit smoothie.

They LOVE it!

INGREDIENTS:
1 frozen banana
1 c frozen peaches
1 c frozen mango chunks
2-3 c cold almond milk
2-3 ice cubes
2 handfuls spinach
OPTIONAL: splash lemon or orange juice

Honestly, I don’t measure this stuff! I put about half the frozen fruit into the blender & 1 c of the almond milk & blend. Then add the ice cubes. Blend. (Add as much more almond milk as you may need.) Add the rest of the fruit. Blend. Then add the spinach. Blend. As you can probably tell, I don’t have a powerful blender. If you have a Vita Mix or whatever you can probably toss it all in at once!

Start out using less almond milk until you get used to it. It’s easier to thin the smoothie out than it is to make it thicker.

I love to add a few ice cubes and 2-3 TBSP lemon juice since it’s a sweet drink and needs a little acid.

You can’t taste the spinach at all! My kids LOVE this! They have had variations on this one for the past three days. What’s the spinach for? Spinach is SOOOOOOO full of vitamins!! And it makes a crazy bright Kermit green smoothie! (Unless you add blueberries & strawberries, in which case it makes a gnarly brown smoothie that is still delicious.)

There’s my other “smoothie” on the left. A STRONG coffee.

The kids drink it from those plastic cups you get at restaurants.This one is from Benihana’s. And the beer cozy (koozie?) is courtesy of a pre-kid weekend up at the Tuolumne River. Classy!

Maddie wants to call it “Frog Pillow Smoothie” after a particularly filthy little someone special to her.

Kermit Smoothie
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 3
 

Perfect vehicle to transport raw spinach from your fridge to your kids’ stomachs!
Ingredients
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 c frozen peaches
  • 1 c frozen mango chunks
  • 1-2 c cold almond milk
  • 2-3 ice cubes
  • 2 handfuls spinach
  • OPTIONAL: splash lemon or orange juice

Instructions
  1. Combine ingredients in blender. Blend!
  2. Adjust amount of almond milk to make smoothie thicker or thinner according to your desires!

 

Summer Vegetable & Goat Cheese Risotto

This is AMAZING!!!! It requires a little more babysitting than I typically have time for but the stars aligned here & Bea slept through the constant stirring & checking, waking only when it was done. (Thanks, Bea!) Not only is this pretty to look at but it’s sooooooo tasty & full of veggies. A little something special. Next time I make this it will be for guests since it is such a labor of love. But still MUCH easier than I had expected…

Here’s what you need (more or less):

INGREDIENTS:
5 c low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth (I used vegetarian chicken flavored bullion)
2 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP butter (unsalted if you have it)
1/2 large yellow onion, finely diced
3 carrots, peeled & finely diced
1 c asparagus, end snapped off & finely diced
1/2 c cauliflower pieces
1 c mushrooms, scrubbed & diced
1/2 tsp salt
1 TBSP olive oil (additional)
1 TBSP butter (additional)
1-1/2 c arborio rice
1-1/2 c dry white wine
1-1/2 tsp salt (more or less to taste)
1/2 c frozen peas
4 oz, goat cheese
1/2 c parmesan cheese
fresh dill for garnish
OPTIONAL: change out any veggies you like or have: broccoli, squash, bell peppers, zucchini

Let’s get started! You’ll be surprised how easy this is – I was a little intimidated to make a risotto after hearing about all the work but this wasn’t difficult at all. That said, it requires a lot more than a crock pot soup.

1. Dice onion & veggies. You want them diced finely & uniformly so they’ll cook evenly & quickly.

Which reminds me, when a recipe calls for “trimmed asparagus,” have you ever found that actually cutting it does NOT ensure the tough ends are gone? Try just snapping the end off wherever it naturally “wants” to snap. No more impossible to chew end!

Simmer broth in a small saucepan – keep it on low.

In a large pot, heat 2 TBSP of olive oil and then melt 2TBSP of butter into that.

Once it’s heated, add the diced onions, carrots. Stir & cook for 3 minutes.

Add asparagus, stir to coat & cook for another minute or so.

Yummmmm…

Add chopped mushrooms.

Add salt, stir to combine. Turnout veggies from pot onto a platter. (You’re going to use that same pot for the risotto so don’t clean it!)

Ok. Now, add the ADDITIONAL 2 TBSP olive oil to the pot/Dutch oven you just cooked the vegetables in. Heat on medium-low & add the ADDITIONAL 2 TBSP butter.

Add rice & stir (keeping heat on medium-low).

Cook for 1 minute.

Add 1/2 the wine and 1-1/2 tsp salt.

Now, get your stirrin’ hand ready. From now on you’ll be stirring a lot. Just an easy stir though – nothing too strenuous.

Stir the rice & wine every once in a while until the liquid has been absorbed. (I think you are supposed to stir constantly but I had to run and get something for Maddie or wash a dish etc. so I just stirred often.)

Here’s the liquid. You don’t want liquid. Rice wants liquid.

Now, keep adding 1 cup at a time of your simmering broth to the rice & stirring until it has been absorbed (before you add the next cup.) I think that was awkward writing. Just add a cup of the remaining broth (which is on LOW), keep stirring rice until the liquid has been absorbed. Now add another cup of broth & stir until THAT liquid has been absorbed. Capiche? This is the part that takes a while but you can do some other stuff in between stirs.

Taste your rice to see if it’s done. If it has too much bite to it, add more broth.

I didn’t actually use ALL my broth – I reserved a 1/2 c of broth to add later in case my final risotto was too thick.

Once all the liquid has been absorbed, add the peas and stir. Taste to check salt content. Add salt to taste.

Now for the REALLY yummy part: add the goat cheese & stir. It helps to slice it up a bit. I didn’t.

Add the parmesan cheese and

the vegetables

and stir to combine.

Holy smoke! Creamy, fresh & extra-special comfort food.

Who gave the baby a cupcake before dinner?

 

 

Summer Vegetable & Goat Cheese Risotto
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 6-8
 

Extra special creamy comfort food using any fresh veg you have on hand.
Ingredients
  • 5 c low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth (I used vegetarian chicken flavored bullion)
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 TBSP butter (unsalted if you have it)
  • ½ large yellow onion, finely diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled & finely diced
  • 1 c asparagus, end snapped off & finely diced
  • ½ c cauliflower pieces
  • 1 c mushrooms, scrubbed & diced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 TBSP olive oil (additional)
  • 1 TBSP butter (additional)
  • 1-1/2 c arborio rice
  • 1-1/2 c dry white wine
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt (more or less to taste)
  • ½ c frozen peas
  • 4 oz, goat cheese
  • ½ c parmesan cheese
  • fresh dill for garnish
  • OPTIONAL: change out any veggies you like or have including: broccoli, squash, bell peppers, zucchini

Instructions
  1. Dice onion & veggies. You want them diced finely & uniformly so they’ll cook evenly & quickly.
  2. Simmer broth in a small saucepan – keep it on low.
  3. In a large pot, heat 2 TBSP of olive oil and then melt 2TBSP of butter into that.
  4. Once it’s heated, add the diced onions, carrots. Stir & cook for 3 minutes.
  5. Add asparagus, stir to coat & cook for another minute or so.
  6. Add chopped mushrooms.
  7. Add salt, stir to combine. Turnout veggies from pot onto a platter. (You’re going to use that same pot for the risotto so don’t clean it!)
  8. Add the ADDITIONAL 2 TBSP olive oil to the pot/Dutch oven you just cooked the vegetables in. Heat on medium-low & add the ADDITIONAL 2 TBSP butter.
  9. Add rice & stir (keeping heat on medium-low).
  10. Cook for 1 minute.
  11. Add ½ the wine and 1-1/2 tsp salt.
  12. Stir the rice & wine every once in a while until the liquid has been absorbed. (I think you are supposed to stir constantly but I had to run and get something for Maddie or wash a dish etc. so I just stirred often.)
  13. Keep adding 1 cup at a time of your simmering broth to the rice & stirring until it has been absorbed (before you add the next cup.) I think that was awkward writing. Just add a cup of the remaining broth (which is on LOW), keep stirring rice until the liquid has been absorbed. Now add another cup of broth & stir until THAT liquid has been absorbed.
  14. Taste your rice to see if it’s done. If it has too much bite to it, add more broth.
  15. Once all the liquid has been absorbed, add the peas and stir. Taste to check salt content. Add salt to taste.
  16. Add the goat cheese & stir. It helps to slice it up a bit. I didn’t.
  17. Add the parmesan cheese and the vegetables stirring to combine.
  18. Serve with a sprig of fresh dill!

Notes
This would go well with a fresh green salad!

Source: Slightly adapted from The Pioneer Woman.

Simple Miso Soup

What are your criteria for an easy dinner?

Mine:
1. As few ingredients as possible

2. good for adults too

3. requires no specialty store

My friend, Olivia, put me onto this! Why didn’t I think of it??

All you need:

3-4 TBSP miso paste
roasted seaweed, cut or torn
16oz firm tofu, pressed & cut into small cubes
8 oz soba noodles
OPTIONAL:
green onions, sliced
shiitake mushrooms
baby spinach
crushed red pepper

Knowing how those soba noodles like to be babied, I looked at a few recipes to check on the order of things. Those of you who have cooked soba noodles know they have to characteristics that make them distinct from, like, spaghetti.

1. They expand QUITE a lot during cooking.

and

2. After cooking, they need to rinsed with cold water to avoid unsightly CLUMPING.

My advice: follow the package directions to a T. (Tee or T? I dunno!)

Here’s what I did after reading several recipes:

1. Press tofu. Also: I think FIRM tofu would be best for soup. I had extra firm so I used that.

2. Start your water for the soba. Use a medium or large saucepan since the soba will expand. Follow package instructions. I know I already suggested this. I can’t stress it enough because of my own failure to follow package instructions.

3. While that’s boiling, cut the seaweed into strips of whatever size you’d like! I used kitchen scissors.

I cut some of the strips into thirds afterwards. By the way, what’s Monkey Binky doing on the floor?

4. Drain your noodles, rinse & set aside. Do NOT skip the rinsing or you’ll have a giant clump o noodle.

5. Set 4 c of water to boil. This will be for your broth. In a small bowl, whisk together 3 or 4 TBSP miso paste with some of the hot broth water. Then add that mixture to your broth water & stir to combine. This supposedly helps avoid clumping but you can try skipping this step & just add the miso paste directly to the boiling water if you’re feeling adventurous (i.e. short on time.)

Add the seaweed & tofu to the broth and let it sit for a few minutes.

Ready to serve!

Drop some noodles in your bowl:

Ladle some broth over the noodles.

YUM!

DISCLOSURE: My broth isn’t as purdy as it could be because I was trying to save on dishes/energy use. I decided to reserve 4 cups of the noodle water to use for the broth. (Instead of tossing perfectly good hot water & starting over again.) The results tasted excellent but looked sort of murky.

Next time I’ll add shitake mushrooms & green onions.

Btw: both kids showed their usual level of disinterest in it the first night but I now realize they are not big dinner eaters. They eat most of their food during the daytime. The next day they  scarfed down 2 bowls each! Which tells you the leftovers are great too…

 

Simple Miso Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4
 

A quick & easy miso soup jam-packed with flavor & protein!
Ingredients
  • 3-4 TBSP miso paste
  • roasted seaweed, cut or torn
  • 16oz firm tofu, pressed & cut into cubes
  • 8 oz soba noodles
  • OPTIONAL:
  • green onions
  • dried shitake mushrooms

Instructions
  1. Press tofu.
  2. Start your water for the soba. Use a medium or large saucepan since the soba will expand. Follow package instructions.
  3. While that’s boiling, cut or tear the seaweed into strips of whatever size you’d like! I used kitchen scissors.
  4. Drain your noodles, rinse & set aside.
  5. Set 4 c of water to boil. This will be for your broth. Add 3 TBSP miso paste to your broth. Taste broth & add miso paste as needed.
  6. Add the seaweed & tofu to the broth and let it sit for a couple of minutes.
  7. Ready to serve!
  8. Drop some noodles in your bowl.
  9. Ladle some broth over the noodles.
  10. Slurp & drink!

Notes
Keep the noodles & broth separate in the fridge! Good for leftovers for a day or two.

Adapted from recipes from: Olivia Kelly & Heidi Swanson



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