Friday, July 27, 2012

Recipe of the week: Nut Burgers


There are two recipes I've been looking for, for over ten years, this is one of them.  I was so excited to make it!  After calling finding something similar online and calling the restaurant, I think I have it.  Here's the backstory on this recipe....

Growing up, my Nana (my dad's mom) lived in the San Fernando Valley.  She lived near one of the first Trader Joe's, I remember going there when they had a real butcher and were mostly a wine and cheese shop.  She used to also frequent the Italian market, but her personal favorite, especially as she got on in years was Follow Your Heart (she got on the health bandwagon back in the 70's).  Follow Your Heart is a grocery store similar to Mother's because they have a cafe, and sells a lot of the same products as Sprouts and Whole Foods.  They also have a line of dressings, which you can find at Vons & most of these health food stores.  My personal favorite is the Lemon Herb but so far I've only been able to get it at Mother's.

Follow Your Heart serves this nut burger two ways.  One, on a bun with raw cheddar cheese, topped with alfalfa sprouts, tomatoes, vegenaise and special sauce.  The nut burger supreme (my favorite) is served on a bun with raw cheddar cheese, lettuce, mushrooms, onion, shredded carrot and a little sauerkraut.  I ate mine as a lettuce wrap (in romaine lettuce) with tomato & a little sauerkraut. If you want gluten free I'm sure you could use quinoa instead of cracked wheat.  Let me know what you think, I was very happy with the results.  A Votre Sante!










Nut Burger

Ingredients:

1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/3 cup raw walnuts
1/2 cup chopped onions
2 Tablespoons chopped green bell peppers
1/2 cup chopped yellow squash
2 Tablespoons soy sauce (or Bragg's liquid aminos)
1/2 cup water
1 clove minced garlic
   Dash of dried basil (or 1/2 tsp fresh)
   Dash of dried dill weed (or 1/2 tsp fresh)
1/2 cup finely chopped  or shredded carrot
1/2 cup bulgur wheat (cracked wheat)



Directions:
Grind sunflower seeds, almonds, cashews and walnuts in food processor until coarsely ground. Set aside.







Combine onion, green pepper, and squash. Mix soy sauce and water in a small glass bowl. Process vegetables with garlic, basil and dill weed, adding soy sauce/water mixture a little at a time the food processor or blender.




Pour puree into saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Add carrots and bulgar, bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.




Remove from heat and add nut mixture.. Mix well. Form into 8-10 patties depending on the size you want. Refrigerate until ready to use.




Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes or grill, or brown in a heated pan until heated through and browned on 1 side. DO NOT TURN, they will fall apart because there's no binding agent. Top each patty with a slice of cheese and melt slightly, optional.  Enjoy!











Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Thrift Store Shopping


Anyone who knows me, knows I love a good deal.  Recently, I found some great stuff at Goodwill and Jade suggested I post some of my strategies for shopping at the thrift stores.  I hope you find these helpful.

First of all you've got to have some time to dig through stuff.  Just like going to Marshall's, Ross or TJ Maxx, it takes time.  I look for brands, when my kids were little I would look for stuff like Carriage Boutique, Gymboree, Osh Kosh & Little Me....high quality and pricier stuff.  I wouldn't typically buy things like Carter's at a garage sale or thrift store because I know you get them at the outlets, Costco and Ross for not much more than at a thrift store and lots of times baby clothes are stained.

Now I usually head to the denim section first, it takes a while to go through lots of jeans but it's worth it.  I found Mackenzie a pair of J Brand jeans for $7.99, they retail for $158+.  I also found 4 pair of 7 For All Mankind and a pair of AG's, sadly none of them were in any of our sizes.  Other brands I look for are Joe's Jeans, Citizens of Humanity, True Religion, Paige Denim and Hudson.  

As far as dresses, blouses, sweaters etc, I look for designers, or things that are exclusive to Nordstrom for example, like Caslon.  Some other brands I look for are Ella Moss, Banana Republic, Free People, Kate Spade, J Crew, Zara, Carlos Santana, White House Black Market, Steve Madden, Christian Louboutin, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Prada and Douney and Bourke.  (Hey you never know....once I found a green and tan D & B purse for $10!).  

I prefer Goodwill over Salvation Army because they usually have fitting rooms.  Consignment stores are great too, but usually you'll spend a bit more.  Lots of times thrift stores will have a 50% day on Fridays or a colored tag special of the week that's 25-50% off.  That's how I got my new Carlos Santana's for $7.50, they were $15 with 50% off.  



Lastly, I look for things with the tags still on them.  A few months ago I found two brand new sweaters with the tags still on them from Nordstrom.  Both were over $100 and I paid about $5 each, Jade took one and my mom took the other.  

Oh, and one more thing, thrift stores in wealthier zip codes are more likely to have designers, so next time you head to the beach, leave a little earlier and stop by the local thrift store.

Until next time,

Ciao.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Recipe of the week: S'more Cupcakes

I love s'mores, they are hands down one of my favorite desserts.  I've looked and looked for a recipe and couldn't find one that I liked, so I had to improvise.  Last year I had dinner at a restaurant in Los Angeles called The Six, they had a very rich version of a s'more and I wanted something along those lines, not your typical milk chocolate thing, so this is what I came up with.  

The taste is every thing you remember from the campfire, only without the campfire and a tiny bit more sophisticated.  Let me know what you think.  A Votre Sante!








S'more cupcakes

Graham cracker crust (base)

1/3 cup melted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (I used Trader Joe's honey graham crackers)



Cupcakes

You can use any chocolate cupcake recipe or boxed mix you like this is my favorite recipe.  I didn't have any  unsweetened chocolate, and I try to use what I have so I used 3 oz (approx 1/2 cup) dark chocolate chips and added 2 Tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder.  Since you have the graham cracker crust you have to fill them a little less, you can probably make a few more, I think I made an extra three, just fill the empty spaces with water so they still bake even.  Bake as directed or until a toothpick comes out clean.



For the top:

I wanted to use what I had, which was large marshmallows, more chocolate and the left over graham cracker crust.  So instead of letting them cool, I cut the marshmallows in half, the first time I tried it I used 2 and 1/2 marshmallows which was too many because they slid off in the oven....second time around I used 1 1/2.  Put them back in the oven, set to broil and watch them closely.  I think mine took all of 4 minutes until they were golden brown.  While they're in the oven melt another 1/4 cup of dark chocolate (about 45 seconds in the mircrowave).  Once they're out, drizzle with about 1 tsp of the melted chocolate and top with a little bit of the leftover graham cracker crumbs.  Let cool for at least 30 minutes.  Voila, s'more cupcakes.  Enjoy!  I took them to a Fourth of July party and they were a hit!!!



This was attempt #1 with more marshmallows, I said I needed to work on the presentation....both were equally yummy so as always, play with your food, and let me know what you think!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

My summer project

I've decided to give myself a summer project.  There are certain things that every kid should know, my kids know how to do some of these things but I want them to know how to do all of them by the end of the summer.  My kids are certainly internet savvy and have done well in school.  They all know how to cook basic stuff and can do their laundry.  I'm proud of them for their many accomplishments and want them to be successful going forward.  So this is my list...


How to cook an entire meal from scratch
How to write a thank you note
How to iron
What to wear to pick up a job application and a job interview (both are equally important)
How to grocery shop 

I'm sure there's lots mote and I can endlessly add to this list.  What do you think every kid should know?


Until next time, 

Ciao.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Recipe of the week: Homemade pizza

I love homemade pizza, it's so much better than store bought or delivery.  It is time consuming I admit that...one way to cheat is by buying Trader Joe's already made pizza dough, you still have to roll it out but it's still less time than making your own.  When I make my own I use this recipe, I've been making it for years and it comes out every time.   I've made bbq chicken pizza with this crust, caprese pizza, pineapple jalapeno, mushroom olive and onion, the possibilities are endless.  Let me know what you think.  A Votre Sante!


Tonight I made two pizzas one with just cheese, I used mozzarella and parmesan.  I used jarred pizza sauce from Trader Joes.  The other one I made was a Greek pizza, same sauce, spinach, sliced red onion, artichoke hearts cut into pieces, tomatoes, kalmata olives, mozzarella and feta cheese, baked in deep dish stone pie pans at 450 degrees for 12-17 minutes.  (The Greek pizza took a full 17 minutes).  Enjoy.


Plain cheese.....(I served this with extra marinara sauce and big salad)


Greek....(I served this with tzatziki and hummus)



Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A few Fourth of July ideas

I've been looking for some cute ideas to do with fruit for the 4th of July.  We eat a lot of fruit around here, especially my husband and sometimes it's just fun to jazz things up.  I hope you all have a happy and safe July 4th!

Until next time, Ciao