Autumn Salad

After a few weeks of less than healthy eating I was craving a good salad. A salad that would qualify as dinner.

I immediately went to my vegetarian/vegan cookbook,  The Vibrant Table. Most of the recipes I was itching to make were better suited for spring and summer produce, but I found a beautiful autumn salad that caught my eye.

Autumn Salad | Sew You Think You Can Cook | http://sewyouthinkyoucancook.com

This salad involved a lot of ingredients that we love – beets, Brussles sprouts, apples and pears. I had to swap the use of squash for sweet potatoes due to my allergy, but it worked perfectly, and also falls under the favorite food category. Persimmons were called for as an optional ingredient for adding to the salad and conveniently I had one sitting on my counter from the farmer’s market.

If you’ve never worked with a persimmon, I suggest you find one while they’re readily available this fall. It’s a fruit (berry, technically) that looks like an orange tomato. I thought it had a taste vaguely similar to a sweet apple but with a texture of a grape without the “pop.”

I was bummed to omit the pear as my husband grabbed the last one for his mid morning snack, but honestly, there was enough going on in this salad that it wasn’t missed.

As mentioned, there’s a lot happening in this salad. It’s not one to be whipped up 15 minutes before you’re hungry.

The night before I cleaned and prepped the Brussels sprouts, toasted the pecans, and roasted the beets.

Day of, I roasted the Brussels sprouts, sweet potato, and apples. Made the dressing. Warmed up the beets. And assembled the final product on a bed of spinach and arugula.

Autumn Salad

Ingredients for salad:

  • 1/2 C pecan halves
  • 2-3 mini red beets, quartered
  • 4-5 mini candy beets, quartered
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided use
  • 2 apples, sliced in wedges
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts, cleaned and halved
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 pear, sliced (optional)
  • 1 persimmon, sliced
  • 3 handfuls baby spinach
  • 2 handful baby arugula

Ingredients for dressing:

  • 1/2 C roasted apples
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/4 C extra virgin olive oil

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spread pecans on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast 8 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  4. Put red beets in a foil pouch, toss with 1/2 tbsp olive oil, S+P. Put candy beets in a separate foil pouch, toss with 1/2 tbsp olive oil, S+P. Roast 35 minutes, until tender.
  5. Place apples in a baking dish. Bake 20 minutes.
  6. Toss Brussels sprouts and sweet potato with remaining olive oil, S+P, and paprika. Spread onto a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Roast 10 minutes, flip, roast another 10 minutes, until tender.
  7. Make dressing: Blend 1/2 C roasted apples, molasses, vegetable oil, vinegar, mustard, and salt. With the motor running, stream in the olive oil. If needed, add up to 2 tbsp water to thin the dressing.
  8. Assemble salad: Place roasted veggies and fruit, nuts, and fresh fruit over a bed of spinach and arugula.

*This recipe is modified from The Vibrant Table*

Autumn Salad | Sew You Think You Can Cook | http://sewyouthinkyoucancook.com

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Maple Walnut Vinaigrette

Now that we’ve closed the door on Halloween, it’s comfort food season.

You totally thought I was going to make some joke regarding Christmas.

Nope!

There won’t be a hint of Christmas (well, except for getting a start on my Christmas gift shopping) happening in my house until after Thanksgiving! That’s right people, there’s another holiday (at least in the US) before putting up that tree. (You hear me, Mom?!)

Sorry for that little rant there….

Back to salad.

Salad? What?

Yes. Salad.

Even amid the sea of hearty baked casseroles, you still need to eat something a bright and fresh and a salad with hints of fall is the perfect way to break up your weekly menu.

I served this walnut dressing over a salad of Brussels sprouts, spinach, and romaine lettuce. The “mix-ins” included walnuts, bacon, and apple. Dried cranberries or cooked chicken would work great, too!

Maple Walnut Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 C maple syrup
  • 1/2 C walnuts
  • 1/4 C apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp canola oil

Steps:

  1. Place all ingredients except oils into a blender. Blend until smooth.
  2. With the blender running, pour in the oils. Add a little water, if needed.

*This recipe is adapted from Monica at http://www.theyummylife.com/recipes/38*

Maple Walnut Vinaigrette | Sew You Think You Can Cook | http://sewyouthinkyoucancook.com

#ChoctoberFest: Chickpea Cocoa Dip

#Choctoberfest

It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I think today’s offering might be my favorite recipe of my #ChoctoberFest menu.
Friends of ours brought this chocolate hummus dip to Firecracker’s birthday party and it was a huge hit. Kids and adults alike couldn’t get enough of it! I’d been dying to make it at the house and here was my perfect opportunity.
I was a little nervous that Firecracker wouldn’t go for it, as homemade hummus is not “real” hummus and he won’t touch it if it’s not out of a store bought container. However, as this dip doesn’t have tahini it’s not technically a hummus variation anyway, it’s simply a sweet bean dip.
I got him to help me in the kitchen and simply told him we were making chocolate. He couldn’t be more ecstatic. He absolutely loves to help in the kitchen and his current favorite phrase is “need any help?” almost to the point of annoyance, but I do want and need to encourage this helpful attitude!
I broke out the step stool and had him push the buttons on the food processor. (Treat looked on in anticipation.) He kept informing me it was ready in his impatience to eat some chocolate. He did a fabulous job waiting until after I took some photos before I handed him his own little snack kit of dip, pretzels, and apple slices.
chickpea-cocoa-dip-for-choctoberfest-so-easy-a-kid-can-make-it
chickpea-cocoa-dip-for-choctoberfest-kid-approved
If you’re looking for a guilt-free way to satisfy that chocolate craving, I encourage you to break out the food processor for this snack.
Chickpea Cocoa Dip
Ingredients:
  • 1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 5 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Steps:
  1. Place garbanzo beans in a food process and pulse a few times. Add the remaining ingredients and puree until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  2. Enjoy with pretzels and fruit.
Chickpea Cocoa Dip for #ChoctoberFest from Sew You Think You Can Cook
Don’t forget to enter our giveaway and be sure to check out the other bloggers who posted more chocolate recipes today:

#SundaySupper: Recipes for World Vegetarian Day

One weekend after church we decided to go for a relaxing walk to get brunch. After enjoying a new (to us) restaurant we explored the area some more.

We typically find ourselves in that part of town for dinner and all of the shops are closed so it was fun to pop into some cute kids boutiques and my new favorite kitchen store!

The store was having a cookbook sale and I became immersed in their table of beautiful books.

I was drawn to The Vibrant Table by Anya Kassoff. It’s a cookbook of vegetarian, vegan, and raw recipes. Not a cuisine I dabble in too often, but when the food photography displays such vibrant dishes I couldn’t put it down!

I’m excited to explore the world of vegetarian and vegan cooking more to add some diversity to our menu and cater to friends of ours.

Speaking of, when our friends welcomed their third child into the family I brought them this beautiful salad. I doubled the recipe for them and brought it over with the dressing kept in a mason jar for when they were ready to enjoy it. I was also sure to leave them with a copy of the recipe.

Naturally, I had to reserve a serving’s worth to photograph it! And then, I had to eat it! This salad is so bright and fresh, and satisfying with all of the protein packed legumes. As I’m not a huge fan of cucumber, I reserved my chunks for Treat to have for lunch the following day – they disappeared!

I will not hesitate to make this salad again.

October 1st is World Vegetarian Day and the month of October is Vegetarian Awareness Month, so the Sunday Supper crew, being led by Susan of The Wimpy Vegetarian, has many different ways to help get more veggies into your diet. Be sure to scroll past my recipe to see them all!

Strawberry Soba Noodle Salad

Ingredients for salad:

  • 1 pkg (9 oz) soba noodles
  • handful snow peas, trimmed
  • handful sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • 1 C frozen peas
  • 1 C frozen shelled edamame
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into matchsticks
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 12 strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Ingredients for dressing:

  • 1″ fresh ginger, grated
  • 3 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp tamari
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tbsp agave

Steps:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook all of the peas for 2 minutes and then blanch in ice water. Drain and set aside.
  2. Cook noodles according to package instructions. Rinse under cold water.
  3. In a large bowl combine noodles, peas, strawberries, carrots, bell peppers, cucumber, cilantro, and sesame seeds.
  4. Make dressing: whisk together the ingredients. Pour over salad, tossing to coat. Serve.

*This recipe is adapted from The Vibrant Table*

strawberry-soba-noodle-salad-for-sundaysupper-from-sew-you-think-you-can-cook

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Blogger CLUE: Veggie Chili

blogger CLUE

Even though the groundhog has declared it spring, it’s still relatively cold and definitely grey out so the Blogger CLUE crew and I have been scouring our assignments to bring you a wonderful collection of soups or stews.

When I saw my assignment was Azmina of Lawyer Loves Lunch I got very excited! I always love reading her posts and recalled her professing her love of soups, so what could be more perfect for yours truly who doesn’t consider soup a favorite. I did find a couple good contenders though, leek and potato soup or turkey and wild rice soup were quite tempting, and I know my husband would have loved for me to try making pho, but I ended up going with her veggie chili.

I can officially say that I am now a fan of chili. For the longest time it was something I wouldn’t even consider. Then I created my own recipe for chili and professed that “I only like my chili.” Within the past year I’ve ventured out to trying other recipes and have always been happily surprised, so why not give a meat-free version a try? It is Ash Wednesday after all, and that means the Lenten season has begun and the search for meatless recipes is in full force. This vegetarian main course is a perfect fit, especially when the weather is less than ideal.

I did have to make a slight change to the original recipe: instead of a can of crushed tomatoes I used whole tomatoes because the grocery store was out of crushed tomatoes! (Who knew that was a thing.) My substitution actually worked in my favor because I do like some chunk to my chili. Instead of pureeing the veggies before adding the tomatoes and stock, I added the can of whole tomatoes to the veggies and used my immersion blender to crush them along with the veggies. If you like a smoother chili place the cooked veggies in a blender and puree until smooth before adding crushed tomatoes and the remaining ingredients. Additionally, because I left my veggies a little chunky I only used 3 cans of beans instead of 4, using varieties I had in my pantry.

I absolutely loved this chili recipe and it will definitely be in my chili rotation. I find that chili tastes better as leftovers, not something I say about most foods, and it made for a perfect lunch throughout the week; I would place some tortilla chips in the bottom of a bowl, ladle the chili, and top with shredded cheese before popping the bowl in the microwave. The chips get a little soft and provide a subtle corn flavor along with some additional texture.

Veggie Chili

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced – I used orange
  • 3 jalapenos, deseeded and minced
  • 1 can (28 oz) whole (or crushed) tomatoes
  • 3 C vegetable stock
  • 3 cans (15 oz) beans, drained and rinsed – I used dark red kidney beans, black beans, and garbanzo beans
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne

Steps:

  1. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven. Add onions, carrots, peppers, and jalapenos. Saute until tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. If using whole tomatoes, add them to the veggies and crush using an immersion blender until desired consistency is reached. If using crushed tomatoes, place veggies in a blender and pulse until desired consistency is reached then return the veggies to the pot before adding the tomatoes.
  3. Add the stock, beans, and spices. Bring chili to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook 20 minutes, or until desired thickness is reached. If chili gets too thick add additional stock or water. Add salt to taste.
  4. Serve with your favorite chili toppings: cheese, chips, sour cream, chives, etc.

*This recipe is adapted from Azmina at http://www.lawyerloveslunch.com/2012/03/chili-and-cornbread.html*

Veggi chili for Blogger CLUE from Sew You Think You Can Cook

Here’s a list of the other players of Blogger CLUE this month:

CIC: Goat Cheese and Mushrooms

CIC-header

It’s the 20th of the month and that means it’s time for another Crazy Ingredient Challenge reveal! The winning ingredients from the polls this month are Goat Cheese and Mushrooms. I know, it’s not really that crazy of a combination, but it’s still a good one!

I didn’t think I would partake because I don’t like mushrooms. If you read this blog you already know that. If you read this blog then you also know that the two boys in my house do like mushrooms.

Last week my mother-in-law and brother-in-law’s girlfriend came to visit. I asked if they had any dinner requests and they wanted my Ravioli with Mushrooms and Brussels Sprouts. I made a huge batch so bought 2 lb of mushrooms. With help in the kitchen I forgot to mention we wouldn’t need all of the 2 pounds to be diced but before I could remember that a massive pile of diced mushrooms were awaiting my next command. (Having help is awesome!)

Now I had a baggie of chopped mushrooms hanging out in my fridge. No one used them in their eggs the next morning so I decided to get some goat cheese and answer the challenge.

Earlier this week my husband worked a half day so I decided to make lunch. You know, something other than a bagel and cream cheese. I made a quesadilla with the two mandatory ingredients and added sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella cheese for some sweetness and cheesiness. I purchased an herb and garlic flavored goat cheese to add a little pizzazz to the quesadilla.

My son has been in a highly picky phase right now. I’m hoping it’s related to his teething and we return to his more adventurous appetite soon. Foods that we know he likes he’s not wanting. He has been living on a diet of bread, cheese, and bananas. It is with immense relief that I tell you he ate this quesadilla – I just had to call it a sandwich to get him to consider trying it! Win!

Also a win – I liked this quesadilla, too! Looks like this blogging thing might turn me into a mushroom liker (I can’t quite say lover just yet) after all!

The following recipe is for 1 quesadilla.

Goat Cheese and Mushroom Quesadilla

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 C diced mushrooms
  • 2 8″ whole wheat flour tortillas
  • 2 oz herb and garlic goat cheese
  • 2 sun-dried tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 C shredded mozzarella cheese

Steps:

  1. In a small skillet over medium-high heat, saute mushrooms in olive oil until tender, about three minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Spread 1 oz of goat cheese onto each tortilla.
  3. Place one tortilla, cheese side up, in a large skillet over medium heat. Distribute the mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes over the tortillas. Add the shredded mozzarella and top with the other tortilla, cheese side down.
  4. Cook quesadilla until golden brown on both sides and the cheese is melted.

*This recipe is adapted from Andrea at http://www.taylormademarket.com/spinach-sundried-tomato-mushroom-goat-cheese-quesadilla/*

Goat Cheese and Mushroom Quesadilla for Crazy Ingredient Challenge from Sew You Think You Can Cook

To see the other bloggers who participated in this month’s Crazy Ingredient Challenge click on the link below.

#HotSummerEats: Cherry Chipotle Baked Beans

HotSummerEatsWe’ve just crossed the halfway point of #HotSummerEats hosted by Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla. My menu continues with my husband’s favorite recipe of not only the week but of any that I’ve created to date.

I was happy to see that Not Ketchup was sponsoring this event. 64b31-not2bketchupThey generously provided bottles of their dipping sauce during last year’s #10DaysofTailgate during which I made Maize and Blue Chicken Salad. This time I requested a bottle of their Cherry Chipotle dipping sauce with the plan to make baked beans.

I had so much fun creating my Whiskey Bacon Baked Beans that I knew I wanted to try making more flavors. During that first batch of beans I realized just how much 1 lb of beans really is so I decreased the amount but feel free to double my recipe if you’re feeding a crowd. I actually made these beans twice – each time bringing them to a small potluck, and each time getting compliments. I kept this recipe vegetarian for some of my guests but feel free to substitute chicken stock or even add bacon!

An Original Recipe

Cherry Chipotle Baked Beans

Ingredients:

  • 1 C dry great northern beans (soaked and drained according to package directions)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 Vidalia onion, diced
  • 1/4 C Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • pinch cayenne (optional and to taste)
  • 1 1/2 C vegetable broth

Steps:

  1. Place all ingredients in slow cooker. Stir. Cook on LOW 6 – 7 hours until beans are tender and sauce thickened.

Cherry Chipotle Baked Beans for #HotSummerEats from Sew You Think You Can Cook

Don’t forget to enter our giveaway and be sure to check out the other bloggers who posted more summertime recipes today:

 Thank you to #HotSummerEats sponsors BenBella Vegan, Caribeque, Casabella, Gourmet Garden, Intensity Academy, Not Ketchup, Out of the Weeds, Pirate Jonny’s, Quirk Books, Spicely Organics, T.Lish , and Voodoo Chef for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for#HotSummerEats without additional compensation. All opinions are my own.