Sunday, November 19, 2017

Whoopie Pies

This is the kind of dessert that I like the best. These Whoopie Pies are like Whoopie Pies on crack, I think it's because the recipe uses butter instead of shortening. I ate so many of these I should probably never make this again, but just in case I do, here is the recipe I used:

Making (and eating) the full-size pie is quite extravagant, but next time I would probably make them half the size, so 12 small pies instead of 6 huge ones. 

And since you can't find Marshmallow Fluff in this backwards place:

p.s. Who knew that you can make your own marshmallow fluff?

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Butternut Squash Chili with Avocado

We bought a big bag of frozen chunks of butternut squash a long time ago at Costco, and after cooking them up once I realized fresh squash is much better and I stopped using the frozen. Well I came across that bag in the bottom of the freezer the other day and decided to use it up. I made this recipe today, and to my surprise, Kiran liked it when served with rice and plain yogurt on the side. (I've been going through a rough patch with Kiran not liking the food I make so that was a relief). I think the butternut squash adds a sweetness he likes. As a bonus this recipe is quite easy to make. I didn't have the avocados or tortilla chips on hand, next time I will try it with that. I bet it would be even better.

Butternut squash Chili with Avocado

adapted from Cookie + Kate


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 small butternut squash (1 ½ pounds or less), peeled and chopped into ½-inch cubes (or 1 1/2 cups frozen butternut squash chunks)
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons mild chili powder like ancho chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained, or 3 cups cooked black beans
  • 1 small can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes, including the liquid (I used 2 1/2 cut up tomatoes for this because we did not have canned)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth (or one 14-ounce can) (I just used water for this)
  • Salt, to taste (needs A LOT of salt)
  • 2 Avocados, diced
  • Crumbled tortilla chips
  • Optional additional garnishes: Chopped fresh cilantro and/or red pepper flakes


  1. In a 4- to 6-quart Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat, warm the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion, bell pepper and butternut squash and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are turning translucent.
  2. Turn the heat down to medium-low and add the garlic, chili powder, cumin and cinnamon. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the bay leaf, black beans, tomatoes and their juices and broth. Stir to combine and cover for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  3. You’ll know your chili is done when the butternut squash is nice and tender and the liquid has reduced a bit, producing the hearty chili consistency we all know and love. Add salt to taste.
  4. Serve the chili in individual bowls, topped with tortilla chips and plenty of diced avocado. I added a little sprinkle of red pepper flakes (optional). Cilantro would be nice as well. You might want to serve this along with some chipotle hot sauce (Tobasco makes one) for the spice addicts like myself.

Friday, March 17, 2017

White Bean Dip With Feta And Black Olives

A very good dip, and pretty healthy too. We ate it with raw carrots, snap peas, and red pepper strips.

From Choosy Beggars

White Bean Dip with Feta and Black Olives
Makes appx 1 3/4 cups
  • 1 can (19 0z) navy beans
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 smallish lemon
  • 1 small sprig fresh rosemary (or 1/2 tsp dried)
  • 1 cup feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup oil packed sundried black olives (or kalamata olives)
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

-- Drain and rinse your can of beans.  Put the beans into a food processor and add the garlic clove and olive oil.  Crumble in the feta cheese and squeeze in the juice of one whole smallish lemon, or the better part of a large one.

-- Scrape the flavorful needles off your rosemary and add them to the beans, discarding the stalk.   There should be about 3/4 tsp of fresh rosemary.   Season the mixture generously with a good grinding of fresh black pepper.

-- Whiz the mixture up in your food processor until it is smooth and no chunks of bean or feta remain.

-- Add the olives to the mix and pulse the mixture 5 or 6 times until the olive is coarsely chopped but not blended.

-- Drizzle a little bit of extra virgin olive oil on the top, and you’re laughing.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Niti's Dal Makhani

I really like a North Indian lentil dish called Dal Makhani, especially the way my friend Niti makes it, her home version is a little lighter than the typical cream-laden restaurant version of the dish (which I also love). Here is her recipe, I made it tonight for the first time and it turned out pretty good! But not as good as Niti's for some reason. Will have to figure out what went wrong and update.

Niti's Dal Makhani


-- 1 1/2 c. dried whole urad dal (with peel) (could substitute regular black or green lentils for this)
-- 1/4 c. dried whole kidney bean (with peel)
-- 1/4 c. dried split chana dal

(this is easiest to measure using a 2 cup measure, fill up to 1 1/2 cups with urad dal and add the other two until it reaches 2 c.)

-- 1 t. tumeric
-- 2 whole black cardamom pods
-- 4 garlic cloves, peeled

-- 2 large onions, chopped
-- 1 1/2 inch knob ginger, peeled and minced (approx. 3 Tablespoons)
-- 1 long green chili, cut into half (I omitted this for Kiran's sake but it would be better with it)
-- 3 Tablespoons coriander powder
-- 1 1/2 Tablespoons cumin powder

-- 2 teaspoons salt (or more to taste)
-- milk, if desired for more soupy consistency
-- 1 1/2 Tablespoons amchoor powder (dried mango powder available in Indian stores, if you can't get it you can use lemon juice instead)


1. Rinse beans, cover with water, and soak for 3 hours or overnight.

2. Rinse beans again, add to pressure cooker with 3x the water, add in tumeric, whole cardamom, and garlic cloves. Cook in pressure cooker for 3 whistles, or until beans are soft.

3. While beans are cooking, saute onions, ginger, chili, coriander, and cumin in a large pot over medium heat until soft. You don't want to brown the onions, just get them soft and sweet.

4. Once the pressure cooker has come back to normal pressure, add cooked beans and bean water to cooked onion mixture. Remove cardamom pods. Add in salt and boil for 30 minutes or until the flavors seem to meld.

5. At the end, add in milk until dal is the consistency you want it (I like it soupy), and the amchoor powder.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Mushroom bolognese

I love meat bolognese sauce, but because my husband and son are vegetarian I never make it at home. Plus, it's not that healthy. When I saw this Eatingwell vegetarian version that uses mushrooms instead of the meat, I had to give it a shot. This isn't going to convince anyone it's real meat sauce but the recipe is easy to make, healthy, and has at least an echo of that bolognese flavor/texture in it (more if you add lots of Parmesan cheese). So, worth remembering.

from Eatingwell


    •  5 ounces spaghetti
    • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    • 2 large shallots, finely chopped
    • 1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
    • 10 ounces mushrooms, finely chopped
    • ⅛ teaspoon salt, or to taste (I used more than this)
    • ¼ teaspoon pepper
    • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
    • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano (I used 1/2 teaspoon dried)
    • Parmesan cheese, for serving


1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Cook pasta until a little less than you want it done. Reserve 1 cup pasta water, drain pasta.
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots, carrot, mushrooms, salt and pepper; cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms have wilted and the juices have evaporated, about 12 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and oregano and cook, stirring often, until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 5 minutes. 
3. Add the pasta to the sauce with some reserved pasta cooking water and let bubble for about 1 minute to cook some of the sauce flavors into the pasta. 
4. Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.  
  • Make Ahead Tip: Make the sauce (Step 2), cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Chilaquiles Casserole

Eatingwell magazine often features inventive, healthy vegetarian main dishes that are easy enough to make on a weeknight, so when one is good, it ends up being a real keeper. This is a dish we tried recently, Kiran helped me make it and we all agreed it was good. I changed the recipe a bit, this is what I made:

from Eatingwell


    • 1 tablespoon canola oil
    • 1 medium onion, diced
    • 1 medium zucchini, grated 
    • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
    • 1 19-ounce can black beans, rinsed
    • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
    • 1½ cups corn, frozen (thawed) or fresh  
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 12 corn tortillas, quartered
    • 1 10-ounce can mild red or green enchilada sauce
    • 1¼ cups shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese


1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. 
2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and red pepper and cook, stirring often, until starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in zucchini, beans, tomatoes, corn, cumin and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are heated through, about 3 minutes.  
3. Scatter half the tortilla pieces in the pan. Top with half the vegetable mixture, half the enchilada sauce and half the cheese. Repeat with one more layer of tortillas, vegetables, sauce and cheese. Cover with foil.
4. Bake the casserole for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the casserole is bubbling around the edges and the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes more.
  • Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 3 and refrigerate for up to 1 day.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Foundation's Sesamum Salad

The Foundation is a vegetarian restaurant in Vancouver that I always think of as a place for large inexpensive nachos, indifferent service, and this salad. When I heard the restaurant was closing, I thought I would try and re-create the recipe so we can enjoy it at home. I think I came pretty close, what do you think?

The Foundation's Sesamum Salad


For Sauce:

-- 1/4 c. vegetable broth
-- 1/2 c. peanut butter
-- 1/2 c. coconut milk
-- 2 T. soy sauce
-- 1 heaping T. honey


-- 1 can garbanzo beans, drained
-- 1 package medium-firm tofu
-- 1/2 cup quinoa
-- oil for pan
-- spring mix
-- 6 (?) cups broccoli florets (can use some cauliflower if you have a child who refuses to eat broccoli) 
-- 2 T. sesame seeds, toasted


1. Drain tofu, then cut into 12 pieces, I like to make them triangle-shaped like foundation does, and let dry for awhile while you do the other steps.

2. Get a large pot of water, set it to boil, and cut up broccoli into florets. Add broccoli to water and boil until cooked to your liking. When it is cooked, drain broccoli.

3. Get a medium pot and cook quinoa according to package directions. Mine says to add in 2x as much water as quinoa, boil for 15 minutes, then let sit.

4. Put some oil in a large fry pan, then fry tofu over medium-high heat on each side for about 5 minutes, until slightly brown.

5. Add sauce ingredients to a glass mixing cup or bowl, microwave 1 minute to warm up, then mix with a small whisk or fork until smooth.

6. Drain any excess oil from pan, then add the garbanzo beans and cooked broccoli to the tofu. Pour the peanut sauce over and heat over med-low heat until hot. Try not to boil the sauce, it may separate.

7. Fill your serving plates or bowls with spring mix, then add maybe 1/4 cup of quinoa, then scoops of the tofu/broccoli/peanut sauce mixture, then sprinkle with sesame seeds. If your kid refuses to eat spring mix, you can serve the tofu mixture on rice or quinoa instead.


Saturday, January 21, 2017



Rasam is the second main soupy dish South Indians make to mix with rice and eat with curries. In my opinion, this is especially good with potato curry.


1/2 c. toor dal
2 t. tumeric
1 Tbs. tamarind paste
salt to taste
2 t. sambar powder
3 big shakes of asofetida powder
1 medium tomato, cut up
3-4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped (optional)
2 t. rasam powder
1 handful cilantro
1/2 t. mustard seed


1. Cook 1/2 cup dry toor dal plus 2 t. tumeric powder for 3 whistles in a pressure cooker. 

2. While that is cooking, in a medium pot mix tamarind paste, sambar powder, salt, asofetida powder, plus 2 cups of water, then add cut up tomatoes and garlic if using, boil until the tomatoes are tender.

3. Add rasam powder to the pot, turn fire to low, add dal to pot and water until it is a watery rasam consistency. Cook until foam comes out on top of the rasam, then turn off the heat and add a handful of minced cilantro.

4. Finally, Cook mustard seed in some oil over a flame until it pops, then add to the rasam. Can also temper 1/2 t. of rough cracked black peppercorn if your spices are a bit old and you want it to be spicier.