Chocolate Chip Cookies

Most of the recipes on this blog are pretty healthy and made from scratch rather than using cans and boxes and packages of things to put a meal together, and though these cookies aren’t healthy, they are made from scratch and I’d be lying if I said we never made cookies. We sometimes hold cookie socials at our home and invite neighbors over, and this summer my kids held two bake sales where they sold cookies, and these are one of our favorites! I love that we make them monster sized! They really are the size of an adults palm. This recipe came from the Lion House Cookbook recipe, and we didn’t really change much of anything besides increasing the size, using our evaporated cane juice which is a lot like granulated sugar, and our unbromated white flour rather than your typical all-purpose flour. And they use all butter which not only tastes better, but is better for you than the canned crisco and vegetable oils etc. Give it a try!

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Chocolate Chip Cookies (from Lion House Cookbook)
*makes 5-6 dozen, 3 1/2 inch cookies, or about 15 giant cookies

1 3/4 c (3 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 3/4 c packed brown sugar
1 1/4 c evaporated cane juice or any granulated sugar
4 eggs (cage free if possible)
5 1/2 Tbsp water
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
6 c all-purpose flour (I like to use unbromated white flour)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3 c chocolate chips (or M&M’s, or whatever chip you like)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with silicone mat, parchment paper or lightly grease sheets and set aside.

Cream together butter and sugars in a large mixing bowl. Add eggs, water, and vanilla and mix until creamy. Add flour, salt, and baking soda and mix well. Gently fold in chocolate chips, mixing only until chips are evenly distributed. (overmixing results in broken chips and discolored dough). Drop by spoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. *If doing giant cookies, use about 3x the dough for individual cookies, and they will bake a couple of minutes longer; start watching around 10 minutes, but most likely they’ll go til 12 minutes, depending on your oven; they’re ready when they’re lightly golden around edges.

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Açaí Bowl

If you’re making a goal to eat healthy, and to keep eating healthy, It is helpful to choose a few foods you love, or a few favorite meals, and eat them daily or at least multiple times a week. And let me explain why. I think part of the problem with sticking to a new goal is all the thought processing and decision making you have to do constantly, especially when you’re trying to break old habits and start new ones.  This can be exhausting and can leave you feeling overwhelmed. So if you can figure out what healthy food items you love, and eat them every day, I think you’ll find you can be a lot more successful with sticking to your goal/plan. This summer, the Acai Bowl has turned into my daily, go-to, late afternoon snack and it’s the same for three of my daughters. I make this recipe every day, and it makes enough for the 4 of us to have an Acai Bowl(mines sometimes a little bigger than theirs, but not much). The granola is filling, the avocado and chia seeds provide great healthy fats and omega essential oils,  and the fruits are full of vitamins and minerals. The late afternoon is when I’m my hungriest, but when I have this bowl, I’m completely satisfied until dinner. Now, notice above, I said it’s been a favorite snack for the summer. Come winter, I may want to change up the snack and eat something that’s a little warmer, like toast with avocado spread on top, but typcially I have one or two snacks that I use almost daily over a season and that’s one less decision I need to make and I can use that brainpower elsewhere :).

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The recipe is pretty straightfoward: Place almond milk in blender, add chia seeds first so they can soak for a few minutes while you get out the remaining ingredients. Next take out the frozen Acai which is pictured below, and let that sit out while get your other ingredients ready. Add 1/2 an avocado into the blender, cut your banana in half, (you can eat the other half or use it for something else) and first cut a few slices which you can use to throw on top of your acai bowl, and then put the rest of that banana half into the blender. Add half cup of frozen blueberries or any frozen fruit works and if you’re wanting to add a protein powder or powdered peanut butter, you can do so. Now take a sharp knife and cut your acai packet in half and empty the entire packet into your blender.

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Blend until smooth. Pour about 1/4th of this mixture over 1/2 cup granola and top with sliced fruit and unsweetened coconut flakes.

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Açaí Bowl
*Serves 2-4 (depending on how big your bowl)

1/2 – 3/4 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk (1/2 if you like it thicker…I usually do 3/4c because it’s easier for me to blend and we like it)

1 tsp chia seeds (or 1 Tbsp chia gel:chia seeds soaked in water)

1 açaí frozen packet

1/2 c frozen blueberries

1/2 of a medium avocado

1/2 banana (divided…cut several slices to use for topping and then put the rest of the 1/2 banana in the blender)

1/2 cup Granola (I love THIS GRANOLA RECIPE)

*Optional: vanilla protein powder(amount 1/2 – 1 scoop), 1/2 Tbsp peanut butter protein powder. I prefer to have mine without any powders, but many people like them in.

Combine in blender(adding milk with chia seeds first so the chia seeds can soak for a minute) and blend until smooth. Pour about 1/4th of this mixture over 1/2 cup granola and top with sliced fruit; and you can add a little more granola on top if you like, which I do :). I love to use sliced strawberries, bananas, whole blueberries, granola and unsweetened coconut flakes on top of my Acai Bowl. Enjoy!

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Broccoli Rice Casserole (w/vegan option)

I’ve made this casserole a few times for my family, and though they are hesitant at first, because of the orange-colored sauce and the green broccoli, once they bite into it, they remember that they like it. This was an old favorite that used cream of chicken soup that I modified and now we use our own, homemade gravy, and I make ours without any dairy as I have a sensitivity to dairy. This meal is particularly simple if you already have some cooked rice in the fridge, and some leftover gravy or chicken. Then it’s just a matter of layering.

These are the ingredients:

First thing I did was cut up my broccoli and then you can get that steaming while you cut and cook your chicken. My oil and grease of choice is coconut oil as it is much less susceptible to heat-induced damage and will stay stable at higher temperatures.

Once that’s all ready I start my layers. First spread out the rice in the bottom of your 9×13 pan. Next add the broccoli. On top of the broccoli goes the chicken (I save a section of the pan without any chicken as I’m vegetarian. And it’s still so yummy even without the chicken!) You could also layer in some grated cheese right here if you like, or Daiya if you don’t want dairy, but the cheese is optional.

Next I mix the remaining ingredients together (mayo, gravy, curry powder and lemon juice)in a bowl and then spread it out evenly over the top.

Pop this into the oven and bake at 350 degrees for about half hour or until warmed through. I generally put this entire thing together in the morning or afternoon when I have a minute, and then stick it in the oven when we want to eat, as our house gets really busy after school and the kids are needing mom to help with homework and piano etc.

Direct quote from our 10-year-old Annabelle talking to her sister, just after she ate a few bites, “Huh?! This is actually pretty good!” I love that sort of response. It’s funny how quick they forget ever trying something as I’ve made this multiple times…but it’d probably been a few months. I hope you enjoy it!

The RECIPE:

Chicken Curry, Broccoli Rice Casserole
*serves 6-8

3-4 Cups cooked brown rice or quinoa (I often do a mix)
2 heads broccoli, cup up and steamed (I sometimes don’t steam it if I’m short on time; broccoli just won’t be as soft, but it does soften some while it cooks in the oven with the dressing on top)
1-2 c chicken, cooked and cubed (can leave out chicken if vegetarian or vegan; still delicious)
3/4 c Mayo (can use veganeise)
2 c gravy (see recipe below for a good gravy recipe)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp curry powder
optional: 1/2 c grated cheddar cheese

Put cooked rice in the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Next layer the broccoli, chicken(can optionally layer some cheese here, or vegan cheese like Daiya) and then mix up the remaining ingredients and pour them over top. Cook at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until warm.

Gravy

4 Tbsp avocado oil (butter or olive oil work too)
2 tsp minced garlic
5 T whole white wheat flour
2 c vegetable broth
1/2 c unsweetened almond milk
2 tsp dried minced onion
1 1/2 tsp sea salt

In a saucepan, warm the oil over medium heat. Stir in garlic and saute one minute. Add the flour and whisk. Whisk in broth, milk, dried onion and salt. Stir over medium to medium-hi heat for about 5 minutes until thickened. Makes about 2 cups.

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Chia Seed Pudding

This is a cool and sweet snack that you can feel good about. And as chia seeds expand, they help you to feel fuller, so if you’re trying to eat less, this is a great little snack to have around. Chia seeds are high in Omega 3 fatty acids which is something people will try to get from fish oil supplements, but I prefer throwing chia seeds (or flax seeds) in my foods instead. Try this out, it’s a great summer snack. 

THE RECIPE

Chia Seed Pudding (lightly adapted from Kimberly Snyder)
*4-6 servings

1/4 chia seeds
1 1/2- 1 3/4 c unsweetened almond milk
2 tsp cacao powder (can sub carob powder)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbsp pure maple syrup or coconut nectar

Place chia seeds in a quart jar. Add the remaining ingredients and put lid on tight. Shake vigorously until all combined (a few seconds). Let stand at least 15 minutes before mixing again and serving. Store in fridge.

*the amount of almond milk depends on how thick/runny you’d like it. I like mine runny, so I use 1 3/4 cup, but use less if you want it a little thicker.

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Lentil Vegetable Soup

Lentils are high in protein, iron, fiber, folate and magnesium(read heart healthy), and they improve digestion so they are something I always have on hand and I try to cook them for the familiy here in there, usually in the form of soups. This is a recipe most of the family likes; like 5/7 of us which is good in my opinion…we have a couple picky eaters who will only eat the allotted 3 bites we ask them to try, but honestly they do that with anything besides burritos or pizza.

Start off with chopping up your veggies: onion, carrot and celery. You don’t need much, just a half cup of each. Then warm your olive oil in a large pot (I use a soup stock pot), and once it’s warm, add your veggies and cook them til they’re tender, about 5 minutes. Add in your garlic, and Italian seasoning, stir for a minute, then add in the lentils, vegetable stock, water and tomatoes. Bring this to a boil and then turn the heat down to low and allow it to simmer, uncovered for about an hour. No need to stand right next to it and stir, I just grabbed a book and sat and read, and helped kids with homework til the buzzer rang. Once done, add in the salt, pepper and spinach and stir to combine; the spinach will wilt which is perfect. And that’s it! Easy, healthy and so yummy and warming! Enjoy!

Lentil Vegetable Soup
*serves 8

1 Tbsp olive or coconut oil
1/2 c yellow onion, chopped
1/2 c carrot, chopped
1/2 c celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced (1 tsp)
2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
2 c dry lentils, rinsed (I used red but any will work)
4 c vegetable stock
4 c cool, filtered water
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 c baby spinach, rinsed
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Pour oil into a large soup pot, over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook for about 5 minutes, until tender but not burned. Add garlic, Italian seasoning and cook another minute. Add lentils, vegetable stock, water and tomatoes. Bring pot to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 1 hour. Add spinach, salt and pepper. Stir until spinach is wilted and serve.

 

 

 

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Tikka Masala (paneer, chicken or vegan option)

My friend Jaya, who is from India gave me an amazing Tikka Masala recipe! All through dinner my husband and I were going back and forth on how wonderful it was and came closer to the restaurant style Tikka Masala than any other we’ve tried, and we’ve tested quite a few recipes. I was surprised to find out that the sauce didn’t have any dairy! Which is even better as dairy is mucus forming so I try to not do too much, especially in winter months when there seems to be more head colds going around. I deleted one of my other Tikka Masala recipes from this blog as this one is SO much better, but I’m keeping the crock pot Tikka up for now…but if I try this in the crockpot and it works, I may be updating that as well.

Here are your ingredients, and notice I’ve already created the marinade for the paneer (or you could do chicken) and it’s resting while I chop the other veggies.

Here’s a close up of a couple of the spices. I buy mine from Sprouts, but a lot of grocery stores should carry them on their spice/baking aisle, or if you have an Idian grocery store close by, head there because you’ll also find your Indian Green Chile there as well.

In a frying pan over medium heat add 2 tablespoons oil. Once it is hot add the chopped onions and cook until translucent about 5 minutes.

Add the chopped green chili, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon garam masala, a pinch of salt and stir to combine. Cook for one minute; this will help release the flavor in the spices and you’ll smell a wonderful aroma. Add the chopped tomatoes and 1/2 cup water. Cover and let Cook 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, grill or pan fry the paneer (or chicken). Add any extra marinade to your tomato mixture.

Take this tomato mixture and transfer it to a blender and blend until smooth.

Once blended put the sauce back in your pan on the stove and add water a tablespoon at a time to thin it according to your preference (I usually add 1- 2 tablespoons) once this is simmering add your grilled Paneer and Cook for five more minutes. Serve over brown basmati rice (or whatever rice you like) and garnish with chopped cilantro.

Paneer Tikka Masala(chicken and vegan option)

MARINADE:
1 c cubed paneer (or chicken, tofu, chopped veggies, etc)
1/4 c plain yogurt (or could use full fat coconut milk)
1 T chili powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
pinch of salt
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 T melted coconut oil (or other oil)

For the Sauce:
2 T coconut oil
2 medium white onions (yellow is too sweet)
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
3 large Roma tomatoes (romas are better for sauces, more meaty)

1/2 c water
1 indian green chile, chopped (these are smaller and thinner than a jalapeno; if you don’t have an Indian market nearby and you can’t find this at a store, I would try doing 1/2 a jalapeno…if it’s not spicy enough, once the sauce is all made, you could add in more)

1/2 can Thai kitchen coconut milk
cilantro for garnish

Marinate the paneer in 1/4 cup yogurt, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon turmeric powder, half teaspoon garam masala, half of the juice from a lemon, and 1 tablespoon oil and a pinch of salt. Allow it to sit for at least 10 to 15 minutes.

In a frying pan over medium heat add 2 tablespoons oil. Once it is hot add the chopped onions and cook until translucent. Add the chopped green chili, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon garam masala, a pinch of salt and cook for one minute. Add the chopped tomatoes and 1/2 cup water. Cover and let Cook 10 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, grill or pan fry the paneer (or chicken). Add any extra marinade to your tomato mixture. Take this tomato mixture and transfer it to a blender and blend until smooth.

Once blended put the sauce back in your pan on the stove and add Thai coconut milk; once this is simmering add your grilled Paneer and cook for five more minutes. Serve over brown basmati rice (or whatever rice you like) and garnish with chopped cilantro.

*If vegan, you could totally do this without the paneer or the chicken. You could just serve this sauce plain over brown basmati rice or add any of these: firm cubed tofu, cashews, golden raisins, chopped veggies including potatoes, peas, carrots etc

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Italian Party Mix

Sorry about the sporadic posts. In all honesty, it’s just busy around here with Christmas and my husband and I trying to finish our basement before Christmas, and so computer time has been minimal. But I had to go look up this recipe in my ‘favorites’ recipe binder because I realized I’d never posted it here, so I thought I better do so now so I can have this recipe online for the future. We love party chex mix, though because we don’t normally have cereal or pretzels and spaghetti mix on hand, we make this more for a holiday treat around Christmas time. We’ve made this every year for lots of years; in fact, I remember making this with my mom, in the house I grew up in, and bringing it to neighbors. And now we do something similar, though because I have five kids that love this mix, we usually only give away a bag or two so they can eat up the rest. 

 

This recipe is pretty simple and straighforward. You add all your cereal, pretzels and nuts/seeds to a large bowl and gently stir. Then you drizzle it with olive oil and the spaghetti sauce and garlic and gently stir to combine and that’s it! 

We sometimes will double the recipe so we can have more to give  away. We’ll usually gift them in cello bags or christmas tins. I hope you have a merry Christmas and a happy holiday season!

THE RECIPE
*Makes 24 cups. We fill about five cello bags for neighbor gifts.

Italian Party Mix

1 Family size box Chex (or 18c; I like to use a rice and corn chex combo)

8 c pretzel sticks

2 c cashew pieces (or other nut or seeds; i also like sunflower seeds)

8 Tbsp olive oil (about 1/2 c)

1 packet McCormicks dry spaghetti sauce mix (I find this on aisle with other packets for gravy and sauces etc)

1 Tbsp garlic powder

Optional: 1/2 c Parmesan cheese; if you do this, you only need to use half the McCormiks dry spaghetti mix

Combined checks pretzels and cashews in a large bowl. Pour oil over top and stir gently to coat. Add dry spaghetti mix garlic powder and optional Parmesan cheese and stir gently to coat. Makes 24 cups. We fill about five cello bags for neighbor gifts.

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Butternut Squash Soup with Candied Pecans 

I was at a good friends house for lunch last week(we have the same first name, which never happens to me!) and she pulled out some leftovers and asked if I’d like to try her butternut squash soup; I’m always game for trying new things if there’s not meat involved, also, it’s been cold and i’ve been craving soup  but only have a few favorite recipes. So we warmed it up and then she had some candied pecans that she threw on top and, wow, that was such an amazing combination, I loved it! I asked her for the recipe and came home and recreated the soup, making only a couple minor substitutions: I used almond milk instead of half-and-half, I used vegetable broth instead of chicken bouillon and water, and I candied my pecans with pure maple syrup instead of sugar.

As a sidenote, I love candied pecans! This something that my husband‘s mother made often times in the winter for their family and so, early on in our marriage, I learned from her how to make it the way she did, by cooking them in the oven with maple syrup for about an hour, stirring every 15 minutes or so. I love that cooking method and I use that most often but if I’m in a time crunch and I want some candied pecans in five minutes, then I do it over the stove, and that’s what I did today. I just took a handful of pecans, tossed them on a pan over medium heat with some coconut oil and pure maple syrup and cooked them up, while stirring, until the pecans had absorbed the liquid and they had crystallized. But like I mentioned, you can also for sure cook them in the oven and you can make them before hand and keep them in an airtight container in your pantry for up to a week ahead of time. If you’d like an recipe for the oven baked candied pecans, click here. 

Now, onto the soup! You’ll need about 4 cups of cooked and cubed, butternut squash. I bought and used this 1 lb. package of already cut up squash to save time. Throw that into a rimmed baking sheet (lined with silicone or parchment for easier cleanup, if you like) along with your carrots and a little olive oil and salt and bake at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes, until tender.

In the meantime, coarsley chop and saute your onion in a medium stock pot(you’ll be adding all the soup back into this once it’s pureed) until it’s translucent, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Once your squash and carrots are tender, add them to a blender jar with half of your broth and the onions. Puree. Empty the blender into the stock pot (where you cooked your onions) and add in the almond milk and salt to taste, and stir together. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Serve warm, topped with candied pecans.

THE RECIPE:

Butternut Squash Soup with Candied Pecans

*Serves 4-6

1 1lb package butternut squash (about 4 cups, peeled and cubed)
2 c baby carrots
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 large white or yellow onion, coarsley chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 c vegetable broth (or chicken broth, or 1 Tbsp vegetable/chicken bouillon in 4 c water)
1 c almond milk (or regular milk or half and half)
1/4 tsp sea salt, or to taste
Topping: candied pecans

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a rimmed baking sheet lined with a silicone mat for quick clean up, add your carrots and squash and drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp sea salt. Cook for about 45 minutes to an hour, until tender. In the meantime,  in a medium sized stock pot, saute your onion with 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat, until translucent. Set aside.

Once your squash and carrots are tender, add them to a blender jar with half of your broth and the onions. Puree. Empty the blender into the stock pot (where you cooked your onions) and add in the almond milk and salt to taste, and stir together. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Serve warm, topped with candied pecans, that you’ve cut into smaller pieces.

You can candy pecans ahead of time up to a week in advance. You can find the oven baked recipe I like to use here. To candy pecans quickly, in about 5 minutes, follow these instructions:

5-minute candied pecans 
1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1/2 c pecans

Cook over stove on medium heat for about 5 minutes until the pecans have absorbed the liquid and they’ve crystallized.

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Vegetable Korma

I recently made friends with an Indian woman whose son is in our  daughter Nora’s school class. She’s been in the United States for about 3 years now and when I found that out, I asked her if she knew how to cook Indian food. She of course did, and she asked if I’d like her to make some for me. What a dear! I told her that what I would really like would be to have her teach me how to make Indian food. And so we got together one day last week and she taught me how to make Vegetable Korma! I was so excited and pleased to be in her kitchen, watching, smelling, tasting, taking notes and learning from her! It really was a dream come true! And guess what?! She said we can do it again! Next time we meet we’ll go to the Indian Market together so I can get some of the ingredients she used that’d I’ve never seen before like the chana dahl in the first picture below on the far left, and the white poppyseeds in the next picture, and the Indian chilies. I took lots of pictures!

The first thing we did was make our korma paste. We did this by adding all the ‘paste’ ingredients (listed below in recipe) to the blender and blending it til smooth. We added more water as needed if it was too thick to blend.

Next we chopped up the red onion (she advised we use red or white, but not yellow as it’s too sweet) and sauteed it with a little oil (you can use olive oil or coconut oil), salt, curry leaves, turmeric and chili powder. After having made this multiple times now, and not always being able to get the Indian chiles and the curry leaves, I’ll often substitute curry powder for the leaves (and yes, I know they’re not the same thing, but I LOVE the flavor of curry powder and it adds a nice color), and I’ll add crushed red pepper in place of indian chiles. Next we added the tomatoes and cooked them until they were mushy, about 5 minutes.

Next we added the paste from the blender to those tomatoes. Once we dumped that in, we added about 1/2 cup warm water to the blender jar, put the lid on and swirled it around to get all the paste sticking to the inside of the jar, and we poured that into the frying pan. *As a side note, if you wanted chicken Korma, or just a plain Korma sauce, this is where you’d do that and skip adding the veggies…either add in cooked chicken (you could also marinate it and cook it in some of the same spices), or just leave it here plain, or add in some paneer (soft indian cheese).

Next up we added the chopped veggies. And you could really use whatever you like here. I love carrots and chopped potatoes in my Indian food. Cover the pan and bring the heat to low and cook 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, add coconut milk (or a couple TBSP plain yogurt with 1 cup water), bring heat to medium and cook 5-10 minutes, stirring ocassionally and adding more water if needed, a Tbsp at a time, so it doesn’t burn on the bottom.

Garnish with cilantro. Serve with rice and Naan.

Vegetable Korma

*serves 8

Paste:
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup raw cashews (soaked in water for 15+ minutes)
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp white poppy seeds
1 tsp roasted chana dal
1 Tbsp coriander seeds
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
6 whole cloves
4 green cardamom pods
1/4 tsp black peppercorn
2 small green chilies (indian green chili found at an Indian market; I often sub 1 tsp crushed red pepper in place of this)
4 tsp minced garlic or 8 cloves
1 1/2 inch ginger, peeled
1 c water (or a little more if needed, to get a creamy paste)

Combine all paste ingredients into your blender and blend until smooth, adding water, 1 TBSP at a time, if needed to blend.

2 medium red onion, diced (or white, but not yellow because too sweet)
1/2 tsp sea salt
14 curry leaves (I often sub 1 tsp curry powder)
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp red chili powder
2 large Roma tomato, chopped
1 can coconut milk with full fat (I like Thai Kitchen brand)…or you can use a couple TBSP plain yogurt and 1 cup water
optional: 1-2 cups chopped veggies like carrots, potato, peas
optional: 1/3 c golden raisins
*could do cooked chicken or paneer instead of veggies
chopped cilantro to garnish

In a large frying pan, add 2 Tbsp coconut or olive oil over medium heat. Add the finely diced onion with 1/4 tsp sea salt, curry leaves, turmeric and chili powder and cook until onions are translucent. Add tomatoes and cook until they are mushy, about 5 minutes. Add the paste from your blender. Add about 1/2 cup warm water to the emptied blender jar, put lid on and swirl it around to get all the paste sticking to the inside of the jar, and pour into the frying pan. *As a side note, if you wanted chicken Korma, or just a plain Korma sauce, this is where you’d do that and skip adding the veggies…either add in cooked chicken (you could also marinate it and cook it in some of the same spices), or just leave it here plain, or add in some paneer (soft indian cheese).

Add chopped veggies. Cover the pan and bring the heat to low and cook 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, add the coconut milk (or yogurt and water)  and optional golden raisins and bring heat back up to medium and cook another 10 minutes, stirring ocassionally and adding more water if needed, a Tbsp at a time, so it doesn’t burn on the bottom. Garnish with cilantro. Serve with rice and Naan.

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Scott’s Challah Bread

My husband Scott is great in the kitchen. Not only can he follow a recipe, but he can also create some amazing things on his own. He served a two year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and while there, he and his companion cooked pasta dinners with sauces almost daily for dinner, so he can make some great sauces and he’s amazing at knowing which spices go well together :). Now, I’m not sharing any of his sauce recipes today, but I am going to share a Challah Bread recipe that he has made his own and which we LOVE and have asked him to double so that we can make one loaf into French Toast and snack on the other loaf :). We have breakfast for dinner, once a week, on Sundays, and he will make this recipe one Sunday a month and it’s something we look forward to.

Since we double this recipe to make two loaves, after the dough has risen, we split the dough in half, braid one, then braid the other.

Sometimes Scott will take 2 of the 6 ropes (or 1 of the 3), and rub it with butter and roll it in cinnamon before he braids it. Yum!

 

Nora brushing the bread with our egg white wash. And normally we’ll fit both loaves on this large cookie sheet.

The Recipe:

Challah Bread
*makes 1 loaf

2 tsp active dry or instant yeast
1 c (8 oz) lukewarm water
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour (we use an umbromated white flour)
2 1/2 c whole white wheat or spelt flour
1/8 c granulated sugar
2 tsp sea salt
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk (reserve the white for the egg wash)
1/4 c softened butter (or oil)

Sprinkle the yeast over the water in a small bowl and add a pinch of sugar. Stir to dissolve the yeast and let stand until there’s a frothy layer across the top. Set aside. In a standing mixer with dough hook attachments (we use our Bosch), combine 4 cups of flour, sugar and salt. Add the eggs, yolk and softened butter and mix. Pour the yeast over top. Knead with dough hook for 6 minutes(or knead by hand for 10 if you don’t have a stand mixer). If dough is very sticky, add flour, a teaspoon at a time until it feels tacky. The dough is finished kneading when it is soft, smooth and holds a ball shape. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel in a warm area (we wrap a towel under and over and set it on our counter). Let rise until doubled about 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Separate the dough into 3 to 6 equal pieces for braiding. Roll each piece of dough into a long rope, about 1-inch thick and 16 inches long. Gather the ropes and squeeze them together at the very top. Braid the ropes together. Line a baking sheet with parchment and lift the loaf on top. (If you have the time, you can certainly allow this to rise a second time, which you would do right now. But it’s not necessary, we almost never have time to do a second rise and it turns out beautifully, just as pictured). Whisk the egg white with a tablespoon of water and brush it all over the challah. Be sure to get in the cracks and down the sides of the loaf. Put in oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, challah will be browned. Cool on a cooling rack until just barely warm, slice and eat.

*We like to double this recipe and snack on one and cut the other into thick slices for French Toast.

 

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