Monthly Archives: October 2012

Squash Muffins with Streusel Topping

Yesterday, Mark and I hiked Camel’s Hump for the second time. I’m not sure if its because I’ve been running more lately, but we flew up the mountain. We did the whole hike, including spending a half hour at the top, taking pictures and eating lunch, in less than 3 hours. At 4,083 ft., Camels Hump is the third tallest peak in VT. Its unique shape was carved by glaciers! The trail is just under 5 miles, round trip, and usually there are spectacular views from the exposed and undeveloped peak. When we got up to the top, the wind was whipping, clouds were swirling around us and it was freezing! After snapping a few pics of the less-than-stellar views, we hiked back down the trail a bit and found a little ledge on the leeward side of the mountain to have lunch.

Today, I spent the day attacking this massive trombone squash that Mark’s co-worker gave us… this thing is huge! Possibly 3 feet long. Trombone squash are a type of heirloom squash from Italy. They are notorious for being massive. In the summer, when they are green, these squash can be eaten like zucchini, and in the fall when they turn yellow, they can be used like butternut squash. So, I cut it up and roasted it in the oven at 375 for about 45 mins to an hour. Then some went into muffins for Mark’s office, some into squash soup for dinner tonight and the rest is being saved for squash ravioli later in the week.

Get your mind out if the gutter, I know what you’re thinking. You might also be thinking, why muffins… why not… this squash tastes a lot like pumpkin, think of them more as pumpkin muffins… or you can just use pumpkin if you want.

Squash Muffins with Streusel Topping
Makes 12 large muffins (adapted from Mark Bitman’s Whole Wheat Muffin Recipe)
 
2 1/2 whole wheat flour, use whole wheat pastry flour if you can
3/4 cup of sugar
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of squash puree (I used trombone, you could use butternut, acorn, delicata, pumpkin or any other winter squash)
1/2 cup of vegan butter, such as earth balance, melted
1/2 cup of almond milk (or other non-dairy milk) mixed with 2 teaspoons of cider vinegar (making our own butter milk)
1 egg or one flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flax and 3 tablespoons of water, mix and let sit in the fridge for 15 mins to 1 hour to set up)
 
Preheat your oven to 375 and line a muffin tin with 12 liners, or spray with cooking spray.
 
In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, combine the squash, melted butter, milk and (flax) egg. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Spoon evenly into muffin tins. Top with streusel (see below) and bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and drizzle on spiced drizzle using a spoon and enjoy!
 
 
 For the Streusel
1/2 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of flour
2 tablespoon of oats
1/4 cup of melted butter, I used earth balance
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
 
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Divide mixture evenly over the top of the 12 muffins.
 
  
Spiced Drizzle
1/4 cup of powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon of maple syrup, look for a “pure” maple syrup with the kosher label, otherwise it might not be vegan (or omit)
1-2 teaspoons of almond milk (or other non-dairy milk), start with a little and add more to reach desired drizzly consistency 
Dash of cinnamon
Dash of pumpkin pie spice
 
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Drizzle over muffin after they are baked
 
 

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Vegetable and Quinoa Croquettes with Spicy BBQ Sauce

Last Saturday was Switchback Brewery’s 10th anniversary and they threw a big party. They had a live band, local food vendors, brewery tours and other activities on their lawn. For $10 you got 3 beer tickets, 1 food ticket, and a newly bottled 22 of switchback ale. We also go access to specials at countless bars downtown with our exclusive wristband. All of this for $10! And it just so happens that we have our first keg of Switchback in the kegerator, coincidence?

I also broke in my new $13 crock pot with some switchback ale chili with cornmeal dumplings.

On another unrelated note… last week I lost my opal ring that Mark got me last year. I might have cried for a few days and tore apart our home and my work. I had everyone on the look out… And just when I had given up hope, Mark found it in our baggie of curry powder. Of all places! Maybe I have a cooking problem. (the worst part, I had looked in some of the other spices and the flour, just not the curry powder). My finger no longer feels naked!

We’ve been having warm weather the past few days, so a 6 mile run though the wooded part of the bike path was a must. This morning I woke up and decided to make vegetable nuggets croquettes… much more fancy sounding… to eat during the Pats game this afternoon. However, Mark and I ate them all by 11:30 am… they’re that good… but also good for you. These vegan croquettes are packed full of veggies and quinoa, breaded lightly in whole wheat bread crumbs and baked in the oven. Served with some doctored-up BBQ sauce, it’s a grown up twist on your childhood favorite: chicken nuggets with sweet and sour sauce. After a small amount of digesting, we burned them off with a 5 mile run along the lake. I ran 31 miles this week!

Vegetable and Quinoa Croquettes 

Makes about 22-24 croquettes
 
2 cups of broccoli florets
 1 cup of carrots, diced
 1 cup of onion, diced
 Olive oil, divided, about 1 tablespoon total
 Black pepper, divided, about 1/2 tablespoon total
 Garlic flakes, divided, about 1 tablespoon total
 Red pepper flakes, divided, about 1/2 tablespoon total
 1 russet or Yukon potato, washed and diced in 1″ cubes
 1/4 cup of quinoa, uncooked
 1/4 cup of veggies stock
 3/4 cup of water
 1 tablespoon of vegan butter
 1/2 cup of peas
 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne 
 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
 1/2 teaspoon of curry powder
 1/2 tablespoon of mustard
 1/2 cup (approximate) of whole wheat bread crumbs, you can sub gluten free bread crumbs or grind up your favorite gf crackers to keep it gf. Also look for ones low in sodium and without cheese if you want them to remain vegan.

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Chop up the broccoli, carrots and onion, and place them on a foil lined baking sheet with some of the black pepper, garlic flakes, red peppers flakes and about a teaspoon of olive oil. Place them in the oven, tossing every 10 mins or so, until cooked and a bit crispy, about 30 minutes.

While the veggies roast, chop up the potato and place in a pot of boiling water. Boil for 15-20 minutes or until a fork pierces through a potato cube easily. Once the potato is in the pot, place the quinoa in another pot with some red pepper flakes and some garlic flakes. Heat over medium high heat, tossing the quinoa frequently to toast it, about 3 minutes. Then add in 1/4 cup of low sodium veggies stock and 3/4 cup of water. Stir the quinoa and potatoes occasionally. (you will have extra quinoa left over from this recipe, store in a container and add to meals that need a little protein boost)

When the veggies are done, nice and browned, scrape them and the browned bits in a food processor and pulse to chop them coarsely. When the potatoes are done, place them in a large bowl and mash them up with butter and a teaspoon of olive oil, more black pepper and garlic flakes. Add the veggies, 1/2 cup of the cooked quinoa and the peas to the potatoes, add in the cayenne cumin, curry powder and mustard, along with more garlic, black pepper or red pepper flakes, based on your preference. (I love black pepper, garlic and red pepper flakes, so I added more). Mix everything together.

Place the bread crumbs on a plate. Put the remaining olive oil (about a teaspoon) on your baking sheet (tin foil removed and discarded). Form little croquettes, I made about 1 inch diameter balls then shaped them into more of an oval shape (like a nugget). You could use a small ice cream scoop if you want to speed up the process.

Roll each nugget in the bread crumbs and place on the baking sheet. Or you can place them in the freezer, spread out on a baking sheet, not touching, and freeze for 2 hours, then transfer them to a Ziploc bag and store in your freezer until ready to use (we froze half). When ready to bake, place them in a 400 F oven for 10 minutes, or until browned on the bottom, then flip and bake for another 5 to 7 minutes.  Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

Doctored-Up Spicy BBQ Sauce

1/4 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce, I used Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Chipotle
6 small Thai hot chilies, diced very fine
1 tablespoon of mustard
1 tablespoon of sriracha
Black pepper
1/4 teaspoon of garlic flakes

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.

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White Bean, Kale and Mushroom Soup

It rained almost every day this week, which meant some soggy runs and workout DVDs. Finally one morning, the sun made and appearance and instead of dreading lacing up my damp sneakers, I was glad to. The sun made some neat shadows along the bike path.

Then yesterday, after hours of torrential rain, the sun came out again and I went for a 5.5 mile run along the lake, and strong winds made for nice resistance training. Maybe it’s time to stop pretending I can make it all winter without purchasing a gym membership.

Today, Mark and I went on a gorgeous hike up Nebraska Notch, a glacially formed cirque. Though the hike was significantly less strenuous than we anticipated, the foliage has definitely peaked. On the way home we stopped at the Alchemist Cannery to sample some Heady Topper, an unfiltered IPA that has become a hot commodity in the Burlington area… generally selling out 24 hours after delivery to a location.

We made it home in time for football, and of course had soup for soup Sunday. This soup is hearty and healthy  It has kale, white beans, mushrooms, carrots and diced tomatoes. The balsamic vinegar adds a nice bite and the red chili flakes add some heat. We ate ours with seed bread from O Bread Bakery in Shelburne.

I should also mention Mark and my new obsession: cocktails with apple cider, apple brandy, seltzer, and a squeeze of lemon or lime or both. Or you can omit the seltzer and warm the cider, kinda like a hot toddy but better. Apple brandy is delicious; it’s made by fermenting apples in oak barrels for 5 or more years.

 
 
White Bean, Kale and Mushroom Soup
makes 8 large bowls
 
1 table spoon of olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves or garlic, minced
15 baby carrots, sliced thinly
3 cups of crimini mushrooms, diced
Splash of apple brandy or red or white wine (whatever you have on hand)
1 can of white beans (cannellini) 
1 can of fire roasted, diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar 
2 cups of low sodium veggie stock
3 1/2 cups of water 
Bunch of kale, stems removed and sliced in thin ribbons
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon of rosemary
1 teaspoon of thyme
1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon of black peppers
 
In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add in onions and sauté for 4 minutes, then add in garlic and carrots and sauté another 4 minutes, then add in mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes. Add a splash of brandy or wine to deglaze the bottom of the pot. Then add in the tomatoes, beans and balsamic vinegar. Give it a stir and add in stock and water. Bring the stock to a boil for a few minutes then add in the kale, red pepper flakes, rosemary, thyme, Italian seasoning and black peppers, and cook for at least another 5-10 minutes at a simmer. Serve with crusty bread. 

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Cabbage and Apple Slaw

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month… So I would like to take a moment to acknowledge all the women and men who have been affected by breast cancer. Breast cancer runs in my family, my mom, my maternal grandmother and my maternal great aunt all had it. This puts me at a much higher risk, so becoming aware, getting check-ups, eating healthy and exercising have been a crucial part of my life.

My mom was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer the summer before I entered 7th grade. After a rough year of treatment, she went into remission and has been cancer free for a just about a decade! Four years ago my grandmother passed away from breast cancer and last year my great aunt passed away from it, as well.

When I was 16, my mom and I walked 60 miles in 3 days to raise money for the Susan G Komen Foundation. It was one of the best weekends of my life. It was such a supportive community and I learned a lot about breast cancer!

The National Cancer Institute estimates that 80% of cancer cases are preventable and the number one preventative measure is maintaining a healthy lifestyle (source). Recent studies, including one out of Harvard University, have shown that a vegan diet can reduce the risk of many types of cancer (source). My mom was part of study at Yale that demonstrated that exercise can help prevent cancer or reduce the risk of its reoccurrence (source)   Another recent study has linked eating cruciferous vegetables with the prevention of breast cancer (source). A Chinese study found a correlation between the consumption of cruciferous vegetables and an increased survival rate of those battling breast cancer (source).  I’ll eat loads of whatever veggies are linked to prevention, I mean loads.

Cruciferous vegetables include : Arugula, bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, horseradish, kale, radishes, rutabagas, turnips, watercress, and wasabi

(source)

So I made a healthy cabbage and apple slaw in honor of breast cancer awareness month… so load up a big bowl of this salad and chow down for the sake of your breasts.

Speaking of my strong and brave mother, she and my dad came to visit this weekend. Though the weather was less than ideal, we were still able to sneak in a 15 mile bike ride along the lake and a walk along the bike path in Stowe to admire the foliage through the mist.

We had dinner at the Farmhouse Tap and Grill on Saturday and lunch in Stowe on Sunday. My parents also bought us a jar of maple walnut peanut butter from the Vermont Peanut Butter Co… I’m afraid to open it because it might disappear too quickly.

Cabbage and Apple Slaw

2 large servings
 
1/2 a head of green cabbage shredded
1 apple, julienned
2 tablespoons of dried cranberries
1/4 cup of almonds, sliced slivered (I used tamari roasted almonds for more flavor)
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon of mustard
black pepper
 

Whisk together cider vinegar, mustard and black pepper in the bottom of a large bowl, add in the remaining ingredients and toss to coat.

You can eat the whole bowl… it’s helping prevent cancer!

 

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