Veggie-ful Beans

My kids are really good eaters, but as they get older, they are out on their own more and they sometimes forget to eat vegetables! So now when they are home, whatever meal we’re eating, I try to pack it as full of as many veggies as I can. Here is a meal we had a few weeks ago after a sleepover-playdate combination involved pizza, pancakes, and very little sleep…I literally went through my fridge and put every vegetable I could find in this meal and it was super yummy!

  • 1 medium sweet potato or 3 large carrots, diced
  • 1 small onion, cut into half moons
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 small head cabbage, shredded
  • 1 bunch greens, chopped
  • 2 cups cooked pinto beans
  • millet, quinoa, or rice, optional
  • 1 avocado, diced

We love roasted vegetables, so I roasted the sweet potatoes and added them later. You could do the same with carrots, but you could also stick them in the saute after the onions are caramelized, which is how I’ll write the recipe for simplicity…I also sauteed some millet cubes separately to crisp them up, but again, you always have the option to keep it even more simple!

Heat a large saute pan to just below medium, add the onions and drizzle with olive oil and salt. Give them a stir, then let them cook while you prepare your other vegetables. After about 15 minutes, add the carrots and continue to cook until both the onions and the carrots are soft and starting to brown lightly, 5-10 minutes. Clear some space in the pan and add a little more olive oil and the cauliflower. Sprinkle with salt and allow to cook undisturbed for about 5 minutes. Add the cabbage and greens and cook until they start to wilt. Add the pinto beans and cook until heated through. Season to taste and serve over grains, if desired. Top with avocado cubes sprinkled with a little salt and lime if you have it. Enjoy!

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Za’atar Hummus Pizza

I can’t stop thinking of new menu items for my cafe. I was having a conversation with my lovely baker about the possibility of doing kids’ lunches and we were brainstorming foods that might work particularly well for school lunches. You know, easy to eat, healthy, familiar enough for most kids…She mentioned that a restaurant she once worked in served a hummus pizza and I have been obsessing all of the hummus pizza possibilities since then. As you know, I’m also obsessed with Za’atar. On top of all of that, I have gotten over my longstanding aversion to olives. I think we just might have it on the menu at the cafe sometime soon…this may or may not be the version that goes into kids’ lunches, but it sure is yummy!

I make lots of varieties of focaccia, so I use leftovers for the pizza crust. You can use your favorite pizza crust, tortillas, or even pieces of bread for little personal hummus pizzas. And, of course, topping are your choice, but here’s a suggestion…

  • Pizza crust (unbaked or pre-baked will work), tortillas, or bread
  • Hummus, about 1/4 cup per serving
  • Lightly steamed broccoli
  • caramelized onions
  • pitted and halved olives (optional)
  • Sumac, fresh thyme, sesame seeds, and sea salt
  • Aleppo peppers, optional

If you are using a pre-baked crust, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. If your crust still needs to be cooked, bump it up to 400 degrees. Place your crust on a pan and spread with hummus. Arrange the broccoli, onions, and olives (if using) evenly over the hummus. Sprinkle with sumac, fresh thyme, sesame seeds, and sea salt. Add a pinch of aleppo pepper, if you wish. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until your crust is lightly browned and the hummus is heated through. Enjoy!

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Julia’s Kitchen – a Cafe and Bakery…

Hello friends!

I plan to get back to the regular recipe routine in a few weeks, but for now, I want to invite you to a sneak preview of Julia’s Kitchen this week. We still have some work to do, but I have missed making soup! Plus, what better way to figure out how to run this thing than to invite you all to come in while it’s a work in progress??

For the next few days, we’ll have soup and more available from 11am to 1pm. If you are so inclined, please come in and check the place out for lunch! If you stop by later in the day, you’re likely to find someone there building our inventory and willing to give you a little tour and a bowl of soup, but definitely from 11-1 or so! Our credit card machine is on its way, so for the first few days, it will be cash only. By the end of the week, we hope to have our bakery packed full and we’ll keep on adding new menu items until we have it how we want it! We’ll officially open when we know what we are doing:)

The address is 4457 Broadway. The cafe is set back and a little tricky to see from the street when you are coming up North on Broadway. We are on the West side of Broadway just North of Violet, in a little strip of stores – if you are familiar with North Boulder Cafe, we’re in that same strip. There are two entrances to the parking lot, so it you miss the first, just take the next one! We don’t have a sign yet, but the cafe is painted white with brown trim.

If all that hasn’t all scared you off, I would love to see some friendly faces there before our grand opening!

Tomorrow we will have:

Hoppin’ John (in the spirit of a good year to come!)
Red Lentil Coconut Curry Soup
White Bean Chili
Adaba Bars (almond, cashew pecan, tahini raisin, and apricot almond)
Raw Fig Bars
Raw Onion Crackers
Raw Kale Chips
Raw Cashew Coconut Macaroons
Raw Lemon Ginger Drops
Power Cookies

We’ll have some of the following…
Veggie Pancakes
Millet Bread
Naan
Ginger Pear Muffins

As the week goes on, we’ll add scones, brownies, sautes, dips, and more!

I am so excited and I hope to see you there!

Have a great week!

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Holiday Cutout Cookies and Royal Icing

Here’s an easy cookie recipe to get everyone in the holiday spirit.  Whether you are making them in the shape of Christmas trees, Hanukkah dreidels, Solstice stars, Kwanzaa candles, or all of the above, time with family or friends making and decorating festive cookies is a great holiday project that is fun for people of all ages!

I had a request to come up with an alternative cut out cookie and so these were my project last night.  I was surprised at how workable the dough was and how sturdy the cookies.  It’s easy to roll out and cut, then once you’ve cut out the shapes, you can put it in the fridge for 5-10 minutes to firm up a bit and you should have no problem transferring the cut cookies onto a baking sheet.

Of course, as soon as my kids saw cutout cookies, they tasted them, declared them yummy, then asked for icing to go on top.  Since coconut butter is my go-to for easy frosting, I just spooned out a bit of that and sweetened it very lightly with the powdered coconut sugar left in the blender from the cookies.  It came out with a beautiful sheen, nice and spreadable when warm, then firm and shiny when cool, just like royal icing.  It’s really best for spreading on the cookies, but we did pipe some onto some stars and gingerbread men and that worked for simple designs (sorry, no frosting roses:).  It stays firm at about 70 degrees and below, which most houses and offices are.  Be sure not to store the frosted cookies too near a heat source!  Other options are to decorate with a dusting of cinnamon-coconut sugar, dried fruit pieces, chocolate chips, or if you really want to get crazy, the colored decorating sugar from Whole Foods.

For the Cookies:

  • 2/3 cups coconut oil, softened
  • 2/3 cups coconut sugar, powdered
  • 2 Tablespoon of ground flax
  • 6 Tablespoons water
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 ½-2 cups flour (I used sprouted buckwheat, but a combo of amaranth and quinoa would be great, or any gf mix you love!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  1. Measure the coconut oil, then soften it by placing the measuring cup in a bowl of warm water.
  2. Measure the coconut sugar and process in a blender to powder it.  Set aside.
  3.  In a small bowl, combine 1 ½ cups of the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In a larger mixing bowl, cream together the softened coconut oil and powdered coconut sugar.
  5. Mix in the flax, water, and vanilla.
  6. Add the flour mixture about a third at a time and mix until incorporated.  Add additional flour if needed until you have a smooth dough that you can knead lightly with your hands without sticking.
  7. Divide the dough in 2 and roll each half out between 2 sheets of wax or parchment paper or on a silicone mat to about ¼ inch thick.
  8. Place into the refrigerator for about 10 minutes or so.
  9. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  10. Lightly oil 3-4 cookie sheets.
  11.  When the rolled dough has firmed up a bit, cut with cookie cutters into desired shapes and place on prepared trays.
  12. Bake for 6-9 minutes, or until just lightly browned on the edges.
  13. Allow to firm up for a few minutes on the pan before removing them to a cooling rack.
  14.  Decorate as you wish and enjoy!

For the icing:

  • 1 cup coconut butter
  • 1/4 cup powdered coconut sugar, or more to taste
  1. Measure the coconut butter into a glass measuring cup.
  2. Place measuring cup in a pot of warm water and stir until it’s creamy and spreadable.
  3. Stir in coconut sugar and remove from heat.
  4. Spread or pipe as desired.
  5. Enjoy!

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Za’atar Seasoning

I only recently discovered Za’atar, but it’s one of those tastes that will stay in my culinary repertoire for the duration.  From what I can gather, the name refers either to a specific herb native to North Africa or a spice blend common in that same region.  I have never come across the herb called za’atar, so I am referring to the blend of spices I call Za’atar seasoning.  Like many native spice mixtures, it varies from region to region and even from household to household.  It can include a variety of spices such as oregano, marjaram, thyme, fennel, caraway, and savory, as well as sumac and sesame seeds. It can be sprinkled in olive oil and used as a dipping sauce for breads or filling for breads, or as a rub for meats or tofu, or poured generously on hummus.  For a while, I was buying the spice blend from a local spice shop, but then I discovered that it was even more heavenly made with fresh thyme from my garden, so I started making it myself.  As is the case with most spices, Za’atar seasoning is high in antioxidants and it also microbial, so a good addition to your holiday diet!

You can add and replace spices as needed, but here is my favorite simple Za’atar seasoning…you may not find sumac at your grocery store, but you should be able to find it at most specialty spice shops.

  • 1 Tablespoon sumac
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1-2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Place all of the ingredients in a mortar and pestle or a small blender.  You want to break open the sesame seeds so that they are digestible.  If you don’t have either of those tools, you could try crushing them on a cutting board using a flat-bottomed glass or something similar, along with a little elbow grease.  Optimally, you’ll open up the sesame seeds a bit to break up the hull; your body will have a hard time digesting them if they are intact.  Sprinkle the crushed mixture on hummus and other dips, or use it as a seasoned salt on tofu, beans, roasted vegetables, etc.  If you want to use it as a rub, stir it into about 1/4 cup olive oil.  This is also a yummy sandwich spread!  It’s a great way to bring flavor to dishes without adding excessive salt.  It’s such a simple thing, but adds incredible flavor.  I hope you’ll try it and enjoy!

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Roasted Parsnip and Carrot Chips

I have always liked parsnips, but I don’t think I’ve ever gone out of my way for them until now.  Maybe it’s their earthy sweetness, or the fact that they are still feeding my local produce appetite, but I am in love with them right now.  And, like most things I love, they require only the simplest preparation to be perfectly delicious.

They are a nice addition to any roasted vegetable platter, as a side with a sandwich or dip, or of course they are a great snack.

  • 5-6 medium parsnips
  • 5-6 medium carrots
  • olive oil
  • sea salt
  • a handful of parsley

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Wash and dry the parsnips and carrots.  Slice both the parsnips and carrots about 1/4 inch thick on a diagonal; do this by lying them on the cutting board and holding them firmly (with fingertips rolled back toward you, of course), then angling your knife at a 45-60 degree angle so you are cutting oblong slices.  This provides a greater surface area to brown.  Drizzle the cut vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of salt, then spread them in one layer on a rimmed baking sheet (the rim will keep any excess olive oil from dripping off).  Place the sheet in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.  They will be browned and slightly caramelized when they are done.  Sprinkle them with parsley and a little more salt, if you wish.  Enjoy!

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Thanksgiving!

We are heading to a horse ranch in Western Kentucky this year for Thanksgiving.  I am so excited to spend a few very relaxed days in a beautiful place with my family, but I think I’d better start planning ahead for our meal, because I’m fairly certain that there aren’t many health food stores in that part of the country.  So you all can start thinking about your feast-day grub too, I’d like to offer some suggestions for a bountiful, beautiful Thanksgiving meal.  To me, bounty means a variety of colors, textures and tastes and, thankfully, we still have plenty of fresh, delicious produce available to us.  The last Farmers’ Market of this season is this Saturday, so there is still time to stock up on delicious apples and pears, Winter squash, potatoes, onions, etc, etc.  I’m thinking there may even still be some yummy greens.

While I am not particularly stuck on tradition, there are certain foods that say Thanksgiving more than others to me – I guess they also just say warm, cozy, Fall…

Starters:

Five Spice Carrot Cashew Butter with hearty bread
Winter Squash Soup
French Lentil Patewith Crackers<

Main Dishes:

Savory Lentil Loaf, with or without the ketchup
Chickpea Patties and Gravy(or, roasted garbanzo beans would be a delicious protein addition to the usual TDay sides)
Layered Root Vegetable Gratin
Stuffed Winter Squash with Roasted Chickpeas or Crispy Mung Beans
Baked Tofu Cutlets

Salads and Side Dishes:

Yummy Holiday Stuffing
Roasted Vegetables
Millet Risotto Cakes
Green Bean or Vegetable Casserole
Kale and Beet Salad
Autumn Tossed Salad
Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad
Red Cabbage Salad

Desserts:

Sweet Buttercup (or any Winter squash) Tart
Carrot Cake
Raw Pear and Walnut Tart (no recipe online yet, but throw some walnuts, fresh ginger, cinnamon, and dates into a food processor to make a crust to press into a pan, then layer with sliced ripe fresh pears tossed in lemon juice, fresh ginger, and cinnamon; top with Brazil Nut Cream

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