Monday, September 30, 2013

Butter Those Cashews!

Ever since I learned to make my own peanut butter in my Vitamix, I couldn't help but want to experiment with other nuts and nut butters. Mommy Tiny Tummy's friend recently sent her on an anti-peanut frenzy, so she insisted on replacing her usual banana and peanut butter with a different nut butter, and since Daddy Tiny Tummy isn't a fan of almond butter, cashews were next on the list. The nice thing about making your own nut butter is it requires minimal work on your part. Check it out below.

To make a very simple, but very delicious cashew butter, you will need, all you need is at least 2 cups of cashews (roasted or raw-- they say raw is healthier... I personally don't see the issue with roasted). If you want to make a larger batch, simply use more cashews. I suggest at least 2 cups because it is hard for the nuts to blend into a butter with any less than that. If you're a salted nut butter person, feel free to add some sea salt as well.

To prepare, simply toss your nuts into a food processor, Vitamix, or magic bullet and blend away until the nuts become a butter. You may have to stop and scrape down the sides a few times. Note: peanuts turn to butter WAY faster than cashews do, so be patient. I apologize for the yucky photo. I should have taken one before putting it into a container, and I was lazy about replating it for photographical purposes- I promise, though. It tastes better than that photo makes it look! Pin It

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Chica-Chica Curry

Anyone who has read other posts on this blog likely knows I am no stranger to Indian cooking. As a child, my family ate Indian food regularly, so I guess it's only natural that I have grown to love cooking it. This recipe, that I am going to share with you, is about as basic as it gets for Americanized Indian food. Mommy Tiny Tummy used to make it all the time growing up (and Mommy Tiny Tummy doesn't really cook), so for those of you looking to cook to impress with minimal culinary experience, here's your ticket.

To make this Chicken Curry for beginners, you will need:

2 pounds of chicken (your choice- breast, legs, thighs-- breasts are healthiest)
1 large onion, chopped
8 oz mushrooms, chopped
24 oz greek yogurt (I use fat-free)
1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
2-5 tablespoons of curry powder (depending upon how strong you like it. You can find some version of a curry powder at most grocery stores, though if you want a really good one, I suggest scoping out an Indian grocer)
4-5 carrots, chopped and par-cooked until slightly softened
1/2 cup peas
optional: any other vegetables of your choice

To prepare, start by pre-cooking your chicken however you prefer it (I prefer some version of boiling or some way of retaining as much moisture as possible). You could also buy pre-cooked chicken. In a large pot over a low heat, sautee your onions and mushrooms until translucent. Then, add your chicken, yogurt, broth, and curry powder and mix well. Allow those flavors to marry for a few minutes before adding your carrots, peas and any other vegetables. Cook just until all of your veggies are cooked through.

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Sunday, September 22, 2013

5 Minute Gazpacho

I have to admit something here. Prior to making this recipe, I had never had gazpacho before. And I still wouldn't have if a friend hadn't requested it when visiting me (I can't say no to a food request!) I don't know why I had never considered making it. It's all veggies, pretty low in calories, and everyone knows soup fills you up. So I got to work reading up on what goes into gazpacho (or at least what could go into gazpacho- talk about 28563275 types of the same thing!!) and decided to craft my own version. I was going for what seemed to be the most basic, yet delicious gazpacho that I could make with ingredients I had on hand, and I was pleasantly surprised with my outcome.

To make this gazpacho, you will need:

2 cups of pure tomato juice (aka as close as you can find to a tomato juice where the only ingredient is tomatoes)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup coconut vinegar
1.5 pounds of tomatoes, chopped
1 medium cucumber, peeled and chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
dash of salt
optional (but highly recommended): a pinch of cayenne and a squirt of Sriracha

To prepare, toss the tomato juice, garlic, and vinegar in a Vitamix or food processor and blend until entirely mixed (if you're spicing up your gazpacho, now would be the time to add the cayenne and Sriracha). Then, add the remaining ingredients and blend until desired consistency is achieved. I decided to make mine a little chunky, so I didn't blend all the way, but if you prefer a completely smooth result, then blend and grind away! Pop it in the freezer to chill and enjoy for days (this makes a fairly large amount).

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Appy Happy

For Yom Kippur this past year, I ventured back to the home of Mommy and Daddy Tiny Tummy for to break the fast (for the non-Jews out there, Yom Kippur is a day where Jews repent their sins by fasting, among other things, so the meal that occurs post-sundown is often fairly extravagant). Usually, we spend the evening with the extended family in New Jersey, but since Mommy Tiny Tummy didn't want to be around the unhealthy food that my extended family traditionally breaks the fast with, I agreed to cater a healthier, more Tiny-Tummy-friendly meal, complete with the following, simple appetizer which is bound to be a crowd pleaser. Note: the photo does not include the balsamic vinegar because one of our guests doesn't eat vinegar.

To make this simple Tomato-Mozzarella Salad, you will need,

One giant hunk of fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced as thin as possible
3-4 tomatoes, sliced to match the size of your slices of mozzarella
a healthy drizzle of balsamic vinegar and optional olive oil for a richer indulgence
optional: fresh basil (I had some from the herb/vegetable garden we grow in our backyard- the tomatoes too!)

To prepare, simply layer and arrange the tomatoes and mozzarella evenly on a platter. Place the basil throughout, and drizzle your vinegar (and optional oil) generously across the platter. If you're feelin' frisky, you could make a real vinaigrette to drizzle instead of just plain ole O&V. I have a pretty great, really simple vinaigrette recipe I will have to share the next time I make it, so I can include a photograph. Pin It

Monday, September 16, 2013

Sinfully Delicious Banana Bread

I'll be the first to admit; I don't bake very often. Part of it is baked goods are generally not the healthiest, and making Tiny-Tummy-friendly baked goods takes a lot of manipulating. The second part of it is I prefer to cook and develop my own recipes, adding a little extra this here, and a little extra that there, as opposed to following a recipe with a magnifying glass as baking requires. Having taken a class on food science, I understand how baking works far better than I once did, so I know what manipulating the recipe will do to the final product. The following recipe is NOT Tiny-Tummy-friendly, but it was just about my favorite baked good growing up, so I thought I'd share it with you. I will do my best to give you the real version of the recipe, followed by a healthier version of different ingredients in parenthesis, and I will explain what each manipulation will do to the final product. I don't suggest making ALL of the healthy swaps if you are looking for a true, baked-good because the more changes you make, the less indulgent it will taste (DUH!), but here goes!

To make this Sinfully Delicious, I-Want-To-Eat-The-Whole-Loaf Banana Bread, you will need,

1/2 cup butter at room temperature (or 1/2 cup apple sauce, though it may effect the flavor of your final product)
1 2/3 cup of sugar (you could reduce this by about 25% without changing much of the final product)
2 eggs, (sub egg whites, though the yolk aids in leavening and flavor)
3 large preferably over-ripe bananas, mashed
4 tablespoons fat-free sour cream
1/4 teaspoon of salt (salt effects the crumb, so be warned if you omit it)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups flour (sub whole wheat flour, though whole wheat flour inhibits the gluten from developing, so the texture will be altered, and whole wheat flour tastes a little different than white flour. You could sub 1/2 of the flour for whole wheat flour if you're reluctant)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chunks (optional, but highly recommended. If you're making other changes to the recipe, keep the chocolate because really, who will notice the whole-wheat taste of lack of butter if their mouth is oozing with melted chocolate?!)

To prepare, start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees and spraying your loaf pans with non-stick spray. Then, cream together the butter and the sugar. Then, lightly beat the eggs, and add them to the butter/sugar mix along with the mashed banana, sour cream, salt, baking powder and baking soda, and mix well. Finally, add the flour (gradually) along with the vanilla and chocolate chunks until you have a nice, even batter. Spread the batter into your load pans, and bake for an hour. If you have a strong oven, keep an eye on it- you don't want to let it get too brown on top! If you want, you could make this recipe into muffins by separating the batter into muffin tins, but adjust your baking time to about 40 minutes (though again, if you have a strong oven, keep an eye on them, as they may require a little less cooking time).

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Balls of Energy- Vegan Style

Hey Tiny Tummy-ers. I figured you all deserved an explanation as to my prolonged absence these last few months before I share my newest recipes, findings, and foodie news. I recently accepted a job (yes, on top of my multiple other internships, college courses, and attempt at a social life) working for a restaurant management company as the head of marketing research and development. On top of that, I was just offered a promotion to take over the social media department of the company as well. Since the job market is a pretty scary place right now, I'm incredibly grateful to have the position, so I've been dedicating a lot of my time to the job. Therefore, not only is my blogging suffering, but my cooking is too. I've been doing a lot of plain ole salmon and steamed veggies, take-out meals, etc... doesn't exactly make for the most exciting posts, but after receiving enough "where'd you go?!" messages, I decided to try my best to get as many new posts up as possible.

So, to kick things off, I thought I'd start with a very simple recipe for a dessert I recently made for a dinner party I cooked for Mommy Tiny Tummy, Daddy Tiny Tummy, and some of the Tiny Tummys' friends. One of Mommy Tiny Tummys' friends is gluten-free, doesn't eat fruit, and tries to eat very healthy, so dessert posed a minor obstacle. The week prior, one of my friend's and I went to a health food store and picked up a vegan date-nut-oat ball for dessert. Since it was DELICIOUS (and a little expensive), I decided to try to replicate it for our dinner party (or at least a version of it), so here is the recipe.

To make these Vegan Energy Balls, you will need:

15-20 dates, pits removed
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
8-10 oz almonds
pinch of sea salt
optional: 1/4 cup of oats (could use gluten-free oats); pinch of cinnamon

To prepare, simply throw all the ingredients into a food processor, and blend until an even consistency is achieved. Then, roll the mixture into balls (any size of your choice), and store in the refrigerator. Easy as pie (though much healthier!) Pin It