In the Kitchen

Roasted Cauliflower, Broccoli and Sundried tomatoes with Chickpeas

Over the past two years, I've made a gradual transition to being primarily vegetarian.  There are many reasons for this (including health and environmental concerns) but I just typically don't enjoy meat.  This has been a challenge in the kitchen as the rest of my family still likes meat at least occaisionally.  Thus, finding meals that we all will enjoy and be nourished by has made my life in the kitchen a bit more interesting.  While we all have definitely cut back significantly on the amount of meat we eat, I still work to include meals that I know Jeff and the kids will enjoy.  

That being said, when it comes to vegetarian cooking, I think I have a new obsession.  It's Andrea's Blog Dishing Up the Dirt.  I discovered her a few months ago and have been a fan ever since.  Not only are her recipes delcious (and primarily vegetarian) but she and her husband are Organic Famers not to far from where I grew up and near where our family hopes to live (and eventually farm) after Jeff retires from the Air Force.  That makes it even more fun and inspiring.  

The first recipe of her that I tried was Roasted Garlic Sweet Potatoes and Tomatoes with Poached Egg.  I made it one night for dinner shortly after Jeff left for the states.  It was so good I proceeded to make it the next morning for breakfast.  

The other recipe in major rotation is Black Bean Burgers.  I have been searching for a bean burger recipe the whole family would enjoy (or at least eat).  The first time I made this Jeff grilled beef burgers for the kids while he and I had the beans.  We liked it so much I made it for the family the following week.  

They ate it and enjoyed it!  Jack was very detailed with feedback and commented that "the texture was very good."  We may have cheated a bit by topping it with Burgerville Special Sauce (a gift from Mom and Fred and not exactly a whole food) but I'm willing to compromise.  

Two others from Andrea that I've made are:

Roasted Cauliflower, Broccoli and Sundried Tomatoes with Chickpeas

Cilantro Lime Dressing (I haven't made the salad but the dressing is a new standby)

I have plans to try many more in the coming weeks.

Margarita Cookies

I am sharing the love a bit and looking other places for inspiration.  

We're headed to a Mexican themed dinner party tonight and one of my contributions is Margarita Cookies.

The first time I made these I tried the actual ice cream sandwiches and it was a bit of a disaster due to assembling them in the hot (non-A/C) Colorado kitchen on the 4th of July.  They were just as good served along side the ice cream and that's what we'll do tonight though with Vanilla gelato.  (No lime to be found!) 

I got the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook for Christmas and (no surprise) have loved everything I've tried. The cookbook has a recipe for Ratatouille Subs was another (suprise) hit with the entire family.  It is basically Ratatouille's Ratatouille in a baguette. Yum!  I did modify it a bit and served the kids' with a slice of mozzarella and salame while Jeff and I had ours with goat cheese as she suggests.  Yum!

The last recipe to share with you is also from Deb at Smitten Kitchen.  When my sister emailed me about the Pasta and White Beans with Garlic Rosemary Oil before she had even served it (only tasted out of the pan) I knew I would try it.  When she told me both my brother-in-law and nephew liked it…it went straight to the top of the menu.  While my three didn't enjoy it as much, I did and it's definitely on my "make again" list.

Finally, I wanted to share about 30 Day Vegan.  I've participated in several of Heather's workshops and done 30 Day Vegan once before.  This go around my sweet friend, Alice, and I are doing it.  I'm excited and a bit nervous as we have two birthdays and a trip planned during the 30 days.  Plus, I live in northern Italy where meat and cheese, oh the cheese!, reign supreme.  I'm going into it full of grace, realistic expectations and anticipation for a great 30 days even if each one isn't completely vegan.  If you've ever thought about doing something like this, I highly recommend it.   

How about you.  What have you been cooking lately?  I'd love suggestions especially for vegetarian, kid friendly, summertime foods.  


Glimpses of Monday

Monday 1

Monday 2

Monday 3

Monday 4

Monday 5

Monday 6

Nothing about today went as planned.  I was supposed to host 6 friends for book club.  Instead, I got to spend the day with my first born as he endured a stomach virus.  As must as I hated to see him in pain, I was so thankful for the time with him.  

The chance to nurture him.  

By the end of the day, he was back to normal and we enjoyed sunshine and flowers.

Sometimes the best gifts are in the unexpected, dare I say, unwelcome.