spices

All posts tagged spices

Vegan Matar Paneer

Published October 9, 2018 by lynn k scott

I love Indian food.  However, it’s not always gluten-free (cross contamination issues at a restaurant).  I also am doing my best to stick to my vegan diet, especially at home.  That being said, I have noticed a lot of vegan dishes use chickpeas because of the high protein content.

I have several Indian spice shops close to home so I enjoy shopping there for my spices and I also buy organic chickpeas there.  I simply soak them and cook them to add to a variety of dishes.

Last night, as I was labeling and refilling my spice containers, I thought of matar paneer (peas and cheese).  I had considered using tofu as the paneer substitution, but not a huge tofu fan and I didn’t have any on hand.  Then it hit me…CHICKPEAS!

I quickly assembled my ingredients….oil (just a bit), onions, garlic, spices, tomatoes, water, peas and chickpeas.  There might be an ingredient or two missing, but those are primary ingredients.

I quickly whipped of my vegan version of one of my favorite Indian dishes.  As the rest of the family was already having rice with their dinner, I borrowed a scoop to serve with my modified, now vegan dish.

While I do miss the paneer (cheese), the chickpeas work really well as a substitution.  I am looking forward to trying to make more Indian dishes with chickpeas.

matar paneer

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Falafels via the Air Fryer

Published July 18, 2018 by lynn k scott

I’ve seen and heard about falafels for years.  They are a Middle Eastern dish made up of chickpeas and a variety of herbs and spices.  After taking a rest for a couple hours (or overnight) in the fridge, the mixture is ready to be rolled into balls and dropped into hot oil and fried to perfection.

Hold up…that won’t work for me.  Frying is almost non-existent in my house.  I do however, use an air fryer, which has to be one of the best kitchen inventions…EVER!

air fryer

I followed a random falafel recipe.  Soaked my chickpeas overnight.  Some of you might be unfamiliar with chickpeas.  I know I was.  I had consumed them at my favorite Indian restaurant.  I even found them in the Indian spice shop I often go to.

Before I decided to make the falafels, I had purchased a large bag of chickpeas.  Remember when I said I was unfamiliar with them?  I had it in my head, I would just grind up the chickpeas and make my own gluten-free, chickepea flour.  My food processor wasn’t up for the job.  My little spice grinder hates me now.  Who knew you had to soak the chickpeas first?  OOPS!!!!   Well, now I know and you should have gotten a chuckle from my culinary ignorance.

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Back to the new-to-me dish.  I looked up the cooking time for air fryer falafels.  It was just 12-minutes, on 370 degrees, turning halfway through the cooking process.

I will say, I could kick myself for not trying these earlier.  They were DELICIOUS!!!!!!  Perfectly crispy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside.  I guarantee, these are on my permanent menu.  They fall in line with my plant-based diet.

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Note:  depending on how many people will be eating these little crispy delights, you might want to halve the recipe if it’s just for a couple of you.

Lentil Taco “Meat”

Published July 16, 2018 by lynn k scott

In an effort to stay on a (mostly) meat-free, cancer-fighting diet, I thought I would make some lentils in my Instant Pot.  I used this recipe as a guide, however, I halved the recipe because I was cooking just for me.

I did adjust the ingredients and used the following:

  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • small red onion; diced
  • (2) cloves of garlic; minced
  • half a can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pinch of black pepper

I did saute the onions in a bit of olive oil and added the garlic once the onions were just about done cooking.  Added the rest of the ingredients, gave it a stir and set the Instant Pot to 15 minutes.  Quick release when the time was up.

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The lentils were full of flavor.  Sadly, I was out of avocados and gluten-free tortillas, but I still plated and consumed them happily.  These definitely are a great substitution for meat.

I will note, the original recipe says it’s vegetarian, but that’s only if you use water and she uses chicken stock.  If you use water to cook the lentils, it actually becomes a great tasting, vegan dish.

Give it a try…I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

Review of Sweet Potato/White Potato Gratin

Published January 14, 2016 by lynn k scott

Yesterday, I reblogged a post about a Sweet Potato and White Potato Gratin.  It looked so good that I had to try the recipe.  So I did; last night.  Here’s my review of the recipe.

First, it’s a very easy recipe to follow.  The above link has the recipe and directions, should you want to try for yourself.

First I shredded the cheese.  I don’t use pre-shredded, because they add a coating to the cheese to keep it from sticking.

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Then I mixed up the spices….

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I used Tarragon instead of Rosemary, because that’s what I had on hand.  I don’t think it hindered the final result at all.

I have a mandolin that has two thickness settings.  So I set it on thin and then just sliced what I needed for the recipe as I was layering the sweet and white potatoes.  I didn’t need to soak them in water, as the recipe calls for, by doing it this way.  The nice thing about using Yukon gold, or any potato with a thin skin, is you don’t have to peel the potatoes first. You can just slice them after you give them a good rinse.

I continued following the directions and started layering the potatoes.  I prefer to us scallop design (overlapping).

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I admit, it’s not the prettiest dish when all is said and done.  It’s a bit dark on the edges, but don’t let that stop you from making this.

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My family, who aren’t “potato people”didn’t care for it.  They chose to eat steamed rice instead of this.  However, this is nothing new.  My husband is Filipino and my daughter is half-Filipina.  Rice is a staple in our house and they would that with every meal if I let them.

I LOVE potatoes.  I tried it, just as prepared and thought it needed a bit more salt and pepper than was originally used in the recipe.  Also, when using 8-oz. of cheese, you will have excess liquid (oil) in the pan because of this.  I’m going to play with the recipe and perhaps mix in a little (gluten-free) flour to correct that.  That’s just my personal preference.

All in all, I think this dish is a keeper.  I really wasn’t in the mood to have chicken last night, with the rest of the family.  So, I prepared some peas and between the potatoes and peas, I had a very nice vegetarian dinner.

If you’re inclined to try the recipe, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Enjoy!

That’s the Bulk of it

Published March 6, 2015 by lynn k scott

I can’t believe as much as I am into cooking and living in the kitchen (or so it feels like), I don’t have a category for food and/or recipes.  Well, this post will take care of that.

It occurred to me when I did the post on being frugal, I left off one of my favorite ways to save at the grocery store:  the bulk bins! Not all stores have bulk bins, but those that do, it’s a great cost saver.

bulk bins

Winco bulk bins – Google search

Here’s why bulk bins are in.

  • You buy what you’ll use.  The picture shows spices and herbs in bulk containers.  Most recipes call for a couple teaspoons or tablespoons at a time.  Why have so much left over?  Not necessary.
  • You don’t buy a new jar/bottle each time.  If you cook at all, I’m sure you have a bottle for parsley, dill, onion powder, etc. already at home.  I bought dill last week from the bulk bin.  When I got it home, I put it in my existing dill jar.
  • Cost:  Buy a McCormick’s brand bottle of dill and you’ll easily spend $4.00+ for the same thing.  Even buying store brand will cost you over $2.00.  No sense in paying for advertising and jar costs.  I think I put in 5 spoonfuls and it cost me under $0.50.
  • Freshness:   Why store a spice by the bag or jar for months, esp. one you don’t use much.  Buy a bit here and there.  The store is constantly cycling out product as people use them.
  • Specialty items:  One item I need to use on occasion is Xanthan Gum.  It’s used in gluten-free cooking.  Now, there are premade flour blends that have the Xanthan gum in them.  It’s really quite convenient.  My only complaint is for 14 oz. of the flour blend, I have to pay $11.00.  Now, when I use the bulk bins for a gluten-free flour mixture, I can also pick up a couple of tablespoons of the Xanthan Gum.  I spend a lot less for the same type of flour and I combine them myself.  This specialty item, the Xanthan Gum, is over $18.00 per pound.  I don’t need to spend all of that at once.  I’d much rather spend $3.00 than $18.00 for the same item and use what I need.
large bulk

Winco bulk bins – Google search

  • Variety:  Perhaps you need a cup of this and a half a cup of that.  Did you really want to pay for two separate items, pre-packaged?  No?  Then head to the bins and gather up what you need.
  • It’s “green”:  Ok, I’m in CA, being green is in.  I’m still more of a turquoise than green, but I try.  The bins contain the same quality as the items that are prepackaged, you just aren’t paying for that package.  You have lots of containers at home that you can recycle and put your bulk items in.  See being green isn’t completely horrible.  I still find turquoise a better color though.  😉

From coffee to spices, to dog treats, to flours and mixes, bulk bins are becoming a popular store attraction.  People are learning to eat healthier using the items from the bins and cooking at home (another cost saver over eating out).  Next time you’re out, check out the bins you typically walk past.  See what all the fuss is about.  I bet you’ll be glad you did.

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