Four Staples

A while back, I said that I would post some of our favorite family recipes. I forgot. Today I got a message from one of my cousins (I have 38 of them on my mom's side...I'm 33rd) requesting some child friendly recipes. Cora isn't a "normal" child eater. I guess I mean she's never been too picky. She goes through phases, but overall, she tries just about anything we put past her. With that said, she does have her favorites.

Her most favorite in the whole wide world, the meal she requested for her third birthday, the she gobbles is up every single time meal is:

Spicy Red Beans and Brown Rice

Don't let the title fool you, I'm just quoting it from the Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook by Dr. Neal Barnard. This is my adaptation. And I always double it.

1 TBL olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 c brown rice (not instant!)
3 cups of water (or vegetable broth...I just season the water my own way and save some money and sodium intake)
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 tsp chopped canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (this is the spicy part. You can omit this altogether if you don't like any spice and single members of the family can use tabasco to add some heat. I love the flavor, but a little goes a long way, I only use about 1/2 tsp. And if you have no idea what this is: It's with all of the Mexican/Latin foods...)
1 (15 oz) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed.
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat olive oil in medium sauce pan (or a big one if doubling) over medium heat. Put in the onion and saute for 3 minutes. Add garlic and stir constantly until fragrant (less than a minute). Add brown rice and saute for 2 minutes.
2. Add broth, tomatoes, and chipotle pepper. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and lightly simmer for about 45 minutes, until the rice is cooked through. Add beans and cook for 2 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper.

Three-Bean Barley Chili

This is a great chili. We double is as well and use the left overs in enchiladas with a chipotle cream sauce...that will be another day. This recipe is adapted from Supermarket Vegan by Donna Klein.

4 c water
2 c salsa
1 can rotel (if doubling, use one can of Rotel and one can of diced tomatoes)
1 3/4 cups of water (again my own specially seasoned water or 1 can of vegetable broth)
1 c barley (I always use the fast cooking kind because it's the only one I can find)
2 TBL olive oil
1 1/2 TBL chili powder (or to it cool for less spice)
1/2 TBL ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste, optional
1 can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can Great Northern (or any white bean), rinsed and drained
1 c corn, fresh off the cob or frozen

1. In a medium stockpot, combine water, salsa, tomatoes and their liquids, water/broth, barley, oil, chili power, cumin, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally.
2. Reduce heat to low/medium low, cover, and simmer until barley is just tender (the time will depend on the kind of barley you're using. If you're using regular, all-out barley, it will be about 40 minutes. I usually use the kinds that's done in 10 minutes).
3. Add beans and corn and return to boil. Reduce heat, let simmer uncovered until mixture is slightly thickened, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.

Winter Vegetable Potage

I LOVE this soup. The flavor combination is wonderful. This one is also adapted from the Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook.

5 1/2 c seasoned water or vegetable broth
1 1/2 c onion, chopped
1 c carrots, chopped
1 c fennel, finely chopped*
salt to taste
1 c green cabbage, sliced
1 medium sweet potato (about 1 1/2 c), peeled and chopped
1/2 c rutabaga, peeled and chopped*
pepper to taste
1 c chopped broccoli

*I've made this without these two ingredients. They aren't somethingI typically have on hand. I just add extra onion and cabbage in their places.

1. Heat 1/2 c water/broth in large pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots and fennel. Season with salt and saute for 7 to 8 minutes.
2. Add remaining 5 c water/broth, cabbage, sweet potatoes, and rutabaga and season with more salt, if necessary, and black pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover pot and simmer on low for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add broccoli and cook for 5 minutes.


Homemade pizza is always so fun. We have it a lot at our house. Be creative with your toppings. Think outside the cheese and meat (obviously), you will be so surprised at all of the wonderful combinations you can make. My favorite right now consists of tomatoes, spinach, fresh basil, olives, mushrooms, red onions, bell peppers and jalapenos. I spread some super cheap "Zesty" spaghetti sauce (it comes in a can) as a base. I love this stuff. At any rate, I've tried several different crusts. This one is my favorite go to right now, and I don't think it's just because of how fast it rising! Makes 2 crusts.

2 TBL yeast
1 c warm water
1 tsp salt
4 TBL oil
3 c flour
Italian seasoning or some other favorite seasoning, optional

1. Preheat oven to 425. Mix yeast in luke warm water in mixing bowl (I use my KitchenAid stand mixer with dough hook) until yeast is dissolved. Let is stand for a few minutes.
2. Add salt, oil, seasoning if using, and 2.5 cups of flour. Mix. Add more flour as needed for dough to form ball. It shouldn't be sticky, but you don't want too much flour or it gets dry.
3. Divide dough in two. Roll out dough and place it on pan or stone. Poke holes in it with a fork, and cook for 5 minutes (more if using a upwards of 10 minutes...5 is perfect if using a jelly roll pan).
4. Remove from oven and spread small amount of oil.
5. Add your toppings and bake for 15-20 minutes...until spots on the crust just start turning the perfect golden brown.
6. Enjoy it. Enjoy it with all your heart.

I'll add more soon. There's a great, super simple chickpea snack we love.


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