Tag Archives: meatless monday recipes

Whole Grain Double Apple Breakfast Cake & Parenting

17 Oct

You know you want this.

We have a two snack per day rule in our house (gasp!) and one of those snacks must be fruit (double gasp!).  We started this when the kids were very young and now that 3 of the 4 are old enough to be in charge of their own school or weekend snacks, they don’t protest (most of the time).  As a result, we have lots of seasonal fruit around which means I have more apples than counter space and when the rest of the world was freaking out about melons being the harbingers of disease thus resulting in cheap organic cantaloupes we had them lining the windowsills.

But back to apples.

Normally, I cook and bake with the kids.  When I don’t, I have that foreign feeling that brings back pre-motherhood days.  The biggest change after being a parent is that lack of singularity, isn’t it?  Once I was a person in this world who, while connected at various tether-lengths to family or friends or lovers, was free to snip those cords or wander or root at will.  Now, no matter where on this planet I find myself, I am always attached.  I don’t mean I’m weighted down by my kids or marriage, though certainly I have felt that at times.  I guess I’m talking more about responsibilities and knowing that parenting, like cooking, is a process in which the goal is change.

We start with a list of ingredients – in this case apples – and then make them not look like apples by peeling and coring and chopping them.  We add in powders and rising agents and, since we know the chemical reaction, are sure the dish we’re making will rise.  We know how this cake will taste (well, I do, you haven’t made it yet – get ready!).

Not so with parenting.

There’s some prep, there’s hands-on learning, but the results are ongoing.  The cake is every day and never.

Eat up this delightful whole grain apple breakfast-snack-dinner cake tonight.  And then do it all again tomorrow.

Whole Grain Double Apple Breakfast Cake

I’ll be honest – this is what’s for dinner tonight.  I’m a big fan of protein breakfasts and breakfast dinners.  7 year old Julia loves dinner leftovers first thing in the morning (hummus and avocado, etc) and looks forward to comfort at night.  This is best served warm with a dollop of yogurt or ice cream.  I make a plate of vegetables to shares and a platter of fruit served alongside this 1-bowl meal. The cake is moist and sweet enough to please without being too desserty (though it is a yummy dessert).

1 1/2 cups  yogurt  (Greek is great, all work well)

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 whole eggs, 1 additional white

1 tsp vanilla

1 tbsp olive oil

2/3 cup applesauce

1/4 cup maple syrup

2-3 apples, peeled, cored, and roughly chopped

pinch salt

1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup spelt flour (or other whole grain)

1/2 cup sorghum flour (or other combination)

scant tsp baking soda

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

dash nutmeg

Oven to 350.  Mix all wet ingredients including apples.  Add flours, baking soda, and baking powder.  Spray a 9 x 13 pan.  Add 1/2 batter.  Sprinkle with part of the brown sugar and some cinnamon and nutmeg.  Add remaining batter.  Top with rest of sugar cinnamon.  Bake for 50 minutes until a tester comes out clean.  Savor the passage of time and the passage of the cake from oven into mouth into stomachs.


Recipes for Rosh Hashanah Part 1 & Faith & Multi-tasking

25 Sep

This morning Will, 4, asks for paper so he can make a book about “Evan the Horse.”  He knows no one named Evan nor do we have a horse.  The paper comes from my office and the book involves wobbly letters written in no particular order and lots of tape.

Julia has a fever and spends her time moping on the couch, sighing the drama of the ill and bored, and then smiling because she’s relieved she doesn’t have to go to Sunday school.  [Disclaimer: Whatever your vision of Sunday school is, it probably doesn’t match ours.  I’m fully Jewish as is my husband.  However, our version of a temple is a hike in the woods discussing nature and asking the kids how they feel.  Also, our Judaism involves a lot of food.]

Daniel helps cut celery stalks and questions me in his lawyerly way about why the US has troops in various countries, what we would do if this country were invaded, if we have troops on any borders.  Did I mention he’s been playing the board game Risk?

Jamie sulks about Hebrew school and preps for the birthday party he’s working this afternoon during which he and a friend will wrangle 18 six-year-olds in a baseball game and try to avoid concussions.

So I am on book-making, fever-reducing, war-answering, birthday party tip giving duty…while prepping for the 20 person dinner on Wednesday night.

Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year and a time for reflecting on the past year while opening wide for the sweetness of the year to come.

Our last year, as you might know by now, was anything but sweet.  We had death and loss and tragedy.

And yet we’re still here.

That is the sweetness of life, that tangy bite of the apples dipped in honey Jews consume on this holiday.  True sweetness on the outside paired with the knowledge that underneath are myriad flavors.

We tell the kids that religion is a personal thing, however one chooses to find faith doesn’t matter but having faith matters greatly.  This doesn’t necessarily mean faith in God or even in something you can name.  But knowing how to keep going when the worst is happening and – and this is what I learned this year – that this suffering doesn’t have to be done alone – is faith.  Faith in humanity and faith in family.  Faith that after loss comes life again and even sweetness.

I’ll be cooking for the Jewish holidays bit by bit and offering the recipes to you.  A couple with which to start off…

Honey Cake 

Makes 1 10-inch cake

This cake, traditional fare at Rosh Hashana, is moist and breadlike. Less sugary than many cakes, it still makes a good dessert and a wonderful snack. The coffee brings out the honey’s sweetness. I like to make mine in a Bundt pan and dust it with confectionary sugar right before serving.

3½ cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 eggs, separated

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 cup warm black coffee

1 cup honey

powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cream of tartar. Make a well in the center and add sugar, cinnamon, egg yolks, oil, and lemon juice. Add coffee and stir to combine. Add honey and stir to combine again.

In another bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. Fold into the flour mixture. Pour batter into a greased 10-inch tube pan and bake for 1 hour. Serve warm or at room temperature.  Dust with powdered sugar if you like.

Roasted Buttercup Squash and Apple Soup (vegan)

This soup can be made a few days in advance and kept in the fridge.  I suggest garnishing with a bit of diced apple.  This year I’ll serve the soup in mismatching tea cups handed down from my husband’s Nana who escaped Nazi Germany.  She passed away this spring and would really have enjoyed this soup because it is served not too hot, not too cold (she was big on everything being just so).

2 sweeter squash – buttercup or butternut or acorn

2 red onions, peeled and chopped

2 tbsp olive oil

3 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp cinnamon

2-3 cups vegetable stock

2 tbsp mustard

1 tbsp lemon juice

1/4 cup brown sugar

salt to taste

extra apples for garnish

Oven to 400.  Split the squash and scoop out the seeds.  Place the squash, cut-side down, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake for about an hour until squash is very soft. Meanwhile, saute onions in olive oil.  Just before they begin to brown, add the apples, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and stir.  Scoop squash into pot with onions and apple and add 2 cups stock.  Stir.  With hand blender, begin to blend.  The soup should be quite thick.  If you’d like it thinner, add more stock. Add mustard, lemon juice, and sugar.  Blend very well.  Salt to taste.  Serve room temperature or hot or cold.

Extra Thick Garlic & Mushroom Soup

24 Aug

Advice and observations from my children:

Don’t let other people make you feel bad because most of the time they’re only saying that because they feel bad about it.

If you get kicked in the ballsack, it will hurt.  Especially if it’s your older brother who does it.

Save your candy until the movie starts.  Previews don’t count.

If Mummy says you can’t have something, you can argue with her and she might change her mind.  If Daddy says you can’t, you can’t.

Grandparents say yes a lot.

Salad is just another way of saying vegetables.

Your siblings are so annoying but the are also your best friends.

It’s not nice to say I don’t care. It’s also not nice to call someone fire engine poopy head.

It’s okay to say Bloody Hell in America because it’s not really a big swear.

Everyone was once a kid.

Mushrooms are one of those things that look like you shouldn’t be able to eat them but you can.

Extra Thick Garlic & Mushroom Soup

Is this complicated? It most certainly is not.  However, this soup is tasty, freezes well, preps in about ten minutes, and if you make it on the thicker side, can even serve as a spread on your toasted bread.

1 lb mixed mushrooms

1 onion, chopped

6 cloves garlic, peeled

2 tbsp olive oil

big pinch sea salt

3/4 cup vegetable stock

1/2 cup half & half or cream


Wash and cut mushrooms (don’t be picky about it).  Place mushrooms, onion, and garlic in pot with olive oil.  Heat on high-med until onions are sweating.  Add salt.  Add stock and bring to the boil, then reduce to simmer until mushrooms are just soft.  Remove from heat.  Add half & Half bit by bit until a liquidy as you like.  Served topped with watercress.


Cold Cucumber Soup with Peas & Imagination

8 Aug

4-year-old Will and 12-year-old Jamie and I rode the T into downtown Boston this weekend.  The journey, as they say, was the destination.  Will loves trains, the slurring scenery, the tickets, the immovable seats, the automatic doors.  We exited at the park and went for a ride on the Swan Boats.  “There’s a guy on a horse!” Will said.  “Yeah, Paul Revere,” Jamie told him.  “He rode on a horse to tell people about the British invading.” Will looked at his brother.  “Did he have a car, too?”  Jamie shook his head.  “Was this in the olden days?” Will asked.  He’s just learned this expression.  I nodded.  “People didn’t have cars, only horses or feet.”  Will thought about it.  “So they rode on horses or carriages.  Did they ever ride on ants?”

Jamie exploded with laughter and proceeded to imagine saddles for ants, ant ranches, and so on.

Meanwhile, last night Daniel created a whole world in which all the dinosaurs lived at the same time (“Even though they were, like, a million years apart.”).  And Julia’s go-to game right now is being a talking doctor puppy.

And my old friend, Tania, and her husband are imagining moving to a farm in Maine.  And I’m pretending to visit my grandma’s garden.  She closed it up right after September 11th 2001.  Each summer, we would pick cucumbers by the armful and slice them for sandwiches or soup that we’d ladle into gallon glass jars.  We tell ourselves stories as fun, as means of safe exploration, as a way to test out ideas without having to commit fully to them.  And we imagine the future or the past so clearly, we can almost taste it.

Cold Cucumber Soup with Peas
All amounts are approximate – Grandma Bev’s cooking has never been exact.  
Play with the flavors as suits you, adding a small amount of olive 
oil to the top before serving if you like. 
Handful Dill, chopped
3 big bulbs Garlic
3 large Cucumbers, peeled and seeded (reserve some thin slices for garnish)
1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt
1 cup vegetable stock
½ cup milk (try coconut if you want a sweet and different flavor)
1 Onion
salt and pepper to taste
big handful raw peas
Chop all vegetables except peas, add liquid, puree in batches.  Adjust for flavor.  
Chill well. Drop whole peas in a stir once.
Serve with a few thin slices of cucumber and a sprig of dill on 
top of each portion.  
Note: If you like more texture, reserve some small chopped pieces of cucumber to 
add in at the end and a few scallions.

Twice-Cooked Beans with Smoky Paprika Onions & Laziness

3 Aug


Some recipe are borne of genius.  Some, like this one, are borne of sheer laziness.  What, you’ve never been enamored of Jacobs Cattle beans, their marble-like texture and splotches of brown and white, so taken with them you keep them cloistered away in a jar just to ogle them?  Well, I have.  And then I realized I was hoarding them so I poured a cup into my enamel pot and let them sit overnight in some water.

Then I forgot about them.

Then I remembered them but felt too lazy to cook them.

Then I forgot about them again.

Then I realized they would go to waste if I didn’t cook them soon so I did.

Then I forgot about them for a few hours.

So I cooked them again. And they turned out so well I recreated that dish a few times until it became a recipe.

Twice-Cooked Beans with Smoky Paprika Onions

Today, these are my lunch, on a bed of greens alongside Heidi Swanson’s simple and lovely corn salad.

1 cup Jacob’s Cattle beans (or other large bean)

2 cups vegetable stock

2 red onions

2 tbsp olive oil

pinch sea salt

1 tbsp paprika (smoked, bittersweet)

1/4 cup water

Soak the beans in 1 cup water overnight or however long until you forget about them.  Add 1 cup of stock to pot and boil for 20 minutes, covered. Turn heat off and let cool completely (this is a good time to forget about them again).   Cut onions in half and then into slices.  Add last cup of stock to beans and boil for 30 minutes. Heat oil in skillet and drop in salt and paprika, cooking on med-low until paprika starts to smoke just a little and becomes fragrant.  Drop onions into skillet and do not move them.  Once onions begin to caramelize, turn gently to avoid breakage.  Add1/4 cup water to onions when they are glazed and paprika is sticking or forming paste.  Add beans and stir together until liquid is absorbed. Don’t forget to eat it.


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