no milk monday



caramelized onion raviolis (with herb sauce) {vegan}

featured on September 9, 2013
When you first begin cooking, you feel confident and unstoppable. You can make anything at home and serve it to hungry guests or company. You wanted to cook, therefore, it can be made. By you, the new chef and cook extraordinaire.
I certainly went into cooking with the same vivacious attitude of thinking I could produce anything I set my mind to.
Until that one night. The night of The Laughing Ravioli.
It was cold outside with and empty inside my stomach.
I google’d: Ravioli recipe.
Yeah, that would be nice. A fluffy, warm-filled pasta with some type of sauce.
A recipe, similar to this one, popped up. Almost instantly my enthusiasm ‘balloon’ popped.
Like helium quickly escaping, thoughts began rushing out…
How many ingredients?
A rolling pin? (That’s the wooden thing with the spinning handles …  yeah?)
A floured surface? Shit. How do you flour a surface? (side google search: flouring surfaces)
How long does this take?
MAKING MY OWN DOUGH? Do people REALLY do that?
Next came the denial and excuses:
I am not a chef … chefs ‘do’ these kind of things.
I didn’t even WANT to make raviolis.
Yeah, what was I thinking …
Who even likes raviolis?
Not me.
In the end settling on the most firm and resolute finding:
Raviolis are stupid. And gross. But more stupid.
With my quickly deflating confidence, I seized the fleeting moments ‘afloat’ to salvage my cooking courage.
Closing the computer window and grabbing the nearest bag of pasta, I decided that it was a much better dinner idea and HAD I thought about it for longer initially – I wouldn’t have even wanted raviolis. Because they are stupid, remember?
And gross.
But mostly stupid.
Now without the glaring evidence of a complicated recipe illustrating my inability and illuminating my defeat, I could begin boiling the WAY BETTER CHOICE, penne pasta.
In the silence of the night, stirring boiling water (for no apparent reason) I could have sworn I heard a chuckle.
Did the computer just laugh at me?
Was the ravioli taunting my from cyberspace?
Did I just boil pasta in defeat?
I was a giver-upper and I knew it.

Well guess what ravioli?
Look who’s laughing now.
‘Look at them (these) apples’
Or raviolis. Whatever.

Now it’s your turn friends.
Start making your grocery list. Breathe. Conquer. Divide (onto plates).
It’s ravioli time.
2 cups        semolina flour
2 cups        all-purpose flour
1.5 cup(s)   water
                  salt to taste
1 cup          raw almonds
1 cup          raw pine nuts
2 tbsp         raw walnut
1/2 cup      vegetable broth
1/4 tsp       salt
1/4 tbsp     pepper
1                yellow onion, diced
1 tbsp         olive oil
1/2 tbsp      sugar
{herbed sauce}
2 cups         vegetable broth
2 tbsp         fresh sage, finely chopped
2 tbsp         fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 tbsp         fresh parsley, finely chopped
3 tbsp         olive oil
1 tbsp         corn starch
Ravioli preparation (which is much easier than I assumed):
Combine ravioli ingredients in bowl, adding only 3/4 the water to start
Mix completely in bowl with water (possibly adding more) until a smooth dough is achieved
On floured and large surface, place ball of dough
Using an (also) floured rolling pin, begin aggressively rolling the dough flat
If the dough should stick to the pin, first make sure it is sufficiently floured or simply peel off and place on surface gently and continue to roll.
(Mine were a bit thick and I plan on cutting the thickness in half next time)
Using a sharp knife, cut desired ravioli size – keeping in mind that there needs to be room for filling
(I imagined a tablespoon of filling and gave myself fifty percent more space along the edge)
Also, know that there must be two squares for each ravioli – one for the bottom and another for the top
Filling preparation:
In medium pan, add oil and cook onions on medium-low heat to caramelize – or brown {if you’re lazy} at a higher temperature
Add sugar and two drops of water to expedite the caramelizing process
In food processor, combine remaining (first six) filling ingredients and process until a cream is achieved
Depending on the freshness and quality of the nuts used, more or less liquid may be used to create a paste-like texture
Herb sauce preparation:
Simmer broth, herbs, and oil for 1 -2 minutes until fragrant
Slowly, Add corn starch and whisk into boiling water
Continue to simmer for an additional minute
Remove from heat and cover to keep warm
Assemble ravioli(s):
First spoon on cream/ nut mixture in middle of ravioli square, leaving enough room to seal edges
Add caramelized onions
Top ravioli with another (ravioli) dough square and press edges until seal is formed
Fingerprints will disrupt the square shape, simply cut the edges (once sealed) to create a hard line again
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil
Add raviolis and cook until each one floats to the top
Remove and drain
For crispy raviolis, heat oil in large pan
Add raviolis and cook until golden on each side
Serve hot from pan pouring herbed sauce over the top.

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spicy penne with roasted vegetables and balsamic


IMG_7612Gluten free, Dairy free, Vegan

Your mom called.
She was wondering why you weren’t eating enough vegetables?
Tell her this.
“Settle down chick. I’ve got you covered.’
OK, depending on your relationship with you mother calling her ‘chick’ may not be the best idea, even if it is a funny one.

With this amazing gathering of vegetables and spices, you’ll feel full in the stomach and full of yourself. This is a simple and yet gourmet dish to bring to the table.
Get it girl.
Get these veggies in the oven.
Relax. Do dishes.
Do anything but worry about the flavor this meal will bring.
With a little kick of spice and a lot of love you’ll be amazed at how simple it is to create and you’ll be able to tailor it by adding your own favorite flavors next time.
Green beans?!
The possibilities are really endless.

I realized recently while feeding my ‘man beast’ (boyfriend) that sometimes bulk within a meal (and boyfriend) is needed. Pasta in the form of complex carbohydrates does not do the trick. You  need to fill the space with things more meaningful to your diet – vegetables.

The one-stop meal has you thinking that maybe, just maybe, life could be a bit simpler with one entree to serve and nothing to worry about.

Serves 6

1 lb                     penne pasta (gluten free), brown rice
1 1/2 cups          acorn squash, cubed
1/2  lb                 portobello mushrooms, slices ( stemmed)
1/2  pint              red cherry tomatoes, halved
1     tbsp              garlic, minced
1/2  tbsp              rosemary, minced
1/2  tbsp              sage, minced
1/2  tbsp              parsley, chopped
1/2  tbsp              ground salt
1/2  tbsp               ground pepper
1/4  tbsp               red pepper flakes
4     tbsp               olive oil
4     tbsp               white balsamic vinegar

Heat oven to 400
In medium bowl combine squash, mushrooms, tomatoes, garlic, rosemary, sage, parsley, red pepper and 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Cook pasta according to package directions.
In about 30-40 minutes the tomatoes will have deflated and the vegetables will be  roasted to perfection.
Toss pasta with roasted vegetables and spices and add remaining balsamic, tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper.

Now enjoy. Told you. So good.

*Serve pasta sauce alongside this dish to “dip” pasta bites in, and to make it look extra special :}



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pineapple and honey salsa

After reading an insightful mini-article about the benefits of pineapple, I decided to actually use the freshly cut pineapple I was holding hostage in my fridge. Unable to actually just eat the fruit like a normal person – I’ve been wanting to add it into something for a tropical twist.
I could have pureed it ….  mixed it with a little cream, squirt of lemon, and trickle of honey for a sweet topping for my newest love of danish pancakes ..
but I didn’t.

I made salsa.
I pulled out a frozen portion of soy-ginger cod and happy ate them together. I’m pretty sure the two are in love, and they made that love in my mouth.

Feel free to serve it over chicken or even pork chops.
Vegetarian:  don’t feel left out. Grab an avocado, dice it, and throw it in for a great meal.
Vegan:  you’ll already know to use agave instead of honey.
Raw: you are not left out on this one – dig in.


1 cup              pineapple, diced small (preferably fresh)
1 cup              cherry tomatoes, diced
1/3                  red onion, diced
1                     tablespoon honey
1/2                  lemon
1/2 tsp            chili powder
1 tsp               salt, coarse

Combine ingredients in a bowl. Allow the flavors to combine, by placing in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.



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mustard penne arrabbiata with arugula {trader joe’s}


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While taking (what I like to call) a mini vacation this morning in Trader Joe’s, I found myself drawn to the holiday mustards. I will gladly admit that it has taken me four trips to finally muster(d) {hehe} up the courage to buy them. I hate wasting items and I am constantly fighting the urge to purchase things that I simply want. So, in my first effort to begin this four-pack journey I thought to combine one of them with pasta. Brilliant really …
Hey, I like mustard and I love pasta.
Who doesn’t.
But together?
Yes. Together.

It’s vegan, It’s vegetarian, and of course dairy free.

Friends, let me share this amazing quick and delicious treat with you. Let me offer you the simplest recipe to impress friends and family alike.
Heck, tell them you thought of it first … Just do whatever it takes to get this in your mouth.

1 holiday four-pack of mustards
(using the Provençal)
2 handfuls of arugula
1 bag of frozen penne Arrabbiata
1 {suggested} cup frozen peas
1 tablespoon oil (I use grapeseed)

Prepare pasta according to packaged directions using a tablespoon of oil and heating pasta in a saucepan WITH the frozen peas.
After sauce ‘disks’ have melted, stir in 1.5 tablespoons of Provençal mustard.
When pasta has been heated thoroughly – toss in the arugula until it wilts.
(we’re talking a whole 7 minutes)

You’re welcome.

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(whatever is in your cupboard) cereal bars

I’m not sure when I became ‘that’ mom, or when the line was even crossed … but, I am constantly buying cereals that my children do not eat. After opening the breakfast cupboard to find three untouched and beautifully packaged boxes of cereal (for the final time) laying sadly on their sides – I decided to put an end to the madness. 
Now introducing ….  (whatever is in your cupboard) cereal bars.

Keep in mind that I used (precisely) anything that was in my cupboard. I wasn’t getting creative and mixing perfectly paired cereals, so don’t feel like you have to either.

(whatever is in your cupboard) cereal bars

4 cups                          whatever cereal 
1 cup                            rolled oats
1/2 tsp                          baking soda
1/2 cup                         oat flour (oat flour recipe below)
1  tsp                            vanilla extract
2 tbsp                           coconut oil (optional)
1/2 cup                         agave
3 tbs                             applesauce

to make oat flour:
grind rolled oats in food processor to make oat flour. (measuring the flour after it has been made)

preheat oven to 350
combine all dry ingredients
in separate bowl, mix all wet ingredients
stir together
line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper
pour mixture into dish and firmly pack down
bake in oven for 18 minutes
allow mixture to cool in the fridge completely before serving

to serve:
grab edges of parchment paper, lift and set on cutting board
cut into 9 or so pieces 

good morning & enjoy


cheesy broccoli & asparagus bake

   cheesy broccoli & asparagus bake
dairy free, vegetarian {optional}, vegan {optional}, trader ro’s {optional}

1                            head broccoli
1                            bunch asparagus
1                            package Daiya, mozzarella  {faux}
1/2                       package soysation cheese
* or 2.5 cups any {faux} cheese
2                           packages precooked {frozen}  rice
1                            yellow onion
1.5                        cup unsweetened hemp milk (unsweetened, unflavored alternative of your choice : Soy & Almond are okay too)
1/2                       cup breadcrumbs
1 .5                       tablespoons bullion {chicken preferred}
1/2                       tablespoon fresh ground pepper

* 1 cup                corn {optional, not pictured}
*1 cup                 shredded chicken {optional not pictured}

Fill large saute pan with water {half way} and heat on high.
Preheat oven to 400.
Oil, butter, or grease large {glass preferred} baking dish .
Cut broccoli into florets.
Cut asparagus into 1/4’s and discard the bottom portion (no tough ends, please).
Dice onion.
Place broccoli and asparagus in hot water for 5 minutes.
Heat packages of rice {or make fresh rice you’re call, I like saving time & pots}
Drain broccoli and asparagus.
In a large bowl, combine broccoli & asparagus, onions, 2 cups {daiya} cheese, bullion, and pepper.
Pour into large baking dish.
Pour milk over mixture.
Add the soysation {or remaning} cheese evenly on top.
Sprinkle breadcrumbs over entire dish.
Bake for 25 minutes.

Let cool {and thicken} for at least 5 minutes before serving.




product: chicken-less mandarin morsels :: trader joe’s


appearance: 9
texture:        6
taste:           9


I used the “pan fry” directions and it came out lightly crispy with a rough baked edge. It could be mistaken for the classic McDonalds chicken nugget any day.

The texture was a bit spongy as Trader Joe’s desperately tried to mimic a “nugget” texture. It could have been bound better with a firmer bite.

The flavor was outstanding. I mean, we are talking about a mandarin flavored morsel. Don’t expect to wow’ed by the extreme quality and complex flavors. Honestly, it is a (meatless) chicken McNugget in a lightly tangy orange-like sauce. Like the classic McDonalds golden nugget, there is little resemblance to actual chicken flavor. (This would pass the husband and child test.)

Home-run in my book.


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