Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Alicia's Cornbread

 I've been trying to find a really good cornbread recipe for a while and I think I've finally found it. Where, you might ask? Of all places, on the side of a soy milk container. No kidding! Even though I haven't checked out her new book "The Kind Diet," the recipe looked good. And it was! Super tasty, moist cornbread. It would compliment a hearty chili or squash soup very well. YUM! My mouth is watering just writing about it.

*this recipe came from a Earth Balance soymilk container . You can check out the original recipe from Alicia Silverstone's cookbook here.

Cornbread Recipe
Serves: 4 Prep: 30 minutes Cooking Time:  45 minutes

1 cup maple syrup
1 1/4 cup soy milk 
1/4 cup safflower oil (I used canola)
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (can use all-purpose or whole wheat as well)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 400*F. Oil a 9x9 baking dish (or similar size) or a 12-cup muffin tin. Combine syrup, milk and oil in a medium bowl. Mix well. In a different bowl, stir together cornmeal, flour, baking soda and salt. Add the dry mixture to wet mixture and mix just until combined.
2. Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. The top should be golden brown. That's it! Wasn't that easy?


Who likes to CHANGE IT UP? 

~Chop up some dried fruit and/or chopped nuts to give it a little crunch.
~Instead of maple syrup try honey, agave syrup or brown rice syrup. Since honey is quite a bit sweeter, I would only do 3/4 cup instead of 1 cup.
~Add 1 tsp cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or cloves to the batter.

South American Squash and Vegetable Ragout

  This was a super fun dish to make because of all the beautiful Autumn colors in the ingredients like sweet potato, tomatoes, bell pepper, kidney beans and corn. My kids loved scooping their soup out of baked acorn squash bowls. They thought it was "So cool!" This Fall meal would be perfect to serve to guests, especially on a chilly day. The soup can be made up to two days ahead of time and then all you have to do is bake the acorn squash shells with the soup ladled in it when you are ready to serve dinner.  Voila!

*this recipe came from a Vegeterian Times magazine . Check out the original recipe here.
Soup Recipe
Serves: 4 Prep: 30 minutes Cooking Time:  45 minutes

6 dried pitted apricots
4 dried pitted prunes(see Change it Up below for other ideas)
4 small acorn or butternut squash
1 TB olive oil, plus more for coating the squash
1 small onion, diced (1 cup)
3 cloves of garlic, minced (1 TB)
2 tsp dried oregano
1 red bell pepper, diced (1 cup)
1 14.5 oz can whole tomatoes, coarsely chopped, juice reserved
1 small yukon gold potato, peeled and diced (1 cup) 
1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced (1 cup)
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 15 oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1. Place Apricots and prunes in a bowl. Cover with 1 cup boiling water and let soak for 2 hrs or overnight. Drain and coarsely chop, reserving liquid.
2. Preheat oven to 350 *F. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray. Cut circular opening in squash tops, and reserve tops. Cut small slices off bottoms of squash so they stand up straight (if you cut too much off, there will be a hole, and the soup will leak through. If you accidentally to that, just patch it up with the piece you cut off by placing it in the inside of the squash). Scoop out and discard seeds and fiber from squash. Rub outsides of squash shells with oil and place on prepared baking sheet.
3. Heat 1 TB oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and oregano;saute 2-3 minutes. Add bell pepper and tomatoes with juice. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add potatoes, sweet potatoes, and reserved apricot-prune liquid. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until potatoes are almost soft. Add corn and apricot-prune mixture. Let simmer for 2-3 minutes more. Add beans and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 5 more minutes.
4. Ladle 1 cup stew into each hollowed squash; place lid on top. Bake 60-90 minutes, or until fork can easily pierce through squash.


Who likes to CHANGE IT UP? 

~Instead of apricots and prunes, try dried cherries or dried cranberries.
~Use peas instead of corn.
~Add black beans or white beans instead of kidney.

Snack Idea: Monkey Bars

 The first time I told my daughter Hannah that we were having Monkey Bars for a snack, she gave me a funny look and said, "No, mommy, I can't eat monkey bars. That would break my teeth." Quickly I realized, she was talking about the monkey bars at our neighborhood playground. "Oh, not those monkey bars. I'm making a new snack called Monkey Bars, and they are called that because they have bananas in them." I saw a look of relief on my 4 year olds face. Needless to say, my family really enjoys these. 


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