Meatless Monday

Hanni asked me to post the recipe for the Brownie Walnut Pie I baked for Thanksgiving Day this year, and I thought, “Why not do it on Monday and make it a Meatless Monday post?”

Why not, indeed!

000brownie walnut pie

Below, is the recipe that I used to make this pie, courtesy of my Betty Crocker Cookbook at home.  The link provided above takes you to the Betty Crocker site, where the recipe is also provided, but I noticed that the ingredients and baking times are different there from what I have in my cookbook. Weird.  Well, maybe pie testers in the BC kitchen decided to tweak the recipe a bit.  Either way, with my old recipe or their new one, I think you will be happy with the results should you choose to bake this pie for a special occasion of your own.

Betty Crocker suggests you use a chocolate sauce as a drizzle for the topping, or some raspberry sauce. I think either would be heavenly, but we ate ours plain. It was rich, custardy, and full of chocolate flavor. I used Ghirardelli chocolate morsels instead of unsweetened chocolate in my pie. The morsels were bittersweet, but they worked fine.

More than fine! Yum!!!

There are two recommendations I would make when baking this pie for your family, and I don’t know if this would enhance the finished product or not, but I would do it next time.

1.  Put a pan of water in the oven while baking the pie. The pie top turned out more dry than I like, and I think this would help moisten it a bit.

2.  Put a clean dish towel on the pie while it is resting (but not until after 30-45 minutes out of the oven). Because the top crust was dry on my pie, it stayed puffed when it cooled, making for a crunchy topping when I would have rather have had it moist, like a brownie topping.  On a brownie, you want that lil bit of flakiness/crust, but without it being too dry.

This pie did what a lot of apple pies do when you use sugar crystals on the top crust before popping it into the oven.  That maneuver makes the crust stand stiff after the pie filling sinks into the bottom crust, leaving air between the pie filling and the raised, crunchy crust (which is oh, so good, but I want it resting on the pie filling when I cut into it with a fork).  That’s just me.  If you don’t mind the air between your filling and your crust, this step can be skipped.

Note: Do  not cover pie with dish towel right out of the oven.  It will make the pie sweat and wet the top, and nobody likes a wet brownie.

Moist, yes. Wet, no!

Other than these two tricks, that I think would help to make the completed pie even more luscious, I would make no alterations to either recipe.

This pie was very chocolate-y and definitely a recipe I would make again, but not until company comes over to share it with us. Too much pie for a man and his mate alone. Enjoy!Brownie Walnut Pie

Meatless Monday-Rhubarb Pie

DSC_0688So, I forgot to take a picture of the rhubarb pie I made during a recent experiment, but I can assure you that my test eaters gave it a thumbs up.

The filling turned out really creamy, which was unexpected. I thought it would be more of a custard. I was wrong.

DSC_0697I tasted just a tiny slice of the pie, and even I had to say it was finger licking good. I don’t like rhubarb, or even pie all that much, but I would definitely make this again and serve it to my guests any day.

Pie is one of my specialties, but I don’t go “ga-ga” for it the way the men in my life do.  Must be something to do with that way-to-a-man’s-heart-is-thru-the-stomach thing.  I will say that the pie wars at our house are epic!

DSC_0700For those of you with some time and rhubarb on your hands, I would highly recommend you try this pie.  To that end, I have made it my Meatless Monday recipe today.  Enjoy!

Orange Rhubarb Cream Pie

Make pastry for a 9″ pie and set it aside.

Ingredients:

1 eggs, separated

1-1/4 cups white sugar

1/4 cups softened butter

3 Tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate (before mixed with water)

1/4 cups white all purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

2-1/2 cups rhubarb, cut in half inch pieces

1/3 cups chopped pecans, if desired (I did not add nuts)

Instructions:

Beat egg whites until stiff to create a meringue, gradually adding 1/4 cup of sugar to the egg whites. Beat well after each addition.  Set meringue aside.

Combine butter, juice, and egg yolks, beat thoroughly.  Add remaining 1 cup sugar, flour as called for, and salt. Beat well.

Add rhubarb to yolk mixture and stir well, then fold in the meringue.  Pour filling into pastry shell and sprinkle with nuts.  (I think nuts would have made a nicer topping for my pie, but I did not use them, and it tasted fine without them).

Bake pie on lower rack of oven: 375Fdegrees for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 325F and bake another 45-50 minutes.

What is your favorite pie flavor?  What dessert do you enjoy making or eating?

Meatless Monday-Wild Rice and Quinoa Salad

000Cherry-Wild-Rice-Quinoa-SaladToday, I had a small portion of wild rice and quinoa salad for lunch.  It was soooo good!  I’ve had it before, but its been a while.  Today’s salad was cold and wet and full of flavor and texture and color.

I wish you could have tasted it! 

Delicious!!

Click here to get your recipe for wild rice and quinoa salad with cherries that I found on the Eating Well website.  My salad had raisins instead of cherries in it, but it was still finger lickin’ good.

Enjoy!

Meatless Monday-Acorn Squash with Brown Sugar and Walnuts

000baked-acorn-squash_1One of my favorite foods is acorn squash with brown sugar and walnuts. Squash done this way is my go-to for vegetable deliciousness during the winter months especially, but in the summer too. In the summer, I’m more likely to cook the squash in the roaster, out on the front porch, cuz who wants to fill the house with heat when it’s already hot outside?  Not this girl.

Yep, we bake this way in the hills of NEPA!

I do not grill, but I bet there is a recipe out there for acorn squash on the grill.  I’m sure there is.

This dish is so easy and so very tasty, and it can be done by almost anyone.

Here is my method for roasting the squash in the oven. I’ve never timed it in the front porch roaster, but 35-40 minutes is my usual cook time no matter how I roast it.

Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Cut acorn squash(es) in half vertically, from stem to stern (top where the stem grows out of the ground, to the pointy bottom).  Scoop out the seeds and toss them, unless you like to roast them. They are edible, but I don’t bother with roasting them.  Now, on a rimmed baking sheet, arrange squash cut side down; cover sheet tightly with aluminum foil. Roast until tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife, about 40 minutes.The foil tent helps to steam them, so they are done quicker.

While squash are roasting, prepare the filling you will use to sweeten them (although they don’t really need this step, they are delicious without sugar, too).  Mix together some butter, some brown sugar and some walnut meats; amounts depend on how buttery or sugary you want the end product.  I use less butter and more nuts for mine, and natural sugar instead of brown sugar.  Experiment with a couple squash innards and see how sweet you like yours.  What you add to the mix really depends on what you like.  Raisins, craisins, and dried cherries can be added, as can rice, but remember that then your squash will have added calories.  For that reason alone, I refrain most times.

Plus, hubs doesn’t like raisins or craisins, but he loves him some squash, so I like to make it the way I know he will like it.

Once the time is done for roasting the squash, flip each half over and add some part of the butter/sugar/walnut mixture to the cavity that has been previously salted and peppered.  Put the squash back in the oven for 5 minutes and you’re ready to enjoy a sweet treat that is also good for you.

Note: you probably could use Splenda on the squash to cut the sugar, but I like my acorn squash without artificial sweeteners, and I don’t eat them every day, so I splurge and add the natural sugar crystals to my mix.

Enjoy!!!

Meatless Monday-Raw Cranberry Lemon Slices

You all know I have a sweet tooth.

I’m a self-avowed sugar addict, currently in recovery. 

How do I know?  I know!  The primary reason I call myself a sugar addicts is because I have a compulsion to connect feelings and foods–sugary foods. 

Confession:  I “sometimes” use food to help me feel better.

I know, I know, bad stuff.

It’s this propensity to connect food and feelings that makes me believe I will always be in the midst of some phase of recovery work.  Just who I am.

Anyway, today I’m going to use my Meatless Monday blog spot to share a post I found over at Reflux Girl NZ, re: raw cranberry lemon slices.  Like RG, I’m label myself a Flexitarian, meaning the majority of my food intake comes from raw, whole, unprocessed foods, with the exception of ice cream, which is my kryptonite and go-to snack item.  I do not make ice cream from scratch.

000cranberryRaw Cranberry Lemon Slices.

Yum–I love cranberries!  Enjoy, everyone.

Thank you, Reflux Girl!

Meatless Monday–Fruit Smoothie

I’m trying to switch things up a bit in the morning, and get back to the benefits of eating raw, including less calories consumed and more fiber and fullness to carry me through the day.  Meatless Monday seems the perfect day to highlight one of the yummy drinks that are available for boosting metabolism.  I haven’t tried this one yet, but I will, soon.  If you try it, let me know how you found it.  I’m looking forward to getting back to basics and lots of raw fruits and veggies this spring and summer.  Yay!

Frosty Banana-Apple Green Smoothie
Yield: 2 1/2 cups, 2 servings

000banana green smoothie-1

This smoothie is so sweet, you’ll hardly believe it’s loaded with dark leafy greens. Think of it as a green milkshake.

Ingredients:

2 frozen bananas, thawed for 5 minutes
3/4 cup water
1 apple, unpeeled and chopped
8 leaves kale, chopped

Break the bananas into 2 or 3 pieces. Put all the ingredients in a blender and process on high speed until smooth. Serve immediately.

Recipe by Jenny Cornbleet of Raw Food Made Easy

Meatless Monday-Vegetable Paella

A few years back I became a Flexitarian–a gal who eats meat, but makes sure the bulk of her diet is about veggies.  I love the crunch, the color, the sweetness and the variety our gardens provide.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my grains, too, and I eat fruit, but because I aim to be the incredible shrinking woman, I eat lots and lots of veggies.

Some of my favorite recipes include roasted root vegetables.  Roasted veggies find their way to my dinner table over and over again during the winter months.  I love roasted potatoes, roasted carrots, roasted turnips, roasted parsnips, roasted sweet potatoes, roasted cauliflower (a favorite of favorites), and roasted brussels sprouts.  Really, I love almost anything roasted, and that certainly includes squash of all varieties and sweet corn, on the cob.  Everything’s better when its caramelized.  🙂

Loving roasted veggies as I do, I also like veggies done in other ways, like the simmering method that goes into a good veggie paella.  Not only does paella look fantastic when it’s assembled, but it smells out of this world while cooking and it contains the grains I love in combination with the veggies. A win / win for this gal.

Veggie Paella:  doesn't that look incredible?

On this Meatless Monday, I’m going to suggest you hop on over to Forks Over Knives and download their recently published recipe for Vegetable Paella.

You can use just about any veggies you have in the frig to make your own paella dish, but whatever you do, be creative and eat the rainbow.  Lots of color is the key to a beautiful paella in my opinion, and if you make it big you can eat on it all week.  Yum!

For those of you who love your protein, add a lil pre-cooked sausage to your dish at the end of its cooking time, or you could grate some fresh cheddar or gruyere and add it to the paella once its done.  Fantastico!!!  With or without meat or cheese, this dish is delish!!!  Enjoy!

How many veggies do you eat each day?  How can you increase that number?  What is your favorite way to “eat the rainbow”?