Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Stuffed Poblanos

If you know me, you know I have a special place in my heart for all things Mexican; and these last few days I have had my fair share of nachos, enchiladas, tacos and now...Stuffed Poblanos.  I was alone last week while my son and husband were off visiting my father-in-law, and I ate (or drank) Mexican everyday. Mostly in the form of nachos. If you are one to mix flavors, I am a big fan of Trader Joes Paneer Tikka Masala, and I must say...put it on top of tortilla chips and then cover in cheese, oh its heaven. {Everything is better with cheese...lots of cheese!}

I try to use fresh from the garden or from the farmers market during the summer, as much as possible. We have had a lot of tomatoes but they never got very big, and we have had jalapenos out the wazoo. I have made salsa and will probably be making more...but I wanted to make something different, vegetarian (I was going to go vegan, but that damn need for cheese gets in the way every time) and with Mexican flavors. Realizing that going vegetarian probably meant that I would be the only one eating it, also meant I can make it how I would like to make it.  So...other than the items from our garden I stopped at the farmers market on my way home from work and while ogling over all the peppers, the decision was made...I must stuff them. 

Now...I am not against the use of meat in this dish, so you could easily add ground beef or turkey, shredded chicken or what ever you fancy. I was just in the mood for meatless...which tends to be more often than not. 

3-5 Poblano peppers

1/2 cup rice
1/2 cup quinoa
1 can black beans
1 ear of corn
5-6 small tomatoes, quartered
2 jalapenos, sliced in half lengthwise
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne powder
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Roasted tomato sauce, recipe below
Shredded cheese
Chopped cilantro

Cook the rice and quinoa as directed, set aside.  Meanwhile, place the corn, tomatoes, jalapenos, onion and garlic on a baking dish, roast the veggies just until soft. Place under the broiler on low heat, tossing at least once. Remove and cool slightly, so you are able to handle them, chop everything up and remove the kernels from the ear of corn. Add to a large bowl, add the rice, beans and spices; mix well.  Mix in the cheese.

Carefully remove the top of the poblano peppers, I cut around the stem and then twisted and it pulled most of the seeds out, you may need to do a little seed clean up. Spoon the filling into the peppers, make sure to push it down as far as possible. Lay the peppers in a shallow baking dish. Cover is sauce and cheese. Bake for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

Roasted Tomato Sauce
2 jalapenos
1 small onion, quartered
3 garlic cloves
3-4 cups tomatoes, I used a combination of small ones from my garden and cherry tomatoes from a market
1-2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne powder

Add all the vegetables to a pan and roast under the broiler until soft and slightly charred. Once they are done, add to the food processor with the spices and blend until smooth. Store in a tight lidded container in the refrigerator.

So yummy! Enjoy it!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Thai {inspired} Coconut Soup

A few months back we had a girls night that started with dinner at Veit Thai, then of course followed by drinks. Ever since, I keep thinking of Thai and the spicy, sweet combinations.  Then at one of our local time bank* meetings, my friend fed me shared with me more of those wonderful spiciness. So here I am trying to come up with a dish that can satisfy the craving.

And if you are reading this Grace, we need to go back! 

So here is my take on a Thai inspired Coconut Soup, with sweet potatoes and mushrooms.

1 sweet potato
1 small eggplant
8-10 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 qt Vegetable Broth
1 can Coconut Milk
2 jalapenos, minced
1 stalk of lemongrass, sliced thin
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 green onion, sliced
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 cup cilantro, chopped
Sriracha to taste

Chop the sweet potato, eggplant and slice mushrooms, add to stock pot. Cook just to soften in about 1 tbsp each coconut oil and olive oil. Once soft, add the broth and milk. Bring to a simmer.

Add all remaining ingredients, up to the cilantro. Let simmer. Add the cilantro and add sriracha to taste. 

Eat it alone, or serve over rice or rice noodles.

*I am part of our local time bank, York County Time Bank. We currently have close to 70 active members and growing. We are a new bank, but if you are local and interested you should check it out! Or if you are interested in finding out more information or to see if there is a time bank in your community you can check it out here at hOurworld or at TimeBanks USA.

{Recipe shared on Easy Green Mama, Gluten Free Linky for August 27, 2013}

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Latest Struggle...

I'm going through a bit of a hard time. I'm struggling with issues, trying to make sense of things that really make no sense. I have been uncomfortable for days, unsure of what is causing it. Food? Stress? Anxiety? I don't know. What I do know is I really want it to stop. A few weeks ago I went to get the results from my last procedure...I went in with high hopes, I haven't been having any symptoms and I have been feeling great. What I was told was that instead of being better, or dormant, my UC is in fact spreading; getting worse without actually showing external symptoms. I really don't understand, and perhaps I'm not supposed to. I feel like I'm in a rut, just can't get out. I am really trying to stay positive and happy, I know I can only control so much...

It was suggested that perhaps I should keep a food journal. Keep track of food that might trigger certain symptoms. I know there are foods beyond gluten that I should probably ween out of my diet. Dairy and beef being two big ones, and honestly the beef is easy...dairy not so much. I buy dairy free milk, my son ends up drinking most of it, which is okay I don't mind since I don't really drink much. I also, really need to take my medication. I am SO bad with taking pills. Especially when I feel fine. (Speaking of which, I haven't taken them yet today.) But I need to take my medication, I have three different types I take now; plus two others to take when I am having bad symptoms. I think there are about 5 different medications right now. Ugh...just writing that out sucks.

I am gluten free, it has made me feel so much better. I believe, and my doctor agrees, that I have a sensitivity on top of the UC, as well as probably being lactose intolerant...yes right now I am totally bummed. I love food, I have changed so much to make myself feel better, to feel normal; and I feel really good...or I was. I am just so confused.


I appreciate you listening, I just needed to get this off my chest. I'm sure my husband is tired of hearing about it, even though he will sit and listen like he knows what I'm going through. I'm not sure he really understands, just like most people who don't deal with it. So, I have attached some links that may be helpful.

Crohns & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA)
National Foundation for Celiac Awareness
Ostomystory Channel (I'm not here, but it is really interesting, she is so strong)

I want to cry...I haven't had a venting post like this in a while...

Sunday, August 4, 2013


This was the first year I didn't plant cucumbers in my garden, but I was lucky enough to have a friend with too many, so when I mentioned I'd be happy to take them off her hands she was more than willing and gave me a bag full! And what do you do with a bag full of cucumbers? Pickles of course!

There are a lot of pickling recipes out there, as well as a lot of different types of pickles, some use prepared pickling spice, some do not.  I made both dill and bread and butter, using my own pickling blend.

A lot of sites mention soaking the cucumbers in a salt solution, I did not do that. I am still not 100% sure why you would need to do that. If you know please feel free to share. I also learned if you add a little Alum to the dill brine it will keep the pickles crisp. I, however, didn't know this trick before I made my dill batch.

Dill Pickles

This will make enough for about 4 pint jars, I almost tripled the brine in order to use all the pickles. Ending in about 8 pints worth.

10-15 pickling cucumbers* (about 4-5" in length)

For the brine:

2 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 cups vinegar
3 tbsp raw cane sugar
3 tbsp coarse sea salt
2 tbsp whole coriander seeds
2 tbsp whole peppercorns
2 bay leaves
4 garlic cloves
Fresh dill (I used a few sprigs per jar)

Slice the cucumbers in about 1/4" rounds (you can also cut into spears) Fill the sterilized jars with the cucumbers, and a few sprigs of dill. Set aside. Add all the brine ingredients in to a large pot, bring to a simmer. Once all the salt is dissolved, pour the hot liquid into the jars. (I try to make sure at least one garlic clove makes it into each jar.)

Add ins: I added a sliced jalapeƱo to a couple jars, you could also add crushed red pepper, or other peppers or more garlic.

Bread and Butter Pickles
(Recipe adapted from The American Woman's Cook Book, 1966)

8 medium cucumbers*
1 large onion**
1/2 cup salt
2 cup sugar
3 tsp mustard seed
3 tsp celery seed
1 tsp curry powder
2 cups vinegar, white
1 cup water

Slice the cucumbers and onions, lay the onions out on a paper towel and sprinkle with salt. (This will drain some of the liquid from the onion.)

In a large sauce pan, add the remaining ingredients bring to a simmer. Once all the sugar and salt is dissolved, add the onions and cucumbers. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Pack into sterilized jars.

*The original recipe called for about 12 medium cucumbers, this will vary depending on the size of your cucumbers.
**The original recipe called for 5 medium onions, that just seemed like a lot so I reduced the amount.

Processing the Jars

This will be the same for both types of pickles. To sterilize the jars and lids, boil in a large pot of water. I will usually have the jars boiling while I slice and prepare all the ingredients. That way when I pack the jars they are still hot. Once you fill the jars, you want about a 1/2 inch of head space. (The amount of space between the very top of the jar to the liquid.) Place the lids on the jars, don't screw them on real tight, just enough so no extra liquid will be able to get in. Place the jars into boiling water, the water should just cover the jars. Process or boil for about 10-15 minutes. Carefully remove the jars and set aside to cool, as the jars cool you will start hearing popping which is what happens when the jars seal. Gentle press the center of the lids, if you are still able to press it down, it didn't seal. You can try processing them again, as long as they didn't cool down too much, or just place in the refrigerator. Processed pickles should last about a year in a cool dark place. Refrigerate after you open them.

For the dill pickles, if you didn't want to process the jars you could store in the refrigerator for about 6 months, just wait at least 24 hours before enjoying them.