Review: Chickpea Shakshuka – The Minimalist Baker


Chickpea Shakshuka – The Minimalist Baker 

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Shakshuka or Shakshouka is a Middle Eastern dish typical cooked with pouched eggs.  The word simply means “mixture” and is typically cooked with tomatoes, spices like cumin and coriander, chilies, and onions, but ingredients vary from country to country.  It is often served for breakfast, but is popular any time of the day and especially in winter.


Chickpeas

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Cooked, dried chickpeas – Try cooking your own beans in place of canned beans.  It is cheaper and greatly reduces your sodium intake.  If you are riding the Instant Pot wave or you use a pressure cooker you can make these without soaking! WHAT, yes… NO SOAKING!!! Soaking is the part I always forget and used to keep me from using dried beans.  Don’t fear the Instant Pot or pressure cooker, it will quickly become your friend.

The first time you cook your beans without soaking you may feel like your can actually feel your momma staring you down, but it will be OK.  Don’t believe me? Ask the L.A. Times in this great article “Don’t soak your dried beans!  Now even the cook kids agree” by
Russ Parsons The California Cook!


Homemade yogurt

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I made my Shakshuka a liiitttlle hot and had to top it with yogurt because, well…basically I’m a wimp when it comes to hot foods!  If you too need to cool it down try making your own yogurt. It is very easy and only takes a little “active” time.  I follow Martha Stewarts guide.  You can make yogurt with some yogurt and milk or with yogurt starter and milk.  Personally I find a little individual size yogurt pot works well as a starter and my yogurt is more consistent, the only down side is the yogurt bacteria won’t hold up to use my homemade yogurt as the starter for a second batch.

A friend of mine laughed at my yogurt maker and thermometer and said “All you need is an oven and your finger.  When the milk boils pull it off, when you can put your finger in it for a few seconds comfortably add your yogurt- done!!”.  She is right, as you get more comfortable with making yogurt you will find your own way and be able to do it without thinking about it.


The Review: 

 

Time: 30 minutes

Ease: Easy!  Even if you cook your own beans and make your own yogurt, this is an easy dish to make.

Review:  I can’t take credit for finding this amazing vegan dish, my daughter found it and is a major fan of Dana and John of The Minimalist Baker.  Thanks for this recipe!!

My husband and are neither vegans nor vegetarians, but I guess we are reducetarians, we are eating much less meat and far more whole food, plant based foods.  No matter what your food choices, this is a nice dish to add to your home cookbook and would make a great “Meatless Monday”.   It is protein packed and a good source of fiber with iron, B-6, magnesium, potassium, A and C thrown in!

This is easily a dish you can throw together after work or make ahead and take for lunch and you can customize the spices to your own taste.  I used tomatoes with jalapeños in mine which is great for my husband, but was a bit too hot for me, hence the yogurt.  Even too hot, I really enjoyed the flavors of this dish.  This will be a repeat dish!  Nice job Dana and John!

Tips:

  • Try making your own beans and yogurt, as mentioned above
  • Browning tomato paste – I like to brown my tomato paste before adding my wet ingredients, I find it adds a nice rich flavor and only takes a few minutes longer. Learn more at Today.
  • Try adding the eggs: Once your dish is complete carefully crack eggs into your oven safe pan on top of your tomatoes and chickpeas, season with a little salt and pepper and pop into the oven for about 7 minutes or until the eggs are just set, don’t overcook.

Lisa received her Health Coach Certification from the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute, founded by world-renowned physician and author, Dr. William Sears. The Institute is a leader in science-based health and wellness education that focuses on the four pillars of health; Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitude and Nutrition (L.E.A.N.). A certification by the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute is obtained only after completing the extensive course work and meeting all requirements. Once certified, a Health Coach possesses the knowledge, tools and resources to make a positive difference in the health of others.

The information in this blog is educational and not meant to diagnose, treat, or mitigate symptoms.

I offer individual coaching sessions and online health coach sessions through Zoom, if you are not local, as well as group sessions, workshops, and special events. I would love to help you on your journey towards health and wellness. Contact me for more information.


All photos are by me, Lisa Wright Burbach –  Feel free to share, but please give credit to the source.  Thank you.


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Review: Chicken & Veg Stir Fry with Udon Noodles – Anne Burrell

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Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry with udon noodles – Anne Burrell

Recently my husband was out of town for a couple of weeks and I might have binge watched America’s Worst Cooks on the Food Network, ya now…maybe.  OK, I did!  I had never seen the show and enjoyed it, the mentors do a great job teaching basics like knife skills, definitions, and styles of cooking.  I have been holding my knife wrong and now when I stick my finger out on the the blade I can visualize Anne Burrell running down to paint my finger with red marker and I pull it back in.    I am a pretty decent cook and comfortable in the kitchen, but I was reminded that most of the difficulty in the kitchen is in our minds.  So, i encourage you to hop in there and be adventurous.  It just seems scary, but once you step out and try you will be surprised and delighted.

One of the recipes Anne Burrell made was a simple stir-fry.  I gave it a try this week and think you will find it an easy and yummy meal to fix any night of the week.

Time: 30 minutes

Ease: Easy

Review:  This dish was made to be a substitute for Carry-out and I think it did a nice job.  It was quick and easy to prepare, full of flavor, and had that Take-away/Carry-out feel.  I realized a little too late that I had forgotten to buy edamame, but it still had a nice blend of textures and flavor.  I think this is a dish you will be able to play with and make your own.  Some of you will want a spicier dish, try adding chopped Jalapeños  as a garnish to complement the one in the dish.

Tips:  Mise en Place – A French term meaning “putting in place”.  You know all those little bowls with the prepped ingredients that you see on the cooking shows? That is a Mise en Place.  This is a huge time saver and sometimes a dish saver!  When you are cooking and a lot of things are going on you will be glad you already have your items prepped and ready to go.

  • Read your recipe
  • Prepare each recipe item and place in a small bowl or dish
  • Before you begin cooking, double check and make sure you have every ingredient that was listed prepared and ready to go in your dish
  • Keep the prepared items close by; at your stove, a nearby counter etc.  This way you save time by having it at hand.
  • Now start cooking.  As you get to each step just grab the right bowl and add it in.

Enjoy!


Lisa received her Health Coach Certification from the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute, founded by world-renowned physician and author, Dr. William Sears. The Institute is a leader in science-based health and wellness education that focuses on the four pillars of health; Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitude and Nutrition (L.E.A.N.). A certification by the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute is obtained only after completing the extensive course work and meeting all requirements. Once certified, a Health Coach possesses the knowledge, tools and resources to make a positive difference in the health of others.

The information in this blog is educational and not meant to diagnose, treat, or mitigate symptoms.

I offer individual coaching sessions and virtual health coach sessions through Zoom, if you are not local, as well as group sessions, workshops, and special events. I would love to help you on your journey towards health and wellness. Contact me for more information.


All photos are by me, Lisa Wright Burbach –  Feel free to share, but please give credit to the source.  Thank you.

Review: Portobello Mushroom Tacos with Salsa Verde – Forks Over Knives

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Portobello Mushroom tacos with Salsa Verde – Forks over Knives

My husband and I are on the journey of eating a more whole food, plant based diet and I have to say we are enjoying it!  There were doubts in the beginning, but we made gradual changes, which I highly recommend.  Most people are not ready to jump in all at once into a big change, but gradual changes can often help us stay the course. Try starting with Meatless Mondays!

I am finding that it is easier to eat healthy foods than to find healthy foods.  The stores are filled with items with suspect ingredients, restaurants have sparse healthy choices at best and it can even be hard to find recipes that are easy and “normal”.  Many of the recipes I have found are pretty exotic, but with a shift in our culture towards eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes I expect the options to improve.  Today’s recipe review is a winner and even my meat loving man really enjoyed it!


Respecting Copyright laws, I don’t publish full exact recipes unless I can find an online link or have permission from the source, so I have provided the pieces of information for you to pull the recipe together.

  • Grilled Portobello mushrooms
  • Corn tortillas
  • Salsa Verde – The recipe can be fond in the Forks Over Knives Cookbook.  I have provided a link to a similar salsa below.
  • Top with lettuce, red onion or anything you see fit to use.  We also used radishes and mix of shredded cabbage with red onion, cilantro and lime juice. It provided a nice zing and texture.

Tomatillo Salsa – Food and Wine.  This recipe is similar to the one by Forks Over Knives.  Try adding lime zest and using green onions in place of onion.  Have fun with this recipes and play with the ingredients.

Time: 1 Hour marinade/ 10-15 minutes

Ease: Easy-moderate – This is really an easy recipe, but if you are unfamiliar with portobello mushrooms or tomatillos it could feel challenging.  Just relax, follow the directions, and enjoy.

Review:  As much as we are trying to reduce our meat consumption, my men folk aren’t quite on board for extreme reductions.  This week my husband and son were going to be away from home and I planned this awesome dish for myself, but then the hubs came home.  I gently informed him that I wasn’t changing the plan and he would like it.  He loved it!  The mushrooms made this feel like a more hearty dish and once we added all the other yummy stuff – don’t forget the salsa!!, the tacos felt like we had stepped into a restaurant for dinner.  Did I mention the salsa?  It is a must, it really rounds out the dish.  The recipe calls for the salsa, lettuce and red onion to top the tacos, but we found adding the cabbage and radishes gave this dish more texture and flavor.  I highly recommend this dish, it is delicious, easy, healthy, and WHPB (whole food, plant based). Be adventurous and let your meat eaters try it.

Tips: It is important to have good tools in your kitchen and two handy tools are a zester and good juicer.  My juicer (known as a fruiter in our home) was my grandmothers and the difference is significant.  Older tools like graters and juicers used thicker metal and real metal.  I find my older tools at estate sales.

Forks Over Knives offers a cooking class that I would love to take and you may want to consider.  I’d like to take it to be able to help others be more confident using grains, legumes, veggies, etc. and empower people to make health their habit, even in the kitchen.  (I am not being paid or endorsed by Forks Over Knives, I just liked the recipe)

Enjoy


Lisa received her Health Coach Certification from the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute, founded by world-renowned physician and author, Dr. William Sears. The Institute is a leader in science-based health and wellness education that focuses on the four pillars of health; Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitude and Nutrition (L.E.A.N.). A certification by the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute is obtained only after completing the extensive course work and meeting all requirements. Once certified, a Health Coach possesses the knowledge, tools and resources to make a positive difference in the health of others.

The information in this blog is educational and not meant to diagnose, treat, or mitigate symptoms.

I offer individual coaching sessions and virtual health coach sessions through Zoom, if you are not local, as well as group sessions, workshops, and special events. I would love to help you on your journey towards health and wellness. Contact me for more information.


All photos are by me, Lisa Wright Burbach –  Feel free to share, but please give credit to the source.  Thank you.

Review: Curried Butternut Squash Soup – The Minimalist Baker

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Curried Butternut Squash – The Minimalist Baker

Fall is in the air and in our house this begins the tradition of “Soup a Week”.  Each week I make a yummy soup starting in fall all the way through until spring.  I have many “tried and trues” and also love trying new soups.  This soup is quickly becoming a “tried and true” !  It is easy to make, tastes great and is good for you!  Plus it satisfies that fall feeling.  MMMmmmMMM.

Time: 30 minutes

Ease: Easy – the only tricky part is blending at the end.  I have a stick blender and if you don’t have one I suggest getting one. I think it is a must in the kitchen.  It makes life easier and fewer burns and messes.

Review:  This recipe, as with any I have tried by The Minimalist Baker, is easy and delicious.      Once you have the squash prepared the rest of the dish is a piece of cake.  You may worry that the maple syrup will make the soup to sweet, but with the curry it is a nice blend without being too sweet.  Experiment with the amount you like for your tastes.  Over all this is a great soup; filling, delicious, and easy to make.

Tips: Try different types of curries.  I like a sweet curry from Penzey’s Spices, but also use one called Curry Now, which has a punch!  It is fun playing with the flavors and heat levels until you find the perfect one for you.

If you are someone with sensitive skin i recommend baking the butternut squash with skins on and scooping out the contents before making the soup. follow the directions as written, but use your cooked squash.  Sometimes butternut squash makes my skin peel.  You could also wear gloves to prepare it.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

All photos are by me, Lisa Wright Burbach – a Burbachulous Photo.  Feel free to share, but please give credit to the source.  Thank you.

I Love it When you get Fresh!

Dinner doesn’t have to be a chore and you don’t have to pull out the boxed mixes and packets to pull it off in time.  I promise, after a while you will embrace fresh, fresh, fresh!  It really doesn’t take much more time, if any, to use fresh ingredients.  The real issue is in our heads-it’s mental.  It seems like it is too hard, too time consuming, too involved etc., but the truth is that with a little practice you will be making fresh meals in minutes for your family and friends and they will love you for it.   Don’t feel like it has to be all or nothing here either; baby steps and start where you are.

Keep it fresh and alive at the table too.  Talk to each other, engage with your family and guests and get to really know each other.  Build trust at the table and remember to make it a safe place.  Here are some ice breakers: Get to Know you Cards, Dinner Conversation Starters, Highs and Lows: ask each other what the best part of the day was and what the worse part was and then talk about it.  Some of you are probably rolling your eyes right now, I admit a part of me does, but try it.  Be creative.  Dinner is not about getting food in their bellies, it is about savoring the moments both with your food and your relationships.  Enjoy!

TIP: Try setting up a Mise en Place to help you with time.  Don’t worry about dirtying more dishes; it cleans up quickly.

  • The Meals:

black bean quesadillasBlack Bean Quesadilla: Eating Well Magazine

Time: 15 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review: This is a quick and easy meal.  I pull this out when I’m rushed for time and I’m still able to give my family a fresh meal.  It is a family favorite.

Tip: Use low sodium canned beans and rinse well and use pepper jack cheese for flavor.

baked RavioliBaked Ravioli: Marthastewart.com

Time: 35-1 Hour; This dish could be a quickie if you use prepared spaghetti sauce instead of making the sauce.  There are many spaghetti sauces on the market that still keep this as a “fresh” dish.  Try organic, low sodium and look for the shortest ingredient list.

Ease: Simple

Review:  I found this recipe to be a nice and easy meal, but did not find the sauce to be especially flavorful and added hot pepper flakes, red wine, and a few more Italian spices to make it a little more full in flavor.  Next time I will probably use prepared spaghetti sauce, which will also cut the time in half.  Play around with this one and see what you get.

lentil soupLentil Soup: The Foodnetwork.com  Chef: Alton Brown

Time: 50 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review: A nice hearty soup! Adjust the puree to your personal tastes, we like it in the middle.  This recipe calls from ground grains of paradise.  They can be found in places like Savory Spice or specialty markets.  It is a peppery spice with sort of woodsy flavor.  Very nice.  If you can’t find it just use pepper.

meatonioncomboMeatloaf with Cheddar, Bacon, and Tomato Relish: Wichcraft cookbook    Chef: Tom Colicchio and Sisha Ortuzar(I’m still researching copyright usage of recipes from cookbooks.  Until I’m sure I’ll try to find a link for you, I linked to a blog called crepesofwrath.net.  A fun blog.)

Time: 30 minutes to 2 hours; The time difference depends upon whether you use leftover meatloaf or make it for this purpose.

Ease: Moderate

Review: Wow and yum!! If you don’t like meatloaf this may win you over.  It didn’t win over one of my eaters who didn’t care for the texture, but as for everyone else, people who still had room ate two!  You can try the meatloaf recipe (which is geat) or make your favorite recipe. 

I cut the bacon amounts in half and crumbled the bacon, just to try to make some attempt at cutting the fat. It still gave it a great flavor.  Don’t be scared by the tomato relish, it is simple to make and can be made while the meatloaf is cooking or even a few days ahead of time, but it truly makes the sandwich. This is a great recipe and now a family favorite. Try it, you can do it! Once you make the tomato relish you’ll be excited to try more.

Meal Five:   We had a pretty busy week this week and didn’t get to five meals, but I suggest that for a fifth meal make meatloaf earlier in the week, try making two at one time and serving one as a meal in itself and the other one for your sandwiches.  A great and easy side dish is roasted vegetables! I like to use chunks of squash, zucchini, onion, mushrooms, and bell peppers.  Toss in olive oil and salt and pepper and bake at 425 degrees for about a half an hour or until just tender, but not too soft.

Enjoy! Be creative, have fun, and set the table!

Photos may be used, but please link back to this blog and credit Lisa Burbach, recipes are links to existing recipes and I have no ownership of recipes other than the ones of Have created.  Thank you.

It isn’t Always Perfect, but it Makes it Memorable

For all of my perfectionist friends out there, a word of advice: Relax, it doesn’t always have to be perfect!  No, really! But, I do understand.  I like it perfect too.  Years of cooking with friends and family have taught me that the community built in the kitchen that spills over to the table is what it’s all about.  If the dish isn’t “just so”, or the fork is the wrong side- um, ok well, actually I do switch them…. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that it’s OK.  Life isn’t ruined because the dish looked ugly, was burned or the dog ate it, it is just something to laugh about later.  Julia Child is a great example of this, she could drop a chicken or an egg and just laugh and keep on going, you can too.  You may be surprised by the results and you will love what is made through it- Relationships!

What I want to give you in this blog is not just recipes and ideas for dinner, but the joy of dinner; not just dinner, but of every meal.  I want you learn about each other, laugh, cry, talk, share, build, and grow together. I want you to grow memories.  I want people to talk about the joy of sitting at your table.  You can do this whether you’re using a cardboard moving box for a dinning room table or you have a huge formal table in a massive dinning room.  It is about the atmosphere that is set and the comradery.  Be creative, have fun, and set the table.

The Process:  Each week I sit down with a nice cup of coffee and pour over magazines, cookbooks, and the internet and find 5 meals I’d like to make that week.  I base these meals on items that I have in my pantry and fridge so that I can be the most economical in my shopping.  I make 5 because life is busy and I may be away from home a night or we may eat leftovers.  Adapt it to fit your lifestyle.  Then from these meals I make my grocery list and try to stick to it.  I find the list helps me be frugal.  This process takes about a half an hour to an hour.

The Meals:

Spinach Gnocchi

Spinach Gnocchi with Shaved Ricotta Salata:  Food and Wine Magazine, Chef Marc Vetri

Time: 1 Hour

Ease: Intermediate Skill

Results: This was a nice dish, but a little intimidating. The recipe says “to form a soft dough”, but I would have liked a little more description.  My dough was probably a little too wet, and my end result was not like their picture, but it cooked well with a nice texture.

You may not be able to find Grana Padana and may use Parmigiano Reggiano instead.

I found the Ricotta Salata at the grocery in the specialty cheese area. It is a pressed, aged, salted and dried version of Ricotta.  My cheese loving husband liked this very much.  Remember, you are trying new things.  Embrace it!  This is nice with a salad and a fairly acidic dressing as a balance to the rich gnocchi.  I also served bread rounds with bruschetta on the side.

potatoesSoup a Week!!!  In our family we have a soup a week during autumn and winter (most weeks).  My family loves this so much so that when my daughter went away to college she said that when she realized she was missing soup-a-week she was even more homesick.  Food speaks!  This weeks Soup is Potato Soup

There are as many potato soup recipes as there are people.  Personally I make mine a little bit different every time, depending on my mood.  Spicy or baked potato like or pesto, cheesy, lumpy, smooth….  This only takes about an hour or less to make.

Saute onion (about 1/2 cup-2 cups) in 1 tablespoon butter and a little olive oil.  Once the onions are translucent I add a few cloves of garlic (if using this time) and I add whatever spices I may want to use, a pinch of cayenne pepper and stir them until fragrant.   I boil my potatoes (about 1 small potato per person) in vegetable or chicken broth (vegetable is nice if you are doing meatless Mondays). Once the onion mixture is ready add broth and potatoes (about 8 cups of broth).  Simmer until potatoes are tender and remove from heat.

Smooth and creamy or lumpy? This is where my family and friends disagree so here is the compromise: Pull out some of the potatoes and set aside then puree the remaining soup with a hand-held immersion blender or in a regular blender (a little at a time). Slowly add heavy cream to the pureed soup and stir well. I use around 1/4 -1/2 cup cream adjusted for consistency, then add the potatoes you pulled out back to the soup.  This makes the lumpy potato soup people happy while also satisfying the smooth potato soup people.  If they truly insist on no lumps, divide the lumps between the lumpy eaters bowls and ladle the smooth soup over the top.   Serve with a nice bread.

photo by L.W. Burbach

Hot and Sticky Lemon-Pepper Chicken: Food and Wine Magazine, Chef Richard Blaise

Time: 1 Hour

Ease: umm, this is iffy. See below

Results: I left this recipe for my husband to make when I wasn’t planning to be home. ( I told him to use chicken cut into pieces because I had found a great deal on chicken breasts and had a lot in the freezer.)  My husband struggled with the oil temperature and the batter all slid off the chicken and made sort of a glue in the bottom of the pot.  Ok, try again.  Second time around it worked well and in the end it tasted fine.  So results may vary by cook (tongue in cheek). Note: If you do not like sweet and savory combos, this may not be for you.  Serve this with steamed green beans and roasted potatoes.

photo by L.W. Burbach

Fondue Night!!!!

My family loves fondue.  Long live fondue.  As you see from my photo, fondue has been around for a while-ya diggin’ my groovy Avacado Green fondue pot.  We love to do this with friends and do use china!  We usually have a pot of broth, a pot of oil, a pot of cheese, and one of caramel or chocolate.  Just have fun with this one.

Time: several hours of fun and laughter

Ease: piece of cake (dipped in chocolate)

Results: Memory maker, laughter, some oops, silliness, just plain fun.

Suggestions: raw chicken (keep this separated from everything else!), broccoli, asparagus, mushrooms, zucchini, apples, cake, bread, squash, onion petals, sweet potato slices, potato slices, anything else you’d like to try.  We served this with tempura batter, Crab dip for mushroom caps, dipping sauces of: Ranch, Teriyaki, Thai chili paste, chutney, tahini, and a remoulade sauce. Long live fondue!

Margarita Pizza

Margarita PizzaClassic Margherita Pizza – New York Style: Food network, Chef Emeril Lagasse

Time: 1 Hour 13 Minutes

Ease:  Easy

Results:  This is just a great pizza all the way around!  If you are intimidated by making crust try looking in the deli or freezer section of your grocery.  Sometimes they stock dough from the pizzas made in store.  Fresh mozzarella is in the specialty cheese section of most stores.

Well, this week’s meals were not perfect.  We had fun, we still ate well and we made memories.  I’d say it was a successful week!

Photos may be used, but please link back to this blog and credit Lisa Burbach, recipes are links to existing recipes and I have no ownership of recipes other than the ones of Have created.  Thank you.