Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Avocado Goddess Dip

For some wonderful, miraculous reason, my girls have been all about trying new vegetables lately. In the last week, they have had grape tomatoes, broccoli, cucumber, romaine lettuce (new to Lizzy), and asparagus. They have done this without complaint and without me having to nudge them into trying them. What on earth?! Either all of my attempts to get them to try more things is finally paying off, or it's some fluke never to be repeated again. We will see!

Last night, Abby held up her broccoli and said "Look, Mommy, it's like a tree!"

Remembering Jenna's recent post about having her boys "eat like dinosaurs", I said "You can eat that tree like a dinosaur!"

"But Mommy," she said, "I'm not a dinosaur. I'm a little girl."

"I know, Abby, but the broccoli is like a tree, so -"

"But Mommy, it's not really a tree. It's just a broccoli."

"I know, Abby, but -"

"And I'm just a little girl, eating broccoli. Okay?"

"Okay, Abby."

So, the dinosaur thing is not quite working for my little girl - but hey, she's eating the broccoli, so woo!

I've been trying more dips and dressings as the girls have been willing to eat more vegetables. One of my first tries was a green goddess dressing, but based with avocado instead of mayo. It was delicious and had a lot more nutrients and good fats than our usual dips!

Avocado Goddess Dip

2 ripe avocados
1 bunch tarragon, chopped
1-2 Tbsp chopped chives (depends on how much you like chives!)
1 handful chopped parsley
salt & pepper
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1-2 cups milk (start with 1 cup, add more as needed to get to desired consistency)

De-seed and scoop out the avocado. Add everything to a blender or food processor and puree. Add more milk as needed, depending on how thick or thin you want your dip to be (I added more milk after I served the girls, to make a dressing for my salad).

I've submitted this post to the Big Words, Little Foodies recipe swap over at Food with Kid Appeal. See what other little foodies have to say about their dinners!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Polar Bear Cupcakes

I am just tickled pink that "Lost" is back tonight (even though, with my husband's schedule, we may not get to actually watch it until this weekend - sob!), so the girls and I made up some polar bear cupcakes today as a tribute!

When I bake cakes or cupcakes for birthdays or actual celebrations, I keep it basic with white sugar, all-purpose flour. But when I'm baking cupcakes on a Tuesday because my favorite show is back on, I like to go a little healthier. I find you can basically make a muffin, with flax and whole wheat and blah blah - because once the frosting is on, it's just as yummy as a true cupcake!

Polar Bear Cupcakes

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 cup milled flax seed
1/2 cup raw sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp maple extract
1 egg
3/4 cup milk (I used 1%)

Preheat oven to 375F. Line 10 muffin cups with liners.

In a bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, and salt.

With an electric mixer, cream together the butter, flax, sugar, vanilla extract, and maple extract. Beat in the egg. Alternate between adding the flour mixture and the milk, beating until combined.

Divide batter evenly between 10 muffin cups. Bake for 15-20 minutes (I started checking at 15 minutes; I took them out of the oven at 18 minutes). Let cool

Frosting - I use the Cook's Illustrated buttercream frosting, although it's been a while since I actually looked at it! Here are my rough proportions:

1 stick unsalted butter
2-3 Tbsp half and half (or cream)
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch salt
2-3 cups confectioner's sugar

With an electric mixer, cream together the butter, half and half, vanilla, and salt. Add 2 cups of confectioner's sugar and beat on high speed for several minutes. Add more sugar as desired to reach frosting consistency, but be sure to beat on high speed for several minutes after additions - you want it to get really nice and fluffy!

We decorated with shredded coconut, chocolate chips... and animal cracker bits for the ears. That's what happens when you don't keep mini marshmallows on hand and decide to make cupcakes with no prior planning! ;-)

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One of these already leaped into my mouth and forced it's way into my stomach... yummmmm. Abby hates cake and has already said that she won't be trying one after dinner, but we'll see if her tune changes. I feel fairly sure, based on her enthusiasm for licking the frosting beaters, that Lizzy will be more than happy to have dessert tonight! Perhaps these cupcakes will give me the sugar rush I need to stay up until 11 p.m...

Monday, February 1, 2010

Black Bean and Millet Burgers

I mentioned a little while ago that I'd like to find a good go-to vegetarian/vegan burger recipe before this summer. Beth, of C. Beth Blog, nominated a burger from her sister's blog, The Vegan(ish) Experiment.

One factor decided me in making this the first one I'd try: the millet. A few months ago, I read a book extolling the virtues of whole grains, and went on an absolute shopping binge in the bulk bun aisle at Whole Foods. Some of the grains have become staples in our house (like quinoa), and others have languished in my pantry. Millet is among them. So few recipes call for millet, so I was psyched to have a recipe that actually used millet!

Folks, these were good. Like, goooood. I had frozen some of the black beans that were cooked up with cilantro and scallions from the Beans and Quinoa with Beets recipe, so I used those in place of plain black beans. I also didn't have a bell pepper on hand, nor did I have the motivation to go out and procure one, so I used a small amount of carrot and celery instead.

The Pros:

Excellent flavor!
Easy to put together!

The Con:

Fell apart - I tried to cut them up for the kids, and they were not thrilled to be presented with a pile of mush. They did, however, eat them when I smooshed them in a flatbread.

I ended up eating these in a flatbread wrap, and they were like a really yummy sandwich that way. I don't know if these will become my go-to for vegetarians attending barbeques at my house, but they will certainly stay in rotation for a yummy lunch/dinner!

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Got a vegetarian/vegan burger recipe you think I should try, either your own or some funky thing you saw on-line? I love being a guinea pig! Email me at kara at ittybittybistro dot com!