Sweet Potato Bean Enchiladas – Missouri Style Sunday Dinner

One of the best things about being part of Millsap Farms CSA is the on farm experience.  I enjoy getting out once in a while and playing farmer then going home to the nice urban life style. I enjoy the connection that is created by my CSA to the farm, cycles and the vegetables grow on the farm

CSA Work Day 002

Last October youngest daughter and I got to go out to the CSA for our work share day and among a number of tasks we got to pick sweet potatoes

.  She’s also the reason why we are a mixed family. She’s my vegetarian daughter.

I am pretty sure this is a one of the sweet potatoes I picked because well, see the two brown spots on the top, those are where someone might have stuck a pitch fork though the potato as they dug them out

Feb 2013 048

These sweet potatoes are HUGE bigger than my hand and oh so tasty because we picked them.  Got all sweaty and muddy doing so as well. If you have never dug potatoes you should give it a try some time it’s lots of fun.

The other great part about being in a CSA is that you have to come up with very creative recipes to use up all your vegetables. We are in the middle of our winter CSA so it’s a lot of greens, squashes and sweet potatoes. Sunday night for dinner we had Sweet Potato and Bean Enchiladas, I’ve added the Missouri style just because I’m not sure these can really claim and true enchilada family status.

Pre heat your oven to 400 degrees and line a pan with parchment paper or silicon and dice up those sweet potatoes I used one huge potato and one smaller potato. Feb 2013 050Drizzle with olive oil and then empty your spice cabinet – really just empty the thing out. Because I was going for that Tex-Mex flavor I grab cumin, smoked paprika, paprika, garlic,  chili  powder, ground cayenne pepper, pinch of salt  and a bit of curry powder because it was there. Start with about a teaspoon of each adding more to taste – go ahead and taste your food.

Roast the potatoes in your oven for 20 to 30 minutes the size of your dice will determine how long they need to cook. Let cool as you assemble your other ingredients .

Drain and rinse two cans of your favorite kind of beans. Add one chopped onion, one chopped pepper – can be bell, Anaheim, jalapeno, poblano this is a chance to add the heat leave of your choice.

Feb 2013 0611 cup chopped squeezed cooked greens of your choice – spinach, kale, chard whatever you have.  Mix it all into a bowl.

Add grated cheese to taste – I am partial to a good sharp cheddar but use what you like.

Now pick your enchilada sauce I love a good roasted green pepper enchilada sauce but feel free to use red. I had a can of each and made  two pans of enchiladas so I mixed.

Now get your tortillas I had flour on hand but corn are more authentic and work just as tasty. I was just far too lazy to go to the store and buy more tortillas. Feb 2013 064Dump about 1/2 cup of your enchilada sauce into the bottom of your pan and start rolling up your enchiladas  About 3 to 3/1/2 tablespoons per tortilla is a nice ratio. Tuck the filled enchiladas seam side down snug up to one another and fill your pan.   Cover with more sauce and a good sprinkle of cheese be artist if you wish or just dump. I’m a fan of the dump method.

Feb 2013 065

Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake again at 350 deg. for around 30 to 40 mins, everything is already cooked so you are just warming it

 all up into a bubbly goo

ey mess of goodness.

When they have come out of the oven and have cooled from boiling hot lava to blister of the mouth serve and enjoy. We like ours topped with  sour cream, more cheese, lettuce, tomato, peppers, salsa, avocado  and meat

chorizo or diced chicken sprinkle on the top.

Feast and enjoy!

Sweet Potato & Bean Enchilada

2 sweet potatoes

2 TBL olive oil

Cumin, smoked paprika, paprika, garlic,  chili  powder, ground cayenne pepper, pinch of salt  and a bit of curry powder

2 cans of beans – your choice drained & rinsed

1 onion chopped

1 pepper of your choice – bell, bell, Anaheim, jalapeno, poblano

1 cup chopped squeezed cooked greens of your choice – spinach, kale, chard whatever you have

3 cups grated cheese – divided into (2) 1 ½ cups mix it up cheddar, mozzarella, jack

Enchilada sauce  (make your own or use store-bought).

Corn & flour tortillas ~ 20

Topping to feast upon out of the oven – sour cream, cheese, salsa, lettuce, tomato, pepper, chorizo ect…

Pre heat your oven to 400 degrees and line a pan with parchment paper or silicon

Dice up the sweet potatoes into bite sized pieces. Drizzle with olive oil and add your spices mixed everything well start with about a teaspoon of each adding more to taste – go ahead and taste your food.

Roast the potatoes in your oven for 20 to 30 minutes the size of your dice will determine how long they need to cook. Let cool in a large bowl appropriate for mixing.

Turn your oven down to 350 deg

Drain and rinse two cans of your favorite kind of beans add to the sweet potatoes one chopped onion, your chopped pepper, your squeezed (trying to get the extra moisture out of the greens so your enchiladas are not soggy) cooked greens. Mix it all into a bowl.

Add grated cheese to taste

Dump about 1/2 cup of your enchilada sauce into the bottom of your oven safe pan and start rolling up your enchiladas   3 to 3/1/2 tablespoons per tortilla.  Tuck the filled enchiladas seam side down snug up to one another and fill your pan. Cover with more sauce and a good sprinkle of cheese.

Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake again at 350 deg. for around 30 to 40 mins, everything is already cooked so you are just warming it all up into a bubbly gooey mess of goodness.

Serve and enjoy with toppings of your choice.

Feast and enjoy!

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Ardha Chandrasana – Half Moon Pose

I love these cookie cutters I had to look long and hard to find their creator

http://www.thekitchn.com/yummy-yoga-yoga-pose-cookie-cu-134081

I love these cookie cutters not just because they are cool (kewl?) but because this is HOW I look – like a gingerbread cookie when I when I do yoga.  I also look like this

Yep… that is right when I do yoga I look like a round bright yellow chicken or a gingerbread cookie.

What I am saying is that I am not your typical yoga student or teacher. I am out of the box and round. I have curves – lots of curves and I am learning to love my curves and to embrace them. If I need a label I am a classic Kapha, overweight and fluffy.  I’ve talked before with doing poses I do not enjoy so today I’m sharing one with you that I love, this pose has to be in my top 10 favorite poses of all times.

Ardha Chandrasana – Half Moon Pose

(are-dah chan-DRAHS-anna) 

ardha = half

candra = glittering, shining, having the brilliancy or hue of light (said of the gods); usually translated as “moon”

Being one of those spiritual and not religious people I’ve had a love affair with the moon sense I was a young child, fascinated with each phase of the moon. I remember vividly the first time my yoga instructor talked our class of beginning students into Ardha Chandrasana – I cannot recall her words but I can recall the sensation – I felt free, open and strong.  I couldn’t understand why others were struggling with balance I felt this sense of peace and grace that I had not felt before in a yoga class.

One of the advantages of being more round of being Kapha is that we are strong and we are stubborn with that when we are healthy  we have balance. Poses that are about strength, balance and core work are where those of us who are Kapha’s can shine.

For me Ardha Chandrasana is not only a hip opener, back stabilizer and core work out it is a chance for my heart to open and shine.

If you have a chance tonight give Ardha Chandrasana a try open your heart feel the love and power of the moon flow through you.

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Cherry White Chocolate Biscuit

Oh lords above I’m in trouble

I have discovered a dangerous new recipe.

Cherry, White Chocolate Biscuits

Cherry, White Chocolate Biscuits

Cherry, White Chocolate Biscuits

There really isn’t too much else to say about this tasty bite of yummy goodness.

Oh I lied I’ve got plenty to say…

When I was prego with eldest daughter we lived in Madison WI, there was a bakery there on State St. that made the most amazing white chocolate chip blueberry muffins. They were moist not to sweet so the blueberry and the white chocolate just added the right touch of sweet to every bite. However being a poor college student at the time I could never afford the full price muffins I would always have to wait for the day old. Well that required an early morning rise – remember college student or that none of the other college students in town wanted a day old blueberry white chocolate chip muffin.

I have been trying for years to find something close to that taste that I remember something to take me back to those good old days of college.

A few weeks ago some wonderful person sent to my inbox a recipe for Sweet Blueberry Biscuits and oh yes they did peak my interest. Sadly just like in my college days, money and time got in the way of my trying the recipe before this morning.

By now I’m guessing that you are wondering how I got from blueberries to cherries. Well that is what I had in the freezer and I was too lazy to go to the store for blueberries. It also helps that I firmly believe in Food not Lawns (strangely most cities do not get upset if you plant fruit trees in your yard but they do if you put a veggie garden in your front yard weird huh?) so we have two lovely sour cherry trees in my front yard that gave me five gallons of cherries this year. I do have a freezer full of cherries.  Knowing that feel free to bounce back to the frozen blueberries if that is what you have in your freezer.

So without further ado the recipe

Cherry White Chocolate Chip Biscuits

Biscuits

2 cups AP flour

1 TBS baking powder

1 ½ tsp salt

3 TBS sugar

1 stick of unsalted butter (cold) cubed

¼ cup greek yogurt

¼ cold milk or butter milk

1 cup sour cherries (still somewhat frozen)

¼ cup white chocolate chips

1 stick salted melted butter

Preheat your oven to 500 degrees

Grease your cast-iron skillet, ah those magical cast-iron skillets you know that a recipe is off to a good start when they use cast-iron. The ordinal recipe called for just frying up a piece of bacon and using that to grease your pan. I wish I could say that I was all self righteous and that we didn’t eat pig bacon in our house but we do, this time though the bacon was frozen in the freezer behind the cherries so I just used cooking oil.

Combined all the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder, sugar) together and then cut in the cold unsalted butter. Cut until butter is small pea sized bits, add yogurt and milk until just blended and then roll out onto a floured board.  Softly kneed your biscuit dough into a disk and then add about half the cherries and white chips gently kneed into the dough flatten again and repeat until dough has a nice mix of the cherries and white chips mixed in as well.

Cut your biscuits and place in prepared pan – I had to use two pans I only have a 10 inch skillet – sometimes sized does matter. 😉 Dec 8th food 010

Bake at 500 degrees for about 6 minutes then remove from the oven drizzle all your melted salted butter over the top and return to the oven for another 6 to 10 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown and done.  Remove from the oven and let cool for another 10 minutes.  While the biscuits are cooling make a simple glaze of 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 tbs vanilla & 2 to 3 TBS of milk your desired level of thickness. After the biscuits have cooled for 10 minutes drizzle with the glaze and enjoy.

 

 

 

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Tales of Kitchen Woes

Most of us who like and who enjoy cooking have stories to tell. I do consider myself a good cook by the way, I enjoy experimenting and trying new recipes. I have a good handle on spices and flavorings, despite some brilliantly tragic youthful experiments (fennel chili anyone? – really I recommend not giving that one a try).  I’m not afraid to view a recipe as a guild-line and substitute ingredients as I need for what I have in the house.  My kids no longer blink twice  and know if we are out of sour cream to look for the plain yogurt.  I’ve also learned when to just give up and order pizza.

There have been a few spectacular failures along this road of learning to cook, one of my favorites Banana Pork

The plan was for me to cook a wonderful meal for my family in the crock pot. So before heading off to work, I got out the crock pot. We had just gotten some beautiful greens – kale and collard as well as sweet potatoes from our CSA. I thought with the Chinese 5 spice pork roast I had in the freezer that would be scrumptious for dinner.  I was very proud of myself as I tossed everything into the crock pot grabbing the brownish blob from the freezer and not looking just dumping it into the pot. With a smile upon my face I headed off to work. Upon arriving home feeling relived because I didn’t have to figure out what to throw together for dinner (smart me!) I did notice that the house smelled just like someone had been baking banana bread.  LOTS of banana bread. I do remember thinking to myself… “hum that’s weird”. So I looked into the pot at a brown mushy mess…

In my rush I had grabbed the bag of frozen bananas not the pork roast. All thought the dish smelled lovely banana peals do not make for good eating.  With out further elaborations on the attempted tasting and faces made it was a pizza night.

Someday I will tell you the story of my first loaf of bread, or of the geranium lemon fish, or the first peach pie I made… someday

 

 

 

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Any idea what this might grow up to be?

Apple Cider Vinegar

 What could this be?  Mystery Guest

Any guesses?

This is my first attempt at making apple cider vinegar

My kitchen is full of fruit flies – that may be a good sign….;-}

Yep… I made apple cider vinegar  I had been pealing apples for pie. They were my amazing CSA organic apples that I almost did not want to peal for pie… but really if you make pie you have to peal your apples. I was looking at the core and peals thinking it was such a shame to just toss them in the compost pile. Then BLAMO! A brilliant idea! Why not try to make my own apple cider vinegar.

It was far too easy! Apples in a jar, splash of real cider , over with water. Then add a bit of lid with cheese cloth. Forget about it for a few weeks – okay maybe a whole month or so and then a bit of kitchen magic and you have cider vinegar.

Oh lords above it is strong but tasty! I could drink it by the glass full with a bit of honey

Slime

Those of you with slime aversions look away

Those of you with aversions to slime – look away for a moment.

I am on my second batch. I strained this batch removing the peals and cores. I transferred about half this jar into a clean quart jar to use as I need. About a cup or so was dumped into a new clean jar  to which I’ve been adding more apple peals and cores keeping them covered with water as well. I have a beautiful new vinegar mother growing on this second batch.

 

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Broccoli Soup

Making Amazing Broccoli Soup

Weather has changed around here – feeling more like winter than fall or even summer. That means its SOUP SEASON. I love making soup! I make so much soup that my family often whines in the winter time that they want something solid to eat not soup. 

I have been looking working on a nice vegan creamy broccoli soup and I think I’ve found one. Thank you Millsap Farms for the inspiration for this soup!

Broccoli Soup

2 TBS Olive Oil

1 Onion chopped

2 Carrots cut in chunks

2 turnips with greens peeled, diced and chopped

3 to 4 cloves of garlic

1 to 3 cups greens (kale, boc choi, swiss chard, spinach cabbage whatever you have on hand that you need to use up)

6 to 8 cups broccoli florets & stems chopped – if you have organic broccoli this is a great way to use up that tougher stem part of your broccoli so nothing goes to waste.

2 starchy potatoes diced – I left the peals on ‘cause I hate peeling potatoes and I resist the urge to put sweet potatoes into the pot. The carrots I think add that touch of sweet to counter the bitter from the broccoli and other greens.

3 cups veggie stock (or less)

Salt & pepper to taste

 In your large soup pot, saute onions, garlic carrots and turnips in olive oil until soft. Add potatoes, and broccoli stems saute a few more moments. Add your stock start will a cup maybe two of your stock you can always add more stock and broccoli florets. Simmer or bring to a boil until potatoes are fork tender.  

 

Using your immersion blender or upright blender process until right consistency for your family, eat and enjoy.

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Did I sneak a tomato into the soup – why yes I did! You can add all the veggies you want but you should avoid large amounts of veg that might over power your broccoli

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All dressed up and no where to go but in my belly

 

 

To take yourself off the vegan path add a good sprinkling of a sharp cheddar cheese and spoon full of greek yoghurt.  

 

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Yoga Pose of the Week – Downward Dog

Downward Dog

(AH-doh MOO-kah shvah-NAHS-anna)

adho = downward
mukha = face
svana = dog

Downward Dog, Adho Mukha Svanassana is a common poses in a yoga class, this may have been one of the first poses that you learned when you started taking yoga classes.  It is a key part to a sun salutation or any flow class. Over a yoga life time you will do many Downward Dog poses. It is both an active and a resting pose – ah that sneaky balance philosophy that always sneaks into any good yoga class.

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From Yoga Journal the benefits of Downward Dog:

Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression

Energizes the body

Stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches, and hands

Strengthens the arms and legs

Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause

Relieves menstrual discomfort when done with head supported

Helps prevent osteoporosis

Improves digestion

Relieves headache, insomnia, back pain, and fatigue

Therapeutic for high blood pressure, asthma, flat feet, sciatica, sinusitis

Contradictions:

Do not do the pose if you have high blood pressure or are more than 37 weeks pregnant, some people will have to modify for hand, wrist or shoulder injury and Carpal tunnel syndrome

I must be honest – I have a strong dislike of Downward Dog. As yoga instructors we have to challenge ourselves to do the poses we do not enjoy just as often as we do the poses we like or find easy. I have yet to find that bliss moment in a yoga class where I’ve found Downward Dog to be restorative or resting. I keep trying … hoping… someday I will find bliss in Down Dog.

Why? Why keep on challenging yourself with poses you don’t enjoy. In part because it’s a challenge but also because it’s this struggle and journey we are on when we start taking yoga. Yoga is about healing yourself and your body. Hidden in our body are areas of tension and stress. When we are in some yoga poses these areas of tension and stress become areas of strong awareness or downright discomfort and pain.

I carry my tensions in my shoulders. So coming into Downward Dog I am very aware of my shoulders. Heals to the floor is not an issue, I have very happy hamstrings. My back loves to stretch and lengthen into the pose. I can pull my belly back to my spine, lift my hips and breathe down the back side of my body. Then I come to my shoulders and everything just falls apart.

This weekend while I was attending the Mindful Eating Workshop I was reminding of the idea that we all carry on our backs a basket of rocks and flowers. During our day as we carry this basket around with us we add to this basket: rocks – comments thoughts ideas that just weigh us down bringing on the negative waves. We also collect flowers comments thoughts ideas that lift our spirits. Yoga can help you weave flowers into your basket so they can remain with you through your life. Downward Dog lets you empty your rocks out of your basket.

It was an aha moment – I need to learn to empty my basket of rocks in downward dog.

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