Friday, November 30, 2012

Contest Winner!

Today is December 1st!  The cookbook giveaway I promised to anyone who joined the Crazy Sexy Following is finally here.  The winner is announced at the end of the video...

Congratulations!  Email me your address and I will send the cookbook your way ASAP.  If you want to be part of the next giveaway join the following on the right side of this page. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hummus & Hummus Pinwheels

Recipe 33 & 34
Cashew Hummus pg. 243
Hummus Pinwheels pg. 136
Cashew Hummus
I went to No Doubt last night.  We took the kids.  It didn't quite turn out like I pictured it in my head!  I envisioned my husband, myself, and my 2 older kids dancing, singing and having a blast.  What I got instead were two very bored children.  It turns of No Doubt was kind of like Fiddler On the Roof was to me.  The kids just stood there, and eventually standing led to sitting.  Even when Gwen Stefani asked all the audience to get up and jump while she rocked out my kids wanted no part of it. I even nudged my teen to jump with me, and he shot me a look like stop embarrassing me!  I would say it was a generational thing, but it wasn't just an age difference.  My son saw one of his friends from school. A girl.  She said No Doubt was one of her most favorite groups.  I guess the moral of the story is either:
"A" Don't push your likes on to your kids,
"B" Accept that embarrassing your kids is occasionally part of parenting.
"C" We should have just gotten a babysitter for all the kids. 

When I was looking through Crazy Sexy Kitchen taking a look at what I had made I realized I hadn't made many lunches.  In fact, yesterday was the first lunch item I had made.  Today I made another lunch recipe.  If yesterday was devoted to kids and their tastes, then today was all about the grown ups.  I started by making a Cashew Hummus.  This was to die for. The red pepper gave it the perfect amount of kick.  I could have sat with a large bowl of this hummus and eaten the whole thing,  making sure to lick the spoon and the sides of the bowl.  Here is what I used so you can lick the bowl too.
I  stopped myself from eating all the hummus and created Hummus Pinwheels.  I am just going to warn you that you are going to want more than one of these.  So make a few pinwheels.  Here is what you will need.
Then put it together like this:
This is one my most favorite things I have made from CSK.  It was absolutely awesome. 
Hummus Pinwheels

I hope you like it as much as I did!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Fruit and Almond Sandwiches & Vanilla Mystic

Recipe 31 & 32
Fruit and Almond Sandwiches pg. 131
Vanilla Mystic Smoothie pg. 90
 Today is devoted to kids, or to the inner kid in you!  I am treating my kids to a bit of fun tonight.  My husband and I are taking them to see No Doubt.  You know the band with Gwen Stefani?  Songs like Spiderwebs, Don't Speak, and It's My Life to name a few.  My parents once took me to the theatre to see shows like Sweeney Todd and Fiddler on the Roof.  I prefer to take my kids to the occasional concert.  I think it is just as culturally enriching.  Not to mention the cardio you get from jumping up and down to awesome songs is so much fun. I was doing a little research on the band, and it seems the band may be vegan.  They pop up on celebrate vegan sites that list the who's who of Hollywood.  Just a little factiod .  I have seen them preform multiple times, and it has always been a great night.  So I am looking forward to it!

Today's menu is sure to be a hit with any kid small or big.  First up I made a Fruit and Almond Sandwich for lunch. 
The recipe calls for date paste.  Not to fear.  Date paste is just softened dates that you add a little water to.  Mash it up and there you have it, date paste!  I soaked my dates in really hot water for a few minutes and they were ready to be pasted.  This sandwich was soooooo much better than the traditional peanut butter and jelly.  See how yummy it looks... Maybe the picture doesn't translate, but I promise you it was superb!
Fruit and Almond Sandwich
Ya know what is the magical ingredient for this sandwich?  Cinnamon!  It made it spectacular!
Since today is all about spoiling our inner child I also made Vanilla Mystic Smoothies.  The recipe says add cashews or coconut meat in the smoothie, but I was feeling a little wild and added them both.   My 4yr old saw it and said, "That looks yummy mommy."  He is a picky eater. To get thumbs up from him is huge! Here is what you need to please your inner child.

Vanilla Mystic
Did you catch the Dinner with Kris last night?  So fun to be a fly on the wall at someone's dinner party! Kinda heavy material though.  I felt like I needed a cocktail after listening to the discussion.  It was all valid and important info but maybe too serious.  Maybe the next one will be a little more upbeat.  I did love her kitchen, very cute!

I am off to my concert. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Roasted Brussel Sprouts & Cabbage Hemp Salad

Recipe 29 & 30
Roasted Brussel Sprouts pg. 208
Cabbage Hemp Salad pg. 155

I just want to say how amazing the universe can be sometimes.  Yesterday when I woke up it was like the universe was picking on me.  As if I was being bullied by the cosmic stars.  Kick the girl when she was down.  My dad had passed away 6 years ago, and it was the anniversary of his passing.  Maybe I was just feeling a little sensitive, but I still think it was one of those days.

Today karma was on my side and it was awesome.  I did a selfless good deed for a friend. (I can't say what because it was selfless, and if I said it would take away the good.)  Literally, right after I did my good deed I got a Facebook shout out from Kris Carr!  Then I went to pick up some Chipotle a few minutes later for dinner, and and they gave me my meal for free because I am a "good customer"! (Yes, I may have a slight addiction to Chipotle) Granted both of these things may seem small, but they came in the course of maybe 20 minutes, and it felt really good.  

I thought today I would share a couple other dishes I prepared on Thanksgiving.  I made Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Pistachios and Cipollini Onions.  I have actually never made or eaten brussel sprouts.  It made it a little difficult to know when they were cooked, or if they were better than average.  My family thought they were very good which made me feel proud of myself!  I don't think I am a huge fan of brussel sprouts.  They were good. I would eat them again, but I would make many other veggies before I made brussel sprouts again.  I think it is an acquired taste.  I know my brother-in-law loves them.  Me, I like them kinda sorta.   Here is what you will need for some Roasted Brussel Sprouts.  It would be a good Christmas Dinner side if brussel sprouts are your thing. 

Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Next I made Cabbage Hemp Salad.  I didn't expect to like this salad so much, but it was really tasty.  My teen ate it up which shocked me.  I think I was afraid the cabbage would taste too over powering, but it didn't.  Not at all.  Besides tasting really delicious, it lasted for multiple nights with the dressing already tossed.  Once lettuce salads are tossed with dressing they are toast.  They would be wilted the next day, but not this cabbage salad.  It was just as good the next day.  Here is how to add a little cabbage to your life.
Cabbage Hemp Salad
Have you joined Crazy Sexy Followers on the right side of this page yet?  I am giving a Crazy Sexy Kitchen cookbook away Dec. 1st.  Don't miss out!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Mango-Raspberry Parfait

Recipe 28 Mango-Raspberry Parfait with Vanilla Creme pg. 103
Mango-Raspberry Parfait with Vanilla Creme
Today is one of those days where lots of little things kept going wrong.  My house heater broke.  Me, out $300 bucks. Ouch! When I went grocery shopping one store was out of serrano chiles so I had to go to another store. Sucks!  My puppy whined a lot, and peed in all the wrong places. Ick! Sigh...  I know things can always get a whole lot worse so I will stop polluting the atmosphere with my junk.  Thanks for listening!  Some days you just have to vent.  Right?

On to better things, I made the most beautiful parfaits.  They were so fun to photograph with all the vibrant colors that filled the glass.  This was the first recipe in Crazy Sexy Kitchen that I can say was sticky sweet.  I had to actually go easy on the vanilla creme.  Me, the person addicted to sugar had to say hold the sweet in a recipe!  Progress! Here are the ingredients for this dessert disguised as breakfast:
This is another recipe where you have to plan ahead a bit because cashews needed to be soaked.  This will soften them so they can become the incredibly sweet vanilla creme.  I also prepared the buckwheat groats the recipe called for.  The groats had to be soaked overnight to germinate.  Truthfully you can save yourself a step and just add your favorite granola.  That way you are one step closer to this great parfait. The recipe makes a lot of vanilla creme that can be used for days.  So plan on having a treat you can feel good about all week.

Gorgeous and Yummy!

I promised I would make the Green Sauce for the Chile Rellanos and here it is!  Still can't believe I didn't turn the page. Duh! Here are the ingredients needed:
The sauce was simple to make.  Wash the ingredients and blend.  This sauce was better than the red.  I am so happy I made it.  The 2 serrano chile peppers made it spicy.  We had the leftover rellenos for dinner and they were just as good the second night. 
The picture shows a pear-pea shoot salad with lemon oil.  I couldn't find pea shoots or sunflower sprouts the recipe called for.  So I used clover spouts.  Here are the ingredients for the Lemon Oil:
Lemon Oil
The Lemon Oil had fresh lemon zest in it and was very good.  It is funny how something so simple can be so delicious.  So many years buying bottled dressing.  It was so unnecessary.  Creating a dressing from scratch is so simple and way better.

With the Green Sauce and Lemon Oil I have now made 30 recipes! Can I have a virtual high five!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Chile Rellenos & Gaucamole

Recipe 26 & 27
Chile Rellenos With Red and Green Sauce pg. 197
Green Chile Guacamole pg. 231
Chile Rellenos
When I first looked through Crazy Sexy Kitchen this recipe had my name on it.   My family loves spicy foods.  I just knew this would be something we would all love.  I would have never anticipated cooking so much with cashews.  Thank goodness we don't have any nut allergies in my family. I know the other day I was complaining a bit about soaking nuts, but for this recipe it is necessary.  It makes the cashews so smooth when blended to make the cashew jalapeno cheese.  Here are most of the many things you will need to add some spice to your life:
Now the reason I say MOST of the ingredients is quite funny. (Not really!) I didn't realize until I started writing this post that the recipe said red and green sauce.  I started to give a snarky comment to my husband that went something like, "Hey they have a typo in this cookbook!"  Then I figured out I am just the goof who failed to turn the page.  Had I turned the page I would have seen a green sauce and a little salad to garnish my chiles with.  Granted the picture in the cookbook had both those things but I just thought they were being fancy with the photogreaphy. So green sauce will be made tomorrow.

The hardest part about the recipe was filling the Anaheim chile peppers.  That part got a little messy, but the filling is so great you won't mind licking your fingers clean!
The recipe gives you the option to use a dehydrator or the oven.  I don't have a dehydrator, so I used my oven.  I baked them longer then the recipe called for and at a higher temperature.
I had extra cashew-jalapeno cheese because I didn't buy enough peppers.  My Whole Foods had a crappy selection of peppers this weekend. Not to worry, I just took out my corn chips and dipped away.  It was awesome!  I am just telling you so you buy 8-10 large peppers when you make it.
I made some Green Chile Guacamole to go with the chile relleno.  It was the perfect topping.  Here is what you will need:
This recipe is a real treat.  I would save this recipe for a weekend to cook because it took awhile to finish.  It was totally worth it, but during the week I don't have as much time to put into a new recipe.  I think now that I have made it, I could whip it together much quicker.   Even so, some meals in my house are considered more special and are "weekend meals." 
We loved it.  Luckily I have a little left over.  I will make the green sauce tomorrow and let you know how it is.  I can't believe I didn't turn the page!  Pretty funny!  Ya know what is funny? Try saying Chile Rellenos 3 times fast...

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Cashew Aioli / Artichoke Aioli

Recipe 24 & 25 Cashew Aioli  pg. 240/Artichoke Aioli pg. 241
1/6 of the way done with Crazy Sexy Kitchen!
Artichoke Aioli
Are you enjoying your holiday weekend?  I am finally feeling recovered from Thanksgiving.  Having everyone over, entertaining and clean up is exhausting. Well worth it most of the time, but I needed time to recuperate to feel like me again.  I made a few great dishes on Thanksgiving from Crazy Sexy Kitchen, and thought I would be able to take care of my family and blog at the same time.  Turns out I wasn't as together as I had hoped.  So a couple of days late but back on track now.

I made Cashew Aioli, which I quickly turned into Artichoke Aioli as one of my appetizers.  I really liked it.  I was a little skeptical of the the cashew base, but turns out who needs sour cream when you have cashews.  It blended up into this creamy dip.  Here are the ingredients needed for your aioli:
My guests loved it.  They went right through it.  I served it with a sliced up baguette of bread.  I do think I preferred eating the aioli right after I made it versus letting it sit and absorb all the spices.  The tarragon may have gotten a bit stronger than I would have preferred.  I made it and then refrigerated it for a couple of hours.  This aioli would compliment so many dishes. Even something as simple as a baked potato!! Yum! I blended up the base recipe, Cashew Aioli.
Then I tossed in the ingredients that turned it into Artichoke Aioli.  As a novice cook I never realized how easy it would be to spruce up a dish with something such as this aioli. I would have been intimidated to try something like this a month ago.  I just thought it would have been more complicated. You really kick up the wow factor by making an easy sauce to compliment your meal.  This took minutes to put together which makes it a hit for me.  The kids liked it too!
Thanksgiving is done, as well as Black Friday.  My brother-in-law actually had to be at work at 4 AM on Black Friday.   I guess he lucked out, it could have been midnight on Thanksgiving.  Next up Christmas! One month...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Going Nuts!

Recipes 21, 22, & 23
Sea Salt & Pepper Almonds pg. 253
Curried Cashews pg. 251
Fiery Pistachios pg. 253

Happy Thanksgiving!  Can you believe the holiday season has officially began? Where did the year go?  As this time of year can make anyone go a little nuts, I thought why not make an appetizer dish filled with a variety of spiced nuts.  Each recipe was quick and easy to prepare.

The recipe asks that you soak your nuts in order for them to soften.  This whole process is a bit confusing to me.  I feel that after I have softened my nuts, I struggle to get them crispy again.  I had this same issue with the pecans. OK, this conversation is sounding very strange.  I think I will need to knock on Chef Chad Sarno's Facebook door for answers here. Can you imagine that Facebook post?  Chef Sarno, why do you soak your nuts?  Maybe if I had a dehydrator I could get them the right  texture easier.  I found that I needed to bake them longer than the recipe calls for.

The end product was delicious.  I know these are going to go fast when my guests arrive.  I added some rosemary to my almonds.  I had tried some almonds from Trader Joe's Grocery with rosemary added and they were so good.   My favorite of the 3 was the Fiery Pistachios.  They were addicting!  Here is what you will need to go a little nuts:
Salt & Pepper Almonds
Curried Cashews
Fiery Pistachios

I just want to say how thankful I am to those of you who have decided to take this Crazy Sexy Kitchen Vegan Julie/Julia  journey with me.  It has been a fun couple of weeks, and I really appreciate those of you who take the time to visit my blog and Facebook pages.  I love reading your comments!  This project wouldn't be the same without you cheering me on.  I hope you have a  VERY Happy Thanksgiving!
My daughter's creation!
Check it out:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pumpkin Bisque

Recipe 20 Pumpkin Bisque pg. 124
Pumpkin Bisque
Have you ever cooked with fresh pumpkin?  I hadn't until today.  The only thing I had ever used a fresh pumpkin for was of course my jack-o-lantern on Halloween.  The thing is, I love pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie, but I always just use canned pumpkin for those recipes.  I must say it was a little challenging peeling the pumpkin. Seriously thought my potato peeler might break, but after I got it prepared it was a piece of cake to cook. The soup is a combination of sweet and spicy.  It had excellent flavor, and the roasted pumpkin seeds brought this dish to life.  Here is what you will need to put this soup on your table:

Once you have boiled the pumpkin, and cooked the onion your soup is virtually ready.  All the ingredients go in the blender and then back to the stove for a few minutes.   
The recipe did call for roasted garlic.  I had never roasted garlic either.  I am telling you cooking isn't anything I was able to brag about until recently.  Julie Powell (Julie/Julia) had it right when she decided to cook her way through Mastering The Art Of French Cooking.  Making your way through a cookbook forces you to try new things, and cook foods you may have never ventured to even taste.  Roasted garlic was so easy to make.  Just cut the top off the whole garlic, place in some tinfoil, drizzle with olive oil and put in the oven.  It takes only 20 minutes and your garlic will fall out of its shell with a slight pinch.
Before roasting
This soup puts a wow factor on your table for Thanksgiving.  Imagine starting your dinner with warm Pumpkin Bisque.  So gourmet!  Kris Carr had this recipe on her website this week so I will attach the link if you are feeling inspired to give it a try...
Your guests will be so impressed!