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Things I Am Loving This Week

Posted Oct 27 2009 12:00am
It's Tuesday and time for the "Things I Am Loving This Week", those (mostly) food related things I am enjoying and want to share. Since we are smack in the middle of fall and Halloween is Saturday, I have a few seasonal treats I'm loving.

First up, Whole Foods had these cute little Boo Chips, little potato chips in the shape of ghosts and bats so fun for a Halloween party. Pringle-like in texture and flavor, I thought they need a festive but healthy dip like a Carrot Hummus to be dunked into.

Hummus is something I love and I thought adding carrots would make it fit the season. Creamy, slightly sweet (in a nice carroty way), it's a good way to sneak some carrots (antioxidants and Vitamin A) into your snack and very good for you when combined with the protein and fiber in the chick peas. Adding in some of the carrot cooking water, to help make it smooth and "dip-able" keeps it lighter than pouring in the olive oil. To make it really healthy, ditch the chips and use it to dip some raw veggies or whole wheat pita.

Carrot Hummus
by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes about 3 cups)

1 1/2 cups carrots, chopped
1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans, rinsed well and drained
1/3 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
juice of 2 lemons
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 clove garlic, chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Cover carrots with water in a small saucepan, bring to a boil then lower heat, cover and simmer until just tender (about 8 minutes). Drain, reserving water and cool. In a food processor combine cooked carrots, garbanzo beans, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin and cayenne. Process gradually adding reserved carrot water until mixture is smooth and the consistency you want. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate for a couple of hours so flavors have time to blend. Serve with assorted dippers like veggies, tortilla chips pita or crackers.

One of my guilty pleasures is the Cinnamon Chip Bread at Great Harvest Bread. It is great on its own, fabulous with almond or peanut butter or even a smashed banana on top and a little slice of heaven toasted with just a tiny bit of butter. (Yes, I love this bread!)

For Halloween they take my favorite bread, add some green food coloring and make these cute/creepy "Witches Fingers". Although I prefer my bread in its natural color and shape, they are certainly fun for the holiday.

And BTW--how can you not love a place that offers to cut you a big chunk of bread to nosh on when you enter the store?!

Finally although it isn't a Halloween treat, I am pretty proud of the Pot Pie I made at my Vegetarian Casseroles class this weekend. I am lucky that our local community college has wonderful classes and some of my favorites are the vegetarian ones taught by Alyssa Moreau.

This is only my second pot pie (Yep, I'm scared of pie crust too!), and although my partner and I worked on the filling together, we did our own crusts. This pot pie is dairy free/vegan and uses cashews blended with water for the creamy sauce and seitan, a wheat gluten that has a texture like shredded chicken for the meat. It has great flavor and texture and with the sage, thyme and poultry seasoning, it tastes of fall. To make it gluten free--switch the seitan to a soy product or omit it and top with mashed potatoes.

Pot Pie
Alyssa Moreau
(Serves about 4)

1 Tbsp oil or margarine like Earth Balance
1 cup onions, chopped
1 cup celery, sliced
1 cup carrots, chopped
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/2 cup raw cashews*
2 1/2 cups water*
1 cup potatoes, cut in small cubes
1 cup lima beans or sliced green beans
1 soy cutlet, cubed or seitan, hand-shredded
1/2 to 1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 cup peas
1 Tbsp fresh parsley. minced

In a large skillet, saute onions, celery and carrots in oil. Add thyme, poultry seasoning and sage. Then the potatoes, beans, and soy cutlet or seitan. In a blender, blend together the cashews and water until creamy (a few minutes), then strain through a fine mesh colander into the vegetable mixture. Add salt and pepper and stir until the sauce starts to thicken. Take off the heat and add the peas and parsley.

1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp oil
4 Tbsp water

Mix crust ingredients together (dry + wet). On floured surface, roll out into circle and top pot pie. Crimp down edges and make a vent in the middle of the pie. Bake 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until crust is nicely browned.

*Note: If you prefer, instead of cashew "milk" you can substitute 2 cups milk & 3 Tbsp flour.

So these are the "Things I Am Loving This Week." How about you? What kinds of things are you enjoying?

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