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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Cooking for a Crowd: A Whole Lot of Food for a Whole Lot of People

We had a superbowl party this year. I'm not into all this sports stuff like my husband is but I enjoy the planning and cooking and showing off part. I would be a poor blogger if I wasn't a bit of a show off. So here is our awesome feast complete with recipes in case you wan to make your own. Everything pictured is vegan except the hot dogs, it was my husbands party and he wanted a meat thing. Everything was also nut free

The Main Attraction: The Chili

I don't know where I got this recipe from as I have had it a very long time. It's evolved a bit from the original so I am going to post it here. This is a big recipe, it fed 15 people and there were left overs so be warned.

What You Need:

  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large can of tomato juice
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 vegetable bullion cube
  • 3 diced potatoes 
  • 1 chopped onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 pepper chopped
  • 2-4 tbsp of chili powder (start with 2 tbsp)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/8 tsp ground cayenne
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste
What To Do: 
  1. Put everything in a really big pot. Start with 2 tbps of chili powder, you can add more later if it is not spicy enough. Make sure the bullion cube dissolves, it is sometimes easier to add this after the whole mix is boiling. Bring to boil on high heat then simmer until everything is cooked. This can take an hour or two. The lentils should be tender and the onions translucent. Add more chili powder at the end if necessary. 
  2. You can make this the day before and let the flavors mingle in the fridge overnight. Then you simply warm it up the next day and it is extra good. 
  3. Serve with bread or nachos or both. 

Spiced Toasted Pita Chips

Pictured to the left of the chili.These are from the Oh She Glows Cookbook on page 91. I could not find the recipe on her website but I did find it here. I multiplied the recipe by 3 to make enough pita chips for the party. I modified the recipe slightly. I mixed the spices with the oil, brushed the mix on to the top and bottom of each pita then stacked them up and cut the whole lot into wedges. That is a lot easier than brushing each piece individually.

Serve with Salsa, Guacamole and Pico de Gallo

Easy Guacamole

What You Need:

  • 3 avocados
  • 1 lime or 2 tbsp lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp minced cilantro
What To Do:
  1. Remove the avocado flesh from the skin and pit. Place it in a bowl. 
  2. Squeeze juice from a lime into the bowl catching the seeds or just add 2 tbsp of lime juice. Mash avocado and lime juice together with a potato masher. 
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste, Mix in cilantro. 

Pico de Gallo

Pico de Gallo is amazing. It is pictured above between the guac and the pita chips. It is best to make it the night before to let the flavours mingle over night. Leaving the onion in the acidic lime juice will dull it's sharpness.

What You Need:

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 a sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, diced really small. If you don't like it hot, remove the seeds. 
  • 4 tbsp lime juice (or 2 limes worth of juice)
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
What To Do: 
  1. Mix everything in a bowl or container. Leave in the fridge covered overnight. Serve cold the next day. 

The Cakes

I have been using this cake recipe forever. It is fantastic, economical and can be found here. A friend of mine figured out that the recipe is one used during the depression when eggs and dairy were hard to come by. The recipe makes only one layer so I double it up to make two. I bought the icing from the grocery store because there was too much to do to make it from scratch.

To make a football shaped cake, you just have to cut a sliver out of the middle and push the two sides together. I iced the sliver to make a second cake.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Marvelously Comforting and Creamy Mushroom Soup

This is a great soup for the winter and it has been extra wintery this week with the ice storm and then the snow this week. Both husband and child approved. I don't think it is filling enough to count as an entire meal on it's own but pairs well with a fresh bred or grainy toast. Makes a little more than 2 servings.

What You Need:

  • a pack of cremini mushrooms, sliced or chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 bay leafs
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 a sweet onion, minced or chopped all small like
  • 1 vegetable bullion cube with no monosodium glutamate, check the ingredients :) 
  • 1 tbsp of flour
  • 2 cups of soy milk
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 tsp salt, pepper to taste
  • optional: 1 tbsp of cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp of water

    What To Do:
    1. Add olive oil, mushrooms and onion to a regular sized pot on medium heat. Fry while stirring until the mushrooms look cooked and the onion translucent, taking care not to burn the onion.
    2. Add bay leaf and thyme. Add bullion cube, and squish it up with the back of the spoon to help it dissolve when the water is added. Add the flour and stir the whole thing well. 
    3. Add soy milk and water, bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper. If the soup thickens to your liking, you are done. If not, mix the cornstarch with the water then add to the soup while stirring to thicken it up. Enjoy your awesome soup :)