Thursday, August 29, 2013

Recipe! Corn Risotto

Farm fresh corn is plentiful here in the summer.  We have a farm just up the street that grows the best sweet corn I've ever had.  I freeze it and put it into different recipes but mostly enjoy it straight from the cob.  Tonight I made one of our favorite recipes, Corn Risotto.

Our local paper featured a recipe for corn risotto a couple of years ago when we were enjoying our first summer back in Traverse City.  I modified it slightly to take down the oil content and make it vegan (only needing to cut out the parmesan cheese and replace chicken stock with vegetable broth).  The original recipe calls for sauteing green onions first before adding the rice but I have a few in my house who scoff at onions.  I tell them of their greatness but they don't believe me yet.  They will soon!  So tonight, in order to please everyone, I omitted the green onion (gasp!) but toasted the rice first in olive oil in hopes of adding more flavor.  It worked!  The result was deliciousness without complaining!  I can't complain about that.

I hope you enjoy this as much as we do.

Corn Risotto


1 Tbs olive oil
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
6 cups vegetable broth
3 large ears of corn, kernels removed


In a large saucepan warm the vegetable broth.  In a large non-stick skillet on medium heat add the oil.  Once warmed, add the rice stirring to coat.  Toast the rice until fragrant and slightly toasted, approximately 7 minutes.  Add the warmed broth half a cup at a time, stirring the rice with each addition.  Stir until most of the broth as been incorporated into the rice.  Keep adding the broth in half cup increments, continuing to stir with each addition.  This will take approximately 30 minutes.  It can be tedious but the end result will be worth it!  Once all of the broth has been added add the corn.  Stir to warm and incorporate.  Serve!

Since the original recipe suggested to serve with parmesan I decided that a great substitute was Dreena Burton's Brazil Nut Parmesan.  This recipe comes from her most recent cookbook Let Them Eat Vegan!  Now, most of my relatives and close friends already have a copy of the book so no excuses (!!!) for not trying this one!  It's a very simple recipe and really dresses up pasta, salads, soups, risotto, nearly everywhere you can put parmesan.  Simply delicious.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

New Happenings and a New Look... (eventually)

A lot has been going on around here...

With 3 active boys and a semi-part-time job I have been a busy mama.  We've had a fabulous summer full of sun, beaches, trips, visitors, family, exploring, and lots of cooking to keep us all going.  We are all gearing up for back to school next week and enjoying the last bits of summer vacation...trying to pack in everything we meant to do but haven't yet gotten around to.  I'm hoping the weather holds up this weekend because I have a lot planned:  think baseball games, Lake Michigan sunsets, beach afternoons, park play dates, etc.

On a cooking note I was graciously offered to recipe test for Dreena Burton's fifth cookbook!  I couldn't have been more excited!!  We are currently cooking along and I couldn't be happier with what I'm seeing.  The recipes stay true to her desire to offer healthy, creative, vegan options that are pleasing to both adults and children.  They are whole-foods and plant based and full of flavor but also easy to prepare and have so far been made with ingredients I've had already in my kitchen.  Watch for future posts where I give you a sneak peek into some of the recipes for her upcoming book (due out in 2014-2015).

I love looking at my old pictures of my young boys but am realizing that they're very outdated and it's time for a change.  Change is in the air...

That's all for tonight.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

summer fun and challenge hilights

Summertime, summertime, sum, sum, summertime.  We have been enjoying our summer and I hear we are over half way through with our summer.  Boo!

Here is a short review of what we've been up to the past couple of weeks.  Photos are taken from my iPhone.

Cherry Festival was the first week in July.  The festival kicked off with an airshow.  We found our spot on the beach and stayed most of the day.

The kids played in the water, we had lunch, and watched the airshow. 

We've had hot, sunny days.  With sidewalk chalk in hand I made this town and road on our driveway.

Also as part of the Cherry Festival, the boys ran in their first race, a one mile kids run organized by HGTV's Carter Oosterhouse.  He's a Traverse City native and loves to do things for kids.  There was a parade after the run and we stayed and watched.

We took one morning and walked around the festival.  It was hot, so we didn't stay past lunch.  It was fun to see the sites and eat some cherries.

My brother, Adam is moving to Boston soon.  Since I moved back to MI I've gotten to spend more time with him than I ever have since I left my parent's house.  It's been great having this time to reconnect with him and I'm going to miss him when he's far away again.  He came for a visit one weekend right after we got some outdoor furniture.

We've been enjoying our CSA share this year.  And saying hello to the farm cats.

We live about three minutes from a beach on a small lake.  The past couple of weeks I've taken the boys there before dinner, after dinner, for just an hour, or for 3 hours. 

We took a quick roadtrip to see my brother and to pick up a couple of old console radios.  My Great Grandparents owned them (so my brother says - I don't mean to sound like I don't believe him, I do, it's just that I didn't remember that they did), even purchased them new.  I was happy to take them in.
And we had a fun visit with my brother.  I got to see his house for the first time!

Imagine finding vegan, gluten free food at a restaurant! The tofu was a bit over done, but everything else was good.

My husband was gone over the weekend and the trip downstate followed by lots of outdoor activities made the weekend much better without him here.

Garden goodness:

Yesterday I headed to the beach yet again, only this time I was alone.  I drove to Lake Michigan, laid down my towel and did yoga on the beach while watching the sun set.


Now, onto the food!  My cleanse challenge went great.  In two weeks I lost 4 pounds but gained a lot of insight on my eating habits, eating options, time required to make food, snack options, and what would satisfy my sweet tooth. 

You'll remember that potatoes were on my list of no-no's for my challenge so don't worry, I didn't make this Thai Corn Chowder until after the two weeks were over.

Since buying my ice cream maker attachment I've been making two or more ice creams per week.  Hey, I have five mouths to feed, and it's summertime!

This Raspberry Almond Torte (from Dreena's Let Them Eat Vegan) went great with the Vanilla Bean Banana Coconut ice cream (also from Let Them Eat Vegan).

And since my husband is not a fan of raspberries (what?!) I made a blueberry version for him, equally delicious.

Since my challenge ended I have continued to eat gluten free.  I heard that it takes a while for gluten to completely exit your system.  I've allowed a bit of sugar and oil back into my diet, but not like I was consuming before.  I have found other ways around adding oil and sugar to my foods and am very happy with the methods and the taste of my food.  All in all I think the challenge was a great way to take a better look at how and what I was eating.  Sure, I was eating a relatively healthy, vegan diet before.  But now I am taking it one step further.  I'm happy to continue and make my "challenge" a part of my daily eating habits.

Friday, July 6, 2012

fourth of july recap and beach day :: day 5


 We had a great Fourth of July.  My Mom and niece came over along with some friends.  They have 3 children who are all about the same age as my kids.  Their youngest is a girl and Nickel and her get along well.  It's very cute when we take them along when the Mom and I go to coffee and they have their own conversation.  Usually they are having their own individual conversations, which makes it even cuter.

We cooked on the grill, like thousands of others around the country.  It was HOT so it was nice not having to turn on the oven.  I made some veggie burgers, roasted veggies (I still have turnips!), and this quinoa salad.

It has zucchini, black beans, dry toasted almonds, green onion, and dressed with citrus tahini dressing (yep, from Dreena Burton).  I would have liked to have put something red in there, but didn't have anything!  It was delicious and light but also filling.  We also had homemade ice cream.  I made strawberry and chocolate chocolate chip.  My friend made vanilla with her old-fashioned ice cream maker.

We did fireworks and we had the best ones yet! We spent less than $25 and most of them stayed on the road because of the dry weather  But the fountains we got this year were spectacular!  Sorry, no pictures of the day other than the quinoa.  I was enjoying myself too much to take pictures.


Today we spent the day at the beach with my Mom and niece.  Our favorite beach, North Bar Lake in Empire, MI.

It's wonderful, just a long way to walk to our favorite beach spot.  After parking in the lot we walk along a dirt trail leading to the lake.  We then walk a short bit parallel with the lake along the tree line. 

About midway in the picture above is where we finally make our way down to the water and continue to walk heading around the lake some more (left, as in the picture above).

We continue walking along the lakes edge.  Keep in mind we are lugging along all of our beach paraphernalia (towels, toys, bags of food and drinks, a cooler, umbrella, camping chair, etc.).  We've found that walking in the water and letting the cooler float as we pull it along works the best.  But still...'s a long way around when you're carrying all of that stuff!

But it's worth it.  This spot is perfect for us.  The smaller lake is warmer for the kids to swim and also has a short canal that leads to Lake Michigan.

And the Empire Bluffs never disappoint.



Now, onto my challenge.  I'm doing well.  I'm keeping with my diet but have been having cravings, starting last night.  I seemed especially hungry yesterday, not being fully satisfied after my humungous salad and really wanting something (that I shouldn't have) to eat after the kids went to bed.  Popcorn was calling my name, or cereal with almond milk (no gluten-free, sugar-free cereal on hand) and the last bit of granola wasn't quite enough.  Tonight I'm feeling kind of the same way.  I didn't eat a whole lot at the beach and now I'm feeling hungry, even after I ate a nice-sized portion of leftover Fourth of July dinner (see above).  

My sister's advice would be to drink a big glass of water, because I could be needing the hydration (true, since I spent so much time outside today).  But I think I may pop some corn tonight (air oil) too.  We'll see how I feel after drinking that glass of water.

Does anyone have cravings?  How do you deal with them?  Do you indulge?  I'm curious to gain some additional tips.

Happy weekend!