Da Bee's Knees

Food, Faith and Family

April 25, 2021
Jalanda B

1 comment

Butter Cookies, Berries and Pizza

How’s it going, you ask? Why… thank you for asking! As the end of the school year looms, it’s going about as well as expected. Translation: Hang on! It’s gonna be wild!

I also began pushing more on exploring baking and cooking for home and others. I decided to focus on creating and stretching in my creative play in the kitchen. As I deal with both work stress and concern for a dear one that is battling for her life, I need a positive distraction.

Lately, I’ve been putting in time baking. Baking is not my comfort zone. I feel that I’m far more confident and accomplished cooking. But there is something that just draws me with the slow, measured and meticulous process that is baking. I’ve had some astonishing successes. I’m not sure how, as I’ve been distracted. But the Zen of baking grounds me.

First up: I was asked to bake a Keto Cheesecake for a friend and his wife. I was upfront and disclosed that I’d never done such a request. Yet, somehow I hit a home run! His positive review sent another request my way for a Gluten Free Cheesecake. That was also fun and successful.

There were scones and black bottomed cupcakes and Chicago Butter Cookies! I discovered the recipe about 6 years ago. I love these cookies. This weekend, a real Chicagoan gave them her stamp of approval!

Finally, this weekend I tried my hand at homemade pizza. It looked good. But it was not good. It was slightly less than mediocre. Why would I share this? Because we all miss the mark sometimes. It’s okay. It’s not the end of the world. Sometimes we eat mediocre pizza.

I know that I am a creator. I thrive in creating with different flavors, textures and colors. But really, the Greatest Creator of them all makes me smile the biggest with His gorgeous flavors, textures and colors.

Be well,

Jalanda

March 26, 2021
Jalanda B

no comments

Flexitarianism: More not Less

I have been asked many times to explain what on earth it means to be a Flexitarian. The best that I can come up with is that being a Flexi means that I eat more things, not less.

Really, that is the simple truth of the matter. The key however, is which things I eat more of, with the result being that I naturally eat less of other things as a consequence. (Note: the focus is not on less! It’s more of the really, really GOOD stuff) We put foods in two categories: plant based or not. That’s it.

Looking back over the years, I can see how my food choices have evolved. I have to say, it’s been a very gradual and pleasant reconstruct of my idea of feeding my physical body what it needs, deliciously. Most often I need nuts and whole grains, greens and legumes and lots of whole fruit. Sometimes, I need dairy and poultry or fish. And every once and again I need beef. I even rarely need pork. (C’mon… BACON)

I’d say the largest portion of what we consume in our home is “living colors”. We eat colorfully with abandon. What is not naturally colorful, is often infused with plant foods (grains, nuts, veggies and fruits) We don’t do this to hide the plant foods. We find that it makes the resulting dish BETTER TASTING, more filling and decidedly more nutritious.

So yes, we are predominantly Plant-Based. But we eat a much larger variety of foods by being 80/20 Flexis. (80 percent or more plant based diet) The natural result of eating this way, is that our tastes have also evolved. We prefer plant based food items more and more. The way that foods taste, and how we feel drives our food choices.

It’s my hope that you will better understand what you are seeing when I post dishes that do or don’t have animal products or dairy. It’s not either/or. It’s more. Always more.

Be well,

Jalanda

March 6, 2021
Jalanda B

2 comments

Soup for the Soul

We love soup. It does not matter the date on the calendar or the weather outside. Soup is one of our go-to meals. It is a one bowl solution to hunger, cravings for home made taste, health booster and a great vehicle for plant based eating. It also happens that soup is one of the more comforting foods that you can eat, even when your appetite is not robust.

I want to share a quick method that I use, changing up ingredients to put soup in our bowls and bellies in a jiffy. I find that a mixture of fresh produce, pantry items and seasonings are the way to a soup that tastes like it simmered all day. Here’s what you need:

Seasonings:

1 Tbsp. Onion Powder

1 Tbsp. Garlic Powder

1 Tsp. Ground Black Pepper

1 Tsp. Ground Coriander

1/8 Tsp. Red Pepper Flakes (optional)

3 Tablespoons Knorr Bouillon (I used Tomato/Chicken)

Salt to taste (if needed)

Fresh Produce:

3 Ribs of Celery, diced

4 Carrots, scrubbed and chopped

1 Yellow Squash, Diced

1 Onion, Diced

1 Sweet Bell Pepper, dice (any color but green)

2 Cups diced Butternut Squash (I bought pre-packaged in the produce aisle)

2 cloves of garlic minced

1 large potato, diced

Pantry Items:

3 Tablespoons Grapeseed Oil

1 Jar (15.5 ounces) Marina Sauce

32 Ounces of Vegetable Stock

1 Can Diced Tomatoes, No Salt Added

1 Can of Green Beans, drained and rinsed

1 Can of Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed

Method:

Place pot over heat and add oil. Add chopped fresh vegetables (except potato) and garlic. Saute until they begin to soften. Add seasonings on top. Stir and continue to cook for about five minutes more.

Add marinara, and rinsed and drained beans. Add stock. Add diced tomatoes.

Cook on medium for 1.5 hours. Add potato and cook 30 minutes more.

Check for salt.

Serve.

And… that’s it! You can switch up the ingredients. But really, all you need is a good mixture of fresh produce, pantry items and spices. The sky is the limit!

Please let me know if you try my method.

Be well,

Jalanda

February 18, 2021
Jalanda B

2 comments

Creating Delicious Menus that Support Health

Stuffed Sweet Red Bell Peppers and Green Beans and Cherry Tomatoes

Cooking is for me: creativity, fun, a responsibility and a calling.

I started out simply wanting to prepare tasty dishes to make people that I love happy. Now, more thought often has to go into the process of creating a meal for someone that I love. I believe that my interest in cooking early in my adult life that continues even today is one of my callings in this lifetime. I don’t know that I ever realized that until recently. God really does give you what you need to complete the tasks He sets before you.

I did not know that in various seasons in my life I would need to cook for family and friends that wanted or needed to lose weight or gain weight. I did not know that I would need to learn how to feed myself to feel better and to be healthier in order to live with less pain and medical interventions, even hospitalizations. I did not know that twice I would be called to create enticing, nutrient dense dishes to support a loved one battling a formidable medical adversary to live.

I did not know that I would be called to assist in bringing “color” and variety to colorless and over-processed traditional Southern Black meat centric diets to support longevity and recuperation from surgeries. Lastly, I certainly did not know that I would marry someone that like myself has unique dietary needs and tastes with young children with severe food allergies when I was fifty years old.

Yet, all of these things were and are true.

I will begin to regularly share dishes that have served loved ones and myself well as we eat to live. I use creativity and research to cook and assemble meals that meet our health needs and taste preferences. Ultimately, I add my gift of flavor building, food pairings and creativity to bring smiles and contentment to myself and others. Beautiful plates filled with appealing, health supporting foods are the end goal.

In no way am I a dietician or dietary professional. What I am is this: a person blessed with an interest and gift to create nourishing and delicious food/fuel for the bodies that our souls temporarily occupy. This works for us. Your mileage may vary. (smile) It is my hope that this series will inspire you to create foods that people in your sphere need and will want…. and ENJOY.

We eat the foods that we choose because they are delicious and we want to fully live!

Be well,

Jalanda

November 2, 2020
Jalanda B

2 comments

Butternut Squash and Black Bean Soup

A little over ten years ago while living next door to my sister in Florida, we began to broaden the depth and breadth of vegetables that we served our family. We grew up in a typical middle class American family and ate our share of obligatory canned corn, peas and green beans. Fresh vegetables were various greens and very simple salads (think iceberg lettuce, cucumber and tomato). We also ate “crook-neck” yellow squash. Outside of that squash. Pumpkin pie wasn’t even on our plates. Sweet potato pie reigned.

We were well loved and well fed. But not exposed to many different plant based foods. We saw them while shopping. We also found them to be mysterious and bewildering. However as adults and burgeoning foodies, curiosity began to nag. And then we began to explore.

In the last two years, I have discovered butternut squash. Yes, I am late to the party. But I now adore it. This soup is stupendously good, and easy. I do hope you will try it. If you do, drop a comment.

Ingredients for the Soup

1/4 medium sized pre-roasted butternut squash (use the gourd end)

1 26.5 oz. can of black beans, rinsed well

2 Tbsp Sundried Tomato packed in oil

1 Tbsp. Avocado oil

1 medium white onion, chopped finely

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 stalk of celery, minced

1/2 tsp. smoked paprika

1 1/2 tsp. cumin (comino)

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1 bay leaf

4 cups of chicken stock (you could use vegetable stock, if preferred)

Kosher salt to taste

Ingredients for the roasted squash topping

1/4 pre-roasted butternut squash, cubed (use the “arm” end)

1/2 tsp. Cinnamon

1/4 tsp. Cumin

1/4 Smoked Paprika

Spray Avocado Oil

Kosher Salt

Ingredients for Lime Crema

1/2 cup sour cream

Juice from one fresh lime

Kosher salt to taste

Extra: fresh cilantro, sliced green onion

Method:

In a large soup pot, add the sundried tomatoes in oil (yes, you want the flavorful oil) and avocado oil. Add celery, onion and garlic and saute until slightly golden. Add the cinnamon, cumin, smoked paprika and black pepper. Continue to saute until aromatic.

Add the bay leaf, rinsed beans, stock and salt. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Discard the bay leaf. Carefully remove 3/4 of the soup and place in a blender. Add the butternut squash and blend until smooth. Return mixture to pot. Stir. Taste and adjust seasoning, and turn down to low and cover.

Next, make the squash cubes. Cube the squash and place on a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray. Sprinkle with the cinnamon, cumin and smoked paprika. Spray with avocado oil. Salt to taste. Roast in a high oven at 450 until carmelized.

Mix the ingredients for the crema in a small bowl and set aside.

To serve, ladle soup into bowls, add lime crema, roasted squash cubes and if desired, cilantro and green onions.

Serve with tortilla chips.

Be well,

Jalanda

September 10, 2020
Jalanda B

no comments

Taco Love

I love tacos. Let me say that right up front. I love tacos. It is always a good day, good time to eat tacos. That’s my point of view. You cannot change my mind.

I love fajita tacos, breakfast tacos, street tacos, ground beef tacos, chicken tacos, fish tacos… I think you get it… I am totally down with taco runs.

Tacos are easy to get on the table in a hurry. And that is just one more thing to make you love them, too. Things are topsy turvy in 2020, and like many folks: I work at home. I’m blessed to say that. So many do not have that option. I was able to take a twenty minute break and get these delicious, luscious and spicy tacos on the table.

Oh…. I forgot to tell you: They are Vegan.

Don’t run away!!! You will not find any soy, tempeh or tofu in these tacos. The filling is 100% from scratch and whole food, plant based. It’s also insanely delicious.

Let’s get started on what you will need:

Ingredients:

1 Cup Raw Almonds (Do not use roasted)

1/4 Cup roasted, unsalted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

1/4 cup Hemp Seed Hearts

5 medium portabella mushrooms, chopped

Grapeseed Oil (about 1/8 cup to 1/4 cup)

3 Cloves of Garlic, minced

1/2 small onion, chopped finely

1 Tablespoon Onion Powder

1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder

1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper

1/2 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika

2 Teaspoons Ground Comino

2 Tablespoons Chili Powder

Salt to Taste ( I used about a scant 1/2 tsp)

1/4 cup water

Prepared Tortillas of your Choice

Taco Toppings (We had chopped fresh spinach, salsa and fresh tomatoes for the vegan option. There was cheese and sour cream available for those that wanted vegetarian)

Method:

Place almonds, pepitas and hemp seed hearts into food processor bowl. Process until crumbly. Add chopped mushrooms and process again until clumps begin to form and mixture looks “meaty”.

Place contents of processor bowl into skillet prepared with grapeseed oil and cook over medium heat. Do not stir immediately. Add right on top all of the spices and the chopped onion and minced garlic.

Stir and cook until mixture begins to brown. (Browning is FLAVOR TOWN) Once you see some browned bits, add the water and turn the heat up to evaporate the water. Stir frequently to avoid sticking and burning.

(Our home is Flexitarian. Foreground is vegan taco filling cooking. Background is beef filling for the teen omnivore.)

Taste for seasoning. Adjust as preferred.

Fill tortillas with taco filling and add choices of toppings.

Makes enough for six generous tacos. I chose to have mine on flour tortillas with cheese and sour cream. Lush!

Be well,

Jalanda

July 15, 2020
Jalanda B

1 comment

Carrot Mango Salad

This crazy life, right?

Let’s just say that current events local, national and worldwide have put a serious strain on everyone. While I relentlessly serve up fresh foods, I admit that more often, lately food has been brought in on days when the world is just too serious to bear.

I try to compromise.

I will prepare side dishes to round out meals that are otherwise “less than clean nutritiously”. I admit to meeting the low standard of “at least SOMETHING fresh and living daily”. Today is a win. There were fresh, juicy black plums at breakfast. This salad will boost the fresh food intake for the day.

Tonight we are having chicken sandwiches and fries from a local take out. But along side, we will enjoy this delicious and healthy Carrot Mango Salad. Bonus: If you have a food processor, it comes together quicker than the teen student driver and her Dad can get back with the hot food.

Ingredients:

1 Large Ripe Mango

3 Large Carrots, scrubbed

1 Large Granny Smith Apple, washed and unpeeled

Juice of 2 Large Limes (zest one into salad bowl, before juicing)

1/4 inch of microplaned fresh ginger (Omit, if you are spice sensitive)

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/2 Tsp. Kosher Salt

1 Tablespoon of Avocado Oil

1/4 Cup of Raw Honey (or Agave Syrup)

1 Teaspoon Yellowbird Serrano Sauce (optional)

Method:

Begin by zesting and juicing limes into salad bowl. Microblade ginger into juice and zest. Add cranberries. Set aside.

Remove blades from the processor bowl and the insert grate plate.

Cut and core apple into pieces to fit mouth of food processor feed tube. Process apple. Remove shredded apple to salad bowl and mix will with lime juice mixture to prevent browning.

Scrub and cut carrots into pieces to fit mouth of food processor feed tube. Process carrots. Remove shredded carrots to salad bowl.

Remove grate plate from the processor bowl.

Cut mango, by slicing “cheeks” from around the large seed. Save one large cheek for the dressing.

Cut one mango cheek into small dice and add to salad bowl. Mix well.

Replace food processor blades in processor bowl.

To processor bowl add, mango flesh from around mango seed and flesh from the reserved cheek of mango, honey, kosher salt, avocado oil and Yellowbird Serrano Sauce. Discard mango seed.

Process until silky smooth. Check for seasoning. You are looking for sweet with a touch of salt and warmth from the ginger and Yellow Bird sauce. Adjust to taste. (Warning: the family thought that I went overboard with the ginger. So, I have adjusted the amount above to reflect that)

Add processed dressing to the salad bowl and mix very well.

Refrigerate 15 to 30 minutes.

Serves 4 (as a side dish)

Be well,

Jalanda

April 17, 2020
Jalanda B

no comments

BBQ Cauliflower “Wingz”

Last week my husband and I visited a local direct produce company for the first time. We purchased sight unseen one box of fruit and one box of vegetables. We had no idea what was inside. And to be honest, I was excited about that! It was a foodie adventure!

The vegetable box held three heads of romaine lettuce, a punnet of cherry tomatoes, various squashes, carrots, cucumbers, sweet peppers and a huge head of fresh cauliflower. The operative word is: HUGE.

Early on in the week, I incorporated half of the head of cauliflower into a mixed veggie stir fry. For the rest of the week, every time I’d open the fridge I stare dolefully at the cauliflower. I’d heard of people making cauliflower wingz and decided that I had nothing to lose!

The wings I had seen online usually were “Buffalo Wingz”. Being Texan, I decided to try a little something different. BBQ! I was not unhappy.

I’m happy to say that the recipe that I came up with is relatively simple with ingredients that you likely have in your kitchen. To my mind, the recipe came out so great, because the cauliflower was a few days “old” and long in tooth. So, some of the natural moisture was already evaporating. The resulting texture of the wingz was meaty. Simply astounding!

I used simple spices and the flour and oil that I had on hand. Feel free to substitute your flour type and oils. I used Garbanzo Flour and Avocado Oil. Any type would work.

Ingredients:

1/2 Head of Large Cauliflower (I had about 3 cups of wingz)

3 Tablespoons of Avocado Oil

1/4 Cup Water

1 Tbsp. Smoked Paprika

1 Tsp. Onion Powder

1 Tsp. Garlic Powder

1/2 Tsp. Black Pepper

1 Tsp. Kosher Salt

2 Tbsp. Garbanzo Flour

3/4 cup. packaged bread crumbs (I used plain Progresso)

Non-stick Spray

Prepared BBQ sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray’s)

Let’s get started, first you need cauliflower. Break and cut it into hearty chunks that resemble the size of chicken wings. While you are doing this, preheat your oven to 450 degrees. You want a hot oven.

In a small bowl, I combined the oil, water and spices to mix. Then I added the flour to make a slurry. I added the cauliflower to a large food storage bag and added the slurry and mixed well. The idea was to get the slurry all over the cauliflower pieces.

Next, add packaged bread crumbs to the bag and shake to coat. Place the cauliflower pieces on a baking sheet that you have sprayed liberally with non-stick spray and bake. You will bake these for quite a long time, but in increments.

First bake for 15 minutes, then turn and replace in oven. Bake again for another 15 minutes. (30 minutes, thus far)

Next, turn cauliflower again and coat with BBQ Sauce. Then return to the oven for fifteen minutes. Remove and turn one last time and add more BBQ Sauce.

Now, here’s the tricky part: Broil for a few minutes, watching carefully that it does not burn. You want a good, sticky and caramelized result. This takes less than five minutes. If your broiler is particularly hot, these can burn quickly. So be vigilant!

Remove from oven and let wingz rest for about five minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Please let me know if you make these! I’m dying to hear if you and yours liked it as much as we did!

Be well,

Jalanda

March 25, 2020
Jalanda B

no comments

A Plant-Based Happy Surprise

As a Flexitarian household, we strive for our daily food choices to be at a minimum of eighty percent plant based. Do we always meet that goal? No. But, there are many days that we surpass that goal. There are days when our appetites intuitively guide us towards plant based choices that at times are completely vegan.

Veganism isn’t our household goal. In fact, vegetarianism isn’t our goal. Our one and only goal is to eat plant based foods primarily to feel better… our best. However, occassionally animal products (meats, dairy, etc.) will be our choice. And that is just fine.

Last year, I tried the Impossible Burger while dining out. I tried it at a local high end burger bar called Hopdoddy. It was just okay. Which I found surprising. But I was encouraged and determined to try it again. The occassion to try it again was surprisingly in a local grocery store’s café. The H-E-B Café Mueller was a favorite stop for a delicious burger. My favorite? Yup, the Impossible Burger. Alas, they have closed down indefinitely.

One day my foodie curiousity led me to a plant-based happy surprise. While shopping on H-E-B Curbside, I spotted the Beyond Beef ®. I quickly added it to my online cart and began to think of ways to prepare it for our home.

I came up with these flavorful “Asian Flavored Beeph Burgers”. The flavor was amazing and the Beyond Beef ® product was used just as one would customarily use ground beef. I noticed a tangy smell from the raw product, but not off-putting. To put that in perspective, raw ground beef has a iron-y, musky smell… but not off-putting. I mention this, only so that should you decide to try this yummy recipe (and you SHOULD) that you won’t be caught off guard.

I cooked my burgers for the time listed on the package and added flavors that our household enjoys. If you have a cast-iron skillet, now is the time to use it. These were sooooo good and, dare I say? Meaty.

Which brings us back to the surprise. Everything on our plates for this meal was plant based. Everything. Plant based and gluten free. And… DELIGHTFULLY DELICIOUS. I hope you will give this product a try. (I received no financial incentive for this post) If you do, let me know what you think! My method is below.

Asian Flavored Beeph Burgers

You will need:

1 Lb. Beyond Beef Plant-Based Ground

1/2 small white onion, diced

1 thumb of fresh ginger, peeled and minced

3 cloves of garlic minced

1 Tbsp. Sesame Oil

2 Tbsp. Kikkoman Gluten Free Sweet Soy Sauce

1 Tbsp. Trader Joes Everything But the Bagel Seasoning

1/2 tsp. Ground Black Pepper

1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt

1/4 c. Grapeseed Oil (for frying)

Method:

In a medium sized bowl, add all of the above ingredients, except the grapeseed oil. Mix well for uniformity. Divide mixture into four patties for 1/4 pound servings.

Fry on medium in cast-iron skillet. Turn when deeply caramelized. Cook other side for recommended time on package.

Let rest 3 minutes before serving. We enjoyed ours with brown rice and some leftover stir-fried vegetables from earlier in the week.

Be well,

Jalanda

March 16, 2020
Jalanda B

no comments

Carrot Cake Pancakes with Cashew Cream and Maple Syrup

Are there desserts that you can never turn down when offered? There are a few for me: New York Cheesecake, Pecan Pie, Homemade Pound Cake and CARROT CAKE!

Likewise, are there breakfast items that you are powerless to resist? Again, I have a few: Belgian Waffles, well toasted Everything Bagel and cream cheese, a loaded vegetable frittata and PANCAKES!

It was only a matter of time before my love for pancakes and carrot cake were combined in a manner for me to enjoy them both at the same time. That time was last week. I had a hankering for pancakes, something dense with nutrients and delightfully yummy. These cakes hit the jackpot. I hope that you will give them a try. I used cashew cream that I had made a day before in the batter. (You could substitute Greek Yogurt if you avoid nuts or do not want to make the cream) Trust me… make the cashew cream.

My Cosy Breakfast

Let’s get started. For carrot cake pancakes, we need CARROTS. Please take the time to hand shred your carrots. It is just a few extra minutes. But it makes all of the difference. Using a food processor to shred carrots results in “cut” shreds that do have not rough edges for batter to stick. Also, the cut shreds are thicker and take longer to cook than the cakes on the griddle. Not good eats!

Beautiful shredded carrots. (Finely shred by hand)

If you look closely, you will see the rough texture on the fine shreds. You want that. I also shredded these carrots using the fine shred side of my hand shredder. It took less than two minutes. I managed not to shred my fingertips. So, WIN!

Method:

You will need:

1.5 cups AP flour

1 Teaspoon Cinnamon

1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg

1/4 Teaspoon Ginger

Pinch of cloves

2 Tablespoons of Turbinado Sugar

2 Teaspoons Baking Powder

2 Tablespoons Hempseed Hearts

1/2 Teaspoon kosher salt

2 Medium Carrots, finely shredded

3/4 cup of prepared Cashew Cream

2 Tablespoons of Avocado Oil (or grapeseed, or whatever you use)

1 Large Egg or Egg substitute

Cashew Cream

Splash of Almond Milk, if too thick (or any other plant milk)

Chopped Almonds, optional

The method for these pancakes follow the typical assembly for pancakes and quick breads. Dry ingredients are mixed in one bowl. Wet ingredients are mixed in a second bowl. Then, the wet ingredients are quickly incorportated into the dry ingredients with minimal mixing to avoid toughening. (We aren’t looking to develop the gluten). It will be a stiff batter. That is fine. You want that.

Let stand while your griddle heats up. I cook these on a medium setting.

Cook each cake until bubbles begin to burst on the surface. Flip carefully and cook until cooked through. Keep cakes warm in a covered dish while you cook the remaining cakes.

To serve, spoon Cashew Cream between cakes and on top. I like to add chopped almonds for texture and flavor. Maple syrup is delicious, but not necessary.

These didn’t last long…

Be Well,

Jalanda