Roasted Vegetable Brown Rice Bowl with Easy Peanut Sauce

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Every Christmas Eve my family enjoys a fondue feast. It’s a special, beautiful and delicious meal which starts with cheddar fondue with veggies and bread and apples followed by chicken and beef with peanut sauce and creamy horseradish sauce. Dessert puts us over the edge: dark chocolate fondue to coat strawberries, bananas and homemade buttery poundcake. I love fondue not only because it’s so good but because of the laughter and interaction we have as a family. It’s as extravagant as it sounds and we leave the dinner table feeling happy and full.

This is a definitely a special once a year treat, any more than that and we’d all be a little larger. But there’s one thing from the meal that I always crave and love to make at home: peanut sauce. The creaminess, the saltiness, it’s just perfect and so easy to make at home because I usually have all of the ingredients on hand.

Paired with roasted vegetables and brown rice, this is a great lunch. It could easily be made heartier with the addition of chopped grilled chicken or a fried egg right on top.

This week I celebrated the arrival of my first CSA produce box. My friend Lena and I are splitting a weekly box of fresh produce from a local farm, Luckett Farms. It feels really good to be cooking with vegetables that were picked the day I picked them up as well as to support local farmers. Our first box was filled with cabbage, broccoli, carrots, collard greens, sweet potatoes, and raw honey from bees on the farm. The honey is heavenly!

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For this recipe, I roasted some of the broccoli, carrots, and cabbage. The judges on Chopped would probably look down on the way I let my broccoli get slightly burned, but trust me, that dark crispness is where the flavor pops. It really doesn’t taste burnt, just nicely caramelized.

I hope you enjoy!

Roasted Vegetable & Brown Rice Bowls with Easy Peanut Sauce

serves 2

Ingredients:

One head of broccoli, cut into florets
2 carrots, sliced
3 one inch slices of cabbage (cut off of the whole head, keep intact)
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup of brown rice*
2 1/4 cups of water
Handful of chopped peanuts
Cilantro leaves for topping
One lime, cut in half

Peanut sauce:
1/4 cup of peanut butter
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 cup water
1 garlic clove, minced
Squirt of Sriracha

To make:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Bring 2 1/4 cups of water to a boil in a pot on the stove. Add rice and turn heat to low. Cover and cook for 30 minutes until water is dissolved and rice is fluffy. Remove from heat and add 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt to the rice.

While rice is cooking, place sliced carrots, broccoli florets, and sliced pieces of cabbage to a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle 1 Tablespoon of olive oil over vegetables then sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Put veggies in preheated oven and allow to roast for 20 minutes. Halfway through, take a spatula and turn veggies over so they can crisp on all sides. If you don’t want your veggies to have that brown crispness, take them out of the oven after 15 minutes.

For the peanut sauce: in a sauce pan, combine all ingredients over a low heat. Stir slowly until the sauce is combined and warm.

Scoop 1/2 cup of brown rice into a bowl, top with half the veggies, drizzle generously with peanut sauce, top with chopped peanuts and fresh cilantro. Squeeze lime juice on top.

*you’ll definitely have leftover rice. Throw it in a Tupperware in the fridge and use for something else!

Yum!

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Eating with the Armstrongs

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Summer has provided some good eats for us with out-of-town guests, birthday celebrations, and the use of my favorite cooking method: the grill. We have greatly enjoyed all of the following recipes and will be making them again!

Key Lime Meringue Pie

Summer in a dessert. The airy meringue topping made this pie an over-the-top treat! My only change is that I made a graham cracker crust rather than the shortbread crust the recipe calls for. I just can’t get away from the fact that graham cracker crumbs + sugar + butter is the best thing on earth. Find the recipe for it on the back of any graham cracker box.

Dark Chocolate Pie with Almond Crust and Raspberry Compote (Vegan & Gluten Free)

In all honesty, when I hear “vegan and gluten free” for a dessert, the I think: “dry and tasteless” because it’s just hard to believe that the omission of flour, butter, and cream can be a good thing. But much to my delight (and health to my body) that’s actually not true and I’m happy to say that I’ve enjoyed several gluten free desserts lately. This pie is absolutely incredibly rich, smooth, and perfect. I made it for a birthday party and everyone raved. The recipe calls for strawberries, but I used raspberries because they are my favorite thing to pair with dark chocolate. Also, I didn’t have any vanilla, and really didn’t miss it, however, I will include it next time as I know it would only add another layer of flavor. The dark chocolate chips are melted with coconut milk and maple syrup for a creamy pie filling and the toasted almond pie crust is divine. My one other note is that I used the whole can of coconut milk rather than just the cream as the recipe calls for because I didn’t have time to chill it overnight, but the consistency was perfectly creamy. Please make this!

Zesty Lime, Shrimp & Avocado Salad

We made this for the Fourth of July and it is truly all things summery, flavor packed, and tasty. How can you go wrong with lime and avocado? I grilled my shrimp to add an extra note and also added black beans which made the salad less pretty but more filling.

Pineapple Cashew Fried Rice

Definitely a different flavor profile from the typical fried rice and one I gladly welcomed. Cooking the rice in pineapple juice and coconut milk provided a scrumptious sweetness that paired wonderfully with salty soy sauce sprinkled on top.

Greek Meatballs

We really enjoyed this version of meatballs. Rather than using lamb like the recipe calls for, I substituted ground beef. The inclusion of Bulgar wheat adds a nice crunch. I served this with my homemade hummus and a little salad of cucumbers, tomatoes, fresh basil & feta topped with a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Yum!

Yukon Gold & Sweet Mashed Potatoes

My friend Abigail introduced us to these a few months ago, and I’ve made them a couple times since as they are absolutely incredible! The sweet potatoes add a whole new element to the traditional mashed potatoes. They are great as the original recipe goes but I have also substituted sour cream instead of cream cheese with great success as well.

Happy July and Happy Eating!


Eating with the Armstrongs

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First of all, Happy Father’s Day to my amazing dad, father-in-law, my Grandpa & my Papau! We are so thankful for these men who love us, generously support us, and have consistently cared for us for so many years.

When I was little my dad’s specialty was splatter: a combination of fried spam, onions and potatoes. And I have to tell you, it was delicious. He has since learned how to make gourmet omelets and is a grill master, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he brought out his splatter recipe again.  There are so many things I love about my dad. He is the funniest man I know, extremely creative, hard working, and generous. He definitely set the bar high in my mind of the kind of man I wanted to marry. I’m thankful that my husband fits the bill in every way. I love you, Daddy, and am happy to celebrate you today! I wish I could give you a head rub while you watch golf. Love from Baton Rouge!

Here’s what we’ve enjoyed lately!

Creamy Polenta w/ Chicken Sausage & Peppers

Definitely a recent favorite! Polenta is so easy to whip up and makes a delicious base for the sausage and peppers. I actually used a Cajun Sausage that I got from our Farmer’s Market, which added the perfect spice. This meal came together quickly and easily and was thoroughly enjoyed by both of us!

Spring Vegetable Potstickers

Well, I really only made the vegetable filling as I could not find wonton or dumpling wrappers at our local Whole Foods. But the filling was absolutely delicious served atop noodles. I did not use tofu but I did add ground turkey for some protein. The flavors in this recipe are fresh and bright.

Pepper Chicken Nachos

We love nachos, so the substitution of bell peppers for chips was excited to try. The recipe calls for mini peppers, but I just used regular bell peppers. This is another simple and flavor packed meal.

Tropical Chewy Granola Bars

These gluten free granola bars are packed with power-food ingredients and wholesome sweetness. I made quite a few recipe swaps: dried cherries for the dried mango, chocolate chips for the dried banana, pecans for the macadamia nuts, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract for the vanilla bean seeds. Tasty and good-for-you!

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

In the attempt to succeed at a gluten free summer diet, I have made this “pizza crust” twice! The flavor is delicious but I’m still working on getting a crunchier consistency throughout. A major adjustment I made to the recipe was to cook the crust at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes (periodically checking), instead of the 450 degrees the recipe called for. This created a much better crust, but I am going to try an even longer cooking time at a lower temperature. We topped ours with a simple tomato sauce, sausage, basil, spinach (from my garden!) and just a tiny bit of Parmesan. Try it!


Two for One Summer Recipes: Easy Fried Rice & Simple Bean Salad

We’ve been living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for almost three weeks and we absolutely love life here! Cajun food, LSU paraphernalia, a multitude of delicious restaurants, and humidity like none we’ve ever experienced are all part of our daily lives. As you may know, my husband and I along with seven other of our close friends are beginning the adventure of church planting in Baton Rouge. We are sending out monthly updates about our life and ministry here via email; if you’d like to receive these updates, send an email to newlybread @ gmail dot com and I’d be more than happy to add you to our list!

As you might imagine, getting accustomed to our new home has been quite the task, albeit an enjoyable one. We have been busy organizing, cleaning, and setting up our home, spending time with new friends in the city, and exploring. While exploring we’ve found a few treasures here in the city, one being a produce market that is open daily and provides fresh and inexpensive fruits and vegetables.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The combination of moving furniture, hot weather, and humidity does not lend itself to cooking gourmet feasts. I’ve found that whipping up either of the following recipes is easy and tasty. This Easy Fried Rice is a versatile recipe that can be adapted to your personal taste and what you have on hand. Beside the essentials of rice, egg, and soy sauce, the addition of peas, green beans, mushrooms, grated ginger, minced garlic, cilantro, and chicken make this dish filling and delicious. Really whatever vegetables you have at home, fresh or frozen, can be thrown into the mix. I even added white beans to a recent batch which heightened the protein content and melded surprisingly well with the Asian flavors.

The Simple Bean Salad is a light accompaniment to grilled chicken or fish. I’ve also enjoyed it by itself as a light lunch or as a dip for pita or tortilla chips.

Hopefully these recipes will help you enjoy cooking in the summer!

Easy Fried Rice

Adapted from Every Day with Rachel Ray

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3-4 eggs, beaten
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • one clove garlic, minced
  • 1 can  (15.5 oz.) white beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen peas and carrots mix, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

To make:

  1. In a small saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, cover the rice with water and stir until the water becomes cloudy; drain and repeat twice. Return the rice to the saucepan, add 1 cup cold water, cover and cook over medium-low heat until the water has been absorbed and the rice is cooked, about 25 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and saute for just one minute. Add the eggs, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until set and just dry, about 1 minute. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool; coarsely chop.
  3. In the same skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add the scallion whites and bell pepper and cook until crisp-tender, about 1 minute; season with salt and pepper. Add the beans and peas-carrots mix and cook until heated through; transfer to a large bowl.
  4. In the same skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Stir in the cooked rice. Spread into a single layer and cook, undisturbed, until the rice forms a crust, about 3 minutes. Break up the rice and sprinkle with the soy sauce. Stir in the scallion greens, cilantro, bean mixture and eggs and cook until heated through.

Simple Bean Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 15-oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15-oz can black eyed peas
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped fine
  • 1 cup fresh, finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

To make:

Adapted from Simply Recipes

1 In a large bowl, mix the beans, celery, onion, parsley and rosemary.

2 In a separate small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add the dressing to the beans. Toss to coat.

3 Chill beans in the refrigerator for several hours, to allow the beans to soak up the flavor of the dressing.