Thursday, November 21, 2013

Pumpkin Pie Power Smoothie

If you didn't know this by now, I start every day with a protein smoothie. It's my favorite way to wake up and get energized! Pumpkin season is a treat every year and I couldn't help but come up with a new twist on my usual smoothie.

Pumpkin Pie Power Smoothie
By Caroline Mac

Serves 1

1 banana, frozen and broken into pieces
1/4  an avocado
1/4 c pumpkin puree
1/3 c brewed coffee (I've been using Starbucks' Thanksgiving blend)
1/3 c unsweetened almond milk
1 scoop RAW Vanilla Spiced Chai protein powder
Cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice, to taste

Puree all ingredients in a blender until smooth and creamy. Pour into a glass and top with a sprinkling of cinnamon.



Saturday, October 12, 2013

Spiralized Raw Veggie Salad

I recently acquired my new favorite kitchen tool… A Spiralizer! This slicer turns a zucchini, beet, potato or any other veggie into long, noodle-like spirals, giving you a new way to prepare and present food. There are other blades that came with the contraption, but I’ve yet to try them out. In this tasty raw recipe, all of the vegetables have been put through the basic spiral blade. If you want one of these for yourself, check out the Paderno Spiralizer, which is the model I purchased.
Raw Spiral Salad
By Caroline MacDonald
Serves 5-6 as a side dish
Spiral Veggies-
2 large zucchini
2 large carrots, peeled
2 beets, scrubbed and peeled

1/2 c lemon juice
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
2 T balsamic vinegar
1/4 t cayenne pepper
lots of lemon pepper, to taste

Step 1: Chop the ends off of each veggie and run through the spiralizer. Combine all veggies in a large bowl and toss until evenly mixed. Don’t be alarmed if the veggies start to tangle; this is bound to happen and is helped by using tongs as serving tools.
Step 2: Whisk together all dressing ingredients and pour over veggies. Toss until evenly coated. For best flavor, let the veggies marinate for a couple hours.
Serve Chilled.


Monday, September 30, 2013

Pumpkin Coconut Soup with a Kick of Cayenne

For the longest time I've had this idea that soup is really complicated and a hassle to make... where in the world did I get that idea???? Since pumpkin season is upon us, I decided I would jump in and create a new soup from scratch, with absolutely no recipe to follow. The result? A delicious, extremely healthy, low calorie, and satisfying soup that is sure to warm you up on cold fall evenings.

Pumpkin Coconut Soup With a Cayenne Kick
By Caroline Mac

Makes 7, 1.5 cup servings


1 can pure pumpkin
1 can light coconut milk
1 can no-salt-added diced fire roasted tomatoes
3 c low sodium vegetable broth
11.5 oz Nigari silken tofu
3 sage leaves, whole
2 c frozen veggie medley (mine was peas, carrots, green beans, corn and carrot), thawed
1 c english peas
3 c kale, cleaned and chopped
1 c diced onions, garlic, and shallots (from Trader Joe's)
1 T coconut oil
1-1.5 t cayenne 
2 t salt
1/2 t black pepper

Step 1: In a large pot, combine pumpkin, sage, coconut, and broth. Heat until mixture starts to bubble, and remove from heat. In a blender, puree tofu and pumpkin mixture (as much as will fit in the blender, including sage) until smooth. Return to large pot and add the canned tomatoes. Stir until thoroughly mixed and set aside.

Step 2: In a separate pan, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion, garlic and shallots, and peas to the pan and saute until fragrant and onions begin to become translucent. Add kale and saute for approximately two more minutes. Finally, add frozen veggie mixture and saute for 1 more minute, or until heated through. 

Step 3: Add vegetables to the liquid mixture. Add cayenne, salt, and black pepper. Stir, cover, and raise heat to high. Cover, bring soup to a boil, and reduce heat to low. Let simmer for ten more minutes. 

Serve warm. 


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Lemongrass Coconut Tofu

Since going vegan I've been especially focused on my protein intake and making sure I'm getting enough. Tofu, despite the mixed opinions of it, is a protein source that I eat a few times a week. I'm always looking for new ways to prepare this soy-based food, and I'm delighted to share a new one.

Thai food is easily among my favorite cuisines and I was very excited when I saw that the latest issue of VegNews has a feature on it. I used the magazine's lemongrass tofu recipe and added a few ingredients of my own to create the most delicious tofu I've prepared to date. 

A note on lemongrass: I had never worked with lemongrass until this recipe, and I'll save you the trouble of looking up how in the world you're supposed to prepare it. I
f you try to chop it right off the bat, you will fail. The trick is to peel off the outer layers until you reach the more tender core. Try slicing it now. I promise it'll be a lot easier.

Lemongrass Coconut Tofu
By Caroline Mac, based on VegNews

1 16-oz block extra firm tofu, pressed and drained, and cut into 1/4 inch strips
2 T light agave nectar
1 T low-sodium tamari
1 T finely chopped fresh lemongrass
1 garlic clove, pressed
2 t coconut oil
1 T shredded coconut

Step 1: Mix all ingredients except tofu together until thoroughly mixed.

Step 2: Layer tofu and sauce in a medium sized bowl, pouring remaining sauce over  the top. Cover and refrigerate for as much time as possible before baking. A few hours is plenty, but I did mine overnight. The longer you marinate, the more flavorful the tofu will taste.

Step 3: Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place tofu in a baking dish in one layer. Brush any remaining sauce over the tofu. Bake for 30 minutes, flip tofu, and bake for another five minutes. Serve warm.



Saturday, August 31, 2013

Black Bean Veggie Burgers

I can't believe I haven't posted in nearly a month! I guess that being home has taken up a lot of time. I was cooking though! I have a couple new recipes to share, and plan on adding even more very soon. First up, a new protein packed veggie burger that I created from scratch, on a whim.

I have some serious issues with lots of frozen veggie burgers that you can buy at the supermarket. They're often packed with additives, preservatives, and are very overly processed. Honestly, I don't think most of them taste that great either. When it comes to burgers, homemade is best. That's why I decided to make my own, healthy, baked patty.

Black Bean Veggie Burgers
By Caroline Mac

1 can low sodium black beans
2/3 c edamame, shelled and cooked
1/4 c corn kernels, cooked
1/2 c walnuts
1/2 c bread crumbs
4 T tomato paste
1/2 southwestern- style seasoning (I used Penzey's Arizona)
1/4 t garlic powder
1 T BBQ sauce, plus more for topping
Olive oil
Topping Suggestions: Guacamole, BBQ sauce, lettuce, ketchup, whole wheat hamburger buns

Step 1:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Puree black beans in a food processor until mostly smooth, with a few chunks. Chop mushrooms in food processor until finely ground. Do the same with the edamame and walnuts

Step 2: Combine beans, edamame, and mushrooms in a large bowl and mixed with your hands until blended. Add corn, tomato paste and ground walnuts. Mix again until even blended. Add breadcrumbs, seasoning, and BBQ sauce, mixing again.

Step 4: Bake patties for 8-11 minutes, or until browned and slightly crispy. Flip patties, brush other side with olive oil, and bake for another 8 minutes. Remove from heat, and serve warm with toppings of choice.



Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A Whole Year???

Happy anniversary! Today marks the one year anniversary of this blog! Woohoo! In the first year this blog has gotten over 6,400 views, I've shared almost 90 posts, most of them recipes, and I have cooked more than I ever thought I would.

I must say, I'm proud that as the year has gone on I've created more and more of my own recipes, whereas at the beginning I was mostly trying out recipes already on the internet. I'm also glad I kept up with Caroline's Kitchen, as it motivated me to continue making exciting food during my first year away from home.

Another update: Starting this blog has opened up some very cool opportunities for me outside of the ballet world. For instance, I'm an intern/ bloggerina with Barre, an all natural, vegan energy bar company started by a company dancer at my ballet school. I also contribute to my home studio's blog, as well as writing contributing posts on as a part of the Barre team. I've shared links to most of the sites I contribute to already, but if you haven't seen them, here they are:

Another exciting bit of news- As of August 1st, I have officially gone vegan! What does this mean for the blog? You can expect lots more exciting recipes, just without cheese, milk, eggs, or any other animal products. Don't worry, I won't delete any of my past non-vegan creations, there just won't be any new ones. I'm also planning to do some posts on vegan nutrition and tips for if you're planning on making the change. It's not difficult as long as you're willing to invest a little time and effort into making sure you're well-informed and well-supplied.

Thanks again to all of my fellow foodies who have checked out this blog and to all of you who will read it in the future! I appreciate the good feedback I've gotten and don't plan on stopping any time soon.

Keep Cooking!


Monday, August 5, 2013

Lemon Basil Wheat Berry Salad with Roasted Veggies and Tofu Croutons

I've been wanting to work with wheat berries for a while because of their unique texture, appearance, and yummy flavor. I was feeling particularly ambitious one afternoon and decided to create a dish utilizing these guys along with summer veggies and one of my favorite flavor combos, lemon and basil.

Apparently I had some spare time as well, since I decided to add yet another component to the recipe. About a month and a half earlier, I had lunch at Marty's Market and discovered a new way of serving tofu... Tofutons! Tofu croutons are essentially small pieces of tofu baked for a long time until they become crispy on the outside. They were great on salad and worked really well on the recipe I ended up creating.

If you have an afternoon of nothing to do, give this recipe a shot! Timing is important, as each item is either cooked in the oven or on the stove for different amounts of time. If you're planning on serving this warm, plan ahead. If you're going the cold route, which is equally tasty, you can cook in whatever order your heart desires. I'm not going to plan for you, but I will give instructions for each individual recipe.

NOTE: Everything prepared in the oven uses the same temperature- 400 degrees F. Preheat your oven to 400 at the start and don't change it until you're done!

Lemon Basil Wheat Berry Salad with Roasted Veggies and Tofutons
By Caroline Mac

Wheat Berries

Some sources will tell you to soak dry wheat berries before cooking them, but I also read that they cook about the same whether soaked or not. Since I didn't have prep time the night before, I decided to do the no-soak version and hope for the best (they turned out just fine!)

1 c uncooked wheat berries
3 c water

Step 1: In a large pan, bring wheat berries and water to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 30- 60 (or more) minutes. Start checking the wheat berries at 30 minutes, as cooking time varies. When done, they'll be chewy but not tough. My wheat berries took an absurdly long 75 minutes to cook... Maybe I should have soaked them...

Step 2: When wheat berries have cooked, drain them and set aside.

Roasted Eggplant

1 large eggplant
Olive oil
Italian seasoning

Step 1: Slice eggplant in half lengthwise. Score the eggplant flesh in a diamond pattern (intersecting diagonal lines) without completely cutting through the skin.

Step 2: Brush a light layer of olive oil all over eggplant halves and sprinkle flesh side with italian seasoning. Place eggplant face-down on a baking sheet. Roast for approximately 40 minutes at 400*, or until tender. Remove from oven and let cool 5-10 minutes.

Step 3: Once eggplant is cool enough to handle, separate the flesh from the skin. I gently sliced between the two and then scooped it out with a spoon.

Roasted Squash

1 large yellow squash
Olive oil
Italian Seasoning

Step 1: Slice squash lengthwise and then into thin slices (they'll look like half circles)

Step 2: Place squash in a baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Toss until evenly coated. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Bake at 400* for 15-20 minutes, or until tender.

Roasted Garlic

1 head of garlic, intact
Olive oil
Aluminum foil

Step 1: Remove the outer layers of the head of garlic until you've reached the individual cloves. Slice off about 1/2 an inch from the top of head, or enough to expose the raw tips of the cloves.

Step 2: Coat garlic with a light layer of olive oil. Wrap in foil and bake for approximately 40 minutes. Using a small spoon, scoop roasted cloves from skin, leaving them as whole as possible.

Tofu Croutons

1-14 oz block firm tofu, rinsed and lightly pressed to remove excess liquid
Approx 1 T olive oil
Salt, to taste
Italian seasoning, to taste

Step 1: Slice tofu in half to form two thinner rectangles. Slice those into 1/2 inch cubes. Spread cubes onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with seasonings.

Step 2: Bake tofu at 400* for around 50 minutes, or until outside is golden and crispy. You want this tofu to be a little crispier than your typical baked tofu, since you're trying to create a crouton-like consistency.

Lemon Basil Dressing

Juice of 1 lemon
1 c fresh basil
2 t olive oil
Lemon pepper, to taste

In a blender, puree all ingredients until smooth.

You're almost done! 

Once each component is complete, combine everything in a large bowl and stir until evenly mixed and coated with dressing. Top with tofu croutons and serve warm or cold.

Whew! It took a while, but is totally worth it.