Category Archives: Vegan

Sweet Potato Parmesan Chips

sweet potato chips1

I have been addicted to these microwave sweet potato chips recently! Why? Because they taste great (obviously), AND they are sooo easy to make!  I’ve been keeping a peeled sweet potato in the refrigerator. When I want to have some fresh chips at lunch time, I just slice thin rounds with my mandolin, place on a parchment lined plate, season with parmesan and onion powder, and zap in the oven for three to four minutes.  How easy is that?

I was inspired by this recipe for sour cream chips.  I couldn’t find powdered buttermilk, so I just omitted it.  I also omitted the salt, which I found unnecessary.  I was dubious at first – -I have always made chips in the oven.  But invariably they would burn on the edges.  I thought microwaving these would produce soggy chips — and they did, the first time.  The trick is to slice them REALLY thin, and you need a mandolin to do this.

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Now, I keep a peeled portion of sweet potato in the fridge, and whenever I want fresh chips, I just make them.  It’s so much easier than having to preheat an oven and attempting to bake them that way.  For some reason, the microwave ones may brown — watch closely at the end of cooking– but not much.  And it still tastes good — I actually prefer a bit of browning.  It is a very different flavor than the brown/black edges I would end up with baking traditionally.  Hope you try these! 🙂

sweet potato chips2

Microwave Sweet Potato Parmesan Chips

1 sweet potato (I peel mine, but you don’t have to!)

1 teaspoon grated Parmesan cheese

Pinch or two of onion powder

Non-stick olive oil spray

  1. Line a plate with parchment paper. Spray with non-stick spray.
  2. Slice some thin rounds of sweet potato with a mandolin.
  3. Arrange in one layer on parchment. Spray with non-stick spray.
  4. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and onion powder.
  5. Microwave on high for about four minutes checking to see if they are getting too brown at about three minutes.
  6. Remove and eat! If you want to make a bigger batch and save in an air tight container for later, just repeat the process until you finish slicing the sweet potato.

sweet potato chips 3

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Filed under Appetizers, Snack, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Kashi Healthy Treats and Advent Challenge

kashi treats 2

 

Whew, the holidays threw me for a loop!  Hope everyone who celebrates had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We went to Illinois to see my family and had a great time!  I was remiss in my photo taking, but I drew a lot. 🙂  All my daily sketches are on instagram.

 

This month up until Christmas, I am doing an Advent Challenge put together by Faye Brown Designs. Every day (in place of my daily sketches) I do an illustration inspired by her prompt.  At first I wasn’t going to do one every day, but so far, I’ve done seven, so that’s seven for seven!   They are all made digitally, and it is the first time I’m actually painting with digital brushes.  I bought these amazing brushes you from Kyle T. Webster for Photoshop, and they’ve really changed the way I work.  They are SOOO much better than the ones that come with Photoshop. There is no comparison.  Here is a nice review of them in Wired Magazine.  He is an amazing illustrator and he started making brushes for himself.  When he started selling them, he made a bucketful of money because they are so awesome.

The illustrations I’m making  take a lot longer than my 30 minute paintings – sometimes an hour to two hours!  So it’s kind of a heavy load to carry… But I’m having so much fun with these brushes and  at the end of the challenge, I’ll have 25 designs (if I can maintain the pace) to choose from to make into some greeting cards.  🙂 Wish me luck!

Here are some of my favorites so far:

bear copy72

DOG copy2

penguin copy

ETI copy

Today’s was:

7 polar bear

To see more daily, I’ll be posting at:  http://instagram.com/melissaiwai1/

I’ll leave you with a quick recipe I made up for a high fiber high protein low sugar snack.  I love Kashi cereals, and I had a coupon which I used to buy a box of Kashi GoLean Crunch cereal.  These crunchy treats satisfy my craving for a crunchy sweet chocolate snack, but are packed with fiber and protein without artificial ingredients.  🙂

kashi treats

Kashi Healthy Treats

1 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped finely

2 teaspoons coconut oil

stevia or other sweetener to taste

1 tablespoon peanut butter

1  cup Kashi GoLean Crunch Cereal or other Kashi cereal

 

1.  Melt chocolate and coconut oil together in a medium sized bowl in the microwave at 30 second intervals until melted.

2.  Stir in stevia and peanut butter until combined.  Add cereal and coat evenly.

3.  Line a large plate or baking sheet with parchment paper.  Make six balls of cereal mixture and arrange on plate.

4.  Chill for about an hour until set.

Makes six treats.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Art Related, Snack, Vegan, Vegetarian

Jamie’s Soup and My Society 6 Store

jamie'ssoup

I did a similar soup post way back when when I created this creamy green soup.  This one, however, is even easier, and I recently taught my ten year old to make it by himself!  It is his favorite soup these days, so I make it a lot. And now he can do the honors.  This is a good thing because I am so busy these days with MATS A and other work!

All you do is cut 2 large zucchini into slices.

cutting

Then you steam them in the microwave for about 6-8 minutes.

Place steamed zucchini into a Vitamix along with 2 cups of broth and season with some salt and pepper if you like.  Blend and serve!  If you want it warmer, just heat it a little for about 30 seconds.

Drinking the green yumminess!

Drinking the green yumminess!

This is what I did in my class last week– I designed a collection of ceramic plates:

MELISSA_IWAI_BEARANDBUNNY_4A_WK2REV

To read about the process, you can go here.  It was quite painful!  But all good. 🙂

Also, I just reopened my Society 6 store. I’ve been hesitant dipping my toes in the waters — I don’t know why….  But I made my first sale!  To myself!  ha ha.  I bought a pillow that has my bunny head design on it.  It is nothing really, but exciting to me, because it’s such a novelty for me!  There is a SALE in my store right now for $5 off everything plus FREE shipping until 11/9, so check it out!  🙂

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 3.53.01 PMJamie’s Zucchini Soup

2 zucchini

2 cups of chicken broth or other broth

salt and pepper to taste

1.  Cut zucchini into slices.  Place in large bowl and cover with saran.  Microwave for about 5-7 minutes until soft (it depends on your oven).  Alternatively, you can steam in a steamer on the stove for 8-10 minutes.

2.  Blend cooked zucchini and broth and seasonings in a Vitamix or blender until smooth.

Makes about 4 large bowls of soup.

 

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Filed under Soup, Soup, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

MATS A Course and Root Vegetables

Melissa Iwai 2014

Melissa Iwai 2014

So… I started taking an intense online design course, called Make Art That Sells, taught by Lilla Rogers.  This, along with several book assignments and prep for a gallery show and an art auction makes for some busy (though good) times!  For any artist wanted to broaden their range, I highly recommend this class.  Every week focuses on a different market.  Last week, it was Bolt Fabric.  Our assignment was to create a fabric pattern that had the theme “vintage kitchen” that is inspired by root vegetables and vintage casserole dishes.  So this is the pattern I designed.  It was really difficult for me, but I won’t bore you with the gory details. If you want to read about my process, you can do so on my website blog.

For the warm up — or mini assignment, we were to explore vintage casserole dishes and root vegetables.  So the first thing I did was buy a bunch of veggies and the local green market.

root vegetables

After several days of drawing and drawing and more  drawing and painting the vegetables in different media, they met their final destination:  The oven.

root vegetables to roast

This is three yams, one large parsnip, a bunch of carrots, one large turnip, and one beet (the beet is wrapped in foil).  Unfortunately, my celery root had gone bad, and I couldn’t use it!  Basically it’s about 5  cups of chopped vegetables.  I coated them with olive oil,  seasoned them with kosher salt and dried thyme, and roasted them at 400 for about 30 minutes, tossing them halfway.

cooked root veg

 

The vegetables really shrink!  But it was enough for a side dish at a pot luck dinner we went to that evening.

And here is my final submission to the class with more coordinating patterns (not so happy with these — it was a struggle!!  But I’d like to do more and improve my craft…)  If you don’t know already, there is a great site where you can upload your designs to be printed on fabric — Spoonflower.com. I’d love to use my pattern to make an apron or some tea towels. 🙂

MELISSA_IWAI_ROOSTERPITCHER_4A_WK1

 

Roasted Root Vegetables

Non-stick spray

An assortment of root vegetables, such as potatoes, yams, parsnips, turnips, carrots, celery root

about 1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil

kosher salt to taste

1 – 2 teaspoons dried thyme

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line 2 baking sheets with foil and spray with non-stick spray.

2.  Chop vegetables into 1/2 inch cubes.  Try to make them all about the same size so they cook evenly.

3.  Pour onto baking sheets and spread out into a single layer.  Drizzle with olive oil (right onto baking sheets is OK) and mix with hands to make sure everything is nicely coated.  Season with salt and thyme.

4.  Bake for about 30 minutes, stirring and flipping halfway through.

Roasted Beet

1 or 2 beets

olive oil

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2.  Wash and dry beets.  Brush with some olive oil and wrap in aluminum foil.

3.  Set on a baking sheet (sometimes the juices leak out, and it’s not pretty if it gets on your oven!) and bake for about 60 minutes until tender.  You can test it with a knife.  It should be soft like a cooked potato.

 

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Filed under Art Related, Sides, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Chocolate Coconut Avocado Ice Cream

avocado ice cream

In the comments section of my last post, Trixie Pin of Almonds Are Mecurial mentioned an Avocado Ice Cream recipe found at Oatmeal with a Fork.   I’ve always heard of ice cream made out of avocado and I’ve been wanting to try it for some time.  I ended up basing my recipe on this Vegan Mint Chocolate Chip recipe at Detoxinista, which is actually very similar to the Oatmeal with a Fork one.  All three sites have fantastic healthy recipes and beautiful photography, so check them out!  (I’m definitely going to try the Mint and Chip one soon — love that it’s green naturally!)

I only had 1/2 an avocado to work with and I didn’t want to wait until my other two ripened before I made the Chocolate Coconut Avocado Ice Cream.  I was woman obsessed.  The other 1/2 of avocado I had used to make a half portion of my Creamy Avocado Dip, which I was also craving because I had some homemade pita chips on hand….!  You see, I have both a sweet AND savory tooth!

First off, this is how I ripen my avocados — I throw them in a brown paper bag with bananas or plantains and fold the bag closed.  In a few days, they are perfect.

An unripened avocado and a ripe one, with an unripened plantain cozying up to them.  The ripened bananas were cut up and frozen.

An unripened avocado and a ripe one, with an unripened plantain cozying up to them. The ripened bananas were cut up and frozen.

Avocados are amazing fruit. They are full of more than 25 essential nutrients, fiber, protein, good fat, and beneficial antioxidants!  Read more about the benefits here, if you are curious.   I am so glad I like to eat them now.  As a kid, I hated them.  I’m happy Jamie loves guacamole.  My mom eats avocados only one way:  Mashed with brown sugar and spread on her morning toast.  I guess it’s a Hawaiian thing….  This is a savory breakfast that sounds good, that I will try soon — an egg baked in half an avocado!

Recently, I heard on a podcast about a study done which showed that eating avocados tripled a woman’s chance of getting pregnant through IVF.  I’m not trying to get pregnant but found it intriguing.  There are several lists of fruits and vegetables that look like the human organs they are good for floating around the internet–not surprisingly avocados look like a woman’s womb!

For the Chocolate Coconut Avocado Ice Cream I made, I threw into my Vitamix:  1/2 avocado, 2 tablespoons lite coconut milk from a can (you can use the extra in curry, or freeze in an ice cube tray like this for future smoothies), 2 tablespoons of agave syrup, 1/2 tablespoon of coconut oil, 2 tablespoons of raw cacao powder (my new love), and 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla.  If you have a whole avocado or two, just double or quadruple the amounts.  After blending to a creamy smooth consistency, I poured it into my ice cream maker and let it roll.  It only took about 5 minutes due to the small quantity — basically the time it took to clean the dishes!  You could also pour your mixture into ramekins and chill and eat as pudding. It is SOOO good!

So creamy!  I garnished with some dried coconut and toasted almonds

So creamy! I garnished with some dried coconut and toasted almonds

This ice cream is so creamy and rich.  I only eat one scoop at a time (not three) because it is very filling!  Out of curiosity I plugged in the nutritional values for the ingredients and came up with this for 1 oz. of Chocolate Avocado Ice Cream:  78 calories, 6g fat, 1.7 g sat. fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 4 mg sodium, 8.6 g carbs, 2.1 g fiber, 5.6 g sugar, and .8 g protein.  Happily, my vegan and gluten free friends can enjoy it as well! 🙂

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In other news, I just want to give a shout out to people in the New Jersey area!  This Saturday (September 20), I will be at the 2014 Princeton Children’s Book Festival signing books with my husband, Denis (and author of Hush Little Monster), and Anne Rockwell (author of numerous books, including  Truck Stop). We are so fortunate to be included in such an amazing gathering of authors and illustrators.  Favorites, such as Brian Floca (2014 Caldecott Winner), Brian Lies, David Kirk, Sophie Blackall, Fiona Robinson, Peter Brown, Pseudonymous Bosch (one of Jamie’s favorites), Jon Scieska, Mary Rose Wood, and a whole boatload of others will be there.  Check out the list here.  If you do make it out, be sure to stop by our table and say “hello”!

Chocolate Coconut Avocado Ice Cream

1 ripe avocado, halved, pit removed

1/4 cup lite coconut milk from a can

1/4 cup agave syrup

 1 tablespoon coconut oil (in liquid form)

1/4 cup raw cacao powder (or unsweetened cocoa powder)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.  Put all ingredients into a blender or food processor and puree until completely smooth and creamy.

2.  Pour into an ice cream make and churn according to manufacturer’s directions.  Alternatively, pour into a metal bowl and put in freezer and stir every 15 minutes until thick and creamy.

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Filed under Books, Desserts, Vegan, Vegetarian

Cacao “Tofutti”

tofutti 4

Awhile ago, I had a somewhat high blood sugar score on a test.  It wasn’t a fasting test or anything, so I don’t know how accurate it was, but in the past year, it was higher than my last one, and that one was higher than the one before that. Diabetes runs in my family, and as I get older, I find that I’m more sensitive to sugar (and caffeine and alcohol!)  I also was borderline for gestational diabetes when I was pregnant.  For all these reasons, I decided to do an experiment over the last couple of months and greatly reduce my sugar intake.  I haven’t cut it out completely, and I occasionally have dried fruit (but not much) and bananas, and all the other high glycemic index fruits (apples, watermelon, etc.)  But I have cut it out A LOTI’ve since realized that I used to eat a lot of sugar — I have such a sweet tooth.  But if I have a taste of something now that’s high in sugar (the other day I sampled a bite of a gluten free blueberry muffin sample at Trader Joe’s and had to throw the rest away), it tastes TOO sweet.  I do sweeten my coffee with stevia and I chew sugar free gum, so I haven’t shunned all sweet things though.  I’m just trying to do things in moderation.  I find I need less sweetener in my coffee now than I did before though.  I will probably have another blood test in a week or two, so it will be interesting to see if my levels have been affected by the change in my diet over the last three months or so.

A new moniker that keeps popping up in health news these days is “Super Food” — have you noticed?  I haven’t been paying that much attention, because I tend to eat a lot of them anyway:  green leafy vegetables like kale, blueberries, oats, broccoli, walnuts, salmon, spinach, chia seeds, avocados, coconut oil, eggs, etc. I haven’t gone out of my way to sample some of the more exotic super foods, like acai berry, camu camu, maca, lacuma, spirulina, or even wheat grass.  But I keep hearing about raw cacao powder — cacao is the portion in chocolate that has all the antioxidants and is rich in minerals.  I’ve even read that it helps to lower insulin resistance.  It appeals to me because I love chocolate, and since I have stopped eating a lot of sugar, I find I even love eating unsweetened chocolate (to my son’s horror).  I decided to buy a bag at our local health food store and try it out for myself.  It definitely tastes “more chocolatey” than regular unsweetened cocoa.

cacao

I’ve been eating sugar free Chocolate pudding occasionally, but I’ve been finding it also is too sweet even when I add unsweetened cocoa powder to it.  And I’m not that big of fan of it containing aspartame.  So I decided to try my hand at a tofu based pudding.  And then I decided: Hey let’s take it a step further and try throwing it in the ice cream maker. 🙂

The result was really great! It is very easy to make as well.  You just process a package of Silken soft tofu, cocoa powder, agave syrup (or other sweetener), and some vanilla in a food processor and then churn in an ice cream maker for about 10-15 minutes (it is much faster than making regular ice cream, perhaps because of the low fat content).  Let it harden in the freezer.  The longer the tofu melds with the other flavors, the better it tastes.  There you have it — dairy free, chocolate tofu ice cream that is high in anti-oxidants and low in calories! 🙂  Note, my batch is not as sweet as the kind you buy in the store, but I prefer it that way.  If you want a sweeter version add more sweetener or make with 2/3 cup chocolate chips melted with 1 tablespoon water — I have made it this way too in the past before my sugar concerns, and it is very delicious!

tofutti 1

Chocolate “Tofutti”

1 block of Silken soft tofu

1/4 cup agave syrup or other sweetener

1/4 cup raw cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1.  Process all ingredients in a food processor until silky smooth, stopping to scrape down edges midway through.

2.  Churn in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions for about 10-15 minutes.

I had forgotten that I awhile back I did this submission for Tofu 3 Ways, for the awesome site, They Draw and Cook.  The Tofu Mousse recipe in the illustration is similar — but not sugar free.  Still, this would be good also when churned frozen in an ice cream maker!

Tofu_melissaiwai72b

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Filed under Desserts, Vegan

Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions and Easy Weeknight Mini Pizzas

Mini Pizza with caramelized onions, artichoke hearts, and mozzarrella

Mini Pizza with caramelized onions, artichoke hearts, and mozzarrella



I recently completed another Skillshare class (Character Illustration from Concept to Final Artwork)!  I almost didn’t take this one because I felt character development is something I’m pretty capable of doing.  But it also has an Illustrator and Photoshop component, and I felt I can always learn more about creating digital art.  I’m really glad I did take it, because I was introduced to some key things that I will definitely use in my work — for example, importing layers into Photoshop from Illustrator (who knew!!?).  I don’t know if I will end up working exactly this way in the future, but going through the process was really valuable and a great learning experience!  And I did learn things I am using now that I didn’t before. 🙂 Here is my work process for this assignment: I first did sketches of pirates and chose a final one to take to final: roughs

This is the one I decided to work with.

This is the one I decided to work with.

This is my pirate after I drew every shape in Illustrator.  it was WAY tedious!

This is my pirate after I drew every shape in Illustrator. it was WAY tedious!

This is the pirate after rendering it in Photoshop -- I realm I am a lot more comfortable in!

This is the pirate after rendering it in Photoshop — a realm I am a lot more comfortable in!

This is a full illustration incorporating the character.  I will use this as a promotional piece.  I used a lot of techniques I learned in the Skillshare class, so I'm really happy I took it.

This is a full illustration incorporating the character. I will use this as a promotional piece with my artist rep. I used a lot of techniques I learned in the Skillshare class, so I’m really happy I took the class!

With these various projects going on, the slow cooker has been my friend.

My bestie!

My bestie!

Our favorite dish is Slow Cooker Pulled Pork.  It’s so great to throw everything in the cooker and forget about it.   In 6-8 hours, you’ll have tender, tasty meat. Ooey and gooey, and yummy I tend to avoid chicken in the slow cooker, unless it’s dark meat though.  White meat tends to dry out. Recently, I knew I wanted to saute some onions for easy Mini Pizzas I was planning for a quickie dinner.  That morning, I had the brainstorm of throwing some sliced onions in the slow cooker and letting it cook all afternoon while I was out.  That cut down on about 20 minutes of sauteing later in the evening– 20 minutes of precious time I could be working!  I just used one onion and drizzled it with some olive oil.  It cooked on low for 4 hours.  But next time, I will buy a bag of onions and a bunch at one time.  This might take closer to 6 hours to cook. onions 2
You end up with soft, sweet, meltingly tender onions.  They can be store in the refrigerator and used throughout the week in omelets, fritattas, quesadillas, burritos… I’ve even put them on my salads.  They are soo good!

For this batch, though, I put them on our mini pizzas for a FAST week night meal!

How about you all– what are some slow cooker recipes you can’t live without that make life easier?

onions 1

Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions

Some onions, sliced vertically in to 1/4 inch slices

Drizzle of olive oil to coat

Pinch of kosher salt

1.  Put sliced onions in slow cooker and drizzle with olive oil.  Season with salt.  Stir.
2.  Cook on low for about 4-6 hours.

pizza 2

Mini Pizzas

Mini or Regular sized whole wheat pitas

Your favorite marinara sauce (or homemade!)

Shredded cheese

Slow cooker onions

Chopped artichoke hearts

Any other topping you would like!

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (I use our toaster oven).

2. Spoon some sauce on each of the pitas.  Top with toppings.

3.  Cook in oven about 8-10 minutes depending on how crunchy you like it (place directly on rack).

4.  Slice into wedges and eat! 🙂

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Filed under Art Related, Dinner, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Parsnip Chips

parsnip chips1


First off, thank you all for your support and voting for me in the Skillshare Valentine Challenge !  It turned out that my card and wrapping paper design was one of the two first place winners, which was decided in secret by the instructors, Faye Brown and Majo Bautista.  The voting was for 2nd and 3rd…but I had no idea beforehand where I stood!  So many friends voted for me–I’m pretty overwhelmed by the support and vote of confidence in me.  Thank you so much again!!!  To see the other winners and their designs, go here.

I’m immensely busy still, involved in many projects.  I’m working on my book dummy for a picture book and in the middle of creating artwork for a mini one.  I still have all my Skillshare classes (!) and I am participating in the Making Art That Sells Bootcamp.  This class was designed by Lilla Rogers Studio and Beth Kempton of Do What You Love.   It’s been an amazing experience.  For one, it’s so inspiring to see everyone else’s work — there are so many talented artists in the class — over 400!  Also, people are so generous and helpful with advice and support.  I’ve made a lot of new friends there and reconnected with old ones!  Our first assignment was to design a cell phone case that had to do with cuckoo clocks.  I can honestly say I had never drawn so many cuckoo clocks in my life!

One of many sketches

One of many sketches

The clocks weren’t really calling to me, so I decided to focus on the cuckoo birds. Also because I can never seem to get away from food, I ended up with two designs having to do with eating and drinking. ha ha.  Which one do you like the best?

!st two are the same design with a different color treatment and placement of coffee and clock icons.

!st two are the same design with a different color treatment and placement of coffee and clock icons.  Click to enlarge.

I decided to go with the girl one because it had more of a response on the class forum, and because I had way more fun creating it!  I figured out a different way of working, and I’m really excited about that and plan to do my book illustrations this way.  It even got me to get off my tush and start building a place to sell some artwork once and for all.  I have been dragging my heels at the overwhelming thought of it.  I only have two things available at the moment (lol) but it will grow!  Check it out here: Society 6  I will also upload different sizes so the designs can be used on different things.  Stay tuned!

All of these extra activities are great in that I’m creating double the work I normally would and learning lots of new ways of working and thinking about art making!  But it curtails my ability to cook or bake anything that takes more than 30-40 minutes….  (An exception will be next week when I will bake a German Chocolate Cake for Denis’ birthday!)

gc-cake-2

The other day I saw a bunch of parsnips for sale, so I grabbed them and made chips.  I was craving something crunchy by healthy, and these fit the bill.  You could probably make these out of other root vegetables, like carrots, yams, etc. but I haven’t tried it yet.  I like the flavor of parsnips — they are a tad sweet, similar to sweet potatoes.  While I was making them, Jamie and his friend thought I was baking cookies!  Imagine their disappointment when I told them it was vegetables.  They tasted the parsnip chips, though, and they liked them. 🙂

You need a mandoline or a box grater with a slicer on the side to cut thin slices of the parsnip.  I have one something like this.  Then you just lay the slices on a foil lined baking sheet and pop in the oven.  My friend, Alexandra, mentioned that she makes chips by putting them in a cold oven and then turning the oven on.   The method works well because you don’t burn any chips, which are delicate when thinly sliced!  Cooking them this way makes it easier to do this.  Turn the oven on to 250 degrees F, set your timer for 30 minutes and walk away.   Check them after 30 minutes.  I remove the tan, crispy ones, and return the pan to the oven and for another 10-15 minutes or so.  Easy, no?  I think the chips are best eaten right away, which isn’t hard to do! If you save them and they lose their crunch, you could probably pop them in the toaster oven for a couple of minutes and let cool a bit to crisp them up.

_DSC0301

Parsnip Chips

Several parsnips, washed and trimmed and peeled

Non stick spray

kosher salt to taste

1.  Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick spray.

2.  Slice thin rounds of parsnips with a mandoline or other slicer and lay slices in one layer on prepared baking sheet.

3.  Place in oven and turn onto 250 degrees F.

4.  After 30 minutes or so, check parsnips.  Sprinkle with kosher salt if you like.   Remove tan, crisp chips to a plate.  Return baking sheet to oven.  Check chips after about 10-15 minutes.  They should all be crisp now.  If not, let cook a bit longer.  Remove to a plate and eat!

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Filed under Art Related, Gluten Free, Sides, Snack, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Jamie’s Trailmix and Blog

Well, it’s happened:  My eight year old son asked me if he could have his own cooking blog.  I guess I should have been flattered, but my first thought was, “Oh nooooo!”

To buy some time, I told him he’d have to come up with three original recipes and posts first.  I should have listened to my husband who said he would have made the requirement at least ten posts!

A budding writer (he’s working on a chapter book — part of a trilogy– as well), three posts was a breeze for him.  And he’s always coming up with his own creations when he helps me cook anyway.  Here’s a favorite from the past:

Jamie’s green bean sushi he named “Bean Bean Sushi”

A couple months ago, he and I were standing in line at a store near a display of trail mix meant to encourage an “impulse buy”.  Not surprisingly, he wanted me to buy a package.  To put him off, I told him it was too expensive–that it would be cheaper to make it and it would probably be better because we could put whatever we wanted into it.

Of course when we got home he wanted to make some.  So we did.

This is what he put into his mix: peanuts, roasted salted almonds, cashews, dried cranberries, chopped dried persimmon (from my mom’s trees in California and dried in her dehydrator), dried apricot, dried coconut, and some chocolate chips.  He made a label for the mix:

The good thing about this activity is that he made a healthy snack for himself for the rest of the week.  Also, it tasted really great.  Kids are more likely to eat whatever they make, so it’s a good opportunity to make nutritious food that will get eaten.  Trail mix is the easiest thing in the world to throw together and so much cheaper when you buy the pantry staples in bulk.  Try it!

Back to Jamie’s blog idea— it’s called Food Cultures and is under my name (so all comments come to me), but it’s all him.  He will write and type his own posts, and the only editing I will do is correct some spelling.  He even came up with his own header.

I digitized his sketch and we colored it together in Photoshop.

His first recipe is Reese’s Yogurt.  You can view it here. 🙂

We’ll see how long his food obsession lasts….


Easy Trail Mix

Throw into a mixing bowl:

Various nuts, such as almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, peanuts, etc.

Various dried fruit, such as dried raisins, cranberries, apricots, pineapple, coconut,  mango (chop bigger pieces of dried fruit into raisin sized pieces), etc.

You can add extras like chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, white chocolate chips, even mini marshmallows, depending on how “junky” or “healthy” you want to skew it.  Have fun!

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www.thehungryartist.wordpress.com

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Filed under Children, Snack, Vegan, Vegetarian

Peanut Miso Glazed Roasted Kale Chips and Winner!

Thanks to all who participated in my signed copy of Soup Day giveaway!

I loved hearing all about your favorite soups!

From Soup Day, Henry Holt 2010

I’m happy to announce that the winner of the giveaway is:   Michelle!

I will contact you and send you a signed copy this week.

I hope the child you give it to is inspired to play in the kitchen and enjoys my book! 🙂

**********************************************************************

Remember when I was swooning over Trader Joe’s roasted seaweed?  Well, I think I’ve created a great cheaper, healthier alternative.  Kale chips have been around in the blog sphere for quite awhile, but it was fellow home cook, Alexandra, that I learned of slow roasting them and coating them with a sort of sauce.  I didn’t have the ingredients she uses on hand, so I made up my own using peanut butter, miso, soy, mirin, sesame oil, and some water.  The second time I tried it, I threw in some sugar.  I’m telling you, they are addictive.

Look at the peanut butter and miso yumminess!

I was blasting my kale chips at 400 degrees before and they always had burnt edges.  Slow cooking them creates the crispiest, crunchiest kale leaves with no burns anywhere.  The texture is a lot like roasted seaweed.  But this way, you are getting all the vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber that kale has to offer.

I love the nuttiness of the peanut butter and miso and the salty, sweet flavor combination these chips have.  Try it.  It may make a kale lover out of you! 🙂

Peanut Butter and Miso Glazed Kale Chips

1 tablespoon peanut butter

1 teaspoon miso paste

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon mirin (or rice wine vinegar if you don’t have it)

1 teaspoon sugar

2 teaspoons water

8 cups of kale leaves torn into chip size pieces

non-stick spray

1.  Preheat oven to 200 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment or foil.  Set aside.

2.  In a large bowl whisk together peanut butter, miso paste, soy sauce, mirin, and sugar with a whisk.  Add water and whisk until smooth.

3.  Throw in kale leaves and coat and massage with clean hands to get the sauce on all of the leaves.  Spread leaves in one layer on lined baking sheet.

4.  Bake for one hour.  Halfway through baking, stir the leaves and turn over.

Makes about two servings.  You could probably double the recipe and use two baking sheets on different racks.  I will do this next time, because I could easily eat the two servings in one sitting — it’s hard to stop!

Note:  Don’t do this!  I tried it while in California, and the leaves get too crowded and don’t dry out properly, and it took forever.  Better to do a single batch and roast on two baking sheets!

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Filed under Appetizers, Art Related, Sides, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian