Another New Veggie — Baby Bok Choy!

I think I’ve mentioned before about how my husband likes to buy Bountiful Baskets quite often.  And, usually there are some vegetables in there I’ve never tried and often never heard of.

The last couple of basket’s he’s brought home have had Baby Bok Choy in them.  No…. I’m not a connoisseur of Bok Choy…. so I was at a loss as to what to do with it.  After finally looking up some recipes online…. I decided to give it a whirl.  I ended up combining a couple of recipes I found plus threw in a couple of my own things and I have to say….. it turned out very well!  I would actually make it again!

So…. to make sure that I don’t forget what I did…. I’m going to share with you my own version of Stir Fry Baby Bok Choy.  Unfortunately…. I didn’t think about taking a photo till it was too late…. so I’ll post something similar looking, though it won’t be the exact picture of mine?

Stir Fry Baby Bok Choy with Cashews. While this is not a picture of my recipe... it's very similar in look. This one if from a website called Simply Recipes.

Stir Fry Baby Bok Choy with Cashews

2 Tb. olive oil

1 small bunch green onions, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 lb Baby Bok Choy, cleaned, cut in half lengthwise with larger leaves pulled off

1 tsp Sesame Seeds

Salt to taste

2 tsp Tamari

2 Tb Chicken broth

Pinch or 2 of Chinese 5 Spice

1/2 cup cashews

In large skillet or Wok, heat oil on high. Turn heat to medium high and add green onion and garlic and sauté till slightly brown.  Add 1/2 of the Bok Choy and sauté till starting to wilt, about 2 min.  Add remaining Bok Choy and drizzle a little more oil on top.  Stir fry till leaves are bright green and limp.  Sprinkle sesame seeds and salt in.  Add chicken broth,Tamari, Chinese 5 spice and stir.  Cover with lid till heated through, about 3 min or till Bok Choy is just cooked through.  Stir in cashews.  Serve warm.

There you have it!  It tasted pretty good if I don’t say so myself!  Quick and easy!   None of the recipes I looked at called for Chinese 5 Spice…but as I was stirring in the Tamari, my nose thought it could smell a little ginger…. and I thought, that would be a good addition in a chinese type dish!  So, there in front of me, sitting with the spices right above my stove, was the Chinese 5 Spice!  I added a pinch to the mix.  I think I might add 2 pinches next time.  The taste was very slight and I don’t think a little more would have hurt.  Most likely it would have enhanced it even more!

Being forced to try new foods is not a bad thing!  I’m grateful that I have that chance and I’m grateful for the internet for giving me a place to go to look up recipes so easily!

Give this one a try and let me know what you think!

I am Grateful!  How are You?


Discovering New Vegetables and New Flavors

When I get in the mood to cook…. (or prepare food as in this case….) I love trying new things or re-making a recipe that was a ‘new’ discovery the first time I made it!

Last week I was in the grocery store and saw some Jicama (pronounced hee-kah-mah).  I decided to pick some up.  The first time I had ever tasted Jicama was a couple of years ago when I decided to try a recipe out of my Clean Eating magazine that used Jicama.  It sounded good, so I decided to be brave and try it.  Jicama is delicious!  It has a sweet crunch to it.  I know it’s popular in Mexican dishes like soups, stir fry and salads.  The magazine info called it the “Mexican Potato” that looks like a flattened beet with the texture of a water chestnut.

Spicy Jicama Salad. See how colorful?l

The recipe I’m sharing with you today is the Spicy Jicama Salad that I made a few years ago.  Since I had the Jicama staring me in the face today sitting on my counter…. I pulled out the magazine and happened to have almost all of the ingredients I needed to make it so I gave it a whirl… with a few adjustments of course!  As you can see as you read the ingredients… if you are into Raw eating… this is a great recipe for that!  It’s bright colorful salad and would be a great side dish anytime but particularly in the summer.

I will list my adjustments and changes out to the side.

Spicy Jicama Salad — from Clean Eating Magazine Vol. 2 Issue 3 — May/June 2009

1 Jicama, peeled and julienned

1 Carrot, peeled, and julienned

1/2 red bell pepper, julienned    (I used a whole pepper)

1/2 green bell pepper, julienned  (didn’t have a green pepper so I used a yellow one…. again a whole pepper)

1/2 cucumber, seeded and julienned  (since I used an English cucumber… I didn’t seed it)

1/2 cup red onion, chopped    ( I didn’t have a red onion, so I chopped 1/2 of a sweet white onion….but I also added some chopped red cabbage for the color)

1 naval orange, peeled and chopped

Juice of 1 lime  (no limes around so I used 3 Tb lime concentrate)

Pinch of cayenne powder  (a little goes a long way here, be careful unless you like it hot!)

Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped    (my fresh cilantro was gone, so I used the dried kind… not the best choice, but it works in a pinch)


Combine jicama, carrot, red and green peppers, cucumber, onion and orange in a medium bowl.  Toss in lime juice, cayenne, salt and pepper and cilantro.  Let sit for 20 t0 30 minutes, covered in the fridge before serving.  Unlike most salads that get soggy sitting in the dressing for longer periods,  jicama stays crunchy.  The salad will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Nutrients per 1/2 cup serving:  Calories: 70, Total Fat: Og, Sat. Fat: Og, Carbs: 17g, Fiber: 7g, Sugars: 6g, Protein: 2g, Sodium, 55mg, Cholesterol: Omg

This really is a delicious and different salad.   I am a huge fan of Clean Eating Magazine.  I would recommend it to all you foodies out there that are looking for healthier alternatives and recipes.  You can even subscribe to a digital version now.  In some ways I wish I had that….but other ways I love my ‘in hand’ mags!

I just need to figure out a way to organize all the recipe indexes into one spot so I don’t have to look through all my issues when I’m trying to find either a recipe I’ve tried and liked or looking for some new ideas!  I’d love some advice on that!  The only thing I can figure to do right now is to ‘copy’ the index page from each issue and put them in a binder.  I would think that would save me some time.  I’m sure if I was ambitious enough I could make my own digital index by hand typing in all the indexes…. but that would take hours!

It was really fun today to have enough of the ingredients on hand to just be able to make this salad on a whim!  I guess it goes to show that trying to eat healthy most of the time can pay off when you have lots of fresh fruits and veggies around!  Now I just need to get brave and try making up my own recipes!

I am Grateful!  How are You?

Wanda’s Taco Soup Recipe

I had a lot of requests for my Taco soup recipe that I talked about a few days ago….. so here is my attempt to write up a recipe that I totally threw together….. please read the note at the bottom of the recipe!  I hope you just experiment and have fun!

Wanda’s Taco Soup

5 quarts of water

½ cup beef soup base (from Costco or Sam’s)

1 can tomato paste

1 ½ lb of lean hamburger

1 med. Onion, chopped

salt                             1 tsp?

pepper                       ½ tsp?

cumin                        1 Tb?

chili powder            2 Tb?

oregano                    2 tsp?

onion powder         1 tsp?

garlic powder         1 tsp?

dash of cayenne

dash of red pepper flakes

1 Tb. corn starch

2 small cans tomato sauce

3 small cans V8 juice (1- 12 oz would work too)

3-4 cups of black beans (2 cans?)

2 cans corn

2 cans of diced tomatoes

In large stock pot, bring water to slight boil…. Dissolve beef soup base, then dissolve tomato paste.  Add diced tomatoes, V8 juice, corn and black beans… simmer.    Brown hamburger in a large skillet.  Add onion and saute together for a few minutes. Season with spices to taste.  Add corn starch and stir through mixture.  Add about ¼ cup water to mixture and let simmer for a few minutes to thicken.  Stir in tomato sauce.  When heated through… stir hamburger mixture into stock pot.   Simmer about 10-20 minutes to let spices take hold.

Serve with garnishes:  Mexican cheese, sour cream, fresh chopped cilantro, and crushed tortilla chips (I use the “Food Should Taste Good” brand, in the black and white bag,  from Costco….. they are the best chips ever!)

Serves:  a LOT!  (approx 12-14 large servings)

This soup actually tastes better a day or two old because the spices are really absorbed into the liquid.  Yum!

NOTE:  other than the list of canned items….. the amounts of the other ingredients are a guess at best.  I just threw it together with out measuring….. using what we had around the house.  I had just cooked up a big batch of black beans and wanted to make some soup with them…. So I did!  It turned out great.  Just adjust spices till the flavors taste good to you…..or use taco seasoning.   I think you could easily switch to a chicken base and use shredded chicken if you prefer.  Also…. Whatever kind of beans tickle your fancy.  Its basically a flavored (beef or chicken) tomato base liquid with all the stuff in there to make it a Mexican flavor.  You could add green chilis, etc..… whatever you like.  Just experiment and have fun!

UPDATE — September 26, 2012

I made this soup for a large party last weekend.  I did a few things different than above.  First of all…. I forgot to put the tomato paste with the hamburger mixture and just put it in the pot with the other tomato products.  I also forgot to add corn starch to the hamburger mixture.  (I actually used ground turkey instead of beef)   It still turned out great.

I also used frozen corn instead of canned…. added quite a bit and then also added two cans of Kidney beans to the mix.  I also added an extra quart of water because I was feeding a big crowd.  And in case you are wondering about the spice amounts…. I pretty much followed what I had suggested above and it worked great.  Just experiment to your taste!

The soup was delicious and a big hit!  It DID simmer for hours because the party was not till late in the evening and the I made the soup in the late afternoon.  I think that’s why it tasted so good at the first serving.  Maybe a slow cook version of this would work too…. but the amounts listed above make a LOT of soup!  You’ll need a big crock pot or reduce the amounts.

Our garnishes were my favorites….. sour cream, Mexican cheese, crushed tortilla chips and a little fresh cilantro.  Go for it and have fun!