Guru Rabbit

Turn a new leaf (and EAT it)

They Knew… April 17, 2013

Filed under: Random,Recipes — rabbit @ 4:10 pm
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So I was going through some photos, making myself feel old

When I stumbled across the first pets I ever had.

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I tried to feed them Trix cereal because I felt sorry for them.

(Does anyone else remember Trix before they were fruit shapes?!?)

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Anywho.

It occurred to me that Thumper and Snowball were the prophecy of my future rabbit food lifestyle.

Talk about a revelation :p

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This salad is not exactly a revelation.

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But I’d like to think it’s just as tasty.

At work last week we had our minds on arugula.  We like arugula…  So I started thinking of something light, yet rich.  Something with personality.  The peppery bite of arugula; buttery-smooth avocado; and the nerdy-looking, often ridiculed, asparagus.  But asparagus gets to be cool here.  Because it’s shining in it’s raw form: crisp, a little bitter, but sweet, and dressed in simple spices and lemon.  And this bunch was purple.  Yeah, purple!

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Arugula, Avocado & Asparagus Salad

Ingredients:

2 big handfuls of arugula

1 1/2 cups (more or less if you’d like) of chopped raw asparagus*

1 medium avocado

1 lemon

salt, pepper, and smoked paprika to taste

Optional: Nuts or seeds, dried fruit, sprouts, etc.

*If you’re really against eating asparagus raw, you can lightly steam it.  Pansy.

1) Dump that arugula in a medium bowl!  Good job!

2) Now toss in the asparagus!  Yeah!

3) Okay, for serious now…  Slice the avocado in half, remove the seed, and criss-cross the flesh with your knife.  Then just scoop the cubes out with a spoon into the salad.

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4) Sprinkle salt, pepper, and paprika onto the mixture.  I like to be generous with the paprika for its sweet and savory touch.  Zest the lemon onto the salad and toss the mixture to distribute the spices.  Add the juice of the lemon, and toss again.

The salad is good to go at this point.  But as indicated above, you can add other tidbits.

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Such as walnuts and dried figs…  Ooh

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For serious.  This salad.  Rabbit approved.

 

My Brain vs. Reality March 27, 2013

Filed under: Random,Recipes — rabbit @ 7:14 am
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I wish you could see the recipe ideas I have in my noggin, the list of inspirations sitting in my laptop that have yet to be attempted.

I wish you could be there when the light bulb over my head brightens, and I start getting all food-geek on whoever’s next to me.

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It’s frustrating when you have all these sparks going off in your head…

But you lack the ingredients, time, money, energy, or motivation.

To.  Just.  Focus.

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Fortunately, other things still happen.  Everything just kinda falls into place…

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Much like other things in life.

Millet & Black Bean Stuffed Poblanos

This recipe is an impromptu result of seeing poblano peppers on sale at the farmer’s market.  The Mexican in me cannot resist.  Everything else I had on hand, but at the end of the recipe I shall offer variation depending on what you have.

Ingredients:

4 medium poblano peppers

1/2 cup finely chopped carrots

1/2 cup finely chopped mushrooms

1/2 cup diced onion

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 cup millet

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1 cup cooked black beans

a handful of chopped fresh cilantro

1) Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Brush the peppers with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and roast until the skins become wrinkly and tender.

2) While the peppers are roasting, heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a medium saucepan.  Add the carrots, mushrooms, onion and garlic.  Cook over medium-low heat until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Add the millet and spices (cumin through thyme).  Stir the mixture around to toast the millet and distribute the spices.  Add 3/4 cup water, lower the heat to a simmer, and cover.  After 20-30 minutes, all the water should be absorbed and the millet fluffy.  It’s like cooking rice, don’t freak out.  Once the millet is done, remove from heat, and add the black beans, cilantro and salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.

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3) The annoying part:  once the poblano peppers are cool enough to handle, cut out the stems, and slice the peppers almost in half lengthwise,  leaving some connection so that they resemble wings.  Use your fingers to scrape out the seeds.

4) Generously fill one half of each pepper with the millet mixture, fold over the other half, and place in a baking dish.  Repeat until all the peppers are stuffed.

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At this point, you can refrigerate the peppers until you are ready to heat and serve.  Otherwise, pop them in the oven until hot.  Any temperature between 350°F and 450°F  should be fine.

Variations: Millet is a wonderful, relatively inexpensive grain I finally tried, but rice, quinoa, barley, etc. can be substituted.  Just check the water and time requirement for cooking.  Any type of cooked bean, peas or lentils can also replace the black beans.  And if poblanos are too hot for you (though they’re fairly mild), you can use bell peppers which have no heat at all; the only issue is that bell peppers tend to be larger, so you may need to make more filling

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Ideas on how to serve…

Melted cheese.  Avocado or guacamole.  Hot sauce.  Salsa.  Sour cream…

Y’know. Whatever you got.

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Sea Monsters March 16, 2013

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In the depths of the Pacific ocean…

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There live horrifying, many-tentacled creatures

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That are just chock-full of iodine, calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper, zinc

and vitamins A, B, C, E, and K!  And fiber!

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I feel like seaweed is rather underrated, just because of its odd appearance, and the fact that it is indeed called “sea-weed“.  I think they should be called “sea-greens“.  Because nutritionally, eating seaweed is very much like eating greens such as spinach, broccoli, kale, chard, collards, turnip and mustard greens.  And depending on the type of seaweed, it can often be cooked like our better-known western greens.  Soups, salads, stir-fried or sauteed, mixed with grains, beans, and other proteins…

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Such as a multi-grain tempeh.

I’ve tried a few different types of seaweed– kombu, kelp, dulse, hijiki, laver, and of course, nori, the type that is used for sushi rolling.  When it comes to preparing seaweed at home, wakame– what you see in my photos here– is my favorite so far.  It’s got a mild flavor and melds well with different condiments and spices.  And at least with the packages I’ve found, it’s hardly salty at all.  I don’t feel like I’m eating the ocean when I eat wakame.  Many seaweeds need to be boiled, rinsed, boiled again, rinsed again…  With this stuff, I just rehydrate with cool water, and drain.  Bam.  I also like that a small amount when dried yields quite a bit once rehydrated and ready to eat.  So a few bucks for a big package means a long-lasting source of a nutritious vegetable.  Rather convenient in case of emergency budgeting, or the wrath of a hurricane.

Simple Tempeh & Wakame

Ingredients:

a handful of dried wakame (you may need scissors to cut off the desired amount from the rest of the package)

1 8-oz package of tempeh*

2 Tbsp sesame oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 an onion, thinly sliced

about 1/4 cup rice wine (or any white cooking wine)

2-3 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari

2-3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar

Optional: Schichimi spice blend, or a dash of cayenne and ginger

*You can also use extra firm tofu, and/or a cup or two of some cooked grain or noodles

1) In a large bowl, cover the wakame with cool water and let sit for 5-6 minutes, or until soft.  Drain, and chop into bite-size pieces.  Slice the tempeh into bite-size pieces as well.  Set aside.

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2) In a large pan or wok, heat the sesame oil over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic and onion, and lower the heat to medium.  When the onion begins to soften and caramelize a bit, add the wakame and tempeh.  Cook for a few minutes, until the tempeh starts to brown.

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3) Add the wine, and allow that to simmer to a reduction.  Then add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, and spices if using.  Taste and adjust.  If the soy sauce is too strong, add more rice vinegar.  If the flavor is dull, add more soy sauce, extra spices, or some salt and pepper.

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And people think I don’t eat seafood anymore… :p

 

The Colors… March 2, 2013

Filed under: Recipes — rabbit @ 12:38 pm
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The first artistic talents I ever displayed were visual.

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I was four years old and would draw, and draw, and draw.

And draw.

This obsessive drawing led to obsessive painting as well.  And eventually a collection of art awards in high school.  First place, Best of Show, a scholarship, and a few other awards,  but I have no idea which shows they were from…  I just remember begrudgingly attending the shows because I was the “angry artist” type…  I still am… Sorta… but I use knives instead of pencils and paint brushes now.

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Naturally, my color palette is important to me.

I’m… “drawn”… to earthy colors in particular (see what I did there?).

Various shades of dusty red, rustic orange, warm yellow

deep purples and aquas

and ESPECIALLY olive green.

I love greens.

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That’s a pun, peeps…

So I found these beautiful mustard greens at the farmer’s market.  I’ve never eaten mustard greens, and they were cheap, so I went after them.  Already knowing that mustard greens are pretty damn bitter, I still tasted a couple leaves raw.  Yeesh.   Yeah, pretty bitter, even for someone who eats packets of mustard…

So then I talked to Chef at work, and his answer was sugar.  Saute garlic, onions, add brown sugar…  I thought, “Okay, but… I’m too cool for that…”  I thought up something else, but based on the idea of sugar.

Apricots & Mustard Greens

Ingredients:

about 1 cup dried apricots, chopped in halves or quarters

half an onion, thinly sliced

1 bunch of mustard greens*

1 cup sweet wine (apricot, sherry, marsala, etc.) OR 3/4 cup vegetable broth mixed with 1/4 cup honey, maple, or agave syrup

salt & pepper to taste

*You can try this with just about any greens– turnip, collards, even kale or Swiss chard.  Remove the stems and ribs of the leaves  if you don’t want to spend a lot of time chewing ^_^

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In a large pan or pot, spread out the apricots, then the onion slices, and then the mustard greens.  Pour in the wine or broth mixture, and turn the heat to medium high.  When the liquid is simmering and the greens near the bottom begin to soften, start stirring everything around.  The greens will soon reduce greatly.  Lower the heat to medium, and stir occasionally, to ensure even cooking.  Over the next 15-20 minutes, keep lowering the heat to prevent the liquid from evaporating too fast.  While it’s cooking, the natural sugars of the apricots and wine (or broth elixir) will counteract the bitterness of the greens, which is why you want to keep the simmer going for a while.  The onions will also take on some sweetness.  Let them infuse!  When the cooking liquid is syrupy, add salt and pepper to your liking.  If the greens are still bitter, gradually add extra honey/maple/agave syrup and cook a few minutes longer.

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Sweet, peppery, lots of texture, and not at all bitter.

You can also saute everything in olive oil before you add the liquid, to really heighten the flavor.

Raisins or dried cherries are acceptable substitutes for the apricots.  (I just love dried apricots).

Serve alongside some rice, polenta, quinoa, or your grain of choice.

And topped with some chopped nuts, or crumbled cheese.

Yes.

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No Mercy for the Cha-Cha February 19, 2013

Filed under: Interestin' Food Info,Recipes — rabbit @ 11:11 am
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            2013-02-17 19.04.39    Hey everyone.

This is Cha-Cha the Chayote.

Hello, Cha-Cha.

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Good-bye, Cha-Cha.

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I know.  You barely knew Cha-Cha.

You didn’t get to hear about Cha-Cha’s relatives, such as the squash, cucumber, and melon.  You didn’t get to hear about Cha-Cha’s Central American origins, and popularity around the world– Brazil, India, Thailand, The Philippines, Taiwan, Australia, Louisiana…  Damn, Cha-Cha, you got around.  Not surprised, I guess, you’re pretty tasty.  Mildly sweet and pleasant.  Crisp when raw, tender when cooked.  And you pair so well with so many flavors!

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Let’s do Cha-Cha some justice.

Add some garlic, onion, carrot.

And we got some coconut and cilantro waiting by…

Coconut, Cilantro, and Chayote Medley

Ingredients:

1-2 garlic cloves, minced

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 medium chayote, cut in into bite-size chunks

1 medium carrot, sliced into coins

1/2 cup cooked garbanzos

2-3 Tbsp pumpkin seeds

juice of 1 lime

a few dashes each of cumin and cinnamon

2-3 Tbsp shredded, unsweetened coconut

a couple handfuls of cilantro leaves

salt and pepper to taste

1) Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the garlic and onion.  Once the onion begins to soften, add the chayote and carrot.  Cook for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chayote and carrot have started to char and become tender.

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2) Add the garbanzos and pumpkin seeds, and cook for a couple minutes more.  Add the lime juice, then the cumin and cinnamon, and stir.  Finally, add the coconut and cilantro, salt and pepper.

Serve alongside some rice, Asian flatbread such as naan or roti, or with some tortilla chips and salsa.  If you chop the chayote and carrots smaller, this would also be a great taco filling.

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I can see a lot of you thinking how weird this dish is.

Okay, maybe it is…  But it’s delicious.

It draws inspiration from Mexican and Southeast Asian cuisine.

It’s hearty, kinda sweet, kinda smokey, a little tangy.

Trust me.  Trust in Cha-Cha.

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Give Parsnip a Chance January 24, 2013

Filed under: Random,Recipes — rabbit @ 5:26 pm
Tags: , , , ,

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I’ve been meaning to work with parsnip.  Sort of.

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Because I see it all the time at the markets, and I know how it tastes

and the array of dishes one can make with it…

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But I feel like it it often gets pushed aside.

Is it the name?  Pars. Nip.  Par. Snip.

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I dunno.

To me, parsnip is like… if a potato and a carrot had a baby.

A nice, sweet,  but awkward child that nobody really talks to.

Probably because its name is Parsnip.

(If I ever have a kid, its name will be Parsnip.)

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And little Parsnip will make great gnocchi.

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Parsnip Gnocchi with Caramelized Onions & Gorgonzola

This recipe is based on my Plantain Gnocchi, but I basically swapped out the plantain for parsnip.  Parsnip yields a slightly sweeter flavor and pairs nicely with the onions and tangy Gorgonzola.  You can also try folding in a bit of the cheese into the gnocchi dough… whoa…  Also, when I made this, I was using half the ingredients as listed.  The amount I made could feed two, so these quantities should be good for four peeps.

Ingredients:

4 large parsnip roots, peeled and cut into equal sizes

2 eggs, at room temperature

2 cups flour*

optional: fresh or dried herbs of your choice (I used chopped fresh sage)

salt and pepper to taste

1 sweet onion, thinly sliced

1/2 cup or more of crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

*I used amaranth flour to make a gluten-free version, just because.  I think the lack of gluten also made these gnocchi really tender, even after they’ve been refrigerated (which is good if you like eating leftovers straight from the fridge).  Using wheat flour will likely make the texture a little more firm, but I don’t imagine in a bad way, since that’s what is traditionally used in gnocchi.

1) Steam or roast the parsnip until tender.  I roasted mine (350°F for about an hour, coated in olive oil, salt and pepper) because I have an obsession with roasting veggies, apparently.  Steaming might make them easier to puree later on though.

2) Once cool enough to handle, puree the parsnip in a food processor, using the eggs (and scraping down occasionally) to help achieve a smooth consistency.  I also required a few tablespoons of water, FYI.  Transfer the puree to a medium bowl, and gradually combine with the flour, until you have a dough that is easy to handle but still a bit sticky (if you need more flour, add a tablespoon or two at a time).  Fold in the salt, pepper, and herbs if using.  Set dough aside to rest.

3) Caramelize the onion by cooking over medium-low heat in a bit of olive oil.  Stir frequently, until the onion is evenly browned and smells like angel sweat.  Remove from heat and set aside.

4) Shape your gnocchi.  Flour your hands and your counter top, or a large cutting board.  As you can see, I did thumbprints (again).  You can also roll the dough into a snake and just cut equal-sized pieces from that, or if you have any special tools or techniques, go for it.  Once all the dough is shaped, bring a pot of water to a gentle boil.  In small batches, lower the gnocchi into the water, and once they float to the top, take them out and set aside.  Repeat until all the gnocchi is cooked.

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5) Combine the gnocchi with the caramelized onion, reheating if necessary on low.  Then transfer to a bowl and toss with the Gorgonzola.  Enjoy while thinking about which vegetable you would name your child after.  I also may consider Broccoli…

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Sharing is Yummy January 20, 2013

Filed under: Recipes — rabbit @ 9:44 am
Tags: , , , , ,

I like to provide things when I can.  I try to be helpful, generous, solution-giving, etc.  I like to produce.

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So when someone asks for a recipe, because they so adored the dish when I first served it

2013-01-17 18.46.04   Damn right I’m gonna supply.

So yeah.  I made this Shepherd’s Pie for Thanksgiving.  And I kinda winged it, and didn’t record the recipe.

The “meat” portion is based on/inspired by my awesomely awesome chili.

The texture of the finely chopped veggies, legumes, and the wonderful blend of spices makes a great alternative to ground beef.

Lots of flavor going on, people.

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Then there’s mashedly mashed potatoes.

I boiled the tah-toes with their own skins, plenty of salt, and some peppercorns.

Can’t hurt to add a little extras when you boil something…

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(Can you see my reflection in the wonderful Professional Kitchenaid Mixer, Tia Malena??)

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Green things = chives.  Because everyone likes chives, right?

Yellow cube things: buttah.  Because, damnit.

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients:

for the filling-

1 medium carrot

1 pint mushrooms

1 medium tomato

1 small onion (or half medium

1-2 garlic cloves, depending on your liking for garlic

1/2 cup red lentils (you can use other types of lentils, but they may require longer cooking time)

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp coriander

approx 1 cup liquid (broth, beer, water, etc.)

drizzle of soy sauce or tamari

salt and pepper to taste

for the mashed potatoes-

3 large Russet potatoes

2 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper or peppercorns (optional)

1 1/4 cup sour cream (maybe a little more if necessary)

1/4 cup (4 Tbsp) butter

1 bunch of chives, finely chopped

salt and pepper to taste

1) Make the filling.  Finely chop the carrot, mushrooms, tomato, onion and garlic.  Drizzle some olive oil in large pot and turn the heat to medium-high.  Now throw in all the veggies and lentils.  When things start to get hot, lower the heat to medium, and cover the pot partially.  Stir occasionally as the liquid from the shrooms and tomatoes evaporates.  Meanwhile, combine the spices in a small bowl.  When the mixture has lost most of its liquid, stir in the spices, then add the broth, or whatever you’re using (I used a combination of hard cider and water).  Also add the soy sauce.  Bonus: I had some fresh thyme and sage from my new patio garden and threw that in.  Allow to cook until the mixture has a chili-like consistency and the lentils are done.  Add salt and pepper to your liking.  Spread filling into a 9-inch pie plate, or an 8×8 inch baking dish (or something equivalent).  Set aside.

2) Make the mashed potatoes.  Peel the potatoes, and combine them with their skins, salt, and pepper (if using) in a large pot.  (The skin adds a bit of flavor).  Add enough water to cover the potatoes and put to boil for about half an hour, or until they are tender.  Once done, transfer the hot potatoes to a large bowl.  Reserve the water they were boiled in.  Break them up with a knife or large fork, then start mashing with either a mixer or potato masher.  Add the butter, and mix/mash it in until it’s melted.  Now mix in the sour cream, then the reserved cooking water as necessary until it’s smooth, creamy and fluffy.  Gradually add chives, salt and pepper to taste, and more sour cream if you feel it’s needed.

3) Spread the potatoes over the filling.  Make it fluffy!!  If you’re like me, more salt and pepper over the top.  Then we’re gonna be bad… and dot some little cubes of butter all over before this baby hits the oven.  And bake at 350°F, though you can turn the temperature higher if you’re lacking patience…  Until the potatoes are lightly browned…  And that butter has melted and adorned the crevices like rivers running through mountains…

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You can serve this right away.  Maybe along a nice salad like this one.

Or this one.

And for dessert, maybe some Cranberry Orange Banana Bread?

And/or irresistible Pumpkin Blondies?

Some notes…  This recipe can be adjusted in various ways.  For one, you can use different veggies than listed.  Just keep texture in mind.  You don’t want a mushy filling, so different types of mushrooms, root veggies, lentils, corn, quinoa, etc, are good options.  Second, you can use different types of potatoes, but some are more waxy versus starchy like Russets, so do your research and see what will be good for mashing.  Third, want to make this a little healthier?  Use Greek yogurt mixed with the juice of one lemon instead of sour cream.  And olive oil instead of butter?  Totally okay.  FOURTH!  Want to make it vegan?  There are plenty of vegan substitutes for butter and sour cream.  But if you have trouble getting them near you, just ask, I’ll help you out with what you got.

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And finally… Share =)