theboxexperiment

Attempting to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

Vegan Brown Sugar Blondies February 21, 2012

Filed under: Dessert,Snack — theboxexperiment @ 5:00 pm
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I found this recipe while searching vegan/dairy free blogs. I’ve convinced myself this recipe is quite healthy (please don’t make me accept the truth ūüôā ). They are absolutely fantastic, JEM loved them. I am bringing them to school as well, hopefully the kids find them just as yummy.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup¬†margarine¬†OR coconut oil, softened
  • 6 ounces coconut milk or soy yogurt
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 cups white flour, spelt flour, or whole wheat pastry flour
  • 8 ounces chocolate chips (chose dairy free if you want these to be truly vegan)
  • Sprinkles (again, if you want these to be vegan make sure you buy vegan sprinkles)

Directions:

  1. With a mixer, beat together the margarine, yogurt, and brown sugar.
  2. Add the baking powder, salt, and vanilla.
  3. Mix in the flour until just combine.
  4. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  5. Press into a lightly greased 9×9 baking dish, top with sprinkles.
  6. Then bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, or until the edges of light golden brown.

Enjoy!!!

 

Original post can be found at: http://www.cheekykitchen.com/2012/02/vegan-brown-sugar-blondies.html

 

Orzo Pasta Salad July 7, 2011

Filed under: Dinner,Vegetable — theboxexperiment @ 9:06 pm
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This is one of our favorite summer salads, I first found it on Food Network from Giada De Laurentiis.This is a fresh, light, tasty salad. It¬†is an easy make ahead dish and keeps really well in the fridge for a few days. It’s a quick dish to make, the longest part is waiting for the pasta to cool off slightly. Some like this dish on the warm side (not hot!) and on the cool side. So if you don’t want to wait, you can make this while it’s warm.

Great for a summer potluck or a picnic at your favorite water-side place. It’s also fantastic¬†for a quick weeknight dinner.

Quick Note: the recipe below makes a very large amount of this stuff, I would make the full recipe if I were feeding 4+ people (it’s normally¬†perfect for about 6 with no leftovers). For just the 2 of us, I cut the recipe in half and we have enough leftovers for another full dinner side.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb orzo pasta
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups baby spinach (about 3 oz)
  • 3/4 cup feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 12 fresh torn basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (sunflower seeds, cashews, and macadamia nuts work well as well)
  • 3 tbsp of fresh lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
Steps
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heats.
  2. Add the pasta. Cook until tender but still firm to the bite (about 8-10 minutes).
  3. Drain pasta and set aside to cool.
  4. Once the orzo is cool, transfer to a large serving bowl.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients.
  6. Toss gently to combine.
  7. Enjoy
 

Buttery Corn Bread June 30, 2011

Filed under: Bread,Dinner — theboxexperiment @ 9:44 am
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Last night we were going to grill pork, make garlicy green beans, and corn bread. The green beans were a bust- a few bad ones spoiled the bag so we had to resort to a bean and corn salsa¬† for our veggie. The corn bread turned out FANTASTIC, it is so light and airy. Fresh out of the oven it didn’t need any extra butter, this morning it still doesn’t need anything extra. This recipe doesn’t have a strong corn flavor. If you want it to taste more like corn, increase the amount of corn flour and decrease the amount of regular flour.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup sugar (I made it a short cup and the bread still turned out sweet, next time I may use even less, say 2/3 cup)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups milk
  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Steps
  1. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.
  2. In a separate small bowl, combine the eggs and milk.
  3. In yet another small bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt
  4. Alternating, add the egg mixture and the flour mixture to the butter sugar mixture.
  5. Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking pan.
  6. Bake at 400 degrees  for 22-27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
  7. Cut into squares; serve warm.
  8. Enjoy
 

Macaroni and Cheese June 21, 2011

Filed under: Dinner,Lunch,Vegetable — theboxexperiment @ 10:47 am
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My youngest sister, AbEm, is in town and is a very active kid, so yesterday she and I went on a hike at Great Falls on the Maryland side. We had planned on doing the Billy Goat Trail Section A but I ran a 10 mile race on Saturday and my legs were still very sore. The B.G. trail is supposed to be a good hike, but with some steep rock scrambles that I was worried about being able to do. So we went on a flatter hike, the Gold Mine Hike. It was so beautiful, everything was the bright green and because it was a weekday without many people there we got to see 15-18 deer. The first on our drive in, then one that was about 5 feet from us on a trail, and a family of 5 (2 babies, 1 mom, and 1 male)! ¬†The gold mine is slightly disappointing (mostly because we didn’t do enough research about it before we headed out.) It was in operation from the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s.¬†The mine doesn’t look like much, at this point its a falling down shack with a chain link fence around it. Post-hike research says the mine shaft is dangerous so the average hiker is prohibited from getting close to it.

It was a good long hike so we were quite hungry by early afternoon and were very excited for the mac cheese that we planned to make. This is by far the best macaroni and cheese recipes I have ever made. It came from JEM’s family and both AbEm and J love it. It is flavorful, cheesy, and very easy to make (though a bit time consuming). This is a make ahead type dish. Depending on your schedule you could make the pasta ahead of time or make all of it ahead of time then seal it and bake it later. If you need to travel with it, you could also make it, bake it for half the time, wrap it up, and finish baking it when you get to your place.

 

 

Potato Salad May 29, 2011

Filed under: Dinner,Lunch,Snack,Vegetable — theboxexperiment @ 11:13 am
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It’s officially summertime and with summer comes barbecues, picnics, and hot weather. That can only mean grilling and cold salads. I made our first batch of potato salad yesterday and it turned out pretty well. I never remember what I put into it, so I’m here to share with you (and give myself a permanent record!).

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs of potatoes (red, white, yukon…)
  • 1/4 cup of mayo
  • 1 tsp of dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 green bell pepper
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1/4 yellow or red onion or scallions
When I made this I was using 5 lbs of potatoes, so the proportions might be slightly off.
Steps
  1. Wash and cut potatoes into similar sized pieces.
  2. Put in a pot and fill with water until the potatoes are just covered.
  3. Bring potatoes to a boil, once boiling lower the temperature till its lightly boiling. Keep on heat for ~15 mins, until potatoes are tender but not mushy. (If you stick a knife, it should go in and slide off easily.)
  4. Drain and fill pot with cold water. Let sit for a few minutes, drain and rinse with cold water again.
  5. While the potatoes are boiling, chop the pepper and onion into small pieces. (Onion to add flavor so you can omit if you don’t like it, peppers to add color and flavor)
  6. Mix the mayo and dijon mustard.
  7. Once the potatoes are slightly cool, mix the potatoes, peppers, onion, and mayo/dijon mixture together until the potatoes are coated.
  8. Salt and pepper to taste.
  9. At this point you can serve immediately or you can store in the fridge for up to a day. (Making this a great make ahead dish!)
  10. Enjoy!!
 

Penne w/ Vodka Sauce April 27, 2011

Filed under: Dinner — theboxexperiment @ 9:49 pm
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This is one of my absolute favorite dishes. There is a pizza/pasta place in my hometown where I get it most often (Michelangelo’s Pizza, Pasta and Things gotta love family Italian cooking). We went home for Easter and I picked it up for Friday night…I was in heaven.

I actually got the idea to cook this years ago when visiting a high school friend at Dartmouth. He snagged a recipe from his mom and we made it for a bunch of his friends. (It’s on this trip that I discovered how awesome mozzarella balls and balsamic is). If a college boy can do it…I knew I can too ūüôā

I made this for the first time a few months ago, but last night JEM made it for me as part of a celebratory dinner. He did a GREAT job, it was unbelievable and paired very nicely with garlic bread and champagne.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb penne pasta
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion OR 2 to 3 shallots
  • Scant 3/4 tsp salt, divided
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper OR 1 dried red chili, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with the liquids
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 3 Tbsp thinly sliced fresh basil
  • Shaved or grated parmesan cheese, to garnish
  • Additional fresh basil leaves (optional)
Steps
  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and keep warm.
  2. Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Add onion to pan; sauté until tender.
  4. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, pepper, and garlic; sauté 1 minute.
  5. Add vodka (when cooking with alcohol, there is always a chance it catches on fire, so be very careful); bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes or until liquid reduces by about half.
  7. Stir in short 1/2 teaspoon salt, broth, and tomatoes; bring to a boil.
  8. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.
  9. Remove skillet from heat and let cool slightly.
  10. Pour tomato mixture in a blender. (Remove center piece of blender lid–to allow steam to escape; and secure the lid on blender.) Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatter), and process until smooth.
  11. Return tomato mixture to pan.
  12. Mix in cream, then cook the sauce for 2 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly.
  13. Remove from heat. Stir in cooked pasta and basil.
  14. Enjoy immediately.
Pictures coming soon!!!
 

Zucchini w/ Rice April 4, 2011

Filed under: Dinner,Poutlry,Vegetable — theboxexperiment @ 7:53 pm
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Tonight’s dinner was fantastic and simple. More importantly made in 25 minutes!!! We’ve been getting slower about cooking, making us eat later and later. After having dinner at 8 one night, we agreed that we needed to eat at an earlier time so we could get some decent night’s sleep.

For the grilled chicken: coat the chicken in a bit of olive oil and use whatever chicken seasoning you like. We use McCormick Montreal Chicken Seasoning, one of the best pre-made ones we’ve found. Then grill till cooked (~15 mins for 1 chicken breast).

On to the main recipe: zucchini w/ rice. Inspired by the 2 zucchini from last weeks box.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 2 zucchini peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 tbls olive oil
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp garlic
  • 1 can tomato paste (a little one)
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/2 c. chopped yellow onion
  • 1 tsp garlic powder (opt.)
  • 1 tsp onion powder (opt.)
  • 1 tsp dried basil (opt.)

Steps:

  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet.
  2. Add the garlic and zucchini.
  3. Saute until soft (~15 mins.)
  4. Once soft add tomato paste, water, onion.
  5. Saute until the tomato paste and water combine.
  6. Add the other seasons, mix till joined.
  7. Add in rice. (We used less than 1 c.–closer to 2/3 of a cup)
  8. Serve and Enjoy.

The seasonings are not yet perfect. Tomato paste has a very strong flavor: salt, onion, garlic, and basil did a pretty good job improving it. Feel free to tweak, if you find something that works well, let me know!!