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Review of Sun Basket Food Delivery

 

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I will admit that I kind of turned my nose up to the Hello Fresh’s of the world, I cook all the time, I don’t need anybody sending me deconstructed meals to prepare when I can buy it locally from the store, right? But then I read about Sun Basket, a California based company that only sends organic ingredients that are non-GMO and clean. I looked into it more and found the recipes are chef-driven, that you can request special diets like paleo, gluten free or vegetarian and they had a special price for first timers. I decided to try it.

When I signed up, I still had a couple of kids in the house, so I ordered three meals for four people and I got to choose the specific dinners from about eight choices for the following week. The food arrived on a Wednesday, packed well with dry ice for the meats and all ingredients were fresh. A booklet with easy to follow recipes comes inside the box, and it has all the recipes that were offered for that week, so you could make something else yourself that you didn’t order. Each recipe tells you how long it should take to prepare (and tends to be accurate) and all the nutritional info you could want.

How does it taste? We have really enjoyed most of the recipes. None have been bad, but because I love to cook, I have a lot of my own recipes, and I quickly learned it is best for me to choose food that I don’t normally cook; Thai, Vietnamese and Indian have been our favorites so far. I have noticed there is little to no dairy in each meal, and very little gluten.  After the first two deliveries, I decided to modify my order and found that it was fine to drop down to two paleo meals for two people each week, about half of what I was doing originally. This seems to fit our lifestyle better, and the cost comes out to about $25 per meal (including shipping).

Bottom line: we are going to continue using Sun Basket because it is a good way for me to experiment with different recipes that reflect the qualities we want in our food, and we can know the nutritional information of what we are eating. It’s a good feeling to know for sure that you have everything you need to pull together a quick dinner and it is fun to try some new ideas.

It looks like they have another special for new customers. Please let me know if you try it!

https://try.sunbasket.com/?offer=A-LQSEM35&SCID=BCPC&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Brand%20-%20Sun%20Basket:FullExpansion&utm_content=Sun%20Basket%20-%20Promo&utm_term=sun%20basket%20coupon&akd=81913627378110+kwd-39633923759+c

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Gluten Free Vegetarian Lasagna

img_2479We do eat gluten in our house, but a lot of my friends and my kid’s friends do not, so I wanted to have a recipe for something we could all enjoy. I found gluten free rice pasta by a company called DeBole’s at our store and honestly I cannot tell the difference. I only buy oven ready lasagna noodles, and DeBole’s came through. Does anybody boil lasagna noodles first these days? I would never make the dish.

1 box gluten free lasagna, oven ready

2 jars marinara sauce, or 4-6 cups of homemade sauce

2T olive oil

1 large zucchini, sliced

1 large squash, sliced

5-6 portobello mushrooms, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 red pepper, chopped

2 c fresh spinach

1 1/2 large cartons cottage cheese

3/4 c parmesan cheese

2 eggs

1/4 jar pesto (small jar)

8 0z mozzarella

Place olive oil in a skillet and heat it up. Add the sliced and chopped vegetables and allow to cook 5-10 minutes, enough to become soft. Set aside.

Mix together the cottage cheese, parmesan, eggs and pesto in a large bowl. Set aside.

Pour 1/4 jar of marinara sauce into 9×13 pan. Place one layer of noodles over the sauce. Pour 1/2 of the cheese mixture onto the sauce and spread over the whole pan.  Scatter 1/2 of the cooked vegetables over the cheese mixture. Top with all the spinach. Repeat layers, ending with vegetables on top. Pour the second jar of marinara sauce over the top and spread it to seal the whole pan. Top with the mozzarella and any remaining parmesan cheese.

Refrigerate for up to 2 days and bake covered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, then uncovered for 30 minutes. If baking immediately, reduce uncovered time to 15 minutes. Allow to set for 10-15 minutes before serving.

 

 

 

 

West African Peanut Soup with Kale and Sweet Potatoes

africansoupShauna Niequist is an author who I follow, and she has amazing recipes along with powerful insight. This past week she posted a picture of this soup (which I am using) without sharing the recipe and I couldn’t get it out of my head, so I found one on New Your Times recipe site by Mark Bittman. I had almost every ingredient, just had to replenish the sweet potatoes and we were set.

West African Peanut Soup with Kale and Sweet Potatoes

2T oil

1 medium red or white onion, chopped (I used white)

1T minced ginger

1T minced garlic (I used 2-3 cloves)

1/2 lb chicken (I omitted)

3/4 c roasted, unsalted peanuts, roughly chopped

pinch cayenne (I used 1/2 teaspoon)

salt

pepper

6 c chicken stock (I used fresh turkey broth)

2 sweet potatoes, chopped in large chunks

14 oz stewed tomatoes

1/2 lb kale, but into bite sized pieces

1/3 to 1/2 c natural peanut butter

Pour oil into a deep skillet and heat on medium for a minute. Add onions, ginger and garlic and heat till onions are translucent, 3-5 minutes. Add chicken and cook till changing color, another three minutes. Add 1/2 c peanuts, cayenne, salt and pepper.

Stir in the stock and sweet potatoes, bring to a boil, and turn down to medium-low heat. Add tomatoes and kale and cook for ten minutes. Stir in peanut butter and taste to determine if you need more, I used 1/2 cup, cook till heated through. Serve with remaining peanuts sprinkled on top. 4-6 servings.

 

 

 

Fallen Chocolate Cake (gluten free)

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I wanted to take something deeply chocolate to a friend’s house the other night, and he needs his food to be gluten-free, so it was a good excuse to finally make this cake. I saw it in Bon Appetit magazine a couple of years ago and tucked it away, I really like the idea of it being an obviously fallen cake. It was dense and fudgy, not overly sweet at all, and really needed the whipped cream to offset the richness of it.

Fallen Chocolate Cake

1/2 c unsalted butter

3/4 c plus 2T sugar

10 oz bittersweet chocolate (61-72% cacao), coarsely chopped

2 T oil

6 eggs

2 T unsweetened cocoa powder

1 t vanilla

3/4 t salt

1 c heavy cream

3 T powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 9 inch springform pan and dust with sugar.

Combine chocolate, oil and butter in the top of a double boiler, with the bottom pan filled with simmering water and allow ingredients to melt while stirring over medium heat.

In two bowls, separate 4 eggs with whites in one and yolks in the other. To the yolks bowl add cocoa powder, vanilla, salt, 1/4 c sugar, and remaining two eggs and whisk until smooth. Gradually add yolk mixture to chocolate mixture, blending well.

Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites on high until frothy, add 1/2 c sugar and beat until firm peaks form. Gently fold in egg whites into chocolate mixture in two additions and folding only until incorporated. Scrape batter into prepared springform pan and sprinkle with remaining sugar.

Bake 35-45 minutes, until the top is puffed and starting to crack  and cake is pulling away from the pan. Allow to cool completely in the pan, the cake will collapse in the center as it cools. Mix the remaining ingredients on high speed until soft peaks form. Mound the whipped cream in the center of the cake.

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Massaged Kale Salad

IMG_466470002My friend Ann had a huge kale salad sitting in her fridge and my daughter couldn’t stop raving about it, so I asked for the recipe. I now make this all of the time because it is healthy and so easy to make, and gets better with time. Seriously, try not to love it!

Massaged Kale Salad

2 bunches kale (I buy a large bag of chopped kale)

1/2 c grated parmesan cheese

1/3 c olive oil

1/4 c lemon juice (I just juice one whole lemon)

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 T reduced sodium soy sauce

1/2 t pepper

1/4 t salt

Strip away any stems and cut leaves into bite size if needed, place the kale into a large bowl. Pour the remaining ingredients over top and firmly massage into the kale until it is well mixed. I like to do this and then let it sit int he fridge for a couple of hours before serving.

 

Tomatoes and Zucchinis

photo (20)We were looking for a light dinner last night and as I was thinking at our garden’s bounty I remembered this one, perfect for the end of the summer! This is a quick one to put together, start the sauce first because the ‘pasta’ takes five minutes! In the summer months I don’t really even cook the sauce, I coarsely chop the tomatoes, onions and garlic and pour it over the pasta.

Zucchini Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce

2 zucchinis, peeled and shaved into thin slices like fettucine

1 T Olive or Grapeseed Oil

1 onion, chopped

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

6 Roma tomatoes, pureed slightly

2 t. basil/oregano/Italian seasoning

Saute the onions and garlic until translucent. Add the tomatoes and and herbs and heat through for about ten minutes. When you place the tomatoes in to heat, pull out another skillet and heat at medium heat with grapeseed oil for 2-3 minutes. Drain all the water you can from the zucchinis and place them in to the skillet. Let sizzle for two minutes, then turn them over to get heat evenly distributed. Do not leave on the heat for more than 3-4  minutes total. Plate the zucchini, pour sauce over it and sprinkle with parmesan. Serves 2.

Homemade Almond Milk and Almond Flour

IMG_461776745There was a time when describing someone as ‘crunchy’ was not a positive thing, in my mind. Our daughter loves being considered crunchy, and some of her ideas have rubbed off on me. We have been using Almond Milk in our smoothies daily for more than two years now, finding the brand that we prefer, but never really thinking much about the ingredients. Miss Crunchy took a look at the label and did some research and has convinced me that buying raw, organic almonds and converting them into milk is simple, less expensive and healthier, and you get almond flour (which is ab0ut $10 per pound) in the process! We tried it one morning last week, and it was a big success! I used the resource at http://ohsheglows.com for the recipe, you will need an Almond Nut Bag (also called a sprouting bag) to do this.

Homemade Almond Milk

1 c almonds, soaked in water for at least 4 hours (12 hours is ideal)

31/2 c water

1 t vanilla

1 t honey (if you like sweetened almond milk)

1 pinch sea salt

Place soaked almonds and water into a blender, blend on high for a full minute. Pour the mixture slowly through the nut bag into a bowl, gently squeezing the almond remains for 2-3 minutes. Set aside the remains, which will be your Almond Flour. Rinse the blender and pour milk back in, adding the vanilla, honey and salt. Blend on low for 20 seconds, and smell how delicious almond milk is! Pour into a glass jar and refrigerate, use within 5 days, shaking well before serving.

 

Almond Flour

Pour the remains from the sprouting bag onto a cookie sheet, heat the oven to 170 degrees and allow to dry out the flour for 3 hours on this setting. Pour the flour into a food processor and process for just a few seconds. Store in a cool, dry place. 1 c of almonds should produce approximately 2/3c almond flour.

 

 

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