New Recipes Are Fun

Can I just say how much fun I’m having with the recipes in the Against All Grain Cookbook?! I’ve been making my way through some of the recipes, quite successfully. Oh no! It makes me want to actually have the cookbook instead of borrow it from the library. But I’ve already done that recently with a cookbook so no more cookbook buying for me in the near future. (Santa do you hear me?)

I made the Allergy-Free Breakfast cookies. Oh my, they were so good it was hard to remember that they were a healthy breakfast option. They tasted like such a treat, especially warmed up.

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I adapted the recipe slightly to use pumpkin puree instead of the banana and added pumpkin pie spices to give them that seasonal flavor. They ended up being quite soft and needed to be handled with care. The cookies are made with coconut flour, unsweetened shredded coconut, and sweetened with dates and applesauce.

Next on the list is chocolate swirl banana bread. The chocolate swirl was my own addition since it is our family’s favorite version of banana bread. But the base recipe for this banana bread was incredible! Grain-free, sugar-free banana bread that actually tastes like traditional banana bread! I’ve made grain-free banana breads before but they were too dense and just not quite what I was looking for in a banana bread. This recipe has mostly coconut flour in it and a little almond flour (and 4 eggs!). The bananas add most of the sweetness.

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Delicious slices of banana bread!

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We sprinkled the top of the loaf with mini chocolate chips to give it a special chocolate bonus. The bread is so moist and banana flavored. Chocolate swirl = excellent addition

I even packed some for Izzy to take as lunch one day this week. Since it’s filled with wholesome ingredients I don’t even feel bad about making it the main portion of her lunch:

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Pumpkin Patch and Pumpkin Eats

A trip to the pumpkin patch deserves to begin with some pumpkin flavored eats, right? I think I used to make pumpkin pancakes before our pumpkin patch trips….but that was before. I didn’t want to make pancakes this time. But pumpkin flavor is still necessary! Pumpkin eggs? No. How about eggs and pumpkin mini doughnut bites next to them? Yes!

Well I didn’t take a picture of the eggs, just regular over-easy eggs, but here are the pumpkin doughnut bites:

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I adapted the recipe from my Oh She Glows cookbook to include pumpkin and pumpkin spices. They are still loaded with chia seeds and oat flour and sweetened with maple syrup.

During our pumpkin patch adventures Brian likes to enjoy a pumpkin spice latte. As fate would have it just the day before I came across a no-refined sugar, no crazy junk, recipe for a homemade pumpkin spice latte. Armed with the recipe I set out to make my hubby a real food version of the fall drink and avoid the chain coffee shop. To make this recipe I had to bust out the blender, a little used appliance in my house (thanks to the food processor). However, the food processor was not going to cut it for this job. We followed the recipe instructions but found that when it came to combining the homemade pumpkin spice creamer with the coffee we preferred a higher coffee to creamer ratio than suggested. Brian is a mostly black coffee drinker so even half the creamer amount was good enough for his tastes.

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Homemade pumpkin spice latte! Made with real ingredients: pumpkin puree (shouldn’t it have the real pumpkin instead of artificial flavor!), almond milk, maple syrup, and pumpkin pie spices, and coffee (of course!). It was tasty (though I didn’t use quite enough pumpkin) and the leftovers were enjoyed the next morning as well.

Real pumpkin flavors followed by a fun trip the pumpkin patch. AND somehow it didn’t rain on us! Good times!

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Sunday Brunch

The family and I decided to go for the early church service in Tacoma. Early service means getting up and leaving the house earlier than on a school day, yikes! It also means there is no time for a real breakfast. A bowl of cereal or grain-free granola was all we had time for. However, in addition to actually making it to church we were looking forward to having brunch afterward.

Brunch is very much a fall/winter thing in our household. During the spring and summer we are gone camping or doing other activities that lazy weekend mornings are rare. In the fall, though, football starts and Brian loves to watch it so we end up lounging around the house and brunch begins making its way into our weekends.

Our brunch this past Sunday was not spectacular in terms of spread but it was spectacular in terms of taste. I like brunch to be buffet style with lots of different options: sweet and savory, fruits, and even a little dessert. And the girls like the idea that they get to fill their plates themselves with all the choices. Not this brunch. This brunch was made when I was hungry and didn’t want to go overboard with the making of all the food. No choices for this brunch, I dished up the plates and that was all there was.

The most exciting part of brunch was that I, for the very first time ever, made eggs benedict! Brian likes eggs benedict and I’ve always thought it seemed so fancy. Too fancy for me to actually make on my own. Inspired by the recipe I saw in a cookbook I decided to give it a try. So glad I did because now I am also a fan of eggs benedict! The recipe I used is actually from the Against All Grain Cookbook and it’s here. The method in the cookbook was much easier and gave a lot more information but the online version has the ingredients and ratios so I’ll be using those and sticking to the cookbook methodology.

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Yeah, we went a little heavy with the hollandaise sauce (oh so good!). The poached eggs are hiding under there, I promise, as is some roasted cabbage and chickpea flour pancakes. I cannot say enough good things about chickpea flour pancakes. They are my new go-to. First, they are easy: chickpea flour and water with some spices! Second, I can make as few or as many as I want at a time. Third, the flavor is so unique. And lastly, they are incredibly versatile. I used them for my tacos the other night, I’ve used them as wraps for lunch, and here they serve as a nice hearty base to soak up all that delicious hollandaise.

The flavor combination of the chickpea flour pancakes, the roasted cabbage, the poached egg, and the hollandaise was out of this world good! Since, it was my first attempt I only made one for everyone but we really could have used a second one (note for next time). Brunch was rounded out with some apples, some leftover fruit salad (various fruits, unsweetened coconut flakes, and homemade honey sweetened whipped cream), and a sample of sausage (also leftover).

No, this brunch wasn’t brimming with variety but what we did have was so tasty it didn’t matter.

No Oatmeal Porridge

Weekday breakfasts are tough! It doesn’t matter what time I get up, I always end up in a breakfast crunch. And there are too many things to do at night to make breakfast ahead of time consistently. I do try to do that a few times a week but I like to feed my family a variety and pre-made breakfasts rely on having the same thing multiple times a week. No fun!

I tried a new breakfast recipe yesterday morning (adventurous for a weekday morning)! And I loved it! The recipe was for a grain-free coconut porridge. My girls love their porridges. They like grits, cream of rice, oatmeal, buckwheat, steel-cut oats, etc, etc.

Ever notice how traditional breakfast foods are so grain heavy? Like that is the only option other than eggs for breakfast. I do make a lot of eggs for Brian’s breakfast and the girls partake in that as well. But they really like their oatmeal and such. In fact, I’d say most people will tell you they can’t give up their morning oatmeal. Enter the No-Oat Porridge. It is grain-free, and sugar-free and can be completely nut-free (if you use coconut milk or other alternative)!

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This porridge was simple enough for weekday morning prep. It is made of almond milk, coconut flour, unsweetened shredded coconut, and an egg (or a banana if you want to be egg free). I made the version with an egg to add some extra creaminess but maybe next time I’ll experiment with the banana. The texture is similar to any creamed cereal (wheat, rice, etc).  I topped the porridge with toasted almonds, dried cranberries, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and dash of maple syrup. Both girls had a hard time finishing their portion, it was so filling. So we saved some and they were thrilled to have it again the next morning. Even I had some as my breakfast forgoing my usual greens (oh, missed opportunity, I should have added some to it!).

Looks like oatmeal without the oats is possible and satisfying.

First Day of Fall

Today is the day. The girls have been watching the calendar and waiting for the arrival of fall. I’m not sure why, I’m still not ready for summer to be over! But alas, fall has arrived and it did so with the typical rain. In my attempt to hang onto summer for as long as possible I have held off on making any sort of pumpkin flavored dishes until the actual start of fall.

To celebrate the arrival of the new season I made the girls pumpkin pancakes for breakfast. Not just pumpkin flavored pancakes, pumpkin shaped as well (or roughly pumpkin shaped, ha!). I used this almond flour pumpkin pancake recipe to keep them grain-free.

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We’ve changed our breakfast routine around here because of school and preschool schedules. The girls come downstairs when they wake up and serve themselves small 1/2 cup bowls of cereal. Then later in the morning I’d make the three of us an actual breakfast around nine or so and then we wouldn’t have anything more until lunchtime at noon. This worked well for our family since the three of us would be home all together in the morning and allowed us time to sit down together to start the day. Also, since we’d had a substantial breakfast at 9 am there was no need for additional snacking until lunch time. Now that we are on the go in the mornings between getting Isabelle to school and then Lexi to preschool all during our usual breakfast time we’ve had to adjust. We totally don’t have it figured out yet and are making little tweaks to make breakfast work for us. At first we were letting Isabelle have additional cereal and the fruit we normally would have at 9 with her cereal. But then Lexi started school and the schedule changed again. Giving them even more cereal in the morning was not the solution. At least not one that I felt good about. I’d like them to not eat the cereal at all but it is something they enjoy since they get to do it all themselves (they grab their small containers, cereal bowls, spoons, and small containers with milk in them and pour everything into the bowl).

Numerous times last year I’d ask Isabelle if I could make her an actual breakfast instead of having cereal and the answer was always no. They love the independence. So we compromised. They get a small bowl of cereal on school mornings and then I make them a small breakfast with some fruit next to it that they eat shortly after cereal. All this means I have to adjust my own breakfast ritual to accommodate theirs. Now I’m attempting to eat my substantial breakfast bright and early instead of at the later 9 am. Which is hard for me! I’m hungry in the morning but prefer a small holdover snack of fruit until a little later on. It’s all an adjustment.

To keep the fall theme going I made the girls caramel apple bites for snack. Now that Isabelle is not getting a snack provided by someone else (and filled with sugar and grains) at school we can have the occasional after school treat (wish I could say the same about Lexi). For the past few years now I’ve made this caramel recipe for our fall apples. The caramel is made of heavy cream and honey. Yep, that’s basically it! Obviously since it’s made of honey and cream the taste is more honey like than sugar syrup like but it does set up and get firm like the standard caramel recipes. I just love that this recipe is so simple and made with stuff you would regularly find in my house.

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Caramel apples aren’t complete without the fun little add-on toppers. I used some chopped peanuts and mini chocolate chips, coconut, M&Ms, and peanut butter M&Ms (because those were my favorite to get at the Fair). My attempt to make these more bite size than whole apple wasn’t a complete win since I chopped the apples into thirds and attempted to dip them this way. They dipped ok but the caramel doesn’t stick to the inside of the apple as well as to the peel while they are setting. So we used a spoon to scoop up the remaining caramel to eat with our apples bites or just eat on its own (yep that also happened).

Happy Fall!

 

 

I do Exist!

Hello, blog! Nice to see you again. I have not been on here in awhile, not because I haven’t been making lots of yummy food for the fam but for who knows why. We’ve been off our schedule recently which means we’ve all been pretty tired and some things just haven’t been getting done. It may be that we are just trying to fit ever last little thing into summer vacation that we can and not getting enough rest or it may be that things are changing outside and it’s dark earlier and not as light in the morning (eek! already!). Or maybe we are all just tired.

Anyways, during my blogging hiatus I’ve made a lot of previously mentioned foods. Sticking to the tried and trues: cauliflower lentil tacos, living phad thai, green detox soup, almond flour pancakes, and peanut butter and jelly. However, I have made some rather exciting things in the past few days.

For breakfast this week the girls and Brian had this beautiful oatmeal bowl:

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Steel cut carrot cake oatmeal based off this recipe. It had shredded carrots, raisins, walnuts, and maple syrup cooked into it. I like to make my steel-cut oats with a mix of other things as well like millet, farro, and quinoa. We like the texture of the mixed porridge.

Last night we had broccoli and green bean veggie bowls with baba ghanoush on top. I’ve made baba ghanoush in the past but this recipe yielded much better overall flavor (except if you are the girls, they still didn’t like it). These bowls had so much goodness in them. The broccoli and green beans were roasted with coconut oil and curry powder and then we put that on top of sauteed onions, garlic, spinach, and purple cabbage. Plant power!

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Oh, and chickpeas, how could I forget those! Love me some chickpeas. Baba ghanoush (in case you don’t know) is a dip made from roasted eggplant. Similar in ingredients to hummus except instead of chickpeas you use the inside of a roasted eggplant. The mix of flavors was spot on!

Last week the girls watched Rachael Ray make a chicken pot pie and requested that as a menu item. We’ve had a little too much meat recently (dinner guests and the grill= meat) so I made an all veggie version. Look at all these veggies going into this pot pie:

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If I can even remember everything that went in: cauliflower, asparagus, yellow squash, onions and garlic, peas, and kale. No bottom crust for this pot pie, but I wish there had been one. I used a grain-free crust for the top made with almond and coconut flour. My hubby who is not really the crust lover (that’s me!) was trying to take a whole chunk off another piece to eat (with his hand, no less!). Must be a winner.

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We had side salads with the pot pie and the salad topper you see there is the last bit of baba ghanoush. Soon the seasons will be changing and side salads won’t be eaten with every meal (I think) and I’ll actually have to cook a veggie accompaniment to the main meal. Our menus vary a lot based on the season and what’s fresh (or not). Salads are still a regular in my house during the winter but not a daily thing for the rest of the family instead we will transition to more cooked side vegetables.

Speaking of transitioning, we are going camping this weekend for the long weekend which pretty much leads into back to school. There is so much to do and not enough time to do it all! Even though we have a three-day weekend our camping trip is being segmented because my sister is getting married on Saturday. So we’ll go there for a night, come back for the wedding, and then go back out to the campsite. And as an added adventure Brian’s mom is coming camping with us. =) I’m feeling optimistic about the progress I’ve made so far but the day before is always a little wild with the final push to get us ready. The good news is we’ll only be gone for one night to start with so if I’ve forgotten something we’ll be back the very next day (there is a bright side!).

Eggplant Burgers and Zucchini Bread Oatmeal

This morning I felt like making oatmeal. Not the kind you make from little packets, not even microwaving individual servings of oatmeal. I wanted to cook oatmeal on the stove. Weird, right? I gave the girls two choices: apple pie oatmeal or zucchini bread oatmeal. The unanimous choice was zucchini bread oatmeal. Yay! I’m all about eating veggies with breakfast (and I do pretty much everyday).

The oatmeal has zucchini, chia, lots of cinnamon, pecans, and raisins cooked into it. It really doesn’t take too long to make and was a real hit with the family. It smelled amazing cooking and I couldn’t stop sneaking spoonfuls!

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We added chocolate chips because zucchini and chocolate chips just go together.

After breakfast I packed up leftovers from yesterday and we headed out for a family bike ride. Since the girls are young family bike rides are short. However, we are at a brief stage where Brian and I can actually ride our bikes while Lexi rides with her training wheels and Izzy continues to improve on two wheels. It’s been years since I have been able to get on my bike and ride with them because it seems we are always at a stage where someone is learning. Next year it will be Lexi’s turn to learn on two wheels so I’m trying to fit in my bike riding time during this short season.

We had a nice sunny day and grilling on Sunday seemed like a good choice. I’d bought an eggplant to make these burgers. It’s one of those rare eggplant burger recipes out there that doesn’t require you to add meat. Hello! I’m making eggplant burgers I do not want eggplant on top of my regular burger! I modified the recipe to use sunflower seed meal in place of breadcrumbs. They cooked up beautifully on the grill, nice and crisp.

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We topped the eggplant burgers with hummus, onions and tomatoes. Next to our burgers we had grilled corn and chard. There were lots of ooohhh and ahhhs about this dinner. Lexi even finished hers in a regular amount of time, including the chard. Chard is my current obsession. I wish I had bunches and bunches of the stuff. I’ve been stealing leaves to use in my salad all week and would love to have eaten an entire plateful. We tried really hard to figure out what else I could grill after dinner but came up short. By the time I was committed to something (apple and blackberry cobbler) the temperature was already too low. Oh well, no cobbler tonight! But likely another peanut butter chocolate lettuce wrap. Yum!

No Toast French Toast

French toast, a kids favorite. I have very fond memories of eating french toast for breakfast as a kid and it was a regular on our breakfast rotation in times past. Nowadays the girls will randomly suggest it for breakfast but I often shut it down so we don’t start the day off on a bad note (see: tummyaches before lunch!). I wondered if there was a way I could make french toast without actually using toast and I stumbled upon a Pinterest pin for squash french toast. It’s basically zucchini pancakes but with cinnamon and vanilla to up the french toastness of it.

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The girls called it pancakes but they did really like it. The egg and cinnamon really do add to the french toast flavor even if it doesn’t look like french toast.

For lunch we had vegetable tacos. Cauliflower, broccoli, onions, and peppers with taco seasonings. We ate these in lettuce with a side of lentils and some mango.

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Lunch love! The girls managed to eat these without making a huge mess and Lexi was convinced she needed more.

Over the weekend we camped for one night in Yakima. Since we were in eastern Washington there was a no campfire burn ban in effect. Nobody really talked about s’mores but on our drive home the girls kept playing that they were making s’mores and marshmallows for their toys. I think they realized they had missed out on some camping s’mores. Since then, I’d been thinking how we could recreate them at home (and no, not in the microwave). I searched my recipes and found this for peanut butter s’more bites. It’s marshmallows cut in half, spread with peanut butter, and dipped in chocolate. I coated our bites with actual graham cracker crumbs.

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In addition, I made some apples the same way. These were tasty but maybe a little too indulgent. I guess that is what s’mores are all about.

Tonight was girls only dinner. Brian got Mariners baseball tickets from work so he ate dinner there. It’s been a little while since we had a girls only dinner and nobody had ideas of what they wanted. Eventually, we came up with chicken nuggets. Not just any chicken nuggets, homemade chicken nuggets! The chicken nuggets are coated with almond and walnut meal, flax seeds, and some herbs. Also they were baked and not fried.

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Since I was baking the chicken nuggets I made some kale chips to go with it. Raw vegetables rounded out dinner. The girls have finally come around to homemade chicken nuggets! They used to not really like my homemade ones and preferred the store-bought junk filled kind (story of just about everything!). The less I feed them that stuff the more they come around to the homemade stuff. Macaroni and cheese, though, that is a battle I may never win. Kids and their love for chicken nuggets, macaroni, and french toast. What’s with it?!

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

The girls and I went to the Tacoma Rainiers game today. We’ve been waiting for a day game that worked for our schedule all summer and today was the day! I love watching baseball! It’s more of an outing for me that the girls can have fun at too. The game was at 11:35 am so there was no way around lunching at the game.

Before we could go anywhere we had banana nut porridge for breakfast. There are very few ingredients in this porridge. Some soaked nuts, a banana, almond milk, and cinnamon. All that gets processed in the food processor until smooth and then warmed up. While it’s warming the porridge thickens up a bit.

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This breakfast tasted similar to cream of wheat (in texture too) but it was wheat free (yay!). The girls liked it and I like that the recipe makes enough for two days worth of breakfast. So we started the day off right in anticipation of the goodies we would get at the game.

As I said, being an 11:35 game, there was no way around eating lunch at the stadium.

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Here’s the girls with their “main” portion of lunch. Lexi had a bunless hotdog and Izzy got the best deal in the park, a beef taco (fresh lettuce, cheese, salsa that they put on right in front of you!) for $2.50. Seriously, they sell anything in the stadium for $2.50?! It looked amazing but I didn’t get a bite so I’ll take her word that it was good. I snuck in (yep, I’m a rebel) an apple and a small bag of raw veggies. It’s not like there is anywhere you can purchase those items in the park. In addition, we snacked on popcorn and peanuts (peanuts were my lunch, ha, that’s how many I ate). Popcorn was crazy salty and we could only get through half of it. It also is what I believe did in Lexi’s tummy. She had a slight tummyache when we got home.

For dinner we did a repeat of tuna salads from last week. There was a little wild caught tuna leftover from last week so I added that and some avocado with pretty much the same stuff as before. Nobody minded the repeat since it was so yummy the first time. Plus, with Lexi’s tummy and our baseball food, salad seemed like the best option. Raw food helps heal the tummy.

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Sadly, that is all the wild caught tuna we have so we won’t be experiencing the yumminess of this salad again in the near future. Do you think I will be more inspired this week to make something other than salad for my family? I’m not sure, I don’t have a meal plan yet but in the morning I am going to try my hand at french “toast” with no toast and squash instead. We will see if it is kid approved or not. Seems like not, but since going mostly grain free the girls are much more open to my kitchen creations. Squash french toast, oh yes I’m going there!

Experimenting in the Kitchen

I love finding new recipes. It’s not often we eat the same thing over and over because I genuinely like to find recipes and try new things. Life might be easier if I had a set menu I rotated through every week or so but that wouldn’t be much fun. Plus my kids would not get try new things with us.

I’ve been making my way through the recipes in my Oh She Glows cookbook. A lot of them are fairly simple and not necessarily adventurous. But this morning I served up muesli. I had never made muesli before and nobody had ever had it either. This recipe was a make the night before and have instant breakfast in the morning type recipe. Perfect for trying to get out of the house to make it to the zoo.

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There are oats, pumpkin seeds, cranberries, raisins, shredded and diced apple, and plain yogurt in this. The verdict? Amazing! I can’t believe something so easy could taste so good. It was sweet, chewy, and creamy all at once. Keeping this recipe for quick make ahead breakfasts or even lunches.

We went to the zoo for the first time this summer. Somehow we managed to see just about everything and enjoyed our leftovers from yesterday for lunch. Also miraculously I didn’t buy any treats or kettle corn from the zoo! Here’s my Iz enjoying our packed lunch in the beautiful sunshine. She was grateful that we went.

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Yesterday afternoon I made a batch of vanilla chia pudding. Originally it was going to be dessert for last night but it wasn’t ready. My loss is the girls’s snack time gain. They had strawberries and vanilla chia pudding for snack. I’ve made chocolate chia pudding in the past and Lexi was not a fan. This, however, they both devoured. I’m talking licked the bowls good.

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Also a recipe from the Oh She Glows cookbook. I’m hoping to have some later with grilled nut granola. That is assuming I can still eat after grilled veggie and tofu kabobs for dinner:

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In this bowl we have corn, green peppers, onions, yellow squash, mushrooms, kale, and tofu topped with a little wasabi cashew cream sauce (adults only). Mmmmmm. Grilled veggies and tofu, delish!

Wasabi cream sauce is a new discovery to me. I bought some wasabi powder recently and have been on a wasabi kick. The Wheat Belly cookbook had a wasabi cream sauce recipe that I adapted to be vegan. See, adventures in the kitchen. All about trying new things. The same old, same old is not for me unless maybe you add a little wasabi. =)