Sunday, April 20, 2008

I'm in Love and Introducing "Humsagna"

I am in love and I want everyone to know about it.  I can't keep this love affair secret anymore.  It is all I ever think about, dream about, fantasize about...  I am always coming up with reasons to spend time with my love.  My love gives me energy, I feel strong and happy when we are together.  My love completes me and helps me be the best I can be.  When we are together I feel very creative and I feel like I can do anything I want to do.  There are no limits when we are together.  My mouth waters when we are near one another and I can hardly control myself.   My love comforts me, satisfies me and fulfills what I hunger for in every way.  I would like to introduce you all to my secret love....  my love is FOOD!

I started to realize this passion rising up in me a few years ago.  I have always loved food, but I never really took the time to get to know it, understand what it was capable of doing for me and my life.  I always used to eat just because that is what I knew to do instinctively.  It wasn't until I started to embrace my passion and take the time to look inside my feelings that I discovered how in love I really was.  It was kind of like being friends with someone for a long time but never really getting to know them.  Until one day I found myself asking more questions, and wondering more about  how food effected my life.  Now I can't learn enough fast enough and I find immense joy in spending time creating my own dishes and cooking for my family and friends.  Truthfully, one of the only reasons I stay so active in my job and fitness is so that I can eat as much food as possible.  And there is always the taste testing (my favorite part)  Here was my time spent with my love this weekend:  We made homemade split pea soup, "Steph's Banana Bread", Tomato Basil salsa, homemade hummus and Sundried Tomato Basil Pesto, Fruit salad with honey dressing, and a new creation I came up with all on my own "Spinach Mushroom Humsagna."

I went to make a lasagna today with a few challenges.  My son Riley can't eat dairy right now and after I already started boiling the lasagna noodles I realized I didn't have any easy access tomato sauce (pasta sauce in a jar)  I am actually glad this happened because it forced me to think outside of the box or jar in this case and make my own homemade sauce.  Also I substituted cheese with hummus.  I wasn't sure what it would end up like but the family feedback was very positive and I myself loved it. (But I am always biased with my own babies)    So here is the recipe.  I am starting to learn to write these things down as I create or otherwise they are hard to duplicate.  It does take a little time to set-up but there are ways to simplify the recipe for the sake of available ingredients.  (You can use store bought hummus, and sauce)  Its my second creation now that is also completely vegetarian which is kind of exciting for me too.  

Spinach Mushroom Humsagna:

-10 oz pkg of Frozen Spinach
-2 cups of Sundried tomato Hummus-  Homemade or store bought is fine- the more garlic taste the -better in my opinion
-1 small onion chopped 

-1 oz of dried porchini mushrooms (blanched in boiling water for 5 minutes and chopped)
-1 portobello mushroom cap
-3-4 minced garlic cloves
-3 cans of diced tomatoes- Fresh is better about 5 cups chopped
-1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp black pepper
-1/2 tsp oregano- small handful of fresh chopped is better
-1 tsp dried basil- 1/4 c of fresh chopped is better
-1 tbsp of organic turbinado sugar to taste (add more of less to cut the acidity of the tomatoes)

-12-14 Whole wheat lasagna noodles cooked and patted dry before using to layer in pan

Preheat over to 350 degrees

Thaw frozen spinach, drain all the water out of it and mix it together with the hummus and set aside for the moment
Satay the portobello mushroom minced garlic and chopped onion until they are tender
Combine diced tomato, basil, oregano, prepared pochini mushrooms, onion and portobello, sugar, salt, pepper, garlic salt in a sauce pan and cook on med-high heat for 20 minutes or until tomatoes are cooked down. 

While sauce is cooking down boil the noodles and get the pan ready for assembling the lasagna.
Spray the pan with a little cooking spray or brush with olive oil.  Lay out 4 noodles on the bottom of pan.  Spread half the spinach and hummus mixture on noodles and then spread a layer of 1/3 of tomato sauce.  Start another layer of 4 noodles, hummus mix, 1/3 sauce and 4 noodles again.  Add remaining 1/3 of tomato sauce, cover with foil and bake in the oven for 45 minutes.  Pull out of the oven and let stand for 10-15 minutes before cutting.  This is completely vegetarian but you can add cheese to the layers if you want (mozzarella or parmesian would be best)-  My family added a Romano blend to the top of it and said it tasted great!  A yummy salad and loaf of loaf of crusty bread round out the meal wonderfully.