Small Things Good

Hello Everyone! Our Queens Kitchen was my first foray into blogging, and while it has been a great experience I’m finding that I want to do more than just post recipes. I started Small Things Good as a place to post frugal recipes and cooking inspiration, write about minimalism and simplicity, share photographs, and talk about life. I will keep Our Queens Kitchen up for now (I am gradually moving recipes over). But once I move all the recipes to my new site I will be closing it out. I’m really loving the vibe at Small Things Good, I already have a lovely handful of followers and a very active comments section, which is pretty cool! I really appreciate all of you for following my first project- and I hope you come follow my second as well! Cheers!

Savory Garlic Ginger Wontons – $4.83 recipe/ $0.14 per wonton

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It’s party season, and that means I’m spending a lot of time dreaming up perfect appetizers that suit a vegan diet and an omnivore palate alike. These creamy wontons totally hit the spot, the recipe makes 35 wontons and can be served with a variety of sauces- I used teriyaki, but you could also serve them with duck sauce, chili oil, or soy sauce. Folding the wontons can be a little tricky at first, but don’t despair- I account for that with the ingredients list (since I usually destroy a couple wontons during the folding process). The filling is super easy to make and could even be made ahead of time and then used -it’s just potatoes, carrot, and spices!

Ingredients – Makes 35 wontons

3 Idaho potatoes ($0.40)

1 carrot ($0.37)

5 cloves garlic ($0.25)

1 tbsp. fresh grated ginger ($0.64)

1 package wonton wrappers ($2.99) – Read the label, some brands have egg in them- Asian brands are often vegan

1/2 tbsp. cumin ($0.05)

1/2 tbsp. madras curry ($0.03) – You may substitute with the curry powder of your choice.

1 tsp. salt ($0.01)

1 tsp. paprika ($0.05)

1 tsp. oregano ($0.03)

1 pinch cayenne pepper ($0.01)

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1. Peel and chop your carrots and potatoes. Peel your garlic and grate ginger (set aside). 

2. Toss potatoes, carrots, and garlic into a pot of boiling water- cook over high heat for 25 minutes. Once veggies are tender, strain and rinse in cold water. 

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3. Return carrots and potatoes to your original pot, use an immersion blender to fully combine your ingredients. Add in all of your spices and fresh ginger now too. The consistency will be very thick- the starch in the potato acts as a thickening agent, which is why this recipe is so simple. You may want to let this mixture cool a bit before making your wontons. 

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4. The most common mistake when you’re making your wontons is overfilling them- so start with less filling than you might think. You will also want to have a small side bowl filled with water. First drop a dallop of the filling in the center of the dough, now wet your fingers and run them along each edge (this makes the dough stick to itself).

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5. First fold the dough into a triangle. Now take the two corners that are along the flat side of the triangle and press them together. You made need to put a bit more water on your fingers, I also folded the end over twice, which you can see in the photo if you look closely. 

6. Now steam your wontons for 15-20 minutes, these are just as delicious room temperature as they are piping hot- so feel free to make these ahead of time. 

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I added scallions and teriyaki sauce for garnish, but the basic flavor of the wontons is so savory and warm that you could pair these with lots of different sauces- I think peanut sauce would be especially delicious.

Asian Winter Root Vegetable Bowl- $4.93 recipe/$1.23 serving

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After the holidays, which for my family is basically a three day eating marathon, I always crave some vitamin rich, low-fat, detox food. This bowl is filled with sauteed parsnips, carrots and sweet potatoes in a fragrant garlic ginger sauce- and it rests on my favorite homemade beet noodles. I love how this recipe takes advantage of all the winter produce available this time of year, but with a much lighter twist. Usually root veggies are heavily baked with butter or cream, but this really lightens up the starchy gems of winter. This recipe makes 4 servings, but to be honest I would double it the next time I make it because it was so good.

Ingredients – Makes 4 Servings

1 parsnip ($0.75)

1 carrot ($0.37)

2 tbsp. fresh ginger root, grated ($0.64)

1 yam ($0.78)

1/2 head garlic ($0.36)

2 beets ($1.62)

4 tbsp. vegetable oil ($0.20)

3 tbsp. soy sauce ($0.15)

1 tsp. 5 spice powder ($0.03)

1 tsp. sriracha, or other Asian hot sauce ($0.03)

1/3 cup water (free!)

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1. Peel your carrots and parsnips and slice into delicate matchstick slices. Also peel and finely dice your yam. Set vegetables aside.

2. Mince your garlic and grate your ginger. Set aside.  

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3. Peel and spiralize your beets. Set aside. 

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4. Saute ginger and garlic with 2 tbsp. vegetable oil on low heat for 5 minutes. 

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5. Add in soy sauce and water- now throw in the parsnips, carrots, and sweet potatoes. Cover pot and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. 

6. After 10 minutes of cooking, add Chinese 5 spice and sriracha to the pot, mix well and cook for about 5 more minutes. When done, set aside. 

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7. Now, in a separate pan, saute your raw beet noodles with 2 tbsp. vegetable oil over high heat for 5 minutes. Set aside. 

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Now assemble your bowls and serve! I ate mine as is, but you could garnish with sesame seeds, cilantro, or additional hot sauce based on your taste.

Meet My Spiralizer

People often ask me for advice on kitchen gadgets. Considering how much I cook I actually use very few different kitchen tools, I don’t even own a mixer! I’m not a fan of tools that only serve one purpose (like lemon zesters or garlic presses). My kitchen measures in at 9 feet by 6 feet, so if I’m going to buy a tool- it needs to have many uses to justify the amount of space it takes up. All that aside, I must say that one of the most useful tools I own is my spiralizer. I have a simple version that cost about $28, and I use it constantly to make homemade vegetable pastas, garnishes, curly fries, relishes, gourmet salads and more.

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If you want to see details, like all of the attachment blades you can use, check out the exact product here. FYI- I don’t make any money off of this endorsement and I don’t make any money from you following the link. I’m posting this because I genuinely love my sprializer, and I’m planning on posting recipes utilizing it later in the week.

What are your favorite kitchen tools? 

Holiday Stuffed Acorn Squash $18.49 recipe/ $2.31 serving

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These beautiful acorn squash halves are rubbed with fragrant spices and stuffed with artichokes, chickpeas, broccoli couscous, pecans, cranberries, and garlic. This elegant vegan entree is perfect for a holiday or dinner party- this recipe serves eight but could easily be doubled.

Ingredients

4 acorn squash ($12.05)

1 can artichoke hearts ($3.99)

1 can chickpeas ($0.33)

1 small head broccoli ($0.75)

1/3 cup pecans, chopped ($0.40)

2 tbsp. dried cranberries ($0.05)

2 tbsp. non-dairy butter ($0.30)

1/2 tsp. sambar masala ($0.08) – you may substitute with the curry powder of your choice

3 cloves of garlic ($0.05)

3 tbsp. vegetable oil ($0.15)

1/2 tsp. basil  ($0.03)

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes ($0.03)

1/2 tsp. sage ($0.03)

1/2 tsp. tumeric ($0.05)

4 tbsp. almond milk ($0.20)

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1. Preheat oven to 400. 

2. Halve squash, rub butter into the flesh of each half and sprinkle evenly with curry powder. Bake on non-stick surface for about 50 minutes. 

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3. While squash is baking, puree broccoli florets in a food processor, I call this broccoli couscous because of the texture the broccoli takes on. Chop your garlic and pecans and quarter your artichoke hearts (set artichokes aside for now). 

4. Saute chickpeas, broccoli garlic, pecans and cranberries in vegetable oil. Add in basil, red pepper flakes, sage, and tumeric. Saute for about 10 minutes.  

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5. Add in artichoke hearts and almond milk, saute for an additional 5-10 minutes, mix gently but throughly. Set aside when done. 

6. When the squash are nice and tender, remove from the oven and fill each halve with your artichoke mixture. 

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Look how lovely these are! Now you can serve them and enjoy- happy holidays!

Creamy Jalapeño Potato Skins- $2.75 Recipe/ $0.17 Serving

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These are so, so, SO good. They wouldn’t be out of place at a Superbowl or new years party, but they’re also easy enough to whip up on a random weeknight if you have the craving for some finger food.

Ingredients

8 small Idaho potatoes ($1.11)

2 jalapeños ($0.36)

1 tbsp. non-dairy butter ($0.15)

1/2 tsp. onion powder ($0.03)

1 tsp. chili powder ($0.05)

1 tbsp. fresh chopped cilantro ($0.05)

4 tbsp. vegan mayonnaise ($0.52)

4 tbsp. mustard ($0.40)

1. Preheat oven to 400.

2. Wash and pierce your potatoes. Bake in the oven on a non-stick surface for about 40-50 minutes.

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3. Let potatoes cool for a few minutes and then halve them and scoop out the flesh.

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4. Combine the potato mixture with mayonnaise, jalapeno, mustard, non-dairy butter, and all herbs except the fresh cilantro. Mix very well by hand.

5. Refill your potato halves with your well combined mixture, and bake the filled skins for an additional 10-15 minutes, just so that they get a nice golden brown.

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Garnish with cilantro and serve!

Alphabet Soup- $3.86 recipe/ $0.48 serving

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Alphabet Soup will always hold a fond place in my heart. This easy recipe makes 8 servings and costs about half what the canned does (per-serving), plus it’s way lower in sodium, and the vegetables are fresh and vibrant. Today I brought a mason jar filled with this delicious soup with me to work, for an unconventional breakfast. In my view, soup is the ideal breakfast food- a warm little hug in a mug.

Ingredients

6 small Idaho potatoes ($0.83) – I buy potatoes in 5lb. bags, they usually contain smaller potatoes than loose Idaho potatoes, and it saves lots of money.

12 oz. box alphabet pasta ($1.69)

3 carrots ($o.57)

2 bouillon ($0.44)

1 stalk celery ($0.04)

1/2 head garlic ($0.23)

1/2 tbsp. onion powder ($0.06)

salt to taste

1. Peel and dice potatoes, add to a large pot with 12 cups of boiling water. Add in bouillon and minced garlic. 

2. Keep soup over medium high heat for about ten minutes, then turn low. 

3. Add in sliced celery and diced carrots, onion powder. Cover heated for ten minutes. 

4. Heat pot to low boil uncovered, add in alphabet pasta and cook for 10-15 minutes- taste pasta to make sure it is tender before serving. 

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