Veggie & black bean salad. Vegetarian.

 

My vegetarian friend Brooke, made me a salad similar to this years ago and over the years I’ve revamped it and made it my own.  I can honestly down this entire, very large, container in one sitting if I needed to.  I did help myself to 3, yes 3, helpings at dinner.  Consider I only ate watermelon for lunch, that would explain my voracious appetite :)

Ingredients:

1 – 15 oz can of organic black or adzuki beans
2 c of fresh corn or frozen
2 c of cherry tomatoes, halved
1 red pepper, chopped
1 orange pepper, chopped (color of the pepper may vary)
1/2 c of a red onion, diced
2 jalapeño, chopped finely
1/3 c of fresh lime juice
1/4 c of olive oil
1/4 c cilantro leaves, chopped
1 tsp of salt
3/4 tsp of ground cumin (if you don’t like cumin as much as I do, use 1/4 or 1/2 tsp)
1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp of ground black pepper

Directions:

Combine in a bowl and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours to let the flavors mingle.  You can serve this as a side dish, with tortilla chips at a party or just with a big spoon!  YUM!

The aftermath.

 

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Sun tea.

Today was an undeniable taste of summer… 89 degrees and very sunny.  This to me meant brewing some yummy sun tea on my patio table.  This recipe is very versatile and works well with whatever tea (in bags) that you prefer.

Ingredients:

1 gallon of fresh purified water
8 -10 tea bags (I used Tazo Refresh – which is a mint tea that is caffeine-free.)
12 mint leaves (fresh from my garden)
1/4 c of sugar
1/4 c of water

Directions:

Fill your glass vessel with the water, tea bags and mint leaves, if using them.  Place it in a sunny spot for 6+ hours.

On the stove top, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil.  Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved into the water and remove from the heat.  Let cool.

Once you bring the tea in, remove the tea bags.  Then add the simple syrup (sugar/water mixture) it. Give it a good stir and serve it in a tall glass with ice.  Refrigerate afterwards.

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Chili lime roasted nuts.

 

Seriously so addictive!  Gluten free, healthy and the perfect pick-me-up snack that is both tangy and a bit spicy.  I love these to serve at an outdoor summer party with some freshly made margaritas.

 

 

Ingredients:

4 c of raw nuts (You can select whatever nuts you have on hand in your pantry.)  I used macadamia, almonds & peanuts
1/4 c of freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tsp of extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp of smoked paprika
1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper
1 tsp of salt
Zest from one lime

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degree.  Toss all of the ingredients together in a bowl.

Then spread out evenly on your baking sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes then toss.  Bake an additional 10 minutes or until golden.

Remove from the oven and let cool completely.  Serve them right away or store in an airtight container for 3 months.

 

 

 

 

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Mexican twice baked potatoes with Chobani.

Get ready for some healthy, protein-packed & delicious side dish!

Ingredients:

4 medium to large sized sweet potatoes, washed and poked with a knife
1 c of corn (frozen, canned or cut off the cobb)
1/4 tsp cumin, garlic powder & cayenne
1-14 oz can of low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tbl butter
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, pureed with hand blender
2 oz of less fat cream cheese
1/3 c non fat Chobani plain yogurt
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of cumin
1 handful of chopped cilantro
1/4 c or less of jack or cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions:Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and bake the sweet potatoes for 30-45 minutes or until they’re fork tender.  Once they are, remove and set aside for 5 minutes to cool.  Over medium to high heat in a dry pan, add the corn along with cumin, garlic powder and cayenne and roast the corn until golden brown. Meanwhile, add the black beans to a bowl.  Once the corn is roasted nicely, add it to the black beans.  Stir to combine.In the same pan you roasted the corn, add the butter and once melted, add the onion.  Cook until translucent and then remove from heat.  In the meantime, halve the potatoes and scrape out the flesh, leaving the skin and a bit of flesh remaining (so it stays a bit a firm).  The flesh will be added to your stand mixer with the paddle attachment on.  In your mixer bowl, add the chipotle peppers,  cream cheese, Chobani, salt and cumin.  Beat until mixed well.  Then by hand, mix in the corn/bean mixture, sautéed onions and chopped cilantro.  Then top with your cheese of choice and broil on high for 3 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

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Root beer pulled pork from the slow cooker.

 

This is one of our favorite recipes for during the week (or on swim meet days).  Simple.  Easy.  Tasty!  What more can you want.  I do vary the recipe depending on my taste that day so here is my version from today :)

Ingredients:

2-3 lb pork shoulder (I used picnic style boneless)
1 bottle of root beer (individual serving size)
4-5 tbl ground cumin
2 tsp of dried oregano
1 tsp salt (adjust per your taste)
Pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne
Pinch of ground cinnamon

Directions:

Into your slow cooker, add the pork shoulder and one bottle of root beer.  Cover and cook on low for 6 – 8 or so hours.   1 hour prior to serving, take the pork out of the slow cooker and shred it with two forks.  Return it back to slow cooker and add all of the spices.  If you like it spicier, add 1 tsp ground cayenne and one jalapeño (optional).

Serve on rolls and enjoy!

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Over-the-Top Chocolate Peanut Butter Bundt Cake

This is a morphed version of the Chocolate Peanut Butter Dream cake I posted last week.  My daughter helped me concoct this lovely cake in honor of my sweet father’s 74th birthday today.  This version is a bit less time consuming but equally fabulous!

Ingredients:

1 box of devil’s food cake
3 eggs
1 c of buttermilk
1/2 c of vegetable oil
1 c of dark chocolate chips (for the cake batter)
Ingredients for the topping on the cake:
1.5- 2 c of chopped up Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (I purchased the regular sized bag at my local market)
8 oz of dark chocolate, chopped – I used dark chocolate chips (Ghirardelli 60% dark cocoa chips)
1 c of heavy cream

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray your bundt pan with non stick baking (floured) spray..

In your stand mixer with the paddle attached, mix the cake mix, eggs, buttermilk and oil for 1 minute.  The increase the speed to med/high for 2 minutes.  Fold in 1 c of chocolate chips by hand.  Pour the batter into the bundt pan and bake about 28-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Let the cake cool completely before removing and plating.

Once the cake is completely cooled… Add your 8 oz of chopped chocolate or chips to a bowl and set aside (I used my large measuring cup).  In a small sauce pan heat the heavy cream until it starts to boil.  Remove from the heat and pour over the chopped chocolate. Whisk until it is completely melted and creamy.

At this point you will pour the melted chocolate over top and let it drip down the sides.  Then top the cake with the chopped peanut butter cups.  Then pour a big glass of cold milk and enjoy!

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Roasted tomato sauce.

I had several tomatoes that I needed to use that were leftover from our party this weekend.  This recipe is so easy, smells incredible and tastes even better.  Once you make your own sauce, you’ll never look back.  Plus you can control the salt and seasonings, which is so important.  You’ll love this recipe in the summer when the flavorful tomatoes are abundant :)

Ingredients:

4 lbs of tomatoes, washed and quartered
Olive oil for drizzling
1 tablespoon of salt (or less)
8-12 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
3 small peppers
1 onion, chopped into larger pieces
2 teaspoons of Italian seasonings
Freshly ground pepper
15 fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup of good red wine that you would drink :)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 275 degrees.  Spray the bottom of a roasting pan with olive oil.  Then add your tomatoes to the pan.  Season with salt, pepper and Italian seasonings.  Add the garlic cloves & onions.  Drizzle the olive oil over top and toss with your hands.  Make sure everything is coated well.  Place in the oven and roast the tomatoes for 3-4 hours.  Then remove and add them, along with the pan drippings, to a Dutch oven along with your basil leaves.

Puree with your hand immersion blender.  Add the wine and additional seasonings as needed.  Top your favorite pasta and enjoy.  Bon Appetit!

 

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Strawberry Shortcake Shish Kabobs with fresh vanilla whipped cream.

Farmer’s Market today yielded a wonderful bounty of strawberries.  They caught my eye immediately and I couldn’t resist.  Once my daughter saw them… her wheels were spinning and she made some wonderful strawberry shortcake shish kabobs, her favorite!  I got to make the whipped cream :)  Such a wonderful, fun dessert idea.

Ingredients:
2 pints of strawberries, wash and cut the stems off
1 angel food cake, cut up into cubes
Skewers

Directions:

Start with a strawberry and then alternate angel food cake cubes.  Add as many as you like.  You can certainly add other fruit like berries, pineapple, mangoes etc.

Whipped Cream:

Ingredients:
1 c of whipping cream
2 tbl of confectioners’ sugar
1 vanilla bean (seeds on the inside only) or 1 tsp of vanilla extract

Directions:

In your stand mixer, with the whisk attached, pour in the whipping cream and beat.  I typically beat this for about 1 minutes then add the sugar and vanilla.  Beat on medium to high until it takes on a whipped cream consistency.  Serve immediately .

Served on the side as a dip for the shish kabobs.

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Roasted red pepper hummus.

I made this yummy roasted red pepper hummus last Friday night for a friend’s birthday party we were hosting.  It was so good and so much better than store-bought hummus.  I love controlling the ingredients, especially the salt, that goes into my foods.

Ingredients:

1  - 15 oz cans of garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed
1/2 c of chopped roasted red peppers
3 tbl of olive oil
1/2 of a lemon, juiced
2 tbl tahini
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp of salt
1/8 of tsp of ground pepper
If you like spicier hummus, add 1/2 tsp of Sriracha sauce

Directions:  Add everything to your food processor and blend.  If it’s too dry, add  additional lemon juice.  Refrigerate for at least one hour.  Then serve with your favorite veggies, chips or pita bread.

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Triple berry galette.

Berry season is here and needless to say, I’m in love!  Whipped this up tonight for dessert and it was met with great appreciation.  Rustic, flavorful & oh so easy to make.

Ingredients for pastry:
1 3/4 c all-purpose flour
1/3 c granulated sugar
1/4 c cornmeal
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c cold butter, cut into chunks
1/3 c low fat buttermilk

Ingredients for filling:

2 c of raspberries
2 c of black berries
2 c of strawberries, sliced thinly
1/2 c granulated sugar
3 tbl all purpose, unbleached flour
2 tbl freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbl fat free or low fat milk
1 large egg white
1 tbl raw turbinado sugar

Directions:

Pastry:  Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour, sugar, cornmeal and salt in a food processor; pulse 4 times. Add butter to flour mixture; pulse 6 to 7 times or until mixture resembles coarse meal. With processor on, through the spout, slowly add buttermilk and process until dough forms a ball. Gently press dough into a circle on plastic wrap; cover. Chill 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°.  Unwrap and roll out on a clean, floured surface.  Roll into a 15 inch round and place on a piece of parchment paper.  The place on a baking sheet (with the parchment paper).

Filling preparation:  In a mixing bowl combine all of the berries and the sugar, flour and lemon juice.  Toss to coat, gently.  Then spoon the berry mixture onto the center of the dough, leaving a 2 inch border around the edge.  Then fold the edges of the dough up and slightly over the berries.  The dough will not completely cover them.


Then combine the milk and egg white in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk.  Brush this over the dough edges and then sprinkle with the turbinado sugar.  Bake for 60 minutes or until the crust is golden.  Wait for the pastry to cool before cutting and serving.

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