Happy to Color Outside the Lines!

Archive for September, 2013

Dairy-Free “Choco-cado” Pudding

So, true story, I made this for a friend one time. She loved it. She ate quite a bit of it. She was very surprised that she liked it, because avocados had always grossed her out.

We quickly discovered that her body had been trying to tell her something all along:

She was allergic to avocados.

So in a way, I sort of poisoned my friend. Not cute.

Thankfully, she recovered just fine, but needless to say, avocados do not make an appearance in my kitchen when she is around.

Now that I have frightened you with that little tale, let me tell you how to make poisonous choco-cado pudding!

Ingredients:

2 med sized avocados, pitted and peeled. (I used mexicola from my CSA box)

1/4 cup organic REAL maple syrup OR  6-10 medjool dates

1.5 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder (I like Trader Joe’s)

1/4 cup vanilla hemp milk

Put all ingredients into the food processor. Process until creamy and smooth. If it is too thick, add more hemp milk about a tsp at a time. If its too thin, you need more avocado. 🙂  Fold in sliced bananas if desired.

chococado

 

Today was the perfect day to make this because I had 2 mexicola avocados on my counter that were *just* about to die on me. I saw this the other day and thought it was quite possibly the most perfect little bit of kitchen truth:

avocadosnotyet

 

Right? I know.

Also, little sidenote; My favorite variation of this recipe:

Substitute the hemp milk for raw cream. Blend all of the ingredients (minus the cream) together first, then add the cream in. Puree for 5-10 seconds until it begins to “whip”, making for a really nice mousse consistency. 🙂

This is delicious with fresh strawberries too!

Definitely file this one under the “treat” category as the sugar content is pretty high in this one, but still a nice alternative to the packaged garbage. 🙂

Enjoy… Unless you’re allergic to avocados. 😉

Taco Salad Lettuce Wraps

Lettuce has arrived! I am so excited about greens being in season.  You have no idea.

I love a tomatoes and peppers, but darn it, I am so ready for something new!

I made a quick and tasty meal over the weekend that I thought I would share with you. It was inspired by the gorgeous lettuce in my CSA box and was super tasty.

Taco Salad Lettuce Wraps!

Ingredients:

Seasoned, cooked, ground beef which was leftover from the night before. Nice and cold. (1.5 lb Organic Ground beef, 2-3 tsp cumin, 2 TBSP chili powder, 1 chopped jalapeno, salt, pepper, garlic)

A bit of shredded cheese (cheddar in my case.)

Fresh salsa, also made from csa ingredients.

Chopped cilantro

A couple large leaves of lettuce (red leaf here.)

1 mexicola avocado, sliced.

And “dressing” made from 2 TBSP organic sour cream and 1-2 TBSP of your fresh salsa, whisked together.

lettucewraping

 

 

Pink toenails optional.

 

 

Pretty simple steps:

Layer like you would a taco. Meat, cheese, cilantro, salsa, avocado, dressing. Or however you like it. 😉

I served mine with a handful of “Late July” chips because I’m a texture girl and I really need crunch with my food.

lettucewraps

 

Although the lettuce held up pretty well as a wrap, I did eventually end up crushing the chips over the top and eating it like a salad. This is mostly because I’m funny about food and have strange eating habits.

These would be good taken as lunch to work, you know, if I worked outside the home. I would probably keep the lettuce and other ingredients separate until it was time to eat, though. 🙂

I’m hoping to get a few more greens-inspired recipes up this week.

Anyone else enjoying fall produce?

 

Bacon, Potato & Arugula Frittata

Typically when I make a frittata, I stick to my standard combination. Potato, spinach and cheese.

However, when I saw that my fave farm had arugula at last week’s farmer’s market, I had an idea.

Initially, I just figured I would sub the spinach for arugula, but figured I had better consult my friend Brigitte over at 365 Days of Radical Self Transformation and ask what she thought. She’s an amazing chef, and I knew she’d have the right advice for me.

She told me to add bacon.

Now that’s a real friend.

She also suggested tomato, which sounds amazing, but I knew no one in my family would eat it. If you don’t have the “Eww That’s Gross” crew at your house, add the tomato. B knows what she’s talking about.

One pan, little prep, 20 minutes, tons of flavor. Can’t beat that!

Start with your ingredients:

frittata1

4-6 small red potatoes, sliced very thin. I used Irish Reds from my CSA box. They sort of define what a potato should taste like for me. Mine were the size of a golf ball, roughly. If yours are larger, use 3-4 potatoes.

6 organic eggs, beaten with 1/3 cup whole milk or half and half

1/2 cup cheese of your choice. I used mozz because its what I had. Something sharp would have been nicer.

2 strips of [preferably nitrate free, uncured] bacon, chopped

About 1/2 cups arugula, chopped coarsely

2-3 tbsp refined coconut oil

Salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste

In a skillet (or fancy frittata pan if you have one), *almost* cook the bacon. Once the bacon is almost completely cooked, add the oil and  the potatoes. Sautee for a minute or two, then top with a lid and leave for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. If you overcook the bacon before adding potatoes, it will burn at this point. Cook until just about done…it will crisp up with the potatoes.

frittata2

 

 

Once potatoes are tender, add your arugula. Toss until wilted:

frittata3

 

Now, add your egg and milk (or half and half) mixture and sprinkle with cheese:

frittata4

 

Top with a lid, and cook for 8-10 minutes over loooow heat until the egg sets up.

Serve warm with toast, fresh fruit, coffee, or whatever you like!

frittata5

 

I love this meal because while it’s typically a breakfast food, it makes and AMAZING dinner too. Being that I am restricting potatoes as much as my will power lets me right now, this tasted like a real treat to me. Potatoes AND bacon? In the same dish? Yeah, that was workin’ for me.

Add in the spicy arugula and creamy cheese and I was in heaven. So, so delicious.

I noticed that my CSA is starting to offer more greens  this week (helloooo fallll!!) and I’m going to have to experiment with those as well.

The “Eww That’s Gross” crew will just have to deal. 😉

 

Huevos Rancheros Con Aguacate

I love eggs. Usually. Right now, I am pretty tired of eggs, but in an effort to boost my protein intake, I am trying to find new ways to eat them.

On Sunday, I made two attempts at egg preparation, using my CSA box as inspiration.

One peek into my fruit bowl was all it took to spark an idea for breakfast dish #1.

I spy….avocados. Yessss!

avocado

The cutest, tiniest avocados ever, by the way. They are called “Mexicali” Avocados, and they are divine. Bonus? The skin is edible should you choose to eat it. No peeling!

Once I spotted the avocado, I had another thought. Last week, I made (and canned) some salsa. Super simple salsa too. Tomatoes, onions, peppers, squeeze of lemon and pinch of salt. The end.

Very similar to the recipe here, but without the cilantro, and it was cooked (because I was canning it.)

Then I thought, “It’s Sunday…I can eat a corn tortilla!” (Sunday’s are my “day off” from dietary restrictions.)

I knew what I had to do. Huevos Rancheros Con Aguacate (Rancher’s Eggs with Avocado.) Or, Fried eggs on a tortilla with red sauce and avocado on top.

It was SO easy guys. Even if you don’t have salsa just lying around, it is SO easy to make.( <—- click there!)

P.S. get your tomatoes now and fill up the freezer or pantry with salsa for later. You won’t be sorry!

I started off by cracking two eggs into a little egg pan over med heat, coated in butter. Once the whites started to solidify a bit, I sprinkled a small lid with water, and topped the pan with it, turning heat to low. This essentially steams the top of the eggs so you don’t have to flip them. If you prefer to flip, go for it, but I find that breaking a yolk while flipping makes me want to break someone’s face, so I do what I have to do to avoid that.

While the eggs are cooking, Fry up a corn tortilla in a little refined coconut oil. You don’t want it crispy, just a little toasty yet still pliable. Drain the oil, then set on your plate.

Once the whites are done, but  yolks are still a bit runny, slide the eggs onto the tortilla.

Take some of your salsa, and heat it up a bit in the egg pan (save the dishes!)

Top the eggs with warm salsa.

Last? Top with slices of fresh avocado and a sprinkling of sea salt.

This would have been so yummy with sauteed nopales on the side!

YUM.

huevos rancheros

If I *really* wanted to cheat, this would have been heavenly with refried beans. In fact, it begged for them. If I’d had any in the pantry or cooked up, they would have been on that plate. So good.

Step outside the box guys. Keep your meals interesting and delicious. “Eating healthy” doesn’t have to mean “lacking flavor”. Gone are the day of stale rice cakes and crappy peanut butter.

Eat good quality, fresh, healthy foods that make your body and taste buds happy.

You really can have your cake and eat it too. 😉

 

 

It’s That Time of Year Again!

pumpkin-spice-all-the-things

While I’m not a HUGE “pumpkin spice all the things” person, I do enjoy a pumpkin spice latte once in a while. It tastes and smells like the holidays, which is about as much as I enjoy the holidays, to be honest.

Ugh. Holidays.

While I enjoy the latte, I don’t enjoy the price tag, OR the fact that I live 60 minutes from the nearest coffee shop.  Sooo,  when I rec’d two pumpkins in my CSA box this week, I had a moment of inspiration.

“I shall make my own!”, I declared.

Ok, I didn’t really *declare* it…it was more like, “Hmm…I wonder if I can make a pumpkin spice latte without any formal barista training, dairy, refined sugar, and without an espresso machine?”

And make one I did.

I had to start with the pumpkin. I needed puree. I don’t have a steamer or any fancy equipment in my kitchen, so I had to get creative. Before I forget, however, please note that pumpkin is good for more than just lattes and jack-o-lanterns. The effort you are about to put out for this recipe is so worth it! Your body will thank you. 😉

PumpkinMeme

 

Ok, enough about how healthy it is…back to how delicious it can be.

Step 1: Gather pumpkin, bowl for seeds, cutting board, and sharp knife:

pumpkin1

Slice pumpkin into wedges and remove seeds, setting aside for later. If you’re smart, you’ll make roasted pumpkin seeds. If you’re me, you’ll put them in a bowl of water to attempt “pumpkin strand” removal, only to forget about them and end up with a bowl of useless bloated pumpkin seeds. (If you have chickens, the seeds are an excellent de-wormer!)

pumpkin2

Next, I put my .50 cent thrift store pasta colander into my soup pot, dropped some water in the bottom, dropped the pumpkin inside, topped with lid and steamed until fork tender. You could use a steamer basket or veggie steamer if you are not lucky enough to own mismatched pieces that just happen to work together in a pinch.

pumpkin3

Once fork tender, I pulled the skin off, and pureed the pumpkin in my food processor. I also didn’t take a [crappy cellphone] picture of that.

Once I had my puree, I brewed some pretty strong coffee. I used one heaping TBSP of coffee per cup.

While the coffee brewed, I gathered my ingredients to make 2 latte’s:

3-4 TBSP of coconut sugar, depending on taste

6 TBSP of pumpkin puree

2 TBSP of grassfed butter (not pictured, and also not categorized as “dairy” in my world.)

2 tsp of raw honey (also not pictured)

1/4 tsp vanilla (which I make myself, hence the tacky maple syrup bottle sporting half of a label.)

1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or in my case, some cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger and clove thrown together in random measurements. It was mostly cinnamon, fwiw.)

8 oz hot, strong coffee

1.5 cups hemp milk

pumpkin 4

Toss all ingredients into the blender.

Blend for 30 seconds or so until it starts to foam up.

It was at this point that I realized it was going to be a lukewarm latte, due to all that cold hemp milk, so I transferred the blender contents to small pot and heated over med-low heat until warm, whisking frequently.

pumpkin5

I then served it, nice and hot in my fave mug:

pumpkin6

From two small pumpkins, I was able to freeze enough puree for about 12 more latte’s. I froze them in 6 TBSP measurements in little baggies for later.

Like, say, when the holidays come and I need a little caffeine to get me through the drama fun-filled nights.

Happy (almost)  fall!

Move Over Applesauce!

At least for now. I love apples. Love applesauce. LOVE apple season in general…but where I live, it’s not that time yet.

It’s pear season.

And while they are not the same, I am treating them as equals.

In my kitchen, that is.

Yesterday I made “pearsauce”. Yes, All one word. Like “applesauce”, because, you see, I’m fair and promote equality.

It was so easy, and a huge relief to me because I had amassed 15 pears from the last 3 or 4 CSA boxes and some of them were starting to get a little too soft. I really, really didn’t want to let any of these organic beauties go to waste!

It was perfect timing too, because I already had the boiling water canner going, so it was no big to drop a jar in to seal it up for later. I could have just popped it in the fridge, but I didn’t want it to go to waste there either, and canning it allows me to save it for the perfect time. 🙂

Super, SUPER easy guys.

I started with 15 pears. I peeled, cored, and chopped them into large hunks. I put the hunked pears into a large sauce pot (which really wasn’t necessary…a medium sized one would have given me plenty of room) and added 1/4 cup of water, several shakes  of cinnamon, a splash of homemade vanilla,  and a pinch of salt. I cooked them over medium heat until they were all tender. Some were more tender than others, but it really didn’t take long to cook them all down. *Maybe* ten minutes, tops.

cooking pearsauce

Too bad I didn’t have a little more room in that pot.

Once tender, I added the whole (huge, gigantic) pot of pears to the food processor.

pureepearsauce1

Then, I puree. (As if you didn’t see that coming.)

pureepearsauce2

Once smooth, you can either eat warm, chill and eat (within a few days) or fill up jars and water bath can for 20 minutes. I chose the latter.

15 pears made ONE pint jar.

pearsauce done

ONE.

That means if you eat 1 cup of “pearsauce”, you are eating 7.5 pears.

I would probably stick to 1/4 cup. (Or 1.875 pears.)

What I am more likely to do is save my sweet little jar for fall/winter baking. Baking I can’t eat, but can certainly gift. 🙂

Another idea? Leave out the cinnamon, vanilla and salt, and you have baby food. 🙂 It would freeze well too. Would be awesome mixed with avocado (also in season right now!) for your wee one. 

Want some good reasons to eat pears? Check this out:

PearsBuild-Out

and in the interest of equality:

Print

So there you have it. Pearsauce. Easy, nutritious, delicious, and NO added sugar.

Eat well, beauties!

Quick Meals – Round 2!

When I was a kid, we had “breakfast for dinner night” at least once a week. As a child, I thought my mom was being creative…maybe even a bit daring – breaking all the meal time rules.  As an adult, I know the truth. It was fast, cheap, full of protein, and everyone would eat it.

My kinda meal.

We have breakfast for dinner at least once a week around here. What used to be pancakes and sausage or french toast and eggs is now far more protein packed, and entirely lacking in fluffy goodness, but still delicious.

A recent trip to my favorite Grocery Outlet resulted in a freezer full of these:

applegatesausage

 

Quality sausages made by a reputable company for $1.49? Yes please! These puppies sell for $5.99 at my Whole Foods so I did not hesitate to buy a huge stack of them. If you have a Grocery Outlet near you, check it out. It’s not at all what it used to be. Great way to provide awesome food to your family on a frugal budget.

Back to the food.

These sausages are pre-cooked, so all you have to do is crisp them up.

While they were frying, I scrambled up a dozen organic, free-range eggs (I’m feeding five here!) in some good quality butter…and yes, some sausage drippings. My CSA has amazing eggs, but I missed out on them this week, so I grabbed a dozen from my mama’s backyard hens. If you don’t have access to free-range eggs, organic is the next best option. Grocery Outlet usually has those, too!

I chopped up some seasonal fruit from my CSA box, served up some iced  mint tea,  and called it dinner.

breakfast for dinner

I always serve eggs with some of my fresh salsa too. It adds loads of flavor, and is a great way to toss in a few extra nutrients for everyone. I am realizing more and more how valuable it is to preserve things from my box each week. A little salsa in the freezer, a little mint, dried and stored in a jar. Little by little, I’m finding ways to not only extend the life of my food, but ways to plan ahead even more than I already do.

If you eat potatoes, they would be so awesome with this meal,  cooked up with onion and jalapenos. Every week, when I place my CSA order, I see potatoes on the list, and it is so hard to resist them every time. I allow myself potatoes once or twice a month, and my next two recipes with feature two of the dishes I use them for (including a potato, bacon and arugula frittata!)

This girl loves a potato.

And breakfast for dinner night.

 

 

 

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