Desserts · New Favorite · New Traditions · Vegan · Vegetarian

Cherry Granita

Sour Pie Cherries are one of my favorite summer finds.  In the late summer, the Farmer’s Market has frozen tubs of cherries and I hoard them until Christmas when I make Cherry Kolaches. I froze the extra cherry juice to make  Cherry Granita. What a delightful, refreshing treat from extra juice.

CHERRY GRANITA

3 cups sour cherry juice
1 lemon, juice of
1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • Put the cherry juice in the saucepan over a medium heat, along with the sugar.
  • Cook until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat.  Cool.
  • Pour the cherry mixture into a shallow container and freeze, stirring about once every hour, bringing ice crystals from the edge into the center.
  • It will take about 5 hours to freeze completely.
  • To serve:  Remove from freezer 5-10 minutes before serving.
Breakfast · Cakes · Gluten Free · Health · New Favorite · Skinny · Vegetarian

Cran-Apple Oat Cake

Gluten-free eating means I rarely eat toast, breakfast pastry, etc.  Sometimes, I just need a carb ‘fix’ and this recipe sounded delicious.  I slightly altered the original recipe and loved the results. The second time I made this recipe, I substituted blueberries for the Craisins and baked in muffin paper/tins.  I’ve shared both versions with good feedback.  I’ll even admit that I didn’t eat all of it soon enough and the last piece was a bit dry.  I thought, ‘why not put almond milk on it?’ like a bowl of oatmeal. It was delicious.

A new favorite for my gluten-free recipe box!

CRAN-APPLE OAT CAKE

2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
3 single-serving packets of Pure Stevia
2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup egg whites
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 small tart apple, chopped
1/2 cup Craisins (original recipe called for cranberries)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

  • Soak the oats in the almond milk in the refrigerator overnight.
  • In the morning, combine all ingredients.
  • Spread in greased 9-inch pie plate (or muffin tins).
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Recipe adapted from Briana-Thomas

Gluten Free · New Favorite · Salads · Vegan · Vegetarian

Mango and Avocado Black Rice Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to prepare meals primarily from my pantry and freezer until I had whittled down the food on hand. A large bag of black rice, from Costco, has been sitting there with no great recipes, until now.  I swear I hear Angels sing when I read this recipe.  It is a great salad, side dish and good enough for dessert, too. Black rice has a nutty flavor and texture which pairs beautifully with the other ingredients.  Also check out the history of black rice.

MANGO & BLACK RICE SALAD WITH CILANTRO LIME VINAIGRETTE

1 1/2 cups organic black rice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large ripe mango, diced
1 small ripe avocado, diced or sliced
1/4 cup roasted almonds (I used chopped pecans)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup diced red onion
For the Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 3 limes)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon honey (agave nectar if vegan)
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
lime wedges, to garnish
  • Rinse rice in mesh strainer. Add to medium saucepan. Add 2 3/4 cups water and a pinch of salt; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to a low simmer, and cook until rice is tender and water is absorbed about 30-40 minutes. When rice is done cooking, remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Cool for 10 minutes before adding dressing.
  • While rice is cooking prepare the dressing: Combine lime juice, olive oil, garlic, honey (or agave), cilantro, and salt in a food processor. Process for 15-30 seconds or until dressing is combined. Once rice is done cooking and has cooled a bit, stir in dressing. Cover bowl and place in fridge for an hour or until cool and you are ready to add in the rest of the salad ingredients.
  • Before serving, toss salad again with dressing and fold in cilantro, mango, and red onion. Pour into cold salad bowls and top with roasted almonds and avocado. Garnish with a lime wedge or extra cilantro if desired. Enjoy!

Recipe by AmbitousKitchen.com

Book Club · Gluten Free · New Favorite · Vegan · Vegetables · Vegetarian

Garlic Roasted Green Beans with Shallots & Almonds

I was craving green beans and our book club was meeting to discuss ‘Gone Girl’ by Gillian Flynn. Our hostess served Tom Yum Koong Soup, favored by one of the characters in the book when fighting off a cold.  Others brought bar food and I brought green beans…never mentioned in the book but satisfied my craving.

This is a simple and absolutely delicious recipe. I’ll be making it again, and again, and again.

GARLIC ROASTED GREEN BEANS WITH SHALLOTS & ALMONDS

2 lb. fresh green beans
5-6 shallots, peeled, and cut into thin slivers
5 large cloves garlic, peeled and cut into thin slices
3 T olive oil
1 tsp. salt (or more to taste)
fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, very finely chopped
1/2 cup almonds, sliced or chopped
1 tsp. lemon zest

  • Preheat oven to 450 F.
  • Trim ends from green beans. Peel and cut shallots and garlic, then place with beans in plastic bowl. Add olive oil, salt & pepper, parsley, almonds and lemon zest. Toss until ingredients are well coated with oil.
  • Spray roasting pan with nonstick spray or mist with olive oil, then arrange the vegetables in a single layer. (I used parchment paper for roasting vegetables and the results are great).  Roast 12-15 minutes for thin beans, or slightly longer for regular beans, until beans are slightly shriveled, and shallots and garlic are lightly browned.

Recipe adapted from KalynsKitchen.com

 

Family · Family Favorites · Soups and Stews · Vegan · Vegetarian

Taco Stew…a beloved family favorite

Taco Stew has been a family favorite since the girls were little tykes. They loved it and it was another way I could get them to eat vegetables. In a pinch, I have substituted different vegetables and cheeses with equally good results.  Typically I double or even triple the recipe and freeze the leftovers. You could easily make this without the beef (or turkey) and omit the cheese and have a vegan version of Taco Stew.

This recipe appeared in the Denver Post many years ago as a recipe a young boy submitted for a recipe contest and won.  Brilliant!

TACO STEW

1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
15 ounce cans whole kernel corn, drained
10 ounce can diced tomatoes with chilies
15 ounce can pinto beans in chili sauce (or black beans)
1 envelope taco seasoning mix (2 tablespoons)
1 can tomato soup
1 cup water
Tortilla chips
Grated Monterey Jack or Cheddar Cheese

  • Brown beef and onion.  Drain and rinse with hot water to remove excess fat. Combine all ingredients, except tortilla chips and cheese, in a Dutch oven. Simmer on low.Taco Stew Taco Stew
  • To serve, crumble tortilla chips in a serving bowl and cover with a generous heaping of stew. Sprinkle with cheese.
Family Favorites · Gluten Free · New Favorite · Soups and Stews · Vegan · Vegetarian

Women’s Bean Project…and National Soup Month

January in National Soup (who knew) and there is nothing better than tummy-warming soup to take away the winter chill.  Good friend and neighbor, Maribeth, introduced me to Sarah’s Spicy Split Pea Soup and I was wowed.  The next day I went to my local King Soopers to buy it and made a batch that I’ve shared and frozen for future use. It’s also great knowing that my purchase contributes to the great work of this non-profit organization. My soup was packaged by Jessica (great work, Jessica, and I hope things are going well for you!). And here’s a shout out to SARAH for this great recipe.

Women’s Bean Project is Women’s Bean Project is a nationally recognized social enterprise that has created transitional employment in gourmet food and jewelry manufacturing for chronically unemployed and impoverished women for 25 years.

If you cannot find these great soup mixes in your area, you can purchase on their website.  I’m anxious to try their other soups soon.  To my Vegan and Gluten-Free friends, these soups would be a great addition to your pantry.

SARAH’S SPICY SPLIT PEA SOUP

1 package Spicy Split Pea Soup Mix
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock (I used ham stock and increased to 8 cups)
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil (I used olive oil)
1 medium diced onion
4 or 5 diced carrots
2 stalks celery diced (added per Maribeth’s suggestion
salt and pepper to taste
spice packet (included)
1 cup milk (optional and I did not add)
optional:  cubed ham

  • Remove spice packet. Wash and drain peas.
  • Assemble peas, broth and water in a 4 quart pot.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer gently for 1 hour uncovered, or until peas are almost tender.  Add more water as needed so that peas stay well covered.
  • While peas are simmering, saute carrots, celery, and onion in butter or oil until tender and add spice packet.
  • Stir veggie mixture into peas; add milk if desired, and simmer additional 20 minutes until peas are fully cooked.
  • OPTIONAL:  While the recipe does not include blending the soup mixture, I used a hand blender to bring the soup to a smooth consistency.  I then added the ham and simmered another 15 minutes until the ham was heated through.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

 

Garden · Gluten Free · New Favorite · Vegan · Vegetables · Vegetarian

Sweet Potatoes, Carrots and Apples Roasted with OJ

Roasted Vegetables are my absolute favorite yet I didn’t discover this technique until a few years ago.  My carrot harvest this year was the best I’ve ever had, despite Joe’s (my 12 year old Golden Retriever) attempts to steal the carrots out of the basket.

I found this wonderful recipe which did not call for apples, but in later versions I added the apples and loved the added sweet/tart bites.

SWEET POTATOES & CARROTS WITH APPLE CIDER THYME

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 medium-large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch rounds
1-2 apples, peeled and chopped in large pieces
1 small red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 whole garlic cloves
1/4 cup apple cider
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Place cut sweet potatoes, carrots, red onion and garlic cloves on a baking sheet and spread them in a single layer.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together apple cider, olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper. Drizzle mixture all over vegetables and toss to coat evenly.
  • Roast for 35-45 minutes, until vegetables are caramelized to your liking. Serve immediately.

Adapted from http://www.myjewishlearning.com/blog/food/2014/10/13/sweet-potatoes-and-carrots-with-apple-cider-and-thyme/

Gluten Free · Salads · Skinny · Vegan · Vegetarian

Cranberry and Mango Quinoa Salad

Cranberry and Mango Quinoa Salad is a favorite salad shared by friend, Chris, at many of our Book Club and pot luck dinners. Finally, I decided to prepare it and savored every serving.  I’ve also tried adding other ingredients to add variety, including bits of turkey or slices or fresh avocado.
This salad is great for summer meals and gatherings.

CRANBERRY AND MANGO QUINOA SALAD

2 cups of water
1 cup of quinoa
1 cup fresh kale or spinach in bite size pieces
1.5 cup fresh or frozen mango chunks (one to two fresh mangos should yield just about 1.5 cups)
1.5 c cubed melon (I used Honeydew)
1/2 cup slivered almonds (toasted/optional)
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon of honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
pinch of salt

  • Bring water to boil and cook quinoa per the instructions.  Cool.
  • Add kale (or spinach), mango, melon, almonds, and cranberries to quinoa.
  • Mix together Lemon poppy seed ingredients and pour over quinoa salad.
  • Serving Option:  Slice fresh avocado slices over top of salad.

Recipe adapted from Skinny Minz and Healthy Pursuit

Family · New Favorite · New Traditions · Skinny · Vegan · Vegetables · Vegetarian

Roasted Fennel…another new love!

Fennel was a target buy at Trader Joe’s for daughter Megan and I this week. My husband, Karl, used to love to cook Fennel as was prepared for him on business trips to Italy.  It’s been years since I’ve prepared it. Megan suggested we roast it and it was fantastic. I have to say that eating it raw was delicious, too.

The fennel was prepared the same evening as the Zuppa Tuscana (recipe to post next week).  We decided to put some of the fennel in our soup and loved the addition.  I even added cold roasted fennel to a roast pork and goat cheese sandwich…love it!

Next time I’ll try roasting the fennel with other vegetable, perhaps white and sweet potatoes and a bit of rosemary?

 ROASTED FENNEL

2 heads fresh fennel
olive oil
salt & pepper

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Rinse fennel.  Slightly trim bottom and top of fennel bulb.
  • Cut each bulb in half lengthwise.  Cut out core and set aside.
  • Slice fennel thinly and place on baking sheet.  Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  • Roast for 15-20 or until brown on edges and tender.
Casseroles · New Favorite · Vegan · Vegetables · Vegetarian

Baked Stuffed Avocados…yummo!

Baked Avocado…a new adventure for me and I loved it. The idea of using avocado as the binding ingredient for quinoa, tomato, cheese was great and included all ingredients I love. This recipe is worth experimenting with and can easily be adapted for a vegan or vegetarian diet.

BAKED STUFFED AVOCADOS

2 large ripe avocados
2 cups cooked quinoa (I used a mix of plain and Tri-Colored Quinoa from Trader Joe’s)
1 medium-sized tomato, diced
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
salt and pepper to taste

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Slice avocados lengthwise and remove the pit by gently tapping it with a large sturdy knife.
  • Scoop the avocado from the shell with a spoon and place in a mixing bowl.  Add quinoa, tomatoes, feta, salt and pepper.  Mix to combine, but leaving hunks of avocado.
  • Place the hollow avocado shells on a baking sheet and carefully fill each with the mixture.  (I found that I had more filling that the shells would hold and baked the remainder in a small greased casserole dish).
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes until cheese is sufficiently melted.

recipe slightly adapted from P&G Everday