Chorizo, Kale, and Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppers

Kale Chorizo and Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppers
This came together from a thought of “what do we have here in the fridge” – and I was so pleased with how it turned out. The flavors of the chorizo with the creamy goat cheese work very well together, there’s this nice crisp bite from the peppers – and I had this delicious kale I’d picked up at the farmer’s market the day before. I served them with a side of potatoes that needed to get used up as well.

Ingredients:
2 large red bell peppers, halved, seeds and ribs removed
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 chorizo sausages (about 4oz), casings removed, and chopped
1/4 lb kale, stems removed
2 oz goat cheese
1/2 medium white onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper, to taste

stuffedpeppers1Preheat the oven to 375F. Prepare the peppers by slicing in half lengthwise and removing all the seeds and ribs.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a skillet. Add the garlic and onions and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the chorizo and start adding the kale, a couple handfuls at a time, since it will wilt as it cooks. Stir for a few minutes and add more of the kale. After all the kale as been added and wilted, add the goat cheese and mix until just melted into the kale and chorizo. Spoon into the pepper halves and place into the oven. Bake at 375F for 10-12 minutes, just enough for the peppers to soften. Serve immediately and enjoy! Serves 4.

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Blueberry Banana Oatmeal Muffins

Blueberry Banana Oatmeal Muffins  These muffins are great both as a breakfast or as a snack, and they’re really quite filling. I made a dozen large muffins with the recipe and was sampling them as soon as they came out of the oven. Plus, I love the smell of the house after I’ve been baking. These won’t be a really sweet muffin – I’ve kept out the refined sugars, but the agave and blueberries do sweeten it enough for my tastes. I personally don’t like really sweet foods, but something like this is perfect for me, and blueberries always make me smile.

bananaoatmuffin4Ingredients:
2  3/4 cups oat flour or old fashioned oats*
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons ground flax seed
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 medium ripe bananas
2 large eggs
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup agave
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup fresh blueberries

*Note – You can easily substitute old fashioned oats for oat flour by grinding your oats in either a food processor or a coffee bean grinder until blended down to a finer flour like consistency (which is what I’ve done for this recipe.)

bananaoatmuffin3Preheat the oven to 350F. Grind your oats down to a flour consistency if going that route – then mix together all your dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl. In another medium sized bowl combine together the eggs, yogurt, agave and vanilla. Slice or break up the banana a bit, then using a mixer, blend until smooth. Combine with the dry ingredients and mix well. Add the blueberries last and carefully stir them in.

Use either some paper cupcake liners or lightly grease the sides of your muffin baking pan and carefully pour to the tops. This will make enough for a dozen. Bake for 25-30 minutes – until a toothpick comes out clean from the middle. Allow them to cool just a little before eating. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Pico de Gallo

pico de gallo

Pico de Gallo is all about fresh. You can serve this with anything from fish, to tortilla chips, to chicken or beef – or topping off a salad. It’s a great addition to bring to the summertime picnics and BBQ’s.

Ingredients:
4 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 medium sized purple onion, diced
1 small jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced
1 lime, juiced
sea salt, to taste

pico2Seed and remove the liquid from the centers of the tomatoes as best as you can – then dice them and the onions up. Then seed and dice up the jalapeno. Add the vegetables to a bowl. Mince the fresh cilantro, add to the vegetables along with the lime juice and salt and mix together. Yield about 2 cups. Store in the fridge.

Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

strawberry vinaigrette

We eat a lot of fresh salads here, so we also like to have good homemade dressings. This is one I like to make when we have a lot of fresh strawberries around. I love strawberries, they’re one of my favorite fruits – and we have friends that love to share with us from their strawberry bushes. Come summer I get to create lots of recipes with them from dressings, to salads, to jams, and I like to just snack on them.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, stems removed and sliced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon fresh mint, diced
1 teaspoon lime juice

In a blender, place the strawberries and puree until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Store in a container in the fridge. Makes about one cup. Drizzle on salad or use as a dip for veggies or fruits. Enjoy!

strawberryvinagriette

 

Strawberry Honeydew Salad

strawberry honeydew saladI made a simple and fun salad to enjoy outside for lunch today.  It can also make for a great side dish and doesn’t take long to prepare. Fresh mint from the garden helps balance out the sweetness from the fruit and the balsamic. A perfect treat for a hot summer day!

strawberrysaladIngredients:
2 1/2 cups strawberries,  stems removed and sliced
2 1/2 cups honeydew melon, diced
1/4 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

In a large bowl combine the fresh fruit. Toss the mint and balsamic and coat well. Serve immediately. Serves 4. Enjoy!

strawsalad2

 

Mashed Potato Pancakes

Cheesy Mashed Potato PancakeRepurposing leftovers is a great way to make sure they get eaten and not tossed away into the trash. I can serve these with with any meal, or even a snack (I had them today with eggs again!) Since I do add garlic to my base mashed potato recipe – I don’t add it to this. So add a clove of minced garlic to this if you don’t already have it in your leftovers.

potatopancakes2Ingredients:
2 – 2 1/2 cups cold pre-made mashed potatoes
1 large egg
1 tablespoon brown rice flour
1/2 teaspoon paprika
salt and pepper, to taste
*garlic if not already in the base mashed potatoes
1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped
1/4 cup cheddar cheese
grapeseed oil, for frying

potatopancakes3

Mix together all the ingredients in a bowl besides the grapeseed oil. Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add a tablespoon of grapeseed oil. Allow the pan to heat for a few minutes and scoop the potato mixture from the bowl and make smaller pancake sized pieces and place them into the pan. They aren’t going to spread or thicken – so the size you make them is the size you’ll get. Allow them to cook for 2-3 minutes before flipping. You’ll feel the bottom easily pull away from the pan when it’s ready to flip. Add more oil as needed. Makes enough for 3-4. Enjoy!

Chocolate Beet Cake (Gluten/Dairy Free)

Chocolate Beet CakeOn my quest to do more gluten free baking and I’m excited as this is my first recipe where I’m using coconut sugar. Coconut sugar does retain some of it’s nutrients and is lower on the GI index than regular table sugar (I’d love to see more testing done on it however.) The taste to me was a bit like caramel, and I liked it. Not that I’ll ever call sugar or a cake healthy – but I like to be able to enjoy a treat like this and feel good after I finish. The downside on the bag of sugar was the price.

The cake itself came out luscious which we topped off with some whipped cream. It’s rich, full of chocolate and dark chocolate chips, deep, rich and damn delicious. You can’t really taste the beets in the cake – so they’re just giving more depth, some nutrients and keeping it moist. The looks I got when I said after the pieces were half eaten… “There’s three beets in this…” I burst out laughing.

beetcake2Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups almond flour
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
3 large eggs
3 medium sized beets
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup grapeseed oil

beetcake3Bring a pot of water to boil, add the beets and boil for about 30 minutes until the beets are fully cooked and soft when poked with a fork. Drain and allow to cool.

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a large mixing bowl mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder, and sugar.

Take the beets and slice them, place them into a blender along with the almond milk. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a medium sized mixing bowl and combine along with the vanilla, eggs, and grapeseed oil. Whisk until fully blended.

Carefully transfer the wet mixture to the large bowl with the dry ingredients and mix well until fully combined.

Line a 9×9 square baking pan (8-9″ round works as well) with parchment and pour the batter into the pan. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick poked in the middle of the cake is clean. Remove from oven, allow to sit in the pan for 10-15 minutes then using the parchment remove from the pan and allow to cool on a cooling rack.

Makes 9 large sized pieces. Enjoy!

 

Peanutty Chicken Pad Thai

Peanutty Chicken Pad ThaiThis is a mild but flavorful pad thai made with my family’s favorite peanut sauce. It makes for an easy dinner that anyone can enjoy.

Ingredients:
16 oz dried rice vermicelli noodles
1/2 lb chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
2 cups fresh bean sprouts
2 large carrots, sliced
1/2 cup scallons, chopped
1 large egg, beaten
3 tablespoons fish sauce (check that it’s g/f)
2 tablespoons soy sauce (also check for g/f)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup peanut sauce
juice of 1 lime
3 tablespoons olive oil
roasted peanuts for topping (optional)
padthai1Start with cooking the rice noodles. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the noodles. They won’t take more than a few minutes, then rinse under cold water to stop them from cooking more.

In a small bowl mix together the fish sauce, soy sauce, and garlic and set aside.

In a large wok or skillet over medium heat add a tablespoon of olive oil and the egg, and scramble it. When it’s done remove the egg and set it on a plate aside. Add another tablespoon of oil and add the chicken to the pan. Cook until it’s no longer pink then add the carrot and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Then remove them from the pan.

padthai2

Now add the last tablespoon of oil, and add the noodles to the pan. Cook for about a minute then flip the noodles over and cook for another minute. Now add the fish and soy sauce mix and allow the noodles to soak it up. Add back in the egg, chicken, carrots and the bean sprouts and stir in the peanut sauce. Reduce heat to low. Carefully stir to not break the noodles. Before serving give a little squirt of lime and a few peanuts on top. Serves 4. Enjoy!

*Double check with the condiments that the are gluten free. I’ve had good luck with the San-J products and Thai Kitchen.

Cantaloupe and Ginger Peach Smoothie

Cantaloupe and Ginger Peach SmoothieHere’s a simple and delicious smoothie that makes a great afternoon snack or breakfast. Ginger is one of my favorite spices and I’ve added just enough for a bit of extra spice (not to mention it has numerous health benefits!) This makes enough for two smaller cups or one large cup.

Ingredients:
2 cups fresh cantaloupe (about half of a large) cut into pieces
2 cups fresh peaches (about 3 medium) pits removed
1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated

cantasmoothie2Cut the fruit and remove the seeds and outside from the cantaloupe, and pits from the peaches. Place into the blender and grate the ginger into the blender. Blend until smooth. Add a bit of ice if you like it really cold. Enjoy!

 

Roasted Sweet Onion and Garlic Dip

Roasted Onion and Garlic DipRoasted onions and garlic both make very happy. The flavors, the smell, it’s just perfect for me. Together they make a wonderful dip for enjoying outside during the warm summer days. I’ve served it with some rice crackers, however it also goes great as a vegetable dip.

oniondip2Ingredients:
2 large vidalia (sweet) onions, peeled and chopped into quarters
1 large whole head of garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon roasted paprika
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat the oven to 400F. On a baking sheet place the quartered onion and drizzle with the olive oil. Remove the outer part of the garlic paper (do not separate the cloves) and wrap it in a layer of foil, and place it on the baking sheet as well. Place into the oven and allow to cook for 40 minutes. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before handling.

Dice up the onions and separate the garlic cloves, pressing the garlic pulp out of each. In a bowl mix together the sour cream, lemon juice, cilantro, paprika, salt, onions and garlic. Serve with vegetables or snack of choice! Yield about 3/4 cup. Enjoy!