Monthly Archives: May 2016

Loaded Veggie Zoodles

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We all have those nights when cooking just is not at the top of the list and there is a random mix of food in the fridge that you’re not sure what to do with but it needs to be used or you didn’t do any meal prepping for the next few days or week.  Well that was yesterday here in this house. It has been a rough couple of weeks and it caught up to me, so there was just not much mojo left to do anything involving longer than 10 minutes!  There were some veggies that needed to be used and I had this random jar of Trader Joe’s Organic Spaghetti Sauce in the pantry.  I rarely use packaged foods, but there are certain ones I will keep on hand for emergencies, like tonight’s dinner!  This specific sauce does not have added oils, very little added organic sugar and no other random sugars or fillers. There are others out there as well, this is just a good bang for your buck.  I took the veggies I had in the fridge and began to throw things together.  This is an easy, quick and nutritiously flavorful meal that is packed with vitamins and minerals.

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Hawaiian Salsa

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Ava is in 5th grade and as part of their curriculum they do a report on a state they select.  Along with the report, they get to make a dish or bring food from their state.  During open house all the 5th graders set out their food and all the kids, parents, teachers, families come by and get to sample their offerings.  It is a fun evening to attend and the kids enjoy talking about their food choices with those who ask.  Ava’s state she chose was Hawaii.  She couldn’t decide on fruit kabobs, using all the grown fruit from Hawaii or pineapple.  With some brain storming, she decided on a pineapple salsa, which she called Hawaiian Salsa.  We took the Apple Salsa concept and changed it up. I guess all the dicing and sticky counters was worth it in the end, it turned out so fresh and delicious, not to mention the rainbow of colors.  Just in time for the warm evenings outside!

ava hawaii report

 

Makes about 2 cups (I always double the recipe, sometimes more :)

 

Ingredients:

1 cup diced pineapple
1 cup diced Roma tomatoes
1 cup diced sweet peppers, I used yellow and orange
1/3 cup diced red onion
1/3-1/4 cup chopped cilantro (I found it to be fairly powerful so use desired amount)
2 limes freshly juiced
1 jalapeno seeded and diced. If you prefer more of a kick, add more jalapeno or don’t remove seeds
salt and pepper to taste

 

ready to mix pineapple salsa

Directions:

Dice all ingredients needed and place all ingredients into a bowl.  Mix well and ready to serve.  Best when chilled for a couple hours or overnight, the flavors develop nicely.

pineapple salsa

Easy No Bake Cookies

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Something I have learned from making meals from recipes that are not mine is that many of them are similar and sometimes it just takes looking at a recipe and then BAM, something hits me or a couple ingredients give me some ideas to create from it that isn’t exactly the same. The challenge, measurements!  I will add a little of this or a little of that until it tastes good and not make note of it. Also combining recipes will happen, as I may not have every ingredient for either recipe, but knowing what the family will eat and their tastes, I can figure something out.  Main dishes are not as easy as a snack or treat, therefore I take my chances on the treats :)

I may have mentioned it before, I have never been a shredded coconut eater.  I think it stems from my younger years when my grandma always gave me coconut macaroons because she thought I liked them, not sure, but I just haven’t really cared for it.  Lately I have used it in some recipes and do not mind it in there, kinda like cauliflower, never could eat it but now that I am older my tastes have expanded and I can eat it. So if you like coconut, then these are for you!  Even you are not fond of coconut, give them a try and reduce the amount and add more oats :)  They are a simple and easy treat to whip up and enjoy!

Prep time: 10 minutes  Makes about 8-12, depending on the size

ready to pour no bake

Ingredients:

1/4 cup unsweetened cacoa or raw cacao powder (I did half & half)
2 tablespoons raw almond butter (cashew butter or sunflower seed butter works) *No added oil or sugars
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon unsweetened organic applesauce
2 tablespoon coconut oil *see note
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons rolled oats
5 tablespoons or 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut depending on preference
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 tablespoon hemp seeds
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed

Directions:

Use either a large plate or container and line with parchment paper.

Using a medium pot over med-low heat, add coconut oil and melt.  Now add in the almond butter, applesauce, cocoa, maple syrup and vanilla.  Whisk well until smooth and remove from heat.

                 mix no bakemixed well no bake

Add in the seeds, flaxseed, shredded coconut and oats.  Stir well until combined.  The mixture may look a little lumpy, gel like but that is from the chia seeds so all is good.

I took my tablespoon and scooped out the batter, so they were shaped like half rounds and placed each one on the plate, not touching but a little bit of space between them.

stir in no bakeno bake cookie mixed

Now place your plate in the freezer for about 15 to firm up. You can also place them in the fridge, but it takes about an hour.

Once they have firmed and you haven’t ate them all, store in an air tight container in the refrigerator for about a week or freeze them for a few weeks.  They are definitely easier to eat right away from the fridge.

NOTE: I try not to use any oils but if you use oil, you can do 3 tablespoons coconut oil.  If you want a nut free option, sunflower seed butter works well. I make my nut butters but this recipe is best with nut butters WITHOUT oil or sugars.  You could also add peppermint to the mix.  You can reduce the coconut to 4-5 tablespoons and increase the oats with 2-3 more tablespoons.

no bake on plate

 

Lunch… or Dinner…

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Black beans, rice, spinach and kale heated in a bowl topped with salsa was my standard lunch for a number of years when I worked full time out of the home.  As crazy as it sounds, I ate it just about every day (unless I met a friend for lunch).  Well I no longer work full time out of the house and I have pimped my beans, rice, spinach and kale lunch!

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Shredded BBQ Sandies

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Another successful Wednesday’s Something New!

Way back in the day, I remember the hubs enjoyed a tri-tip or pulled BBQ chicken or pork sandwich often.  Well, gone are those days and they haven’t been missed!   I recently came across a BBQ sauce recipe from Forks Over Knives that I thought I would try because I like to make broccoli and cauliflower bites and thought I would try to create a similar dish to the ones back in the day :)  Most store bought sauces have not only an enormous amount of sugar (corn syrup, HFCS, brown sugar, etc)  but other ingredients like caramel color, modified corn starch, soybean oil and other so-called natural ingredients and the ingredient list is half the back of the jar!  I don’t want all that ‘stuff’. I have seen recipes for BBQ Jack Fruit sandwiches, and I haven’t found that in any local stores.  Carrots shred easy and roast in the oven well so that was what I decided to use, and the result was “not many people would know this isn’t meat” as my daughter said.  This was a super easy meal and very flavorful. Prepare BBQ sauce ahead of time if you are not using store bought.  It was served with chips and apple salsa.

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Coconut Cashew Hangry Bars

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Not sure how many Lara Bars we have purchased over the years, but more than enough to have given one to everyone at a soccer tournament!  Peanut Butter Cookie and Coconut Cream Pie are the top favorites in this house.  I decided that it was time to make them as it was getting challenging to find them on sale and it was just getting a bit expensive to purchase them regularly.  But I had to be sure I could make them for less than I was purchasing them.  Dates are pricey and I managed to find some at an acceptable price but I am still searching for a bulk source. (if you know any, please LMK :)   Also, I wanted to add other ingredients that provide more vitamins and minerals.  Proportions are not my expertise, but if I didn’t try I would never figure it out.  After a couple batches, I finally got the desired texture/substance ratio.  Then it was getting the add ins to the right measurements so it wouldn’t change the texture too much.  Let’s just say we had a lot of samples in the kitchen.

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