Avocado Cilantro Lime Dressing

Even my husband, who doesn’t really care for avocados, was helping me lick the bowl after this one.  We served it over a southwest salad.

 

Ingredients:

2 small avocados

2 T. mayonnaise (I used Vegenaise so it would be egg free)

1 c. cilantro, washed

2 green onions, sliced

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp sugar

juice of 1 lime (about 1 T.)

3 T. milk (I used unsweetened cashew milk)

4 T. extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp white vinegar

 

Directions:

Scoop out the avocados and save the pits for storing in the dressing. Blend all ingredients in the blender until smooth.  Store in the fridge in an airtight container with the avocado pits in the dressing to help keep it fresh.  Could also be used as a dip.

 

Inspired by:

http://www.food.com/recipe/creamy-cilantro-avocado-dressing-449407

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Gnocci and Spaghetti Sauce

 

Our store carries gluten free gnocci.  If yours doesn’t, I’m sorry and the link at the bottom has  recipe for gnocci.  If you need to to be gluten free, I would probably just blend some brown rice flour, tapioca starch and potato flour together instead of the all-purpose flour, but I haven’t actually tried that so I don’t know how it would go…  If you can’t find gnocci or you don’t want to make it, you could sub in spaghetti or macaroni noodles.

 

Ingredients:

1 pound ground beef

1 onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves

4 cans tomato sauce (8 oz each)

1 can diced tomatoes (15 oz)

1 tsp dried oregano (I used 1 T. fresh)

1 tsp dried basil (I used 1 T. fresh)

1/2 tsp dried rosemary (I used 1 T. fresh)

1 to 2 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

 

Directions:

Brown ground beef.  Add all ingredients and allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Boil gnocci until it floats to the top.  Scoop out the pieces that have floated to the top until all pieces are cooked.  Stir into meat sauce.

See this link for gnocci and the original meatsauce recipe:

http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/gnocchi-with-meat-sauce

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Raspberry Cordial

The other night we had an Anne of Green Gables party complete with raspberry cordial.  Truth be told, raspberry cordial takes too long to make, so this is actually raspberry lemonade masquerading as raspberry cordial.  But you know what?  No one cared.  It was quite good and very quick to make.  I also like that I could use the raspberry  pulp instead of throwing it out as so many recipes suggested.  That may be all well and good if you picked raspberries from the wild and have plenty to spare, but these were purchased for a price at a grocery store, so I didn’t want to throw out the pulp.   So here you have it: quick and easy “raspberry cordial”.

Ingredients:

12 oz. raspberries (I used fresh, but you could use frozen ones that you’ve defrosted)

1 1/2 c. lemon juice (I used 2 limes in there because that’s what I had)

1 1/3 c. sugar

4 c. water

 

Directions:

Crush raspberries in a bowl with a spoon.  Stir in the sugar and let the mixture sit for 10 minutes.  Then, blend the raspberries in a blender until smooth (the seeds probably won’t blend and that’s good.  Strain them out later.)  Stir in the lemon juice and water.  Strain out the seeds.  Chill for 3-4 hours and serve- preferably while watching Anne of Green Gables :-).

 

Original recipe:

http://www.myrecipes.com/m/recipe/raspberry-lemonade-4

Italian Salad Dressing

I had dinner guests over the other night and wanted to use lots of herbs.  This is what happened.

Ingredients:

2 garlic cloves

1 tsp dried thyme or 1 T. fresh thyme

1 T. fresh rosemary or 1 tsp dried

1 T. fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried

1 T. fresh basil or 1 tsp dried

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/2 c. olive oil

2 T. rice vinegar

2 tsp sugar (optional)

1/2 tsp sea salt

 

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until minced.  All of my herbs were fresh from the garden except for thyme.  This goes well on a spinach salad with vegetables mixed in.

See my garden?  Please ignore the grass that is growing in :-).

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Grilled Lamb Chops

This was my first time ever cooking any type of lamb.  This was a chance to use fresh herbs from my garden, but you could use dried herbs as well.  I ended up making 8 large lamb chops which was way too much for us.  However, if you are feeding several people and want some leftovers, it should work.  Otherwise, feel free to just add half of everything.  Also, this recipe is naturally gluten free and such, so no changes required!

 

Ingredients:

4 garlic cloved, minced

2 T. fresh rosemary

1 tsp fresh thyme and 3/4 tsp dried thyme

Pinch of cayenne pepper

2 tsp coarse sea salt

4 T. extra-virgin olive oil

8 large lamb shoulder chops

 

Directions:

Put olive oil and all spices in a blender and blend until all are minced.  Rub onto each lamb chop and marinate the lamb chops in the fridge for one hour.  I put them in a plastic container with a lid and any extra oil mixture.  When you take lamb chops out after an hour, start the grill and allow the lamb chops to sit out for 20 minutes.  Toss them on a really hot grill and cook until the outsides are done- about 2-3 minutes on the first side and 3-3.5 minutes on the second side.  Our lamb chops were really large, so we did it just one or two minutes longer per side.  We served them pretty rare but you can cook them longer if you want.  Just don’t overcook them!

 

Original recipe:  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/grilled-lamb-chops-recipe.html

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Mashed Sweet Potatoes

We made lamb chops for the first time the other day.  These potatoes paired nicely with them.  They were super simple.

 

Ingredients:

5 c. sweet potatoes, peeled and diced, 1 inch pieces

1 tsp sea salt

1/8 tsp cinnamon

1/4 c. butter or vegan butter (I used SmartBalance)

1 1/2 T. honey

 

Directions:

Peel and dice sweet potatoes.  Cover with water in a pot and boil for 15-30 minutes until they can be easily pierced with a fork.  Sorry, I forgot to time it and it depends on the size of your potato chunks.  If you’re in a hurry, you can dice them smaller and they will need to cook for less time.  Drain the water.  Mash the potatoes by them selves for a minute to break them up.  Add all ingredients.  I fold the butter in to help it melt.  Once butter is soft, whip the potatoes until creamy.

 

Inspired by: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/mashed-sweet-potatoes-recipe.html

 

Kansas Dirt Cake- vegan and gluten free

Being a Kansas girl myself, I had never heard of this, but I wanted to try it just because of the name.  Ok, so it looked decadent too.  It indeed was decadent.  I love sugar but even I could just eat one piece at a time. If you can do dairy, I bet you could just whip together some cream cheese, a package of cool whip, and a batch of pudding and it would be pretty similar.  It is pretty simple.  Either way, this is a treat!

 

Ingredients:

Pudding:

2 c. unsweetened cashew milk (could use coconut)

1/3 c. sugar (granulated)

3 T. cornstarch

Whipped part:

8 oz. Daiya “cream cheese”

1 c. powdered sugar (you could use less and it would still be very sweet)

SoDelicious CocoWhip (like CoolWhip)- comes in the freezer section

1 package Glutinos, pulverized (you can use Oreos if you’re not gluten free)

 

Directions:

Whisk together the “milk” with the granulated sugar and cornstarch. Cook on the stovetop until bubbly and then cook another 4 minutes until thick.  Let pudding mixture cool for 10 minutes and then place in fridge for 2-3 hours or until set.

Place the “cream cheese” in a bowl and whip for 2-4 minutes until light and fluffy.  Add powdered sugar, 1/4 c. at a time.  Add in the cooled and set pudding mixture and whip again until combined.

Gently fold in 1/2 a package of SoDelicious CocoWhip.  If you can’t find this product in the store, you could chill a can of coconut milk for 4 hours and then whip up the creamy part and add a little sugar (unless you think the recipe already has enough sugar).

In a 9×13 pan, spread half of the pulverized Glutinos on the bottom.  Spoon in the whipped creaminess and spread evenly.  Top with the remaining Glutinos.  Refrigerate for at least 6-8 hours, but I think it tasted better after letting it set overnight.

Adapted from:  http://minimalistbaker.com/vegan-dirt-cake/

Lentil Stew

My neighbors came over on a rainy day to play board games.  I tossed this in the crockpot and served it over rice.  Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture…

 

Ingredients:

7 c. chicken broth (or vegetable broth if vegetarian)

1 bag of lentils (about 2.5 cups)

2 cans tomato sauce (8 oz each)

1/2 onion, chopped

1 c. carrots, chopped

4-6 garlic cloves

1 tsp Italian seasoning

1/2 tsp pepper

 

Directions:

Put all ingredients in the crock pot and cook on low for 4-6 hours.

 

 

 

Adapted from the recipe on the back of the HEB bag of lentils.

Quick Korean BBQ

I have been looking for new ways to use ground beef.  This recipe was really simple and was quite different than our normal go-to’s of spaghetti, tacos, curry, etc.  The only specialty ingredient it needs is gluten free soy sauce.  I happened to have sesame oil on hand, but you might be able to sub in another oil.  I’m not sure how it would affect the taste though…  We ended up adding in some Asian veggies later and it turned into a nice 1-pot wonder.

Ingredients:

1/3 c. brown sugar

1/4 c. gluten free soy sauce

1 T. sesame oil

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1 t. vegetable oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound ground beef

2 green onions, thinly sliced (it’s ok to use more if you have more around)

Cooked rice

 

Directions:

Stir together brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, and ginger.  Put vegetable oil in a large frying pan/skillet and heat over medium high heat.  Add garlic and stir for one minute.  Add beef and cook thoroughly, stirring to break it up.  Drain off the fat if you don’t want it and add the sauce mixture and green onions.  Cook for another 2 minutes and serve over rice.

Notes:

I actually made this from frozen, pre-cooked ground beef that I had cooked myself.  I freeze it in containers and then it makes the meal even quicker.  If you are doing likewise, just defrost it and make sure it warms up enough in the pan.

Original recipe: http://damdelicious.net/2013/07/07/korean-beef-bowl/

 

Banana Nut Muffins- Gluten free and vegan

I recently went camping and bought 3 bunches of bananas.  Turns out bananas don’t travel that well, so I had a bunch of overripe, partially smashed bananas that I didn’t want to go to waste.  I have a friend from Africa who loves banana bread.  He rarely asks for anything, but after I gave him one muffin, he asked for another.

Ingredients:

1/2 c. oat flour

1/4 c. millet flour

1/4 c. tapioca starch

1/4 c. potato starch

1/8 c. amaranth flour

1/8 c. teff flour

 

1/2 tsp xanthan gum

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

4 overripe bananas

1 c. brown sugar

3/4 c. butter (I used SmartBalance), melted

2 eggs or 2 flax eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 c. chopped walnuts

 

Directions:

Stir together flours, starches, xanthan gum, salt, and baking soda.  In a separate bowl, mash two of the bananas and cream together with the brown sugar mix with beaters for 2-3 minutes.   Add in the “butter” and “eggs” and vanilla extract and beat again with the mixer.  Gently stir in the flour mixture.  Mash the other two bananas, but leave them with bigger chunks.  Stir into batter along with walnuts.

Pour into 2 muffin tins lined with cupcake liners.  You don’t need to grease the liners.  Fill them halfway and then tap the tin on the counter to squeeze out air pockets.

Bake for 18-20 minutes at 375 degrees.  They should spring back when you touch the top without leaving an indentation or you can stick a toothpick in them to see if it comes out clean.

Makes 2 dozen.

 

Note:

If you want to make this with full gluten, replace all of the starches and flours with all-purpose flour and eliminate the xanthan gum.

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Original recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/banana-nut-muffins-recipe.html