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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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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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

 

Blueberry Banana Smoothie

I bought a lot of bananas for a campout.  They didn’t travel very well and were desperately in need of being eaten when I arrived home.  I have been brainstorming ways to use them up and this is one of them.  Blueberries and bananas.  What could be better?! (Don’t answer that 🙂

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 to 2 very ripe bananas

1/4 c. frozen blueberries (I think a 1/2 cup might be better)

1/2 c. coconut milk from a carton

1/4 c. crushed ice

 

Directions:

Put all ingredients in a blender until smooth.  Drink immediately.

 

Notes:

This was very good, but a little heavy on the banana.  I think the additional blueberries will balance out the banana taste.  We are going to experiment some more and let you know.

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Simple Peanut Butter Banana Frozen No-Bakes

The name is longer than the ingredient list.

One of my friends told me about these.  It is her husband’s dessert that he makes.  She didn’t, however, give me the exact recipe, so this is my experiment.  It is very simple and oh so good!  I think I am going to try it as popsicles sometime and I’ll let you know if they turn out.  This is a good, cheap, and healthy snack for kids too.

 

Ingredients:

1 large, very ripe banana, mashed

2 T. peanut butter

 

Directions:

Mash banana.  Add peanut butter and stir well.  Place onto wax paper and freeze for at least an hour.  I froze mine overnight.

 

Notes:

I tried adding additional ingredients, but it actually made them less tasty.  The only down side is that your fingers get kind of messy as the heat from them melts the “cookie” which is why I want to try them as popsicles.

 

Homegrown Garden Salad

This is the first year I’ve ever had a real garden.  My parents had them while we were growing up and I helped some, but I wasn’t responsible for it.  We have just started harvesting things from our garden.  It is so exciting!  Some of the sugar snaps are ready and we were able to harvest a few leaves of rainbow swiss chard as well as some basil.  The rest of the ingredients were from the store.  You can mix and match with whatever you have in your garden or your store, but here’s some ideas for starters!

Ingredients:

1 handful of spinach

1 handful of chopped leaf lettuce

1 leaf of yellow stem swiss chard

1 leaf of red stem swiss chard

1 orange pepper, chopped

tops of green onions, chopped

2-3 sugar snap peas

Handful of broccoli, chopped

Small handful of basil (I used sweet basil, ajaka, and red leaf)

Optional: Mild white cheddar cheese (obviously not dairy free)

Dressing of your choice (we used Ken Martin’s Sweet Vidalia Onion)

Optional: Add in baked chicken

 

Directions:

Harvest whatever you can from your garden that would go in a salad.  Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Top with dressing of your choice and cheese if you can eat it.  Enjoy!

Cranberry Almond Salad

I recently went camping with some friends.  I didn’t want to spend a lot of time preparing meals, so I tossed together this salad.  My husband and I ate the same salad at home and had the opportunity to warm up the meat, so you could do the meat hot or cold.

 

Ingredients:

2 handfuls of spinach

2 leaves of leaf lettuce, chopped

2 T. craisins

1 T. sunflower seeds

1 T. slivered almonds

1 handful of broccoli, chopped

3-4 chunks of baked chicken

Dressing of your choice

 

Directions:

Wash spinach, lettuce, and broccoli.  Place in bowl and add craisins, almonds, and sunflower seeds.  Add chicken (either hot or cold).  Add dressing of your choice and eat!

 

Notes:

I oftentimes make the chicken ahead and freeze it. Then I can pull out small amounts as needed.  If you are taking this salad on a campout, I suggest storing the dressing separate from everything else.  I also put the craisins, almonds and sunflower seeds in a separate container so they wouldn’t get soggy.  Happy camping!

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Dressing shown is Ken Martin’s Sweet Vidalia Onion Dressing.  It looks creamy but it has no gluten, dairy, or eggs.  I don’t know what magic is in it to make it look creamy.  Sometimes it’s best not to ask :-).

Green Bean Casserole

My sister introduced this to me.  It is starting to become a staple of our holiday dinners.  I can’t exactly say it’s good for you, but it’s yummy nonetheless.  The original name is Sweet and Sour Green Beans, but we have started calling it Green Bean Casserole.

Layer in 9×13 casserole dish in this order:

2 large cans of French cut green beans, drained

1 large can of sliced mushrooms (optional)

1 pound bacon, fried crisp and crumbled (save the grease)

1 large onion, sliced thin

1 large can Rotel (original)

 

Mix and bring to a boil, stirring constantly:

12 T sugar

12 T. red wine vinegar

all of the bacon grease from frying the bacon earlier (about 12 T.)

Pour boiled sauce over the casserole and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes (or until bubbling and onions are done).

Notes:

Can be baked anywhere 300-450 degrees for up to 60 minutes, so you can cook it in the oven with other parts of the holiday meal.  We usually leave out the mushrooms and sometimes add an extra onion.  We never measure the bacon grease and just add it all.  If you don’t eat pork, turkey bacon may work. You may have to add a little extra grease if your turkey bacon isn’t very greasy.  Hope you enjoy this casserole as much as we do!

Recipe is compliments of Alberta Denham.

 

Basil and Greens Salad

I usually don’t make fancy salads.  I end up eating them at restaurants often and it takes a lot of ingredients to make it fancy.  However, one day I looked in my fridge and realized I had collected little bits and pieces that together could make a really good salad.  If you don’t have one or more of these ingredients, don’t worry.  The recipe won’t be ruined as salads are very forgiving.  I mean, after all, they let you toss them and then eat them.

Ingredients:

1 head green leaf lettuce, chopped

1/2 head iceberg lettuce, chopped

handful of spinach

2 stems of basil, leaves only- I used ajaka and red basil because that’s what I had,

1 handful of cilantro, chopped

1 stalk of celery, diced

1/2 bunch of green onions- green part only, sliced

Dressing: Ken Martin’s Sweet Vidalia Onion dressing.  Surprisingly, it looks creamy yet has no gluten, dairy, or eggs in it.

Directions:

Wash and chop all ingredients.  You may use more or less of any ingredient if that’s what you have around.  The basil is a really nice touch, so I would include some form of basil if you have it.  You could also toss in some carrots, tomatoes, etc. for some color.

Top with your favorite dressing and enjoy!

Roasted Butternut Apple Soup

This is one of my favorite fall soups.  It’s kind of a froo-froo soup, but I love it!  Since I was on a soft diet at the time I made this batch, I don’t show the pecans on top.  You will just have to imagine it or make it yourself.  I don’t remember where I got this recipe from, but the original author suggested drizzling hazelnut oil on top.  I have never bothered finding it in a store, so I have no idea if that would make it better or not.  Most likely the answer is yes.  If you try it, let me know if it’s worth it!

 

Ingredients:

4 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes

4 large sweet-tart apples (Empire, Braeburn, Cameo, or Pink Ladies), unpeeled and cut in fourths

1/4 c. olive oil

1 1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 T. fresh sage or 1 tsp dried

6 c. chicken broth (or vegetable broth if you want it to be vegetarian)

1/3 c. pecans, chopped and toasted (optional)

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Combine butternut squash, apples, oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.  Spread onto an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, stirring once.  Bake until squash and apples are very tender.  Place 1/3 in blender along with 2 c. chicken broth.  Blend and then place in sauce pan. Continue with the rest of the apple mixture and chicken broth.  Cook blended soup in saucepan for at least 6 minutes, stirring frequently.  May top with pecans and a drizzle of hazelnut oil if desired.

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