bacon-wrapped turkey meatloaf with avocado

I’m not much of a meal planner.  I honestly open my fridge around 5:30 and play a little game of ‘michelle is on Chopped’ 

I’m easily entertained 😉

A few weeks ago I opened said fridge and saw ground turkey.  And bacon. And I had an avocado. 

Friends… I give you 

  

bacon-wrapped turkey meatloaf with avocado

2-3 slices of bread ( I used white wheat )

1/4-1/2 cup of milk 

1 tablespoon whole grain mustard 

handful  of fresh parsley

1 pound ground turkey

1/4 pound bulk Italian sausage 

1/2 red onion, chopped

2 eggs

1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped 

1 tsp chili garlic sauce 

6 slices of bacon 

Start by placing  the bread in a bowl in a bowl and pour milk over.  Allow to set for 5 minutes then massage. It’s should be a soggy mess.  ( this’ll keep your meatloaf moist) 

  

Season with salt and pepper 

  Add the rest of the ingredients, except bacon and avocado. 


Mix well, but don’t over-mix, you don’t want it too dense. 

  

Free form mixture into a meatloaf shape. 


Wrap bacon around meatloaf, leaving a little bit of space between each slice 

Bake in preheated 375 degree oven until internal temp reaches 165. 

Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes 

  

 

Carefully remove from baking dish and place on serving platter. 


Slice up avocado and lay slices on top. 

  

Sprinkle with sea salt ….Slice and serve! 


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salsa-stuffed grilled avocados

say what?  Yup. The ever- loved avocado is tasty in more than just guacamole 

  

( but let’s face it, guac is pretty darn awesome!) 

I first had grilled avocado when Scott was living in Denver alone and I was still back in Massachusetts. 

my denver visit

We ate a a restaurant that sadly, is no longer in business 😓

  So I had to learn to make it myself! 

Grilled avocado 

1 avocado ( or 10…  These are addictive ) 

Olive oil

Seasoned salt ( I’m currently crushing on smoked sea salt ) 

Start by halving your avocado and removing pit. 

Brush avocado flesh woth olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt 

  

Place avacodo (skin on) right side down on preheated grill

  

Grill for about 4 minutes on one side,then rotate avacodo 45 degrees and grilled for a few more minutes 

  

 And there ya have it!   I stuffed mine with fresh salsa 😎

  

These are equally tasty on a salad ( using a small spoon, scoop out avocado flesh in one piece and slice )

Or turn into a smokey guacamole! 

Quick… Go get avocado and try this! 

Oxox

veggie chili

Friends.

I’ve hesitated.

I have a veggie chili recipe that I have pretty much been making for years. And I love it. but  I have a really good friend who is sort of a chili making champion.  She lives in Texas and they take their chili VERY seriously.  IN fact.. I have had the pleasure of tasting her chili… it truly is out of this world… You should  can visit her at River Cat Chili.

She is just back form a very big chili challenge that I’m sure she will be telling us all about soon.. and I have seen some of the pics.. and trust me… you wont want to miss this.

Sharing my measly chili recipe has had me intimidated.  But today… I feel strong.  I am going for it!

So the other day I defrosted chicken and had to decide what to make for dinner. Given the fact that I had more then just 2 to cook for, I needed to get creative.

This is my favorite way to cook. I have always said that if I were ever lucky enough to have a cooking show.. that this would be my ‘spin’

Open the fridge… take inventory… combine with pantry items and come up with 3 possible ideas.. and make one.

Which is exact-a-lacktaly what I did.

so what did I come up with? my veggie chili .. cooking the chicken on the side for those who wanted it. It was perfect.

I started by chopping the veggies and adding all but he garlic to a pan heated with oil

season with salt and pepper ( avoid salting the mushrooms)  and let everyone get a nice little crust.

after about 5 minutes, add the garlic, stir together, turn heat off, add wine to deglaze.

Turn the heat back on… once the wine has evaporated add some veggie stock and jarred tomatoes ( these were second to the last batch from last summer.. *snif*)

Let the chili come to a boil, then reduce and let simmer until sweet potatoes are tender. Stir in beans. ( I used beans that I had made in the crock pot and froze.. just because I go throught them so fast, but feel free to use canned)

For the chicken, I cubed it.. tossed it in spices and sauted in oil over med high heat.  Then added chicken broth to deglaze , covered and let simmer until  chicken had reached 165.

At the last minute, stir in some chopped cilantro or Parsley…  I served it with the chipotle cream sauce and it was perfect. ( I added the cooked chicken on top of those who wanted the chicken.

This is easy, healthy and yummy 😉  I finished the rest of it for lunch today with 1/4 of a chopped avocado and some fresh lime juice. It is a perfect meal for a fall day 🙂

* a note on the ghost pepper salt*

I have recently REALLY gotten into finishing salts. I can thank Ryan for this. I make a few of them myself (Lavender salt, Rosemary salt) but I’m a sucker when come across different flavors.  I am lucky That Ryan goes to school near a fabulous little tea and spice chop.. and every opportunity that I have I visit and he and I try out the different salts.

and sugars

and spices

and teas

We came across this one last weekend.. and although the ghost pepper is UBER hot.. ( bought some powdered ghost pepper this summer…  you only need a spec.. this stuff is strong.) I knew I had to buy it.

I have used this every day. yumm..

it’s awesome. like you!

what am I thankful for today? for you .. my readers…  you make my day.. seriously.. it’s nice having y’all as my bffs 🙂

oxoox[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:4]

banish boring salads

well… maybe not banish but know that there are options out there.

You know how when you got to a restaurant and some of the fancier salads look sooo good… but you have a hard  time shelling out 13 bucks for a salad..

yeah  me too.  Here’s the thing.. you can make these at home!!  Now I know some of you are like, “duh? is she going to seriously walk us through salad making 101?”

yes. Because I have a few friends whose diets have changed and they need to add more fruits and veggies into their diet & want to show the amazing amount options that are out there. If you already know all of this.. I apologize…. just scroll to the bottom to help answer a question about my next giveaway.

WHOA!!! wait.. YOU!… get back up here.. I’m not done yet.

We’ll start with making a dressing….  yes.. making it is super simple.. and there are 17,000 combinations that you can create… just use a basic formula and add the flavors that you like!

you will need

1~ an acid.. either vinegar, lemon or lime juice, wine….  1/8 cup

2~ an oil…. olive oil, canola oil, sesame oil.. coconut oil ( my new FAVORITE! ) 1/4 cup

3~mustard… again… SO many flavors out there… play with it! 1 tsp

4~ honey.. or maple syrup ( the real stuff) or agave…. 1 tsp

5~ (optional) herbs.. fresh or dried… or sesame seeds, or crushed garlic….. 1/2-1 tsp.. depending on how strong you would like ( always start with less then add more)

6~ sea salt and pepper…..  I have a slight salt obsession as well…..  we’ll chat about this later 🙂 remind me if I forget.

simply add everything to a small ball jars

   put the top on the jar and shake….

you just made dressing 🙂

trust me.. you can’t get that out of a bottle…. anywhere.

I don’t like overly dressed salads, so I usually use about a tablespoon per salad.. if you like more, then add more… I mix it with whichever greens I am using so that they are coated, then place in serving bowl… top with toppings…

like the quiche ‘recipe’  ( are you starting to get my method of cooking… it’s always a formula, then playing with ingredients… because I am a firm believer in  play!  <—- please read this post, it’s one of my favorites 🙂

so.. you will want

1~ green of choice… baby spinach, arugula, mesclun, romaine, butter lettuce..

2~ dressing of choice

3~ ( optional.. ) protein of choice… ( chicken, beans, salmon, beef, tofu, edamame.)

4~ other veggies.. just pile them on!

5~ (optional ) cheese

6~ (optional) something for crunch.. croutons, sunflower seeds, pepitas, sliver almonds

7~ (optional) dried cranberries or apricots or mandarin orange wedges

and  you, my dear have just made a killer salad worthy of any restaurant.

here’s your 13 buckaroos back 🙂

This salad  has

baby spinach

basic vinaigrette

topped with edamame ( I used trader Joe’s ).. about 1/2 cup

black beans .. about 1/4 cup

1/4 avocado, chopped

1/4 cup cranberry goat cheese ( if you are vegan, by choice or m=by force, eliminate it…  the avocado give the same mouthfeel… and you probably wont miss it)

1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes

finish with sea salt and pepper..

I ate this for lunch yesterday and it kept me full all afternoon!  ( and peeps ask me all the time where I get my protein from 🙂  )

so be brave…. look beyond iceburg, cukes and tomatoes ( not that there is anything with it, it’s the only way I can get my kids to eat a salad, so I still make it… ) and have fun!!!!

NEEEEXXXXTTT…

I have fallen in LOVE with Greek Yogurt. Have you tried it yet? I buy the non fat plain and it tastes just like sour cream. I sub it out for sour cream all the time.  It is also a perfect base to make granola parfait but also… to make some ‘creamy’ sauces!  like this

Chipotle cream sauce

I used about 1/2 the can of peppers.. if you like it more mild, use less

about a cup of the Greek Yogurt

half a lime

I put them all in the magic bullet looking thing and blended

if you don’t have one of these babies, you could use a blender, just keep scraping down the sides.. or use a food processor.

that’s it folks… does it get simpler than that? I think not.

The girls had this on their tacos last night & I topped my tostada with it.

the girls’ taco filling is made with lean ground chicken, then when I add the taco seasoning ( only half the package… it’s so loaded with sodium.. a little goes a long way.. you also can make your own, considerably knocking the sodium down, but I had it so I used it) and when I add the water I add a can of refried beans. They blend in perfectly… it stretches the filling and boosts the protein 🙂 I’ve been doing this for years..

It also freezes and defrosts well, so you can make double the amount and have it in the freezer for a super quick dinner…. If you need to cook for one, make a batch and freeze it into individual portions…  again.. quick dinner for one

*if you have dinner for one, please do me a favor and do it by candle light.. you are special and should have a nice dining experience.. if you want you can face time me and we can eat dinner together 😉 *

My filling was chopped mushrooms, sautéed  in oil, then  I mashed some back beans and lime juice in, seasoned with sea salt, cumin & chile powder

I placed it on a small flour tortilla that I heated in my cast iron skillet ( I CANNOT say enough how much I love  cast Iron to cook with)

top with cheese ( if vegan, try the daiya cheese shreds.. it’s very good, melts and stretches like cheese and can be frozen.. It is on the pricey side ( $5 a bag) but it does freeze, and I just pull out what I need when I need it )

the I added avocado.. fresh salsa.. Chipotle cream sauce and some plain Greek yogurt..  YUM!  ( and sooooooo easy )

As far as the rest of the chipotle peppers ( I’ve never had a recipe that I’ve used the whole can ) I take a freezer bag & label it… place in a jar

then press out the air & seal

Whenever I need some for a recipe, or a burst of flavor, I just break a piece off! No waste here.. yo!

so now that I’ve made you hungry… I have a question for all of you.

I have a fun company that has offered for me to give away one of their products.  I have the choice…

1~ 1 big gift for one lucky recipient…

OR

2~ 10 small gifts ( of the same item) so that TEN of you can win….

so whatcha all think? 1 big winner or 10 smaller ones???

smooches friends!!  oxooxo

mercury is in retrograde

I’ve been saying this for years and yet, I have no idea what it means. I actually have no idea where I even ever heard this term

And yet I use it often. What does it mean you ask? This is what I refer to when everything seems to be going well (or at least ok) and the BAM! out of the blue.. everything goes wrong at once. EVERYTHING.

I know you know what I mean.

Like when a certain cutie pie pup decides to eat the butter that you are about to bake cookies with…or when you spend an insane amount on material to make Halloween costumes for your daughter and her friends then spend 4 days crying as you work with it because the material is so dang slippery?

Clearly that was a long visit of Ms. Mercury to her beloved Retrograde..

(which reminds me.. Halloween is in like less that 2 months… eeik!!!)

must. get. thinking.

Truth be told, I don’t even know where I had even heard this term… perhaps from one of those many awesome *outdated-to-everyone-but-me* 80’s or 90’s sitcom?

Perhaps. Either way. It happens.

Yesterday, it rained. Like ALOT.

I really like rain. LIke more than sun (go ahead, gasp.. everybody does)

When it rains you can do this with your favorite girl in the world.

When it rains, I can spend the day in the kitchen (or curled up with a book or my fav blankie ) yes, at my tender young age I still drag my blankie from room to room with me.

don’t judge.

So it is more than obvious to me that as I entered the kitchen to play yesterday afternoon at that EXACT moment..

Mercury went into Retrograde.

It started by hearing a peeing sound coming from the living room.

nope. she was innocent.

it was my fireplace. I did the girly thing first & called mr. barefoot.

no answer. Darn ( I said something much more colorful than this.)

I put a bucket in the fireplace listened to it drip

and drip and drip.

I went upstairs to grab old towels to wipe up what had already puddled on the floor to realize that the windows were open in one of the bedrooms and the carpets were soaked.

duh? it never did occur to me to check windows as this beautiful N’oreaster ripped through my yard. nope.

Next was the call from Scott that he would be on the later train. again. C’la vie.

I cleaned up the multiple messes, cried to my friends on Facebook, poured myself a glass of wine and planted my patootiee on the couch with trashy TV.

Today is a new day and so for breakfast this morning I am making what should have been for dessert last night. I’ve been hearing about this combination for awhile, but it took me finding avocados at a wicked cool sale (I’m from Mass, I can say wicked) At the Whole Paycheck Store for me to be brave enough to try it.

adapted from Whole Living Magazine

Chocolate-mint pudding

3 avocadoes

6 Tbsp cocoa powder

1/4 cup raw honey

3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/8 tsp mint extract

fresh mint leaves

sea salt

1) place avocado, cocoa, honey, vanilla, mint and a dash of salt in a food processor and puree until smooth.

Sprinkle with sea salt and garnish with fresh mint leaves. (those aren’t sprinkles, I used a new Himalayan pink sea salt.)

seriously.. I made pudding from avocado! The only thing that I will say is that because all the ingredients are room temp, the pudding was too warm. I fear that refrigerating the avocado or the honey prior to blending would change the texture in a not so good way, so this is a definite make-ahead recipe. Mine’s chilling as I type 🙂

The pudding itself has a wonderfully smooth texture. It is very chocolatey. I think next time I will add just a bit more cocoa powder. And perhaps stir in some dark chocolate chips? Or toasted almonds? or shredded coconut?

hmmm……

happy Tuesday!

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