creamy roasted onion & red pepper sauce.

well, there you have it, friends.. Ryan picked the winner 🙂

I should have added that we both thought that the other 2 finalists deserved to be there as well, We were just happy with the winner & very excited to see her new show!

Before I share my recipe I just had something else to ramble about.  Since we have known about the move there have been signs and connections everywhere.. things that we would not have noticed before. I now call it the Boston- Denver connection. It’s crazy how this has affected us.

everything from Our tour guide at PC last summer being from Fort Collins , Co, to another school where we sat next to a family form Denver and another family from Portland ,Oregon ( where Ry goes to school) To a man on cape cod from CO being bit by a shark last summer

I know far fetched, but everywhere we turned, there were connections.

I know… ramble, ramble, ramble…

Ryan and I have been watching Food Truck wars on food network.  ( season from 2011.. found it on demand)

Well about the 3rd or 4th city, they came to Denver.

needless to say, I was stoked to see this episode.

And it did not disappoint.

One of the food trucks was from Boston ( a grilled cheese truck.. YUM!)

I was very excited to hear name drops of local places throughout this episode.

At one point the Boston truck went to a park to set up at a park. THE  park that I live right around the corner from!!!!  I was sooo excited to see this ( and REALLY wished that I had been here for that )

I swear I was like a little kid watching this 😉

So until you can come to visit me ( and you should ~ I have room and would spoil you 😉 ) If you have access to on demand food network, and you can find the episode, about halfway through, you can see footage of Washington park.

Ok.. ramble over

now.. for a tasty sauceImage

1 pepper, roasted ( you can used a jarred one, but roasting is FUN! )

1 TBSP roasted garlic *

1/2 onion, thick sliced

1/4 bunch cilantro

leaves from 1 sprig of thyme

1/4 cup olive oil

1 TSBP balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup low fat cream cheese

 

( did not use the hatch pepper in the picture in this recipe)

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To roast your pepper, just place over a fire source.  I used my burner, but a grill outside would be fine, as would and open campfire.

Allow to get black, rotating with tongs.

When sufficient blackage has occurred, remove and place in a paper bag and seal tightly. ( this allows it to steam and the skin to become loose. ) If using jarred  peppers, eliminate these steps.

 

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Brush the onion slices with olive oil & season with salt and pepper. Grill over medium heat until onions are soft.  Set aside.

To roast garlic, , take a whole bulb and cut the top off. Place on aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil . Place on grill for 20-25 minutes or until garlic gets soft  ( alternatively, you could cook onions and garlic in the oven like I did HERE )

 

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when garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze the bulbs onto a cutting board and using the side of a chef’s knife, press into a paste

 

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for this recipe we only needed about a tablespoon, but this yummy goodness will keep for a few days, and I have another recipe this week that you will want roasted garlic for, so get down with your bad self and roast the whole darn thing !

 

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next, add all ingredients except for the cream cheese to a blender and blend.

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pour into a saucepan and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes. Add cream cheese and stir to melt

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I used this sauce as a topper for a fajita- kinda taco using THIS recipe.

 

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just look at this sauce…

 

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so much flavor in a tiny bowl….  And FYI, I did have a little bit left over and it made an excellent dip with veggies the next day 🙂

 

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thanks for reading.. and let me know if you make this.. I’d love to hear your feedback 🙂

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while the kids are away…

Mom and dad will play!

Well.. Kinda.

Ry and Ali went to visit Jamanda for a week, leaving Scott and I ( and Fenway) with our first * taste* of our empty nest.

What’s really strange is that this is the very first time that Scott and I have lived alone !

We’ve done a lot of this …

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And this….

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And this…..

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We drove up to the mountains , with the hopes of going hiking… but got immediately rained on 😦

We unpacked some boxes…

we went to REI flagship store…

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SOOO cool!

we spent the afternoon each finding just the right pair of hiking boots..

we found an art festival right around the corner from our house

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We took Fenway with us, south to Colorado springs to a place called Gardens of the Gods… beautiful rock formations to ‘hike’ all around..

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we stopped for lunch

we saw a snake… ( yuck)

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I know none of this sounds horribly exciting, but it’s a start.  I did get my new grill this weekend so I have been playing ALOT!  I have a bunch of recipes to share but i am struggling SOOO fsr-eak-en badly with the technology part of this.  I’m researching other options.. this is downright maddening!

I had much more too share with you in this post, but it has taken me almost 2 hours to post this little bit. UGH!

I will leave you with a few more pics of our Sunday… Hopefully I will get this figured out soon..

oxox ~ shel

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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

this one’s a keeper

friends, I have a recipe to share with you. I cannot take credit for this recipe ( I rarely do.. with the exception of my roasted vegetable lasagne , which I am convinced will someday make me famous)  I mostly share recipes and tips that I have found along the way.

Tonight’s is no exception.

EXCEPT… I’m being a bit selfish here. Ok I know.. you are shocked. Let me explain.

For Christmas this last year one of my gifts from my mom & step dad was a subscription to Clean Eating magazine. I had heard about it & really wanted to learn more.  I bullied one of my friends into getting it as well, so that we could compare recipes & the front cover & stuff.

whaaat.. I was a nice bully 😉

One of the first recipes that I made was a pork stew/chilish kinda dish. I loved it! Really loved it. When I went to make it the next time , I couldn’t find it anywhere. I searched the magazines( by then I had a few issues) I searched the website. and continued to come up blank. I finally did find it, and made a mental note to bookmark it.

Epic.

Fail.

So The other night when I wanted to make it again.. same process, expect now I had 9 months or CE magazines to go through.

*on a side note… this made me look at my entire stash of cooking mags that I had saved. The one on the TOP of the pile read ’20 best things to try in 2007’*

yes. 2007. I am behind the times.

I recycled all 7 shopping bags of magazines and was rewarded with.. the recipe that I had been looking for. Picadillo Chowder.

Now I am quite naive… I never looked up picadillo and I never looked up chowder. I searched pork in every fashion.

I searched chili.

I searched stew.

It doesn’t matter, because the magazine Gods shined upon and rewarded me for being such a good recycler and then and there I promised to write it on my forehead

share this with you….

I give you Picadillo Chowder .

( picture is missing the black beans. I forgot them)

*1 lb lean ground pork

*1 medium yellow onion

*4 gloves garlic, chopped

*32 ounce low sodium chicken broth

*1 cup Organic black beans , rinsed ( I used the whole can, rinsed)

* 1/4 cup brown rice

* 1 tsp ground cumin ( I like it spicy, so I used a bit more)

* 1 tsp chile powder ( I used chipolte chili powder and more because I like it spicy 😉

* juice of 1 lime

* chopped parsley or cilantro for garnish

Place a large stockpot on medium heat. Add pork & onion and cook for about 3 minutes or until pork is opaque and onion is translucent. Stir in garlic, cook for 2 more minutes.

Remove pot from heat; pour mixture into heat proof container and drain fat from meat. Return mixture to pan and add broth. Stir in beans, rice, cumin & chili powder.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 20 minutes. Stir in lime juice then continue to simmer for another 15 minutes.

I always put a hot pepper in the middle, then when it’s done, I mash it up for extra heat. What can I say? I like it hot.

The original recipe called for rice browns, which are like little rice pancakes, but the first time I made them I was not impressed, so I haven’t included the recipe. If you are interested, give me a shout out & I will post it for you.

I like to serve it with an extra squeeze of lime juice , fresh cilantro ( parsley for you cilantro haters.. it’s not your fault..it’s hereditary) I forgive you and will always have parsley for you 🙂   I serve it with cornbread & a dollop of greek Yogurt.

and I’m such a poor blogger,that I missed taking a photo of the final dish. I know. my bad.

HOWEVER, I did manage to take a picture the next day when I morphed the leftovers into a wonderful organic corn tortilla soft taco for lunch

is your mouth watering? mine is…..

this recipe has it all in my opinion.

it’s quick

it’s inexpensive

it’s easy

it’s delicious

it’s versitile

it’s what you should make 🙂

and for my vegetarian friends ( you know who you are) you could probably make it vegetarian by using veggie stock & grated Tempeh in place of the pork. I haven’t tried it but may be inclined to do so. Soon.

a special shout out to those of you who ‘like’ me on facebook. Let’s face, it, everyone who like to be ‘liked’ and I am no exception 🙂 If you see a recipe that you like, feel free to share it with friends 🙂

ciao bellas!

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