spicy grilled vegetable gazpacho

whelp, here we are smack dab in the middle of summer.

 

I I hope y’all had a fun  and safe holiday weekend.  Mine was a welcomed quiet time.  After a little bit of long overdue retail therapy, I found myself craving gazpacho .

I dug out my Original gazpacho recipe

as well as my Roasted veggie gazpacho

and kinda played around and came up with

spicy grilled vegetable gazpacho 

it’s similar to my roasted veggie one, but I played around with the flavors just a bit

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Spicy gazpacho ingredients

3 tablespoons coconut oil

4 Roma tomatoes

1 cucumber, peeled and sliced

1 sweet white onion, peeled and quartered

1 habanero pepper

1 red bell pepper, halved

1 garlic cloves, not peeled

1 lime, halved

small bunch each of flat leaf parsley and dill

1 can of whole tomatoes ( I used some I canned last summer.  Buy the best tomatoes that you can find. Where this isn’t cooked  you want the best tomato flavor that you can get.  San Marzano is a great choice)

1/4 cup good Olive oil ( same reason as the tomatoes)

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

sea salt, white pepper, freshly cracked black pepper

 

place  cukes, salt, pepper and white pepper in a high speed blender and let sit.  The salt will start to draw the moisture out of the cucumber, making for a smooth base since the cukes will have started to break down.  Alternatively, you can use a food processor if you don’t have a high speed blender, you’ll just have to make the soup in batches.

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Preheat grill to medium  heat.  Place an oven safe stoneware dish on the grill with the coconut oil . Season with salt and pepper and coconut oil will melt. Remove from heat and place veggies on the grill using  a basting brush, brush the coconut oil mixture atop veggies

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Flip the veggies after a few min and brush other side with oil mixture

Note~ each vegetable will cook at its own pace. Here, my tomatoes and habanero cooked first.  Once you see the carmalization ( those black lines are the sugars condensing and imparting a deeper flavor than raw vegatables). Transfer veggies to a plate .

 

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Now, let’s build this!

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Place the grilled veggies on top of the cucumbers. Add dill and parsley.

 

Purty, eh?

 

Next add the canned tomatoes with their juice

 

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Sprinkle with salt and pepper and add a handful of ice cubes.

Blend. ( or process in batches if using a food processor )

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I had to use my food pusher to get it started.  If you don’t have one, take a break every few seconds and use a spatula to free up the veggies until they move freely

 

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Add olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Squirt lime juice in as well.

Taste for salt and pepper.

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Let sit covered in fridge for at least an hour ( if you can 😜)

 

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You guys.  This soup is incredible! I started by only added 1/2 of the habanero, but found that I still wanted it spicier, so I ended up using the whole thing.  Start will small amount of pepper and add what tastes right for your level of heat.

 

I served it with a bit of Mexican crema, ( you can sub sour cream ) a bot of balsamic vinegar and lime juice

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Enjoy !

 

 

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roasted vegetable gazpacho 

friends, I’m so sorry I’ve been MIA.   While in the grand scheme of things it all may seem minor, I feel like the last few weeks I’ve had one thing after another go wrong. 

The latest is that my iPad screen cracked.  About a week after the warranty expired.

  

And since this is what I use to post on my blog, I’ve been slacking. 

Anyway..  I have a few recipes lined up to share with y’all… This first one will knock your socks off ( get it.. So you’ll be barefoot with me? ) Ok, ok, I’ll stop.   If you promise to make this! 

Here is my standard Gazpacho recipe.. and I really do like it.  

However, this past weekend I scored this at the farmers’ market 

  

And by golly, I had an idea! 

 

Roasted vegetable gazpacho 

3 ripe tomatoes

2 cucumbers, peeled and diced 

1-2 jalapeños ( depending on how spicy you like it, if you don’t like heat, substitute a red bell pepper )

1/2 red onion

1 handful of roughly chopped parsley 

1-2 tbsp of roasted garlic *

1 tsp dried dill 

Sea salt

Pepper

1 tbsp  red wine vinegar 

1 tbsp lemon juice 

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

—I roasted my vegetable on my grill, you could also roast them in a 375 degree oven 

Once your grill is heated to about 350, place tomatoes, peppers and onions over heat. Let cook for about 5 minutes, then flip using tongs 

  

Grill ( or roast ) for an additional 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and place in a dish with a small lip ( to catch any juices that will release … I did not do that and ran to save the juices!

  

In a large bowl, add parsley, chopped cucumbers, olive oil red wine vinegar and lemon juice.  Season woth salt and pepper.  When roasted veggies are cool enough to touch, finely chop and add to bowl .  add roasted garlic

  

Toss

  

Take a moment to marvel at the simple beauty of fresh vegetables 😎

Blend everything together using an immersion blender or a conventional blender ( you’ll have to process in batches) 

Be careful not to over blend. A little texture is a good thing! 

  

 

Test for salt and pepper, garnish with Greek yogurt mixed with roasted garlic and parsley.  

I cannot begin to tell you how much flavor roasting the veggies adds.  There’s a layer of sweetness that adds soooo much to this soup! 

This packs up perfectly for a summer picnic ( I’ll be finding an excuse to do that this weekend 😊) not to mention how figure- friendly it is! 

Roasted garlic 

1 head garlic

Olive oil

Aluminum foil

Cut the top off of the garlic 

  

Place in a square of foil and Drizzle with olive oil

Wrap tightly like a Hershey’s kiss 😘

  

Grill or roast for about 20-30 minutes or until garlic starts to feel soft. 

  

Remove from heat and when cool enough to handle, squeeze garlic onto a cutting board and use the side of a knife to mash into a paste 

  

This stuff is liquid gold! I use it in many recipes or simply spread on toasted bread for a fantastic heart- healthy treat.

Side note….  The green center in the garlic is not good to eat. I still roasted it, but removed the tough centers before I mashed it.  If you have fresh garlic, this shouldn’t be an issue, mine was just on the verge and I knew that I could still salvage! 

Enjoy this recipe.   I know personally I’ll be making this many times this summer 😎

On a side note, 1/2 of my tomato and pepper plants have started to come back 

 

That’s 2 weeks growth from this 

 

  

Isn’t Mother Nature amazing?! 

Ciao bellas! 

blistered tomato salad with feta and arugula 

last night I busted out my favorite skewers.  

 

 

They are flexible! 

I also have a set of straight skewers, so dug those out 

I am lucky enough to be able to grill all year ..  But there is something extra special about grilling on a warm summers’ night. ( well, summer-like) 

 This recipe is uber simple..  But sometimes simple is simply fantastic. 

 

 

blistered tomatoes with feta and arugula 

bunch of cherry tomatoes

Handful of basil

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

Drizzle of balsamic vinegar 

A few handfuls of arugula 

Slivered almonds for garnish 

Sea salt * I’m currently obsessed with smoked sea salt *

 

Skewer tomatoes and place over medium coals ( alternatively you could us a grill pan or place under broiler watching carefully so that they don’t burn

Grill for 2 minutes, then rotate.  Repeat this until the skins blister 

 

 Sprinkle feta on a bed of arugula.  While tomatoes are still hot, scatter over feta. ( the heat starts to melt the feta and makes the texture ah-maz-ing! 

Drizzle balsamic and olive oil atop salad, sprinkle with slivered almonds and sea salt.

Toss and serve! I literally devoured this salad! I might make it again tonight! 

  

And a repeat of this 💞

What’s on your grill this weekend? 

stuffed peppers with raisins and pine nuts

good afternoon, friends!  I apologize for those whose email I blew up this morning by re-posting links from my weebly site.

 

I tried very hard to import all of the posts over to here with no success 😦  Someday I will hire someone to do it for me ( I really want everything in one place, for many reasons) and the issues that I was previously having with wordpress seem to have been resolved.

 

on the bright side, I  set up and instagram account 🙂

 

I know… blah, blah, blah. we want FOOD!

 

Kewl..  here’s what i have for you today…. you all know about my infatuation with Hatch peppers that I wrote about earlier this week.  It turns out that it’s kind of a regional thing.  My friends from facebook knew all about them. Apparently they are a big deal, and I just happened to stumble across them!

more on regional foods soon…. today I give you my stuffed pepper recipe

Growing up my mom made stuffed peppers alot. yum!  My recipe is a bit different than hers, because I basically cook everything first, then just heat before serving.

 

3-6 peppers

1 pound lean ground pork

1 can of tomatoes

1/4 cup of tomato sauce

1 large onion

2 garlic cloves

1/4 cup pine nuts

1/4 cup raisins ( I used golden)

1 teaspoon each ground cinnamon and ground cumin

About a cup of chicken broth

1-2 cups of cooked rice, or other grain

1/2 cup cheese of your choice

 

 

I also use it as a way to clean out the fridge!

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Start by sauteeing about a pound of ground pork ( I used extra- lean) . Season with salt and pepper. Remove pork form pan and set aside.

 

 

Add a drizzle of oil oil and add 1 onion, chopped  over medium heat.  When onions are translucent, add 2 garlic cloves, smashed. Stir and add a can of tomatoes ( I used Fire- roasted, use what you like.  )

IMG_0504The add a teaspoon of ground cinnamon, a teaspoon of  ground cumin, a dash ( or more if you like) of chipotle seasoning.

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Mix the pork back in and add about a cup of chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then simmer while flavors develop.

 

Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in a small skillet over medium heat. shake continuously. ( Nuts can burn in a nano-second.. trust me on this)

 

toss with Raisins

 

Here is where cleaning out the fridge comes in handy.  I had some leftover lentils ( which I LOVE) and some leftover rice. So I made 2 different peppers.

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half the batch   with lentils

 

 

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and half the batch  with rice

Toss in some cheese ( I used ricotta salata, use what you have 🙂

 

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set aside

 

Next, rinse and halve your peppers ( use rubber glove if they are hot) and scoop out membranes & seeds

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place in a baking dish with a little bit  of reserved tomato sauce

 

and start filling dem peppers!

 

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top with a little bit of cheese ( and sauce if you have any left) and bake at 350 until peppers are warm and cheese is melted.

 

IMG_0512serve with sauce on the side.

 

now I know these look kinda messy.. but that’s because I was trying to fill tiny peppers.  If you use a bigger pepper, say a red bell, or green bell, it will  be much neater.

 

Regardless of how it looks, it’s tasted great.

 

Don’t let the idea of the raisins & cinnamon deter you from making this recipe. The flavor combo is amazing.

 

have fun in the kitchen!

 

Have I made you hungry yet ??

 

oxox

creamy roasted tomato and garlic soup.. and a story

hiya!

Many of you know by now, and if not, then I am here to tell ya, that later this year, when our youngest graduates from high school  Scott , Fenway and I will be re- locating to Colorado. In fact, he is already there and has been since last June.

When I went full- force  (more forceful, rather) with this blog it was because I knew that this was in our future, and I wanted to set this up to be able to share my experiences with my family and friends.  I couldn’t tell you all that back then, but I can now 😉

This will be a huge adventure for us on many different levels.

1~ we’ve never lived out of New England

2~ Our entire families are back here in Massachusetts

3~ Our children Ryan, Alison, Jason and Amanda will be in 3 separate corners of the country, with Scott Fen and I in the center.  We have always been a pretty tight family as far as families go, so this will take some adjusting.

4~ Scott and I have never lived alone! We had Jason so early in life that we were a ready -made family right from the start..

Jay and Shel wedding day Scott and jay wedding day

 

 

 

So we will be empty nesters at the ripe ages of 42&43 in a completely new part of the country for us!

so after knowing all of this, I have now shared it with you….  the next few months will most likely be the craziest of my life ( and TRUST me, I’ve had crazy times) but it will also be fun. I intend to MAKE it fun 🙂 And share much of our adventure ( including a cross-country drive with Fen in my jeep)

 

In the meantime, I have a recipe for you. I developed this by using my favorite way of cooking. Look at what I have in house and try to be creative.

Last week cherry tomatos were buy one get one free at my grocery store. When you can get free maters in the dead of winter, you take  get them.  And if you are like me you hide them, especially if you have someone ( no names) who might possibly eat that whole container at once…… And then if you are really like me, then you forget that  you hid them… and when you find them, well, they look less than desirable.

THAT is how I came up with this recipe.  ( the tomatoes weren’t rotten or anything, just starting to shrivel… feel free to use perfectly plump tomatoes in the recipe if you want to skip the dumb blonde** step of forgetting that you hid them)

 

creamy roasted tomato and garlic soup

 

2 pints of cherry tomatoes
1 head of garlic
1 large onion
1 TBSP olive oil
1/2 cup cooked cannelloni beans
2 cups low sodium chicken broth ( use veg broth to make vegetarian/ vegan)
salt, pepper. dried thyme

 

Preheat oven to 375.

rinse tomatoes and pat dry. pu them on a non-stick cookie sheet. Cut up onion and toss with the tomatoes.
Cut the head off of the garlic and place in a small piece of aluminum foil.

Spilt the olive oil between the garlic head and the tomato -onion mixture. Close up the top of the aluminum foil and squeeze tightly. Place garlic in in center of tomato onion- mixture and sprinkle with salt, peper and dried thyme.

Roast veggies for about 20-25 minutes. Remoce garlic from foil ( carefully, it will be hot) and squeeze all of the cloves ( now delisciously sweet) into a blender.

Add all veggies and any bits that may have accumulated on the pan.
Add the beans, and broth and blend on low for 2 minute, then increase speed to high for 2 minutes

( if you use hot broth, then make sure you take the little glass insert out of the top of the blender and cover with a kitchen towel to prevent hot splattering liquid… I used the broth cold as well as the beans and just reheated the soup once it was done)
Once soup is blended, test for seasonings and adjust salt & pepper as needed.

enjoy! I promise you you will never know that there is not any cream in it!

I served mine with a dollop of Non fat Greek Yogurt

 

serves 3

190 calories per serving

5 grams of fat per serving

 

 

 

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roasted tomato and garlic soup

 

 

enjoy!  and thanks for coming along for the ride !

 

**dumb blonde comment…. someone is no longer blonde 😉

 

oxoxox

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]

a lentil story..

this is a true story.  and it happened today.

I had to help a friend this morning, so I was out and about running errands; unfortunatley, my purse was not… it was at home on the counter…

classic michelle.

soo I headed home to get my purse.. debated just waiting until tomorrow to go to the store.. but I had lentils on the brain.

(doesn’t everyone?)  I-needed-to-eat-lentils-ASAP

back to the store I went….. straight to the isle with the lentils.. and headed home ( actually I made a detour, but you get the idea 😉

I set into the kitchen sans recipe.. just an idea. Lentils, spinach, goat cheese. The rest I just pieced together and I loved it!  I’m so glad that I decided to take pictures of it so that I could share it with all of you!

And here is the funny thing.. I took the last bite of my lunch and read a message from a different friend  looking for a recipe for dried lentils.

here ya go!!

Lentil-veggie bowl

1/4 cup dried lentils ( I used brown.. you could use green  but I wouldn’t recommend red for this… they might get too mushy)

1/2 -1 cup water

1 tablespoon oil of coice ( I am having a fling with coconut oil right now… I can’t  get enough of it )

1 small onion, chopped

1/2 zucchini, chopped

2 handfuls baby spinach, rough chopped

a few cherry tomatoes ( the last from the barefoot garden ;( )

Goat cheese ( omit if veganizing your diet)

Sea salt & pepper

Chopped parsley ( if desired)

In a small saucepan. place lentils & cover with 1 cup of water. (unsalted)  Bring to a boil then reduce heat , stirring occasionally until lentils  get just past the al dente stage.. usually 15-20 minutes. If the water evaporates and lentils still aren’t done, add water in 1/4 amounts until they are done. Set aside.

Heat a saute pan , add the oil & let come to a shimmer; add the zucchini and onions. season with salt and pepper. once they start to brown add the spinach and stir… ( you want the spinach to wilt here, not burn)

add maters and lentils; season with salt and pepper

 Place in serving bowl and dot with goat cheese. ( I used about 1/8 of a cup)

this is half of what it made. It was soo tasty.. and healthy!  Did you know that lentils are a veggie? yuppers!

confession… I went back for the second half…. and even cold… it was still good! Bonus…. lunch on the go 🙂

I love it when friends are in sync with each other !

Still working on the give away…. hopefully it will be ready by tonight!

ciao bellas…. eat yer veggies!!

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

oh. yum.

Ok.. who here shops at wholesale cubs? I do sometimes but usually only for certain things. Not everything in bulk is a better deal.

So while I was en route to pick up my Chobani (love this stuff) I was star-struck when I saw this

I do love all things Italian and I ❤ my garden and veggies so I stopped to look at it & guess what?  It is another book that the recipes are grouped by seasons! What a wonderful way to use the foods that are local & fresh 🙂

I went back and forth on whether I could justify buying it, after all , I just bought THIS earlier this week , but in the end, I just couldn’t leave it behind.

After buying the book ( no self-control here) I sat int he parking lot & flipped through it & one recipe stood out as absolutleyhastobemadetonight. But… I needed cream.

But who goes into a wholesale club & just comes out with cream? (ignoring the fact that I just came out with yogurt, lemons & a cookbook) So I did what anyone else would do, I bought a keg of EVOO as well, because it’s also time to make some pesto.

Quite typical of me I barely ever follow directions, so this was my take on the recipe

Tomato Gratin

4 round tomatoes, halved , scooped and seeded ( I sliced a bit off the bottom so that the stood flat in the baking dish)~ scooped centers chopped

3/4 cup heavy cream ( maybe just a bit more for soaking the bread)

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

3 plum tomatoes, finely diced

olive oil

a few slices on day old bread ( I used a rustic Rosemary bread that I bought at the Farmers’ market last week)

Chives, chopped, sea salt & pepper.

Preheat oven to 350

After halving the tomatoes, drain them on a paper towel while preparing filling.

Pour cream, chopped tomatoes &  chopped garlic to a small pan & heat over medium heat for about 10 minutes.  Sauce should turn pink & tomatoes should begin to break down. Season with salt & pepper and allow sauce to cool.

While tomatoes are cooking/cooling, tear bread into small pieces, add remaining garlic & cover with cream, pressing down so that all the bread is covered.

Let soak for about 5 minutes.

In a bowl, mix cream mixture, bread crumbs,and chopped tomato centers. Test for salt & pepper.

Place tomatoes in olive oil lined baking dish and divide filling between tomatoes.

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or so, until the the filling form a light crust.

sprinkle with chopped chives & serve.

over. the. top.  so darn yummy!!!!!!

You need to make these. so they have heavy cream..

so what.

Just do it… all the cool kids are 🙂

 

do it!

do it!

do it! 

(then invite me over, because I would like to eat this again)

on another note.. the barefoot garden survived the Earthquake yesterday

ok.. maybe one little causuality….

ciao bellas!

 

 

 

 

a sea of pink

Good morning friends!

( stayed tuned, I promise some food in this post 😉 )

For the last 3 years, my sister, Jodie & I have joined thousands of other women ( and men) to walk 40 miles over the course of 2 days  participating in the Avon Walk For Breast Cancer.

It is quite the commitment to participate. Not only do you need to train for months prior to the actual walk, but EACH individual walker needs to commit to raising $1,800.

Not small change, by any means…

It is truly an amazing experience, one that really cannot be put into words.

I’ve tried to share our experience with a Video Slide show

My sister, Jodie & I had were lucky enough to have our daughters born just  1 month & a day apart from each other. My niece ( and Goddaughter), Alexis & Ali have grown up being ‘sisters’. It’s been so wonderful to watch these two grow up together

they are looking out the window on Christmas Eve for Santa 😉

The girls & Scott ( as well as my Mom & stepdad ) have spent the last 3 years showing up at cheering stations , rooting us on & pushing us (sometimes, I wish physically) and being at the finish line waiting for us at the end of this very emotional experience.

Ali & Lex have been patiently waiting until they were old enough to be able to walk with us.

This winter the  girls each turn 16, meaning that they will be old enough to participate!!

My youngest niece, Mollie, still has many years until she will be able to walk with us in the Avon walk, but we found another walk this past weekend that she was able to join us in..

Making Strides against Breast Cancer..

so early Sunday morning, the 5 of us, donned in pink, headed to Beantown to participate in a 6 mile walk around The Charles River for breast cancer awareness.

at every mile marker, Mollie got a snack..

this was mile 1

like her Aunt, she loves food!
we need to find a cure….

these two walked arm & arm for most of the walk 🙂

After the walk we stopped one of my favorite restaurants, Rustic Kitchen, on the way home so that the girls could have some hot cocoa & Jodie & I could have a glass of wine… but when I saw the menu Pumpkin beer .. I just had to have my sister try it.

this is a horrible, distorted photo of us, but I wanted to share her first Pumpkin brew with all of you!!

NOW…  since this is supposed to be a food blog…   I give you

CHILI !!!

full disclosure… this is in no way shape or form nearly as professional as my friend Cecelia‘s award winning chili, but for a yankee girl, it didn’t come out that badly

(plus 😉 I was able to assemble it at 5 am & come home at the end of the walk to dinner waiting for me)

my recipe:

2 pounds ground chuck

2 teaspoons cumin

3 assorted peppers

2 large onions

a carrot

2 garlic cloves, peeled

2 large cans of tomatoes

OR

fresh tomatoes

( all of my veggies came form Plato\’s Harvest Organic Farm )

1 can of white beans, rinsed & drained

1 can of kidney beacons, rinsed & drained

chili powder ( to taste)

a few banana peppers ( feel free to omit if you don’t like thigns a little bit spicy..)

I started by browning up the ground beef, seasoning with salt & pepper & cumin.

before the cooked ground beef makes it to the crock pot, I pour it into a fine mesh strainer to remove excess grease

)))grease(((

once strained, put it in the crock pot

Place the onion, peppers , garlic & carrot in a food processor. Pulse until the veggies are about the same size as the ground beef crumbles. add to the saute pan & saute for a minute, picking up any leftover browned bits from the beef.

((love hiding me some veggies in a family meal ;)))

Have the veggies jump on in the crock pot with the beef.

add the tomatoes & chili powder;  Stir to combine, then place the banana peppers right on in the bathtub of chili… they’re going for a nice long steamy bath !!

( a special little treat for the spicy chef)

I cooked it on low all day long… adding the beans about an hour before we wanted to eat.

I view chili like I do oatmealmore oatmeal

the perfect base for TOPPINGS!!

it’s all about the toppings!

And look what Scott had waiting for me when I got home?

YUM!

I leave you with this picture of the girls’ arms locked together.

note the breast cancer symbol between them? Pure coincidence!!

Oh! I almost forgot.. the Avon Foundation’s Boston office asked me to give a speech at an introduction event tomorrow for future potential walkers!!

Wish me luck!! ( ahem. I’ve never actually spoken to a crowd in public before…)

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