Mild Guacamole and a Southwest Babe Bowl

img_1757Cook’s notes: Sometimes guacamole with a lot of garlic and jalapeno is tough to digest. Lime juice is more authentic, but we only had lemon juice, and it still turned out well. This perfectly mild version is delicious and easy.

Serves 8

  • 4 ripe Hass avocados, halved and pitted
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1.5 teaspoons dried cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Scoop the avocados and place in a medium bowl. Sprinkle the lemon juice over the avocado halves. Toss to coat with lemon juice. Sprinkle the dried cilantro and salt over the avocados. Using a fork, mash until a smooth consistency is achieved. Taste the guacamole “(over and over)” and adjust seasoning if necessary. Store leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator. Stir before serving.

The next day, you can use the guacamole as part of an “Ultimate Babe Bowl” (balanced macro bowl) from Megan Kober, who is a registered dietician. “The whole purpose of a Babe Bowl is being able to pack loads of vegetables, fiber-packed starchy vegetables or grains, healthy fats and lots of protein into one meal,” Kober says.

Southwest Babe Bowl

Place the ingredients in a bowl, mix, and eat.

  • Protein | 4 oz. rotisserie chicken, skin and bones removed and meat cut into chunks
  • Healthy Fats | 1/4 cup mild guacamole
  • Vegetables | 2 cups baby spinach
  • Starchy Carbohydrates | 1/2 cup black beans (rinsed and drained) and 1/2 cup corn kernels
  • Bonus Bites | 1 to 2 Tablespoons homemade salad dressing, such as Small Batch Italian Dressing

Adapted from Chipotle — The Not-So-Secret Guac Recipe and The Nutrition Addiction

Pitcher of Arnold Palmers (Lemonade-Iced Tea)

1LemonCook’s notes: Inspired the claim that “A true Arnold Palmer isn’t made with equal parts iced tea and lemonade; in fact, it’s three parts iced tea to one part lemonade” (link). The lemonade in this recipe is made with reduced sugar.

Combine the following in a 2-quart pitcher:

  • 6 cups strong tea, brewed with 6 tea bags in 6 cups hot water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar dissolved in 1.5 cups hot water

Apple Harvest Salad with Maple-Balsamic Dressing

Maple Salad DressingCook’s notes: I made this salad recently for a Grilled Cheese Housewarming Party. The hosts asked everyone to bring a kind of grilled cheese sandwich or a compatible dish. It’s a pretty salad … and it goes well with grilled cheese. The recipe is easily cut in half.

Salad
6 cups mixed green lettuce
6 cups butter lettuce
1 Braeburn apple, cored and diced
1 Granny smith apple, cored and diced
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup toasted almonds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds

Maple-Balsamic Dressing
1 cup olive oil
6 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
6 Tablespoons maple syrup
2 Tablespoons mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Combine the salad ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine.

Put all the dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight-sealing lid. Close the lid firmly and shake vigorously to combine.

 

Zucchini Noodles with Pesto

IMG_0747Cook’s notes: Another wonderful spiralized zucchini recipe inspired by Two Peas and Their Pod. We sauteed the cherry tomatoes with the zucchini.

2 Tablespoons (1 oz) olive oil
16 oz cherry tomatoes
3 to 4 zucchinis, ends trimmed and spiralized (or cut into thin strips)
Olive oil for sautéing
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Basil pesto, to taste

Heat a large skillet over a medium-high burner. Add the oil and tomatoes, stirring frequently, until the tomato skins start to split and release their juices. Add the zucchini and gently cook until zucchini is tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Toss with pesto (about 1/4 cup, stir and add more if desired).

Infused Mint Water

IMG_0740Cook’s notes: I had a small package of mint from the grocery store and found a drinkable way to use it. Very refreshing on a hot day. Keeps in the refrigerator for about a week.

Add 1 package (~18g) mint leaves, diced and stems removed, to a jar. Cover with water.

Refrigerate water mixture, stirring once per day, until flavors have infused, about 2 to 3 days. Strain before drinking.

Yellow Squash Noodles (“Squashetti”)

IMG_0749

“Squashetti” noodles served with brown rice and teriyaki meatballs

Cook’s notes: Make the vegetable “noodles” with a spiralizer device (I use a KitchenAid attachment) or a julienne peeler. Saute lightly in olive oil for a few minutes until tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

You can serve spiralized veggie noodles with any sauce you would put on regular pasta.

Resources:

The Slender Kitchen site describes 3 ways to make these noodles with different tools. The about Southern Food site has a lovely recipe for these noodles with garlic and parmesan.

Vegan Black Lager Cupcakes

IMG_0424Cook’s notes: I made some amazing Guinness chocolate stout cupcakes, but you know I hate to leave anyone out when we’re sharing food. This version is perfect for your vegan friends. New Belgium 1554 Black Lager is approved for vegans by barnivore.com. You can also reduce the sugar to just 2/3 cup. These terrific cupcakes do not need frosting.

Much like the “Wacky Cake,” which is made without eggs, milk, or butter, these are one-bowl cupcakes. Use a whisk to combine the batter; no mixer is needed.

I adapted the recipe to use espresso powder and black cocoa, which is super-dark cocoa. Use the ratio of 1/3 black cocoa with 2/3 Dutch processed cocoa powder in baking.

Dry:
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup [or just 2/3 cup] organic sugar
2 Tablespoons black cocoa plus enough Dutch processed cocoa powder to make 1/2 cup cocoa total
1 Tablespoon espresso powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder, aluminum-free
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Wet:
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 cup vegan black lager or stout (such as New Belgium 1554 Black Lager)

 

Heat the oven to 350°. Line a muffin tin with parchment cups.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle of the bowl.

Have the liquid ingredients measured and ready to go before you start to pour. Pour the melted oil, vinegar, and beer into the well. Stir well – batter thickens quickly.

Pour batter into the prepared cups, filling each only about 3/4 full.

Bake on center rack of the oven for approximately 25 minutes.

When cupcakes are done (toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake will come out clean), remove the pan to a wire rack. Let cool for ten minutes, then remove cupcakes from pan, and let them cool completely on wire rack.

 

Adapted from One Green Planet.

Chickpea and Sweet Potato Curry

Cook’s notes: She originally called for 1 Tablespoon Sriracha hot sauce. The little bit of Tabasco was more than hot enough for me. I added red bell pepper and sweet potato and reduced the added sweetener. The roasted sweet potato was left over from another meal and was a nice addition. You could also steam a fresh sweet potato in the microwave if you don’t have leftovers.

  • Easy and delicious, ready in about 20 minutes. Leftover curry heats up well for lunches.
  • Likely gluten-free, definitely vegetarian/vegan
  • Makes 6 servings

1 package frozen brown rice

2 Tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons Curry powder, any variety (we like the Penzeys brand)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup vegetable stock
1 can (13.5 ounce) coconut milk
2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (more to taste)
1 can (15 ounce) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cups diced cooked sweet potato

Cook the rice according to the package instructions.

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and bell pepper, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes, until the onions are soft and starting to turn golden. Sprinkle in the curry powder and garlic and stir, cooking for another minute or so.

Pour in the vegetable stock and stir to scrape up all the brown bits in the pan. Add the coconut milk, sugar, and hot sauce. Bring to a boil, add the chickpeas and sweet potato. Reduce the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt, sugar, or hot sauce.

Serve the curry over the rice.

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman’s blog

Tomato Chickpea Soup

 

IMG_0268

Soup… hard to photograph, but easy to eat

Cook’s notes: Slightly modified from the Love & Lemons blog, which called this “the perfect pantry soup…This soup tastes better the longer it sits (especially the next day)… so this would be a great one to make in advance.” The balsamic vinegar gives it a sweet taste; no extra sugar is needed.

 

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion (or half of a large one), chopped
2 orange bell peppers, seeded and diced
2 big garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 teaspoon each sweet and smoked paprika
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar)
14-oz. can diced tomatoes, with their juice
1 teaspoon dried thyme
14-oz. can (2 cups) cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
14-oz. can light coconut milk
1.5 cups vegetable broth (use the empty coconut milk can to measure it)

Heat oil in a medium pot. Add the onion, bell peppers, garlic, a few pinches of salt and pepper, and cook until the onion is translucent. Add the paprikas and cook until fragrant (30 seconds or so).

Add balsamic vinegar and stir. Add the tomatoes and thyme. Stir, then add the chickpeas, coconut milk, and broth. Cover and gently simmer for 20-30 minutes. Uncover and let cool slightly.

Transfer to a blender and roughly puree. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Serve with extra balsamic.