Dairy Free Spinach Artichoke Dip

I like that this dip is so versatile. It can be dressed up as an appetizer for a friend gathering and it can be a quick on-the-go snack food to have at the office. This happens to be one of my favorite recipes to make. It’s super quick and so easy.

I was trying to replicate a non-dairy version of spinach artichoke dip and wound up with this. It’s made simply by using a jar of marinated artichoke hearts, fresh baby spinach (3-4 cups), a couple cloves of garlic, a few shakes of some nutritional yeast; about 1/4 cup, a little salt and a dash of fresh ground black pepper. Give these ingredients a whir in a food processor and you’ve got yourself a delicious dip.

Think party appetizers, quick snack or movie night dip!  I sometimes get a little crazy and use this as the base spread on flatbread pizzas!  However you enjoy it, I’m sure you’ll find it tasty. 

I like to use Trader Joe’s brand of rice tortillas and cut them into triangles to make chips. I place them on a baking sheet, brush a bit of olive oil over the pieces, sprinkle salt on them and bake in a 325 degree oven for just a few minutes. They bake quickly so watch them close.

The next time you’re looking for the perfect snack dish give this a try. You be glad you did! Enjoy!

 

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Scrumptious Raspberry Pancake Sauce

Raspberries are in abundance and I have been harvesting so many pounds of these delicious jewels!  The raspberries are incredibly bountiful this year.  I already have some in the freezer, I’ve made some yummy recipes, I’ve popped them in my mouth as is for a fresh, refreshing and healthful snack.  I’m giving them away even!  I’m not kidding!  There are copious amounts of raspberries.  This makes me so very happy because I love raspberries!

I always enjoy working in the kitchen with food.  I find the task of preparing food calming and it brings me back to my happy place, especially in times of distress.  With the recent tragedy in Orlando, I have felt heartache and grief.  I have found the past few days difficult to tend to the essentials in each day.  As such, I have found myself standing in the kitchen more often than usual after spontaneously deciding to see what I can throw together just to take my mind off all the hate and pain in this country.

With so many raspberries in my kitchen I decided to focus my attention on making something with those.  I went with a sauce.  It just sounded good.  I am craving pancakes, so guess what’s next?  Pancakes!  I’m going to make a batch and have breakfast for dinner!

This was super easy and took no time at all.  Check out the recipe below and give it a try yourself!  You won’t be disappointed!

Raspberry Pancake Sauce

3 cups of fresh raspberries20160614_182747

1/2 cup raw cane sugar

1/4 cup of water

a mix of arrowroot powder and water (for thickness)

pinch of salt

squeeze of lemon (about a 1/2 tsp)

Combine all ingredients into a medium saucepan.  Place on stove top and bring to a boil.  In a separate small bowl, make a paste with arrowroot powder and water.  I tend to use about 2 tablespoons of the powder to 2 tablespoons of water.  Add to the sauce when it boils, stir until combined then continue to let it boil for 5 minutes or until it begins to thicken.  Reduce to simmer and let cook until it is your desired sauciness.  Serve warm. Yum!

 

 

 

Pep In My Step Kale Pesto

Traditional pesto is fantastic, but I don’t eat dairy and I don’t often have a bunch of basil in my fridg.  I do however, almost always have a bunch of kale in there.  I learned long ago how to make a good dairy free basil pesto.  It’s only been in the past few years that I’ve branched out to create different kinds of pesto using greens other than basil.  I love it so much and I always feel good when I’m getting in my greens.  It puts a little pep in my step!

I don’t know what it is about June.  When this month rolls around I get to feeling giddy and happy.  This is exactly where I’m at these days.  Of course, it might be because I’ve actually got several planned vacations through out the next few months.  I’ve officially gotten the time off and I can’t wait to get this party started!!  I am really looking forward to summer, to vacations and to play!!

This pesto will definitely be on my “make to go” list when I’m planning foods for out of town trips and camping.  I mixed it up a bit and tried something new-almonds!  Traditional pesto calls for pine nuts, but they are cost prohibitive.  Walnuts are a more affordable substitute and my usual choice, however when I opened my mason jar of walnuts they smelled rancid to me.  That left me with almonds.  There ya go!  Pesto with almonds is quite delicious so remember, don’t ever limit yourself–in food or in life!

I tossed these simple ingredients into my trusty food processor and whizzed away until my pesto was creamy and mostly smooth.  I used this in a chicken and rice dish, as a pizza crust sauce base, as a salad dressing, in an omelet and even as a sandwich spread, more than once!  All from one simple bunch of kale.  Come on!!  You have to give this a try!!  So tasty and good for you; one bunch of kale can feed you for days when you get creative with it!  You’ll have a pep in your step, too.  Enjoy, my friends!  Happy June!

Kale Pesto20160602_174251

One bunch of kale (variety of your choice-I used curly)

1/4 cup sliced raw almonds

2 garlic cloves (I used home grown garlic from a friend and it packed some punch!)

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp fresh crushed pepper

a small squeeze of fresh lemon juice (about one teaspoon)

I free poured olive oil…guessing an amount? About 3 tablespoons then added water one tablespoon at a time until it reached the desired consistency.

Add all ingredients to a food processor and whiz until smooth.  Enjoy in a variety of creative ways!

 

 

 

The Sweet Life Of Raspberries

My friends, do you know what time of year we are coming into?  Raspberries, people!!  20160602_174445The precious short season of the raspberry is here and I am so happy! They are a bit early this year and growing abundantly.  I’m so fortunate to have family that share their bountiful harvest.  In fact, picking the berries is most exclusively done by me.  If I don’t they will dry up on the vine.  Age and health issues keeps my loved ones from tending to them as they have in the past.  These happen to be my favorite berry so for the next few weeks, I’ll be a raspberry picking fiend as I pluck as many as I can before they disappear.

Of course, these delicious raspberries must have a coming out party and what better way than with these fantastic scones?20160602_185952  One of my favorite recipes; I’ve made them so many times with different variations.  This time the only change I made was substituting the maple syrup for raw sugar.  Turns out that was not the best choice, but it was all I had and I’m using up my cupboard staples before I buy more.  They are good, but maple syrup is way better.  There’s a reason it’s in the recipe title.  That’s my opinion.  It certainly won’t stop me from munching on these for a mid-morning snack!

I’ve posted this recipe many times before here and if you haven’t given it a try, I highly recommend it.  Go ahead, you deserve this treat!  Happy Friday, y’all!!

http://www.nourishingmeals.com/2009/07/gluten-free-maple-raspberry-scone.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roasted Veggie Dip

Let me tell you about this crazy meal I made for dinner.  I prepared a baking sheet with a variety of vegetables, gave them a stir in olive oil to coat them nicely, then sprinkled a bunch of spices on them.  I popped them in the oven until they were nicely roasted and lightly browned. This is when it gets crazy.  I decided to dump the roasted veggies into my mini food processor and whip those veggies into a dip.  I was in a dipping mood!

I made my own dipping chips, too!  I know, super crazy!!  A resident at one of the buildings where I work told me about a grocery liquidation store that sounded too good to be true.  It was quite a distance from my house, so I was hoping it would be worth my trip.  Oh my, I was not disappointed!  Organic, gluten free, dairy free and vegan items could be found in abundance! Not just some random off brands, but many of my personal favorite brands that are part of my regular shopping trips.  I was having my own internal happy dance as I filled my basket.  Among the amazing buys were Udi’s brand gluten free tortillas.  Let me tell you what I paid; two packages for one dollar.  Yep, you read that right-2/$1.00!!  For real!!  The expiration date is good.  Although I enjoy this brand often, I don’t usually buy these tortillas so I can’t tell you what might be “wrong” with them that would bring them to liquidation.  They are fabulous to me and I turned them into chips!!

Stick with me here while I tell you I took it even further.  Food Radical went wild in the kitchen tonight!  I had kale in the fridg that was calling to me, so while the oven was on I just transferred those tortilla chips to a plate and added kale pieces to the baking sheet.  I drizzled some apricot oil over with a sprinkling of sea salt then popped them in the hot oven.  A few minutes later I pulled out beautifully crisp kale chips!

There you have it.  This is one wacky dinner.  I’m here to tell you it’s dang good!  Mixing it up and doing it different is my thing.  Now, I’ll be getting on with my dipping!

Roasted Veggie Dip

2 medium yellow carrots, sliced into rounds

1 large zucchini, sliced into half moons

4 large radishes, quartered

1/2 small yellow onion, sliced

Add veggies to a bowl and drizzle olive oil on the veggies.  Mix to coat then add spices of your choice.  I used basil, granulated garlic, parsley, salt & pepper.  Roast in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes or until veggies are crisp tender.

Kale Chips

1/2 bunch of curly kale, torn into bite sized pieces

Add kale to a bowl and drizzle with olive oil (or apricot oil) to coat. Sprinkle with granulated garlic and sea salt.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for 4-7 minutes.  Watch closely!  They bake quickly.

IMG_3653

 

 

Candy Cane Beets

Did you catch my recent faux pas?  Somehow I accidentally posted a paragraph of my draft writing the other day.  I am not a fan of the new post layout WordPress uses.  It’s not very user friendly for me!

You may have noticed I made some visual changes to my blog.  I have been playing around with it for some time.  I think I like how it looks for now and it is giving me what I want in layout design.  Some of my writing will be moving away from food and recipes.  I have found that writing thoughts and sharing life musings is healing for me.  I’m giving deeper consideration to a book writing endeavor.  I have been encouraged often so I’ve gotten a bit more active by studying more formalized writing.  It’s fun to try out my creativity in other ways.  Writing was always a favorite creative outlet for me as a child, teen and young adult.  I am finding the joy in writing again as I rest solidly in my “middle-age” years.

I have been giving serious thought to lots of new ideas recently.  I am a dreamer for sure!  I am a doer, too!  I’ve been rather bored with my current vegetable choices these days and long for the peak season of produce abundance.  I just planted my first set of indoor vegetable seeds!  Yay for veggies of the future!   I’m giving container gardening another try this year.  In the meantime, I have been on a quest to find a little more excitement in my veggies that will make my palate happy for them.

Check out what I found!  Have you ever seen one of these??  It’s called a candy-cane beet!  Isn’t it pretty?  Now, if that doesn’t make me want to eat my vegetables, I don’t know what will! IMG_3639

It tasted quite mild and is delicious raw.  I sauteed part of it which brought out a bit more flavor, but still very mild so that it picked up spice flavors quite nicely.  It does not have the robust, earthy beet taste like red beets.  I like this beet sliced raw in a salad best.  If you find one, pick it up and give it a try!  Break out of your veggie doldrums, too!

 

 

Moms Kick Up The Health Twisted Taco Salad

This is a long overdue post for me.  I put myself on my own loose schedule of blog posting, yet I rarely follow what I mindfully intend so I’m not sure why I even do it.  I guess sometimes it does work.  Blog writing is happening in my mind a lot more than you all see it right here.  I am just having too much fun this summer and have not had the brain space or focus to get this typed.  A definite highlight of my summer was this past weekend.  My good friend; one of my favorite people in this world, came to visit from Baltimore.  I adore that man and spending time with him gives me such deep joy.  I got an extra dose of time with him yesterday, spending the afternoon lounging at my neighborhood park enjoying a very Portland annual event.  I had such a great weekend.  Refreshed and energized, I am ready to get focused on my work week.  My focus is starting now as I write this.  I have another extra busy week, with it being my last week of classes. This means being extra prepared for on the go foods that will keep me fed into the late evening hours since class days keep me from home roughly twelve hours.  I will look forward to a two week reprieve in my time before I begin another round of classes.

Thankfully, I am still enjoying the greens from my dad’s garden.  I hauled home another large harvest to share with friends and to restock my own fridg.  I have discovered an incredibly space saving way to store my abundant produce that is working quite well.  I have also been eating greens at every meal so none will go to waste!  Salads of every variety have been my lunch and dinner meals almost daily.  Green juices, kale pesto, arugula pesto, and a variety of sandwiches piled with greens, wraps made from lettuce leaves, collard leaves…you name it, I am making it!  I have been eating well and feeling very healthy.

When my son called me not long ago to tell me he made my mom’s taco salad for dinner, I suddenly had an unbelievably strong craving for just that.  I loved my mom’s taco salad as a kid.  We all loved her salad.  As adults, my siblings agree that moms taco salad made hot summer evenings cooler.  My personal favorite part of the salad was the crushed fritos she would put in it.  To this day, I admit my weakness is still fritos.  Yes, I have had one too many love affairs with that salty, crunchy, oily goodness.  I always pay for it so I am actively avoiding my desires.  My son gave me my dinner idea and I wanted to have taco salad as well.  My taco salad is a little twisted.  There are no fritos in this one.  It is definitely not moms recipe, but I enjoyed the memories it created as I prepared my version of moms taco salad.  It was super tasty.

I look forward to my week ahead and will continue to eat greens for days to come.  If this week is like my others recently, it will fly by so quickly I will be surprised by the speed at which I get to yet another fun filled weekend.  Next weekend will be spent with a friend, who I refer to as my fast friend.  We met, connected immediately and became great friends instantly.  Five years later, our friendship has developed into a connection I know will be deep and lasting.  We will enjoy holiday festivities among many more wonderful people.  Life is good.  Life is green.  If you find yourself with bountiful greens, give this salad a try, or give it your own twist.  Enjoy!

Twisted Taco Salad

Brown one half pound of organic, grass fed ground beef with chopped white onions in a skillet.  Add spices: paprika, cumin, oregano, garlic powder, turmeric, black pepper to your desired taste.  Add half cup of pinto beans, stir and heat until beans are warmed through. Remove from heat and allow to cool.  Fill a large bowl with romaine lettuce (about 8 cups), torn into bite size pieces.  I added some arugula because I love its spicy flavor.  I topped the lettuce with the beef and bean mixture, some daiya cheddar cheese shreds and kalamata olives.  I avoid tomatoes and avocado, but these would be great additions if you desire.  I drizzled a tiny bit of lime juice over my salad, gave it a mix and stuck a fork in it! Yum!!

IMG_3280moms taco salad