Honey Lime Pepper Jelly #CanItForward

August 14, 2014 in Contests and Carnivals and Roundups, Sauces and Other Goodies

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#CanItForward Giveaway!

HONEY LIME JALAPENO JELLY

Honey LIme Jalapeno Jelly

Are you excited about canning season yet? We are giddily participating in the Ball #CanItForward festivities by joining in a giveaway of Ball products, a longstanding staple in our own homes. On Saturday August 16, Jarden Home Brands will celebrate home canning with the first annual International Can-It-Forward Day, when they will gather in New York’s Union Square for a full day of canning and how-tos, all streamed live on the web. All the festivities will be hosted by host Top Chef Hugh Acheson. What a good time, eh?

I am so, so happy that there has been a canning revival in the last few years. There is just something so satisfying about spending a day hard at work and then stepping back and seeing jars and jars of home goodness lining your counter. And jams and jellies are the perfect thing to start developing your canning prowess – the failure rate is low and the deliciousness level is high! This pepper jelly is something I have been making for years and not only serves as a sweet and spicy treat on toast but can be used as a sticky glaze for all types of meats – it is especially great on pork or lamb chops. Maybe you can make it in your own brand-new set of Ball products - make sure you check out our giveaway instructions (and the Honey Lime Pepper Jelly recipe) after the jump.  Read the rest of this entry →

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Peach Caprese Salad

August 11, 2014 in Healthy Fare

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Why should tomatoes have all the fun?

Peach Caprese Salad

Peaches are a wonderful substitute for Tomatoes this time of year!

Peaches are so fabulous this time of year, and I thought they might be a great addition to a caprese salad. I just love, love, LOVE caprese salad. In any way, shape or form. But the other day I did not have any toemotes on hand. I did have peaches, so. Peach Caprese Salad was born!

My favorite way to eat a ripe juicy peach is to hold it over the sink and eat, letting the juices drip down through my fingers – on down to my elbows. Summer bliss!

This is really a great combo – ripe peaches,fresh mozzarella,mint leaves and a drizzle of really good olive oil. Tomatoes are really fruit, after all, so why not try peaches as a sub in?  According to Science Bob, both tomatoes and green beans are fruits. Hmmmm . . . . the green beans will have to await another discussion. The drizzle of balsamic vinegar, slightly reduced, is a perfect match for the sweetness of the peaches. And mint stands in for the basil here. Let’s just call this a Summer Caprese.

Desperation, not inspiration, is often the mother of invention in my kitchen!

Happy Peach Season, everyone!

– posted by Donna

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Blueberry Cheesecake Smoothie

August 7, 2014 in Breakfast, Dairy-Free, Desserts, Vegan Recipes

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Cheesecake for Breakfast? With this creamy vegan blueberry smoothie, YES.

Blueberry Cheesecake Smoothie

Blueberry Cheesecake Smoothie

As Donna is an intrepid go-getter who’s always on the move, I’ve never gotten the honor of helping take care of my inspirational blog partner and mentor before. But I recently had the opportunity to help out just a little last month, when she was in need of a non-chewing diet for a thankfully short spell. In my ensuing exploration of the latest in smoothies, from green to protein and everything in between, I encountered this great collection by The Blender Girl.   I only had a few days to fill Donna’s freezer with smoothie-stock (frozen into ice cube trays then cubes stored in ziploc bags) and gazpacho, but I’ll happily come back for another round of TLC someday.

Of all the fantastic, ridiculously healthy recipes in Blender Girl’s book, my personal favorite was the luscious Raspberry Lemon Cheesecake. The innovation, used here and in several other smoothies, is using soaked raw cashews for the creamy texture. Brilliant! I’ve made it for myself at several times since getting back hope, and experimented with variations, my favorite of which is the blueberry version here (in no small part thanks to it being berry-picking-with-kiddos-season in Portland). As with any smoothie, add probiotics, flax, or any other supplements you like.  Read the rest of this entry →

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Grilled Zucchini Boat Tacos

August 4, 2014 in Entrees

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Healthy tacos with zucchini as the “tortilla.”

Grilled Zucchini Boat Tacos

Zucchini is the new tortilla!

The most fun food event of the year just might be Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day which is coming up this Friday, August 8th.

In the spirit of this event, I decided to think outside the shell – the taco shell, that is, and stuff hollowed out zucchini with taco filling.

It really is a genius way to use up lots of zucchini in a very tasty way.

Just slice some medium sized zucchini in half lengthwise and then use a spoon to scoop out the seedy part of the zucchini, making a space for the taco filling. The, just grill the zucchini until they are softened but not mushy and stuff them with your favorite taco fillings, or use my simple recipe below.

Such a great, simple grill recipe that will surprise and impress your unsuspecting neighbors – sneaky or not!

Happy Zucchini Season, All!

– posted by Donna

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No Cook Blueberry Lime Curd Tarts

July 29, 2014 in Desserts

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Blueberries and Limes – together at last!

Blueberry Lime Tart

Have you tried Blueberries and limes together?

Lemons and blueberries are a famous culinary pair – but I decided to switch it up and use blueberries and limes together. No, the fact that I had no lemons on hand had nothing to do with this innovation. Okay, a little.

And of course this meant making a lime curd. Making curd of any kind sounds really intimidating – until you make it. Punk Domestics has a catalogue of curds that shows how truly wondrous curds are – check it out. I love making lemon curd in my blender - so subbing lime juice and zest was all I needed to do.

I love no-cook desserts in the summer – and this one is creamy, tart, sweet and luscious. SO yummy. I love leaving the blueberries raw and whole – they add such a nice pop of freshness. This recipe makes six little tarts – and takes only about 20 minutes of prep time – plus you need to factor in at least 4 hours of chill time.

– posted by Donna

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Grilled Fig and Halloumi Salad

July 25, 2014 in Healthy Fare, Side Dishes

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This salad gives a whole new meaning to Grilled Cheese.

What's better than grilled figs and grilled cheese?

What’s better than grilled figs and grilled cheese?

I just tried halloumi cheese for the very first time a few weeks ago and now I just crave it. When you sear or grill this cheese, the texture is truly remarkable: crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside. Another foodie milestone: halloumi cheese tasted. Check!

I used a Finnish cheese similar to halloumi,I used juustoleipa, a word that means ”bread cheese.” If you live in my neck of the woods, I highly encourage you to check out Heber Valley Artisan Cheese  - and their juustoleipa alone is worth the drive!

The flavors and textures of this simple summer salad mix together perfectly. I like to grill the figs, but I cooked the cheese slices in a skillet over medium heat – to get a nice crust on the outside of the slices and melt the inside of the cheese. This is a salad I will make again and again – and will definitely try new ways to use grillable cheese!

Grilled Fig and Cheese Salad

Grilled Fig and Cheese Sal

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Lemon Tarragon Watermelon Salad

July 22, 2014 in Appetizers, Side Dishes

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Watermelon Salad gets a new flavor profile with lemon and tarragon.

A fresh take on Watermelon Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette and Tarragon.

A fresh take on Watermelon Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette and Tarragon.

I love that classic watermelon and feta combo, and I make this salad often in the summer. So sweet/salty/tart – and few things are better in the summer than cold, crunchy ripe watermelon fresh in the summer.

So I decided to try out some new flavors with this salad. Lemon and Tarragon pair perfectly with this watermelon salad. You just whack up a little lemon vinaigrette – and Voila! – instant watermelon salad. I tried a new method of plating this salad as well – just lay a watermelon slice on a plate and then cut into cubes, leaving the round watermelon shape intact. Pretty and yummy for a light summer dinner.

Happy Summer all ~

– posted by Donna

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Japanese Crab and Cucumber Salad

July 16, 2014 in Appetizers, Healthy Fare, Side Dishes

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Easy. Refreshing. Elegant. And stunningly delicious.

Light. Refreshing. Elegant.  Crab and Cucumber in a match made in heaven.

Light. Refreshing. Elegant. Crab and Cucumber in a match made in heaven.

This delightful crab and cucumber salad is simple and elegant and just stunningly delicious. I have made this salad three times this week alone – it’s that good. And, Okay, my garden is overflowing with cucumbers right now. So, yeah. Cucumbers on the menu every night. It is a very flexible salad – I have used the paper thin cucumbers as a base and then put different things on top – nectarine slices, feta cheese and green onions are two different combos I have tried. All yummy.

There are three ingredients plus a dressing so delicious I may have eaten half a bowl of it with a spoon. Not confirmed, just sayin’.

The key to the salad is the dressing – it is sweet, sour, tangy and smokey – full of umami and a perfect ying-yang dressing. The Japanese name for this salad is Sunomono – which literally means “Vinegared Thing.” I made a whole bottle of the dressing just to keep in the door of my fridge.

Also, the cucumbers have to be sliced paper thin so that they are soft and pliable. Use chilled cucumbers and crab (or shrimp!) and toss with the dressing at the last minute. Amazing. And Addicting.

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Curried Chicken Salad with Mango Chutney

July 11, 2014 in Dairy-Free, Healthy Fare

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Easy Curried Chicken Salad with a touch of mango chutney. Summertime simple.

Curried Chutney Chicken Salad

Curried Chicken Salad with Chutney and Craisins (I really didn’t plan for that much alliteration, I promise.)

You might have noticed I have a bit of a chicken salad fixation. I love the many variations on the theme, especially as a light warm weather meal. Great on top of greens, great on a sandwich, or all on its own. Creamy or not, savory or slightly sweet. In the latter category is one of my favorites: Curried chicken salad. Alas, so many of the ones I’ve tried go WAY overboard with the sweetness. A little is nice, but I don’t really want my chicken salad to taste like dessert. I discovered a creative solution to this that adds a tangy twist of its own recently – Zupan’s Market in Portland uses a bit of mango chutney as an ingredient, and that alone serves as the main touch of sweetness (the craisins add a tiny bit as well, but nothing else). Here’s my very simple version of their recipe:  Read the rest of this entry →

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Zucchini Noodle Shrimp Skillet

July 6, 2014 in Entrees, Healthy Fare

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Don’t you just love zucchini season?

Zucchini Noodles Skillet

Thinly shaved zucchini is the pasta for this fresh summer “pasta” skillet.

Imagine all the best flavors of summer tossed in one extra healthy skillet. And then SEE ABOVE.

Some folks complain about zucchini stashed on their front porches, but I am not one of them. I just love zucchini season. It just tastes like summer to me – I love it raw, cooked, any which way. I crave Michael Symon’s zucchini Crudo salad.  And Oven Fried Zucchini Crisps are a real treat at our house! C’mon – I have even made Zucchini S’mores! Only a serious zucchini fanatic would make those!

And so my obsession with zucchini starts early this year- with this skillet.

You just shave the zucchini into thin planks and then treat them like pasta noodles. A few minutes in the skillet is all it takes to soften them perfectly for your dish. Add a few other summer veggies and – let’s just call it Summer in a Skillet.

Happy Zucchini Season, all!

– posted by Donna

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