20 Minute Meal: Spicy Asian Green Beans and Shrimp

August 29, 2014 in Entrees, Healthy Fare

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Green beans and shrimp for the Win!

Spicy and Asian is a good way to go with fresj=h green beans

Simple, easy and a perfect match of flavors and textures.

If you have a bounty of green beans in your garden right now – or you see a table at the Farmer’s Market piled high with green beans, do I ever have a dish for you!

This is a simple but stunning dish – and takes 20 minutes, max. The flavors of this sauce are clean and powerful, sweet and tangy. You could pretty much saute strips of leather in this sauce and they would be yummy!

Green beans are one of the healthiest things you can put in your mouth – so packed with nutrients. Healthy and yummy is a win-win!

 

– posted by Donna

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Easy Restaurant Style Enchilada Sauce (Gluten free, Vegan)

August 27, 2014 in Sauces and Other Goodies, Techniques

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 Restaurant style enchiladas – on your home menu!

enchilada sauce

Easy enchilada sauce packed with restaurant worthy flavor.

This falls into the “Why Didn’t I Think of This Before?” category. Every year, our garden is overflowing with tomatoes this time of year. And every year I try to think of ways to preserve the bounty.

I have made my own tomato paste, and my own roasted tomato sauce for the freezer. But until now I have never made enchilada sauce for preserving. This is coming from a person who has as one of my go-to easy meals – huevos rancheros - which was one of my first posts on this blog (apologies for the very bad photo!) -So, you see, I use enchilada sauce all the time in my kitchen.

Enchilada sauce is a cinch to make – and I like to make the kind you eat and love in restaurants – thick and flavorful. And in my version, the chiles peppers thicken the sauce and so you don’t use flour. More flavor, no gluten.

You will have to use dried chile peppers for this recipe, which can be found at some grocery stores, but if you can find a Mexican market near you, they are very abundant and much cheaper there. I got a huge bag for just a few dollars.

You won’t regret the effort to make this flavorful sauce with just a small kick of heat – especially in February, when you can remember warm days in the garden in every bite!

– posted by Donna

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Winner of the Ball Can-It-Forward Giveaway

August 26, 2014 in Contests and Carnivals and Roundups

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Honey Lime Jalapeno Jelly

 

Thanks to all who entered in last week’s giveaway! The lucky winner, chosen via Random.org, is . . .

Drum roll . . .

. . . Margot C! Please email us at ourapronstrings [at] gmail [dot] com with your address and other contact info. Congratulations, and happy canning to all!

 

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Jalapeno Relish: Your New Favorite Condiment

August 21, 2014 in Condiments

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Jalapeno Relish: As easy as falling off a log, yet jazzes up just about any savory dish you can think of. 

Jalapeno Relish

Turkey Taco, featuring 3 Nanosecond Jalapeno Relish

I won’t even pretend to call this a Recipe, but simple as it is, it’s turned out to be my favorite new condiment and the best easy tip I’ve heard in a long, long while. So how could I not share it with you?  Tiny backstory: I had a major board exam to prepare for at the end of July, and my study buddy Elka and I did a lot of snacking and quizzing and snacking some more. One day we decided to whip up some fajitas, and she introduced me to this idea. ARE YOU READY? Here we go:

JALAPENO RELISH SPREAD

1 jar pickled jalapenos, drained

Pour into food processor. Pulse until mixture reaches relish/spread consistency. Transfer into smaller jar and add to sandwiches, fajitas, crackers, hotdogs, burritos, canapes, hamburgers, tacos, tostadas, flatbreads – you name it.

– posted by Anne

 

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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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