31 May 2013

Avocado Brownies (paleo and gluten-free)

Holy frick on a stick.  These are good.  I made this over a week ago...and I sit here still dreaming about the rich, moist, chocolatey brownies.  Well, let's face facts.  Cake.  Not really brownies.  I still haven't gotten that fudgy, brownie vibe from any of the paleo recipes I've tried yet.  But people! this cake.  I added chocolate/mint chips as a (color-wise) shout-out to the avocado.
I followed this recipe nearly to the letter.  I rarely do that.  I had the perfect avocado on hand.
The recipe says to process the avocado until VERY SMOOTH.  I did what I could.  It seemed to work out pretty well.
Dark chocolate gets chopped up and melted with some smooth butter.
Super luscious.  One taste and it's all over...so dump it into the mix before you eat it all!
Throw everything in a bowl!

Lots of colors go into the brownie mix.  Avocado, melted chocolate, eggs, cocoa powder, coconut flour, honey, almond butter...
 But in the end it all comes together!
I added chocolate chips!  In it, on it...oh, and there were some mint chips too.
Let it stand...then slice it up warm, and devour.  Holy cake, batman!
Avocado Brownie (Cake) heavily based on this

  • 1 large ripe avocado
  • 1/4 c. almond butter (can also use sunflower seed butter to keep it nut-free)
  • 1/2 c. honey
  • 4 oz unsweetened dark chocolate
  • 1 tbs butter (or coconut oil)
  • 1/4 c. cocoa powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbs vanilla
  • 1 tbs coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c. chocolate chips (optional)

1.  Preheat the oven to 350*.
2.  Process the avocado in a food processor until smooth.
3.  Melt the dark chocolate and butter in the microwave in 15 second increments until smooth (stirring in between).
4.  Mix up everything except the chocolate chips.  I would add the eggs last just so the hot chocolate doesn't cook them.  When well-mixed, add the chocolate chips.
5.  Put the batter in a greased 8x8 pan.  Bake for 30-35 minutes.
I loved these fresh out the of oven, but they were pretty dang good reheated as well.

24 May 2013

Kabob Skewers

This is barely a recipe.  This is easily the most customizable, delicious summer meal there is. 
Chop some vegetables into big chunks.  When I started this recipe, I realized I had barely any food left in the house.  Peppers and mushrooms.  Consider adding onions, seasonal veggies (Asparagus!  Wild leeks!), broccoli, sweet potatoes, tomatillos, bok choy, and whatever else sounds good.
  Add the meat of your choice, chopped into bite-sized pieces.  Chicken or venison are my faves.
Skewer everything!  I got these awesome flexible stainless steel skewers.  I can't wait to grill with them!
The day I made these, it was a little on the windy side and my mini grill just isn't that robust.  That's okay, the broiler works just fine for these.  Add some spices - whatever you want!  Salt and pepper, for sure, and maybe something cajun or chipotle.
Broil for 5 minutes per side, making sure the meat gets cooked through.  These skewers were really easy to flip.
Roasted veggies are the best.
Serve these veggies over rice, cauli rice...or just by themselves!
One really great thing about these is that you can pretty much use anything.  Any veggies, any meat, any spices!  It's one of those perfect summer dishes.

17 May 2013

Red Quinoa Salad with Basil

I'm seriously lacking in photos for this one, but it was just so tasty.  And Memorial Day is right around the corner.  So why not.  Let's put it on the blog.  This is a great recipe to bring to gatherings of people.
Red Quinoa Salad

  • 1 c. uncooked red quinoa
  • 1/2 large bell pepper
  • 1 roma tomato
  • 1/2 lime (juice and zest)
  • 1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbs. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbs. sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • salt and pepper
1.  Cook the quinoa according to the directions on the package.  Put in the fridge to cool.
2.  Chop the pepper and tomato, toss with the quinoa.  Add the lime juice and zest.
3.  Mix up the remaining ingredients and toss with the quinoa. 
4.  Top with chopped basil leaves for garnish.
To make up for my lack of photos, please enjoy the following pics from my little brother's art show, which used reclaimed materials.  I would really like to title this one "Jaws."  I am not sure he would appreciate that.
And this is me with my brother and his truly delightful lady friend.  Photobomb courtesy of our mutual friend.
And for funsies, here's a salad I made that was particularly pretty.
Okay, well that's all for now.  If everything goes according to plan, I should be having a lovely trip down to North Carolina right about now.

10 May 2013

Tomatillo Green Chili

I love this perfectly paleo soup.  In fact, the recipe comes from Paleo Comfort Foods.  I tweaked quite a bit, mostly because I have so much salsa verde from last summer.
Actually, I used canned turkey, too.  My family has been canning turkey for as long as I remember, so it's nothing new or weird to me.  You can also use chicken breasts or turkey.
Start by sauteing an onion, a couple garlic cloves, a poblano pepper, and a couple de-veined and de-seeded jalapenos.
 To that I added 2 pints (4 cups) of salsa verde.
 And next, 1 quart (4 cups) cooked, shredded chicken or turkey breast.  Plus spices.
Garnish with green onions and some cilantro.
Tomatillo Green Chili (adapted from this book)

  • 1 onion
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, de-veined and de-seeded
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 c. salsa verde
  • 4 c. cooked, shredded turkey breast
  • broth, if needed
  • 1 tbs cumin
  • salt and pepper
1.  Chop up the onions, peppers, and garlic.  Saute them over medium heat with a high-heat oil (coconut oil preferred).
2.  Add the salsa verde, turkey and spices.
3.  If needed, add some chicken broth to thin the soup out a little bit.
4.  Simmer over medium heat for 15-20 minutes.
This soup is a tangy green twist on traditional chili - very tasty.

03 May 2013

Goals Summary

Well.  May.  It’s here.  There’s no turning back now.
A few short weeks ago, I picked out some goals for April.
  • Make barefoot sandals for my beach party.  They are very lovely.  Maybe I will even include a picture.
  • I'm teaching all my friends a dance routine.  People, I am telling you right now: I have the best friends in the world.
  • I'm going to make seed bombs.  Heck yes!  Well, okay, I started them.  Would you like to see a post on seed bomb making?
  • I'm going to start planting my garden!  Yeah, I did nothing of the sort.  I did buy a basil plant and a rosemary plant though.
  • I made it my personal goal for the lake by my house to melt.  See the photo at the top of the post.
  • Wine bottling: done and done (I bottled two batches).  This means that ALL of my wine is bottled, and I get to take a break until we start seeing some fruit come into season!
  • I was a bridesmaid in a wedding!  Oh my gosh, what a fun night!  And the decorations were really fabulous too.
What?  Check out how much work I got done!  Well, it's the little wins that matter, and I definitely won some little battles this month.  I'm feeling pretty accomplished.
Here’s my secret: I pulled the plug on home internet mid-April.  In a pinch, I can still use my phone, but I would say I’ve gained a couple hours EACH NIGHT in time I used to waste on social networking and a couple other sites.  Now, I get home from work and there’s nothing to do but projects.  And honestly, I think with summer right around the corner, I’m not going to regret my decision.  We’ll see.  (FYI, after the first year of “promo rate” was over, Charter doubled the price of internet in a mere six months.  It was ludicrous.  If they can afford to give me internet for half the “normal” rate for a year, then they’re clearly taking my checkbook for a ride.  That’s in addition to the daily/weekly spam mail, spam phone calls, etc)
I don’t want to talk about May, but let’s talk about May.  Right now my to-do list is so big I have to scroll down to see it all.  That being said, I have no idea what to put on my goals list.
  • Survive.  Actually, thrive.  I know I’ll survive.  It’s a matter of how well I’ll handle it.
  • Be realistic about stress.  There are things to stress about, and there are things that aren’t worth stressing over.
  • Spend a night in the garden.  Maybe plant some things.  Enjoy the sunshine and the dirt.
  • I’ve got a budget that I haven’t been doing too well at.  Goal for May: stay within ten percent of my budget.  Better yet: under budget.
  • Blog once a week . It’s a little more difficult now that I don’t have internet at home, but since I can schedule my posts, it’s easy to get ahead and that’s how it’s done.
Okay, I feel like that’s a pretty worthy list.  I know I said April would be a wild ride, but it’s nothing compared to May.  Thank goodness for the support of friends and family.  That nightly glass of wine is a big help too.

Let’s do this.