Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Lemon-Walnut Green Bean Salad


Today was the first really warm day we have had this year! Beautiful and sunny. A perfect day for a light vegetable salad. Blanched green beans, lemon zest, a dash of olive oil, and roasted walnuts create this refreshing summer salad, perfect for picnics in the park or summer barbecues.

My good friend Pavlina Ortiz stopped over today with her two boys. She is an amazing photographer specializing in babies, children, and families. I've been working with her to improve my photography. Plus, she is letting me try out some of her lenses! Today's photos were shot with her 50mm f/1.4D lens. Such fun! And still so much more to learn.

This green bean salad would pair well with barbecued chicken made with my Homemade Chipotle Barbecue Sauce, a Cold Spaghetti Salad, a fresh, baby green salad dressed with my Pepper-Mint Dressing, and quite possibly Watermelon Sorbet for dessert!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Avocado Fudgesicles


Well, it finally feels like summer here today in the Pacific Northwest. We actually turned the heat on a few days ago because it was so chilly and rainy here! School is out, the sun is out and it is time for frozen treats....popsicles and fudgesicles!

I really like to make my own blended fruit popsicles for the kids. Homemade popsicles can be made in a snap using fresh or frozen fruit, nut milks, water, or coconut milk. Plus, by using reusable popsicle molds, we cut down on unnecessary packaging and waste. Check your local co-op or just about any store at this time of year for popsicle molds. If you don't want to use plastic, then check out these stainless steel popsicle molds! I don't own any yet but if I were to purchase more I would go for these.

Avocado Fudgesicles

This recipe is quite a treat for anyone, young or old. I think you'll like how healthy they are too! I use a raw Ecuadorian cacao powder for these which makes them extra tasty. I also like Dagoba chocolate products which are all gluten-free (not raw though). After blending all of the ingredients together you can immediately serve this as pudding or pour it into your popsicle molds for "fudgesicles."

8 soft medjool dates, pitted
1/2 cup water
3 medium avocados, pitted
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup honey
5 to 7 tablespoons raw cacao powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
pinch sea salt

Place the dates into your blender or Vita-Mix and cover with the 1/2 cup water. Pack the dates down if needed so they are covered, for the most part, in the water. Let soak for about 30 minutes.

Then add in the remaining ingredients and blend until very smooth and creamy. Depending on your blender, you may need to add a little extra coconut milk or water.

Pour into small bowls and serve as pudding or pour into popsicle molds and freeze for at least 6 hours. Run under hot water to release. Source: www.NourishingMeals.com

Other fun Summer Treats:

Fun Summer Treats from around the Blogosphere:



Sunday, June 6, 2010

Fresh Vegetable Curry


We love curries around here. Our children have had the opportunity to enjoy a variety of curried dishes from a young age. Their taste buds know the flavors well. We made this recipe for dinner tonight and there was very little conversation during mealtime. A sign of a good meal.

We've been very busy lately with our garden projects. I'll post photos to our blog soon! I also recently took a solo trip for six days to Breitenbush Hot Springs and the Oregon Coast. Lovely to get away and relax for a while!

When making a stovetop vegetable stew, it is important to cut your vegetables into certain sizes and know how long each takes to cook. It is not very appetizing to have crunchy potatoes and over-cooked cauliflower! For example, potatoes and carrots take quite a while to cook so I always add them in the beginning. Green beans take a moderate amount of time, and cauliflower cooks up quite fast. Think about the size you cut your vegetables. If you dice the potatoes too small they may become very mushy by the time everything else is done. If they are too large, they won't ever cook thoroughly. Cooking is a dance with your ingredients.

A word on spices: make sure yours are fresh! Old spices lack flavor and are often bitter. they can drastically change the outcome of your finished dish. If they are older than 6 months it is best to compost them and start with fresh spices. You'll love the difference.

Fresh Vegetable Curry

This delectable curry is vegan. I have added cooked chickpeas to this recipe but I imagine it could easily be made with chunks of salmon or halibut, or even some sauteed chicken breast pieces. Try any vegetable you have on hand. I often make this with diced sweet potatoes or squash in Autumn. Chopped fresh spinach would be another fantastic addition; just toss it in when you take the pan off the stove. It will cook very fast! Serve over cooked long grain brown rice or quinoa.

2 to 3 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
2 to 3 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
4 medium red potatoes, cut into cubes
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
dash cayenne pepper (optional)
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons Herbamare or sea salt
6 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 cup water
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into pieces
3/4 pound cauliflower, cut into florets
1/2 pound mushrooms, cut in half
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups cooked chickpeas or 1 can
chopped cilantro for garnish

Heat a large skillet (I use an 11-inch) over medium to medium-high heat for a few minutes to let the pan heat up. Add the coconut oil, then the mustard seeds and ginger. Saute for about 30 seconds (you should hear the mustards seeds popping). Then add the potatoes and carrots. Saute for about 10 to 15 minutes, keeping the heat moderate so they don't start browning too much or sticking. Then add the spices and Herbamare. Stir well and saute for about a minute more. Sautéing the spices in oil is key to a good curry!

Next add the diced tomatoes. Saute for 2 minutes while stirring. Mix the cup of water with the arrowroot in a small bowl. I use a fork to whisk it together. Add this mixture to the cooking veggies.

Then add the green beans, cauliflower, mushrooms, garlic, and chickpeas. Stir gently. cover and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve over rice or quinoa and garnish with chopped cilantro. Source: www.NourishingMeals.com

Photo taken right after adding the diced Roma Tomatoes

More Main Dish Meals:

Other News:
Thanks to everyone who left a comment on my Garlic-Rosemary White Bean Dip post. I asked for recipe ideas using a few ingredients. I do have a few new recipes to share. Now it is just a matter of making the recipes again to take some photos! It may take me some time. Thanks for your patience! :)