Monday, June 30, 2014

Super Simple Guacamole

Super Simple Guacamole
This guacamole is SO easy to make - and delicious! If you've ever bought one of those overpriced "Guacamole Mixes," you'll kick yourself when you see how easy this is!

I don't usually measure to make this, but I measured last time I made it so I could record proportions here. Don't hesitate to just make it to taste. You may prefer yours very spicy, or very tart, or more garlicky - make it the way you like it, using this as a guideline:

Seed, remove peel and mash with fork
1 ripe Avocado (it should barely give when you squeeze it - rather like a ripe banana, but not be soft and mushy)

Add the following to taste:
Lime Juice till creamy texture is reached (I used 2 teaspoons)
Taco Seasoning to taste (I used 1/2 teaspoon - you can use homemade at link or store bought)

Garlic Salt to taste (I used a pinch - about 1/8 teaspoon)
That's it!

Additionally, you can add if you like:
Diced Tomato
Finely Diced Red (or other) Onion
(these ingredients not only add a lovely texture & flavour, they also reduce the fat content, cost, and calories per serving)

Besides having a wonderful flavour and being super easy, this recipe allows you to control allergens and unhealthy additives (Did you know that some commercial Guacamole has added Mayonnaise to optimize the manufacturer's profits? Yuck!)

This is the method I use for pitting & peeling Avocadoes - but I do have friends who have cut themselves by removing the pit this way. If you'd rather not use the knife method, scooping the pit out with a spoon also works quite well, but with much less risk.

This is being shared at
In & Out of the Kitchen 
Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural 
Fabulously Frugal Thursday

Monday, June 23, 2014

Mediterranean Farro Salad

Mediterranean Farro Salad
This is a wonderful entree salad. Filling, chewy, tasty - simple to prepare.

Mediterranean Farro Salad
(Measuring is not necessary - amounts here are approximate)
Cook According to Package Directions. Farro cooking time can vary based on whether you use pearled Farro or not.
1 Pound Farro
Drain if necessary

1/2 Cup Sliced Black Olives
1/2 Cup Sliced Green Olives
2 Tablespoons Capers
1 Cup Diced Tomato
1 Cup Diced Cucumber
1/2 Cup Simply Greek Salad Dressing  (Regular or Fat Free)
1/2 teaspoon Seasoning Blend of your choice - or to taste (I used Mrs. Dash Table Blend)

Toss & Serve. May be served immediately, or stored in fridge to serve later.

Make Ahead Tips: Farro may be boiled ahead of time, and stored, cooked, in refrigerator or freezer. Simply Greek Dressing may be made ahead of time and stored in refrigerator.

Tip for dining with Omnivores: This dish makes a great side to take to a summer barbecue to serve alongside Grilled Meats.

Best Recipes of 2014: Side Dishes 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Simply Jicama

Simply Jicama
Jicama is a great veggie, but one that a lot of Americans have never tried. It wasn't SO long ago that I first tried it. It's tasty, high in nutrition, low in calories, and, reasonably inexpensive.

The flesh of Jicama is crunchy, somewhat like carrots or water chestnuts, and has a nice, not very assertive flavor. It's cool & refreshing in summer, but delicious any time of year.

I like to serve Jicama when we're having Mexican food at home. It adds an authentic touch, it's a great appetizer or side dish, and keeps the chips and salsa damage down a little.

If, like me, you sometimes just need something to mindlessly crunch on at meal time, this is a great choice!

When preparing Jicama, cut very carefully, and always keep the knife blade pointed away from your hands on this one- Jicama is hard & crunchy and can make your knife slide.

Simply Jicama
Cut Jicama in half with a large knife, creating two hemispheres.
Place cut side down on the cutting board, and cut off the outer husk with the knife, holding vegetable at the top, while cutting downward around the outside perimeter of the hemisphere, then carefully removing top of the husk with the knife.
Cut the flesh into French Fry Shapes
Sprinkle Jicama sticks with Lime Juice (Lemon Juice will also work in a pinch)
Sprinkle with Garlic Salt
Sprinkle with your choice of spice (I use either Chili Powder* or Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle)

Serve chilled, or at room temperature.

*Note for International cooks: The Chili Powder I mention here is the American Style Spice blend that is mildly hot & spicy, that is used to make the American Stew called Chili- not the very hot Cayenne Pepper. Any Southwestern American inspired spice blend should work here, depending on what is available. You can also use just a dash of Cayenne, if hot & spicy is your thing.

This is being shared on
Best Recipes of 2014: Side Dishes

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Veggie & Olive Sandwich

Veggie & Olive Sandwich
This sandwich was originally made for me by my dear Sister-in-Law. It's not just everyone who can pack a lunch for a Vegan and do such a great job! It's simple to make, and super tasty.

Veggie & Olive Sandwich
On your choice of bread or toast:
Spread with Kalamata Olive Spread*
Sliced Fresh Tomatoes
Sliced Cucumber
Crunchy Lettuce

That's it! It's incredibly delicious!

*Kalamata Olive Spread is available in many brands - usually in the Mediterranean section of the grocery here in the U.S. Brands I enjoy are Iliada & Divina, as well as Peloponnese.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Why Do Freezer Cooking?

When I say that I freezer cook, I often hear:
Whether you love cooking or hate it, freezer food can be a Blessing!

"I love to cook!"
"I don't want to have food in the freezer so that I don't have to cook every night."
"Cooking is therapy for me."

Or, alternately:

"I hate to cook!"
"It's all I can do to get dinner on the table each night."
"I certainly couldn't face more than one day's cooking at a time."

Here are a few reasons why - whichever group you fall into- freezer cooking might be just what you need.

For those who LOVE to cook, entrees in the freezer provide the following benefits:

1. A meal to share with a friend in need, when a sudden need arises. If you hear that someone has just had a family member hospitalized, just brought someone home for hospice care, had a new baby, broke their leg -whatever - a frozen meal taken to their home can be a real blessing. Likewise, if you'd like to help out at the local homeless shelter or soup kitchen, freezer meals can be just the ticket. For more info - check out this Omnivore blog: Mom on a Mission

2. You want lower stress when entertaining. You can chat with guests, chop salad, and not have to worry about a last minute oops when dinner is heating from the freezer.

3. You want to focus on a side, dessert, or appetizer that requires last minute attention

4. You have special dietary needs in your family. An unexpected schedule change can leave you without time to cook - forcing you to overspend, or eat something that isn't optimum for your health.

5. You want to cook when you have time to enjoy the process, not when you're under the gun with stress.

6. Morning sickness. A lot of cooking fanatics don't enjoy cooking when they have morning sickness. A bunch of freezer meals can really help.

7. New Baby. Stocking the freezer allows you to focus on that new baby, instead of stressing over dinner.

8. Save money. Into every life, a little disarray will fall. That traffic jam when you should be fixing dinner. Holiday shopping. A friend or child who needs comforting just when you "should" be fixing dinner. The freezer meal comes to the rescue and lets you relax, without hitting the restaurant when you really don't want to.

9. Health. The well-thought-out freezer meal is often healthier than the last minute throw-together meal. And, that's not even mentioning fast food.

10. Dishes. You have to clean a lot fewer dishes when you freezer cook in bulk. This lets you spend more time with your family (or surfing the net ; ) after dinner.

11. Impromptu Guests. If you have a family member who brings home friends for dinner with little or no warning, or, if you like to invite that new person at Church to your house for Sunday Dinner, a few meals in the freezer can make the impossible possible.

12. Occasional bouts with Illness. If you are subject to an illness with good days and bad days, then you can fix meals on your good days, and eat them on your bad days. On those occasions when my back "goes out, " for instance, it's a real help to have a dinner in the freezer that I can just microwave & make a salad.

If you HATE to cook, freezer cooking has these advantages:

1. Get cooking over with - don't have it hanging over your head at the end of a stressful day.

2. You spend less total hours in the kitchen. Since the process is much more efficient (you get everything out once, chop onions once, saute a big bunch of vegetables all at once, cook a big batch of beans to use several times, simmer a bunch of things at once,  clean up once - etc - you get the benefits of economy of scale.

3. Many people I know who hate to cook hate it because they feel they're not good at it. Most freezer meals are the more fool-proof recipes that are less likely to fail, and even if they do fail, it doesn't happen when you're already starving.

4. Free up time for stuff you'd rather do with your evenings.

So, there you have it - whether you love cooking or hate it, freezer cooking can be a Blessing!

Here are some of my other stuff you might find helpful if you want to freezer cook:
My Freezer Recipe Index

For those who don't really enjoy cooking, these are simpler plans:

Cooking for the Single Vegan
Make Sauce Tonight, Have Easy Meals for a Week
A Week of Warming Soups for the Slow Cooker
Meal Planning & Bulk Cooking, Horizontal or Vertical
Non Salad Days for Great Salads

Freezer Cooking Plans:
Greek for a Week  
Indian for a Week
World Tour One
World Tour Two
How to Design Your Own Freezer Cooking Plan

This is being shared on 
Penny Pinching Party 
In & Out of the Kitchen
Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural
Virtual Vegan Potluck