Summer Caprese.

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It’s that time of year again! One of my favorite things to eat in the summertime is a delicious and fresh Caprese Salad. It’s the time of year when garden fresh tomatoes are in abundance!

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For this salad I chose one of my beautiful Heirloom Cherokee Purple tomatoes. ย There are my first four picks above, getting just a little extra sun in the windowsill.

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I used this brand of Mozzarella, which was very soft and tasty while also being fuss free.

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This Fig Balsamic Vinegar that my mother-in law found at a winery she visited last weekend here in Northern California is what transformed this Caprese into something spectacular! I highly reccomend experimenting ย with flavored balsamic vinegars! Here is the website for this particular brand, CaliforniaBalsamic.com.

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Lastly I topped my tomatoes, mozzarella, and balsamic with a healthy sprinkling of the most amazing basil I have ever discovered. It’s called Globe Basil, and it literally grows in a globe shape! The tiny leaves are super flavorful and it is primarily used to top Italian dishes with. I will forever have this type of basil in my garden from now on.

Don’t forget a drizzle of olive oil and a dash of sea salt & black pepper if you like! I hope this post looks tasty and inspires you to go do something amazing with a tomato! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Copycat Annie’s Shiitake Sesame Vinaigrette.

I have been buying Annie’s brand of Shiitake Sesame Vinaigrette for years. I ran out the other day and was absolutely craving it! The combination of Apple cider vinegar, smooth sesame oil, and the earthiness of the shiitake mushrooms keeps me coming back bottle after bottle! So, in the spirit of making things homemade & saving some money I decided to try and make my own. The result was extremely exciting!

Here are my ingredients.

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I chopped up the shiitakes, toasted the sesame seeds until golden brown, and held them to the side.

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I then combined the rest of the ingredients into a blender and lightly pulsed about three or four times.

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After blending I added the mushrooms and sesame seeds, poured the mixture into a Mason jar and refrigerated. Super simple recipe, took only a few minutes, saved some money, and tastes amazing! I probably won’t ever buy it bottled again (sorry Annie!! ๐Ÿ˜‹).

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Ingredients:

4 fresh shiitake mushrooms, chopped. (About 1/3 cup)

2 tbs. sesame seeds, toasted.

1 cup Grapeseed oil.

1/2 cup Apple Cider vinegar.

3 tbs. Tamari (soy sauce).

3 tbs. Sesame oil.

1 tbs. Water.

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The Famous Green Power Smoothie from Terri NYC!

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This super simple recipe comes from Terri a vegetarian eatery in NYC. ย Although their food is delicious the most popular item on the menu is their Green Power smoothie! The ingredients consist of a half of a banana, half of a pear, 1 tablespoon almond butter (or peanut butter!) 1 cup fresh kale. ย Frozen the night before (so you don’t have to add ice!) and simply tossed into a blender with 1 cup of soy milk (or your milk of choice!) this healthy & satisfying smoothie is perfect for making ahead and grabbing on the go! โ˜บ๏ธ๐ŸŒฑ๐ŸŒฑ๐ŸŒฑ

These are my ingredients after being frozen overnight, you can’t tell from the pic but the kale is frozen solid! It’s pretty cool actually……

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The original recipe calls for soy milk but you can also use skim, almond, or coconut!

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Toss in your blender & enjoy!

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Peanut Butter, Banana, Bacon Dog Cookies

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These homemade dog cookies are so easy and fun! Your fur babies are going to love you just a little more than usual because….well…BACON! ๐Ÿ˜‹

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I saw these uncured, nitrate free bacon bits at the store and knew they would be perfect for this recipe! They add just the right amount of bacon flavor (and scent!)ย 

Ingredients:

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup quick cook oats

1/3 cup melted peanut butter

1 purรฉed banana

1 whole egg

1 tbs. coconut oil

1/2 bag bacon bits (or as much as you feel necessary for your dough)

Directions:

preheat oven to 350 degrees

mix ingredients together in mixing bowl (I use my hands!)

line cookie sheet with parchment paper

roll cookies into small balls and press with teaspoon to flatten (or if you want to use a cookie cutter like I did flatten dough onto floured surface with a rolling pin and cut desired amount and shapes)

line cookies in a nicely spaced single layer on cookie sheet and bake in oven for 30 minutes.

for a slightly crunchier cookie turn off oven and crack the oven door for 20 minutes.

Thank me later ๐Ÿ˜‰ (Feel free to leave me a comment!)

 

Quick Tacos!

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I make these yummy crunchy beef tacos in less than 30 minutes! We have been enjoying ours with refried beans (and extra black olives for me last night LOL!) if you want to take it one step further a pot of Spanish rice always adds to this meal! ๐ŸŒฎ๐ŸŒฎ๐ŸŒฎ๐ŸŒฎ

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The key to this being a quick and easy taco night is to keep the condiments simple! This bag of shredded iceberg changed my life! We can’t help but love the Taco Bell hot sauce you can buy at the grocery store (it tastes just like the little packets!) and we use the Taco Bell brand taco seasoning pack as well! ๐Ÿ˜„

Ingredients:

1 lb. Lean Ground Beef

1 pack taco seasoning

1 box crunchy taco shells

1 can refried beans, or beans of choice.

Shredded Mexican cheese

Hot sauce of choice

1 bag shredded iceberg lettuce

1 can black olives (or anything else you enjoy such as sour cream, quacamole, quick rice)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.ย 

2. Place taco shells in single layer on cookie sheet and bake in oven for about 8-10 minutes or until the color of the shells slightly darken.

3. Put beans in small pot and simmer on low stirring occasionally.

4. Cook meat in pan over medium heat until browned, drain and stir taco seasoning into meat according to the directions on the packet.

5. Let the meat marinate in taco seasoning a few minutes.

6. Stuff taco shells to your preference.

I throw this meal together once a week in less than 30 minutes! Also, the cleanup should be just as easy as making the meal because there probably won’t be any leftovers ๐Ÿ˜‰

ENJOY!

 

 

Croque Monsieur

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I am obsessed with this French Cousin of the classic American Grilled Cheese sandwich. I even ate mine with creamy tomato soup! So yum and perfect for cooler weather!! ๐Ÿžโค๏ธ๐Ÿง€

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons whipping cream

1 cup Aged Cheddar or Gruyere

1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg

2 thick slices of bread (French,sourdough)

1 thick slice good quality ham.ย 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Grate the cheese and mix it with cream and nutmeg.
  3. Slice the bread and top each slice with half of the cheese mixture.
  4. Transfer to a buttered baking dish.
  5. Top one of the bread slices with ham and sand which bread together finishing with the cheese side up.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes.

 

Boston Market Sweet Potato Casserole Copycat.

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Hey everyone. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Before I venture out into the madness that is Black Friday, I wanted to share the shining star (besides my turkey) of my Thanksgiving dinner this year! My already stuffed hubby went in for seconds & said he could eat it for breakfast. ๐Ÿ˜œ

Ingredients: ย serves 12

Sweet Potatoes:

3 1/2 to 4 lbs. sweet potatoes. Peeled and cut into 1″ pieces.

4 tablespoons (a half stick) unsalted butter.

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar.

1/2 cup heavy cream.

1 teaspoon kosher salt.

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract.

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg.

Topping:

2 cups mini marshmallows.

1/2 cup flour.

4 tablespoons unsalted butter.

6 tablespoons packed light brown sugar.

1/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats.

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon.

Directions:

Fill a large pot with sweet potatoe pieces and water, bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until fork tender. Drain potatoes and place back in pot. Mash potatoes until mostly smooth. Add remaining ingredients (except topping ingredients). Mix until combined.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 8 x 10 casserole dish.

Spoon sweet potatoes into casserole dish and smooth out. Layer the top of sweet potatoes with marshmallows.

Melt butter in a medium microwave safe bowl. Add remaining ingredients. Mix with a fork. Sprinkle over top of casserole.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until streusel is crisp and marshmallows are golden brown.

Serve and enjoy!

 

Homemade Baked Tortilla Chips & Super Simple Shrimp Ceviche.

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I cannot believe how delicious this super quick ceviche recipe that I threw together turned out! So good that it needed homemade tortilla chips to go with it ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here’s what I did!

Yesterday:

Peel and clean (1 lb.) Shrimp.

Cut shrimp into thirds (in half for smaller ones).

Put in medium mixing bowl.

Dice one whole cucumber and one half red onion. Add to bowl.

Add one 10oz. Can of diced tomatoes (I used Rotel with chiles) drained.

Add the juice of two whole limes and two whole lemons (the acidity from the citrus is the most important component of the ceviche!)

Salt, Mix ingredients well,convert to container with lid and refrigerate overnight.

**Tip** if you happen to have fresh cilantro at home (which I unfortunately did not.) PLEASE add some ๐Ÿ˜œ๐ŸŒฟ

What I did today (Tortilla Chips):

Preaheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with aluminum foil.

Take three large flour tortillas and cut into sixths.

Melt a tablespoon of Organic Coconut Oil and brush onto both sides of tortilla slices.

Place in a single layer on cookie sheet (I did two batches).

Salt!

Bake for 10-12 minutes depending on your crispiness liking!

Place on paper towel and lightly salt again.

Then this is what I did:

Scoop ceviche onto a warm chip and enjoy!

Repeat, repeat,repeat…! ๐Ÿ˜‹

Blueberry Kefir Overnight Oatmeal

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This super simple superfood recipe is awesome! So yummy day or night! Did I mention simple?!ย 

Ingredients:

Bluberry Kefir ( 2 cups)

Fresh Blueberries ( 1 cup)

Chia Seeds ( 2 tbs.)

Old Fashioned Oats ( 1 cup)

Directions:

Mix ingredients together in medium sized mixing bowl until well blended and then transfer into a container that seals tight ( I prefer wide mouth Mason jars because you can fit your utensils and eat right out of them!)

Refridgerate overnight.

Enjoy straight out of the jar (like me!) or warmed and drizzled with a little honey! ๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿฏ

Sun Tea

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There are a few things that come to mind when I think of Summertime during the fall & winter months. Sun Tea is one of those things! I look forward to making it all year long. It reminds me of my childhood in Florida (and Mama of course!) That is why I keep my recipe simple. Just like Mama made it! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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***Place your Sun Tea jar (I prefer glass), in a nice sunny place that will get full sun for at least 4 hours.***

I use Lipton Tea (13 Bags),1 gallon filtered water, the sun (4-6 hours), & good old fashioned granulated white sugar (yes! White sugar. Lol!) We are keeping it country today ๐Ÿ˜‰

Pour over ice & enjoy! โ˜€